“It’s about a descent into madness, really.” I told her as I took another sip of beer. I looked around to see if anyone else had heard me. We were at a bar I had never been to off of the City Hall stop on the R. She worked in the Financial District then and I worked in Soho, so the distance made sense.
“I really want to read it! It’s on Amazon right? I’ll buy it on the first day.”
“You don’t have to, I’ll send you a copy from my computer.”
“No, I’ll buy it. I think that’s interesting to compare dating in the city to that kind of experience. I refuse to date men from Manhattan now, I stick to the boroughs. I mean, I feel like men have it easier here. There are so many options for you. You’ll meet someone.”
I looked at her like she was crazy. She didn’t pick up on it though. To be fair, I thought I was on a date and I wasn’t. So we were both reading things the wrong way. You know how sometimes you can be in a moment and completely miss every sign that you’re not supposed to be in that particular mindset? I was thinking with something other than my head in a situation that was something other than the present. I was missing a person I would never see again and lamenting mistakes I can never fix.
“I don’t know.” I told her with a shrug, adjusting the flannel I bought that day at lunch in hopes of impressing her. “Sometimes I feel like no one our age really wants anything anymore. I don’t know why I expect anything anymore.”
“Don’t be so depressing, you have a lot going for you.” She looked at a guy down the bar, I shifted uncomfortably in my new jeans that didn’t quite fit.
I took another sip and thought about place, a sense of purpose, and if I really wanted to be here or not. I came to New York only four months ago and it already felt like an eternity. Some weird moment in my life where turning back felt like a failure as much as continuing on this journey. I had grown compulsive and destructive. I had grown cynical.
“I’m sticking to that, though. It was supposed to be about women that have meant something to me but the more I re-read it and consider the reality of it all, it’s about my expectations never really meeting the moment. If that’s even fair. I don’t know. I think it really is about insanity.”
“Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, or something like that right?”
Later that night I would lean in and try to kiss her and she would promptly reject my advance. She would cite various signals she had given me throughout the night that we were just friends and lament that she can’t ever just be friends with guys because they always expect sex. I would try to convince her that I was just drunk and that I was stupid and that mostly I was just sorry. She wouldn’t believe me.
This book is about women. It’s about love. It’s kind of about failure. It’s an attempt to categorize the things that keep most people up at night. It’s more positive than negative but I think it’s also fair. It has a few personal letters in it, some narratives. It all happened. I changed all the names except one because one of the women told me she would be offended if I changed her name. Try to guess who it is, you’re probably wrong.
Read without a grain of salt. Suggested drinking to accompany reading: a Bulleit Bourbon – neat, or a 24 oz PBR tallboy, or a Brooklyn Lager and a shot of Jameson (if you’re feelin’ fancy).