The other night I was reading The Group in the bar while the bartender continued to pour me an unreasonable amount of sparkling wine, none of which appeared on my tab three hours later, and I started talking to a man who asked what I was reading and, when I told him, he said that Mary McCarthy was his mother. I expressed some disbelief because what are the chances? But he assured me it was true. Spoiler alert before I go any further: Mary McCarthy had one son who is currently in his 70s or 80s and was certainly not at a restaurant in the West Village this week. So please bear that in mind as I continue.
I got to talking to him because if you are reading The Group and you meet Mary McCarthy’s son, you talk to him, of course. Anyhow, we went to a couple different bars and he mentioned a few odd things, like ownership of a hotel and legendary AMEX tabs run up on expense accounts and five children and a wife who died in a car accident? And I don’t know, I became slightly skeptical over the course of the evening but not really. I would be lying if I said that I flat out thought he was lying.
He was. He totally was. I googled Mary McCarthy when I woke up the next day. He was totally lying. And I feel really foolish, but also am I supposed to just go through the world assuming people are just MAKING SHIT UP ALL THE TIME? No. Fuck no. I mean, I get how this sounds as I’m telling it. I do. I’ve told it over and over again and each time it sounds stupider, and more obviously like he was trying to get laid. But also maybe he was planning to murder me and wear my calves as galoshes because what kind of psychopath can lie with such creativity and detail and conviction? What a weird fucking bunch of lies to tell. I believed it because how could anyone be making that up? It would be crazy! Literally. You would have to be crazy. You would be a literal crazy person.
Also I didn’t think he was hitting on me—I had no intention of sleeping with him regardless of the truth of any of these things—and I may be too naive to be allowed out of the house without adult supervision but, like, COME ON. What even is that? Is that a thing? How is that a thing you lied about. How. How is that a thing. What even happened. I cannot even believe that happened. God, I’m dumb, but God that’s insane. I can’t stop. Just. How do you exist. Who are you. How are you. That did not happen. No way. What. What. WHAT.
If you wrote a book, it would be my favorite book.