For whatever reason, since the time I was a little girl, I’ve had a knack for people giving me things for free. In fact, my mom always says “People are drawn to you and want to give you whatever you want. You’re the Queen of Free!”
Maybe that’s true, or maybe I’m just lucky? Nevertheless, growing up, I’d walk into a store with my family and some employee or owner would hand me a stuffed animal, just because. As I got older, I was freely awarded with half-off dinner for no reason, free goods, and of course, once I was legal – free drinks.
And, being a journalist – I’m constantly sent different items to review for coverage. From high-end beauty products and at-home soda making machines to office supplies and my personal favorite – attendance at some expensive, snazzy events that I wouldn’t be able to go to otherwise, one of the reasons we accept being severely underpaid is for the perks.
Recently, to celebrate my royalties, a new great friend of mine, C, and I went to a fundraiser benefit for an animal shelter. Their marketing was excellent: free booze and puppies to greet you at the door. I mean, what woman couldn’t say no to that? (Or man for the matter?)
We arrive in the meatpacking district, decked out in heels and sparkle – and to our incredible surprise, we ordered a glass of Merlot and within seconds, an adorable puppy was in our hands. Needless to say, we were both in alcohol and adorable– induced heaven.
An hour later when the puppies reached their bedtime, they cranked up the music, and introduced a dance floor for the rest of the four-hour open bar. C and I did our rounds around the club, chatted with men from all over the world – which included South Africa, Detroit, Spain, and Rochester. We danced the night away with an array of talented dudes, including someone I’d like to call Mr. Moves, who while is far from my type, was thoroughly entertaining for the evening. We snapped pictures that even landed on a local New York website and consumed just enough wine to keep us warm and giggly.
As the evening came to a close, around two in the morning, we hobbled out of the club into the cold rain – and as expected, I sniffed some great smelling food coming from a food vendor and I managed to get a group of guys to buy both C and I munchies before we caught the train home. I believe we blew them a kiss as we disappeared into the New York night.
On the way back to my apartment, where my bed was calling my name (and a lovely air mattress for C) – I found myself singing on the train, happily satisfied with the evening I had, and more than ready to have an easy night’s rest.
The next day, after C and I laughed endlessly about the fun event, recounted stories, and appropriately downed orange juice and Advil – I thought about how so much of what I love the most…is free.
Sure, I may be given tangible things, like tickets to events, products, and food – but nothing compares to shakin’ it with a good friend or being able to laugh like little girls into the night because the Merlot made you feel merry. Or the feeling when I’m walking through the city, knowing that a moment’s notice – I could be in Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Central Park, the West Village, or Soho.
And admittedly, when Mr. Possibility kisses the side of my head as we walk (not hand-in-hand) through little shops and pop-up craft fairs. Even though we desire it so much, hope that it is meant for us, and feel like it cost us everything if we lose it – J.Lo is right, love don’t cost a thing. Not just romantically-inclined love, but the love you have between girlfriends, between your family members, between your city and yourself. And though we worry about giving our love away freely – there is no other way to present it.
While receiving goodies for free always makes my day (having a package in front of my door still excites me like a child) – what makes it even more is feeling that immense love in my soul. Feeling my heart swell up with so much cheerfulness, so much thanksgiving, so much wonder – that no material thing on this Earth could compare.
Being the Queen of Free is fine by me, but I think I’d rather call myself the Queen of Love, who has the freedom to love everything around her, man or no man, Dior or no Dior – and still be absolutely happy.