I didn’t tell Chris that he was picking my dinner. The Deadstring Brothers were playing the B-Side Ballroom, and since they’re on the same record label as Justin Townes Earle, I had to ask Chris to go with me, since he’s responsible for getting me into JTE and we saw him together back when he played Foothills.
But I woke up in a lot of pain because I spent all of yesterday huddled over a tiny picture of a geranium teaching myself to cross-stitch, so after trying a horse-sized dose of ibuprofin, got out the big guns, downed a latte and took a muscle relaxant, hoping the two would balance each other out.
I continued to cross-stitch until my brain went numb, then went upstairs to lie still and hope to God I didn’t sink into the floor like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting. When I woke up, I realized it was 5 p.m. and I had a date in two hours. A date I was wearing heels for. And the muscle relaxant hadn’t quite worn off.
But I figured if drunk girls could walk in cheap, too-big heels from Rue 21, I could handle myself in Betsey Johnson stiletto booties. In the snow. And Spanx. Because I’m tough.
Chris suggested pizza because he is chill and thus proved Arlene’s rule that it’s better to eat hot dogs with a man than caviar by yourself. I pretended not to know what I wanted and let him get a slice for me, and he ordered broccoli, which I never get but actually enjoy. Later, at the B-Side Ballroom, he ordered us french fries, which pretty much solidifies him as the Best Date Ever. And since I now know the power of Spanx, I can eat junk food with abandon, mwa ha ha!
A few words about Chris. He’s perfect. I want to put him up on Ebay. He told me I looked nice with specifics about my shoes and haircut, let me take his arm so I didn’t fall in the snow. He is a gentleman of the utmost order, a genuinely good and kind person with not an ounce of malice, even when he’s making fun of people.
He’s also from Cobleskill, my much-hated hometown, so we talked about our alcoholic choir director, little league teams, senior quotes and high school pictures. I’m not from Cobleskill, I just grew up there, and even though some of us, like Chris and I, manage to escape, it gets in you, stays in your blood like a virus. But the good part of this is that I can turn to him and point at a guy with a white fluffy mullet and say “Cobleskill Hair” and he understands what that means and laughs.
Chris also doesn’t drink, which is cool, especially because I didn’t want to explain that I couldn’t drink tonight because of the massive doses of horse tranquilizers I have to swallow in order to turn my head. So we got ginger ales and sat in the corner and felt like teenagers sneaking into the place where the grown-ups have all the fun.
The Deadstring Brothers had the place rocking. It was like Roadhouse without the chicken wire or the Swayze. And when the band called for “Ladies Choice” we slow danced (he was an excellent sport about this even though by that time, Ian had arrived and was talking with a friend), and he smelled like cool water cologne, and he didn’t grope me the way the guy with Cobleskill Hair was doing to his date.
A note about dancing in Spanx. You can do it, in theory, but your perfectly sculpted legs are reduced to a C-3PO-like shuffle. So you’re stuck only moving your arms and your hips, which can look good or it can make you look like a drunk mess. I like to think that I looked great, but this has yet to be confirmed.
We stayed out until 12:30. I can’t even remember the last time I stayed out that late. But the B-Side is my new music destination, and Chris is my new music date . . . my Saturday Night Thing, if you will.