I've Cut Sexy Robots out of My Diet. The Reason Why Might Not Surprise You.
I've committed to not drinking for January and February. Instead of allowing myself a little social lubrication, I've opted to let the sandpaper of reality rub right in. Ow! My arm hair! Ow! My personality! I'm at the halfway point, and I've resorted to smelling my friends' drinks to trigger the memory of those naughty little sippy sips (I find that talking like a pervert gives me a buzz).
I don't miss the intoxication so much as I miss having a prop. To quote Jack from 30 Rock, "How else do you make a moment land?" This is the part of drinking that really matters.
It was a fateful night in December that made me rethink my approach to going out. I had a lively friend in town. You know the type — she appears, she disappears. You turn around, she's wearing a suit made of balloons. You blink, she's covered in feathers. You text her 11 times to no answer, only to have her emerge from a manhole beneath your feet, sombrero askew and locked in an embrace with a piñata. She is 24 and I'm 29, but I try not to let that get between us.
Amanda arrived at my apartment already about a third of the way through a bottle of Tequila. Her eyes glowed. She kept sticking out her pinky and index finger and hissing, "Spider Man!" She looked especially beautiful, in spite of the Spider Man thing.
Our friend Katie was along for the ride — yet another fun lover. I was outnumbered. As usual, she had on shoes that should have come with a pair of crutches. That evening, she planned to introduce us to someone she had been sleeping with, and was very concerned that Amanda and I make a good impression. She screamed about what were not to say while performing a coke-fueled Appalachian clog routine in an attempt to manage her anxiety. I refused Tequila, put on a bulky sweater, and galumphed with them down the street to a bar.
They walked behind me, arms linked, chanting "fat booty, fat, fat booty, fat booty," I guess in reference to my fat, fat booty (it's pretty fat). I had told them earlier about how a man recently shouted at me as I stumbled home at 3 AM, "Want some blow?" And then when I didn't respond he added, "Fat booty! Fat booty! Fat! Fat, fat fat booty! Fat booty white girl!" which is a turn of phrase I didn't hear a lot in Texas.
We settled into the back room of dark bar and waited for Katie's date to arrive. He was a teetotaler. Or rather, an ayahuasca-totaler (yeah, yeah, Brooklyn). Katie made it clear she did not intend to follow Amanda to another bar, looking amorously toward her shaman du jour. I stretched my arms above my head and yawned, doing my best impression of an adorable, sleepy baby.
No one bought it. Amanda looked deeply into my eyes and said that we had to go to the House of Yes, a venue in Brooklyn best known for trapeze performances. Suppressing all of my survival instincts, I sadly agreed to continue. I couldn't let her go by herself —24-year-olds are the future! Seeing the dejection on my face, Amanda handed me her cocktail to finish. It was something with tequila and I hated it.
"We're on the list," she assured me as we joined the line to get in. But the list was the least of our concerns. "Let me see your costume," said the drag queen manning the velvet rope. "You guys need to go over there and get a costume and then come back," she said, pointing at the box truck parked on the side of the road. I told Amanda between gritted teeth that she would be footing the bill for the costume additions. She agreed, and two $15 headbands later we were deemed festive enough to enter.
Inside, the noisy Hieronymus Bosch tryptich wore a purple glow. Pretty soon a large man made of elbows and hair gel had knocked me over. I screamed "Medic!" and staggered to the bar where Amanda procured us two double gin and tonics, each with an extra shot of gin on the side. We winced down our drinks and then ventured into the main room, where sexy robot ladies danced in cages that hung from the ceiling.
I squinted my brain, trying to remember what life was like during the daytime. Something about coffee and orange juice? The rustle of a newspaper, I feel like? Would I ever get back there again?
Horny demons made the neon hellscape pretty humid, so I took a step back from the dance floor to peel off my sweaters. At that moment, a collared tee-shirt entered my peripheral vision. "This is a VIP zone," the GAP clearance rack announced, with an embarrassed smile. I had stepped onto a raised platform where several men had paid to be danced at. Drunk and angry at being spoken to by a man, I took one step away and shouted to Amanda, "Oh, Amanda, take note! We aren't allowed over there. Those rich, fabulous men have that spot all to themselves. As God as my witness, I will make them all mine!"
Amanda indulged my rage and wondered why she had agreed to mind her least favorite great aunt. Eager to change the subject, she kept pointing at one of the sexy robots, saying, "That's Katie!" I forgot, as one does, that this world contains more than one Katie. "That's not Katie!" I shouted, despondent, but she couldn't hear me. This was Amanda's friend Katie, who sexy-robots for a living. Once Katie had finished a number at the bar, Amanda torpedoed through the crowd. They scream-hugged and we followed Katie to the dressing room for a chat. To my dismay, two robot boys were there and they spoke only in robot voices for a very long 20 minutes. (Looking back, it was a strong choice and I admire their commitment to their craft.)
Eventually, Amanda got a morally bankrupt text — some well-to-do creature of night had sent an Uber for her. At last, I was free to die. The next day I awoke to crumbs in my sheets...but what did I eat? I had a dark purple bruise on my fat, fat booty and a deep sense of regret.
And so, I resolved 2018 would be different. That night I drank because I thought it would make me a better, more compassionate person. Instead, it made me more myself.
Now, about halfway through February, I've done a few things that I never, ever dreamed I would do sober. I went to a concert and timidly negotiated the outer circle of a mosh pit. I did a comedy open mic — not stand up, but a reading. My voice shook and I had corn stuck in my teeth (why did I choose to eat corn on the cob in a crowded bar?) and I let the pain sink right in. Even more unfathomable, I went on a Tinder date. We sat and talked and made out on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. Later, deciding if I would see him again, I relied solely on my own recollections. New! Different! Strange! These brash moments have left a more heady impression than anything that happened to me after an evening spent soaking in a kiddie pool filled with dirty martinis. Sobriety is (sorry) intoxicating.