I was twenty four, fresh off the boat, excited to be in another country, completely unaware of just how American I was. Sporting the typical alternative / hippy look: short jet-black cropped hair, pale make-up, thick eye-liner, red lip stick, old jeans faded in all the right places, thrift shop sweater. I wasn’t expecting to walk in to a pub in the countryside full of girls and women dressed to the nines, boys and men dressed for an American country and western bar. I wondered if they were dressed up to go somewhere else but as the night went on, the drinking continued, the make up started to run and it became clear they weren’t going anywhere.
My boyfriend knew every single person in the entire pub and felt a need to introduce me to every single person he knew. I was from a city, we didn’t talk to strangers, and I did not enjoy the introductions and the amount of questions that went with every introduction. Though I did manage to drink copious amounts of beer which softened my anxiety. At the end of the night a boisterous man walked through the pub shouting: ‘are ya right there folks, are ya’ right.’ He meant it’s time for you all to leave the pub and go home. Everyone ignored him and kept drinking and talking. A woman came over to my boyfriend and I and my boyfriend introduced me for what had to have been the hundredth time that night.
My boyfriend said, ‘This is Lael.’
The woman said, ‘Lovely to meet you Elaine, where are you from?’
I said, ‘Arizona.’
The woman said, ‘Oh, don’t you have lovely English.’
I said, ‘It’s all the night classes.’