There is only a three hour time difference between LA and New York, but that ish did me in. By Friday, all I wanted to do was go home and spend the evening with a bottle of Pinot and this guy:
Love me some Keith from Dateline. I was in my neighborhood wine shop, trying to decide whether I should spend $13.99 on a corked bottle or $17.99 on a screw top (how can that be?), when I got a text from Nina.
‘What are you doing?’
‘About to get Mom drunk.’
‘You know, like how Moms get drunk. A few glasses of wine and they’re down for the count.’
‘Not my Mom. Anyway, Brad and I just had biggest fight. Can I come over?’
I went with two bottles of the $13.99.
Nina’s face was swollen and blotchy when she showed up at my door. I’ve seen Nina cry twice before. Once, when she accidentally missed the deadline for the study abroad program in college, and another time while watching that scene in I Am Legend where Will Smith kills his dog. This had either been a huge fight or a huge overreaction.
“What happened?” I asked.
“He’s fucking moving to Chicago is what happened.”
“He was transferred,” Nina said.
“Okay, well, it happens”—
“No! It’s not like he was transferred and it’s out of his hands. He’s been interviewing for the position for two fucking months and he kept it from me. He said he didn’t want to worry me unnecessarily in case he didn’t get it.”
“He said we’ll be fine. That lots of people do long distance and make it work. Fuck that.”
“Okay.” I handed her a glass of wine. “Lots of people do do long distance and make it work.”
“Do lots of people go behind their girlfriend’s back and interview for a position that will deliberately put a million miles between them without even telling their girlfriend?”
I didn’t say anything so Nina answered her own question. “Yes, lots of people do that. Lots of people who want to be single but don’t have the balls to break up with someone outright.”
“Oh, come on, Nina,” I said. “He’s not moving to Chicago to get out of being in a relationship with you. That’s insane.”
“I don’t think it’s the only reason,” Nina said. “It’s a good job and I know he’s excited about it. But he doesn’t seem too torn up about us being apart. It’s kind of like, well, if it works it works but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
I didn’t know what to say to that, because I’d probably feel the same way. “So are you guys broken up?”
Nina sighed. “No.” She took a gulp of wine. “Not yet.”
“It will work out,” I said. “No matter what. It will work out.”
Nina rolled her glass around in her hands. “I guess. Anyway, tell me about LA.”
“Well, I’ve got a doozy for you…” I launched into a full recap.
“You should start like, The Ian Club with those other girls,” Nina said. “Like The First Wives Club or something. Plot your revenge.”
“I don’t feel like I need revenge,” I said. “I really don’t think what he did was premeditated. I can see how it just kind of happened. He’s gorgeous now…and really, like alpha and confident. I completely believe that those girls wanted to sleep with him because of that, not because he like, manipulated them or something. I was actually more bothered by what he wrote about them. But the more I think about it, I mean, is it really that different from what we do?”
Nina rolled her eyes. “Come on.”
“We sit around and judge the guys we’ve slept with and don’t always say the nicest things about them. Hello—Sad Dickie?”
Nina spit out her wine. “Sad Dickie! I haven’t thought about him in so long.” Sad Dickie was Nina’s nickname for a guy she hooked up with in college who could never get it up and refused to talk about it or acknowledge there was a problem. He was also unfortunate enough to be named Damien Dickie. I mean…it was just tragic all around.
“I guess I just feel like it’s worse when a guy slams a girl’s body,” Nina said. “He’s in more of a position of power than she is. Guys are just not subjected to the same level of scrutiny about their bodies as we are.”
“I know that,” I said. “I’m just saying…I get it. And you should have seen him that night—he wouldn’t make a move. I initiated it all. Maybe I would feel taken advantage of if he’d come on strong. But he didn’t.”
“That’s probably part of his plan too,” Nina said. “Play it innocent. Make you come to him.”
Nina was not the person to talk to about this at the moment. Her bitterpants were on good and tight. So I kept it to myself that Ian had texted me since I’d gotten back to New York. He was going to be in New Jersey for a few days next week for Thanksgiving. His exact words: ‘This is a long shot, but can we go out for drinks or dinner while I’m in town? I know there’s something here. Tell me to fuck off if you want but I know you know it too.’ I told him I had to think about it, but to tell you the truth, I was leaning towards yes.
Saturday morning I was on my way to a yoga class with Ashley when I got a call from Kevin. “Ummmm, did you hook up with Morrison and not tell me you little sloot?”
“Yeah,” Kevin said, “I went in to get my measurements taken and Morrison said my ‘friend’ is freakier than she looks, winked at me, and then all the other guys in the store laughed.”
“Well, I am freakier than I look but Morrison wouldn’t know that.” I told him what really happened.
Kevin laughed. “Well, that’s not what he’s saying.”
“Do you think I should say something to him?”
“It’s weird,” Kevin said, “I actually still think he’s gay. It’s like he’s telling people this story about you to prove he isn’t. But you don’t want to get involved with a mess like that, believe me.”
“I don’t even have the energy to,” I said.
“I’m totally going to hook up with him now,” Kevin said. “Closet cases are the best in bed. They have so much pent up sexual tension from not being able to express it in everyday life. It’s why I’m such a sexual stallion.”
“Right,” I said.
“It’s true,” Kevin said. “Now imagine the two of us together. Fireworks, baby.”
I laughed. “Go for it.”
“Oh, don’t you even worry about it,” he said.
We hung up and I hurried out the door to meet Ashley. I am normally anti yoga (the whole time I’m downward doggying I just think about how I should be doing sprints on Harlem Hill, getting a real workout), but Bess had told her it would help her work through her depressive tendencies.
“Wait, you’re depressed?” I asked.
“Josie, it’s why I’m always so angry,” she said. “Depression is anger turned inwards.”
“Shut up,” I said.
“It’s true! Even just recognizing that has made me feel so much better. I’m so much more patient now.”
“Really. So will you go with me, please?”
When I arrived at the yoga studio in Union Square, I was surprised to see how many guys were in the class. Lunks I usually eye molest in the weight room too. The few yoga classes I’ve taken in the city were composed of mostly women and delicate-looking gay men with slender waists I envy.
Ashley was already in the corner, sitting on a mat. She waved me over.
“I would have worn the yoga pants that make me look like I have a butt if I’d known,” I said.
“I know,” Ashley said. “To your left.”
I reached my arms up and yawned, glancing over my shoulder while I ‘stretched’ my neck from side to side. There were two winners in the corner, backs up against the wall, impressive arms folded over their chests.
I turned back to Ashley. “Mama likey.”
“You’re such a sick puppy,” Ashley laughed. It felt like forever since we’d laughed together.
“Hello, hello!” Announced a lithe women standing at the front of the room. How do I do yoga and look like that? “Welcome to Yoga Match.”
“What’s Yoga Match?” I whispered to Ashley.
“I think they, like, match your body type to certain moves,” Ashley said.
“Oh! I love that,” I said. Maybe that’s how you get a body like that, you tailor your moves to your trouble spots. Brilliant.
“Did everyone enter their names in the envelopes when they first walked in the door?” The instructor asked.
I looked at Ashley. “Did you do that?”
Ashley shook her head.
“Did anyone not enter their name?” The instructor prompted, and Ashley and I raised our hands meekly.
“Well, hurry up!” She said, motioning us to the front of the room. Everyone watched as we scurried forward, the instructor passing us a shred of paper and a pen, then adding our names to the envelope labeled, ‘Girls’.
I was starting to think the class wasn’t called Yoga Match because it matched your body type to the moves…
As the instructor began to speak, I realized I was right. This was Yoga Match, as in match.com, as in yoga dating and my worst nightmare not yet realized until that moment. Leslie, the instructor, pulled one name out of the ‘Girls’ envelope, and one name out of the ‘Guys’ envelope, and the two were introduced and instructed to pair off on mats next to each other.
Of course, Ashley ended up with one of the Baldwins we’d noticed earlier. The other one still hadn’t been matched up yet, and I crossed my fingers and prayed he would be mine when Leslie called out my name. No such luck. I got a guy with a greasy ponytail and a poppy seed stuck between his front teeth.
“I’m Benji with a G,” he said.
So….Ben-Guy? “I’m Josie,” I said, stiffly.
“It’s phenomenal to meet you, Josie,” Ben-Guy said. I glanced over at Ashley. She was too busy twirling her hair and batting her eye lashes at her Yoga Match to catch my death stare.
All I could think was, they’re not going to make us touch, right? That would be weird if Leslie made us touch. Leslie’s so not going to make us touch.
LESLIE MADE US TOUCH. First, we had to press our palms against each other and maintain eye contact for sixty seconds. You do not realize how long sixty seconds is until you are palm to clammy palm with greasy ponytail guy, him looking into your eyes all pensively like he’s fucking Edward Cullen or something.
I didn’t think it could get any worse but then Leslie instructed us to ‘spot’ each other while we assumed a downward dog position. Why do I need a spotter to balance on my hands and knees with my ass in the air? It’s like the most stable position ever.
“Would you like to go first?” Ben-Guy asked and I had a split second to decide which was worse—my ass in Ben-Guy’s crotch or his in mine? I decided it was the former.
I tried to imagine I was anywhere but where I was as Leslie instructed the downward doggiers to inhale and press ‘deeper’, which translated to Ben-Guy pushing his butt into my pelvis—nothing but a thin layer of spandex and mesh separating our goodies—and moaning with every exhale. This had to be the universe’s way of punishing me for not recycling.
At the end of the class, Leslie encouraged us all to share our information if we felt a connection to our partner. Ben-Guy said he had a ‘transient experience’ and asked if he could call me sometime. I mumbled something about just getting out of a relationship and needing to pee and fled.
I hid out in the bathroom until Ashley came to find me. “I need a shower,” I wailed.
“Oh my God,” Ashley laughed. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea I signed us up for this.”
“Please tell me you at least got your guy’s number?”
Ashley held up her phone and showed me her new contact for Andrew Engle. I would have held creepy eye contact with Ben-Guy for a million more seconds to see the big grin on Ashley’s face again. It had been too long since I’d seen her that happy.
“I can put in a good word for you with the friend if you want,” she offered.
“That’s okay,” I said.
“Jos, just because you don’t want something serious doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun.”
I could have told her the truth. Which was that I couldn’t stop thinking about Ian. But honestly, I was embarrassed. I’d been all on my high horse about Ashley and Tom, telling her she deserved better. She did, and Ian was in no way as bad as Tom, but still…. I made up some excuse about work being too busy right now. I wanted to explore this thing with Ian on my own first—find out if I could really trust him, if there was something there, or if the Ian I knew was really gone.