We walk into the tiniest little Tiki bar on Sunset, where “Everybody Plays the Fool” is on the jukebox, mashed-up with some reggae beat. We take a seat and wait for Tom and Frank, who are meeting us for a drink before we go to dinner and a movie.
Frank and I talk about the tiny Tiki bar, and how it feels like being in New Orleans — it’s hot, and there are all kinds of different people hanging out who are obviously locals but wouldn’t appear to ever know each other in real life, and sometimes when you order a drink, the bar breaks out in chants and songs.
We invite Tom and Frank to dinner with us at the Mexican place between the bar and the movie theater. When Tom learns we’re planning on seeing “Corpse Bride” — because I love Johnny Depp and stee loves me — he quickly tries to talk us out of seeing the film. We defend it, saying it has a good review on Rotten Tomatoes, but Tom’s not having it. He tells us everything he thought was wrong with it. Frank interjects, “This, coming from the man who’s friend didn’t like The 40-Year Old Virgin. After a moment, we laugh and agree that Tom’s dumb friend’s opinion now negates all of Tom’s opinions on everything, ever.
We walk to the Mexican restaurant. It’s clear within minutes after ordering drinks that there is nothing on the menu that Tom or Frank — a vegan and a vegetarian, respectively — can eat. stee tells the waiter, “We have some vegans? So we can’t eat here.” He says it like we’re dealing with old people, or pregnant women, or someone who can’t eat anything that isn’t pureed. He says it like an apology. After a long discussion about whether or not Tom can eat a bowl of guacamole and call it dinner, Tom shakes his head. “Oh, no,” he says. “Now we’re going to end up on the blog.”
We drop cash on the table and head down the street. Stee argues that we should drive to the next location.
“It’s like, three blocks.”
“I thought you guys were all, ‘New York Forever!’ Come on, walk.”
“We’re halfway there already.”
I win. We walk. We pass the movie theatre showing “Corpse Bride.”
“I heard this movie sucked,” stee says.
“Yeah, but I heard it from this guy who knows someone who hated The 40-Year Old Virgin.”
“Well, what kind of moron would be friends with a moron like that?”
Tom and Frank decide this is the perfect time to complain about their representation on the blog. Tom is upset about an entry that is pretty much a love letter to his work.
“I called your hair mousy. What’s wrong with that?”
“Mousy? Is never a compliment.”
“No. Never. This is not what you say to people to their faces.”
“But I meant your hair looks better now.”
“Yes! That means it didn’t look good before.”
Stee says, “Tom. The answer is always, ‘Your hair looks great.’ Always.Always.”
“Don’t worry, Tom,” Frank says. “I always come across as a huge dick on Pam’s blog, too.”
Frank’s upset about getting recognized by his high school friend on my site, who now refers to him only as Puppethead Frank.
[But Frank. Seriously. What about Radiohead? The burlesque show?Karaoke Revolution? The Clutch? See? Sometimes you’re a rock star.]
I take a moment to remind Tom and Frank that they both shined in the award-winning Mars Entry.
“It won an award?”
“What kind of award do they give your diary?”
“Laugh it up, boys.”
“I just remind myself that pamie’s website is about her being the character of pamie, and the rest of the world acting like complete dicks all around her and stee.”
“See? I thought I was the one who came off as a dick.”
“Oh, right. And that Mars entry? You totally gave one of my funny lines to stee. And I said it!”
The friendly insults continue through our next location. At the Tapas restaurant, I order a bottle of wine. I tell the waitress to pretend this is a double date. Frank and Tom are boyfriend and girlfriend with their dietary issues, and stee and I are on the other side.
While Tom and Frank figure out which items they can get substituted to make up a vegan meal for two, stee says, “Basically, the table goes clockwise in order of being a total woman when it comes to eating. Pam, then me, then Frank, then Tom.”
“Funny, it goes the same way in terms of being a woman, too.”
“Now you bitches are totally going in the blog.”
“I’m sure I’ll come off looking like a peach.”
I ask stee if he’s okay with me ordering for us. “Are you going to get the goat cheese and artichoke croquettes?” he asks.
“You know I was already going to. Anything for my woman.”
I order a few items, knowing that stee will not want a bite of baby octopus, so I order chickpea crepes, asparagus, shrimp, and the croquettes as the boys argue over whether or not Green Day is a punk band. I am not quick enough to hide the plate of baby octopus before it sends stee into a fright.
Frank and Tom agree that it’s way more entertaining to watch stee and I calmly argue about whether or not my ordering of the tiny animals was meant to be a cruel joke on him. This leads into a discussion of how scary spiders are, and somehow that goes back to whether or not Green Day is a punk band. I am busy with the chickpea crepes, which taste exactly like maple syrup.
Frank stares at me. “I am mostly interested in hearing why Pam hasn’t said anything. I would assume she either has a very definite opinion on whether or not Green Day is punk, or she’s so bored at the very notion of this conversation that she’s miles away, pretending this isn’t happening.”
“A little bit of both,” I admit.
The conversation splinters into discussions of dating, table manners, lentils, six-thousand dollar bottles of wine, movies we should and shouldn’t see, and whether Green Day is really a punk band.
Someone points out that we didn’t get to have dinner where we were going, or see the movie we had planned. Tom apologizes for “ruining” our evening. We then admit that we’re glad our night was ruined, because it’s been a lot of fun. And the food was better. And anything’s better than that miserable “Corpse Bride.” Who the hell would go see that?
“This food is awesome. I’m also drunk. But that’s neither here nor there.”
“Well, we’d better leave now, what with that long walk back to the car.”
“Shut up, fuckers.”
I hope I have now proven that we are all complete dicks. Not just Frank and Tom.
Call it a retraction, if you will.