Lilith Duvalier recently tossed away her stable small town existence to pursue La Vie Bohéme in a major metropolitan area. She shacked up in a boarding house, just like in Cabaret, but with Ph. D candidates instead of burlesque dancers and Nazis. Right now she lives in the basement, but aspires to one day live upstairs. With a window and everything.
She enjoys writing, drinking tea, reading, live theater, and spending so much time at the same table in a local coffee house that even the owner thinks of it as “Lilith’s Table”.
Aspiring novelist Elaine is beginning to worry that she is going to die a virgin.
It's not really her fault. There have been pitfalls, delays, disasters and possibly curses, but at 35 years old she's getting ready to throw in the towel. She's too old now to ever get her perfect first time, and the longer she stays a virgin, the harder it is to explain. The pressure is starting to build as a third date with decent-but-dull William looms on the horizon and Elaine has to decide whether or not a decent date (and some terrible advice from her gay best friend Tony) is enough to save her from becoming a 36 year old virgin.
"So…whatchy'a doin'?" he asked with a grin and a sing-song voice.
Elaine rolled her eyes at him. "Despite the pajamas, I am actually working. I ask you again, what do you want?"
"I was wondering if you wanted to go out tomorrow night. My imaginary boyfriend invited me to a charity fashion thing he's going to be in at that bar you hate." He took a sip of coffee. "You in?"
"The bar where everything is sticky or the bar with all the little bottle-blond twinks?" Elaine asked. She dropped down next to him and pulled an afghan over her lap. After a moment she decided to share it with him.
"The one with the twinks."
"Tony," Elaine groaned. "We are thirty-five. We are too old for that bar."
Tony held up a finger. "In my defense, my imaginary boyfriend is too old for that bar too." He tucked the finger back down and started wheedling. "Come on. It's for charity. A bunch of local designers are showing off some of their pieces. He's a model in one of the shows. The money's going to…cancer or AIDS or children or something. Some good cause or another." He stuck his bottom lip out at her, in a way that had stopped working a couple months after she'd met him. "Please? I need to you to come with so I have someone to help shield me from twinks. If I'm defenseless they'll be swarming me all night."
Elaine sneered. "Oh, is it hard to be so pretty, Tony?"
Tony smacked her arm. "Shut up. I nearly got eaten alive the last time I was there alone."
"Fine. I'll go with you and protect you from college boys with nipple rings slopping their glasses of "Sex on the Beach" all over themselves."
Tony narrowed his eyes in mock scrutiny. "Wait. That was way too easy. What are you trying to get out of?"
Elaine jerked her hand back and took her coffee mug off the table, warming her hands against the porcelain. "Can't you just take a win, Tony? Do we have to debate why exactly I'm indulging you?" Elaine tried to look as long-suffering as she felt.
"You just agreed to go out to a bar that you hate, in the middle of a hot streak." Tony pointed an accusing finger at her. "What's really going on here, Lay-Lay?"
"Nothing's really going on."
"I'm writing a gay romance next and I need to research twinks in their natural habitat?"
"I have a vested interest in getting you happily married off to the man of your dreams so I can get some work done?"
"Almost sweet, but still a lie." Tony stuck his tongue out at her. His eyes widened suddenly. "William!" he shouted.
Elaine’s jaw tightened. "What about him?"
"You're trying to avoid him."
"I'm not trying to avoid him," Elaine declared, knowing Tony would see through it.
"Why are you trying to avoid poor William?" Tony demanded. "Claudia and Jimmy tried so hard to set you up with this guy and he seems…" Tony faltered as he looked for an adjective and Elaine groaned internally. That was the problem. William just seemed. There was nothing particularly interesting or outstanding about him. He was average height, average build, with dishwater blond and he worked almost the same job that Elaine did, for another company. He liked true crime shows and playing online poker. And that just about summed him up. You could have a half hour conversation with him and forget about him later in the day.
"…Nice," Tony finished.
"Uh-huh." Elaine raised an eyebrow at him. "And what else?"
"Nice and…" Tony held a hand out in front of him, as though hoping the correct word would drop into it. "He wears a lot of grey."
"There you go. I would rather stay home and work, or go out with you, dodge horny twenty somethings, and try to wring Malibu out of my shirt than have a nice, grey third date with William." She bit her cheek as she said it, and bit it harder when Tony's head tilted to the side and he gave her a slightly sad smile.
"Bailing on the third date huh?"
"Tony, don't." Elaine stood up and went back to the coffee pot, pretending to refresh her mostly full cup.
"Look, don't get me wrong, in your position I might not sleep with poor, boring William either. I'm just saying if this is more about not wanting to sleep with William than it is about not being sure whether or not you like William, you need to go on this date."
"I don't want to sleep with William," Elaine huffed, gripping her mug tighter.
"So don't." Tony shrugged. "But dump him because you don't like him, don't dump him because you're worried you'll have to fulfill expectations he might not even have. It's only been two dates. Maybe he's got unplumbed depths." Tony set his mug on the coffee table and stood, grabbing his coat off the ground. "Just don't get so…psyched out by your unplumbed depths."
"Lame word play, Tony. Lame." Elaine shook her head in mock disgust. It annoyed her that Tony oscillated between thinking it was sad and thinking it was uproariously hilarious that she had, through bad luck, unusual circumstances, and finally a sense of defeat, become a thirty-five-year-old virgin. If he hadn't been her best and oldest friend she wouldn't have put up with his occasional teasing about it.
"Damn," Tony grinned. "And I was so proud of that one."
Elaine frowned into her mug. Tony grabbed her knee and shook it.
"Lay-Lay, you can't keep letting yourself get psyched out about this. Not that big a deal."
She sighed. "I'm just worried about what I think I want. I mean… I pay my rent thinking about all the perfect little ways to initiate this. Maybe I've just built this up to much."
Tony finished the last gulp of his coffee, set the empty mug down on the coffee table, and settled back into the couch, crossing his arms.
"Yeah. You have," he assured her. "But just because you're a little… delayed, that doesn't mean you don't still deserve some build up. And if you never give a guy a chance, you'll never lose it."
"I know," Elaine groaned. "It would just be nice to still feel like there was potential for some big… romantic… thing. But I missed out on that. It's depressing."
"You're a romance writer. It'll be as romantic as you need it to be. Just don't shoot yourself in the foot before you even get a chance to make it happen. Maybe if you give him a chance, Boring William will be the one."
"If he is we'll need to stop calling him Boring William," Elaine pointed out.
"Maybe he'll be able to laugh at himself?" Tony suggested, pulling his hat on and carefully adjusting his curls underneath it.
"I doubt it.”
"I'll call you tomorrow to see what you decided, all right Lay-Lay?" He rocked himself up off her couch, kissing her on the forehead on his way toward the door.
She swatted him away. "Yeah. Fine. Get out of my apartment."
Elaine sighed, settled back into her couch and flipped her computer back open.
"I need better friends," she announced to the empty room. The coffee pot gurgled back at her. She chose to take it as agreement.