A Londoner in New York part 9: Dates and Departures

17ikuta8vm9k1jpgI really can’t believe that this is the last blog I’ll be writing from New York – it feels like only yesterday I was being driven around the  seedy depths of Brooklyn in an unlicensed cab at 2am. Sweet, sweet memories. But three months on, I’m packing my life back up and heading home to London and funemployment. Twenties, you confuse my brain.

I figured that I would have to mark my leaving NYC in as many ridiculous ways as possible, so from sitting on the subway dressed as a reindeer next to Jake Gyllenhaal to venturing into the online dating scene, I’d like to think I lived up to the challenge.

To give a little bit of context to the latter situation, in New York, everybody who’s single is on the same free dating website, which sounds like an exaggeration but is actually true. So anyway, during our very drunken Thanksgiving, my roommate was regaling me with tales of how she found some kind of sexy acrobat on the site and they had some sexy acrobat sex before he ran off to join the circus. Or something like that (I was in a ham and vodka induced coma so the details are hazy). Having been in New York a couple of months by this point and only encountered gay men, I figured that at worst, I’d get murdered, and at best, I’d get an STD, and to be honest, those weren’t the worst odds I’d ever had. So the next day, I signed up.

Initially, I was really worried about spotting someone I knew on the site, so I put little to no information on my profile and only put up photos taken from a distance in case anyone tried to steal the identity of a broke English girl living semi illegally in New York (we are the prime object of identity theft so I am told). Early on in the online dating game, I had your run of the mill messages from people who only had photos of their torsos, or who wore really lame glasses, and I was getting pretty disillusioned with the whole thing. When I discussed the lack of success with my American friends, they assured me that they had met people and everyone had fun and nobody died, so I should just stick with it. I reluctantly listened, but continued to ignore all of the messages people sent me for the aforementioned reasons and because, quite frankly, the spelling and grammar in those messages was appalling. I’m not saying I want to date Einstein, but someone with a higher IQ than a grape surely isn’t a lot to ask.

My friends insisted that I send messages to people as it was the only way of not ending up with total reprobates, so I decided to have a drunken 3am perusal of who the site had listed as my ‘top matches.’ And as I was scrolling through the list, I stumbled across none other than a fellow intern from work, at which point I laughed hysterically, briefly pondered the ridiculousness/awkwardness of the situation and then passed out. The fact that someone I had pretty much zero in common with was an alleged ‘86% match’ reinforced how completely and utterly useless the site was, and reminded me exactly why English people/I am scared of online dating. Because it is weird.

I’d forgotten I was even on the site until the other day, when I had a (correctly punctuated) message from a guy who seemed relatively normal. Well, as normal as someone searching for sex/love on the internet can seem. I ended up agreeing to go on a date, although after a few days of very overly forward text messages from the guy in question, I was beginning to change my mind. But, being the true stoic I am, I soldiered on and went to meet him. He wasn’t a killer, which was nice, and somehow we managed to pass a few hours with reasonable-ish conversation (read: me talking all the time to avoid awkward silences). But the whole affair was rather dull, and after a 13 hour drinking session the day before, all I wanted was to go home and watch Elf in my pyjamas. Eventually I decided that enough was enough, and said I had to go – there was clearly no spark between us, and he was wearing a jumper I didn’t like, so I figured we’d go our separate ways and be done with it. But as we said our goodbyes, he lunged in for a horrendously awkward kiss whereby I was sort of craning my face away and he was still trying to kiss it. It was bad. Very bad. I then made the situation far worse by half running away, and in doing so dropped the candy cane ‘Christmas present’ (seriously) he had brought me onto the floor. Again, very bad.

Some mild boy drama ensued over the next couple of days mostly involving him wanting to meet up again and sending me more dirty texts (this guy was a pre-school teacher), but it ended in typical fashion with us going our separate ways. Probably a good idea given I’d only met him a few days before I left the country for good. But I’m sort of glad I tested the waters, as it taught me that 1) online dating is mostly like real dating, just with a higher chance of murder, and 2) that I’m going to die alone. Necessary life lessons, I suspect.

On a less depressing note (sort of), leaving has given me the chance to think about how many incredible things I’ve seen and done here, and how many wonderful people I’ve met.  Of course, there have been trying times too (a hurricane and near lawsuit spring to mind), but I even found myself getting a little choked up as I left work for the last time on Friday afternoon. Thankfully I’m dead inside so there were no actual tears, but the momentary voice raspy-ness felt symbolic – to me at least. Anyway, I should probably get on a flight now, so bye bye NY – it has been bloody amazing.


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