"You steal men's souls, don't you?"
Foe those of you who are not female and who have not gone out with a girlfriend, you might not believe it, but that's the kind of thing guys say to strangers in bars.
And not even at meat market bars, but at tasteful places like Lemaire.
A girlfriend and I decided to meet there for Discovery Wine Wednesdays, the great deal they offer on wine for $15 a bottle.
I arrived first and found a stool safely out of TV range (a male friend recently pointed out to me that Lemaire is a great sports bar because of all the TVs; sad, but true) and at the end with a view of everyone.
My tardy friend arrived and we chose to discover the Valminor Albarino Rias Baixas for our poison.
Actually it was quite nice with a fruity nose and strong minerality.
Around us, the bar was filling up with visitors, hotel guests and locals.
We ignored them all, comfortable in our own little bubble discussing plans for her out-of-town boyfriend's upcoming visit.
Our affable bartender suggested we take advantage of the bar deal offering any three appetizers for $20 until 7:00.
Given that we were already drinking on the cheap, why not avail ourselves of some well-priced food as well?
We ordered the slow-braised BBQ pork quesadillas, the P.E.I. mussels with Jim Kite's country ham and the chilled Laughing Bird shrimp salad with Belgian endive.
Although the mussels had a different broth than stated on the menu, it was delicious and totally soppable, so what did we care about specifics?
Or maybe that makes us mussel whores. Please don't judge.
Not long after we finished eating, a guy asked if he could take the stool next to us.
He looked normal enough, so we agreed. It's not like we were stewards of the stools anyway.
He was in town because of the "Lincoln" filming or so he said.
On the other hand, his business card was a piece of 35 mm film with his information on it, so it seemed plausible.
And what a character he turned out to be! He began by saying he always sits down next to the most beautiful woman at a bar.
Not to worry; I laughed out loud at him when he said that.
He was definitely a tale-teller.
We heard of his Los Angeles exploits, his days courting sirens and his current and very kind wife ("She's in love with another woman. And with her mother.").
He told us of being sued in absentia after being rear-ended at a yield sign. His lawyer wanted to fire him as a client.
He talked about tantric sex and told me I was capable of unconditional love.
He said he'd come over to join us after spotting a hair on my chest, a hair which he removed and then placed in his wallet after singeing it on the candle.
When we went to leave, he walked out with us and hugged me before asking me (a stranger for all intents and purposes) for a kiss.
I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to.
And I don't want to. Non-fiction is a much better read than any fiction I could concoct.