some fall in love. i shatter.

One Step Inside Doesn’t Mean You Understand (#44)

In Stories Volume 2 on February 25, 2013 at 11:16 am

“I think there’s an orgy going on in the backroom.”

When you’re on a first date and someone mentions an orgy, I think that most people presume that things are going well. Whether a come-on or sign of openness, it usually indicates that things are trending positively. I was smart enough to realize that Rhonda was simply making small talk, seeking ways to get me to stop paying more attention to my beer than to her.

“What makes you think that?” I looked up and asked in concession.

“Well,” she sat up a little straighter and smiled a little wider, “I’ve been overhearing bits of other people’s conversations and keeping an eye on the goings on around here.” I didn’t think she meant this to indicate that I was so disconnected that she needed to seek entertainment elsewhere while on our date but I still took it that way. “And I haven’t heard the word ‘orgy,’ exactly, but people keep hinting at something wild in the backroom and I’ve definitely heard the word ‘sex’ at least seven times.”

“Seven is a lot.” Even I couldn’t tell if I was being sarcastic or not. If there really was an orgy in the back of the bar, that would be amazingly odd, but could there really be? I mean, bars are pretty filthy places when you get down to it; why wouldn’t you just have it at someone’s loft? Somebody participating in the orgy needs to live in a loft, it’s a given.

“Seven is a lot, P. And then once I started hearing these things, I started to notice people in here with mussed hair – not mussed on purpose where you look closer and it’s more quaffed; not the mussed that looks too good to be legitimately mussed. I’m talking about the dry and frazzled look, guys with hair that’s been sweaty and dried without primping, girls with knots and tangles. It’s easier to see on the girls. Look, over there, the blond in the red dress.” I looked behind me through the crowd of eager twenty-somethings hungry for meaning and movement in a downtrodden bar and there she was. Her hair did in fact have tangles and an overall unkempt look, not falling in line with the dress she wore.

“You see her?”

“You’re right, something’s definitely off.” Scanning the crowd, it became obvious that the blonde wasn’t the only one. Too many people had hair at odd angles, clothes with balled-up wrinkles, half-untucked shirts, makeup smeared. The bar was crowded, the potential orgiers were definitely in the minority but they distinctly stood out. At least a dozen of them were milling around and a half-dozen that may have been part of their crowd but may have just been going for that post-orgy look.

“So,” Rhonda gave me the smile and raised eyebrows that made me think she had been making small talk along with indicating that things were going well, “should we go check it out?” She downed the remaining half of her vodka tonic and slipped down from her barstool.

“Uh…” I looked back down at my beer but there were no excuses drowning inside. “I’m not sure I really want to know about a bar orgy.” She grabbed me by the wrist and stood my beer on the bar.

“Come on, P. I’m not saying we have to jump in, I just want to see if it’s really happening.” Her fingers still wrapped around my wrist, she cut a winding path through the bar, past supposed orgiers and non-orgiers alike. I wanted to suggest that we could just ask one of our mussed friends but Rhonda was determined.

Dozens of people filled the narrow floor of the bar. Whatever maximum occupancy the fire code allowed in that dingy, dark wooded haven of modern rock, hair metal, and misdirected dreams, that number had been surpassed. None of those future hopefuls would slow Rhonda down. She had chosen the bar for our date and she knew exactly where she was going.

We passed the end of the bar, passed the jukebox on the wall, and turned into a little hallway with the bathrooms on one side and the backroom on the other. A large bouncer in a fuchsia tracksuit, white headband, and Ray-Bans stood in front of said backroom. His body blocked most of the windowed double doors. I hoped he’d be on my side but guys like that usually aren’t. Rhonda glanced back at me, a grin across her face; she too hoped the bouncer would be on her side.

“I’m sorry to bother you, but is there an orgy going on back there?” Her 5”4’ frame, which didn’t seem that small standing next to me, was dwarfed by the purple-clad giant. His head slowly swiveled and pivoted downward to catch Rhonda’s face. Then he looked at me. Then he looked at Rhonda again. His body didn’t move from its arms-folded defensive stance the entire time. Almost imperceptibly, the bouncer nodded. “I knew it!” she shouted. With a palm, the bouncer signaled for her to quiet down.

She turned and whispered to me, “I knew it. Should we try to get in?” I feel I should state here that I’m not a prude. I’m into sex as much as the next guy and sure, I’m into a little experimentation here and there, why not? And while it’s not at the top of the list of things I’d like to do, I haven’t necessarily ruled out any orgies. I guess I’m just not sure my brain could handle the insecurity and competitiveness. But an orgy in the back room of a not particularly clean bar?

“I don’t think so, Rhonda. It can’t be very sanitary, can it?”

“You’re worried about what the room’s like?” I can’t say for sure if I meant the room or the whole situation. “There’s so much sex going on in there, who cares what the room’s like? Look, I’m going to try to get in; if you don’t want to come, that’s your loss.” She said it so matter of fact, like, ‘I’m going to eat this last slice of pizza.’ She was waiting for a response.

“Were we going to have sex tonight?”

“P, I love sex so much!” She clenched her fists and shook them close to her body, like a joyous child getting just the right toy for Christmas. That comparison solidified my decision to not enter into the orgy. “Yeah, we were going to have sex tonight. I don’t fuck around with this two-date rule; if I like a guy, we hit it. But this orgy,” she gestured towards the bouncer, whom I imagined had overheard a lot of strange conversations, “is a game changer. So you in or you out?” She practically hopped from foot to foot.

“I’m out. I’m sorry but I just can’t, not in there. I had a good time with you though.”

“Yeah, me too. Call me, okay?” She didn’t wait for an answer. She was already talking to the bouncer who pushed the door open for her while his body blocked the view. Rhonda’s arm was already out of her shirt as she passed through the doorway. The bouncer gave me a look.

“Usually the other way around,” he said. “Usually the guys want in and the girlfriends don’t.”

“She’s not my girlfriend.” I gave him a shrug and walked out the bar. It was nearly midnight. I walked to a much quieter bar down the block where I had another beer. I never called Rhonda after that. She never called me either.


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