Monday, March 31, 2014

Don't Let the Smoke Get in Your Eye

Last week, an old friend of mine hung himself, on his birthday. Those are the only facts I know. Everything else is just conjecture. 

Although it had been several years since we saw each other, his light remained bright in my heart. 

I dreamt of him last night, and he shined on, just the way he always did. 

While I was writing this morning, this song shuffled on, and I thought about him again, and I sunk a little, and then I remembered a warm September night and him and this song, and I smiled. 

A.T., you will be missed by many. I can't wait to see you the next time around. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ask Erin And Lisa!: Reunited and it Feels so Good (NSFW because, just because, you should know better by now)

Lisa is back from her "hiatus" and here to help me give you so-so advice. 

Erin: Hey, Lisa, anything new?

Lisa: hold on, erin. i've got "the history of the jews" on pbs right now. let me turn this down. 

Erin: oh, really? 

Lisa: tommy lasagna told me to watch it. 

Erin: Good grief, when I said I was a swanky skanky matchmaker, I was kidding! So, are you refreshed? Ready to do this? 

Lisa: yes, i'm back and i'm ready to go.

My boyfriend stares a lot at other women. I don't mean a little glance here and there, but he really, really stares at them for long periods of time.
I know it's natural for guys to stare, but surely there's a limit.
I love him, and he says he loves me, but it makes me feel really inadequate when he does it when we're out in public.
Even at restaurants when I talk to him, he always glances past my face at other women - it makes me feel sick when he does it.
What should I do and should I be worried about it?

Erin: It has been my experience that all people, not just men, but especially men, stare at other people. However, I could not be with a dude who spent more time fixated on other women than me. 

Lisa: yes, you should be worried about it. when i first go out with a dude, i always check that he's looking at me and not at other chicks walking by or in the vicinity of us. it makes me feel sick, too, and i think it's a problem. 

Erin: Have you told him this bothers you? Maybe he doesn't even realize he's doing it. (Which one could argue, is worse.) But, if you've pointed this out and he denies and continues the behavior, get the hell out of that lame ass relationship. Life is too short. 

Lisa: if you're at a restaurant and he glances past you, he's a lame ass motherfucker and you should bail. period. 

Context: I was just messing around on tinder and saw the gf of a buddy of mine. Normally, I'd let him know without much question, but they moved across the country together and it's not like I "yes'd" her or anything and don't know what their situation is and trying to bring up their "situation" (like if that's what they're okay with) would probably raise some flags.
So, what is the right thing to do here?
When I saw her I kinda froze up and exited the app. I'll see if I find her again (I didn't yes or no her) and see the last time she was "active"...if it's been recent, I'll try to casually bring it up and hope for the best, I think.

Lisa: OH DEAR GOD, HELP US ALL. if the bitch is on tinder, she is looking around, a cheater, and not happy in her thing with your friend. 

Erin: Yes, you need to tell him. If I was your friend and my girlfriend was on tinder, I would definitely want to know. He would be pissed if he found out you knew and didn't tell him. Plus, it sounds like they are fairly serious if a cross country move was involved. 

Lisa: also: next time, think more quickly! you should have taken a screen shot of that shit! tell your friend. 

Erin: Also, dear people of earth, if you think you can be "stealth" on tinder and not get noticed by your significant others friends, you are a first second class idiot. 

I went a few times on a date with this man (33 y.o) - (total of 4 dates in 1.5 month).
After the third date, he invited me to his room to ''cuddle'' but I politely refused. Two weeks have passed where we texted but did not meet and finally had another date this week end. He asked me if I wanted to come over and I said yes (I felt ready this time). Once in his room we started kissing and took our clothes off. However, when I started going down on him, he said that we were going too fast. This was ok for me but then he went down on me instead. We still did not have sex and then just went to sleep.
I am clearly confused by his behavior...
why did he react this way? what is he looking for?

Lisa: first of all, your cutting weekend in to two words annoys me. secondly, is this guy gay?

Erin: Lisa, no he's not gay, he went down on her. A gay guy could probs fake his way through intercourse but could he really go down successfully? 

Lisa: i'm confused by his behavior, too. if a guy goes down on me, i assume that sex is the immediate next thing.

Erin: Wait, Lisa, maybe he's like Mr. Pussy from Sex and the City. Remember that episode when Charlotte was dating Mr. Pussy who just wanted to go down on her all the time? And her friends told her she couldn't bogart Mr. Pussy? 

Lisa: oh yeah, that hot jewish guy? i remember. 

Erin: No, he wasn't Jewish. Clearly, you have a one-track mind. 

Lisa: yes, erin, i remember, but i need the prize. 

Erin: Preaching to the choir, my friend. Alright, the biggest red flag I see here, is that a 33 year old man invited you to his "room"  to "cuddle" after the third date. 

Lisa: ugh, i'm going back to "the history of the jews" on pbs. laterz.

Well, we've lost Lisa. Good luck everyone and don't worry, we'll be back next week and we may even get Tommy Lasagna to weigh in on your many, many, many, many problems. To ask a question, use the box on the top right of the page. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Secret is Out

As a female and a writer, I care about what you read. Well, not all of you, but it interests me, nonetheless. Have you checked out Girl Canon? They publish lists, by women, of "the public claiming of formerly secret canons." 

The lists are all wonderful. I like reading about the things we read, and how those things have shaped us/motivated us/inspired us/changed us. 

My canon is up and you can read all about it here

What's in your secret canon? Tell me or, if you're female, tell Girl Canon. 


"There is thunder in our hearts, baby."

If you like music, you probably heard that Kate Bush is performing, after a 35 year hiatus. No one sounds like her. Also, her videos, the dancing, the acting...

I mean....Are you going? 

P.S. The newest AskErinAndLisa questions are really really amazing/astounding/wtf is wrong with you people??? Thursday, all will be revealed. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

And while we're busy sounding off about things that don't really matter...

Pablo Tosco thoughtfully documents the situation in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, a situation that I would guess no one reading this has any concept of, myself included. (I don't mean we aren't aware of what's happening, but do we comprehend it?)

You can see more photos here

10 Things I Like or Don't Like or Think, That May Make You Like Me Less

1. If I could watch one show for the rest of my life, it would be the original Beverly Hills, 90210. (Oh, and Kelly Taylor was my favorite character, so I am a total asshole.)

2. I tried (sort of) but could not get into Game of Thrones. I just don't get it. I find it really boring. 

3. I will always love The Cranberries. I know, I know. 

4. I still love Woody Allen. (For those who will jump down my throat for this one- He has not been legally accused of any crime. When the allegations came out 2 decades ago, there was no evidence and he was never charged with anything. Read this for a little enlightenment. I could go on ranting about- how we all overlook the dozens of accusations WITH hard evidence against R. Kelly; how Moses, their other son, has a lot more to say about Woody's innocence; how as someone who has experienced sexual abuse, I am fully supportive of giving a voice to victims but cannot make any sort of qualified judgement based on zero evidence; how I have known and seen false accusations from both sides ruin people's lives; how although I know how common this sort of abuse is, I still cannot decide anything, without ANY evidence.)

5. Everyone is upset about the Kim/Kanye Vogue cover, but who cares? Vogue jumped the shark so long ago and we all lost when we made a reality star out of a rich chick who made a sex tape with Brandy's little brother. 

6. I really will always love Eminem. He's almost the only thing I could listen to when I was pregnant, which may explain a lot. 

7. I don't like Kale. I've been pretending for a long time. The truth is out. 

8. I love the French.

9. I hate any and all discussions that include the words "Paleo" or "Cross Fit.”

10. I don't love the weather in L.A. 

Feel free to de-friend me now. (Is it de-friend or un-friend?) 

Friday, March 21, 2014

5 Suggestions For You

It's Friday. It's Spring. The sun is out. It's above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy the week's end. Some suggestions for you. 

1. It's World Poetry Day. Read this or you can just listen

2. The new video from Kim Deal and Morgan Nagler. Duh. 

5. Why aren't you watching Broad City yet????

What about the opening to this week's episode. I mean...

Also this week, in cased you missed it....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ask Erin!: The Cheese Stands Alone

Well kids, it's just me this week. But fret not, Lisa will be back next week to dispense more questionable advice with me. While she's on hiatus doing something someone, I felt I shouldn't leave so many people hanging. (Also, the backup of questions was giving me anxiety.) So, let's do this. 

Hey there,  just need some sort of advice or something ...

I had been going out with a guy for over a month and even I will admit things between us seemed to move fast .. you know that feeling when you feel that you have known someone for years because of how comfortable you feel with them? Well that was how it was with us. 

But recently he has been dealing with a lot of stress due to work and some medical issues he has had .. then all of a sudden he said he wasn't sure if he could deal with the added stress of us as well and pushed me away. He keeps saying he doesn't know what to do, and adamant he still really likes me a lot and his mind is '****ed' right now. 

He ended it with me, saying how he doesn't think he can do this anymore due to his stresses. I asked him if he thinks after he is under less pressure will he maybe change his mind or realize he has made a mistake.. he keeps saying he doesn't know and cant even talk about it. What should I do .. this has come all of sudden out of blue. Do I give up on him or wait for him? Hardest situation ever!

Contrary to what you said, this is not the "hardest situation ever." In fact, it's pretty easy. He doesn't want to be in a relationship with you, due to "stresses" he can't talk about it, and has given you no indication that there is any future. 


Also, your time investment is about a month. Better that you find out now that he can't handle stress, than 5 years from now, when your lives could be intertwined in ways that his lack of coping skills could really fuck things up for you. 

And, I do know what you mean. I have met several people in my life who felt familiar/like we'd known each other for years. Past life? I don't know, maybe. But, I do know that these "special connections" sometimes amount to nothing. C'est la vie. 

P.S. Your romantic relationship should be the LEAST stressful part of your life (most of the time). If it's not, you are probably in the wrong relationship. 

So I'm not sure if we are just friends or if we are moving into being more than that. I would like it to be more than that because I feel like we get along really well- share the same hobbies, don't run out of things to talk about, etc. 

We haven't known each other very long, but we text every day. He comes to see me at work and we do have some serious personal conversations. Over text, we talk pretty flirtatiously. For example: he said he was cold and wished he had someone to cuddle with. I said I wished I could come and cuddle with him and he responded "that's sweet of you." He calls me "dear" and "sweetie" over text but not in person. He usually instigates the texts (every day usually but not first thing in the morning), but sometimes I do too- he doesn't wait long to respond. 

We went on a date (I think...thus this question, Smile ) walking around and then to a movie (he paid). He smiled at me a lot and laughed at my jokes. He didn't hold my hand during the date or really touch me (even though I wanted him to) until we got in the car. I gave him a ride home since he doesn't have a car. On the ride to his house, he started tickling me. We sat in front of his house for like 10 minutes talking and then he kissed my cheek and gave me a pretty long hug. Then he texted me some 20 minutes later to see if I had gotten home safely and he said he had a great time. We texted for another three hours or so and he again started flirting over text. 

So I'm confused because he will flirt with me and call me those names over text but not in person as much. Was he trying to be polite and not forward on the first "date" or are we just friends? Should I try to make a move the next time we meet? Should I ask him? I like him and I don't want to lose him as a friend but at the same time I really like him as more than that. I also don't want to be the "aggressive" girl. Thanks for any advice.

How old are you? I feel like you must be young. So, I am going to go with that theory and be a little kinder with what I am about to say. 

Ok, if you are young, then maybe he is also young, and inexperienced, and dumb in that way that young men are. If that is the case, then RELAX. If something is going to happen, it's going to happen, and you don't need to be in a big old rush. 

If you are an adult and this is your quandary: Um, he's either gay (I have never been called "dear" or "sweetie" by a straight man)or he has you in a non-bone-zone, which leads me back to gay, because most straight men don't pursue platonic friendships with women in this way, unless you have some specific endeavor in common (like you both play music or you are both on the debate team). That is a gross generalization because there are exceptions, but they are just that- exceptions.

Another point, I cannot imagine text messaging a straight dude that I wish I had someone to cuddle with (period) and having them respond with "That's sweet of you." 

The tickling thing is a little creepy, particularly since you were DRIVING! Hello, car accident. 

Basically, you should just think, oh this is my new male friend with unclear sexuality. Find some new boys/men to send cuddly texts to. Perhaps he will make a move and then you will find out I am wrong about my theories here. But, I am rarely wrong. boyfriend and I are having a...discussion...on whether it's appropriate for him to buy lingerie for a female friend. It happened a long time ago so it's not affecting our relationship now. It's just a debate we are having because it's something he did when he was single. So? What do you think? I think if a man buys me lingerie, I figure he wants to see me in it. He says he bought it because he wanted to be nice and thought she would like it, that they never dated and he never saw her in it. He says not all men are created equal and despite what others may say, his motive wasn't sexual. What are your thoughts?

As you pointed out, in terms of your relationship, this is irrelevant, since it happened before you entered the picture. Also, it's not really a question of appropriate-ness. I just don't get it. As you said, if a male friend is buying me lingerie, at the very least, he is imagining what I look like in it! 

When my platonic male friends have done something nice, they have taken me out for a bite to eat, given me a book (which one could argue also has questionable tendencies- unless I gave it to you, because I have given a lot of books to men whom I didn't want to wear lingerie for, but maybe some of them I did), bought me a drink, taken me to a movie. They have not, however, bought me a bra and panty set. So, yes, you're right. I think it's sort of a creepy/weird thing to do. 

As you can see, I am diligently working my way through all of your questions and next week, I will not be alone! Send any question you may have, about life, love, sex, dating, friendship, Dr. Pepper, polygamy, crustaceans, or anything else. You can use the box on the top right. Have a good week, it's Spring, go make out or something. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And This Week....Scandinavian Countries for the Win

The state of things, on the last day of winter-

I'm listening to this


(I know, I'm predictable.)

Also, I am OBSESSED with what I'm reading- Book 1 of Karl Ove 
Knausgaard's 6 volume memoir, My Struggle. 

I read/heard how addictive this read is. (I believe Zadie Smith is quoted as saying she needs his books like crack.)

And it is. 

He had me at the opening sentences- "For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ides of March

(from the Bill Cunningham: Facades exhibit which opened today.)

Don't get in to too much trouble this weekend, if you can help it. If you're bored and/or you missed it....


Strangers Strangers Everywhere

(I know many many people have complaints about that First Kiss video, that you surely have all seen by now, but I don't get why. That a clothing company made the video is not a big deal to me. There have been a slew of fashion sponsored mini-movies and videos made over the past few years. And, the video is sweet and fun and it is what it is. I imagine that we all have bigger things to complain about.) 

Anyway. I started thinking about the ways in which we engage with strangers and how interesting it can be, because the possibilities of these interactions are limitless. Maybe you will kiss, maybe you will fight, maybe you will fall in love, maybe you will hear a cool story, maybe you will learn something, maybe you will talk to a crazy person, maybe you will get a job, maybe you will get peed on (I have a long history of being peed on, unwillingly, by strangers, on the street- but that's an entirely other discussion. And no, it's not something I appreciate.). 

Have you listened to the Strangers podcast? Started by the former director of The Moth, the podcast aims to feature "true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren’t even who we thought we were." 

In a large city, like New York, we come into contact with strangers constantly. It's one of the things I love about it. For as much as I enjoy isolation, I feel so so so much better when I am in a continuous flow of passing by other people's energy. Even when that energy is questionable. Despite my germ-a-phobia. This is why I think I'm far more productive in urban environments. But, maybe that's just me. 

So, go talk to a stranger today or ask them a random question. Might be fun? (Or your worst nightmare.) 

P.S. Tame Impala cover of Michael Jackson's Stranger in Moscow. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Is Why I Write

This morning, I got an email, from a young woman, which made me realize that sometimes our words mean something and sometimes the internet is good.

*dear erin,

i'm writing you because i want to say thank you. a few months ago, i read your story "the green sweater" on mr. beller's neighborhood. it is a haunting read that really resonated with me. i started reading your blog and bought the anthology book. it was so good to read about addiction from someone who isn't a celebrity and isn't an idiot.

i am 21, in my last year of college, and i have been using heroin off and on for the past 3 years. my family doesn't know and most of my friends don't know either. i haven't gotten too strung out and keep stopping and starting but i'm concerned that it's heading that way.

although we come from different backgrounds, i could totally relate to so much in your stories. i have quietly struggled with depression my whole life and heroin provided some relief. at least, it did.

you are really inspiring and i am at the point that i think i need to ask for help so that this doesn't turn into something worse than it has already become.

so, thank you. thank you for writing so honestly, thank you for writing so well about addiction, and thank you for making me feel less alone.


I write about myself, maybe too much, maybe too candidly. But, this email really touched me and I thought about why I write. Clearly, on this blog, a lot of what I write is light, and okay, maybe sometimes stupid/frivolous/unimportant. 

I write the other stuff, too. I write about the stuff that makes some people say, "Don't you want to leave all that mess behind you?" When we write the truth, when we write about our experiences, we reflect things back- emotions, situations, life. I may or may not be an idiot, but I write what I know, what I've learned, and about the road that got me from there to here. 

We turn to art and make art to feel less alone, to stir something, to think, to breathe, to dream, to recover. This email reminded me of that. Thank you, J. I hope you find the road from there to here, too. 

*J gave me permission to post her letter here. 

(If you are interested- you can read The Green Sweater here and you can buy the anthology here.)

Ask Erin And Lisa!: "Tommy Lasagna" Lends Us a Hand or Two. (NSFW because we talk about sex.)

We're back! And we are not alone......

Erin: Hey, Lisa! We are so lucky, because today, we have help, in the form of a man. 

Lisa: well

Erin: We can't use his real name.

Tommy: You can call me Tommy Lasagna. 

Erin: He's currently in a top secret location in the Alps or something. We needed back up because Lisa is currently enjoying/dragging her ass through SXSW.  So are you ready to help/confuse people?

Tommy: I think I am. I have to score 45 more points in this Spades game. It's a metaphor for relationships. 

Erin: Here's our first question...

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over 2 years, and we've been living together for about 8 months. We get along great, both love each other, and will be engaged (hopefully) within the next year. However our sex life is... plain- other times bad. He doesn't like to try new positions- he has two that are his favorites and that's all he ever wants. As far as oral sex goes, I give him blow jobs pretty consistently but the last time he's gone down on me was at least 6 months ago. I keep myself clean & shaven so I'm not sure what the problem is but anytime I bring it up he just says he doesn't like it. (I don't enjoy giving blow jobs but I do anyway because I know he likes them).

Sex is most of the time unsatisfying for me. It takes me awhile to climax and he finishes pretty quickly sometimes. He's usually tired afterwards and falls asleep- which leaves me laying there still turned on and unsatisfied. It not only makes me sexually frustrated but emotionally as well. I just want him to finish me off in some way. It just seems like he doesn't care about how I feel after sex.

Any tips on how to bring this up to him either directly/indirectly?

Erin: First of all, what's with both of you? You don't like to give blow jobs, but do so begrudgingly, and he doesn't like to go down on you. Um, are you sure you're both straight?

Tommy: It could be that she has a very shallow mouth and he has a very short tongue. 

Lisa: i have a friend whose bf won't eat her out either and it is the source of much tension in their relationship. 

Erin: Also, you shouldn't be in a relationship with someone you cannot have an open conversation with about your sex life. 

Lisa: i agree with you, erin. 

Erin: I mean, can she get herself off? Perhaps part of their sex life can include that, which may spark his interest in actually giving her an orgasm. 

Lisa: her dude sounds like a selfish prick.

Tommy: I'm not sure it's possible to be with someone whose genitals you won't put in your mouth. I mean it is possible. But, then you spend all day writing into advice columns asking them to help you fill a hole you yourself have dug. 

Erin: I think our general consensus is- she should move on. Next!

Is it possible to love two girls at once? I'm just curious as to if you have nay experience with this and if you think it's possible.

Lisa: i think you can have love for many people. but being in love? one at a time, please. 

Erin: I have felt, in the past, like I loved two people at once, but, really, it was just me being fucked up and unable to commit. 

Tommy: I was actually reading the other day about love (because that's what I do when I'm procrastinating and, also, when I'm not playing Spades on my iPhone.)

Erin: You are really good at procrastinating. And it takes one to know one. (Why do you think I have this blog?)

Tommy: Well, anyway, I was reading this book by Bell Hooks, called "All About Love." And, she is talking about what we are actually feeling when we're in love with someone. She uses this term "cathexis," which apparently is a Freudian term that essentially means investing energy into someone. That's what got me thinking. Bell Hooks has this critique of romantic love or notions of romantic love. She argues that we actually have some standard definition of love, and that we should think of love as an action, rather than a feeling. And, it's this whole idea that real love is what lets you and the other person flourish.

Lisa: OMG i'm getting teary-eyed. 

Tommy: So, when someone asks me if it's possible to love two people, I think the only serious legitimate answer is: AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR DAT. 

(Erin and Lisa explode into laughter.)

Lisa: excellent advice. hold on, do you want to be my fantasy jewish boyfriend? 

Tommy: I'm almost done with this game of Spades. 

Erin: Is this like Fantasy Football, Lisa?

Tommy: I honestly think I do better as a fantasy/ internet boyfriend because I do not have time to help others flourish. 

Lisa: ok then, tommy lasagna is my new fantasy jewish bf.

Erin: You read it here first.

Went on two dates that I thought went pretty good and then received the message below about her basically friend zoning me. Curious how you would respond, as I've yet to send her a reply.

As far as going out again, I'm not sure about it at this point and I don't think it would be fair to you to keep going out while I figure out what I want. I know I definitely had a good time with you and like you a lot. I'm just not sure if I see more than friendship and I would feel like I was leading you on if we continued to go out on dates. If you would like to keep talking I'm open to it but I definitely understand if you would rather not.

Tommy: Ok, I got this one. So, you went on two dates that you thought went pretty good. And then the (girl) sends you a message that indicated you thought wrong. As far as getting let down easy, I think this girl's message is pretty spot on.

Erin: Agreed. She's not into you. Say, "thanks." 

Tommy: I actually always breathe a sigh of relief when I get a message like the one she sent, because there is no second guessing and she isn't wasting your time. (Even though while you've been waiting for our reply, you have probably sent her back some stupid self-deprecating message that made you look insane.) You should've probably just replied, "Thank you, I love you."

Lisa: i'd respond like this: k. or my FAVE: kk

Tommy: Omg, I think we were meant to be together, Lisa. 

Erin: I feel like some swanky skanky matchmaker. 

And on that note, we're outta here! Thank you, Tommy Lasagna, for bestowing your relationship wisdom upon us. We hope you join us again. Tommy and Lisa, good luck with your fantasy relationship. 

Now that we have a male perspective on board, send that deep burning question in. We will get to it as quickly as possible. You can use the box on the top right and your anonymity is golden. 

P.S. Tommy Lasagna, deep incognito. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Have you seen this yet? Filmmaker Tatia Pilieva brought 20 strangers together and filmed their first kisses. The result is pretty pretty endearing. 


This is sort of perfect for this glorious 60 degree sunny day in NYC. Spring is finally emerging (I am in denial of Thursday's forecast.) and it's sort of the perfect day to go kiss someone. Do it.

(Fun Fact: When I was 19? 20? I had to kiss a stranger in a music video, but I won't tell you which one, because I want to spare myself, and my boyfriend, the embarrassment.)

What are you doing? Get off the computer and go kiss someone!