Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New York Darwinism

New York Darwinism
Survival of the Fittest

For Keri’s 33rd Birthday, we decided to head downtown to the Killer’s concert at Madison Square Garden after dinner uptown at Mr. Chow’s. Juxtaposing two very different worlds.

“I think we may be the only people in here without a curfew,” I whispered to Debra as we stood in a line to buy drinks at the concession stand. There were more fake IDs there than a liquor store on prom night.

“What kind of white wine do you have,” Debra asked when we reached the front of the line.


“Right, ok, but is it Chardonnay? Pinot Grigio? Sauvignon Blanc?”

“White. Just plain white,” the man, obviously not an oenophile, exclaimed from his limited lexicon of wine knowledge. He pumped her a glass from the box and we took our seats. “Do you think this is the same French wine we had at Mr. Chow’s?” she quipped.

After a fun evening of bouncing in our seats to the Killer’s new CD Sam’s Town, Debra and I left Keri and Alicia behind to try and beat the mass exodus from the Garden. “Kisses,” I said, pecking Debra on the check at 6th Avenue. “You walking home?”

“Yea. I’m wearing comfortable shoes. It’s only ten blocks downtown.”

Having chosen footwear from my “pogo stick” collection, a 20 plus block walk was out of the question. “I’m going to grab a cab. It’s too late to take the subway.”

“Do you want me to wait while you catch one,” Debra offered. But I knew she was exhausted having started a new job with market hours that week so I told her I would be fine. “No worries, I am sure a cab will be along any minute,” I said as she went south and I walked north.

Cabs whizzed by, all filled with people as my arm grew tired in its upright and extended position. I was cold; my feet were killing me when I finally saw a cab in the distance with its light pop on. I dashed towards the cab as his fare inside handed over the money. As I reached the cab, a girl pounced from my blind spot, trying to pirate my yellow cab booty.

“I’ve got it,” I said. “I was here first.”

As the words had just escaped my lips, she lunged forward like a linebacker slamming me into the side of the cab. Holy shit was all I could think. Did this bitch really just body check me into cab? The woman inside the cab looked on in horror. The cab driver’s eyes bulged out of his head cartoon-line almost hitting the pine tree air-freshener which hung from the rearview mirror.

“Mine!” she screamed in a crazed frenetic “I-Sleep-On-Park-Benches” kind of way as she grabbed my head in a half-Nelson.

Inherently, I became possessed. My fight or flight mechanism took hold as I grabbed her by the waist and slammed her into the ground, whacking her with my 11lb Chloe Paddington bag which M hates for its immense amount of exterior hardware including a giant padlock. “That friggin bag is so impractical. It weighs more than our checked luggage,” he recently said to me. But this was proof that not only was my bag fashionable; it was also a much needed practical weapon in self defense on the vicious city streets.

As I chucked her chunky butt to the ground her bag went flying into the street as she reached for my ankles. “Back off,” I screamed as I kicked her with my IFW (improvised footwear weaponry) into a submissive position and she rolled away. “I WILL go Shannon Doherty on your ass.”

I jumped into the cab and locked the door. “58th Street, please,” I said to the driver who was now looking at me through the glass partition. “Wow, you are very strong. You showed her, huh?” he said quietly in awe of my brawn.

My heart was pounding in my chest, a thump thump which echoed in my breathing. I was just in a fist fight on a Manhattan street – over a cab. Never in my life had I ever thrown a punch, aside from an inflatable Incredible Hulk green punching bag I had growing up…or perhaps my younger brother when he looked out my window in the car. But this?

I called the birthday girl from the cab and told Keri the story. “I am so telling my trainer that upping the weights on my weekly training sessions has come in handy.”

“You know,” she said. “High heels and a giant purse are part of New York Darwinism. Survival of the fittest and most fashionable.”

Monday, October 23, 2006

Denim and Diamonds

Denim and Diamonds

“How does one spend $150 on a trip to Starbucks?” M asked.

“Easily, I answered,” as I explained to him the laws of fashion.

Dressing down is the new dressing up. From Broadway shows to the fanciest of Upper East Side restaurants, expensive jeans are couture. In recent years the swing towards casual and comfortable has replaced the “black skinny pant” which held rank at every college campus in the late 90s.

Just walk thru the denim department at Saks or Bloomingdales and pick up a pair of jeans whose price tags resemble a month’s rent. A pair of Rock and Republic with Swarvorski crystal embellishments can set you back a few hundred dollars. Jeans are status symbols, what purses and shoes have been to women, now it’s denims turn. Days of ripped Levis and zippered ankle Guess jeans have matured into a new breed of denim – sexy sophisticated and grown-up. Even men are opting for the name brands, Chip and Pepper and Blue Cult, over their tried and true Gap classic fit.

“How many pairs of jeans do you own,” I asked my friends.

The answers ranged for 8 to “I have no idea, but they are shoved in every available space in my closet”.

Men seem to prefer this look too. “There is something even sexier about a woman who can make jeans and an old t-shirt look hot,” said Adam. “It’s natural. It’s casual. It’s a no fuss look.” The celebrities agree in this EOnline report from denim makers Rock & Republic’s star-studded fashion show when Hollywood’s hottest jean clad stars came out see the latest in the denim craze. They have even made their way to the Red Carpet!

“I live in jeans,” said Jamie. “I wear them to work, and not just on Fridays. I wear them on dates. I wear them Sunday mornings to pick up bagels. I own one or two pairs of real pants, but I never put them into rotation.” You can never own enough pairs of jeans and the designers are aware of that line of thought in creating their lines of jeans. I went through my three shelves of jeans to see if I had any duplication. There are boot cut, ankle length, butt enhancing, low rise, mid-rise, embellished, not-embellished, dark blue, light blue, medium blue – even white and cream. If I am not wearing sweatpants, than I am wearing jeans.

Fortunately feeding my addiction to denim couture has been eased by my latest Upper East Side discovery. I left my apartment last week to purchase a pound of ground Starbuck’s house blend coffee and came home with two new pairs of jeans. Only in New York.

Outside the Starbuck’s on 61st and 1st a man had set up a card table. From a distance, the women who flocked to this table looked like pigeons tearing apart a container of Korean deli salad bar pickings left behind by someone. Throngs of women with designer purses and tightly pulled ponytails swooped in, flinging jeans into the air while searching for their size. “Do you have these in a 27,” one asked, holding tightly a pair of Citizen for Humanity. The man reached under the table surfacing with three pairs of jeans. I fought my way to the front. Piles of designer duds lay at my finger tips: Antik Denim, Citizens for Humanity, Sevens, Rock and Republic. Jeans which retails for $200 or more were available curbside for $70.

I have no qualms buying jeans off the street the same way one would buy street meat for lunch. How this man managed to get this season’s legitimate and authentic jeans was a mystery, but the girl next to me swore the 6 other pairs she had purchased from this vendor were “totally genuine and authentic”!

“How do you try them on?” I asked, knowing all to well that jean sizes are about as standard as airfare prices. “You can try them on in the bathroom in Starbuck’s,” the man said handing over two pairs of jeans. I waited in a long bathroom line, the size of one at a Yankees game during the 7th inning stretch, crowded with other jean connoisseurs waiting their turn for the bathroom/dressing room. “Quite a different scene than the dressing rooms at Saks,” the girl in front of me said. “I actually prefer the mirrors in here. Better lighting.”

With my cappuccino resting precariously on the sink, I slid into the jeans. Perfect. I purchased my bag of coffee inside and paid the man outside for the jeans. $150 later, I came home with coffee to make the next morning and jeans to wear the next night.

Websites Dedicated to Jean Addicts:
Couture Candy

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Meat and the Fat of Relationships

I don’t believe in scales…well I believe in them for weighing produce or gummy bears, just not me. I stand backwards away from the numbers at the doctor’s office when they weigh me. I don’t want to know. It’s just a number like age or IQ or SAT score. I can talk myself into believing all of those are irrelevant. What I do believe in, is how my clothing fits.

“Oh no,” I said as I dipped backwards throwing myself against the wall and fighting the zipper on my pants. They must have shrunk in the wash, I thought as I tossed them on a chair and selected another pair of jeans. Same deal. The zipper refused to budge. One more pair later, I crept into M’s bathroom and approached the scale fearfully. Both my Antik Denim jeans and M’s scale confirmed my worst fears: I was at maximum capacity.

I hit an all time high on the scale and an all time low mentally. How did this happen? How did I gain the weight of a human head (8lbs, according to the kid in Jerry Maguire) since living with M? I came up with some conclusions:

He loves me. I won him over with my personality, charm and cute annoying habits he actually kinda likes. I stopped worrying about belly-bearing tops and focused on belly-filling foods. Seeing me everyday the 8lbs of flab and flesh went unnoticed, like adding a drop of water into a full bathtub.

I have to eat faster to get any food. Dining with M is like a race. He approaches meals like the Indy 500, zooming forkfuls of food into his mouth. When he finishes what is on his plate, he quickly moves over to mine. Thus, forcing me keep pace with his feeding frenzy.

I couldn’t be the only one this happened to. I was pretty sure plumping lip gloss was replaced by plumping waistlines among other newly cohabitating couples. I did some of my own scientific research which was comprised of asking my girlfriends over martinis and pasta at our girls’ dinner. (Um, could this be part of the problem too?)

“Do you guys gain weight or lose weight when you start dating someone?”

“GAIN!” the group chirped in unison. “It’s not like he’s going to move out or break up with you cause you gain a few pounds. Do you know how hard it is to find an apartment in Manhattan,” one my friends argued. But it wasn’t just my panel of experts, the Lancet medical journal concurred with my findings.

Their more scientific approach found that women eat richer foods in larger quantities, dine out at restaurants more often and forgo the gym more often. “Men are very bad for women,” said Dr. David Haslam who was the author of the study.

“This is all your fault,” I said to M holding a printout of the study in one hand and my jeans in the other hand.

“What? Ok, what did I do now?” he asked as if he had heard this tirade many times before. Braced and ready for anything, M sat down on the sofa.

“I need an entire new wardrobe cause I gained like a bazillion pounds cause I have to eat at warp speed to keep up with you. No more junk food. No more wings during football games, no more French fries, no more pizza. No more food at all in this house. We will live on water. The only food in the cabinets can be Chief’s- Scooby Snacks and Alpo.”

When rationality set in a few minutes later, I found a better approach: the gym and Energy Kitchen. I am almost able to get the zipper on my pants up without Crisco – a product when used to cook is to blame for its need in dressing.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Tree Grows in Manhattan

A Tree Grows in Manhattan

Something about this time of year makes me want to leave Manhattan.

Sure it’s temporary, a passing sensation that lasts as long as the concept of a Jets win, but it’s there. Sometimes you just want nature, the real smell of fall which isn’t the smell of nuts roasting on the city street, but wet leaves and crisp clean air.

Debra and I decided to escape the honking horns, plane crashes and retail sticker shock. We jumped in her car and sped out of the city towards Woodbury Commons. We took the scenic route, heading up the Palisades to Exit 18 and then down the local Route 6. The further from New York the more colorful the trees became. Hues of burnt orange and glittering gold, rich reds and magentas, the leaves slowly floated down on the road, gently drifting in a leisurely melody, almost dancing to nature’s music. “Slow down,” I said. “Why are we in a rush? This is so nice. Look at this.” It was if I had been locked in a closet and finally set free. We took a wrong turn and ended up on a long stretch of road, barely paved with bales of hay and livestock off to the side. “I think we’re lost,” she said glancing down at her Mapquest directions. “We are in bumblefuck.”

This wrong turn put us high on a mountain side. When the view of the horizon broke from behind the shroud of trees, we slowed almost to a stop. “Wow, look at that. Look at the valley down there. It looks like a postcard,” Debra said. We were in the foothills of some mountain chain, beneath us a floor of amber tree tops and tiny white roofs. “You can’t even tell when the seasons change in New York. The one tree I see all the time is the one Chief pees on. I think its leaves are always brown.” The lack of foliage in New York is one of things which was hard for me to adjust to post-suburban life. I never could live in Miami or LA, cities’ whose climate is as uniform and monochromatic as its people. But even in New York, the Upper East Side seasons get lost. “If I don’t make it to Central Park then I miss fall entirely,” I said to Debra. “Manhattan needs more trees. I need my own tree.”

After a day of shopping, a purchase of a new tennis skirt and some socks which M won’t steal or mistake for his own (they’re pink), we headed home. “Drive slowly,” I commanded Debra – in part because she drives like a lunatic and partially because I was in no rush to get back to the mayhem and bedlam of city life. With the Cranberries singing on the car radio, the late afternoon sunlight bounced across windshield flooding the inside of the car with a golden glow. The sky was the most perfect shade of blue, between Tiffany’s blue and a light lapis, the clouds had completely cleared. Towards the city, I marveled how the leaves were still green. Fall still to the north of us, made me feel like I had some more time before I needed to unpack my gloves and scarves which had been hiding underneath my bed, tucked away for winter.

My seasonally updated screen saver showcased a Vermont barn with horses, rolling hills with a colorful array of trees. “This is bullshit,” I said sitting at my computer and looking out at the terrace as I tried to finish some emails later that day. “Why am I inside in a forest of books and papers, when I can be outside?” I grabbed my laptop and a jacket and headed outside among my plastic trees and plastic plants which line the side of the terrace. Green perennially. I thought about it for a minute. While I can’t getaway from the city everyday to commune with nature, I can bring nature to me. Surely the garden department of Home Depot will solve my problems. I bought a tree. It’s a small tree that needs to be potted still. A tree that will shed its leaves each year, the skin of the past, stand naked on the terrace in the cold and cruel winds of February. But then, as the last of the snow melts into the sewer systems, taking away that grey fifth and grim which clings to pant cuffs in a trademark of this city's winter and the days grow a bit longer – buds will sprout. By April, the tree will have its new Spring fashion taking shape. Light green, nubile and fresh - the buds will soon become leaves. And the cycle begins again.

In a city where so many things are unnatural: Tasty De-Lite ingredients, Tara Reid’s boobs, the continued popularity of the Meatpacking District – it is very nice to have my own slice of natural around.

Click here for some great tips on fall foliage hunting!
Central Park Foliage Guide

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In the Name of Love

In the Name of “Love”

As New Yorkers take in the last long days of the dwindling summer weather, golf widows sit at home on Saturday afternoons waiting for their men to return like the women who used to wait for the whaling ships to return to port. With golf clubs in hand, a big Bertha tucked between a 9-iron and a putter, boyfriends and husbands set out to country clubs and golf courses from Greenwich to West Chester. The “golf widow” is one of those terms now stamped on shirts and crocheted on pillows. Most New York women couldn’t tell you the difference between a waffle iron and a 9-iron, but a hair straightening iron….well, that one we know.

“I’m taking golf lessons,” Melissa said when I asked her to spend the afternoon shopping for fall fare. “Peter loves playing and I want to spend time with him. So, alas, I will learn to love ugly Bermuda shorts and chip and put.” Her boyfriend, Peter, is an avid golfer who loves to spend his free time on the back 9 rather than back in the city when he isn’t traveling for work. “He is gone all week on assignment so if I want to see him, I’m going to need to get out there and golf.” Armed with some new apparel from Golfsmith, Melissa set out to become the next Tigress Woods.

It seems while most of my female friends are successful, independent and active, we must adopt the hobbies of our significant other in the name of love – or in my case, “Love – Love”.

“I’m so glad you don’t play golf,” I said to M as I picked out a new tennis skirt. “At least with tennis the outfits are cute. I don’t need to dress like someone from Boca Del Vista’s retirement community who sucks applesauce through a straw.”

I had played tennis back when my $9.99 wooden racquet from Toys R Us sufficed at Day Camp. But tennis wasn’t physical enough for me. I preferred things with sticks and bats, things where you could really wail off and injury someone. Sports to me meant blood stains and not tennis whites. Tennis required patience; it required honed skills that necessitated more practice than brut force. “Lessons” as kid, was a word that made me think of piano or ballet. Two things which I tried and at which I did not excel. I liked sports that required mouth guards and shin guards not frilly skirts.

Things have changed. I value my many thousands of dollars in orthodontia and a smile that doesn’t look like I am Anna Nicole Smith’s relative with no dental plan in Arkansas.

M has played tennis since he was old enough to hold a racquet. It is his vice. “I NEED to play tonight. I NEED to play. I NEED it,” he said like a drug addict jonesing for a fix. He kept his tennis bag in his car trunk, his whites and multiple rackets ready to go should a match arise. Like a golf widow, I have sat at home waiting for his court time to end. He spends more time on the court than a repeat offender spends in court.

“Take some lessons,” M prodded after a pathetic attempt at a rally, my technique resembling Sammy Sosa’s swing. “The goal is to get the ball on the court, not over the fence. You’re not supposed to hit it out of the park. Wrong sport. I’m not going to teach you. Trust me, you need someone with more patience. It wouldn’t be healthy for our relationship.”

With those poignant words, I began researching professional assistance. Sutton East Tennis conveniently located on 59th Street and York Avenue popped up on my Google search. This seasonal bubble which opens for play in early October offered possibilities, but I decided to try Roosevelt Island’s Racquet Club first since I needed immediate help (plus that Tram thing is too cool).

“Don’t try and kill it,” my instructor said as I slammed a shot which barely missed his head. “Nice and easy. Follow through on your stroke.” This sucked. It was drill after drill. “Now everybody, let’s try it one more time. Let’s practice our swings without the ball. What do we do first? Anyone? Anyone?” he said. We stood there like Ferris Bueller’s classmates staring but without words. “We bring our racquets back and we step in towards the ball,” he said talking to us like a bunch of idiots. I wanted to scratch my ear with my foot.

We were a group of four women in our 30s attempting to learn a sport too late in life for our bodies to grasp it quickly. “Carrie, stop trying for power. Don’t worry where the ball goes, just practice swinging correctly.” I hit the light attached to the top of the roof.

I quit ballet at 8 because all we did was demi-plies. “You don’t perform Swan Lake on your first day,” my mother said as I tossed my ballet shoes into the garbage can. “It takes years of training.” “Screw it,” I said in my meek eight-year-old voice, “I want to play soccer.” Things which did not come naturally to me, never came. I didn’t have the patience or the follow through to continue. But standing there on that court, in my Nike tennis outfit I decided I needed to take a few steps backwards before I could move forwards. I had to unlearn all that I thought I knew about tennis. I had to allow myself to be reprogrammed. A lot like new relationships.

Now, 4 weeks into my training I can see the difference. Inherently my body reads the ball. The swing feels natural, the court feel familiar. When you love someone, you learn to love what they love. You adapt and adopt. While it felt unnaturally and uncomfortable at first, a sport which I could never call my own, I am beginning to realize the exhilaration which comes from skill and not blood shed. I doubt I ever will look or play like a Williams sister - I'm staying away from the "juice" - I am improving each day, learning more about my body and the developing the skills.

Sports – golf, tennis or even bowling, are a lot like relationships. They require dedication, patience, desire and a VERY patient instructor to get the score to love-love.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Faking It

I have been called a child before, but I have never been called Julia Childs. The kitchen (insert spooky music), has remained a room and an area as frightening to me as the ingredients in Tasty Delite. But as gesture of true love, I attempted to make M a home cooked meal. With no recipe cards neatly organized in a file like my mother, I made the one thing I know how to make: Fake Fried Chicken.

It was a concoction we discovered in college when the “freshman fifteen” still remained well into junior year. Crushed Corn Flakes, seasoning and chicken breasts dipped in egg whites, baked in the oven for 30 minutes, this mixture vaguely resembled Kentucky Fried minus the fat. I gathered the ingredients at Food Emporium and headed home to cook. Chief, panting and making his presence known, stood next to me waiting for crumbs of Corn Flakes to fall to the floor like tiny drops of golden light.

“I’ll be home by 6,” M texted me when I told him I was COOKING dinner. “You are cooking?” he replied, stunned into silence which could be heard throughout cyberspace. Most likely he ran to his office vending machine, hording Snickers and pretzels to consume before he left work. I flittered around the kitchen, organizing the ingredients, adapting the recipe by adding some Jack Daniels BBQ sauce to the crushed fake fried for some pizzaz and zing. Feeling extra domesticated, I grabbed the vacuum and some Lysol and continued on a cleaning campaign, lifting Chief’s legs and his tail as the vacuum sucked up all of his extra fur which had piled beneath it. All I was missing was the June Cleaver haircut and a son named Beaver.

The oven chimed signaling the chicken was done. I stabbed a piece with a fork, inspecting the insides for signs on pink. Putting the chicken to my lips, I blew on it to cool it down and then tasted my dish. DELICIOUS! Ok, Union Square Café isn’t going to make me a sous chef anytime soon and Bobby Flay isn’t emailing for the recipe, but this tasted fabulous. I couldn’t wait to hear the accolades from M.

At 6, M was not home.

At 6:30, M was still not home.

At, 7, the oven had cooled, the chicken was cold and M was still not home.

The chicken may have been cold, but I was burning hot with anger when M finally walked in the door well after 8pm. I had morphed into an angry housewife. I marinated in my own displeasure as the chicken marinated in the BBQ sauce. “Where were you? I had this nice dinner planned,” I fumed, pointing at the table which was set with fresh flowers and candles.

“Sorry, I got hung up at work,” he said loosening his tie and sitting down. I nuked the chicken in the mircrowave and set it down in front of M. “Ok, I’m glad you’re home. Try this. I made this amazing chicken.”

He looked at the plate in front of him. His fear apparent, he cut into a piece the way a five year old child lifts a fork-full of spinach to his pursed lips. I waited for his reaction as he masticated. “So?”

He swallowed. “I don’t like it. I hate fried food and I don’t like sweet with my entrée. This BBQ sauce is too zesty.” An entire afternoon of labor, of blood, sweat and corn flakes down the garbage disposal.

“You can pretend you like it. You could lie to me. Women do it all the time. They fake orgasms for the benefit of the man. You can fake liking it,” I said as I removed the plate from the table and tossed it into the sink.

The least he could have done was pretended it tasted like mana from heaven, licked his lips, begged for more. He could have descreetly spit it into a napkin under the table and fed the ABC (already-been-chewed)chunks to Chief. That's true love. Women do it all the time. "Yes honey, I love that perfume you got me. Stetson for Women is one of my favorites." "Oh wow, I always have dreamed of marabou fur pink nighty. It is very classy." As a gender we are more genteel. Concerned more about making our loved on smile, than smiling ourselves.

M ordered delivery and ate in front of the TV. I retired my apron, threw out the recipe and gave Chief the leftovers. While Fake Fried Chicken won’t be on the menu again, I am hoping fake sentiment will be for any other recipes I try.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Date Night

Date Night

“I want to go on a date,” I said to M.

He looked up from the newspaper with disdain and anger, his face drained of color. “No, not a date with someone else, dummy. I want you to take me out on a date.” M, back to reading his newspaper, shook his head in agreement. “Sure, whatever. You have to plan it though.”

After you have been dating someone for a while, or in my case, living with someone, the days of carefully picking out a sexy outfit from an overstuffed closet for a big night of possibilities seems a distant memory. He has already seen me at my worst; unwashed, a face swollen crimson red with a matching Rudolph nose during an allergy attack with crumpled Kleenex scattered across the bed. No longer do I concern myself with picking just the right stiletto that permits me to gracefully slide down Lexington Avenue while accentuating the definition of my calf muscles. I have all but forgotten the angst which comes at the end of the evening, after the bars have closed and the date is over, wondering whether or not he will call me the next day. He doesn’t have an option since he wakes up next to me.

As a writer, I spend most of my days in sweat pants wearing the forbidden hair “scrunchie” against the unwritten rules of fashion while pounding tirelessly on a keyboard at Starbucks. I have no reason to stand in front my closet, wet from a shower slippery with sweet smelling lotions and potions, trying to choose the perfect outfit. My knee high boots tucked behind the more practical attire of tank tops and T-shirts, I miss the days of lip liner and eye liner.

“So first we went to Buddha Bar,” Kim said as she was telling me about her first recent date after her recent Ex broke it off after 3 months. “Then we went to a few other clubs downtown before we ended the night at Session 73 by my apartment. He tried to get me to go home with him, but there was no way. I wasn’t ready for that yet.” While I listened to her describe the details of her evening, I wasn’t jealous of the confusion and mixed emotions which come with dating, but I was envious of her jaunts across the island’s hot spots. “I don’t know where to go on our second date. He asked me to pick a place this time. Been anywhere new and good lately?” she asked me. I contemplated her question, searching the recesses of my mind for a new place I have been wanting to try, but I came up with nothing. Cohabitating bliss has stripped me of my knowledge of hip and cool. I might as well be a middle aged tourist with a map in one hand, standing on the corner with my significant other wearing matching slogan Ts, looking lost. “The last time I went out like that, was before the Asian fusion trend. I think Clinton was in office and I was wearing flannel and ripped Levis,” I quipped.

“We do “date night” every Saturday,” my friend Ashley said. Married 7 years and with two beautiful daughters, Ashley and her husband refuse to let their relationship go stale. It is easy to fall into complacency, forgoing the excitement of dating life for the comforts and patterns of a coupled one. With DVR or Tivo, why waste lipgloss and risk heel blisters? Taking a cue from Ashley, I informed M that Thursday is now date night.

I scoured New York Magazine and looking for the perfect place for our first date night. Settling on Nobu 57, I was surprisingly able to get reservations for 9pm when I called at 4pm. I spent two hours primping; following makeup tips from a September beauty magazine, straightening my hair with a roller brush, even going as far as to use the masochistic eyelash curling tool. I was treating this evening as I would a third date with a guy I really liked – whose interest in me was debatable.

“Wow, you look great!” M said as I emerged from the bathroom where I had spent the better portion of an hour. Hand in hand, we walked to Nobu. We drank sakitinis, ate Edamame and loads of fancy sushi rolls. Maybe it was the sakitinis, or the toe-pinching platform shoes I wore for the first time, but I felt a tinge of nervousness. The buzz of excitement when you nervously sit across the table, starring at your date with awe and delight was present. Dating isn’t just for singles. At least it shouldn’t be. While the definition of dating in my world has changed, the sentiment remains. As M paid the check, I smiled at him. “At least you know you are going home with the girl on this date.”