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My mom got me drunk last night. Well, actually, it was my mom and her friend. I woke up this morning with a cabernet hangover that I generally reserve for weekends.
When I opened my eyes, I uncurled my body and stretched my limbs to the far corners of my bed until I was a starfish on the mattress. I wiggled my fingers and toes, replaying the evening in my head in an attempt to pinpoint the exact moment things truly derailed.
The sun hadn’t risen yet and I knew I could sleep for another hour at least if I wanted. It was in that moment that I felt a deep pang of longing, a yearning for another body to curl around me for the remaining minutes I had in bed. Brutal hangovers love company and I wanted another body to share in my suffering.
When I’m hungover, I am certainly not my best self. Some would say I am a shell of a normally pleasant young lady. Even so, I long for a lover when the sweet nectar gets the best of me. I want someone there as I revel in my mistakes. This morning, however, I was very much alone.
The good news? All is not lost. Second best to an actual special friend to share in my misery is the memory of such. While I couldn’t actually reach out and touch a warm body this morning, I sure can reminisce about the best hangover date I have been on. May I present to you Andrew and this week’s Single Woman’s Dating Playbook: The Hangover Recovery.
Set The Stage
The year was 2017. I spent Saturday night tearing up the dance floor, not particularly interested in meeting a suitor. When I decide to truly activate, I generally write off flirting – it inhibits my ability to drop it low without reservation.
It wasn’t until late that evening that I saw Andrew. He was with a few friends, as was I. I wasn’t interested in an on the dance floor make-out, but my two girlfriends were in the market and if I’m anything, it’s a damn good wingman.
I went up to the bar and said hello.
“Hi, I’m Victoria,” I said.
“You’re a good dancer, Victoria. I’m Andrew. This is Steve and John,” he replied. (In all honesty, I have no idea what his friends’ names were – Steve and John feel right though).
The rest of our conversation progressed exactly as you would imagine. A little flirting, a little drinking, a little sizing each other up under the strobe lights.
“Do you guys want to dance with us?” I asked after a while.
“I don’t really dance,” Andrew said. My heart sank.
“That’s a shame,” I replied. “I was going to ask for your number.”
“Why don’t you?” Andrew pressed.
“I don’t go out with guys that don’t dance,” I said, turning back to my friends.
“Is that so?” he said. He laughed because he thought I was joking (I wasn’t). “Okay, fine, here I come.”
An hour later as we squeezed out of the club and onto the street, the cold air felt freezing against my damp skin.
“So, aren’t you going to ask for my number?” asked Andrew
He was cute in the streetlight; something about him was refreshingly innocent.
“Yes, I think I will,” I said, handing him my phone.
“Great, see you tomorrow morning,” he replied, entering his number.
“Excuse me?” I said. “I don’t recall us having plans. I’m going to be very hungover tomorrow morning, anyway.”
“Me too,” he said. “That’s why we need to hang out. Misery loves company.”
“Alright hotshot, we’ll see,” I said, trailing my friends as we piled into an Uber. I was absolutely certain I would not be leaving my house for the entirety of the following day, much less going on a date.
Plan The Play
That Sunday morning, I was indeed hungover. So hungover, in fact, that I barely noticed Andrew’s text as it flashed across my screen at 9:30 a.m. I squinted at the glowing light, blinking the sleep from my eyes.
“Ready for our hangover date?” He wrote.
“I need to stay horizontal,” I replied.
“We can make that happen. We’ll do a horizontal date.”
I laughed, rolling onto my stomach.
“I don’t ‘horizontal date’ on the first date,” I texted back.
“I promise, no funny business, just two people regretting their decisions together,” he replied.
I was torn. I liked his initiative, but you know how hangovers go. I was nauseous and needed a shower and if I didn’t consume some combination of Gatorade and carbs within the hour I’d be seriously bedridden all day. While I didn’t really want to socialize, I knew if I didn’t say yes I’d end up wasting my entire Sunday watching TV and eating overpriced to-go food. At least this would get me into the shower and out of the house.
“Okay, I’m in. But go easy on me, I’ve got a weak stomach.”
“Deal,” he replied. “Can you meet me at the Whole Foods in an hour? I just have to find my tent.”
Oh god, I thought. This is what I get for giving my number to strangers.
After I agreed to what I was fairly positive would be a disastrous attempt at getting to know each other, I spent a good 10 minutes in bed scrolling through Andrew’s various social media accounts. I confirmed that he was in fact from Massachusetts and that he was far cuter than I remembered him to be. He was a grad student with red hair and thick-rimmed glasses, the kind that I would have assumed were for show if I hadn’t seen him squinting when he took them off the night before. He, like me, was a tennis player and looked exceptionally good in tennis whites. While I washed my hair in the shower I recounted our conversation at the club, remembering how articulate and thoughtful he had been, even in the face of my over the top insistence that he dance.
As I stood in front of my closet in a towel, my hair dripping onto the carpet below me, I began to feel nervous. What exactly did Andrew find attractive about the loud, unapologetic Victoria he had met the night before? More importantly, what does one wear to a hangover date?!
I opted for the loosest jeans I own and a thin white t-shirt. If Andrew was going to insist on seeing me in my weakened state, he was going to have to deal with the epitome of casual.
Shoot Your Shot
I waved at Andrew as he pulled into the Whole Foods parking lot. He was decked out head to toe in athleisure, making me feel better about my own clothing choice. As he walked towards me the butterflies fluttered more than I expected. What can I say, there’s something about a man in athleisure.
“There’s my trooper,” he said, pulling me into a hug.
“It takes a special kind of guy to get me out in this kind of state,” I said, leaning into his flirting.
“You won’t regret it,” He replied.
“We’ll see about that — what are we doing here?”
We’d made our way into the Whole Foods and over to the hot bar.
“First things first,” he said, “You get the hangover food and I’ll get the hangover drinks. Choose wisely.”
Andrew left me to my own devices as he went on a hunt for Bloody Mary ingredients. I piled a to-go container with French toast, eggs, bacon, potatoes, and whatever other breakfast foods I deemed appropriate. 25 minutes later, we were checking out and on the way to Andrew’s apartment.
“Now, we’re going to my apartment but I’m not inviting you in,” he said matter of factly. “My mother always warned me not to let strangers into my apartment in case they are serial killers or bible salesmen.”
Immediately, I felt relieved. My spidy sense trusted Andrew, but I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of spending the entire day in his apartment without at least getting a little more time to vet him.
We pulled up to his apartment complex and he opened the door, ushering me to the elevator with our food.
“You go all the way up to the roof. I’m going to go grab us glasses and silverware then I’ll meet you there.”
“Okay,” I said, still totally unsure what we were up to.
I rode the elevator up to the roof and stepped off as the door slid to the side with a ding. I pulled open the absurdly heavy fire door and walked into the sunlight. His building was old, a product of the ’50s architecture that is a staple in Santa Monica. It wasn’t too high, only five stories, but it had a beautiful view of the ocean. It reminded me exactly of my childhood home.
I laughed as I turned my head away from the view to survey the roof. Set up in between cable antennas was a camping tent with blankets and pillows inside. Andrew walked up behind me as I went over to investigate his work.
“You said you wanted to spend the day horizontal,” he said, “so I thought we could do it here. I have cards and movies…and a trash can, you know, in case you hurl.”
“You set all this up?!” I said, crawling into the rather spacious tent, lying back on the pillows.
“Okay, relax, it only took me ten minutes.”
“Still, I think it’s pretty cool,” I said, smiling at him.
“Well I think you’re cool,” he replied, looking away as he made us drinks.
I let the giddy first date vibes linger in the air instead of responding and busied myself by serving us a potpourri of breakfast foods onto two separate plates. We spent the rest of the afternoon eating, drinking, playing cards, and talking in the tent. I even took a nap at some point, seduced by the breeze off the ocean and the warm sun.
As the sun began to set I left Andrew’s rooftop entirely content.
“What do you think?” he said, as he walked me to the car. “Did we cure your hangover?”
“You did a lot more than that,” I laughed. “Can we do it again soon?”
“Ohhhh, so now she wants to hangout!” he replied, turning to hug me goodbye.
“I wouldn’t mind spending some more time together, you know… horizontal.”
“Looks like we’ll have to get hung over again this weekend,” he replied.
Before I drove away that night I rolled down the window and yelled to him from the car, “Hey, are you going to let me in next time?”
He turned back towards me, a silly smile on his face that made me swoon. “I can’t be sure you’re not a bible salesmen, but it’s a risk I might be willing to take.”
Spoiler: The next time, he did indeed let me in. .