A Clockwork Orange

I somehow end up at The Whaler one night.

The Whaler is never a place you plan on going to. It’s just the place you end up after many drinks and nowhere else to go. Why? Because it’s a freak show. I swear, this place gets weirder and weirder every time I go. And it’s been a while.

But this is definitely one of those nights. Started at Jackie’s “pre-gaming” (because I do that now…again… Jesus), then went to Bar Copa where our friend was DJ’ing, danced a while, then left and went to this guys apartment and it was fucking WEIRD. I did not know this guy. Jackie did, which is why we were there. Actually, I didn’t know a lot of people I hung out with that night. It was a lot of friends meeting friends, which was cool, but I basically kept Dana at my side.

So yea, this guy’s place. I don’t even know, but Dana and I just kept looking at each other and asking, “Where are we???? What is happening right now???!!” Then erupt into fits of laughter.

Time was tricky that night, too. This felt like the 4am after party, but no joke, it was 10 o’clock. I’m like, uhhh can we go out now? WHY ARE WE HERE?

So Dana and I lead the charge as we get out of this place (but we’re questioning if it’s even his place because he’s telling us to whisper as we walk down the stairs… even though there’s no one around…fucking weird).

And now we’re walking. And what’s close by? Of course, The Whaler. Might as well.

We walk upstairs to the main bar. Dana walks straight to the bar to get us drinks. It’s just always a weird crowd here. Hipsters? Skaters? Homeless? I don’t know. A guy walks by me. He stops and looks me in the face, I guess because we make eye contact. “Hi.” He says it like he knows me. So I say, hi. He still stands there, looking at me. So I ask him, do I know you?

“No.” ….

… Then what are you doing right now?? Dude, keep walking. (Pretty sure this was verbatim.)

It’s not even like he had a follow up. It was “hi” and “no”, then silence and staring. Fucking weirdo.

Dana and I stand close to each other in the fairly packed bar. She’s experiencing some of the same kinds of exchanges with guys. And again, we stare at each other, cracking up… but scared at the same time, and say, “What is happening right now?!” She tries to remedy the situation. “OK, keep eye contact with me. Don’t look around.”

Of course we look around.

And see a large group of people outside, all dressed up. Girls in dresses and heels, guys in slacks and button-down shirts, some with suit jackets. Dana doesn’t get it. “Who comes to the Whaler dressed like that?” I don’t know. Maybe they were at a wedding. Dana turns to me like, yea OK, like any wedding party would ever come to the Whaler.

We stand closer to the bar, ordering another round of drinks. A guy comes between us to order a drink. He’s wearing a button-down and suit jacket. Dana can’t help herself. “You’re with that group outside?” “Yea.” “What are you guys doing here?” “We were at a wedding.”

Dana turns to me and we have one of those non-verbal exchanges that we’ve been having all night. Then we let him have it, You decided to come here?? Of all places?

This guy, let’s call him Joe, looks like a serious kind of guy. He kind of looks around really quick at the place before he defends it. “What’s wrong with it? I like it here.” Which then prompts Dana, “Are you from here?” “No.”

Ohhhh OK, now it makes sense. But he’s a fighter. “So? You guys are here? What are you doing here if it’s so bad?” Listen, guy, this is a social experiment. Have you not noticed all the weirdos in here? It’s a freak show.

Of course, he hasn’t noticed, because he’s with all his friends. And to be fair, The Whaler is definitely a cool spot, because it’s right off the beach, with a great view. When I visited California for the first time, I went to the Whaler in the afternoon. And then when I moved to California, it was one of the first places I actually went out to. So, there’s that.

For some reason, Joe sticks around (Dana is pretty good at chatting people up). He’s from the east coast – Boston. Dana asks him his name. “Guess.” Who the hell guesses a person’s name? But without thinking, Dana blurts out, “Joe.” “Fuck you.” What?? “How’d you know that? It’s Joe.” No way, really? We laugh as Joe pulls out his ID to prove it.

This makes no sense, but as soon as he responds with, “Fuck you,” I like him. As the conversation goes on, he becomes more and more attractive to me. I also have a realization about east coast guys vs. west coast guys. It’s a revelation, really.

I’ve only really liked two guys out here, and they were both from here. And most of the guys I meet are from out here, so I think I started to forget that there’s actually a difference between east coast vs. west coast.

West coast guys are nice, and charming, and friendly, and easy-going, and laid back. All great qualities that I find very attractive. But here’s the thing: because of all these qualities, you can never tell if they ACTUALLY like you. Because they’re always fucking “nice”.

Recap with the two west coast guys I’ve liked.

1. Brett: “I just think it’s bad timing, and maybe down the road….” Can you just tell me you don’t want to date me? “No, I’m not saying that. I do like you.” But it’s over. This is over. “That’s not what I’m saying.” Then what are you saying??

2. Bryan Jordan: ………

Sooooo, yea.

East coast guys are simple. If he doesn’t like you, YOU KNOW IT. No bullshit. They don’t hide that shit. They’re not wired that way. And I really, really appreciate that.

So basically, Joe is a cool guy. And once we’ve got him talking to us, we don’t let him go. The three of us stand together, trying not to get bumped into.

Of course, I do get bumped into. Dana, being her Jersey self, yells at the guy. I turn to see who bumped into me, and this guy looks genuinely scared of Dana (he should be). He quietly says I’m sorry and I immediately feel bad. It’s OK, I tell him. Then I turn to Dana. It’s totally fine, he’s cool. He was nice.

A moment later, this same guy, who I now have my back to, has his beard in my neck, whispering in my ear. “She hates me. I like her but she really hates me.”

Dana and I exchange one of our many looks, and she starts telling him to get off me. I turn and put a hand up. Dude. Too close. Like seriously, back up. Not cool,

The fucking weirdo walks away. Joe is here for all of this and when the guy is gone, asks, “Do you guys know him?” Dana and I, in dramatic Jersey fashion, tell him, NOOOOOOOO. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you! This place is fucking weird!

For some reason, this next moment stayed with me… someone knocks into Joe. He looks slightly annoyed. He gets knocked into again, and his face tells me he wants to punch this person in the face. Immediately I think, yea we’re the same person. We relate. I like him. But then I think, well yea, but again, that’s why I like the west coast guys. They don’t care about that shit. They balance me out with their nonchalance. So do I want someone who is like me, or who isn’t like me?

I think too much.

And now the bar is closing. Joe actually doesn’t know where he’s sleeping tonight. He’s staying in Manhattan Beach but that’s too far, so he might stay with a friend doing Airbnb around here. I think this is the end, that we’re saying goodbye, but he walks us out to the front.

So I order an uber to go home, but Dana stops me. “Let’s go to my place!” Joe and I are in. But I already ordered the uber and he’s here and I feel bad. Dana runs over to him, explains that her friend (me) got sick and she’s taking me home and apologizes to the guy. I think she might even give him a 5 spot. She’s the best.

So we all walk back to Dana’s. It’s a group of us. We go up to Dana’s roof and she has this huge outdoor couch with a circular overheard kind of thing, and we all sit. We being me, Joe, Dana, and Jackie. Jackie squeezes in, forcing Joe to move closer to me.

Dana and Jackie are deep in conversation about their nails. One of Jackie’s nails broke tonight and she is PISSED. Dana is telling her about gels, and they are going off. I must instinctively close my hand into a fist.

Joe looks down. “Let me see your nails.” Pfft. No. He gently grabs my hand, and of course I let him, to reveal my unpainted, unmanicured, short nails. I start to defend myself, in embarrassment, and he cuts me off. “No, I like that.”

(These are the little things that stay with me).

Now Jackie is demanding that we leave. OK, OK. Jackie and Dana get up before me and walk down. I get right up, nervous to be alone with Joe. He, of course, takes his time. I help him up, and tell him right away. So, I like you. We should hang out before you leave (he leaves day after tomorrow).

I wish I could be the kind of girl that stays upstairs with the boy alone and sees what happens, but even after an entire night of drinking, I am still a nervous girl with boys. And that’s the bottom line.

He agrees. If I’m being completely honest, if I had my own place, I might invite him to come home with me, because he still doesn’t seem to know where he’s going to sleep tonight. But I live in a garage.

Ohhhh, curse being poor and single!

I tell him again that I like him. We hug, and I jump in my uber.

…And that’s the last I see of Joe.



Andddd just finished Week 3 of 100 Days of Lip Sync: Movie Soundtrack Week. Tried to start the link at Week 3 but I’m not tech savvy, so I apologize if it goes to the beginning. Just scroll down to Day 22!


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