Apartment 53

Apartment 53 was my first apartment in NYC where I lived on my own, and thus, where I really think of my life as a Manhattan woman beginning. I've always been fascinated by NYC apartments. Giant buildings filled with people, each with their own story. Windows everywhere. And I always wonder: what's behind them? What do people see when they look in from the outside? What is the real story of the person who lives behind that glass? This is my blog. A real story from a Manhattan apartment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

SWF Seeking Gentleman

After spending my twenties bouncing from one serious relationship to another, I now find myself single again in my early thirties. My married friends seem to think of this status as somewhat glamorous, incredibly fun, and oh so “Sex and the City”. I’m here to tell you that it’s not any of those things.

I am not a husband hunter. I am also not a woman who needs to be in a relationship. I am a woman who needs to be in the right relationship. I was thisclose to getting married: a union I think should be respected, holy, and permanent. We didn’t go through with it because our union would not have been any of those things. And so we cancelled the band, ate the deposit, and divided up the DVD collection. It’s worse to be with the wrong husband than no husband at all.

I got back on the dating horse fairly quickly. But instead of bouncing between serious relationships, I bounced between dates. I met plenty of men that would suffice for a Saturday night dinner or a Wednesday night happy hour, but never finding one with whom I could actually imagine telling my deepest fears, or worse, being naked with. For a while, I went through these motions dating bachelor after bachelor, never having my socks knocked off, rarely having my stomach flutter. I couldn’t understand why. I have always loved men. From the time I was a little girl I was always a flirtatious little thing, running around recess pecking boys on the cheek, to becoming a woman unafraid of sending a beer to the looker on the other side of the bar.

And then I realized: after all of these dates… These countless evenings of cocktails and tapas, new restaurants and the occasional weekend get-away… In all of my searching, I had yet to find a gentleman.

There was mid-sip guy. He was the one who, while I still had a drop of The Four Season Hotel’s finest white wine swimming down my throat, got up to leave.

There was the yeller. He and I had plans for our third date the night after the black-out. Because the city lost power, I also lost cell phone service. By the time the electricity returned, so did my senses. He’d left fourteen angry messages on my voicemail demanding to know why I wasn’t calling him to confirm our plans. Apparently he was on a different power grid.

There was the cheap one who, after we’d been dating a couple of months, while on a short road trip with a couple of my friends, actually accepted twenty bucks from one of them for gas. I almost vomited.

There was the one I bonded with over email for months while he allegedly completed a residency in surgery up in Boston. When the night came that we were finally to go to dinner after his move to New York, he stood me up.

Oh- then the one who lives all the way uptown, while I am a downtown girl, who was an ill-advised set-up arranged through a friend of my mother’s. Every time he asked me out he expected me to travel the few miles that separated us. Come on.

And of course there was “Pinky Ring”. That didn’t really have anything to do with him not being a gentleman, but really, a PINKY RING? ‘Nuff said.

The father who raised me was old-school. He believed in chivalry and honesty and the idea of men manning up when it came to the women they loved. When I was in the tenth grade I dated a senior who had broken his leg in a soccer game. It didn’t matter to my dad that the poor guy had a cast on his leg stretching from his ankle to his hip. It also didn’t matter to my dad that it was February and that ice and snow covered the path from our driveway to the porch. Even with the best of excuses, I was not permitted to leave that house until that boy came to the door to pick me up like a gentleman.

Meeting these people was nothing if not interesting. I could entertain my married friends, engaged friends, gay friends, single friends, and non-friends with tales of my tragic quest for Mr. Right. But after a while, it stops being so funny. After a while I have to remember the fact that my dad taught me to be a lady because I deserve to be treated like one. I don’t know what it is about our generation – the men who think they can get away with throwing a woman a bone once in a while and hang on to a great gal, or the women who seem to think that this behavior is acceptable, but I am here to say that it isn’t okay. When you love someone, you want their life to be better. You want them to feel special. You want them to feel wonderful about being who they are. If these men are too narcissistic or selfish to appreciate that, then they certainly won’t appreciate the concept of being with a woman like me. And while I hope to find the right guy one day, I have to remember that sometimes it’s better to be alone. After all, you’ll always treat yourself better.

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