The Stars at Night Are Big And Bright
(clap clap clap clap)
a calories in the crust story
I was chatting about possible memoir titles, heavily influenced by failed relationships with a former, and failed, relationship of my own. After throwing out, Help Me Officer, New Jersey is Trying to Kill me and Garden Stank, he landed on Whiskey, Texas Football, Women From New Jersey and Other Things I love That Damn Near Killed Me. While somewhat verbose for a title, you can see how it would really allow him to tell a story.
As my current, errr, most recent and still somewhat raw relationship hadn’t completely fallen apart at the time this conversation took place, I didn’t go much further than If You’re Reading This, Then You Already Know; I’ve Died Alone With Cats – The Story of Jennifer Mickler’s Life in New York. Now that it has turned into a total turdburger of relationships past, I suppose I could try to incorporate hacking or the IDF into the title, but a way to find humor in those things/most things escapes me at the moment. That’s a story for another time.
Back to the first failed relationship mentioned today. He and I have clearly remained cordial. While we discussed ending things with people we really, really liked (well, technically, he used the word love. I did not.) I asked him if I could write the story of us. Because really, it’s pretty funny. I promised not to call him out by name, but then he asked if he could respond. Soooo… we good here.
I was introduced to him through a mutual friend who was, at the time, living in Atlanta and dating his best friend from University of Texas at Austin. She essentially said something to the effect of, “you two are lunatics, like bourbon and live in New York. You should meet.”
The first time we met in person was September 11, 2010. I don’t call out the date because we, as New Yorkers, were doing something profound in remembrance of that horrible day. We weren’t. Don’t get me wrong; I started the day lying in bed, sobbing through the names and moments of silence just like I always do. That said, I just remember it because he met me at the Florida Gators bar, Gin Mill, where Casey and I had been for the better part of life since birth/the afternoon, watching football. Sort of. And getting hammered with NY’s Finest and Bravest in their dress uniforms.
Have you had a moment taking in the glow of drunken youth? Good. Moving on… That day was a fairly good indication of our subsequent encounters over the course of the next almost year, which brings me to when we started dating*
To celebrate my 30th birthday, I rented a bright pink party bus equipped with stripper poles, gathered 30 of my closest friends, some of whom flew in for the occasion (yes, I am THAT well loved) ((or, at least, I was at the time)) and had it take us to a couple of the finest vineyards La Isla Long has to offer. It was magical. There were animal masks, no food or water and all the wine. What could go wrong?
Sometime on the way back to Mannahatta, as a bus full of very white people blasted
DMX, he and I started to make out like middle schoolers in the back of a movie. I’m sure it was special for everyone around us. Also, I’m certain they were too drunk to notice. I say that because when the bus dropped us off at the Brother Jimmy’s in Murray Hill, half of our group was immediately kicked out. Not having any idea where my friends were (some were still at Bro J’s,) we eventually decided it was time to get the check and go. We asked for the bill and the bartender looked at us and said, “You guys haven’t even ordered anything yet!” We’d just been making out. At the bar.
A year after our initial meeting, we drove up to West Point to catch a football game. If you haven’t done so, get on it. There’s truly nothing more gorgeous than that area of NY in the fall and the West Point campus itself. Quick sidebar – I very seriously considered applying there when I was in prep school. I know that seems impossible given the stories I use this forum to tell, but it’s the truth. I was Susie Q High School, working for Tillie Fowler through my stacked free periods, before going back to run track practice and thought West Point would be a good foundation for a life spent in international relations. I now work in ad sales, an equally noble pursuit.
One of my dearest friends from prep school, who actually attended and graduated from West Point, told us there was a bar somewhere on campus where we could get drinks post game. I’m pretty sure that to this day, he’s still forgotten to tell me, “just kidding.” Or maybe he was conducting a social experiment. We got lost in a way that redefines what it means to be lost. If you’re going to be lost, West Point is a outstanding place do to so. It’s highly preferable to, say, Newark, NJ, but we ended up walking so long and so far that my shoe literally broke in half. I was less than amused.
Sometime around what seemed like the literal end of days, we found the car and headed back to the city. In 2011, you still couldn’t purchase Shiner Bock in NYC. If you’re a native Texan, this is apparently a huge problem. For me, if it’s not an IPA or Saison Dupont bellied up to the bar at Spotted Pig, it all tastes like Bud Light. My point is we drove to every goddamn store in and around Paramus, NJ to see if they happened to sell it. One of the stores that somehow made it into his consideration set – no joke – was a Korean supermarket whose seafood section was so emotionally scarring, it still triggers my gag reflex. I was like DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THEY HAVE FUCKING SHINER HERE?! And he was all, we better just check. And I was all, I’ll kill you in your sleep tonight.
We continued to hang out for another month or so. Not until things went south did I look back and realize it was just that the whole time: hanging out. And sometimes, sex. *We weren’t really dating. Whatever.
In mid October, we were at an Advertising Week event put on by MOTH where people had cocktails and got up on stage to tell the story of their worst day in advertising. If only I’d completed my Maker Studios servitude at that point, I would have rocked that mic all night long. So many worst days there.
After he told his story, we were standing at the bar – BB King’s Jazz Gong Show on 42nd St in Times Square – enjoying well whiskey, chatting about the upcoming weekend. He asked what I was doing Sunday. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I think it was something along the lines of, “what the actual fuck is up with being relegated to the Sunday day date?” He looked at me and said, “I can’t be your boyfriend,” which quickly sent me to an angry/hysterical place of “UGH, fucking waste of time!”
I decided the best course of action would be to storm out of BB King’s Jazz Gong Show on 42nd St in Times Square. I did just that… straight up the wrong staircase… that led to the balcony level of the bar… and basically put me on display for everyone there. Thank you, universe, for that extra kick in the vagina. Nothing diminishes the effect of storming out like marching up the wrong staircase. With a mantra of every curse word out there on loop in my head, I walked back down the wrong stairwell, through the bar and back up the proper stairs out to 42nd Street.
That has to be a low point, right? It has to be. Please, I can’t believe that it gets worse than that. The only thing that kept me from walking into traffic that night was the glacial pace at which it was moving. I instead went for cigarettes and a hysterical “what am I doing wrong?” call to my mother, where she assured me, for the 188395823957824th time it would all be OK. And it is. I lived to survive another date and pour another bourbon.