It’s Easter. It’s Passover. And you’re single. Any way you slice the brisket, you’ll have to deal with Your Mother.
More specifically, your mother’s nudging, prodding, crying, or stoically passing the vegetables, hoping that Elijah’s chair is filled with your Nice Boyfriend next year.
“So, how are the boys? Any nice men at your new job? I know you go to yoga class these days, are there any nice guys there?”
“Remember Rachel from Oxford Street? She just got engaged to a very nice man. He’s a lawyer.”
“Have you tried online dating? I heard match.com is very nice. Susan’s daughter Sara found her boyfriend on JDate.”
What do you do? How do you respond?
Here’s what always worked for me: No matter what your status–single and not dating, single and dating occasionally, or just hooking up–you can calmly tell your mother not to worry. Tell her when that things get serious with someone, she’ll know. And until then, she can assume that you’re just too overwhelmed to accurately report the number of men approaching you, asking for a date, and then enjoying your company over dinner and an Off-Broadway play. How could you possibly report all these endless details while shining at your full-time job, going to yoga classes 4-5 times a week, and meeting friends for tea and drinks? You’re a busy woman. And you have the attention of men everywhere. Your mother couldn’t handle all the excitement, even if it’s only second-hand. But you’re a good daughter; you’ll do your best to compile the specifics soon. Maybe next year.
Happy Easter Eggs and Matzo!
I’m sipping a fruity, watered-down cocktail in the lobby of an anonymous airport hotel. The lighting is weird. The furniture is beige. There are conferences going on simultaneously in big staged rooms upstairs. And I’m attending one of them. Next to me, is a blond, hot-shot sales and marketing expert. She teaches people how to sell. I was supposed to be talking to her about marketing. Instead, we’re having an oddly intimate conversation.
I couldn’t help notice her wedding band. Surely, she knew something about relationships? I asked her how she did it–How did she take her then Nice Boyfriend with her on her path to success? And now that he’s officially Mr. Blond Hot-Shot Sales and Marketing Expert, how do they keep it fun, fresh, and balanced? All while she brought in 7 figures last year?
She said: “I just asked myself: Can I laugh with this person every single day? The answer is yes. We laugh every day, and it’s gotten us through a LOT of difficult crap.”
Really, is that all? Sounds too simple to be true. So I tried it. I started to just think about laughing. And suddenly everything in front of me seemed a little more absurd, a little less serious, and a little more laughable. The things that stressed me out didn’t go away, they just begged to be approached with a good ol’ giggle. Exploding coffeemaker? Hilarious. Drills outside the apartment at 3am? Utterly ridiculous. The subsequent dark circles under my eyes? An excuse to make a trip to the make-up counter for under-eye concealer. I’m smiling just thinking about that one.
I take my laugher home, and it spreads. My Nice Boyfriend and I love to make each other laugh. And we keep on laughing because everything around us just got a whole lot funnier.
My dear friend Ruth, who I’ve had the pleasure interviewing for The Dating Project, has been dating a great guy for a few months now. She asked, I answer.
I want to be open and warm and loving and attentive. But not smother my boyfriend. What should I be doing, or NOT doing?
Ruth, you are open, warm, loving and attentive. You’re one of the nicest people I know. You’re a pleasure to be around. You also have great friends, a loving family, and a creative career path.
So don’t hold back. And don’t worry about smothering your boyfriend. You won’t. You’re too solidly grounded in your own wonderful life to lose yourself in his. You have too many things going on to devote the time and effort it would take to smother your boyfriend. It’s not possible. You’re a busy girl with a big heart. You give him everything you feel comfortable giving him, and that’s a lot. But not too much. He won’t be scared of your kindness, he’ll be thrilled. Who wouldn’t love a sexy, gorgeous thing like yourself making nicey-nicey in their direction?
Go ahead, be as open, warm, loving and attentive as you are. You’re not going to overdo it.