Freedom of Speech guarantees you the right to say whatever you want. It does not, however, guarantee that there will be no consequences. My last article ended up being polarizing between single and coupled readers a like. I am pleased that people reached out to me with opinions for two reasons. Firstly, it shows me that you read that article (yay!). Secondly, and more importantly, it shows me that I am writing about topics that matter. I do not write the articles with the hope that you will agree with my opinions. If anything, I write them with the hope that it will start a dialogue or at least cause one to consider reexamining existing perceptions. Often times, I get too caught up in my own situation and fail to put myself in the shoes of my closest friends. At times, our best meaning intentions can be perceived as something else. In relationships, it is important to have an open dialogue. This concept led me to the topic of this article: ending relationships. How do you tell someone you no longer have feelings for him/her while sparing his/her feelings? Is that even possible?
Each time I meet a new guy on a first date, I am entering into a pseudo-relationship. Most would agree it is overkill to discuss your preferences of hearing or for sharing “I’m just not that into you” before a first date; however, without ever bringing this up, I willingly strap myself into the impending emotional rollercoaster. How many times have I gotten on this ride of dating fun? As a safe estimate, I’ll say I have been on over 50 first dates in my post-college life. I do realize this is a humorous number given that a Drew Barrymore movie shares the same name. Unlike Ms. Barrymore, however, I remember all of these dates, some in excruciating detail. Since I’m still single, all 50+ of these dates did not lead to a relationship. This means I have had gone through the experience of ending a potential relationship a lot. From these experiences, I’ve identified three typical ways that my relationships (one encounter or more) typically end.
(1) The Classic “Slow Fade”: Process by which one party reduces communication until s/he has effectively disappeared into the ether. Exceptions: Slow Fader may miraculously attempt to reconnect at 2am on a Saturday to say “Hey.” Be careful; to the Slow Fader this is not an attempt to reconnect “emotionally”, but definitely to connect physically. See “Friends with Benefits” for more details.
I recently went on (what I thought) was an amazing first date. He picked an awesome cocktail spot to meet up and even works in the alcohol industry! We chatted for over five hours and the conversation was effortless. We laughed! He affectionately touched my shoulder throughout the night! [Note: in reflection, maybe he had OCD and had to keep touching it after the first time.] We shared a (tender?) hug and made [tentative] plans for the following week. Our date was on a Monday. We were both free next on the Wednesday of the following week. The first days following the date, we exchanged texts but with decreasing frequency. The Saturday after our date was the last communication. I would be funny if his name was Casper because he straight up disappeared. I respect that he was allowed to change his mind; I would have preferred a cleaner break. Now I’m left not knowing what changed or if he was ever even interested in the first place. Argh!
I have been guilty of doing this in the past. As I wrote in my last article, I chose to tell the guy directly that I did not think we were a good match. I was dreading his reaction. I was pleasantly surprised when he handled it maturely: he told me he was glad I told him directly and felt the same way. It felt good to be an adult about these things for once (see: “Clean Break” for more).
(2) The Confusing “Friends with Benefits”: Process by which one party does not want to date (do activities outside of an apartment) but entirely supports hooking up with the other party.
Haven’t we all been here? I’d like to think I have grown out of this phase, but who knows if another “charmer” can make me think otherwise? I’ve had several guys I’ve gone on a first date with that have “Slow Faded” me attempt to start “dating” me. The caveat being that “dating” to these Romeos is defined as taking place at my apartment, definitely after midnight and most certainly after a night of heavy drinking. It is hard to imagine I would have the strength to say no to such an appealing offer. If you couldn’t end things well the first time, why would I want to deal with you now? Additionally, I really don’t want someone to sleep over in the first place, let alone under this desperate scenario.
If this is a strategy you enjoy deploying, think of the last conversation you had with the person you’re “reaching out” to. The way you end things influences if someone wants to bother with you again. Unless of course, you’re Chris Helmsworth or Kate Upton, then I guess you can just be terrible and get your way.
(3) The “Clean Break”: Process by which one party decides to be a responsible adult and tell the other that the relationship is not working. Receiver of the news can react maturely or immaturely – impossible to predict.
Ah, to be young! When I first started dating, I was a fragile little bird. If a guy that I liked did not like me, well I would tell him just what to do! Nothing changes an uninterested guy’s mind like expletives and threats…or so I thought. This is similar to when I started my professional career and got “constructive” feedback. At first, I was incredibly defensive to hear that I was not a model employee. How could there be room for improvement when I was so “great”? It was only after I gained more perspective that I realized this feedback was to help me and not to offend me. I’ve tried to apply this to dating as well. If a guy has the decency to tell me he is not interested in me, I should be grateful for that feedback. There is absolutely no confusion. It allows me to move on.
With my generation, this method of ending a relationship has been replaced with the Slow Fade, especially if the relationship was never defined. We are simply too casual about everything. How we end things says more about us then how we begin them. Even if you only went on a couple of dates, giving the other person a direct answer is much more civil than deliberate avoidance.
On a lighter note, and in keeping with the “spirit” of my column, I wanted to share a bar crawl I recently did in the East Village. All this breakup talk is a bit depressing. I figured you could use a drink!
190 Avenue B (btw 12th & 11th St)
I planned a fun evening out with Aish, a lovely lady I met in one of my classes at Stern. She is HILARIOUS and I knew I had to impress her with my knowledge of cocktails. I knew Back Forty would be a solid option for dinner and cocktails. Although Aish is a gluten-free vegetarian she does not suck as a person. She was flexible in my restaurant choices and knew that I could find something suitable for her particular dietary needs. I instantly knew we would be best friends.
We each started with their signature cocktail, The Back Forty. It is made with George Dickel #12, Maple and Lemon. Each cocktail is $11; there is also an option for a large format carafe for $55. Back Forty has great desserts but it was the first stop of our evening, so we wanted to have room. The donuts are yummy – tried them the first time I went there!
171 Avenue C (btw 11th & 10th St)
Another place I had been looking forward to visiting! The cocktail list is very interesting. There is a section called "Spirited Phosphates" which are carbonated beverages spiked with booze and charged with CO2! The drinks are "poured" from an old-fashioned seltzer container, super cool. I chose the Bramble Cup, made with bourbon, Pimms, Blackberry Syrup, Mint, Lemon, Angostura Bitters and Phosphate (the Bubbly stuff!).
Since we were having a cocktail crawl, we only got one drink here. The back bar was interesting. It looked like someone was trying to be romantic with the candles and then things got out of hand. It adds a certain mood for sure. I'd recommend exploring this spot and sticking around for a couple cocktails. I wanted to be able to walk to our next location, so we kept it tame with one.
111 1st Ave (btw 7th & 6th St)
We put our name down at PDT (Please Don't Tell) prior to coming to Maharlika. I read rave reviews about this Filipino spot and wanted to visit it while we waited to be called for our reservation. I was focused on ordering a VERY specific cocktail for tonight: the Sharon Cuneta, made with rum, hand pressed coconut milk, nutmeg and cinnamon. It is topped with a generous portion of toasted coconut as well. It tasted DELICIOUS after soaking in the cocktail. Currently, this is right at the top of my favorite dessert-like cocktails.
We were told we would need to wait an hour (at least) for PDT, so we were surprised when we were called after 30 minutes. We just ordered a second Sharon Cuneta and were kindly told me had 10 minutes or we would lose the reservation. The bars were separated by about 5 minutes on foot (in heels, it could be 8 minutes), so we had about 2 minutes to drink an entire drink. I'll let you imagine how we accomplished that task. I highly recommend this cocktail. It is FANTASTIC and the vibe of the spot is cozy and welcoming.
Please Don’t Tell (PDT)
113 St. Marks Place (btw Ave A & 1st Ave)
PDT is one of the worst kept secrets in NYC speakeasies. I guess you should blame the internet for that. PDT is located within Crif Dogs, an unsuspecting hot dog shop (Note: If you ever had a hot dog wrapped in bacon at Beer Blast, you’ve enjoyed the culinary delights of Crif Dogs). I’ve tried to go here once before unsuccessfully with another Stern friend. When you arrive at Crif Dogs, you need to enter the phone booth. There is a sign that says to raise the receiver and press a button. The hostess will then open the door and either 1. Let you in or 2. Take your number and call you when your reservation is ready. The hostess will encourage you to get a drink somewhere else. Be forewarned, however, that you have 10 minutes to arrive once they call you, so be mindful that your waiting place isn’t too far away. We were at Maharlika, so it wasn’t a huge issue.
Once we were seated, we both got the Shark, made with butter-infused rum, overproof rum, Frangelico, Blue Curacao, Lemon and Pineapple Juice, Cream, and Tiki Bitters. It is a beautiful blue hue and accessorized with a teeny-tiny umbrella. We LOVED it! The décor at PDT is interesting to say the least. Many taxidermed animals decorate the walls. This is worth a visit for any serious cocktail fan.
I hope this article has encouraged you to stop the “Slow Fade” and explore the East Village for cocktails!