I really don’t want to be writing this right now, my last column for you, dear FLARE readers. Not because I find farewells to be particularly fraught (I’m pretty sure we’ll meet again), but because the topic I’ve taken on is a toughie: L.O.V.E.
For the record, I was supposed to be writing about the maintenance rituals of New Yorkers. I could long wax poetic on the power trio of places that keep me presentable—Swedish blonde salon Mirjam Bayoumi (ask for Omar), my mani-pedi spot (Lovely Nails on 8th Avenue), Body by Simone dance fitness (Gabby is my girl). My 500 words would soon be up. I’d neatly wrap this whole self-evaluation-through-Manhattan life chapter, and that would be that.
But it’s hard to escape love in this city. With I ♥ NY printed on T-shirts and condoms, it’s a place that boldly wears its heart…everywhere. The mantra seems to have a subliminal effect on its inhabitants that results in the L-word being tossed about frequently. “I’m in love with Liquiteria,” a friend professed of the juice bar du jour as we sipped its potent Killer XX cure-all after a particularly punishing workout. It was a swell drink, and I liked it a lot—as one should for $9. But love?
Indeed, in the buildup to (read: procrastination from) writing this nail-in-the-coffin column, I paid more attention to all the flagrant heart flinging around me. I also pondered my own idea of what love in New York even means. I’m lucky that when I moved here, I made sure to BYOB—bring your own boyfriend. He is my greatest love. It’s reciprocal, as he gave up a city and circle of friends he adored to make the jump with me. He still doesn’t share my romantic feelings for our new home, which makes sense given our paradoxical tendencies. Together for five years now, we’re writing our own unconventional love story, invigorated by the pull of polar opposites.
Among our pronounced differences, there’s age (he’s 10 years older), nationality (I’m Canadian; he’s English), spirituality (I just joined a synagogue; the only thing he’s religious about is paint-ball) and diet (I’m a meat-free health nut; he considers MSG an essential food group). We don’t have any shared hobbies or much the same taste in books, music or television, though we both have guilty pleasures (I stream a despicable show called Made in Chelsea about plummy London snobs, while he’s addicted to Duck Dynasty). Where I am sensible, he is sensational, and vice versa. I like to leave the party first, he always last. When new people meet him, they are duly surprised I’ve snagged such a live wire and that we manage to make it work. Yet we both know that a life with someone who shared our respective extremes would be a bore.
In the simplest terms, we balance each other out. In fact, I cherish him for all the reasons I heart Manhattan: chaotic energy, good looks, enigmatic spirit, brutal honesty, extreme brio and generous genius. So our rooftop—with the Hudson River as backdrop—was a fitting spot for him to propose.
While my monthly dispatch comes to a close, rest assured my New York love story has the happiest of endings: I said yes.