So Fresh, So Clean - Outkast (mp3)
Love Me or Hate Me - Lady Sovereign (mp3)
Confusing admiration with envy is dangerous.
With that in mind, I watched a Hall of Fame singleton in action this weekend, and it was the kind of amazing, jaw-dropping display of talent and skill that would have Dickie Vitale calling him "a PTPer" and "super scintillating sensational, bayyybeee!"
I spent last weekend in New Orleans celebrating the pending first-time nuptials of a 37-year-old college pal lovingly nicknamed The Aardvark. For the sake of relative anonymity, let's say his Hall of Fame singleton pal was named Clooney.
At lunch on Saturday, our boisterous almost-dozen gets seated next to a group of three women. He takes a seat adjacent to them. By the time his meal has arrived, they have exchanged numbers with the most attractive one, and he's taken a phone cam picture of her (so he can remember what she looks like when he's scrolling through his numbers). He convinces her to meet him later that night.
While everyone is showering and dressing for the evening's fun, he calls a 23-year-old from New Orleans. He met her when she was visiting Los Angeles about a year ago trying to get a modeling contract while on Spring Break from Tulane. He arranges a date with her on Sunday.
On Friday night, Clooney, myself and another married dude skipped the strip clubs to check out a supposedly hip "Vegas-style club" outside the French Quarter. We arrived, paid the hefty cover, got patted down more thoroughly than any airport screening I've endured, and entered to discover that we have immediately doubled the Caucasian population in the club of some 150 people.
Name an big global party or event, and the odds are pretty good he's attended, and he has the pictures to prove it. (He claims Carnival in Brazil is the world's biggest and best party bar none.) He also can name the women he met at each stop and show pictures of each. Some HoF'ers perfect their chip shots; some perfect their 40-yard post patterns; some perfect the ability to remember every necessary detail of the women they've seduced and can recall every detail of interactions to note what worked and what... well, just didn't work as quickly.
On Saturday night, we thought Clooney had finally been shot down. The 24-year-old from dinner said she was running late and couldn't meet him at our hotel bar, so we went to watch a live band down the street as they played music more suitable to my Carlton Banks persona: Journey, AC/DC, and the other standard Bourbon Street fare goober tourists learn to expect. But by 11 p.m., I look around, and there she is. And 20 minutes later, they're making out on the dance floor.
This being our last night in the city, however, Clooney must have felt he needed more of a challenge. So he goes to the bar for a drink and leaves this gal and her friends to dance with our group of lovable married losers. Less than an hour later, I turn around, and Clooney is locking face with a blonde in a funky fashion hat and high-class straight bob, a lady many of us had been dancing near in the hopes that maybe she would find our dancing so comely and irresistible that she would beg us to dance with her.
The look of disappointment and... was it shame?... on the face of that girl was tough to witness. Such, it seems, is the game they play.
[By contrast, I witnessed at least seven or eight guys who charmed or seduced females with much more offensive, bona fide harrassing tactics. And upon witnessing all of these, I continue to ask myself why there seem to be so many women who find such things so irresistible. The girl who had come to the bar to meet Clooney? Some dude breaks into our group, lunges into her, and kisses her full on the lips while reaching around and grabbing her ass. They didn't know each other. She shoves him away and keeps dancing. An hour later, they're making out in the crowd. This is not nearly as unusual as you would like to think. Such, it seems, is the game they play.]
If I could arrange some kind of Freaky Friday moment and switch lives with Clooney, I wouldn't.* Nor do I say I admire him in a way that differentiates his morally-questionable talents from my admiration for a woman who brings equal talents to the table. In fact, in some ways, nothing is more fun to watch than an A++ woman walking into a bar and dancing through a French Quarter crowd. As she passes, all the men in her vicinity must decide whether they wish to hold with their soft 16 or ask the dealer for a hit in the hopes they can land a 21. And all those soft 16s and solid 19s sneer and snort at her magnetism and at their men's predictability. Dance partners get traded off more easily than tech stocks in the late '90s. Horny men in the Quarter are, ultimately, the most frequently duped, dumped, teased and left holding their own privates. We men pay the biggest price in the largest numbers, and we very much deserve to.
For many, the French Quarter is essentially a fishing expedition. Many (but certainly not all) men and women, married and single, go fishing. Some fish for dinner. Some just fish to catch and release. Some catch more than they wanted, and some go days with their worm withering on the hook. And if you go to New Orleans, you might not like to fish, but you damn sure better be OK with all the fishing poles and hooks swinging constantly around you on Bourbon Street.
And hell, if there's people who love to sit back and watch bass fishing on ESPN2, then there's certainly legions like me, who enjoy just watching, blurry-eyed and slurry-tongued, as the fishing competition rages in the waters around us. And if you like watching it, then to watch someone who has mastered the art can't help but get a little admiration.
* -- Certainly not for more than, like, a week or three.