I walked home from VCU yesterday night. Walking up Main Street, I looked into the windows of the different bars and stores, dividing my attention between the store windows, reflections over what I had heard in class that afternoon, and keeping a general lookout for potential muggers.
As I walked past the Martini Kitchen and Bubble Bar just before Meadow, a black man with dreadlocks was standing outside smoking a cigarette. I smiled and nodded at him, so that he could see I was one of the cool white people, and he smiled back. As I went around the corner he called out to me.
"Monday night is reggae night."
Awkwardly, I turned back a moment to respond, but without knowing what to say.
"No cover," he said cheerfully, just as I was about to say no. I tried quickly to come up with something else to say to him, and just before I could get it out he spoke again:
"No dress code either."
I looked at my jeans and brown hooded sweatshirt, unsure of what a dress code would have to do with someone dressed as dapperly as myself.
"Yeah, I'm on my way to pick up some Chinese food," I told him sheepishly, "maybe next time."