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But after the date ended, whether with a friendly hug or a lingering kiss or even sex, whatever it was, the moment I was alone again, loneliness would roll in like New England fog. I had gotten sober years earlier, when I was still a teenager, so I couldn’t medicate the feelings away with wine or pills.
Sometimes I would pick up junk food and overeat, looking for satiety that the night had failed to give me, but that bad habit outgrew its usefulness too. And you get to keep those forever.”I thought about this constantly. The phrase popped into my head a hundred times a day.
When I went on dates with successful guys, I knew what to say, commiserating over how crowded Soho House had become (it’s overrun!
), but later I would complain to friends about their uninterrogated privilege and the high likelihood that they had secret cocaine habits, because rich guys so often do.
I went on dates even when I didn’t want to, when I would have preferred to stay home and watch Netflix or go out with my friends, because if I did not go on dates I might never find love, and I knew that love was the highest calling.
I went on dates when I was happy, and I went on dates when I was sad.
I went on dates to feel complete when I felt empty, and when I felt complete on my own I went on dates then, too, because surely, I thought, I should want to be in a partnership composed of two whole people.
I went on dates with older guys and learned to get their references, the same allusions to movies and television shows released before I was born that seemed to be touchstones for gay men of a certain age — of course I love !
— but I also went on dates with guys my own age or even younger, and I was comfortable with their language, too, Snapchatting selfies from my bed captioned “tired af” dotted with sleepy-eyed emojis.