Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gather ''s story time

Last week was Valentine's Day and my plan was to take my date to a Washington Storyteller's event. Once a month, various people use an open mic to tell stories about the topic of the month. Being Valentine's Day, this month's stories were naturally about home repairs that went awry. Just kidding...they were about dating, relationships, and the like. But there was a problem with last week's show. Ice. There was too much ice on the ground, so the event was postponed until last night.

The venue was also a restaurant, so as we ate dinner, we were entertained by a couple of professional storytellers and a few amateur ones. Most of the stories were really good. A lot were funny. (One guy talked about his date driving because he was "between cars" and later going back to his place to make out on the stylish furniture -- a bean bag chair). A couple stories were sweet. (Another guy talked about childhood summer camp being his "Wonder Years" and the little girl he met at camp being his "Winnie Cooper.") All in all, it was a fun evening.

The event was run by two girls I have known for years through acting. They have both heard all about my dating life and are always eager to hear more stories like the ones posted on this blog. I liked to think they thought of me when brainstorming for their intermission raffle/games. During a break, they announced that they had prizes to be awarded for various categories: "best meeting story," "best deal-breaker on a date" story, and "why I deserve to win the book, 1001 Romantic Ideas."

Best "deal-breaker on a date" story? Come on! That's too easy...they were playing right into my hands. Who did they think they were dealing with, here??? But which freak girl story should I use? Oh brain is overwhelmed and I'm not thinking of any! What the? I have a million of them and I can't think of any? Ugh! I eventually jotted one down on the note card. I also entered a note card stating why I needed the 1001 Romantic Ideas book.

After the MC read the entries for "best meeting story," the audience voted (via applause) and they awarded the prize. Now, it was time to give away the book. My entry:

My record for a relationship is just about seven months. Today marks six months (she's here). I figure that 1001 Romantic Ideas could buy me at least a month!

I won! (which was good because I don't like losing...ask my softball teammates.) I walked up to accept my prize and I heard one of the organizers yell out, "Nothing longer than seven months...I knew it had to be you!" The other organizer hugged me and told the audience, "believe me...he NEEDS this book."

Next up were the prizes for "best deal-breaker on a date" story. (1st, 2nd, and 3rd were being given)

The winning story was about a guy who was having the perfect first date. Everything was clicking and he was excited about where this could lead. That was...until Dan Akroyd walked into the place. His date was mesmerized, but that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was when she ended up kissing Akroyd at the bar. (Ouch. He's not even attractive. That had to hurt.)

The runner-up had a first date offer up some private info. "I sleep with ghosts," she remarked during her dinner date. (That sounds fun.)

Yours truly came in third. My card read:

The first date ended not with a kiss or even a hug. It ended with the girl saying, "We can either have sex or you can call me again. It's your can't do both."

(I wondered who was now checking out the girl in my booth and thinking she was easy.) As I made my way up to the stage for a second time to claim my prize, I thought I better explain, "It was a different girl! I swear!" (Think anyone believed me?)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Feeling Odd...Cool, Even...

Have you ever seen a television show where they take a pretty girl and put her in a "fat suit" or make her ugly/old/disfigured with makeup and then send her out in public to see how people treat her differently? Well, I had a little taste of the reverse of that last night.

The state delegation of Louisiana sponsored a huge party at a hotel in downtown DC. Mardi Gras was the theme...complete with a carnival type atmosphere. Everywhere you looked, there were beads (no flashing, sorry), live bands, face-painters (the professional kind who paint incredible masks on people, not volunteers who draw smiley faces on your cheek), jugglers, acrobats climbing to the ceiling (think Cirque-du-Solei), Vaudeville acts, magicians, plate spinners, Marie Antoinette, stilt walkers wearing masks, a court jester, etc... The Louisiana congressmen spared no expense. About 75 beauty queens from various counties in LA were also flown in for the shin-dig. (After the pageant girls entered the party, I' think all the entertainment performers left the ballroom. I'm not sure, but at least I didn't notice them anymore. Who knows?)

I happened to be standing at the entrance when the girls entered the party. They were all dolled up in evening dresses and lots of makeup (they are southern belles, after all). A group of four came in together and hurried there way in my direction. The entire party room including the food/drink tables was behind me, so I did my best to brace myself for the oncoming stampede. The stampede stopped just short of where I was standing. (When I say "just short" I mean about 3 inches short of me.) All at once, four girls yelled, "Can I get my picture with you?"

(There must be a famous congressman right behind me and like an idiot, I'm in his way. Great.) Oh! Wait, wait, wait! Maybe it was their tiaras causing me not to think straight (that or the pretty faces combined with cleavage), but I totally forgot who *I* was. See, on this particular night I was the court jester. (Yay, me!)

You see, I have a part-time job in performance and this gig had me in colorful tights, bells on my hat and collar, curled shoes, and holding a scepter. I looked ridiculous, but the girls loved it. (For proof, see Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett) One by one, we put our arms around each other for photos. This continued throughout the evening with most of the queens. (I've done photos like this in the past, but usually at sporting events with cheerleaders and never with the cheerleaders approaching me for the photo.)

I'm sure most of you have hot people running up to you every day, but this was new to me. I really didn't know how to react. (Luckily, I was "The Fool" so I was allowed to say stupid things. I excel at that!) And yes, I realize they were running up to the costume and not me, but the initial experience of beauty queens scurrying towards me and grabbing me for photos was an odd feeling. Cool, even...