"School's Out for Summer" should be blaring from the rooftops as all the area schools call it a year. Even though it's been a while since I felt that elation of the last day of school, it's still reason to kick up my heels.
Of course, one of the benefits of being an adult means we don't have to worry all summer about whether we will like our college roommates in the fall. Instead I have the weekly dilemma of will I like my dinner date this weekend. Seems minor in comparison; still, a dud at dinner can last a lifetime, or so it seems.
We met at Latin Quarter in Mariemont as I was reluctant to be subject to a home pick-up just in case my well-meaning friends who suggested this fix-up had forgotten what good date material is. I also try to space out my fix-ups so that the last blind date is far enough in my memory to have cobwebs strewn on it. Otherwise, I know I'd insist my laundry is demanding my attention and the bathroom is a disaster.
Blind date attire is entertaining, as I'm always tempted to go for the shock factor just because I'm ornery. I'm sure I was sold to this unsuspecting guy by my friends as "a great girl who is really together." I would love to walk in the restaurant with gypsy attire: flowing gauze fabrics, jangling bangles up to my elbows and a scarf around my neck that touches the ground behind me. Can you imagine this poor guy seeing my entrance?
Instead, I played it Cincinnati safe and wore a nice patterned skirt with a black sleeveless turtle and a pair of sandals. I did put on the dangling earrings to satisfy my gypsy soul. I strolled to the bar at Latin Quarter recalling with a smile a fun night here with the girlfriends. At least the drinks would be strong even if the date wasn't!
This delectable bartender offered to get me started and I realized he meant with a drink, which was a shame, but I acquiesced to the offer. After all, summer is the perfect vodka tonic season. Before I got my lips to the rim of the Mexican glass, though, my date approached with an "Are you Wendy?"
Based on looks alone, he was doable. He joined me at the bar and we started with the basic "Where did you go to grade school?" and "How old is your brother?" No, I'm kidding, but the preliminary stuff bores me to tears on any date and again I was tempted to just jump in with the sex, religion and politics discussion to save time.
He actually seemed game, and I realized his sense of humor might very well align with my own warped wit. We moved to a table and, after selecting some delectables off the new summer menu, jumped right into slang.
Slang is a terrific underground language in my book, but it's not always easy to get guys to fess up. This meant that I'd have to give up the favorite: "newspaper boy," which to my circle of friends is slang for "younger men." He laughed heartily and responded that women who prefer younger men are just "fragrant meat gazers." Oh my! Had I met my match?
With second drink in hand, John offered up the "MILTF" from high school days and, since school is out for summer, explained this to mean "mothers I'd like to fuck." OK, I admit I'd heard it before, but I wanted to hear him say it.
What else do guys say? Well, John dug deep and came up with "speed bumps." Hmmm. This was a new one on me. What are speed bumps? He said that sometimes guys just use the sound effects of hitting a speed bump like "da bam dunk" but what it means is, "I like this girl but she's got another guy who's causing a slight problem."
Isn't this "cock blocking" to some extent? Well, not exactly, according to John, who said that blocking is usually done right under your nose while the speed bump thing is often discovered after you like the person.
How does one discover the speed bump in dating? John said that's science and he can't give away all the guy secrets, which I admire. Still, could I be sure he wasn't baiting me? I love to discover secrets of any kind.
Guess this meant we'd be looking over the dessert cart, as these discussions could take all night.
Of Mechanical Bulls and Gay Pride
Friday night Jacque had a new experience planned for us all. Caroline and a few other friends from college were in town visiting. Little did she know, as we blindfolded her on the way down Kentucky Route 9, that she'd become a rodeo champion and a hip-hop star in the same night. But that was the fate awaiting us all at Bobby Mackey's.
Not to be confused with the fashion designer of similar name, Bobby Mackey is a real musician who bought a large building that used to house a restaurant called the Latin Quarter and turned it into his own honky-tonk bar and nightclub.
But Bobby Mackey's is more than a club. For those of you who have been to Celebrity in downtown Dayton -- the huge gay entertainment complex with three bars, drag shows, a stage that lowers to become a dance floor and its own gift shop -- you'll feel right at home at Bobby Mackey's. It has a pool room, bar, sound stage, karaoke, gift shop, general store and, yes, a mechanical bull.
Though Jacque attempted to coerce us all into riding the metallic beast, I was seriously afraid of hurting my back, which is prone to muscle pulls. Ironically, all the women in our party rode the bull, but the other guy in our group and I didn't.
Caroline's ride was particularly amusing because, rather than being thrown from the bull or jumping off, she sort of slid down the side slowly, as if to say "I'm falling... I'm falling... I'm falling... THUD."
Although I was up for karaoke and Caroline and I had signed up to sing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," it got late and none of us fully recovered from Caroline, Jacque and another random bar patron shaking their collective booty while singing Sir Mix-A-Lot's classic "Baby Got Back."
On Sunday, Jason and I planned to either watch the Gay Pride festivities from my balcony or walk in the parade. Since we were going to be in the hot sun either way, we elected to walk and even out our tans. I'd never participated in a Gay Pride event before, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.
The great thing about gay events is you always encounter a few surprises (people you didn't know are gay) or at least get a few confirmations (guys you wonder about when you see them downtown or at the gym every day).
We marveled at the dense crowd lining Hamilton Avenue north of Knowlton's Corner, imagining how much larger the parade could have been if even a third of those supporters had walked with us. But it was a valuable experience nonetheless.
Some gays I know are skeptical about the unity of the gay community in Cincinnati and are sort of frightened by the concept of Gay Pride, but I think that perception is often a product of personal experiences and our own relationship and friendship drama.
In other cases, the skepticism is a homophobic cop-out for people who don't want to identify with any gay community. I've felt that way in the past. And I'm still not extremely fond of the chant "We're here, we're queer," etc.
But the way I chose to look at my participation in Gay Pride weekend this year was that I was there to have fun, be with friends and catch up with some people I hadn't seen in a while. Lots of ethnic groups have festivals for the same reason.
Maybe that's what pride is really about. Not so much the chanting and signs, but more so about togetherness and commonality.
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