IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE ME, THE IDEA OF being surrounded by supermodels might be something you’ve dreamed about. If you’re the kind of person who likes your dreams intact – i. e., free of puncture holes – you probably don’t want to read what’s next: The experience is overrated. I’m not saying the models are overrated. Anything but. You might wonder if up close they’re just regular gals with decent bone structure and expert hair and makeup artists. They aren’t. They’re perfect, or close enough. And it’s not that they’re stupid, or insecure, or vain, even though some of them are. Maybe most of them. But beauty forgives intellectual shortcomings. No, what’s overrated is the experience of meeting a supermodel. Because deep down, you’re hoping that you and she will fall in love. Or lust. Or just find something to talk about for more than thirty seconds. But you won’t. Supermodels are like professional athletes or violin prodigies: brilliant but limited in worldview. Maybe you’re the kind of guy who knows a lot about strappy shoes or applying foundation. But if you’re dreaming about bedding supermodels, you’re probably not that guy. You tell yourself that you can overlook this lack of connection. And you’re right. You can. But she can’t. Women are all about connection. Or connections. And unless you can bring at least one of those to the table, you might as well be speaking Martian. At least that’s been my experience tonight. Every conversation has petered out once it’s been established that I’m not famous, I don’t work for an agency, and I don’t know anything about strappy shoes. I can’t say the same for my wingman, Ray. He is a black belt in the art of the flirtatious insult, which seems to be exactly the right jujitsu to snare these lovelies. As in three telephone numbers so far. His real talent lies
in his ability to identify the microscopic flaw, invisible to most, which causes the poor supermodel to spend anguished hours in front of the mirror. The spot where a wrinkle will one day appear. A millimeter of sag in the ass. A calf muscle slightly out of proportion to the thigh. “I can’t believe they let you go out in that,” I hear him tell a seemingly flawless specimen. A few minutes later, she’s writing her phone number on his hand. He rubs the ink off as soon as she leaves. “The game gets old, doesn’t it?” He yawns, holding up three fingers. “Three yawns. I only give a place ten. Nothing good ever happens after ten yawns.” I met Ray the day I moved into the Chelsea, when he introduced himself to Tana. Even with the extra cash from my arrangement with Danny Carr, it still takes me three weeks to save enough for the room. Tana, home again after taking her winter finals, offers to help me move. Which turns out to be code for bitching about her latest problems with Glenn and gifting me with a tiny cactus from the Duane Reade around the corner. It’s on me to wrestle my overstuffed duffel bag (everything worthwhile from my closet) and milk crate (an IBM Selectric II and a few books from Freshman Lit I hoped might sell me as a poet) up the stairs and down the narrow hallway to Room 242. Somewhere along the way two things happen: Tana turns into a man with a rapid-fire Southern accent that effectively ends any Yankee stereotypes about drawls ; and my bag gets wedged in the hallway, rendering me unable to move. I tug with a level of force that’s quickly becoming embarrassing. I wonder which is going to break first, the strap or my shoulder.