Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Time Wasted at a Sub-par Bar
I left my favorite dives of Ocean beach for a night and spent the evening in Encinitas:
We got out of the car in front of a large, yellow Mexican restaurant. The smell of carne asada, fried tortillas and cheese wafted through the air. I may have left OB and the Chicken Kitchen but the at least San diego drinking traditions could be maintained, "Nice. We'll go there after the drinking and the big fun in North County."
We crossed the street to a large, average looking bar with a sign of some sort...maybe it was red...and a pudgily large tanned bouncer. He checked our id's as he hit on a blondish girl in a Padres jersey and a trying-to-be-chic newsboy hat, "You are just so good looking," he said, "I just wanted to say that." I wondered if there was a game today and if she would ever date that bouncer in his XXXL bright orange t-shirt. The night moved forward and they moved out of the doorway. I finally got a brief glimpse of the interior of this bar in which we planned to spend our night of drinking. The results were all but exciting.
Although we were right outside the doorframe, the place maxed out at a constant, medium level murmur punctuated by controlled, light laughter. Every word of every song could be heard above the lilting conversations happening in this so-called bar. Were these people drinking at all? Boo. Mexican food may definitely prove to be the excitement of the evening.
We entered and as I suspected, every one was seated amongst a sea of tables, sans dance floor, behaving like proper adults at a medium to dull bar in North County. This was definitely not my usual OB scene. Generally, I want the debauchery, loud bawdy laughter, excessive drinking and random mix of bikers, hippies and innocent locals enjoying the show. OK, today I can try something new: Adult-style drinking. I can act like a respectable individual for once in my social life.
All the boys seemed familiar and similar and uniformed. I felt like I had gone to some kind of school with everyone in the bar, but I couldn't figure out whether it was elementary, high school or college. At least the male/female ratio was good. There were many boys. Most of them were not cute, and I wouldn't necessarily make-out with any of them, but at least it resembled the possibility for some fun.
There was one male friend in our party and he sat to my right and got the first round of drinks: A Red Headed Slut with a Jack and Coke chaser. As I sipped my Jack and Coke we talked and laughed and enjoyed ourselves. An hour or so passed with good friends and conversation. when I went to the bar to retrieve another beverage, I noticed an unattractive guy with a black Polo and Miami Vice blazer checking me out. he smiled and I quickly became engrossed in the signage behind the bar. I got another whiskey and quickly returned to my friends. As I consumed my dear Jacks, I began to like this bar. It moved from medium to above medium. Now, everyone was chill and mellow instead of boring and it was a nice change of pace instead of being a bust.
As I was settling into a good joke with my male pal, the unattractive guy from the bar pulled over a chair and smoothed himself between us. I silently rolled my eyes as I prepared myself for the pick up. However, instead of speaking to me, he struck up a conversation with my pal. OK. A little odd...I was sure he was into me...but good...I definitely did not want to talk to him. Was this a clever ruse or was he actuaally engaging a male in a conversation at the bar. Was he gay? Am I not as cute as I think I am? Is he just actually friendly? Ha, yeah....I must have misread his bar signals.
The boys continued to chat for minutes and minutes and I relaxed back into my drink, now confident that this was a friendly guy who was either gay or who simply wanted to talk to new people or both. At this realization, I joined in the conversation. I laughed along with the jokes. I asked our unattractive guest questions and engaged him in comfortable conversation.
When you become sure that a person is not hitting on you, you become far more relaxed and thus far more personable.
After he had enjoyably monopolized us for about ten or fifteen minutes, he turned to me and said, "I just wanted to tell you that you are a beautiful woman. I mean you are really gorgeous. I mean it. Like, wow. I don't think I've ever seen a woman like you." I flashed a big, staisfied grin, "I Knew It" and quickly said, "Thanks."
The string of compliments were mildly embarrassing and definitely too much. Ok, he was either hitting on me or gay. He turned back to my pal and said, "Yeah so my girlfriend....blah, blah, blah," I heard nothing else. I was sideswiped again.
"Of course," I thought. That was brilliant. He gained my trust and relaxed aspect by engaging my pal and then he shanked me, but just a little. I prepared myself for the full blow of the inevitable ask out and my pat response, "No, sorry, I don't give my number to strangers," when he said, "Well, it was nice meeting you guys," and returned to his table. What was this guy's game? I was reeling from the hits as he returned to his friends at the adjacent table.
Mouth agape, I turned to my male friend for help in understanding what had just happened. Could it be he was not intending to hit on me at all? Was he just giving an overenthusiastic compliment and staring because his girlfirend was not around? If so, that was especially not cool and very shady. My pal said, "He probably felt like you were rejecting him or going to reject him so he brought up a girlfriend to save face. He's been looking at you for a while from the other table." Hmmm and an eye roll. I don't exactly buy this but ok.
A few minutes later, another boy from the adjacent table sauntered over to the group. This one was kind of cute in a Jake Gyllenhall kind of way. He had tallish brown hair and an unfortunate black v-neck. He did not come to me but b-lined to two of my girlfriends. The night continues and various conversations are breached and finished. Everyone is laughing. Tall hair guy goes back, once again, to his table and Unattractive guy.
Unattractive guy made his return. Now what?
He sat next to me again, "Hey, so I was wondering if you guys wanted to join tables..."
"Well, I have a small issue," I began, "If you have a girlfriend, your behavior is not appropriate and confusing. I know you were just complimenting me, but it was too emphatic to be respectful to your woman who is not here. If I were her and I saw you acting like this like on one of those hidden camera shows like Cheaters or something, I'd be pissed" (I'm a little wordy when drunk).
Unattractive kind of faltered. He was clearly surprised that this was the way I chose to answer his innocent question. He stuttered for a millisecond then quickly back pedaled, "No, no, no. You're right. I am not hitting on you. That guy (Tall hair) wanted to talk to you, but he was too shy so he sent me over. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be impolite or disrespectful. I'm just trying to help out a friend."
Could this be true? It all seemed so convoluted, unecessary and dumb. Am I so scary and/or mean-looking?
I wasn't wholly convinced, but..."If that's true...sure."
Don't judge. I was three Jacks deep, relaxed and enjoying the evening, plus it seemed like it would be interesting and funny at the least. He and all his friends joined us. They were all really nice. One girl shopped exclusively at Forever 21 and loved a cheesy heart necklace she had just purchased and she loved it so much that she couldn't stop chattering about it. Two Brits were gone, gone, gone; slurring and laughing about various things that were unintelligible. Another guy looked like he fell off the redneck comedy tour, complete with cut-off plaid flannel and beat up John Deer trucker hat. Tall Hair sat next to me to my left and Unattractive moved to the opposite end of the table.
In the end, everyone was lovely and funny and I'm glad we joined tables, but Tall Hair did not talk to me once. He sat very close to me so our arms were touching, but said nothing. At one point I saw his friend motioning to him in my direction and giving a him a look that said, "well, say something." He said nothing.
What was the point of the whole fiasco? Why did the first guy stare so hard and compliment so hard only to play wingman to his friend? Why did the friend talk to my friends and not me, but rub up against me all night? What is so scary about talking to a drunk girl on a mission to make-out who was now four Jack and Cokes deep? Boys, either man-up and jump, or stay safely on land. I lost 20 minutes of my life on your ridiculous play that loosely involved me, but mainly surrounded your odd, illogical plotting. You could have just asked if we wanted to join tables from the beginning. Sometime, it really can be as easy as that.
On to Mexican Food (always a drinking girl's best friend).