Friendly Conversations: Cinco

AH! I haven’t posted nearly enough of these this year. To be totally honest, the past few months have hosted some of the best one-liners of my entire life… but I didn’t write them down. Between T/B and M/N’s weddings, general debauchery with college friends and holiday surprises, there were so many hilarious moments, but I didn’t write them down the way I used to. At the time, it felt rude to the other person or to that moment in general to waste time on my phone capturing a few sentences. Luckily, texts are forever, and mine with Twinster are some of the best. Though sorry, T – a few others snuck in there too.

So for the last time this year, I give you today’s: Friendly Conversations.

On Snapchat (pt. 1)
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On sibling reassurance
Twinster 2

On life after holiday parties
*Preface: I thought I lost my phone at the holiday party and threw a tantrum. Then I found it. Sooooooooo……

Text 6

On Snapchat (Pt. 2)
Twinster 3

On dating advice, from married people (pt. 1)
Twinster 5

On surviving three-party weekends
Text 5.png

On dating advice from married people (pt two)
Twinster 6

 

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Round 2, Day 9

For anyone who is a recent reader of the Chronicle, you may not know that back in April, I completed my first Whole30 (read about it here, I’m not going into it). It was challenging and wonderful all at the same time, but at the end of the 30 days, as I went to bed, dreaming about the nice bottle of wine waiting for me when I got home from work the next day, I remember thinking that sure, I felt great and had energy and I’d even lost a few pounds – but I didn’t think I’d ever want to do another. In fact, I think those were my exact words, when I went into the office the next day and my coworkers all stopped by my desk to ask me what my final thoughts were: “Honestly, I feel amazing, but I don’t think I’d ever do it again.”

So why is the title of this post Round 2, Day 9?

I could list a million reasons why I wanted to do another Whole30 after saying very insistently that I never would – I miss the mental focus! I like having solid nights of sleep and a steady mood! I love how much I can eat without the mental restrictions I’d imposed for years as an anorexic! – but I don’t actually care to justify my reasons for doing another round. Truth be told, I’ve been met with a lot of side-eye over this, from friends and family alike, and it all comes back to one thing: “but can’t you just do a Whole30 and still drink?”

To be clear: wine is my favorite food group. If anyone ever told me to stop drinking wine forever, unless it was imperative to my staying alive, I would laugh in their face as I popped another cork. I love the social aspect of going out with friends for a quick drink, and there is no better feeling after a long week at work than changing into sweats on a Friday night and pouring a big glass of wine. But it started to become abundantly clear to me just after finishing my last Whole30 that excessive drinking and I don’t really get along all that well. In all the other changes I’ve made in the past two years, I’ve neglected to learn my limits with alcohol in public settings. Since just May 1 of this year, that’s led to such lovely half-memories as: falling asleep in the middle of M and N’s engagement party that I technically hosted, losing my wallet in a cab, losing my phone in an Uber after an embarrassing display at R and H’s rehearsal dinner, and most recently, loudly fighting with an Irishman outside of the bar at H’s birthday (though to be fair, that last one ended pretty alright for me).

And also since May 1 of this year, I’ve: watched two wonderful friends get married, turned 27, made a decision for next year that will change my entire life, watched my twin sister marry her soul mate, said goodbye to a beautiful creature that helped me through some of my darkest days, and permanently altered my right forearm. In the two months to come, my best friends say forever under the Spanish moss in Savannah and I tick off a second year on my own, before we go into 2016, the year of yoga training and saying YES to moving on. There is so much love coming our way in the next few months and years, and the last thing I want to remember when I look back at the end of 2015 is how I did something else fucking stupid and ended the night in a blackout shame spiral, not learning from the past, yet again.

Whole30 means something different to every person, and it means something different to people at each round. I went into this round not so concerned with the food aspect, but hoping to reset my mind in the excessive drinking part of things. I want to take 30 days off from numbing emotions I need to feel about all of these insane changes in the past few months, and feel them. I want to remember that girl at 22, 23, 24 with crazy anxiety that drank first to loosen up and then because she didn’t know how to stop; and I want to remember how much I’ve grown from that girl, so the next time I go out with my friends I’m not a complete disaster, something that’s felt too familiar since finishing Whole30 the first time. Maybe the biggest surprise I’ve noticed in just this past nine days is that I don’t really miss drinking the way I thought I would, even a little bit. I don’t miss the social aspect because I’ve been out twice now in the past week where I’m drinking seltzer and no one blinks an eye; when we got the sad news last week, my instinct was not to reach for a liquid escape, preferring instead to cry and look at old photos, reliving memories rather than suppressing them. This round has felt like the very small introduction step to a new life that I’m chasing going into 2016, and while I know that myriad challenges lie ahead, I also know I’m ready, willing and able to take them on.

But I tell you this: come Day 31 on November 25, the VERY first thing I’m doing when I leave the office is buying myself a nice bottle of wine and enjoying as much of it, or all of it, as I damn well please.

advice from the girl in the mirror.

So, confession time. Because I live alone, I find myself talking in the mirror a lot. Like, probably too much. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m bored, and need to hear myself think aloud, or if it’s because it’s easier to talk stuff out when it looks like someone else is telling me about it. Also sometimes when I’m really worked up I get crazy eyes? and actually it’s kind of funny, so all of a sudden whatever worked me up seems funny, and then I feel normal again. Anyway, I digress.

So, last night I was talking to myself in the mirror about the weekend after next, when my E&G will be in NYC for the rescheduled annual girls trip, affectionately referred to as Peace, Love, 403 (it’s a college thing). I’m starting to get a plan in mind for what we’ll do in our precious few days in this city I love, so I was talking pros/cons of various bars we could go to on Saturday night. One that came out as I was brushing my teeth was Village Tavern, and as the words came out I nearly swallowed toothpaste for laughing so hard. “I can’t go back there,” I said into my toothbrush to the girl in the mirror, “I’m too old! Plus, there’s little to no chance I wouldn’t leave there basically blacked out and then feel terrible the next morning slash for the next two days.” Spit, rinse, mouthwash. The girl in the mirror looked back at me still laughing and said “Seriously. You’re enough of a trainwreck, anyway.”

I laughed and continued brushing my teeth, and for a minute the words started to breeze away, until all of a sudden I really heard what had come out of my mouth. I paused briefly and tried to figure out how I felt about those words. Part of me was definitely laughing because they’re true, but the rest of me is confused, slightly. Am I laughing because I’ve just accepted that I’m a mess? Or am I laughing because I’m sick of being a fucking trainwreck, and that’s why I’m so eager for change? It was one of those weird sentences that came out of my mouth before I realized what it meant, and for a few seconds I felt sad. I stared at the girl in the mirror, who had applied a clay mask and sort of looked like a half-formed zombie. “Screw it,” I told her. “ I can handle trainwreck status. Plus it’s not like I didn’t have enough fun to last me a few years in the first six months of 2014 alone.” I went back to the living room to finish up a rerun of The Office while the mask dried, and let all of the odd thoughts that had come to the forefront wash over me in the final stretch to sleep.

The definition of trainwreck in terms of a social life has changed a lot over the years for me, but I think to some extent that’s been my role in my social circle for a long time. It was something I resisted for a long time, and then something I embraced, and now I’m in this weird middle ground where I could be ready to move past it, but one tequila shot at the bar and I’m regressing back to messy LB glory days, slurring and high-pitched yelling-talking and demands that everyone chugs a beer. And when I write it out like that, I know it doesn’t seem like those are glory days, but they felt like it at the time. It’s glory days of spending 10 hours at the same bar with your college girlfriends, drinking wine with your best friend until the restaurant closes and going out until the city shuts down. I suppose I’m a little nostalgic for the days where it seemed like a good idea to get that crazy. Or maybe I’m justifying that I’m still acting like that despite everyone else around me growing up.

Back in my bathroom, I rinsed off the clay mask and took a long, close look at the girl staring back at me, my eyes drifting up to the tiny lines on her forehead that speak to lots of lessons learned in a short period of time. Sighing, I said aloud “I mean, whatever, my skin looks good for 25.” “WAIT what the fuck, 27 you weirdo!” Both sentences shot out of my mouth from me in rapid-fire, and I stared at myself in this moment of amused disbelief before laughing again. It wasn’t a pang of nostalgia for being 25 that brought that thought to the forefront, I think, but the cost of reliving memories from the glory days at Village Tavern and the last official 403 trip in Austin. I thought about that for a final second, or maybe it was an hour, and then shrugged at the girl in the mirror. “Whatever,” she said, before I turned the lights off and finally, finally crawled into my own bed. “You’ll figure it all out. And if you feel sad again, just think: you’re two years older now, but that means our skin looks that much better.”

Wait and See

“Okay so I’m not going to Red Hook anymore.
Do you want to day drink somewhere?
Wait we should go to Fort Tryon!! I’ll bring the wine!!
Or maybe let’s do your rooftop, I haven’t been to FiDi in forever!!
I’ll still bring the wine. Unless you want to bring the wine?
I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T HANDLE MYSELF.”

That is a quick snapshot of Gchats I rapid-fired at my fashionista C on Friday afternoon while discussing our weekend plans. Praise grilled cheesus she’s used to my stream-of-consciousness way of communicating, because the poor thing came back to her desk after maybe 4 minutes, only to see no less than 12 different chats from me trying to plan our Saturday. Up until Friday, it had been SEVEN. FULL. WEEKS. since I’d had a weekend where I could do whatever I wanted, and I legitimately could not handle the blissful, amazing, wonderful chance to choose my adventures for the next 72 hours. The initial weekend plan was simple: dinner at my favorite restaurant in the Meatpacking on Friday, followed by a lazy Saturday, and ending with a lazy Sunday. I anticipated lots of sleeping and cleaning, and lots of people-free time in my apartment. Instead, I spent the weekend in exclusively jumpsuits and rompers, going out two nights in a row with everyone I haven’t seen in weeks, definitely not cleaning and really definitely not sleeping.

Once I left the office on Friday, I met C for a quick drink at her place before heading across the street to my partner-in-crime R’s rooftop, where more drinks awaited with H the Scot and his brother. The night rapidly descended in to a blur of smiles and PLDs, daring H’s brother to eat the chili peppers at Spice Market, dancing in tall heels until I split one of my toenails and abusing the photo booth at Iron Horse, pictures of C, R and I laughing, laughing, laughing the whole time. I woke up on the floor of R and H’s place the next morning (oops) to find that H had accidentally thrown out my contacts, so I looked like a picture-perfect Saturday morning, as I desperately tried to find a cab home, practically blind and still in my heels. Upon arriving home, I quickly threw on a bathing suit, grabbed a hat and left again, back to C’s roof to meet up with the same group and soak up the sunshine I’d been missing in all my weekends running around. Public transit was not in my favor that day and in the almost 90 minutes it took to get from the Heights to FiDi, I found the invincible “I’m feeling okay!” mood from the morning was quickly turning into “everything in and around my body hurts and oh god please don’t let me throw up on this train.”

I assumed I’d be heading home after the rooftop for said cleaning/no-human time, but within a few minutes of my rooftop nap, I discovered there was a plan in place for that night: all of us were to meet up with my lovely friend M and her N for another round of dinner and West Village antics. Obviously I hadn’t brought more than a bathing suit with me and I was pretty sure the hangover from the night before wasn’t getting better – plus, I hadn’t been out out two nights in a row in I can’t even remember how long. I protested for a minute, playing the “I think I’m dying!” card, and “I have nothing to wear!,” but a few jibes from H’s brother convinced me to rally. Three hours later, after quick stop at Century 21, a nap on R’s couch while watching golf, and two very large containers of coconut water, I was at about 80 percent, enough to convince me I could do it. As the night descended into margaritas, Catchphrase and kamikazes, a pit stop at my lovely Village Tavern and a final round at Fiddlesticks, I was so happy that I didn’t want the night to end, the blur of shots and smiles and two perfect nights to welcome me back to the city. When I’d finally hit my limit of the sticky Fiddlesticks floors, I hopped in a car with M and N, drunk on a perfect weekend and that last Magic Hat, thrilled to be headed to my own bed for the first Saturday in almost two months.

The theme for the whole weekend, from the first drinks on Friday till I laid my tired and bruised self in bed on Sunday, was that much as it’s nice to understand and plan things, sometimes the best course of action is to wait and see. It’s nice to think ahead, know and anticipate certain futures, but whether you’re deciding something as immediate as where to go after getting kicked out of Village Tavern (which totally didn’t happen) or something as distant as where you might be in say, April, the future will be what it will be, and trying to plan ahead won’t always help. Now that the insanity of my summer has calmed down significantly, I’m looking ahead to a few months with only a few concrete plans, a veritable cornucopia of weekends where I can do whatever, whenever, and wherever I want.

The Nickname Posse

“I can’t believe you bitches took photos without me!”

The scene: about 9 p.m. on Saturday night. I’d left the office about an hour earlier and headed straight to my partner-in-crime R’s new place with her Scot H, where I was greeted by two dogs and a full cup of plum vodka. My lovely friend M, her N, my fashionista C and briefly my work buddy S were all watching the final minutes of the World Cup game as I showed up, exhausted and frustrated after making stupid mistakes while working that day. We decided to spend the remainder of the waning daylight, my only exposure to it all day, on the roof, before heading out to dinner, when we realized the temperature had dropped significantly in the few minutes between my arrival and our trek to the top of the building. C decided to run home (which is conveniently next door to R and H’s place) and grab a jacket before we all went out for food and some more much-needed drinks. Much-needed on my end, at least.

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M and I decided to explore a little before heading downstairs, and upon rounding a corner, found the most incredible view of One World Trade in the setting sun, the perfect reminder of why we live in New York: for views like that, moments like that. We insisted that N and H snap a picture, which they managed to do with only minimal inappropriate gestures to get us to smile, and without inundating my camera roll with selfies (Aside: that is a big deal, and very unlike them. End aside). I had to put the photo online, proof of my first real, full-body laugh in far too long. Naturally upon meeting with C once she’d secured an extra layer against the setting chill in the air, she jokingly chided us for taking photos immediately after she left (which wasn’t true, it was at least ten minutes!), and to make it better, I halted everyone in the middle of a crowded sidewalk so I could get a group selfie. The picture is almost grotesque in the most hilarious way: all teeth and close-up features and funny faces, but it captures our group, my Nickname Posse, in the most amazing, unattractive, wonderful way.

I say it here all the time, jokingly or in more serious matters, but the people in that Epic Selfie are nothing less than my lifeline. In my stressed out and confused mess of self in recent days, they let me snap at them via both text and email, cry immediately upon entering an apartment, skip out on plans so I could sit at home and sulk (read: drink wine and listen to T. Swift), complain about the same thing over and over, ask the same questions over and over and generally be a pain in the ass. And in dealing with my bratty attitude and elevated sass levels, they never once snapped back, never coddled me when I was being irrational and never let me forget that they are there for me, unconditionally. They give the tough advice and reality checks I need in the gentlest manner, the kind where I have to listen because it makes too much sense. And they give the unconditional, unwavering, unmatched love that you only experience with a few people in a lifetime, the kind where saying “best friends” would never be enough.

We were sitting around R’s coffee table after dinner, R, H, N and C getting ready to go out, and M and I getting ready to go home, playing Cards Against Humanity and sipping whiskey like water. My stomach and my cheeks ached from how hard I was laughing at how depraved we all are, after the least offensive card in a category read that “Preteens” were Batman’s guilty pleasure. N had said something to M earlier which she relayed to me, a simple observation looking around all of us, the Nickname Posse. Earlier that day, he’d surveyed the room and told her simply, “I like this group of people.”

Me too, doll. Absolutely me too.

Pride & Prejudice & Hooking Up

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a functioning body must be in want of a single woman, at least for the night.

Rounding out a fantastic weekend of wandering the east side and singing along to Cinderella on Broadway, I dedicated the end of my Saturday night to playing wingman for a friend. We surveyed the people around us at our go-to West Village spot, mentally eliminated anyone already engaged in conversation with the opposite sex, too inebriated to hold themselves up and/or wearing Ed Hardy, and were left with a few interesting prospects. I won’t go into details of our as-yet 100% successful uh… method to making new friends, but it did give me something interesting to ponder on the way home.

Much as I love Jane Austen and still faithfully read Pride & Prejudice at least twice a year, things have changed slightly since her novel of manners was published. I love losing myself in those pages, trying to understand the rules and decorum of a time where “weekends” were a foreign concept and bonnets were still socially acceptable, but let’s be real: husband hunting is not the only goal in life for educated women anymore. While there are the modernized versions of overbearing-mother-matchmaking (looking at you, Christian Mingle), by and large relationships seem to skip the “getting to know you” phase in favor of the fun parts. Only after the fun parts are deemed at least passable on both ends do we ask for important details, like last names and thoughts on Beyonce. I give you: hooking up.

I'm sure that's what Jane meant.

I’m sure that’s what Jane Austen meant.

The same prides and prejudices that led Darcy and Elizabeth to bicker their way into true love haven’t really changed from the eras of “courting someone” to the hook-up culture of our generation. True, you can’t compare a fancy dance at a ball with twerking at Village Tavern, but whether husband-hunting or looking for a friend to “walk you home,” we scan the room and determine: who is “good enough” for me, who isn’t, and why. What if Jane Austen were writing another novel of manners set in today’s day and age? Obviously we’d have to replace the long letters the characters exchange with 140 characters or less, and Darcy would probably work on Wall Street, but if you think about it, the major themes of the book would be fairly similar, save for a few exciting nights out with Lydia and Kitty. Hooking up may kill some part of the mysterious allure of dating, but it also forces people to be more open and honest about things earlier in whatever the relationship is. You’ve already had yourself out there physically, so why not put it all out there emotionally too?

I’m sure Jane Austen is rolling in her grave at the idea that her beautiful novel is in any way related to a culture where a guy from the bar last night thought it was a good idea to grab my waist before asking my name (hope you enjoyed that beer down your pants bro). But our generation just took the concept and gave it a fun spin. Their prides and your prejudices aren’t limited to finding a man for a lifetime. Sometimes it’s fun to work on that skill just for the night.