This is also the phase when you begin the dreaded coital dance known as dating.For me, this phase began with writing “living well is the best revenge” on a Post-it, sticking it to the wall beside my bed, then staring at it for twenty minutes before deciding to take a nap. Three months deep into my break-up, I have experienced almost all of them.First there’s shell shock, followed by denial, and then some combination of paralysis, anger, and loneliness.I was looking for an experience, but this was the wrong one.Once the doctor took his clothes off, he looked way older than 50—he may have been pushing 60.It was everything from, “Babe, how about that threesome? ” to the complete non sequitur “I was on TV this week.” Finally, he asked if the reason I wasn’t responding was because I was too dumb to understand simple English.
But it wasn’t a true escape, because in the following days and then weeks, Tinder guy’s texts were incessant, despite my complete lack of response.Sometimes the idea of “getting out there” seems like torture, but you have to do it, because the alternative is a life of sitting home alone, eating bags of beef jerky while watching trying to will myself into the headspace of the film’s main character, who takes great pleasure in fucking strange men—something I, too, used to find sexy and exciting, before my ex-girlfriend tore out my heart and threw it in the trash along with my will to live and my problematically high sex drive.A couple nights later, I went to a dinner party on the Upper East Side.Then there’s this period where you just feel numb and find yourself staring at inanimate objects, having really cliché, intro-to-philosophy-type thoughts like, “What is happiness, anyway?” Eventually, after you’ve regained at least some of your dignity, you enter the classic “I’ll show them! This is when your brain tries to trick your heart into thinking that you’ve moved on, and you suddenly have tons of energy for things you’ve never cared about before, like alphabetizing your bookshelves and figuring out what the best food podcasts are, even though you never cook and literally don’t own a single pan.But an hour later, walking into the specified bar in the West Village, I immediately understood why people take the time to screen each other via text.