Audrey Hepburn Screwed Us All

This is the man Audrey thought she loved, until she realized she actually loved his brother. Surprise!

I love me some Audrey Hepburn. I especially love me some Audrey in Givenchy. I would wear those gorgeous Sabrina dresses any day. But I could not hate that movie more. It was on that ridiculous — I mean, loving — list of must-watch moviesmy boyfriend gave me, and I was so pumped because it was girly and a classic and didn’t involve overwrought metaphors like “rosebud.” But it blew. There was not one single second where they even pretended Sabrina cared about anything in life besides so-called love. It was lame. And irresponsible. Because it set the standard for everything wrong with romantic comedies today.

So maybe it didn’t totally set the standard — Roman Holiday and It Happened One Night came first — but Sabrina did some pretty serious damage. Have you seen Sleepless in Seattle? Vom. My problem with romantic comedies isn’t that they’re demeaning to women (or men) or even wholly untrue. After all, I recently fielded an email from a despairing friend who slept with her best guy friend who is in love with her best girl friend. Another friend of mine has slept with so many women in his office that for his birthday, they actually gave him a Roledex with all their business cards in it. Paging Katherine Heigl.
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The Trouble With (Girl) Love

Last weekend I did something stupid. One of my oldest and closest friends, who also happens to be going through a very tough time right now, came to visit. And all I did was chatter about relationships and weddings – about other friends who are on the verge of engagement or recently asked me to be part of their bridal party, and ideas for my own (no, still not engaged, yes, still very much a girly girl). Until my brave, dear friend called me on it. Part of me was waiting to see how much she wanted to talk, but there was another part of me that was just flat-out not thinking. And while I immediately apologized and my friend and I talked it all out, along with promises to better communicate, she was right. Somehow I’d temporarily turned into one of those girls I absolutely hate, the one who is so self-absorbed that she doesn’t think to look out for her friend who is truly hurting.

I don’t make friends with girls easily, probably because I never hesitate to say what is on my mind. I also don’t make friends with girls easily (and who knows, maybe this is true of boys too) because I hate pettiness. And talking behind people’s backs. I value nonjudgmental friendships where you enjoy each other’s company, have meaningful conversations, and count on each other’s support. And I don’t mean support as in stupid rules like not hooking up with your friends unrequited crush (guilty). I mean support as in being there when shit goes down, no matter what kind. Hence my disappointment with myself last weekend.
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Mo Money Mo Problems?

Talking about money is like talking about halitosis. There’s no way in hell you want to tell your friend their breath stinks, but you’d be doing them a disservice if you didn’t. Money is emotionally charged. Managing money is, for lack of a better description, really fucking charged. Talking about it? Almost impossible. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have, inevitably you’ve got some beef.

There’s the obvious: when some friends make more than other friends, and you go out for a fancy meal, and the bill comes, and everyone wants to split it evenly. Cause it seems easier. But the “richer” friends feel guilty, and the “poorer” friends get pissed. Then there’s avoiding credit card debt, which, despite all the tips from the pros, is easier said than done.
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The Ones Who Got Away (Thank God)

Most weeks we reserve this space for some gentle mocking of our current boyfriends, but as a measure of our gratitude to them for being such good sports — and mainly, wonderful, supporting partners — we decided to take some pot-shots at our exes. Because come on, what girl hasn’t wanted to exact some public shame and revenge?

Herewith, our top ten most egregious ex offenses:

10. It’s not okay to date someone if you have a pregnant girlfriend at home. Even if you’re about to go to war.

9. You cannot buy three bottles of wine at Valentine’s Day dinner and then get mad the next day when I don’t remember our romantic evening.

8. If you might be bisexual, you’re gay, so no I can’t still be your girlfriend. And no it’s not okay to pretend you’re not just because your parents are Catholic.

7. We may have broken up, but that doesn’t mean you should call me and ask “how many guys do you think a girl has to sleep with before she’s a slut?”
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The Skinny On My Skinny

I’ve found over the years (and I’m twenty-six so I suppose my problem weight years are ahead of me), that the key to losing pounds is to not let yourself get bored, to be so stressed out you physically can’t eat, and to develop an ulcer. It would be funny if I was kidding. I’m not. I didn’t say I had the healthiest weight-loss strategy, I just said it was key. However, the real focus should be on health, not weighing the ideal 125 pounds and then losing an extra ten because it’s the cool thing to do.

Recently everyone says I’m so skinny, including the woman who spoke very little English who was giving me a manicure. Really awkward. Would you tell a stranger they look fat? Hopefully not, so why comment on my skinny? These comments don’t make me feel good, because there is such a thing as being unhealthy at a healthy weight. It’s not like I’m training for a marathon and doing yoga every night. I’m just suffering from very bad stress-induced acid reflux. It’s far less admirable, and I’m not proud. It’s even embarrassing to go out to eat, because I’ll have to leave whole plates of food sitting in front of me. It makes me look like I’m one of those girls who doesn’t eat, when in reality, I really really want to finish the enchilada, but I can’t because my throat closes off from acid or I just feel nauseous.
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Wedding Season Meltdown(s)

When we were little girls and still believed in fairy tales, weddings were great fun. But now that we’re in our twenties… they kind of blow. Don’t get us wrong, we’re really, really happy and excited for all our engaged friends. Seriously. But we’re a lot less excited about the pressure society – correction, our families – are putting on us to go next.

Ellyn: You know what else I’m not stoked about? Scrounging up six (or more) dresses to wear in the next year. I vote we all have a party and trade.

Miriam: Yeah, I don’t think so. I kind of love the excuses to buy new dresses. Of course, I always tell myself I’ll wear each new dress to multiple events attended by different people… and then I buy another one. My wallet kind of hates me.

Ellyn: Being a bridesmaid, or even just going through a summer wedding marathon, makes a girl think. My rational self says marriage is scary because it can lead to divorce, so I’m in no hurry. But my five-year-old princess wanna-be self can’t help but imagine what songs I’ll play, what colors I’ll feature, and who will be in the bridal party. All of these things I already know for the most part, which is pretty embarrassing to admit.

Miriam: Are you kidding? I know all those things, too. Is it bad that I want my bridesmaids to wear black? Or some kind of sophisticated gray?
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Work Travel: The New Long-Distance Relationship

Since my last post, which was admittedly eons ago, I got a new job. Thankfully it happened within two weeks of my NY job ending, because I was getting bored. That’s what happens when you leave behind everything and everyone you know and move to the other side of the country. Now I spend my free time nagging Shaun and exploring SoCal, usually at the same time especially if we’re in the car.

Another side effect of moving out of a top 10 DMA and getting new jobs, is that both Shaun and I travel for work, him much more than me. We started our relationship doing the long distance thing between New York and Philly, so traveling a few nights a month shouldn’t be too bad. Except for the past year, we’ve lived together and hadn’t spent more than a night, maybe two, apart until now. The first week in our new apartment, Shaun was in Indianapolis for most of it. So I had to find my way around and get used to new city noises at night all alone (instead of cars going over pot holes the size of Rhode Island right outside our Jersey City window, now we have homeless crackheads yelling at the wind).

I got into the habit of having a glass of wine with dinner every night Shaun was away. Not just because wine is really cheap in CA. But because if I didn’t, I would spend the night listening for an intruder to either break in through the door that doesn’t have a dead bolt, or climb in over the 27th floor balcony (I’m not sure how said intruder would do this, but still). I tried to install a dead bolt myself with a drill, then realized the door and frame is made of metal. Fail. I probably should’ve lived alone at some point in life before moving in with Shaun, but too late now.

Eventually (after 2-5 days) Shaun comes home, usually jet-lagged, and we’ll have a few weeks together again and I can sleep with the bedroom door unlocked and don’t have to look in all the closets and under the bed every time I come home.

Just when I’m about to punch him in the face for obliviously spraying the bathroom mirrors with toothpaste mist twice a day and putting the iced tea back in the fridge empty, I get an itinerary myself.

I’m in Chicago right now. It’s my first time staying in a hotel room alone, I think. For my last few jobs, the furthest I traveled was probably Princeton, New Jersey or uptown Manhattan from downtown. I got all sad when I had to leave Shaun. Who’s going to yell at him to take the garbage out and wake him up at 2AM so he doesn’t sleep on the couch all night with Chappelle’s Show blaring in the background? I’m sure he’ll be fine, and I know I will be too. But seriously, when did I become adult enough to have a Starwood Preferred Guest Membership? For the record, the best part of my day was when they gave me gummy bears with my room service dinner. I wonder if that’s because they thought I was a child or if they do that for all the suit-clad weary business travelers?

Of course, absence makes the heart grow fonder. The time apart is probably good for both of us. Although I think I’d rather be the traveler than the one left at home. The traveler doesn’t have to do laundry, dishes or take out the trash. Hmm, maybe I’d just rather be Shaun at home or away. Ha ha kidding. Only not really. We’re still working on that divided and shared chore chart. On that note, time for a Skype date to make sure he’s staying out of trouble.

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Will Work for Fun

As of Monday, I’m in-between jobs. Okay, fine. I’m unemployed. For the first time since college graduation. Back then, I passed up a European back-packing extravaganza to find a job in New York. Not sure what I was thinking, but I started working July 1st so didn’t have much of a summer vacation that year. I simply couldn’t stand being at home with nothing to do and no income.

Well, I’ve come full-circle. I have another summer vacation looming ahead. Except I’m at home alone (Shaun is traveling for work) and my friends are almost all on the East Coast. Crap. When you’re working, all you want is a day off to do nothing. Let me just tell you, that a few days off in a row when you’re alone and not on vacation can be wearing. You have to get really creative. Monday my mom was visiting, so the day went pretty fast. We went to the beach and fixed my bicycle. Tuesday, I have no idea what I did besides watch Food Network, get a smoothie, and take a yoga class. Yesterday, I cleaned then tried to put a dresser together but gave up when I realized I was going to have to drill holes. So I got a mani/pedi and another smoothie.

I’m running out of ideas. Of course, I should write and try to get published. I should paint my bookshelf, cook something besides rice and cereal, and start a business or save the world or anything productive. I should at least lay out at the pool and get a tan, which I surprisingly haven’t done yet this week. The thing is, I need to save up all of those things I should be doing for a rainy day (not that it rains in San Diego).

Because, what if it’s more permanent than I’d hoped? What if I don’t get an offer for weeks or months? Should I work at Hooters? Seriously force myself to write for money? Just have a kid so I can be a stay-at-home-mom? Try to get on “The Real Housewives of San Diego?” I’m going crazy with too much time on my hands, not enough entertainment, and depleting funds. Moral of the story, I’m going to need a bigger social network and a schedule. And a lottery ticket.

putting this next to my beach chair

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So it’s been two weeks since Ellyn moved to San Diego, and while she’s not having second thoughts – have you seen the beaches? – now that she’s sort of settled, she has a few questions. Fortunately, it’s just a year since Miriam completed her cross-country move, so she has some answers. And maybe some counter questions.

Ellyn: When you first moved to LA, did you have any feelings of intense regret, like maybe you made a horrible mistake?

Miriam: Oh my god, yes. The first or second week we were here I remember standing in Home Depot, trying to locate a shelf to install in our melon yellow (no joke) bathroom and I asked someone to help me and they literally said, “I’m not allowed to move from my post.” I just left the cart where I was standing and told Bryan to meet me in the car. Then I bawled. Bitching at people in California gets you nowhere. And customer service people? Frickin’ stupid as balls. Granted we were in the valley, but still. I AM A NEW YORKER, I GET WHAT I WANT RIGHT NOW.

Speaking of which, how’s that whole San Diego go-with-the-flow vibe treating you, Monica ?

E: Seriously a lot of people here are just plain stupid (definitely not all, but a fair amount). I don’t know if it’s because they smoke too much weed or have just lived in a sleepy beach town for their entire lives. The management in my downtown building is dumb as rocks. You can typically find Shaun at the front desk arguing with security about the drunk idiot skateboarding through the parking deck without pants. I’ll be at yoga trying to calm my Manhattan nerves.

So when you fight with Bryan, do you threaten to move back to the East Coast?

M: Never. His family? Far greater than my family. Do you threaten to send Shaun back to the East Coast?

E: No, because I wouldn’t have any friends without him. I get really sad when he has to travel for work. I might threaten to send myself back, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Also, who drives and why? Do you both have cars?

M: Please tell me you bought a car. Because otherwise Shaun will be dead in a month and you will be pulling a Casey Anthony.

When do you think you’ll get sick of all the sight-seeing?

E: I didn’t get a car YET, but I probably will have to soon. Maybe I’ll get a baby blue Vespa and paint my name on it with glitter, so Shaun isn’t tempted to borrow it. And I never got sick of sightseeing in New York, especially with visitors, so I doubt I will here. I’m not sure if I could ever get sick of the beaches. It’s not crowded like the Jersey shore, and the weather is 75 and sunny every single day.

What if you both have to work from home?

M: Second bedroom. Or as we prefer to call it, the time-out room. I mainly put myself in time out.

How’s cost-of-living compare so far?

E: The wine is so cheap. I remember you saying that about LA, but it’s ridiculous! Since we’re used to the Las Jersey lifestyle, our apartment isn’t cheap, although we got a two bedroom for the same price we paid for our one-bedroom in Jersey City. Grocery shopping is overall cheaper too. Gas is more expensive and we have to pump it ourselves (In Jerz, we don’t pump gas, we pump fist!)

What about going home for the holidays? How do you compromise?

M: Well, since I’m Jewish and don’t need to go home for Christmas, and Thanksgiving is just not worth the cost, it works out great. Except for the part where we do these ten-day crazy-town trips (east coast exiles) and hit three-plus cities, because if you’re gonna pay for a ticket to the East Coast, you best make the most of it.

E: Do you think you’ll ever move back to New York? Or the East Coast?

M: New York, maybe. Once we’ve created a television show that’s in syndication and are mad rich, of course. Cause I also want that house in the Los Feliz hills, and the one on the California coast.


E: I miss my friends and family, and I hope they all move to the West Coast. Before I moved to San Diego, I said I’d probably end up back in the Philly suburbs especially if we decide to have a family one day. But then I drove through La Jolla. New life goal: have a sick mansion overlooking the Pacific in the most expensive neighborhood in the US.

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NYC is a Wiley Temptress

Every Spring, in rare moments of sunshiny bliss, I have to remind myself that I still hate New York City.

That’s right, I refuse to let myself be happy here, because if I do, that means I’ve become part of it. It, in my opinion, is an insane rat race, a herd of commuters pushing through turnstiles, rude women shoving you with their giant Fendi bags, slow-moving tourists, sky-high rent, homeless dudes asking if you can spare a hundred, and late nights in a cubicle on a day when you never got up to get lunch. It’s soulless and unhealthy, at least for me, at least currently.

So many complaints! But hear me out, because there is a point. In the winter, no one in NY seems happy. Everyone is downright miserable and frozen. No one goes out after work or wants to go anywhere on the weekends. We walk to and from work with wet feet, cold faces, and runny noses. We rock snow boots and broken umbrellas, and summer seems so far in the past, that we find it hard to believe it will ever come again.

Then suddenly, after half a year of misery, the flowers bloom. We have a rare day where it’s 70 degrees and sunny, and our hearts thaw a bit. We all sit outside in the park at lunch (except me because I effing hate pigeons). Restaurants bring their patio tables out of storage, we smile, we say excuse me and thank you to each other, and we wear skirts and heels and it’s so glorious we profess our undying love for this city of dreams. So diverse! So grand! So superior!

The next day it’s rainy and cold and we curse the world again, and this is exactly the fickle, bipolar relationship I refuse to accept. NYC and I have this on and off again “thing” that has been going on for over four years. I know it wants me to commit, maybe move to Scarsdale and bring my unborn children to its museums and hassle a stroller through a subway car. But just to set the record straight, I have wandering eyes.

I actually wonder if I miss my hometown of rolling hills, provincial minds, and no Starbucks. For my first 18 years of life, I wanted nothing more than to leave the country for the city. Granted, I had California in mind, but I didn’t appreciate what I had back then. There’s something to be said for silence when you sleep. Last night, I had to call security because the couple upstairs was screaming at each other for over an hour… at 3AM. And I mean screaming. I was actually impressed before I realized I was awake and listening to their fight instead of sleeping. I’ll also take gridlock traffic any day over standing elbow to elbow with smelly strangers in rush hour on a rickety PATH train with the conductor screaming at everyone to “stand clear of the closing doors” and “step all the way in!”

I like going to the grocery store in my hometown and running into five people I know, instead of standing in a massive check out line in Jersey City waiting for everyone’s food stamps to be counted. (I’m going to hell, I know, but I’m just saying.) I also love how the air smells when I get fifty miles away from New York… it literally smells like delicious oxygen which is something I didn’t notice until I came to NY and black comes out of my nose when I blow it.

I’m not saying I want to move home, just that I need more vacations or a relocation or something. I might be casually hanging out with NY, but it doesn’t mean anything. I’m either still in love with my ex-hometown or searching for something better. I also don’t want to identify with NY, because then I won’t be known as the girl in NY who doesn’t like NY. Why don’t I leave if I hate it so much? Because that would be too easy!

Love to hate NY

The 10-day forecast predicts rain and clouds in Manhattan and all is right with the world. But when that sunny day creeps in, I will say, “Step back, NY! It’s the weather I like… not you.”

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