Homeland Insecurity

"We've been hanging out for months and I still haven't seen your apartment," I was told recently. 

It didn't even occur to me that a few months had gone by. I have several good friends in New York whose apartments I have yet to visit, but, when you're dating someone, it can seem a little suspicious. For example, years ago, a girlfriend of mine dated a guy who never once invited her over to his place (nor had he stayed over at hers). After four months, we jumped to the easiest conclusion: he was probably married with kids. 

With absolute certainty, I can say that I'm not hiding a spouse or children. My personal hang-up, though, is that I don't live in a perfect environment. I have a housemate, my walls need to be re-painted, and there are mismatched glassware in the cupboard. I've been in the same apartment for two and a half years and, still, I feel like it's a constant work in progress. Progress that I'm very slow to push because, apparently, in addition to lacking the bride gene, I'm also lacking the home decorating gene.

Remember that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie repaints her kitchen cabinets in eggshell white and confesses to Miranda that she is exhausted from portraying herself as "together Carrie" to Mr. Big, who lives in this perfect uptown apartment with $500 bed sheets? I can see where she was going with that. When you're with a guy whose tastes in interiors is far superior than yours, it can be a intimidating. It can cause a little anxiety. It can cause a little shopping trip to Restoration Hardware for Turkish cotton bath towels and Belgian linen bedding, which is exactly what I did.

So what became of the grand unveiling of my apartment? 

"It's small. It's nothing like your place," I said, as I opened the door to my bedroom, "I need to get another lamp in here. I've been thinking about getting proper curtains too. I should just get it done. " 

I was nervous. Does he think I have bad taste? Does it look like I care enough? I searched his face for any telling signs. And then, this–he sat down on my loveseat and said: "I like your place. It's quite comfortable."




F*ck Weddings

One night, while I was making dinner in the kitchen with my friend Lulu, my housemate nonchalantly mentioned that he had committed to attending a total of six weddings this year–not realizing that he had simultaneously kicked a hornets' nest, opened a can of worms, and released the millions of imps inside Pandora's box. 

"Think about how much of your income you're spending towards everyone else's wedding," pointed out Lulu, as she ate a forkful of pasta, "It's not just about the wedding either. It's about all of the other events surrounding the wedding: the bachelor or bachelorette party, the bridal shower, the travel... If I had a wedding and my friend couldn't make it because she couldn't afford to, I would totally understand." She paused, dangling her leg off the side of the ottoman. "First of all, I would never make my friends go through that! People should just invite people who are 'into weddings' to their weddings." 

 "I know! I mean... Do I even look like I'm into weddings?!" I asked rhetorically, in an angry manner to nobody in particular.

Weddings. Who knew they'd be such a touchy subject amongst single girls.* 

My friend Preston says that, while he does not believe in marriage, there are only two reasons why people should have a wedding: (a) to get a green card, and/or (b) to celebrate their commitment/love amongst their family and/or close friends. The ideal wedding here being JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessett's secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, which had all of 40 guests in attendance. (See also: Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big who tied the knot at City Hall and had brunch with a table of friends at Junior's in Brooklyn.) Some weddings feel like obnoxious, overblown, over-the-top affairs, complete with fairytale princess themes. And I only know this because sometimes I spend evenings watching wedding videos of strangers on my laptop while drinking questionable red wine.

Like Carrie Bradshaw, I am under the suspicion that I may have been born without the bride gene. I don't have a secret "first dance" song. I haven't picked out a color palette for my bridesmaids' dresses and I don't know what flowers will go into the table centerpieces. However, I have had the occasional flashes of fantasy when it comes to wedding stuff, so let me indulge just this moment...

Click through the gallery and roll-over for captions: 

*This, of course, has already been covered by Sex and the City in an episode titled "A Woman's Right to Shoes",  in which Carrie Bradshaw expounds upon it further:

“I did a little mental addition. And over the years, I have bought Kyra an engagement gift, a wedding gift, then there was the trip to Maine for the wedding, three baby gifts—in total, I have spent over twenty-three-hundred dollars celebrating her choices. And she is shaming me for spending a lousy 485 bucks on myself?! Yes, I did the math. And if I don’t ever get married or have a baby, I get what? I get bupkis?

Think about it... If you are single, after graduation, there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you. We all have birthdays–that's a wash. I am talking about the single gal. Hallmark doesn't make a 'Congratulations-you-didn't-marry-the-wrong-guy' card. 

The fact is, sometimes it’s hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then, to make the walk a little more fun.”