By: Tristan Joseph Espinoza

Read While Listening To: Beautiful People by Jessie Ware

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man like myself – a twenty-something queer with decent fashion sense and a good mustache – has been on a lot of first dates. Even worse, far too many bad first dates. Take, for example, the shock across my face as I once realized that my date sitting across from me was in full support of the 6 January US Capitol riots. Or, even scarier, the number of times a series of good dates with one person has always resulted in being asked if I want to be merely “friends-with-benefits.” Yet, despite all of these failed attempts, I’ve still learned how to cross the street without ever looking back, how to keep dancing like no one’s watching, how to embrace change at every era, and most importantly, how to not have three boyfriends all within the span of a year.

After attending university in two of the most delicious cities in the world, New York and London, I’ve learned a few things from my 90-plus years of experience app swiping, club hopping, and endlessly searching for my very own “Mr. Big” around every corner. And, unsurprisingly, I’m still single. Through this column, Cosmos & Convos, I aim to explore every facet of what the title suggests: giving you advice as if you were one of my closest friends as I help to answer all your burning questions about navigating the dating scene, new relationships, and love in your twenties. And, all while sipping on my go-to drink of choice – a Cosmopolitan.

To highlight my veteran status in this field and how I’ve seen more than seen it all to help you through this winding-journey, I reached out to some of my closest friends and asked them about what experiences of mine would offer you the best advice. Here were their replies:

Vivian: I’d tell them about your tarot card reading and the three guys who came after – each   who taught you a lesson in either dating, sex, or love – just like the cards predicted.

Juling: I’d tell them how you’ve always been vulnerable with everyone, not just people at school but before New York City. You were always thinking about love. And still, your propensity for love is so exciting and apparent; you take care of the people around you like they’re your sons and daughters.

Katie: I’d tell them about how you got over your ex. You crossed the street and went along with your life. I knew you were serious by the look on your face. It was nice to see you overcome a huge dating burden and finally be yourself again. Also, an iconic moment was when another ex of yours showed up to your goodbye party and your friends had to escort him out. I still think about that often.

Derek: I’d either tell them about how you fell in love in the club and then left your phone in an Uber in the Netherlands, how you love like a drug addict because of your big heart and the Southern in you, or about how you once stunned a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan with your love-life.

Cole: I’d tell them about how you got over the love of your life for sure.

Erik: I’d tell them about what happened at the club “Motel 23” in Chelsea.

Soph: I’d tell them about your worst era and how even if you had limited options, you always came back with a story that can only be replied with “wtf.”

Paige: I’d tell them how when I was down in the dumps over a high school romance, you did more than just lend me an empathetic ear, but you snapped me out of my emotional slump by highlighting my self-worth. You taught me to dive back into the dating pool and look for someone who truly values me for who I am. And, sure enough, it wasn’t long before I found just that person. There’s no one better to help someone navigate love, kick a dreadful beau to the curb, help snap someone out of a love-induced funk, or remind someone just how fabulous they truly are than you.

Nika: I’d tell them your body count.

So, while there are still many more stories left to come, questions to inevitably answer, and plenty of lovers to meet, there’s only one thing left to say: Where do we begin?

Want to ask a question for the next instalment of Cosmos & Convos? Write to Tristan here.

Tristan Joseph Espinoza is a writer and proud Osage Native from outside Dallas, Texas. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, Espinoza is also currently studying abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the creative director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative, a youth-led organization that works to combat the stereotypes and stigmatism that plague Indigenous communities. His work has appeared in Osage News, The Plentitudes Literary Journal, Solange Knowles’ BlackPlanet, and others. In his spare time, Espinoza likes to watch Survivor reruns and post film photos of his loved ones on Instagram @thetristane.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man like myself – a twenty-something queer with decent fashion sense and a good mustache – has been on a lot of first dates. Even worse, far too many bad first dates.


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