I had a few years of whooping it up in college, but the bulk of my life was spent following all the rules. When I turned 30 I knew my youth was o-v-e-r and I was in the midst of a rapid downhill tumble to old age. I couldn’t be reckless—I had two daughters to raise and by the time they were adults I’d be a decrepit old lady in my mid 40s. I had a fantasy of riding away from all my responsibilities with a bad boy. Breaking every rule, becoming THAT woman. When a friend began dating her own bad boy I told her of my fantasy. A few days later, she called and told me I had 30 minutes to put on my most Bad Girl-ish Outfit and meet her in front of my house. When I stepped outside, her boyfriend—an air-conditioning repairman by day, but leather wearing biker in his off time—was waiting. She stayed with my daughters and for an hour as I rode around on the back of his bike and felt like I was starring in my own music video….
I received a well-written email message from Thomas. He had obviously read my profile and we had lots in common he wrote, in a very clever way. I liked his style and clicked on his profile.
“Holy shit! Did he just get out of Sing Sing?”
The guy looked like a felon or at least a bouncer at a shady club. Sleeve tattoos covered his muscle bound arms; he wore a skintight black t-shirt in every photo and had a shaved head and a soul patch.
Was that a Harley in the background?
We exchanged a few more emails and I learned that he was a business owner and had the freedom to be whom he wanted.
I liked that.
He asked me to brunch at 11 am at Buenos Aires, an Argentinean restaurant on the Lower East Side. He knew the proprietor and we would be eating alone before it opened to the public at noon.
I liked that too.
Thomas was waiting just inside the door of the restaurant. He wore tight jeans, the famous black t-shirt that accentuated his six-pack abs, and python cowboy boots. He kissed me on the cheek, boldly grabbed my hand and led me to a table nearby where he held out my chair. He immediately began barking orders to the servers in Spanish and within seconds we had a pitcher of Sangria. The waiter attempted to pour and he stopped him.
“I’ll take care of the lady,” he said as he filled my glass.
Look at me, drinking at 11 am, I thought as we clinked the glasses together and then drank. I looked around for a menu.
“I’ve ordered for us.”
“Oh. How do you know what I like?”
“I ordered the best things on the menu.
OK, General Franco, take it down a notch.
I love a confident man, but this felt controlling and the waiters were obviously intimidated. There was no question that Thomas was in charge, but I’m a strong woman and can certainly decide what I’m eating. I’m also perpetually watching my weight so if calories are going in this body—I want to be the one who chooses them.
I focused on the Sangria while Thomas talked, and talked and talked and, well, you get it. He went on and on about travel, food, his work, his tattoos, his kids and a multitude of other things and I sort of zoned out and just nodded my head occasionally when I thought I should. He didn’t ask a single question about my life and I was on glass number three of the wine and he hadn’t come up for air. The room was getting blurry and luckily the food arrived. He’d ordered an assortment of empanadas.
I reached towards the plate and he stopped me.
“Here, let me serve you.”
“That’s alright, I’ve got it.”
“No, please let me,” he said and put several empanadas on my plate.
I picked up my knife and fork and he shooed my hands away.
“Let me feed you.”
I don’t know if it was the wine or simply my vivid imagination but I had a flash of that scene in the movie, 9 ½ Weeks, with Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, where he blindfolds her and puts food in her mouth. If I let Thomas feed me I was one baby step away from crawling across the floor for sex and stripping to, “You Can Leave Your Hat On.”
“NO. I can feed myself. Please stop controlling everything.”
“I’m not being controlling, a woman should be taken care of.”
“Yeah, well you’re coming on way too strong.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll relax.”
And he did. I stopped drinking Sangria, the empanadas were the best I’ve ever had and we had an enjoyable second half of the date. The waiters relaxed and by the end of the meal he was laughing and joking with them as he paid the bill and we left. Thomas had his car parked in front of the restaurant and asked if he could drive me home. I thanked him but said no and he walked me to the subway. As we arrived lots of people were exiting and a woman told us that the trains weren’t running due to a mechanical issue. There were no cabs in sight and Thomas again offered to drive me home. This time I said yes and we walked back to his car.
I’m the sort of person whom you can set your watch to. I’m never late and I like routine. You need something done? Ask Mel.
BUT, there’s also another side that’s been mostly stifled for a lot of my life—a wild party girl who’s irresponsible and unpredictable. I want to fly my freak flag every once in a while and especially when the people in my life toss my predictability in my face:
“I know how you are. Always up and walking your dogs by 7 am.”
“Of course you’re cleaning your apartment, it’s Friday night.”
“I can always count on you. You’re always available.”
“Trader Joe’s on Thursday—no surprise there.”
“Let me guess. A slice of cheese pizza, right?”
“Mom, really? The service light just came on and you’re pulling over to call Toyota for an appointment?”
“You brush your dog’s teeth? You’ve gotta get a life.”
Well, screw all of you, this girl’s gone rogue. Or at least it would look that way if anyone saw me with Thomas. Especially if they didn’t notice that I was wearing my seatbelt. That’s probably why I accepted his offer to drive me home. As Black Sabbath (yep, you read that right) pumped from his car stereo and he rocked along I suppressed a laugh and said my mantra.
Please, oh please, oh please oh please, let one person who knows me see me now.
Anyone–the doorman, my neighbors, my daughters, the guy who sells fruit on the corner, my dry cleaning delivery man–anyone.
WHO’S PREDICTABLE NOW, BITCHES!
Thomas pulled up to my building, told me to stay where I was and jumped out and opened my car door. He left his side open a little and the music blasted.
“You’re not going out with me again, are you?”
“I don’t think so, but it was fun.”
The street was bustling, but not a familiar face was in sight as Thomas backed me up against the brick wall of my building and gave me a rock star-worthy kiss. Black Sabbath wailed and it was quite a spectacle.
“Ciao,” he said as he got in his car and drove away. I walked into my building and nodded to my doorman who was engrossed in something on his computer and barely glanced up.
That’s OK. It didn’t matter that nobody saw me because I knew what happened. In those two hours with Thomas, and certainly as he maneuvered me against the wall of my building and took—and I mean took–that kiss, I became someone other than an average woman with a mundane life.
I was transformed into the chick who danced on the hood of White Snake’s car.
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” Oscar Wilde