Sex in the City.
I used to love that show. Didn’t we all? Every female alive in the last decade between the aged of 15 and 60 (possibly more) has a spot in their heart for Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. We loved it because it was sexy, snarky, heartwarming, hilarious, and the portrayal of the deep bond between women was profoundly well-crafted. We loved it because it was a fantasy world woven with truths we knew from our own experiences. It was a life we knew and yet one that was refreshingly different that our own.
Now, that’s my life. Ok, so before you start secretly-hating me or booking your next plane ticket, let me explain. To some extent, it’s the life of a single woman in her… well, 30s on the East Coast and 20s in the Midwest. Believe me, I’m not wearing Manolo Blahniks or weird 90s haute couture, writing my own column, living in an apartment that is actually WAY nicer than a person who writes a column could afford, or getting rich men to fly me off to Paris at the drop of a hat. I’m certainly not a Samantha. Or a Charlotte for that matter. But the other night my roommate told me she describes me to people as the subject of a TV show- a sweet, Midwestern girl who moves to the big city, gets a fashionable but intelligent job, enters the new dating scene, and has just enough mishaps to keep the plot interesting. No Mr. Big, but a good story none the less.
I am in fact a young, single girl trying to navigate the stormy seas of self-discovery and of relationships, and I am dating. The self-discovery isn’t anything new though, and other than the occasional moments of panic, self-doubt, and “who-am-I?” that you can’t escape your twenties without, I’m not really facing anything I’m not totally ready for in that department. But dating is a horse of a different color. To be honest, dating was never really something I did. I was a shy-around-boys kind of girl until my first boyfriend – a 3 year relationship that lasted the duration of high school. After that came college, which I would first argue isn’t real dating anyway (it’s more a series of soul-filled conversations and daily interactions or of random hookups) but regardless, for me it was a time of alternating between being abrasively single and fluttering in and out of someone’s romantic life like a delicate but surprisingly destructive butterfly. Then grad school – summed up with the phrase printed on my cherry-red Kate Spade book-bag: Don’t Kiss Me Now, I’m Busy.
Even when I got here, I didn’t so much do the dating thing. I was single and getting my life together in the most literal sense – securing an apartment, finding a job, locating the nearest Target – and then by the time I felt like I was ready to start dating, I struck some beginners luck and found a great guy who stuck around for a while. Actually, lie. Not about him being great – he was and is – but about how I ended up doing online dating in the first place. I actually joined an online dating site the first month I moved back to the city post-Uniqlo while I was searching for a job. I was searching feverishly, knowing if I didn’t have a job within a month I’d have to move back to Michigan or crawl back to Soho begging them to take me back as a shirt-folding-monkey, so needless to say I was filled with anxiety and adrenaline. Being a proactive person, I felt guilty every moment I wasn’t doing something productive, but knew that it’s not possible to job search 15 hours a day, so I decided I needed to channel my energies elsewhere. Enter OKCupid. That’s right, I was tired of filling out job applications, so I decided to try dating. It’s amazing how similar the two processes actually are.
Anyway, enter The Boy. Very tall, sweet as a peach, and someone who took me for who I was where I was (thanks.) And someone who wasn’t an asshole. Which, I hate to say it, but was really important and different than anyone I’d actually been interested in pursuing in college (I was pursued by plenty of non-assholes, but like J. Giles says You love her, she loves him, and he loves somebody else… Love Stinks). I made many stupid mistakes, good formative back-story fodder, and I lived and learned. So anyway, back to now-ish. The Gentleman. There were picnics, beaches, candle-lit dinners, and hurricanes. We had a good time, a nice time. We we weren’t a couple per say, but we were in a lot of ways, and about the time we both admitted that was about the time we realized it wasn’t going to work. It was the most polite “break-up” in the history of humanity. (I almost can’t believe it happened and am secretly expecting to see him out my office window one day hurling tomatoes angrily up at the 5th floor.)
Tomatoes or not, now here I am. Our two major fall events are finished at the office, and soon even the fall rush will be winding down. Plus, I have at least one extra night a week that I haven’t had since June (the Boy and the Job came within a week of each other. Because I only do things all at once..), so I’ve got tons of free time! (I think I was this crazy before I moved here, right?) This time, since I only have one front on which I’m selling myself, I’m going all in.
And I’m surprised, but I’m actually enjoying it. I mean, there have been some awkward and hilarious blunders (sometime, ask me about the Operation Cuff-Links or Bruce Springsteen, as these episodes would be called), but thinking about my life as a romantic sit-com, I find these moments of comedy almost as delightful as the ones of romantic-glee. At the end of the day, in this city I am young, and every time I get discouraged or begin to feel like there’s no one for me, I get some sort of dieus-ex-machina surprise, as if an HBO writer were sitting back watching it happen, pursing his lips, trying to pen the next scene. There’s a message, a smile, or a new date on the calendar. Nothing takes the past away like the future.
So…here we go! We’re moving through the first season of HBO’s newest show Little Girl Big Dreams. Here’s hoping it does well, maybe even so well that they can find the budget next season for a pair of Manolos.
“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”
“The fact is, sometimes it’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.”