There should be a Groupon specifically for women in NYC to buy their feelings after being dumped.
Did he tell you that you were the one? Tickets to “Les Mis” at 40% off!
Did he dump you on the street soon after, when you ran into each other on the way to brunch? Free tartine at LPQ!
Were you ghosted by a man who at one point was deeply interested in exclusivity, only to discover from his Instagram that he eloped with the very next woman after you? Here’s a Miami vacation. On the house.
I’ve been in an interesting predicament in my personal life: I took a break from the dating scene as I confronted an illness, and almost a year later, after turning a corner on the health front, I elected to return to big-city right-swiping.
A few non-starters later, I met a guy. Similar age. Occupation well outside of my own. (Magazine writer. Fancy cars. Apparently cars are a thing, and people think about them the way I think about shoes.) Funny. Smart. Kind?
All was going well, until it wasn’t. We were making plans and taking a joy ride together in a $180,000 car. (Previously, my idea of a fancy car was a private Lyft or a quiet Q.) Then, two days later, I received an over-the-top complimentary “we’re done” text (Really? Y’all think telling a woman how beautiful she is while mentioning you closed a deal with someone else whose existence wasn’t previously known is supposed to take the edge off? ‘Gotta go speed off with someone else because her status was pending, but you’re TERRIFIC/let’s never talk again!’).
It’s dispiriting. You think perhaps maybe this is someone who is worthy of your time and energy and hope, and then find out perhaps that’s true, but not for you.
(97% iTunes discount on Lemonade LP. Queen Bey take the wheel.)
This is something women do, that is seemingly exclusively our own. We deeply, unabashedly, invest in hope.
We swipe, and connect, and believe, and dream. And each time it doesn’t work out, we buy ourselves something fabulous, and drink a thousand martinis, we Seamless and Fetal Position (the new Netflix and Chill/TRENDSETTING) and despair. Men seem to very easily move between women. For women, the whiplash can wound.
I was talking to a friend about this today (one of several with whom I shared the offending text message — ya know, the one that gently let me down by describing all the qualities I possess that would, you might think, inspire enough devotion to continue dating through at least the weekend), and after the requisite, “he sucks/can’t he at least call/he said he was saving you a toothbrush last week?!/he’s not worth it and you’reamazingandOMGreadingthatfulltextLKDNFGSLDGNSL,” my friend mentioned something else.
He said that love is a board game, and you have to roll the dice. Sometimes you go forward, sometimes backward. But you’ll never get to finish if you don’t play the game.
Women have a fundamentally different approach to dating than men. We get attached to the idea of a future far more quickly than we otherwise should; we take small seeds of potential and we FARM. We convince ourselves that everything that is so exciting and fresh and lovely and fun will surely deepen as time goes on. We unabashedly believe that this time will be different. For men, dating might be a game, but it always feels like we’re playing for keeps.
I left my friend and went to my neighborhood art framer, the same place I’d ducked into as I waited for a joy ride a week or so earlier. I’d bought this fabulous canvas print of Barbara Bain driving circa Mission Impossible (WHY DID SHE HAVE TO BE IN A CAR). Purchased on a beautiful, sunny Saturday, ya know, WHEN ALL THINGS SEEMED POSSIBLE.
The framer stretched out and secured the print. I asked for the cost. Then I said: “I should probably let you know I was dumped via text message yesterday.”
I grab my phone. If Carrie had her Post-It moment, then by all means let me read you this text, good sir. I was…almost…Berger-larized.
For a brief message, it contained a lot of twists and turns. ‘Bad news bears, I’ve been seeing someone else! But you’re wonderful! And hilarious! And gorg! Let me name drop your podcast like we’re pals, albeit one I didn’t want to call on the phone!’
I finished, and looked at my wonderful art framer/temp-to-perm therapist.
“Oh my god. What kind of guy—”
“All of them.”
20% discount. At least I got that much out of it.
Women invest. We invest early and often. It’s unlikely to change: the yearning, the hope, the promise. Even when we shouldn’t, and mustn’t, we do. We blindly believe.
I can’t think of a way out of this trap. So perhaps in addition to talking future plans and toothbrushes, and goodbye-buffer beauty, we should just get 15% off shoes.