Illustration: Marylu E. Herrera
This week, a former dancer texting with the guy who works at the restaurant next door and wondering if she’s ready to get back into dating: 25, single, Brooklyn.
11.a.m. Leave my apartment for the wine shop where I work. Until recently, I had been a dancer my whole life, and I’ve kind of just been figuring out life since I’ve “retired.” I’ve been transitioning from such a strict lifestyle to figuring out what I want to do long term and what works for me. A lot of this relates to my love life.
I decided to hit pause on dating a few years ago. I had a string of bad experiences with men; one after another just seemed to hurt me in big and small ways. I realized that what I thought was intimacy was actually me being used or abused. So I decided to be by myself for a while. I wasn’t opposed to talking to men but I wasn’t inviting it either.
2 p.m. I’m outside the shop, at the block party happening today. Before I know it, an ex-fling from four years ago is standing in front of me. He turns around to his friend, and then looks at me with a smirk. I quickly run inside, trying to contain my anxiety. There’s weird energy between us — things got dramatic after we hooked up. I startle my co-worker by rushing inside, and I become even more embarrassed. My closest friend, W, who also works with me, follows, and she helps me calm down, reminding me he’s in the past.
7 p.m. Eventually, my shift goes smoothly, I’m selling wine left and right. All the nips are flying off the shelf. I’m making great conversation with all of the customers.
9:15 p.m. W and I decide to go visit our friends who work at the restaurant down the street. As soon as we walk in, I spot a guy who works here, N — W once said she thinks he likes me. We walk up to the bar and greet everyone. They convince us to hang out longer with free food and drinks. We spend the next hour or two talking and laughing with them. N and I flirt a bit and exchange Instagrams. I leave excited that my love life is finally, possibly being resurrected.
11:30 p.m. In the Uber that W and I take home, I try not to overthink. Did I flirt too much? Was my high five with N more weird than seductive? My mind starts to betray me and I regret how I acted. My phone lights up: N DM’d me on Instagram. He says to text him to make sure he got my number. I respond, a huge smile on my face. Phew.
11 a.m. No response from him yet. I don’t even check my phone while getting ready. He said he would text, but it is still a little early, so I’ll be patient.
2 p.m. At the wine shop now. W asked me if N texted me yet and it was honestly embarrassing to say “no.” I’m trying to be patient but I’m not used to not hearing from a guy quickly.
5 p.m. My shift is going smoothly and quickly. We ordered takeout so that’s always a plus. Our regulars come in, but nothing new is happening. Winter is setting in. I spend the next part of my shift writing, something I do when I’m bored or when I’m not in a good mood.
9:30 p.m. I tell W that I’m not up for hanging out at the restaurant tonight. I think she wanted to go but decided not to go without me. I didn’t want to become too familiar … or maybe I’m just too nervous. He hasn’t texted me yet so it’s a bit awkward for me.
10:30 p.m. It’s just a weird, contemplative night. I want to meet someone and really get to know someone but I’m also not sure how or when that’s going to happen for me. I feel powerless and I want to feel more empowered … but how does one get there when it comes to love?
10 a.m. It’s my day off, and I decide that today I’m just going to focus on myself.
12 p.m. Get some chores done and do some self-care. I go grocery shopping and buy fresh produce to cook with, instead of eating ramen noodles.
4 p.m. In therapy I mostly talk about my childhood. It was pretty rough because of how my parents were apart and together. I also talk about my feelings about past and present situations and I just try to express the way I feel.
6 p.m. He texted me. I can’t lie, I’m smiling hard right now. I guess I just needed to be patient.
11 p.m. After a few hours, the conversation got a little dry, then all of a sudden he didn’t write back. My friend and I are on the phone watching TV together, so I’m not going to worry about it.
1 a.m. He wrote me back. We are now texting, mostly about our days, nothing crazy. Lately, guys just flirt but nothing else, no exchange of numbers or anything. N flirted and made the effort to try to talk to me and make sure I knew he was interested.
11 a.m. I love walking to work, it helps me clear my head. I like to imagine I’m on a nature walk. I stop for a raspberry croissant muffin to treat myself, then continue to head off to work. Something to make me feel good.
5 p.m. He’s not texting me at all today. I checked my phone honestly more than I needed to, but I saw that he read what I wrote just hours later. Is this him ghosting me?
11 p.m. I think I’ve been ghosted.
9 a.m. Have a nice slow morning making breakfast. I say some affirmations while I get ready to head out the door.
4 p.m. Take my break and go get some pizza. It’s been busy since we opened so finally I get a moment to rest. I open my phone and see message from N: “What are you doing this weekend?” That’s it?
9 p.m. I probably should have ignored him, but I wrote back, and pretty quickly too. I regret that. No response. Now I’m getting anxious again and my mind is wandering. Did he text the wrong girl? Did he change his mind?
10:30 p.m. My co-workers and I are standing outside, closing the shop laughing and joking. I check our surroundings and see N coming out of the restaurant. He looks in my direction. I quickly say my good-byes to my co-workers and start walking away, glancing behind me to see his back turned to me, talking to one of his co-workers. I walk to the bus stop and I spot the bus approaching. I pull out my phone and see he finally responded to me. I roll my eyes and get on the bus.
11:30 p.m. W convinces me that I should just hang out with him. What’s the harm? I’m apprehensive because our text thread is a glimpse into any possible future with him: inconsistency. She convinces me to give him a chance since usually with me, it’s one strike and you’re out. Apprehensively, I text him that I’m down to hang out.
2 a.m. He doesn’t write back till now. I decide to ignore it because I’ve had enough of being available. I’m sure he just got out of work, but still.
10 a.m. I wake up to W calling me ask me what’s the deal for today. When N wasn’t talking to me, we had already planned to go out to eat since we finally had a day when we were both off. But since we both agreed that I should hang out with him, we left it up in the air since he didn’t tell me when. So we decide to just chat on the phone until he responds.
12 p.m. Finally, he writes back saying we could go out to eat tomorrow. I responded, “Okay cool, I’m down.” W and I decide to get up and go eat and enjoy our day. Us waiting on him to respond is kind of annoying but now I’m honestly excited to hang out with him.
3 p.m. We get Korean BBQ and it’s really good. We treat ourselves to some doughnuts and talk about how this hangout with N could go.
8 p.m. I’m hiding it but I’m getting more and more excited; it’s been three years since my last date and I am glad this drought is over. But I haven’t heard anything from him. Nothing about our plans, or the timing, or where to meet up. Nothing.
10 a.m. I’m not feeling today at all. It’s gross out, just rainy and cold.
12 p.m. I’m in sweats and I usually try to dress up for work. I’m not feeling my hair, I’m not feeling anything. I don’t even want to be perceived.
3 p.m. Slow at the store today. Mostly the regulars are coming in to get their favorites. One delivery guy catches my eye. He’s gorgeous and just my type — he has grown-man energy, someone who works hard and is a provider. He’s not shy about flirting with me in front of my co-workers, including my bosses. I would give him my number but he didn’t ask. Also, I think I’m being stood up by N.
3:30 p.m. Since it’s slow, I go out to get fancy water for my co-workers, just to clear my head. There was a huge discussion about the delivery guy being flirty with me, and even though the conversation made me laugh, it made me even more anxious.
4 p.m. On the walk back, I’m so focused on trying not to drop four-liter glass bottles that I almost miss N who is standing outside the restaurant where he works. He’s looking around. I just know he’s waiting for me, waiting to play more games. I play it cool. I don’t want to acknowledge him. He stood me up with no explanation. I am done being understanding. I walk past him like he was a stranger on the street, not even looking his way.
9 p.m. After work, I get a drink with W. She lets me know how proud she was of me for standing my ground. She agrees I should let the situation go. He mentioned he’s going away for a month, so what’s the point anyway?
11 p.m. I decide to officially hold off on dating. I went against myself by letting N consume so much of my time and energy this week. I’m not going to do that again, trust me on that.