All posts filed under: Relationships

Can We Still Make Best Friends After 40? Hell Yeah

In the past few years, I’ve flown past quite a few milestones, ages by which such-and-such and so-and-so would supposedly happen. I can handle the thinning eyebrows, the slower metabolism, the death of my fertility. But did I hit my sexual peak at 35 and start an inevitable decline? Umm, no. Definitely not, is all I’ll say here. And the old trope that it’s impossible to make “true” friends after 40? To that I say “bullshit.” I would need another hand or three in order to count out the truly deep and meaningful friend connections I’ve made in the past five years. And that’s not because I think I have some kind of black belt in awesome-friendness. But it’s because, for me, friendships changed from being situational to being intentional. I wasn’t spending my friend capital on people who just happened to be around me — say, parents of my son’s friends — but was instead seeking out and bonding with women who connected to something vital in me. Knowing myself better — which of …

Real-Time BFF: A Blissful, 20-Something Bond

I met Emma during a pop raid at a Wisconsin girls camp. Camouflaged in black, we crept stealthily toward the vending machines. I don’t remember what movie line I whispered, but it prompted Emma to ask shyly, “Isn’t that from Garden State?” Instant connection. We talked for hours that night on a tiny twin bed. I admired her bottomless cheer, compassion, artistic skills, cheekbones, and spot-on impressions. We were attached at the hip for the next three summers. The staff referred to us as “Shira n’ Emma.” They commissioned our antics to write songs and emcee talent shows and didn’t question our schedules when we attended every activity together. Emma played with the worms as I fished. She laid on the tennis court as I practiced my backhand and whenever a ball hit her, she said, “thank you, may I have another” to no one in particular. In the arts and crafts building, I haphazardly slid beads onto string as Emma made intricate lanyards and stunning paintings. Saying goodbye after each eight-week session was painful. …

How I Cleared Out the Clutter in My Heart

Last spring while I was in a yoga class, the song, “Hearts A Mess” by Gotye came on. And it struck me that I was right there with him: my heart was literally a junkyard of broken bits. When people talk about tidying up, immediately thoughts fly to the home: desks cluttered with unopened mail, drawers filled with messy receipts, closets that seems to vomit forth clothes you can’t remember ever wearing. We buy magazines that tell us how to de-clutter our home to help keep us sane and happy. They tell us we’ll breathe easier after hauling 20-gallon trash bags worth of useless items to the curb. We’re better people now that we’ve rid ourselves of all that physical clutter. But what we rarely stop to consider is the wreckage of our past, as it remains cluttered in our hearts. The relationship that never quite died, the rejection letter that told you your work was not good enough, the person who told you your love was not quite right for them. Whether it’s hardened …

Why I’m in Love with a Luddite

The night I met my husband in the bar on 15th street, back in 2001, I was ready and eager to punch his phone number into whatever Palm Pilot-like object was trendy and in my bag. He wouldn’t give it to me. Instead, he wrote my first name on a napkin, slipped it in his pocket, and asked me to meet him, same time, same place, four days later. I did. He did. No texts, alerts or mobile carriers required. At the end of our first date I asked for his email address. Again, he declined. He said he didn’t want to get to know me on the computer, through grammatically sub-par notes sent during office breaks or business meetings. He wanted to get to know me, in real-time and in real life. This all seemed highly suspect. Who was this guy? Was he on the lam? Married? Why so cagey? I couldn’t get it into my head that his avoidance of technology might have motives based in anything but malice. But he was charming, …

Man Up! Finding Presents He’ll Definitely Dig

For the lucky few (and most of the young), the holidays are largely about the bountiful joy and spirit of the giving season. For the rest of us, they are a quagmire of impossible expectations, difficult family complexities, and the insidiously mind-breaking challenge of what to get loved ones. The best gifts, in my experience, come not from rote requests or jam-packed Amazon want-lists, but when you truly surprise someone with something they hadn’t yet realized how much they desperately needed. To that end, here’s a shortlist of possibilities for the males in your life, be they loving husband, SO, best friend, or father.   1. Wüsthof Breakfast Knife Trust me, dudes like knives. And this one, with super-sharp, deeply serrated edges cuts bread, meat, vegetables, and fruit rinds with equal conviction. One knife to create a perfect Sunday morning breakfast bagel, with a side of melon? Count me in. $60,  Amazon.com   2. Smith Dolen Sunglasses Where I come from — um, upstate New York — sunglasses make a statement about who you are …

What I Thought My Gift Said… And What My Husband Really Thought

We all aim to get this gift-giving thing right, right? Every year, I think I’ve finally mastered it for my husband, only to realize, through a combination of his luke-warm reactions and, more definitively, the gift remaining unopened months later, that I have once again failed. I figure it’s one of two things: Either my husband is the hardest person on the planet to shop for (it’s probably this), or my gifts give off a vibe of an assignment. I should mention that my husband has never actually complained about these gifts out loud (ok, once, because I gave him the same shirt two years in a row). But the evidence is strong, and I know what he’s thinking. In fact, here’s how the inner dialogue has gone down for the last 3 years. 2010: The Yoga Mat 
Manduka Big, $76, zappos.com What I thought this gift said: Yoga! It’s so good for you! And, I know you didn’t notice, but I actually heard you talking to John, the neighbor, about how he’s been doing Iyengar. And I …

The Best Part Of Divorce? My Ex-Wives Club

When I was newly separated from my husband of seven years, I met a woman who was in the process of getting divorced. We were at our local watering hole — I’d met her through a few mutual friends, so we struck up a conversation. At first glance, she couldn’t have been more different than me. The kind of woman that was intimidating. The kind of woman that all men looked at and bought drinks for. Tall and blonde with a sexy German accent, she was the opposite of my short, mousy brown American self. But we started talking about what we had in common: our soon to be ex-husbands, what had happened to our marriages, and how the divorce processes were going. I asked her how her little kids, who were the same ages as mine, were handling living in two separate places. She said it was going okay except they always came back to her house bedraggled. Tired. Teeth unbrushed. Hair slightly matted. I guess I shouldn’t have been so shocked but wow, …

Online Dating: You’re Doing it Wrong

Perhaps it’s because I met my man of nearly a decade online, or maybe it just appeals to my lazy nature, but I’ve always been a fan of internet dating. Why go out to a bar when you can sit home and order potential penises from the comfort of your couch? Incredibly, I still have friends who balk at the idea of looking for love (or sex) via the interwebs. Perhaps it’s just short-sightedness on my part, but I don’t see any downside. I mean, I’d never had much faith in love, but shopping for dates was more fun than shopping on Zappos or Etsy. Sure, for a while I pursued it with the vigor that others invest in activities like Bikram Yoga or a methamphetamine addiction, and yeah, it cost me a couple bucks (and occasionally my dignity), but after more than 500 or so fruitless dates, I met someone really great. So since I was already proselytizing my face off about this issue to my friends, and had a veneer of legitimacy due …

Park Slope, Brooklyn: A Mom’s Defense

I never intended to be here. I mean, I explicitly did not want to be here. When my husband and I were looking for apartments, we instructed our real estate agent to show us any neighborhood near downtown Brooklyn: Carrol Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Ft. Greene, DUMBO, basically anything but Park Slope. There’s a ‘Park Slope’ neighborhood in most cities with hip, urban centers, but the birthplace — the ur-destination — of obnoxious, yuppie parenthood is this neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Picture expensive SUV-style strollers blocking the sidewalk. Picture mommy bloggers with yoga mats drinking imported teas. Toddlers named Henry and Sophia taking advanced Mandarin classes. That’s the rep. No individually minded person with street cred would get anywhere near it. And yet what happened next is that I moved to Park Slope. My husband and I have two children. We both work full-time jobs. We spend more than a firefighter’s annual salary on childcare. (This is true.) And I have become a Park Slope Mom. When my husband, my 1 1/2-yr-old daughter and I moved to our …