It’s that time of year when people start saying that summer is almost over.
It’s a common human defense mechanism to repeatedly state the negative things that could happen out loud, as though that will protect you from them when they come. We mentally live in the worst case scenario to avoid being taken by surprise. Of course, Fall does always get here, so it’s not delusional to say it’s on its way, just preemptive during the first week of August. Unfortunately, my dating life is feeling all the ominous portents of change.
As I swiped this week, the giddy slew of connections I’d been making in early June had slowed to a trickle. I could not get a freaking date! Flakes, fakers, no shows, no response. Everything is experiencing an end of summer slow down, including libidos.
I’m laying in my underwear on the couch, morosely messaging “Heys” to the few possibilities on my match list. Lately, I’ve been contending with the difficulties of going out with the same person more than once. The more you get to know someone, the more time you feel you owe them, the more of yourself you think you should share. Drained and confused, all I really want is a palate cleanser. Someone new and FRESH who I wouldn’t have to build anything significant with.
A match on Bumble has a picture of himself laying with his cat on the floor. Sometimes I swipe right on people who have animals I want to get to know. I message him that I love his cat, and he instantly replies. What? A conversation starting at 11:45 pm on a week night? This is too good to be true.
It is. He’s only visiting, and he’s leaving town tomorrow afternoon, but will be back in October.
“Oh well,” I write, “In my experience if you don’t meet right away, you never will. But feel free to message me in October.”
He suggests we meet right away.
Now, many women who swipe on dudes can tell you about the sheer number of “U up?” messages you receive on a nightly basis from horny men. The fact that it happens so often must mean that it works sometimes, and I have occasionally been tempted. Here’s how dudes usually blow it:
1. Demand some assurance that if they come to meet you, you will absolutely have sex with them (no woman wants to trust themselves with someone who doesn’t seem capable of taking no for an answer).
2. Message at 3am when I am already asleep.
This date works his magic on me. He says he’ll get in a car right away, meet me at a bar near my house, and there’s absolutely no obligation to do anything at all—no pressure. NO PRESSURE. All I want is no pressure, to not do anything I don’t want to, to not be anything to anyone that I don’t feel capable of being.
I’m tired. I’m already not wearing pants. I’m pretty sure I have to clean the kitty litter if I’m going to have another human being over to my apartment.
Holding the phone in my hand, pondering whether or not to say yes to meeting some rando after midnight when I have work in the morning, I feel the chill wind of the dying season howl over me. Summer is ending. Life is fleeting. Chances for kissing a cute man with curly hair are passing you by. Will you meet the winter of your life having never run through the green fields?
“Okay,” I write,”But if you’re not in a car by 12:30, forget it.”
I clean the kitty litter and take out the garbage and even manage to put on my dirty clothes from earlier that day before running down to the bar. We arrive at the same time, both slightly sweaty, both conspicuous in the almost empty establishment, clearly there for a hook up. I decide right away that unless he says something absolutely incriminating or insane in the next five minutes, this is going to happen.
We have one drink, and it turns out he is actually roommates with someone I know in his city, which makes the world seem incredibly small, but also feels like it mitigates the risk of taking home a strange dude. Before going to meet him, I’d texted his name and photo to a friend—I’m not crazy. She promised to avenge me if things go south.
We finish our one drink and walk towards my apartment. Outside, I ask him to kiss me. He has a nice mouth. When the long kiss ends, I say, “Now promise not to murder me.”
Afterwards, he laughs, seeming baffled that things worked out and a little stunned, because I could have brought home a murderer. I’m not afraid of him, but at this comment, I roll my eyes in the dark. Women are aware of the violence of men all the time. I don’t need a reminder from someone who just benefited from the fact that I threw the dice on him, and won.
“It can be scary,” I say, “But I want to live my life.”
You just gotta live until the last leaf falls from the bush.