Я тебя люблю

11/19/06

Tessa and I went to Rasputin last night, a place that can only be described as Brooklyn’s most over-the-top Russian 4-course meal burlesque. Some of the most stunning food west of Kiev, combined with a dance show that is usually one mocha-colored bodysuit away from total nudity. We’ve been there before (see pics) , but the environs never fail to deliver the proper spectacle. This year, Jesse Drucker’s birthday table was far from the circular dance floor, but the mezzanine provided several romantic microclimates in easy view.

First off, Heather Graham was directly below us (“of course she’s below you, she’s an actor” as Jon Vaden might say) and seated at a table of Not Famous people, to her credit. The table next to me, however, was an amalgam of three very pretty, classy women in their late thirties – all with the most disgusting guys imaginable. The men were fat, wore shiny purple and black shirts, and told the worst jokes I’d heard since middle school.

I guess you could call them “jokes”. It was more like booming, unnecessary commentary; repetitions of the Obvious masquerading as cutting-edge hilarity. Once the table was rid of these doofuses, the women stared at each other apologetically, all with the same sad “boys will be boys” look of eternal exhaustion.

At one point, Tessa went downstairs to dance with the rest of our crowd, and since I pulled my groin at hoops this week, I stayed at our giant table – alone – and checked email on the Treo. I glanced up, and one of the women at the next table was alone as well. Our eyes met, and in that second, there was no subtlety. She could just as easily drawn a sign with lipstick on the back of her plate, saying “RESCUE ME.”

There was no humor in it, just a silent, desperate millisecond that was extinguished before it even had consciousness. She went back to her purse, and I went back to my gadgetry. It wasn’t long, though, that I began to contemplate why women put up with any of us, our slackening bodies, our unfortunate hairiness, our constant interruptions, our allergy to intimacy even as we crave constant reaffirmation. The battle we have as men, as some of us head into our fourth decade, is to keep ourselves from sliding into love-handled complacency, to not rest on the easy joke, to not fetishize our precious incompetence.

Tessa came back upstairs and I grabbed her. We ran outside to Carvel and I bought her an ice cream sandwich.

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0 thoughts on “Я тебя люблю

  1. herman

    Vanity fair.
    A lot of people do this. They go out and what they enjoy most is congratulating themselves on not being as despicable as the strangers around them.
    The only problem is those strangers are probably thinking the same thing about you – particularly if you start beaming Prince Charming looks at a stranger the minute your wife’s on the dance floor.

    Reply
  2. Anne

    Hmmm. This will sound horrid, but you started it! I was just thinking yesterday that as I get older, I appreciate my women friends and relatives more and more, but it’s the rare man I feel that way about. Hey, just being candid, here.
    I’ve always been a sort of “man’s woman,” a tomboy who flirts, who loves rugged team sports and loud rock music. Many of my best friends, and yes I do mean friends, in high school, college, and afterwards were men. For some reason I just haven’t found that they wear well in their 50s and 60s.
    What is up with that? They get bored and boring, in many cases. Their little annoying traits seem to get magnified. Some of them get grumpy, others querulous and self-centered, others grindingly inappropriate (like those guys you encountered, Ian). Whereas most of the women I know have become more confident, sympathetic, wise, and generally comfortable with themselves and interesting to be around, in spite of all the aging crap we go through.
    I work with mostly women now, and boy, do we have some eye-rolling sessions when discussing our male colleagues. ;-) Sorry about that, guys.

    Reply
  3. Neva

    It’s funny you say that Anne, a group of women friends and I were having just that discussion last night!
    It does seem as though women as they age become more confident, open-minded and generally more accepting of others but I don’t see that happen to men as much. I think of the red hat women as one example. Maybe it’s because we’re generally more social but maybe it’s because sadly, most women weren’t that confident to begin with as young people because we were too concerned with looks and pleasing others.
    Interestingly the evidence suggests that married men live longer, happier and healthier lives than unmarried men but the reverse is true for women. My theory is that as Ian so well describes here, many women get pulled down by their bad choices in men and suffer for it.

    Reply
  4. Ian

    herman – absolutely. I was one of the rudest, most boorish dickwads there. But I wasn’t beaming Prince Charming looks at the woman, I was trying to beam Google Maps to my wife’s Treo.

    Reply
  5. wyatt

    By my measure, the lot of us from the class of ~1990 are nearing completion of our fourth decade, and are headed into our fifth.

    Reply
  6. Grisha

    I think caveman called you fat ;)
    BTW, I read this blog from my Treo to get around our corporate firewall. Ain’t technology grand?

    Reply
  7. kent

    According to Babelfish, Caveman said “You are so full of der’ma, but we still love you” — from context I think we can guess what der’ma is.
    And it’s doofus. Why? Well it’s related to ‘goofus’ which no one spells ‘gufus.’
    Might be different in France. I just wish I knew the French word for the blank look you get from French people who speak English but have no idea what you’re on about.

    Reply
  8. LFMD

    I agree with Rebecca. You guys look great! Ian, you have done a great job of slimming down. Wish me luck. . . . dropping some lbs. is my plan for the new year. Well, it was also the plan for last year and this year, but now I am hoping to get back to a respectable weight by age 40. The weight loss will make me feel better about being toothless.

    Reply
  9. LFMD

    I am back. I recall that Jesse is Nell Casey’s husband, no? I just read Nell’s collection “Unholy Ghost.” What an excellent articulation of the experience of depression! I was so impressed with the book. I noticed that Tessa was mentioned in the acknowledgements.
    Just for kicks, I told the librarian during check out that I was two degrees of separation from the author of “Unholy Ghost.” She did not quite know how to respond!
    I had read some of Nell’s sister, Maude’s work a while ago, and I recently made the connection. Good grief, man! There is quite a bit of talent in your little social orbit. I enjoy getting a glimpse of it via your website.
    Good night and be well.

    Reply

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