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!)
Lola Rykiel, photo by Beth Garrabrant
It was early 2014 and I had just started documenting my journey through the murky waters of the Parisian dating scene via Dbag Dating, when not one but two people sent me an article entitled “New York Guys vs. Paris Guys.” It was written by a Parisienne named Lola Rykiel, who happened to be going through the flip side of my Parisian culture shock while living in New York City and channeling her experiences in her column on HarpersBazaar.com, Lola on Love. A few years later, Lola and I were introduced by a mutual friend, and since then she has become my go-to source for all things Parisienne, as recently documented on Vogue.com. The coolest thing about Lola (besides her keen knowledge of the best cocktail selection in downtown NYC) is her ability to delve deep into any subject matter and shed an alternate light on a topic in a way that only a truly insightful person can. In honor of today’s Bastille Day, we sat down to chat about trans-Atlantic dating discrepancies, the intricate art of self-love, and the ever-green enigma that is the Parisienne.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité—liberty, equality, fraternity. In our tumultuous, often unpredictable world, one must honor any reason to celebrate these three guiding principles of human camaraderie. Since most of us cannot exactly ring in tomorrow’s Bastille Day by frolicking around revolutionary stomping grounds, we propose that you do the next best thing and channel your inner French citoyenne through the wardrobe staples that truly speak to her liberal spirit—her accessories. Just like the emblematic national motto, the Parisienne’s approach to accessorizing is part of her inherent independent sensibility, rooted in timeless style and personal pieces that truly connect with their owner. A French girl usually goes for discreet, carefully selected accessories that never adhere to trends or overwhelm her outfit, but instead relay her personal story, one unique detail at a time.
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Few things beat a great summer date. Be it with your future life partner or merely a fleeting romantic interest, there is something incomparable about that long, breezy, post-dinner stroll through still-warm city streets, feeling like the protagonist of your own indie film. Granted, no nirvana is complete without the perfect outfit, which is where things get tricky, at least for me.
With effortlessness being the ethos of summer, even the most innocent attempt toward allure—such as a black liner, or a heel—feels unnatural in our global warming–induced heat. And yet it’s not like I can allow my inner romantic ingenue to show up to a date in my usual summer uniform of denim cutoffs (i.e., an object of near-constant mockery among my friends). This inner turmoil leads me to believe that summertime date dressing abides by a completely separate sartorial code, one that I have yet to master. And who better to help me than the ever-effortless Parisiennes, originators of the Pinterest Holy Grail of summer romances, from Jane Birkin’s eyelet-clad beach frolics to Romy Schneider’s PG-rated La Piscine ensembles?
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Over the holiday weekend, my 18-year-old niece (think my doppelganger with a brain) and I decided to drive up to the Catskills for a long-overdue one-on-one with nature. Trudging along one of the trails, accompanied by nothing more than fresh air and a palpable sense of Fourth of July spirit, we started talking about the meaning of personal independence.
“You shouldn’t need to be with somebody to be happy,” I preached, attempting to wipe out any remnants of rite-of-passage Russian family brainwashing that encourages one to settle down at earliest convenience.
“Yes, but it’s so nice to be with someone.” was the response of a teen who had recently gotten her first taste of true romance. I had been there myself and didn’t want to argue, and so I didn’t.