The peeling storefront decal says “The Sexiest Butt Ever,” the sidewalk chalk of professional marketing. I want to be noticed. I look through Missed Connections for myself; my fifth grade teacher’s husband looked for his name in the obituaries every night after he finished the crossword for the day. I’m upset when I have not seen myself in these four years living in Minneapolis. On my days off I try to be seen. I want to find myself somewhere. It’s not rational.
I was planning on going to New York City with a good friend of mine but the police charged him multiple times for expired license plate stickers. Then his apartment burned down. His only possessions: worn clothes and car. Since I’ve borrowed a few of his things, I have joked about being an archivist for his personal museum. So I had some time off and traveled around the Twin Cities via bus, uptown, downtown. Please someone. Post about my smile, my anachronistic fashion sense. Are my glasses a brand of a famous writer? I don’t know how I feel about that.
w4m please please please
A gay friend told me women don’t think I’m straight since I don’t ogle them, his words. I am aloof. I don’t want to be that guy. “Why do you keep talking about the plight of the gays?” my mother said, “Are you gay?” She says the word like the holiest of profanity. I told her that I was approached to be a model -— a woman stopped me in a half-sit-down-half-fast hybrid restaurant and told me I hope this isn’t strange but you are really good looking do you want to model for cash? And my mom said, “Well if you could quit smoking and eat protein then you could model full time.”
The bar was an extra set for a-holes. I was over-dressed; I was other-dressed. A guy in a backwards baseball hat (people still do that?) descended the stairs and told a compatriot I hate this place. It’s said that hell will be a place of our choosing. The cool part of the bar was downstairs. The Peanut Bar. No peanuts or popcorn upstairs. The floor was littered like an ancient history textbook bazaar -— husks, kernels, shells. Hamster carpet in plastic baskets. I looked and felt like someone’s father (well look how you look, my friend said, you look like someone out of an English heist movie), how old professors say they view their female students like family members.
Anne, let’s call her that, hugged me with her leopard print shawl. (How many leopards did children have to kill to make that? It’s fake, she said. Well how many fake leopards? One, she held up a digit. One, I repeated.) I was introduced to some guy with a mustache, holding a giant tankard like he was in a bar scene for a musical. We shook hands. Isn’t this nice, we said. Yes, nice. Anne yelled to a bunch of men, It’s my birthday. Nice, they said, and nodded.
I edged through the douche phalanx. A girl was telling her friend that some incident was so random that she almost threw up. It was the U of Minnesota’s spring break. I hope that works out for you. At the bar, another girl told her friend, You just have to show your boobs, that’s all that matters. Tonight’s lesson from a serially published late night philosophy journal.
Anne’s friend asked if I was a tits or ass guy when I returned to the table. Never mind, she said, I bet a hot mind turns you on. You want a sexy mind. I look around the room for someone.
Like 98 percent of men here are assholes, and in general, Anne said to me and touched my arm. I mean, I like all the bad ones. Yeah wow, about to get really deep here and I’m not ready for that, she said.
I wanted Anne once, but that was a long time ago. My psychologist friend told me, Why do you feel you have to be the nice guy? Why do you always have to do the right thing? I was teetering on sober. I thought of a girl I was dating at the time.
The shots girl walked around in a dress that contorted like a short question. Behind me, a woman that I went on a few awkward online dates with was sitting at the same booth ordering sake bombs with a guy who’d wear ripped things. People are hired to professionally alter those clothes with shotguns. Scattershot shooting range denim, shirts, hats.
I just don’t want the good ones because I don’t know, Anne said. I’d been buying her drinks all night because she thought she had no friends since she returned from Eastern Europe on a Fulbright. We talked about shopping for dildos on Amazon. She read the ratings. We laughed and said those things must go somewhere. She said guys have hands.
The sober-drunk where every syllable matters. On my way down the stairs to the bathroom I let two women go ahead of me. They told me guys bought them shots at this other bar and they left and isn’t that awesome? That’s awesome, I said. I know right, one of them said. She was wearing something sporty, like she was running away from something. Right, I said.
The barkeep was singing along to that Gorillaz song with the hi-hat the beginning, about feeling glad, named after some old actor I’d eventually remember. She had a pink band around her thigh, maybe for keys or that thing thrown at weddings that women pretend to love to want. Her shorts were an abridged version of her annual checkup when she bent down for a bottle. You could almost prophecy stirrups. The bartender asked me what kind of whiskey I wanted. House? I said like a dumbass, sober, socially anxious. Rail, she said. House, yeah rail I said.
There was a better word I could have picked. I wanted to go home. I could’ve picked any place to be that night. I could’ve been anywhere for anyone to look at. No, nah. I wouldn’t let me. Notice me, someone. I will be checking later. I will remember everything, I promise.
w4m 21 I saw you by the bar and you said house instead of rail or well. You wore a cab driver hat or dockworkers hat, something working class and glasses that anyone who thinks they can write wears. I hope that’s not the case, that you write. You looked like a dad my dad maybe because it seems you want a woman with a history and demeanor out of a early 20th century psychology book. Ugh, reading. I’m hot and in college. Your vice. You were leaning against the bar, loud music was playing, a song I didn’t recognize. You did. I followed you home walking. I watched you go inside. I watched lights through windows, yours. I miss you already. Sleep well. Tell me what color panties I hung on your doorknob.