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The Dating Project | ‘The Astronaut’

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.

There were three people on last night’s date. Me, Buzz Lightyear, and Mr. Hyde. I shouldn’t have brought Hyde along, but there he was, beside me all night.

I haven’t actually talked to Hyde again since he stopped being Jekyll. Boy, that doctor could woo. Crazy people can. I believe that every anniversary of our first date, from now until forever, the heavens will sound an alarm so the angels can stop what they’re doing and have a moment of silence to honor the greatest first kiss in the history of sex.

So there we were, all three of us, and Lightyear was doing his job–tall, funny, Jewish, perhaps a little uptight for an astronaut, but all systems were go. Except there were no sparks. Electricity is unpredictable in space.

Buzz: What’s your favorite book?
Me: Pride and Prejudice. A Tale of Two Cities.
Buzz: Pride and Prejudice isn’t a good book.
Me: Your favorites are so much better?
Buzz: Anything by Pat Conroy. Now if you had said Gone With The Wind, I’d give it to you.
Me: Because Pride and Prejudice is chick lit and you’re a dude? We wouldn’t have the English novel without Jane Austen, no Dickens at all, and your man Pat would be writing cookbooks.
Buzz: You know, he did!
Me: Yes, I know.

Jekyll had always sparkled. And so he sat beside me at the table, hand on my knee, reminding me what a great beginning should feel like. A great middle too, a great six months, right up until the day I got introduced to Mr. Hyde.

I’ve been ambivalent for the past year about not chasing Hyde down. But I can’t chase crazy. Jekyll was not a solo act. I’d have corkscrewed the earth chasing him, telling him “Don’t be so crazy!” if there were any magic in those words.

Buzz Lightyear really ought to get a second date. He has dismissive, sexist taste in literature, and the space between us was an airless vacuum, but he’s taller than I am, and can kiss.

I have to date my way out of this threesome I’m in.

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