Monday, March 05, 2007

the highest high

First of all, I should mention that I am paying for my indulgent weekend by dealing with a nasty cough/cold/achiness. I'm hoping the medicine does its job, but apologize in advance if I ramble or come off as a bit spacey.

Guess I should start with Friday. I knew it was going to be a great night. I didn't have any big expectations, I just felt that slight tingle under my skin, that electric anticipation that there was fun on the horizon.

Before meeting Willow for one of our regular Bar K outings, I stopped into a deli for a quick bite. Sitting at the next table was a man in his thirties, dressed in black, eating a sandwich. Another man came in who turned out to be his friend; the man in black said he was about to go to work and the friend mentioned he just moved to my neighborhood. I was in a talking-to-strangers kind of mood, so I mentioned to the friend how much I loved the neighborhood, how great it was, etc. We talked for a minute and the friend left. The man in black stayed to finish his meal.

"Excuse me," my gut told me to go ahead and ask him. "Are you a bartender?"

"I am."

Here we go. "I have a question. Is it common for bartenders to date customers?"

He nodded. "It happens a lot."

"Because there's this bartender I'm interested in and I'm wondering how can a bar patron go from being that to...something more?"

"Good question." He thought about it. "Well, you want to show your face regularly, get to know each other...have you tried staying until the bar closes?"

"I did that once, because I was talking to people, but I didn't want to linger. That could look bad."

"Good thinking. Do you think this bartender knows you're interested?"

"I think he has a pretty good idea."

"Well, then...I don't know what to tell you. It does happen a lot, though. Keep going, keep talking to him. Good luck."

"Thank you."

Something about that interaction felt like a good omen.

At Bar K, Willow and I talked to some of the regulars one of which, Ad Sales Andy, remembered that I wrote about dating online and had a knack for helping men be more successful with women. He and his friend asked for some of my basic thoughts and ideas. I said the two most important things I learned in the last year was to have a full, interesting life and go out with a view to having a great time, not to specifically meeting someone, and also that interactions with people in general (in a romantic context and otherwise) should ideally be about what you have to offer and raising the other person's social value, instead of taking or needing something from them.

Ad Sales Andy was hanging on my every word, but I think it was also because he fancied me.

During a cigarette break a little later, his friend offered me a drag off a joint, which I accepted. Then Andy kissed me. I was tipsy and wanted kisses, so I went along with it, even though I wasn't really interested in him (damn me and my alcohol-related kiss cravings!).

Back inside Bar K, I realized I was missing Cozy Bar and wanted to stop by there. Willow was tired and decided to give it a miss, so I went by myself, figuring I was bound to run into people I knew, or talk to new folks.

Once I arrived, I saw plenty of familiar faces, including Edward Furlong-y and my favorite regular of them all, Magazine Mitch. He introduced me to the two women he was with and said,

"We tried to see Ben's play tonight, but it was sold out. We did see him afterwards, though."

"You should have gotten advanced tickets, silly," I answered.

Before long, Mitch and I were in the bathroom, smoking and smooching.

"I'm really fucked off that I didn't get to see the play," he said.

"Well, tomorrow's the last show and it's probably sold out."

"No, the box office said there are twenty tickets left."

I felt a spark of hope in my chest. "Let's go order tickets. Right now."

For all the coercing Mitch had tried to do in the past to get me to come over, I was the one who insisted we go to his place then and there.

The two women he was with had left at that point (not sure if they saw us disappear to the bathroom together or what) and I told him we'd be quick and return to the bar shortly.

Mitch lives around the corner from Cozy Bar, in a third floor walk-up. It's quite possibly the nicest boy apartment I have ever seen. Beautifully decorated in deep reds and sage greens, overstuffed couches, velvet curtains, embroidered bedspread, cherry wood dining table, and tasteful accents throughout.

"It's not too metrosexual?" he asked.

"No! It's tidy and pretty, but still has a masculine and comfortable feel to it. You have a really lovely place."

He gave me the full tour, from his private office to the kitchen cabinets, one of which held nothing but various pill bottles, filled with holistic and illicit substances.

Mitch put on a David Bowie concert DVD and prepared a bowl. Normally, smoking pot after drinking makes me nauseous, but I had a few hits and felt perfectly mellow. I sank back into the marshmallow-like sofa cushions and watched Bowie do his thing.

"I am so fucked up," Mitch said.

"Yeah. Let's get those tickets."

We went into his office, I got the site up, Mitch read out his credit card info, and I printed the confirmation.

"We're really going aren't we?" I asked, not fully believing it.

"We're going."

"Thank you so much," I gave him a big hug.

Funny enough, Mitch didn't try anything when he had me in his apartment, and was a perfect gentleman. It couldn't have been the alcohol/drugs, because I'm pretty sure we made out more later that night. Actually the rest of the night is pretty much a blur, so I'll fast forward to the play.

"We probably won't get to talk to him much afterwards," Mitch warned. "He's Mr. Movie Star and I could barely get to him the other night, he had so many people surrounding him."

"Oh, that's fine. I figure it's going to be even more insane with it being the last performance. I just want to say hello and tell him he did a good job." I also wanted him seeing me look smokin' hot, and generally bask in Ben's dreaminess, but I left that part out.

The play was still entertaining the second time around, and even though Mitch knew to expect nudity, he was somewhat thrown by it.

"I can't believe I saw Ben's cock," he said in the bar afterwards, while we waited for the cast. "That's just too much," he shook his head. "Did you see how big his cock was?"

"Do we have to talk about this?" I looked around nervously, not wanting Ben to show up as we were discussing his anatomy.

"He's got a bigger cock than I do," Mitch continued.

We finally changed the subject. I kept looking around in a subtle way, but Mitch spotted him first.

"There's your guy."

As expected, he had plenty of well-wishers surrounding him, so we stayed where we were, figuring he'd make his way over to us. Eventually, he was a few feet away, the people in front of us cleared out, and we called him over.

"Did you get in this time?" Ben asked Mitch, who nodded.

"Hey, gorgeous," He started to give me a hug, then pulled away, doing a double take. I kept my hand on his back. He looked me up and down in a very surprised and appreciative way. "You look good." Ben gave me hug, then murmured in my ear, "You smell good, too."

Mitch and I told him he did a good job on the play.

Ben turned to me, "I know it's not as good as your stuff, and I'd rather do a drama with you, but it's still good for me to do these kinds of things." Mind you, the playwright in question is a published writer and respected in the theater world. As he talked, he continued to look me up and down.

"Doesn't she look good?" Ben asked Mitch, then looked at me again, not waiting for an answer, "Your hair, your..." He looked like he was ready to eat me up with a spoon.

Ben continued his rounds; after he left, I took a big sip of my drink to steady myself, unable to speak for a few seconds.

"I just need a moment," I said to Mitch, feeling all kinds of shaky and incoherent.

Mitch and I had a few more drinks, and kept talking and talking. He is actually great company and we had a lot of fun at the bar together. I did keep an eye on Ben, though (it looks like he spent a big portion of the night talking to some guy at the bar). At one point, he standing talking to a group of people and we were perfectly in each other's line of vision. I smiled at him and he mouthed something back to me, though I couldn't make out what it was.

A couple of hours later, Ben looked ready to leave. I stood, wanting to catch him on his way out. He came by again and held my hand as he talked to us.

"So are you going to go home and get laid?" Mitch asked.

I laughed.

"No, man, I'm gonna go home and jerk off," Ben replied.

The two of them talked about I don't know what, because I was too focused on Ben's hand in mine. Then it was time for him to go.

"When are you back?" I asked.

"Tuesday. I'll see you on Tuesday." He leaned in and gave me a peck on the lips.

After he left, I turned to Mitch. "Did you see that? He kissed me on the lips."

"Yeah, he kissed me on the lips, too. I think he's bisexual."

"Don't ruin my moment, Mitch."

"Let's get out of here and go to Cozy Bar."

We took a taxi over there. To my surprise, I found myself opening up to Mitch. I told him about my depression last year and other personal details. Mitch may be a bit messed up, but is very smart and easy to talk to.

"We have fun, don't we?" he asked.

"We do."

As the taxi was nearing the bar, we kissed, but this time it felt different. It was more of an "I like you" kind of kiss. Maybe it felt more emotional for me, because I had just shared some very private things with Mitch, or because we were starting to connect as people instead of tipsy bar patrons. Then again, we were hardly sober in the taxi, either.

Cozy Bar was fun as always, and despite feeling like crap on a cracker yesterday and today, it was worth the good times.

Much as I don't like to admit it, I think I'm starting to like Mitch a bit. It's a very bad idea for several reasons (beginning and ending with the fact that our hookups have all been alcohol-fueled). I don't think our personality types would work together, I think we both have lots of issues to work through, but there's something seemingly minor that bothers me above all else. He never makes sure I am safely in a taxi before walking home after the bar closes, he just leaves me outside in the middle of the night. It's small, but the kind of thing that makes me know deep down I couldn't be with him.

Also, I still can't get my mind off Ben. Tomorrow night, I'll get to mark his return to Cozy Bar. I don't have unrealistically high hopes, I have decided it will be enough if I just get to kiss Ben, just once (a real kiss, not a peck). At this point, thinking back to the way he looked at me on Saturday, the way he has looked at me before, too, I think maybe it's not such an impossible thing to hope for.

15 comments:

MonkeyPants said...

I wish I could be so outgoing. When I go out by myself, I tend to use sports as an excuse and huddle at the bar, eyes fixed on the TV, generally only engaging the bartender in conversation. If I was better at it, I'd talk to the people I want to talk to instead of hoping a non-undesirable (double negative?)sidles up next me instead. Good for you!

Ana Renee Jones said...

Yay!

DFMer said...

You've totally got a case of the "jordan catalanos"... that's the best. so exciting, so painful and so very fun to read about!

Vicious said...

Monkeypants,

Me too. Every time I make the effort to be outgoing and break out of my safe little shell I get the crap kicked out of me. (Not literally)

Dolly,

I did like your advice about being a complete person and bringing people up. I wonder though, I mean, I have girls on the brain constantly. I can't seem to go out without constantly worrying about weather or not I should talk with the young women around me.

I guess it's different for women. I mean, all you have to do is wait and blow off the guys you don't like. In my recent interactions as a single I've figured out that I'm playing a "yes" game, and women are playing a "no" game. That is, their thinking of every possible reason not to continue talking to me. I could screw up at any moment, and it scares the life out of me.

Initially, this whole "Ben and Mitch" situation made me a bit uncomfortable. But then I thought "what the hell" roll with it Dolly! I realize I'd do the same. 'Course, if I was after this particular girl, but also hanging out/making out with her friend at the same time I doubt I'd get as positive reaction as you have. Double standard I suppose...

-Vicious

Matt Savage said...

Dolly,

I'm still rooting Magazine Mitch. I know you find it mind boggling but it seems clear to me that you two are becomming more and more attracted to each other. Sure, he has his flaws, but that's what makes him real, unlike Mr. Perfect aka Barman Ben.

-Matt

Red Stapler said...

I'm with Matt.

Barman Ben has been idolized in your head, and the reality is never going to live up to your image.

You and Mitch at least have an honest thing going. You guys sound on the same page, and there's clearly chemistry.

I'm rooting for Mitch.

Dolly said...

Monkeypants,
I am not always so outgoing. There are nights when I go out and don't talk to anybody. There are social outings that still bring out my inner shy girl. The weekend was special in that I was really 'on'. Cozy Bar is also special, because it's the only bar in New York where I can talk to anyone and constantly meet new people.

dfmer,
Hahaha, I love it. You're right, it's totally a Jordan Catalano thing. But Angela did get to be with him, didn't she? Also, I am wracking my brain wondering what DFM stands for...

Vicious,
You just came out of a traumatic relationship and you also (by your own admission) have work to do on your own mental health. Maybe it's not the best time for you to be worried about picking up women? As for the Ben/Mitch thing, Ben flirts with tons of women at Cozy Bar and I have no idea how many women he has kissed/slept with. Until there is something established between the two of us, that doesn't matter to me, same as it shouldn't matter who I kiss or sleep with. Also, Mitch is not Ben's best friend or anything. They know each other through the bar.

Matt and Red Stapler,
I get what you're saying, and I've thought about it, but I really think Mitch is only interested in getting in my pants. He's fun to drink with and talk with, but he hasn't shown himself to be trustworthy, dependable, or in any other way good relationship material. Also, he flirts with different women every time I go to Cozy Bar. I've seen him leave with two women at once on two separate ocassions, too (one of which was this past Saturday; he invited me, too, but I declined). He might be even more of a player than I've heard Ben is.

clarissa said...

i love how you make smoking pot sound all salacious in your teaser...for whatever reason i'd never really considered getting stoned as doing drugs. not that i'm little mrs drugtastic or anything.

honestly, i kind of think BB is verging into odreary territory (or beyond), where the idea is -sosososososo- much better than the reality. i'm not necessarily rooting for mitch either, though he seems realer somehow, at least through the way you write him..though in the same vein, youve had far more face time with him. i'm super intrigued about who BB turns out to be.

Doc Love said...

Drugs are bad.

Aphexcoil said...

Drugs are bad.

Oh bullshit. Drugs are for people who can't handle reality. Reality is for people who can't handle drugs. I'm not going to "thread-jack" Dolly's blog, though. :)

Puneet said...

a

Stephen said...

I don't get why BB isn't whisking you away with him :P
my thoughts are either:
a) He wants you to take total control (Such a turn on when a woman is assertive and strong-willed...)
b) He senses intense emotional involvement on your part, which is incongruous with status quo, and thus confusing. (And he doesn't want to risk hurting you).

BTW, I so very much enjoyed reading about your great weekend. That feeling of 'on' is the best in the world...

Dolly said...

Clarissa,
I don't think of pot-smoking as such a big deal, either, but after this last time, I have to say I think it's something I should avoid. I think between that and the alcohol and cigarettes, it compromised my immune system in a big way and I still have a bad cough three days later. As for Ben, I think the difference between him and odreary is that with the latter, I knew it was all in my head. With Ben, he gives me hints here and there that he's interested, or at the very least somewhat attracted.

Doc Love and Aphie,
I think both of you were being sarcastic, so I'll leave you to it.

Stephen,
I think it's probably closer to the second option, though I do try to make my adoration not overtly obvious. The other thing is that any time I see him, it's usually crowded and he is occupied by work/other people. It's not my style to like the popular guy, but there you have it.

Rascal said...

Dolly,

Your comment that you could never date Mitch because he doesn't put you in a cab after your evenings together sounds like someone looking for a reason to cross someone else off their list. Would that keep you from dating Ben?

But even if this is really a sign that he's unsuitable, I'd suggest taking care of your own needs and tell him, even as a friend, how nice it would be if he did that for you. He might not agree to it, but you'd be taking care of your own safety.

As far as why Ben isn't just "whisking you away with him", I hate to be reality calling, but the obvious "C)" option is "Maybe he's not all that into you."

But then, maybe you're not all that interested in reality right now.

He just sounds like someone with lots of options, in a position where people come to him (star of the show, bartender), and he probably gets off on the buzz of lots of pretty women giving him attention and approval. This is SO addictive for a guy & to keep the attention coming, he has to give the impression that he at least may be interested in pursuing you.

Then again, he may have just woken up to how hot you are.

Feel better, and thanks again for the nice writing.

Rascal

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