What’s worse than a bad first date? A great first date. The anxiety that happens in the week following an amazing romantic encounter is enough to put me off experiencing any type of happiness ever again.
I didn’t always feel this way, of course. Back when I was 25, I worked as dresser for Marc Jacobs. My days were spent zipping and unzipping women who were easily a foot taller than me. It was the brink of summer and I was excited because I still believed that summer meant having lots of adventures and random hook ups on rooftops that would lead to taking a seasonal lover. One of my favorite models was the shockingly adult age of 30, and while sewing her into her dress I babbled on and on about how great summer was going to be for our dating lives. She turned to me with cheek bones so high you could cut cheese on them and said, “I hate dating because I hate text messages and I hate strangers.” I could not believe my ears—those were two of my favorite things! Four years later however, and I couldn’t agree more. Texting especially has become the bane of my existence.
The endless misunderstandings in the first few weeks of dating someone have worn me out. It’s that mistaken feeling that I know a guy, only to find out he’s not the special fantasy version I made up in my head—it all just makes me want to go to bed with a dude and wake up in the middle of the relationship. Fuck the honeymoon period, bring on the part where we pee with the door open.
I used to live for beginnings. They were my drug, all the more thrilling and emotionally dangerous because I would invest everything in them. But then the come down from those magical beginnings would be all the more devastating. As an actor in this city for the last five years I can say with some degree of authority that there is nothing all that different between a great first date and a great first audition. In both situations you spend the next few days losing your hair in anticipation of getting a call back.
Thus, for us all (including me) to move on and live happier and healthier lives, I think we should acknowledge this period of anxiety and accept it. In order to do this, I’ve created a list of the 5 phases of the great first date panic.