Everyone Has His Reasons

mila kunis


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.

Hearts and Bones

pendergrast heart

No hard feelings.

If you’ve never had your heart broken, you should really try it sometime. A broken heart builds character, inculcates experience and is the best thing in the world if you like to binge endlessly on ice cream and cookies.

Here’s how to get one, in 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Expose yourself. Don’t hold anything back. Share your innermost thoughts, feelings and desires (the more neurotic, the better!) with someone equally sensitive, and don’t leave out any details. Tell them about all the times you felt most vulnerable (pro tip: everybody’s scared!) and don’t forget to share a lot of childhood memories because that shit is fucking killer.

Step 2: Shut up and listen. Listen to their stories. Listen to their jokes about siblings and complaints about the idiot they sit next to at work. Listen to the way they talk about their wonderful children and their not-so-wonderful parents, as well as their ex-holes and sundry friends. Listen to how the pitch of their voice changes when they share how they’ve been hurt in the past. Listen to their eyes. The slightly tricky part here is that you have to do all of this listening stuff with your heart.

Step 3: Tell the truth. Specifically about how great they are. Start off with how much you adore them because you don’t want to freak anyone out with the L word early on. Tell them how beautiful/smart/funny/sexy/cute/vulnerable/quirky/kind/adorable/honest/whatever else they are, and just keep telling them! Don’t worry, you really can’t say it too much because it comes straight from your heart and it’s almost impossible to shut that stupid motherfucker up. And it doesn’t matter if they don’t say these things back to you right away. Some people take more time expressing their feelings than others. It’s not always like it is in the movies (pro tip 2: watch a romantic movie together!) where two people fall head-over-heels in love before you’ve even finished your popcorn. Sometimes you have to wait for the closing credits.

Step 4: Open your eyes. This one is particularly important, so pay close attention. It’s about you seeing them for who they really are, and how that touches a place in your heart that has never been touched before, and how you can’t really explain it any more than that. And how it also frees you to be who you really are because you feel safe like you’re home and accepted by this person – you feel whole – and you know in your heart and bones that now that you’ve found this special someone, you will never let her go…

Step 5: Until she dumps you. One small piece of advice here: When it comes to love, never talk about how your luck is changing.

Sparks and Recreation

The night sky.

You know how when you meet someone for the first time and you just get this feeling that starts in your stomach and pinballs its way up and down your spine, and it’s like your endorphins have come out to play after a long, rainy day stuck indoors and you just start talking and there’s an excitement that builds on every word, and everything that person is saying is insightful, funny or moving, sometimes all three, and then maybe you unintentionally touch hands and feel a jolt of electricity pulsing through wherever you most like to pulse, and in that moment it feels so good to be alive and to have connected with this person and maybe there is a God or at least a higher power that controls the universe, or maybe it’s just totally random, who cares, because you’re totally plugged into each other, and you talk and talk and talk some more and the more you talk, the more you feel the sparks flying, bright flashes that light up the night sky in your faraway heart, and you don’t want this night to end, so you keep thinking of other things to say and talk about your childhood and your children and your hopes and dreams and fears, and it all feels safe and somehow familiar and you’re just being yourself, maybe more than you’ve ever been in your life, because this person you never met before seems to get you, sees you for who you really are, and you both feel that something beyond your control is happening beneath the flow of words, and realize that this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often so when it does it’s special and needs to be attended to, and it’s not just about getting laid although that certainly is on your mind, and you imagine what it would be like to kiss while you’re talking about your favorite foreign movies, and then you wonder what it would be like to hold hands and take a walk on the beach or in Paris or when you were in the sixth grade, and it’s so strange that this person already feels important to you and you know that makes little sense, but the truth is that it doesn’t feel strange at all, it just feels right and you don’t want the night to end but you also wouldn’t mind seeing what it would look like in the morning, so you talk and laugh and then maybe touch hands, intentionally this time, and when you finally run out of things to say, you gaze at each other in this new silence and it’s not awkward at all, in fact it feels like easing into a warm, soothing bath and if you listen carefully you can hear each other’s heartbeat and you know that sounds like a load of romantic bullshit but you soak it in just the same, and when the night finally comes to an end, you both know it’s really just the beginning?


I’ve Just Seen a Face

mary louise parker


I’ve gone out with hundreds of women recently. Really it’s only been two, but over the course of dinner and brunch, it seemed like I was with every woman who I’ve ever known.

This happens pretty much all of the time. When I gaze across the table at a new face, it’s like looking at a group portrait. Sometimes it’s the way she tilts her head or a trick of the light. Sometimes it’s just a recognizable expression or the easy way she laughs at one of my stupid jokes. Her eyes may shine or narrow into soft slits, it doesn’t matter, because it’s in these moments where she shape shifts into a completely different person.

One who I’ve found especially attractive in the past. My heart tends to see what it wants to see, working it big time like a fashion photographer shooting a model. “Okay, angle your head a little to the right and try to look like my ex-wife’s hot friend, Julie.”

I’ll imagine what these women looked like as young girls and what they’ll look like as elderly ladies. For a moment, they may resemble my mom or my fourth-grade teacher, Miss Toback, and then transform into Caryn or my most recent girlfriend. Sometimes they’ll morph into a celebrity; oftentimes Mary-Louise Parker.

I envision what it might be like to be with them and even what it might be like to be with them forever. It’s such a strange phenomenon, and will make a great montage sequence (cue the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face”) when filming begins on the story of my life. And most of the time, this is all going on before arriving at the main course.

Which, of course, is love. And that’s what this is really about. “Is this a face I can love?” asks a secret voice somewhere deep inside of me. And the faces keep changing and changing until the answer is “yes.”

What I Wrote On a Flight to L.A.

heart on love seat

Sitting pretty.

When it comes to sitting next to interesting people on airplanes (read: women), I’ve always had pretty good luck. I had one of the great conversations of my life a few years ago with a fascinating older woman on a flight to Las Vegas. She was married to a semi-famous actor who was on one of those doctor shows in the mid-sixties and I don’t remember what it was called, but we spent the entire flight talking about how her husband had cheated on her and how my ex-wife had cheated on me.

And speaking of luck and interesting people, today’s another perfect example. The woman sitting in the window seat looks to be a few years younger than me and is extremely cute. But that’s not the thing. The thing is that I saw her even before we boarded. We were both hanging out near the gate at one of those counters where you can plug in your phone or computer, and I kept glancing her way because she looked so damn familiar.

And the thought that keeps running through my head is something that my friend Laura, who believes in all of that woo-woo, spiritual mumbo jumbo crap, told me about noticing the little things around you, and how the smallest detail can be significant, and how that’s the way the stupid universe works. And here I am thinking — the motherfucking universe, you sly dog, you!

Hold on a second. I’m gonna talk to her.

“I can’t believe there’s no one in the middle seat,” I say. “That never happens anymore.”

“I know, right?” she says. “Remember in the old days when you’d take the red-eye and you could just lay out across all three seats?”

That was just her!

Cute, right?

We’re about to take off and how come no matter what time of day or night you’re flying, something like a roofie kicks in and you just pass out and begin to drool like a zombie baby? I’ve always been the world’s worst sleeper, but it’s lights out for me on every trip.

And look! It’s the same for her! Which is my cue to wake the hell up and check her out a little bit more. (And how pervy did that just sound?) The first thing I noticed was the ring on her left hand. On her middle finger. Hmm, what’s the universe trying to tell me here?

She’s very much my type — tall and thin, long dark hair, pretty in a natural way; she could be Mary-Louise Parker’s Jewish sister. I was watching her eat potato chips before and she was crunching so loudly and, of course, I registered that as flirting.

Wait! I’m gonna talk to her again.

No, no, wait! I have a better idea. I’m writing this on my iPad and I’m just gonna hand it to her to read.*

Here goes nothing.

*Update: Her name was Sara, a fifth-grade teacher from Bed-Stuy, who was on her way to visit her “one true love” for a long weekend.

Why Horoscopes Are Incredibly Awesome


Larry’s an Aries.

My ex-girlfriend used to send me a love horoscope (I’m an Aries) every now and then. They always seemed so remarkably accurate that I used to think she actually wrote them, and maybe in the lame-ass movie version of this blog she will.

This is what it said the other day:

The atmosphere is one of joy and bonhomie today, thanks to the planetary configuration. It would be a good plan to spend the day out with your loved one, or enjoying yourself with other friends. The atmosphere is just too good to be alone, and is a wonderful time for a party or other celebration. The music and wine may flow, but you’ll find a way to cope.

As I’ve noted before, the universe works in funny ways, and by funny I mean sometimes incredibly awesome. Even before I read the horoscope, I had made plans to go to the beach this past weekend with my ex. We’re still friends (but alas, without benefits) and we still like to occasionally hang out and it was a beautiful day and she has a car, so we thought it would be fun to go swimming one last time before the end of the summer.

We usually go to Brighton Beach because it’s easy to get there from where I live, relatively quiet, and we like making fun of the fat old Russian dudes in Speedos. When we turned on to Coney Island Avenue to look for a parking spot, however, we ran smack into a street fair. Cops were frantically redirecting traffic, and we were forced into playing the familiar New York City parking circle game, going round and round and round and getting nowhere. We did this for almost an hour until we both realized that the universe was telling us something else.

A quick U-turn, flooring the gas pedal, and 15 minutes later, we were back in my apartment unexpectedly enjoying the benefits of our friendship.

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