Tag Archives: vodka

Old Dog, New Trick

7 May

Back off, dude

For the purposes of this story, names have been changed to protect the people involved.

In my many years of dating, short relationships going nowhere, and long relationships going nowhere good, I’ve pretty much known who I was. A generally nice guy, fun date, and all-around decent boyfriend. Like everyone, I have my shortcomings, but my dating resume is generally buoyed by unclinginess, a lack of jealousy, and easygoing nature. Last, week, though, I did something new.

We were at a lounge in lower Manhattan. One of those digital community events, not unlike a MeetUp, where people who usually don’t know each other soon become fast friends in the gated environment of a new community where icebreaking is lubricated by a generous stream of booze. After making the rounds and making some new acquaintances and allies, I spotted two girls standing off by themselves, one of whom I judged too cute to leave in that position.

Now, I’m not an operator, nor do I do this often, but I had my mark. Seconds later, banter was in the air as we toasted each other and the night. Everything was turning up in my favor. The girl’s friend, Inga, who turned out to be someone she’d just met, was spoken for, while the object of my curiosity—Myra— was almost certainly single, facilitating my entry point. When she went to the bathroom, Inga apologized for “cockblocking.” I was amused by a girl speaking in bro parlance, and assured her she was not. I also gathered some intel, including Myra’s affinity for online dating sites. All signs pointed to singlehood.

Two drinks later, we were tearing up the dance floor, more or less, as house music pumped through the crowd. And, another drink later, we were off for after-party shenanigans elsewhere. The liquor now taking charge of our faculties, we somehow merged with another group of ragers, which included a ver nice but somewhat sleazy-looking guy named Jose I’d met at a previous event. At this point Myra, thoroughly sloshed from the last drink, lunched into a string of Spanish gibberish. With my limited understanding of Spanish, I was both amused at her nonsensical phrasing and impressed by her glib pronunciation. Jose seemed equally amused.

Perhaps it was the shiny bold head of someone new, or the mild exoticism of a Latino dude, and certainly the many cocktails coursing through her veins, but Myra’s attentions started drifting from me to Jose, at least for the time being. When we got to the next bar/club, he launched a full-scale offensive on her. Now, most times, I would probably grow indifferent and let this go. But something about the whole sequence, if not the girl herself, screamed injustice. You know the scene from the Matrix when Neo finally sees the agents in ones and zeroes ? I went into action.

At the bar, Jose, who had some sort of hookup with the bartender, was handing Myra another cocktail, which she quite visibly did not require but would clearly accept. With one hand, I interceded, intercepting the drink (luckily vodka-based, from which I’m immunized by the Soviet part of my blood), and pounding it back in a few quick gulps. The other hand I wrapped around Jose’s shoulder, turning him deftly to a corner where we couldn’t be overheard.

“Jose, I like you and think you’re a nice guy, but I was talking to this girl before you and think I kind of like her, so you need to back off.” I followed this up with a firm assurance that I wasn’t trying to start trouble and may or may not have insisted that “I come correct” (I’d been wanting to say that!).

Jose, somewhat nonplussed by my directness, quickly recovered, apologized, shook my hand, and handed over the “keys to the car.” I was now in the driver’s seat. For the first time in my life, I had confronted a man over a woman, won, and somehow walked away without a black eye or broken nose. It was the best of both worlds!

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My Boozy Valentine’s: Keeping It in the Family

16 Feb

It Can Always Be Worse

Yesterday was post-Valentine’s Day, the aptly named Hump Day for those of you not occupying your local Wall Street! As you woke up from your chocolate/obligatory sex hangover (or that pitcher of loneliness and vodka punch you brewed after falling asleep in front of a Glee/New Girl double feature…or whatever you kids TiVo these days), I reflected on an epic Tuesday night spent with my greatest current love…my parents. In the spirit of cheese and alternative interpretations of Valentine’s (read: I don’t have a date and want to have a normal Tuesday, except everything I do will be interpreted as an attempt to compensate for not having a date and feigning indifference even though my soul is crying, but I really truly don’t care even though I can’t definitively prove it to the world and damn it there’s no winning here) …where was I? Oh yeah, so I decided to  invite my parents to the movies. For one, I felt bad about neglecting them of late (full disclosure: like any good Russian Jew, I live in the same county as Mom and Dad), plus my dad has had some tough medical issues to deal with in the short term, so I decided a little quality time was in order.

Of course, Tuesdays means Optimum Rewards Day for Mom and Dad (apparently Cablevision/Optimum entice customers by giving away movie tickets for Tuesday matinees), so I decided to take them up on a long-standing offer to use one and finally see The Descendants. I sprinted from my office, high atop MSG, while the latest episode of Linsanity  heroics was streaming live from Toronto, to Clearview Chelsea Cinemas. With only minutes until previews began, my dad was sweetly waiting by the ticket taker with my comp ticket. I grabbed it and advised him of the “will call” option. We entered a barely half-full theater (the beauty of an early-evening show on a random weeknight). My parents reserved two short rows (including a full row just to myself). I was told to sit in the corner with the boys (my dad and his friend Ed). My offer to go buy some popcorn was immediately waived off. Mom and Dad smiled slyly at each other.

“Trust me,” their faces said in unison.

I complied and sat down. As soon as the lights dimmed and the first trailer lit the screen bright green, an unidentified hand proffered a foil-wrapped package over my shoulder. I wasn’t there to ask questions, especially when starving. The package revealed a cheese sandwich. Next came a little squeeze bottle of Purell®. Wrong  sequence, I thought, bits of whole wheat and Danish cheese falling from my mouth, but again I dared not question it. I scarfed down the cheese sandwich and had my next question answered before I completed the thought as another foil package was extended to me—this time it was a delicious chicken cutlet with a sweet honey glaze. Then I heard Ed’s voice summoning me from behind:

“Cognac or vodka?”

Now, normally, this is a very welcome ritual, and a familiar one from several yacht outings I’ve been invited to by my dad and his friend. But I’d never expected him to bring a portable bar to the movies. Suddenly my mom’s guilty smiles and broken insinuations upon entering made sense. I refused but Ed wasn’t having it. I wondered if I’d been assigned to the men’s corner to normalize this behavior. Without hesitation, I took the rather elegant shot glass and downed what turned out to be a pretty damn rarefied and tasty cognac (and I’m no fiend). Ed was ready to pour another but I preempted him, prompted by visions of narcolepsy cutting short a movie I actually wanted to be awake for.

I’m not sure what happened behind me for the next 2 hours. Suffice it to say I’d be shocked if Dad and Ed had any intention to come home with cognac in their pockets. Toward the end of this somewhat underwhelming Alexander Payne flick, I heard some sobs from the back and thought they were coming from Ed. It turned out to be my poor dad. When we left, my mom was visibly upset and scolded both me and herself for bringing someone about to undergo neurosurgery to a movie whose plot surrounds a woman vegetating in a hospital. “At least it wasn’t a documentary about tumors,” I unhelpfully offered.

Complimenting the child actors’ performances, we walked out into another cold New York evening, and strolled leisurely toward the subway past half-empty restaurants, against a stream of rushing girls, faces glued to their smartphones, and dudes last-minute-shopping for sex-salvaging flowers.