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.
The Playwright and I were texting non-stop by the time we got to the second official date. Where I had haunted my bachelorette pad like an inmate only weeks before, suddenly someone cared what I ate for lunch, when I fell asleep, and whether I got a treadmill desk.
It was really nice.
So, too, was our second date. He picked a broody restaurant with cocktails that made me giggle.
I would write about our conversation, but I can’t remember it. That is not the cocktails not talking: On a good date the comic distance between me and my suitor disappears. I was on a date and not watching it. I wasn’t a spectator with The Playwright. I have no idea what we said.
Our sparkling repartee followed us all the way back to his place.
Playwright: Like my brand new couch? Also my new rug and new TV?
Me: You’ve got a whole new life.
I put my little date purse down on his dining table. There weren’t any dining chairs. His wife got custody of those.
Playwright: You’re thinking about chairs, aren’t you? I haven’t gotten around to them yet.
I was thinking about my purse. It had been so long since I had a date worthy of a sleepover that there were no personal items stashed for emergencies, no toothbrush or sleeping pills.
Me: There’s something you need to know.
Playwright: Those are words you never want to hear from a date.
Me: I’m an insomniac and forgot my sleeping pills. Just know that I’ll get up in the middle of the night and go read. Don’t take it personally.
Me: And if you’re a cuddler, please don’t feel rejected, but I won’t fall asleep cuddling. It’s not you, it’s me.
Playwright: Got it.
And then we got to it. It was as good and awkward as first nights are.
He curled up next to me, put his arm around my waist and fell asleep.
Me (whispering): Dude, you have to roll over.
He rolled away.
Then I, too, slept.
He rolled back and threw an arm around me.
Me (whispering): Please, roll over?
Again he rolled away. Then back to me.
He was affectionate. My sleep is fragile. I departed for the living room where a brand new sofa welcomed me, and my phone had a full charge. I would catch up on light reading. On Sunday I could catch up on sleep.
Playwright: Hey, where did you go?
He curled up with me on the new couch.
Me: I can’t sleep. Go to bed.
Playwright: Can I help?
Me: That’s sweet. Nothing helps.
Playwright: You have to explain this to me, I don’t understand.
Me: There’s nothing to explain. It’s a lifelong fact, like being right-handed. Or smart.
Playwright: Tell me what’s wrong?
Me: My mother used to say, “Your brother slept through the night when he was five days old. You never have.”
I had become a defensive insomniac. Every other man ever had just left me alone. The Playwright was pathologizing me.
Playwright: Help me understand your problem. Tell me what you need.
Me: I need a sleeping pill.
Playwright: Please, I really need to understand?
And I really needed to be left alone.
Playwright: You’re probably thinking, ‘Don’t you have your own bed? Go sleep in it!’
Me: That is exactly what I’m thinking.
He was suddenly the most annoying man I had ever met. Shouldn’t it take a lifetime to think that?