"They are hip without being slick, they are intelligent without being corny, they are intellectual as hell and know all about Pound without being pretentious or talking too much about it, they are very quiet..." - KerouacSteve the bartender hands me my drink and I nod gratefully at him. Then I take a grand sip, the biggest one I can muster with only a straw holding me back, and I set it down carefully to open my laptop, intent to focus on the words in front of me. But immediately they blur and unblur, like a pulsating mess of tangled squiggly lines, letter combinations without meaning, my eyes playing dirty tricks that I cannot endorse. I have to turn away and take another sip of my drink. The group of people at the table directly behind the bar -- the ones in the corner by the window that looks out into the alleyway and sort of back toward Broadway Street -- catch my attention and I turn around because they are engaged in some kind of shouting match that could only be inspired by second and third rounds and cheap shots that only happy hour hell could elicit. I should have come out later.
I’m about to turn back toward my computer and give writing another shot when one guy among the group catches my attention. He is making eyes at me in between deep and meaningful conversations with the people sitting across from him in the booth. I watch him as he stares over at me, every five seconds or so, deep black eyes that intrigue me on a visceral level. He can’t help but continue looking as I glance over my shoulder. It makes me smile a little with amusement. This guy is definitely my type but it is not my personality to be the approacher in a potential romantic entanglement. I like being the one who gets approached. As a woman, the only way to know for sure that a guy digs you, at least momentarily, is to see him walk up and engage in conversation. Without that, there’s nothing to go on. We might as well be left completely in the dark.
I get the feeling that this group sitting at the window table are all co-workers, mostly because it is happy hour for another hour and they are all wearing suits, ties and nice, work-style clothing. They have probably come out for an end of the week celebration, a good buzz to head into the weekend. I don’t want to crash their camaraderie but I might like to get to know the guy in the blue polo shirt, the one with the jet-black hair and the great smile who has been surreptitiously looking my way for the past few minutes. He looks like he hales partially from the far east, mysterious and silent with his dark eyes and curling lips. I really dig his look. I think he wants to approach me but he is still wondering if it is proper; he’s still working on his first margarita. The courage has not been completely built up yet. While I’m not sure how I feel about a guy who drinks margaritas, I let it slide because I am bored, very bored here.
I smile at him and catch his eye. He smiles back. Now that the foundation has been laid, I turn back toward my screen and focus once again on the clumsy words in front of me. How can I make the sentences and paragraphs and pages better? How can I make them more compelling, more creatively composed? I take another sip of my drink, killing it pridefully and then slurping the straw loudly in order to draw the attention of Steve. I point to my empty glass just as the bartender walks over. He nods his head and gets started on fixing another one. I’m barely feeling the buzz right now.
While I wait for my second round, I turn back toward the group and find the eyes of my mystery man once more. I smile and bite my lip seductively. He has this deep, dark, and sexy look, Mediterranean or maybe far east, reminiscent of someone from the movies, without guile, guileless, but cool or at least cool enough to make me wonder how is voice might sound and what his seductive tactics might be. He’s really pretty cute, intriguing and sexy. I think he wants me too because he keeps turning this way, ignoring his need to converse with coworkers in favor of admiring my own inherent mysteriousness. I like a guy with priorities.
Then without warning I note him rising from his seat, the solidarity of his booth, the shrouded mysteriousness that he was bathing upon for minutes past, asking coworkers to excuse him. I watch him with interest as he makes his way over to the bar, over to where Steve is wiping down the counter, over to where I am sitting with my computer forcing genius, perched in clouded mystery of my own, just like him and yet completely different, wanting to see where this will all lead while knowing already sort of how it is likely to end. But I remain intrigued nevertheless. Without wonder, this world is just too boring.
Hey, so I saw you looking over at me, he says as he approaches my stool. I shrug my shoulders and play my best rendition of coy. I don’t know what you’re talking about, I retort ambiguously, ambivalently, thoughtlessly. I think you were looking at me, I respond with a light smile and an emphasis on him. He smiles back, knowingly, confidently and with a touch of arrogance that I just find really fucking sexy in a man. He nods his head smoothly. I will not admit my own curiosity. I’m Kameron, he states, a statement through and through, one that I presume I am supposed to be impressed by. Nice to meet you, I offer. Kameron chuckles to himself and looks away for a second, back to his group, wondering how to proceed. Then he looks back at me again, catching my eyes once more. He rubs his chin. And you are, he questions, giving me the appearance of bated breath, hanging on his last vowel.
I grin and decide to indulge him, yet not truthfully because that is not even close to my circumstance in life. My mystery is actually quite real, and for good reason. I like to remain shrouded in mystery and wrapped in enigma because that is the only place that people like me can exist. I’m, I start and then I pause, fumbling for the perfect fake name to use on him, the one that is quintessential mystery in every aspect of its composition. I’m Lux, I finally reveal, as confidently and nonchalantly as I can manage. For some reason, I hardly care if he believes me or not. He approached me here tonight so the way I see it, it is my show. I’m the one doling out information.
But he calls me out, asking whether that is my real name or not. He thinks it sounds made-up and isn’t afraid to tell me. I think all names are made up somewhere, I reply aptly. He purses his lips and considers my response. Okay fine, he says quietly, still giving the impression of disbelief but a willingness to move past it. He asks if he may sit down. I agree with a nod as I take a sip of my fresh drink. You are pretty intriguing, he says to me. I chuckle a little. Right off the bat, he seems like a nice guy with clear interest. It makes me feel this slight pang of guilt knowing that my only interest in him is one night. I might indulge in a casual friendship, a friends with benefits type relationship, but nothing more than that because it is inconsistent with everything that I stand for. Still, with the latent heroin running weakly through my veins, stirring up some feelings of apathy and invulnerability, and with my other genetically bestowed misgivings, I allow him to seduce me knowing exactly how this will end up and caring not at the moment for feelings or other such useless emotions. Steve is right; I am a dick.
Kameron and I get to talking back and forth. Steve interrupts to see if I would like another drink. I pause and consider. Kameron claims that it is on him so I eventually am persuaded to order another 7upVodka and he orders another margarita. I look away from him and laugh a little. What, he questions me coolly, leaning in and hoping to decipher my surreptitious codes. Nothing, I respond evasively. Oh, you think I should be ordering a more manly drink huh, Kameron questions me. Like maybe a bourbon or a whiskey or something, he presses. I laugh and then shrug. Margaritas are kind of girly, I finally reply. I’ll have you know this place puts in a manly amount of tequila in their margaritas, he remarks with a grin. I laugh out loud and then nod sarcastically. Tequila is awesome, he defends. Have you ever been to a tasting, Kameron goes on to question me, unwilling to let it go. Nope, I respond honestly. Well then, I can’t trust your opinion about anything, he says playfully.
I shake my head and laugh just as Steve comes back and places our drinks in front of us. He spills Kameron’s margarita a little, probably on purpose. I can tell that Steve is somewhat perturbed by the situation here but I don’t care at all. Steve never had a shot with me anyway; Kameron definitely has a shot. He’s like a real man and I like that he’s super-confident and good looking. Insecure men with mediocre looks need not apply. I laugh at my internal pun because this is an Irish bar and I am reminded of the whole “No Irish Need Apply” slogan from way back in the day of Irish discrimination. Seems like so long ago now.
Kameron tells me that he works in insurance and I find him very attractive, mostly because he is unassuming and has a cute face, not because of the insurance thing. But he does seem to be the type of guy that might be wife-hunting, surreptitiously, but wife-hunting nonetheless, and that is kind of a metaphorical boner-killer for me personally because I have never wanted or dreamed or desired to be someone’s wife. He has the wrong idea looking at me but I indulge him anyway because maybe we could have fun, like the type of fun that Ashton and I have, the no-strings-attached type fun. I like that kind of fun. My morality doesn’t often get in the way of my desires.
He starts telling me about his job and the politics that are inherently attached to such things as jobs. I can hardly relate, having never really had a place of work in my life. Then he starts talking about politics, like his love for Obama and I find myself rolling my eyes. I don’t necessarily dislike politics or liberals in general, but I do find discussion of such things utterly mind-numbing. When I don’t react to his political toutings, he jumps on to literature and I’m sort of lost with all the references even though I pretend to be a writer at times. This guy might be too intellectual for me; he seems to be interested in cultural things that have no importance in my life. That might be a deal-breaker for him and I sort of hope it might be; it will save me from being the asshole that wastes his valuable time in his humble and dignified search for a wife. I’ve never had any intention of wasting someone’s time. Quite the contrary, I’ve always been dangerously honest with my motives just to ensure that people know what they are getting when they date me. They should know from the start that I’m not a serious prospect.
As Kameron continues to relay ideas and concepts to me, perhaps in a chivalrous attempt to win me over and impress me personality, I get the feeling that he is passionate and comprehensive in his facets. I can like those things in a guy as long as there is some kind of reserve. Kameron strikes me as something of a subterranean at heart, emphasis on the good characteristics of such underground folk. Subterraneans are unpretentious intellectuals who can discuss most topics intelligently and at length. They are cool and quiet, soft-spoken, and hip in all the redeemable definitions of the word. But they can also be junkies and jerks and they hate for no reason and love themselves to an almost narcissist degree. Kameron seems to possess only the good traits of a subterranean, being cool, soft-spoken and unpretentiously intellectual. He is intriguing to an extent that has been lacking in my life lately. He doesn’t seem narcissistic, thankfully, because there is only room for one of those and I have called life dibs on that label. Because of his subterranean assets, I think I will humor him a little while longer. He’s got that quality that I dig in the opposite sex.
Unlike a classic subterranean, Kameron seems like the kind of guy that could and would sit there for hours staring out the window, hitting the bong maybe occasionally and really reminiscing about days past that are not far enough gone to be legitimately reminiscing over. But he’s idealistic in that sense and it’s actually quite romantic; I can tell by his love for the liberal mindset that he cares a lot about the way things should be. And I like that about him, I really do because it makes him whimsical and the type of guy that would make a terribly sweet lover, one who cares more about my needs than his own or at least equal to them, one that would not cum on principle, until I did, someone who knows exactly how to make his way around a woman’s body. I get that feeling about him though I barely know him at this point. I like to speculate about the characters I meet. Nevertheless and despite the fact that these are all surmisals of my semi-deranged mind right now, it makes me want to remain here at this hostile bar with the unwell-wishing, irrationally jealous bartender, to chat a little longer with Kameron. He could be someone that changes my life; only time will tell for sure.
So where are you at, he asks me after a break from a story that he was relaying. I furrow my eyebrows with momentary confusion. I like it better when questions aren’t asked of me because I never have the right answers. And I assume that Kameron means to ask what part of New York I am living in. So I respond by relaying to him that I live in the East Village, which is an unmitigated truth at the moment. Oh, so you’re one of those people, he nods knowingly, taking a large sip of his margarita in the process. I follow suit with my own drink and then beg his pardon, but not in so many words.
What do you mean ‘one of those people’, I ask interestedly. You’re one of those pretentious, hipster kids from the East Village, he clarifies. I roll my eyes and then shrug wordlessly. I kind of resent people making assumptions about me based on where I live on a crowded little island in Manhattan where real estate is very hard to come by. I chuckle softly, almost incredulously. If you mean that I am the type of person who takes the best place that I can find in a real-estate deficient city on the shortest of notice, then yeah I’m one of those, I bite back with hostility, my irritation at his remark only thinly veiled by my comment. Oh c’mon, I was just teasing, he remarks, probably sensing my irritation and rightly so. I didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just those East Village kids are known for being pretentious artist types, he defends. So what do you do, he questions next, hoping to skip past his insult and continue with the flirtation stage of our encounter.
I smile a little with amusement. It’s probably not the right time to tell him that I’m a writer. He might pre-judge me, thinking I’m a pretentious artist type and all, and I’m not sure I want that to lose him just yet. I do like this guy because he’s cute and slightly subterranean in both speaking and action, intellectual and smart, intelligent and cool, but he’s kind of condescending in other ways that I’m not sure I appreciate. Ultimately though, because he doesn’t have that typical nowhereness of subterraneans, the nowhereness that I have by virtue of what I am, he is kind of attractive to me. I like men with plans. Of course his snobbiness about New York real estate is kind of a bummer.
I’m not sure I like his classification of the East Village, especially because I have found that the kids in lower Manhattan are generally far better, more well-rounded and less pompous than the people who live up near the Park. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t been here that long, but I don’t typically like people who make snap judgments based on the district that I live in. I like the East Village a ton and I’m proud to live there because the people seem more real than most other places on the island and that’s what is important. In my opinion, it’s actually a plus to meet someone from the Village because I can be more persuaded that they are going to be fun, unassuming, and generous. So for this dude to call me out on my place of residence, well it’s kind of a check mark against him in the little internal chart that I am calculating.
But I won’t dismiss him for one fault when his other assets seem to be quite conducive to my own needs, at least initially. Everything else about him is aligned with me, and my way of thinking, so I will probably take him home tonight, or rather, allow him to take me to his home. After all, he seems to have an inherent prejudice toward lower Manhattan and I wouldn’t want to exacerbate that unnecessarily. I think I would like a fun night with a new guy who is darkly mysterious and undoubtedly experienced in the art of sex. I don’t want to be overly or unnecessarily crude here, but this guy gives me the distinct impression that he knows his way around a woman’s body. I like that in men.
I’m an attorney, I finally answer his question, hoping that it will be more acceptable and maybe more respectable in his opinion than the truth of my current situation. He raises his eyebrows, obviously intrigued. You are, he questions, almost incredulous in his reaction to my divulgement. I nod slowly. I’m not interested in impressing him for a lifetime, but maybe just tonight. This guy is interesting in some way and I don’t want him getting turned off because I’m actually a struggling writer. Besides, he seems to have some answers, maybe not all of the answers and maybe not even the right ones, but answers enough to have figured out how to be content with his life. It’s the unattainable things that truly intrigue me. The elusion of such things has haunted me in the past.
Now as Kameron questions me about my area of practice in law, I start to think that maybe if I get close to this guy, this modern day subterranean, maybe I’ll find the secret of contentedness that I have always lacked, the one he seems to have. At the very least, I might get closer to that secret than I have ever been before. I would like to be content, as long as it doesn’t come at the cost of my liberty. I’ve never really experienced contentedness before -- I am a product of my generation after all -- but I feel like that sort of thing would be utterly sublime. Of course, it is also possible that the remaining heroin left shooting through my veins is just making me feel hopeful, thoughtful, whimsical and giddy. It is possible that contentedness is not nearly what it is cracked up to be.
We exchange a little more small talk at the bar, him drinking his yellow margarita and me drinking my 7upVodka, and then he finally asks for my number. So can I see you again, he asks hopefully, blanketing his request with a corresponding question of etiquette and properness. I smile coyly. Are you done seeing me now, I wonder out loud, challenging him to respond in a similarly clever way. I wasn’t planning on ending this night at ten.
He smiles and looks down at his feet shyly. Well I have to get back to my coworkers, I’ve left them to their own devices for over an hour, he says as he glances behind us to the table near the window, a spot that has gotten a lot less rowdy now that he’s left. I nod my understanding. But I would like to see you again, in a similar forum or maybe for dinner, Kameron asks me, exhibiting hopefulness in his request. I reply with nothing and wait for him to continue. So can I get your number, he asks again. I smile and nod ambiguously. He offers a confused look. I am thoroughly entertained but I decide to cut him a break; I take out my phone and oblige his request. I like to make guys sweat it just a little.
I’m not sure that anything will come of the two of us but I’m open to the prospect. We may never see each other again or he might be the best, non-committal, passionate and uninhibited sex I ever had. Only time really knows the answer to that hanging question. But as he types my dictated number into his phone, I casually wonder what might happen if we ever do meet again.