Midnight Confession

Wade comes clean

Sitting here on a late Sunday evening, accompanied by a fat glass of wine and my man Jimbo Mathus on the stereo, I'm still not sure about revealing what went down at Bella's. I had planned to keep a vacuum-sealed lid on this particularly silly bar episode — especially since I took a militant stance against such behavior not too long ago. After all, no one enjoys admitting they're a hypocrite.

Perhaps you recall a column that ran a couple months ago titled "Bar etiquette (part one)." In it, I condemn sucking face in public. At the time, I felt I was making a valid point. And I still agree that it's a rule we should attempt to follow, if only to avoid feeling silly when you open your eyes mid-smooch and realize people are staring at you much like they might observe monkeys throwing turds or beating off at the zoo. But, well, yeah, I was that guy the other night. Not masturbating at the zoo, or throwing feces, but making out at the bar.

It all started with Sal. He and I attended a private tasting hosted by a local wine guru. I caught a considerable buzz. Better yet, the grape expert gave us bottles of wine to take home. Sal had a three-quarters-full pinot grigio in his car when he scooped me up at my apartment to attend a CL event at Yeoman's Pub. While bumping along Bayshore in his beater (no AC, of course), I decided to pull a Sideways and slam the pinot like a can of beer. Not exactly sure what prompted this reckless act — perhaps the intolerable heat inside Sal's car, which also has busted windows that barely open — but it seemed like a great idea at the time.

Sal (glaring): Goddamn it, Wade, keep that down.

Me (giggling): My bad. Want some?

Sal (shaking his head): No.

I had killed the bottle and was feeling frisky by the time we parked on Davis Islands. "I'm going to make a spectacle of myself tonight," I told Sal.

"I know," he responded.

CL's Beer Club was meeting at Yeoman's and the pub was packed. The beer tub girls were pouring free samples for everyone. Wearing a shit-eatin' grin, I pulled the old "Hey, I'm Wade Tatangelo and I write Bartab," and asked for a full bottle. They complied all three times. At some point I can't recall, Sal fled the scene and my friend Helen alerted me that our crew of over-indulgers were going to Bella's. I knew I was fading fast and liked the idea of being within walking distance of my apartment.

My memories of Bella's are a bit foggy. I know I took a seat at the bar, next to a friend, we'll call her Elle. I can't recall the setup but do remember that at a certain point a mutual friend, we'll call her Jill, said she'd give Elle and I $20 to make out. I'm not sure what prompted Jill to make such an offer, but she did. Thus double-dog dared, what could I do? Elle looked at me and nodded her head. What the fuck, right? Pressure, folks, pressure. So, there I was, at a packed bar, making out.

A spectacle, for sure. In monster heels, Elle is about a foot taller than me. She came out of the gate full-on, caught me off guard, nearly knocked my drunk ass off the stool. Luckily, I planted my right foot and avoided a tumble. It wasn't my finest kissing performance. I hope I didn't look too foolish in front of the dozen or so patrons (plus staff) who witnessed the incident. But, of course, I did. So perhaps this should serve as a cautionary tale, therefore reinforcing my original position. Or maybe not.

In retrospect, I suppose I deserved this missive from "Ctyboyh," who commented on my "Bar Etiquette" column:

"With all the wallflower pub crawling disinformation you dispense to your audience (myself included) no bigger amount of hypocritical blather was your statement [about] 'Sucking face' as bad etiquette in an establishment that serves liquor (i.e. bar)."

Incidentally, I never did receive the $20. Only repeated ball-busting by those present.

Bella's Italian Café, 1413 S. Howard Ave. # 101, 254-3355.


Since 1988, CL Tampa Bay has served as the free, independent voice of Tampa Bay, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming a CL Tampa Bay Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.