Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Whoa, I'm Hot!

By Deborah Sharp

Like so many other missteps, my self-delusion involved alcohol.

It was a warm night in my hometown of Fort Lauderdale. The waiter at a waterfront restaurant placed a second draft beer on my table.

''It’s on the bartender.''

I stared at the glass in disbelief. I thought maybe a sweat droplet or a stray mosquito had lodged itself in my ear. I must not have heard him right. The first George Bush was in office the last time a man bought me a drink.

It wasn't always so. In my day, I was a looker. Not “Get-This-Gal-A-Vogue-Cover!’’ gorgeous, but pretty enough that construction workers hung off scaffolding and yelled stuff as I passed by.

It's been a long time, though, since I've heard anyone shout, ''Ooooooh, baby, how'd you like to hold my hammer?’’

I peered at the free drink like it was a terrorist's cocktail. ''Do I know the bartender?''

''He's new,'' said the waiter, oddly evasive.

Dim memories surfaced of clubbing with my girlfriends when all of us were single. Free drinks would stack up, like planes trying to land in Atlanta. I'd often take a sip, nod thanks at the guy who bought it, and leave the remainder sitting on the bar. I took the attention for granted; never thought about the day it would stop.

But it did. And I don’t miss it, for the most part.

Yet, all those memories came rushing back when the waiter delivered that beer, on the house. I was flattered. I felt twenty-nine again.

''Tell me the bartender’s name.'' I'm pretty sure I batted my lashes. ''I want to be sure to thank him.''

Long pause. ''Actually,'' the waiter looked embarrassed, ''the free beer was a mistake.''

Everyone in the bar must have heard the crash of my ego plummeting back to earth. Turned out the new bartender mistakenly poured a second beer I hadn’t ordered. Instead of tossing it, the waiter brought it over. On the house. In a way.

So, I'm still fifty-plus and invisible after all, merely the beneficiary of a new bartender’s learning curve. I drank every drop.

And as I did, I wondered: Why can't we spread those free drinks around? Take a cocktail from the line in front of some young, nubile thing, and pay it forward to someone old enough to be her grandma. One more free drink means nothing to a gorgeous girl in her twenties. But to the formerly pretty, now middle-aged and dowdy?

Well, let's just say that one draft beer on the house – briefly – made me believe I've still got it.

How about you? Any ego-deflating moments you'd care to share? Look at it this way: It's all material.


Mac said...


I go through so many ego deflating moments I can't count.

But I'm proud of you ;O)

Robin Allen said...

I should know by now not to be drinking anything when I read your posts, Deb. Now I've got hot chocolate all over my desk.

My ego gets a smackdown every time my nieces let me know that I'm not as hip as I think I am. They do it in the kindest way possible, because they're teenagers, but still, it stings.

Beth Groundwater said...

Love your post, Deb! And you're still a hot babe in my book. Let's buy each other drinks next time we see each other. ;-)

Darrell James said...

Coming from a once confirmed skirt-chaser, Deb, "you're still a babe!" I still get second looks from young women, but once I open my mouth, and they realize I'm from a time-before-time, they make a hasty retreat. That and I have this annoying little habit of mentioning "my wife" in every other sentence.

Jess Lourey said...

HA! Great story, and cheers for drinking the beer. :) Love this line in particular:

"Free drinks would stack up, like planes trying to land in Atlanta."

Shannon Baker said...

This is so funny! I had a moment like this years ago when I panicked because I thought I might be pregnant again. As I waited for my doctor to deliver the news, telling myself I would cope and love the unexpected baby, my doctor told me that no, I wasn't pregnant but maybe starting premature menopause. I went into the doctor thinking I was young and nubile and came out feeling old and dried up. Turns out, neither was true! BTW- you've still got it!

Vicki Doudera said...

Your posts really reflect your wonderful writing style, Deb! I love your line "the crash of my ego plummeting back to earth." Isn't that the way?

I have a gorgeous seventeen-year-old daughter so my ego spends alot of time stalled on the tarmac. Luckily my husband still calls me "baby" and "kiddo" -- that helps.

Deborah Sharp said...

Hey, y'all ... thanks for chiming in with your own ''back to earth'' ego deflating moments. And for those of you who said I've still got it ... better get your prescriptions for eyeglasses refilled! PS to Beth, yes. Let's buy each other drinks and talk about the old days.

Terri Bischoff said...

Awww... Deborah, you've still got it! It's just that "it" has changed. Construction workers may not be whistling at you, but you are such a cool chick, everyone who meets you wants to hang out with you!!

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, why don't you post photos of yourself now and at 29 and let me and your other fans decide which is hottest? (I'm putting my money on now.)