The Moose Dodge
A couple of months ago, we accompanied Date/Not a Date, who had finally been upgraded to Date, to his ten-year high school reunion in Wichita. (“Glad you’re seeing someone who’s actually been out of high school for ten years,” one of our coworkers commented snarkily.) It was a fun weekend — with numerous bars in close proximity, downtown Wichita was especially cool, and we were able to make all the standard reunion observations. The popular girls (whom DND and his friends called “the horrible girls”) were still cliquish and aloof, but the guys were definitely more fun to talk to and flirt with. And if a random, loner-type reunionee, upon finding out that you are a writer, asks if you want to read his poetry notebook, run. Take our word for it: Reading about Jesus to A Flock of Seagulls while Poet Guy is dancing by himself is all kinds of wrong.
We were reminded of the Wichita weekend one recent Thursday at the Blue Moose. There was a high JoCo quotient to this neighborhood bar and grill, located near the Jones Store in Prairie Village. “It’s like a Shawnee Mission East reunion,” said one guy who declined to give his name. Research Assistant Cat, a Shawnee Mission East alum, seconded that impression. “Hey, there’s SGL,” she said, pointing out the guy she had nicknamed Sixth-Grade Lover (i.e., her sixth-grade boyfriend).
We had chosen Thursday for our Girls Night Out figuring that cheap beer ($1.50 for any bottle or draft except Guinness and Sierra Nevada) and a baseball game on multiple TVs increased our chances of scoping out cute guys. Arriving rather early at 7:30, we encountered a hostess who explained the seating options in Cruise Director Julie McCoy fashion. The nonsmoking patio had more space and was quieter because of the number of families dining on that side of the restaurant. However, the bar area and smoking patio were filled with people in their twenties and thirties. We opted to be with the cool kids.
Naturally, with so much estrogen concentrated at our table, we were immediately compelled to comment upon the crowd. We noted a plethora of women with Barbie hair and guys with crunchy, ski-jump hair, and we observed the Blue-Tang Clan (two guys in French-blue shirts) sitting under the blue Fiberglas moose head mounted on a wall. There were two women with identical hot-rollered hairstyles, glasses and outfits, snapping their gum in sync. Seeing double made us want to order doubles, but we stuck with Bud Light, which, according to general manager Ed Sadler, was the most popular beer that night (along with Amstel Light). Sadler later told us that the Blue Moose features a different beer each month, so Thursday nights are a good opportunity to try something unusual.
The bar atmosphere, though, was the same old meat market we find wherever there are cheap-beer specials — especially after the place got packed after 10. One guy hovered near our table; we gave him the stink eye, which just egged him on. He slunk over and proceeded to drunkenly schmooze. “All these beautiful girls at the table,” he said before turning to the Night Ranger, who had her sleeves pulled over her hands. “Are you cold, baby?”
“Did you just call me baby?” NR snarled, which did not succeed in deterring him. Our subsequently terse manner, however, finally drove him away. He left in a snit, saying, “I’m gay. I don’t like fucking girls,” which was definitely the best response to a rebuff ever.
“Mickey,” however, was unstoppable. He kept hitting on various women throughout the night, including Cat, who said, “I think he tried to rub his wiener on me when he asked me if he could buy me a drink.” When we went up and talked to Mickey and his man tribe, he continually interjected his comedy bit. “Hey, if you meet any guys, tell me. I want to have sex with a guy,” he kept saying. “I want to get breast implants, pussy implant. I want to take off my dick and put pussy in and have sex like you.” Oh, Mickey, you’re so not fine.
In the meantime, RA Goldie was trying to pick up as well. “I think I just asked a gay guy to make out with me in my car for five minutes,” she said. “He declined.”
By the end of the night, she was melancholy. “This scene disgusts me, and the fact that I’m part of it disgusts me more,” she complained. But another group of women was all about the Moose. Though they lived a ways away (119th Street and Metcalf) and didn’t drink beer, they went to the bar Thursday because there were so many more guys than girls. “It’s the best place in KC,” they said. “Look around at the crowd — it’s all the beautiful people.”
Goldie remained unimpressed. “Everyone has fucking white Chiclets for teeth. If I see one more fucking asymmetrical top,” she continued, then made a noise of revulsion. “In the summertime, this was a very different place. Now it’s the most suburban meat market north of College. The word has gotten out — these losers are like a bee to honey.” At least no one pulled out any poetry.