Tuesday, February 28, 2006

South African Schmo, Molly Jean, and the night I was 'discovered'...

Apparently the finale of Joe Shmo was a big hit in South Africa. Reading this article reminded me of the night my Schmo adventure began and a piece I wrote shortly after the experience. For an even more detailed version of events click here.

February 10th 2004

It is Saturday night in Washington DC and I am so tired that I doubt I can pull it together to rally for one more night. But Molly Jean is visiting, it’s important to me that I show her a ‘good time’ and hold up the false pretense that every Saturday night I am out dancing on tables and picking up undergrads.

It’s much more exciting than the reality that most Saturday’s lately will find me masking a broken heart and working the double shift at the neighborhood cocktail lounge. It’s much more glamorous than the fact that I am 30 years old with a Master’s degree and still waiting tables, three months out of a failed near engagement which I sabotaged like all the rest.

Molly is also tired. Even though I haven’t seen her in five years, ten years of friendship means that I can tell. I wonder how long we will both be able to keep up the pretense that we are still 23.

Molly moves from the couch, her long delicate legs dragging over the wood floors in my studio apartment. Her height makes her tower over me in photos, her beauty and features are delicate and womanly and make me look fourteen. Tonight, she gracefully removes the stylish reading glasses from her chiseled nose and steps effortlessly into a pair of tight jeans. She stands in front of the mirror and throws her head of long auburn hair, recently straightened with a flat iron, over her shoulder.

“I’m ready whenever you are." And she sits back down on my suede chocolate couch with her recent release paperback book.

My neighbor and his best friend arrive and instantly begin ogling Molly. I’m accustomed to the attention she attracts. She takes of her glasses and begins to hatch under the heat of their stares. She is oblivious to her charms. She laughs at all their jokes.

We head laughing into the DC February night.

At the bar, I watch the guys throw back cocktails, weave between flirtatious glances, hand out phone numbers, and act interested in conversation that is impossible to hear over the furious pump of loud rap tunes. Molly and I dance and disappear for a moment into a time when we wore tiny cocktail dresses, moved with bodies that were thinner and tighter and acted without fear of what other people thought about us.

We leave Ouzo’s and round the corner of Connecticut onto 18th. I think the two women on the corner are handing out flyers for an after hours party but they are production assistants looking for willing men and women to try out for a new reality TV series they claim will be on MTV.

“Single? Do you want to find love on a reality TV show for MTV?”

I let out a snicker over my shoulder as I step around her and continue walking down the street. Perhaps the better question is, ‘are any of us looking for it?’ Recently escaped from a serious relationship, I’m avoiding deep connections with the opposite sex like making eye contact with the homeless asking for change on the subway.

“You can make $10,000 dollars!” She hollers after us.

“It will only take five minutes.”

I can hear her feet on the pavement behind me.

Still trying to impress Molly with my ballsiness, I swing around and decide to play.

Suddenly there is a large camera in my face and a microphone looming over my head. This woman begins asking me personal questions ranging from how often me and my previous boyfriend engaged in oral sex to my feelings regarding the war in Afghanistan.

I’m frightened by the camera and the large black microphone. A freakish quiver comes uncontrollably over my lower lip. Unwilling to let my friends down, or lose a great story to tell at brunch in the morning, I bite down and try not to pass out in fear.

I focus on Molly, standing behind the camera. I use her unwavering confidence in my humor and sassiness to distract me from my fear of looking like an asshole. I must be ok, because through the fog, I can hear her laughter.

I have no idea what’s coming out of my mouth.

But soon it is done and Molly and I are blocks away laughing until we can’t breathe, skipping down 18th street wrapped up in the warmth of our new memory.

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posted by Pop Culture Casualty @ 2/28/2006 05:30:00 AM |


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