You Know Nothing of the Crunge! A Dating Finale

June 6, 2011

100 bonus points to you if you know the above reference!

Today brings us to the last in a series of somewhat comic single-life misadventures. As the summer of 2008 ground to a close, I began to take serious stock of my obsessive search for a mate. My methods were clearly not working and while it would have been easy enough to blame the general male populace in the New York Metro area for sucking SO HARD, it was mostly my own fault that I was still single. Scheduling 3 dates with 3 different men every weekend was just confusing and it was getting really difficult to keep them all straight in my brain. My wallet was certainly suffering from being such a 21st century gal and worst of all, my friends were beginning to notice my slowly building lunacy. I tacitly decided to stop the months-long manhunt after this final tale (another where I behave kind of badly):

In Which Our Heroine Learns About the Dangers of Making Out with a Man in a Dark Club and Going Out With Him Later

There is this shitty bar/club on the Lower East Side called Home Sweet Home that was my absolute favorite place at this period. Everyone I know who I dragged out there Saturday after Saturday has since told me they really didn’t like it; with a lucidity that only time can bring, I too recall all of its attributes that made Home Sweet Home empirically awful. Basically, this place was like someone’s unfinished basement, with bare cement floors, old couches and exposed brick walls. The sound system was so bad that it blew out around 1:30 AM every Saturday, and could only be resuscitated by one of the DJs fanning the back of the speakers with a towel. Based on how many people were shoved in there, its owners did not believe in fire codes. The bartenders thought they were the coolest people in New York and treated clientele as such. I tried to get with one of them, but the story of Jasper McAndy, AKA Bone Necklace, AKA one of the stupidest men I’ve ever met, is best saved for another time. Its patrons were a weird mix of Bridge & Tunnel and the Douchiest Hipsters Around. Home Sweet Home’s only saving graces were a fun set of guys on the decks (though they weren’t really decks more than one of the dudes’ MacBooks) and stupidly strong drinks. The DJs played only songs I loved and they always honored my requests. The cocktails always got me drunk.

As I remember it, the last night I went to HSH as a single lady was one of the first where summer was turning into autumn. My partner in crime at this time A and I decided that we needed one more crazy night out, so off we went with brown bags of Sparks in our purses and skips in our steps. My memories of the evening are decidedly blurry (see above re: strong drinks), but I do recall making out with a guy on the dance floor, allowing him to buy me a drink and giving him my phone number. A was equally inebriated and pursuing her own fellow so she was of no help the next day when I asked “did I kiss someone last night or was that a hallucination?” I received confirmation when the mystery man texted me. When I admitted I didn’t remember his name, he told me it was Saboo. Even if it’s spelled Sabu, or Sobou, or Saboux, it still sounds like a brand of bath soap. Any mention of this story still incites fits of bad punning (Saboullabaise! Sabboulebeh!) amongst my friends. Anyway, Saboo and I continued some erratic texting throughout the next week, and one night while out to dinner in the Village, I decided it was a good idea to take him up on his invitation to go dancing at Piano’s. For those who don’t live here, Piano’s is a pretty nice place on the LES to go see a show, but a fairly awful place to go dancing due to a glut of jerkoffs crowding its small “dance floor.”

Prior to agreeing to the date, A had also informed me that she would be out around the general Piano’s area. In what now seems like a magical moment of premonition, I asked her to stick around just in case this somewhat strange situation started to go awry and I needed an out. Upon approaching Piano’s, an…older looking gentleman approached me and I assumed he wanted a light or needed directions. When he said, “excuse me, Reené?” in a heavy eastern European accent the SOS text went out immediately. The error in my ways is only apparent now. I made a snap, nasty judgment especially since I allegedly made out with this man not a week prior to our second meeting. In my defense, this guy looked much older than me and not in a hot salt and pepper George Clooney way, but in a way that implied one too many cigarettes and general lack of skin care in his youth. Still, maybe I should have waited until we spoke before calling in reinforcements.

Since I was already out I decided to go have a drink while standing next to Saboo. Unlike me, he was completely ready to have this date, so as soon as we got refreshments he started with the sharing. He was 38 and had moved to the States from Bulgaria at the tender young age of 35. Instead of getting his own apartment, he saved money by sleeping on his friend’s futon in Queens. He usually went out in the Meatpacking District, which was easily surmised from his classy pre-distressed jeans (with studded trim!) and shiny black loafers. He still had a work visa and I could not figure out what he did to maintain said immigration status since he dubiously described his job as “sales.”

Despite my better judgment I took his hand when he asked me to dance, thinking that his dancing is what had propelled me to make out with him in the first place and NOT the 2nd Long Island iced tea I drank that night. My patience for men dancing was infinite before this; I’ve been in long-term relationships with so many guys who never dance that I thought I was willing to put up with everything, until Saboo started to move. He looked like he had a scorpion down his pants and like someone was tasing his balls simultaneously on the bottom half, and he was doing some sort of weird twist up top. Think about what that looks like. It was approximately seven times worse than whatever image you have in your mind.  As everything in my body screamed “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE!?!” A showed up. We danced together half-heartedly for a few minutes while we sucked a couple more beers and high-tailed it out of there while Saboo was mid-twirl.

While crossing the Manhattan Bridge, I got a text saying, “where did you go? ☹ ☹ ☹” with exactly that many emoticons.  Clearly, I broke this poor man’s heart. Call me crazy, but I was a little sketched out by the thought of dating a 38-year old Bulgarian who may or may not have been in the country illegally. At the end of a really crazy summer, this type of drama was the last thing I needed. I sent him a reply with some BS about how A was sick and deleted Saboo from my phone, confident that I would not need to contact him again.

A few weeks later I went out on what I swore would be my last date ever for the foreseeable future. It was a low-key affair where we each drank two beers and played Scrabble and he’s been with me ever since. Maybe I learned something. Maybe it was a coincidence.  Honestly, it is hard to come to any real conclusions about how my insane dating period came to a close but in a moment of sheer cheesiness I will say that I got pretty lucky.  A couple of months into my then new relationship, I received a text from a random number saying “Happy Thanksgiving!” When I asked who it was, the reply read “It’s Saboo, the guy you left at a club one time ☹.” At least he was honest.

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