How to Find a Boyfriend on the Subway

If there's anything you can spare, even a kind word, or something like telling me: "It'll work out for you when the time is right. You won't be alone for the rest of your life."
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Female Student Surrounded by Crumpled Paper
Female Student Surrounded by Crumpled Paper

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. Excuse me. I'm sorry to bother you. I don't like doing this. This is embarrassing for me. If I could just have a moment of your time.

My name is Nora. I rent a one-bedroom Parisian-style floor-through attic apartment in a brownstone in Brooklyn, near Jay Z's new Barclays Center. I have a stable at-home job as a travel magazine editor. I've had the same job for 15 years and have never had to go looking for work. I have no debt. I'm in good health. I have good genetics. I go to the gym three times a week and work out with a personal trainer. I also take pole dancing classes, for fitness, and get regular facials and bikini waxes at a nice salon.

Twelve years ago I had a boyfriend for one and a half years. On and off. We broke up three times during the one and half years we were together. Actually, I was the one who kept breaking up with him, because I never felt totally loved even though he was faithful and mature and handsome and worked at an investment bank and was athletic and tall and blond and blue-eyed and looked like a J. Crew model. He was 11 years older than me and lived in an expensive loft in Tribeca. But that ended over a decade ago, ladies and gentlemen, and before that, there were only occasional 1-3 month relationships. And since then I've been in and out of 1-3 month relationships, and none of them work out. I have two cats and I'm trying to train them to shake my hand with their paws. Are any of you cat lovers?

Ladies and gentlemen, I work hard and I try to make the right choices. I'm just asking for a little help. Maybe I just need to find myself, but if there's anything you can spare? I'm not asking much. A phone number. An email. A set-up for coffee. You seem like you're a coffee drinker or that you might know someone who drinks coffee? I'm too proud to do online dating, because I want things to just happen naturally, through the path of my life, wherever it's supposed to take me. I'm sorry I didn't mean you specifically, sir.

I don't have any STDs or any baggage like children or an ex-husband. I tend to meet guys on the street, like this one middle-aged pediatrician who had an extra ticket to the movies one night when I was standing outside the theater looking at show times. He was brainy and sort of cute. We went out to dinner once, but then he kept texting even though we'd already made a plan for the following week, and I felt like we really weren't on the same page. I also had a thing recently where I kept fooling around with my personal trainers, one after the other, until each relationship became no longer viable, for one reason or another. My boyfriend from a decade ago moved to California, where he's married and has two children now. We keep in touch occasionally, but I still think he wouldn't have been right for me in the long run.

I'm a light sleeper. I get very hot at night especially when there's someone in bed next to me. I wake up a lot to pee. I tend to be nervous and sensitive, and I like to have a certain amount of control and order with things. But I'm a very nurturing girlfriend. Guys have called me everything from "sexy beast" to "a really good date." Which makes me think of this song I'd like to sing for you called, "She's Always a Woman," by Billy Joel, because I feel like that's kind of like me. I can ruin your faith. But I take care of myself.

Sometimes it happens that a guy I went out with five or more years ago for 1-3 months or sporadically for nine months or something like that will return five years later and start expressing all kinds of interest, like, he'll call or text on a semi-regular basis, and I'll find myself thinking, Why didn't you show that much interest five years ago when I was desperate to have a relationship with you and obsessing over you nonstop and would kneel on my bathroom rug alone and pray that you would call and tell me you loved me, or just call and ask me to a movie? And then I think, Now that you're showing me all this interest, why am I totally repulsed by you? Like, you're totally repugnant to me. Like, I can't wait for the morning to come so you'll get out of my bed and leave me alone. Is that because I was actually repulsed by you originally five years ago, and that you maybe had a personality disorder, but I pretended to be obsessed with you to give myself something to do with my life even though I knew subconsciously that you weren't right for me, but like I say I was bored and lonely and needed to fantasize wildly to keep from harming myself? Is this seat free, sir? Is it ok if I sit here? Oh, come on, smile! I promise, once you show me any real attention, I'll lose interest in you. But seriously do you think that maybe Neil and I were actually very attracted to each other and compatible five years ago, but that I sabotaged it by acting desperate because I was afraid that you, I mean Neil, would abandon me if I ever let him get too close to me? And that I'm still afraid you'll abandon me, even five years later, even though you're pursuing me kind of regularly? Has that ever happened to you ma'am? Or you? You look like a happy couple, what's your secret? When you suddenly feel totally dead inside, ma'am, do you worry that you're incapable of true intimacy or are on some level repugnant to yourself and to others, or do you just get some therapy and let the relationship keep moving forward? What if you stop being able to have orgasms with him? Do you see that a sign of anything significant, or is it just a lull in the relationship? Oh, is this your stop?

Anyway, ladies and gentleman, thank you for listening. If there's anything you can spare, even a kind word, or something like telling me: "It'll work out for you when the time is right. You won't be alone for the rest of your life." You can also say that I'm not like other single women in New York, that I'm different. I would appreciate it very much. God bless you.

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