She Only Dated Me For Dinner

The Street Hustle

I’ve been hanging out in bars in this town for twenty years, working behind the stick, drinking in front of it. You’d think I’d heard and seen everything, right? The neighborhood derelict picked up by a limo and taken to the family summer retreat on the Cape ? The porn star picking up the nebbish? A joint being robbed every Monday by a guy who came back every Thursday, spent triple the money stolen and threw the bartender a $150 tip for his trouble? Sex in the stall? Yeah, I’ve seen it. I didn’t think I could be surprised by people, especially young women, anymore – and not by this young woman.

Laura. Fresh from the Boston ‘s Back Bay , she landed like some succulent fish on my New York platter. I met her at a party, the only time I ever saw her in chic black dress and fuck-me pumps. Fabulous, I thought. I would be dating Susan Silverman. I could go for that. We had three dates. I realized she was less Silverman and more cute, like a baby duck. She dressed in odd clothes, long and flowing, and complained about needing to wear orthopedic sneakers because high heels had ruined her feet. Three times I paid for dinner. She didn’t offer to leave the tip or invite me up for coffee or suggest performing a blow job. More fish in the sea – and so forth. I didn’t go for four.

Five or six months later I got an e-mail from my friend Dana, also a bartender, who was working at Commune in the East 60s: Guess who came in to see me?

My mother?

Laura. You dated her.

She really seems to like you. Come in Tuesday and hang out with us.

Laura liked me?

I may pride myself on my knowing cynicism, but tell me a woman likes me – and I’m there. Now I recalled Laura as girl who seemed to like me but didn’t want to rush the sex and I, dumb horny male, hadn’t bothered to make the fourth call, the one that might have gotten me over.

That Tuesday night, the air was thick, trapped in between buildings in a way that made the city look like London in the fog. The temperature was 93 at 7:05 when I jogged up the steps from the 6 train. I walked into Commune at 7:15 , ten minutes early. Late July night, dead bar scene. But Laura was already there. Positive sign?

We talked Laura’s job hunt. It was coming back to me now. She worked for a non-profit? Oh, right, the U.N. internship that didn’t lead to a job. Dramatic midlife career switch. Sold her house in Boston and moved to New York to save the world and date a better class of men.

Her cell phone rang. She checked the caller I.D., looked pleased and took the call outside.

“Dating for dinner,” Dana said.

It gets worse. Laura moved to New York following a guy she loves madly. Arun. Wealthy Indian businessman from prominent Mumbai family. No dinner. Booty calls. Maybe there was a dinner in Boston . Three months after he said, “Good-bye, Laura, it’s been great,’ she’s living here in a sublet in his neighborhood.

Isn’t that stalking?

She called this guy trying to get him to pick her up from our dinner dates. I thought he was a car service driver. Then Dana tells me that she wants to have his baby which is problematic because she only sees him once every few weeks. And he only has to cross the street to fuck her!

And it gets worse again. She was sleeping with other “brown boys” to boost her chances of conceiving a child she could pass off as Arun’s. Laura re-entered the restaurant with a brown boy in tow just as I was leaving. The next day Dana called to report that he was a Bangladeshi cab driver and “very sweet.” Laura let him order the Foie Gras appetizer and two martinis.

A few months later, I got this email from Dana.

A guy at the bar told me he’s seen Laura’s add in the back of The Village Voice. What do you think?

Unless they have started running ads from women in search of brown boys in the middle of their ads for sex services, I don’t think so. I was so sure of that, I didn’t even pick up a copy of The Voice to check it out myself. When Dana called a few days later and mysteriously insisted that I had to come in on Tuesday night, I assumed she was trying to fix me up one more time. I know a Dana fix-up will be pretty but psychotic, but I keep trying anyway.

The next Tuesday night Dana and the bar manager and some guy who had Wall Street practically stamped on his forehead were waiting for me. No pretty crazy girl in sight. I felt let down.

“Look at this,” Dana said.

She shoved a copy of The Voice in front of me. And there was Laura, dressed in corset, stockings and six inch heels. (That must explain the orthopedic sneakers.) In her hand, she held a strap-on dildo in a size that might make a race horse happy.

“It’s her specialty,” the guy said.

“She told him she learned by renting the ” Bend Over, Boyfriend’ series.”

“It’s a service,” he said defensively. “Some men want it. They need it.”

Yeah – just like some of us want and need to date for dinner. Pick your perversion, your restaurant or your poison at the bar. This is New York City . You can have it your way.

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