At the request of a reader (thanks for taking my hint, Hulali Leigh!), this week I’ll tell the story of how I almost became Carmella Soprano. Also known as my one very short date with an Algerian drug dealer.
Like so many beautiful romances, ours started in a dark Italian alley while one of my friends was buying drugs from one of his. Despite the barriers of language (neither one of us spoke each other’s language, and we both spoke pretty lousy Italian), he managed to ask me out and, for reasons I no longer remember (but probably that William Hurt was hot in The Big Chill), I accepted.
We met at a coffee shop, and for the two minutes that it takes to drink an espresso standing up, things went well. But then, short of ideas and funds (apparently drug dealing doesn’t pay as well in reality as the movies), he decided to hold the rest of our date on a wall behind a church. We sat, we made out, and then, disastrously, we tried to hold a conversation. He wanted to tell me about his favorite musicians, but, as I explained to him, of course I had never heard of these obscure Europeans. No, no, I would know this one, he insisted, pronouncing the name over and over again in his heavy accent.
Finally, I understood. He was saying, “Mariah Carey.” And that was it. I may be willing to date a drug dealer who can’t even afford to buy me lunch and doesn’t speak my language. But a guy who listens to Mariah? That’s too much to ask.