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The International Date Line

Published: December 2, 2014

I went to a tiny village with clan living, stone tools, cargo cults, and machetes. It was everything the Merman promised. When I returned to what is called civilization, I found an anxious note from the Viking.

Viking: Dating column?
Me: You need not worry about being outed. I only reveal the identities of the men I hate. You’re very safe.

Thus began our epistolary funfest.

Me: So why are you in the middle of the ocean where no one can find you, anyway?
Viking: You found me, so things can’t be all that bad. For me at least.
Me: Almost half an answer. You don’t want someone finding you twice?
Viking: Sure, twice is nice.

He responded with a picture of his crystal-cut abs.

Me: I just hit my asymptotic limit. You, moonlight, and crocodiles were already the hottest thing ever. In other words, as f(x) approaches infinity, your abs don’t get any better because already f(x) = P, where P is perfection. Or as close as it’s possible to get, anyway. You maxed out the hotness curve. Thanks for the photos, but you were already at peak hot. It’s as if you didn’t also have to be smart and kind. Why bother?

He asked politely if I might send a picture too?

I sent photos as if I had a political career to ruin.

There are plenty of good reasons to be single at my age, but no positive ones. Reasons are all in the negative case: I do not want to be in a bad marriage. I didn’t marry the wrong guy. I am blowing the most important deadline of my life, but had I made it down the aisle at a seasonally appropriate time, I would never have met the Viking.

Me: Crap. Just realized I have to go back to dating in New York City, knowing men like you exist.

There is exactly one good and positive reason for being alone today. He lives on a beach 10,000 miles away.

Viking: You’re in my head and you won’t go away. Damn you, sexy woman!

So what if the Viking isn’t hard to get, just hard to get to?

I maintain a no-fly zone over my dating life. Could I be so cynical I won’t even allow for the possibility of magic? Why shouldn’t I Eat, Pray, Love it to a jungle on the other side of the planet? I have a bottomless supply of air miles. (I would gladly pay rent in first-class tickets but my landlord demands cash.) My odds of a great second date on a rock in the Pacific can’t be any worse than they are on a rock in the Atlantic.

I could ditch New York in a heartbeat. Bathwater-warm waters and a piping-hot Viking should compensate generously for urban joys. Wouldn’t that be a very happy ending?

Or maybe we all know how this ends.

His island was too far. He had too little time off. The flights were bananas. He wants a girlfriend within reach.

Viking: If you were living around the corner, you would probably have to get a restraining order out against me. But you aren’t, and New York is a long way away. You’re a gorgeous woman, Sarah, but you’re just not here.

The Viking subscribes to the atomic theory of love, that we can all bond with whatever we bump into.

I have to respect it, even if he’s wrong.


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