Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Classics pt. 2b: Clumsy lovin’ in the Arizona Keys

... And now the thrilling conclusion to last week’s post.
Stranger danger
We placed our orders (Good-natured Heckler maintains his was spaghetti) and got to know the strangers across the table. They were two fraternity buddies (one of whom had a T-shirt with the name on it) and a blond friend of theirs who introduced a game of sorts. It’s been too long for me to remember how it went (and the bastardPost Office lost the journal that might’ve had more details), but basically it was some variation on those junior-high sleepover games where you reveal juicy secrets. Except that most of the secrets revealed were about the girl, and involved her sex life (maybe she’d had a back-door man?).

Finally we finished our meals, rose noisily and said goodbye, then made our way out to our vehicles. As I reached my car, however, I realized I couldn’t find my keys. Puzzled, we went back inside and searched the booth thoroughly. Nothing. Luckily Girlfriend #4 had also driven, and chauffeured Good-natured Heckler and me back to my apartment where I awoke my poor roommate, claimed a set of spare keys, and rode back to the diner for my car.

For some reason, Good-natured Heckler and I were not prepared to call it a night, so we waved tata to Girlfriend #4, climbed into my fragile rattle-trap, “the Eunuch,” and drove off for the man-made lake not far away. Tempe decided in the late ’90s to revive the river bed where once the Salt River flowed, and dam it off to form a man-made lake, along which walkways, parks, and businesses were planned in imitation of San Antonio’s riverfront. Former co-workers scorned it as the Town Swamp, but during graduate school it became one of my favorite places — for thinking, running, and dragging late-night dates (Sgt. Ex-sessories for one, but that’s another story).

It has to mean something
Good-natured Heckler and I roamed the moonlit sidewalks, talking of band-life and the strange nature of friendships along the road. Finally around 5 a.m. we called it quits and I drove him to the band’s hotel. As usual, I had the radio on. When I pulled the little red Geo to a halt, Good-natured Heckler remarked that “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was playing. “That’s funny, it played earlier tonight too,” he said. “At the bar.”

“Oh yeah, you’re right.”

He then proposed that whenever we heard the song, we should think about each other and remember this wacky evening. I nodded amiable agreement and waved goodbye as he climbed out of the car.

Fast-forward one year later. The scene is New York City, and I have been introduced to its oldest Honky-Tonk by the Captain (the same bar-pimp who would later provide my entrée to Burlesque Bar). As we’re leaving with a friend one night, I notice a poster announcing future acts … including, the Clumsy Lovers!

Anna’s trademark “Oh my God!” is yelped, and a back-story ensues. But by the time CL’s November show came around, the Captain had stopped responding to my group-social invitations (although in fairness, the city is something of a weeknight drive from West Point) and I went without him. Well into the show, by which time the peanut shells on the ground had piled like so much crunchy sawdust, the band broke into a reggae cover. And what song should they revive? “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Amused, I suddenly remembered the early-morning conversation. Would Good-natured Heckler catch my eye? I wondered. But no. Evidently he’d forgotten the remark as swiftly as I had, and we’d both gone on to lay many other layers of association onto that song.

Loose ends
The next morning I put my thinking cap on and desparately resolved to recover my keys which I was fairly sure one of the drunks had taken. Remarkably I remembered the name of the frat on the one guy’s shirt. I called up ASU’s Greek Council and explained to the guy who answered that I’d been hanging out with someone from Alpha Delta Thong the night before and thought one of them had grabbed my keys. Based on my recollection of where one of the guys thought he lived, the Greek Council said he thought he actually knew who I was talking about. He made a few phone calls, and within a few hours I’d made contact with the key-snatcher.

The Clumsy LoversUnder the Covers
After the Flood
Rolling Stones
Let It Bleed (Remastered)