Watching World Cup at Pompei's Grotto

Here is the center of my universe these days, the thing that makes me tick and tock, my motivation for getting out of bed in the morning: I am incredibly horny. I have what the yogi might call an "elevated lifeforce emanating from my most sacred chakra" (only he would say it in Hindi, natch). It's all very strange, because not only am I prone to slowly licking my lips in the organic Asiatic cucumbers aisle, but I seem to have become a more visual person as well, not unlike a male. I can become aroused by the sight of a bike messenger's arms holding his handlebars tight, or a fireman screwing a gigantic hose into a hydrant, or some dude walking his dog in a Santana T-shirt.

It's gotten to the point where whenever I am being checked out by a man, a little voice in the back of my head says, "Yes, I enjoy you visually as well. Will you have sex with me?" Seriously. The next time I am being checked out by a good-looking guy, I think I will march right over to him no matter where he is, dialysis machine be damned, and flirt. But that, gentle reader, is for another Bouncer.

This week I merely sat with the feelings instead of running into the sinuous arms of a gigolo. To be precise, I sat on an exercise bike at the gym and pumped and pumped with the World Cup on a giant screen in front of me. Jesus Christ, ladies: Italian Soccer Players.Those bastards had me glued to that bike for 90 minutes, all sweat and tingle.

So when the opportunity arose to watch the finals betwixt the Italians and the French, I suddenly became a sports fan. I also had the ulterior motive of finding a bar with tons of Italian men who would either be interested in a victory roll in the hay or the sweet release of pleasure in the face of agonizing defeat.

Luckily for me, I have a majorly Italian friend named Audra. She eats a pasta course at dinner in her own home with a salad at the end of the meal, she has a bust of Mussolini on her desk, and she never forgets a slight. In fact, she wouldn't speak to me for one year because I screwed up once. To get back into her good graces I had to go through her mother, then her boyfriend, and finally I was admitted to the "receiving room" of her soul, wherein I kissed her metaphorical ring and made amends. She is very Sicilian. There is one thing that is true about people like her, however; though you wouldn't want them as an enemy, as friends they are first-rate.

Audra knows just about every Italian business in North Beach, but try as we could, we couldn't reserve any tables for that final game. Instead we decided to go to her brother's restaurant in Fisherman's Wharf, Pompei's Grotto. Tony Jr. promised us that there had been at least 60 Italians there during the playoff games and that the bar would be packed with red-blooded Italianos. That's amore!

When we got there the game had already been on for an hour, thanks to every TV listing of the match being wrong, including the first place I always go for information, the Budweiser banners all over the city. We snuggled into a corner table in the bar and ordered Bloody Marys and crab cakes. It was half-time and we took the opportunity to take in our surroundings. The only swarthy types there were Latinos. The rest of the assembled were light-haired Europeans ... yikes, they were Scottish! It was a whole busload of Anguses on holiday. And get this, they were rooting for the French! The French! The people they dubbed "frogs" oh so long ago, the people who spit on their haggis, and a sorry, bleating excuse for a musical instrument!

"Well, I bet a case of beer on it," said one young lady in a striped T-shirt of her team of choice, as if that were a good enough reason to root for the surrender monkeys. But then again I guess it makes sense, since that is pretty much the same deal France made with Hitler when they laid back and spread 'em for the Germans in WWII.

Italia!

So the Italians won, in case you missed it, and our little table in the corner went crazy. Audra shrieked a bunch of stuff in Italian and I joined in with "Motto giano rega buono sala mjana menorah!" and whatever else sounded Italianish. Then we made haste to North Beach, which was a sea of bike shirts and sparkly blue wigs. A flag the size of a city block was being carried to and fro by scores of fans. We said hi to the owners of Michelangelo's, then went to Puccini's, plowing through the masses and high-fiving here and there. The rapt pleasure on some of the people's faces was unbelievable. It was like Cicciolina sitting on Jeff Koons' face or something.

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