As part of Tuesday's effort to make new friends, I signed up for an East Meets West healing workshop which was organised by the HBS Club and was being publicised through ASW. How bad could it be, maybe I would even get to meet some nice MBA types which from London experience, were great to hang out with. And maybe I would even learn to find my Inner Harmony? It definitely sounded hopeful.
When I got to the venue, a good selection of food had been laid out and people were eating and mingling. The crowd seemed to be composed of middle-aged women, a few younger women (mostly from ASW) and a few elderly gentlemen. Not quite the crowd I had in mind, but hey, I was new to the city and prepared to be open-minded.
It should have registered to me then that there was no alcohol being served. The trainer touched on a few topics over the course of the evening. Nutrition - did you know that food products made with uncooked soy beans are toxic? did you know that carbonated drinks are bad for maintaining bone density? Laughing yoga - we were made to place our hands over our bellies and go "ha!". when the guy next to me refused to participate, the trainer singled him out of everyone and forced him to do it. Clearly a non-believer! Fengshui - our trainer was nearly finishing a 3-year Master's in the topic. Meditation - this was actually quite effective as the energy in the room became a lot more calm after we'd done it.
All probably useful and interesting knowledge, but I realised that this is definitely not something I would have done in my normal life back in London. I guess the good thing about being in a new city is that it forces you to try new things, meet new people and generally be much more open-minded.
As the session finished, the non-believer turned to me and asked me if I'd wanted to go for a drink. I picked up copies of the pamphlets for us on our way out and made vague noises about how eye-opening the session had been. But there was no mistaking it, we had been the only 2 non-believers in the room.
We went to the Monday Room, a casual lounge with a extensive wine list and small plates to match the wine. We sat on the terrace outside, watching happy content diners spill out of the adjacent sister restaurant Public onto the street. Over food and wine, we talked about food and wine (duh!), interior design, furniture, marriage, our histories. We must have talked about much more because the time seemed to pass so quickly. Throughout I kept thinking to myself, "Damn, this is such a romantic setting and conversation comes so naturally, but I don't feel like kissing this guy. Ah well, he sounds like he could be a good new friend in NY anyway."
Bellies full, we left and went out onto the night, which was distinctively chiller than it had been a few hours before.
"Do you want a cigarette?"
"Sure, why not?" After all, it had been a surreal and random enough evening with the hippie new-age healing workshop. Plus I didn't want to seem like a prude.
He asked me where I lived. "West 11th and 5th" And then we started walking, taking drags on our respective cigarettes as we did so. I wondered where we were walking towards and didn't want to spoil the moment by asking.
We got to one street corner when the cars were coming fast at us. He reached for my hand to hold me back. At that moment, we were just a boy and a girl holding hands in the night. We held hands all the way to my block.
My doorman was outside having a smoke. It was the first time he'd seen me with a guy since I moved in. It has been a long time since I last felt like this, like an embarassed schoolgirl caught out with my first boyfriend.
Anyway, he got my number. Stay tuned :)