Can I Date a Spyder?

September 27, 2008 by  

This past weekend, my friend Hal asked me to take a detour from Big Firm life and spend a couple of days hanging around Washington Square Park as an extra in a short film he was directing. Even though I did little more than sweat my ass off on a park bench for twenty hours, I had a blast—and developed a crush on a scruffy, skinny gaffer. I’m not sure what that is, exactly, but he’s cute. And there’s a decent chance he thinks I am, too. Or at least that’s what he suggested the other night after four margaritas when he asked if I “want to maybe hang or something…or I don’t know, whatever.” Not exactly a poet, this one, but I smiled and gave him my card.

It’s been three days and still no word—not that I really care or anything. Truth is, I’m having second thoughts—and it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s maybe blowing me off. As a card-carrying BFA, I’m having a bigger problem getting past one very significant issue: his name.

It’s Spyder. With a y.

Can I really date someone named Spyder? Does that violate some unspoken Big Firm rule? Or is the real issue not the name itself, but that it’s unapologetically evocative of his career and social status? Sadly, if he were a scrappy hedge fund manager pulling in ten mil a year, I’d probably be proud of the Spyder factor. I’d brag about my bad-ass financier and his irreverent name. But he’s not a financier. He’s a guy who, I believe, carries light bulbs for a living—but isn’t technically allowed to screw them in. That’s someone else’s job. But don’t quote me on that.

Why do we BFAs obsess about things like this? Why do we create these artificial status metrics that no one in the real world cares about? Are we the nerd clique sitting at the back of the high school cafeteria looking down on the emo clique at the next table? To the cool kids up front, we’re all lame losers. So I guess we have to look down on SOMEONE to feel better about our own pathetic lives. Well, not me. I’ve had enough. No more inane Firm-issued snobbery. No more caring about my so-called social status. I’m walking right up to the emo table and plunking my tray down. I’m gonna go out with gaffer boy Spyder—if he calls—just to make a point. I don’t need to date someone named Quinn or Trent or Blake or—

My phone rings, snapping me out of my mental rant. For the first time in minutes, I notice Dave and Larry, two senior associates, sitting in my office. Then, without warning, my secretary’s voice bleats through my intercom. “There’s a…a…spider calling for you?” At first, I smile. He really does think I’m cute! But, wait, crap. Did he really have to call now? In front of Dave and Larry? Do I cover? Do I explain? Just when I think I’m selling them short by thinking they’ll even care why a Spyder might call me, Larry smirks and Dave raises his eyebrows so far up his puffy bald head that they’re actually at the back of his neck. That’s the beauty of Big Firm senior associates like Dave and Larry; just when you think you’re selling them short, you realize you’ve actually underestimated what incredible douchebags they really are.

My secretary twists the knife. “He said you gave him your business card this weekend?” Now Dave and Larry each have their heads cocked at me, teeth bared. I sit back. And cave. “Ohhh, right right right. That’s right.” I turn to the guys and roll my eyes. “Pro bono thing. Just take a message.” Larry rolls his eyes, then jumps into a hi-larious ten-minute riff about how if I find a few more gang-banger charity cases with names like, say, Bull, Viper and T-Bone, I could start up a specialty practice.

And with that, I pick up my tray from the emo table and slink back over to my side of the cafeteria. I should’ve known I couldn’t hack a Spyder-Firm interface. I mean, let’s face it, of course I care what Dave and Larry—and every other hyperjudgmental nerd at the Firm—think. Until he changes his name to Ted or Eric, or until I go in-house or have a breakdown, a relationship with Spyder just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Our worlds are just too different. Our friends probably wouldn’t have gotten along anyway. Our kids would have—OK, OK, enough already. Who am I kidding?

That night, after a few solo slugs of rosé, I decide to return Spyder’s call. OK, so fine, I can’t marry him, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an occasional, late-night, no-strings romp.

I dial his digits and half-hope for voicemail. It’s ringing, no doubt somewhere in Astoria, maybe Inwood. He answers. “What up?”

I hesitate for a moment, then say hello. Tell him I’m sorry I took so long to call back.

“’s cool.” OK, so we’ve got the elegant greetings out of the way. Now what?

“So, I was just wondering if you do, like, criminal work,” he asks.

“Um, I’m sorry? I don’t— What?”

“Like drug stuff and shit. My roommate got busted for sellin’ last night.”

“Oh. Oh, OK. I just thought— You weren’t calling to ask me out?”

“Out? Like on a date?” And it may be the rosé talking, but I think I heard him laugh a little at that last part.

“Yeah. Like on a date.”

“Uh, sorry. I don’t date lawyers.”

“Well, I—I don’t date Spyders!” I shout. Then hang up. And immediately hate myself. Goddammit, why couldn’t I have come up with something smarter, zingier—or at least meaner? Then again, when you’re getting your already-fragile ego stomped on by some troglodyte light-bulb-toter named Spyder, it’s tough to be clever on the spot.

So I slam back another two glasses of rosé, order up a chorizo burrito, and decide it’s time to date only men with patrician, lawyer-friendly names. Names that are speakerphone-safe and won’t send my BFA colleagues into convulsions of eyebrow Olympics. Names like…Thane. Problem is, guys named Thane don’t seem to want to date me. Which is why I was probably willing to date a guy named Spyder in the first place.

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