When I moved to New York in May 2011, a freshly-graduated 22-year old with a pep in my step and a song in my heart, I did not know what I was getting myself into. But you couldn’t have told me that. No, I fancied myself a woman of the world, unfazed by the big city and too ready to eat up all its foods, drink all its wine, and date all its boys.
I was a hungry little blonde fool though, and as a result I spent most of my first year here in a perpetual financial—and literal—hangover. So had I been the kind of 22-year old who took advice, here’s what someone should have told me.
You can say no, but mostly say yes.
There are a million things to do, dates to go on, and experiences to feel in the city. You have to do as many of them as you can, but when you need a break, take one.Then put your eyeliner back on, and get out there again.
Don’t move to the East Village.
And do not pay more than $1,000/month for your first apartment(s). Unless you’re making bank or someone else is funding your extravagant lifestyle, rent within your means. There are plenty of cool, safe places to live in Brooklyn. Do not be afraid because you’ve never seen them on TV or in a movie.
If there’s a way to make something seem hilarious rather than sad, make it seem hilarious.
Most of your dates will be terrible. But is there anything funnier than a bad date? Most certainly not. You will be poor and fat from all the brunch, but isn’t it supremely uproarious that you can’t afford baby powder to fight the chub rub? Yes. Start a blog.
Things you can save money on: a gym, groceries, cabs.
Gyms are not a good place to make friends or pick up boys. Since you’re not going to the gym, you’ll need to eat less, so no need to waste your dollas at Whole Foods. And most of the grandestadventures take place on the New York City subway. Do not deprive yourself of them because you’re lazy and want a car to haul you around like a common suburban American. Unless of course you need to avoid the walk or subway ride of shame. In that case, wipe last night’s mascara from under your eyes and hail yourself a cab, darling.
Things you must spend money on: shoes, brunch, hair products.
New York City will eat your shoes. Invest in good ones. Brunch is where the best stories are made and told. Your hair is all you have left, so take care of it, you thrifty minx.
Force everyone to visit you.
They will believe your life is far more fabulous than it actually is, and their misguided perceptions will validate your reckless decision to live in New York.
The boys will not always pay.
It doesn’t matter if they picked the restaurant, initiated the asking-out, wore a nice suit, or make six figures. When that bill comes to the table, you’d better be fully prepared to go halfsies. Example. Two months in to my relationship with New York City, I went on an OkCupid (should have known then) date with a gentleman I’ve since dubbed “Bobblehead.” I was a lowly intern at the time, and Bobblehead had invited me to a taqueria speakeasy for dinner. Silly southern belle that I am assumed that since he’d invited me, my job was to get dolled up and be charming, and his job was to pay. I realized my error when the $300 bill arrived and he asked me for my card so we could split it. I handed it to him in a margarita daze, and after narrowly escaping an embarrassing DECLINE, I survived solely on cereal from my office for the next week and a half.
So there you have it. I’d like to say it gets better, but really you just make more money and different mistakes. And you have way more fun making them.
Plenty of pep in my step on my first day of work. May 16, 2011.
If you ever care to see me on the verge of a temper tantrum, catch me immediately after one of the following:
A shower that inexplicably turned icy cold half-way through and I still had 3/4 of my legs to shave and conditioner all up in my hurr
Being trapped in a really hot, sweaty, crowded space for any period of time (i.e. subways in July, Six Flags)
Today I found myself in the latter situation, and boy was I cross.
I know that a bunch of people all over the world made a bunch of “resolutions” to try not to be so fat in 2k12 (myself included), but I didn’t think that each and every one of them would decide to fulfill this resolution in my gym!
Honestly, I think over half of the Manhattan population was there today—all panting, sweating, and dreaming of less-fat versions of themselves in disgustingly close proximity. And while the elliptical area was definitely hot and gross, it was in the locker room where I really lost it.
There were so many sweaty, naked women throwing shoes and bras everywhere, I practically had to cut someone to get to my locker. And by the time I got my stuff I was so hot and fittified, I knocked down about three of them trying to get the hell out of there.
Then I was so busy pouting and stewing on the subway ride home, that I was completely oblivious to the fact that my eyeliner had made its way down to my chin and most of my hair was in a hot, matted mess on the side of my face.
Hopefully, the rest of the January gymers will forget that they don’t want to be fat in 2k12 and leave me to me to sweat in peace.
Or maybe I’ll find something more fun to do than work out, like watch Mob Wives.
Also, fun fact: when you Google “sweaty” or “sweat” there are an alarming number of images of Christina Aguilera.
However, no Get Skinny! plan would be complete without some exercise. So I found a gym near my apartment, lugged my workout gear to work (which had been neglected for, oh, I don’t know… 6 months?), and after work, I begrudgingly exercised for an hour and a half.
I have never worked out in a New York City gym before, so this was a big learning experience. Here are a few things I discovered today:
1. You must already be skinny to exercise in public. Everyone in this gym was tan, toned, and glistening. There must be secret gyms for people who need to get skinny before they can work out in public. Where are these secret gyms???
2. You must have cute workout clothes. I was not dressed to impress, and boy did I regret it. I looked homeless and lost in my faded black sweats and baggy college t-shirt next to all these exercise goddesses in their workout underwear. I will be shopping soon.
3. The gym is a meat market. The sexual tension in this facility was palpable. I mean, duh! It’s filled with half-naked gorgeous people who are getting all riled up on treadmills and weight machines. If anyone has any tips on gym flirting, please let me know. I doubt I was succeeding. I mean how could I—I didn’t visit a secret gym beforehand and don’t own workout underwear. Ugh.
Now I know the rules of NYC gym-ing. But honestly they should do PSAs on this stuff. That way unathletic girls from Georgia won’t stumble into these situations looking a hot mess.