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I suited myself up in black leather pants and boots; Strawberry appeared in one of her usual Little House on the Prairie ensembles, many of which feature gingham and shawls, yet have a weirdly sexy effect.
I realized this early in our conversation and exclaimed, "Oh, I know who you are! "With the possibilities chez Monty so quickly disposed of, I suggested to Strawberry that we hit the bars and see what might be available. Monty was a dashing silver-haired photographer known for his elegant cocktail parties, Elliot a clever bartender in horn-rimmed glasses who was also a sportswriter. Numbered among the most recent crop of emerging singles is my fetching friend Strawberry Shortcake, a wide-eyed Girl Scout type fifteen years younger than I, hence not as scarred by the dissolution and depravity of the 1970s and 80s. marriages end in divorce, there are more single people in their thirties, forties and fifties than ever before. I have no answer to these questions but I do know this -- there are only two single men in Baltimore and they both have girlfriends. In 2009, when I arrived in town newly separated, helpful friends pointed out two fellows I'll call Monty and Elliot. Is this a problem to be solved, or a phase in the development of a new social order?I cast my gaze in both directions but didn't end up dating either one of them. This past Saturday I had the honor of taking Strawberry on her first night on the town as a single woman.Having recently attempted a similar reconnaissance mission with another cute young divorcee, Rainbow Bright, I decided to skip Hampden and Station North. (By the way, though you may not think of the Remington neighborhood as a happening party district, I just saw it written up in the Southwest Airlines magazine as the next big thing, which I found sort of scary.) In any case, this tiny, candlelit bar is my favorite, with its funky speakeasy ambience and its mismatched vintage glasses.
Just a few weeks prior, Rainbow Bright and I had hoofed it through 13.5 Wine Bar, the Hon, Fraser's, Holy Frijoles, Joe Squared, Metro Gallery, The Depot, Club Charles, and several no-name spots on Howard Street. "Reminds me of France," commented Strawberry, but this apparently was not a good thing, as she took all of ninety seconds to case the joint and head for the door.
We turned up dozens of hipsters barely over their acne, two drag queens named Ellen Degenerate and Miss Construed, a bunch of my students from the University of Baltimore, and, briefly, John Waters, but even the open-minded and dauntless Rainbow Bright could find nothing of concupiscent consequence. we finished the last of our vodka-sodas and called it a night. I shot a longing glance over my shoulder at the blackboard describing the Cocktail du Jour, which had nine ingredients, seven of them alcoholic.
Plans for the evening were conceived when I received an invitation to one of Monty's famous soirees, an event I assumed would be teeming with romantic possibility.
When I asked Strawberry to come along, she readily accepted.
In fact, another friend had already suggested she go.
Five and half years later, Monty remains one of Baltimore's leading men-about-town.