Actually, the date was New Year's Eve, and right before midnight, we ventured out to the parking lot at 75th Street and Wornall Road, where a foil-covered ball was lowered down a flagpole. Cheers erupted, firecrackers popped, and cheap champagne flowed.
Eight months later, we revisited Kennedy's for the first time since that festive night. Even though we love Waldo bars (come on how great is that do-it-yourself aluminum-foil ball?), we kind of forget about Kennedy's sometimes. The place is best described as an unassuming neighborhood Irish bar with a tinge of the dive. Check out the cool ceiling (with its carved-flower pattern) and the jukebox, which is one of those touch-screen models that lets you download stuff from the Internet. (We're not really fans of the touch-screen jukebox, which lets you musically cockblock someone else's song, but the Internet function is kind of cool, we're loath to admit.) Hanging among the multiple beer signs on the wall are two interesting items: a Royals world-champion pennant (ah, 1985 ... it all went downhill from there) and a "Stop the deportation of Irish political refugees" sign near the door.
We'd heard that the bar gets packed, and a recent Friday night proved the rumor true. Kennedy's is the kind of place where people go with their own groups (that is, low mingle factor between urban tribes until people get lit), but it's still possible to pick up. It's a more subtle brand of meat market, especially closer to midnight, when the place fills up with a lively crowd made up mainly of people in their 20s. On our visit, the frattish sausage element was somewhat high but not obnoxiously so. After shuddering at that night's drink specials $2 Goldschlager, Jäger or Rumplemints shots (bad experiences with all of those choices), we stuck to beer and cased the joint.
After chatting with a bunch of people, we gleaned that a good chunk of the crowd grew up nearby and knew one another from St. Teresa's Academy, Rockhurst and other Catholic schools. ("We respect Kennedy," said Research Assistant Erik, an Irish Catholic boy himself. "Ich bin ein drunkard!")
That's how Sarah, 26, and her female friend (who didn't want to be identified) knew each other. They were at Kennedy's for a friend's birthday party. We asked, rather indelicately, whether they had been tagged with that Catholic-girl stereotype in high school (that is, willing to do anything but).
"Not really," Sarah said. "Most people who are friends with us went to school with us."
Oh, well. We do like schoolgirl uniforms, and we'll be rocking the knee-high socks and short skirts come fall. Moving along, we soon ran into a group of guys curious about our note-taking ways.
"Lemme give you my number," said Brad, 27. "555-SEXY." He then proceeded to high-five his friend. (Suave!)
We ended up talking to Brad's friend Jeremy, 21, who answered our initial "Are you single?" question with a resounding "Yes, ma'am!"
We asked if he needed a wingman. "Fuck, no!" he said. So we asked about his seduction technique.
"I like to listen," he replied. "If you listen, you score." We'll keep that advice in mind. We then asked if that's worked for him. He told us that he'd hooked up with a 35-year-old when he was 20.
"How was it?" we queried.
"I knew more," he responded. Oof. "We did it in the shower, then we hit the bed. Her divorce wasn't final yet." Now, if this were an SAT exam, would Jeremy be to braggadocio as Bill O'Reilly is to blowhardosity? He was harmlessly entertaining, though, so we wished him well in his endeavors with the ladies.
Soon after that interaction, we were approached by Austin, 21, a long-haired redhead who had a special request. He was celebrating his 6-month anniversary with his GF, Rori, 21. Would we please put him in the paper?
We're suckers for such sweet things, so we happily obliged. They met on Friendster (favorite music: Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident). "She's exactly what I'm looking for," he said. Awww. Meanwhile, behind them a bit, two women rubbed up against each other as "Hot Blooded" (our favorite cheesy song) blared from the jukebox.
By this time, it was near last call, so on our way to the bar, we ran into Jessica, 28, and her cousin, Adrianne, 21 (aka Penelope and Jasmine, their fake bar names). We started talking about the state of singledom in KC (as per the dictate that a gaggle of women in a bar must discuss this topic in depth).
Jessica, who is single, lamented the dating scene in this town. Most guys her age are off the market, she complained. "In Kansas City, if you don't get 'em when they're 23 or 24, they're married."
Just then, Adrianne got a call on her cell phone.
"Look at her on her fucking cell phone," Jessica said. "No one's calling me because I'm 28." Hey, we know a 21-year-old we could introduce you to ... (just kidding). Damn you, KC societal mores, for making women feel that they're worthless if they're not married by their mid-20s. Personally, we don't think anyone who hasn't yet hit 30 should get married.
But then again, what do we know? We're the ones who still think "ball drop" is funny.