I have to tip my hat to Ned. Agree with him or not, my friend is a man who knows his priorities. And when he gives his word he sticks to it, no matter how unpalatable the outcome. His tale today is a perfect case in point.
Last Tuesday, in the midst of his business trip north of the border, Ned stopped at a Toronto sports bar to catch the Rangers’ game. He’d just ordered his first beer when a strapping young man asked if he wanted a ticket to see the Maple Leafs that night.
Ned’s never been to a Toronto home game, and he inwardly drooled at the thought of attending. He inquired as to the sum sought. Much to his surprise, the fellow replied: “Zero. I was supposed to go with three buddies from work, but one of them can’t make it. You can have the ticket if you want.”
After examining the item’s two hundred dollar face value and prime location twelve rows from the ice, my friend insisted on compensating his benefactor in some fashion. The man thought for a moment and proposed: “How ’bout you buy us a round of drinks after the game and we’ll call it even?” The deal seemed more than fair to Ned, and he shook the guy’s hand in agreement.
My friend then accompanied “John” to meet his two co-workers. In Ned’s words (not mine), the pair were the “most limp-wristed flamers” he’d set eyes on in many a year. Belatedly, he thought to ask where the three of them worked. John responded: “Remington’s Men of Steel.” As Ned and every other visitor to Toronto knows, Remington’s is the city’s most notorious gay strip club. John said he danced at the place, and his two buddies waited tables.
Now, Ned doesn’t hate gay people, and he does believe in equal rights for all. But at the same time, the idea of homosexuality admittedly makes him squirm. Knowing that, I had to interrupt him to ask: “So, what’d you do?”
“What do you mean, ‘what did I do’? I went to the game, of course!”
My interest was piqued: “What about after the game? Did you buy them drinks like you promised?”
Ned sounded almost indignant: “You think I’d welch on a promise? Not even if I had to buy them at Remington’s … which I did.”
“Wow! You went to a gay strip club. How’d that go?”
Ned said “okay,” but not convincingly. I felt sure he was holding back, so I asked: “What happened? Did one of your hockey buddies hit on you?”
He sheepishly replied: “Not one of them; some older dude. And the guy wouldn’t take no for an answer!”
As Ned went on to explain, by the time he convinced the fellow he wasn’t interested, “Mr. Happy Hands” had touched him in certain highly inappropriate places.
I had only one more question: “Do you regret taking the ticket?”
“Nope. I’ll eventually forget about the ‘action’ in the bar, but I’ll always remember the action on the ice.
Give the man credit, he knows his priorities.