Monday, May 08, 2006

what boston cremes and this paschal photo have in common

An Italian photographer once said to me as I licked the custard of a boston creme from my sticky fingers, "I wish you would kiss me the way you eat that donut." I laughed and involuntarily turned away from him, smirking. "People don't say things like that to each other unless they know each other well," I said, after regaining my composure. He looked at me unblinkingly, his huge brown eyes serious.

This same photographer sent me a batch of photos today, the one posted above included. And with Pascha just behind us I was eager to publish the image. But with the photo comes the memory of its taker.

Antonio had some trouble with work and housing and money and his legal status in the US. That and some sort of evil lawyer father back in Italy. He wanted a girlfriend, and thought I might be just the one.

I have no good excuse for going out on a date with him, besides my naivete--and that he wouldn't leave me alone. I was new to online dating and didn't realize that reservations need to heeded early on. And to my credit (and his) there was his photography. Antonio's work is open and visceral and consistently captures beauty in the small and mundane.

Our "date" began on the way to help his friend move. It was a hot Manhattan afternoon. I bought my own sandwich at the Vietnamese grocery we passed on the way to his friend's apartment. Given the rather strange event helping someone move on a date--much less a first date--I rather liked his friend, a terse and freckled Swedish woman in red pedal-pushers. She owned a managable amount of simple furniture, a bike, and a lot of photography equipment. I liked her more than I liked Antonio, and didn't mind helping her move as long as it meant I wasn't alone with my date.

I should have ditched the guy after sweating up my dating gear lugging boxes into a China Town studio. But inexperiece and a tad too much flexibility resulted in my being subjected to a free ferry ride to and from Staten Island, a trip to Dunkin Donuts, a barrage of uncomfortable information about what Italian men want on a first date, a long walk back to my car, the somewhat terrifying information that my car had been towed by a film crew, a distressing conversation with the NYC tow pound ("we don't have your car, it was probably moved within a five-block radius from where it was parked. If you don't find it, call the police and report it as stolen"), the ecstatic experience of locating my car (I wanted to hug it), and a far-too-long good-bye to a man I never wanted to see again.

Once in the car, doors closed and locked, I sighed. And called Nostalgia. "You won't believe..."

But in his honor, and in keeping with finding beauty everywhere, I treasure that boston creme assertion. No American man would, having paid for a stranger's 75 cent donut on a long summer evening, have said with such sincere longing, I wish you would kiss me the way you eat that donut...


edmund said...

Ha ha ha ha ha...Ohhh...thank you lucy for posting about that day. Whenever I am sitting alone and missing you off in New York (or when I just need a laugh) I think about that day and the series of phone calls I recieved and I can't help but smile. Here's to bad dates and to less of them. Love

Lucy said...

An equally interesting part of this date was updating my brother by phone as things progressed. "I'm in Manhattan with some Italian photographer, and I think he wants me to help him move a friend. What the hell?"

I really don't regret that date. It was so bizarre.