Before ducking into the john, Clarissa added: "This isn't my hangout. It's my layout."
Um, wow. Not only was she a cunning linguist on oh-so-many levels; she was the belle of the bar on that Saturday night. We paid a near-midnight visit to the Hangout for a friend's birthday gathering. It was also the night of DJ Miles Bonny's pants-off dance-off. We were hoping that tear-away pants would be the hot thing at the party, because readily removable clothing needs to become more prevalent. Sadly, we discovered that the shindig was more dance-off and less pants-off. The b-day girl was the only one rocking the hot pants.
Despite the non-sans-culottes element, the Hangout attracted quite a disparate crowd. The DJ groupies packed the dance floor on the lower level, and a different birthday party occupied the semiprivate upstairs room. We squeezed our way through the crowd to the downstairs bar for $5.75 concoctions that came in small plastic cups. The bartenders frantically did the flight-attendant pop-top thing to pour canned soda for our Jack and Coke. It brought us back to the days when a gay bar called the Wild Side used to occupy the Hangout space; that place's soda was also poured from cans.
Even though the can vibe was pure Wild Side, the décor thankfully remained the same from the bar's days as Bobby's Hangout. Red walls, a print of Bobby Seale and a gorgeous modern chandelier provided an elegant background for the drinkery.
We headed upstairs, which felt like being at a house party. In one corner sat a loveseat and a floor lamp with a nice golden light. A table held veggies and dip, and a huge sheet cake rested on the bar. In one corner, the DJ played some grind-inducing stuff. Indeed, we soon spotted a tall guy getting rubbed upon by the ass of a shorter, bent-over woman. Unfortunately for him, that stopped midsong when she got a call on her cell phone. At the bar sat a guy with his lady friend standing between his legs, butt-to-crotch style.
We escaped the heat from so many bodies in motion to the landing in front of the bathrooms. A number of people who also fled the stuffy room gathered there, and, thanks to the presence of a sofa and some chairs, it became a third lounge area. That's where we met the very friendly Clarissa, of the lickable breastices. At one point, she and another guy stuck their tongues out, presumably to compare length. Later, she stood alone and had an epiphany: "I'm not drunk enough." Take the Midwestern friendliness of Kansas Citians and multiply by alcohol, and what do you get? Tongue-on-cleavage action.
We first noticed Clarissa while talking to 31-year-old Brett and his 29-year-old wife, Kassi, who were there for the birthday party. Because the upstairs room closes at 1 a.m., people were starting to flood out. Anyway, neither Brett nor Kassi knew Clarissa, despite the fact that they were chatting like they were old friends.
Then we saw Clarissa leaning over the side of the sofa, talking intimately to two beautiful sisters. During a pause in the conversation, we went over to the sofa and met 25-year-old Shawntae and 27-year-old Christina. They said this was their first visit to the Hangout. As we spoke, Clarissa gave Shawntae a little head rub then flitted away. Shawntae then told us that earlier, Clarissa whom they had never met gave Christina a little kiss on the cheek. Afterward, Clarissa had said, "I'll never wash these lips again."
We met two guys who had experienced some overfriendliness that night, too. We were excited to meet a man who gave his name as Cool H2O because we like subscripts. (We're font nerds.) Anyhoo, Cool H2O is his fraternity nickname. He was standing by his friend, 25-year-old Nite Owl. Both guys know each other from their days at Central Missouri State University, and they came to the Hangout for the b-day party.
"One lady thought I was T-Pain," Cool H2O said. "I told her no, but she wouldn't let me go all night." Later, the dapper 27-year-old gave us the subtle eye look-slash-head motion toward a woman with short dreads standing next to him. We deduced that she was the T-Pain fan and transmitted an "ah-ha, message-received" look back to him.
Nite Owl had his own tale of woe. "I was hit on by a married woman," he said. They both live in St. Louis and had that "hey, what are you doing here?" moment. Apparently, the ring gave away her betrothedness.
Back downstairs, the dance-off was still going strong. We randomly started talking to a supernice woman who adopted us and invited us to sit at her table with her friends. We asked her how the pants-off party was going, and she joked, "I can't take my pants off. It's that time of month!"
We soon met someone with no such qualms. "I was the only boy to take my pants off," proclaimed 30-year-old Jacob, a tall guy with a tiny ivory-colored horn stuck into one earlobe. He said he had partly disrobed to reveal his boxers.
What was the crowd reaction?
"A bunch of girls went like this," he said, then made a face that conveyed disbelief and slight horror. We congratulated him on being the only boy to quasi-strip, which he happily accepted. "I'm a big fan of taking my pants off," he said. How pants-tastic!
Jacob's record was soon broken by our inebriated research assistant, who unbuckled his belt, pulled down his jeans a smidge and showed a bit of a bit of boxer-brief-clad ass before practically giving the Night Ranger a lap dance. Near us, Clarissa had re-emerged and was dancing on a woman sitting on the bench seats.
Again, wow. We'll never wash our eyes again.