October 6th, 2017

When You Date While Traveling, Don’t Expect a Hollywood Ending

Yesterday I seriously considered hurling my phone out my 25th floor window. Only two things stopped me: one, the fact that I’ve replaced three phones in the last six months (not from throwing them, I swear) and two, a legitimate worry that I might injure person or property.

Apparently a memo went out yesterday to all the men I’ve dated this year. It read, “Today’s a great day to reach out to Jennifer. Say something shitty.”

One, who failed to respond to my last message, wanted to sext—this after telling me last month that we shouldn’t talk about anything real because “then we’d be in a relationship, and then it would just be over.” One told me hooking up was a mistake, but he sent relentless message after message, demanding my friendship. One said he’d love for me to spend more time with him, just so long as I know that it’s never going to be anything serious. And one, whom I haven’t spoken to since we went out in July, wanted me to take a look at the book he’d recently finished and provide my expertise on the publishing industry.

Honestly, it’s a miracle I didn’t hurl myself out my 25th floor window.

Dating while traveling can be a lot of fun. This year I’ve gone on dates to a waterfall park in Croatia, the best burger spot in Berlin, and the top of a mountain in Hong Kong (spectacular view below). It’s a good way to explore a city and potentially learn a bit more about the culture. And let’s be real; I’m traveling for a year, so not dating at all isn’t much of an option. 

But it also gives guys a great excuse to keep their distance, to not take you seriously. If you’re only in town for a week or a month, why would they invest in you? I alluded to this in a previous post as one reason why I don’t think constant travel is the right long-term choice for me.

The more I think about it, though, the more I believe that it’s the same song, different verse of the crap I get at home. “You don’t really live here” is just a variation on “I need to focus on work” or “I got out of a relationship recently and need time to myself.” Because when you call their bluff (and I have, twice), when you point out that you don’t really live anywhere, that you could hang out a bit and see where things go, they let the second round of excuses fly. Every reason can be translated to the same underlying truth: “I don’t like you enough to make the effort.”

And that is a sentiment with which I’m all too familiar. I mentioned before that I’ve been officially single for thirteen years—and before I left NYC, I was working with a matchmaker to try to change that status. I spent an insane amount of money and time from September through March. She brought a stylist over and dolled me up for new profile pics. I read books and took personality tests. I met with her once a week to review dates and discuss strategies. I went on upwards of three dates a week. And at the end of all of that, she sort of threw up her hands and said, “Eh, I don’t know. I’m not sure you like boys who like you, and vice versa. Maybe there’s not someone for you in New York…”

After 159 punishing days of international dating, I’m trying really hard not to draw the conclusion that maybe there’s not someone for me in the whole damn world.

This problem isn’t mine alone. I have a few limiting factors (not wanting kids, for instance) that make my pool of potentials a bit smaller. But I have an alarming number of gorgeous, smart, funny, objectively marketable girl friends who are single and don’t want to be, especially those who live in big cities. All of the reasons for this—apps, decreased focus on religion and community, the rise of non-monogamy, and so on—could, have, and will fill books. 

But I digress. There’s a romantic myth about travel in particular. When I signed on to this trip, so many people, from my girl friends to the aforementioned worst matchmaker in the world, predicted that I’d fall in love along the way. My cynical brain resisted, but some squishy part inside, the one that likes romance novels and Hallmark movies, hoped it would be true. It’s certainly what the media tells us will happen—how popular would EAT PRAY LOVE have been without the love, really?

I’m guilty of perpetuating the myth myself. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. My client’s book that came out in June, THE WILD WOMAN’S GUIDE TO TRAVELING THE WORLD, is about a girl who falls in love on a trip to Hong Kong. And does he tell her, “Oh, sorry, the hot hotel sex was awesome, but time for you to go home now, bye”? Um, hell no, he does not. That would be a terrible story. (And it’s a great story; you should buy the book. Forgive the shameless plug, but things are clearly not going well here. Some good should come out of this crap.)

Real life, however, is not women’s fiction. It is not a romantic comedy. In real life, you go to Hong Kong, and you meet an amazing guy—via a dating app, because who meets in bars in 2017 anyway? You go on fun dates. He takes you on an adventure to the top of a mountain, where you kiss overlooking the city. You jointly delight in the discovery of your similar backgrounds, your hopes for the future. You start to appreciate his snark, his nerdiness. You have hot hotel sex. Then your trip is over. And instead of begging you to stay or following you to your next destination, he says, “I had a great time. If you happen to pass through again, let me know.”

That’s the real ending. 

 

September 1st, 2017

Catching Flights AND Feelings

“Catch flights, not feelings” has become a rallying cry. And when I started this trip, I thought maybe it could be mine. I left a string of romantic disappointments behind in New York, and I hoped a year with We Roam would be a much-needed break from the pressure of dating in my 30s. 

But four months in, I’ve realized that the phrase describes yet another Cool Girl whom I’m never going to be. That girl is probably off somewhere skydiving, or on a speedboat headed to an island. And I’m sitting on the couch, slightly weepy eyed as I type this blog post, having caught feelings again.

I’m just closing the book on another two-day…fling? dalliance? I don’t even know what to call it. But it was great. And he was great. So great that I can’t even write down the story; you’ll just have to trust me. It’s hitting me much harder than the last one, I think because there’s nothing obviously wrong with him, nothing like Evan’s penchant for non-monogamy that lets me go, “Oh well, this was fun, but it would clearly never work in the real world.”

And that’s the other big problem—this is my real world at the moment. I can vacation hookup as well as the next girl, but I’m not on vacation. And I don’t know how to put my feelings on ice for a year. 

I know what my more Romantic-minded friends will tell me: that you have to live in the moment, appreciate things for what they are, make the most of the time you have and then be open to what comes next. And I’m not saying that’s bad advice; it’s just that I fucking suck at it.

Also, to be honest, I don’t really have any desire to get better at it. I don’t want to know how to say goodbye more gracefully; I just want not to have to one day.

That, more than anything, convinces me that I’m not cut out for this nomad life in the long run. Every time I say hello to someone, I know goodbye is imminent. As much as I love exploring new places, that’s not how I want to live my life.

But for now…I suppose I’ll focus on work and discovering our next destination, until I’m ready to have my heart bruised again. Because two days isn’t long enough to fall in love, but it’s enough time to fall in like, to know you want more. It’s certainly enough time for me to catch feelings, even while I’m packing for my next flight.                               

August 16th, 2017

I Drove 119 km for a First Date

When I wrote about bailing on my island hop last week, I mentioned that it freed me up to accept an invitation to visit the little town of Tisno—here’s the story I hinted at.

Shortly after I arrived in Barcelona back in May, right after I’d started traveling, a guy messaged me on OKCupid. We’ll call him Evan. He was cute, I was interested. Only problem is that he was back in New York. First date next year?, I offered.

We chatted a bit, and it turned out we’d both be in Croatia in August. I filed it in the back of my mind for a few months, and we reconnected once we were here. My hopes for a fun Croatian date, though, soon dissipated when I realized we were geographically incompatible. 

I’m based in Split, without a car or boat or helicopter, and Evan was staying in Tisno, also without transportation, 119 km (about 74 miles) up the coast. 

He quickly explained that it was impossible for him to come see me—there are no rental car companies in his small seaside town, and even if there were, he was visiting his mother, and there’s no way she would be okay with him taking a couple days out of his annual visit to drive down the coast to see a girl. 

And I dug in my heels and refused to go there. Years of social conditioning have taught me that Men Are Supposed to Make the Effort. They are supposed to call, they are supposed to pick you up, if they ask you out less than three days in advance, you must refuse, because you are supposed to be unavailable, and they are supposed to pursue. 

Now I don’t truly believe in that anti-feminist, regressive bullshit. (I actually fired a therapist in New York who tried to push it on me, but that’s a story for another day.) But when you hear these things often enough—and as a woman, you hear them constantly—they seep into your subconscious. And on a more personal level, I’ve had many experiences, with men, friends, work, even family, where I am putting forth piles of effort and getting little in return. 

Because of all that, I said, no, sorry, and anyway, I have a trip planned, so maybe I’ll see you in 2018. But we kept talking. And my trip turned out to be a bust. Then I looked online and discovered there was a vacancy for a couple nights in the one nice hotel in Tisno. It had a pool, and even more appealing to someone who’s spent the last few weeks sweating uncomfortably, it had CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING. Finally, I decided what the hell. He might be great, he might be terrible, but at least I’ll get a couple good nights’ sleep in that sweet sweet artificial coolness. 

So I managed to rent a car, which due to the aforementioned problems I had in Germany, was not an easy feat, and just two days after taking the ferry back from Vis, I headed north. 

My expectations were low. Evan had made it clear that his mom was his first priority (as she should be, really, I’m neither insane nor an asshole), and he had some prior commitments. But he ended up making more of an effort than I’d anticipated, and I had two of my best days on the trip so far.

After a quick, get-to-know-you, make-sure-we-actually-like-each-other lunch, we hopped in my rental car, and he drove me to a little local swimming spot. Down a pothole-strewn dirt road, a little hike through the forest, and here we were:

In Croatia, this is a beach. I have Feelings about that, but I’ll admit that it’s lovely. You just have to really earn your swim by walking on the dirt trail, climbing down the rocks, and hopping over the sea urchins. But the people were few, and the water was salty perfection.

To my surprise, Evan actually invited me to join his evening plans, a movie with friends in a nearby town. But I decided to pass—it had been a long day, and I wanted to see Tisno for myself. I had a delightful evening. The sea breeze was refreshing, I adored the old men fishing off the bridge, and I found a little restaurant where everyone was speaking Croatian and I could get a giant mixed grill plate for 12 bucks.

I thought the beach outing might be all Evan would have time for; early on in our talks, he’d said he could only get away for a couple hours. Instead, he told his mom he had a friend in town (his mom, not being an idiot, was delighted he had a girl visiting and wanted me to come over for cake…that didn’t happen haha), and we made plans to visit Krka National Park the next day.

While Evan dealt with a burst pipe in the morning, I had a lazy few hours reading a book poolside. Then we were off to see the waterfalls, an easy half hour drive from Tisno. 

If you ever find yourself in Croatia, Krka is the one thing I think you must do. The drive in is beautiful; you can see the river from the highway. After you park, you take a bus down a winding road with increasingly gorgeous views. Then you hike down a crowded wooden walkway, passing pools and lookout points and small falls. Then you get here:

Despite the crowd, I had a ridiculous amount of fun swimming against the current and clambering over the river rocks. It was worth every one of the many steps it took to climb back to the bus stop. (The fact that Evan bought me post-climb ice cream before dinner, my favorite soft serve twist cone, helped, too.)

We stopped for dinner on the way home at the perfect roadside country restaurant, where they specialize in meat on a spit. I’m fully carnivorous, and I was practically jumping up and down with excitement when I got out of the car and saw the fire pit. The lamb was fantastic, as was the bottle of Evan’s favorite Croatian red. Basically, if he’d just taken me to a bookstore, too, it would have been Jennifer’s Dream Date.

There are at least a dozen reasons why I had such a good time over these two days. Obviously, Evan and I got along well. We talked easily, commiserating over our careers in dwindling art fields, discussing relationships and family and hopes for the future. I really appreciated how he acknowledged and reciprocated the effort I put forth in getting there. It was perfect to be shown around a new place by someone who knows it well (he grew up in Croatia) but also knows my home (he’s lived in NYC for nearly a decade). And it was relaxing to let someone else take the lead, especially in the midst of a year in which I’m navigating one unfamiliar city after the next.

It represents the best of what this trip can be: I took a risk that paid off and had an exciting adventure with a handsome man in a spectacular setting.

But as we said goodbye—he was packing up the house the next day and preparing to go home; I was returning to Split—I realized it also represents the worst. For while the trip may bring exquisite moments, they’re almost inevitably fleeting, as we continue to press on to the next place, person, experience.

Many a well-meaning friend has asked, a hopeful lilt in their voice, if we’ll see each other when I go back to New York. It’s possible, but that’s months…perhaps as much as a year…away, and so many things could happen between now and then. But I suppose we’ll always have Tisno.

June 21st, 2017

Reconsidering Non-Monogamy

When I was young, I assumed I would get married–it was a question of when, not if. And I assumed the marriage would look pretty similar to all the ones I saw around me: kids, suburbs, a sort of genial affection with my husband, if I were lucky. I think these are pretty common assumptions for a young child to make, particularly growing up in Oklahoma in the 80s.

It didn’t take long for me to start pushing back, though. By middle school, I could hop on a feminist soapbox about women automatically staying home with the kids. By high school, I was rolling my eyes HARD at my Catholic school’s “Christian Living” class assignment to plan our weddings. By college, I wasn’t sure I wanted kids; by my mid-twenties, I was sure I didn’t. By 30, I was meh on the idea of marriage–a long-term partnership would work just fine.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is my desire for a monogamous relationship. To be fair, I didn’t even think of non-monogamy as an option until I moved to New York four years ago. At that point, it popped up in the occasional dating profile. Now I see “ethically non-monogamous” or “polyamorous” or some variation thereof in probably 10-15% of the profiles I come across. It’s officially a Thing, another riptide in the already tempestuous contemporary urban dating scene.

But for the past four years, I’ve been swiping left on all of them. It hasn’t mattered what they look like, how compatible they might be, how much they might also dream of going to dinner together but reading different books at the table–if they don’t want monogamy, it’s a hard left swipe.

Since I’m traveling for the year now, though, I’ve relaxed my restrictions. It doesn’t really matter what they want long-term; I’m only in town for the month. The checklist has basically been distilled to: A) cute and B) somewhat interesting. Which is how I ended up on a date with a non-monogamous French Canadian staying in Prague for two nights after he went to a goth festival in Leipzig.

Yeah, you can read that sentence again. I couldn’t make it up if I tried. 

Jean-Pierre* and I spent two evenings together…maybe 12 hours in total. So while I still don’t know what it would be like to be in a non-monogamous relationship, they were 12 damn good hours, and they’ve got me thinking.

The first crack in my monogamy wall came a couple years ago when I met an American guy in Montreal: Kyle. He was hot and brilliant, I was into it, we had a nice text thing going, and then he told me he’s polyamorous. (I’m going to leave the vocabulary lesson for someone else–at this point in history, different people tend to define these words differently, and they all seem to have unique practices. Ask for specifics before proceeding is my general advice.) Kyle and I were never meant to be for many reasons, perhaps most importantly that he wasn’t really into me like that (we’re friends now; hi, Kyle, hope you like your fake name), but he was the first person who made me question whether monogamy is really a deal breaker for me.

The second crack came when I had coffee with an acquaintance about a year ago, and when the talk turned to romance, as it usually does, she told me she’d been single for a long time, but she’d recently started dating someone with whom she was really happy. She said something along the lines of, “He’s not monogamous–he has a girlfriend who’s his primary partner. And I never thought I’d date someone like that; I wasn’t looking for that. But I’ve never felt so cared for in any other relationship.” 

A number of tiny hairline cracks followed. Each profile I read in which a guy seemed great EXCEPT…another minuscule crack emerged. I read Sex at Dawn and found their argument fascinating, even if I thought they overreached with their conclusion. Essentially, they counter the traditional evolutionary psychology/anthropological argument that we’re hardwired for monogamy, and the evidence is compelling. I think our current social context presents a different issue, but I recommend the read.

In contemplating Kyle, I reasoned that I don’t think you get everything you want out of life. Particularly in my case, it’s possible that I want contradictory things. A lot of men who don’t want kids also don’t want to be monogamous–they view children as the only reason to consider monogamy. And there’s a reason why 10-15% of the profiles I see feature non-monogamous men, while you may never have encountered one–I’m looking for someone highly educated, very liberal, and urban, which increases the odds. So maybe in order to get everything else I’m looking for in a man, I might have to compromise on the monogamy front.

But Jean-Pierre made me question where the qualitative difference really lies. Sure, the sex was as amazing as you’d think it would be (though anyone who’s banged your average finance bro knows that quantity does not necessarily translate into skill). But the truly amazing part of the encounter is that he exhibited more genuine interest in my life in two nights than most guys do in two months. He memorized my friends’ names and personalities, he learned a bit about my family, he was respectful and considerate. He sent thoughtful and appreciative follow up messages. 

I’ve dated lots of men who society would say were the better choice because they were ostensibly looking for monogamous partnerships. Most of them were dicks.

And I know what my mom, if she ignored my advice and is reading this post anyway, is thinking: “Non-monogamy is just a way for men to have their cake and eat it, too.” Well…to be fair, I also like cake. 

But tongue-in-cheek pithiness aside, I think I still ultimately want monogamy. I’m a Scorpio; I’m possessive and jealous as hell. But you never know–there seem to be as many flavors of non-monogamy as there are Ben and Jerry’s; maybe I’ll find one I like. Regardless of whether it works out in the long run, though, I think I’m ready to stop automatically ruling out these men. If I see a guy who looks intriguing, regardless of his relationship proclivities, I’m swiping right.

 

 

*all names changed

May 19th, 2017

The Double Date That Wasn’t

2 + 2 =

Last weekend, my new friend and travel mate, Abby, thought it would be fun to do a double date. I was supposed to see a flamenco show with a guy I’d been talking to on OkCupid who was visiting Barcelona from Belgrade (our September stop–hoping to line things up in advance; I’m very pragmatic). Abby had never seen flamenco, so she hopped on her phone to find a fourth. Over lunchtime beers, this all seemed like a great plan.

By the time we were in the cab on the way to pre-flamenco drinks, our plan looked like it might be devolving into a third-wheel situation. Abby’s date was skeptical of the entire concept of the double date–perhaps it’s not so common in Spain?–sending messages like:

  • “I don’t understand why we’re going out with your friend. Can’t we have a date just the two of us?”
  • “Is this a group sex thing?”

But he kept promising that he was on his way–as soon as he got off work, changed his shirt, ran a couple errands…the excuses evolved over the course of the evening. Nevertheless, we soldiered on and were soon sitting across from my date, whom, to protect the privacy of the asinine, we’ll call Mark.

Allow me to be blunt: Mark was not attractive. Revisiting his profile later, I realized how strategic his photos were. So, all dolled up in my Friday night red-lipsticked best, that was disappointing. But he gave good text, so I had my fingers crossed for some scintillating conversation.

Then, ten minutes after we sat down, Mark told us about Helen, another girl he met on OkCupid, with whom he’d spent the entire week, sharing a room by night and exploring Barcelona by day. “I hope she might come by later,” he said casually, as if this were a perfectly normal thing to tell someone when you’re supposed to be on a date.

So at this point, two girls. One guy. The promise of a potential third girl. No actual dates happening. But there were mojitos on special and some delicious pesto bread, so we continued.

Getting the bill in Spain is always a process, and I wanted to regroup with Abby about our plans for the evening, so I sent Mark ahead to get seats for the flamenco show. When we were halfway there, Mark messaged to say there were no seats left; we’d arrived too late. There went the entire premise of the evening.

At this point, I was ready to bail and tried to convince Abby we should find another bar with different, better boys. It was Friday night, we were dressed up, it was Barcelona. But she was committed–to the idea that Mark could hook us up in Belgrade, to the possibility that her date (still messaging! still promising!) might come through, maybe even to the narrative itself.

So we moved to a different table on the main square of El Raval and waited for Mark to rejoin us–he seemed mysteriously committed to the evening as well. The waiter approached and asked, “Drinks? Mojitos?”

It’s like he knew us.

Mark came back and proceeded to tell us the FULL story of his romance with Helen, complete with photos. It was like a fairy tale, right up to the point where Helen apparently broke his heart the night before. Guess that’s why he decided to meet up with me? (Pro tip: don’t tell the girl you’re on a date with that she’s a consolation prize.)

Figuring this obliterated the need for any vestige of politeness, Abby and I were blatantly on our phones at this point. She started a thread on our We Roam Slack so that everyone might delight in a little schadenfreude. She also surreptitiously took photos of Mark showing us photos of Helen (they’re hilarious, but I’m too nice to post them). And we were both swiping through Tinder, still trying to make an actual double date out of the evening.

After forty-five minutes or so, I hooked one. Let’s-call-him-Diego was on his way and promised to bring a friend for Abby.

Half an hour later, Diego showed up alone. Alone and fully twenty-five years older than his late 20s-looking Tinder pics. 50 at least. Balding.

I contemplated karma as I scurried across the street to meet him, vaguely explaining that Mark was someone we’d met recently, and he was a little weird, so Diego should just ignore him. Not the world’s best cover story, but I was five or six mojitos deep.

We shared an awkward cocktail, over which Diego explained the finer points of Spain’s governmental structure, and then Abby and I agreed via WhatsApp that it was time to go.

“We have to volunteer REALLY early,” I announced as I stood up. “This has been lots of fun, but our volunteer work is so important to us.” (I’m smarmy when I’m irritated.)

But the fun wasn’t over yet. Diego offered to drive us home, we accepted, and then Mark–still in it to win it–insisted that Diego should drive him to our place as well, and it would be easy for him to walk from there.

Up to my eyeballs in bullshit, I asked Mark where he was staying, pulled up Google maps on my phone, and showed him that his Airbnb was just a ten minute walk from the square, while our place was 30 minutes farther away, and for that reason, we would be parting ways immediately. (Abby has photos of this, too.) I couldn’t have been more clear if I’d had a projector and a pointer.

He drunkenly acquiesced, and we waved goodbye as we speed walked down the street. One awkward car ride and a quick double cheek kiss later, we were free. Free to head upstairs to have a bottle of wine nightcap and regale our friends with the already legendary tale.

Instead of a double date, two dates. At one table. Both of them terrible. With a chaperone. Not exactly the romantic foreign escapade I’ve been imagining.

 

Was this the kind of date you all thought I’d be having in Spain? Anyone care to top my bad date anecdote? Commiserate below!

January 24th, 2017

Trump Is Ruining My Love Life

After the election, I took a month off from dating.

Like many others in the country, particularly here in my delightfully liberal NYC enclave, I woke up miserable on November 9. I spent most of the day–the better part of a week, really–in tears. The thought of trying to converse, let alone flirt, with an unknown human was inconceivable.

Before the election, I was dating like it was my job. Really. I started working with a matchmaker in late September, and “dating” is an actual line item on my bullet journal’s habit tracker.

Now, though, when I’ve pulled myself together a bit and am trying to get back out there, it’s tough even to find someone to go out with. January is usually peak dating season, not yet in that awkward Valentine’s Day avoidance lull and right after people make resolutions to be better, to do more. This year…crickets. The matchmaker confirms that it’s not me–in the city, at least, no one is swiping, no one is matching, no one wants to be set up.

When I have managed to land a first date, it feels more akin to a therapy session at worst or a political rally at best. There is no line of conversation that doesn’t lead to a discussion about how scared and angry we are. And once that starts, it doesn’t end; there are too many dark alleys to explore: the failings of the Electoral College, the future of the Democratic Party, the complicity of the media, a thorough analysis of every single Cabinet appointee.

That is not sexy. I have yet to transition from that conversational quagmire into a hot makeout session.

And yes, since I can feel you rolling your eyes, I’m aware that we have bigger problems right now. But when the world has turned into a much darker, more ominous place than it was three months ago, I’m even more envious of my friends who have a safe harbor at home.

So who knows. Maybe we’ll eventually embrace an eat, drink, and be merry philosophy, and all the single people will get some end-of-the-world sex. Maybe I’ll meet a cute, liberal, feminist guy at one of the many organizing meetings I’m now attending. (My free time is yet another unexpected casualty of the Trump administration.) For now, though, my love life is just another reminder that things are not normal, and we are not okay.

January 11th, 2017

One Human Watching The Humans

I love Broadway. The first time I visited New York, on a thirteenth birthday trip with my mom, we saw a show every night. Now that I live here, I don’t have that kind of time or money, but I do try to get to the theater every month or so. And most of the time, I go alone.

There are a few reasons. Many of my friends don’t have the time, money, or inclination to go even once a month. Some would like to go but would need to get the cheapest possible seat, while I prefer (and am lucky enough to be able) to spring for a spot from which I can see the actors’ faces. And then there’s the coordination–doing anything with anyone in New York City requires a superhuman effort to compare calendars, and then odds are high that the plans will be rescheduled. Being busy is a key New York attribute (I’m guilty).

But honestly, the theater is the perfect place to fly solo. You’re literally forbidden to speak. You’re sitting in the dark. Many of the people there don’t even live in New York; they can’t judge you. And here’s the real bonus factor for Broadway: you can get better seats for less money. I saw Hamilton fourth row center all by myself. It was glorious.img_4977

The one sad solo moment is when the lights come up, and you want to turn to the person next to you and talk about what you just saw…but when you go see a play alone, the person next to you is talking to the person next to him. Luckily, you’re never alone on the Internet. It’s not quite the same, but it’s far better than staying at home.

And The Humans was an ideal play to watch alone because there was no one to contemplate the tears rolling down my face for the last twenty minutes or so. Truly, it’s beautiful. 95 minutes with no intermission, a single tw0-story set, a cast of six. It’s a glimpse into the life of a middle-class family on a recent Thanksgiving, coping with illness, financial difficulty, love and the loss of it, aging, work instability, religion, and the usual familial sniping that happens when everyone gathers in one room for the first time in months. It’s funny and tragic, life at its highest and lowest in just an hour and a half. The show is in the final week, but if you can, go–even if you have to go by yourself.