Whirlygig: 43

Out on the Town

Balls the Size of a Camel
This time of year always seems like a good time to reconnect with girlfriends. It's hard to keep up with my girl pals during the summer with vacations and all, but after Labor Day the excuses are fewer, plus the kids are back in school. Also, the anniversary of Sept. 11 events makes me want to be close to those I care about more regularly.

Breakfast at the National Exemplar in Mariemont on Friday set up the weekend for good times with good friends. Mary met me there for a wonderfully fresh OJ and healthy start granola and yogurt. We often walk through favorite neighborhoods or Sharon Woods first, but since she was on her way to work and already deodorized we opted for food only.

Mary used to be my partner in crime, the one who guaranteed that the night would be an adventure for all. She still has the spirit of adventure but only consults these days, as she's happily wed to Jerry, whom she met on the Internet. Score one for Internet dating! Over breakfast she assured me that when she met Jerry it was just after a run of miserable first dates.

Somehow, this was comforting. Or was it the fresh OJ?

Next up was lunch with Angela at Dilly Deli. With an hour or so to kill, I decided to get in a run. Being so dry, the leaves were already crackling under my feet as I suffered yet another day of prep for my upcoming Eco Challenge. I caught myself remembering Mary's blue eyes sparkling and her throaty laugh when a group of us were skinny dipping and we saw her dollar bills stuck in her bra. Those were the days when our cares were kept at bay by sheer craziness!

Fresh off my trip around the block and memory lane, I greeted Angela panting and smiling. She had her small charge in tow. Ede's 18 months old and happy as a lark when given Cheerios and raisins to nibble on. We jumped into diagnosis mode quickly since attention spans are short and decided that momentary lack of sex drive could be two things — stress or lack of excitement. In her case it's probably the stress of a potential relocation to St. Louis for her other half's job, and in mine it's lack of an exciting partner. How thrilling can a 6-inch vibrating piece of plastic really be? We agreed that at least it doesn't snore.

Saturday I jump-started the day with Lauren at Starbucks in Montgomery. Her good friend Roberta is also an acquaintance of mine, and after we cover our own news I usually inquire about Roberta,who recently moved to Boston. Fed up with her own luck at meeting men, Roberta was considering investing in Zelda's services. Zelda is a man broker, so to speak, and for around $30,000 will guarantee her potential dates are financially very successful and very interested in meeting a quality female. Go, Zelda — or go, Roberta!

Lauren said that Roberta just spent $6,000 on a winter ski share, which is after the summer Hampton share, so the Zelda thing is on hold for the moment. All this sharing made me glad I live in Cincinnati. Lauren assured me, though, that Roberta has been busy and proceeded with the tale of the guy she met at a concert recently. He'd taken her out three times to fun ethnic restaurants and to some funky nightspots, followed by an all-night session of bedroom aerobics. Last weekend Roberta had mentioned that she wanted to see a movie but her new beau said he was going to the Cape to close up the summer place. No problem.

Well, when Roberta saw this guy sitting at the bar with a girl on Friday night, she wasn't amused. When the girl went to the bathroom, Roberta sauntered right over. He turned pale and started looking over his shoulder.

Roberta said, "Guess the Cape could wait?" This guy was so flustered he couldn't speak.

"Yes, Roberta has balls the size of a camel," Lauren stated. It took a moment to get a visual, and we both laughed.

Well, the girl came out of the restroom and back to the bar. Roberta extended her hand and introduced herself. The girl stared at her blankly. Roberta smiled, then turned and walked out the front door of the place.

"Was Roberta pissed?" I asked Lauren.

"Yes, but not because he had a date. She was pissed because the girl had a gunt."

What the hell is a gunt? Do we have those in Ohio? Lauren, who's also from Boston, laughed and explained that it's a gut that hangs very low.

Please, say no more — I'm still not over the camel comment. But is she really going to do the Zelda thing?

— Wendy Robinson

Drinking, Eating, Drinking, Repeat
For the past couple of weeks I've been focusing my non-work life on two things: getting in shape for the fall Ultimate Frisbee season and helping my friend Cathy through her recent break-up with her live-in boyfriend of three years. Last Friday I took a break from getting in shape and took Cathy to Arlin's for Happy Hour drinks with mutual friends.

I haven't been to Arlin's much since college, so it was nice to go back and see how it's changed. My friend Kit was the first to arrive, and we both got a good laugh at being carded by the bass player from Shesus who was tending bar. Kit bought a pint of ale and I bought a pint of Guinness before we headed out back to the beer garden and snagged a big patio table with an umbrella.

After a few minutes of work talk with Kit, Cathy and our friends Keith and Sue showed up. It's always hard to hold a conversation with someone who's recently broken up with his or her significant other. You want to know how they're doing with the break-up, but you don't want to be the first to bring it up.

Instead, Cathy and I played my favorite bar game: "Who Knows the Most People at the Bar." I won hands down once my friend Stephanie and her new boyfriend decided to sit at the table next to ours. I was going to ask them to join us, but then I realized that even though I've met Stephanie's boyfriend on many occasions I couldn't remember his name. I can always remember the name of a girl, but as far as guys' names, I normally can only remember the first letter.

Cathy recognized her Yoga instructor, whose name started with a G, and invited him to join us for drinks. It was fun having someone around us who didn't play Ultimate Frisbee, because it forced us to talk about other topics. I even decided to give Yoga a try.

We bought our third and final pitcher of Bass and discussed what to do with the rest of the evening. G was heading down to the Pendleton Arts Center for Final Friday, and everyone else decided to join him. I decided to meet up with my friend Shannon at The Comet for drinks and more dinner and told Cathy to give me a call in the morning if she wanted to go roller blading or to a museum.

When I got to The Comet, Shannon was just getting off of work and ready for dinner. I suggested Aioli, since I hadn't been there before, but she felt like something more casual, so she picked Allyn's. Shannon had to make the long drive from Northside to Columbia-Tusculum since I was in no condition to drive at that point.

Allyn's is a typical American Pub-type restaurant, including being poorly lit, which makes it hard to do much people watching. We ordered two very tasty frozen Margaritas while we waited for a booth in the smoking section. Our waiter was one of those eternally cheerful people I normally hate but, after four hours of drinking, I actually found to be quite humorous.

Shannon ordered the Lobster Ravioli, and I order the Deep Fried Catfish Platter. I wasn't happy that banana peppers came standard with the dinner salad, but both entrees were wonderful. The Lobster Ravioli had the perfect white sauce, and the catfish was nearly as good as my great-grandmother made in Arkansas. We finished our meals with the heavy sighs of satisfaction and passed on dessert.

On our way back to Northside, Shannon parked on the corner of 14th and Main streets and asked if I felt like going to a party. The next thing I know, I was in the Lightborne building at a birthday party for someone I didn't know — complete with DJ, free beer and Jell-O shots. Once the DJ started playing Milli Vanilli's big hit, I decided to leave the dance floor and check out the rest of the building.

I was impressed. The five stories of artistic office space features tall windows with big metal green frames and a third-story deck. I hoped to see the building in the daytime to get a good feel for how the space really looks.

After three Jell-O shots, two more beers and more bad '80s music, I was more than ready put an end to my night of excess when Shannon asked me to leave.

I woke the next morning surprised I didn't have a hangover yet and realized I'd missed a phone call at 11 a.m. and the message light was blinking. Cathy was sitting at home having a hard time thinking about her ex and wanted to go rollerblading to sweat it out of herself.

A half hour later I was rollerblading with Cathy at Winton Woods, smelling like beer and cigarettes — I was in such a hurry to get to Cathy's that I didn't even shower — with a headache building behind my right temple and alcohol-infused sweat dripping into my eyes. After the fifth mile I made a mental note: The next time Cathy asks me to go rollerblading after I've been drinking the night before, I'll suggest a nice air-conditioned museum instead.

— R.L. Newman

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