Other People Don’t Know How to Dive, too. Right?

The Memorial Bend Barracudas was our name and Freestyle was my game. When I started swim team, I thought I was the queen of Backstroke, but I discovered my stride when, one day, coach had me do Freestyle in a relay. Freestyle is always the last of any relay because not only is it the simplest of the strokes, but it brought out the fastest swimmers. And I was fast. Real fast. Sometimes my relay team would be in last place, bodies behind the other swimmers in the other lanes. Then, BAM, I’d get into that pool and just fly. My group would go from 5th place to 2nd, sometimes first. My coach started putting me in anything that required Freestyle. To me, this kind of winning brought about dreams of the Olympics. Visions of me, at 8 years old, becoming the youngest Olympic gold medalist in Freestyle. It wasn’t sounding too far off to me.

My coach was even seeing potential in my swimming abilities. After a few years of dominating the Freestyle game, coach had suggested I should look into all year round swim team as well as the summer league I’ve been a part of. But there was one, big problem: I couldn’t dive into a pool.

Well, I couldn’t dive properly. I thought I was doing just fine, excellent even. According to my mother and pretty much everyone else, either I belly flopped or I channeled my inner cat and landed feet first into the water. This technically would result in me getting disqualified, but from the time I started swim team at around 7 years old till about 10 years old, you were still considered a child learning to swim. Disqualification was if you weren’t even doing the stroke you were assigned to do and just doggy paddling. Lessons were being highly encouraged by my coach, and even my mom wanted me to be a better swimmer, so a teacher was hired.

A few years back I had had my first high school aged swim teacher. Being as nice and polite as she could, she would try to watch me swim down a lane to see my technique, then give me critiques. Being the excellent swimmer I already was, I just wanted to make conversation and talk about other things. It was when she had her back turned I would actually do the strokes perfectly. My mom had been at each lesson sitting by the pool in those classic iron chairs and tables all public pools had, under an umbrella, keeping watch over me, and my stubborn ways. After three lessons, my sweet instructor approached my mom and announced she couldn’t continue my lessons, which kindly translated to: “I quit”. When I had to have new instructors, my mother hoped I wouldn’t be like I was when I first started swimming.

“No thanks”, 8 year old me waved to my second instructor a few summers later. “I already know how to swim. You can go home now.”

When it came to my fifth and final instructors, I was given two 17 year-old high school senior boys. Since I already established I was an excellent swimmer, their main focus became teaching me how to dive. Each lesson, we met at the deep end of the pool and they would keep reassuring me that it was safe to dive. I wasn’t going to break my neck like the graphic tile by the shallow ends predicted. I kept asking them if we could play swim games. They tried to bribe me with candy if I did what they asked. They ended up just giving me the candy because they felt bad for me. I even remember trying to charm my way into them joining me in the pool, my flirting game skills beginning.

One lesson, they told me to sit at the edge of the deep end and wait. The two boys approached my mom under her usual umbrella by the pool.

“Mrs. Ghorashy, we have something to show you.”

The boys led my mom to the other side of the deep end and told her to watch. The boys came up to me, grabbed me and held me by my ankles, me upside down above the deep end, hair dangling above the deep end. The boys told me to put my arms above my head, my hands crossed over each other. I was screaming, demanding why we had to do this again.

“1, 2, 3…” They let go.

When I was released, it should’ve been a clean, straight dive into the pool. What I managed to do was flip in mid air and land feet first into the water. My mom watched in silence and just nodded. The silent agreement was settled that this was the last lesson the boys had to be put through.

I continued with swim team, still either belly flopping or landing feet first in the water, only once getting close to a disqualification. I do believe there may have been some under the table deals with the refs, but I think it was a miracle for both my mom and my coach when I declared a few years later at 11 years old I wasn’t going to continue swim team. It wasn’t because I couldn’t dive, no, the choice was because I found out as you get older you have to swim more laps and I just got tired thinking about doing that.

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S**t Men Have Said to Me: PART 1

Upon moving to New York, I was recently heartbroken, not looking to date or meet anyone new. My idea of going out was more to see city life and enjoy my friend’s company than to end up inside some stranger’s apartment. My friends, on the other hand, had a different perspective. They wanted one night where they both had to be so drunk they were dancing on top of tables or a bar while simultaneously making out with a complete stranger. If none of this happened on a night out, then it was time wasted.

To accomplish this goal, there was only one place to go: Union Pool. At the time, I had no idea what Union Pool was and why they got so excited to go to this bar, but I assumed there’d be pool tables there. Many New Yorkers and Brooklynites know of the infamous Union Pool because it is dubbed hook up central. Having already traveled an hour on subway to Brooklyn and have gotten lost about 5 times, I begrudgingly followed, half hoping there’d be food there and the other half hoping they did accomplish their fantasy so we didn’t have to go man hunting next weekend.

Entering Union Pool was like stepping into a Millennial’s dream land: multi-room bar filled wall to wall with hipsters and trust fund babies alike, no one over the age of 35. A swarm of girls in crop tops and high-waisted thrift store jeans intermixed with men bearing buns atop of their heads of every knot and color. A rainbow of denim, flannel, overalls and chokers swirled around us. An occasional Hawaiian shirt popped out. There was the indoor dance room with a projection screen showing an old black and white film, and an outdoor patio with a taco truck. The vibe of the place was different than any place I’d ever been before. I found myself actually getting a little excited to be someplace new. My friends and I elbowed our way to the bar, finally getting our drinks after losing a few vocal chords shouting, “Whiskey Ginger” multiple times to the poor bartender who only kept mouthing for us to speak louder over the blaring live band playing that night. We found a spot to sit on a concrete fountain that was shut off for the night in the outdoor patio. My friends began scanning for their hook-up prey. I only had eyes for the taco truck.

“Did you see him? He’s gorgeous!”

“Where? That one?”

“No, guy next to him with the beard.”

“They all have beards.”

“The one in red.”

“Ooooh! Yeah, he’s cute! Go after him!”

“Abort! Abort mission! A group of girls just came over. He’s taken.”

The hunting continued. One of us would point out someone, analyze their level of attractiveness, then encourage that friend to go talk to them, to only find an excuse why to not confront them. This continued for a good portion of the night until we became silent and were texting on our phones. One of my friends even downloaded a dating app.

“So, uh, how’s that dancing on tables going?”

Death glares.

Once a second round of drinks were considered, one of my friends finally followed one of their newest quarry to only come back with our new drinks and no boy.

I noticed the line for the taco truck died, so now was my chance to grab my target of the night. Getting up quickly with a little too much pep in my step, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning, I find the source of the tap is a relatively good looking guy, a little taller than me, light brown curly hair and matching scruff, wearing matching denim jacket and pants with a purple t-shirt that had both Shaq and Air Bud doing slam dunks into the same basket.

“Please don’t tell me you are leaving”, he pleaded. “I’ve been watching you from across the room all night and been trying to find a way to talk to you.”

The jaws on my friend’s faces fell below the concrete floor we were all standing on. Of all 3 of us, I was the one who reeled one in and I did absolutely nothing to make it happen. Personally, I was shocked, but also a bit annoyed – he was delaying my taco time.

“I wasn’t leaving, I was going to get a taco… do you want to join?”

Shoving our way to the taco truck, I thought, Hey, maybe he’ll pay for my tacos. $9 short later for only 2 tacos, our conversation began. Found out, he was born and raised in Brooklyn, an accountant not too far from where we were now, but really he was a comedy writer.

“Yeah, I’m working on a piece now about superheroes on psychedelic drugs because there really isn’t a lot on that topic.”

The discussion of theatre and the fact I’m an actor came up, we both found we attended Waiting for Godot starring Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart when it was on Broadway a few years ago. He told me how there should be a modern version of Godot where two guys are waiting for the G train. We continued talking about the play and other plays, conversation flowing when he interjected, “I have to show you this one interview on YouTube. We can watch it tomorrow morning.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, I meant I’ll send you the link to watch tomorrow.”

At this point I was trying to find ways to end the conversation, but he kept going. He just had to ask about where I lived. I replied that I originally lived in Harlem but recently moved to the Bronx. His eyebrows jumped up, asking if I felt safe. I brought up that I feel safer in the Bronx than I ever did in Houston.

“And, I mean”, I added, “living in both of those places kinda puts hair on your chest.”

His look changed. “Well, I hope you don’t have hair on your chest…and by chest I mean your boobs.”

To which his eyes moved immediately down to the V in my V neck shirt.

That’s it. I was done.

He tried to get my number right after that move, to which I explained I wasn’t wanting anything at the moment, I’d just gone through a rough break-up, but thanks for the conversation. With a shrug, he led me back to my friends and I never saw him again.

What my friends saw behind me as he walked away, was him rolling his eyes towards his friends, looking annoyed and pissed off. We left Union Pool right after and haven’t returned.

My Relationship with Nail Polish

I don’t own a single pair of plain white socks. Plain white walls freak me out. I couldn’t walk into White House Black Market because everything was just solid blacks and whites. Eventually, unpainted nails drove me insane.

Middle school wasn’t easy for anyone, particularly me. While others were obsessing over their bodies changing, zits popping up, hormones engulfing them, sudden changes in voices, I had other concerns as I had already gone through most of puberty by the time I got to 6th grade. I was drowning in schoolwork. At 11 years old, I was doing hours and hours worth of homework a night. I was incredibly stressed over everything, so stressed, I developed shingles over my left eyebrow by October of 6th grade. Shingles, while common in the elderly, can actually be triggered by high amounts of stress and lower immune systems. I didn’t know how to calm down, how not to freak out, how to manage this new change in my lifestyle. I wanted something that could just slow everything down for a bit.

The same year, a new fad was coming about that was all over As Seen on TV commercials: nail art pens. These pens had nail polish inside them that you squeezed out to create any design you wanted on your nail. No need to go to a manicurist, you can do the fancy manicure at home now! Eventually stamps, stickers, fine brushes were all coming out and not just on TV but in malls and boutiques. The French manicure was now considered boring, having polka dots, stripes, even flowers on your nails were on trend. I became very intrigued. YouTube was filled with different tutorials, ranging from how to do the simplest designs, to some I found impossible unless you have three hands. I couldn’t stop watching the videos. It was hypnotic watching just a few strokes with a different color changing the whole nail. Some videos asked to use toothpicks and swirl the colors on the nail, some involved powders only found in Japan, one video had the instructor putting multiple polish colors in water and having you dip your fingers in the water and VOILA, your nails were done!

I stole polishes from my sister and mom, both owning the popular metallics and classic red of the early 2000s, to try to recreate some looks, but there was only so much one could design with “Icy Blue”, “Ruby Red”, and the many different polishes you could get at ICING, Walgreens, and Claire’s. From watching YouTube tutorials over and over again, I learned the most common polishes the ladies used were called O.P.I and Essie, so I saved up and went polish shopping.

My mom also became entranced by the nail art design videos, so we both ventured to Sally Beauty Salon to build my personal start up kit. Our jaws dropped seeing the variety of brushes, dotters, polishes, cotton balls, removers, and files the nail aisle had. I could’ve opened my own nail salon! We only settled on the products I knew from the tutorials, but little did I know this collection would grow over time.

I started off small, just doing stripes and polka dots. Gradually, I progressed to following the YouTube tutorial, varieties of nail polish colors surrounding the family desktop, me, hunched over my hands, continuously pausing and restarting the same motion the instructor was doing, till I hit perfection. Eventually, I graduated to doing plaid, checkers, even pictures. It turned from doing a design once a month, to a new design every week. I noticed that once a few nails started chipping, I got bored with that design, immediately had to remove it and create something new. No solid color would satisfy me and unpolished nails made me feel naked. A routine began: on Sundays I’d find a new design and paint all night in my living room while me and the family watched TV, to have Mondays be the big reveal of the new pattern. As the year went on, I felt myself calming down, not feeling as stressed as I did the beginning of the year. My nails preoccupied the spot in my brain where I kept the stress and pressure of school. I found total zen and full concentration on intricately making tiny strokes on the canvas of my nail, forgetting what was happening in the outside world or my own. When painting my nails, I found total relaxation. I also found I gained a lot of attention.

While in class, I’d catch classmates squinting, looking at my fingernails, trying to figure out the designs as I was taking notes and paying attention to the lesson, while they clearly weren’t. Eventually, it turned into Show and Tell every week before class started, presenting what spankin’ new design was debuting on my nail that day. It then turned routine. Get to class, sit down, flash the nails, class started.

Midway through high school and during parts of college, I couldn’t paint my nails as much and as intricately anymore with my schedule becoming more rigorous. Getting cast in plays prevented me from having painted nails, too.

“No one had mint green nails in the 1800s, last time I checked, Megan.”

My freshman year of college, though, a friend was beginning to sell Mary Kay products and wanted to see if we could pair up with me painting clients nails with the Mary Kay polish line. Before she could hire me, she had to see what I could do. One afternoon, my friend came over, held her hands out, asking for one of each design on her nails as a sample, while she took a nap. Waking from her forty-five minute nap, she found I had only done one hand and it wasn’t to the quality of my nails. I realized- I hadn’t ever painted anyone else’s hands before. It took me so long to get used to mine and having my hands face away from me that I didn’t know how to do the same designs with hands facing towards me!

“You know, Megan, how about you stick to just doing your hands, ok?”

Once I graduated and moved to the city, I found I had more free time and stores with endless nail polish collections. Let the obsession re-emerge! My nails became conversation starters with dates, tables I served, strangers on the subway. Friends still send me new designs and patterns, some I’ve tried and some I’ve laughed nervously at because I have no idea how witchcraft wasn’t involved. I get all ideas from Pinterest now, very rarely do I make original designs. I’ve only had two manicures professionally done in my whole life. At first, I didn’t want to waste the money on something I did at home all the time, but it was when they started massaging each finger that I found that maybe spending a few bucks here and there to have someone paint my nails wasn’t a horrible investment. I’m pretty sure I own every color in the rainbow and color spectrum, though I do keep my eyes open for new colors. Painting my nails is still something I do often, but now it’s more for entertainment than a calming mechanism, which is nice. It’s funny how a trend became a stress reliever to eventually, becoming a part of me.

How My Milkshake Brought All The Boys (2) To My Yard

It was a spontaneous trip. As if we could read each other’s minds, my roommate and I simultaneously expressed our craving for the delicious soft serve of the West Village joint, Big Gay Ice Cream. Like a turn of the hat, we quickly gathered our things and started on our adventure.

Big Gay Ice Cream usually has a line around the block, filled with hipsters and tourists shoulder to shoulder, cramped, under the watchful glares of The Golden Girls paintings that line the walls. When we arrived, not a single person was in line. The usual mini Hunger Games to get an open seat at a table was not needed today as there were now too many seats and tables to choose from. Our craving was a sign from the ice cream gods, blessed by the Warhol imitation of Estelle Getty’s face that welcomed us into the establishment.

Savoring the fact we could actually sit inside at a table, my roommate and I took this time to catch up on a topic we recently found ourselves discussing frequently: dating. Who have we been talking to on Tinder? OkCupid? Grindr? Bumble? He had a plethora of men at the beck and call of his phone, waiting to meet him. Me?

I had texts from my mom.

The dry spell was almost numbing, to a point I just didn’t care anymore. Men? What’s a “men”? My Google search history transitioned lately from “ Hot Date Night Outings in NYC” and “Questions to Ask on First Dates” to “Meals for One” and “Most Popular Cross Stitching Patterns for Advanced Stitchers”. I lived vicariously through his dating life.

As my roommate enjoyed his soft serve cone, covered in crushed vanilla cookies, I made the choice to steer clear of my regular chocolate with chocolate sprinkles topped with hot fudge, to enjoy a simple chocolate milkshake. Once the shake maker handed me the chocolate concoction, I felt my phone vibrate. Probably mom asking what hours I’m working tonight. I sat down next to my roommate, took a sip of the chocolatey goodness, and decided to check my phone.

Hold on. It wasn’t a text or a Facebook notification. It was a message on Tinder. And not just one message, but two!!? I reached to take another sip of my shake when it hit me – it was the milkshake. My milkshake brought two guys to my yard.

My God.

Commence the profile stalking! Hunched over the table, I furiously swiped to see what gentlemen took time out of their day to swipe right on a hottie like me. The first guy was a typical, good looking white male. I can deal with that! The other was a Nick Lachey look a like. I wasn’t a 98 Degrees girl, more N*SYNC, but hey, I wasn’t going to get picky now, I had men to woo.

We spent far too long figuring out a response to these men. One wrote the casual, “Hey, how’s your day going?” The Nick Lachey look alike wrote, “Wow, you’re beautiful”.

What do I say?! I furiously gulped my milkshake, half hoping it’d give me inspiration, the other half hoping the more I drank it, the more men would come throwing themselves at me. We finally decided to keep the responses causal, with an average, “Great how’s your day?”, and, “Haha, thank you. You’re pretty cute too”. I set my phone down, pleased with my responses and continued to sip my milkshake. As my roommate and I continued our conversations, fantasies of what may happen next filled my head. What if one of them likes Harry Potter as much as I do? What if they like Harry Potter and Disney? What if once I finish this milkshake, a whole team of gorgeous men come in and carry me out of the place, fighting for my love?!? One can dream.

Minutes, hours, days went by and I was left with silence and no more milkshakes. The boys never wrote back. I didn’t get any matches or messages for days.

Yet, I learned something from all this. Kelis was right. My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours. Damn right, it’s better than yours, it came from Big Gay Ice Cream.

The History of Men

The First One- Pre-School

I would take my Power Ranger calendar to show and tell, heart skipping a beat when I came across your picture. Secretly, I’d give your picture a quick kiss when no one was in my room. I was 5 years old and already planning my wedding to an older man, and not just any older man, but Tommy, the White Power Ranger.

The Romantic– Pre-K

It was recess, we were near the bridge that the teachers warned us to stay away from because of the rattlesnakes that inhabited there. You braved the snakes and picked me a yellow flowered weed near it and told me you’d be here forever. The next day you and your family moved.

The Golfer– Kindergarten

Our mats were laying next to each other at nap time when you told me I was gonna be your wife one day and we were gonna get married. You said I was invited to go with your family that weekend to go golfing and said you’d call. The call never came. Marriage off.

Boat Boy– Middle School

My heart fluttered as you held my hands to teach me how to properly tie the knots to secure the sail boat to the dock. My friends that invited me on the boat were already gone. You released my hands and showed me a knot that made a heart, immediately looking at me once you made the shape. You talked to me a lot that afternoon, making sure I was ok from the land sickness I was experiencing at Joe’s Crab Shack. When we said our goodbyes, you handed me a #2 pencil and told me you had traveled through an enchanted forest and fought many creatures to retrieve this magical, powerful pencil from the wizard gnomes. You told me to take great care of it when you handed it to me. I kept that pencil for a very long time.

The Crush-High School

You’d hold my hand when no one was looking. Instant message me all the time over Facebook , making me laugh like crazy. Sometimes we’d stay up late chatting, knowing we had to be up early for school the next morning. When you’d see me, you’d run and pick me up, swinging me around. I was waiting for the day you’d ask me out. I wasn’t waiting to find out you were actually trying to get back together with your ex. That all the moves you made on me, you did on every girl, creating a long list of those who had you as their #1 crush. At the last musical of your senior year, you made sure the black box was empty and sat me down. I was in my full clown makeup and costume when you put my hands in yours and said, “I love you”. I didn’t look you in the eye when I mumbled back quietly that I loved you too. Instead I looked at the rows and rows of costumes in our costume closet, wondering how long it would take to organize all of it by color and time period. Suddenly, the sound of a snore interrupted that thought and we both found out the old man who taught us clowning for the show was napping in his wheel chair the whole time, in full clown regalia.

Melon- College: Freshman Year

I came back to my dorm after Labor Day weekend to find a honeydew melon with a Sharpied face on one side and a note on the other, laying on my pillow in my top bunk. My roommate wouldn’t budge about who put it there. After hearing about it from my roommate, a guy in my acting class thought it best to eat the melon, so he invited us to his dorm room because he owned a knife. The three of us sat in silence as we ate quarters of the melon head of proclaimed “Loraine”, as signed in the note. At the end of the night, the guy confessed that it was he who put the melon there, even though my roommate’s best friend had told me a few hours beforehand. He found it funny. I found it creepy. Later that year, he would take pictures of me while I was eating across the table from him in the cafeteria and post them on Twitter. Throughout college, he dated a girl with similar dark curly brown hair and voice like me, but was much smarter than I ever would be. He was really happy with her.

The Wooer– College: Sophomore Year

Everyone was waiting for round 2 of pizza to be delivered. Shots had been thrown back, the pile of empty beer cans now formed into a leaning tower. You sat against the wall, incredibly intoxicated, watching the party go by. I had been avoiding you because I knew you liked me, you’d already asked all my friends how to “woo” me.

“Little Megan, come here. Sit next to me”, you slurred. I crept closer, but didn’t sit.

“A little closer, I’ve got something to ask you”.

I got as close as I comfortably felt and squatted down next to you.

“Megan, would you ever marry me?”

Shocked by what I was drunkenly asked, I slowly, but earnestly responded, “No, I wouldn’t.” A friend had to run over to cheer you up as I crossed to the other side of the apartment to watch two male friends attempt to wrestle.

“Don’t worry”, I heard. “Don’t get sad, remember, pizza is on its way!”

The Stalker-College: Junior Year

Halloween that year I designated myself to be “mom” and stay sober. One of my best friends sat next to you, asking if you had a crush on anyone. You pointed to me.

Valentine’s day was opening night of one the hardest shows I worked on at school. Nervous enough, I see at my makeup station a bouquet of roses and an anonymous note and an original, handwritten sonnet addressed to me, with my first and last name misspelled. I immediately knew they were from you, but everyone else was still speculating who. It threw me off, causing me to have a freak out before my performance. I had someone take it all away so I could focus on the show. I found out you sat front row that night. I found out you were waiting for me to exit so you could ask me out. I stayed in the green room as long as I could, because I did not share the same feelings for you. I saw you run out of the theatre when you overheard people making fun of the situation. I felt bad, until you started following me. I noticed you’d wait outside buildings for me to come out, take long routes that would lead us walking together alone. I’d make sure I was never walking alone after that. It hit its peak when you followed me to my apartment and I caught you walking by it when I was inside. My friends had to talk to you to stop it. You said you did it just so you could say, “Hi”. We’d already known each other for 3 years.

 The Hookup

Did you know I had had a crush on you a few years before we hooked up? Probably, but at that time, you had your eyes on someone else. One of the first nights you came to my place, I was led to believe you set a timer for when to leave. I learned a lot from you, about how to be treated. We wouldn’t have worked as a couple if we dated, if that was ever what you intended. You’re still a friend to me, despite our past. I forgive you, and I hope you learned something, too.

The Ex-Boyfriend– College: Senior Year – First Year out of College

Trying desperately to not crash my car as I bawled my eyes out, I saw you stand on the curb of your street, watching me drive away. Your last words to me were to “never change” and “work my ass off” once I moved to New York. We both held each other sobbing, exchanging our final goodbyes. That was the last time we were an “us”.

A year later I vigilantly stayed by your hospital bed when you came to visit me. I still cared about you as much as I did the day I drove away. I look back on this day and question if you cared as much about me as I did for you. It took a year, but I learned there were many reasons why we weren’t an “us” anymore.

Oxford/Harvard Guy– NYC

We bonded over our favorite TV shows. Met for drinks at a fancy place in the West Village for our first date. You never offered to pay, which is fine, except we each spent $40 on two cocktails at the place of your suggestion and I emphasized I needed an affordable place due to my current income as a nanny. Drunk, went home with you. You started having problems taking off my bra.

“Yay, boobies”, you whispered in excitement after a five minute attempt of unhooking.

Second date you learned I was using you to watch the latest airing of Hannibal while it aired at it’s scheduled time on TV, rather than wait till I was back at my place on my laptop. We tried to plan a third date, but kept canceling on each other due to “illness”. After our third cancelation I decided to never text you back. You didn’t seem to mind. I guess I didn’t make enough money to satisfy you, especially, since you told me to stop being an actor, to get a real job because, “money is nice”. Whatever 4 inches, 5 minutes.

Israel Boy

At the end of our first date, you quickly kissed my cheek then ran away to catch your train. We went out for tacos the next date, obsessed over the movie War Games, and you took me to get ice cream as we strolled along Riverside at night. You pointed out we weren’t connected to the street anymore, but that we were on our own path on the Hudson. I leaned over the ledge to see if you were right. Suddenly, I felt you lightly push me towards the water, in which I quickly spun around and the inner demon emerged inside of me and screamed, “NO!” The rest of the night I believed you were trying to kill me. A couple of dates later, after much convincing that no murders were in the plans, you came over to my place to play Mario Kart. After a few failure rounds of Rainbow Road, you put your controller down and looked me in the eyes.

“I have something to tell you.”

You’d known for a month before we started dating that you were going to Israel for 6 months and didn’t tell me. You knew you were leaving in a few days, and knew I was leaving for vacation, and didn’t tell me. You rushed out of my apartment right after you told me.

You only stayed for three months because you texted me asking if I was still single. I responded with how hurt and betrayed I felt. You understood and left me alone. This all happened two days before my birthday.

After New Years, I decided to give you a second chance. We met at a coffee shop, and when I went to the counter, I glanced over to where you were sitting, and noticed you were looking at me. It was a way I’d only seen one other guy look at me, and I knew right then that this second chance was a good idea.

It was a frigid Valentine’s Day, the wind howling, blowing flags, hats, and scarves off of people as they walked. No amount of clothing could keep a person warm. I was recovering from bronchitis when you decided to take me to the café from You’ve Got Mail because they can make a hot chocolate connoisseurs’ dreams come true. Giant red heart balloons scattered along the ceiling, classic love songs echoed off the walls, as couples strewed the café. After warming our bellies, we decided to brave the cold and go back to my apartment and you exposed me to what is now one of my favorite movies, They Came Together. We really opened up that night to each other.

A few weeks later you called me. You got the internship in DC and you left in a week.

We never did finish watching War Games…

The Hot One

I flung open my apartment door, threw off my hat, and danced into the living room, gushing over you and our first date. I couldn’t believe I went on a date with someone as attractive as you were! An older guy (by 4 years) from Nashville that not only wanted to go to the Lowline and the High Line, but took me out to a nice restaurant and wanted to share the mac and cheese sampler with me!? I was already planning future dates.

I slept over at your place after our second date of bar hopping around the East Village and me eating most of the Mexican food we ordered (sorry not sorry). Though, the next morning, you acted like I was nothing special, as if I was just another pillow on your bed that you see everyday. I assumed it was because you were still getting to know me. We’d text here and there, but any time you were free, I was working. You’d cancel on me because you were too hungover to hang. We’d plan, we’d text, you’d cancel. Eventually we had our third date a month and a half after the second, right when I was about to give up on you. We chose a screening of X-Men: Apocalypse, in which you sat still with no affection towards me. Again, another pillow. Once the movie was over, you invited me to your friend’s parent’s apartment, which turned out to be a penthouse in Chelsea for a CEO of a major publishing company. The whole night you kept pushing me to talk to your friend’s girlfriend. I made sure I charmed the whole family (who was happily feeding me pizza and wine) while you ignored me till we got back to your place. The next morning, you got up and got into the shower, not even saying a word. When you texted me months later, late one night, I made sure my silence would make you feel like one of your pillows.

The Clingy One

You really liked to text me. A lot. While yes, I wanted someone to give me the boyfriend experience, you came at me with it in full force after our first date. Not saying I didn’t enjoy our time together, going to a show, seeing improv, me traveling all the way to Brooklyn just for tacos with you. You were nice, you were happy to have someone talk about theatre with, but we really didn’t have much in common. I didn’t know how to break up with you without it sounding shitty. I felt you deserved to hear it in person rather than over a text, or ghosting. I wanted to after our taco date, but you were already hurt enough when I declined your offer of me staying over at your place for the first time. I finally texted you that I had hit a point where I needed to be single (and take a break from too many texts. It’s always a bad sign when you groan when you receive a text from someone, especially someone you are dating). You respected my wishes and completely understood, as you had been in my shoes before.

A few months of silence go by, when out of no where you text me again. No mention of how I was doing, what I was up to. You straight up asked me if I was still single and was ready to date again. I decided I still needed a break from too many texts.

The Asshole Bartender

You were very persistent on trying to meet me. We both had very different schedules, so finding a time to actually plan a date wasn’t always working. You kept trying to get me to come to the bar you work at, sometimes saying I should bring friends.

I had just finished an afternoon shift when you tried one more time. You asked if I liked soccer, I did. We met at your favorite soccer bar in Brooklyn where you only talked to me during commercial breaks. I kept telling you I hadn’t eaten much that day due to work so I wasn’t going to drink a ton, yet you kept buying me drinks. When the conversation got to superheroes in television and movies, that’s when I noticed a shift in you and started showing true interest in me. You told me how terrible the guys can be to girls at your bar, yet you were pulling all the same moves on me that you had just said made you sick. You found a sneaky way to get me back to your place, I don’t quite remember because the drinks were really hitting me at this point. I believe it was the promise of watching a few episodes of Arrow before you had to meet your friends. We were making out 5 minutes into the 45 minutes episode. You were getting a little more frisky than I wanted. I declared, “No sex”, and you kept insisting that wasn’t in the plans. You still got too handsy, even when I’d keep saying, “No”. There were moments, I’d remember later, that I got out of bed and forcefully declared I was going home, but you had a charm about you that I kept believing you when you’d coo me back onto your bed, saying you’d stop. A minute later, you’d be back at it, fingers and hands would be inching to places I already said “no” to. Finally, I gave you what you essentially wanted just so it could all stop. The touching, the interaction, communication, everything. I was surprised you walked me to my subway and kissed me goodbye. I cried on the way back. Embarrassed by my own drunken actions, questioning why I just didn’t leave, angry I drank a little more than I should’ve, upset at how he treated me. Deep down, I knew it was just a hook-up, but there was still a bit of me that wondered, “But, what if he actually wanted to date you?!” I took a break from dating after this.

The Sound Designer

“You always want to date the sound designer”, my stage management friends insisted. “They are the nicest and most loyal people. Plus, they make great boyfriends. Lock down that shit.”

We talked about everything on our first date. You couldn’t believe how much you were talking and felt bad. I was thrilled I found someone who I could have a conversation with that went deeper than small talk. We went to multiple bars that night, laughing, running all about New York. At the end of the night, talks of future dates and even fantasy dates were confessed. We couldn’t stop texting. Quoting our favorite movies, asking each other about our days.

The second date happened spontaneously after we each met up with friends. You finished drinks and catching up with an old friend and was already at the bar I told you to meet me at. I was throwing up outside that said bar because of food poisoning from the dinner at my friend’s birthday party. Embarrassed, I texted you what was happening, as I was getting verbally harassed from across the street from a group of drunk men thinking I couldn’t hold my liquor. You assured me that as long as I felt ok, you wanted to see me.

Once I walked into the bar, vomit still on my boots, you kept telling me how cute I looked embarrassed and immediately kissed me, then checking in on how I felt throughout the night.

Texts weren’t as frequent anymore. Eventually it turned to silence after I asked you out for a pizza and a movie date. I asked 2 more times, then realized the silence was meaning that anything more than drinks was not what you were looking for. I guess some sound designers don’t want their shit locked down.

The Brit

[First Date – brunch]

B: “You can literally tell me anything about any landmark we pass and I will believe you. I know nothing about New York.”

Me: “That church there is where the Pope fell in love with heavy metal music during his visit here, so he started a band.”

B: “Brilliant. I’m telling my parents that when they visit next month.”

B: “What’s French Toast? This is so American..Oh. Ooohh, this is good. God I’m gonna get fat here.”

[Second Date- Central Park]

B: (sees Belvedere Castle) “Pssshh, you Americans call this a castle?!”

(Grabs me and kisses me while walking. Keeps doing this aggressively, me getting embarrassed)

B: “I want to see all the places Enchanted filmed in the park!”

Me: “Ok! That’s pretty easy to do.”

(Grabs my ass)

Me: “Hey there, Mr. Handsy. Ease off there.”

B: “Sorry, sorry. Can’t help myself. It’s my British charm I guess.”

(Keeps grabbing my ass throughout the afternoon. I keep telling him to stop)

B: “Hey, is there a nice place in the park we can, you know…sneak off to?”

Me: “Nooo..Central Park is a tourist attraction…there are literally people everywhere…?!?”

(Waits for subway, standing side by side. You unhook my bra)

Me: “Hey!! Why did you do that!?”

B: “I thought you’d think it was funny!!”

[Third Date – Met Museum]

B: “So, we met on Tinder, right?”

Me: “Yeah.”

B: “Do people who meet on Tinder do this?”

Me: “You mean go do things?”

B:“I mean, go to museums, go to brunch. Dates.”

Me: “Well, I have friends who do. Some got married after meeting on Tinder.”

B: “But, is that the normal thing? Is that what Tinder is for?”

Me: “……….look at this painting here! Fun fact about this one-“

[Fourth Date – Lunch in Chelsea Market]

Me:“OK, so we passed seafood, Tex-Mex, Indian, and sandwiches. What do you want to eat?”

B: “Well, I know what I want to eat, but I can’t do it here.” (Looks straight at me)

 

Birthright

You were very different than your Tinder profile. Looked tall, social, outgoing. When you arrived at the bar, you were actually shorter than me from being hunched over, couldn’t stop fidgeting in your seat to a point I thought you were going to fall off the barstool. You told me in a few days you were going on Birthright. Being someone who is not of the Jewish faith, I asked many questions regarding Birthright. You looked at me funny after each question, yet answered each one. You proceeded to casually slip into the conversation about all the different countries you’ve visited, primarily the trip to South Africa to observe gorillas with your dad. I had nothing to contribute, so I continued to eat chicken tenders and drink cheap beer. At one point, I swore you mumbled, “well, since we’re both Jewish”. I didn’t have the heart to tell you I’m half Persian.

No kiss, just a quick hug when we parted at the subway station. You immediately started following my Instagram. How did you find me?

When you messaged me after Birthright, I didn’t respond. You felt it necessary to write a snarky response a few days later about how I was gonna ignore you and how you liked me. I finally wrote, saying I’m busy, didn’t feel much chemistry between us, and wasn’t checking Tinder all the time. You replied that girls always claim they’re busy and associate that with no attraction. You ended your rant by saying how you would’ve gone on a second date with me. What don’t you get with, “no chemistry”???

The Opera Singer

Two dates in one day. Lots of text messages. A bond over Thai food. You were adamant about not believing in chivalry, yet you paid for me on date number one that day. We were having cookies in the park when you told me you were in consideration to be the Beast in the tour of Beauty and the Beast as you were showing me previous Halloween costumes as Thor and Kristoff. Yup, I was already liking you a little too much. After our work shifts that day, we met again for date number 2 at a bar, then sat in Columbus Circle, laughing and kissing.

When it came to trying to plan a 3rd date, you kept telling me you were sick. Either you died or couldn’t think of anymore excuses to not have a third date, because our occasional texts turned to one sided conversations with only me texting you.

Eventually looked back at your Tinder profile to find you added, “prefer tall girls”. What, 5’3’ isn’t tall enough for you?

The Celeb Relative

In the beginning, I appreciated your lengthy responses. You went into true detail about how your day was going, was earnest about wanting to know how my day was, and enjoyed learning about each other. It took a month and a half of messaging till we finally met. Learned you spoke as you wrote: a lot and at great lengths. I don’t know how much I actually got to speak on this date. Your voice and mannerisms were similar to Jake Gyllenhaal, which I liked, but I was confused as to why you showed up in a nice, silk, blue button down shirt, un-tucked with faded basketball shorts and sneakers to a very expensive tapas restaurant…

You wrote earlier how you weren’t a fan of your celebrity relative’s work, yet you kept name dropping her throughout dinner, asking if I would want to go backstage and meet her sometime. You told me of your rich friends, who were actually former patients of yours at the mental health/ rehab center you work at, the exotic places you’ve traveled to, the acting connections you could give me. I just wanted to know if you preferred dogs or cats. I admit, I did admire how you took my interests into consideration and took me to the documentary, Life, Animated, since I have such a love for Disney, but as the night went on, your battery never seemed to run out. You couldn’t detect when the night was over and wanted to go on and on and on.

As time went on, your texts were starting to grate on my nerves, you’d want to get too personal with matters in my life when I really didn’t want to get into any of that, the length exhausting, the content annoying and repetitive. When you’d go silent, I hoped it’d be for good.

After a trip to Texas, I was hoping we were done for good, when out of the blue, a long message appeared, asking me if I cared to go on another date. I texted back, explaining how I decided to give up on dating, needed a separation from all the men in my life, and focus on myself. I left out the part where I found you super annoying. In multiple long responses back, you basically treated this message like we were a couple who had been dating for years, and we were breaking up. You couldn’t stop asking what you could do better, what you did wrong, why this was happening to you, how you really liked me, that I should’ve given you a chance, that the commute from where you is isn’t a big deal, why didn’t we have a second date earlier.

Dude, we had one date.

The Lawyer

We both knew from the start it was gonna end as a one night stand. I planned it, I wanted it, signed sealed delivered. Found out you were only in the city for a summer internship, even better. You became much more affectionate as the night went on, to a point I was wondering if you didn’t get the one night stand vibes as I previously assumed.

A week and a half later was 4th of July weekend, and I came down with a terrible fever, congestion, and cough. You texted:

L: Hey, what are your plans this weekend?

Me: I’m really sick. Fever, everything. Staying home.

L: 😦

A few hours later:

L: Hey, I’m downtown! If you’re out and about, I think we should get together.

Me: I told you, I’m sick. Of course I’m not going out.

L: 😦

Your texts persisted every weekend, until I admitted I didn’t want to see you again and explained that what we had was only a one night stand. Plus, I was working lots of nights and a girl has got to sleep. You replied how you enjoyed our conversations and found me funny, then wished me luck in the future. 🙂

The Ex 2.0

Similarities

  • Both Italian
  • Dark hair with slight curl, shorter on the sides than at the top, which would curl down onto forehead
  • Had full beards
  • Facial hair grew in exact spots on face
  • Exact cheekbone structure
  • Addiction to coffee
  • Knowledge of beers
  • Height and slight swag in walk
  • Has a sister involved in sports
  • Sisters looked the same
  • Grew up Catholic at Catholic schools, hated the religion
  • Knowledge of Marvel and DC universes
  • They both own the same navy button down short sleeved shirt with tiny white polka dots and many other similar pieces

Differences

  • AP World History teacher at a high school
  • Voice
  • Skinnier, not as muscle-y
  • Loved Amy Schumer, Broad City, 30 minute comedies
  • Never used “bruh” as a serious way of acknowledging an acquaintance

 

It was freaky.

The Drunk One

At first, everything seemed normal. Both of us being actors, being able to text about cooking, theatre, life. On a whim, I decided to meet you for a date at a bar. You proceeded to text me about your “existential thinking” moment, in which case I was already wanting to take that date back. The texts got weirder leading up to the first date. At this point, I could’ve faked an illness, I could’ve said “On second thought, no”. Instead, my curiosity got to me, I had to meet you.

I arrived 20 minutes late to the tea light lit wine bar in the West Village to find you already drunk and shorter than me. You paused mid sentence, blanking. When one of many awkward pauses occurred, you’d just stare at me. And keep staring at me. You’d rest your head on my shoulder when you were laughing or thinking, or mistaking something for something else, then laugh, then pause and stare at me more. Even the other men at this wine bar knew I was uncomfortable.

After a drink and a half, I declared I had to leave because of work the next morning. You couldn’t figure out where your train was, despite Google maps being open on your phone. I left you on that street corner, knowing where my subway station was and denying your invite to see a movie sometime.

Future Husband

Chris Evans, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Hiddleston, Daniel Radcliffe, Nick Jonas.

I’m not picky.

 

The Prank

I still believe “gullible” is written on the ceiling. I fall for anything anyone says, even if it hints at being a joke. I’ve never been good at deciphering what’s the truth and what’s fake. I also can’t lie very well. All of the new friends I was making my freshman year of college learned this about me very quickly.

I was exiting my dorm room, leaving my friends Kirsten and Brandon, who were currently dating at the time, to wait for my roommate to come back shortly. As I was swinging the door shut, I hollered, “Don’t have sex while I’m gone!”

Kirsten couldn’t stop laughing at how innocently and unexpectedly I said it. I have no idea what prompted me to say that, I guess I was trying to be funny.

As I was heading back to my dorm an hour and 20 minutes later after a tap dancing class, I looked at my phone notifications. I had three missed called from my roommate, Sophie. She rarely calls me, she’s very much a texting person. Getting worried at this point, I listened to all three voicemails she left too, to hear the same scenario in each: she lost her keys, the door to our dorm was locked, she’s wandering campus to wait for me to get back. And she heard music playing in our room. Confused, I think back to how Sophie could be locked out. I swore she had her keys when she left, and when I left I didn’t lock the door because Kirsten and Brandon- uh oh.

Sprinting, I try to call Sophie, but only get her voicemail.

“KIRSTEN AND BRANDON ARE HAVING SEX IN OUR ROOM! I’M RUNNING BACK NOW!”

I enter my all-female dormitory to see Lauren, my other best friend, watching tv in the common area with one of our RAs. They both notice I’m distressed. In a hushed voice, I try to tell Lauren the situation, but my voice was clearly louder than I assumed, since the RA heard every word and chimed in that we should try to stop them as she was following us up to the second floor. As we climbed the stairs, I started to hear music getting louder and louder. I open the door from our stairway to hear the blaring sounds of a seductive clarinet. Every girl on my floor is out in the hallway just as confused as I was.

“Kenny G has been blasting from your room for the past 20 minutes! What is Sophie doing in there?”

I explain the situation to the 10 or so girls in the hallway, still wondering where the hell Sophie was and why I haven’t heard back from her.

“Who the hell has sex to Kenny G?!”, one girl exclaimed.

I felt a vibration in my coat pocket, finally. I rushed to the other end of the hallway to answer Sophie’s call, leaving the girls to decipher what the next plan of action was to stop the deafening sounds of sexy clarinet.

“Megan, what the fuck is happening? I left to go to the theatre building to wait for you! I’m starting to make my way up there now.”

I explained the current situation, hearing her getting angry, saying I shouldn’t wait for her and just go on in and embarrass them. After I hung up and told the girls what Sophie said, they all agreed with her. As I reached for the door handle, I took a deep breath, trying to gather all my courage to try to stand up for myself and for my living space. I cracked open the door enough to see clothes scattered all over the floor and two bodies rustling under the sheets of Sophie’s bed! I barely opened it to only slam it shut a second later.
“What’s happening?”

“Are they having sex?!”

“Why is Kenny G still playing?”

Furious, I stomp back to the other side of the hallway. I couldn’t believe it! I only said it as a joke, why would they actually be having sex in our room? I try to call Sophie back one more time, but there’s no answer. Lauren screams to me, “Want me to go in and pretend I’m looking for you? I don’t care what I see. I’m down to destroy and embarrass them!” I let Lauren take the wheel because at this point, I had no idea what to do. Sophie’s line kept ringing with no answer. I was getting frustrated because I didn’t want to have to deal with any conflicts tonight. Then, I faintly heard Lauren open my door.

“Oh MEGAN!”

Silence.

Then I heard softly, then louder and louder, Lauren’s laughter roaring through the hallway.

“Oh Megaaaan…”

I peeped my head around the corner to see all the girls crowding around my door and Lauren with a shit-eating grin on her face. It all hit at once. The multiple phone calls. The weird way the sheets were moving on the bed. The message I gave before I left. The giggles. The Kenny G. I couldn’t believe it. I stormed down the hallway, hoping what I realized wasn’t true. Alas, it was. If I had opened the door a little further, I would’ve found Sophie sitting on my bed, eating a cheesecake while holding my stuffed animals, watching Kirsten and Brandon having “sex” in her bed.

I just got pranked.

Kirsten and Brandon emerged from under the sheets in stitches, Sophie barely able to swallow the giant piece of cheesecake she just inhaled.

Furious, embarrassed, and slightly amazed at how well played out it all was, I stomped down to the common area on the first floor. Everyone apologized, pulling me into a group hug, still leaving me grumpy. They all tried to make me feel better, even though they couldn’t stop recounting what my expression looked like when I opened the door.

By the first class the next morning, everyone in our department knew what befell in Johnson 201 the night before. No one could listen to Kenny G the same way again.

****Names were changed***