It was a Saturday night at the end of October 2007. Halloween was on a Wednesday that year, creating a confused situation where half the people went out dressed in costume that weekend, and half didn't. My friends and I were in Ziggy's, one of the three (terrible) bars that make up the "tri-bar" area just outside Fordham's campus.
An hour into the night, I looked across the bar and spotted our friends Jen and Lisa (both, I think, wearing onesies). With them was a third girl, dressed as a sailor. This third girl was someone I was very excited to see.
FLASHBACK: It's August, and I'm at my house in Pennsylvania, looking though Facebook photos of the group of girls we hang out with. Just some normal, shameless creepin. Anyway, this girl ("Sally") keeps turning up again and again in the pictures. She's the only person I don't recognize, and she is adorable. It would've been nice just to spot this girl around campus. That she was apparently tight with my close friends -- as good of an "in" as there is -- had me dancing in my seat. After some investigating (creepin), I discover that she studies at the Lincoln Center campus, which explains how she knows my friends -- many of whom transferred from there freshman year -- but not me.
I'd been waiting around for this girl to make an appearance in the Bronx. Now, two months into the school year, here she was.
I walked over to Jen and said hey. We chatted for a minute, and then I made my move.
"Hey...who's that girl? She's really cute."
Jen explained what I already knew, I nodded ("Cool I'm not already aware of any of that"), we talked a bit longer, and I walked back to my friends.
In a minute, Sally materialized beside me (mwahaha), and we got to chatting. Two hours later, I was making out with her in the corner of the bar. When we broke I could see my friends across the room, smiling, making fun. I turned back to Sally, fixed her with a look (imagine Don Draper), and asked her if she wanted to go back to my room. She said yes.
Now, this really has nothing to do with anything, but it feels worth mentioning: as I was signing her into my building, we made some small talk with the desk security guard. I forget what happened exactly, but Sally at some point made a remark about the guard's hometown that seemed to offend her (I think she had detected racial overtones or something). It was a harmless comment, and she'd obviously been misunderstood, and after we apologized and clarified what she meant, it was no big deal. Still though, the night shifted slightly. The incident knocked us out of our sexy reverie, and we were now operating with full consciousness -- never a good thing in these situations.
Really though, I'm just trying to make excuses for the stupidity that's about to go down.
So, once we were outside my door, I reached inside my pocket and pulled out my keys. As I did this, a few crumpled bills fell out of my pocket. I didn't notice. Sally did.
"Oh hey, you dropped some money."
I looked down and saw the bills. And this is what slipped out:
"HOW WOULD I HAVE PAID YOU LATER?"
Have you ever thrown a ball, and realized the second it left your hand that it'd sailed on you, and was about to shatter a window? Imagine that, except instead of throwing a ball, you just told the girl you're about to hook up with that she's a sex worker.
The look on her face…I can't even find the word. She wasn't hurt. She wasn't angry. She wasn't even shocked. I think ASTONISHED comes closest. What I'd said was so rude and unexpected it really seemed to shake her sense of reality for a second. The look on her face was that of an ancient tribal person witnessing a solar eclipse.
I tried to laugh it off, to backtrack, to apologize -- no. There was no unringing that bell. The momentum was gone and it wasn't coming back. We might as well have witnessed a triple homicide on the way back to campus. We ended up making out in bed for a little, but she called it off after a few minutes and went to sleep. It was still so early, and I was so unfulfilled and wired, I actually sat down at my desk and started surfing around on the Internet.
She left the early the next morning, taking a favorite shirt in the process (takes a brave girl to make the walk of shame in a sailor suit). I saw her now and again over the next three years, but we never did have a round two (and I for one am SHOCKED). Actually, she's getting married in like a month, so I think round two is really off the table at this point.
Anyway, she's a nice girl, and I wish her and her fiance the best. It was an embarrassing thing at the time, obviously, but it's a funny story to tell and we all laugh about it now. No harm done.
I have not made a joke to a girl in 5 years.