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.

Just Go With It

And so, I decided to be spontaneous. Yesterday was an incredibly stressful and long day -I spent 10 hours at a trade show and then went to the gym (like a crazy person, as my boss said), and then…Mr. Sushi texted.

It started casual and then we realized we were both free, and he asked if I wanted to grab a drink. I agreed, but only after I made sure he was throwing an appetizer in the mix too because I was starving. We met near Columbia and the conversation was effortless, and the food was great (the sangria even better). I found myself having a very nice time…and trying much less.

As I said before, I am the master of the first date. I know what to say, how to say it, what to look for, and where to spot it. But this time, after all my progress, I let my guard down a little. I just let the conversation go and I didn’t try to take control. I listened to what he had to say and he asked me questions in a natural flow. It was easy and it was simple…and I’m not exactly sure what I think, but it was one of the best first dates I’ve been on in a long time.

I’m not picturing a wedding in the Hampton’s or picking out the names of our imaginary children, like I usually do. And that’s good. In fact, that shows me that I’m actually gaining sincere and true confidence in myself. It proves that my carriage is not in front of my horse, but behind where it belongs. Or maybe it shows that I’m not smitten yet -either way, I think it is a positive result.

Mr. Sushi walked me home, kissed me at my doorstep, and apparently, we’re watching his favorite movie on Monday with a bottle of wine and takeout. My guess is that he’s a fan of the kisses and wants more, which for my trying-to-not-be-addicted-to-love self could be a good or a bad thing. We’ll see (and of course I’ll update you).

Step 4 is about going back and figuring out where problems originated and I think it’s a healthy discovery. A few of my ex-boyfriends have been contacting me this week (I think my higher power likes to play with me sometimes), and honestly, it has gotten me a little down. I’ve felt that longing and that intense sadness, and I’ve missed them. But – it is because of my newfound security and (if I may) bravery, that I’ve been able to overcome these thoughts.

Nevertheless, even though Mr. Sushi is a possibility, what’s more important to me is finding self-love. So no, I’m not cold, I’m just focused. I like where I am at in this process and I love the person I’m becoming (or maybe just finding?). With or without any of the past loves or any loves-to-be – I want to know that at the end of the day, the journey, the story – I can always, always, always, depend on myself.

I want to know that if his movie sucks, the wine is awful, and he picks some icky takeout place, that I won’t be disappointed, but instead, like I have been lately -I’ll just laugh and call it another one for the book (you better believe there is a book!). I want to know that I can just go with it.

Just simply, effortlessly, and sincerely – just go.