Hi friends! Jane here. This story took place when I tried to socialize with my neighbor T.W. and take part in a Friday night Happy Hour downtown. Unfortunately, a strange married dude named Narcissus wanted to add me to his collection of female friends he partied with, and I became more visible to him when T.W. went onstage and entertained the crowd at the bar's Open Mike Night. Narcissus, an aspiring singer, has just given me a free CD of his songs (that I honestly didn't want!).
When T.W. walked off the stage and back to our table, I couldn't hide from Narcissus anymore. With another man by my side, I earned about 1,000 attractiveness points with him (Narcissus). I didn’t do anything to encourage this, but it seemed that Narcissus’ target was locked on me.
Narcissus must need constant attention from women, but he is barking up the wrong tree in the wrong ZIP code if he wants it from me, I thought. I smiled at him briefly but avoided his gaze. What did he want?
It was a question I'd asked myself for a long time. Why did paired-off people feel the need to flirt with everyone in sight? Why were the married guys from work on the prowl at happy hour, or going to strip joints? What prevented some married people from acting like they were married?
T.W. noticed Narcissus staring over at us and asked, “You know him?”
“He has some trouble remembering my name,” I said, “but we’ve been introduced before.”
He eyed the CD. “Are you a fan?”
“It was a freebie,” I said. “You understand I’m on a limited budget,” I added and winked. “That guy has a.... small-town flair.”
“He has something, all right,” T.W. said, as he put his arm around me possessively. I sat there, rather stiffly, not knowing what to do. This wasn’t part of my usual interaction with T.W. Could this be the night he’d make a move? Oh, crap.
After a few more amateurs took their turns on the stand, I told T.W. I wanted to leave. Friday nights were rough; the cumulative stress of either working as a temp or sitting at home fretting over my lack of income and the mounting bills that I couldn’t pay did me in at the end of the week. I wasn’t exactly springing out of bed every morning anyway.
“Let’s hit Steak and Shake on the way home,” he said, and I agreed. Soon, we were in a black vinyl booth, looking at menus and debating which shakes were best.
T.W. needed some food in his stomach to sober up, and therefore couldn’t adjust his volume level down from the bar. He thought it would be fun to talk about the characters sitting in nearby booths. It wasn’t long before people noticed.
“That guy’s giving me a look,” he said, both scared and macho. I turned to look at a redneck in a faded white t-shirt, threadbare blue jeans, and cowboy boots. He looked about 30 years old and had a tattoo of a snake on his forearm. He scowled as he looked in our direction.
“Whatever, T.W. Stop looking at him. You are high on testosterone and drank too much.”
“No really, he’s, like, trying to stare me down or something. Like your buddy Narcissus. Stupid mouth breather,” he said loudly.“Yeah, why don’t you say that a little bit louder?” I asked him.