Believe it or not, there are non-financial justifications for why I only go out once or twice a week. For starters, I lose all sense of time every time I let loose with friends. Secondly, I find myself trapped in situations and bothered by people you’d never want to encounter yourself. Really. It’s so much easier to hole myself up in my ghetto, closet-and-microwave-free apartment and watch “Revenge “(which is addictive, by the way), “Modern Family,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Last Man Standing,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “Suburgatory” on repeat on the iPad (version one, because I’m only slightly trendy and yuppy) than venture into the real world and expose myself to crazies. As much as I love going out on the town with friends, I’m not so keen on being cornered by weirdos at the end of the night. Unfortunately, such misfortune came my way this evening several hours after I turned off “Revenge,” bar hopped with friends, and became a bit more relaxed than usual. As soon as I let my guard down, trouble descends. *Sigh* Didn’t my mom and dad warn me this would happen back in the day, and why do I get screwed over on the rare occasions that I walk on the wild side?
After watching an iPad app marathon of “Revenge” and admiring TV actress Emily VanCamp’s progression from “Everwood” cutie pie to femme fatale, I took the train to the East Village to meet up with Hillary and some of her buddies. We all had a blast roaming around the city and getting good deals on food and drinks (more specifically Crocodile Lounge, which provides a free plate of pizza with any beer purchase. Doesn’t get much better than that.) We started our evening fairly early, so everyone was ready to head home by midnight. It was lovely to meet lots of awesome people and break away from my sketchball neighborhood for a while, but after 12, it was time to head home.
The L train isn’t functioning this weekend, so I walked over to the A,C,E area to take an alternate route home. It was on the platform that I became perplexed by some of the marble statues embedded into the stair area. Squinting at an image of a female figure straddling an emotionless male drowning in coins, I elbowed the tall glass of water to my right for some answers.
“Do you understand what these sculptures are all about?” I asked the guy, who was a gorgeous half prep, half hipster. He was tall, which intrigued me more than anything since I’m a freaking giant of a person myself.
“I have no clue, I was thinking the same thing myself!” he said, laughing.
We talked for about five minutes before an androgynous lady intervened and began joking around with us. Moments later, the fellow tipped his hat in our direction and jumped on the E train. I waved goodbye and yawned, exhausted.
“Wait, isn’t he your boyfriend?” the girl asked us. “It sure looked like you two were together…”
“Nope,” I answered. “Sadly, I don’t even know his name.”
Because I was nervous about taking a different train than usual back to Brooklyn, I sought advice from this girl, whom I did not immediately recognize as female. As earlier stated, she appeared fairly androgynous, was a solid foot shorter than me, and had no evidence of secondary sex characteristics (I swear I’m not a perv who eyes other women’s boobs, but when unsure of someone’s gender, there’s only one way to find out at first glance), but I had a feeling I was talking to a girl.
My suspicion was confirmed when she revealed her name: Jennifer. Are you aware of any guys of that name? Didn’t think so. We shook hands and Jennifer, a self-proclaimed lifelong Brooklyn resident, gave me some words of wisdom for residing in Bed-Stuy, which is notorious for being the roughest part of Brooklyn. Luckily I am in a decent sub-section, but still find myself praying and doing the sign of the cross every time I exit the train station after 10 p.m.
“Don’t walk around in fear,” she said. “Keep your chin up and act like you know where you’re going.”
I nodded. “Got it. So, where are you headed?”
“Well, I’m supposed to go to a party tonight, but I’m not so sure about afterwards. You see, I usually just go home with girls I meet on the subway platform late at night. I’m one of the regulars here, like the characters over there,” she said, pointing to the garbage-diving hobos on the other side of the platform.
As you can imagine, I had absolutely nothing to say to that. How could I reply, anyway? It wasn’t as if I could respond with, “Yeah dude, I can so relate.” There were no words, and I was beginning to understand why some of my east coast buddies have cautioned me about exercising my good-natured California ways in NYC. You’re going to pay the price or get taken advantage of someday, I’d been told many times. Well, these warning agents were correct.
Nevertheless, the woman kept speaking.
“You see, I thought you were with that guy we saw earlier,” she said. “You got pretty cozy, and you two seemed straight.”
“Well, I am straight,” I said. “I just don’t know him and don’t really pursue random people on the subway.”
“Hopefully you can meet him again on ‘Missed Connections’ or something,” she said. “Do you ever visit that site?”
The other day, I asked my boss what sort of people actually used Missed Connections. I’ve never even thought to check it, not that anyone would seek me out that way either. I figure if I’m passed over the first time around, that’s the end of it. Anyway, this girl continued going on about having no place to go, and it was then that I dug deep inside myself for my inner New York instincts, which remain underdeveloped and green. In truth, there’s nothing in my soul beyond my bay area antics. I have zero NYC street smarts. I’m fairly easy to talk to, but lack the abrasive switch necessary for survival in this city. I accept that I may never acquire the toughness required to walk the streets of Manhattan, so in that moment, all I could do was channel my family members and friends who hail from the area. I thought of my dad, a former NYC cabbie, who would have said, It’s 1 a.m. and this girl has sucked you into her scheme, Laura. She played you like a fiddle and now you’re stuck. Leave the platform this instant. Will, a former colleague and New Yorker, would never waste time chit chatting with manipulative users in the city. He’d look calm whether or not he actually felt that way and slink in another direction. So I did the same.
I fully support alternative lifestyles and all that, but it’s really unsettling to be bothered in the middle of the night by random metro riders. More than anything, I’m kind of insulted. I just want to be courted, dammit! For the past two and a half years, I’ve complained of two-timing men who don’t care to woo young women or demonstrate an ounce of chivalry. Clearly, girls can be just as tactless, if not worse, than men. I’ve had drunk men dump beer all over my feet sans apology, guys kick me out of their beds before sunrise, and cads keep me a forbidden secret (i.e. embarrassment) from their social circles, but I’ve never had anyone try to pick me up on the subway platform. Lady, you hit an all time low. Congratulations.
With that, I scurried away quickly and got home before long. I think this was a wake-up call for me to scare someone into being my boyfriend for once and for all, at the very least so I can truthfully use the taken status as a shield from less-than-smooth creepers. It’s about time I accompany my coworker Liz’s friend at those weird NYC single’s mixers or simply join one of those nerd dating sites. I vowed to never sign up for one of those programs, but if they will keep the jerks away, I am in.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I’m legitimately ready to court a guy if it means protecting myself better. Obviously there’s more to dating than having a sense of security, but these off-putting come-ons are really, really getting old. I’m spent. No more creeps. Nerdy NYC guys, help me out here.