I hadn’t been out to a bar in a year, since the Frenchie dumped me.  Well she didn’t dump me exactly.   She let me go.  She gave up her option.  I was suddenly a free agent without any representation.  Sure, when I was with Beatrice there were plenty of women coming my way, or maybe they were heading for Beatrice, it’s so hard to tell in a dark club.  Girls would look at me anyway.  If they didn’t want me, they wanted what I had, or at least what I thought I had.  That’s the trouble with attaching your ego to a woman.  When they walk, they take your ego with them.  They keep your ego only until they can scrape it off the bottom of their shoe.

When I finally stepped back into the bar, I could feel I had changed.  My clothes weren’t so tight and my heart was once again a mushy thumping thing.  The bartender spotted me immediately and called out to me, “Get the hell outta my bar, I told you never to come back here!”  T, the bartender, always did have a deadpan sense of humor.  I stood at her station and waited for whatever wrath she had yet to unleash on me.

All she said was, “Sit down.”

“But T,”  I said, “I never sit at bars, remember?”

“No.  You’ve been gone for a year, I don’t remember anything about you.  Sit down.”

I sat.  She immediately got busy, concocting some potion to ward off evil bar spirits.  It’s so easy to be corrupted when you’re out of bar shape.  No one knew this better than T.   She had once been absent from the bar for three months.  She had gotten a job on a movie teaching Tom Cruise how to sling bottles through the air without loosing any respect as an actor.  When T returned to the bar, she fell prey to the oldest hazard in the bar book.  She started listening to the customers attentively.  She became like some cinematic bartender understudy.  Dames were coming from all over the country just to yak at her.  Why pay a hundred and fifty bucks a pop for an analyst when you can unload on a hotty bartender for the price of a beer?  I finally had to show T the photocopy of her annual U-haul expenditures (the lesbian equivalent of smelling salts) to bring her back to reality.  Any seasoned bartender knows that unless they want to end up like Miss Haveshim in Great Expectations, they must avoid becoming too friendly with the clientele.  After serious drunken deliberation, T and I made a pact that she would no longer date bar girls, and I would no longer enter relationships which had been initiated by somebody else.

You see, I had this theory that lesbians are never single.  They stay in relationships years beyond the expiration date.  It’s not unusual for a lesbian couple who has been together for ten years, to have not slept in the same bed together or had sex in the past eight years.  And yet it would take an earthquake demolishing their second bedroom for them to realize they should consider moving to separate domiciles.  “Why don’t you two break up if you are no longer in love?”  I’d often ask these couples.

“Because, we get along so well,”  they’d say.

So unless a natural disaster occurs, a lesbian will only be single for a split second while picking up her things from the mini-storage and moving in with her new partner.

This is why I never bothered looking for single lesbians, they didn’t exist.  I would scout for women in failing relationships.  Although, one should always research the couple thoroughly to make sure the girl you like did not put the flat fish in the floundering relationship.

T disapproved of my practice of operation-wife-snatch.  She knew she need only say three small words to snap me out of my behavior.  She’d say, “It’s bad karma.”   Silence.  It took a long time to actually find a genuine single lesbian.  Of course, she had just moved here from France when I met her.  Her single window was only as wide as it took her to fly into LAX, unpack, and hit the bars.  She left her little red headed Veuve Clicquot chilling on the banks of the Seine back in Paris.

Beatrice, or “The Frenchie” as we liked to call her in an affectionate yet condescending way, was the kind of girl you would run across the street to try to get a better look at and get plowed by the bus you failed to spot.  She was once asked to move from the front row of a theater because the actors in the play kept dropping out of character as soon as they would catch a glimpe her.

Her aura would grab you by the solar plexus and send a chill blasting up your spinal column.  It’s not so much that she was beautiful either, she wasn’t.  She was stunning.  Looking at her was similar to getting a jolt from a mild cattle prod.  Although, no two people ever lived to describe her the same way.

The first time I was in her presence, she was burning a hole on the middle of the dance floor of the empty bar.  I thought to myself, if I ever slept with her she would leave nothing left of me, but a carcass.  Normally, the idea of being completely devoured appealed to me, but when I saw her walk towards me from the dance floor, I shrank like a pill bug.  She was a deep space black hole of a woman.  An overachiever of vampires.  She didn’t walk, she hydroplaned.  She didn’t speak, she moved her lips and raised the volume of her thoughts.  She touched me before she even spoke to me.  She placed her hand on mine and said, “I own you.”  But that was just my mind playing tricks.  What she really said was, “I know you.”  Of course she knew me.  She had been studying our kind for centuries.  We were simple, pliable creatures.

“You know me?”  I repeated, feeling my toes curl tightly in my boots.

“You are my next dance.”  She said hypnotically.  It was a poetic line, but I knew I couldn’t join her.  I would immediately become her floor wax.  Every molecule of my being wanted her, yet each proton was emitting a muffled help.

“Where are you from?”  I asked her naively.  Beatrice had no patience for such obvious small talk.  She simply covered my mouth, placing her lips on her own hand and feigned kissing me for the first time.  Our eyes locked, and from then on, she had the only key to open them.

“How crazy does a girl have to be before you’ll mistake her for being complex,”  T asked, when I finally told her about my first date with Beatrice.

I hardly heard her.  I was lost in thought about how Beatrice had designed a scar map on my skin.   “What is this one from?”  She’d say, then guess before I could say anything, “Is this where you accidentally stabbed yourself with a pocket knife while trying to split a candy bar for your first girlfriend?”

“No.  I walked through a sliding glass door at a party.   A little embarrassing, but no big deal.”

She then took out a pen and wrote the story of each scar in various patterns surrounding that particular scar.  When I ran out of scars she drew a line to intersect the scars across my entire naked body.  Perhaps the whole ‘pie chart your wounds’ experiment was just one of her common tricks for undressing a girl.  Maybe she was telling the truth when she swore she had never done it before.  Either way, she had seduced me within ninety minutes of our first date.  After we had sexually exhausted every square inch of of my hardwood floors we had our first conversation.  It didn’t seem to differ much from the act of sex.  She’d start by affectionately teasing me.  Then she’d say something much too smart and I’d feel her beginning to get inside me.  The only thing more dangerous than a sexy woman, is a bright, sexy woman carrying a french baguette.

Beatrice and I were together just long enough for me to completely forget who I was.  Perhaps she left me so that I could remember.  More likely, because I had forgotten in the first place.  Many dreamless nights after our eight month relationship had ended, I realized that the most we had in common was that we were both madly in love with her.  One of us would surely have to move on.

“Enough fond reminiscence.”  T said as she smacked her cocktail down in front of me.   She leaned down dramatically as if preparing to bestow some gem of wisdom upon me, “One day,” she began, “some incredible dame is gonna saunter into your life, and you’re not gonna get you’re feelers hurt.  Then what’ll you do?”

“I’ll cross her bridge when I come to her.”  I said, as I raised my glass to hers with a clink.

Something caught my eye at the end of the bar.  I glanced sideways non-chalantly to spot a lovely woman glowing like a bug zapper in the corner.   I smiled at her.  She was already smiling.  She boldly approached me and sat down next to me.  I considered it might be my lucky night until I noticed some delicate henna stained connect-the-scars handy work serpentining down her arms.

“How long does the henna stay on your skin?”  I asked her casually.

“Forever, I hope.” She said, lost in thought and tracing the lines with her finger.

“I’ll give it eight months,” said T, under her breath.