Charmed and Dangerous

A bad attitude is all a guy needs on punk-rock night

"I used to be a journalism major. Now I don't want to be involved with any paper," she told me. "Now I work in a sandwich shop."

Some might argue it was a good move — especially as the Internet has imperiled so many jobs in print media. After all, nothing can replace the sandwich.

Maybe grumpy was the new punk?

After some small talk while the pimp parade continued to roll by, Die Stinkin' rallied the small battalion of fans that remained. I was quaffing a beer and enjoying the West Palm Beach foursome's musical aggression when Robbio nudged me and nodded across the room toward three guys in ball caps and T-shirts, including one with Atticus printed across his chest.

"What are the chances he knows the To Kill a Mockingbirdreference?" my friend asked with a wry smile.

One way to find out: I asked. OK, it was a smug and rude question, especially by way of introduction, and this time, I deserved some hostility. Instead, my bad manners were met with a broad, handsome smile and the humble admission that he had no idea what his shirt was about.

"It sort of rings a bell, though, now that you mention it," he said.

In turn, I admitted that I'd just come over to harass them since they looked like they'd been churned out of the Abercrombie & Fitch mill.

"Really?" he asked. "What makes you say that?"

"Have you looked in the mirror?" I countered.

"We're not anything. We're just ourselves," Atticus — who called himself Pat — insisted.

"That's so emo," his buddy Frank teased as he ordered a round of whiskey shots. "Why don't you go cry now."

Pat threw his ball cap down on the floor in a mock tantrum until the whiskey shots arrived — including one for me — and then they were off to the dance floor to create a broad-shouldered, moshing threesome. The fact that they were the only ones displaying enthusiasm for the high-energy music didn't keep Matt from glaring at the guys once his gear was packed up.

"I hate frat boys," he seethed as he sat on his amp and continued giving them the stink eye.

It was the closest to "dangerous" that things got all evening, but the "frat boys" didn't seem to notice his glaring. They were too busy having a good time. Frank and I even did a little bonding over the fact that he used to publish his own skateboarding 'zine.

"Oooh, I love skateboard boys," I flirted, forgetting all about band boys with bad dispositions. "They appreciate a good ride, and they're willing to work for it."

And I appreciated his efforts to convince me that if we hooked up, it wasn't cheating, since my boyfriend lives overseas.

"It's the rule of different area codes," the third buddy, Ryan, claimed. "It doesn't count if it's in a different area code."

We continued to drink and joke until after the punk bands had cleared their gear out. As the Brick kicked us to the curb and we prepared to go our separate ways, Pat gave me carte blanche: "Make me as gay and trendy as you want. Please! Just as long as everyone gets a good laugh."

How punk rock was that?!

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