Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Molly's Bar: A Love Story

One Friday night in February, 1990, my college roommates and I went to the bar we always went to. Molly’s. We loved that bar. We OWNED that bar. We were under-aged in that bar.

We would gear up in our footless tights (anyone remember that phase—the black tights with no feet worn underneath mini skirts?), tops that were not very revealing, because even though we were slutsos, we were not THAT kind of slutso, and earrings bigger than Christmas ornaments that jangled so loudly you knew we were coming a mile away.

So, we’d be all geared up for a night of drinking, with our five-dollar bill in hand. Because that’s all we needed. Five bucks. We could get a pretty hearty buzz from five bucks. Each beer was $1.00. Five beers and the night was ours. Imagine our dismay the next year when the price was jacked up to a buck-twenty-five. Were we ever pissed. We were sure they upped the price so patrons would just say, “Oh, keep the change” from two dollars. We never did. We waited, palm opened, for that seventy-five cents to be returned by a scowling waitress in a white tuxedo shirt and black pants.

The key to a great night at Molly’s was getting a table. And tables back in the ‘90s were hard to come by. Another key to a great night at Molly’s was getting INTO the bar. Since we were not yet of legal age, we had to use our womanly wiles and charm to seduce the bouncer into letting us in. Usually, that didn’t work. Instead, we just had to make sure we got to the bar in plenty of time before the bouncer was on duty at the front door.

This made for a loooonnnggg evening at Molly’s when we arrived at 5 p.m.

However, this assured us our beloved table. Everybody wanted a table. From sophomore year through senior year, we got tables. And we’d sit at that table, and drink dollar drafts from slivery-iced beer glasses chilled with gorgeous chips of ice dripping from the sides. We’d sit from 5 p.m. until closing time at 1 a.m. That’s a lot of bar time.

There was one particular night we didn’t quite make it at 5 p.m. and when we arrived, the place was unusually packed for a Friday at 6 p.m. We looked around and discovered, ugh, and this pains me to say… we discovered a fraternity/sorority happy hour event being held at OUR.BELOVED.BAR.

No tables. Crowds of Greek-letter wearing fraternizing fraternity boys and sorority bimbs. At first glance, we were sure it was going to be a sign of a bad night to come.

After making our way to the bar, where we each shucked down our buck for our draft, we noticed the crowd thinning a bit, and a table almost, yet not quite, becoming vacant.

Have you ever done the ‘hovering’ move? Where you know the people are finished with their beers, they’re[thisclose]toleaving and you want to make sure you and your friends score the table, thus ensuring the evening a success.

We skimpered over to the table (how does one skimper, you ask? Beats me), surrounded it like geese attacking a piece of stale bread, and waited. We waited, we crouched, we were ready to pounce. We were carnivorous lions awaiting our turn at the zebra carcass trough (Okay, so I’m feeling a bit metaphorical today).

The patrons left. We pounced. We pounced desperately, determined to make the kill, but were met with other carnivores.

Two of ‘em.

College boys.

More specifically, college football players.

Friend S#1 spoke first, because she was the most determined, “We got here first!”

After a quick discussion between FriendS#1 and one of the guys, it was decided we could actually share the table since there were two of them and three of us. However, I was too struck by the eyes and strength and bigness of the other guy.

In a word, upon first sight, I was Smitten. Struck. It was decided right there and then that I wanted this boy. This football player boy.

I hate football.

I didn’t care how many games the team had won. I didn’t know a thing about positions, except the quarterback has to stick his hands into the sweaty realms of some other guy with the ball.

He was a starter for the team. He wore a letterman jacket. I should be swooning over these facts.

Instead, I was swooning over his beautiful blue eyes, and, at a later time in the evening, his cute, tight butt. He had big muscles and was six-feet-five-inches. He had a dimple in one cheek, and blue, blue eyes, which I may have mentioned, but man, they were so blue!

They shared their table. Both boys were entertaining, funny, etc. When ‘the one’ told me where he was from, immediately in my mind, I tried to figure out geographical logistics and whether or not his home was further from my home to school or closer. I still don’t know. Ha. Geography, never one of my strong suits.

I remember going into the bathroom with Friend S#2 that night, and flat-out saying, “I like his eyes and his butt.” I remember exactly the shirt he was wearing, and how soft arm hair peeked out at his wrists. I remember how he and his friend shared pizza with us girls, and how he bought me a beer, which, in college, was a mighty big investment at a first meeting. I wish I could remember the playlist of songs from that night. I am sure there was some Black Crows, Van Morrison, maybe American Pie. Damn. That would be a great thing to have locked into my memory—the music of that night.

Later, we decided to go over to the other bar on campus we liked, Amnesia, but I forgot what we did there. Ha, just kidding, but did you get it? Amnesia. Well, I certainly know there were many forgotten nights there. That bar no longer exists. Only in muddled memories of college students long forgotten.

So. Molly’s.

The football player – the one I met that cold night in February 1990. Well, I married him.

Fast-Forward to 2006----------

Molly’s is an amazingly special and important place for Hubby and me. In retrospect, I wish I went to Molly’s on my wedding day. In retrospect, I wish I had my wedding reception at Molly’s. In retrospect, we almost named Diva Molly. Really.

Anyway. We took Ajers, Diva and Tukey there on Sunday.

“Do you guys want to see the place Mommy and Daddy met?” we asked them.

“Yes, yes, yes!” they screamed.

Is it wrong? Is it wrong to take your 8, 7 and 4-year olds to a bar? Well, look at it this way, it was Sunday. Most college students are too hung-over or catching up on schoolwork Sunday afternoons to go get sloshed at the bar they were at a mere 18 hours earlier so we figured it wouldn’t be your regular college crowd.

I had not been to Molly’s since Ajers was six-months old and Hub’s sister graduated from our alma mater.

We got to the bar, and of course, before we parked, Diva was screaming, “I have to pee! I’m going to pee my pants! I think I just did!”

I grabbed her arm and ran her into the bar. A waitress, asked, “Do you need the bathroom?”

I didn’t want to just come out and say, “Look, girly, in the swishy Bohemian fuschia skirt and the half-t-shirt tucked into your bra, I’ve probably peed (and perhaps vomited a few times) in that bathroom more times than you’ve even had days alive on this here earth. I know where the bathroom is!”

Instead, I just acted like I didn’t know as she pointed to the back, right next to the two dart board machines that were there even 16 years ago.

You know me. I don’t drink beer. Have you ever heard me tell you I had a beer? Well, maybe a couple this summer, those Blue Moons with a chunk of orange in the glass, but seriously, I haven’t drank beer in a looonnnnng, looonnnng time.



I had two beers there on Sunday, and let me tell you, they cost double what they were 15 years ago, but they were the best damned beers I have had in a verrrrryyy loonnnnngg time.

I was there with my husband, who I met at that exact same place 16 years ago. We were sharing snacks and laughter and fond memories with our three beautiful kids, and we were reminiscing of days gone by, but certainly not forgotten.

Molly’s is the kind of place like I imagine Cheers was to Sam and Cliffy and Norm. It was a place where everyone knew everyone, there was no bullshit about it, you were just there to have a good time, hang with friends, drink a couple two-three cheapo good Miller Lite drafts, and maybe, perhaps, just maybe, on a cold February night, meet the man of your dreams.

7 comments:

naughtymom said...

5pm!!! Talk about determination!!!lol What we won't do for a buzz when we're young. For us it was getting older people to buy booze for us at the 7-11 then off to the park to get our buzz. Then stumbling home and trying to dodge the parents from the smell of liquor and puke (sometimes), and asking questions you know your to drunk to answer...Awe good times, good times.

Manic Mom said...

Naughtymom--did we go to the same highschool!?!?!? We would score some vodka or rum and then get Slurpies from 711 to mix it with! Ooh, and I have a story about the one and only time I did get grounded from high-school imbibing... I can still remember the nachos that didn't quite make it through the digestive system... and these were good times? Whoa.

Caryn said...

Great story! Reminds me of my own college days, although I didn't meet my husband in a bar.

naughtymom said...

Slurpies and vodka...hmmm wonder how that tastes. Sounds like a great drink to take to one of those really boring birthday parties at the park. Hmmm gotta try it. LOL. In junior high, (I know I started really young) We got grounded for filling our sprite cans half way with vodka or our hawaiian punch with Cisco. We were really on a roll for a long time except one girl couldn't handle the liquor and was crying in front of the school and puking. Bad I know but we ALL got busted. Fortunately for me my parents NEVER found out. I don't know how I slipped by getting suspended and not having my mom come to the school but I did. Wow the memories are flooding in.

pam said...

Steph,

I loved this story! Reminded me of many college bars I've been to, all of it, getting there early to get a table, cheap drinks, etc. There was one bar on the Cape that was just like this, we only went there when we were underage, once we turned 21, it sort of lost it's mystique. The actual college bar that I spent most of my time in and actually worked at for a bit, was such a dive, the Kau Kau Korner, in Lakeland, FL. Half of it was a liquor store, and you could actually drive thru and pick up a keg of beer! But yeah, $5 would go a long way there, especially on nickel beer night, when you pay $2 cover, and beers are a nickel all night.

Not to mention in Florida, it was always ladies night somewhere, which meant free or almost free drinks.

:) Pam

Ann said...

Wow, great story. I met my husband in a bar as well, but we were a bit older when we met and it was also a restaurant so we wouldn't get there until like 10pm, when the dinner crowd thinned out. Little did I know that night when he came over and asked if the seat next to me at the bar (the only one empty in the whole bar) was taken, that 3 years later we'd be married with 2 kids. Funny how life works sometimes.

Karla with a K said...

I knew your story would be entertaining!