When I was 19-years-old, I got my first full time job working as a doorman at one of the most affluent residential buildings in Manhattan. Located near the United Nations, between First Ave and the FDR Drive, it is home to some of the world’s richest dignitaries, CEO’s and celebrities. Because the building is on such a quiet street, it was rare for pedestrians to make their way down the block. That’s why, one day, I was surprised to see what looked like a homeless man come stumbling East towards the entrance to the building.
At first I didn’t pay much attention to him, figuring he was simply headed towards the highway’s underpass. Until he stopped right in front of the building’s revolving doors, plopped his dirty brown paper shopping bags next to my concierge station and launched into what I can only describe as a sales pitch: “My friend, I got a cologne here that will make every gal in the world immediately fall in love with you.” I was brand new to the job, but knew getting into a long conversation with this guy wasn’t a good look. So I tried to shoo him away before Marko– the Building Manager (or even worse, a tenant)– came out and freaked out.
The disheveled-looking older man was aggressive about pitching his product and wouldn’t take no for an answer. For several minutes he tried to persuade me to buy his stupid cologne. “Come on, brother, it’s only five bucks,” he insisted, “they don’t sell this stuff in stores. It’s a Love Potion, and I’m telling you, my man, every women that smells this cologne on you, will fall in love with you…immediately!”
Over and over again I said, “I’m sorry…I’m not interested…you can’t stay here…you’re going to get me in trouble!” But the old man was relentless. He just going… “only five bucks, man. It’s a real honest-to-goodness Love Potion. Just let me spray some on you! If you don’t like the way it smells, I’ll leave. I’ll be gone forever. Just one spray and I guarantee you it’ll make every single woman that comes out of this building fall madly in love with you.”
At this point I realized the only way I was going to get rid of Mr. Love Potion was to let him spray me, so I relented. “Ok, if I let you spray me with this stuff, then you’ll leave, right?” Mr. Love Potion replied, “you let me spray you just once, and if you don’t like it, I’ll leave.” So I went to offer him my wrist, but he sprayed me once on each shoulder before I could say no.
“Smell it!!!” he shouted. I couldn’t smell anything and just wanted him to take a hike, so irritated, I said, “sorry, buddy, I really don’t want the cologne. You have to leave now or I’ll call the Cops.” The old man got upset, collected his dirty brown paper shopping bags, and took off towards the FDR. “You’ll be sorry!” he warned, as looked back at me over his shoulder.
A few seconds later, exiting the building’s double doors, walking arm-in-arm, came two of the most famous and attractive actresses of the day — building resident Kathleen Turner and her good friend, Anne Archer. In that raspy, sexy voice of hers, Kathleen Turner announced that they were waiting for their husbands. Ms. Turner then attached herself to my left arm, looked over at Ms. Archer and said, “Isn’t he a cutie?” With that, Ms. Archer, not one to be left behind, latched on to my right arm.
So there I was, standing in front the ritziest residential building in New York City with not one, but two of the most beautiful actresses in the world holding me close.
“Oh my God! Smell him, Anne. He smells so good!” Both Kathleen and Anne began smelling my neck and giggling like two teenage schoolgirls. My face turned beet red. It was a surreal moment. When the husbands pulled up, the girls wouldn’t let me go, and jokingly tried to drag me into the car. “We’re keeping him! He smells so good!” they teased. With that, I closed their car door, waved goodbye and grinned from ear to ear like a love-struck school boy.
Just as they took off, a cab pulled in behind them. I opened the door and a stunning, six-foot blonde came out. She was dressed to the nines in a mini skirt, high heels and a plunging neckline. As we stood almost nose-to-nose in front of the building, I asked her what apartment she was going up to. Her response? “Wow, you smell really good!” I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat.
I couldn’t believe it. That old man was right! He really was hocking a love potion. No sooner had I buzzed Ms. Supermodel upstairs than I abandoned my post and took off running down the block towards the FDR– determined to find that old man. But when I checked in the park and looked up and down the promenade… he was gone, and so I spent the next hour sulking, pacing back-and-forth in front of the building.
Then who do I see across the street walking westbound on 50th? You got it…Mr. Love Potion himself! “Come here, man! I want to buy a bottle! I’ll take two!” But he wouldn’t have any of it. He barely even looked even my way, and just shook his head “no.”
I begged; I pleaded; I even offered to pay double the price. He still wouldn’t pay me any mind. Just as I was about to abandon my post a second time to chase him down, an older tenant came out of the building and needed a cab. I was so pissed. I tried to keep Mr. Love Potion in my sights, but I lost him as he turned the corner at First Avenue.
When the cab finally pulled up, I opened the door for the lady and as she jumped in, she handed me a dollar tip and asked, “if you don’t mind me asking…what scent are you wearing? It smells very good.” I grabbed her dollar and muttered, “it’s called Love Potion, but you can’t buy it in stores.”
I slammed the cab door and took off running westbound towards First Ave. When I got to the corner, I was out of breath and my heart was racing. I wanted to catch Mr. Love Potion and beg him to sell me that cologne, but he was gone. Gone forever.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing in my life, but damn it if I still don’t wonder how much more fun I would’ve had if only I had bought that freaking cologne! Wherever you are now, Mr. Love Potion, I want to apologize. I should have been nicer to you and listened. You were right – it made me real popular with the ladies for a couple hours.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons