Let's forget about all the sentimental rubbish and ass kissing I have been doing lately. While I am conscious and self-aware enough to not publish any salacious or grotesque details about my life, (not that there are any to speak of) I am not above blogging about my social awkwardness and kind-hearted attempts to overcome it. Last night I met one of my two male friends in Charlotte out after work. He's in a happy relationship, so I figured we would just be having dinner and a beer. Of course we met at Charlotte's Alive After Five, so inevitably it turned into more. Alive After 5 is essentially a grandiose frat party at the Charlotte Epicenter with drinking and live music. The Epicenter is a three story circular complex caddy-corner to the Time Warner Cable Arena on the corner of Trade St. and College St., filled with restaurants, bars and retail stores. It has a third floor party deck with a picturesque view of the Charlotte Skyline. The business fronts occupy the outer layers and inside is wide open, making it the perfect location for outside gatherings.
I met my friend around six o'clock and people had just started to aggregate at the Epicenter. We first ate wings inside at the Wild Wing Cafe. When we arrived the bar it was empty, but by the time we finished eating, our surroundings resembled a Home Depot convention. Middle aged men decorated the landscape of the rectangular bar. I surmised they were disguising the best routes to drive to work to avoid morning traffic congestion. They creepily stared at the exposed cleavage of the young women working the bar. In fact, I caught myself peaking as well. This was motivation enough to desire female presence that wasn't hired waitstaff. After finishing the decadently buttered, battered, deep fried and slightly over cooked hot wings, it was time to move on.
When we walked out the doors of the restaurant the entire scenery of Alive After Five had changed. The open spaces has disappeared and the decor was now adorned with beautiful people. My aloofness had vanished and I strangely desired to meet girls, meet guys and have a fun, like Ronnie Mund. Nevertheless, I was unsure of myself with a recent breakup plaguing my emotions and the intimidation factor of all the gorgeous people. Luckily, my friend is an instigator and convinced me that I am capable of approaching women. While, I tend to over analyze social situations, he merely advises to just suck it up. He told me I could not leave this place without talking to a few women. I agreed. I am now 29, a professional and single. I have no excuse outside of my own insecurities to be apprehensive in social situations
We ordered a beer and frolicked around the third floor party deck. A live county music band played as people drank, danced and socialized. A half hour passed, I talked to my friend about different strategies I would use when approaching women. I shyly stood next to a lady that appeared my age. She had short blond hair like I adore and I was completely befuddled. Another guy accosted her. Damnit! Another half hour passed with more strategy and no action. Fuck! Finally, two attractive hispanic girls stood in front of us. I managed to confidently say, "Hey, you know you're in my space right? I need lot of space because I plan to do some major dancing." The girls laughed and we briefly undertook a feckless conversation. It did not matter, I had finally conversed with a member of the opposite sex.
The party was attended by young fucks, want-to-be aristocrats, whoremongers and average joes. Eventually my friend left to return home to his girlfriend. I decided to stay for an hour to wear off the affects of the few beers I drank. Over the night, I engaged several men and women in conversation. I spoke with a 23 year old guy that had been spatting with an older lady. He told me a fish tale about two girls he met the previous year at Alive After 5 that supposedly got topless at Lake Normal. I was strangely intrigued by the sophomoric story. I asked an African American gentlemen with a flat cap if he was Irish. He laughed at my feigned naiveness. Finally, I spoke with a women while standing at the bar. We exchanged basic information, mostly initiated by her. To my delight, she told me she thought I was 23, quite possibly her attempt at flattery. The conversation did not last in excess of five minutes. There was no sexual innuendo, no phone numbers were exchanged and I will likely never see her again. However, it was the breakthrough moment of the night and my return to dating.