Way back when I was but a pale flicker only occasionally set alight by the backseat huffs of leaded gasoline, the mere mention of “ladies night” was enough to transform my cranium into a pink-and-yellow lava lamp. A gaggle of women, most of them moms, piling their off-the-shoulder pleated-polyester numbers into the Delta 88 and cruising down to the local Razzamatazz for some come-hither sideways glancing. Middle-parted men with sardine-soaked beards strutting their flared bottoms all the way down the bar in the haze of a light-up Löwenbräu lion to buy the ladies a sea breeze. Some regrettable sex-scented combustion would follow, probably soundtracked by Kool & the Gang telling everybody just what night it was, but all would be forgiven in the fluorescence of tomorrow’s grocery aisles.
I wanted sea breezes and sardines. I wanted regret. I did OK on the last one. Tonight, though, is my chance to have it all. Not only is it ladies night at the musky Matador, but it’s also a very special Mother’s Day ladies night, which as I see it may be the perfect means by which to satisfy my end.
“Woooooooooh, it’s ladies night!” I flash my pretend breasts out the sunroof. “I’m on fire!”
Karen, a lady, has agreed to join me on my hyperbolic sojourn into the world of massage oils and heart-shaped spinning beds, and has even submitted to playing along with my scripted shenanigans. Because it’s almost Mother’s Day, we’ve surmised, the perfect gift to ourselves on this estrogen night-slide would be to end up with plus sign on a pee test. A gift to keep on giving and taking.
“But you realize you’re a boy, right?” Karen cautions as she adjusts her breasts in her strapless black dress. “Boys can’t really pee positive.”
“Whatevs!” I hate myself. “Don’t you watch Oprah? Men can get pregnant. And before you say anything, yes, I know that he used to be a big lesbian she.”
“And a Hawaiian Tropic model.”
“Panama Jack,” I whip out an imaginary swimsuit calendar and point at myself. “1979.”
Initially, our prospects don’t look good. The Matador – sans funny hat, poofy knickers, red cape or horns – isn’t exactly oozing with Old Spice. Pockets of usual suspects with indie leanings mope about in their Postal Service Death Cabs, while in honor of mothers, a candlelit, sort-of-fair-trade crafts table glows against the wall. Somebody hasn’t explored their theme to its fullest potential, but given the presence of penises in close proximity to liquor, I’m willing to let its slide. Am I ever!
“So, I have this idea,” I ballyhoo to Bao Le-Huu. “I need to get pregnant for Mother’s Day, see, so I want you to stick it in me.”
“I can do that,” he mildly cringes.
“I’d like to see that,” his girlfriend Jillian eggs me on.
“We’d have the most beautiful baby! His hair would be really straight and dark with bright blond streaks, and he’d have some of that hybrid appeal, and …,” I cross every line I can find. “Er, just kidding?”
Meanwhile, Karen’s breast-out bar-lean bait seems to have attracted its very own sardine. A stocky bald man just three weeks into his Waverly residence has sauntered over with all of the grace of a blind shark. His name, it should be noted, is Kurt. That is never a good sign.
“Is your body insured?” he rips a page from The Rapist’s Guide to Attracting Prey. “Because it should be.”
“Wait … wait a minute,” I stammer out in disbelief. “Did you just ask her what I think you did? Do you work for Lloyd’s of London?”
“Yeah,” he looks like he’s going to kill me, or confused. “My body’s insured.”
At this point, naturally, he lifts up his shirt to reveal an approximation of a six-pack. Then he slaps it. Wow.
“And is that your hat?” I sideways-glance at a balled-up baseball cap on the bar. “The one that says ‘Old Guys Rule’?”
“Yes,” his jaw tightens. “It’s a brand.”
Hot. Anyway, Kurt’s the lingering sort that doesn’t retract at phrases like “Um, I have a boyfriend,” and for that he should be admired. If there were a spokesmodel for blue balls, I don’t doubt that Kurt could be his understudy. However, given the alpha machismo that’s presently threatening to suffocate Karen and me in some horrible armpit incident, we sure could use a trapdoor.
“Can I get you guys a drink?” Kurt sea breezes.
“No,” we don’t.
“Brad wants to buy you guys a shot,” the bartender intervenes, thankfully. “Brad.” Now that’s a name to make babies with. It’s super-hot Summerbirds Brad, too, which means he’s in a band and will totally cheat on me, I’ll divorce him, lose a leg and make millions.
“We’ll take two Patróns,” I wink in Brad’s direction in a manner that suggests both Thom Yorke and “I swallow.”
“Bottoms up!” I imagine him responding, hopefully.
But my bottom stays down – at least for a minute -– and the only thing about to be swallowed is my pride. The DJ breaks into an ironic thump featuring Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step,” and within moments I’m pulling a Brian Austin Green interpretation of the Running Man for all to see, point and laugh at. Why? Because I can always count on regret.
See you tomorrow in aisle six.
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