On second thought, “off the record” is not a magic incantation that makes quotes go away. The record is the record, unless negotiated otherwise beforehand.
And there’s another thing that gets me: It’s a power move to say to a woman on the first date, “This way you earn your living, you have to stop that if you’re going to date me.”
I’m not trying to be oppositional. I am writing more about the Piano Man because I really want to.
We met in a room where giants of wit traded bon mots in a glamorous New York.
Piano Man: Why haven’t you been married before?
Me: I didn’t want to be in a bad marriage.
Piano Man: Me too. What was your longest relationship?
Me: Six years.
Piano Man: Me too.
Piano Man: I think you emerge on the day of your breakup exactly the age you were when you went in.
Me: You’re so right. I feel like I’m teaching remedial dating to divorced men.
In very little time, we had skipped right to our romantic histories. From there, it’s not a quantum jump to potential futures.
Piano Man: Do you think about your wedding? Like a big church wedding?
Me: Definitely not a church.
Clearly, he hadn’t read the column that closely.
Piano Man: Do you think about what it would look like?
Me: On the way to the delivery room, I guess.
Piano Man: Like on a gurney?
Me: I’m not a huge fan of weddings. Marriage seems great. Weddings, less so.
Piano Man: So you want to have kids right away?
Me: Like tonight? Is that a proposition?
Frank Sinatra started singing to us. It was that kind of room. The Piano Man knew the songbook by heart and quoted the lyrics to me.
It was a good enough date that he forgot to meet his colleague who was not pleased about the oversight. It was so good I didn’t mind that I’d just spent two hours with a total stranger, not drinking.