An ode to baggage and “being yourself”
“How far are you from your folks’ place?” asked a way-cooler-than-me 29-year-old punk(ish) band member I was interviewing over an expensive cup of coffee and apartment-talk in Greenpoint. Using the term “folks” made him instantly cooler. That, and his off-center nose ring.
“Oh, both my parents are dead.”
Thank God this wasn’t a date.
His face shifted as if he’d seen a ghost, or Kate Upton walking the 23 degree streets in nothing but a bear hat. Maybe he just burnt his tongue. Either way, he spit out the same sort of “sorry” everyone says when they don’t know what else to say and looked at me to either elaborate or change the subject.
I cut the tension with a sharp, “What if this was a date? Should that have been my pick-up line? ‘Hey, my name is Meaghan and I have a fuck-ton of baggage.'” He didn’t know what to say (go figure) but he laughed, and I think only half of it was out of pity.
I’m a 22-year-old college graduate with a degree in journalism, a hatred for spanx, and this interview was the closest I’ve had to a date in two years.
By the way, he’s taken.
Maybe I’m to blame for mocking online dating or not “putting myself out there” (whatever that means) but with an on-call job and a lot of laundry to do, socializing is stressful. The last thing I want to do on a Saturday night is small-talk with some stranger while my girlfriends order shots.
If post-grad life has taught me anything (besides what it’s like to feel your metabolism slowing down), it’s that dating in your twenties isn’t like dating in your teens. You can’t just date your friends. Dating in your twenties requires actual effort. It requires taking risks and changing scenes and saying yes to that set up with your best friend’s mom’s sister’s son’s half-brother.
It’s volunteering as tribute to the unknown and unfamiliar while still somehow managing to “be yourself” but how the fuck are we supposed to do that when, in our early twenties, most of us don’t even know who we are yet?
I like Dashboard Confessional but I love Diplo.
I’ve been known to get too attached but I’m scared of commitment.
Some nights, I dig being alone, binge watching Freaks and Geeks and spending some quality time with New York Magazine. Others, I’ll take your open bar, raise you a happy hour and meet you on the dance floor. Some days, I want to be a writer. Others, I’d rather marry rich.
All we can be in our twenties is present — and open — to whatever comes next. To swiping right on Tinder before knowing how tall they are. To writing a song for a boy who doesn’t know you (yet). To kissing everyone in a crowded bar and complimenting a stranger’s watch. To coffee with an OKCupid match you actually messaged first (even if its your first date in two years).
If dating in our twenties means wearing our baggage like a badge on our sleeves and grabbing life by the balls then so be it.
Here I am, fellas. Single, short, eclectic and a Cancer. Take it or leave it (just buy me a beer first).