Posts Tagged ‘boozin’’

I am honored today to present a guest post by the inimitable Sarah Von of yes and yes. If you don’t already read her site, you absolutely must check it out: she’s one of those gutsy, inspiring total badasses who we all dream of being, and every time I read a post, I leave absolutely grinning (even on these blah rainy New England days). Check out Sarah’s NTKOG experiment in my hometown — it’ll leave you shooting your beverage (not rancid fruity vodka, I hope) out your nose.

Also, if you’re craving a little TKOG, today I’m posting at Secret Society of List Addicts (another of Sarah’s projects!) about how to put down the wine spritzer and shake up cocktails like a big boy or girl.

NTKOG: who enjoys a) fruit flavored liquor b) attracting the attention of everyone in the bar

I am: the girl who frequents tiny, hole-in-the-wall bars where I can be ignored while I nurse my vodka gimlet, thankyouverymuch.

I am not: a fan of theme bars, sports bars, watching alcohol-related spectacles or being a spectacle myself.

The Scene: The BFF and I were in Las Vegas, escaping the icy clutches of winter for a three-day weekend, eating our weight in buffets and attending ridiculous, vampire-themed Vegas shows.  We had grand plans to meet up with an old friend from our hometown who’d been living in Vegas for nearly ten years. “Where would you like to meet, old friend?  What sort of awesome, locals-only watering hole would you suggest?”  “Why, how about this quaint little place called Kahunaville?” he responded.

Now, it is not a stretch to say that Kahunaville?  It was probably my arch-nemesis bar.  I could not have created, from scratch, a bar that appalled me more.  It was as though someone had reached into my brain and read my list of Things That I Never, Ever Want to See in a Bar.  Things like:
1) Flat screen TVs broadcasting a football game
2) Waitresses wearing skimpy Hawaiian outfits, handing out flower necklaces, asking if you want to get ‘lei-d’
3) Incredibly loud techno music
4) Drinks that stream/explode/are served with fifteen toys/flowers/straws in them.

Yes, I am actually 65 years old on the inside, in case you were wondering.  If you want me, I’ll just be over here muttering about those damn kids having too much fun with their skinny jeans and flavored beers.

While we waited for our friend to join us, the BFF  and I tried to yell a conversation at each other over the sounds of Akon and she picked an umbrella, two test tubes, a fake starfish and a skewer of fruit out of her drink.  But then?  Things got interesting.

In an attempt to make Kahunaville even more entertaining, apparently the management employs trick bartenders.  And apparently the half-time of the football game was performance time.  Just as we were settling into our $15 cocktails, an announcer came striding through the bar, with a microphone instructing us to “Get the F*ck up!  I want to hear you scream!”

With that statement sir,  you have now just guaranteed that I will sit here silently glaring.

As we watched, each of the bartenders on the three sides of the bar put a whistle in their mouths and began one of those Cocktail-caliber drink mixing routines.  Juggling mixers!  Catching the mixer on top of the vodka bottle!  Throwing cherries into the air and catching them on toothpick in their mouths!  All of this was accompanied by a promotional video about each other bartenders tauting their wins at various ‘flair competitions’ and previous occupations (Our guy was a former Chip n Dale’s dancer)

To be totally honest, it was pretty impressive, but once the announcer encouraged us stand on the tables and scream for free shots, I decided to clap sedately in my seat.  Because I’m an a-hole like that.

But as luck would have it, our side of the bar apparently won the hollering contest because, before you could say “pink favored vodka,” Steve “Big Show” Shrearer was standing on the bar handing out shots.  By this time, I had approached the bar out of pure curiosity.  I backed away from the bar as the free shots were coming around and was internally grateful when he ran out.

But as I turned around to head back to the table, the BFF shook her head at me, grinning and pointing back at the bar.  I spun around, with what I’m sure was a look of total horror on my face to see Mr. Big Show, astride the bar.  He was staring me down and doing his best former-stripper finger-curling, come-hither gesture, and pointing at his mix bottle and then at me.

I would be lying if I did not say that I wanted to immediately turn on my heal, walk to the bathroom and hide out there for the next twenty minutes.  But I honestly channeled a bit of our girl NTKOG and thought “Von Bargen, you get outside your comfort zone.  You go up there and let that man pour fruit flavored alcohol down your throat while everyone cheers.”

So I did.  I stood next to the bar while a man nicknamed ‘Big Show’ stood five feet above me and poured pink alcohol down my gullet. All the people standing on their tables whooped, I successfully avoided coughing, choking or melting into the floor with embarrassment.  Then I walked back to our table, licked off that tiny umbrella and drank two test tubes full of vodka.

The Verdict: I didn’t die – of embarrassment or alcohol poisoning. I’m glad I bucked up and tried something new, but at the end of the day, I’m just more of a corner-booth, nurse-my-whiskey Kind of Girl.  I think this is a situation where what happens in Vegas, truly stays in Vegas.  Unless you write about it on the internet, I guess.


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Your comments on MY GIVEAWAY entry are warming my heart, dudes slash ‘ettes! Remember, you still have ’til Tuesday to enter to win a Wodehouse novel, Lush soaps, or a (non-used) sex toy! Which basically sounds like the best evening ever.

NTKOG #75: The kind of girl who quite liberally slips her hand inside your pocket. Non-metaphorically.

I am: actually pretty nimble of finger when it comes to boosting random objects like bar glasses and steak knives.

I am not: sure about the ethical ramifications of applying my dark powers to THE CONTENTS OF YO’ PANTS.

The Scene: Charlie’s in Harvard Square, after my Thursday night writing class, hanging out with Anglophile and Porn Star, a girl and guy from said class. Which actually makes it a night chock full of NTKOG: after class, choking on pre-teen-esque nerves, I asked them if they wanted to just chill and imagine my joy when they actually said yes! (Dear Diary: I finally made some friends!). After chatting for a while (Dear Diary: intellectually stimulating conversation!), we decided to embark on a misadventure.

A target immediately presented itself — quite literally — in the form of a white dishrag tucked into the, um, quite tempting pocket of our server. “Come on!” I told Anglophile, “You wanted a misadventure! You should just grab it from him!” She giggled and steeled herself up, but couldn’t dredge up the nerve.

The other strand of the evening: Anglophile and I were trying assiduously (and, I’ll admit, teenager-ishly) to come up with titles of the fine feature films in which we imagined Porn Star had earned his epithet. Usually I have just about the dirtiest sense of humor of anyone I’ve met, and am an endless fount of puns, so you’d think the intersection of these traits would yield epic success, right?

TKOG: I’m feeling something science fiction. How about — Star Balls?
Anglophile: What are you talking about? Star Whores.
TKOG: Damn.

The server walks past our table, the bar rag swish swishing against the back of his thighs. Anglophile and I reach toward it, then our courage deserts us.

Anglophile: How about a horror movie?
TKOG: The Pecs-orcist?
Anglophile: What?! No! The SEXorcist.

As I hang my head in shame, the server takes a step back toward our table. Swish, swish.

I jump up from the table and track the server from one end of the bar to the other, sneaking out my hand like a cartoon cat reaching into the goldfish bowl. But to no avail: he wriggles out of my grasp at every turn. The man is good. The three of us divvy up the check and I decide I’ll just steal the rag and run. So I sneak up behind server, pluck the rag out of his pocket and — goddamnit, my fatal flaw when it comes to staging a rear attack: make the mistake of engaging in conversation.

TKOG: I really like this bar rag. It’s like the perfect size and color. I want these for my apartment.
Empty Pockets: Uh, thanks? They’re okay, I guess.
TKOG: Can I keep this one? I want to keep this.
EP: Yeah, no. I can’t. We technically rent them from the company.
TKOG: Okay, so can I have something else to remember you by?

The server grabs a beer from the bar and starts to hand it off, then says something about open container laws. He scours the rest of the bar, looking for a souvenir, then finally settles on a fork.

TKOG: Thanks so much — [nametag glance] — Chris. I’ll always remember the night you forked me.

The Verdict: So my pun sense abandoned me for the bulk of the evening, but IT CAME BACK WHEN I NEEDED IT MOST. A really gorgeous tying of the two strands of the evening, if I do say so myself. Although I accidentally stabbed myself about fourteen times, carrying the fork in my pocket on the T.

This is officially the second-cheesiest pick-up line I’ve used on a bar employee in Boston; definitely also the most genuinely amused I’ve been while behaving totally inappropriately with a guy. Totally surprisingly to my anti-touch self, I would not only attempt the klepto as a pick-up again, but totally want to go back and try it again WITH HIM. Except this time I’ll pass on the cutlery and go for the free beer, please.

Also, if you couldn’t guess by the immature shenans and non-stop porn discussion, I would 100% recommend hanging out with random, cool-seeming people who you don’t think you know well enough to hang out with. It’s just not worth being too embarrassed to ask, because the potential reward is so high.

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NTKOG #70: The kind of bar-hopper who locks eyes with her target and stalks across the room to meet him before even working out an entrance strategy.

I am: a total Hamlet. In the market for scheming, skulking and the occasional monologue? I’m your girl.

I am not: kidding about the skulking. Hear a rustle in the draperies? it’s probably me, crouching and muttering iambically.

The Scene: The Tap in Fanueil Hall, hanging out with Sister and her friends a few hours before my epic bungling of the debit card caper. A few weeks ago, The Ex told me about a dating/mating study that suggested men are most successful picking up women when they speak to them within five seconds of noticing them. The upshot: the longer you wait, the more time you have to gain her negative attention by skulking around like a creeper, so get moving, son. Pretty sound, right? I challenged myself to talk to three men within three seconds of noticing each.

Glancing around the bar, a few drinks in, the snag hit me: Right now, I don’t even know whether there are three men in all of Boston who interest me. What I did know for sure? No way was there one single guy in that bar who caught my attention in a positive way. Still, the whole point of this exercise was to give it the old college try.

Guy 1: 5’8″ Irish Guy in a Rugby Jersey

TKOG: Hey.
Rugby Fan: Hey.
TKOG: What sport is that for?
RF: Rugby. Ireland’s team is in the international finals today. We’ve been watching them play all day. Been drinking since 9am!
TKOG: Okay. Nice talking. Take care.

Guy 2: Tall Guy in a Corduroy Blazer

TKOG: Hey. I like your blazer.
Corduroy Blazer: Thanks! My friends all made fun of me!
TKOG: You’re totally pulling it off.
CB: Thank you! I was actually just on my way out now, though.
TKOG: Cool.

Lest you think he was just avoiding me, about three seconds later, his friends returned from settling up the tab and left the bar. Not before Corduroy gallantly offered me the table they’d been occupying, though.

Guy 3: Strong Silent Type, a Coast Guard in the group we were with

TKOG: So. Unbiased opinion. I’m trying to figure out the best way to start conversations with strangers. I’ve been opening with “hey,” but I’m thinking of just, like, snapping my fingers, pointing at them and saying: “Coooool.”
CG: Like that?
TKOG: Yeah. Cooool.
CG: “Hey” is a good opener. I think it’s your best bet.
TKOG: Thanks for the input. I hate talking to people.
CG: Me too! Bars like this are the worst for talking to people.
TKOG: Good to know. I’m new to the city. Where are the best bars?
CG: This is the best bar.

We then actually chatted for a few minutes about bars, the local music scene, diving out of helicopters — the usual. Our conversation was broken when, during a lull, he literally jumped on top of this girl who he had apparently been pining over for the past year. I was relieved to be able to stop thinking up smalltalk.

The Verdict: This was pretty doomed from the start. It felt nice and kind of natural to start talking to people right away, without taking time to come up with a conversation opener or go through forty hypothetical rejections before saying my first word. But on balance? Not great conversations, and with people who turned out to be pretty much as I expected.

I was prepared to totally write off this experiment as a failure, but as I considered it a few days later, it reminded me of other times I’ve talked to people and really have hit it off right away, within the first three seconds. A couple of examples sprung to mind, but one in particular — a guy I met at a party a few months before I broke up with The Ex, and with whom I had immediate and almost lethal chemistry. Ten seconds after this guy and I met, there was this weird, amazing energy, like a golden thread between us that you could almost see. A few seconds was all it took, and after the party, I remember standing outside, alone in the dark by my car, and just reeling. And whatever it was, it was clear from various of his actions that he had felt it too. Something improbable and inconvenient and urgent.

This experiment was a failure, true. But it did remind of something I had forgotten: I believe in love, or at least recognizing the possibility of love, at first sight, during your first words. And really, there is no better feeling than standing under a streetlight, quaking like an electrified jelly, feeling fearless and foolish and utterly infinite. Like the first time you stay up all night enthralled with a life-changing novel, finish it as the first rays of sun are piercing through the sky and everything is big and good. Even if they only come every several months or years, these moments have come and they will come again. And are certainly not worth chatting up every drunk Irish guy in Boston to find. So. I guess I’m going wait it out, and when the time comes, it’ll find me.

How about you guys? Ever found love at first sight? Am I a total idiot? Both of the above?

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