Ever since we hired Nora as an intern (and then made her a permanent fixture here), the new-New Yorker has regaled us with her sometimes sad, sometimes unbelievable, but always hilarious “only in New York Williamsburg” dating stories. We figured you should get to hear them, too. So we’ve asked her to share her trials and tribulations as a single 20-something trying to bag that elusive not-too-hipstery non-asshole–and coordinate the perfect outfit to go with. Taking some inspiration from that other Nora, the legendary Ms. Ephron, we present, “Love, the L Train, and What I Wore.”
It was New Year's Eve, 2012--my first-ever as a full-fledged Brooklynite--and there was no way in hale I was about to spend the most telling, influential, and predictive night of the year bundled up in a puffer jacket and thermals in Times Square.
Instead, I spent the night prior scampering around SoHo looking for a frock I could afford to never wear again--and afford, period. I settled on a black mesh polka dot skater dress from H&M, after I'd cut out the top's lining, of course. Whoever decided this whole sheer-top-and-bra combo was socially acceptable in after-dark situations, I tip my theoretical hat to you. A real hat would mess up my hair.
I'd managed to convince several of my non-Brooklyn besties to make the L Train trek to Union Pool to ring in the new year--a bar most poignantly described as a "hipster meat market." (A Yelp search turns up no fewer than 20 reviews featuring the phrase.) If you're still flying solo by 2:45am Friday night, head to Union Pool and you're guaranteed to find someone not-particularly special bumming an American Spirit and sipping on a two-for-$5 Bud heavy by the taco truck out back. There are free condoms at the door--you're welcome in advance.
It was 10 minutes till midnight when I first saw my man. He was tall, six-foot-something with dark hair, scruffy, and wearing a dark hoodie pulled up over his head--think Justin Bobby, not Ted Kaczynski. He was with some less Hills-worthy friends, and most importantly, there was no girl in sight. Maybe dreams do come true.
I weighed my options for a few seconds: Did I want to kick off 2012 with a (again, figurative!) bang? Or was I doomed to spend yet another year of countless evenings skulking around that god forsaken taco truck? Nay! I pounded the remainder of my lukewarm brewskie, crushed the can against my forehead, and made my way over to Justin Bobby redux.
"Hi," I said, "Happy New Year!" "Happy New Year to you, too," he smiled, clearly elated that the best thing to ever happen to him had just appeared in the form of a short girl with frizzy hair wearing a dress reconstructed with safety scissors. And just then, as if by movie magic, the countdown began. 10...9...8...7... "I saw you earlier and wanted to go up to you... but I didn't know what to say." "Well, I'm here now!" I said. Pure. Cheese. "I'm Nora." "I'm Sean." ...2...1... Happy New Year!
Sean's friends reappeared, pressuring him to take off with them to a house party. I wasn't about to strand my friends and possibly get kidnapped in the process, so we hastily exchanged numbers and shared a little cheek kiss before he left. "You better text me!" I told him in a totally non forceful way, sweartagod. An hour later, just after an Australian girl asked if I knew where to get some speed, I slipped and slid through the snowy streets and somehow made it into bed feeling optimistic and with minimal bruising.
I awoke halfway through the first day of 2012 to a text from Sean Union Pool.
Success! My year was looking up already. But I hadn't even regained full consciousness when my phone chimed again.
"...Kinda hoped you'd text me back..." writ Sean, last name Connors. "You were super cute. Oh wellllllllll." Were super cute? Whoa there, eager beaver... How did this blossoming relationship already become past tense? "Hi! Sorry," I said, "I was passed out when you texted me and am just now coming back to life. But look, I'm texting you back now!"
The ensuing conversation began innocently enough. "So, do you live in Brooklyn?" I asked. "My living situation is weird. I guess I live in the Bronx." "Vagabond?" "Something like that ahah," he apparently laughed. "Just a weird phase in my life."
Hm... Ok... He then went on to compliment both my face and outgoingness almost enough to make me forget that he was quite possibly one of those kids who sits with his pitbull and a Starbucks cup at the L Train landing in Union Square. In the hours that followed, we texted until my thumbs went numb--and that's when the real gems started revealing themselves:
"FYI my phone number changes like every week." "I don't have a real cell phone." "I'm texting you through wifi right now." "Work? I mean... I do a lot of stuff." "You remind me of a cat."
Excuse me? Did we not meet at a bar?
I needed a serious breather. "I have to shower and stuff... be back in a bit," I texted. "Okkk." Several hours later, he texted me again: "Long shower." I didn't respond. That night, he alerted me at the exact moment he was falling asleep--and again when he awoke the next morning, at 6:04 AM.
"Ok," I texted him. "What's the deal with all this texting? Just not sure why you haven't just asked me out yet, and you've told me some pretty confusing stuff..." "What confusing stuff have I told you?" "No apartment, no cell phone, weird job situation??" "I'm a ghost." Oh, ok! Sorry Casper. "Are you on Facebook?" I asked--a last ditch attempt to salvage my fast sinking New-Year-new-me romance.
So I did. His Facebook scared the shit out of me. Let's just say, there were multiple masks--SCARY masks--involved, and nary a Justin Bobby Doppelganger Week profile pic in sight. Right then and there, I made the educated decision to stop talking to Sean aka Nuño aka who in god's name was this guy! Two days passed.
"Really? You're giving me the silent treatment?" he texted me, presumably also in silence. "Can I be honest?" I replied. "Your Facebook scared the shit out of me. It's not going to work out."
They say the way you spend New Year's Eve dictates the way you'll spend the rest of the year. But to this day, I'm still just trying to separate the normals from the Nuños.