Him: Thanks for walking me back to my hotel.
Me: No problem.
Him: Sorry my friends were so obnoxious.
Me: They were a handful. None of them are larger than 5’6 and yet they drink like lumberjacks.
Him: What’s a lumber jack?
Me: A guy who cuts down trees and eats a lot of maple syrup.
Him: I drank a lot too.
Me: Yeah. Everyone got wasted.
Him: You too?
Me: No, I just had that one shot that everyone was forcing on me. I don’t drink much anymore.
Him: Why not?
Me: I got tired of acting the way your friends acted tonight.
Him: Hey. Those are my friends. They didn’t act so bad.
Me: Yeah. I guess they didn’t.
Him: What did they do?
Me: They were just gruesome, a little. They seemed to be competing with each other for attention the whole time, which I hate. (Unless I’m doing it, then it’s hilarious). I went to theater school. I’m no stranger to that stuff, but… Also. Actually. This was weird. Whenever I would compliment them they would all stop and zero in on it, and then ask me to repeat the compliment. Then they would smile really big and and act condescendingly flattered. Then they would laugh and ridicule the compliment. It was a group effort. It was really off-putting. I felt like I was being ridiculed for being nice.
Him: You have to understand. That’s just Singapore. We don’t go around giving compliments to each other. It strikes us as a very fake thing to do.
Me: I wasn’t being fake. Here’s it’s considered good conversation to give compliments here and there. Especially since I was flirting with you, and I wanted your friends to like me. It’s just smart, here.
Him: It makes us very nervous.
Me: Almost suspicious, it seems….
Him: Maybe. Maybe that’s true.
Me: I was being sincere. Everything I said, I meant. Especially the stuff about how attractive you are.
Him: Hey. Come on now. You said that before, okay? I don’t need to hear that. I don’t want to keep hearing that all night.
Me: What? Don’t you want me to think you’re attractive?
Him: Yeah, I already know you do, though.
I’m sorry. In my country I’m very famous, so I hear these things all the time. I get tired of everyone telling me I’m attractive.
Me: Believe me. So do I. I run a pie blog. The compliments never end.
Him: In Singapore I’m a national sports star. I’m a household name. I’d say about 80% of people know who I am. I’m on the national bowling team.
Me: Bowling? Why didn’t you tell me I was with the Derek Jeter of Singapore? Will you autograph my chest?
Him: What’s a pie blog?
Me: It’s this huge thing in America. Everyone has their favorite pie blog, and people argue which one is best. I run a popular one, but not the most popular one… I’d say only about 40% of Americans know who I am.
Him: You’re joking but I’m not. It gets really boring. Everyone knows who I am and they’re constantly glad handling me an giving me false compliments.
Me: Sounds like a snooze. By the way. Here we are.
Him: The W Hotel? Ah yes. You must come up.
Me: Haha. No. I said I’d make sure you got here safe. You’re here safe. You’re almost as wasted as your friends. Let’s meet up for dinner on Sunday. Come over to my place and I’ll cook you dinner.
Him: Just come up now.
Me: No. It’s late and I’ve got writing to do and just… no. Sunday we’ll be on the same wavelength.
Him: Just come up now. Stay with me.
Me: No. I really don’t want to. It’s not you. I’m exhausted and I’m not good at sleeping in new environments. Sunday, huh?
Him: Don’t be dense. Just come upstairs. I’ll give you a massage and who knows…
Me: Thanks for the offer, but hey, we’re asymmetrically drunk from each other. You’re really cute and I like you. Let’s meet for dinner?
Him: Come up.
Me: I really have to go.
Him: NO. Come up!
Me: I can’t, sorry. Goodbye. I’ll see you on Sunday, yes?
Him: Why is your voice so high?
Him: Your voice is so high. It sounds strange. What’s wrong with it? It’s kind of grating.
Him: Hey. I’m sorry.
Me: You’re feeling rejected. And so you’re now trying to make me feel bad. I tell you you’re pretty all night, and you and your obnoxious, over privileged friends scoff at me for it. Now, I’m proposing you wait a day or two and then go on a date with me, and instead of gracefully accepting, you try to harangue me into a late night drunken tryst in your hotel room. But because you feel rejected, or because you don’t feel validated, you’re lashing out at me. It’s very small of you. I told you I’m an actor, right?
Him: Yes. Listen…
Me: No. I don’t think I will. I’ve been listening to you all night and now you’re going to listen to me. Ready?
As you can imagine I’ve had my rather unique voice criticized a bunch of times in my life as a performer. Casting directors, directors, agents, other actors, musical directors. I’ve had plenty of people try to tell me to change my voice and there was a time when I would have, if I knew at all how to go about it. How does one go about changing their voice?
But here’s the thing: I won’t stop. I don’t ever stop. I got good at comedy – where my grating voice is an asset. I keep doing musicals. I front a band. I improvise musicals. So fuck off, will you? I don’t need you asking me what’s wrong with my voice. The answer to that question is: nothing. I have a beautiful, unique, hilarious, powerful voice and you were right – I’m sensitive about it. But you were wrong – I’m not insecure about it.
Him: Come on, now. I’m sorry. You’re right.
Me: It’s just so small. You don’t get what you want immediately, and so you lash out in the cruelest way possible. It’s… man… wow… I’m getting angry. I have to leave.
Him: Please don’t leave. I feel bad.
Me: Good. You should. I was nice to you and tried to make you feel good all night.
Him: Let me take you to dinner.
Me: I don’t think i will.
Him: You’ve misunderstood me. I’m just being Singaporean.
Me: I know people from Singapore that don’t behave like you. Enjoy the rest of your time in New York.
Jerk. Or, no. Wait…