Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tales of Shame and/or Weirdness

Here begins one in a supposed series of social awkwardisms, faux-pas, inappropriateness, embarrassing events, and general tales I would be better off leaving untold.

It had to have been about 1996 or 1997.   Two days post Christmas and I found myself in a local bar just off campus that hadn't quite been overrun by college kids.  It was never a strictly townie place, but over the decades, it had managed to maintain a bit of rough and tumble.  It was not necessarily the place to go if you were a college kid in search of a quick hook-up. It was an old-fashioned Tavern, something that I guess went out of fashion long before my time.   Now, 15 years later, it attracts a large college following but is still filled with bikers and unemployed working stiffs during the daylight hours.  For that it has my appreciation.
And so, here I was.  In this bar. Already drunk. Hanging out with a few people from my hometown who I barely tolerated.  If I hadn't just downed a six-pack, "barely tolerated" would be amended in this recollection with "detested."   At this point, though, they were tolerable.

Still early, 10 pm or so, we shuffled into the bar.   Almost immediately, my friend's younger brother had sidled up to an old-school wooden booth and began chatting up the two young women sitting there.  Funny thing is, I noticed that of them was Nicole, a girl I had met online (I was an early adopter--this was mid-90s) a few months earlier. She and I never really hit it off, but she became semi-close with one of my friends, so as friend rules go, Nicole and I were friendly.   I immediately felt sorry for the ladies, as Jason was not the most pleasant fellow to encounter in a bar two days after the celebration of the birth of Our Lord and Savior, so I quickly intervened.

I stepped up to the table and Nicole's friend, a pretty blonde, immediately thrust her hand out.  "Hi!  Guess what color my fingernails are?"   I glanced down at her nails and replied, flatly, "Vixen."  She, startled, said "Oh my god!  That's totally right.  The color is Vixen! How did you know?"   I shrugged.  "You're cute," she said.  "Sit down."  She scooted over, I sat down.  She ordered me a pitcher of beer.  I drank it, she got grabby. We kissed a bit, etc.  All pretty standard drunken 20-something bar antics.  After some time, she got up to go to the restroom, was met halfway back by a man she seemed to know. She stumbled over to the table, told Nicole that she was going home, and the man escorted her out the back door of the bar.

How did I know her fingernail polish was "Vixen?"  Total guess. My best friend at the time, Julia, had just purchased a bottle of Vixen nail polish a few days earlier.  When I looked at this stranger's nails, even in the dim light of the bar, they looked a bit purplish, a bit metallic.   So I said "Vixen."  Luck.  Or not luck.

It was only a few days later that Nicole apologized to me for what happened.  I was a little non-plused.  Apologize for what?  I got free beer and kissed a girl.   (She was fine--the gentleman who walked her home was looking out for her.)  "Well," Nicole said, "people are weird and she is weird about the whole thing with her mother, so when she meets new people, she gets nervous and she left because she was feeling strange."   I blinked.  "Her mother?  Huh?"    Nicole's face went a bit blank.  "Oh. You, you don't know..."  "I don't know anything about anything...I just met her."

Nicole went on to mention that the young woman's mother was a famous killer.  Not just locally famous but nationally, internationally, famous.  And the woman was, understandably, uncomfortable with the whole thing.  

And well, I never saw either one of them again. I did, however, a couple years later, buy some things at Gap, and was pretty sure that the clerk who sold me carpenter pants and polo shirts was the daughter of a famous killer who once bought me beer and kissed me in a dingy bar.  I didn't ask her though.  That would have been weird.

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