I am sitting in my favorite café down the street, my “Spanish Is Fun” textbook on the table next to my laptop and I’m getting a slight wine buzz due to the fact that I’m trying to get swimsuit ready and therefore have little in my stomach to slow the booze down from hitting my brain. This is the café where all the Spanish-speaking baristas would encourage me in my Spanish studies before I left for Spain (that I’ve now started again), and now we’re all having a good giggle about Love and the Ridiculousness of Human Nature.

Tirso, my friend behind the bar, said, when I asked him what he thought of long-distance love,

“Amor de lejos,
Amor de pendejos!”

(translation: “Love in long-distance is love for stupid assholes!”)

…and now everyone is laughing and nodding their heads knowingly…one older man sitting a few tables over from me even said, “That’s the last time I get taken for a sucker!”

Aie aie aie.
It’s almost a month since Catalan Man has been gone, and needless to say, I’m getting a little itchy scratchy.

Of course I want to keep seeing him, and I can honestly say that I didn’t even know there was a part of me that was missing before I met him, but now I feel like we’re in the relationship equivalent of swimming the English Channel and we’ve paddled out way past the Dover shore but France is nary in sight yet.

Well, technically, it’s Tuscany that’s in sight---we have a 10 day Italian getaway planned for the end of May---which I am SO SO SO SO SO excited for---imagine! Rolling down a rolling highway through the rolling sunburnt Tuscan hills (does Tuscany have hills? I don’t know! And I don’t care! Because I’ll find out soon!!) with my Catalan Man…I told him about my favorite Danielle Steel-esque fantasy of having a picnic out in the middle of the Italian woods and then making love to him under the Italian stars in a variety of Italian-inspired positions.

May cannot come, so to speak, soon enough.

But in the meantime, I wonder just what in the hell he’s getting into in Geneva, opposite-sex-wise.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” seems fitting here.

I couldn’t blame him if he was dating other people, and I feel it’d be foolhardy of me to not check out my other options in the meantime.
Gah! The old me wouldn’t think twice about dating whoever and whenever if the relationship was open. What the hell happened? Love is turning me soft!

So, even though I’m totally unmotivated and unexcited to do so, I have begun to open up more to the idea of Single Men in New York Trying To Talk To Me as an OK thing, and I haven’t ruled them out after the first 5 seconds for being too “blonde” or “having hair” or “having no Catalan accent”, etc.

I ran into Ari on the street the other day. He’s the Israeli real-estate-broker-with-a-heart that I had met at my local wine shop right after I returned home from Spain and who has been trying to get in my pants from the first “hello” amongst the midpriced cabernets and merlots.

It was good to see him. We linked arms and did some neighborhood shopping (he was fascinated by the concept of Lip Venom, the lip plumping gloss at Urban Outfitters), we got some coffee at a snarly-staffed but delicious-smelling café, and as we passed by a street vendor selling “water pipes”, we each chose our favorite one and he promised that he’d buy me one when he got some cash and “you know, we should really have a glass of wine sometime…at your apartment.”
I play-hit him on the shoulder. “You know my heart belongs to another,” I teasingly reminded him, as I had originally told him before our platonic date a few weeks back so he wouldn’t get any funny ideas.

He looked crestfallen but not totally discouraged. “Well, you know I’m going to keep hitting on you anyway, hoping that one day I’ll catch you in a moment of weakness.”

OK, OK, I said, unconvincingly, and we bid each other a friendly farewell.
Argh! I said to myself later. Am I cutting myself off to the world needlessly? Or am I just not interested in being in a “power couple” with him?

Cut to St. Paddy’s Day Eve---my friend Charlotte and I had made tentative plans to go out and get some Irish brewskies and before I can get the phrase, “I’m so sorry to flake on you but I’m so ti---“ out of my mouth, Charlotte is buzzing my buzzer downstairs and excitedly frothing at the mouth at the prospect of meeting cute beer-drenched Irish men (or those that pretend to be Irish for one day, in the same spirit as the German bierhauses that stick an Irish flag up at an askew angle with 3 pushpins on their front window this one night out of the year) and I find myself applying one last coat of lipstick before we open the door to the jam-packed, sawdust-covered-floored McSorley’s on 7th St, one of the oldest Irish drinking institutions in New York City (a hint of how old-school they are: they just admitted its first XX chromosomed patron in 1970).

After escaping a couple of big brauny men from Jersey who had us trapped in the corner and who kept asking us what our names were every 6 seconds (and who charmingly kept likening Charlotte to a B-list TV star who is much older and uglier than Charlotte), Charlotte and I take shelter at the bar and are soon chatting with a couple of young Canadian bankers who are cute because of their youthful eagerness (they’re probably not more than 25, 26), their Brooks Brothers threads which I usually detest but they actually pull it off OK, and the way they pronounce “been” like “bean”.

It soon became obvious that the dark-haired Italian one, Anthony, was taking a shine to me, and the sandy-haired Irish one, Jim, was vibing Charlotte. We all took a table and talked some more---they freaked when I mentioned Hip Hop Karaoke and then we all passed around the ketchup bottle-cum-microphone to trade some rhymes---and as the night ended, the guys gave me their numbers and we made plans to all hang out again at some point.

I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when, outside, Charlotte gushed, “Wow, Anthony is so cute! I think I really like him.”
What could I say? She knew about Catalan Man, so it just felt selfish of me to lay claim to Anthony, too. I can’t have my Spanish torta and eat it, too. And there’s a big part of me that doesn’t even want to.

But as the weeks go by, Anthony is emailing me and asking me to go out and sidestepping any mention of getting together as a group---so now I am being faced with the prospect of not only potentially hurting a friend’s feelings, but also hurting my sense of loyalty and fair play with Catalan Man.

But am I hurting myself in the long run by saying no?
He *is* here, now…
But he has too much hair.
Amor de lejos. Aie aie aie.