We need to talk. You're a really great city, and you're really nice and all, but things are not working out for me right now. No, shhh, listen! I have so much respect for you, and I'm so glad we met. But it's not you. It's me. I've met someone else.
This new guy, you kind of know him. It's Austin. I know all those times I went to visit him I told you it was just casual, and it didn't matter. I really meant it back then! But somewhere in all those late nights stumbling down South Congress and shivering outside a Seventh Street kebab stand, I fell for him. I know you're going to say that he's too fratty and he's been kind of turning into a douchebag himself, but he has great taste in music and has this whole pseudo-intellectual thing going on. I need to give him a chance.
We had some good times together, didn't we, Dallas? Singing karaoke at the Goat, eating hangover breakfasts at John's Café and the AllGood, star-sighting Tre Wilcox at Abacus. I even look back fondly on that time I miscalculated how long it would take me to circle White Rock Lake and I ended up zipping through the creepy dark part with the looming trees like there was no tomorrow, which there probably shouldn't have been.
That's the thing about you, Dallas. You're full of surprises—whether it's meeting the bartender at Ship's Tavern who can count her teeth on two hands or running into George Michael at the bank.
You taught me about persistence, Big D, by giving me my own personal car vandals, who were so desperate to get their hands on my radio that I caught them attempting to gank it on two separate occasions. You taught me about tolerance at the Slip Inn's Thursday night dance party, where cultures converge to get their grind on. You taught me about true love, when I first walked into a renovated NorthPark Center and broke up with my disposable income.
But the best part about you, Dallas, is what's just below the shiny facade. The West Village is nice enough, and Lord knows I could pick out more than a few things at Forty Five Ten that could be sold to feed a couple Third World countries. But for every thousand dudes driving Bimmers, there's one Cow Goddess who tools around East Dallas in a Chrysler LeBaron covered in Legos. For every ultra lounge, there's the Double Wide, serving up Lone Star and twang. For every pre-fab entertainment district (I'm looking at you, Victory Park!) there's Deep Ellum, a place that refuses to give up its heart, even if there aren't many people around to hear it beating...at least, until they turn it into a pre-fab entertainment district.
And so, for my last fling with you, Dallas, I decided to visit my favorite proletarian places, because I know that the worst things people say about you—that you're a wannabe, both trashy and flashy—simply aren't true, at least not all the time. (Though you really walked a fine line with that Trinity Vote business, friend.)
Scribbled on bar napkins and receipts, time-stamped through a blurry haze of booze and smoke, my last week with you reminded me why I'm a fool to leave, but also why I just can't stay.
A Thursday: Granada Theater holiday shindig
Name-drops: In attendance is a who's who of People Who Do Some Cool Shit. Comedian Dave Little, musician Salim Nourallah, photographer Allison V. Smith, plus a guy in a Cosby sweater with a bald patch, big glasses and stringy hair doing laps 'round the theater with a paperback in his hand.
8:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Cosby Sweater is seen reading book on the patio, carrying book inside, taking book behind the building. Has book been slipped roofie?
9:31 p.m. Curiosity kills cat, tact. "I thought I recognized that book you were reading...what is that?" It's a novelization of a Dr. Who episode. Do not admit to friends that I actually know quite a bit about the Daleks.
A Friday: House party on Swiss Avenue. "House" is term used loosely, as location appears to be a strip mall.
Name-drops: Local excellence The Theater Fire, Mom to play blogger-approved rock and roll for living room packed with good-looking fashionisettes and fashioniseurs.
12:51 a.m. Swilling absinthe in the backyard out of a travel coffee mug, listening to people in tight pants sing Beatles covers while Some Dude accompanies on accordion. Nobody knows the verse to "Ballad of John and Yoko," but the "Christ, you know it ain't easy!" part is a big hit. And how! Christ doth know how uneasy those tight pants are. Or, he would know, as they would likely have chafed during that long walk to Calvary.
1:09 a.m. After the third instance of seemingly random male nether-region exposure, I realize I'm not popular, I'm just standing next to the bathroom, a spacious corner made of a piece of siding and a wooden desk.
A Saturday: Parked at the bar at the Winedale Tavern, the 15-year-old Lower Greenville watering hole invisible to douchebags and the women who love them. Evening's "musical entertainment" (term used tentatively) is a guy singing more Beatles covers but knows the words to "Mother Nature's Son."
Name-drops: Do these people have names? They are but whiskey fairies that disappear under the bar at daybreak, and the Winedale is but a dream, as is any hope I have of finishing the crossword left near my drink.
1:10 a.m. "Are you the fucking walrus?" screeches a demure young lady from behind me. I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all hammered.
1:44 a.m. The fog of drink is rolling in like...a fog rolling in.
1:50 a.m. Some Guy (not to be confused with Some Dude) walks straight in with his own six-pack and cracks one open.
2:07 a.m. Disheveled Guy in formerly tightly tied tie gets his drunk dial on at the end of the bar. "I'm sitting at the Winedale. I won $80 and I'm drunk." Then: "Oh? Well then, you could be busy for a while." Famous last words.
A Wednesday: Decide I need perspective, head to Dallas' original bottle-serving, celebrity-catering ultra lounge, the Candleroom.
11 p.m. Pull up, pay valet $5 to park my car 40 feet away.
Name-drops: Some tall dudes who may be basketball players, some girl's bare ass every time she bends over during her sexy dance.
11:05 p.m. Can't hear a thing but can see a girl grinding up on a fat man whose bald spot is older than she is. Wish I had a few hundred bucks and, therefore, a booth, a bottle and somewhere to sit down.
11:26 p.m. Finish whiskey and Coke, finish Candleroom. Get tab.
11:30 p.m. Handsome bartender asks, "Why are you leaving so early?"
Because a little perspective goes a long way, dear Big D. The sugar daddies, the bottle service, the valets—they make the best parts of you even better. Stay douchey, Dallas.
Let's get drunk and hook up the next time I'm in town,
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