Just One of Those Nights
K is actually an attractive gay man who now works for my mother. He used to work for the local bank where he apparently made so much money that he can't wish or spend or give it away. He has a huge restored Victorian house, so large you can't believe only one man lives there. He is always harassing me to come visit him. So when I told him I was actually here, in Upstate, he decided he had to organize a serious evening of debachery in order to make sure I return.

He sends a car to come pick me up at 6 so "We can enjoy a few cocktails and not have to worry about driving." The driver pulls up to the house and looks as if he is no younger than 170 years old. This guy has forgotten his age and has to be carbon dated in order to be reminded of it. So now we don't have to worry about DUI, but we do have to worry about what happens should our driver, you know, drop dead at the wheel while we are taking a hairpin turn on a backroad.

We pick up K and head to Coxsakie, a small town on the Hudson river. On the way, K asks me "What is really going on" in my life, as he knows that when my mother is around he gets the G rated version, which is honestly still pretty racey, but he wants the triple XXX completely uncut and uncensored Bunniliciousness. Neither of us have any liquor in our system, and honestly I am unguard. This is my mother's territory, not mine. I look just like her, and I don't want word to get round that the head of the hospital's daughter is a complete idiot. When you're in NYC you can fuck up and be sure of relative anonymity, or at least that someone will fuck up in a more dramatic way in about fifteen minutes. In a small town, the eyes of G-d are upon you at every moment of the day.

K tells me we are going to meet up with a friend of his who just won an award for best business person of the year. "She's wild" he tells me "you'll love her." I am reserving judgement. So we meet his friend, Woman of the Year, a tall blonde with green eyes who just divorced her husband. Woman of the Year has two friends, a lemondrop blonde wearing hot pink and a mousey brunette. They kind of reminded me of the two hookers from Fargo. Turns out they are vetrinarians.

Woman of the Year and I chat and she is surprised how many people I know up here. How much gossip I have. Which has always been a gift. People tell me their secrets. I'm not really sure why. Perhaps they think I am safe or I somehow broadcast acceptance of all sins. But they tell me, and as I result I have more dirt than most would suppose. The reason I know dirt up here is because of my relationship with Duke Nukem.

I haven't written much about Duke, and so I will take a moment here to explain what happened. Duke and I met in March the year I took off between undergrad and grad school. He lived in Catskill ( still does) and so when the Fall semester started I would travel four hours round trip every weekend to see him. For two years I did this. Not only did I give up every weekend in the city and lord knows how many parties and events, but I did it for a man who never ever told me I was beautiful and never told me he loved me. In fact, three months into our relationship he told me that he didn't know what the word love meant. Now most girls would have run screaming right there, but not me. I thought "I'll show him what love is." And after two years, I gave up. I thought if all the sacrifices I had made didn't even make a dent in him, well, nothing I could do would. So I left him. And for the last six years he has been making half assed attempts to get me back. Since he never loved me, I'm not sure why. I have a lot of regrets in this life, most of them connected to romantic entanglements. I have never regretted leaving Duke. The only thing I regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

But there is a part of me that would rather not see him. And in six years, I haven't. I've run into his mother and some of his more distant friends on the few occassions that I have been in town. And I'm sure news of my appearances has gotten back to him, and this yet another reason why I have to be careful. The last thing I want to do is run into Duke while I am completely drunken. While he fumbles for conversation I might say something completely horrifying to him like "Leaving you was the best thing I ever did."

Turns out that although most people have news of Duke's mother, Duke's existence is completely unknown. In fact, Woman of the Year didn't even know that there WAS a son. She and I chat about the men in the area. She has her eye on a recently divorced man who is "hot." I ask her if she has any news about a particular doctor I flirted with at a party three years ago. She tells me about her husband who "is completely obsessed" with her. "I can't stand needy men. I've spent 17 years with somebody completely dependent on me. My husband and my daughter used to fight about who got to sit next to me on the couch. I just want someone independent you know?" I offer her my standard agreement. "The first one is free. Then I have to charge, but you know since you are a friend of K, I'll cut you a deal. And I promise they will never find the body." She laughs and invites me to join her the following evening to see a male stripper.
Bunni: You know I dated a playgirl bunny once. Mr. October.
WotY:Did you actually have the issue?
Bunni:No, no my friend told me. We only went out for like two weeks and one day in the car she says 'Oh by the way did he ever tell you he was a playgirl centerfold?' His ex girlfriend sent his picture in and they liked it and so there he was.
WotY:And how was he?
Bunni: Honestly, we never were able to uh complete the deal. Mr. October was a serious pothead and alcoholic by the time I met him. He had been married and had a child, who died. He never recovered. Well, the long and short of it is he was completely impotent. Luckily for me, he had other talents.
WotY:You dated an impotent centerfold?
Bunni:I was young. It was only for a few weeks.
WotY (to K): I love this chick. She has to come up more often.

After dinner, the drinking commences. K insists we have cocktails, not beer or cider, so we begin with cosmopolitans. K's plan is to go bar hopping. The next place on the list is in Catskill a bar called Creekside. We walk around this small town, with the river by us, and you can really smell that air and I wonder about living in NYC. I could have a house up here, a nice one, for the price I pay for an apartment in New York. Sure I would need car, but that wouldn't be difficult. And now it seems I even have friends.

Creekside is a dive by the river's edge. When I walk in I get the standard re-action from the men, that look that says I hate you and I want to rip your clothes off with my teeth all at the same time. The one thing they won't do is talk to me. The place is crowded, but we all agree it isn't the right vibe. We run into Rita on our way out, a good friend of Duke's and Duke's mother. News of my presence will reach them both quickly now that Rita has seen me. Luckily I look good, and I am in good company so no worries.

We head down to Mariner's point where there are cute young bartenders and nice large glasses for the cosmopolitans. K is still insisting on cocktails "We can't switch to beer now. We'll get headaches." WotY is telling me about a recent trip to Vegas where she played strip golf. "You want to come with me to Vegas on Thanksgiving? We'll have a car and a house and a pool. Everything we want." I tell her I'm down for it. I even promise to cook. Better than spending another Thanksgiving watching Orca and her brother devour the ten pounds of mashed potatoes I make for them while they regale us with their latest tale of roadkill hijinx. K insists I tell her about my Paris trip and so I oblige. Most people flinch when I tell them about going to the apartment, but WotY is with me. "I would have done the same thing." I have found my people, I think.

At Mariner's some of the men are looking over the heads of their girlfriends, which makes me disgusted. There was a period in grad school when only involved/married men would hit on me. I'm not sure why, but it is probably part of the reason why I don't trust men any farther than I can throw them (and with my bad back I shouldn't be throwing anyone-thank you Ferris Bueller for all the memories). These guys would tell whatever story to their girlfriends and then chase after me. True, I am an international renouned piece of ass, still, it makes one lose faith in the idea of commitment. It's not the compliment that some men insist that it is. Epsecially when their girlfriends are standing right next to them.

We decided to head back across the river. K suggests that he and I should fly to London for four days so that I can meet my favorite monkey in the world, Blogmonkey. He could keep himself entertained while I finally get to see blogmonkey in person. I have no idea how far blogmonkey lives from London. I promise to find out.

We end up at a gay bar listening to a Patsy Cline impersonator and her band. I strike up a conversation with a law student, while WotY chats up the bartender's father and K chats with various men he knows. These are the people I should be hanging out with I think, not back in NYC where the Amazon reduces me to tears and where I have become paralyzed by routine. Why are these people not living in the city? Why are they way the hell out here in the country? The young law student asks for my number. As we go to car, they are both jealous of me. "He was totally in love with you" says WotY. "You're such a dick magnet" says K. And I realize in that moment how lonely they both are, which is why they are so hungry for my company. Here is a woman who at 35 just got an award for her business savvy. She has a daughter and alovely place to live. K has more money than G-d, a gorgeous house, and he is great looking. They both have important social connections. I am, on the other hand, in the lowliest department at NYU. My apartment looks like the soundstage for Twister. I have no important social connections unless you count the Amazon's boyfriend who works for the government. And they are jealous of me. I find this hysterical. But then after about five cosmopolitans almost everything seems funny except the idea of another drink.

My mother has remembered to leave the door unlocked and I promise to call WotY about the male strippers. "You can crash with me. You'll have your own bed and everything." Suddenly it's like being back in high school. The driver pulls away and I lurch upstairs. In the morning I check my messages. WotY called me at 3:30 in the morning to let me know she was finally heading home and to be sure to call her. From behind her I hear K yelling "And remember absolutely no teabagging tomorrow." I make a mental note to charge my mother's digital camera.

Over my morning tea, I begin to ponder what I should wear to see a male stripper. And what exactly he is going to do to my twenties.

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