Tag Archives: NPR

On Feeling Like A Fraud, And Our East Coast Adventure!

During the New York stop of D’s and my nine-day, four-city Extreme East Coast Adventure, we landed for a couple of nights at my brother,  sister-in-law and niece’s Park Slope brownstone.

The day before, D had met a few of my numerous New York relatives—mother, one grandmother, one brother—but not yet F, my sister-in-law. (I feel obliged to note that, for her, this title seems distinctly weak: I have known F since she was seventeen and I was five: throughout my childhood she took to regularly supervising my backyard birthday parties—from kimonos to tie-dyes, bless her then-teenage heart.)

And that afternoon–considering F’s lifetime of childcare, it was the least I could do–D and I picked up S, my seven-year-old niece, from elementary school–and, by way of a chaotic playground on 7th Avenue and a slightly calmer stop for Italian Icies on 5th (rainbow for the kid, lemon for us), brought her home.

A little while later, D was downstairs starting a load of laundry when F walked in the house, home from an afternoon pedicure up the block.

She looked down to see S and I sprawled on the hardwood living room floor with sharpies and construction paper, books and scissors, glue sticks and stickers–but no D.

“Where is he!?” she stage-whispered, still only partway through the door.

“Huh?” I looked up, reluctant to distract from my intense focus on the startingly Herculean task S had just charged me with: drawing a cat.

“The boyfriend! I haven’t seen him and I don’t believe he exists!”

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What I Learned Watching Cable

For all of the negative effects of watching a lot of television–wretched lack of productivity, indoctrination with evil, unattanable ideals of skinniness and wealth, the inability to move for hours on end because you must find out how Eva wins Season Three of America’s Next Top Model even though you Wikipedia’d the outcome three episodes ago–I have come up with at least one positive.

You see, it’s hard for me not to feel somewhat sheepish when I tell people what my blog is about. (“I’m getting an MFA in Creative Writing.” “Oh, what do you write?” “Well, these days, mostly a blog.” “Oh, what kind of blog?” “Well, um, it’s about dating…relationships…but not really. You know, it’s like, my thoughts on those things.” Befuddled facial expressions and awkward conversational transitions ensue.)

I feel sheepish about making this admission for a few reasons. But basically, I fear that I will come across as someone who a) is not a serious, literary writer and b) is obsessed with relationships. Both of which, of course, are more or less true.

But back to the cable: these hours of bingeing on mainstream television have, if nothing else, served to remind me that I’m not alone. All of us–all of you!–are obsessed with dating, romance, finding love…the whole thing. I don’t care if you want to get married or wear white when you do or you’re still finding yourself, whatever. You’re obsessed. You just don’t write a blog about it.

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Storytime: Greetings from Taos/Speak Up, Please

So I’m at a writers conference for the weekend, aka a place where the male-to-female ratio is approximately 1.2 to 300.

Let’s not even get into who’s actually single. But the whole scene has gotten me thinking that, as much as I deserve blame/intensive psychotheraphy for being compulsively drawn to men who are emotionally unavailable–the feeling is often mutual.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a human hologram: attractive only to people who are prohibitively involved with other women or unhealthy substances.

Which brings me to a public service announcement of sorts: I understand it’s a delicate question, when two people come together in a potentially flirtatious context, at what point someone who is otherwise attached ought to say so. Too soon and you seem presumptious, too late and you seem like a jerk.

But I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend that all of us abandon our collective pride and for the sake of hopeful single people everywhere, tend toward the former. If after thirty minutes of talking and trading book recommendations I still don’t know you’ve got a girlfriend, that’s about twenty-five minutes too many. Because honestly, you’re not that smart or interesting and your writing isn’t that great and I really like to get eight hours of sleep if possible. I’ve got enough friends. We both understand hormones. Out with it.

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Thoughts on The Person vs. The Story, cont.

A couple of months ago, I published an essay on NPR.org about how many of us “fall in love with the story” of a person or relationship, rather than the person themselves. In response, I got a lot of enthusiastic notes from friends and readers who identified with my dilemma.

And then, there was one person–one of my best friends from college, in fact–who wrote to tell me that they could not relate.

Like me, this friend has a tortured romantic soul that is frequently, tragically, getting trampled upon: we understand one another.

But not, evidently, on this.

“I guess you’re more mature than me,” my friend wrote. “The story is still way more important than how I actually get along with someone. That’s stupid, but at least I admit it.”

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Ode to Gchat, or Why Our Lives Make Bad TV

My grandmother–not the one who is 100, but the one with a PhD and a social calender busier than mine and whose age I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you–forwarded me a link the other day. It was from NPR’s arts blog, Monkey See, and she asked if I knew the author.

Before I’d had a chance to fully roll my eyes (bless her news junkie heart, this grandmother loves to forward articles that I don’t always love to read), I saw that the author was, in fact, my friend and writing/life mentor, Sara Sarasohn. Eagerly, I read. The post is about two new network dramas, “Parenthood” and “Modern Family”; being a graduate student, of course, I hadn’t  heard of either. But that didn’t make her post any less interesting, or relevant.

It’s about the fact that, in order for television to realistically portray family relationships, they have to present them as different in one fundamental way: rather than communicating via technology, these fictive relatives actually see one another. In person!

I contemplated the entertainment value of a “Sex and the City” episode in which, rather than spend time with a man she’s dating–or even rather than talking to him on the phone–Carrie communicates the way most people my age do as their romantic liasons begin: over texting, and gchat.

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Sex and Facebook

I swear, I really was planning on taking tonight off from compulsive blogging, but I just saw this NPR story and couldn’t resist.

I couldn’t resist because, for one, Shereen is a former colleague and All Things Considered my former home. But mostly, I couldn’t resist because I think about this basically all the time. This, of course, being Facebook and general internet-stalking. I do it more than I care to admit. I won’t say all the time, but, well, kind of. I simply cannot resist typing the name of a new interest into Google, and suffering the results. And I don’t know what to do about it.

By now, I think we’ve developed something of a dating etiquette: no Facebook friendship for at least a few months (I’m guessing here, because–ironically, and helpfully, I am prone to men with a startling degree of internet aloofness and the last time I actually dated someone with a Facebook page for more than three weeks might have been in 2008). Based on my experience, though, it’s turned into a sort of dance: who will friend who first?? Sadly, Facebook’s egregious privacy settings have almost rendered obsolete that one precious barrier to dooming yourself to far more information than you should every truly have about someone, much less someone you’ve recently met and are contemplating sex with. Continue reading

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