Culture


Let’s start at the beginning.

I’m 23, and the story I tell is called “The Time I Went Out with the (Relatively) Hot Older State Senator.” I deploy it as a nerdy leg-up on the social ladder among friends. Picture a couple of girls—almost-women, really—sitting on a futon, smoking weed, eating Odessa diner takeout, and giggling at everything. It goes like this:

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Did I tell you about the seriously awkward time I went on a date with a State Senator? It was supposed to be a meeting, but it was not. He’s talking about his divorce and I’m just drinking wine and drinking wine. We made out in the car. Never talked again. But yeah, State Senator. 50 years old, but, like, a pretty hot 50.

I’m 27, and now the story I tell is “The Time the State Senator Tricked Me into Going on a Date.” It‘s a funny story, but I’m the butt of the joke. Picture a glass in my hand, at a table with smart friends one-upping each other. We are all very funny and very good-looking because we are in our late 20s. It goes like this:

Ok, so this is like the best worst date story—a master class in manipulation. I still do not understand how it happened. So I’m on my first campaign, I’m a lowly researcher, and we’re working on this issue, and I’m supposed to have a meeting with this important state senator’s office about it. Like, a normal meeting. Business hours. At an office. And somehow over the course of a week of rescheduling, this motherfucker turns it into dinner just the two of us in Soho on a Friday night. Like, right under my nose but so slowly I don’t even notice it happening.

Redux

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Two of my guy friends on the campaign had to tell me when I changed into a skirt and heels that I was going on a date; it truly never dawned on me. He’s in his 50s, right? We’ve never even spoken. We had like one meeting where we were even in the same room together. But they were right! I got there, and it was just him and me, in this little romantic restaurant. He didn’t talk about the issue at all, he talked about finding himself in China and his kid and his divorce and shit. I kept mentioning my boyfriend but it seemed like he didn’t hear it.

So I do the only mature thing I can think to do and get super drunk. He orders two bottles of wine—it’s probably the best wine I’ve ever had. He insists on driving me home, and then kisses me while I’m trying to get out of the car and it is SUPER weird and I never talked to him again. Still no idea how it happened.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

I’m 31 and I don’t really tell the story anymore because he’s gotten famous. I know despite the obviously irresistible magnetic charm of me at 23, he doesn’t look great conning someone half his age into a date. And I feel like I should probably protect him: it seems like he’s a really good progressive, and I doubt he thought I’d grow up into someone who ran in reporter circles that could do him damage. Occasionally I’ll tell it to a friend, but it isn’t that funny anymore, because now I’ve revealed the ending and it’s got a lousy punchline. It goes like this:

I don’t really remember what happened in the car. I’d said boyfriend a hundred times on the ride home. Home, where I lived, with my boyfriend, which I had repeatedly told him. But we pull up and he leans over and kisses me. And I’m pretty wasted, so I think I went to kiss him back like a goodbye-getting-out-of-the-car thing. A “we both know this was ridiculous so let’s kiss and be done with it forever” kind of kiss. I pull back and go to get out of the car and he goes in for it again. This is where I’m super fuzzy, but I somehow get out of the car so quickly my necklace breaks. It was pearls on a string, one of my grandmother’s necklaces.

Eric Schneiderman

Redux

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

I’m 34 and I try to go back and test the prototype braggy story on a boyfriend—the lamest of entries in the “I’ve dated a celebrity” sweepstakes. He looks concerned and asks a lot of questions.

I’m 35 and suddenly I know exactly what file this story should have been in all along. We’ve elected Donald Trump President. Harvey Weinstein has fallen. I realize there will be other women with stories like mine, worse than mine, and that incredibly, they will come out. When people ask who may be next, I think “Eric Schneiderman.”

I ran into him around that time, at the house of a good friend who was throwing something of a wake after Trump’s election. He didn’t recognize me, or didn’t remember me, an extra in the story he was telling of “Liberal Politician Loves Women’s Rights.” But I remember that evening, a stupid night where nothing really happened but somehow everything felt different afterwards. I wanted it to say something about me: that I was so desirable a powerful man was enchanted. That I was so supremely chill I could make fun of myself for getting duped. That I got drunk to prove I got the joke. I wanted to twist it until it added something—anything—to my own narrative.

The stories we tell are like our clothing, our personality, curated for exhibition. We go shopping in the racks of our own histories, selecting pieces that create the style we want.

The stories we tell are like our clothing, our personality, curated for exhibition. We go shopping in the racks of our own histories, selecting pieces that create the style we want. Having a story added without your permission is like getting a tattoo you didn’t ask for: you can hide it, or you can try to own the narrative. Pretend you wanted it all along, laugh at yourself for allowing it, hope it doesn’t sabotage the rest of your look, the stuff you picked out on purpose. So I changed the story to try and make it fit: which parts I told, what the moral was.

Eric Schneiderman

Redux

The truth is that story doesn’t have a damn thing to do with me, and maybe that’s the worst part. Sometimes we’re just at the mercy of the men who decide what’s next for us: whether we get hit that night, whether we get home.

The truth is that story doesn’t have a damn thing to do with me, and maybe that’s the worst part. Sometimes we’re just at the mercy of the men who decide what’s next for us: whether we get hit that night, whether we get home. For years I tried to make myself the protagonist of his story, but I never agreed to that date. I’d never even spoken to him before I sat across from him at the bistro table and realized we weren’t having a meeting. I wasn’t in control of a thing that night, and I had no idea how horrible it could have been.

I’m 36 and it’s a different story now, one I don’t know how to deploy to any advantage: the time I spent an evening with a monster, and took 13 years to figure it out.

Editor’s note: Requests to Schneiderman for comment went unanswered.

Photo by Sasha Maslov/ Redux



Source link

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Ask Paul Rudd Anything. Just Don’t Call Him Nice
The Bizarre and Baffling Tale of Dr. Tijion Esho’s Short-Lived Deciem Line
Tracee Ellis Ross Would Like to Co-Star in Rihanna’s Next Video, Please
12 Films, Books, and Thinkers to Know
Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber Confirm They’re Dating With Brooklyn Kiss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *