Don't get us wrong -- we can do without the brawling in the streets. But there has to be some happy medium between that and the almost Disney-fied atmosphere of the shorter, earlier-starting parade that set the tone for the holiday. Sure, we're for the beer patrol busting minors in the streets, but denying permits for parties near the route? Ridiculous. (However, we'd like to speculate that the number of flashing incidents probably remained the same citywide, thanks to the parade theme: "Show-Me You're Irish!")
The day started out promising, though; the Night Ranger walked to work and reveled in the bustle that made downtown feel like a real city. Of course, our indifference toward St. Pat's didn't prevent us from taking a leisurely, drinktastic lunch at the bar conveniently located next door to the office. We would like to have stayed downtown (yeah, we're looking at you, nonopening Cashew), but for promising people-watching opportunities, we headed to Westport and met Research Assistants Tony and Steve. The destination: Blayney's, which just opened an upstairs bar in its entryway.
The new street-level bar is a drastic contrast to the gritty feel of the cavelike basement; it's small, brightly lighted and seems like it would be more of a yuppie magnet. On busy St. Pat's, the upstairs bar was decidedly less crowded than the downstairs, where bands were performing and all sectors of society had gathered in the name of celebrating and hooking up -- such as Craig, 24, who was giving the NR the eye. He seemed somewhat nonplussed that it was duty and not his seductive look-giving skills that drew the NR over for a chat, but the cute and friendly Lawrence resident told us that his other method for approaching chicks was going up and saying, "Are you talking about thangs?"
"What's your success rate with that?" we asked.
"About 60-40," he replied. "Tonight, though -- 100 percent." Apparently, he'd already had some success with a blond JoCo-ite in the downstairs bathroom.
"I was waiting in line for the bathroom, and this chick [who was also in line] said, 'I'm really horny right now. Come in here with me,'" he told us. "I said, of course -- hey, I'm a guy. I wore a condom. It was a free one from Planned Parenthood." (Which, conveniently, had set up a booth for a parking-lot party across the street.)
OK. We think his story is slightly dubious. A line for the men's bathroom? Unbelievable.
"All right, it was really with me," said his friend Julian. "Hey, it's 2005. Anything goes."
"Was it good?" we asked
"As good as it can be. I had to hold the door closed. It was quick. It was two-minute quick," he replied, then shared that they had done it doggie-style and that he'd held the door shut with his ass while thrusting. Skeptical of the logistics of stall sex (hey, the NR is a neophyte in that she's only made out with a guy in a bathroom, and then in a rather roomy stall at the Ameristar, of all places), we asked him to re-enact the situation with his friend Adam. For some reason, they were kind of reluctant to do so. So much for anything going in 2005.
We then ventured upstairs, where we thought we were going to actually witness some bathroom sex when we ran into Josh, 25, a tall, frattish boy wearing a plaid oxford and plastic beads around his neck. His baseball cap was askew, and he was one of those "Heeey, girl! Whassup?" jovial types. He was also rubbing up against a tall blond woman by the one-room bathroom; when we first spotted them, his hands were pulling her shirt tighter around her breasts. When she went into the bathroom, we accosted him.
"So, what's going on?" we asked. "Are you two hooking up?"
"We're friends with benefits," he said. "I went to college with her." He added that they had gone to Central Missouri State University, where he was a quarterback.
"Are you going to re-create that position with her later tonight?" we nosily inquired.
"I hope so! She'll be my wide receiver!" he replied.
"She looks like a tight end to me," added his guy friend standing nearby. (Heh. Dirty sports entendres -- we love them because we're still in seventh grade.) His alleged friend-with-benefits, Tiffany, 25, then opened the bathroom door and pulled Josh inside. We hovered, seeing how long it would take for something to happen, but the door opened a few minutes later and alas, no clothes were being zipped up or adjusted. We asked Tiffany if he was going to score that night. "He wishes," was her response. Oooh, illegal man on the field for Josh!
The fratmospheric pressure grew more intense as the night went on, until the daytime drinking plus the general annoyingness of Westport meant it was time to get the hell out, whereupon we came across the sobriety checkpoint on Southwest Trafficway. Thankfully, we were OK, but we got this tip later from a lawyer friend: When they ask you how much you've had to drink, the answer is nada. And here's another free tip: Americana Mondays at Blayney's is a great, mellow time -- the cover is just a dollar, the pool tables are free, and rockabilly bands perform. That'll surely be a nice palate cleanser after the disappointment of St. Pat's. We'll be the ones in the bathroom, holding up the line.