Stop the presses: I moved back to New York.
To say that this was a gradual process would be an understatement. For the record that nobody is keeping, I moved to Paris over the course of ten days, at the expedited speed of a truly efficient New Yorker. Three years later, I came back at the pace of a languid Parisienne, stretching the endeavor over four months, half of the time it takes an embryo to morph into a human being. I pondered, I wondered, I deliberated, I polled my friends as though the projection of a presidential election depended on it. I spent all of August alone in Paris, sitting Shiva for my imminent departure. In the beginning of September, I had a quiet good-bye dinner, boarded a plane with six bags in tow, and came back home. A month later, I was back. “For work,” I told everyone. What I meant was, “for closure”.
It’s hard to leave a life that you initially borrowed, but has become so comfortable and familiar and, to some extent, so defining of your identity. It’s hard to make a decision that isn’t driven by real circumstances, but by a simple need for change. But, when a city as captivating as Paris starts feeling too slow and stagnant, when you no longer peer out at the Seine from the taxi window, or stop in a dream-like daze at every bridge, when the fascination is replaced by wariness and the excitement by cynicism, it’s time to go. The question is, where do you go next, after you have experiences the thrill of the Grand Life Change? Do you go back home, especially if home happens to be New York?
In the game of glamorization of cities, New York is the only place that gives Paris a run for its money. “A cultural melting pot.” “The city that never sleeps.” “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” The grand manifestos are endless, staggering, occasionally blinding its dwellers to believe that New York is the only relevant city in the world. News flash: it’s not. It’s just a city, a loud and chaotic city that functions on a 24/7 cycle and requires a double-digit per capita income and has one shuffling through loads of bullshit and living to work instead of working to live. And yet, it is also a phenomenal city with the miracle of 24-hour delis and a myriad of insatiable talent and a unique energy that makes you believe that anything you set your mind on is attainable. It is this energy, along with my friends and family, that I missed so much, and rejoice in now, more than ever before. New York may not be the only relevant city in the world, but it’s pretty damn amazing.
My friend Rachel (aka La Yummy Mummy) once said: “To live in New York, you have to love it, it must be your ideal. Otherwise, the harshness of it isn’t worth it.” I don’t know yet if New York is my ideal. Over the past three years, my ideals have changed. I have grown accustomed to the European pace, to the convivial lifestyle, to the stimulating conversations and spontaneous travel, to the ability to jump on a train and be in a new country in the matter of hours. No matter how many diverse people and ethnic restaurants and multicultural events New York encompasses, it will never replace the real deal. And maybe, having seen the real deal, New York is no longer enough.
Time will tell. If there is anything else I have learned, it is that no decision is permanent, and no place needs to be your final destination. If Paris is a movable feast, then I would like to think that my feast is only now commencing its journey, with New York as its first stop. With my feast I take with me everything that Paris has given me: three years of irreplaceable memories, a voice, independence, a set of balls, a proper education, a new understanding of the world in all of its vastness. And with that, I joyously ring in the next chapter of Dbag Dating, one that will celebrate more than just Paris or just New York City. Here’s to Dbag Dating, the Global Edition!
Read my sartorial reflections on moving back to New York on Vogue!