Cabana: A Nerdy Guy's First Impressions


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Cabana. Perfect for you (maybe). Me, not so much.

Being a skinny, nerdy guy has its advantages. In middle school, the bully who tried to make my life a living hell never actually went through with a public pummeling. Why? Because he knew it would've been PR suicide. Looking like the only 7th grader with a severe iron deficiency meant most girls pitied me, like one would a three-legged puppy. And no girl is going to date the guy who beats up a defenseless animal.

Safely past the National Geographic Serengeti that is adolescence, I've now seen a gradual expansion in my Geeky Guy advantages. Nearsightedness now gives people the false assumption that I'm smart. Which leads to jobs. Which leads to money(!).

But all is not well.

There are still places, situations, that make me regress back to my teen years. And not in that fun, TP'ing-your-crush's-house kind of way. One of those places: Cabana...

I should have known better. Having passed the Hillsboro Village nightspot every day on my way to work, I knew all I needed to know about Cabana based on one feature: vaulted ceilings. High ceilings in a bar tell you all you need to know about what is valued there. Conversation? Forget about it. It's like trying to have a quiet chat in a church if that church happened to be playing pounding house music.

Unable to fall back on my one social grace (that'd be listening), the only thing left to do was dance. Or, as I prefer to call it, shuffling. And that gave me ample time to watch the Pretty People: recent divorcees, slick-haired I-Banker types, a rubber-faced suit named J.J. who my roommate swore was the "entertainment" at a recent bachelorette party she'd attended.

It was while watching the strobe-lit scene that I had a mini-breakthrough. The difference between being the Nerdy Guy in high school vs. being the Nerdy Guy in the real world are the options. Cabana was the perfect place to go if I wanted to feel 15 all over again. But I didn't.

Being an adult means having the choice to go to a place where you feel like you belong, like a (low-ceilinged) Irish pub. Or the place I eventually chose to go: home.


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