By Anna Murphy
New York, NY, USA
When I moved to New York City 3+ years ago, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I was told there were two females for every male and that the ratio had consequences. Namely, to score a mate or even a date, women had to be aggressive. Having lived my life confined within sorority walls, and having experienced courting in the form of pledge rides and comped pitchers of Natty Lite, aggression to me was a four-letter word. I thought the guys would come around.
My mindset was magnified by the fact that I had a cloister of sorority sisters already living in the Big Apple who still maintained the privileged air of college elite, even among a sea of other girls who were the crème de la crème of their respective backgrounds. I wouldn't call it unusual. I wouldn't even call it delusional. But I would say that it was a wakeup call when you realized you weren't the "bee's knees" anymore.
I was recently talking to a guy friend who is 28. He compared being a male his age in NYC to being a girl at 18, because they have the world at their fingertips. Guys here finally have enough money to play with, they have the advantage of being in high demand, they are able to acceptably binge drink until they're 38, and they can casually date. And date. And date.
I remember vividly going on a double date with Sarah (my sorority sister and NYC roommate) the first year we lived in the city. I had met a guy at Bowery Bar, and although I usually said "no" to anyone and everyone, he stood out because he wanted to get coffee instead of the usual beer. Of course, this ended up just being a ploy to get me to consent to meeting again. And eventually, we chose a time and place, but only after I convinced him to bring a friend for my friend. Codependence was another thing we held strong to, even after the graduation caps were thrown and diplomas hung. It turned out that I liked the guy's friend better than him, and Sarah liked my guy - so we switched dates, mid-date. Something that seemed acceptable at the time.
Cut to drinks hours later at the Gramercy Park Hotel and a conversation that would be hazy if it were not so jolting. My original date (who was 30ish, stocky and squawky) decided to make the very bold assessment that Sarah and I were in our prime at age 22. He acknowledged that we were not getting any younger and that next year, another "shipload" (believe these were the exact words) of recently graduated girls would grace New York City and he would be waiting. We exchanged some heated words and Sarah and I abruptly left.
Technically, I should not have been angry because what he said was entirely true. But it sparked something inside me that night and snuffed out the prideful flame that was still burning bright. I was left with somewhat of an inner calm, however, once I realized that in order to be jealous or lose the rat race, you actually have to compete. I decided then and there that dating would be a pastime and that I would not allow it to consume me.
This might seem like a backwards statement, coming from someone who historically has dated and blogged about it for kicks, but it actually supports my point. Dating was a recreational activity for me. If I knew these guys weren't that serious, I wasn't about to put all my cards on the table - just enough to make it a fun game.
Although there are 22-year-old girls arriving in NYC all the time, I am today more comfortable and confident in my skin at 26 than I have ever been. I am grateful that I am no longer 22 and that I have learned to tell the difference between NYC males and NYC men.
Anna Murphy enjoys long runs along the Hudson River, live music, vegan cookies and the Florida Gators.