I won’t say that they didn’t fit in because in a bar everybody fits in somewhere. Isn’t that the very nature of the hospitality industry?
Having said that, and actually believing it, there was something different about these two.
He was considerably older, which on its own didn’t really make them stand out. Nor did his T-shirt and jeans or his white tennis shoes, because in an area where feigned casualness rules supreme, I have seen people go to the nicest restaurant in town on a Saturday night dressed in yoga pants, Uggs and a flimsy oversized work-out shirt. And that was the man.
Perhaps it was her bright red party dress that made the statement. One might say it was one size too small. But then, that might sound catty. Whatever the case, its Ross sales tag was still attached, flapping gently against a bright yellow bra strap far too wide for its red spaghetti strap. But, I don’t judge, I just do, and in that spirit I stepped up to the doing.
“What can I get you two?”
“What does me lady want?”
Nothing exudes class quite like a fake British accent.
“We’re waiting for a table,” he said to me, sans accent.
The lady in question took a moment to realize that she was indeed the aforementioned lady.
“I’ll have a shot of tequila,” she said before dancing in her spot at the bar to the piped-in music.
No one has ever danced in our little bar, ever. And certainly not to the tinkling jazz playing for the 8 o’clock dinner crowd. And when I say dancing I don’t mean swaying breezily to the music, I mean bumping and grinding, which when applied to jazz music certainly does make one stand out.
But, it was so crowded that only the people immediately adjacent to her noticed. And they didn’t care.
“Do you want to start a tab?” I asked.
Many busy bars require standing patrons to leave a credit card for tabs. Not because they don’t trust people, but when you interact with dozens of people every few minutes, it becomes difficult to figure out who had what when and where. And after a cocktail or two, people often forget things, like paying for said cocktails.
She sashayed to the music while he fumbled with his wallet until a credit card fell out onto the crowded floor. The lady in red and yellow then scrabbled around on the floor until emerging triumphant with his credit card.
“That’s great,” I said, or something to that effect.
“It’s our first real date,” she said before resuming her bumping and grinding.
Leaving me to wonder what she meant by “real.”
She then threw her arms around her date and proceeded to lick at his tonsils with her tongue. Certainly not your typical first date behavior, but by now I believed they had already gotten the third date behavior out of the way a long time ago.
“He owes me a steak dinner,” she said. “At least.”
Shots of tequila and more grinding took up much of the next hour. Apparently a reservation hadn’t been made, first “real date” notwithstanding. If you ever go out to a popular restaurant on a weekend night without a reservation between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. expect to wait a while. Fifteen minutes earlier than 7:30 p.m. or later than 8:30 p.m. and you might just save yourself an hour’s worth of waiting.
Unless of course the waiting is what you are there for.
Another shot of tequila and the lady in red and yellow was starting to run out of steam. She was now holding on to her date’s neck like a drowning woman.
“I’ll take the check,” he said finally, with the lady’s head resting heavily on his shoulder.
“Looks like I won’t be buying dinner.”
Leaving me these thoughts:
• Why buy the cow some hay when you can get the milk for free? Or something like that.
• Sometimes it’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. And sometimes the journey is just a way to get out of paying for the destination.
• When you’ve already homered on the first pitch, only getting to first base doesn’t look so grand.