Sunday, March 25 2001
Ever since that intense, tearful dinner at Uguale, Gretchen and I have developed yet another little routine that confirms our exclusivity and specialness while simultaneously denying it to everyone else. Every time we see a couple being cute, holding hands, kissing, whatever, we say to one another, "they think they're in love." The implication, of course, is that they can't know love the way we know it. We are the enlightened ones. They, on the other hand, still fumble (and chortle) in the darkness.
We ate our smuggled-in happiness this afternoon and then walked around Park Slope, particularly its local "downtown," which is centered on commercial 7th Avenue. The air was cold and somewhat windy, but the sun was warm and bright and we managed to find sunny places to sit, first on the steps of a corner church and then in a debris-strewn nook in the sidewalk. Sally the dog was indulgent even when we sat around, though of course she would have been happier to have been walking instead. We'd watch people and their dogs strolling by, nodding our approval at the fashion sense of the many lezzies. They've moved on from wire-frame glasses to thicker, rounded plastic frames. All the lezzies wear them. Even if they have 20-20 vision they find a way to wear them.
Periodically young mothers and fathers passed by pushing baby carriages and Gretchen would gasp in dismay. Park Slope didn't used to be home to so damn many breeders! What, do they really think this is a nice place to raise a family? Do they think this World needs another Prozac-popping mouth to feed?
Occasionally someone would walk by with a dog whom Gretchen knew. Eventually a butchy dyke she knew approached with her girlfriend's dog and Gretchen and her became entangled in awkward casual conversation, mostly about the absent girlfriend. "Is she mad at me?" Gretchen wanted to know. "[Pause...] I don't know," the dyke responded. Regarding me, Gretchen had this to say, "This is him; we're in love!" It's a little odd for me being on the edge of this vast endemic Park Slope lezzie-cum-canine culture.
In the evening Gretchen and I took the subway into Manhattan and met up with her friend Denise at a super-swanky restaurant called Park Avalon. Gretchen wanted to go there specifically because it seemed like the perfect place to drink martinis.
I guess I'd never had a real martini before; ours came in big icy tumblers with a special metal strainer to hold back the ice as you (or, more often, the waiter) poured them into your martini glass.
Again I ordered penne pasta and rubbery deep-fried calamari, and Gretchen had pretty much the same thing she'd had the other night at Uguale, something frightfully vegetarian. I don't really remember what we talked about except Denise's story about the time her girlfriend broke up with her the very week that both her parents died. All the lezzies and bisexual chicks have depressing tales to tell, but not usually as bad as this.
Gretchen thought our waiter was a hottie. He looked somewhat Polynesian, and Gretch figured he might be a good date for Denise. So Gretch flirted with him and managed to get his phone number (as well as a kiss on the cheek). The waiter's fatal mistake (worse than his implication that he's an alcoholic) was his admission that he is only 24. Denise had been vaguely interested until she heard that. If you're male and want to date career women in New York, it's best to claim you're at least 30.
As with Uguale, I put the tab on my Discover Card.
Preparing to leave the Park Avalon, Gretchen noted a man and woman meeting each other for the first time in the doorway. A blind date! How quaint! We saw them head off to the bar (evidently determining for themselves whether or not their chemistry was worthy of a full meal).
After we'd said goodbye to Denise, Gretch and I headed off to our next activity at Union Square Theater. She had gone and bought tickets for a musical called Batboy, a tale based on a Weekly World News article about the travails of a half-human/half-bat creature discovered in a cave in West Virginia.
Getting the $18 tickets had seemed like a good idea a few weeks ago, but a little way into the production I found myself nodding off. The show was well-produced and the music wasn't especially annyoying, but something about the zanyness of it all just didn't work for me. In terms of special effects, the Batboy looked perfectly human except for his pointy batlike ears.
We thought it best to leave when intermission came.
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