Diane was full of excitement as she squeezed her beat up, red Pinto between a large, white LTD, and a green pick-up truck sitting high on huge tires. My God, she wondered why anyone would want a vehicle that required the use of a ladder to get into! There was the muffled sound of music coming from Club Hot, the best place in town for music and dancing. At least that is what everyone said, but it looked like a broken down, old barn from the outside to Diane. She wondered if this evening would be worth the six phone calls she had to make in order to find a babysitter. She locked the car, clutched her purse tightly, took a deep breath and pushed through the door.
The dimly lit room was filled with the stench of smoke and people eagerly puffing cigarettes. The music seemed loud enough for folks three miles away to hear, and Diane was sure that the ice cubes in the club soda handed to her and sitting on the bar, were swinging to and fro. The walls, floor, ceiling, and windows were all vibrating severely. A heavily made-up woman beside her turned and said something, laughing ghoulishly. Diane could hear absolutely nothing over the band’s poor rendition of “Love in an Elevator”, and nodded absently at the woman, half expecting her caked make-up to shatter in the din.
What a way to spend a Friday night, when she could be at home scrubbing her stove and watering her plants. But you can’t meet a man with your head in an oven. In fact, Diane was starting to believe you couldn’t meet a man anywhere at all. The men she met at the pool were either terribly stuck on their tanned, speedo-clad bodies, or had large, unsuspecting wives on beach towels in the kiddie section. One man she conversed with at the library could recite almost every insect species in the world, but didn’t have a clue who Sponge Bob was, and the grocery store has long been said to be the ideal place to meet men. Diane had met an attractive man who seemed sociable and well rounded enough, but did she really want a man who was better at coupon clipping and refunding than herself?
No, Diane didn’t want a man who would outdo her in the home, but at the same time she wanted one who could unclog a drain, change the oil, or fix himself a bowl of soup. She wanted to find a nice, sensitive guy who was a pleasure to be around, maybe would be kinda cute, and most importantly, was capable of coming to like her two small children. That would indeed be a challenge. The night club scene was a last resort.
The music stopped and the band went on break. Everywhere she looked the men had ladies on their arms. The women here looked twentyish, with long lashes, long legs, and short skirts. They had hair worthy of Barbie dolls, and flashy jewelry hanging from every part of their thin, sexy bodies. Diane looked down at her rather long black skirt and burgundy blouse. She wore her auburn hair straight to her shoulders and her make-up at a minimum. She was very pretty, and felt her look was one any decent man would admire, but that wasn’t what she was seeing here. These flirtatious young things didn’t seem to have a worry in the world, except maybe whether they remembered their credit cards or forgot their birth control pill.
Diane’s newest predicament was the toilet training of three year old Hannah. Imagine, after years of developing diapers that stay drier and drier, they now created one that stayed uncomfortably wet so baby want to wear underwear and stay dry. How ridiculous!
Diane pushed her empty glass away and shifted on her stool, surveying the wild crowd before beginning the task of shoving her way through the hoards to the ladies room. People were laughing and talking, brushing shoulders and bodies. Within the safety of the toilet stall itself, Diane wondered why she’d come to such an outlandish place. One look at phrases such as “Mary eats moose meat” etched into the paint around her, should have been a clue as to the sort of people she’d be dealing with. Diane washed her hands and exited out into the screaming throng. By the time she reached her seat she had decided the bar scene was not for her, and resolved to go home and catch reruns of “Friends”.
She looked up to give the bartender a polite goodbye, and in so doing, caught sight of the most gorgeous man she had ever seen! He was awesomely handsome; almost the image of Patrick Swaize. He smiled her way; an adorable grin with just the very corners of his mouth turned upward. She quickly looked down. What should she do? Why couldn’t she think?
‘A drink! I need a new drink!’ she thought as she raised her hand to catch the bartender’s attention. When she looked across the bar the space where the man had been standing was empty. She grabbed her drink and started to push her way through the crowd again. She had to find him and see him once more…maybe even hear the sound of his voice saying anything, like perhaps, “Excuse me, you are on my foot.”
She couldn’t see through the ocean of people. A crazy looking man with orange spiked hair was rushing by and nearly knocked Diane off her feet, and then a dark skinned girl with strange symbols shaved into her hair, started talking to her as though she’d known her all of her life. Diane thought that the only place you found people like this were in the after hours gay bars in NYC.
Panicking, she returned to her stool to scan the crowd for the face she thought she’d never forget. The angular jaw, the piercing, laughing blue eyes, the dusty colored dark blonde hair, and that closed- mouthed grin, like a boy’s smile in a man’s face. She knew it was a face she would remember for a long time.
“Maybe you’d have more fun if you drank something alittle stronger,” the bartender sneered. She sneered right back. Did she really look that despondent? Did she look like a thirty-one year old divorcee and devoted mother with thinning nerves; a lonely waif who only wanted a few warm hugs and a little companionship? It was plain to see that the men in here wanted much more than that. Still, she hoped to get one more glimpse of that striking man, and maybe, just maybe…
There he was seated across from her again. He was engaged in a conversation with the classic blonde in a short red dress, although her rambling didn’t seem to be holding his attention and he kept watching Diane. Diane’s heart was racing as she smiled at him. She felt perfectly foolish flirting with a man just because he was so attractive. After all, she wanted a man with that special combination of intelligence, personality, good looks and of course charm with children. Very unlikely that anyone here would fit that bill.
When next she looked up, he was gone, but in a moment he was at her side, grinning in that cute way. He pointed to her glass in a questioning way and she said, “Club soda”, which he ordered along with his own drink. She couldn’t see his face well now, as he took the drinks, but when he spoke his voice was soft and even sensuous. He was still grinning as he handed Diane her soda, and she was as mesmerized as a love-sick, silly school girl.
“Thank you”, she said as sweetly as she was able, “My name’s Diane Rogers.”
“I’m Steven Sillers,” he said, breaking into a huge smile and extending his hand. Suddenly Diane felt her eyes opening wide, trying to look anywhere but at the man before her. She nervously groped for her purse while checking her watch.
“I’m so sorry I hafta run, Mr. Sillers, but I just realized I told my sitter I’d be home by twelve-thirty!” She fumbled for her keys as she headed to the door, thinking she really had found a face she’d remember for quite some time. Finding companionship suddenly didn’t seem as important anymore, and she could hardly wait to get home to feel the warm, soft hugs and kisses of her kids. Romance just wasn’t in the cards right now.
Steven Sillers watched her rush out the door, then turned his attention to a pretty brunette seated next to him. He would just never understand why women were so put off by a toothless smile.