I once traveled from Los Angeles to New York for a hook-up. And yes, it was worth it.
It was a few years ago when I was in college, and free from most obligations. No girlfriend, no dog, no serious job to speak of. It was the perfect time for a little devil-may-care attitude. You’re only 21 once, right?
I had met Jen at a Sunday afternoon BBQ. It was instant, mutual attraction as we balanced our paper plates in one hand, beer cup in another, and eyes focused entirely on being in puppy love. She was just slightly older than I, and slightly more attracted to me than most girls. She was irresistible.
The problem was that she was only visiting L.A. for the weekend, and needed to take the redeye back to New York and be bright-eyed for her job as a publishing assistant in Midtown. Like a gentleman (or at least a man in heat), I offered to drive her to the airport so we might steal a few more moments together before she had to leave.
Once at the airport, Jen uttered the words that I wanted to hear but knew would never come true—“I wish you were coming back to New York with me.” We both frowned at that sadness that our lust filled moments were about to be over.
As we parted, and I began to leave the curbside drop-off, my loins took over my steering wheel, I found myself locking up the car in long-term parking, and heading into the terminal and up to the ticketing counter.
A few minutes later, I was walking towards Jen at Gate 22B, ready to surprise her with a most unlikely scenario. I was going to hop on the plane with her, and as she wished—“come back to New York with me.
The whole scene was unrealistic and risky. But I took the risk, and it paid off. The next morning. I had landed at JFK. 2,475 miles from my home in Los Angeles.
We made it to her apartment by 7:30am—just in time for a romantic hookup before she left for work at 9:00. Yes, I had just traveled 2,475 for a hook-up.
But it didn’t feel like a hook-up. It felt like a love-at-first-sight romance that was just beginning. I had been reckless, and emotional, and it seemed to be paying off.
While Jen was at work I headed to DuaneReade for some supplies, texted a couple of friends to boast about the crazy thing I had done, and waited for Jen to get off work. I anticipated a romantic evening, and a continuation of our puppy love behavior from earlier.
When she got home, we headed to a local pub for dinner. It was about 20 minutes in that I began to feel the shine rub off our relationship. Soon, we were disagreeing with each other, and even flirted with bickering.
The relationship was over. This really was a hook-up, and not the start of something special.
We ended the evening by heading back to her place and having some of the most awesome sex ever.
As it turned out, in the light of day, and on her own turf, Jen and I really didn’t like each other. But the sex was really, really good.
You see, there is a difference between liking someone socially, intellectually, logically and even emotionally—and having good sexual chemistry. The ideal relationship is when sexual chemistry meets social chemistry. But they can be mutually exclusive.
I learned this with Jen. And I only had to travel 2,475 miles to discover it.
Dates and hook-ups have never been the same.
Author Jack Reid is a relationship expert and author of the “Jack Knows” column on FIVE THôT.