The suggestion of a bar requiring a jacket and tie wasn’t exactly what I was looking for when I asked her if she wanted to get drinks with me last Thursday night. Phoebe texted me back a saying that she knew a great place downtown close to where she worked. I Googled the spot and figured out that it was a very formal, very expensive bar situated underneath an apartment complex.
The bar in question doesn’t have a website, there is no sign on the street marking it, and it turns out you have to know someone to actually get a table there (she did). Not surprisingly, drinks were, on average, right around $14 a piece. I wasn’t aware of this until a coworker asked what I was doing that night. Upon telling her where I was headed, she gave me the inside scoop on the place and recommended keeping it to a one or two drinks because it gets pricey quickly and the clientele there is usually late-20s to early-30s couples that have expendable income. I am neither of those things.
I left work twenty minutes earlier than I should have to get a shower and a tweed jacket on. From what I had read online about this bar and heard from my coworker, I knew that I was going to have to be on tonight.
The only thing I knew about this girl was what was available to me in her Bumble profile. She was either not on Facebook or running an extremely tight ship, because I couldn’t find her. She went to a very good business school, had a job at a bank downtown, along with the suggestion to meet up at a place that which, for all intents and purposes didn’t even exist, led me to believe she was in a tax bracket much higher than my own.
At the moment, I make just enough money to survive in Chicago. Essentially what this means is that I can pay my bills on time and go out on the weekend as long as I don’t fray off of the beaten path during the work week. The events of my previous weekend had left me in a fog, as I grappled with the fact that I had blown it with two girls in the span of two days.
No amount of exercise, time spent with friends, or retail therapy could get me out of this funk that I was in — so although I knew this date would have me eating blue box macaroni and cheese until my next payday, I felt I had to go.
The date, if I’m being brutally honest, was nothing to write home about. The atmosphere was what’d you expect from a bar that didn’t advertise and was situated in a basement downtown. Dim lighting, lots of maroon leather seating, and bookshelves on every wall. Two drinks came and went and Phoebe suggested we head to another bar for a beer. Grateful I wouldn’t have to shell out for two more cocktails that I couldn’t afford, we walked a half mile down the street and had a beer while she regaled me with stories of her upbringing in Jersey. She didn’t have the obnoxious accent one expects when speaking with a person born in New Jersey, and I noted this. She laughed wholeheartedly and told me she gets that a lot.
All in all, not a terrible first date, but nothing spectacular either. My Thursday night was all but over as I paid the tab at the second bar. I threw my coat on and as we walked towards the front door impulse took over. I kissed her in front of the hostess station. Gutsy? I wouldn’t go that far. We were both pretty drunk at this point, and I felt the odds were tipped in my favor. Impulsive, sure. We ended up having a pretty gross makeout in front of ten or fifteen onlookers for a few minutes in the front of this bar. She got up on her tiptoes and whispered, “Let’s go back to my apartment” and bit my ear gently.
We were no more than a few blocks from high rise apartment. Doorman, Olympic-sized swimming pool, state of the art gym — the works. I was already stressed for future me when I thought about having to show her my apartment.
I had to sign in at the front desk and show identification. I was then asked how long I would be staying. Phoebe stifled a laugh from behind me. The woman who checked my ID explained that her shift was ending soon and I’d have to come back down for verification when she left, but Phoebe grabbed me by my arm and we got into the elevator without another word to the front desker who thought she was working at Fort fucking Knox.
She bit the flesh of her lower lip, looking up to me while she twiddled her fingers and ascended to her apartment. She had me pinned up against the mirrored elevator and I just hoped the elevator wouldn’t stop to pick anyone else up. The make-out transitioned into her hallway and eventually to her bedroom. I had a fantastic view of the city from her bed, and she didn’t look so bad either. Twenty minutes later we were laying in bed sharing a cigarette with the window cracked next to her. Cigarette after sex. Cliché, I know.
I slept over, which in hindsight was not a great idea for all of the obvious reasons that you are all aware of. The good news was I was three blocks from my office, so although I was wearing clothes from the night prior, I was able to make it to work the next morning looking like I wasn’t out getting drunk and having sex with a girl I hardly knew. It was a fantastic Thursday night, and she made me promise that I would text her after work to meet up again.
My day was pleasant enough. I was back on the board, and it seemed like Phoebe was really into me. Upon finishing work and meeting two friends for pizza at a BYOB spot that saw us finish three bottles of red wine, we opted to head downtown to a kids apartment for a birthday pregame. We were at our buddies place by 10, and someone there had the fantastic idea to start pouring shots of tequila. I don’t do shots very much anymore, so after two or three I was feeling the effects. I invited Phoebe over and by 11, she was in the apartment drinking with all of us. Everyone was getting along swimmingly, and we decided our best option was to head to a bar within walking distance that had a good dance floor.
“Two vodka sodas!” I shouted as Phoebe stood next to me near the bar. She gave me a kiss on the cheek as I paid the bartender, and we danced for the next fifteen or twenty minutes. Nearing the end of “Pony” — a mid-90s banger that I’m sure you’ve all heard before — I told her I had to run to the bathroom. I took one of those pisses that seems like it lasts forever. I finished up in the bathroom after what I thought was fifteen minutes but was in actuality more like five, washed my hands and headed back to the dance floor. I saw one of my friends that I had been eating pizza with just three hours prior making out with some girl where I had just been less than 10 minutes beforehand. Good for him, I thought, as I wandered over to try and find Phoebe.
As I got closer, the face of the girl who my friend was making out with was revealed to be none other than my Phoebe. You know the one I was inside of less than 24 hours before that? I grabbed my phone out of my pocket to look at the time. 1:00 a.m. I felt strange. There was a part of me that wanted to throw up, and another part of me that was completely apathetic to the whole situation unfolding in front of me. I tapped Phoebe on the shoulder and as she turned around I said, “I’m going home. See ya.” .
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