There seems to be a belief among some readers of this journal that I am what our society has crudely named “a ladies’ man.” This characterization of me and my lifestyle persists in spite of dozens of entries (not to mention IRL anecdotes) detailing innumerable miscalculations, misunderstandings, misfires, complete and total strike-outs and really every other form of failure one could possibly apply to the so-called “game of love.”
For a time, I believed some of you just couldn’t be bothered reading the fine print while the rest of you were just being good friends in perpetuating my erroneous reputation in the hopes that by doing so you were fueling me with strength and confidence so I would one day stop sucking so badly with girls. Unfortunately, certain shit has come to light and clued me in to the fact that many of you think I am KIDDING.
Employed primarily by camwhores, musicians and fat comic book writers, false-modesty is disgusting, disingenuous and despicable — although I must say I am not too surprised that I’ve been labeled with it. I admit, from the outside it is hard to believe that someone as skinny and pale as me; who drives a scratched-up two-door Saturn like me; and who knows as much about Batman as I do could possibly be single for more than three years already. My relentlessly sardonic style of speech and humour probably doesn’t help clear the waters any. Talk about “veil of irony,” right? How about a veil of irony behind a black velour curtain, stored five stories underground, as heard from within a wet paper sack?
So, it is in the interest of clarification, rumour-debunking, truth, redemption, etc. that I tell you the tale of last Saturday night. The following depicts events that are not atypical in my life, and it is my belief that after you read it you will agree — in the strongest possible terms — it’s a miracle I ever get laid at all.
Sheila teaches special ed kids all week up in the middle of nowhere, so she really likes to go out on the weekends. It was her birthday last week, but I was out of town so all I got her was a “Happy Birthday!” text message that didn’t even go through. We’re just friends, by the way, and because Sheila is such a good and thoughtful friend, she got me something really nice for my birthday, a beautiful piece of unique Japanese calligraphy I still haven’t hung up. So, taking her clubbing in Hollywood is the least I can do. Actually, I could do less and probably would, but I know my gorgeous friend Selina’s going to be there tonight and I’ve been looking forward to flirting with her all week. Sheila’s down because she needs human interaction and also likes to watch me strike out. For months she’s taken grotesque pleasure in pointing out that despite numerous make-out sessions with our friend Vicki, I’ve never “sealed the deal, and never will.”
Actually, no, she’s not that good or thoughtful a friend at all. Sheila talks incessantly for the duration of the drive, but I’ve become really skilled at blocking it out. Usually I can retain the highlights in buffer memory in case I’m tested later, but most of my resources are occupied with processing the regret I’m feeling over forgetting my watch at home.
The club is all but lifeless when we arrive, but I assure Sheila that it’s because we’re early. 11:30 is really too early for Hollywood clubs to really get going, but there are a few people already dancing, including my friend Barry.
“ANDY! You bastard!” he yells into my ear over the music. “How are you!?”
“Good! There’s someone I want you to meet!” I say, gesturing towards Sheila, sitting off to the side like a shy girl at a high school dance. I should say that Sheila is extremely attractive. Half-Japanese/half-white, dressed in a tight sleeveless low-cut black dress with a short skirt and high-heeled black boots. We used to be neighbors. Sheila figured out I shopped at CostCo® and, since she and her awful roommate lived in virtual squalor, she used to come over to do my dishes in exchange for paper towels and toilet paper. I never proposed that arrangement, but she is one of those blessed obsessive-compulsives who will clean your living room as if in a trance even if they just came over to watch Soul Plane or something. Unfortunately for Sheila, her roommate was wretched in every way, particularly in the hygenic and social senses. She would go days without showering while at the same time complaining to Sheila that men found her vaginal aroma “pungent.” Cockroaches would routinely travel from one end of their bedroom to the other, and because they did so without showing even an ounce of fear, Sheila decided she couldn’t take it anymore and moved back home and got that job teaching retards.
“This is my friend Sheila,” I say, introducing her to Barry. “She teaches retards.”
“Ah!” Barry laughs.
“This is my friend Barry,” I say to Sheila. “He’s a chemist!”
“Oh, cool,” she answers. “My dad got his PhD in chemistry!”
I was hoping Barry and Sheila would get along. A few weeks ago, at this very club, Barry introduced me to an absolutely stunning woman I crushed on immediately. One of the few genuinely decent guys my age, Barry mistook me for someone like him and really went to bat for me with that girl. She was red-hot and fiercely intelligent, and even though it seemed to go wrong between us rather mysteriously, I want to pay Barry back the favour by introducing him to a similarly beautiful and intelligent woman.
“So, where are you from originally?” Barry asks Sheila. Ah ha! My cue to go get an Adios Motherfucker and look for Selina.
I leave my tab open at the main bar and go downstairs to the second dancefloor, where the DJ is playing noize. It’s not hard to spot Selina, just follow the trail of men and women’s bodies littered around the bar. I hopscotch my way over their pathetic remains and tap her in the lower back BECAUSE I AM SO FLIRT OMG and we hug hello. Selina and I also met here a few weeks ago, but we’d already been e-friendz for a little while. She’s a model and is thusly acquainted with my photographer boss — which is, I suspect, the only reason I didn’t find myself lying on the floor with the rest of her victims when we met IRL — but her day job is some sort of computer admin or similarly nerdy title, which makes her hotter, naturally.
Selina’s personnel screening process is so intense it would make Tom Ridge hard and makes casual sex seven kinds of impossible, but our e-friendship has become increasingly e-flirty over the last couple of weeks and trading innuendo and flirtatious banter with a hot n3rd girl is all it really takes to get my blood flowing. I dunno, maybe if I play my cards right, I can steal a kiss.
“Oh!” she gasps, pinching the t-shirt under my army-style shirt/jacket. “Minus ten points for wearing a v-neck!”
“Hey!” another voice yells out just before I get a girly punch in my back. Whip around. It’s Talia, Barry’s friend, the one he introduced me to!
She told me just last night, during another chance encounter, that she didn’t think she would be here tonight. I should have known better when I saw Barry upstairs, they’re always together. When Talia and I first met, she was hanging out with Barry at this same club, only dancing with some bottom-feeding bald-headed gearhead mutant on drugs. Barry, being the hero he is, grabbed me by the hand and dragged me over to her so I could cut in while he distracted Pinhead with something shiny.
We all ended up at a popular afterparty location where Barry once again proved his virtue and left Talia and I alone to talk. We exchanged e-mail addresses before they dropped me at home. Talia was very quick in sending me the pictures she took that night, including one of us kissing. A week went by and I still hadn’t heard from her again, so I assumed it was just one of those random club kiss things that don’t go anywhere, but then she wrote me to say she was in finals and out of town for a while, which led to a bunch of exchanges and her wanting to know if I’d be going out that weekend.
We met at the club and like a chump, I completely ignored my visiting-from-out-of-town friends in favour of spending the entire evening with Talia. It felt like a real proper date, the kind where it’s not weird or awkward and you actually want to spend more than five minutes alone with the person, which is a scenario I haven’t experienced in years. Certainly not since I moved back to Los Angeles. Also, I told her I was a spy.
Talia invited me over the next night. We talked, made-out, watched movies, drove around, stalked celebrities, all that good second-date stuff. She told me to call her when I got back from San Diego, and I did. Typically, she takes quite a while in getting back to me, but I was used to it by then and didn’t worry. She left a voicemail, but when I called and left her one, I didn’t get a call back. My psychic powers were telling me something had changed, but I tried to come up with a rational explanation.
My first thought was I’d screwed up on one of the phone rules. God, I hate the phone rules. I normally just tear up the number at the first hint of phone etiquette faux-pax because honestly WHO GIVES A FUCK because dating is usually stupid and a waste of time in any event, sex or otherwise. But because I was confronted with the problem of actually having had such a good time with Talia, the idea that some phone bullshit was precluding additional good times really frustrated me and I found myself agonizing over what I’d done wrong. It was really unpleasant, all that caring.
That was two or three days ago. I ran into Barry at another club last night. Happy and drunk as usual, he grabbed me by the hand and dragged me outside. “There’s someone I want you to meet!” he said before dropping me off right in front of Talia, who was not unhappy to see me. Whew. God bless that drunk little chemist, he always gives me the ins. At the bar with Talia and I, he complained that some girl at the club had asked him to dance, but that when he joined her, she just danced with her friends.
“Girls are weird like that, Barry,” I said, sarcasm turned up to eleven. “Like, sometimes they tell you to call them, but then they don’t call you back…”
She screamed (because she does that instead of laugh) and punched me in the arm. Eventually Talia said that she was “not feeling very committal” right now, which is close to what I suspected was the explanation for her curbing of enthusiasm, but I was still confused because I am usually very adept at not betraying any serious romantic inclinations. Unless she is just SO anti-commitment right now that I am disqualified just by virtue of having kissed her, which would make her even more commitment-phobic than I am, which is to say, profoundly commitment-phobic, meaning Talia has created a whole new field of study concerning commitment-phobia.
“You know her?” Selina asks, pointing at Talia.
“Yeah! You know her?” I asked Talia, pointing at Selina.
“We just met!” Talia answers. “Wow, you know him?” she asks Selina.
“Yeah!” Selina answers. “How do you two know each other?”
“We met… here,” I say, looking at Talia to see if she remembers. “Wait, so you didn’t know her before?”
“No, I just came up to her at the bar before you got here!” Talia laughs.
I remember that Selina and Talia are both bisexual in the extreme before hearing the sound of breaking glass in my head. I need a drink. Mine’s run out. Need more blue, but because the bartender is a fucking fucking fucking asshole, he won’t accept my credit card without the ID I left upstairs with my other tab.
“Um, I’ll be right back,” I tell the girls. “This guy hates me so I have to go upstairs and close my tab and bring my ID back down here.”
“HAHAHAHA!” they giggle.
I pass Barry and Sheila on the way up the stairs and tell them where they can find Talia. Barry and I do the guy nod.
Upstairs, the club is filling up and I have to wait forever just to close my tab. The old lady bartender with the fake tits tells me there’s a limit so I can either tip some outrageous amount or order another drink. I go for a vodka-Sprite® just for the trip back downstairs, where I’ll order another Adios from the asshole who hates me OH SHIT NO GAAAAAAH twisted my ankle on the last step ow ow owwwww… spilled my …drink on some guy’s ass… can’t… care… pain… ow…
Talia’s disappeared. Selina’s sitting with some chick who looks like Tank Girl, only hot. Adios Motherfucker absorbs the pain from my ankle but I’m getting really hot. Starting to sweat. Everywhere. Nausea. WTF not even drunk. Ask bartender for my second Adios. Hope Selina doesn’t notice my condition.
“Why do you look like you’re going to die?” laughs Selina.
“No…” I moan. “I just… twisted my ankle and now I feel… really sick.”
“No! Honestly… this happened to me once before, at one of Chad’s shoots. All of a sudden… got really hot… collapsed.” The bartender throws my card and ID down in front of me just after my head falls flat on the bar top. I look up and see the the old dreadlocked son of a bitch through the wet hair in my face and try to communicate with him telepathically.
You are as dead meat festering in the sun and I will one day be the first to dance upon the graves of you and your foul-smelling, lice-ridden progeny, and that further, it is my considered opinion that all of your female ancestors must have mated with decidedly inferior breeds of bulls to produce so genuinely rotten a specimen of humanity as yourself. I hope you die of some singularly loathsome disease and I’m going to tip you like shit, asshole.
“Take that!” is the last thing that goes through my mind before I go blind, the bones in my legs turn into sacks of protoplasm, and I fall back against the wall and slide down to the men’s room floor.
When I can see again, I’m sitting in a stall with the empty vodka-Sprite® glass in my hand. I’m sweating absolutely everywhere, but I feel well enough to stand. Then I realize I left my wallet on the bar. I limp back over. Talia’s back, hanging out with Sheila and Barry. Selina’s tapping her finger on my wallet and grinning at me like I’m a total n00b.
“It sounds like you went into hypoglycemic shock,” she explains. “That’s happened to me before. You should get your blood sugar checked.”
“I thought that just happened to fat people?”
“No, that’s diabetes.”
“Aw you’re so cute and goth boy, your eye makeup is all smudged with sweat.”
I feel well enough to keep drinking, so I do. It doesn’t take long for the AMF spacetime distortion wave to take effect. People come and go without coming and going. I’m sitting in different places without getting up or sitting back down. I’m outside in the smoking area with Sheila trying to see how she feels about Barry while she’s busy laughing at a fucked up drunk mutant whore who’s kissing and groping everybody. I’m sitting on a wooden bench, next to a girl with a big Skinny Puppy tattoo on her arm. That’s tragic, I think.
“That’s hot,” I tell her.
The drunk girl falls wanking to the floor and some guy cops a feel under the pretense of helping her up to find her friends. I’m back inside and Talia is asking me why I’m not wearing a tie. In my mind, I know that I used to it to strangle a Soviet in the men’s room, but I’m not sure if I say it outloud or not. I tell her that I was hoping Barry would be here so I could introduce him to Sheila. Talia says good idea before she and Sheila get caught in the Morrissey Vortex Of Conversation™ but Barry’s cool just dancing. Hot Tank Girl disappears and Selina and I find a few minutes to catch up and talk. I know Selina the least well out of all the players, yet I enjoy talking to her the most, even when it’s about all the crazy shit she’d stick up her ex-husband’s ass before she left him for cheating on her with women whose bodies look as if they gave birth to rusty old riding mowers.
Selina and Hot Tank Girl are on their way out before I know it, abandoning me to the mercy of this intensely awkward situation in which my hot platonic chick friend would rather talk Morrissey with my hot nonplatonic girl-who-is-no-longer-into-me than with the guy I’m trying to set her up with, and in which my hot nonplatonic girl-who-is-no-longer-into-me would rather flirt with my hot platonic chick friend than with me.
I buy Barry the drink I promised and limp upstairs to try to dance. I see Skinny Puppy chick and her blue-haired friend dancing across the room and decide to join them. I keep a respectable distance because I do not believe that men have agency over women’s bodies just by virtue of their being in a dance club, but the hopped-up, bald gearhead mutant asshole throwing his hands passed my face seems to think he has agency over me. I try to push him away but he evades me with the speed of a thousand crack pipes. My hand finally breaches his defenses and he skulks away.
“I’m so sorry!” Skinny Puppy Girl yells over the music.
“Huh?!” I ask.
“That’s her ex-boyfriend!” says Blue Hair Girl, pointing at her tattooed friend. “He’s totally fucked up right now!”
Before I can answer, I feel a mist of cold water spraying the left side of my face. Gearhead’s back with a plastic cup and jumping up and down in front of me.
“Fuck this, we are not doing this,” I say to the guy, determined not to let my first LA fight occur in a goth club over some foolish human female with an unfortunate tattoo. My ninja training tells me he’s following but I don’t turn around and just keep walking towards the men’s room. I wash my face and turn around to see my friend Michael walk out of the stall. Both drunk beyond reason, it takes us a moment to fully recognize each other. As we’re in the men’s room at a Hollywood dance club, we decide to hug rather than shake hands. It’s not some gay thing, it’s because of germs. Maybe it’s a little gay because he’s wearing a mesh shirt. Michael’s girlfriend walks in looking for him but decides to drag me out to the smoking area instead. She let’s go of my hand in front of a friend of hers, a girl I’m never introduced to but who is easily the single most fucked up looking person I’ve ever seen in my life. She sits on the wooden bench with her big mohawk and stares at me like I’ve come to dispatch her FINALLY. Michael and his girlfriend recognize the danger in this woman’s eyes and quickly collect her, say goodnight to me and leave the club. Drunk Mutant Whore is still flaying around outside like a fish in a bucket and I run back inside before that kind of trouble finds me.
Barry’s back on the dance floor. I tap my friend on the shoulder and he pivots around to embrace, but he pulls me in the wrong direction and twists my ankle a second time.
I fall straight to the floor this time, pulling my knee to my chest and wincing in pain. Barry’s really too gone to see how bad it hurts, but he helps me up onto one of the cube-like things they have in this club to sit on. I writhe around for a minute before Sheila and Talia join Barry on the dancefloor, but I notice they’re being followed by a massive old dude in a red shirt. I watch him while the girls dance. He remains stationary in the middle of the dance floor, just staring at them. Sheila’s complained to me before about not protecting her when 40 year olds try to molest her on the dance floor, so with what I can only describe as TRUE GRIT, I get up on my feet and walk over to the man.
“Look, dude,” I say loud enough for him to hear me. “It is just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN with these girls, okay?”
He just stares at me and smiles before walking away. Sheila shimmies over to Barry and Talia asks me what I said to the guy. I tell her.
“Oooh…” she says, looking down.
“What’s the matter?” I ask.
“He’s my friend.”
I limp back to my cube and text Selina: FUCK I twisted my ankle again.
Her response: lol n00b!!
Just when I think things can’t get any worse, Barry is introducing me to Drunk Mutant Whore. “Uh, you know each other?” I ask, timidly.
“OH MY GOD YES!” she screams in my face before pulling me onto the floor. “You are so cute, god damn!”
“Uh than—” oh perfect, she’s kissing me.
While I’m being molested and forced to dance with this person, I see Talia and Sheila running off towards the ladies’ room. Barry’s too into the groove to notice. They’re trying to be clandestine about it, but I’m Batman.
“Will you come outside with me? COME ON!” Drunk Mutant Whore commands, and I’m AMF’d downstairs and standing in front of three benches of legitimately obese goth chicks with cloves, all staring right at me while Drunk Mutant Whore holds my hand and speaks too closely into my face. “I come to this club all the time and I never see any cute guys here, you are the only one I’ve ever seen ever.”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” sings the corset chorus.
“Er, thanks,” I say.
“So, now is where you ask me for my phone number!”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” Fucking bitches.
“Uh, ha… ha… um, so you’ve got a ride home, right?”
“Come on, get your phone out. You’re supposed to get my number now.”
“Oh… kay…” I say, opening my phone and resuming my Tetris® game from a few hours earlier while she dictates her 909 area code number.
“You know Barry’s friend? That girl with the glasses?”
“Isn’t she hot? I made out with her once.”
“So, are you going to call me?”
“Uh, actually I’m more concerned about you finding your friends to get you home….”
“My friends are right over there!” she yells, pointing at some people gathered in the parking lot. Now are you going to call me or not?”
“Look, if you don’t call me, I’ll have someone else do it.”
“That’s right. So you’re going to call me?”
“Yes,” I say, holding crossed fingers behind my back for my adoring audience’s eyes only.
“Okay, buh-bye cutie!”
“BYE!” I say, tuning out the pain in my ankle and literally running back into the club to find Sheila with the sound of cackling fat girls fading in the distance. I make it up the stairs to the main entrance before I can no longer hold back the pain and fall to the ground right in front of Barry and Sheila. Talia appears a minute later and I explain what happened, that I took a major one for the team, and I want out right fucking now.
Hugs, handshakes and kisses are exchanged before Sheila and I get in my car and head back to my place, where I’ve agreed to let her crash. In the car, Sheila confirms my suspicion that Talia dragged her off to the ladies’ room to make out. She apologizes to me again and again, as if either of them have somehow wronged me with their deviant dalliance. “She should apologize to Barry,” I say. “I was trying to set you up with him and she totally cockblocked him, she even knew what I was trying to do.”
“It was really weird,” Sheila whined. “I’m not into girls!”
“It happens,” I assured her.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“I really am sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“She told me she’s gone through some shit lately, and she’s not really into guys right now, so… I don’t think you did anything wrong.”
“I had the feeling.”
“That Selina girl is beautiful.”
“Yes she is.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Back at my place, after 443, 556 revolutions of the same conversation, I’m inflating the Aero-Bed® for when I wake up in the morning and realize I can’t sleep well in the same bed as Sheila. Then it happens. The CALL. Sheila’s cell rings. Asks me if I recognize the number. I do….
“Oh, hi!” Sheila says into the phone. “Yeah, we got back fine. I think he was scared straight by that drunk girl. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. No, I can’t, I can’t go anywhere right now.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“I’m really sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“I’m really sorry.”
“Trust me, I am not mad at you, just relax.”
“I’m sorry can we watch that King Of The Hill where Hank gets his haircut at the army base?”
Sun wakes me up a few hours later. Limp into my office and fall onto the Aero-Bed®. Owwww, nice, no more air. Sit up and see my watch on the table. My cat makes eye contact with me from across the room as I slip the watch around my wrist and switch on the bed pump. He rolls over on his back and stares at me upside down while I let the mattress inflate under me, play Tetris® on my phone and contemplate the depth of my disgrace.