I am the oldest of four girls, a pack of sisters who descend in age like uneven stair steps, from 31 to 29 to 26 to 23. As the eldest of this pack, I am a consummate older sister — bossy, with a tendency towards lecturing, and a fondness for teaching “lessons.” In the context of my family, this dynamic has its place. The traditional roles of birth order are said to be fluid, but mine never is. I am eternally a big sister, and this dynamic has bled into my love life. Keep reading »
Technically, there are four seasons, but I like to think of Winter and The Holidays as two distinct entities. The Holidays are their own special thing — a whirlwind of lights and fun and being hungover at the office on a Wednesday. The Holidays end with a splash, making a champagne fountain and entering the New Year clutching the hands of your friends, or making out with that dude you winked at, then cornered at midnight. After the dust settles, the fog lifts, everyone starts to make their way back to their regularly scheduled lives — that is Winter.
Winter is long, it is the interminable darkness of three to four months until Memorial Day weekend. Winter is losing gloves on the subway and runny noses, and spending time alone because it’s too cold to get anyone to leave their house. Winter is a time for introspection, reflection, eating a lot of cookies, and falling into a state of weird, depressive hermitude that may lead you to consider the Winter Boyfriend. Keep reading »
Theres something about twinkly lights and snowflakes falling on a hushed street that can send even the most confident woman into a free-fall, scrambling for the nearest warm body to spend the holidays with. This time of year lends itself nicely to reflection, to family, to untold amounts of love and cheer and wassailing, but can also very easily be horribly, awfully depressing. If you find yourself pushing through throngs of rosy-cheeked, hand holding couples stopping to kiss under every available sprig of mistletoe, don’t despair. Don’t get mired in the “woe-is-me-I-need-a-man” blues.This is a time for reflection, but it’s also the best present the universe could ever give you — built in downtime, for you to think about what you want and how you want it. Keep reading »
I had a drink with a friend the other night who spent the entire time pouting as he regaled me with the latest details of his most recent failure in the dating world. “Girls don’t like me because they don’t like nice guys!” he said. “Girls only like assholes. No one ever wants to date me because I’m too nice,” he whined.
I’ve had this conversation multiple times with lots of my guy friends, and the one thing I always tell them is this: women do like nice guys, because no one wants to be with a jerk, but there’s a difference between being a Nice Guy and being a guy who is nice. Recognizing the difference between the two is key. Keep reading »
There is no secret to dating success.There is no incantation to whisper over a pile of personal effects under the light of a new moon, no candles to burn, no rituals performed under a veil of Spanish moss in bare feet. Dating is one of the least magical and miraculous things that occurs in our short time on this earth. It requires the same rote, dedicated work you need to do to lose weight, quit smoking or do anything that is difficult, that takes time, that is slightly unpleasant, but necessary. Like most things in our adult lives, to date successfully is a task best done alone. Here’s the rub, friends: when we deal with the tricky unpleasantries of life that require determination, willpower and confidence alone, with nothing but our interior monologues to shut us down, that’s where the trouble starts. Sometimes, blaming your lack of success on everything else around you is the easiest way out. Perhaps we should consider an irrefutable fact: you are your own worst enemy. Keep reading »
Life as we know it is a series of small, careful choices that we make day in and day out. We choose to watch television, to go to yoga, to eat that last piece of cake, to go the long way home instead of taking a cab. We make these choices as a part of life with little thought and a decided lack of consideration. If you’re single, and decidedly so, that’s a choice — an easy choice to make for some, a difficult choice for others, but what does it mean when you decide that you want to choose to date, but aren’t sure how to go about doing it?
The concept of making yourself available is a notion that is more difficult to put into practice than it sounds. We spend so much of our time being available only to ourselves — choosing what we want to read next, or where we want to go on vacation, or whether or not to eat Chipotle two days in a row for lunch. These are choices that come like second nature to us. To make the decision to let your delicate, quivering soul out into the universe is a terrifying one, but it is necessary if you choose to be available. Keep reading »
You’re on your way to your local watering hole one evening and you spot something familiar in the gait, the walk, the hand gestures of a person heading your way on the street. You realize with sudden, sinking dread that it’s your ex who you haven’t seen since the breakup. You grab your best friend’s elbow and hiss in her ear, “That’s him.” You stay in place, paralyzed and unable to move, until she grabs you by the back of the arm and steers you across the street. You think yourself invisible while you stand in between two parked cars, waiting for him to pass.
Later, when you get a text that says, “Did I just see you outside that bar?” you wait two hours and numerous drinks before texting back in all caps “NOPE.” Near the end of the night, as you sit on top of a bar stool with your best friend like imperious, drunk queens, you blatantly ignore him when he enters the bar to retrieve his forgotten credit card. Likely story. Even with his sudden ambush, you manage to avoid contact. At the end of the night you collapse into bed with a glass of water in hand, and think to yourself, Crisis averted!
But really, was it? Keep reading »
Here is a example of something that happens to people in relationships: we strive for perfection at all costs. Things go well, things are proceeding according to the path you created in your head. Things feel perfect. Your relationship is a glorious jewel of correctness, shining in a world where nothing is right. There have been no arguments, you disagree on nothing and appear to have everything in common. The success of your relationship is a kick in the teeth to all your other problems, it’s the one thing that you can really and truly do right. It’s a contact high of the best kind and you never want it to go away. The problem with this feeling? The first crack in the veneer sends you into a roiling, spiraling panic. The truth: Perfection is impossible, it is unfeasible, and the struggle to achieve it will be the death of the relationship. Instead of striving for it, try infusing your relationship with some wabi-sabi. Keep reading »
Say you’re in a new relationship, and things are going well. There are dinners, there is coffee in bed when you want it, there is sparkling conversation and wit and banter, there are all-consuming exchanges of emotion that leave you revitalized and ready to seize the rest of your lives together. You’ve reached a state of happiness that leaves other relationships in the dark. Finally! A thing that works for me, the way I want it, the way I need it. What have I done to deserve this giant treasure from the universe?
Then, the change comes, like it does in all new relationships. Sun-soaked afternoons in bed are slowly replaced by tense mornings in which every conversation is a power struggle. What was once light and sunshine and butterfly kisses is now a relationship fraught with calculated moves to gain the upper hand. What happened here? How did something that seemed so easy become so complicated? Keep reading »
Here’s what’s easy:
Sitting in your apartment, doing things that you like to do, justifying this behavior by saying that because it is what you want to do, it is absolutely correct. Rejecting new experiences because they could fail, because you could embarrass yourself or fall on your face or loose a tooth or a shred of dignity. Staying in a rut because it’s comfortable, it feels right, and it’s easier than putting on that pair of pants or wearing those new shoes or doing anything other than the path you picked out for yourself as the only way for you.
Dating is not fun. It’s not easy. If someone came up to me and told me in earnest that scrolling thru the depths of OKCupid is a fulfilling and mentally engaging activity, I’d gather my things and back away slowly. It feels like work because it is work. Scrolling through matches taps into the muscle memory of the aimless looking for shoes on Zappos or searching your work email for that thing you got last week that you just can’t find. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Click? Scroll. Repeat ad nauseam until you find something that you think might work, with some jiggering, a little tailoring, a tiny nip and tuck. Add to your cart, finish your wine, close your laptop, go to sleep. Keep reading »