Back in New York, life has continued much as it always does: intensive spurts of work, many hours of dawdling, and a few brief moments of transcendent leg-flapping.
The first happened last Friday after I attended a fancyartpants Jonas Mekas film screening at the Museum of the Moving Image. Not much to report about that--the crowd was about what you'd expect, the movies were a tad self-indulgent, and someone's feet really smelled. But afterwards? Well.
After a very long march down neighboring Steinway street, I entered this fine establishment, feeling a bit apprehensive, given that on one of my last trips to
a Steinway street restaurant, I was placed in a special "ladies seating area" with my co-diner (also a lady, you see). There we sat uncomfortably distant from the gentlemen and watched a mouse skittle across the floor disturbingly close to our feet. Not this time, oh no. Instead we were instantly greeted by a dapper French-speaking man, who, perhaps thrown by the whiff of Montreal that can still be sensed on my skin, begin speaking to me in rapid-fire French. Of course, this was an error, since I don't speak French--but all was forgotten as the same fine gentleman began dishing up heaps of vegetable couscous, lentil soup and vegetarian appetizers for myself and my bemused co-diner. The place was throbbing with North African disco beats--fine enough, in and of itself...but then the belly dancer came out.
It is always interesting to watch crowd reactions to this phenomenon: men can usually barely contain themselves, women often shift around uncomfortably (or, if you are my dining companion, pretend to be totally engrossed in reading a brochure detailing the September exhibits of the Museum of Modern Art), and some women--like a fetching young lass seated at an adjacent table, who was apparently not quite certain of her own fetchingness--reach over and grab their man's head and forcibly turn it so that boyfriend attention focuses far, far away from the sexual threat posed by proximate hipshaking. Freaking lame, no?
What was not lame was the sudden reappearance of the dapper gentleman, who surprisingly began gyrating himself--an inspirational maneuver involving hip undulations, facial contortions and the most vigorous leg kicks I've seen emitted from a man in a long, long time. Sadly, I was too shy to photograph this performance--it seemed rude--but I did find a photo on said gentleman's website that gives a taste of what went down:
So, admittedly, the leg action isn't quite visible there--but trust me, the spirit of the endeavor is. I developed quite an age-inappropriate crush immediately...which was only heightened upon my departure when the gentleman in question showered me with smooches. Oooh!
This was actually a week when I was smooched an alarming amount: first at Jour et Nuit, then at work (eep), and most alarmingly, upon my reunion with the Polish law enforcers documented in one of my very first posts ever. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson when in their fine country, right? But oh no--instead I agreed to go out to dinner with them last night, as a sort of attempt at reciprocal host behavior since they are in the US for a tour of...I forget what. So during the course of this meal, they discussed what great guys they were since they only have one wife, "joked" about the appeal of university teaching (which seems mostly to revolve around the fact that they get to view scantily-clad female students), and toasted repeatedly to my health while smooching my contorted-with-discomfort face. Freaks.
The lesson I take away from this? I'm not totally sure--but I feel certain that if I think about it enough, I can come up with some sort of sweeping generalization about North African liberal Islam and European conservative Catholicism...but who has the time?