Girl's Night OUT
"Anything you can do, I can do better.
I can do anything better than you.
- No you can't.
Yes I can.
- No you can't.
Yes I can.
- No you can't.
Yes I can. Yes I can. Yes I can!"

-from "Annie Get You Gun," music & lyrics by Irving Berlin, book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields

I was challenged to a duel.

It wasn't a slap in the face with a leather glove, but it was pretty damn close.

Who says chauvinistic posturing over a woman's virtue is the sole provenance of men?

Now, the only other time my chivalric qualities were called into question was by accident and through complete ignorance on my part. I had been leaning on a pool table in a bar, chatting up a woman seated nearby. Another woman with biceps the size of my head said: "So, I guess you're askin' me to play pool."

Me: Excuse me?

Biceps: You must be askin' me to play pool.

She looked at my conversational partner and then at me. I got it.

Me: No, really, that's OK. I'll just take my drink and leave.

Biceps: Rack 'em up.

I'm NOT a pool player by any stretch of the imagination, but I did rather respectfully, considering my life and limbs depended on it. I made sure to lose - I meant to do that - and leave the bar that evening with some sense of dignity intact.

No such luck this time.

The evening began innocently enough, with everyone having a lovely time. And then jealousy reared its ugly head.

I was at the party escorting my friend, uh, Martina, merely in the capacity of friend, when her pseudo-ex-dating-friend picked up the scent of courtship between Martina and me, which I had been trying to suppress with all my might. It started slowly, with one-upmanship on drinks, and progressed to competition for Martina on the dance floor. By the end of the evening threatening verbal innuendo was being whispered in my ear above the din of the crowd - loud and clear enough for me to hear, but out of earshot of the sweet object of our desire.

It had to stop, so I sought escape - not out of cowardice, but pride. I wouldn't be bullied into treating my friend like a prize, referred to only in the third person while she sat next to me, a troubled smile creasing dimples in her cheeks. I wouldn't be pushed into jeopardizing the special relationship I already had with her. I left alone and kicked myself the whole long train-ride home.

Maybe there is a New Year's Resolution for me to implement this year, after all: Know what you want, then go for it.



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