Friday, December 11, 2009

A Bitch in the Matrix

“A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix.”

This past Friday saw an unusual uptick in the level of bitchy behavior exhibited by female bar-goers in Shadyside. In my “vast” experience of boozing in my neighborhood, the people you meet while barhopping around The ‘Side—girls in particular—tend to be a little more laidback and friendly than those who you encounter in other areas of the city. And I really can’t offer up either a scientific explanation or a witty joke to back up this theory. It is what it is.

Early in the night I escorted my mother to the yearly Christmas party thrown by the department with whom she used to work. It has become an annual tradition for us: I’m the DD, and she’s tossing back glasses of scotch, wine, etc. It’s one of those rare moments when I’m the responsible, sober one, and she’s the can’t-stand-up-without-holding-onto-the-valet-attendants’-podium one. The comedy of watching my mother struggle to keep her balance on the perfectly-level ground floor of Lidia’s (a very nice downtown Italian restaurant) alone is worth the sacrifice of sobriety. Plus I get free drinks (limited as I was in my consumption, I did get to enjoy a glass of 18 year old Glenlivet) and a free dinner. That’s a tough deal to beat.

After dinner I dropped off my thoroughly-soused mom at her home several miles outside of Pittsburgh and then headed back to my place in town. On the way I spoke with Pakistanimal, who along with TJ was at Chappy and Toe’s house pregaming. Pak’s girlfriend had given him—as he himself put it—“a hall pass for the night,” and he was therefore eager to get his drink on. The problem, however, laid in the terms and conditions of the partying contracts that our fellow crew members were willing to sign that night. Dupa was in the South Side, and wanted all of us to meet up with him. But TJ vetoed this idea out of respect to his own girlfriend: Dupa was hanging with a jumpoff whose girl has chased after TJ since the summertime; and, now that he’s involved with a girl of sound mind and body, TJ has done his best to shake this slutty pursuer. As for Chappy, he didn’t want to come out unless Yum was going to be in attendance, which wasn’t likely to happen. Apparently the concept of “bros before ho's” is lost on the guy (not that Yum is a ho; but “sweet girl you have a kindergarten crush on” doesn’t have the same rhythmic nature to it…). By the time I got home, I was disenchanted with my friends’ antics, and decided I was staying on my couch the rest of the night. I even tried to ignore a phone call from Pak, but he quickly followed it up with a text message telling me that he and TJ were already on their way to my place. “Son of a…

We walked to Shady Grove, but found that it was packed both downstairs and up. We tried William Penn Tavern instead, and again found a bar teeming with people. We maneuvered our way to the back patio, and luckily found a few seats at the bar. As TJ and I watched Kobe school the Heat, Pak struck up a conversation with a guy next to him. Eventually we saw them do some shots, and joked with each other about the guy putting the moves on Pak—who happens to be one of the most homophobic people we know. After the stranger walked away and Pak returned his attention to us, I asked if he was waiting two minutes before following his new friend to the parking lot to “make things look less suspicious.” In a poor attempt to wave off our jokes, Pak responded, “Nah—he’s married.” I think he realized the error in his phrasing about three seconds into the uncontrollable laughter that followed. Or maybe it was after the various texts he received from Dupa and other friends of ours to whom we told the story over the next 48 hours.

After an hour or so of drinks and shots, the three of us found ourselves at Doc’s. As we secured spots at the bar, we noticed that a coworker of Pak’s happened to be directly across the bar from us with her posse. This was the second time that night that we’d happened upon her by chance. The first time was as we walked up Walnut Street from my apartment. Lost in our own conversation, we suddenly heard someone blurt, “Is that [Pakistanimal]?” from a porch that was obscured by trees and bushes. It speaks volumes about my friends that someone can randomly hear a boisterous voice and instantly recognize one of them.

Pak ordered up three shots (as I’ve mentioned before, he orders rounds of shots almost more frequently than he orders rounds of regular drinks), but TJ emphatically declined the one offered to him because he didn’t want to get too sauced that night. I pointed it out to TJ that he was the very same person who had blatantly ignored my wishes only one week prior, when I wanted to avoid getting wrecked. That night he had responded by buying multiple rounds of shots and calling me hurtful names—similar to what Pak and I were now doing. TJ’s frustrated response: “…I-I don’t care…kiss my ASS, son!”

Little did we know it, but the estrogen level at Doc’s was boiling like magma deep inside of Mt. St. Helen’s. With an extra shot now available, Pak offered it to a small Asian girl standing next to us. She gave him a strange look and walked away. Okaaayyy… He offered it to two other girls at the bar, who each reacted as if he’d asked them to make out while he took pictures. Ironically, this helped feed Pak’s suspicions that they were, in fact, lesbians. He and I decided to split the shot, and move on with our night. Pak also had a speculative theory about the Asian girl: she probably didn’t speak English, which led to her rejecting his offer. But then ten minutes later, with “Cupid Shuffle” booming from the juke box, we spotted her amongst a small crowd of girls who were doing the line dance. And she wasn’t just dancing; she was rocking it like a little Asian J-Lo. (“A-Lo”? …nevermind.)

Pak soon decided to buy another round of three shots; this time, he had the 3rd sent to Coworker. She happily toasted with us from across the bar and then downed the gift. I noticed, however, that she had a cute redheaded friend sitting next to her at the bar. And while Coworker was surrounded by about four guys who I would have to assume are “fans” of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Facebook page, the petite redhead was sitting off to the side, seemingly unnoticed. “Look at the poor little ginger girl,” I said, calling TJ and Pak’s attention to her. “She looks so bored and lonely.”

I decided, then, that I should take it upon myself to help cheer her up. I ordered a round of Washington Apples, which are strong enough to knock you backwards but still sweet enough for girls to like them, and had the third sent to Ginger. Expecting an appreciative smile and a toast, such as Coworker had given, Pak and I lifted our glasses to her as the bartender sat the shot in front of her. But to my bewilderment, Ginger looked down at it, and with a look of disgust pushed it away while shaking her head. She didn’t so much as look over to us and say a polite, “Thanks but no thanks.” Coworker, who was obviously the fun one, swooped in like a vulture. She quickly grabbed the blocked shot [*sigh*…Puns are like the literary version of the token slut at the bar: cheap and easy, and you know should stay away…but sometimes you just can’t help yourself. And you’re always left feeling dirty about it the next day] and slammed it, and thanked me while toasting the empty glass.

The miserable attitudes of all these women, however, paled in comparison to the night’s final encounter. We stopped by Shady Grove, which by now had seen the crowd die down, to get the last few drinks of the night. When we walked up to the bar, though, we quickly found ourselves in the line of fire from a blonde girl seated to my left. As I talked with Pak, who by then had succumbed to the night’s excesses, Bitchy McBitcherson began running her mouth. I tried to politely ignore her, though Pak was incapable of doing the same. When he responded to one of her I’m-funny-because-the-losers-that-are-trying-to-have-sex-with-me-laugh-when-I-say-things insults, I advised her to “do you.” Her witty retort was, “One of you has bad breath!” I shook my head and brushed it off. As I debated with Pak over getting a drink or just leaving to get pizza—TJ, who since the argument over shots had easily become the night’s “kid brother,” wanted pizza and was on the verge of throwing a temper tantrum—Bitchy McB. spoke up again. [It’s worth noting that, while I easily remember her petulant manner and the snide style of her comments, I cannot remember most of the specific things that she said. I think this is due to my brain’s “Annoying-Bitch Blathering Filter” kicking on early and preventing most of her from intruding upon my consciousness. “ABBF”—don’t leave home without it.] After I again advised her to search for someone who cared, she looked at me and said, “It’s you. Your breath smells!” Tired of her nonsense, I inhaled deeply and then blew in her face. I then explained one last time, for clarification purposes, “I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck. About it, or about YOU.” Pak, eager to come to my aid, began slurring something at her as well. Trying to return his attention to the beer/pizza decision again, I reminded him, “Please stop talking to her. Nothing she has to say matters…about anything. Focus.” I think Bitchy McB. was still talking at that point, but I had turned my back to her and turned up my ABBF so high that she no longer existed. Figuring it was a good idea to remove Pak before he Jersey Shore’d her, though, we headed off into the night, in search of food.

We never did find any food, though. I should’ve just stayed on my couch.

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