Ten Years Later…

16 Sep

“Did I wear the right thing tonight?… Do I look like the plump indian no one wanted in their teepee?… Uh oh two other girls are wearing my dress… Oh my god, Ricky Martin just walked by and he is shorter than I am…”

Fashion Week stresses me out.  Even when I’m off the clock, dancing at an after-party, I can’t stop the constant flow of irrational thoughts running through my head.   My Fashion Week freak-out usually begins a couple days prior and tends to manifest itself into an emotional eating/drinking scenario.  This is exactly what you SHOULDN’T do if you are going to be exiting a runway show in a few days, greeted by a wall of paparazzi waiting to get a shot of Victoria Beckham or Dakota Fanning.  But at that point, it’s too late.  You ate a lot of cheese and now all you can do is suck in your love handles as best you can and try not to fall down the stairs.  My pre-Fashion Week crisis was especially amusing this time around.  Precisely two days before the runway shows I went to for work, I could be found in a Buffalo Wild Wings eating wings and drinking beer.  Wearing stretch pants.  This incredibly Midwestern meltdown alone is enough to have me deported from New York City.  People who work in fashion here are not supposed to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Or eat, for that matter.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that, while seated in a spandex yoga pant, housing a Miller Light and some boneless wings, I received a text from a guy I used to date in high school.  He was coming into town at the end of the week and wanted to get together to “catch up.”  Knowing this gentleman, I had an inkling of what his idea of “catching up” entailed.  The last time we had seen each other was back in Wisconsin, where we’re both from.  After a long night of partying with other friends from high school, I had woken up naked in a stranger’s basement, next to an elaborate toy farm set complete with cows and hay bales.  Sheepishly, I accepted a ride home from my friend via his mom’s mini-van.  I would like to lie and tell you that this incident happened years ago… but it occurred in July.

Let’s backtrack a bit.  I met “Mike” my senior year of high school.  I was the female lead in the school musical and Mike’s best friend was the male lead.  I had not known either of them during the first three years of high school– we went to a big school.  Although I initially had a crush on Mike’s best friend (who played my love interest in the show), Mike and I started dating after the play ended.  Mike was one of those people who everyone knew was destined to be successful in whatever he did.  He was in all honors classes, had a 4.0 GPA, and spoke multiple languages.  The only two things I remember about our relationship are: he gave me some sort of slingshot monkey for Valentine’s Day (that I had no interest in but my dog really liked), and once he came over to pick me up and brought with him a bag of biscotti as an offering to my mom.  Although it was a nice gesture, we all giggled later about how he pronounced “bees-COE-tee.”

The length of our relationship has been a source of debate between us during the rare times we see each other these days.  He says we dated six months.  I think it was more like three and a half or four.  I do remember how we broke up, however.  While we were still together, he found out he had been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania.  It was his first choice school and he was ecstatic.  I was simultaneously happy for him and devastated myself, because I had just found out that I had NOT gotten into either of my top choice schools.  While I barely had a 3.1 GPA, I had an extensive theatrical resume and felt that I had rocked my auditions and my essays.   Come to think of it, devastated is an understatement.  I was absolutely destroyed when I didn’t get in.  While I was in a state of great depression, Mike (still my boyfriend at this point) was on top of the world.  I remember one of the last nights we hung out as boyfriend/girlfriend, he got mad at me because I thought “Penn” meant Penn State, not University of Pennsylvania.  He was thoroughly insulted that I could think HE would go to Penn State and upset that I had told my parents that was where he was going.  He was totally unconcerned with my situation, and, if anything, annoyed that I wasn’t being positive and fun.  He broke up with me the next day.

After high school, we would occasionally run into each other when we were both home for the holidays.  There were a few times when we got together and watched 1970s soft core porn in his parent’s basement for old times’ sake.  I also saw him in Boston once, while he was in town for some fraternity brotherhood thing (Mike has always surrounded himself with groups of men who love each other like brothers).  The first time we actually had a “fling” again was the aforementioned basement barn-set incident.  I hung out with Mike’s best friend a couple days afterwards and we laughed about that night.  I was surprised when he revealed to me that my relationship with Mike (ten years ago) had been his longest ever.  I couldn’t help but wonder why– he was now a producer for a TV show about fish, had money, apartments in two different cities, and did a lot of traveling.  It seemed like all that was missing was a perfect relationship to go along with his effortlessly successful life.  I have to admit I was slightly embarrassed to have fallen back into the old pattern with Mike, and to be talking openly about it with his best friend.

Fast forward to this week.  Mike texted me last night that I should meet up with him around midnight.  That’s a little late for me to be going out, but I wanted to make an effort to see him after our encounter in Wisconsin a few month prior.  If I could feel like we were friends, I would feel better about our recent meaningless hookup.  I arrived at the bar, hot and sober.  Mike and about seven of his college friends had come from some party at a club.  Mike looked cute and well-dressed as always.  He was already drunk, and put his hand on my thigh while leaning his body against mine as I perused the whiskey menu.  His friends looked on, seemingly intrigued that Mike had a lady friend in the city.  He went around the table introducing me to everyone.  Not just by their name, but by what they do and how they make a lot of money.  One person was in grad school at Princeton, another did something involving hedge funds and had just gotten married… everyone was well off and lived in a beautiful apartment, according to Mike.  I felt my face flush as Mike got back to me… Please don’t tell these people I work in a store.  He introduced me as working in fashion and told them that I have a master’s degree.  Later, he brought up my dad and how impressive his job, wealth, and lifestyle is– as if that was one of my main selling points to him.  The rest of the evening continued that way.  When Mike closed our tab, I offered to split it with him.  He responded that he made more money than he knew what to do with, and reminded me of this again when he paid for my cab later on.  While I was secretly relieved (my funds are running a little low this week), I felt inadequate next to this guy who was basically flaunting his assets… and I realized I didn’t know him at all.  We hadn’t been close before, even when we dated ten years ago, and now we were virtual opposites.  After the bar, we went to his friend’s gigantic apartment uptown, where I tried to talk to him about what was going on in my life.  Each time I began to speak he would cut me off or start making out with me.  Mike wasted no time in stripping down to his designer briefs– well, I’m not sure you could call them briefs because they kind of looked like a thong.  I sighed, resigning at last to the fact that he had only wanted to hang out with me for one reason.  As we parted ways, I felt a sense of relief at the closure I now had for my strange relationship with Mike.  He was the same as he’d always been, and we may as well live on two different planets.

What a long week– Chicken wings, Ricky Martin, runway shows, endless bottles of wine, partying, ex-boyfriends… I feel like I could sleep for three days.

Stay tuned for the other absurd scenario that I had this week involving a Fashionisto…

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