They say if you want to meet new people, try going to a bar alone. I have tried this at my neighborhood bar with less than favorable results- I didn’t talk to any one, the place was too crowded to actually sit at the bar, every one was watching the Knicks game rather that conversing. I imagine I will try again sometime- an earlier hour, at bar with a better singles scene, on a night when a New York sports team is not playing.
It’s a lot of variables though, if you ask me. Want a place where you’re guaranteed to meet a man, or five? Just work a party on New Year’s Eve where your entire job is to look pretty and stand alone in a hallway wearing a sash that says “ASK ME”. (For more on that party see yesterday’s post.)
It’s a struggle to look pretty wearing a cumbersome fabric sash with a balloon attached. Not exactly my perfect New Year’s Eve outfit but at least my dress was cute. I hope I don’t run into anyone I know crossed my mind, quickly dismissed with I don’t know any one in SF any more! Wrong. That thought alone all but guaranteed I’d run into someone. Not 15 minutes in I spotted the little brother of one of my best friends. “Hey Max!” I said, hoping he was enough to fulfill the guarantee. It took him a moment to place me and then we had the conversation you have with all people you haven’t seen in a while and were never close to- where do you live, what are you up to, blahblahblah.
“This is my friend Scott,” he said, indicating the guy he was with.
“Hi Scott,” I said as we shook hands.
“This party reminds me of a bar mitzvah, don’t you think?” Max smirked.
“Yep! Makes me rather glad I’m working and not attending!”
“You should hang out with us when your shifts done. Are you gonna be in this area all night?”
I shrugged, “Can’t say.”
“Well we’ll find you. I gotta find the rest of our friends. See ya.” Max said, and went down the hall.
Scott made no motion to move. “Don’t loose him.” I said.
Scott was clearly unconcerned. He stood there and stared at me. I wondered why he hadn’t followed his friend and then I nearly smacked myself in the head it was so obvious. Scott was looking for his first lay of 2013. He had no game, no conversational skills. I couldn’t tell if he was stoned or stupid. If I had been looking for my first lay of 2013 (and I wasn’t) this shorter-than-me-in-heels, conversational dud with over processed hipster hair still wouldn’t have had a chance. Had I not been working, I probably wouldn’t have said all that (I’m not that mean) but I might have said, “Nope, not gonna happen.” But I was in friendly! Info Gal! helpful-to-the-max! mode. And also stuck at my station. And so I started asking Scott questions, which he answered (in single sentences) but made no attempt to turn into conversation. Fun? No. Better than telling people to keep the bathroom line single file? Yes.
“Hey, I have a question,” someone (blessedly) interrupted our painful exchange. Eager for distraction, I gave the inquiry my full attention. The question came from a guy my age. Cute and better dressed than most guys in our peer group, he wore a blue checkered shirt set off a pumpkin orange tie and topped with a black blazer with subtle paisley stitching. It was not an easy ensemble to assemble and damn did he look sharp in it.
“How’s your night going?” he asked. “Can you help me get to the stage in the USA room?”
“Sure…the USA room is down the hallway and to the left,” I replied, doing my job. “The stage is in the front of the room, so if you persevere through the crowd I’m sure you’ll make it.”
“That’s where my date is,” he said, showing me the text from her stating her where-abouts. Of course a guy that well dressed had a date. “Ok, this is weird to ask,” he said, “But your sign says “ASK ME” so I’m just gonna take advantage of that.” He paused, “Do I smell okay?”
I laughed, “You smell fine.”
“I’m serious,” he said. “I really like this girl and I don’t want to blow it. You’re sure I’m ok?”
I’d never seen a guy so honestly expressing nervousness, not to mention freely sharing his feelings for a lady. It was genuine and madly endearing. I hope someone talks about me that way to a random girl in a hallway who he’ll never see again.
“You’re fine. You look great, you’re totally charming,” I said, patting him on the shoulder, “It’s New Year’s Eve, and she’s lucky to have you as a date.”
“Thanks,” he said and squeezed my arm, “Wish me luck! Have a great night, happy New Year!” With that he disappeared into the crowd, off to get the girl.
My faith in the male gender restored, I grinned and looked around. Scott the Conversation Dud had disappeared. Win-win! I never saw him again, but I saw many others also on First Lay of 2013 missions. Several followed Scott’s pathetic attempt: a co-worker who just made things uncomfortable, a cocky fellow with his hand bound in ACE bandage who ignored my question twice- “What happened to your hand?”, a guy who was actually rather sweet and had gone to the same high school as my 9th grade boyfriend. All approached my “ASK ME” badge with the same question, never uttered but clearly burning in subtext: “Will you sleep with me?”