I Wish I Was Single In The 90s
Shani Silver
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As a man who dated in the 90s I can give you an accurate portrayal of what it was like then:

Queue something by The Smiths

You glance across the cadaver in anatomy class and ask your female anatomy class lab partner “ is that the Left Anterior Descending artery and if so do you want to grab a drink after?”

Queue something by Madonna

Sitting side by side at the local watering hole, an innocuous glass of white wine in front of her and something ironically named by Sam Adam’s in front of you, things are going well. You’ve stopped talking about your professors, your fellow students and “Bill” your cadaver. You’ve moved on to talking about what motivated you to go to medical school, your families, your parents expectations for you and your career. To move things along you decide to fake choking on a hand full of bar peanuts in the hopes she’ll Heimlich you……She does!!! And she’s feels even better than she looked through that baggy white lab coat!.

Queue something by Phil Collins

Over the dinner you insisted taking her to as a “thank you for saving my life”, you open with “I never seen so many bits of peanut spray across the room…” she saves you from an awkward moment by downplaying her own heroics and asking you about your dating history. Over glasses of Merlot you learn more about each other, quiet but important details come out, she really wanted to be a film director, she was worried her younger brother was partying too much in college, she feels the weight of being the first in her family with an advanced degree… You decide not to fake sudden death in hopes CPR might become a full makeout session.

Queue something by Depeche Mode

Back at her apartment you expertly undo the clasp of her bra with your left hand, you decide not to stop kissing her to make some sly comment about how “that’s not even my dominant hand!” Things are going well enough without the need for any color commentary you think…..

Queue something by Vivaldi

Your holding hands at the first of your med school classmates weddings. Over the next three years 20 or more of your best friends from college and med school will get married. You look over at your “lab partner”, she looks gorgeous in that dress! Of course after dragging you to 15 stores over 8 hours and two meals that dress had better be knock out drag out beautiful. You lean over and kiss her on the corner of her mouth. She stops talking excitedly with one of her girlfriends and looks at you with that piercing gaze of hers that says “this could be us!”

Queue something by Nirvana

Sitting on a blanket in the park you pull the thermos of Chardonnay out of the picnic basket. Your “lab partner” is pulling out the baguette and cold cuts and talking about The Match. Ah the Match! That draconian process by which medical students and training programs commit to a 3–7 year marriage, indentured servitude in exchange for a specialty. The two of you have come to discuss whether your applying together as a couple or separately as individuals. You both know couples that had “couple matching” blow up in their face, with neither getting their top choice and having to go to inferior programs. And others who filled separately and now we’re dealing with long distance relationships. A few of the latter hadn’t survived 6 months under the rigor of 120 hour work weeks and the separation. You look up as she says “Right? That couldn’t happen to us! And we wouldn’t be more than a two hour plane ride apart! Right?” You make a noncommittal noise and pour Chardonnay into coated paper cups.

Queue something by Bach

Your parents and your “lab partner”’s are looking down at the small shiny stone on the thin band of Platinum on her hand. Or the “Moms” are, the “Dads” are handing you another double old fashioned of single malt and congratulating you on graduating in the top of your class and getting engaged to the class valedictorian on the same day. Their voices become a buzz as you think about the 600 mile commute the Match had forced on you both. But at least you’d both gotten your top choice…..

Queue frantic over head paging system announcements drowning out something by Muzak

You look across the body of your patient at your Intern. You tell her “there wasn’t anything we could do, he was dead before he got to us”. This is only her second month and the first patient she’s lost. You squeeze her shoulder in the way proscribed by the “Residents handbook”. Something comforting but that can’t be misconstrued as overtly sexual. She gathers herself, and flashes you a shaky smile. “Thanks!” She says. She has the most piercing eyes. A few hours later as your shift ends you say “do you want to grab a drink?” In the breast pocket of your scrubs is a thick was of paper and inside it is a small band of Platinum with a shiny stone.

That Shani was dating in the 90s

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