Until about a dozen years ago, the entire world was my singles cruise. My ease in meeting eligible (if not always appropriate) men was a simple fact of my life that cast me in the role of Pollyanna, the only time before or since that I’ve gotten to play her. Whenever my girlfriends complained about how hard it was to meet guys in New York City, I’d shrug and say, “I don’t find it so. All you have to do is be open to it!” I’m sure they found that really freakin’ helpful. That was truly how it seemed to me. I met them in elevators, waiting rooms, in comedy clubs and on the unemployment line.
It was partly because, yes, I was hot, but also because I had a certain air about me that was tacit invitation to connect. I could turn it off if I wanted to, but if I left it on, it usually resulted in eye contact at least. The worst that could happen in a public place was that the guy would reveal himself to be awful. Better it should happen in the first minute of an interaction, I figured, than when you’re on a blind date and trapped at a restaurant because you’ve already ordered.
In any event, those days are long gone. A man I met on the subway platform (downtown 1 train at 79th Street) is now my lovely husband. We have two children, three jobs, dozens of obligations and about ten minutes in the evening to catch up before I pass out and Paul reads the Huffington Post on his laptop in the dark.
Once I settled in with Paul all those years ago, that thing I used to give offÂ dimmed. It hasn’t burnt out entirely, but I’ve been shining my light elsewhere, mostly on my kids and husband, but also on my friends and in my writing. I no longer have the desire, the need, the energy or, let’s face it, the appeal to have the kinds of free floating connections with the opposite sex that I used to. That’s fine. I no longer need a 24-hour IV dose of ego-boosting validation. That’s one of the benefits of being a Formerly.
But lo, in the elevator at my office this morning, this young fella was staring at me! Our building is old and the elevator slow, so his stare was lingering, and his grin rather…sly.
He couldn’t be…nah. Looking at me? Weird, I thought. I knew I didn’t look particularly good this morning. I hadn’t had time to put on makeup and my hair gets about as much attention these days as my husband.
Wait, a full on smile, with teeth and everything. Wow, I think I saw his eyes dart down to my chest. He was checking me out! I pressed 10 and turned to face the buttons, my back to him. He moved to stand beside me, and turned his head toward me, looking me up and down. He was definitely trying to connect. I stood up a little straighter. It was as much reciprocity as I could offer before I’d had my coffee.
Wow. I guess I still have it, at least a little, I thought, as the elevator lifted off. Check me the ‘ef out! This Formerly isn’t as utterly over as she thought! It could be that he has a Formerly fetish, but whatever, I’ll take my harmless ego boosts where I can get ’em. As I strode off the elevator, I took private pride in my own still-hotness.
When I got to my office I took of my coat to hang it up. And there on the boob area was the neon green foam “M” that my daughter Sasha stuck on this morning as I wasÂ leaving her classroom. “M” for mommy. “M” for moron. “M” for My God, woman, did you think to look in the MIRROR?
Thus explaineth my brief moment in the spotlight. Ah, well. I guess if I start to need random attention from strange men I could go to Staples and get me a whole tub of those letters, stick them all over my clothes, and wander the streets singing Schoolhouse Rock songs. Who says it’s hard to meet guys in NYC?