Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
Every lady knows and loves and yearns for this guy. The One Who Got Away.
By definition, he’s not in my dah, but he’s been in my life for practically all of my 27 years.
We met – as it were – as toddlers in the mountains, where our families vacationed at the same rustic resort. There’s a photograph of five-year-old, platinum blond, chubby-faced me staring at him across a wildflower field. He had long, curly, silken dark hair and in the picture, he’s wearing a red t-shirt and looking back at me cooly, like a miniature rebel without a cause.
If you go up to the resort even now, there’s a piece of driftwood where we both wrote our names in magic marker, probably that same year. He’s a year older than I am, so his name is spelled correctly and mine has a backwards B and Y.
It wasn’t until much later that I consciously knew I was in love with him. I was 12-years-old, with knobby knees and ears that stuck out, but I was still a sun-kissed, freckled blonde and had happily evaded the awkward ‘awkward phase’ that had stricken most of my friends during this time. At home in the suburbs, I was making out against lockers and in his bunk-bed with Rob The Hockey Player, though refusing every day to ‘be his girlfriend.’ I had that compulsive desire for male attention (even adolescent, slightly be-pimpled male attention), but I knew I was saving up my “official” love life for someone truly epic.
That’s when I re-encountered him, The One Who Got Away, on vacation with my family in the mountains.
Allen Chou was just 27 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His girlfriend, Linda Sim, was 25. When his diagnosis got worse, they hoped for a miracle… and made a plan. This short documentary explores their journey.
Be cool this holiday season. Don’t knock Kwanzaa.
I knew everything was going to change when I turned thirty and got married in two consecutive days. But I figured there was no reason to space out these major life events. Bring it on, I told myself. Let’s see what the future holds.
Then nothing changed. My husband and I had been together for a year and a half, and we had moved into a new apartment in the months preceding our wedding. I had already phased out my dah of guys and adjusted to a warm and easy routine of contented coupledom. I’d also gone through a ‘process of strategic career adjustment’ (as I deemed it) and was finally embedded in a creative day-to-day of reading about medieval art and philosophy, attempting to write plays, screenplays and novels, and playing music on my piano, flute and guitar.
My world had changed without my noticing it. I realized, with some shock, that I had changed as well.
What had happened to the flitting, pugnacious, amorous and shameless twenty-something lady I had been? How had she disappeared, fading away even from my mind, absolutely, and without saying goodbye?
I became introspective. I had changed, but how and into what? Who had I become?
My favorite English teacher had always said, “people don’t change, they just become more themselves.” I felt this observation to be true. I had evolved, or returned, to a more authentic version of myself. But I was caught pondering: How did the disparate decades of my life cohere? What the heck had I been doing then and what the hell was I doing now?
Read the rest at 40:20 Vision, where a celebration of ‘thirty-somethings’ is underway!
photo credit: Aisha Singleton Photography
Sarah and Sara had been texting all day. It was not unusual for them to text on Saturdays in a constant flow of send and receive, or on any other day of the week for that matter. But Sara knew this time was different. All of their texts — about being slightly (ok, verrry) hungover from Friday night’s shenanigans, about the cute barista at Sarah’s neighborhood coffee shop who evidently was home with the flu, about Sara’s mom being annoying, about really needing a day to relax and binge watch Scandal — all of these texts were leading up to one text. A text that Sarah would inevitably send. A text that could not be avoided preempted or even discouraged, because the fact of having been texting all day made it ok for Sarah to send Sara the text.
The worst thing about breakups is when they never happen. When you get dumped, when a guy or girl breaks up with you, then you can watch Almie’s video and take her sage advice, and you will suffer and grieve, but you will survive. But what about the non-breakup? The disappearance? The ghosting? The slow, inexorable self-removal of a person from your life, via unreturned text, via sudden, unexplained, constant busy-ness, via silence.
You think you want closure. Or you think it’s “just a phase” and that s/he really is that busy right now. Or you make a list of all the things you did wrong, all the signs you should have seen, all the ways in which you let yourself get too invested. Too vulnerable. Too needy. Too independent. Too Much Too Soon, or Too Little Too Late. You blame, blame, blame, him, her, or yourself. You dwell and obsess and it all spirals down into anger, hurt and sense of helplessness or is it hopelessness? No. The sadistic thing about the non-breakup, the slow fade, the disappearance is that there remains a tantalizing sense of hope. You guys had something! It was real! Technically speaking…it hasn’t even ended! Maybe he/she really is just that busy right now!
And so it goes, but that is not the worst part.
Sarah and Sara weren’t in a fight. They were best friends and had ruthlessly stuck by each other since middle school, when there had been three other Sarah’s and two other Sara’s in their grade. So they would never fight now, let alone “over a guy.” They were not in a fight over Mark.
But they could disagree about who had the right to email Mark first after he and Bev broke up.
As it turned out, they had both emailed him that morning, shortly after learning about the breakup via mass text from Aaron, who always knew the gossip. Aaron had suggested that the friend group rally to support Mark, because Bev had, in fact, been sleeping with her good-looking Russian co-worker, whom she had nicknamed Sergei the Great while swearing he was gay. Mark’s ongoing jealousy of Sergei had seemed so mean-spirited that everyone had interpreted it as insecure paranoia. They had all, over the course of many months and in group emails as well as one-on-one, persuaded Mark to “tone it down” and “trust Bev.”
Now they all felt guilty and complicit in her deceit. As if the glint in her eye every time she said “Sergei the Great” hadn’t been a dead giveaway.
Imagine a magical machine that gives meaning to your life, manifests your memories and remains forever accessible and unchanging; no pernicious second-guessing or drastic reinterpretation of the past allowed. This machine helps you construct a narrative of who you are, what you value, what obstacles you have overcome and what you are hoping and dreaming for.
Surprise! This machine exists. It’s Instagram.
Hear me out…
On Friday the 13th, in a lengthy essay for The Guardian, novelist Jonathan Franzen, with all the blustering torment and gusto of a Pentecostal doomsayer, portended the Apocalypse. I would picture him standing in the Times Square Subway Station, wearing a sandwich board with hands thumping a first edition of The Last Days of Mankind, except he doesn’t need to hit the streets to get his message out there – the Internet serves perfectly well.
In his piece, Franzen assails, along with all members of Twitter and Facebook, those folks who use their phones to Google things, authors who brazenly self-promote (hmmm), and any person who aspires to be an “individual” (excepting himself and the Dr. Evil-to-his-Mini-Me, fin de siècle Austrian critic and writer, Karl Kraus). Franzen’s essay, which is promotion for his forthcoming annotated translation of Kraus’s Essays, purports to tell us what’s wrong with the modern world. The problem, it would seem, is: “yakkers, tweeters and braggers” – aka, all the aforementioned people – aka, you – whom technology coddles, enables and eventually will destroy.
The sound and fury of latter-day Franzen is most accurately summed up by this multimedia tweet:
In January 2010, my New Year’s Resolution was to take more baths. But then, I took no baths…for the entire year. I was “too busy” with work and life. I had a mental block. I felt that in order to take a bath, I had to clean the tub and there was no way that was happening. Or so I told myself in an elaborate strain of excuses that grew evermore lengthy and complex.
To my dismay, the one proactive step I resolved to take that year to calm myself down, relax, get perspective, get nourishment, moisturize and exfoliate proved to be the only action in life I was incapable of doing. I couldn’t make myself. I never felt I had the time, and when I did, I would contemplate taking a bath (or worse, remind myself of my resolution to take more baths), and I would feel stressed, pained, panicked, uneasy, stricken and paralyzed. I usually resorted to watching marathon episodes of House or, even better, hanging out with the wrong sorts of men.
For the record: I showered every day. But relax in the bath I could not do.
I write to you now, in 2013, having overturned this bizarre neurosis. A hot, steaming bubble bath is now my nightly ritual. And its rewards are everything I had hoped for three years ago: calm and peace of mind, healthy skin, quietness and escape, a new perspective.
And so I ask, with my skin still emanating lavender from last night’s soak, what the hell prevents us from doing things we know are good and right for us? Why do we self-sabotage our most mundane (and precious) goals? Whether it involves exercise, getting organized, ending (or simply putting distance in) a toxic relationship, eating better, cooking more, saving money (or simply not splurging), there is an infinite number of brain cells in our heads wired for resistance, battling our own good will, defending us from what’s good for us. How do we break through these cognitive barricades and take a freakin’ bath already?
Here’s how I did it and how YOU can do it, too:
Traveling out of town (I’ve been hanging out in San Fran & LA!) gives you space and perspective in life. But travel also can clarify some basic emotional truths. Like this one:
I’m at the mercy of a guy in my dah. My love life is pretty f*cked up.
As I walked along the Embarcadero Tuesday evening with my gay friend, lost in conversation about our dahs, I realized that we are both in love with the same kind of guy. Not a player, or an SJP, or The Unavailable Guy, or the Emotionally Unavailable Guy, or The Guy Who Just Blew You Off. No. The guys we are both yearning after are into us in a “more than friends” kind of way. There are play-non-dates in the picture. But these guys are not completely emotionally unavailable, as evidenced by the many “more than lovers” heart to hearts we engage in.
It’s a dah Catch-22.
It was the best of techno-romance; it was the worst of techno-romance. When we first became Facebook friends (he friended me at 1am when he got home from the party – score!), I messaged him sweetly, demurely, engagingly. He sent me a perfunctory reply. Polite, but firm in its disregard.
“Wha??? !?!?!? WTF?!??!” I reacted, shocked. Why flirt with me, friend me, and then blow me off?
Fortunately, Dating & Hookup magic happened. Instead of being upset, I surveyed the facts: This guy is in my dah. He is The Prospect I’m Not Sure Is a Prospect. Who knows what is going on with him, but this is not a referendum on ME. I should keep him around and see what happens, if anything. I have the rest of my dah to cultivate, so this guy is just one small part of my love life.
I wrote him back. With a smiley face emoticon. Just a smiley face. Nothing more; nothing less. I wanted him to know I had positive energy for him – nothing more (aka – no pressure!), but nothing less (aka – you’re awesome and our vibe is sexy – you know this and I know this.)
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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