It was a Sunday afternoon. I should have been relaxing, but I was far from calm and super nervous. When I get nervous, my stomach turns to knots and I get all jittery as if I’d drank a cup of coffee.
A week after meeting Ojitos, a guy who seemed too good to be true, I was just waiting for something to go wrong. The first time seeing him again seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring me back down from las nubes.
What if the connection I felt a week ago disappeared and our interaction was terribly awkward? What if he took a second look at me and realized that he had beer goggles? And what if it all felt wrong?
I dealt with my fears by getting ready. I consulted with Chispa and A, two of my best friends for perspectives from both a man and a woman.
“Where are you going?” Chispa asked.
“The Ice House in Pasadena. What should I wear to a comedy club? I’ve never been.”
“I think club clothes, jeans and a fancy top, heels. Show some skin,” Chispa suggested slyly.
A, a friend from school, was totally sweet when I expressed my fear that Ojitos might change his mind and no longer be interested. “You’re silly if you think he had beer goggles Saturday night.”
My friends tried their best, but I was still nervous. Still, it couldn’t be that bad. The comedy show outing would be safe since it was a group thing. Several people from the Saturday night party including the hostess and M, the mutual contact, would be there. I also invited L, a friend from school, to be my wingwoman and offer moral support if needed.
It would be okay. Right?
A few hours later, as I was waiting on the patio outside the Ice House, I was still nervous. As L and I talked to M, I kept looking around to see if Ojitos had arrived yet, but the only people I saw were the Saturday night party hostess and her crew.
Ten minutes later, I saw Ojitos walking in with a guy friend. Ojitos was dressed in jeans and a black James Brown t-shirt. He was still as good looking as I remembered him.
We greeted each other kindly, but something felt weird. I didn’t know what to say. My nerves were getting the better of me. I stopped talking to Ojitos and turned to L instead. I didn’t get much of an opportunity to ruin the night there because soon after he arrived the bouncers let us in to the crowded club. Ojitos and I shared a two-person seat in the dim club surrounded by our friends.
The show was great and my jitters disappeared — no doubt due to a few beers. Ojitos and I talked a little in between the comics. I felt comfortable enough to lean closer to him and blurt out what I was thinking, “you’re cute.”
“You’re cute,” he said without missing a beat. “We’re cute together.”
After the show, the group (minus L, she went home) decided to continue the party by heading over to McMurphy’s, a bar/club a few blocks away.
It was too hot and stuffy in the bar to dance, so we headed out to the back patio where it was nice and cool. Ojitos and I joined the rest of the group. I don’t know what we were talking about, but I must have seemed distracted because he noticed me bobbing my head to the music from inside the bar.
“Let’s go dance,” he suggested.
I followed him inside where we began dancing to hip hop and top 40 dance music I normally wouldn’t listen to (e.g., the Pussycat Dolls and Fergie). A fight broke out between a couple of girls near us, but the bouncers quickly got it under control. We continued dancing despite the insufferable heat.
The final moments that night are a bit fuzzy. I remember the songs playing in the background (Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” followed by Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine”), how he complimented my turquoise necklace and matching earrings, and how he held me as we danced to Guns N’ Roses. I remember how he cooled me down. And although I can’t remember the cutesy conversation before the kiss, I remember the kiss itself and how I didn’t care about my aversion to public displays of affection.
Looking back, I had no reason to be nervous. The evening was perfect and I was still swooning.