The Muses - A combination mezzotint and line engraving by Sartain after painting by Stothard plate from a 1852 ladies bookOn Friday of last week, Holly invited me to attend a function for her Women of Music Business Association. They were having a social event where everyone was going to go to a Haunted House and members were allowed to bring their spouses/boyfriends along. I hadn’t been to a haunted house since I was 10 years old, so it sounded like something fun to do.

Everyone was meeting at Blackstone for a drink and a bite after work, before heading off to the Haunted House. When we arrived, Holly recognized two of her fellow members and we grabbed a few tables in the bar since we were the first to arrive. As I sipped on a fresh brewed Nut Brown Ale, we made small talk with Angela and Lindsey. After ordering some fish and chips, Amy and her boyfriend Bob showed up. A little while later Meleia, Dana and her boyfriend arrived and that made the group a total of 9.

Although the conversation flowed smoothly and everyone couldn’t have been nicer, I was instantly struck at how I was much older than everyone else. I’m 36 and I guessed everyone to be in their early 20’s. One of my best friends Dan is 10 years younger than me and Holly and I have gone out with he and his friends, so I’ve been in this situation before, however, it still throws me a little off kilter nonetheless.

After a couple of drinks, we all hopped in our cars and drove across town to the Death Row Haunted House. As I understand it, the facility is setup year round, even though it’s only open a few months out of the year. It took us a good 30 – 40 minutes to go through it all and it was plenty scary. There were people chasing us with chainsaws, zombies jumping out of nowhere and plenty of other frights along the way. I lost all circulation in my arm from Holly’s death grip throughout the tour.

With our blood pumping from all the screaming, we headed back to our cars. I thought that was it for the night until Bob asked, “Are you going?” “Uhhh, going where?”, I asked. He explained that they were all going to The Cantina to hear a fellow WMBA member sing. Just to show how little I go out, since I’m an old fuddy duddy, I had to ask where this place was. He gave me directions and we made our way downtown to check out the club.

Once in the club, we ordered some drinks and grabbed a few high top tables to watch the band perform. It was just 10:00pm so the band hadn’t started yet and we were able to get plenty of seats. After about 30 minutes of the band playing, everyone began dancing. Holly and I sat at the tables watching and talking to ourselves. This is about the time that the second bit of awkwardness kicked in.

When I was in my 20’s I knew what cool was. I was hip and full of self confidence like any twenty year old would be. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize just how little I actually do know and that self confidence has waned a good bit. On top of all that, I’m not 100% sure I know what cool is anymore. Sure I watch MTV and I’d like to think that I’m on top of things, but let’s face it, I know more about home repair than I do about dancing these days. I love to dance and back in the day, I prided myself on my skills. Yet as I sat there watching all these good looking 20-somethings dance, I had to think to myself, “Is how I dance still cool?” I wasn’t sure if my moves were going to be that of someone who still knows how to dance, or that of the guy you see at weddings who’s forgotten how to dance so he just fires off major muscle groups in random order. As I sat there pondering my quandary, Holly was pulled up for a photo opp. Once out there, she started dancing with the rest of girls. Suddenly my awkwardness was gone and in it’s place was awe.

Here I was in the back corner of a club, like a fly on the wall. Before me were 6 pretty women all dancing and reviling in their womanhood. My wife is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, but I call it like I see it. They all glowed in the flashing lights as they stopped being self concious about things that people don’t even notice. Lost in their reverie, I couldn’t help but think how many ships have been launched, songs written, wars started, poems penned, or empires toppled all because of women just like these. Seeing how powerful these women were and at the same time, how they had no comprehension of it, made me sit back in awe. At that moment, those women could have done anything they set their mind or, or persuaded others to join their cause. You have to respect a concentration of power like that.

I was yanked out of my esoteric pondering, quite literally, by Lindsey. She pulled me by the hand out onto the dance floor. There, swimming in self conciousness, I tried to put on my boogie shoes and do my best. Holly and I cut the rug for a few songs and then hot and somewhat tired, we stepped outside for some fresh air. The band took a break about that time, so everyone poured outside to the deck. Sitting around a big round metal table, everyone recounted tales from the Haunted House. The discussion then led to other topics and finally settled on VH1’s “The 80’s Strike Back.” I enjoyed having a topic that I was quite familiar with. Well, that is until Malia made the comment, “81 baby!”, meaning that she was born in 1981. Quickly everyone else around the table shouting out the year of their birth and all were around that year. That’s when I did my best George Costanza impression and yelled, “Thank you and good night!” as I began making my way off the deck. That of course only highlighted that Holly and I didn’t want to mention how old we were. So we copped to it and tried not to notice how shocked they all were. 🙂

Shortly thereafter we made our goodbyes so that we could get home and feed Monkey. We had a great evening. It was a lot of fun and Holly’s friends couldn’t be nicer and more genuine. When I shared my awkwardness from the evening with my Mom, she made the comment that she hangs out with us a lot and she’s much older than us. Holly and I responded with “Yeah, but you’ve got it together.” She said, “No I don’t, it just appears that way.” Everyone just assumes that older people have it together, so maybe that’s what Holly’s gang thought of us. Of course if any of them read this weblog, then that myth will be shattered. Where’s that delete key? 😉