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I've said yes to joining teams and going on dates with near-strangers.I've battled loneliness and the fear of starting over, and in the process, I've become a slightly calmer, kinder version of myself—one who knows her neighbors' names, no longer assumes strangers only approach in hopes of getting money, and doesn't lay on the horn if another driver is dawdling (okay, after 20 seconds I still honk, but before it would have taken only 5). Making a cross-country move on my own is the most terrifying thing I've ever done, and I have moments when I still question if Portland will be my forever home…or if there even is such a thing.My New York friends used to chide me for not going all-out with my date outfits, saying it was hard enough to get a second glance in New York—a city teeming with gorgeous girls—if you weren't all dolled up and in heels. That's when I noticed Drew was wearing brown suede clogs that looked best suited for milking a cow…and an oversize button-down he said was from a free pile at Burning Man.But when I showed up for my first date with Drew in a nonchalant look—a blouse, jeans, and boots—he said I looked "all East Coast intimidating." For our next date, I wore a V-neck shirt and skinny jeans to cook him dinner at my place and was shocked when even that was overdressed to him. When guys don't care about your fashion, I learned, they certainly don't care about their own. Wexler made the move from New York City to Portland, Oregon, hoping to start a calmer new life.In the third and final chapter of her moving diary, she reports on starting to date in a city where even the fashion choices (yes, there are mandals! Before I moved to Portland, I'd been your classic oversubscribed New York City girl, trying to cram 30 hours into a 24-hour day: working at a magazine, commuting, a date or dinner with friends, and then some.When it's freezing in the middle of the night, he'll do whistling arctic winds.When we're on planes, he'll do the sound of a plane landing--even as the plane is I love it.
He wasn't who I would have dated in New York—I'd gone for type-A, career-driven men, then found myself competing with them about whose job was more demanding or important.Back on the Scene As for dating, I consciously decided to table the issue for the first few months so I wouldn't glom on to a guy for the purpose of having him show me around.