‘HELLO,” SHE SAID, extending her hand ever so awkwardly. A greeting subtle enough that someone accustomed to looking for such things might realize it was newly learned.
I have seen you naked, was the first very thought that entered my mind.
The thought itself was not as lascivious as it sounds. It was merely factual. I, in fact, had seen her naked. Not because I tried to, asked to, or even wanted to, but because her husband had shown me.
Maybe I should start at the beginning.
Two late 30s guys started hanging out at the bar nearly every Friday night. After several Fridays our relationship had progressed past “What can I get you?” and “What do you have?” to a deeper, more complex level.
“When do the chicks come here?” asked the more vocal of the two.
A deeper level indeed. I never actually answer questions like that and, in this case, I didn’t; I merely shrugged. To be perfectly honest, I shrugged a lot with these two.
They followed the original “chick” question with more “chick” comments, and I followed all of them with more shrugs.
One Friday night about four weeks in, the quieter of the two finally said something.
“Do you want to see a picture of my fiancée?”
“Your what?” I said, thinking back on nearly two months worth of Fridays.
“I’m getting married,” he said scrolling through his phone for an appropriate first picture to show of his soon to be betrothed. “She’s from (insert foreign country here).”
I must have shrugged, because he continued.
“We’ve been dating for a few months,” he said, continuing to scroll. “I just have to send her an engagement ring, and then she’ll move here.”
“You’ve never actually met her?” Which might have been the first time I actually spoke in response.
“Let me get this straight. You are going to send a woman in another country a diamond engagement ring? A woman that you have never met?”
PT Barnum’s quote about “a sucker being born every minute” popped into my head. I might have even looked around to see if there was any back stocked odd ball liquor that we needed to pawn off, just in case.
“Here,” he said, holding out his phone.
It took me a second to grasp what I was looking at. It was a picture of an attractive young woman, completely naked, and showing a remarkable degree of both limberness and grooming.
I handed Mr. Quiet back his phone and shrugged, this time not because I had nothing to say, but because anything that I could say probably would have been inappropriate.
Some people have a strange compunction to show off for bartenders. I don’t know where it comes from, but I know that it happens. I guess they think that we have seen every kind of aberrant behavior already, so if they can shock us, they have accomplished something.
Well, this time I was duly shocked. Mission accomplished.
However, I did envision a Friday in the future where Mr. Connoisseur of the Au Natural Fiancée arrived downtrodden and even more quiet than usual. A conversation about fraud and deceit follows. Then the “chick” talk and the shrugging would begin again.
So imagine my surprise when the object of that awkward Kodachrome moment actually stood in front of me.
“I am (insert foreign sounding name),” she said.
“I recognize you from your picture,” despite a change from her natural hair color.
I don’t know why he brought his new wife to our bar. All I know is that he did. I also know that in a very short amount of time she was spending much more of her time talking to men other than to her new husband. Eventually, one man in particular had her attention.
“I go to look at his car,” said the new wife to her husband.
An hour later she still hadn’t returned, which left me with two things:
• The belief that if someone is willing to send fully nude contorted pictures of themselves internationally in order to land a husband, they are probably capable of a lot of other things too.
• The companionship of a quiet guy, out one diamond ring, who likes to talk about “chicks” with his buddy on Friday nights.