Dating to Death

by marinashifrin

Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. It’s the natural pattern your chest follows when you’re, well…alive. Sometimes it speeds up, and other times it slows down. On Saturday, March 12, at 12:47 a.m. my chest went up and did not come back down.

Yes, I took this picture. No, it was not on the date.

It’s 7:25. He is 20 minutes late, but I’m okay with it–mainly because I took the liberty of cracking open a bottle of wine I bought just in case we had pre-dinner drinks.

I date a lot.

I think that phrase deserves its own line.

We met after he chased me out of a coffee shop to ask for my number. If that’s not some sort of Meg Ryan rom-com plot line, it should be. I called because he was cute and now we are here.

In high school I couldn’t stand the girls who went from guy to guy. Had they heard the words I called them under my breath, they probably wouldn’t be fans of me either. I called them names for two reasons: 1). It was usually true and 2). I was miserable. Anyone who knew me when I was 16 can tell you I was your storybook teenager; uncomfortable, unhappy, angry and lonely.

Two hours have gone by and we are on our second drink. I am trying not to move, the tips of his fingers are resting on my knee, as we dissect the commonalities of our lives. God he is cute.

If you have seen any b-list teenage movie you know what happens to the awkward high school girl when she grows out of that weird stage (or just lets her hair down, takes off her glasses and slowly walks down a set of stairs in some tight red dress)—she becomes desired. Now, I am not saying I am some sort of sexpot that guys are chasing, I am just saying I began to get noticed.

10:45 p.m. the last song on my playlist starts and I get up to get my jacket. As I stand, he stands. Before I can turn away he grabs my hands throws them over his shoulders and begins to dance with me. He freaking dances with me. Seriously? That doesn’t happen in real life. I pull away from him and say, “Seriously? This doesn’t happen in real life.”

I don’t date guy after guy because I have low self-worth, or because I have a bad relationship with my father. I date so much because I like men, they intrigue me. It’s not a game or a sport for me, I don’t like when things end, but I do like getting to know someone intimately. I am just not good at deciphering love from in love.

It’s nearly 12 a.m. as we are walking up to the restaurant for dinner. We would have been there two weeks and three hours earlier if:

1). The voicemail I left him didn’t get buried under all of his others for 10 days.

2). I didn’t have to push our first date half an hour back. (I had to reapply my makeup after hysterically crying on the subway ride over due to the heckling of a lifetime at an open mic.)*

3). We didn’t both break our phones and lose each other’s numbers after the first time we got drinks.

4). I didn’t snap a key off in my crappy lock and wait on an Israeli locksmith who needed to be bartered down to $185  (thanks to my date who happened to speak hebrew. Go figure).

5). We didn’t have to change our route to avoid a man who decided to use a lamppost as a urinal.

* Okay, okay so number two just delayed the date that night, but still.

And so, now I am in New York, I am young, I am fun and I am happy. Going on all these dates isn’t going to kill me. One day (or when I learn to cook according to my mother), I will get married and my priorities will change. But for now? Drinking, dating and dancing for me.

12:46 a.m. Sitting close, in the corner of a dark restaurant we are enjoying steak and lobster for dinner. You read right, steak and lobster—classy as fuck. The whole situation oozes sex.

Up. He puts his hand on my leg and leans in.

Down. “You are beautiful.”

Up. His hand leaves my leg and returns to his fork.

Down. I am hot. I am on fire. I am smooth.

Upa piece of steak  gets lodged in my throat. No air comes in, no air comes out. He smiles at me, I turn away. Everything in the restaurant slows down, my thoughts speed up: I don’t want to die, that would be so un-cute. If I die though, I’d be eating a $200 meal. Sweet! I’d be a baller. Didn’t a rapper die like that? Should I do the international-I-am-choking-sign? No, it’s okay I don’t want to bother him. Would it be weird to do the heimlich to myself? These tables don’t look sturdy and that couple is sharing dessert. Okay, this is serious it’s been 10 seconds. The edges of the room are getting dark. Time to bite my pride and—

Down. My throat muscles relax pushing the piece of meat out. I not-so-discreetly spit it into my napkin along with my hot, fiery smoothness.

Up.

Up.

Up.

Lesson 6: Going on all these dates may kill me.

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