A TRUE L.A. DATING STORY By Christy Williams
I had just gotten off work at the restaurant and ran home to change real quick before a last minute date.
It’s late, around 11:30pm, as I climb into Bob’s super shiny brand new black Cadillac. I shut the door, blocking the nippy wind outside and sink into the cozy leather seat. Bob flips on the seat warmer and soon my butt is feeling pretty toasty.
“Hi,” he says, as he leans over to give me a quick kiss. He smiles. Sigh. I smile back.
Bob has one of those smiles that would make any girl melt, regardless of whatever hesitations they might have about him. Listen, I’m not going to lie to you, Bob is not the brightest crayon in the box. No one is going to give him a nobel prize anytime soon, but he is very, very, very good looking. We never have much to talk about but, it’s only the second time we’ve hung out, and I’m trying to not be judgmental. Besides, if the conversation dies down, we can just stare at each other and be amused.
“We’re going to meet some of my buddies at The Belmont,” he says. “That okay?”
“Yeah, sure!” I reply.
I like the idea of keeping things casual, that’s good. Besides, at the very least, I think, It’ll be a nice chance for me to study primal male behavior. Bob’s friends are even more neanderthal than he is, but, they are fun! Low expectation, often times, invites more excitement.
Bob and I had met at the restaurant I worked in, which was his favorite local spot to eat. He’d asked me to go out several times before I finally said yes. I didn’t know too much about him, except that he was from Texas, he was good looking, he was a good tipper, he has a nice car, and that he didn’t like to talk too much about himself.
We glide to a stop at the valet outside The Belmont, and go inside. It’s a busy bar and karaoke night in full swing.
A short bald man in is performing a quite astounding rendition of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” It’s impressive. Karaoke in Los Angeles is not like karaoke anywhere else. If you’re going to get up and sing, you do it knowing full well
that half the people there are aspiring to be professional singers. It’s intimidating.
I follow Bob to a corner booth where two of his friends are already lounging. Soon, we’re sipping cocktails and critiquing each karaoke performance as it comes along. The boys are daring me to sign up, I don’t want to, but they insist. Despite my protests, one of them gets up and puts my name in. “Ok, fine!” I surrender, and suddenly I’ve been coerced into singing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. Great.
While waiting for my dreaded turn to arrive so I can go on stage and get it over with, I notice a flock of 4 big-haired blonde girls that have just entered the bar. They remind me of pigeons, each looking around for the best piece of bread, desperate to beat each other to it. The tallest of the group, a lanky big chested girl in a tiny pink tube top and a jean mini-skirt, glances over at our booth (this is the kind of girl that puts rhinestones on her phone). She scans the table looking first at Bob’s two friends, skips over me, then finally she sees Bob. She turns and whispers something in one of the other girl’s ear. The other girl looks at Bob and whispers something back into her ear. The first girl elbows a third girl and points at Bob. The third girl gets excited.
At this point, I’m thinking…. Okay, I know Bob is a good looking guy, but good lord, did you girls just escape a cave or something..?
The next thing I know, the tall lanky blonde has beelined it across the room and is standing right in front of Bob, blocking his view of the stage.
“Hi!” She beams at him. “I’m, (let’s call her) Janine.”
“Hi.” Bob says.
Uninvited, Janine scoots herself between the table and squeezes her big butt into the small space on the booth between Bob and I. Once wedged in between us, she turns her back to me almost pushing me off the booth. I throw a surprised look back at one of Bob’s friends, he just laughs and shakes his head.
“I’m a big fan of yours.” Janine says.
Huh? I think. Who is Bob? Now I’m wondering.
“I love your soap, you’re so good on it,” Janine continues. Oh. my….. what!? I think.
Janine leans in closer to Bob, rubbing her breasts against him. Her arm comes up to rest on the top of the booth above his neck.
“Thank you,” Bob says modestly.
To his credit, Bob did look uncomfortable, but he didn’t do or say anything about it. He just sat there letting her rub her breasts on him.
“I’m an actress too,” Janine gushes!
I look around wildly to make sure I’m actually experiencing this moment, then, I glance back over a Bob’s face, he’s wearing that sheepish grin that he uses to charm people.
“I’ll be right back,” I say really loudly as I get up to retreat to the restroom.
In the restroom, I google Bob’s name and confirm my suspicion that he is in fact a big soap-opera actor. Oh, geez. Of course I wouldn’t have known that. I hardly watch regular television let alone daytime television.
This is hysterical.
As I make my way back through the crowd, towards our table, the karaoke announcer is shouting “Christy! Last call for Christy. Are you here?”
Just focused on putting one foot in front of the other, I hesitantly walk up onto the stage and take the microphone.
“Here’s Christy! Singing ‘Natural Woman’! Give it up for Christy!” The announcer says.
People clap. The music cues up. A spotlight finds me.
I have about 15 seconds of intro music to stand there and get my bearings. Squinting through the spotlight, my eyes search the crowd and finally find Bob. Janine is sitting on his lap now. He doesn’t even notice that I’m on stage. Awesome. The first line of lyrics appear before me on the screen, the words almost won’t find their way out of my throat, then they do…
“Looking out on the pouring rain, I used to feel so uninspired…” I sing. Something inside me releases and I almost want to laugh. But, I don’t… I keep
singing. Not for Bob, for myself.
“And when I knew I had to face another day… Lord, it made me feel so tired. Before the day I met you, life was so unkind, you’re the key to my peace of mind. You make me feel, you make me feel, you make me feel like a natural woman.”
When the song ends, I take comfort in the fact that no one will probably ever really sing something like that to Bob.
The crowd is very supportive. I laugh and shrug and make my way back to our table. Janine is off his lap now, she’s at the bar ordering a drink. Bob and his friends commend me for singing. Oddly, I’m completely un-nerved by the events of the evening. I’m completely calm. I feel in control.
“Wanna get out of here,” Bob asks.
“Yeah,” I reply, knowing I’ll ask him to take me straight home as soon as we’re in the car.
We say goodbye to his buddies and make our way to the Valet.
We’re waiting at the curb for the man to bring the car around when I hear a loud screeching voice behind me. We both turn.
“HEY!” She yells at Bob.
She runs towards us in her ridiculous high-heels. When she reaches us, she smacks Bob hard on the shoulder with her purse.
“Aren’t you even going to ask for my f***ing phone number?!?” she says, incredulously.
He backs away slightly.
“No, I’m good,” he says, looking at me as if he’s completely shocked by all this. If Janine was a teapot, she’d be screaming right now.
The car arrives and we climb aboard before she has the chance to pick her jaw up off the floor.
We drive for a moment without a word, then I say, “Can you just drop me at home now?”
Bob looks at me sideways and smiles that sheepish grin at me. “Don’t you want to come back to my place?” he asks.
“No, I’m good,” I say.
And I am.
Christy Williams’ words appear courtesy of Happy Funtime Dating advice.