I laugh at the character Charlotte on Sex in the City, the popular HBO television series. When she’s single, she grows frustrated when she doesn’t have plans on Saturday night. “But it’s date night!” she wails when others suggest things for her to do.
I don’t think date night is solely Saturday night in Milwaukee. Friday night in the Pfister is full of roaming young men, wrapped in cashmere scarves and the latest fashions and the slight hint of a few beers warming them to the evening. As the night grows late, a certain drive seems to ignite within them as they hunt for the dates they originally set out to find.
When a friend and I tumbled out of the elevator from the parking garage, we were met by Shay and his entourage. Three mid-20s men, handsomely dressed and alight with energy at the late hour, they had already had drinks in the lobby bar and were headed upstairs to Blu to meet with friends for more. Two women arriving together without any male chaperones lit up the men and we were smothered in attention. Where had we been, where were we going and please join us at Blu was the conversation theme and it made me smile to remember girls’ nights out that are fueled with the same contagious energy.
We felt like we were watching a coming-of-age story when two of the crew cheered on a third as he said he was headed back to Mason Street Grill “talk to that girl again, see if she’s still there.” The hope in his eyes and his friends’ encouraging grins, made slightly raunchy by drink, made us smile.
While we watched so many others crawl into the wee hours together in the lobby bar, conversations stumbling across the bar top and lobby tables, we saw endless streams of young men who could have each been Shay and his posse. All dressed in the latest fashions, braving the scene without coats, hair gelled to perfection and walking as if auditioning for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, packs of young men on the prowl moved through the lobby into the frigid streets.
They weren’t intimidating nor drunk; they seemed, from our vantage point, sleepily ending our evening in girl talk, emboldened and electrified. In some ways, we were flattered and wooed, even though the men weren’t there for us. We happily bore witness to the energy they put in their evening and the John Travolta hitch in their steps. Realizing it was all part of the performance they put together to help them make Friday night date night, to help them capture the attentions and affections of the women they’d meet, we couldn’t help but smile encouragingly and, just as Shay and his friend did, wish them all good luck out there.