Valentine’s Day, Will You Be My Valentine?

I’ve got a new Valentine this year. And it’s Valentines Day.

I used to treat Valentine’s Day like New Year’s Eve–I’d bury my head under the pillows and wait for the whole thing to pass. Flowers die, chocolate truffles are fattening, and expensive dinners are, well, out of my budget. I’d stay in my pajamas, reading Glamour Magazine till the clock struck midnight on February 15th. Valentine’s Day and me, we weren’t even acquaintances, let alone friends.

Today, Valentine’s Day and I are getting to know each other better. We’re only on our second date, but things seem to be moving along swell. I’m feeling hopeful. My Nice Boyfriend is a romantic, he likes flowers. I’ve decided chocolate covered strawberries are healthy. And sitting at the bar at a fancy restaurant is actually kind of cozy and cheap-ish. Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad, after all.

Valentine’s Day, will you be my Valentine?

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Top 10 Dating Tips: From Me. To Me.

Hello my loves! I’m still so ridiculously thrilled to present the Top 1o Dating Tips: From Me. To Me.! Already, I’ve learned SO much about what women wish they’d known 10 years ago.

Here’s the Deal: I have the honor of interviewing the bestest women on the planet for The Dating Project. And at the very end of these interviews, when the pen is down, the book is closed, the interview is ov-ah, I’ve been slipping in one more teensy-weensy little question:

“What Advice Would You Give Your 10-Year-Younger Self?”

Here’s what our women said:

1. The worst thing that’s gonna happen is you’ll get hurt. And you’ll live.

2. You’ll love again.

3. It’s worth it, go for it!

4. When things get intense, let the moment pass. Don’t give in to the knee-jerk reaction, you’ll say something you don’t really mean.

5. Don’t forget about your friends. Don’t get so wrapped up in the relationship that your friends “forget” to invite you to things.

6. It’s OK to let your boyfriend see how batshit crazy you are. Better sooner than later.

7. Enjoy this time. You’ll have everything you want very soon. So for now, have fun where you are.

8. Trust your gut.

9. Even if it’s not convenient to break up, do it anyway.

10. Men are SO much more insecure than you realize.

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Nice View!

So there I was, looking through some old posts, when I came across this romantic piece of crazytown.
Way back in September, I thought I’d never, ever in a million years experience a change of scenery.  I looked out my window, accepting that view as the only one I’d ever know. Sigh.

Well, that’s just silly. Cause baby, I moved! And I couldn’t be happier. But you have to admit, the views in my old apartment were pretty cool, right?

BEFORE

AFTER

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The Dating Project…Meet Rita!

Welcome Back to…

The Dating Project, the newest segment here at The Inside Voice! We’re talking to sexy, successful and smarty-pants women to find out what they really think and feel about dating. Because being single doesn’t mean you’re ALONE.

Let’s meet Rita!***

1. Age and Occupation? 23. Yoga Studio Manager, Continuous Student.

2. Are you currently in a relationship? Yes.

Ooooh, tell me more!

We started dating last June, and it was casual until September. Then I ended it because it got too serious. He continued to pursue me and I gave in. I wasn’t ready for a relationship until I was, I guess. We got back together in early November. It’s been good ever since.

Interesting! We’ll go deeper into your current relationship in a little bit. But for now…

3. Place in Order of Importance: Work, Friends, Love, Other.

Other, Friends, Love, Work.

What’s “Other” for you? Everyday happiness. Yoga. Good food. Self-Work–that’s definitely my number 1.

4. Can you spot any patterns in past relationships?

My friends call me a “Manizer.” I don’t make the men a priority. I tend to not take the dating relationship seriously. And I’m finding that that behavior can hurt people. I need to be up front about my expectations, right from the start. I usually don’t want to be in a serious relationship, and men often expect that I do.

Also, I have communication issues. I’m such a girl’s girl, I’m used to just talking and relating to women. Men have the capacity to listen and be there for you, but it’s not automatic for them. Men often interject, try to help, or solve a problem. They don’t know when I just want to vent. And I never think to ask for that, specifically.

5. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Self Confidence-It depends on the arena. Person to person, I’m a 9. In front of the camera, I’m a 1. It’s easy for me to just talk to people, one on one. But, my boyfriend is a photographer. And I realize how NOT confident I am when I get my picture taken. I used to be a model when I came to New York. I developed some unhealthy habits and ideas. I went through this period of not letting myself enjoy food. Yoga totally changed things for me, and I’m in a good place now with my body. I can enjoy the experience of being me, without all the restrictions. But still, that residual stuff with the camera is there. The camera makes me feel like I’m under examination.

Self-Love-10

Attractiveness-8. I’m not necessarily at my peak. I’m waiting for my 30’s.

6. What barriers keep you from meeting a guy you like?

If their lifestyle doesn’t compliment mine, I don’t give them a chance.

7. What does your dating life look like now?

Now I’m in a relationship. I have to stop questioning it, and accept that I’m here in this relationship. We do lots of activities. We have movie night, cooking night, going-out-with-friends night. We both love theater, plays and dance. And he’ll just go out and get a couple of tickets to music concerts. It’s nice. I’d been developing resistance to New York City lately, and this relationship makes me enjoy New York much more.

8. What attributes are most attractive to you in a partner?

Sense of humor. Open mind. Genuinely nice–It’s a deal breaker if a guy is rude to waiters, or anyone else for that matter. Creative. Cute.

9. a) What does your perfect love life look like?

Pretty domestic. I’m such a homebody. We have an intertwined spiritual practice. We may not go to all the same yoga classes, but it’s part of our daily lives. We have quiet meditative time around the house. We’ll both create. Maybe he’ll paint, and I’ll sit and sew something, and we’ll come over and look at each other’s work every now and then.

b) In a word (or words), what does that scenario feel like?

Like one of those internal smiles that can’t go away. It feels like something I’d never want to leave.

10. Last question, do you believe in “The One”?

No. But I believe you can create The One. You choose The One. If you make him your One, he’s The One. But if it doesn’t work out with that One, you can make another One.

Thanks Rita!

Inside Voice Wrap Up: Rita knows herself well. (She knows herself far better than I knew myself at 23. Just sayin’.)  Rita is interested in self exploration. She’s a perfect example what it looks like to use dating as a medium for self growth. She’s finding her place in the world. Without defining herself by her career–because really, at this point she hasn’t truly committed to one–Rita is free to define herself any way she chooses. She is soulful, artistic, and enjoys flirting with men in every which way. She also keeps things light. She has a knee-jerk flight response when relationships get too serious. With her current boyfriend, Rita can enjoy the freedom of being single, yet enjoy the companionship of a partner when she wants it. This is perfect for Rita. Because Rita is, at heart, a single woman. She’s figuring out to make herself as happy as possible. And when she does, a partner will only add to that joy. But until then, Rita is rocking out on her dating path of self-love and self discovery.

***Some names have been changed, some haven’t. Each woman has the option to use her own name or choose her fantasy pseudonym. I’m not telling which ones are which. Hear these women’s voices. Listen to their stories. They’re just like you!

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Dear Facebook Friends, Thank You.

Dear Facebook Friends,

A funny thing happened on the way to Williamsburg. I asked for help. I put out a call to action. I empowered you to support me, in a quick and actionable way. Simply, I asked you to click “like” to wish me luck.

And guess what? You did!!

I’m touched. Believe me, I understand that people move all the time. It’s not unusual, especially not in New York. People change apartments, swap roommates, move to new neighborhoods. People go through periods of adjustment. People watch as their furniture gets wrapped up by three surprisingly mindful moving men, and loaded onto a truck. Yes, it’s been done before. Nothing to see here.

And yet, you wished me luck. You gave me a little nudge. How did you know that underneath the excitement of moving, and the steadiness of moving toward an “our future” with Alan, I felt like a deer caught in headlights on Graham Ave. at night. At around 6:30pm I was so overwhelmed, over-tired, and exhausted that I couldn’t move, clean, or organize one more thing. I sat down. Eventually the spinning slowed, and the dusty, cleaning-fluidy tension headache dulled a little.

I checked the Facebooks. And there you were, cheering me on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, on to more unpacking.

Love,

Daniella

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“Hot Lips”: Cute or Yucky?

Hot Lips. My Avocado. Mush Monkey. Sweetheart. Babe.

Endeared? Grossed out?

These are real live pet names, used by people I know, to refer to people I know. Respectable, mature, highly functioning people use pet names. But really, is it ever OK to use pet names in public??

I’m thinking, no. It’s too weird, too intimate, too revealing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not squeamish. I’m not a prude (well, not too much of a prude). I don’t have a fear of intimacy, I swear. And I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’ve had the same reaction as when I was without-a-doubt single, to when I was blissfully-in-lust with a new gentlemanfriend: wishing I could unhear what I’d just heard.

What do you think? Pet Names: Cute or Yucky?

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10 Commandments of Dating

Inspired by the brilliant Jonathan Fields’ 10 Commandments of Biz, I’ve compiled the 10 Commandments of Dating.

WARNING: Following these Commandments will transform you into a more twinkly, passionate, pulsing, overflowing-with-love version of yourself. The relationships that follow are, well, cake.

The 10 Commandments of Dating

  1. For every date with a potential partner, set a date with yourself. Surprise yourself with flowers.
  2. Savor each and every molecule of dinner, dessert, and wine that you didn’t pay for. Chivalry is not dead. Show some appreciation!
  3. Find something lovable about the person sitting across from you.
  4. Know that when on a date, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Even if you’ve suggested otherwise during every moment up to that point.
  5. Learn from past experiences. If you don’t like dating men who want to be taken care of, don’t keep on dating ’em.
  6. If you’re drawn towards someone, move closer. You’ll find out everything you need to know soon enough.
  7. Trust yourself. Date as if you’ll never get hurt. Because getting hurt isn’t the worst thing in the world, regret is.
  8. Trust the guy. The worst that can happen is you’ll be disappointed.
  9. Periodically take a look back at the boyfriends that have come into your life. Mentally thank them for sharing that time with you. It was perfect for what it was. You most likely learned something. Or just had a lot of fun.
  10. Politely ask your siblings to get on the baby-making track already. Your mother isn’t becoming a grandmother overnight, you know. If you’re an only child like me, I’m sorry. Jewish Mothers have the subtlety of a cinderblock. Oy Vey.

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Happily Married Yoga Teachers Are People Too.

When Blondie, a totally gorgeous, charming, happily married, intelligent, self-made, yoga teacher guru-type-person gives me dating advice, I listen. Or more specifically, when she gives her 10-year-younger self dating advice, I listen. And take detailed notes. Here’s how it went down:

Me: “What Advice Would You Give Your 10-Year-Younger Self?”

Blondie: Stop Testing.

Me: Whatever do you mean, Blondie?

Blondie: You know, being bitchy. Throwing tantrums. Not wearing make-up. Going out in sweatpants. Refusing to cook. Making him come to my neighborhood for dates. Throwing more tantrums. Also, farting. Testing to see who would stay. Every guy left. Except Mr. Blondie.

Me: Speechless.

Shocked! How could this flower of a person be so irrational, so grotesque, so……normal?!

My world will never be the same.

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Men and Gossip: When To Shut Up?

Dating is a series of stories I tell my friends. We giggle, commiserate, and bond over our dating stories. We’re story tellers. And these men are the stars.

But at some point I stop portraying my dates like cartoon characters, brought up in conversation only as entertainment over brunch. I think of them differently, and honor them as real live three-dimentional people whose inner life and emotions aren’t going to be broadcasted over mimosas. I stop gossiping, and just, well, shut up.

When my lips are sealed my friends know we’re serious. They know we’re for keeps.  When they ask “How are things with Alan?,” I can say “really good.” Because they are. Because the intricacies of how we’re improving, evolving, and learning are completely our own. And well, personal.

This didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen.

How long do YOU have to be in a relationship to stop the gossip and just shut up already?

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Top 10 Dating Tips: From Me. To Me.

I’m so off-the-wall excited to bring you the Top 10 Dating Tips: From Me. To Me!!!

I have the honor of interviewing the bestest women on the planet for The Dating Project. And at the very end of these interviews, when the pen is down, the book is closed, the interview is ov-ah, I’ve been slipping in one more teensy-weensy little question:

“What Advice Would You Give Your 10-Year-Younger Self?”

Here’s what our women said:

1. Don’t get married.

2. Don’t lose your sense of self in the relationship you’re in.

3. Make yourself happy first.

4. Don’t do what you think you should be doing. Do what makes you feel good.

5. Remind yourself how beautiful you are every day.

6. Being strong doesn’t mean denying what you want.

7. Don’t be afraid to be alone. It’s not that bad!

8. Be patient with yourself. Don’t rush to the endpoint.

9. You don’t have to compromise on everything. A good man shouldn’t ask you to.

10. It’s OK to be weak every now and then.

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