Whirlygig: 11

Out on the Town

Jan 31, 2002 at 2:06 pm

Armrest saga
There's a girl in my office my boss thinks is trying to put the moves on me. One day she asked me to a movie at the Newport on the Levee AMC theaters. She had an extra ticket because her date canceled. I wasn't interested, so I graciously declined.

Then it got strange. "Well, have you got a woman? That theater has seats with armrests that fold up out of the way ... perfect for a date."

I was totally freaked out. This girl isn't exactly naïve, so I can't believe she would ask me if I have "a woman." She either doesn't know I'm gay or really does have the hots for me and is in serious denial ... and I don't know which is worse.

Stunned, I said, "No, I don't have a woman.

But thanks."

Once my boss and I stopped laughing, I was left to wonder what this new pivoting armrest means for the politics of dating. What will happen now that movie dates, which have traditionally been casual, could involve serious personal space violations?

I pictured two people on a date (we'll call them Boy and Girl). Soon after the movie starts, Boy reaches for the armrest and folds it back between the seats (this replaces the hackneyed yawn-stretch-arm-around-the-girl bit). As Boy attempts to move in closer to Girl, who is intently munching on popcorn and entranced in the film, she reaches back and puts the armrest down. (If Boy is persistent, repeat sequence.)

Boy is dumbfounded. Why did Girl put the armrest back down? Is that a signal for Boy to keep his distance? Does Girl just want the comfortable arm support offered by the soft, velour-covered armrest? Does she just want to be (gasp) FRIENDS? Will she call him after tonight's date?

Boy's head spins all evening. After the movie, they get into Boy's car (with 55/45 split bench front seat and generous center armrest) and a confused, disappointed Boy drops off Girl. No kiss. No invitation for a drink. No idea on Boy's part what the armrest saga was all about. Potential relationship potentially destroyed.

Bill and I finally made it to the AMC Newport on the Levee 20 Saturday night to see The Mothman Prophecies, which I highly recommend. We liked the hideaway armrest. In fact, we liked the whole facility, except that the main entrance off the mall takes you directly to the second floor, where you are directed to go back to the first floor to purchase tickets. Maybe that's supposed to help you work up an appetite for popcorn and candy. It's all about marketing, I guess.

As for the pivoting armrest, its introduction into dating will demand painfully open communication; some relationships may even hinge on it, pardon the pun. People will have to take control of their own destinies and decide whether or not to let the movable armrest come between them. Literally.

— Tim Ruffner

Winter Smorgasbord
The break in winter weather is called Blueberry Winter, according to a client of mine. Sort of like Indian Summer is a reprieve from autumn, it seems. Thank goodness the weekend dawns every five days as a reprieve from the workweek. Friday dawned none too soon this week.

What should I choose from the buffet of weekend activities offered in Cincinnati? The Contemporary Arts Center opening seemed like a breath of fresh air and the Japanese animation sounded interesting.

Dressing in a rush, as the shower didn't slow down the clock (though it helped the hair), I grabbed the red Chinese silk skirt I'd whipped up for the holidays and threw on a black surplice knit with an interesting necklace of silver fish and shells. Surplice in my book means criss-cross, and for on-lookers it means I had the girls out. Lots of skin, tan from the trip and, yes, they're real.

By the time Molly and I arrived, few sushi samplings were left on any trays and lots of people were milling around the galleries at the CAC. The art was the backdrop for quite an eclectic group, which is always my favorite part of going to these openings. I like seeing the exhibits with a vodka tonic in hand, and watching the people is entertaining, too.

Tonight watching, well, men look at my necklace was hysterical. Actually, I don't think it was my necklace they were admiring, as I had my black gabardine coat open casually and the décolleté had their attention. How silly that in January the show of a V of skin is so shocking while a whole wall in the main gallery shows little girls in their panties in caricatures isn't! This is Cincinnati, isn't it?

The entertaining question for me as I mixed and mingled at the CAC, then Palominos and finally Jeff Ruby's, was whether the males enthralled with my cleavage could handle a conversation with me and conceal their glee. About half were successful, and one gets the award for the night.

My favorite was the familiar greeting of an acquaintance at Ruby's when he hugged me lightly, stepped back and said with a slight brush of his index finger under the chain of the silver necklace, "This is stunning." It was cause to throw your head back and enjoy the "I am woman, hear me roar."

Actually it was just another way to amuse myself in the middle of winter, in the center of Cincinnati and the crush of the crowd we call "Friday, out." Why would I? Because I can. I'm ornery. I'm easily entertained at the reaction of powerful men, artistic men, old men and men in waiter's garb.

Plus, to tell you the truth, I would say in the smorgasbord of life this is the icing on the cake. It has very little to do with real life or real food, but it is sweet.

— Wendy Robinson

Mixed Menu
On Tuesday night, Shawn and I saw Blues for an Alabama Sky at Playhouse in the Park, which was excellent. We almost lost it, though, after a firearm went off in the play and an audience member began audibly crying and moaning. I must admit the sound freaked me out, too, as I wasn't expecting a loud bang.

I looked over at Shawn in the dark, whose cheeks were about ready to give. Laughter nearly got the better of most of the audience until a companion escorted the moaner from the theater. Sometimes the audience is as entertaining as the show.

After the play, Shawn and I decided to get a drink. Finding our chosen bar closed, we decided on the Blind Lemon. I'd never been there before, but the small, trinket-bedecked venue was cozy and warm.

An acoustic guitarist played songs Shawn recognized from the AM radio he had as a kid. But in this atmosphere and in his mellow style, he could've been playing Slayer and it probably would've sounded the same.

A fire was alight in the fireplace, warming the color of the copper pots hanging along a nearby wall. A few mirrors reflected the glow of the fire. Even the ceiling, hung with stained glass light fixtures, drew my attention. I suppose if you were with a boring date, the Blind Lemon would be a great place to go, because you'd at least have the surroundings to hold your interest.

Our table neighbor, seated close in these intimate surroundings, looked vaguely familiar. He was Middle-Eastern and seated with a Far-Easterner. Between the four of us, we made quite a cultural mix. It was almost as if we weren't in our city at all but passengers on a trans-world train.

After a while, our neighbor recognized me from a pool game at The Comet. He'd moved from New York a couple years ago, and, between work and nightlife, life in general had become too hectic. He said he couldn't seem to relax there.

We got into a conversation about good food and this neighbor, who takes business trips overseas, described a six-course French meal he'd had in Leon. Unfortunately, the Blind Lemon stopped serving food long before we arrived. You could almost hear our stomachs growling. We decided to stop for food on the way home.

After oohing and aahhing over the table neighbor's cool watch purchased in Spain, we said goodbye and headed for the Clifton Skyline. I must admit it's nice to have a place open late for food, especially in a city that, as opposed to New York — which never sleeps — often seems to find 10 o'clock the hour in which to close its eyes. As for the selection of people here, it's comforting to know that menu has some variety, too.

— Ilsa Venturini