Dancing at the Tavern

The tavern was particularly crowded that night. Droves of friends and strangers pressed together around both bars, and many others huddled in one rippling mass outside around the puny, near-useless fire pits that were placed haphazardly throughout the patio area. The pool tables were mostly unoccupied, but every bit of space around them had been eaten up by people, young and old alike, who had come out that evening to drink, dance and socialize.

The room furthest back had been converted into a blinking, pulsating dance floor yet again as the first Saturday of the month came upon us. A projector had been set up and was peering out of the DJ booth, displaying that new Tucker & Dale Vs Evil movie on the blank, right-hand wall. It was widely ignored of course, especially considering the fact that you couldn't hear the audio. The music belched out of the overhanging speakers and pushed the dance floor's tenants into a frenzied, semi-rhythmic march into and around one-another; pushing and bumping, grinding into every warm, available body and denying every grounded piece of etiquette that tells you to keep yourself to yourself.

After consuming just enough alcohol to shed my ever-present hesitation, I followed my friends to the center of the dancefloor and proceeded to do a sad, other-worldly approximation of dancing. I paid little attention to anything and anyone around me, as I've been to enough bars, parties and whatever else to know that for the most part, nobody's going to really notice that I'm there. The night went on as it generally does, and we had a fair time. I became more and more intoxicated quickly and decided that making a fool out of myself sounded like fun. I jumped in the middle of a nearby dance circle and pretended like I knew what I was doing. A girl laughed, asked me my name and told me to keep going. I didn't, and told her that she should get in there and dance instead. She did, and I wandered away, forgetting almost instantly that she had even spoken to me at all.

Most of the evening slipped by without any significant happenings at all. No one else spoke to me and I chose to hover as close to my friends as possible, like I always do. I danced for as long as I could; eyes closed, smiling wide, ignoring everything and everyone around me. In many ways, I didn't really understand why I was even there. I was wasting money on booze and I wasn't talking to any girls. But I was shaking my ass and moving my feet - I suppose that counts for something. After blowing a little over twenty dollars and finally closing my tab, we regrouped and prepared to take our leave. Just then, a couple of old acquaintances of ours emerged from the back room, arm in arm, both heavily intoxicated and in a jovial mood. One of them was an old ex-girlfriend of mine who I've sort of re-familiarized myself with over the past year or so. Though my memory at this point starts getting a bit vague and blurry, I do remember speaking to them, leaving the tavern and getting pizza, and then being invited back to my ex's nearby apartment to hang out and drink a little bit more.

Her place was typical for a young college graduate living in the trendiest part of Cincinnati's underbelly: high, vaulted ceilings, wood floors and the constant, ever-present sound of creaking boards and echoing footsteps. We sat in her living room, doing nothing in particular. I watched her and admired how pretty she was, and how she had finally grown into herself. She watched my friends and had the same thoughts.

We left. Though I don't recall doing so, I had apparently messaged my ex and told her that we should get together some time soon. When she promised me that we would, I asked her if she was simply saying that to quiet me, as every girl I know makes promises like this and never, ever follows through. She was honest and told me that no, she probably didn't mean it. In the same message, she also decided it would be best to let me know that my friends are really attractive and that someone really needs to let them know. According to her, I'm cool too, but those boys, they sure did finally mature into something special. Make sure to let them know, Rob, or give me their numbers so I can. Make sure to let them know.

That is quite literally the last thing I remember about my Saturday night: that text, and all of the wonderful feelings that accompanied it. I don't know if I should be hurt and I don't know if BEING hurt makes me an overly-sensitive little boy, but it's not like it matters.

People wonder why I'm so down on myself. I wonder about it too. I'm not sure why it started originally, but it only gets worse as more and more members of the opposite sex display their apathy regarding me. They're never very shy about it; in fact, some of them are exceedingly vocal about their opinions, and man, it fucking hurts. It hurts bad. I wish it didn't; I wish I could simply let it roll off of me and know that "It's just one girl. She doesn't matter." But no, everyone's words tend to slice into me just a bit, even if they weren't really meant to.

My ex sent me another message the following day. She apologized for what she said (or rather, how she said it) but also chose to reiterate her point, stating that she "Meant it". I have to say, at that point, the apology doesn't really fucking help.

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