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“I think I might invite a mystery guest.”

Barry finishes a bite of pasta buried in brown ragout and goes to fiddle with his Blackberry. Ten minutes later, said mystery guest arrives: Juan Gomez, bane of my existence.

“Hey, long time,” I say, kissing each of his greasy cheeks. Everything about this person is slimy, slick, dripping in bullshit. I haven’t seen him since our trip to the Dominican Republic, where I spent the better part of five days debating an escape, floating on a discarded tire through the Caribbean to the shores of Florida.

He’s with another guy, an oil man from Texas who likely owns thirty-five guns even though he lives in Tribeca and never has to take the subway. He’s wearing one of those Western shirts, the kind with the opalescent snapping buttons.

“What are you doing in town?” I ask Juan.

“I’m here all the time. Every two weeks. All the time. I’ve got a place on the Upper East Side,” he says, answering five different questions I didn’t even bother asking.

“Yeah, but what are you doing here?”

Juan mentions being here all the time again before telling me about a wedding next Thursday. “What about you? What have you been doing? I haven’t seen you in forever,” he says.

I could have gone longer.

We both could have gone longer.

Infinitely. Indefinitely. Everlong.

The lights of Cipriani glare overhead, bright and expository as a car dealership. Meanwhile, Juan and I continue civilities, pretending we didn’t spend an entire weekend back in May generally despising one another. I finish all the vegetables in Eva’s appetizer, plucking them out of lukewarm sauce with the silver prong of my fork.

Juan and the Texan are having a debate about just how many days they spent together in St. Bart’s two years ago. “It was seven days in St. Tropez,” the Texan insists, “and twenty-one in St. Barts.”

Juan throws in the towel and picks up his drink and shakes his head. After two drinks and victory, the Texan leaves.

***

“That guy!” Barry starts. “That guy is such a pervert!”

The topic of fake breasts has come up – as it so…rarely does – and the men are discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of a well-known plastic surgeon on the Upper East Side. Barry goes on to say that the doctor is the kind who puts women under and then fondles their lady parts. Eva glares at him and asks how many boob jobs he’s purchased for women over the years.

“Fuck, I can’t tell you how many I’ve paid for,” Juan chimes in – not to take the edge off, but to boast of the many female torsos he has improved in his life as an unappealing bachelor. “Dozens!”

“I should start a foundation,” he continues. “The Boob Foundation!”

I can’t believe we’re having this conversation in public.

“Eva…” Barry starts.

“But what about that story?” Eva interrupts. “The one where you guys chipped in and bought the boobs for that girl.”

As legend has it, when Barry was in college, a mutual “friend” was trying to win Miss Missouri and a group of boys pooled together to pay for her breast implants – and then some. “She got the works,” Barry says, mentioning lips, chin implants, etc. Their donations had apparently been ample and generous.

“Did she win?” I ask.

“Oh, I don’t know.”

All of a sudden I am incredibly thankful for growing up generally poor, with parents who had to barter chainsaws and lawnmowers for my summer camp. The only thing I spent money on in college were my weekly breakfast rations: a carton of orange juice and a loaf of wheat bread. I went to dinner once during the entire year — Samy’s Dumplings in the West Village.

Juan is trying to tell me that the world revolves around what men think of breasts. “If…if…if…,” he stutters, “if you got boobs, you would never fly coach. First class, always: Excuse me, miss. Can I put your tits in row 7A?

According to him, every setback I have ever had in life is the result of being flat-chested. With boobs, I would rule New York City. With a rack, I would rule the world! I could have anyone I wanted – the richest of the rich. Boobs are the only things keeping me from everlasting happiness, although Juan’s version of everlasting happiness are inherently at odds with my own. His version would leave me with a massive bank account and a noose around my throat.

“If…if…if…” he goes on, “you had tits, you would have your own three-story apartment.”

When Juan says “tits” the “s” trails like an ill intentioned snake, gliding through the grass, waiting to find its next victim, preferably an infant.

“How tall are you?” he asks. “5’10, 5’11?”

“5’11.”

Juan stares at my chest, imaging the most appropriate cup-size for my Dutch/German frame. He squints, placing in his mind what God should have already put in his hand.

“You could do a 34C… a 34D maybe.”

He doesn’t look at my face.

“Yeah, 34C for sure.”

[Photo: Courtesy of French Vogue]

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