Overcome with lassitude, I sat on my couch drunk, looking down at my hand, not knowing whether or not I had broken it, and reflecting back on my hapless night. Attending local events and parties are perfect for meeting others, so when my roommate told me about a costume dance party in Manhattan, I was stoked. Granted, I’m a little uptight when I dance but with some liquid courage, I was confident I’d reach my stride. The pressure was rising and it was time I went in guns a’blazin’ (i.e. fake-it-till-I-make-it poised confidence). After all, it was going to be a night of masquerading.
I went as Popeye the Sailor Man looking for some Olive Oyl. 😉 Here’s a condensed recollection of my failed attempts.
Girl Fail #14: With one drink down, I felt loose enough to get my groove on. After joining my friends on the sizable dance floor, my roommate pointed out that this girl around us had eyed me when I walked away and had playfully bumped into me while dancing a few times. He described it as “an obvious sign.” Although I don’t know the protocol when it comes to meeting women at a dance party, it’s discernible that verbal communication has nothing to do with it.
I nonchalantly turned in her direction looking for a nonverbal cue that would evince her interest. Turning back, my thoughts kept me occupied. Should I do something to grab her attention or should I just start dancing right in front of her and hope for the best? What will her friends do if I butt in like that? My best bet is to playfully return her gestures, I think. Popeye’s virility was now being undermined by my convoluted thought process. Our shoulders brushed one another but as I went to face her, Michael Jackson earned her attention with a vivacious dance of his own as he swiftly grabbed her hand and moved to the music.
Girl Fail #15: Disappointed in my performance, strangled by unruly thoughts, I sought after another drink. Luckily, the bar was outside the dance room – making it possible to have an audible conversation. I was just lacking the caprice of a boisterous lover, so I promised myself I’d strike up a conversation with the next person who caught my eye.
Catching my eye, there was a woman, not very dressed up, sitting alone at the bar. After ordering my drink, I asked her about her costume. Hearing my voice, she looked up with a deadpan countenance. I repeated my question in case she had trouble understanding me but she was fixated on her inscrutable expression. Unsure of what I did wrong, she interrupted me as I began to speak to confess (in broken English), “I no understand.” Point taken: Hit on those who speak the language. Time to follow the hedonistic credo of “party on.”
Girl Fail #16: Fast-forward a few drinks later, I returned back to the revelry to test my luck again. With my drink resting on the stage, I began dancing with an attractive woman wearing a straight-haired grey wig that just reached her shoulders. The strange thing was that every time I looked up at her, she would turn and move away but as soon as I looked down, she would dance with me again. My moves may be insipid but at least I have rhythm and a sense of time, so I couldn’t understand her fickle routine. At one point I mirrored a wacky, spur of the moment dance movement she did to try to be flirtatious. She smiled and laughed but as soon as I looked up, she turned away and started dancing with her friends. What’s dancing if you can’t look at the person you’re dancing with?
Thinking I got rejected, my roommate assured me that she’s just being playful and I should say “Hi.” It was worth a shot but her playing-hard-to-get game was bloody obnoxious. The next time we danced, I peered up and said “Hi.” She turned her head away and kept dancing. I don’t go out like this often, so maybe this has become the norm – the closer you get to someone, the farther they become. Or maybe she abhors Popeye.
Girl Fail #17: While getting another 12oz dose of liquified therapy, my friend and I passed by a group of women. One of them placed a toy spider on my friend’s shoulder and shrieked, “Ah! What’s that on you?” Sharing a fleeting laugh, I tried to start a conversation with them but it went nowhere. It was obvious they were only interested in my friend, who’s girlfriend was waiting for him on the dance floor. It was another dead end.
Girl Fail #18: My impeccable streak of failures at the dance party along with enough drinks to sedate a baby rhino was starting to get to me. I departed from my group and ventured to an unknown bar several blocks away. Like I said before, the pressure was rising and my night couldn’t be over yet; not while I still had energy, albeit it was scanty.
Did you catch my mistake? I’ll give you a hint: spinach.
Greeted with friendly hilarity by a group of bar-hopping night crawlers immediately put me in a better mood. To my amusement, cheeky jokes about Olive Oyl went over well with this 2am crowd, especially the cute woman drinking whiskey sour. I flirted with her until she started making out with another guy. Moving on.
Girl Fail #19: Seeing 10 people on the floor on all fours at the bar won my curiosity, so I decided to join them. The leader of the party was a slim brunette wearing a red top who had lost a $300 pear earring her father had given her.
A damsel in distress in need of help.
She was Olive Oyl and I was Popeye the Sailor Man on another adventure. Accepting the challenge, I rolled up my sleeves, ingested an unpalatable lump of canned spinach (or was it beer?), and began a tedious search for the lost artifact.
Less than 10 minutes later, I found it. Her face lit up when she saw the lustrous gem. She thanked me repeatedly and left immediately afterwards.
Closing time. An hour on the train alone inside one’s head after a calamitous night casts an unforgiving shadow that tactfully follows one’s movements. Justified or not, I was angry. It wasn’t just my costume that made me feel isolated. I was beginning to believe that although my circumstances could be much worse, I lacked the ability to improve them. I clenched my fist till my knuckles turned white and slammed them into my living room table. The impact ricocheted through my forearm as I collapsed listlessly on my couch. Cursing my capricious behavior didn’t abate the swelling pain in my hand.
Isn’t it incredible how one never needs motivation to make matters worse but instead seemingly requires exigent motivation to better oneself? I may be losing my vigilance.
-Single Guy in NYC