Tuesday night Happy Hours are never supposed to last until midnight.
But combine a good hair day, some cute patterned tights, two young professional women with inviting smiles, a generous just-pay-for-the-first-two bartender, and you've got yourself an early in the week party.
And a very cross, left-at-home puppy.
Once C, her fedora and I left our newfound behind-the-bar friend Marcus at Panache after a good three hours, we headed across the street to the Mayflower for a last drink among fifteen or so septuagenarians and their vastly younger, curiously unattractive and seasoned-looking companions.
Nursing my last inch of Bud Lite (yes, the Mayflower has Bud Lite on-tap), and just as we were about to leave, I left C to tackle solo the questions the neighboring couch full of USG "dudes having a dudes night out" were peppering at us on stimulating topics like the status-quo on Hurricane Katrina clean-up and NBA playoff predictions so I could take a trip to the ladies' room.
It was there, in front of the second gold-framed mirror on the left that I saw her. In a cropped red satin slight Mandarin-collared jacket, black wide-legged trousers, and the black velvet bow-adorned Marc Jacobs peeptoes, was one of the most well-dressed women I've ever seen in this city. "Wow, I love your jacket," I blurted out while touching up my black liner six sinks and a trash can away from her. "Would you mind telling me where you got it?"
"Actually, I just picked this up on a trip I took to Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, I think. It was a local boutique. You like it? All my DC friends told me I looked like Michael Jackson."
No matter what her friends thought, this woman was one of only a handful I've ever seen who really understood the concept of subtly and stylishly integrating an ethnic piece into an ensemble (see "Can't you be happy with a jade paperweight?" for context). When you looked at her, you knew something about her look was different. Not bad different - not at all - just different. The kind of different that makes women stop their makeup routines in hotel bathrooms not to ask her where she just vacationed but rather to ask her where they could pick up a jacket just like hers.
Sometimes, in the last round on a Tuesday night, everything comes full-circle.