Category: Sex and The City


Book Rave: Otherhood

April 7th, 2014 — 10:09pm

Otherhood If you’re a single woman over the age of 35, it’s the question you’re asked more than any other—why are you still single?

In her poignant new memoir , Melanie Notkin writes about those of us on the receiving end of that question. And how, despite the fact that nearly half of all American women of childbearing age (married or not) do not have children of their own, we are often treated as an anomaly.

“The independent, childless woman does not feel like a qualified member of the social order,” Notkin writes, “But rather is made to feel hopeless, hapless and just plain old less than everyone else.”

As the fortysomething Founder powerfully articulates, women of the Otherhood are scrutinized for their choices — and continually a target for unsolicited (albeit well-intentioned) advice. In sharing her experiences and those of other women at this crossroads, Notkin provides a long overdue voice to this growing demographic.  Along the way, she reveals a persistent gender-based double standard when it comes to expectations of settling down.

How much has been written over the years about Jennifer Aniston (pre-Justin) painting her as lonely and one step away from spinsterhood? Interestingly, no media outlet has portrayed the also unmarried George Clooney as worthy of sympathy or, for that matter, needing to change his dating style.

But when you’re a woman of a certain age, it seems like just about everyone  has an opinion about why you are ‘still’ single and childless — and what you should do about it.

This unsolicited advice comes from both loved ones and strangers alike. Notkin encounters a potential business partner who doesn’t hesitate to tell her within minutes of meeting him what she needs to do if she wants to become a mother. I had a similar experience when my boss’s boss overheard me mentioning a recent date.

“You better hurry up and meet someone before your eggs dry up,” he said bluntly.

As if I needed reminding of that. There’s no shortage of media and pop culture warnings for women that our fertility has an expiration date. Or, for that matter, assumptions about why you’re childless.

“If you wanted to have children,” a friend’s wife insisted, “You would have by now.”

In Otherhood, Notkin talks about this tendency to blame single, childless women for being too picky, too career focused, etc. We are often lumped into one of two categories: single by choice, living a Sex And The City lifestyle, or miserable and desperate to find a mate.

As Notkin observes, the reality for most of us isn’t so black and white. We are living full, productive lives. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want someone to share it all with, or that we haven’t tried to find a mate.

Otherhood beautifully articulates this often misunderstood journey. It gives the single, childless women hope and encouragement by reminding us – we’re in very good company.

| being single in your thirties, biological clock, book reviews, Sex and The City

Celebrating The Big 4-0

January 22nd, 2014 — 4:01pm

There are some milestones in life you can’t help but celebrate with great fanfare and reflection. The big 4-0 is one of them—and it’s been a celebration even sweeter than I could have imagined.

The festivities began over a week ago, during a lively dinner with my fellow turning 40 galpal Bobbi and several of our friends. We enjoyed a delicious three-course meal and dancing at sprawling Meatpacking District hotspot Manon.

Birthday Girls: Bobbi and me

Birthday Girls: Bobbi and me

This past weekend, I continued the fun with family. My brothers and sisters-in-law came in from Dover and Boston respectively, joining my sister, aunt and cousins for a very special meal at .

Best brothers in the world: (from left) Ray, me and Steve

Best brothers in the world: (from left) Ray, me and Steve

There’s good reason why Il Cantinori has such a storied reputation (and, natch, was the location for Carrie’s 35th birthday non-dinner on Sex And The City). We were well taken care of in a private room downstairs, which was beautifully adorned with flowers and candlelight. The ambience, food and service were all fantastic. But the best part for me was being surrounding by the people I love most.

There was something magical in the air that reminded me of the many happy family occasions we were so blessed to have when my parents were still with us. Though I will miss them forever, on this night my heart felt nothing but joy and gratitude.

After dinner, I joined my cousins at for 80’s cover band Jessie’s Girl’s first gig in their new home (the awesome closed a few weeks ago, *sigh*).

Family Bonding: Me and my cousins (from left) Carla, Dana and Alexandra

Family Bonding: Me and my cousins (from left) Carla, Dana and Alexandra

As always, they rocked it out, this time with an assist from American Idol and “Rock of Ages” alum Constantine Maroulis.

Constantine wowed the crowd

Constantine wowed the crowd

Yesterday, my actual birthday, was quieter but equally wonderful. After a delightful lunch with good friend Vicky at Midtown bistro Gente, I pampered myself with a massage at Bliss 49. The evening was spent with my beloved cousin and soul sister Alexandra, enjoying dinner at Baraonda on the UES (yes, I can never get enough Italian food!) followed by drinks nearby at Bounce.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

During my massage, the therapist and I talked about turning 40. Now 45, she shared some of the wisdom and growth that has come to her in this decade. At the top of the list — feeling completely comfortable in her own skin. It’s a sentiment similar to what I’ve heard from many of the fabulous fortysomething women I’m so fortunate to know.

Nurturing that self-assuredness is one of my goals for this milestone year and decade. I feel like I’m beginning an exciting new chapter in my life. And I’m so thankful to have wonderful family and friends to share it with.

40 and fabulous indeed!

| 80's cover band, 80's music, family bonding, family reunion, Il Cantinori, Jessie's Girl, Le Poisson Rouge, Sex and The City, turning 40

A Perfect Saturday With A Dear Friend

March 6th, 2013 — 8:21pm

Saturday, I spent the day with my dear London-based friend of nearly twenty years, Steve.

Our fantastic afternoon began at my day job, The Westin New York Grand Central. After giving Steve a brief tour, we settled into the cozy lounge and dining area of THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen.

THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen's cozy dining area

While indulging in mimosas and hot chocolate — an odd combination that managed to go perfectly together — we caught up on all that’s happened since we last saw each other in August.

Steve told me about how and he his partner celebrated ten years together with an English countryside getaway. I shared some recent dating disasters, including a guy who suddenly launched into x-rated talk on date #2 and couldn’t fathom why I wasn’t swooning. Much as I enjoyed the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, a second date is a little too soon to go there, if you know what I mean.

After a leisurely stroll through Grand Central Terminal and some shopping, we stopped at Panera Bread. I’m a big fan of the chain and it only recently opened this one location in Manhattan, so I was excited to visit. Much to our great surprise and delight, Panera’s cinnamon scone was delicious. I say this because scones on this side of the pond tend to be a poor imitation of their British counterparts.

Steve and me at Barbounia

From there, we headed down to Gramercy for dinner at Barbounia, an upscale Greek restaurant with a trendy yet inviting vibe. We shared a few small plates (falafel, burrata with artichokes, hummus, tzatziki and spicy feta) and continued our effortless conversation — talking about everything from why Adele rocks to misconceptions about singlehood.

Steve agreed that it’s often one extreme or the other when it comes to partnered up people’s assumptions about the unattached: that our lives are either just like Sex And The City, or we’re curled up in a ball on our couches, pining away for a significant other. The reality is that, much like relationships, singlehood has its ups and downs. It’s not all good or all bad.

What is most definitely all good — a friendship that only grows and deepens with time. Steve said that, nearly two decades later, ours is still evergreen. I couldn’t agree with him more.

| being single in your thirties, catching up with old friends, Sex and The City, Westin New York Grand Central

My TV Makeover Disaster: Part Two

July 11th, 2012 — 9:53pm

As I mentioned the other day, my makeover experience at ABC’s The Revolution only confirmed why this show was cancelled.

My long afternoon continued with a second trip downstairs to the wardrobe department, where Tim Gunn and the show’s in-house stylist – a brassy redhead who could be Sex And The City costume designer Patricia Field’s doppelganger — are waiting with a number of different outfits for me try on.

After squeezing into a body shaper, I start to relax a little and enjoy playing dress up with Tim’s expert guidance. Until I have to test drive some shoes. The first pair is way too high and uncomfortable. When I say as much, Ms. Pat Fields Wannabe snaps—

“Well, they’re your size.”

Um…but I can’t walk in them!! I manage to say as much (without exclamation points) and settle on a black but manageable pair of peep toe pumps. Having chosen a fun, flirty outfit – a cream and rose colored shift dress topped off with a cardigan, very Mad Men – I return to the dressing room.

At last, all the hurry up and waiting is over and the time comes for the celebrity stylist to work his magic. I’m thinking there will at least be some dialogue about what he’s going to do. Instead, he’s instructed by a producer that a network honcho is in the audience and wants to see a “dramatic difference.”

“Don’t worry – it will be dramatic.”

Forcing a smile with Tim Gunn after the taping

And with that, he starts quickly coloring and cutting. I feel myself tense up as several inches and layers of hair fall to the ground. Even Tim Gunn noticed my reaction, squeezing my hand and asking if I was doing okay. Considering there was a camera in front of my face, I lied and said yes.

In all fairness to the celebrity stylist – with whom I quickly bonded because he’s got a big, effervescent personality – he didn’t give me a bad haircut per se. It just wasn’t a haircut that felt at all like me.

Somehow, I managed to fake enthusiasm when the time came for my big . Applause from the audience helped, as did my hope that I could squeeze in a mention for SingleGalNYC.com (the show’s theme, after all, was dating).  But Tim cut me off before that could happen.
 
Finally – six hours after I arrived – the taping is over. I barely have a moment to steal a picture with Tim, before a producer appears and escorts me quickly back to the wardrobe department.

Why? So I could return the clothes, shoes and jewelry. Yes, that’s right. A national program aired by ABC-TV, in which Macy’s was prominently featured as a sponsor, couldn’t afford to treat a makeover guest to some new threads. My consolation prize? A $50 AmEx gift card.  Small comfort after giving six hours of my time to end up with a haircut I hated.

Needless to say, I’m a little more skeptical now when I watch on-camera makeover segments. I wonder what the guests are really thinking of their new look. More than that, though, I wonder – do they get to keep the clothes??

| Patricia Field, Sex and The City

Catching Up With The Founder Of 3Six5Dates.com

May 17th, 2012 — 1:52pm

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting founder Shelli Trung. Though Shelli and I connected awhile back, this was our first time catching up in person since Shelli is born and bred in Melbourne, Australia.

3six5dates.com's Shelli Trung and me

Over a cozy lunch at Cinema Café in Midtown, Shelli shared her inspiration for creating the website – Sex And The City. Once the beloved series ended, Shelli felt there was a void when it came to programming that talked honestly about women’s dating lives. 3Six5Dates.com is a fascinating, fun website that chronicles a year in the dating life of women based in some of the world’s greatest cities – New York, London, Shanghai and Sydney. The site is one of Shelli’s many ventures. A petite powerhouse of energy, she also dabbles in real estate and marketing so I’m not surprised she was named one of Australia’s top 10 ten female startup entrepreneurs.

The conversation flowed freely as we talked about following your bliss and how dating far outside your zip code opens you up to unexpected experiences. Shelli says Aussie men tend to be laidback about dating but quick to commit – a far cry from what she’s discovering about American guys.  We also got onto the subject of Australia’s knack for work-life balance and I filled Shelli in on how much I loved living in Sydney briefly ten years ago.  What’s not to love about a city situated alongside a gorgeous harbor with beautiful weather and friendly people who know how to live a good life?

Talking to Shelli reminded me why I have such affection for Australia and its people. And why, when you’re a single gal in any city, you’re part of a great, global sisterhood. Shelli and I are already planning a girls night out for her next visit, so stay tuned!

| Australia, Australian men, dating, dating websites, Sex and The City

Girls Night Out: Gramercy

January 28th, 2012 — 8:05pm

Last night, I headed down to Gramercy for a girls night out with my friend Bobbi and four of her galpals.

The Hurricane Club: Our corner banquette (pictured back left here) offered a perfect view of the SATC-esque crowd

Our first stop — the Hurricane Club, a swanky Asian fusion restaurant with high ceilings, huge potted plants and a Casablanca meets Sex And The City vibe. As I took in the perfectly coiffed, fashionista and GQ-heavy crowd, we enjoyed the exotic flavors for which this place is known (sangria garnished with lychee and flowers, PB and guava “J” with thai basil, cashew chicken).

After a sinfully decadent dessert of chocolate devils food cake with a carmelized banana slice, we walked a few blocks north to the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue. Like its equally trendy SoHo sibling, the newer Gansevoort has become a place to see and be seen. Velvet ropes, guest lists, bouncers with attitude — you get the idea.

Fortunately, though we weren’t on any guest list, Bobbi managed to work her charm and the fact that we were a group of six women to get us inside after only a 15 minute wait. Much as I feared, what we found at the hotel’s rooftop bar wasn’t my idea of a good time — loud, thumping music and an overcrowded scene.

Call me a party pooper, but all the allure of floor to ceiling windows, plush couches and low lightings dims pretty quickly when you’re constantly getting jostled.

Sensing my lack of enthusiasm, Bobbi read my mind when she said–

“We’re getting too old for this.”

Amen to that.

And so, one quick non-alcoholic drink later, I said goodnight and stepped onto the elevator — whereupon I found myself standing across from a cute, salt and pepper haired guy. He smiled at me, quickly introduced himself and before I knew it, we were sitting in the lobby exchanging tales of travel and creative inspirations.

It turned out he was celebrating a friend’s birthday. I was ready to head home anyway, so we exited together — and he gallantly walked me to a taxi.

I was still smiling as the cab pulled up in front of my building. For the first time in a long time, new york had surprised me in a good way. Like my often exasperating, never let up hometown was telling this single gal — hang in there, you never know what’s right around the corner.

I just love it when that happens.

| Girls Night Out, Gramercy bars, rooftop bars, Sex and The City

Girls Night Out With Schick Quattro For Women

January 16th, 2012 — 8:07pm

What does your choice of razor say about your dating style? According to the folks at Schick Quattro For Women, quite a bit.

To celebrate the launch of its newest Quattro razor, the brand has created a Facebook quiz — What’s Your Dating Trim style? Answer a series of questions to find out whether you’re foxy, classic, spontaneous, planned, etc. Now through February 29, fans of Schick Quattro For Women’s who take the quiz will receive a $1 coupon for the brand’s TrimStyle razor.

Schick unveiled the promotion during a recent girls night out event at NYC’s Bryant Park hotel.

Flirty cocktails at the event highlighted the different Dating Trim Style types

Guests also got a sneak preview of the new web series that Schick is sponsoring, The witty, entertaining show (from the producers of Gossip Girl) has a clever premise — what if you could get advice now from your future self? — and a twentysomething cast with all the sass and charm of Sex and the City ‘s ladies. Definitely worth watching.

The evening’s featured speaker, dating expert Andrea Syrtash, author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s A Good Thing) shared some advice. When it comes to first dates, Syrtash advises– 

“Be your vacation self — be present and don’t overanalyze. Ask yourself, ‘Am I having fun with this person? Am I curious to know more?'”

 Andrea’s other top tips for giving your love life a makeover this year:

  • Take risks and get outside your comfort zone
  • You can’t have intimacy without vulnerability
  • Surround yourself with people who bring out your best
  • Be passionate and love your life

“Relationships are hard work — dating should be fun,” Syrtash says. 

Agreed. How do you plan to add more fun to your dating life in 2012?

| Andrea Syrtash, Bryant Park Hotel, dating advice, Facebook, Girls Night Out, Sex and The City

Girls Night Out: Midtown

November 8th, 2011 — 9:18pm

Friday, I headed over to Redemption bar in Midtown for a girls night out with my friend Natalie.

We hadn’t seen each other in a few months, so we had a lot to catch up on — new jobs, old favorites when it comes to home cooking and, of course, dating in NYC.

Over cocktails and shared appetizers (tuna tartar tacos, sweet potato fries), I told Natalie about my recent reconnecting with an old flame from 14 hours ago. Now divorced with six kids, he went from reaching out on Facebook, to writing me twice a week, to calling me five times in one day.

I’m all for demonstrating interest, but experience has taught me there is such a thing as too much too soon. And I’ve learned that kind of timetable usually spells disaster, so I snuffed out said old flame — and felt pretty damn good about doing it.

Natalie had a few stories of her own to share. One about the twentysomething guy she met in a bar who entertains at kids parties on weekends. When Natalie asked how he spends the rest of his time, he said–

“Reading comic books and getting high.”

Yes, we both talked about that Sex And The City episode in which Carrie finds herself going out with just such a guy. When you’re single in NYC, truth is definitely at least as strange as fiction – if not more.

| Carrie Bradshaw, Girls Night Out, Midtown NYC, Sex and The City

Questioning How Many Times Cupid Comes Calling

September 14th, 2011 — 9:11pm

During a recent trip to the movies, I saw a trailer for the upcoming Anna Faris flick, “What’s Your Number?” The film’s premise got me thinking once again — do you get a limited number of chances for finding love?

Anna Faris muses about recycling exes in this EXCLUSIVE clip

Faris’ character begins to think so, after reading an article that says you’re out of luck if you’ve had 20 or more relationships. Of course, she’s hardly the first pop culture character to voice this anxiety. Remember that Sex And The City episode where Charlotte tells Carrie women only get two great loves?

By that standard, I’m in trouble. But even though I’m safely under the 20 threshhold (assuming, that is, that relationships of less than three months duration don’t count), I can’t help questioning the odds now that I’m closer to 40 than 30. Especially when I’ve already recycled the exes worth recycling, and the opportunities to connect seem fleeting at best, in a city where the dating equivalent of ADD runs rampant.

Recent cases in point, courtesy of OkCupid.com: a Connecticut-based bachelor who immediately gave me his number, proceeded to call me twice and then disappear; a fellow Upper East Sider who called and texted multiple times while out of town, suggested dinner upon his return, then also pulled a vanishing act.

Though these kinds of things are par for the course with online dating, I can’t help wondering if there is indeed an expiration date on getting to happily ever after. If you turn Cupid down enough times for one reason or another, does he eventually make like an ex-boyfriend and move on?

I’m guessing “What’s Your Number?” has an optimistic answer to that question. In the meantime, or on the above link for an exclusive and hilarious clip of Anna Faris talking about the merits of recycling past loves.

What’s your take on going back to an old flame?

| finding Mr. Right, OKCupid, online dating, Sex and The City

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty Three

June 30th, 2011 — 8:00pm

When a relationship is moving faster than you want it to, how do you slow it down? Figuring that out wasn’t easy as I drew closer to my British beau Riley.

About five weeks into our whirlwind romance, panic began to set in. I wrestled with major commitment fears — and uncertainty about what to do about them. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 2004…

March 8, 2004

Dear Diary,

I talked with Dad today about Riley — and how terrified I am of hurting him and being hurt, how I keep looking for signs of doom around every corner.

I feel like I have this vise-like grip on my heart. When I admitted as much to Dad, he encouraged me in a voice thick with emotion to be more open. I don’t know HOW to be more open. Be affectionate and loving? No problem. Entertain serious thoughts about happily ever after? Problem.

Everyone keeps telling me at this stage of our relationship, all that matters is that I’m having fun. Sometimes I am, but it’s overshadowed by the guilt that comes with knowing I will end up hurting Riley like I have several men before him.

“You are the only girl for me,” he told me today. “I’ve been so happy since you’ve come into my life..Are you happy with everything?”

“Mmhm,” I lied. What could I say?

I know why I can’t just go with the flow like people keep telling me to. Because I’ve had enough of being in relationships that I know aren’t going anywhere.

* * *
March 15

Riley called me yesterday — which is unusual because we always communicate by email. During the conversation, we talked about the series finale of “Sex And The City.” Since I’d only watched the show twice before, Riley mentioned the backstory of the Miranda character, who ended up with a guy she initially though was not at all right for her, who stuck it out because he knew they were meant for each other.

I couldn’t help wondering if there was a reason Riley chose to tell me this. If he’s picked up on my apprehension about us.

He also suggested we revisit the places we went to on our second date the next time we go out. I’m game — I need some nostalgia right about now.

* * *
Though nostalgia provided a good distraction from my thoughts of doom about Riley, it wasn’t enough to prevent them from becoming a reality.

| commitment issues, Opening The Vault, Sex and The City

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