So, apparently it’s a “thing” that 20, 30 and 40-somethings pack it up at the end of a busy Thursday at work and head to the elegant Rosewater (supper club) in downtown Toronto. Happy hour they call it. I’d heard of this happy hour in the past, but had barely come close. Until now.
I’m sure you can tell, I don’t get out much. But on Monday, when my girlfriend Michelle invited me out for a Thursday cocktail, this self-proclaimed social butterfly was already visualizing her outfit, shoes and hair for the night. Then somewhere between Monday and Thursday, I came back to Earth and realized this really wasn’t going to be a big deal.
We narrowly escaped a pair of bald-headed bouncers asking people to wait outside and form a line. The room was packed. My dress was cute. But cute as it was, not too many eyes wandered from the half-tipsy conversations that were already well underway. It seemed like many of the “suits” and “heels” in the room had known each other; perhaps they were regulars at the lounge.
Awkward moment #1: pathway to the bar. I’m 5’2” and a half (yes, I wore flats) and weigh none-of-your-business, under 120 lbs. Crowds don’t move for me. Nobody moves out of my way. Ever. I don’t know who your girl thought she was offering to go get our drinks, but I was feeling myself. At the counter, I got ignored, as usual. Bartenders pay me no mind when I’m standing between a bunch of large men and pushy females. After about 9 minutes, I got my Cranberry & Vodka. Must have been my dress.
Michelle said her hellos to a few people she recognized and we found our spot for the night. Awkward moment #2: compliment fail. I was chatting it up with a group of IT recruiters who work at a firm down the street. One male in the crew, who had guzzled more than a few drinks, had a barrage of questions for me. He was curious. Liked what he saw. Pedro flattered me with praises, from how pretty I was to how proud he was of my education and accomplishments so far.
“Oh please, I bet you say that to all the ladies,” I replied. The way his eyes widened after that, is something I won’t forget for a while. “Are you serious? Gawd, what is your problem, girl?” said Pedro. What he did next makes me think in hindsight that he deserved a swift box (a Jamaican-style slap) in the face.
Pedro turned to his buddies and shouted with a drunken, smug look, “Alright guys steer clear of this one. Somebody hurt her! Clearly! Yep, she’s been hurt! I’ll pray for you, girl!”
More than a few beers in him, so you know he was LOUD. His back was turned to me at this point; guess that meant I was dismissed. I wasn’t gushing with pride as he loaded me with compliments. I suddenly became the angry Black woman. And he was such a damn drama Queen with his delivery, too.
Happy hour sucked. I went through the motions post that comment. I circled back with Joseph and Angie, whom I had briefly met a bit earlier. Can’t even tell you what we talked about. Pedro’s words stung, and by 7:30 I could hardly pretend anymore. I glanced over at him, standing in the same old spot at the bar counter, another female by his side, another drink. Michelle gave me the nudge and I was ready to leave.
I guess I could’ve said thanks. He’s lucky I didn’t tell him he was full of crap – expressing the fact that I didn’t believe him was my gentler way of turning him down. But how that turned into a public declaration of my unluckiness in love, I’m still trying to grapple with. “Who does he think he is embarrassing me like that?” I thought. His actions reminded me of a chauvinistic pig. He should have known better.
Pedro knew me for all of 25 minutes, and he saw right through me. I have been hurt. But I’ll be damned if I let that keep me confined in this socially awkward world for too much longer. [Note to self]