Once a week, Daily Intel peeks behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the delightfully naïve journalism intern, 22, female, Upper East Side house-sitting, straight, single.
9:30 a.m.: I begin life as a real person, a grown-up! In New York! This is the land of limitless possibility! Everywhere I go I look around and I think, “Would I have sex with you? Would I have sex with you? Or you?” Usually the answer is no.
11:30 p.m.: Covering a fashion event for work (I’m an unpaid intern). Only lechy old photographers want to hit on me. I play along and accept business cards, because I know I never have to see them again.
1 a.m.: Come home to my summer apartment for the first time. Removable showerhead: noted.
8 p.m.: Shakespeare in the Park with my college-newspaper protégé — he had an extra ticket. He is the best guy, very goofy and earnest. My fellow editors and I used to wonder whether we all had crushes on him. We didn’t, quite, but it was fun to act like we did.
11 p.m.: I think the reason I liked Twelfth Night so much in high school was that it presented sexual desire as a totally solitary, isolating experience. I went to an all-girls school. When we put on Twelfth Night, I had to play Orsino, and I was pissed.
12:30 a.m.: Gay friend-for-life/surrogate little brother meets me outside my apartment to pass off the antidepressants I left at his place in Brooklyn. My heart swells with love for him. We chat for a while, and coin the acronym MNBF — My New Boyfriend — for the supposedly straight guy he wishes to bang.
11:45 a.m.: Furtive eye contact with an attractive dude on the subway. I sidle (noncommittally) toward his end of the car. He sidles closer. We chat about Netherland, which I’m reading. He suggests coffee sometime, and gets my number. Limitless Possibility! Yes!
9:45 p.m.: Time to investigate that removable showerhead, so I bring Philosophy in the Boudoir with me to the tub. I want to break up my vibrator-and-Internet monotony. The Marquis de Sade and running water: back to basics.
10:05 p.m.: Soak in tub post-orgasm. Contemplate lapsed pubic grooming situation. What level of maintenance will be expected of me in New York? I was doing fine by college standards, but everything is different here.
8 a.m.: Fell asleep naked. It occurs to me that when I was in a relationship I slept naked virtually every night. I miss that, even if I don’t really miss my dumb ex-boyfriend.
9:45 a.m.: Put on American Apparel’s cleverly named “Sexuali-Tee.” Good shirt. Too bad I will probably be chaste for the rest of my days.
10:15 a.m.: Notice as I’m getting off the train that the boy sitting across from me was reading Strunk & White. Maybe I should have made furtive eye contact with him! He’s checking me out through the window! Too late. Chaste for the rest of my days.
12:30 p.m.: Hmmm. Circumstantial evidence (on Facebook) suggests that the former T.A. I slept with a few months ago is in the city. Hmmm. I can’t in good conscience pursue anything; he has a girlfriend.
8:45 p.m.: Guy from the subway calls and I miss it; he leaves a message. Perfect. This is the least stressful part of a flirtation: I have zero investment, so nothing matters. Limitless possibility!
12:45 p.m.: Upon reflection, was it weird that I flirted with a guy on the subway? It didn’t feel weird. But I had just taken a Klonopin — maybe nothing would have felt weird. I have to call him back.
1:25 p.m.: I thought it was funny when one of my friends said she felt like her BlackBerry trackball was a little clitoris. I got a BlackBerry a couple of weeks ago, and it’s true. Suddenly have a strong memory of blathering about this last weekend while drunk. Ah.
1:45 p.m.: I will go outside; I will have a cigarette; I will call him back.
2 p.m.: I called back! Left a voice mail! I am great at being normal!
2:05 p.m.: Meeting people is horrible. I wish real life were like college, where you could just wait to run into the person while drunk and then make out.
9 p.m.: Dinner party to christen the new apartment. This is great, but am I reverting into the asexual semblance of middle age that characterized my high-school experience? I don’t want to do that.
Midnight: Extended post-dinner discussion by male guests of how they figured out masturbation.
1 a.m.: We are joined by a guy we know who improbably sleeps with gorgeous women. I wonder: How does he do it? By having the bravado of a much hotter man. And: Would I do him? No. No, I would not.
1 p.m.: More asexual domesticity. I make granola, I make tomato sauce, I make plans to make bread.
4 p.m.: Halfhearted attempt to masturbate (showerhead, Anaïs Nin). Not. Into. It. Give up and read Netherland. Have heard horror stories from friends who were unable to come while taking Lexapro — I haven’t had problems before, but maybe I fucked with my system by letting my prescription lapse when I moved.
9 p.m.: Facebook friend the boy who sleeps with gorgeous women.
9:15 p.m.: Friendship accepted.
Midnight.: Find a link on Jezebel to the Daily Mail article “Experience: I am a Hermit.” I have not left my apartment all day.
11:15 a.m.: Online. Read review of A Vindication of Love. Apparently I should be having complicated and painful entanglements. Cool — thanks, Cristina Nehring. I’ll get right on that.
4 p.m.: Summer is the time for committed long-term relationships with HBO dramas. I’m on season four of The Wire, but I decide to start watching True Blood because The Wire (for all its merits) lacks sex.
5 p.m.: This is exactly what I was in the market for — sexy, about half as smart as it wants to be, and batshit insane.
7 p.m.: Surrogate-brother-friend comes over for dinner. We decide that we should date visual artists, because we will appreciate their pursuits but not feel competitive. Friend determines that he needs to date someone more fun and exciting than himself; he’s tired of always being the fun and exciting one. I determine that I need to date someone older and to be better at dating.
8 p.m.: Subway guy calls back. We chat for twelve minutes (are we in a long-distance relationship? What is this?), which is a little weird but totally manageable and not at all displeasing. We make plans to get drinks Tuesday night. Date-o-rama.
8:15 p.m.: Fleetingly I have this thought, and I know it’s retarded, but I have it anyway: I wish my life were more like True Blood.
TOTALS: Two acts of masturbation, one stopped owing to potential antidepressant side effects; zero acts of intercourse or oral sex; one subway pickup of attractive guy, with date planned.