What I’m trying to say is, if bowling is your only option for a bangin’ Friday night, it might be better to stay home.
∗ ∗ ∗
My friends Meredith and Desiree are a year younger than me. The three of us met in our French class at Mesa College. We all love hanging out, but are, time and time again, at a loss for what to do when we get together.
After numerous texts back and forth, I feel like I’m gonna give up.
“What do you wanna do?” I’ll say.
“I don’t know, what do you wanna do?” Meredith will respond.
“I don’t know, whatever sounds good,” Desiree will say.
And then we’re back to square one: bowling alley, hookah bar, movie theater. It’s exhausting, being perpetually frustrated.
Until one week, Desiree has an idea.
“Why don’t you guys come over to my house, we’ll cook dinner and play some board games.”
It sounds fun. A nice change. It fuels a brilliant idea.
Every Thursday, the three of us get together. We make dinner, we play board games, we drink wine. We call it Classy Thursday, and we have a blast, so I guess not all hope for under-21-year-olds is lost.
Meredith and Desiree have a French class at Mesa that goes late, so we don’t end up getting together until 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. The evening starts off with a trip to the grocery store for dinner fixings and a couple bottles of Two-Buck Chuck, the pièce de résistance of our night. It’s what makes our Thursdays so classy. This is where it’s useful to have an older brother around to enhance the evening. He’s over 21, but buying alcohol for us isn’t the only reason we keep him around. He’s a fun guy.
Our first Classy Thursday, we cook steak in the oven and go through two bottles of Sutter Home White Zinfandel (retail price: $3.49 a bottle…like I said, classy). The next logical step is board games.
Desiree has a game called Last Word, one I’ve never heard of before. The objective of Last Word, as with many board games, is to be the first to get to the finish line. There is a category given, a die with letters on it, and a timer. When a category card is displayed and a letter of the alphabet rolled, you have until the timer runs out to name as many words that begin with that letter as you can. The winner gets to advance a space.
It is the four of us, each against the other. Every wino for her/him self.
This game gets loud. The Two-Buck Chuck doesn’t help the volume control. It’s an exciting shouting match, with Meredith triumphantly emerging as the victor.
After Meredith wins the game, we turn to Wii sports. Bowling manages to creep its way in as well.
In between dinner, board games, and Wii, we migrate to the piano. We play songs, we sing, and we laugh.
Classy Thursdays also takes field trips. We go to a show at Soma. Another night, it’s Forever Fondue in La Jolla. But no matter what, somehow, we have more fun sitting around the house playing board games and being silly. Who needs nightlife?
At the same time, what am I supposed to do with the six other days?
∗ ∗ ∗
I Google things to do in San Diego when you’re underage. Hookah bars — been there, done that. Bowling. Laser tag. Why are the 18- to 20-year-olds pigeonholed into nothingness? Why hasn’t someone come up with something to entertain the masses? Sometimes people recommend you trot on down to Tijuana for a night. Ridiculous. Aren’t they cutting people’s heads off down there?
Underage dating proves to be a bit of a difficulty as well. I like my men like I like my friends, older and more mature. I don’t mean to sound bitchy, but I can’t see spending my evenings with a guy who laughs at fart jokes on South Park in between beer-bong hits.
Most dates are forced into the categories of midday coffee-shop dates, nighttime sitting-outside-of-coffee-shop dates, or any-hour-of-the-day (you guessed it) bowling or, worse, mini-golf at Boomers, just down the street from Kearny Mesa Bowl. Coffee-shop dates are nice, innocent, and very much neutral territory, which is good for a first date, but after awhile, there’s not much romance in sitting on a wicker chair outside of Coffee Bean in Mission Valley. Bowling is cute for a date or two, and mini-golf is all right, too. But let’s try and put a little thought into it. There’s nothing sexy about faux-Western-town facades and wooden cutouts of cowboys watching you suck at the ten-hole course. The whole thing makes me lose faith in dating, period.
I meet up with this guy, Billy (not his real name), at Boomer’s. I can’t find the parking lot and spend ten minutes driving around looking for it. I walk up, pretty embarrassed, 15 minutes late. It’s a Wednesday night. I just got off work and was ready to go home and go to bed, but, as usual, boys always come first.
I’m not sure how I felt about Billy. We met online and just to fulfill every cliché about internet dating, he is shorter than he said, he looks nothing like his picture, and trying to have a conversation with this kid is like pulling teeth.
He pays for golf (a wallet-busting eight bucks for the two of us), and I do the talking…all the talking.
“So, what’s your favorite band?” I ask, hoping this question will kick-start a conversation about his favorite song, favorite type of music, favorite radio station, favorite eight-track tape — anything.
“I don’t have a favorite band,” he says flatly. “I don’t really like music.”
How can you not like music?
“Okay…” I search my brain for another question. “Favorite movie?”
“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
That’s when I know it’s going to be a long night.
We don’t talk much for the remaining eight holes of the mini–golf course. Billy tells me about his pet snake and how he loves feeding live mice to it and how he just dropped out of school because he didn’t really see his education “taking” him anywhere.