What's typical after three hours and forty minutes of late French new wave is to smoke a lot of cigarettes, but that option's no longer open to me. So instead, I let myself get picked up. Which, as the story unfolds, is as much like continuing along in a cafe scene as the smoking would have been. I'm not easy to pick up; or, I am, if I'm in exactly the right mood and you do exactly what this guy did. He was bold. He wasn't even fully in his seat before he was chatting me up, and after the film, although I turned my back to him, didn't make eye contact when he said goodbye, and took a very long time fixing up in the toilet, etc, he was waiting for me when I headed for the street, and straight asked me for a drink. I had an hour to kill before going to Brandon and Alli's for dinner. I suggested the House of Shields but he said the Pied Piper.
At the bar I ordered a beer and he had a Coke. Who drinks Coke outside of the French movies? He continued to be bold: He said he thought Veronika and Marie loved Alexandre in the same way, and for the same thing: Alexandre fucked them really well; then he said he himself had noticed this very problem: when he fucks a girl really well, and he means really well, he said, then the girl falls inordinately in love with him. This had the immediate intended effect of distracting me from the subject of the conversation to private considerations of whether or not he could fuck me really well, and he knew I was distracted, he knew what I was thinking about, and he asked me, what are you thinking about? Then he named Alexandre's primary charm with women as his smooth conviction about what he wanted with them. Except my Coke-drinking companion kept saying that Alexandre was "convicted". Really he was describing himself and his own bold manner. He talked about the knee socks I was wearing and this gave him the opportunity---which he made, and took---to put his hand on my calf, feel my leg and talk about it! Bold! More than bold! Offensive! I let him! We hadn't been in the bar 15 minutes. Isn't this amusing? But I know someone just like him, thank god; I am on to this game. And he had lots more to play before the hour was up. He analyzed and correctly conjectured my Meyers-Briggs. I asked a question and he told me I was going to have to earn that information. He made me laugh. He insulted me and he flattered me. As it always turns out in a city as small as a French new wave film where everyone shows up at the same cafe at the same time all the time, he's the ex-lover of someone I know by proxy.
At 8 o'clock I said it was time to go. When he told me he didn't have a job I told him he had to pay the tab. I let him walk me part-way to my dinner party. Very beautifully, however, just as in the best after-dark rain-and-Gauloise Paris street scene, the real narrative begins when I leave the street for the party, kiss my friends and tell them the story of the last hour. They know I'll never have another date with this man and they know why---something he could never guess, is aside from anything he did or said or didn't say or didn't do, and which information is the most basic first exchange you make with a new person: his name. If you know me well, you know what it was.
Oh, the film? The Mother and the Whore. It's playing next month at the PFA, definitely don't miss it.