On Dating : Maddy Meets My Friends

On Dating : Maddy Meets My Friends

Late December, Early January. Sometime around then.

I walked her home last night through Two Bridges and past the open plaza where you could see the One World Trade Center building lit up. We’ve taken this route a few times but never with my arm around her shoulder and her hand reaching up to hold mine. And never at 2:30am after a night of dancing. 

Ashley and Ang have been here since Christmas Day and we haven’t left each other’s side once. We wake up, find coffee, exercise, make breakfast, walk, shop, create inside jokes, and laugh until Ashley spits her water out all over the floor of my apartment which triggers Ang to spill her hard kombucha on my couch. My place is trashed. Their stuff is scattered everywhere. And the angst that would normally be swirling inside my chest at the sight of so many not right angles is just not there because I love them and having them with me is like having a positive association with the word family. 

It was a bit of a risk when we decided we would all go out for drinks to meet Maddy. I mean, we haven’t even slept together and there is no clear indication that this has legs to be a real thing. But we figured it would be an interesting experiment in advancing the relationship with some new players. We might see some different characteristics out of her. 

We met at a divey basement bar in LES which Maddy suggested. It was dark and narrow in an old building with barely a sign to identify it. IFKYK kind of place.

“How are we going to do the first meeting part?” I asked the girls.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I think if we are all together and then she gets there it might feel overwhelming for her,” I said.

“True. What if you had her text you when she was close so you could go out and meet her on the street and bring her inside?” Ashley suggested.

“I don’t think she would really go for that. Too independent.”

Then Ang suggested, “Maybe you can get there a little before us and you two can establish your vibe and then we will show up?”

“What!? And then we have to walk there by ourselves?” Ashley shouted.

“Yeah, you dummy. It’s fine. It’s ten minutes away. Ang, I like that idea. I haven’t seen her in a while and then maybe we can kiss first.” 

I set out on the walk listening to an epic indie song with lyrics like, “Tell me what does it mean when you came here to say goodbye, then you asked me to stay….” and I pictured the scene where I walked up to her on the street and grabbed her hand and kissed her lips. 

In the two weeks since we’ve seen each other I have done a great job at creating a perfect image of her and our relationship in my mind. 

Then I was reminded why real life is always much more awkward than my romantic imagination.

I couldn’t keep the airpods in and listen to the song while also trying to hear what she was saying. And I couldn’t kiss her effectively without the epic soundtrack in the background. All that was compounded by the fact that she was wearing what seemed like surgically applied red lipstick. And so we hugged. And then we walked inside. 

The conversation was a little stiff at first. She was asking about my family and holiday. I was asking about her holiday with the wealthy Jewish family in their mansion apartment in the UWS. “What do you call Jewish Christmas Eve?” I asked. “Oh, I just called it The Big Jewish Christmas Eve and that really took off with people.” 

She went to the bar and got herself a glass of wine and me a water. 

“I feel like I haven’t seen you in a long time,” she looked into my eyes and said.

It was a moment I had thought about, one where I told her that I missed her and was happy to see her pretty face again. But that’s not what came to me. I felt disconnected. Slightly annoyed to be in a dark bar struggling to exchange words. I tried hard not to look away from her eyes. To break the trust she was slowly building.

“Yeah…it’s good to see you,” I said with a forced smile. 

Wasn’t it good to see her? 

I don’t want to hang out with Maddy in bars and talk over drinks. I want to make meals in apartments, walk through the city, hold hands on the subway, and sit on the rocks at the East River with her head on my shoulder. I think she wanted that too. But we were doing something else instead.

Ashley and Ang showed up about thirty minutes later and the meeting was established, although awkwardly. Everyone got stuck between hugs and handshakes and it landed with nobody touching anyone in any way and me mumbling, “Omg just hug,” because I couldn’t bear it. 

Drinks. Laughing. Inside jokes explained. Ashley being more sociable than I’ve ever seen. Maddy turning on a charm that was new to me. Her leaning over my body and resting her hands on my legs as she listened to stories. More drinks. Her head on my shoulder. Ashley and Ang on their phones taking a selfie in Ashley’s boobie shirt that they found hilarious. Maddy telling me she was sad her family didn’t call her on Christmas after she sent them a lot of gifts. Me listening and saying I was sorry. Bathroom breaks. Glasses piling up on the mid-century coffee table. Waters. A decision about the next move. Me finally telling her that her family doesn’t want gifts from their daughter who moved to New York because they think she is better than them and the gifts only make them feel worse about themselves which is why they didn’t call and next year she can try and write a nice note and say she would love to talk to them on Christmas day and that also they might never be the family she wants and it’s usually a good idea not to set yourself up for hurt like that. 

We decided on another bar down the street that had dancing. Home Sweet Home. 

Maddy led us straight to the bar for another round of drinks and then straight to the dance floor where she quickly engaged in body rolls and arms up in the air jump moves. I could tell she was uncomfortable. Pushing through it. Dealing with things that had nothing to do with me.

Dancing always starts slow when I’m sober because I’m actually in a mind that can be self-conscious. But it all opened up and we danced for an hour to The Monkeys, Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cha Cha Slide, Outkast, and The Boss. Ashley and Maddy became obsessed with each other. They danced wildly and defended each other against approaching men’s humping crotches. A scarf came out and they began lassoing strangers. Ashley touched the disco ball. Ashley got reprimanded by the bouncer for touching the disco ball. Maddy went back and touched the disco ball to stand with her in solidarity. The bouncer simply shrugged as he knew he was out-matched.

I wouldn’t quite say the wheels were falling off but they were definitely loosening. She twerked. She sweat. We danced together. We made out. I got a boner. She turned around and shook her ass against me. She went to the bar and came back with another drink. Ang was starting to wind down. She was watching too. Because we are the watchers. I reminded myself not to be so serious and to be more European. It actually worked. Not being much of a drinker and being around people as they descend into the darkness that alcohol eventually brings can be challenging.

We finally decided to leave. I got all of our coats from the closet. 

“Where’s Maddy?” Ashley asked.

Ang pointed to the bar with her eyes.

We looked around the corner. 

She was standing on rail to the bar trying to get a water for the road. A random guy had taken the opportunity to talk with her.

“This could get interesting,” I said to Ang.

“Totally,” she responded. 

Ashley didn’t say anything she just charged to the bar and asked the guy how it was going. Told Maddy it was time to go.  

We were all in our coats headed out the door. 

I walked Maddy back to her apartment and the girls walked to mine. 

Our hands holding, kissing at intersections. We got to her door and she was hiding her face from me. She said she was so sweaty and hadn’t seen herself in a mirror and didn’t feel pretty. She was drunk. The part of herself that she trusted was gone. She was out on her own, floating.

“You look really cute.”

She paused to consider. Her eyebrows lifted slightly, like I was lying to her.

“I can be insecure sometimes. You should know that.” 

I wanted to pull her in for a hug and just hold her. But, instead, I told her that we’re all insecure.

We kissed and it was full of heat. If she lived alone she would’ve asked me up. I don’t know if I would’ve because she was quite drunk but also if I didn’t she would potentially feel hurt. So maybe I would’ve gone up and made out with her but not had sex. Waiting until she was too tired to keep her eyes open. Gently nudging her to drink some water.

We said goodbye and I turned East to walk under the Manhattan Bridge just after 2AM. 

I took out my phone and called the girls. 

“Yello!” they answered.

“So…that was a night. What’d you think?” 

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