So I have this friend, Andrea. I've known Andrea since the very first week I was in California, back in 2000. At the rate of sounding like my (all since recently deceased grandmas), she's a funny old gal. I can get away with calling her old because we've been friends so long and because she knows damn well that even though she's 9 years older than me, I've never thought of her anything but the same age as myself. We used to knock around quite a bit, way back then. I'd go as far to say as we were inseparable for those first two years – it was rare to find one of us without the other – but then, as things go, life happened. I moved away, she shacked up and got knocked up. I moved back, shacked up myself, and she moved to some god awful inland town that seemed too far to drive to on a regular basis. I moved away again, blah blah fuckity blah. We always kept in touch though, as previous inseparable friends do, and since our lives once again mirror each other (married with kids) we've managed to see more of each other in the last two months than we have in the last 5 years. She still lives in some god awful inland town but the distance doesn't seem as bad as it once did.
It was with hesitation that I answered Andrea's text to me a little over a week ago. It simply said, “Are you free next Sunday?” If you are friends with anyone with children under the age of 10, always approach the Are You Free's with caution. “Are you free?” almost always translate to, “Can you babysit?” Andrea and I have set up a sort of babysitting exchange so I was pretty much counting on an evening with America's FunniestHome Videos and Andrea's bairn when I responded back with a positive yes, I was indeed free. I was quite surprised when she texted me back asking if I was interested in going to Los Angeles for the evening...to drink!....and she'd drive!
Because Andrea and I are both Married with Kids, the spontaneous trip to L.A. wasn't completely spontaneous. Her eldest was going to a concert up there and we'd have to pick him up when the show was done. It really didn't matter. It was L.A. and there was drinking to be done and since we are both Married with Kids, staying out until dawn wasn't in our repertoire anymore anyhow.
The evening started out with dinner because it's stupid to go out drinking on an empty stomach. I found a place online called the Escondite and I'm telling you about it half because I want to remember it myself and half because if you're ever in L.A. you should go here. It's not one of those places you will ever stumble upon; you have to know about it's existence. The neighborhood itself will make you question if such a place even exists but I assure you it does. It's great food at reasonable prices and they have the best bloody marys I've had in California (sans pickle) and I still like them even though their stupid saloon doors on the ladies bathroom ripped a hole in the sleeve of my sweater.
After dinner I convinced Andrea to drive to Tiki Ti, which is still my favorite bar in Los Angeles (even though I haven't actually been there in over three years). Sadly, they are closed on Sundays so we resigned ourselves to having cocktails at the Mexican restaurant lounge that was right next door. It was at this Mexican restaurant lounge that it suddenly occurred to me that we were sitting in a swarm of beards.
Beards. Like facial hair beards. And we aren't talking the “I forgot to shave for a week” beards, we are talking the, “I'm not shaving EVER” beards. I mean seriously. One moment I'm talking to Andrea about some leopard skin incident from the past and the next moment I'm grabbing her arm whispering\shouting, “What the FUCK is up with all the beards?” It was like some sort of Twilight Zone moment when look up and everyone around you is holding a chicken.
Because Andrea is Andrea and because I am me and because Andrea and I are some sort of something when we are together in this sort of capacity, we made a decision to try to take as many pictures of beards as we could without any of the beards realizing that is what we were doing. Andrea had some sort of flying fancy that we should approach the beards with this story of doing a sort of web article on facial hair in Los Angeles and “here's my business card” type of thing but I shot it down with a very simple, “I'm not drunk enough for that yet.” I'd like to point out that the camera we were using wasn't a simple iPhone camera or even a point-n-shoot, but instead it was a big ass SLR camera with a super zoom lens that may as well been 10 feet long for how obvious it was.
And thus is how Andrea and I spent our night. Drinking in various dive bars and taking pictures of beards...candidly (we at least thought they were candid through the haze of vodka). I'm sure we just looked like two middle aged women sitting at a bar giggling like middle aged women do when they spend 99% of their time with their children and they finally get a night out – but I had fun. No, I had a blast.
I can't possibly give you all the beards from the evening, but here are some highlights:
This is what we consider 'candid'. Aiming the lens at the other person while trying to capture the beard in the background.
My, what a little beard you have.
When "candid" goes out the window.
I believe this was a "via a mirror" shot.
I think this is the only guy who managed to pull off a full beard properly...
...this guy sure didn't.
Sometimes, you just have to try and fit in.