Ushering in a Pantsless Soho Nightcap


Emporio

All the babies I’ve encountered in the city are fussy today. The morning started out hot – a clear dry heat that made me think of Austin, Texas. I threw on an ankle-length gray jersey sun dress and some silvery flats with a turquoise scarf to go downstairs and get coffee with my loves. I hadn’t washed the makeup off from last night, and the effect was a smoky, sleepy, tousled “We just had a great time” kind of thing. Which was true.

Our night started with a trip to Brian’s. Brian is a fund manager, owns a sweet little bachelor pad with a skinny stainless steel fridge that only contains a Brita jug and an entire door full of joint repair protein beverages. I had asked him whether the beverage company was sponsoring him. He’s compact, in perfect shape, bright blue eyes, handsome, and was dismayed that his new cut (sort of a Jarhead meets 80’s fade) had gone awry. He wanted a faux hawk. I don’t think it will matter. I think this guy will get whatever he wants, regardless.

Brian is a nice host. He’s confident, but a little quiet. We have a little “visit” at his place, and then we hop into a cab to meet up with a dude they call Mr. Nice. Nice is a band manager who is touring with his current project. He has a knack for finding bands just poised to launch to stardom. In the squishy little cab a song comes on. I never listen to the radio, so of course I don’t know it, but Brian tells us it was absolutely everywhere in Miami. It has a driving dance beat, and lots of electro sound effects. I cringe as the lyrics begin. I hate this music. It makes me think of the guys I used to secretly lust after in high school, who would never give me the time of day. Music like this is part of my baby brother’s universe, not mine. Then I’m listening to the lyrics more closely, and the beat feels like it’s sinking into my skin. It’s an anthem. An anthem for a generation born into a world where they can have anything – and they do. They eat life in great big fistfuls of beautiful women, sexy cars, and artisan mini-burgers they call “sliders”. They are full, sensory creatures but they are afraid of emotion. They want to taste, and smell, and see, and hear, but they aren’t sure how to feel. They seem fragile to me, and beautiful. The lyrics to this anthem speak to them because they are raw, and real.

We arrive at a bar in the Lower East Side where Mr. Nice is seated on a patio with a girl from Paris. She greets me and pulls me in gently. I give her one air-cheek kiss, not two. I’ll see your charming custom, and raise you my Canadian brassiness. I’ll bet most of the people she meets her have no idea what she’s attempting with that kissy greeting, and I bet they resist her. She’s wearing what I initially thought were Crocs, so I decide she’s not THAT French.

The bar has projected surf scenes on the back wall. It’s tiny inside and packed. The left wall is papered with a giant map of an Australian beach, and the other with paintings of old beach shack signs. There are balloon clusters arranged at the front, which you can view from the street because of the garage-door-style patio opening. There are three clusters; one that says “Good Luck” with some primary colored balloons. One with a giant foil Dora The Explorer (Brian of course has no idea who that is). The other is just sparkly and colourful. They could be any occasion, for any celebration. I decide it’s a ploy to encourage people to bring their parties to the bar.

Our hostess is a pale Aussie brunette. Our waiter is the most exquisite looking Aussie aboriginal I have ever seen. He’s beautiful from every angle with a bold faux-hawk meets pompadour hairstyle streaked with a bleach blond stripe. His teeth are perfect, and he’s definitely a homo. I love him, and his accent.

Every square inch of the bar, and the entire experience is designed to feel like this famous Australian beach, and it’s perfect.

We have a drink there and decide to move on. It’s impossible to get Nice to leave. I’ve realized the man is in a beautiful bubble, and so to lure him with us, we kidnap his Parisienne and stroll down the street to another place that looks like a Paris bistro. It’s so pretty, and I don’t want to leave, but we’re starving and there’s a huge wait for seating. We head diagonally across the street to another bar that totally makes me think of the nicer pubs I’ve seen on college campuses. The kids inside all look like they could be from Burlington (Ontario, of course). It’s the first place we’ve been where I’m not delighted and amazing with the seemingly effortless way that New Yorkers throw their outfits together. The older I get, the more I really, really love fashion.

My boyfriend tells me to read Brian’s palms. I have no idea how to do this, but Brian doesn’t know, so I go through the motions that I witnessed when my boyfriend’s father read mine, and I fake it, filtering out the noise around me to just say the first things that pop into my head. I decide quickly that the way you move your hands is significant, and that each finger is tied to a different aspect of your life. The degree of resistance when I touch the fingers is indicative of your emotional relationship to those aspects. I squeeze the pads of his hands to see how firm they are. I don’t even focus on the lines and meridians, because I have no idea what’s what. I won’t tell you what I said, because I know I mostly nailed it, but I think Brian was impressed. So were my peeps.

Brian and my fella decide to order one of everything on the menu. To my absolute delight, I realize that everything is inspired by comfort food, but bigged up to meet the demands of this city’s exquisite palette. I wish my buddy Josh were here. Or my brother. Or both. I’m also slightly regretting the chocolate porter I’ve ordered. Hello carbs!

We smash through the food and it’s all delicious, but what killed me was their mac and cheese. Mac and cheese should be taken seriously, and they totally and completely understand this. It was easily the best I’ve ever had, with a hint of dried basil included in the creamy sauce. I miss pasta, so I didn’t hold back.

Once we’re full to the point where my painted-on jeans just can’t take it anymore, we decide to head. We’re not sure where we’re going next, but we hop in a cab and head back to Soho where we’re staying. Brian is working the next day, so he decides to leave us, and the three of us step into Emporio, the beautiful restaurant across the street for a dessert to share (god help me) and a bottle of sparkling Italian dessert wine.

I order the tiramisu and my love orders the pannacotta. We share it three ways and though it’s incredible, all I can think of is how tight my pants are. My girl gets sleepy, so she excuses herself to head back to the apartment to crash, and we continue on. Beautiful, emotional conversation is had, and the bottle is empty. I’m uncomfortable, and I say as much.

“Take off your pants” says my love. “I dare you to.”

I laugh. I’m wearing a killer pair of black platforms and a strapless top that could be pressed into service as an obscenely short dress. I consider this.

“C’mon” he says. “I’ve paid the bill. Go to the bathroom, take off your pants, and meet me at the door.”

“I bet nobody will notice” I say. The restaurant is half full.

I’m still skeptical. I’m not drunk enough to really engage in such antics. Then comes the straw breaks the camel’s back.

“It will make Adam’s week.” says my love.

Adam, my friend who I’ve never met, who has given us this beautiful night of good company and good food by letting us crash in his empty apartment. Adam who is managing things that no child should have to manage, far away from all of these open, entertaining people who are his boys. Adam, who I’m sure you can feel smiling all the way from Long Island.

I get up and head to the can. I pull off my jeans, take one final piss, and then fluff up my hair, put back my shoulders and open the door. Our waiter sees me first, and looks directly at the pants folded over my arm. My full tummy is free, my ivory legs are unleashed for the world to see, and my shoes are the only reason this ridiculous outfit could work. I stride through the restaurant, head held high, breeze tickling my white ass, hand my pants to my love, walk out the door and pronounce “This one’s for you, Adam.”

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