Monday, December 06, 2004

Model behavior

Sometimes, the harder I try to fit in, the more it backfires on me. Last Wednesday, Seamus invited me over to play poker with the boys. I hadn’t played poker for months, so I was both excited and nervous about my return to dark underworld of illegal gaming.

Aware that I would be the only woman in a group of seven men, I knew I had something to prove. I had to prove that I knew how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. I had to prove that I could cuss like a sailor. And I had to prove that I could hold my scotch.

See, the reason I haven’t played poker in several months is because Natasha and I were blacklisted due to the fatal error we committed the last time we played at Seamus’ house: we brought homemade cupcakes.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Nat and I decided we wanted to bring something other than a bag of chips and some beer, so we figured, what the heck, everyone loves a good cupcake, right? We attempted to decorate them like playing cards, but that didn’t really work out, so they just ended up with some black and red sprinkles on them. But they were really quite tasty, honest!

I hadn’t even made it through the doorway carrying the tray of treats when Seamus said, “What the hell are you doing? Get those cupcakes out of my house!”

Apparently eating dainty snack cakes is not seen as a manly thing to do during a serious game of poker. Plus they didn’t really taste that good with Glenfiddich on the rocks. Live and learn.

So this time I was prepared – I brought a six-pack of beer and some pretzels. No sissy light beer or chi-chi sourdough pretzel nuggets. Just good old Heineken and some pretzel rods. I debated over the pretzel rods, but then determined that they would go over well since they looked kind of like cigars. I was right. Men love their cigars and cigar substitutes.

As I sat at the card table, the window behind me was open and it was freezing outside, but hell if I was going to be the one to say anything about it. I’d sooner let my eyeballs freeze open than complain like a little girl about it being too cold. I could not risk being blacklisted again. Fortunately, after about an hour of icy wind blowing in, one of the guys put on his winter coat because we could see our breath, so I took that as my cue to be nice and shut the window. For his sake, of course.

We started playing cards, and everything was going pretty well. I won a few hands, knew when to hold them and when to fold them, and started amassing a decent stack of chips. But then my proverbial house of cards came tumbling down around me.

The phone rang, and since Seamus was already out that round, he took the call. It was our friend, Dr. Greene, the renowned human cloning specialist. I heard them chatting in the background, but didn’t pay much attention. Then I heard Seamus say, “Yeah, Jenny’s here. What? Hold on, I’ll tell her.”

“Jen – Dr. Greene wants me to tell you that Norelle’s gone, whatever that means.”

I leapt up, almost knocking over my beer and screamed, “Ohmigod, she is?! YES!! I hated her!”

Everyone became deathly silent, and just stared at me as I stood there red-faced, clutching a semi-crushed pretzel rod in my hand.

”Who’s Norelle? Is that the girl Dr. Greene was dating?”

“Uhh, no.”

“Oh – is she that co-worker of his?”

“Uhh, no.”

“Well who is it?”

“Uhh… nobody. It doesn’t matter. Hey, is it my deal? Don’t blinds go up now? Anybody need another beer?”

Norelle. Why did he have to bring her up now? Why, Dr. Greene? Couldn’t you have waited until I got home that night? Couldn’t you have just emailed me or left me a voice mail? An entire evening worth of hard work spent rebuilding my credibility was almost thrown out the window, all because the good doctor couldn’t keep his gene splicing lips zipped.

Most of you, I’m sure, have no idea who Norelle is, nor do you care. It’s only the sick, shameful individuals, like Dr. Greene and me, who are intimately familiar with that name:

Norelle is a woman who is no longer in the running toward becoming America’s next top model.

You see, sometimes Dr. Greene and I like to watch America’s Next Top Model on Wednesdays – okay we always like to watch it, are you happy now? – and Norelle is a really annoying person on the show who finally got kicked off. Hearing of her demise made me totally forget where I was, and what I was trying to accomplish that evening. I was unable to contain my excitement, and almost blew my entire cool girl cover.

I don’t know, I guess I can’t really blame Dr. Greene. It’s not his fault that we’re hopelessly addicted to the worst best TV show in existence. I just need to get a better grip on my emotions when I know I’m around people who wouldn’t understand.

Now I can only hope that most of the guys forgot my erratic outburst and didn’t catch the reference to America’s Next Top Model. I guess only time will tell – we’ll see if I get an invite next month to poker night. I just pray it’s not on a Wednesday night again.