Never leave the house without a clean pair of panties in your bag. Especially if you live in New York. I learned this from experience. Here’s why… By Karley Sciortino
The thing about New York is, it kidnaps you. You leave your house to buy Tylenol, but then somehow you end up buying a hundred dollars worth of moisturizer, and then you run into a friend who persuades you to get lunch, and before you know it it’s 3am and you’re drunk at a rooftop top party in deep Brooklyn. It’s for this reason that it’s important to always have a few crucial items with you at all times: an extra pair of shoes, the makeup essentials, dry shampoo, and an extra pair of panties… so that you’re prepared for literally anything.
Take last Friday, for example. I was walking back from the eye doctor when I ran into a girl I used to work with, Sarah. It was one of the first Summerish days of the year and she was having a Bloody Mary on the terrace of Sant Ambroeus in SoHo. After putting up mild resistance as to why I couldn’t join her—“I’m on deadline,” I said, which is my excuse for everything, whether or not it’s true—I agreed to have just one drink. Right. Two hours and a buzz later, I rationalized that there was no point in going home before the birthday dinner I was due at by 7.30 on the Upper East Side. And besides, I had a pair of heels and some silver eyeshadow in my pink Milton Lane Olivera handbag—both of which I’d thrown in there the previous night, and thankfully had neglected to remove—so I was good to go. I had just one more drink, to kill time, and then I took a cab uptown.
The party was for my friend Lara, who works at Sloan Kettering, which meant that almost all of the guests were doctors and scientists. They were interesting and smart, of course, but they were also a bit, how should I say it… subdued. I felt sort of like the odd man out, until I noticed someone across the room who was clearly beating me in that department. He was a ruggedly handsome guy, roughly 40, in jeans and a T-shirt, scowling at everyone while taking long drags on a cigarette. He was propped up by a pair of medical crutches. I sat down next to him. “What’s the matter?” I asked.
“This party is so boring,” he scoffed in his thick French accent. Of course. “These people take themselves too seriously. I’m going for dinner downtown.” He paused for just a moment, then said flatly: “You should come with me.”
“I can’t leave yet,” I said, sort of thrown-off by the invention. “We haven’t even have dinner. Lara will kill me.”
“Darling,” he replied, in a tone that was at once condescending and sexy, “no one cares what you do. Everyone only cares about themselves. Once you learn that, you’ll be free.” He pulled himself up on his crutches and hobbled away. But after a few steps, he turned around. “I’ll wait downstairs for you for 10 minutes, but no longer.”
What a weirdo, I thought to myself. Still, I sort of loved the idea that this grumpy, injured, cartoonishly French guy had the confidence to ask me—or more like tell me—to leave my friend’s birthday dinner before it had even begun. I watched him leave, laughed to myself, and brushed it off as simply a charming moment. Roughly seven minutes later we were in a cab headed downtown.
“You’re impulsive. I like that,” he said.
“You bring it out in me,” I shrugged.
We went for dinner at Perla and ordered steak. French Guy told me that the crutches were temporary. He’d hurt his leg while, like, biking up one of the steepest mountains in the world, or something similarly unnecessary and torturous sounding. “What can I say—I’m going through a midlife crisis,” he explained. “It’s actually amazing. The older and richer you get, the more fun it becomes to act like an idiot.”
I sort of felt bad for bailing on my friend’s party, but I was also having a lot of fun. I thought about this quote that I love, from the philosopher Alain de Botton: “Tame it though we may try, sex has a recurring tendency to wreak havoc across our lives: it leads us to destroy our relationships, threatens our productivity and compels us to stay up too late in night clubs talking to people whom we don’t like but whose exposed midriffs we nevertheless strongly wish to touch.” I guess that quote is actually sort of grim, but for some reason I’ve always been encouraged by it.
French Guy asked if I wanted to come back to his place. I said I’d think about it, and headed to the bathroom. While digging for my lipstick, I noticed the velvet pouch at the bottom of my handbag—the lingerie I’d thrown in there the previous night, “just in case.” I took it as a sign.