Thursday, October 07, 2004

" 'How's it goin'? That's the first thing I say to you...."

Can anyone ID the song quote in the title?

Paulie has been a good friend to me throughout the whole Mom ordeal, and I just realized that I have not blogged about him since It happened.

We've been best friends for almost 30 years, and as a "buddy", they don't come much truer than Paulie. It was kind of awkward, how he tried to console me, though.

I could tell he really wanted to come up with something to make me feel better. A day or two after it happened, at my dad's house, he threw his arm around me and said, "hey, after this blows over, you come stay with me for a couple days, awright?" He had to know I wouldn't do that. ONE day at his house is pushing it.

At the wake, he came up to me and said, "Hey! This weekend, you and me are gonna get TOTALLY fucking hammered. Right?"

The truth is, the prospect of slamming vodka-tonics until I puke didn't appeal to me, and didn't make me feel better. But I realized that he was trying to comfort me, and that DID help quite a bit.

We didn't make specific plans for the weekend. But guys usually don't. Or, at least I don't. As far as you girls are concerned, there are all sorts of rules involved, and if we have the audacity to ask you out on Thursday for a Friday date, I'm pretty sure it constitutes legal justification to kick us in the balls with a steel-toed stiletto.

For guys it's different. We don't make advance plans. Our minds don't work that way. I might call Paulie to go somewhere about an hour before I'm ready. If I think of it. Or, I might call him from my car, already on my way there. What happens if he says no? Then I play it by ear.

Paulie actually lives quite a distance away, so he calls me early in the day. We agree to meet at Shots, a sports bar, around 7:30.

Lila has been pouty ever since I told her where I am going. I ask her two or three times what is bothering her, and she keeps saying, "nothing." She is pissed because she's had me all to herself for weeks, and now I am going out with a friend instead of her on a Friday night. It's annyoing that she won't say it.

5:00. Lila is in my doorway, idly wiggling her foot on the carpet.

"You out?" I say.

She nods. She won't look at me.

"I'll see you tomorrow, ok?" I say.

"Not tonight?"


"Fine," she says, petulantly, and turns to leave. I let her go.

I guess I am supposed to chase after her, grab her by the arm, and make some grand gesture to prove my love. Hope she isn't holding her breath.

I really needed Lila to be close to me during my hour of need, and she was. But now that I am back into my routine, I need her the way she used to be. She used to be very respectful of my space; now I find the cap off my toothpaste, and my dishes put back in the wrong place, and the crinkly paper backing from her maxipads all over my bathroom floor.

I've come a long way. I'm a little less relationship-phobic now. But this isn't a soap opera or TV show where, in 22 minutes, a guy goes from fucking the babysitter to slapping on a tux and marrying his girlfriend in a sun-drenched, flowery gazebo somewhere. I still ain't marriage material, and might never be. Especially not with a chick who's barely old enough to vote.

Shots is packed tonight. The man-smell is everywhere, that hearty mixture of barbecue sauce, french fries, and spilled beer that makes the floor sticky. Giant plasma TV's broadcast baseball and football, each with its own set of testosterone-addled drunk revelers loudly celebrating each completed pass and called third strike.

When Paulie and I are hanging out, I can really relax and be myself. Pretty much nothing is off limits. It feels good to be able to fart without craning my head all around first to see who's watching, or marvel at how big Lindsay Lohan's tits are, and how nice it would be to fuck her and blow a giant load in her freckly face, without fear of being labelled a pervert. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Sometimes our uninhibitedness gets us into trouble. Once, years ago, Paulie and I were being fitted for tuxes for a friend's wedding. The girl who was measuring us was really hot, and Paulie and I started going back and forth about her(in Italian). Don't worry, I'll translate:

Steve: "Eh, Paolo, che pensi di quel braciola?"
["Hey, Paulie, what do you think about this little piece of meat?"]

Paulie: "Be', per me va molto bene, tutt'appost!"
["Man, it looks really good to me!"]

Steve: "Pensi che le piacerebbe andare ai ginnochi?"
["Do you think she likes to suck dick?"]

Paulie: "Ehh, credo di si', credo che questa braciola desidera sempre un cazzo duro!"
["Ya, I think so, I think that this chick constantly craves cock!"]

Girl working on our tuxes: "Voi stronsi non sapete che parlo Italiano anch'io!"
["You assholes don't know that I speak Italian, do you?"]


Our waitress is in a chatty mood. She's very cute, maybe 5'6", with a wide, happy smile and intense blue eyes. Her name is Morgan. I really like that name. She's thin and kind of waifish, with a really firm, tight ass. I like round asses with a little bit of a jiggle, usually, but Morgan is totally in proportion and I love that.

"So what're you guys up to tonight," she says.

"We're just tryin' to stay outta trouble," Paulie says.

"THAT'S no fun," Morgan says. She's looking at me.

"Any chance you could change the channel for us," I say.

"Sure! What do you guys wanna watch?"

"Home Shopping Club!" I say.

She laughs out loud. "Doubt it!"

"Ok, TLC? HGTV? General Hospital??"

"I'm thinking not," she laughs.

"Sex and the City, then."

"You're getting closer," she says. "If it involves sex, they might not object too much."

"I wouldn't know, I'm a virgin," I say, smiling.

"Yeah. RIGHT," she says. She's smiling at me.

"I need another beer," Paulie says. Morgan walks off to get it.

"Knock it off!" Paulie says.


"Quit fucking hitting on the waitress. What's your problem?"

"I'm NOT hitting on her! I was just talking to her. So were YOU!"

"Steve, I'm not fucking stupid. I know you. I KNOW you! I know when you're on the make."

He's right, too. I am pretty sure I could fuck this waitress. She looked like a horny little slut, truth be told. And I was hitting on her. I have fucked so many waitresses that it's not funny. I have much better luck with the girls serving the drinks than I do with the chicks who are drinking them. This would have been easy.

Was I really thinking about doing it?

"Whatever, Paul." I don't have to admit everything to him, after all.

He grabs my arm. "Steve, Lila was at your mother's funeral. She was crying. CRYING! For YOU! She was so sad that you were hurting that she was crying. Is this how you pay her back?"


"If you cheat on her, if you fuck this up, I am never fucking speaking to you again. You got it? I MEAN it!"

"Fine, man, fine! Take it easy!" I say.

Something tells me he is not bluffing.