I was beside myself. Not only had I purchased a pre-tied bow tie before the trip in case of emergency, but this was an out-of-town wedding where my rapport had not yet been established with the other guests. Being a plus-one, I couldn’t just ask someone to tie this thing for me. That’s like asking a stranger to lotion my back at the beach.
In hindsight, going to the bar before the wedding was probably a mistake. Not only was I puffy-faced from being hungover, but now my motor skills were suffering after taking down a few cocktails during the football game that afternoon. As I held my breath in front of the bathroom mirror attempting to do the impossible, it became clear that I was dead in the woods.
I was left with two options — use the clip-on or make my way to the hotel bar and ask someone to help out.
With time running out, I Googled, “Pre-Tied Bow Tie Acceptable.” The results were a huge slap in the face. I soon came to the realization that I was only allowed to go with my pre-tied option if I was a part of the waitstaff or a six-year-old. “Fuck,” I thought to myself. “Time to go to war.”
I went down to the hotel bar and felt like a fucking prostitute as I looked for the most well-dressed (and well-off) guy there to solicit. On edge, I knew daddy needed a cocktail in order to get his confidence up in order to talk to someone.
“Angel’s Envy, rocks,” I said nervously to the bartender. He immediately started questioning me about what I was doing that night, being in a tuxedo and all.
Tensely, I told him I was going to a wedding.
“Your wedding?” he responded.
“Come on, man,” I thought to myself. This bartender just think I was tying one on brown at the bar with no bow tie when I’m supposed to tying the knot in 45 minutes? I had to focus my conversation elsewhere, so I brushed him off and remained on watch for a guy that looked dapper enough to help me out.
Heaven sent, another tuxedo-clad guy in his late 20s made his way down the steps and into the room. He sat a seat over from me and requested an old fashioned. Yahtzee.
I’ve been on first dates, and none made me as nervous as the conversation I was about to have with him. Like, what was he going to think of me? I knew that asking him to help out was going to wash away any respect he may have had for me in the first place. Hero to zero, real quick. My only choice was to get my liquid confidence up and go in for the kill.
“Say, do you think you could help me tie this? I’m having some trouble.”
The world stopped. Our small talk turned into silence as he looked me up and down. My wide, bloodshot eyes tipped him off that I was in ruins trying to make ends meet. Is this what it feels like the moment you propose to someone? It has to. Everything hinged on this. If he says “no,” I might as well order room service and get the most out of the room’s free HBO because showing my face at the wedding will be embarrassing to not only me, but my date as well.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he kindly retorted.
I was giddy. My insides felt like a scene from Love Actually.
But as I went to hand him the tie, he looked disgusted. I wondered what I had done, assuming the worst.
“No, we can’t do it here, let’s go to the bathroom,” he said while standing up out of his seat.
I walked behind him, briskly, head down. To everyone else at the bar, it probably looked like I propositioned him into going to my room, but I didn’t care. We were about to emerge from the bathroom looking fresh to death.
We walked in and I flipped my collar up. Face to face, I don’t think I’ve been that close to another man since I said goodbye to my dad the last time I saw him. I apologized profusely over “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, which was probably the worst possible song to be on at that given moment.
He did it once. We failed. Untying it for a second attempt, it was evident we were both boyishly nervous. He began to tie it again and he looked a little more pleased with himself. I looked in the mirror as he gave me instructions on fixing it. He was truly going above and beyond the call of duty as I pitted out my tuxedo shirt from being so high-strung.
“If you need it re-tied, just come find me at the reception,” he remarked while washing his hands.
We walked out of there looking like 008 and 009. And as we sat down at the bar, both of our dates arrived nearly at the same time. As mine grabbed my shoulders and kissed my cheek, she said, “You look great.” And honestly? I did.
Standing up from the bar, I was firing on all cylinders. I was handing out handshakes and winks like they were going out of style. From person to person, my whiskey-soaked bow tie confidence was at an all-time high. As I approached someone I had met at the bar earlier, I was excited to have a familiar face around to relax with for the next few minutes until the bus arrived to shuttle everyone off to the reception.
But something was awry.
He pulled me aside, bow tie in hand. “Hey, can you help me tie this?” he coyly asked me.
“Shit, I can’t,” I responded, “But the guy over there can h–.” I stopped mid-sentence unable to locate the person who had just helped me. But as I looked far and wide across the bar and into the lobby, it was evident — he was gone.
A tuxedoed angel never to be seen again. .
Image via Shutterstock