A Three-Week Relationship in 19 Parts

The saga of two people who meet on the internet

Harris Sockel
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readFeb 14, 2024


Calligraphic Trompe-l’oeil Calendar by Matthias Buchinger, 1709 | Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Program

1. Three weeks ago, when I was a totally different person, I met you outside of a bar. Back then I was a little dumber, but also happier, and my skin was clearer. I checked my phone a normal amount of times each day (approximately once every 10 minutes), which was a lot but probably half the amount of times I check it now. My resting heart rate was slightly lower.

2. How did you make me leave my house? You put all the exclamation points in the right places. You used tildes on either side of the word “date” and every once in a while you’d type in ALL CAPS, which I enjoy. You repeated parts of my messages in yours to communicate that you were listening, but not so often that you sounded like a politician. Sometimes you put that extra space before the exclamation point to make it ironic instead of sincere !

3. Ways a first date can make me feel: high, old, young-but-in-a-rearview-mirror-kinda-way, like a character in a mid-2010s dramedy, gay, irresponsible, “young and hot” [spoken off-camera by a gay man in his mid-50s], constipated, manic, funny in a focus-grouped way, fake, you know what it’s like when your teeth feel smooth after you brush them? like that but for your whole body, manipulative, understated, judgy, tiny and vulnerable like that meme of…