I marathoned season one of The Mindy Project during the summer television drought. I developed a girl crush on the lead character, Mindy Lahiri, almost immediately. She’s me. She’s my friends! Mindy’s an educated, single, professional woman in her early 30s, living in Boston. She’s a relatable blend of endearingly awkward, at times second-hand-cringe-inducingly awkward, feisty, ready to go head-to head with the funniest of dudes in a battle of quips, unabashed lover of pop culture, with a fabulous style exhibited by her flyass enviable wardrobe. And she’s brown! She’s a brown girl on TV, Indian-American to be more specific, and her brownness is not the focus of her character’s life. She gets to be “normal.”
Mindy, much like the Rachel McAdamses, Reese Witherspoons and Sandra Bullocks of the romantic comedy films she adores, is steady meeting cute dudes in random places, like the elevator. Elevators are like a goldmine for hot dates in her world. I remember in college reading stupid articles in Cosmo with titles like, “How to Get Him to Notice You,” which they seemed to repackage every issue using similarly uninspired titles and not dissimilar content. [How many different sex positions could Cosmo possibly find in the almost 50 years of its existence? They are either making shit up, inventing new and uncomfortable positions or slowly parsing out pages of the Kama Sutra until they run out.]
As Cosmo explained, eligible single men are everywhere! That cutie in the grocery store eyeing those cantaloupes? He’s hoping you’ll make the off-color joke about the large melons he’s checking out. The hottie at the gym who’s grunting like a warthog as he bench presses 500lbs? He’s just trying to get your attention. Do a little booty shake as you do your lunges and he’ll drop those weights and make a beeline for you. Or there’s the good ol’ elevator. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact with that handsome stranger in the business suit! He could be your soulmate.
I don’t know where to find these magic elevators from the Cosmo world, because most of the tech dudes in my office building act as though they fear exchanging words with females. “Have boobs? Won’t speak.” Furthermore, nobody wears suits in this city and if they do, they stand out like a contraband plastic bag in the grocery store.
Yesterday evening, I had a Mindy moment!
As I walked out of my office suite into the elevator bank we share with the company across the hall, a guy asked me, in a way that made me think his own question surprised him, “How was your day?”
Was he talking to me? I looked around. Yep, juuuuust me.
I smiled with hint of confusion and answered, “It was pretty good. How about yours?”
He was wearing a faded-red shirt and jeans. The shirt wasn’t faded, red as in “bled out in the washer”, but a distressed shade of red. The distinction is important. A messenger bag hung from his shoulder. I decided he was cute, his voice appealing and best of all, age appropriate.
The elevator arrived (“Doors opening,” announced the disembodied voice who for some reason has a British accent) and we entered. I figured the conversation would naturally die as others were already in the car.
“I’m leaving at 5:30,” he continued, “so it has to be good.”
“Oh? Is that not normal?”
“Nope, I usually work until 8:30. There are only four of us, so it’s not like anyone is forcing us to work late. We just do.” He seemed bemused.
Am I actually having a conversation with this dude? Like for real?
We exited into the lobby. I thought, say something funny!
“Haha. I wonder why that is. Maybe the force of the…(blah blah blah not funny, you fool!).”
Were he not present, I would have slapped myself upside my own head.
I added, “Haha. I don’t even know where I was going with that theory.” Like a damn fool who doesn’t know how to have a proper conversation.
He chuckled. “No, I think I get it. Haha. You’re probably thinking, ‘this guy is weird!'”
Uh, no. Not at all.
We were on the street outside now. A few feet away was the intersection. Now what? Are we walking the same way? If we are, do we keep walking and talking? What if he was just being polite and wants me to stop babbling at him? If we’re going separate ways, should I pretend I’m going his way anyway in case he is chatting me up? This is what I hate about being single at my age. You’re always second guessing your natural instincts because even though you know you do “put yourself out there” and “present yourself as open and receptive to attention” and all the other repetitive phrases with undercurrents of unintentional judgment from helpful loved ones who want to see you boo’d up and not end up a crazy cat lady, you can hear their words in the recesses of your mind. By this point, Mindy Lahiri probably would have rattled off three or four cute quips and scored a date. Yes, I am aware she is a sitcom character.
I could see our bodies subtly moving in opposite directions. We were headed different ways.
“Well, I’m this way,” I tried to say as brightly as possible with a subtext of “I am open to more conversation possibly over a drink, but not in a desperate ‘make me your baby mama’ way.”
“Ok,” he replied. I couldn’t decipher his expression. He smiled though and said, “See you tomorrow.”
Will we? See each other tomorrow? I don’t recall seeing him ever before. This man from the elevator who talks to humans who have ovaries. Will there be more to this story? Who knows? At least I got an elevator moment! Well…kinda. No date. No soulmate (I don’t even think I believe in that). An elevator conversation with someone cute? I’ll take it!
- Mindy Kaling Is Every Woman (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Steel Box of Discomfort (sfield4.wordpress.com)
- 17 Things That You Should Never Do On An Elevator (nail3728.wordpress.com)
- It’s Cosmopolitan vs. Reddit in the battle for sex-tip supremacy (dailydot.com)