A few months ago, I went on two dates with a guy I met on the online dating site OKCupid. We emailed and talked a bit before the first; I was looking forward to meeting him and wanted to look good. I usually date people I’m friends with first, so the blind date aspect of online dating makes me want to put forward a greater first impression. Keep reading »
Profile for Rachel Kramer Bussel
Two days before my birthday last November, I got a facial at my favorite spa. I lay down on the bed, with the paper gown tucked around me, and the technician went about working her magic on my pores. She put a mask on my face and left me to relax for 10 minutes, with cucumbers resting gently over my eyes, the lights dimmed, and soothing music playing. The setting should’ve been everything I needed to stay calm, and it was … for about two minutes. Then my phone beeped, and I saw a text from a friend telling me to check her Twitter stream ASAP. Of course, I was curious, but I couldn’t get a signal, and spent the rest of the “rest period” feeling antsy, continually picking up my phone to see if suddenly service had been restored. The serenity that I look for when I go to the spa, the chance to shut off my mind while getting my skin rejuvenated, wasn’t there, because all I could think about was when I could get out of the room to check my phone. Keep reading »
Relatively recently, I dated two men in a row with the same first name—I’ll call them both Tom for the sake of this essay. One I fell in love with, and while I’m mostly over him, I’m not there all the way. Both are guys I was friends with before dating them, and I considered the possibility that the name thing would get weird with Tom 2.0, but I’d had a crush on him, so I overlooked it. They’re fairly different in personality, but the fact that in addition to sharing a name, both Toms have similar body types and professions adds to my sense that men with this name are not my type. Not to mention the fact that after I dated Tom 1.0, I had to keep calling Tom 2.0 by his full name when telling my friends about him, lest anyone get confused. Keep reading »
The other night, I met a fellow writer at a dinner party. I’d read her work and followed her online but had no idea what she was really like. I think I assumed because she’s 10 years younger than me and, in my mind, part of the “cool” crowd, that we wouldn’t get along, but we did and were soon chatting away about mutual friends and work and gossip and pop culture.
We took the train back to our neighborhood, and she asked if I wanted to get a drink. I realized in that moment that even though it was freezing cold out, I did want to keep talking. The truth is, though, if one of my other friends had suggested getting a drink at 10:30, I probably would’ve begged off with the excuse that I had overdue work waiting for me. That wouldn’t have been a lie—as a freelancer, I always have something hanging over my head—but it could wait an hour or two. In the same way that I might skip a weekly comedy show because I can always go another time but would get tickets to a special one-night-only event, it seemed like I should take advantage of this opportunity because it was something special. Keep reading »
I was at the bar at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas enjoying a glass of champagne and having an intense one-in-the-morning chat with a new friend about raising kids (she’s a mom, I want to be one) when a young, casually-dressed guy came over and put his hand on both our backs. He was cute and friendly and something about his unexpected approach sparked my interest. I wasn’t there looking to meet anyone, but I rarely get hit on, so I paid attention. My friend was married and not too impressed with him but she retired and let me judge for myself. Keep reading »
I’m not an addict, and I’m not an alcoholic. But as offensive as this may sound, I sometimes I wish I were, if only so I could have a language and a community to help me deal with what often seem like out of control urges—a structure surrounding me to help me cope with, well, life. But there are no 12-step meetings for people who simply have trouble getting up every day, who feel hollow and weak and unworthy, but who don’t gloss over those feelings with a single, predictable vice. Over the course of my life, I’ve certainly used alcohol, sex, shopping and food to help quell those feelings, and they’ve each worked, in limited doses, but eventually their effects wore off.
The thing is, though, my rock bottom moments don’t revolve around alcohol, though I’ve consumed my share, or drugs (I’ve attempted to smoke pot twice, and basically failed each time); sometimes it’s food, sometimes it’s sex, sometimes it’s shopping, but I fundamentally believe that the core part of me that hates myself in those moments when I’m eating an entire box of cereal, screwing someone I’m not that into, or buying a pair of shoes I don’t need and can’t afford, is the same impulse that drove, say, my father or grandfather to drink (both are recovering alcoholics). Keep reading »
What would you do if you wound up single on what was to be one of the most special days of your life—your wedding day? My friend Desiree did something remarkable and revolutionary: instead of hiding away, she marched boldly into a proud new future, and in the process became an inspiration to me and, hopefully, some of you as well.
On a recent Sunday, when I would have been attending her wedding to a man, I stood on Bow Bridge in Central Park and witnessed Desiree get married—to herself. A circle of her friends surrounded her while her cousin officiated, reciting vows she had written for herself, which included the lines, “I will make my happiness a priority and forgive myself when I’m not perfect. I will trust myself and stand within the power of my own strength. I will love myself forever more, through good and bad, thick and thin, and for exactly who I am today. I promise I will never, ever, ever, settle for less than what my heart and soul desire.”
I read Eliza Jules’ essay “I Obsessively Monitor My Husband’s Lube Bottle” over at xoJane and was left with this question: Is a partner’s masturbation something we should worry about? The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more I’ve concluded that, for me, I’m at the very opposite end of the spectrum as Jules; I’d be worried if someone I was dating didn’t masturbate, all the more so if I was the cause behind them holding off in the self-love department. I also wouldn’t expect someone’s firmly entrenched patterns of masturbation and porn use, especially if I met them well into their adult life, to change just because they were with me.
I’ll even go so far as to say I would definitely not want to be the sole source of my partner’s masturbation fodder. Part of it? Sure. But imagine the pressure if every single time they jerked off, they were thinking about you. That would creep me out a bit, and while I’m not an expert, I don’t think that’s a realistic goal, especially when you’re talking about long-term relationships. Keep reading »
At the end of last year, I was in Los Angeles for a TV appearance that required me to be dressed up and in full makeup. That ended in the early afternoon, and I walked around downtown all glammed up, excited to have the rest of the day free. A guy complimented me, and I started talking, then flirting with him. He was cute and seemed smart, and I felt like I was already very far from my daily New York life, so I flirted back. And because it was 2010, that flirting soon took to our phones as we traded numbers, and then I started following him on Twitter, and he did the same to me. Keep reading »
The other night, I was wading through all the junk scattered around my apartment, starting to panic because I couldn’t find a book I needed to review. I threw out bag after bag of garbage and finally decided to get some dinner, my version of which was a prepackaged frozen entree of organic tofu, vegetables and brown rice, plus a bottle of soy sauce. Keep reading »