diary of a professional antagonist
Tried to hose me for both desserts
I’m pretty good with women. I’m tolerant of any old babble, make good eye-contact and when it comes to manners I make old Jeeves look like a gawping yokel with a crust of shit in the corner of his mouth. It took a while to get this comfortable, to relax and just enjoy the evening. As a kid I got worked up every time, made a big deal out of it and if I was lucky got to go home with blue balls and a memory log on continuous replay of all the dumb-shit things I said that put her off the notion of me being a worthy adversary twixt the sheets… or on the back seat of the car, as it was.
My change in fortune didn’t come as a result of a conscious shift in my frame of mind. I was just shy of thirty, a string of shaven legs and lying asses had been and gone. The ‘for’ ratio wasn’t so great but y’know, for an unremarkable looking guy it wasn’t a travesty either. My buddy calls me, “got this stuck up chic givin’ me shit ’cause she brought a friend and now she’s alone and upset and it’s Friday night and” and – blah. Fuckin’ game was on. Last thing I wanted to do was play sidekick and see some sobbing mess home, accusing me of not liking her because she knows I’m only there because my friend asked for a favor so he could get close to her friend. Quarterback fumble, phone call, fifty bucks down the toilet on the fucked field goal and I figured if I was going to waste my money I might as well hang out with someone in more miserable a state than me. Needless to say I didn’t dress up. The night that was in it I was on a roll, I even pegged this girl all wrong in the mental build up to setting sight on her. Not only was she happy to see me but didn’t seem to care how shabby a state I was in. Good looking girl, good stats, a few funny things to say too. Long story short, we hooked up and had a good thing for six months. From then on I figured the less effort I put in the less needy and desperate I appeared. Overall it paid off on a fifty-fifty basis, and one hundred percent of the time I was at least comfortable in my clothes at the bar. Then I hit a snag.
Every time the waiter would drop a cushioned and minted paper tally on the table I found myself looking after it. The skirt always walked away clean, and some nights despite my wallet being rifled of all but the stitching I had to finish off the night by myself. Cradling a limp, somewhat sad looking little guy in one hand, wiping his tears off my hand. So this one night I go out, best intentions in mind, admittedly I’d hit a bit of a dry spell but this lady wasn’t the greatest looker in town and she practically burst my eardrum in response to the invitation to the two course early bird at Cafe del Mar. We agreed on starters and main course, dessert to follow back at mine. Fine. Conversation was bubbling, though, and when she suggested dessert I hinted that I hadn’t factored it in but could probably squeeze it – mine, that is. Besides, the food had left her sweaty, excited, a couple of buttons had come loose and I figured a chocolate sundae should lift that heaving warm flesh high enough to spill sight of her best lingerie, and once that was on show and the lady’s pleasure buttons pushed and primed it was game on. The check landed and before I’d had time adjust my gland and retrieve the wallet she had her cash on the table. This was good. Well, at least until I realized she put down enough for the early bird only. “Fuck this shit” flashed in my mind as my eyes narrowed and I released a short disappointed breath. “I’m getting stiffed again”. Eyelid bat. “Everything OK, honey.” She knew. It was all over her face. What was worse was that she wasn’t playing the seductress. It had turned into a business discussion between two adults without a word being spoken but fuck it, if this broad wasn’t puttin’ out then I wasn’t paying for her fucking extra calories.
I presented my early bird and own dessert. She countered with a look. I excused myself, retreating to the restroom and feeling like my manhood was about to abandon me out of sheer disgust at the stand I was taking. It was awkward when I returned, only because the waiter was standing there and she was telling him I’d shell out the rest. His face pushed me over the edge. That smug fucking twitch of the cheek and half raised eye-brow combo triggered a mental “fuck it, I’m getting nothing now anyway” so I went for broke and played my weakest card. “Excuse me, boss” I said to the penguin in the most lackluster tone I could summon. “Honey, I’m an equal rights guy, I didn’t want to offend you by assuming your half of the tab. You practically licked the bowl. I figured if anyone was gonna show their appreciation it’d be you.” Her face flushed. The waiter noted the gleaming bowl. “Pay the man and let’s hit the road.” I attempted to light a cigarette. He told me it was a non-smoking establishment. She fumbled some cash onto the tray as I tried to cooly accept being reprimanded by a man who in neanderthal times would have stood at the end of a field holding a dead boar head while the hunters practiced their spear throwing skills. Once outside I lit up. She looked humbled. I gave her a sideways glance. Next thing I knew she was all over me.
Daddy issues bolstered my social life, gave my wallet a welcome breather and I shaped myself into the perfect gentleman just so the routine ran a bit easier. But a man must keep up with his environment and the times that are in it have brought out a sensitive, struggling artist side. These days, it’s a bad night when I’ve to leave the tip.