Back in my single days,
I used to go out for happy hour on a fairly regular basis.
Most Fridays I went to this place called Dry Dock with a bunch of other teachers.
It was my Cheers.
After a couple years, I got to know the regulars.
I had become one of them myself.
And I got to know the owner.
He was old.
We were young.
We’d flirt with him a little, and he’d give us free shots.
My last year of teaching, at the beginning of the school year on a Friday in early September, a large group of us went to Dry Dock.
The weather was still nice.
I had on a cute little sundress and some platformy wedge sandals.
The owner was already there.
I gave him a yell, and a hug, and he sent over a free round of buttery nipples.
At the time, I loved those things.
The smell of them alone would probably send me into a fit of dry-heaving spasms now.
Nine free rounds of shots later,
my friend and I decided to take the party somewhere else.
Well, actually, my friend decided.
I was ready to go home.
But there is this thing called Oysterfest here in CT in the beginning of September.
It’s a 2 or 3-day extravaganza where they have bands,
There was a band playing that night that my friend really liked, and she begged me to go.
So I went.
By the time we got there, the weather had cooled down.
I was still in my little sundress and sandals.
It must have rained the day or two before.
The ground was a little wet.
Plus you know how it is at these things.
Crap gets spilled, and so many people are walking around that the ground turns into a muddy mess.
I wasn’t wearing the appropriate footwear.
So I took my shoes off and walked around barefoot carrying my sandals.
By the end of the night I was freezing, and I was covered in mud up to about my knees.
I wasn’t feeling any pain, though. If you know what I mean.
The next day was a different story.
I was hurting.
I had decided that I was staying in my pajamas, parking my ass on the couch, and watching a Real World marathon until I could function again.
My cousin was in the process of getting a divorce at the time, and she was back out on the market.
I had kind of become her wingman.
She had met a guy she was interested in, and he was going to be at Oysterfest that night.
She called early that afternoon.
I didn’t answer the phone. I let the answering machine get it.
Beeeeep…Hi Suse. I’m going to Oysterfest tonight. I really want you to come with me. …..
I had no desire to be around alcohol.
I ignored the call.
As well as the second one that came from her about 30 minutes later.
I was going to continue to remain in seclusion.
But then, I ran out of cigarettes.
I was a pretty serious smoker at that time.
I was going to have to leave my little cocoon of a condo.
I upgraded my outfit to sweats, and I drove to the gas station.
I got my smokes, got back in the car, stopped at a light, heard someone yell something, looked over at the car next to me, and saw…
She motioned for me to pull over.
And somehow, she worked her magic on me, and she convinced me to go to Oysterfest.
She followed me home.
I think I showered.
But I put on jeans and a fleece and my Merrells.
I was not going to freeze my ass off again.
Or walk around drunk and barefoot in the mud.
Now Oysterfest is down the road from a street full of bars in South Norwalk, CT.
Some of them have dress codes.
Like no jeans.
People are all about the scene down there.
Dressed all sparkly. And hoochy. An ready for action.
I was dressed appropriately for Oysterfest.
But not for the SoNo bars.
Which, of course, is exactly where my cousin wanted to go when Oysterfest ended at 10 or 11 that night.
Damn you cigarettes. Now look at the mess you’ve gotten me into.
I didn’t drive that night. My cousin did.
So I was trapped. I had no way to get home.
And off to the bars we went.
I was mortified. Never, ever, in a million years would I have gone onto the single scene in the outfit I was wearing.
I felt like…
So we went to this bar called the Loft.
I used to go there fairly often, too. But not dressed in hiking attire. I was not feeling too confident.
Which is usually the look you are going for at the Loft.
There is an upper level there — a loft –– and as soon as we walked in the door, we headed directly up to it.
There was a group of 5 or 6 of us.
I hid up there where not so many people would see me.
But after a few beers, I had to pee.
And the Loft is one of those places that has one tiny bathroom.
For like 200 girls.
Which means it always has a really long line.
So my cousin and I went down and got in line.
There is a little seating area just outside where the bathrooms are with some bench seats against the wall and a couple little tables and chairs.
While you stand in that line, you can’t really help but check out the people in that area.
So we were waiting.
And I looked around at the people sitting down there.
And then, I saw this guy.
I couldn’t stop looking at him. I elbowed my cousin.
“Don’t look now,” I said.
“But there is a dude sitting over there who is the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.”
I waited until it was safe, and I told her to look.
She agreed he was attractive.
But I wasn’t kidding. He was a specimen.
And he was sitting all alone.
He must have been there with his girlfriend. She must have been in line. Waiting to pee.
I couldn’t stop looking.
I kept waiting for the girlfriend to appear.
After a few minutes, he was still sitting alone.
I contemplated going over there.
But I was dressed like a lumberjack.
Of all nights. I see the hottest guy ever, and I’m dressed in the not hottest ensemble ever. But I had some liquid courage in me.
Eh. Fuck it.
“I’ll be right back,” I told my cousin.
And I went over and plopped myself right next to him.
“Why are you sitting here all alone?” I asked him.
“I don’t know… I guess I’m shy,” he answered.
I told him not to go anywhere, said I’d be right back, jumped back in line with my cousin, went in and peed, checked myself in the mirror, and rushed out of the bathroom.
I was sure he’d be gone.
But he was still there. And he was still alone.
So I sat back down next to him.
“Hi. I”m Susie.”
And that is the story, of how I met my husband.
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