Mr. Mandal turned his back to us as we apologized to the general vicinity for accidentally unleashing an avalanche of beer cans, which had been teetering precariously atop a skinny cylinder of a trash can. We wanted to retort to pretentious mandal-wearer that he needed to get over himself. If you're crammed into the small foyer of the building where Twenty 20 is housed, with a squillion other people, beer spillage is inevitable.
Fortunately, most everyone else around us was cool with the splashery. Of course, by cool we mean drunk enough not to care. That kind of surprised us. It had been awhile since we attended First Fridays in the Crossroads mainly because we hate the overcrowding and the Kona Grill-style see-and-be-seen atmosphere that pervades the monthly event.
At first glance, Twenty 20 seemed to be the epicenter of such douchebaggery. After arriving with our research assistants, we deemed the site a reunion of graduates from private high schools). In fact, we spotted a few guys from our own snobby alma mater lurching around and looking puffy. Tee-hee. Hell hath no fury like an unpopular Night Rangerette in high school.
We fought our way through the masses and found a beer station on one corner of the patio, where we paid $4 for a can of Bud Light. Of course, we were really paying for the atmosphere. In the background was the festive oomph-oomph beat of a DJ. A gaggle of older people formed a small conga line as they strolled by the place, and the effect was block-partyish. The only drawback, though, was that two cops were assigned to keep everyone from bringing their drinks onto the sidewalk. Oh, Crossroads District, why can't you renew the permit for outdoor drinking at First Fridays?
Despite our initial impressions and our interaction with Señor Mandal, our fellow lushes were pretty friendly. We spotted two guys sitting in chairs, dancing in place to the music. That's how we started chatting with 27-year-old Tony and his buddy, 28-year-old N8 (that's "Nate" to you non-rebus lovers), both friends from their days at KU. In honor of the name of the bar, we asked if they had any stories about recalling things in 20/20 vision. "Well, I can see that Kansas City clearly has hope," N8 said. "Look at this place. It's a good place with good people and no fights."
That's great and all, but not the scandalicious story we were hoping to hear. We moved on to 22-year-old Christa, a pretty cosmetology student whose tattoos peeped out of the neckline of her shirt. She spoke of how one must focus on the present. "Living in the future or the past is too much you'll get depressed," she said. "Living in the now is best." Very true, we thought, and then we were transported back to our (cough, cough) sorority days, in which someone always told a fable called "The Precious Present" at those sisterhood-bonding meetings.
We were brought back to the now when we noticed two guys sitting nearby, waving at us. We went over and met 32-year-old Matt and his friends, 25-year-old Brent and 34-year-old Cindie. Matt and Brent, who had met through mutual friends, called Cindie "the best fag hag ever."
What makes a good fag hag?
"Look at those tits. They're great tits," Matt replied.
"She's pretty and skinny and takes care of us," Brent added.
"She's one of the guys, and we love her," Matt said. Aww. Can we apply for that job, too?
We posed our 20/20 vision question to them. "Beer goggles?" Brent asked. Why didn't we think of that? He told us that when he met his boyfriend, he was "very, very drunk and had beer goggles on so bad." Apparently, the BF was wearing a Minnesota Twins hat, and Brent said something like, "Minnesota? That's where I grew up!" From that came luv, so theirs wasn't truly a beer-goggles story. Also, his boyfriend was very cute.
Then we all had a fantabulous epiphany. The guys told us that Brent had been written up by the Night Ranger before. They were at the Fox, where Brent gave RA Cece a lap dance. "I was sooo drunk that night. We got drunk because the singing was so bad. I can't believe it's you," Brent said.
Cue the "Reunited and it feels so good" music.
We moved on to chat up a trio of three women standing by the sidewalk. Angela, Christina and Tamara have been best friends for about six years, and they're also First Friday regulars. Christina is married, but 30-year-old Tamara and Angela, who is in her thirties, are both single. They said they'd never really experienced beer goggling but have scoped out guys who looked good only from afar.
"That's not alcohol. It's reality. Especially when he opens his mouth, and his personality turns out to be arrogant or stupid," Angela said.
Things started winding down at Twenty 20 around 10:30. We heard that the normal trajectory was to then head over to Jilly's, but we really wanted to drink outside, so we left for City Tavern's patio. That's where we ran into Montrone and Yager, who were having a debate about Mussolini when we interrupted their conversation to ask if they had any stories of beer goggling.
Both denied having any knowledge of the BG. "We're wholesome," 40-year-old Montrone said.
"Call us Father Yager, Father Montrone," 28-year-old Yager said. "Call us padre."
However, he did think of a story. "It was 1993. George Bush senior was still in office," he said. "I was hanging out with a girl, who, in my mind at the time, looked exactly like Liv Tyler."
"All your friends said, 'That guy looks nothing like Liv Tyler,'" Montrone interjected.
"We hung out, blah de blah, and I lost my flower. I was deflowered," Yager continued. "I woke up in the morning, and guess what?"
"It was really Liv Tyler!" Oh, ha ha.
Apparently, English scientists have actually come up with a formula to figure out how beer goggles can affect a drinker's vision. The formula takes into consideration such things as the distance between the two people and the darkness and smokiness of a room. Now if they could only conduct a study that extrapolated the BG phenomenon to explain, say, why one knocks over shit while under the influence. We're sure Mandalfoot would appreciate it.