Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The OC Mating Call

I am writing on a cramped US Airways flight on yes, the busiest travel day of the year, the day before Thanksgiving. And it’s so cramped that M., looking over at what I just wrote (because what else is there to look at) told me I couldn’t even use that opening line because he used the same one on his blog. Geez. Whatever, there’s no other way to describe it. I’ve been hustling to get things done before this trip, which ends the afternoon before I get back to work. I have been lagging on returning emails and in general keeping up with people (Hi Trista! Sorry about being MIA). I hope once this next round of essays is graded and my grades are all posted up things will simmer down for maybe a week? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Up in the air as I am lately, I forgot to remark about something that ties in with my last post. I was reminded of a trip I took once to Las Vegas about 5 years ago with some friends. We had a girls weekend, just four of us getting away from it all on a road trip out to the desert. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which is a great place to stay if you are four ladies on vacay. To us, back then anyway, Vegas was not so much about gambling as it was about lounging by the pool and shopping, perhaps some pampering and dancing in the evening. We rented a poolside cabana and between the four of us, it wasn’t too expensive. The whole day we could come and go and always have a place to lounge or hang in the shade. We talked and got hors d’ouevres and cocktails in giant tiki-shaped plastic cups. And then, they descended upon us. It was out of some kind of nightmare. How could we know? We hadn’t done our homework and checked out who else would be in Las Vegas, and at our very hotel that weekend no less! It was, of all things, the KROQ Singles Party.

For those of you who have the pleasure of not knowing what this is, let me spoil you for life. KROQ is the local “alternative” radio station in Los Angeles. Each year, they throw a “Singles Party” in which Los Angeles area singles are invited/chosen/whatever to go to a weekend party that is catered with food, booze, and DJs. Can you imagine such a thing? Vapid twenty-somethings out for easy action. And people who couldn’t even go to Daytona or whatever on their own. This is a sad, desperate group, y’all. At least from the looks of them. Lots of bleach, plastic, and itty-bitty bikinis on the ladies. Lots of bleach, plastic, and board shorts on the men. These people felt they could wear colorful Mardi Gras beads and aviator glasses. They were not all beautiful, but they were all trying so hard to be the same kind of beautiful that it made me almost sad.

At around 6pm they arrived. They overran the pool area immediately. We were instructed that the pool would be closing early for their “Pool Party,” but we could stay in our cabana as long as we wanted. We contemplated this, as it was hosted by Kevin & Bean, and I’ve always wanted to see Ralph Garman in the flesh, but upon watching them stream out of the hotel into the pool area, we got scared and retreated to our rooms to get ready for dinner.

On our way up in the elevator, we had the first of many quotable moments. One bikini clad gal said to another, “Oh my god, I wanna see your room, I wonder if it looks anything like mine?!” and, after an unbearable silence, she said to a group of oiled up bros in board shorts “So…do you guys surf?” Imagine the four of us, at the back of such an elevator, struggling to maintain control. Not looking at each other for fear of starting a laugh riot that wouldn’t end. My friends had a room that looked out over the pool. It was here, from five stories up that we first heard it. The OC Mating Call. It was a high-pitched noise made by women when they saw each other from far away. “Aaaah! You’re here. I’m here too!” It was a noise made in jest when splashed with water. “Eeeeh! That’s so cold!” It was a noise that celebrated a round of shots or a $5 pull on the slot machine. “Wooohoo!” We have joked about this noise ever since we dubbed it the OC Mating Call on that very day. It has since become more of a “squawk” sound, to accentuate the naturistic quality of the joke. I thought of us as total haters, and I loved us so much for it. If you don’t love us for it, you’re either some kind of Buddhist or you are one of these OC Mating Call people. Just sayin’

What does this have to do with that post about the Jukebox jerk? Well, hold on. It gets better. Given the past 5 years of using the mating call reference, you can imagine my surprise when I watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother entitled “Woo Girls,” about the same noise! In the episode, Lily goes out to a bar to meet up with some gals for a coworker ‘s birthday celebration. She decides to take Robin along with her, since Robin is feeling tender about being single and jobless. Upon arrival, the gals have already had a few drinks under their belts and are about to down shots out of what looks like plastic light up shot glasses. They down the shots and simultaneously say, “Woo!” which prompts Lily to exclaim something like, “I had no idea she was like this. She’s a Woo Girl!”

Woo Girls Defined

According to How I Met Your Mother, Woo Girls are women who “woo” at any given opportunity in some kind of attempt to win male attention and celebrate the evening. It is portrayed as empty, brainless, fun, emphasis on the brainless. The Woo Girl in question, played by Jamie Lynn Sigler, is actually smart in “real life” as evidenced by her ability to go from wooing to discussing educational theory. So what is this wooing for, the episode asks? It is proposed by Robin at the end of the narrative that the wooing is a way for single women who are disappointed in their lives to have some kind of release and to put up a front of happy fun good times so that they don’t have to admit to themselves that they are sad, lonely, baby-wanting and getting older by the second. It’s like what the women from Sex & the City would do if they didn’t have the money for couture outfits.

I immediately made the connection between Woo Girls and what I had experienced as the OC Mating Call. Sadly, it is a nationwide (and possibly worldwide) phenomenon! The next night, I went to the bar (the night of the ruined jukebox set list) and my set elicited “woos” from a table of girls that I would not have thought of as OC Mating Call candidates. But is wooing a desperate plea? Is there really a sad, depressed, lonely gal underneath all that wooing? Is there a male equivalent? In the episode, it was indicated that men also woo (Ted was used as the example, and was wooing to deal with his own single sadness). But I didn’t see the bros at the casino pool making any sort of animal noise. And only the ladies at the bar were vocalizing their happiness at the sounds of INXS and Motley Crue.

I know that when my song comes on and I feel the need to woo (which I don’t do. And probably you wouldn’t do. Would you? Would you woo?) it’s because songs evoke some kind of emotion or memory or a shared moment between my friends. Any woo girls (or guys) out there wanna come clean? Anyone want to guess at an alternative theory than underlying sadness?
Maybe this isn’t Thanksgiving table conversation, but it will be around 40 degrees in Philly, so I will be checking my email and any responses. Feel free to give your 2 cents.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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