Dating in New York is like dating in a fairytale – all escaping rain to steal kisses on other people’s stoops and holding hands beneath a skyline of Chryslers and Empires. It’s pretty magical right? ERRRRRR, WRONG! Well, not entirely wrong, per se, but not entirely right either, and I’m about to tell you why.
I’ve found, largely through my experience and the experiences of my peers, that dating in New York is like every Woody Allen or Billy Crystal movie you’ve ever seen. We’ve been socially conditioned to see New York as the most romantic city in the world, because here anything is possible and everything is huge, including falling in love. Blame the media, blame the parents, whatever – the fact is that whether or not you hate her, every time you saw Carrie Bradshaw tottering about in a ridiculous gold lame skirt with a news-papier-mché clutch and a million inch heels chasing after Mr. Big, it imprinted on you (sort of like in that totally lame, pedophilia Twilight way).
So we come to the big city and we’ve got big dreams that we’re chasing – apartments, jobs, parties, lovers – fuck, the whole package is just so…. Hollywood. And you know, that’s why we do it and why we love it, but at the same time, that’s what’s so intrinsically wrong with the whole process.
Say you meet someone. Maybe your eyes meet across a crowded subway train, in a dimly lit bar, at the gym or in font of Klimt’s Hope II at the MoMA. It doesn’t matter where or how, you’re in New York; the moment is spectacular. There are fireworks and butterflies and a hit of pure ecstasy. Your googly eyes lead to a date; perhaps you’ll cozy up at a bar drinking wine, maybe you’ll go to a show and hold hands, or open a door in a wall to a vibrant, intimate restaurant. What follows is bike rides at dusk in spring, trips to the beach if it’s summer, train rides upstate in fall when the leaves are golden and crunchy, or ice skating in Central Park if it’s winter.
And by George, it’s wonderful. It’s intoxicating and overwhelming and you’ll simply believe that you’re falling in love, that this is it, that every moment is the grandest moment… until it’s not. Until you realize that you missed the human stuff. The hanging out in bed eating Chinese and watching crappy TV. The trips to the supermarket. The house parties with friends. And once it all starts unraveling, you’ll probably be left with one very grim realization: that you failed to really get to know each other at all, so ensconced were you in the magic of New York City. More dire still: you’ll share these special, fantasy New York moments over and over again, with an array of different people.
You see, in every place that’s not New York, the magic comes second. People go on regular dates. They have regular dinners, and regular walks in regular places and regular hangouts that don’t involve movie-like scenarios. And then, once they’ve decided they find one another significantly special, they find special things to compliment the way they’ve come to feel. In New York, the dating has got it all backwards.
Don’t get me wrong; I love dating in this city. I love the electricity in the air, the spontaneity and the infinite possibility. And yet I find myself pining for something a little less, something a bit smaller, a touch of modesty. I want to stand at the bottom of the tower and look up, not the other way around. I want to be swept off my feet in the most humble, no frills way possible, without all the fairy dust this city sprinkles over the newly infatuated. I want to fall in love with another human, instead of falling even more deeply for New York City.
So I guess that’s what next. Finding someone who doesn’t mind me getting bacon juice on the sheets at 3am when I come home drunk and would prefer to gorge myself of fried goods rather than look meaningfully into their eyes. That’s what this column will essentially be about — looking for love in the big city. And all the walks of shame, awkward first dates, terrible decisions and whiskey shots with the girls when everything goes pear shaped. The whole damn shit show. Let’s see if I can’t work it out and hopefully impart some wisdom, or at least let you laugh at my misfortunes, along the way.
Follow Kat on Twitter @kat_george
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