Monday, December 14, 2009

"The time I had no red flags" by Brooke Van Poppelen

Short of selling my body to the night, I have been one to go the distance for a little of that human touch. It wasn't really about sex either. I was emotionally bankrupt and spent months on end refusing to help myself but insisting that someone else do the work. Individuals who I looked to to "do the work" included random men with or without a staph infection who might populate a crusty bar in Brooklyn at 3am, a mind-boggling amount of whiskey, and copious amounts of junk food. The junk food served as my buffer if the copious amount of alcohol was unsuccessful in helping me get laid--I could go home and ingest a bean bag chair's worth of food in an attempt to fill my emotional hole.

This little routine of appearing normal to everyone during the day, but falling off the map every night after good people go to bed went on for close to a year. Even though I worked early hours, there was a restlessness inside of me that kept me awake and drove me to co-mingle with scum-bags until the wee hours of the morning.

Sadly, after not being in a relationship for a very, very long time, let alone being touched by another human, I sort of lost perspective on what a normal interaction with a male was like and it only got worse in NYC where I have a theory that there are no men available except for cheaters, sociopaths and closeted homosexuals who already have 1 foot submerged into a Roman bath.

So not only is this a story about being really hard up to meet someone, but just how much you let your guard down when you think you’re making a connection. This is a time when I had no red flags.

I used to go out on dates from time to time at a place called “Doc Holiday’s” which, if you don’t know, might be in the top 5 dirtiest places to drink in NYC. And I wasn’t really on dates there. I just stayed long enough drinking myself blind, talking to a stranger until I convinced myself we were on a date. We suburban, indie types love us a dive bar,and I was always looking for a kindred spirit but generally it was just a bunch of Ted Nugent roadie looking dudes passed out in their beer.



So I happened upon a dark stranger who was drinking by himself at Doc Holiday’s. I had stumbled in with a rowdy group of girlfriends and struck up a conversation with him while I was waiting for my 500th margarita in a pint glass to arrive. He was handsome and his attire was casual yet sharp. He said something smart alec-y to me and I decided I liked him so I pulled up a bar chair next to him and lured him into my web. Web meaning I am a female and I have a vagina. Our conversation got very out of control quickly and we found one another quite entertaining. So much so that I asked him what his name was. He wouldn’t tell me.

My drink arrived and I started in again with the witty banter and asked him again what his name was. He insisted I call him…”Lord Quinne”.I thought it was cute that he was being so hard to get. He told me I was adorable, but then took a bar napkin and said, “Here. Your face is greasy,” and as though I was a child wiped off the bridge of my nose and cheeks--the T-Zone. I sat there stunned for a moment despite the rapid numbness setting in from the alcohol to sort of calculate what had happened. That was like, really rude, right? Huh. Who knows. I’m drunk and he’s cute and sitting here. Oh WELL!

We were nursing some PBR cans when he asked me if I wanted to get out of Doc Holidays and watch a flick at his place… which was upstairs. Above Doc Holidays.

“Sure!" I said, thinking I was really hitting it off with this stranger who I was apparently now on a date with. The drunk mind is a magical place, is it not?

We scurried out of there up to his apartment.
He unlocked the door and we were greeted by anywhere from 6-10 cats. They were everywhere. He picked 2 of them up by their scruffs and smashed them into his face as though he had a giant cat beard and made a really intense screeching noise which maybe the cats liked?

“You ready to watch a movie?” he asked. We proceeded into his common space as he hit play on his dvd player and American Psycho popped onto the screen during an especially violent scene. Okay. I was finally feeling uncomfortable but didn’t have the sense to just burst out of there because I’m afraid of looking stupid or making a scene, but apparently not of being killed.

He cozied up very close to me on the couch, reached into a drawer of the coffee table and pulled out a little Star Wars tin with Darth Vader embossed into it. It was full of a fine, white powder which he began snorting with a vengeance through a plastic straw.

"Is that cocaine I asked?", not wanting to know the answer. He told me it was Ritalin. Phew. That’s so much more normal. I was eyeballing the door and getting fidgety when he lurched at me and started trying to kiss me.

This is so hard to admit, but for a brief moment I actually kissed this freak back. I thought that maybe I was just being too Midwest for my own good what with having morals intact and knowing a bad situation when you're in one. Maybe this was some ultimate test of his that I needed to pass before letting me see the real him which did not have serial killer written all over it.

But then I shoved him away. I felt my face break out into hives because I am terribly allergic to cats and he had smeared them all over his face which was pressed against mine. I bolted up and locked myself in the bathroom and looked at the irritated welts on my jaw and around my mouth. And then I really looked at myself. What the christ was happening to me? I legitimately started panicking. I was splashing cold water on my face when I also felt my heart racing, because I got a contact buzz from whatever that substance was that he was snorting. I had (and still have) never done drugs and now, I was sailing from adrenaline and residual powder that got onto my tongue from his gums and mouth.

With brute force, I unlocked the door, grabbed my purse and fled out the door while cats scattered everywhere, muttering something unintelligible. But really, at this point, at THIS point did it matter that I didn’t make sense? This guy was fucking nuts. I hailed a cab and spent the last 20 dollars I possessed to get back to Brooklyn at 4am unable to sleep, whacked out on an upper and trembling with shame.

That incident was definitely a rock-bottom moment from which I am a survivor. If I had possessed the capability to have any red flags go up instead of being so desperate to meet someone, this wouldn’t have happened. I finally felt shook up and knew I had escaped a totally weird situation.

A few days later, a text popped up on my phone from “Lord Quinne” asking me out on a real date. Really? Something about the other night spelled success to him? A girl covered in hives fleeing from your apartment? Wow. It really is hard to meet someone in NYC I guess.

1 comment:

  1. God bless you Brooke. That's a great story. And I love this idea for a blog. I'll plum my depths and see what I can find to submit.