Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dating - Is it the City?

Friend: "So, Lauren, how do you like dating in Los Angeles?"

At first I thought to myself, "I hate it." But, then I wondered is the issue really Los Angeles or is this how it is everywhere? And then I realized that no matter where you are, dating has its positives and its negatives no matter what age you are.

Flirting is fun. And let's be honest, with dating comes mucho flirting.
It's a great distraction from work and any other issue that's going on in your life.
Get to see new places and do new things.
Everything is new and amazing since it's the first time you're experiencing it with that special somebody.

Information is always a little selective. You may not find out until a few months in that they have kids or a husband.
Gotta watch out for games. Examples: one day they're texting you non stop and the next they aren't. Or, they say they like you yet you can't get 'em to pick up their phone.
Most like to rush. Yes, the U-Haul lesbian syndrome is very true.
It's hard to tell what you're getting until it's too late (emotionally).

I've only been in Los Angeles for a little over a month, but it doesn't matter. The same issues I have with dating here are the same ones I had in New York.

When I lived in New York a woman came up to me in a club. It was probably one in the morning. She was a beautiful, tall dancer. White. In her 30s. She sauntered over to me in her white shirt and blue jeans, smiled as she leaned in toward me: "Hey, do you want to come home with me?" I remember thinking my tongue felt really dry when she asked. I felt like I couldn't swallow water. What's a sistah to say? Don't answer that, 'cause I will. I said no, but that I was willing to get to know her better.

A week. We've gone on a date. She's pretty cool. We hang out again and it's a great night. I remember we went to a french cafe at 2am and she promised she'd give me a ride home. I didn't want to get on the subway that late at night.

Woman: "Want something to eat?"
I scream in my head, "yes!" but shake my head "no." I don't want all of the calories or the stomach ache at this time of the night. She licks her lips, looks me up and down. I think to myself, what's she trying to do?
Me: "What's your plan?"
Woman: "What do you mean?"
Me: "I mean, like...well, you're here with me at 2am. A 20 year old. What are you looking for?"
Woman: "I'm interested in you if that's what you want to know."
I look at her, letting the silence eat the room. Tick, tick goes the clock. We're the only ones in the joint, but it's open 24/7. She squirms in her jeans. A waitress stops at our table, asks if she wants anything.
Woman: "I'll take a bacon omelet."
The waitress leaves. I keep looking, waiting. A few seconds pass ...
Woman: "I don't know what I'm looking for. I'm going through a lot of fucked up shit at home and, I don't really know what I want."
Me: "What shiznit?"
Woman: "Me and my ex. I still live with her."
Me: "When are you moving out?"
Woman: "I don't know. We're in therapy."
I lean back in my seat, take her in. She looks different. I suddenly want that omelet. Is it too late to order? I wonder if all the deception will take away my faith in love. I wonder why I'm sitting in a cafe with a woman who probably won't even give me a ride home like she promised. I think of all of my heartache over the years. I think of love and how I know I'll never give up...maybe?
Me: "Welp, that's interesting. Why haven't you let that go?"
Woman: "I am. It's just complicated. I broke up with her emotionally like a year ago. You don't understand."
I understand perfectly fine, actually. You got shiznit to work through. Who doesn't? The omelet arrives. She dives into in like Michael Phelps does a swimming pool. Has this woman ever eaten before? I want nothing more than to be in my bed right now. At least my sheets don't lie.
Me: "What's there to not understand. You haven't let go...it happens."
Woman: "I know what I am. I know how I look to you, to her. There's nothing I can say. That's life. It's not easy."
Me: "I know it's not easy, but it shouldn't be this hard yo. Seriously. We're talking communication. Why the games. Why not tell me you aren't available?"
Woman: "I am available. Trust me."
I suddenly feel like I'm stuck in an Alicia Key's song. You know, one of the slow, hurt ones. My urge to leave is so strong but I stay. Later, after the omelette's gone and the clock's done a few circles, she drops me off at a friend's house. I remember thinking, as she drove off: "this city blows."
But, looking back on it three years later, I realize it wasn't the city. It's just people. We're all different and come in different shapes, sizes, and emotional states. It doesn't matter if you're in Texas, Australia, China, California, England, or New York. There will always be someone you meet waiting to be the love of your life, a great friend, or a major heart breaker. But, you know what, I learned from each experience, good or bad.
Yeah, dating's tough. But, it's also a beautiful thang. To me, it comes down to not giving up. It's about weeding out the bad to get to the gold. You gotta give a little to get a little, right?

Omelet time.

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