By contributing writer

Pete Flies

Paramedics call the first hour after an injury the “Golden Hour” for the patient. More specifically, the Golden Hour is meant to describe the importance of getting an injured patient medical care at a hospital within one hour. That vital hour is when survival potential is highest. In the world of Single-n-Lonely, this same principle can be applied to hanging out in the street when the club closes, only we call it the “Golden Hour of Stragglin'.”

You already know what the Golden Hour of Stragglin' is about because you've lived it one too many times. The scenario goes something like this: you were in the club enjoying the company of a young woman whose breasts were rubbing up against you like sea lions on a beach. You had no doubt that she was coming to your place after the club closed. Wrong! As soon as the lights came on she said, “I need to powder my nose” and never came back. What really happened is that the lights came on, she took one look at you and bounced to the exit like a gazelle on the Serengeti. However it happened, you looked around like Little Bo Peep until it finally dawned on you. “Oh no, I'm going to be Single-n-Lonely all night once again.” But all is not lost.

Ahh, the sweet smell of desperation… and cheese.

Enter the Golden Hour, my son.

That's when you go outside to hang out with the Stragglers. You are now in the land of misfit toys, all with nothing to lose and every possibility to act like a fool. This is the Golden Hour of Stragglin,' when the desperate gather outside of bars in transient groups as if they were making hobo stew at a railroad junction. I've seen you in action, running around, running your mouth, running on empty.

The Golden Hour of Stragglin' is your last chance for survival. You can save yourself for the night. It's the last chance to rub up on something other than the love line on your palm. If you fail to find someone in the Golden Hour, you wind up at Denny's eating a Grand Slam breakfast, smoking cigarettes with the other Single-n-Lonely night owls, hooting nonsense at each other. You love the Grand Slam breakfast—two eggs, two sausage, two pancakes, two slices of toast, two Pall Malls—but that's not the point. Even if you could take a bath in that delicious boysenberry syrup, it still wouldn't compare to finding a special lady for the night to unburden yourself of your smooveness. Here are some tips for capitalizing on that glorious window of time, known as the Golden Hour of Stragglin'.

Flatter her until you sicken yourself.

Flattery gets you everywhere. Pour it out on her like she was the pancake and your slurred speech was boysenberry. Be prepared to talk about marriage and children with conviction. If you see her rejecting the flattery, take your absurd self to her more obese friend. Keep in mind: in the Golden Hour you have to act fast to stop the bleeding. Be quick like a cat on a hot tin roof. See if you can't get a hat trick of slaps.

Is that wooden leg of yours oak?

If she has a wooden leg, compliment her on it. Even if you know that the wood is pine, ask her if the leg is oak or walnut. The same goes for hunchbacks and albinos. Look for the nuances that make her leprosy different from other lepers. Be armed with helpful advice. For instance, if she has a goiter, suggest iodized salt. If she has scurvy, buy her a lemon to suck on.

Make absurd promises.

Assure the straggler that you are something special. Even if the cupboards in your apartment are completely barren, tell her you will make Chicken Cacciatore for her when you get home. If your refrigerator has one can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, tell her that you are throwing a rave at 4:00 AM and Wesley Snipes will be there. If she indicates that you are not her type, remind her that you get taller and better looking the more you drink. If she says you have a drinking problem, tell her that you sure do—two hands and only one mouth.

Start a fight, but only if you can win.

Nothing is as appealing to stragglers as a straggler fight. However, not only will getting in a fight most likely be embarrassing in the end, but you will not be able to kiss a girl with a bloody, crusted over, fugly fat lip. Have one of your Married-n-Bored friends stage a fight with you. Have him agree to lose the fight like when The Rock wrestles Rey Mysterio. If you pay Married-n-Bored, he'll do anything because his wife will be happy he didn't go drunkenly to the cash machine. Don't pick on skinny nerds unless completely desperate. Only if you have to, pummel a geek like he was a hockey puck in Montreal.

If all of these tactics fail to find you a last minute mate, feel free to yell obscenities in the street so that the neighbors are irritated and the club gets a noise violation. Also, it is customary to vandalize something when you are one of the last stragglers. By all means, make catcalls to complete strangers while you are walking to Denny’s and say things to other people that would make your mother hemorrhage. Get your mind right before you dig in to those pancakes. You are still Single-n-Lonely, but you've always got boysenberry.