A GWLBWLB night before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas and all through New York City there were scores of singles reaching out via text, email, Facebook, or the old-fashioned phone call, making plans for the evening. My girl Cherri’s family was scattered across the country so she relied on her friends for company and a stiff drink celebrating the birth of Christ. I wanted to stay in and brace myself for the onslaught of family, but met her anyway. The whole BGF thing isn’t some television gimmick.

We met at a dive bar in the East Village not known for its esprit des corps. Luckily, whiskey knows no boundaries and you’ll find a bottle everywhere. We drank, tuned the world out and turned ourselves up. Cherri quit the dating scene a while ago. She likes her burgers rare, her men hardboiled, and her Maker’s on the rocks. In an age where straight guys are more concerned with purchasing the right hair product than holding a door open for a woman, Cherri was adrift at sea. Apparently young straight guys still want the world, without all the responsibility.

I sipped my Jameson neat and stared at her bare arms saddled up at the bar—FYI, girls in puffy parkas wearing only tank tops underneath are sexy. After two rounds we hit a groove, our limbs became part of the texture in the room and we judged the new faces entering the place. With a couple tattoos and a menacing wit that can embarrass anyone that describes themselves as Ivy educated on a dating website, it’s hard to find a man not intimidated by Cherri.

Cue Ziggy, the bartender from down-under, topping off everyone’s drinks. He bought back our third round and offered shots. Rather, he talked to me, gestured to me, but stared at my girl. Ziggy was tall, shaggy, and skinny with an irrepressible smile and moved here to live life; he’s the kind of man that wore white undershirts outdoors, and didn’t get why some consider him half dressed. He asked about Cherri’s tattoos, I told them I needed to hit the loo and blatantly killed time as they discovered their mutual infatuation with Dashiell Hammett. Cut to more shots.

Christmas morning I woke up on the floor, next to my bed still dressed, late for my family. Cherri was unreachable for two days. She and Ziggy ended up dating for about three years, exchanging ‘I love yous’, traveling to Russia (I got a magnet), and eventually parting ways. She probably wouldn’t have gone out that night if I said no, but you don’t ignore your best gal in need, and ELF is amazing when you’re hungover. Their relationship didn’t last, but the experience did. It gave Cherri hope for meeting someone right for her again, like an emotional stocking stuffer. Getting a little action along the way didn’t hurt, either. And now, she owes me one.

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