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Up, up, up, open up. (The Twisted Art of 21st Century Dating)


I think of myself as incapable of dating more than one person at a time. Who has time? Or sufficient mental capacities. People can walk up to me – former co-workers, acquaintances who’ve set foot in my house – and I can’t remember their name, or sometimes their face.

And, when you’re dating a handful of people, when do you tell them that you’re seeing other people? I need a handbook.

With a specific mandate from a girl I hung out with a few times (FOUR as she kept reminding me), I began entertaining the idea of truly dating, old-fashioned style. This is my “I’ll try anything once” experiment in bravery. But the idea of seeing a bunch of people at the same time? Scary.

A close friend, who I’ve known since 4th grade, schooled me last week in the art of self-preservation and dating. “It’s gotta take months, MONTHS, before I feel attached to someone, to the point where I miss them when they leave. Ya’ll fall too fast.” (Ya’ll in this case being lesbians.) Her point being, similar to advice another friend of mine received from her primary care physician: “You don’t have to marry everyone you date.”

That same friend who attempts valiantly now to take her PCP’s advice also advised me to cross the Canadian border to, and I quote, “See if one of you needs to relocate.” And yes, I took that advice. (The answer was no.)

So, date a bunch of people, make sure we don’t drink too much or go dancing, and make sure I don’t make silly decisions only because it feels good to feel wanted, etc. In the spirit of adventure and my ever-growing bucket list, I agree to attempt this. Open that shit up and date a bunch of people at the same time.

Maybe this is brilliant. Other people do it. I can do it! This’ll be contagious. I’ll be like all of those trampy, witty, sophisticated writers and poets and artists who are like aliens to me, breezily entertaining multiple lovers: Michelle Tea (pre-attempted pregnancy), Henry Miller, Justin Timberlake (pre-Jessica Biel). Why not embrace the nutty possibilities of life in the 2010s? I’ve never done it. But I admire the hell out the mad ones, the wild ones, the brilliant ones.

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