KIDS CHICKEN FINGERS. THREE VODKA SODAS.

Quick recap, in the last column I explained how I am a New Yorker in Delaware for the summer, happily engaged in a monogamous relationship with my new boyfriend – Rehoboth Beach.

It’s been a month and we are still gloriously happy together. Mornings we bike to Rise gym, to get our sweat on – or to sweat out the two or six spiked seltzers consumed during our afternoons at Poodle Beach. Nights we usually chill at home netflixing.

On the rare night out in town (ok, maybe not so rare), I have enjoyed Aqua, The Pines, Arenas, Diegos. Drag Bingo at the Moon was fun and I know the theme was “old lady” but the energy was too low for me. Drag Brunch at 251? Yes! I do love me a drag show. Brunch was OFF THE CHARTS fun. Performances were amaze: “Escapade,” “Part of Your World.” YES! The drinks were flowing, the food was – well, let’s just say I left hungry. Then again, who goes to drag brunch for the food?

As happy as my new BF and I are, it is time to get back out there. Riding out a pandemic, single, in NYC? We need a new word for celibacy.  As the country moves into new phases of opening up, it’s time for Robby to move into phase two. Hooking up! 

A major impediment to this hooking up is cockblock Covid. I am not great at the apps, even though I did set up a Scruff account my first week here. I’m old school. Go to a bar, meet someone, flirt, pick them up, take them home.  No muss no fuss. Covid has all but made that impossible. Stay at your table, no mingling, no socializing with strangers. F U COVID.

I haven’t even been able to use my new pick up line. “My name is Robert, I have the antibodies.” Yes, that is true. Back in February I was pretty sick for a weekend. Felt fluish, in bed for two days, unable to read a book or watch a movie. But it was only two days. The cough did linger for a week. I think I was exposed at a Super Bowl party. When my friend Mike and I are poolside here and I shout, “Don’t worry I have the antibodies,” he loves to counter it with, “The antibodies don’t last forever.” Buzzkill!

Back to the apps, as mentioned, not great on them. It’s hard for me to pull the trigger. I wind up telling people they’re hot and never meeting face-to-face. So, conundrum! Can’t pick up a stranger in a bar, can’t pick them up online. What is Robby to do? I’m youngish, not a troll, I should be hooking up. The other night a housemate knocked on my door asking to borrow lube. I didn’t even have any to give him. And not because I ran out. Because I have no reason to buy any. If that is not the saddest sentence I ever wrote.

Enough is enough. Time to get back on the horse. 

Leaving Poodle beach one afternoon, I decided to bike through town and walk around. Bought a book and decided I was thirsty and hungry. I sat in the Biergarten at Purple Parrot and discovered it’s their happy hour! My favorite hours! I ordered a drink and my bartender asked if I wanted food. I was craving chicken fingers (a Robby fave), so I asked for them and he said they aren’t on the menu but they have them. I then notice another bartender, very cute – well, cute with a mask on – mask cute. 

While the other bartender was taking care of me, “new hot bartender” asked how my day was. He was being nice, personable – a bartender. I, living in my own rom-com, wondered if this was flirting. Throughout my meal,  I needed to get some water so I went up to the bar and he asked me what I was reading. Do I need to go buy lube?

At the end of my meal, with some liquid courage, I felt like I might ask him his name as I asked for my check. “Which table are you at again?” he asked. I point to the table, he brings up my check. “Kid’s chicken fingers, three vodka sodas? Is this you?” 

Yep, that is me. Kid’s chicken fingers. Three vodka sodas. Good title for my memoir.

“Dude. Best check ever,” Hot Bartender laughed and smiled, “Have a good one.”

And with that, dude (me) and my antibodies paid the bill and biked home. No one is hooking up with kid’s chicken fingers. Hey Netflix, you ready for some Robby time tonight?

(this column was edited by Debbie Rech)

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