Once upon a time, when I first moved to New York and everything was shiny and new, I used to enjoy the mildly cheesy, über gay dining experience of what I then called "Fageteria". Since those early, heady days, much has changed in the way of my perception of things, but my view of Fageteria never seemed to rust - something crazy always happened there.
Like the time I went out to dinner with two former coworkers and left them for dead in the (successful) lustful pursuit of a hunky Israeli who was cruising me from the bar.
Or, the time I ate there with college friends and the following drunken discussion took place over too many Manhattans:
ME: "Amy, do you think we're..."
AMY: "Don't say it."
AMY: "Don't say the word."
ME: "What word?"
AMY: "Alcoholic. We're not alcoholics. We're funaholics. Things just happen to be more fun when you're drunk."
Or, the time my friend Ch'ien was in town from Boston. We were so drunk, Ch'ien fell over not one but two diners and tried to take his shirt off at the table. I made it out unscathed, save for having some man's phone number scrawled in black ink on my left hand. How it got there still remains a mystery. Needless to say, I never called the number.
But, I digress. The point of this is how now, I can no longer lovingly call Cafeteria, "Fageteria".
I ate there last week and was shocked at the number of young (I mean, seriously, young) straight women (seated two and four to a table with desserts and Cosmopolitans) that were cluttering up the joint. Had I been in a coma for a while? Or was this yet another odd by-product of "Sex and the City"? Since the clean white interior does resemble the diner Carrie & Co. are always kvetching at, maybe this was a haven for young wannabes to talk about blowjobs and failed relationships over cocktails and chocolate.
However, once we were seated to eat, I realized these girls may be attempting "Sex and the City," but what they were channeling was something closer to a failed MTV reality show.
On one side of the banquette, we had a bad knock-off of Ashlee Simpson, complete wth dyed black hair, faux-goth make-up and chipped dark green nail polish. Her dyed hair was kept in check by a knit cap. She talked steadily on her cell phone in a drone while her friend, seated across from her, looked desperately bored/stoned.
On the other side of the banquette, Britney Spears was in full effect...sort of, anyway. A big, blonde, blown-out mess of a girl in tight pastels, Britney Jr. was also gabbing away on her cell phone loudly, while her friend picked at a shared piece of cake, desperate for any attention B2 might occasionally drop her way.
When a waitress passed by B2's table, she screamed: "Hey! Heeeeeeey! We need to ooooorder some mmoooooore drinks!!!"
Given that B2's lung power could stop a freight train, the waitress paused at the table.
"Look, " B2 slurred, "I don't want to be a bitch. But we seriously, seriously need to order some more drinks."
"Ok." The waitress patiently replied.
"We need another...what was it? Oh, yeah, we need a, um, grape martini and another one of these - a pineapple mojito."
B2 held up a frothly glass that looked like a ball of cotton candy had recently committed suicide in.
I could feel their hangovers already.
I realized, as I recalled my fond, drunken overload memories of Fageteria meals past, that maybe I was Britney, a few years removed.
I also realized, what was once "Fageteria" to me, would know be forever known as "Straight-Girl-In-Need-of-A-Fageteria".