Click here for Part 1.
Some professions, more than others, lend themselves to getting asked out. Being a travel agent is one of them.
(Being a mime is not.)
In order to send a lanky intellectual to the Inca Trail or a hot soccer player home to Sao Paulo, I had to ask the questions normally reserved for a first date: When’s your birthday? Are you a student? What are the last four digits of your credit card?
Last May, I began a flirtation with a pale boy from the midwest, an Ivy-Leaguer who founded a technology start-up and spoke with kissable lips about economic entrepreneurialship. Flirting as a travel agent means assigning a window seat because “you look like a dreamer” and waiving service fees. Sometimes it means giving away luggage tags. If you really like him, it means calling the consulate on his behalf. Consulates put you on a hold a lot, or never answer your questions, or shunt you from one department to another until you wind up not on line with the consulate at all but speaking with the front desk of an apartment building on the Upper East Side.
The trouble with quitting something cold turkey and then one day allowing yourself the itsy witsy tiniest smithereen of a quark again is that your body remembers. There is a physicality to addiction. The blood recklessly picks up where brain left off.
I was well into my third year in NYU’s MFA poetry program. During that time I hadn’t dated a single David. Well, except for the lawyer/poetry critic who “Friendstered” me (why is that still more embarrassing to write than “MySpaced”?) He was Famous David. In fact, my professor had referenced his latest review the week before while I doodled “Friendstered” with hearts in my notebook. When Famous David and I finally met up at The Sunburnt Cow , I was nervous and intimidated. I nodded a lot and tucked my short hair, my hair that didn’t fall in my face to begin with, behind my ears. I was about as exciting as a can of warm Fosters and nobody drinks Fosters, not even cold. I decided self-conscious women shouldn’t date critics.
Now I was getting back on the Davy train? Just like that?
Because this particular client, who turned out to be flying to Burkina Faso to spend a month with his Peace Corps brother, was named David. He was still worth calling the consulate for. I remember printing out his itinerary and highlighting his name to ensure correct spelling for documentation and hearing a voice in the back of my head (my intuition sounds as sincere as Carol Channing in “Saleslady”) and ignoring it: “Help!”
It had hit me, highlighter in hand, ticket jacket open.
He has…almost the same last name as the other David.
The other David I am referring to is Dogwalker David. I had met this David in my local West Village coffee shop a few weeks earlier. I liked him immediately. He had pockets stuffed with Ziplocked bags of Kraft cheese and bacon and was holding a Norwich terrier whose owner thought was starving herself when really she was just eating from the litter box (I learned this later). I knew he was a David. He enunciated like a David, he gesticulated like a David, he came on to me like a David. I think he offered me a triangle of cheese.
Yes. There was a week in my life, a complicated sunny Spring week, when I dated two Davids whose last names were off by one letter.