Thursday, June 5, 2008

Market Stalking, by Sara

pork-jarYesterday I made a date with myself to go stalk someone, but for the life of me I couldn’t decide what to wear. Sneakers? Heels? Sundress? Jeans?

Five years ago I dated a gent – it ended after six months; at six months we finally had sex sober at which point I finally had the wherewithal to realize he called his penis ‘him’ –and after it ended, we lost touch completely. This bothered me since regardless of who does the leaving, I like to keep tabs. I like an active Facebook/ Myspace page. I like a personal website with frequently updated photos. But over the years, this gent has been having none of that. A former west coast hippie who used to wax poetic on organic farming and female underarm hair, he’s proven totally un-Googleable.

Until now. Sort of. He didn’t pop up on my twice-yearly Internet search, but he did appear in the “Eat Out” pages of my Time Out Magazine. He’s collaborating with a Vermont butcher to make some delicious pork concoction that’s now being bottled and sold at the Union Square Greenmarket. Their stand is there on Wednesdays, and I figured I ought to do a walk-by.

But what to wear?

I’d decided to play it as though I JUST SO HAPPENED to be trolling through the Greenmarket searching for bottled pork from Vermont farmers. “Oh my god!” I’d perform. “What a coincidence!” Of course, seeing as how we hadn’t seen each other in years, I’d have to look as good as possible, but to really sell my performance I couldn’t look TOO good (insert inevitable joke about unrealistic concerns) lest that wreck the foil of my casual approach. I called my friend Maggie to solicit her opinion. She was no help.

“You’re regressing,” she told me. Maggie always says that regarding bad habits e.g. seeking out attention/approval from former flames that I ought not to give a rat’s vag about; one must do what’s harder in the short term to make progress in the long term. Last week, for example, I worked hard to decline an invitation from a stunning local bartender because it was clear he’d turned his attentions on me only because he’d been rejected by another woman at the bar, one chicer than myself, slathered in tattoos and sporting an asymmetrical fedora. Maggie called this “progress.” Conversely, the Wednesday stalk she disapproved of.

“This is the ‘him’ guy,” she reminded. “The guy who called his penis ‘him.’ Why are we debating flats or heels?”

She may have had a point, but I didn’t like her tone. So I ignored her. I went flats, and then to up the ante just a little, white tank-top over black training bra. (Take that, asymmetrical fedora.) And then I went to the Greenmarket to falsely shop for bottled pig.

In the end, he wasn’t there. I found the butcher, found the stand, but my gent was nowhere to be found. Perhaps I’d arrived too late in the day. Perhaps he just makes the stuff but doesn’t man the stand. Who knows? The point is, I was disappointed, but nevertheless done up in eye-liner and black training bra and so I tried to make the best of it. I bought a bottle of the pork spread and a warm loaf of bread, and sat in the park and made myself a sandwich. It was very satisfying. But also unhealthy. Just like if I’d managed to find the ex-gent in the first place.

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