Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Every once in a while, I check up on him to make sure he's not incarcerated.

People, and men in particular, do not know what to do with my friend Kelli.

Kelli is tall and pretty and very much a girly-girl. She always has her make up on and her nails done. Her hair is long and blonde and tastefully layered. She has big breasts - breasts she did not have in high school. They were expensive, and I must say, really well done. She wears high heels, as a rule.

She is incredibly friendly, smiles all the time, and giggles a lot. And she's also whip smart and though she's incredibly nice and polite, doesn't take any shit. People who think she's a bimbo or a pushover will always be in for an incredible shock.

Kelli is going to be the subject of several posts, if not this week then in upcoming ones. In fact, I asked if I could interview her about her year as an exotic dancer, and she agreed.

On Saturday night she picked me up at my hotel and we went to a restaurant/bar called Japonais, which was elegant and hip and charming. If it were in DC, I'd want to go there all the time for the atmosphere. And the food was ohmygodsodelicious melt in your mouth good.

We both wanted wine, and so when I went up to the bar I asked if we should just get two glasses and she said, "Ah, Hell. We might as well just start with a bottle. Don't you think?"

And that was just the beginning of the evening. We sat down to wait for our table, and I told her she looks fantastic. She thanked me. And then said, "Hey, wait!"

She whipped out her cell phone and pulled up a picture of herself. Naked!

And yes, I was surprised, but hilariously so. Man, if I looked that hot naked, I'd have a pic on my phone as well. Hell, I'd happily take a picture, have stickers printed up, and post them on telephone poles all over the city. No, that's a lie. I wouldn't really. Just kidding, mom and dad.

We were squeezed into a tiny table in the swanky downstairs bar. The couple next to us were eating something absolutely beautiful. So I asked the guy, whose lap I was practically sitting on, what it was.

It was Kobe beef carpaccio. They offered us a taste. I don't eat beef (but I prefer that men do, whatever that means) but am unable to turn down new experiences when they're so beautiful and appealing. And it was oh so delicious. To their amusement, I took a picture.

We finished that bottle and then decided it was more judicious to just order by the glass from that point on. That point was perhaps 10:30. As it turned out, we had nearly four hours ahead of us. You can learn a lot about a person in four hours.

I really didn't know Kelli as an adult till Saturday. We knew each other in 10th grade, and then her family left Delhi. And I didn't see her again until two years ago, and that was only for a reunion. And we've kept in very sporadic touch since then.

But we have that high school bond. Forged by experiences that other people, people who grew up more "normally" than us cannot relate to.

So Saturday night, squeezed in at our little table, and then later hanging out drinking even more wine with her friend K, we bonded. Kelli and I both present ourselves as "what you see is what you get" - except that as with everyone, there are sooo many more layers below the surface, even when you are very candid about who you are.

And so the title of this post? A direct quote from Kelli. About an ex-boyfriend, now affectionately referred to as "John the con," who, when she started digging into his past, turned out to be an ex-con. And perpetually one step ahead of the law. Which is not the reason she broke up with him.

She said he tried to hide both his past and his present. But Kelli's dad did embassy security all over the world. You don't grow up with that and not learn a thing or two about finding out what you want to know.

As I said, layers and layers.

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