The Hawks were down by four points in the closing minutes of the game, so I powered up my laptop, checked a few emails, shut it back down, then pulled out my latest read and stuck my nose between the pages so I wouldn't have to witness the rest of the carnage.
A couple of guys I know were sitting a few seats down from me, reading the Sunday paper and bantering back and forth about the various articles they were reading during commercial breaks in the game.
"Rick" is in his mid-thirties, white, tall, broad-shouldered, barrel-chested, favors athletic wear on the weekends, and is bald as an egg and damned proud of it. A financial whiz, he's intelligent, opinionated and loves nothing better than a good bet.
"Jay" is a year or two younger, black, stocky, wears his hair in a short, tight natural, has liquid brown eyes with lashes for which any woman would sacrifice her left *ahem* (and maybe her right one, too) and opts for polo necks and slacks for casual apparel. He's deceptively soft-spoken, mischievious and also has a weakness for the occasional wild-ass wager.
They fancy themselves ladies' men and it's always fun to be around when they swap tales of the latest women they're pursuing, as the descriptions generally involve heart-stopping beauty, sexual rapacity, gravity-defying proportions and the brain power of a bean burrito (refried, not black bean). Only height, hair, eye and skin color are subject to change.
Anyhow, I was hip deep in baseball book goodness when the conversation to my right yanked my attention back into the here and now.
The boys had started in on the personal ads, choosing the truly juicy ones to read aloud. They began to keep a running total of ubiquitous likes/wants such as "long walks in the park" and "intimate dinners" and "soul mate." They hooted over the more outrageous entries, and ribbed each other about which ones the other might find most hot.
That's when the conversation tooked a turn for the decidedly weird.
"Here's what I think we should do," Rick said. "We should each take out an ad, and the one that gets the most hits wins twenty bucks ."
"Cool," Jason nodded slowly. "I can do that."
"Except..." Rick said.
"Except we're each going to take out a 'woman seeking man' ad," Rick chortled.
"We're going to do what? Dude! You're scaring me here." Jay eyed Rick apprehensively.
"No, no. Hear me out," Rick said as the bar suddenly grew silent and all eyes pointed in their direction. "Think about it. You know the kind of ads that catch your attention. All you have to do is write one that's even better. You know... more suggestive."
Even our bartender, the unflappable Bootsie, stopped mid-pour on a pitcher of Budweiser to gape at the knuckleheads.
Jay's faced slowly morphed from disbelief to shit-eating grin. He nodded again. "Go on."
"I'm thinking I'll be a SWF out-of-work model seeking a sugar daddy." Rick continued, "You know -- looking for someone to keep me in the style I'd like to be reaccustomed to," as he struck a "vogue" pose.
The pitcher overflowed and Bootsie muttered a mild expletive as she slapped the tap into the "off" position. The peanut gallery sat mesmerized, chins resting on palms, elbows resting on the bar. I tossed my book to the side and gave up all pretense of trying to read.
"Well if you're an ex-model, what will I be?" Jay groused.
"I know! You can be a Puerto Rican bartender," Rick enthused.
"Yeah! Puerto-Reeee-Can! Into salsa, samba and flamenco dancing," Jay said, rubbing his hands together and warming to the subject.
I stuck my two cents in. "Wait a minute, Jay. How come he gets to be a classy ex-model and you get to be a hoochie mama?"
"What she said! Why do I have to be the hoochie mama?"
"Because we're playing against type, of course," Rick said reasonably. (How he managed that with a straight face is beyond me.) "Anyhow, I'll be 5'10" and 110 pounds, with long blond hair and blue eyes."
"Well, having any hair at all is playing against type," Jay grumbled.
"And you, Senorita, can be 5'2" and 34-24-36 inches of sassy," Rick went on.
"Sassy is good," Jay said dubiously. "Right?"
I was two seconds away from banging my forehead repeatedly against the bar. They so sucked at this writing a personal ad business.
"Seriously, Rick. I can do sassy."
The conversation rambled on into "their" likes and dislikes, each more lamely preposterous than the last, but with Rick having the clear edge.
I could stand it no longer. "Jay! If you want to win this bet, a Puerto Rican bartender is simply not going to cut it."
"Oh, yeah? And what would cut it?"
"Okay, try this:
"What in the heck is rhythm gymnastics and where do you see it?" Rick enquired.
SWF, 20, 5'7", 102 lbs., brn/grn, former Romanian rhythmic gymnast currently studying massage therapy seeks SWM, 25-40 for fun and companionship. Interests include big dogs, good bourbon, baseball and nude yoga. You?
"The Olympics, definitely," I said.
"Oh. Chick stuff," he poo-pooed, as Jay nodded vigorously in agreement.
"Guys, you don't know what you're missing," I insisted. "These girls are really flexible. Bendy."
"Bendy?" they yelped in unison.
"Yep. Very bendy."
Their eyes glazed over for a moment, then they shook themselves out of their reverie and went back to discussing "their" ads.
"I'm really liking this being an ex-model thing," Rick said, as they turned and walked away. "I really think this will help us get in touch with our femine sides."
Jay nodded sagely as they walked out the door. Then he poked his head back in the door and winked at me. "Nude yoga. Nice touch."
I saluted him. "Go big or go home, dude."