307. Drama Queens
It happened two days ago. Aidan and I had been seeing each other for about three weeks when...
- What is it? Bad dream? - I'm not sure.
- What's wrong? - I don't know.
The truth was I really didn't. The next day I searched for unpaid bills, unanswered calls, unmet deadlines. But I hadn't so much as missed a teeth cleaning. My life appeared to be in order. But the next night, like clockwork...I realized I was in an existential crisis. One that not even the sight of this season's Dolce & Gabbana sandals could lift me out of.
- Do you wanna spend the night? I'm gonna get some water. - Relax. I'll get it.
Then I realized it. What was wrong was, for the first time in my life, I was in a relationship where absolutely nothing was wrong.
It's smooth sailing. Nothing but calm seas, blue horizons as far as I can see. Do you see what I'm saying?
Absolutely. There is not a cloud in sight.
We adore each other. We have fun together. We mesh.
And this is a problem?
It feels odd. I'm used to the hunt. This is effortless. It's freaking me out.
I totally understand. You're not getting the stomach flip.
Which is really just a fear of losing the guy.
Maybe I'm not used to being with someone who doesn't do the seductive withholding dance.
But there is an upside to being with a guy with no surprises. Steve is completely predictable, but that's what I love about him. He's so comfortable and safe.
Are you dating a man or a mini-van?
My new favorite thing to do on a Saturday night is Steve's laundry and I've never been happier.
Your relationship is my greatest fear realized. I totally understand your dilemma and from my experience, if he seems too good to be true, he probably is.
I don't believe this. Now we're dumping guys for being too available. This is all solid proof of what I've been reading in this great new book. It says if you really wanna get married, you shouldn't spend so much time around dysfunctional single women.
"Marriage lncorporated: How to apply successful business strategies to finding a husband". Chapter one: "How To Get Ahead By Giving Head".
Fine! Make fun. It's a very smart book. It encourages professional women to approach finding a mate with the same kind of dedication and organization they bring to their careers.
I'm more a student of chaos theory.
If you don't see as much of me, I’ll be sitting more time with my married friends.
And how will this help you meet your mate?
Bachelor friends of married men are the city's greatest untapped resource. The only way to meet them is through the husbands. So that’s my first assignment to befriend the husbands. It's my new full-time job.
That evening, as Charlotte began her new career as a professional husband-hunter, Miranda returned home to feather her stress-free love nest.
- I heated up some leftover lasagne. - Great. I'm starving.
- Wanna get some plates? - What for? It's just us.
An hour later it was on to dessert. Followed by exactly eight minutes of no-frills sex. And 12 minutes of "Front Line". Theirs was the kind of closeness that only came from true intimacy. Meanwhile Samantha was experiencing the kind of intimacy that only came from true anonymity.
His name was Dr. Mark Raskin. An ear, nose and throat man that Samantha met...actually we're not sure where they met. Suffice to say it happened quickly.
- Will you get me some water, please? - What for?
I wanna take a hit of Viagra.
Number 1, that's very presumptuous of you, and number 2, from what I can tell, you don't need any help in that area whatsoever.
I don’t need to be. I just take it recreationally.
What does it do for you?
Sends me on a rocket trip right through your solar system.
I'll be right back with that...water.
While Samantha enjoyed the thrill of the new and Miranda's relationship happily floated on a placid sea, I was searching for hidden icebergs.
Why are you still single?
- Why are you still single? - Don't do that. I hate it when guys act all cute.
- What? - Waiting for an apology.
OK. I'm a bitch. I'm sorry. You should know I get a tad bitchy from time to time. I'm sure you have your bad traits. And they would be?
Whatever you got. It's all gonna come out eventually, so I'd like to know now and that way I can decide if I'd like to deal with it or not.
This is the strangest two blocks I ever walked.
Again I'm sorry, but this relationship cannot just sail on like it is: perfect. Frankly, I can't take the pressure.
OK. I'm gonna kiss you now.
Seriously. What the hell is wrong with you that you're not married? Tell me.
Can’t you relax and go with the flow.
Go with the flow? No, I can't do that. It's so seventies.
How long you think this phase is gonna last? My folks are coming to town this weekend and I want you to meet them.
- That's so... - Fifties?
That is really nice. So, these parents that are coming to town...do they know what's wrong with you?
Let's get you a doughnut. Nuts.
The next evening, taking a page from "Marriage Incorporated", Charlotte made an appointment to have dinner with her married friends, Amy and Dennis.
Allow me to get right to the point. After careful consideration, I've decided this is the year that I'm getting married.
- Charlotte, that's wonderful! - Who's the lucky guy?
I don't know yet. That's where you two come in. Dennis, name one great single friend that you have to fix me up with.
- I don't know. No one you'd like offhand. - What about Phil?
Phil, yeah. If he can tear himself away from his internet company to go on a date.
Yes! Phil. Phil, Phil, Phil.
He is so nice and cute.
- You think Phil's cute? - He's cute.
I can see that.
Great. Then it's all set up. I'm gonna call you tomorrow to follow up. Look! I have tickets to the opera on Saturday night. I would like to take Phil.
The next morning before work, while sorting Steve's laundry, Miranda came face to face with the true meaning of intimacy.
I was wrong. There is a point where a couple can get too comfortable. And I think I reached it this morning washing Steve's underwear.
Why, what happened?
- I'm living with "skid marks" guy. - Oh, no! Terrible.
I don't get it. Why do men get skid marks?
Is it laziness? Or are they just in a rush?
I don't know but whatever it goes hand in hand with urinating on the seat.
I tell you one thing. When your boyfriend is so comfortable, he can't be bothered to wipe his ass. That’s the end of romance.
It's certainly the end of laundry night.
It got me thinking. Maybe I’m mistaking falling into a rut with intimacy.
How often are you guys having sex?
Often enough. But it's totally generic. We've got every move down pat. It's more like a race to have an orgasm or anything else.
It's nice to be a contestant, isn't it?
Sure. I know what you mean. We whine when we don't have a boyfriend, we whine when we do.
Do you remember how Big used to keep me away from his mother like I was some kind of leper? And how pissed it used to make me?
Now, Aidan's offering both his parents on a silver platter and I'm not sure I want to meet them.
Maybe it's too soon. I've never met Steve's mother and believe me I'm in no rush.
The irony is Aidan's acting exactly the way I wish Big would have behaved. And I'm behaving just like Big.
Maybe you don't believe it's for real unless somebody plays hard to get.
When things come too easy, we're suspect. Do they have to get complicated before we believe they're for real? We're raised to believe that course of true love never runs smoothly. There always have to be obstacles in Act Two before you can live happily ever after in Act Three. But what happens when the obstacles aren't there? Does that mean there's something missing?
Do we need drama to make a relationship work?
A few days later, still hearing no word from Dennis about her date, Charlotte made a call to his office.
Charlotte York. He can reach me at home or at work and it's very important to call me immediately because I have tickets to the opera on Saturday. Never mind, just have him call me.
Her call unanswered, Charlotte followed up persistently.
Can you tell Dennis that Charlotte York called? Yes, he'll know what it's regarding. It's regarding my future husband, Phil. OK? Thank you.
Hi. You've reached the office of Dennis Fincher. I'm either out of the office or away from my desk.
Please leave a message at the sound of the tone.
Well. Obviously, you have some good reason for trying to keep Phil and I apart. I can't imagine what it is but I will tell you this is Phil's loss and not mine, and don't bother returning this call either.
While Charlotte was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, my anxiety-free relationship was driving me crazy.
Excuse me. Sorry it's taking so long.
That's all right. I'm gonna have to pass on dinner. It's getting so late. I've got a deadline.
OK. No problem. My parents get in tomorrow night. They'll probably want to crash. But I thought you'd meet us for breakfast the next day for us.
I've been thinking about this meeting your parents. I just wondered if it's a good idea.
They gonna love you.
No, I'm not worried about that. I mean, parents are always my thing. They think I'm adorable.
What's the problem?
Well, what if they love me and if we break up, you're always gonna have to explain to them what happened to the adorable girl.
Are you breaking up with me?
No. it’s just… Where I come from, meeting the parents... oh, so big!
You'll meet them some other time.
OK. So, I guess we won't be seeing each other this weekend.
I'll miss you.
Well see, maybe that's good. Maybe we should see each other less, and then we'll miss each other more. It's just you're so available to me, and I'm so available to you, maybe we're both just too, you know, available.
Carrie, it's no big deal. I have a life. I'm just making room for you in it.
See, you always say the right things. Grrrrr! Goodbye.
This is nuts. I'm sabotaging the best relationship I've ever had.
Trust me. It's much better to have a man waiting for you than the other way around.
Besides, if you hadn't been available tonight, I'd be here alone, just some pathetic dateless freak.
So glad it worked out for you. Who are you calling?
I'm not taking this lying down.
Hi. You've reached Amy and Dennis. Leave it at the beep.
Well, here I am at the opera which I planned on going to with Phil, who I guess you've decided I'm not good enough for.
Charlotte? It's Dennis. I'm so sorry. I just got back from a business trip. My secretary gave me all your messages. I had no idea you wanted to meet Phil so badly.
Well, he sounded nice. It's not a big deal.
Why don't I set something up tomorrow evening? 7:30? You know Rudy's, Midtown?
I love that place.
Phil will meet you there. I guarantee it.
I'm so silly. I created all that drama in my head for nothing.
- What are we seeing again? - "Aida."
- I guess I'm in for another wild ride. - I'd say we both are.
What would happen if I tried one of these?
I don't think they've established that it works for women.
There's no harm in trying it there, doctor? Bottoms up!
20 minutes later, Samantha officially became the first woman to land on the moon.
- Isn’t the opera romantic? - Even more so with a man.
Well, I did expect to be taking Phil.
It's quite a lovely evening you’ve planned for a man you've never even met.
- He sounded really nice. Here. - Thanks.
You know what, honey, I'm not feeling well. I'm going home.
Do you want me to come with you?
No, I'm fine. Stay, enjoy. It's all right. I'll call you.
I'll be right back.
I knew it was rude and a tad over-dramatic, but I felt like I'd just seen the phantom of the opera.
Yes, ditching Charlotte was slightly hysterical, but the idea of sitting across from Big and Natasha through the second act of "Aida" was too emotional to bear.
This time I knew what was wrong. The shock of seeing Big again not only made my stomach flip, it sent my spleen leaping right into my throat.
- Hello. - It's me. I'm really sorry.
- What's wrong? - I saw Big tonight at the opera.
- That's why you ditched Charlotte. - She told you. Was she pissed?
I think she's swearing off women forever.
Are you OK?
Yeah. I'm great actually. I'm realizing that maybe there is something to this available man thing.
Yeah. It's kind of nice. Just remember to separate your whites.
Now I know I wanna be with a man who wants to be with me. I've had enough relationship drama for one lifetime.
Shouldn't you be telling this to Aidan?
It's 3:00 am. I'll wait until a more civilized hour.
The next morning I waited until a decent hour to call Aidan and tell him how much I missed him.
- Furniture company. - Hi, it's Carrie calling for Aidan.
- He's not here right now. - He's not? Just tell him I called.
- I'll give him the message. - Thanks.
When I hadn't heard from him by that evening, I began to get butterflies in my stomach.
Hey, I'm not in but Pete is.
Hey. It's Carrie. Remember me? The girl you wanted to introduce to your parents. Anyway I'm just calling to say hey. Hey.
I was getting a dreaded feeling that I had played this all wrong. Suddenly, the idea of losing Aidan left me short of breath. Meanwhile, Miranda was trying not to breathe anywhere near Steve's shorts.
What are you doing?
I thought you might need some help with the wash.
But there's nothing like a twist in the third act to spice up even the most banal scenario. And while Miranda and Steve found new life in the familiar, Charlotte was blindly feeling her way through the unfamiliar.
- Excuse me. Are you Phil? - Sorry.
- Are you Phil? - I could be.
- Well, hello. - Are you here to chaperone?
- Yes, sort of. - What's wrong? You couldn't trust me alone with Phil?
Actually Charlotte, Phil's not coming. I never called Phil. I didn't want you to meet him because You'd really like him and that could create a problem for me.
What are you talking about?
I think I'm in love with you, Charlotte.
Well you can't be in love with me, you're married to my friend.
Yeah, things haven't been going so great with us lately, and ever since I saw you that night at dinner, I couldn't stop thinking about you.
This is not...
No, no, come on, don't leave, don't leave!
You kept all of your great single friends away from me just so you can cheat on your wife? You should be ashamed of yourself!
You're such a spark plug, I love that about you!
I'm not interested in starting some married man's car!
No, don't leave! Please! Please! I love you!
- Taxi! - What the hell?
- Are you all right? - Yeah, thanks.
- Let me help you. - Thanks.
- I'm Trey. - Charlotte.
And that's how, in the most dramatic fashion, Charlotte met her new leading man.
Well, time to pop one of those baby blues.
- Let's go au naturel this time. - No, I really want one.
- Don't you think it's good without it? - No, I do not!
- Let's save it for those special times. - Give me my pills, goddammit!
Mark realized maybe he had introduced a bit too much intensity to their relationship. He wrote Samantha a prescription and she promised never to call him again.
You have no messages.
After two days of not hearing from Aidan, I realized only a dramatic gesture could salvage things.
- You gonna... - Hi, how are you?
You're gonna like this.
What's going on?
You asked me to be here, and I wasn't sure if I could. Honestly... I mean, meeting the parents is so...Then I realized I wanna meet your parents but I didn't know if you still wanted me to meet your parents. Because I've been calling you and you haven't called me back, so then I thought I'm just gonna go, because being in an actual relationship means taking a risk...a leap of faith. No matter how many times one might have been disappointed in the past. So I said to myself I'm just gonna show up...because you're a good man. A really good man. Why haven't you called me back?
You wanna me to be less available. So I was just trying to be less available.
Really? You don't have to do everything I say.
Well, you're here now. Can I introduce you to my parents?
Won't they think I'm nuts?
Probably. They'll just have to get used to that. Come on, Nuts.
I realized then, that I had made my stomach flip all on my own. And it felt really nice.