Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The "How Soon is Now" Girl - Part 1

It was at Nell's in Chelsea. We were over the big clubs; maybe we'd grown up somehow. If it was possible at all, we'd gained a level of maturity, like adults, kinda. Nell's was intimate and subdued; there was a velvet rope across the door and you had to know somebody to get in, and not James St. James or that seedy coterie; it was a kind of sophisto-vibe. There was a leather couch in a little foyer with a gold chandelier and a mahogany bar, Ralph Laureny looking. Calvin and Kelly Klein sat on the sofa surveying who was coming in, coolhunting. A breathtaking blonde sat on the coffee table; she and Kelly were giggling. When I was here last, I hit it off with her sister, and I didn't hit it off with anyone. I was too shy, too introspective; she seemed to like that. I went out with her for several weeks, and then she died abusing her asthma inhaler. It was strange. Girls you slept with weren't supposed to die. The sister gave me a hug. I didn't know what to say to her. Her eyes were glossy. I didn't know if she was high or sorrowful.  

In a room by the bar was a tiny dance floor with candles in little alcoves. No one was in there but one little blonde with a pageboy hairdo and big brown, dopey eyes, cute as a button. She was dancing by herself. I wasn't the kind to talk to people without introduction, but I simply had to meet her, and suddenly I realized who she was. I went up to her and said over the music, "You're the 'How Soon is Now' girl." She gave me a kind of disgusted smile and continued with this jerky interpretive dance. It seemed foolish that I should just start dancing too, but it seemed equally ridiculous that I should stand there while the girl I was talking to was dancing around like in the video. 

I started to dance and she laughed because I danced like that kid in Charlie Brown's Christmas. She said, "Well then, you need to buy me a drink," and I said, "Why?" The conversation didn't seem to coalesce. I'd said, "You're the girl in the 'How Soon is Now' video" and she said, "Then you need to buy me a drink." I don't think she was being condescending, but it wasn't very linear thought. I bought her a drink, of course; it's what you do.

So we went over by the blonde and Calvin and Kelly and kind of wiggled our way into what was left of the couch, and there wasn't a whole lot of room and she was all sweaty and took off her sweater and it dawned on me that it was the same sweater she'd worn in the video, which seemed a little silly. Who wears a sweater to go dancing? She didn't have the hat. The hat was what pulled the look together, but I couldn't take my eyes off her.  She was adorable. She said she didn't like The Smiths. She said that Morrissey was kind of whiny. 

I wasn't very good at small talk and I said we should get out of there and she should come over and she shook her head and said I'd have to get her drunker than that. It was kind of a funny thing to say. What it said was that in her right mind she wasn't going anywhere, but liquor her up and it was all good. She was a funny girl.

The waitress came over.  When you're Calvin Klein the waitress is always near and he ordered a water for himself and was very specific about wanting Evian. He ordered a Tom Collins for Kelly and I thought that was pretty old fashioned. No one orders cocktails anymore. I said to the waitress, "I'd like to have..." I wanted to order a cocktail, but I didn't know the names of any, so I looked over and said, "What's your name?" and she mumbled something indecipherable and I asked what she wanted and she said gin and tonic, and then I did something brash. I ordered what I really wanted even thought I didn't want my social value to go down or anything. I said, "The lady'll have a G and T and I'll have a Bud," like we were in a bowling alley. I like Bud. It's clean and crisp and there's nothing to it, but the waitress said, "We don't have Bud," and I said, "That's dumb," and I said, "I'll have what ever you have on tap," and she said, "We don't have anything on tap." So I said, just bring me something, and I gave her a look. I figured I was with Calvin Klein and I could get a little loud and get away with it. I mean I didn't want to make her mad, she was kind of hot, but she was just a waitress.