They weren’t kidding in the movies, this shit is hard.
If you’re from the Caribbean (well Trinidad and Tobago at least), the idea of dating multiple people will probably make you uncomfortable. I come from a culture where if you’re seeing someone, you’re seeing only them. If you went out 3 times and perhaps stole a kiss at the movies, he’s probably your man. And even when you say you’re playing it casual and “seeing how it goes”, if you find out he’s even sending another girl a DM after 10pm, you lose your shit and cry “Horn”. But Americans do this all the time. They date. We don’t date, we couple up. But I’m a big woman now, and maybe it is time to try this dating thing. I’ve only been in serious long term relationships. Maybe it is time to test the waters and be “casual”. No Dad, being alone for a bit is not on the agenda yet. Hard luck.
I came to New York in pursuit of inspiration. This short but life-changing visit has schooled me in so many ways. It is possible that I have grown up as much in the last few months, than I have in the last decade. I definitely want to move my career out here. (If you are looking for a Stylist/ Style writer at your company, holler!) Everyday I am struck with new ideas and moved by people who make me want to push myself to be and do more with my talents. Alongside is the tumultuous journey of understanding how not to fall in love with every guy who says you’re beautiful. This place is weird.
The land of IG and Snapchat:
I came with a pack of business cards and have handed out a few only. Instagram is the social currency here. I met someone at a party- it went like this- I walked in, he said he loved my outfit then asked for my Instagram. The end. Friends in five seconds. These people love them some social media. When you go out, you see everyone lip synching and performing to their phones, especially when Bodak Yellow comes on. I do it too lol. Hey if you can’t beat them…
The Snapchat/ IG stories obsession finds its way comfortably into the dating diaries. It is so stressful to date with Instagram. My long term ex never had IG and life was nice. The guy I first got involved with here… well he loved him some DM’s. I trust people easily, but this culture makes it hard to. At any minute your significant other has access to millions of others, who basically have catalogues of themselves half naked, and who are just one direct message away from having their pudendas on your man’s face. Don’t even get me started on Bumble and Tinder and all the booty call apps. I cannot keep up.
And it does not just facilitate easy cheating, but it also allows the side chicks to reach you personally. They love sending screenshots and sharing videos in this place. Lord have mercy. So many times I have been sent pictures and conversations of what was said and done behind my back. I literally hold my breath now every time I see an IG request in my message inbox. I don’t want to know. Seriously, I do not need to see that. Horner women are best when anonymous. I don’t want to even know your name. Your name is “the girl”. I’ve also seen revenge porn played out before me. It’s real. And it’s really common. I could never do that to someone– post videos of them in such a vulnerable position, but people do it here all the time! I don’t know if I can adapt to the madness. I will probably need to find someone who is not on any social media. Someone in a cave perhaps. A cave with no WiFi.
Meeting the Family:
Family? What’s that? The truth is, so many people have moved away from home and see their parents infrequently. This is totally different from Trinidad where if you’re not actually living with your parents, they’re probably living within 20 mins of your place. In Trinidad, you’re going to know everything about this person’s background from day 1. From a simple surname and a “What school did you go to?”, you could find out their blood type and the name of their cousin’s neighbour’s pet hamster. Sounds invasive, but there is a certain security in being able to determine if this person is a psycho from the first date, instead of 5 months into the thing. In New York, people can have 32 secret lives and you will never know. You can be married to two different people for a twenty anniversaries each and they would only find out about each other at your funeral. Scary.
If you’re in different boroughs and don’t have a car, getting to see one another is not as easy as it is on a small island. New Yorkers will be used to an hour commute to see each other, but I’m used to a 15 minute drive. It makes planning dates just that bit more difficult. You have to think of which places are more central or convenient. You have to start getting ready like 3 hours before. By the time you are actually in one another’s company, your makeup is stale.
Can I just say, “EW”. I hate hate hate this texting culture. Call me. I’m not about to stretch a 5 sentence conversation over 4 hours and 26 mins. Also some people aren’t great over text. When you actually speak with them in person you’re like “Oh, wait. He actually is funny”. While in text he seems dull, distant and dim. Some people are great at text, and when you meet them you’re like “where’s the witty guy who could spell?”
The best part about dating in NY is the fish in the sea. There are many. Many, many. In Trinidad, there are about 5 men left, and 3 might be my cousins. In New York, there are 5 million. And the men here are very attractive. Of course, the taller and hotter they are, the more they’re into themselves and their IG following, so there’s that vicious cycle. But they make for fun nights out, and I’m going to optimistically assume that there are some good guys in the bunch. I’ve met at least one so far. Of course he’s not the one I want to commit to. I seem to be into the ones who sell drugs and have no fathers. I’m a fuckboy magnet. I’m also a younger man magnet. I haven’t dated anyone over the age of 26 yet. I need some kind of obeah to get them off my smell. I seriously feel like they can smell me and pop up with a “You’re really beautiful”. That’s the signal- when they say that, RUN!