1.06.2010

Alcohol, Friends, and Fidelity

I doubt there is anyone out there who would disagree with the statement that alcohol lowers your inhibitions. Given your mood and the amount of alcohol, it can completely erase your inhibitions. It ultimately becomes the drink that makes you just plain stupid. Now, when around friends this can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, connections are made that really should have been made a long time ago. Other times, you do dumb things and then your friends put pictures of them up on Facebook.

And then there are the things that are just creepy and awkward.

At a recent gig, one I do frequently, several friends and I wrapped up the end of two busy weeks of concerts, recording sessions, and rehearsals with cigars and wine. It was me and 6 guys: 3 gay, 1 married, 1 in a LTR, and 1 single and not interested in me. 5 of these guys I've known for years and consider them all to be good friends. The "single, not interested" I had just met at the gig, but he was one of those people who I just immediately connected with and it felt like we'd been friends for a lot longer. Whilst enjoying our cigars around the pool, another singer invited himself into our gathering. An addition for the final 2 concerts, he'd only been with us for 3 days and was completely unknown. I think in the 3 days he'd been with us I'd said about 30 words to him. We knew he was married and had a 19 month old son, so being the cool, inclusive folks we are, we pulled up another chair for him.

Since glass can't be by a pool, and wine (usually) comes in glass bottles, we moved the party up to my room because I had scored an ocean view, which is really important at 10:00 at night. We sat around and drank and told tasteless jokes and laughed until we cried and my one neighbor called the front desk. About midnight, everyone left, saying the requisite goodbyes and promises to keep in touch until the next time we all gig together, mostly fond lies unless commenting on Facebook statuses and pictures constitutes "keeping in touch." In total, the 8 of us had only gone through 3 bottles of red wine and a tiny amount of bourbon, on top of whatever we had consumed a few hours earlier at a post-concert reception. We were relaxed but no one was toasted. Knowing my alarm would be going off in 6 hours, I set about packing.

5 minutes or so after everyone leaves, my cell phone rings. There are very few people who will call me after midnight, and several of them had just left my room, so I was quite surprised to see it was the new guy. (Let's call him Ted.) He was calling to see "if the party had moved, what we might be up to," etc. The answer was everyone had left at the same time he did, and they were all doing what I was doing, which was packing and/or sleeping. We chatted for a couple of minutes, the usual "it was good to meet you" stuff and said goodnight. 10 minutes later, Ted calls again. This time, the first thing he says is, "Want to grab another drink?" This is said with a tone. It is 12:20 in the morning. I have to be up in less than 6 hours. I've had most of a bottle of wine and I have two weeks' worth of dirty clothes to pack. After being shocked, I politely declined the invitation. I then start panic-texting my confidantes and make arrangements to go to one of their rooms to vent when he is done showering.

Before this can happen, "Ted" send me a text message. The entirety of the message is his room number.

We have now crossed a line. The phone calls I could excuse as a new singer trying to fit into the group, and they were within the boundaries of collegiality. But this text message, after I've declined a drink, that's not so hot. At this point, let me remind you, sports fans, that he is MARRIED. And has a 19 month old CHILD. Now I'm not altogether unattractive, but honestly I'm also not a beauty queen and I am not often the recipient of such overt passes for hook-ups. So I'm pretty freaked. Thankfully I have some really great friends, not the least of which is the aforementioned one who invited me to his room to vent. During this venting, I get another text message. This one reads: "Niente?" (Nothing?) Got to admit, he's persistent.

Ok, guys. If you invite a woman for a drink and she declines, and you then tell her your room number and 40 minutes later she hasn't knocked on your door or otherwise responded, it is safe to say she's not coming of isn't interested. One would think Ted, who is married and appears to be in the mid-to-late 30s, would know that. Or maybe not.

At 5:22 a.m., I get one more text message from Ted. This was an apology, of sorts, blaming the wine and wishing me a happy holidays. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but if a couple glasses of wine (or a few drinks in general) gets you to the point where you will cheat on your wife with a woman that you just met, don't know, and who hasn't give you any indication that she wants to shag you, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't drink when your wife isn't present. Maybe you should even consider just not drinking.

Hooking up amongst colleagues can be tricky. If both are single and have the same ideas about the hook-up, most of the time it works out. Sometimes, the next time you see each other it can be awkward, especially if things were not completely copacetic. In this case, if I ever see Ted again it will be incredibly awkward. Fortunately I have friends who I know will help me out and run interference if necessary. But still... if alcohol makes you do stupid things and you are older than 23, maybe you should be responsible and say, "I can't drink," or, "I can't drink in this situation." Agreed?

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