Thursday, January 4, 2007

My Long Distance Relationship

Back in sixth grade when every relationship was a long distance relationship, not merely because your mom had to drive you to the movies and pick you up, but because none of your friends could know you had a girlfriend lest they label you something awful like “girl lover,” lending a certain emotional long distance to the relationship as well, I remember thinking, even then, “I don’t know how people do it.”

I’m an instant gratification kind of person. Rarely do I make plans more than a day in advance for the sole reason that why wait? And almost never do I keep friends who move away. I remember when my friend Tara told me that she had accepted a job in Boston and was moving there to be with the man she had fallen in love with and would eventually marry, and I thought, “How sad, I really liked you.” Or when my friend Shereen decided to move to Japan for a year to teach English and the day after she left I woke with an ache in my heart that I knew Shereen was dead – to me.

So imagine my consternation when I found out that my current girlfriend lived in Brooklyn, a place so foreign to me that even when I lived there I rarely visited. The distance was mind-boggling. The first time I took a cab home from her apartment, I fell asleep in the back seat. I woke up with a start what seemed like hours later and immediately thought that this was it for me, that I would be killed by this insane cab driver who obviously kidnapped me and had been driving around for hours looking for the remotest location to bury me alive. As I looked desperately out the window for some indication, a last bit of comfort in knowing where my grave would be, I saw the sign for the Brooklyn Bridge. I as halfway home.

What this means for the relationship is that it involves planning. (See: the part where I say I never make plans.) If this were a sitcom and I called “Brooke” at 5:00 to ask her if she wanted to get a drink after work, she would say, “Sure, let me run home and change first.” Then, after an hysterical interlude involving two friends, one possibly gay, discussing in hilarious detail how the other can’t get married because he’ll never sleep with another woman ever again!, it would cut to “Brooke” and I walking down the street seemingly minutes later. Well in real life there is no “Let me run home and change first,” unless you plan on “meeting up” for a late dinner. For us, seeing one another requires foresight and a well executed plan; it involves talking on the phone the night before and, in some rare instances, diagrams. And most of all it means that you be prepared, that you carry a Jack Bauer bag everywhere you go and in that bag is the essentials – underwear, deodorant, batteries, phosphorous matches and water. Because if you are not prepared, things like last Tuesday happen.

Flashback to Sunday night, New Years Eve. Plans include two parties, neither of which I am comfortable at being “the guy with the bag.” The “plan” though is to go back to “Brooke’s” apartment after the second party. In a move I would later recall as “stupid,” I decided I would simply spend the night at her place, wake up the next morning and then go home – nothing more than a glorified all-nighter.

Flash forward to Monday night. Me, still in the same clothes. My choices: tear myself from her couch, which has become for me the definition of comfort, and take the hour long commute home, or stay the night again. And just as my mind is about to contemplate the drawbacks of Option Two (e.g. needing to be at work in the morning IN THE SAME CLOTHES), a new episode of the Twilight Zone came on and the take-out arrived, sealing my fate.

Flash forward to Tuesday. I am a mess. My walk of shame has turned into a trip to the diner, walking the dog, half hour commute, entire day of sitting at my desk wondering if that was foot scrub I used to wash my face journey of shame. No shower can replace the want of a fresh pair of underwear. There are plenty of places a man can go commando – work isn’t one of them. The notion that halfway through a meeting I could suddenly remember that should my fly accidentally be open that I am letting my boss into a world very few people have ventured into before is gut wrenching. My underwear is no better. My hair? Smells like a girl. Dove? Not strong enough for a man. The dichotomy of scents (Is it flowers and sweat?) confuses me as all at once I am nostalgic for my girlfriend and sick of myself.

On the subway ride home, looking down at the stain on my pants wondering how many days that had been there, I knew three things for sure: That if this is what being homeless is like (only without the sex and the food and the home) then it really must be as awful as all the rumors say; and that all good relationships really do require sacrifice, and sometimes that sacrifice means the woman sitting next to me on the 6 train making that “What’s that smell?” face before noticing the stain on my pants and then making the “Oh” face and discreetly turning away; and though I am positive the sixth grade version of me never thought it would come to this, he may have overestimated the question in the first place.

54 Comments:

Blogger Ashley said...

"Brooke" could at least have the decency to live somewhere on the 4 or 5 line in Brooklyn so you'd have a straight shot home. Geez. At least you're not in a different time zone, although that might even be better at times because Hey! At least you wouldn't be lured to the couch of snuggly filth (see: the Slanket)

January 4, 2007 at 1:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

I'm unfortunatly going through the same thing with my new boyfriend. Well, there aren't cabs or subways involved, but it involves a 40 minute drive to his house, through what might possibly be the worst traffic in Southern Maryland, through a series distractions (bars! men!) And I always end up having to spend the night because its so far. I too am the "bag carrier" but I'm a chick so it isn't so bad.

January 4, 2007 at 1:15:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Nines said...

Well worth the wait.

I spent a year and a half in a long distance relationship, and now all I have to show for it is a lot of receipts for many, many oil changes.

I'm looking for ways to condense that and make into a t-shirt and/or bumper sticker.

January 4, 2007 at 1:19:00 PM EST  
Blogger kate said...

I broke up with a guy last year because he lived in Brooklyn. It's like (pre-racist) Kramer said, They have a different Virgin megastore and everything.

January 4, 2007 at 2:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger the girl also blogs said...

I'm having a teeny bit of trouble showing you sympathy here, as my boy lives in AUSTRALIA and we have to plan two days in advance just to talk on the phone.

That being said, if he moves here and ends up living in Queens (or worse, Staten Island), it's over between us.

January 4, 2007 at 2:18:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI - That bag of supplies you refer to is called a "hobag."

January 4, 2007 at 2:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger Meow said...

Dating, Episode 4: You give in and buy doubles of everything necessary to keep yourself both alive and socially acceptable, causing yourself further guilt and shame for needing so many items to carry out said task.

But you do it anyway, and feel relieved for having eyeliner stashed in two remote medicine cabinets.

January 4, 2007 at 2:27:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Nines said...

Alright, we need to help Dan here.

If you do not already have one, you must invest in some sort of socially acceptable male bag. Be it a messenger bag or a gym bag, it needs to be big enough to store the following items:

1. Button-up shirt.
2. Slacks.
3. Socks.
4. Boxers.
5. Undershirt (if you're into that sort of thing).

You also need to comandeer a shelf in the GFs bathroom cabinent and stock a manly supply of Old Spice deoderant and body wash, and some American Crew hair products.

In order to avoid social faux pas regarding the bag you're now relegated to carrying, you must keep it closed at all times and simply refer to it as your gym bag.

Try not to gain too much relationship weight, as getting chubby will most definitely ruin your gym bag cover story.

January 4, 2007 at 2:51:00 PM EST  
Blogger The [older] sister said...

Didn't we just get survival packs for Christmas?

January 4, 2007 at 3:15:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people? Anything worthwhile is worth working for. Maybe the chick's not worth it if you have to whine and complain about carrying a bag. Lazy.

January 4, 2007 at 3:45:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She makes you crash on the couch? That's just like Sixth Grade!

January 4, 2007 at 3:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger Betty said...

Typically I have always dated guys living in manhattan, but my standards are slipping. Try being a girl - you leave your makeup at home and you are fucked. I have curly hair- you have seen it! When I go into work with out showering it's obvious. Guy I am seeing lives in Queens, never dated Queens yet.

January 4, 2007 at 3:53:00 PM EST  
Blogger DrunkBrunch said...

Sigh, this is why all my personal ads say: "Will not travel for ass. Please live near a 2/3 train."

January 4, 2007 at 4:12:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long distance means you move quicker to the step of keeping crap at each other's places.
Keep a gym bag there with a couple sets of necessary T-shirts, underwear, socks and casual pants. That way if you stay all weekend, you can wear Monday what you wore Friday with the knowledge that at least it is only the 2nd day you are in it. Oh yeah spend $10 on manly deodorant and shampoo to leave there.
You bring the bag one time and just "accidentally" leave it there. Options to restock from home or wash there.
It is weird when it seems to early for this step.
Catnip

January 4, 2007 at 4:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger FoundClothing said...

Maybe you should make "get some perspective" one of your New Year's resolutions. Some people can't afford to ride the subway, let alone pay for a cab. But here you are, bitching and moaning about how you have to travel across a river. Whiny, self-absorbed bullshit.

January 4, 2007 at 4:31:00 PM EST  
Blogger Classy Girl said...

Sweat and flower infusion? Stained pants? Self-loathing? It’s all just part of the recipe of love, no? And regardless of the distance it’s like what Captain and Tennille said, love will keep you together. I mean, I guess. Though I’m not sure Captain ever had to carry a man bag around. Maybe it’s time to start just leaving things there, realizing the risk that at one point or another, you may never see any of those things ever again (read: keep all favorite t-shirts you’ve had since high school at home). Good luck.

January 4, 2007 at 4:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Ooohhh... I HATE the "bring the bag to her place and 'accidentally' leave it there" thing. Mainly because my boyfriend has done it and now I'm picking up after him AND me. I'm messy enough on my own; I don't need to pick up his crap. Plus I live in a studio where all my storage space is crammed to the gills. Of course, he drives to my place (sadly, I'm not metro accessible), so he really could keep all that shit in his car. Or I could throw it out the window. Either one.

January 4, 2007 at 4:58:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but you're being a really, really big baby. Wearing the same clothes for a few days in a row, while still getting to shower does not bring you anywhere near to understanding homelessness. You must suck to be in a relationship with.

January 4, 2007 at 5:02:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan et al,

This is one of the fundamental problems with the east coast. CRAZY commuting times.
But then, after years of working in the Las Vegas service industry, I have issues with east coasters... and French Canadians.

I'm opening to being helped/educated, but, it would be pretty hard to convince me.
Although I do love you, Dan. But you're not native, right?

January 4, 2007 at 5:07:00 PM EST  
Blogger Debs said...

What's with all the Dan-hating? Must be what happens when Gawker links to your blog.

January 4, 2007 at 5:17:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooklyn is not Siberia--get over it. Good anecdote, but come on!

January 4, 2007 at 5:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger crazysilver said...

Jeez, the commenters are tough around here...they take blogging wayyy too seriously..

So...I HATE giving advice on blogs, I kinda prefer to add the occasional "hahaha" in the comment section to keep the good ones going but...

think it's time to leave some soap, deoderant, undies and a quick change of clothes at her house yet?

January 4, 2007 at 5:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger a leather glove said...

Wow, I had to go back and read the original post again to see where all this anger comes from. After reading it again, I realized one thing: it's only January 4. Everyone who resolved to quit smoking and is still holding out hope of resisting that first grit, everyone who quit overeating and began exercising as a resolution and is still holding out resisting rejoining team couch, everyone who resolved to stop having meaningless sex with total strangers just after bar time and hasn't gotten laid in a few days has dropped by Dan's blog today and decided to leave a comment. It's like being in a drunk argument. Sober up. Go smoke. Go eat. Go have sex with strangers. Reread the post with "funny" in mind.

Jeebus, people, take it easy.

January 4, 2007 at 5:47:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As they say in 'hood venacular:

"Dan Diddy Double-D Dogg iz tiiiiiiiight. All ya all other peeps iz being whack ta him! Balla's gonna ball. Hata's gonna hate. Keep it real, Dan. and git Sheniquah's ass back ova' heeah. yo."

January 4, 2007 at 5:49:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Your friend Tara said...

I've been in Boston for a whole three years (with one year in NYC squeezed somewhere in there) and you're doing so well with the long distance. Granted, you never call, never write and I only see you when I come to NY, but look... we're still friends! I think you'll have no problem with Brooklyn.


And also, people are mean on your new blog.

January 4, 2007 at 6:27:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that some people should get a life and stop taking the writing so seriously. Geez.

January 4, 2007 at 6:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Airam said...

I say you ask for a drawer.

January 4, 2007 at 8:09:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you always such a woman about everything?

January 4, 2007 at 9:59:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Arwen said...

Don't listen to the jerks. That was funn-ay!

January 4, 2007 at 10:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Stacy said...

Is there some sort of funny bone litmus test that you can make your readers pass before they are allowed to comment?

Readers: If you can't see humor in this post, do yourself a favor and forget the address.

Dan, there is nothing wrong with carrying your man bag but I do understand the desire to not drag it around to parties. I use the same excuse for no working out on Fridays... I couldn't possibly work out - what on earth would i do with my gym shoes when I go to the bar after work?... I feel ya.

January 4, 2007 at 11:03:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the drama! I can "see the humor," in fact, I'm endlessly amused by the faux hipster NYC boy thing, with lots of cute girl fans agonizing over well-articulated comments. Nice soundbites and all, don't get me wrong, but I can't help but be grateful that you're all rounded up on one self-congratulatory island.

I know it's easier to pretend that detractors don't have a sense of humor, but it's not usually that easy. Usually their brains work just fine and they just think you're kind of lame.

January 5, 2007 at 12:40:00 AM EST  
Blogger SAILOR MOON said...

I got a better opinion than anyone else. If you have so much trouble talk to your girl. If she loves you then she will buy the shit for you. Problem solved. PLus, at this rate shouldnt she be in "i want to dress you mode. So from now on imma choose the cloths for you to wear when you come".
I would just supply you with stuff. It would be easier.

On the other hand - I dont do complicated, so i would loook for anther chick . If the sex is good I would wait longer then disconnect.

If non of those is an option then I think that you're in love and she doesnt love you as much as you do her. Seriously, I wouldnt want a guy to go through so much trouble. I think its kinda selfish....espicially if she hasnt done it....

Oh well - aither way hte blog was funny. But it sounds like you "got it bad" like Usher says...

And last but not least LOVE YOU DAN!

January 5, 2007 at 1:16:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

You are a pathetic douchebag.

January 5, 2007 at 2:11:00 AM EST  
Blogger NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

It sounds like a big pain in the ass to keep that thing going. I'd say fuck it, unless the sex is really good. Is it? Cause then I'd say keep going Commando like Arnold! Woooo-hooooo! "I eat green berets for breakfast!!!!"

January 5, 2007 at 3:22:00 AM EST  
Blogger Nicole said...

Since Brooklyn qualifies as long-distance in the relationshippy scheme of things, perhaps you could lobby for phone sex, one of the clear benefits of an LDR.

January 5, 2007 at 6:01:00 AM EST  
Blogger Jules said...

Why are people so rude? Can't they get the humor in this post? Come on, asshats! Get a sense of humor already and leave Dan alone. Geez...

January 5, 2007 at 9:42:00 AM EST  
Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Maybe you should make "get some perspective" one of your New Year's resolutions. Some people can't afford to ride the subway, let alone pay for a cab. But here you are, bitching and moaning about how you have to travel across a river. Whiny, self-absorbed bullshit.

Niiiiice! Great comment. I love the blogging world.

January 5, 2007 at 9:56:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude's just saying. You know. Cool the fuck out, it's elegant writing and there IS something really wierd about inadvertantly smelling like your girl friend... all lotiony and shit.

And remember funny?

January 5, 2007 at 10:11:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, maybe we can't get the humor because its not funny? Why don't you move back to where you came from? The city is already too full with people like you and your friends.

January 5, 2007 at 10:26:00 AM EST  
Anonymous a southern girl said...

I loved the post. I thought it was HA-larious. And I liked A Leather Glove's comment. Sounds like most of your commenters just need to get some.

January 5, 2007 at 11:20:00 AM EST  
Blogger Natalie said...

I once offended a guy by telling him we wouldn't have had a relationship if he had lived too far downtown, much less brooklyn

January 5, 2007 at 11:41:00 AM EST  
Blogger Midwesterner in NYC said...

When I first moved here I lived on the UES and dated a girl in Brooklyn. I mean I was fresh off the boat from Missouri and thought the 'actual distance' of 8 miles was not a big deal. Wow, after a few weeks of riding the F train for 45 minutes one way I changed my mind. And I am familiar with packing a bag. Brooklyn is not Siberia though, I actually really liked it there. I would spend so much time in Brooklyn on the weekends (her apartment was HUGE) that after we broke up and I was back in my Manhattan apartment on the weekend I had serious withdrawal.

January 5, 2007 at 12:11:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you were special, she’d move within a five block radius of your apartment.

January 5, 2007 at 12:27:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to read this post twice and realized he never even asked for anyones opinion. Come on people this is Dan's blog not yours. If you don't like it then don't read it. I personally thought it was funny and even though I can't relate I know my boyfriend could. Anywho I'm glad your back to blogging Dan.

January 5, 2007 at 12:54:00 PM EST  
Blogger DevilsHeaven said...

WOW. Some people need to have a 5 martini lunch and just get over it. If you've got the nerve to leave a nasty comment, then at least have a big enough pair to post your name as well.
Living without a public transit system, at all, I can't really relate, because I thought it was FAB-U-LOUS when I visited NYC over Christmas and didn't have to worry about driving and parking. However, I can relate to the distance thing. I convinced my BF to find a place closer by threatening to nix overnighters. And even though he is closer, all of 4 miles away, I live a double toiletry life. And he leaves Friday's clothes to be washed for Monday's workday.

January 5, 2007 at 1:54:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is.

January 5, 2007 at 2:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger crazysilver said...

devilsheaven:

How the crap did you convince him of that? I'm dealing with a dreadful 22 minute commute.

I hate boyfriends.

I hate washing boyfriends clothes when he doesn't even pay 1/2 my mortgage.

Next time, I'm leaving clothes at HIS house.

Oh wait...he's never home to wash them!

He has got to start paying 1/2 the mortgage...

thanks for walking me through that..

January 5, 2007 at 4:30:00 PM EST  
Anonymous a good friend said...

to anonymous commenter #5-- you understand "homeless"? have you ever been out on the streets? apparantly you have a resource to read dan's blog, so i guess not.

to "a leather glove"-- thanks for saying what i'm thinking for me.

January 5, 2007 at 5:34:00 PM EST  
Anonymous the [younger] sister said...

i don't see any of you protesting in washington or releasing public statements about paris hilton's stupidity-- keep your criticism for topics that actually deserve it. in case you haven't noticed, dan's already good at writing absurd satires all about the extravagance of life in america; he doesn't need your two cents.

January 5, 2007 at 5:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lori Mocha said...

I didn't know blogging was such a rough business.

January 5, 2007 at 10:14:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jay said...

When will it come to the point where you are keeping spare underwear/deodorant at her apartment -- and if that day comes, will it mean you have lost the battle with the distance?

January 6, 2007 at 2:40:00 AM EST  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

I gotta say, all the new haters here at [redacted] are getting me down. I am a fan of Dan's blogs (r.i.p., Daily Dump) purely for his humor and overall silliness in relaying his daily life. Add witty comments from a variety of fellow bloggers to the mix and it's a guaranteed laugh. There's plenty of serious blogs out there - for the love of God, please stop trying to make this one!

January 8, 2007 at 1:55:00 PM EST  
Blogger heatheradair said...

aha - the inherent difference between dating in the greater NY area and dating everywhere else in the USofA...

CARS.

yep...forget messenger "gym" bag or "shelf in the bathroom," us west-coasties just ditch our homes and closets in favor of "the trunk." change of clothes, shoes, second set of any and all toiletries (keep the perfume and the deodorant in the center console). Lived outta the trunk for a year...even had a spare alarm clock on the floor in the backseat (er, in case the boyfriend's broke? hmmm).

yer at a definite "metropolitan" disadvantage.

(and I'm with Indigo...all these high-strung anon's are a new and unusual and not altogether pleasant thing...)

January 8, 2007 at 8:31:00 PM EST  
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