There comes a time in the life a young man when girls suddenly aren’t icky anymore. Fear of cooties is replaced by a curiosity for kissing and holding hands. Generally this happens between the ages of ten and thirteen. Before ten girls are to be avoided and after thirteen girls are the subject of fantasies that involve a lot less innocence and a lot more nudity. But during that golden period in between, girls are a mystery that are loved and feared all at once.
Boys of this age come into Hooters and spend most of their meal staring into their root beers and boneless wings. While they have a curiosity that makes them eager to experience Hooters, they also have enough embarrassment that any and all young bravado stays in the car.
Recently a table of boys came in between the ages of ten and thirteen – the golden age. Cheeks burned red as the table was addressed and whispered giggles echoed in the background as Hooters Girls hurried past with arms full of wings. It was all standard procedure.
Meanwhile, I was tending bar serving beers to Talladega who happened to know the party of boys and their chaperone. Next to Talladega sat Ariel. And in case you forgot, Ariel is a complete and total badass
As the boys’ meal came to an end, Talladega, jokingly said that we should give our numbers to one of the boys. While I was already shaking the idea off with a laugh, Ariel had that look in her eye. It was a version of the look that makes me drink vodka on a Tuesday.
With little to no further prompting, I grabbed a napkin and scrawled Hooters’ number across it in green permanent marker. I added a heart for good measure. No sooner had I capped my marker and Ariel was out the door dropping off the folded napkin on her way.
I looked over just in time to catch the boy opening the napkin and his eyes lighting up. He’d achieved the unachievable and all his friends were noticeably envious. He was the coolest ten-year-old ever.
Flash-forward a few hours and the phone rang. I picked it up with my usual greeting and an apprehensive voice muttered, “Um, you left a number for me to call?”
I knew immediately who it was.
Sauce: “Oh, actually Ariel left her number for you, but unfortunately she left a bit a go. But I’d love to take a message for her. How does that sound?”
Boy: “Yeah, that sounds pretty good.”
Then there was a long pause.
Sauce: “Well what would you like me to tell her for you?”
Boy: “Well tell her I say hi and that’s she really pretty.”
After some background whispering and another pause.
Boy: “And thank you for leaving the number.”
Sauce: “Ok, I’ll let her know all of that and I took down your number too, just in case!”
Boy: “Thanks. Oh and you’re pretty too.”
And with that, I’d had the most wonderful phone conversation I’d ever had at Hooters. As much as we’d made his day, he’d made mine too. Sometimes it’s the little things I guess.
FOLLOWUP: Ariel invited the boy back anytime for a milkshake on the house. We’ve yet to see him, but I’m pretty sure his whole school knows by now. I also assume he recently began dating between three and five girlfriends.