I responded to yet another Tinder-defending text message as (illegal) fireworks went off above Sunset Boulevard, but I kept walking away in the steady knowing that There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind… And there out of the darkness, one of them arrived.
“Excuse me, Miss?” a perfect British accent, with a perfectly striking British man around my age attached to it, inquired.
“Yes?” I smiled as my phone pinged.
“Do you happen to know where I might find something to eat?”
“You know, I do – & actually, I’m hungry myself. Mind if I join you?” We walked together for the next 40 or so odd minutes toward a bite & amongst discussing a gamut of subjects I learned that he was a creative designer from a London-based company, in town for the next couple weeks.
With a ½ hour wait at Kitchen 24 I suggested we instead take a Lyft up to Mel’s Diner on Sunset – check off a classic, tacky late-night LA ritual to start his visit. We flirted as best we could manage (considering he’s a Pommey) along the way & finally, just before I dropped him back at his hotel, our legs had gotten comfortable enough to touch each other in the darkness of a stranger’s car.
I liked him. Walking up my front steps I recounted my random night from riding such an unexpected high on Brooklyn, to crashing down outside his hotel, to meeting a man who was even more of what I wanted. Who could have guessed all that would unfold after midnight? I believed again in the magic of the universe… How it can outwit what we thought were our own desires when we become comfortable with the uncertainty of it all.
Thinking of seeing London again gave me butterflies & I was flattered when a well-worded, open-ended – even slightly suggestive – text came in from him as I warmed the water to wash my face the loud clock on my bedroom wall neared 4 A.M… Unfortunately, that’s when my dreamy feelings were shattered.
I looked in the mirror for the first time since the sun was up & my mouth dropped as I saw what I looked like; layers of skin were now hanging off my face in full sheets. I explained my embarrassment only for him to very surprisingly, and very clearly express his desire for me to spend the night with him.
I declined. As mortified as I was with my appearance, I was still grateful for the blind confidence I was allotted in not seeing it until now, or I would have missed the opportunity to share time with the handsome stranger altogether… I figured I could exfoliate hard & raise my attractive rating by agreeing to see him another day. The next morning I sent a flirty text based on a conversation from our walk, but… He never responded, & thus I disengaged from yet another disappointing, could-have-been.
It always stings to let go, but there’s no return in hanging on to someone who has no interest in me. It’s like throwing my valuables off the back of a boat – I’m the only one who loses in doing so.
Dating is such a delicate balance because it isn’t just the chemistry that’s hard to come by, but the timing in it too – what someone wants, when they want it. With allllll the people in the world, why do I still struggle so much finding all these elements lined up with a man’s? If any of them could become more aware of first themselves, then these things, & inevitably then others’ variables, would they then find what could be easier to see? Go ahead & say that 10 times fast… Kidding.
In all seriousness though, what could it mean for them to try?
For me, trying with Brooklyn meant finally being bi-coastal – a dream I’ve had from the age of 11 when I spent my first summer in Manhattan, & before I realized I could in fact, be bi-continental. I adored his work – not only the features he’d worked on & TV series, but mainly because his acumen on such matters (that are also important to me) shone brightly through his Instagram posts…
I wanted to tantalize each other over cups of coffee & croissants, over keyboards & glasses of wine, over airplane seats & across dinner tables for countless hours as intellectual foreplay before fucking each other useless between intervals of sleep for… Oh, I don’t know, how about for the rest of my life? I wanted to laugh with him on the view of the world we each had – shared in some elements & wildly different in others… I wanted to open each other up more than anyone else had previously managed to do…
And yet, he didn’t see any of this; he didn’t even try to engage with it. Quite possibly he didn’t want any of those things, or didn’t with me anyway, yes, but I think the truth is more, than he just didn’t recognize any of these options either. (Or he wouldn’t have stayed up messaging me in the hours after I left him.)
With London, it meant finally being bi-continental again, something I had wanted since I left the city last year. I could see all the ways our creative sides would play & then our strict discipline in business & scheduling would come out – only for us schedule in throwing it all to the wind in travel & ending up in random places together, reflecting perfectly the random route in which we met. Again, I find it easy to imagine my happy, committed life of intermittent sleep coupled with sex, adventure & plenty of laughter.
It seems (very unfortunately) that what could be is losing out more & more to what is now… And that is what breaks my heart more than all these lost potential partners combined.