These three dudes of Greenpoint they are
Bespectacled bros, they traveled from far
With money from Da-a-d
And they all play guitar
So man buns. Settle in, this one’s a bit rough.
When I was still newish to Tinder…fuck…new to dating in general, way back in 2016, I met a grad student named Matt. I liked him for three reasons: 1) he played music; 2) he was a pretentious hipster; 3) he had long hair.
I know, I know, I know. Never go to a second location with a hippie and never fall for a hipster. But this was before I became tattooed Vene, the coolest cat to roam the streets. Fourteen-year old me really wanted to sleep with him. Like really, really wanted to sleep with him. He might have told me he knew how to ride a skateboard, which, in itself, would have been reason enough for me to sleep with someone back then.
Anyway, I met Matt at The Shelter, which was my go to bar in Tucson to meet sketchy guys that I planned to fuck and then never see again. It’s got a very groovy Love Shack, kinda dirtbag bar with an indoor smoking porch that never felt quite ironic. Only we didn’t end up hooking up that night. He had just broken up with his living Israeli girlfriend. He treated the date like an interview. Like I was interviewing to sleep with him.
I was a special class of idiot, obviously, because I played ball. But remember, fourteen-year old me had needs. Eventually he came over and we did get down. But he was drunk. In fact, Matt was always drunk. Or at least on the way to getting drunk. The M.O. was for him to come over, drink tons of whisky gingers, smoke a million cigarettes, pontificate on all things grandiose and pretentious, and then have blackout sex with me. He ended up sleeping over (as one is wont to do when the king size bed is cushy and your live-in Israeli ex-girlfriend is sick of your nonsense). He liked to confess all his transgressions to me. All the women he fucked over and treated like garbage. I absolved him of his sins and disregarded all the red flags and stop signs and 32-year old me saying, “Get him out of your bed, your mind, your life. Here be dragons.”
But no, I was a smitten kitten. In fact, it was the first time I’d been so smitten with anyone since the ex, and that was 1997. No…that’s a lie…there was someone else, but that’s best left for another time. I think I really got caught up in the fact that he didn’t think I was a loser. But that was my damage talking and not an objective truth. I may be many things, but loser I am not.
Matt was one of several guys I would fall for precipitously who would, in quick succession: 1) extol the many virtues of the Pixies; 2) quiz me on my general knowledge in an attempt to poke holes in my intelligence; and 3) suggest that I try blow. What a bunch of winners, right? Fourteen-year old Vene was batting a thousand.
Matt had fun playing with me, even if he didn’t seem to dig me too much. I think we provided comfort to one another in coinciding lonely times. The night of the election that November, I turned on the TV around 7 p.m. Hillary had been projected to win hands down, but I read the tea leaves and called it a night. I messaged Matt. He came over and we got drunk, had sex, and slept in turns for a couple of days.
Matt drifted away that winter. I went to London and Paris with my mother. I remember looking at a picture of him on the train in London. He was in a pea coat, which, due to his tall and lanky frame, looked distinguished on him. He looked young in the picture. I was 37 at the time and he was 33. But yeah, he looked good. And I felt a bit hollow. I ended up sort of sleeping with another tall, lanky, bearded, long-haired musician-hipster named Matt just to exorcise myself of his ghost. It did not work.
But I tried with a prayer…
“God, you who made Tom Petty and three quarters of the Beatles, help keep me away from ne’er-do-wells with good taste in music and bad intentions. Guard me from men who have styled hair and skinny jeans. And protect me from those who smoke fancy cigarettes and swear that I would just love cocaine.
Find me a dermatologist or a scientist with a kind smile, a wicked sense of humor and an encyclopedic knowledge of movie trivia.
I promise on Regina Spektor’s hands and Rufus Wainright’s voice to never ask for that which makes my little heart go pitter patter but which is not good for me. I don’t need leather jackets and cool boots. And if he dresses from Costco, I can learn to deal…until I burn all his clothes and replace them in the middle of the night.
Yours in reverence, Vene
And with that, I moved on. My philosophy is to leave doors open. People tend to circle around and you don’t want to be the asshole who forced the estrangement, if for no other reason than to keep your hands clean. So I stayed friends with Matt…while sleeping with 16 guys in the course of four months. I was racking up numbers and coming to a lot of realizations. First, no one is as special or precious as they purport to be. These guys all fell into a couple of tropes. You had your foreign lotharios, your domestic lotharios, and a bunch of white nerds I tried on who had no clue what they were doing. The last group is the worst because they’re essentially the nice guys we all know at work who turn into incel beta males who bash women instead of attempting any form of personal growth.
The night I met Dan, the guy whose role in my life was as yet unknown, Matt messaged me. It was 3 a.m., and I was wide awake with Dan laying comfortably asleep next to me. I hadn’t expected for him to ask me to sleep with him through the night so I hadn’t brought my sleep meds. Wide awake next to a stranger, trying to lay still, I noticed my phone light up in the dark room.
I didn’t know what to do…here he was hitting me up…
To be continued…