I can no longer remember what it feels like to hold someone’s hand, let alone anything else. If the people I met weren’t scoping for Calvin Klein models making six figures, my petulantly redundant Girl Fails would, instead, romance you to blissful content. However, like any lovelorn fool, I present to you with the following.
Location: A summer-themed, trendy bar in the boroughs of NYC. There were a hundred sandals dangling from a metal frame suspended above the bar in a figure-8 pattern, which is definitely a conversation starter. The bar was also having a $2 draft night, which is completely unheard of in the city. An amazing cover band, one of the best I’ve seen, was performing on stage with a robust crowd feeding them energy. Needless to say, this was the place to be that night.
Outfit: I was looking snazzier than normal; short-sleeved button down shirt, white khaki shorts, and sandals
Who: My brother, his wife, and I
What: While watching the cover band with my brother and his wife, my single guy senses started tingling, so I turned around. Entering the venue were two average girls dressed for the summer season. As they sat at the bar, I started to contemplate how I would approach them. 15 feet from the bar, there was a Song Cemetery with mini-tombstones that read “Call Me Maybe”, “Blurred Lines”, “Somebody I Used to Know” and a few other overplayed hits. Seeing one of girls point to the cemetery and laugh gave me a clue of how I could start a conversation. And with that, I began my descent.
“So, what happens when the band plays a tune from the song cemetery?” I inquired the two girls after ordering myself another round.
Laughing, one of the girls responded with, “Well, the bar actually forbids any band to play those songs.”
“Makes you wonder what band is dying to impress a crowd with “Call Me Maybe”, don’t it?”
We joked around for a few minutes before introducing ourselves and getting into our occupations. It was going quite well and I’m sure we appeared as long time friends from afar. My flirting was addressed to both of them and whoever had the wittier remark would respond first.
Gesturing to the sandals above, I said, “Please tell me there’s a funny story behind all these shoes.”
“I think there may be. People leave them here and they decorate with them.”
“Perhaps it’s a fashionable recycling outreach program?”
“Some businesses have a take a penny, leave a penny policy. It’s obvious they have a take sandal, leave a sandal policy. How novel!” I added.
“Oh absolutely. Look!” one of the girls said extending her finger to a worn out birkenstock dangling above us. “That one even has someone’s name on it.”
Following the direction of her extended finger, I read “Jesse Oberman” inscribed on the sole of the shoe. “We must find this person before they go home shoeless!” I wisecrack. “This bar is nothing but a clever disguise for a sandal library.”
In my mind, my adroit flirtation brought us to the pinnacle of conversation that evening. Upon reaching that figurative summit, the girl in the blue dress turned toward her friend and coaxingly asked, “I think it’s time to go to the bathroom. What do you think?”
Looking puzzled for a moment, the friend squinted but then had a subtle moment of clarity. “Yes, I think you’re right,” she replied aridly. Standing up, she informed me that they were both going to the bathroom. I told them to hurry back because the band was too good to miss.
After finding my brother and his wife in front of the stage, I turned around just in time to see the two girls walk right past the bathroom and out the door to the street. I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t stop feeling guilty about this. No one goes to a $2 draft night just for one drink while an amazing band is performing. I must have spoiled their evening. If they resented my company, why laugh at my jokes and keep the conversation going? Why lie to me in order to covertly escape? Part of me wishes I ran outside and confronted them. Not in a contentious way but just to apologize – for what, I have no idea – and let them know that it’s fine to stay and I have no problem leaving them alone if they wish.
How can one not feel a sense of indignation from moments like these? I’m beginning to get sick of being told, by women in particular, how much of a “great catch” I am. Yet, fisherwomen keep tossing me back in the ocean with a hole in my cheek.
Yikes, this was a downer post. I’ll comment on something funny next time. Hopefully.
-Single Guy in NYC