Monday, September 03, 2007

My prowess with the opposite sex pretty much peaked in seventh grade

Before I get into these Hong Kong posts full-time, I have a few thoughts from my last week in L.A. that I feel like committing to "paper." Here's the first.

Given law school's long-entrenched status as "the closest thing to seventh grade since eighth grade," it makes sense that the evolution of my romantic sensibilities was also apparently stunted in middle school.

My last weekend in town, ex-roommate John and I take an evening at the Dresden, possibly my favorite bar in L.A., home of the legendary Marty and Elayne and immortalized in this scene from Swingers. We get lucky upon entering and snag a table just as it opens up. Is it really luck, though, or is it fate? The night will soon let us know. I glance over at the bar and notice a cute girl in a smart-looking cocktail dress...I make a mental note of this, but I'm out with a friend, I'm leaving town in a week, no reason to turn it into one of those nights.

But a little while passes, I randomly glance back over, and suddenly she and her friend are talking with 3 of the most stereotypical frat boy types I've ever seen. Cargo shorts, baseball caps, popped collars, Rainbow sandals, all of it...and this is bar I like to think as one of the last bastions of class in town, or at least kitschy class. My sensibilities are offended. Like Popeye, that is all I can stands, I can't stands no more. And just looking at the girl...no girl wearing a dress like that in a bar like this could possibly want to in a conversation with a shmuck like that. I have to believe this. I have to believe this.

I acquire a napkin and pen from the bar and scrawl out a note, sending it to the girl via a cocktail waitress who is all too happy to be a part of my machinations. She giggles with delight as she reads the note, and saunters excitedly to the addressee with her flirtatious cargo. The note reads:
Hi,

Are you seriously enjoying talking to these frat boys?

[ ] Yes [ ] No

- Guy in green at the table in front of you
Just so we're clear, those are checkboxes there. I have long believed that the movement of inter-gender relations away from checkboxes has been a small tragedy. There was no ambiguity about people's intentions with checkboxes. The act of presenting checkboxes was an unambiguous display of interest, the response on said checkboxes was an explicit answer. Life was so much easier in those days. So you can imagine I am a little disappointed when the girl foregos the sheer elegance of the checkbox system to write a note of her own. Still, one could do worse than to read:
They're nice enough and I'm trying not to be rude. Your note, however, made me blush profusely. Was this your intention?

[ ] Yes [ ] No

<3 [Name]
I immediately make three observations about the note. The first is that, even if she didn't make use of the checkboxes I had laid out for her convenience, this girl obviously appreciated their viability. The second is that she signed her name, complete with a little heart. Clearly my note had not fallen upon unsympathetic eyes. And the third is that, even in a lounge-note flirtation, the girl made use of the word "profusely" in casual conversation. *swoon*. A couple people I subsequently recounted this story to cringed at the word, but personally, I am a sucker for a fine vocabulary. My love affair with Emmy Rossum began when she used the word "quizzically" as part of a story she was recounting on the Tonight Show. Evidently, the way to this man's heart is through his dictionary.

The night did eventually lead to a lovely little date, which of course was made largely moot by my impending departure to Hong Kong. Even a shot at a second date before I left was foiled by my ankle sprain. But even so, the whole sequence of events was a welcome reminder that interacting with strangers in bars can actually be fun, rather than a dreadful chore.

My only regret is not saving the napkin itself.

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