important, late-night news

2:30 a.m.

Late night text, turned phone call.

“Well, I kissed him.”
“Ooooof course you did.”
“In that thing. Where you go into the subway. That thing in the median.”
“Not a bodega. . . .”
“No, you know. Like a greenhouse. And people were watching us, and, like, talking about it.”
“What’s that word?”
“I don’t know. It’s like a gazebo. Gazebo!”
“Yes! Gazebo.”


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i can be alone

Trix: I need a LOT of attention.
Sam: I realized last night that I just. . . don’t. I like to be alone.
Trix: Oh, I can be alone. As long as I know that other people WISH they were with me.


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simon texts that he's in town and for about ten hours everything is perfect, and. . .

It’s the little things, too. The whispers. The way his skin is the softest, smoothest I’ve ever felt. The way he remembers which Kate is getting married in May in Rhode Island and which Kate is getting married in June in New Orleans.

“That’s impressive.”
“That I listen to what you say?”

Well, yes. Quite.

The cuddling and the sleeping and the lying absolutely on top of his chest and never ever feeling like I’m crushing him.

“I want you to stay.”
“I wish I could stay.”

The goodbye kisses. In the grey early morning, just one more. One more.

One more goodbye.


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If you want to be my boyfriend, there are a few things you should probably know. Like I will flip out if you touch the bottoms of your shoes. For most of my teenage years I’d listen to Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough” on repeat whenever I was lonely or sad about a boy, and I still think it’s possibly the best relationship advice a boy can find. I will say, “Look, I made you a present,” and I’ll give you a picture I drew of something like a cupcake in a mirage with tumbleweeds blowing by on what is essentially a piece of trash, but you should pretend you like it. Sometimes I’ll break down on Friday nights for no reason.

And sometimes, panicked, I’ll ask you,

“Is tomorrow Thursday?”

I might even wake you up to ask you.

And you’ll say,

“Well, yesterday was Tuesday, and today is Wednesday. So, yes, that means tomorrow should be Thursday.”

Because you are patient. And all-around lovely.

You won’t ask questions. And it wouldn’t matter because I’ll already be asleep. So you’ll just hold me for a little, thinking about how lucky you are.


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Wendy from Wendy’s Adventures in LaLaLand chose me for one of these things where you answer a bunch of questions about yourself. Wendy’s great-- charming and interesting and rather clever. If you don’t know her already, I’m happy to introduce you.

But even though I am physically unable to climb the fence at Union Square Park to lounge on the grass four days before it opens officially (even though quite a number of other people have done it), we all know I am, at heart, a rule breaker. And even though my seventh grade geography/world history teacher praised my brilliant succinctness, I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I can write sort of a lot about nothing. So, I’ve elected to answer only one question from the list, though I encourage you to answer all the questions. There. Tag, or whatever.

I have some really great jewelry: Some diamonds from special occasions like my 21st birthday and college graduation. The usual pearls. A circle pin of my great-grandmother’s that looks good in my hair. A charm bracelet with about 25 interesting charms. An enormous cocktail ring, swiped from my mom’s jewelry box, with a stone the color of Windex. A small collection of carved cinnabar bracelets.

But there’s one piece I truly love.

I was out for a walk in my new neighborhood. I’d just moved to New York. I don’t know when it was, but I’d moved in the summer, and it was still hot. Very hot. And I was still basking in the freedom of anonymity and. . . aloneness. I was happy. It had been a while.

I don’t remember what street it was on, but there was this sort-of sidewalk fair. It was more flea market than anything else, with a whole table full of huge, vintage clip-on earrings. They are just so fabulous. And shiny. They make me feel glamorous, even though I never know where or when I can wear them, and if I ever do, I wonder why I’m so crabby and have such a dull headache before I remember I have something like 500 pounds of pressure per square inch on each of my earlobes*. So I mostly end up wearing them around my house when I need to feel pretty.

I bought some. It was a four-dollar splurge: one ridiculous pair of green rhinestone flowers. But then I saw it.

It was sweet, etched with some flourishes and flowers. A locket, gold, a little bigger than a nickel. I saw it and I loved it and it was mine. I recognized it like the baby Dalai Lama must recognize his stuff.

When I picked it up for a closer look, I saw that it had originally been colored. The green of the flourishes had mostly rubbed off, and the flowers had been pink. But I knew it really was mine. The monogram in the center? It was my letter.

The lady on the other side of the table apologized that it cost more than everything else. It was older, she said. I had just moved and started school and spent all of my savings. I should have used the money for food, but I didn’t.

It cost twelve dollars or sixteen dollars, and felt altogether irresponsible. But it was mine. This locket is a time, a place, and a philosophy.

You chose the life you live mostly, but sometimes your life just chooses you. Luck and fate and chance and destiny-- I don’t know what to believe, but I have to believe something. People wander through, but sometimes someone shows up, and you know that they’re meant to stay. I have to believe that I can recognize my people. That some day I’ll recognize my place. My person.

I have to believe that life will give me the things I need and that all I’ll have to do is recognize them when they show up.

*I made this up. But it does hurt.


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rule-breaking is practically my number one hobby

I was still not sure why I decided to meet him.

I was exhausted for no reason. My eyes were red. One of them was swollen a little more than the other. My sinuses were telling me it was springtime, but the temperature was telling me not quite. I didn’t bring a coat. That was stupid.

Even my hair looked tired.

Good sandwich, though. And not bad company.


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perhaps i should go home now

I was watching The Food Network and trying to fill Sandeep in on the plots. But when the guy with the spiky blonde hair came on, I changed the channel.

“What is this?” he asked me.

“Mary Poppins!”

It’s not how I should be spending Easter morning.

I’m sprawled out on his couch, and he looks away from his laptop, down at me.

“Do you want to go to the beach some time next month?”

Definitely not how I should be spending it.


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Boost your dignity

I love how Gmail filters spam out of my inbox, but sometimes that means that you miss out on some promising e-mails. For example, I just got this intriguing offer:

Subject line: Boost your dignity!

Wow, a magical product could boost my dignity... Was it some sort of pill that would paralyze my hands if I attempted to call my ex-boyfriend after too many drinks? Or maybe it's a fabric treatment that would ensure that my skirt would not blow up over my head as I walked down the street?

Maybe it could have prevented the unfortunate Dove deodorant incident.

No, they were just selling discount Viagra.


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i used to think so

I don’t remember why he asked.

I was putting on my coat, and he was sitting at the table, writing a check. He addressed the envelope. I’d never seen his handwriting before: small and slanted all ways and like. . . like a boy.

I’d been watching Friday t.v. garbage downstairs while he was supposed to be packing upstairs.

“Have I ever shown you this?”

I look up, and, somber-faced, he’s making a little teddy bear goose-step along the banister overlooking the dining room.

“ I’ve had him since I was in first grade.“ Even from a distance, it’s clear the little guy’s been loved. “I had to retrieve him from my parents’ house.” And he disappears back to packing.

While Pete’s packing his toiletries, I call to him, “What’s that little bear’s name?”

“I’m not telling you.”

But after a few minutes of guesses and promises and hints and bartering, with an almost-embarrassed half-smile, he does.

And it’s adorable.

The heat’s too much downstairs, so we move upstairs. Pete’s sprawled on the sofa, all hands and feet and elbows, and I’m sharing a rocking chair with the little bear.

I thought it was all over, but I want to be closer to Pete. I try to ignore it.

It’s getting late; he has an early flight. He plays one more made-up ukulele song, and I assure him that this is really the way he’s going to get all the girls. I put on my coat, and he sits down to write a check.

Without looking up, he asks me if I want to have babies.

“I. . . I don’t know,” is the best I’ve got at first. It’s such a hard question.

I want all the things that make you think it’s a good idea. You know, things like bedrooms and health insurance.

“We were talking about it at work one day,” I tell him, “and I told them I’d never be one of those women who has a baby alone.”

And that, of course-- a boy who makes me think I could do it. Should do it.

“Do you? You do, right?”

“I don’t know,” he says, still writing. “I used to think so. But now I don’t know. I need to figure it out. I need to figure out my whole life.” Then, “I meet a lot of women here who I don’t think would make good mothers.”

“I’m no good at kids until they can, like, stand up,” I say.

It’s hot, wearing my coat.

“Would you want to be with a girl you didn’t want to have kids with?”

“I’ve thought about it. Yeah.”

And it makes me sad to think of him settling. Of anyone settling, really. Because if it’s gonna happen eventually, maybe I should go ahead and let it happen now. Save myself some trouble.


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it's always good to have a plan

We’re sitting beside each other, sipping smoothies.

“I’m going to show her,” he tells me. “She keeps making excuses, but I’m going to call her bluff. I’m going to keep asking her out, and then, if she says yes, I’m going to say no.”

“Very mature.” I tell him, and take another sip. “And anyway, if she said yes, you’d go out with her.”

His laugh is a single note. Because it’s true.


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Ever diligent in her quest for grandchildren

“I saw Jimmy Clarke’s mom in the parking lot at the grocery store today.”

I don’t know where else she would have seen Jimmy Clarke’s mom. The parking lot at the grocery store is where they always talk about us.

“She asked about you. Jimmy’s still in Birmingham.”

The light changes, and I step off the curb. A bus roars by, and I can barely hear her.

“Jimmy’s not dating anybody; she says she’s just given up. I told her that you aren’t really dating anybody either.”

I walk around a girl with a tiny dog.

“And I told her I keep hoping that you two will end up in the same place.”

I roll my eyes, swerve around an old person, and nearly run into a thousand-dollar stroller.

“I told her you’d already joined that Facebook group for your 10-year class reunion and that at least you’ll see each other there.”

“Mom. Jimmy Clarke doesn’t talk. I’d just talk circles around him. Probably the only thing he’d say would be, ‘Be quiet.’”

“Sometimes. . . sometimes that’s just how things work.”


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it's neck and neck

for those of you watching at home, i'd like to point out that "making out" has pulled ahead of "eating" by a very narrow margin.

it's one to watch, folks.


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the universe is sending me mixed signals

At first I thought it was some sort of karmic punishment.

But Sam’s grandmother says it’s good luck to be pooped on by a bird. After all, what worse can happen to you that day?

So I guess if a pigeon’s gonna poop on you, 6:15 a.m. is a good time because it buys you a solid chunk of good-luck day.

I was coming home at 6:15 a.m., unlocking the front door of my building, because I didn’t listen to Harper.

“You should stick to your rules. I think you’re in danger of losing your good girl status. And once you lose it. . . .”

Well, I listened. And I tried. She said I’m addicted to boys and it’s a problem. She might be right. And she said I can only meet the boy Jules wants to set me up with if I get rid of Sandeep. Like cleaning out a closet that’s too full, she said.

“If making out was donuts, you’d be fat.”

I tried.

I called Sandeep and told him that I didn’t know if seeing him was a good idea because I didn’t think we wanted the same things. That he wanted a more physical relationship and that I felt like he didn’t want to get to know me. In an effort to be honest and a generally good person, I rehearsed what I wanted to say all the way home on the train. Then, after I ate two slices of pizza and checked my email and talked to Harper and looked at myself in the mirror for a while, I actually called him and I actually said what I meant to say.

I did what I was supposed to do, and that should have been it.

“What a shocker,” he sounds genuinely surprised. Genuinely.

He tells me it doesn’t have to be that way. I should have told him. I shouldn’t have waited until now to call him.

I can just come over, watch t.v. We don’t have to do anything, he promises. It’s up to me.

And when I’m telling him goodbye the next morning, getting ready to walk out the door, he wraps his arms around me and asks.

“See you soon? Or are we going to have to have that conversation again?”

I shrug, bring a section of my hair to my lips, and shake my head, half in his grasp, half out.

“You are too young to worry about this: what is good and what is bad.”

I felt it first, looked up to see two pigeon tails.

Logic tells me I deserve it.

But Logan, with his ancient Chinese wisdom, tells me I should buy a lottery ticket.


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Jay: i just popped my shoulder...it felt great
Beatrix: good. mine pops all the time. and i can't even feel it, but it freaks people out. it seems to do it especially loudly and often when i'm kissing boys
Jay: now that is funny
Beatrix: it's true
Jay: i believe you


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something to be excited about

I got a text from Julianna:

“Remember Dev the cowboy? I just told him I was going to set him up with one of my cute friends and he is excited. He is Indian.”
“He was adorable. Were you talking about me?”
“Haha yes.”

For the record, dating Indian fellows is not something I ever consciously decided to do. I don’t mean to do it at all. Sure I love a good tan and brown eyes. And I’m a total sucker for a big nose. Still, I’m pretty sure that it’s the Indian boys who like me.


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diamonds, bridges, etc.

“They just got engaged,” my brother tells us, stage whispering and motioning with his head. Through closed teeth, “And it’s a craaazy diamond.”

I pretend to look at the how-to-build-a-gigantic-suspension-bridge plaques to try to get a look at the ring. The couple is young, probably younger than me, and the ring is huge. The kind of diamond that I always imagine snagging stockings and scratching soft baby cheeks. Who even wears stockings?

The family was in town, and the four of us were at the Brooklyn Bridge. Baby Brother is suddenly an expert on diamonds, further evidenced by his definitive “I like it” and “I don’t like it” judgments at Tiffany later in the weekend.

He confides in me that he’s helping a friend buy an engagement ring. Not a huge one, but a ring nonetheless.

The friend is proposing at karaoke. And I make my brother promise not to ever let anyone propose to me in a public place.

“I’ll say no.”
“I know. You’ve told me a million times.”


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My hair smells like a spring rain shower

Dear Dove,

Thank you for your ad campaigns celebrating women of every shape, size, and color. Of course they all have shiny hair and no cellulite, but still, it's a step in the right direction.

I have one teensy request about your current marketing campaign. Would you please clearly label your aerosol deodorant product on the front? Right now it just says something about "silky-smooth," or "soft silkiness" but no mention of odor control or perspiration. And (a-hem) someone might confuse it with hairspray and douse their head in deodorant.



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i guess it is a little weird

Trix: I wonder if that boy from Alabama will call me. I hope so.
Sam: You could call him.
Trix: I don’t have his number.
Sam: You didn’t exchange numbers? You just gave him yours?
Trix: Yeah. [half shrug]
Sam: Straight people are so weird.


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why my life will never be a lifetime movie

I finally threw out that asparagus. I meant to eat it. Really.

It was pretty shriveled.


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this end of things

I just wanted to watch a pasta factory on Unwrapped, but I told him he could change the channel. Dancing with the Stars. Then I just wanted to watch that. But of course he started kissing me. And he took off my shirt.

My bathtub is really, truly broken. The super won’t call me back. I needed a proper shower rather desperately, and Sandeep lives so close.

I’m not sure if I’m using him for his shower.

I think he might be using me, too. I want to be still. I want to talk.

I ask him if he’s kissing me so I’ll be quiet. He says I can talk, but it’s hard when he’s shoving his tongue in my mouth.

“I want to have sex with you.”

It’s a sentiment I can appreciate. But I just keep getting the feeling he doesn’t want to get to know me. That he doesn’t care so much about having me around as having someone around. I keep my pants on.

I don’t want to be on this end of things.


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The first springtime thunderstorm and a broken bathtub: can anything make you want a boyfriend more?

Maybe that anxiety attack lurking just below your ribcage.


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Pete wanted me to go to a party with him on Saturday night.

“There will be lots of Indian guys there,” he assures me.

I didn’t meet the faux-hawked, sports-coated group of attractive Indian fellows with that private equity look about them because, even though Pete offered to introduce me, I was afraid he’d make it awkward and obvious. That’s kind of his thing.

I did meet a famous author. I can’t remember his name or what he wrote, even though I was sober all night. I had never heard of him. So we just talked about me.

And I met a boy from Alabama. I’m from Georgia, and that’s close. He’s familiar with my hometown. I know the tiny place where his grandparents live. We’ve eaten at the same cafeteria-restaurant. We talked about our choice of footwear in middle school, people dressed in bunny suits, the proclivity of Catholic-school kids to do the hardest and craziest drugs, and the quality of cheese stores in Brooklyn. A really interesting older gentleman keeps telling us that he’s just enjoying listening in because our conversation is so. . . quirky.

Then this Alabama boy and I discover that we even know the same person. And this person just happens to be Harper’s college boyfriend. He says they lost their virginity to the same girl. Small world.

Pete tells me he’s going to go but I should stay. I leave with him anyway. Before I leave, I lock eyes with this Alabama boy. He’s over in a flash and asking for my number.

“My friend from Alabama is moving to Brazil, and when he leaves I won’t know any other Southerners in the city.”

I guess he’s looking for a replacement.


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i swear i'm not jealous.

Pete’s seeing the girl he’s so crazy about on Friday night. I tell Sam.

“And how does that make you feel?”
“Like a baby sister,” I pout.


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i'm, like, so smart

“No, it’s that one,” he says, pointing at the knob on the right.

I drink tap water. Besides being free, it’s good for me and the environment. It doesn’t get carted all over the country, guzzling gas. It doesn’t spend ages in plastic bottles that can leach into the water itself. New York City tap water even tastes good-- better than most bottled water and even filtered water that’s been sitting in a plastic jug.

When I fill my glass from the tap, I run the water for a few seconds to clear any sediment that may have collected, and sometimes I feel the water to make sure it is running as cold as possible. Then I very briefly turn off the tap so that the water doesn’t get on the side of my glass before turning it back on to fill it up.

I’ve thought it all through. In fact, I’ve thought most things through. I’m actually quite smart. I haven’t been tested since I was 5, but I’m above the 95th percentile, IQ-wise. I was my high school’s valedictorian and didn’t pay tuition in college. I graduated summa cum laude, my GPA was a 3.905 (thanks to one B+ I got in Modern French Drama), and I’m Phi Beta Kappa.

And in much the same way that boys are always grabbing the back of my shirt assuming I’m going to walk into traffic, this boy is telling me which knob will produce cold water.

Geez. Why does everyone assume I’m so helplessly dumb?


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drinks, etc. with sandeep

At least I came home.

I could have slept there and come home in the morning before work.

It would have been easy.

But I came home.

Good girl.

I wish I had a box of cereal.


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are you starting to feel at home?

I count the months off on my fingers in the train on my way home. I’ve been here for one year and nine months.

And I’ve dated a lot of boys. I don’t have enough fingers to count them.

Tonight I went with Julianna to a party where we didn’t really know anyone.

“Have we been here before?” she asked me.
“I think so.”
“With Kris with a K. . .”

It is the same place-- there’s a canoe hanging above the bar.

Kris with a K was the first boy I hooked up with after moving to New York. Jules invited me to dinner with the two of them, we ended up at this bar with the canoe, and Jules said, “I’m going home. You’ll be fine, right?”

It seems like a million and one years ago. It was the day after the first iPhones came out. Kris with a K’s was the first one I’d ever seen. He let me zoom in and out on things.

He was truly beautiful. Skin deep. One of those people who lucks out with a serendipitous mix of ethnic traits. Fully aware of it, too.

I woke up in his bed. He needed to go train for a triathlon or something. Of course. I needed to go home. I was hungover, bedraggled, and couldn’t find my subway. I’d been in the city maybe two weeks. When I finally got on it, I was afraid I was going to hurl.

It was not a shining moment of a night. And now, one year and nine months later, I’m back at the same bar.

It’s happening a lot lately. Boys have smeared their memories all over this city. There’s the place where David started puking because it took him 29 years to realize he’s allergic to pine nuts, the tiny restaurant where I had grilled cheese with Cooper one day before I went to the airport, and the place Prince Charming would take me for pancakes. The bar where I met Sandeep? That’s the second first date I’ve had there. And I’ve had two first dates at a little wine bar and restaurant on the UES-- with Ravi and some guy whose name I’m 90% sure was either Mike or Bill. I keep walking by Gyan’s apartment, not on purpose at all.

I can’t remember all the names or faces, but this city is full of them. New York is not so big at all.


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Harper's triumphant return (and cake balls)

St. Joe's Bar, Magazine St. New Orleans
Sorry for my long absence. (Thank goodness Beatrix is much more dependable than I am.) In my defense, I've been drunk in Louisiana for most of the last week. Wait, that probably doesn't make me sound much better...
I am back in Soberville now so I will update you all on my recent antics shortly. Oh, and I have sworn off booze for a while. Instead I will fill my time by making cake balls for Easter.
Haha. Cake balls.

Instructions for cake balls on http://bakerella.blogspot.com


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excuses and alibis

I was using my fake email address that I use especially for online dating. Which is different from my real email because it does not have my last name and different from my blogging email because it has my real first name. Ravi popped up in gchat, a surprise since I’d only been out with him once. It must have been at the beginning of the fall when I was annoyed at Cooper and trying to date other people. I say,

-Online dating is pretty awful, mostly.
-Yeah. I agree. I didn’t go on that many dates. I could count them on one hand.
-So what you are saying is that having dinner with me was pretty awful.
-No. You were one of the better dates.

He gives me a lot of excuses for why he’s been busy for the past, I don’t know, six months, and asks,

-Was dinner with me awful?
-So how did I rank?
-You were good. Above average for sure.
-But not top of the class.
-It didn’t hurt that we went to one of my favorite restaurants.
-So it was the food you liked and not the company.
-Geez. I liked the company. I didn’t hear from you, so I assumed it was you who didn’t like the company.
-No, it wasn’t you. [Excuses and alibis] And I hadn’t heard from you, so I wasn’t sure you liked the company.

The truth is the company was great, but by the end of the first date I knew why Ravi was not my person. Without a doubt. I just thought he’d call.

I made plans with him anyway. Plans to eat pizza and watch some basketball on tv. I was debating whether to bring over beer or dessert when he texted to cancel.

No more chances.


p.s. I replaced all the “u”s in Ravi’s messages with “you”s. You’re welcome.

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