After a few drinks, I’m friendly. I mean, I’m friendly anyway, but in no-drink social situations, I tend to be a little quiet, since it takes me awhile to warm up to people I don’t know. Which is fine, since it’s not like drinking is necessary for human interaction (I’m thinking about giving up booze for awhile, for no reason other than god, the calories — yeah, I know), but in my case, it does seem to serve as a waiver for the initial warm-up period.
Friday night I went out with some friends from work, as I tend to do every so often. I had a few drinks, all vodka-based, which I guess means I no longer have a rule about not drinking vodka in the winter because it seems so summery to me, though this winter has barely counted as a winter at all, and I sometimes wonder if that means it will hang around in its half-assed coldness until, oh, June. (That was some sentence.) Have you ever had a lemon drop martini? I hadn’t, before Friday. They’re lovely drinks, though they’re the type that can sneak up on a person — sipped slowly out of a sugar-rimmed glass, the bright sweet citrus and the ice cold vodka — after enough of them, one could wind up waking up in a stranger’s house unable to find one’s pants. I didn’t have enough of them to know this for sure, but that’s my theory.
I’m okay with leaving this theory untested, as it happens, since I like keeping track of my pants.
(I didn’t keep track of my wallet, however. I don’t know if I dropped it and someone was nice enough to turn it in, or if I am actually dopey enough to have left it sitting on the bar, but after a stupid rigamarole of searching through my bag, then having a friend search through my bag, then going out to my car to search through it, then going back into the bar to retrace my steps, the issue was finally resolved when I thought — or maybe my friend thought — to ask the bartender “Hey, did anybody turn in a black wallet?” “This one?” “Oh thank goodness.”)
I had a strange experience, though, that had nothing to do with my wallet. I was out meeting people. I ran into this guy I went out on a date with two-something years ago, and had a slightly awkward “So, what are you up to these days?” conversation. Also I met a contractor named Brian who, when I pointed out that he was talking to my boobs, actually said “Yes, I’m looking at all of you, but you should notice I keep going back to your eyes. They’re mesmerizing.” At this point I wondered to myself if there were any circumstances under which that line would work on me, and I couldn’t think of any. We parted on it-was-nice-to-meet-you terms, and I went to the bar to buy a beer for my friend for whom I promised I would buy a beer. I am a woman of my word, after all.
It was at this point that the weird started.
While I was waiting on the beer, another friend approached the bar and said “That girl over there is taking your picture.” I turned, and was immediately staring right into someone’s phone. (I’d seen this girl earlier, putting makeup on another girl in the ladies’ room, which, you know, not the weirdest thing I’d ever seen in a bar bathroom. In fact, that probably wouldn’t even crack the top 10.) She slid over. “You’re so beautiful.”
“And so photogenic.”
“…Thanks.” (This is entirely untrue, because I am aware of all the horrible photos that have been taken of me in my life, but my mother raised me to be polite, and politeness dictates that when I’m paid a compliment, even if I don’t believe it, I should smile and say thank you.)
She lifted the phone again and even though I hate having my picture taken, I just stared at it. Once the photo was taken, I looked over my shoulder at my friend who was still standing at the bar and gave her a look. I’m not sure what the look said, but I think it was along the lines of “What the hell?”
I turned back around (still no beer) and she started telling me about her business. She apparently does spray tan work, and she wanted to know, “Do you tan?”
“Uh, no. I’m already brown so I don’t really see the point.”
“But would you ever?”
“Maybe in the spring.” (No.)
“So I’m also a photographer…”
(Of course you are.) “Oh.”
“And I like to take photos of people and put them on my blog.”
“You don’t say.”
“And I couldn’t resist getting a picture of you, even though I just have my phone with me tonight.”
At this point in the awkward proceedings, Brian reemerged, and suddenly he and I were smiling for a picture together! “He really likes you,” she told me.
“Yeah. Uh,” the bartender set down the beer I’d ordered for my friend. I touched the pint glass.
“I also do contouring work.”
She lifted her shirt to reveal her abdomen. “I have kids and it even hides stretch marks.”
“I can’t even see them.”
“So do you work for some place around here?”
“No, I go to people’s houses.”
“You spray tan people at their houses?”
I looked at the beer on the bar. “Well, I should take this beer to my friend.” And then, the politeness. “It’s been very nice talking to you. Do you have a card?”
“No, I don’t have any with me,” she grabbed a bar napkin. And yes, it really did take me this long to think this, but as she was asking the bartender if she could borrow his pen, I wondered if she wasn’t trying to pick me up (because this clearly had nothing to do with my brilliant and sparkling conversational skills). She wrote down her name and phone number (but, curiously, did not include the URL of her blog) and handed me the napkin. “I’m going to put your picture on my blog.”
“Okay, I’m going to go.” I put the napkin in my pocket and delivered the beer to my friend.
Later in the evening, she said she needed to get more pictures of me, but — at least as far as I know — I managed to escape un-photographed.
So, that happened. I’m either on some spray tan photography blog, or perhaps she’s just carrying around pictures of me in her phone. But if you happen to be interested in any stretch-mark-covering contour work, I have the phone number of someone who apparently does house calls.