Recently I was complaining to my cousin Lei about my mother.
“I tell her I’m happy,” I said as we waited for our table to be called, “but she doesn’t believe me.” I had money in the bank, a dream career, and was in a sickeningly loving relationship with a guy she adored like a son. Yet every time we spoke, she asked with fear in her voice: “Is everything okay? Are you okay? Is Alex’s job okay? Are you guys okay?”
“She’s your mother,” Lei said. “She’ll always worry.” My cousin watched her 3-year old zoom past us, her husband close on her tail. “Before I became a mother, I didn’t understand that worry. Now I do.”
I sighed. There it was again, that exclusive club. Motherhood. Keep reading »
Little does the guy on the treadmill next to me know, I’m winning. He was ahead of me at first, but I’ve caught up. Now I’m out in front. He’s run 4.2 miles to my 4.4 in the same amount of time. Ha! I’m winning! I want to yell. I’M WINNING!
In reality I know the stranger couldn’t care less about me, and my competitive spark is just a way to motivate myself during an otherwise boring run, the way it pushes me at work and with my writing. But if I’m not careful, that spark can escalate into a wildfire, threatening to burn everything in its path. Keep reading »
My father doesn’t like trying anything new. Paying bills for instance. He still writes checks and sends them snail mail. “You can pay everything online now,” I’ve told him. “It’s faster and you don’t have to use stamps.”
He refuses, though he’s fairly internet-savvy, because he’s paid bills this way for the past 30 years, dammit, and that’s the way he’s going to keep paying them. He can get impatient. His stories can go on forever. He can be antisocial and crabby.
I want to be just like him when I grow up. Keep reading »
When I turned 30, I was suddenly hot.
Before then I was OK. Cute at best. I had my awkward years, of course. As a baby, I had gravity-defying hair and bulldog cheeks. At 13, I wore glasses and braces, and was one of just a few Asian kids in a Jewish-Italian neighborhood, where big Bambi eyes, pert noses, and long legs were all the rage. In college I gained the freshman 15, lost it, gained it, lost it, and gained it again. Keep reading »
I have big plans for my birthday this month. BIG ones. Wanna hear them? OK, I’m gonna sit at home in my pajamas, eat chocolate cake, and watch reruns of “The Gilmore Girls.”
I love celebrating my birthday solo. Partly it’s because I’m shy. The last thing I’d want is the waitstaff at Chili’s to sing me a rousing “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” or for my loved ones to jump out at me from behind furniture, then wait for me to say a few witty, well-chosen words. I’m like my father, who wanted nothing for his 70th birthday — an important one in Chinese culture — except a nice meal with his family. But people don’t understand this. Keep reading »
Tobey* was the perfect guy to date right after my divorce. He was cute, fun, and had a body like a gymnast. He was younger than I was, but not too young. He liked the same things I did: eating good food, going to the movies, and strolling around Manhattan. He was a great kisser and even better in the sack.
Then he told me I needed grooming.
Not just any grooming. Down there grooming. Keep reading »
Thank you for sleeping with my husband. I’m not being sarcastic. A few years ago, I would have been. I’d be calling you something far worse than “you.”
I only saw you once, back when you were still living next door to his parents. You were from Japan, he said. We waved at you, but you didn’t wave back. You saw us, I could tell, but you turned away. You weren’t sleeping with him then, but you had a crush. You always seemed to be having some kind of legal trouble – sexual harassment at work, problems with your visa – and my husband being an attorney was quite convenient. Sometimes he helped you with paperwork at your house. Once he took you to a seminar on immigration rights.
I didn’t suspect a thing. Keep reading »
I love weddings. I stop dead before store windows to gaze at gorgeous dresses and drool over diamond rings. I’m thrilled when I happen upon a noisy banquet in a Chinese restaurant. I read the New York Times wedding announcements every Sunday. I love watching “Say Yes to the Dress.”
But I don’t want to get married again. Keep reading »