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Date (w) Me: The End of Mr. Babitz
need your help for the beginning of something new!
Mr. Babitz and I are done! Never to be revisited. And here is why:
We’d gone on date three (dinner) and then date four (bar with jazz band) and then date five (movie at mine) and then date six (movie at his)!!!, and on the Seventh Date, man and woman created the pseudo-relationship. (I let things sit in my drafts for a while and I take a lot of time to process things before writing about them) We went to dinner at a nice place around mine and on the way home (to mine) he asked
“You want something to drink?”
And he didn’t mean ‘let’s pop into a bar for another round that will probably lead to weird, bonding hungover guilt tomorrow.’ He meant ‘let’s stop and get a nightcap Gatorade.’
After consulting his phone, he began walking toward a bodega, but I quickly made up an excuse to go to another one around the corner because I don’t need the sweet old man who I talk to every weekend at 3 AM while waiting for fries to see anyone I’m dating, even if it is date number seven.
So we go to the other one. He gets a blue gatorade and I get an orange gatorade zero (I still struggle with the idea of “liquid calories” after being told not to consume them online, then irl in the context of ballet, then irl and online while training for pageants, developing a weird beverage adolescence that led to me at the grown age of 23 being afraid of a little juice. But I digress).
We walk to my apartment. We go up and cuddle in front of the TV and crack open our beverages, precariously sipping full bottles of colored liquid over my white sheets. We go back and forth about what to watch and land on From Paris with Love, because he knows I have an affinity for kitschy 2000s action movies, especially when they have John Travolta in them.
I nestle in, thinking that perhaps, this could be the best way to spend a New York winter. But I’m stuck on something from my day. Some weird thought that I want to synthesize and then say out loud so I know I’m not crazy or at least that someone can hear me.
“Don’t you think it’s weird how we think about our lives, our decisions as if they’re constantly being consumed by someone else?” I ask. “Like yes, we do it naturally already (I’d already brought up my Schonpenhaur obsession to him), but the social media aspect makes it immediately gamified. Like we’re in an RPG all the time, instead of just when we’re with other people.”
I feel him take a long breath and pause the intro. (I am little spoon) (I struggle with talking during the movie… it’s awful, I know)
I turn around and look up at him, thinking if I can see his eyes, I’ll know what he’s thinking and how much of it he’ll actually say. He’s traded his trendy porn stache for a day-after shadow that brings out his eyes. A boyish look overcomes him, one that pops up sometimes amidst a stern resting expression.
He whispers into my ear… “Maybe we don’t talk about this sort of stuff after 8.”
And I shut up. We watch the movie, we laugh. I made little quips between the scenes, situational humor? narrative humor? some of the only types of jokes I’m good at. And when he left the next morning, after we walked to grab sandwiches and coffee together (pseudo-relationship to a tee), I knew it was time to end it. Not because he’s a bad person (he’s not), but because I want to be with someone who knows how to talk to weird cerebral me at 8 pm and 10 pm and 3 am and on day 8 and 9 and so on.
We had this compatibility discussion over a phone call and it went well (he agreed!) and now I feel like I have a lovely friendship blossoming with a man who earnestly likes Eve Babitz. Which is fun.
But now I need help figuring out how to reroute. Because I still have a few in the wings and have been incredibly busy and need to prioritize. As much as I’d like to, I can’t go on a million dates. I can’t do it all. And I have two potential run-ins this weekend but don’t know which one to say yes to and which one to say no to:
Mr. Buffet — We met briefly at a work event and then matched on Raya. Our day jobs are sort of liminal to one another. He’d scheduled a date, but I had to cancel for work. However, there is an event this weekend that I have on good authority that he’ll be present at.
Mr. Verdi — New! We had a quick date a while back. Accused me of ghosting him (I was/did not! Just a bad texter!). However, he has opera tickets this weekend and wants me to come.
And the event and the opera are on the same day 🙃
I was listening to this podcast on philosophy the other day. It quoted someone who said if you don’t feel certain about a decision, then don’t decide. And I don’t feel certain about either one. Maybe it’s the numbness of the perpetual dating scene in a big city. Maybe it’s the crushing lull of homesickness and an adjustment to the performative society we’ve built that feels more and more absurd the more I settle into it. Or maybe I’m an overthinker who should stop talking after 8 pm and should honestly probably go to sleep right now.
Either way, I don’t want to decide. I don’t want to play the game anymore. The wilderness is scary and I must stop thinking too much about my own narrative!! It’s the limitation on whatever I’m trying to solve.
So, I’m handing the controller over to you. Which one?
Event with Mr. Buffet?
Opera with Mr. Verdi?
I checked back the morning after posting this and the comments were heavily skewing Mr. Buffet, so Mr. Buffet it is.