Friday, December 10, 2010

Blown Apart: Chapter One

My eyes cut across the dance floor - I was enamoured by a funny shaped fellow in what appeared to be a Hawaiian shirt. It was unfortunately, a horrible Hawaiian shirt but it fit this fellow perfectly.

He had no fashion sense. He had a pot belly. He definitely couldn't dance, but oddly the strobe lights didn't seem to do him justice. I wanted him.

Earlier that night a friend, Stacey, had blindsided me with a request to go drinking. It had been a full day at the Rib Fest and after packing half a rack of ribs, mashed potatoes, corn, buns and ice cream into my body, I had put on the stretchiest pair of pants I owned and retreated for the evening.

"LIND-say!" Stacey whined over the phone, "I reeeeeally want to go! I'll pay for a cab!". I hated it when the whining started. I especially hate that everyone who has ever known me has the ability to whine "LIND-say!" at the first opportunity.

"Fine," I shot back. "But we are starting with margaritas here. I spent all my cash on pig, pork and pistachio goodness earlier. I don't have the moolah for an extended night on the town."

Half an hour later my hair was slicked back, my makeup was done and my bra was back in its drawer. I was ready to rock.

Always a source of bubbly goodness, Stacey and I threw the margaritas back and posed for some photos with my RibFest swag before leaving my apartment. These are the only photos I have left.

Stacey and myself. Yes I am wearing a pig hat made of felt, and yes, I like it.

Stacey and myself: she is sporting a roller derby flag, picked up at Rib Fest earlier that day.

We were drunk, dressed and ready to dance.

I knew Stacey had somewhere she wanted to be - it wasn't like her to randomly hit the bars. Stacey always had an end goal in sight, I was merely along for the ride.

What a ride it was.

After half a block (in heels!) we met a group of boys. Being the end of July it was warm, so we flirted. We had time to spare and no escorts to tell us otherwise.

The boys had ordered two cabs and offered to share. I had jumped in to decline, when I noticed the girls staring from a living room window. "Those yours?" I asked, nodding toward the furious females.

"Nah, you be imagining things baby;" the leader of the pack answered "Share a cab with us." I could tell he was working those little brain cells hard.

"Didn't the the busty blonde just call your cell phone," I retorted, seconds after the mumbled rap starting blasting from the big boy's pocket.

"I don't have a busty blonde!" some redhead piped up. "You know you want me, and I know I want to leave. The blonde has him whipped;" he snorted, clearly at the big boy's expense.

"How many of you have busty blondes?" I asked the group of five or six guys. Two stuck up their hands, one gave me the finger. That left the redhead, the leader and two other cute guys who appeared to be neither attached nor assholes. One can never know.

"Sure! We don't know where we're going, but a ride would be great!" Stacey chimed in. The bars were all relatively close together, and besides, if she saved cab fare she'd have at least another round of change in her pocket. The leader of the pack rolled his eyes. The busty blonde, now on the front porch, fumed and fretted and furiously strapped those heels to her feet.

When dropped off downtown the redhead sauntered over, slapped my butt and said "Thanks for the ride." I haven't seen him, or his group, since.

"Where to Linds? I've got to get my drink on!" Stacey blurted out. "I mean, your margaritas were really, really good, but…." she trailed off as we stood on the street corner. Stacey was drunk and didn't know what her next move was. She had been nervously checking her phone all night, obviously waiting for a heads up from someone. This top secret text message was obviously going to determine where we went.

Until it arrived, we had some time to blow.

We wandered into a pub, searching for a drink and familiar faces. Stacey knew half the city's regular bar crowdand I knew half the bartenders. While Stacey actually went to bars, often, my "in" was my little brother. He happened to tend bar at the chicest club in town, and it had a cover charge to kill.

Suddenly, some guy put his arm around me and a drink in my hand. A little taken aback by his boldness, I looked up to find Stacey snuggling his partner in crime. It was obvious that we were not going to be moving for quite some time (what your mother told you is true, there are reasons to stay together). After receiving two fresh drinks from the waitress it was announced that these boys were NHL players.

As if.

I assume they weren't very good (despite all the hockey talk there was very little mention of their showing on the ice) but I guess it was kinda obvious: one had scraggly blonde hair and was missing a couple of teeth. The other had short brown hair and a bloodshot eye. They were both built like steamrollers and had bottles surrounding them. We spent an hour sitting with these guys, watching how men in the big leagues roll. They were okay, but insistent on refilling our glasses with thick brown liquid.

They liked their girls drunk.

This was not my scene and the more I drank the more I wanted out. I had a delicious rack of ribs in my stomach and didn't want to waste them on good whiskey and bad discussion. Then, out of the blue, "Sorry guys, we have to go! It's been fabulous, but we really must go." Stacey chirped. "Why don't you meet us later?"

We wouldn't be meeting them later - Stacey had gotten her text message. Now we were on a mission.

"Some of my friends are meeting up at the Tap House. I really want to go."

Ahh, the Tap House. The infamous bar where baby brother bartended. On a Saturday night we could expect to spend $20 each in cover charge and still wait an hour to get in.

"Let me call my brother," I offered, knowing that our stash of cash, although untouched, would not carry us through a massive cover charge and drinks at the Tap House.

"Jake!" I yelled into the phone, trying not to sound drunk. "I need a favour, I'm a party of two!"

Always the calm, suave kid, Jake answered with one word "Done."

I have had a lot of decent breaks in my life: amazing parents, a wonderful childhood, an education like no other, but one of the best breaks I have ever had was the luck of my younger brother tending bar at the hottest club in town.

When given the green light I could show up at the Tap House, breezing past the line and waving to the bouncers (mind you, at this club, the bouncers were called "hosts" - they still did the dirty work of dealing with the angry drunks though). Once settling myself on a second floor sofa some manager would magically appear and ask what I wanted to drink.

This was always the best part. I knew that Jake had told the manager what I would be wearing, but the feeling of having a man in black, complete with headset, seeking me out with the sole task of taking my order had me on cloud nine. It always did. Once my request was placed, the man would jump up, snap his fingers and drinks would appear. With his first free moment, Jake would wander over and chat before heading back to his stage.

It was a luxury I dare not use and abuse. Not only did I not want to lose a privilege comparable to a Black American Express card in a country liquor store, but I wanted to make my little brother proud. I wanted to be cool, commanding and utterly breathtaking just like him.

It therefore seemed appropriate that I call this favour in tonight. Stacey had something important to attend to, and I was dying of curiosity. Was it a guy, an impenetrable social circle, or a bad day that needed to be attended to?

In hindsight, it also seems appropriate that I met him that night. After receiving more attention from males in one night than I had the last three months it seems perfectly fitting that I met this funny shaped, horrible-Hawaiian-shirt-wearing man at the coolest bar in town.


  1. Cute photos! I love your pig hat, so adorable ;)

  2. Thanks! We had a lot of fun with the pig hat!