My parents met in a bar, both alcoholics at the time. My dad fell in love with my mom, who, of course, wanted nothing to do with him and his ratty sneakers. Eventually he convinced her and, to make a beautiful story short, they fell in love, got sober, started a business, and had a family of four kids shortly thereafter. To this day, my dad still leaves love notes in the pockets of her running jacket. This is the example of romance I lived with for 18 years before I went to New York City with the deluded hopes of finding my own story, only to find a situation far from romantic. Why is it that every twenty-something single guy who shows interest and buys you a slice expects sex? When did male-female interactions go from asking you out properly, picking you up at the door, and hoping for a kiss at the close of an evening to a late night text message, followed by a slice of pizza, and the expectation that they’re going to get laid? And when they realize it’s not going to happen, actual and blatant anger has followed. What is wrong with these guys? The excuse that it’s simply the age group of men that us twenty-something women are dating is getting quite old. There’s no excuse for such presumption and disrespect. In this generation, chivalry seems to be long gone, but what about mutual respect?
sadie, lawyer, jersey city
How much does the way we express ourselves really matter? Grammatical precision and sentence structure, in verbal and written communication, is often used to gauge a person’s intelligence, or at least command of English, and, although I am for preserving the endless nuance of meaning good use of punctuation produces, I am also aware that English as a live language, the main purpose of which is to interact accurately. So as long as we both agree that this is called a cup (even though it looks like a mountain to others) we are on the right track to understanding each other. Silly snobbery has no home anyplace close to reasonableness.
joan, teacher, suffolk county
This is what I truly hate about relationships. It’s not about the relationship itself; it’s the gender role expectations people have about relationships. It’s the idea that men are always one way while women are the other, that men are lazy and women are controlling, that women want to go dancing while men want to play golf. In every relationship every gender stereotype is challenged. Men often want a traditional wedding, while women would prefer to quietly get hitched at Town Hall. When looking at an apartment recently, a realtor mockingly said about an enormous walk-in closet, “But where will your boyfriend keep his stuff?” I promptly corrected him that my boyfriend is the shopper among us and proceeded to roll my eyes. With the constant divides pop culture encourages between men and women, why do people continue to perpetuate such stereotypes? In a relationship especially, people presuppose a boyfriend is one way while the girlfriend is the exact other, and that they resent each other because of it. In LGBTQ couples there’s an assumption that there is always both a “masculine” and a “feminine” presence that makes up the couple. But why haven’t people figured out we’re all some of each?
sammy, yoga instructor, chelsea
Okay bikers, I’m tearing in. I have had it up to here with the potential threat of your killing me. I’m all for cutting down gas emissions, I’m all for getting exercise on the way to work, I’m all for the indie-hipster-bandana wearing you-can’t-contain- me vibe. In fact, I’m a biker myself. But there is one crucial rule to being a biker that goes universally ignored: It is the law, my friends, that bikers follow the same traffic laws as cars. (This includes you, delivery.) The light turns red, you stop. You’re turning right through a crosswalk, pedestrians still have the right of way. Please, bike on. I genuinely believe you’re saving the world. But if you’re going to insist on saving it, could you protect its residents in the process?
pedro, sub-editor, battery park
Ah, the mysterious big black bag. You may have wondered why so many women are stooping under its weight and scrounging around in there all the time. What do they have in there, anyway? If men can make do with two pockets, it seems a little silly that women have to carry around something the size of a house that they can never seem to find anything in. To debunk the bag, we must first separate its contents. First, we have the essentials: wallet, phone, keys. Those you should be able to understand. Then there is the second round of essentials: water, book, pens, hand sanitizer, chapstick, and feminine supplies. Then there is the third round of essentials, i.e less comfortable shoes, sweater, last night’s leftovers, small dog, etc.
mystified, educator, ues
Why is it that men don’t understand the concept behind the ‘hang and bang’? For all intents and purposes, the arrangement is straightforward and mutually beneficial, but guys just don’t seem to grasp the idea that a girl isn’t always begging for a relationship. Whenever I try to establish a good consistent fuck, it seems to invoke the immediate, visceral ‘holy shit, this girl wants to be in a serious relationship.’ Is this a male ego problem? There is this mistaken belief that if I text or call to hang out, it must be because you are so irresistible and amazing that I need to see you all the damn time. I have needs, and I would like to have sex more than once a week. Cue male freak-out and refusal to answer a hang and bang. These are not the impending signs of a clingy girl, I just want to fuck you.
liza, singer, les
So I’m not going to prejudge. You are a 31 year-old, self-employed, hot, multilingual, music buff, photo studio owner who asked me out. And it has been awhile. (Did I mention hot?). Who cares that you are a single dad? I may feel somewhat awkward about my immaturity (i.e., ridiculous self-absorption waxing on childishness) but I like kids. I really do. So I’m down. I mean, I would have been down had I not asked for a roll of good old TP while hanging at your place only to learn that your entire household (adults included) have converted to baby wipes. Only. Apparently, “once you go there you never go back.” Well, honey, I may be youthful, but I ain’t ever going there. I’m pretty sure I was there when I was months old but I was also toting diapers at the time. Devoted dad, maybe, but in all honesty I feel a little lucky that I didn’t end up in your freezer. Ah, dating in New York.
ws fields fan, pr, midtown
Empirical studies have shown countless benefits to adopting a mindfulness practice in which an individual learns to patiently (and nonjudgementally) observe their own thought process, he or she will develop the mental fortitude necessary to challenge his or her own thoughts, and the perspective and distance needed to stop automatically identifying with each of them. Such a person becomes more open-minded and patient as well as less reactive and fearful (as they are no longer operating under the false notion – or imposition – that all of their thoughts are a reflection of their own beliefs). This is the sort of individual with whom I would like to discuss my ideas, one who is in control of their own mind and not fearful – on any level – of hearing an opposing perspective. Only such a person as this can fully partake in an open dialogue and respond with simultaneous confidence and respect for the opposition.
geoff, rockstar, london