You weren’t home so we sat on your doorstep in the middle of the night, drinking wine from the bottle because there were no glasses, starring at the brick townhouses across the way. “How do you think you’d want to be proposed to?” “I’d want it written in paint across a giant brick wall, or letters hung from giant clothespins off of the roof.” “You think we’ll get married?” “I don’t know….if we’re going to be realistic.”
You were long nights, longer days, and laughing fits. Even with the tears, somehow, we knew we were going to be okay because at the very least we were so lucky to have each other, and so blessed for this life and these experiences.
To another summer.
We were sitting on our front stoop, drinking wine, and listening to Norah Jones and Sam Smith on repeat.
"Do you think we’ll get married?" she asked.
"Well. Not everyone is lucky enough to find someone they want to spend the rest of their life with. That’s simply a fact. Do I think we’ll get married? I think that we all will be able to get married. If what we seek is a marriage with someone decent, and kids. We will all find someone who would marry us," I said. "But, if what you’re asking is. Will we ever find that crazy passionate love of our life soulmate type deal. That, I am not sure."
"We’ll just have to marry each other for the tax breaks then."
"You know this is the second time I’ve proposed to her?"
We were at a saloon-themed bar by the National Harbor. She’d said yes.
"I was 14, and I had bought one of those rings from Springfield Mall. I got down on one knee and asked her if she’d marry me."
He would later move out of state, and they wouldn’t see each other again until they were in their twenties.
"At 14? Why?" I asked laughing.
"Because she’s awesome," he said matter-of-factly.
"What did she say?"
"Yes, of course."
"And this is where I think language came from. It came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another….but when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we’re experiencing. When I say love the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person’s ear, travel through this Byzantine conduit in their brain, through their memories of love, or lack of love, and they register what I’m saying and they say, Yes they understand, but how do I know they understand? Because words are inert, they’re just symbols, they’re dead. And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed, it’s unspeakable. And yet, when we communicate with one another, and we feel that we have connected, and we think we are understood, I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think that’s what we live for." - Waking Life
We didn’t know each other. We didn’t know our past or our present. I didn’t know if he preferred whiskey or vodka, how he took his coffee, or whether he was a late or early riser. We were strangers. But for a moment, there was this.
"I don’t recall the last time I saw him. I just remember, I was little, maybe 3, and it was late at night, and I had left my room to walk out to the couch where he was sleeping," I said. "They hadn’t been getting along, my parents. I think that’s the last memory I have of him. I think he left after that."
"I was 4. My mom, she was going to the store, and for some reason I didn’t want to go. That was the last time," he said.
"I think the things that happen when you’re a kid really affect you as an adult," he continued. "I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t hugged enough."
"Growing up, I never really thought it was a big deal. I mean, it didn’t keep me up late at night crying or anything. I don’t recall ever really crying about it at all. But now, I look at how I’ve handled relationships, and I think, shit. It’s affected me profoundly."
"From what I’ve witnessed lately, sometimes u go through hell and then, on the other side, you find the love of your life. And it had to happen exactly this way."
"I’m jealous you get to have a penis in your mouth tomorrow. I never thought I’d say that."
Me: Surviving life wouldn't be the same without you.
Him: You are among those that are essential to my life experience.
“You should blog about your Tinder dates,” he wrote. “I’ll be your first subject.”
“You’d either have to be the weirdest guy or the love of my life to be worth writing about,” I replied.
“Damn Kim, so much pressure.”
When we first meet someone, it only takes us 7 seconds to judge them. To decide whether there’s a connection, whether we like them, how we feel about them. That’s how long it takes.
“It’s not a conscious process, so we don’t even realise [sic] we’re doing it – but it goes back to our primitive roots when we couldn’t afford to make wrong decisions,” Linda Blair, clinical psychologist and author of Straight Talking tells the Daily Mail.
I’ve decided the eternal flaw to online ‘dating’ is that it is a waste of time. Literally, it takes us more time than it otherwise would to decide how we feel about someone. When we meet someone in real life for the first time, we know immediately if we’re interested, or how they make us feel. These first impressions are what prompt us to Google them, and request Follows on Instagram and Friend them on Facebook, which may lead to messaging, and a progression of the relationship. That’s the natural order of things (courtship in the 21st century).
The problem with meeting someone online:
‘Dating’ websites like OkCupid and Tinder are all about marketing. The people who have the most success are those who display the best photographs and have the most interesting profiles. But as we all know, you could be the ugliest person in the world and still take a good photograph if you find the correct angle, filter, and Photoshop tool.
On Tinder, for every 100 guys I swiped Left, I only swiped Right about 5 times. I probably would’ve spoken to most of those 100 guys had we met in person. Usually, I think that if a guy has a good personality, and he’s fun to be around, he doesn’t have to be the best looking dude. But, I can’t ascertain that from a photograph, especially when most guys aren’t good at finding their angles or are simply not photogenic. And, I’m not going to waste my time messaging 100 guys to find one with a personality.
What if you are able to connect with someone online? Well, the problem with getting to know someone through a series of messages, emails and even phone conversations is that it doesn’t equate to real life face-to-face interaction.
“What’s your idea of the perfect date?” he’d written.
“Road trip down the Pacific coast. Or road trip anywhere,” I wrote.
“Lol what if we find out we hate each other during the middle of the road trip. Like you keep touching the radio while I’m driving,” he wrote.
“As long as you don’t have a problem with the A/C on and the windows open at the same time.”
“I don’t know if we can do this road trip,” he wrote. “Are you always late for stuff? That’s kind of a pet peeve of mine. Like if I said be ready by 8. We’re leaving for the road trip.”
“We’re never going to work out…”
“And you’d probably still be rolling around in your bed.”
“I’ve been late my whole life.”
“Getting tanning oil everywhere.”
“Should’ve swiped left. We’re all wrong for each other,” I wrote.
We’d connected on Tinder. He was one of the few matches who actually seemed to have a personality. There was an ease about our banter. I was a sucker for dreamers and lofty ideas. The problem though, is from a few hours of conversation, I found myself filling in the gaps and projecting upon him an idea of the person I thought he was. That’s what we do sometimes. That’s the danger when you spend hours upon hours talking to someone, without really knowing who and how they are in real life because more often than not, your projection isn’t who they are.
So, often, someone is disappointed when the real life meeting happens. Either the photographs don’t match up, the personality wasn’t exactly what you had perceived, or the spark simply isn’t there. And then, all those days, weeks, and months are scratched.
(Of course, there’s always a chance that, that guy you found on OkCupid or Tinder ends up being the love of your life, but that’s probably because you got lucky. It could’ve happened anywhere.)
After a few weeks, I deleted my accounts, permanently. I decided that instead of using Tinder to ease my boredom, I was going to go out and try new activities (and get Netflix). I’m also working on smiling more… and being open. Whatever that means.
I figure, practicing these life skills might get me somewhere. Who knows. Anything can happen.
For me, it’s 201,000 air miles logged. Some were simply to put miles between me and this city, the one that’s known me so well. The thing about living in the same town as the one you grew up in is that it’s countenance can be wounding, suffocating, some days. Other miles were to celebrate milestones in life – birthdays and soon-to-be brides. Others were girl trips – summers that will always remind me of Jameson, Phoenix, music festivals, drives up the Pacific Coast and through the Nevada desert, fleeting crushes, laughing until my stomach hurt and letting go of old affairs. Others were living abroad, in foreign cities with complete strangers – it was there, sitting in pubs in London and Florence discussing life, politics and bullshit, that I grew up, I grew to better understand myself. It was in these places with these people that I was able to be more of who I was because they had no expectations of me. Other miles were to reconnect with family – the people whom I love and adore, who I only get to see once every so many years. It’s the people whom I share a history with, who tell me of stories of my grandparents, of the father I never knew, of the aunt whom suffered from a mental illness and the grandfather who never quite recovered from the death of his son and the losses of that war.
And on a concrete level, I’ve always had this thing about airports. They’re one of the rare places where you arrive as one person and you leave changed in some way. Whether you were on a long trip away, or leaving for a honeymoon, or flying home for a funeral, or visiting an old friend in a new city – all of these things change us. We’re never quite the same.
D: So, I haven’t had sex in forever. If you want to hear something real. And lately I’ve been flipping through the list of guys in my brain, seeing if I could possibly hook up with any of them. It’s been a struggle.
We were sitting around at a local bar, flipping coins to make decisions. "Should I sleep with him?" "Should I get back together with her?" "Should I give him a chance?" "Should I take him back?"
We all knew the answers to these questions. The truth isn’t hard, knowing isn’t hard, what was difficult, what we were having trouble with was going through with these decisions that had to be made.
So this is what we’ve been talking about lately.
S: Here’s my piece of advice. Whatever you do, don’t sleep around. Because everyone talks.
A: He slept over, and we didn’t have sex. Aren’t you proud?
B: Now you’re just like me. Giving out blue balls and conversation.
We were drinking by the Waterfront in Georgetown one day, playing games to pass the time. Who would you rather have sex with?
A: You think I should have sex with him?
B: Do it. If you have sex with him, I’ll have sex with M. Let me know.
C: You guys are crazy. Don’t have sex with either of them!
We started discussing the semantics. How would we take care of our needs, without sleeping around? What set of conditions must exist in order for someone to be a good hook-up decision?
They’re a good kisser. What’s the point of upping your number for someone who can’t even kiss well?
They’re a friend. Sex is best with someone you love, but since we don’t have that, the level below that is intimacy. With a friend, there’s already a level of rapport, comfort that exists. Also, with a friend, you already know what you’re getting into for the most part. You know their past, and you know if there’s a chance you’d fall for them or not.
You’re physically attracted to them. But there’s no chance you’d fall in love with them. Do not violate this under any circumstances. The last thing you want is to fall in love with someone who you never intended to, and then sit around waiting and hoping they’ll want to be in a relationship with you, and well, most of the time this situation doesn’t work out well for anyone involved.
There’s no chance they could fall in love with you. Because that would create a problem. You’d probably stop enjoying the sex at some early point, and you’d ultimately have to deal with hurting someone’s feelings.
Do not choose someone whom you’re physically and mentally attracted to and whose personality you adore. You will catch feelings. This will not end well. But really, if you already know someone who fits that, try dating them.
K: We have too much fun. Too much courvoisier. The bad habits.
J: It’s okay. I’m right there with you, in your clothes.We’d been drinking a lot, laughing a lot. It feels like it’s been summer time for forever now. We made a pact to give up drinking for as many days as we could. I did it because, just to know that I could do it, and because I was getting a little too messy again. Old habits were trying to creep back in, and at almost thirty years old, that’s not how I was trying to be anymore.