“Do you want a naughty massage?”
This was the exchange I was both part and party too coming home near round 2:25 by Broome St off the Canal stop of the A.
As I walked down Thompson, on the convenient straight shoot from the A train exit, a woman pulled up to me driving a black Ford minivan saying those words and talking to me out a rolled-down window.
As I stood there for the second participating in this unexpected situation, half of me was glad that even in a semi-drunken state on an only-okay weekend, my reaction to this was still a pretty obvious “no thanks, thanks though.”
The other half of me felt depressed that I seemed a such a target for such efforts.
“Oh well.” The woman said and handed me a card, which I took a picture of, just to be sure that the situation was still happening, of course, once she’d driven away.
I got some sleep that night, but it wasn’t too much.
I’ve had a few conversations this week all touching upon how sex, if it ever was the motivator in my life, no longer is.
Though I thought it weird and perhaps, in a twisted way, a little flattering to be targeted as a john, I was never even a part of the conversation of my outcast Magic-card playing buddies who would talk about “going down to AC and running the hooks”. I wasn’t even down for going to the strip club, perhaps out of the same stubbornness that leads me not to cut my hair, or to slouch everywhere, or to sometimes be kind of smelly: I want people to around me because of who I am, bad or good, and not for anything I’m putting on.
Practical applications of this include a nice almost (possibly?) date with a girl who I sat with drinking brown-bag beers on a park and talking about how creepy guys who put their hands on your knees get a bad reputation, and the online date I met who after 15 minutes of me giving her a tour of Chinatown, retreated to the A train, having looked me in the face a total of maybe 3 times.
Both of these were probably not successful (the latter far more clearly than the former), though it’s possible that after a night of fun, semi-drunken discussion of what the proper way is to show that you’re interested in somebody in a not-just “let’s fuck right now” kind of way, I should have been better at expressing those very thoughts.
But the point I am trying to make is that if you’re going to insist so stringently on being yourself with people, you’re going to have to wait a while to find someone who digs you back.
Or as Dan Pleck would say: “Dude, you just have to find someone who’s weirder than you.”
Maybe, but after that last date, I’ve started seriously considering just ending this online “experiment” and condemning myself to some loneliness for a while.
Which maybe some people would call “moving on”.
I spent Monday, the premiere day of the television show “Bethenny Ever After”, sending emails trying to figure out if my five or six segments had been cut out of it, including one where (yep) I talk about my break-up on national television.
Who knows if they used that or if they used anything of me, but when my emails to assistants and line producers went un-noticed, I started to despair.
My relationship with that sort of reality notoriety (I still get noticed for the 2-3 minutes I was on the first season) is complicated, but the only thing I can offer is when you work at a dead-end job scooping popcorn and your date ditches you without looking you in the face, you pray for something, anything, to take you out of it.
For what seems like months now, I had been wondering what would happen when the show aired, when I’d be back on television for… what? Dan Pleck thought it was just my “zany character”, but I still didn’t know. Whatever it was, it’d make me something, not a person on television because of some talent or skill like an actor or a stand-up, but someone maybe awash in the glow of something, like a kid crowding an old school TV.
And like that kid, it was tempting to think my problems could be mutated away by a sketch show.
In the mean time though, I had been practicing comedy.
Not enough, not often enough, not good enough.
But I felt good when I did it.
I felt at least, like I was back in a community, of people, or friends.
The improv practice group I had joined and had become the strange interim leader of continued to go well, attracting more people and getting better each week. This week I even had someone message me when I got home saying “wasn’t that awesome!” which would seem normal but for the inherent exuberance of the word. It feels good to build something people care about.
And even though they were tired and occasionally flakey when I tried to hang out with them (read: they have their own lives), Blake and Rob Malone came out for a rehearsal for sketch show we’re doing together on Monday.
As we hung out and acted and tried to make funny out of things in the hushed-tone lobby of the Magnet Theater, it struck me how nice and generous people were. How everyone I was with just honestly seemed to be trying to have fun with their lives and willing to help people out.
This was not just exemplified by Rob and Blake, but by Jon Bander from my Sketch class who had agreed to act in my sketch and even provide a costume and show up for a rehearsal, a guy a few years my senior who performed regularly at the theater. As Rob and Blake and Bander and I hung around that lobby, tried to find jokes, ate food from the surrounding area and borrowed pens, I knew that if I wasn’t finding a girl, at least I had a place to be.
Bander said good-bye and I thanked him for his generosity, declaring past his face and to Rob and Blake, that “I am attempting to adopt him as a friend”, to which he replied “Well, I’m hear ain’t I?” and they all were.
On the subway platform on the way home, I showed Blake and Rob the email I had gotten delineating the episodes I’d be on, with a guarantee of some online deleted scenes and they reassured my obsessive/self-loathing relationship with being on reality TV.
“I think this is really important and exciting.” Rob said, with a big beardy smile, in the sort of way I could never tell what percentage of his statement he was kidding for. “It’s a new age and you’re a part of it.”
“Hold on.” Blake said, taking out a marker to a blank subway ad-spot. He drew a little caricature of my face with poofy hair and one word: FEIT.
“There.” He said, after some work. “Just like the Obama Hope ads. Now I just need to do that across the city and it’ll start catching on.”
We got off at different places, but we all took the same train home.
As I’ve mentioned several times, having a 15-minute first-date where the person you’re with doesn’t look you in the face is not a fun thing to happen.
But at least in the time I had to kill between work and the date, I found a pretty good cheap waffle.
I had had a green-tea waffle before, about 2-3 years back, so I knew they existed somewhere in Chinatown and that they were about a dollar.
Of course, there was always the Hong Kong Egg Cake cart over by Canal and Mulberry which offered dollar waffle-life treats.
But I remembered the waffle and took time to seek it out.
This time, unlike last I had an iPhone, but it almost led me the wrong way; after all the waffle I was seeking turned out not to be 99-cents (as I googled) but a square dollar.
It resided at Paris Sandwich, a popular Bahn Mi joint with multiple locations, this one right off of Canal.
It also came with some cool toppings for some extra cash, but I wasn’t interested beyond the dollar.
The waffle was fairly huge and floppy, sweet, with only the nice hint of Green Tea, like the eponymous ice cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (which I’m sure would make a good combo).
It was obviously not 100% fresh (as the small Hong Kong Egg Cakes) are. But it was a good treat and felt warm, sitting in my belly.
It would have been nice to have had after, for some comfort.
Green-Tea Waffle- $1.00
Mott St bet. Hester and Canal Sts.
NQRJZ6 to Canal St. BD to Grand St. F to East Broadway.
SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read): I’ll be on Bethenny Ever After this Monday. March 7th on Bravo at 10/9 central. Haven’t seen the episode so don’t know what I do on it, but presume it’s something funny.
And of course, I’m still doing that sketch show I was rehearsing with Blake, Rob and Bander for over at the Magnet on Monday, March 7th at 7pm. You can find the link for that here.
Thanks dudes, for reading. And everything.