14 Things I’m Giving Up in 2014

The past week has been unusually warm in Manhattan. The air feels crisp and inviting, the atmosphere of the streets lively and fresh, and the people – myself included – invigorated for a New Year. I always make resolutions and oddly enough, I do actually keep them. There’s something about January 1 that makes me feel like I get a second chance (or a 26th one…) to improve bad habits or start great ones.

In 2012, I spent a lot of time holding back and not compromising. If my friends wanted to go out, I almost always selfishly insisted on the west side so I’d have an easier commute. If I was asked out on a date by a potentially wonderful man – but he suggested the Lower East Side on a Tuesday – I would have politely declined. But in 2013, I made a vow to say “yes” more – and that’s exactly what I did:

I said “yes” to Mexico in April. I said “yes” to late nights and early mornings. Yes to training for (and completing!) a half-marathon. Yes to kissing a nameless man on the corner of West 4th at 2 a.m. Yes to walking all the way across the park with Lucy in tow to the east side to visit friends. Yes to going all the way to Brooklyn for brunch — and thoroughly enjoying myself. Yes to trips to North Carolina three times, yes to new foods and new drinks, new clothes I normally wouldn’t wear, yes, yes, yes!

But in 2013, I also said “yes” to a lot of negativity.

And even more fear. I said “yes” to those really terrible thoughts that made me feel like everything that could possibly go wrong, did. I said “yes” at the expense of myself, sometimes sacrificing what I really wanted to make someone – anyone – happy. I said “yes” to thinking the absolute worst in every situation, every person, every date that left a bad taste in my mind. I did learn how to take those chances and change my attitude, but in ways that made me stronger.. and weaker, too.

What I want the most out of 2014 is to be happy. And so many things can contribute to happiness: health, friends, career, love, travel, new experiences. I don’t want to limit myself or put pressure on a timeline, but I do want to live better. I want to live with the same kind of passion, that same drive and hopefulness that made me who I am and made me a success in New York. I miss that beat in my step, that faith in my heart, that smart, sharp, kind, enthusiastic spirit that made me feel unstoppable.

And to get that firecracker Tigar back, I need to let go of some very small and very big things that are holding me back or keeping me down. These aren’t quite resolutions – just a little guide to help me along the new journey of 2014. Because really, with some of these out-of-the-way, my resolution to be happy again, might just be a reality.

In no particular order, here are 14 things I’m giving up in 2014:

1- Duck Face
Guilty as charged: if you stalk my Instagram, you’ll see so many duck face examples, it’s quite embarrassing. Sure, it can be cute. If you’re, like, 15, not, ya know, 25.

2- Investing in People Who Don’t Invest in Me
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as an adult is that friendships change. We all expect relationships to be difficult, life-changing experiences, but friendships are that way too. Even if you’ve been friends for years or just a short period of time, if someone isn’t making your life better by being in it, then get them out. People who are worth your time, will make time to invest in you.

3- Biting My Tongue
Maybe it’s my recently damped self-confidence or just the anxiety of saying the wrong thing, but in my life and in my career, I’ve had a tendency to not say what I really think. But this year, it’s time to lean in. I can’t move up – or move forward – by being silent.

4- Hitting Snooze
I desperately want to be a morning runner but snuggling in bed with Lucy is so much nicer than a 6:30 a.m. wake up call. But think of all the time I’d have to do things post-work if I got that 3-5 miler finished before my morning coffee!

5- Having Another Drink When I Don’t Want One
Sure, Saturday nights are great for having a bit too much. But a random Wednesday? With a guy I know I will never, ever want to go out with again? Forget saving feelings or following the crowd, my liver demands better. And I’d rather have less of those paralyzing hangovers post-25.

6- Judging People For Their Choices
I try my very best to be understanding and considerate, but it’s human nature to raise an eyebrow when a friend (or even a stranger) does something that isn’t quite the route you’d take in the same situation. You can’t change people, you can only be honest and caring, and thus, changing yourself. We’re each climbing our own hill and we’ll all get to the top in our own way.

7- Forgetting to Dream
I put in the hard work to get to New York and once I landed in my little apartment with my big NBC job and my big, popular blog, I sat down. It’s time to get up. I’m not finished yet – I’m merely getting started.

8- Buying Lunch Every Day
I work in Chelsea Market. For New Yorkers, I need not say more. For everyone else: imagine every delicious, decadent, expensive food you could ever imagine – from lobster to truffle tacos – a few steps away from you every. single. day. I could save so much more money (and travel so much more often) if I could plan ahead better.

9- Keeping Up My Routine
I’m a Virgo, and I love, love, love plans. I’m often the person sending out a group e-mail, trying to get my friends on-board to a new idea. But I go back to the same restaurants. I do basically the same thing every weekend. Not anymore though: I already signed up for Italian lessons and philosophy (yes, philosophy!) lessons. Time to switch it up.

10- Using the Word “Should”
It’s a dangerous word, that one. And it creeps it’s way into every worry I have: I should make more money. I should be thinner. I should have a boyfriend by now. I should live alone at this point in my life. I should save this extra $100. I should be more responsible. The only should I’ll say this year is: I should be me, exactly how I am today.

11- Getting Angry Over Things I Can’t Control
Like a long line at Starbucks. Or train delays. Or friends bailing at the last second. Or a guy with an attitude problem. Or people who don’t agree with me. Or the fact I’ll never be a size two (this girl has hips for miles). If I can find peace in every moment, I can find peace in every outcome.

12- Mentioning the Mr’s + Relying On Tinder
I’ve wasted far too much space (in my heart and on this blog) on the Mr’s I used to love. It’s time to let go of what was so I can find what will be. The archives will always be there. On the other hand, I can’t just rely on a dating app that’s basically “hot or not” to provide me with quality dating material. Bye, bye iTunes Store dating. Hello, just getting out of the apartment and into life.

13- Focusing on What’s Hard Instead of What’s Good
If everything was smooth sailing and easy, then would I appreciate the life I’ve built? If I never had to say good-bye to a friend because they moved on their own or because they were forced? If I never had my heart-broken or my dreams crushed? If I never cried out of frustration or desperation? If I never heard really bad, scary news? Life will always have it’s hard parts, but it’s never without goodness. I just have to breathe enough to feel it.

14- Being Afraid To Do It Alone
My friends won’t always want to volunteer at the soup kitchen with me. Or go to that new pub around the corner. Or sign up for a pizza making class or join a running group. But instead of dwelling in the fear of going alone, I choose to dwell in the possibility that something really amazing can come from taking a leap of faith. After all, that’s what I used to do every single day before I developed my life here.

Surely, I can do it again. Surely, I can do it with even more courage. Surely, I can open my heart to the New Year, and the new me, that’s waiting in 2014.

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I Tried to Hate Christmas

It snowed for the first (real) time in New York on Saturday.

I woke up hazily hungover and tired, wondering how I’d ever make it to midtown east for Lucy’s vet appointment when my mouth still tasted like red wine. My little pup blended in with my comforter, snuggled between my feet like she likes to do, and I laid in bed, listening to the quiet. I relished in those peaceful, stolen moments before I have to force myself out of bed and into the chaos below. My room was colder than usual, only warmed by the bright white glow outside, and I opened the curtains just enough to inquire about the weather.. and there they were:

Perfect, fragile snowflakes, falling gracefully to the ground I can’t see below.

I watched them build up on the rooftops and though I’m 20 years too old to get so excited over such little things, I smiled and eagerly told Lucy it was snowing. She licked my face and went back to sleep, unimpressed and obviously not-human. I didn’t care though – I slung on my boots and dressed her in a (probably not necessary) coat and outside we went to see the snow.

As I walked down to the friendly Starbucks that lets me bring her inside when it’s cold, I kicked the snow underneath my feet and I laughed as Lucy played with it, hopping on the small piles and seeing the flakes flutter on her nose. The upper west side was alive and happy, excited for this wintery-mix that makes this dirty, darkened city seem more pure, more hopeful than before.

And like the snow lightened the push-and-the-shove of Manhattan (and Brooklyn and Queens, and maybe even New Jersey), it did the same for me. I’ve been adamantly against Christmas this year. In fact, I was so not looking forward to this time of year that I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be full of the holiday spirit, instead, I’d be a scrooge. I’d hate Christmas with all of my might.

After such a difficult year, with so much bad and so little good, why would I invest my heart and my expectations in December? Why would I think that the end of the year would be any better than the rest of it? Why waste money on decorations and holiday cards, postage and gifts, if in the end, I’d be miserably humming around a fake Christmas tree, mulling over everything I didn’t have? Over everything that didn’t happen or unfortunately did happen?

Why celebrate 2013 at all?

Maybe it was the snowflakes – or how the shift in the seasons shifted something for me, too, but I couldn’t keep my love of the holidays at bay. I couldn’t be negative about it. Even though New York and I have had our trials this year, the city wouldn’t let me forget about Christmas. Not with it’s street fairs and it’s subway performers singing “My Favorite Things.” Not with it’s lights and it’s weather, it’s people dressed in puffy coats and stockings from head-to-toe. Not with smiling kids and (surprisingly) grinning adults, even with it’s happy tourists seeing this place I call home for the first time, in the snow. Not with Macy’s windows and Fifth Avenue shops, not with splitting a bottle of wine with my friend in a cozy Parisian restaurant in the West Village. Not with all the truly magical parts of New York – from people to places and everything in between – that seem to glow with those silly white lights at this special time of year.

Though things haven’t quite gone my way and I’ve had more learning pains than triumphs this year, it only gives me better reason to show my thanks at Christmas and as 2014 begins. It might not have been the easiest of months, but they were necessary to teach me something. To be stronger and to take more chances. To believe in things that you can’t feel, see or imagine. To trust in something bigger than you, some force that you might not always believe in. To know that everything has it’s time and it’s place, that we will figure it out as we go, if we have enough hope to see it through.

I wanted to hate Christmas this year, I really did. But I don’t. I can’t. I won’t…

I sent out 50 holiday cards.

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E hosted (yet another) amazing Thanksgiving dinner.

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My friend A came to visit.

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I made a wreath (for $10!).

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My roommates put up a tree and I hung stockings.

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Lucy got a new red coat.

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And a new pillow (thanks Pottery Barn!)

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J threw quite the party with some deadly jingle juice.

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I shopped for Christmas gifts with M while looking at a lovely view.

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iVillage named me the Best Party Planner at our holiday party.

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This is my view while writing this blog.

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And best of all… my family will be here in less than a week for our very first Christmas in New York City.

I might not be exactly where I thought I’d be at the end of 2013, but I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, learning what I need to know. And maybe one day, I’ll have a Christmas with a man I love, watching the children we made open presents in a home or apartment we bought together. Maybe I’ll have the best year yet in 2014, maybe it’ll be harder than all the rest. Maybe I’ll move abroad, maybe I’ll keep falling back in love with New York.

Maybe it all doesn’t matter – as long as I’m thankful enough to realize that regardless of how it all turns out or what I have, I’m so incredibly blessed. And so very loved.

Dear Boy

Dear boy who showed up drunk on our very first date.

After you moved our meeting time three times because you were running late. You showed up fifteen minutes past when you said you’d be there, and I watched you stumble in. You looked remarkably like someone I already knew, but I tried not to notice your slight case of alcoholism. I smiled and answered your questions, as awkward and intrusive as they were. I attempted not to judge you when you finished three beers before I finished my first glass of wine and after I declined a second one, I politely waited for you to finish your fourth Bud Light. Though you did insist on paying, you also tried to insist on me coming home with you, though I had to open the cab door for you because you couldn’t open it yourself. I laughed as you asked for my number (when you already had it) and then again when you mentioned how much fun we would have if I would stay the night with you (after I already refused before). When you texted me the next day making a joke about drinking too much, I sweetly let you down, and you responded saying I should be more forgiving and go with the flow.

Dear boy who ignored me when I wouldn’t sleep with you on our third date.

I really did like you. I really did feel such a great, amazing connection with you. It was nice to have an educated, interesting conversation with someone that wasn’t based on the basics of New York: where you’re from, what you do, what part of the city you live in, OMG this weather is awful/awesome. I loved the places you picked for our dates and even more so, how you insisted on walking me home and like a gentleman, kissing me goodnight without pressuring to come upstairs. I liked how you sent me funny memes and remembered things about our conversation that I didn’t even recall, and how you set up another date before the date we were on was over. I thought that maybe you and I would be something, something more than a handful of dates or a drunken encounter – but then you disappeared when I wouldn’t give it up on our last date. A day passed. A week. And I realized that even though you talked about many wonderful things that could possibly be, the thing you wanted more than anything was to get jerked off. Sorry I’m not sorry that I disappointed you.

Dear boy who refused to leave Brooklyn on a Saturday night when the L train was down.

The first time we were supposed to meet up, you got too tipsy with friends you haven’t “seen in a long time” and couldn’t stumble your way to a bar to meet me. It was really considerate of you to cancel less than hour before our date, after I showered, walked the dog and was just about to get on the train. I did actually appreciate your sincere and honest apology, and I thought our first date was intriguing and had easy, casual energy. Your motivation and passion for what you do was inspiring and well, I loved that you were 6’3” and held doors open for me. Your follow-up text message that night and the following day were enticing enough for me to agree to a second date. And though I was hesitant about going to your neighborhood, I agreed anyway. But when the trains stopped working and I asked for a compromise that was equally convenient (or inconvenient) for both of us, and you couldn’t be bothered to move from your street (and let’s be honest, your bed, I’m guessing), I couldn’t be bothered to deal with you.

Dear boy who doesn’t know how tall he is or what he does for a living.

Your text messages were alluring and convincing – I really thought our date would be fascinating. But before I even walked in the door, I knew I had been tricked. I’m sorry, but 6’0” and 5’7” are not the same thing – not even close. Especially when I wear heels to impress you on our first date. And while I still would have gone out with you if you said you were merely interning somewhere, I was annoyed that you claimed you lived and worked here. When in reality, you’re just here for the summer. I would have let all of that slide except that you couldn’t keep eye contact for even a second in the 45-minutes we drug out that one drink. Your eyes met my breasts and my legs, my ass and my knees, but never once did you look at me. I tried to brush it off, but I probably showed my anger when as we went to part ways, you joked: “So next time, let’s just do your place.” Let’s not.

Dear boy who showed up wanting to get laid when I was running 100-degree fever.

I liked the outdoor space where we had a few too many cocktails and then went to your friend’s 30th birthday party. I thought it was odd you wanted to bring me along, but we had so much fun dancing and chatting with everyone you knew that I couldn’t wait to go on another date with you. It was so nice of you to show up not only on time, but early, and to order my favorite glass of wine so it was waiting for me. Though I couldn’t decide how attracted I was to you, I was attracted to your personality and the way you expressed yourself. I told myself not to be so picky, to give you a chance, and so I did, on another date. But then I got sick. And I was going out of town. And though I didn’t want to cancel on you, I could hardly get out of bed and barely breathe through my nose, so I did. You surprised me when you said you’d bring soup and drive me to the airport the next morning. When you showed up sans-chicken noodle and pushed me onto my bed, attempting to rip my clothes off and I stopped you, I was appalled when you said: “What, you don’t want to? It’s our fourth date.” After I sweetly kicked you out and cursed you, I made a mental note to always go with my gut.

Dear boy that I loved for three years too long.

You were the best and the worst of them all. You were a boy before we dated and I dreamed you into a man, nursed you into a gentleman and you turned right back into a boy, fooling me every move, every month, every fuck along the way. Your love and what I hoped for us was felt like a shadow extending over everything that I did – always lurking, always promising something that would never be. It took every ounce of dignity, every last slice of pride, every piece of courage I had to finally walk away from you. To block your number and send your emails to trash. To push you out of my life, my thoughts, my lingering belief in impossible possibilities. I loved you in ways that I didn’t know I could love, and you changed me in powerfully painful ways I didn’t know someone could ever inflict. And though everyone told me that it would happen one uneventful day and I never believed them, my attachment to you released in an instant. The heartstrings let loose, my tears ran dry and though you’ll always be somewhere in my thoughts, you’ll never be anything more than a memory. A bittersweet memory that prepared me for the worst of it in New York. If I can survive you, I can survive anything.

Dear me.

You don’t always think you’re doing it right, and more often than not, you’re embarrassed by your insecurities. You blame yourself for everything that goes wrong with some boy, some relationship, some date, even though it’s not (always) your fault. You constantly obsess about being too much or too little, if you’re pretty enough or far too picky to find that love you look for. You keep going when the going gets tough, and though you have your tantrums, you never lose hope. You never give up. And I’m proud of you for that. For never settling, for standing up for yourself, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. Even when your friends think you’re too harsh and when they give advice you don’t take. I’m inspired by how you lead your life with love, even if the love you want the most is not at reach. I know you don’t want to date yet another boy, but do it anyway. Learn from it. Write about it. Help other women. Let all of those dear boys pass through your life because they’re just making you stronger, getting you one step closer to the you that you’re meant to be.

And if you keep believing, closer to the man – not the boy – that’s meant to be, too.

PS: If you have a “Dear Boy” letter you’d like to share, comment below or email me: confessions.loveaddict@gmail.com. I’ll publish them anonymously or linking back to your blog or social account. 

Are We Talking Ourselves Out of Love?

After a recent encounter of the Canadian (and tall, successful, charming, sexy) kind, I found myself trying to decipher the enigma between the text messages on my phone late Monday night. My faithful friends, readily available to nod thoroughly through the major and minor obsessions, reassured me there wasn’t anything to figure out, that Mr. Maple Leaf was genuinely (perhaps profoundly!) into me. (Spoiler alert: yes, he’s “into me,” but doesn’t want a relationship, the same ole’ song of nearly every man I meet and actually like.)

So in a fit of irritation that flooded an entire Gchat box expanded full screen, I angrily declared – not so eloquently – that men completely, totally suck and that I’m over it. (There may have been a few obligatory curse words for effect and I might have let out an audible mini-scream, too.) After fully executing my adult, 20-something tantrum, I heaved and sighed, attempting to let go of my frustration, when I suddenly felt a wave of regret for what I typed. And for the amount of analysis I put into a guy that – let’s be honest – I’ve seen twice. I re-read my message to R and for whatever reason, I decided to read it out loud. I wanted to hear it outside of my head, away from the fog of obsession, what did it sound like? How did I sound? What language was I speaking about my (mostly non-existent, annoying) dating life?

Apparently, a rather negative, if not (admittedly) pretty annoying one.

My words were drenched in a lot of bad, cliche adjectives and sweeping statements about sour predictions of male intentions. I could hear my distaste and my anxiety, seeping through the sentences, falling out of my mouth and into the universe, in an angry, harsh cloud of smoke. I suddenly felt embarrassed by my compulsion, and especially by my exasperation. Had I really dropped so low that the only thing I could muster is a (incorrect) stereotype about the men of Manhattan (and Brooklyn and Queens…)? Have I adopted –and spread – the rumors that love is a dying idealism in the gray city streets that never sleep, but sleep with everybody? Have I become so disengaged by the dates I’ve had and the caliber of men I find, that not only am I bored, but I’m judgmental and difficult to please?

Who is that girl on Gchat? I surely thought I was better — and maybe older — than that. I thought I was past the phase where I cared about every little thing a guy did or said and I had moved on to the greener pastures, where my give a damn is broken, and my head is held higher than the jerks who aren’t crazy about me.

And if so – maybe that’s my problem. Maybe guys are, well, assholes because I keep saying they are.

My theory that a good one doesn’t come along very often (he doesn’t) and that most guys are in for a good time (but sometimes, so am I?) isn’t too far off base. And the more you fling yourself out into the world of eligibility, the more you get disappointed and frustrated by what’s actually eligible. I understand why my language is uninspired and desperate, but I’m also starting to understand that maybe I’m my own worst enemy. That I might just be the culprit in the dating blame game. I think it’s less in the water we’re drinking in this big ol’ place and more in the dialect we keep speaking in.

I think we’re all talking ourselves out of love.

Not directly of course — if you ask any of my single friends, they all hope for (and put themselves out there for) a chance at a genuine relationship. We all want to meet some guy that proves all of those other dates necessary, one to come along and bring clarity to the trials, one to hold our hand instead of grabbing our ass (except when we want him to, of course). But when we talk about relationships — with the couples or the singles, we all discuss how hard it is. How annoying and patronizing and demeaning it all feels. How we get our hopes up and our spirits high, shave our legs and put on lipstick to snag this imaginary person. How it feels like so much work except when it’s fun and when it’s fun, it feels like it only last so long before it all falls apart, and then we regret the whole thing. We talk about how much we want to give up and how badly it sucks, two (or three or five) years later, to still sleep in a massive bed, all by ourselves, night after night. It’s not a fairytale, we say, it’s a nightmare. And even if everyone tells us that dating should be fun and we should be positive – it stops being enjoyable once history continues o repeat itself.

So, even though I’m the queen of analyzing and obsession and reading in between lines that probably aren’t actually there to begin with, I want to challenge you – and myself – to stop talking about it.

Or at least, to change the way we talk about it. If we change our narrative to be positive, instead of defeating, then maybe we can change the ending. If we can take each date, each possible mate with a grain of salt (no matter how much we think we could like them), and focus on learning about a new person (not a new man) then maybe we’ll gain something more than another horror story to tell our friends at brunch. If we stop preoccupying ourselves with how f***ing long it’s taking to meet our next boyfriend (or husband), and instead think about how truly awesome it’ll feel when it happens, then we might have a little more hope, rather than hate for the process.

Because if I think about it, most of the guys that I’ve went out with haven’t been bad people, I just knew they weren’t a person for me. Or the chemistry was off. And though I don’t truly believe timing is the most important part of a relationship, sometimes, people just aren’t in the right place to give you what you need. And yes, of course, some men are profoundly assholes, no doubt about it.

But if I continue to damn my love life because it’s not shaping out in the way I thought or hoped it would, and thus damning the entire male population that I’m trying to date – then maybe I’m an asshole, too.

Date a Man Who Asks Your Opinion

Date a man who asks your opinion.

One who wants it, who feverishly hangs onto it, prompting you for more, testing your level of commitment. Date a man who loves to hear you talk — about the news, or the traffic on the 1 train or about that girl from your high school who did this crazy thing that OMG, you need to analyze on Gchat. Now. Pick a guy who reads into things or at least, reads. One who challenges the world around him and at times, pushes you to think differently, to release notions and motions you’ve done for so long, you no longer remember why you do them or why they matter or if you like them. Date a man who likes the way you think, instead of wondering if your step, your clothes, your hands and your feet are in sync with one another. Get to know one who can declutter your brain, not one that can unhook your bra with one hand.

Date a man who is a little weird.

And one who thrives on your differences. Those tiny, minuscule things that make you, you. Like how you stick out your tongue when you’re writing or how you ask questions to your dog and answer them in a funny voice or how you fold every magazine you touch in half to absorb the words, not the graphs or the photos. Date a man who might makes a room more interesting instead of more fun, one that holds a conversation instead of igniting one, a man who uses his brain instead of his lines. Don’t be afraid to get to know a guy who yes, is a little nerdy. Yes, a tad strange. He’s the guy that’ll show you more things and give you better dreams than the ones you had before because he’ll demand more. More respect, more intellect. Less game, more play. Be with the guy who you’re surprised you like, but happily so. Easily so.

Date a man that kisses the hell out of you.

On the first date or the second, when it’s slobbery and awkward, intense and emotional. Or none of those things, but still, he kisses you anyway. Because he really, really wants to, and you really, really like the way he tastes. Date a guy who tries his hardest, not just for you, but for him, and especially for the both of you. One that doesn’t needs your permission but wants your advice, one that doesn’t need to say good night, but like the way you say “sweet dreams” in return. Date a man who savors your sweetness but stimulates your boldness. One that treasures the silence and laughs when the quiet continues too long. Date a man who you can do nothing and everything with and feel content because his company is yours.

Date a man who brings you peace.

One that calls when he says because he wants to. And one you don’t have to pretend to like to get through a few drinks or a few months because you’re afraid of being by yourself. Because you’re afraid you’re too picky or not forgiving enough, or you’re more scared your friends think you are, though they disguise it with clever affirmations. Be with a man who has you mostly figured out, and loves the mysteries that come in the long term, because things always change. Bodies, addresses, jobs, likes, hates, hours, governments, neighborhoods, rents and minutes and love. And life. Be with a guy who can make you laugh, even if he’s not all that funny or insanely clever, as long as he brings some simplicity to your spiraling thoughts, your unproven, distracting fears. Wait for the guy that makes it all a little easier, not because the relationship is without fault but because you forgive one another when it comes.

Date a man who likes himself.

Even if he’s comes across arrogant at first, give it a date for his shield to come down. As many walls as you’ve built, brick-by-brick, bad-date-by-worse-one, he’s built them too, and they need time to shatter. Date a guy who knows he’s good, that is proud of his life and all of the things and people in it. One that doesn’t mind being by himself, who actually enjoys his independence, who knows he’s secure and yes, happy. Be with a guy who has a lot of friends, who doesn’t resent his parents or at least has forgiven them if he needs to, who has grown enough to see people as people, not as heroes. Be with a guy who greets the deli manager and thanks the waitress, who tolerates screaming children enough to want one, one day.

Date a man that you’d be friends with.

If you didn’t want to sleep with him so damn badly, that is. Pick a mate that you’d pick for your most vulnerable friend, and also your most dynamic one, because usually, they’re one in the same. Date a guy whose words you like, with a heart that gives you all it’s might. Pick a man not because he’s Mr. Right or because he came in the pre-packaged set that you always wanted, that you always imagined. Date him because he’s different, because he made the difference, because you’re different – in stupid, ridiculously beautiful ways – because you met him. Because he made you melt, made you softer, made you relax. Be with a guy you’d be happy your future son turned into or your daughter-to-be would date. Pick him because he’s better, not because he’s perfect, not because it’s fated by the stars and the illusions of the universe, but because you want to. Because every last bone in your body says you need to.

Or don’t date him.

Date the other guys instead. The ones who are just-enough (but not really). The ones who leave you lingering because they can, because they will, no matter if it’s you or the next girl or the next that follows. The ones who see promises as options, who aren’t driven by anything inside themselves, except perhaps, their own ego, but mostly, their fear. The ones who make you come, but never arrive when you actually, emotionally, need some support. Or, the ones who maybe are good guys, but just not good enough for you, not enough to get you going, not enough to keep you hungry. The ones who for whatever reason, you can’t pinpoint or decipher, aren’t your match, but you’d rather be matched than be alone. Or one that just doesn’t care much about what you have to say, what you like to do or where you hope you’re going, he’s just along for the ride.

Or are you just along for it?

You can date whoever you like, lady. But me? I’m waiting for the guy who asks for my opinion over soup on the Upper West Side on a chilly fall afternoon, grinning away as he listens. And loving whatever I have to say.