Friday, April 13, 2007

New York II


Two days in and I have a hangover and an almighty and very sincere desire to go back to London. The weather doesn't help; all coldy and windy and not at all the sunny that I understand London'll be this weekend, so that's fun.

Anyway, I'm not at work, I'm on a holiday in another country - yet I'm still complaining.
Here's why:
So I get off the plane and head to this bar I'd been to last year, near my Ladyfriend's apartment, awaiting her arrival from her workplace. I am quite probably the happiest I will ever be in my entire fucking life.

Wednesday: New York. This bar I know. I'm in a nice seat with view of front door, waiting for Ladyfriend. Very excited. Slight anticipation of exciting break ahead. I wait for two pints when Ladyfriend arrives on purchase of my third. She looks lovely, just as she always is but seem to forget with the passing of time. But she's here; her cute smile, her button nose, her dimples, her curly brown hair, her hugs, her little squeaks when she's happy. Ok, she's not completely happy as she's just finished a day's work and seems quite stressed. We have that long hello hug and I don't want to let go but it's all good because I'm so very very happy and cheerful and Life and Humanity are beautiful and wonderful and it's simply incredible to be alive and I love Everything and Everyone!!!!!

This is called juxtaposition, for I am now going to relate the circumstances which lead me to believe the exact opposite; that Life is a cruel cosmic accident, a quirk of fate where we are nought but a bunch of cunts fucking over another bunch of cunts in a Godless random universe, only to die in a loveless pit of hate, anger, apathy and Paris Hilton.

We leave the bar and head for my Ladyfriend's apartment. I am smiling so much that my head hurts. I meet Ladyfriend's Petite Pretty Flatmate and we order Korean food which I've never had before. My slightly offensive remarks about us eating Lassie are largely ignored. Note that Ladyfriend seems slightly defensive and angry. Turns out she needs a while to switch off after work, something I've never seen in her as our long distance dating hadn't ever clashed with her work schedule before.

I eventually share a bed with a clearly irritated Ladyfriend, an irritation I don't appreciate as I continue to prod her as I ask her cheerfully to 'Cheer Up'. Lying there under the covers of her bed that first night, a scenario that was undertaken in a functional Germanic manner (walk to room seperately, remove clothes, enter bed, wait), I soon feel like the Unsexiest Man In The Known Universe. I am in bed with a beautiful woman and she isn't in the least bit interested. Work is on her mind, my arrival hasn't been met with outpourings of joy or any sex, and I realise that I am incapable of being mature. I try not to think that a year after our last intimacy, Ladyfriend seems almost angry.
We both fall asleep. I am apparently snoring violently (like 'Two lions fucking', as Nothing Man often remarks), and make the situation worse by (apparently) waking up frequently during the night and asking 'Was I snoring? Sorry.'

Thursday: Both ladies leave for work. I am in New York!!! I look out of the window at Avenue A; yellow cabs, commuters, skyscrapers. Also, angry grey clouds, umbrellas, and lots and lots of rain.

I venture out in the vague direction of Union Square. By the time I get there, my shoes are letting in water so I buy some new size 14s to wear immediately. More walking. I pass a diner and nip in for a large smoked salmon and cream cheese beigel. (Note, that's Beigel, not BAGEL, dammit.) I am soaked through and the rain outside is still relentless. I wait for the weather to calm down and hit the streets again. The grid system really is quite ingenious - I'm walking down roads I've never been down in my life but I instinctively know where I'll be if I turn left or right. I am heading towards Madison Square Gardens to meet a local guy, Jeff, who I last met in London a few years ago. My old Uni mate Sean introduced me to Jeff, who happened to be in the UK during Yom Kippur or Pesach or something else Jewish. Jeff pleaded with me to take him to Temple in the UK (a synagogue, not the London district), and I pleaded with him not to make me. In the end, I was forced to ruin my Friday night by taking Jeff to see the winner of Britain's Most Boring Rabbi competition while a frosty looking battleaxe in the row behind gave me filthy looks because I was wearing jeans.
When I'd turned to whisper to Jeff 'Thanks for getting me to drag you here', I was thrilled to find him fast asleep. I ensured he stayed awake to continue enjoying the sermon.

So I turn up at Jeff's office about two hours after emailing him to say 'Hello mate, I'm in New York'. We go for a couple of drinks, and reminisce over old times, essentially that night at the Shul. After bidding each other farewell, I head back to the apartment via the L train as Ladyfriend had forgotten her keys and I had to be back to let her in. Before long, her Petite Pretty Flatmate had arrived home and we're all eating Sushi. We all get ready as Petite Pretty Flatmate will be leaving the city for a few months so we're off to a nearby bar to meet up with a whole host of other people, people who are either Shrieky Happy American Girls or else Clapfabulous Gay Men.

Ladyfriend is getting ready so Petite Pretty Flatmate and Shrieky Happy American Twins and I head to the bar. Petite Pretty Flatmate hasn't seen a Shrieky Happy American Twin for something like a whole week so I watch in amusement as they begin hyperventilating as their chatting becomes more frantic and kinetic. Words such as 'Neat', 'Shut Up', and even 'Awesome' are all used completely without irony and, just as the pitch of their conversation was reaching the troposphere and the only other life form that would be able to hear would be covered with fur and have a wagging tail at one end, I lose all interest in living. Their relentless white noise begins to merge with the background music and I enter a frame of mind I normally only get at work - the one where all I hear in my head is the Laurel and Hardy theme tune.

Time passes. I'm tired, genuinely too tired, to socialise. I want to sit when everyone else is standing and scooting from one group of people they all know to another. I feel like an English duck in another pond full of other friendly ducks with a slightly different quack. Ladyfriend occasionally beckons me over to a group where I say hello and then have nothing else to say for myself. It was tiring having to speak in a Hugh Grant accent all evening when my regular accent, although not gratingly cockney, is mumbly and London enough to render all my punchlines, questions, and interesting bon mots almost inaudible - the net result being a reluctance to have any conversations. It can get very tiring speaking to someone, asking them questions, or else giving them your best A-material and getting an earnest poker face in return, the International look for not understanding what the fuck you just said, yet too polite to ask 'Can you repeat that a bit more slowly please?'

I drink some more despite not wanting to. I even have a soft drink to be a little different. Ladyfriend unwillingly drags me into conversations with people who've known each other for years, allowing me to ruin their banter and atmosphere for them. Others begin to leave. The remaining group gets progressively drunker. Whole bar seems to thin out. Group now consists of my on-off long distance Ladyfriend, a camp, non-threatening gay man, his loud nerd friend, and a cocky bloke who I'm not too sure about. In fact, the only guy I'm comfortable around is the gay man, seeing as the nerdy guy keeps giving Ladyfriend massages and having big, big laughs with her while I sit there largely mute and feeling like I've had a major personality bypass. The cocky guy looks slightly cool and, I suspect, has almost certainly had Lots More Sex Than Me and left a trail of broken women in his wake.

As everyone sits there shouting out in-jokes and cracking lines that makes everyone roar (including an enormous bellow from Ladyfriend that I'm devastated to hear as I've never made her do that), I am forced to contribute occasional 'Ha-ha!'s then returning to being mute and shifting awkwardly as no-one really wants to talk to me and I don't want to talk to them.

In fact, as I am typing this, I realise why I was at such a loose end. Sure, sitting like a Nobby No-Mates in the corner for most of the evening probably didn't endear me to the other guests, but it was also the fact that no-one knew who I was or why I was there that probably did it. I had no raison d'etre, no real justification for being there. I was just this shy Brit who was somehow connected to someone at that bar, and was harder to shake off than herpes.

But what really did it for me, the cake/ icing integer that made me want to run home to Mummy was an innocuous comment. I had become detached once again, both physically and mentally, and overheard the cocky guy ask Ladyfriend, to an audience of the other guys, 'So, what's the deal with you and other men? Anything happening?'

My shoulders sunk and I thought 'Erm, yes, I'm right here. I'm the fucking idiot who's travelled 4,000 miles and I'm not sure why.' I had my back to them when this was said, and I've no idea what happened in the awkward silence that followed, whether or not Ladyfriend pointed me out, or if she did a happy little 'Single' jig instead. Whatever it was, I really felt justified in feeling out of place, and I wanted to leave immediately.

We did so soon afterwards, although the guys were keen to keep drinking. They asked me where I was staying, so I pointed at Ladyfriend and said 'I'm on her couch.'
I quite liked the couch touch. Saying 'I'm sharing her bed' would've sounded quite odd in light of us saying next to nothing to each other all night. Plus I still don't know what reply she gave to the 'Any men?' comment. The 'couch' gave us some strange dignity, I felt.

We get back to the apartment. I was stroppy but wanted to be convivial; I was in no mood for an argument. Plus I was to be cooking a large roast meal the next evening initially for Ladyfriend and myself, but now with Petite Pretty Flatmate and two other Shrieky Happy American Girls. I kept things light because I didn't want to make the impending meal socially awkward. Nonetheless, Ladyfriend and I prepared for bed in silence. I returned from the bathroom to find her under the covers, so I switched the light off and gingerly lay down next to her. I didn't bother getting under with her. Instead, I just sighed. Still determined to keep things pleasant, I reached over for Ladyfriend's arm and gave her a little stroke.
'Night', I said.
This wasn't a proposition for sex, it was a 'Goodnight', plain and simple. She didn't reply.
I lay there and thought about my situation for a minute or two, then made my decision. Reaching behind my head for the pillow, I very quietly crept out of the bedroom and headed for the living room, where I grabbed my coat. This was to be my blanket for the night.

I slept on her couch after all.


Shoshana said...

Wow, I'm not sure if you're having more fun visiting NY or I'm having more fun living here. I do hope that you are exaggerating your misery for comic effect and if not, then your ladyfriend is an idiot and not a very good hostess to boot. I also hope that you manage to avoid the Shrieky Happy American Girls for the rest of your stay - they are difficult to deal with. Ugh. Hope the weekend looks up :)

isabelle said...

Poor you !
I think she's being horrid !
I want to cuddle you.

And, well, New York is a wonderful place, just get out there and enjoy yourself, you're there now, so don't waste the chance.

fwengebola said...

Shosh - Despite my upping the tragedy for cheap laughs, this is all pretty much As It Happened.
As for Ladyfriend, I don't think she's an idiot/ bad hostess. I haven't really discussed with her why she seemed so cold last night as she's at work at the moment and truth be told, I can't be bothered to discuss it with her later as it's all a large bunch of Whatever.
I don't care who she spends the whole evening with/ gets backrubs from. But it would've been nice if she introduced me as her specific friend who had flown in to see her and not, as the impression must have been, some Limey guy who just so happened to be somehow affiliated with someone at the bar that night.
Is - Thank you, I do appreciate that, but this is all just my side of the story. She's not being that horrid. I think in retrospect I am probably here on a snap decision that she seemed fine to go along with. I did assume we'd see more of each other in the evenings (we've yet to do that), and I may have imagined some degree of intimacy might occur at some point.
But couch? No. I didn't expect the couch.
I think I'd better get used to it too.

Day Dreamer said...

I know you're not having the time it was worked up to be beforehand. I'm sorry for that. For what it's worth, I enjoyed the read. You lay it out for us to be there in 'reality' with you. Well done! (Now I want to go home to bed...;) If it doesn't get better, I hope to hear that you made the best of it!
Just happend on this blog randomly, but will come back if you don't mind!

Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Didn't this happen last time?

Peach said...

Aw Fweng! Come home! What was the temperature with this lady on mails or phone or however you organised the visit before you got there - i.e did it promise to be more than this ? TALK TO HER! She's probably not synched with you yet - these long distance things can take a time? Or am I being pollyannaish ? Big hugs to you XXX

furtive said...

Fweng: Dammit! Talk to her, man. Please. For the love of, oh I don't know (sex), you must get this sorted out - while you're there.

As the Arctics say on their new album "you can't see those eyes down no telephone line".


furtive said...

On the positive side of things though, you still haven't been shot! Result! x

Fussy Bitch said...

Not shot but not shagged either. I think she was damn rude not to introduce you to people properly. Dump her and come drinking with us lot on May 4th, you know you want to :)

elif said...

i've been to the whole long distance relationship thing and i don't think you deserve to be treated this way, especially without an explanation, when you went all the way to see her. this alone is something to be appreciated; it takes sacrifice and all. maybe it's time you asked her what's wrong, not necessarily because you will find out the reason and make things all better, but because you will find out why on earth your dream holiday on which you set high hopes is sabotaged so. maybe she's still angry about the lassie joke :P yeah, so i'm a complete stranger and this is my opinion if you're interested :)

luna said...

I too tend to "displace" myself and retreat into my shell when the entourage is not too congenial.

But as someone once pointed out to me ,you've got to "engage" with people somehow.And attempt to take some control of the situation,as it's always better to be proactive than passive,if only to your self esteem.

Before the bar episode,did you show your affection physically?
Did you hold her hand,stroke her hair,kiss her neck,compliment her,rub her back,stay close to her etc throughout your stay?How does she react when you do that?

Why did you leave without her and left her alone in the flat? Don't you want to spend your time in her presence as much as poss?
Wait for her,help her "get ready",or at least chat to her to keep her company.(I'm surprised you feel no urge to get physically close to her.)
Make your entrances and exits as a couple.

Simply putting your arm around her waist or linking her arm in yours would have left the company in no doubt you were together.And they would have been obliged to interact with her and you as a unit.
Talk to them starting with "we".Keep an eye on how these guys behave towards her and if you feel they're disrespecting you by getting too familiar and taking liberties,come over and lay your arm on the back of her chair,that sort of thing.You don't have to say anything or even stare,but you have to show some response,some awareness of the relationships in the group,for instance get interedted in the conversations she's having.

You have to claim your place and stay by her side at all times and if she contradicts you then you'll know where you stand with her.No need to be up all night arguing.

furtive said...

fucking hell luna i'd pay you good money to be my resident advisor ;) x

*gets a fiver out*

actonb said...

Luna's so understanding and sensitive.
I personally just want to slap her (NY girl - not Luna)... but that just may be the wine speaking.
Or you actually. I might just slap you. FOR GOODNESS SAKES PEOPLES! It's damn near impossible to live life viacriously through you when you're just so... BRITISH.
Cranky now....

me said...

oooh. that's sad.

luna said...

What? A mean fiver for my unique strategic advice?
For that money i'll only advise you to go out with the Hobo ;P...

furtive said...

haha it's good money to me, my dear... and besides, i've had plenty of hobos ;)

actonb said...

Now I'm going to apologise for my shouty and foot-stampy comment last night.
I want to blame the cab sav, but I think it's that I just like fairy tales. With happy endings. And I get irrationally cranky when things don't work out.
Life's just not fair, and frankly, that sucks.

londongirl said...

I think, as said above, you need to talk to her. And I would steer away from the owner type arm round waist gestures until you've firmed up what's going on.

I suppose you'll have been glad to know about the reduced transatlantic airfares tho.
hope you manage to fix it - she does sound like your kind of girl

stephen with a ph said...

Wanted to comment at the end of reading New York III but was unable to. Anyway just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading all three New York posts. You have a very witty way of writing.
Glad to know that I am not the only one in blogland not getting laid!!

fwengebola said...

Daydreamer ~ Feel free to return. The best laid plans of mice and men... END UP SHIT.
But thank you.
Anon ~ Did what happen where? Although shit normally does happen to me everywhere, but only because I'm so keen to look out for it.
Peach ~ We've been talking recently. It's been getting better. Not sex better, but she's no longer looking at me with a visceral hatred.
Furtive x 2 ~ I HAVE BEEN TALKING! And the concensus is: I am, was, and always have been, a shit. We both agree.
FB ~ Ah. That's the date, is it? I already know I can't make it. It is the day before my birthday, and that of my mate Luke.
And Ladyfriend's, if anyone's interested.
Darn, why May 4th???
Elif ~ No problem, I don't just blog to rant. (Well,actually, I do) - but I don't mind your questioning. I think it's fair to appreciate her side of the story, namely, flying out to see me three times, declaring her love, not being responded to, coming across a bit casual, then dumping her (Her words - I always say I was dumping the situation).
She hurts/ was hurting. I've got no real reason to bitch.
Luna ~ Dammit, that is enormous. We have been enaging. And we have been slightly physical. To all intents and purposes, we look in public like a couple. A couple in its death throes. She has been working though, so I've largely been left to my own devices. And that bar night, she had yet to get ready and was told by all the girls to accompany them instead.
But I don't like to 'stake my claim 'to any woman. Unless they want to be claimed.
Aw, what do I know?
Actonb ~ I must maintain that as much as I appreciate everyone's words, this is vastly biased in my favour. I dare say that many of you would side with Ladyfriend if you heard her version.
But yes, I am being British about this. I will stand there and take all manner of abuse before saying 'I see', wiggling my nose, and walking off with my coat.
And having a little cry where no-one can see me.
me ~ Yes.
Luna and Furtive ~ Get a room.
Actonb ~ No offence taken.
Londongirl ~ Yes she could well be my kind of girl. But it's all fucked up.
SWAPH ~ Bless you Stephen. We can all console ourselves with our collective ineptitude.

luna said...

Fweng all men claim their space next to their girlfriends.
It doesn't have to be in a vulgar nor obvious way,it's just automatic,the intimacy is all in the body language and the voice.
If it had been there between you on the bar night ,why the awkward question?

Huw said...

Ouch - I've been off the radar for a week or so, so am just reading this lot now. Getting awful deja vu of a trip I had to the States last August, where I think I clocked I wasn't totally welcome in the first 48hrs, but had another 2 and a half weeks to go...

luna said...

Count yourself lucky,I once stayed at a man's place who pointedly mentioned to his friend that old saying "visitors are like fish,after 3 days they start to stink"

fwengebola said...

Lune ~ Yes, this is all true. I think we stopped being a couple a year ago. On the plus side, I got some new clothes, all for the price of closure and the airfare.
And the actual cost of the tops.
Huw ~ Ugh. Still, inspiring stuff. Awkwardness that can be salvaged by blogging about it.
Lune ~ I'm using that line. Genius.

luna said...

Fine,just don't you dare use it on me!