We were friends our freshman year of high school, but I hadn’t seen or talked to Brian for years, almost 10 probably. When he found his way back into my life (social networking sites: blessing or curse?) about two years ago, I wrote this. I apologize in advance for all the pent-up adolescent angst.

Maybe it’s because it was the first adult decision I ever had to make: Go left, or go right, with no one to help me choose. I’ve made a millions choices since, but there’s no way to know how different they would have been if I could change the first one.

He was beautiful. He was tall and slim, but he had the body of a boy. We were children. His face was chiseled. Dark, dark eyes had seen too much. Black hair was too long, and his skin was bronze. When he looked at me, I felt beautiful.

He was bad, not like me. He sold marijuana with his brothers. He had a condom in his wallet, not like a boy who wanted to show it off, but like he might use it. He never came to school on Fridays. He tied a noose with the cord on the blinds. He said my name like no one else.

The damages were thinly veiled.

My birthday falls at the beginning of January, before school starts back, and it pales in the shadow of Christmas and the New Year. He called me that year I knew him. He asked me if I got everything I wanted. I had to say yes. But I could only feel embarrassed.

He must have known everything from the way I looked at him, the way we looked at each other. It must have been there for him, too. I didn’t touch him. I didn’t tell him.

And when he asked, I didn’t say anything. And then I said no.

The other one was different. He had the right shirts, the right shoes. He waited for me. He passed me notes. When he called, we talked about television. He was quick to laugh, quick to joke. The damages were stashed inside.

We went to the movies. He held my hand. Sitting on the floor of his room, he kissed me. I loved him for a long time, even when it hurt. I loved him until it scared me. Then I kept loving him until one day I didn’t anymore. And it was over.

Memories fade, and people change.

It happened a long time ago, it feels a million years. And I chose. Go left or go right. Going straight never occurred to me. I chose. And I was still naïve, but I was not a child.

So when you ask me why it is so strange to talk to him now, after so long, that is why. Because I could have chosen him, and I could have a different life.


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I know I like attention. That’s why I’m writing this in the first place. I want you to read this and think about how talented and clever I am, and how, even though you’ve never seen me, you’re sure I’m pretty.

I like attention from boys. I shouldn’t use it to validate myself; I know that.

But if I know that, why am I talking to Brian?

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Thanks. You, too. Any fun plans?”
“Not today, tomorrow. You?”
“No plans. And no boys, really.”
“Really. I find that hard to believe.”
“I’m simplifying.”
“Down to just one boy.”
“No. Down to none, maybe. There’s just one boy I need to talk to.”
“Is it me?”
“What would I need to talk to you about?”
“I don’t know.”
“You are confusing.”

Brian doesn’t live here. I’ve known him since we were 14. And he got married in October. And he didn’t tell me; I had to ask him about it (twice) after he changed his relationship status on Facebook.

Seriously. I’m simplifying.


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thank you note

Dear Grandma,

Thank you for the Valentine’s Day card and for the enclosed ten dollars. You will be happy to know that I used it to get snockered [sic] with my coworkers. Absolutely snockered [sic] on lychee martinis. Do you know what a lychee is, Grandma? Me either, but I’m pretty sure it’s Chinese or something.

Anyway, the buzz is great, so I’m going to call this boy I like. I know you’ve given up on my ever getting married, but I have hope yet. And I think this guy might have potential, even though you’ll be sorry to know that he’s Hindu. So we'll have lots of heathen babies who believe in hundreds of gods, one of whom even has eight arms.

Thanks for your contribution to my courage fund, Grandma.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and lots of love,

~[drunk] beatrix

[Note: This letter was written when I was still quite drunk from those martinis. It was about 8:45 pm; this is what happens when I go out with my coworkers. (By the way, I know a great happy hour on the Lower East Side, if you are interested. I spent more than the $10 mentioned in my drunk letter, but not much.) This letter was not actually sent to my grandmother. Also, I knew what a lychee looked like in my drink, but I wikipedia-ed it, and now I know what the tree looks like, too. (And it is Chinese.) ~ sober beatrix]

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seafoam green is really not my color

I was getting ready for the wedding. Simon’s mom and sister-in-law were there making sure everything was perfect. The makeup girl henna-ed my face with a brush tip marker. Simon’s Indian, like about fifty percent of the guys I end up dating, so of course there was henna at the wedding. Henna marker is probably very modern, and it’s definitely a time saver. She did my chest and the centers of my palms, too. Evie and Julianna were bridesmaids, but they had less henna-marker than me. Did I mention we were at the mall? In one of those middle sections with the kiosks that look like wooden carts?

I looked in the mirror. I was wearing one of those newly fashionable headbands that makes your head look like a mushroom, and it was sparkly. My face and chest were henna-ed. And my bridesmaid’s dress was a lovely cut-- inch-wide straps, soft v-neck, floor-length, and in a fabric that fell beautifully, but it was seafoam green with a streak of hot pink and blue from the center of the chest diagonally across one side. Seafoam green is not my color.

I was a bridesmaid, and Simon was marrying a girl I didn’t know. I think her name starts with an M. Margery or Miriam or something.

I decided this was the perfect time to have that talk I’d been meaning to have with him. No time like the present, right? I was not articulate.

And he looked over my shoulder at the girl he was about to marry and said to me, “Honestly, I don’t think you have a chance.”

I woke up at 6:01, 14 minutes before my alarm went off.

I’m not usually one to make much of dreams, but sometimes there’s just one that gets to me. If it means something, what? Talk to him? Don’t talk to him? I don’t have a chance?

Maybe it just means I need to get it over with and off my mind.

I’m telling myself I’ll do it tonight. Which is exactly what I told myself last night.


p.s. This is my blog and my dream and my arms can be as skinny as I want them to be. And my eyes can be huge.

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missed chances

I have every intention of talking to Simon tonight. I’m going to do it. Get it over with.

I am not like this.

I am going to do it.

But Brian sends me a gchat message. I don’t want to deal with that tonight. And I need to wash my hair.

When I send Simon a message, he’s still at work. And the kind of conversation we need to have isn’t really the sort you want to have in a cubicle.

And because it never rains, it pours, and it never pours, it thunderstorms, Tal texts:

-Hey cutie! How are you?

It’s so easy to flirt:

-Good. Thinking about me?

He’s good at it, too:

-Often and fondly. Miss me?

I lie:


He knows it:


But he calls me beautiful; that’s something.

This is what I don’t need in my life.

And I miss my chance with Simon. Again.


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what team are you on?

“He’s cute. You should talk to him.”
“Um, I think he plays for your team.”
“He can’t play for my team; he’s a boy.”
“What? How many teams do you think there are?”

I think there are four teams: boys, boys, girls, and girls. Sam and Fin insist that there are only two: gay and straight. And I guess that makes sense. Because , if there are four teams, then two of the teams just play internally, while the other two play with each other. But if there are two teams, then they both play internally, and it’s not like teams at all but more like leagues or divisions or something. It’s really an altogether terrible analogy.

At any rate, I'm pretty sure I'm not on the same team as the boys.


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kiss dodging

For whatever reason, there’s a short list of things I’ve been eating lately: oatmeal, cous cous, yogurt, grape tomatoes, oranges. And when Coop asked what I was having for dinner, I told him three more things off the list: pita, hummus, and mozzarella.

Cooper: You need to start dating again.
Me: You mean I should start dating for the food?
Cooper: If I were a girl I totally would
Me: It’s just so exhausting. And you have to do things to your hair so much. And then there’s only so much kiss dodging you can do.
Cooper: You’ve got to put that in your blog or I will-- “kiss dodging”.

I have a confession: I love internet dating. I should clarify: I love free internet dating.

But I don’t think I’m quite ready to start back. I’m simplifying.


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speaking of that oscar-nominated film starring brad pitt

Fin was laughing at us when he said to Hannah, “It’s sort of Benjamin Button-y, like an old married couple of kindergarteners, sharing their carrot sticks.”

But me and Sam were sharing our carrot sticks and some trail mix.

Later me and Sam shared some pizza and some beers. It made things feel so much better. Of course we planned how the scene would be edited if we had a reality show. (They’d show lots of close-ups of us drinking pints, followed by the two of us laughing uncontrollably, shot through the window of the pizza place. Then they’d show us finishing up our work for the day, even though in real life we finished our work first. We should totally have a t.v. show, and they should let us tell them how to edit it.) You’d think after twelve hours together on a Monday, we’d run out of things to say, but we didn’t.

The topic turned to dating.

“We should find someone to date us before we get too busy again.”
“Well, preferably two people. One for each of us.”
“We could date Genevieve and Gus!”
“Fine, but I get Gus and you get Genevieve.”
“Nooooo. . . .”
“Fine you can have Gus, and I’ll take Genevieve. She’s skinny, just the way I like my girls.”

When I got home, I wasn’t drunk. I don’t have an excuse. I was just acting stupid.

I messaged Simon, who was still at work. There was small talk, then I said this:

i need to wash my hair
one day i’m going to tell you all the things i need to tell you
but not right now because you are at work and i need to wash my hair

I owe it to him to stop being such a pansy girl and tell him already. He does not deserve this.


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this afternoon, playing part of the voice of truth

Phil: The doctor. . . he never called.

Sam: I thought you didn’t want to date the doctor.

Me, as the voice of truth: Just because you don’t want to date someone doesn’t mean you don’t want him to want to date you.

Hannah: That is true.

Sam: She’s got a point.


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who is that girl?

I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like a real New Yorker, even if I live here forever. I’m not sure I’ll ever really look like a New Yorker, either. I’m convinced that’s why people ask me for directions so often-- because I don’t look like I belong; I look nice. But I’ve been here for a little over a year and a half, and fewer strangers are asking for directions. As when someone guesses that I’m from Connecticut (you’d wonder how if you ever heard me), I don’t know whether to be flattered or offended.

I was waiting for a staff elevator at the Carlyle early Saturday afternoon. The back elevators at hotels take forever because there’s a constant stream of maids and food and suit-clad ladies with Slatkin candles and, in this case, furniture, flowing up and down at all times. I was standing there with a driver (less glamorous than it sounds) who was wearing jeans and a hoodie-- the sort that says the name of a place and then XXL or something.

I was wearing knee boots, tights, a t shirt, a stretchy dress, this long stretchy cardigan thing, a ratty scarf, approximately three, small, tangly necklaces, and my white coat. Having fallen asleep on Pete’s sofa the night before (he lives in Brooklyn and it is really far to go home), it was the comfortable outfit I’d chosen for a busy Friday at work. My hair was in a messy ponytail, and was, quite honestly, a little dirty. I wasn’t wearing any makeup. And, I think this is the real kicker, having fallen asleep on Pete’s sofa the night before (I really like his t.v.), I’d slept in my contacts and had disgusting, red, puffy eyes that hurt in the light and necessitated wearing the enormous purple sunglasses I’d found in my bag.

This is New York, and there’s a fine line, but I couldn’t tell if I was dressed more like an Olsen or an actual bag lady. And, walking through the basement of the Carlyle and out the service entrance, I was hoping that the staff was thinking, “I wonder who that is?” and not “I wonder how she got in?”


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he's got it all figured out

Today Fin, one of my bosses, said to me as I was passing by, “I had a thought about you and Sam at the gym this morning.”

I thought it was going to be about work.

“You need somebody who is smart and simple,” he said, “because you are smart and complicated. Sam needs somebody who is smart and complicated because he’s simple.”

It was so very true.

“I think that’s why you two work so well together,” he concluded. I guess that was about work, but it was about life, too.

It was just so very true.

I told Fin so when I walked by again.

“I do need simple. I need an Aidan, not a Big.” He’s memorized every episode of Sex and the City, so I was sure Fin knew what I meant.

I need someone smart and simple. Someone who likes dogs and dive bars. Who doesn’t make his own drama but who doesn’t mind mine too much.

Too bad I can’t just date Sam.


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Harper signs on

Beatrix has done a fantastic job kicking off this blog but I have been errant in adding my entries. I’m excited about this project, mostly because I love Beatrix and I like that we’re doing this together.

B and I became friends quickly despite some major differences in our personalities. She's thoughtful and deliberate, I'm impulsive and blunt. She believes in love and romance. I think I did once (I must have, right?) but I have begun admitting to others that I have never seen myself married. I told the Mexican guys at work and I was met with confused faces. After a thoughtful pause, Umberto asked me, “Quien va a cuidarte cuando estas vieja?”

Who will take care of you when you're old?

Not only do I have to worry about who I will take as my date to a wedding next month, but now I have to worry about who will help me find my dentures when I’m 85.


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i'm afraid i'm moving backwards

I am, like, the effing Benjamin Button of dating.

I haven’t seen the movie, so please excuse the terrible pop culture analogy. What I mean to say is that sometimes I feel like I’m getting worse at dating instead of better. . . you know, moving backwards.

I had my first marriage proposal when I was in kindergarten. My mom found it in a box of my old school stuff when she and my dad were moving. It’s on three-lined paper and says, “Dear Beatrix, You are prety. Will you mery me? I love you. Love, Gary.” I was six.

My second grade boyfriend and I had an easy-going, symbiotic relationship of people who’ve been together forever. We’d swing in opposite directions during recess so we could look at each other. We’d always sit next to each other at lunch, and he’d open my yogurt for me.

My high school boyfriend and I had a relationship that fluctuated between giddiness and jealousy. We talked futures and baby names.

College was a string of short, but meaningful relationships, none lasting longer than 4 months. These often ended suddenly and dramatically.

I’ve spent the past year casually dating and juggling multiple, fleeting crushes.

And now I am 27 and fighting the strong and persistent urge to send an email (the grownup, 2009 equivalent of passing a folded-up note) that says “I like you. Do you like me? __yes __no __maybe” (I’d take the maybe if I could get it, but I’m saving up my courage to make an actual phone call instead.)

At this rate, I’ll be plastering my walls with boy band posters when I’m 45 and afraid to touch the boys at the nursing home for fear of catching cooties.


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I really had no idea where I was. Somewhere between Boston and New York, but that’s not saying much. I knew the general geography, but here on the highway, on a bus, I couldn’t tell where I was. There were generic things on the sides of the highway: Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s. I saw a store named Romantic Depot which sat directly in front of one named Screws & More. (No kidding.)

I was between places. Nowhere.

I don’t really fit in in Boston. I like to visit Evie, but I’d never want to live there. Georgia will always be home, but I never quite fit there either. And sitting on the bus, I wondered if I fit in in New York. I wondered if it felt like home or if it ever would.

As the suburban landscape shifted, and we were surrounded by boxy buildings with light-square windows, I tried to gauge my emotions, just as I do every time I fly in or out of the city and crane as long as possible to see the Manhattan skyline. To see if it feels a part of me.

Do I feel ownership of the old Yankee stadium or even the new one? How does it feel to be in Harlem, where the streets become numbered and orderly? I’ve bought a sandwich at that grocery store, is that comforting? How does Columbus Circle make me feel?

I reached no conclusion. Home is a slippery concept.

But I can’t help thinking that if I can just make sure I’m in the right place everything else will just work out.


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hugo's girlfriend

She wasn’t as pretty as I’d expected.

I’d been afraid he’d bring her along. I’d been so crazy about him for so long, it was almost like I was nervous about it out of habit. But it wasn’t so bad. And she wasn’t that pretty.

Two glasses of wine helped. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t that bad.

And sitting there, looking across the table at the two of them, I realized that what I was feeling wasn’t love or need or even lust, but jealousy.

And, for the five millionth time, I hope that I’ve never ever been in love at all. That when I see it I’ll know because it will be so different from anything else, and I’ll think, that, that is what I’ve been looking for.


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simplifying is hard

“Guess what? I’m going to Boston this weekend.”

What was I doing? I just could not stop talking.

“I haven’t had wine in a long time. Wait. That’s not true, I had mimosas yesterday. But that doesn’t really count because it’s champagne.”

But I could not talk about what I was supposed to be talking about.

He must be so confused. After all, I’d sent a Rather Dramatic Email. It said I needed to talk to him, but it wasn’t urgent or scary. Which, I’m sure the poor guy knows, in girl-speak could mean any number of things. And I’d mentioned that I was only sending the email to make me talk about things I could never talk about when I was with him, because I liked being with him and never wanted to ruin that.

We started talking about moving and his new place.

The email had ended, “I promised myself I’d try to simplify my life this year, and I think that means being honest with myself and the people around me. So I’m trying.” He must be terribly annoyed or terribly frightened.

He finally brought it up, “You know we can always talk.”

I tried, but I just couldn’t say it.

“Just tell me. You don’t have to be articulate.”

“I know,” I said. “I don’t really know what I want to tell you.”

It was a lie. I didn’t know what outcome I wanted , but I had been outlining the conversation in my head all day.

And he must know everything already, right?


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stupid girl or why i think i can really be friends with pete

I’ve been hanging out with Pete with no more kissing. My week just kept getting worse, and I couldn’t control myself any longer. I texted him.

-Are you sure you don’t want to make out?

-What? Are you drunk?

-I’m not drunk. I was just wondering.

-Oh it sounded like one of those drunk texts I’ve read about. I thought we were going to be accountability partners.

-I know. I was having a bad day. And kissing you was nice.

-I’d probably serve you best as a friend in the long run. Sorry about the bad day.

-I know you would. You are good at this accountability thing.

The next day:

-Sorry about the crazy-girl texts. It was a cry, eat, or make out kind of night.

-No prob. Happens to the best of us.


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what i'm not telling you is this. . .

I had only been to coffee and for a walk with Cooper once when he called and wanted to hang out again. It was last summer on a grey, rainy Saturday, and he wanted me to come over and watch a movie. I had just met him and barely knew him, and I am generally responsible, so I said I didn’t think it was a good idea.

“Well, I’m not sure this is a good idea, either,” he told me over the phone, “but go to this website. . . “

It was a blog. It took a moment to process. It was his blog. . . about his very busy dating life. . . and it mentioned me. And his blog said I was pretty. Awesome. But weird. I didn’t know what to think.

He was still on the phone, and his logic was this: if he were very scary and dangerous, someone would have alerted the internet and ruined his blog.

I guess it made sense. At any rate, I ended up at his apartment. And we had brunch the next morning. We decided that it counted as both our second and third dates.

Cooper and his blog are the reason this blog is so anonymous. Because dating Cooper was a two part process. First I dated him in real life, then I read the blog to see how it went. And then I checked back to see what readers had to say about it. Then I called him to say he’d misquoted me or that I didn’t quite understand what he’d written about me. It was far too complicated.

So this blog is going to stay completely anonymous.

The only foreseeable problem is that the whole story turns into a blockbuster romantic comedy. I’ll meet some amazing boy. We’ll get caught in the rain and he’ll discover that I’m knowledgeable about and/or competent at his childhood passion. His dog will love me, and my friends will adore him. But then he’ll discover my secret blog in a New York Times exposé, and he’ll believe that I was only using him for the material. He’ll break up with me. We will both be very sad and see lots of things and places that remind us of one another. Finally, I will write a big apology blog post (which he will read in a voice over). But one of us will already be on the way to the airport to go far away forever. The other will need to follow in a taxi, but will get stuck in traffic, which will inevitably necessitate getting out to follow on foot. Maybe the boy can be reading the blog post on his iPhone while actually on the way to the airport. Then he’ll turn around, too. And we’ll kiss in the street, probably on a bridge. And there will be lots of honking, but we won’t care. Pan out. Roll credits.

I’m not worried about the anonymous blog. These things always have happy endings. Right?


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Once I dated this runner who was in incredible shape-- he must have had a body fat percentage of 2% and his heart beat about 40 times a minute. So of course, he made me feel self-conscious about my own weight. And after we broke up, I declared to the universe, “I just want to date a fat guy.” Frustrated after several dateless months (this was before my move to the big city), I also vowed to go out with the next boy who asked. Hearing my declared challenge, the universe tested me by almost immediately sending exactly what I’d requested. I guess the moral is to be careful what you wish for.

So on Thursday night, almost as soon as I’d told Harper how my sucky week was making me want to rescind the moratorium on making out and as soon as I had written “Now who’s going to make out with me. . ?” I got a text.

“In the city at a meeting. Running late. What are you up to later?”

It was 10:30. What I was up to later was sleeping.

I knew what he wanted, what he was going to want. I was supposed to be angry at him for being flakey at plans, for bailing on my birthday dinner. I was supposed to not hook up with him until I made myself at least talk to him about what we’ve been doing for the last six years or so. I wasn’t supposed to be kissing anyone at all. But I was pretty sure that I wanted exactly what he wanted.

He massaged the knots out of my back. He was warm in my bed. And everything else was. . . amazing. I’ll spare you the details, but you should believe me.

And the sleeping-- the actual sleeping-- is perfect. He holds me. He for-real holds me all night, which is only annoying when my leg is itchy and I wake him up untangling myself to scratch it. He holds me until 5 when he cuddles me awake, and. . . well. . . nevermind.

And he casts the usual spell. Thursday I got in bed lonely and sad, but Friday. . . . Well, Friday I’m in love.


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very bad day, very bad week

Yesterday morning, Sam (bff at work and avid NPR listener) told us that 4,000 people across the country had lost their jobs the day before. We live in New York, so we all know people who have lost jobs to this recession, but we agreed that it really sucked. We all knew that we’d be fine. We work in luxury goods, and we are all busy all the time. It’s our slow season, but things will be picking up soon.

There were eight of us yesterday. There were six of us today. The recession hit us, too.

I had a list of things to pick up from Rite Aid. It was just in my head, so I forgot what I was supposed to be buying. I got toothpaste, then two new kinds of moisturizer and some cookies. Today when I stopped to pick up the things I forgot to get, I got another kind of cookies.

I’m thinking that it might be better to stress cuddle and stress make out than to stress eat. The only problem is that I’ve cleared up all my backups. (Last week, I definitively ended things with two boys I’d been stringing along.) Now who’s going to make out with me so I won’t gain 30 pounds before April?


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how old are you again??

I’ve learned that there are certain topics, that when brought up in conversation with older guys, will highlight your age difference.

When I was 22 and dating a 27-year-old, I learned that you have to be careful talking about music you liked in middle school

“MC Hammer?”
“Um, no. More like the Gin Blossoms. . . .”

When I was 23 and chatting up a 29-year-old on an airplane shuttle, I learned to be careful when referencing cK1:

“I thought it was, like, the coolest thing ever in seventh grade.”
“Seventh grade? Really? I think I wore it sophomore year of college. . . .”

And at 26, dating a 35-year-old, I figured out that you should just be careful when talking about what you were doing in any specific year pre-puberty:

“I guess I haven’t been there in a long time. I used to go there all the time when I was studying for the LSAT, so I guess it was. . . what? . . 1994?”
“Nineteen ninety four??”
“Yeah. What were you doing in 1994?”
“Sixth grade.”

But as long as no one thinks about how you were wearing Keds and watching Nickelodeon in your parents’ living room while he was hooking up with some girl whose last name he can’t remember in a shady college dorm room, dating an older guy can be a really positive experience. So maybe he’s more likely to have a broken engagement or failed career or major financial crisis under his belt, but he’s also more likely to have a fantastic job, a mortgage to something nice, and Friday night plans to watch t.v. and eat take-out (and I consider this a total bonus).

But how old is too old? My personal limit comes when a boy has more in common with my parents than with me. And I have young parents. Like, really young. When they were my age, they were married, had two kids, and were so sure of the decisions they’d made that my dad had had a vasectomy two years previously. So, I’m 27 and my parents just turned 50. Do the math: that leaves us with a 23 year gap, which, when we divide by two, is 11 and half years. Round down to eleven, to put the number on my side. Add twenty-seven and eleven, and you’ll see that, by the numbers, I can date boys up to 38 years of age.

Thirty-eight, though, seems dangerously close to 40. I went out with a guy who was 41 a few months ago as an experiment, and that is definitely too old. I was almost embarrassed to be seen with him because I was just wondering what people thought we were doing, and I was painfully aware of how many of my stories begin, “One time in college. . . .“ My real-life cut-off seems to be closer to 36.

Pete is 36. (I’m not dating Pete, but I wouldn’t mind kissing him again.) While doing some Facebook stalking this week, I noticed one of his groups is planning a 20-year high school reunion. Twenty years. I can do the math. He’s almost ten years older than me, and my ten-year reunion is coming up (maybe it’s my hesitance to accept it that makes it so easy to forget).

Yeah. Sometimes it’s better to just not think about numbers.


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please try not to act crazy

This is a conversation I wish I could have with a boy, namely Pete, but I‘m sure I could use it more than once:

I’m sorry I’ve called you twice and texted you three times and sent you a facebook message in the past 30 hours, but the truth is that I think I might kind of like you. But don’t panic, because I’m not sure. But I was weird last time I saw you and now I want to show you how not crazy I am, but every time you don’t answer or don’t respond I’m pretty sure I’ve ruined it. And I’m tired of ruining things. So this is just what I look like when I’m trying.



winter is long

Reasons I need a boyfriend right now:
So someone can tell me that 15 pieces of cold pasta and an orange does not constitute dinner

My bed is really cold

My back hurts in that spot I can’t reach


grocery shopping

Maybe some people want to pick up boys in the grocery store, so here is some advice on how to make sure the boys there know you are single:

Buy one can of tomato soup, one big orange, two containers of (full fat) greek yogurt, a pound of butter, and a bag of egg noodles that costs $1.69. No one will ever think you are going home to cook dinner for your boy.

And forget to get a basket and balance all your groceries to the register. Never mind. . . Looking ridiculous might not actually help your cause.



julianna's wedding.

I wish I could just go back to that time and that place and tell her.

I was there, in the University Center, near the Taco Bell, trying to convince her that she had to eat at least most of the snack-sized bag of Baked Lays before she could drive the 4 hours to stay at her parents’ house for the weekend. We were sophomores in college. It was warm, but it was always warm, so I don’t even know what season it was.

Her hands were shaking. I think she was out of tears. I don’t remember what I said; I’d been through enough to know that it didn’t really matter what I said.

It was the first time he broke up with her, but not the last. And she broke up with him, too. She’d call me, and I’d know what she wanted before she did: for me to tell her it was ok to not be sure.

And I want to go back to that time and that place so that I can tell her that it will all turn out ok. That we’ll go to dinner, the two of them, me, and a boy she’ll meet a few times but barely remember. That she’ll call me an hour or so later to tell me that he asked her to marry him.

That the night before the wedding, she’ll be back in that bed at her parents’, and she’ll cry, but not because she’s sad. The ceremony will be beautiful. I’ll be a bridesmaid; I never had to worry about what kind of dress she’d choose. She’ll have the perfect dress, the most amazing veil. That it’s going to take a while, but that they’ll end up together.

And that I’ll tear up listening to her dad’s speech at the reception, because I’ll be thinking about this, the things I wish I could have said to her that afternoon seven years ago. I wish I could tell her that the things we want aren’t always the things we need. That sometimes it takes time. And sometimes, even when everything else is right, we have to grow toward our person, grow into him, then around him, until we know for sure. Until there’s no more doubt.

Best wishes, kids.



let's just take this slow

When I was 15, I had my first boyfriend. The first time he kissed me-- the first time anybody kissed me-- we were sitting on the floor in his bedroom. We’d just watched Top Gun, and he’d fast-forwarded through all the sad parts. We spent years making out in that bedroom, with no music or tv so we could hear the house alarm beep or someone starting up the stairs. He wasn’t allowed to close his door when I was over. Later, after he got a car, we’d hook up on new streets where they were building houses but no one lived yet. It was fun. From that first kiss, everything was terrifyingly, excitingly, beautifully new. Every new move was tentative, careful. From that first kiss, it took us 20 months to make our first (awkward, clumsy, emotional) attempts at having actual sex.

When I was a kid, my dad told me I ate like a fat person because I always saved my favorite part for last. It’s maybe not the healthiest thing to tell a 13-year-old girl with plenty of food issues already, but it is true that I’ve always been a savor-er. I eat sandwiches in concentric circles so that my last bite is the perfect, juicy inside piece. I eat muffins from the bottom up, so that I’ll be left with the good part, not the stump. When I read books I really like, I find that I check how many pages are left so I can reassure myself that it’s not almost over. I like anticipation. I like the build-up. I don’t like for things to be over.

So I miss the way things were when I was 15: when my bra didn’t come off at the same time as my shirt. When making out was its own activity. When we saved things for later, for next time. When letting a boy kiss me was not an invitation for him to take off my pants.

I know I can’t have another first kiss. And I know that 20 months is five times longer than I’ve dated anyone since the boy who fast-forwarded Top Gun. But I miss how fun things used to be. I miss all the tiny steps.




“If I make it until Sunday, I will have been a month without kissing anybody. So my resolution is to be less slutty. And to make friends. . . who are girls. . . or gay.”

“I’ll be your friend. Just think of me as gay,” he’d told me across two big bowls of ramen.

But on the subway platform, waiting for both directions, he’d pulled me close to him. It was cold. I’d pressed my cheek to his. And I suddenly couldn’t think of him as gay.

It was only four days later, and we were doing nothing, like always. But it was different.

“Your pupils are really big. I can see my whole self in them.” I covered my face except one eye to look at him, and he put his face closer. “What color are your eyes? Green? Blue?”

When I pointed at something over his head, my fingers ended up tangled with his. I don’t know how. I let them stay there.

I was sitting down and he leaned over me. He brushed the hair away from my face. He was gentle, looked down at me, and into my eyes. He was behind me, above me, all upside down.

I was nervous. It was fantastic.

His arm ended up around my waist. He asked me if I wanted to arm wrestle. Things were different.

And he had to go. A party at 7. He couldn’t be late.

I turned off the hall light while we were waiting for the elevator. He made a scary face in the dark. I laughed, stepped closer. He wrapped his arms around me, the two of us all clumsy in warm coats, and pressed his nose to mine. Index finger on my chin, he pulled my lips to his and kissed me. Sweet. Soft.

“What are you doing?” The elevator door opened, with its rectangle of light.

“I just wanted to break your streak,” he kissed me again. We let the elevator door close.

“Jerk. We were supposed to be friends.” And I kissed him.

“Do you think I’m ruining it?”

“I kind of wanted you to.”

I walked him to the subway. He pulled me close to him. “No?” So I kissed him on the cheek. He kissed me on the cheek. Then we kissed for real, standing on the sidewalk.

“You are going to make me late.”

“It’s not my fault.”

And it’s not my fault. It is all his fault.



we're gonna get better at this

You should meet my friend Harper. She’ll be around soon enough. She’s the best kind of friend to have. She’ll give you advice like “Just be careful because you don’t want to walk into a party and have made out with every guy there.” She’ll go back into a bar to give a boy your number just because she thinks he should have asked for it. She’ll eat french fries for breakfast with you after a long night out. Even though we live far away now, I miss her all the time.