Thursday, February 25, 2010
Never burn a bridge... you never know when it might lead you to an intimate Prince concert!
My next little tale is one about a boy I met the old fashioned way--- while I was out to dinner with my ex boyfriend! I can't believe I just referred to a 39 year old man is a "boy". Clearly, in my head I am still 15 and so are the guys I date. Ewww, that came out all wrong & highly illegal but hopefully you get what I meant. In NYC, the "Peter Pan Complex" is not only accepted and expected, in some cases it is highly revered. No one acts their age; that's probably part of my problem with this dating scene! (And also one of the reasons why I often see 80 year old women dressed like someone out of the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan". Oddly it is actually kind of sweet... in a Betsey Johnson sort of way).
I digress.... sometime over the summer of 2008, I was out to dinner with my ex-boyfriend who I was still pining whole-heartedly for. We were still "seeing" each other on a regular bi-weekly basis, purely on a platonic level of course, much to my chagrin. We were seated up at the bar of our favorite neighborhood Mexican joint. See, the bar is where "couples" with intimacy issues regularly situate themselves. The hum of the sporting events on the tele mixed with the stench of last night's afterglow & the bustle of people waiting for their tables (couples lacking intimacy issues) make for the perfect environment for pretending that all the problems you have with one-another don't exist. That, and having the bartender on hand with an ever-ready flow of margaritas w/salt & tortilla chips really helps dull the pain of unrequited love.
Next to us, sitting alone in the corner of the bar, was a rather good looking, very tall man with a thick Long Island accent. After many years in Manhattan, I've come to find this pattern of speech to be somewhat endearing in a rough-around-the-edges sexy fireman sort of way. He was by himself & quickly we struck up a conversation with him. After some small talk about what was going on in sports at the time...funny, I am just now remembering that it was this very night that Phelps (no, he's not my cousin) won his 8th medal In Beijing. That would make the date June 29, 2008. I just looked it up.
After some fun cheers of glory in Phelps's honor, we continued chatting with the jovial young stud. He was 39 and from the North Fork of L.I. He said he was the Regional Chef of the China Grill management for NYC & Chicago and had opened their restaurants in Miami as well. I'd been to many of his establishments, and was a big fan of his food! He also told us that he had formerly been the Executive Chef at the United Nations. How cool is that? We spent the entire night with him and even brought him along to our favorite haunt (the Irish Pub at the end of my former block) for a nightcap... or 2.
Towards the end of the night, we were like the 3 amigos. Surely we were going to hang out with our new found friend again so my ex told me to exchange phone numbers with him (the ex is technologically challenged) which I agreed was a grand idea. After that night, the chef and I exchanged many friendly texts back and forth. My ex had proclaimed in the days following that the "dude must be lying about his resume" but I cyber-stalked him, and he wasn't! It was one of the rare times when I actually saw the green-glare of jealousy all aglow in my ex's eyes. It was a most beauteous site! I enjoyed it, almost as much as I enjoyed informing him, "No, I looked him up, he really is that successful!"
It wasn't until Sept. that I decided to "up the ante" and make my texts a little flirtier. It was probably during one of my moments of clarity with my ex where I was realizing that I needed to get my head out of my ass and move on... it was growing evident that the ex's head would be firmly shoved up his ass for the rest of his meager life here on earth.
At any rate, we decided to meet at a Mexican restaurant in my new neighborhood for our little reunion. I was nervous to see him again, after all... would we still have chemistry without our third amigo? He was cute and really tall, just as I'd remembered. Probably like 6'5 or so. I like me a tall drink of water. After several Internet dates with guys claiming to be 6'0 (I'm 6'0 in heels) it was refreshing, not dwarfing him.
The conversation was flowing as was the tequila. We had a really fun night! Or so, I thought. We kissed each other goodbye and texted a bit later that night saying how much we both enjoyed the evening. The kiss was not too shabby & I was excited at the prospect of seeing him again. After all, he mentioned going out again, so surely we would--- right?
Well, days turned into weeks, as they tend to do when you are waiting for someone to call you again. I never heard a peep from him. I, still in a questionable state of self-acceptance and stinging from my healing broken heart, played the night out in my head over and over. Maybe I shouldn't have said this? Or maybe he got scared when I mentioned that? Oh, maybe he just didn't think I was cute enough? Whatever it was it burned me a bit, I'll admit. I was a little peeved. I hadn't yet come to the realization that this type of thing happens all the time in this god-forsaken dating world. Asshole, I thought. Ewww, however talented and successful a chef he was, he still had that hideous Long Island accent and was so tall-- like an oaf or something! (Yes, I know those were things that I had liked about him earlier, but he never called!!!) I never ever wanted to see him again. EVER!
The funny thing about the Island of New York, is that though it is geographically a very small area of land, there is said to be some 8 million+ people living in Manhattan (20 million if you include the outer boroughs). With so many freaking people, it is amazing how often you bump into the very people you might be trying to avoid at the time! It never ceases to amaze me.
Case in point, several weeks later, on Friday, October 14, 2008 (I only know this because I just googled it, you'll soon see what I mean) my girlfriend E and I had started the evening out on very low note. After a glass of wine at her apt. I had to rush home before we set out for the evening just to make sure I hadn't left Fannie's bone on the floor for her to choke on. (I'm very OCD about my dog. If Oprah's pooch can die from getting a toy lodged in it's larynx, who's canine couldn't? I simply could not take the chance). Besides, how could I enjoy the evening with that ever-present visual in my head?
We really had no set itinerary. After making sure Fannie was "safe & sound", and with the roll of my friend's eyes when the bone wasn't even within her grasp *ooops*, we set out for Tortilla Flats in the West Village. Sadly, because of my incessant worrying, which then caused our poor timing, the joint was already packed and out of control and now, crossed off of our list of fun possibilities for the evening. So, we walked a few blocks and settled on the Brass Monkey. A annoyingly young & somewhat seedy club that we made do with because we were both in 4 " heels... after all, the music was pretty fun--- blisters, however, are not.
After a few short minutes there, we were already bored and convinced the evening was doomed.
Not wanting to continue walking in our heels we did what any proper New York girl does, we grabbed a drink and bobbed our head to the blaring 80's music.... it gave me the appropriate moment to step back and survey the possibilities. Were there any cute guys over the age of 30 in this place?! After doing a complete 360º, I'm somewhat like an owl when this type of dexterity is needed.... I saw him! There he was, all 6 feet 5 inches of prime chef meat. He was hard to overlook amidst the waves of teeny-bopper 20-somethings who probably "weren't even born when this song first came out!"
"Holy shit!", I said to E, "the chef is standing right over there, mother effer, what is he doing here of all places?!?!?!"... or something to that extent. Of course she knew exactly who I was talking about because we had been gabbing about his not ever calling me all evening!!! My first inclination was to run like the wind. (This visual reminds me of that 90's TV commercial for Easy Spirit pumps where the girls are playing basketball in high heels while a cheesy voice-over sings... "Looks like a pump but feels like a sneaker!" I'm a glutton for old commercials. Why are they constantly popping into my brain on a regular basis?? Was it too much TV as a child? Why didn't I go into advertising????
Again, I digress, fighting my initial instincts to get the hell out of dodge... I didn't want this guy to see me, after all he'd snubbed me just a few short weeks ago! I assessed my options... we could walk out the door into the dark dismal abyss with no fun venue in mind or I could swallow my pride along with a swig of my chardonnay, and walk over to him to say "hello". Yes, I could be the bigger person (not an easy endeavor with someone of such tall stature)... after all, he was still a nice guy even if he didn't realize what an awesome girl he'd passed up... and clearly the only decent flirting prospect for the night.
So, I did just that. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and we ended up hanging out with him and his pals for a few drinks. Turns out, he was out with his live-in girlfriend's brother! OOOOH!!! That's why he didn't call... he has a girlfriend. It was re-assuring to find that sometimes these types of behaviors are not attributed to you at all. There may be situations beyond your control preventing him from asking you out again... though most of the time it does just mean that he's not that into you. Either way, "why would I want to go out with someone who would do that to a live-in girlfriend anyway" I thought to myself... but he'll do for the night all the same...sometimes you just want someone cute to flirt with, you know?
After the swelling in my feet had gone down and we were sufficiently bored with the Brass Monkey surroundings, the chef decided to join my friend and I on a quest to find a place with a more entertaining vibe. A new set of 3 Amigos! He suggested the roof of the Gansevoort Hotel... after all, it was pretty mild out for mid October and he was the executive chef at Restaurant Ono there so we wouldn't have to wait in the usual line that wrapped around it's block on most weekend nights.
Why not? We didn't have any other suggestions. Well, thank God we did, because it ended up turning into one of the best nights of my life!
I hadn't noticed the line outside the Hotel being any longer than it usually was on the weekend... when the weather is nice the rooftop bar is the perfect place to party late-night. Apparently it helps when you show up with a hotel executive because they actually shuffle you past the masses waiting in line for the 1 or 2 elevators available for use.
When the elevator doors opened to the top floor I literally could not believe my eyes. There, right in front of me, on a slightly elevated make-shift stage, was Prince wailing away on his guitar. All 5 foot 2 inches (well, 5'8 if you count his heels) of him in his cream cowl-necked angora dress, ahem, I mean sweater. Well, it seemed like a sweater dress, are you surprised? This was the craziest & most unexpected sight I have ever seen!! The bouncer led us out a door to the deck outside where we followed the chef passed Dave Chappelle who was outside smoking and into a side door... only to re-enter to a spot literally 5 feet from Prince himself. We were standing in front row, if there was such a thing! It was insane! (Make-shift stage & heels put together, our tour-guide chef was virtually looking him square in the eyes!)
Apparently, he was playing an intimate party for industry insiders in honor of the release of his new book. I only know this because I read a press release the following day to find out why the hell he was playing for such a small group! Unfortunately there were handwritten signs up saying "no photos" otherwise I would have snuck one & posted it instead of making my own for posterity. Howard Stern was there among others... and Dave Chappelle did stand-up during set breaks. He was freaking hysterical. I love that guy!
A smoker at the time, I inadvertently joined Chappelle outside on the deck for a cigarette right after he finished one of his routines. Thinking I was "one with the celebs" and with the liquid courage of my chardonnay... I walked right up to him and said "Dude, you totally killed it!" He looked at me with that look of fear he often does, like the cat who ate the canary, and said nothing. I think it might have been the first time a blond white biyatch had told him he killed something... and I don't necessarily think it jived with him. I walked away feeling a wee bit crestfallen, returned inside in time to hear Prince blaring "Purple Rain" and all was alright with the world again.
The moral of this story, (yes, there is one) is that had I not swallowed my pride and went up to Chef Douchey McDoucherson I might have missed out on one of the most exciting nights of my life thus far! So, even if a guy acts like a total dick munch asshole, you never know when you might be able to use him for his connections!!
No, he was not to be my Knight in Shining Armour, but he did lead me to Prince!
Posted by Sarah at 8:16 AM