A few months ago I walked into my therapist’s office. My shoulders were unbearably heavy. My soul, hollow. She asked, “what is your relationship with your body?” Tilting her head, hands clasping her freshly made tea, she gave me a stern, yet patient look.
“What is my relationship with my body?” I repeated the question back to her not because I was confused by her initial inquiry, but rather due to the realization that I had never given thought to such a concept. Furthermore, the realization that I never had a relationship with my body. .
“Do you see your body as something belonging to you? Or, is it just something you inhabit, and something to be shared?” Again, I did not know. What was certain however is that I never considered my body to be mine. And because it was not mine, I was never really living in it. .
And so, at her behest, and my burgeoning curiosity, I reflected.
I saw my body not as my own, but as a tool. I have scorned it, adorned it, altered it, and molded it to fit an ideal that was in constant flux, but I used this body. A project in need of constant work, my body was a means to an end. For attention. For affection.
The longest, and most important relationship I could and would ever have would be with my corporeal being. Yet there I was ignoring it.
So I began to dance.
I have always admired pole dancers. The skill and fluidity of their movements told a story of sensuality, of passion, and of honesty. One that could only be achieved when soul becomes realized on the physical realm. .
When I dance, I am forging a relationship with my body. My strength, my fears, my past, and my present, I see them existing all at once. But mostly, I see love. I see the love that was shown to me. The love I try my hardest to show to others. The love that courses through my veins. And I am in awe. .
The body, is a beautiful thing. And I am proud to call this one mine.
I would argue that Ali was my first successful OKC date and in this case, the word successful is being used looser than Trump’s grip on reality.
But I digress.
He was 26, worked for a non-profit, and had just returned from a year-long trip in Nicaragua where he stayed with a host family whilst helping their community.
Ali had very kind eyes. They were round and sloped to the sides dreamily. He could have been thinking about the rapidly disintegrating earth nothing yet his eyes looked as though he was in a constant state of dream. And those eyelashes. Gosh those eyelashes. I am not being hyperbolic when I say they rivaled even the most realistic faux lashes. At the time I met Ali, I was really into the whole beard gang business. This was not a thing at the time, but, if you showed me a man with a face sweater I was drenched into it. Ali was also tall. Very tall. Not surprising as I had OKC profile permanently set on 5’10” and above.
Not to be a heightist or anything.
My date with Ali was nothing short of lovely. He was calm yet engaged, brief at times but focused. I could feel a burgeoning crush coming on. He was into me. And for the first time, I did not have to guess. Things were just easy with Ali and it was this easiness I would find myself revisiting in times of uncertainty. However not until much, MUCH later in life.
The more Ali came out of his shell the more I embraced him. He was perhaps the first date to touch me. And not in the let’s get horizontal way but in the “I want to be close to you because I am interested” kind of way. As sad as it is to admit, I had never experienced the subtly of that kind of interest before. But here it was. I loved it.
It was this kind of affection, attention, really any signal of desire that I craved most during this time of my life. And I would have done anything to get even the slightest hit of it. I was addicted to it. But sadly, it was not addicted to me. I will come back to this nearly unquenchable thirst for love and the lengths I’d go to to get it later on. But for now, Ali.
Arms stretched, eyes inviting, young Ali asked me back to his place. Heart racing, face flushed, I said with a simple “yes.”
Was there sex?
You bet your sweet ass there WASN’T.
Instead we made out. Remember I was still a virgin at this time and had no clue as to what I would even do if a penis was presented to me. I did not reveal this to him of course as something told me that it would be a real boner killer.
*it is truly shocking how often I have priotozed men’s comforts and needs above my own #internalizingthepatriarchy-_-*
Shortly after our make-out session he got up to go to the bathroom. Upon his return Ali informed me that his sister had just messaged him and that he needed to leave to help her with a “situation.”
It was 11:30pm…
Now here’s the thing readers, I was not a such complete nube so as to not suspect something. My gut told me something was off. My head told me something was off. My taint said giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrlllll.
However, my heart.
My stupid fakakta heart. Awash with that tingly feeling one gets when common sense leaves your body when you’re “in like” with someone, I tilted my head and concernedly asked “is everything ok?” He said yes without much more detail and proceeded to kindly, yet swiftly, guide me out of his apartment. BUT, not before he asked to see me again.
YES this was the assurance I was looking for. Just when all signs pointed to homeboy being a shady mcgee no, there Ali was with a seemingly sincere invitation to meet again.
It was a sunny day in New York City where despite a beaming sun, it could not offset the wind whose chill ran so deep, one could only wonder if a White Walker was soon to appear. I was eager to hear from my beloved Ali yet had not received even so much as a “I had a great time last night” morning text. But why should I worry? He asked to see me again. For a second date. We were practically married.
I had just gotten off the train at Union Square when I felt the buzz. ALI! There he was, leaving a message in my OKC inbox, surely to gush about how he felt an instant connection. I eargerly opened and saw the following.
“Danielle. I’m sorry, I’ve been seeing a girl on and off for the past few months and last night we decided to try and have a real relationship. Please don’t hate me.”
Have you ever seen someone so attractive you became stupid? Great. Let’s talk about Ian. Folx, Ian was, how do you say? Hot AF. (“AF” is what the young kids use as an abbreviation for “as fuck.”
He was a 6’1″ Zimbabwean Scotsman who had moved to the city to continue his career in advertising. He sported a bald head and a thick beard that I have no doubt was grown in a field of Jamaican Black Castor Oil. #beardgang. And to top it all off, not only did Ian had a loft in Soho, but he also had no roommates.
We met at a wine bar in the Lower Eastside with a very chill and low-key vibe; two things no one in the history of the world has or would ever be said about me. But I liked it. Everything was so well curated as is typical of many places in NYC and I remember thinking “oh, so this is what it means to ‘know a great spot’.” Elegant yet quaint, young yet grown up, it was exactly the kind of place Aidan would have taken Carrie just because. *swoon*
Splay legged across the barstool and wearing a snap button denim shirt that perfectly outlined a chest that had seen a gym or two, I saw Ian and was immediately awash with insecurity. His heir was that of adulthood and confidence while mine was still drenched in recent millennial angst and barely scraping financial stability. Match made in heaven.
He ordered a Scotch, I, unaware at the judgment that would befall me when ordered outside the presence of my local bartender, ordered an amaretto sour. If you’ve never had one, and are really itching for a side-eye, I highly recommend ordering one.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but what if the cover is the only thing you can read? He struck me as the strong silent type and nearly an hour into our date my assumption was confirmed. He was no mute like Alex, but he certainly wasn’t a girl with crippling insecurity grasping at anything to fill the deafening and calling it “conversation” spark plug with excellent interpersonal skills like me. Neither dull nor riveting, our exchange just was. He asked me questions about myself and followed up however it was similar to that of a machine learning how humans are meant to interact. Very input-output kinda situation.
The more the silence grew the more I spoke. The more disinterested he seemed, the harder I tried to reel him in. I couldn’t turn it off and I do not hyperbolize when I say I am pretty sure I began listing things in the bar i.e. “ooh, look at that chair”, or “ooh, look, there’s a floor,” or “ooh, air.”
I’ve never astral projected, but for a moment it was as if I was so embarrassed, my soul left my body and stared at me in shame whilst yelling “girl STFU and go home!” But rather than exercising better judgment, I stayed and word vomited at the man for 3 hours. #tragic.
My romantic ineptitude was momentarily intervened by two Aussie’s named Josh and Amy, and heavily tattooed man who looked eerily similar to Chris Angel. They had been sitting across from Ian and me for quite some time and haphazardly began chatting us up. It was a welcomed distraction from the car crash that was my poor attempt at getting a man to like me.
Josh and Amy became my biggest fans of the night once I did my usual charming, slightly offbeat comedy routine. We will unpack this ‘routine’ much later in the ‘Let’s Unpack That’ chapter of the blog, but for now, I’ll discuss how this routine became a trauma response in the face of not being liked. Was it alcohol-induced fandom? Or, was it my razor-sharp wit and candor? The jury’s out on that one. Nevertheless, Josh raved about how funny I was and made it a point to tell me several times that I was the funniest girlhe’d ever met.
Because, you know. Women aren’t funny.
Young and having not a stitch of self-esteem that would allow me the wherewithal to combat that comment, I gleefully ignored it and went about my date.
Josh vehemently repeated to Ian ‘hold on to her man’. This was met with a simple head nod from Ian that had all the enthusiasm of an unripened avocado. Ian loosed up a bit and eventually divulged that we had been brought together by this OkCupid, which eventually spurred a philosophical conversation between Amy, Josh, and us about why it, along with online dating in general does and does not work. It was also at this moment that Josh took a moment to pull me aside and say that he felt Ian was positively infatuated with me because “he could just tell.”
Josh was full of shit sweet.
As he too was of the male species, I clung to Josh’s ‘ability’ to detect chemistry and began to feel hopeful about the prospect of Ian and I seeing each other again.
We left the bar shortly after and Ian walked me to the train without much of an exchange. We hugged goodbye and a homeless man began heckling us mid-embrace heckled us in the back saying ‘fuck y’all’. #NYCromance. And then he said it; the words that can either make or break the entire experience: ”I’ll call you.”
I texted him in hopes that perhaps he was just busy and forgot to reach out. Oh, how young and dumb I was! Honestly, I’m not sure how much more of this stupidity I can relive. 21-year-old Dani never took the time to ask herself what she liked about the men who rejected her. Instead, she made it her mission for them to like her never once considering that perhaps these were just not the right men for her. But alas, she was 21, a virgin, and chasing the dragon we call love.
After two unanswered texts: the first saying “hey, how are you?” and the second “Hey hope all is well. I enjoyed our date the other night and would like to see you again.” the, I finally got the message. Ian just wasn’t that into me. And so it was, amidst the deafening silence of what would soon be known as ‘ghosting’, I decided to let the wave of rejection wash over me get back out there and schedule my next date with Ali.
Alex was a cutie patootie and my first official date from OkCupid. From his pictures, I could see he was one of those Brooklyn hipsters who made a concerted effort to look effortless. He also seemed outdoorsy as if he enjoyed climbing rocks, perhaps a bit of camping, and talking about, but never actually starting his own brewery. He had sturdy forearms, lived in the Lower East Side sans roommates (*sploosh*), and was the owner of a farm to table restaurant in Williamsburg. Honestly recounting this is truly making me question my life choices.
Our conversation had been the most exciting out of the probably 15 or so men who I had responded to on the app but the bar for exciting was pretty low at this point. He was a Scorpio, which I was thoroughly into back in my horoscope days. His responses were short yet informative which gave me just enough to stay interested. But after about 3 days of intermittent messages, I had grown impatient and was ready to take it to the next level. As I ruminated on what I might say to him in an attempt to showcase my personality whilst remaining a creature of mystery. I’ve never been very good at the latter as I only have two speeds: hemorrhaging interest to the point of borderline annoyance OR could not give not one single shit even if I was being paid.
But alas, the game that is being a woman and making yourself presentable in accordance to patriarchial standards prevailed as this is what gets you action so I wrote a brief but direct “Hello Alex, at the risk of sounding too forward, I find you very attractive and I’d like to know what your voice sounds like.” SEND!
“Actually, let’s get drinks.”
Better but still meh. Nevertheless, I agreed.
While I was acutely aware of how new I was to the dating scene, I was still expecting a grand gesture of an invitation to dinner at some fancy NYC restaurant with a pretentious name like Place, or IX, or perhaps even just & (that’s called an ampersand). He would be dazzled by my beauty and charm. I would be wooed by his humor and wealth personality…
I arrived to the restaurant 10 mins earlier than our proposed time. Folx, I have never, in the history of the dating life that would follow this very moment been on time to a date. Honestly. Truly. More deets on that to come later.
He walked in and while I did recognize him, I also saw that he looked at least 20 – 35% (an exact approximation) different than his pictures. A bit shorter, a bit slimmer, by no means a catfish, but just different. Now I can’t tell if he perhaps had the same thought about me, but from the moment we locked eyes, the energy was off.
He came in for a handshake which apparently threw off my spatial awareness as I proceeded to go in for a hug and I swear the sound of cars crashing into each other became audible the moment our bodies met. Once seated, the conversation was the verbal equivalent of a slow burning dumpster fire:
Me: Hey, it’s nice to finally meet you
Alex: Hey , you too.
Me: How was your day.
The wind had more chemistry than us.
I just glared.
Alex: [Coughs] Yea, it was cool, so how was yours?
His lack of sincerity made politicians look honest.
Needless to say, Alex and I had no chemistry. There were so many pauses, uncomfortable silences, “coughs”, (that fool was not sick), and somehow (my friends would say this was my fault) we got into a discussion about women’s rights in which he was basically mute, safe for a few “yea, that sucks.” You bet your sweet ass gender inequality sucks Alex. I just wanted to throw a tampon at him and say WAKE UP! But after 2 excruciatingly dull hours of which both of us were too polite to break sooner, the verdict was in, dis was not a match.
I know this may have been maddeningly obvious to you readers from the beginning that he simply was not attracted to me. However, at the time I was a spritely, naive young thing who thought Alex could do me the kindness of at least trying to get to know me since we both made the effort to shower and look human.
I was wrong.
So I called it quits, said good night to my first OkCupid date, and this time he reached in for a hug whilst I went for a handshake.
My life flashed before my eyes.
We spoke briefly later on that night on OkC because somehow, I felt it would be rude not to check in and say thanks for a melba toast of an evening “nice meeting you.”
Disappointed but not discouraged, I pressed on in my dating quest and found Ian…
Remember that song “What These B*tches Want” by DMX and Sisqo?…
…weeeelllllll, these next posts are going to sound a bit like the infamous verse where DMX begins listing the plethora of women he’s been with. He got around.
There was Alex, Ian, Ali, Aaron, Eric, Andy, Kevin, Roman, Michael, the Aussie (<–can’t remember this fools name but boy do I remember the date). Anyways, y’all get the gist. Some of these men were quite nice, others not so much. Some were even catfishes! You know what catfishing is right? Yes, these were my first online dates way back when I was a wee young lass galavanting around NYC looking for dick love, and let me tell you something: They…were…
“Click, click, click. Oh he’s cute. Wait, looking for a one night stand. NEXT!”
I was so very young and so very naive when I started this online dating business and as such I had no idea what it is I was looking for. I knew I wanted to go on a date with someone cute, and nice, and interesting, you know the usual. Yet here I was in a sea of men flooding my inbox with “likes” and messages, but still my fancy was not being tickled.
The self-esteem boost one feels as the number in the little pink message bubble increases is nothing short of thrilling. Especially if you’re someone who was not used to getting male attention as I was. At least not so fowardly. Sure men would hit on me from time to time, but nothing ever really happened as I was usually just a pit stop on the road to love for these men. But I was never the destination.
Ahem, so anyways like I was saying: messages. I received many messages over the first two weeks and let me tell you something, the lack of creativity was appalling. I guess I’m not sure what I expected a first message from a potential suitor to be, but surely a “Hello my name is (x) and I think you’re absolutely wonderful. I would like to meet up in a public space with good foods and beverages where we can engage in open, honest communication, bare our souls, and after sometime start a healthy relationship rooted in trust and respect” couldn’t be out of the question right?
Wrong. Please see below for the most common messages.
“Damn, you fine.”
“I guess I can stop looking, because I just found the woman of my dreams.”
“Sexy lady!” (7 years later and this is still the most common message I receive.)
Oh but then you have the friskier ones like:
“I’ll be really upfront here lol I have a fetish of worshipping a black girls ass”
“I think you are beautiful and I want to spoil and worship you and especially your ass. I will treat you really well :)”
Yes, there are a litany of men that will troll your profile, some good, some bad, and most who are utterly insane. But if you want to control the trolls (which is still not fool proof by the way), all you have to do is click on the settings and search for someone to bring an end to the clamoring pang of loneliness, dick, a suitable mate.
Match Made in…
“Ok let’s see, height. Um, 5’10” and over. My children need to have a chance. Age, hmmm, if I’m 20 had have not a clue what I am doing in my life, perhaps I should go older. Ah 28-38. Boom. Location? Fuck long distance you must be in a 5-10 mile radius. Ethnicity? really? Das racist. Education? Classist…and yet I find myself itching to click University or higher???” <–we shall come back to unpack the problematics of this at a later date.
Anyway this was my experience of OkCupid. A virtual market of humans that I could, as the Jamaican expression goes: “pick, choose, AND refuse.” We’re a colorful bunch of people.
You can also search by zodiac sign, religion, languages, diet, that fancy shit that really shouldn’t matter when you’re looking for love. But that ain’t none of my business. Oh and did I mention the app is $FREE.99?