A couple weeks ago, I received a DM on Twitter (is that what you even call messages on Twitter?). A rare occurrence, I'm shocked that I even took notice of the alert. I opened the message to learn I'd been invited to join a live show and panel discussion put on by the ladies at The Margarita Confessionals. Margaritas? Sign me up!
If you haven't heard about The Margarita Confessionals before, it's a podcast that you can catch on Channel 96.1 on weekdays. The creators, Ali Washburn and Lauren Levine, are best friends who loved to chat about dating, relationships and work over a good marg. That's where the idea for the podcast came from. Almost a full two years later, here they were, "sliding into my DMs." (I think it's safe to say they had no idea what trouble they were getting themselves into.)
Despite the fact that I hate public speaking and struggle with anxiety over miniscule tasks such as deciding on a menu item, I agreed to be a panelist in the hopes that it would be a "good experience for me." Ali responded by saying, "It will be a very casual conversation about dating in CLT — basically everything you write about! Dating apps, meeting people irl [in real life], ghosting, etc. Just an honest picture about what it's like to be single in CLT :)" Then, she followed up with, "We'll take some shots before the show ;)"
Ali has clearly read my column, so she must have known I was going to hold her to the whole pre-show shot idea.
For the others of you who have kept up with my column, you know that the topic of dating, missed opportunities and relationship drama are at the top of my list of topics when it comes to nightlife. And after tackling my first cover story "True Confessions From the Millennial Dating World," I thought I was well-stocked with ammunition for my first panel discussion — "The State of the Date: a yearly address delivered in November by The Margarita Confessionals Podcast to Charlotte, giving the ladies' view of the state of the date," as it was advertised.
However, as the day of the show grew near, that afrorementioned anxiety started to rear its ugly face. Even though I'd invited a few friends to come, I'd secretly hoped they'd forget on the day of. Fortunately, most of them did until it was too late for them to figure out how to get tickets without my input — score! I wrapped up my workday and started to get ready. Everyone was encouraged to dress up like they were going on a first date. I donned my heels, which I hate to wear, and tried to find things to do to bide my time. I opened the fridge and remembered that I'd purchased Smirnoff Ice to "ice" other people with, and decided that I'd need to take a knee and chug one of them if I was going to survive this show.
When I jumped into my Uber, I immediately began to purge my anxiety. I told my driver about the show and how nervous I was. He agreed with my sentiments about public speaking and we laughed about how nerve-wracking the whole experience can be. Our laughter came to a complete halt when we rounded the corner before The Fillmore where a long line had begun to form. He looked back at me as we pulled up and asked if I was going to be okay as we both assumed that the line was for the show. I told him to wait while I found out if that's what the line was really for. Thankfully, it was for a concert at the larger Fillmore venue and not the panel at The Underground – whew!
As soon as I walked in, I went straight to the bar for that shot we'd discussed in our DM when someone stopped me for free drinks backstage. Okay, I'll wait. I went to the back and grabbed a beer. Ali and Lauren welcomed me with nice, warm hugs and I tried my best to act "normal" when the other panelists tried to get to know me. I found myself sharing in each interaction that I was just nervous. To be real, I didn't care what they did and didn't want to talk about what I did either. That's when we were told that we'd be able to hop on an open tab at the bar! I went straight up to the bartender and asked for a shot of fireball and an RBV — I wasn't playing any games.
By the time we were walking onto the stage for the show, I was so lit that all my inhibitions had faded all the way away. From questions like, "How do you feel about unsolicited dick pics?" to "What lines have worked on social dating apps?," I was prepared to pick up the mic at the drop of a dime. I was so comfortable, in fact, when an audience member asked what I felt was a tough question, I grabbed the mic and requested that we have round two of the lemon drop shots we'd had backstage! No one thought I'd do it, but you know I did!