It started when I spotted an ex-boyfriend barreling toward us down the street. My pulse jolted, and I grabbed my current-boyfriend’s elbow and tugged him across the road, darting yellow taxis as we fled.
“Ugh,” I laughed, tossing a surreptitious glance over my shoulder. “I dated him years back.”
“Who?” Jared’s gaze followed mine, though his laugh did not.
“That guy back there. Forget it. He’s no one,” I said, and pressed the incident from my mind as quickly as it arose. After all, this was New York, and the streets were teeming with acquaintances with whom I no longer wanted to engage. Crossing the street was as sure a remedy as I knew to move on. But later that night, after we’d ordered burritos and made stilted small talk, Jared was mired in sourness, and eventually, after much prodding, he admitted the reason for his funk.
“I don’t like the fact that you’ve slept with other guys.” He said, pouting, reminding me of a five-year old stripped of his favorite toy car. Keep reading »
Two and a half years ago, an email landed in my inbox with the subject line, “Cover story?” At the time, I was a freelance journalist and those two words made me drool like none other. But as I read the email, my face sunk—Good Housekeeping wanted me to write a feature where I’d interview five woman who’d lost 100 pounds each. Normally, I would have rolled my eyes—I fancied myself a “serious journalist” and stayed away from weight loss stories at all costs. But this was the beginning of the recession and I needed money. I felt pained as I wrote back and begrudgingly accepted the assignment.
I felt defeated for the next few days as I tracked down women to interview. Really, was this the state my career was in? Weren’t there more important stories I could be working on? I thought.
My first interview was with a woman named Janice, a stay-at-home mom who’d lost 75 pounds doing Weight Watchers and had gone on to become a counselor herself. We spent more than an hour on the phone as I asked her a zillion questions about how she’d gained the weight, how she’d changed her eating habits, and how life was different as a thin person. Near the end of our conversation, she asked me a simple question:
“How do you feel about your body?”
It landed like a slap against my jaw. Keep reading »
I met Omar* at a New Year’s Eve party shortly after graduating college. He was 6’2″ and built with dark brown eyes and black wavy hair that fell below his ears. I was a 5’2″ chubby bookworm who had recently lost her virginity and was tired of being single and inexperienced.
We hit it off immediately because of our love for going out dancing and the exact same taste in TV shows. Fueled by alcohol and a newfound sense of adventure, I jumped into bed with him that night. The next day, after talking for 12 hours straight, he told me that he wanted to be together. I thought, Okay, maybe this guy can be my Starter Boyfriend. Keep reading »
“I have to introduce you to my cousin Logan*,” my childhood friend told me emphatically one weekend when I was home from college. “He’s really good looking—if he were taller he could be a model.”
“… OK,” I answered with trepidation. I was 19, and my freshman year of college at a small, cloistered university in the middle of the Bible Belt was not going well. My stomach turned to knots. I was trying so hard to fit in without fitting in that it was driving me crazy. For some reason it felt like if I got involved with a guy it would fix things. Logan was 24 and seemed nice enough.
The problem was, I was a virgin when we met, and at 19 I was among the last of my friends. Virtually inexperienced, I felt it was time to get it over with. In hindsight I should’ve listened to my gut. Keep reading »
Emotional affairs are when a person in a committed relationship looks to establish an emotional bond with someone outside of his or her relationship. I know this because I Googled it. I felt that there had to be a description for what I was going through, feeling an incredible closeness with an unavailable man. I typed the words into my computer and felt my heart sink as I nodded along, recognizing his behavior described perfectly in the warning signs. Is he lying about the amount of time we communicate to his partner? Yes. Would he want his partner to hear the conversations we have? Hell no! Is your relationship forged with a secretive, forbidden energy? Oh god, it is. Keep reading »
A few weeks ago, on a first date, a guy told me about how watching his mother — a strong, intelligent woman who held the family together — made him into a feminist. Then he asked me what it was that made me start caring about women’s equality. I’m sure he expected that I was going to tell him a traditional “how I became a feminist” story: Dad hauled me to my first pro-choice march kicking and screaming, or my parents were radical separatist lesbians, or Mom was a famous liberal journalist and progressive ideals were in their blood.
Not. At. All.
My blood is the thick, viscous fluid of dirty martinis. My parents contributed to me becoming a feminist, sure. But it was only because as I was a young sprout blossoming into a beautiful flower, they were … kind of sexist. Keep reading »