Tag Archives: Family

Who to Call? Another Girlfriend Tribute

On Sunday, after some public griping on the blog about my single woes, I went out and had a perfectly lovely day: I took Bon Bon to a new dog park where we met a lovely dog-owning woman–a local journalist and musician who told me about some new local spots. I caught up over the phone with an old girlfriend and talked about her potential skype sex. I took a rare trip to Trader Joe’s for some peach salsa and other things-I-don’t-need. And then to a low-key house party/rock show where I saw the first 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor I think I’ve spotted since high school.

And in the midst of it all this loveliness, I must confess, I thought of yet another recurring single-girl grievance: the dilemma of, “who to call?” As in, I just had the loveliest afternoon, and who do I have to tell about it? (I mean, no offense to my mother, but I can only call her so many times in a given week without starting to feel completely pathetic.)

First, I thought: “That’s why I have a blog!” Second, I thought: “I can only exploit my readers’ sympathies so much in one weekend” and “Actually that’s not why I have a blog, it’s why I would have a diary if I was somebody who didn’t feel ridiculous whenever I kept one.” In other words, I imagine that most of you who read this–with the possible exception, perhaps, of my mother–do not do so out of strange fascination with the quotidian details of weekend adventures related to grocery shopping. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I got home, shrugged it off, contemplated what it might mean to simply enjoy the experience of happiness for a moment, and then checked my email.

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Step One: Get Married. Step Two: Have Kids?

Yeah, I know: I’m, like, really, really far from starting a family.

Like, this weekend, out at a downtown bar where there were, actually, a decent number of evidently attractive men–an event that seems to occur about as often as the solstice around here–I stood on the periphery, completely disinterested.

“I wish I knew some cute guy so we could go over and I could introduce you,” my friend E remarked.

“Oh no,” I assured her. “Don’t worry about it. I’m not feeling all that sexual these days.”

It’s true: I mean, don’t get me wrong: I still think it’d be nice to have/desperately want a boyfriend. But for whatever reason (perhaps, dare I ponder, the staggering sequence of disappointments that has been my love life for the past several years has finally caught up with me) I’m going through a phase in which I really can’t be bothered to put in the the effort that it takes to put myself out there.

(Don’t worry too much: put me in front of a shiny object and I will flirt with it. It’s how I’m wired, whether I like it or not.)

But still: as you all know, I think about these things–love, relationships, marriage. And yes, children.

I’ve been thinking about this last one recently a bit more than usual. So I was intrigued when I saw this story on the Times “Well” blog.

The post reports on a new study from the Pew Research Center that surveys what people say are the most important factors in the success of their marriage. The Times headline was that children rank surprisingly low: behind good sex, behind money, and just above similar political views.

Apparently marriage has overall become more “adult-centered” as people have fewer children and wait longer to have them–which would suggest that people are still having children, they just generally find them less interesting. Or essential to a happy partnership, whatever.

Which is intriguing to me, because what I’ve been thinking about lately–in regard to kids–is the cultural expectation I think is imposed on women, especially, that we ought to have kids at all.

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To Live, Or Not to Live, in NY

I tend to get contemplative when I travel. Sometimes, I make rash life decisions. Especially when I travel to London. Or: once, when I was in London, I made a rash life decision.

It was the last time I was there, four and a half years ago. At the time I was living with my long-term ex in Minnesota, but about to head off for a two-month internship in DC–after which I planned on returning to St. Paul. A few days spent on my own in London left me intoxicated with independence: I decided to leave MN, and my then-boyfriend, permanently. I returned there for just a week, during which I packed up all my things and shipped them off for indefinite residence in my parents’ Brooklyn basement.

Before this trip I half-jokingly warned friends that I might return with some other idea for dramatic life revision–but I wasn’t sure what it would be. “Maybe I’ll become a lesbian!” I joked.

I haven’t. And I’m not altering my living or life situation grandly either. (Though I am, oddly, going back to Minnesota on Wednesday for my five-year college reunion–an event that promises to be loads of fun and, one might imagine, a good source of blog material.)

But I did have something of something of an epiphanic moment on the subject of where I want to live.

It may be premature, or just plain neurotic–after all, I am committed to at least two more years in Albuquerque–but the question of where I want to settle has been the source of much angst to me lately. This mainly stems from the recent realization that I do not, in fact, have to wind up in New York.

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Bridging the Gap

For all my glib talk about how much I was going to make my parents squirm when I read a couple of my pieces with them in the audience the other night, I wasn’t all that surprised when they totally didn’t.

“We’ve been conditioned!” my dad smilingly explained to one of my professors, who commended them for getting through the evening without a blush.

“She’s gotten a little raunchier over the years,” he later joked to a group of friends. “But we can take it.”

They can take it. And they do. But, as it emerged over their weekend visit, it’s not always easy.

Nor would you expect it to be easy for the parents of a blogger who writes about her sexual life with a regularity and tone that often require some exaggeration. I’m not saying that what I write here isn’t true, but the extent to which I do so surely enhances the severity of the impressions I give off.

Which, as they finally confessed, can be tough for them to swallow. (Dad: “You just seem, kind of, insecure and obsessed with finding a man.” Mom: “You don’t need to date men who aren’t worthwhile, you should be picky!”)

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To Be, or Not to Be, Mysterious

“Remember when you lived in Washington DC and were really interested in politics?” my father asked me last night over dinner, by way of gentle counsel that I need not spend the rest of my writing career so focused on relationships.

“Vaguely,” I replied.

(It turns out to be true what what’s going on in Washington is far more interesting when one is living in Washington that it is when one isn’t.)

“I mean, it’s great for now,” my mother joined in. “But, you know, you might, at some point, decide that you want to have a little mystery.”

Ah yes, I thought. Mystery. I’ve been contemplating this word a lot lately–namely, in relation to the fact that I don’t have any.

It came up a few days ago when my guy friends and I were free associating in our effort to pinpoint the nature of femininity. We concluded that it might be in the mix, but that truly mystery is something both men and women look for and are drawn to.

Either way–since I do, on occasion, like to actually attract members of the opposite sex–this reminder causes me some pause.

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A Mother’s Opinions, Censored

The other night, as I got passed around my family’s Passover seder via phone reciever, a family friend with whom I rarely speak brought up the blog.

“You know, I think your mother doesn’t always know whether to be proud of you or embarrassed!” he chuckled.

(For the record, I’m pretty sure she leans toward pride: last night she sat, like a champ, through a reading in which I use the word “fuck” as a verb and repeatedly mentioned masturbation–she claimed no discomfort.)

Later, slightly rankled, I relayed the comment in an email to a friend. “I don’t care what she thinks,” I wrote. And then, immediately: “That’s a lie. Of course I care.”

The fact is that I a care a great deal what my mother thinks–probably more than I’d like to, and do, admit. Not only when it comes to my writing, but also, of course, my relationships.

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Arrangements: Attention Jewish Mothers (and Grandmothers)

I’m aware that when a parent, relative or friend of the family tries to set  you up with someone, the appropriate thing to do is roll your eyes, be patronizing and act horrified.

When I find myself in this situation, so as not to alarm people with potentially erratic blood pressure, I usually conform to this etiquette. Outwardly. Inwardly, however, I get kind of excited.

For one, in my case, chances are the person I’m being set up with is somebody’s idea of a “Nice Jewish Boy.” Which can go one of two ways. Often, somebody’s idea of a “Nice Jewish Boy” turns out to be a slightly mysogynistic jerk with decent table manners, strong ideas about European film and a dry, smart sense of humor. Which means I will definitely be attracted to him.

Alternatively, these “Nice Jewish Boys” may turn out to be more in line with what their adoring mothers think: academically focussed, painfully shy and with chivalrous intentions. In which case, I will probably not be immediately attracted but recognize that I should be, and make an effort.

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