This week, a copywriter going on dates with an actor but thinking about someone else: 28, single, straight, Downtown Brooklyn.
9 a.m. I leave M’s apartment with a straw fedora and sunglasses on. I do this both because I like wearing a hat and sunglasses at all times (on the subway, when I walk into work, when I grocery shop), and because I’m always paranoid about paparazzi.
Here’s the thing: I am not famous. I’m not anybody, really. But I’ve been sleeping with a somewhat-famous actor, one who no one really cares about (in other words, it’s not Pete Davidson or Bradley Cooper). Still, I think TMZ or “Page Six” would enjoy a little gossip about this guy, so I lay low however I can. I might be paranoid, but it’s how I feel.
10 a.m. Get on the train to Brooklyn. I’m dying to take off my clothes from last night and take a long shower. Luckily, I’m a freelance copywriter and have a quiet week — I can bum around today.
11:30 a.m. Green tea and relax time. Life has been a little crazy lately!
M and I met a few weeks ago. It’s been a whirlwind. He’s not the first actor I’ve dated, so I kind of know how actors work by now, romantically. They come in really hot, chase you and adore you for a few weeks, and then, slowly, they back off. Is there a way to reverse engineer things and get him to work harder and like me longer? I think so. Do I care enough to play that game right now? Not really. A little bit, maybe.
M is nice, and I find his work interesting, and of course the dinners and sex and all that is really fun. But I don’t think we’re soul mates.
4 p.m. I drag my ass to spin class. My friend works there and slipped ten sessions in my account, so why not take advantage?
5:30 p.m. Pick up one of those poke bowls and go home, excited to binge-watch the news and reality TV, eat my bowl, and go to sleep early. I haven’t had a serious boyfriend since college. It was one of those four-year, intense romances that teaches you a lot about love and commitment. We drifted by the end. He lives on a ranch in Iowa now! These days my relationships are more like three- to six-month flings that just fizz out.
9 p.m. Lights out.
7 a.m. I’m up early. Make a pot of coffee and get to work on bills and accounting. I hate doing this stuff but I try to set aside an hour a week to do it. Luckily, I’m pretty organized.
My parents live in Philadelphia and are middle class, not really able to help me financially. I’m surviving in New York from a few great advertising/copywriting gigs. I’ve been here about five years now. I came to be a famous writer, of course! And then took whatever stable job came my way — which ended up being advertising. Anyway, I’m barely scraping by. Every time M offers to Uber me to and from our dates, I practically squeal with excitement. It’s a genuine treat for me.
9:30 a.m. M is texting blah things about his day but I think what he’s really trying to do is let me know he’s thinking of me, which is sweet. I met M at a super-glam cocktail party. My best friend from college has become a bit of a socialite, so I tag along with her when the mood strikes, which isn’t all that often.
I modeled a little bit in college so I know how to pull off the look for these kinds of parties, but the real me is a homebody. Plus, I don’t really drink and I am very much anti-drugs, so there’s not much room for me in that world anyway.
10:20 a.m. M wants to have dinner. Sweet. One secret with these actor/rich-guy types is to never seem needy but always be available — if you’re not around, there’s someone else just around the corner. He tells me to pick the restaurant. He doesn’t know what’s cool, he really doesn’t. It’s lame and endearing. And I love to pick restaurants.
3 p.m. I did a few hours of work from home. I’m working for a big ad agency on a big hospitality brand. It’s enjoyable work — I do like it.
5:30 p.m. Prep for date night begins. I work hard to make it look easy. I take a long shower, shave my legs and armpits, put lotion on all over, then start thinking about my outfit. I can’t afford to shop much so I have to work with what I have. But I think that’s what makes fashion fun for me. It’s amazing what I can do with a camisole, a belt, and a long vintage skirt. I throw a big faux-fur coat over it, and voila.
8 p.m. I picked a Lower East Side classic for two reasons: (1) It’s near the train for me, and (2) it gets us into the city. Inevitably, we’ll go back to his place, which is uptown, after dinner.
8:10 p.m. Our conversation is good. He’s rehearsing for a movie that’s really challenging and I love working through it with him. I’ll be honest and say that it feels good when I see people peeking at our table, wondering if it’s “that actor.” I get off on it. Who wouldn’t?
10 p.m. Back at M’s apartment. He makes us tea and we start making out in his kitchen. He’s tender and sweet, and our sex is usually tender and sweet too. I get off and it feels nice, but it’s not necessarily the best sex of my life.
11:30 p.m. Tonight I don’t sleep over because I have a real workday tomorrow. He sends me home in a Town Car. Yippeeee.
8:30 a.m. On my way to midtown for that big advertising agency. On the subway ride there, I send my parents a long life-update email. I know I won’t have time to call them today and I like to keep them in the know. I’m an only child and feel a responsibility to, well, not ignore them as I get older.
12:30 p.m. The meeting went well but the client, I can tell, was trying to flirt with me. I don’t enjoy that kind of inappropriate behavior. I know this a “cry me a river” kind of thing, but I have the kind of look that makes men think I’m slutty or easy, and I’m neither. M is only the tenth guy I’ve slept with and I’m 28.
6 p.m. I’m heading home from midtown. I had dinner plans tonight with friends but honestly, I don’t want to spend $100. I’d love to see my friends and I welcome to company but it’s ridiculous how freely people spend money here.
8:30 p.m. I’m not online dating but tonight would be a good night to start. I am home and feel a little lonely. M is away shooting his film and that’s fine with me. I’m just a little sad and bored. So I go to sleep.
8:30 a.m. Back at the ad agency today. We’re meeting with one of the producers on this campaign, Z. He comes in every few weeks from L.A. but this is my first time meeting him in real life. I like this guy, he’s really cute and I just like the way he talks and moves. He seems about 35? I don’t know what his deal is relationship-wise. No wedding ring …
10:30 a.m. I think Z is flirting with me! We were alone in the conference room for a second and he asked me about my last name (it’s Middle Eastern) and he told me he’s of Middle Eastern descent too. I think he actually winked at me at some point — which he probably didn’t mean to do? We had a little shorthand there for a second and then the rest of the team came in. Hmm …
12:30 p.m. I run out for lunch and ask the team if they want anything. Z says, “I’ll come with you!” So we go to some food-truck situation and get to know each other a little bit. I can’t help myself, so I say, “Do you have a girlfriend?” Z pauses and I know it’s coming. “I do … I do.” He sounds hesitant, but he does say it.
5:30 p.m. I spend the whole day thinking about whether I should seduce Z even though he has a girlfriend. I’ve never done anything like that before.
6 p.m. Everyone is wrapping up. I ask Z and the two other people on his team whether they want to get a drink tonight. They say yes, but need another few hours at the office. I ask Z for his number so I can text him where to meet me … Score!
6:30 p.m. I convinced my fabulous friend from the fancy cocktail party to come out with us. It’s a miracle she’s free but girlfriend pulls through. Speaking of girlfriend, ugh, I don’t know where I stand on hitting on Z, morally. I really don’t. My friend tells me to go for it, and then she gets me a drink.
8:30 p.m. Z and his team meet us out. Somewhere in Soho. I’ve nursed one drink since 6:30 because I really don’t want to get drunk — I never want to be the sloppy drunk girl. Once they arrive, I order drink No. 2, knowing it will be my last one.
9 p.m. Z has been sitting next to me. I let it slip out that I’m dating actor M, which seems to excite the group a bit. Z’s super talkative and warm, but I’m not sure he’s the cheating type. After an hour, he says he’s tired and has to do more work back at his hotel room. Oh well …
10 p.m. I’m home in my apartment, feeling better off. But then … Z texts! “Is it unprofessional to tell you that if I didn’t have a girlfriend, tonight would have ended very differently?” Well, this is interesting. Still, I decide to ignore his text. It feels like the right thing to do.
9 a.m. I am not scheduled to go into the office today so if I want to engage with Z it will have to be via text. I hold off as long as possible before texting back.
11:30 a.m. Long chat with my mom. She knows everything and keeps up with my stories. She doesn’t judge, but she also won’t enable me to mess with a guy with a girlfriend. My mom doesn’t think cheating is cute at all, and in my heart, I know she’s right.
3 p.m. Because I have nothing to lose, I send Z a reply text, finally. I am completely honest with him. I say that I’d love to spend more time with him but I’m not interested in messing with another woman’s man. That’s not who I am.
3:10 p.m. Z writes me almost minutes later that he respects that, and that hopefully I won’t mind if he hits me up “if/when” his relationship ends. Please, please, please do, I say.
8:30 p.m. I get into bed super-early tonight. I just want read and wind down.
10 a.m. It’s the weekend and I’m taking the train to see my parents for the day and night.
2 p.m. My mom cooks a feast for lunch, and I’m loving being at home. We decide to do some shopping and visit some of my aunts and cousins. I don’t miss New York at all when I’m home.
7 p.m. My parents and I go to the movies. I love being their little girl again on nights like this. I treasure our memories and am more aware of their preciousness as I — and they — get older.
9 a.m. Early train back to the city. M is back from his shoot and wants to take me to a screening tonight. It sounds pretty exciting. I do wish M was Z … I’m still thinking about him.
1 p.m. It’s freezing in New York but I try and walk home from the train station. That’s a crazy long walk home — through the city, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and all the way to the Barclays area. But the fresh air feels good after the train ride and I like the exercise.
3 p.m. I have to get ready early for tonight since the screening is pretty early. I really need new clothes. Which means I really need more money. Something in my life has to change soon, I think.
5 p.m. I don’t like what I’m wearing. My shoes are cheap! Dating an actor will make you insecure, and that’s not a feeling I’m particularly interested in living with for much longer.
10 p.m. The film screening was okay. I had to work really hard not to fall asleep during the movie. We had some Champagne and we kissed a little at a dark restaurant after the event. But then I lied to M and said I had to go home. He seemed a little pissed off, which I wasn’t expecting. Maybe he sensed I was over the relationship, or maybe he was insulted, or not used to hearing “no.” But it was an awkward parting and frankly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever see him again.
11 p.m. I get home and realize it’s earlier in L.A. So I don’t feel too guilty sending Z a text that says, “Oh, hello …”
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