By Daniel Kohn
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By Nate Jackson
Photo by Tenaya HillsEvan was bleary-eyed, fresh-faced and a big fan of my column. Or so he'd been telling me over rounds of whisky-Cokes and the occasional Cars ditty at the Red Room. It was Saturday night, precisely four eves before New Year's Eve, and my gal Marie and I, fresh from our relatively single 2003 and in dire, last-minute need of cute boys to make out with in the first minutes of 2004, had decided to make friendly with Evan and his fellow bleary-eyed, fresh-faced UC Santa Cruz seniors Tim, Isaac and Phil.And the night was young! Or so Evan pleaded at last call. Couldn't we continue the party elsewhere? Why, certainly, Evan-who-looks-like-Derrick-from-John-Wilkes-Kissing-Booth-and-whom-I-could-not-stop-calling-Adam: if by "elsewhere" you mean a late-night impromptu dance party in the middle of my living room, then by all means, let's motor!
Three eves later, still relatively single and nursing a massive knee injury sustained while dancing with Evan to Modest Mouse, I limped into the Blue Beet to scope out its '80s White Trash Disco night. While Russ, my adorkably sarcastic—and atrociously single!—pal ordered some four-buck pints of Amstel Lite, I gingerly tapped my foot to "Send Me an Angel" and smiled at the jaw-droppingly gorgeous trust-funder with bleached teeth standing inches away from me. In return, he darted his eyes and turned to his frat brothers, declaring, "These girls are all way heinous, man."
Russ arrived with my pint, and Real Life gave way to New Order. Undaunted by my rejection by the misogynistic Ken doll, I found refuge in the man who has stuck with me through it all: Ferris Bueller, captured on an impressively acid-trip-colored, remastered DVD on the screen above the bar. "It's kinda funny, you know, that they're playing this movie," I began, glancing at Russ. "I mean, would Ferris ever be caught dead here?"
"Well. Certainly not in that vest," he replied. Adorkably sarcastic, my atrociously single friend Russ is!
As for the rest of the kids at the Beet, well, they fortunately appeared to be having the drunken times of their lives, dancing as they were to Madness' "Our House," the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" and other selections from the finest in '80s bubblegum pop goodness. That is to say, when they weren't dancing to the finest in clichéd '90s white-rap offerings from Vanilla Ice and House of Pain. Oopsies. I guess that's what they meant by white trash?
Now, in the days leading up to New Year's Eve—in addition to the knee injuries and Ken doll rejections—I'd also made a point of listening to Wings songs and ordering Malibu Bay Breezes, declaring that 2004 was going to be about all things sweet and fruity. Still, when the Clubbed! gang and I arrived—sans dates—at the Red Room on New Year's Eve, it looked like 2004 was going to be yet another year of sour, whisky-Coked debauchery. To that end, I obliged by ordering a round of whisky-and-stuffs for my friends and selecting Bowie's "John, I'm Only Dancing" on the juke.
Glancing around the room, I noticed the charming old women sitting in the corner sipping wine, beautifully framed in smiling, sequined glory, and gawked at the tattooed punkettes chugging beer at the bar, their lower-back angel-wing tats—and panties—proudly displayed. My friends adopted Ben, a kindred spirit who had shown up at the Red Room alone, and I evidently made friends with Shelby, whose face I cannot remember, but whose number I have scribbled on the back of a business card next to the declaration "HAIR!" (Hi. Explain, please. Thanks.)
And somewhere in the midst of it all the ball dropped, and my friends and I—adorkably sarcastic, relatively single and drunk as hell—forgot about finding someone to love. Instead, we downed our free champagne, sang along to Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon," and remembered each other.The Blue Beet hosts '80s White Trash Disco Night every Tuesday, featuring cheap drinks, Madonna songs and Jon Curry, an absolute sweetheart of a doorman.
Russ is also a sweetheart! So you should invite us out! firstname.lastname@example.org