It seems that my emotional state is still incredibly fragile, and any external factor can push my emotional state over the fucking edge, regardless of how much weed I smoke or how much I increase my anti-anxiety medication. Which is a total bummer. I must admit that I don’t think I’m ready for anything to reopen anytime soon. The idea of being in a public social situation sounds like a god damn nightmare, despite the fact that, yes, I really miss seeing all your beautiful faces at the bar. I can’t imagine sitting at a bar and running into people I haven’t seen in months and not 1) ugly crying or 2) getting into a physical altercation. And I’m not really looking forward to dealing with people who are out on day one of post-quarantine and how high key that’s going to be. So perhaps I will slowly expand my social circle so that I don’t come off like a total psycho mess, but, my god, this shit has been intense, and I’m not going to pretend that it’s been anything less than harrowing, even from my perch of privilege.
Admittedly, dating during quarantine has been quite a fucking doozy. I broke up with quarantine boyfriend #1 because, yes, it was that bad, and, yes, I am that fickle. So I hopped back on the dating apps and found a nice looking Texas boy who invited me over to his condo. I know, I know: how taboo. We’re supposed to be social distancing, but I decided on the first day of this shit that my mental health was as much of a priority as my physical health, so I’ve allowed myself to continue to see a select few people during this time, all of which are my family and then also someone to fuck.
Dating within the context of quarantine has been quite an experience. Mostly because I’m trying to not be a total coronavirus slut and start dating a ton of new people at once because I don’t want to endanger anybody. So that meant that I basically had one shot to get it right when it came to picking someone off the Internet to meet IRL. Which has been fine so far, but as a seasoned downtown Oakland bar fly, I must admit that going over to someone’s house for the first, second, third, and all future dates has put me out of my element. Quarantine dating for me looks like: sitting at this dude’s house, playing Monopoly, watching The Last Dance (I love it! Such good television), and one time we went on a hike. Normally, I would never play a board game on a second date or go on a hike for a third date. If I’m trying to get to know someone, I want to bring him onto my turf so I can appropriately judge him on a number of criteria: 1) does he dress like shit for a date to a bar? 2) does he know how to order and behave at a bar? 3) does he look at his phone the entire time throughout the date? 4) does he flirt with other women at the bar? 5) is he rude to the bartender? 6) does he complain if I order an ‘expensive’ drink? 7) does he tip well? 8) can he handle his liquor? 9) does he know anybody here? 10) can he hold a bar style conversation? All of these are things I take into consideration when dating someone new, mostly because I spend so much time in bars so I can’t really fuck with someone who doesn’t know how to handle themselves in a bar. But seeing as there has been no opportunity to go with this guy to a bar, and there probably won’t be an opportunity any time soon, I’m a bit at a loss here. I like to think I’m a decent judge of character, so I don’t foresee too many problems on the above listed criteria. He’s not going to show up to a public place wearing a fedora with a tweed jacket and a stained T-shirt. He’s not going tip $2 on a $50 bill.
However, there are a few other pitfalls when it comes to trying to get to know someone within the confines of their own apartment. First off, it feels like we’ve totally jumped the exciting, getting wasted at bars part of dating and have settled into the later stages of a relationship where we just sit at home and drink and talk shit. Which is fine, I love doing that, but I also had this glimmer of a thought the other day that this guy was boring. No, no, he’s not boring, it’s just that this style of dating doesn’t lend itself to a lot of excitement from jump. I also realize that the monotony of the context in which we are trying to get to know each other doesn’t offer a ton of insight into the soul. There are few outside forces than can trigger a deeper glimpse into who he is. If all we do is drink rose and watch ESPN, it’s pretty easy to get comfortable with each other in that context. I want to see something deeper, something darker. I want to know what kind of risks he takes. Is he the type of person who jay walks? Who drives drunk? Who gets in fights at bars? Does he like to steal shit from Whole Foods? Is he easily suggestible to a bump of cocaine? Is he spontaneous? Adventurous? Does he like to try new things? Or go new places? If I asked him to go to the museum with me, would we have a good time together? Is he scatterbrained? Tardy? Punctual? There are so many things that I’ll never learn about him if we just sit in his apartment and make small talk all day. Although, I’m a clever woman. I can find the answers to these questions if I try hard enough.
I want to know his secrets. I don’t know that sitting in an apartment for the next six months will give me a clear path to understanding what his secrets are. How will I know if he’s a womanizer if we just sit in his apartment? How will I know if he’s a slut if the only place I ever see him is at his apartment? What if he’s clingy, but we spend so much time at his apartment that I can’t tell? What if he’s mean, but he has so much control over the situation so it doesn’t show?
My friends tell me that dating someone in this new quarantine context might be good for me. They’re right – I’m trying to get away from Gangsta Boo-esque lovers, and what better way to not date an alcoholic than by not going to bars? Part of me just wishes that this guy would cave to my will and just move me in so we could fuck all day every day for the rest of quarantine, but, then again: we’re in a new context here. I am, as always, eager to initiate yet another codependent, toxic, sex fueled relationship. In ye olden days, that kind of relationship was frowned upon by people who prioritized things like their careers and their boundaries, but seeing as we’re all stuck inside now, the barrier to entry for a toxic relationship has lowered significantly. It’s hard to separate the true freaks from the ‘I’m new to toxic relationship’ ilk. Personally, I’m looking for someone who is seasoned in the art of mutual skull fuckery. Which is why I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve taken my time with diving into quarantine boyfriend #2. I’m pretty sure than anyone I start dating during quarantine will devolve into some sort of bizarre, toxic boyfriend, mostly because what the fuck is going on right now and how do we navigate that in new relationships? My expectations for quarantine boyfriend #2 are very, very low, mostly because I feel like that’s the most merciful way I can approach this situation. Yes, we are both lonely and we are both horny. Yes, we can help each other with that, but how much will quarantine cloud our judgment? Will the insanity of quarantine bring us closer together? Or is it making us say, “Yeah, let’s fuck” to someone that we would normally never say that to? Only time will tell if this is yet another misguided, quixotic pursuit of the physical comforts of flesh, or maybe the context of quarantine will help us access a more authentic level of vulnerability and togetherness. Either way, I’m just stoked to fuck.
In my heart, I have always been fairly anti-American, which I guess is ironic since I’m a full blooded American. It’s kinda like how I’m half white and I love dogging on white people all the god damn time. What can I say. I am large, I contain multitudes. That being said, I’ve never been a huge fan of this country, despite definitely benefiting from the privileges that come with being a white passing American. My ancestors fucking suffered to get here. Fuck it, my immediate family suffered. So, sometimes I deal with guilt for being ungrateful, but then I remind myself: fuck that! There’s nothing wrong with wanting more! There’s nothing wrong with demanding better from the system! It’s the American way.
Anyway, now that we’re here in the midst of hugely embarrassing pandemic, all I can say is: my god. Why the fuck did I stay here? Well, I’m lazy, that’s why I stayed here, and I’m too privileged to learn to speak another language or bother to adapt to another culture. But, more importantly: I stayed here, and now what. I feel like I’m living in the opening act of a societal collapse that I always suspected was coming but somehow am not at all prepared for. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that the amount of baseline rage I encounter in people on the street right now is abnormally high, and I live in North Berkeley, which is basically just an enclave for rich white people who smile at their neighbors. Sure, maybe the quarantine has gotten to them, but, god damn, Karen, a class war is coming can you not scream at me about wearing a mask? Sure, I’ll admit that I, too, have been feeling quite pugilistic, so my goony side is reveling in the simmering resentment in the streets.
Sometimes I feel sad knowing that I’m going to have to live through whatever the fuck comes next, and that scares the shit out of me. But then I remember: war. Living through war is something that most people have already done. We in America have generally been to insulated to feel its full effects, but seeing as we’ve inflicted war on a slew of other countries, we kinda have this coming to us, don’t we? If everyone else in the world can survive war, I’m sure that we’ll be able to weather whatever comes next. Not that I’m comparing the pandemic to war, but, rather, doesn’t it seem highly likely that war is the inevitable cure for our broken economy? Which is why I’m not incredibly worried right now, mostly because I know I’m powerless to stop whatever comes next, so I might as well enjoy the quietude of the quarantine.
This, like everything else, is something that I will simply survive. Sure, I might have to watch the American way of life collapse, and, admittedly, despite calling myself an anti-American up there, there are quite a few aspects of American life that I fucking love, such as freedom of speech and abortion. But if I have to spend the next ten years suffering so that everyone else can enjoy a better world that is perhaps less polluted, less racist, less sexist, more educated, and more egalitarian, then okay. I can do that. I accept that. I’ve lived a good life so far. I mean, I doubt that the world will get ‘better’ even if America rips itself to shreds, mostly because this planet will still be inhabited by humans, and we are, if anything, an incredibly fickle and power hungry bunch. But if we have to reset a few things on a global scale and watch America crash and burn, then so be it. I just slightly regret not putting my money where my mouth was and ditching to Mexico twelve years ago, but so be it. I’m prepared to be an American til the bitter end, because I’ve been an American thus far, and what kind of American would I be if I bailed on America right when things got tough? I’d probably be the most American kind of American if I left now, because that’s what we do: we’re greedy. And that is our most defining characteristic.
Was I lonely or was I bored? Probably a mixture of both, which is why I find myself eating steak in the kitchen of some gentro-rehabbed West Oakland house with a boy that I would never even in a million years even entertain. Yet, there I was, entertaining. I knew I had no intention of fucking him, but for some reason his puppy dog attention had piqued my interest. Perhaps after two months of sitting in my house, not completely alone, but definitely not at a bar, whet my appetite for sad male attention. It’s been a while since I cut a man down sexually, and, oh, boy, I did really love that, didn’t I? Which was why I was sitting in his kitchen, drinking his booze, and eating his steak – I needed the emotional boost of knowing that I can still reject men, even in the midst of a pandemic. There’s something about being by myself for long stretches of time that has brought out my cruel streak. I’ll admit it – I’m not a very nice person. I get off on watching people fail. Humiliating people is a cornerstone of my personality. I cursed out my neighbor on Sunday, and, omigod, it felt so good. Which was why I was there – I can’t get enough of it these days. Also getting all dolled up and twirling around in my room alone has gotten pretty boring. So did I go over to this guy’s house simply because I knew he was going to pull a move on me and I knew I was going to reject him? Eh, yeah. Old habits die hard. And I had a great time! Will probably do it again soon.
I’m on the fake news again!
She’s fiddling with the keys on her key chain again. Slightly rubbing them together, almost popping them off the ring. Fidgeting. She’s just fidgeting. It’s a nervous tic, something that she finds herself doing often but doesn’t remember starting. Just passing the time. Trying not to look at her phone. She doesn’t want to see how many minutes have passed, or, rather, how many minutes haven’t passed. It’s still the same minute. She’s still waiting.
The bartender hasn’t acknowledged her yet. She wants to look busy, like she has a purpose for being here, but she doesn’t want to look so busy that the bartender thinks she’s not ready to order. She’s ready. Shot of tequila and a tequila soda, please. Hopefully the booze will cut through her nerves. She hopes no one strange approaches her. She hopes no one tries to talk to her. It’s part of the peril of being out in the world – being subjected to strangers who might impose their will on you at any moment. Although, that is why she’s here. To meet a stranger. Hopefully someone who will not be a stranger for long.
The candles in their little cups flicker romantically. This would be a great place for a date. Or, it is a great place for a date, but it’s hard to think of this as a date. It’s more like an exercise in putting herself out there. Practice. Fake socialization. Just to get back into the swing of things. Even though she knows she’ll be spending most of this date day dreaming about checking her text messages in the bathroom in the hopes that someone more interesting has texted. Well, not someone. Not *him* that’s for sure. Even though she does miss the frequent incoming text messages and the modicum of security that he brought to her life.
She smiles at nothing in particular. She hopes that the man who is coming to this bar isn’t creepy or annoying. Getting to know people is such a chore. It’s so tedious. Mostly because it’s always such a let down. It was the last time she tried to get to know somebody. Just…a total waste of time. Why can’t people put out the cliff notes to their personalities so she can make better decisions about who to date. For example, a little note card with past trauma, attachment style, love languages, and a rating on a scale of one to ten on how good they are in bed. It always sucks to spend a couple nights with a person only to find out that they don’t eat pussy, or they hate trans people, or they think that sex workers deserve to get murdered. It’s exhausting. It’s like a full time job that she’s not getting paid for. Which is why she closes her tab. He’ll be buying her drinks as soon as he shows up. If he shows up.
Oh, yeah. That’s me. I just learned about attachment styles last week, and, lo and behold, I have an avoidant attachment pattern. Fuck. I thought that I was being glamorous and feminist the whole time by treating men like shit, but it turns out its some form of mental disorder. *huge eye roll* God, why can’t my pathological tendencies just manifest them as cheeky cultural commentary rather than lifelong afflictions? That would be really convenient for me. I’m trying to rock the whole ‘dismissive avoidant’ thing as being ‘aloof and mysterious’ rather than ‘lonely and entirely shut off from the world.’ I like my mental health problems to be sexy, not pathetic. Ugh, I guess this explains so much. Sigh. I guess self awareness is the first step.