Okay, so maybe it's worth talking about how the dating scene is treating me.
I'm not actually on the scene, as such, but I am doing lots of psychiatric homework in that department. Which is to say, I am now officially "open-minded." I haven't exactly gone out and leapt around and done the sorts of things my shrink wants me to, but then, I am living with my parents in the suburbs or, at absolute best, staying at my grandparents' place uptown, which hardly lends itself to riotous living.
"Go to literary parties," said my friend James, who frequents those sorts of things. "That's where you meet people."
Well, I guess so. Time was, I used to do exactly that, but now I don't work in publishing any longer and it seems sort of sad to just kind of troll them for men. What would I do, just stand around with a glass of wine waiting for someone to talk to me? (Come to think of it, that's exactly what I used to do.) Besides, I'm not on those mailing lists any longer.
I was pleased to be able to tell my doctor that I had accepted the number of a man. I mean, he was no great shakes or anything, and he had some horrible, hippy-dippy name, and up until the very second he approached me I thought he was gay...but, anyway, I didn't blanch or run away or freak out, which is what I used to do in such situations. I have his number in my phone.
It was one of the few occasions I'd gone out. I'd seen The Earrings of Madame de at the Film Forum and then went, with my brother (who, btw, has a broken wrist!) and the friend m y mother refers to as my "cicisbeo" (more on him later) to get a drink at El Quixote.
El Quixote is about my favorite place in the world, and back when I transacted business, I used to make everyone meet me there, which I see now was some kind of eccentric power play, but then I was an ass in those days. Anyhow, we went there. I had a brandy Alexander.
There was this big group of gay men and one British fag hag being really raucous at the other end of the bar, and they kept looking at me and giggling and pointing. I wondered if they were talking about my glasses, which my mother hates, but which in fact are just like the ones Isabelle Adjani wears in The Tenant.
Anyway, this went on for about 20 minutes, until I was thoroughly uncomfortable. We paid and filed out; I was a little behind the others, as my parka's zipper sticks, and anyhow, I knew they'd be starting a cigarette. As I was fumbling with the zipper, this guy came up to me - one of the raucous party. He was wearing some kind of effeminate striped scarf and maybe a porkpie hat, although in fairness I might be imagining the hat.
"You're surrounded by men," he said weirdly, "but I just had to introduce myself and ask if you wanted to go out some time. I'm Quinoa." (nb, not his actual name.)
"Quinoa," I said, "it's so nice to meet you, and I'm flattered you want to know me better. But I think I should tell you, right off the bat, that I just got out of an eight-year relationship, and I don't think I'm ready to date anyone else."
(So well handled. Well, sort of; I was clasping his hand and speaking in this borderline-creepy, confiding way.)
"Well," said he, "why don't I give you my number, and if you just get bored or something some time, maybe we can get a drink."
Now I have "Quinoa" in my phone. Quite a conquest.
Um, that's it, actually. It's not that good a story. In the next installment, though, I'll write all about my beaux, which is more interesting.