Sounds like an Irish Drinking Song…and in many ways it should be. You’d think this combination would be cause for a good time, or at least a good story…let’s hope for a good story.
The birthday girl, none other than Neever dealt with the onslaught of aging one more year through denial, rage, and ultimately found acceptance at the bottom of many Imperial Pint glasses, courtesy of Eamon, bartender extraordinaire at Midtown’s The Galway Hooker Friday night.
Charmed by his Irish accent, un-even teeth, and random bursts of U2 lyrics (hokey and cliché, but all true), Neever (now more of a persona than nickname) routinely held up her pointer finger and with a little nose-scrunch order pint after pint (along with a carbomb and cosmo at midnight). Eventually the crowd changed over from happy hour (4-6) to nightlife (8-4). We held our ground in front of the taps, and eventually found our group of eight whittled down to the two of us. No surprise there. Since I’d met Neever, we’ve managed to close or almost close several bars.
As we sat, judging the clientele around us, we began to be approached….by…well I wouldn’t exactly call them men, but they seemed to be of that same gender.
The three actors were the first to approach. Fred Savage (a chunky version) was introduced to us by his friend, who I decided resembled Kevin Bacon (as he was known the rest of the night), and Tom Cruise ambled over a short while later, deeming us important enough to approach or just lonely at being left by his entourage of less than attractive look-a-likes.
We gave our names, Kate (Neever) and KT (me).
Kevin winked when we met, winked as we talked, winked from across the room while Fred chatted with Neever and me about his work with the government….at which Neever (persona) interjected that he was thus the reason we were still in Iraq with a bit of a smiggle. Fred took offense and sulked off. Tom Cruise lost interest early on and went to prey on other Holmes’ (Katie’s) as we clearly did not make the cut.
They were replaced a group of raucous 36-year-olds who surround the pair of us, leaning around and between to order Jack n’ Cokes and Bud drafts. After some lewd remarks over our heads, one made contact…with me. As Spitz (he provided me with saliva sprinkle each time he spoke) zeroed in on my 3-foot bubble, Neever met Droopy Puppy.
Droopy Puppy, age 39-ish, had eyes that were deep-set in caverns of black shadows. His smile was a pout and his stomach a pouch. Feeling the confidence of the Captn’ in his veins, he tried his best line on Neever.
“If you could name one book that I could read to get you to go on a second date with me to discuss it, what would that book be?”
Little did he know, he’d struck gold with the English major working in Publishing. I was too preoccupied with Spitz to hear much of their conversations as he was busy trying his ‘technique’ out on me. In an effort to impress, he figured the key to my interest was to share all about himself.
He worked for an Investment Bank, successful, single, straight.
But I work with a bunch of Ivy League assholes. And there I am, out of Rutgers. They go to the Hamptons on the weekends, play golf in pastels…”
All sounding very good to me…
“And what do you do,” I dared to ask.
“I can’t even tell them that I spend my weekends getting black-out drunk (I must interject here—at age 35+ mind you) with my buddies, so drunk I pass out in a corner, wake up not knowing where I am and realizing I’ve puked all over myself…” Spitz sprays me with a fresh mouthful of saliva as he laughs at his own ‘sweet life.’
And this was to impress me, or as I over-heard him tell his friends, “she’s in the bag.”
While I was in the bag, Neever continued to heatedly converse with Droopy Puppy, ultimately deciding any book by Margaret Atwood would score him a second date with her. He whipped out his phone, spilling his rum and coke on my dress and into my shoe. Oblivious he tapped in her phone number (oh…you better believe she gave him the real thing) with the promise that in 3 weeks he would have it read and they would have dinner.
He moseyed off to share his good fortune with his friends, while one, Nice Married Guy (NMG) came over to talk to us.
“My friend over there told me the author he needs to read is Margaret Atwood. He knows I’ve read one and said I should come over and find out the book…” He took a seat on the free stool. “I just want you to know he’s a great guy and we’re the types that don’t do this well…we’re, you know…pretty awkward about this stuff.”
Neever looked at his hand, and scoffed, “You’re married.”
“Yes. And I think all it takes is that one connection (I wish I was making this up…but word for word, this is what he said). You never know when it will happen or how, but when you have that one thing, that connector…I just want you to know he’s a really great guy and though the drinks he’s had tonight have made him bolder, he’s a good guy.”
At this point, Neever asked, “You have kids?”
“Yes two, one 8 and one three months.”
“Pictures?” She continued.
He took out his cell phone and we stared at a squat, grainy, younger version of NMG. Neever, interest quickly evaporating, announced she had to use the restroom, then mouthed “is that ok” at me.
She left and NMG turned to me asking, “What’s the deal with your friend? I mean you seem nice and approachable, easy to talk to. I think you’re probably honest and genuine. Why is she so guarded? Why are you taking care of her?”
Not sure what to say, I sat back and listened as he eloquently tried to deconstruct my drunken friend…
And tried to process it, remembering that he was married, met his wife in college, so thus probably had no clue as to what the New York City dating scene really was. Remembering that it was approaching 2:30 in the morning, so by this point, no one really makes much sense when they are interpreting society’s social constructs. I tried to remember that I would never see this guy again, so the fact that he called my friend guarded and me her babysitter shouldn’t really be taken to heart.
So when Neever finally came back, and I shared with her NMG’s professional opinion of the two of us in front of him, I was not surprised by her reaction. It was the same as any 20-something single female in New York City would have. She turned to him with pursed lips and explained…
We are young and free—no string or fishing line attached and this is our time to be reckless, casual, silly and fun. There’s no way we want the baggage NMG’s lugging around with him.
So the consensus is I’m pretty sure he, and Spitz, and Tom, Fred, and Kevin were all jealous. Of the fact that we are 20-something and fabulous—out late, drinking pints, with no ties except the one to our favorite Hooker (boat that is).