I Had Reservations

There are more frightening words in the universe but I know of few that will strike your average man’s soul to dust quicker than ‘reservation’ and ‘wine glass.’ I know you could argue the point but you would, of course, be wrong. It’s not that you, the average man or the average man owner, don’t love both fine dining reservations and the occasional wine in a proper wine glass, it’s just that I’m the one writing this so that, of course, makes your opinion in this matter wrong.

There is only one more word that makes those above phrases more chilling. And that is the word ‘paint’ as in, “I’ve made ‘reservations’ for all of us to go to a fun evening where we’ll each ‘paint’ a lovely little ‘wine glass.'”

You may recall last year my girlfriends daughter, trying to make gift giving during Christmas time more fun, decided to get four tickets to an improv comedy show. If you don’t remember you can click here but, if you’re wise, you’ll just listen to me tell you that I have been in an enclosed room of tile and glass when a starters pistol went off and didn’t have as bad a headache as when witnessing the art that is improv comedy that night.

Now I know most of you reading this do not know me. You may read the occasional screed but you don’t know my personage. Let me clue you in on something, I’m not a wine glass painting kind of guy. There, I’ve said it. My hands have been broken and battered so often I have trouble holding a pen when I’m trying to jot down my terribly cleaver jokes. Clever, I mean terribly clever jokes (don’t worry, I didn’t go through the trouble of jotting that one down). So I’m thinking holding a dainty paint brush while downing copious bottles of beer isn’t going to manifest itself into a fine work of art.

By the time I’m done it may not even be a usable wine glass.

I don’t know if you are aware of this blatant cry for help from bars and restaurants to bring in customers called ‘Paint Night’ but it is abhorrent (think quieter karaoke). It is an evening when groups of people fill a room and, throwing all past knowledge away, think they can make an artistic statement on canvas (or, in our case, glass). I had the misfortune of stumbling into a restaurant that had one of these evenings going on some time back. All I’ll publicly say is about paint night is that it’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever fucking heard of.

A roomful of tippling women following the direction of a ‘C’ level artist (who also happens to be a ‘D’ level comedian) trying to lead them into the formation of what may have been intended to be trees but only lead to some fairly frightening Rorschach tests. And yes, I did say women because, a quick survey of the room by yours truly noted one guy among the flock.

So the three of us (myself, girlfriend, and her mother) less than cheerfully (I’m only speaking for myself here. I didn’t make eye contact with the others for fear of them knowing I was at the point of bolting at any second) made the trek to meet the daughter at the location. I’ve gone to funerals with more pep in my step.

People, excuse me, women were gleefully chattering, holding aloft fun and colorful drink concoctions and gathering their glass canvas for an evening of convivial frivolity and all around good cheer. And you know nothing angers me more than convivial frivolity and all around good cheer.

We’re told by the equally cheerful leader (I’m getting a headache) to take our seats. Unfortunately, although I asked politely, my seat was not allowed to be in the car. I had to put on my happy face, damn it, and gut out the horror like a man. At least that’s what I was told on many occasions by my lovely girlfriend when my facial expression (and, honestly, guttural mutterings) didn’t quiet fit the ambiance in the room.

Because the waitstaff was slow I had time between beers to look around. I watched this one woman take it upon herself to help her friend (I knew that because I heard her say, “No, not like that. Here, let me help you.”). Once the paint speckled wine glass was ferried from her control, instead of a happy, I’m getting helped expression, she took on an expression of one who is being over taken.

It must happen to women in this group often because, before she could grab her glass back and crack it over the pushy woman’s head (just the way I would have liked to have seen it work out), the woman to her right whispered something in her ear that caused her to lean back, cross arms, and wait to get on with further convivial frivolity and all around good cheer.

I watched women intently painting their glass. I mean, concentrating as hard as a layman giving a tracheotomy to a stranger on a street corner with only the top of a cat food can and bic pen as tools. I’ve watched people create all kinds of things (I’m actually creating this right now) but the level of intensity here belies the camaraderie of earlier.

It has become a time when you find out that Cindy couldn’t paint a flower if you left her with only the stem. And although Sara starts out pretty good after her third or fourth alien green drink her art falls apart. Then you watch the one woman, the one who convinced everyone this would be fun, apply paint as if she was born with a wine glass in her hand. Her glass is tasteful, elegant and, this is most important to her, is receiving praise and little snippets of jealousy from her friends due to her creation. Just as she wanted it. Her evening is perfect.

Face the facts, no one is ever going to drink out of their stupid wine glass (fewer, I’d have to assume, would want their hideous painting hanging in their home). Most are only doing this because the group is doing it but, not so deep down, they know whatever they create is going to be utter shit and everyone is going to know it. Which is why paint night in a bar is the equivalent of a pissing contest between guys.

“Your glass looks like something Dexter would have dumped in the ocean.”

“The best that can be said about your glass is it should shatter before the outside world is exposed to it.”

As the evening moved mercifully on more and more glasses did mysteriously tip over and crack or make it all the way to the floor erasing all evidence. And the women this ‘accident’ happened to seemed lighter. Some of their earlier convivial frivolity and all around good cheer came back because they knew, although they wasted an evening doing the stupidest thing you could do in a bar, they now get to go home.

Glass less.


2 responses to “I Had Reservations

  1. You’ve once again outdone yourself.

  2. That concept disturbs me. Karaoke has been around long enough (and mocked long enough) that some can actually participate in the spirit of fun rather than competition. But “paint night” can’t help but be intensely competitive, hence the level of concentration. Perhaps the day will come when “paint night” will become a lighthearted mocking of the effort and breaking of the wine glasses.

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