princess of cake.

We followed the girl dressed as cake into the bar. She had three layers, held up by wires in orbit around her, and yet if she bent down to pick something up you'd be able to see the filling. There were a couple of them, and their outfits were cute, but awful trying to get through the door. They were Liquor Girls, women dressed in little nothings and passing out favors and samples of booze. The companies that hired them would like you to have a good time, so you can associate that good time with their brand-new flavored liquor experience. They were handing out crowns and tiaras and shots of a new booze that was named Cake and supposedly tasted just like cake. Now you can have your cake and drink it, too! I don't know what the crowns had to do with it. Drink Cake! Then you can be the King of Cake!

We ignored the Cake girls (though I was interested in the free samples), sat down, ordered some drinks. The bar was crowded, and the TVs were showing some local team. I think it was baseball, so it must have been the Phillies. Clearly, I was very interested in the game. We ignored it except when the other bar patrons started cheering excessively. Instead, we discussed Cake recipes. I wondered how long it would be before some man came up to hit on Ashley.

I'll just put this out there - I never get hit on at bars, and I never get approached when I'm on my own. Only when I am hanging out with another girl do I get any attention at all, and that's from a wing man. There are lots of uncharitable explanations for this, and they all have to do with my appearance. Maybe I'm hideously ugly, or maybe it's just obvious that I'm not trying very hard. I'd had to wait back at the hotel while Ashley freshened up her makeup. I'd told her if she just didn't wear any, there would be no need to freshen it up. It's a real time-saver. But I guess that's not the point.

We managed to remain unbothered by the other patrons. I left for the bathroom, then came back to find Ashley in conversation with a guy that looked like the chubby guy from Superbad. I'm sure he was just as thrilled to see me. He was asking where we were from. This question had been very common on our trip. We merely had to say one sentence before someone called us out on our accents.

Hearing that we were from the Old North State, he launched into his best approximation of a Gone with the Wind accent. Bad southern accents are a pet peeve of mine. While his wasn't terrible, it was straight from the plantation. You know what? There are lots of southern accents. Mine doesn't sound like that, nor does Ashley's. Also, why would any girl be impressed with a stereotypical representation of her home?

At some point, he began singing. He had a very nice voice and some familiarization with show tunes (mostly from Oklahoma!). Still on his southern theme, he also treated us to "Old Man River" and an incomplete rendition of "Dixieland."

Basically, it was either bad accents or singing. I make it sound quick and sorta amusing, but this went on for an hour or two. We tried to explain to him, first politely and then not at all, that he was annoying us and that this whole act in general was unlikely to ever help him score at a bar. At one point, for maybe twenty minutes, he wandered over to the table next to ours, where we could hear him trying out a similar routine. Those people just left. That's probably what we should have done, but I had my eye on a tiara. I would be crowned the Princess of Cake!

He was nice enough to bring over a wing man, who was thankfully normal. They were both grad students, studying astrophysics at Penn. We asked the friend why he would continue on with all the bad accents and the singing when it was clear they were not working. His only explanation was that his friend was just really, really drunk. I was even more amazed once I realized that the guy must be actually pretty accomplished and intelligent. He was apparently signing up to do a research stint in Antartica.

I guess that was the worst part. It wasn't sitting there and having to put up with the guy. It was knowing that I could have actually enjoyed his company instead. I could have learned something and been enriched by his presence and experience. Maybe he had some interesting stories! But no. I had to listen as a guy from upstate New York sang half the words to Dixieland.

At least I got a tiara.

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