Don't get it? Well, the new upstairs, dubbed "Tom's on Top," did have cheap beer and no cover. And $1.75 domestic draws always work for me.
I met my RAs around 10, and we managed to secure a square table and order Bud Light and Miller Lite draws. People filtered in nonstop, the newcomers lining up against a wall by the stairwell, waiting for space to open up. Others surged toward the bar, resulting in that five-person-deep buffer zone between the standers and the alcohol.
The décor consisted of neon beer signs dotting the walls and flat screens mounted around the rectangular room. Two bicycles hung over a row of windows that overlooked 47th Street, and black leather sofas were grouped by a fireplace.
Research Assistant Ben, a quasi-regular, told us about how chickies line up at the bar, waving credit cards and crying out for a Starburst — a shot of Red Bull dropped into a glass of flavored vodka. He said that earlier that night, he and his friends witnessed a server running toward a square concrete pillar. The guy practically scuttled up its side before slapping it as high as he could. Later, Spiderman attempted that feat again, but the crowded conditions limited his move to the jumping and slapping part.
As the night progressed, the college feel of the place increased exponentially. So did the impression that we were in a Midwestern version of MTV's The Hills. Women in tit-tacular sundresses and Coach logo purses shared space with duders in polo shirts and puka shell necklaces. Overheard snippets of conversation included a man telling a woman, "Hug it out, bitch," and this from a chick to her female friend, "She had bite marks all over her."
Then there was this interlude, which basically summed up the Friday-night vibe of the place: "Are you having a good time?" asked a brunette. Under her arm was a small Coach hobo-style purse emblazoned with chocolate-brown C's.
"I'm having a great time!" replied her friend, a blonde with an equally hideous Coach logo bag under her arm.
"I know! This place is sooo much fun!" Hobo Bag said.
Speaking of purse issues, a brunette in a clingy red dress stood near us. Her purse had a thin strap that was so long, it almost lodged itself in her butt crack. "It looks like an abstract piece of art with no context," Ben said. "It's two round things and a strap."
Tired of being wedged into a seat, I decided to walk around and explore the floor. I moved over toward the sofas and started chatting with Sam and Dan, two guys in their early 20s, and Sam's fiancée, 22-year-old Kristen. She's a preschool teacher, and the guys were about to start their first year at UMKC's dental school. Earlier that night, they were at a barbecue with their mentors; about 30 people from the party decided to head to Tomfooleries afterward. That explained all the shiny teeth in the bar.
Next, RA Cece and I headed out to the patio, which perches onto the side street. The narrow concrete strip held a few tables and runs parallel with the sidewalk until it juts into the hill. Anyway, that's where we encountered 23-year-old Cheryl and her friend, 23-year-old Chris, a soon-to-be dental student. They became friends at Mizzou and migrated to KC after graduation. I introduced myself and asked to interview them. "I'll make you famous!" Chris responded, before informing us that Cheryl has a crush on him.
"My boyfriend's right here," she said, putting her hand on a different guy's shoulder.
"Would you say that Chris has low self-esteem?" RA Cece inquired.
"The opposite of that," Cheryl replied, making a face.
"Low, like the bottom of the Earth," Chris said. "Hey, when is this going to be in People magazine?"
I asked the single Chris if Tomfooleries was a good place to meet people. "I've met a lot of hot dudes here for sure," he answered.
"Just put 'inappropriate' by his name," Cheryl sighed.
As we walked off, Chris threw in one last cheery tidbit. "If Superman was real, I'd be his best friend!" he bellowed.
We were soon distracted at the sight of another superpower: a blonde walking in through the patio entrance, sporting a pair of enormoboobs spilling out of a low-cut V-neck shirt. I nudged Cece. "Oh, you mean Circus Tits?" she said, referring to the fantabular VH1 show, Rock of Love. Heh. Based on the show, "Clown Tits" would have been an acceptable pejorative, too.
Is it so wrong that everything relates to crappy TV shows for me and my friends? If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
It was after midnight, and we were done rocking Tomfooleries' world. Or vice versa. Before taking off, though, I noted the bar's late-night happy hour: 9 p.m. until close every night, with drink specials going for $5 or less and live bands with names like Vanilla Funk and Gov't Cheez. If cheap alcohol and "making the band"-type band names aren't ripe for a Tomfooleries reality show, I don't know what is.