I'm not old. Contrary to what some of my younger friends tell me, I'm still in the spring of my life (late spring, but spring nonetheless). Let's call it May? Which is why I'm still trying to wrap my mind around last Friday night and failing to do so.
Perhaps it was the venue. Perhaps it was the lighting. Perhaps it was the copious amounts of booze (some fruity wine, no doubt) clearly imbibed by my potential suitors, but I inexplicably found myself the main course of a cougars only buffet. Maybe not cougars. What's older than a cougar?Sabre-tooth Tiger?
The evening started promising enough. A buddy of mine and I went to a bar we frequent with some regularity. A band was playing. People were dancing. More importantly, there were plenty of men and women in attendance that I would easily, and with no creative mathematics on my part, call peers. Now, I'm not a pick up artist, never have been. There's just something sleazy to me about approaching a woman I don't know in a bar and trying to get in her pants. I see it as a sexual telemarketing call. Phone rings, you think it might be someone you know, you pick up, and then your heart sinks as you realize some douchebag with too much hair gel and after shave (and it's always after shave and not cologne) has interrupted your good time. It's just not for me.
Because of this reluctance on my part to ever play that roll, my buddy and I posted up at the bar for a few beers, some decent music, and some decidedly solid people watching. Then I got a tap on the shoulder. More accurately, I got a boob on the shoulder. As I turned around to see who said offending mammary gland belonged to, I was shocked to see a woman who resembled my portly, jovial, and matronly third grade teacher. Thinking it must have been an accident, I scooted my stool over so that the school mistress could have unfettered access to the bar and order her drink more easily. It was crowded and everyone was having trouble getting service. The boob followed...with a sly smile.
Nothing more followed at that point, boobs ordered her drink, and that was that. A few more songs were played and then she came back. Same routine with a little awkward banter this time. Nothing more followed, boobs ordered her drink, and that was that. A few more songs were played and then she came back again. SAME ROUTINE. Seriously? The male equivalent of this is an old guy approaching the bar, dry humping a young woman's leg, smiling creepily, and then disappearing only to repeat the cycle over again 10 minutes later...except it would probably only happen twice because guys like that tend to make an early exit at the insistence of a manager or a bouncer.
I was shocked the fourth time I felt a tap on my shoulder because I was pretty sure I hadn't given off the "I have a thing for larger, significantly older women vibe." However, this time when I turned around it was a different woman. 26 year old, smoking hot, blonde athlete? Negative. It was another massively overweight 40 something.
"Excuse me, are you single," she asked.
I was flummoxed and thinking I was on a hidden camera show so I didn't answer quickly enough. My buddy, ever the mischief maker, sprang into action.
"Yeah, he's single!"
"Single and content? Or single and looking," she pressed.
Again, I don't know if it was the beer I'd had or the still total inability to comprehend what sort of signals I was clearly sending out, but I hesitated to answer.
"He's totally single," my buddy laughingly answered.
"Well, I have a friend who's been staring at you all night. Would you like to meet her?"
I started to answer, "Well, I'm not really -," but before I could get out the rest of my objection, my buddy leapt off his bar stool and offered it up for the mystery woman waiting in the wings.
"Great," the middle woman exclaimed, "She'll be right over!"
I stared dumbfounded at my friend as he smiled back at me.
"Maybe it's a niece or younger coworker," he offered, still with a shit eating grin on his face.
I took a sip of my beer thinking that although that was a nice idea, I was pretty sure he was wrong. I was right. Moments later, a woman I can best describe as Skeletor dressed in drag, sauntered up to the bar and sat down next to me.
Mercifully, the music, crowd noise, and my total lack of desire to engage in any conversation whatsoever prevented us from having anything to talk about beyond me finding out that she had children my age (as in plural), and a gentleman equally as long in the tooth as her sidled up moments later to drop his best soccer mom game on her. Far from feeling like my territory was being intruded upon, I was thankful that at least one person in the bar (albeit a 50 year old dude) seemed to recognize that I was as old as I actually am and that there was no way in his mind that anything remotely amorous was unfolding between myself and his quarry.
Disaster avoided, I excused myself and sought out my buddy to tell him he'd better never, ever, ever, in a million years pull that type of shit again. He apologized, said that he owed me, but did all of this with a ridiculous smile and twinkle in his eye.
The "I owe you" part of his apology should have sent alarm bells ringing in my ears, but I let it go. Mistake. As the evening was winding down, he excused himself to go to the restroom. But he didn't go to the restroom. Instead, before I could object, he walked to the other side of the bar to tell the most Helen-of-Troy-like female in the entire establishment that his buddy (me) across the bar would like to meet her. I know I've said that I'm not one for approaching women I don't know, but I'm REALLY not for outsourcing said approach to someone else. The approach is douchey. The outsourcing is spineless.
Knowing I was stuck -I mean, you can't jump up and leave while your buddy is trying to point you out and you can't flail your arms and yell "No!" from across the bar (which is what I wanted to do) - I just sat and tried to act as unsuspecting as possible until he returned, and he did return.
"Your presence is requested across the bar," my buddy said as he walked up to me, shit eating grin still firmly plastered across his face.
I took a breath, not wanting to go, but forced myself to walk over to the other side of the bar and introduce myself to Helen. She was actually a friendly and talkative young lady (yes, young), but about 20 minutes into our conversation, she asked me who the woman on the other side of the bar was and why she was burning holes in her with her eyes.
Confused, I looked up, and there was Boobs, sitting alone, and absolutely shooting icicles at us both.
"Do you know her," Helen asked.
"No, I don't. She was ordering drinks between my buddy and I earlier, but I've never met her before."
As if on cue, the bartender set a beer in front of me.
"I didn't order this," I said.
"You're Doug, right," the bartender asked.
"It's from the lady across the bar," the bartender replied.
Shortly thereafter, Helen left with her friends.
Shortly after that, my buddy and I left, but not after trying to decide what to do with the beer that the school mistress had ordered me. In case you're wondering, I drank it. Etiquette is one thing, but wasting a beer is another altogether. I'm not proud of it, but I did this while making as little eye contact as possible with the school mistress. I did, however, mouth "Thank you" across the bar before I took my first sip.
After we'd paid our tabs and left the bar I asked my buddy what the hell had just happened.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "Once is an oddity. If it happens again, it's a pattern."
A few moments of silence passed as we continued walking and then he offered, "I mean, there is a little gray over your temples."