Dater X: The Ringmaster

Editor’s Note: We’ve realized perhaps too late that this post contained blatantly offensive language that is not in line with our editorial standards. The post has been changed to reflect that. These values are not values that are espoused by the staff and for this editorial oversight we are truly sorry. We will do better in the future. 

I have never been so happy not to have gone speed dating as I was this week.

My own nicely steady new relationship with The Bartender notwithstanding (and more on that in a minute): my best friend has officially recommitted to singledom after all his back and forth with The One, and this week, he attended a speed dating event. I wasn’t there myself, but he called me the next day and rendered it for me in colorful enough detail to make me wary of ever trying such a thing, even if things in my own dating life suddenly go the way of The Big Easy.

Without compromising any of the attendees’ identities, this group included:
a) An actual midget woman, little person approximate height 3’6”
b) A 300-lb.+ woman whose day job at the DMV apparently informed her less-than-sunny demeanor
c) A collection of male suitors for these and other women less socially adept than the greater part of the autism spectrum

I can already hear the chorus of haters accusing me of body shaming here, so let me reiterate a little something I’ve written about before: while I happily admit that the world takes all kinds of people, I don’t think that anyone, no matter how long they have been single, should be asked to concede being physically attracted to their mate just for the sake of having one. And while, yes, perhaps every woman at this event had a sparkling wit and a heart of gold, my best friend is all of 5’7”, and it’s not unreasonable that the women listed above did not strike his Boner Fancy. He made the best of things that night, gamely chatting with each woman in the rotation, but to hear him tell it, he should have followed suit when he arrived and spotted the only two potential dates that appealed to him just in time to see them give the assembled sideshow a once-over and head for the door. When you’re comparing your dating life to a circus, things can only get better.

At least that’s what I told him by way of reassurance, though I don’t think I quite convinced him to give speed dating another try any time soon.

And speaking of a circus, I’m back in The Bartender’s city for work this week. My life feels more fragmented by the day, though so far my juggling skills have proved adequate. He and I stayed in close touch during the week, talking and texting, and I deliberately extended my trip by a few days to give us some time together, which has been nothing but lovely. He met me at the train station when I got into town and we walked through one of the city’s famed outdoor markets, picking up ingredients that we then spent the evening preparing for dinner. A movie and a snuggle session (and some increasingly satisfying Naked Time, thanks to his penchant for doggie style and the clutch addition of a pillow beneath my hips to elevate them to thrusting height), and we tucked into bed. I arrived at the office this morning with rosy cheeks that had nothing to do with the fierce wind outside, and I frankly can’t wait to get home and spend the evening with him again, when we will compare our calendars and plan his next visit up to my city. It’s a tightrope, trying to work out enough time together, but so far, we’re walking it.

I candidly admit that it’s nice to have someone on my side. When I was single, especially after this summer’s whirlwind coupling and uncoupling, I felt a bit like the daring young man on the flying trapeze, soaring from friend to friend and activity to activity to keep from feeling desperate or frightened or gut-twistingly alone. With The Bartender in my life, there’s a sweet feeling of balance, like I’m not falling anymore – like I’ve landed. It’s hard to explain, especially having known him for comparatively little time, but the more we talk, the more we find that we have in common. There are little things, like both noticing in delighted unison a cameo by our favorite obscure actor in last night’s movie. There are the bigger things, though, too: that we’re both city people through and through, both organized planners who would rather get up too early than arrive even a minute late, both generally optimistic souls who look around and see things to smile about instead of reasons to frown. He doesn’t complain when I pet every puppy that passes by. I find it adorable the he insists on walking on the outside of the sidewalk, despite a pervasive disinclination to look both ways that has found me, more than once, grabbing his arm to prevent a close encounter with a city bus. We both remarked yesterday that it feels entirely natural to spend so much time together, and yet it hardly feels serious, because we both make each other laugh so often.

I wrote at length a few weeks ago about feeling content with my life and struggling to “work on myself,” since it seemed that a partner was the one thing I was really missing. And now that he’s around, I find myself exploring new possibilities, new ideas about what comes next that didn’t make sense for me alone (Moving, even if only for a while? Opening a restaurant one day? Buying an apartment?) It’s fun and exhilarating to look ahead to the future and feel like there’s something big and new on the horizon. Carly Simon once sang that “A horizon is nothing, save the limit of our sight.” And while this is all still fresh and new, and the horizon seems awfully close and difficult to see beyond, it’s hard not to imagine that good things are waiting there for me to find them – like a colorful poster on a lamppost promising that the circus coming to town.


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