Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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The Scene

Think slow motion.  Think six girls striding confidently toward you, perfectly coiffed hair glistening in the moonlight as it flows over tanning salon bronzed shoulders.  Glitter is applied to every area of exposed skin, from eyelids to cleavage and beyond.  Tall shoes clickety clack as the ladies awkwardly negotiate the parking lot in their platforms.  They are dressed like women of the night.  They are ready for anything.  They are my girlfriends and I as we approach The Scene.

You know The Scene.  Everybody has one.  It's the place you go to meet the meat.  Cocky young men clad in baggy jeans and flip-flops stand around eying young women dressed like streetwalkers clocking in for a night of work.  They think they're sassy, yet if you observe them closely, subtle mannerisms betray insecurities.  A self conscious flip of the hair, a sly bra strap adjustment, or the biting of a lip. Sizing each other up, they pay more attention to the other women in the club than the men.  It's all in the eyes.  Any time a woman enters a room she is subjected to a quick once over from every other woman in the room.  Jealously, we all snub the pretty girls because we think they're shoving their beauty in our faces.  Truth be told, they're probably more insecure than the rest of us. 

  The six girls spent hours gathered in front of a single mirror, preening and clucking like chickens at feed time.  Curling and straightening hair, applying makeup on themselves and each other. 
"This color would look great on you!"
"Here let me help with your hair."
"I hope he's there tonight."  A collective groan from the group over this tired statement from the scorned ex-girlfriend.
"I wonder what John is doing right now."  Another groan, this time directed at the girl who can't stop thinking about her boyfriend.

  After a last minute primping session, girls elbowing each other for the use of the lighted mirror on the car's sun visor, they are on their way.  One girl thinks about the cute bouncer she made out with last week.  She wonders if he's working tonight and if anything will develop. Another girl hopes the bitch that tried to pull her hair last week over a guy who turned out to be her boyfriend doesn't show up.  How was she supposed to know the flirtatious hottie with the blue eyes was with someone else?  As far as she's concerned, that's their problem.  Not hers.  A third girl wonders, for the hundredth time, what her boyfriend is doing across town at a bachelor party.  There's nothing worse than enduring an evening during which you know your boyfriend is ogling gyrating strippers and, worse case scenario; licking whipped cream off her ta ta's.  The fourth girl, a romantic, wonders hopefully if her future husband is in the building.  Another girl is on the prowl, hoping to meet and makeout.  She's been single for a long time and just wants to have fun.  The last girl, heart in her throat, hopes her ex-boyfriend is there tonight so she can show him what he's missing.
Entry is key.  Everyone knows they spent hours getting ready, yet they all try to pretend like they just happened to drop in.  The girls nonchalantly stroll into the room, finely honed expressions of boredom pasted across their heavily made up mugs. But they're anything but bored.  The night is young and full of promise.  Anything can transpire in the next three hours.  Love can blossom, fights can break out - one never knows.  Although they've been told that a club is no place to meet a man, they keep coming back.  They never really enjoy themselves in the way they would if they stayed home, watched movies and ate popcorn.  But in the end, they cave.  It's the promise of meeting The One, the hopeful notion that true love could be right around the corner that suckers them back. Besides, where else would they meet people?  They aren't in college anymore.  Where do people go?  How do people meet?  They aren't sure, but this seems to be the only place a large gathering of men are on display, willing and able to mingle, so the women keep coming back, weekend after weekend. 
Watch them.  They look bored, but the eyes give them away.  Roving right and left, they scan the crowd, scoping the opposite sex and sizing up the competition. 
The girl hoping to run into her ex-boyfriend sighs wearily.  Same old metrosexual losers.  Them and the rowdy, fraternity bunch with the backward baseball caps and the baggy jeans are enough to turn a girl lesbian.  This girl doesn't want a guy that streaks his hair like a Backstreet Boy, a phenomenon she still doesn't understand.  She isn't turned on by these idiots that schlep around with their boxer bedecked asses hanging out either.  She doesn't want some corporate schmuck who is obsessed with stockpiling money and driving the right car.  Does the right man even exist? 
The group of girls stick together during the early evening stages.  At first, it's out of insecurity, easier to look bored and uninterested in the goings on.  They giggle, whisper and nudge each other from the downstairs bar to the upstairs dance floor and back again.  They check out The Scene, assessing the situation.
"Hot guy at three o'clock.  Jeans and red shirt."
"He's standing by the clock?"
"No idiot, the guy to your right, at three o'clock!"
"Oh.. Yeah!  He's cute!"
"Oh my god.  There she is!  Can you believe she's wearing that?"
"I wonder what John's doing."
"Oh jesus, have another shot already.  He's probably eating licorice out of the stripper's pussy."
"What?  Do they do that?  The stripper just shoves it up?"
"I've heard she shoves it up and dangles it over the guy, then he pulls it out with his teeth."
"Oh. My. God.  That is so not true."
"Whatever, believe what you want."
"The bachelor is the only one that does the eating though right?  Not the other guys?"  She's already rifling frantically through her purse for her cell phone. 

As the night wears on, the liquid courage (liquor) kicks in and the girls drift apart, each occupied with her own agenda.  The one with the boyfriend is engaged in a rapid fire texting session, fingers flying faster than a piano players' in concert.  In a desperate bid to block out the thumping bass vibrating from the upstairs dance floor, she ends up on the patio, cell phone jammed against one ear, finger plugged into the other as she argues with her very drunk boyfriend.
The girl who likes the bouncer has enlisted the help of another friend, initially hoping to attract his attention.  After loitering an obvious ten feet away from the door where he was positioned to no avail, they inch closer only to witness him using the same pick up lines from last week on a nubile, obviously under-age blonde.
The friend who got her hair pulled last week is gloriously drunk, and to the amusement of many, has commandeered the dance floor like Tom Cruise on a red carpet.  Shoes and handbag hidden in a dark corner, music thumping, heart matching the beat of the bass, floor vibrating, she's gone.  Sweat and mascara stream down her face as she grinds and twirls.  With a partner, without a partner, it doesn't matter to her because she's on fire.  Or at least she thinks she is.  Her alcohol consumption has tricked her into thinking she is The Best Dancer In The World!  Whether it was you or a loved one, we've all been witness to these humorous and oftentimes frightening displays of drunk dancing.  We've all stood by in horror as grannies attending weddings shuffle onto the dance floor after one too many toasts,  or sweat soaked serial killer types that dance alone in club corners, occasionally roping an unwitting victim into partnering for a song. A close friend has sworn off dancing altogether after a particularly humiliating drunk dancing display.  An errant boob leapt out of her tube top (an unfortunate clothing choice that evening) during her most recent drunken I-Am-The-Best-Dancer-In-The-World session. 

The girl hoping to run into her ex-boyfriend had parked herself at the bar.  She enjoys being alone, but not when she's lonely.  The three shots of Yagermeister she's had since she walked in the door have lowered her standards.  Not spotting her boyfriend, she's now entertaining the lustful notions of drunk frat boys.  They shower her with compliments, she knows only to get in her pants, but in the midst of her self pity she allows herself to bask in the glow of false adoration, if only for a moment.  She knows how difficult it must be to approach a woman and begin a conversation, so she's never rude.  She's just not interested, although she does appreciate being told she's pretty even though she's well aware it's a line.  Every now and then someone will pique her curiosity.  Mostly the boys that remind her of her ex-boyfriend and inevitably they never measure up so she eventually tires of them as well.

The absurdity of The Scene sucker punches her in the gut.  Desperation hangs in the air like humidity.  You can see it whispering out of mouths when people talk, like hot breath on a winter morning.  Everyone trying to front, everyone trying to impress.  She realizes that people don't even look like themselves.  Look at that beautiful blonde over there.  Take away the bleached hair, the ridiculously tinted contacts and false eyelashes, the tanning salon skin, the fake tits, fake nails and what's left?  A flat chested brunette, who in all honesty, is probably prettier then the Paris Hilton look-a-like who's drawing the men like bees to honey.  Would all those men be buzzing around the blonde bombshell if she came to The Scene as herself?  Probably not. 

This makes me, the girl at the bar unbearably sad.  Sad because I bleach my hair, sad because I go to the tanning salon, sad because I'm wearing an uncomfortable mini skirt and scary high platform boots.  Sad because I'm not sure who I am.  Sad because my ex-boyfriend doesn't love me.  Sad because I wonder if I ridicule the girls who remind me of myself.  Sad because it occurs to me that maybe my ex-boyfriend realized this and wanted someone more substantive. 

  I have always considered myself fairly witty, intelligent, down to earth, basically an all right girl.  Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just a judgemental, selfish, lazy, bitch.  I shrink inside myself.  My cleavage revealing top embarrasses me and I just wants to go home. And eat potato chips.  And ice cream.  I may even fish that last doughnut out of the trash.  It's still in the box, why not?  Wait!  Maybe I should drop by my ex-boyfriends house.  He's probably in bed already.  And I love that.  I love that he isn't here, making the rounds.  We're still friends!  I could just see what he's up to.  Didn't I leave my favorite pair of silver earrings on his nightstand?  I really need those! If you're a girl, and you haven't done The Leave Behind, then you don't know what I'm talking about. If you have, then you know the drill; leave anything behind at the boyfriends house, so you always have an excuse to drop by. This comes in particularly handy after a break up.

  The rounding up of The Girls in their various scenarios of The Scene takes ages.  The obligatory restroom trips, phone number exchanges and in one case a desperate search for missing shoes that lasts nearly 45 minutes.  The friend who had a bit of a thing for the bouncer needs help down the stairway.  Her hopes are dashed into a million tiny shards, waiting to cut the next man who dares pick up the pieces.  The friend who spent the evening arguing with her boyfriend scouts out the rest of the gang.  The girl who'd wondered if she'd meet her future husband is bubbling as she recounts a conversation with an old college friend she ran into near the pool tables.

"He is so cute!"
"How come you guys didn't date in college?"
"He had a girlfriend, and anyway, I was still dating Jake."
"How exciting!  Did you give him your number?"  I try to muster the proper enthusiasm for my glowing friend.  Instead I hand her my cell phone. 
"Whatever you do, don't let me have my phone."
"Uh-oh.  Jonesing for the ex?"
"Yup, what's new?" I sigh. Fighting the Yagermeister for brain supremacy, I think better of my Leave Behind mission. "Here, take my car keys too." 
The lights flip on revealing club goers as the lonely desperate people we are.  This moment always reminds me of the end of a junior high dance.  What was dark and mysterious moments before is now revealed to be sweaty and painfully desperate.  Dancing that seemed effortless now manifests itself as the wheezing, sweaty partner now asking for your phone number.  Girls with mascara raccoon eyes and flat, damp hair filter out with greasy guys with sweaty underarm rings.  Frantic phone number exchanging is underway.  New couples are amorously pawing at each other in dark corners.

Quietly, all six of us stagger into the starry night, as another evening on The Scene swirls down the drain.

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Reader Comments (3)

Oh how this makes me miss the exchange of words we had the next day over coffee, hoping to win the fight with our hangovers. I certainly don't miss the recollection of how the scene played out, nor the fighting with a hangover the next day. But I do miss the Saturday morning coffee sessions recounting blow by blow the previous nights happenings when we didn't live thousands of miles apart -Cheers!
September 3, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie
Wow. Some parts of this story seem like it's talking about me and my bests. Eyeing down all the "competition" and the one dancing it up, the one wanting her boy and me, the one chugging booze at the bar not sure what I'm wanting. The Scene occurs religiously and I love every minute of it.
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMel
Incredible, I couldn't stop smiling the whole way through, even reading parts that reminded me of myself allowed. This story hits head on for all of us glam queens. To my bests and everyone else...See ya at "The Scene."
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTenecia

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