Love in the Dakota

You might ask me “hey, Jesse, how did it go last night? Did you hook up?”

The answer to that would be a sad “no.”

Lisa and I met Cake Woman at the ever-delicious Pizza LucĂ© Uptown. This was probably a mild surprise for Cake Woman, since I had intentionally not mentioned that Lisa was coming along. Cake Woman was wearing a delightful “South Dakota Is Big Cock Country!!!” t-shirt. I couldn’t stop staring at her cock. The three of us enjoyed a Florentine pizza before heading off to the Dakota for the new late night happy hour. That new late night happy hour is courtesy of Jeremy, who was tapped to bring in new folks after the main shows at the Dakota. After the national acts leave, the bar tends to empty out, but hopefully with sweet acts and drink specials it will fill back up.

There was no shortage of patrons on Saturday night, since the Hopkins class of 1985 reunion was packing out the joint. They were loud and awful — basically all that you would expect from people who spent their formative years in Hopkins. We found escape from the horde by slipping up to the mezzanine level. My Guinness was in an incorrect glass but pulled in two parts.

At a point most of the way through the evening, Cake Woman asked if I would accompany her while she had one of her Virginia Slims. We strolled out through the staggering crowds and chatted idly while she shifted from foot to foot and dragged nervously on her foot long mentholated cigarette. I did my usual song and dance for a while to kill time while she commented on the clothing of each and every passer by. As a large circle of empty cleared around us she blurted out “so… have you gotten over your crush on me?”

“No, not really. I mean, you’re still hot, but whatever,” I replied coolly. Welcome to high school, I suppose. My mind raced through a thousand permutations of possibilities. To where was she going?

“I suppose that I should tell you, uh, I didn’t want to say anything inside — like in front of everyone — that, uh, I’ve been kind of seeing someone.”

“Oh, okay,” I replied. A cab cruised down Nicollet, driving straight through the long pause that hung in midair.

“It’s Ben, you met him,” she said.

“Actually, I sort of already knew.”

“What?” she spit.

“Yeah, ahem, uh, Dan might have told me. Oops, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that he did.”

“That fucker!” flew out of her mouth. Apparently Dan took all the fun out of it. I got the sensation that she was a smidgeon worried about me at the same time. I am always surprised when Cake Woman shows concern or any human emotion other than “get some fucking booze in my goddamn mouth before I kill you fuckers.”

In fact, I knew she was seeing Ben since the night that she asked me over and she and Ben had smoked weed the whole time. When I left, she locked him in with her, and any last thread of girlish hope that I had tucked away into my hope chest was severed. One last car ride home with “It Only Hurts When I Breathe” blasting and one fresh dent in the roof of my car from the inside and everything was all better — weird, because of the whole cake thing, but better. After that I basically just used her for her scathing wit and amazing cakes. When Kassie and I went out as friends that first time I treated it as a full dress rehearsal: a practice event to show to myself that I could be well groomed, intelligent, and funny for an evening. Cake Woman didn’t even get that anymore. Did she not notice? Did she think that I was still trying, but not trying very effectively?

With her stunning declaration out of the way, she seemed to relax. On the way out at bar close we stole all the class of 1985 balloons for Noah. Somehow none of us had cash for parking, so we walked all over downtown looking for a working ATM while Cake Woman held on to twenty blue and white balloons in a giant bunch. I can’t remember ever seeing her smile so much. Then again, if I had twenty balloons in a big bunch I’d be smiling too.

I have redirected my dating efforts into being the sort of person whom I would want to date, so that when the right person falls in my lap I don’t have to pretend to be interesting. I have almost five whole years left in my five year plan, though, so don’t hold your breath. I have given some thought to just dating anybody for a while and letting the chips fall where they may. I mean, I’m in college, why not? Who says that every woman whom I date has to be able to read and write? Why not lower my standards and pick up some mewling freshman women?

For the record, the second time that I hung out with Kassie I was blasting “It Only Hurts When I Breathe” as I drove off, but that was because I was falling asleep and needed a good singalong to keep awake. If I would have had “Birdhouse In Your Soul” that would have worked just as well. After I got a block or so away I had thought to myself “wait, did I just send her a really weird message?” Oh well, that was part of the Summer of Booze, which was a raving success. I’ve been trying to think of a slogan for autumn, but the only thing leaping to mind is “the Fall of Man.” You see, since I turned thirty I don’t feel like a fourteen year old inside anymore: I feel like a man. Fall of Man. Get it? Sigh. I’ll keep working.

Oh JFC Chicken I gotta do the sleep thing.

5 Responses to “Love in the Dakota ”

  1. Who are you kidding? You’ll always be a crazy little 12-year-old at heart.

  2. 20 balloons? Are you kidding me? We have 40 balloons gracing our living room. If they didn’t have those weight things on them they would be enough to pull Noah up in the sky like Gonzo.

    I love the look we got from a group of Hopkins Class of ‘85 as we left the Dakota with those babies. It was one of those “They stole our decorations! Those fuckers!” looks.

  3. It’s only like 30 balloons. *I* was gonna make the gonzo joke, but I forgot.

  4. Oh yeah, this is a little weird.

  5. That only happened because I gave her the balloons to carry.

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