I’ve had my fair share of down days lately.
Unfortunately, this last week seemed to be full of them.
I cannot express how awful I feel when I have these days, because I wish I was strong enough to rise above them.
Instead, I try and make myself remember the night of the “win” and every single moment of that glorious evening. Since it has been on my mind so much lately, I felt it was finally time to tell that story.
One of my very close friends and I had a semi-regular tradition of going cheetah hunting* at one of our local watering holes. Stef and I had started our tradition over a year before, and for the most part we were hugely unsuccessful in finding me a cheetah. To be fair, we always ended up with a fantastic story**, but the cheetahs were few and far between.
A lot of progress had happened in that year of cheetah hunting, but I still hadn’t bagged one of those all too elusive cheetahs. Unfortunately, our cheetah hunting days were quickly coming to an end as Stef was preparing to move. We had spent the night prior out at the same bar dancing the night away, and that balmy evening in September was officially going to be our last hunt.
I had spent most of that day with a friend giving a small baking lesson, and was still a little tired from the night before. As I got ready that evening, my heart just wasn’t in it. I don’t know if it was the frustration I was feeling about a completely different friendship, or just that I was all too aware that this was going to be the last evening I would be heading out with my partner in crime. Either way, I was ready to call it an evening before I had even stepped into my dress and hooker boots***.
I have made that mistake before however; the one where I bailed and missed out on chances to spend quality time with people I loved while they were around, so I put on my big girl panties and sucked it up. As soon as I reached Stef’s house and took one look at her face, I knew she was feeling exactly the same way. So basically we looked at each other and decided that we would make the effort for at least one set and then end our evening early with the traditional garlic crusted pizza.
We arrived a little before the band took the stage so we settled ourselves outside with a drink and engaged in some girl chat. You know, it is still one of the things I miss most about those cheetah hunts. The moments before the band would start playing and Stef and I would just sit around bullshitting about anything and everything.
That night was made extra special by the fact that our favorite band was taking the stage – looking back it all feels a little like fate that they were there that weekend. So as soon as they started playing we headed inside to enjoy one last performance****. The dance floor was just starting to fill up when a group of attractive guys walked in. We were hovering at the edge of the dance floor and I think we both saw him at the exact same time. It was definitely one of those moments when you revert into a fourth grader and start nudging your friend with your elbow in an attempt to get them to notice the cute boy. No words were exchanged between us but there was definitely some elbow nudging and raised eyebrows as we had a moment of non-verbal communication.
I was quickly distracted by the need to hit the restroom, and while I always felt bad leaving Stef unattended; I knew she could fend for herself. When I returned I saw that she had been dragged out to the dance floor – which was not an uncommon occurrence. That girl is a fabulous dancer and many of cheetah hunts resulted in me waiting around trying not to attract any creepers while some guy took her for a spin around the dance floor. As I was standing at the edge of the dance floor waiting for her to return I caught the eye of the super attractive guy who had walked in earlier.
Now, I am not the girl who meets the gaze of the hot guy across the bar and has him come over and chat with me. That is not my life. So, I chalked it up to one of those moments when two people are scanning a room and accidentally make eye contact. In my world, that is 100% more accurate. Stef was just returning to my side when it happened again, and I once again dismissed it as a coincidence. When it happened for the third time, I let myself wonder if he was possibly looking at me.
I didn’t get much of a chance to think about though as my feet were starting to kill me. Note to self: hooker boots may make the outfit but they are no friend of your feet. We still had some substantial time left in the set so I suggested to Stef that we go lurking for some open bar stools. I didn’t have to wait very long before two freed up and I quite literally pounced on the chair.
Thus began the greatest play I have ever seen from a group of guys.
I had barely sat down when a member from their group came over and told me that the seat was actually taken. I must have looked heartbroken as I asked if he was serious, and he confirmed that he had just been kidding and that I had just looked so excited about the chair. I most certainly was, my feet were preparing ways to murder me if they had to stand for any longer. He was polite and funny and everything you need in a good wingman.
Because that is exactly what he was – the wingman.
It couldn’t have been more than three minutes of conversation between all of us before he focused on Stef, and the handsome one we had nudged each over earlier in the evening slipped into the open chair next to me and introduced himself. If I hadn’t been so excited to be in conversation with the gorgeous, dark-haired, extremely tall Canadian, I would have taken a moment to be in awe of their brilliant play. Those boys had it down.
They had eight or nine of them in their group, and they worked it like a well executed football team all night long. They managed to keep Stef company while I got to know Mr. Handsome better, and didn’t even mind keeping my awesome wingwoman company even though she was off the market.
That night I did something I have never done before, and have never done since.
Mr. Handsome had vanished for a little bit and in a moment of courage that I wasn’t even aware I possessed, I grabbed a bar napkin, scribbled out my phone number (my real phone number) and passed it along to one of his friends to give to him in case I didn’t see him anymore that evening. It was around this time the first set was ending, and I really think we would have headed home and called it an evening if Mr. Handsome hadn’t returned and swept me off to the dance floor.
To say we both weren’t skilled at dancing would be a kind overstatement, but I don’t think you could have wiped the smile off my face that evening. It was everything I needed it to be after a long, rough summer where I couldn’t figure out where I stood or what was happening. Here was one of the most attractive guys I have ever spoken with, putting the moves on me.
Say what you want, but damn, those moments are incredibly good for the self esteem.
It was exactly the “win” I needed.
As fate would have it, Stef and I closed down the bar that evening with our new, hot Canadian friends. Now, I am not delusional, and I know why those boys were at the bar, and what they wanted. Hell, if I hadn’t been aware, the text message inviting me back to his hotel room would have been enough to clue me in.
I was flattered, but that’s just not who I am.
When I think of that night I think of how amazing it felt to have this incredible night that will never be tainted by the morning after. I think of how awesome it was to end our cheetah hunting adventures with that memory. The memory of a perfect evening – my favorite band, at my favorite bar, with my partner in crime, and that gorgeous Canadian cheetah who spent all evening spinning me around the dance floor and making me laugh.
Right now, when things are complicated, and I feel a little defeated and beaten – it helps to remember that night.
To remember that wonderful, magical evenings can happen when I least expect it, and when I need them the most.
*What we call man hunting – it’s much catchier.
**We have been trapped in a bar booth by a crazy drunk, grabbed a few asses (okay, fine, that was just me), and been stalked by more creepers than either of us would like to remember.
***Don’t worry, I was also wearing leggings so the outfit was more classy than trashy.
****Of course, it won’t be the last performance ever, but to this day, I haven’t seen them play since. Seeing them without Stef would feel a little like cheating on her. But then again, so would cheetah hunting without her.
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