BY GLORIA MARIS Ever date someone who was so gorgeous and witty and talented that you couldn’t believe they were slumming it with you? He’s a performance artist, actor, and filmmaker. When he lived in Philly he paid his bills by working for a moving company. He didn’t need to belong to a gym. Some large two-digit percentage of his body was tattooed, most of it professionally, some of it half-covering a few old scratches that looked as though he’d done them himself.
We met at a weekly artists’ social night shortly after I moved to Philadelphia, when I was still married. After my husband and I split, he wasn’t in the immediate wave of men in that circle of friends who started hitting on me — he waited until he was between girlfriends, instead.
There’s a coffee shop around the corner from my home, and we met there. It was unusual to see him in daylight. He knew me as someone who dabbled in experimental films and worked on a couple of local productions. I explained that before filmmaking I’d worked for about 10 years in the dot-com industry. “The 1990s were great,” I said. “If you could just say the word Internet you could get forty grand a year and free pizza and beer until you tripled your body weight.”
“I don’t know what the Internet is for,” he responded, “other than porn.”
We slept together only twice, I think. Most of the time I was speechless that someone so hilarious, talented, and ripped would bother to spend time with me. I don’t know what his motivations were: Curiosity about someone who works 9 to 5, rather than artist’s hours? Had he heard something about me from another filmmaker? Simply trying to get through a dry spell? We didn’t exactly have much in common to talk about, and our conversations were limited.
He quit seeing me very soon. He met a burlesque dancer (or was she a roller-derby skater? Likely both) whose name is a flower and who must be ten years younger than myself. He was shy about it. I approached him after one of the artists’ social nights, and I asked him if he’d like to share a cab home with me. He hemmed and hawed a little, so I said, “Ah. So you don’t want to come home with me. That’s OK.” I smiled.
“Well, no. I mean, I do,” he said. “But I don’t think she’d like me to,” and he indicated the dancer. MORE