Since moving to New York from England, I have ascertained that not everyone shags on the first date. Those that do are condemned to ‘ho-dom forever, and are consequently incapable of maintaining healthy, mature, adult relationships. This attitude concerns me greatly. After a veritable shag drought, surely one’s attitude should be to get it while you can—if he/she turns out to be an asshole then move swiftly on, and if not, fantastic, you’ve won the lottery!
But apparently, in God’s Blessed Land, “dating” has been established for the express pursuit of filtering for one’s life partner before tumbling haphazardly into bed with them. I am more used to the English way of doing things. Get blind drunk, snog, repeat the next week, repeat the next week, bang! relationship. No messy phone calls. No awkward prearranged getting-to-know-each-other drinks affairs. No coded text messaging. By the time alcohol has dissolved that messy barrier between social convention and drunken desire at least three times, the English couple has progressed past the need to ever “know” each other, apart from in the carnal sense.
In this city, when a guy wants to “hang out” with you, it does not, apparently, mean that he’s comfortable enough to freely swing his genitalia in your presence, but that he wishes to partake of an alcoholic beverage in your company whilst talking obsessively about his ex-girlfriends. This takes place three times, in three different locations. He will then try and screw you like a bitch. When three repetitive monologues yield little more than a brisk handshake, he becomes slightly hostile.
I am presently being pursued by a guy who calls me every day. When we initially met, I expressed no interest in him, and he spent two hours moaning about his Italian girlfriend, which I assumed meant that he had no interest in me. Two weeks later, the phone calls commenced from out of the blue. He called me at three a.m. one morning. I sleepily told him to get fucked. The next evening he called again. I asked him why he had called me at three a.m. that morning and not heeded my advice to go fuck himself and cease the molestation. There was a pause.
“I phoned you at three a.m.?”
“Oh. Oooooh. Oh no. No, that can’t have been me. That must have been, my, erm, friends, stealing my phone, and calling you. Yeah. Yeah, that was it. Assholes. So what you doing later? You wanna hang out?”
I think not.
Matters become even more complicated when you actually like someone. New York is not the kind of place you casually bump into people you know. So “dates” entail planning in minute detail. Or no planning at all. Take Carlos from Queens, the most recent man on my dating calendar. I like Carlos. I think he likes me. We have fun, he practices good personal hygiene, he drinks as much as, if not more than me, he’s a musician, he’s intelligent, interesting, funny and he is very, very cute.
But I never see the damned boy. We have a virtual (non)relationship via text-messaging. Do I see him so rarely because he spends all his spare time screwing his ex? Would that be any of my business? Is he just too sweet to tell a fragile English rose who sucked his cock one night after too many beers that he’s just not interested?
Having sailed through the last few years shagging married men—unknowingly, for the most part—I don’t think I’d know what to do if I ever got past the “hanging out” stage with an fully-functioning male free of emotional scarring and a wedding ring. The New York answer is probably to take all the money I would have spent on happy-hour margaritas and invest it in an excellent therapist.
Maybe the real question is why have I become so ridiculously neurotic? Is six weeks in New York enough to turn me from a well-travelled Brit into a Seinfeld character? I have, I admit, become wholly accustomed to the initially terrifying discovery that the average American male is circumcised. Not so in England. The loss of excess skin is enlightening, but it did make my first hand job a fraught experience. Will it really stretch that far? Are you sure it’s not going to break? What do you mean your ex could do it really well?
I am turning into that highly strung breed—the New York single female.
My New York friends have failed to shed enlightenment on the cattle market which is the dating arena. I was perhaps most shocked to discover that online dating is now an acceptable forum for meeting potential partners. I imagined the horrors of getting hot and steamy in virtual land with someone who is later revealed to be an overweight, 15-year-old compulsive masturbator. I practiced my IM semaphore in order to successfully navigate the minefield of online dating. R U hot? NE way wot’s ur name?
I felt like I had become articulately retarded. Another friend of mine, Amy, who has been online dating for a year or so, regaled me with horrors of how 99 percent of participants regularly “fake” their photos.
“You have to be … careful when meeting them. Don’t take any risks.”
The challenge in successful online dating, then, is managing to avoid a potential psychopath. I would rather go out, buy two bottles of wine, and glug my way into inebriation.
It works in England.
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