Since I worked at home with little opportunity to meet anyone, I looked at the ads online and picked out a fellow with multiple degrees who worked as a psychotherapist. I will call him Drake, which may actually be his name because I've blocked it. I contacted Drake. We emailed a couple of times which led to chatting on the phone. During that call he learned that I was living in Brooklyn, and I guess he assumed that I would prefer to live in Manhattan because he told me that his roommate was moving out and he had a 1500 square-foot, 2-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side that I could share. This wasn't such a ridiculous invitation as it would be in another town or city that isn't quite so rental-scarce. And he did explain that he was only in the City a couple of days a week and spent the rest of the time at his house in Connecticut. But still, it was a bit forward so I told him I was eager to explore Brooklyn and turned him down.
He then suggested that we meet in Manhattan at the northeast corner of Gramercy Park at 6 pm on New Year's Eve and go for dinner. His thinking was that we'd enjoy a meal more if we were in a restaurant that wasn't crowded. I happened to agree which is why I like to have lunch in restaurants at 3 pm.
Anyway, I got to the corner at 6 pm and he joined me a few minutes later. He was over six feet tall and wore a long, tan, wool coat and a felt fedora. Before going to dinner, he asked if I would like to see the apartment he had just purchased in a building nearby. Sure.
The apartment was in an old brick building down East 21st Street. He explained, as we entered, that he also had his psychology business in that building. I realized that from the window of his office, he could see the northeast corner of Gramercy Park and he had scoped me out before joining me there. I guess I passed his test for appearance.
We traveled up the elevator to the fourth floor of the building where he opened the door to a 300 square-foot apartment, explaining that the last tenant had lived there 30 years and the place had just been cleared out. There were squares and rectangles on the wall clearly contrasted against the dirty and toned paint where artwork or photos had been removed. The baseboards were cracked and coming loose from the wall. One of them had what looked like a rat hole in it. Could have been a mouse hole. The paint on the wooden window frames was peeling in the most severe way and the windows were filthy. The linoleum in the kitchen had a couple of worn spots so that the four layers of linoleum beneath were visible. The stove was so old I thought maybe it used firewood. Not exactly House & Garden.
Drake suggested that if I wanted to rent the apartment and fix it up myself, he would only charge me $1500 a month in rent. And, he explained, I would have a key to Gramercy Park. This is the only private park in Manhattan - two acres of loveliness that the rest of us could only see through the iron fence. And, even though I was well-aware even that that early stage of living in New York that this was a steal, I politely turned him down. I was beginning to wonder if he was a licensed realtor on the side. Turned out he was.
After that real estate rejection, Drake walked me over to Rolf's Restaurant. He said he had not made reservations and we might not get a table, but I should see it. Rolf's is well worth seeing, as I've stated in a previous post, and we did not get a table. I'm pretty sure Drake didn't make reservations because Rolf's is expensive. I know that because two days later I went there for lunch with a friend.
At any rate, we walked up Third Avenue to a restaurant where Drake was sure we'd get a table, and we did. As we read our menus he explained that the portions at this restaurant were pretty big and he wasn't that hungry. "We should split an entree," he suggested. Well, who am I to argue with a psychotherapist/realtor. And, he was right. There was ample food for both of us. No doggy bag needed.
During dinner, I asked what happened to his roommate. It was just conversation, but he explained that she had moved to his house in Connecticut because she was pregnant. With his baby, I might add. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. The hilarity didn't stop there, though, because he wound the conversation around to his psychology practice. He told me that he had begun offering sex therapy to his female patients and was having success. He offered me his services. At this point I was pinching myself to keep from laughing.
So, I am invited to have sex with a stranger who had become immensely unnatractive and pay for it too. Who could turn down such an offer? Me. I did. I said, no thanks. He did not appear to be crestfallen. He must have been putting his mind onto some other way that he could get money from me.
Oh yes, we split the bill. That, I think made his New Year's Eve complete. I said goodnight and never saw him again. The end.