Fish Out of Water [NOT 2/8/21]

What the f%&k am I doing here?

Oh, shit.

So a friend of mine passed the bar exam a few weeks ago (yes, he’s younger than me) and decided he was going to have a party. In a moment of whimsy, he elected to have it at a local dive bar (name redacted but it includes the words “parrot” and “green”) because he hung out there in his youth (Youth being like 6 years ago — God, I’m old. Places I hung out in have been bulldozed.).

With me so far? Okay. Invites are texted, some discussion occurs between several of us (Are you going? I’ve got a Little League game with my kid. Are you going? Yeah, pretty sure I can make it …) which is the manner of such things. Other conversational bits also were inserted — why the fuck did he pick this dump? But it was generally acknowledged that we would all show up at the agreed-upon time and date.

Fast forward to that date. It’s basically a graduation party, but it’s in a dive, so I settled on slacks and a button-down shirt. I drive to the bar at the appointed time and headed inside.

Now, you must understand one thing about me. When confronting the unknown I charge straight into it. I do not tentatively open the door and peer inside, blinking owlishly in the dim lighting. I stride in there like I own the place.

Except none of my friends were there. A couple of dudes who looked like they just got out of Raiford Correctional Institute were shooting pool. A couple others seemed to be conducting a drug deal at the bar. Teeth were in short supply. Beards were voluminous. And all of them turned to stare at me.

But I don’t falter. I head up to the bar, plop down, and order a beer while groping for my phone. The regulars continued to stare for a minute and then slowly returned to their games and transactions. I gratefully grasp my beer, take swig, and start texting. “Hey, where are you guys? I’m at the bar for the party.”

“Uh, the party is next week, dumbass.” Well, fuck.


So, Deadsplinters, now you tell me. When did you innocently wander into a situation for which you were completely unprepared and in which you stood out like a sore thumb? Bonus points if you got the date wrong. Please, make me feel like less of a dumbass.



  1. A few years ago my friend, his wife and another friend were all traveling to the Fresh Hop festival we do every year in Yakima (a 3 hour drive away).  Our friend that owns a taproom made all the hotel reservations and had our event tickets and we were to meet her at a brewery with her crew for prefunk before the first night of events.  We got to the brewery and I see the owner and say, “wow, we beat ….. they should be here any minute.”  He looked at me and said “ok”.  After a beer I called my buddies to see where they were and he said, “dude, that is next week!”  They had changed the date by a week that year and none of us had checked since we had done it this week for years before!  They all laughed at us and we thought of getting a hotel but instead just hit all the local breweries and drove home.  So, on the bright side, I got two weekend of drunken debauchery instead of one!  Now it is an ongoing joke about us going a week before and just staying.  I hope it happens this year but I hope we get the right week!

  2. LOL. 
    A former friend of mine once went to a bar named “Bovine Sex Club” which is just a dance bar (not a cow sex club) dressed in Chinos, a cashmere sweater and oxford shirt while the rest of us were just in jeans and shirts.  I got asked several times if my friend was a cop/narc/moron/dad.
    As for me, I once went to a dinner party thinking it was casual dress and it turned out to be a formal dress party.  I read the invite wrong and the hostess gave me shit for dressing like… me.

    • I once went to a goth club in San Francisco in my neon Quicksilver shirt and jeans, this was early 90’s.  Everyone in the club was wearing all black except for me!  Would have been nice if my friend gave me a hint to the dress code but I probably had no black with me anyway.  I have never felt more out of place!

      • Oh, dear. Though hopefully you stood out in the black light room (assuming there was such an area). 

        • The whole fucking place was a black light room!  I was glowing and stuck out like night light in a dark room!

    • I’ve gone the other way and shown up in a suit and tie when I didn’t need to. First rule of being overdressed is to pretend like everyone else is underdressed. Don’t pull off your jacked and tie. Own it. 

    • I read moron as “Mormon,” which also works.

  3. My sister had a Fourth of July celebration this year. We went to the beach near her house and got a hotel the night before (July 3). We’re at a restaurant, drinks in hand, dinner is ordered, and my phone rings. “Where are you?”
    “Uh, eating dinner at a restaurant? Why?” “You’re supposed to be HERE. Everybody’s here!”
    She had her “Fourth” celebration on the third. We finished dinner and got there two hours late. 
    This whole ‘date’ thing clearly confounds me. 

  4. I have no missed dates, but have been a fan of the dive bar since I was too young to be served elsewhere. 

    • Oh, yeah. Growing up in the boonies, dive bars sort of basically tacitly encouraged underage drinking. You could order 2-3 without comment or carding. If you tried to go beyond that, though, you could expect to get carded. It was actually a fairly effective system for teaching young people to drink responsibly. By the time I got to college, I didn’t have any urge to go wild. 

  5. Quite recently, I showed up to an open house viewing a day early and spoke to a confused tenant for another unit in the building who just happened to see me waiting outside at the main entrance, calling the property manager. I went back the next morning and sort of regretted making the effort both days. 
    I also recall going to see a screening of Porco Rosso for some New York film festival and taking a date with me. We arrived to find ourselves just about the only adults in the cinema unaccompanied by screaming children. We felt ridiculous, but any Miyazaki screening is worth it, eh?

  6. I never got the wrong date but have gotten the wrong time. A few years ago a friend threw a Fat Tuesday pancake pot luck. I volunteered to bring link sausage. It was a large party so I cooked around 200 sausages. I arrived slightly before 7 thinking I could help set up only to find the party had started at 5. The hostess chose the time being a week night so people could come straight from work. Most everyone had already eaten and I was only able to give away a fraction of the sausage for people to take home. I don’t even eat sausage but my dog was grateful for my error. 

  7. When did you innocently wander into a situation for which you were completely unprepared and in which you stood out like a sore thumb?

    That is pretty much my daily existence, which is why 100% work from home has been so great this past 1.5 years.

  8. My wife and I were fully invited, but still stuck out like sore thumbs at a pre-wedding ceremony for a Thai couple she knows. The entire ceremony was conducted in Thai, we had no idea what was going on, and still have no idea whether we were committing some faux pas along the lines of trying to take Comunion in a Catholic Church as a non-Catholic. It went on for a long time, had many different parts with different people saying and doing different things, and we just sat there silently through it all.
    There were a few other non-Thais there too, and we all occasionally caught each others eyes with slightly embarassed looks. Nobody ever said anything to us, so I guess we weren’t too bad, and I never found out if we were really supposed to be there, or the invitation was just a nicety that was extended without expecting we would actually go.

    • I had a similar experience when we lived in Atlanta and one of my wife’s Black coworkers invited us to a party. We were clearly not expected to show up. It worked out, but was pretty weird at first. Good experience for us though. Definitely gives you a perspective on what Black people experience all the time. 

  9. nothing like that for me…surprisingly enough
    younger me walked into a bar he wasnt quite prepared for tho… wandering about brighton all gothed up with me trenchcoat and combat boots i spotted a pub called the amsterdam
    and figured…oooo a taste of home so i marched my ass in there ignored all the guys staring at me and plopped my ass down at the bar and ordered a pint
    then i figured id read the signs and shit behind the bar
    the amsterdam…for men and their boys
    oh….so thats why they were staring
    anyways…they were a friendly bunch…wonder if that place is still there

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