A spin of the Romance Roulette wheel landed on a Thursday night for my newest sidekick, Rufus. The lucky chap's spectacles positively fogged up over the prospect that I'd throw all five feet, eight inches of his vein-bursting desire into the path of lusty ladies in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
I hoped to learn the turn-ons of sex à la carte chicks... but Rufus didn't need to know that.
The passport to the honey pot, one aging womanizer recently informed me, is female wingmen. It seems we lend a gentle authority in recommending a man to another woman. Or, if the interaction never gets to conversation, we can at least hang on his arm as a visual reference. Best of all, unlike male wingmen, we never turn predatory on the target. We're the bait.
So I recruited Career Girl, a sophisticated redhead, to join me at Rufus' flank, and we hit the streets. As an insurance policy against getting hit on ourselves, Career donned a shirt with a revolver on it that read, "Love me forever and ever." I wore a crooked smile that suggested I might be a little daffy.
To start, we got liquored up real good and sloppy at Poor House (110 S.W. Third Ave.), then strolled into the corner Irish pub, Dicey Riley's (217 SW Second St.), at 11 p.m. A band was playing, and there were at least 30 people at the bar. Then the problem became clear: There were lots of shirts and little skin. All the ingredients for a weenie roast were there. But if you were thinking of sinking your teeth into a hot tuna melt, well... you'd better check with the kitchen.
It was a sausagefest.
There was one blonde. But when I asked her, "Are you on the prowl tonight?" she replied, "Not really... I have a boyfriend."
Defeated, but not dejected, we crossed the street to Capones (300 New River Ct.). The ratio of men to women was daunting, about 6:1.
Then, after a few minutes, a black dress shoe set down on the corner sidewalk in front of the place. Behind it was a tall figure composed of an open white shirt, after-shave, and a cocktail. In the light of day, it might have passed for a blond man.
I hit him up. "Um, excuse me. I have a friend who's looking to pick up a woman tonight, and, uh, what do you think is the best place for that sort of thing?"
His vacant eyes turned on me. "Where's your friend?"
Rufus popped out from behind my back and shook the man's hand.
The lesson began. "The thing you've got to know," he told Rufus, "is that you can pick up anywhere on this street."
Career and I exchanged thoughtful glances, and took mental notes.
"But," the nightcrawler continued, "first you need to lose these cockblockers."
He gestured at Career and me before whisking Rufus off. "Those sympathy fucks are the last thing you need," he told Rufus. "What's your fantasy?"
Career and I almost started for home, our evening's task apparently accomplished, when two dick-noses approached. They said they were looking for women who were up for a little fun. We informed them they were in luck. We female wingmen would try to help find them female accompaniment (not us, of course).
Hogarth, oddly enough, was the name of the red-bearded, Scottish sailor who offered up a limp paw and blinked heavily every now and then to make sure he was still conscious. His friend, Neuharth, was borderline catatonic with drink. But he, too, mustered a limp handshake.
All right, boys! Let's go.
We took them to Tavern 213 (213 SW Second St.), where I dodged my way through the sword fight to scope the scene and returned unscathed. But the ratio was 10:1, and these Scottish chaps had few tricks up their sleeves.
Next, we peeked into E Bar (215 SW Second St.): empty.
So we crossed over to Tarpon Bend (200 SW Second St.), where the bar was sparsely manned and more sparsely wo-manned. Ready to admit defeat and dump the sailors, we stood at the beer counter outside and offered our new friends the next best thing: directions to a titty bar.
Would you believe these blokes started trying to turn trick on us? The deceivers didn't see us as wingmen at all! Hogarth started insinuating that we, too, had vaginas: "So, have you guys ever had a one-night stand?"
"Oh, yeah, all the time," I replied, unconcerned about being a whiskey-dick tease.
"Absolutely not," Career bad-copped it with a minxy smirk.
Hogarth looked like he didn't believe us. Neuharth lit a cigarette, dropped it on the ground, picked it up again, and uttered something nobody understood.
"Are you taking a piss on us?" Hogarth asked.
"I think that's a pretty disgusting question," I replied. "We're not into water sports."
"So," Hogarth resumed his inquiry, "which of you said you've had a one-night stand?"
"Duh," Career spinned the conversation, "isn't it obvious that we're a couple?"
Hogarth raised a bushy, red brow.
"What's wrong, you can't handle both of us?" Career continued.
"Well," his head bobbled from side to side.
"Look," Career brought the conversation back down to Earth, "you've got two options: We'll put you in a cab and send you off to a titty bar, or you can come back down to Capones and have a good time. But we're not going home with you tonight."
While Hogarth digested these sad facts of life, Neuharth staggered behind the outdoor counter of Tarpon and released the fluids his body hadn't digested from his bladder.
"Holy shit!" Career jumped out from behind the counter and yelled. "I just saw his dick."
We hustled back to Capones, where a Hot Body Contest was under way. The Scots straggled in behind us.
We took a spot front and center. Before us, ten half-naked chicks were on the bar-top busting to booty music, whipping and grinding on each other, and humping the walls. After 30 seconds, the MC called for the DJ to stop the music, and a sad female was eliminated from the line-up. Then, another and another.
The night was winding down. Neuharth kept trying to whisper something into my ear, but his words were unintelligible. Was it a last-ditch attempt to lure this wingman closer to the cockpit? Hmm, too bad I'll never know.
Then Rufus and the blond man appeared. Our friend was at the end of the bar, wearing the same stupid half-gape, half-smile every other guy had on. No wonder the only women around to see this were the ones blinded by the spotlight, shaking their shit for a cash prize.
The contest was down to two skinny blond women. One, who wore a skimpy T-shirt, kept flashing her tits and staring at the crowd in wonder. The other chick, who was horsey-faced and stringy-haired, was shaking it in a short black miniskirt. It seemed inevitable that the tit-flasher would win. So, Career and I persuaded our drunk sailors to cheer for the more chaste of the two, however horsey.
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The boys whooped and hollered like the drunken sailors they were. We joined them. And, to our delight, horse-face beat out boob-flasher. Hurrah!
"Which one do you like?" Rufus asked his mentor.
The tequila-eyed womanizer started rubbing him on the back. "You," he said, "all the way." Rufus jumped out of his skin.
We swooped down to spare our friend the prick of the sausagefest, trying to figure out exactly which cock we were blocking.