A few weeks back, a friend of mine and I went to Big in Japan bar on St. Laurent (you know the place, with the secret red door and tuxedoed bouncers). Well, it’s become one of my favorite places in the city to get into a little trouble and the runway bars, the low lighting and a clever bottle service are all to blame.
Those bottles you see hanging from the ceiling? They are yours and they are mine. If you buy a bottle during the night and for some crazy reason don’t happen to finish it, they screw it into the ceiling and it will wait there, patiently, for your next visit (how’s that for client fidelity?). This particular night, we arrived late and couldn’t find anywhere to sit so we ordered a drink from the back bar and stood around judging the crowd. People at Big in Japan are well dressed, hip without being ironic and casually cool. The kind of people you want to be around if you’re out for fun.
As the night got started, a couple of seats freed up and we slipped in between the crowd to assume our places. We ordered fresh drinks and continued scoping out the crowd. As luck would have it, right next to us sat a couple on a first date. I smiled at them as we settled in and I knew that the time was perfect to lend a helping hand to the nervous looking couple. There may not have been any verbal, social or physical signs telling me that they needed me and although they may have been fine on their own, but I knew I could make that date better.
While I was getting ready to start doling out dating advice to the people that hadn’t asked for it, my friend was busy plotting all on his own. He spotted one of his coworker’s sisters who may have met him once or twice in passing, but because of the low lighting in the bar, her sight was rendered useless. He turned to me, distracting me from imposing my couple’s therapy to announce that it was time for a little trouble.
The girl across the bar still had no idea what was about to happen and my friend ingeniously acquired her number from her sister. We then got to work, and started texting her right away. She didn’t have his number so when she started receiving the mystery texts, she was obviously confused and to us, hilariously so. She asked us who we were, but there was no way we were giving in that quickly. She showed her friends what we were sending her (it was clean, people!) and they all started looking around the bar. Because we are very good at what we do and can hide like a stealth bomber in a cloud of confusion, no one spotted us and we kept it up a while longer.
In between texting the poor girl, who way by now in a tailspin, trying to find out where the mystery texts were coming from, we turned our attention back to the couple who were on their first date. How did we know this was a first date? Besides the obvious awkwardness, we simply pointed out that it looked like a first date and we were right. She laughed when she saw that both of us were looking at them, hands under our jaws, ready to jump in, and she seemed eager to chat with us. Her date on the other hand wasn’t as taken by our charm but instead seemed unimpressed by us being so “intrusive”. I asked where they were from, she was a local and he was from Australia or Switzerland, it didn’t matter. What did matter was they were a handsome pair and in matching tops to boot. I asked them if wearing matching red tops was trending right now in first date match ups. Was there something new I was missing? Would l spend my life eternally single because I would never want to match with my date so early on? Lucky for me, this one time turned out to be just a coincidence, so I’m safe.
I did point out that she looked splendid, dressed up tight like a stick of gum for the date, while he appeared a little less put together. I subtly suggested that if he wanted another date with a Montrealer, he might have to think twice about pulling another wrinkled top from the bottom of his travelling sack. She almost spit her drink all over the table trying, nervously, to thank me for doling out the priceless advice. For the sake of helping their conversation, I also shot out a few first date topics that could help them avoid silences during the night. There are great conversation starters like favorite baby room colors, co-banking and the number one first date conversation, mental health medical history. All signs will point to love if you break the ice with these any of these amazing openers.
Turning our attention back to the confused coworker’s sister, she kept looking around to see if she could spot who could be texting her secretly from the bar. After having had our fun, we were both ready to reveal ourselves. My friend looked up from hiding behind a couple of larger patrons who were getting ready to leave. Our cover was about to be blown whether we were done or not. She burst out laughing when she saw us and her entire troop came over to say hi to the crazies who had managed to pull a fast one on her.
At the same time, the first date couple was getting ready to call it a night. I told them it was a pleasure helping out with their date and wished them luck. I’m sure that because of my help, they will turn out fine.
As for Big in Japan, it is still as cool as ever. I’ve been back to try out their punch bowl drinks and to dish out more amazing advice to unsuspecting couples but that’s another story for another time.