Where are the Male Massage Parlors?
“I live in the cool part of Williamsburg.” That’s what the response to a Craigslist ad said. Later, in person, he clarified that he lived on the cusp of the ‘doxies and the hipsters. “My yard is the bridge.” Funny to hear someone rave about that because in the past, living near a bridge, a tunnel or train tracks was a bad thing, as in, living on the wrong side of the tracks. Ex: when in Pretty in Pink, Molly Ringwald won’t let the richie drive her home. “I don’t want you to know where I live!:(”
But I digress. I was in the market for a new friends-with-benefits. New ‘hood, new FWB. A situation like this, spurred by a dry spell, leads to the question: Why isn’t there a service for women called 1-800-dial-booty? I suppose some people call these male escorts. But, what I’m wondering is, if men have “massage parlors,” such as the one in Curry Hill that at 10 p.m. on a Thursday is open to give manicures, why aren’t there Italian men offering gay men and straight women massages?
But again I digress. This boy presented himself as a decent looking SWM, living in Williamsburg, working at his father’s factory, a native New Yorker, 420-friendly. Seemed fine, until I realized I’d met the stereotypical borough yid. OK, disclaimer: I’m a Jew, so I can say these things. If you are not of the chosen tribe, you may not. Just trust me or fear the wrath of even your secular friends.
After a few emails, we agreed to meet for a drink. I chose Rue B because it was dubbed a Jazz bar and a few people had recommended it. Dark and cozy, candle lit, filled with a mix of East Villagers and transplants from France, walls covered with black and white pictures of cultural icons, it was a great setting for meeting someone new. Public enough to be safe, close to my house and chill.
But, as I was staring of the picture of James Dean and the legs of a thick white roller girl-type, wearing shorts and rainbow knee-high socks, I began realizing I’d scored a sort-of date with another confused New York man. Driven by the status quo and the pressure to earn, this secular, ecstasy swallowing, bike activist told me that after college, he spent time in Cozumel, Mexico, selling diamonds from a 46th Street shop to the tourists coming off cruise ships. Imagine that, a Queens native living in Cozumel, selling diamonds from Manhattan, likely by way of Africa, to Long Island residents on a Carnival trip. Oh the irony.
He told me that taking that job was good, because it got him on a career track and now he is money hungry. Otherwise, he might’ve ended up a beatnik. Oh the horror! And so back he came to the U.S. and ended up working for his dad’s Bronx-based factory, an import/export business, with a personal assistant in The Philippines (they write American English!), and a techie in India. It’s the American way!
On and on, about the sisters in Israel, the travel to South America, the many raging parties at his house spearheaded by his rich techie friend and the activist bikers downstairs. Oh so appealing. Meanwhile, he finished his beer in about two minutes. I’m not talking a 12-ounce bottle. I’m talking a pint of ale. It’s almost like it is supposed to seem like silent bragging, like a virtual pounding on the chest of a man that does not remotely resemble his primate counterpart.
But I’m not mad and I’m not sad. I’m not even disappointed. For I’ve got a tap Blue Moon in my hand, a bartender with a blond ponytail to glance at, and a giant photo of my love, James Dean, dead center ahead. It could be worse.
And so we segue to the movie, music and travel questions. The awkward silences. The bold questions–”do you have any vices, any fetishes, do you like girls?” Boring me, no, uh besides liquor and 420, which I don’t think of as vices. I’ve never done the “girl thing,” I respond. Am I sounding boring? Only in New York does a toking, drinking writer with colleagues in India and London, and a Kiwi trip planned–fear being boring?
So, after I finish my beer, he bluntly asks, “so, would you like to come back to Williamsburg with me?” I’ve already set up that I have a fictional assignment, so I say no this time. He advises that he is going to leave then and settles the bill. I have finally mastered the art of not even attempting the reach. Girl power!
So he pays and we walk out. He pulls the “I’m going this way,” so that I can say “well, I’m going that way.” And he says, “keep in touch. You’re cute.” And that’s all. I happily duck into the bodega to grab some milk to accompany tomorrow’s French press coffee. The last face of the night I see is the sweet middle-aged Arab man behind the counter, clothed in many layers, complete with a hood. We commiserate over the 19-degree weather and he flashes a kind innocent smile. Home to the organic vodka and tea, the cats and the computer. Not all men in NYC are crazy, but most of them are resistible.