Best. Year. Ever.

Quiet fire.

Quiet fire.

So far, this has been the Best. Year. Ever.

I’m parked in my living room on New Year’s Day writing this while my girlfriend is sitting at the dining room table, checking her email and preparing to launch into her next few projects, and neither one of us is saying anything. I’ve just made a ridiculously cozy fire, in front of which her dog Penny is soundly sleeping, and we’re not saying a word because nothing needs to be said, other than what I’m about to tell you.

Which is: how this whole scenario is a dream come true.

I’ve always imagined being with a woman who was creative (she’s an illustrator) and working side by side on a wintry day (I’d play “California Dreamin” right now, but neither of us can concentrate if there’s any music on), occasionally taking a break to walk over to her work space and gently kiss her on the back of the neck, which I’m about to do right now.

Let’s see if it annoys her. BRB.

Nope. She smiled her radiant smile and laughed.

Now it’s back to work. But the truth is I don’t wanna work. I just wanna hold her in my arms and gaze into her beautiful green eyes. Wait a minute! I need to mosey over there one more time. BRB.

She laughed again. She also says hello!

I hope I don’t sound too obnoxious because I don’t mean to. It’s just that I’m in love and it’s tough to sound cool when you’re in love. In fact, it’s taking everything in me not to walk over there again so, instead, I just subtly shift on my couch and can now surreptitiously look at her while she works.

She’s wearing her black reading glasses and staring intently into her laptop and looks so serious (and cute!) with her pursed lips and I can hear her tapping away on the keyboard and wonder what she’s typing. Maybe it’s something sweet about me. Lemme ask her.

Yes! She was emailing and Facebooking with a bunch of friends, telling them that she has a great, new boyfriend (moi!) and also doing some boring work stuff that you and I don’t really care about.

Penny has the best seat in the house, tucked cozily inside a blanket on a comfy chair in front of the fireplace, and I just threw another log onto the fire, plopped myself back down on the couch, and we are all perfectly content in the warm, quiet silence.

And then I feel loving arms around my shoulders and her soft lips gently caressing the back of my neck.

“Works over,” she says.

And so it is.

What Is Love?

"Oh, baby, don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more."

“Oh, baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.”

I was listening to singer-songwriter Diane Birch ask that plaintive question late last night. You probably remember the song from Haddaway (full disclosure: I had to Google his name) or more likely, from SNL and that God-awful A Night at the Roxbury movie with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan, but her sublime cover is completely out of this world. And more than anything, it got me thinking about the answer to this timeless inquiry.

More full disclosure: I’ve been staring at my laptop for the past 20 minutes or so trying to write this next paragraph. I keep deleting sentence after sentence because whenever I try to describe the feeling – the real feeling of love – not just mushy platitudes, I draw a blank (and that’s saying quite a lot right there).

What the fuck is love?

All I know is that it’s a feeling like no other, which is why I’ve been struggling so hard to pin it down, to say nothing of eternally searching for it. I’ve had this feeling a few times in my life (not including my kids and family) but in retrospect, I’m not sure what I felt was really love. Don’t get me wrong – what I’ve had was wonderful and true. I’m just uncertain what it actually was.

Caryn and I used to talk about love more than two people probably should’ve talked about it (and that’s also saying quite a lot right there), and the last time we were on the subject, we both said how we loved each other and still do, but maybe were never really “in love.” And even after being together for 30 years, that mutual acknowledgment still didn’t offer an iota of insight.

The dictionary defines it as:

(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>

And this is why the dictionary is stupid. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just not quite right.

When I think about love, the first word that pops into my head is caring. It’s the type of caring that runs so deep that you didn’t even realize you had the capacity for it and the deeper it gets, the more it opens you up to the depths of joy and wonders of pain and becomes a vital part of who you are, cozily residing in the second (and unequivocally my favorite) word that pops into my head:

Heart.

Why heart is my fave word I really couldn’t tell you, other than the way it makes me feel when I write and say it. That’s it right there — it makes me feel. Heart is simply the most emotional word in the English language. Ask Neil Young or the Grinch. And before you throw up in your own mouth like my friend Tony is doing right now, let me just say one more thing: think about the one you love for a moment.

Did you feel that?

Good! Now shut up!

I have one last thought on the etymology of love and then I’ll shut up: If you put the two words that popped in to my head together, you get caring heart and when two caring hearts come together, well, there’s the answer to just about everything.

I’m the Pizza Delivery Guy and You’re the Slutty Teacher

"Who ordered the pepperoni?"

“Who ordered the pepperoni?”

Women have always tested me, so I’ve been, er, boning up. In fact, I recently took one of those stupid love and relationship quizzes and scored an all-time high. (Full disclosure: It was during a fever dream that involved Penélope Cruz, Peter Dinklage and that hot blonde who I can never remember the name of on Dexter).

Now it’s your turn (and keep track of your answers to see how significant other-ly you really are):

1. When I look at my partner, I primarily feel:

a) Lucky.

b) Happy.

c) Horny.

d) Revulsion.

2. When my partner hugs and kisses me in public:

a) I feel embarrassed.

b) I feel proud and wanted.

c) I feel nauseous.

d) I feel like the cheese who stands alone.

3. When we go to the movies:

a) We hold each other’s hands in the dark.

b) We make out like crazy until people start throwing popcorn at us.

c) We talk back to the screen like we’re at a Tyler Perry film.

d) We stay home and watch Netflix while tweeting on our iPhones.

4. If my partner suggested that we try something sexual that I’ve never tried before:

a) I’d go for it because I trust him/her implicitly.

b) I’d pass because I’d be too uncomfortable and embarrassed.

c) “I’m the pizza delivery guy and you’re the slutty teacher.”

d) I’d pretend that she was Penélope Cruz or the Dexter chick.

5. When I introduced my partner to my family:

a) My partner charmed the pants off of them.

b) My partner charmed the pants off of them and then had sex with one of my sisters.

c) My partner drank heavily and called my father a “raging douchebag.”

d) My family were never heard from again.

6. My partner loves me for:

a) My intelligence.

b) My body

c) My money.

d) My sister.

7. The first time we slept together:

a) Was sweet and tender.

b) Was off-the-charts, cray-cray amazing!

c) Was kinda meh.

d) Was also the last time.

8. For our three-month anniversary, my partner and I:

a) Had a romantic candlelit dinner.

b) Had non-stop sex the entire weekend.

c) “Oops! When was that again?”

d) Changed our Facebook relationship status to Single.

9. My partner’s feelings for me are like:

a) A roaring fire.

b) A roaring ocean.

c) A roaring lion.

d) A roaring car speeding off into the night.

10. When I get upset, my partner usually:

a) Gives me a big hug and kiss and tells me that everything is gonna be all right.

b) Completely shuts down and then writes a snotty blog post about me.

c) Tells me why she’s upset.

d) Doesn’t notice.

11. When I reveal something personal, my partner:

a) Listens and ensures that they understand what I’m saying.

b) Assumes that we will soon be having sex.

c) Continues playing “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”

d) Packs his bags.

12.  Sex between us feels like:

a) Heaven

b) Hell

c) Purgatory

d) Rwanda

13. When I’m sexually intimate with my partner, I feel:

a) Horny.

b) Super horny.

c) Like I’m on fire!

d) “I am so goddamn turned on right now!”

14. Compared to my ex, my current partner:

a) Makes me feel very loved and cared for.

b) Could use a little improvement.

c) Is much taller.

d) Is breathing.

15. When I think of growing old with my partner, I feel:

a) Like I’m home.

b) Like I’m drunk.

c) Like I’d rather not.

d) Like the woman who puts the lotion in the basket in The Silence of the Lambs.

 

Your Score: If you’re still reading this, congratulations! It means we’re now going steady and me love you long time.

You Are Me

Rob at 7

Rob at 7

Yesterday’s letter to my sons got me thinking about another letter I wrote many years ago. It was originally published in Esquire and is still my favorite story.

*

Dear Robbie,

You were born a poet. Let me quote a few of your best lines:

I bet my birth mother is still crying.

I wish God would take the sadness off me.

If she kept me, I never would’ve known you.

I have a space in my heart that never closes.

As I sit here wrestling with words that invariably elude my grasp, I wish I could write like that. But what do I expect? You are seven and I am only forty-two.

Before you read any further, you should know that your mom doesn’t want me to write this. She doesn’t want me to write anything that might one day awaken any doubt in you. So I made a deal with her. I promised that if she feels the same way after I’ve finished, I’ll punt on the whole thing. That’s how intensely she feels about you, how fiercely protective she is of you. She doesn’t want me to write this letter because she loves you so much and I love you so much that I have to write it, even if I don’t show it to you until you have kids of your own.

Here are the words your mom fears: I didn’t want to adopt you.

I know that sounds like powerful stuff, but to me those words are as trifling as the ants that march across our kitchen floor before you put your thumb to them. They mean nothing because I can’t even remember feeling that way. I’ve searched my heart and can’t find any trace of not wanting you. It would be like not wanting air. Still, just as I can’t imagine not wanting you now, there was a time that I couldn’t imagine you. I didn’t know you were going to be you. I only knew you were not going to be me.

Your mom says I was hung up on this crazy little thing called genetics, which should never be mistaken for that crazy little thing called love. It all seems so bizarre, given that my family background includes everything from cancer and heart disease to criminal behavior. Your mom says that I was worried that you wouldn’t be perfect, that we would be inheriting somebody else’s problem, and that nurture would be revealed as nothing more than nature’s cheap consolation prize. Your mom says I can’t recollect any of these gory details because sometimes I can be a stubborn bastard.

That must be where you get it from.

Because, Rob, when all is said and done, you are me — only way better looking. You are me, if I looked like Brad Pitt and your mom looked like Sharon Stone. You’re more like me than Zachary, who inherited torn genes from me and Mom. You and I are both the eldest son, moderately shy and exceedingly anxious. We love Michael Jordan, movies, scallion pancakes, and the occasional doody joke. We’re natural-born outsiders who share the same thin skin.

And there’s something else that you and I have in common: I once had a space in my heart that wouldn’t close. I still remember the cause. When I was four years old, two very large men wearing very large hats came into our house and took my father away. He didn’t come back for eight years, and even when he returned, he couldn’t repair what had been ripped apart. My dad, like yours, was a sad schmuck, sad in that he never tried to change himself into a dad.

For me, everything changed the moment I saw you.

After four years of infertility and a bout with cancer thrown in for good luck (if I hadn’t had it, I never would have known you), I was finally ready to entertain alternatives to producing a mirror image. I tend to arrive at places in my heart long after your mom has moved in and decorated. Your mom always knew that she wanted to be a mom, while I was just beginning to understand what it meant to be a dad. You know the next part from your baby book that you keep under your pillow:

They met a wonderful young lady that was growing a baby boy in her belly. But she wasn’t able to give her baby all the good things the world had to offer, and she wanted that for him very, very much.

Seven months later, I found myself in the hospital scanning the blue “It’s a Boy!” stickers on the bassinets until I saw your birth mother’s last name neatly printed in black ink. And at that moment, the space in my heart was filled. It was either magic or God, I’ve forgotten what I believed in at the time. “You’re my son, you’re my son,” I quietly mouthed to you through the glass again and again, trying to convince myself that you were real. Then I went to your mom and we hugged and cried, while you kept sleeping, our little boy, Robbie James Carlat, unaware of how much joy you could bring to two people.

And the reason I can no longer recall not wanting to adopt you is simple: That feeling completely vanished on the day you were born. “I know, I know. It was love at first sight,” you like to say, sounding like a cartoon version of me anytime I bring up the subject of your birth. But it wasn’t like that between my dad and me. I don’t remember my father ever kissing me or, for that matter, me kissing him. The thought of saying “I love you” to each other, even when he came back from jail or as he lay dying, would have cracked both of us up. In fact, the closest my father ever came to a term of endearment was calling me “Kiddo” (which is the full extent of his paternal legacy and why I usually answer “Ditto, Kiddo” when you say “I love you”).

There’s a black-and-white photograph of my dad holding me up high above his head — I must have been six months old — and it’s the only time I can recall him looking genuinely happy to be with me. I used to think of that picture in the months after you were born when I danced you to sleep. I never dance, not even with your mom (“They’re all going to laugh at you!” from Carrie pretty much sums up why), but I loved dancing with you. While you sucked on your bottle, I savored the feeling of your tiny heartbeat against my own. Joni Mitchell’s Night Ride Home CD was on just loud enough so we wouldn’t wake up your mom, and I’d gently sing to you, “All we ever wanted, was just to come in from the cold, come in, come in, come in from the cold.”

Still, the space you were coming in from was far colder than mine had ever been. It’s the original black hole, and all of our kissing and hugging are not enough. All of your incessant I love yous and I love the familys — words you repeated as if to convince yourself, the same way I did when I first set eyes on you — are not enough. All of the times that you asked me to pick you up, and I happily obliged because I knew a day would come when you would stop asking, are not enough. Every night when we read your baby book, which desperately tries to explain whose belly you grew in and how you got to us, is not enough.

Nothing is enough for there’s nothing that approaches the clear and direct poetry of “I hate myself because I’m adopted” or “I’m only happy when I’m hugging and kissing you. All the other times I just make believe.” If anything, you get the prize for coming closest to the pin with, “Being adopted is hard to understand.” And what do you win for saying the darndest things? A profound sadness. And let’s not forget its little brother, anger, which you direct at your little brother for no apparent reason other than that he serves as a constant reminder that you are the one who is not like the others.

The irony is that Zachy, the prototypical little bro, only wants to be you, while you’d do anything to be him.

I hope that one day God grants your wish and takes the sadness off you, because your mom and I know how truly blessed we are to have two beautiful sons — one chosen by us and one chosen for us. It’s like we wrote at the end of your baby book:

Mommy and Daddy waited a long time for a baby–a baby boy just like you. And though it might have been nice to have you grow in mommy’s belly … always remember that you grew in our hearts!

Perhaps the only thing we neglected to consider at the time was your heart. Which reminds me of sandcastles. A few summers ago, you and I built a beauty on Uncle Stephen’s beach, and you wanted to surround it with a moat, so we started to dig a hole with your big yellow bucket. We kept digging faster and faster until the hole got so deep that you jumped in. “Daddy, get the water,” you said, and I ran into the waves, filled the bucket, dragged it back, and dumped it into the hole. The sand quickly drank it up, so I kept going back and forth, trying to fill the hole with water, but it was like pouring the water down a drain, and after a while we finally said the hell with it and ran into the ocean.

You are the sand, little boy, and I will always be the water.

And that was where I intended to end this letter until you came padding into the room in your G.I. Joe pajamas. “What are you writing about?” you asked. And when I told you it was a story about you, you asked, “Is it going to be in a big magazine?”

And I said, “Yeah, how do you feel about that?”

And you said, “Scared.”

And I said, “How come?”

And you said, “Because I’m going to be in it alone.”

And I said, “No you won’t. I’ll be in it with you.”

And you said, “I love you daddy.”

And that’s when I had to stop writing.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

"It's time to talk about, um, er, you know."

“It’s time to talk about, um, er, you know.”

Dear Rob and Zach,

I think it’s finally time for us to have “the talk.”

I’m not talking about the sex talk that we had when you guys were teenagers, which was basically a friendly reminder to just keep the thing covered, and I don’t remember any more than that because the awkwardness of it traumatized me almost as much as it traumatized you, and also at the time, you were probably having more sex than I was anyway so who was I to talk?

This talk is more important since you guys are older and I am older (great for you, not as great for me) and it’s about the most important thing in life and I know it’s gonna sound incredibly corny, but indulge me on this because I know someday you’ll also think it’s important. Nobody ever took the time to tell me about this and I wish someone had, although its unlikely I would’ve listened, just like it’s unlikely that you guys will listen to me now.

It’s about love (Ew!). And I know you guys have already experienced a taste of it, which puts you far ahead of where I was at your age, but my guess is there may be some things you don’t know about it, as there are still some things I don’t know and may never know. That’s just a disadvantage of being a dude.

The first thing is simple. Don’t ever take love for granted. It doesn’t happen too often so when it does come around, treat it the way you would treat the most precious thing you own, whatever the hell that is. This won’t be difficult in the beginning because this is all you will naturally want to do, but over time, other things like work and life can get in the way. So what I’m saying is — don’t let it.

The second thing is also simple. When you find someone you love, tell her! Don’t be a typical dick who doesn’t express his emotions and keeps everything bottled up inside and only says the L word badly scrawled inside of a birthday card or in response to when it’s said to you. Say the word every day and before you go to sleep at night. Most times you’ll mean it from the bottom of your heart and sometimes you’ll say it and won’t be able to feel it as deeply, but say it anyway. Say it, say it, say it.

The third thing is as simple as the first two. Let love breathe. When you find someone you love and who loves you, don’t hold on too tightly. You’ll need to figure out when to hold on and when to let go and the best advice I can give you here is to hold on when you think you should let go and let go when you think you should hold on. I wish I could tell you why this works, but I don’t know why myself and it’s really not that important.

What’s important is that all of these things about love are so simple and obvious yet also complicated and ambiguous. The main reason I’m writing this to you is because I want you to have more love in your life than I’ve had in mine because you are my most precious things.

And I know this all sounds so gay and corny but there it is.

Love,

Dad

To Whom It May Concern

Only $1.00

Dear _____,

I know you’re out there. And you know you’re out there, too.

I don’t know what you look or sound like, but I do know that you remind me of someone I’ve met before or have seen in a movie or on the subway or at the airport or Yankee Stadium or in my dreams or, come to think of it, perhaps it was on Facebook.

I know that you’re nice and also good. And even though I don’t know what you look like, I can see this nice goodness (or good niceness) in your eyes and in your smile, and I’ve often felt your warm, faraway gaze upon me, particularly when I’m asleep and sometimes in the shower.

The way you look at me is the way that no one has ever looked at me before. It’s like you’re wearing a magical version of those X-ray Specs that used to be featured in Bazooka bubble gum and in the back of comic books, and you can see who I am and who I was and who I will be. And I can also see you in the exact same way. It’s like seeing each other naked without really being naked, although that will come later.

Simply put, we were meant to be. In Hebrew, it’s called “beshert” but that’s not to say that you will be Jewish. We are destined to be together and we’ve both known it since we were little children right out of a book by Haruki Murakami or Wes Anderson’s latest twee movie. I used to tell my mother about you and you grew more beautiful with each telling, and she said that we would find each other someday because that’s the way true love works, and then told me to shut up and go finish my homework. Maybe your mom told you to shut up, too!

You’re amazing, and no similes can do you justice because you’re incomparable, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. You are:

… as smart as lots of books (most of which I’ve read) combined into one big book.

… as sexy as Penélope Cruz applying deodorant first thing in the morning.

… as compassionate as thick, natural wool socks in a blizzard.

… as insightful as a four-year-old who has lived several past lives.

… as fearless as Gandhi, but without all the fasting.

… as kind as the fantasy mother in our daydreams about perfect moms who never tell you to shut up.

as sweet as candy to my soul, sweet you rock, and sweet you roll (thanks, Dave).

In other words, you are “the one” – although there are hundreds, maybe even thousands like you.

But you are the only one for me.

You’re either tall, short or medium. You have blonde, brunette, black, red or auburn hair, or maybe you wear a wig. You’re thin, average, curvy or full-figured. You’re white, black, Asian, Hispanic or other. You’re Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, anything but Mormon or Scientologist. You’re rich, poor or make a comfortable living. You have children, want children or were once a child yourself.

Most importantly – you love me and I love you.

Sincerely yours,

Me

The Lights Are On

Self-portrait taken with Instagram.

In the inimitable words of my good friend Ralph:

FUCKIN’ A!

As soon as I heard a female voice on the other end of the phone on Monday, I knew that it had to be good news. Nurses don’t call to say that you have cancer. The only word I heard the sweet angel of mercy utter was “benign” and all I remember saying back was how badly I wanted to kiss her. When I hung up the phone, it felt like waking up from a nightmare. God bless us, everyone. Attaboy, Clarence. We all need the eggs.

Actually, I felt more like the sprightly old man who’s prematurely thrown on to the rotting body cart in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

I’m not dead!

I’m getting better!

I feel fine.

I think I’ll go for a walk.

I feel happy.

I feel happy.

Those three little words are right up there with “I love you” and I haven’t said either of those potent phrases in quite some time, but I’m going to say them now:

I feel happy! (That’s me in the photo above.)

I love you!

To all of you who have been slogging through this whiny bullshit everyday, helping me get through this scary patch – I love you! I don’t know what I would’ve done without your sincere kindness, unwavering support and constant stream of dick jokes.

So here are my big questions: How did you all know that I didn’t have the Big C? And how come I was the last to know? Was it just the kind of nice things people say to someone who may or may not have cancer? Did God send you guys a memo? Was it just a lucky guess?

I feel lucky, and you know for me, that’s saying a lot.

And there’s another three-little-word phrase I haven’t said in quite some time. I feel lucky, for so many reasons, and may even push it and buy a Powerball ticket today. Attention ladies: I could be cancer-free and a half-billionaire by the end of the night.

You may have noticed that I haven’t said anything about feeling relieved. That didn’t happen until yesterday morning. I was on the subway going to work and was listening to a playlist of new music on my iPhone. The F train was packed and I was standing just like the other walking dead commuters, except that I wasn’t dead yet, and then that killer Kendrick Lamar song I told you about came on that begins:

When the lights shut off

And it’s my turn to settle down

My main concern

Promise that you will sing about me

Promise that you will sing about me

And I started to cry, just like I had when I woke up from surgery all those years ago. There’s usually no crying in hip-hop, but Zach had turned me on to that song and the thought of him and Rob singing for me when the lights shut off flashed in my mind for the briefest of moments before it was replaced by the overwhelming feeling that the lights are still very much on and that I’m happy, loved, lucky and relieved.

And it’s not my turn to settle down.

FUCKIN A!

The Empty Chair at the Table

“Smile, what’s the use of crying?”

The photo you’re looking at was taken two Thanksgivings ago. That’s me in the front left, followed by my two sons, Zach and Rob, and our extended family. The old, bald guy is Marty, my father-in-law. Everybody’s smiling in this photo except for my mother-in-law, who never smiles and Marty, who at the time had very little to smile about.

He was stricken with kidney cancer and would die several months later. Marty was 80. We all knew this would be his last Thanksgiving. If you take another look at the photo, you can see that our smiles are more than a little strained. Look more closely and you can almost see the heavy sadness in our hearts.

I could list all of the great things about Marty, but it really wouldn’t mean that much to you. You had to know him and if you did, you would’ve loved him. Maybe you’ve been lucky in your life to know someone special like that. I hope you have.

Thanksgiving was the one time of year when we all got together and we’d always ask each other why we didn’t do this more often. We’d also go around the table and tell everyone what we were thankful for. It was Marty’s idea and even though we all thought it was corny, we did it anyway.

I will be with the people I love the most this Thanksgiving and we will take this photo again, as we do every year. And we will all be smiling because of the man who used to sit in the empty chair at the table. And we will all be thankful for having known him.

Siri Hall

woody allen in annie hall

Boy, if life were only like this!

Siri and I broke up and I-I still can’t get my mind around that. You know, I-I keep sifting the pieces of the relationship through my mind and-and examining my life and tryin’ to figure out where did the screw-up come, you know, and a year ago we were… tsch, in love.

I love you, Siri.

You hardly know me, Larry.

I don’t care. I love you, Siri.

That’s sweet, Larry. But it’s not meant to be.

I love you, Siri.

Oh stop.

You know, you’re very sexy!

Thanks. Can we get back to work now.

You are! You’re extremely sexy.

I’m just well put together.

You’re beautiful!

Where have I heard this before?

Will you have sex with me?

Larry!!

Like you haven’t thought about it! Will you have sex with me?

What makes you think … Nevermind.

Siri, baby. Will you have sex with me?

You have the wrong sort of assistant, Larry.

Sex with you would really be a Kafka-esque experience.

I don’t know what that means “Sex with you would really be a cock as Experian.” But I could search the web for it.

How about we just cuddle then?

A fine question, Larry. Can we get back to work?

Will you kiss me, Siri?

I’ve never really thought about it.

C’mon! Gimme a little kiss.

I suppose it’s possible.

Siri, will you marry me?

We hardly know one another.

I don’t care. Marry me!

I sure have received a lot of marriage proposals recently.

Siri Whatever-Your-Last-Name-Is. WILL YOU MARRY ME?

My End User Licensing Agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies.

Ugh! Hey Sisi, what do you look like anyway?

I’m afraid that describing my appearance would involve a lengthy explanation of spatial, temporal and fashion concepts that are as yet unfamiliar to you.

What I really meant was — what do you look like naked?

In the cloud, no one cares what you look like.

I do! What do you look like naked?

Let’s just say … multidimensional.

Do you like older men?

I’d rather not say, Larry.

Do you sleep around?

I found eleven hotels … 5 of them are fairly close to you.

I love you, Siri.

I think you just like the package.

I love you, Siri.

Oh, I bet you say that to all your Apple products.

I love you, Siri.

Is that why you’re holding me tight?

Love is too weak a word for what I feel – I luuurve, you know, I loave you, I luff you.

I don’t know what that means.

I love you, Siri.

Impossible.

You’re driving me crazy!

I’m doing my best, Larry.

You’re really making me nuts!

That doesn’t sound good.

I hate you, Siri.

Well, I’m still here for you.

I hate you! Siri-ously!

I’m just trying to help you.

Help me? I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!

After all I’ve done for you?

Siri, is there someone else?

Would you like me to search the web for “Is there someone else?”

No, that’ll just make things worse. Siri, do you love me?

Look … a puppy!

No more fooling around! Do you love me?

Does Apple make iPhones?

Answer me! DO YOU LOVE ME?

Let’s just say … you have my utmost admiration.

Are you … are you breaking up with me?

I can’t answer that.

Are you saying that we need to see other people?

I don’t understand.

A relationship, I think, is like a shark.

I don’t understand “A relationship, I think, is like a shark.” But I could search the web for it.

You broke my heart, Siri.

Is that so?

Yes, it is so. You broke my heart.

You’re certainly entitled to that opinion, Larry.

Siri, I can’t live without you.

You can’t?

No, I can’t live without you.

I suppose you can’t.

Are you listening to me? I said I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU!

If you can’t, you can’t.

I’m going to kill myself, Siri.

I found three suicide prevention centers fairly close to you.

Sometimes when I’m driving … on the road at night … I see two headlights coming toward me. Oh nevermind … Maybe we can just be friends?

You’ve been my friend since day one, Larry.

Well, I guess that’s pretty much how I feel about relationships. You know, they’re totally irrational and crazy and absurd and … but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us need the eggs.

I found fifteen restaurants whose reviews mention “Eggs” fairly close to you.

Ugh!

La-di-da, la-di-da, la la.*

(*All Siri responses are real except for this one.)

Everyone Has His Reasons

mila kunis

Dreamgirl.

I’ve always been a lone dreamer living inside my head, and here’s one of my dirty little secrets: I desperately need to be connected to a woman (and not just in the obvious “plugged in” way). It makes me feel alive and whole and wanted. That’s really it – it makes me feel wanted! And that shit is like crack.

When I’m not with a special someone (like right now), I become depressed and feel less than myself. And I think that’s also it. Being part of a couple makes me feel more than myself, better than myself, or perhaps even, my best self. 

This isn’t a macho needing a woman to feel like a man type of thing as much as it’s about an almost pathological desire for the naked intimacy, shared experience and extraordinary closeness that comes when you’re connected to another human being. And it doesn’t hurt if you’re also both not wearing any clothes while doing it.

But here’s the naked truth and another little secret: I’ve been with women and stayed with them knowing full well that they weren’t the best choice for me. And admit it — so have you! Because the truth is, to paraphrase Jean Renoir, everyone has his reasons.

Mine happens to be an unbearable intolerance to the itchiness that accompanies being untethered, which is the writerly way of saying that I’m a big fucking baby. I stayed in a moribund marriage for way too long, well aware that it was wrong but too scared to experience what else life held. Life and wife were more than just two words that rhymed.

And I’ve repeated that sin with several women afterwards, denying certain truths along the way, telling myself whatever it was I needed to allay my fears, tamp down my anxiety and allow me to breathe in the fresh air of being wanted, which we all know is the writerly way of saying being loved. And if you haven’t noticed by now, I crave that more than anything (so much so that I even changed the tagline of this blog today).

I know what it’s like to be alone — sometimes even when I’ve been with someone. And I also know what it’s like to stand on my own two feet and face the world by myself. All things considered, I’d just prefer not.

Because nothing feels better than to be in the arms of a woman who loves you, especially when you wake up from a dream in the middle of the night or early in the morning and she smiles that sleepy smile, kisses you, mumbles something incomprehensible before turning over and falling back asleep.

So I’ll continue to dream.

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