This is me dating a journalist

How often do I write about relationships on this blog? Almost never, unless by “relationship” you mean “how two or more people or groups of people coexist in the professional world.”

My dear readers: you have now got a relationship post from me, spawned by exhaustion, a shower and thinking that being wrapped in my new black bath towel is as close to being Audrey Hepburn as I’m ever going to be.

Don’t ask. Quite honestly, I’m sure this is just an excuse to use a picture of Queen Audrey Hepburn.

Something about thinking about Breakfast at Tiffany’s reminded me of the many men I’ve dealt with in my life, which led me to thinking about how single I am. Thanks, Hepburn. I’ll stick to Katharine from now on.

That’s my tough, independent, forever-classy, I-don’t-need-a-man-but-okay-if-you-insist-Mr.-Tracy lady.

In my life, I’ve gone out with a communications major, been intensely flirted with by an English-gone-education major, chased an engineering major and dreamed of dating a hundred different guys with different majors and aspirations in between. Until now and for the foreseeable future, none have panned out.

Journalists, however…

Talking with one of my younger-but-wiser friends, she laughs and cries simultaneously about how she’s always falling for guys in her industry. Just recently did she have a breakthrough with a non-journalist (who just happened to be a source. See? We can’t get away from this business), and I wish her the best of luck. Meanwhile, my fellow editor at Vox talks about how she can’t imagine having a boyfriend in the same town as her as she completes her capstone editing semester. Lucky for her (and him, quite honestly), he’s in New York.

So as I’m brushing my teeth, still wrapped in said black towel and being all Holly Golightly-y, I’m thinking, “Huh. I never gave journalists a try.” And I started thinking up this blog-post-slash-creative-writing-slash-who-knows-what piece that I type out for you here, now, at 1 a.m. on a Friday.*

*I’m not sure how funny this is actually going to be, especially since it just took me several tries to find the asterisk on the keyboard.

This is me dating a journalist.

He picks me up at home, i.e. the Vox office, and looks just as disheveled as I do. The difference is he smells like the smoke from the house fire he just covered, and I smell like day-old perfume and red ink. We’re quite the pair.

He smiles and says one word, “Dinner.” It’s not a question; we’ve both been asking questions all day and don’t have the patience or interest to add that little vocal uplift at the end. As for our stomachs, I’ve been living off Nutrigrain bars and water while his morning coffee is the only thing keeping him going. Our destination isn’t important, but still my call. I’m the one working for the magazine with the interactive dining guide, after all.* This is me dating a journalist.

*Appreciate that shameless Vox plug?

I don’t mind when he doesn’t help me with my loaded-till-the-strap-breaks bag because he’s carrying just as heavy a pack. Between the two of us, we could supply the entire Missouri School of Journalism with reporters notebooks and pens based on how many emergency interviewing kits we tote around. I think we’re both packing a full redwood forest of paper some days.

Out on the street in front of the building, we both stop to admire the flyer advertising for Cirque du Soleil’s new training camp for three-year-olds. Neither of us has kids, but we both have a pitch quota. What starts as a kind of partner brainstorming session on the different avenues that could be taken with the story turns into a debate over which publication would be better suited to cover it. Then it just becomes a full-out battle between us as we both whip out our dying cellphones and race to see who reaches the PR person first. I play this game a lot more cutthroat than he does because that’s just who I am. This is me dating a journalist.

Whoever wins gets the story but also has to buy dinner.

Conversation over dinner is muted, mostly because we’re both exhausted but also because it’s impossible to talk while eating Chipotle. The last thing we feel like talking about is our day’s work, mostly because he’s tired of talking about it and I’m paranoid he’s going to steal my ideas. This is me dating a journalist.

After dinner and perhaps a stop at Sparkys for some alcoholic ice cream (tonight’s special: White Russian), we finally start talking. It’s mostly a game of who can drop in the most Monty Python and Fight Club quotes, but it’s what we do to keep ourselves from focusing on our work when we’re together. We do have lives outside of our respective publications, after all.

Not according to Tyler Durden, however. “You are not your grande latte!” (Tyler clearly never had to work production on a Fall Preview issue).

And by the time the sugar rush and slight buzz from the ice cream has dissipated and we can’t think of any more ways to flirt using old British humor or anti-establishment literature, it’s time for us to retreat back to our separate apartments for sleep. “Sleep” in this case is defined by “lying awake restlessly trying to think of a better option for that Cirque du Soleil story you vied vehemently for earlier in the evening but have no clue what to do with now that you’ve got it.” Or it means thinking about the next time I’ll see him, which will probably be around the newsroom tomorrow as he’s heading out for assignment and I’m looking for a reporter to cover Cirque du Soleil.

There might be a kiss at our respective cars in Hitt Street Garage, but I’ve got work to do and he has work to do. The beauty of us being in the same industry is that this goes unspoken. No half-cocked excuses. No awkward goodbyes. Just an unsaid understanding.

This is me dating a journalist.


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