The World As Mare Sees It...
The Cougar Sleeps Tonight 2003-04-28










It occurred to me yesterday while we were on the way home from the Falls. So successful was this weekend escape, that the thought of facing the city again was making me melancholy.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Right, my cousin Frank, who I sometimes believe is the male version of me, turned 30 on Friday. About a month ago, his girlfriend Jennifer called me up and invited us to this surprise weekend jaunt to Niagara Falls.

Teacher and Conspiracy Theorist had a wedding halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls on Saturday, so I went with Frank and Jen and Frank's brother Zoolander in the early afternoon, and my sister and CT met us there in the wee hours. It was so cool - Frank didn't know a thing until they showed up at my door to pick me up. Surprise! You're going to Niagara Falls!

The first thing we did was try to check into our hotel, but it was discovered that there are several Sheratons in Niagara, and the booking office had put us in The Other One. After a slight tussle that we knew we weren't going to win, we went to the other hotel, which turned out to be grand and posh and lovely, with grand staircases lined in red, and a grand piano in the marble foyer. Lovely how these things work out sometimes.

After running through our rooms like blissful and over-excited children, calling each other on the phones and generally coming undone from weekday stress, we finally settled down to make a decision about the rest of the day. Dinner first, at Tony Roma's - Famous For Ribs (yeah, and for breakin' 'em! said Zoolander, which made us dissolve into giggles. It was the kind of weekend, you see, where the silly jokes were the best kind.) Our plan was then to return to the hotel, and relax a little with a glass of wine before getting ready for the rest of the evening. Plus, this would give Frank a chance to open his gifts. Then we'd doll ourselves up and hit the casino and the clubs.

There was a buzz happening that night; something in the air that made us all look shmokin', made smiles appear easily on the faces of strangers that passed us, made the world a pretty and magical place. The Falls were lit up in fantasy shades of the whole colour wheel that highlighted our sparkling moods.

A slight hitch that left me embarrassed as all hell though. Throughout dinner, I had been saying things like "Are you mad?" and "Cor blimey!" in a silly and horribly bad English accent. Well, something made me start a little running commentary in said bad accent when we got into the elevator, regardless of the fact that there was some other guy in there with us. I wasn't trying to insult - I was just, I don't know, being silly, you know? Just... silly. Well, at our floor, we got out, and I wished him a lovely evening, and just as the elevator doors were closing between us, he answered back with a smile and a quite genuine English accent, "And you." Oh Lordy. The man was British. I was simply humiliated. When Zoolander and Frank and Jen heard that, they burst out laughing. I'm so stupid sometimes.

Regardless, I felt a tingle around me on Saturday night. My energy level was high, which is probably why I managed to win a hundred dollars at the blackjack table. Oh, how thrilling it felt, to watch my little pile of chips turn into several tall stacks of chips. I was wearing the lucky ring that Bette Parker gave me in London. My hair was behaving, and I had on a blouse that sparkled. Was there ever any doubt that I would win? From the casino, we went onto this club, where we only stayed for 20 minutes because it was just exhausting. Too many American kids who were thrilled to be able to cross the border and drink at 19. We abandoned it for an outdoor patio place that, quite amusingly, had karaoke going on.

You know I just had to sing, right? I just had to. After a few drinks and much cajoling, I still couldn't get anyone to sing with me. Enough was enough, I thought, and went in search of a likely victim.

His name was Kevin, he was American, and he was, quite simply, adorable. I accosted him at the DJ booth where he was looking through the song lists, and asked him if he wanted to duet. Together we decided on Summer Nights, from the Grease soundtrack. He told me he couldn't sing, which was just a big, fat lie. His voice was mellow and smooth and warming, like a good, aged, single malt. Beside him, I just tried not to make the mike let loose with any feedback. We spent much of the rest of the evening together, congratulating each other, buying rounds. Frank and Jen had left a bit earlier, as Jen's head was pounding, but Zoolander and I stayed behind, where we joined forces with the table beside ours as well as Kevin and his friends. Strangers, all of us, but within minutes, we were bonding in a way that only good weather and alcohol can do to you.

And thenů and thenů Kevin's knee was pressing against mine, and a few glances that were ripe with flirtation were exchanged. He had the kind of face that reminded me of those clean-cut baseball players from the 1940's. Wholesome. Bright eyes and generous smiles - a combination I find utterly irresistable. Oh, how I wanted to! Jaysus, but he was hot! Oh, how very much I wanted to follow him back to his room to engage in a night of debauchery with this oh-so-handsome guy... man... boy...

He was 21. He was 21 and I'm a dirty old lady! I mean, granted, that's not the only reason I didn't, but just the fact that I found this... this... boy... supremely attractive...

Oy. I'm on a one way road to Cougarville.

As a kind of cosmic chastising, at the blackjack table the next day, I managed to lose everything I'd won the night before. Regardless, it was still one of the better weekends I've had this year.

And you, darlings? What did you do?

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