LOVE AT THE BOWERY BAR, PART I
It’s Friday night at the Bowery Bar. It’s snowing outside and buzzing inside. There’s the actress from Los Angeles, looking delightfully out of place in her vinyl gray jacket and miniskirt, with her gold-medallioned, too-tanned escort. There’s the actor, singer, and party boy Donovan Leitch in a green down jacket and a fuzzy beige hat with earflaps. There’s Francis Ford Coppola at a table with his wife. There’s an empty chair at Francis Ford Coppola’s table. It’s not
Just empty: It’s alluringly, temptingly, tauntingly, provocatively empty. It’s so empty that it’s more full than any other chair in the place. And then, just when the chair’s emptiness threatens to cause a scene, Donovan Leitch sits down for a chat. Everyone in the room is immediately jealous. Pissed off. The energy of the room lurches violently. This is romance in New York.
THE HAPPILY MARRIED MAN
“Love means having to align yourself with another person, and what if that person turns out to be a liability?” said a friend, one of the few people I know who’s been happily married for twelve years. “And the more you’re able to look back, the more you’re proven right in hindsight. Then you get further and further away from having a relationship, unless something big comes along to shake you out of it – like your parents dying. “New Yorkers build up a total facade that you can’t penetrate,” he continued. “I feel so lucky that things worked out for me early on, because it’s so easy not to have a relationship here – it almost becomes impossible to go back.”
THE HAPPILY (SORT OF)MARRIEDWOMAN
A girlfriend who was married called me up. “I don’t know how anyone makes relationships work in this town. It’s really hard. All the temptations. Going out. Drinks. Drugs. Other people.
You want to have fun. And if you’re a couple, what are you going to do? Sit in your little box of an apartment and stare at each other? When you’re alone, it’s easier,” she said, a little wistfully. “You can do what you want. You don’t have to go home.”
THE BACHELOR OF COCO PAZZO
Years ago, when my friend Capote Duncan was one of the most eligible bachelors in New York, he dated every woman in town. Back then, we were still romantic enough to believe that some woman could get him. He has to fall in love someday, we thought. Everyone has to fall in love, and when he does, it will be with a woman who’s beautiful and smart and successful. But then those beautiful and smart and successful women came and went. And he still hadn’t fallen in love. We were wrong. Today, Capote sits at dinner at Coco Pazzo, and he says he’s ungettable. He doesn’t want a relationship. Doesn’t even want to try. Isn’t interested in the romantic commitment. Doesn’t want to hear about the neurosis in somebody else’s head. And he tells women that he’ll be their friend, and they can have sex with him, but that’s all there is and that’s all there’s ever going to be.
And it’s fine with him. It doesn’t even make him sad anymore the way it
LOVE AT THE BOWERY BAR, PART II
At my table at the Bowery Bar, there’s Parker, thirty-two, a novelist who
Writes about relationships that inevitably go wrong; his boyfriend, Roger; Skipper Johnson, an entertainment lawyer.
Skipper is twenty-five and personifies the Gen X dogged disbelief in Love. “I just don’t believe I’ll meet the right person and get married,” he said. “Relationships are too intense. If you believe in love, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. You just can’t trust anyone. People are so corrupted these days.”