Every now and then, I decide it’s time to give the old liver a break and take a holiday from booze. I call this a Dry Week.
I’d say on average this happens about every three months. Sometimes it’s six months between Dry Weeks and other times my Dry Week is three days. Sometimes it starts on a Sunday, sometimes it starts on a Tuesday. It just depends on me and my gut feeling.
This past Sunday, I woke up and felt it was a good time and declared to myself, “This is a good week”. It was the start of the second week of a two week guest pass that the Filipina Fox had given to me to the gym she instructs spin at, so this would just help me with not just pleasing my gut feeling, but my actual gut as well. Win-win.
I was wrong, of course.
About this being a good week time-wise for a Dry Week, not the appropriateness of the practice overall.
Sunday is a tricky day to start a Dry Week, because Sunday Funday. But it’s not the middle of summer, so it wasn’t like everyone was thinking about getting outside and having some fun, which is a cake that is almost always iced with an adult beverage.
Hell, I can talk myself into just about any day being a tricky day to start a Dry Week.
This past Sunday, though…it was rainy and drizzly, so it was a pretty good day of laying low for old Xtopher and passed without incident. Just a little side-eye from the partial bottle of wine on the counter.
Monday morning, I start getting texts about a happy hour that I agreed to with the Silver Fox and another mutual friend of ours.
You’d be surprised how often I inadvertently paint myself into corners like that. It’s not like my phone/calendar wasn’t just chilling there next to me in bed when I thought, “This is a good week”. Oh, well…I can handle a happy hour.
Plus, it will shock everyone.
From those texts, in support of the two week pass, I headed on into the gym for day two of exercise of the week. I just popped into 24 Hour for some lifting and 45 minutes of cardio. The day before I did a full hour of cardio. The spin class gods were not smiling upon me so far this week. Best of intentions for the 6:00 A.M. spin class at Muv to exploit my pass, but…6:00 got the “screw that” vote when my alarm went off at 5:15.
After the gym, I have a protein shake and back it up with some gross cottage cheese – great source of protein, disgusting food. Then, I met up with The Fox and we drove over to Ex Novo to meet the now growing party.
There I am, ordering a soda and no food, not only am I not drinking at happy hour, I’m also – unsurprisingly – now not hungry. Way to look weird, Galby.
We all chat and have a good time, one of the guys had brought his toddler since his wife was traveling for business and the lil guy added a little extra fun to the conversation. I barely noticed that people kept eating and ordering more beer since I was enjoying the conversation and environment.
I observed on the way to the car that $2.50 had to be the cheapest happy hour I had ever attended. Realizing that where I had had only one soda, if I were drinking I would have had three beers, easy.
The Fox drops me off at home as I verbally pat myself on the back for clearing this hurdle in my Dry Week. “See you tomorrow for drinks and strippers with The Kerby Boys!” he says as I climb out of the car, obviously enjoying planting that scheduling dagger.
Alright…it wouldn’t be the first time I pull the plug on a Dry Week because of bad scheduling. Hell, I’ll pull the plug spontaneously for the right situation!
But the next day is packed with activities and before you know it, I’m pedaling like a maniac and getting nowhere at the 5:30 spin class that the Filipina Fox is leading. Afterward, I feel jazzed and just end up not wanting to undo what I just accomplished.
I’m supposed to have dinner with The Fox beforehand to burn a groupon at a local shellfish restaurant that he raves about, but they’re closed. We end up at a River Pig – a local pub-type place – ordering salads, of all things.
But I resist the siren call of their IPA and order a soda! The Fox is crafty and grabs the bill before I can offer up my share, saying “If you’re not drinking, you’re not paying”…I think he’s a little proud of me.
The plans we have with The Kerby Boys were made about a month back, while we were having dinner at a local Cuban restaurant to debrief The Fox’s trip to Cuba. I was the only one who hadn’t been, but listening to the three of them discuss their visits gave me an appreciable familiarity with the culture and their experiences there. Not quite like I was there, mind you, but it is always fun to witness someone speak with passion about any topic.
I can’t imagine how this came up, probably just discussing the neighborhood that the Fox and I share, but The Boys mentioned that they don’t get down to town very often and hadn’t heard of nor been to this new gay strip club called Stag that we mentioned as a neighborhood “landmark”.
Ergo, we simply had to take them there.
We planned a Tuesday for many reasons, most importantly to me that the crowd would be minimized.
That said, I hadn’t planned on being outnumbered by strippers when we walked in at 10:00 PM.
Overall, the first few “performers” that we see are rather lackluster. You know when one is lounging on the bar instead of dancing, that there’s nowhere to go but up. Then the next stripper is wearing a knee brace. That’ll teach me. Oh, and sexy undies. I wouldn’t actually complain about him just wearing a knee brace.
The drinks are also weak.
Or water-y. Which is a common complaint that I’ve heard since they opened.
Also, I don’t care.
Eventually, the acts begin to live up to the hype. There are some dancers later in the line up that are a bit more enthusiastic. One in particular – that is like a Cirque du Soleil refugee, living on the pole and the chin up bar and rings that are available – becomes the favorite. One of The Kerby boys in particular is impressed with him because of his showmanship, but all four of us enjoy him and the obvious enthusiasm he has for this work.
Around 11:30, the crowd is picking up. On a Tuesday…Portland, where young people go to retire. The dancers are also starting to work a little harder, which is more the experience I was hoping to provide The Boys…they came all the way into town, after all.
All three miles.
The drinks are still weak, though, so I offer that we could always migrate for a nightcap to a bar that serves real gay-bar-quality drinks. Everyone sinks lower in their seats and agrees that this venue is fine.
The power of tight undies, a bulge and a meaty butt.
I ain’t complaining as I sip my diet soda.
The clock rolls to Hump Day and we call it a night.
The icing on the cake is that one of The Kerby Boys runs into the front man for a local Portland band who is on his way in as we are on our way out. This just got a little Page 6-y.
It’s after midnight.
Apparently, there had been a past invitation to run away with the World Famous Portlander directed at one of The Boys. Years have passed since said invitation. Still, he’s amazingly gracious and charming, initiating the conversation with our party. He remembers my friend’s name from years before and introduces us to his boyfriend in the course of the interaction.
That’s a fun way to end the evening, even if it’s slightly depressing to see such a hot piece of guy candy on this guy’s arm as I head home alone.
Yet, here I am…at the Half Way Point in the dry week! Woo.
And 2/3 of the way through my week’s scheduled temptations. I know I mentioned that this spontaneous Dry Week was poorly timed and not at all planned, right?
The last hurdle of the week isn’t the weekend itself, because drinking with amateurs is a fairly consistent non-starter for grumpy old Xtopher. When I deign to go to a bar on a weekend, it’s to absolutely sit on the sidelines and seethe quietly, not chat and meet people. Talking in bars on the weekends – or even attempting to – always leaves me sounding like Brenda Vaccaro and who needs that?
No, the last temptation of the Chris isn’t the weekend, it’s the guest spot I have with my Little Buddy to see Heathers: The Musical on it’s opening night here in Portland. The friend she bought the ticket for can’t make it, so I am the rather lucky friend that gets to play stand-in.
She suggests meeting at Migration Brewing since it’s only a few blocks from the venue and since she knows anything with the word “brewery” in it practically gets rubber stamp approval from me. I tell her it’s my Dry Week, but no biggie. I’ve been good thus far.
Maybe I’ll cave, maybe she’ll join me out of solidarity.
Life is such an adventure.
Well, traffic certainly was.
There’s nothing more shame inducing to a native Portlander that to see what a hard afternoon rain does to the rush hour commute. It’s embarrassing, for sure, but also stress-inducing because I loathe tardiness and being late. It is a situation that really gets me worked up.
And I take public transit.
Little Buddy doesn’t fare much better. Since I’m not drinking, I don’t want to go into the brewery until she arrives. She’s being re-routed through traffic at every turn. I have to pee. It’s really not a great situation.
It’s a shituation. Chrisism.
Plus, I’m thinking – erroneously – that we were meeting at 5:40 and the show started at 6:00, it’s 5:55 by the time my LB has battled her way through traffic. Heck, it took me until 5:45 to get 36 blocks on a bus.
Traveling in a straight line.
I go in as she parks, having clarified the start time. I still don’t feel *right* walking in and heading for the can, so I order a beer…just in case LB wants one.
Turns out, I wanted it and it was I joining her in some stress-relieving libation solidarity.
Chris: only human.
But, we have some food and our one drink and then head to the show – which is uh-mazing! Very entertaining. Not expressly true to the source camp movie, but does a great job of maintaining the spirit in the abbreviated format that stage affords.
It’s touring nationally, or available for local productions nationally…if it comes to your town – GO!
In appreciation to the Little Buddy for giving me the open seat beside her, I buy her a drink at the show. A terrible Cab Sauv, which I can’t make her suffer through alone, so I pick one up for my as well. More solidarity? Maybe. Maybe to save her a second trip to the bar during the show.
I take a sip after she grimaces at her first drink. It tastes like…I don’t even know. She says fruit punch, but I just keep thinking that this wine put the “rape” in “grape”.
Hashtag: too soon, inappropriate.
It’s so bad, we both still have some in our cups when we leave the show two hours later.
So, that’s pretty much a wrap on my Dry Week. It’s Friday afternoon and I know what I’m doing tonight and what I’m not doing: drinking.
In retrospect, I’m gonna have to call this a Moist Week, since it wasn’t completely Dry, but pretty friggin’ close for me.
The best part? I still got to spend time with some of my closest friends in Portland.
The second best part? I think I’ve spent $30 cash this week.
And right up there, rounding out the Top 3 best parts? I’ve lost 7 pounds this week.