Some things deserve a nickname. It seems perfectly appropriate to call a big dude “Tiny.” Or a dumb kid “Einstein.” Or a tolerant lover “Cookie Puss.” But whoever bestowed the Woodward Avenue Brewery in Ferndale with the unfortunate moniker of “the WAB” did it no favors. “WAB” is not a fun word to say. It’s more of a sound effect or perhaps something a doctor tells a nurse to perform.
Woodward Avenue Brewery is all about the view. The lower level features tables on the sidewalk, so you can eat and drink and look at Woodward. The upper level has lots of wooden tables and incredibly tall barstools, so you can eat and drink and look at Woodward.
The barmaids are gorgeous, the bartenders are skinny young men with mops of greasy black hair and three days of stubble, and the room is filled with that demographic that music stores and tattoo artists cannot live without: 21 to 30, employed, willing to spend a pretty penny on microbrewed beer and big salads.
“I just don’t get microbrewed beer. I’ve tried quite a few, but I don’t like it. When I’m drinking one, I can’t help but think that I would rather be drinking a regular beer from a huge beer company. The regular beer just tastes better.”
That’s Albert Figlioli speaking. At 34, he’s a bit older than the prescribed demographic for the joint. But he lives nearby, and it’s $1-drink night. The place is jammed, filled with the fresh young faces of our modern age, chattering on cell phones, staring at each other’s low-cut jeans with that most stupid of expressions that comes only with lust or hunger or constipation.
Figlioli fits right in. Tall, skinny, a face framed by a thousand geometric facial hair patterns. He’s got triangles over here, a rhombus over there, and I even think I can make out a parallelogram stretching over his Roman mug.
And he can afford to spend a dollar on a drink tonight. He works for Ford Motor Company. He designs software for transmissions. He attempts to explain why transmissions on cars have their own software, but I really don’t give a fuck. He makes tons of dough. I’ll let him worry about it.
I’m too busy scooping remnants of what the WAB (God, I hate that word) calls its “Loose Burger Pico de Mayo or Riveria or Sanchez or whatever” into my mouth like a savage. I took one bite of the thing and half of it spilled out onto the table. It was tasty, though. Well seasoned. Very pico.
“I have this unbelievable capacity to raise the ire in women to the point of being physically attacked by them,” Figlioli explains calmly.
How many women have physically attacked you, Al?
“Hmmmm. I would say I’ve been attacked at by least four women. There might be one I forgot about, but four would be accurate for the sake of conversation.”
He sips on his $1 drink and is momentarily distracted by a young lady slowly walking past the table.
“Do you notice this new thing with chicks? This new look? They all got this big ass thing going on now. Big asses and half-shirts, with the tattoo on their lower back. Oh, and the G-string showing. They all got it now. I think I’m the only one left who still enjoys a skinny ass.”
One skinny ass threw a television at his head not so long ago, and tried to destroy his baseball card collection. One skinny ass grabbed the lower part of his neck with her nails and tried to remove his spine (“Just like Terminator, man”). One even threw snowballs at his window so he would answer the door and let her in. “Even if they haven’t actually tried to hurt me, they all want to at some point. They don’t like the way I argue.”
How do you argue, Al?
“I don’t. That’s what pisses them off. Arguing with a woman is beyond pointless, just a waste of time. When people get emotional, there’s just no use in talking to them anymore.”
It’s not been all tempests and woe for Mr. Figlioli, however. Just this past New Year’s Eve he had another crack at true love. After drinking all night in a bar in Detroit, he found himself in the back seat with a young lady who fell in love with all that geometry on his face. Took her home, indulged in what can only be described as some of the more forbidden ways of l’amor, and passed out. When he awoke, the night crashed down on him in chunks and jagged pieces.
“I’m laying there trying to figure out who she was. I’m terribly hung over, and I don’t even remember how I got home. I’m looking at her, and it slowly comes into focus, the whole night. She seemed chubbier than what I remember, but that was OK. She woke up. She smiles at me. We do it one more time. Fall back asleep.”
Being a gentleman, he agrees to drive her home later that morning. On the way back to her house, the lass confesses that she does not remember his name.
“You wanna hear something funny?” he responds. “I don’t remember yours either.”
They both have a good chuckle, he drops her off, then he heads back home. Alone.Dan Demaggio dines with interesting people for Metro Times. E-mail him at [email protected]