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The Dating Project | ‘The Intellectual’

Sarah Rose

Dating with a view to marriage is no other thing than work. I am a writer in New York, but Sex & the City this ain’t. Carrie had friends who weren’t repopulating the planet. She had fancy shoes. I have fuzzy Crocs. I get commuter rail and Brooklyn birthday parties. She got limos and glam soirees. I actually exist.

This is a project and it is a schlep. I used to believe in surgical strikes, now I’m carpet bombing. I’m on three different dating websites. I ask total strangers if they know anyone single because I have dated the pool of my friends’ friends’ friends dry. Somewhere, someone is going to make me laugh and swoon. I haven’t met him yet. I’m trying.

I hope it will end. Happily.

I have very catholic taste in Jews: tall, Midwestern, funny (see page 73 of “Unicorns, a dating story.”) Show me a single, tall Jew from the rust belt and I can tell you what it’s like to kiss him because, likely, I have. These are my people.

When a journalist friend said that his JMTF buddy was in town and I should meet him, I said yes. I hadn’t kissed this one yet.

We met at my favorite bar, a jewel box of a Japanese whiskey joint. I arrived on time; he did not. I could see the unicorn before he saw me and I liked what I saw. He was extremely tall.

He was a writer for the kind of magazines I read for the comics. He didn’t seem happy to meet me.

Intellectual: I’m in LA, not of it.
Me: I have no idea what that means.
Intellectual: It means if another woman tells me she’s an actress…

He rubbed his eyes under his glasses. The subject of our date was dating, the night might as well be over. I looked at my watch–6:26p.m. I could pretend to leave for dinner after one drink.

Intellectual: I have to live in LA, it’s where my son is. He’s almost two. His mom is there. I just bought a house. It has a pool.
Me: You’re a writer and you bought a house with a pool?
Intellectual: I came into a lot of money suddenly.
Me: Did you win the lottery or did someone die?
Intellectual: My father. Last spring.

I felt for him. He made me feel our date was a dental exam. We might as well skip to the end.

Me: So, you’re stuck in a city you hate because your kid is there. You’re not with his mom and you used to be. And you just lost your dad. What you’re saying is, you just had the crappiest year of your life.
Intellectual: Yeah, I did. And I’ve got a book due in February.
Me: That’s, like, tomorrow in book years.

He looked at me for the first time.

Intellectual: You’re very smart.
Me: I am.
Intellectual: What’s it like being so smart?
Me: It’s like getting a massage. Inside my skull.

He got out of his chair, sat down beside me and kissed me. Then he slipped his hand inside my thigh-high boot.

Intellectual: What do you write?
Me: I once wrote an incredible book. Now I write about hair, makeup, and celebrities. Or I take other people’s honeymoons for them. I’m pretty domesticated for a writer.
Intellectual: You should let yourself out of the pen.

Now that was a pun I could appreciate. The story was starting to go my way.

But the Intellectual, too, had given himself a hard-out from an awkward blind date. He was scheduled to meet a group of friends from his elite writing retreat. Would I join him at the next watering hole? It was his last night in New York.

We met a table of writers I recognized from magazines life is too short to read.

Other Intellectual: I hate the headshots at The Writing Colony.
Yet Another Intellectual: I absolutely refuse to let that woman take my portrait again.

We had just eked out a perfectly nice blind date and then I had to meet his people. They bitched about the glamor pics at nerd camp. It’s so important to like one another’s friends. I didn’t.

We shut down the bar. His colleagues went one way, we stood kissing on the corner. Would I go back to his hotel? It was plenty tempting. But I could use a little flirtation. Woo me a little?

I never heard from him again.

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