Private Magazine

Tag: nightlife

Always a Side, Never a Bride

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Jeremy the wine clerk won me over for the simple fact that I can’t  “Just Say No” to a Gen X-er who looks like he fronted a 90’s band like Fuel or Bush.   In fact, Jeremy plays guitar.

I saw him working at the wine store last week and commented that I had never seen him before.  He has shaggy, surfer hair streaked with grey, like he just washed ashore from Oakland or Anaheim, along with a deep pack-a-day voice.

“Your sign says this is $4.99,” I blow dust from a mini-box of rosé and hand it to him. “But it’s labeled $3.99.”

“Well for you, young lady, it’s free.”

“Free?” Jeremy just looks at me with sensitive brown eyes that fall somewhere between “sad puppy dog” and “pit bull on cocaine.”

“Well don’t just give it to me. I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

“It’s totally fine,” he says.  “You should come back when you’re done at the library.”

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Yes, it’s true, I was on my way to the library that evening to complete my life coach assignment. But, like with the best experiences in life, I got sidetracked.  A romantic rendezvous with Jeremy had begun.  And it began rather strangely.

“I fucking love you!” Jeremy shouts in the middle of the store.  We’re alone; there’s no customers.

He grabs me and kisses me against a tall shelf stocked with gin.  Bottles clang together, almost crashing to the floor.  Suddenly, our moment is punctuated by a beep.  A customer enters.  We peer towards the door.

“We’re closed,” Jeremy says.

“Oh you are so silly,” says a sassy blonde lady.  “I just want my numbers.”

I turn towards a display.  “Miss?” Jeremy yells from the register.  I set down the bottle of Everclear I’d been inspecting. “You’re being disruptive.”

“Me?” I say.

“Oh, no she’s not, she’s fun,” says the sassy blonde lady, and she leaves the store.

Jeremy walks over to me.

“I love you,” he says.

The logical part of my brain knows this is all completely crazy, because I’ve known Jeremy approximately one week.  But I can’t help falling for him.  I seem to have this effect on men.

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Since he has blown my phone up with constant adoration,  I decide to meet up with Jeremy outside of the wine store, even though there’s one very obvious red flag.

“Are you married?” I asked right away.

“Oh, we all have our issues,” Jeremy had said, then began organizing mini bottles of Fireball while examining a New York Lottery scroll and tapping his foot.

“Yeah, I know,” I say. “Issues aren’t a problem. I  love issues.  But, you know, if you’re married…”

“Look,” Jeremy locks both my palms into his own. “I just want to keep talking to you.  If it means I have to give everything up, I will. There’s just so much wrong with me.  I need to talk to you more about everything.”

Jeremy, at that moment, looked positively pitiful, a twinge of Fireball on his breath.

“Ok, ok,” I backed out of the store.  “Jeez.”  I left that night unsure of my next move. But it only took a split second for me to realize – actually, I had already fallen for Jeremy, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of.

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My Pontiac rolls onto the curb, practically, as Jeremy runs towards my passenger door while yanking up his shirt to expose his “abs,” for some unknown reason.  He’s apparently been hanging out by the stop sign.  He tumbles into the passenger seat with a half-empty bottle of Mountain Dew and cigarette dangling from his mouth, and I start to drive even though his door is still wide open. But Jeremy’s lit cigarette falls on his chest and sits there until I toss it out the window,

“Yo! Can you not, like, start on fire?”

But Jeremy’s already talking a mile a minute, ranting and raving about cigarettes he needs to buy and how he had a miserable day confined to the dreary liquor store aisles.

“It’s ok,” I put my hand on his knee.  “Anyway, I’m excited for the fiesta.”

Today is, after all, Cinco de Mayo, and there happens to be a legit taqueria right down the block. Jeremy and I pull into the packed lot, up against a white fence with a subtle mural design.   The sun is strong, and the bassline of a song blaring leads our way to the back patio, where two dudes are serving cool icy margaritas.  I get mine on the rocks, and tons of people are around, with a bumpin’ sound system to boot.  The speakers throb with masculine energy as Daddy Yankee turns to Sean Paul.

Shake that thing, Miss hunabunna get busy, don’t stop just swivy yeah bust in the groove just get crunked and get jiggy, yo sexy lady come wine wit’ us yeah.”

Jeremy already made best friends with the two guys serving drinks. They both have cursive neck tattoos of people’s names.  Jeremy waves his debit card in the air, and puts down our names for a table.

“How romantic,” I hug Jeremy tight.  We wander to the very back of the enclosed patio space.  “Gasolina” blares and the sun beats down on us as powerfully as Rhonda Rowsey in a metallic bodysuit.  All is calm. Jeremy’s chain-smoking and chain-talking in my ear about how beautiful I am, and how he’s going to make me his wife.  There’s only one problem…

“Friends for right now,” I try to catch Jeremy’s eye contact, but his eyes ping around the room. That’s when I spot them – smack in the center of the patio lies the only table, and it’s occupied with a gaggle of my high school frenemies, and their significant others too!

“Oh wow, hey guys,” I tip-toe nervously up to their table. Nobody takes off their sunglasses, or smiles, or says anything at all.  “This is Jeremy. We’re on a date.” My face contorts into a mortified grin.

“Jeremy,” I take Jeremy’s hand in an effort to quell his manic energy. “These are some of my friends from high school.”

Jeremy runs up to Karey, who up until that moment remained totally stoic and unamused behind classic Oakley shades.

“So you can tell me all there is to know,” Jeremy rasps in her ear with a puff of rancid Marb smoke.  “Ha ha ha.”

“Ugh!” I turn my back on the mortifying display before me and wait for it to be over. At least I have an icy cool margarita on the rocks to calm my nerves.

“Come on, like, let’s go over here,” I yank Jeremy away from the hateful table of frenemies.  I pull him away, back under the awning next to the makeshift bar area. All is calm, all is still, as Jeremy replaces all my margaritas and chain-smokes in my ear and the sun refuses to stop shining…All is fine, until Jeremy gets agitated and spots a really cute Spanish one-year-old with a distinct resemblance to Sonny Bono.

“Hey, she said he’s fucked up,” Jeremy yells at the kid’s mom, who had been chilling and caught totally unawares. She stares at him in confusion and annoyance.

“What are you talking about,” I interject,  “I didn’t say that!  He’s making it up.”  I plead with the mom. But she already totally realized that Jeremy is an idiot.

“Yeah, she said why does he have to be so fucked up,”  Jeremy says, pointing at the kid, and I’m wondering,  Is Jeremy seriously trying to start a fight right now –  with a baby?

“Come on,” I pull Jeremy away from yet another person. “Calm down.”

Luckily the kid’s father –  also with an intimidating neck tattoo –  shows up.  Jeremy’s face suddenly shifts to Mr. Charming and he backs away with a wink and a smile.

“Were you seriously trying to start a fight – with a baby?”

But Jeremy doesn’t answer, just changes the subject to how amazing I am, how he wants to go to Costa Rica with me, but not yet, first he has to consider leaving his Old Lady.

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“Hey,” Jeremy’s raspy voice is on the other end of the line.  This is his third phone call to me today.  It’s after ten,  meaning the liquor store is closed. Tonight, I decided not to meet up with Jeremy, for once, to practice “self care” and all that.

“What’s up?” I say.  It sucks that Jeremy has me under his spell, and worse yet, I think he knows it.

“I just wanted to tell you  – ” Jeremy must be home by now, or close to it.

“I wanted to tell you I love – “ All of a sudden, Jeremy trails off and then his whisper turns into confident bravado. “ Dude, I wanted to tell you.  You got the job dude, at the liquor store!”

“What?”

“I have to go,” Jeremy whispers and hangs up the phone.  He must have been taking out the trash.

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I’m walking over to the corner beer emporium to visit Jeremy.  Come to find out – his full time gig is at the beer store where I worked over a decade ago.  And yes, caustic angry Seth, with the personality of a bottle of bleach, is still the manager.  Granted, it was my college summer job, not somewhere I would expect a mid-40’s, self-proclaimed Casanova to be working.  But we all have our issues.

“No loitering,” Seth growls, coming down the microbrew aisle. He’s the same as always, minus all the hair once growing on his head.  Stress.   I lean over Jeremy’s flimsy beer sampling booth and don’t pay attention to party pooper Seth trying to shit all over our parade.  We are in love.  I’ve got leather shorts on, it’s a hot Saturday afternoon, and I just stopped in for a 24 ounce can of Seagrams’ “Jamaican Me Crazy.”  But Jeremy is stuck inside this rat hole serving up samples of Genesee “Bock.”

“Can I taste your Bock?” I say to Jeremy.

Jeremy hands over a little foamy cup.

“I love the taste of your Bock.”  I slowly pull an ice cube from Jeremy’s bucket, and hold it out to his lips.

But before I can even trail it pornographically across his mouth, Jeremy suddenly chomps on it with his front teeth like a ferocious beaver .  He chews up the ice cube, crunching and cackling like a bipolar witch.  He smiles his wide grin and wrinkles crinkle at the corners of his eyes –  but are they from smiling all the time, or just from one too many Marb Reds?

Maybe both, I think.  He’s perfect. 

Plastered on all the walls and windows of the store are the names of customers who have donated their change to Parkinson’s Disease. Apparently many didn’t want to actually fill in their own names, so Jeremy took the liberty of scribbling “I love Annie” and “Jeremy Loves Annie” on these heart-shaped pieces of paper hanging all over the store.

“What’s up with that address you texted me?” I say.

When I was about to walk down here, Jeremy was texting me as usual and he randomly sent me the address of a house the next street over from his.  He wouldn’t explain why.

“This dude that’s in here all the time,” Jeremy says without a moment’s hesitation, “He’s having a house party and I thought it might be a good place for us to meet later.”

“Heck yeah! I am so in.”

“But nothing’s set in stone,” says Jeremy.  He is grinning from ear to ear.

“Okay.  Let me know.”

Seth glares while using his trademark Solo cup spittoon; spit-soaked tobacco drips from his slackened jaw.

“Ok Seth, I’ll take my Jamaican me Crazy and go make myself crazy somewhere else,” I say to him, and then to Jeremy,  “See ya later.”   I blow Jeremy a kiss, and I’m out of there.  I’m not even worried about Jeremy coming through with the party.  Of course we are going to meet up later.  We always do!

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But around 6:00 p.m., Jeremy totally goes silent.  I don’t blow up his phone or anything, at first, but at 10 I call him three times in a row.  Because honestly, Jeremy is always the one blowing up my phone, and now we supposedly have plans at a neighbor’s sketchy bungalow, and you ghost me?

Not to mention, I totally could have stayed at my homegirl’s Porch Fest birthday bash. I didn’t have to drive back to the ‘hood to meet Jeremy.  It makes no sense.

“You are clearly a LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  is what I write.  “LIAR x100000000000000000000000000000000.”

And when Jeremy doesn’t answer that, I toss and turn all night, chugging leftover “Jamaican Me Crazy” to numb the pain. But the sugar only makes me more wired, so finally I just turn on all my lights and blare all my 80’s hair metal vinyl.

Then, my phone starts ringing  – at six in the morning. Is he for real.  At this point I’m  too bleary-eyed and stupefied to care.  I am obviously trying to get some beauty rest. I bury my head in pillows, blankets, everything, but my phone keeps ringing and ringing and doesn’t stop.  Jeremy calls me ten times in a row.

And by morning, with the sun coming up over both our houses, and me with completely disturbing blood shot eyes, my homegirl Stephanie and I had planned to do a gossip n’ brunch at Bread Hive. Thank God, because I need charcoal water and rosé, stat, and a distraction from all of this drama.

I have a text from Jeremy before I even pull up to Bread Hive.

“I need to see you. Now,” it reads.

Ha! Like really, I’m obviously not available. 

“I have plans with my  friend. I will be back in a few hours,” I reply.

Jeremy is SO controlling.

“Fine,” he says. “Meet at the park.”

Yet, I can’t help but want the 411 about last night. What WAS that about?

It’s not like I don’t comprehend that Jeremy is psychotic.

“He sounds…terrible,” Stephanie says while waiting in line. “I can’t really think of anything good about him.”

“I know!” I shriek. I always feel bad for anyone having brunch in my vicinity.  My conversations aren’t 100% family-friendly and veer into the absurd.  I have to give Stephanie credit; she definitely listens with an open mind.

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Poetry by Jeremy*

 I listen to a couple of “our” songs on my drive over to the park – “Your Love is My Drug” by Ke$ha; “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” by Ariana Grande. .Of course we are meeting at our spot, the swings, where our true love was revealed that second day we hung out.

For some reason Jeremy has  the audacity to ask me to pick him up a pack of smokes.  He’ll  “pay me back.”

“I’m at Draino’s,” Jeremy texts.

Ew, Draino’s? I hang in my fair share of rowdy saloons and dumpy taverns, but being spotted at Draino’s is the lowest of the low, not even Charlie Sheen on a week-long bender would be caught dead in there!

It used to be called something else, and I went there once when I was nineteen and got a Swedish Fish shot with no ID after my shift at the beer store with the twins who worked there and had crushes on me, and then the owner’s brother started showing me naked pictures on his flip phone – barf!

Draino’s is an alcoholic old guy scene which recently dealt with an outbreak of Hepatitis C and where a local politician got arrested after allegedly running his wife off the road –  not exactly the romance I had in mind for my Sunday in the sun.

But… I’m willing to lower my standards.

“And don’t worry about the cigs, a bunch of people gave me some,” Jeremy continues.

I wasn’t going to anyways. I toss my phone into the backseat, along with my dignity. Draino’s it is.

I walk into Draino’s, which is totally empty except for some lunatic squawking like a methed-up seagull and squished against some poor, sad looking old guy in a Hawaiian shirt.

“HAR HAR HAR,” Jeremy laughs at his own joke, which typically make no sense.

“Um, hi.” I say.  But at first, Jeremy doesn’t even notice me.

“Oh, HAAAAAAAIIIII,” Jeremy slurs out.  His complexion has the grey pallor of someone who stayed up all night performing sexual favors for crack cocaine; he’s sippin’ on what looks like a 50% vodka, 50% tomato combination, with his liter of Mountain Dew nearby.

“Is this your woman?” asks the sad looking guy in the Hawaiian shirt.

“No, I’m nobody’s woman!,” I declare.

Nothing for her,” Jeremy says.  “HAR HAR HAR.”

The bleach blonde bartender has sympathetic eyes and hands me a pinot grigio that I apparently ordered telepathically.  Jeremy’s tab here has been going since 1998.  We grab our drinks and shuffle onto the front patio. Or at least, Jeremy is shuffling in some oversized loafers halfway hanging off his feet.

“I ran out in my gardening shoes,” Jeremy flops onto the patio chair.  “I slept in the park.”

“Slept?” I say.  “In the park?”

Cars zoom by, and across the street, the town park stares back at us with a vast, empty, void-like stare.

“Why?”

“Look, honey, I said times were going to get rough,” Jeremy looks at me with pleading, puppy dog eyes. “I need you to hang in there with me.”

“Am I not hanging? Hello.”

Jeremy leans so far back on the flimsy furniture, he might just fall right off the chair. He’s puffing on a cig, happy as a clam.  We enjoy a short, comfortable silence, a moment of calm in a sea of chaos.

Then I ask –

“So, um, the park? Why’d you sleep there.”

Jeremy exhales a pre-emphysema-esque sigh of despair, and begins to unravel a barely-believable saga spurned on by the fact I called him at 10 p.m. Apparently, his old lady began “laying into him” and smacked him around, so he ran off and slept in the park since six in the morning.

“What about the party?” I ask.

Jeremy continues to chain smoke and shake his head.

“I didn’t even go.”

I embrace this new level of absurdity.  I’m ride-or-die for guys who deal wine. Jeremy and I head into Dollar General for provisions to take to the park. We find some beach towels and I grab a Vitamin Water; Jeremy still is doing the Dew and going for broke.

“$7.42,” says the stoic girl.  Her pin says “manager on duty.”

“Why d’you have to be so mean?” Jeremy leans over the swipe card machine and leers in her ear.

“I can make you cry if you want,” she says, unimpressed.

Jeremy counts out a few tattered bills, and we leave the store. We cozy up under a tree. R&B music thumps from a shelter.

“Can I have a sip?”  I unscrew the Dew and gulp some down, and choke.

“Don’t drink that!” Jeremy takes the bottle away. “It’s vodka.”

“Whoa.”  I wash it down with Vitamin Water.

All is calm.  Stability is reached once again – for the present moment anyway.  Later, Jeremy will have to return to his wretched old lady.

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I’m speeding on my bike through the dimly-lit streets, with nothing except the cool breeze in my hair and lustful fantasies on my mind.  Jeremy is closing up the liquor store.  This is what my life has become – late night, 10 p.m. hangouts with my “man.”   This past month we’ve become something of an item:  there’s the signs commemorating our love at the beer store; Jeremy’s loud proclamations in Draino’s; we’re even familiar “Same Side Sitters” at the Walden Applebee’s.  And one night, he walked me and my bike home, under a theatrical spotlight cast by a full moon.

“I love you Annie,” Jeremy stood at the end of my driveway, and shouted at the top of his lungs. “I love you!”

We are often at the swings, or the slide, or engaged in some other whimsical activity.

“I’m willing to give everything up – my life is so messed up,” Jeremy said, swirling a small bottle of Fireball around in his hand. “You just have to show me that you’ll do anything for me – you have to move in.”

“But how can I move in, if you’re still married?”  I’m making a true attempt at getting Jeremy to understand logic. “The space is occupied.”

Apparently a year ago, according to Jeremy, he was separated from his wife.  Another girlfriend lived with him.  But allegedly, this girlfriend made out with another guy at her work Christmas party in front of Jeremy.  So he kicked her out. His Old Lady moved back in the same day, according to Jeremy .

“I’m not going to be like that,” I said. “You have to choose me and me alone.”

I can tell Jeremy is burying himself in lies.  Now, according to him, his Old Lady knows nothing about us, even though he first said they were on the outs and “roommates,” and each did their own thing.  But yet, she goes through his phone, and he gets “punished.”

“Why would she go through your phone if she doesn’t care and you’re not together?” I said.

“She loves me, she pays all the bills, she just doesn’t do stuff for me anymore and doesn’t do things that I want her to do,,” Jeremy said.  “I’m telling you I will give everything up.  You just have to trust me.”

Of course,  it’s impossible to trust a man like Jeremy.

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Then, Memorial Day weekend, Jeremy asks a kid at the beer store to cover his shift so we can be together and have a picnic on the beach.

“I was supposed to work from nine to six,” he says. “So just meet me at nine at the store.”

“We can’t go at like, ten or eleven?” I ask casually.

“YOU ARE SPOILED,”  all of a sudden, Jeremy snaps. He starts yelling at the top of his lungs, even though he’s on his continuous work smoke break.   “SPOILED LITTLE BITCH GIRL, WHINE AND BITCH, THAT’S ALL BOTH OF YOU DO, YOU AND HER, PLANS ARE OFF, GO FIND SOMEBODY ELSE – “ Jeremy starts coughing and hacking and I don’t even respond to any of this.

“Fine. Bye,” I say.

“BYE.”

And I hang up the phone, and immediately feel better for not having to deal with Jeremy anymore, his constant need for attention and having to go to the wine store at ten when I’d much rather do my skin care routine.

ONE WEEK LATER

I’m alone in my room and it’s the middle of the night, and I’m doing what I like to do at least one night a week, that is stay up and blare music and write my innermost thoughts. But then, when the moon is full, sometimes I feel lonely and wind up looking at all my ex’s and frenemey’s Instagrams and toss and turn and wonder what’s up with everybody.  That’s how I wound up texting Jeremy.  It only takes a second for the carefully constructed house of cards to fall…

“I just want to let you know, that I thought about things and I forgive you,” is what I send. It’s eleven, and Jeremy’s prone to passing out early, so I don’t expect him to reply, maybe ever.

“I’m bringing you lunch tomorrow!” he says.

And thus began Part II of our torrid affair, when Jeremy became more passionate-slash-obsessive than ever.

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Jeremy started taking the Genesee bus downtown every day to bring me lunch. The first day, it was so romantic, Jeremy even sent me a selfie from the bus stop. We sat out in Lafayette Square, on the statue where I always sit, and Jeremy hovered over me with two pepperoni slices from Gino’s and a Lipton iced tea.

“Just hang in there with me,” Jeremy said, dabbing at my face with a napkin when it didn’t have to be dabbed. “Times are going to get tough.”

“What are you talking about,” I looked around at the manic seagulls surrounding me. “My life is fine.”

After a week straight of two pepperoni slices and an iced tea, and being dabbed when I didn’t need to be dabbed, Jeremy started wearing on my nerves.

On Friday, I come outside to find Jeremy standing in the middle of the sidewalk playing his acoustic guitar and yelping some kind of melody.

I want to know, Can we get clean againnnnnnnnnnn,” Jeremy wails. He fits in on Main and Court perfectly.

“Wow, Jeremy,” I head towards him. “This. Is. So….Nice!”

I have to pay my parking at the underground parking office, since I always wait until the day it’s due,  and the whole walk down Court Street and around the corner, Jeremy follows behind me with his guitar and makes loud comments about my ass.

I swear, I don’t even know this guy,” is the look I give to people passing by, in a helpless “damsel in distress” kind of way, even though I know how to handle this.  Jeremy keeps singing all the way up to the parking office door. I ring the bell, and the girl comes out to take my check with Jeremy still carrying on with his off-kilter melody.

Whoaoaoawhoaohwhoahohohawhoaa,”  his voice has had better days.

I lead him into the elevator and the whole way upstairs and on the walk through the Main Place Mall, onto the street corner and crossing over towards the CVS and through the revolving door into my building and up the stairs and almost into the elevator, Jeremy continues to wail.

“Look. You could ride up with me, but there’s an important meeting going on,” I say.  The unaffected, snowy-haired security guy with tatted-up arms keeps watch.  Jeremy takes a selfie with him, and gives me a smooch which tastes like cigarettes and vodka.  I hop in the elevator and get back to work.

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Later that day, we are in Draino’s again.  Jeremy dropped his happy-go-lucky songbird demeanor from earlier and replaced it with a much more sour disposition.

“He told me he loved me. Should I believe him?” I ask a sexy urban chick reminiscent of young Lil Kim next to me.

“Yeah!” she exclaims.

Jeremy’s forehead drips with sweat, and he barely touches his vodka-and-tomato.

“HAR….HAR….”

I walk away to the jukebox and accidentally cut in front of a dude with a shaved head who already put money in.

“Oops, sorry,” I say.  “But can you play Poison?”

“Yeah, sure honey,” he says. He’s about Jeremy’s age but I don’t think he’s trying to flirt. I sit next to Jeremy again, back at the bar,  and take my hoodie half-off so my shoulders are exposed in a silky camisole.

“ZIP YOUR HOODIE UP,” Jeremy snaps.   “ALL THE WAY UP!” He fiercely zips it up himself and pulls the hood over my head and tightens the strings until I resemble Kenny from South Park.

“It’s hot in here!” I say and try to break free.

The guy with the shaved head is next to me, staring Jeremy down, and I’m all but certain a fight will break out.

“RAAAAAWWWWRRR,” Jeremy erupts like a pissed off caveman, hops up off his barstool and rushes across the room. He throws his battered arms around a thick blonde lady who resembles Honey Boo Boo’s mom, with a crazy, cracked out smile of her own, and the two of them slow dance at warp speed like a record on fast-forward, immersed in some kind of psychobilly samba on speed.

I turn to Lil Kim and, with tears in my eyes, sadly state, “He’s being an asshole.”

“Jeremy!”  She yells to him, over “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” now blaring, “Come here and talk to your woman!”

Jeremy feebly reappears.

“NO,” he says, then stomps outside clutching a cigarette.

I rush after him, into the cool still night, and stare at him in utter confusion.

“Why are you doing this to me?”

All Jeremy does is stare back with a blank, empty stare, puffing away on yet another Marb.  I grab my 12-speed Huffy that had been chilling against the beat up side of the bar, push off from the curb and take off, quickly and powerfully, the cool night air whipping around me as I descend the bridge and swerve through the silent streets.  Behind me, I hear Jeremy emit his trademark  “MMMMEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHH”, which sounds like a herd of dying sheep bleating at the moon, fading away into the darkness behind me.

Lifestyles of the Rich and the Homeless

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Oh, to be nice.  Isn’t it so rare? Nice, nice, nice.  Nice guys finish last.  Well, that’s a good thing.  Nice guys make sure their ladies come first. NICE!

What I really need is a nice man.  Someone who considers my feelings.

Pete seems like he can keep up.  Plus, he makes me laugh.  He reminds me of Philip Seymour Hoffman, he’s really nice, and he’s down to go out any and every night of the week!   I met Pete last year through my social butterfly bestie, Maurice.

Recently, I ran into Pete at Caffe Aroma (where the writers hang).  He asked me out for a drink.

A few days later, he picked me up in an environmentally-conscious car stickered with hippie quotations.  The passenger side said, “Kindness is an act of rebellion.”

“You know, when I met you three years ago – “ Pete’s driving us downtown, and hasn’t stopped chain-smoking.  “I got so nervous, I got so…” He sucks a hard drag. “I felt bad about myself for a week.”

“What? I met you one year ago. With Maurice.”

“You guys came into Aroma,” Pete continues, and inhales another drag. “And you looked at me and didn’t say anything, and I felt bad about myself for a week.”

“Pete!” I’m shocked, because I don’t even remember. “I’m sorry.”

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Before we hit the town, Pete needs to shower.  We pull up to the truck stop.  You can apparently shower for $8.00 here.  It’s a full moon.  Turns out, Pete is a legitimate homeless person, albeit one with rich parents on the West Side.

We walk into the smoggy diner. There’s a smoking section enclosed by glass.  The vibe here is of a hospital waiting room on an 80’s soap opera; Pete introduces me around to some people he knows, an old saggy couple in stretched-out sweats.

“Here ya go, honey,” the waitress’s voice crackles like a record.

I sip diet cola slowly and page through XXX Guide.  

“Thanks.”

All I hear is the ticking of a clock, and the gradual burning-down of a cig.

Suddenly Pete emerges, towelling his hair. “I feel so much better now,” he says.  “Ready?”

“Sure.”

We leave, and continue on our way downtown.

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Pete squeezes his car into a spot across from Thin Man, still chain-smoking, still a nervous wreck.

“I only have twenty-eight dollars in my wallet and thirty-two in the bank,” Pete says.  His glasses fog up. In his car are empty cans, clothes, even a half-full mug of coffee is in the console, which he spills all over the place. “Oh my GOD,” Pete yanks the rearview mirror down towards his face. “I just have to do my hair quickly.”

Pete grabs a container of pomade from somewhere, rubs a giant globule between his palms, then pours bottled water over it and slicks down his coif with the mixture.  It becomes a methed-out Morrissey kind of look, and it works.

“The other day I almost smoked crack,” Pete declares. “This girl came out of the alleyway over there…”

The two of us cross the street. Apparently, a show is about to begin. Pete is a huge fan of the band playing tonight.  I didn’t even know this place was a venue?  I’m apparently not as hip as I once was. We sit in a booth at the far end, so we can order fries and absorb the mood.

“I need to smoke,” Pete says, standing up.  “I need a cigarette.”

A waitress approaches; she has a Tori Amos/Ani DiFranco kind-of vibe.

“Hey, guys,” she says.

“Oh, uh,” Pete fumbles with his pack of smokes. “Hi,” he says. “Let’s all have some shots. I’ll buy you a shot,” Pete says to the waitress as her patchouli wafts across the table.  “Look at all this money I found!” Pete opens his wallet and there’s a bunch of twenties inside.

“What about me?” I say.

“Of course,” Pete says.  I look at the table, embarrassed. The waitress is looking at me, and I mean really looking at me, almost through me for God’s sake.  I know my shirt is low cut, but…

“Can I please also order some fries, with a few avocado slices on the side?” I say. “Is that weird?”

“No,” the waitress says. “Not weird at all.”

The waitress disappears, but soon enough another girl is at our table.  She’s a plain jane of indeterminate age.  She stands at the side of our table and gives me the stink eye for thirty seconds, but it seems like forever.  My confusion and the awkwardness is too much to bear.  I turn to Pete and say,

“What IS going on?”

“I’m sorry,” Pete says. “This is my ex-girlfriend Mandy.”

The waitress is ten feet away, and definitely eyeing me up and down provocatively.

“I invited her,” Pete says.  “Mandy, I just wanted you to be able to meet new people.”

“Pete?” I say. “What IS the situation?”

“I’ll be right back,” he says, and the two of them go off and argue in a faraway corner.  I’m certain I’ll be left with the bill from the shots and alone to fend for myself.  I’ve never truly been this close to a lesbian encounter in my life.  I return the waitress’s gaze.

But soon, Pete comes back, apologetic, and we continue the evening at Rohall’s.

HOMELESS3

“I wrote a song about you,” Pete’s text says the next morning.  There’s a video attached and sure enough, it’s  of Pete singing into a mic in a living room somewhere.  He crashed at someone’s apartment last night.

“She takes away my misery….” he croons. “She took away my virginity…Metaphorically….”  

The phone video crackles and cuts out.  Hmm…

Homeless6

I’m never bored with Pete in my orbit.  He’s always down to hit the town even though we are in the friend zone, or maybe because we are in the friend zone?  His thoughts are always scattered and never able to be pinned down…

My mom and I are going to an event at the Hotel Lafayette.  There’s supposed to be vendors, and cocktails, and more.  I invited Pete via Facebook.  He told me he would be there.  It’s Sunday, and the sun is shining down upon the beautiful pigeons and street people of the Square.

As my mom and I walk up to the Hotel, I can already spot Pete dramatically inhaling a cigarette and pacing around the sidewalk.

“Good morning,” he says.  I wonder how long he’s been here? Maybe Pete is always here. He manages to be everywhere at the same time, omnipresent if you will.

“I can’t stay,” he says. “I’m double parked, and I lost my wallet last night. But I wanted to give you something. It’s my most cherished possession.”  I look at my mom. She’s unfazed by all this.

Pete presents me with a heavy cast-iron amulet on a leather cord,  an upside-down cross with a snake wrapped around it.  It’s mildly Satanic in nature and in line with my aesthetic.

“Wow!” I say. “Thanks Pete.”

HOMELESS2

There’s a show at the Mohawk tonight. Pete invited me. We are supposed to meet up on Washington and Ellicott to get some sushi, get some chow.  It’s Wednesday, and a balmy night at that.

Hump day.

Can Pete actually seduce me?  Ever since his ex showed up on our first date, he’s been stuck in the friend zone. But I can’t help but think Pete is so nice.

“Hey, how’s it going,” Pete walks towards me from the curb. His outfit throws me for a loop – white linen pants, loud aquamarine Hawaiian shirt, and a floppy bucket hat.  In my world, Wednesday is strictly an all-black affair.  I didn’t get the memo. Maybe tonight is a special Beach Boys/Gilligan’s Island tribute…

We go into Seabar for some chow.

Homeless

“I’m going to tell Mandy tomorrow I have strong feelings for you,” Pete says. “We are meeting at Spot.”

“I don’t know, are you sure?” I say. “ You don’t have  to do anything hasty…”

“It’s something I have to do,” he says. “She keeps wanting to get back together.”

“I admire that,” I say.  “I’m nervous about settling down with someone.”

“I do want to get married again..” Pete says, staring into the distance.

“I couldn’t marry somebody unless I’ve known them at least ten years,” I say. “Even for a few years, somebody can hide their true self, who they really are, and turn out to be some kind of psycho…”

“Are you a serial killer?” Pete says.

“No,” I say. “No one’s ever asked me that before.”

homeless8

The next day at work, I receive a text from Pete around noon.

“I’m back with Mandy,” it says. “We decided we both want the same thing. We are going to get married with the Justice of the Peace.  I can’t wait 10 years.”

The JUSTICE of the PEACE? I shouldn’t have fallen for Pete, not even a little bit, even though he did just give me a bouquet of black, faux roses two days ago.  His world is one of chaos. My therapist says that I connect with chaos.  I think Pete and I are better off as friends.

I’m sure he’ll change his mind. But I mean, a plain jane?  Then again, I’m just not “nice.”  Let’s face it – I’m too much of a diva to settle down and have kids while also being the breadwinner of the family and breastfeeding while wearing yoga pants and “practical” shoes.  Bah!   The next man I date will surely be wild, more wild and crazy than ever before. But at least now I know I can appreciate a man who is nice.

 

The Sunshine State Affair

FLAMINGO

I’m down in the outskirts of Tampa, FL visiting Cousin Phil, and also his friend Blaine Templeton with whom I’ve corresponded a year. I was supposed to meet “Blaine” when I visited Phil last February.  But apparently, Blaine got caught up in some sort of bender three hours away, and wasn’t around.  I seized Cousin Phil’s phone during that trip and texted Blaine. We continued talking until now. I’m not sure how or why we kept in touch. Signs pointed to this Gemini party boy and I being soulmates.  I even sent him a few butt pics.

Blaine is a troubled chap adopted from the UK by his aunt. His voice is a cross between Mike Skinner from The Streets and the gecko from GEICO commercials.  Most interestingly, Blaine has been staying with Cousin Phil for the past two months! He told me he’s sleeping in the weight room and I’m in the guest room, and we’ll be sharing a bathroom. There’s no way we won’t cross paths. How is this really gonna go?

“You can meet me at the airport with a rose if you want,” I texted him.

“Woman,” Blaine said.   “I am sober and in therapy.  I will not be much fun whilst you’re here.”

Blaine had to go and dent up Phil’s stainless steel fridge while he was home for Easter, and he’s taken a vow of sobriety.  Why did he have to fuck everything up right before I got there? He previously told me he was getting the “troops together” – aka a bunch of guys – for a night on the town of Prince Harry proportions!

“Well, I’m just looking forward to sun and sand,”  I said. “I’ve been doing squats.”

WALL

The words Gun Show Weekend loom on a giant billboard overhead. Semi-Automatic Showcase.  Mobile homes are sprawled around palm trees, their pastel hues bleached by the sun.

Phil and I are driving through the small town of Gibsonton, FL, where it is rumored circus and carnival workers crash during the off-season. Blaine is staying home, again. He hasn’t done anything social with me this entire time. My new term for Blaine is Spores Boy (like in The Secret Garden) a.k.a The Catfish/Hermit Crab.  Now that’s he’s sober all he does is sleep. He’s lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did, except for odd moments we smoke cigarettes in the yard and he tells me his woes.

“There’s a bar over there that was on one of those travel shows,” Phil says as we roll past in his overbearing Escalade. “Look.”

He hands me his phone. A YouTube video is playing with blurred-out faces lumbering around a dimly-lit room. “Freaks do come out at night,” the narrator says. “It’s a veritable hotbed of circus-folk.”

 “We obviously have to go,” I look out the window at this bar, a disintegrating plywood shack covered in paint flakes. “No question about it.”

FLORIDA

It’s three days into my five-night stay, and by the way, it’s confirmed – I’m delusional and histrionic. I brought a see-through nightie with me, thinking Blaine and I would probably have a late-night hookup in the bathroom. But he wasn’t exaggerating when he said he wouldn’t be fun whilst I’m here.

It’s  4/20. Cousin Phil and I cruise to “Showplace” in his innocuous work van.  Phil gelled his hair down into a devil’s lock and paired it with a teal Florida logo tee, in an attempt to “blend in.”

As we drive up, I notice the flashing lights of police cars.

“Oh damn, the cops are here,” I look out the window. “But it’s probably something minor. Let’s keep going.”

Conveniently, patrons enter this place from the side.  We go inside the dark shack.  I walk across the room, and look out the window to scope the drama. Two men are standing across from each other, bathed in blue/red light. Maybe it was a brawl?

Cousin Phil’s at the bar and it’s stocked up with guys drinking.  I turn my back to the illuminated shelf of vodka, and survey the room. It’s karaoke night.  A curly-haired DJ in a long hippie skirt is on the other side of the room.  There’s a skinny girl singing in a crop top and skull-patterned newsboy cap.

“I’ve got no roots cuz my home was never on the ground, I got no RoooOOOO O-OOTS, I got no roots..…” she croons, grinding her hips to the melody.  I rush towards the DJ, awoken by this cacophony.

“I’ll do…” I look around hyper-actively. “I’ll do ‘Gimme the Light’ by Sean Paul…But I’m not sure I’m good enough.”

“You ARE good enough,says the scrawny singer in the hat. She walks up to me; her teeth are sharpened to a point, and she’s still grooving her hips to the melody.

“Thanks.” I walk to the bar and sit next to Phil. There’s a tan dude on my right. He has an earring and a backwards camo-print cap.

“Hm, he could be cute, I can’t tell,” I say to Phil out the side of my mouth. I’m squinting through the smoke. Oh Florida, the shamelessly smoky heartland…  At that moment, the tan dude gets up and walks past my barstool, kind of knocking into it with his shoulder.

“Oops, sorry ma’am,” he says, backing away with hesitation.

“No, it’s okay,” I give him my most flirtatious gaze.

“Der – duh – doo,” the tan dude says, coming closer, and I see that he only has two front teeth, and no other teeth at all, not on the top row anyway.  I don’t compute.  “QQQ mmm?” he says. My mind goes blank.

The tan dude walks outside.  A few guys have pulled their motorcycles up by the front door, and have formed a little circle.  That’s hot… Several chubby dudes lean against their bikes, basking in the glow of a hillbilly moon.

“Ann Marie, come on up here Ann Marie,” says the curly-haired DJ, who reminds me of the clown girl from Big Comfy Couch.  She hands me the mic as the chords of Carrie Underwood fade away. The girl who was singing the tune looks like a cross between Taryn Manning on Orange is the New Black  and Avril Lavigne. Her hair is tangled as a tumbleweed, with a bow stuck to the side.  However, if I closed my eyes right now I’d swear it was actually Underwood, albeit an MTV Unplugged version. “She caught the eye of an oil man, dancing one summer night in a dime store dress…

I assume the mic, and as the words appear on the faraway television screen, a table full of faceless ladies starts to hoot and howl. The beat begins…a man’s voice from somewhere booms “Four twenty!” I pace around.

Jus’ gimme the light and pass the dro…” I crouch low to the ground. “And I gots to know…” But then the speedy chorus starts up and I botch the whole thing.  But thankfully I’ve got some real dro in a flattened Marlboro pack in the pocket of my tattered miniskirt, and I cannot wait to join the erotic-looking bikers out in the parking lot. “Can I be your protector, your boyfriend, wanna come wreck ya?” I slurp my Corona. “Got the dro in my cornrow. Yo yo yo yo.”

Once I’m done, a zombie juggalo in ankle-grazing, wide-leg denim approaches. He seizes the mic. Out pours a beautiful country hymn. That was certainly unexpected.  Despite his dead-squirrel hairdo, he’s got a voice like butterscotch candy – suckable, and dare I say, fuckable?

Nah.

The skinny girl with fangs grinds her pelvis to the melody.  Another young female with “Bossy Girl” on the back of her tee moves close to her, presses against her, and they fall in sync with the rhythm. They are moving their hips in unison back and forth, pressed together, until the song ends and they drift into a dark corner together.

Back at the bar, I knock back Coronas to the last bitter drop. It’s a damn good thing this place doesn’t sell wine. If I was on a pinot grigio high, let’s just say I’d be here until dawn and probably join the circus, too. Everybody here is outrageously talented. There’s not a bad singer in the bunch, except me.

“I’m moving to Gibsonton!” I proclaim. “I’ve found my people!”

I’m facing the entrance when in he walks: a Johnny Cash enigma on a Jack Sparrow streak, clad in head-to-toe black and spit-shined shoes, with a short black ponytail and get this, an eye patch. Ever so slightly my jaw drops, and my eyes widen. He walks past me, nonchalant.

“Do not look,” I murmur. “That’s the man of my dreams.”

He pulls a pack of Reds from his pants and I strike up a convo.  He lights my cig and his nails have chipped black polish.  Is this a real life pirate, a Goth, or does he just work at some Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World? Maybe it’s all the above, and I don’t care.

“I’m Joe,” he says, exhaling smoke. “Actually I just moved here, from P.A. I just moved to Riverview.”

Joe…from Riverview…I’m reduced to the drool-face emoji. Joe and I have a personal, but not too personal, chat. The air between us is hazy… and then I say goodbye…I think it’s best to end this night on a high, without even getting Joe’s number.  Because what’s the point? I’d rather keep him as a fantasy. I hop up to the passenger side of Phil’s van, still inside a full-blown swoon….

COYOTEUGLY

“WILL YOU MAKE ME A SANDWICH BLAINE?” Unfortunately, I think I’ve gone deaf.  Blaine’s frying up paninis in a pan, and Phil’s gone to bed. “CAN YOU OPEN THIS BOTTLE OF WINE?” Oh, and I’m drunk. “ALEXA, OPEN THIS WINE.”

“Woman, god damn it,” Blaine is pissed, and puts his two lovely paninis on a plate. “Make your own sandwich.”  He doesn’t even look at me.

“PHIL, BLAINE IS BEING ABUSIVE,” I yell, to no one. It echoes. Blaine ignores me. “BLAHHHH!” I pick up two pieces of bread along with a floppy piece of deli ham and fling them towards Blaine. He is hunched over the sink and cowers with his arms raised above his head.

“Woman!” he says, “Damn it!” He takes the sandwiches into the dark weight room with video games still playing and I’ve just about had it. We correspond for a year, then when I’m here you act like I’m chopped liver? Nothing to get out of bed for?

“SPORES BOY,”  I stand outside the room with Blaine slumped on the bed.

“I don’t like that watermelon perfume,” he says.

“NOMMMMMMM.” I snatch a sandwich off his plate and take a giant bite, chew dramatically, and then strut off towards the guest room. “IT’S VICTORIA’S SECRET BITCH.”

WALL3

We kind of made amends before I left. Kind of, not really.  I apologized and got him a little dominatrix action figure from the flea market. That’s something we talked about, anyway, dommes and dominas. Blaine did not initially accept my apology.
But then one day, just today in fact, I got a text from Blaine. Thank you for the dominatrix-looking action figure, he wrote. Well, then. Maybe hate sex is in our future after all.

WALLS2

It Started With A Syringe

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I was at work the other day and ended up having a conversation about losing your virginity. Believe it or not, I wasn’t the one who brought it up.

“I was thirteen,” my co-worker, Ginnifer with the Blue Mani, said.

“I was fifteen,” said Shelby with the Mauve Lip Liner.  “And I’ve been on birth control ever since.”

“I was…seventeen, um, eighteen,” I said. “But honestly it took me that long to hit puberty.”  

We ended up trading stories about the loss of our virginities, about how, like Madonna and Britney Spears and Cyndi Lauper, we all became “touched for the very first time” and “hit one more time” and “time after time” after that.  

It all started in college. When I got to my room in Alumni dorm, I unpacked my Smiths CDs, issues of Nylon and Woody Allen movies to go out and party right away. It wasn’t long before I had a crush on a hipster I saw buying photo paper and film at the bookstore.

“He had glasses and a plaid button-up shirt – unbuttoned halfway,” I gushed to my BFF/roommate Tara as we ate mysterious dining hall casseroles. “I want to know his name.”

The very next day in the dorm,  I was listening to Belle & Sebastian and writing in my diary when our landline phone rang.

“He’s in my logic class,” Tara said. “My philosophy class. The guy with the glasses.”

“No effin way.”

I shadowed Tara’s next logic class for the purpose of learning this guy’s name. He turned out to be a senior named Tommy who said many intellectual things. I was swooning.

A couple days later, I was in our dorm searching for my clove cigarettes. The phone rang at 3:00,  about the time logic got out.

“Tommy wants to know if we can find him a syringe,” Tara said.

“My brother’s diabetic, so probably. For what?”

“His ‘Drug Life’ photo project.”

“I’ll go to LoGrasso. Have him come to our room.”

I walked to the health center, and believe it or not, there must not have been an opiate epidemic in 2005 or something, because I was given a syringe right away, no questions asked. Sweet!  I ran back to the room, and pretended to be working on something at my computer. The door swung open. Tara entered; Tommy was behind her.

“David LaChapelle, David LaChapelle,” Tommy was saying, wearing jeans completely frayed at the bottom with a giant hole exposing one thigh, Doc Marten boots, long wool overcoat and those glasses I had a thing for.

“I really appreciate you doing this for me,” he said while snooping through my bookshelf. He picked up my Annie Hall DVD. “When are we going to get married?” Turns out, Tommy was a huge Woody Allen fan.

“I have to find a few more things for the shoot,” he said. “Want to come along? I’ll grab you guys some wine afterwards.”

Oh yeah, Tommy was 21. It was all music to my ears.

“I saw The Dandy Warhols in London,” he said. We were squished in the backseat of our other friend Valerie’s broken-down Cutlass. She was the only one with a car.

We drove to Wal Mart, the only store in town, to find a “drug dealer-esqe” gold chain, Shower-to-Shower bath powder (“the only kind that really looks like coke,” according to Tommy), and a fake nail (“even though we could probably score one from a theater major,” he said). After Tommy purchased all this stuff, and a box of Franzia, we dropped him off at his place.

“Call me later and we’ll drink wine,” he said.

comics

Tommy and I started hanging out after that – walking around campus, smoking cigarettes, that kind of thing. One night he invited me to his house – off-campus.

“Sorry, we don’t have heat,” he said, opening the door and wearing a coat.

“Oh, okay, that’s cool,” I said.

We went up to the drafty second floor. Someone with a tie-dye tapestry over their door was blaring Grateful Dead. Tommy took me into his room and closed the door. There were stacks of books everywhere, photos tacked to the walls, an electric keyboard, bong, pack of Ecstasy herbal cigs, Velvet Underground & Nico poster, and a carpet that seemed to double as an ashtray.

“Wow. Your room is so cool,” I said.

We sat on the floor. Tommy rolled a joint, took out his iPod, and put the Brian Jonestown Massacre on. We smoked, and I got super high and paranoid because I was innocent and had no tolerance for weed back then. Tommy’s face kept getting closer to mine, somehow. He was about to kiss me when suddenly a dreadlocked girl barged into the room.

“Do either of you have a cigarette?” she yelled.

I looked at Tommy. He looked at me and said, “She’s trying to quit.”

“Um..uh, here,” I extended a Marb Light her way, my hand shaking. She retreated into the hall, shutting the door.

“Damn,” Tommy said. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay,”  I said. “So, where were we?”

This blog never gives an explicit play-by-play because it’s better to leave things to the imagination, in my opinion. It’s classier. But when I left Tommy’s house that night I wasn’t as innocent as when I entered.

“Tara,” I said, turning the light on and waking her up. “It happened.”

“Oh. My. God!” She sat up in bed and hugged me. “I’m so proud of you!”

The next morning, we were celebrating over DIY omelettes in the dining hall when I felt nauseous.

“BLEEEEGHHHHHH,” I puked for a good five minutes in the bathroom then came out, pale and sweating. “Tara…I’m so sick.”

I was in bed for the next 36 hours, perspiring, worried I was pregnant, watching The Virgin Suicides.

“Baby girl…You can’t be pregnant,” Tara said. “It’s got to be the flu.”

Sure enough, it was the flu. The only “clean” glass I could find at Tommy’s was totally cloudy and under the bathroom sink, but I was desperate.

The following semester, Tommy left to study abroad in the UK. I thought I’d never see him again. But junior year, Tara and I took the school van down to Pittsburgh, where Tommy was in law school…

READER SURVEY: WHAT SONG WAS PLAYING WHILE YOU LOST YOUR VIRGINITY? FACTORYGIRL1987@GMAIL.COM

Splitting the Bill in a Post-Feminist World

BDs

First dates are like fire drills – sometimes they are real, but most of the time they are false alarms, but we are still lucky to get out of them alive. I’m moving up from not introducing my boyfriends to my parents to completely not telling anyone I’m going on a date at all. I don’t even tell my mom when I’m going on a first date. If I did, she would likely ask, “How did it go?” And I don’t always want to recount whatever sick, twisted ordeal I’ve been through this time.

I’m not choosing men based on how “wild” or, God forbid, “crazy” they are. I did that when I was 19 years old. But just the other day, I had a date within the confines of my old, eerily-small college town. It was a revisitation to my 19-year-old stomping grounds, so perhaps the craziness which ensued should come as no surprise.

The “datee” in question was a man whose age I didn’t really know.  He used to teach entry-level photography at school and take pictures at shows. If I remember correctly, I think he had been “hanging out” with one of my suitemates. Who knows, who cares. I’m older now, wiser now, and something was telling me this chap and I might get along. I did what any Millennial, post-collegiate gal would do. We chatted on social media. That Saturday, I drove down to the infamous town. The plan was to go to the Salvation Army then eat at DeJohn’s – an Italian joint with $1.99 margaritas.

sandy

The first thing I notice about “Juan” is his spotlessly-clean apartment. It is very clean, and VERY quiet in there. (Eerily enough, one of my college frenemies lived in the exact same apartment).  Juan is an artist. He has paintings, photographs, and illustrated skateboard decks on the walls. All of his tee shirts are hanging in the closet, color organized, along with a shelf of thousands of CDs, alphabetized. I spot a lovingly-framed photo of Juan and his parents, just the three of them. There’s a desk with a landline phone. Juan picks up the receiver, dials a number, and says “Dad, my friend is here and we are going out, so I won’t be home the rest of the day.”

We set off for Salvation in Juan’s car.  He is a quiet man with the body of a telephone pole. The shy, hyper-organized nerd hasn’t yet, up until this point, been on my dating repertoire – but I love trying new things. Juan buys a green tee shirt that says “Camp MooShu” and a belt (he is really skinny, and practical too, I guess – you have to keep those pants from falling down somehow).  I buy some practically impractical clip-on earrings left over from a wedding in 1988.

bike

After the shopping trip, we stroll through town. I’m growing nostalgic with these familiar streets and the old “Party Houses”: 25 Central, 7 Forest, 140 Temple, etc. It’s bringing me back – way back.

“We have to go to BJ’s,” I say. “We just have to.”

BJ’s, where do I begin? BJ’s feels like being inside of a Dinosaur Jr. album on infinite replay. It’s a place where you can get blackout drunk with laundry quarters. It’s a music venue with plenty of shows, where my friends’ bands always played. It’s the top spot for every artsy person in town, at a college where “artsy” people are the A-list and the miniscule“bro” and/or “jock” population gets ostracized to shitty bars on Water St.

“Ok,” Juan says. “They open at five.”

We go to DeJohn’s first. I’m hungry. We are the only ones in the restaurant. A mid-30s guy with glasses and a shaved head shows us to a booth. The booth is red vinyl and has string lights around it, plus there’s “Gilligan’s Island” playing from a television right on the table. He hands us menus and a remote.

“Can I get you some drinks?” the waiter says.

“Yes, I’ll have a margarita on the rocks with salt,” I say.

“I’ll just have a Blue,” Juan says.

Our waiter leaves so Juan and I peruse the menu. Juan decides on lasagna and I order the chicken parm. We begin a pleasant conversation about this and that. Juan is very hard to read.

“Do you have anything else to, like, do today?” I say.

“No, this is it,” he says.

“What else do you do around here?” I say. “It seems like it could get lonely.”

“When I’m not working, I’ll read the paper,” he says.

“Do you have Netflix?”

“No,” he says. “ I don’t have Internet in my apartment.”

“Oh, wow,”  I say. “What’s your astrological sign?”

“I’m a Taurus,” Juan says.

“I’m a Virgo,” I say. “I think we’re supposed to get along…”

We finish eating and our waiter drops off the check.  It sits there, upside down, collecting dust almost, so I poke at it. Juan hasn’t noticed. I pick up the damn check and it’s $37.00. Juan doesn’t say anything.

“Um, ok…mine was, what…like, $17?” I say.

Juan pulls a few 20’s out of his pocket and puts one of them with the check.

“Um, uh, ok… here’s 20?” I hand him a $20 bill.

“I’ll give this to him and you can keep the change,” he says, leaving.

“Gee, thanks,” I say.

After a minute, Juan comes back. He hands me $3. I look at him somewhat oddly, but not obnoxiously so. “Gilligan’s Island” was the only “old school” thing about this meal, I guess. Juan leaves the tip, we exit DeJohn’s, and go across the street to BJ’s.

blackOut

The two of us are alone in the bar, save for a long-haired bearded dude sipping a pint. Our bartender comes – a college girl in a knit hat. Juan orders another fucking “Blue”. I go with vodka, pay for my own shit, again, and give the bartender a look that says “keep them coming.” The sky has darkened significantly.

“Can I sleep on your couch?” I ask. “It’s sort of, like, a far drive.”

“Yeah, sure,” he says.

Just then, tons of young, really hot and athletically-built guys start filtering into BJ’s. They are accompanied by older men – their dads presumably – who all fall into the Silver Fox and D.I.L.F. category.

“The hockey team is here,” the bartender says. “There was a tournament today.”

In no time at all, BJ’s is packed full of the hockey team, their dads, and a few moms, too.

“We need to go to the strip club after this,” I say to Juan. “I’m going to invite the hockey team, and the dads too!”

Juan doesn’t flinch at this, but says, “I don’t know….”

“I just thought, when in Rome,” I say. “Are you uncomfortable with nudity?”

“No, I, uh…” he says.

“Can we play it by ear?” I say.

“Yeah, sure, play it by ear,” Juan says, with some trepidation.

Maybe I was misguided into thinking this was, indeed, a date. It could’ve been a date, but it ain’t. Not anymore. At least the hockey team is here. I turn to the hot dad next to me wearing a cashmere sweater.

“We’re going to the strip club after this,” I say. “If you all want to come.”

“There’s one of those around here?” he says, drinking a tumbler of vodka. “I had no idea. Ha ha.”

I look around BJs, at the black wall festooned with lewd scribbles, and the collection of rock band paraphernalia behind the bar. It is the same as it was so many years ago. My ”date” with Juan turned out to be a marvelous flop. Sure, I’m a spoiled bitch when it comes to going out to dinner. It’s too late to change that. Who would I be if I make out with a guy who won’t pay for dinner? Not myself, that’s who.

This story ends with me kissing a stripper at the nudie bar instead of Juan. Will Juan ever find love? Who knows. Who cares. But it’s not going to be with me.

THE GAY BAR: Unadulterated Back Door Access

pinkbar

It’s Saturday night. Jaclyn, an acquaintance who I work with occasionally,  has invited me to a party. The party is being held at a well-known gay bar. Jaclyn has been dating the gay bar owner’s brother for quite a while. It’s the owner’s birthday. There is a celebration being held at his club.

I take this as an opportunity to encounter some new people, to immerse myself in a completely foreign scene. I’ve started to see the same faces, been ending up in the same places. I need  something new, something… unorthodox. An investigation into the gay nightclub underground seems apropos.

Around eleven, Jaclyn and her boyfriend Sal, the owner’s brother, pick me up from my apartment. We head downtown. The club’s neon sign glows radioactive pink. The bouncer welcomes us inside with a nod. We meet up with Jaclyn’s friend Kate and her boyfriend, Keith.

The four of us sit down in a booth area while Sal goes to get us a bottle of Absolut. There is a large open area around the bar – not many patrons have arrived yet. Another dance floor/stage area is in a curtained-off, adjacent room. The place is mostly black spray paint and concrete with hot pink accents. We are enclosed in a dark sitting area behind the bar.

A middle-aged transvestite woman descends upon our booth in kitten heels. She sits down across from us without speaking, looking at us. Five minutes pass, then she asks –

“So, what brings you guys here, a bachelorette?”

“No, just her boyfriend’s brother’s birthday,” I reply. We’re getting antsy for Absolut.

Ooh, is it a party?” She asks, fiddling with her reflective clutch purse. She wanders away before we answer.

“Was she about to offer us drugs or something?” Jaclyn asks me.

“Probably.”

Sal returns with the vodka, some mixers. We drink for a little bit until Sal suggests we take a walk down to the basement of the club. We head through a back door, down concrete steps covered in flecks of glitter. Once in the basement, there are racks of sequined costumes and props left over from the drag queen shows. Guy stand around smoking cigarettes. I stick a fake rose in my hair, from a drag queen of yore. Abandoned stage scenery is scattered about; speaking of which, one such performance is about to commence. I pop a Tic Tac and feel a revitalizing rush.

makeup

We head back upstairs to watch the show. It was advertised as an Underwear Competition. A drag queen is standing on stage, with a pretty decent crowd gathering around. The crowd is mostly young, very young, gay boys – this club allows 18 and up.  The Queen is speaking into a microphone, shimmying around in a fringed figure skating outfit. A young blond boy is staring up at her in awe.

“What do we have here, hmmm?” The Queen Bee is purring down at the blond boy, stroking his hair. “Is that because of me?” She is acknowledging the boy’s raging hard-on. I’m surprised at this, because I never thought drag queens were sexy, or even really trying to arouse people with their theatrics. I always thought it was just about an artistic performance.

The Queen calls up the two finalists of the Underwear Competition. We missed the early rounds, I guess.

“Our first finalist is the luscious, lascivious, Damian!”

An early-twenties black guy in a purple Diesel thong struts onstage. He’s pretty buff.

“An the sumptuous, sexual, Stephen!” Stephen looks about 18 with a septum piercing and tattoos. He’s nervous and dripping in sweat. I wonder where his parents think he is.

A booty-poppin’ jam blasts out of a speaker. Damian and Stephen make their ass cheeks clap like strippers, directly in the faces of front-row spectators. They bend over, drop it low, twerk. We’re in the way back, and the crowd is getting riled up in a crushing horde.  I’m reminded of that French short story from 100 years ago about some strangers having sex at a public execution.

What’s the prize for this competition anyway? Young and doe-eyed boys wander around in various states of undress. Are they gigolos for hire?

bottles

We walk back to our couch and bottle of vodka, amid applause for our young exhibitionists. A half hour or so passes. Then, we hear the DJ start his set. We make our way through the curtain, onto the dance floor. Jaclyn and Sal are dancing together. Katie and Keith are dancing together. This leaves me getting groovy by myself. Obviously, none of the men in this joint want anything to do with me. Should I have brought a date to this shit? I continue to dance alone in the middle of the room. Whatever. I’m not a total loser.

An overzealous black kid in short shorts bends over in front of me. I think he feels sorry for me. The feeling I’m experiencing is the loser at the school dance, and this guy must pity me. It’s kind of embarrassing. I swivel around – a gloomy looking brunette kid starts swinging me around. At first, all’s well and good. Then, he starts inching his way closer to my face. This boys smells like ass. Ass. It’s unbearable and nauseating.

“Excuse me, please, I have to go throw up.”

I run away into the other room, hunch over the couch, gasping for fresh air. Inhale, man, inhale. What the fuck was up with that?   

Sexbelt

The drinking continues. Now, the night is not so young and my body is not so sober. I am swept up in my own thoughts.  A dark tunnel opens up in my mind and I follow it through, down down down into the foggy abyss.

A bespeckled guy sitting to my right starts talking to me. He comes off as kind of straight. Straight and alone at the gay bar. I tell him a little about what has brought me here, and I’m sure that he knows that I’ve never been here before, because I’m sure everyone else here is a regular. It just gives off that type of vibe.

He takes my phone from my hand, and puts in his name and phone number as “Master Jeremy Dollar$.”

“What’s up with your name?”

“It’s because I have coke,” Master Jeremy says. “About four grams.”  That makes sense – who else but a drug dealer would be straight and alone at a gay bar?

The two of us embark on a teeter tottering walking tour of the club. Master Jeremy bursts into the bathroom after I head inside what I thought was the girl’s bathroom. “The bathrooms are unisex,” Master Jeremy informs me. I suppose it wouldn’t make sense to separate guys and girls in a place like this, where the girls become guys and the guys become girls and the girls who are guys like the guys that are girls.

“Would you…watch me while I pee?” Master Jeremy asks. “That really turns me on.” He’s unveiled his arsenal of coke with the bathroom stall wide open. He is sputtering and coughing and sniffing like a broken snow blower. I stare at my own face in the mirror, but can’t really see anything. I’m chain smoking Marb Red 100’s and foaming at the mouth. It’s after four in the morning.

“I need to find my friends,” I declare. “What if I can’t find them? What if they left? In ninth grade I got left behind at the Lincoln Memorial. Will you drive me home, if I got left behind? I need to go find my friends. I don’t want to get left behind.”

“Yeah, babes, I’ll drive you home,” Master Jeremy says. “You are beautiful, you have a perfectly-symmetrical face, and great eyebrows.”

“Hmmm…thanks.” I wander back out into the bar, and quickly spot Sal and Jaclyn on the same couch we were on earlier. Katie and Keith left long ago. We head out into the crisp air of dawn, and I am ushered into the backseat to be taken home at long last. What a night.

Then, Jaclyn exclaims – “Ahhh!!!”

I look out the window, directly next to me to my right. Master Jeremy Dollar$ has his face down at eye level, looking into the car, at me.

“Ahhh!” I shriek. “This is some Twlight Zone, creature-on-the-wing of the plane shit! Peel away!”

Sal accelerates; the tires screech. We are off, speeding away from the notorious club, from Master Jeremy Dollar$, from the smell of ass.

coke

Any resemblance to an actual gay bar that really exists is purely coincidental.

Rave Scenes and Roadside Assistance

Sink

I’m in my apartment, waiting for my date James to arrive. We met a few days ago, after being isolated together at the LL Cool J concert. We had both been day drinking with my downstairs neighbors beforehand. I guess we must have lost track of the rest of them, because we ended up in the beer tent together. I guess at some point, James became slightly smitten.

He called me up. Turns out, we had both been invited to the Aphrodite show at Broadway Joe’s. I suggested that we go together.

“Oh, like, a date?” he asks.

“Um…Sure, maybe?”

“I don’t really have a ton of money to blow, er, I don’t think it should be a wild night.”

“No, definitely not,” I conclude. “I have to work early the next day.”

So here I am, getting myself primped and ready for a drum n’ bass rave party. I’m not typically in the glow stick crowd – but then again, I don’t roll with any crowd. I decide to wear a black and white minidress and some boots. Suddenly, there’s a rapping on my third floor door.

“Who is it?” I call out. My little loft is practically impossible for a stranger to access.

I open the door. James is standing there drinking a Four Loco.

“How’d you get up here?”

“I went through Mike and Jack’s downstairs,” James replies. This means he walked through their outside door, passed absentmindedly through their second floor apartment, up another flight of back stairs, and up to my unassuming, unmarked door.

“Oh – I didn’t know you knew where I live. Ok, let’s go.”

James drives the two of us in his car to Broadway Joe’s, everyone’s favorite Main Flaskand Minnesota destination. We get a pitcher of Rolling Rock to sustain us. Glow sticks illuminate the dance floor; ravers with hula hoops shimmy around; EDM beats boom out of giant speakers. I apparently missed the fashion memo; every other woman is wearing scrawled-on bell bottoms, bikini tops, fur leg warmers, glow-in-the-dark tiaras, feather boas, poppin’ molly and sweatin’.

I run into three long lost coworkers. We hug each other and go out to the back patio. Clouds of marijuana mushroom into the starry sky. I launch into a photo shoot of James in front of a graffiti-tagged garage. The night is turning out to be really fun.

AphroditeJames and I go back inside, and I can’t say I’m feeling him romantically but this night doesn’t totally suck. This show, this Aphrodite show, is totally random actually. Aphrodite, the drum n’ bass/jungle DJ, is actually quite a big deal in the UK. How he came to be performing for a small crowd at Broadway Joe’s is beyond me. I lean into the bar, squinting through the neon inferno.

A skinny guy runs up to James. “Hey, man, they towed a bunch of cars out of the parking lot next door! You better hope you didn’t park there, man. Because…if you did…your car is most likely gone. Gone, dude.”

“What? WHAT?! Fuck! No!”

With various tweaked-out exclamations, a bunch of guys vacate the bar with urgency. I’m a little buzzed, and watch scantily-clad background dancers gyrate on stage. Do they get paid? Maybe in drugs… Suddenly, James is back.

“My car is there, but it’s…” He looks side to side with growing suspicion. “Moved.”

“Moved?” I say.

He looks extremely confused. Dazed. He turns and nervously walks outside. I continue drinking. Five minutes later, James is back.

“I tried to drive my car, and it’s…fucked up!!”

 “What do you mean, fucked up?”

“I tried to drive it, and something is wrong with the back end. I think he tried to tow it, fucked it up, and left!”

The two of us go outside. Sure enough, his car is sitting at the other end of the lot. James is pacing around, back and forth. It’s after three in the morning. I have to work at nine. James continues to pace.

“Look, I have AAA. We can call them.”

“But – but – my car! What are they going to do?”

“I don’t know…maybe they can tow it somewhere until the morning?”

“Yeah..yeah, ok.” He breathes a heavy sigh. “I’m really sorry this turned out to be such a wild night.”

“It’s ok.”

I get on the phone with AAA, and end up taking a cab home to my bungalow alone. I guess James was OK.

From Drunken Makeout to True Love

dbgb

We are at DBGB’s, Jennifer and I, posted up at the bar. Suddenly, a kid who looks like a 21-year-old version of Drake, in a red t-shirt, wobbles up to us.

“Isn’t that red dress a little excessive?!” he says to me, bobbing to and fro slowly, like a pendulum.

“…It’s a Christmas party.”

Then, he leans in close to me and his breath absolutely reeks of like, pure mildew.

“Go away!”

I turn to my right. There sits a seemingly-normal gent in a New Era cap, with a mellow demeanor.  He tells me his name is Chris. Apparently Chris is a waiter downtown. He tells me his goofy, Drake-esque accomplice is Justin. Justin wanders over to his bar during the day regularly. He also works downtown. Today, the two hatched a plan to partake in the free buffet at the DBGB Christmas party.

Twenty minutes pass. It seems like Chris and I are hitting it off… although, I am rather tipsy.

“Can I get you something from the free buffet?”

“Sure!”

I see Chris get accosted by an untidy hobo in the buffet line. So I wander over there and begin gnawing on a mouthwatering wing. The hobo leaves. Chris turns to me…and I notice that both of his front teeth are chipped. Like, bad. I think to myself that he must be a hockey player or UFC fighter, even though he already told me that he’s a waiter. But maybe he’s undercover…  Daiquiris

All of a sudden, Chris kisses me right in front of the buffet table. I am completely taken aback. When I pull away, Chris takes hold of my bottom lip with his partial two front teeth and kind of bites me. Like, it feels weird because not all of his front teeth are present.

Now that I have been Bit in the Buffet line, I scamper off and break up Jennifer and Justin. Then, Jennifer and I go back to my apartment to make an oven pizza, take a bleary-eyed scroll through the Newsfeed, and tipsily discuss the evening’s events.

——————————

Two nights later, I receive a text from Chris while at work.

“I’m going to a show at Nietzsche’s and it would be cool if you came with me.”

I accept the invitation, then text Jennifer.

“Should I give him a chance? Even though he seems like a dope/doesn’t have all his teeth?”

“No” is her reply.
Wondering and skeptical of how this night will go, we make plans to meet up at Providence Social, because Chris doesn’t have a car. Providence Social is within walking distance of his house, evidently. What is up with that? Men… If they got a car, they live with their mama. If they got their own place, they have no ride. Maybe they even have no job.

——————

fridge

I walk into Providence Social and am immediately welcomed by a warm, candlelit aura. However, Chris is nowhere to be found. I glance around and suddenly he appears, swilling a half-full pint.

“Oh, hey…” I look at his glass. “How long have you been here?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Five minutes? I ordered some soup.”

A waiter seats us in a cozy booth in the back and leaves. I have no drink. What the hell is he doing ordering everything without me? The waiter comes back.

“And what would you like to eat?” the waiter asks.

“Those Sriracha wings,” Chris says.

The waiter leaves.  Seriously rude, I think. What if I hated sriracha wings?! I don’t know why Chris is so oblivious. I steer the conversation. He is looking glassy-eyed and buck-toothed.

“So, what’s new?”

“Nothing really,” he says.

Dinner is going in a totally boring direction, because I guess Chris can’t carry on a conversation/has nothing going on in life. It’s going to be a long night.

“So…what are, like, your hopes and dreams?”

“Nothing really.”

We conclude our meal and I drive us to Allentown. Upon entering Nietzche’s, the place is dead. I suggest we go across the street to the Buffablog party. Once there, Chris takes it upon himself to get me a PBR. I’m not a high-maintenance bitch or anything, but I don’t like PBR.

“So, what’s your last name?” I ask.

The place is packed full of people; the band playing is super-loud; I swear that he tells me his last name is “Booby.” Glancing around the room sideways, I’m pleading with the universe that I don’t run into anyone I know.

“Listen, why don’t we just sit in the dark corner over there?”

“All right,” Chris says, kind of spitting on me through his broken teeth.

We sit side-by-side. Chris decides to nurse his PBR and stare off in the distance. I’m barely sipping mine and ready to fall asleep.

“Yeah, sorry I’m not more entertaining,” Chris says.

‘It’s ok,” I reply.

“I”m just tired; I worked three days in a row. Let’s go to Caffe Aroma for tea?”

Tea sounds like a great idea, and I’m joyful inside – the night is drawing to an end.

We drive to the café. It’s closed!

“I have tea at my apartment,” Goofy Tooth suggests.

I have to drop him off anyway, I think to myself. Eh, why not? Definitely not going to see this guy again. Jennifer was right. He is a major dud. It’s crazy how better they look while drunk in front of a dark Christmas buffet.

The night has turned into a frozen downpour. I drive my dull companion to his residence on the Lower West Side. He invites me up for some tea. Opening a rusty razor sharp screen door, Chris ushers me into a dark hallway. “It’s right up the stairs,” he says.

“Um, can you go first? I have no clue how to navigate your stairs in the dark.”

So he ascends the ramshackle steps; I clutch the railing and gradually get vertigo. Then Chris opens his apartment door; a wretched unfurnished garret greets me. Taking a chipped dirty mug from a dusty cupboard, he plops in a putrid chamomile tea bag. “Thanks,” I mutter.

“So – do you want to go in my bed?”

I zero in on the chipped, slimy front teeth inching their way towards me. They are ready for action. Like an overzealous beaver, Chris attempts to grab my face again for a little gnawing action, chewing, spewing chamomile…

“I really have to go. I have to get up early tomorrow. Will you walk me to my car?”

Thunder cracks outside as we walk the dreary avenue. Clouds converge in the gloomy nothingness above.

“Yeah – I had a really nice time, thank you Chris.”

I turn to unlock my Pontiac as Chris swivels on his skate-shoe clad heels and runs – literally runs – away from me.

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

Books

A fire burns inside of #54. It’s a soft, welcoming cocoon of holiday cheer. Outside, snowflakes ferociously converge like bumblebees, and I hope Dan will get here soon. He’s my date for the night, to the Pearl Street Grill Christmas Party. I’m hoping that he gets here soon, because I’m ever-so-steadily sipping bourbon from a pint glass with my downstairs neighbor, Michael. If Dan doesn’t get here soon, I’m going to be drunk. Very drunk.

It is mandatory that a true lady remain sober and in control for an entire date. I already fucked it up. Bah! My phone rattles and dings like a goddamn slot machine. Dan has arrived!

I’m clomping down three flights of stairs in precarious and uncomfortable Forever 21 platforms and some outlandish beaded top. Must go and meet Dan in the parking lot with dignity.

Now, I met Dan last month, when I was on a date with his friend John at the casino. Dan was there, too, with some girl named Jamie. It was a double date. But after John won $3,000 and was determined to spend it all, we went to Wine on Third to wet our whistles. And there, amid hazy drunken revelations, Dan and I developed a crush on one another.cards

So I invited him as my date to the Pearl Street Grill Christmas Party. Everyone who lives at our apartment, # 54,  is attending – myself, my downstairs neighbor Michael, Jack (a 31-year old dubstep burnout who wears sunglasses backwards on his head), and Kurt. I went to college with both Kurt and Michael. Kurt moved away to California but he’s back now. I hooked up with Kurt on Election Day after he drank a box of merlot and couldn’t ride his bike back to Kenmore. He’s gotten many DUI’s, so he doesn’t drive. Kurt is a hot mess.

Just as I’m settling in with Dan on Michael’s couch, with a background symphony of cacophonous jam-band melodies, Kurt struts through the living room, clad in a dress shirt, tie, and vest. A cigar is sticking straight out of his mouth. My back stiffens. Ugh! Could he get more cocky and conceited?

Kurt continues to walk through the living room and onto the balcony. I turn to Dan.

“Ugh, that’s just Kurt,” I tell him. I really like Dan. He is extremely laid back, with a good head of hair. He’s even put on a dress shirt for this party. Kurt isn’t going to tarnish my mojo. So I toss back some champagne, re apply my lip stain, and pile into a cab with the entire group.

The scene at Pearl Street is intense – wall to wall people, and for some strange reason, I cannot get my footing in these fucking Forever 21 pain in the ass platforms! I can’t control my wobbly, bobbing to and fro body! I feel like the room is circling around me. I need to get some air and have an intimate, passionate moment with Dan.

BourbonAs I pull  him under the stairs, Dan looks at me in confusion.

“What…what is it?”

“I just…I just…wanted to share a passionate moment and get away from it all!”

“Oh, uh..huh? Ok.”

I grab Dan’s fuzzy beard and pull his face into mine.

“Let’s get out of here.”

“But we just got here, oh, uh, ok!”

In my mind’s eye, the two of us are rushing out into the cold, dark night to have passionate sex in my bungalow. What really happens, well…

Dan and I arrive at the foot of the ladder that leads up to my twin size loft bed. I say,

“Go ahead – it’s easy! It’s only nine steps.”

“Don’t you worry that you’ll fall out of there?”

“No, never!”

And the two of us go up to the bungalow.

………………..

My dry, bloodshot eyes snap open to the shrill beeping of my phone. Time to go to work! Put me out of my misery. It’s going to be one of those days.

I walk Dan down to his car, and shower away the sinfulness and inebriety of the previous night. I’m combing my hair in front of the bathroom mirror. Suddenly, my apartment door opens with a chilly gust of wind. I’m only wearing a pair of Victoria’s Secret leopard print underwear. My hands snap up to conceal my boobs. What the fuck!

Kurt struts in, still clad in last night’s apparel.

“Good morning!”

“What the fuck, Kurt, leave Kurt! Don’t you know how to knock, Kurt? Can’t you see I’m trying to get ready, Kurt? I have to go to work, asshole! Hey! I’m talking here! WHOAAAA!”

I work myself up into such a frenzy in my tiny bathroom, I fly backwards – arms flailing-  into my little cabinet and tall stack of magazines. A container of cosmetics crashes on top of me, with a cascade of lipsticks falling around me. I’m lying in a heap, on my back, practically in the nude.

“HELP!!!! Somebody! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! Seriously! HELLO????”

Finally, I muster the strength, wrap myself in a towel,  and charge out into my apartment.

Kurt is standing naked in my kitchen.

“Hi!”

“Kurt, get out, you are still drunk from yesterday…BLAHAAHGHHHAH!!”

He decides to pick me up straight off the ground and spin me around pseudo-romantically. It’s not exactly the most chivalrous deed, to barge into someone’s home and strip down naked. But whatever.

“I just thought we could spend some time together.”

“Your timing is off, and I have to go to work.  Now get out!”

He pecks me on the lips suddenly.  I ever-so-politely push him out the door.

When it rains, it pours…I think to myself, leaning against my door with  a sigh. Still have to put some damn clothes on. I wonder if things will work out with Kurt.

bungalow