For someone shrewd over details, I’m surprisingly clueless when it comes to the obvious. The number of missed sexual adventures because of my cluelessness when I was twenty-something and available still bothers me. So it was no surprise to my friends when a seemingly innocent stop at a Manhattan bakery turned into something lurid, icky and even sticky.

I had tagged along with my partner on one of his business trips back to New York. Two weeks back in my adopted hometown! I caught up with old friends, saw the Diego Rivera exhibit at MOMA, hit the sales racks at Saks, and went to see some of the Oscar buzz movies.

It was last Friday between “Shame” and “My Week with Marilyn” when I popped into Billy’s Bakery in Chelsea for a cupcake. I was craving chocolate and desperately needed to cheer myself up after watching “Shame”. I’ve never seen so much sex and been so depressed. It starts out as an advertisement for why you should move to New York in your twenties and quickly devolves into desperate depravity. Loved it. Michael Fassbender was horrifically hollow.

Billy’s is small and has one communal table for anyone choosing to eat in rather than take out. I grabbed my goodie and sat next to this old Jewish guy in a wheelchair, a tough-looking white guy in an army jacket and this elderly Italian woman wearing glasses. None of us knew each other and even though I brought the paper to read, conversation quickly ensued. “God I miss New York,” I thought, “Where else can strangers of different ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and religion bond over a cupcake?”

I left the bakery with a big smile on my face, walked to the theater and totally enjoyed Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. She’ll get an Oscar nod for sure.

Later that evening, I recounted the conversation to some of my best friends and partner as we ate dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, La Palapa.

Me: So I sat down and had a fun conversation with these strangers over cake.

E: What happened?

Me: I sat down and this tough-looking white guy said that my cupcake looked good. He said, “Oh that looks good. That looks delicious. I wanna see you eat it. I wanna see you take a bite. Go ahead, take a bite.”

Partner: What?

Me: Yeah, and then the old Jewish guy wanted to know if I had gotten chocolate cake with chocolate icing or yellow cake with chocolate icing. I said chocolate on chocolate because I like chocolate. The tough-looking Irish guy said, “I just want to see you eat it. Go ahead, put it in your mouth and tell me how good it is.”

K: What!?

E: Oh, you got played. You got the dirty man.

Me: No! The guy just wanted to watch me eat it. He said he wanted to know how good it was. That’s all. It did kind of make me self-conscious though, him wanting to watch me eat it. So when I took a bite, I bit it and made this “Tada!” face.

Partner: How could you be so dumb?

H: You got played.

E: HA! How could you not get it? You’ve been away from New York too long.

Me: No, no, no!!! It’s wasn’t like that at all, he just wanted to know how good the cupcake was. When I was chewing, he kept asking me, “Oh tell me how good it is. I wanna know how good it is. Take another bite.” So I took another bite and…OH MY GOD!!!!! He was a total fucking pervert!!! How could I not have seen that!!?? Fuck!!! I’m so fucking stupid! Jesus, I left the fucking bakery wanting to move back to New York thinking this is exactly what I miss about the city the random conversations with friendly strangers. Fuck!!! I’m so fucking stupid!

No matter how many times I play it over in my head, I was played. That pervert turned an innocent treat into sexual innuendo and I ate it all up–figuratively and literally.

Still, I miss New York. Where else can random strangers of different ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and religion bond over a highly suggestive conversation about a cupcake?

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