Whirlygig: 4

Out on the Town

While walking through Carew Tower after lunch Wednesday, we passed the Express store. "When did it become acceptable for mannequins to have nipples?," my friend asked. I wasn't really sure, though I think it might have had something to do with the Sex and the City episode last year about our upstanding little friends.

Actually, I'm not sure it ever did become acceptable for mannequins to have pronounced nipples. Think about it: Here's a display fixture that has no head, no arms and no legs, yet on its implied breasts are these two prominent protuberances. It just seems a bit ridiculous.

Later that night my boyfriend and I had dinner at Indigo in Hyde Park, one of our favorite spots. It's cozy and warm, and they always have a great coupon in Reach magazine. For as cold and dreary as it was outside, the warm atmosphere and freedom from cooking were welcome.

We weren't there too long before my boyfriend notified me that a guy nearby looked like he had gotten a slight chill. At this point it was like a train wreck — I didn't want to look, but how could I not?

Sure enough, there they were, like two gargoyles guarding the castle.

In retrospect, I figure maybe he had them both pierced, which would make them stand at attention at all times. I also have to give my boyfriend points for having better eyes than I do.

— Tim Ruffner

Three-Legged Table
Thursday night I was to meet Aces for dinner at Amol, where I may never be able to show my face again. I had expectations of romantic reparations, as it had been a week since he'd remembered to call. Did he have any idea how far into the dog house he'd wandered?

When we met outside, he had a friend along. "This is Rob. He's going to dinner with us," he said.

"Oh, he is?" I said, with a smile so forced Mona Lisa would've been envious.

Trying to get Aces aside for a moment was hard, but I managed. "Why is he going to dinner with us?" I asked.

"Because he gave me a ride and I didn't want to screw anyone over," he responded.

I try to be a modern girl but still hold out on certain dating principles. Date = two people. Double date = four people. This is math I can understand.

But in this division there was a remainder, namely me. Three people = tricycle. My first thought was that he was kidding. But when Rob actually followed us into Amol, I knew it was no joke. Suddenly, I felt like the third wheel — a training wheel at that.

As we ordered, the feeling became even more apparent. Rob ordered a pitcher of beer for all of us even though I had a glass of wine in mind.

The conversation was like three people attempting to speak a language they didn't know very well. It was as if I was in college again, jumping in on an Intermediate Latin course after six years of Latin in high school. You'd have thought I would've retained something. But, alas, I failed the course.

And I was failing this course as well.

We placed our food orders, Rob ordering his meal a "10" in spiciness to impress us. I suppose, since none of us could remove our pants, someone had to take another route to prove he walked on three legs. Nevertheless, I decided on an attempt at bipedalism.

"So Rob, what do you do?" I asked.

"I was just about to ask you that," he replied, smiling, as if he'd had some sort of revelation.

After learning about his employment, Aces turned to me, with what could only have been another joke. "What do you do?" he asked.

He really didn't know. Somehow he'd learned the location of every mole on my body but didn't know how I made a living. Rob began drumming on the table, bored. Something boiled inside of me, a voice whispering, "Get out now."

And so I did, right as the food was arriving.

"I'm sorry, I have to go," I said.

The Indian server looked at me like I had just robbed his mother. The boys sat aghast as I walked briskly out. No one followed me, but then again, they were probably too stunned. With each step I took, I felt the burning of a bridge I could at no later date repair.

This was all to the later amusement of my mother.

"Wow, movie of the week," she said, nearly choking with laughter on her soda. "That's very Cher of you."

I ended up driving to my Manfriend's that night, who had earlier invited me out to dinner but who I had declined because of the date with Aces. At least with him, I knew it would be a good, relaxing meal. We had American food at Habit's Cafe in Oakley and, over the din, I told him of my plight.

"What's wrong with me?," I asked Manfriend.

"Nothing," he replied. "You're just a young lady finding out what she wants."

My appetite was recovered, and I found someone with whom I spoke a similar tongue.

-Ilsa Venturini

Curtain Calls
Have you ever noticed that this time of year not only are the bells ringing outside with the Salvation Army but your phone is also ringing off the hook with the guy you dated over the summer trying to salvage the relationship that never materalized? Well, of course, it's Christmas, and who wants to be standing under the mistletoe alone?

Case in point: Matt. He was in the picture from March until July. The leaves fell and no word from him until the week before Thanksgiving. No mystery here — he's looking for the curtain call.

Matt likes red wine. I do as well. But when he invited me to share a glass of cabernet at Hyde Park Chop House, I politely declined.

Next call — men love the hunt, especially during open season — he suggested sushi at Akira. I nostalgically remembered we had fun there, laughing over the fancy boat of ginger and wasabi. And Matt has great 220-count Eygptian cotton sheets. I'm a sucker for eel and 200-count.

Was an encore performance in order? I tabled my decision with a business meeting conflict.

Sunday nights are hard for me. In college I dreaded Mondays. Now I dread laundry, setting the alarm and facing the e-mail, voicemail and face-to-face contact in the office. I was looking for a diversion.

Matt was ready and plying me with Bravo this time. Now I must confess the lure of Matt was only marginally better that the aroma of Bravo and the fishbowl glass of Chianti — but absence does wonders, and he looked great in loose jeans and a black turtleneck. The portobella mushroom was served by Wade, who if he wasn't jailbait — too young girls! — would warrant a return visit sans Matt for sure.

Conversation flowed as Matt and I updated on the current comings and goings of friends and family, which all led up to the most important question of the night: Did I want dessert ... at Matt's house, conveniently located around the corner?

Hey, I can handle it, I thought. Matt served pie and hot tea with cozy jazz. More polite talk about how warm the weather had been and how the photos of Ireland were lovely. Christmas trip plans were discussed, and skiing was set for February. Then he casually mentioned he hadn't been feeling well and dropped in, "It's probably the lack of sex."

Really. Hmmm, a crucial piece of information, and it wasn't lost on me over my cup of tea.

"Well, I figured that's why you've been calling out of the blue," I replied.

He assured me he was concerned with the events in New York and D.C. Well, that might have worked if the calls had come starting Sept. 12.

I guess the standing ovation just wasn't in me that night or, for that matter, any night at this address.

— Wendy Robinson

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