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Whirlygig: 91: Out on the Town

The quest for air-conditioning leads to Italian waitresses, superheroes and mullets

By Brandon Brady · August 20th, 2003 · Whirlygig
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A Blonde, a Brunette and a Banana
The humidity, heat and lack of air-conditioning on Saturday afternoon had me sprawled out on my couch in the most loose-fitting pair of shorts and tank top I owned. In between watching WNBA basketball and golf, I spent most of the afternoon trying to guess how many Deveroes would be looted if the power went out in Cincinnati like it did in New York and trying to figure out where would be a good place to play the new game I thought up earlier that day called Punch Mullet.

The rules of Punch Mullet are identical to the game Punch Buggy you played as a kid. The best place I came up with to play will be at this year's Riverfest. Now I just need to find someone who's willing to play but who isn't into kickboxing.

Fortunately Shannon, who also doesn't have air-conditioning, called late in the afternoon and invited me out for dinner and a movie. We headed over to ZZ's Pizzeria in Walnut Hills. It was my first time there and Shannon's second. It's a cozy little pizzeria with a tiny three-table smoking section.

Our waitress was a young, tall and curvy Italian girl who was a perfect subject for my theory of overtly flirting with waitresses. The theory is a simple one: The more you flirt with them, the better the service. As soon as she told us her name, I introduced Shannon and myself and asked her how her day was, complimented her dress and smiled like I was a Miss America contestant. Our food came out relatively quick, and she brought me out an extra fancy sesame cracker with my salad.

I ordered a Mediterranean Pizza and Shannon ordered the Eggplant Parmesan. For the first time in a couple of months, I was actually not hungry and I could eat only three out of four slices of my pizza. Our waitress came out and asked us if we wanted dessert. We both said "No," but she decided to tell us what they had anyway. As soon as she said the words "Homemade Banana Creme Pie," we told her to bring one out with two forks. I think the last time I've been that giddy about a dessert was the first time I had Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip. The inside of the pie's crust was coated with melted chocolate, and the banana crème was actually made with real bananas and crème. Shannon took two bites and had to stop because the pie was so rich. I just keep eating and eating until the plate was all gone.

After dinner we decided to head off to Danberry Cinemas, way out on the west side of town, to see X-Men 2 since we both needed another couple of hours of cool air. I was surprised by how un-crowded the theater was. I remember when I was in high school and the cheap theaters in Forest Fair Mall opened up and it became an instant teenage hangout.

I guess all of the cool kids now hang out at the overpriced theaters on the Levee.

When we went to buy our tickets for X2, the ticket lady told us the projector for the movie broke during the last showing and we'd have to pick a different movie. In keeping with the superhero theme, I suggested Hulk, but Shannon was having none of it. She told me we were seeing Legally Blonde 2 instead.

About 30 minutes into the movie Shannon just turned to me and said, "I'm so sorry I'm making you watch this." At that point I just didn't care. I would have watched Barb Wire as long as it was in an air-conditioned theater.

-- R.L. Newman

Spur of the Moment
Spontaneity is a beautiful thing. It's fun to get carried away on the shirttails of a moment. Once in a while, throwing caution to the wind and just rolling with it can do the soul good. After all, real life will be waiting for you soon enough and sometimes you just need to see where the wind will take you.

The full moon filled the sky on Tuesday. It seemed as if the stars were twinkling with delight when I let myself be lulled into the moment on a whim. John came over to my place for a casual evening where I planned on throwing steaks on the grill. He showed up in a tie thinking we were going out for dinner. Obviously we haven't worked out the kinks in communication.

John and I were introduced through a referral, so to speak. Trying to get a bit of momentum back in my personal life after having admitted apathy for it of late, I told a group of women at a wedding shower over a few glasses of Chardonnay that I was unattached and open to going out on a referral basis. Really that just means that if you know anyone who's single, employed and not sporting a third eyeball, I'm ready for an introduction. God, I must be bored out of my mind.

Turns out that Holly from the wedding shower knows John and loves the idea of putting the two of us together. I think I was as shocked as John was when we actually had more in common than Holly. After all, I barely know her and was just throwing my social status around in idle conversation. He works with her at the hospital.

It took just a week before John called and we met for dinner at Akira for sushi. I love a man who eats raw fish only because I eat raw fish and those Shapiro beers are so large they're best shared. John seemed to be a little quiet. I figured that maybe he was still in shock that I didn't have a third eyeball. We both seemed apprehensive and appalled at our mutual lack of social prospects of late but, gee, the sushi and the beer were good even if the conversation stalled a little.

We survived the goodbye in the parking lot there on Tylersville Road out in front of Akira, which is next door to Big Lots. I even joked that we should go there on our next outing. He laughed and noted that it was a good meeting place. When he called to make sure I made it home alright, I thought that maybe Holly was on to something after all. A man with manners and a sense of humor is good to find.

Satisfied that John wasn't an axe murderer and could be good company for casual dating, I invited him to my house when he called a couple of days later to see if I wanted to get together again. He wanted to see my playhouse before it was moved. That brings us to the present, where caution is thrown to the wind or, more precisely, I let John talk me out of my sundress.

See, I'd gone to Big Lots this summer -- it's a great place for stuff you don't really need -- and had purchased a $30 pool complete with a filtration system over the July 4th weekend. It turns out that two people can float on the 99-cent flotation rings comfortably on a Tuesday night under a full moon. Who knew?

The best part of this story is that I would never have guessed that John was bold enough to kiss me on this second date. Good thing I didn't bet on the outcome of this evening, because it really was just a time-filler in my book. I don't mean that in a bad way, but just that I had little to no expectations of more than a shared meal and idle conversation.

Certainly I underestimated the effect of a home-cooked meal on a divorced dad who's living in an apartment for the last year. He loved the privacy of my backyard and the fresh air. John admitted that he works too much, which allows little time to socialize or date. He even entertained me with stories and anecdotes from work and his college days. When he put the dishes in the dishwasher, I wondered if there wasn't more to the story of his divorce but decided to pass on asking those questions for now. Instead I turned on the Norah Jones CD he'd brought, which also surprised me.

We sat outside on the patio near the pool, glad that the mosquito repellant was working. It wasn't long before he'd quietly moved over in front of my chair and convinced me that this August night was the perfect night for a swim. He never mentioned wanting to see my tan lines, but I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't part of his plan.

-- Wendy Robinson


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