“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”

I believe in walking.  I walk with purpose, even when I’m walking simply for walking sake. I walk briskly, even when I have no where in particular to go. And I walk daily, whether around the town or up and down my backyard. It’s about the fresh air, it’s about the calorie burn, it’s about “setting up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow” of the city, it’s mostly about the escape.

One of the things I like about traveling abroad is that I get to see the world by foot. A plane and a car may get me to a city, but once I’m there, it’s my feet that take me for a wander down streets, through museums, and across parks. A few weeks ago I was in Germany during the worst part of the year, the most “off” of the tourist off-season. Despite the cold and the snow, feet were still the most efficient mode of transportation. Heading out at dusk to grab dinner, I was rather taken with what seemed to be a widespread evening ritual. Husbands and wives, bundled up and out on the street, walking arm in arm. The couples were mostly “older” (>40) and never seemed like they had any particular place to be. I was in one town for 3 dinners, and each night the same husband and wife would tip their hats to me as I headed out for some Saxon potato soup.

Maybe this isn’t a German phenomenon, but if couples head out arm in arm daily at dusk in New York City, it certainly never stood out to me before. Holding hands? Yes, I’ve seen that a lot. But hand-holding is ephemeral. Arm in arm is a more committed and sturdy physical union, and it’s a NYC rarity. But maybe that’s because  people in the Big Apple seem to move too fast to walk arm in arm with anyone else.

So by the 4th German city and the 8th German dusk, I had got to thinking…

Carrie Bradshaw wanted someone to stand still with (skip to 7:39), but I think it’s nicer to have someone to walk with. Someone who doesn’t mind ambling 7 blocks with you to get a latte, even when the best cup of joe on the Upper West Side can be easily found at the cafe not 15 meters from your front door. Yes, it’s a lovely idea to have someone to walk with. Not next to, but with — arm in arm, heading down the same road together, both leading and supporting one another as you travel through the day and into the night.

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Board Games & The Brothers Grimm, or, When I believed Happily-Ever-After Meant Tiffany’s and Vera Wang

In 1993, I was 8 and Cadco had just released “The Perfect Wedding” — a simple game where 2-4 giggly girls roll dice to move florescent engagement rings around a heart-shaped board. Each roll brings the future blushing bride to a square labeled “ring,” “dress,” “cake,” “music,” “reception,” “flowers,” “honeymoon,” or “tuxedo” where she then use her allotted budget to assemble the wedding of her prepubescent dreams. I played “The Perfect Wedding” with the same vigor and competitive edge that I approached more weighty games like Clue and Monopoly — I had a clear idea of what I wanted for “the most important day of my life.” I was going to have my red rose bouquet, string quartet, cushion-cut diamond, and sweetheart crinoline-confection of a dress, and I was not willing to compromise.

I had totally forgotten about this game and completely blocked out that phase of my childhood when I used to have “practice” weddings and design my future bridesmaids’ dresses. Today, an unwelcomed flashback through my younger years reminded me that once upon a time, I was a true-blue, diehard, unshakable romantic.

the dress an 8-year old me wanted to get married in

Oh! To go back to the days when I could draw my “soulmate” for you on a piece of paper! To go back to the days when a daydream wrapped in white lace and set to the tune of “Here Comes the Bride” was fantasy enough! How simple young girls are, how pure our vision of love and how ready we are to believe that happily-ever-afters means eternal perfection!

For 17 years “The Perfect Wedding” has been gathering dust in my toy-box (ironically, a 19th century dowry chest), and with it, so has my eight-year-old’s vision of romance ever lasting. I shelved daydreaming about engagement rings and white dresses a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, send me into Tiffany’s and I’ll beeline right to that legacy band, but today I’m what I would call a Pragmatic Romantic.

I don’t envision being swept off my feet anymore by a prince charming type, though, I do believe that a significant other should feel like an escape from the ho-hum of la vie quotidienne. I’d rather have a Prince Albert than a Prince Charming anyway. I can’t draw you a picture of Mr. Right anymore, but I can describe, pretty well, what values/likes/dislikes I’d prefer him to have.  I don’t have delusions of finding my one true soulmate and living out the remainder of my days in trouble-free, blissful peace. I could keep going, but it’s not important. The punchline is that at 24, I’m already more of a Alex Goran than a Natalie Keener.*

the grown-up me prefers an understated Valentino (perhaps in a tea-rose pink?)

Don’t worry, I’m not jaded yet — I’ve got at least another 5 years before I hit jaded. There’s still a romantic in me. I still cry every time Big and Carrie stand on that bridge in Paris and he tells her, “Carrie, you’re the one.”  And I will have red roses at my wedding — I can promise you that much. Whether or not my dress is white, well, the dice have yet to be rolled on that one.

——-

Dating is like…

My trusty wing-woman: being single is like being an anthropologist
but not like a cool anthropologist like indiana jones
but, like, jane goodall
….

Just started dating someone new? better get your gas mask ready

My trusty wing-woman: dating is war

me: yes. dating is trench warfare
you come out of hiding for battles
and then duck away again until the next one
it’s ugly
sometimes you’re ambushed
and they’re causalities
total carnage
you think you’re safe in your trench… but then bam! you get a text message
and it might as well be mustard gas