Chronicles of the Single Man, Episode 5: Where The Players Dwell

You don’t want to meet all of my guy friends on our third date?

This story is about… let’s see… three years old at this point. I was single then and I’m single now. Frankly, as I thought it over to write this post, I realized it’s probably a good illustrator of why that’s the case.

I’ve never claimed to be an expert on women or male/female interaction, but I have, in fact, sustained healthy relationships with women (and even had sex with a few of them), so I can’t be getting lucky each time.

That said, how would you interpret the following situation?

I’m at the bar with a friend, waiting for a girl I had gone out on a few dates with (more on those in a moment) to arrive. She does and in short order this friend of mine pretends to come down with malaria and lets us be*. After having a drink or two at that bar, she asks** me if I want to go to another bar because a bunch of her friends are there.

Would you assume that these friends were a bunch of A) similarly-aged girls, B) a mix of guys and girls or C) a group of only men, at least 6 of them, all dressed like rejects from Boiler Room?

I’d have put the house on A or B. If you’re reading at above a 6th grade level, you can probably guess that it was, regrettably, C.

Before we go forward, this strikes me as the time to point out that this is something women see no issue in. When I’ve retold this story over the years, it never seems to be a problem (to women listeners) that the gender of the friends wasn’t revealed. Imagine if I brought a girl I barely knew to hang out with a bunch of hot, well-dressed, single women. Or at least, women that looked kinda hot and didn’t have their boyfriends with them. I can’t imagine that would play well.

Anyway, once I find this out and we’re inside, I’m immediately put off.  She bought me a beer, one I drank miserably as the outsider in her group of friends that I wasn’t introduced to (in fairness, not sure it was necessary). Every so often, someone would say something, but I was generally left out of contact and conversation.

After she left to go somewhere, I was alone with the group. Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” came on in the bar, so I leaned in and asked any of the guys if they knew who sang the song***.

There were some confused looks and mostly silent responses, until one of the guys (probably named Blake) said, “Uh, I don’t know… is it Boyz 2 Men?”

I responded, laughing, to tell him that it wasn’t Boyz 2 Men and that that was a horrible (if possibly racist, but I didn’t tell him that) guess. I then told him who it was.

Fast-forward maybe a half hour later.

The girl I had arrived with comes over to me and grabs my arm. She had an angry look in her eyes, which I suspected might be bad for me but I was happy she had any emotion at all insofar as I was concerned.

She proceeded to lecture me on how her friends told them the Return of the Mack story (fucking tattle tale bitches) and why was I acting like such an asshole and do you know how to behave yourself and how if I was going to act like this, that I should just leave.

I was having a miserable time and should’ve left right then and there. This girl is a wonderful girl (I say that in total honesty), but we just weren’t right for one another on that level. She’s incredibly smart and incredibly pretty and way, way too self-assured and cocky for someone like me. Now, don’t get me wrong, those last two qualities weren’t necessarily negative things, it’s just that they brought out the worst in me. Whenever I was with her, I’d try to impress her like I was auditioning to be a mascot. I took her to a restaurant in the meatpacking district both out of my comfort and price range. Every time (or just about) I told a joke that she didn’t laugh at, I’d explain the joke and/or apologize. It was fucking pathetic.

But, I stayed. We almost always stay. Somewhere, in the back of our moron male minds, we think that no matter how bad a night is going, there is that slight chance that if I just hang on long enough, maybe… maybe I’ll get to touch a boob at night’s end.

There would be no boob touching in my future that night.

Despite being drunk and annoyed, I did have a part of my brain that realized she was right and that, while I wasn’t certain of what it was specifically, I had almost assuredly acted like an ass. Still, I couldn’t just leave right away. After awkwardly standing near the group of people I had been shunned by initially (and now, even more so), I grabbed my coat and readied to leave after about 10 minutes. As I did, the following song came on.

Just before I left, I leaned into the group and said, “Just so you guys know, this is 112. Not Boyz 2 Men.”

Somehow, I never saw that girl again.

If this is where the players dwell, I want in.

*That right there, is guy code. Fuck the show on MTV2 on Tuesdays at 11:00 ET. Or don’t, and watch it, because it’s funny.

**That word might as well have been in quotes, because let’s be honest, she wasn’t asking. She was saying, my friends are at another bar. If you want to be with me at all for the rest of this night and/or have an opportunity to possibly navigate my innards like Magic School Bus, you’d better finish your beer, and get your ass off that barstool.

***I wasn’t quizzing them. In college, my friends and I always played the song guessing game. At the bar, as soon as the song came on you had to guess the artist and got a point for each one right. It sounds idiotic, and is, but I was hanging on by a thread at this point.

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