Saturday my friend and former co-worker, Jenny, invited me to go dancing. It was to be a girls' night out with a journey to the new club Clau on Sycamore Street, where she was on the guest list. It's been ages since I've gone dancing, back before DV8 was 86ed and people starting calling The Warehouse "The Whorehouse."
Clau is the latest incarnation of what was Sycamore Gardens. The last time I was there, it was the second incarnation on a night with a fashion show where I met a male model who confessed that his sister was his mother. Long story and not as scandalous as it sounds. Anyhow, Jenny had invited along half a dozen of her girlfriends whom I've never met.
The only thing scarier than meeting a bunch of guys (to me) is meeting a bunch of girls. I've always been a guy's girl. Not the baseball-playing, spitting-on-the-sidewalk kind, but the smoking, pool-playing type.
It came down to facing a Saturday night alone in my jammies watching Forensic Files. I figured it was time to make new girl friends. So I threw on some jeans, grabbed a six-pack of Heineken and headed to Jenny's.
When I got there, I was relieved to see a girl who used to live downstairs from me. Amber and I caught up on recent events. Even though he couldn't be healthier, her husband managed to break his leg while running in a marathon. Jenny's husband had sprained his ankle the same week. The men were falling apart around us.
While we talked, I munched on cherries and sucked down Heineken. It turned out Amber and I had another friend in common. We decided that, unlike the movie Six Degrees of Separation, there was only one degree of separation in Cincinnati.
Barbara arrived next and immediately greeted me with, "You can't go to the club!" I felt my stomach slide, wondering what I'd done to this woman I'd just met.
"You have jeans on," she said. "The dress code doesn't allow them."
Ugh, dress codes made me think of places like Have a Nice Day Café, where the people look like they shopped in the same closet. It sounds like you're guaranteed to "have a shitty night" instead.
It didn't bother me really. I wasn't going home to change clothes and wasn't going to dance at a club where my jeans weren't cool. But I stayed for a while nonetheless to meet the ladies who were all very candid and witty.
The conversation began with tips on how to properly store vegetables in the fridge and how great the salad spinner is (here's where I'm more a guy's girl). Then it took a drastic turn when the ever-subtle Barb declared, "No more talk of vegetables!"
By then Sophia and Angela had arrived. Sophia relayed a story about how she tried to spice up a night with her boyfriend by concocting a ginger body rub. The problem was that, while ginger is good for the body, it wasn't meant to be used in all manners "internally." Moral of the story: Keep ginger away from your naughty bits.
Next we discussed the latest commercial for an intimate lotion, which you've probably seen. A woman actually gets her husband's attention away from his fascinating newspaper when she states this new product causes a warming sensation. All of us girls turned our noses up at the new product. If having sex doesn't cause a "warming sensation," you've got a problem that KY can't help.
Since I didn't have a good similar story of my own, I shared one of my friend's. Luckily she wasn't there to hear me tell it. She'd eaten a dish with jalapenos in it and after dinner gave her boyfriend a little oral stimulation. Talk about a "warming sensation." Apparently jalapenos weren't meant for naughty bits either.
Angela confessed to buying her first vibrator, and Sophia and I felt a round of applause was in order. Considering she's nine years older than me, let's just say she's had it coming for a while.
"At first my boyfriend didn't care for it," Angela admitted, "But he liked it in the end." I couldn't believe anyone let that one pass.
"Ah, so he liked it in the end?" I said. It took a second, but eventually everyone got the joke.
Earlier that day, my boyfriend and I had stopped into Elyse's Passion. We'd intended to look over the new "literature." Ahem.
After being ID'd by the owner, we made full use of our rights as adults to look for some family-unfriendly video. Some of the titles were too hard to not laugh at. Toys in Babeland was one of them. Trannie Dearest was another. It became appropriate fodder for conversation at girl's night.
Somehow we got onto the topic of notches on the bed post. Everyone agreed that it wasn't news to share with people.
"I stopped counting at 20," I said before the words could be harnessed.
"You just admitted to how many guys you've slept with," Jenny said.
"No she didn't," Barb quipped.
"Just so long as it's not more than your age," Sophia advised.
I just smiled. That was enough out of me.
After a couple of beers and sharing a little too much personal information, we were off. I decided to take a rain check on dancing, but I was glad I hadn't wasted the evening alone. It renewed my confidence not in women but in myself around them.
The next morning, my boyfriend and I headed for the antiques sidewalk sale in Covington's Mainstrasse Village. We'd gone the week before but someone mistakenly read the dates wrong so we ended up having brunch at Dee Felice. I recommend the beignets if you ever go for brunch. This week we scoured the tables of antiques looking for some good old stuff. Neither of us saw anything to take home, but we did see Doug and Stasia drive by in their antique car. They stopped over to say hi and invite us to lunch at Chez Nora on the opposite corner from Dee Felice.
Sitting at an outdoor table with beautiful weather is a summertime must. I could feel the crowd glancing at the other couple. Doug and Stasia are quite a pair. In a way, they're antiques too. Doug is an upright bass player in the Rockabilly band Straw Boss. If awesomely tall Doug is the perfect Rockabilly replica, Stasia is his apt counterpart. At first, her height and artfully applied makeup intimidated me. She had at least three different shades of eyeshadow on, plus eyeliner. At 11 a.m. on a Sunday, it was the second time in two days I was underdressed.
I wanted to defend myself. "I don't normally look like this," I offered, but after Stasia confessed to wearing a girdle I felt it a little easier to breathe.
We shared my lighter and smoked cigarettes together while we waited on our food. Doug and I had Eggs Benedict, but he ordered his with grits. He and Stasia tried to convince me that grits rocked. But when she told me it was a bland mushed corn treat, I decided I was definitely from a place too north of the river. Stasia and my boyfriend had quesadillas that looked less appetizing as the temperature slowly rose. After a while in the sun, the cheese, or cheese grease rather, runneth over their plates.
Doug's band was playing at Rabbit Hash that evening, and the couple tried to persuade us to go. But I knew we'd end up sitting in the air conditioning of our own den. I might be racking up the rain checks, but I was also adding names to a new list -- of girlfriends.
It's on the Rocks
Summer is a difficult time for dieting and exercising restraint in my opinion, as it's just so hot, humid and too tempting to indulge in ice cream. I guess that's how I found myself in Clifton again at Graeter's eating a mocha chip double dip cone after sneaking to a wonderfully air-conditioned dark theater to see Whale Rider at The Esquire.
Both just seemed the perfect diversion to yard work, regular work and that thing called exercise. Plus I was doing my absolute best not to pick up the phone.
My girlfriend Anne had me in tears from laughter when she first described how she handles the relationship that's ending and needs to die. Anne admitted she marks all her phones with signs that say D.N.R. In the medical world that she circulates in that means "Do Not Resuscitate" or essentially, in real life, "Do Not Call Him!"
She confessed that she hates goodbyes more than root canals, but over an entire bottle of Chardonnay at Indigo's in Hyde Park she admitted that she called Mike last week. I sympathized and suggested bigger signs and duct tape on the phones so she can't answer the phone when he calls for more of what they ended up having over the weekend.
Mike and Anne have a lot more history and drama in their relationship than my little non-descriptor-stalled relationship with the tall handsome guy from the gallery. Our story never culminated with frantic making out in a car or even vanilla sex in his king size bed. More or less it seemed destined to be dinner dates and lots of keeping up with the every-other-day phone calls.
At first, it seemed sweet that he'd ring me to see what was going on and tell me his latest work dilemma and golf score. In the infancy of getting acquainted I was interested, but as time rolled on it lost its appeal. In particular, when Mr. Gallery called to say his back had been bothering him for several days and he was visiting the chiropractor for the third time for relief, I was sympathetic and even understanding until he dropped in the golf game where he shot a 78. Suddenly the guy sounded like he needed his mommy and not a dinner date. We left the phone call with a "Hope you feel better."
Normally the next call would be from me to Mr. Gallery, as even in the eight weeks we've known each other a pattern had occurred. You'd think the momentum would be building or even on fire by now if there were chemistry and mutual interests between us.
Instead I found myself staring at my dripping ice cream cone bored out of my mind even though I'd just seen a great movie. I admit I don't like action movies and prefer art house films, but in my personal life I could use a little special effects and rock-my-world feeling.
Do I let this lukewarm neophyte relationship fall into the category of "Did Not Progress" and clear the slate for more solo journeys? Yeah, I think that's the right answer, though I will admit it was nice to get the phone calls even if they weren't always the type that end with plans for that evening. Plus I like eating dinner with a good-looking adult of the opposite sex even when I can predict that I'll not be dancing off into the distant future with my dinner companion.
Let's face it: He's a time-filler, and I might very well be the same for him. It doesn't make us bad, and Cumin is glad we showed up for dinner on a Wednesday.
My sources tell me he was dating a girl who just moved to San Francisco, so his dance card was a tad bare when he encountered me at Annie Bolling's Gallery. Mine was bereft itself. Nothing much had inspired me lately, and I'm not talking about the art either.
It actually did my heart good just to think he was handsome, as lately all I seemed to think handsome were horses at the stable. While a good-looking horse for a nice canter on a Sunday is something I enjoy, it's time for me to get back on the horse so to speak.
This just didn't turn out to be a match, and that's disappointing but not altogether horrible. His American Express was platinum and he admitted he hates dining alone. I will refrain from constructive criticism on dinner conversation and figure he just likes safer subjects than I do.
Besides that, it's good to realize there's no need to go forward when we both find ourselves looking around and the view straight ahead is lovely enough.
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