I haven’t thought about him in a long time, but this morning, when I spotted some guy in his skivvies through a window, it all came back to me.
It was 1998 and a handsome fellow moved into the building around the corner. I knew this because, his apartment was in the back and the kitchen was parallel to mine. At the time I didn’t have a shade on my window so I always knew when let’s say, he was cookin.
He looked a little like Paul Newman with a body that didn’t quit. Biceps and triceps bounced and beckoned with every twist and turn.
And…he was usually naked.
This is how I saw the tattoo that ran across his back like a Japanese silkscreen. Couldn’t see what it was, but this was no little Winona, what Johnny Depp stenciled onto his arm to commemorate Winona Ryder, his lover at the time. Of course now it’s been abbreviated to wino, take that Winona, but I’m veering from my story.
At the time I was a practicing Catholic and when I told Imogene, a friend from church, she was horrified. “Go speak to the super,” she said, “tell him to tell that man to put his pants on for goodness sake.” She admonished me for looking, but like a traffic accident, it just couldn’t be helped.
So I tool around the corner and slyly ask who the new guy is that moved into a back apartment. I’ll call him Jonathan, who apparently was a savvy realtor who worked for Douglas Elliman, a major Real Estate company. And yes, he lived alone.
I couldn’t bring myself to tell Dickie the doorman that he paraded around like a Chippendale Dancer so I just moseyed on home.
A week or so later I saw him on the Avenue. With the exception of being a little short, his looks did not disappoint. I walked behind him for a spell before sidling up saying, ‘Excuse me, but don’t you live at 55 East 82th?”
“Yes, I do, I’m Jonathan Cannell, and you are?”
“Susannah…Susannah Bianchi, how do you do.”
He was very chatty like most salesmen immediately asking where I lived and did I rent or own. Ugh…he was so slick I could have skied right off his forehead.
As he prattled on I thought, well, this is your chance to tell him, or ask him rather, to please either get a shade or at least, a Speedo, so I went for it.
“You know, Jonathan…there’s something you should be aware of. I can see you plain as can be when you’re in your kitchen.”
He tossed this around for a moment before saying, “So that’s you I see in those big pajamas?”
I immediately took sartorial umbrage, as Camille calls it.
“They’re not so big…those are my… It Happened One Night… pjs”. Why do men always think you should sleep in pasties and a thong?
“Did you hear what I said…I can see you…all of you?…all the time. Do you get what I’m saying?”
“Oh, you mean because I’m nude?” He said this like I merely accused him of not wearing an apron. I felt my face redden while my heart pounded like a drum…I attempted to backpedal.
“I can always get a shade…yup..call Gracious Holmes and they’ll even come measure it for me. I then tripped on my Capezios almost knocking him over. He started to laugh which made things worse.
“You don’t have to buy a shade…I’ll put some sweats on…since the navy I never wear anything around the house.” That explained the tattoo the size of Tahiti.
The next night sure enough who was wearing not sweats, but pajama bottoms actually waving at me from across the way.
I penned him a note leaving it with Dickie who said, “Do I da-tect some romance hea?….The note said…
Those are mighty big pajamas you’re wearin sailor….
couldn’t help myself.
He moved out less than a year later when he met a girl with a tattoo on her left breast who owned a loft in Tribeca…