“Audrey, when you get married and have kids and sell your cake bar blog, can I be your nanny?”
“No, Monica, because you’ll be a lawyer. You’ll be overqualified.”
“I’d be much better than some Russian nanny… Oh my god, Vlada– that was so offensive! I’m so sorry!”
Five years ago, I went to study abroad in Prague knowing no Czech and no one. While now my Czech is supremely rusty, (I’m limited to “please”, “to your health!”, and “ice cream”), the friendships I made there are still very much an integral part of my life. These are my special girlfriends I got lost with a zillion times in Europe, drinking filthy eternal youth water or standing next to heroin addicts on the way to eat vegetarian food, and it was all still amazing because we were together. These are the kind of friends that maybe you also always wished for while watching movies at slumber parties when you were little and thought, “My life will totally be like that when I grow up.” Yep. It happened. Except I’m still waiting for the boyfriend part at 26. More about that next week.
My three beautiful, silly, and always down-for-adventure Prague friends Vlada, Katie, and Monica and I met in Austin last weekend for a 5 year reunion trip. We came from LA, Baltimore, Boston, and Durango, Colorado to the simmering, welcoming south. We spent four glorious days eating our way through the city, taking in sleeve tattoos, misting each other with SPF 30, and catching up on what we’ve missed. The girls also really wanted to go cake barring. Watching literally a million bats fly under the Congress Avenue bridge cut into our baking time, so we opted for buying a beautiful chocolate cream pie at Woodland on South Congress instead. There we met handsome Max, who we filled in about our cake barring plan and invited to join us. He rang us up and said, “Sure, I’m down,” and suggested the Yellow Jacket Social Club. Men honked at us on our walk home to change our clothes, and Monica whispered into the heavy pie box, “You’re working already!”
If cake barring is any indication of a city’s culture, Austin comes out on top. It only took about half a second for handsome Texans to start approaching us at the bar. “What are you celebrating? What you got there?” It might also have helped that all of my friends are super beautiful, and that we were holding on to the best pie any of us have ever eaten. We pretended it was Katie’s birthday, who felt bad about fibbing, (“it’s still a few weeks away!”), but totally got a free drink from the bartender. (Don’t you worry– he got a big piece of pie and a nice tip.) One of the older men who approached us for pie decided it would be a good move to stick his nose into the whipped cream once we handed him a piece… and then left it on for the next half hour or so. He asked me, “Are you Jewish?”
“My father’s Jewish, so technically no.”
“I couldn’t help but notice your nose.”
“…Are you a plastic surgeon?”
“No, I’m a single Jewish man.”
Vlada shook her head at me from across the picnic table. Nope, no way. While this gentleman and I had a nice conversation about his finding Judaism later in life, I had to tactfully work into the conversation that the boy I was dating in LA had plans to take me to temple. He wiped the whipped cream off of his nose, told me not to put all my eggs in one basket, and shook my hand good-bye. WERE YOU A SOOTHSAYER, SINGLE JEWISH MAN?
Handsome Max from Woodland joined us by skateboard at some point in the evening, bringing along his sweet skateboarder friend who had amazing hair JUST like Darryl Hannah in Splash. I told him how lucky he was to be sitting next to Vlada, an excellent nurse. “You should feel totally safe if anything happens.” “I’m not scared,” he said. “I haven’t gotten sick in 7 years. A brown recluse bit me 3 times yesterday and I’m fine.” “How did you know what to do?” Katie asked. “I just did,” he said.
Once the bar closed at 2 am, we found ourselves suddenly cabless, and suddenly pretty alone on the Austin streets, save for Max and his skateboard. “There are no cabs in this bitch,” he slurred. “My friend Felipe can give us a ride, but he might not have room for everybody.” Vlada shook her head no. “Nope, not doing that. Thanks, anyway.” We watched Max wobble away on his skateboard, and started our search for a cab… at which point my 33-year-old cousin drunk dialed Monica from Florida. “Hi,” she answered cheerfully. “Does he call you on a regular basis?” I mouthed. “How does he even have your number??” They met 4 years ago, and occasionally make chit chat at 3am, because that’s just who Monica is. She handed me the phone. “Say hello to your cousin!” I was just about ready to call the Austin police department to request an escort when we finally found a cab. Sadly, we had no pie left to give our driver. A European tourist had actually eaten directly out of the pie tin during our cab search, so we deemed the little that was left uneatable.
While we didn’t find Austin-dwelling boyfriends as we had hoped, we did have, as I predicted, a spectacular time. The cake bar blog should be expanding soon, which is convenient, since I have some excellent video footage documenting our pie barring experience. And I may be back out cake barring with a vengeance myself, y’all…