I'm feeling good. No, I'm feeling damn good. The kind of good that can only come with a new haircut, paired with a new top that is just on thisside of overly trendy. The lights in the basement bar are golden and dim and I'm tossing my perfectly blown-out hair, delicately sipping champagne with my pinky slightly extended and flush with confidence and intentionally smudged eyeliner. I am woman, see me smolder.
I spot the guy across the bar and almost squawk a most unladylike laugh at his flailing limbs, spiky blonde hair and square-toed Aldo dress shoes. He could not be more of a Saturday night cliche, all gel and backslapping and Bud Light bottles. Normally this type of guy repulses me, makes me roll my eyes and want to move to another city where there are men who lie in between this type and the indie rock snob boymen that I typically gravitate towards. But tonight, after four hours of bellinis and silk wafting around me, I suddenly decide: mine. Sipping my champagne as I dance with my friends, I make a tiny bet with myself. Get him in five minutes, EJ. For fun, just because tonight, you feel like maybe being a little like a Neil LaBute femme fatale. Knowing, maybe a touch of cruel, definitely a tease.
It's ridiculously easy. A few moments of eye contact, a strategically timed dip and grind against the air, and he's right next to me, suddenly having emigrated from beside the bar. He extends his hand to me, accompanied by a smug grin as the dulcet tones of Rihanna pulse through the bar. I'm all false shyness and humility and "oh really? me?" as I hand my glass to my friend, tucking my clutch under my arm as he pulls me towards him.
He's a terrible dancer. He thinks he has good moves for a white boy as he jerks around the floor, bumping into groups of girls staring at him with bemused eyebrows raised to the heavens. The hem of his his blue striped dress shirt flops as he pulls me towards him, grabbing my hand to loop around his lanky neck. As my hand rests on the back of his neck, I feel a small rivulet of melting product trickle down the nape. Ew.
"What's your name?" he shouts in the general direction of my ear.
For a moment I consider saying what I think: You really care? Instead, I tell him my bar name. The fake name that I give to the dumb club boys I'll never see again even though they've groped my inner thigh without permission. I don't tell them my real name because it cheapens me, gives away even a tiny part of me that such transience doesn't deserve.
I don't hear his response, and I don't care. I'm already bored with him. I knew he was ridiculous from the moment I saw his moves, and his eyes are already starting to wander around the room even as his hands travel up and down my body. Nothing R-rated, but most certainly PG-13.
Suddenly I feel his hands grab my waist and throw me towards the floor in a misguided attempt at a dip. Caught off guard, I stumble in my three-inch heels and grab at his arms for dear life. He jerks me back up just as suddenly as he threw me to the floor, guffawing with buffoonish laughter as his buddies circle behind him, all "awwww, dawg!"
Trying to catch my breath after having narrowly escaped dismemberment on the dance floor, I lean in towards him. "You're a very enthusiastic dancer," I yell over the music, trying to inject as much acid as I can given the necessary volume of my voice.
"What?!" he screams back at me.
Why even bother trying to bait this guy? He's nothing I'll ever see again, no one I'm remotely interested in talking to even if circumstances would permit it. I wanted to get his attention to boost my already-soaring ego for the evening, and I got it. Case closed.
I spin away from his grasp, half dancing with him and half with my friends. I face them and roll my eyes, exaggeratedly mouthing Save me with big eyes. K grabs my hand and pulls me back into their circle, handing off my champagne glass. I take it and insert myself back into their circle, not looking back at Whatshisface.
I dance up on my friends and for a moment feel a tinge of something resembling regret. Regret that my armor is so thick, that I am so easily able to not care about a stranger, even one who in all likelihood has ungentlemanly intentions towards me and my person. Guilt that I'm proud of my ability to reel in and discard, guilt in my pride that I'm not more proper and that for tonight I'm so cocky that I don't care about being my normal, fairly decent self. Silliness for feeling that guilt because this is so not a big deal, nothing that a million people haven't done a million times before, strangers circling one another like vultures out for carrion.
And it's another night out, another nothing moment in another city under the cloud-soaked stars.