There is a line in the movie, “We Bought a Zoo,” when Benjamin Mee, played by Matt Damon is a father talking to his son about being brave enough to let a girl know how he feels. He says, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise something great will come of it.” The father is speaking from experience. Many years earlier he walked past the window of a restaurant, saw a woman inside he was drawn to but kept walking by. A few moments later he stopped, turned around and went back to meet her. That woman became his wife and the mother of the son he was talking to.
Three incidents have happened to me in the last month and I wish I’d taken that advice.
Hot Yoga Guy-I go to yoga classes at least three times a week. The makeup comes off; the hair is in a ponytail. Certainly not my best look. I’m also wearing yoga pants and let’s face it; they leave little to the imagination where a woman’s ass is concerned.
I entered the yoga studio and spread my mat on the floor and began stretching. Others entered and I paid no attention. The class is usually made up of middle-aged women and young dance students. Class started and one straggler noisily came into the studio. I was not feeling very yoga-ish that day and shot a dirty look in the direction of the latecomer. He was hot: great body, 45-50, dark hair. Was my muffin-top showing? Why didn’t I at least put on a little tinted moisturizer and lip-gloss? Damn it! Who knew that an attractive guy would be in class?
The instructor began and within minutes we were twisting and contorting our bodies into poses that should be saved for the bedroom after a night where I’d had too much wine and forgotten that a sexy strip tease is never a good idea with shape wear.
After one incredibly difficult position the instructor asked what we thought. Most of us could hardly catch our breath, but Hot Yoga Guy said loudly, “That was a motherfucker.” Not the sort of thing one expects to hear in yoga class and I laughed out loud.
He had me at motherfucker.
I couldn’t stop looking in his direction and I noticed he did the same. At the end of the session we were lying in Savasana. The lights were dimmed and we were told to close our eyes. A perfect opportunity to study him and I turned in his direction. Our eye met. He was looking at me too.
I could get used to lying next to him, I thought as I turned away. All of a sudden I got shy. After class he hung around outside the studio. I felt self conscious of my au naturel state and walked by him quickly. I looked back and said, “Now that was funny,” and kept moving. On the way home I vowed to bring my “A-Game” to next Monday’s class, primp a little. I was confident he’d be there. Unfortunately, he’s not come again and it’s been a month. I’m not sure if he was using a guest pass, or if his attendance on that day was a fluke, but I blew it. I wish I’d had the courage to say, “I’d love to have coffee with a man who’d say motherfucker in a yoga class.” Why didn’t I do it?
The Translator-A friend, Oksana, visited me this week from Russia. She was my late husband, Neal’s, translator/assistant when we lived in Rostov-on-Don. It’s been lovely having her here and she’s shared memories of her time working for Neal. A bittersweet gift, hearing new stories about him. I’ve laughed a lot and there’ve been tears too.
Oksana and I decided to visit Greenwich Village and have dinner at a restaurant, Bar Pitti. I would highly recommend checking it out. The eggplant parmigiana is the best I’ve ever tasted.
The restaurant was crowded and we were seated very close to other patrons. The waiter gave us a large chalkboard with an extensive list of the daily specials. They were all written in Italian and I could figure out a few, but not all. I asked a man sitting next to us if he knew what the dishes were. He was eating with his nephew (yes, I was eavesdropping, he was cute). He translated the menu, recommended the eggplant, and also the panacotta dessert. I thanked him and we exchanged a few more pleasantries before his check arrived. Oksana and I chatted as he paid the bill, but I was distracted. I thought there was mutual interest. His nephew put on his coat and left. The man fumbled around a bit, played with his cell phone and seemed to be stalling. I thanked him again for his suggestions and returned my attention to Oksana. He started to leave and then turned back for a moment. I was looking at Oksana but could see this out of the corner of my eye. He paused for several seconds and then turned back and exited. Why didn’t I look up? I knew he wanted to say something. I wasn’t imagining the attraction; Oksana confirmed it. Another missed opportunity. Shit!
MoMA Man-On Thursdays the Museum of Modern Art is open late. I was meeting a friend because I’ve wanted to see the temporary Diego Rivera exhibit before it left NYC. I am directionally challenged and no matter how often I’ve been to the museum I always get confused. I exited the subway and couldn’t figure out which direction I should go. The trains were running late and I was in a hurry to make it by our designated time. A tall, handsome and well-dressed man stood on the corner waiting to cross the street and I approached him for directions. He pointed me in the right direction and then shared that he too has gotten lost looking for the MoMA. There was that moment again. The one where two people really look at each other. We had that. He started to say something but I was already thanking him, and rushing off so as not to be late to meet my friend in the lobby. I walked three steps and it hit me that he was going to say something. I turned back and he was looking over his shoulder too. I waved and kept moving. I went few steps more and I turned back again. He did the same and then rounded a corner and was out of sight. I should have turned around and followed him. I was so caught up in being on time that I missed out on another chance. This man was handsome and charming. Certainly my friend would’ve understood if I were a few minutes late. I could’ve just said, “Excuse me, my name is Melani,” and let him take it from there. He wanted to keep talking; it was me who rushed off.
Craigslist has a section for missed connections. I even know someone who reconnected through that feature. I’ve certainly gone there several times recently hoping one of these guys might have posted our encounter. None have, but I’ll keep checking.
It’s those missed opportunities that give us the most regret. Perhaps none of those men would’ve been the guy of my dreams, but what did I have to lose? I’ve got to get bolder because The Universe seems to be giving me what I’m looking for if I’m only brave enough to accept it. I’ve done it once before and that was with my husband. I was fearless in approaching him and it was the best move I’ve ever made. I need to channel my inner Samantha Jones and have insane courage in this quest for love.
If you want to read an article I wrote about my encounter with my husband you can click here.
“Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have. It’s much sexier than any body part.” Aimee Mullins