It’s 5:00 pm on a Wednesday. You’re exhausted, still playing office catch-up on the heels of a delicious vacation.
Just days earlier, your afternoons were spent sipping ten-dollar libations, as you stretched your body pool-side in VIP cabanas, and your nights effortlessly laced fingers with the morning. It was debauchery, dipped in salaciousness, wrapped in laughter with friends that remind you of your Greatness – just by the way you share a smile. And when your Happy runneth over and you couldn’t have possibly imagined flying higher, you hear it – that one familiar tune spilling out of the speakers and pouring over your soul – and it carries you to the dance floor, all by yourself.
“Yoooooou can dance, yoooooou can jive, having the time of your life –
See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen…”
Fast-forward 72 hours and you struggle to focus on the computer screen. Nothing says fuck my life like clicking off your “Out of Office” email notification. The world doesn’t give a shit about how you need time to adjust – they just want to know you’re back.
As you navigate the after-work traffic, the blinding reflection from a nearby window of an office building reminds you to wake your ass up. Snap out of it, sister! You have a date!
Fuck. A date. Now, why in the world would you agree to such torture as a first date with someone you met on an on-line dating site, when your vacation body is still warm?
You think about cancelling. Outside of the fact you can string two witty sentences together, and you grew up with The Smiths, but dig anything from Sinatra to Dave Matthews, he knows nothing about you. You could totally flake!
But the shred of human decency you muster for your fellow man (and every card-carrying lonely heart’s club member) propel you kick flakiness to the curb and follow through with this untimely commitment.
After a quick wardrobe change, teeth brushing and hair fluff, you’re out the door.
“Hi there, table for one?”
“Hi. No, I’m meeting someone, but can I get a booth?”
“Sure, right this way.”
A couple of minutes pass. You scan the room and play a few hands of “Pin The Date On The Couple” and “Corporate Ass Kissing” in the sea of smiles and beer swigs. Two minutes turn into ten, and now, the hockey game above Hunky Twenty-Something Bartender Dude is mildly interesting. But not more riveting than the front door, whose hinges are in full swing (pun intended), but frame nothing resembling the handsome prince who emailed you on Sunday.
In a somewhat blatent need for validation that you still exist, you reach for Social Media.
“Looks like I’m being stood up. A complete stranger hurt my feelings.”
Queue the sympathy (Facebook is nothing, if not a vehicle for solocitation of narcissistic ego stroking).
“Let me at him!”
An ounce of vindication warms your jaded heart, but the tears still percolate. Just keep it together until the car.
After twenty minutes of waiting, you thank your waitress, construct a confident smile and make your way to the door. Hard as you try, there’s no getting past the half-smile-head-tilts of pity from the fat-free, MAC-wearing, pony-tail twirling beauties crossing your table off the hostess stand seating chart.
On the short drive home to Looserville, you wonder if your fellow drivers on the road give a shit that the hysterically sobbing broad in the filthy Passat may run the red light and end it all.
After wiping away your make-up-stained eyes, you peel back your freshly laundered sheets and snuggle up with back-to-back episodes of Funny. These are the moments that make DVR’d favorites worth living.
Between pockets of heavy sighs and soft, familiar laughter, you remind yourself that all is not lost. That not all men are assholes. That it’s crucial to keep the faith, work through your baggage, instead of allowing this one instance to contribute to it.
Exhausted, you close your bloodshot eyes and begin to drift, but not before your favorite ABBA tune finds its way back to the soundtrack of your soul – and you remind yourself that someone, some day will appreciate all that you are. The fact that you didn’t cancel the date you so badly wanted to – and that you revel at dancing on your own, being your very own Dancing Queen out there on the floor.
Wanna dance? ABBA – Dancing Queen.mp3.