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Breakfast with J-Lo

I had missed one Sunday brunch and apparently in that sparse amount of time Michael had found himself a yet another boyfriend.  Michael is a serial monogamist.  (Except when he’s whoring it out in gym steam rooms.)  Daniel, Ryan, Christopher (sans Alfredo) Michael, and I sat at Cafe Cluny to get the skinny on his latest boyfriend.

“He’s just so incredible and is probably the most attentive man I’ve ever been with,” Michael cooed.

“I would hope so, considering you’ve been together for literally four days,” Christopher said taking off his jacket and settled into his chair.  It was nice to have Christopher back with out his fiance.  I couldn’t stomach yet another weekend of wedding talk.

“What he’s like?” I asked.  “Wait, let me guess dark hair and eyes.”

“Ha!” Daniel blurts out. “Dark hair?!?!?” Daniel continued.

“He’s got a few gray hairs,” Michael, still wearing his sunglasses, turned to me and said sheepishly.  

“Speak,” I said.

“Well…” he said taking a long gay pause.  “He’s older,” he added.  As if I didn’t figure that out from the gray hair observation.

“Older?” Daniel said surprised.  “Farrah is older.  This guy is Old Man Winter.”  Evil Queen.

“I’m sure that’s how your NYU boy-toy thinks of you,” Michael snapped back at Daniel. 

“Please, you wish you could have him,” Daniel shot back.  It’s like two dogs fighting over the same gay bone.

“Jesus, could someone please just tell me how old this guy is?” I asked.

“Fifty-six,” Ryan finally said.  He then turned to Michael and said, “Sorry. She’d find out anyway.”   

I swallowed hard. This was only four years younger than my Dad.  Michael could be dating my Dad.  

“Michael, I really want to know more about this guy–but could you for the love of God take your sunglasses off.  It’s like I’m talking to Anna Wintour.  And frankly you’re no Anna.”

Michael lifted his oversized Mary-Kate sunglasses and rested them on top of his head.  “Oh My God,” I gasped loud enough for the nearest four tables to turn around and flash me dirty looks.

“Too much?” Michael said.

“You look like Jennifer Lopez’s butch sister,” I said. “And not the pretty one.” 

“Who Linda?” Daniel asked to no one in particular.

Michael’s eyebrows were as about as thick as a paperclip.  Michael had visited his waxer, Sasha, yesterday.

“Was she injecting heroin at the same time she was ripping out your eyebrows?” I asked. 

“Charles likes totally smooth,” Michael explained.

“Okay that’s just plain pervy,” Ryan said and crinkled his forehead.

Ignoring him, Michael continued, “So I waxed nearly everything.  That’s why I couldn’t go out last night.  I literally applied a bottle and a half of Tend Skin to my entire body.”

I gulped down my water to avoid laughter.

“The eyebrows were an accident.  She told me she got a bit carried away.”

“Carried Away?” I said nearly spit out my water.  Before I could say anything else, Ryan interrupted.

“Okay, seriously.  You need to go in there and get your money back and have them correct it immediately. Maybe they have some sort of eyebrow extension or something, but you honestly look like the joker.” Ryan said. 

“Before the food arrives, really Michael, you have to put your sunglasses back on.  I can’t look at you while I’m trying to keep food down,” I said and gagged. I continued:  

“It’s like I’m sitting across from my nana who forgot to paint her eyebrows on.”

After this many years, I was allowed to be direct with my boys.  They hate me for it at the time, and most likely talk about me when I leave the table, but they do appreciate my honesty no matter how it is delivered.

In turn, Michael gave me the finger.

“I just don’t get why you did it.” Ryan said.  “You’re intelligent, you have a good job, you can practically quote the New York Times back to me, you go to the Met, you attend art openings.  Why all of the sudden, after thirty-five years, do you feel the need to feel like a dolphin?

“You wouldn’t understand,” Michael said annoyed.

“Try me,” Ryan said.

“You’re hot Ryan–as gross as that sounds coming out of my mouth–you’re generally someone that three quarters of gay New York wants to sleep with.  You have no idea what it is like to be me,” Michael said. 

“Here we go,” Daniel interrupted.  “I’m not participating in this pity party.”

“Do you guys know how absolutely fucking amazing it feels to be someone’s trophy boy?” Michael said.  The truth was most of the boys had been a trophy boy to someone at one point in their younger days except for Michael.

“I’m thirty-five years old–I’m literally in my gay twilight years according to New York gay scene standards.  But right now, as fleeting as it may be, I have a man that WORSHIPS me.  So if he likes me to be completely smooth from head to toe, goddamn it I will be.”

We were momentarily silent.  He was right.  To have someone be enamored with you at any age was an incredible feeling.  We should be happy that our friend found someone plain and simple.  We were immature assholes. 

Before we could express our deepest apologies, Michael finally spoke up and said:

“And he has a huge penis.”

 

Apparently, some things never change–no matter how old you are.

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Italians Do It Better

There comes a day in every straight woman’s life when they must play the role of “girlfriend” for their gay friends.  Sometimes, a woman is an active participant in aforementioned farce, and other times she is not.  I’ve had the pleasure of playing both roles many times.  

Many, many, many, times. 

Last Sunday, I forwent brunch with all of the boys and trekked to Middle Village, Queens to visit Daniel’s parents for Sunday pasta.  

I know, I know, CARBS.  Sometimes, a girl’s gotta take a hit for her gays.  I’ve marched in the parades, emailed congressman, and…

I’ve attended so many HRC events that Michael suggested that instead of  using it’s actual name, Human Rights Campaign, they should rename it in my honor by calling it Hags Really Care.

So a little penne and gravy (what Daniel’s family calls tomato sauce) wouldn’t kill me.  But the conversation almost did.

Daniel’s parents are off the boat from Italy.  Is that politically incorrect to say?  His mother, Clara, never left the kitchen the entire I was there and mumbled things under her breath every two or three minutes. While Daniel’s father, Andrea, stewed on the couch watching the Italian channel, RAI.  All he did was bark orders at Clara from the kitchen:  

“Clara, bring me some wine!”  “Are we ever going to eat?  Where’s the goddamn food? I’m hungry.  Bring me the prosciutto.”   This explained Clara’s inaudible mumblings.

I think Andrea was just angry because this extremely macho “man’s man” had a woman’s name at least in the United States.  I, of course, made it a point to emphasize the American pronunciation of his name just to piss him off.  This didn’t go over with Daniel.  

“My father just said to me in Italian that he thought you were a real bitch,” he said to me in a whisper.

“If he weren’t your father, I’d tell him to go finger-bang himself until he got hemorrhoids,” I said just loud enough so ANdrea heard me.

 

Daniel looked as though he were about to throw up.  I grabbed his hand and then kissed his cheek to give them something in the cheap seats.  As my lips pressed against him, I thought, If his parents only knew that Daniel had a more rigorous skin care regiment than me.

As we sat on the couch, I pretended to know what the hell was going on in some ridiculous Italian game show.  By all accounts, we looked like an actual couple, we held hands publicly and bitched at each other through gritted teeth privately. 

This was a family that barely spoke.  Our entire first course was in silence.  I hummed a few times to make sure I hadn’t spontaneously gone deaf.  And the humming?  Didn’t go over well.  

I’ve seen a nicer reception from the Westboro Church at Gay Pride.

Finally while eating a hot bowl of pasta (heaven!), Andrea asked me about my job as a publicist.  After about ten awkward minutes of explaining about the life of a publicist and what it is that I do, he was frustrated and confused.  I hadn’t sold it well.  Perhaps because I wasn’t quite sure what the hell I was doing at my job. I hadn’t been particularly excited about my career as of late.  The only saving grace in that office is Mia.  But more on her later.  Who knows. Maybe it was time for a career change?  But at my age, what the hell was I going to do?

I felt like the American version of Bridget Jones, except with much better hair and teeth than the original British one.

We finished the rest of our meal with only a handful of polite pleasantries. I smiled and tried to engage his parents in conversation as best as I could, but I was flailing.  About an hour later, Daniel and I were on our way back to the city.  Thank you Jesus.  

I began to feel tremendously guilty as though I’d failed in my acting job and could have somehow screwed things up for Daniel.  I had let him down and that was the last thing I wanted.

About fifteen minutes into the car ride back, Daniel said:  “Thank you so much for doing this Farrah.  That was amazing!”

A bit dumbfounded, I squirmed in my seat and said, “I’m sorry, but we were at the same dinner?”

“Yes!” he said excitedly.

“Why in God’s name are you so happy?  That was horrendously bad Daniel.”

“I know.  Isn’t it great?”

“Um, I thought the point was for me to pretend that I was your girlfriend to keep up the whole ‘your straight’ thing.”

“Yes, but they actually disliked you SO MUCH that they never once brought up marriage.   They’ll never pressure me to get married as long as they think we’re together.  This is like Christmas morning. But better. Could you die?”

Yes, actually I could. 

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Why Gays Why?

I’m not one for posting pics…but I couldn’t resist on this one.  

I was perusing the Conde Nast Store online and came across this hot photo from artist Jean-Jacques Bugat.  

 

You know some fashion gays told these women they looked "fierce" in this.

You know some fashion gays told these women they looked fierce.

 

Enough said.

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Work. It. Out.

“…I simply don’t understand his need to constantly respond with ‘work’ after every sentence that comes out of his mouth.  It’s insane.  Utterly.  Insane.” Michael said while at lunch with Ryan and I.

“You didn’t notice it at the bar?” I asked.

“No, that’s the thing.  I don’t remember him saying it there,” Michael explained.

“Are you sure he didn’t?  Or were you just too drunk to notice or too horny to care?” I asked. 

“Probably a little bit of both, I suppose,” he said.  “I noticed it when I got in the cab.  I told the driver to go to Sixty-Eighth between Columbus and Amsterdam and that’s when I first heard it; a faint ‘work’ almost like a creepy whisper.  I thought I had imagined it.”

“And it continued?” I asked.

“Well, I brought him a glass of Merlot while he was sitting on my couch.  When I handed it to him, I said some cheesy line like, “I’m so glad I ran into you tonight.”

“I’m truly amazed and stunned you even have sex with lines like that.  If it were only that easy for straight women,” I said.

“ANYWAY, as I was saying, after I said that I expected him to return the complement or at the very least kiss me.  But all I got was a “work.”

“You certainly know how to pick ’em my dear,” I said.

“Did you at least get laid?” Ryan asked ignoring the prior mention of the word “work.”

“Almost,” Michael said.

“ALMOST?” Ryan said exasperated.  

“When I said to him let’s go into the bedroom, he smiled seductively at me and said, ‘Let’s do this.’  I’m thinking thank-fucking-god finally.”

“Honestly, the two of you are a match made in heaven with these skills,” I laughed and took another bite of my veggie burger.

Yes, I’m a vegetarian.  Or as Daniel likes to refer to me as “a VAGetarian.”

“But just before we got into my bedroom, he said it again!”

“No!” I gasped.

“Yup, and that was the last I saw of my hard-on for the rest of the night,” Michael said.

“Okay, don’t ever say that to me again. EVER.”

“I still don’t get what you mean,” Ryan said while chewing on an air-baked french fry.  Oh Ryan, so pretty, so successful, but oh so not versed in gay vernacular.

“Let me demonstrate,” I said.  “Ryan, tell me what you’re doing right now.”

“Eating lunch,” he said looking at me as though I’m wearing an “I’m with stupid t-shirt” look.

“Work” I said with a certain flair that was usually reserved for the most flamboyant gay guy.

“Huh?” Ryan said.

“Actually, I think you mean ‘WERK’,” Michael explained.  I rolled my eyes as if to tell him to shut the hell up.

“What are you guys talking about?” Ryan asked, still not getting it.

“I’m going to go get a refill of on my lemonade,” Michael said getting up from the table.

“WORK!” I shout to him as he walks to the counter.

“You guys are weird,” Ryan said and shakes his head.

“Were you depraved of all things gay in your twenties?” I asked Ryan.

“Well, not all things…” Ryan began.

“Work!” Michael interrupted and sat back down at the table.  Ryan flashed him a cold stare and I laughed.

“Definitely not all things gay because I’ve seen his closets.  It looks like Abercrombie and 2Xist threw up in there.”

“And let’s face it, you don’t get much gayer than Abercrombie and 2xist,” I chimed in.

“I’m sure their marketing departments will be thrilled,” Ryan said sarcastically.  Michael and I looked at each not sure what to say.  Ryan added, “No really, profoundly thrilled.”  

Seeing the perfect opportunity, I said, “Work.”

Ryan threw down his French Fry on his plate and stood up and looked at Michael and I long and hard.  “I’m gonna go to the gym.  You guys have given me the worst headache.”  

Then he took a long, dramatic drawn-out pause– otherwise known as “gay pause.”  

 

Then he said, “And you wonder why you’re both single,” and headed toward the door.

Michael and I looked at one another like scolded children, and then turned back to Ryan who had just pushed open the door.

“Ryan?” I called.

Ryan turned over his shoulder and looked at us.

And in unison, Michael and I shouted,

“WORK!”

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Stuff It

Moral indignation is jealously with a halo.

-H.G. Wells

 

“I just think Selena Gomez could be a little edgier that’s all,” my office mate Brit explained to me as we sat in the conference room stuffing gift bags for one of Mr. G’s events last week.  I pretended to know who Selena Gomez was for the sake of the conversation.  When I googled her later that afternoon, I realized I graduated from high school the same year this girl was born.  

“She’s so boring. Her songs are just so Splenda to me,” Brit continued.  

“I’m sorry they’re what?” I asked.

“Splenda!” Brit purred.  Yeah, she purred.

“I think you mean saccharin.” I said and continued with the bags.

“Whatevs,” she said and looked at her Blackberry for the umpteenth time.  

“How old is this Selena woman?” I asked.

“I don’t know, maybe 15 or 16?” she said without taking her eyes off her phone.

She then suddenly looked up at me as if the knowledge gods had face-banged “the smart” into her.  

 

“I know!  Maybe a good old fashioned sex tape would get her into superstar status.  That’s how I’d play it if she were my client,” she proclaimed.

“With ideas like that, you’re going to have your own publicity empire Brit,” I said and actually meant it. 

“I see her as a plain Jane.  I think maybe she needs to go out more and wear less clothes,” she said. 

Oh my god, she’s actually serious. 

“I’m just saying…” she said and trailed off not finishing her thought.

“You’re just saying WHAT exactly?” I asked annoyed.  “Nevermind,” I added in for posterity.

I think my ears are bleeding. 

 

I nearly completed all the gift bags and Brit continued to text and email.  Ugh.

I sighed loudly to let Brit know how completely annoyed by her I was.  Take that! 

“Seriously?” Brit said without lifting her eyes. 

“What?” I asked. 

“Come on, don’t play the passive- aggressive card with me.  I know that strategy better than anyone, and let me tell you it only gets you so far,” she snipped.

“Passive-aggressive?  I’m not being passive-aggressive.  I have plans later and I want to get the hell out of here.”

“Oh really? What gay bar are you going to tonight?” she said and rolled her eyes.  I secretly think Brit was jealous of my big gay boy posse.  She could use some gay boys in her life.

Therapy, actually.”

“How appropriate,” she said. 

I shrugged and went back to stuffing the remaining bags. 

“That’s what I’m talking about right there. Passive! You could stand to learn a few things from me,” she yelped.

You?  “Like what?”  

“Like how to grow a backbone for starters,” she said. 

“I think I’m doing just fine, thank you,” I said proudly. 

“Right, that’s why you’re stuffing bags with me.  I’m sorry, but how much longer have you been working here than me?” 

The next thing I knew, without warning, Brit violently SWEPT everything she owned off the conference table onto the floor in one fair swoop. 

“What the hell was that?” I gasped. Brit picked up a notebook, slammed it down on the table causing a giant BANG! 

“JESUS CHRIST!” she screamed. She reminded me of Anna Faris as the Samantha James character from the movie Just Friends at the exact moment.  She grabbed a cell phone from her bag and smashed it into pieces.  I literally stood up and was ready to make a break for the door.

Then she screamed:

 

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  It’s just so goddamn sad, I could take a gun to my head.” 

 

Had I been smart and been recording this via my cell phone, this could undoubtedly would have been the next YouTube sensation.

“What are you doing?” I shouted.   

 

“Did you forget to take your meds?” I continued. 

 

Brit recomposed herself and sat down gracefully. 

“What the hell was that?” I asked horrified at what had just occurred.  

And as if I was asking her the time, she simply said, “I was trying to show you how to win by completely losing it.  I took a course from the Learning Annex called “The Successful Tantrum.” 

“Are you serious? You threw everything on the floor. You smashed your cell phone into bits, all to show me how to throw a tantrum? “

Brit smirked and said, “Actually, I didn’t throw any of your stuff on the floor.  It was all mine.”  Then as if she was giving me a play by play, she continued: “I had to hit something that would make a big splash without breaking anything.  Otherwise I’d be in the company’s debt or worse a physical confrontation. And let’s face it, you’re about twenty pounds larger than me and I don’t want to mess with that.”  Twenty? No way. Ten at the most.  Fine, maybe fifteen.

“And the cell phone?” I asked ignoring her bitchy comment. 

“I keep a spare deactivated one in my purse for these types of things.  When I get a new phone, I keep the old ones and save them for these types of occasions,” she said proudly. 

I was speechless until finally I blurted:

You’re a friggin’ nut job. 

 

“Thank you so much!” she said and packed up her purse.  “And I do believe we are done here,” she said looking at the completed gift bags.  “Now I’m off to get drunk, and have sex with my incredibly hot boyfriend.”

“Bye,” I said and opened the conference room door.

“Have fun with the gay guys,” she said and left the office.

I walked back to my desk and plopped down in my chair.  As much as I was loathe to admit it, she was right on a lot of levels.  I was passive with my feelings.  I don’t say how I truly feel to my friends or to anyone for that matter.  I’m quick with some banter, but when pushed I’m paralyzed when it comes to actual emotion.  I’m not saying that Brit’s suggestion of throwing a bitch-fit is the answer, but the way things were going in my life something had to change or I was destined to be the single friend in couplesland forever.

I thought about calling Ryan, Daniel, Michael or even Christopher. They would definitely be there for me and could offer the support I needed.  I grabbed a sample size of Absolut that sat on my desk, left over from yet another gift bag.  I downed it in one shot.  

I stared at my computer screen and then picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello?” he said.  

I took a deep breath, not sure whether or not I was ready for this conversation.  Things had been awkward, to say the least, the last time we’d seen each other.

“Justin?  Hi. I’m not sure if you remember me or not, but we met on the subway a couple weeks ago…” 

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Breakfast Alfredo (Part II)

Ryan, Michael and Daniel were already seated at the very back of Norma’s with their backs to the wall, and facing the entrance.  This was prime real estate.  We could sit and watch (and more likely) judge everyone that walked into the restaurant.  The diners were primarily tourists that were staying in the adjoining hotel which made it even more deliciously fun.  We made up bizarre sexual fetishes for elderly couples, played “guess the addiction,” and of course “spot the gay.”  It was cheap entertainment.  Brunch at Norma’s, on the other hand, was not.

“Where’s Christopher?” I asked to no one in particular.

“He’s running late,” Ryan said.  “How was your date on Saturday?” he asked.

I shot Daniel a look before he could answer for me.  Daniel, who was with the same twenty-two year old from Thursday night, spotted me at the bar sipping a blueberry-infused vodka.

“Don’t ask,” I said and took a sip of the complimentary watermelon smoothie.

“Oh, I won’t. I could’ve told you how that date was going to end before you left your apartment,” Michael said in between sips of his cappuccino.

“Um, hello? You’re actually saying that OUT LOUD.  Not nice,” I said.  Ryan, being the good friend that he is, smacked Michael on his shoulder.  

Michael may have been telling the truth, but…

I actually prefer my friends to lie to me in cases that may cause me emotional distress-which is ninety-five percent of time. 

“Besides, you’re the one who said just last week I needed to put myself out there more,” I snipped.

“Pretend to care…Pretend to care…Pretend to care,” Michael said with his eyes closed as if this were some new mantra he picked up during a yoga class at Jivamutki.  As if on cue, Ryan threw a piece of his scone at Michael’s forehead.  

“Sorry honey, was I using my outside voice? I need to work on that,” Michael said and then finally smiled.  As bitchy as Michael was pretending to be, I knew he was only kidding.  That was just typical snarky Michael, and that’s why I loved him.

“Cute,” I said.  Unlike the shirt you’re wearing.” 

“Here comes Christopher,” I heard Daniel say as I stared at the menu debating between the crunchy french toast and the super blueberry pancakes.
“Thank God. I’m starving,” I said.  I could hear Michael opening his mouth to say something and without taking my eyes off the menu I raised my hand to quash that idea and simply said, “Don’t.”
“He’s not alone,” Daniel said.
“Ugh. I thought we had a strict rule of no accessories at brunch,” Michael quipped.
“That’s not an accessory.  It’s his fiance,” Ryan said.  Even though I’d known Christopher’s fiance, Alfredo, for a little over a year and a half, a huge part of me sided with Michael.  

We had a strict “no accessory” rule.  That meant no tricks, no boyfriends, no husbands, no friends from work, and no other “girlfriends”–there was only one hag at this party thank you very much.  

Okay, I admit, it’s a bit extreme.  But with everything constantly changing, it was kind of nice to keep this one thing the same.  We had a flow.  Everything changes, I suppose.
This was the first time I’d seen Christopher since he sprung the engagement on us.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel awkward.  It was an awkwardness that I admittedly have created in my own head.  I’m not perfect. I looked up from my menu (I decided on the crunchy french toast) and our eyes met.  He looked as great as ever.  
At 5’11 he was slightly shorter than Alfredo, but the presence Christopher has when walking into a room towers above us all.  It’s not because he’s unusually handsome, although he is rather cute.  He has an electricity about him that draws everyone in. 
Now before you start sending me emails telling me that I’m in love with Christopher, don’t.  I have no romantic attraction to him whatsoever.  He’s seriously like my brother.  

If you’re looking for Will & Grace, turn Lifetime on because this is not it.

These are my own issues–hence the need to write this blog.  As Christopher and Alfredo approached the table, I smiled as best as I could.  Daniel would tell me later that I looked more constipated than happy.

I stared at the two of them and I don’t know what was brewing inside my head but suddenly an epiphany. I felt like my emotions had been crystalized in one single thought:

What if all of your dreams came true…for your best friend?

Jealousy?  Possibly.  But it felt different from jealousy.  I still can’t quite put my finger on it.  Christopher said his hellos to the boys, and then finally it was just him and I standing in front of another.  A moment, that as much as I tried to prepare for since hearing about his pending nuptials, I still wasn’t ready for.

“Hi babe,” he said with a giant smile.

“Hi.”

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For The Love Of Anna

Anna Wintour, I love you.  Your crazy bob hair.  Your bug like sunglasses.  Your no bs attitude. And despite what most would say, I’d argue that you’re also a feminist.  I often pretend to be you while sitting at my desk. I tuck my hair into my shirt so it looks like I have that blunt haircut.  I wear those Ashley Olsen homeless sunglasses, and I even get bitchy with my co-workers all while donning this get-up.

In fact, I was wearing that exact look two and a half weeks ago (right around the time Christopher announced his engagement) when a client of the pr firm I work at came into the office to meet with my boss.  Her name is “Katrine” and she insists on only dealing with my boss.  When I’ve approached her in the past, she dismisses me.  Once time she even asked if I could run to Starbucks to “fetch her a soy latte.”  Yes, she used the word “fetch” as if I were a German Shepherd.  I would only “fetch” for Anna.

Little did Katrine know, I was the one that was writing her bio, pitching her shitty product (and getting great placements I might add) and placing it among celebrities and socialites–thanks to the my relationships with their publicists.  

While waiting for my boss, let’s call him Mr. G, to get off the phone, she awkwardly stood in front of my desk as I pretended to be working on a press release.  Mind you, I still had my hair tucked in and my sunglasses on.  I probably looked like a cross between a hooker and drag queen.  Was there much of a difference?

“No sleep?” she said in a thick Russian accent.

“Oh.  I guess not,” I replied.  I began to type faster in hopes that she would catch on that I didn’t feel like sharing my personal life with her.  

“Ah, I get it. Some fun with boyfriend, eh?”  she asked.  I was skeeved out the minute it left her lips.

“Um, no.  Not so much.  But thanks for asking,” I said and smiled the most plastic smile imaginable. 

“No boyfriend?”

“No,” I said still trying to remain calm.

“Oh.  I see.  Girlfriend.”

“No, no girlfriend. No boyfriend.  I’m single.”  

I wanted to punch her in her vagina.  

Hey, it was the closet thing to me as it seemed to be hovering on the edge of my desk.

“I’ve got just the man for you!” she said as a strange glee washed over her face. Run. Run away from the office now.

“Oh. I don’t do setups.  I just don’t–yeah, hmm–I just don’t.”

Katrine inched even closer and looked at me like a mother who was about to tell her daughter that she really wasn’t a size ten, but a size fourteen, and had been removing her daughter’s tags and sewing new ones in.  (Or so I’ve heard of this type of glare.)  

“You need to lower the bar.  Lots of nice men out there, you shouldn’t be so picky,” she said.  Wow.  Really?  I need to lower the bar?  Basically she was telling me I overvalued myself.  Damn all those self-help books.  Fuck you Deepak!

“I’m good, but thanks,” I said, but this time without a smile.

“How old are you? Forty?” she asked.   Fire me now because I’m going to pluck her eyes out, client or not.

“She’s thirty…” I heard a male voice call out.  I interrupted him before he could get the rest out of his mouth.  It was Mr. G.

“Thirty something,” I said and lowered my sunglasses to my nose so that he could fully appreciate my sneer.  I was feeling very un-Anna.

“Come on Farrah, you should go out with Katrine’s friend.  Why not?” he asked.

“You’re never going to meet any guys if you’re only hanging out with gay men,” he said.

Mr. G held my stare for an extra thirty seconds.  Those thirty seconds were enough to imply, if you want to keep your junior level job you’ll go out with the clients friend, no matter how horrifying he may be.

“Okay,” I said and all of the sudden I burst into a coughing fit.  I’d literally choked on my words.

I gave Katrine my email me address and cell number and within a few days I received a nice enough email from a man named Louis who worked on Wall Street.  He chose the date (last Saturday) and I chose the location. 

One of the only perks about working at a boutique pr agency in New York (it’s certainly not the pay) is that you have access to reservations at some of the most sought after restaurants in the city. (It was my inner Anna shining through I tell you!)  A friend so graciously got me a table at Delicatessen, a brand spanking new restaurant on Prince Street.  I thought it would be a fun atmosphere especially since it’s fashion week and word on the street is that this joint packs in a very fashionable crowd.  It was dating risk, yes I know. But I was willing to give it a try.

Since it was a fashiony-type eatery, I appropriately arrived fashionably late.  The vibe of the restaurant is a mixture of stainless steel and glass and a ton of pop art everywhere.  Lounge music played.  I think I recognized one of Hotel Costes CDs that I owned.  There were bursts of color and seductive lighting. Fashionistas (I hate that word too but it’s appropriate in this case) and party people sipped mojitos and cosmos by the gallon. The restaurant clearly is the creme of New York City nightlife.  My date Louis seated at a table in the center of the restaurant, on the other hand, was not.

Dressed in a gorgeous black dress that I’d picked up at Ina and a pair of fab high heels that were given to me as a gift, I was feeling pretty great making my entrance.  I felt like all eyes were on me.  Yes, I’ll admit it. I felt a little like Anna Wintour.  Until I felt a tug at my back and then a SNAP.  The waitress ripped off the tag from Ina that still hung from the back of the dress.  I was M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D.  I smiled at the hostess as a silent thank-you and then followed her to Louis’ table. I flashed Louis a smile, ready to run for the door.  Keep an open mind.  I told myself.  Maybe he was equally nervous and insecure.  

He appeared to be in his mid-forties, Mediterranean, and seemed to be relatively fit. Maybe not so bad. Until he opened his mouth.  His teeth had caps so large that I thought he was going to gnaw off a piece of my cheek.  I did the best I could not to stare.

“So sorry I’m late. I hope you haven’t been waiting long,” I said in a girly way–a way that I was neither comfortable or familiar with.

“I have actually,” he said.  No smile. No, don’t worry about it.

This was uncomfortable. 

“I’ve surveyed the menu, and I’m deathly allergic to ninety percent of the food here,” he said monotone. 

I immediately scoured the room for a waiter. I was going to need a stiff drink.  “I’m sorry to hear that. Do you like break out into hives or get itchy?” I asked, trying to make light of the situation.  

“I could go into full cardiac arrest.” 

Where the HELL is that waiter? Louis reached into his blazer jacket and pulled out a small cigarette style box. He set it on the table and opened it to reveal a syringe and a vial. I panicked.

“Oh I stopped injecting meth years ago,” I joked.

 

He rolled his eyes at me and then said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but if I should bite into anything with garlic, I’ll have to jam this needle into my leg and be rushed to the emergency room immediately. Otherwise my internal organs will shut down.

A nearby waiter passed and I yanked him down to the table and in my best Anna Wintour demanded, “I’m going to need a martini…NOW!”  I looked back at Louis and tried to smile. 

After about thirty minutes of even more awkward conversation and two dirty martini’s later, the waiter arrived with the entrees. 

Louis was silent and picked at his food with his fork. I took a bite of my salad.  After a few more minutes of inspecting, Louis finally took a few meticulous bites. 

“So Louis tell me what it’s like working on Wall Street?” I asked. 

Louis didn’t say anything. He cleared his throat, then once again– getting louder with each time. Really? This was a bad ninety-minute comedy playing out in front of me at Delicatessen, no less.  Fuck.  

“Louis?” Louis put his hand up to say don’t come near me.  As the throat clearing got louder, I downed my drink faster. Out of panic, I reached for the syringe. Louis put his hand on it to block mine. He cleared his throat in one loud moan causing the Manhattan scenesters to stare even more.  I’m never coming back here. EVER. 

“Are you okay?” I asked generally worried.  Finally, it was over. He suddenly stopped chewing, and then pushed back his food.  

“You mind if I skip this meal?” he asked.

I nodded and quickly motioned for the waiter.

This shit doesn’t happen to Anna.

As I waited for a taxi on Prince Street, I reached into my purse and pulled out my dark sunglasses and put them on. Nobody else seemed to get my homage to the Vogue editrix.  But I knew there was someone who would.  A cab finally pulled up and I got in.

“Fifty-first between Eighth and Ninth, please.”  Within minutes, I was at Hell’s Kitchen’s newest and gorgeous gay lounge Vlada.

The doorperson, appropriately enough a drag queen, said to me as I walked by her, “Work it out Miss Anna.”

And work it out, Miss Anna did.

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