Right wrist up
Left wrist up
Right wrist down
Left wrist down
Torso turn pop shrug right
Torso turn pop shrug left
Right foot drag
Left foot drag
Shake it like you got something
Everybody got that? Now faster, with the music…
Right wrist up
[The overdue conclusion to Dinner: The Birth of Squirrelly-J]
Still reeling from the gift of breakdance poetry, I flip through the book as Natasha and Farnsworth lead me into our favorite bar. Having recently discovered that this bar has a secret list of “off-the-menu” drinks, Farnsworth is on a mission to become an insider.
This week, it is some pomegranate martini that looks and tastes exactly like Robitussin. My mouth waters a bit, and not in the good way, as I take a sip from Farnsworth’s glass, but he seems to enjoy it. Natasha and I are feeling like scotch, so we order a Glen of some sort.
Three seats open up at the corner of the bar, and we quickly move in. As I stir my scotch, waiting for the ice to melt a bit, I can hear two men having a loud conversation behind Natasha.
“Who’s that woman – she was in that movie…? Thelma and Louise. Who’s that woman?”
His eyes were barely half open as he leaned into his friend at the bar.
“Uh, oh wait. I can totally picture her. Davis. Geena Davis.”
“No, no. The other one. That other woman in Thelma and Louise.”
“Uh… I can’t-“
He yells this loudly, but the bar is noisy so it doesn’t quite make a scene.
“SUSAN SARANDON! That’s who you look like! You. You look just like Susan Sarandon.”
I suddenly realize that he’s talking to me. He is pointing at me with his martini glass, its contents sloshing dangerously close to the rim.
I glance over at Natasha, who is holding back a laugh, then back to the man and say, “You’re very kind – thank you.”
“No really. You look just like her.”
“Maybe it’s the hair,” Natasha offers, clearly questioning any true resemblance.
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you look like Susan Sarandon?”
I suspect that this conversation could continue all night, so I agree with him. “Yes, someone once told me I looked like her.”
“Really?” Farnsworth asks, equally incredulous.
This isn’t a lie. I know that someone did tell me that, but can’t remember who it was. For a moment, I think it was Vivian, but then recall that she used to tell me I looked like Lesley Ann Warren, who we both agreed was the poor man’s Susan Sarandon. So I suppose this would make me the poor man’s Lesley Ann Warren.
The two men go back to their side of the bar and focus their attention on getting another round of chocolate martinis. This bar works in cycles, we always note. There will suddenly be a mad rush of customers, smiling people arriving in groups of four and five, and then just as quickly, we will look around to see open tables and available bar stools.
The tide flows, and suddenly Natasha is being shoved off her seat, unintentionally, by a crowd of noisy men who have just arrived. She leans in to whisper something to me.
“I don’t even have half a cheek on the stool anymore. I think both those guys are sitting on my seat!”
I laugh as I see her carefully trying to balance herself with one foot on the ground, the other one hooked under the stool so as not to entirely relinquish her claim on that seat. Suddenly, Natasha’s eyes widen and her back arches. The man behind her touches her shoulder and starts to say something.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Are you arright?”
I see Nat grabbing a stack of cocktail napkins, and realize that this man has just spilled his drink down her back. Or more precisely, due to the way she was perched on the stool, down her ass. She takes it remarkably well, considering.
“Please just tell me that wasn’t a chocolate martini you dumped down my back.”
“Wha-? No, iss just a vahka gimlet. Iss all alcohol.”
“Nothing to worry about Nat, that’s really just an antiseptic,” I say reassuringly.
As she works to pat dry the bottom of her jacket and top of her jeans, the man walks over between us. I turn to Farnsworth who is sitting next to me, hoping he will come to our aid. He has now ordered a cherry martini that smells like Luden’s cough drops, and I note that the evening has taken on a distinctly medicinal theme.
It becomes apparent that I am on my own, as the man begins asking me random questions.
“D’you live in this neighborhood? My friends over there are always trying to get me to move up here. Do you own or rent?”
“Yeah, iss so fuggin’ esspensive.”
“’Specially if you’re single. Fuggin’ married tax credit.”
I nod my head yes, as though I have some idea what he is talking about. He rambles off a few more thoughts on married people, and then launches into a discussion about the Log Cabin Republicans. I can’t tell if he’s for or against, partly because I am singularly focused on preventing him from spilling the remainder of his drink on me.
As he sways back and forth, getting more and more passionate about rising property taxes, I have to steady his hand at least twice. In the end, I am unsuccessful, and grab another stack of napkins to sop up the spillage on my jeans.
“I think it’s time for you to switch to water,” I say, rolling my eyes at Natasha.
“Yeah, I’m really pretty drunk. I sh’go talk to my friends over there before they get pissed.”
I watch as he stumbles over to the other side of the bar, ping-ponging his way through the crowd, to join the movie buffs from earlier in the evening.
Nat, Farnsworth and I finish up our drinks, and then decide it’s time to head out, as this latest wave of bargoers doesn’t seem to be dissipating anytime soon. Just as we are leaving, I hear, “Susan Sarandon!”
I grab my jacket, look up and give an acknowledging nod to the man at the end of the bar. He lifts his glass to me and says, softer, “Susan Sarandon.”
I think I just discovered the cure to my intense aversion to hugging coworkers: five Heinekens and six karaoke duets. It’s hard not to hug your VP of Sales after you’ve just executed the perfect rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light together.
But oh, my head. Stop screaming. Please?
No, that doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I’m really at a loss right now. My knees are aching, I wince when I bend, and the muscle spasms between my shoulder blades have just now stopped. Why? Because some out-of-shape 35-year old office dweller thought that her god-given rhythm and unconditional love for Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers could carry her through a Hip Hop/Funk dance class. Stupid, stupid rickety ass old hag.
Holy effing eff, you effing 22-year old skinny effing dance majors who have effing taken this effing class five effing times already. How I effing hate you. From this day forth, I shall call you all Midge.
Here’s what we were taught:
The lean and rock
The side slide
Here’s what I learned:
The carpal tunnel
The spinal contusion
The abdominal spasm
The blown ACL
Well, I’m gonna pop and lock a few Tylenol PM’s, chase them with some Maker’s Mark, and dream of Big Daddy Kane, gold tooth and all. Tomorrow’s another effing day.
I realized as I began writing that this is my fourth entry in a row about Leslie Hall, which made me feel kind of like a crazy person. But since I think in Illinois it takes five blog entries to qualify as stalking, I’m just going to go ahead with this one.
Besides, don’t we all just need a little bit more gold lamé in our lives? With the drama of Kevin’s body shot finally over, we were ready to dance the night away to the hip-hop beats of a bejeweled rapper from Iowa. It was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped. I leave you with this final photo tribute:
Can you feel the love tonight? I sure can.
Still haven’t had enough? Here are the rest on Flickr.
There are many stories I could share about Tuesday night. Stories that might involve mullets or mosh pits, PBR or Purell. And of course, there are the Leslie stories. All in due time, but this first tale really deserves its own post. With photo essay.
I had a long-overdue reunion on Tuesday night with Ryan and Kevin, my blogger pals I met at the last Leslie and the Lys concert. This time, I brought Natasha along and we were also joined by Kevin’s BF, Dop.
Leslie’s show didn’t start until midnight, so we passed the time laughing and drinking $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons and watered-down scotches. At one point, just as I was sharing a recent horrific experience with unintentionally (honest!) finding porn on the Internet, a woman wearing a baseball cap and a veil walked up to Dop and Kevin and asked them if they were wearing boxers.
Dop gave the woman a puzzled look and shook his head no. Kevin, whose honesty made me suspect that he was a former Boy Scout, said, “Well, I have boxer-briefs on.”
Her eyes lit up as she said, “Those’ll do. Would you mind parting with them?”
Kevin nearly inhaled his sip of beer and laughed out a polite, yet firm, “No!”
As though it were necessary, given the veil and white baseball cap with the word “BRIDE” scrawled across the top in glitter gel, the woman explained somewhat apologetically that she was participating in a scavenger hunt for her bachelorette party. When Ryan turned her down flatly as well, just before walking away, she turned to Nat and me and asked, “I don’t suppose either of you is wearing boxers?”
This was yet another time when not wearing underwear worked to my advantage. (kidding. so kidding. about it working to my advantage, I mean.)
I think the woman skulked off before we could even bother to answer. The five of us laughed this off and went back to admiring the magnificent mullet of one of the bartenders. About a half hour passed when I noticed a white cap bouncing our way again.
Ever the persistent bachelorette, this time she walked right up to Kevin and asked, “Okay. Would you let me do a body shot off of you?”
Even in the darkly lit bar, I could see his face turning red, as he laughed somewhat uncomfortably. The woman looked over at Natasha and me and said, “Would you mind if I did a body shot off him?”
I looked over at Dop, who was trying to contain his laughter, and said, “Absolutely not. Go right ahead.”
I felt delirious with power for that one moment. It was like being the Godfather, or some sort of gang lord. That’s right, this is my turf, and I decide who gets to do body shots. You got that straight? I decide! And today, I say you can do a shot off of Kevin.
It again became clear to me that Kevin is just an all-around good guy because I really think he was being honest when, as she led him by the hand toward the bar, he looked back at us and said, “Well, okay but, how, how does this even work? I mean… how do you…? What do I…?”
Ryan, Nat, Dop and I stood around as helpless, but hysterically laughing, witnesses to the train wreck that is the average bachelorette party. Natasha grabbed my arm, hard, and said, “You remember our promise, don’t you, Jenny? No veiled baseball hats or penis necklaces, no scavenger hunts or suck-for-a-buck t-shirts. I mean it!”
And then we cut our thumbs open with my grandpa’s pocket knife and swore on blood that we would never throw a trashy “Naughty But Nice” bachelorette party for each other.
In order to best describe what happened next, I am going to do something that has never been done on a blog before. EVER! Because I am a Pisces, and we are empaths, I was able to understand every emotion Kevin experienced during the entire ordeal. Because I am a voyeur, and never leave home without my camera, I was also able to photo document every moment.
For your viewing pleasure, I have created the blogosphere’s first flip book. You will simply need to print out each of the pictures below on high quality glossy paper, bind them together, and then flip through to create an animated reenactment of the infamous body shot caper. The captions below each photo represent the exact thoughts going through Kevin’s mind during what were, I’m quite certain, the longest three minutes of his life.
I’m sorry we all threw you to the wolves, Kevin, but it was for the good of the whole. You earned your purple heart that night, along with my undying respect.
“Oh man… the salt is burning. And now she’s licking me. Happy place, happy place. Remember that cabin in northern Wisconsin we used to go to? Gosh, we sure caught a lot of walleye that one year. SHE’S STILL LICKING ME!”
Despite the innate planner in me, spontaneous evenings out are often my favorites, with no schedules to meet or expectations to live up to. On Saturday, I was just about to leave to go grocery shopping and pick up some dinner when I heard my cell phone buzzing. A missed call.
“Hey, it’s Nat. Farnsworth and I are going to dinner at Olé Olé, and then out for drinks. We’ll be there around 8:30. Give me a call on my cell if you want to join us. Oh, and we have a present for you if you come… bye!”
I knew that “out for drinks” would mean going to our favorite neighborhood cocktail bar, where Natasha, Farnsworth and I were working hard to become regulars. Nat’s boyfriend recently crossed into uncharted territory there, by learning that there was a secret list of off-the-menu drinks that had to be asked for by name. One of these drinks was the color of Windex, tasted like tropical paradise, and had a single red cherry resting perfectly at the bottom of the glass.
It was almost too beautiful to drink.
The prospect of that, coupled with Nat’s sing-songy promise of an unexpected gift made it clear that groceries could wait, so I quickly got ready and met them at the restaurant. Before I could even open my menu, Farnsworth told me he wanted to give me my gift – a rare find from a recent yard sale that he couldn’t pass up:
I may have gasped with delight.
“OH MY GOD! Where did you get this!?”
Farnsworth smiled, pleased with his purchase, and said modestly, “You know, I picked it up somewhere.”
“Ohmigod! Thank you so much! This is so perfect! A book of breakdance poetry?! It’s exactly what Nat and I need to inspire us for our breakdancing class. Hey – is Dee-Dee signing up for it, too?”
Nat shrugged, “I don’t know. I think she’s still busy coming up with our hip-hop names.”
“I’m not sure I’m comfortable with Dee-Dee being in charge of that. Wasn’t she the one who kept suggesting pig Latin versions of our astrological signs? I mean, she wanted me to be Isces-Pee. Isces-Pee?! Are you kidding me?! Yeah, because a breakdance name with the word “pee” in it is really cool. That’s really gonna inspire fear among the other breakdance crews.”
“Well, it’s not much better than the Irgo-Vee that she wanted to call me!”
“I thought you were gonna be Xanadu?”
“Nah, I think I’m over that.”
“Actually, I was thinking that maybe I want to be called The Squirrel, or just Squirrel.”
“Like walking the squirrel?”
“Exactly. ‘Cause I’m CRAZY! You never know what Jenny’s gonna do on the dance floor – she’s all squirrelly and shit!”
Farnsworth chimed in, “Squirrelly-J!”
I thought about it for a minute and started to nod, “Squirrelly-J. The Squirrel, aka Squirrelly-J. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Watch out for Squirrelly-J – she’s just trying to get a nut.”
Nat filled our glasses from the pitcher of margaritas that had just arrived. “So what’s your signature move, Squirrelly-J?”
“Good question. Maybe I could like, chatter at people. Like squirrels do? You know, like, ak-ak-ak-ak-ak-ak?”
“That’s not really a move, though, is it?”
“No, but it might scare some people off the dance floor.”
“Or maybe all your moves could be in a straight line, like a squirrel walking along a telephone wire?” suggested Farnsworth.
“And then I just throw walnuts at their heads. ‘Cause I’m Squirrelly-J, ak-ak-ak-ak-ak!”
“Personally, I think we need to start the class first and let our natural style dictate our names.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right. But we at least have to start thinking about what we’re going to wear. I was thinking of getting a new pair of Converse Chucks for class.”
“No, those make my feet look weird. I might get a pair of black Vans.”
“Look, if you want to do this right, you know what you both need to get, don’t you?”
Nat and I shook our heads no.
Farnsworth paused for effect, then said, “Old school Adidas.”
“Ooooh! You’re so right! And it just so happens that I have a pair of old school Adidas. Sweet.”
With footwear decisions made, and a potential hip-hop nickname in the works, I was now able to enjoy my dinner, but not before an impromptu poetry reading from my new favorite book:
Now I do the moon walk,
Watch my feet,
Heel, toe, backward glide,
Right to the beat.
I’m walking in space, man.
I am the ace, man.
– Lillian Morrison
Nat and Farnsworth snapped their approval. We finished our margaritas, paid the bill, and headed off to continue our evening of secret drinks and B-Boy poetry.
[Tune in later this week for the fascinating conclusion – Drinks: Desperately Seeking Susan]
As a friend, you learn that there are boundaries you must not cross. Honesty is essential in every friendship, but that must be tempered with kindness and common sense. There are rules we all know and understand: you never speak ill of their siblings, you must not reveal that you always hated their exes, you concur with them when they tell the officer the light was still yellow.
These are universally understood. But no one ever sent me this addendum to the agreement: thou shalt not criticize thy friend’s corporate vending machines.
Natasha: “Oh, I have to stop in my office before we go. I need to pick up my laptop.”
Jenny: “That’s cool.”
[The two arrive at Natasha’s office. Jenny waits in the hallway while Nat gathers her things.]
Jenny: “Hey, what’s up with your generic vending machine food?”
Jenny: “Crunchitos? Honey Buns? Big Texas Cinnamon Rolls? What kind of broke ass company do you work for?”
Natasha: “Shut up! What are you talking about? We have normal food in there!”
Jenny: “Oh, you mean like the Austin Vanilla Cremes? Or the Choco Layer Cookies? What the hell is a choco layer?”
Natasha: “Shut up! Well then… what do you have in your vending machines?”
Jenny: “Uh, Nutter Butters? Oreos? Hostess Twinkies? Perhaps you’ve heard of them?”
Natasha [voice getting softer]: “Shut up. The Austin Vanilla Creme cookies are fine. People have too heard of them.”
Natasha [trailing off]: “I mean, it’s not like I even eat anything out of there…”
Jenny: “Huh? What’d you say?”
Natasha: “Nothing. Let’s go.”
[Twenty minutes later, in Natasha’s car]
Jenny: “You totally work for Hydrox Corp.”
Natasha: “SHUT UP!”