Friday, September 02, 2005

DTR

It was while J was helping me with my brand new cufflinks, when I realized just how much hung in the balance of the date I was about to go on with the girl. I started to freak out a little bit.
The plan was simple enough. Go to The Modern (a restaurant that overlooks the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art), see the play The Pillowman (my favorite on Broadway) and then have drinks at a bar called APT, which is actually located in an apartment. (Really.)
She was unaware of any of it. All she knew was that I was taking her out on a belated birthday adventure. (I even promised a possible special guest star.) I used that word—“adventure”—because I didn’t want to use date until she used it. It was important that she introduce the word “date” into conversation, because then I could trap her in a word play.
I know what you’re thinking. Why have I spent so much time wrapped up with a woman clearly a little screwy and confused albeit charming? I don’t know. My better angels (aka J, Margo, Rebecca) tried to dissuade me from this course of action, but I didn’t listen. I can’t explain why.
So now she has shown up at the apartment, with J’s parents and J, quietly judging her. She’s late. She’s wearing heels and a dress. It’s a blur.
“Hello. Hello. Sorry I’m late. Yeah well. I’m sorry. This is J’s parents and J, my roommate. Nice to meet you. What time will you have Bernard home by? 9:00!” We all laugh.
First food. The restaurant is beautiful, but there was a genuine sense of cognitive dissonance for me. The menu and wine list features nothing truly innovative or daring. Solid, but I expected something more out of a place called The Modern. The company made up for any flaws. Conversation was light and flirty. Furtive glances coupled with mild innuendo. To onlookers we were on a date.
Afterwards, I took her hand and walked to the theatre. There was a moment when I took an intentional wrong turn past the show Doubt and her palms got all sweaty. She’s been dying to go see it, mainly to see Cherry Jones, one of her idols. I fully intended to take her that night, but Pillowman recently announced a closing date that was quickly approaching, so I left Doubt for a future date. We walked past the theatre showing Doubt and her heart must have skipped a few beats. I was putting her through an emotional ringer. Eventually we walked up to the theatre showing Pillowman and she hugged me. This was a show she desperately wanted to see and I wanted to see it again before it closed, so we both won. Throughout the entire play, we canoodled.
Time for a little tangent. Her father is a character actor, who makes a living out of it. And one of the actors on stage at the play (aka the special guest star) was someone who is friends with her father. I’ve sort of befriended the fellow on stage as well. So our plan afterwards was to go up to him and briefly talk to him.
And that’s exactly what we did. He was very pleasant and warm to the girl when her father’s name came up, even going as far as holding a real conversation with us. When attention turned to me, he actually remembered who I was.
Next up was drinks. I’ve never been to APT. And I had, for whatever reason, forgotten that it was a Friday night. It was a zoo in the area where APT was and we couldn’t exactly locate it. So we jumped a cab and went back to my apartment. We sat on the fire escape, and had yet another DTR—Determine The Relationship. The last time we had one it ended with me leaving abruptly. I was optimistic that we would end the evening on better terms.
“So.”
“Yes.”
“Let’s talk about my reservations.”
“Let’s.”
“I think we’re just going to be friends.”
“Hmm.”
“I mean, I like you. I do. But-“
“-Wait. So let me get this straight. You’re predicting that we’re just going to be friends, even though clearly there’s something between us that’s more than that.”
“Well yes.”
“That doesn’t seem right. Don’t you think it would be better if we’d explore those feelings and then go from there?”
“That seems reasonable.”
“I’m not saying we have to exclusively be anything. What I am saying is that I promise not to assume that we’re a thing, if you promise to tell me that you’re open to the possibility of this being something more than just friends. If it ends up that way that’s fine, but we owe it to ourselves to explore that.”
“No you’re right.”
And that’s where I’ll stop with the events of the evening because a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.

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