LAST HURRAH: Stayin’ Alive

A night out with the stars of reality TV gave me dance fever. And a prolapsed groove thing.

There are those among you—my wife, for example—who will say that by grinding at a disco with a young woman who was not my wife or even my date for the evening, I not only hurt you but also dishonored my entire family. Fine. But you should know that I blame someone else. Actually, three people, in order of increasing blameworthiness: David from The Real World: Seattle; Blair from Road Rules (season unknown); and my date, whom I’ll call Llaura.

This whole thing started with an invite from the producers of an outfit known as the Reality Bar Crawl. They round up former stars of reality TV shows and put them on a bus that drives cross-country, from bar to bar. The “reality stars,” as they’re called, do their best at each stop to empty every bottle in the joint that isn’t filled with bleach. Sometimes they wrestle in giant inflatable sumo costumes. And video cameras capture it all for DVDs that are sold online and for a TV show that’s in the works. One of the producers lives in the area. He begged me to come hang with the crew. Or I begged him. I forget which.

Anyway, the concept sounded abhorrent. I was expressing this view to my friend Llaura when she said, “Wait a sec. Did you say David from The Real World will be there? I have this recurring dream wherein he grabs my hair and yanks back my head and pours an unidentified blue liquor down my throat until it spills out of my mouth and all over my chin.” It’s possible Llaura didn’t say that last part. But whether she did or didn’t is of little consequence because that’s exactly what happened after she demanded to tag along. Or I bribed her to.

We arrived at Have a Nice Day Cafe in the West End around 10:30 p.m. Over the lighted dance floor thumped the musical stylings of Nelly. Urban Cowboy played on multiple video screens. We passed the time by feeling old.

The reality stars rolled up at 11:30 with a cameraman in tow. We commenced to hang. David from The Real World wore a tight white undershirt that soon became soaked with sweat, showcasing his sculpted physique. Blair from Road Rules wore a Western shirt with snaps. He came across as the shy one until I asked him—yelling into his ear to be heard over the J-Kwon—if reality stardom had affected his love life.

“Dude,” he yelled, “you don’t know me well enough to know that I’m being factual and not arrogant, but I’ve had so much play that it’s amazing. I mean, I’ve had fivesomes.”

“Dude, that’s insane,” I yelled. “’Fivesome’ isn’t even a word. I think it’s called a ’quintsome.’”

Blair pointed a finger gun at me and yelled, “Quintsome! I’ve had it!”

At some point, the switch was made from beer to booze and David had hold of Llaura’s hair and was pouring the aforementioned blue liquor down her throat. As her friend, I couldn’t very well allow her to suffer the ignominy alone, now could I? Oh, and there were patrons—female patrons—dancing on the bar. Very close to each other. The bottle was replenished and made its way up to them. Blue liquor flowed from on high.

So Blair had planted lickerish thoughts in my head. David had filled my gut with Dutch courage. Into this combustible combination Llaura then threw the match. She suggested we take turns picking dance partners for each other, with a $20 fine levied against whomsoever should fail to get his or her mark to dance.

Cut to Llaura in her cardigan, large purse swinging from her shoulder, dancing like she needed to evacuate her bladder, with an eager, hearing-impaired lad (as evidenced by the cochlear magnet stuck to his shaved head). Wildly entertaining. But harmless.

Llaura, by contrast, tried to get me beaten up. When it came her turn to pick my partner, Llaura chose for me a succession of girls who were all way too young and, more important, way too attached to other guys. The first two turned me down. The third, for whatever reason, did not.

And that’s how it happened. Rehashing exactly what transpired would demean us all. Let’s just say that the young lady spent our time together trying to box me out for a rebound, and leave it at that. I know it looks bad on paper, but let’s keep things in perspective. Even if Llaura had joined in and my wife had shown up, I’d still have been one lady shy of a quintsome.

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