The early days of living in New York City were by all reaches of my memory a bit magical. I lived in a large apartment with enough other young women to field a basketball team. Or given that most of us were actresses, you might better think of us as Six Characters in Search of an Author. Those were heady days. College friends filled the neighborhood and the rest of the city held friends in the making. Nights were spent drinking at a selection of choice bars, usually in the same order beginning with our local and ending far enough away that justifying cab fare at 4:00 am was easy. Life was as easy as it can be before careers and the pressure to find a mate settled in. When you're single at 23 you take it as an edict to meet as many attractive men as possible, kissing some, dancing with others, flirting with the friends of a few.
I did have a few boyfriends during that time, men that I kissed, danced with and flirted with their friends - but dated exclusively and happily. Walking through Manhattan holding hands with a man you like feels like you're playing out a scene in a movie. In fact, one summer evening I did just that...
The fellow I was dating was tall, a bit thick around the middle, very smart and also a touch arrogant. I remember when we met - it was on a July night at Midsummer Night Swing in Lincoln Center. He had been seeing a friend of mine, though she told me she wasn't crazy about him and was going to break it off. He and I laid eyes on each other and it was all over. With her blessing, we had our first date that weekend... our romance the perfect summer event. One evening we were taking a walk and ended up at Carl Schurz Park, watching the East River flow by, smelling the air get thicker in anticipation of a storm. It started to sprinkle so we started the walk home. The sprinkles turned rapidly into large drops and suddenly the sky opened up. East 89th Street turned into a shower. Warm, furious summer rain poured down on us. We tried running for a minute, but it really was hopeless. Laughing, we stopped in the middle of the road and pulled in to each other in a passionate embrace. Even remembering it these fifteen years later I am struck by the passion, the water running down our cheeks, our arms, our toes, doing nothing to cool down the heat. This was my most cinematic of personal scenes and Hollywood could do no better.
So if George Lucas was the auteur of That Summer in Manhattan, Judd Apatow would pen the sequel. Taking place fifteen years later it would find January still single and making her way through a city on a coast 3000 miles away. She would be a blogger, writing of her adventures with men and her difficulty in accepting getting older. One day she would remember the young man, her former co-star. She would Google him. And she would find that he too is now living in this city. Over time though, this formerly struggling journalist would have ascended the throne of a large publication. He would also have gotten married to a Jewish woman, converted for her, had a bris in his 30's, and changed his last name to hers. That's right, he would now go by John Wussy-Smith, the bachelor, foreskinned days of John Smith long gone. He would be as arrogant as ever (and retained his spare tire) and January, realizing she had dodged quite a bullet those fifteen years ago, would raise her glass to offer a toast to the happy couple. She would then blog about the great cinema they made that summer but not without mocking the man. Perhaps the sequel would be called I'd Have Let You Keep Your Balls.
Perhaps in the sequel January would find a partner of her own. I'd like that.