301. Where There's Smoke
New York City, home to one million exciting, eligible, single men and four cold and slightly cranky single women.
Well, this is good. We're actually crossing water to meet men.
Reminder, I am not going to Staten Island to meet men. I am going to judge them.
One of the perks of being a minor New York celebrity is that you get invited to major events. Like New York fire department's annual calendar competition.
This is a long way to go to watch some firemen take their shirts off.
I'm on the fucking ferry. I better see more than pecs.
I'm freezing! I don’t understand why they couldn’t hold the competition in a bar in Manhattan. I mean, they have firemen on the Upper East Side too. You know.
Yes, I know they do, sweetie. And they only put out top-notch fires.
Look at how small it looks.
Who would have thought an island that tiny would be big enough to hold all our old boyfriends.
He loves to cook and can whip up a great baked ziti. He's from engine 275, ladder 133, way out there in Queens.
- Is he hot? - He's a six.
On a scale of how many?
His name was Bill Kelley. He was a divorced politician campaigning for New York City comptroller, and the token male judge.
- Watch the firemen. - I'm more into cops.
He's a dancer and married. Sorry, ladies. His wife Maria said He's a good guy but he works too hard. Work that belly!
Ladies, over here.
OK, they don’t make cosmopolitans, it's a Staten Island iced tea.
- Is that like a Long Island iced tea? - I think so.
Hello, I'm drunk.
Do we have to be this close? It's embarrassing.
- You gotta be in it to win it. - I'm moving back.
I can’t see the cute firemen from back there without my glasses.
Why do you even care? You have Steve.
I do not have Steve. There is no having of the Steve, we're just friends.
We're just friends. I don’t put my dick in you.
Another one of these and I might let you.
There are no datable men here.
What was your first clue? The pleather jackets or smell of High Karate?
Ladies, this is Ricky Fantucchi. He's a Capricorn. His uncles are firefighters. Yes, ladies, that's a cheetah on his arm. Ricky represents engine 53 in Lower Manhattan.
I'd like to show him my Lower Manhattan.
- Look at his arms, they're huge. - You know what they say. Big arms...big arms.
Hello, 911. I'm on fire.
After the contest, I began to realize that Staten Island was like a quaint European country. The American music was 20 years behind and you could smoke wherever you wanted.
Hi. You know if those shirts are for sale? I'd like to get one for my nephew.
Yeah, you could buy them. But I don’t know if you can here or not.
I got this one at work, but I'm sure you could buy them at other places.
- I've seen them in those shops on Bleeker or... - Samantha.
- Ricky, how are you doing? - Good. How are you doing?
- I saw you up there. - I saw you too.
You looked fantastic.
Yeah? I never did anything like that before. My sisters said "Do it, Ricky". And I said, "I never did anything like that before".
You did it very well.
- I wonder what month you'll be. - I don’t know. Maybe October.
- My birthday is in October. - I bet July, or any month that's hot.
Two songs later, it was time for this dancing queen to take a breather.
Hello. Can I bum a smoke?
- Sure. - Thanks.
There you go.
- That’s good. I quit three years ago. - How's that working out for you?
- Good. I allow myself one a week. - You live right on the edge, don’t you?
- Can I buy you a beer? - No, thanks, I got it.
It's on me, for helping me out during the contest.
- Sure. And by the way, you have the worst taste in men ever. - No way.
You gave that guy from Midtown a 7.
I like a firefighter with love handles, give you something to hold on to when you ride down a slider of a burning building.
- You got a point there, my friend. - But you were tough.
And what's with those half-points? 6.5, 8.5?
What can I say? Sometimes a girl needs a half.
So, which district do you vote in?
Whichever one is near Barneys.
Are you saying you've never voted in New York City?
You're correct, Mr. President.
What's your address? Official government purposes. I can tell you your district.
Officially? It's 245 East 73rd street.
District 23. Same as mine. I'm at Madison and 82nd.
Fancy. I thought all honest politicians lived in small studios and ate beans out of a can.
I'm not a fan of beans.
Can I get your phone number? Government purposes only.
You know what? I'm just here with my friends having a good time.
- I'm really not into dating right now. - What, bad break-up?
That was a long silence.
Actually, it was a silence and a half.
Have dinner with me. Would it help if I took my shirt off?
OK. Time to go. Politician's hitting on me.
- And is that a bad thing? - He's just way too "I'm the guy".
Are you sure? He's pretty cute.
I don’t want to have to tell you this. I actually saw him give someone a thumbs up.
We're out of here. Samantha went home with that firefighter.
- Toot toot, beep beep. - And Charlotte's around somewhere.
- How many cocktails did she have? - A couple, why?
And so, three girls headed home taking with them only their fond memories of Staten Island and its infamous iced teas.
Honey, close up, it’s cold.
- Are you gonna help? - I held her head in the taxi.
- You're so nice, Carrie. I'm nice too, aren’t I? - Yes, you're nice.
I'm nice... I'm pretty and I'm smart. I'm a catch.
Yes, you're a catch. I hate you.
You know what? I'm gonna meet the perfect guy and I'm gonna get married.
Yes, you're getting married.
Did you hear that New York? I'm getting married this year. I'm getting married and here I come!
If she falls over I will never stop laughing.
I wasn’t quite sure if it was the iced teas or the Staten Island dating pool that broke the camel's back. But something set Charlotte on fire. And uptown on dry land, Samantha and Mr. July had their own fire going.
You're so big and strong.
I believe the official fire department count is "a four alarmer".
The next morning at breakfast, Miranda and I wanted poached eggs, Samantha wanted to give us the juicy details and Charlotte wanted to keep her head from exploding over her raincoat.
I'm telling you, I don’t think guys ever gotten me that wet.
- Pass the salt. - Milk?
Ladies, let me tell you about his cock.
Will you be quiet? The people at the next table have a child.
- That's their choice. - Miss Hangover's right.
Can we lighten up the cock talk till cocktail time?
Fine, I just wanted you to know my fireman was every bit the fantasy I had in mind.
New York's finest.
- That’s cops. - Whatever.
I think it's wrong to sleep with a man just to fulfill a certain fantasy.
All the men we sleep with fulfill a certain fantasy.
You fantasize of a man with a Park Avenue apartment and a nice stock portfolio. For me, it's a fireman with a nice big hose.
Why are firemen always so fucking cute?
Even when they're not that cute... they're still cute. What's up with that?
First, there's a weight limit. Second, it's the hero thing.
- You see him on that truck... - That truck is hot.
...hurrying up to save someone trapped on a burning ledge or something.
Plus, they've got that "I'm a good guy" look in their eyes. It's that look.
It's because women really just want to be rescued.
There it was. The sentence independent single women in their thirties are never supposed to think, let alone say out loud.
I'm sorry, but it's true. I've been dating since I was 15, I'm exhausted. Where is he?
- Who? The white knight? - That only happens in fairytales.
My hair hurts.
Charlotte. Did you ever think that maybe we're the white knights and we're the ones that have to save ourselves?
- That is so depressing. - Is it?
Later that day I got to thinking about fairytales. What if Prince charming had never showed up? Would snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, gotten a job, a healthcare package and a baby from her local neighbourhood sperm bank? I couldn’t help but wonder. Inside every confident, driven, single woman, is there a delicate, fragile princess just waiting to be saved? Was Charlotte right? Do women just wanna be rescued?
And after your laser surgery on Saturday, you'll need a significant other or a friend to help get you home. Sign here.
While for some women the idea of rescue was a life raft, for Miranda it was an insult.
I really don’t need anybody to help me. I'll be fine.
No.You'll be sedated and your vision will be blurred. You will need someone to get you home and to bed. Then you take two sleeping pills, sleep for 12 hours. Wake up and you'll be able to see perfectly.
I can’t believe I'm gonna wake up and be able to see clearly without glasses or contacts for the first time in my life.
They slit your eyeball open and flip up the top.
- Gross. - Steve. It just flips right up. Flip, my eye.
- OK, stop. - This little blade cuts it. Just... just like the top of a grape.
It sounds pretty bad. You want me to come down and hold your hand?
I'm fine. I do not need anyone to hold my hand.
I'm not saying you need anyone. I'd just like to be there... to help you, whatever.
- You'll need help getting home. - Yeah, I'm gonna ask Carrie.
Why do you have to ask Carrie when I'm offering right now?
Because, you know, Carrie is my friend.
- OK, and what am l? - We haven’t established that yet. Are you coming up?
We haven’t exactly established that yet. What are we doing here? I mean, are we...
Steve, after they flip the eye up, these jets...
And over on the East side at a more Charlotte-friendly bar, the ice tea princess began her quest for a white knight.
Oh, my God. He's so cute, cute, right?
Very cute. And let's not forget I'm a professional.
I have to meet him. How am I gonna meet him?
We got here ten minutes ago. Pace yourself.
Hey beautiful. I'm J.J. can I buy those sweet lips a drink?
I'm sorry. We were just leaving.
Charlotte was a firm believer in the laws of dating Feng Shui. Change location, change luck.
Why is it always a guy like that? Is it me?
No, it’s not you. Into every life a little J.J. must fall.
I just want a nice, sweet, handsome, funny, great guy who doesn’t say things like sweet lips.
Is that too much to ask?
Hey, you didn’t leave. You're just over here now. C'mon. Let me buy you a drink.
I'm really not interested.
One drink. I'll even buy blondie here one. One little drink.
Excuse me. She's not interested.
Am I talking to you? No. Come on...
- You're not listening. The lady said... - Hey, fuck you.
I'm sorry about that.
- Did you hurt your hand? - No.
His name was Arthur. He was a nice, sweet, handsome, funny, great investment banker who lived between Madison and Fifth. So maybe there really were white knights.
The day after Charlotte met her knight, I met my credit card limit. With no man in sight, I decided to rescue my ankles from a life of boredom by purchasing too many pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes.
Hello, my name is Bill Kelley and I'm gonna be your city comptroller.
You're not seriously here.
I assure you I am. I brought along some voter registration forms. I took liberty to fill out your name.
Under occupation I put heartbreaker. I really did. Look.
You're like a Jehovah's Witness with a good suit.
- How long have you been sitting here? - Your number is not listed.
- What did you buy? - Shoes.
- Let me see. Sit down and show me. - God, you are...
- I know. - I'm not showing you a shoe.
- Sexy. Hey, I need a favor. - You do?
Actually it's for the city of New York. I really am one of the good guys.
Right now I'm carrying all the boroughs but I need help with Staten Island.
You want one?
No, I had one on Thursday. So here's the thing. I gotta go back out there to do a schmooze at the Capri restaurant on Sunday night and I want you to go with me.
And why is that?
Because they have great Italian. And also, for the record... I can’t stop thinking about you. I'll pick you up at 7:00.
Don’t answer now. Think about it. I'll drive by at 7:00. I'll wait down in the car. If you come down, you come. If you don’t, no pressure. Wear the shoes. These. pass them.
That Saturday, when I was unable to take Miranda to her laser surgery due to a looming column deadline, she didn’t call Steve. She decided to take things into her own hands. Who needs a man to hold your hand, when you have cab fare and a big black marker to write down emergency numbers?
And while Miranda was under the knife, Charlotte was having her first glass of white wine with her white knight.
I did the Hasty Pudding show a couple of times just to blow off steam.
My friend Tom says that Harvard is still the most massively aggressive place He's ever seen. And He's a trader.
- Not Tom Kennedy? - Oh, my god. Yes, do you know Tom?
He's a great guy. And how about his wife? Now that's my idea of a perfect marriage.
Charlotte nodded, thinking what a nice, sweet, handsome, funny, great couple they made.
- Excuse me, you just bumped into her chair. - A little crowded.
Yes, crowded, but you bumped her chair, spilt her wine. You should say you're sorry.
- It's OK. - No, It's not OK.
- That’s no way to treat a lady. - Lighten up. It's brunch.
Charlotte suddenly realized that her date wasn’t a man who came to women's rescue. He was a man who liked to start fights.
- Excuse me, sir... - You want a piece of me?
And just like that, Charlotte's white knight changed into a white nightmare.
Miss Hobbes, your friend is here.
- Carrie? - Actually no, It's me. Carrie thought you might need some help. Is that OK?
- I'm on valium, everything's OK. - Here, give me your hand.
I'm good. Just don’t let me hit the door frame and never mention these goggles.
One cab ride and two potent sleeping pills later, Steve put Miranda to bed.
All right. Give me your leg. No, this leg. I want this leg.
Stop! No rescue.
Fine, OK. All right! Put your feet in, sleeping Beauty.
The next morning, after what felt like she slept a hundred years, Miranda awoke. And for the first time in her life, she saw things clearly.
That night, Mr. July invited Samantha to come down and hang with him while he worked the Sunday shift.
Hello? Where is everyone?
The idea of spending time in a firehouse filled with a veritable calendar year of hot firemen was a fantasy Samantha felt, whose time had most definitely tough.
This was not the firehouse fantasy Samantha had in mind.
Samantha. I just put a pot of chilli on. Come on, sit down. Come on, brother, get up. Make a move for Sam. I'll be right back.
Samantha's rescue fantasy was suddenly something she needed to be rescued from.
It's me, leave a message.
Hey, I'm still down here in the car. I'll wait ten more seconds and then I'll go alone. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, poor me... five, four, three, two, one, one and a half, sometimes a girl needs a half. OK, that was my best shot, you're not coming. So long... vote!
- I don’t know what I'm doing. - OK.
I'm standing here, fully dressed, watching that politician guy drive off to Staten Island without me. Why?
- You hate Staten Island? - Don’t think so. Any other ideas? Just say it.
Big. You're terrified of getting hurt again.
There it was. The phrase single, independent women in their thirties are never supposed to think. Let alone say out loud.
OK, gotta go.
Miranda was right. I was like a woman frozen on the ledge of a building on fire. I'd been so burned in my last relationship, I was afraid to leap off into the next one.
Excuse me for a second.
- Hey. How did you get here? - Ferry.
- All alone? - I'm very independent.
- I can see that. - And this isn’t a date. I'm here as a concerned citizen.
There is a woman on my block won’t pick up after her poodle.
I'll see what I can do. Can I take your coat?
And, Mr. President, it was a bad break-up. So I need to take this slow.
Somewhere between the chilli and half-time, Samantha decided if she wanted her firehouse fantasy to happen, she'd have to make it happen.
- Nice pole. Wanna see it again? - Yeah.
Samantha rode the pole a couple of times that night.
Why are these boots set up like this?
So we'll be ready at a moment's notice.
Well, I should be a fireman, because I am always ready to go.
We've got a job.
Get out of my gear. Get the fuck out of my fucking gear! Let's go! Move, lady, It's a fucking fire!
Samantha learned there's quite a difference between a rescue fantasy and a rescue reality.
It's getting late. Are you sure I can’t give you a ride?
No, I'm good. You go... You go and do your thing.
Do I get your vote? Too fast?
My God, you're so sexy. Come home with me.
No. Kissing is enough. It's enough for tonight, really.
Oh, shit. It's almost 12:00, I'm gonna miss the last ferry.
Wait! Wait! I lost my Choo.
Need a ride?
He didn’t have a white horse, but he did have a BMW with a working heater. So I guess, sometimes a woman absolutely has to be rescued.
- You're taking me to my apartment and that's it.
That’s it...for tonight. Now, do you have any idea how we get the fuck off this island?
OK, make a right.
And sometimes, a woman absolutely has to rescue a man. At least, that's how it ends in this Staten Island fairytale.