Every Rose Has A Stan

11 Sep

*All of the names in this very true story have been changed to respect people’s privacy because I hear that’s a thing now.

***

I met a guy.

He’s educated, plays sports, and we have mutual friends!

But before I gush, let me explain the events of our brief but meaningful courtship.

***

It’s Saturday night and I’m fifth-wheeling (I know, I know, it’s a lot of wheels, but don’t be intimidated! With a little determination and a pinch of effort, you, too, could be the fifth wheel of a very lopsided, probably American-made minivan) when the couples and I decide to go to a bar. 

Normally, I don’t mind tagging along with my chums Erica, Ken, Meg and Brad to a bar. After all, I believe that three is a crowd…no one ever said anything about two lovers and a single…

This night, however, really made me question that whole “strength in numbers” concept.

At 1AM, we roll up to this bar – let’s call it “J’s” – and I am super excited because this is my FIRST bar outing in Boston as a licensed, 21-year-old BU student wearing my new purple eye shadow. (Every “first” is a cause for celebration, in my life.) 

It’s loud. Really loud.

The lights are on (which makes what is about to happen ten times more awkward).

I survey the scene.

In the far left corner, I see a 90 year-old-man with long hair sitting by himself. I make a bolded mental note to stay away from him. Not because I’m ageist, but because I’m pretty sure that braid was braided at Woodstock circa 1972 and hasn’t been changed since.

There are several youths on the dance floor, bobbing and weaving and grabbing hands and singing along to the music.

Golly gee, I think, doesn’t that look fun!

(Sadly, I would never get a chance to partake.)

Our group of five decides that we aren’t *adequately prepared* for bright lights and braids and aggressive pelvic thrusting, and so we head toward the bar.

After being pushed aside by several rude frat boys, I finally, finally belly my way up to the bar. That’s when the bartender asks me to please “get my naked belly off of the bar” because I guess I’d misconstrued that saying.

The waiting continues until suddenly, it stops.

The universe stands still.

He turns around – in slow motion because the stool is a little rusty and can’t turn 360 degrees – and looks at me.

Meet Stan. Just your average, thirty-something man alone at a college bar. 

“Cauuunn I gwat youvea winka?” he asks.

I quickly pull out my Smartphone’s “Drunk Speech” translation app and deduce that he’s asked if he can get me a drink.

Bile and panic and a tiny piece of banana rise up in my throat. 

(I hadn’t eaten banana that day, so I interpret its arrival as an omen of dark things to come.) 

Saying “no” to a free drink is like refusing a newborn baby because one of its ears is slightly bigger than the other; it’s cruel, inhumane, and could likely end up on Fox News. 

So, I accept the drink and, in a moment of duress, decide on a Heinekin.

(In hindsight, ONLY a 14 karat golden gullet full of the King’s wine from 1579 would have been luxurious enough to make up for this evening. But hindsight has 20/20 vision, and I, apparently, do not.) 

Anyway. I take the Hiney and try to decide how long I need to converse with Stan before faking a spleen eruption and running into the street.

I look to my foursome for…okay, that’s fine, totally fine. My friends have migrated and are sitting on stools. They’re not far. Okay, I got this. Maybe Stan won’t even…

“Sho wahaat’s yowa naymeee?”

Whoop, there it is.

The conversation has begun.

I try to think of my go-to fake names – Janice, Rose, and Jambalaya – but nothing comes to me! So I blurt out my real name. 

Things are moving way too quickly.

Stan begins to tell me the story of his “life.”

Twenty-four years of age. (Yeah, and I’m a monkey’s uncle.)

An “avid cyclist” whose bike is, unfortunately, “in the shop” because of “overuse.” (Does he mean “bike” or “Nintendo 64”?)

A Northeastern student! Getting his MBA! (I, too, sometime confuse the present with twenty-five years ago.) 

When I ask what brings him to a BU bar, he says he lives nearby. He then asks me where I live. I say “down yonder” and point at my left arm, hoping to create the illusion of a direction and an answer to his question.

I start chugging my beer and wishing desperately for a moment and a Twix bar. (If this were a Rom-Com, the bartender would toss me a Twix bar, I’d have a moment to “chew it over,” and an age appropriate suitor would pretend to be my boyfriend until Stan decided to wander home to his apartment. But this was not a Rom or a Com, and the bartender was headed to clean up some puke, so I was shit outta luck.) 

Stan proceeds to tell me about his past, present, and future.

What do you know?! We have a mutual friend! 

This is good. If I can keep him talking about our friend Trevor until I can signal to Erica to send a SWAT team, then I might not need a Twix.

But oooohhhh no, talk of Trevor isn’t enough for Stan. Stan wants to DANCE.

“Wahantt twooo dwanceee?”

Say no, say no! You do not need to be nice! In fact, you should be rude! Just try it for once. Be sassy. WHAT WOULD BEYONCÉ DO???

I mumble something that begins with “shmehjhdfjs” and ends with “okay.” 

WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?? YOU ARE SUCH A TAYLOR SWIFT!

I realize the gravity of the situation and – in a moment of brilliance, coupled with the ninja-fast instincts – mouth the words “Help me!” to Erica.

Erica rushes over to me – as I am just STEPS from the dance floor – and announces that we will be leaving in “one minute.”

Stan is displeased.

Stan becomes even more displeased after we do not leave in one minute and instead proceed to stand around for twenty minutes. 

“Duuu youuuu want miii nuhmbah ohr whhaatt?”

“Sure, Stan,” I say.

What I wanted to say was “No, Stan, no I do not want your ‘nuhmbah’ because that mole on your neck makes me think of the mouse in my apartment. So please, piss off.”

Instead, I think, we shan’t be speaking ever again.

Stan finally leaves…only to reemerge because of an unfortunately aggressive bout of rain.

That’s when I run over to the old man and use his braid as a disguise mechanism.

Because at this point, I’d rather have lice.

***

That night, I dreamt that Jake Gyllenhaal and I were on a date. There were red roses on the table and we were enjoying a Domino’s pizza (apparently “method acting” wasn’t bringing home the bacon for Jake, at this state in time).

At the EXACT moment that Jake and I were about to make mouth-to-mouth contact, I woke up.

When I fell back asleep, I dreamt I was driving my mom’s car on some ice and skidded my way into a twelve-car collision. 

Raise your hand if you think this is a metaphor for my love life.

Thanks, Stan.

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