watched the sun set from the window of my ground floor apartment in the bronx. i’ve got metal bars, a screen, never-ending layers of concrete, and half-assed trees in the way of my view of the sky. the act of looking up is a process in and of itself, even for someone who just wants to watch the sun say good nite.
dating in new york city feels the same. it’s this contrived act of attempting to obtain a social and often public intimacy with a stranger. i say contrived not to dismiss dating but to comment upon how ridiculous it is…like just a little bit. 1- i’m learning, especially from my straight homegirls that real dating isn’t a thing these days. real dating has boiled itself down to a series of unfortunate text messages. but that’s just like 50/50 of the dating based kikis i get from them. the other half of my straight homegirls have a motherfucken system. seriously, they weigh out a dude’s paycheck multiply that by his level of education divide that by the amount of kids he has and add themselves to find the root of a relationship. science is a thing when it comes to dating ya’ll and if you don’t know the math, you won’t pass the social studies regents.
all i do is listen and take these bits of hetero-pseudo dating science and see where it applies to my life. this is how i navigate the world. nothing is tailored to fit me. so all things must be acquired in pieces and sewn into the bare parts. dating is no different. it was easy for me to make lists yesterday and bluster through all the little things that pissed me off about dating. so easy to sum people up by the parts of their cat stories and lack of ‘shut the fuck up’ button. none of that was lie but it still wasn’t as authentic as i’d like to be, as i always aim to be. sometimes i’m that person that talks shit about the girl who wears a cat on her shoulder (hellooo, goucher??!). there’s more to a terrible date than someone else’s faults. least that’s the way i’m dealing with it. i’ve blamed other people for my problems and unhappiness before only to find a big old pile of unadulterated bullshit sitting out in the open and waiting for me to deal with it.
i’m trying to be this person that is above the butterflies in my stomach. i’m trying to think beyond the absolute stupid geeky feelings i have for someone and see with my ‘real world’ eyes. the idea of being some ridiculous lesbian u-haul cliché makes me want to retch in my organic strand books tote bag. so i’ve been dating. dating because it’s the right thing to do when feelings are far away. i’ve been dating because i’ve needed to focus on myself in a different way. it’s been over a year since me and little pistol starter broke up. one, i wish her better than me cuz i was a low down dirty mean-faced menace. two, i wish myself better than her for way more reasons than i have time to list. basically, what i’m getting at is that I’ve taken a sufficient amount of time to be in my own world. I haven’t needed or wanted a barrage of queer womenfolks in and out of my bed. As awesome as that sounds, I just wanted some peace and fucking quiet. I needed to remember what my wheezy intakes of breath sound like when no one else is in the room. I needed to remember what I like to to eat for dinner and what types of movies I want to watch on Netflix when it’s raining out and there’s nowhere to go but under blankets. Even when the geeky feelings started for someone, I knew that holding on to my senses and myself was more important than diving face first into feelings.
I wasn’t scared of them. It just wasn’t time for them to become the big thing in my life. There’s space for reflection even in the middle of a serious heart throbbing.
So dating, man oh man, let’s talk about the chick with the cat named Señor Sniffles. I’ve changed his name for the purposes of anonymity. I wanted to like her. I wanted to like her so much. This chick was bouncy, happy and eager to be a good fucking person.
Eager is a strange word and it’s even weirder when it’s thumping from the person sitting across from you. It’s not like I wanted someone to be bored or to look at me and think they could do better. but it unnerved me to sit in front of someone so eager to tell me about themselves. I wanted her to be scared too. To maybe feel like she was diving off a cliff into some unknown place where maybe she’d land naked and bruised and vulnerable. Cuz that’s how I felt, even though I wasn’t attracted to her sexually, I felt so open. Like I’ve stopped the routine of my week to include over an hour for you, strange person, and I haven’t talked to my brother in almost a month. I’m giving you a thing strange person and it’s intense. Don’t you feel that too? Am I the only one feeling how strange this is? Am I the only one on this date that feels like the edge of the world is the at end of this table for two? Maybe. People have always told me that I take things way too seriously.
But here I am, on the edge of my world with you and you don’t even offer me a safe place to perch. I refuse to pull the ground from you to me. So here I am, dangling, waiting for a moment when I can feel like myself and share of myself the way you’ve been doing for over an hour and…that moment never comes. That’s totally ok. But, now I’ve got to go and I will never give you this gift again, my friend.
this moment of certainty where I know that without a doubt there will be no second date is a moment plagued by anxiety. literally, on another date with the same outcome but wholly different circumstances, I had a full on panic/anxiety attack on 7th avenue, semi-drunk at half past midnight this past friday night. me and new girl ate noodles. me and new girl were doing just fine. then we hit a wall or more truthfully, i hit a wall. i really wish i could give more fucks about the awesome people you work with, new girl. but i give less fucks about you as you tell this story then I did when you met me for noodles and you were late but i love new york so i didn’t care. you should be honored by my lateness that i would even show up to this fake shit. i feel you, new girl. we were just sitting there in a noisy club/bar as bass thumped itself deep into my chest and beers were downed, as we tried to have a fucking conversation. we sat. i had to leave. we’d been there for almost two hours and you weren’t offering up anything new to do and i was tired. (can I get a hi5 for trying to go on a date after work?) I made up my mind to go, got a text from the butterflies and realized that my instincts to leave were dead on. But, new girl, you were still a contender because you’re a good storyteller. But then, but then…you didn’t like the fact that I had to go. Accused me of ruining the date at midnight, accused me of ruining your nite which had only just begun, like I owed you my twilight. We’d never discussed such a price for a second date.
Her anger towards me was a trigger and fuck that word for being over-used by over-sensitive baby dykes. That word is so real. That word ‘trigger’ leads to gasping for breath because everything feels like that time before when I had no agency when someone yelled at me or disappeared drunkenly into the night or even when I become the agressor and the abuser. When I felt like I could just die and it would all be for the better because I was tired of life being so violent and emotionally draining. You didn’t have to flip out on me, girl. I walked you to the train. I called Katrina so that I didn’t collapse. I don’t like being yelled at. You are not my father.
The sun set more than an hour ago and I’m not any closer to figuring out this dating thing. It’s ok. I’m happy that I could peacefully walk away from someone who was being defensive and agressive towards me. I’m ok with being over sensitive and not being able to just say ‘fuck that, bitch’. What does that even mean? That’s like a hood way of saying that someone isn’t a person. That’s one of the dating things I’m figuring out. We’re all just weirdos trying to find a person. I can’t dismiss your personhood and hope to find love. But dating isn’t a way to find love. Least not on a first, second, or third date. What I’m realizing is that those first dates are more about discovering how human I can be towards a person without knowing them. I don’t know if I’d pass my straight homegirls’ tests. I think those tests are graded on some fucked up curve anyway. I don’t walk a straight line. I carry on forward and into the light with a beer in my hand and Katrina on speed dial.