November 20, 2020
The 2:1 Ratio
"How was the party last night?" I ask my brother on the phone while I walk down the alley behind my house.
I've been walking up and down the same alley since the quarantine first started short of a year ago. At first, I only walked up and down the alley because it was the only place the police couldn't spot me stretching my limbs. But when lockdown ended, I just kept walking there.
Every morning, I see the same cobbled road, the same old man who sits in front of his yard, singing Staying Alive in broken English, the same plastic coca-cola bottle wedged between two rocks. Back and forth, up and down; scared to step out to the street, scared of the unknown, scared of change.
But it doesn't matter. I'm curious about the party. I haven't been to a party in years. Has it really been years? Yes. It's been years.
There's the single-people world, and then there's the relationship-people world. I transitioned to the latter three years ago. I'm not complaining, but let's be honest here—relationships don't scream, "let's party." It has more of a "can you scratch my back? No, left, left, more left, now up, no, just a little up, yeah, a little to the right, there! Yeaaah, scratch there." And then you die. I enjoy getting my back scratched. But man, do I miss a good house party.
Al yawns into the phone, ah yes, the post-party yawn. It's a special yawn, a well-earned yawn. "It was alright, pretty good," he mumbles sluggishly.
The best house party I went to was in North Vancouver. I was eighteen, and the song Jump Around blasted through the speakers. Everyone in the house jumped in unison during the chorus. With each jump, the floorboards wobbled, and I would release a nervous smile, Is this safe? This doesn't feel safe? I was a hit at parties.
A gingered-hair man had me as his nightly target and courted me by cooking me a single pierogi in the basement. My friends sat on a sunken couch, watching me eat the pierogi—he knew my soft spot. But I wasn't sold. He told me he was 25-years-old, and I wasn't into old men or gingers, I need more perogies.
"That's it? It was just alright? Come on, what happened?" pushing for more deets.
"Fuck, okay. Well, some chick was completely wasted and hitting on me like you wouldn't imagine. She was like literally begging for my number, so I gave it to her, and she texted me this morning and was like, 'hey, I'm not really emotionally stable right now, so if you want, we can meet up for a walk.'"
"A walk? But I thought she was emotionally unavailable?"Putting all judgement aside, "Well, at least she was honest."
"Yeah. Whatever. Like, what the fuck is wrong with people?" I hear a small sigh through the phone, "Yeah, so I'm dodging her."
"Probably a wise move. Were there a lot of people there?"
"Oh man, the place was packed with chicks. I had no idea Erik knew so many women."
"Is he hot?"
"I dunno," he mumbled. "He's a white guy," Got it. I spot a snail on the ground, pick it up by its shell and place it into a patch of grass. "But while I was talking to some chicks, I started to ask them where they knew him from, and they like, all just met him last week at like bus stops and other random fucking places."
"Yeah, and then I was talking to him, and he was like yeah man, I just pick up a bunch of chicks and then do the 2:1 ratio."
"What's the 2:1 ratio?"
I can hear Al shifting his body on the couch, "I dunno man, it's like this fucking thing from a Beach Boys song, it goes like, something about the waves and then," he clears his voice, before singing softly, "and the ratio is two to one." My eye twitches from the pitchiness. "So, he like hits on a bunch of girls, invites them to his party, and then cuts the percentage in half to figure out how many will actually come, and then he invites the guys."
"Tell him to try perogies."