Got another excerpt from The Science of Single for ya. (One hour til publication day. It’s like Christmas/NYE/Birthday all wrapped into one. But honestly … better.) Mostly, I just wanted a reason to post this awesome painting by Dana Ellyn, part of a series inspired by SOS. (The paintings will be on display at Tryst this month. The opening is Thursday at 7pm that I sadly can’t make, but we’ll have another event on 1/20 where I will sign books and give you dating advice. If you want it.)
I have twenty minutes to decide what I’m going to wear before I’m late to meet Lorenzo. At this point, you’d think I’d have a trusty date outﬁt established that I could pluck out of my closet at a moment’s notice. Today, I’m working with an extra ﬁve pounds but feeling like it’s twenty, and it will require me to try on every last piece of clothing I own and endure a lengthy mental ﬂagellation for not eating less and exercising more. The selection of pants that offer enough room is narrowed down to one pair of jeans, and I try on all my summer tops with those jeans to feel like I have some choices. I pull a blouse from the heaping pile of cotton and silk on my bed. It’s gauzy, it’s white, it’s ruffled; it will do. I primp and preen, while trying not to look too primped and preened, and check every ﬁve-degree angle of my butt in the mirror. I don’t know why I have to do this every time I leave my apartment, and sometimes I do it when I’m just hanging out at home. I’m in a constant state of neurotic wonder over the size of my ass, and rarely do I ever consider that if I used the time I spent inspecting myself doing squats or lunges instead, perhaps my ass wouldn’t feel or look so enormous.
Four minutes to go. I check my lipgloss for errant cat hairs and head out down my usual path to the strip of bars and restaurants in my neighborhood that’s slowly becoming less international and eclectic and more fraternity row. I pass the Christ House, a stopover for sick and homeless people. I usually gauge how I look by the number of hellos I get from the old men hanging out on the patio smoking menthols and chatting each other up. I’m greeted by a bald guy with skin like a black olive. He’s propped up in a wheelchair, one foot tucked in a bright white sock, the other foot missing, cigarette dangling from cracked lips, and a boom box to his ear. “Mmm. Hell-oh there.” He says it over the purr of Al Green, smiling at me through a stream of smoke.
When I look down shyly, I see light purple lace patterns bobbing around underneath my ﬁlmy top. I forgot to switch to my nude-colored bra. Crap. I can’t go home to change. I’m already going to be ﬁve minutes late. I trudge on and decide to pretend that I meant to have my pretty bra showing through. Left Bank, which looks like the set of The Jetsons, is empty except for one guy seated at the bar. “Hey!” Lorenzo stays seated and we shake hands. He’s much better looking than his picture, which I had him send even though this ﬂies in the face of blind dating. His hair, complexion, and eyes are warm shades of brown, and he’s wearing a button-down and khaki shorts that seem to swallow him whole. He’s deﬁnitely not taller than me, but I knew this would be the case because I had deduced it from one of the pictures he sent.