365(ish) Days Off Dating

A sequel of sorts

40 days off dating found here.

Day 48. Just kidding, I’m really not into Tinder, or any dating apps at all.

Day 57. I guess this is what people mean when they say work is really busy.

Day 66. I start liking this guy I talked to once or twice in college, Nick*, who lives across the street from me. We grab dinner and walk around, playing Pokemon Go, chatting about work and whether we’re where we’d thought we’d be at this point in our lives.

Day 80. Nick* has been in a long distance relationship for years.

Day 84. I become good friends with Nick* because that’s what sane, rational people do.

Day 89. I wonder if there’s a leaderboard for Most Hours Watched on Netflix.

Day 110. Being single is kind of boring.

Day 111. But maybe I just live in a kind of boring place.

Day 118. What if I’m missing out on interesting people by ignoring dating apps?

Day 119. Lol, nah.

Day 124. If everyone on dating apps is garbage, so am I, right?

Day 128. I delete all the dating apps on my phone.

Day 140. I re-download all the dating apps that used to be on my phone.

Day 153. I would nail that Most Hours Watched Netflix leaderboard.

Day 161. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the one who’s not open to new things, who’s afraid of commitment, who only ever ends up liking guys who are unavailable, because guys who are available could lead to something real, and things that matter can be broken.

Day 166. Maybe I should get a dog.

Day 177. Nick* is moving away for work in a few months, right around the time I’ll be moving down to the city. Funny how things work out.

Day 186. I go home for Thanksgiving and briefly entertain the idea of meeting up with a college ex to stroll through some museums, like we do every year. Instead, I wander around the National Portrait Gallery by myself.

Day 193. Nick* broke up with his girlfriend.

Day 194. I should probably not do anything about that.

Day 198. Work. Netflix. Sleep.

Day 201. My friend Matt likes to say that there’s no point of no return. That you can never really be too friends with someone to be rejected by them and never recover the friendship. I like the sound of that, but I’m not sure if that’s the part that worries me. I think I’m more afraid that I won’t be rejected, that we’ll try it out, and it’ll be great, until it isn’t — because doesn’t it usually end up isn’t — and then what.

Day 212. I sign a lease for an NYC apartment with a mid-February move-in date. It’s not far, and I already spend most weekends in the city, but somehow this feels fresh and new and good for me.

Day 227. I move to NYC.

Day 233. I go to a concert with a bunch of friends and Nick*.

Day 233. I almost hook up with Nick*.

Day 233. Nick and I have a conversation about how we should stay just friends.

Day 238. I hook up with Nick*.

Day 238. Can the best date you’ve ever had be not a date?

Day 239. Liking someone is strange. It’s all-consuming and easy, like breathing — sometimes you forget it’s there, but when you remember, it’s all you can think about. Like, maybe, just maybe, the earth stands still.

Day 242. But life keeps moving. He’s still moving. So I find a few life drawing open studios to try out. Research orchestra auditions. Look up masters swimming clubs.

Day 250. I briefly message a few people on Tinder who seem to live in my neighborhood but quickly lose interest.

Day 257. It’s funny how fast life falls into a routine. Grocery shopping, laundry, liquor runs. Or maybe routine’s the wrong word. Becomes familiar. Even the new stuff. Like making a restaurant bucket list and finding a few friends to check them off with. Concerts. Rotating museum exhibitions. Maybe it’s always been this way. Always will be this way.

Day 261. Nick moves away, so I guess that’s that, except sometimes it isn’t. But it should be.

Day 294. I go home to an empty apartment and the silence overwhelms me, catching me off-guard. Like I have all this space to fill, but nothing to fill it with.

Day 308. I invest more and more of my time in friends, get dinners, drinks, catch movies, walk around parks. Like practice dates, or even real dates, because who’s to say friend dates aren’t real or perhaps even better than romantic dates.

Day 327. I wonder if there’s a correlation between my day-to-day happiness and new shows on Netflix or series cancellations announcements. Like if I weighted my happiness on a scale of one to seven, and mapped that against how many new shows were out on Netflix I was interested in that week, vs Sense8 getting cancelled…

Day 324. Sometimes it feels like the city is one whole, big distraction. That your days becomes so saturated, you forget about The Big Picture. Or that doing those activities become The Big Picture. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing. If it’s preventing me from moving forward, or distracting me from how I’m not moving forward. Like most things, both, probably.

Day 328. Or, I should just re-define what I think is moving forward. That it’s not about the big life events, but the day-to-day happenings that make me smile. After all, most change happens slowly, and then all at once. Maybe we should stop focusing so much on the all at once.

Day 344. Someone asks me why I stopped dating, and I realize that I’ve been off apps for almost a year. I explain that I’m much happier spending time with my friends. The late night concert is better silly dancing with people who are also too busy silly dancing to judge. Pie baking afternoons, bottle exchanges, coffee breaks spent people watching, summer picnics in the park. Time spent with people I know, who know me, whose silent company makes me comfortable and not anxious.

Day 365. I find that singledom, real singledom, finally feels like a skin that fits me. Or maybe more like a favorite pair of jeans. Sometimes it’s tight, others a little lose, but most of the time I slip it on reliably. Happily, and without thought.

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