A Year in Review: Wedding Edition

When I was younger, I used to measure a year by daylights, by midnights, by sunsets, and cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, and smiles. This was when I listened to the RENTsoundtrack on repeat and before I hit my late-twenties and began measuring my year in weddings. There was that first wedding when we broke into the Museum of Science and had to be escorted out by museum security. There was that one on the east side when I lost my gift for the bride and groom and then the DJ told me I couldn’t make song requests and then I lost my shoe. There was the year of eleven weddings when all of my friends decided to the tie the knot. And since all of my friends were married, there was a bit of a lull until those of us waiting to meet our partners, those of us with commitment issues, and those of us with other things going on, decided that 2018 was going to be our year.

So, in response to your The One About the Wedding (or at Least a Partial Description), Part I, dated June 5, 2018, here is my recap of all seven (or six and a half) weddings of the year.

We started off the year with the first half of my sister’s wedding, an early morning ceremony at the Brooklyn Marriage Bureau in March. When I say early morning, I mean it. Always the most punctual people in town, we were there at 8am to be first in line for the office’s opening thirty minutes later. My sister and her longtime partner were in the middle of planning a wedding in May, but for insurance purposes, they opted for a small, civil ceremony with the two of them and their two older siblings. There were mixed feelings from our parents about keeping the ceremony to just the four of us, but in the end, it made sense. Prior to this rainy Tuesday, I had only ever been to the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, which is grand and ornate, reminiscent of an old station or theater, not at all like the DMV or, well, the Brooklyn Marriage Bureau, which is fluorescent, plastic, cracked, and crusty, and quite obviously a haven of bureaucracy. Nevertheless, people were festive— in suits and gowns, with cameras— and I couldn’t help but get in the mood. The judge called out my sister for being a crier. The ceremony was over in five minutes, and then we took a bunch of photos, my sister’s face puffy from all that crying, and then we got a fancy juice across the street before they both went to work, and I took it as an excuse to have the day off and went to Target.

And then there was yours. One of the more traditional events of this year, it meant a lot to be a part of your wedding. You win the prize for best ease of access to my home, which was definitely important given that the Ethnomusicologist and I had a frighteningly early call time, and it can be a bit of a challenge to wrangle that one in east coast time (turns out we were not the last people to arrive, just the second to last people). I remember you being very contemplative as we were getting ready, which was a good foil to the quiet frenzy (as frenzied as Girl Loves Noodles and a bunch of women wearing fake eyelashes while crammed into what was one of the smallest hotel rooms I had ever seen) of last minute flower prep and sign writing and succulent label preparation and god, I thought that you would have been more organized than that. And aside from you very overtly mentioning orgasms in your wedding vows and having me read a speech where I said the word “pooh” six times, it was a wonderful ceremony filled with lots of lawyer jokes, references to how much you like Magic, and how devoted your wife is to you. She is. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to plan a scavenger hunt, eat expensive steak and drink expensive wine, get my hair and makeup professionally done, walk through Williamsburg in high heels, dance to all of the party jams from 1999 to 2012 so much so that I was oblivious to any and all drama happening outside, drink all of the wine in the winery, eat all of the cheese, and lose my voice from singing too hard to the Backstreet Boys. It’s the only way to sing to the Backstreet Boys. I recently thought that we were too old to be bridesmaids and groomsmen anymore, but you proved me wrong. It was pretty fun.

Lest we not forget the royal wedding, from which I ripped off a significant amount of my own wedding ceremony. While you were out running the Brooklyn Half in the rain, I awoke at 4:30am eastern to the sounds of my then fiancé making breakfast. He never makes breakfast. When I asked what all the fuss was about, he said, “It’s a great day for gingers!” And it was. Resembling the real Prince Harry, he had been swept up in the frenzy too, getting very comfortable with people shouting the prince’s name at him on the street. That morning, I sat on my couch for close to eight hours, transfixed by the older American woman of color as she married her younger red-headed prince. What’s not to love about three-quarter sleeves, tousled hair, a gospel choir, and making the Brits look like the total fucking uptight assholes that they are? I shed many tears (it turns out that being a crier runs in my family) and was actually convinced that these two beautiful, rich humans— he an orphan and she the daughter of a social worker— actually love each other and that this was more than a giant publicity stunt. So while this is not a wedding that I technically attended, I felt more a part of it than many others, and it was totally better than running 13 miles and then having to get home from Coney Island.

A week later was my sister’s real wedding. As I mentioned, they had wed in a civil ceremony two months prior because they are practical and because they are many years my junior but are responsible for two living, breathing animals and have a doorman and a dishwasher and regularly go to the Prospect Park farmers’ market to buy vegetables. On the rare occasion that we eat vegetables in my house, they are likely smothered in bacon or cream sauce so that Prince Harry will eat them. Aside from you, they were the only wedding that did not serve some combination of steak and salmon. Most boldly, they went Chinese. It was basically a wedding made for Asian Brunch Club— in downtown Manhattan, with lots and lots of dumplings, my godmother who went rogue and started ordering off-menu, and post-wedding karaoke.

I gave a toast at this wedding, which was no small feat, because I absolutely hate public speaking, and no matter how many times I practice or how much water I drink or mantras I recite, I’m fucking terrible at it. This speech wasn’t so bad, as I followed all the rules laid out by my sister (keep it under five minutes and don’t reference the fact that she was a chubby, bratty baby) and got the crowd laughing. And then crying. I even threw in a reference to the royal wedding which went over smashingly well. And then, like true optimists, I was instructed by my sister and brother-in-law to open it up to the crowd, so that their loved ones could share their blessings. The elder cynic in me thought that this was a terrible idea, but all in all, in turned out incredibly well. Some highlights: my cousin, wearing a hat only worn by communists and sporting a waxed mustache that had legitimate curls on the end, many whiskeys down, broke the ice about how much he liked my sister’s husband, even though he had only known him for three hours; my sister’s best friend, in the cutest snakeskin kitten heels, who got up on the bar and shared how he always thought my sister was so fancy because we always had Manchego cheese in our fridge; the groom’s childhood friend who went on far too long about how he used to take her Barbies and rip the heads off of all of them, like a true serial-killer-in-training; and my godmother who, without saying the words “chubby” or “bratty,” shared a hilarious story of taking my sister to Magnolia Bakery where she demanded that she buy her not one, but two, cupcakes. That improv session left a lot of good cheer in the room, so much so that a now relative-in-law-and-infidelity came up to me and said, “That was such a great speech! I mean, even though you were reading it from a piece a paper.”  It’s hard to explain how I felt in that moment. From one perspective, I get it. This relative-in-law-and-infidelity, effectively my sister’s husband’s father’s longtime sidepiece-turned-partner, was giving me a compliment— it was a great speech! But while I wish I had the skills of a litigator who could memorize something full out, or even just an overworked Canadian bankruptcy attorney who could reference an index card every now and again, I had my speech written out verbatim.

By the end of the night, I caught the bartender hiding downstairs while dabbing his brow with a cloth. I asked him if he was okay, and all he could muster was “Damn, you guys know how to drink.” This was not the only time I heard this sentiment about my family. At my own wedding a few months later, when settling up the final bill, I was told that we were a “healthy drinking crowd.” Considering that half of the people in the room were either pregnant or in recovery, I’d say that we were healthier than most. But more on that later.

I stumbled out of my sister’s wedding with a Tupperware full of leftovers and a stolen bottle of wine. I do not know why more weddings don’t let you take home leftovers, but I had never felt more Chinese— not in a Michelle Yeoh way but maybe in a Rachel Chu way— than eating salt and pepper shrimp on the cobblestone streets of Tribeca while wearing a gown. At the karaoke after party, I finally started to feel my age because my sister’s friends kept putting on songs that were terrible choices for karaoke. I’m talking “Nookie” and “N-Words in Paris”— it was uncomfortable to say the least. So I did what every bossy big sister does, and I schooled those amateurs and put on a crowd pleaser: “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. As with your own wedding, everyone sang at the top of their lungs, and it was the absolute best.

Several months of spreadsheets and emails and Amazon orders later, Prince Harry and I showed up in Ithaca for our own wedding. Can you believe that I got married this year? To a real person? Who wants to spend the rest of his life with me? And he’s not a total psychopath, and I actually like his family?

It’s hard to sum up the wedding, except to say that it was pretty fucking cool to have so many loves of my life in one room. Aside from the guy who got arrested and fumbling our marriage license and the flat tire of one of the school buses and no one eating the “cheesecake” I prepped ten minutes before the ceremony began and busting my bracelet so that pearls spilled out onto the dance floor and Buffalo falling off that ledge, it was quite the night. The butter was tasty, the martinis cold, the ceremony on point (and a tearjerker), the moon gold, and the dance floor popping. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in my entire life or felt as beautiful, and I want to get married again and again and again. Obviously that’s silly— we’re not Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon or Heidi Klum and Seal, may their relationships rest in peace— but it totally made my every-third-week crying fit totally worth it.

I also have to disagree with you on something: I find being married very different to having a boyfriend. In the words of Aidan, from my most favorite episode of Sex and the City, which you should watch no later than March 3, 2019 (it’s episode 63), “I’ve had girlfriends for 20 years. I want you to be my wife.” But like, boyfriends. Something settled after we got married, and I feel like the conversations are more serious and the investment in each other more pure. Also, I love saying the word “husband,” so I’ve become one of those people who says it probably way too much. I digress. Also, spoiler alert.

It was an interesting experience to attend weddings the following two weekends after ours. The first in Watertown, New York, a cousin of Prince Harry’s and her now husband, who may have voted for Donald Trump and may own and/or enjoy weapons and may have very different politics than my own. A new relative-in-law: my husband’s cousin’s husband. This was one of the more beautiful settings this year, the ceremony atop a cliff over this beautiful lake. I’ve always wanted to be a boat person, and we were in the land of boat people. Something was really freeing about this wedding. It wasn’t the person who pushed me off the dance floor and said, “Out of my way, Yankee” or learning what a Yankee is or that the wounds of the Civil War are still apparently real. It was the fact that all of the pressure was off, and I could indulge in a second helping of steak and salmon and wildly dance to the “Grease Megamix” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” I got hit on by an 88 year-old, who asked me to sit on his lap. Turns out he was also a new relative-in-law: my husband’s aunt’s husband’s father. I messed up another one of my husband’s cousin’s fiancé’s names. I served my husband’s stepfather red meat, when I should have known that he doesn’t eat it. These are all hiccups of joining a large and complicated family, but it felt nice that all of these faux pas occurred when I was out of the spotlight. This was my husband’s cousin’s day.

We traveled far for our final wedding of the year. At this point, I was exhausted. Delirious from family engagements, smiling too much, checking our Instagram counts, rehashing the quick blurb about our wedding that I had mastered at this point, and trying really hard to be the best employee-slash-wife I could be. A wedding in wine country is one of those things that all thirty-somethings of a certain class will experience eventually, and this one did not disappoint. Perhaps the best of the steak and salmon of the bunch, any wedding with a taco bar is well worth the trip across country. Again, while weddings prior to my own only seemed to contribute to my anxiety. At first: Will I ever get married?To: How will I ever be able to afford a wedding like this?To: Where did they get those escort cards? This final wedding of the season, all of that incessant chatter was finally, absolutely, 100% quiet. I got to watch my friend say her beautiful vows, as a local manhunt was under way, and laugh and laugh and laugh with my dearest friends (I was told we may have laughed a little too loudly during the speeches). Getting married in wine country means that there is a lot of wine around, and I drank it all and graciously got a ride home by a pregnant friend and took off my high heels en route and then walked around a gas station convenience store barefoot to buy necessary provisions. I had my first ever microwavable burrito and watched Seinfeld, as I do every night, until I fell asleep. If there was any way to end wedding season, it was this.

We made it back to New York and slept for what felt like months. I think I am still sleeping (I’m actually convinced that I have narcolepsy, but Prince Harry tells me no). I still think back to our wedding regularly and remember how awesome it was and still can’t believe that it actually happened. This was really quite the year, for all of us.

There’s only one wedding on my calendar for 2019, and it’s not until July, so I’ll be due for a blog post by then. I also anxiously await your Part II, whenever you can get to it. Happy New Year, Modellian.

The One About the Wedding (or at Least a Partial Description) Part 1

Ms. Milne,

This post is months, maybe years, in the making, but I’m married. Girl Loves Noodles and I decided that after almost eight years together, it was time to make it official. Before doing the damned thing, I took an informal poll of people who got married after years of dating like us and they almost universally said the same thing: “Being married is no different than not being married.” I wanted to believe that being married under the eyes of the state would change something, but ultimately, other than the fact that I constantly have to leave something like my watch on our bed’s headrest so that I don’t mistakenly walk out of our apartment without my wedding ring, it’s pretty much the same.

Anyways, like this marriage, this post is a long time coming. You asked me to blog about the day of, and while I indeed started to do so on a number of occasions—easily verifiable by all of the discarded documents on my hard-drive titled “webloggedit – wedding edition” or something equally obvious or derivative—I never got around to actually completing anything. This should not necessarily come as a surprise given that I have over two dozen blog entries that were started with supreme excitement at having something to share, but were ultimately discarded as I moved on to the next thing (or I turned back to my novel, which, if the three or four people reading this happen to know of an agent looking for someone who writes in a rather disjointed manner, send them my way). But here I am, about to do my best to recount the wedding day, which may or may not suffer from a tinge of James Frey, only I won’t purposely be embellishing or outright lying, I’ll just be misremembering (which, I hope, in a court of law is a difference with an actual distinction).

The morning of the wedding was somewhat chaotic. As you may or may not recall, we had our rehearsal dinner in the financial district at a place that was equidistant from our hotel and our apartment. Some people said that, in the spirit of tradition and the like, we should sleep in separate beds, one of us taking the hotel room and one of us trekking back to the apartment. That would have been great if we did not have a ton of things to do like finish the flowers (note, pay someone to do it for your upcoming wedding, heck, pay someone to do everything you can stomach paying for because you do not want to have to do anything yourself), write some vows (write these as early as possible because if you don’t, you’ll be like the two of us at 1am, trying to write something while your wife’s maid of honor is yelling at you for procrastinating while she puts together little flags with guests’ names on them that will be used as place cards; there will also be a point in the night when your maid of honor will realize that she has been using chapstick instead of a glue stick to create the flags and you will be too tired while writing vows to say anything other than, “Well, it only has to last a day or so.”), or pack (which is also surprisingly difficult even if having your wedding in your city of residence because you think to yourself, very incorrectly, that you can always just run back to your apartment to pick up anything you missed; pro tip, bring everything) (also, I apologize now, just looking back at the density of the text I wrote, which will be almost certainly full of typos, for my lack of practice when it comes to blogging. No one wants to read something as jerky and non-coherent as I just did, but it is what it is, a cliché that ought to be banned one day for the ubiquity of its use).

OK, so when we finally got to bed, content to know we had at least got some vows down, we thought that when we woke up, at least some of our stress would be alleviated. Wow, were we wrong.

As you and the Korean Jew may recall, and I would not hold it against either of you if you had forgotten, your hair appointments were at an hour when normal people, as in people like me, like to sleep on a Saturday, weddings be damned. So while Girl Loves Noodles was running to Brooklyn, I was asleep. And when I finally woke up? I went to brunch with some friends. When you go and tie the knot, I would be hesitant to allow for your beau to do anything unless everything were ready. Knowing you, that won’t be a problem and you’ll probably be ready to walk down the aisle a month before, but as you know, there were so many things that still needed to be done, so much so that all of the bridal party minus the two males were doing random things for the wedding (and by random, I mean things like getting everything over to the venue, no small feat).

When I finally finished brunch, I hopped on the subway, lugging two large murals of pictures over to Brooklyn Winery—where the person in charge of set-up looked at me like I was a stranger of some sort (shouldn’t they have a photo or something so they know that I’m the second most important person that day next to some girl who likes noodles?)—and then back to the hotel where I was greeted by you and a locked door. When I finally got inside, happy to finally have a chance to myself, I was unceremoniously disturbed by the videographer who wanted to see if she could do some before shots. If there is one thing I would want you to take away from my wedding as yours approaches, it is this—if you have a general plan, stick to it as much as possible. Given that scheduling and just about everything goes out the window, Murphy’s Law and all that jazz, anything that can be controlled and followed ought to be controlled and followed. And if that means letting the groom take a shower and relax for 15 minutes without a videographer in your room, so be it.

Once I was done voicing my dissatisfaction, I was left to my own devices, which really meant trying on a slim fit shirt, deciding that it was a mistake, and then putting on the classic fit (i.e., husky) shirt. No matter how much dieting you do, if you’re a guy who wears clothing meant to be roomier, that’s what you’re going to wear. Can’t squeeze into something not built for you no matter how many miles you put in.

OK, so after finally putting on everything, I made my way down to the hotel café where I spent some time with the most well-spoken person I know, my best and only man. After a few minutes, my people slowly arrived and then things became a blur. You’ll forgive me now that I’m already 1200 words in for the very cursory description I give of a bunch of things, but at least I got something down, which is significantly more than I can say I’ve produced for this wee little blog in the past 6 months or even longer (or at least published given that I have half a dozen incomplete blog entries that I started full of energy and then tossed to the side when I got excited by something else).

Aside over.

When I was finally summoned by our videographer—not before our Korean Jew friend stole a dried flower from the hotel café that was quickly converted to a boutonniere—I was a little nervous about the event finally getting started. It was one thing to plan (or help plan because let’s be honest here, Girl Loves Noodles was in charge of all of that; the one thing that I tried to weigh in on were the table-settings, and she vetoed Magic cards faster than you know), quite another to, ahem, do the damn thing. Our videographer led me out of the hotel, mic’d me up, and then had me wait with my back turned for our First Look. I didn’t think that a First Look was all that important, but I highly recommend them. It’s one thing to see your future significant other as you do every day, quite another when you see him or her dressed to the nines and ready for, ahem, doing the damn thing (sorry, I am in the middle of episode two of The Bachelorette and can’t help myself; if it annoys you, insert “ummm” where I write that phrase and its various derivations and pretend I am speaking to you). When I finally did see her, it was rather shocking. She looked incredible. And maybe you can stop reading here because I think that this is the universal truth of a wedding—we each become our best selves. Not just physically, but in every other manner. We surround ourselves with all of our loved ones, the people who have been with us at our best and worst, who go out of their way to remind us of our best. I’m sure I’m stealing that thought from something, but between all of the Congratulations, the speeches, and the general love in the air from everyone around you, you feel like you and your significant other are better than maybe you actually are.

OK, this is probably about as far as I get on this first installment, and who knows whether I will get to another. That being said, getting married was pretty awesome. I look forward to seeing you join me on the other side of that line.

Best,

Modellian

 

(No) Fear

Ms. Long Time No Blog,

Inevitably, whenever I lost in a tennis tournament, during the long and often uncomfortable car ride home, I would tell my father all of the things I was going to do to improve my game—I was going to practice my second serve more so that I could eliminate all of my double faults; I was going to skip more and do more sprinting so that I would become quicker on the court; and I was going to think more during points, try to move my opponent around and play smarter instead of simply trying to hit the ball as hard as I could.

My father’s answer was as simple as the trademark of the company that had coined the phrase: “Just do it.”

Looking back now, I wonder how different things would have ended up if instead of spending so much energy planning how I was going to do something—coming up with lists of goals and milestones, creating weekly workout routines—I just did it. Maybe that’s the missing gear, one of the things that separates champions from people who dream of someday becoming one.

In the same way that Nike had a profound effect, more judgmental than inspirational, another phrase from a much less successful company has come to dominate my current life: No Fear. Maybe the brand didn’t and isn’t doing as well because they did not manage to separate the name of the company from its trademarked phrase (though I have not searched the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to confirm they have that trademark, but I have to assume they do), but that is a somewhat silly tangent meant to make you read more words than are actually necessary for me to share my thoughts (a trademark of my own writing, if ever there was one, though in the non-filed loose sense as opposed to the one with legal weight and force).

Why, you may ask, does No Fear resonate with me? Why have I come to have that particular phrase come to represent my current state of being? I’d like to say through no fault of my own, I mean, I did buy a copy of Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Unfortunately, the reality is, and maybe my current profession is the perfect reflection of that—I’m risk averse. Now, you might say that being risk averse is not such a bad thing, you’re just careful and cautious. That may be the case for others I may know or went to school with, but unfortunately for me, in my case, it is just plain old fear. And it isn’t just with respect to the big life-changing decisions, because that kind of stuff scares everyone, but it’s often with even small things like, “Is that police officer going to give me a ticket for jay-walking?” or “I don’t really need to bother this cashier who mistakenly charged me an extra $1.00 because sale on the chocolate bar did not come up and I don’t want her to get annoyed with me” or, and possibly worst of all, “Wow, I really want to tell this guy who is playing me in the quarterfinals of this PRELIMINARY PRO TOUR QUALIFIER for Magic the Gathering that he played an extra land, but then I have to call a judge and this could get tense really fast.”

Well, then, dear estranged blogging friend—today, OK, maybe Monday, because you know I like to do things starting on Mondays, I vow to try to take control of my life. No more fear. I’m going to be a little more like Jen Sincero says, not quite a badass and certainly not bad or an ass, but maybe something closer to who I want to be. That’s what I’m going to do. Maybe you can be a check-and-balance to help me do that.

Unfortunately, it seems like what you should really be saying is what my father would be saying if her heard or read this rant: “Just do it.”

Best,

Modellian

PS: I would like to think that this is the start of a deluge of blog posts, but let’s be honest here, I’ve never been very good at being consistent at this.

I Saw The Sign

Well Hello There Modellian,

I hope that this finds you well. I know that it’s been a while, and I have no explanation for my absence. Yet instead of sitting here making excuses or recounting the last few months because I was probably with you for most of it— instead, I would like to tell you a story.

The other day, with a soft, doughy belly full of soft, doughy dumplings and other treats from our culinary field trip to Flushing (arguably the best and only reason to go to a mall), I found myself in an MSG and bubble tea-induced coma, sprawled sideways on my couch. Unable to sit up and not quite lying down, I looked more the Leaning Tower of Pisa or like an octogenarian convalescing at home after hip replacement surgery— I just couldn’t bring myself to commit to one position or the other.

I decided that now that I am 32 that I can stop pretending that I like football. I was raised by a father who definitely wanted a son, so I know about football more so than I probably need, and while he anxiously awaits grandchildren that will not come while simultaneously questioning my life choices and perhaps even my sexuality, I can finally admit that, at least on television, I don’t give a shit about football. Of course, there was that brief moment when I was obsessed with Michael Oher and the Baltimore Ravens, but that was more because The Blind Side was a great book by Michael Lewis, turned into an equally good movie starring Sandra Bullock, because it tugs at my social worky heartstrings, and because I love a good homeless-kid-turned-millionaire underdog story. I also irrationally love the color purple, and the guido in me has a thing for Joe Flacco.

Yet, those days are over. Michael Oher is now with Carolina, and Will Smith and I are far too concerned with CTE to really dedicate four hours of my life to a football game. There are Law and Order reruns to watch, after all. So on this very lazy Sunday evening, I decided to peruse Netflix and for all of the thousands of available choices of new movies and television shows available to me, I settled for a rom-com that I have seen dozens of times and happen to own my very own copy on DVD, which was conveniently sitting on a shelf right above the television. While I could have easily used this as an opportunity to finally watch Breaking Bad or maybe The Wire or even more Law and Order episodes, but no. That would be too good of a use of my time and would give me something new and exciting to talk about instead of my pop culture tastes which seem to have peaked in 2004.

The following is a treatise about why Serendipity is the perfect romantic comedy. This is a controversial stance, I know, but bear with me. It came out in October 2001 and is the perfect ode to New York. I think I even saw it twice in the movie theaters. I was 18 years old, the US had just bombed Afghanistan (literally this occurred on my 18th birthday), and there wasn’t much to do in our post-9/11 world, so we went to the movies a lot. They do not make rom-coms like they used to, and this was one of the last great ones (the others include Love Actually and maybe He’s Just Not That Into You even though that movie is just horrible). Like its predecessor You’ve Got Mail (which I have talked at length about on this blog and, like, every day in general) that shows all the great New York landmarks, Serendipity takes us on a tour of the West Village and the Upper East Side and Chelsea Piers and all those other places that I’ve maybe went to once when friends were visiting from out of town. It’s weird to think that they don’t make romcoms like they used to, and I frankly can’t understand why except for the fact that there are no superheroes in romcoms and people only ever want to see things with superheroes these days and it’s probably pretty boring to make a sequel out of a rom-com because after the meetcute just comes marriage and monotony and toddlers with shitty diapers, right?

Okay, you get it. I like romcoms. You’ve known me for years. What’s new?

Well, this is where it gets weird. I’ve been hanging out a lot with an ex-boyfriend lately— not in a porny way, but in a we-broke-up-five-years-ago-and-now-we-can-do-things-together-without-it-getting-weird-kind-of sort of way. The both best and worst thing about him is that he is super nostalgic, and this was great when we were dating and he would hide little notes in my pocket or keep a journal of his time while we were apart, but it can be a serious liability when we now get drunk and he starts reminiscing about what could have been and how I am still the only girl his parents still talk about. Again, we can only hang out kind of, and it’s usually better without the presence of alcohol.

If you’ve seen Serendipity, you know that it’s all about signs. If Kate and John are actually meant to be together, then the world ensure that that happens— by a name written on a five dollar bill or a phone number in an old copy of Love in the Time of Cholera or a black cashmere glove separated from its twin. (Side Note: Was Kate Beckinsale actually, really going to buy that pair of gloves for Aidan? They were totally lady gloves.) Well, after staying up way too late watching Serendipity, I was deeply satisfied, with a new resolve to find love. That is, until I get the following text from the ex: “I’m watching Serendipity. What’s happened to me?”

Now had this been five years ago, I would have thought that it was a sign. I would have clenched by black cashmere glove and a single tear would have rolled down by cheek. I’m a sucker for shit like this. We are, in fact, meant to be together. He is my person. Let’s get back together. I. Am. In. Love. I would have forgotten that neither of us were particularly happy for the many years that we were together, how I constantly felt disappointed, how he thought I was too hard on him and had unrealistic expectations, and how our lives were on completely different trajectories. I would have only remembered the good times— our first date at a bar that no longer exists, green chili burritos in New Mexico— and convinced myself that he was my own Cassiopeia-drawing, standing-outside-of-window-with-a-radio-over-his-head, mixtape-making John Cusack.

Of course, with age comes wisdom, and I know that this is not a sign. I am not in love. We probably stayed together for as long as we did because of our similar interests in pop culture, our tendency to revert to the familiar, and our inhuman ability to lie on a couch for a ridiculous amount of time. Yet we broke up because of the previously mentioned very fundamental problems in our relationship that could no longer be overlooked, not unlike Kate and Aidan or John and Natasha. So I wrote back “HOLY SHIT! ME TOO! THAT’S NANAS!” He then asked me why I end all my sentences in exclamation points and then sent of barrage of texts about what a creepy coincidence this was. It was a coincidence, but not so much creepy as nice. There was a reason that we dated so long, and I was happy that we were still friends sort of.

I wrote back a few quotes from the movie to keep it light and prevent Mr. Nostalgia from asking what could have been. Once he calmed down a bit, I put my phone on silent, stopped writing back, and went to bed. And yet, Serendipity keeps popping up everywhere, so much so that even Jeremy Piven would write me an obituary.

First off, I went ice skating at Wollman Rink yesterday. Anyone who has seen Serendipity knows that the movie— spoiler alert?!— basically starts and ends there. (Actually, it starts and ends at Bloomingdale’s but I like ice skating more than capitalism.) Speaking of capitalism, it’s a sign of our New New York that Wollman Rink is actually not even called Wollman Rink anymore; it’s called the Trump Rink. The Donald Effing Trump Rink. Because if that man loves anything it’s ruining a completely perfect New York institution by skyrocketing the price of admission— in cash, no less— and supplying ice skates in only half sizes. This latter issue is not a problem for me because I own my own skates, obviously, but it still makes me super angry to the point where I want to ram a toe pick into Donald’s eye.

Have I told you that I was a figure skater as a child? Is it because I have a secret love of tan stockings and scrunchies? Or because the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding scandal was the greatest of all sports scandals in history (aside from maybe OJ)? Or because deep down, I really just want to be a rich white girl from Connecticut, kind of like Kate in The Cutting Edge? Yet despite all my own racial insecurities, as an Asian American growing up in the 1990s, the only female role models out there that even vaguely looked like me were the figure skaters. Michelle, Kristi, and Midori were on the cover of Sports Illustrated, were featured heavily on Saturday afternoon sports programming, graced the covers of Seventeen Magazine, and were maybe even on a cereal box. And they looked awesome in sequins, to boot. So to them, I say thanks. Also this is the best.

Sorry, I’m off track. Let’s get back to Serendipity. So there are three songs that are featured prominently in the movie— Annie Lenox’s “Waiting in Vain” (when Kate gets engaged to Aidan and comes home to a houseful of rose petals and a ring that doesn’t even fit her— all I can think is, what a mess to clean up and what a waste of wrapping paper), St. Germain’s “Rose Rouge” (when they’re showing the hustle and bustle of Kate and John’s bicoastal lives), and Nick Drake’s “Northern Sky” (at the end, when they finally smooch, while at the Trump Rink). These are three super weird and random songs, and I have been fucking hearing them everywhere. I haven’t heard them in years, probably since the last time I watched the movie, and yet in the last few days, they’re on in the cab and on in the bar and like it’s not a sign right because I stopped believing in soulmates when I quit smoking pot and had significantly less time to wax philosophical about what does it all mean? I also am now unarguably in my mid-thirties and the concept of soulmates seems a bit a pathetic, particularly as I sit here alone with no pants contemplating eating a second dinner and googling if it is at all possible to purchase my very own nacho cheese dispenser. The answer is that while you can find anything of Amazon, there are a terrifying amount of calories in a 164 ounce bag of cheese.

And, lastly, I recently had a very serious conversation about the merits of hot chocolate and if the world needs more of it. I mean, we were going deep— debating types of chocolate to use, its perfect temperature, if it is an appropriate mixer for alcohol, and if there really is a market for a stand-alone hot chocolate shop. The debate continued until my very foreign and esoteric friend who initially was only observing from afar turned to me and said, “It’s like that place on the Upper East Side. What is it called? Serendipity?” Okay, maybe I brought this one on myself because there is only one place in New York that is famous for frozen hot chocolate, and it is indeed called Serendipity and is, of course, in the movie. I guess my point is that I cannot escape this freaking movie. As Molly Shannon says, “I feel it in the air.” And that’s okay with me because the movie is excellent.

So, Modellian, clearly my multi-month writing hiatus has not made me any more logical or sane or intellectual. Have you seen Serendipity ever or lately? What do you think about frozen hot chocolate? How about black cashmere gloves? Particularly for men? Doesn’t it seem like they might pill and attract fuzz? Do you still call the actors from Sex and the City by their characters’ names? Isn’t it weird that Aidan and Natasha are in a movie together? I mean, that’s crazy, right? Could you ever date someone who is professional New Age flute player? And someone who wears a lot of rings? Particularly, again, for men? If your friend bought you a last minute plane ticket to New York, would you assume that they were also paying for the hotel as well? Isn’t the Waldorf Astoria a little pricey for someone who is a therapist-in-training? Why doesn’t Kate Beckinsale ever button the lower buttons of her shirt? How did she not notice that she had taken Molly Shannon’s wallet, as even though this was shot pre-9/11, wouldn’t she have at least needed her ID to board the plane? Speaking of planes, is it really possible that John Cusack and Jeremy Piven flew from New York to San Francisco and back again, all between the hours of 8pm and noon the following day? Are we pretending that Molly Shannon is really only three years older than Natasha? What’s up with her chin? Have you ever actually read Love in the Time of Cholera all the way through? Do you think John feels at all bad for leaving Natasha at the altar because that’s kind of a dick move and a lot of work and money and emotions for everyone involved? What’s your stance on soulmates? And, like, general ineptitude? And finally, I guess I only have one more question: Do you have passion?

I miss us. In the parlance of another excellent Christmas romcom of yore, “To me, you are perfect.” Except when you don’t like my soup and make fun of me for showing up to a party wearing the same dress as another girl.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers,
Me

One Thing To Add

M,

While I’m not endorsing either side, just take into account that Lena’s army now contains Malia Obama. It upped her Q score immensely.

That’s all for now,
Powergrrl*

*This was my AOL screenname in 1997. It’s on point with Ravergirl. (It would have been funnier if I had done a footnote here, but I can’t be bothered. Just pretend that I did.)

A Not So Swift Reply

Ms. Raver,

I doubt I’ll be able to respond to all of your questions, but I’ll do my best to quickly respond to the ones to which I have a quick response or, frankly, something upon which to say (was that sentence English? I hope so. The phrases “to which [insert stuff]” and “something upon which” have always fascinated me. They make writers sound highly learned, the kind who know not to split an infinitive. That being said, I tend to find the work of such writers very boring. It makes me now wonder if those that translate the likes of Murakami do so following all of our archaic—read: snobby—for of English or in a loose manner so that all may access Mr. Murakami’s brilliance). While I’m on this topic of the English language, and ironically enough, speak to the parenthetical that preceded this sentence, what are your thoughts on footnotes? I am in the middle of Crazy Rich Asians, which has been a lot of fun, but the footnotes are driving me absolutely crazy. Now, I know I can just ignore them, but by the virtue of their very existence, I keep stopping to read his explanations for various foreign phrases. Junot Diaz doesn’t do stuff like that and I don’t mind not knowing what the heck is going on. A reader gets the sense of it. If I really need to know what on earth you are talking about, don’t make it a footnote and just add a parenthetical for me so I can keep reading without all of this starting and stopping (and, by the way, I know this is the pot calling the kettle black because my parentheticals probably should just be sentences but who cares. If you are reading our stuff you are a friend or a random person in Indonesia or Brazil wondering whether you can have this domain name. Answer: You can’t. We’re still alive.)

Now that that is out of the way, on to some Taylor:

Answer 1/2: It is impossible to choose highlights to a show that was ultimately a two-hour show consisting of flashing lights and flashy hits. My favorite performance was probably Blank Space, but that was the third song and to say that was the highlight of the show would be belittling all of the other things that happened on stage. So to your question, I have no idea what the other highlights are. Ask one of the other 49,999 people who were in attendance. Did she do any of her old hits? Other than the bastardized version of Love Song, I cannot differentiate between her old stuff and new stuff. It is just stuff.

Answer 6: I did not read that Lena Dunham thought it was weird that she and the artist of her generation were friends. I imagine they talk about how cool it is to be famous and have all of these fans. I myself wonder how an army of Lena fans would do against an army of Taylor fans in a street fight. I doubt it would be much of a fight, that the human wave tactic with the never-ending onslaught of teen girls would singing Bad Blood would overwhelm the Lena fans, but maybe the Lena fans would be smart enough to ensure it was not a fair fight? Maybe have hidden weapons or something to that effect?

Answer 12: Hey, Jude is on my list of all-time favorite songs, as is With a Little Help (From My Friends) and some Simon & Garfunkel songs. Now, they all slot in the mid-20s, of my all-time favorites, but they exist. They just are as newer songs like If You’re Gone, Summer and anything Rihanna touches.

Answer 13: I was born on a 13th and therefore do not think it is an unlucky number. In fact, I often tell people I was almost born on a Friday the 13th (it was a Saturday the 13th I believe). This statement, however, is completely incorrect. I was almost born on a Friday the 12th, which is no big deal at all. Makes for a much less interesting story frankly, so better to keep with the original story, which is now more of a lie because I now that it is, in fact, a lie.

Answer 17: No, item number 17 on your list did not contain a question, but I feel a correction is in order. I did not dance as if no one was watching. In fact, I danced exactly as if a judgy boyfriend were watching. I also did not mention it to you, but I was also very self-conscious of my height. At least three times I heard the people behind me wonder if people would be standing the whole time—read: blocking their view. I thought about sitting a number of times upon hearing that, thinking that they probably sound as obnoxious as I do when at a concert because, unless you are Rihanna or Taylor, I would rather sit than stand. Sitting is what my body was built for.

OK, that’s about all I have the energy for. I will say that look at me, that’s two posts in two weeks. It’s like I’ve turned a corner.

Best,

Modellian

A Swift Reply

Why Hello There Modellian,

I am so happy to hear from you and to hear that all it takes is Taylor Swift to snap you out of a coma, free you from the shackles of corporate law, and get your fat fingers typing. This sounds like the most excellent of shows, and to your list, I present you with a counter-list:

1. It sounds like “Shake It Off” was pretty awesome, but what were your other highlights of the show? I sort of forget what pre-1989 Taylor was like. Did she do any of her old hits?

2. What are her old hits? What was the tipping point for Taylor when she graduated from awkward country star to the awkward leader of the free world? Was it Red? Or John Mayer? Or her cats? Seriously, I went to bed one night a hater and woke up the next day a disciple. What is Taylor’s end game? Is this it? Are we just going to live in a Taylor-centered universe for the rest of our days? There has to be a scandal– somewhere, somehow– but what is it?

3. Both Sam Mendes (isn’t he an Academy Award-winning director?) and Vance Joy covered the SAME Sam Smith song? Was this a mistake? Or on purpose? It seems like majorly poor planning on their part, even if Sam Smith is in Taylor’s illuminati.

4. Taylor definitely has her own illuminati.

5. Why aren’t we a part of Taylor’s illuminati? She lives at 155 Franklin Street, which is .3 miles away from The Nancy. While she doesn’t strike me as a dive bar kind of gal (I actually sort of feel like she only drinks apple juice because she is a toddler), I kind of need to figure out how to get her there.

6. Did you read that Lena Dunham finally realized how weird it is that she and Taylor are friends? What do you think they talk about?

7. Do you think she and Calvin Harris actually have sexual relations? There is something so non-sexual about her. Let’s do a deep fan fic dive on the relationship between Calvin and Taylor for a minute. I don’t know much about him as a person except that he is British and that he fell in love in a hopeless place and that sometimes he feels so close to me in the summer and that he looks like Shawn B. from the Bachelorette. Like Lena, what do you think that they talk about? Her aw-shucks American-ness and his reserved Scottish-ness don’t seem, on the surface at least, that they would mesh well. What do they do on Sunday mornings together?

8. Let’s talk about Taylor’s Instagram account for a minute. She has a professional photographer follow her and all of her friends around, right? Like, I’m not great at taking photos but an iPhone is an iPhone is an iPhone. And though I don’t have an assortment of awesome, giant, patriotic beach towels or a pool with inflatable swans, my photos will never look like her photos and that’s what I have to say about that.

9. I’m all about feminism, but I don’t really trust anything that Taylor has to say on the topic.

10. I highly doubt that other pop stars bake cookies for their fan clubs. While there is a joke somewhere in here about Ariana Grande and her insatiable love of donuts, I will leave that to your imagination.

11. No, this was nothing like Woodstock.

12. Do you have any songs in your Best Song of All Time List that were released before 2008? Ever heard of the Beatles?

13. 13 is an unlucky number. Does she like taunting evil? Is this the scandal that will do her in at the end? Is she trying to change and past from the future, like Terminator: Genisys?

14. I would really love if the Fray serenaded you with the entire cast of Grey’s Anatomy. Did you ever see the Grey’s musical episode? It was the weirdest 42 minutes in an already pretty blah and bizarre and forgettable season. Let’s just pretend that seasons six and seven didn’t exist and call it a day. [Breaking the Fourth Wall: You actually, really just sent me a random email about Grey’s Anatomy couples’ power rankings. For someone that claims to not be a diehard fan of the show, your love of the Fray and the fact that you watch the “Pick me, choose me, love me” speech on YouTube paints a different picture.]

15. While I find the song rather meh, “Bad Blood” made me love Ellen Pompeo and Mariska Hargitay even more.

16. Though I never want anyone to get hurt, I am really into concert mishaps. I like seeing how celebrities react in stressful situations. Like when Madonna got yanked backwards by her cape (anything that involves a cape is funny to me) or when Dave Grohl randomly fell off the stage and broke his leg. And don’t even get me started on Ashley Simpson and the “Pieces of Me” debacle which is the best of all debacles.

17. I would have paid more than $119 to watch the side eye of all the boyfriends watching you while you danced like no one was watching.

18. $119 does not seem like that much money, especially for you, Richie Rich. That is until I saw those photos of your seats. Do you need a tissue for that nosebleed? I told you that my cut off for blind, gratuitous spending is $60. Anything over that, and I get nervous and have to start debating if it is worth my money. Nevertheless, I would have happily paid $119 to see Tay. And you.

19. Dancing in stadiums is always a bit of a scary undertaking because I have this irrational fear that I am going to get so caught up in the moment and shake it off so vigorously that I am going to topple down rows and mezzanines and loges and incur a tragic but embarrassing death that will surely make the evening news.

20. I’m crazy, but it has to happen to someone. The local news isn’t just going to write itself.

21. Did you know that Taylor’s family used to own a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania? You should know this because I have told you before about my profound love for hot guys who sell Christmas trees on the streets on New York.

22. Shout out to “22.”

23. Taylor’s brother’s name is Austin. I used to wish that my name was Austin. This was back when I hated my first name because it wasn’t Tiffany or Samantha, and I just really wanted to be called Tiffany or Samantha but also really dug names that were after places, which is a trend that has really caught on as of late: Brooklyn Beckham, Brooklyn Lachey, and Horatio Hamilton (my friend’s kid). I thought Austin was cool because it was gender neutral, and that was even before Austin was considered the capital of cool.

24. Girl Who Loves Noodles is the best girlfriend ever. She is totally judging you.

25. I am ending this at 25 because I want to pretend that I am a celebrity being interviewed for US Weekly and because that is how old Taylor is and how old she makes me feel.

Cheers to you,
Dr. Teddy Altman

Rocking Out to Girl Power!

Ms. Thompson,

Surprise! I am alive.

As you know, on Monday evening, a friend and I joined 44,998 other Swifties and descended upon Nats Stadium in your nation’s capital. It would be a lie if I told you I had ever been in a crowd full of such devoted fans to well, just about anything—not even the die hards at New York Comic Con could match the intensity of the fandom encompassed in that stadium. Yes, you could identify a handful of boyfriends who had been dragged along, but I was only able to identify about ten in total (one happened to be sitting to my right with his girlfriend and the other one happened to be sitting one row in front of me. Both of them made me feel very self-conscious, that I too should pretend to be in the “I don’t really want to be here but had to for my girlfriend club” in a show of solidarity. I ended up with a somewhat tolerable medium, but more on that later). People showed up in various t-shirts and homemade costumes that would make even the best cosplayers jealous (one thing I do want to ask is how on earth all these people became so skilled with the use of Christmas lights. When I was a teenager I did not have the kinds of skills to create flashing light type things. It was very impressive). It was a night full of amazeballs and I can definitively say without a doubt that Taylor Swift is the artist of her generation (and maybe ours to the extent we are considered Milennials).

Rather than try to take you through a step-by-step description of what happened, I bring to you a list of some of the things that made this my favorite concert of 2015 (and well, we all know that lists in non-chronological order are much easier for me to draft than anything with some semblance of a coherent narrative arc).

  1. When we entered the stadium, they handed us all rubber bracelets. I threw mine in a bag until a public service announcement told us all that we ought to put them on and take out the paper tag so as to activate the bracelets. Not wanting to stick out—seeing as how I obviously did not already stick out like a sore thumb, a giant amongst children—I dug around into my bag, found the bracelet, thanked the heavens that my wrist was not so fat as to not allow me to participate, and activated the sucker. And boy am I glad I did. When the artist of her generation started, these little bracelets lit up in a set of coordinated neon flashing greatness. It was how I imagine Woodstock was, only much less dangerous, and a heck of a lot cooler. The bracelets continued to flash in coordinated colors all evening.
  1. Two of the opening acts—Sam Mendes and Vance Joy—both played covers of that Sam Smith song that everyone loves. Have we reached a point now where people don’t play covers of Beatles songs? Do we now cover only what’s on the radio? Hmmmm . . . I will say that if I were touring with a living legend, I too would do this in order to find an audience. People went batshit crazy both times the song was played.
  1. The lines for veggie burgers were 30 minutes. The lines for Ben’s Chili Bowl were non-existent. Should I have been surprised? I mean Bill Cosby loves Ben’s Chili Bowl so shouldn’t we all be rushing to it at a concert? Too inappropriate? Too soon? Well, let’s just say if you follow the soon-to-be-best Instagram account dietsareformondays, you will know what I ended up eating.
  1. Taylor is all about girl power. She had tons of little video clips of her Bad Blood posse talking about her and how they love hanging out with Taylor in New York. That was all cool. Apparently, Lena Dunham is like Taylor’s new best friend. They have so much in common. Lena could not say that with a straight face. Only a few people understood why that was funny.
  1. Taylor has been bringing a surprise guest to every show. I hear one of the Jonas brothers showed up previously and rumor has it that the Tuesday show will have Jason DeRulo (I cannot promise that this will have been published before that show, but I can promise I am too lazy to find out who the guest was). Who did we get? We got LORDE! When Taylor said a great friend of hers who had previously won a Grammy had flown 19 hours to be there, I was thinking Adele because I don’t know anything about geography and how long it takes to fly to DC. Well, good for me because seeing Lorde up there was both a surprise and absolute craziness (I promise to stop using the word absolute in future entries).
  1. As you know, being a regular concert buddy of mine, every band has a song I want to hear played. So far, bands tend to fail. Passion Pit did not play Smile Upon Me the night the two of us became actual friends nor did Death Cab for Cutie play Transatlanticism for me. Did Taylor fail? No, but what she did may have been much worse. She took Love Story (which I had thought was called Romeo and Juliet) and stripped away its acoustic sound and turned it into an 80’s keyboard mess. It was the only moment of the night I wanted to look away. I was so disheartened that she had taken one of my top 10 songs of all time and turned it into . . . well . . . that. People loved it, and while I still loved listening to her voice, the song was not the same. Sad times.
  1. You want to know how I know I enjoyed it: I stood up for most of the concert! And we had seats! You know my feelings on concerts and how sitting is the best unless you are on the floor and get to dance freely (we must see Rihanna and must pay whatever it takes to have our very own plot of ground to get our jive on). Now, this is where the combination of being at a concert full of so many girl power songs and being so near two lame boyfriends really affected my ability to worship at the shrine of Taylor and dance like there was no one watching. The girls in front of us (and I say girls because they were teenagers) were dancing the way I imagine I do when I am “lost in the music”, arms flailing everywhere and words being belted out like nobody’s business. However, I could not get over the judgmental side-eye the guy to my right kept giving me, as if he were saying to me “I thought you were just here because your girlfriend made you come here.” I wanted to say “No, I did not get dragged here by my girlfriend who happens to be hundreds of miles away. I came here with a fellow Swiftie to rock out. Leave me be.” So anyways, I settled on an arms crossed, standing up, bouncing side to side, and singing words when I knew them kind of experience (it became very apparent that I only really knew choruses and that I need to hit some karaoke and some clubs soon).
  1. Fireworks. Yes, she used fireworks at the end when she performed Shake It Off. And yes, when she sang it, people went as crazy as you can imagine. Subtlety was not present throughout the concert.
  1. She got a little preachy up there about being loving to one another and being good to your friends. My friend pointed out that it was the message that moms wanted to hear for their kids, so I guess that was a good thing. If she said those things in 50% the number of words she did, I would have been all for it. But as my friend said: “She needed to shut up and do what we all came to hear her do: Sing.”
  1. She went through a lot of wardrobe changes. A lot. Which probably would have not been an issue if her mechanical walkway had not broken down partway through her set and stranded her there. She had to ask to have her keyboard brought up there so she could try to keep going, but you could tell she was visibly shaken. It was a good thing that they got that platform fixed or else the show would have bombed about halfway through (E Online did a decent write-up of both Lorde coming onstage and of the runway mishap).
  1. We need to sign up for more fan clubs of the musicians we love. On videos during the concert, it was revealed that Taylor did a bunch of secret mini-shows with her fans and baked them cookies and played the album for them. I want that to happen to me! I want the Fray to call me and say “Modellian, we are doing a private show and will play How to Save a Life for you and have the Grey’s Anatomy cast there as well to celebrate with you the best song of all time.” (OK, Coldplay Fix You may be the best song of all time, but no other song can bring me to tears like that Fray song).
  1. She played for 2 hours. TWO HOURS! Who does that anymore? Two hours of sing-along worthy music. It just doesn’t happen anymore. More artists need to do this. No wonder she made like $90 million last year. I have decided I will go to one leg of every one of her tours forever. $119 was a steal.
  1. I end on 13 because it is her favorite number. Taylor Swift is amazing and I envy Calvin Harris, my current favorite male artist, deeply. I am sure they are making beautiful music together.

Best,

Modellian

Status Quo

Dearest Modellian,

I didn’t win the inn. Did I tell you that I entered that contest a while back to win a hotel in Maine? Was it your idea that I do it? Well, I didn’t win. I don’t know who the winner is yet because they’re keeping it all under wraps until he or she officially accepts it, but I know that I was not the one that got the magical mystery call a few weeks back.

I have to say that I’m a little bummed out. While my chances of winning were greater than getting struck my lightening or having an air conditioner fall on me while walking down the street, rendering me unconscious (my biggest New York City fear), I rationally knew that I didn’t have a shot. Secretly, however, I really thought that it could be mine. And on Decision Day, I checked my phone compulsively thinking that Janice from Maine could be calling to tell me that I just won a golden ticket and a shit ton of work for the rest of my life.

The fact that I entered this contest was way out of the ordinary anyway. I am freshly back from a trip to Vegas and decidedly not a gambler– it turns out that I am too cheap to part with any of my money if it’s not a guarantee that I’m going to get anything out of it. This basically means that I am never going to be rich ever. I think I once read on a bumper sticker somewhere that you have to play big to win big. To that, I say: Meh. I will take my measly earnings and stuff it under my mattress while the rest of you go out to the OTB and cross your fingers.

I don’t really get the thrill of gambling and am terrified at parting with $5 if I don’t have to, let alone the thousands of dollars that the high rollers in the Baccarat room laid down. I also love sunshine, am creepily punctual, and hate cigarette smoke being blown in my face [except when I am in Europe (I am aware that this is one of the douchiest statements I have ever made)], so casinos in general just seem like the worst place ever.

Have I ever told you about the last time that I was in Vegas? I was the ripe age of 23 (someone once pointed out to me that all my stories start off with, “I was 23…”) and in Vegas with my best friend at the time. She and I waitressed together at a restaurant and also happened to live around the corner from each other, so even though we hadn’t known each other for that long, we were attached at the hip for that greatest and most eventful year of my life.

Along with some of our other friends, she and I had gone to Atlantic City for her birthday a few months before, and it was a great time. It was a weeknight in late March when the casinos were empty and the boardwalk even emptier. We had “dinner” at Hooters, and even though at that naive stage I knew that I wasn’t a gambling lady, and even though I lost my cell phone after leaving it in a slot machine, I was happy to be there with my very best friends getting all the free drinks my young body could handle. And at 23, that was a lot.

When the opportunity presented itself a few months later to go to Vegas with this friend, I jumped at the opportunity. I was newly unemployed, I was newly single, I was with my best friend—what could go wrong? No, really: What could go wrong?

What could go wrong is that your best friend could turn out to be a crazy alcoholic with a mean gambling addiction who seriously won’t let you sleep until she has smoked all of the cigarettes, played all of the slots, and drank all of the drinks. Have you ever seen that How I Met Your Mother episode (Season 2, Episode 7) about Crazy Eyes? Literally, this girl did not blink for five days straight. While my eyes were heavy with exhaustion and bloodshot from overindulgence, Crazy Eyes powered through in the most manic of fashions.

On our final night, when I finally put my foot down and told her that it was 5am and time for me to head back to the hotel (in preparation for our 11am flight), she lost her shit on the casino floor and screamed at me for ruining her fun and her vacation and her life and America. Well, this is an exaggeration of sorts. I basically just left her on the casino floor and didn’t see her until the airport where she proceeded to drink and gamble and not understand why I was doing neither. I was doing neither because Miller Lite was $8 a can and because I wanted to walk around Hudson News and read US Weekly in peace.

She also drank on the flight home, and while I have been known to hoard wine on many transcontinental journeys, I have always judged people who drink on domestic flights in coach. Like, know your roll. Only the rich people in first class are allowed to booze at 30 thousand feet. Because they earned it.

Needless to say, my relationship with Crazy Eyes was forever tarnished. She and I soon lost touch, despite her still living a few blocks away. The demise of our friendship didn’t have everything to do with our Vegas trip, but it was the tipping point. After our return home, there were also a series of unfortunate events which included her becoming roommates with my nemesis, throwing herself at my best guy friend, borrowing my television and never giving it back, and, um, using and subsequently breaking my vibrator. (How do you feel about that last nugget of information I threw at you? That would be a great topic for 52— I hope it’s in the hat!)

This time around in Vegas was much more subdued. I know myself now and know that I am not much of gambler. So I sat in the pool and read Rob Lowe and roamed around the hotel and went to bed early. I did throw some money in the Sex and the City slot machine (I can feel you judging me) one night— just to say that I did— and, much to my surprise, I actually won. Yet it didn’t make me want to take my winnings and keep going. Instead, I cashed in my ticket and got the hell out of dodge.

And while my dreams of wearing cable knit sweaters and Bean boots remain unfulfilled, I think that that’s okay. Because the only thing worse than being a weird spinster crazy cat lady in Brooklyn is being a weird spinster crazy cat lady in Maine.

How are things with you? Written any new novels lately? Forgotten about me/us/and everything that we stand for? I hope not.

Kindly,
Eloise at The Plaza

Wow, I’ve Never Seen That

Modellian,

Are you ready to get your mind blown? So, I have this stubborn habit of not seeing movies that everyone else has seen and has societally (or, more likely, socioeconomically) agreed to love. Some examples that are deeply engrained in the consciousness of people our age include Fight Club, the aforementioned Shawshank, and Seven. Now I have seen these movies, but I saw them all begrudgingly and way after they left the movie theater and really, actually, mostly because some dumb boyfriend of mine thought that it would be really special if they could share something important with me.

What might get your lovely nerd heart aflutter today on May the Fourth is that I have never seen Star Wars. Yes, I am serious. Star Wars, perhaps the most famous movie in all of American cinema, has never been experienced by me. Of course, I’ve seen clips and can’t avoid the catchphrases and, once on Friends, heard about Princess Leia and the gold bikini, but I have no idea what they actually mean in any sort of rational consciousness. The reasons, my friend, are multiple fold. The most important reason is that I never had access to it. While I am old, Star Wars came out many years before I was born. I didn’t have an older brother, so I was basically at the whims of watching whatever my parents fed to me, and I guess they’re not really into Star Wars either. Sci-fi and fantasy and outerspace movies really don’t interest me; by now, I’m sure you’re well-aware that I’d rather watch Clueless or Can’t Hardly Wait… than anything remotely serious, fantastical, or even new at this point. All I really want to do is re-watch the Meg Ryan oeuvre over and over and over again. (Of note, the Meg Ryan oeuvre also includes the fine works of Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Stacey Dash, and other now aged stars.) It turns out, simply put, that my family is just really weird. My sister and I compared notes the other day, and neither of us know any jokes, or any magic tricks, and we have few rituals except talking through awards shows and being overcritical of everything.

Now that I am old and make my own money and have my own DVD player and wifi connection, one could argue that it’s as good a time as any to watch all the Star Wars movies, the Princess Bride, and the Godfather trilogy (yes, add these to the list of films I have never seen). But guess what? I’m just not that into them. The Princess Bride was on television the other day, and I literally lasted less than a minute before changing the channel. It is probably something I should have seen when I was a child because it looks like it’s for babies.

I guess that’s the thing— movies are so fixed in time and place that if you see them out of context for the first time, it just doesn’t make sense. Yet, somehow, you can keep going back to it over and over and over again because it brings all those warm and fuzzy feelings back. You know how I am with feelings: I have them sometimes.

Can we talk about The Matrix for a second? As you know, I have been filling out a lot of surveys lately (more on that in another post), and one of the big questions is: What is the most private thing you’re willing to admit? Today, mine is: I don’t understand The Matrix. Seriously, I’m not an idiot, but I smoked a gross amount of weed circa 1999 and as a result my brain is atrophied. I also have only tried to watch that movie while stoned, and it really just doesn’t make any sense. So, please, tell me more about this sci-fi situation.

I have seen Forest Gump, and I too am hoping for a miracle that my shackles will come off and I will be able to run like the wind at the Brooklyn Half. By shackles, I mean my fat, slow thighs, my adult-onset allergies that prevent me from breathing, and my brain that literally says “This is the worst, this is the worst, this is the worst” on repeat from my very first step. I’ve also never seen Rudy, and I’m hoping greatness. My name is not great for chanting though– too many syllables. I’ve decided to give up training and hope for the best. I hear great things happen in Brooklyn.

Seeing you at the starting line, but hopefully sooner.

XO,
Jenny