A Little Less Conversation, A Little More ActionFriday night, I headed out to The West End, a cheesy meat market of a club down in Santa Monica. It's the type of place that, at the mention of it's name, your friends all say with a bit of disgust "Is that place still there?" Bad lighting, noisy as hell, not condusive to conversation whatsoever, but surprisingly good cover bands. My goal of the night was to just get trashed and wash away the whole stink of going back to the law. My buddy, on the other hand, was trying to get me to "go out there and talk to some women fer godsakes." On a purely theoretical level, he had a point 'cuz the likelihood of some leggy blonde into Massive Attack chatting me up while I'm in gigantous mope-a-suaros mode at the back of the bar with the rest of the mouth-breathers is slim to none.
But, for the first hour, I was just trying to decompress. I had a fine time observing others and making mental notes confirming what not to do. For example, there's the sidling gambit: You see a couple of chicks dancing and having a good time, so, being the sneaky clever guy that you are, you start moving close to them, moving closer and closer hoping that one of the chicks will notice you out of the corner of her eye, and then she'll see your moves and make eye contact and then look ma, you're dancing! You're dancing! But see, here's the rub. You're not being sneaky, nor are you being clever. You're just being creepy as hell. Why is it creepy? Look at it from her point of view--she's just had some random guy who doesn't have the cajones to say hi rubbing his crotch (or at least trying to) against her ass. See, etiquette requires at least an introduction before you do something like that.
Another fine observation I made was that there were guys who were better looking than me by half just drinking their drinks lounging by the wall and not doing shit even though the women on the dance floor were clearly looking in their direction. If the DJ started playing some Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, it'd be an awkward junior high dance. (My buddy, trying to pump me up, made a good point: "These are guys who couldn't get into Hollywood clubs." Maybe explains the whole 7th grade vibe coming from the bar). This made me feel a lot better.
Anyway, after that first hour, I was still content to just chill. My mental effort had been totally spent dealing with the law, so I didn't have it in me to go up and start chatting up chicks randomly. And just then, young Marty Stark fell in love, cue Blondie's "Atomic" (sorry, Trainspotting flashback).
A whole gaggle of women came in, which is usually no good in these outings. They start dancing together in a circle, and form a "Ring of Death" no man can break. Seriously, go ahead and try. Even if you're with a buddy, you and your buddy will feel eight pairs of eyes staring at you. By the time you're within three steps, that pressure is so overwhelming, you find yourself walking back to the bar getting a refill on your drinks which are already 3/4s full. If you have the actually chutzpah of getting within tapping distance of your intended, everyone in the Ring of Death will have their eyes on you, giving you the glare.
I couldn't get a bead on what type of women they were. A couple of them looked like academics ('specially the chunky blonde in glasses who shamed her honky brethren by furthering the white people can't dance stereotype--move butt down, one two three four, move butt down, one two three four). I got the impression they knew each other from work,as opposed to being a tight knit knew each other from school group, because they did break off into cliques (the academics, the help, etc.). And yet despite the whole Ring of Death potential, someone caught my eye.
She was a slender brunette with a slight smile, her hair cut chin length with one side tucked behind an ear. She had legs from here to ya-ya. Unlike most attractive women in L.A., she was totally un-selfconscious about her figure. She moved almost as if she didn't realize she was slender and utterly, heartbreakingly adorable. And she appeared to be the odd person out of the group. She stood behind her main group when she walked in, and her friend (slavic looking, brunette with blue eyes) looked like she was trying to get her to talk to other men (she kept pointing out clusters of guys, which included, according to my buddy, yours truly). My buddy thought she might be the geek of the group, and I agreed. But what really got me was she danced. While all her friends were at the edge of the dance floor watching people dance, she was dancing, swaying her hips to the music (and in rhythm too!) Then I lost sight of her. Her group of friends went off to the bar, but I couldn't see her. There was a good reason for that: She went onto the dancefloor on her own, without her buddies.
I looked at the guys in mouth-breather wallflower mode. I looked at her friends who were busy preening themselves in hopes of getting the guys to notice them. I looked at her dancing and not caring where her friends were. And I knew if I didn't make a move now, I'd deserve to be a miserable sod in a cruddy beige suit coming home to cats and porn.
I made my way through the dancefloor, and did one song's worth of recon. She was cute. She was un-selfconscious. She knew how to move. As soon as the band (70s funk cover band) started into cheesy banter mode, I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "You're a great dancer. Do you wanna dance?" She said, "What?" (OK, not the response I was hoping for). So I repeated myself, and she said, "What?" Finally, I said, "Do you want to dance?" Her slight smile became a big grin, and she said, "OK." I introduced myself, and she said her name was Nadia (I think it was Nadia--it was loud and she had a foreign accent--foreign accent, could she be even more adorable?)
Now, a lot of times, when a guy asks a girl if she wants to dance, she says sure, but in a "I have nothing better to do" sort of way and never makes eye contact. For two songs, Nadia kept looking at me and giving me a big grin. Then her friends, the Ring of Death, made their way to the dance floor. She touched my arm and said, "Thank you for the dance," in that foreign accent of hers (either Eastern European or Middle Eastern).
I wish I could say I ended up with her phone number that night (Oh God do I wish I ended up with her phone number that night) but alas, I didn't. She returned to the circle of death. Eventually, she went outside with a couple of friends, and I saw some guys trying to chat them up (but Nadia had her arms crossed in the universal sign of don't talk to me). When my buddy and I decided to leave, she was still with her friends in the outside version of the Ring of Death, but I swear her smile widened when I passed by. In a moment of self-doubt, I didn't say hi as I walked out (plus my buddy saying "C'mon, talk to her, talk to her" just as we passed her probably wasn't that conducive to me chatting her up).
But, at least I know that I can make an adorable, slender brunette with a foreign accent smile.