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One night, while still new to the city, a friend took me to the Pieces underwear party. I stood in the corner, wearing a pair of Diesel underwear that read “Highly Recommended” on the ass, sipping a cranberry vodka. The epitome of class.

I noticed a boy looking at me across the room. When I smiled at him, he came over to me, bulging beneath camo briefs. “You looked lonely over here,” he said. “Can I buy you a drink?”

He bought me a drink, we talked, and when we put our pants back on we went back to his place just to take them off again.

He invited me out the next week to a small, intimate party, filled with random people from random places. This was the kind of event I longed for: I imaged myself as Holly Golightly, wearing all black, a wool hat, and my alligator shoes. (Well, alligator print, anyway.) I mingled, trying to sound sophisticated and mysterious and interesting. “It’s such a darling apartment,” I drawled on to the host, sipping a glass of champagne.

After the party, we went back to his place, and took off our pants again.

It was the third night we spent together, after having a few cocktails at Pounds and Ounces, that I asked if he’d like to come over to my place instead. We got in a taxi, city blurring by us in a drunken haze, and made it to my apartment around three am. He followed me into my bedroom, where I fell onto the bed.

“Joining me?” I asked, turning to him. He was frozen in the doorway.

“What’s that?” he asked, pointing to the end of the bed.

I looked: it was my black cat, standing up and stretching out. “My cat,” I said, taking off my shirt. He wouldn’t move from the doorway. “Is everything okay?”
“I’m scared of cats,” he said. My cat jumped off of the bed, and he leapt into the corner of the room, hands bracing the wall.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “You’re kidding, right?” My cat went over to him and smelled his feet—he leapt into another corner of the room, sliding down the wall until he was sitting.

I sat up. He wasn’t joking: he was genuinely afraid of cats.

I tried to get him to stay, even got him to sit on the bed, but once the cat jumped up with us he let out an inhuman scream and ran back to my door. “I’m getting a cab,” he squeaked, and was gone.

So he wasn’t my Paul Varjak, and I wasn’t his Holly Golightly. But I still had ole’ cat, my slob without a name, and I could still sing Moon River on my fire escape, dreaming about Tiffany’s and a man to kiss in the rain.

ianmichaelinwonderland

@ianinwonderland

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