Monday, December 18, 2006

Dear Guys We Met At Sidetrack Last Night,

The boyfriend and I love show tunes. We love show tunes in the way hipsters love trendy clothes and children love puppies and Paris Hilton loves attention.

And we love going to Sidetrack to bask in the warm show-tune glow together as often as we can. Even though they have played that insufferable “Nothin’ Dirty Goin’ On” to the point that the footage is starting to degrade and I’ve started to hate Dolly Parton just a little in the back of my throat. Even though it’s totally not her fault they keep playing that goddamn clip.

So it was great to find another couple last night who shares our weird-obsessive little passion. And when you started comparing notes on the Barbra Streisand concerts you’ve seen all over the country … well, let’s just say the boyfriend needed a cigarette and a cold shower when you were done.

But we have a little confession to make.

You see, we kind of lied to you about something. Something we lie about to a lot of strangers. Something that totally doesn’t matter, but you guys kept going back to it and then we started feeling really bad.

So …

Remember how you walked up to us and asked us how long we’d been together because people who’ve been together for a long time never hold hands and act all lovey-dovey in public the way we were? And remember how we told you we’d been together for five years?

Well, we kind of rounded up a bit. By … um … four years and seven months. (And five days, if we’re clearing the air here completely and starting again on a foundation of absolute truth.)

You see, we’re so sure of our future that we’re moving in together. Very soon. Once we survive the nightmare we’re mired in with an ugly consortium of incompetent developers and their Realtors we’re filing ethics charges against, that is.

I’ve never even considered moving in with a boyfriend before. He’s never introduced a boyfriend to his family—and I’m already in his family photos albums and email address books. We’re that kind of serious.

So we’ve started to resent the looks we get when we tell people how long we’ve been together. I’m sure you got them too when you started dating: the looks that say Five months? It’s obviously all about sex. You two will never last. I’ll give you my I-told-you-sos now so I won’t have to make the effort when you break up next week.

So we decided around our two-month mark to translate every month we’ve been together into years. But only with strangers who ask—and only with strangers who ask in casual, there’s-probably-a-really-good-chance-we’ll-never-see-you-again settings.

And until last night, it’s worked quite well—inquiring strangers get answers to their questions and we get to enjoy our young love free from the doubtful glares of people we just met. We even pulled it off on the bus on the way to see Barbra—and we figure if our dirty little lie was good enough for a busful of rabid Barbra fans, it was certainly good enough for consumers of the more general-interest show-tune selections they play at Sidetrack.

But you guys kept coming back to it. Five years! you’d say. Wow—you two grope each other like priests at a Cub Scout rally. Then a few songs would go by. Then Do you know [name of person who knows darn well that Jake's longest Chicago relationship has been only nine months]? He’s my best friend in the whole world. In fact, he just gave me his kidney. And all the while, the boyfriend and I kept muttering We are SO busted to each other. In between verses of “I’m Still Here,” that is. And when Shirley started pounding on the piano with her bare hand in that last verse, each beat was like a smack on the back of our heads—like in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” except to tell us we were liars instead of murderers. And that our hair looked fabulous.

But no one mourns the wicked, so we hereby apologize for misleading you.

On the plus side, you two totally nailed our young love when you saw us. We have no intention of ever losing our pathological need to cling to each other in public, though, so we promise to be just as nauseatingly in love on our real five-year anniversary. Maybe we’ll invite you to the party.

Hope to see you guys again soon. And this time we promise to lie only about things you’ll never be able to fact-check. Like what we do for a living.

We’re Broadway stars, in case you were wondering. HUGE Broadway stars. Just don't ask which shows we've headlined in.

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