This weekend I went out on a date. Dates are imperative when your husband lives 2,568 miles away. I called my Mom to tell her.
"YOU'RE GOING ON A DATE?!" she exploded. "Melissa, listen- I KNOW you miss Brett, but...don't go on a date. You're being ridiculous."
I held the phone up to my zipper and zipped it slowly. "Hear that, Mom?" I asked. "That was me zipping up a really fabulous dress. It makes my boobs look great. I am so excited for this date."
I was just being a little shit because the date in question was a "date" with my very handsome, very gay friend Andrew. I eventually told her, don't worry. I'm not totally heartless. Not totally.
Over drinks in the city Andrew learned I had never been to the Castro. He couldn't handle it, especially when I asked him if there were any gay bars there. "It's the CASTRO. God. Get your coat. We're going now." Soon we were running through the wet streets of the city, arm and arm and I couldn't help but think this was the most non-romantic/romantic date ever. It was as if a swell of music should have been playing as we laughed and ran with our hair floating behind us. (er, me.) I actually started humming my own theme music as we came upon the first bar, but it was pulsing a Taylor Swift re-mix so I had to give it up.
Andrew planted a vodka drink in my hand (I was not allowed to drink beer,) and got down to business. "Ok." He whispered conspiratorially. "What's our story?"
I bobbed up and down on the balls of my feet excitedly. "Oooh! this is FUN!" Dropping my voice to a whisper I replied: "I got it. We're both students at Cal, I study English, you study Anthro-"
"Melissa, that is our actual story."
"Oh. Right. Ok, how about this? I study comparative literature at Cal, you study...bones..."
He cut me off. "Ok, this is our story. We're roommates. Your name is Carla. We live in New York city but we are here scoping out an opportunity for my medical residency next year. We go to Columbia, you can study English if you want because you're pretty bent on that- and we leave Tuesday. We're both 25."
A new identity is magic.
I suddenly felt so mysterious and empowered for some reason. Like I had a veil around me that allowed a whole different, 25 year old side of me to come out. Maybe that's what everyone goes on about role playing.
I turned to a couple next to me and stuck out my hand. "Hi. I'm Carla from New York and I am 25. I leave Tuesday."
We ended up having an amazing night. Gay men really seem to like the kooky straight girl that can't get her fake name right. I have never danced more, laughed more, or been showered with more compliments. I even took the back-handed ones, like the drag queen who told me that he "simply needed to do something with that hair." After we partied ourselves out Andrew and I got into pajamas and fell asleep watching the movie "Babies."
How is that not the most perfect evening imaginable?
So this morning I am a bit hungover, I'm creaking in joints that up until now have never protested, but I'm feeling very loved and fulfilled and lucky. Yes, my husband is 2,568 miles away, but he has a wife that is actually living and not draped over her couch covered in dried dustings of cake. Anymore. A date, whether with a great friend or a date by yourself is essential in life. Sometimes we need to shave our legs, do something with "that" hair, drink a little wine, and dance.
If I can't love 'Carla', how can I expect anyone else to?
Date yourself. You'll thank me later.