Good thing we're not dating
"Where's that happy medium," she asks, "where there are no airs but you're both showing that you're putting forth an effort?"
"I think," I reply, "it's when you really, really like the other person, and for that to happen there has to be something else that inspires a mutual respect."
"Good luck with that."
And how. The problem, however, is that a comfort level begins to develop once you've been dating for a while, and it inevitably seems as if one or both participants in a relationship have simply stopped trying. Lord knows I've done it. Don't fool yourselves. If we start dating, rest assured I'll show up drunk at least once within the first week or two. And consider yourself lucky if I'm not coming out in sweats by the third date.
"When a guy gets too comfortable, it's like an affront," she says. "You're like, 'Why isn't he putting in an effort?'"
"You stop trying."
"Yes, and that's when it all goes downhill."
"But how the fuck do you keep the excitement in a relationship?" I ask.
"There has to be something at stake. Take women on the North Shore, for instance. They have the husband's mistress to contend with."
"Your instincts are constantly fighting each other. Instinctively, you want to take care of someone, so you pay for shit..."
"Like a hunter-gatherer type of thing," she says.
"Yeah. But on the other hand, if you don't have that certain thing that keeps you from getting comfortable..."
"You're both fucked."
But what is that? What keeps people from getting comfortable? What could there possibly be to keep me getting up in the morning, checking out the person sleeping next to me and saying, every single day of the year, "I have to impress her today." Eventually, you're simply attached, and it's just not going to be necessary anymore, right? So what's left? Climbing rocks? Robbing banks together?
"Dating in New York is so fucking contrived," she says. "You spend five months pretending you're normal, and then the other shoe drops."
"Damn. Five months? You're a damned serial monogamist."
"No, really. You're dating a resume, not a person. I feel like I should like these guys, but they're all fucking boring."
"Cookie cutter," I say. I hate those motherfuckers. The kinds of pricks who walk around with umbrellas when they see a cloud.
"Yeah. They all went to the same schools, they all do the same thing for a living, and it's boring."
"By that definition, then, I should be getting laid a lot more often."
"And then," she says, "with dating, it's like it takes forever to develop any intimacy as friends, because everything's just so contrived."
"And then it's like, too much, too fast. Interesting how love and sex fucks everything up."
"At this point," I say, "I can't really remember."
"Seriously, though. Are we just overanalyzing this because we're from New York and jaded? Or is there something more biological at stake here?"
"Sounds like you're doing more analysis than I ever do."
"I'm a woman, dear. And a Jewish woman at that."