Photo-Illustration: James Gallagher
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New York’s Sex Diaries series asks anonymous city dwellers to record a week in their sex lives — with comic, tragic, often sexy, and always revealing results. This week, a fitness instructor who goes out dancing the night before she goes to church: 31, straight, single, Gramercy Park.
7 a.m. I’m an early bird, even on weekends, and a hungry one at that. My friend Marie is visiting, so I make us both some coffee, then head to the gym for a run before teaching a yoga class.
12 p.m. Marie’s like my big sister. We’re eating at a food hall, having some grain bowls while gabbing about online dating. She seems like a pro at managing it; meanwhile, I just signed up again. My heart is still healing from my last big breakup in the fall. Usually, she’s inclined to say that I can do better — but when I tell her about my date for tonight, she preliminarily approves.
6 p.m. After a nap, we both get ready for our respective pre-dinner meet-ups. I don’t get super dolled up, but I look nice and feel a little nervous, in a good way.
7:30 p.m. My date, Leo, asks to meet at the Ace hotel. He’s European. We talk about family and also religion, which they say you’re not supposed to do but we seem to be having an easy time with. He’s not that tall, and handsome in a rugged way and more important, seems earnest. He says he feels slightly responsible for being my first online date in a while. I tell him not to think too much about that. He didn’t offer to buy me a drink, which I find odd, but I brush it off and he takes my number.
9 p.m. Leo’s already texted that he had a nice time. I reply in agreement. I rehash the night with Marie. Someone on a different online dating site messaged her about going out dancing tonight. She decides not to go with him, but with me. I hesitate but … why not?
11:30 p.m. I can’t believe I’m actually still out (but drinking sparkling water), and enjoying myself at a dive bar, even though everyone looks the same: young and fratty. When we’re finally ready to go, some dude and his friend ask us to go to a jazz bar. We decline, tired and uninterested.
9 a.m. Half-asleep, Marie says good-bye as she heads for the airport.
11:30 a.m. I go to church solo. I’m sensitive and tear up in here sometimes. I turn to prayer, music, and movement whenever I feel broken, or full.
1 p.m. I head to my friend’s event about sobriety. Beyond Sober January, I’m not drinking as much anymore, either. I marvel at how things change. I wonder a lot of other things, like if I’ll always have a place in my heart for my ex, and if that place is a soft spot or a black hole. Our breakup sent me down a spiral of extreme depression. It felt unfair — I loved him so much.
10 p.m. I haven’t been sexually active since the breakup. My ex and I never planned to fall in love — he wouldn’t have showed up in my online preferences. We were together for a year and a half and broke up, because, according to him, I should have more than what he could offer me. He didn’t want to get married again or have another kid. I think he’s still feeling the aftereffects of his divorce. It was a dramatic breakup.
9 a.m. I wonder what the week will bring. I call my brother, back home in another state, about getting my mom flowers together for her birthday. He lets me know she threw one of my letters in the trash! I decide to wait on the flower request; I need to call my mom later and see what’s going on. My mom and I have had a bit of a rocky relationship at times — something I’m working on. I think she was sad to acknowledge how hurt I was in my last romantic relationship.
10 a.m. I get physical therapy, mostly around my hip area. It’s like a massage paid for by my health insurance. I carry my emotions in my hips, and I am tight because of all the workouts I do. This circular motion may be the closest I’ll get to physical intimacy this week. I haven’t kissed anyone since October right after my breakup, when I went on a make-out spree.
7:30 p.m. On my way back from teaching yoga, I run into my handsome, smart, but emotionally unavailable neighbor who told me to stop “light”-sexting him last week (I was feeling ambitious and aggressive). He was one of the three I made out with in my kissing streak. Since he acknowledges me first, I briefly wave hello and try to avoid any further interaction.
8:30 p.m. Catching up on The Bachelor. Yes, I’m a sucker for this reality series. I even tried out for a few years ago. Now, I’m almost over-the-hill for casting.
10 p.m. In bed. I’m very sensual and sexual (I think my love language is touch), but I won’t sleep around. I’m thinking about getting a dildo instead of what I do have, a vibrator the shape of a giant lipstick. But will it be enough?
7 a.m. I wake up and go for a run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, just enough to get me sweaty and zone out.
11 a.m. During work, I overhear a 35-year-old single gal talking about freezing her eggs. I’ve looked into this already but have not taken the leap, especially since it’s not covered by insurance. I want to be a mom one day, in addition to faithful, frisky, fabulous partner.
1 p.m. I have waffles for lunch with a friend who I haven’t seen in a while. She asks about my ex. I can read her concern on her face but I assure her all is well. We also talk about next steps in my career.
8:30 p.m. It’s Girls’ Night Out with my fitness friends.
11 p.m. I go to bed exhausted, stomach full of vegan chocolate.
8 a.m. I feel like I’m hungover, even though I didn’t drink last night. My bleary eyes peer at a photo message of my mom (who I’ve forgiven quietly in my heart) posing with the flowers I did end up going in with my brother on.
There’s also a digital bouquet in-app message from someone I haven’t met yet. He can do that but isn’t daring enough to ask me out on an actual, in-person date? I head to the gym and half-heartedly hit a punching bag.
11:30 a.m. I have no expectations for tonight — I’m just glad that I booked time with one of my girlfriends in advance. We’re going to a supposedly carefully curated singles’ mixer.
7:30 p.m. I have sake to pregame. I’m pleasantly surprised the guy-to-girl ratio may be tipped in our favor, and everyone here is relatively cool and good-looking! I am friendly and bright for some reason, talking to a couple guys and gals. No numbers are exchanged on my end or my friend’s, but I still had fun.
One of the younger guys (he’s surprised I’m in my 30s) gives me his white rose before I leave. In the modern world, am I supposed to make a move? I like being chased, to a point. Or it should be like a tennis match, maybe. While considering all this, I take an Uber Pool home.
8 a.m. There’s not a lot of true traction on my app. Just a hello here and there. I haven’t heard back from European Guy, but it’s fine. I’d like to think when you know, you know. I’m sensing the seeds of online-dating fatigue already.
10:30 a.m. Work flies by. I like to think I’m pretty good at what I do.
6 p.m. Another friend is visiting. I didn’t realize she’s staying in my ex’s old neighborhood … I’m concerned I’ll run into him and keep my head down before we head to dinner in Brooklyn, where we eat plenty of cheese. On the way back, she asks me if I have hope. I do — and not about any reconciliation. She tells me how proud of me she is.
10 p.m. I think about how lucky I am to have great girlfriends and how easy and casual it is to connect with them. I think this might mean that I don’t need my future husband/baby daddy to be emotional, but to simply acknowledge I can be sensitive on certain topics and appreciate that I am in tune with my feelings.
6 a.m. Up early again. I am admittedly compulsive with my phone and check my apps — including social and dating — in bed before I get up, make coffee, and meditate. Call it reverse engineering.
9 a.m. Answering emails. One of my guy friends texts me a link to a TED Talk about how to fix a broken heart. I am definitely turning a corner, and his thoughtful gesture is sweet. Love is indeed a drug, and we must stop the vicious cycle of delusion and not live in the past. Or in dreams.
12 p.m. Sweat for lunch. I sit in the steam room for almost half an hour. I have cried a lot in the past few months, but right now the salt is leaving my naked body in a deliciously detoxifying way. My heartbeat quickens. Afterward, I take a cold shower.
4 p.m. I’m looking forward to a quiet time by myself this weekend … except of course I schedule a few things and make last-minute plans with a co-worker friend.
7 p.m. Feeling a little guilty saying so, but I’m relieved to break away from my co-worker at happy hour (I’m just sipping water) so I can take myself out — I grab some takeout, come home early, and catch up on more of The Bachelor. I know I have to keep putting effort into putting myself out there, so my friends and I are planning some trips this year, too. I charge my lipstick vibrator and go to sleep, fantasizing about meeting someone on vacation.
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