Whirlygig: 10

Out on the Town

Jan 24, 2002 at 2:06 pm

Disappearing Act
Snuggled under my duvet watching the Golden Globes, I realized I saw most of the movies that were nominated this year. You might say I've binged on movies of late since there seems to be an abundance of decent ones released.

As the camera panned the tables for the appropriate actors, actresses and directors, one man stood out. He wore a beret and seemed uncomfortable as the camera focused on him for longer than a second when his nomination was announced. Gee, Billy Bob, you remind me of someone.

Ted and I were set for a date Friday night. You shouldn't ask questions that you don't want the answers to — like him saying, "What would you like to do tonight?"

My reply is sincere and quick: ethnic food and a movie at the Esquire. It's the equivalent of Calgon and a hot bath — take me away! Hey, at least I didn't suggest the Maisonette and theater at the Aronoff.

And so Ted picks me up promptly and escorts me to my home away from home. The host at Ambar is modestly friendly as he recognizes me as the frequent solo Sunday sojourner. Ted is downright distant.

Starting at Ambar India with lamb korma, I am transferred to another place that's far away from the suburbs and the business centers of my life. The other patrons seem to be as comfortable I am in this respite complete with chandelier and linen tablecloths. The aromas from the kitchen wrap around me and warm the cockles of my mind.

I like this place. I am comfortable here. Why then does my date look so uneasy?

Dinner conversation is minimal as the food arrives swiftly and steaming. Hungry as a thin girl honestly is, I jump in with all my taste buds ready. Ted finally manages to interrupt me and inquire as to the content of The Man Who Wasn't There, the movie choice of the evening.

"Oh," I assure him, "you're gonna like it."

It's a perfect choice for many reasons. Billy Bob Thorton is the lead. He, like my date, is interesting but different. I can't quite figure out Billy Bob or Ted.

The movie title is intriguing and mysterious. Ted hasn't told me enough about himself in three dates to fill a thimble. The actual film turns out to be well-done though understated. Reminds me of the way Ted conducts himself with me: well-mannered, polite, intelligent, good job, nice car, 401k plan.

According to my mother, he sounds great. On paper. But I suspect there's something about Ted that lurks beneath the surface that I can't put my finger on. In the movie, the man who wasn't there turns out to be capable of murder. Even if it was an accidental murder, it still makes the hair on my neck stand up.

Do I like the movie? Not really.

Do I like Ted? Not really.

Do I respect Billy Bob's performance? It was superb.

Ted's? Well, that's a tad more difficult. He has a good look, a nice first kiss and the resume passes. It's the lurking thing, the gut instinct or call it woman's intuition. Heck, call me paranoid. Whatever it is, I was The Girl Who Wasn't There when Ted called again.

So the man in the beret on the Golden Globes made me snuggle deeper in the duvet Sunday night and ask Angelina Jolie, "Don't you want to disappear?"

— Wendy Robinson

Making the Men Stare
On Friday I revived an old workplace tradition by heading to the Montgomery Inn Boathouse for happy hour with my boss and her friend. Both are female and gorgeous.

I decided not to skip the gym after work, so I met them there around 6:30. Once there, I was a little nervous at the thought of carrying a backpack through the lobby of a crowded restaurant as I headed for the bar upstairs. People today are more alert and suspicious than they used to be, and for good reason. But I decided it was no different than carrying along a briefcase. And if anyone felt compelled to check it, he or she was in for the heroic task of searching through my sweaty gym attire, so good luck.

As a gay man, I relish being in the company of attractive women at a place like the Boathouse because of what it does to the other guys at the bar. There's something about sitting at a bar and having all the straight men marvel at how well I get along with these attractive women.

The straight guys don't listen hard enough to figure out that we're all into guys. They don't realize that, as opposed to golf (yawn) or football (which I actually happen to like), the girls and I are talking about the dark-haired, dark-eyed young god sitting at the adjacent table. They don't realize that when I walk away, I'm really on assignment to breeze past the hot guy and get a good look at him. They don't realize that, to avoid looking suspicious or stupid, I briefly head to the men's room, wet my hands at the sink and run my fingertips over my eyebrows simply because it sure can't hurt.

Straight girls and gay guys get along so well because they're not romantically threatened by one another. And the women I know respect a little creativity.

That's why I love watching straight guys try to figure out what I've got that they don't. They must think they lack the right approach or the right personality. If they only knew what they lack is the ability to accessorize.

— Tim Ruffner