Last night, I couldn’t sleep; so, around midnight, I ventured out to one of my favorite 24/7 places in DFW, Café Brazil. This wasn’t my typical visit. I wasn’t looking so much to delve into the food and report back. This was just a good opportunity to soak up a little material and run with my thoughts.
The late night crowd painted a colorful picture as they entered the scene. I saw everything from young, energetic groups of friends meeting up for coffee to tired, older, much-better-looking-in-dim-lighting club goers. Some appeared to still be searching for the meaning of life but digging through the medicine cabinets and botox-filled syringes to find it – a very interesting collection to observe for a moment in time.
It’s funny. Comparing the two most distinctive groups, it almost seemed backwards. The younger group was a combination of happy, bright men and women who were relaxed and completely stripped down to their authentic self. They were a combination of alluring female beauties with little to zero make-up and seemingly not a care in the world, plus somewhat low-key yet attractive men who appeared completely intoxicated by the genuine behaviors of their female table mates. Both parties were entirely engaged and fearlessly diving into every word. They declared a tangible sort of freedom by laughing openly and heartily at jokes, enthusiastically sharing stories, and dynamically intertwining verbally with one another.
Whereas, the older group emoted a prison vibe, trapped in an evening they just needed to survive.
Each of the mature women repeatedly and somewhat desperately touched up their hair at the table, struggling to sit in a way that drew attention from the run-down, obviously disinterested men. They all sat in uncomfortable silence. The women’s faces were caked over with so much eyeliner and lipstick. Their postures were reminiscent of hungry puppies eagerly seeking a reward. One by one, they marched to the restroom to groom and primp, adding more shades to the color palette, drowning out the vibrant peachy hues of flesh to feature the gray, pasty spackled-on facades they relied on for attention. And, the men waited with emotionless and empty faces. I couldn’t really tell if they were miserable, just tired, or paralyzed from botulinum.
My food arrived – Chicken Crepes.
I was actually in the mood for grilled cheese but remembered how much I enjoyed their crepes filled with shredded chicken, mushrooms and spinach and that spicy cream sauce. I also convinced myself it was the healthier choice. Per the norm, the plate was generous in portion and in flavor. I wasn’t disappointed and was able to return to my people watching.
In a way, it was refreshing to see the newer generation unshackled from the conventional standards and social pressures oftentimes suffocating young women. But, perhaps that’s my own projection,recalling when my always confident, brutally honest conversations sometimes led to discussions about “toning it down” and not wanting to “chase anyone off.”
And, I guess that’s what I mean about backwards. Stereotypically, the more mature group should have been the carefree ones, knowing their truth from experience and fearlessly wearing it as a badge. While the younger group might still be finding their truth possibly muted by society’s standards at that stage in life. That wasn’t the case here. That characteristically millennial poise and conviction far outweighed the older crowd’s desire for acceptance. Maybe the older group’s desperation was their truth?
Anyway, the younger group demonstrated confidence, not once relying on a flip of their hair or even the lean forward of a shoulder to entice responsiveness from anyone. They each appeared relaxed and uninhibited.
Then in walked another uninhibited trio, freshly pressed at the local bar. Cawing above the ambient sounds of glasses clinking and tables chatting, they were engrossed in deeply philosophical and obnoxiously loud debates regarding manhood, anatomy and body art – oh, and very polite. A vulgarity-studded stance on the true meaning of friendship became so spirited that one of the girls stood up at the table to apologize to the entire establishment on behalf of the group for their animated conversation, flashing the middle finger to her partners seated next to her in order to reprimand them, only to return to the discussion at full volume seconds later.
By this time, it was close to 2am. Then came the late night science fiction crew, the salsa dancing sexpots and the failed date leftovers, each clearly marked by their appearance and behaviors.
The sci-fi crew was formulaic – adorned with black rimmed glasses and Dr. Who attire, excitedly discussing the “Greybeards of Higher Hrothgar.” The salsa sexpots, both men and women, were dressed in perfectly placed, tightly-fitted designs that were screaming from tension, and the group was too busy ogling one another at the table to see their server peeved and waiting to take their orders. The “failed dates” came in two forms: pairs of slouching men reeking of defeat and separate pairs of limping women wondering why they had suffered all night in those shoes for nothing.
Then, there was me. The jeans and t-shirt sporting female sitting at the corner table, alone with her plate and a cup of coffee, occasionally smiling to herself and carefully scanning the room from time to time, attempting to appear inconspicuous but giving herself away by typing feverishly on her laptop.
Needless to say, I had plenty to observe.
There’s really nothing better than sitting at a comfy table, eating a comfy dish, and watching people get comfy with one another. Thanks for the late night inspiration, Café Brazil.