You Get What You Pay For

I first saw him in the elevator of my office building, tall, handsome and impeccably dressed. We exchanged nothing more than a few fleeting glances/smiles over the next couple of months and then one afternoon, somewhere between the 9th and 12th floor, he uttered the words I had dreamed of…would I like to meet for a drink that night?

Ecstatic I floated back to my office, furiously contemplating where I could find a more enticing outfit than the frumpy gray suit I was wearing, ideal had I been operating the elevator. I needed something special… cute, flirty, fun. But where to find in 3 hours? And then a light bulb. The $19.99 and under dress store which sat in the lobby of my building. I had never entered the store but passed it daily on my way to the elevator bank always pondering the type of dress you might find for $20 bucks. But desperate times call for desperate measures I reasoned. Did I dare?

The bar, an iconic NYC pub called “Ryan McFadden’s” located on the corner of 42nd and 2nd Ave was packed with after work patrons both young and old. My office was a stone throw from Ryan’s, an absolute favorite neighborhood haunt with a great crowd and live music. I had never felt more attractive and carefree as I sipped my Tequila Sunrise, in that cobalt blue, stretch cotton mini dress (yes, dear reader, score for the $19.99 and under dress store!) I admit it may have been a tad tight and perhaps the material a bit thin, but for the price, what could one expect? It was how it made me FEEL that was important. Plus the fact, real or imagined, that my date could not take his eyes off me! Our conversation flowed easily and the bar pulsated with energy and possibility.

The music was phenomenal! After my 2nd cocktail, I boldly asked him to join me on the dance floor, something out of the norm for me but the dress fueled my confidence. As we jumped in time with the crowd to the strains of “SHOUT” I suddenly felt myself losing my footing. The floor, ladled with beer from overzealous imbibers was awash. The next thing I knew, I was horizontal. Brushing myself off and struggling to maintain my dignity, I slowly rose to my feet. Several people behind me were laughing. “Your dress,” one sympathetic woman whispered, “it’s totally ripped up the back…”

My last memory was the disappointed look in elevator guy’s eyes as he wrapped his rain coat around me and hailed a cab. And with that gesture, the night was officially over.

For the next six weeks, I took the stairs up to my office – all twelve flights. For that reason or others unknown,  I never ran into the elevator guy again.  The $19.99 and under dress store closed shortly thereafter as well and ironically, a tailor moved into its space.


Published by Kathy Simmons

I am an ex New Yorker who still misses the vibrancy of the city. I seek out the humor in every day life and relay it through my stories in the hope others will appreciate as well. I love to write about growing up with my fantastically unique Irish mother whose memory inspires me every day. Although she is no longer with us, her antics are an endless staple for my tales. I currently live in Connecticut with my husband, two sons and toy fox terrier Anabel.

14 thoughts on “You Get What You Pay For

    1. Funny how many readers feel that this story was such a travesty. Didn’t mean it to be sad rather it was written in a humorous tone; I was never “worse for the wear.” I always try to look at the light side of life!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a really funny story, but sad at the same time. Another blogger and I were talking about how you shouldn’t complain about incidents like you had, because it makes a better funny story than bitching about it. If you survive, you have a good story to tell. Do you know the song by AJR “A 100 Bad Days”? As it says “100 bad days are 100 good stories.. that make you interesting at parties.”

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Loved your story, Kathy, and could see and enjoy its humour. I could just picture it all happening. A story can be told out of every experience, good or bad, and this was a good one (as in good that it’s well-written and funny, not good that you lost ‘your’ man). I would have done the same as you and walked up the stairs to avoid the embarrassment of meeting the man again … Ellie 🦢


  2. Great story. Ah those first dates…( And last in your case!) I once took a girl out and as I went to kiss her I sneezed. I’d broken my nose a couple of months previously and suddenly I had blood streaming down my face! She screamed and ran off. Everyone in the pub thought she’d hit me. Never saw her again…


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