The Poet Laureate of Pina Coladas

My friend recently hosted a party to celebrate her birthday. She is a well-known writer. Therefore, I should have known to be on my best behavior. Instead, I decided to use the party as an opportunity to check the ‘flirt with someone mercilessly’ goal off my Phuket list. In order to do that, I felt I needed a drink. There’s where the trouble started.

Several glasses of wine later, a friend asked me to recant the Korean spa story. While I feel the story comes off better in written format rather than spoken word, I figured I’d at least be more animated while tipsy (read drunk). So, I was telling the story of getting scrubbed by a Korean dominatrix when this very handsome man joined the party and took a seat behind me and my friends. I figured I’d try to get his attention with my story of semi-girl-on-girl action. Unfortunately, I did.

The handsome guy was alone, so I coyly invited him to join our conversation, thinking he’d see how funny and entertaining I was and surely fall madly in love with me on the spot.

The problem with this scene is that Drunk Jane is now in control of my body and words. Sober Jane has left the building. Drunk Jane believes that she is a goddess who is highly-intelligent and Angelina Jolie-level-sexy (think Angelina’s badass years when she wore vials of blood around her neck, not diaper bags and babies). Sober Jane controls all aspects of reason, wisdom and discretion, so none of these characteristics are within my grasp…but I didn’t know it.

Handsome guy introduced himself, but to protect the poor man, I’ll keep that private. We were talking about my friend’s birthday, and he mentioned that his birthday was in November. Apparently, I could still deduce that he is a Scorpio. Therefore, I offered my professor-like analysis of Scorpios and why they’re bad with those mean stingers. In fact, I spent a great deal of time talking about his ‘big stinger.’ My friend Susan gave me her stern “for the love of God, shut up” look, but I did not heed this warning. After delivering my manifesto on Scorpios, I realized I may have gone on a bit too much, so I said, “What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Wonderful! So am I!” (in my dreams, not in any form of reality). More droning on about my non-existent writing career. In fact, I think I somehow managed to drop in a discussion about Graham Greene’s use of existentialism in my favorite book, The End of the Affair, assuming I could actually pronounce existentialism at that point. I believe the man tried to interject his thoughts on the novel, which were certainly much more valuable than mine, but I rudely talked right over him. Who knows what gems of literary analysis he was going to offer up had I not squashed them like annoying bugs.

“Have you been published?” he asked. Yikes! Dreaded question. I had to come up with some brilliant recovery, but Drunk Jane was at the wheel. This is what she said: “No, but I was a finalist for a Rupert Holmes award.”

Let me translate what Drunk Jane just said: “I was nominated for a writing award named after Rupert Holmes, the guy who wrote the poetic line ‘if you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain.’”

What Sober Jane so desperately wanted to say was that I was a finalist for a Rupert Hughes award, which is a writing award named after an actual writer.

Unfortunately, handsome guy was also a music buff so this slip of the tongue, which would have probably gone unnoticed under most circumstances, did not in this scenario. His head cocked in confusion. “Wow. Rupert Holmes sure got a lot of mileage out of that Pina Colada song.”

I changed the subject.

“What about you? Have you been published?”

“Yes, but only in some writing journals.” Ok, people, just for the record, this is actually a very hard thing to do. Magazines and journals that are primarily written for professional writers only choose the best of the best to include in their publications. I was starting to realize that I was out of my league in this conversation. I believe all I said was, “wow.”

Then he said, “Yeah, but my dad has written about 10 books and is the Poet Laureate of California, so I have a lot to live up to.”

There is an awkward pause in the conversation while I desperately attempt to revive Sober Jane. “Your dad is the Poet Laureate of California?”


Here’s where I beg Sober Jane for an eloquent response, but instead say, “Holy hell!” (This is an oxymoron for those who have your red pens at the ready. Hell is not holy…nor is it eloquent).

My only hope was to change the subject…again.

“I’m a Pisces. We drink a lot. We’re, like, fish. So I’ll just swim back to the bar.”

Needless to say, the conversation died from there and no, he did not care to have the phone number of the poet laureate of pina coladas.


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