Dateland: Night Owl


Last night, my girlfriend and I started to take the famous “36 Questions that Lead to Love” quiz. According to the psychologist who created it, if you go through this exercise with a complete stranger, you’ll fall in love by the end of the quiz.

My girlfriend is a psychotherapist, so I thought she’d be really interested in taking the quiz.

“It’s psychology!” I exclaimed. Like a dog that drags a dead thing to her owner as a gift, I’m constantly dropping pop psychology carcasses at her feet to show I care.

“It’s nonsense,” she responded. “Besides, we already are in love.”

“But this will make us more in love!” I said, so we agreed to answer questions during commercial breaks for The Voice.

Because we’re already so stupidly in love, the first questions weren’t very challenging. But then we hit question eight: “Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.” I merrily claimed that we have everything — everything! — in common. We each want at least one pet goat, share an ambivalence for seafood, and have a weird affection for 1970 boy bands. We’re perfect for each other!

“Well, there’s one big difference,” she said, nodding her head in the direction of the clock. We stared at the hour darkly. It was 9 p.m. My bedtime.

Our only significant difference can be summed up neatly: I’m a morning person, and she is not. I’m generally up by 5 a.m. And by up, I mean “up!” Early morning is when I’m most energized and productive. Each morning, I’m filled with unbridled glee at the opportunity to get a jumpstart on the day.

Sadly, as I burst out of sleep each morning, the beautiful lump hibernating next to me in a cave of blankets and pillows does not share my enthusiasm. At the risk of being undiplomatic, let’s just say she can be a bit cranky in the morning.

On weekdays, I generally try to leave the house before she gets up to avoid annoying her with my irrepressible joie de vivre. Although she is of French ancestry, this is not a character trait she values before 10 a.m. We recently took a quiz to find our spirit animals. Hers is a bear, something that is quite obvious when I try to rouse her before she’s ready to wake. It usually results in me getting growled and swatted at.

Our moods reverse in the evening hours. I get cranky as the moon rises, and she feeds off the night like a vampire.

In the opening weeks of our relationship, when we were so drunk with love, I vowed to stay up late with her, and she tried to get up early with me. Sleep was our enemy because it robbed us of precious moments with each other — something we were so hungry for after spending 25 years apart. But after a few months of no sleep, we were exhausted to the point of hallucinating.

One day, after I thought I saw an elf-like figure dance a jig across the conference room table during an important meeting, I returned home and suggested: “I think we can cram enough precious moments in between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., don’t you?” She agreed. So we fell back into our old sleep routines.

Last night, as my bewitching hour of 9 p.m. drew near, I struggled to keep my eyes open as we moved on to the next love quiz question.

“Let’s finish the quiz when we’re both fully awake,” she suggested. We both knew that our individual sleep orbits would never intersect in a way to allow that to happen. But I was too tired to argue, and too in love to feel the need to complete the quiz.

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