How I Got to Madison Avenue. And beyond.

As with life, this blog is developing and changing. It began with a lot of stories that occurred on my career path from Albany to Madison Avenue and back.

There were some similarities to the AMC series "Mad Men," and then I went even farther back in time with a somewhat fictionalized version of growing up in Troy's Little Italy.

And now, a new development. As my free lance advertising and marketing career winds down, I'm becoming more interested in the theatre arts that my father and his 3 brothers helped instill in me as I grew up.

As a result, I've volunteered to help promote the Theatre Institute at Sage, and now, to continue a long-interrupted desire to be behind the proscenium, I've joined the newly formed Troy Civic Theatre, and was actually fortunate enough to appear in their first production.

So, I hope you'll enjoy the new stories that will develop from this latest turn.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dating in Manhattan

I'm a movie fan. Been going to movies since I was seven years old. Back then, a kid in Troy could walk a few blocks from wherever he lived, and get to a neighborhood movie theater. Yes, the world had changed in a couple of ways.

I like a wide range of movies, but especially quirky ones. I don't mean silly, although they qualify, too.

Quirkiness is probably what makes a filmmaker a good filmmaker. You may wonder what all this has to do with dating in Manhattan, so I'll tell you. It's a long and winding road to get there, but I'll get there.

First, I want to tell you about my personal rating system – it's a negative system, not like giving stars or thumbs up. It's based on how long it takes me to become aware that my rear end is numb. The sooner I become aware of that while watching the movie, the worse the movie is – because if a movie engrosses you, you forget about physical discomfort. If you're aware of your discomfort, the movie has not grabbed you.

I watched a quirky movie last night – quirkier than most: “Silent Light.” Believe it or not, it was about Mennonite dairy farmers in Mexico. And that was just the setting. The story was not quirky – it was about a man and two women – the eternal triangle.

The movie was excruciatingly slow-paced, and the dialog was so spare that the total amount of speaking would probably total just about a minute. Sixty seconds of speaking in a 2 hour plus movie!

This was the first time I've watched a movie whose opening scene was so slow that I actually was aware of my discomfort from the very beginning. But I stayed with it, because it was so unbelievably slow that I figured the director had a reason for it. I was right.

That sparseness of pacing, lack of camera movement, laconic acting and bare vistas added up to a hypnotic experience.

And the spareness of dialog is what made what the characters said stand out. When the son told the father that he was in love with a woman other than his wife, the father said it was because of “The need to feel.” That seemed to nail it for me.

The need to feel. That's what got me thinking about dating when I was in New York in the 1980's, and was a bachelor again, after my second successful divorce.

I needed to feel wanted, I needed to feel connected, I needed to feel.

I dated actresses who, as the joke goes, wore reflective glasses with the mirror on the inside, so they could always see themselves. One such woman told me she was constantly on a diet, and it turned out to be mostly true. The only exception was when I was buying dinner. She ordered a salad and water, and I was thinking what an inexpensive date she was, until it came time for dessert and she ordered a heaping bowl of rich, cheesy, creamy fettuccine al fredo and wolfed it all down with a half a loaf of bread! Pasta. For dessert! Of course, after a meal like that, all she wanted to do was sleep.

I didn't need to feel like a patsy, I'd had enough of that in my marriages. So I didn't see her again.

But it took me a long time to figure out what I really needed. More of the adventures along the way next time.

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