Last night I went to The Upside Down on a date.
No, it’s not a trendy Brooklyn speakeasy. It’s a metaphorical place of terror. Everyone has been there: it’s what my roommate calls “demonic possession,” what my best friend calls “Tatiana” (her alter ego), what my editor Zara calls “cruising for a bruising” — when you cross the line from being pleasantly drunk to emotionally unstable.
It started out normal. No, scratch that, *better* than normal. I spent all day at work bouncing between writing and googling best date rooftop bars (Zara her editor just found this out upon editing. Nice job Dayna! Had me convinced you were slaving away all day!).
The sun was shining. New York had that indescribable ~magic~ in the air. Ryan and I had been sexting all day (And I thought you were tortured over this Kristen Stewart article!). I was excited for our date both because I was obsessed with our sex and conversation, and because warm weather makes me turnt AF to do anything.*
*drink copious amounts of rosé.
I was so excited I was even smiling on the sweaty crowded E Train and felt a fondness for everyone around me.
She walked in, still in a suit from work. Swoon. After we polished off a bottle of wine, we headed out to one of my favorite Greenpoint bars: Broken Land. Another wine. Fab conversation. Fab sexual tension. Admission of feelings.
“I really like you,” she said.
“I really like you too, like a lot. Should we walk into traffic?” I asked.
Then my favorite French restaurant Le Gamin. Sauvignon Blanc. Oysters. Escargot. Another wine. A *small* argument. We have very different ideas about, well, everything. But it’s our opposite-ness that attracts us to each other. We balance each other out. Then we had what everyone that is casually dating either looks forward to or dreads: “a check in.”
She told me she *could be* interested in polyamory. I’m not sure how I feel about monogamy or open relationships or polyamory, but I do know that when I’m drunk and a girl I like mentions dating other people, I go a little insane. I recognize this is completely unfair as on our last date I said I wasn’t interested in a serious relationship and that I was seeing other people. But to hear her say that triggered something in me — I knew my ass was on the way to The Upside Down, but I actively resisted by being a bitch as a defense mechanism. “I can date or f*ck whoever I want in this city. You should know that,” I slurred. (I know, I hate drunk Dayna too.)
Home. A glass of champagne. Another glass.
“What you said at the restaurant really wasn’t cool,” Ryan said, looking at me seriously. “You don’t get to ask for communication then bully me.”
I have now entered The Twilight Zone.
Once my tears started, I couldn’t stop. And it wasn’t cute lip quivering glassy-eyed femme tears. I was full blown snot-sobbing. “I,” SOB, “just, “SNIFFLE, “like you,” WIPE NOSE, “so much,” I kept slurring. “I like you so much that it makes me act insane.”
I was crying because I didn’t expect to like her so much and it’s throwing this slut for a loop. I was crying because I was PMSing. I was crying because I was drunk and I was crying because I was embarrassed that I was crying. She’s for sure going to leave now, I thought. Why wouldn’t she?
But something was different about this time that I entered The Upside Down. I didn’t stay there. In the past, I would’ve completely shut down and made whoever I was dating play a guessing game as to why I was acting so insane. That’s how I get — all emotions, no communication. But this time, she actually stayed and we actually talked it out and I truly think that is the first time I have recovered from The Upside Down/Twilight Zone and had an adult conversation about why I went there.
There is something so utterly vulnerable about crying, especially in front of someone you don’t know that well, especially in front of someone that you’re trying to impress, especially in front of someone that you want to come off like you have your shit together in front of.
She really showed up for me: she didn’t make me feel embarrassed or ashamed (although I totally did feel that way). She didn’t make me feel dumb for crying (my biggest pet peeve is being made to feel dumb). She comforted me, and listened to me. But she also didn’t let me off the hook for acting like a bitch in lieu of communicating. She called me out on my shit, and it was pretty f*cking hot.
Though it was humiliating and extra and alcohol-induced, I’m glad I cried in front of her. I’m never going to stop being the girl that emotionally reacts to shit. And I need to be dating someone that understands that, and doesn’t judge me for it — as well as confronts me when I’m acting like a little psycho.