Monday, October 10, 2016

The old Southern Belle in Dayton, Ohio

From 1995 until 2003, Elizabeth and I lived in an apartment in Dayton's historic Oregon District. The apartment was located above Sloopy's, a bar located right at the corner of 5th & Wayne (or "Filth & Wine", as the locals used to say), and we patronized many of the nearby bars there on a regular basis. Ned Peppers, the Tumbleweed, Trolley Stop -- all were our hangouts, but our #1 favorite spot was the old Southern Belle, on Brown Street right next to the park (don't even talk to me about the new Southern Belle on Patterson - ugh).

So one night in 1998 we're at the Belle with one of Beth's girlfriends -- Shelly Mink, if memory serves. Beth and Shelly were playing the bowling game there, and I was relaxing in a booth, just chilling and listening to the jukebox, which had an epic selection. Beth, looking like a goddess, appears out of nowhere and sits a Bud Light in front of me, smiles and kisses me on the cheek and goes back to her game. I take a drink of my beer and when I set it back down on the table I notice a young guy, a stranger, has taken the other seat in the booth, across from me.

He was maybe 27, short dark hair, nice shirt and glasses. Clean cut, which marked him as slightly out of place in the scruffy Southern Belle. I immediately thought to myself - 'This putz went to UD'.

"Hey, man." I said, smiling and trying to be friendly. "Can I help you?"

"Is that your girlfriend?" Attitude, right off the bat. Another joker, goddammit, and here I just wanted to listen to the music and drink my beer.

I nodded in Beth's direction. "You mean Beth there? Yes, she's my girlfriend. We live down the street."

He looked over at her, looked her up and down, turned back to me. "Can you tell me why?"

"Excuse me?" I said.

"Why? I mean, look at me. I'm a good-looking guy. I work out. I make good money. And I'm here alone. Why would a girl who looks like that be here with someone like you?"

I laughed and said "I don't know. Maybe because I don't walk up to strangers in bars and ask them stupid questions." Then I smiled and took another drink of beer.

Fuck Face just shakes his head, as if in confusion, then stands up and says "I want you to remember me, asshole. I just want you to know that I'm always going to be watching you. And if you ever mistreat that girl, or if you're ever mean to her, I'll be waiting to steal her away from you."

"Yeah. Good luck with that, dipshit." I said.

"Fuck you," he said. "You want to step outside?"

"No thanks, man -- I'm not in the mood for a blowjob right now."

"Long-haired faggot."

"Eat me."

As he walked out the door I just shook my head. Why do they always have to insult my hair?

Beth and her friend sit down. "Who was that?" Beth asked me.

"Oh, you know me," I replied. "I make friends everywhere I go."

 Then I smiled and signaled the bartender for 3 more beers.