Friday, March 25, 2011

Bedhead and the beauty from around the corner of the bar

This is Part II of a report on the St. Louis Symphony's recent Bloggers Night. Make sure you starty with Part I,
St. Louis 2011: An adventurous music urban odyssey.

Sex is the only thing that is better than music. And the love of a child is the only thing that is better than sex.

The blogger and his friend both knew the love of a child. But Paul’s son was grown, and the blogger’s daughter (herself a pint-sized blogger) was at home, watching bad TV with her mom. There was no prospecting for sex going on this Bloggers Night by these two guys, but one does enjoy the opportunity to observe other human beings moving about and how splendid so many of them look.

Men are doomed to discuss these observations, as we know. The blogger’s friend Paul – shorn hairless, in the vicinity of fifty years of age; a wiry, aging hipster and Navy veteran – remarked on the splendid appearance of the young woman who happened to be sitting around the corner of the oak bar. The blogger had come to the same conclusion. The woman around the corner of the bar had good color, with a mix of southern European or Mesoamerican. She was on a date with a young man that seemed to be going well. They were scrunched next to each other, thick as thieves. When her date stepped away from his barstool and left the room, presumably to pee, the blogger asked across the corner of the bar about the young woman’s wheat-colored beer, served in a tall, fluted glass. She said her boyfriend was teaching her all about beer, and she was enjoying the education. She and the blogger were still talking about beer when her date reappeared.

The thing to do, at that point, was to include the boyfriend in the conversation as quickly and completely as possible. One needed to dispel any hint of moving in on the other man’s date when he was away from the field of battle. The boyfriend was more than happy to talk about himself. He said he was living just around the corner in the downtown loft district, though he worked 20 miles away in North St. Louis County and grew up 20 miles the other way in South St. Louis County.

The blogger and his friend were veteran newspaper men. They were up to date on the developing trends and demographic shifts in their metropolitan area, which straddled the Mississippi River, two counties in Illinois, and several counties in Missouri, not to mention the city of St. Louis itself, a tiny political entity the shape of a scrawny porkchop, segregated from St. Louis County for political motives that stopped making sense half a century ago. The blogger and his friend blinked across the bar at this young new urbanite, with his thin brown hair cut into a bedhead, the bangs flipped up at their very ends. He was that very rare thing: a statistic made flesh.

“Millions and millions of dollars of public money have been spent to produce people exactly like you,” the blogger said to the young new urbanite with the bedhead haircut, who nodded along right away, he got the point instantly – he too followed the local news. “Millions and millions of dollars of public money have been spent precisely to produce the young white male from South County who works in the County but lives in the city downtown in a loft on Washington Avenue,” the blogger continued, and Bedhead kept nodding along. “Pretty much,” he agreed.

The blogger’s friend delivered newspapers for a living. He worked on the streets all over the metropolitan area and had unusually few illusions about St. Louis. He said to the young new urbanite from the suburbs, “How do you like living down here where people get shot sometimes?”

Bedhead admitted that he did not like that aspect of city living. He said he really couldn't blame anyone from a safe suburban neighborhood who chose not to move into the city – closer to the neighborhoods where the region's poverty and crime had been segregated for half a century. But he was making a go of it, and so was his new girlfriend – the beauty from around the corner of the bar, a part-Cherokee girl from central Missouri who worked in restaurant supply.

The boy and girl had met recently at the wedding of mutual friends, presumably been swept up in the festive atmosphere of love and alcohol, and would now be turning a long-distance love affair into a relationship shared at the extremely close distance of a cohabitated loft apartment. She was bubbly at the prospects of moving to the city. But then, she seemed to be of a positive disposition – probably she would have been bubbly about staying in Missouri’s largest university town, Columbia, which she described as “a young town, a liberal town.”

She had partnered up with a man who was young in every way, but not liberal. When the blogger’s friend told the young couple they worked for a newspaper, the young new urbanite knew enough to ask (in a fumbling, stumbling, incoherent fashion) about the paper’s political direction; and Paul said, bluntly, “Liberal.”

“Well,” the young new urbanite said, “I am conservative.” This, emphatically, did not come as a shock. South St. Louis County, where he grew up, had many of the County’s most conservative zip codes. This young man managed contracts for a major corporate employer that mostly made its money off the military. These were yet more ways in which this young new urbanite with the bedhead haircut and the iron-flipped bangs was a walking statistic.

There had been much media chatter in St. Louis about the young new conservative urbanites. This was a staggeringly sexy demographic for the big Republican money that propped up the nominally Democratic, but in practice entirely opportunistic, political leadership of the city. These guys were middle-aged conservative white men who had become experts at manipulating the city’s divided and demoralized electorate, at least on election day, and an influx of young, conservative, white men like Bedhead was nothing but good news to them.

Politics had been standing on its head lately, in St. Louis and Missouri and the rest of the country, so it was not difficult to see why this young conservative new urbanite represented a sexy demographic. Now, what the effortlessly beautiful Cherokee lass saw in this guy as a sexual partner was harder to figure. Her clock was probably starting to tick, two years out of college, living in a university town where everyone around her stayed frozen in youth as her girlfriends began to grow up and get married. Whatever the source of the urging, clearly it was there. She stayed clenched closely to her date throughout their conversation and was holding onto him pretty tight as they left the tavern and walked out into the city.

“You know what they are going to go do,” the blogger’s friend muttered into his dry-hopped ale.

“The only thing that is better than music,” the blogger muttered into his dry-hopped lager.


This is Part II of a report on the St. Louis Symphony's recent Bloggers Night. Make sure you start with Part I, St. Louis 2011: An adventurous music urban odyssey.

Image from Thom Fletcher's Flickr. It was the best I could do. I seem to know no one who takes pictures of guys like Bedhead.

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