Sunday, March 11, 2018

Away in a Motel

People are going to talk.

For the second night in a row, my dance card was identical to that of the night before: dinner and a play with a good friend's man. Same old same old.

I kid, but where else am I going to get a man for an evening out? Fortunately, Pru doesn't mind lending him out on occasion and this well-reviewed play had piqued both our interests, but not hers.

We began sating our curiosity at dinner at Rogue, the new incarnation of what was Rogue Gentlemen, but after pipes froze and burst in the apartment over the restaurant, causing flooding downstairs, it was time for a makeover. Not only did the place get a shortened moniker, but also a sleek new look that's lighter and more welcoming than the original.

Or perhaps I'm just more of a fan of mid-century modern than I was of Prohibition-era speakeasy decor. And for a change, I was glad my Google calendar-obsessed companion had made a reservation because there were no available seats at the bar, no doubt because of people wanting to experience the new bar stools with backs!

Rogue has gone comfortable and I like it.

I also like a wine list with champagne by the glass, meaning I sipped Lallier Grand Reserve Grand Cru whilst Beau sought something single malt and smoky (but not peat-y, he hastened to explain) because, unlike last night, he wanted nothing to do with fruity and sweet.

Periodically, aromatic clouds from his brown liquor drifted my way.

Both Beau and I are big fans of small plates, so Rogue's new all small plate menu suited us to a "T." Charred carrots, red and golden beets with chevre and pumpkin ravioli with sausage wowed us with nuance, bright flavors and standout seasonality.

While we ate, people kept arriving and those without reservations were given the option of hanging around in hopes of bar stools being vacated. One trio of guys cooled their heels for nearly an hour with not a stool in sight before giving up and going who-knows-where.

Beau was the perfect dinner companion, telling me with all sincerity that he can't for the life of him understand why I am single. His only theory was that I'm daunting to approach, a theory I reject because anyone who sees me is likely going to see me smiling and laughing and that overrides the daunting issue. Subject closed.

Come dessert time, our server  explained that we could expect deconstructed takes on classic sweets. Beau thought his deconstructed carrot cake - complete with shavings of fresh carrots - took first place, but my deconstructed chocolate cheesecake gave it a run for its money. It's not often you get desserts that are both clever and swoon-worthy.

We digested while watching Richmond Triangle Players' production of "Corpus Christi," an updated take on the life of Joshua, aka Jesus, that re-imagines him and a couple of his apostles as gay men.

Before the play began, I admitted to Beau that most of my knowledge of religious stories was gleaned from art history, not from church-going. He, on the other hand, had one of those crazy Christian upbringings where everything was about religion (or at least the organized version of it).

We were a pair, alright.

Even so, both of us were sucked into the narrative, from Joshua's non-traditional birth through his difficult years at Pontius Pilate High School to his dramatically-lit crucifixion as king of the queers. Along the way, the cast of 13 men had scads of opportunities to play drag female roles to perfection.

For a heathen like me, it was a much more compelling story than the tired version long foisted on believers, which is why it was completely gratifying to see online that there were protesters, albeit a small, motley group, marching outside the theater Sunday.

Get over yourselves. It's a play.

Despite having borrowed her man for the evening, Pru welcomed us into the manse once the play was over. Once we'd given her the full scoop - restaurant menu and renovation, thoughts on the play - she got down to business: my lack of a love life.

The problem, she told me, is that I'm not flirtatious when I go out and she says she's been out with me enough times to know that's been the case for years. Claims I send out a "do not try anything with me because I'm not interested" vibe in spades.

After reminding her that I had a boyfriend for 4 of the 8 years she's known me, she reminded me that I was still terrible at it during the 4 years I was available. I didn't have a good argument for that.

Considering the three of us had seen each other the night before, we found enough new to talk about to keep us going until nearly 2 a.m. and fortunately for me, I was only the topic of discussion for part of it. I know, I know, they only care because they love me.

Still, you hate to get crucified by friends.

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