The last few months, as I’ve been trip-and-falling through the world of online dating, I’ve been thinking a lot about my agenda within this virtual aggregate of weirdoes and gems. Many times, I’ve said ‘yes’ to a date with a guy who I preemptively knew wasn’t the right fit, long-term. My diplomatic justification for the date was, of course, the good ol’ “you never know” FOMO, an attempt to not be enslaved by my default judgments. But egalitarianism aside, my pre-date battle cry has always been and remains – “If it’s bad, it will probably be a good story”.
What’s more, as a writer constantly salivating for material, the quirkier the better, I (subconsciously) prefer a weird experience. Perhaps a commentary on our schadenfreudian culture, but a healthy relationship tends to be a puke-worthy read. We are addicted to the unlucky-in-love archetype. The Bridget, the Carrie, the (most recently and brilliantly) Penny. If a girl like that can’t find a man, who can? Make it a double, sir. I revel in the cathartic brunches and the “over it” drinks. When a guy says or does something unorthodox, I have to strong-arm myself from pulling out my iPhone notepad and making annotations for the forthcoming ladyfriend debrief. We’ve become a culture of the live-Tweet, the (Insta)ntaneous narrativization of our lives. I’d be ashamed to admit that I’ve set up dates largely because I anticipated they’d yield a romantic cityscape Instagram, if I weren’t convinced that so have you.
A friend of mine has recently hooked up with a guy who swallowed her (not small) earring during a makeout sesh and, then, proceeded to accuse her of “dropping it in his mouth”. My friends, stories like this make life worth living, dates worth dating. I found myself jealous of my friend, not for having found an amazing, loving man (which, while despicable, would be justifiable) but for her proprietorship of this absurd story, the anecdotal capital she would get to carry around for many bar hops to come.
As many of my previously single-lady friends have settled down, I’ve found that, romantically at least, our conversations have started to center around my dating exploits. When I was in a relationship, I would prompt my friends to tell me about their misadventures, as if looking for some vicarious satisfaction in their ill-gotten excitement, although I had a loving relationship back home. When you’re in love, you want your stories to be just between the two of you – secret, sacred –unexploited by a mimosa-fueled rant. Too bad that makes you a slightly-less-fun drinking buddy.
Maria Melnik is a writers’ assistant on cable show about pirates, which has had a profound effect on her understanding of the morality spectrum. When not pillaging, she enjoys long, immobile, hours on her couch with her televised and fictional love affairs, punctuated by some (more narratively-disjointed and wine-fueled) real ones. You can follow her shamefully recent Twitter debut at @_mariamelnik.
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