Today is four weeks since I started my journey into summer sobriety, and I need to stop and thank Ken for his support. It’s not like he’s had to encourage me that I can do this or talk me off a ledge if I’m about to go off the rails and pour myself a tumbler filled with Patron. Please I’m far too determined to need a cheerleader to offer me encouragement.

Ken deserves thanks for the fact that I decided to write about my non-alcoholic summer, and that I mention him regularly. When I used to do Lizzie Nation I had a few family members make it clear that their lives are not my stories, although I still think there’s a fine line there since sometimes other peoples actions do have an impact on my life, but we can agree to disagree for now…

I still wonder if Ken would have stuck around if in the name of full disclosure I looked into the future and told him that one day I was going to write stuff about him and publish it on the internet… Probably yes, but I’m still glad my crystal ball was in the shop when we went on our first date.

I am entirely grateful that he has put up with my moods, my obsessions, my temperament and my outspokenness, none of which have improved since I started my long dry summer.

On that note I might as well share the story of how we met.

THIS IS THE REAL STORY OF HOW I MET KEN.

Flashback to May 2001 – I returned from Asia a few months before, and had become tired of THE SWELL LIFE I WAS LIVING. Things stopped being exciting after Asia, and I actually went on a Man Fast for awhile.

For the uninitiated, the Man Fast was my several month long break from men, dating and all things related to men and dating. I needed to clear my head, and except for a couple of moments of relatively harmless flirtation (I’m human) the Man Fast was a success. So I spent most of winter/early spring ’01 hibernating since all things seemed to suck after the trip. I realized that I was tired of the sweet life and was finally ready to have a B-O-Y-F-R-I-E-N-D

May brought warmer temperatures and a sense of restlessness; I was ready to BREAK FREE – Spring meant Play Time!!! Unfortunately I was still jaded and most ideas for breaking free bored me overall. Plus now that I was finally ready for a boyfriend I would have to go about things differently. May also brought Tamara’s departure; she was leaving the company we both worked for and moving down to Florida; this meant May also brought a going away party.

I was still in hibernation mode, but I knew I had to go out more if I was ever going to get out of my post Big Vacation rut. I invited Mel to come with me so I’d be forced to go and wouldn’t blow it all off last minute. (I AM FAMOUS FOR DOING THAT – BTW.) Mel’s younger daughter was 1 ½ at the time so she would have postponed surgery for a night out; she certainly wouldn’t let me get away with a “fuck it I’m staying in” mood.

The big event was held at Mo’s Caribbean on the Upper East. I’m a stickler for planning my outfits (particularly footwear and bags) according to the activities. Since we were going drinking, not dancing I wore low slung black skinny pants and a black tiny tee borrowed from Kayti (yes she was 11 and I may have been pushing the issue with the shirt, but I looked good.) That part of the outfit would have been fine for dancing, but I wore obnoxiously high black slide hooker height “come fuck me” heels that were barely appropriate for walking much less dancing. I was also carrying a nearly suitcase size red leather bowling bag purse (move on it was 2001…) that was great for hanging out at a bar, but not so much for dancing.

I had already decided that I was going to drink heavily and not even consider meeting a new relationship worthy boy. I was not on the search for a boyfriend, and I stated so publicly. I stuck to the plan while we were at Mo’s, but then the guest of honor wanted to go dancing at Culture Club. (Yeah again, I know…)

So off our group went in a caravan of taxis to the once popular 80’s themed dance club. This was a slight problem for me because as stated earlier, I did not have the right footwear bag combination for dancing late into the night. I’d look like a clunky dork if I tried to dance with a 20 pound bowling bag on my arm, and if you are wondering why I didn’t put my bag down to dance you are clearly not from here.

It was hot as HELL in the club, and I already consumed an impressive amount of vodka so it felt even hotter to me. Dancing would not have been an option even with comfy shoes and a little bag. I went upstairs to a small bar area off the main area hoping it would be cooler. And there I was hot, drunk and not dancing when Ken spoke to me.

I’d like to tell you that it was head over heels love at first sight, but it wasn’t. The room did not get quiet, the crowd did not part and a choir of angels didn’t begin to serenade us. My first impression was that he seemed nice and didn’t appear to even remotely be a dick, which is still pretty damn good for hot, tired and buzzed at 2 am. I appreciated that he knew my eyes are in my face which is on my head and not my chest – Ok the girls are nice and all, but be interested in ME not them. We had a nice conversation shouting over the music, but by then it was around 4 in the morning and getting home was a wise idea. We were both living on Long Island at the time; he was in his recent divorce apartment and I still had the Merrick house. He offered to give me a ride, and I told him I’d have to check with Mel. I guess neither of us was thinking sensibly because she AGREED. (I can tell you honestly that this one a total high school flashback as in – MEL I MET A CUUUUUTE BOOOOY SO WE HAVE A RIDE HOME AND DON’T HAVE TO CALL OUR PARENTS – CAN WE GO WITH HIM??)

We left the club together, and I introduced Ken to Mel as Kevin. (It WAS loud in there.) As we were driving away I saw Tamara getting in a cab with some people so I yelled out the window to introduce her to Ken. SHE RIGHTFULLY FREAKED AND WROTE DOWN HIS PLATE NUMBER. It was only then that it occurred to me that getting a ride home with a strange man even if I did have my best-est girlfriend with me was not a wise maneuver.

Fortunately Ken was not the ax murderer that Tamara feared he might be. He called me for a date for the following Friday night, and I actually kept the date. I had been in the habit of agreeing to dates and canceling the day of for awhile, but I decided to actually keep a date for once. I’m glad I did because the date went well, the next few went even better, and here we are 13 years later all because of an act of stupidity and the wrong shoes.