BarNotes: Never ask a question you don’t really want the answer to

This is a little something I keep using as a side bar. It’s a bar notes vignette from about….2004. I figure instead of pasting the thing wholesale into other posts over and over, I’ll just drop it here as is so I can reference it elsewhere:


I had gone out for a couple with people from work on a Friday night and had more than a couple. Afterwards I was bound for a party with a social club to which I used to belong, Social Circles. I arrived at the place and was greeted by a group of girls, all but one of whom I know.

One friend of mine said “ooh, good. You’re here. We’re all trying to guess her age.” They pointed to the girl I didn’t know.

Now look. I know what you’re sayin’. I could hear all objections raised from every time I told this story in the future come back in time through the years at that moment. But I still had enough wits about me to do the right thing. But I ain’t gonna lie. You also know that I wouldn’t have bothered to put this little vignette down if it didn’t have a particular conclusion.

“I’m sorry. I don’t go anywhere near that game. No thanks.”

“Oh…. c’mon.” She said, hand on hip.

“Nope. Sorry.”

“They all tried.” (‘they tried and failed?’ ‘they tried and died.’ was all I could think of.)

“No thank you.”

“Oh come on. You couldn’t guess my age within five years.” Hmmpf.

“Stop. What would you do if I guessed right?”

“There’s no chance.”

“I’m not going to do it.”

“Whadareya, chicken?” I think I actually growled.

“Ok, fine. That’s three times you asked and three times I turned you down. Now I’m gonna guess your age.” Hell. I was going to hell. I looked her up and down pretty good, paused, tapped my lips with my forefinger and said “You sure?”

“enough already!”

“You’re 41.” The horrified and astonished inhales from the assembled group sucked the air out of the room so effectively that you could hear the ears of everybody in the bar pop at once at the sudden decompression. She, of course, was mortified.

“What makes me look over forty?”

“Am I right?”

“What makes me look OVER FORTY?”

“AM I RIGHT?” She was hyperventilating now.

“Yes, you’re exactly right.”

“I KNOW! I actually tend to date women about 40-41. I’m really good at that.” Leave it to her to figure out if I meant dating 40 year old women or guessing their ages. “Now come on, let me buy you a drink.”

She walked out. I turned to the assembled council of the fairer sex and they all jumped in “No no. stop. You’re good. You said no again and again and she just wouldn’t let it go.”

Over the following few months I’d see her at an event here and there. But she wouldn’t make eye contact, much less return a wave or a greeting.

Careful what you ask for.