"The stuff that dreams are made of"
Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in the Maltese Falcon

So last Tuesday night a fellow professor asked me to go swing dancing. Let's call him Prof. Humbert. To give you an idea about Humbert, I met him not because we both teach at NYU ( different departments) but because he was a classmate at Yale with a guy who taught me poetry when I was in high school (he also teaches at NYU now). Humbert is big into swing dancing, and he knows I like to dance, but I never do social dancing, so he asks me to escort him to Swing 46 so that I may become familiar with "the scene."

Now I had suspicions he was going to put the moves on me, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Allowed myself to think that he liked me in a kind of fatherly way and wanted to help me out.


It was a Tuesday night. Totally dead, which is good because I'm fairly paranoid about dancing in front of people. There was a big band, I mean like a fourteen person big band. There weren't even that many people in the bar.

So I talk to Humbert. Humbert is telling me about his son WHO IS MY AGE, about his two previous marriages, his current girlfriend who he has recently come to the revelation he is going to spend the rest of his life with, and all the while he is getting closer to me.

Meanwhile over his shoulder there is man, black baggy pinstripe pants, button suspenders, vest, tie, fedora, white sleeves rolled up so you can just see his dragon tattoo peeking out, holding his martini glass. I mean, he looked like a still from a film noir.

But the most striking part of him is not his pale skin, not his black hair ( slicked back, of course) but his blue eyes.

Now I've always been a sucker for blue eyes. When I was five, I was totally in love with the blonde blue eyed Duke boy ( much to the consternation of my father "You're grandmother wasn't smuggled out of Poland in a suitcase so you could fall in love with the Hitler youth!"). And I've seen lots of blue eyes in my time, the pale almost white ones with the cerulean rims. The Caribbean ocean blue of Miracle Gro's eyes. The cornflower blue of the Beast's eyes. Pale reflective blue eyes. The dark intense blue eyes. But these were unlike anything I'd ever seen. They were like the way I pictured the eyes of the Lotus Eaters to be, a dream distilled. They were a deep blue, but they were reflective as well, like the surface of an inky lake.

So I keep looking over Humbert's shoulder at this guy, let's call him Retrocrush. Retrocrush looks at me. And me being me, I keep thinking "You know, he is WAY too hot to be looking at me." Besides he is really cool, I mean looking at the outfit, these guy totally kicks. I am not a cool chick. Never have been, never will be. I was not one of the beautiful people in high school. I was not the type people look at and think "Yeah baby I want to be her." I was the type of girl people look at and thought "Yeah, I want her to do my homework." So even if he wasn't hot, he was way too for the likes of me.

So time passes, chocolate mint martinis are consumed, and somehow I end up telling my dungeon story to Humbert (although I left out the house slave part) and zretrocrush over hears the conversation and starts asking me questions. (And on top of everything else, he has a slight Bronx accent, perfecting his film noir look.)

Well before you know it all three of us are heading to Mercury lounge for drinks. Retrocrush heads to the bathroom and Humbert, sensing that his captive audience might have found an escape hatch, says "You know we haven't talked about the situation with my girlfriend yet." "I thought she was the woman you are going to spend the rest of your life with." "Yeah, but we have an open relationship."

You know, all I ask is a little originality. Especially since this guy teaches in the dramatic writing department.

So I'm like, "You must be kidding. And even if you aren't, let me see if have the situation correct. You are emotionally committed to this other person, so I'm supposed to be excited by the chance to just sleep with you?" "Well, no I mean we can go swing dancing and talk. You're very smart." "Riiiiiiiiight. No offense, but if I was going to use someone mainly for their body, I would pick someone with a better body."

To which there was no response.

So Humbert takes off.

Leaving retrocrush and me. He kisses me outside the bar. Presses me against the exposed brick. A hand around the waist, the other on the back of my neck. The street is empty. Not even cabs. It's another movie moment.

Later I tell him about how I couldn't believe he was looking at me. And he says "You know, I was looking at you, but I thought there is no way a girl this hot is looking at me." So there we were two twits pondering each others relative attractiveness, neither one believing the other could be interested.

Now, before you get excited, the guy is clearly bad news for all of his exceptionally dressing habits. He is 37, and by his own admission is emotionally disturbed. (He doesn't look 37, by the way, I would have put him at 25.) He is, as far as I can tell, not exceptionally bright. I can talk to him, but he's not going to keep me engaged intellectually. But I hear that voice on the phone, and I can't resist. ( "It is like a voice from a dream, which comforts me when I am alone" Winona Ryder as Mina in Bram Stoker's Dracula.)

I'm supposed to see him again tonight, but the older I get the more I become like Rick in Casablanca. "I never plan that far in advance."

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