By Christina Li
By Dave Pehling
By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
There may be six degrees separating me from Kevin Bacon, but there were three bar stools between me and the couple roundly dissing a co-worker they kept referring to as "The Bacon."
"The Bacon doesn't do it like that," said the guy, who had middle management written all over him. I could never quite figure out what exactly The Bacon did do, but it was definitely grist for a good ol'-fashioned dinner-out-with-a-co-worker bitch session. "Hohehheh!" the man laughed with a knowing headshake, "Now that's pure Bacon!"
I was sitting at Florio, a name that vaguely reminds me of Furio from The Sopranos, so I had to wander in. To tell you the truth I have no idea what neighborhood it's in; it stands somewhere among Japantown, Pacific Heights, and the Fillmore ... so I guess it was Japmoreific. The restaurant and bar are set up like a French bistro, with steak frites and fancy cheese. There was a lonely valet parker out front twiddling the change in his pockets, and about three people eating dinner inside.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Region: Japantown/Pacific Heights
I sat at the bar, near the aforementioned couple, whom I summed up in a second. The guy was reasonably attractive but he had not a clue. He was the sort of dude who asks women out "dancing" or to go see Evanescence; the kind of guy who adds a "the" to things that don't normally require it, like The Bacon. She was cute as well, older than him, and she looked like she was marriage-minded and enjoyed the musical stylings of late-era Heart. He was leaning into her every time he spoke. She was leaning back a little bit, but also smiling a lot, because she clearly loved to be pursued, even by this schmuck. He was playing the good-buddy role perfectly, but I could tell that he was hoping to get her drunk enough to sleep with him.
"Sooooo," he said with a goofy grin, putting his drink down and scooting the napkin around in a circle with his glass, "Who is this guy? You gonna tell me about him?"
"His name is H____," she said, leaving it at that; the international way of saying, "I don't want to talk about it." It didn't really matter much, because the guy didn't really want to hear about her new boyfriend anyway. He went right into his own love life.
"I think I've turned the corner on one woman," he said confidently. "And now she's like... grrrrrrrrr." He curled his hands into paws and made a lion noise. I think he was trying to show that she was hot for his body and couldn't get enough.
My plate of fancy cheese came, and I ordered a glass of cabernet to go with it. It was cozy at Florio. A man walked in with two toddlers, and he waddled off into the back, one in each of his hands. I was just wondering what little kids eat in French restaurants when my thoughts were interrupted by another discussion of The Bacon. Though I usually eavesdrop and remain anonymous, this time I decided to destroy the fourth wall, as they say in the dramatic arts, and address the audience.
"Guys!" I said, interrupting. "Who in the hell is The Bacon?" They seemed surprised that anyone had been listening, but they were jovial enough and said that he was a guy with the last name Bacon. Well, duuhhhh, I thought. I could tell that they didn't want to say more, so I went back to my "book," something I hold up and pretend to read when I am listening in on other people's conversations. They were really starting to get tipsy, and the lady started talking about In-N-Out Burger.
"I love the In-N-Out," he said. I held my book up further and rolled my eyes behind it. This guy was des-per-ate. But just when I thought that he couldn't get any smarmier, he did. Because, gentle reader, it turns out he wasn't being the buddy in order to get her naked. No, it was much more insidious.
"So, what do I have to do to get you to come over to our side?" he asked his companion. She giggled and looked like she was searching for words. At first I thought she was a lesbian and he was referring to the straights. But no, she had already talked about some dude she was seeing. "No, really, what's it gonna take?" he persisted.
Oh my god, he was a salesman, and he wanted her to join his sales team.
This was the part of the evening that salesmen call The Take. Everything leads up to this point, every aside, every attempt to share commonalities and build trust, all of it ends with The Take. He didn't want to date her, he wanted her to join his cabal of persuasive liars. The worst part was, she seemed open to it. Of all the different types of people in San Francisco, from the queers to the financial district Republicans to the old-school Irish, none are more foreign to me than people who do sales for a living. Now, to be fair, there are plenty of good people in sales, who do it because they have to. I am talking about people who live it. Does this guy even have any real relationships? When he said he "turned the corner" on a woman, did that mean that he got her to the Take portion of the relationship?
His conversation left me with a bad taste in my mouth, one that not even cheese could erase. The woman got up to use the bathroom. While she was gone, he took his finger and ran it between his gums and his cheek, collecting all the chewed food that had gotten stuck there. Then he poked it all onto the back of his tongue and swallowed. I was repulsed. Time to go.
I gathered up my stuff as the woman was returning, and they waved at me as I left, which was sort of nice of them. I said the only thing that came into my head: "Go easy on The Bacon. He's just a guy with a guy's foibles, trying to live life on his own terms." They kind of looked at me and then at each other. They thought I was lame.