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.