When a City Reminds You of Those You’ve Lost

I had a best friend a few years back. A straight guy. Which maybe should have tipped me off. But I’d known him since middle school. We’d been chummy for many years, and he had gradually become a second brother to me. Year after year, we ambled down Third Avenue in chilly November rain andContinue reading “When a City Reminds You of Those You’ve Lost”

Circa 1939

Grandpa Ellis didn’t talk about the time he spent riding the rails. He didn’t talk much at all. He’d come of age in the company of hungry, hollow-eyed men, and he’d learned their silence well. Latched on like barnacles to the roofs of freight cars, they clicked off the miles of open country. He diedContinue reading “Circa 1939”

I Can’t Talk to Men

I mean it. I’m 33 years old, and it doesn’t matter if the dude is 21 or 41. If I find him remotely attractive, I’m a blathering, stammering mess. So over the weekend, I’m out with friends, and a handsome server goes around the table, taking everyone’s wine orders. And I begin to swell withContinue reading “I Can’t Talk to Men”

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Single Life

It’s been fun blogging about dating this week, since I’m so new to the concept. But I wanted to close with a few thoughts on being single. Between the ages of 20 and 30, I was in a committed relationship with one man. In essence, I grew up in that relationship. But since the divorce,Continue reading “10 Reasons to Celebrate the Single Life”

Why Online Dating Is a Nonstarter

  So I’m not a big hit with men. Just putting that out there. I had my first date, American-style, at the age of 32. And yes, I’ve been married, but it was for political and legal reasons. No rings. No reception. Most importantly, no cake. Most of my oldest friends still don’t know it everContinue reading “Why Online Dating Is a Nonstarter”

Why Mandela Still Matters

Along with most of you readers out there, I was saddened to read the headlines today about the death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95. Being 32, I had never known a world without Mandela, and although I had read of his ill health for years, I must have assumed his immortality—as mostContinue reading “Why Mandela Still Matters”


I remember the optimism of going home to someone. And how, months after the divorce, a part of me still lived back there on Roy Street. Waking to the sunrise in my attic room and thinking it was really from the second-story bay window there. How grief and change can displace one like that. AndContinue reading “Happiness”


I come from a family of runners. My grandfather to California, my father north to Washington, a great-grandmother west from Virginia, my mother south to Hood River. We steal away to other towns, take on other names. But always, we run. My Grandpa Ellis and I both learned to slip out the back door. QuietContinue reading “Runaways”

On Love, Autonomy, and the Limitations of Feminism

Recently, I’ve been reading Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch (1970). And she strikes a nerve with me when she writes, “Our society encourages the substitution of addiction for spontaneous pleasure and specifically encourages women to foster dependencies which will limit their mates’ tendencies to roving and other forms of instability” (176). Men in turn, she argues, areContinue reading “On Love, Autonomy, and the Limitations of Feminism”

A Certain Kind of Beauty

“You have to smile like this,” and my friend gave a tight-lipped smile. “Like you’re not sure. And you have to keep your chin down at an angle, like this.” I was sitting across a cafe table from one of my oldest and dearest friends, who was generously giving me some pointers now that I’mContinue reading “A Certain Kind of Beauty”