This is yet another reason why I was single for ages, but ended up with a near endless supply of comedy material.
Normally, I avoided any and all locations of the bar and club scene. Whenever I visited one of these places, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I had landed on a completely different planet, where I had no experience with the traditions and customs, and only minimal book knowledge of the language.
However, I violated my usual rule one night to go see a friend's band play in a cool club in Passaic.
Note to sophisticated New York night life aficionados: “Cool club in Passaic” is not an oxymoron.
I talked to her, her boyfriend and the rest of the band, in the room with the bar when I first arrived. I don’t remember if this was the band where the lead singer vanished on a trip to Florida (a more common occurrence than one would expect) or the band following that one. After a bit, they had to go to the other room with the bar in it and set up. Something about needing to perform in a room with a stage, or a musically technical requirement like that. The other room with a bar in it also had a large aquarium over that bar, which the guitarist praised during the show by stating:
“I love playing this place. Even if we suck, I can just stand here and stare at the fish.”
I was facing the bar, making feeble attempts to blend into the alien society, when a large mixed group of guys and girls wandered in. Looking the other way I couldn’t be sure of the source, but based on location and texture I could tell it was one of the women’s hands that slid across my rear end.
I spun around quickly, blatantly ignoring the fact that nothing in my life or experiences had provided me the proper phrase to say in this situation. Once I turned, I viewed several backs of heads. No one acknowledged me, peeked behind them, or made any kind of statement, hand signal or primitive dance concerning fondling a stranger. I figured it was an accident, and went back to my beer and my analysis of this strange culture.
Almost immediately, the rather bizarre event – action – mating ritual – whatever it was - occurred again. This time it was significantly more forceful and direct, an active grope above and beyond the previous passive slide.
I whirled around even faster than before, to be once again greeted by a small collection of ponytails, headbands, and scrunchies; yet nary a face to be seen. I stared at the napes of their necks for a bit, looking for any signs of laughing at the confused and out of place geek. The doors opened into the other room with a bar in it while I was desperately trying to think of any remotely intelligent way of breaking the ice that would not be a variation of the incredibly suave:
"Pardon me; was that your hand on my heiney?"
Aside for setting the record for the worst pick up line ever, that would probably have done me no good. Before I came close to figuring out what was going on, the group moved off to the other room with a bar without any of them turning around. This eliminated the chance of me recognizing anyone during the show.
I can only assume:
A) One of the ladies came to the show already drunk and needed to hold on to whatever was nearby to keep from falling down.
B) One of the ladies was simultaneously very shy and very forward.
D) One of a completely different set of ladies had Plastic Man like stretching powers.
E) One of the ladies realized I was trying to figure out the unwritten social laws of behavior practiced by this alien civilization and distracted me before I could learn any of their secrets.
Whatever the reason, I am quite positive she was in direct violation of this Miss Manners rule:
“If you grab someone's ass, you should always make eye contact afterwards.”