Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Strangers in the Night

I'm usually not much fun on Friday nights- like everyone else I basically want to go home and bury myself under layers of down; never to surface until an appropriately late hour on Saturday morning. The past two Friday nights however, I have succumbed to making "plans" and found myself at Central Market (like Whole Foods, but better) after work, buying wine for some Friday evening pre-partying.

I was in Detroit for work early last week, and while catching up on email I came across a Christmas party invitation from my college friend BF. Her boyfriend and his roommates were having an impromptu gathering on Friday night and I told her I was game. Save for a few other girl friends of mine, most of the people invited were guys who went to another college. I'm not really in the market for new friends but how often do you have a non-bar opportunity to hang out with people you don't know? It is not often that one gets to be the mysterious stranger at a party.

I went to dinner with four of my friends at Mi Cocina, since we decided the Friday night prior that CC needed a few more Mambo Taxis* in her life. We went our separate ways afterward, so I input the directions in my GPS (God's gift to women) and headed to West Dallas.

I had not been to this house before, but knew I was at the right place when I got out of my car and heard Jay-Z blaring from inside. I was greeted at the door by my friends BF and RD and a mimosa in a red Solo cup. I decided I needed to look around first to know who I would be dealing with, so I signed up for the 10:30 PM guided tour.

I am always intrigued by male residences because they vary so much in cleanliness, order and lack there-of. There were three guys living in the house, all accountants, and all of their rooms were impeccably clean. BF, RD and I ended up sitting on the couch in one of their rooms, talking away from the loud music.

There was a bookshelf in my line of sight, which arrested my attention, and so while we were talking I started browsing this dude's library. I hadn't met him yet, and as someone who likes to read, I figured what better way to get to know someone than evaluating their taste in literature?

I am not normal.

The defining feature I found about his library, however, was that he had not read most of the books on his shelves. This was disappointing. Why would one have this large volume of books displayed if they had not even been read? By having those out, you are inviting literary conversation. You can tell when books have been read- at the very least the spine is cracked and the pages fall open naturally, or (if you're me), the pages are dog-eared and marked for meaningful passages and crinkled lovingly from water and coffee spills.

A guy with a beard came into the room and pointed out that the three of us were being anti-social. Since guys definitely outnumbered girls at the party, that seemed to be an issue. At this point I had finished my first mimosa and was on the floor, flipping through a pristine copy of John Adams. I decided that I had played librarian enough for one night, and someone had mentioned having Britney Spears on their iPod, so we made it back into the fray.

There were short steps leading into their living room, which was where the action was (so obviously I was hanging out on the fringe, chatting) and I realized that I was stepping up or down on each level reflexively, depending on the height of the person (guy) that was talking to me. It was almost comical- I am about 5'7 without shoes on, which makes me about eye-level with a lot of guys when I have heels on, and still shorter than anyone above 6'0. It probably looked something like a Jazzercise routine.

I wasn't there to be on the prowl, though I probably should have been since New Year's is next week, but it was still an entertaining night with strangers.

There was one guy in a striped shirt, jeans and boots who had definitely had a lot to drink, as evidenced by his red face and desire to give any seated female a lap dance. This contrasted nicely with the perfect rows of shoes in his closet, his slight nerdy-ness and the fact that his shirt was tucked in. It reminded me of that episode of The Office, where Pam hides Michael's jeans after they come back from the dry cleaner, saying "I can tell you he loves the way he looks in those jeans; I know that's why he started casual Fridays."

*Think: margarita times five.

"I only go out to get a fresh appetite for being alone."
-Lord Byron


Carrie said...

All I can say is that it is perfectly normal to use literature as a means of assessment. And I find that all his books were in pristine condition rather Gatsby-esque. In fact, I'm sure he is headed straight for life tragedy and you should probably keep your distance...especially if there is a certain Daisy in his life. That, as we all should know, never ends well.

erin said...

I would totally be the person checking out the books too, I love to see what other people are reading! That is so weird that he hasn't read most of the books though.