12 May 2007

40 guys and a pretty red sundress

Since 1988, the year I pushed my way onto the boys-only Summer baseball league with my blue leather Darryl Strawberry outfielder's glove and an ego the size of Lake Michigan, I've come to appreciate and recognize the benefits of a heavily-in-my-favor male-to-female ratio.

At eight years old, my parents were concerned I might be intimidated or uncomfortable with the situation, but being the precocious little thing I was, I was much more consumed with perfecting my third-to-first snap and nailing my "uh-huh-that's-right" eye-contact with the cutest boy's father on the opposing team. It didn't even occur to me to be bothered by the fact I was the only player in the dugout without a plastic junk-cup strapped to my waist.

Since my final summer stint with the Beulah Berettas in '92, I've managed to place myself in more than a few male-dominated circumstances (read into that statement what you will), none, however, as satisfying - or educational - as those few glorious Junes, Julys and Augusts I spent getting my first formative lessons in what made boys tick.

Last night, as I sauntered into Bobby Van's uncharacteristically early and well aware I'd be sitting on my own for at least 10 minutes until my companion arrived "rock star late" as he called it, I adjusted the criss-cross backstraps on my red sundress, clicked shut the finicky hinge on my 1952 vintage purse and relished the opportunity to have a few alone moments to silently judge those seated in my vicinity. The al fresco dining setup at this particular steakhouse is bifurcated with a more casual bar area on the left and a you-must-order-dinner area on the right. I chose right and was shown to a corner table for two -- the perfect perch for people-watching. Having already ordered my drink - Heffeweisen, not Stella - and received yet another, "running late - sorry" text, I decided to relax, nosh on some bread with garlic-infused butter and take in the crowd.

It only took me a few seconds to recognize the peculiarity of the demographics. To my right, two men in suits and ties, next to them, four men in suits without ties, and surrounding them, three other gaggles in a mixture of casual Friday golf shirts and khakis, dress shirts and jeans and a guy who clearly knew a Georgetown stop was in his near future sporting a white Lacoste polo and a pair of J. Crew madras patchwork pants. No elderly mother, no overworked hired-'cause-she-looks-good assistant, not even a Russian prostitute waiting for a Brioni-clad businessman. I was it. I was the only woman.

Normally, I'd be happy as a Crystal Lake clam for numbers like those I encountered last night (especially in a makes-my-jumblies-look-good frock such as the one I had on), but considering that the whole point in choosing this locale was to explore adjacent-to-the-White-House cusp-of-Summer Friday night style - female style - the 40:1 male-to-female odds I was facing were not helpful.

In the end, I came to realize that like much of the rest of DC, Bobby Van's on a Friday night is conservative, navy-pinstripe-heavy, shrouded in clouds of Davidoff cigar smoke and curiously female-free. A Friday night that despite a fairly decent filet and wonderful company, has inspired me to stay inside today switching between pints of Cinnamon Buns and Marsha-Marsha-Marshmallow B&J ice cream while watching USA Network's treasure trove of so-very-me movies: About a Boy, Pretty Woman, Love Actually, and coming up next, the matchless Notting Hill.

Ladies, corny as it is, be sure to add this Ronan Keating classic to your "She rescues him right back" iMix:


brown rowergirl said...

I've been watching those movies all afternoon, too!

Awww, it's like we're together!

sarahsouth said...

you forgot to mention the ratio of pleated to flat-front slacks (as i recall, the former is a REAL deal-breaker)

by the way, i posted a lil' somethin somethin on my blog today to publicize your wealth of wisdom to all my friends

Johanna said...


Thanks for my write-up! What a great ego-boost! Aw, thanks. Is this payback since you stole my autographed glossy of...shit, what was that DJ's name? The one who came on the air after Delilah? I was OBSESSED with his playlists and smoky voice.

anyway, the men were all thankfully sporting flat-fronts, but the way they were talking about their bad marriages in playground-loud voices (alcohol induced, methinks), pretty much spoiled everyone's dinner. Like I said, "typical DC crowd."


p.s. where's my bowl of summer gnocchi, bratface?

nyc admirer said...

A date?? Did my darling girl finally go on a date??

I'm happy and jealous at the same time. Hope you had a good time. Hope he appreciated that beautiful dress. You'll have to bring it with you in June...

Anonymous said...

OOOH!! that girl called you hannie! so when DID hannie disappear and Johanna come about?

west coast devotee said...

I don't believe for a second that being the only woman at that restaurant depressed you enough to want to stay in all day today and eat ice cream.

I put my money on the fact that you had inferior dinner conversation. Am I right? Am I??

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