Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cake Shop: Not a good place for a date or, oddly enough, to get cake--but a great place to see live music!

So last Friday I went to this bar in the Lower East Side called Cake Shop to meet up with this guy we'll call Ralph for a second date. Our first date went well, as far as first dates go. We'd met up for drinks, and, over the course of the next few hours neither one of us managed to say anything that completely pissed the other one off. This I consider the height of first date success. Also, he was pretty cute, and didn't seem at all crazy--other things high on my list of priorities.What can I say? I ask a lot.

So, the first date having not been a complete disaster, we made plans to meet up for a second at Cake Shop to see a few local bands play. The billing included I Am the Heat, The Press, Ben Franklin, and The Gay Blades all for $7--gotta love the LES scene. I hadn't heard of any of the bands, but had browsed their websites and decided they were all pretty emo/alternativetoalternative/punk/indie-style, in other words, totally my cup of tea.

Ralph didn't know any of the bands either, but his friend had recommended The Gay Blades to him as one he'd probably like. So, all in all it appeared to be a promising evening of drinks, live music, and general enjoyment of each other's company. Well, I was right about two of those things...

The night got off to a bit of a rocky start. I was late, which is sort of unusual for me--I'd gotten lost, which is not at all unusual for me. Usually I allow enough time for this mostly inevitable course of events, but even allowing myself an extra ten minutes to get there put me there about fifteen minutes after the agreed upon meet up time. I wasn't really sorry, although I apologized when I got there. Fifteen minutes, to me, is not a deal breaker.  He seemed fine with it and we went down to the basement where the first band was setting up. I don't think this is what ruined the evening but, because I'm not entirely sure, I'm mentioning as a possible piece of evidence for this puzzle. Maybe you, dear readers, can figure out what was the actual curdling point.

We made small talk while the band told the sound people they need more vocal. "More vocal. All you've got. We'll take some more--thanks." All bands said this. Apparently vocal is key. Also key, considering every band did this as well, having a member take off his shirt at some point during the show, or, hell, before the show even starts like the drummer of the first band I Am the Heat. Not criticizing. Just observing. Closely :)

While the first band was warming up and the drummer had just finished the obligatory take-off-shirt ritual, Ralph got up to use the restroom. I ordered another drink. Perhaps this was rude, ordering without him, but I didn't want the awkwardness of "who pays for this round?" and, well, I was thirsty! When he returned he saw my drink and, I noted, did not order one for himself. Curdling point? The band started to play.

I was enjoying the music, not really sensing that anything was amiss, when something weird happened. We were sitting at two bar stools, facing the band. My leg brushed his accidentally, as legs sometimes do beneath a bar. And he immediately pulled his far away.  

Probably nothing, I told myself. But, just to test a theory developing, I took my arm, which was propped on the bar, and casually moved it one inch closer to his, still not touching. And he moved his one inch away!

What. The. Hell. I ordered another drink. He did not.

I probably would have been more irritated by his obvious concern with any physical contact with me, but I was really enjoying the bands. At one point I'd even almost forgotten about the whole weird episode, and had sort of chalked it up to him possibly wanting to be respectful or some other reason, maybe personal space issues? But then we got up from the bar stools to get closer to the stage and I noticed, the place was packed, people everywhere sardine-style, and he somehow managed to maintain a foot's distance from me at all times. Which, in this environment, took near-Herculean efforts!

What. The. Hell. I ordered another drink. He did not.

The bands were still awesome and I'd made up my mind that I was going to have a great time this Friday night if it killed me, and then never see this jerk again. I jumped up and down with the rest of the people out to have a good time. I sang along to songs I did not know the words to. I supported a guy 2x my weight crowd-surving--I did all the things you basically sign up to do when you decide to go to a concert. He did not.

And here's the kicker. The much-anticipated headline band finally got onstage: The Gay Blades. You may remember that this band was the band Ralph's friend had recommended, the reason we had ultimately decided to come to this bar instead of any of a dozen other LES bars with live bands playing that Friday night. It was at this moment, when the band started to play (not a member shirtless yet, might I add!), that Ralph turned to me and said from his foot-distance away, "I think I should go home. It's getting pretty late."

It was 11 p.m.

"Really? I mean, isn't this the band you wanted to see?"

"Yeah. But, I should leave. It takes me a while to get home." 

And here is where I made a huge mistake. I left the bar, even though I was having a great time, because I did not want to hurt his feelings. 

Ladies: Never, ever consider some guy's feelings over your own. Especially if that guy is someone you're on a second date with who seems convinced you're crawling with cooties. If you're having a good time somewhere and you're with an asshole who wants to leave, stay. And listen to that band that's supposed to be so good! And then call all of your girlfriends for an impromptu night out after the show, and, by God, salvage that evening! Because Friday nights are sacred and should be enjoyed, whatever grand effort this may take.

So, to end this sad tale of a Friday night shot to hell, because I had not yet acquired the wisdom to stay, I left with him and we walked to the subway together. When we got to the station he informed me that, although he'd had a great time, he really didn't think we should have another date. 

Insult to injury! That was my line! How dare he beat me to it?!

I, being the lady I am, thanked him for a fun evening and wished him a good night (code, under these circumstances, for "have a good life"). Then I went back to my apartment, and got a drink. And I'm almost certain, he did not.


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