Road Rules: Traveling over the holidays

My latest for Industry’s Nov/Dec issue. Road Rules: Or, how to holiday travel together without driving each other crazy.

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It’s the time of year when opportunities to travel together come up for both new and more seasoned couples. From Thanksgiving through December, Hannukkah, Ramadan, and Christmas come in fast succession. The whole yawning month of frenzied activity ramps up as the year comes to a close. For new couples this can be a trial by fire, as it can involve not just travel (a natural stressor for some) but also possibly meeting family, seeing childhood homes and friends, exes, etc. Here are a few things to think about when making your first trip as a couple.

Keep reading on Industry’s website here.

I had some real burnout this year writing about relationships, and, let’s be honest, even being involved in relationships. Is it a relief, a comfort, that we feel so perpetually renewed by the feeling of love, that we open our hearts again and again, that we build someone up, that we’re completely fascinated and want everything? I don’t know. I thought it was about time I just grew up and got over my romantic notions and got with reality. Relationships will disappoint you if you let them remain part of some watery province of melodrama. This year’s writing largely reflects my attempts to be more hard-nosed about it, but I can’t pretend I didn’t cross over into cynicism and bitterness occasionally. The more reality you let in, though, the more of a case is made for it, and the less it makes sense to cherry-pick experiences, feelings, people, moods. Suddenly it doesn’t matter what (or who) you do, but how you do it, how you respond.

See you in the new year, and thanks for everyone’s support. In 2014, I bought a house, started to feel truly autonomous and savvy, then got really busy, and now I’m back. I’m looking forward to much more content going up here, meaning more yoga, more publishing, and in general, more quirky, serious fun in 2015.

Happy holidays!

The Dark Side

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.14.18 PMIn Industry’s summer issue, I take a walk through the bar scene and ask if the experiences of sexual contest and conquest are really worth the bother (especially for women), or if our jollies are mostly in our mind anyway.

The Dark Side | Tales from late-night hookups, near misses, and the end of night wildlife in action.

Summer is upon us, and with it endless opportunities to drink in the hot sun and watch our potential attractive mate scenarios get both more fluid and plentiful. With greater potential for getting caught up in potentially embarrassing morning situations, maybe we can pick apart the anatomy of the sexual conquest and see if it’s worth the trouble.

Keep reading on Industry’s site here.

I know, I know, this is summer piece is right on time for winter. Will re-post next summer, but maybe the clash will make it interesting to read in a different way. This piece came out better than I thought it would, though my editor thought that it wasn’t really a “relationship” article. I had to defend it a bit. Some times you have to take the roundabout way of inquiry when something doesn’t really want to be looked at. Still, I think it’s one of my most accomplished in terms of delicacy of thought. When I satisfy myself, things start to look heaps brighter!

Happy holidays!

Truth and Consequences

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In the March/April 2014 issue of Industry I look at some of the effects that social media has on our real, actual social lives. Truth and Consequences: How to find a balance between a productive social media/on-line dating identity and an attention-hungry cyberbot.

I really do think social media can alter our experience of ourselves in a social beings, especially when it replaces part or all of our social life. I prefer to use it mostly logistically, i.e. to set up plans, parties, events with friends. Self-consciousness is something I personally am glad I outgrew in my 20s, and its reemergence in the context of my online persona is a bit, well, disturbing. Are we creating strange publicized hybrids of ourselves and a brand? One day maybe we’ll all know what celebrities must feel like, even down to having your (not to mention other people’s) livelihood depend solely on your online popularity.

From the article:

I’ve never really thought of myself as a private person. Ask me a question, the more personal the better. I’ve always erred on the side of too much information. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that many times people prefer to be lied to sweetly, to be let down gently than told the ugly truth. I’m more discerning now about what I share, not only to preserve my privacy but also, the mystery. This goes against the tide of social media and on-line dating–realms in which we are compelled to give more and more information and about ourselves to a more general audience.

Read more here: Truth and Consequences

After writing this I realized that now, when I share something with someone in person, or even on the phone in a one-on-one conversation, it feels very intimate. It’s only in contrast to social media, where everything feels flatter and less risky in a real way. But that’s kind of cool as an unexpected outcome.

The Long Mile: How did a car come to mean so much?

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.47.28 AMFor the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Industry, I contrast two moments in my life: buying my first car and, years later, my potential second.  The Long Mile: What our shifting desires can tell us about where we are on our own journey.

 

 

Recently, I drove a big, smooth, sleek, insulated ride–a Ford crossover called the Edge. My reliable little Corolla was in the shop. Whenever anything happened to it (this time a hit-and-run while it was parked) I thought back to the good old days when I had just three things total to worry about…days when I opened my mail monthly.

…I had to admit that despite its size, its gas mileage, its flashiness, I liked living in the Edge. It was comfortably a level up–sleek, self-announcing, not remotely soccer mommy. It seemed made for me, and it made me want to fill in its promise, whether with children or camping gear and a dog.

Read more here: The Long Mile

How about you? Have you had an experience with a purchase that gained an outsize significance in your life?

Games Worth Playing

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My latest column for Industry is up! Games Worth Playing: How a ritual based upon the I Ching can change the way we think about life and love

 

Perhaps readers are aware of the concept of the filter bubble: that with more and more tools to personalize online offerings, we are more in danger of seeing only the news we want to see. The term, while a nice coinage for the internet and indebted age, is not new. In relationships, too, we see what we want to see.

The bubble first grows in our heads, a fact I learned from a 3,000-year-old book
of divination called the I Ching, or the “Book of Changes.”

I’ll risk my reputation as a serious individual here to admit that, when it comes to relationship deciphering, I’m addicted to what could be considered a tool for magical thinking.

Read more here.

Motion & Heart

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I wrote about dancing—why I stopped, why I started again, how it was different—in my latest column for Industry.

This is dedicated to an ex with whom I rediscovered dancing. To my aunt who’s from the 80s. And to Late Bar, where I’ve had lots of fun escapades.

I’m still serious. I have to check in with myself sometimes. Maybe I’m feeling more “library” than “club” tonight. Did I just let my friends drag me out because I don’t want to be that silly loser alone on a Saturday night?

Or am I feeling circumspect? Maybe someone here will engage in a good, fleshy philosophical debate with me. About parties, pickups, or hookups, or hookahs, or high-tops, or highballs.

I still notice how others react to me. Maybe it’s a foible of being a girl, or maybe it’s just human. I’ve never been a particularly fine dancer, but it turns out that it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you mean it. The attitude is already half a put-on, winking, oversold to sell–to be appreciated but not awed.

Read the rest here.

Inside Game of Thrones

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Yes I know everyone’s obsessed with Breaking Bad right now, what can I say? Print waits for no show. In my latest article for Industry, I look at the themes of Game of Thrones, which offers a case study of personal politics and the rules of cause and effect, if we are paying attention. HBO shows do not kowtow to our hero myths, and one could argue that they’ve influenced mainstream entertainment away from the old watered down, picture-postcard universe of blockbuster fantasy (we won’t talk about Sex and the City right now). That’s why we love them (Sopranos, Enlightened, GoT) and why they are better than most TV, even most really good TV.  Plus, GoT has a lot of awesome female characters (looking at you, Breaking Bad, but I love you anyway!).

It is always interesting to think of why a certain trend happens at a certain time. And as little as I want to overstretch some tenuous pop cultural connection, it does seem strange that we are lapping up HBO’s Game of Thrones series’ political intrigue, lax morality, and wanton disregard for others’ personal freedom with an almost sociopathic appetite.

Read more here.

Marriage: A New Territory

One nice thing about writing a relationship column is that I can justify my long years of obsessive thinking about relationships. It legitimizes all that wasted time. Another is that I can rope others into my endless questioning of certain matters that for most are long settled.

So it was that I asked some friends on Facebook, “How’s marriage different from a long term relationship?”

As more straight couples are opting for simple cohabitation over marriage, the worth that gay people attach to it is prompting me, and perhaps others, to reconsider. Yes, far from depreciating marriage, as some fear, gay marriage has made boring old parochial institution a bit sexy again.

Keep reading here in the May/June Industry.

Feminist Mystique

A half-century after Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique awakened us to feminism’s meaning and implications, a tally of what we’ve accomplished, and just how far we have to go.

This is also about men who dominate conversations, men’s preternatural self-confidence versus women’s (whose is hard-won, due to a sometimes self-negating tendency to keep harmony), and of course, those who circumvent and misdirect our ambitions. Men don’t get this. They can hardly be argued out of knowing what they want.

Read the rest here in this month’s Industry magazine.