During intermission at the New York City Ballet a few nights ago, I was browsing through their gift shop and spotted this large colorful book filled with juicy photos and bios of several ABT and NYCB dancers. Looked enticing, especially for a huge ballet fan. But it was expensive, and with all the money I spend on Ballroom, Iâ€™m forced to be a total cheapskate in all of my other leisure spending. So, I figured the next time I had nothing to do, I’d go to Barnes & Noble, camp out on the floor and flip through it.
When my plans for Saturday night were cancelled, thatâ€™s just what I did. Whilst sitting cross-legged on the floor (since of course thereâ€™s never a free CafÃ© chair) contemplating a glossy photo of Marcelo Gomesâ€™s naked backside, I heard this voice above me say, “what ya readin’?” I looked up at the guy to see if he was someone I might know from dance (since I see people from my studio from time to time in the dance section), but he wasn’t; he was this weirdly nerdy guy with a cowlick at his crown and horrible posture. I said it was a book about ballet and he barked, “Ballet? Why?” making me feel defensive. I wasn’t interested in talking to him, so I just kind of hunched further down into the book. He continued looking at me for several seconds, then picked up a music score and plopped down next to me. But I could see him looking at me out of the corner of my eye and felt a bit uncomfortable, especially given the story of poor Imette St. Gillen. You really canâ€™t be too careful right now, you know.
I bent my head down deeply into the mesh screen covering Marcelo, only to sense now another guy on my opposite side, peering down at me. “How do you like that book?,” this one said. Okay, has B&N become the new pickup scene? Or is it just the dance section, because I never get this kind of attention in fiction… I shrugged and mumbled, â€œDunno, I just picked it up,” poking my head further into the protective haven that Marceloâ€™s butt was becoming. But this one chuckled and said, â€œWell, it’s my book, that’s why I was asking, just wanted to know what you thought.” I looked up at him, not knowing whether to take him for real, and he laughed, seeming to pick up my vibe, then was gone. I flipped to the bookâ€™s credits page with pictures of the contributors â€“ a dance critic, the photographer Roy Round, and the publisher who put it all together â€“ and sure enough, he was the latter. Guess he was checking out the stock. His bio looked interesting — he’s actually a lawyer with a keen interest in dance and publishing — hmmm, sounds familiar. He was much older, but he would have been interesting to talk to. Damn, missed my chance. Guess it pays to look and think before making yourself unapproachable — you never know whom youâ€™re going to meet in New York! While exercising due caution, of course.