Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.
There are many forms of art to experience on First Friday in downtown Phoenix: visual art, performing art, and the less talked about art of seduction.
Some singles may say they're just there for the art, but deep down they're looking for a little bit more. Whether you're in the galleries, on the street, at the bar, or waiting line at the food truck, you're bound to run into a least one of these types of guys on the first Friday of the month.
10. The artist
This may be the most obvious one, but it's also the hardest to describe because, let's face it, there are all types of "artists" out there. If it's his work they're showing at the gallery, you can expect a fair share of groupies. He'll seem innocently indifferent to this fact while failing to mention to all the single ladies that he has a live-in girlfriend who is conveniently out of town or possibly away at the job that puts a roof over their heads.
9. The "artist"
If it looks like a duck, walks like duck, then obviously it must be a duck, right? Wrong. Plenty of people love to claim the title without coughing up the work or the credentials. You can find this guy in the corner, talking trash about the work of those who actually get into galleries while telling you that his stuff is too edgy for the mainstream. Besides, he doesn't need "the man's" approval. He would like yours however. Which is why he'll invite you to his studio (see: his apartment) for a personal viewing.
8. The musician
Visual art isn't the only thing to fall in love with on First Friday. Plenty of local acts take to the stage or the sidewalk though, chances are, you'll be more interested in the former. It's also pretty likely that this alternative rocker has his own local following, so good luck getting to the front of the crowd -- let alone getting his attention to buy you a drink at afterward.
7. The tourist
He's not from Central Phoenix, let alone downtown, and when he tells you this, try not to act surprised. At first, it's cute how out of the loop he is about where to go, what to see, and whether or not parking is free. But after fielding hours of questions like "Are you sure that's a bar? It looks like a house?" and "There are a lot of cops out. Is that because it's dangerous?" you'll grow pretty sick of him and the nearly mute wingman he brought with him.
6. The pickup artist
Ladies love art and he loves the ladies. To the "cultured" pickup artist, First Friday is like sample day at Costco. This guy hops from bar to bar and gallery to gallery giving out arbitrary opinions on art and gathering numbers as he goes. Forget online dating and club covers, Friday Friday is the new free way for the pickup artist to get laid.
5. The street performer
Your mother would not be proud. Walk away. Just. Walk. Away. This guy is only pushing three things: his art, which consists of naked chicks acting out his two-dimensional fantasies, his whacked-out take on religion and/or conspiracies, which he'll be projecting through a megaphone, or himself on you by way of aggressive flirtation. Trust us, you don't want any of them.
4. The booze-hound
This guy like to drink. And if there happens to be art nearby, that's cool too. Think of him as the bro in artist's clothing. For this dude, First Friday is less of an art walk and more of a bar crawl. If you happen to find him anywhere that is not a bar, it's either because he's having a smoke or taking advantage of the complimentary wine in the galleries.
3. The know-it-all
He wouldn't go so far as to call himself a savant because that would sound pompous. So instead, he'll just ask you what you think about a piece and then respond with "Well, actually. . ." He'll drop big words and even bigger names to let you know he is the authority on all that is art and try to start debates with everyone around him. Again, walk away.
2. The veteran
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He's been going to First Friday way before everyone else. He can't wait to tell you how much better it was back in the day, back before it became flooded with tourists, teens, and parents pushing strollers. At this point he probably sticks to Grand Avenue, the warehouse district, and the porches of friends who, again, have been living near the Row since before you could drive. Won't stop him from hitting on you of course.
1. The hipster
He's similar to the veteran but lacks the experience. The hipster is partly there to see but mostly there to be seen. He floods social media with posts of himself standing with the who's who of the downtown art scene. Chances are, he friends you on Facebook or starts following you on Instagram before actually meeting you.