The first day I met Nina, Frankie made sure to let me know that Nina and I were both from Jersey, like that would make us friends or something. Actually, Jersey girls are more inclined to not like each other. Give each other the up-down. Which is exactly what we did.
So, Nina and I definitely did not immediately become friends. Besides, she’s from North Jersey. And we all know how North Jersey and South Jersey feel about each other. I first started to like her when I realized she was a competent server. Respect. Then we just started to warm up to each other, and laugh at each other, and enjoy each other. Oh, and we’re both single. That helped. One day after work we sat and talked about our past relationships and how we’re both fairly, newly single.
We start working together a lot. Frankie’s mistake. We’re getting along way too well. Then one day, McConville messages me on Facebook, asking if I know this girl Nina. McConville is one of my best friends from college. We roomed together for basically three years (with Allie) and I fucking love her. OF COURSE she is friends with Nina. No wonder I like her so much! It’s all making sense now.
Even though we seem to hang out a lot, it’s only at work. We keep saying how we need to hang out outside of work, and we finally get the chance when Taylor (also from Brick, a hostess) invites some of us out to this bar in Hollywood. Nina offers to pick me up. Awesome.
We drive to Hollywood around 10:30pm on a Friday night and somehow, there’s still traffic. Whatever. Once we’re actually in Hollywood and find this bar called Harvard and Stone, we start looking for parking. Of course, there is none. And now we hate Hollywood. This is so dumb. Can we just park somewhere? Please? Ugh, I hate Hollywood!
We drive around for a good 20 minutes before I text Taylor asking what she did for parking. Of course she ubered, but she texts me back that there is valet around the corner. Instead of thanking her for finding out this important and helpful information, I demand to know where, exactly, is this supposed “valet.”
We finally find it and Nina and I are here. Yay! We walk in – no line. Awesome. Not sure where Taylor and her friends are. We take a lap around this speakeasy-type bar. This place is really cool. Also, can’t help but notice the abundance of cute guys. What? I’m just saying. Nina notices, as well.
Taylor finds us and we make our way to the bar for drinks. Nina gets our first round – Hendricks and tonic for her, old fashioned for me. That’s how we do.
The first burlesque show starts around 11pm. It’s just one girl. She is in this industrial-looking outfit with a red bandana in her pinned up hair, looking all Rosie the Riveter. I am completely mesmerized by her. The whole routine is so engaging and this girl is super confident and hot. I can’t stop watching her. I just have so much respect for girls who can do this. It’s the most impressive thing.
After the show, Nina and I make our rounds. Walk to another, outside bar. People are smoking here. (So cool.) I see a guy in a plaid shirt. He’s cute…. right? “He looks 21.” OK, nevermind, let’s do a lap. Are you sure he looks 21? Nevermind, you’re right. Over it.
There are two more shows. The second one is a different girl from the first show. She’s much friendlier and happier than the first girl. I like both, but prefer the bad-ass-ness of the first girl. In the third show, it’s three girls now. They’ve added one more to the group and I can’t take my eyes away from them. So talented. They’re on the staircase, up on a landing, standing on the bar, hanging from pipes in the ceiling. It’s so cool. If there is ever an acting role that requires me to be a burlesque dancer, that would be facing a major fear. One that I would happily do.
Later, I’m with Nina again. We’re at the bar, standing behind this guy. He’s closing out his tab. I can only see his profile. He looks cute from here. Is he cute? “Yes, I saw him earlier. He’s cute.” I try to lean without being obvious. Are you sure? “Stets, yes, I’ve seen him tonight. He’s definitely cute. And he’s your type.” He finishes signing his credit card slip and turns around. I’m staring right at him. We make eye contact.
Hi. “Hi.” You leaving? “Uhh, not yet.” Nina is still standing next to me. “OK. This is awkward.” And she quickly walks away, leaving me with cute boy. And he is cute, now that I can see his whole face. He walks over and stands with me by a ledge across from the bar.
This is where things get hazy. It’s after 1am now, I’m a few Jameson gingers deep, and this guy is visibly drunk as well. He even tells me so. At one point his friend comes over and gets him a beer. “Something light.” Yea, get him something light.
The more I talk to him the more I am liking him. Seems to have his shit together, too. He does something with producing and something with finances? I can’t remember. He wants to guess what I do. “Something creative… Director of Marketing for…” I don’t know what else he says, but no. I mean, thanks, that sounds like a pretty cool job, but no. I start to get a little nervous, and tell him so. I don’t really know why I do this. All the time. “Why are you nervous??” He seems almost affronted. No, it’s a good thing. It means I like you. If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t care and I wouldn’t be nervous. “Oh, so you think I’m cool?” No. You’re definitely not cool. You’re wearing a zip-up hoodie in a bar.
I find out his name. It’s Mike. Ah. “What?” No, it’s just, my ex’s name. He then says I can call him other names. I don’t remember what he says, but it’s funny. To me. I realize it might seem kind of ridiculous to be turned off by the name Mike, but, it just feels weird. At this time.
His friend comes over again and Mike steps away from me (see, even referring to him as Mike feels weird). He comes back. “I have to go but I’ll be right back. Will you be here?” Sure. Yea.
He walks away. I’m not sure what happens. I think someone from my “group” walks by me and says, “Everyone’s upstairs, we’re having a dance party, c’mon!” And for some reason, I follow them. And go upstairs.
Tell Nina about my exchange with Mike. “What are you doing?? Go back down there! He might be gone by now!” Fuck. OK OK. I go back downstairs. I can’t find him. The bar is closing and he is nowhere to be found.
How did I not get his number? Why did I walk away? Idiot.
He’s gone. Forever. Sigh.