High Rated Gabru Gonna Save You

Eight months into 2020, I’m happy to announce that I’ve already achieved my year-end goal which was ‘Eat Own Weight In Wasabi Peas’. In other achievements, I’m also learning, for the first time ever, what it’s like to live and feel truly and properly alone. And unlike my beard which now covers 300 square miles and has its own zip code, this isn’t something I can blame on the pandemic. Nope, the truth is that loneliness waltzed in through the doors a few years ago and just stuck around; a haemorrhoid of the soul.

You’re probably thinking, “Ashish, you? Lonely? How?! You’re the guy famous for yacht parties with supermodels bursting out of walls like that thing from Alien.” Actually that’s DiCaprio, but it’s a common mix-up. And yes, it is odd, because I always saw loneliness as a feeling reserved for other people, like senior citizens or Imtiaz Ali heroes looking for women to save them. But hey, like love and FIRs, loneliness happens when you least expect it.

It wasn’t always this way. Let’s flashback to a time way before Covid, when you could hug people minus the mental image of going to third base with a ventilator. I’d moved in to a new place, with a friend I’d known for years and a metabolism that was happy to finance half of Bombay’s liquor industry. But eventually my 30s heard the ruckus and called the cops on that party. Then came solo living, where I found myself walking into the jaws of an empty, silent flat every night, which was exactly what I wanted. Except when I didn’t. And both those feelings existed at the same time.

The last couple of years also became kinda work-from-home, or sometimes ‘work from cafe and pay 700 bucks for cardboard dandruff aka granola’. So I’d often go days without having spoken to anyone, except maybe my trainer. And a dude reciting numbers while you throw up a lung on the gym floor hardly counts as social interaction.

Given all this practice, at the start of the pandemic, I found myself handling the isolation aspect a little bit better than I expected. Don’t get me wrong – I still hated it. I’m not one of those internet-introverts whose entire personality is telling the world that they’re introverts. BUUUUTTT <guy tapping forehead meme.jpg> you can’t be sad about isolation if you’re busy being sad about other everyday concerns like overarching doom, the complete upheaval of life as you knew it, and that icky feeling of wet atta stuck to your fingers.

And now, after five months of not meeting people, I’m relatively okay and haven’t invented imaginary friends haha Ashish is lying this is Pramod his new close friend and also pillow.

It isn’t just me. Over the last few years, urban loneliness has been recognised as a global health issue. I know this because googling ‘urban loneliness’ is a thing you do when you’re lonely. Fun Fact: in 2018, Britain created a position called Minister of Loneliness. Yes, there’s an actual person and no, their job is not to share Artidote all day. (They share nihilistic TikToks.)

In India, like the west, loneliness has started leap-frogging age barriers and hitting young urban professionals. It’s a crippling affliction that sometimes causes them to take desperate measures, like suicide or arranged marriage.

Thankfully neither of those are on the cards for me, but even pre-Covid, I found myself entertained by completely unnecessary thoughts. For example, what if I choked to death or slipped and hit my head in the bathroom during a rained-in weekend? How long before someone found out? I’d like to think soon but that’d only happen if there were some client deliverables pending. That would be weird:

Client: Why is the content delayed? We put a date in the Excel HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT THE DOT XLS.

Manager: Uh, Ashish died.

Client: Oh no… we’ll have to (gasp) update the promo posters.

Manager: Wtf.

Client: RIP EXCEL SHEET. GONE TOO SOON. <sobs into pivot table>

You’d think that the solution would be to surround yourself with people and yes, friends are lifesavers, but not the complete answer. For one, they do this weird thing where they exist as individuals with their own needs and desires and schedules, so they may have to pass up the glorious opportunity to babysit your lonely ass.

And secondly, even if you pack your calendar with socialising, it’s a temporary fix. You can’t use people as pacifiers forever. The trick is to be at peace by yourself, without compulsively clutching onto a deadline or a drink or a joint or a screen or six break-ups worth of ice-cream. As far as I know, the only person to have achieved this is the Buddha. It probably helped that there was no internet back then. You can’t achieve enlightenment when you’re refreshing Insta 20 times a minute just to see some asshole boomerang his drink. (It’s me, I’m that asshole.)

I’ve also realized that I’ll never get completely used to the silence that comes from living alone. It feels like your whole house is wearing noise-cancelling headphones. You need active measures to dispel it otherwise you run the risk of turning into an art-film character, communicating entirely through sighs and kurta-creases.

One pick-me-up technique is to go about your chores with loud music on, even if you don’t feel like it at the start. Trust me, by the end of it, your neighbours will hate you. I’m sure mine think that I’m a psychopath because who listens to Run The Jewels, Taylor Swift and High Rated Gabru in the same hour? But hey, they’re the ones with two ear-shattering kids they made on purpose, so who’s the real psychopath huh huh?

Although it’s no guarantee, I’m told that it gets better in the case of healthy, stable relationships. I wouldn’t know – there are thinkpieces longer than my longest relationships. Sometimes I’m reminded of this right when I wake up and see that the bedsheet on my side is wrinkled, while the other half is pristine and untouched. If you look at the bed from directly above, you can see exactly where hope ends and the Prateek Kuhad video begins.

If you’re in a similar boat and were expecting real solutions in this piece then yay, you’re already a foolish optimist and you’ll be fine. Because really, what other approach could there be except dogged optimism and all that other boring but important stuff like therapy, exercise, cutting down on social media, pushing yourself to forge real connections, cuddling with Pramod etc. I wish you luck, especially for the days where nothing works and you only want to Netflix and eat rubbish. Just avoid wasabi peas. They’re really easy to choke on.

A Mostly Unhelpful Guide To Modern Dating

I like to think that I’m up to date with modern culture. For example, just today I found out what a Billie Eilish is: a device that mumbles so that 12-year-olds can feel something. But recently a friend mentioned the term ‘Dracula-ing’ in the context of modern dating, and I was clueless. My first thought was, “Is that a fetish where you get turned on by the sight of your lover in a coffin?” but nope, that’s just called divorce.

No, ‘Dracula-ing’, according to this young, forever-tormented generation, is when a romantic interest / future-therapy-topic surfaces only at odd hours of the night to text you the classic ‘hey u up?’. This text is seen as disrespectful to the English language and also to people who do not want to be treated like Orgasm Vending Machines.

There are other terms that I’ve learned recently: Zombie-ing, which is when a hook-up who had ghosted you ages ago, re-appears with no explanation or apology, asking to be let into your pants. There’s also ‘V-lationshipping’, which is when a long-lost ex contacts you around Valentine’s Day to see if they can cut open your chest and fill it up with excuses again.

There are a million such dating terms, because coining names is easy and adds a nice blanket of humour over the festering roadkill that is your love life. But in all our hand-wringing about modern dating, we sometimes forget a few basics.

First of all, we wanted this. We wanted to defy tradition and have the freedom to pick our next drinking problem. Even when we didn’t have the technology to simultaneously sext three people while taking a dump, we knew we wanted choice and that’s the weird thing about choice – it turns out that other people have it too. Someone could be your main window and you’d just be one of fifteen open tabs or vice-versa, and that’s just how it is, according to this browser analogy that I feel we should now minimise to avoid shitty puns.

And sure, tech is an enabler, but the core behaviours aren’t really new. Previous generations just called them ‘Trust And Communication Issues’ (and then went out and got scurvy or whatever they did for fun back then, I dunno.)

My favourite manifestation of these issues are the ‘No Label’ relationships. They sound great on paper, except you dig in a little (two drinks) and realise that one person would actually like a label but can’t really ask because the other person will leave and then nobody will ever love them and they’ll die alone and all their exes will turn up at the funeral to sneer and laugh and swap stories about their weird birthmark shaped like Rajpal Yadav.

Look, it’s not inherently cooler to have “no labels”. Being “Undefined” is also technically a label. And what are the rules? Are you allowed to hook up with other people? Will you meet each others’ friends? Do you go dutch on the abortion bill or is it like drinks – ‘I’ll get this one, you get the next’? Because it doesn’t matter what you call yourself – ‘Friends With Benefits’, ‘No Labels’, ‘Poly But Upvaas On Thursday’ – if you haven’t discussed the rules, then one of you will spend several nights sobbing along to the sad sounds of Kumar Sanu’s nose. (Spoiler Alert: It’s probably you.)

So is there a bright side to this nonsense or are we all doomed to spend our lives chugging from the Fountain Of Perennial Disappointment? Of course there is. This churn is good, because every Dracula, every Zombie, every Goblin (that’s when you date a tiny magic banker who’s a dog-whistle for the Jewish community) – every one of these encountered is a bad option eliminated, paving the way for better ones to come along and meet a smarter you. (OR you’ll just build an emotional Great Wall Of China and push away anyone who tries to get close, but hey, save that worry for the 2 a.m. internal monologue.)

In my personal experience, it does get better with time simply because you get better with time. I remember how frantic and hyper we used to get in our 20s, and how much garbage we would tolerate. We’ve all been on both sides of conversations like this:

Friend: Woe is me, why do I keep dating shitty dudes, why why why? This one keeps yelling his ex’s name during sex.

Me: Dump him.

Friend: Nooo, maybe it’s an honest mistake?? ‘Cos her name is so similar to mine?

Me: Is her name also Pooja?

Friend: Close. It’s Eyehfuwjjføjasihkhfhghyykshjull.


Friend: She’s named after that Icelandic volcano.

Me: So you gonna ignore my advice now or later?

Friend: Never mind, marrying him tomorrow!

Things improved only once we discovered this wonder drug called self-esteem. Oh man, you try it once, you never wanna go back. Sure, it’s not the easiest to manufacture, although society deals it to you quicker if you’re a dude. But take one hit and suddenly you’re doing things like “being confident” and “setting boundaries” and “not settling for bullshit behavior just because they have a nice butt that fills the parent-shaped hole in your heart.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still extremely single and my last intimate encounter was with a packet of Peppy Chips. But now there’s a certain equanimity about the situation, which helps tackle the biggest dating fear of them all i.e. settling down with someone only because you’ve hit a certain age and not because you feel, in every atom of your body, that this is the person whose adult diapers you would hate changing the least.

I know modern dating is way more complicated than before but we also have more freedom than anyone’s ever had. If we use it well and keep our spirits and standards high, then maybe one day it’ll work out. Yes, I know that statement makes no objective sense but neither does the assertion that ‘It’ll never work out’. Both are equally baseless from a logic perspective so why not latch on to the nicer thought? The thought that maybe one day, the universe will notice and it will give in and whisper in our direction those powerful magic words, ‘hey u up?’.

Dance Pe Chance!

The road to mature adulthood is booby-trapped with a lot of questions. Almost 24 now, I’ve managed to sidestep most of the dangerous question-traps, such as ‘What am I doing with my life? What is my purpose?’ etc., but there are some that have found their mark. For example, I wonder if I will ever find that One True Love, who will stand by my side forever, leaving only to go fetch me more beer.

However, there are some questions I’m glad to have found answers to, such as ‘Will I be able to finish the large pizza by myself?’, ‘What happens if I move my finger a little to the left?’, and of course, the most pertinent and pressing question of them all, ‘What does the inside of a dance bar look like?’

Yes, that’s right. The deed is done. After years, yes, years, of being constrained by lack of money, will and testicular fortitude, I, Ashish Shakya, straight A student in school, erstwhile Hope and Pride Of The Family, have finally been to a dance bar. While doing so, I looked thirty seven different kinds of stupid, but that’s something I’ll discuss a little later.

Now I understand if this dance-bar revelation makes you think of me as some sleazeball who can’t have a normal relationship with women because he keeps flicking money at their faces. However, that’s definitely not the case, for I have many female friends and as far as I can remember, I haven’t paid them a dime. Moreover, I respect women to the point of having made a supreme, gut-wrenching sacrifice for some of them – I’ve gone shoe-shopping. The defence rests, Your Honour.


Another major sacrifice one can make for a woman is to travel to Andheri to meet her. The way I see it, in relationships where the girlfriend stays at Andheri, a trip there is insurance against future misdemeanours, imaginary or otherwise. In other words, suppose you travel to Andheri once to see your girlfriend, and then cheat on her with, say, a transvestite midget, she cannot be mad at you. This isn’t a formal law yet but I’m told the Supreme Court will work on it once it is done pardoning terrorists.


So yes, dance bars. For years, I’ve been fascinated by the subculture, and I don’t see how anyone can not be. After all, these are getaways from the real world, where the only thing louder than the music are the colours – pinks, yellows, neon – that shimmer and shine, as if to defy the darkness outside. These are palaces, no less, where money buys you queens, and where mere contact with the upholstery can give you herpes.

My imagination was fueled further by Suketu Mehta’s account of Monalisa, a famous bar dancer, in his book ‘Maximum City’. I imagined striding into those shady portals armed with journalistic resolve, just like Mehta had done, and effortlessly picking out a muse named after a fat Italian of indeterminate gender.

Unfortunately, things did not quite go that way.

Let’s start from the beginning. My first attempt at entering a dance bar was about three months ago. A cocktail of extreme boredom and curiosity finally overpowered the wimp within, and my friends and I decided to hit the bar. We reached the area soon enough, directed on the phone by a friend who had made the pilgrimage once before. It’s not like we’d be lost without directions though – the bar sits on a busy main road, bang opposite a famous supermarket (thus adding new meaning to the phrase ‘bang opposite a famous supermarket’.)

This was it.

Money, balls and body hair – we had what it took to get inside. Nothing was going to stop us now.

We could see nervous laughter on each other’s faces. We walked.

We could see ourselves entering the forbidden world of molls and gangsters. We walked.

We could see…some girls leaving in rickshaws?? We walked, now a bit confused.

Arre sahib…bar band ho gaya hai. Time ho gaya na 9.30…” said a watchman, hurrying up to us. What do you mean the bar’s shut, we ask him. No women inside?

Nahin sir, ladies service nahin milega. Gents service chalu hai,” he replied helpfully. (You won’t get ladies service. Gents service is available though.)

‘Gents service’. The phrase naturally conjured up images of men in shiny sarees, dancing to ‘Saat Samundar Paar’ with hair peeping out from where cleavage should be. I still get nightmares about it.

But what he meant was that the Cinderellas had left the building, thanks to evil stepbitch R.R Patil’s 9:30 p.m deadline, and now it was just like a regular bar inside.

Of course, we had no idea that the rule was being enforced so strictly all over. The evening wasn’t a total loss though, for the watchman turned out to be quite the orator. Seeing that we were newbies, he let flow earthy wisdom gleaned from 19 years of experience as a dance-bar watchman. The essence of the Wise Watchman’s lengthy discourse is as follows:

1. Bar dancers are not dancers, not anymore than Bruce Willis is a ballerina. They are all whores. They will do it with anyone, including you. Yes, you.

2. The bar we were standing outside was a ‘decent bar’. Scum like “rickshawalle aur bhajiwaale” did not come there. They went to another bar in Vashi, owned by the same ‘decent bar’ owner.

3. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, attempt to pick up any women in and around the bar premises, including a short path leading up to the entrance. Giving them a lift in your car parked 5 metres away is ok though, because this is a ‘decent bar’.

4. If you misbehave inside the bar, the bouncers will rip you a new hole, stuff it with masala papad and charge you 250 bucks for it. Which brings us to the next point…

5. Dance bars are expensive. 250 bucks for beer, 100 for water, 170 for a soft drink. “Aur yeh toh kuch nahin hai sahab…log lakh lakh uda ke jaate hain. Yeh aisi jagah hai sahab, jahaan aadmi sirf deta hai…leke kuch nahin jaata,” added the Wise Watchman, following it up with an Alok Nath-type sigh.

(This is nothing. People blow up hundreds of thousands of rupees in here. This is a place where a man only gives, and takes back nothing.)

He further implored us to not get addicted to the shindig, seeing as how we looked like “young students from decent families”. And yet, in the very next breath, he asked us to drop by in the evening sometime, “just to see what it’s like”. We told him we’d be there. Heck, if a guy outside the bar could be so entertaining, the bar itself was a seedy film begging to be watched.

Which brings us to December.

Boredom caught up with us again, and this time we knew where we had to go. I headed over to my friend Anant’s house to pick him up. As I was waiting downstairs, all pumped up and ready to enter the Bootysphere, I saw something that absolutely skewered all hopes of a great evening.

It was Anant. Wearing shorts.

Now I don’t have a problem with guys wearing shorts, even if they boast of a body hair cover that little children occasionally get lost in. But Anant is the guy who was once stopped from entering a theatre showing ‘The Mummy’, because he didn’t look old enough to watch the A-rated comic adventure. And now, on our first trip to a place populated by tough, swarthy men – the kind who had probably knifed a few people and then used the same knife to scratch their balls – my friend had decided to turn up looking like a schoolboy. We told him that if he was turned away, he would be on his own. Just this once, we would have to break the (quite literal) ‘Bros before hos’ rule.

However, we made it past the watchman without a hitch. Off the main path, through an entrance on the right, up a flight of stairs and there it was – the door. Standing there, I realised what Columbus must have felt when, after months of scurvy and sailor sweat, he finally came upon the first Hooters. The doorman smiled at us, shook our hands and swung open the door.

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re naked in a ridiculously inappropriate place, like a wedding, and can feel a thousand eyes upon you, not just because you’re naked but also because you happen to be the groom? That’s what it felt like when I walked in and saw about 20 bar girls staring at me while mentally undressing my wallet. Not used to being objectified by ladies of the night, I turned towards my friends who, judging from their line-of-sight, had developed a sudden interest in the floor tile pattern.

At this instant, for some strange reason, the strains of Dostana’s ‘Maa da ladla bigad gaya‘ started playing in my head. Of course, it was drowned out by the eardrum-raping music that filled the bar in an attempt to either titillate the men or impact the earth’s rotation, I’m not sure which. This complete initial assault on our senses took about two seconds, after which we were shown to our table by about six hundred staff members, each of whom smiled and insisted on shaking hands. It was time to get down to business, and we would have done so if only we knew how.

Now at this point I should mention that the term ‘dance bar’ is a misnomer. The government has banned the women from dancing, so these places really should be called ‘Stand-around-and-occasionally-pout-at-the-customer Bar’, because that’s what they do in there. Not that I have anything against pouts – in fact, I would do terrible things just to have Scarlet Johansson pout in my general direction. But instead, I found myself being eyed by a hefty middle-aged woman and it made my penis want to curl up and die.

Thankfully there were prettier specimens around, and we did what young, virile men do when given the opportunity to order women like items off a menu. That’s right – we looked down at our glasses, then back at each other’s faces, then back and forth, glasses to face, face to glasses, clueless and embarrassed, like Tibetan monks at a bondage convention.

Meanwhile, the other customers continued with their routine, immune to novice afflictions like embarrassment. We watched as the man seated behind us got about a hundred rupees exchanged for a stack of tenners. He then passed a couple of notes to a waiter, pointed out a dancer and hey presto – she started a striptease on his table! Ok no, not really. What happened was, she came up to the guy, spoke to him for about 20 seconds and swished away back to her spot at the centre of the room, maybe to practice her pouting. There was NO touching involved, and the man seemed quite pleased with himself for having made a 20-second conversation with (gasp!) a woman.

By now, the traitors that I call friends had decided that they were quite content with staring at their beer, and were blushing a deep shade of red that probably matched their frilly panties. It was up to me to restore the manhood of the table. I had to take the next step. So naturally, I went to the loo.

With the pee break over, I had exhausted all possible means of procrastination. So I approached a bouncer, and yelled over the din into his ear, “Yahaan kya system hai?” (What’s the system here?)

He looked at me as if I’d just asked how his third nipple was doing.

Dance bar system hai (It’s a dance bar system),” he replied, slowly. Maybe the in-house music had killed all his brain cells.

I hollered again, asking him about the rates and what was and was not allowed.

Big Moose was more helpful this time. “Paisa tumhaare upar hai, kitna bhi dene ka. Ladki ko direct paisa nahin dene ka. Waiter ko dene ka. Ladki aayegi, baat karegi, baithegi nahin tumhaare saath, khaali baat karegi,” he said.

(Pay whatever you want. Do not pay the girl directly. The waiter will pass on the money. The girl will only talk to you, she will not sit next to you.)

I walked back to the table, confident in the knowledge that come what may, I would end up leaving the bar looking like a douchebag. As the Grammy-nominated track, ‘Teri kurti saxy lagti hai/ Kurti saxy‘ blared in the background, I explained to everyone the novel concept of paying a woman to talk to you. We agreed that it was a dumb and loser-like thing to do, and then forked out two hundred bucks to be exchanged for tenners.

After a few minutes of shyly casting glances at women who, technically, were supposed to be blatantly ogled at, Anant picked out one of the slightly better ones. We passed on about 20 bucks to a waiter and pointed to her. “The white one”, we said, as if she were a shade in a paint catalogue. The waiter gave her the money and she turned her heavily-lined eyes towards us.


“Call her here,” hissed my friends.

“What the fuck are we gonna say to her?” I hissed back.

“We’re not going to talk. You talk. You wanted to do this. Now call her.”


All this while, the girl was staring at us from across the room, giving us the same look prom queens give nerds in teen movies. I looked in her direction, beckoning her with the classic raised-eyebrows-and-head-tilt gesture. At least I *think* I beckoned her. What she saw was a guy shyly raising his head, like a newlywed Indian bride from the 50s, doing something weird with his eyebrows and turning away again, all in a matter of milliseconds. Thankfully, she got the hint and started walking towards the table.

This was it – my first conversation with a being that until now had been almost mythical. As she leaned over, her tresses lingering over her face, now dangerously close to mine, the journalist within woke up (And no, that is not a sexual metaphor). I had to say something deep and engaging, something that would make her stay a while and eventually lead to insights about women living on the dark fringes of society. I took a deep breath, letting her perfume fill my senses, and said, “What is your name?”

Yes, I’m quite the Don Juan.

Her response to the tepid question was better. She put a hand to her ear and shrieked, “Kya??” (WHAT??)

My use of English had sent my friends into a tizzy. Ignoring them, I repeated the question in Hindi, “Aap ka naam kya hai?”. “Sanjana,” came the dour reply. She was clearly uninterested and wanted to go back to normal customers who did not scare her with words like ‘aap’.

I tried again.

Aap kab se yahaan pe kaam kar rahi ho?” (How long have you been working here?)

Ek saal“, she mumbled. (One year.)

After a moment’s silence, she turned and walked back. By now, my friends had multiple hernias from holding in their laughter. I had paid to be snubbed by a bar dancer. It felt strange, almost dirty, and stupid. There was only one thing left to say, so I said it.

“Let’s call another one!”

In my defence, I understood the game better now, so I wanted to play it again. My friends were perfectly fine with the idea, as long as I did all the talking (Have I used the word ‘traitors’ already?)

The next dancer was much prettier. She was petite, with full, maroon lips, straightened hair and a glittering sari that promised to fall off any second, if it weren’t for the shiny clip on her shoulder. When I first saw her, she was flirting with a man who looked like he was a member of the 1980s Bollywood Junior Artistes Association. I wondered if he was a regular high-roller who would stab me with a fork for looking at his girl. The ten rupees he was handing over though put the high-roller notion to rest.

I went through the whole routine again – call the waiter, point out girl, hand over money, tip the waiter extra for handing over money, signal for the girl to come over using the ‘shy-indian-bride-head-tilt-raised-eyebrow’ method, and try to think of something clever to say.

This one had a little trouble comprehending the signal. She couldn’t figure out if I was calling her over or practising Kathakali. A few twitchy eyebrows later, she mouthed the words ‘Aaoon kya’? (Should I come over?). I nodded meekly. So much for second attempts.

Determined to not look like a fool again, I opened my mouth, only to say ‘Aap ka naam kya hai‘? (What is your name?)

“Shama”, she replied. Yeah right. And my name is Studmeister Steelcock.

“So…Shama”, I ventured, “aap ke paas yahaan khade hone ke alawa aur koi bhi talents hain?

(So Shama, do you have any other talents besides standing around?)

Nahin,” she giggled shyly, her Maharashtrian accent coming to the fore, “mere ko aur kuch nahin aata.

(No, I don’t know anything else.)

Her giggles were well-timed, rehearsed like part of a Bollywood script. She walked back, throwing us the occasional glance, as if to say that her milkshake did bring all the boys to the yard, but it wasn’t her fault that the boys were cheap virgins. It was a great act; one that brought out the ‘Shama’ in a girl whose real name was probably Savitri Bajirao Thorwade. It was the same with Sullen Sanjana, and every other woman in the bar. And yet, despite the pretences, the appeal of such places is obvious. It gives many men, brought up within the confines of a regressive social structure, a taste of lust, power and yes, even love, that evades them in the real world. Or simply put, dance bars help ugly people get laid.

I wish I could tell you more – about the prize dancer with a heart of gold, about her fat stockbroker client whose wife smells of onions and about the leper pimp who has the singing voice of an angel. But there was no time to explore all that. We’d had enough of being rejected by bar dancers and were itching to get back to the real world, where we could be rejected by regular women. We called for the bill and as we hurried out, I could feel the women still staring at us, quietly laughing at our problem of ‘premature evacuation.’