We all will be faced at one time or another in our lives where we will have to deal with the cold harsh reality of being exposed. It is feeling that is usually associated with a negative tone. More often than not that sense of exposure is only reserved for politicians or celebrities when their private lives or scandals are made public for the world to witness and judge. But what happens when exposure happens to the common folk? Does that mean since it is not spread across Page Six it isn’t as significant or better yet how do we handle our exposed selves? They say that when you break out of your comfort zone that is when the real transformation begins. That certainly was the case for me this past week…
This last Monday would mark mine and Mr. D.’s third date. The past two dates were fun and amazing. The first one being us getting drunk and making out like teenagers with the second one where we went bowling and he kicked my ass two games out of three. Both dates left me excited and wanting more. So when this past Monday presented itself with a third date, I was looking forward to it with the same enthusiasm as I had with the past two.
Our date was somewhat a spur of the moment one because of the holiday that was approaching it left very little time for us to figure out something to do. Mr. D. had invited me via email to this show that was presented as an, Opera Burlesque. Seeing that I have never even been to an opera, I knew I wasn’t going to get the royal treatment like Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman but this is New York and a queen can dream right? Earlier that day, Mr. D. had sent me a link to read up on the show but it gave very little description and the only thing I knew was that his roommate’s friend was going to be in the show, hence why we were even going to this show in the first place. I replied to him asking him if we should get tickets ahead of time because we all know that these little shows audience usually consist of the performer’s friends and family and only seats about thirty people. Mr. D. responded telling me that we can wait and get tickets at the box office when we meet that evening.
That night I was waiting for him outside the box office of the theatre. Seeing that Mr. D. is still new to the city, he is still getting lost on subways, streets and avenues. So, I waited for him to show up which was about ten minutes late because he had walked down the wrong street. When he finally arrived all he could think about was that he was hungry and needed a slice of pizza before the show. We got him a slice of pizza and I listened to him talk about his interview for a potential job he had earlier that day. When we finally got back to the box office, turns out, as I predicted the show was sold out. The gentleman at the box office said that if we stuck around and waited in the lobby while everyone was seated, that there might be a couple of stool seats with an obstructed view we could purchase for a discounted price. We waited, got the discounted seats and sat on two of the most uncomfortable stools I had ever placed my ass on. When we begin to review the program for the show, I asked Mr. D. when his friend was going to perform. As my famous luck would have it…his friend was the very last one to perform.
As I mentioned earlier, this show was presented to me as an, Opera Burlesque. Turns out, it was amateur night for the not so talented. At least at the Apollo, you can vote for people to not return or boo them off the stage. With this show, there was no such option. Instead, the host of the show came out with her microphone and said, “Ladies and Gentleman, tonight’s show will have no intermission and if you need to exit, please take note of the exits on each side of the theatre.” I can’t tell you how fast I made sure to observe the exits just in case I needed to make a break for it. The show began and the first performance I was ok with, just a man playing a piano and it was soothing to the ears. The next performer was this young male dancer who danced to, Ava Maria, however, every five seconds Mr. D. would whisper in my ear, “Isn’t that guy hot.” He would continue to pay compliments to about every other guy that hit the stage or someone in the audience, finally after about the fifth time, I turned to him and whispered, “Could you not say something about every guy. It is rude. I am your date and please show some respect to me at least until the end of the night.” Usually I would not snap like that but this date was going downhill faster than most of these performers’ careers and I was annoyed at his lack of respect. He took the hint and for the rest of the time that we sat in the dark, he didn’t mention a thing about another dude. However, he might as well have said what he was thinking because the show was downright terrible. Just to give you teeny tiny highlight of what I had to endure, these were some of the things that I got to witness:
– A group of young kids, in crazy Halloween wigs singing Journey’s, “Don’t Stop Believing.”
– A film about a person’s feet
– A woman that sang in opera about every single ingredient that went into making a Twinkie
Finally it was time for his friend to perform. It was an opera alright. However, this opera was not about war, tragedy, love or even death. It was about porn. Yes. You read that right. Porn. It was about this man that came from a small town and moved to the big city and all he wanted to do was get into the porn industry. The words that all the characters sang are words that I can’t even write and let’s talk about how uncomfortable I was because I was seated next to, what had to have been, someone’s grandmother. So there I was, sitting next to grandma and we are being exposed to a terrible production of filth. THREE HOURS later, we all had to sit around and wait for the actors to come out so we can congratulate on the great job they did. This was also marking the first time that I was meeting Mr. D.’s friends. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was surprised when all of his friends were the average age of 25. I met his roommate and she hugged me and said how cute I was and that she has heard nothing but nice things about me. All I could think of when I met her was how pretty she was and if she was old enough to rent a car by herself. As we sat outside while the hipsters smoked their rolled cigarettes, it dawned on me that I was the only one out of this entire group that lived in the city and that none of them had jobs that required them to be on time, in a descent mental state and that their parents would probably be making a deposit into their checking account the next day. I told everyone that it was nice to meet them, Mr. D. gave me a hug and kiss and said goodbye.
When I got on the subway, I sat there thinking about what a bizarre night just occurred. It left me feeling exhausted. I was tired that I just sat in a dark theatre for three hours watching a shitty show, I was tired that I had to scold Mr. D. about not acting like a teenage boy in heat and and I was beyond tired of either never getting to a third date or by the time the third date rolls around, someone exposes a side of them that is better left hidden. This date for me showed me that Mr. D. is still very new to the city, that he will probably be taking the dog a walk around the block and that we aren’t entirely on the same page. When I exited the subway, there was a text message from him thanking me for coming out and that it was nice to see me. I didn’t respond.
I heard from Mr. D. the next day via email where it had nothing to do with me, us or whether or not we would be seeing each other again. Instead, it was about him. About his interview, the compensation package he was working on with this job and how he was leaving on Wednesday to visit some family members for Thanksgiving. Not one thing about how I was doing, setting up the next time we were going to hang out or anything dating related. I didn’t respond.
When Wednesday presented itself, I was at my desk working and more work just continued to pile on and we were given early dismissal based on work load. I was one of the last people at the office and I still managed to get out at a descent hour. So, with my given extra free time, I decided to make the most of it and went to an advanced yoga class. My mind was clear and my body was relaxed when I left the yoga studio two hours later. I went home, showered and get into some comfy clothes and began to write. Hours later, fingers sore from all the writing and suddenly I had a craving. I was craving a big glass of red wine. It would be the perfect way to bookend a rather relaxing afternoon; however, I am a person that doesn’t even own a wine opener. So, I was forced to throw on a pair of jeans, brush my teeth and spritz on some yummy smells on my skin and hit a local wine bar that is only two blocks from my apartment.
I went to the wine bar, Medi, and seeing that is was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the city was rather quiet. Everyone is traveling or in their homes chopping, blending and preparing for the next day. Not me. I wanted wine and I knew all my friends were occupied and I loved the quality time I was having by myself. I sat down and my glass of wine was presented to me. I took a sip and that warm feeling you get as the alcohol warms up your body was putting me at ease. It dawned on me that I didn’t eat a thing after yoga and the chances of me eating now were slim. I was just about done with the first glass of wine and was satisfied and was all prepared to go home when a handsome man walked in the wine bar, also all by himself. I was sitting at the bar and had an empty seat next to me. The man asked me if the seat that was next to me was taken. I didn’t even say a word but just shook my head no and he proceeded to sit next to me. I had about one more sip to go of my wine and the man said, “Are you here alone? Do you come here often?” I don’t know what came over me but I was feeling sassy (maybe it was the wine on an empty stomach) but I said, “That opening line is so old. Try again. I know you can do better than that.” He smiled and said, “Ok. How about this. Hi. How are you? What is your name?” I smiled and told him that was much better. I told him that I was just fine and gave him my name.
A second glass of wine for me and a first for him and what I learned about this man was that he was 39, is a published author and is also a teacher at the Parson’s school. We talked about our favorite authors, writing and suddenly I noticed that I was smiling even laughing and it was with a complete stranger. I didn’t have any of my dating armor on. I wasn’t dressed, I didn’t have a book or my laptop with me. I felt exposed. But this time, my exposure felt welcoming. After my third glass of wine and a second for him, this man says to me in a seductive tone, “I have wine at my apartment.” Still feeing sassy, I said, “Let’s try that again. We are at a wine bar now and have all the wine we need. Tell me what you really want to ask me.” And he said, “Fuck. You are a pistol. Fine. I have wine at my apartment; I live in a penthouse and would like you to join me.” To which I replied, “Thank you for inviting me. I would like to join you for more wine. However, you don’t need to mention that you live in a penthouse. That stuff doesn’t impress me.” We settled the bill, he got us a cab and suddenly I am in a cab going downtown to this fancy penthouse in the sky.
In the cab, it hit me that this could turn into a disaster but I was hoping that it wouldn’t for I was attracted to him, the conversation was stimulating and we had a lot in common. We arrived on the corner of 37th Street and 10th Avenue. I was beyond nervous, I never do this kind of thing and for all I know he was going to take me to his penthouse, have his way with me and toss my ass off the terrace. I tried to manage my thoughts to only focus on the fact that I was having an adventure and that this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me often. This man had a dog and while I am not the biggest animal lover, I did enjoy his dog and was petting him while he was opening the wine.
We sat down in his living room, candles lit and classical music playing. Finally, it was the real exposure. That kind of exposure that left me feeling naked in front of thousands of strangers. He asked me about my relationship status. He kept saying things like, “How is someone so bright single?” or “You are so cute, guys out there are crazy not to date you.” I suddenly felt myself short of breath. I quickly changed the subject off of me and asked him the same questions and also paid him the same type of compliments. He said something that most people hate saying out loud let alone admitting. He said, “I am lonely.” We sat in silence for a few seconds before I took a big gulp of wine and said, “I am too.” I was exposed. I couldn’t hide behind my friends, my job or run to my apartment for safety. It felt like I was in a substance abuse program and it came my turn to stand up and admit what I had been not allowing myself to say to the world. I was lonely, confessing this in a stranger’s penthouse and we were both spilling our guts to each other the day before Thanksgiving.
He excused himself to use the restroom. While he was in the bathroom, I didn’t know how the rest of this evening was going to play out. Would I be going home? Did I even want to go home or did I want to stay? I didn’t know what I wanted. What I wanted was to not feel so exposed any longer. I had shared enough. I wanted to be silent. Turns out, so did he. There were no words left. He came back, sat next to me and looked at my face and planted a very passionate kiss on my lips. We sat on his couch and made out like teenagers for a few minutes before he stood up, held out his hand and said, “Let’s go back to my bedroom.” I admired his directness and offered him my hand and before we got to his room, I said, “No dogs allowed.” He pushed his dog out of the doorway and shut the door behind him.
I looked at the clock on his night stand when I put my head down on his bed. It was around 11pm. The next time I looked at his clock, it was past 1am. Three hours later and many crazy positions that even the cast of Cirque du Soleil would blush at; both the man and I were giving each other a high-five afterwards. It was just what we both were needing that night. It was that kind of satisfaction that when you are lonely only another human touch can remedy. The man offered me the option of staying the night but I declined. We both knew what this night was about. I knew what purpose this man came into my life for. He came into that wine bar that very night to prove to me that I am not entirely alone. There is someone out there that still finds me desirable. Someone out there still wants to have sex with me and that there is hope for love still. We exchanged information and he escorted me downstairs so he could also walk his dog. We walked around the corner, he gave him a passionate kiss and said, “Thank you. You are really something.” When I woke up the next morning, there was an email from him that said, “Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and for the record…I woke up satisfied, content and sore. You acrobat.” Will I see this man again? I don’t know. What I do know is that he let me be exposed and it felt…well…nice.
As I got ready for Thanksgiving, all I could think about was that my friends will not only love the story of what happened to me but that they will be proud of me for being on the promiscuous side. When I arrived at my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, I knew what my role was going to consist of…CLEANING. I didn’t mind, it is a lot safer for all those guests that I don’t cook. When I arrived there was still a ton of work to do. So began our chores before the first guest was to arrive at 6pm. My friend, who was also hosting Thanksgiving, was expecting his beau to fly in from Chicago that afternoon. So on top of making sure the apartment was clean, the food was cooked to perfection, we also had the element of excitement for his beau to arrive. I was excited for my friend because I knew it was one of the things I was grateful for. I was grateful that my friend was going to have a wonderful Thanksgiving, not just because we would be surrounded by friends and delicious food but because he was going to have someone around him that made him feel special. The beau arrived and immediately stepped in and helped out with setting up. He went into my friend’s room and when he came out, he presented my friend with a box of chocolates. While it was a semi-private moment with the exchange of the gift, I did make sure I listened to what they were saying and well…the words were just as sweet as the chocolate.
For the rest of Thanksgiving, the glasses were full, the plates were overflowing and all of our pants grew tighter. We were all having a wonderful time. I, personally, had such a great time that I ended up passing out on my friends lap and when I woke up, it was past 1am and people were getting their coats on to go home. I was in such a daze, I believed I hugged some people goodbye and was in a cab heading back to the city. As we were crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, I thought about what I was feeling and then thought about what the man had told me earlier that morning. I was satisfied, content and sore, of course, I was sore from eating too much. However, I will point out that I was rather disappointed that Mr. D. didn’t even bother to contact me for Thanksgiving and as of now…he still has not.
When I woke up on Friday, I was rather happy that it was only Friday and still had a few days before the work week would start again. With articles for Yahoo! looming, I didn’t have the creative juices flowing to write. So, instead, I grabbed my workout gear had a killer workout and afterwards, I decided that I wanted to see a movie. I went to the theater on 23rd Street in Chelsea, and decided on the movie, The Silver Lining Playbook. It was just what the doctor ordered for my mood…I laughed, cried and I left the theatre satisfied, content and not sore. Later that evening, I went to a friend’s apartment on the Upper East Side for some Thanksgiving leftovers, catching up and of course, more wine. I must have been so exhausted from the past few days because even with Pretty Woman on the television, I couldn’t keep my eyes opened and ended up falling asleep on my friends couch. I went home and slept like a baby.
Saturday and the only thing on my agenda was to celebrate a friend of mine’s birthday that evening. To my surprise, the man from Wednesday night contacted me and asked how my Thanksgiving was and that he was thinking about me. We exchanged a few friendly emails back and forth and finally we exchanged phone numbers. A few more innocent text messages and I suddenly was needing to get ready for dinner. I met up with another friend beforehand so that we could have a proper catch up before the birthday dinner. As my friend was talking about his current relationship situation, he also admitted to me his state of loneliness. I know we also need to take into consideration that the holidays are in full effect and this feeling is bound to happen. We talked about it a bit more and it occurred to me that my sweet friend was also feeling exposed. It turns out, whether it is a stranger from a wine bar or your own close friend. Becoming exposed can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
As we arrived at the Greek restaurant, Uncle Nicks, in Chelsea, all seventeen of us were seated. It was as if Thanksgiving was happening all over again. Some of the same faces and some faces that I hadn’t seen in awhile and it was a fantastic turn out for my friend. I could tell he was especially thankful for all the people sitting at that table. After several glasses of wine later and a ton of pita bread, we all settled the bill and a few of us went to Barracuda for a night cap. After two beers, I could tell it was not going to be the night where I would be coming home filled with regret but instead, I could tell that all the couples that I was with at the bar wanted to go home, get in their comfy clothes and get a descent night rest. So, we all said our goodbyes and off onto the C train I went back home.
Sunday. A day that is associated with the day of rest, most people look forward to Sunday. It is a day to worship, a day to have a boozy brunch with your loved ones and a day where you can reflect and gear up for the week ahead. I slept in a little later than I normally do, bought some coffee, the paper and had the TV on in the background. I decided that I couldn’t stay in my apartment any longer so by the afternoon, I showered, grabbed the laptop and went to a Starbucks and wrote the blog. Turns out, as fate would have it; as I was literally writing about the part of the man from the wine bar, I received a text message from him. It is those kinds of moments in life where you really have to say that there really is no such thing as coincidence.
As this month ends and Thanksgiving is now behind us it doesn’t mean we stop saying, showing and expressing what we are thankful for. While I know I am always thankful for the people in my life and the many things that I have been blessed with. I am now thankful for one more thing and this allowing myself to become more exposed. I stepped out of my comfort zone, allowed myself to feel vulnerable and something fantastic happened to me. Exposure doesn’t need to be negative; it can also be something that awakens us or allows us to share something that we keep bottled up. Take some time this week to allow yourself to be exposed, it will be difficult, I am not going to lie to you. But one thing I can promise you is that when you let down your guard and expose yourself that is when your real transformation begins. Expose Yourself!
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