Show The Girl A Good Time

datenight

I haven’t had a date since the Carter administration, so excuse me if I sound like an old fuddy-duddy when I say: we used to set the bar a bit higher.

My friend Bridget flew into Chicago a couple of weeks ago and we met up for a girl’s weekend in the city.  I brought a couple of bottles of wine, but left the good corkscrew at home figuring we could get one from the hotel concierge.  Major miscalculation. After waiting an hour for the bellboy and tipping him handsomely, we found ourselves in possession of the kind of cheap corkscrew owned by people who never open wine bottles. Also, apparently, the kind favored by hotels.  This is no doubt due to their extensive experience with guests stealing anything that will fit in a suitcase.

I tried to open first one bottle, and then the other.  No go.   Bridget tried next, using all of her strength.  No luck.   She braced and held the bottle tight while I pulled on the corkscrew, my foot on her thigh for extra leverage and both of us straining so hard we were in danger of bursting blood vessels.   No use.  Both bottles resisted our every effort.

We briefly considered smashing the bottle necks on the bathroom sink, but sanity prevailed – this was no time to panic.   Our choices were: go out in search of a decent corkscrew, or pay $12 a glass at the hotel bar.  We bundled up and hit the cold, dark city streets.

It seemed the wine gods were smiling down upon us; there was a Target store right around the corner. It was rather depressing to see deals on Brawny paper towels and Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear in the windows of the venerable, old Carson Pirie Scott building, windows which once delighted generations of Chicagoans with their elaborate Christmas displays, but our need was great and so was our relief.

You can get anything you want at Target: food, drink, clothes, house wares, or pharmaceuticals. You name it and they probably have it.

The joint was jumping on that early Friday evening, full of people buying groceries, Christmas shoppers, protesters stocking up on essentials before going out, yet again, to blockade State Street, and those making last minute preparations for date night. We got in line behind one of the later.

It’s human nature to look at the other guy’s cart when you’re waiting in line, and anyone who says they don’t look is either a liar, or they’re too busy fiddling with their cell phone to notice anything going on around them. You can tell a lot about someone by what they buy. The man in front of us was very young – he looked barely old enough to shave – and he was small; 5’ 2”, 130 lbs, tops. His purchases were in a hand-held basket, so we didn’t get a look at them until it was his turn to unload onto the checkout conveyor belt. He had three things:

hamburgerhelpercarsons

  • A jumbo Platinum Pack of Trojan condoms (ribbed for added stimulation)
  • The Plan B morning after pill
  • A box of Hamburger Helper.   Cheeseburger Macaroni, to be precise.

Bridget and I have been exchanging elbow-to-the-rib nudges and muffled giggles since Mr. Johnson’s homeroom in 7th grade, so we’ve had plenty of experience stifling inappropriate laughter. This situation tested that control to the limit.

I didn’t know you could buy the morning after pill in a store, just like that, without a prescription. It must be a popular item for thieves because it was packaged in a Lucite security box, like printer ink cartridges at the office supply store.  We all had to wait while the cashier found somebody to unlock it.  While we waited, Bridget and I speculated in whispers;

  • Romeo might be small of stature, but it was clear he was a man with big plans for the evening.   Very big plans.
  • Oysters are considered an aphrodisiac, but who knew Hamburger Helper was in the same category?
  • You would think that somebody willing to spring for the top-of-the-line Platinum rubbers, instead of the Bronze, would up the ante on the dinner menu.
  • An actual hamburger, as opposed to goulash made with burger meat, would be a big step up in the class department.
  • If this approach worked, then young women have sure as hell lowered their dating standards since we were out there.
  • The Hamburger Helper was perfectly understandable when you consider it probably took his entire allowance as well as the contents of his piggy bank to afford the other two items.
  • We had to admire his caution in having a backup plan in case his hidden soldiers escaped their Trojan horse.
  • He should put everything back on the shelf and save his money.  We could almost guarantee that once his date saw the one item, he was not going to need either of the other 2 items in the basket.

We wondered if he would mind some dating advice from a couple of older women who were motivated purely by a strong maternal instinct to see a young man prosper, but decided our input might not be welcome. The manager eventually came with the key to the Lucite anti-chastity belt; the young man counted out the requisite number of nickels and quarters, and then he went on his merry way.

We returned to the hotel with our new corkscrew and made easy work of the stubborn bottles, then went down to enjoy a glass or two in the palatial lobby of the Palmer House. As the evening wore on and the bottles emptied, our laughter may have mixed with a few tears as we reflected on the contents of the young man’s basket and what it said about society. Romeo was, by then, presumably busy wooing his lucky Juliet.

Just another Friday night in the big city.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a really bad date? Have you ever hosted one?  Would you admit it if you had?

p.s. Arlo Guthrie’s song, Alice’s Restaurant, has absolutely nothing to do with this post except that the refrain was running through my brain the entire time I was writing this post, retrofitted to, “you can get anything you want at Tar-ar-ar-ar-ar-get.”

 

 

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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89 Responses to Show The Girl A Good Time

  1. This really made me laugh! But maybe you’re jumping to conclusions, maybe there is a completely different explanation for the purchase of those three items than they explanation you’re imagining, you know, like maybe they’re props for some kind of talk he’s going to give about what NOT to buy for a date? You don’t know Peg!

    Like

  2. susielindau says:

    I had always thought I was being paranoid when buying certain items like Preparation H, but I probably was being watched and judged.

    Like

  3. Becky says:

    Maybe he was playing “Buy Three Things” where you buy 2 things to make the cashier uncomfortable, or at least make them question your intentions? Granted, he could have done much better, but maybe it was his first time.

    Like

  4. You know, it could be that now that he has his license, his parents send him to the store with a list. And they’re really, super progressive parents.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. franhunne4u says:

    Ever since I read about a man (mentally challenged) who groomed a (fictional) (under age of consent) teenager and who came to that “rendezvous” with a pill after, condoms and a teddy bear I get the chills when I read a boy/ man buys a pill after. It was a case in the UK, but still … this is kind of creepy.

    Like

  6. M.Winter says:

    Maybe it was for a friend? But yes, I am guilty of looking into other people’s cart and what making up stories about it. Oh me and my husband have a blast doing this!

    Like

  7. Yes, sounds like that young man had big plans. Okay, maybe he’s not David Niven, but sounds like he was wooing some lass. Wonder how his evening turned out?

    Like

  8. Elyse says:

    I do hope you tipped this bellhop plenty for the evening’s entertainment. Because if he’d have had a good corkscrew, you would have had to settle for old times!

    I think I’m going to load up on Trojans, laxatives and Axe to give folks a good laugh!

    Like

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    I give the guy major props for being prepared. No STDs or pregnancy for him that night! I can only hope my own sons will be as wise. (They better be with all the ‘talks’ I’ve given them…) But as for the hamburger helper, um, yeah, he needs a little work there.

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  10. dmswriter says:

    Let’s just hope the Hamburger Helper was to give Skinny Man some mojo before the big date. Reminds me of my ex, who proposed by putting the ring in a box of Cracker Jacks. No flowers, no bended knee, and I think there might have been a box of Hamburger Helper lurking in a cupboard nearby. 😉 And he wondered why he became my “ex” so shortly after that…

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  11. Shannon says:

    Haha! I ALWAYS look in others’ carts. I don’t think I would have been able to fend off the questions in my head from spewing out of my mouth. Sheesh. You get all the fun blog fodder, Peg.

    I had a bad blind date once. It started when his car ran out of gas on the freeway and we (together, me in high heels) pushed it UP the exit ramp and into a gas station. It went on as he discovered he didn’t have any money (I paid for the gas). That should have been a sign to call it quits, but like the young moron I was, just HAD to see what would come next. It was a very, very long night.

    Perhaps the guy in the check-out lane was his progeny…

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Of COURSE you look in other’s carts – it’s practically weird if you don’t!

      That sounds like a delightful date. When I think of some of the ones I went on, it’s a wonder we lived to tell about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. List of X says:

    If the date hadn’t worked out, he could always make hamburgers. You could call it a “Plan B For Him”.

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  13. Oh, no, I’ve never had a bad date. Never, ever, ever.

    I was never so caviler about buying condoms. I felt a great wave of Catholic shame wash over me every time. Never had a problem with Hamburger Helper, though. Or Steak-Ums. Remember Steak-Ums?

    Typically, I think it’s crass to plug yourself in someone else’s backyard, but I just threw up one of my ‘failed history with women’ posts. It’s a companion piece to this.

    When were you on Discover? I missed it. Are you kidding us?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I think it’s a GOOD thing to not be cavalier about buying condoms, whether Catholic or otherwise. Sex should mean something more than an optional form of cardio workout, shouldn’t it?

      I’ll check out your post from the past – those are always fun.

      As I understand it, Discover has taken the place of both Recommended blogs, by topic, and Freshly Pressed for individual posts. I was delighted to be in the inaugural Discover class under the “humor” topic, both as a blogger in general, and for a particular post, “Why I Would Rather Find The Funny Than The Meaning Of Life.”

      I would say I was humbled, but that was the title of a recent Discover piece that cracked me up, so…no humbleness here.

      Like

      • That’s where men would disagree. For some (many?) men, sex can be little more than that. A purely physical release without a moment’s thought of after. I think it’s biological. We pass it on to our sons. You’re welcome!

        It looks like they throw up more Discover posts than they did Fresh Pressed. Am I imagining that? It’s a rebranding of the same idea. I was thinking of putting the Discover logo in my sidebar under the assumption they’d catch up with my brilliance sooner or later.

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          It looks like they have a lot more topic categories than when they did Recommended, but quite a few less blogs in each. They used to have 40 in Humor and they started out with only something like 12.

          Near as I can tell, they put up individual posts in their Editors’ Picks/Features sections, and when they do, those posts also get listed on the specific category. So before the Recommended blogs stayed the same, for the most part, and FP posts were ever-changing, now all the balls are in motion.

          Or something like that- hell, I don’t know.

          Like

          • Thank you for “clarifying.” Can you ‘splain something else for me? How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from falling down? How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go ’round? Please be prompt and succinct.

            Like

            • pegoleg says:

              la la la la…la la la la….la la la la la, la la la.

              I can’t ‘splain that, but I DO know why a loser can never win. It’s because a loser is, by definition, a person who does not win. If they did, they would have to be called a winner.

              You’re welcome.

              Like

        • I’m keeping my Freshly Pressed badge dammit until they force me to take it down.

          Like

  14. I love how so many of the comments offer upbeat optimistic alternative reasons for Romeo’s cart contents.That warms my heart, seeing that people haven’t lost their sense of humour.
    Great post, and I feel your pain about the corkscrew. I carry one in my toiletries kit – or I did until they took it at airport security, saying the 1 inch blade was dangerous (but the Bic pen in my purse was fine.) Such is the state of the world.

    Like

  15. Maybe he was using the Hamburger Helper to curb his appetite so as not to ravenously scarf down his meal once he and his date made it to the fancy restaurant. Or, maybe he planned on crushing up the Plan B pills, sprinkling them into his date’s serving of Hamburger Helper, and then later that night only pretend to put on a condom before the deed…..

    Like

  16. k8edid says:

    Once my first husband (God rest his soul) tried the suave move of putting his arm around me in the car, which if I remember, was parked somewhere off the beaten path, It was snowing to beat the band and I guess, maybe, we were trying to keep warm. Yeah, that was what we were doing. Anyway, in the course of executing his move, he smashed his elbow into my nose. I had a terrible nosebleed all over my clothing, his clothing, the car’s upholstery and even the snow was spattered with crimson. He had quite a time explaining my my injury to my parents.

    And Hamburger Helper…turns my husband on like you would not believe.

    I teach high schoolers, and some of their dating stories are eye-openers. And sometimes heartbreaking.

    I am too busy trying to find my coupons, discount cards and wallet to find digging through my debit card – to really check out anybody else’s cart. But I’m going to start.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Ha! Leaving blood spatter all over the place does qualify as a crappy date in my book.

      Hmmm.. maybe I’m going to have to rethink my position vis a vis Hamburger Helper. My hubby would probably welcome a little change of pace.

      Do your high schoolers actually tell you stuff about their dating life? You must have earned their trust. I bet some of it is heartbreaking. Underneath the obvious humor in this young man’s selections, we were rather dismayed.

      Like

      • k8edid says:

        Actually, they do. In a world where erectile dysfunction and painful intercourse commercials are blaring on TV…seems there are no topics off limits. Some students tell me things I don’t want to know and ask me questions they don’t want to ask their parents. I teach anatomy and all body parts and functions are discussed…sets the stage for some strange discussions. And they do trust me, for some unknown reason…

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  17. I never had a date ( I guess) I mean real one like I saw in the movies. I eat out with husbands (yes plural) but I don’t see it as dates. Is picnicking in the park a date? Or walking around the city and eating a snack after a date? If someone row a boat four hours one way and four hours back and stayed in an abandoned lighthouse in the middle of an ocean and caught by a thunderstorm and had to find refuge in the nearest island in the dark, is it consider a date even though it was my own idea?

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  18. I do like to invent background stories for the other people in line based on their purchases. A lot of times I look at a cart and think, ‘You must have a much better evening planned than I have.’

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  19. I’ve never had a horrible date, but I do remember a guy wanting in the sack after 2 dinner dates- and I barely knew him. When I declined his advances, that was the end of that. Maybe if there had been some chemistry he might have had a chance, but…

    If you ever find yourself in the same predicament, and if you’re very desperate, you can try this –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c0hSGDtIqQ

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I remember a guy wanting the same thing after work. He was my manager at a temp job when I was almost 18. We were supposed to go for a picnic at the beach but he wanted to stop at his place first to change. He comes out of the bedroom wearing just a towel and a smirk and I said, “Um, no.”

      The picnic ended up being us eating cheese and crackers on a blanket spread on the ground in the empty lot behind his apartment. That was the end of that budding relationship.

      Turns out he was married, in addition to being cheap and presumptuous.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Being on the road a lot, I’ve become a master at removing a cork from a wine bottle with my car keys. Takes a little effort and occasionally the cork ends up inside the bottle… oh well. On the “other subject” its been a long time since I’ve had to purchase anything in that arena so I’ll just say I hope the guy had a pleasant evening!

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    • pegoleg says:

      The other times I’ve relied on the hotel front desk I have not been disappointed. I’d get a corkscrew key ring if I traveled more.

      I kind of hope the guy didn’t have any luck. He was awfully young for such tomfoolery.

      Like

  21. Little Voice says:

    Love this one…and am reblogging. Just toooooo funny.

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  22. Little Voice says:

    Reblogged this on that little voice and commented:
    If this doesn’t brighten your day, it must be night time. Peg is just too funny, and this one is priceless! Visit her blog and read all of her delightful postings at https://pegoleg.com/2016/01/13/show-the-girl-a-good-time/#comment-58587

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  23. Pingback: Show The Girl A Good Time – that little voice

  24. I think the guy was buying the condoms because he didn’t have them the night before, hence the need for Plan B the next day. That’s my imaginary story, anyway!

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  25. dorannrule says:

    Hilarious! I love your description of the Man of Mystery’s cart contents and all the snickering. Romeo might have been putting on a show to impress people behind him?

    Like

  26. Dana says:

    You totally eat the Hamburger Helper before the date! Then your date can order whatever at the expensive restaurant, and you just have soup. Ya gotta save money where you can, ’cause you’re not skimping on the protection!

    Like

  27. Al says:

    From the male perspective, I think you’re coming down pretty hard on the poor fellow. First of all, what lady doesn’t swoon over a meal of hamburger helper? Then, the “coup de grace”. Knowing that he has “sealed the deal” with dinner, he is considerate enough to offer her a choice contraception methods. And they say there’s no hope for today’s young men.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. amanpan says:

    Hilarious read and I guess we will all wonder why he was buying the 3 items.

    Like

  29. Well, this wasn’t a dating story – but along the same vein.

    I went to Walmart (don’t judge…) to get some feminine sanitary needs. While I was there, I looked over their underwear selection, and picked up some of their bargain thongs (at a buck a pop, if they didn’t work out, so what…). I also had to pick up something else crotch-related (I can’t, for the life of me, remember what?) and finished out the purchase with a couple of candles and a slim jim.

    The register I went to had this tall, scrawny young man running it. His mannerisms and body language suggested he’s a very shy individual – his eyes flicked everywhere, he was very soft spoken and hesitated/stammered quite a bit as he fidgeted behind the register. The poor dear turned beet red at the thongs, got redder at the tampons, and I though his head was gonna explode after the third. I remember walking out with my bags, and thinking – “If I’d have put one more crotch-related thing on that belt, I’d probably have given the poor kid a heart attack.”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That poor kid! I remember my first job as a cashier in a drug store when I was 16. I don’t think I knew what half the stuff people were buying was for, but that was mainly things like urinary incontinence, nothing sexy.

      I sense a new ad campaign for Walmart: “Walmart, for all your crotch-related needs.”

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Well, good god this was funny! This post has so much to comment on. Let’s see…
    Once I smashed open a beer bottle on the side of a hotel desk, leaving a huge gash. I thought of using my teeth but thankfully I wasn’t that drunk yet. (Hey, I was somewhere in Montana and desperate.)
    Looking in carts is a pastime of mine. My favorites are the little old ladies with nothing but a big bottle of Jack Daniels, and a carton of Ben and Jerry’s. Oh, wait, that was my cart.
    And condoms? Well, I’ve bought those before and had no shame when the clerk rang me up. Yeah, I’m having the sex. Deal with it. Must be the brash Mainer in me. But I would never be caught dead buying Hamburger Helper, the horror!
    As for bad dates? oh my lord, I’d be here all day so I won’t bore you with the details.
    Thanks for the giggles today. Have a good weekend, Peg-o-leg-o! 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Jezzem crow, you Mainers are a brash lot. Admitting you have the sex right there in front of God, the clerk and everyone!

      Have a great weekend yourself, my dear.

      Like

  31. After I wiped the tears from my eyes from laughing I realized this post leaves me with a disturbing question. Why didn’t he buy any hamburger? Does this overconfident wooer of Juliet think he has enough meat to satisfy her without adding any to the Hamburger Helper?

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Sandy Sue says:

    This is so cosmic, I’m agog. The theater I like, with the stadium seating, just upped their ticket prices AGAIN, and I was kvetching to the poor popcorn-scoopers about where in the world were kids supposed to go on dates now that it costs $40 to see a movie? I was heartsick. But, NOW I see that all my flailing was terribly old fashioned. Of *course* the dating crowd watches “Frozen” with a nice homemade dinner and pharmaceuticals!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: Show The Girl A Good Time – Ninasusan

  34. Oh man, I am speechless. What a combination of items in his basket! How did you not crack up out loud? We all revert back to our Junior High days when it comes to anything having to do with sex. Nothing better than hanging out with a girlfriend drinking, laughing and being silly! 😉

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I didn’t want to embarrass the lad. Although someone gutsy enough to even buy that stuff without wearing a full body costume is probably incapable of embarrassment.

      Like

  35. High standards for protection, but the meal well this is not going far. However did you prevent yourself from bursting into out loud laughter?

    Like

  36. I’m usually too busy getting amused/embarrassed about my own purchases to notice anyone else’s! But I do have a crappy date story for you. The guy and I agreed to get snow cones for our date, which I was honestly fine with – I’m a cheap date. But when we went to the snow cone stand, he didn’t buy one for himself, and didn’t want to sit outside so I could eat mine. So we got back in his car, and he said he was hungry for “real food” but was out of cash, so I rode along as he drove first to the bank, and then to a fast-food chicken place, where he ordered food only for himself. Then he ran a couple more errands before dropping me off back at home. It was all really weird! Having someone make me goulash for a date would have been way more romantic in comparison.

    Like

  37. hiro812 says:

    Hilarious read and I guess we will all wonder why he was buying the 3 items.

    Like

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