Hanging out in bars is all well and good, but there comes a time when you need to start using your time in them more wisely. No, I don't mean bringing along a New Yorker.I'm talking about picking up strange men and having random monkey sex.

When it comes to meeting men in bars, I am pathetic. For one thing, I refuse to do the whole "make eye contact once, look away, then look back for a few more seconds, then look away, then look again and smile confidently" bullshit. It's phony. Plus, I'm a rare combo of a chickenshit and control freak, so if I notice a guy checking me out, I will instinctively ignore him for the rest of the night, thus exerting my power over him and ensuring that I will never, ever have random monkey sex.

I have, however, recently come to the conclusion that this may be counterproductive. I am never going to get any unless I can at least learn to return someone's gaze and play the bullshit game. This week I was determined to practice. I chose my friend S (whose identity I will protect) because she and I seem to have good luck when we go out together. She has also been trying to coach me in the whole scamming thing, patiently showing me how the eye-contact shtick works and letting me practice on her.

Borrowing from my new favorite phrase for eating at a restaurant and skipping out on the bill, "hoggin' and joggin'," we decided to dub our slutty evening "scammin' and scrammin'." To this end, we wanted a place that would have good-looking guys whom we would normally have no interest in because they enjoy sports or making money or the films of Adam Sandler. In short, dumb guys who were kissable. We decided on Jade Bar on Gough. It looked swanky on the Web site and was voted Best Bar twice in San Franciscomagazine, which meant it had to be pretty lame. It boasts three levels and a 20-foot waterfall, as well as a few screwy variations on the mojito. Perfect.

From the site's description you'd expect some colossal atrium or something, but Jade is pretty tiny. There are three levels, all right, but them are some itty-bitty levels. The whole place is the size of a mid-priced studio. As for the waterfall, not so much. It's more like a wall of trickle that lands in a kiddie pool. Dang.

We went down to the bottom floor, which we were sorry to see was peopled with elderly black men and roly-poly chicks who looked like they had just gotten off their shift at the free clinic. The bartender, however, was fairly hot, and he looked really bored. "Time to make this guy's night!" we joked, heading for the bar and sitting down.

We ordered drinks and he mechanically placed them in front of us with a cursory "Here ya go." Somehow our feminine wiles and tight sweaters had zero effect on this guy. We were just discussing ditching the joint when who should appear to our right but Randy Quaid's twin brother in an ill-fitting Men's Wearhouse suit. "Hello ladies!" he said, to which we enthusiastically responded. He asked us what we did and we said we were prostitutes. He bought his drink and left. The whole exchange caught the interest of the bartender, however, who, as it turned out, had a keen sense of sluttage.

"You look like Nick Cage," said S.

"Oh, he's way better-looking than Nick Cage," I threw in for effect. The bartender began to take a big interest in us. We got to talking about sex, and he said that if a woman sleeps with him on the first date, he will never see her again, because she is a slut. S and I couldn't believe our good luck. Here was a hot guy who was a dick ta boot. Perfect. We began hatching our plan to seduce him, which would probably involve a straightforward "Wanna fuck?", only we were then re-interrupted by Randy. Randy had some pickup line that was too long to go into, but it involved a quiz, the loser of which buys the winner a drink. But Randy, that ol' goose, had rigged it with trick questions so that the woman would always lose. I lost, but I refused to buy him a drink. He left again.

Things were not going as planned. For one thing, the bartender couldn't leave his post until 2 a.m., and there were no other viable men in the room. (It was 9:30 p.m.) We decided to revert to plan B, which involved inviting S's friend J (whose identity I am going to protect) to have a threesome with us. He had been texting photos of his big ice-cream-cone cock to her all week (the head on that thing is just gigantic), to which she had politely demurred. S asked him if he'd be down for a threesome and he enthusiastically said yes. I asked him if he was OK with my 36 triple-Ds and he enthusiastically said yes. He asked us if we would both suck his cock at the same time and we enthusiastically said yes. It was all rather surreal, but I was willing to do anything in the name of journalism.

The bartender caught on to all of this stuff, probably because S and I were practicing kissing each other in preparation for what we were gonna have to do at J's house. The bartender asked us if we would both suck his dick at the same time. We mulled it over and decided to kiss him instead — both of us, at the same time, as we leaned over the bar. He had nice lips and probably wasn't too shabby in the sack.

We gathered up our stuff and prepared to make J's night. Here's the kicker, though, folks. J chickened out. Oh, he can text his pecker until the cows come home, but when push comes to shove, having two beautiful naked chicks in his bed scared the living shit out of him. At least he was man enough to admit it.

"Are you insane?" we asked him. But it was a no-go. Dang.

So there we were, manless on the night that we were so sure the Lord had made for booty. So we did what most women do in this situation: bought two big slices of pizza and wolfed them down in the car.

"Dude," I said to S, "we just got hella scammed 'n' scrammed."

Dang. Well, there's always next week.

JADE BAR. 650 Gough. 869-1900.

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