NY Love Story A.D. 2019

I don’t like romantic comedies. And I can tell you why. Once, it used to be my favorite genre, but I grew up since then (a bit). Also — I moved to NY. Romantic comedies just don’t make sense any more; their plots are not based in reality at all. I just experienced something that only confirmed that hunch.

I went to Sweetgreen (fast casual eating spot) and it’s been a while since I last went there since (lately, I’ve been mostly cooking for myself). Still, I felt like I wanted to look around in Williamsburg (probably the most popular neighborhood in Brooklyn at the moment), and do some people-watching, so I decided to give it a shot. I bought my salad, sat down, started eating and… he walked in. There he was: this gorgeous (younger than me, but let’s not dwell upon that), tall, blonde guy who looked like he walked off the cover of “Men’s Health” magazine. (It’s NY, baby, we do have men like that aplenty — and I’m grateful for that every single day).

“Hello, Mr. Californian Surfer wrapped in cold NY fall weather.”, I thought to myself. For some reason, he sat down at the table in front of mine; our tables were but a few feet away (still, there was nothing between them, so there was “nothing between us”, either). When I looked at him for the first time, I almost choked on my “Warm Fall Salad”. We „casually” looked at each other once. After a few chewing moves we “accidentally” looked at each other again. Of course.

And what would happen, had this been a romantic comedy? We would look at each other the third time, smile, and he would have come with his reusable plate of fresh greens to sit next to me. We would chat, set up a date and fall in love with each other (since we have so many things in common, like eating a salad on a cold NY day…). 

And why it didn’t happen? Because reality happened. And the reality was just about this: I was focused like never before not to end up with salad on my pants and was focusing on discreetly removing spinach from between my teeth. Every time I looked at him, I just did this: “Mhm…” out loud (I couldn’t stop myself!). And meanwhile, he was… on his phone. Our eyes met twice again, although I wasn’t sure if he was looking at me, or was just staring ahead. Nowadays you just don’t know what this blank stare means – is he still processing images seen on his phone, or is he actually looking at me? What happened next? I got up and left, giving him the patented “last look” and caught him… staring at his phone. Thus love story ends.

I’m not saying all this with regret or sadness — God forbid. I’m just telling you what’s the reality in almost-2019. And it’s not even that I wanted him to talk to me (he was way too young… but then he was gorgeous…). I could talk to him, but I didn’t even want to. That’s why I’m saying that romantic comedies make no sense to me anymore. First of all — the chances that two people would even look at each other amount to pretty much perfect zero, at least in NY. Everyone is staring at their phone – that’s our romantic reality. I looked around Sweetgren and everyone was on their phone. I have a deal with myself that I don’t check my phone while I’m eating, so I was the only one looking around into the actual space surrounding me. Even had we continued exchanging looks with the Blond Prince, the chances of one of us doing something are really, really (really!) small. We were both just after work (well, he might have been freshly off his school…), both were tired (plus I was in pain because of my period), I was thinking about things I have to do in the next few days (and there are many of them), he was probably thinking about similar stuff, too (that’s why the blank stare) and even if we liked each other, there are just other “things” to draw our attention and keep it. Plus — and that’s something I’ve already written about on JLNY — it’s New York, so the chances that I meet an equally gorgeous guy next day are hovering around 100%. He will also see other older, Eastern European blondes too, probably even on the very same evening. And that’s our “problem” — a luxurious one — but still a problem. 

And once again: I’m not whining, or feeling bad about it. That’s simply the reality. And this is what the movies should be about, instead of feeding us with some crap that most likely never happens. Let’s make some movies about running away from our lives and relationships into our phones, shall we…? I have the feeling that what’s really coming for us is this painful sensation of loneliness that many people will experience more and more often (not only single people; the relationship status will have nothing to do with that, and that’s the saddest paradox of it all). And that will be a result of hiding in an online world that can easily tend to all your desires and real feelings with a few hashtags. Seriously, we need to #wakeup