Monday, 10 September 2007

Muddling Through

Phew Monday already. The weekend pure flew by. Still, it was a lovely one, busy, but with enough down time thrown in to be relaxing.

On Friday night Melissa, Ash and I saw a play at the
Irish Repertory Theatre on West 22nd St. It was excellent and very funny, although I didn’t have much of a clue about what we were seeing until I met the girls for dinner before the show. Ash had emailed me the details a few weeks before, but work had been so busy I'd only had time to skim read her note and had agreed to see the show primarily as a chance to catch up with Ash, who I hadn’t seen since a girls' trip to Sanibel in January can you believe. She only lives a few miles from me, but she’s totally loved up with her studly Italian boyfriend and has been a bit out of commission of late. Anyway I am glad I agreed to go because not only did I catch up with Ash, but the play was superb. It's called Tom Crean, Antartic Explorer, a one man show written and performed by Aidan Dooley.

I can’t say I'd ever heard of Tom Crean until Friday night, but he’s apparently ‘one of Ireland’s unsung heroes’ serving in the navy under Captain Robert Scott and then Sir Ernest Shackleton, and surviving not one, not two, but THREE expeditions to the Antarctic in the early 1900s. His is an amazing story and Aidan Dooley is hilarious as Tom, recounting tales of his expeditions. I was surprised by how funny the play was given the subject matter. If you get a chance to see it you really should snap up a ticket. I can’t recommend it enough.

Saturday I had a 4th date with Tel Aviv and I have to say that, despite the differences in our interests he's kind of growing on me a bit. I was also surprised to hear him refer to me as the woman he’s ‘dating’. Dating!! Hmm, now there’s a turn up for the books, to hear a man in New York refer to a woman he’s had only 4 dates with as the woman he is ‘dating’, seeing each other perhaps, but dating? Not so much. There are distinct phases of dating in New York you see and coming, as I do, from a country where our dating habits are more simplistic and include a tendency to get trollied in a bar, end up snogging the guy next to you and bingo…Bob’s your boyfriend, New York style dating can seem perplexing and over complicated. There are rules, and I am thinking that maybe Tel Aviv didn’t get his copy.

My Brooklyn born friend, Melissa once told me there are essentially three phases of dating in New York. “There’s seeing each other, then dating, then…no, wait, there’s going out, then seeing each other and then dating. Is that right? No, no I don’t think that’s it, it’s…. umm, hmmm, oh I’m not sure.”

Okay, so that’s clear then? Yes…as mud. If the natives don’t know how do they expect the rest of us to manage? Truth is that most New Yorkers, native or not, seem fuzzy on the details, but generally speaking, when you first start seeing someone in New York you can’t assume that he - or she - is not seeing other people too. Not everyone does this, quite frankly who has the energy, and most New Yorkers I’ve come across don’t like the idea that this multi-dating business happens at all, but it’s generally accepted that it does and whether you subscribe to the practice or not, you live with assumption that the person you’re seeing, and possibly sleeping with, is likely seeing and sleeping with other people too. In England this is referred to as ‘two-timing’, regardless of the casual nature of the relationship. At least that’s how it worked in my day. Perhaps things have changed.

In New York, before you can progress to the phase where you and your beloved are seeing only each other, you need to have “the conversation” where you both agree not to see other people. It sounds a straight forward enough, if not necessarily appealing, process except for the fact that the rules in New York do not necessarily apply to the rest of the country - oh no, God forbid it should be so simple – and when you consider the number of New Yorkers who didn’t grow up in the city and are living here and dating by their own rules, then it’s no surprise we’re all confused. A work colleague informs me there’s no such multi-dating nonsense going on in her home state of Florida, where it would be most definitely frowned upon, and when I was dating Gobshite he assured me that in the Midwest, where he’s from, they wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, however it happens here all the time and the fact is that many adopted New Yorkers have embraced the practice for their own convenience. Often you don’t have the faintest idea of what’s really going on. When it comes down to it we are all just muddling through and time will tell as to whether Tel Aviv's definition of dating does in fact mesh with my own.


alcoment said...

That sounds so confusing. Dating in the UK is still very much the same - go to pub, get drunk and before you know it, you and some bloke appear to be dating, with neither entirely sure how it all happened!

The play sounds good. Glad you enjoyed it.

Amel said...

Glad you enjoyed the play, Fish.

I agree with alcoment. The dating rules sound confusing indeed. I never dated much at all. I think I only had one "true" date. I can't possibly call meeting my hubby for the first time as a date. So I'm totally clueless when it comes to the dating world.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Girls, dating here IS confusing - Alcoment it puts a spring in my step to hear that dating in England is still much the same as it was when I was there. Amel, I think everyone in New York is pretty clueless too. It's too complicated here and people are incredibly neurotic about labels. God forbid you should refer to some guy you've been dating for 6months as your boyfriend - you won't see him for dust if you haven't previously had a conversation where it's been agreed that he is indeed of boyfriend status. It's tiresome. No wonder so many women never bother dating at all.

Ha Ha Sound said...

Ah, seems you're doing much better than me on the dating front. Glad to hear that somebody's having 4th dates and all of the uncertainty that comes with it. Sometimes that can be lovely, I think.

BTW, are from you London? I used to live there.

Heather said...

ok. i can fix this for you.

now that you've had your 4th date, it's time for my involvement.

I have a short questionnaire for tel aviv.

he simply needs to fill out the 1,231 questions and submit to me for grading/review.

After examining his answers, I will provide you with a complete work-up and assessment.

free of charge, of course.

what are friends for?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Ha Ha Sound, thanks for stopping by. You're right, the uncertainty of 4th dates can be a lovely time. I'm just trying to enjoy it and not worry so much about messing it up ;-)

Hope you enjoyed your time in London. I'm not from there - Yorkshire - but I did live there for 6years before moving to NYC in 2000.

Heather, you're a true pal. Tel Aviv and I have date #5 on Wednesday. Should I have him fill out the questionnaire beforehand? ;-)

Agnes Mildew said...

I wrote a comment on this post this morning, and as soon as I clicked 'publish', Blogger decided to go into maintenance - so it was obviously lost!

Second time lucky, then!

Dating in the UK I think has changed. I have tried very hard to snog the face off men in pubs in the hope that they will be my boyfriend. They just run away from me.

Perhaps Tel Aviv is more 'committed' to you due to his family background, coming from Israeli descent? Family and relationships seem to have a much more important role to people from the Middle East I have found, which can only be a good thing!

And you are a Yorkshire lass, eh? I studied at Leeds and lived in Wetherby for quite a while. I almost got my Yorkshire passport when I married the (now ex) husband, a Leeds lad. Yorkshire is a wonderful county, but has a lot to answer for, bringing him into the world...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Agnes, yes I am a Yorkshire lass, from a village near Wakefield, so I know (and love) Leeds, but the men do leave something to be desired.

You might have something with the middle eastern thing and relationships being important, who knows. I'm just going to see how it goes. I did date a Persian born man a few years ago and he was one of the most commitment phobic types I've met in a while, but then he had lived in NYC since the age of 12, and his parents had an acrimonious divorce.

Anonymous said...

I think the whole "dating" confusion can be similar in any major metropolitan area? Or well, some?

It's ridiculous and confusing and no one knows what on earth is going on. No one knows how to define it/whomever they're with and yes, some sort of "conversation" needs to be put forth at some point to get it all straightened out. True, it can be about "exclusivity" and also about "just what the hell are we doing here?!"

And then there's the whole lovely issue about just when do you have sex. I suppose that's simply personal choice? First date?

*PA laughs uproariously*

*PA puts on straight face and shrugs shoulders*

Have you heard the infamous joke about lesbians/gay women?

Q: What does a lesbian bring on a second date?

A: A U-Haul.

Heh. Now if you don't get it, U-Haul is a truck rental company. Lesbians can be right in to that relationship! Move your stuff into either person's apartment and you're in a committed relationship like that!

*PA snaps fingers*

And have I "U-Hauled?" Well, not on the second date but guilty as charged...I've rushed into things. Apart from personal reasons, however, I do have a theory as to why this may(?)happen in the gay community.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi PA, glad you stopped by. I think you have a point that most major metropolitan cities have their own dating complexities. Listening to some of my single female friends in London I don't think they find it any easier to date. I don't think online dating helps much either.

Funny joke re: the U-Haul. I'm far from renting a truck, I'm not so keen on being rushed, I like to take my time and get to know someone, see how it goes. Best, F