Auld Lang Syne, or rather, to the days ahead

Tonight I was watching the Sex and the City movie, because hey, it’s Saturday night and nothing’s on tv, and nothing is a touchstone for girls everywhere like SATC.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the New Year’s Eve one, where Carrie races downtown to be with Miranda so that neither has to be alone on New Year’s.  Having spent a lonely New Year’s or two in my life and knowing it’s pretty much the most depressing thing on the planet, this scene always makes me tear up.

I think New Year’s is definitely the worst time to be alone.  I don’t mean single–I’ve had some great single New Years.  I mean actually alone, solitary, with no one around.  If you haven’t done it, I don’t advise it.  The rest of the world is partying as hard as it can–to paraphrase the New Year’s Eve trailer (my apologies), “People who don’t go out all year suddenly become Kanye.”  On top of that, New Year’s is a pretty narcissistic holiday.  There’s no present swapping or time with family.  The tradition is to list resolutions, think about the self, reflect inward.  Which is all well and good, but it also means that if you’re alone, you’re really stuck with yourself.  Maybe I’m talking big here, because I’ve never had cause to be alone on other holidays.  But that one year I spent by myself sticks out as terminally depressing.  Oddly I can’t remember if it was 2007-08 or 2008-09.  Since then, though, I’ve made it a point to go out somewhere, usually with my old hs friend.  Last year I got sick from alcohol for the first time ever (a deadly combination of lots of champagne and cheese).

This year, things will be very different.  This year I’m with the bf.  He’s here for visit number two.  Of course, living in New Year’s Central, when we thought about spending New Year’s together, his first idea was Times Square.  I told him that he could not drag my dead body to Times Square because I had no desire to stand in a giant crowd, freeze my butt off, and not be able to pee for something like seven hours.  After some debate (he doesn’t give in easy that one), he finally conceded under the condition that one year we would rent a hotel room overlooking Times Square to watch the ball drop, which I am all for.

That still left us at a bit of a loss for this year, though.  Which you may say is ridiculous, given that we’re in New York City which never goes to sleep anyway and gets super hyper on New Year’s Eve, like when they give those tiny pageant freaks 10,000 pixie stix on Toddlers and Tiaras.  The problem with NY for me, though, is that I’m spoiled for choice, and I’m never v. good at making my mind up or finding things.  So we were discussing it today, and as he’s not much of a New Year’s person (see reasons above, from the boy side), we’re probably going to end up staying in.  For a bit we were going to visit friends in Westchester, but they got a scary sickness from their child, which is the worst kind of cold virus known to man.  So it’s 11:07, the house is quiet, and it’s just the two of us and a bottle of champagne and the cats.

There is a big difference though, between staying in alone and staying in with the person you love.  What was lonely becomes cozy.  I’m actually getting excited about the idea, because I’ve never had an intimate New Year.  And being a ceremonial kind of gal, I love the symbolism of it.  It will be the two of us closing off the old year and starting the new one together.  And we are starting off 2012 in a big way.  I’m typing this with a ring on my finger.  Apparently my last post did not scare him off.  We’re really Harry and Charlotte!

I love the song “Auld Lang Syne.”  Ok, it’s a bit cliche, but it’s honestly pretty, and I love the nostalgia that it carries.  I’ve always been a big one for celebrating my past and commemorating everything, so you could even say it’s my theme song.  Now single me is in the past, and I think she’s gone for good, but I’m not sure I want to celebrate her, or commemorate her.  She was lonely in a very powerful way, and that loneliness took her over.  She couldn’t find joy for people who were getting married or thought about babies because she was so afraid that was something she’d never get to see.  But she’s becoming a ghost now, someone I barely remember who feels far removed from me.  And in other ways, she was pretty brave, and although she hid sometimes, she did some cool stuff, and she found out a lot about who she was and what she wanted.  She taught me to recognize the love of my life when he came across my path, and she never let me get afraid enough to shy away.

So this New Year’s I’m not going to raise a glass to days gone by.  I’m going to toast the future.  2012 is a bright star on the horizon.  The Mayan calendar signals a great world shift in 2012, and they were certainly right for me.  Get me into the New Year so we can celebrate together and start heading towards the rest of our lives.

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Jew-dling, a la Charlotte

I’ve always had a bad habit with guys.  When I like a guy, and I mean the instant I decide I’m attracted to him, one of the first things I do is match his last name to mine.  I have to say that most of the time, I’ve had rather lackluster success, especially with the ex.  Part of it is that my name is a bit old fashioned sounding, I feel, and a bit snooty.  I haven’t met many Americans with it, and I grew up with a lot of bitches in literature with my name.

Of course practically the moment I found out the bf’s name, I matched it with mine.  And let me say, it sounds good.  I wind up sounding like a Jane Austen character.  A nice one.  And even more exciting, my monogram would have *four* C’s.  I’m not usually one for hyphenating; I would rather just take my husband’s last name, but who can resist a monogram with four C’s?  No one has that!  An auspicious sign, I think.

Obviously this all sounds crazy.  I’ve been dating a guy for four months and am already planning my new monogram.  But. I shared this with him not two weeks into our relationship, and he didn’t flinch or even blink.  We have also discussed what our wedding will be like, and how we’ll raise the children.  We’ve projected far into a happy, imagined future.  Clearly we’re crazy together.

Or are we?  Most people would say this is the stuff only for the movies, but maybe, just maybe life turns out to be like a movie sometimes.  But then, I wouldn’t even say it’s like a movie–rom coms are fraught with hyperbolic drama created by unnecessary misunderstandings.  We have none of that.  We understand each other all too well, and this has seemed right from the start.  And let me tell you this–I am not going to become one of those girls who could so simply solve her problems but yet refuses to because she lacks the clarity/ is too stubborn/ can’t do the logical thing because the plot has to advance.  So instead of saying we have a movie romance, perhaps I might say we have a fairy tale sort of romance; love at first sight and a happily ever after.   But that’s problematic because I don’t know any talking animated animals or anthropomorphic candlesticks.  Oh, and also, he most definitely has a personality.  He is not a blank projection of charming.

So maybe all of this is plain real?  Somehow I hardly believe that’s possible, and yet I can’t not believe it.  As much as my brain yells at me that this isn’t real, my heart nods and pretends like it cares but is secretly wondering how exactly brides-to-be make it on “Say Yes to the Dress” and if they’re compensated with wedding dresses.  (Probably not, as the major source of drama from the show seems to come from sticker shock.)

I worry I’m becoming Charlotte.  As I’m sitting here writing a blog about relationships, it’s only natural that Sex and the City should be a touchstone.  Doesn’t every girl who’s mused via  a keyboard fancy herself Carrie Bradshaw?  Except in the relationship arena I’m not Carrie–I’m Charlotte.  I’ve always liked her clothes best.

Like Charlotte, I’ve been dreaming of love my whole like.  Like Charlotte, I misidentified love the first time around and got hurt for it.  Like Charlotte I’ve been scared but hopeful, and I fell in love very hard when I was least expecting it.  But now I’m worried I’ll become too much like Charlotte and get too eager to start the rest of my life.

I was talking with the bf, and he was telling me that he wanted to buy me one more Christmas present, but that he was nervous.  I told him that he shouldn’t be, as I love all presents, but he replied that it wasn’t the gift itself, it was that it came in a small square box that could fit in the palm of your hand.  “And I don’t want you to get the wrong idea,” he said.  Sadly, I totally would have.

I think there’s a dangerous cocktail going on here.   I’m a natural dreamer as evidenced by my mental name changing.  Fortunately it’s still mental–I only toyed around with my new monogram once.  Promise.  Then, because we’re apart so much I naturally project into a future where we can be together.  And lastly, I’ve forced myself to think about the idea of accelerated nuptials, because thanks to the Department of Homeland Security, or the Interior, or whatever it is, that may be the only way we can be together.  You would think dating a foreigner would be nothing but exotic, but the red tape is frankly irritating.

The end result is that I’m actually quite anxious to have a ring on my finger, and that’s where I worry most about being like Charlotte.  There is a notable episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte, having successfully converted to Judaism for Harry decides to cook him an elaborate shabbos dinner and decides to enlist Carrie and Miranda.  Miranda finds ‘Charlotte York-Goldenblatt’ scribbled into the margins of Charlotte’s cookbook. In a voice-over, Carrie pronounces this ‘jew-dling.’  (!  I told you–parallels.)  “Did I miss something?” She asks.  “Did you get engaged?”  Charlotte grows defensive, announcing that she and Harry are meant to be (parallel no. 2).  “I don’t want you to get hurt again,” replies Miranda (parallel no. 3–I was jumping into this before I even met him–though admittedly not going further than name wordplay, and my friends said almost the same words to me.)

All of this is not bad, but Charlotte tips over the edge.  When Harry won’t turn off the Mets game, she loses it and in an escalating fight, winds up screaming “Set the date!  Set the date!”  Needless to say, the conversation does not end well as I don’t think any man would like to be screamed at to propose.  Her: SET THE DATE!  Him: Alright then…how’s the 29th for you?  I could move some meetings…

I wonder how far I am from this, and I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t let myself get too close.  Bad things could happen if I get ahead of myself.  But then…Harry and Charlotte do get back together and live a beautiful life.  In the end, she is prophetic.

So I’m not exactly sure where that leaves me.  Probably embracing anticipation.  I can’t make things happen any sooner–it’s out of my hands, unless I want to propose myself (I don’t–like Charlotte, I’m traditional).  On the one hand, I’ve waited 32 years for even this possibility, so no wonder I’m chomping at the bit.  But on the other, I’ve waited 32 years.  Surely a little longer won’t kill me.  I don’t think, anyway…

Culture Shock

Recently (i.e. for Thanksgiving), the bf came to visit me in New York.  This was a big moment.  It was the first time we saw each other in 85 days, which would have been enough.  But it was also the first time he saw New York from the street level view, not the tourist bus view.  The first time he met my family, and believe me I was far more nervous about what he would think of them than what they would think of him.

We indulge in a lot of future talk, he and I.  We always have, I think in large part because our present is not very interesting, or doesn’t feel very different from being single.  But the thing about our future talk is that it’s all speculation, castles in the air.  Even though we like the idea of projecting into the future, we don’t have any specific answers for the thousands of questions.  So when he said he wanted to live in New York, I was a bit concerned, because he cooked up this cracked out version of New York in which there was a Halal stand outside my house and he would make friends with both the Halal guy and the homeless guy who sat near it, and we would live in a totally spacious apartment in the middle of Manhattan.

I think he was kidding.  Sometimes it’s very hard to tell.

Nevertheless, I really wanted to show him New York as it really is.  This city is not for everyone.  I didn’t always understand this.  When I went to college I assumed people would think it was pretty cool that I was from New York City, but most of them were either disgusted (“New York is so dirty”) or ignorant (“You don’t even know what a tree looks like!”).  I’m very proud to be a New Yawka, but I didn’t know if he would love the city when he saw it beyond Midtown.  I love my family, but they are their own special breed of eclectic.  I wanted my New York to embrace him, but I also wanted him to embrace my New York.

How did it go?  A good question.  We haven’t talked about it too much–sometimes it can be hard to get him to expand on a subject.  I’m used to my best friend, who I can discuss things in minutia with.  So I have to go more on empirical observations here.

He was in awe of New York still.  When we went to the Radio City show we walked down 6th Avenue, and I had to guide him by the hand because he was gawping.  When we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, he snapped pictures the whole way.  But he wasn’t totally tourist driven.  We took an afternoon and walked around Queens, strolled Forest Hills and Metropolitan Avenue.  We stopped at Eddie’s sweet shop.  We ordered Chinese food and he was inordinately pleased that the takeout came in the paper cartons with the pagodas on them.  I was a bit worried he had a quixotic view of New York, but no…I think he just likes it a whole lot.

As my family likes him.  My mom said to me on Thanksgiving “It feels like he’s always been around!”  And I have to say, I agree.  When I was getting the coffee and tea for dessert and washing dishes, he was in the dining room chatting it up happily with everyone.  Even earlier, when we walked in the door and my father seemed to think that the lack of ice at the supermarket was a Shakespearean tragedy, he took it in stride and went with my sister and her fiance to get some at the deli.  We went out for drinks with my friends, and they were finishing each other’s sentences.  My friend Lisa actually got the “Clever girl” punchline that is behind his theory on why you should name a girl child Velociraptor before he even said it.

In short, from outside observation it went scarily well.   I wonder at this relationship sometimes, because it’s like my mom said.  He seems to have always been around.  And so, I suppose the only logical conclusion is that there’s a place here in Queens, waiting for him.