Straight Up And Awkward

Well, that was awkward.

It’s not that it was a hundred degrees outside. Or that I was over an hour late. It’s not that the event was a who’s who of NYC Bloggerati. Or that I had to get my name on a yellow Post-It and wait in line for her signature. It’s not that I was last in line, and she simply signed her name (no inscription). It was…

I don’t know what it was, but it was awkward. Like, heart-in-throat awkward.

It occurs to me now, three beers, a plate of warm sushi and a bowl of green tea ice cream later, that it was like visiting the scene of a crime. Or, worse, meeting the family of the victim of a crime I committed. Everyone knows you’re guilty of something; they just don’t remember what. It felt like a ten year high school reunion. I’m not a spoiled kid anymore, but that spoiled kid is all anyone can see.

Stephanie and I went on half a dozen dates, max. I met her through her blog, which I’m sure I found through Heather’s (irony of irony). Our first date was coffee at Barnes & Nobles on Broadway & 68th. You couldn’t miss her, all red curls and freckles, madly tapping away into her iBook. She was working on a memoire. It came out on Friday. She read from it tonight. And signed copies. I got one. It says, “Benjamin, Stephanie Klein.”

Anyway, it was “The Summer of Love,” or “The Summer of My Discontent.” Or “The Summer of My Undoing.” However it’s titled (“Handshake Drugs & The Social Registry” and “33 1/3” are in the running), I was wreckless, careless, selfish, and blind. I was dating five women at once. Stephanie was one of them. Fortunately, she and I had the wisdom and where with all to know that we weren’t much of a match. We were both too crazy.

It was a long time ago.

Someday I’ll tell you all about it. It’s a compelling story: life, death, sex, rock ‘n roll — everything. But I’ll warn you now: it ends badly.

Oddly enough, though, Stephanie and I have remained friends. She took the “Love & Other Indoor Games” photos (one of which adorns the cover of her new book, “Straight Up And Dirty”). We’ve encouraged one another from afar. She’s loyal, as am I. I’m proud of her. And excited for her. It’s all kinda’ sweet.

Heather was there. So was Torrie, and Ari. We had a drink at Stone Rose. I felt just as unfabulous, uncool, and unattractive as ever. Which doesn’t really have anything to do with any of them. They were great.

Awkward or not, though — and I mean this — I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I’m already to page 62.