Recently, I was at a bar and I realized, People are looking TO GET WITH ME. Most of my life I’ve felt downtrodden (by no particular source), but the general feeling of not-skinny/built/groomed enough next to the sleek and braided ponies of BFA programs. All of a sudden, I was holding court to a host of 4 dudes (and one female who was either a child or not a child, but she was drinking a beer, so my context clues lead me to “Small Adult”). At a small bar and restaurant in Long Island City, I was the reigning queen.
I was lead to the place by the closing night party of an all-female Shakespearian production. The ladies and I were looking to have a good time as we sent the show off, and I decided tonight was for white wine. In the mirror behind the bartender I recognized this guy from my improv past—my god—my god—but, like, hey…boy…you cute. I tried to wrap him into conversation only to discover that a). he was disinterested or b). he was uninteresting or c). he potentially had a girlfriend. And the most fearful of all of these is GIRLFRIEND, because there leads to the possibility that she is RIGHT BEHIND YOU, SURPRISE, OH MY GOD, HI! The improv man reveals the rest of HIS cast is here, and, whoosh–I am in luck, pending that our rival casts don't get in a Sharks/Jets-type rumble.
Male actors are a bevy of boys who I can talk shop with. While the ideal is dating anyone who isn’t a performer, I can trust in the fact that the male actor will have the same certain flaws and insecurities which I have encountered one million times at drama school and are no stranger to me. “Bless you, belief that your fake laugh sounds good! I welcome you: fear of actual intimacy!” While I would welcome dating someone who was a banker, lawyer, or (you know what comes next), the devil I know is familiar and comfortingly effeminate.
I start talking to new guy X, wrap him into full engagement, and then leave him for a while, as to appear “wanted”. This is a GOOD TRICK, LADIES: Walking around a fair amount will not only stretch the legs, but will also make you appear like you are a unicorn being pursued by the ravenous male sex. Potential downsides are that the guy you are trying to interest will spot a new magical creature during your walk around the room, forget you ever existed, and be considered imaginary for the remainder of your time here on Earth.
The clock strikes twelve, and I feel a twitching in my hands. Ugh! The fatal bell man tolls: The dangerous part of the evening where I give someone my number. I have never given away a number successfully to anyone at a bar ever. Past exhibitions of foolery have been:
a). The Woods: Club in BKLYN where I said, “Put your number in my phone” to a bartender and he said, “I can’t. I have a girlfriend.” Tensions are too high with my ex at the time to text him to lap up my wounds, so I text his brother instead.
b). POUR HOUSE in Morningside Heights. I leave my number for a bartender and he smiles and promptly looses it. MOURNINGside Heights.
c). The Woods: Club in BKLYN where this guy tries to interview me on my political beliefs and I ask him out. The guy ignores this and continues to question me for his “blog”. I leave disgusted by humanity.
However, tonight’s the night! And as I’m leaving I say abruptly, “You single? You wanna go out?” The guy pauses, and I say, “Okay, sorry.” And run outside into the street. The guy follows me to say that he actually doesn’t have a girlfriend and would be down to go out. We exchange numbers, and to the chagrin of Alex Spieth, he offers:
“You should see my play next week.”
The male actor strikes again, and in three weeks of having my number and a few check-up texts hasn’t pursued the matter further. I pray that if he texts me I will have the strength to refuse, but, in this modern age, anything can be possible.
Alex Spieth writes a Web Series called [Blank] My Life (http://www.blankmylifetheseries.com). She frequently works with Tele-Violet and Irondale Ensemble. 2013 Grad of Carnegie Mellon University.