Friday, March 25, 2011

Dating in NYC

Sitting in JFK airport, I am thrust back to the day when this was my city, long before the new Jet Blue terminal existed. It was a brave old world back then - and I recall one hallmark of my experience with dating in the big city. One might characterize it as: bad.

I had cause to think of it the other night while sitting at the fire pit with dozens of colleagues I knew well and knew not at all. One of the latter group was standing near me when I decided to do the polite thing and introduce myself. Mildly buzzed and watching the gas fire burn, saving ourselves from the smell of real smoke that pervaded our clothing from the true beach bonfire of the prior day -- I said hello.

This gentleman, as it turned out, was a legend in his own mind. He wasn't far my senior - maybe a dozen years - and reminded me so perfectly of all the men I met in bars in NYC. The conversation went roughly like this:

Me: Hi - Nice to meet you. What role do you have in this organization? (well, or.. hi - do I know you? what's your name? -- since it was 11pm by the fire pit)

Him: My name is Joe. I work in the Cheese division.

Me: Oh, fun - welcome. We just got into cheese recently here at Allied-Foods. What do you do? Culture milk? Create labels?

Him: Well, I .. .hem... haw... hem... I brought cheese to Allied Foods.  [Read: I am the former CEO of Cheese. I am all that is Cheese. Without Me, No Cheese]

Me: Awesome. Well, thanks for bringing cheese into our lives. What got you into the cheesemongering game?

Him: Well, I've been creating new food products for ages. I created Whey. I created Yogurt. Cheese is another in a long line of things I made.

Me: Wow, .. you created Whey?

Him: Well, actually I was a junior monkey in Wheyland industries. But, you know. Whey is different from cheese. [READ: Actually, I haven't been in food product creation at all for years. I've been in a variety of food monkey roles and this was my first big one - but I did good, so I'm recasting my entire history accordingly]

Me: Indeed it is. that's quite a story. I once created snack foods -- I am familiar with this game.

Him: Yes. [READ: I don't give a shit if you created oxygen itself], well, when I finished school ... [READ: Ask me about my education]

Me, feeling amused at this point: Where'd you go to school?

Him: Oh, WELL, I went to business school.. I went to WHARTON. [READ: I AM MAGICAL.]

Me: Oh, fantastic. Do you know Jill?

Him: No. [READ: There was never anyone else who ever attended Wharton. I am unique in my credentials.]

Me: Well, it was nice to meet you. I'm going to bed.

He wasn't.. disinterested in the conversation. He was engaged. He could have easily brought any number of other people sitting right there into the conversation. But he stuck with it. He didn't ask a question. He didn't give a flying care who I was or what I did.

Which was fine. I never really need to talk to him again. And even if I do - it isn't as though he'll remember my name or recall the interaction poorly. But, he did remind me of dating in NYC. And now, like then, I could never muster enough awe to make it work.


PD said...

in the future, if some one starts giving you their resume, you should stop them and pull up their LinkedIn profile so you can follow along.

Rob said...

I'm always mystified by this sort of thing wherever it appears, which includes anything from intellectual posturing in literature grad programs to the random pre-med dudes in a bar who hit on my sister & her med student friends by saying, "You should get to know us, we're going to be doctors." Is there actually a universe where this kind of interaction succeeds? Is there an opt-out clause?