Out and about in New York
IT IS EARLY afternoon, the subway platform is hot, and just as a train roars into the station, I see him. He's wearing Bermudas, of course, but they're funky and crumpled, and he turns and smiles as he steps onto the train. And before I think, who is this guy, where do I know him from, I'm smiling back. Vooooosh, I think I'm in love, but it's not my train, and I'm feeling coy, pleasantly bashful, it's like being 16 again, so I look at my book, and all the my heart-strings are well and truly zinging, but IT'S NOT MY TRAIN! And I'm late for a business meeting, and so I can't follow my heart's desire all the way to Brighton Beach. Just as the train pulls out, I look up and he's still smiling at me, all the way into the tunnel.

I am obsessed by this man - there is no other word - and a colleague's words come back to me: about how many of the English people he knows here end up going "kind of nuts" in New York. What's next, I wonder, am I going to turn into a stalker? In short, yes, I am.

It's a futile business, this thing about looking for a partner. The collective wisdom of my acquaintance has always been that, like policemen, you can never find one when you're looking for one. But deep down, we're programmed to seek a lover, surely, and so we look, all around the world, as Ms Stansfield sang. Many of us look a little too hard, perhaps, and a number of gay men I know fit perfectly Mrs Parker's description, of looking for monogamy through a thousand beds.

Well, I've found my man, I think to myself, only I left him on the subway. So I spend the next few days trying to remember where I know dream boy from. Did I meet him in Vegas, at Magic, the totally unmagical menswear trade show? Or does he work in Barnes & Noble on Sixth Avenue? Or does he walk the Runway on Eighth? Suddenly, late one night, it comes to me: he waits tables at an organic restaurant in Soho.

There's something strangely sexy about the whole waiter/customer thing, I think, something to do with your eyes being almost on a level with their baskets, perhaps, or the way they're serving you, so to speak, yet at the same time very much in control. There's certainly no way I'm in control. I've found myself thinking, in more maudlin moments, that Chardonnay will be my only love, my only comfort, the lovely golden thing I rest my weary head upon. And now, on the fragile basis of a single smile, I'm floating like a 13-year-old county girl who's been bought her first pony. Really, what can I say, other than nuts?

So for about a week, one organic restaurant gets a lot of corporate business from me, and I eat more mesclun salad than seems quite healthy, and I buy a shirt I'll never wear again, simply because seconds before I'm due to meet someone there, I suddenly realise I'm wearing exactly the same clothes I had on when we saw each other on the subway, which might make me seem "kind of nutty", like a stalker. Yet he's not there.

So after several lunches, and two glasses of, er, Chardonnay, I ask our plucky little waitress what happened to the cute waiter. Short dark hair, she asks, with a beautiful smile? That's the one, I utter breathlessly, and she tells me he's moved back to Connecticut. Now don't think I'm not game for it, because I am, but it strikes me that a target area the size of Connecticut is too big for anyone (now matter how nutty) to stalk, or stalk effectively at least. So I give her my phone number, to give to him. And I am waiting for the call.

In the meantime, I can't help thinking I'm not at my most effective at work: I am introduced to Calvin Klein, and I can't think of a single word, beyond a bright and airy "Hi! Er...wonderful to meet you, Mr Klein!" I am in an editorial meeting, and for whole minutes my mind is elsewhere, in a kind of Connecticut of the soul, I suppose, and I nearly tipped a cab driver $20 the other day. I'm even off Chardonnay. Hormones are a wonderful thing, aren't they?

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