Friday, February 5, 2010

How It All Began

I think it's safe to say that I have been dating in New York for a full year now.  Why, you ask, has it taken me a whole year to start writing about it?  I believe it was Thoreau who said, "How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live?"

Hear hear.  Leaving aside the fact that I think it's still a bit vain to write about yourself regardless of how much you've lived, I think I was just too green to be able to write about dating in New York a year ago. Occasionally, I can't help but feel as though I am in exactly the same place I was a year ago - same job, same apartment, still single.  But the fact is, I'm not in the same place I was a year ago. Cheesy as it may sound, I've grown, learned and well, I stood up and lived this past year.

So just how green was I in early 2009?  Well, it all started with a boy named 'B'.

In early 2009, I made the affirmative decision to "get out there" and meet people, even if it meant getting dressed up and putting heels on when it was 15 degrees and there was a foot of brown slush that New Yorkers call "snow" on the ground. So there I was, on a cold, icy January evening, feeling just a little bit silly in 3-inch heels, going to yet another birthday party of someone else that I didn't actually know.  When I walked into the bar, it was clear that everyone there was under 22.  It was one of those moments when I looked around the room and thought, when did I get so old?

And that’s when I spotted 'B'. Cute, preppy, your typical boy-next-door.  Plus, he looked to be in the 26-35 range.  I was just about to nudge my friend to point him out to her when he looked up.  He looked at me.  Our eyes met.  And for a second, it was just like that magical moment in the movies when everything else goes quiet.

But five seconds later the crowd filled in again.  The music was insanely loud and there was definitely a couple or two making out in the corner. My friends and I were trying really hard to stay out of the way of the under-age undergrads who looked like they might spew up their Malibu bay breezes at any second. Finally, I ended up next to 'B'.  We chatted.  He seemed interested.  He asked for my number.  I gave it to him.  He never called.

I was so shocked.  He was the first guy in New York I had given my number to who didn’t call.  No, correction, he was the first guy I had given my number to in the entire world who didn’t call.  What. the. hell?

I spent a lot of that week obsessing.  I tried not to, but I couldn't help it.  By the following weekend, I just wanted answers.  I got drunk.  And then I started raving to anyone who would listen about how awful guys are in New York.   I mean, why would you ask for a number and then not call?  Why even bother asking a girl for her number in the first place?  I wound up talking some poor kid's ear off, demanding from him an explanation and an apology on behalf of the entire male species.

Since no one could give me any real answer to my dilemma, I started giving out my number with reckless abandon.  I mean, if not calling wasn’t anything personal then surely I could at least win at the numbers game.  Someone would have to call...eventually.  It became my own little New York dating experiment.  How many times would I have to give out my number before someone actually called? I gave my number to a 23-year-old at the Upper East Side frat party that is Dorian’s who "worked in real estate" and lived in Westchester (at home?).  I gave my number to a 40-something at Employees Only who bragged about splitting his time between Los Angeles and New York, as though that was supposed to impress me.  I even gave my number to my friend’s closeted gay friend just to see if he would call.  No, no and no.

The One Who Actually Called was number four, well five, if you include 'B'.  I met him at a bar called Plan B (only unintentionally ironic).  But This Guy didn't just call.  He called and when I screened, he left a voice mail and followed it up with a text asking if I wanted to go to a play in Brooklyn.  It was really quite perfect.  And that's when I saw the flaw in the whole plan.  I had no interest in seeing this guy again.  I certainly wasn't about to go all the way to Brooklyn to go on a date with some guy I wasn't even attracted to.  I considered not calling or texting back.  But then the guilt set in.  How could I complain about guys who never call and then turn around and be the girl who never calls back?!  So I waited a reasonable amount of time and texted a polite but clear response.  He didn't call again.  And I had my answer.

How many times does a single New Yorker need to give out her phone number before a guy calls?

Four or five, depending on how you're keeping score.

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