It's Friday night. The first thing you do upon stepping outside into the cool spring air is roll up the sleeves of your solid-colored dress shirt; two rolls, so as to give the casual, rolled-cuff look without looking like a dock worker. It doesn't take long to get a cab on this bustling weekend evening""with such nice weather, everyone's out 'n' about.
"To our favorite bar," you tell your chauffeur, except you actually specify a location, in case the anonymous roadsman doesn't know your preferred watering hole. It's a brief drive, but you tip well 'cause there's no cover at the bar that evening. The place is packed, and as you and the fellas amble your way through the masses, a particular filly catches your eye. Fifteen minutes of unabashed staring later, you catch her eye, too, and you look away coyly, thinking how happy you are she actually has eyes. Then you look back. She's still looking. Looks like this looks good.
When she turns away you tap a buddy's shoulder and point her out. The crew cranes in unison for an evaluation.
"She's hot as hell," says one.
"Great ass," says another.
"I saw her, too. Not bad," chimes a third, secretly planning to move in when you head to the bathroom.
Confidence bolstered by the affirmation from your friends, you start to strategize an approach. Do you simply walk up and introduce yourself? Buy her a drink? Buy her friends drinks? Shots? How long should the eye contact politics continue? Do you have a green light at this point? Or just a yellow? And why does one of your friends keep asking if you have to go to the bathroom? Harried and hurried, you grab a bar napkin, steal a bartender's Bic and start outlining the Xs and Os of your game plan.
As you do, your prey gathers her girls and they embark for the dance floor. Immediately, plans are rethought. Approaching her on dancing turf would be as disastrous as a kickball game in a minefield. Stymied, you retreat to the fellas to discuss a new plan of attack and to, well, stare. The music takes hold. She starts to step with intent, dipping her toe into the beat; testing the waters. Her girls all start to bounce around. Every male in that bar draws their breath, awaiting the first hip-shimmy. They want to see her dance.
Everyone gasps at once. Bottles drop. You feel your roommate, standing next to you, shudder. Someone groans. If the music could stop""if it could abruptly scratch off, like in the movies, letting everyone know that something truly catastrophic was occurring""it would cease, possibly forever. But the music can't stop. It doesn't stop. And subsequently, neither does she. She continues dancing in front of dozens of befuddled onlookers, their jaws all dropped in unison. It defies explanation: She is a bad female dancer. And she is, in a word, fucking terrible.
Standing to the side, you and your crew try to articulate the scene to no one in particular.
"Forrest Gump, still in those leg braces, breakdancing on a Mr. Bouncey-Bounce."
"Stephen Hawking inside a paint tumbler."
"Elaine Benes dancing, while getting hit in the face with baseball bats, during an earthquake."
"John Travolta, circa Saturday Night Fever, receiving 25K volts of electricity to the nipples on a bed of scalding coals."
"A velociraptor passing a football-sized kidney stone made of thorns."
"Damn, you still haven't gone to the bathroom. That's crazy. You've had a lot to drink. You sure you don't have to go?"
"Michael Jackson moonwalking in a pit full of scorpions, thumb tacks and naked children after being injected with the interrogation serum from 24."
"My dad after two glasses of red wine at my cousin's Bat Mitzvah."
"A blind kitten with no paws inside an industrial strength clothes dryer."
" It's like Michael Flatley having an epileptic fit, illuminated by a strobe light."
Finally she stops, flips her hair innocently behind her and strolls, laughing, to the bar with a wingwoman. She doesn't know what happened. You can't fathom how she doesn't know what she just did. Suicide bombers think what they do is justified, you think, astounded, perplexed, destroyed, but they're also aware of what they're doing. She has no idea. And she still has no idea when she looks up at you, sipping her Sex on the Beach, and starts to walk in your direction. She doesn't know just how much things have changed; how your entire view on her, on women, on the world, has been so drastically altered during "My Humps."
When she arrives, you have nothing to say. There's nothing to say. She introduces herself. You think long and hard about that gut-wrenching dancing before responding. You give the bar a once-over to see if any other girls catch your eye, or if you catch theirs, or . . . or something. You fiddle your hands in your pockets. You check your cell phone. You sigh.
Then you go home with her. She might not have rhythm. But you have perspective.