***This post is from mid-March 2011. It was never posted previously (after reading you might understand why).
It was a long winter, one of the longest since I can remember maybe because the snow was piled mountains high, I was unemployed for a bunch of it, winter when you're too poor to buy booze is sad, or because March continues to be rainy and gloomy. I don't know, it was long. I spent a lot of it baking, then eating what I baked and not going to the gym since I wasn't working and couldn't afford it... needless to say, I earned some winter weight and deserved to suffer the inability to slip into my skinny jeans, or hardly any jeans for that matter.
Winter also doesn't help motivate one to date, I mean who can stand the thought of sharing chocolate brownies on a date when in a month Spring might come and then a tank top season you can't bare to show your arms? I'm afraid to look across at a guy while I'm wearing my winter layer and imagining how terrified he'd be to see me removed my coat next month when the sun comes out, maybe he's thinking about it already and thus must avert his eyes.... But I've started a crazy job on a ridiculous pilot and know once we start filming next week I may not be able to go on a date again until Summer - that is if I manage to see an treadmill between now and then and shed the winter mashed potatoes...
This particular guy and I were set to see the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Whitney, I've been waiting all winter to see it. Hopper is one of my favorite painters because he's so cinematic... of course I think it's best if I can share the experience with someone and argue about what Hopper was trying to convey in is triangles of yellow street lamp light. I always think museums are a good way to test the waters with someone you don't know because there is no lacking in subject matter - its a good judge a character too, if the Renoir portrait frowns you know it's going to go south or if the date wants to skip the Egyptian exhibit at the Met, or the Planetarium at the Natural History - all important notes to take. But I have made the mistake of waiting around for someone to share an exhibition experience with me and then be disappointed because I realize later I've gone and missed it in all my waiting.
Case in point. I waited. We were supposed to go on a Sunday afternoon pretty much the last weekend of the Hopper exhibit but an hour before our meeting time he texts me and says he's running late - working (on a Sunday?) - and can we just grab coffee. It's almost 2 and we were set to meet at 3, I'd never make it to the exhibition and back in time to meet him at some coffee shop in the East Village by 4. Exhibit blown.
I settle for meeting him for coffee, actually I have a tea, and he orders a muffin. He looks like an ex-high school football player who drank to much in college and now works for a big banking firm but still doesn't know how to tuck in his shirt so the buttons lay straight. I think he lied about the working, he looked hung over. But he wasn't horrible looking and he had shown a common interest in Hopper, of course we didn't get a chance to discuss him. It was apparent in a matter of minutes that we didn't actually have anything else in common to discuss. So we sat and stared into space asking the scripted questions of first dates.
As he explained to me about his worked, my mind wandered to his midsection - it was a long winter for him too I think. And I got a little grossed out at the thought of his huge beer belly rubbing up against my muffin top if we ever got close enough to kiss(no matter how I tried to suck it in, that winter bulge couldn't help spill over the top of my jeans. I think it's important to admit when you have a problem... ). Two beautiful, skinny women walked into the coffee shop while I was talking about the TV pilot I'm working on with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he didn't care and I watched his eyes follow them across the room. It crossed my mind how the social expectation of body image has polluted me and I suddenly didn't care if this guy thought I was cute or not, it's still winter in my book and at least I'm warm. Then I thought, you know, those girls could use a muffin!
Forty-five minutes went by and it was time for a polite goodbye, no hard feelings about the fact neither one of us was interested in dating, or even looking at, the other. As I stood and shook his hand, lying about going to meet my sister for dinner, I noticed he had only eaten the top of his muffin. He'd left the bottom half still wrapped in its parchment. Normally I hate when people do that, in the office it drives me crazy, but here I couldn't help but see the irony. Some people do like muffin tops and I'm sure there is someone out there who will like mine just fine.
As I walked down the street towards the train, I put my headphones on and music started in the middle of a song, it said "Baby, you're a Firework!"