Via Gothamist‘s “Ask a Native New Yorker”:
Dear Native New Yorker,
I moved to Fort Greene about six months ago. Surely I didn’t move to Brooklyn to find a significant other, but it would be nice. Even some make out sessions! Anything! Why is the dating scene here so rough?
I have met interesting, attractive, not insane people but they all seem to be flakes. What should I do? Give up and accept my fate as someone who ogles hot New Yorkers on the subway but goes home alone? Or keep trying?
Room for Two
Dear Subway Ogler,
Many newcomers find themselves loveless or friendless for a time when they first arrive in New York, but they rarely stay that way long. E.B. White perhaps put it best: “On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy. It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” So the question, really, is this: how do you get lucky in New York?
The first step is an internal adjustment. You say you’re looking for “Interesting, attractive, not insane people.” Take it from a native: in 37 years I have never met a person in this city that embodied all three of these qualities at once. Perhaps this is possible in a simpler town—Minneapolis, maybe, or Vancouver. But you chose New York, a city so expensive that it drives the sane mad just trying to make rent, tempts the attractive with cronuts until they become morbidly obese, and forces all the interesting people to discuss real estate and careers until they kill everyone with boredom.
If you’re lucky enough to find someone who’s attractive and interesting, but insane; or interesting and sane, but ugly; or attractive and sane, but boring; hold on to this person like grim death: they are a rare jewel. Remember: New York rewards those who tolerate imperfections in others, like crooked teeth or a minor felony record. Open your heart, and you will find yourself bum rushed by potential suitors.
Or you could just join one of those kickball/bowling/parkour leagues in Williamsburg; I’ve heard those are basically swingers parties for hipsters.
Obviously my whole life revolves around what I’m eating and who’s showering me with attention, so those were the two main topics of conversation yesterday when my friend Kim and I took the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to Long Beach for the day. I don’t have a job, and she has one that she can either show up to or not depending on her desire to pay bills, so we left my apartment at 10, took a comfortable train an hour out of the city, and arrived on the beach while there were still only a handful of other people awake. It was a glorious day spent alternating between swimming past the huge breaking waves to the calmer waters where we could just float and getting so tan on the beach my family wouldn’t recognize me as not-Latino at this point. We also went into town and intended to eat dinner for a half an hour before heading back into NYC but somehow ended up spending three hours at a pub, talking about our friendship.
The most important thing that happened was that at one point, Kim informed me that we had somehow stumbled into a jellyfish nursery and were being cuddled/choked by a thousand baby jellyfish that weren’t old enough to have their stinging tentacles yet and were basically just swimming breast implants at the moment, and while this seems adorable and awesome in retrospect, I freaked the eff out at the time and swam at one thousand miles per hour toward the shore.
The second most important thing that happened is that Kim told me one of her friends told her to stop making up stories when it comes to men. So, like, if he asks you out to coffee, the only thing you know is that he asked you out to coffee. He didn’t take pity on you because you’re single and jobless, but he also didn’t ask you to marry him. He just wants to drink coffee with you. (Don’t worry; no one is trying to drink coffee with me.)
Can you imagine? Basically all of the writing I did in college and beyond were the stories of which boy said or did what to me and what it meeeeeans. On one hand, it’d probably give me so much relief to just listen to what men actually say and watch what they actually do and not infer anything beyond that. To not have to stress so much about what hidden meaning there is in this touch or this word. To wait until someone explicitly says “I like you” before I start imagining our future penthouse apartment with the infinity pool on the roof. It’d take so much stress off of relationships. Either there are no feelings, or there are all the feelings, and you happily date for six years or maybe even longer.
On the other hand, how boring is that?