Sometimes one doesn’t see always see a person clearly until they are contrasted with another. And that is what happened during my weekend visit with Ann St. Vincent. The first night I had my first impressions… physically she’s beautiful. Tall, with ungodly naturally blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, a high forehead and a nose that quirks in the cutest of ways when she smiles. Her personality is one of quick wit, extreme confidence, and an inner calm that I believe comes from her admirable self awareness. When there’s disagreement Ann tends to push her side of the argument in the attempt to convince others of her rightness and this sometimes results in extended conflict. Comparatively, I avoid conflict like the plague and will put my highly developed diplomatic skills to work to keep the peace while also (hopefully) getting my way. If nothing much is at stake I meander down the path of least resistance. I’m not sure Ann even knows where that path is. And I admire this in her.
However, we had enough similarities that it wasn’t until I met her friend Katherine on Saturday night that I truly saw Ann. Katherine, a tall leggy brunette, is in a place in her life where she is angry at men and at the exact same time desperately wants their attention. This dichotomy of emotions resulted in multiple trips to the bathroom to scope out the males as she went to and fro, long stares across bars in the attempt to lure a hapless victim her way and frustration when neither was successful.
In contrast, Ann, who wasn’t on the prowl, got plenty of appreciative looks that I’m certain could have led to more had she been receptive. I felt for Katherine. Her emotions sit barely below the surface and she envies Ann’s contentment. She doesn’t understand it. She questions it. Katherine didn’t know me well enough to compare us. I downplayed my career and life so that in no way was I her competition. She had me pegged as Ann’s quirky Southern friend and that was just fine with me. Path of least resistance, remember?
But it bothers me to see someone not having a good time. Especially when by all accounts, one should be having fun. So when the men at the über chic club were paying the cool Katherine no mind, I suggested to Ann that we find a dive bar. Dive bar men are the best for doling out lavish attention. And I adore them for it.
“Doesn’t this town have one?” I pleaded.
“Sure,” she said, “It’s got lots! But I don’t know if Katherine will want to go…” Ann had been easy going and following Katherine’s lead all night… the perfect friend.
I decided I’d put my diplomatic skills to use on Katherine. As she was finishing her drink I slipped an arm around her small waist and said, “I’m dying to go to a dive bar! Do you know of any good ones? Would you be willing to step it down a couple of notches?”
“Yes!” she cried, giving me a tight hug, “I know just the place.”
So Ann, Katherine and I departed chic-ville and headed to parts a little dirtier, a little darker and a lot more fun. As we approached the unmarked door Katherine turned to us, “Neither of you can ever tell anyone I love this place.”
With that we crossed the threshold into another world.
Music I knew blared through the dark room with a strong base beat. Lights flashed overhead giving the space the atmosphere of a 1980s skating rink with a BDSM complex. It was perfect. I bought my first and last drink of the night… vodka soda if you’re wondering, and set in to dance the night way.
There was attention a’plenty for Katherine and, once getting her fill, she caught a cab home. That left Ann and me free to completely let loose to whatever 80s rock song or 90s grunge hit played next. And let loose we did. Ann dances like she knows what she’s doing. Her legs move gracefully, right in rhythm with the beat; her arms sway and bend with elegance. Me… I just let the music move me. Watching me completely let go and dance without a care in the world can’t be too far from watching me have sex. It’s a visceral experience. One that leaves me a hot and sweaty mess.
I think it was during our time as dancing queens, one of us tall and graceful, the other shorter and gyrating, that I saw Ann in bloom. Cheeks flushed, a smile on her face, just soaking up the moment. The night wasn’t about the appreciative looks being shot her way, or how many free drinks one could score. It was about the pure joy of moving to a good song under flashing lights in the wee hours of the morning without a care in the world, knowing that some how, some way everything will work itself out. Even how to get back to the hotel at 3:30 in the morning with two useless phones and not a cab in sight.