• Jordan Valdez

Let’s all say it together shall we.. DATING FUCKING BLOWS. Now try dipping your feet into the smallest dating pool in the biggest city in the country. It’s downright inhumane. Top it all off with a pandemic and finding love these days is a goddamn pipe dream.

“What are you doing to put yourself out there, Jordan?” The better question is what am I not doing. I love meeting people the old fashion way, ya know, through friends or out at bar—things that have basically become obsolete since Covid struck. My friends here are wonderful but we all run in the same circles so at this point if there’s someone they could’ve introduced me to, they would’ve done it. Plus let’s not pretend we’re still in fourth grade—anyone you want to sleep with in these circles, has probably slept with one or more of your friends too. And as for going out to bars.. good joke. Perhaps that will be more realistic as the warmer weather rolls in and hopefully the city lets businesses legally stay open passed 11pm.

So then your options become dating apps which generally suck too but currently it’s that or nothing so I’ve given in, time and time again, to their promising smoke screens of handsome young suitors. Then the smoke clears. And what am I left with you might ask? A crop of decent men who turn out to be too lazy to plan a date, too boring to hold a conversation with or too douchey to ever be worth your time. It’s also exhausting swiping the day away to match with 20 positive potentials, then get only 5 to respond back to you, for then maybe one to make any sort of effort to meet up in person. I know there are so many success stories of people meeting on Tinder or Bumble and finding their person but that is the exception to the rule. And just like we all learned in He’s Just Not That Into You, we are not the exception, we are the rule. Yes, I still have hope that someday I will be someone’s exception. I will be the girl that turns a boy into a man, the person that makes him realize all the mistakes he made before have lead him to become the ultimate partner for the woman he loves. Blah blah blah. I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s rather sad actually. I have always been a hopeless romantic. I’ve experienced love and commitment, I’ve felt the butterflies and I’ve always believed that my soulmate exists in this world. I still do at my core. But dating in New York City makes a cynic out of the best of ‘em. There’s the monotony and aggravation of playing the same swipe, converse, meet (but probs not), repeat game over and over again. Then there’s exhaustion of getting your hopes up every day a fresh faced cutie comes across your screen. In the off chance we meet someone out, and he’s cute and charming, he probably has a girlfriend, or seven. We meet someone and tell them what we want, they run, we decide we’re ok with casual, they run. But we puke and rally night after night just for the chance to be ghosted for the 86th time (this week). The constant disappointment is enough to break anyone.

So here’s me, sitting alone on my couch, drinking Negroni’s alone at midnight and manic typing my feelings because I got my hopes crushed yet again. And here’s the kicker—I TRULY thought this one would be different. He appeared handsome, successful, 30 years old and an ER doctor. His photos were attractive yet inviting, sporting a sweet smile, a tall build and a handful of sexy tattoos. As soon as we matched, he initiated the conversation and did so for a couple of weeks. We switched from Tinder to Instagram—I know I never use Tinder anymore but I was trying to maximize my reach—and he made an effort to message me daily, ask indulgent questions and shared his personality through anecdotes of his life and the occasional snap photo. He was a dog dad, he loved photography like me and he understood my random, unorthodox work schedule. He was the type of find I showed to all of my friends, wondering how he could possibly still be on the market, and let myself get excited about.

We made multiple plans for dates and our first was to be Easter Sunday, however we both wound up having to work so no harm there. We made a new plan to meet after his shift at the hospital on Thursday night. He confirmed the night before, said he’d be off at 7pm and would meet me in my neighborhood. Now I gave him some leeway considering the medical field is unpredictable and he does work in the ER, but after 7pm rolled around with no answer all day, then 8, then 9, 10…ok, I’m being stood up. SHOCKER. The fact that the first thing that popped into my head was the distinctive base beat of “Another One Bites the Dust” is all you need to know about the state of my mental well-being. I’m just fucking over it.

Am I still checking my DMs hoping he’ll respond eventually with some crazy excuse as to why he didn’t even have the decency to let me know he wasn’t going to make it, of course. Am I hoping he has a perfectly good reason for blowing me off, absolutely. Because I still want to believe the best in guys. I still want to believe the best in this guy. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. I haven’t gotten ready for an actual date in months. My makeup and hair haven’t looked this good since 2019. I haven’t felt the excitement of meeting someone new and wondering if this was it in so long I can’t even remember that feeling. I want to cry and take shots and be out with friends but also sit alone at home thinking that six hours later he’ll finally text me back and offer the sincerest of apologies. But all I can honestly do is laugh, because it’s just so damn typical of dating in your late 20s in 2021.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking pissed. I absolutely deserve better, and I may never know what happened tonight to the good Doctor. But if I live in my sorrows for too long then I’m wasting valuable time getting closer to finding someone who would NEVER leave me sitting by the phone, doubting my worth, changing in and out of my adorable first date outfit, and regretting every hopeful thought I had about this dumb boy. F@%$&%CK. That means I have to start all over, again.

Popular belief tells us that when you stop looking, love finds you—and that’s great. But my problem is I don’t even know that I’m fully ready for my forever love. I’m just trying to freaking go on dates. I’m trying to experience dating in my 20s in New York, figuring out even more of what I do and don’t want in a partner, and honestly just have a good damn time. I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes and cross paths with lots of toads but someday it will all be worth the headache. So now if the dating scene could just get it together so I could do these things that would be awesome sauce. In the meantime, some other things I’ve been doing to put myself out there include manifesting romantic relationships, placing rose quartz around my room and lighting Love candles for god sakes. Flexing my inner juju powers seemed like the right move seeing as nothing realistic/normal was working. BUT EVEN PUTTING MY WHOLE SOUL INTO GOOD VIBES ISN’T WORKING SO I AM LOSING MY FREAKING MIND. So if anyone has any more advice on ways to attract a man who won’t plan a date and then stand you up, let your girl know.

However, if you say Match.com you can go away because I am 29 years old and way too much of a catch and we are just not there yet.

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My favorite thing about this year so far is the way we all agreed to come into it—cautiously, one foot at a time, not claiming it as “Our Year!!!” It’s honestly a well-needed fresh take on the mindset of entering a new year. Like let’s all just chill ok, we don’t need to ironically beg for certain doom all over again.

So here we are, already a few weeks in to 2021. I’m sure like me, many of you are toying with the idea of New Year’s resolutions even if you’re claiming on your Instagram— “no resolutions for me this year, I’m setting myself up for success not failure!” – I call BulL$h!t. We all have things that we hope a new year will help us begin or accomplish. Regardless of the pressure we place on the month of January, the earliest moments of the year feel rejuvenating. It’s a clean slate, a fresh start, a shift in momentum. I for one, am doing my best to take advantage of that.

In typical resolution fashion, I reopened my gym membership—you’re welcome for that statistic Planet Fitness. I set a few reminders in my phone to provide me with daily cues for joy and manifestation, an idea I got from a good friend. I’m manifesting more job opportunities for Photography and it seems to be working. I deep cleaned my room, rearranged a little décor and candles for a dose of feng shui. I’m finally going to restart my SmileDirect retainers, while we’re still wearing masks, so I can finish what could’ve been done last year. Plus I have a few other little things I’d like to start doing to benefit my physical and mental health this year. If anyone has tips on cutting sugar out of your diet please help ya girl.

And I’m writing again. Hi, how are YOU doing? I’d honestly love to know. I read a phenomenal book last year that my roommate recommended—well I listened to it on Audible—called Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who's Been There by Tara Schuster. I am not joking when I say I felt it immediately begin to change my perspective on change. Tara’s vulnerable words and no bullshit advice can be summed up into the idea that it doesn’t matter how you start, but that you do. Take that first step in the right direction. So that is my only real resolution this year; If I want to accomplish any of the goals I’ve set for my life big or small, I just have to fucking go for it.

So now that the confetti is cleaned up, the Christmas trees are being used as mulch and all of the good coffee flavors are gone from Starbucks, it’s time to really start another new year. We may not be off to a great start as a nation but we’ll just call that one last laugh from 2020 and put that bitch back in last year where she belongs.

I’d love to hear what you want for yourself this year, your non-resolutions, your “finally gonna make that goal happen” ideas. Olivia Rodrigo just wanted her drivers license and we all know how well that’s going for her. But seriously, share the things with me that you want to achieve this year and I’ll be your resolution accountability partner in crime. Ok talk soon, I’m gonna go back to scrolling TikTok for too long. Muah.

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  • Jordan Valdez

Here we go.

Living in New York City is something else, let me tell ya. Ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to live here one day. I’d move to the big apple, the concrete jungle; find a studio apartment in the East Village, or perhaps an industrial loft in Brooklyn. After years of people asking, “Oh so you want to live in a two by two shoe box apartment with your bathtub in the kitchen that costs 7 million dollars a month in rent?” I realized I really didn’t care. I just wanted to be here. So you could say landing a Brownstone walk up in a stroller neighborhood in Brooklyn is a dream come true. I need years and years of therapy to recover from the mental trauma that ensued during my apartment search, but it’s fine; we’re fine. It’s cute as hell, we’ve got plants and it’s quickly become the coziest home. Somehow, it’s been one whole year. I feel like I’ve taken the biggest leap of my life and started to recover, step by step, walking, trying to start running again towards my dreams.

In case you all needed another reminder, we’re living in a global pandemic. Shout out to all of us—yes I’m guilty too—who cheersed and chanted for round two of the Roaring ‘20s. We did it. So I got about seven solid months of New York life, most of it winter, before the world shut down. In those months, I worked my way from a big pile of savings to desperately jumping subway turnstiles back to ordering two drinks AND an appetizer with my dinner when eating out—living large, I know. You’ve heard it a hundred times but this city is a grind and you need a strong backbone and at least four shots of espresso a day to make it here. I’m definitely nowhere near “making it” but I hold my own. I feel like I’m slowly starting to figure it out little by little but then every day I’m hit with some new twist on living and I’m back to the beginning of the song.

Since I’ve been here I feel like my brain is on overload with thoughts, goals, ideas and struggles. What do I first? What should I go see or where should I go eat? What’s my favorite thing about New York? Why does it suck so much to get anywhere? How do I become successful here? How do I make new friends and build a network of people I can trust? How do I make more money? Will I be strong enough to play the long game here? Am I cool enough? Am I different enough? Am I talented enough? Will I be able to break through the fashion industry and be a successful photographer? How long will it take? How many jobs will I have to apply for before I get my “big break”? Will I have time for myself? Am I making healthy choices? Am I growing and learning still? Am I being adventurous enough while I still can be? Do I have time to date? Will I find love? Is my person in this city too? Spoiler alert—I can’t answer any of these confidently yet.

There’s just a lot. And I know that everyone feels this constant stream of mental garbage in one way or another. But I’m willing to put all my money on black that New York City amplifies this tremendously. And it’s exhausting. But it’s also thrilling and exciting and incredible. Every day that I walk out my front door I feel blessed and empowered to have a front door here to walk out of. It truly is a city radiating energy, creativity and passion. Even amidst a partially closed and fully-masked society, it’s a magical place. In order to partake in this balancing act and maintain some of my sanity while existing as a New Yorker, I’m going to attempt to decode the thoughts in my overactive brain to somewhat legible editorials, mostly for myself, but also for whoever is interested in following along with my journey of life, love and the pursuit of artistic fulfillment in the city that never sleeps; but I wish it would sometimes.

I can’t promise that it will be groundbreaking or life-changing, but I can guarantee full exposure of my delicate emotional state, highly relatable content and a constant presence of iced coffee. Like I mentioned at the start, I’m struggling and you might be too. So let’s all live in struggle city together and do our best to make an adventure out of it.

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