Once upon a time on a Saturday night in New York, four brunettes met in the East Village for champagne, whiskey sours and tequila. The foursome knew better than to mix their alcohol – they were all past the age of 21 – but they danced and laughed and accepted free drinks as they were presented.
(They would regret that choice in 12 hours over coffee and bagels, but that’s neither here-or-there.)
Off they went into the irresistible New York night, wearing black but painting the town red with their lips and their winter-burned cheeks. A cab was hailed, a fair was paid, and this Upper West Side lady stepped out into this unfamiliar land that she avoids past- 8 p.m. on the weekends because the commute is just far too strenuous. But the clock almost stroke 12 by the time she left the chill to embrace the warmth of a beer hall…
… in Brooklyn.
A place she frequents more often as her friends flee Manhattan for bigger apartments and smaller rents, who leave the familiarity of the west and the east, midtown and downtown, to explore the industrial, artistic ruins of another borough.
She knew the train ride home would be more than an hour, but when in Brooklyn, one might as well embrace the grunge and order a beer. So in her mini and heels with a blue plunging neckline – looking damned out of place among checkered-shirts and Vans – she wiggled into a table, thinking that as we all get older, so will girls’ nights out, picking the comfortable locations instead of the sparkling ones. Three years ago, they probably wouldn’t have stepped foot in such an establishment, but the atmosphere is calm and mature, sharp and smart, and she felt more relaxed than she would have pinned up against a wall with loud, blaring music, charging $15 a drink.
Maybe it’s just the place she could meet a mate.
A Pilsner pint later, she managed to leave the table – in a somewhat ladylike fashion while straddling a bench- to find the nearest restroom…. quickly. But in her mad-dash in her tall boots, she rushed right past four or five tables, weaved in between giggling girls and ran smack dab into a guy.
A tall, handsome, blue-eyed man with a nice button-up and a nicer smile.
But before she could flash her own pearly whites or say something witty, he beat her to get the first words out: “Wow. You’re intimidating.”
She gave him a confused look with a half-laugh, anticipating a punch line, and when he just repeated himself, she formed a rebuttal: “I’m not. Not really. I’m very sweet.”
“No, you’re intimidating.”
“I mean, look at you. I’m at a loss. You’re so intimidating,” he said, yet again. And with that, she gave him her best playful grin and tried to walk casually into what she thought was the bathroom door.
It was a painted door next to the Ladies Room. (Whoever decided that must have wanted to watch tipsy girls, like herself, attempt to walk through an imaginary door. Naturally, only in Brooklyn would the irony be appreciated.)
A few minutes later, the Lady of Intimidation forgot all about the tall stranger who labeled her a vixen before meeting her, but he didn’t forget: as she headed back to her friends, he was standing waiting for another encounter. After some clever banter and the exchange of the basics (what neighborhood, where are you from originally, what do you do), he inquired about the lady’s number.
And though it was almost 1 a.m., she couldn’t exactly recall his name and she didn’t intend to date another guy who lived across the east river, she decided if he really thought she was intimidating, she’d live up to it.
“You’re not going to remember this conversation tomorrow or me, you know.”
“How could I possibly forget?”
“I think beers number 4, 5 and 6 will probably contribute to the downfall of your memory.”
“But I’ll give it a shot, give me your phone.”
Then, even though it’s not quite her personality to be so incredibly forward, she saved her phone number under the name, “Call This Girl.”
“So all you have to do is read it and well, follow instructions.”
“I like that. I really like that. I won’t forget.”
And then the girl with her liquid courage, curly locks and flushed cheeks, stood on the tip-of-her-toes, kissed him, turned and returned to her friends, feeling empowered, happy and more like herself than she’s felt in a long while. The next day as she described the brief encounter to her friends and roommates, she discovered that she didn’t really care if she heard from Mr. Tall Drunk Man or not.
She didn’t care if he actually looked at his phone the next day and decided to take a chance on cheeky girl he found a bit foxy (or Tigar-y?). She didn’t overanalyze if she said the right thing or didn’t, if she came on too strong or if not sassy enough. She didn’t hover over her phone (or turn it off), waiting for a text message from a stranger she worked up in her head to be more.
Instead, she just savored one very small, yet one very, very important thing: she got her dating mojo back.
It might have taken more than a year, a few too many cocktails, dozens (upon dozens) of terrible dates, wasted tears and angry Gchats – but on a chilly January night in all places — Brooklyn — she teased the next chapter of dating in New York… and it flirted right with her.
And perhaps, when the lady tells the city to call her, it might just remember her number.
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