At the risk of subjecting myself to a smidgen of judgement (or a mandatory psych screening), I am fairly certain that there are at least two people residing inside of me. One is a boring snoozeball who experiences sexual awakenings at the sight of Tribeca lofts and has long selected the prep schools for her unborn children. The second one is a wannabe vagabond-slash-activist who dreams of living out of a backpack in Sihanoukville for $6 a day forever. Archenemies to the core, they appear incapable of agreeing on anything in my life, regularly giving me mixed directions and partaking in verbal disputes that would put the upcoming Presidential debates to shame. Since the yearlong punishment known as 29 Going On 30 commenced nine months ago, the two have been having a particularly hard time getting along and agreeing what this milestone means in the course my life. And so I have decided to give my unaligned yin and yang the breathing space they need to air out the emotions on this public platform.
As anybody who has ever dipped into the perplexing landscape of modern romance knows, keeping up with the associated vernacular is about as challenging as keeping up with the latest denim trend, and a lot less enjoyable. First came “ghosting,” the vanishing act that made it normal—if not exactly acceptable—for the object of one’s once-reciprocated interest to disappear into the abyss without as much as a mere warning. Now comes its commitment-phobe cousin, courtesy of New York Magazine writer Jason Chen: “benching,” a sports-inspired furthering of the concept of leading someone on. It entails keeping someone hanging for extended periods of time, occasionally throwing them a bone in the form of a casual text, while never allowing for the relationship to transition into anything remotely substantial (i.e., keeping a player on the bench as a backup while you pursue others whom you might prefer to, shall we say, “put in play” first).
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Editor’s Note: This modern-day horror tale is brought to you by Julia Reiss, a Los Angeles-bred writer and humorist with Parisian tendencies, based in New York City. When she’s not writing or overcome with ennui, you can find her flexing her credit limit at any of the city’s retail establishments. For updates in short form, follow her on Twitter and Instagram. And for all other things Julia, stay up to date at www.iamjuliareiss.com.
The way I see it, online dating has a deceivingly bad rap. Sure, I had my initial trepidations. But that’s only because, as a child of the 80s, I was taught that the only people you could meet online were the those who weren’t allowed to be within 100 feet of a playground.
For those who don’t follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (Which you should! Now!), I am currently wrapping a two-week tour of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with my 18-year-old niece, because that’s what adults with absentee personal lives do in an effort to “grow” as humans. Although the majority our growth has entailed seeing how much pad thai / coconuts / spring rolls we can consume within the course of a day, we have been fortunate enough to meet some very cool locals who have gone above and beyond to educate us on their customs (and ensure that we stay away from malaria.) Sensing that the Buddhist-rooted culture may have something to teach us in the romantic department, I chose to utilize a 10-hour bus ride to interrogate our fantastic Vietnamese tour guide, Sony, on the intricacies of the Southeast Asia dating landscape.
Oh, weddings. They make the occasional guest appearance in your early twenties, then pile up in bulk a few years later (like student loans! and wrinkles!), progressively losing any of the associated glamour and morphing into money-sucking productions that strip you of your hard-earned cash and precious weekends. If you happen to be single, they also inadvertently highlight said fact by putting you in a number of consecutive awkward positions, from booking solo hotel rooms to sharing tables with fellow lepers singles while all your coupled-up friends have fun just a few feet away. Having endured my fair share of such extravagansas, I find myself aptly fit to provide a wedding survival guide that will teach you to approach said mission with military level-strategy.
When it comes to relationships, I am bad by definition. (I am, after all, the author of a blog called Dbag Dating.) To my mother’s chagrin more so than my own, I have no game, no sense of timing, and no skills when it comes to transitioning from casual encounter to long-term commitment.
Despite this obstacle, I happen to be blessed with what I have been told is a rare talent. You see, I happen to be capable of meeting guys anywhere I go. Whether you take me parasailing or grocery shopping or just ask me to take out the trash, chances are that I will come back with a glowing announcement of just having dispersed my digits. Basically, I am a fisherman who always comes home with a prize – except that, in most cases, said prize either immediately dives back into the water, or ends up being too poisonous for consumption. My friend Rachel calls this a case of crazy smelling crazy. I call it genius. And since most genius deserves to be shared, share it I will! (But only if you guy promise to educate me on the relationship part! Please! I need it!)