I’m sitting on a bench in Central Park reading Shopgirl. The story differs from your typical chick lit novella in that it is written by a man, Steve Martin to be exact. It is written in a refreshing 2nd person style. I’m enjoying it. Engrossed in my reading, semi-sickly relating to the protagonist and wondering what the comments on my own life would be were they reported in this way. Suddenly I’m approached.
“Can I talk to you about something?”
Having just been questioned by a father and daughter as to where one can find boats, (my answer: nooo idea, but I felt sillily cool that I look like someone who would know) I look up expecting a tourist: “Where’s the MET?” Or a bum: “Gimmie a quarter.” Or a creeper: “Buy a Rolex from the side of my trench coat.”
None of the above.
He’s a guy in his 20s, cute, slim but not scrawny, scruffy brown hair, with a small pimple near his nose which for some reason I find strangely endearing.
“If you’re trying to sell me something, I’m not going to buy it.” I say.
Retorted with an appropriate chuckle, “No I’m not going to sell you anything, I’m not even going to try to force a Bible on you. Can I just talk to you for a couple minutes?”
Well, he promised no selling, no Bibles…I can run away to work if/when necessary. “You can try.”
He sits down next to me on the bench, introduces himself, then, “You know those guys who get a dog out of the hope the animal will help them pick up girls?”
“What do you think about that?”
This turns into a 10 minute conversation that stays pretty close to the subject, bouncing around from I’m a proven non-dog person to You can’t assume the theoretical guy got the theoretical dog for this reason to What is honesty.
So what? So where is this going?
“So are you on a deadline for an article or something?” Are you writing a blog? Cause that’s where I know this story’s going for me.
“No,” he replies, “I’m just sick of “the game” and people trying to get together by fooling each other. I just want to talk to people and be real and I was hoping I could get your phone number.“
This motive had crossed my mind, but barely as I am notoriously oblivious in such matters. Well, I know what at least 2 of you are thinking: yes I felt like this was straight out of Sex and the City.
My inner Miranda burbled up, “So how many times have you tried this tactic” -it carried on way too long to be a line- “before?” When his reply was an innocent, “What?” I decided not to repeat myself. Let’s not be mean for once. He’s cute, seemingly smart, perhaps a little awkward, and with signs that hint to me he may prove obnoxious. But I really don’t know. Let’s try benefit of the doubt. Why not? People who have just left the large majority of their friends in other states may want to cast pickiness to the winds. Momentarily? At least give it a try?
I gave him my number. Yep. I got picked up on a park bench my first full day in Manhattan. I’m off to a great start.
First full day in Manhattan- what??? Yeah, we’re talking 2008. Throwback Thursday is so cliché now I must celebrate it! I’m kinda excited to share some of my favorite posts from the last 7 years!
This Central Park story the second blog post I ever wrote. The first I penned upon actually moving to NYC. I remember how excited I was to write it, I stayed up until 2AM that night getting all the words out. This was back in 2008: the end of a era. When I gave this guy my number and he actually called me. I have a perfect mental picture of sitting on a swing set, chatting with this boy who chose me out of all the people sitting on benches in Central Park that day.
Well, that’s what I thought at the time. He later told me he approached 5 women sitting in Central Park that day. Of those five, he got three numbers, and ultimately two dates. This Central Park Guy never played games with me, he never tried to fool me. (That didn’t stop me from fooling myself.) If I met him today, I could read him like a fucking textbook. When we dated on and off my first five months in New York I was so naive. I would be the one to restore his faith in women! He’d be my first real-world boyfriend!
None of that happened, but he did take me on my very first NYC date. A visit to the Museum of Modern Art which set the standard to which I still hold all dates. You can read all about it (and see how my writing style has evolved) in this post: First NYC Date.