I’ve been watching a lot of Telemundo lately. My purpose is educational since I’m trying to reclaim my Spanish language skills, which have disappeared as completely as the tostada from the Taco Bell menu. What draws me in to the telenovelas more than the richness of the trilled r and the waxed chests is the ubiquitous “Triangulo De Amor.”
The love triangle.
Latin television would cease to exist without it. And, as it were, so would my marriage.
Before I stumbled into my own love triangle, my dating geometry had become much like a complicated polygon. I needed a change. Thus my mother imparted sagely, “Jewish men are good to their women.” She said it matter of factly, as though everyone knows this and not just from watching “Fiddler On The Roof.”
Finding a Jewish man in New York City proved easy enough, a lot like shooting Gefilte fish in a barrel. But I wanted the Sturgeon.
I found it when I met Asher Steinberg. He was smart, funny, and successful. In addition to being religiously desirable, he was geographically desirable as he happened to live in the high-rise across the street from my office, making a run-in after work appear casual when, in truth, it was completely orchestrated.
Marooned in that very office one night, working late again, my phone rang. The delivery man was in the lobby with my dinner. I leapt from my chair, noticing that my feet were bare as I’d kicked my heels off during the day. I peered under the desk, but the glare of the computer was not enough to illuminate the void. I padded down the hall, taking stock of the empty cubicles as I passed. Surely someone, like a questionably qualified intern, would have a pair of shoes stowed at their desk. My cursory search proved fruitless as the only pair of shoes I encountered were a pair of men’s running shoes residing on the feet of the IT guy who also was working late. I considered asking him if I could borrow his shoes, but stopped short when the image floated into my head of Human Resources chiding me for improper conduct as it applies to footwear in my yearly review.
Mindful of the limited patience of delivery men, I determined to collect my dinner without shoes. It felt strange for my naked feet to make contact with the tile floor of the elevator. I stepped off the elevator, into the darkened lobby, to meet my favorite delivery man. We traded food for cash while he gesticulated wildly at my feet and chortled a stream of indecipherable Thai. He walked out the front door, still chuckling, and I turned to take the elevator to my floor. I pushed the button and waited for the doors to spring open.
Like a cold bucket of water thrown over my head, I realized the doors were not going to open without my employee card, which was probably snuggled tight with my shoes underneath my desk.
While I should have set about sending up a smoke signal with some chopsticks and the residue from the floor tiles, all I could think was, if only I’d borrowed the IT guy’s shoes, he’d have reason to come looking for me.
My fog of despair lifted when I looked across the street to the beacon of upper-crust residential living: Asher Steinberg’s apartment building. Of course! He will be good to his woman, even if he doesn’t really know that I am his woman!
I rushed headlong into the bustling foot traffic of midtown. Newcomers to New York City always marvel at its dirtiness, but if you live there, you become inured to its grit and the grime fades away.
Until you are standing on 6th Avenue without shoes.
I tiptoed across the crosswalk as though walking on my toes would impart an air of normalcy to the situation. I went mostly unnoticed since New Yorkers are instructed to tune out the demented faction of the citizenry unless one begins to urinate directly upon you. It wasn’t until I was standing inside his lobby, appealing to the doorman to notify Asher Steinberg of his unexpected guest that my rational self appeared, like a Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder when I needed Jimmy Choos on my feet.
What exactly is he going to do to help you? Love stories never begin with, “There she was with blackened callouses.”
I held up my hand in a gesture of apology to the doorman, who was waiting for the phone to connect with Asher’s room. I backed away from the desk and toward the revolving door when Asher himself strutted into the lobby.
The most tragically uncomfortable conversation between two humans who speak the same language ensued, culminating in a dramatic performance in which I pantomimed utter shock to see that I was not wearing shoes before excusing myself with a grand wave of my delivery bag. I walked briskly back to my office building where I ate cold Pad Thai at the abandoned security desk and waited for the IT guy to disembark the elevator.
It was that very night that I formed my love triangle, adding the third angle, as I joined Match.com and emailed the man I wound up marrying. Under the profile section, where they ask you to highlight the things you consider a turn-on, I did a resounding double-click to reject “being barefoot.”
No. Me gustan los zapatos.