“Yaeli! I am on my way and should be there in 15 minutes. My friend Pablo (from LA) and Neil (Douche bag from the other night) are already sitting at the bar waiting for our table!” (Voicemail Benn left on my phone @ 8:42pm Friday May 28th).
Neil???? Did Benn just say Neil’s coming to OUR dinner? It was supposed to be just me and Benn (the French Moroccan from Barcelona who moved here from LA a few months ago).
Benn’s thick French accent resonated in my head as I rolled my yoga mat into my bag. I was running late as it was to our Friday night dinner plans at Café Mogador on St. Marks (between 1st Ave and Ave A). Having both grown up in traditional Jewish homes, Benn and I decided a few days earlier that we’d have Friday night dinner together since our families are far away with mine in Miami and his in Montreal and Casablanca.
Benn and I have been doing a ton of Bikram together. We get together for a few hours a week to sweat together (HOT), practice yoga together, and basically talk about everything EXCEPT for dating! I like Benn. I try and flirt with him but he just won’t have it…
Side note: After that evening at the Box, I completely put Neil off the radar, and now he was coming to MY dinner plans with Benn & friends (I could kill someone). I was looking forward to seeing Benn and meeting his friend Pablo from Barcelona who now lives in LA. I don’t think I was ready to see Neil. I don’t know why? I mean the man screams testosterone from miles away! But then again…he’s a dirt bag right?
8:57pm (Leaving Bikram Yoga LES on Allen & Stanton and heading to Café Mogador on St Marks)
I struggled not to sweat too much on my walk up from Allen Street to St. Marks. Though you check out of the yoga studio, your body still thinks it’s in camel pose and refuses to stop sweating profusely (or at least mine does)! My leggings were sticking to me in all the wrong places, my hair was soaking wet and dripping down the back of my neck and into my tank top, my palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. I was hot and cold and excited and frustrated all at the same time (OY)!.
I turned the corner onto St Marks, and approached the restaurant. Outside was a crowd of trendy, international locals (oxymoron of the week). I scanned the outside for Benn but he hadn’t gotten there yet (damn it!!). My body temperature was finally coming back down to normal and I quickly put on my James Perese Henley. I was about to sit down on the bench outside and wait for Benn to show up until…”Yael! Ciao! GOOD TO SEE YOU!!!!”
I looked up at the tall handsome man and the oversized Polo player on the left side of his navy shirt. His hair was slicked back and his jeans were nice and fitted. He gave me a hug and planted a kiss on each of my rosy cheeks. He smelled good. Clean. Man.
We exchanged several words. I played it cool. Didn’t have much to say anyway. I wanted to hate him for being a Douche the other night, but I don’t think I really cared enough. I pretended to listen as he told me about how he’d been over the past few days…I cut him off, “Let’s go inside and Benn’s arrived with his friend Pablo!”
10:22pm Café Mogador to Rockwood Music Hall
Benn arrived just in time for everyone to reacquaint themselves with one other. Benn’s friend Pablo is an ADRABLE Barcelonan (made that word up) with a thick Spanish accent. He is visiting NYC for 15 days, some work, some play. We were seated next to each other and flirted the entire time (how fun)! The common denominator at the table was Benn. To the right of me, the gentlemen were speaking Spanish. At one point I think I attempted to communicate in French but nothing came out but Italian words like, “where is the bathroom,” or “where is the duomo?” I was being my usual self and cracking jokes and sneaking in some snarly comments about what I think of men who lie about their dating status… and do what I do best, laugh at myself while I’m at it!
I must say how pleased I was when the bill came…the men do what they do best and covered the bill ;-)
Shoot me for saying that but in all honesty, chivalry is NOT dead and I L-O-V-E it!!!
We all knew we weren’t ready to go home so Benn suggested I take the lead and pick our next venue. In the interest of staying local (and not schlepping my yoga mat and bag cross-town), I suggested we go hear some live music at Rockwood (www.rockwoodmusichall.com).
11:00pm Rockwood Music Hall & a whole lot’a Neil!
I can’t remember exactly when it was in the evening, but at some point, Neil decided it was TIME. He decided “now is the perfect time I’m going to confess what's on my mind!” As Pablo and Benn were at the bar waiting for us, I kept thinking to myself how awful this may look since all my credibility to Benn & his friends was out the window (thank you Neil for f*@&cking it up)… Neil leaned in closer to make sure I could hear him over the music, and told me how he couldn’t stop thinking about me and had meaning to call me all week (bull$hit,bull$hit). How when we first met, that night out on the town how much fun we had and how ‘on the same page’ we were and how we had this raw connection he didn’t want to lose…hmmmm…that’s interesting…yet another man validating that I’m not in fact crazy and to even dare to think that we shared anything special made me feel slightly less delusional.
I let Neil speak his drunk mind...I gave him the floor till he felt he had nothing left to say. I didn’t look him in the eye because every time I did I believed every word of bull$hit that came out of his mouth. Instead, I looked at the heavyset saxophone player on stage while Neil confessed his love for me (YEAH RIGHT)!!!
Neil finished telling me all these amazing things I deeply wish were true…he always had an extra word to put in…I simply had nothing to say. I wanted to forget about him (as I did the week leading up to Mogador) and so I stayed strong and smiled and gave him a kiss on his cheek and said, “Cherie…we’re all good…no worries!”
Before Neil could say another word, I needed to save face with Benn at the bar. I felt a little uncomfortable since the elephant in the room was the fact that Neil’s found his pray (me), Benn knows about it and I want to have nothing to do with it (except I can’t help but fantasize about the big’old WHAT IF?)
Benn and I locked eyes as he handed me an Amstel Light OMG I love him…
He gave me that look of “ummm you cool?”
I really didn’t know what to do or say, it wasn’t even a big deal until I turned to face the stage. The performer on stage was a Nathalie Portman type; petite brunette with understated beauty. She had the voice of Aretha Franklin and Billy Holiday. She swayed her hips from side to side and caressed the microphone like it was the face of her own child. She was sexy. Watching her made me sway my hips from side to side…I took a sip of my beer, closed my eyes, and moved to her music…(enter Neil)…
My eyes were closed, my had thrown back…the music was loud but soothing…moving my body and swaying my hips to the music...
My eyes were closed and I let myself go to a place where everything is perfect. I was in a movie…a love story actually. Neil wasn’t full of $hit and him and Benn planned the whole thing weeks ago…it was perfect!
I opened my eyes and turned around to look at Neil…I wanted to push him and say “don’t F*@&#CK with me dude,” but instead I looked over his shoulder and noticed Benn and the crew were gone…
I texted Benn asking him where they were. My phone buzzed a moment later…
“Yaeli, I am home! Enjoy…see you tomorrow”
I didn’t understand why they would have left.
Neil and I exchanged some words on our walk home. I would be lying if I said he didn’t try (again)…but homeboy’s got to step up and show me what a man he really is.
He suggested we go out to dinner on Monday.
“I know you are going away tomorrow to the country with Benn, but when you get back, I would love to take you to dinner…”
I said yes…
We were supposed to go to my all time favorite sushi joint below 14th, Tomo Sushi on Thompson St. between Houston and Bleeker.
Benn and I made arrangements to leave our country holiday earlier so I could make it back in time for our dinner.
May 31 2:38pm
Despite my cancelled date last night...Benn and I had the BEST weekend in the country together...stay tuned for my next post "Kick'n it in the Country w/Benn"