The second-worst thing you could do on a first date is schedule that first date at a bar karaoke night. The worst thing you could do on a first date is schedule that first date at a bar karaoke night and sing Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." I will buy anyone who does this a night of free drinks. Proof required.
At The Spot last Thursday, the woman who did a pretty decent job tearing down an imaginary Uncle Joey (or whoever) was probably not on a first date, and I was not on a first date. I imagined the scenario because watching karaoke makes my mind wander in strange directions. It wasn't even supposed to be karaoke night at the Timbergrove-area strip-center bar, according to an old listing I saw. But that's what you get for relying on old listings. I get Karaoke.
The good thing is, the Spot is a neighborhood semi-dive with a nice-size crew of outgoing regulars. There is a picture of George Jones on the wall, and a picture of his daughter Georgette. The crowd reflects the neighborhood and trends a little older, with some younger folks around who look like they could play flashback versions of the regulars if someone ever made a movie about the place. That means no trios of karaoke woo-girls attacking the mic like backup singers on black beauties, thankfully.
If the karaoke - which happens every Tuesday and Thursday, with discounts on big draft beers - is not working for you, there are plenty of spots on the other side of the windowless room, beyond the booze island in the center. And there's always the patio, where you can smoke, watch feral cats patrol the parking lot and listen to a woman ask another woman if she remembers when or why she ran down T.C. Jester. Possibly chasing cats.
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On the non-karaoke side there's 8-liners and pool, but a better game is hanging out with a group of regulars - two men, two women - and participating in an activity they just made up. It involves casting a set of Mardi Gras beads onto a table and interpreting the resulting shape. It's kind of like cloud-watching, except you're looking down and kind of drunk instead of looking up and stoned.
I thought my first throw looked like a dog in a canine medical scooter, but the lady next to me whispered to her friend that it looked more like a male genitalia mid-ejaculation (probably a first, phrase-wise, for this blog). One of the guys, whose name isn't Chuck but we called Chuck, told my friend that a good imagination is necessary for good sex. When mixed with vodka, it also helps you tolerate karaoke night.