The 10 Phases of Dating, my debut book, goes on sale October 1! In the past couple of years, I’ve fallen out of habit with writing on my blog, but I’m planning to change that from now through the launch of the book. This is my second blog in a week, in what I’m calling ‘the lost chapters’ from the book. This excerpt is called ‘The Month of Slutober.’
It was one of the rare cool Miami evenings. Cool, of course, meaning the temperatures had dropped into the low 60s, but the skies were a vivid, electric blue. Vanessa and I had known of each other for quite a while, but were actually meeting in person for the first time to conduct this interview. Interestingly enough, our entire two-year friendship had been online up to this point.
We had mutual friends on Facebook and studied the same major in undergrad a short time apart. Who “friended” the other, we weren’t sure, though we began communicating after discovering an appreciation for the other’s sense of humor on the web. It mimicked the way so many dating relationships begin these days.
We chose a non-descript Cuban café in South Miami as our meeting place to answer a simple question – what does it mean to be “single”?
As is my calling card, I arrived a few minutes late.
She’s seated immediately to my right as I enter the restaurant, at a booth near the window. We recognize each other immediately.
She has a warm expression on her heart-shaped face, courtesy of rounded cheeks and a bright smile. She greets me with warm, dark brown eyes; they immediately put me at ease. Her jet black hair is just beyond shoulder length, and wisps of it playfully cup her smooth jaw line.
As she stands to greet me, I can see that she’s slight in stature; maybe 5’3” without the heels she’s wearing. She’s rocking a faded black t-shirt and tattered jeans.
After exchanging pleasantries, and ordering drinks – a diet soda for her, water with no ice for me – we waste little time getting to business.
“Slutober,” she said with a smirk emerging from the corner of her lips. There’s a hint of “wait until you hear this story” in her voice, but I figure we’ll get back to that. After all, she had just ripped off the month of October with “slut” as its root word. How could there not be more to it?
“Okay, well what’s your worst memory of being single?” I asked.
Seconds ago when I first heard her say “Slubtober,” the animal male in me had thought that I was about to experience a vivid, front-row look at a 26-year-old woman’s enthralling tales of non-stop sex with countless partners for weeks on end. I was kind of right.
On the details, I was mostly wrong.
If I had any illusions about the ease with which I’d write a 10 phase guide to understanding modern dating I was about to learn in shock-inducing fashion that I was wrong.
“Explain,” I said.
“Three years ago, I got out of – well, pretty much the worst relationship ever,” she said as she exhaled. “He was an abusive, manipulative, drug-addicted mess who may or may not have sucked dick for dope.”
Well damn. Our drinks aren’t even at the table, yet she’s already dredging through heavy stuff, albeit with a bit of rehearsed ease. I sense that she’s comfortable here, even if the subject matter isn’t exactly light.
“In the two or so years I was with him, I lost myself in trying to fix his life because he couldn’t do it on his own,” she continued.
“Maybe my maternal instinct kicked in or something. I wanted to nurse him back to health. When I finally wiggled myself out of that mess, I cheated on him and broke up with him. I obviously had a few kinks to get out of my system, too.”
“I had been in a relationship for a while, so I had no idea where to start, as a single girl. My friends jumped on the online dating bandwagon –“
She cuts herself off, as if to preemptively self-mock her decision to join an online dating site, answering the assumed judgment I was directing her way.
“I know, I KNOW,” she said
I assured her that there was no judgment on my part; after all, I’d met her online.
“My friends and I joined some dating sites rather early on in the game,” she continued. “I signed up, created my profile, and met my first date within two days,” recalls Vanessa.
“And how’d that go?” I asked.
“I went to his place – err, his mom’s house – and banged it out until the wee hours of the morning.” (That’s SO Miami.)
“Just like that?” I asked.
“Look, I fucked my ex out of my system. And it felt good.”
Quick and confident, without an ounce of regret. If she’d ever battled with her decision, it’s clear that she came to terms with it long ago.
“So good that I kept fishing, both online and in the wild. Over the next few weeks, my notches increased exponentially. And honestly? It was awesome. Not having to pay for dinner is totally enticing when you just moved out on your own and you can barely work a Foreman Grill. The steady stream of deadbeats and lawyers kept me satisfied.”
I can sense that she is warming up at this point. Her posture has relaxed and she’s sagging comfortably into her seat.
“But that month took an – ahem – pounding on me,” she said. “Finally one day I got home, and I was tired. All I wanted to do was stay in, watch a movie, and cuddle. So I went through my list of regulars and all of them were busy.”
She paused. “They probably just said they were busy. And that’s what sucks about being single. Why would you want to stay home with a girl when there are so many other women who haven’t met your penis yet?”
“Better yet, why would I want to pay attention to any of these losers? It dawned on me—I was pathetic, and my single life was disgusting.”
Interested in being among the first to read The 10 Phases of Dating when it comes out? Send your email address and name to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can add you to the list of pre-orders.