The other week, I shared a happy hour bottle of wine with my friend V at Grey Dog Chelsea.
After deciding to buy another bottle in anticipation of the 6:30 happy hour cutoff, I gulped down another glass of Grüner. “Do you think J and I moved in together too quickly?” I asked, referring to my boyfriend. We were already roommates when we started dating, but negotiated moving into the biggest room of the apartment together a few months later.
“No,” V said, shaking her head. “Did I tell you about my decorator?”
Everyone in New York seems to have a cautionary tale about being single, an urban myth to scare us into being in a relationship. “I don’t think so. What about him?”
“Well, he’s gay,” V continued. “I mean, he matched my throw pillows to my curtains, so, naturally. And he kept going on dates with guys, but he’d find a reason not to get serious—he’d say they were too distant, or too clingy, or too feminine, or too masc-only.”
I nodded, proud I’d taught her terms like “masc-only.”
“So, one day he decides to redo his bathroom. He does the whole works, painting the walls, tiling the floor, everything. And there’s a little window that runs along the top of the shower, so he puts a ladder in the porcelain bathtub, stands on it, and installs a new chiffon curtain.” I love all the details V included. “So, he’s installing the curtain, and he slips on the ladder, or maybe the ladder slips on the porcelain—either way, he falls down, hits his head on the new tile, and knocks himself unconscious.”
“Jesus Christ.” For once, I’m glad my bathroom doesn’t have any windows.
“So he lays there for two days before he wakes up.”
“Did he have a concussion?”
“Well, when he woke up, he stood up, made himself breakfast, and continued like nothing happened. He didn’t even remember falling until a week later—he missed an appointment with me, so I called him and he told me he’d totally spaced it. He’d spaced every appointment that week—he was even on the way to one appointment, saw a hat he liked in a window at Saks, and went in to shop. He shopped for hours and went home, completely forgetting what he was doing. His doctor says he might have permanent brain damage because he waited so long to come in.” She took a long drink from her plastic cup. “Anyway, if someone found him right away and took him to the hospital, maybe he’d be OK.”
I’ve heard so many similar tales—choking on General Tso’s Chicken, getting stuck under a heavy piece of furniture—but the warning is always the same: It’s dangerous to be single.
I thought about my last relationship, a two-year (18-months-too-long) run with AJ. I wondered, isn’t it more dangerous to be in an unhappy relationship?
I shrugged, desperate the change the conversation. “Want to go to TJ Maxx with me tomorrow to help me find new curtains?”