I'm not very cool. For starters, I'm a little over the top. And while over the top can be entertaining and funny, it is rarely cool. Being cool is more elusive. It's all about subtlety and mystery and nuance. Alas, not my finest traits.
Okay... my boss just read this over my shoulder and she's practically crying with laughter (being rather over the top herself) so, yes, well, I might have understated just how bad I am at subtletly and mystery. And nuance.
In spite of this, I have luckily experienced the love of two good men (tsk tsk, consecutively okay?) and for the past 13 years I've been in solid, committed relationships where my particular brand of over-the-top, fall-in-your-lap-because-I-fell-over-my-feet un-suavity was both fondly accepted and even encouraged.
Which meant that I've been able to flit along happily, having almost convinced myself that I'm a serious femme fatale. Who needs cool anyway?
Recently, however, life has once again proven that it has a perverse way of coming full circle and biting you in the ass. Because after years of being safely paired up, these days I am stuck in a bar, by myself, at least one weekend out of three. Which means that for the first time in aeons, I am faced with the problem of my toe-curlingly embarrassing uncoolness again.
This is not – thank goodness – because my marriage is in trouble and I've developed a secret drinking habit. No, it's because Charles is part of a wildly successful DJ duo and they play gigs all over the country. And while he's happily tucked behind the decks, I'm out in the masses, thrown to the proverbial wolves.
Trust me, if you're in a bar without an obvious partner you might as well take a magic marker and write 'fair game' on your forehead.
Now, the last time I had to negotiate my way around this particular type of minefield I was still a teenager. And while I like to pretend I'm much more urbane and sultry these days, it's simply not true. It's a jungle out there baby, and all these years of being loved have obviously made me gone soft.
So now, weekend after weekend, to the detriment of Cape Town's nightlife, I've been let loose on my own again...
Let's just say that I've picked up the following few tips so far:
You need to be mysterious and enigmatic. Don't be yourself because you are boring.
Saying "I'm married" will only get you one of two responses. Either: "Don't flatter yourself! I only wanted to be friends anyway!" or "That doesn't matter, so am I."
Don't thank the person coming on to you. Saying: "Oh bless you, you sweetheart you!" is apparently a definite no-no.
Smiling is not cool. Only the faintest of smirks is acceptable.
Don't do the 'high five' thing, but when you absolutely must, make sure you don't miss their palm when you clap.
Never, ever let on you know every single word of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
Those emo kids in their skinny jeans really think they look good. So don't laugh.
Don't like these rules? Well, find me at the next gig on the dance floor spazzing out and we'll break them together.
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