Monday, May 22, 2006

Our big Saturday night

This Saturday, I found myself in the enviable position of having invitations to two parties that would be FULL of strangers. That is to say, the best kind of parties.

I recruited good friend, Pele, to accompany me to said parties. One was the spring closer for the frisbee league. The other was a small get-together for my softball team. I was a tad shy to go to the softball party alone because I have yet to meet anyone on my team, which is why Pele's presence was essential. The frisbee party I could have handled solo because I was sure to see at least one or two friendly faces there.

We had a good time, which I think is the main point. Key to Pele and I doing well, though, is to spend some time together pre-party/outing just talking to each other. We get out of our system and when we get to the gathering, we have energy for other people.

We hung out for a few hours before the party (I was in her neighborhood.) We put a game plan in place (sort of) and she decided that it was "my turn." Little does she know that it's always my turn, but I wasn't going to argue with her.

When we got to the frisbee party (which was held in a bar), I saw Travis almost right away. I introduced him to Pele and we met some of his other friends. Travis seemed surprised that I was still blogging. I've noticed that when people stop blogging, they also stop reading blogs, so Travis was not aware of my absolute consistency in this area. (Except when circumstances conspire against me.)

I spotted a guy as soon as we got there about whom I thought, "There is my boyfriend. Why doesn't he come and talk to me?" He was one of the few age appropriate men there (I could tell by his grey hairs and weathered, but extremely handsome, looks). Unfortunately, he left soon after we arrived. I made eye contact with him like crazy, but to no avail.

We talked to all of my team members who showed up, but didn't do much to expand beyond that group. There was a moment when I sensed someone standing behind, looking over my shoulder. I turned to talk to him and he joined our group for a while. I made some inappropriate comments about him not being the only guy in the place with a shaved head and how I would probably not look very good with a shaved head (why, Jamy, why?). It was a go-nowhere conversation.

Around 10:30pm, I turned to Pele and said, "I'm ready for the next event." She agreed and we got moving.

It took us about 20 minutes to drive to the softball party. Which we did not attend. We walked by, saw about five people in the front window and turned right around and went back to the car. I said, "We are very bad. Very, very bad."

Pele did not agree, "No. There are not enough people at that party. It's no good."

We went back to the first party. I was determined to NOT talk to any of the same people.

We got another beer and stood roughly in the middle of the wide-open room. There were tons of people there and at least one or two guys were making eye contact with me. I enjoyed the hum of the crowd.

Pele decided she needed some water and as soon as she stepped away, one of my eye-contactors made a beeline for me. ZOOM. He walked right up to me and introduced himself. "Hi, I'm Owen." Very brave!

Owen was young, blond and bearded. He had little round glasses and was quite a bit taller than me (6'1"?). Early in our conversation, he told me he was a hippie. That was funny and interesting and I said, "You're rather young to be a hippy."

"Why do you say that?"

"Well, your parents are probably the right age to be hippies. But you don't see too many around these days. I'm just wondering what it means to you. Do you smoke a lot of pot?"

"My parents were hippies! They gave me my first joint."

"Me too [not exactly, but they did smoke a lot of pot when I was a kid]. But that doesn't mean they were hippies."

Then he started to explain the whole beatnik-to-hippie transition. I said, "I'm more on the beatnik/mod side. I used to wear a black beret and I had a Vespa."

While this was going on, Pele conveniently found a fellow to engage in conversation. She'd noticed when Owen made the beeline for me and decided to give us our space. Pele—master strategizer! However, when her conversation turned to stories of the Renaissance Festival her new friend had just come from, she decided to rejoin me.

I introduced her to Owen and then his other friends came over—another single guy, Frank, and a couple (they were introduced to me, but I'll be damned if I can remember their names or be bothered to make up fake ones). Frank was even taller than Owen. The girlfriend was so tiny as to be almost elflike. Her boyfriend was average sized.

As soon as Frank joined the group, Owen faded away and did not talk to me again for the rest of the evening. Not that our conversation was great, but I hadn't given up on him. But Frank took over the whole group, commanding both Pele's and my attention. I didn't mind. He wasn't conventionally handsome, though good looking, but he had an off-kilter charm that I found appealing.

Frank made all kinds of sexual references and innuendo that I would normally find offensive. But every potentially off-putting statement was tempered with a humorous, self-effacing comment. The overall effect was completely charming. It caused me to see him as a potential sexual partner, which I'm sure was part of his game (though probably not a deliberate strategy), and as a guy who was not available for a long-term relationship. Basically, all I needed to know. Still, I enjoyed his company immensely.

Rather early on in our conversation he said he was going sailing the next morning and asked if I knew how. I said yes (I took sailing lessons when I was a teenager). Then he asked me if I wanted to go—an offer that was subsequently retracted/downplayed. He said, "Do you have a card?"

"What?" I thought he said "car," which seemed like an odd question.

"A card. You know, with your information on it." He held his thumb and forefinger parallel, in the shape of a business card.

"Oh. A card. No. I don't have a card." I started rummaging in my purse anyway. "I have a pen."

"Look, here." He pulled out his cell phone. "Just give me your number." And I programmed my number into his phone.

At least this time I programmed my number (not Pele's) into some strange guy's phone. That's something.

When he retracted the sailing invite, it was totally inoffensive. After our group had shifted, broken up and reunited, Frank said, "This is how it will work. I have a group of about seven people on a list. I'll get your email and write to you when there is a spot for you. You'll be sailing within a month."

It's not that I actually believed him, but it was sweet of him to say. And I would like to go sailing.

Perhaps the funniest moment in the evening came early in the conversation. Frank made a comment about my shirt. It was a lavender colored "johnny collar" shirt. A johnny collar is a v-neck polo shirt with no buttons. The shirt has a tiny pocket above the left breast. You could fit some change in there, but that's about all. It is clearly for decorative purposes only.

Frank said, "Do you ever put anything in that pocket?"

"I have put things in there [like a key], but no, not really." I stuck my finger in the pocket. "It's not very useful."

"What is the point of a pocket like that?"

"I think it's just decorative."

"You know what would be cool? If you had a condom in there." I had no response to that. "You know, if I were at a woman's house, and we were on her couch, making out and I felt a little…something…there on her shirt. And I looked down and saw she had a condom. That would be awesome."

"If you were at her house, she wouldn't need to have a condom in her shirt pocket."

"You know men, we're all about the non-verbal communication."

"I have to agree with you there."

"Mostly, we like to grunt." And with that, he and Owen showcased several different types of grunts for us.

Later, Pele slipped me a condom. (Why did Pele have a condom in her purse? Ask her.) I managed to get it in the tiny pocket, after I folded the edges down. She went back to standing on the other side of Frank and I tapped him on the arm.

"Look here." I nodded to my pocket and eased the edge of the condom out. Frank started laughing and pointed it out to his friends. "That's great!" We all cracked up.

I highly enjoyed this moment. We even discussed the unfairness of locking up condoms.

There was one last amusing moment, right before Pele and I left, where Frank insisted that I couldn't possibly be older than him. I assured him that it was most certainly possible. He was 27. He professed disbelief for a long, long time until I cracked and told him my age. He said, "No big deal." Really? Since when is a ten year age difference no big deal? When I was in grad school and made out with a 20-year-old he completely freaked when I told him I was 25.

But, whatever, it was a good time. I walked away from Frank thinking:
  • There is no way he will call.
  • If he does call, that would be cool, because I would like to go sailing.
  • One of he benefits of being 37 and still on the dating scene is that I don't get worked up when boys don't call.
  • Unless I've made out with them already.
  • Or if I decide, after one meeting, that I've met my future husband.
  • Then I turn into a raving lunatic.
  • But I think I'm done with that kind of foolishness. Not with feeling that way, but with acting crazy when I do.
  • Finally, if I were the type to have casual sex, Frank would be a good candidate. He put me at ease. I figure, at least one person would need to be comfortable and at ease with all that first time sex awkwardness, and it sure as hell wouldn't be me.
Pele wanted me to turn our two experiences (first one here) with meeting guys at bars into a guideline, but I'll be damned if I can do it.

Grateful for: a fun night and realistic expectations.
Drop me a line.

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