I am soaked with sweat. My arms feel like jello. And after all these stairs I KNOW my ass will be on some JLO shit tomorrow. But all I can think about with each step is “don’t check your phone, don’t check your phone!” I’ve lost count of how many trips we’ve taken and how many boxes we’ve carried, but after these 5 flights of stairs, I’ll have my answer.
The summer of 2019 brought me a super hot fling in Rhode Island, I know, SO Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But just like that franchise, that summer came to an end, and I returned to Manhattan trying to process that I wouldn’t be getting railed nightly anymore. Every time I have something good (like sex) I convince myself that this is the only time I’m ever going to get to feel this way and that I better enjoy it while it lasts. (Is this therapy?) I’m back in the New York groove and ready to fill the sexual void. I unpack and dive into my civic duty: matching with guys on Hinge.
One night I match with Allen. Like if Daniel Radcliffe was 6’3 with a jaw that could cut glass. One of the prompts on his profile is “I get along best with people who:” and his answer is “don’t care about stuff”…sigh...hot people can get away with ANYTHING. He seemed hunky, yet maybe unaware of just how hunky he was- and I liked that balance! (I am a Libra after all.) Allen’s chiseled looks and dumb answer to the prompt make me think that, at the very least, he could fill the void.
We make plans to get drinks that weekend near his place. I like when you get drinks near a guy’s place because it makes it so easy for them to invite you back to the futon they sleep on. I’ve been told my whole life that if you’re being abducted, the worst thing is being taken to a second location, but I couldn’t feel more the opposite about Allen. I’m getting to that second location!
Our date arrives and my Tall Ass Harry Potter is five minutes late, but I remember his profile- “he gets along best with people who don’t care about stuff” so that checks out. Allen tells me that he has the kind of job where you roll the sleeves on your button up to the ¾ length...which is one of the hottest ways sleeves can be worn. A fun fact about me is that when someone who wears sleeves like that is giving me attention, it’s really hard for me not to develop a crush on them instantly. I want him inside me, sure, but I start to think about our future tall children while he tells me about working in midtown. But it’s not long before the bar gets “too loud” (noise, the best wingwoman) and Allen says:
“Hey, my place is just around the corner, I have beer there if you wanna-?”
“Yeah, I’m down for that!”
Wow. I still got it! I had left Rhode Island at the end of the summer feeling so weird, drained, and kind of gross. I had convinced myself that it was going to be an eternity before I’d enjoy dating again without cringing, but here I am, back at Allen’s chamber of secrets! I was trying this new thing where I don’t sleep with people the first time I meet them, so we have a PG-13 futon makeout for the books and I bid him farewell.
I text Allen 2 days later:
“Hey, wanna hang out again or nah?”
“Yeah, definitely. I had a great time!”
I ask about Friday, but he says it’s his friend’s birthday and he can’t hang. I tell him I’ll check back in sometime next week. I get so giddy about the possibility of doing more than making out that I immediately tell everyone around me with a beating heart all about his jawline and our possible future tall children. I just really needed a win, and this felt like one!
A week after our perfect makeout, 3 of my friends are making the big move to the city all the way from North Carolina (the state we’re tragically from). Since I’m an amazing friend, I volunteer to help them move everything up to their 5th floor apartment. I’m so excited to see them and show them I’m back to thriving in the city. Before I leave to meet them, I text Allen:
“Hey - wanna hang this Friday?”
I find my friends by UHaul outside their apartment. They greet me with sweaty hugs and I tell them that I’m ready to be put to work, but...I’m also waiting on a text back from Allen. My friends squeal with me and we start bringing boxes up the five flights. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and tell everyone I’m not going to check my phone until I take a break, an act of valor almost worthy of a purple heart in my opinion. Each trip is harder than the last, my willpower almost as weak as my upper body strength.
Like most vehicles in New York City, the UHaul is illegally parked, so we decide one person should stay with the truck at all times. After MANY trips up and down not allowing myself to look at my phone, my friends tell me I can watch the truck for a bit. I hobble down the staircase and hop into the UHaul. FINALLY I reach into my pocket to check my phone, right as a text from Allen comes in. But...it's not good. It’s mortifying and...confusing. Allen replies with:
“Hey, I’ll get back to u. I’ve felt pretty out of it since I saw u and developed like a cold sore on my lip. Idk if it’s related but it’s never happened to me before idk. Maybe these things just happen but need to rest up.”
I KNOW. When I read this text, I am angry- an emotion I rarely feel. Usually when things upset me, I go limp. Like pasta that fell on the floor. But now, I feel like I could drive that UHaul off a cliff, Thelma and Louise-style. Not only is Allen not imagining our future tall children, but he doesn’t even want me back on his futon! I can feel the void as a lump in my throat forms and tears start welling. Here I am, crying in a UHaul. I know, that sounds like the title of a song you’d find on the jukebox inside of a Waffle House. I digress. I’m standing inside this half-full moving truck, trying to process this truly bewildering text. Who the fuck...sends that?
I only have a minute or two before my friends make it back down to the truck for another round of boxes. It’s their first day living in New York and now I’m crying in their UHaul over a guy I went out with once. I’m asking myself, “Did I give Allen a cold sore? Do cold sores even work that way? Was he lying? He ‘felt pretty out of it since he saw me?’ Why did he say he wanted to hang out again?” I even ask myself, “do I just not tell anyone about this part?” But I’ve already built this up SO much to my friends, they are bound to ask what the outcome was. So, when they come down, I read Allen's text aloud.
By the time I get to “developed, like, a cold sore,” their sweaty jaws have dropped in unison. I was giving them a crash course into dating in the city before they even set up their wifi, but another fun fact about me is that I have the most AMAZING friends that couldn’t have been more #TeamGillian. My friends and I deliberate (aka we each Googled “cold sore how do you get” and read approx half an article each) and we conclude that I did not give Allen a cold sore.
And even... if... I... did….again, who the FUCK texts that to someone??? I personally think that ghosting is worthy of jail time, but honestly, I would have preferred it to getting a text like that. I grab the last box in the truck, feeling like the void will never be filled, like that one futon makeout was the last one I’ll ever have and embarrassed that I thought it could maybe one day be something more. But around the 3rd floor, I realize something- I thought the exact same thing about my Rhode Island fling, but here I was agonizing over this New York himbo just weeks later. It will only be a matter of time before I match with another sharp jawline! I take comfort in remembering the wise words of a poet: “I got reasons why I tease ‘em, boys just come and go like seasons, Fergalicious.”
I text Allen an Amazon link to a tube of Abreva, and say “good luck!” Allen never replies, but a year later, I match with him again! This time, on Bumble. Naturally, I message him to inquire about his cold sore recovery, but he doesn’t reply. BUT this time, there’s no crying and no sweating- I know there’s other fish in the sea and hopefully those fish DO care about stuff.