Friday, March 21, 2008

the goth girl in buckhead

(original post: january 27, 2008)

i had an interesting night last night.

i went into buckhead (eeew) to see lisa, who has been really busy and sick and unable to do anything but work and school as of late, so i figured if i got her at work we could (relatively) hang out.

within ten minutes of being in lola, a new and pretentiously overpriced and good looking modern style bar slash restaurant, i was handed a glass of wine by a man in his mid fifties. i didn't say anything to him, as i had just walked up to lisa's section and was desperately trying to flag her down, but he leaned over and asked me what kind of wine i drank. i said sauvignon blanc, and like magic, it appeared in my hands. we had about three minutes of conversation after that, and i excused myself to use the restroom, graciously thanking him for my first glass of the night.

this happened four more times over the course of the night. there was even a man that followed me outside as i was smoking a cigarette, an iranian financial somethingorother named abe, just so he could see what i was all about. he also bought me another glass, right before i decided that was enough to ensure a dui on the way home. he didn't smoke, which he declared upon his arrival on the patio, but he had seen me across the bar and wanted to know if i was interested in sitting down with him.

i wasn't. but he bought me a glass anyway, in hopes i would change my mind. i didn't, but, i graciously thanked him and excused myself to the bathroom again. it wasn't because he wasn't nice, or cute, or whatever (although i will say this man was waaaaay out of his league and i give him kudos for having the balls to try)... i just prefer being alone in that setting. it gives me a chance to think about things, to write about things, and to get away from myself. i get to be involved in people's conversations without ever having to explain what i do, where i'm from, and most importantly, why i'm alone.

but this is the turn. i go to bars by myself because i enjoy the people watching, but i seem to always end up becoming one of the watched. i almost feel invisible in the setting, so i almost forget that people could be doing to me what i do to them. my bartender friends shake their heads and laugh as they put drink after drink in front of me, mumbling gently about how they don't know how i do it. i just shrug my shoulders and nod my smile at the buyer, cheers them, and go about sitting there quietly, staring off into space.

i don't think it's because i'm pretty. and it can't be the fact that i'm funny, because most times the drink is bought before i ever open my mouth. i guess they could buy it because they like my style of dress, although often my body is hidden behind the bar and without x-ray vision it's impossible to see what i'm wearing. no, no... i think it goes deeper.

people are always surprised after asking me who i'm here with and my response is, "you're looking at it." they raise their eyebrows with a concerned look, peer over my shoulder as if i were lying, uncomfortably laugh a little as i were joking... they wonder to themselves but more often out loud, why? as if they can't fathom someone just going out by themselves. it's alien to most. but it's comfortable for me, and that makes them uncomfortable, and i guess, intrigued.

going out by yourself is a little like living by yourself. it's quiet when you want it to be, you can make conversation and inside jokes to the only person that knows what's going on, you can invite people in or tell them to go away when they knock on your door... it's designed on your own terms, and you can play by your own rules. you don't have to anser to anyone, you never have to leave if someone else wants to go, you don't have to babysit if he or she gets sick. its. just. you.

it goes without saying that ladies will be hit on by men in bars, and i guess reading into it is pointless (as i'm doing right now). these men could be buying me drinks just to see if they have a shot in my pants, although we both know what my answer will be. it a game of cat and dead mouse. my answer is no before the ever shell out the 10 for my glass of wine. especially, in buckhead.

last time i was at lola, there was a man who was sitting three spaces down from me at the bar, in a suit and tie with that matching kerchief that sticks out of the pocket. he reeked of money and cockiness, and the entire night he was watching me from his periferal, as if he thought i was being sly. you can ask my students this... i dont miss much that is going on around me. i catch glances, i hear whispers, and i pretty much know where every exit in the place is so i can get out first in an emergency. he was not sly enough. maybe he wasn't trying to be.

after about two scotches to my three whiskeys, he got up enough nerve to talk to me, telling me he liked my style and that he wanted to buy me a drink. i agreed, and switched to wine, knowing i wasn't going to finish it but i like making my bartender friends money. he started off the conversation by telling me that he used to be "goth". as if i was supposed to be impressed that a man in a suit and a pink tie was really telling me that he shopped at hot topic and wore jenkos for a month before his parents threw out his marilyn manson t-shirt and made him wear pleated khakis again.

i looked around at the rest of the people in the bar. who was he talking about, goth? nobody in buckhead fits the sullen teenager persona, and i realized he was getting me confused with something else. i gently tried to explain to him that i'm not goth, that i never have been one to wear the platform lace up army boots and white out my skin behind my black hair. i just had black hair. that was the only thing that i could think of that me and goth have in common. but he just kept on going, about how he thinks goth girls like me are hot cause we're so dark and blah blah blah blah blah, until i stopped him, told him i was going to smoke a cigarette, and got up to leave.

thinking i had washed my hands of him, i sat on the patio and exhaled, raising my eyebrows when he came outside to join me. he asked me for my number, which at this point, was laughable, and instead i gave him my card. "i'll give you my email, will that do?" i just wanted him to go away.

i began writing it down on the back, and he started sketching out, looking over his shoulder and saying, "do it discreetly, make it fast..." i stopped writing and looked at him in disbelief, and then a woman poked her head out the door and said (glaring me down, as i were the one who was being skeezy), "c'mon honey, the car is here. hurry the fuck up. darling."

i put the card back in my purse, thanked him for the glass of wine, and got up to go back to the door. he was still trying to persuade me on my way back in, and finally i looked at him and said, "i will cut off your balls and feed them to you on our first date. betcha didn't know goth girls were into cannabalism..." he paid his tab and walked out.

it's stories like this that i go to bars for. the one hope that humin interaction will spritz out to me and give me something i couldn't write with my own imagination. i swear i don't make this shit up. i'm not that creative. im going to continue to go to bars and get my stories. they're fun, and it gets me drunk for free.

plus, the ladies in buckhead hate me for that reason, and that's reason enough for me.


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