A Tenth Anniversary Re-Post: July, 2005
1. Women Are the Means By Which Men Come To Know Beauty
She was sitting at a table with her back to me, two aisles across the café. She had a sheaf of pages in front of her and a pen in her hand. She kept looking down at the paper, looking into space, glancing at people going by, then returning to her pages… and all the while, she played with her pen.
Tapped it on the table. Wiggled it rapidly between thumb and forefinger. Rested it briefly against her chin.
Since I was procrastinating myself, halfway through the read of a screenplay that I didn’t want to finish but had to, I was mesmerized by this. The way she stood the pen on the pile of paper, holding it upright with one finger. Let it fall, then picked it up again…
The suspense built. When… would she… finally… uncap the damn thing… and… write? I watched, free to stare unnoticed from my position behind her as, elbows on the table, she balanced the pen horizontally between the tips of both forefingers and gazed at the document below it, reading, musing, dreaming…
Then she dropped the pen on the top sheet, and with both hands quickly, deftly gathered her long hair up into a bunched circle behind her head. She held it tightly in place with her left hand, and with the right, picked up the pen and slid it into that coil of hair, just so. The top end of the pen protruded a mere inch. Now she was Woman With Hair Up.
Perfect. She paused, once more gazing at her pages as if holding for applause. And I thought it was an un-top-able performance, until she leaned over, rummaged in her bag, and came out with another pen.
2. Mating Call
Not exactly the usual bar scene – this was at an Urth Cafe in Santa Monica, and it was still light out – but the basic dynamic was in full force. He at one table, she at another, and there was a serious flirtation going on. Every now and then he would desert his table mate and hover briefly in her vicinity, though he never said a word to her. And no matter what her dinner companions were saying, her eyes were invariably fixed upon him, even when he sat with his back to her, feigning nonchalance.
Buddy and Jacqueline: he a tousle-haired, pug-nosed guy, aged 4, and she a willowy 2 year-old wearing a bright pink jersey that said “Princess.” As Buddy’s mom (the table mate) explained to me, Jacqueline had given Buddy a big smile when he first came in, and ever since, they’d been carrying on this nonverbal dance. Now it was time to go, and Buddy finally took the initiative, striding up to Jacqueline, who was kneeling on her chair. “What’s your number?” he demanded.
Jacqueline just stared at him, gobsmacked. Buddy repeated the question, louder (at least he didn’t say, “Yo, fox, give up your digits!”). Her parents and his mom looked on with great expectations, and in the ensuing silence I realized it was doubtful Jacqueline knew her number, let alone how to count. But then the adults jumped in to help, and employing a blue crayon and a piece of orange construction paper, Buddy left Urth with a good shot at a first date.
So if you're looking to get lucky on a Saturday night, apparently one thing that works is to bring your mom along and pack a box of Crayolas.