Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Making a Scene: My Boyfriend the Shark

Another terrifying tale from the waters of the twenty-something dating scene.

Editor's Note: One of my goals for the next few months is to try and produce one humorous short scene per week. I will be submitting all of these to the "Shouts and Murmurs" blog on The New Yorker Website and all the entries that don't make it (whether funny or not) will land here from time to time.

[The scene opens on a small cafĂ© in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in the early summer evening; the sky’s color slowly ripening from a fierce red, to gentle lavender. Two girls sit across from each other at a plastic white table. One of the girls has sharply cut blonde hair, which frames her head so that there is a sharp angle on the right side of her forehead. She drinks a thin-looking Manhattan in a tumbler. The other shakes the lime in her bottle of Pacifico and brushes her straight brown hair behind her ear.]

Blonde Girl: So, are we going to talk about it?

Brunette Girl: No, I mean I don’t want to vent.

Blonde Girl: Shut up.

Brunette Girl: Fine, it’s just that I’m tired of having to put this stuff on you. These bad boyfriends and hookups.

Blonde Girl: Again, shut up. That’s what being in your 20’s is about. God, remember when I wouldn’t shut up about that performance artist I dated in Prospect Heights.

Brunette Girl: That’s true.

Blonde Girl: Besides, don’t you read Ask Polly?

Brunette Girl: No.

Blonde Girl: Well you should. She gives good advice. Everyone is on their own journey during their 20’s. It gets easier after that—except, apparently not really.

Brunette Girl: Is that true?

Blonde Girl: That’s what I read. What else is the Internet good for if you can’t read countless advice columns and blog posts? You read Thought Catalog, right?

Brunette Girl: Now, that I read.

Blonde Girl: Good. So, are we going to talk about it now?

Brunette Girl: Fine. Well, you know that things were going pretty well. At first, I thought he was a little shallow—you know a little too surface. But then I realized that he was deeper. I just had to put myself out there a little further, you know? Away from my comfort zone. Away from the shore.

Blonde Girl: No freshman English metaphors please.

[The Brunette Girl laughs. Across the street, a man drops his bike in front of a wooden “Atelier” sign.]

Brunette Girl: Alright, I’m sorry. Like, I said, we got past our initial problems and things were looking good. We were getting close.

Blonde Girl: How was the sex?

Brunette Girl: Well…it was really good. He was kind of an animal.

Blonde Girl:  Really? Did he like to—

[The Brunette Girl holds her hand up and simply nods her head.]

Blonde Girl: That’s good! I went on a few dates with a guy that ran a Bikram yoga studio and he was really into it too.

Brunette Girl: I’d never really experienced anything like it before.

Blonde Girl: Then how did we get here? What happened?

Brunette Girl: So, he was staying overnight regularly. We’d take baths together.

Blonde Girl: Gross! I’ll only shower with a guy.

Brunette Girl: Anyway, last Sunday night we go out to this small fish restaurant over near Red Hook, and he’s eating and drinking like crazy. I ask him if anything is wrong and he says nothing. As we’re walking home, he starts yelling at me. He accuses of me of trapping him—of wrapping him in a net. He says he feels like a fish out of water and that he can’t breathe.

Blonde Girl: Classic fear of intimacy. So many people just want to keep their options open. Let me guess, he said something about wanting to move to the West Coast?

Brunette Girl: Yep.

Blonde Girl: Asshole.

Brunette Girl: I told him that he should stay at his place, so we spent the night apart. Then I texted him the next day—nothing crazy—and didn’t hear back. I waited until the next day and texted him again. You know I’m not the type to torture by text.

Blonde Girl: Of course.

Brunette Girl: Still nothing. Then, on Wednesday, while I was in our weekly staff meeting, I start getting all these texts and tweets asking me if I’m alright and if everything is OK between he and I. I hadn’t told anyone about the fight or how he disappeared, so I was kind of shocked.
Blonde Girl: Oh, man.

Brunette Girl: When I got back to my desk, I clicked on one of the links my co-worker had tweeted at me. And, there he was…passed out on the N Train. He was so drunk, that people were even putting cigarettes in his mouth and taking pictures with him.

Blonde Girl: I’m so sorry. There’s no way to figure these men out. You’re never know when they’re going to show their true colors.

Brunette Girl: I’m never dating again.

Blonde Girl: That’s not the answer. You’ve to get back on the horse sometime. Just stay away from sharks this time.

[The girls tip their drinks together and eye two guys with ponytails walking their bikes along the sidewalk in ripped shorts.]

Brunette Girl: Hell, I guess I’ll have to try Tinder.

Blonde Girl: Don’t ever say that.

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