Beware the Ides of March.
22 years ago today on March 15th 1991, I met my future wife. We met in an Irish pub next to McFadden’s on 42nd street and Second Ave in New York City.
That night I was out with Bill Beck, Paul Beck and John Whalen. St Patrick’s day was occurring over the weekend, so all the Irish pubs were celebrating with the after-work crowd that Friday evening.
The place was jammed pack. Somehow we managed to get a table. The four of us were planning a trip to South Padre Island, TX. We were using whatever excuse we could find to drink. Around 10pm Paul had to excuse himself for the men’s room. I know it was around 10pm because we found out just a short while later that the kitchen had closed. But I’ll get to that part of the story in a second…
If you haven’t been to a pack pub in NYC, let me tell you, there is no extra space that is not either occupied by a table or filled with people standing.
As Paul tried to get out of his seat, he had to squeeze between me and the table behind me. With the tight space and just a wee bit to much to drink, he ended up falling backwards over top the table behind me. Just picture a 6′ 230lb guy with his arms flailing, landing flat out on his back on top of all the food. Yes, there was a mess. Yes, we had a HUGE scene with everyone watching. Yes, he had to scrap food off his back.
The table was occupied by two very pretty women.
In typical fashion, Paul jumped up, and added drama to the whole event. He bellowed for the waitress over to help cleanup the mess. He demanded that he pay bill for all the food and drinks. He demanded that all the food be replaced and new drinks be given. That’s when we found out the kitchen had just closed for the night. So he had to settle for paying their bill and picking up their drinks.
After the drama settled down and everything was cleaned up, Paul finished his initial task and made it to the men’s room. Upon returning, instead of taking his original seat at the table with us, he choose instead to sit with the two women. Yes, in those days we had no shame.
After a few minutes, I realized that one guy was sitting with two women. So I picked up my chair and rotated it 180 degrees to sit with them.
As Paul was actively engaged talking to one of the women, Cathy, I began talking to the other, Barbara. Hey that’s what a good wingman does!
After a few more drinks Paul pulls out a pack of cigarettes. Simultaneously Barbara exclaims “Oh can I have one” and Cathy exclaims “ew, you smoke!”. Paul and I look at each other shrug our shoulders. He hands a cigarette to Barbara and starts talking to her. I start talking to Cathy. I repeat, in those days we had no shame.
I don’t remember all the details of the night, things started to get fuzzy when we headed up to another party on the upper east side. A friend of Bill’s had just moved into a penthouse apartment and was throwing a moving in party. All I remember of the friend was everyone called him “Jake the Snake”. All he had time to move in was a Foosball table, a couple of kegs and a stereo.
I do remember Cathy and Barbara calling car service sometime before the sun rose to take them home. I don’t remember how I made it back to Hoboken. I do remember the hangover on Saturday.
On Sunday we were recapping the events of Friday night over at Bill’s apartment. Both Bill and Paul were encouraging me to call Cathy for a follow up date. I honestly couldn’t remember what she looked like. “Was she cute?” I asked Paul. “Of course she was cute!” was his reply. Of course what else would he have said? So we devised this plan for me to call her and ask her out for a lunch date. This way if she wasn’t cute, it would only cost me lunch and 30 minutes of time. When Cathy showed up at the restaurant, it all clicked.
So when you out tonight celebrating the coming St Patrick’s day, just remember the Ides of March is upon us….