Traveling Alone: Meeting Renee

As a whole, I think there is a negative connotation with being alone. Perhaps, many confuse being alone with being lonely, the latter being something not very positive. But as I’ve continued to travel alone, I’ve met some pretty interesting people, with stories that never seem to be less than entertaining. Here’s my story about meeting Renee.

I was in West Hollywood, California when I walked up to the restaurant that sat on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard. The big gold sign read, “PUMP.” From the outside, it looked over the top, and full of glitz and glam. Just what I needed.

I walked into the outdoor section of the restaurant and unexpectedly felt like I was walking into a enchanted tea party. Chandeliers and lanterns hung from the branches of dense century-old olive trees there were probably imported from some island in Greece. Walking through the garden dining area, had me feeling like I had just walked into a fairytale. The shimmering light, from the strings of crystals would catch your eye as you walked through the serene patio. I immediately spotted the ritzy bar that was nestled in the middle of all the enchantment.

As I went to sit down, I couldn’t help but notice how good looking everyone was inside the restaurant. It felt like everyone who worked here had just walked off the set of a photoshoot. Perfect hair, perfect tans, all wearing outfits that were meticulously matching and ironed. Thank god there was practically no humidity in California, otherwise the girls would be walking around with martinis in one hand and hair straighteners in the other.

I walked around the corner of the bar and sat down at one of the cast-iron stools along the bar. While there were probably a dozen people around the bar, it was just me and one other lady on our side. I looked up at the glistening diamonds that swung from hanging light fixtures in the center of the bar. But not even those flashy lights could catch my attention as much as the two male models, that somehow found themselves in PUMP Lounge work uniforms.


“My god, who are you,” a lady catcalled me in a thick southern accent. Assuming she was talking to one of the bartenders I had just been staring at, I didn’t reply, but she continued, “As soon as you sat down next to me, I just felt like you were someone special,”

I turned and looked at woman who was speaking, “Who me?”

I couldn’t help but think to myself that in the land of Barbie and Ken’s, that I couldn’t possibly look “special.” If anything, I looked more like a cabbage patch kid.

“Hell yeah, you look like you’re somebody,” she said, totally inflating my ego, “My Name is Renee, it’s nice to meet you.

I couldn’t get over her southern accent. It reminded me of all the people I met from when I attended college at Belmont University in Nashville. It wasn’t a drawl, or even an accent, it was practically another language.

I had to ask, “please tell me you’re not from Tennessee?”

“Hell no, I’m from Kentucky. Let me guess, you hear a southern lady and you pick the first redneck place you can think of? I’m surprised you didn’t say Alabama or West Virginia. They are much trashier than Tennessee.”

I laughed, I could tell this night was going to be interesting, even if it was going to be just me and Ms. Renee from Kentucky.

She ordered another bottle of rosé for herself and I ordered a red sangria. Our drinks were quite the juxtaposition sitting next to each other. She had the entire bottle, and here I was, slugging back my champagne flute of sangria that was only filled to the top because of the 3 blackberries that pushed the sangria up to the rim.

She held up the bottle to her shirt and asked, “Can you tell I like rosé?”

Suddenly I realized her drink was the same color as her pink blouse. I didn’t realize she was so obsessed until she showed me pictures of her “Rosé All Day Partay.”

Yes, read that again, slowly this time.

I was positive that this had to have been the bougiest event that had ever taken place. She literally went out and bought hundreds of rosé colored flowers, napkins, plates, and glasses. I’m surprised she didn’t dye her perfectly straight, blonde hair, rosé for the evening.

But what else was a 40-something year old woman to do when she had nothing else to worry about?

She looked at me perplexed, “You look funny. Are you funny?” I chuckled, and before I could answer she continued to babble, “I’m fucking hilarious, but no one ever gets my humor. Tell me the funniest thing that has happened to you and I’ll let you know if I think you’re funny.”

I dug deep into my brain to think of something funny to tell her. I felt like the whole world was watching me and I could feel the sweat coming down my forehead. I really wanted to impress this strangely friendly, southern, and seriously rosé-addicted lady.

Immediately I thought about a story from when I lived in Tennessee. The one about my first date with a guy, who turned out to be a drag queen, who brought me to a club in a stolen car and almost got me shot 2 times, once by a cocaine dealer and another time by a 7-foot-tall cross-dresser in the back of said stolen vehicle.

“Holy shit dude, that’s not even funny, that’s sad as hell. No wonder you wanted to make sure I wasn’t from Tennessee,” she laughed as she tossed back her glass of rosé.

“Okay, are you ready to laugh your cute, firm-lookin’ ass off,” she said giving me a wink.

I nodded my head, ready to be entertained in the least.

“Okay, so, don’t freak out, I’m in my 40s, I know I look 25 but yes, I am a middle age woman.” She flipped her hair, smiled and continued. “So, I’ve been married for the last 15 years, to a very prominent business owner back in Kentucky. He has a lot of social influence, and a pretty important image within the city. No kids, but we enjoyed life together. About 5 years ago, I came across some Polaroid pictures in his night stand,” She gulped the last bit of her glass and refilled it with her bottle. She winked at me again, as she took another sip.

“Well aren’tcha gunna ask what was in the pictures,” She asked.

I played along, and responded, “Yes, oh my god, what was in them!”

She nodded at me, thanking me for allowing her to continue telling me, “Well, I opened the night stand, and I was in shock. They were pictures of my husband and another man.”

My jaw dropped. I’m not sure I was expecting that.

“In the pictures, they were doing sexual things with, of all things, cucumbers. Huuuge freakin’ cucumbers, from my own freakin’ garden,” she took another sip, “So here I am, in West Hollywood, staying at The London Hotel, blackmailing my husband and loving life.”

She signaled the bartender, “Hey mister, can we get two cucumber martinis,” she looked at me to reassure me, “and don’t worry, these are on my husband’s guilt money.”


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