Devorah Rose: “I Find Relationships Frightening. I Would Have To Be Tricked Into One.”

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In the Rolling Stones’ classic "Paint It Black," Mick Jagger sees a red door and he wants it painted black. This is the attitude the luscious Devorah Rose is bringing to Valentine’s Day. The Anti-Valentine’s Day Massacre features a Priscilla Jade Lingerie Fashion Show and will benefit the Seven Star Animal Sanctuary. The invite welcomes homewreckers, serial daters, bad boyfriends, the "other women," and that sort. There are DJs and videos and even psychic medium Jesse Bravo. It starts at 9pm at Lucky Strike Lanes. In the end, it is all about Devorah Rose…always the center of attention and always with good reason. If I were 20 years younger and her IQ 20 points lower, I’d make moves. I caught up with the face and body of Pricsilla Jade Lingerie and got personal.

What is this?  A party for bad boys and girls or a singles thing on VDay…traditionally a couples’ night out?
It’s for couples as well as singles – angels and devils. A fun little debach-n-chic fete for all.
Devorah Rose Yellow
 
Devorah Rose is a brand as well as a person. What are the major differences?
I think there is an idea that lives on the internet, gossip pages, and photo shoots – she is much more exciting and scandalous than I am. She seems very fun, but she is not me. I am more of a down-to-earth girl who loves movie marathons, baking with friends, and laughing until my stomach hurts. Of course, I can’t deny that I love playing dress-up and going to galas – what girl doesn’t? I do hope to democratize luxury since that is the area I work in. Right now, I’m focusing on discovering new talent and giving them opportunities they’ve never had before.
 
What will happen at this event? Tell us about the lingerie fashion show.
There will be body-painted models handing out Longchamp bags, a lingerie fashion show, a kissing-photo booth, psychics, and much, much more!!! I’m the face of Priscilla Jade lingerie and am absolutely in love with the line. It’s romantic, feminine, and girly. I can’t wait for the show!
Devorah Rose Black
 
Can true love be found at a lounge… club or bar….. and are you looking for that? Does romance and traditional Valentine’s messages still have relevance for most or is true romance just naivety and wishful thinking?
I’m a romantic and think love can strike whenever, wherever. I think it’s best when two people are coming from a pure place of passion, curiosity, and craving.
 
What are you looking for in a companion… are you even looking?
I find relationships frightening. I would have to be tricked into one. Perhaps with lots and lots of chocolate cake and foot massages.
Devorah Rose Yellow Lay
 
Tell me about the charities.
Seven Star Sanctuary rescues cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and horses. Their mission is to treat animals’ medical, physical, and emotional needs in an effort to prepare them for permanent loving homes. It is a small, intimate environment where animals really get hands-on care. I love what they do and am so happy to help them keep their doors open.

Robert Pattinson Has A Type: The Riley Keough-Kristen Stewart Resemblance

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What happens when you stick Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough into a car with Twilight star Robert Pattinson? A whole lot of dating rumors and an obvious immersion of a type.

When the two were spotted this past weekend driving back to his L.A. mansion (afternoon rendezvous?), it became clear that Pattinson is moving on to Kristen Stewart: Part 2. The same-shaped face, dainty features, understated beauty, and tossed-to-the-side tresses make this romance the sequel every Twilight fan is going to hate. 

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Actually, Relationships Are Not Hard Work

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Another weekend in the city, another weekend spent out partying, socializing, complaining about the gloomy weather overhearing all sorts of dates, arguments, and bad conventional wisdom tossed around. In this post-OkCupid world, it seems one of the more pernicious clichés plaguing romance is also one of the easiest to mindlessly agree with: “Relationships are a lot of work.” Uh, not really.

Sure, if you’re two people who aren’t exactly compatible but trying to force it because the one thing you do share is an overall fear of loneliness, that is going to take some work! But in case no one told you, being in love is about more than having someone to clutch until death parts you. In fact, being in a relationship should make your life easier, which is to say less work. Here’s a person who’ll help you pay bills, remember where your keys are, and make you forget all about your terrible day at the office. Your life with a partner is not something that needs to be constantly repaired like the transmission on a 1998 Ford Windstar—and if it is, get a new car.
 
Let’s say, even for the sake of argument, that you’ve landed someone well out of your league—kinder, smarter and better-looking than you—it might seem like you should put in an extra effort to keep this person around. You’d think that, and you’d scare them off in no time with your constant questions about moving in and buying a toaster oven together. It’s downright shocking what simple listening and empathy and affection does, and are these work? No, they are not. Only grand psychotic overtures, like secretly booking a couples cruise to Norway, are work.
 
I know you want to be matched and married so bad, world, but seriously, you need to relax. Don’t force yourself to watch TV shows your significant other likes. Casually mention the facial hair they got on the sink while shaving—instead of leaving passive-aggressive notes. Try to remember if you’ve told that high school musical anecdote eight times already. Finally, quit micromanaging how you come across as a couple on Facebook. That nonsense is beyond work: it’s like using a beach vacation to hammer out the kinks in a PowerPoint presentation.     

Off-Broadway’s ‘The Last Five Years’ Captures The Little Moments

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The last five years of a life is all about those little moments – the pensive glances across a mediocre party, the temporary despair at unexpected romantic loss, the jolt of a second’s success.  And so is the same for the off-Broadway show The Last Five Years, playing until May 18th at Second Stage Theatre; hovering over the entire production like it’s a fishbowl isn’t going to stir you nearly as much as recalling the tiny dots of sincerity brought by the two stars – the only characters in the show: Jamie, played by Adam Kantor, and Cathy, played by Betsy Wolfe. In a show about the beginning and end of twenty-something love, the completely sung-through musical tracks a relationship in reverse; while Cathy begins at the end of it, Jamie begins at its beginning, five years back. And apart from a rare moment when they meet in the middle on a late-night boat ride in Central Park, they never sing together. The result: a he-said, she-said musical that is full of too many exuberant and heart-trampling songs for you to realize it.

Jazz, rock, musical theatre ballads, country, klezmer – Jason Robert Brown’s score has a little bit for everyone – and so does the relationship at hand. With Kantor’s spin on Jamie – a 23-year-old writer who gets his book published almost right out of college – you see what Cathy loves (and can’t stand) about him: his talent at storytelling, his unrelenting and fearless ambition, and a narcissism that yanks him from the present moments with Cathy. And you sense the burgeoning envy and resentment Cathy feels toward his success, considering she’s an aspiring theatre actress who just can’t seem to land a role, and with every rejection, feels smaller and smaller. The seesaw dynamic is painful to witness, with audience sniffles heard by the second song.

Of course, there are moments of disbelief that make the show not entirely gratifying: although Jamie is a young character, Kantor looks and acts a bit too young to deliver the emotional thunder of the role , and sometimes Wolfe’s wholesomeness is almost a bit too theatrical and animated to believe. And yet, these qualities are also the forces that make you feel for them. Detached from emotion, whitewashed with a smile – they’re the shells that sustain and then crack – in all those little moments, and they’re what makes The Last Five Years worth witnessing.

Learn more about The Last Five Years, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

Ophira Eisenberg on the Merits of Not Getting to Know His Family (Or His Last Name)

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In Year 9 (she’s Canadian), Ophira Eisenberg made a Lotus 123 spreadsheet ranking potential candidates to take her virginity. But a few months and one bloody cunnilingus mishap later, she wound up going off-book and lost it to a wild card entrant in a hotel bathroom in Banff. She’s since been with a bassist, a jazz guitarist and an alumnus of a barbershop quartet—although not all at once. There was an improviser, a film critic and a drama student—they had sex dressed as pixies during a production of Midsummer. There was a coke addict, a meth addict, and a guy from Queens with an addiction to stuffed Garfields. She slept with a blind albino who prefaced things with, “I’m warning you, you’re about to see the smallest penis ever.” There was a pastry chef (“His hands were like nothing I had ever experienced before”), a guy who preferred to come whilst having anal beads pulled out of his butthole, and yes, there was at one point a woman.

That said, her memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, is less a book about raunchy exploits than an account of the comedic romance you don’t see in romantic comedies. We get our hearts broken (jazz guitarist, pixie), move to new cities, work shitty jobs (she was a clerk at a waste management plant in Vancouver), and along the way are the stupid rules and games we set up to try and balance our personal ambitions with our desire to feel wanted.

The story ends with a thirty-second marriage ceremony at the city courthouse (you guessed it—she went with the barbershop quartet guy), but she told me recently that along with the love and romance, getting married is like picking the roommate you’ll have for the rest of your life. We should all have the right to get married, but what we do in the meantime shouldn’t be disparaged. There’s a lot to learn in sleeping around.

It never occurred to me that [sex] was for anything other than pleasure—like there was no shame, it was never pathologized, there was nothing dirty about it. But I know it’s not the same as other people. Because other people were raised like it was terrible. That it was a terrible, shameful, horrible act that you better save for one unlucky person.

Is it a generational thing, do you think?
I was a young teenager in the ’80s, and I came of age in the ’80s. And that’s when people were partying, [dancing to] disco, and love was in the air. And historically, the AIDS epidemic really influenced how that generation thought about sex. But I will tell you, by college, a couple of boyfriends who’d mention having sex without a condom—it was like, fine, we’re both going to go get tested. For everything. And that’s what we did, and there was no problem! No one had a problem with it! I guess I just thought that was normal.But in New York, I feel like that’d be a lot to ask of someone—to be like, hey, so we’ve seen each other a few times, clearly you’ve been complaining about the condom, if you want to sleep together again let’s both go get tested and share the results. I mean, I think that’d be the moment where the guy would be like, “Are you kidding me?!”

Was New York discouraging sexually, coming from Toronto?
I was like, “Oh my God, I’m never going to have good sex again.”

What was the main problem?
Detachment. And everyone’s like, “You kind of approached it like a guy.” No. I’m a girl, I was unable to approach it like a guy. Even if it was a physical act, there had to be something happening in that act that connected us. If someone ever turned my head around or whatever—totally unacceptable. I just wasn’t into it. I was like, fuck you, you don’t get that. You want that? Go find some other chick. There had to be something to make it seem fun, even if that was an artificial thing that was only happening in that moment.

With one guy in New York, I did this little artistic act in undoing his pants on the couch, like I was being so spontaneous and cool and on top of it and in-control, and then right afterwards he left. And I thought, “All right, it’s my turn.” And he was like, “See you later sweetheart.” And that emptiness—like, I’m not great with that stuff. I don’t know who is? But I didn’t even know that was possible until it happened, and I was like, okay, that’s not going to happen anymore. But I like the nerdy guys—they had to be smarter than me. So that already takes a huge part of the population out of the running.

There was a headline today in the Observer that said, “Study Finds Xbox Players are Actually Pretty Okay at Sex Stuff.”
I remember being, like, thirteen years old with my niece, who’s older than me, and her boyfriend, at a Stevie Wonder concert, and he said something sexist like, “Ugly girls are really good in bed because they compensate.” What a horrible thing to say. But what he was saying is that the most confident, good-looking person walking down the street might not be. Because they are so involved in themselves. And they never had to develop the skill.

Were there people who surprised you in bed one way or another?
Yeah, that guy who pushed my head down—getting him into bed was a trophy. I couldn’t believe it. He was this good-looking, kind of jock-of-a-guy, very charming. And I’m such a sucker for charm—it’s my weakness. Someone [else might think] that person’s really cheesy, and I go, “They’re magical!” But when he pushed my head down, I almost hit him. And that was it. Then he was one of the ugliest people I’d ever met in my entire life. But there’s that thing where some people are good in bed, some people are bad in bed, and some people don’t work for me. And I don’t work for some people. Like that dynamic, almost chemically or molecularly, just never meshes.

I like the line in the book about how shower sex doesn’t work. I think for it to work there needs to be a weird height dynamic or something.
Right, you need benches and shelves and foot things—if you had a climbing wall on one side of the shower with those little bricks you could put your feet on.

Have you ever been with a guy who’s substantially shorter than you?
I have, yes. I mean, I’m not that tall. But the one I’m thinking of was substantially shorter than me, and it was that thing where it’s like, “Can we do everything lying down?”

Something else you mention in the book is your tendency to meet someone and immediately think, “What would this be like fifteen years down the road?"
Yeah, yeah, I’m not very proud of that—I think it’s a weird, hardwired, evolutionary thing.

But who doesn’t? And most people seem either ashamed to admit it, or they wear it on their sleeve, in which case it’s obnoxious.
I feel like sometimes you just know. There were times where I’d appreciate that, where I’d talk to someone and I would like them, but I would know that the ten years in the future thing—I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t figure it out. It didn’t make any sense.

And that would keep you from even going with it for a couple weeks?
No, I could certainly do a night. And maybe more than that depending on what was going on. But sometimes that was relieving. When I moved to New York, I thought no one moves here to settle down. Everyone moves here for themselves, so all of us are in the same game. But we still need to be with people—it’s human nature—so there’s going to be this random coupling. But it’s going to be really hard. And that’s when I was like, “I need to take myself out of this thinking because it’s going to drive me insane. I’m going to be depressed all the time and crying.” So, no more of that. But then I liked the thing where I met someone and we would joke and laugh and have a good time, while I’d know that it would never work out in a billion years.

There’s another great part where you’re working at Kinko’s and a co-worker says he likes you, and you ask why and he says, “Because you’re awesome.”
Isn’t everyone primarily driven by some desire to be liked? That’s why people want to be funny, because it’s a gateway to being liked by someone.

Is doing stand-up a good way to get laid?
Oh yeah. Laughter is incredibly seductive, plus you’re up there commanding a stage. [Guys] always have girls coming up to them afterwards—“Hiiiii. You’re really funnnnnny.” Whereas that didn’t really happen to me. It’d always be really weird, like guys would come up and say, “You’re just like me! You’re the female version of me!” What does that mean? That’s so weird. How did whoever I am immediately become all about you?

I think it’s so impressive, by the way, that you wrote a drunk letter to someone.
Before texting! Could you imagine if I had a phone in my hands that could text, what damage I would’ve done? I’m so happy I was born in the time that I was born.

When texting came along, did you ever get into trouble with it?
Not really, because even once people started texting, they weren’t doing it like they do now where it’s basically the number-one way to communicate. It was still the tertiary thing. I think I remember the first time someone texted me “Happy Birthday,” and I thought, “Wow, this is what’s happening.”There’s a story that’s not in the book, but it was a hookup. We met at a bar, and we were both there for birthday parties that weren’t any fun. And we wound up going back to my place, exchanged numbers, but never called each other. But I remember like two weeks later wondering what would happen if I texted that guy. I texted, “Hey, what are you doing?” And in five seconds he was like, “WHERE ARE YOU?” So that’s how that happens. And I’ve gotten those texts that say, “What’s up?” And you think, “Interesting. Yes, it is midnight on a Friday.” At least when you get a letter in the mail, it doesn’t have a time signature on it. It doesn’t say, “This was written at 100 AM.”

There’s an episode of Full House where notable Canadian Dave Coulier—
He’s not Canadian!

He’s not Canadian? Just because he dated Alanis Morissette, people lump him in there?
Yeah, everyone just wants him to be Canadian. Canadians also.

Well, there’s an episode of Full House where Uncle Joey starts doing stand-up, and everyone in the family gets pissed because he talked about them onstage. I know you picked up and moved to New York, but is it still a concern that you’re talking about real people on stage, and now in writing?
It’s a concern. Totally a concern! I don’t know how people will react. Part of me thinks that if they had a big problem with it, I would go, “Hey, listen people—you broke my heart. Or do you want to do a panel? Let’s organize a panel, and you tell your side of the story.” As far as I’m concerned, we ended. I don’t think I gave anyone that unflattering of a portrayal. Maybe the Garfield guy, I said we had terrible sex, but I also mention that he had a huge penis. And I think that would make it fine. He’s like, whatever!

Twenty-Something Women’s Shortcut To Success: 40:20 Vision

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At a crowded brunch at New York’s Pastis, Christina Vuleta (pictured) was serendipitously struck with an idea: a mentoring forum named 40:20 Vision, where women in their 40s can pass on their perspective and advice to women in their 20s. Two years later, and currently a blog and a frequent in-person meet-up, 40:20 has become responsible for bringing 20-somethings face-to-face and blog-to-blog with the very women that can help them. Covering such topics as friends and family, self and wellness, and finances, the blog is a multi-generational advisory panel where both parties can write in and ask questions, anonymously or not.

At a café, my 20-something self spoke with Christina’s 40-something self, which lead to the later opportunity of attending one of 40:20’s in-person meet-ups, known as 7×7 mentoring salons. At the salon—which was a unique 7×7 reunion event—I witnessed 40:20’s networking magic in action, as experienced 40-somethings and aspiring 20-somethings connected with each other on professional and personal levels, leaving with more than just a business card.

Here, founder and trend consultant Christina shares 40:20’s roadtrip-filled journey, 40-somethings’ thoughts on Girls, and the power of taking shortcuts.

Where were you in life when you came up with the idea for 40:20 Vision?
I was at a point where I loved my job, and things had finally really come together for me professionally. Personally, I had just been married for several years. It’s funny that I quit my job at a time when I actually was at the height of my career.

Tell me about that fateful brunch at Pastis.
I was with seven 40-something girlfriends at Pastis, and we were waiting in line for a table. We noticed these two 20-something women at the bar. They asked us for advice about living in NYC, our careers, how we navigated it all. When my friends and I finally got to our table, I said, “I wish we could just bottle this advice and give it to those girls, because they’re so amazing, but they don’t have any idea how amazing they are.” One of my friends said, “You have to live it to learn it, there’s no way around it.” And I responded, “Well, who says?” I looked around the table at the seven woman whom have all made such different decisions regarding dating, marriage, careers. We’re the first generation of women who have benefitted from making choices and actually doing the things we want to do. We have so many perspectives to share. And that’s when I realized I had hit upon something.

And did you run home and start brainstorming ideas?
Yes! That day I came up with the name “40:20 Vision” after we talked about 20:20 hindsight at the table, and I literally went home and began a business plan on making it into a book. I thought it would write itself, and that I could just email all my 40-something friends and compile the one advice they offer, but they didn’t answer my emails right away, and they didn’t think they had much to say. So I decided to research. I quit my job and roadtripped around the country for six months, interviewing a wide variety of women, building off of connections from friends and family and colleagues. 

What quality did you find universal among all of these women?
That we’re always comparing the worst of ourselves with the best of others. We compare our inner insecurities with the outside picture other people show to the world. But everybody’s got their shit, which is why you have to care less about what other people think.

What’s something someone said in an interview that’s resonated with you ever since?
One woman in California said, “I’m past the period of my life where I’m filling my life. Now I’m at the point where I am fulfilling my life.” I thought that was so insightful. You fill your life with things, and to-do things, and the fear of missing out, and then you come to a point where you finally allow yourself to become selfish. You focus inward, which actually leads you to give more to others.

It’s strange how your 20s is considered an era of selfishness and “living for you,” when really it’s a time when you’re faced with so many choices and so much paralyzing judgment surrounding those choices.
Exactly. Lena Dunham made a great point in an interview. She said "20-something women have self-confidence, but they don’t have self-worth.” The 20-somethings are so seemingly self-confident today, doing lots of diverse things and are so smart, but it’s hard for them to respect themselves because they still haven’t truly been tested yet. This shows up in the way they allow others to treat them.

What do 40-somethings think of the show Girls?
Some really love it, some hate it. Some find it too whiney and self-absorbed. I asked 20-somethings, and they said it felt realistic, but not aspirational. With Sex and the City, they aspired to have that lifestyle, even though it was not realistic. But with Girls, no one aspires to be them. The 20-somethings I spoke to definitely did not relate to the way the Girls are supported by their parents, since most 20-somethings take pride in their career and supporting themselves.

Perhaps because the Sex and the City characters were in their 30s, not their 20s, so they have their lives together a bit more. 
Perhaps. Which is why 20-somethings can relate to the Girls not knowing what they’re doing at all. 

Tell me about your in-person 7×7 mentoring salons.
7×7 is the off-line version of 40:20 Vision. It brings together seven experienced 40-somethings and seven aspiring 20-somethings to meet and discuss topics like entrepreneurship, career change, and personal finance. Networking is great, but these salons fast-track it a bit. In one night, you can find the person who relates to what you’re doing, and can affect your career. Some of these women who’ve met have become very close friends.

So what do the 40-somethings get from their mentorship of 20-somethings?
Besides just feeling good about helping them, the 20-somethings have showed them how to work the system and cut through lines. The younger group is pretty scrappy and unafraid of cutting through the system, while the 40-somethings are used to a more formal approach, so they’re learning this from them.

How do you see 40:20 expanding? Into 40:60, a book, TV show?
All of the above. It’s an idea that can become so many things. I feel like I’m creating a movement that gives people shortcuts in their lives, whether in relationships or their careers. The feedback I’m getting from the blog and 7x7s is that one connection can make a huge impact. If 20-somethings knew their power, this world would be a crazy place.

Follow 40:20 Vision and Bonnie on Twitter. 

The Gaggle Girls’ Most Memorable Valentine’s Days

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When a book comes out that redefines a word and introduces a new perspective on dating, the world takes notice; the book gets written up in the New York Times, covered on CNN, and becomes the bedtime reading of singles everywhere. The phenomenon: The Gaggle: How To Find Love In A Post-Dating World. Written by Jessica Massa (pictured, left), The Gaggle says that because we’re in this post-dating, technological world where everything and nothing is a date, every guy in your life—in your “gaggle” (n.) of guys—plays a role and fulfills a need. From your spontaneous neighbor across the hall, to your intellectual friend at the coffee shop, all of these people, many of whom you’re not romantically involved with—covet some kind of quality that’ll guide you toward figuring out what you really want in a relationship.

Jessica—along with Rebecca Wiegand (pictured, right), her longtime best friend and co-founder of The Gaggle bloghas classified the gaggle into 10 distinct, highly-recognizable types of guys, from The Ex-Boyfriend Who Is Still Around, to The Ego Booster, to The Prospect You’re Not Sure Is A Prospect. And of course The Super Horny Guy Who Happens To Be Around A Lot. When you really take a step away from your interactions and take an honest look, it’s simple to pinpoint each of these men in your life.

The best part about The Gaggle: it makes dating—even simply hanging out with guys—fun again. As a single, 24-year-old girl living in NYC with a gaggle, I can attest that this book has powerfully transformed once pressure and expectation-laden experiences with guys, into carefree, “just enjoy what makes you happy” moments of glee.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Jessica and Rebecca share their most memorable Valentine’s Days ever, from middle school on. And these girls delivered. From black lipstick, to messages on AIM, to psychic predictions, these experts on love have lived and learned. Here are their stories.

Jessica Massa:

1996: Valentine’s Day was a VERY big deal at the middle school that Becky and I attended. Within the hot and heavy world of 7th grade relationships, various school clubs had a tradition of letting students order roses and candygrams to be delivered to their admireree’s classes. This, of course, added an air of popularity, competition, and stress to the holiday. Every time the gift deliverers would interrupt a class with a rose, all the girls’ faces would light up in nervous anticipation: Is this one for me? Who could’ve sent it? Wait, no, why is Marissa getting another one??

That year, a few friends and I decided that we were going to rebel against the oppressive tyranny of Valentine’s Day. So we did what any other middle school girls would’ve done when Alanis Morissette was popular: we dressed in all black, piled on layers of black lipstick, and carried around bouquets of dead black roses. Take that, Hallmark.

Of course, this lasted until 5th period, when it turned out that a very sweet guy friend had sent me a flower to be delivered in math class. I couldn’t contain my huge smile. I conveniently left my dead roses back on that math class desk and walked around with my blooming red one all day instead. The black lipstick got rubbed off pretty quickly, too. I guess this was the year when I discovered I wasn’t quite the raging, idealistic, anti-love feminist that I’d been selling myself as.

Mid-2000s: God bless AIM. This year, I was sitting in my cubicle at work with no plans. By this time, Valentine’s Day was really a take-it-or-leave-it holiday for me—and with no serious relationship in my life, it felt like barely a blip on my radar. 

But then a guy who I had a little crush on IMed me. While we chatted about nothing, it came up that I’d be running a work errand right by his office later in the day. Cool! He’d come downstairs for a minute and say hi!

So he did. We ended up meeting for a drink, and then seeing his friend’s show, then getting food, and then wandering around the East Village, and getting another drink…it turned into one of those epic, aimless, unplanned nights where you find yourself enjoying each other’s company not really wanting it to end, so it doesn’t. No, we didn’t kiss that night. But we kissed later, so that was okay. 

This became one of the memories that I always looked back on, especially when Becky and I were first exploring the idea of a post-dating world. Had I wanted or expected dates, flowers, and proclamations of love, that night would have been a let-down. But by being open to any sort of fun, positive way to spend the holiday, I ended up with a really special memory of a great night with a cute guy.

2010: At a certain point of adulthood, you find yourself at peace with Valentine’s Day—relationship or no relationship. One of my best girlfriends and I decided to celebrate our utter lack of caring and concern for the holiday in 2010 by throwing ourselves a traditional little date night. We got drinks, saw the movie Valentine’s Day, ate a classy dinner, and then went back to her place to watch Up and eat a lot of candy. The night was fun and lovely.

But what sticks out to me was our experience at dinner. We were having the best time—talking, laughing, gossiping, sharing food. And then halfway through dinner, the hostess seated a beautiful couple right next to us. "Okay," we communicated to each other through a series of raised eyebrows, "here is the part where we have to watch a couple be in love on this most ‘romantic’ day of the year. We’re ready for it." 

But then! They barely said two words to each other throughout the entire meal. They spent the whole time on their phones. We were actually pretty sure they were eavesdropping on our conversation, simply for lack of better things to do or think about. And both my friend and I were reminded that the very act of being in a relationship doesn’t earn you a prize, or a higher station in life. You make the best of whatever your romantic situation is. And that year—even on a day meant for couples—my friend and I were so happy to just have each other.

Rebecca Wiegand:

Circa 2003: "I don’t need a designated day of the year to buy you flowers!" my then-boyfriend said to me. He was on a roll: passionate, European, an ambivalent capitalist. I adored him and basically agreed with his assessment that Valentine’s Day was a manufactured holiday thrust upon us by greedy Hallmark. Still, I managed to squeak out, "Really? When was the last time you bought me flowers?" Dead silence in the room between us. It turned out that maybe a yearly reminder, courtesy of the Romantic Industrial Complex, wasn’t such an offensive idea after all.

2011: "GET YOUR GAGGLE ON!" Jess and I announced at our signature, Gaggle Valentine’s Day party, and I’ll always remember the damn important lesson I learned that night. We and our team wore white dresses and circulated the room as modern-day cupids, introducing men and women who wore nametags that said things like, "I Need a Career Booster" or "I Need a Hot Sex Prospect" for women and "I’m Your Career Booster" or "I’m Your Hot Sex Prospect" for men. The concept was that you should use Valentine’s Day to explore and expand your gaggle – not focus laser-like and neurotically on finding "The One." 

I had showed up at the venue stressed out of my mind, anxious about the party and—as always—thinking ten steps ahead to everything I felt I had to accomplish in the next six months (and in my life). I scooped up the nametag that said "I Need an Ego Booster" and started ranting about how I needed some guy, any guy, to be nice to me, lend a sympathetic ear, support all my goals and ambitions, and tell me I was doing alright. I was fed up and tired of playing games via text, via email, in person, over the phone, with men in general, and the one man in particular whom I really liked, but also knew it was never going to work out with. Why couldn’t he get his act together? Why couldn’t anyone give me what I needed?

Minutes later, my brother ambled up to the bar; quite my opposite, he is calm, self-assured, and reserved. He was wearing the nametag that said "I’m Your Ego Booster."

When I saw him before me, I almost cried and laughed. There he was, not only supporting me and our project, but also putting himself out there to the single ladies present as the sweetest of all the gaggle guys he could be. I was humbled: I had the world’s greatest friend and supporter right there, but I hadn’t thought to look outside myself and beyond the realm of my fucked up love life. Having gotten over myself and my self-created psycho-drama, I was able to have fun at my own party.

2012: "You’re going to be very fertile this time of year, but I just can’t tell if it’s with a book or a baby!" The astrologer shook her head apologetically while also grinning. I was with two of my girlfriends at our local bar, where they were giving out love horoscopes. I crossed my fingers and prayed the stars were aligning to bring about book success; The Gaggle was being published in hardcover that June. Yet, another part of me wouldn’t have minded if the other b-word came about. I had just entered into a relationship with a man who brought more happiness into my life than I could ever remember having before. A desperate, hopeful part of me wanted him to stick around forever. Later that night, he met us at the bar, two big bouquets of tulips crammed into his backpack. He hadn’t known they were my favorite flowers. I took it as a sign—whether we ever had a baby or not – that he was the man for me. Once again, I found myself thankful for unexpected lessons learned on Valentine’s Day.

The Gaggle

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My $500 Blind Date For Charity

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Last night I went on a blind date that Steve Lewis put together. By put together, I mean he came up with the awesome idea of entering me, his editor, into an auction benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and plotting and writing about the date and highest bidder in his column. The moment he declared this to the world in a post, my stock instantly went up 500 points which, in the high-stakes bidding world means $500.

So last night, the moment finally arrived when I would meet my generous suitor: Craig Clemens, a worldly, smart, modest guy who, quite shockingly, was not a serial killer. I was thrilled. The place: the Helen Hayes Theatre to see Rock of Ages, the ‘80s rock Broadway musical full of sex and yelling and beer and amazingly toned abs. We had a ball, talked during intermission about our life’s pursuits, and hopped in a Uber ride that arrived the moment the grand finale of “Don’t Stop Believing” came to its end.

Our next destination: Hotel Chantelle, where Craig finally met Steve Lewis. Despite my deep love for and closeness to Steve, I will forever refer to him as the full “Steve Lewis,” because he is a man deserving of a grand title and everything good in the world. Craig and Steve hit it off over a bottle of delicious Beau Joie Champagne which only I drank because 1. Craig is on his annual 30-day cleanse, God help him and 2. Steve gets drunk from three sips and this is a fact. So I got tipsy pretty quickly, which happened at the perfect time for a female knife swallower – one of the acts at Hotel Chantelle’s beloved The Love Show, a variety/burlesque show full of over-talented performers – to take to the stage and ask for an assistant. But being the business-savvy, considerate NY woman she is, she’d only hand over the position to the person who would hand over the most amount of money to donate toward the Hurricane Sandy relief. So Steve and Craig pitched in, Craig walked up to the woman, handed her the money, and pointed directly at me, the alleged “benefactor.”

So she lead me up on stage and did the requisite “What’s your name? Say it into the mic” routine, all while Steve Lewis yelled from the black, “THEY’RE ON A BLIND DATE THEY’RE ON A BLIND DATE.” Within three minutes, she had an entire 12-inch knife down her throat and me pulling it out of her. I credit Beau Joie for this hyperventilation-free moment.

After this, Steve Lewis started DJing some tunes that made the crowd go absolutely nuts, and Craig and I looked on with pride, like a mother with her child, or maybe that was just me. Craig suggested we get some food, so we left and headed to our next destination: Blue Ribbon. By 2am, we were devouring their best dishes – the bone marrow and fried chicken – alongside some spicy fish soup. The conversation very easily continued, but I can’t tell you what it was because my brain shut down after my first bite of chicken wing dipped in truffle honey sauce. Now I have lost my place.

Anyway, we walked out, I hailed a cab, and we talked about going to a party Steve Lewis is hosting at an undisclosed location next Thursday night. It involves six ballrooms. Craig and I hugged, and I was in bed by 3am, thanking Beau Joie for having no added sugar so I have a guaranteed no-headache situation today.

Yes, I did text him today and thanked him for bidding and being such a cool guy and not a serial killer. He said that while he had a blast, even Ted Bundy probably came across as cool at first, which is a good point. So the jury is still out on this one. To be decided at a later date.

Hallelujah! ‘Never Sleep Alone’ Returns to NYC Friday

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NYC’s fuckability factor just rose 60 points – and it’s not just because you moved here. With the return this Friday of Never Sleep Alone – the hit show that helps get you laid – countless New Yorkers are now on their way to never sleeping alone every Friday night, from now until Nov. 2nd, so please plan accordingly (i.e. wash your bed sheets). And in celebration of the special opening night performance, this Friday’s 9:30pm show at Joe’s Pub is Black Tie-optional, and includes luxury limo service for the entire audience to the after-party at a very secret and sexy new club.

Just to re-cap: Never Sleep Alone is The New York Times-acclaimed show led by sexual psychologist and music therapist Dr. Alex Schiller. The Dr.performs sex-infused pop songs, dispenses golden advice from her book Get Laid or Die Trying, and encourages mingling and on-stage make outs between all the rows and legions of single people in attendance. If you’re feeling timid or you’re with a date, just sign up for the more expensive “voyeur” seat in the back and watch the action unfold while you wish you were single again.

The details of this special opening night performance mean several things:

  1. It’s Black Tie-optional, ensuring that already hot people are going to look even hotter
  2. Free limo service from Joe’s Pub to The Very Secret and Sexy New Club ensures optimal bonding time and rendezvous in the leathered corners, and
  3. The cocktails from both the show and after-party locations make every bit of this all the easier!

So if you’re ready to share your bed and get laid in it too, buy a ticket, get dressed up, and make your way to Joe’s Pub this Friday. And if you’re not ready to do that yet then, well, you’re selfish and deserve to be alone. Forever.