15 Ways My Dog is My Boyfriend (Woof?)

10153802_10101116777156718_3407082057316429827_nOn my 24th birthday, still hungover from the night before, I stumbled into my favorite pet store downtown and bought a dog. I was a bit heartbroken from my last relationship (yetstill sleeping with him) and I saw a cute clearance puppy in the corner. They say when you meet the right person, you just know (I wouldn’t, since I haven’t), but when I held Lucy for the first time, she fell asleep in my arms and something in me said: buy the d*mn dog.

A few hours later, Lucy and I were sitting on my bedroom floor surrounded by hundreds of dollars worth of dog toys, training pads, a dog bed, treats and food, staring at each other, wondering: Now what?

Continue reading

Advertisements

And Sometimes, You Forget Your…

I considered two things Saturday night at 8:40 p.m., while walking down Broadway: I’ve either gone crazy or I’m actually brilliant. I poured myself out of bed, where I was nestled in a very over-sized t-shirt that draped past my knees, because I realized that I was out of wine on my “Lindsay night in.”

Big problem.

I left in the rush of courage you can only get after a few glasses of red-wine, and with the eager intent of getting to the liquor store before it closed. Though I was still a bit exhausted from the day I had — a dog walk 5K with Lucy (yes, I’m ridiculous) and a free concert in Central Park with Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and more (yes, I’m lucky) — I knew a proper and relaxing evening in required refreshments, and ideally, cheese. Lots of cheese.

I quickly threw on my raincoat and infinity scarf, whipped my hair up and put on flats, grabbed my keys and headed down the stairs. It wasn’t until I was half-way down the block, rushing because the big silver gates guarding the Cabernet come crashing down at 9 p.m., that I realized I forgot pants.

Yes, I’ve lived in New York almost four years, and I forgotten everything from my wallet to my phone, but never, have I ever, forgot to put on pants.

I stopped hastily and buttoned up my red jacket in a hurry, feeling well exposed in front of strangers. A homeless man asked me for some change, a little girl flew past me on her magical scooter and a group of 20-somethings clicked by in their sky-rocket heels, leaving me in the dust of their perfume and cheap nylon. An elderly woman pushed her way across the avenue, unaware of the speed around her, and a man walking his dog didn’t notice a thing, completely plugged into his iPhone’s illuminated screen.

And there I stood, 25, single, pantless, walking to spend $20 on a wine and Vermont Sharp Cheddar on a Saturday night.

I considered heading back to my apartment, but I knew I didn’t have much time to waste. The city never sleeps and it certainly doesn’t wait for you to get your act together to appease to your demands. (Or to put on pants when you forget them.) And so, after checking half a dozen times that my ahem, backend, was not on display, I carefully walked two blocks, holding together the bottom of my jacket, to pick up my goodies.

After texting a few friends that I thought I’d officially hit rock bottom, I plugged in The Princess Bride (my favorite movie of all time), poured some of that well-earned wine and prepared to bury my embarrassment in my down comforter. But thinking about my pantless dance on the Upper West Side, I couldn’t focus on a movie, and instead, I just had a nice, long, hard…

laugh at myself.

The thing is, it shouldn’t be that surprising that I forgot to put on a piece of clothing. In fact, I’m frankly stunned it hasn’t happened before. From the way I walk to how I work and everything else I throw myself into, I move, really, really fast. I’m always in a hurry to get somewhere — to my job, to finish everything assigned to me, to get to happy hour, to leave happy hour, to write this blog, to publish that one, to be super-duper successful, to train for a half, to run the half, to go on a date, to meet someone, to fall in love, to do this, to do that, to go, go, go.

And with all this going, I often forget about the little things.

Like that even if my friends are spending nights in with men they love (and love them dearly back) on the weeknights, I get the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to consider anyone. Or that my Sundays are often spent lounging in the grass in Riverside Park, sipping coffee, reading The Times while Lucy runs in circles, chasing tennis balls she can’t actually pick up. Or that I can get lost in anything, an incredibly good book, a nice, hour-and-a-half run around the reservoir, the not-so-winding streets, without having to worry about the kids, or the playdates or a house that needs cleaning. Or my ability to spend what I want on what I want, without thinking about mouths to feed or a joint-rent to meet or a savings account that someone else sees. That while I may not know where I’ll go or who I’ll meet, when it will all come together or how it’ll work out, I know that I’ll waste it all, if I rush through it.

And if I keep up this pace, I might be considered a little batty, walking the streets of Manhattan without pants. Or maybe I feel liberated? Free from the reigns of too-tight skinny jeans or yoga pants that have yet to get stretched? The crisp, fall air gushing it’s way across the avenues, sweeping through my raincoat and long, long t-shirt with the old, old dirty black flats?

Nah, pantless in New York isn’t fabulous or flattering or life-altering or something that triggered some powerful message in my life. Instead, it was just kind of, really, fun. And sometimes, that’s better than anything else.

Liberated By Lucy

On my 24th birthday last week, I was feeling antsy.

In fact– all the weeks leading up to my birthday I had felt anxious and unsure, wondering what my last year of the early twenties would bring me and what I should do next. I found myself lusting after expensive things and fancy travels, men in pressed suits and visions of apartments that are rent controlled with views of the park. I was wishing and hoping for a huge change that would rock my world in the most exquisite of ways, that would shift my negatives to positives and my fears into flights.

But maybe those things were less realistic and more idealistic, I thought as I walked from the subway to Union Square to meet my friend M. I’ve been lucky to experience so much so quickly. I’m happy in a job that brings me happiness each day,  and while the floors are old and the walls dusty, my name is on the lease of an apartment that feels like home. My friends are as thoughtful as they are entertaining, bringing me the best support and experiences I could ask for. And yet, though the weather was the perfect blend of summer days and fall mornings, I felt like something was missing. Like something had to transform for me, just as the seasons were doing. Like I needed to take a plunge and try something I hadn’t before. Something I’d always been scared of doing.

Many friends said I needed a man  — and while I won’t disagree that I’d love a love affair of sorts, it wasn’t romance I ached for as much as I longed to… nest. To really let my roots run as deep as the subway passages and make my stay in NYC more permanent than the zip code I write on the back of cards.

I considered redecorating but that felt silly when I know I won’t be at this apartment forever — and paint and drapery is both as expensive as it is unnecessary. I dreamed about recreating my wardrobe and putting the old out to find another life to indulge in the new I simply don’t need. I thought about starting another blog until I felt guilty about not updating this one as much as I would like. (Sorry, y’all.)

It’s true, even walking from store to store and giggling with M about the things that only best friends can find funny, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to do something. To own something, to try something, to go or to stay or to run or to sit still. Or to what? I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that was making me so uneasy, when really, everything in my life (give or take) was rather, well, easy.

And then I saw Lucy.

Or, rather a seven pound, six-month-old Maltese and Pomeranian mix at a pet store in the West Village. Not just any pet store though — it’s the one I always go to when I’ve had a stressful day or something is causing my heart to ache apart. It’s the one that’s near my friend K’s apartment and the one I’ve stumbled into far too many times after a boozy brunch to ooh-and-aww at the puppies that I wished weren’t trapped in tiny cages. But this time was different. This time — Lucy was there. Though I’ve never had this feeling about a man, when I saw her… I just knew. I knew when she climbed into my lap effortlessly and snuggled herself asleep that I’d be taking her home.

And I did…

I always knew that having a dog would be part of my life in New York. I had considered it further down the road — when I was in a shining, healthy, functional relationship. Or when I was newly married in a newly-remodeled apartment with my new husband who I adored. Maybe the puppy would be the precursor to babies — you know, practice? But as this city has taught me time-and-time again, nothing quite goes as planned. And the best thing you can do is just to roll with what feels right. Admittedly, I’m not the best puppy mom that ever was — I’m neurotic and incredibly worrisome, plus a little freaked out by mostly everything she does or doesn’t do. I don’t have the most patience but I’m learning. I’m getting to know this lovely little dog who in a week, has already brought so much joy — so much love — to my life.

She’s getting to know me too, and my schedule and this “gigantic” apartment that’s near the biggest, most exciting park in the whole wide world — or at least, almost as thrilling as the trash outside. I’m running more than ever, now that my alarm is set earlier, forcing me to get up to relieve a bladder that’s not mine. My room has never been as tidy or organized as it is now, for fear that something as small as a piece of a paper could be dangerous to something furry and adorable. I keep to a routine and I watch my money, knowing that anything could spring up and I need to be prepared to care for something that depends on me fully. Plus, you know, she’s enrolled in puppy obedience school already, hence why she’s passed out in my lap as I write this blog on Sunday evening.

Maybe what I needed — what I felt was missing — was unconditional love. Was something to come home to. Sure, that could be in the form of a boyfriend, and I know (somewhere deep in this only slightly-bitter heart) that I’ll find someone special enough to share this life with one day. But for now, Lucy is the perfect companion. And like her middle name after the lady of New York herself, Lucy Liberty is teaching me to liberate myself from all of those silly two-year, five-year or ten-year plans I had for myself. To liberate myself from worrying about what’s next or if I’m doing everything right. Because really, there’s no way to ever know. And nothing ever turns out just as you thought it would.

Instead though, something sweeter does.

My Never-Ending Story

I like my men tall, charming, and successful. I’m not picky about industry, though the majority of the dudes I’ve been involved with have been in the business sector. I’ve dated American and foreign, and a month younger than me to ten years my senior. I’ve fallen for a man in a minute, while some have had to grow on me. They have all been different in the matters that matter, but they have one distinctive common quality:

They’re all storytellers.

Some of them took this trait to the extreme – telling little white lies instead of entertaining tidbits, but most just had the art of captivating me with their tales. With inviting body language, energetic hand gestures, and wildly vivid eyes that change as the story continues – I’ve always had a knack for picking men who have factual (or at least I hope) anecdotes and want to tell me about them. The attraction I have to a storyteller may be due to my career or the fact that I try to listen more than I speak, but I think it could even be more juvenile than that. As simplistic as it may seem – I just like stories.

As a child, I became so fascinated with storybooks  and reading that I eventually started writing my own. They were bound with string and detailed the adventures of my childhood pets, Wilma and Indiana (after Indiana Jones, of course). Or about day-to-day errands, vacations, or what I learned in school. Though my life has changed since I was seven years old, I haven’t stopped cataloging what I experience or how I feel – it is the reason I have dozens of diaries and the reason this blog exists. So maybe a storyteller attracts another storyteller – even if the way they express their affairs differs.

Nevertheless, while the loves of my life have been talented in giving the whole story and always in a little-over-the-top way, I have always had trouble with one part of storytelling.

The ending.

Every writer, every speaker, every anything that delivers a message must have some sort of conclusion in mind. We all enjoy the beginning, the obstacles, the intrigue, and the passion that goes in the rising plot – but the question is always, what happened? Or how does it all come together? Does the guy get the girl? Does the girl find that man she thought she wouldn’t find? Does the lady land the job she wants? Does the man find something to bring him happiness that’s not his career? Did he cheat again? Did she forgive him? Does she die of some unknown disease? Does he get out of the tangled web of destruction? Do they live happily ever after?

No story is complete without an ending – or is it? Is there really such a thing as an ending at all?

In the next few months, my life will be changing, as I’ve observed it does in continuous three-month cycles. The start of May I will move into a new apartment – though because it is a New York market, I’ll have no idea where exactly I’ll be until a week before. Mr. Possibility will return yet again from a stint overseas and the plot we’re writing in our interesting story will continue to thicken as time and talks progress. I will travel extensively this summer with projected international trips and a homecoming to the South to attend my first of five weddings this year. And then there will eventually be an end to this blog. I’ve set a goal for a year of writing daily – which would make my last post on September 19.

Maybe with all of these transitions happening -leaving an apartment I loved, the final return of a man I adore, going on those trips I always lusted after, and knowing there will be a day without Confessions of a Love Addict – I’ve been thinking about endings. They say all good things come to a close – but I’d like to think that actually things really do last forever. And not in the sense that with each ending comes a beginning, but that anything that was ever important or significant doesn’t just leave you because it’s presence isn’t as prominent.

All of my storytellers are not acting across from me at the dinner table or sharing my bed as they once did – but I remember their stories. I remember their faces and they way they could make me laugh in all the right places. I remember what it felt like to fall in love with each of them and how it felt to fall out. And those apartments I’ve had over the years – from King Street in North Carolina to Manhattan Avenue in NYC – I remember the addresses. The keys have changed, the people who visited me have too, but there are certain things that never do.

And those are the stories.

Maybe that’s why I find myself as a modern-day historian – as all journalists are – documenting the world and my world as I see it and experience it. Remembering what was is the reason I’m where I am today, and why I’ll make it where I’m going tomorrow. The characters and the analogies adapt to our settings and the verbs that keep us going, but our stories remain. Chronicled in the back of our hearts where we keep the most intimate details, on the URLs of WordPress, or packed in cardboard boxes in our childhood homes – whatever we’ve experienced isn’t just deleted from our histories. It doesn’t end because those stories make us us. They give us the background for our foundations and the flashbacks we constantly entertain and learn from.

So why did I worry about happy endings with each of my storytellers? Why did I think I would have an ending at all? My story, much like the stories of every woman, every man who has ever been, isn’t based on the final sentence on the final page of the countless novels that make up my journey. It’s not about the moment when everything is concluded and decided, or when my future husband and I tell our story of how we met or got married or had children. Or when I achieved the corner office or the byline that I sought after. Or how the pieces finally came together and that was that.

Because my story is ever evolving, ever-changing, and never-ending. And it certainly isn’t concerned with such an ending, when it is only just beginning.

The Things a Man Can’t Give Me

After spending an unjustified amount of time on Tumblr one Sunday afternoon, I happened to stumble upon an adorable photo. Of course, I have a certain affinity to this creature (or really any miniature animal), so I quickly updated my Facebook proclaiming I’d like to be the owner of a baby tiger.

Expecting to receive a few comments from my friends who kindly entertain my ridiculousness, I hopped in the shower, determined to get my day started instead of wasting it away in front of a 15″ laptop screen. Twenty minutes and one Beyonce sing-along under the water later, I did what every Gen Y does: tapped my phone back to life because being without it for such a “long” time made me feel disconnected.

On the screen was a new text from the man I was seeing at the time and though we were not serious, I really dug him. He was one of those who always had something interesting to say and never failed to surprise me. This message would prove the latter: Check your email.

Unsure of why he would send something to my email instead of just calling or telling me, I opened up Gmail to find no message from him. Confused, I sent a question mark in response (so explanatory, I know), and he responded with: You wanted a baby tiger, didn’t you? Becoming more perplexed with these cryptic messages and the fact he was stalking my Facebook mid-day, I glanced back at my accountant and noticed an email not from him, but from the WWF. He couldn’t give me an actual baby tiger, but he could adopt one from Africa in my name. And so, he did – just like that. The certificate was sitting proudly a click away and the snuggly and stuffed version came a few weeks later.

So apparently men can give you the nearly extinct animal you mindlessly requested in a status update. And they can leave notes in jean pockets, taped behind a closed door you rarely open, and on your mirror so you never forget how beautiful you are. They can buy you that necklace or that ring you intently gleamed at in the back of Vogue. They can purposefully leave the apartment for the unimportant fact that they’re out of orange juice and you always drink a tall glass each morning.

And when they’re not supplying your tummy or your jewelry box – men can give us many splendored things. When you can feel a man really loves you, it’s powerful. After all, we’ve met the ones who never care at all. Hell – we’ve slept with them. Possibly dated them for six months, just in case something changes. It’s after that disaster we learn to notice when a guy comes along who is all hands-and-feet on deck. We start to think they give us feelings we always say we’ve never felt before, until we do, again. They indulge us in reassurance and constant confidence boosts. They don’t make us wait and they don’t make things harder or faster than what we prefer – unless we ask for it, of course. They support us as equally as we encourage them, and when like grows into love and love into content – they weather the changes because they’d rather stick around than find something simplified elsewhere.

It’s true – men can give us so many things.

But I’m starting to realize there are more things men can’t give me. Partly because they aren’t capable of it, but mostly because I wouldn’t want them to. There are certain parts of my life that I don’t invite a man into and there are pleasures I derive when I’m alone that don’t always match the fulfillment a man returns. There are outings and doings that keep me positive and feeling alive that I’d much rather do without the presence of anyone. There is a cache and a sense of independence that comes from paying everything on my own, shopping at my own accord and saving up for that pair of shoes that even if someone offered, I’d never let them purchase on my behalf. There is a power in knowing nearly every single item in my apartment came from money I made by having a resume I worked hard (and mostly for no pay) to build. There is a satisfaction I get from marching the streets, making eye contact with a stranger or two, and continuing to walk when they get the hint I’ll slow my pace for them – but I don’t.

And without a man, without the consistent reminder that someone in this world at the very least finds you tolerable – you learn how to keep yourself going. You learn the difference between being a constructive critic and being way harder on yourself than anyone else would be. You notice changes in your mood and you become aware of what makes you happy, what tickles your tastebuds, and what disgusts you. You have ways to shed joy and hope into your life that no other person – even the most attractive and engaging ones – could ever replace. You depend on yourself without considering there is a safety net or a body to break your fall. You decide the best answer to your questions aren’t “call mom” or “call Mr. of Right Now” but really are not even an answer at all, they are also a question: Well, what do you want to do?

Those things, no matter how insignificantly silly (like my need of wine in the bathtub while listening to Rhapsody in Blue and reading for the 100th time, Jane Eyre) or superbly worthy (like my need to not have anyone advise me on where my money is going unless I’m paying them – with my money – to instruct me) – are still possible to find when you’re dating a man. Even when you’re madly in love with him.

But you have to fight for them. Because while the dudes can be rather charming and sweet, and give us endearing reminders that we’re loveable, they become one hell of a distraction. Perhaps a beautiful one, but a distraction all the same. I mean, baby tigers may not be a match the baby diamond earrings we scrambled just enough money to buy for ourselves, but which one will mean more to us if the relationship ends? And which is a girl’s best friend (RIP, Liz)?

One of the many troubles of being single is longing for those things we know a man can give us. Those things we’ve found before and have now become afraid are forever lost. But when love takes a chance on you again, you may just find yourself missing those things purposefully just for you, and you only. You may have to keep yourself grounded as you are effortlessly swept away.

Because instead of turning our attention away from me and steering it toward a he the has the potential to become a we- we’ve gotta learn how to have the me, have the he, and have the we, without losing all three.

Love Don’t Cost a Thing

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.