My Funny Valentine…

Ah, long term relationships…

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 3.39.53 PM

Derek Springsteen

Maybe it’s time for a bigger apartment? (In NYC definitely)

Happy day people…  if you are newly coupled, maybe revel in the fact that falling in love with love is one of the best feelings in all of existence… like that moment right after you sneeze–except longer.

serge&jane

If you’ve recently had your heart pummeled, take comfort in the fact that at least you were reminded of what it feels like to love and maybe… if the person was a really good person, maybe you can tell him or her “Hey… it was an honor to have my heart broken by you.” Chances are… they’ll feel like total garbage but you will have taken the high road if you really mean it. Otherwise, it’s passive aggressive like crazy. I think this may actually be the New York thing to do.

If you are just going along… then go along… and perhaps someday, if you want, you too will see someone poop.

All my love – gg

Still dirty, still perplexed…

Going outside kind of sucks right now. It’s total icy badness in the streets.

fence10

cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

This was me the other day. Right as I was falling, I started laughing and everyone around me turned to help, but then they started laughing too and boom!… Epic banana peel.

When you have crappy-ish little NYC moments like these, it’s important to reach back and remember why you love this city. I have always been obsessed with movies about people who are just arriving in NYC and trying to make their way. There are heaps of them: When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Devil Wears Prada-ish, Coming to America and The Out of Towners, to name a few (although the woman in Out of Towners is so crazy-shrill, she makes me want to gouge both my ears out with a white hot fire poker…that’s how much I can’t stand her).

My newest favorite moving-to-NYC movie is a little known flick called: Casse-tete chinois (Chinese Puzzle) about a writer-guy in Paris whose girlfriend up and leaves him for New York (with their children). Needless to say… he sublets his amazing Rue Du Bac apartment and hightails it to the apple.

I love this movie for a wild and wide variety of reasons…

1) the guy’s a really good dad–not cliche good– but good for reals.

2) he ends up living in an uber-shitty apartment in Chinatown with no furniture, and it doesn’t bother him one bit. He knows why he’s there. (the chitlins!)

3) he is obsessed with how complicated everything seems, which only makes for more mayhem.

4) he has imaginary conversations with Schopenhauer and Hegel, and he actually understands them. This totally blows my skirt up.

5) the last thing I love… is Audrey Tautou’s character. She only sees things as simple. Even when people are wetting their pants to tell her that things are not, she shrugs them off and makes one of those little Frenchy faces that says, “Beh, oui…but what can you do?” I identify with that girl… I’ve spent decades, since the time that I was a neurotic 7 year old, thinking everything was a mess. Now, I too shrug 🙂

So, if you need a quality flick to distract yourself while you are stuck inside because you no longer trust your gross motor skills when it comes to ice, Casse-tete chinois is a charming diversion.

I also think that when you are housebound… like when we all were when dealing with Junot (the sassy pregnant teenager of storms)… what better time to cook something completely fancy and impossible?

My latest idea came from Central Park. It’s squab stuffed with foie Gras and wrapped in prosciutto. I know… I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, squab? Isn’t that pigeon?” Yes, it is and it’s delicious. Besides pigeons are so damn dumb, Darwin would agree, they pretty much deserve to be eaten.

I’ll spare you the encyclopedic recipe. Suffice it to say, there is something gratifying about standing around your kitchen doing silly chopping tasks while doing your best impersonation of Julia Child and sipping a lovely glass of red, that just makes things right with the world. You may be asking… how the heck do you find squab, foie gras and prosciutto during a storm? Hellooo, it’s New York…the fine people at Zabars will gladly deliver these items fresh to your door. Only last week, my girlfriend Alisa and I actually bought prosciutto at Duane Reade in Soho, during a blizzard at 2am–they are open 24 hours and you never know when you are about to have a pork crisis.

Last, but not least… if you have watched every “meh” movie on Netflix and it’s still too slippery to brave the great outdoors, try getting your blood boiling with this wise little tome, What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justifies the Meanness.

Z

This book should be required reading for anyone moving here… Even if you are not trying to hold your own in a toxic work or home environment, you’ll still laugh your guts out. For me, it was particularly helpful as I am waaaaaay too nice, and it never fails to screw me…  with work, with boys, with my editor…  I need to be more of a rascal. So, while it’s practically zero out… now is the perfect time to brush up on my ruthlessness. It’s the ideal time to practice saying things like Linda Wachner, CEO of Warnaco, would say to her VPs… “You’re eunuchs. How can your wives stand you?”  or also… “You can either eat lunch or be lunch… I’ll have you on rye with a gallon of Russian dressing…”

I know I have it in me… 🙂 XOXO – gg

A Prescription for the Winter Cray-Cray’s

Snow-mageddon starting to make you feel a little like The Shining?

wolf

Cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

I’m right there with you. Here’s a plan to get un-crazy during the winter of your discontent…

Speak Easy.  No, I’m not talking about slurring your words. I’m talking about the speakeasy bars of yore. Those special underground, secret places where only the trusted were allowed entry.

Nowadays, there are many in Manhattan, but my favorite is The ship.

the-ship-nyc-booth1-1

One thing I love about The Ship (besides the fact that you could walk by its simple black door a thousand times and never notice it’s there) is the people. By and large, they are smart, funny and perfectly imperfect. All desirable traits in a boy or a girl because at a certain age, you no longer want a sweetie with washboard abs or granite booties. Instead, you want things proportional–a sort of mutual decay you can both tolerate and rely on. The Ship has these people. Duck in (literally) after work for a Manhattan. Linger for only one–as you will soon be sailing on.

(And even if you don’t live in NYC, every town always has some place special like the above)

We’ll always have Paris.  Next stop, Balthazar, the Frenchiest of French bistros. Have the oysters, straight off a mountain of shaved ice, accompanied by a  glass of Montrachet. If Montrachet is not an option, go for a Sancerre. Then… time for a Beef Cleanse. You heard me right. Order the fabulous, mostly microbe-free Steak Tartare–sculpted uncooked hamburger with a raw egg on top. Sounds gross. SO delish. Follow this with the Steak Frites and live it up–go rare. None of this medium well garbage. Pair it all with a deep red and belt out some UB40. You know the song I’m talking about 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 1.04.39 PM

You Sexy Mothertrucker. At this point, you want to fall sleepily into a cab and make for Arthur’s Tavern–a dive jazz funk-ish bar on/or around Grove Street. Don’t expect Coltrane or Django. Instead, request Prince’s classic–Sexy MF. Ignore the “No Dancing”  sign and get up and grind with a stranger. Your face will ache from smiling so much. No more than one 7 and 7 though… or you will be anyone’s and this is never a good idea.

The Ultimate Hangover-Before-You-Have-a-Hangover Remedy. Celebrate the fact that any week can be National Poutine Week. Partake of this wonderful Canadian dish made up of French fries, gravy and squeaky cheese curds. For this one, Uber it to Brookyln to The Mile End Deli. You’ll thank me later…

jpeg_quality=60;crop

Next Uber it back to Gotham–either with a loved one, or trust your gut and go solo. Again, you’ll thank me.

Morning Sunshine. The next day sometime around 11 am, stumble out your door and, for a brief moment, let yourself be cold. Then go see something beautiful like this… and kiss the winter cray-cray’s goodbye.  XOXO – gg

.Central Park Winter -  Romeo and Juliet in the Snow - New York City

Last Exit to Brooklyn…

 They say New York hardens you. This week I’ve had to be like this…

adpost4

Cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

It’s not just work… it’s also the dismal slide into winter. The pristine white snow has morphed into brown sludge puddles, and so have New Yorkers. Everywhere people grouse and growl… On the streets, in the stores… Witness a beleaguered 60 year old guy this morning as he hobbled in through the “out” door of Gristedes, his glasses frozen beneath one of those Russian fur hats…

“Yo, Vince!” a cashier calls out. “How you doin’ today?”

“Eh…” Vince sighs listlessly. “Good… but it’s still early.”

Yes, at the end of a “bring it” week… all you want (besides a big glass of red) are 2 things:

1) to make like Lena Dunham and take off your pants. (By the way, this resolution is really working out well for me now that the neighbors have adjusted. It appears they don’t like pants either. We have a sort of “don’t ask… don’t tell” thing going)

2) You want to disappear into your hood like a nondescript undercover agent in the tumult of a Moroccan street bazaar. You want to melt into it like butter into mac and cheese and just be.

As a rule, all New Yorkers, no matter where they live, make a religion out of their neighborhood.

After all, everything you want is right there: the dry cleaner who dispenses critical life wisdom, the bipolar Korean deli lady who changes the prices every few hours, the used bookstore where almost everything is a dollar, the coffee place that isn’t Starbucks, The street meat guy who swears like Yosemite Sam as he cooks, and the crazy neighbors (like below) who refuse to take down their Christmas lights until March…

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.17.44 PM

Everything you need is within a 3 block radius, and if you don’t feel like going out to get it, someone will bring it to you–at any hour, on any day. This, your hood, is your religion and contrary to what those old farts in REM say, you are not losing it. No way.

Still… It’s not to say that your religion can’t change over time. Before the upper west side, my religion was Brooklyn.

Yes even I, the anti-juicer, co-existed amongst rooftop gardeners, chickeneers and sustainability consultants. It was an amazing space… 2nd floor (center building), 1500 square feet, 20 foot ceilings, a working fireplace and an overgrown garden. Back then, real estate was my porn…

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 11.06.56 PM

Best of all, Brooklyn felt like a real escape.

But then, things changed. It started with the mothers…

Menace 31

Cartoon by the amazing Aliie Brosh

All at once, they’d taken over… these judgie women with SUV-sized strollers and bad hair, who all seemed to micromanage their children like summer interns–the unpaid kind. They were bitter and had an unnatural vigilance about things like gluten, sugar and being chronically over prepared…

Just an aside, you should know that I am never prepared… I’m a mess and I like it that way. I lose everything. Last week, I lost a whole round of Camembert in my apartment. I’m completely disorganized and so my solution is to carry my whole life (and my shoes) around in a big Louis Vuitton bag–just hoping that I’ve got everything I need. I love gluten, and sugar was pretty much the best part of my childhood–along with Christmas and eating paste.

So, the mothers were rough. But then, to make matters worse… these guys showed up…

hipster2

Cartoon by the amazing Aliie Brosh

… guys dressed like 19th century farmers, who were actually affinity marketers and socially responsible day traders. Of course, none of them would ever cop to being a hipster… It was like Fight Club. The first rule of Hipster club: Never talk about Hipster club. You’d point out their skinny-ish pants, closely trimmed beards, work boots, not to mention their extensive collections of vinyl and the fact that they all rode bikes like these…

800px-Old_school_truss_frame

But they weren’t saying anything. And, like the mothers, the hipster apocalypse came with its own brand of smug, self-righteousness with people saying things like,  “I bet I recycle more than you do…” or “You ate factory-raised chicken?” or “I can just tell by looking at you that my body mass index ratio is superior to yours…” Body mass what?

Suddenly, my religion that was Brooklyn had become a cult. Frantic, I looked around like a bewildered follower who has just had her big come-to-the antichrist moment. I had to get out. My excruciating fear of mothers and hipsters had become paralyzing. Disappearing into my hood after a “bring it” week was no longer possible. I needed to get back to Gotham… and I did.

Fast forward to 8 years later… and I’m at a friend’s loft in Williamsburg…

Brooklyn Loft_01

We slip out to grab a bite … and as we’re walking down the street, I realize something’s changed and it’s not me. It’s not like all of a sudden I’ve blossomed into coolness. (Trust me when I tell you that I will be a Liz Lemon-style dork until the very end) No, it was more like, while Brooklyn had definitely become more gentrified, it had also stopped declaring itself… The cult had become a community. No one was running me down with a stroller. No one was lecturing me on the merits of wheat grass. It was as if Brooklyn were Scientology (praise Xenu) and it had taken a giant chill pill, excommunicated Tom Cruise and ditched the bulk of its own dogma. It felt simple… again 🙂

But who knew? And who knows? Maybe someday, when I’ve shacked up with some poor fellow, Brooklyn will be my last exit.

For now… Bring it f*ckers… I’ll be in Manhattan.

xoxo – gg

The writer, the thief, his lover and her stand-in

I’m done.

I’ve just finished a TV script. 57 pages of banter and creepy plot twists–set partly in NYC.

To echo another writer I admire…It was really, really, really hard. And way less glam than I thought it would be. But it’s done.

The net effect of this, however, is that after spending whole swaths of my day for 3 months in an abstract world of imaginary David Lynch types, I find I really, really appreciate the smaller, more concrete things:

fish24

cartoon by the amazing allie brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

It’s also turned me into a complete chatterbox–across all media platforms.

For those of you who know me, I’m a little distractible. If there’s a TV on or something streaming in the nearby vicinity… I’m all, “Ooooh, what’s that????” I’ll write about 3 lines.

If left to my own devices without people or TV or other fun things, I can write the whole Oxford English Dictionary without even blinking. It’s not that I’m Proust and need some silly cork-lined room in which to work, it’s that New York City, for me, is like a GIANT TV with loads of dramas, comedies and annoying commercials. So, invariably, when I have to write, I end up telling people things like…

195cj34lsfwdkpng

cartoon by the amazing allie brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

But, now that I’m done, I’m a total chatty Cathy. I missed people. I feel like a gnat though. Really annoying… zinging and buzzing incessantly around my friends’ heads, unswat-able and tickling. And I’ve finally caught up with my inbox, I’ve set the world texting record for mindless quips, and my linkedin profile is on the verge of reflecting the epic saga that is my professional life.

I’ve also realized that I’ve let a few things go and am starting to resemble Ted Kazcynski (AKA the Unabomber) –but with serious Sasquatch eyebrows.

hqdefault

So, a little glamifiction is in order to regain my humanity. Just a note: this has become substantially harder since I turned 40… I used to have a nice freckly goldeny look a la Sienna Miller, whom I ran into in Cannes a million years ago… Those moments always go like this…

“Wow, you look like me!”

“No, you look like me!”

“Yes, but everybody in the world knows me… so you look like me.”

“True. So weird…We’re doppelgangsters…”

“Except you have more of a forehead, which I like…”

“See… I like your forehead better…”

Gone are the days. Still, it is nice and convenient when you are feeling like Ted Kaczynski (pasty, malnourished, everything gone slack and too much hair everywhere) to have someone lovely who can play your stand-in.

look_pretty

cartoon by the amazing allie brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

The bread cleanse has helped somewhat.

Thank god New York makes it easy to do these kinds of repairs. Most “girl” things (hair stylist, brow lady, yoga, etc.) exist within a few blocks of wherever you live. Tonight, some girlfriends are treating me to this beautiful cheapo spa that also doubles as a Korean Karaoke bar.

Another concept alive and well in Gotham (that also aids in these repairs) is the notion of “Girl Fridge” This is the phenomenon whereby a single girl’s refrigerator is stocked with only the following: yogurts, baby carrots, as much champs as you want (Veuve Clicquot) and those chillable eye masks. That’s it. This is a great thing in that it forces a writer like myself to get out to see her friends, but then instills a little the discipline, keeping you from snacking on Funions all day when home alone…

Ah girl fridge… but now I just realized I want tacos so bad… These things always come full circle, don’t they?

XOXO – gg

A Guide for the Perplexed and Dirty: 5 things to do if you are sad…

I’m not sure how it happened… maybe it’s that I’m completely naive or just living a life of unparalleled denial… but I’m mostly a very happy person… I’m serious.  Even when things are really bad, I’m pretty much like this:

url

cartoon by the amazing allie brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

It’s true that daily life (and New York) can wear on a girl, but whether it’s missing a flight, or an epic subway fail, or being accosted an angsty Elmo on the way to work, or that Marvin (my drag queen trainer) keeps telling me I’m still fat, or that I accidentally washed and dried all of my sweaters on the super-crazy-hot setting, so that I can never wear any of them again… I’m pretty chin up.

Chin down would mean staring, full frontal, into the abyss and I’m a writer. We’re already maudlin enough… Between Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and David Foster Wallace…  writers are a grim lot and not usually featured in the above cartoon.

But WHAT do you do when you’ve messed something up so bad that you are like this?

fence6mudalt

cartoon by the amazing allie brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

Perplexed, despondent, muddy… that’s me right now. (To add insult to injury, it’s also really cold tonight. As I write this… I’m in bed wearing a ski hat and fingerless mittens. Go sexy)

But back to dirt and despair… There was a great post a while back on the blog The Girl in the Little Black Dress called “100 things to do if you’re sad.” Excerpting, borrowing and adding my own little bits… here are 5 that the “me” in my inner Amelie have tried…

1. Let them eat cake. Go out to dinner with your friends (or friend, don’t be picky). Midway through the dinner, sneak back to the kitchen and tell them it’s your friend’s birthday (even though it’s not) and could they please do something involving cake? When it all goes down with the candles and singing, your friend will laugh his/her guts out and feel completely marvelous. My friends have had so many “birthdays” this way. And if, for some reason, your friend doesn’t appreciate the gesture, then cross that wet blanket off your Christmas card list. Jeeze.

2.  Vive la France.  Watch a French movie….Amelie, Populaire (both on Netflix) or May Fools (on Hulu). Amelie will remind you that cracking the top of creme brulee is the best thing ever, that people’s faces are more beautiful and true in the dark, and that the feeling you have right after you sneeze is amazing. If you don’t have the patience for the film, you can always just watch the motorcycle scene at the end… Remember when you last did that? I do…

With Populaire between the gorgeously designed opening titles, the pink typewriters that don’t work and Romain Duris transforming from pissy little asshole to a genuinely sweet person, you can’t help but feel more chin-up about whatever is bothering you. (GLBD)

In May Fools, it’s like a holiday in the south of France with a quirky family that you’ll want as your own, along with the old manoir they are skirmishing over. Spoiler alert… real estate is my porn…

3. Time Travel. Look up the time in another country. Any country… It could be Borneo, Paris or Peru…anywhere. Think about what the sky looks like there. Are the people eating breakfast? Is it dark enough for skinny dipping? Is everyone asleep except for people working the night shift in hospitals and heavy-lidded people in love?

4. Get Between the Sheets. Take a set of clean sheets (or just wash your sheets, why don’t you) and put them on high heat in the dryer (just like the sweaters). When done, quickly make your bed, take off all of your clothes and climb in with the sheets pulled up to your chin. You may not have fixed anything in your life, but you will feel instantly better.

5. Run Wild. Go to your nearest park (preferably Central Park), sit on a bench and quietly make fun of all/most of the runners passing by for about 20 minutes. Then, pick the goofiest one you saw and go run exactly like that person for a hundred yards or more. Screw what other people think. It’s New York. Anyone who is interesting at all is “at one” with their weirdness. You will be so surprised at how liberating it is to be a beautiful, full blown spaz. You will definitely want to do this more than once–in your apartment and with friends. You’ll see. Being a goofball is strangely addictive…

In the meantime, for the perplexed, the despondent and the dirty… it may seem discouraging, but sometimes there is no fixing… only distracting…

xoxo-gg

Doppelgangsters

Ok, I’m pretty sure I just saw Jon Stewart running in Central Park.

He runs so gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). He just reminds me that the next time I go running, I should practice in front of a mirror first.

imgres

They say Manhattan is a city of doppelgängers. I swear I’ve seen Camille at least three times since I’ve been here. And the other day, I was walking up Broadway from Trader Joe’s and who do I see? This guy:

Unknown-1

Jonah Hill.

He’s on his mobile in the middle of the street and he’s yelling, “I can’t believe you! You can’t take any fucking constructive criticism! You always have to fly off the handle! I can’t fucking believe you…”

And yesterday, I was standing on the corner and who do I see? My DAD. I was getting my coffee and there he was. I had a total nutty. I couldn’t breathe. I started to shake. Oh jesus… what is he doing here? Oh no… (dread) what if he sees my apartment? He’s going to think I still live like a grad student. (and he would be right). See below:

photo 2

(I am too short to reach the top shelves)

He’s going to try to buy me furniture… except it won’t be the furniture I want. It’ll be a barcalounger or something of that ilk. And I won’t be able to adequately explain that I have made a vowa solemn vow to only buy artful, authentic pieces that I love (even if I can’t afford them, even if I am not a Rockefeller–I’ll wait. I will wait for the genuine article).

Alas, it was just a dude… aye. Thank god this is still a city of doppelgangsters.

xoxo – gg