Hooters is good for my marriage. (It’s complicated.)

I don’t know if there is a better place to people watch than the outdoor deck of Hooters during the night hours of Norfolk’s Harborfest. From the blinding white scrunched tube socks/high top sneaker combo bopping through the restaurant (which is what Clayton swore he was looking at when he was swivel-heading it between chicken wings) to the boatmen and women who’d docked for the night and were seriously jamming out to The Macarena–because Norfolk is nothing if not cutting edge—it was a scene and a half.  

We were a little late getting to the festival because I am a fitness genius with a bachelor’s degree in my field who attempted this week’s long run at 2 p.m. during the hottest week of the year. After 3.5 miles I began having hallucinations (premonitions?) of myself passed out on the side of the road in a puddle of sweat while my cheap stopwatch continued to tick away the seconds of the worst decision I’ve ever made. I walked the rest. 2.5 miles. Nearly an hour to get back home.

Somehow, Clayton didn’t get my pleading mental messages to pleasepleaseplease come pick me up. Maybe the telepathic part of our relationships kicks in during year five. When I finally got back into our neighborhood, I realized I was genuinely angry with him for not magically knowing I’d almost died in a sunburned heap and mismatched outfit and not driving around looking for me. I spent a solid quarter of a mile talking myself out of throwing that future tantrum. I think my irrational tirade mixed with the heatstroked tomato face would constitute plenty of ammo for an “irreconcilable differences” defense.  And I so can’t afford a lawyer with my self-employed taxes.

We just happened to arrive at the same time the BMX show was starting. I was all, “Ok, sure, I mean grown men on tiny bikes are kind of lame but it’s somewhat shaded and I haven’t figured out where the beer tent is yet.” By the end, I was throwing ‘bows at the 7-year olds to get a better view and hootin’ and hollerin’ the riders’ first names. ‘Twas awesome. I’m definitely getting a pair of skater shoes and watching the X-games this year.

And then Hooters beckoned us inside with non-portable bathrooms and shiny orange spandex. I think they must singlehandedly keep the pantyhose companies in business. How are those bad boys still part of the uniform? My two-Corona hypothesis was that there is a precise percentage of butt cheek that must show–anything less and the crowds won’t come, anything more and they’d have to install a pole and a stage. The pantyhose must keep those neon hot pants in just the right place for this perfectly mid-level degree of exposure.  Why are you looking at me like that? Have you not spent an entire dinner debating the Hooters hot pants situation? Whatever, liars.

Even though being pretentious snobs was great for our self esteem, we decided to explore the rest of the festival. Plus, our internal CarbFinders had alerted us that ice cream had been spotted in the area. And then we found the soft serve tent. Cut to about eight seconds later, as we are being handed our chocolate and vanilla swirly goodness, a huge clap of thunder rolls through the festival and about three seconds later the first raindrops land on my arm. I do not do well 1. being outside in thunderstorms or 2. having my two scoops with rainbow sprinkles threatened by flood, fire, husbands or other natural disasters. We booked it back to the parking garage, each of us licking away mid-sprint to take down whatever ice cream could be salvaged. Just in time, we ducked into the entrance a minute before the downpour hit full force.

Oh, and 3. driving from Norfolk to Newport News in a Category 4 hurricane. But we made it home, despite a malfunctioning wife and cranky GPS. And now we have yet another day to discuss where on earth Hooters can find wife beaters in such incomprehensibly tiny sizes.

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