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August 28, 2008 / Perspective / The Search

One search down, another on the rocks

The Brooklyn Paper
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Chapter one of the tragicomedy “The Search” — the saga of a not-so-young man ripped from his moorings and forced to sink or swim in the chaotic borough changing before his very eyes — draws near to its gripping conclusion with its nerdy, rock-and-roll protagonist (that’s me) now safely sheltered.

Two weeks after the bottom fell out from beneath me when my girlfriend ditched me and sent me reeling from our Clinton Hill apartment, I’ve landed on my feet (or, more accurately, one of them): I have a place to call home.

My bags are packed, my rent security check should clear in a day or two, and my able-bodied male friends have been summoned to fulfill their obligatory function to help move me into my new apartment in Ditmas Park. (Their nonnegotiable payment for the drudgery is the requisite serving of pizza and beer.)

Everyone perks up when I say I moved to Ditmas Park, but those moans of delight will certainly change when people see the actual apartment. Actually, the building is not so bad once you get past the front door and foyer, which is not hard to do because the lock is busted.

“This place looks like it’s owned by Raskolnikov’s landlady!” one of my male friends said when he saw the joint.

Perhaps, but Doestoevsky’s anti-hero didn’t share rooms with a painter and an actor — nor was the homocidal superman of “Crime and Punishment” living in a nice three bedroom in a nice neighborhood (though Raskolnikov would’ve loved Vox Pop, the anarchist bookstore and coffeeshop on Cortelyou Road).

But the other search — the Search for Love — continues. This week’s installment? Confronting the stark possibility that I might be “damaged goods” in the eyes of Brooklyn’s women (yes, all of them, apparently).

This all became crystal clear last week when I dined with a young lady at Frankie’s 457 on Court Street.

I can’t share many tasty tidbits about the date, other than to praise the rib eye, because the tryst was almost entirely off-the-record.

(This column and the accompanying online podcasts at http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/32/31_32_mm_the_search1.html are a double-edged sword: my newfound openness and independent streak captivate the public’s substantial interest in my personal life, but no one wants to get publicly chopped up either. Henceforth, as of a matter of policy — not so much out of journalistic ethics, but so I don’t hurt my shot getting dates — I pledge to protect the privacy of ladies past, present and future, and to embarrass no one but myself and the editor who keeps assigning these pieces.)

Now back to my date.

My recently dumped status raised some warning flags, with my companion. “Not red flags, but pink flags,” she said.

The color-coordinated code utterly confused me. I didn’t know if I should be relieved that she wasn’t on DEFCON 1 or if she questioned my heterosexual bona fides.

The concern ultimately is that I might be rebounding worse than the Knicks frontcourt.

One close friend said the problems could even run deeper than that.

The first two objective thoughts that ran through her head when she thought of a man in my position were, “Eeeek! He’s on the rebound,” and “WHY did he get dumped in the first place?” She also warned me that I could easily appear obsessed with the breakup if I talk about it too much on future dates or, on the other hand, I could come across as cold and distant if my attitude is blasé.

That feedback was more frustrating and complicated than weekend subway service on the G-line,

But then it dawned on me. It’s not the inherent fact that I was dumped. Everyone gets dumped at some point — even Keith Richards, the inebriated mastermind behind the greatest rock and roll band in the world and my mentor, http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/32/31_32_mm_the_search_print.html.

The question is what are my intentions now that I’m a liberated man. Simply put, I have no specific expectations other than to treat this as an exciting new phase of life. I’m not on the prowl for a fling, nor am I looking to settle down as soon as possible. Anything can happen.

For now, however, I have a strong preference for any woman with moving experience to carry some heavy furniture up my third floor walkup on Monday.

He got dumped. He got kicked out of his apartment. Now, Senior Reporter Mike McLaughlin is out there trying to rebuild his shattered life. Join McLaughlin every week in The Brooklyn Paper as he seeks a new girlfriend (that’s hard!) and a new place to live on a reporter’s salary (that’s really hard!). Fasten your seatbelts, readers, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Updated 5:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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