tales of a girl in the city

juillet 18, 2005

One-Woman Show

"You've really done a lot for someone your age," Pink Tie looks at me over his drink, and though he's cuter by the minute, my heart sinks a little.

He doesn't get me.

"Yeah, I guess I have," I twirl the olives in my dirty martini and then try to change the subject.

I have just taken him through the story of how I ended up studying at Juilliard:

...My first crazy opera teacher in Manhattan, "Singing happens between your nipples and your nose...."

...Her son Rickie, who'd lived at home for all 30 years of his life, playing piano for her students in his boxer shorts...

...Our summer excursion to Altenburg, Germany....

...The communist hives we'd lived in....

...The concert we sang with bats flying through the open castle windows almost every night, confused by the sound waves created by the orchestra....

...The woman who came up to me afterwards, pulling me aside to say, "You must never stop singing..."

...How eight million tiny coincidences of time and place melted together in a single wonderful bit of luck, so that on my return to college in the Fall, I traveled down to Lincoln Center every week to study with one of the greatest voice teachers in the world....

I have done a lot. What he says is true.

"So, what did you eat when you were climbing Kilimanjaro?" I want to know. He's not revealed much about himself so far, but this one piece of his history fascinates me.

"There must be more to this person," I've been thinking that all night.

What did you learn? What did you feel when you reached the top? When was it hardest? Did you have porters? What were they like?

I hope I'm not bombarding him with questions, but I'm thirsty for the details of this adventure.

Finally, I get a glimpse of what I've been looking for:

"The sky was different," he's remembering it for real now, and the meaning of the experience has suddenly come into his view, "that's what was most amazing. I grew up with one sky at night. Constellations I was used to: Orion and The Big Dipper. It's like one of the most basic things that you feel you can always rely on. And then here I am, in Africa, on the top of this mountain, actually up in the lower part of the atmosphere, and even the sky is different. I don't recognize a single constellation. Nothing is familiar, not even the most familiar things."

The idea is like a color I've never seen before. This is why I love meeting new people.


Pink Tie both is and is not a Manhattan Dater.

He is because he goes on several dates a week, accompanied by bouncy twenty-something girls who he meets at all the latest rooftop bars. Even without my asking for any details about his weekly adventures with l'amour, I pick up on this immediately. He's always asking, "Didn't I tell you about that already?" And the answer is always, "No," with the silent addition of, "That was the twenty-two year-old that you went out with last night. The one who I'm betting lives in Murray Hill."

Pink Tie has learned The Man-hattan Lesson: the city is full of women. 3.2 million flavors. Something new around every corner. Why settle for just one?

But he's also still a new kid on the block. Female Manhattan crazies haven't scared him from asking The Big Questions. Yet.

At some point in the date he even asks about kids.

For a minute, while it registers I think I must've misheard him. Or perhaps he means baby goats?

"You really want to know the answer to this question?" I'm incredulous.

He nods yes, I swear.

"Well, I do want them. But someday. Years from now. I'm too selfish yet for children."

He asks for more details.

There must be something in our water.

If he's asking, I'm going to give him the real answer. So I tell him that a family will someday be everything to me. That I think it's the most important thing you can do. Make life. Make a future. That when I've made the choice to have a child, that person will get every bit of passion and love and knowledge that I possess. But, in the meantime, what that means is I focus completely on figuring myself out. On doing for me.

After I've said this, there's silence.

"I'm either going to totally fall in love with you, or hate you," he tells me.

I laugh a good, deep laugh. The kind that feels fantastic.

We shall see.