Jack had a list of all 44 girls he slept with before me. How do you react to that? He said he keeps track to hold himself accountable, but my friends think he’s just keeping score. If I heard that about another guy, I’d call him an asshole. But to me, Jack couldn’t be an asshole. Maybe he was an asshole in a previous lifetime. Not now though. Now he was a sweet, lovely human being. Who had a list of 44 girls he’d slept with. Damn–I’m going to have to reconcile that eventually.
I spent last week with him. Sure I was in class sometimes and working others, but even then, I was thinking about him. And 44 other people. They say that when you have sex with someone, you’ve slept with everyone they’ve ever slept with. I wonder what my parents would say if I told them I’d slept with 44 girls this weekend.
I was dancing at a bar on Canal Street with two of my suitemates when he called. It was a weird place – called the Bulgarian Bar. It plays a lot of Eastern European music, and everyone dances, and the fun part is that no one needs rhythm. There were guys everywhere, and one of them had just spent the last ten minutes explaining that the music makes him think of gypsies by campfires having orgies. I could understand the campfire part; I always pictured gypsies that way, too. But the orgy part changed the image enough to stop me from ever thinking of gypsies the same way again. God, how many of those 44 were at the same time?
“Hey Liz, what are you up to?”
“I’m at the Bulgarian Bar. You know, the weird one I told you about.”
“Oh, cool,” he said. “You wanna come uptown?”
“For why?,” I asked.
“I dunno – come over. Maybe we can grab a drink.”
“I’m like a half hour from you. I don’t know if I can just abandon everyone and come up there.”
“Well, if you do, gimme a call, k?,” he said.
“Sure,” I answered. “But I’m not sure if I can just leave here.”
The train ride uptown was quicker than I expected. Getting back to Columbia from Canal Street is simple, but when you’re by yourself at 12:30 on a Friday night, it’s not that much fun. I read the subway signs on the way up to keep me busy for the first few stops, and spent the remaining half hour of the ride, the transfer, and the second ride thinking about Jack.
February made it cold enough to need gloves when I got out of the subway, so using my cell phone was tricky. It reminded me of that Simpsons episode where Homer puts on too much weight and can’t dial out. “If your fingers are too fat to dial and you’d like to obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad now.” After a few tries at mashing, I took off my gloves and called him.
I hate trying to find someone at a bar. Either you know enough people to distract you away from who you’re meeting, or you don’t know anyone and have to wait loserly by yourself until they get there. I saw Jack in the back and was able to push through the crowd quickly enough not to get stopped. I ran into one girl from my bio class last year, and was able to give her a quick smile and move on.
When he saw me, he stood up, hugged me, and gave me a peck on the lips. He’s big into pecking people, so I didn’t read anything into it. We started talking, a few other girls came over to say hi, and I wondered which ones were among the 44. Insecurity would normally make me wonder who would be number 46, but I hoped he’d reached his limit with me.
“So what have you been up to tonight?”
“Not much,” I said. “I went to that Bulgarian Bar I told you about.”
“Oh, how was that?”
“Different. They played a lot of Eastern European music. A lot of women wearing strange leotards, too.”
“What, like gypsies?,” he asked.
“So are we going to get drinks?,” I asked instead.
Jack soon excused himself to use the bathroom – if you count grabbing my thigh and smiling an excuse, and I was left to hold the table and watch our coats. I watched him interact with a number of girls while he walked across the bar-introducing himself to the ones he didn’t know and pecking the ones he did. As I started getting uncomfortable at the idea of all these girls again, I spotted Jane coming in and waved.
Jane was one of the 44 that I could live with. They met during orientation week, and her senior to his freshman was enough to get him into bed. My sophomore didn’t mind because Jane had become a good friend of mine and they hadn’t slept together since orientation week. I waved her over and we gave the air kisses while our cheeks touched. I’m not sure when that became convention, but I’ve been doing it since 8th grade.
“Hey Liz, how you been?”
“Pretty good. You?”
“Eh, I’m alright,” she said. “Finding an apartment has been a bitch.”
“Who’d you come with?,” I asked.
“No one – I’m meeting someone here. You’ll never guess who called me to come out tonight.”
“Remember that guy Jack, from orientation week?,” she said.
“Yeah. I’m here with that sunofabitch, too.”
Thankfully, Jane was as surprised as I. She couldn’t figure out why he’d call both of us, but I guessed I took too long on that uptown train. He started thinking I really wouldn’t show, and he called someone else. Now that’s the mark of a quality guy. Not only had he slept with 44 different girls, but I realized that most were repeat performances.
When he came back to the table, he wasn’t surprised at all to see us both sitting there, and after hugging and pecking Jane, he sat back down across from me, which also put him next to her. But that didn’t last long – every time another girl came by, he’d get up and hug her, too. Jane and I wound up on a bootie call with each other-which would have been great if either one of us was into girls, but life is not a porno movie. Not my life, anyway.
“Hey,” she said. “What’s the difference between Jack and a corvette?”
“What?,” I responded.
“Well, not everyone has driven in a corvette, and you don’t lend your corvette out to friends.”
I laughed. I didn’t want to, but I had to laugh at the situation I got myself in. I eventually enjoyed talking with Jane for the next hour, and she gave me enough asshole jokes to last through a typical night at a jock bar. When she left, she waved goodbye to Jack, who was still talking to the last girl that came in.
“Where’d she go off to?,” he asked.
“I’m not sure. She said something about a corvette.”
His eyes lit up.
“Jane has a corvette?”
“No. I think she’s just borrowing one from a friend.”
“Oh,” he said. “Hey, don’t you owe me a dinner?”
“Don’t you owe me an explanation? I’ll trade you.”
“Remember, when I told you that girls never take guys out, you promised you’d take me to a nice dinner some time?”
That wasn’t the explanation I was looking for, but it’s the only one he gave.
“Okay. Give me a call tomorrow. Maybe we’ll go out.”
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take him out or not. It’d give me a chance to talk to him without anyone else he knew around, but I was also pretty angry with him and didn’t feel like paying for him to make me angrier. All I was sure was that it was time to go.
When I left, he kissed me for real. Take that, peck girls.
Jack called me the next day and asked about dinner.
“Are you free at 7:30?,” I said.
“Sure. Where are we going?”
“A friend of mine from home has an older brother who is the new Sous Chef at Nobu. What do you think about going there?”
“Are you kidding?,” he said. “That place is great. Could you really get reservations for tonight?”
“Sure. I’ll just ask Pete.”
“Who is Pete?”
“He’s the Sous Chef.”
“Liz, that’s awesome. When should I be ready?”
“I hate to do this to you, but could you meet me there? I’m going to be at a movie with my brother downtown, and there’s no way I can get back up here in time. Is that okay?”
“Sure,” he said. “I’ll see you tonight?”
He made a kissing noise and hung up first.
Jack called me the next morning.
“What the hell happened last night?”
“What are you talking about?,” I said. “What happened with you?”
“I showed up at 7:30 and you weren’t there.”
“Stop lying to me,” I said. “I got there at a quarter after 7, and they seated me fine.”
“Stop shitting me, Liz. I got into a fight with the woman at the front of the place because I didn’t have a reservation in your name.”
“The reservation wasn’t under my name, Jack. I had to put it under yours because I can’t use mine so often or Brian will get in trouble.”
“Who is Brian?,” he asked. “I thought you said his name is Pete? I know I asked for someone names Pete.”
“Oh god,” I said. “You said his name was Pete?”
“Yeah,” he said. “That’s the name you told me.”
“We call him Pete. His last name is Peterson.”
“The Sous Chef,” I replied. “His last name is Peterson. Brian Peterson.”
“Oh no,” he said. “You were there the whole time?”
“Yeah, and I wasn’t too happy about it.”
“Oh no. You were there. You think I stood you up.”
“You’re damn right I think you stood me up.”
“But I didn’t!” he pleaded. “It was just a miscommunication. I was totally there.”
“Wouldn’t I have seen you?”
“I don’t know!,” he said. “Maybe you were in the bathroom or something. I just don’t want you to be mad at me. I’m sorry. I’m just really sorry. Can we try again tonight?”
“Do you promise you won’t stand me up?” I asked.
“Of course. I care too much about you to do that. I would never do that.”
“Okay – 7:30 will be hard to get again. I’ll ask him for 9:00.”
“Okay,” he said. “Thank you. I promise I won’t let you down.”
“I know you won’t,” I said. “You couldn’t possibly. I’ll talk to you later?”
“Sure,” he said. “See you at 9:00.”
“See you then.”
I smiled as I thought of standing him up a second time.