many apologies for the prolonged absence. i'm on vacation and will be back early next week, refreshed and tanned.

happy summer.



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“It’s funny how every time you introduce me to people, ‘This is my girlfriend,’ they’re like ‘Really?! It’s about time.’”
“Yeah. . . I’ve always dated a lot, but the girlfriend thing is new. You know.”
“My friends would be more like, ‘Oh, just another one.’ But really I think you’re only like my sixth boyfriend ever.”
“Hmm. Six is a multiple of three, and they say the third time’s a charm.”
“Wait. Seventh. You’re seventh. . . . But seven is lucky. They say that, too.”
“Mmm. . . We’ll see.”
“Yeah, we’ll see.”


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nostalgia at three months

“Wait,” he tells me, even though I can hear a train downstairs.

I had the same idea.

He grabs me around the waist and kisses me big. We miss our train.

We’ve been here before.


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the last time i took this walk across town

I remember the last time someone gave me Broadway tickets. After I left the theater I found myself in the lights and crowds of Times Square, and like tonight, the weather was nice, so I decided to walk across town. It seems like a long time ago, but it wasn’t. I knew you, but I wasn’t thinking of you.

The last time I took this walk across town, I was meeting someone else.

Tonight, my phone was in my hand. It was you I was going to call and you I expected when it rang. But the universe had read my mind, and it was Simon on the other end.

He was in the city, just finished dinner.

“I’m with my coworkers. It’s loud. I’ll talk to you later?” I didn’t wait to hear if he wanted something.

And when I left my friends and turned east, down that stretch of 42nd street that’s quiet at this time of night, where the Empire State Building rises above you on one side and the Chrysler Building on the other, I called you. You were only just leaving work, and you sounded tired.

Tonight I went home alone. And in the morning I’ll wake up by myself. I’ll miss you, and I won’t miss the way things were.


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are you in?

I was eating a sandwich and watching Ted make a casserole. I know his birthday, and he knows mine, it turns out.

His is soon. Mine is far.

“But my birthday is always sucky,” I told him, and it’s true. For years and years it’s ranged to mediocre to really miserable.

“Well, then I have a goal for this year,” with a glance over his shoulder.

He turns back to chopping chicken and misses the wide-eyed, eyebrow-raised face I make.

I should let it go. But I want to hear him say it.

“So. You think you’ll be around for my birthday? It’s a long time.”

We count off months. It’s far. We’d both more than double our adult dating records.

“At this point, I have no reason to think I won’t be.”

And even though his casserole looks disgusting, neither do I.


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socially awkward

Pete concludes, “. . . but I’m socially awkward.”
“Me, too.”
“No you aren’t. I saw you at that party.”
“I’m recovering.”

Even though I’m sure Ted knew he was exaggerating, I heard him tell a friend, “She’s the most social person ever,” and I’m afraid I’m about to disappoint him.

I agreed to meet up with some people, sports people. I thought they’d be boys, so I wore a really low-cut top. Impressively low. Shows off my chest (and by chest, maybe I mean ribcage) nicely; I can’t turn certain ways or slouch.

My chair is hard and pulled up to the table and in the way of everyone going to the bathroom. And I shouldn’t have worn this slutty shirt. It’s two boys, but two girls.

Girl on the right is sweet and lovely and sincere. Girl on the left types into her blackberry until she pops her head up to interject something with lots of finger-pointing and proving-wrong. She’s abrasive and an interrupter.

“This is the opposite of engaging,” I want to coach her, “If even Ted is losing interest in your fantasy baseball team, you need to think of something better.”

“I, however, am interesting,’ I want to announce. “Everyone loves to talk about my fabulous life.”

Instead I start to close up and shut down. I can’t do it-- I’m happy to take command of a conversation, but I can’t compete for it. I try to look like I care who was the first-round draft pick in 1997, but I’m really making up a nasty back-story. It’s a story about an awkward high school girl who thinks learning about sports will make boys like her. But even after she moves to New York and makes it her life, she ends up sad and lonely and wearing capri pants.

I only feel a little guilty, and Ted keeps giving me sympathetic looks. He gets us out of there as soon as can be hoped.

I want to explain to him. Apologize. He knows I’m better than this.

“Come here a sec,” he stops on the sidewalk, tugs my arm, and pulls me close to him. “You’re a champ.”

And he knows that one day I’m going to want him to do something, something awful, and he’s not going to have a choice about it.


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Crying in the shower at 6:10 a.m. did not bode well for the rest of my day.

I warned you, before you bought me dinner, that if it happened again it wouldn’t be your fault.

I held it in for so long. Work was hard, and then I paced around your neighborhood until you got there. Maybe I should have just gone home, but you were all I wanted. It’s unfair sometimes, how the people you care about the most are the same ones who free you to be your worst possible self.

We went to bed early. “Take off your jeans,” you told me, “Lie down.”

I needed instructions. I was exhausted. My face hurt. Hormones were running through my body, and too many thoughts through my head.

“Let it go if you have to,” you gave me permission. You held me.

And, hands over my face, I sobbed for no reason, for twelve million reasons:

Because everyone else seems to know what they’re doing, but I can’t seem to be happy and above the poverty line at the same time. Because I’m going to have to ask my parents for help, again, and because I know they’ll give it to me. Because I want you to like me, and I don’t want you to see me like this. Because I can’t help it.

And maybe I should have never moved here and I shouldn’t have spent so much money I didn’t have going to school and I should at least find an apartment I can afford. And I should get a real job because I’m too smart to be this poor. And I don’t want to disappoint anyone. If I let myself, I could start to regret everything.

“I’m sorry. I’m really really sorry.”
“Hey. I’m still here, aren’t I?”

You remind me. I could have done everything differently, but then maybe I wouldn’t have met you. And maybe that’s inconsequential.

The tears are over, I think. And you hold me against you while my breathing calms down.

But maybe it’s not inconsequential at all.


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just be yourself

“So help me out. What should I be doing differently to make girls like me?”
“You should just be yourself.”

Pete and I were on one of our impromptu Lower East Side food tours, and were heading back to SoHo so he could sit in Bloomingdale’s comfy chairs while I pretended to shoe shop.

“Don’t you just want to be with someone you can tell, ‘I’m just sitting around in my underpants eating gnocchi,’ and she’ll think it’s awesome?”
“That’s disgusting.”
“Oh. Well, it’s reassuring to know that you’re not my person.”


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remember the time

“Did Serge come?”
“No. It’s his anniversary with his girlfriend.”

“Do people really celebrate dating anniversaries?” I mumbled it, but I couldn’t help saying it.
“Yeah. I guess,” I think only Ted heard.
“But how do you know when you’re gonna need to remember it? I mean, do you know when ours would be? . . . Oh. . . Easter. . . .”
“April 12.”
“You remember?”
“I had a thing that day.”
“Well, it’s the same day as my anniversary with my high school boyfriend. So I can remember it now.”
“I’m glad it was me you met that day.”
“ I don’t know. You might have ended up with someone else.”


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psa for girls

Ted knows my trick: learn one sports fact every six months or so, and use it when meeting boys.

“You should learn the triangle offense,” he tells me.
“Are you telling her how to pick up guys?” His brother and his room mate are confused.

“It would be enough that I know the triangle offense exists,” I explain. “I could learn something way easier, like the infield fly rule.”

Ted’s brother and room mate can’t remember that one, so I explain.

“See?” I conclude. “So if we were in a bar, I could have just started this conversation with three boys. It works.”

So girls, you should try this. A very little bit of effort can go a long way. Boys are likely to give you little credit in this arena, so knowing the tiniest sports morsel will earn you major points, and, most importantly, will work as an icebreaker.

For at least six months I used that World Cup final head butt. And I used winning my NCAA Tournament brackets over two years ago for even longer than that. (In fact, I used it with Ted.)

Even less sporty sports facts will work:

Football? I once hung out with a guy who plays for the Steelers now.

Baseball? Bought scalped tickets in a bar / bowling alley for a Yankees game.

Golf? My dad kinda looks like Davis Love, III.

Hockey? My favorite penalty is icing because it reminds me of cake.

It’s best not to learn too much because, while boys think they want to date a girl who appreciates sports, they still want to be the experts.

So good luck. And remember, the best resource for sports facts is boys themselves.


p.s. Sorry boys, learning girly facts will not help you meet girls.

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this is just a reminder

“I want to see Ted tonight, but I’m seeing him tomorrow.”
“Yeah, that’s hard,” Sam agreed as we were walking around the farmer’s market.

But drunk “I miss you” texts around 10:30 remind me that I should just tell him what I’m thinking.


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probably more than five seconds of crazy

I hadn’t seen Ted in. . . days. So as soon as I got home and showered and changed (many, many apologies to anyone who was in smelling distance of my hair on the trip home), I headed his way. And after a few minutes of making-out hellos, we were able to talk a little.

“I’m going to be a crazy girl for five seconds, ok?” I warned him, then took a deep breath so I could get it all out at once, “I was thinking maybe we should go to New Orleans in October because it’s my five-year reunion and the weather will be nice and I need to go back already.”

October is a long way from now, in terms of we.


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don't do anything i wouldn't do

-Have a safe trip. Have fun. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
-Will do. And likewise. P.S. That leaves a fair amount of leeway, no?

Ted was on his way to a bachelor party with a bunch of boys from his fraternity, and I was off to a wedding. . . with Harper. . . in New Orleans. So by 1 a.m., when I texted him that he now had permission to get drunk and go to transvestite bingo, he probably knew he was right about the leeway.

It was fun to spend the weekend with Harper. The wedding was beautiful, and the reception was fun. After band stopped playing and we threw rose petals at the happy couple, we went to one of our favorite bars-- great for after parties and Monday nights. And, well, we realized that we are now the weird old people who show up there in party clothes.

But we met some boys, of course. I’m sure I could have gotten free drinks all night, but I couldn’t help mentioning my boyfriend. Over and over. I was sort of done drinking anyway.

And Harper’s conversation with one of the boys turned to bachelor party debauchery. Despite my protests, they assured me that all boys are terrible when given that type of opportunity, and Harper proceeded to tell a rather disgusting bachelor party story she’d heard in good confidence. I couldn’t quite resist the urge to send Ted a message:

-At one of my favorite college bars. Hearing horror stories of bachelor parties. No licking strippers.

I mentioned the message to our new friend, who rolled his eyes and told me I didn’t want to be that kind of girlfriend. But I do. I want to be the kind of girlfriend who can say something like that and it’s both funny and serious. But more funny. I think Ted gets it:

-I’ll try to contain myself.


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because i will defend new orleans to the end

i felt compelled to post an update in response to a comment that post-katrina new orleans "just won't be the same." it's something that is important to me, as i love that city about as much as possible. i left new orleans 15 months before the storm hit, and i've only been back twice, but this is what i can tell you:

new orleans isn't the same after katrina, but having seen what happened during and after that hurricane, neither am i. while we can mourn the superficial and not-so-superficial changes between "before" and "after", the city's spirit and soul have survived. and if you're lucky enough to have known her before, you owe it to her to give her a chance in the after.


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