Since I’ve relocated to Alameda, CA I’ve been busy trying to keep a roof over my head, not an easy feat here in the Bay Area. The rent is so out of control one guy is actually renting a tent in his yard for $900 a month. This Saturday I found myself at loose ends and decided to go out for a beer and some people watching.
The question, however, was where did I want to go? There are three bars about a mile from my place, and I’ve visited two of them so far. My experiences were less than stellar, and I didn’t think they would be much better with the third. So, it being the 21st Century I decided to consult with Yelp and see what was out there.
My choices came down to a Tiki bar and a place called the Lucky 13. I’d never been to a Tiki bar before so I was interested in checking it out, but I had already been to the 13 twice before and I kinda liked the place. The first time I stopped by was for lunch, the second time I popped in on a Friday night. I decided to go for the Trifecta, leaving the Tiki bar for next week.
It’s a kitschy little dive whose walls are adorned with movie posters and handbills for punk bands. A monument to the best of the late ’70s-early ’80s counter-culture, the 13 is my kind of dive.
The place was packed when I walked in which was fine, I wanted to do some people watching. They don’t have any porter on tap (par for the course here in California) but they did have a nice Rasputin stout. I got one of those and wandered off towards the pool table that sits next to a motorcycle that sits on a bricked-over fireplace.
There were some young people playing Skeet-ball next to the Demolition Man pinball machine. They looked like students from the local community college, but they might have been interns with one of the tech companies. They didn’t look very interesting so I didn’t pay them much mind.
As I arrived a game was ending and the winners were leaving, giving control of the table to a guy called Jeff. While Jeff and I are talking, another guy shows up and says he will play if there are no other challengers. Then he disappears and Jeff and I decide that we will play since no one else seems fully interested in the idea of a game.
I get quarters, rack the table, and just as Jeff is about to break, here come the other two people who were going to play. With them is a cute little Filipina who looked kind of like Rosie Perez. It’s quickly decided that the easiest thing to do will be for use to play teams, with Jeff and I being on one side.
Jeff dominates the game and we quickly win the first game, and the rematch. Our opponents leave the bar, but strangely Rosi Perez is still hanging out. I thought she was with one of the other guys, but apparently that was not the case.
Time passes and Jeff, now thoroughly drunk, has decided it’s time to go home. He then asks Rosie Perez if she wants to go with him. A shocking, development, I know because he is probably the second guy tonight who asked her to leave with him. Rosie demurrs, opting instead to stay and shoot pool. Jeff, however, happens to have a billiards table at home!
As I’m watching this tableau i find myself wondering: what should I do? I don’t know either of these people, so should I step to the lady’s defence and tell Jeff to fuck off? Or should I just wait for her to ask for my assistance? After watching him whisper uncomfortably into her ear for a minute I decide to step in, asking if she wants a drink. She says yes, and I walk over to the ATM to get more money because the 13 is a cash-only bar.
While I’m negotiating with the machine I find myself wrestling with my conscience. Did I do enough to rescue this damsel in distress? Was I under any obligation at all to rescue her? And how far was I prepared to take this? How much drama was I prepared to go through for a stranger?
My sense of adventure joined the conversation and sided with my Conscience, so I returned to the pair.
“Hey Rosie,” I smiled at her, ignoring Jeff completely. “I don’t remember what kind of beer you wanted, so if you want it you’re going to have to come with me.”
This, I think, is the best way to handle it. Now she knows that I am here to protect her, but she is going to have to make some effort. Not much, just a little, and I’ll take it from there. After a brief hesitation she nods and stands to join me. We don’t move three feet and suddenly she’s jumping up on my back.
This has NEVER happened to me before. EVER.
I figure this is her way of telling Jeff, without having to say so, “I’m good. You can go now.” so I don’t worry about it. After helping her get settled in place I carry her over to the speedwell. At this point the bar tender is giving me an odd look, so i have to put Rosie down. We order our drinks and start chatting, and this is where shit starts getting weird.
As we’re chatting she is suddenly brushing her hand lightly up my inner thigh. I immediately check the Bling to see if she’s wearing a wedding ring. She has rings on every finger of her left hand, but nothing that looks like it signals commitment of any kind. This, I think, is encouraging so I don’t try and stop her.
She doesn’t talk much which is setting off alarms for me. Even if she was lying that would have shown there was actual intent behind her touching me. In this case, however, I was guessing she was just testing to see if I was another creep.
As we return to the pool area, who should I spot lurking in the same spot like a pathetic gimp? Yeah, fucking Jeff is still waiting for her even after seeing her jump up on me and allow herself to be carried through the bar. Still he waits for her, because that is what chicks dig, in his mind.
Jeff immediately tries to persuade her to come home to check out his billiards set and she departs for the ladies room. At this point I’ve had enough and, looking Jeff directly in the eye I tell him “Dude, this is starting to get creepy.”
“Huh?” he blinks at me. “What do you mean?”
“She’s not into you, Jeff. She doesn’t want to go with you.”
Now he looks surprised, actually stunned by my words. I am not making this up, he looks like I just told him she was a man.
“That’s not what she just told me.” he squawked indignantly because he apparently ddin’t see her get carried throgh the bar on my back.
Rosie returns and suddenly remembers she has laundry in the dryer or something and dashes out the front door of the bar. Jeff follows hot on her heels. So, being the man that I am, I rack the table and sip my water.
You might be wondering why I elected to stay behind, and that is a fair question. In the first I’m not stupid enough to get caught up in ridiculous drama. I do comedy, romance, and action but drama is something i like to avoid. And I’m well aware of the Shit Test and I am not going to fall for one ever again.
By rescuing her from Jeff I was doing my Civic Duty, nothing more. She was the one who initiated physical contact and began flirting. If she wanted to follow through, I was game, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way for it. She was pretty and had a very tight body, but she didn’t really excite me enough for me to jump through hoops.
It takes a while but Rosie does come back and we finally start the game. She apologizes for the scene but tells me she wanted to be there for him, whatever that means.
“Yeah, it was just funny watching him go out of his way trying to fuck you.” I laughed and took my shot, not realizing how my words might have sounded to her ears.
“Well, to be fair,” she said. “Don’t all the boys want to? How are you different?” Then, suddenly she gets this mischievous look in her eyes and says “I know you’ve measured it. How big is it?’
“It’s a mouthful.” I assured her. By the way, that is my standard reply to that question. I don’t give a fuck who’s asking, or why. She seemed to enjoy the answer, but it didn’t fully satisfy her curiosity. So she starts brushing her hands, feather-light, over my groin.
“Oh wow.” she breahted. “Okay, that’s nice.”
Now at this point I’m 95% sure she actually wants to go somewhere else and get horizontal. This is an idea I can completely endorse, by the way, so I ask her “How are you getting home tonight?”
And suddenly some other guy is there, and they know each other. She gives him the Autie-Hug, you know the one; hips are three feet apart, but she’s still hugging you? Yeah, one of thsoe.
So, clearly this sint’ her boyfriend, but she doesn’t introduce us, so now I know this isn’t going anywhere.
The rest of the night plays out as you’d expect with her flirting heavily without any actual intent to do anything, and me just flirting back because fuck it, I’ve got nothing else to do. After Last Call I left her to talk with her friend and made my way back to my ride, satisfied with the night’s adventure.
Women are a mystery to me, always have been. They have to be treated as individuals, but courtship rituals are a strange guessing game where the wrong move can cost you everything. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be with Rosie, or maybe I should have been more aggressive, more physical. In today’s society, however, I am leery of taking that option with a stranger, especially in a strange environment. I think I’d do better becoming a regular there first, that way I have character witnesses should anything come up.