Tag Archives: men

Word to the Unwise

Before I head out of town for a week of writing, granola crunching and walks in a tick-infested woods, I thought I’d leave all my fellow single NYers with a word of advice via this pitch perfect video. Believe me, after a year of working and hanging out in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, I can confirm every word of this song is true.

So, listen sister:

 

xoxo Downtown

We Are Famalee

Mom never left the house without lipstick

Mom never left the house without lipstick

Hello long-lost DT, I’m still uptown though my sister and I visited the StoryCorps booth in Foley Square this week to about our mom. I interviewed my sis who described Sally as a fantastically wonderful lady but so out of her element. Not only was she born at the wrong time, and one of a long legacy of strong women, but as my sister so eloquently stated, our mom should have been a career woman just couldn’t get herself together to do so. She graduated from college in the 1950’s at a time when her college advisor (Univ Wisconsin) told her to skip law school and become a social worker (since that’s what women did at the time). Law school took three years whereas social work took her two. The measure of success in those days was to be the perfect housewife, to dress right, to be demure, and care for the husband and home. She got the dressing right part down but the rest of it, ixnay.

Alas, not only was our mom not brave enough or prepared to NOT get married and settle down, join the Jr. League (which she did, and that was controversial since I suspect she was the first Jew in Chappaqua to do so, she was the only Jew), at another time, she might have had a brilliant career and left the child-rearing to a staff. The nannies and housekeepers might have done a better job and she might have led a more fulfilling life. Her words of wisdom to us were to always have your own money, always be able to rely on yourself. Are you sensing any bitterness, here?

The crazy thing is that my sister and I have had our brilliant/fun careers (she in food a la Montrachet, Grammercy Tavern and beyond, I in the world of art and philanthropy) and opted out to be with our kid, although we are both back in the mix in different iterations. It’ll be interesting to see how our children manage and what decisions they will make. Same is true for you, my dear.

But back to StoryCorps. It’s a lovely oral history project founded by a tremendously talented storyteller, David Isay. The public is invited to reserve a spot at one of the stationary spots (NY and SF) or one of the mobile units and record your story. A copy goes to the Library of Congress and select interviews are parsed down to two-three minute segments and broadcast on Friday mornings on NPR. The stories are great; sad, happy, funny, poignant all. Grab one of your parents and get them to pass on their stories. I wish I’d done so with my mom and dad. Fortunately, I have my sister to help fill in some blanks.

A Good Man is Hard to Find

I was on the phone with my sister the other night/early morning, a weekend ritual we have to check in and make sure the other got home safely. We both had fun with our respective friends, and just enough to drink that we were feeling a little confessional. “I’m on J-Date!” My sister blurted out as I was kicking my heels off by my front door, complaining about the lack of tall men in New York. “I’m 22 and I’m on J-Date,” she said again, for emphasis. “Well, I’m on Match.com again,” I told her, laughing. “This online dating is so weird,” said my slightly more uptown sister, “like you can take people on virtual dates in chat rooms called ‘Sunset Beach’ or ‘Wine Tasting,’ or ‘Lounge Lizard.’ Ewwww!”

“I tried J-Date, for about five minutes,” I confessed, “but no one was taller than 5’6″ on that site.”

Side note: yes, dear Uptown, J-Date is a Jewish dating site. However, the sister and I, having grown up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, find it odd that the average Roman Catholic doesn’t celebrate
Passover or Yom Kipper.

“I don’t get it,” said my confused sister, “we live in a city populated with men. I pass hundreds on the street every day. Why do I feel the need to turn to a website for dating?”

“It’s simple, you live in Chelsea, I live in the Union Square/West Village area. 95 percent of the men around us are searching for love … within their own sex.”

Long pauses filled the void in conversation as we both pondered this notion, until it hit me. Carrie Bradshaw killed it for us. Before Darren Starr and Sex & the City, New York was considered the place to meet men, good-looking men, wealthy men, smart men, talented me, straight men, gay men, cosmopolitan men. Now, everyone from here to Kazakhstan knows that 20-something and 30-something straight, non-asshole men in New York are a rarity. And if you do find one, you marry him, no questions asked. Which leaves even more slim pickings for the rest of us. So where did all of the men go? My theory? They never made it to New York. One episode of Sex & the City had their feet planted firmly in the Midwestern crop soil. I think the stereotype of “we” women (via SATC ) scared them off.

And I don’t believe it’s just SATC. I think it was Friends and Will & Grace that didn’t help either. You can be the redheaded neurotic girl with the gay husband, the clean freak, the loopy, hippy-dippy girlfriend, the high maintenance one, or the drunk, gold-digger, but apparently you can’t be all of them, all at once. Pick a character and stick with it. Can you imagine these poor boys from all over the world coming here expecting what they see on TV? Giant apartments, movie stars, an endless supply of cash, clothes, etc. And the reality is usually very far from it. Yes, people have money, big apartments and yes, there are movie stars, but they don’t live near your 400 sq. foot studio walk-up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

I ran this theory by my sister, who agreed, but added a caveat: “A good man is hard to find,” she said, ” but in this city you hear more men saying that than women.”

-Downtown