By Karen Rempel
This Catch and Release thing is really picking up momentum. Not only is George giving me advice on my love life, but now readers are writing to give George advice to give to me! Last month, George suggested I marry someone rich and then bump him off. In response, Arthur wrote, “George should probably point out—as do all those ladies who give lessons on how to catch someone rich—take up golf. Go to polo games. You have to go where the inventory is.”
Hilarious! I love this concept of inventory. I’ll take one in black, one in brown, one in tan…
This month, George’s advice to me is along the same line—treat men like inventory. Write my shopping list of what I’m looking for in a man. George said, “I don’t think men know what women really want. That would be fascinating.” So here goes. Though of course I do not speak for all women. If you have different criteria, write a comment on the website under this story, and let George know what’s most important to you in a man. Father, friend, or lover?
- Good looking—tallish (at least 5′ 11″ since I am usually 6′ or taller in heels); Rolling Stone hair is a bonus (as you know from reading this story!); interesting face wrinkles not a problem; a wide range of body shapes okay as I like a huggable bear, as well as a tall cool drink of water. This bullet point might make me seem very superficial. If so, I own it. This is the bottom line.
- Funny—if we’re spending time, I want to enjoy your company, and if you make me laugh, that’s the best feeling on Earth (almost).
- Smart—yup. Kind of goes with the previous point. To be entertaining, interesting, fun to be with—a quirky intelligence and interest in life is going to make my day.
- Financially comfortable—you can afford a taxi, and dinners out, and concerts, without thinking twice. I’m not the kind of gal who wants “a diamond ring for Christmas, furs, a Cadillac car, and everything.” But probably the guy will own his home and have a decent monthly income.
- Good listener—this is a point that I wouldn’t have thought of when I was younger, but this is an easy way to encapsulate the idea of a man who believes he is equal to women. Willing to share air time, and interested in what I have to say. A one way street is not my idea of fun. And being able to actually hear me. Ouch.
- Dresses well, inner confidence, self-awareness, consideration for others… I once wrote a list of 100 items, so this could go on for quite a while. But it boils down to the click. Intangible but unmistakable.
You might be wondering how Keith measures up on this list. Aiyee. Let’s find out.
After Keith and I descended from the heights of Cloud SixtyNine, oops, I mean Bar SixtyFive, we spun through the whirligig one more time and floated up Seventh Avenue. I snuggled up against him, and tried to ignore Prudence, my inner judge, jury, and prosecuting DA. She was poking at my right shoulder. “He’s wearing hearing aids, not kitchen implements.” “Hush!”
“This is my first time seeing the Rockettes. I’m so excited!” I said to Keith, making sure he could see my lips as I spoke. We rounded the corner at West 51st Street.
There was a huge line of people waiting to enter Radio City Music Hall. We strode down the sidewalk, feeling the excited pre-show buzz, and took our place in the shorter line of people who already had their tickets. The woman ahead of us with her husband turned around and smiled. “You look like a Rolling Stone!” she said to Keith. “And you look like someone famous too,” she added, looking at my sparkly black gown and faux Astrakhan. “You both look so glamorous!” Keith squeezed my hand and I felt like a movie star. I thought about our room at the Standard, and various body parts swelled with excitement. This was one of the best nights of my life!
“Thanks,” I said to the woman. “You’re right, he looks like a combination of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!” I looked at Keith and he winked.
“You know why he wears his hair like that,” Prudence blared in my ear. “He’s hiding the hearing aid.” It was true that he told me this during his kitchen implement explanation, but it had not really sunk in. There were external receivers under that gorgeous hair, sending signals to the internal implants. “I don’t need a science class right now,” I told her.
“Ta, thanks,” Keith said to the admiring woman. “You look like you’re dressed for the party yourself.” She was wearing jeans, running shoes, and a green Canada Goose jacket. Her husband likewise in navy. I tried to erase the two-second New York head-to-toe fashion scan from my mind and smile and nod sincerely.
The woman beamed. “Enjoy the show,” she said, and turned back to her husband.
The line began to move quickly. Soon my micro beaded evening bag had been rifled by security and we were inside. It was pandemonium, with hundreds of voices echoing off the high ceilings of the entrance hall. We descended the sweeping, red-carpeted staircase. There were counters on the left and right for drinks and snacks, staircases leading to different levels of the hall, the coat check, restrooms, and even an area to be photographed with a beautiful Rockette. Red, green, gold, and silver Christmas bling hung from the ceiling and garlanded every surface. Definitely not in Kansas anymore.
We checked our coats, freshened up, and ordered drinks at the bar on the second level. Keith had his usual red wine, and I went for the hot chocolate mint explosion in a souvenir cup.
“This is so great!” I said as we took our seats. The hall was thrumming with noisy families, tourists speaking German and Persian, and die-hard New Yorkers with Brooklyn accents who had seen the show for 40 years straight. I was fascinated with the hive of humanity packing the theater to the rafters. “What a scene!” I was so engrossed, I forgot to look at Keith while I was speaking.
I have never been good at drinking hot substances through a tiny hole. I pried the cap off my drink carefully, but it was too full and hot chocolate laced with whiskey spilled onto my fingers and dress. Damn it!
“Can you hold this?” Keith took the dripping cup. I extracted the emergency tissue from my beaded purse. I dabbed at my dress, but a single Kleenex was not nearly up to the task. Aargh! Note to Prudence: pack a wet wipe next time. I hate having tacky hands, and now both our hands were syrupy. Keith handed the cup back and then pressed his sticky hand into mine.
“Let’s live like the masses!” he said. My irritation slipped away and I stroked his palm with my thumb. The back of my hand was resting on his thigh and I moved it around a little, pressing into his marvelous muscles.
The lights dimmed, and the thrills began. I had never seen a spectacle like this. There were lights and images projected on the walls all the way to the back of the theater, immersing us right in the scene. Dancers came from every direction—down the aisles, along ramps at the sides, and on the stage. There was an emcee storyteller who tied the show together in proper jolly fashion. And best of all, the Rockettes’ iconic dance numbers, many of them choreographed in the 1930s, and some costumes almost that old as well! I loved the red and green sequined mini-dresses the best, and later learned that seamstresses sew all the sequins on the costumes in a tiny tailor’s shop in Chinatown.
The first time the Rockettes formed into a chorus line and started kicking, I cried, it was just so wonderful. Each time they did it, my eyes were glued to the stage. There is something fascinating and mesmerizing about the chorus line when they are all kicking their legs in unison. I don’t know why I love it so much. It is thrilling to see, and it never gets boring… Evidently this question has occupied the dance world for decades, if not centuries, with no clear answer!
I wondered how it was for Keith, not being able to hear the music and narrative very well. I looked at him, and he seemed to be as absorbed in the magic as me. The dance of the toy soldiers, the trip to Santa’s workshop, the bus traveling through Times Square and down Fifth Avenue. And those glorious kick lines.
It was so splendid! I felt completely satisfied at the end, and floated along in the magical feeling while we shuffled out with all the other happy people. Keith retrieved our coats while I freshened up. My heart swelled up when I saw him standing waiting for me outside the powder room. He looked so handsome and smiled warmly into my eyes as he slipped me into my black fur.
“Fancy a bite, love?” he asked. Our earlier snacks were a distant memory. “That chocolate mint explosion lived up to its name, but now I’m starving!” I said. He looked slightly puzzled but smiled and put his arm around me.
We mingled with the crowds streaming from the theater and went to Seventh Avenue to catch a cab. “It’s late, why don’t we get a bite at the hotel?” he suggested. Warmth rushed through me and vanquished the November chill. Even though I never wanted the night to end, I was eager to get back to our posh Euro room. Dinner at the hotel would be quick. “Sounds good,” I said, and slid in next to him. He gave the driver directions and soon we were back at the Standard.
Keith said, “Let’s eat at the Top. The view is quite spectacular.” He took me to the front of the line, ahead of all the bright young things who were queued up on the sidewalk waiting to ascend to the rooftop cocktail lounge. Keith’s client owned this hotel too, and we were treated like stars, ushered into the lift immediately. I must say I love the royal treatment.
The Top lounge had a swanky, modern-meets-the-twenties feel, with brass, mirrors, curving lines (like the Sophia), and wood paneling everywhere. The windows looked south over the Hudson to our glorious Lady of Liberty, and north and east over the glimmering lights of Chelsea and midtown Manhattan. The music was jazz mingled with disco and ’80s dance music. Some of the cozy seating areas had private miniature dance floors.
We sat on an oyster-toned leather banquette facing the Hudson and downtown Manhattan, with a good chunk of Jersey shore on the right. It turned out the kitchen was closed so the only thing we could order was nuts and cocktails. I asked for white wine, and he for red.
“What did you think of the Christmas Spectacular?” I really wanted to ask how much of it he could hear, but I didn’t know if this was too personal.
“They have lovely legs,” he said. “I read that they do 160 kicks per show.”
Spoken like a true math fiend. “How many legs are there?” I asked.
“Seventy-two. There are 36 dancers in the line.”
I wanted his attention to return to my legs, but I had to know. “How did the music sound to you? Could you hear it at all?”
Now he looked at my legs, and traced a circle around my knee. “Yeah, pretty good,” he said. “I hear the rhythm and the beat quite well.”
The music in the background switched from Nina Simone’s “I Feel Good” to Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me.” I looked over at the nearest dance floor and there was a couple clinched and grinding. I felt a mad urge to press my body against Keith.
“How about this song? Do you feel like dancing?” His eyes went completely blank for a moment. If I had been more compassionate I might have read this as panic. But I don’t do well with limitations. One time a friend set me up with a guy who limped, and I felt the perverse need to walk extra fast whenever I was with him.
“Come on, dance with me,” I insisted.
He took a deep breath, grew an inch taller, and his warm smile returned to his eyes. “Darling, I’m a great dancer.”
He guided me past the clinching couple to another small dance floor on the other side of the room. He took me in his arms and the lurching began. He was okay with the basic back-and-forth two step of the steady drum track—for the most part—but I think my singing in his ear kept throwing him off. “Tell me your troubles and doubts…” The wine and lack of food was having its effect, and I was quite enthusiastic about it. “Hey hey hey… Oh will you walk away. Will you walk on by. Will you call my name. La la la la la la.” Some people would say being hard of hearing could be of benefit when I am singing. He squeezed me tighter and soldiered on, stroking my bare back and lightly brushing his rigid pelvis against me.
The song changed to Duran Duran, “Hungry Like the Wolf.”
His transformation into wolfman began. “Darling, let’s go.”
Photo by Philip Maier.
Check out this month’s Karen’s Quirky Style!