(In which you will be thoroughly convinced that it’s a wonder no harm has yet befallen me, given the stupidity and/or naivete I’m about to display. Rest assured I am now much wiser…not to mention, of course, much older.)
The good doctors have thrown down the gauntlet, and while I cannot possibly top their story, I can humbly offer up a NYC dating experience of my own that’s similarly hair-raising.
First, the backstory. I’d moved to NYC a year earlier, and hadn’t ever had much of a dating history. Previous relationships? Kind of fell into them – including the man I’d been briefly sharing my apartment with, now long since gone at my request.
But he’d left some reminders behind – including this hideoous polyester black and white flowered polyester rug that he’d scored at some discount store. He thought it was gorgeous. I, of course, did not. It picked up lint and fuzz and dust like crazy. Plus, it shed. Coarse, matted black fibers that seemed to get into everything.
(Yes, there’s a point to the rug. Bear with me here while I set the stage…)
So now here I was. A newly-single woman living in the big, bad city. Cocky and drunk on my own Mary-Tyler-Moore “You’re going to make it after all” power (sans the beret), thinking I’m oh-so-sophisticated and worldly. I’ve got the job-on-the-verge-of-a-career. I’ve got my own one-bedroom walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen (so what if the toilet’s in the hallway and the bathtub’s in the kitchen?) And I decide to take the big leap – browsing The Village Voice personal ads, no less. I made the phone call. Left a message (yes, with my home phone number because I was a dolt. It gets worse…) And spent a couple of evenings talking to a much older, much more sophisticated gentleman named Glenn.
Glenn saw right through my supposed sophistication. Glenn had an agenda, you see – and I was on it, ripe for the plucking. We met for coffee in a donut shop in Times Square one morning on our way to our respective jobs. After all, what could be more above-board and respectable than a quick meeting before work?
And we then made tentative plans to get together that evening before dashing out the door. Glenn was going to wine and dine me and woo me, you see. He talked about a car service (later upgraded to a limousine) that would pick me up. I heard of flowers…fine wine…and the whole magilla. And he was extremely complimentary, in ways designed to win me over.
So I gave up my work phone number, ostensibly so he could call later to coordinate details (he gave me his as well, if I recall.) And then? His very important job had some ‘important business’ that needed attending to – so he called once or twice to rearrange plans. First we were going to meet somewhere (at my suggestion – the offer of a car had me nervous.) Then, he was running late, so wanted to arrange for a car to make it more convenient. Of course, that meant he needed my address. And finally? He was ‘running so late’ that it made more sense, of course, for him to arrive with the car – straight from his office – to pick me up. And I – against my better judgment – agreed. After all, he was coming from his Very Important Job. And, well, things happen. Right?
(‘Uh, huh – riiiight’…you all say. How could I have fallen for that? Well, I was young(er) and dumb(er), that’s why.)
So. Here’s this older, distinguished gentleman in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen, walking up my stairs in his three-piece suit, holding a single red rose. And while he’s trying to be polite, he’s clearly nonplussed by the atmosphere – the bathtub in the kitchen, the homemade cobbled-together plywood shelves that were a legacy from the ex, and the mismatched furniture.
Nevertheless, he’s on a mission. Which becomes clear after a few moments of conversation when he starts talking about his sexual preferences. Which include me punishing him for his many transgressions, since he’s been “such a bad bad boy” and all.
And to illustrate the point, he drops down to the aforementioned hideous rug and begins rolling around on it – mewling and crawling towards me while he begs “Mommy” to discipline him.
His gorgeous three piece suit? Begins to pick up all the crap that’s been velcroed into the rug. I’m horrified, of course – but I’m also choking back huge gulping bursts of laughter, both because he looks absolutely ludicrous and because he’s starting to resemble a well-used lint brush.
I gather my wits about me, and order him in a most commanding way to get the hell out of my house. Rose and all. And, after a few well-used bitchy epithets that he didn’t quite realize I had in me (nor had I, to this point) – not to mention the laughter I couldn’t quite keep in (which served to deflate him nicely) well, he left.
He was so out of sorts that he didn’t even bother to brush himself off as he slunk back down the stairs.
That rug? I regarded it with fond affection from that point onward.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my one and only foray into the world of The Village Voice personal ads…