February 28, 2003
The Curious Mating Rituals of the Redneck Male
As absurd as the title sounds, it really is the only one that makes sense for this post. As promised, I went to have a beer and collect more content for your reading pleasure. It struck me as curious last night as I observed, but this morning’s events have made it even more compelling to me. This morning I find that Jen has tagged me as a hick. The ladies in my office have tagged me as a city slicker. Direct quote: “I just can’t see Adam going hunting.” “Well, maybe that high brow hunting like at those clubs where you pay the high dollar to go hunt.” The funny thing is I have an urge to dispute both. Which in turn makes both claims correct. In any case, I’ve chronicled last night’s adventures and you can judge. I’ve settled on the fact that a person’s degree of ‘hickness’ depends on their perception. Last night, I was not a hick. When I’m in NYC or Chicago, I delight in playing up the southern essence of me in charming people. So, I suppose both are right. Now, please click the extended entry and enjoy another adventure!
As I go into the sports bar I see plenty of folks I know; T&KM, a married couple who I love to death, MN, a man here on business who I have gotten to know over the past couple of weeks, TT a 42 year old ‘cougar’ who I’ve become friends with (she knows better than to hunt me), and KH, another ‘cougar’ who has hunted me before (TM witnessed the hunt which I have termed ‘the incident of inappropriately approaching’—I’ll try to add that story some day). I greet them all and as I say hello to KH she seems shockingly pleased that I said hello and forces me into a hug where I subtly turn my head as she plants a ‘friendly’ kiss on the cheek. (Commentary here: Greeting friends with a kiss on the cheek is a fine tradition that I engage in with certain people. A cougar that I barely know beyond her inappropriately approaching me is not a person to greet with a mutual kiss on the cheek and should not attempt it with me.) After the zealous greeting from KH, I select a seat at the other end of the assembled folks I know. After a bit, I get some quarters and get into a game of pool.
My friend TB calls on my cell phone. As I haven’t talked to her in a few weeks and didn’t return a call from her last weekend, I decide to go ahead and continue the conversation and the pool game. TB shocks me with the purpose of her call. She asks if I’ll teach her how to hunt and carry her hunting. TB once was a rock solid Republican. Next thing you know she’s moved for grad school at Colorado State and turned into a far-left liberal. (Apparently, she has now witnessed the hypocrisy of the far-left, much like some of the far right and has abandoned hope in any creed). In any event, I’m talking about hunting with TB, attempting to use it as a segue to politics, and then shock her by dropping it into fifth from second and make a run at saving her soul (she doesn’t claim to be a Christian anymore). This conversation is occurring on a cell phone in a local sports bar with (count ‘em) two pool tables, one of which I’m in the midst of a game. I’m playing partners with a bearded short man who is missing some teeth but can shoot pool like a pro. We’re against MN and TT. MN, TT, and I have shot pool together several times and could be called drinking acquaintances. I have never met or seen bearded toothless man before, but I had just beat him in a game because he ran out of luck and sunk the eight ball too soon.
So here we are: a cougar, a businessman in blue jeans, a bearded toothless man in blue jeans (shirt untucked of course), and me on a cell phone, wearing khakis, a button up shirt (open collar), boots, and my blazer, all of us nursing a “co’ beer” at our respective tables/bar stools. Got the scene set?
In the earlier game, bearded toothless man had insisted that we play for a beer. I declined his offer after he lost. I declined because I had a beer and he was whipping my tail until his luck ran out. That’s also why I chose bearded toothless man as my partner. Which is why when it came time to break, I said to him, “Would you do me the honor of breaking for us?”
“Kud ya break?”
“Oh. Shur thang.”
Long story short, his luck hadn’t returned. MN and TT won and I returned to the bar to continue my phone conversation with TB that I had maintained throughout the course of the game.
As we talk and hit all the major issues (war on Iraq, Republicans, Democrats, abortion, Christianity, extremists of both the left and the right, Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, vegetarians, the French, etc.), what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an intriguing young lady with eyes and a manner that seemed to illustrate this phrase: “all that 's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes:” (brownie points if you can tell me where that came from!)
She is with an older woman whom I recognize as UF, the wife of the secretary-treasurer of the organization that I worked at previously. Knowing I already had an instant ‘in’, I casually continued my conversation with TB because we are at the point that I was attempting to convince her to return to Christianity and abandon her aimless wandering in the forest of no creeds (always doing the Lord’s work, you know). It’s at this point that I recognize an exchange of glances between her and I. More telling, a curious mating ritual was beginning to stir.
With my innate ‘mad skillz’ at multi tasking, I watch this ritual and continue talking. A friend of mine, MQ, owns an ATV/boat/motorcycle dealership and outdoors store. He has approached the young lady and UF using the same instant ‘in’ I would use—know the friend. He remains engaged in conversation for a few minutes and goes back to his friends. Within sixty seconds, another local approaches and begins to converse. Within a few more minutes, he returns to his friends. In another sixty seconds, yet another approaches. This cycle repeats itself. The longer it continues, the more glances I exchange with the young lady. I think for a moment that this is her way of signaling a need for rescue. But, alas, I’m still talking to TB, trying to bring her back to the flock of believers. I can’t understand why this intriguing young lady would want to disrupt the Lord’s work. Can’t she tell I’m trying to save a soul?
UF takes the situation under control as she spots a table of some fellows she slightly knows and retreats from the line of redneck callers. I think to myself that she has successfully ended the ritual. However, the never intimidated redneck male will not be stopped that easily. Within five minutes, yet another guy (maybe he had approached earlier) has gone to the table they have retreated to and the ritual has begun anew. By now, my battery has died on my cell phone, leaving me unaware of TB’s eventual destination (I did hear her say she believes in Christ). I flag down my friend MQ (who I should add is a fine guy and not anywhere near the bearded toothless genus of the American redneck that I played pool with earlier) to get the scoop on the intriguing young lady with UF. He informs that she is UF’s daughter, and she is trying to get her to move here. I think to myself, “Bad choice, if this what you hope she’ll cotton to.” The brain quickly whirs on my options and—BAM--it stops as it remembers exactly what happened the last time I was in this place with somebody and their daughter. I look over towards UF and daughter, exchange another glance. I opt not to join the continuing ritual.
Looking around, I note that TT is stalking some poor young guy at the pool tables. MN has approached a married woman. I’ve struck up a conversation with another outsider next to me. He’s from Hattiesburg, MS, and works with some kind of industrial tree trimming service. They’ve been sent our way because the recent ice storms have downed power lines in the area. Actually, our city wasn’t affected much, but we are the only place with any semblance of a hotel/motel business for about 45 miles in any direction. A young guy, and not the typical redneck. He quotes a line from Shakespeare after accusing me of being a lawyer, and it leads to a discussion of favorite authors. We eventually turn and do our own version of play by play on the pool game nearby. After a bit of this, I put my quarters up, and we’re on the table, playing partners against the locals. The bounty is $3 bucks a person. We shell out $3 bucks apiece. My luck isn’t hitting tonight on the pool table.
I return to the bar resolved to finish my beer and go home. I look over at UF and daughter and note the ritual continues at a much lighter pace. Within a few minutes, they get up to leave. The Eastwood line from “In The Line of Fire” comes to mind: “If she looks back, she’s interested.” She looked back. I exchange the glance.
Finishing my beer and paying my tab, I conclude that if nothing else, I’m not just another guy she met at the bar that night.
That or she thinks I’m married. Or gay. Or both.
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