There is a bar in Brooklyn called Union Pool, perhaps you’ve heard of it? Union Pool is known for being a major hook-up bar for Williamsburg singles and numerous friends looking for a “quick-fix” have struck gold there. Weekends are more than I can handle– the place is crawling with wasted youngsters (many of whom have just recently moved to New York) served by a team of moody bartenders. Weeknights are only slightly more bearable.
So a year and a half ago when my roommate suggested we head over to Union Pool as I was getting ready for bed, you can imagine how adamant I was about that NOT happening. She begged and bargained– “I’ll buy you a drink… I’ll buy ALL your drinks… my friend from work is coming and he’ll drive us there and back!” FINE. It’s always a challenge to say no to free drinks paired with free rides. Her “friend from work” arrived ten minutes later and I can only describe him as a plump, bald, Uncle Fester lookalike from the hood. As we loaded into his white Acura, I wondered if I was about to be kidnapped and should leave behind some forensic evidence. Uncle Fester was silent during the ride, even as my roommate was squeezing his extremities and asking him if he ever liked to play with himself while driving.
My roommate was a wild woman. Once, she tried to drive us to Rockaway Beach, but ended up at the LaGuardia Airport, then the JFK Airport, and then in Connecticut. Another time, she decided we should have a firepit in our backyard (in the middle of Brooklyn, mind you) even after I told her there was no way it wasn’t illegal not to mention a huge fire hazard. The first night she lit her pit, she left the apartment to go get more wine. I was watching TV in my pajamas when there was a thunderous knock on the door. About ten firemen burst past me and made their way to the back patio. After surveying the situation they instructed me to go get a bowl of water and dump it on the pit until the fire was out, all the while giving me an earful about fire safety in the city. They left before my roommate got back… but you can be sure I relayed the lecture to her. She responded “Well, why would they sell firepits at Home Depot if you’re not allowed to use them? I think the firemen are wrong about that law. Were any of them sexy?”
Anyway, once the white Acura pulled up at Union Pool, our odd trio entered and saddled up at the bar next to a couple doing shoulder choreography. My roommate began her night by grinding on a barstool while simultaneously tugging on the hair of a wooden Native American head that was on one of the tap handles. Typical. I think her next move was to instruct Uncle Fester to buy us a round of shots, which he did. She rewarded him with a brief kiss for his troubles, before sending him on his merry way and prowling for other eligible specimens. I was sitting in a booth with another friend I had run into at the bar when my roommate approached me with a tall, dark, attractive man. Either she had found him attractive but was scheming on someone else, or she found him attractive and wanted to pass him off to me first to see if he liked me better. This was a regular game with us (see The Farter). He sat down next to me and she put his hands on my legs (again, the usual M.O.). The night starts getting a little blurry at this point, but we must have hit it off to some degree… because I woke up the next morning confused and alarmed… on his couch. First I checked to make sure I still had all my teeth. Then I checked to make sure I still had on all my clothes. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I got up and found that I even had my shoes on still. Thank god– no funny business had transpired. The man was still fast asleep in his bed as I crept out of the apartment as quietly as I could. I remembered that he had kissed me the night before… but I couldn’t remember going back to his apartment or even what his name was. Yes, an emergency evacuation was necessary. Outside the building I had no clue where I was, but eventually found a cab and made it to work only a few minutes late.
I think this was the harsh moment that I learned the importance of “no means no.” From then on, if my roommate asked me to go to a bar with her at midnight, no meant no. If a cute stranger whose name I didn’t even know invited me back to his apartment, no meant no. I don’t live with this roommate anymore, which means that my chances of anything wild and exciting happening went down… along with my chances of being murdered. Also, I think that was the last time I went to Union Pool, because having a one night stand with a stranger’s couch isn’t cute.