An Awkward Conversation with Leo

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All day long I’d been hearing about Dicey’s – not directly as I would have liked, but instead from a distance, from the next room or from someone who would assume that I’d (of course) heard about Dicey’s already, as seemingly everyone else on the planet had.

“Going to Dicey’s tonight?” a big German guy asked me when we found ourselves brushing our teeth next to each other. “Two Euro beers, I heard.”

“Yeah,” I said, bitter that this was the second or third time I’d been sort-of-invited by someone who was invited by someone else. Never by the organizer, whoever that mystery man was, that cool-ass mofo, emphasis on ‘fo’ as opposed to ‘friend.’ “I’ll probably go. Sounds fun.”

“What time are you going to head down?”

I had no idea. I brushed my gums so hard I spit out blood, angrily. I didn’t even know where Dicey’s was located. It was the place to be, decided by someone who knew where the hell it was and what time to go. Who did the tall German guy think he was talking to? He had mistaken me for being someone in the loop, a member of the in group, someone who gets the secret notes from the President that the inconsequential masses aren’t privy to. In other words, his level of judgment was completely off.

What was I supposed to do? Confess? Say, “Actually, nobody has directly invited me yet, and thus I have no idea what’s going on. Although I’d desperately like to be invited, so if you could pass that along, it would be appreciated.”

Of course not. I said I wasn’t sure what time everyone was going, spit out more blood, and changed topics by asking the guy lots and lots of questions about Germany, nodding to indicate that I was pretending to listen to the answers.

*

On the way down to Dicey’s, I met Leo and Rachel. Leo was from Germany (it’s a coincidence; don’t think everyone backpacking in Dublin is from Germany) (they’re actually all from Brazil and cook delicious pork dinners out on the hostel balcony) and Rachel was American. There was a whole group of people from our hostel walking down the dark streets in a quest for two-Euro-beers; I still hadn’t technically been invited, but due to the enormous number of people I was able to latch on without looking too suspicious. During this long march, I learned that Leo and Rachel were close friends and were traveling together. At this point, I should probably mention something about their looks. I’m sure that’s what you’ve been wondering (if you’re male, at least). Let’s start with Leo…it isn’t that she was bad looking – she wasn’t – she was just, well, very clearly inferior to her friend Rachel, who was ridiculously good looking. And that is what would lead to the trouble later on.

Poor Leo. I could relate. I’m the type of person that knows where he stands; that won’t talk to someone of the opposite sex if she’s too good looking; that has to believe in the notion of ‘types,’ as in maybe, by the luck of the Gods, some girl will be more interested in my messy ass than a guy who is traditionally attractive and has things like muscles and a strong jaw-line and more than two pairs of jeans (we sure rely on this notion of types heavily, don’t we?; “Well, I know I’m not Pet Sounds or Revolver or Songs in the Key of Life…but maybe this person is more into Floored by Sugar Ray”) (I can be Floored by Sugar Ray); when I make a male friend, I ask myself if, should the situation occur where we’re going for the same girl, there would be any chance that she would choose me (and, if I feel she would go with my friend, I secretly start looking at him with jealous animosity). So, although it didn’t dawn on me yet, I felt for Leo. It’s never much fun to be the lesser of two friends, the buddy in the cop movie, the Supreme that isn’t Diana Ross, the Golden Girl that isn’t Blanche (y’all know what I’m saying).

When we finally got to the bar, I found myself drinking with an Irish musician named Kiernan. As I believe I mentioned earlier, a beer cost two Euro, and a deal like that can only end in chain smoking and liver damage. The night wore on and, at some point after midnight, we looked over to see a very sad scene. There was Rachel in the midst of what appeared to be a brilliant conversation with some big muscle guy, and while this happened, poor Leo stood there by herself, her back turned towards them, watching the band, swaying oddly to the music as though she wanted to dance but had forgotten how to.

“Esh,” Kiernan said, “look at that, will ya?”

“That’s really uncomfortable, isn’t it?” I said. “When you go out with your friend and he hooks up, and you have to stand there alone and pretend that you’re having a good time.”

“It’s the worst. You’re searching around the bar desperately for somebody to talk to, and you can’t get in on the conversation with your mate and the girl, because then you’d be cock blocking.”

“Exactly,” I said, shaking my head, watching Leo purposely-not-watch Rachel getting macked on. “I’m gonna go over there and talk to her. We can’t let her suffer like that.”

I suppose I did all that I could. I went over to Leo and did my best to help. Problem was, I had absolutely nothing to say to her. I racked my brain fruitlessly, searching for some possible topic of discussion. It had gone blank; I had cracked under the pressure. All I came up with was, “So, you’re from Germany…”

“Yes…”

“That’s cool…been in Dublin long…have you seen The Book of Kells?”

It was hopeless. I went back over to Kiernan and drank more. When the time came to go back to the hostel, Rachel was missing.

“Where’s Rachel?” Leo asked frantically. “Has anyone seen Rachel?”

“I think she left with some bloke,” Kiernan (unhelpfully) chimed in.

“WHAT??? Who? Where are they? We have to find her!!!”

I scratched my head and checked my gums for bleeding. “Anyone want another beer while we look for her?”

Then Rachel, the elusive one, reappeared. Not two seconds later, some new guy came walking over, offering her a drink. Kiernan shook his head.

“It must be hell being a girl,” he said to me. “They never, ever, get left alone.”

Or, when they did, like Leo, it was even worse. I nodded in agreement. We were lucky, really, that no girls came up to talk to us, and the beer was cheap.

*

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19 thoughts on “An Awkward Conversation with Leo

  1. You’ve not brushed well enough if you aren’t bleeding from your gums—story of my life. But, that’s beside the point. I feel for Leo too. I remember I had a friend who was my Leo when my boyfriend was trying to get my attention. He later filled me in on this theory about chaperones: they are there just to make the girl look eye-candier than she probably is, purely by comparison. I am sure Leo will find her Leo too. But, it’s never easy being the Leo!

    • Haha – Nicely put Aparna. Yeah, I would think jealously would eventually creep in, but these two seemed like really good friends, so that’s cool. I couldn’t do it – too self-conscious. And like I said, the Leo girl was cute and wasn’t bad at all. She’ll do fine for herself, I’m sure.

      Keep brushing those teeth, girl! And tell your boyfriend that you don’t need some chaperone to make you look ‘eye candier’. Nothing can be more eye candy than a beautiful girl with bleeding gums. : )

  2. Most of us have been a Leo at some point in our lives. My college roomate and best buddy was a Rachel, as was my younger brother. Fortunately, my lack of good looks resulted in my developing coping mechanisms, personality and to a lesser extent liver damage, but that may have happened regardless.

    • Haha – Yeah, if I was a big handsome dude, I’d never have to drink or go to therapy or try to be funny. I would be the laziest, most boring guy on earth. All I would do is pump weights and fix my hair. So, while that life would be glorious, maybe what we’ve got, 1 Point, is a little more interesting.

      • 1pointperspective

        I’ve got both the guys I mentioned beat in the muscles department, but they both have me on the incredibly handsome scale. Lucky for me, charm and personality don’t fade nearly as quickly as good looks, plus, bald is in this year.

  3. I’ve been the Leo, too. But sometimes the guy-Leos end up with Rachels, though. Just look at Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova. Yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of Cars lately.

    • That first Cars album is seriously excellent. Every track is great. It’s a classic!

      Now here’s the thing, though, which I should’ve said in the blog: Leo could have easily gone out on the dance floor and pulled a dude. That might seem a little desperate, albeit, but it would certainly be an option. I feel she showed excellent self-awareness and control. Good on her! : D

  4. Hey, if you’re the Leo, might as well get drunk and dance the night away with an imaginary partner. Or grab the drunkest looking guy/gal who can’t tell what you look like through beer goggles and and party on.

  5. Poor Leo. I think everyone has that more attractive friend, and as a result feels like the ugly duckling.

    Also, that’s why it sucks to go out in pairs. Three may be a crowd but at least there’s less chance at being the awkward loner in the club.

      • Oh my God, Set In Motion…I love juicy information like this. Please write a blog on it. I will ‘like’ and comment. Your reviews are always fun to read…but a good hook up story could be an excellent way to shake things up. It’s a pretty good idea I think.

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