Story continued from this post. Read that one first.
Sipping my ice water, I looked around his apartment. He actually decorated the place in a tasteful yet manly way. I waited for him to get dressed for the party because he had on jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers. I asked him if he had to get ready. He said he was ready when I was. Oh. So he was going to wear that.
People are more formal in the south when it comes to social events. Especially with dress. In Atlanta, one does not go out at night wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Having become an adult in that city, I learned its customs. Now I always feel a little put out when my dates don't dress up at all. It says that they aren't interested enough to put away their NoFear t-shirt and maybe wear clothes that require some color co-ordination.
Wearing his jeans, HT lead me to his car. As we headed downtown he told me we were going to pick up his friend Violet instead of going to the park. Excuse me? Huh? Another woman is coming with us? So that's when I started thinking maybe this wasn't a date. He was just trying to be nice by bringing me to a party so I could meet more people.
"Violet has a really cool penthouse", HT explained the situation with her. She is an eccentric older French woman who used to hang with Andy Warhol back in the day. She was also in the movie Midnight Cowboy. She joined the church in the 80s but never married, so she goes to the over-30s singles ward. HT met her there and does odd jobs for her, he said he likes to help her out. She's an artist too so she helps him with his work.
He didn't lie. Violet lives on the roof of the tallest building behind the Guggenheim. She owns the roof terrace. HT gave me the tour. Her place was cluttered, simple and not very big but two original Warhols hung on her living room wall. I gaped in awe like a tourist. Then he showed me around the terrace overlooking Central Park and the west side. NY had never looked so beautiful. From this height, there was no dirt or trash. The light was brighter, I could see clouds. I couldn't speak.
Violet needed help sorting out her papers before she went to France for the summer. So HT and I were going to help her before we went to the party. We all sat on the floor listening to old records and going through her lawsuit files. Violet over-directed us in a silly way and constantly scolded HT for not putting things in the right pile. He and I laughed at her fastidiousness. Then HT went to make us dinner. I was having fun.
"Do you want to eat on the terrace? If we go out there now, we could catch the sunset." "Absolutely." HT and I went outside and pulled chairs up to the western edge of the roof. Violet stayed in the kitchen. We talked as we ate and saw the most glorious breath-taking sunset I've seen in years. The sun dipped behing the gothic sky-line as the lights from the buildings faded on, the trees of the park shadowed over. HT seemed a little nervous. He told me more about himself, what he did before he came to NY and why he was here. He pointed out the little ant joggers running around the reservoir. I leaned over the railing, arms spread-eagle pretending to be Leonardo diCaprio in Titanic. He chuckled. But I really did feel like a queen surveying manhattan from the towers.
That's the way to live in the city. Above the noise and grime. It was paradise. And I was with an interesting man telling me about his life. Did he bring me here to impress me? I was impressed. This felt like a date and it was going well. I wondered if I was charming him at all.
The sky quickly darkened so we went back in to get Violet. She had to put some pants on for the party. During the summer she just wears her g's around the house, with a loose top that's long enough to barely cover what needs covering. She told HT that she couldn't stay long at the party, he said he had to go to Williamsburg afterwards. I was glad to hear this because I usually hate parties.
In the car on the way, HT told me about his friend who worked for some law firm making big bucks. She has an apartment in the 50s near 9th Ave. When we arrived there were only a few other people. HT introduced me to the hostess. Then he wanted to show me her balcony. We went out and watched the boats drifting down the Hudson. After a few minutes HT went back in. So I followed.
The girl's apartment looked like a page out of a Pottery Barn catalogue. The beige page. Even the black and white prints on the wall looked like they came with the entertainment cabinet. She matched with her furniture too, as a non-descript blond wearing a white shirt and jeans. (I was over-dressed.) She came over to us on the beige couch and started talking to him, obviously ignoring me. She so wanted him. She told him about the CD that was playing and how that concert was coming up and they should go... Two new girls arrived, the hostess left to greet them. She immediately took them into the kitchen whispering.
Shortly after, HT went to go talk to someone else. Then two guys burst in. They made a big entrance laughing loudly. Both wore very trendy clothes and a lot of hair product. They were attractive except for their self-satisfied airs. Gross. These guys are in every singles ward. The hip hot boys who know all the girls want them, so they play it up as much as they can. They're God's hippest gift to women and don't they know it. But these two were worse than the usual. For some reason everything in this city is exaggerated. These guys acted more flamboyant and obnoxious and, of course, hipper.
I had one real conversation with a guy from California. We work in similar fields so we talked about that. I wanted to talk more but he went away and kept busy with several other girls for the rest of the night. Was he avoiding me? I didn't want to date him, just talk. Sheesh. Single mormon guys think you want to marry them if you say hello.
Time for a drink refill. Three girls stopped me before I made it to the kitchen, the close friends of our host. The perky-affectationed one said, "Hi. You're J, right?" "Yes. Hi." "Bet you're wondering how I know your name, aren't ya?" "No. Not at all" I thought: I'm not stupid, you were gossiping about me in the kitchen because your friend wants HT and he brought me here. I didn't say that but I'm sure my face did. Not that she noticed. She laughed and kept talking, something about herself acting and moving from Utah. Whatever. "Excuse me, I need more sprite."
Then I got cornered by a real oddball, a shaved bald short man wearing preppy clothes. He had a whiny voice and wanted to know if I went to church with these people. Then he told me all about his art. How the critics don't appreciate his work because he paints in the classical style of the Renaissance masters. He isn't avant garde enough for them. He hates critics who don't understand him... This part of the conversation was at least tolerable. Until he found out what I study--then he did what I dread most at parties. He wanted to talk about the pop version of my field. He does it as a hobby! He asked me if I knew about so and so. No. "He has a great blah blah, real life stuff, blah blah holistic, not like that useless stuff, blah blah. There is this meditation blah. You should read that book. It changed my life..." Oh?-- Kill me now.
Where was HT? Was it time to leave yet? I spotted Violet on the couch. I finally freed myself and sat next to her. I had enough. I was utterly drained. HT had abandoned me for the two hours or so we were there. This couldn't be a date then. Definitely not. No way do you leave a date for the whole night to talk to other girls. So I was not his date, I felt sure about that.
HT eventually came over to see if we were ready to go. Yes. We left. Going down the hallway we could hear another party. Their door was open. Violet said she wanted to go in. So she did, said hello to the hosts and made the rounds of everyone in their apartment. We waited for her outside. When she came back out she told us we weren't real New Yorkers because we didn't know how to crash a party. She used to go to parties with Jackie O and ... Can we go now?
We went two blocks. HT asked if it was ok for him to drop me at the subway station. Did I have a metro-card? He didn't have time to go uptown and then out to Brooklyn for his other party. Violet said she could take the bus if he dropped her off at Park. What about me, "Is this ok, here?" The station was back at Columbus Circle. I didn't understand. I was too tired to comprehend what was happening. I just agreed. Fine, I'll take the subway. Nice. It was two blocks north and an avenue behind us. HT pulled over to the side of the road. He said, "Goodbye, see you tomorrow." I was confused. Violet said goodbye to me too. HT unlocked the door. It seemed that I was supposed to get out of the car now, here, on the side of the road. So I got out of the car and HT drove away.
Midnight on Saturday, completely confused, I walked alone to the subway station. I had the whole ride home to get angry. I know I'm not in the south anymore and many of those customs don't apply. But, I'm pretty sure dropping a person off alone in the middle of the city, in the middle of the night, is rude no matter what the circumstances.
By the time I got home, I was so mad I yelled when my roommate asked how it went. The only way this night made sense was if HT meant for it to be a pre-date and decided at the party he wasn't into me. So he dropped me off like that so I'd know that too. Or, he was a selfish jerk who couldn't take an extra five minutes to at least drop me off at the subway station because he needed to be somewhere else. He didn't call to make sure I got home safely either. It didn't matter what his intentions were, he was off my list! Unless he apologized at church, and could give me a very good explanation. Grrrr.
Come back for more TRUE stories of the strange, sad and pathetic hilarious exploits of me not having sex in the city.