I argue that it’s the exact opposite. We can barely hear ourselves think in here.

“Don’t look now, but those guys are checking us out,” Lindsey near-shouts at me.

“Really?”

I look.

“Natalie, I said don’t look!”

I flinch and jerk my gaze over to the bathrooms quickly, like I want to make sure I know right where they are in case of an emergency.

“Better—thank God. Okay, they’re headed over. Be cool.”

Impossible.

“Hey.” A smooth, deep voice carries over the crowd. “Mind if we join you two?”

Lindsey grins, her beauty blinding us all. “Sure thing.”

I mumble inaudibly, something akin to, “Oh. Yeah. Okay.”

The two suited men steal the remaining barstools at our cocktail table so that I’m facing Lindsey and they’re facing each other. Everyone has to lean in close so we can hear the conversation. Introductions are made. Mike and Owen are like two peas in a pod. They’re both wearing black suits with shiny shoes and designer cuff links. Their skin is deeply tanned like they’ve laid out in the sun for too long. The only real difference between them is that Mike’s hair is thin and wispy, all but gone up top while Owen’s is long, hanging down across his forehead, to the point where he keeps having to swipe it away. It’s like he’s overcompensating for his friend. When the waiter comes by, Mike opens a tab, and while searching for his credit card, he accidentally (on purpose) flashes the key to his Jaguar. Oh weird, how’d that get here?

“First-timers?” Mike asks after the waiter leaves.

Lindsey nods. “Yeah. The place just opened, didn’t it?”

“We were here for the soft opening,” Owen brags while twisting his gold pinky ring.

Whoop-de-doo. On a scale of things that turn me on, being invited to a bar’s soft opening is on par with waxing your chest. Men, hair is good. I don’t want a partner so smooth I’m worried he’s underage.

“Do you know the owners or something?” Lindsey asks, just trying to make conversation. I know she’s not impressed by their VIP status either.

“We’re in sales. Alcohol distribution, that sort of thing.”

I must look bored because Owen grins at me. “What about you two? What do you do for work?”

“Wait—let me guess,” Mike says, taking us in with narrowed eyes. “PR? You both majored in communications?”

Lindsey’s gaze locks with mine and we both fight back a laugh. “Nope. Guess again.”

“Bloggers. Fashion, but you dabble in lifestyle stuff too,” Owen says.

I make a sound like a game show buzzer. “Wrong again.”

“Teachers?”

Lindsey takes pity on them. “We’re doctors,” she reveals in a flat tone.

“No shit?”

They both rear back in shock. Women can be doctors? What century is this?!

“That’s awesome. You do checkups and stuff?”

“And stuff,” I say with a smile before reaching for my drink. I had the bartender water it down a lot because I don’t like drinking on nights when I have to be at the hospital early the next day, but now I realize it was a mistake. You know what would pair well with these guys? Shots. A lot of them. Something to drown out how incompatible we are.

Lindsey suddenly reaches to dig her phone out of her purse, though I didn’t hear it ring or vibrate. She holds it up to her ear and speaks loudly, enunciating every word so they can’t be misheard. “Hey baby!” For the record, she’s never once called a guy baby without it being a joke. “Yeah, we’re here. Are you guys on your way? Awesome. Can’t wait to see you.” Then she fakes ending the fake call.

“Boyfriend?” Owen asks.

Lindsey bites her lip and nods.

I’m seconds away from ruining her ploy. It wasn’t even very good acting. We should look these two men in the eyes and say point-blank, Hey, yeah, we thought you guys were cute, but then your personalities ruined that assumption. Can you please go away? Her plan does seem like the easier route though. We save their feelings while also getting rid of them. It’s a win-win.

The two guys vacate our table in a matter of seconds, not wanting to deal with an awkward confrontation with our imaginary boyfriends.

Lindsey’s shoulders slump when they leave. “WHY?! Why are they all so flawed?”

“You’ve got it wrong. Flawed is charming and sweet. We all have flaws. That was just thinly veiled sexism.”

She shivers. “Took me right back to my residency days.”

I get it. Lindsey went into a female-dominated specialty, but she still wasn’t immune to the struggles we all face. It’s hard being a female physician. Respect isn’t doled out to us the same way it is for our male counterparts. We have to carve out a space for ourselves, which is why, in our free time, we have no time for men like those two. In the words of Ariana Grande, Thank you, next.

“Want to just call it a night?” Lindsey asks, checking the time on her phone. It’s only a little past 8 PM, too early to head back—Connor would still be awake.


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