The Dangers of Small-Town Drinking

At least I had a warning–Sarah texted me Saturday night when she got to Lynn’s saying something along the lines of, “You need to get to Lynn’s soon so you can reconnect with your long-lost love Steve H.” My response was something along the lines of, “Fuck that guy. Be there soon.”

My short history with Steve: We used to be really good friends–awesome conversations late into the night, hanging out a lot, having a good time. He embellished things a lot, but for some reason no one ever called him out. He also tried to fuck pretty much everyone to little no success. He tried things with almost every single lady friend of mine. None of us were interested in him anyway, but we were especially uninterested knowing he’d tried the same things with all of us. We knew he only wanted laid, and not that we were all solely desiring romance, but when you know for a fact that what a guy wants is what he can get from you, it’s off-putting. Yet he doesn’t listen when you turn him down. He’s made many attempts to get in my pants over the years, from forced kisses to trying to talk me into blowing him. The last straw was at a party just before Paul and I went out for the first time–Steve tried to kiss me, I told him no, he started stroking my thigh, went for another kiss, then whined about no one wanting him when he got turned down again and then said he was pretending to be drunk to help his chances.

He didn’t see me when I got to Lynn’s, but I saw him. Sarah said he’d said hi to her, so I hoped either he’d never see me or the interaction would be short. So Sarah and I sat and talked and ordered fancy Angry Orchard from new bartender Tessa. We call it fancy–the bartenders differentiate between fun stuff they do to the Angry Orchard to make it either cinnamon or candy apple. Both are delicious, though I prefer the candy apple.

Leah had messaged me earlier in the day asking if I was going out. Honestly, I didn’t feel like it because that’s how my brain works–want to hang out, don’t feel like physically doing it, so I force myself because I know, especially now, I’ll have fun. So I told her I was. And I told Sarah I was. The bonus there is if I don’t go, I look like a bitch, so it’s motivation. So I let Leah know when I was heading in and she came in a few minutes after me.

For the most part, it was a pretty low-key night of hanging out and drinking, but it was fun and we discussed doing it again soon. We probably would if I’d go home more often, but this was the first time I’d gone in at least a month, possibly since New Year’s.

Steve came over at one point while Sarah was out smoking, and Leah and I were alone side by side talking at the bar. He slyly crept up, put his arms around us and was all, “Well, if there’s two ladies I haven’t seen in a long time, it’s you two.” Yeah, for a reason, and I was hoping to keep it that way.

Admittedly, it was okay at first–typical smalltalk. He’s engaged now. The wedding is in May. We’ve known him so long and have experienced so much of his bullshit that we’re amazed someone’s agreed to marry him, but he’s always dated really stupid girls, so either this girl doesn’t know what an ass he is or she doesn’t care.

And then he started typical Steve horseshit, starting with saying my brother’s girlfriend and her mom hate him because he drinks.

Now, according to Steve, nearly everyone has hated him at some point for no reason at all, including exes’ parents, some former friends, and his own parents. And it’s always been like that. He never did anything wrong, he whines. Everyone just hates him for no reason and no woman will let him stick his dick in her (they’re too smart to) and it’s so sad and horrible.

I do know Kelly’s mom was weird and strict about underage drinking. I couldn’t remember the details, but they definitely don’t hate him–although Kelly probably does now–and I told him that. When I talked to Brandon later, he said the main problem was her younger brother told their mom Brandon’s a really heavy partier, along with some other lies, and she believed him and almost told Kelly she couldn’t date him.

Steve said one night, Kelly had to leave a party at his house because of her mom, so Brandon took her home, went back, got hammered, and tried to fuck Steve’s cousin.

I immediately said, “I highly doubt that,” and he said, “No, it’s true! I saw it! It was gross!” I know my brother too well, so I tapped out and only half listened and let him know what was going on. He was furious, of course. When I told Terra, I told her Brandon probably just had a buzz and told this girl she looked nice, and I wasn’t drastically far off–he was a little drunk, he and Kelly were just friends at the time, and they made out a little.

When Sarah came in, I gave her the most disgusted facial expression I think I have ever given anyone in my entire life. Steve kept going on and on about tons of other shit–said Brandon sounds like a douche when he discusses what he’s up to (like telling Steve he’s going into psychology, which Steve says has no job market), his brother Nick has PTSD (which actually did turn out to be true), said he broke both his legs in basic training in the army and they misdiagnosed it as tendonitis and so he’s trying to get disability but they’re denying him because it didn’t happen on a deployment. He probably never broke both legs. Even if he did, you can’t collect disability unless you have a long-term problem because of it. And even if you could, they don’t deny you if you weren’t injured on a deployment–even if it’s not service-related but happened on active duty, you can get it.

Meanwhile, he joked about going to school but living off his fiancee’s income and cupcakes she makes twice a week, yet he lives an oppressed existence where she doesn’t let him do anything. And his parents hate him and won’t visit his new place, which is about five minutes from mine, which is in the slums of Washington. I didn’t dispute this because I didn’t want to say, “I live there, that’s not true” because I do not trust him and do not want him knowing where I live. Is the area shady sometimes? Sure. But it’s no worse than the county we all went to school together in. It’s probably better, really.

Sarah went out for another smoke and I got approval from Leah to join her solely to escape. I complained to everyone outside about what an ass he was. Sarah’s boyfriend and his brother offered to beat him up, and some other dude offered to pretend to be my boyfriend, but for once the problem wasn’t him being too sexually aggressive. The funny thing is Paul had said earlier that everyone at Lynn’s just goes outside to smoke, but thank fuck they do or else I’d probably still be in Lynn’s listening to that fucker. When we went back in, he was gone and Leah said, “What was he even talking about? It was in one ear and out the other.”

Brandon got antsy and wanted to confront him, but I wanted him to wait until one of us left. He wanted to know what Steve’s problem was and kept saying, “If he has a problem, he should talk to me,” and I kept saying, “He doesn’t have a problem, he just likes the attention or thinks he’s telling the truth or both.”

Brandon texted him around the time I left. I didn’t see Steve, but I wanted to be sure one of us was gone first. When I got home, Brandon had this whole exchange in which Steve said I misunderstood and accused us both of trying to cause drama. In a hilariously melodramatic move Brandon learned from our father (who learned from his father), he took the wedding save the date and ripped it up. We talked until about four in the morning, and I threw in some jabs like, “I’ve been telling you for years he’s no good and can’t be trusted, and this is what it takes for you to listen.”

The next day, Steve’s fiancee messaged Brandon asking what happened, saying Steve was upset and Brandon sent him harassing messages and Steve innocently tried to buy a round of drinks and we harassed him in return. Meanwhile, Kelly was furious when she got filled in and told Brandon basically all the same things I did about what a douche he is, just more tactfully.

Typical Steve–always the victim, always right. But he summed it up best himself when he introduced Leah and me to the army buddy with him: “Tell him, aren’t I the biggest bullshitter you know?”


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