I met MC when I was 18 and we were married when I was 20. I had a lot of boyfriends in school but I never really did the dating thing. I never went out and tried to pick up a guy, or try to get picked up by a guy. After tonight I realized that if my getting married had hinged on my ability to do that, I would probably still be single.
I’ve been going out dancing with the girls for years. We always go out as a group, usually about 3 of us, and it’s always a girls’ night. I’ve gotten pretty good about putting out that “I’m married” vibe so I don’t have to worry about some random guy trying to hit on me. Occasionally there will be a guy who wants to break into our little dance circle but he gets shut down pretty quickly and moves on to someone with a little more alcohol and a little less common sense. I will be the first to admit that having a guy hit on me after being married for 18 years and at my somewhat young-ish age is appealing. I mean, seriously…who doesn’t like an ego boost now and then, right? But the flip side is, do you really want to brag about getting hit on by a guy whose eyes are glazed over and is slurring his words? Yeah, not so much.
So, dancing? It’s a girls only affair.
I have a friend who is married to a drummer in a band. I’ve been telling myself I’m going to go hear the band play but have just never made it. Well, I finally made it tonight. There was no special effort to look nice, just jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. I did have my hair done (meaning washed) and eye makeup on, but that was more so I wouldn’t resemble a zombie than to impress anyone.
After paying the cover, I see Drummer Boy and greet him and I’m bummed to learn that I’ll probably be it as far as fans go. His wife stayed home and I knew no one else there. But I had paid the cover and I already made my presence known; it was too late to back out now. The thing about me is I can be embarrassingly outgoing…when I have someone with me. By myself I sort of shrink up and try to find a way to blend into the background so no one will try to do something horrible, like talk to me. Looking around I saw I had 2 choices. I could A) sit at a table by myself, or B) sit at the bar by myself. I chose the bar because it was close to the stage and it just felt less…pathetic.
I planted myself on a stool and decided to order a drink. I’m really not much of an alcohol girl as it seems to only be available in 2 flavors: gym sock sweat and cough syrup. Except for hard cider. I love that. Only they didn’t have any. Well, fine. I won’t order a drink then. I’ll just sit here by myself and look like I’m having the time of my life. Alone.
That actually wouldn’t have been too bad except I discovered that sitting by myself at the bar was sort of like hanging out a neon sign that screamed, “She’s all alone! She must need company!” While I have no problem turning someone down, I discovered it was made all the more difficult when I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying over the music. How do you silently tell someone to go away…without resorting to the use of one particular finger?
If (God forbid) something were to ever happen to MC and I was single again, I’d never make it in the dating world (not that I’d want to). I panic every time someone comes near me. I even stabbed one guy in the eye. It was not pretty.
The first guy who sat at the bar 2 seats away from me introduced himself and asked my name. Then he offered to buy me a drink which I politely declined. Another man kept giving my shoe a high-five when he walked by until I stopped sitting with my legs crossed. In the spirit of the season, there was a giant skull that was lit up from the inside that sat on the bar behind me. One gentleman asked me if I always bring my ex-boyfriend’s skull with me. I answered yes. He was just playing around and before he left, he warned me not to make out with it. Thank you for that sound advice, sir. I’ll try to contain myself.
At one point, a young man planted himself right in front of me and started speaking. First of all, you’re blocking my view. Second, I can’t hear a thing you’re saying! No, it doesn’t do any good to talk right into my ear. I STILL. CAN’T. HEAR. YOU. I honestly have no idea what he was trying to say to me. Until he asked for my phone number. Really??? Is that how the bar pick-up/dating thing works? You know nothing about me, not even my name, but want to call me up sometime? Do you just collect numbers and then call them all the next day hoping you’ll get a hit? Like a dating lottery you hope today’s collection of numbers pays off?
Oh, but wait. It got better. Screaming back to him I held up my left hand (which is actually naked thanks to a loose prong on my wedding ring) and replied that I was married. So sad, now go away. His response? “Me too.” What?! Then what are you doing?!?! And then he proceeded to pull his dog tags out from his shirt so I could see that he’s in the military. Because knowing he’s enlisted will forgive the fact that he’s a married man asking for a strange woman’s phone number. Ew.
Eventually, by avoiding eye contact and showing off a studious interest in the band, I managed to get across my extreme disinterest and he went away. Then Super Fan showed up. This was a guy that I assumed was friends with the band as he kept hopping up on stage and getting right in their faces to take pictures of all of them. It was only when he planted himself on the stool next to me and asked me what the band’s name was that I realized his enthusiasm may have been fueled a bit by alcohol. He asked if I knew the band and I told him I knew the drummer. He then proceeded to scroll through all the pictures on his phone and asked me if I wanted him to send them to my FB page. Um, no, I’m good, thanks. Unfortunately I have a habit of talking with my hands (especially in noisy bars) and as I was gesturing to his phone, I managed to poke him in the eye–under his glasses. Oh yeah, I am THAT good.
Oh, and did I mention that I was only there for 1 hour?
While I guess I wasn’t actually hit on a lot, I realized that I don’t even know how to have a conversation with a strange man in public without a safety net. Is that weird? Or is that just part of being married so long? I can sit and have conversations with men I don’t know at church, at the kids’ schools, at…okay, that’s the extent of my social life but you get the idea; a bar just feels different.
And that’s why I’m glad I don’t ever have to try to navigate the dating scene. Not that it would have to take place in a bar, but at some point I would have to figure out how to make conversation…without causing bodily harm.
MC, don’t ever leave me.