Last night ended with three of us laughing and gasping in an elevator. I said, “Well, this is the strangest night I’ve had in a long time.” The other two quickly agreed.

I ended up at a bar with a new friend, who happens to be a very pretty girl. Now, listen. I’m aware that I live in Hollywood, where most girls are much prettier than I am. It’s not like I consider myself to be one of the hottest things on legs, but I am getting a little tired of being that girl. It happens whenever I’m out with my pretty single girlfriends, and we end up at a bar.

It: I’m the “other one.” As in, “I’ll take the blonde; you take the other one.” “I want to talk to the hot chick; you distract the other one.” “Do you think they’re gay? The other one’s pretty short.”

I’m used to watching men offer to buy drinks for the woman I’m with. I’m used to watching a man shoulder me out of the way so he can talk to her, leaning into her, asking for her number. I’m used to getting asked to dance, only to be asked if my friend is single, straight, and interested. All of these things have happened, and I’m not single, so I try not to get offended, figuring I give off a “Taken” vibe.

But last night as one man confessed right in front of me that his job was to distract me while the other one hit on my “hot friend” (which he did, awkwardly, right after that introduction, asking her to call him if things didn’t work out with her boyfriend), I decided I wasn’t going to just let this one-two system happen anymore.

Then we’re at the bar, trying to order drinks, and men swoop in like Mission Control had just given the command. Both men try immediately for the pretty girl. I’m using the word “Men” here loosely. Anyway, whichever man has the sharper shoulder and the more aggressive in-your-face tactic gets the pretty girl to answer a question. He actually stood right in front of me, turned profile, standing up in her face, so the only thing I could see was his arm. It was a defensive move to take a step back from him, and that’s when the other one moved in.

He actually said, “Your friend is the prettiest girl in the room, right?”

“Yeah, she’s pretty,” I agreed.

“But I feel awkward being so attracted to her, because she’s got the same name as my brother.”

I should have said, “You have the same name as my dog, but I’m still talking to you.”

Instead, I said, “Well, with fear and hesitation like that, I’m afraid you’ll never get the girl.”

Shit, no I didn’t. I said, “I once dated a guy who’s brother had your name. It isn’t as coincidental.”

Luckily he didn’t know the meaning of the word, “coincidental.” He cocked his head to the side and nodded, like he found me profoundly intriguing.

So there I am, talking about music, trying to get this kid to change his life and tour the world so that never again will he make the mistake of saying the sentence he said to me: “I mean, I really, really like Staind’s music, you know? Like, that’s what I want.”

I realize my friend will never be free from the clutches of Aggressive Lonely Drunk Man, so I move to another table. My sad musician joins me. I don’t want him to, and I don’t know what else we’re going to talk about, since I’ve already given a thirty-minute lecture on why Eminem is a pop star, the difference between Coldplay and Radiohead, and how his song about a girl getting raped by her dad might not be the best way to get an audience to root for him. So, I lean towards him and say:

“Listen. I know you’re just waiting in line here for my friend. I don’t think that other guy is ever going to let her go, so you might as well go and enjoy your evening. Go smoke. Get another drink. Meet someone else.”

He says, “Well, I may have walked over to you guys because of her beauty, but I’m sitting here with you, right?”

I stare at him.

“Because a beautiful woman only goes so far. You’ve got… intelligence. Who needs a pretty girl when you can talk to someone so… smart? I mean, you know things, you know?”

“Thanks. It’s because of books.”

“That’s why I bet you’re a good writer! And you know what? And I’m saying this to you truthfully. I mean, I really mean this. Believe me when I say, you aren’t ugly, okay? So like, know that, okay?”

Be still my beating heart.

From now on, if you want to talk to my friend, just write your name down on the notepad sitting by her side and the number in your party. She’ll get to you and call your name eventually. But leave me alone. I don’t want to waste my time when I could be adding to my gigantic brain.

Case in point:

[readermail]To: pamie@pamie.com

i really like lee’s journal. thanks for linking to it.

if i wasn’t married and she wasn’t dating lipman, i’d tell you that i ain’t scared of a 6-foot sexy woman. not even a little.[/readermail]

Yes, I get it. I’m short. Tall women rule. I know. I know. Tall girls are pretty. Gah. You’re blocking my light. I’m TRYING to READ.

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