I am clearly obsessed with Bill's Bar & Burger in Rockefeller Center. I went there again yesterday with my old college classmates Vicki and Tom (Susan was supposed to join, but she believes that she is busier, even, than us. Ha!). I was wearing a flimsy blue blouse from H&M, a maroon v-neck sweater from the Gap, and Levi's jeans - surprisingly down-market today, but I don't remember whether that was on purpose or not. Maybe I was trying not to scare Tom? Who knows.
The wait was supposed to be 30-35 minutes, but the host and I have a mild flirtation going, and he got us seated in 15 minutes. That's what my ruined beauty buys me - 25 fewer minutes of wait time. (Then he gave me his card and wrote down his work mobile number so I could call ahead the next time I was coming, so he could make sure I didn't have to wait. I immediately felt the simultaneous shame and pride that arises in me when I become a regular somewhere, and the ambiguity that arises when I'm not sure if I should take the flirtation to its natural, certain-to-be-humiliating next level).
Tom was my journalism nemesis at Utica College. One year, we went to the journalism department's awards dinner, and Tom won, like, every award. Afterwards, on the drive back to the dorm, Heather asked me to sing her a song, and I sang "Maybe This Time," Sally Bowles' showstopping anthem of scorned love from "Cabaret," with its lyric, "Everybody loves a winner. So nobody love me!" Yesterday, Tom asked me why I wasn't in attendance at the most recent NYC Utica College reunion, but then blithely answered himself: "maybe it was just for award winners?" Har, har, har.
Really, I have an inferiority complex when it comes to all of my old classmates. Tom, of course, is a journalism stud who has a Pulitzer Prize-winning wife and writes for the Wall Street Journal, which he landed at after his gig at the New York fucking Times. Vicki seemingly has to fend off men just crossing the street, and has what once would have been my dream job: a corporate recruiter. (I would hire only crazy people and studs). And Susan, awash in cash, texted me recently that she was looking to buy not just an apartment, but a brownstone this year. And me? What have I become? I ask myself the same question sometimes, but then I try to eat a burger and flirt with a host.