This is the story of the time I picked up a guy on a New York City street. It doesn’t just happen on TV. Here’s how it happened to me.
I’m walking home from a rehearsal, up 9th Avenue, at about 9PM. Lost in my own thoughts, I blink and noticed the man walking several paces in front of me. Can you measure a person’s attractiveness from their back? I can’t. Sometimes I think I can and end up disappointed. That’s not what bring my eyes to this guy. It’s the banjo he has strapped on his back.
Now I live right by Lincoln Center and work in the Theatre District; Julliard students lugging around upright bases and pit orchestra players with trombone cases strapped to their backs are a common sight. But a banjo? Who plays the banjo and then walks up 9th Ave with the naked instrument slung over his shoulder like a messenger bag? I’m driven to find out, more so than I’m driven to get home.
My (annoying but I’m making progress to change it) proclivity of waiting for people for people to come to me gets trumped when I have something very specific to say to said person. With Banjo Guy I have just that. I need answers to all questions this banjo brings to mind.
I sidle up next to him,“So I have to ask, do you carry the banjo around just to look cool or do you actually play it?” (I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a better line than my Trader Joe’s check out line line.)
He looks at the person assaulting him on the street (me), our eyes meet (me to myself: now lookie there he is cute! that’s lucky. Possibly a hipster, definitely from Brooklyn, the banjo indicates clear musical tendencies…), and he smiles at me (dimples!! ahhh!).
“You think it makes me look cool?”
I am so in. That’s not a Uh, why are you talking to me? Not a Fuck off, rando. Not even a Oh you think you’re clever? Nice try. It’s a genuine Ok, I accept your random offer of conversation, it’s welcome rather than weird. Sweet.
Our conversation begins in the west 40s- I’m walking to the 60s (home), he’s looking for a bar to get a drink. We’re in Hell’s Kitchen, he could have found a bar at pretty much any point during our 20 block walk. But he doesn’t, he walks with me all the way up the street. My burning questions answered: He dabbles in being a street musician (omg! me too! Christmas caroling for ever!) when he’s not tailoring men’s suits (omg you’re not an actor? I extra ♥ you!). Yep, he lives in Brooklyn (told ya!!!) Seems nice, a little bit off sense of humor, but I might like it.
I’m the one who ends the walk – needing to make the necessary veer left to get home. Before I make said veer, Banjo Guy asks for my phone number. Striking up a conversation on the street? Total success. Not only that, he actually used the number to call me and make a date. Which actually happened last night. No blog worthy story from it (I’m spoiled. My first two first dates in NY were good stories. I now think all first dates should all be that way and this is far from reality) but it was a good date.
Yes, I had fun. Maybe I like him. No, didn’t bring his banjo along.