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I wandered over to my new neighborhood bar the other night to engage in an old Valdez ritual: house red and the New Yorker. I took a stool between the two generations of regulars. To my left were the red-faced old men, goofing off and watching sports. To my left, a UVA-looking white hat and his prey, er, date. Mr. UVA looked about 26 or 27, he was good-looking, cocky, talked just a bit louder than everyone else. His lady friend was skinny and big-chested, with curly dark hair and a bit more makeup than she needed. Typical cute Jersey girl. Anyway, Jersey girl was kind of hassling Mr. UVA, I think about wanting to go home or not feeling comfortable about something—I couldn’t tell because she was using her inside voice. He pretended to listen to her and then interrupted mid-sentence and touched the stud in her nose. “Is this new?” he said, going on with some drivel about how she had this great way of spicing up her conservative style. Then he started talking about getting a cab back to the city together. I cringed. Here comes the date rape, I thought.

Jersey girl surprised me then, because she started talking about having a friend come pick her up. The more Mr. UVA told her not to worry, it’d be fine, etc., the more she thumbed out texts on her phone. Then her phone rang. She went outside and never came back. I was so proud. It took Mr. UVA about 15 minutes to realize what had happened. “Balls,” he said, ordering another drink. “That’s what I’m texting her. Balls.”