Espionage becomes us. We traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts this weekend on a reconnaissance training mission to discover restaurants and entertainment venues that snarky Harvard students frequent. Posing as Mr. Black and Mrs. White – and alternately Vladimir Bolshoi Khoi and Natasha Krasavitsa – we penetrated the scene incognito, speaking in tongues unfamiliar even to us, drinking elixirs, downing potions, proving our chameleon identities impeccable, shamelessly without flaw. Distracting the enemy with fury and furry Swedish winter boots, or a flashlight down the pants, we flicked off any suspicious from informers with charm – flashed smiles, batted eyelashes – and tamed the realm and kingdom of the enemy.
We first survey the scene at Baptiste Yoga on the suggestions and high recommendations of our Garvard (as they say in the Russian mafia) nemeses. We don’t anticipate the subtle trickery of our conniving serpent: a morning at Baptiste Yoga is like sex with Ari Fleischer.
SM: Women sigh and hum when they melt from upward to downward dog. We are asked to hold our legs above our heads, and all I can think of is what death would feel like inside a pizza box. I try, to our instructor’s suggestion, to think of my power animal, but instead end up hitting the pony tail of the woman next to me. Fuck the Buddha and his potatoes.
RKU: The instructor waxes philosophical as he grabs my girlfriend’s ass, readjusts her downward dog, pretends to care about her spine when he actually cares about one thing in particular. He talks about working like hell to achieve heaven, to peel potatoes so much that each one can become a little Buddha. He grabs my tailbone during bridge position and tells me to keep breathing. I’ll cut your throat.
Yoga, which forces metaphorical and physical contortionism, can make you hungry for a sophisticated snack.
SM: Reminiscent of a place and a time that it isn’t—bulls housed in an underground labyrinth of chai teas and single-shot espressos: spraying urine and flecks of fecal matter all over the walls, the lofty Parisienne fresh out of the sexy Sorbonne, and a single mother in between shifts at the law school library. The waitress speaks Spanish like a man born without a uvula. The clerk is a vampire.
RKU: I sample the strangely-spelled Mokka Frappe, the same color as a cauldron with a burnt taste, the same texture as the slab of black marble constituting the table, the same viscosity as dark ink and envelope sealing wax.
9 Tastes Exotic Thai Cuisine
Come dinner time we surreptitiously followed a Noam Chomsky look-a-like toward the spicy side of town. When he ducked in a Gotham alley straight to masturbate, we sang a different tune and ran to dinner.
SM: I am fascinated by the ear hole of the waiter who commits the ultimate restaurant faux-pas: serving the ladies 10 minutes before the men. Maybe he has never seen a Caucasian before. Mirrors are my neighbors while dining.
RKU: The effeminate waiter commands that I am finished and his Geisha-like fingers slip between mine and the cold plate. The lesbians to my right eye me, and adjust the crotches of their pants. Let us gaze away from the mirror to listen: “She has been trying to sleep with my friend Michael, you know— the beautiful, Japanese, Dutch one. He sat there on the couch and handed her an empty glass and said, ‘Get me a beer.’”
Kirkland Dining Hall
All good travelers and spies know one thing: free is good. When you have close access to one of Harvard’s eleven college dining halls, you must seize the opportunity.
SM: Never will you feel more at ease grabbing a banana, a handful of Fruit Loops than in Kirkland House dining hall. Or is that a flashlight in your pocket? Young Harvard lovers hold hands over chicken salad and tomato paste soup, hoping that their “blockmates”—or suitemates as we Princetonians call them—won’t notice their date’s unibrow.
RKU: The pilaf, the peas, and my soul lie poured out on my tray after a most refreshing lunch of grilled chicken and fresh salad with a third-year law student, and his signet ring. I look out the window to see the leaves that litter the courtyard, but inside there are octopus-like candelabras that make me think of time at sea. The ornate molding complements tables for two at which awkward couples lunch. A horrid painting hangs in the back and doesn’t judge, doesn’t even look over the dining hall. It’s definitely acrylic.
After an afternoon of surveillance and spy games, a little tea can’t hurt. In the afternoon Franz gives us word that there’s actually a place off campus where people don’t talk about their JPs. We could hardly believe our ears and had to survey the scene for ourselves.
SM: Geometric architecture and lava colored walls attract philosophers like flies to honey. Or maybe more like flies to Vaseline, rubbed across the cracked lips of homosexual men. More philosophers come in and out, ordering Russian teas and mocha mint Frappuccinos. Afterwards they wipe whipped cream off of handlebar mustaches. I think our waitress got a higher SAT score than I did.
RKU: An over-priced pot of smoky, burnt hickory Lapsang Souchong tea can ease the throat in a cooling New England, and still more warmth comes with the dark oak dodecahedral tables, the red paint in a North African impasto, the magic carpets, ethnic shields and tapestries hanging from the walls. Go upstairs for the more intimate setting of a pagoda roof and mellow-yellow walls. The men’s toilet further proves that the ethos of our generation has been scrawled on bathroom walls: “How one layer of paint can cover up years of years of history.”
The Balvenie—bottle of Scotch
We wore clothes of inimitable sophistication and took to the bottle to sip on some of granddaddy’s old cough medicine. It’s perfect before a dinner with old high school friends.
SM: From Minch’s feet to Mrs. White’s mouth, Balvenie Scotch kicks the baby teeth right out of the underage drinker. Swerving to the left, one holds the taste right between the gap that put Madonna cover to cover. Swerving to the right, one takes the swig down the gizzard region. The aftertaste is more like a licking of earwax, a burning sensation in the groin, or a shot in the head.
RKU: The Scotch my sister bought me from Scotland comes from the “Banffshire” distillery, owned by the same family for five generations. The urine color of the Scotch, a plaid smoking jacket and a Nicaraguan cigar do wonders for taste and class.
Z Square—Restaurant & Bar
Later that night stop down for a brew or two; or go all out with fancy cocktails. Bask in the post-modern simplicity, and bathe in the Baroque ostentation.
SM: Where else could you find the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean on a Thursday night? Definitely not at Z Square. Debonair hipsters hand out lap dog drinks in a dark basement that looks more like a Prada boutique. Boots and bags behind the bar instead of Jack and Adams. Females sport the coolest from a Chainsaw Massacre trilogy, putting out like the initials of my name. Dark and volcanic stiletto boots might follow home a young and clean shaven I-Banker.
RKU: People joke about your faux French accent when you say the name of the joint – thinking that you are in actuality making the definite article “the” into a French accented “z” – but it’s just as well, because European sophistication (see tight pants, bling) meets epic structural modernity (see curvy steel, voluptuous wood) in a place that features martiniculturalism – you are no longer safe with a mere Pommetini, but must venture the Gorgonzola-tini. Best enjoyed with a sexually frustrated dandy in only Gucci (his boxers match his hat) and a New Zealand chick who lost her maidenhead at 15 with a Rhodes Scholar when at finishing school in London.
Daedalus—Restaurant & Bar
The cold weather chafes your skin, and you need a little warmth, so fly wax-winged down to this culinary gem.
SM: I would suggest bringing the dark-haired handsome ones to Daedalus for a hamburger sans fromage bleu and a cherry flavored Diet Coke. Chocolate explosion? Do it and ya dead. The women sink into the dark wood and the men chase after them with buttons down, collars up. The dates start out with fishnets and dark lipstick and end up with a crumpled silk slip on the tennis instructor’s floor. On second thought, this would be a good place to bring the in-laws. Especially that mother-in-law with a bleached blond mustache.
RKU: The magic lanterns of Latin America appear in this Cambridge mythical hotspot, and the skylight of a roof offers a strapping vista. Yet I insist in the smithy of my soul, to roll my eyes when the rude and unjustifiably brazen waiter (with a silver chain on his limp right wrist and a cock ring protruding from his pants) throws his hand and gruff manner in your face. Excellent rum-drowned bananas for dessert. And chocolate explosion? Is that a black power movement? Bypass the bleu cheese on the hamburger. I didn’t, and I see the clogged arteries now. Years later, the heart attack comes while I’m on the toilet. At the hospital, my last words are whispered, slurred, and in Russian: “Сука, пожалуйста!” No one understands.