If you live in a small, generally unglamorous, unsophisticated city in New Hampshire like I do, you’ll soon discover that it takes a certain amount of distance to find a suitable male counterpart. The first time is always with a certain amount of trepidation; me clutching a crumpled map and my steering wheel in the same sweaty palm. I used to have contingency plans with girlfriends when I planned to meet strange men from the Internet, but not anymore. I suppose if one of my future dates were to machete me to death on the way to apres-dinner coffee, no one would be the wiser. It could be days before someone went back to my apartment, finding it just the way I left it–probably with a stack of dirty dishes and vetoed outfits strewn about the (tiny) bedroom.
I used to save the maps and directions to boy’s apartments, printed from Mapquest.com. I don’t anymore. It’s only the first time that I need a map, anyway–but in the past, I’ve tucked them in the pocket behind my passengers seat. In one instance I found it (ritualistically cleaning my car) days after a fresh breakup and it was, as reminder can be–bittersweet. The best piece of advice is to refrain from retaining physical tokens of the men you date. (I have a startling amount of toothbrushes I use to scour my bathtub…) If you become serious with someone, gifts may become inevitable (but mostly not) and flowers mercifully die within a week and even the nicest guys seldom bring flowers. So basically, you’re all good.
Back to me, clutching the map. Long stretches of dark pavement are excellent for clearing the mind. And you really don’t know where you’ll wind up. Lost, delirious, entertained, in the arms of someone novel and fantastic. It’s anyone’s guess. And drive carefully. But you should probably throw out those maps.