Dating In New York- A Love Story
I’d like to think of myself as a bit of an expert on dating in New York City. I went through a lot of men here, and the experience did eventually end in love, but it’s kind of a long story. I used to get irritated with my friend and fellow single New Yorker, Andrew, for constantly reciting his “love is a battlefield” affirmation, but after many months of trying to positively reframe that statement, I think he is right.
One of my more memorable stories from “the battlefield” happened a few years ago. After two years of nagging from a friend to let a highly regarded matchmaker set me up with someone, I finally caved. And in case you’re wondering, yes, it was one of those things where women who qualify (read: meet the shallow matchmakers standards of wit and good looks) join for free and men with big bank accounts pay. Nevertheless, I decided to be bold and give it a try. And that’s how I ended up at Maialino with Phil. He was handsome and very polite before he downed ten drinks. When we headed into Rose Bar to play pool, Phil’s outrageously obnoxious behavior escalated quickly, and the guys we were playing pool against wondered what on earth was wrong with me for dating him. They thought I must be a golddigger or worse for putting up with the animal that was Phil. I subtly confessed it was a blind date gone awry, and the cutie competing against me on the pool table slipped me his number. I sent him a text saying that I got home safely from Phil. That’s how I got a date with Noah.
Noah was the first guy that I’d been out with in years that was younger than me. We were having a great time until we connected the dots and figured out that I’d had a little escapade with his best friends’ father the previous summer. Needless to say, that whole thing soured after that, and Phil, Noah and Noah’s friends’ father were no longer in my dating repertoire. Manhattan gets smaller every day. I canned the matchmaker and retreated from the field for a while.
The best dates I had in New York were almost all with men who didn’t actually live here, but who left me with great memories. I sucked down grilled sardines on a breezy summer evening at the little French restaurant in the Meatpacking District; dressed up in black tie apparel for the Tony Awards; hopped on the back of a Harley in the rain after yoga in Central Park and got to enjoy some lovely weekend-long staycations in fancy hotels. But because none of the men I enjoyed those experiences with lived here, it was essentially fantasy dating. Monday morning would roll around, and poof, I was back to singledom — and wondering if I’d spot the man of my dreams around the next corner walking his dog or feeling up fruit next to me at Whole Foods.
I enjoyed my single life for many years and it was an integral part of my evolution as a human being, but I got to a point where I thought it would be really nice to be in a meaningful relationship. I just never found anyone that really lit my fire around here.
Back then, my disinterest in anyone that actually lived here could have been a sign of my emotional unavailability and subconscious fear of being smothered by a man that wanted to see me more than once a month, or it could have been a sign that nobody here wanted to be my boyfriend. Neither are great options, but I’d like to believe the former.
Actually, I did have men in New York City that I liked and that wanted to be my boyfriend, but they were either married or otherwise taken. Most shrinks would probably tell me they liked me because they were emotionally unavailable just like I was, and I was attracted to them because I had daddy issues. That’s a whole other story, and if you have a similar story, I recommend sussing that out. Daddy issues are a recipe for heartbreak and need to be addressed. It will be time and money well-spent on yourself. It’s definitely no fun when you’re finally attracted to someone after what seems like eons and he lives in your city — and then you find out he’s attached. Again. And then it happens again six months later. There’s probably something deeper going on if this is a recurring pattern in your life. Sorry to break it to you, but it probably has something to do with you. Don’t worry, I’ve been there and you are not alone.
So moving on, let’s talk about how many smart, good-looking and accomplished people reside on or near the island of Manhattan. It should be called Temptation Island if you ask me. We all are brushing up against each other, crammed into tiny spaces and smelling one intimate human aroma after another. Pheromones run wild in this town.
And how about when we finally find a guy that we really like and we both seem like two single people who have it together, just innocently looking for love? Temptation Island can easily get the better of both parties when it rears up it’s ugliest quality of all: The BBD. Bigger, better, deal. Because there are so many gorgeous, fabulous, intelligent young things flitting about the city rubbing all over each other, it’s tough not to catch the BBD disease. “Hmmmm… there might just be someone out there that’s just a teensy weensy little bit better for me than this person I’m with right now. Maybe I should keep my options open.” If you are saying this to yourself, you’ve caught the BBD. And if you’ve caught it, you’ll start dating five people at a time to ensure you get the best of the lot, and the other party will find out and do the same just for spite. Before you know it, there is a full-blown epidemic. This is a report from the battlefield I’ve heard more times than I can count from both sexes. If you have a feeling your mate is straying, they probably are.
New York is also a different ball game as far as dating goes because men do not have to take the initiative to ask a woman if she’d like to be picked up or taken home from the date. I have had the pleasure of a few car services being sent for my presence at dinner and let me tell you, it was a nice treat at rush hour when there’s no cabs, but it’s not the same as that feeling of a man going out of his way to pick me up himself.
However, if it’s early on in the dating process and there’s a chance you may want to escape early, then meeting up is great. Unless he follows you out. I think the worst feeling for a girl after a date in the city is the awkward taxi goodbye from a date you definitely do not want to kiss you. You know, when the guy kind of thinks because he bought you dinner that he may deserve a little smoochy shmoo? Or maybe he thinks you’re just playing hard to get like a good girl? You are just waiting to run for the nearest cab but there all of a sudden seems to be a shortage. So you awkwardly stand there hoping he’s not going to try to kiss you as you backpedal out into the street thanking him for dinner but no thanks on the smooch, silently praying to see one of those magical little taxi lights heading in your direction.
Or worse, when you actually want to be kissed so you share a cab and he goes for it, but you are both feeling flustered and rushed because there’s a little man up front with the meter running talking on his cell phone in a muffled voice so you bump teeth and have a terrible first kiss and don’t know if it was because you were rushed or because he’s a bad kisser…
Are you wondering where the love story is in all of this? Well, I guess I had been sharpening my sword for long enough (I recently learned this is man-speak for dating and having sex) and the battlefield was finally mine. I was visiting Los Angeles for some continuing education last fall, and when I was least expecting it, I met my match. He is the perfect combination of strong, hot manly man mixed with a soft spiritual side, which is a combo I never thought I would be lucky enough to find. At first, I didn’t believe it could finally be happening, but my jaded Manhattan heart melted as he kept calling. He didn’t facebook or email or text me, he called. Yes, women on the battlefield, that still exists — the man that calls.
I’m now that annoying girl that is telling all of her friends that it happened when I stopped looking and I have the best boyfriend ever and all of that. But really, my years on the field taught me a few things, and there are still a few good men out there. I promise. And I have some advice: From here on out, I’m also going to be that annoyingly old-fashioned lady that advises women to keep their panties on and not sleep with a man you think you’re really into right away. It turns out those old-fashioned ladies were really on to something with that.
I’m sitting on the empty floor of my little apartment in Chelsea and I just sold the last piece of furniture I own. My love story off the battlefield is just beginning, and it’s moving to California.