Measuring The In-Between

By Olivia Ford

“The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists.”
H. Allen Smith

If I’m lucky enough to have anybody read this column regularly, you might be wondering, what ever happened with Mr. Times Square? Forget about all these guys from last year who fucked it up, what about the guy that’s supposed to be there right now? (And for those of you who need catching up or reminding, read about how we met here).

Maybe the reason I haven’t been keeping a detailed chronicle of what’s current is because I’m always better at understanding the things that have already passed, and hoping for what’s to come. The present is the icky in-between that I can’t quite put my finger on, at any given moment I’m trying to prepare myself for which category to place it in: Doomed past or hopeful future? Is this going to be the one that saves or destroys me?

This is all the more difficult of a fixation to relinquish when your present feels especially in-between things itself. Mr. Times Square and I are still going out on dates, but I don’t think we’re dating. We’re sleeping together, maybe even exclusively, but we’re not a couple by any means. We’re…well, I have no idea what we are, or if I should care, or if we should stop being whatever it is we’re not being.

Is it clear enough at least why I’ve been putting off writing about him for so long?

I’ve been telling my friends clued in to the situation that dating or not dating, the title doesn’t necessarily matter to me. Though I do feel like I’m at an emotional readiness in my life to settle down and commit, I’m still new to a big city and it’s no time to settle in that sense. Mr. Times Square and I hang out semi-consistently (once a week to once every two weeks) and that’s good enough for me right now. There’s someone to spend time with now and then, and to keep me from feeling completely deprived of male attention but not so time consuming a relationship that I’m failing to engage in other areas of my life.

Then again, I can’t help but feel there isn’t something not quite right about it. Am I settling for less than I deserve? Or letting myself be used as a convenient and glorified rebound fuck buddy? Am I letting him have his cake and eat it too, while I’m barely scraping the pan? In a very neurotic Bridget-Jones/Carrie-Bradshaw-at-her-worst attempt to figure out what exactly the problem is, I put our relationship on paper. I listed every date: when and where it took place, what I wore (irrelevant, but fun) and if we had sex after or not. Here were my “scientific” findings:

Mr. Times Square and I have been seeing each other for three months now. In this time we have gone out on eleven dates, including: three outings with his friends, two with mine, at least ten different bars (some nights included bar-hopping), two movies in theaters, four morning-after bagel runs and two actual sit-down breakfasts. We have never actually had a meal alone together aside from breakfast. More alarming, we’ve only actually had sex a total of six times.

It’s this last one that really struck me. In its defense, six times is probably a lot for both of us given the circumstances. I’m used to one-night stands, he’s still fairly fresh out of a long, serious relationship, and there’s something kind of sweet about us compromising in the middle. But considering we started sleeping together almost immediately, it’s a shockingly low number, one that I suspect gets banged out (pun-intended) by other couples in a period of a week or two, not three months.

Of course, there’s a lot of good stuff that can’t be listed objectively on paper. We have good conversations, similar tastes and interests and the sex itself is good. But let’s face it – a fuck every fortnight does not a relationship make.

So what to make of this uncomfortable in-between? Or is the real struggle to not make something of it at all? To just go with it for as long as I’m happy? Or is it to see that I’m not as happy as I’d like to think I am?

Quite frankly, my attempt to be objective and see things clearly has left me more lost than ever. For now, let me say, I know we are definitely not a couple. The comfortable “what are we doing tonight” feeling just isn’t there. Still, it’s far from the worst situation I’ve ever been in. In fact, compared to the worst, it’s actually quite good. Not the best, but a solid good. And while I do deserve the best eventually (as I hope everyone knows they do), let’s not jump to any conclusions or categorize the present as past or future quite yet. Who knows what that solid good will turn into? For now, let’s just keep our fingers crossed, look forward for the best to come, try to relax until then and for god’s sake, not make any more stupid lists to freak us out.

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