N.B: This post comes to you in the midst of peak FOMO season, when it feels like the entity of your Instagram feed has collectively migrated to Capri and Mykonos.
To borrow from our President’s ten-word vocabulary, envy is a nasty feeling. It eats one up inside like one of those intestinal parasites, preventing them from attaining any semblance of peace. Religious scriptures of every faith speak of envy as the predominant source of evil. Envy catalyzes wars and ruins lives. And yet it remains a human emotion that is not going anywhere. In fact, I believe that it is currently experiencing a revival, having been reformatted, democratized, revolutionized, by social media.
In a way, we are victims of our time, the first generation stuck with the virtual embryos of the big green monster right at the tips of our fingers, ready to unleash the worst in us. We scroll and we look and we “like” and we absorb everything with the impressionable sponges that are our brains. And then, before you know it, we are comparing ourselves to some Slovakian IMG model or globetrotting fashion editor or second degree acquaintance who has graduated to become a Tribeca housewife. Because, on the surface, they all seem to have it so easy.
Hot dudes and humus. No, this is not the title of my impending memoir but a- this Instagram account and b- two things my girlfriends guaranteed I would be “literally, obsessed with” when I announced my plans to finally touch base with 50% of my heritage and pay a visit to Israel.
While I was certain that the chickpeas fiend in me would have a blast, I wasn’t as convinced about my demi-shiksa. As a New Yorker I am used to Israelis coming with a certain stigma, notorious for shady business dealings in the same way that Russians are infamous for insurance scams. My friends assured me that this was simply a stereotype created by a small segment and that I was really in for a personal Promised Land of hot hipsters with MIT scientist minds.
They may have been slightly overselling, but they weren’t entirely wrong. In addition to its unparalleled food and beaches and a cultural heritage that interrupts your life for a quick reevaluation, Israel can certainly count beautiful men (and women!) as its national treasure, guaranteed to lure young Birthright dwellers for years to come.
Having spent a full week studying both the culture and its modern-day male representatives, I have decided to deliver my key learning on Israeli guys via my own play on the Ten Commandments. Please imagine me relaying them from Mount Sinai.
“Antithesis” is a strong word, usually reserved for grand concepts and ideas. And yet, it is the only word that adequately sums up my personal relationship with the phenomenon that is Kim Kardashian West.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Kim. (Can I call her Kim? Has she officially reached mononymous fame?) In fact, all evidence suggests that she is a lovely person, all poise and grace and manners. Blame it on years spent writing about effortless French style, but I simply have a hard time relating to her unapologetic brand of sex appeal, with its accompanying lifestyle so vastly different from my own. Where Kim enjoys luxury vacation by private jet, I go for adventurous travel by plane-train-bus triathlons. Where Kim’s makeup routine consists of something like 50 steps, mine tallies up to five at max. Where she is comfortable “owning her sexuality” (whatever that even means), I am constantly trying to downplay mine. And yet, wasn’t it Neale Donald Walsch who once said that life begins at the end of one’s comfort zone? Curious to see what was in store for me on the other side, I decided to test out a Kim K.–inspired outfit—on a date, no less.
Life pondering pic by Caroline Owens
A couple of months ago I received an email from a young woman named Emily Holmes Hahn, inviting me to try out her matchmaking service.
Delete. To my defense, I had recently been approached by Ashley Madison, i.e. the homewrecking service of all sins, with an offer to participate in their so-called “rebranding efforts.” Spam mode was ON – there was no way I was going to get sucked into some weird Patti Stanger predicament!
Emily reached out again. This time, I read her spiel: she, too, was former Parisian expat who had worked in fashion; she liked Dbag Dating and wanted to chat. At the bottom of the email were press links to publications such as WWD describing her matchmaking service, Last First, as the “matchmaker to New York’s creative and fashion elite.” The articles also noted that, in recent years, matchmaking had replaced dating apps as the meeting method de rigueur, with fatigued singles seeking the aid of seasoned pros to connect them with potential life partners. I felt as passé as a fashion blogger who had just been informed that she was still wearing skinny jeans while all the cool kids had long ago switched to mom denim. I had to catch up! Read More
My friend is in the most boring long-distance situtationship of all time. Trust me, I’m not offending her by writing this, as she is the first one to admit to the dullness of the liaison. Their text message exchanges include extensive coverage of rain precipitation. Their monotonous phone chats could put a teething baby to sleep. No sparks fly in person – or in the bedroom – leaving most of us all wondering what, exactly, inspires her to keep him around.
The other night, after enduring the Chinese water torture of listening to her and Mr. Snooze discuss their bedtime rituals (he likes to sleep in socks!), I decided to unravel the mystery.
“Why are you subjecting me to this? Actually why are you subjecting yourself to this?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I just have a lot of anxiety and having me call him every night calms me down.”
“You know what else calms you down? Chamomile tea.”
“Exactly. He’s my chamomile tea.”
And, just like that, my friend had tapped into a SATC-worthy theory: “Some men are like chamomile tea”.
When I look back to my early grad school days in Paris, one scene in particular stands out. It was the morning after a very, shall we say, jovial midweek post-exam celebration and my new beau, an artistic and opinionated French classmate, had just slept over for the first time. With the day’s first lecture only 40 minutes away, he walked over to my tiny closet, evaluated its components, and asked me if he could borrow something to wear. Barely waiting for my stupefied nod of consent, he reached for my beloved oversize black Helmut Lang blazer, paired it with his own T-shirt and slim-cut jeans from the night before, and pronounced himself ready to roll.
In retrospect, that morning set a precedent for our short-lived—yet exceptionally fun and fashion-centric—liaison. There was the psychedelic Henrik Vibskov jacket (his) that I wore to celebrate every non-failed exam; the clear-framed Oliver Peoples sunglasses (mine) that were used to deter the rare rays of sun while sharing a 3 euro bottle of rosé by the Seine; the vintage velvet Sonia Rykiel leopard skirtsuit that we discovered at a thrift store during a school trip to Belgium, with him quickly claiming custody over the coveted Keith Richards–worthy jacket while offering to me the more impractical pencil skirt. We were probably destined for a pretty enviable joint wardrobe, but, alas, other obstacles got in the way.