You know what I miss most about being in a relationship, aside from the assurance that I’m superior to all of my single friends? Going on dates.
I found myself in my bathroom on a recent Saturday afternoon, wearing a dress and putting on earrings in preparation for going to a friend’s house, and it felt so wonderful and familiar for a second. I realized it was because it reminded me of all of those years of going on dates with Kamran on Saturday nights. It seemed like we had a dinner reservation at some swanky restaurant every single weekend for the last couple of years of our relationship. We were always trying to one-up ourselves the way drug addicts do–going to the newest best restaurant, the oldest best restaurant, all of the three-Michelin-star restaurants–hoping this week’s tasting menu would be even better than last week’s.
We’d plan what time to wake up, what time to eat lunch, what to eat for lunch based on dinner that night. My strategy was to eat a lot for lunch–the chicken fingers parm sandwich from Jackson Hole was a favourite–so my stomach would be good and stretched out, while he would only eat two sushi rolls so he’d be starving by dinnertime. I’d take a shower three hours before we were supposed to leave so I’d have time to let my hair air dry while we watched “Deadliest Catch” or “Project Runway”, sit around in pajamas until the last second and then put on my dress and earrings. Kamran needed my blessing on whatever sweater-vest-and-bowtie combination he’d chosen, and I needed him to straighten the collar on my cape.
I’d try to hurry us out the door by waiting for him in the hallway, and he’d have to run back inside to switch from the glasses he wore around the house to the glasses he wore outside that looked exactly the same, and I’d press the button for the elevator when he was still all of the way down the hallway, and he’d get mad. We’d take a picture of ourselves in the elevator on the way down to the lobby and then try to game whether to wait for a cab on Tudor City Place or walk down to 2nd Avenue and try to get one there. We always chose wrong whatever we chose and had one or two instances of, like, a stranger physically holding another woman back for us so she’d stop trying to steal the cab that clearly belonged to us because we were there first. And then we’d get to the restaurant, and the maitre d’ would ask what name was on the reservation, and we’d look at each other, and Kamran would ask me, “Is it under your name?” even though we both knew it was. And then we’d have the easiest dinner conversation, so much more interesting and voluminous than that of the other couples around us, and we’d get so full and so drunk that we’d just hold hands in the back of the cab on the way home and dazedly stare out the windows at the sights of 2nd or 6th Avenue, and maybe we’d talk about our favourite dishes if we could manage, but we’d try not to let on to the hardworking cabbie that we had just spent his whole paycheck on dinner.
The doorman would wish us a goodnight, and we’d never argue about who got to go to the bathroom first because he always let me, and then we’d collapse on the Murphy bed and watch “The X-Files” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” until we fell asleep or until it was time to order Second Dinner from whatever diner was still open at 2 a.m., depending on how teeny the portions had been at dinner.
It’s not that I miss these things specifically, though I loved every minute of them during those six years. It’s just that I miss the routine of it all. The knowing that I had this to look forward to every weekend. The knowing that I had reserved someone’s time. The being so well taken care of. It’s hard not to be nostalgic.