Caroline is a 30-year-old marketing manager who lives in Little Italy. She says “My style is punk rock combined with comfort.” Caroline’s friends and family would say she is “shy but outgoing when I’m comfortable, emotional, sweet, joyous and creative” and that she is “a good person, or at least I try to be.” Caroline likes listening to music and going to shows, spending time with her friends, running, yoga, taking dance classes, playing video games with her roommates “late into the night” and reading science fiction. She says “I’m looking for a partner in life, someone I can be both silly and serious with.”
Hugh and I had been “spending time together” for a few months. It was great. I was thinking of him as my boyfriend at that point, but I wasn’t using that word around him in case it freaked him out. We were sort of an odd match. He’s older and we don’t have much in common on paper, but we really got along so well. We had the same sense of humour. We met through my friend; my friend’s older sister knows Hugh and we were all out together one night.
The relationship was going pretty good. It felt more serious than usual to me, not only because Hugh was older, but because we went on real dates and did things, instead of linking up randomly or hanging out in groups.
Hugh knew that I loved brunch. It’s my favourite meal by far, and I always make plans to go out for brunch on the weekends. At that time, which was before any COVID lockdowns were in effect, I was always meeting different friends for brunch. I don’t drink alcohol and I like to eat the same basic foods over and over, so I always choose brunch over any other meal when I’m meeting people, when that’s possible. It’s also so much cheaper! A few times, Hugh asked if I wanted him to come with me when I was heading out after we’d spent the night together at his place.
I never brought Hugh with me to brunches because I thought it would be weird to show up with a guy in tow. My friends and I don’t automatically bring a guy we’re seeing when there is a plan with the group of us. It’s like people sometimes assume that their boyfriend or whoever is invited out with us, which I feel is a bit intrusive and overbearing.
I got the feeling that Hugh thought I was trying to avoid spending more time with him after I’d slept over, but that wasn’t it at all, I was just meeting my friends! He asked me at one point if I was trying to keep him separate from my life. So I asked him if he’d like to experience the best meal of the day with me, and we planned to meet up at a really fancy brunch place before we went to a birthday party. He is up for anything and was excited to go.
It felt like a new adult adventure, to meet my boyfriend in the morning instead of waking up together and doing our separate things. I got a bit dressed up and got on the subway to meet him. I had never …….