It was one of those nice social gatherings with palm tree breeze energy and post-work relaxation, cold be damned. Fairly new, swanky midtown Manhattan hotel bar, plush sofas, accent colors splashed on pillows and end tables, supportive café music, this sort of thing. The broadcasters were jovial, particularly because the 9 to 5 committee meeting that brought them together from assorted markets was so successful.
One particularly stunning anchor, who had displayed focused brilliance every time she spoke during the meeting, sat waxing with me and a few others about dance, the union, and the TV/Radio Communications degree that made my inner journalist giddy in present company. It was this anchor, Leticia, who had invited me after all, sparing me the stalker brand I might have sported otherwise.
A colleague (because now, this is what I considered them) was buying drinks and asked my preference.
“Coffee, Bailey’s and Frangelico if they have it.”
“Great,” he said. “If they don’t have it, I’ll just come back.”
I thanked him, bewildered at this measure. The bar was rather far away actually…
“You know, you could be missing out,” Leticia told me. “The bartender up there is quite gorgeous.”
I leaned over beyond a red pillar to scan the bar. I saw immediately a reasonably good-looking guy, but I couldn’t tell from afar if he warranted swift drawers-dropping. During this split second cruise, Leticia continued.
“Her name is Nicole and she looks amazing. I met her earlier…”
More scanning revealed Leticia was right. Nicole’s eyes are so outstanding, they shone from where she stood. Good reason to buy drinks for everybody. I decided instantly that they would take a while, that our colleague would sooner convince Nicole to freeze water into cubes and grind the coffee by hand than leave the view of her at the bar.
When he returned, he joined Leticia, me and a few others in working out the worlds bigger issues—marriage, parenting, kids. Leticia asked if I had any and I confessed I did not, that I waffle personally on fathering, that my other half and I weren’t quite ready.
“How long have you been together?”
“We’ve been off and on for about seven years,” I said. “But I would want to have my kids naturally, so the conversation would be complicated.”
We spoke about this, about how much cheaper it is than in vitro fertilization or surrogacy, and how my and my mothers lack of siblings create a biological compulsion that nags at me from time to time.
About twenty minutes later, when the conversation died down, Leticia told me that she owed me an apology. She looked at my bewilderment and, just when I thought I could admire this woman no further, she revealed more integrity.
“Earlier I made a comment about your missing out on the beautiful bartender, Nicole, and made assumptions about your sexuality that I shouldn’t have. I’m so sorry.”
“No offense taken at all,” I said. Then I confessed that the reason I had no time to be bothered by her assumption is that I was busy making the same one about the colleague who bought us drinks. Tall, subtly good-looking, the slight bend of his nose more charming because he’s not a fan of it, qualities that might snag him a fetching bartendress—I was busy wishing him luck.
So I was no less guilty, just internalized with my execution of the crime. My method, the kind that allows for crow chewing to be suffered in silence vs. in mortifying surround sound, is more common, eclipsed only by those who spew thoughtlessly from the sides of their necks and then leave the scene. What struck me is that Leticia did not let herself off the hook with a private oops (with my lack of objection, she could have cozied herself in the idea that either bartender would work for me). That she owned her broadcasts and their origins completely made her convictions braver. Then she acknowledged her oops and humbly cleaned up the crime scene herself.
This is broadcasting at its finest.
I neglected to thank her. Next time we’re in the same city, I’ll buy the drinks (I owe our subtly good-looking colleague one as well.)
And just so we’re clear, Nicole is the clear winner behind that bar…