Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fort Days 2009: Fantasy vs. Reality

Stop me if you’ve heard it before:

A guy is standing at the bar in a posh nightclub, when the bartender hands him a drink that he didn’t order. Before he can even express his confusion, the barkeep explains that a woman on the other side of the bar has sent it to him. Scanning the crowded establishment, the man spots a stunningly gorgeous woman whose eyes are doing things to him that would make Roxy Jezel blush. He smiles, and graciously lifts the glass in the air to show his appreciation. The smoldering vixen seizes the opportunity and glides over to him. Charismatic small talk ensues, and when the sun rises the next morning the two lovebirds are laying on a hotel bed, wearing nothing but perfectly-placed sheets and a smile.

Centuries of artistic license by authors, playwrights, and screenwriters has trained us to believe that this scenario actually happens to some lucky schmuck out there. The people in the story are always beautiful, their charms are always intoxicating. And the result is almost always the same: giggity.

But that’s a fantasy; the fodder of Hollywood movies, letters to Penthouse, and teenage daydreams. The reality? Well, that’s the fodder of this blog.

On the second Saturday of October I met up with Dupa and TJ at Joe’s Bar in Ligonier to celebrate Fort Ligonier Days. Sadly, the turnout this year was nowhere near the standing-room-only crowd that packed the place last year. TJ was taking in his inaugural Fort Days, though, and the experience of French and Indian War reenactors in full costume mingling with “civilians” in a smoky bar was more than enough to satisfy his recipe for a party. By the time I joined them, he and Dupa were a good three hours into pounding back drinks prepared by Prince of Ligonier and little could dampen their spirits. As for me: I was handed a Jack and Coke within mere seconds of entering the bar, so the night was instantly placed in the “win” column.

The four of us—plus Prince’s mother, his wife, and her parents; not to mention various old friends of both he and Dupa’s—drank, joked, laughed, drank, took pictures with “soldiers”, drank, and generally kept things lively. Dupa and an old high school friend left the bar to sneak into the Fort itself and drink with reenactors (roughly 5 minutes after getting in, however, some hardcore reenactor played the role of bouncer and bullied them out the doors). TJ fruitlessly cheered on his Michigan Wolverines as they were dismantled by Iowa; eventually, he resigned himself to boozing away the pain. And then, about halfway through the night… I was about to order a fresh Jack & Coke from the bartender; but when I turned to do so, I found her already standing there with a drink in hand. With a little grin she said, “This is from the woman at the end of the bar.”

Now, you can probably imagine the thoughts racing through my mind when I heard those words. As someone who grew up in front of TV and movie screens filled with the aforementioned fantastical fictional images, all I could envision was looking down to the end of the bar and seeing Rashida Jones. Or January Jones. Hell, at least Catherine Zeta-Jones. Instead I saw Bridget Jones.

Don’t get me wrong; I know I’m no Zac Efron. [Side note: I would never have used him as a random example of the Hollywood male ideal before seeing his cameo on Entourage earlier this year. Prior to that episode, his name brought on nausea in the same way that watching someone pour ketchup on a steak does. But in a mere 5 minutes of screen time, he won me over by actually showing a sense of humor about his status in the world. Zac Efron’s not a total douche—who would’ve figured?] And I would later discover that the lass—or whatever the mid-to-late-30s version of “lass” would be—was a very down-to-earth and nice woman. But I’m a guy, and therefore I’m as shallow as a kiddie pool when it comes to being hit on by strange women in a bar. And even though I was standing in a bar in Ligonier, PA, I was fully expecting to see a Playboy bunny on the other side of the room. Instead, reality bitch-slapped me.

Nice guy that I am, I tried to acknowledge the gift and thank her with the textbook raise-of-the-glass-and-nod-of-the-head. Curiously, though, she wouldn’t look my way. As it turns out, she was bold enough to send the drink, but much too shy to engage in any resulting eye contact. I asked the bartender to communicate my thanks for me, then, and went back to my friends (who were, of course, full of new stand-up material centering on this episode). After 15 minutes or so, a cougarish blonde woman approached me. She was a friend of “Bridget,” and was now pulling the high school tactic of intervening for her shy compatriot. The first full question out of her mouth? “Do you want to do a body shot off of her?”


I’ve done body shots before, and if I’ve learned anything it’s how awkward they can be—physically, that is, not socially. Place the shot glass in cleavage, and it’s likely to tip and spill, no matter how deep the cup holder. The same happens with shots done from the booty cleavage (yes, I’ve seen this happen). The best body shots are taken from a navel; but, obviously, the size of the area around the navel is crucial. It may sound somewhat narrow-minded, but it’s a fact. How many of you ladies have looked at a guy who looks like Kevin James and have thought about drinking anything off of any part of him? Exactly.

[Another side note: What are the chances that—in the same night—you could (1.) have a strange woman hit on you by sending you a drink, and (2.) be propositioned to do a body shot off a woman…and that neither offer would be the least bit appealing to you? If I could go back in time and put money down on the Vegas odds of that night’s strange string of events, I’d be reclined in the Cote d’Azur right now.]

By this time Dupa had returned from the Fort and a stop by his friend’s apartment nearby. TJ and Prince immediately informed him of the happenings going on, which prompted Dupa to dancingly announce, “Ain’t no shot like a body shot!” TJ and Prince missed about the next 20 minutes or so of action, both having retreated to the bar’s kitchen, where they each crumpled on the floor in uncontrollable laughter.

My Polish brethren’s reappearance gave me an idea, though. I struck a deal with Bridget’s friend: I’d do a body shot off of Bridget, if the friend did one off of Dupa. She quickly agreed, and went back to retrieve her girl. I found Dave, one of Dupa’s friends, and told him about the deal. He and I then conspired to grab Dupa, throw him on the bar, and hold him down while the party started (think “The Accused,” only with less sympathy for the victim). But when the two ladies came back for the fun, Dupa caught wind of his unplanned involvement in the activities. Instead of running, he portrayed true Dupa form by suggesting that he lay on the pool table while she did the shot out of his navel. Touché.

Shots were ordered up, Dupa hopped on the table and pulled back his shirt, and Bridget’s friend went to town (it had probably been a solid 15 years since her lips had touched 28 year old flesh). I looked at Bridget with a grin and said, “My turn!” We had decided, understandably, that I would do the shot from her cleavage (which was ample, as you might expect). She deftly placed the shot, and I went in after it. Like I said earlier, though, body shots done from there can be (physically) awkward. And, sure enough, I spilled about a quarter of it down her shirt. Eager as I was to do the shot and get things over with, I had fumbled with the glass. Bridget feigned displeasure at the alcohol going down her shirt, although I’m sure she was only doing so in the hopes that I was going to personally clean up the mess. Best believe, I was not. TJ, loving every moment of what the night had become, attempted to laugh at me for fulfilling Bridget’s body shot order.

Me: “Hey, I got to do a shot and nuzzle some boobs. I’m failing to see the downside.”

Bridget tried her best to convince me to join her and her friends, as they would be moving onto another bar. I kept my feet firmly planted as far away from the edge of that proverbial cliff as possible, fully aware that Dupa and TJ would kick me over the side if they had a chance. Bridget and her blonde friend went back to the other side of the bar and collected the rest of their crew, which included an attractive brunette who my friends and I had not noticed until just then. As they packed up and left, TJ suddenly felt cheated. “Damn it,” he said, realizing that Dupa and I would likely have been handcuffed to Bridget and her friend, leaving the attractive one unclaimed. “She would’ve been mine!”

Prince’s Mom quickly countered that notion, however. “No, dear. [D.e.f.i.] was taking two.”