If you’ve read any bit of the mythology section of this site, you know The Big A, Adam James Lis. Who, as you can see by his photo with me, is not at all a myth. He’s pretty much as good as they make ’em. But I’ll leave the gods out of this. We can summon them later. We met at fat camp when I was only 14 years old. I suspect you’ve heard my stories about how the couselors used to smell my breath before bedtime to ensure I wasn’t sneaking chocolate, how King Size Snicker’s bars cost you 5 bucks in the fatty black market, and how Domino’s phone calls were made sighting a nearby house as the delivery address, where campers would sneak off to meet the delivery man at the random mailbox for the goods. Since everyone was fat, everyone was promiscuous. After a drought at home, you came to Kingsmont to get fat flooded. Fat boys, boys with man boobs even, were breaking up with girls because they wouldn’t give them head. They had expectations at camp. I could write a book about it. Oh wait, I am. Adam calls me “Klein” not Stephanie. Over dinner with Jen and Marius at Blue Ribbon Sushi, Adam described why: Jen: “I love that you call her Klein.” Adam: “I call her Klein, I guess, because when we were younger, I might have accidentally called her Stephi.” Then Adam makes the sound of a gun safety being turned off, the gun is ready to fire. Chkt. Chkt. in his pocket. “You don’t want to piss her off. Klein was just safe.” Then he smiles so big you could fit wheels of sushi rolls in there. What? I’m just never going to be a Stephi. It’s so not me. I guess I can be a little abrasive. A little? He reminds me that I broke up with him one evening because he smelled faintly of cigarette smoke. “Did you smoke today?” “No, Klein, I didn’t. What’s wrong with you?” “You did too.” I smell his clothes. I make him kiss me. “See, there. I fcuking taste it, you liar.” “Awe Steph I…” “Don’t even. You lie to me about smoking, who knows what else you will lie about. I won’t date a liar.” Then I turned and left poor Adam crying on the dirt road, which divided girls camp from the rest of it. It was dark as I walked up the hill alone, and all I heard were his sobs and a faint, “Oh Klein, please.” Despite that, Adam was my best everything for a long damn time. We all have that person, or sometimes people, in our lives who at one point or another had a monumental influence on who we are today. I mean, we’re all photo collages, each snapshot of life makes us the who you see before you in a green sweater and glasses at her desk drinking her Starbucks. See he knows all my faults and somehow still things I’m the shite. And I’m the same way. And it’s really nice to have friends in our lives who love us despite our tragic flaws, love us in part, even, because of them. These are the people that help me laugh until I snort at myself. So now I’ll summon the gods, and say, please watch over him all the way over in Boston. Kiss him on his sweet head and guide him on his long ass journey through Harvard and medicine and chemistry. He’s good damn people. Simply put, he’s fabuLIS. See all the pics from the night >>
Making lists. When I write something brilliant, I actually kiss the screen (okay, sometimes I lick it). There is nothing I derive more pleasure from than writing. Okay, seex and food so don’t count. My job. (Okay, my fulltime job involves web design, and I love the people I work with! I’m very lucky.) My photographs appear on all the corridors and halls, and hang in every single room of The Hotel Gansevoort. I also birthed, architected, designed, created, and envisioned this website for the hotel. Having at least two burgers from JG Mellon’s with fries, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo Touching bark, grass stains, playing sardines and jacks, campfires, fireflies, swings Drawing with a number 2 pencil. Even better, drawing Linus. Blender foamed hot chocolate with real marshmallows Lit fireplaces, playing board games, socks Manicures, a great blow out, the perfect outfit in its bag waiting for the evening, shoes still boxed Losing the used to be’s, train rides, strangers, knitting, Sharon Olds on my lap My legs after I exfoliate, grapefruit lotion in summer, rose oil in winter, memories of climbing into bed with my parents Tea sandwiches, cucumber ice water, lavender eye mask, Egyptian cotton robe, slippers Singing, cream cheese frosting, convertibles, bing cherries, lemonade stands, awnings, rosemary, vegetable gardens, sprinklers, jelly jars, French signs, linen Driving for ice cream, ballgames and frankfurters, picnics, upstate to watch the leaves Jersey tomatoes, vodka sauce, licking my fingers, crust as a conduit for sauce Finding things in common, soup, movie hopping, wine tastings Witty slang, Starbucks with Gary and David, when Chris takes out his balls, girls nights Recipes with Mom, Anne of Green Gables, beauty parlor night with Lea Phone calls from old friends you thought were gone, Artichokes with drawn butter Room service, well-done French fries, blueberry picking, doing nothing Returning home after a week away, speaking to Linus’ belly and kissing his bald spot High thread count sheets, peonies by the bed, naps, the smell of roasted chicken Laughing until it pisses everybody off, tasting menus, dinner parties, thoughtful gifts Personalized stationery, calligraphy, piano bars, children’s books, finger painting, Lego’s, Barbies Fresh cut fruit in a bowl in my fridge, watching TBS movies, my bed Christmas music year-round (my favorite: baby it’s cold outside), old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwiches, Parlors Spicy nachos from the movie theatre, girlie movies, the Fall Being sore from too much seex, having faceburn from his stubble after a day of kissing Chicken pot pie, Champagne, Christmastime Cooking for people who love to eat, bread pudding, cookbooks, honey Strawberry sundaes with buttermilk biscuits, strawberry shortcake dolls and make and bake oven Gold stars, Garters, Nervenkitt Jewelry, my teeth, thanksgiving, ribbons in my hair Blender drinks, tall drinking glasses, rectangular plates, garnish, mini hamburgers, playing Cranium, my tuna tartar, cookouts, clambakes on the ocean, cokctail hour, banana curls, letters, when he calls, listening to songs on repeat, meatballs, my risotto, staring, compliments, pixie dust, sleeping bags, acoustic guitar, crying, breathing, sitting on the floor in a business meeting, being able not to care and saying it, caring, a new toothbrush, boat rides, skinny dipping, fishing, being able to keep adding to this list, being me.
In a city as large as Manhattan, it shouldn’t just be possible, it should be expected, that you won’t run into persnickety ex boyfriends and ex lovers. You do your part, avoiding all of “your” restaurants, “your” bars—you even stay on your own side of the park. When it happens, you are without makeup, not at your worst, but not at your best. You go home and race to the mirror, just as you are. Did I look okay? You tell your friends. Okay, it was an unexpected hiccup; you go on. These things happen, life isn’t fair, you know the drill. It’s a bit different when your ex contacts you. An unexpected phone call or email—Boom. You’ve got drama. One always hopes that her ex will come crawling back, not because she wants him; just so she can say it. The low chant of “I was an idiot” can be heard on Sunday evenings throughout New York just as the Sunday Blues settle in. I’ve got too many idiots, too many ex-boyfriends who didn’t realize a good thing until it was gone.
It would have been nice to receive an invite to the Hermes Fall/Winter 2004 Collection Preview Luncheon yesterday, but I didn’t. Indeed, I never received a formal invite to the party I crashed last night either. Call it a trend. I had to beg, and the squeaky wheel bit worked. Click here to view more photos from the Hot night >> Last night I hit The Hotel Gansevoort, where Conde Nast Traveler promoted its Annual Hot List issue. Once I heard India Arie would be performing, it was the event I simply had to find a way into. So my Outlook calendar had to be revised. Move over Lansky Lounge Spring Fling, hello Jeffrey Chodorow (of China Grill, Asia de Cuba, Red Square, Tuscan Steak, Blue Door, and New York’s MIX). You all want to know who was there. India Arie, Elisabeth Rohm, Famke Janssen, Kim Cattrall, Molly Shannon, Patricia Velasquez, Danny Aiello, Keri Russell, Jules Asner, Richard Roxburgh, David Lauren. It was everything I expected: A lot of celebrities I should know the names of but don’t, beautiful people, passing as celebrities, dripping their pink martinis (POMs: Pomegranate juice, Stoli Raspberry, and 7up, orange wedge), amazing weather on the roof, dancing over a pool (thinking the pool scene in It’s a Wonderful Life), skewers of spicy shrimp and tender salmon garnished with an edible orchid, and of course, lots of gay men. India Arie and the company of my friends made my night. I certainly had too much to drink… again… yes at one point I was trying to convince someone I really was Puerto Rican by spanglishing out with the wait staff, who by the by, loved my effort. To show their appreciation of my seexy Spanish acthent… they continued to seek me out, even on the dance floor, to replenish my half-finished drinks. Si, claro que si. Click here to view more photos from the Hot night >> My own personal “Hot List” to come shortly… I know baited breath…
Destiny isn’t a matter of chance it’s a matter of choice. It’s not a thing to be waited for; it’s a thing to be achieved. I received an email about Greek Tragedy from sleeptodream posing the following question: “There is this theory that the protagonist of the story possesses some sort of tragic flaw which contributes to his/her downfall. The theory explains that the character must not be entirely all good or all evil, but must be someone the audience could identify with. So I wonder, what could be your tragic flaw? “ The quote above isn’t mine; it’s William Jennings Brian’s, and it appeared in a serif font, beneath my senior year high school yearbook photo. Growing up I fed on a diet of achievement, feasted on honors, devoured papers down to their narrow margins, basted myself on progressive ideas, stuffed in theorems until I needed to lie down and do some unbuttoning. I will get whatever I want if I work at it hard enough. Hard enough doesn’t work. It turns out just to be hard. I’m that girl, the one who worked on the assignment the day it was given, even if it wasn’t due for another month. The one who as an infant cried in my crib, drenched with sweat, until my parents caved and put me on a mattress. Determined to get my way, I had a plan; and it’s in a warehouse box today. In the warehouse, in a box, in my old high school diary, you’ll find a one page forecast of my life. A good college. Graduate school. Get married by 26. Wait two years to have a baby by 28. Dear reader, I’m 28, and I never went to grad school. The list might have ended there: baby by 28. Cause in high school that’s all I wanted for myself: to be in love and to have a family. I didn’t bother to scribble down a career that day. Though in an interview with my teenage self, I would learn that she wanted to go to law school to become a trial lawyer specializing in defending abused children. And if she had an interview with her grammar school girl counterpart, she would have learned she wanted to be a writer… um, or Annie. Ambition knocked me on my ass. My peripheral vision was for shite, too many blind spots. All I really knew was that I wanted to be married. I wanted to have a family. And I didn’t care if he didn’t… let me repeat, I didn’t care if he didn’t. I don’t know if it gets more fcuked up than that. It was my plan, see, long before he ever came along, and I was working hard on it. I was patient, not flippant. We were together for three years before marrying. So we’re getting married now, and if you don’t want to, I’ll find someone else to marry, you idiot. And so, we got married. And after two years of paying marriage dues of sunny yellow weekends alone, abandoned dinners due to his pager, and weekly promises of I’ll-make-it-up-to-you’s, I was finished compromising. And we made a baby. And then the glass ceiling broke on my head. I know it sounds like that play-it-safe whimpass spin when a potential boss asks you to tell him what your weakness is, and you chirp some song about being a perfectionist. Blah blah. But my being ambitious (to a fault) is my “tragic flaw.” The days of beating myself up over it, though, are behind this female protagonist. See, I’ve learned from that mistake, and it will always be my inner ear, but I’ve learned to keep the voices in check. Cause when you don’t—well, that’s called crazy.
I saw you this morning. I was fueling up with espresso on my corner, but my hair was clipped up, so maybe you couldn’t tell it was me, staring at you. See, my sunglasses were on, too, and my face was tilted—and with the way angles can distort, I was any other Upper Breast Side woman with a nice rack. But nothing about the moment was ordinary. I was digging through my pony skin Anya Hindmarch bag, the one I left on the train but finally got back thanks to the kindness of strangers and destiny. While I burrowed for two quarters, I suddenly had to look up, and that’s when it happened. I froze in Starbucks, where they make hot coffee to ward off the cold. A navy blur of you, outside the glass windows, I’m sure of it. You’re in running clothes, and you’re irresistible in them. You think I’ve got more issues now, think I’m mildly crazy even, for liking a guy in sweats, or a t-shirt hanging musty with your sweat. But it’s seexy, and I’m not the girl who cares if you suggest I’m crazy because normal is dull. Normal is coffee from a street vendor. Normal sucks in bed. It’s too late for you to be standing here. It’s completely illogical, but I wanted the guy outside Starbucks who I was certain was you… to be you… for what it’s worth. Call me crazy.
I started my first tab tonight—ever. As a woman, you don’t have many opportunities to “start a tab” at a bar. Usually you’re with a boy, or a crowd where someone takes care of it. I’m the kind of woman who will go to a bar alone and not think twice about it. I’ll eat alone, see movies alone (even on a Saturday night), and even drink alone; all the things that make many women squeamish. Okay, I’m not at all shy, and I’ve never been one to care all that much what people think… and that makes me beautiful. But this post isn’t really about me. Okay, this part is: after work, I returned an evening dress to SAKS because $600+ is too much to spend for a dress no one will even notice. I’ll be attending the so-called “Party of the Year”—the METs Costume Institute Benefit on April 26 (next Monday night). Imagine Renee Zellweger to Jude Law, society folk who actually have family crests, with a sprinkling of bling bling, and smattering of Cristal. Then enter me. Me who? Zactly. Return the dress. And so I did. One bag lighter, I was on my way home, walking and struggling in heels. Enter Morrell Wine Bar, 1 Rockefeller Center, and me, corner spot of the bar, Middleseex in hand. I paid for my first Friuli-Venezia Giulia region white, then well, “Hell with it, Barkeep, go ahead, start me a tab.” Did I just say that? Then I ordered another; yes but this time I stuck with a favorite grape—Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand—okay, give me the cheese plate. I’m going to hell with myself tonight. Now back to my book… I’m drunk, and it’s still light out, 7:32 pm. It feels like blackout 2003—everyone is smiling; I overhear strangers introducing themselves as I dehydrate in a corner—listening. And then I ate blue cheese! Talk about firsts… And get this, along with the cheese, the usual wedges of granny smith, bunches of red grapes, chunks of walnut, slivers of bread, were red raisins still connected on their grapevine. How bizarre. Worth a google certainly. A man with a fashionably thin phone makes eyes at me as I eye the bartender for water (nowadays you’ve got to ask). Thin Phone Man wears fashionable glasses, the perfect checked shirt, orange Charvet tie and very thoughtful cufflinks. He must be gay… or waiting on a fabulous woman. Enter the latter, dressed casually in loose white clothing and flats. She has a perfect jaw line, great highlights, and sun kissed skin. She looks manicured and freshly bathed, and if I were close enough to smell her, I’d bet on lemon soap. How do these women do it? Ms. Casual Chic might have just spent the past 2 hours getting her hair blown out to look like she just awoke. Ya know, we do shite like that. I bet Ms. Casual Chic is smart too because I’ve learned not to short sight beautiful women. See, my friends are gorgeous—seriously centerfold material. So it’s easy for a smart girl like me to assume they’re deplete of soul, passion, or wit cause would God really do this to me? I mean would he really make women this perfect just to spite me? The thing is, women like this best me, and they’re my friends. I’ve gotten over it. See when you live in Manhattan, you learn to accept exorbitant rents for closet apartments, that people won’t move into subway cars despite all the pushing through the open doors, and that anywhere you turn you’re likely to find someone wealthier, smarter, and much more beautiful than you will ever be. And then you get over it and embrace, as my friend Kim would say, “the fabeaux which surrounds you.” My phenomenal friends clutch attaché cases, fancy diplomas, and are in a word, fabulous. And I’m extraordinarily lucky to have them to rely on, share stories with, and to call friends, not acquaintances. That’s right bona fide, “I don’t care what time it is” friends, and this epiphany was unveiled to me while sitting at the corner spot of a bar, on my own.
Familiarize yourself with The Dirty Seven. And don’t blame me if you don’t agree with it, cause it’s not mine. However, blame me all you want for the eighth man out… that definition is all mine, but believe me, I don’t want one anywhere near me. And don’t get all huffy about Sidney Poitier or Spencer Tracey, ’cause I’m not calling them names… just calling upon their names as reference… well, go on, see for yourself once you hit my conclusion. In soccer, upon penalty kicks, three girls form a wall to defend their goal. Their arms cross in xxx’s as they stand tight and locked, like the teeth of a zipper. Xs across our chests prevent accidental handballs and protect our mammary glands. I do it now, in a seat beside you. My subconscious coils tightly inward, ready to deflect the pain when it comes. Everything puckers. You know, I’ve heard this saying, seen it flipped into the air on street corners… something about “you can’t live with a wall up, cause sometimes it’s too thick and tall to hurdle.” Oh please, it’s called caution; they make signs for it on roads. Body language cautions me often, like big orange ground-traffic-control beams. Blazing orange: The Anti-PDA Man. PDA meaning Public Display of Affection, not a palm pilot (though that’s a sign in itself… it’s called Separation Anxiety. Leave that shite at home. That’s right. Put it down. Walk away my friend; walk away). Let’s set the context so we’re in sync: we’re not talking straddles, tongues, and breast or ball fondling here. Insert handholding, an arm over a shoulder, a peck on the cheek, go on, throw in a knee squeeze beneath a table for good measure, all in public. Now we’re, what you call, cooking with gas. See, if a guy is not affectionate, I’ll never date him. Period. However, if he’s affectionate in private, but once we’re with his family or with his buddies he’s more aloof and hands-to-himself, bingo, we’ve got a winna! Anti-PDA Man just walked through the door, and he wasn’t holding your hand. Why does it even matter? Because it does. Because acting and speaking one way in private, then behaving and changing stories in public is called two-faced. Tricia Caggiano called me two-faced once in grammar school; though she meant my double chin. The thing with two-faced people is, it can be very subtle, a dim orange haze, fuzzy as a cotton ball. And it matters because it’s a sign that someone cares entirely too much about what others think. A man who modifies his behavior just because others are around is a man who will see bricks and mortar when he sees me: all wall. I know about tact and not making people feel uncomfortable. That’s not what I’m talking about, and you know it, so put that argument back down and leave it beside your Palm Pilot. Women swoon at movies when the guy gets on the bench and declares his love to the park, the birds, the passersby, and the picnics of families. When John Wade Prentice (Sidney Poitier) addresses Joey Drayton’s parents in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, he declares his love for their daughter with grace and class. It’s not about drama; it’s about communication and guts. That’s what we all want… Someone with the courage to tell you things you don’t want to hear, and who will behave honorably and consistently. In everyday English, he’ll ask you to dance even if the ballroom floor is empty and the music is for dining not dancing, and he’ll continue dancing with you even if the music stops because he’s stuck in a moment with you, one he wants to hold on to. It’s not about tongue; it’s about sweet gestures that defy expectations and the courage to perform them.
I never thought it was possible to hate a town. I mean I’ve heard moans about Long Island for the South Shore clientele, Greenwich for the sloppy drunk wasps, and Indiana for the rednecks and spitting. That’s disdain for the inhabitants. Even Seattle and the rain, that’s not the town; it’s the climate. I’m talking about an actual town, barren of people and unseasonable weather. I harbor bitterness and revulsion as fugitives stealing time and refuge in the streets of Nyack, NY. Click here to view more Nyack photos >> It seems wrong to hate a town’s hills. The lampposts are ordinary, but strike me near dead. I hate the harmless smells, the ancient trees and musty yellow laced antique stores, even the way the sun burns its buildings, spitting through tree branches. Nyack’s wrap-around porches and curved wooden benches cradle my contempt in their seats. I actually get a little ill in Nyack, like smelling the cologne of a reckless lover mid-step. I’ve only visited Nyack twice. My most recent trip there was this weekend where my hatred was confirmed to me. I’ll get to my first introduction to the town in a paragraph or five. Okay, relax; I’m getting to the WHY? Hang with me for a sec as I rewind to eleventh grade health class to help illustrate my point. Health class at The Wheatley School, a 2 credit half-year elective course, was a mix of freshman to seniors. One afternoon we discussed pregnancy and fertility. “A woman’s likelihood to conceive is increased with her orgasm.” Mr. Levine said eyeing an illustration of fallopian tubes, cervix, and ovaries, which quite frankly resembles a bull’s head. In the next breath, we’re discussing safe seex: from the sponge, creams, and gels to pull & pray, coke douches, and stop-drop-and-roll. I remember asking Mr. Levine, “Can we please back up here? Um, how’s a woman expected to climax during intercourse if her clitoris is on the outside?” That’s the Stephanie we all know. Mr. Levine turned fuchsia as he paced. Glancing at his feet he complimented, “What an excellent question” and then never answered it. Offering only, “Ya see, this is why this class should not be taught to such a mixed age group.” Then he scurried to his green notepad and jotted something down, probably reminding himself to take it up again with some board members. That or it was a reminder to ask his wife later that night. Okay, that was the flavor of health class. I’m going somewhere… I did learn something in the class, despite its elementary nature, that has stuck with me through the years; it’s that small hovering white cartoon balloon with the fat floating ellipse every time I encounter something or someone I dislike. When our class covered phobias, Mr. Levine assured us there was a reason, in all of our pasts, explaining all of our dislikes or fears. We thumbed through textbook images of fear-stricken faces, arachnids, and pythons. Then the same woman with a boa constrictor wrapped over her shoulders, like a musty fur coat. First they showed her a photo of a snake, then put a caged snake in a room with her… well, they warm you up to it. It’s just like dating again. “Okay, if you’re sitting at a table and introduced to someone new who is wearing, let us say, a purple shirt, and then for some reason, you might instantly hate this person, get up from the table and pick a new seat. Well there’s a reason that’s subconscious to you. You don’t understand the feeling; you just can’t ignore it. Well, you might have been abused by someone who was wearing a similar purple shirt during abusive outbursts.” Okay, maybe you’re getting my point now…but here it is spelled O-U-T. After health class, I inquired with the rents about my hatred of eggs. Shoulders were shrugged, heads turned. Mr. Levine was proved wrong, and I felt dumb for even asking. Then three days pass, and Mom chimes in with, “Ya know, come to think of it…” She’s shaking her head affirmative now, “I was in a rush one morning, so I whisked up a raw egg and slid it into your bottle. Yeah, you were sick and never touched eggs again.” My mouth hung open, and from that day on, eggs entered it. Phobia fixed. So Nyack, what’s up with my hatred for the campy fun streets, lovely art, and well thought out wine stores? I was first accompanied to Nyack by my father, who said I couldn’t sit home and cry all day. Dad searched in mothball antique stores for a new dining room table. I searched for answers in antique armoires, tried to feel the meaning of life as I fingered handmade afghans,…
No, not the Pierce Brosnan & Julianne Moore movie. You’ve heard it before in period pieces, “Around the mysteries of the female psyche lies a veil which is best left undisturbed.” Man, have I seen Little Women one time too many. Well lean in, I’m going to let you in on a secret, way better than even Victoria’s. I’m whispering so pay attention as the veil lifts. Pheromones are bullshite. Upon learning about them, I was first in line at the cosmetic counter. You can buy perfume laced with pheromones; natural chemical scents the body produces to attract the opposite seex. I was ready and eager to attract a man, panting like Linus when he sees his leash. Thanks to Linus, really, the marketing spin on pheromones has been exposed to me. See, Linus is a disaster bean of a dog. I love him to death, but he’s quite, ahem, boisterous. So, upon a landlord threat of vacating my “too loud” dog and me out of our upper west side apartment, I did what any mother would do. I ran to the pet store and pleaded with the saleswoman, “Please, give me anything to calm him down and make him stop barking.” Drugs, shocks, sprays… just don’t make me give up my apartment (for which I’ve spent too long picking out the perfect shades of paint). She handed me a box mid-sentence. In it contained a plug-in air freshener. “No, see, you’ve got it quite wrong. He doesn’t smell. He’s too LOUD.” I say raising my voice. I need to calm down now too. She shakes her head, and points to the words on the box “Calming Pheromones.” I assume you know by now; the plug-in was superfluous. What a hoax. It didn’t calm him down, not even for a second. But it did get me to thinking, is there anything at all to this pheromone business? I mean, dogs smell one another’s asses, get right up in there and inhale a mass of pheromones. There’s a lesson in there for attracting a mate… it’s too gross to not have a lesson it. Sure, the padded bra, garters, and drum-tight pants help. But you might as well go for it. Dab some vagina behind your ears. Spread it around on any of your pressure points. Forget the vanilla and pumpkin pie scent. Who wants to smell of licorice? You want seex, smell like it. Just don’t do it around your dog.
You’ve got to wear black; I can do that. You’ve got to show up on time; okay, now you’re asking a lot. Though I can always get ready in that I-want-a-girl-that-doesn’t-take-forever-to-get-ready kinda way. Well, sorta. “Dinner in the Dark” at Suba on a Tuesday night enticed me like peacokc feathers. For $90, I got a 5-course meal, unlimited wine, and a glass of champagne with my dessert…and I couldn’t see any of it. In a well-lit lounge, I sat pecking away at my Sauvignon Blanc with my friend Chris until a voice sliced through the mingling with instructions. I was led to the windowless room downstairs (just after pleading with the host not to sit me beside the man who was hitting on me at the bar). Your eyes do not adjust. A phantom hand guides you to your seat, helping you feel where your water and wine glasses are. The wait staff wears night vision goggles. Oh yes, they really do. You can’t see anything. How wonderfully mysterious and delicious. I loved it. Since I was a food critic for 4 years, I knew everything I was eating right down to the thyme. Roasted peppers, crepes, truffled potatoes, puff pastry, all scooped into my mouth with my hands. Doesn’t everything taste better in the dark, with your hands? I should eat this way more often. See what Chris had to say about the night >>
“How are ya dare?” He asks thick as he raises his beer. “I’m good, and you?” Up until now it’s polite. “Fine. Fine.” He shakes his head. He has a thick scar beneath his lips. “You’re Irish, huh?” I ask while trying to get the bartender’s attention. “Das right.” “So you’ve got foreskin then, huh?” “Goodness gracious, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Where’d a gerl like you get a mouth like dat?” He has put his beer down and now sucks foam off his cleanly shaven lip, as if he’s savoring food from a moustache. “Oh so I’m right den huh pops?” I do my best to mimic his accent. “Who da hell you callin’ pops. And I’ll ave you know, you don’t sound like an Irish. Stick to that redhead chicky voice of yers.” “So, you’re uncircumsized then huh?” “I’m natural. Das what I am, dearie.” He shakes his head affirmative, as if he’s convincing himself of something. “Yeah, girls don’t really know what to do with all that excess. It gets in the way ya know.” “Jesus, gerl, you know I could show ya. ” Now he’s looking at me. “I’m not a daft cow ya know. I’m just tellin’ ya.” I’m back to mimicking; accents are too contagious. “I mean, if we’re jerkin’ ya off, do we push it all down or bring it along fer the ride? Nevermind when we go down on ya. That’s just bloody hell.” My accent has turned from Irish to British. “Some mouth on you. I’ve got the mind to take a bar of soap on ya.” “You know, you’re right. I think I do smell.” I hurry off to the ladies room to smell my pits. I know he wasn’t insinuating that I smelled. (Whenever someone mentions washing a mouth out with soap, I think The Christmas Story and poor Ralphy sitting with Ivory soap as a tongue.) My pits were powder fresh. But something was wrong; it was my shoulder. Someone smelly must have leaned against me and spilled their onion drippings. I was not a roast. Thankfully, I’m always armed with an atomizer of Creed’s Fleur de The Rose Bulgarie (my signature scent). Though, maybe my nose was playing tricks. I needed backup. Upon returning from the bathroom, I ask the Irishman to smell me. “What kinda crazy gotten inta ya gerl.” “Oh come on smell my shoulder; I’m fcuking jumpy aren’t I?” “Jumpy?” “Yeah, jumpy. That’s right.” He cautiously leans in for a sniff. “Yeah, gerl you’re somethin’ ripe.” “Fuck, I knew it.” I spray the perfume on my shoulder. “For fcuk’s sake gerl, you’re gettin’ it in me pint.” His hand flutters then rests atop his Guinness glass. “Well some friend you are, not telling me I stink.” “Doesn’t bother me ya know. I’ve got thick skin, remember?” Touché.