I really dig your company…”
— Jill Scott
Or perhaps, it would be more accurate to say, “He’s back.” That’s right, Folks; The Scribe is back in New York, and it’s been…kind of awesome.
Indeed, the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind worthy of the best New York rom-com montage: long walks through the city, deep conversations in smoky lounges, intimate dinners, packed nightclubs followed by post-midnight snacks in dimly-lit bars…soundtrack by Terrence Blanchard, of course.
For a native New Yorker-turned-expat to LA (him) and a longtime resident (me), there seemed to be something especially poignant about exploring New York together—seeing things anew for the first time in a long time—while simultaneously exploring the idea of each other. And yes, it would seem that, aside from our pesky little bicoastal issue, we are indeed simpatico. The empathy is strong with this one.
As you might recall, I experienced the joy of empathy early on in my online experimentation: first, with “Sondheim,” who I had so much in common with, except perhaps, physical attraction. Then, there was “The Counselor,” who had everything going for him—except his marital status, which was firmly set on “Separated”. And of course, who could forget the more recent appearance of “Nine Lives,” who made a promising start with his intellect and humor, only to blow it by going full-scale basic (or just base).
So, how does The Scribe differ, if at all? Well, for starters, he’s reminding me of the one vital component that can neither be manufactured nor manipulated: Chemistry.
Don’t get me wrong: I hadn’t forgotten about chemistry, or diminished its importance. It’d just been so long since I experienced it, I was beginning to suspect that I might not recognize it, even if it suddenly clutched me and kissed me right in the street (as The Bro/Beau so confidently did*).
*For the record: I used to love that move, however awkwardly I might’ve responded in the moment. Frankly, I think I found something deeply gratifying in such an open display of desire; some validation that relieved me of the pressure of having to decide what I really wanted…
But here’s the thing about chemistry: when it’s there, it’s unmistakable. I’d forgotten how easy it was to spot; that is, until I was sitting at a bar with The Scribe, so curious about what it would be like to kiss him that I did something I’ve never done before:
I leaned in.
Yes, you read that right, and I mean it—figuratively, as well as literally—I straight up, Sheryl Sandberg-style “leaned in.” This is to say that for the first time possibly ever, I didn’t wait to be kissed. Sitting in a nearly empty bar, fingers entwined, taking a break in our conversation for the first time in hours, I simply took his hand, placed it exactly where I wanted it to be—cradling my face and neck just so—and leaned IN.
And it was…kind of awesome. Frankly, I think Sheryl would’ve been proud, even if it wasn’t her original intent.
So, then what happened, you ask?
Well, a lot more kissing, of course (No, really. A LOT). But it also opened up the conversation in a new way—after all, we weren’t just speaking hypothetically, anymore. And no, we haven’t come to any consensus about what it all means, or should mean, or how we should proceed. Not yet.
But having crossed that particular threshold to intimacy, we decided to brave another. Obviously, should we decide to move forward, we’d be doing so from quite a distance; so, shouldn’t we figure out if we’re even compatible enough to even give it serious consideration?
Enter the much-discussed 36 questions fabled to make you fall in love with anyone—even a stranger. At least, that was the claim made by Dr. Arthur Aron over two decades ago (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/modern-love-to-fall-in-love-with-anyone-do-this.html).
Was our objective to fall in love immediately? No, absolutely not. But, if we were capable of falling in love (which we both agreed was our objective—independent of each other), this might be a good way to find out if we were well matched.
Now, a word to the wise: don’t start this exercise after midnight, because it does take awhile. In fact, it took us so long that we have yet to enter that final “36th Chamber” (shout-out to the Shaolin). We’ve also yet to attempt the optional 4 minutes of staring into each other’s eyes afterwards. Well, at least not deliberately.
But it was incredibly revealing, and unexpectedly intimate. True confession: I’m not sure I’ve ever let a man see me shed tears so early on in a potential relationship. But since vulnerability is clearly the objective here, I suppose it’s within the realm of possible outcomes.
Do I recommend it? Maybe, but only with someone you’d be willing to fall for. And while both of us seem to still have our feet firmly planted on the firmament, at present, I think it’s fair to say that could change, because…I don’t know about him, but I may be willing.
After all, how far can you lean in, before you eventually fall?