Monday, April 25, 2005

Beam Me Up

Kai at the sports bar/dance club we visited on Friday night.

Me at the sports bar/dance club (a true recipe for fun, if you ask me) we visited on Friday night.

I would like everyone to take note of Kai's beautifully blow-dryed hair, perfectly glossed lips, and carefree, inviting demeanor. Then, in Exhibit B, please take note of the "Oh get over yourself, you sell LIFE INSURANCE" face and the green sweatshirt I wear to bed.

On Friday, I thought evening's festivities were only to include a casual barbecue hosted by Kai's friend Kelly. When the weather took a turn for the worse, the barbecue took a turn for the classy and I found myself entirely too underdressed to be eating asparagus in hollandaise sauce, roast pork with raspberry glaze, and a variety of other expertly prepared dishes that deserved better than my pajama shirt.

Chock full of dinner and with no place to go at a reasonably early hour, we decided to do our impression of sociable young adults and meet Kai's other Kelly at a bar forty minutes north of us. I know that when one thinks of happening New York night spots the town of Fishkill

[FISH. KILL. For the love of God.]

doesn't immediately come to mind, but the place we wound up at (in a strip mall, so it had to be good) was pretty bustling.

Imagine, if you will, the OC. Now, further imagine that the screenwriters saw fit to give any of the main characters an Italian cousin from New York, who comes to visit for an episode and maybe steals a car, or maybe hits on someone's mom. He's got a couple of quippy lines but, on the whole, the joke is: he's dumb. Got it?

If you photocopied that guy three hundred times, you'd have the population of this bar.

From the professional wrestling on the big screen television to the DJ imploring the ladies to get on the floor and 'shake what you got,' to the waitress/gogo girls complying on top of the speakers, to the three guys shopping for chicks from a second floor dining room with a choice cleavage-viewing vantage, the place cracked me up.

Kelly and Deb, a friend she had brought with her, were some serious party girls in a former, pre-marriage life. Though they each love their husbands very much, it seems that they occasionally require a slight relapse into debauchery. Reliving the glory days with these two is an excercise in projection for me; when they were my age, they were winning wet t-shirt contests by making out with each other in a kiddie pool.

I, on the other hand, like to read.

I've never been the kind of person to strike up a conversation with a stranger--especially not in a bar, especially not while wearing my pajama sweatshirt, especially not when I'd been awake since five in the morning, and very especially not when my breath smelled like roast pork and Corona.

But Kelly and Deb are unstoppable. Married or not, they're both gorgeous in the very particular way that gets the Fishkill boys a-talkin'. They're very Desperate Housewives, minus ten years, the kids, and the "desperate", and plus a couple of tattoos.

Which was how the first conversation of the evening with the gentlemen of the bar began. I would've been content to hang around sipping my beer and singing along to "No Diggity," but Kelly and Deb were intent on getting Kai talking to a very good looking guy across the room. Kelly moved in for the kill and before I knew what was going on we had relocated around the bar, I was introduced to Rob (the Robbiest Rob I've ever met) and some other guy, and then some other guy who was a personal trainer, and then some other guy who sold life insurance, and then we were talking about my new tattoo, and then Kelly and Deb were showing off their body art, and then a flock of no less than five guys were beelining over like pigeons to a fumbled order of french fries.

Their shirts were all up around their nipples as they introduced themselves to Kelly and Deb. Apparently I never got the memo that all males between the ages of 18 and 29 in upper Westchester were required to have gothic letters tattooed across their stomachs (bonus points for a large celtic cross as well). I don't quite understand it, but I figured I should pass the information on to my brothers before they're arrested or something.

The personal trainer and the insurance salesman really, really liked Kelly and Deb. The delicate dance of two men hitting on two women is fascinating; there's some kind of supernatural communication that lets all four parties know when the conversation shifts from a group to two pairs. As far as I could tell, there was never any discussion between the trainer and the salesman as to who was hitting on whom; in fact, I know that they each liked both Kelly and Deb, because whenever the girls left the bar for the dance floor, the salesman and the trainer each proclaimed how hot my friends were (in stereo, one to each of my ears). Somewhere along the line, though, the guys had picked their girls.

Who still wanted none of them.

So much so that when the guys insisted we go with them to Torches, some other club across some bridge, Kelly and Deb went so far as tell them we'd meet them there, dragged Kai and me to the car, left the parking lot when they did, hung a sneaky right, and returned to the place we had originally been only after they were sure the two guys had gone looking for them in another county.

I didn't talk to the insurance salesman and the personal trainer all that much (before we lost them, I mean) because, frankly, I couldn't. I've never met a person who interrupted me (or Kai, or Kelly, or any girl who talked to him) like the insurance salesman did. In fact, when I told him he had just interrupted me, I only got about as far as "-rrup" before he jumped back in, asking me where I was from.


I'd say the most successful (read: least likely to result in my arrest for assault) conversations of the evening took place with the oh-so-Robbish Rob, who mostly just sought me out because I shared his astonishment that the insurance salesman was sporting a Fresh Prince-style flat top.

To get the full picture, it's important that the flat top be imagined on, oh, say, Ryan Seacrest.

When we tried to discuss what I do for a living (Rob, of course, works for the Gap coporate office) however, I could actually see the conversation vaporize in a fiery burst, not unlike a mosquito in a bugzapper. He asked me what my favorite book was, and met my answer of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle with a look that fell somewhere between blank confusion and utter dismissal of my taste.

I returned the question. He said he didn't want to tell me. I asked him if it was The Da Vinci Code. He said no, it wasn't that bad. Eventually he confided.

Scar Tissue. By Anthony Kiedis.


An evening at a sports bar can, for a nerdy girl, be pretty great when you enjoy it the same way you would a science museum (Look! Everything is science! Look inside the escalator, it's see-through! Here's how the IMAX projector works! Here's a diagram of the parking garage!). If every interaction is a sociological experiment, the reality that this actually the gene pool from which I am expected to select a mate is less horrifying than it is entertaining.

My clothes, my attitude, my, y'know, me set me up as an alien from the moment I walked into the bar. Regarded by the personal trainers and the insurance salesmen and the Robs as such, it was surprisingly easy to feel completely comfortable as myself when I was so obviously making them uncomfortable just by existing. Watching them size me up (What is this species? Does it like drinks? Where would I stick it, if I actually wanted to? Does it talk? Why does it keep pointing at the girls on the speakers?) and then try to keep up a conversation talking about the things they'd think I'd be interested in ("So, I make $90,000 a year. Um, also, I have a dog?, drink this.") was nothing short of riveting.

The best moment of the night, by far, was provided to me by the insurance salesman. He had just interruped both Kai and I as we were (yet again) explaining where we were from. The urgent news he needed to communicate was that his friend, the trainer, had been the soccer star of his high school.

Every hope imparted to me by television shows wherein popular teens turn out to be losers later on in life was gloriously fulfilled in that one sentence. Insurance Salesman and Trainer graduated from high school in 1998. Seven years later, their most impressive come-on with the ladies still relies on sound bites from their varsity fame.

Maybe it works. Maybe they're up to their knees in FishKill 'tang, I don't know. All I do know is that my alien ass thought it was pretty great--the greatness possibly augmented by the fact that I had consumed several doses of their intoxicating agents, and didn't pay a single Earth Dollar for them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case I haven't said it before, you need to write either a glorious autobiography OR a column for a newspaper, because you'd be like Carrie Bradshaw, only decidedly less horse-faced and with outfits that actually look GOOD.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous brad said...

write a book. and stop telling me you can't write a book.

2:27 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

As soon as I've got something to write about, I'll get right to work.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Mombi said...

ya know how "seinfeld" was a GREAT show about "nothing"? well, you write some GREAT shit about "nothing".

2:58 PM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

The next time "some shit" happens to you "In Da Club" (Insurance salespeople, hot people, evil skinny people, blond waitresses, or anyone else for that matter) - you need to hit them with the K... which basically means that you can go ahead and put your 'CAC' in their 'ACE' - right there on the spot. It'll give us readers some jolly good times come Monday morning.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous brad said...

yeah, kathy. put your cac in their ace. you know.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Up to their knees in Fishkill 'tang'.

Delightful. It's put me right off my pain o chocolat (Yeah,I don't know how to spell that), apple trellis (that either) and my 4 sausage roll special (that one I got locked down). Pastry hour will never be the same again.

Good story though. And brilliantly related as always.


4:17 AM  

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