Last night I went to a swing club with a stranger. I know, you’re probably thinking “WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?!” Obviously it was going to be a win-win situation; regardless of how good or bad, disastrous or hilarious the date turned out to be, it would definitely make good blog fodder! And though it wasn’t quite what I expected, it was, indeed, excellent fodder! Dear readers, I give you: Almost the Worst Date Ever!
A bunch of friends and I had been drinking at my apartment for hours, so I was properly prepped when I met “Greg” at a bar a few blocks away. Three of those friends were sitting a few feet from me, my back-up plan if “Greg” was a no-show. He was 15 minutes late, but he did show. And after I slugged back my Stella, we caught a cab uptown to Checkmate.
I bet you think I’ve been to every swing club in the city dozens of times but, in fact, I haven’t. Why pay exorbitant prices to watch strangers screw when you can produce your own orgy and hand-pick the players? So, no, I’d never been to Checkmate. As we hopped out of the cab, scanning buildings for the street address, the Lips doorman took one look at us and asked, “You looking for Checkmate?” Geez, were we that obvious? “Downstairs,” he said, pointing to an anonymous business-ish door. We rode the elevator down and “Greg” paid the $90 cover for himself; apparently women are always free.
The little lobby was bright white, festooned with pastel-colored balloons. As we pushed through the door into the club, a brightly-lit room, all white, white Formica bar, white upholstered couches with hot pink flower throw pillows and a stripper pole surrounded by a pink and white splattered dance floor, the Easter motif continued. The ceiling was thick with the pastel balloons, polka dot paper lanterns and festively curled ribbons. I’m a sucker for a theme but it felt oddly like a baby shower. Or children’s birthday party. With a bit of Russian mobster vibe to it.
I checked my coat while “Greg” gave the barmaid “my” bottle of vodka. He ordered a Diet Coke, warning me ominously, “You don’t want to see me drunk.” Good thing I was already drunk! Looking around, I made a wisecrack about the furnishings. Supposedly they redecorate often. How about immediately? Beyond being blindingly white, there were no other guests to blunt the glare. Yup, “Greg” and I were the only two people in the place.
My date had seated himself a barstool away from me, perhaps to better appreciate my beauty, telling me I was “pretty” and “sexy.” I asked if he’d mind if I moved closer. Since I had warned him in our preliminary emails that the chances of us having sex were absolutely zero, he wasn’t expecting anything, but I thought it might be nice if he were close enough to actually hear my witty repartee.
DJ Batcho (rhymes with macho…and nacho) was spinning some real chestnuts. “Greg” seemed to think he was the best DJ in the world. Oy. Evidently “Greg” is a swing club regular, frequenting not only Checkmate but Le Trapeze and Carousel, mostly back when he was married. I was a little surprised to hear that “Greg” was divorced. Guess I’d missed the “single” on his profile and assumed he was “attached” like just about every other guy on Ashley Madison.
Small talk was strained and sporadic. Not that I had much to say. There wasn’t any chemistry. My date didn’t seem too interested in chatting beyond his desultory flattery. I had more conversation with the sexy 22-year-old Russian barmaid. An hour into the evening there were only three or four more couples. I felt like I was in some special sort of frustrated sex maniac’s hell.
When I told “Greg” I wasn’t sure I could take much more of the excitement, he said if I left he’d have to leave too, so I stuck it out a while longer. I’d had about five vodka crans — on top of the six-pack or so I’d had at home — so I was feelin’ pretty sauced. But eventually even the Easter candy couldn’t hold me and I really had to get out of there, so I grabbed my coat and slipped out the door, jumping into the elevator before “Greg” caught up with me. I hailed a cab as quickly as I could and disappeared into the night. By the time I beat my hasty retreat, there were less than 20 guests in the club and no one had even been making out, much less stripped down or started screwing. Sigh. I guess Good Friday isn’t a big night for swinging. It was huge disappointment.
Perhaps the most hilarious part of the story is that “Greg” emailed me to see if I’d like to go to another swing club with him! WTF?