Tuesday, July 1, 2008

BINGO Night, A New Friend, and A Swedish Opera Singer Named Robin

I was IM'ing my (fabulous) friend Phil the other day, telling him how miserable I was because I have virtually no girlfriends (besides my room mate, Molly and my friend Gwen who lives in Jersey) now that I'm in New York City. He suggested I give Craig's List a try. Now, Craig's List is the website me and my friend Rachel used to look at late at night, drunk so we could laugh at all the weirdos who posted listings under "Casual Encounters". You know, "Female seeks Male Companion for Masked & Bound Ass Pounding" That sort of thing. So immediately I made a screwy face. But he sent me a link for a book club, and I realized that like me, there were loads of people just looking to meet new friends, especially in a city like New York where EVERYONE is from out of town.
So I looked.

I met a girl named Tia who lives in my neighborhood. A 23 year old clothing designer. We emailed back and forth a few times, but I could tell immediately by her casual sarcasm and blunt sense of humor that she was my kind of gal. We decided to meet up.

"This ain't your grandma's BINGO." She said, asking me to meet up on Monday night at the Bowery Pottery Club near Houston st (pronounced "House-Stun" in NY...don't ask). I got home from work and received some bad news from my mother (which I'm not emotionally capable of writing about yet) so I knew a night out with a new friend was just what I needed. I changed into my fave jeans, fave yellow top, sandals and my fave aqua-blue beaded hoop earrings. I wanted to feel....well....fave.

When I got to the Pottery Club the first thing I realized was how hip it was. Cafe tables in front near a coffee and snacks bar. Shelves speckeled with tons of books. Exposed brick, funky art. Further back there was a curtain separating the two entities and suddenly I was in a lounge. Fully stocked bar, stage in the far back, low lighting and tables everywhere. And most surprisingly...it was PACKED. And not with grandmas. Tons of colorfully dressed (as usual) New Yorkers, laughing, chatting and sipping on $4 beers. I called Tia's cell phone. "I'm here!" I shouted. "Ok, I'm going to stand on a chair and wave madly...ready?" Suddenly I saw a black girl in fabulous, vintage sequined shorts and a black top balancing herself on a bar stool and waving like a crazy person. My new friend.

"Hi!!" I said, as we shared a quick hug and check peck. She was just as I pictured. Petite, cheery, and dressed like she meant it. "This is Robin, I met him here a minute ago." I shook hands with the slender, guy who stood about 5'10" and had a mess of scruffy blond hair . "Hi!" I said, "I'm Ashley."

"Robin" he said, but it sounded more like "Ru'bein". I asked what he does, and he said he'd just graduated from school in Sweden and came to New York to sing in an opera choir. "Cool!" I said, genuinely amazed that he'd only been in the US two weeks and was already going off to BINGO night by himself. Balls, I thought, he's got balls.

BINGO night, to say the absolute least, was a BLAST. Hosted by two cross-dressers and a young lady who was their version of Vannah White, showing off the "fabylous prizes" and sporting a mean case of camel-toe, but still pleasantly amusing. The lesbian named Murry, was dressed like what I can only describe as a 40 year old, vacationing father of three from the 1950's. And Linda. In a word, was Jakie O-esque, in a fabulous brown layered wig, and a black off-one-shoulder dress that said "Goddess" across the front. She was calling out the bingo numbers in a way that reminded me of watching QVC..."Now were going to hop on over to the B row....B-14..."

I didn't win, but when we got to the bonus round, they said the first person to fill their entire BINGO card up wins the jackpot of $261 (the money from the BINGO card sales). I wast even close, and neither was Tia; but Robin managed to get down to one measly number standing in his way of taking home the cash. Instead some cocky guy with a thick Brooklyn accent won, prancing up to the stage to claim his prize. He boasted about how he knew he was going to win the cash and then just to be annoying (because he couldn't possibly be THAT idiotic) he cracked a joke about supporting Bush. Immediately the crowed began boo'ing him and chanting to the hosts to take back his prize. Linda, although looking a bit perturbed by the guy's Bush-comment, reminded everyone that people are all entitled to their opinions, but that he would absolutely have to dance for the money now. They blasted Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" (or whatever that over-played crap is called), and the guy shook his thing tossing his shirt out into the audience. The crowd went wild.

Afterwards, Tia and I exchanged info with Robin promising that we'd meet in the city soon to check out a karaoke bar that sits above a Japanese restraint at 32nd and 5th. Tia and I took the same train home (the F to the A and got off at Nostrand) chatting away about our adventures with hot-sweaty apartments and loud teenagers who think they know everything.

All in all it was a good day, a good night and very good company.


Da Old Man said...

What a story. That's a bingo game even I could like.

Natasha said...

Glad you had a great time! Hope everything's alright with your mom!