Brooklyn Heights strolls. Photo by Caroline Owens.
How often do you come across a couple that met in kindergarten? If you live in New York City, the probability of encountering such endangered human species is about as low as, say, meeting a single 30-something-year-old male sans commitment issues. (Yes, I’m always projecting.) This is why when I had the luck of meeting Rachel Jo Silver and Justin Boelio, two Michigan natives who first laid eyes on one another in Miss Ruben’s kindergarten class in the late 80’s, I decided to do humanity a favor by documenting their unique union on this paramount platform. (You’re welcome, social anthropologists everywhere.)
What’s even more striking than the longevity of Rachel and Justin’s relationship is the actual fabric of it, built on respect and patience and the kind of mutual trust that allowed them to embark upon their very own joint venture. In 2016, the Brooklyn Heights-based couple launched the wedding video platform Love Stories TV, which you should explore right after you are finished with this interview! (Disclaimer: even the most cynical folks may turn into mush.)
Oh, they may also have the most compatible body language that I have ever seen, but I don’t want to get creepy so I’ll stop there.
Spending two months in Russia as a 30-year-old single woman is similar to what I envision military training being like. You come in terrified and weak; you leave tough and tempered and strengthened by the realization that nothing, ever, is going to seem difficult again. Having recently lived through said experience, I now present you a synthesis of key trends, reported directly from the line of duty.
I recently asked a 42-year-old man whether he thought I would ever get married. (What can I say? Four days with my brother had clearly traumatized me.) His answer? “Sure, just do yourself a favor and grow out that haircut. Men like long hair.”
I wish I could tell you that his words shocked me, or at least that I had some American feminism left in my system to battle him out for a woman’s right to a trendy overpriced bob. Alas, after spending the past two months in Russia and thereby being subjected to an unofficial local investigation into why I’m not currently 2.5 babies deep, his statement was mere icing on the sexist, antiquated cake I had grown all-too-good at metabolizing.
Truth be told, attempting to reshape some people’s inherent beliefs is a dire waste of time. After all, is there really any chance of convincing Babushka Nina that women are no longer ranked by their borsch cooking skills? Probably not, which means that it’s better to just smile and zip it. In predicaments that a – don’t involve fragile elderly relatives and b – call for real retaliation, I propose using a non-violent tactic entitled Revenge by Awkwardness, coined by yours truly. The goal: to yield your opponent to extreme levels of discomfort, causing them to quickly withdraw their statements.
Here are some examples.
Nota bene: This story initially appeared on Dbag Dating circa 2014 but was shortly removed due to the author’s fear of public scrutiny. It is now back, for she no longer has anything to lose. Just kidding! It’s back because it’s funny, ok? Also, because it has a new illustration by our resident Picasso, Kelcey Vossen!
I am a firm believer that there are two types of people in this world: those who bring out our best, most rational selves, and others who unleash our inner Girl, Interrupted, and I don’t mean that in a hot Angelina Jolie kind of way. If you have any desire to live to enjoy old age, I suggest that you stay away from the latter. This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
If you are anything like me (born before the ’90s, social media wary, technologically mediocre), you may occasionally feel a droning sense of fatigue while scrolling through Instagram and realizing that there is an entire meme jargon that reads more like Morse Code to your seasoned ears.
And yet, no matter how much we resent it, not understanding the language of the Internet is similar to not understanding the language of the country you live in – highly liberating, yet a surefire hazard for getting screwed over. Since I certainly don’t want you to get screwed over in the dating arena (leave that one to me!), I have compiled a handy little guide that will allow you to both decipher and chime into the wild jungle of Generation Hookup with a few gems of your own!
I have a confession to make: I have always been slightly intimidated by Moscow. A native of Saint Petersburg, i.e. Russia’s intelligentsia hub, I was practically raised to look down upon ‘Moskvichi’ for their (presumed) gaucheness and cultural deficience. And yet I always suspected that my closed-mindedness was partially driven by my own sense of inadequacy. In Moscow, an oasis of concentrated wealth, beauty and corruption, I always felt too lumpy, too naïve, too low on the totem pole.. And so, as God and human nature intended, I judged.
Alas, there comes a time when everybody has to face their fears. Mine came when my brother proposed for me to temporarily abandon family duty in Saint-Petersburg and hop onto his weekend trip to Moscow, a decision he later came to regret. Not only did I come, but I annoyed the living daylight out of him in the process, earning myself a firm placement into the “unmarriable” category. Marriable or not, I also used it as an opportunity to do some qualitative research into the curious world of Moscow men, which I chronicled for you, my dear readers! With pictures!