As I walked across the room on a cool spring night, I looked at the action in progress. Scores of teenagers flew by me, clad in oversized sparkly glasses, hats and colorful socks. They sprinted from photo booths to the kid’s lounge, depositing their goods procured from hyped up, jacked-up DJ dancers hired to tantalize and titillate the crowd.
Around the room and on the dance floor, a phalanx of well-heeled, well dressed suburbanites gossiped, guffawed and gyrated. It was another Saturday night on the Bar/Bat Mitzvah circuit when the cares of daily life could be easily tossed off like a suit jacket or highly embellished shawl. We were here to celebrate and inebriate.
I chuckled to myself. As a creative sort and closeted writer, I thought there may be a thousand stories in the naked city, but there are just as many here tonight. Couples on the verge of divorce canoodling like honeymooners. Backslapping and back-handed compliments from boozed-up carpoolers. My mind raced with the possibility of a surreal suburban sitcom in the making. Next stop… HBO.
I entered the line waiting at the bar. Bartenders feverishly filled martini orders. Bottle caps flew into trash cans. They shook and mixed to the beat of the music, plying the unwavering throng’s thirst. It was like the Roaring 20’s all over again, only with people pushing 50 fast.
Because the party ended in less than an hour, my wife and I had switched to diet and club sodas. The days of testing the speed limits and the law were long gone. Parents, homeowners, people liable and reliable, we knew when to turn the tap and spigot off. The buzz might be gone but the fuzz was not going to pull us over.
The couple in front of me teetered and tottered in unison. With no intent of slowing down as the night was coming to a close, they were bellying up to the bar for more booze, more banter. Throwing back the shots and one-liners in rapid-fire motion, they were all in until the very last song… or until the bar closed.
I knew them casually from my daughter’s school, having heard about their big-party ways. Friendly, loud, out there, I wondered how they managed to be themselves in the insular community in which we lived. Part of me wanted to join in, partaking in their reverie and irreverence; part of me just wanted to take the drinks, grab my keys and go.
Just as I was about to place my non-alcoholic order, the women spun toward me. Locking her eyes on mine with a searing focus, she pounced, grabbing my lapels in her hot, sweaty hands. With her hair extensions whipping my face, her body firmly pressed against mine, she whispered drunkenly and suggestively into my ear.
“I want to climb you like a mountain.”
And with that, she spun, grabbed her drink and was off.
I was transfixed, unable to move left or right, forward or back. What started as a temperance run was suddenly an invitation to debauchery. This Magic Mike moment was something unfathomable to me. Oy! I had been compromised at a Bat Mitzvah.
My college roommate would have jumped on this without hesitation, leading the woman to a dimly lit stairwell or a nearby utility closet. No remorse, only primal lust. I was not such a guy. I was happily married… plus, I was holding my wife’s Diet Coke in my wedding-band hand. What kind of guy was I?
And then a Cheshire smile erupted from ear to the ear she whispered in. I had been given the gift that keeps on giving. No, not the rekindling of lost youth or a shot of ego-inducing adrenaline. But rather the writer’s gift of a story for the ages.
At every cocktail party, funeral or school function, I could recount that moment. When that lady crossed the proverbial line between good and bad-girl behavior, making me the happy recipient of one of the greatest lines of my life. For years, it could make people laugh, pondering the different outcomes, the various interpretations. It would be relayed to others from cul-de-sac to cul-de-sac… a suburban myth for the ages.
“I want to climb you like a mountain.”
As I walked back to my table, I faced a dilemma worthy of Solomon. Should I keep this to myself or sing like a canary from the mountaintops? The woman’s reputation… was I putting that on the line? I took a moment to consider it all. The answer was clear.
“What took you so long? Did something happen?”
I looked longingly and lovingly at my wife.
“Honey, do I have a story for you!”