A while back, I decided to go see a great band at a cool local venue. I couldn't talk my husband into going -- he was in grad school at the time and had to do something lame like "study" or "read" -- so I figured, hey, I'm secure. I'll go alone. No big deal.
So when a great band comes to a popular joint, turns out the place fills up. It never occured to me to call ahead to reserve a seat in the pub -- I just figured I'd get there early and stake out a spot. When I walked into the place and was greeted by a hostess, I realized the error of my ways.
"Hi, can I help you?"
"Yes, I have a ticket for tonight's show. Can I just sit anywhere?"
[Beat.] "No, ma'am. If you don't have a reserved seat, it's standing room only tonight."
Sitting alone is easy. You trade small talk with the people on either side of you, and once the show starts, you're on your own. Done. Enjoy the show, sing along, whatever. But standing? You have to keep shuffling around to get out of the way of the harried waitstaff. If you walk to the ladies' room, your two-by-two square of carpet gets taken over, and you lose that spot you so carefully staked out. Not to mention the awkward eye contact with the people sitting at the bar.
[Let me back up here. I'll go on record with this -- I've never been much of a drinker, or a girls'-night-out-er, or a bar-frequenter. I had what you might call a more bookish experience in my earlier years. I've never even been drunk. So as a result, I don't have any social grace around bars or their patrons. I just get all stupid and tongue-tied. As you'll soon see. Plus, I never know when people are drunk or not. I just figure they may naturally be loud, or careless enunciators. Anyway, I digress.]
So I pick my spot -- carefully chosen to 1) see the stage, 2) scan the room for two friends who said they might drop in, and 3) catch one of the waitstaff if I get a hankering for a diet Coke. It's a half-hour before the show starts, and I'm seeing and scanning, and contemplating catching. As my eyes skim over the crowd, I accidentally lock gazes with a guy at the bar. I look away quickly, but not before I see that he smiles. And -- horror of horrors -- he starts making his way toward my two-by-two square.
Damn it, damn it, damn it! WHY did you do that? Ok, just be cool. Refold your arms so that your left hand with the wedding rings is on top of your jacket. That's right. Make it look casual, though. Ok, here he comes. Be cool. Cool. Wait, hurry up and think of something to talk about in case he asks you a question! You need to prepare a way to let him know you're married, so you have to anticipate his approach! Um ... ok, crowded bar, great band, got it. He'll probably go with something along those lines.
He arrives. "Excuse me. Are you going to be here for a while?"
I smile brightly. "Yup! Standing room only! Guess I'll be standing! Since it's crowded, you know! So, standing!"
He blinks, taken aback. "Well -- I'm working on this beer, and I don't want the waitress to take it away. Would you just watch my beer while I put my jacket in my car?"
Oh, Lord. "Sure."
He walks away, leaving his beer on the ledge near me. As my cheeks burn in embarrassment, I try to regroup before he gets back. So I thought he was going to hit on me. And I was wrong. Big deal! I can handle NOT being hit on. Didn't I want to prevent it in the first place? Come on, girl, pull it together. Sh*t, here he comes again.
And still I have not learned. "Sure! No one put drugs in it or anything!"
All I can say is, it's a good thing I'm already married. I have no idea how I'd ever meet anyone again.