The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

To Know a Man, You Must Know His Friends

His friend told me last night they have a saying in France that translates "to know a man, you must know his friends."

When I met Ben, I actually met all of his friends. It was the evening of the World Cup Final. I was, of course, sporting my Italia shirt. We walked to the King's Crown Bar very close to the dorm. Little did I know we had chosen the only bar in London full of French guys. Oops. The bartender refused to serve me. This loud cheering group of French guys booed me. They all picked on me. It's okay, I could handle it. I pulled out a copy of my passport that plainly showed my French heritage in my last name. Sophien (the bartender) came out from around the bar and hugged me. He yelled something at the guys in French and from that moment on, they were okay with the French-American girl in the Italia shirt. They then spent the rest of the evening making bets with me as to the outcome of the game. I spent the rest of the evening drinking on their tab. (Thanks Italia!)

The King's Crown Bar is their second home. These guys convene at this bar every day of the week, sometimes not even to drink, just to hang out. They are an extremely close-knit group, like brothers, and they will tell you this often. The bar is on my way to and from school and if any one of them sees me walk by, he will come outside and cross the street just to tell me hi. I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with his friends both as a group and individually. They have made me feel very welcome here.

Last night, I met Ben at the bar after he got off work. We were all standing around talking and drinking very lightly (some were only drinking water). Some guy in another group of people was a little drunk. He was flailing around the dancefloor a bit haphazardly. As one of Ben's friends, Jamal, walked by with a stack of glasses, the flailing guy swung his arm, knocking the glasses. They all shattered and I just so happened to be standing on the other side. Something inside of me told me to turn my head away. Thank God I did. I was covered in glass. I stood there, a bit stunned. I looked around and I seemed okay. I didn't see any blood, but with every slight movement, I could see pieces of glass falling off of me. Ben told me not to move. Immediately, the guys from outside came running in to make sure I was okay. Ben and Jamal pulled the flailing guy aside to have some words. Sam took away my glass of white wine in case something got inside. Sied and Sophien took me outside and carefully picked the pieces of glass out of my hair. I told everyone multiple times that I was okay. I thought the attention was unnecessary because I was fine. Sied sat me down and said to me "you should know that we will protect you. You are Ben's lady and he cares a great deal about you. This means that we care about you too. To know a man, you must know his friends."