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True Stories: A Piece of Cake
My boldest pickup move was also my most ridiculous.
By Corina Zappia
A couple of times a year, I summon enough courage for a brazen pick-up move. The other days are spent crying about how I will never leave the house, because rejection is out there lurking. The two minutes of your life spent hitting on someone are inversely related to the month spent licking your wounds after the dirty deed is done.
It was on one of my more confident days that I saw the cute guy at the diner in Union Square. As my friend and I followed the hostess past the Christmas lights and salvaged signage to a table in the back room, we walked right past him. He was eating by himself and scribbling on a napkin, which made him look reflective and studious. Plus he had one of those shaggy Stone Roses bowl cuts. I'm always physically attracted to men who never left 1990.
I had a hard time concentrating on my friend's stories that day, my eyes wandering up to the table where the cute guy sat. I have superior psychic powers that can foresee promising relationships on looks alone. I had to do something.
Genius struck. I would send him over a slice of chocolate cake. Right now, at the diner.
Calling over the waitress before I lost my nerve, I gestured at my Stone Rose. "I would like to send a slice of cake over to that guy over there," I said. He was still emphatically scribbling. What could he be writing? Poetry? Grocery list? The waitress looked taken aback, then amused. It was on.
I could see her pointing in our direction when she brought the cake over to him. His eyes followed, then landed on me. I waved. He waved back. There was waving.
I have never seen someone consume cake so slowly. I could have gotten five molars drilled by the time he casually sauntered over. Up close, though, he was even more attractive. He thanked me and introduced himself — his name was Josh, and he had been writing down song lyrics for his band. He was on his way to a rock show uptown. Before leaving, he asked for my number.
I couldn't believe it. I felt like I was no longer in my life, but in a strange one where things worked out. There comes a time in every person's life when she thinks, "Have I won? Have I really won?"
Across the table, my friend's eyes welled up with pride. "Wow, Corina," she gushed. "You are my hero." She wasn't there to judge, but to lift me up to my rightful pedestal. My Corina Tower, as it were, where I may look upon the pussy minions below, too afraid to send out cakes of their own.
I was feeling humble. "I am my own hero," I replied. Really, how many times has one person successfully picked up another at a diner with a slice of cake? This was straight out of a movie. This move was at least Meg Ryan Level 8, man. I was a god.
...a god, albeit, with one minor concern. I remembered another guy named Josh I had met, a few years ago. This Josh also had a very Stone Roses-like haircut. But I remembered his hair being lighter.
My friend dismissed it. "You would have recognized him," she reassured. "I wouldn't sweat it."
"You're right, you're right." After all, this other Josh and I had actually made out, and I wasn't that drunk. Plus, his hair was lighter.
A few days later, New Josh called. He told me he had gone to school at NYU and had studied French literature. His favorite French writer was Colette.
I couldn't take it anymore. "This going to sound totally weird," I interjected. "But I met this other guy named Josh a few years ago, who went to NYU, who also studied French literature."
"Who is that guy?" he laughed. "I'm gonna kill him!"
There was a pause. And then, from the other end of the phone:
"I can't believe you don't remember me, Corina."
"Oh my God. It's you." I wanted to scream into the phone.
"Did you know the entire time? And you didn't tell me? "
"Yes. I can't believe you don't remember me."
"It was very dark in that club," I responded weakly.
"But I remembered you," he exclaimed.
"Well, I'm very distinctive looking," I replied.