By Steve Hofstetter
Jack had a list of all 44 girls he slept with before me. How do you react to that? He said he keeps track to hold himself accountable, but my friends think heâ€™s just keeping score. If I heard that about another guy, Iâ€™d call him an asshole. But to me, Jack couldnâ€™t be an asshole. Maybe he was an asshole in a previous lifetime. Not now though. Now he was a sweet, lovely human being. Who had a list of 44 girls heâ€™d slept with. Damn--Iâ€™m going to have to reconcile that eventually.
I spent last week with him. Sure I was in class sometimes and working others, but even then, I was thinking about him. And 44 other people. They say that when you have sex with someone, youâ€™ve slept with everyone theyâ€™ve ever slept with. I wonder what my parents would say if I told them Iâ€™d slept with 44 girls this weekend.
I was dancing at a bar on Canal Street with two of my suitemates when he called. It was a weird place - called the Bulgarian Bar. It plays a lot of Eastern European music, and everyone dances, and the fun part is that no one needs rhythm. There were guys everywhere, and one of them had just spent the last ten minutes explaining that the music makes him think of gypsies by campfires having orgies. I could understand the campfire part; I always pictured gypsies that way, too. But the orgy part changed the image enough to stop me from ever thinking of gypsies the same way again. God, how many of those 44 were at the same time?
â€œHey Liz, what are you up to?â€
â€œIâ€™m at the Bulgarian Bar. You know, the weird one I told you about.â€
â€œOh, cool,â€ he said. â€œYou wanna come uptown?â€
â€œFor why?,â€ I asked.
â€œI dunno - come over. Maybe we can grab a drink.â€
â€œIâ€™m like a half hour from you. I donâ€™t know if I can just abandon everyone and come up there.â€
â€œWell, if you do, gimme a call, k?,â€ he said.
â€œSure,â€ I answered. â€œBut Iâ€™m not sure if I can just leave here.â€
The train ride uptown was quicker than I expected. Getting back to Columbia from Canal Street is simple, but when youâ€™re by yourself at 12:30 on a Friday night, itâ€™s not that much fun. I read the subway signs on the way up to keep me busy for the first few stops, and spent the remaining half hour of the ride, the transfer, and the second ride thinking about Jack.
February made it cold enough to need gloves when I got out of the subway, so using my cell phone was tricky. It reminded me of that Simpsons episode where Homer puts on too much weight and canâ€™t dial out. â€œIf your fingers are too fat to dial and youâ€™d like to obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad now.â€ After a few tries at mashing, I took off my gloves and called him.
I hate trying to find someone at a bar. Either you know enough people to distract you away from who youâ€™re meeting, or you donâ€™t know anyone and have to wait loserly by yourself until they get there. I saw Jack in the back and was able to push through the crowd quickly enough not to get stopped. I ran into one girl from my bio class last year, and was able to give her a quick smile and move on.
When he saw me, he stood up, hugged me, and gave me a peck on the lips. Heâ€™s big into pecking people, so I didnâ€™t read anything into it. We started talking, a few other girls came over to say hi, and I wondered which ones were among the 44. Insecurity would normally make me wonder who would be number 46, but I hoped heâ€™d reached his limit with me.
â€œSo what have you been up to tonight?â€
â€œNot much,â€ I said. â€œI went to that Bulgarian Bar I told you about.â€
â€œOh, how was that?â€
â€œDifferent. They played a lot of Eastern European music. A lot of women wearing strange leotards, too.â€
â€œWhat, like gypsies?,â€ he asked.
â€œSo are we going to get drinks?,â€ I asked instead.
Jack soon excused himself to use the bathroom - if you count grabbing my thigh and smiling an excuse, and I was left to hold the table and watch our coats. I watched him interact with a number of girls while he walked across the bar-introducing himself to the ones he didnâ€™t know and pecking the ones he did. As I started getting uncomfortable at the idea of all these girls again, I spotted Jane coming in and waved.
Jane was one of the 44 that I could live with. They met during orientation week, and her senior to his freshman was enough to get him into bed. My sophomore didnâ€™t mind because Jane had become a good friend of mine and they hadnâ€™t slept together since orientation week. I waved her over and we gave the air kisses while our cheeks touched. Iâ€™m not sure when that became convention, but Iâ€™ve been doing it since 8th grade.
â€œHey Liz, how you been?â€
â€œPretty good. You?â€
â€œEh, Iâ€™m alright,â€ she said. â€œFinding an apartment has been a bitch.â€
â€œWhoâ€™d you come with?,â€ I asked.
â€œNo one - Iâ€™m meeting someone here. Youâ€™ll never guess who called me to come out tonight.â€
â€œRemember that guy Jack, from orientation week?,â€ she said.
â€œYeah. Iâ€™m here with that sunofabitch, too.â€
Thankfully, Jane was as surprised as I. She couldnâ€™t figure out why heâ€™d call both of us, but I guessed I took too long on that uptown train. He started thinking I really wouldnâ€™t show, and he called someone else. Now thatâ€™s the mark of a quality guy. Not only had he slept with 44 different girls, but I realized that most were repeat performances.
When he came back to the table, he wasnâ€™t surprised at all to see us both sitting there, and after hugging and pecking Jane, he sat back down across from me, which also put him next to her. But that didnâ€™t last long - every time another girl came by, heâ€™d get up and hug her, too. Jane and I wound up on a bootie call with each other-which would have been great if either one of us was into girls, but life is not a porno movie. Not my life, anyway.
â€œHey,â€ she said. â€œWhatâ€™s the difference between Jack and a corvette?â€
â€œWhat?,â€ I responded.
â€œWell, not everyone has driven in a corvette, and you donâ€™t lend your corvette out to friends.â€
I laughed. I didnâ€™t want to, but I had to laugh at the situation I got myself in. I eventually enjoyed talking with Jane for the next hour, and she gave me enough asshole jokes to last through a typical night at a jock bar. When she left, she waved goodbye to Jack, who was still talking to the last girl that came in.
â€œWhereâ€™d she go off to?,â€ he asked.
â€œIâ€™m not sure. She said something about a corvette.â€
His eyes lit up.
â€œJane has a corvette?â€
â€œNo. I think sheâ€™s just borrowing one from a friend.â€
â€œOh,â€ he said. â€œHey, donâ€™t you owe me a dinner?â€
â€œDonâ€™t you owe me an explanation? Iâ€™ll trade you.â€
â€œRemember, when I told you that girls never take guys out, you promised youâ€™d take me to a nice dinner some time?â€
That wasnâ€™t the explanation I was looking for, but itâ€™s the only one he gave.
â€œOkay. Give me a call tomorrow. Maybe weâ€™ll go out.â€
I wasnâ€™t sure if I wanted to take him out or not. Itâ€™d give me a chance to talk to him without anyone else he knew around, but I was also pretty angry with him and didnâ€™t feel like paying for him to make me angrier. All I was sure was that it was time to go.
When I left, he kissed me for real. Take that, peck girls.
Jack called me the next day and asked about dinner.
â€œAre you free at 7:30?,â€ I said.
â€œSure. Where are we going?â€
â€œA friend of mine from home has an older brother who is the new Sous Chef at Nobu. What do you think about going there?â€
â€œAre you kidding?,â€ he said. â€œThat place is great. Could you really get reservations for tonight?â€
â€œSure. Iâ€™ll just ask Pete.â€
â€œWho is Pete?â€
â€œHeâ€™s the Sous Chef.â€
â€œLiz, thatâ€™s awesome. When should I be ready?â€
â€œI hate to do this to you, but could you meet me there? Iâ€™m going to be at a movie with my brother downtown, and thereâ€™s no way I can get back up here in time. Is that okay?â€
â€œSure,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ll see you tonight?â€
He made a kissing noise and hung up first.
Jack called me the next morning.
â€œWhat the hell happened last night?â€
â€œWhat are you talking about?,â€ I said. â€œWhat happened with you?â€
â€œI showed up at 7:30 and you werenâ€™t there.â€
â€œStop lying to me,â€ I said. â€œI got there at a quarter after 7, and they seated me fine.â€
â€œStop shitting me, Liz. I got into a fight with the woman at the front of the place because I didnâ€™t have a reservation in your name.â€
â€œThe reservation wasnâ€™t under my name, Jack. I had to put it under yours because I canâ€™t use mine so often or Brian will get in trouble.â€
â€œWho is Brian?,â€ he asked. â€œI thought you said his name is Pete? I know I asked for someone names Pete.â€
â€œOh god,â€ I said. â€œYou said his name was Pete?â€
â€œYeah,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s the name you told me.â€
â€œWe call him Pete. His last name is Peterson.â€
â€œThe Sous Chef,â€ I replied. â€œHis last name is Peterson. Brian Peterson.â€
â€œOh no,â€ he said. â€œYou were there the whole time?â€
â€œYeah, and I wasnâ€™t too happy about it.â€
â€œOh no. You were there. You think I stood you up.â€
â€œYouâ€™re damn right I think you stood me up.â€
â€œBut I didnâ€™t!â€ he pleaded. â€œIt was just a miscommunication. I was totally there.â€
â€œWouldnâ€™t I have seen you?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know!,â€ he said. â€œMaybe you were in the bathroom or something. I just donâ€™t want you to be mad at me. Iâ€™m sorry. Iâ€™m just really sorry. Can we try again tonight?â€
â€œDo you promise you wonâ€™t stand me up?â€ I asked.
â€œOf course. I care too much about you to do that. I would never do that.â€
â€œOkay - 7:30 will be hard to get again. Iâ€™ll ask him for 9:00.â€
â€œOkay,â€ he said. â€œThank you. I promise I wonâ€™t let you down.â€
â€œI know you wonâ€™t,â€ I said. â€œYou couldnâ€™t possibly. Iâ€™ll talk to you later?â€
â€œSure,â€ he said. â€œSee you at 9:00.â€
â€œSee you then.â€
I smiled as I thought of standing him up a second time.