‘Just relax,” she said. ‘Just calm down. Take a deep breath, unclench, unwind and don’t get hung up on it. Wait for him to call you back and, if the bastard doesn’t, drown any memory of him and delete his number. Save, of course, a hidden Post-It note, 585-number included, tucked away in some remote corner, in case you ever really do need it or ever drunkenly decide to make a critical mistake.”
Of course, I knew all this dating protocol, knew a text after 7 p.m. meant conversation, one after 10 p.m. was simply begging for a booty call. One way or the other, I was liable to enthusiastically agree to either, but I was trying this new initiation thing, this why-don’t-we-get-to-know-each-other thing, and I was as confused and blindly hopeful as a fish out of water.
After all, I was known for, in the words of Louise Gluck my ‘famous ironic detachment” my classic insistence on distance.
Calling guys I’d merely danced with and disrobed for wasn’t really my style.
I had always been skeptical of never-ending romances, the Disney cartoon cutouts of savior men and damsels in distress, obligation Valentine’s Days and the limiting gaze of a watching boyfriend.
Instead of investing myself in a relationship, I was a big self-promoter, a self-satisfier, a harlotesque hedonist type. After all, I had taken my cues from long-time Playboy sex columnist Cynthia Heimel, who famously quipped, ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” insisting her female readership seriously reconsider their presupposed want for a man.
Having read Heimel since I was essentially a preteen, I had always identified with her strong sense of self-preservation.
She was known for her soul-slicing witticisms and questionable drug advice, her hilarious interpretations of dating protocol and last but not least, her bruising ability to move on.
She often wrote about her idealistic love for dark and sultry cowboys but, when confronted with close imitations, she often seemed unimpressed, more content to simmer in her singularity than label herself someone’s girlfriend.
To me, Heimel always epitomized the elusive catch.
Adopting many of Heimel’s self-projecting values, ignoring the worried faces of my more happily partnered friends, I often ignored my feelings about one suitor or another, deciding instead to greedily absorb the sex and not ask questions.
Luckily, many lovers didn’t mind my hands-on, heart-off approach, but it had become increasingly evident to me in my post-Douche bag enlightenment that something critical was missing in my love life.
Begrudgingly, hesitatingly, anxiously, I admitted: Maybe I was missing love.
Last Thursday, while ruminating on this revelation, splitting smuggled drinks between my friends and undoubtedly heating up the lip gloss I carried in my cleavage, a chiseled-cheeked, scruffy-faced 26-year-old sidled my direction and innocuously asked me to dance.
Several dirty dances and scintillating lip-locks later, I knew there was something really compelling here.
There was something so promising about my night with Scotty. Something so electrically, not simply sexually, connected about it, I knew I couldn’t waste my time flopping in confusion, unsure whether to put my heart out on the line, passively crossing my fingers and my ankles until my dashing Disney prince made the first move. I was going to jump in, headfirst, heart-first, and see where the water took me, even if that meant a terrifying travel downstream.
So came the daunting task of calling him, asking him to dinner, hoping the conversation promised more than an itch-scratching round two, wide-eyed waiting for more.
As Shivani wisely pointed out, I’ve got three hours wait time till it’s a certifiable booty call and five till it’s certifiably not happening, and I’m thinking positive, for all the good that does me.
Despite what Heimel says, and for all my escapist fantasies, even I know that sometimes it ain’t so bad to be caught.
Titus is a member of the class of 2011.