For those who don’t already know, I’m answering Carrie’s questions from every episode of Sex and the City (or at least most of them) to see how things have changed for a single thirty-something writer in New York City, ten years after the show ended…
Carrie wasn’t joking when she said New York has infinite possibilities. I am a terrible double booker, I love to hang out with my friends and meet new people and far too often, I agree to too many things in a single day. For example, this coming Friday, I have a lunch meeting, after-work drinks, a sample sale and then a Grease singalong prom to attend. And oh yeah, I’m writing a book. If you can’t decide what to eat, what bar to go to, which neighbourhood to live in, it’s not hard to see how people might consider monogamy impossible as well. It can take me and my friends an hour just to decide where to go for dinner because there’s so much choice – how are men supposed to decide which girl they want to date exclusively?
I was at brunch this Sunday with five of my favourite friends and terrifyingly, between the six of us, we don’t have one solid, official boyfriend. It beggars belief, it really does. But then, I tried to think about it as though I was choosing dinner from my beloved GrubHub app. Did I fancy the super cute, petite blonde with a mind as sharp as that knife that cuts through cans? Or should I try the obscenely beautiful Venezuelan lawyer? Hmm, but that’s leaving out the hot brunette copywriter with a figure to die for, the sexy brunette with the ridiculous sense of humour and the be-beehived stunner who is smarter and funnier than almost any other woman you’ve ever met. Not to mention the quirky redhead (cough, cough) who I have it on good authority is adorable. It would be a tough choice.
Just by joining a single online dating site (the tactic of choice for most of NYC’s chaps) you can easily rack up three dates a week. And that’s if you’re being picky and a girl. Imagine being a guy, on three or more sites and making all of your choices exclusively with your penis? You’d never make it home. Well, not alone at least. Sadly for me, I don’t have a penis. And without a penis, my ability to compartmentalise my romantic liaisons is limited. As far as I can tell, most of the men I know sort their lives out into assorted boxes – a work box, a buddy box, a date box, a shag box, a love box – and mostly, they don’t seem to interfere with each other at all. As far as I can tell, I only really seem to have one box – my uterus – and it is the source of all of my problems. Because emotions and unrealistic attachments leak directly from the ovaries, right? That’s what periods are, isn’t it? Everything I have goes in one box (bear with me, this isn’t as weird as it sounds), all my thoughts, my feelings, my relationships, they all live side by side, rubbing each other up the wrong way and occasionally causing meltdowns that involve tequila and seven consecutive episodes of Law & Order: SVU. That’s how I get through my days, don’t judge me.
Life in New York is tough, we’ve been over that. We work so hard and we’re all pushed to the limit so often that the idea of going out on date after date after date actually breaks my heart a little bit. Surely after a bitch of a week at work, it’s better to cuddle up on the sofa with your sweetheart than tell a complete stranger where you grew up, what you do for a living and what episode you’re up to on Breaking Bad? It would seem the men of NYC have all got together and decided that getting everything we need from one person is a naïve and outdated idea. Someone I was seeing (actually someone I was in love with but I’m still not quite ready to talk about that if that’s OK) told me in exactly so many words that while he had feelings for me and especially enjoyed certain aspects of our relationship (you know it, I know it, don’t make me say it), he thought it would be a good idea for me to go and find a boyfriend who could give me the ‘emotional support’ and ‘companionship’ I needed. But keep sleeping with him. No, really. A grown man actually said that. And I swear to god, it blew my mind. Who did he think he was? Who did he think I was? And who did he think I would be dating? I just couldn’t work out how my online dating ad would read. ‘Sort of single girl, in love with total tosspot, seeks handsome doormat for fun times, birthdays, Christmases and all the boring bits when the other guy is too busy/lazy to come over and put it in her’ with a picture of me giving a double thumbs up?
In all honesty, I think he is kind of a one off, I do have a talent for seeking the romantically detached and emotionally unstable after all. I’m pretty sure most men, while very excited to be sampling a selection from across the lady menu, would rather their girlfriends/hookups/dates/whatever weren’t doing the same. Or at least they’d rather not know if they are. But are we missing out by failing to compartmentalise? Would life be so much sweeter if we could date one guy for his amazing sense of humour, another for his fabulous taste in sweater vests and another for his dong? I love those little perspex boxes from Muji. Perhaps they’ve considered making metaphorical ones for my poor, distracted brain.
For me it’s a no. I don’t know if it’s biological or what but I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to date five different fellas and keep all their names straight. And it’s not because I’m dying to put a little Lindsey in my baby box, it’s just that I believe in someone who loves and respects me and wants to share their life with me just like I love and respect them and want to make them happy every single day.
I know, I know, I am so old fashioned…