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Confessions Of A Beta Male

June 1, 2009

tavern

I NURSE MY vodka and cranberry in rigidly paced intervals, ever so reluctant to participate in the sterile recesses of Upper East Side nightlife. As I subtly size myself up against the other dogs, I notice that they are doing the same of me. We all know the truth: most of us will go home empty-handed. It is simply a matter of numbers. Despite the competitive terrain, my lumbering presence here threatens no one. I am the quiet guy, the guy who doesn’t know the score of the Yankee game, the guy who still listens to Black Flag.

I whip out my cellphone to check the time. It’s early. If I leave now, I can still get a slice at Sutton Pizza without waiting in line. My associates want to stay and drink. “Things will pick up,” they insist. Begrudginly, I agree to stick it out.

That’s when I notice the girl in the grey hoodie. She could be 22 or 42: dimly lit taverns have a way of making everyone look the same age.  From the opposite end of the bar, our eyes meet. She flips her elfin bangs away from her face and smiles. The first glance is delightful, but it’s over so quickly that I am prepared to dismiss the encounter as a fluke.

My weakness for girls in hoodies compels me to take a second look. This time, however, my view is obstructed by Jeter, a six-foot-three powerhouse with a flat-top haircut who takes the stool right beside hers. (I only assume his name is Jeter, because it’s written on the back of his jersey.) The two of them begin what appears to be an effortless chat. They could be husband and wife or complete strangers, but their chemistry is undeniable. It also turns my stomach.

As I stir my drink in defeat, hoodie girl gives me a reason to hope. Twice during her conversation with Jeter, she looks past his neckless head and smiles in my direction. I wonder what good it will do me, though, seeing how his steely frame is planted between us. But the gods of bladder control are on my side. Jeter, having downed two pints of pale ale in a span of six minutes, leaps up from his stool and makes a b-line for the men’s room — as if he were filming one of those “Gotta Go Right Now” commercials.

Staring down a clear path to the hoodie girl, I am now left without excuses. She is a mere ten feet away, but the distance between a few friendly glances and a genuine introduction seems like miles. My trepidation is compounded by the knowledge that Jeter will soon return. I am terrified to push ahead, and yet if I don’t take this chance, I know it will mean weeks of relentless self-censure. The dog in me will never forgive the wimp. He’s a bit of a jerk like that. But how can I make a move if I’m frozen in fear? Finally, I am shaken into movement, when one of my associates taps my shoulder. “This place is a washout,” he says. “What do you say we go over to Sutton Pizza?”

I nod with little hesitation and lead the way to the exit. A slice will hit the spot right about now.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    June 1, 2009 3:02 pm

    Ha! Jeter with no neck has nothing compared to you. Poor hoodie girl…

  2. Christina D'Angelo permalink
    March 29, 2012 4:46 pm

    Lovebird! I’m totally wearing a hoodie for you today!

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