Part of the process of moving away from a city is a series of mini-breakups, I've learned. You leave your hairstylist, you bid adieu to your drycleaner, you abandon your piano teacher.
I mean, I know not every 24 year old has a piano teacher, but, that means my peers have been missing out on some serious life-advice. Here is an unedited 6 minute clip of wisdom that Diana bestowed upon me in our last session.
“Do you have any New York advice for me?” I asked, and inconspicuously clicked "Record" on my phone.
“Uhhhh I know...I was always very cynical, even as a kid, because I left at 13. And when I went to boarding school I met a boy who was 13 or 14 and he was from Connecticut, (and I learned later very rich) and so I, of course, fell immediately for him. And there was a Leap Year dance, and I went dancing, and I was NOT good looking at the time. I had a very good figure but, I had long legs- sexy, you know, but not good looking - and he was very good looking. So I asked him to go with me, and he agreed, and we went to the dance and we started to go out. And then one day he came up to me and he said, 'I would like to have my ring back. Because I now like Bobbi.'
So I went outside and it was raining- pouring rain- and it was a big drama.
And all of a sudden I stopped, and said 'I'm getting wet' and that's what I have to tell ya. That's what you have to do. Because they're very smooth operators. Extreeemely smooth operators- not like here."
I am a little confused by this explanation of her epiphany, but part of me gets it. Part of me perfectly understands what she's saying, in that you have to assess your situation and react according to the facts - according to self-preservation.
She didn't talk anymore about that boy, she just knew what she had to do to get herself out of the rain. It's taken me a few weeks to be able to pull that apart and put it back together again, but I am fairly certain that was her intent.
She continues, almost seamlessly, from one thought to the next:
"Here, the difference between - and I don't know if it's this way or not anymore- but, here in Portland the men are very insecure and they're awkward in their approach. You're not going to get that in New York. They're smooth. Very very slick. Got a whole routine. They're still using it on my friend, and she's 70!
The other thing, and it depends who you meet- what class of people- is that the men don't like to pay for the woman.
If you don't put your foot down, you're going to be paying all over the place. Just say 'I'm not used to it' and say that you can't. Because when you first go out with them, I did that, I thought, 'I'm not gonna pay my money for them. Too bad! You're gonna go on a date, you're gonna pay for it!' and sooo... well, of course if you go out with an older man he'll give you all his money- period, he'll sign it over to you, you know, but someone else, your age, that you're going out on a date with, I know that for a fact, a lot of people are complaining. But not in the high society. Don't let him. Say 'I can't go. I don't have any money.'
So watch out for that, too. I mean, this is what I hear. I'm not sure what goes on.
Oh, and if you get stuck in a bad situation, lie your way out.
I once was at a party, or out with some friends and a young man says to me, 'Would you like to come see my etchings?' Which is so stupid of me, because men have used that one from the beginning of time! What was I thinking?
And so I went with him to his apartment and he locked the door. And I was in there, and I always get out of these things (I'm a great liar) and so I said to him, 'You can do anything you want, but, I just had an abortion. So, I'd bleed to death right now.' And you know what he did?
He accompanied me all the way to the subway! Would have walked me right to my front door, if I'd let him. That kinda thing I used a coupla times there. If you get in a situation where you don't want to be...it works.
You don't want to say anything tacky, like I would, like, 'I have herpes, mister. Thats why.' but you could, if you're really in a mess.
I've been in a coupla situations like that, so, yeah...you just have to warn them what the disadvantages would be."
Thanks, Diana. Will do.
That goes for all of you ladies out there, too.