(actual) nice guys (don’t) finish last

The doorbell chimed and woke Bea with a start. She slid from the couch to the floor, adjusting her blanket cocoon. (A blanket cape gave her more mobility.) She wiped sleep from her eyes and ambled to the front door. Not bothering to check the peep hole, she unlocked and opened it.

“Hey…?”

Bea couldn’t blame her confusion on her waning fever. A vaguely familiar gangly guy stood on her front porch. His name escaped her (or had never been committed to her memory).

“Hey Bea!” The disheveled hipster thrust a cup of melting ice cream into her hands. “I knew you were craving it, so I thought I’d stop by with some.”

Her eyes widened. “Are you psychic?”

“You tweeted about it this afternoon.”

“Do I know you?”

Ice cream dripped from the paper cup onto her hands. Her fingers stuck together as she gripped the cup tighter.

“I’m Miller. We met at The Cults show a couple weeks ago?”

Bea squinted and cocked her head.

“Your line was when you asked if I was named after the shitty beer –”

“Oh. You’re that guy. For future reference, that wasn’t a line.”

“Sure it was. You were negging me.”

That was your justification to stalk me on Twitter?”

“You wouldn’t give me your number, so you gave me your Twitter handle.”

“Being hammered makes me pity assholes like you.”

“Why am I an asshole? I brought you ice cream because you’re sick!”

“I mocked you at the bar because you were quizzing some poor girl wearing a Toro Y Moi shirt –”

“I just wanted to know if she was a real fan or –”

“–just a poser? How old are you, fourteen?”

“Twenty-seven.”

“Get out of my house. And take this with you.” Bea threw the Coldstone cup at his car and cheered when it splattered on his windshield.

“What the hell is wrong with you?! I was just trying to be nice –”

“That’s the problem with guys like you, Miller –”

“Guysplural — like me? I’m one of a kind! Women don’t appreciate men who treat them well –”

“– you say you’re nice, but are incensed when a woman won’t fuck you because of your niceness.”

“I never said I was –”

“Your creepiness says it for you.”

“So because you’re not interested that makes me a creep?”

Exactly!

The door slammed behind Bea. She locked and dead-bolted it. Disgusted, she shuffled to the kitchen and scrubbed her hands clean.

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Throwback Thursday: The Ridiculous does The Wild Beaver

The Wild Beaver. Nashville, Tennessee. 09.09.11.

The Wild Beaver. Nashville, Tennessee. 09.09.11.

The Wild Beaver Saloon isn’t the classiest establishment. It’s a hilarious honky tonk bar where you can sing karaoke, ride a mechanical bull, and do free shots (courtesy of scantily clad ladies who promote disgusting candy flavored vodka or other liquors). Whenever I would visit Andrea in Nashville, we would exasperate the other bar patrons by singing terrimazing renditions of pop songs with our other lady friends.

thirteen things no one tells you (& you learn for yourself)

1. you should strive to be good, not unique. (contrary to their name, special snowflakes are everywhere. genuine people aren’t.)
2. once you discover that home is a feeling, not a location, your restlessness dissipates. (you won’t find a reason to plan your next escape.)
3. when you fall in love, your badass armor will crumble. (you will embrace your softness.)
4. it is okay that your parents like you less as each day passes. (they hate everything about you that doesn’t fit their idea of who you should be.)
5. trust your first impressions of everyone you meet. (your bullshit detector gets better as you get older.)
6. do not let people bend your empathetic ear if they can’t reciprocate. (you’re no one’s crutch.)
7. you will tire of the friends who lament about missing you on social media yet don’t keep in touch. (letting them go is easier than you thought.)
8. when someone insults others in order to compliment you, you’re right to be disgusted. (& to decline the intended compliment.)
9. happiness isn’t a constant state. (even the best days have comparatively low points.)
10. your weekend ritual of binge drinking will get boring. (if it doesn’t, your abysmal hangover recovery time will deter you from continuing the tradition.)
11. everything turns out the way it should. (though you won’t see the reason immediately.)
12. you are resilient. (you will bounce back from disappointments quickly because you can’t afford to waste time dwelling.)
13. when you hold yourself (solely) to your own expectations, you will like the person you become. (you may even love her.)

For the sake of efficiency

“You stole the last jalapeño popper.”

Ed turned slowly to face his accuser. “Pardon?”

The petite woman frowned. “You snatched your sixth one before I could even try my first!”

“I couldn’t help it — they’re addictive!” He held his hand in front of his mouth to hide his enthusiastic chewing.

“Good.” She smiled. “‘I made them.”

“Ed.”

“Nisey.”

“Short for…?”

“Denise. My lil’ brother couldn’t pronounce his d’s, so he called me Nisey.”

“One of the many joys of being an only child — no siblings to give you nicknames.”

“In your case, I’m sure the bullies at boarding school did the honors.”

“How did you know I went to boarding school?”

“Just a hunch.” Nisey drained her solo cup and shook it, rattling the ice cubes.

“I owe you a drink.”

“Good thing drinks are free at potlucks. Kay’s goin’ on a liquor run soon –”

“Which is why we should walk to the pub down the street. She’ll buy the shitty stuff since the party’s winding down.”

“You’re real slick.”

Ed offered his arm. “Shall we?”

Nisey narrowed her eyes and looped her arm through his.

***

“I’m too old for this!”

“For what?”

“Neckin’ with my friend’s husband’s cute friend.”

“So you think I’m cute?”

“Wipe that smirk off your face! Would I be straddling you on your couch if I didn’t?”

“You could just be using me for sex.”

“Who said anybody’s gettin’ laid tonight?”

“I didn’t assume — just trying to lighten the mood!”

“Ed, I’m forty years old –“

“You’re smokin’ hot.”

“– thank you, but I’ve been divorced for a couple of decades. I’m good at being alone –“

“Nisey, I’m thirty years old. I’ve been divorced for a decade. I’ve dated a lot of women since –“

“A lot, eh?”

“– and I know right away whether I like someone or not. I like you.”

“I like you, too.”

“Since neither of us wants to waste our time –“

“Amen to that!”

“– what’s the harm in enjoying each other’s company, as the feeling is mutual?”

“Speakin’ of savin’ time…where’s your bedroom?”

****

“This was way better than either of our first weddings.”

“We should advise any youngins who wanna get hitched –“

“What’ll we tell them? If you meet someone at a friend’s party, marry the person a year later?”

“No, dumbass. We’ll tell them to save the money they’d use on a wedding and put it toward a downpayment on a house –“

“They don’t buy houses — they buy lofts or condos these days.”

“– get a friend to marry them, and go out for margaritas and nachos afterward.”

“The kids we know don’t have friends who are judges.”

“They’ve got friends who’ve bought marriage officiant licenses on the internet!”

“You can do that?”

“Yes, you old man.”

Your old man.”

“Your sappiness is embarrassing.”

“C’mon — gimme a kiss, missus.”

“Fine. But only ‘cuz I expect wedding night action when we get home.”

There is a direct correlation between the severity of my hangover & how successful New Year’s was.

There is a direct correlation between the severity of my hangover & how successful New Year’s was.

Shaina & Andrea at Paradise Park. Nashville, Tennessee.

Shaina & Andrea at Paradise Park. Nashville, Tennessee.

I rang in 2014 with Shaina & Andrea at the Aloft West End hotel drinking bourbon (Bulleit this time, not Jim Beam) and watching Beyoncé’s visual album. We ended the night at Paradise Park, a bar modeled after a trailer park. The cover band did a country rendition of “Wonderwall” that was truly spectacular. We danced, sang so loud our voices disappeared, and laughed at Andrea’s new cowboy hat.

I hope everyone had an equally safe and fun New Year’s Eve! Cheers to hoping 2014 is even better than 2013!

Lovel Dining – a hidden gem in Setagaya

Lovel Dining. Tokyo, Japan.

Lovel Dining. Tokyo, Japan.

Since my flight arrived earlier than Ceddy’s, I chatted with our host before she left for a weekend in the countryside. She recommended that we go to Lovel Dining, a restaurant that was a couple of blocks from her apartment.

We met up in Shibuya and returned to Setagaya famished. I forgot to take photos of the restaurant in our haste to be seated. (The photos of the exterior are from the afternoon before we left.)

We almost missed it because it’s on a random side street in Setagaya. It was a small restaurant with a several tables and bar. If you think that gourmet food couldn’t come from a place that encourages patrons to throw peanut shells on the floor, you’d be wrong.

Lovel Dining. Tokyo, Japan.

Lovel Dining. Tokyo, Japan.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of our meal. (We ate it too quickly.) After munching on peanuts (and throwing the shells on the floor as Hiroki, the owner, insisted), we ordered. We sipped shots of shochu, a seemingly innocuous but potent Japanese liquor. For our appetizer, we had a mixed salad that had bell peppers, potatoes, and eggs in a citrus mayonnaise dressing, accompanied by spicy pickles on the side.

For our main course, we split a steak and frites. The steak was cooked medium rare in a tangy marinade and the frites were crispy on the outside, yet fluffy on the inside. Ceddy said that the potatoes reminded him of the potatoes in Côte d’Ivoire.

Our dinner and drinks were around $40. We chatted with Hiroki, thanking him for his hospitality and a fantastic meal. He agreed to take a photo with me and gave us his business card.

Hiroki Paulo Yoshimi, owner of Lovel Dining, and me. Tokyo, Japan.

Hiroki Paulo Yoshimi, owner of Lovel Dining, and me. Tokyo, Japan.

If you’re looking for a chill restaurant with excellent food and drinks in Setagaya, you should definitely grab dinner at Lovel Dining.

Pretend you belong

Drink whiskey until a haze
glides over your body.
Spin as house music stomps on
whisper-shouts exchanged.
Numb the loneliness
that suffocates in a sea of people.
Pretend you belong in
this perfectly artificial town.
Ignore the way its inhabitants
expertly engineer interest.
Get discarded when you’re deemed useless
in an endless quest to make it.