It was a Wednesday night and my date for the evening, a married girlfriend, had bailed earlier (she had a sons soccer game). Not wanting to kill the hard-to-get reservation at a trendy Italian joint
, where the owner greets us all with kisses and his parents, Giovanni and Frida, arrive every night promptly at 8:45 pm to sing and mingle, I called an unattached girlfriend who had the night off. She was early, socializing at the connecting wine bar, while I was right on time. When I came to collect her (doesn’t that sound like a true date), she was surrounded by single men of varying ages and heights, hair amounts and chins. Extracting her to make our reservation was as smooth as possible, given the men were trying to stroke and love her arms (as Italian men are want to do) when a single woman of divine loveliness is about to depart their company.
Fernando greeted me with ease (double-peck air kiss, and you know how I love those), but I respond in kind. I like Fernando. I like his mother’s cooking. I like that I get a table when I call. I even land half a lip on his cheek. “I forget how tall you are,” he says, a minor attempt at flattery, even though he knows precisely how I measure up, with or without my heels on.
My dark-haired friend glides to the table, not entirely ignorant of the looks cast her way. Glaring, evil things from the women and a flit and downward glance from the males. Me? I’m invisible. For good reason, I might add. While my friend is wearing form-fitting slacks, her camisole can barely contain her “blessings” that threaten to pop out of her shirt, even with her second layer, a black, short-sleeve shirt that hugs her child-bearing hips. Me, on the other hand, am wearing a knee-length skirt, a short-sleeve turtleneck and a Gergen wool short. Tights and booties aside, I’m conservative, she’s sexy (in my defense, I had a meeting afterward and wasn’t going to take on the night, so to speak).
This wasn’t all however. Her sway, her glances around, taking in the scene with the acumen of a racehorse jockey studying the field, were all done with purpose. She was on the scout, and she was being scouted. I, of course, was in it for the company and the food.
The waiter came and called me by name, but he sort of saw right through me as he looked to her. He, a gorgeous man, by the way, a foot too short and probably weighing half as much as me, was fixated on my friends eyes. He had to be. Her bust rested at the height of table, and it was distracting, particularly when she took a swirl of her water and asked him about the wine. As he flustered, I watched it all with a fond sense of awe, wondering if I was ever a part of her rare breed of flirtatious elite even when I was single. When he could breathe, he took our order (in truth, he took hers and gave me enough time to get mine out before he glanced back at her) and then left. As he walked away, I started laughing.
“Not him,” I cautioned. “You even think about wrapping your legs around him and you will break him in two.” She laughed, her chest still jiggling long after her mouth stopped, like the after shocks of a 8.0 earthquake.
Then Tony came by. Tony, you see, is another Italian, who had a guitar in hand and a fedora on his head, tilted just enough to help me visualize a gun in his pocket, roughing up a patron in the alley for not tipping enough. What, I’m thinking, did Fernando and Giovanni do? Take all the true Italians in the greater Seattle area and hire them for this little, 25-seat restaurant in Issaquah, WA?
Tony starts to sing, much to our dismay. However, my friend smiles away, and starts to narrate the story. Tony is singing in Italian, and my friend doesn’t speak Italian. Instead, she crafts the story based on Tony’s looks, intonations and facial features. It went like this….
“They are at the well….” (she purses her lips and furrows her brows)…”they fight, her parents don’t like him,” (she puts her hand to breast)….”she throws her arms around him, vowing to stay,” (she nods her head)…. at this point, I start laughing. I can’t help it. Tony is being so sincere, but he’s loving her story, and together, the two of them are playing up the crowd like they are at the Met. At this end of this sad, saga, the lovers are torn apart, and as she notes, “the well has gone dry from tears.” (My personal well was overflowing with hysterics).
As we leave, I step aside to speak with Giovanni and his wife, slip Tony a five as I shake his hand and give Fernando the now patented double-air kiss.
I’m sure the millions of woman around the world who go from single to married, from sexy to conservative, on the market to off, and empathize with this situation. It’s funny. It’s life. and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I went home for the real kiss on the lips with my husband, double, wrap-around hugs to my two girls and told them just how much I missed them. I must say I absolutely adore and love my single, gorgeous, chased-by-all-men-with a pulse girlfriend. At the same time, I’m pretty thrilled to take the title of the invisible mom.