Archive for October, 2009


The Don’ts of Liz Lemon’s Dealbreakers

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

I really hope you’re watching 30 Rock. Because other than Jack Donaghy’s dry wit, Kenneth’s cartoonishly eager face, Jenna’s hopelessly hopeful career, and Tracy’s lunatic antics, my favorite part is watching Liz Lemon navigate the world of being single.

Don't take dealbreakers too far (Image:

Don't take dealbreakers too far (Image:

On last night’s episode, Liz (played by the show’s creator Tina Fey) published a book called Dealbreakers: A Girl’s Guide to Shutting it Down. I laughed out loud, of course, at the ones on her list, like, “If your man is over thirty and still wears a nametag to work, that’s a dealbreaker!” and “If your man has seven cell phones but won’t give you any of their numbers, that’s a dealbreaker!” You can see more items on the list at NBC’s Dealbreakers site—and most are so far out there (“If your man appears on “To Catch a Predator” on Dateline, that’s a dealbreaker!”) we can’t help but agree. But I gotta say, as much as I love Liz Lemon, I don’t love all her dealbreakers.

Why? Put simply, if you’re focused on what’s not going to work in a relationship, then the negatives are all you’re going to see! Look at the subtitle of the book: a guide to shutting it down. Hilarious, of course, I get that. But in real life, haven’t you shut enough down? Your dates, your attitude, your heart, your hope? Think about opening up, instead. Open up to the possibility that perhaps the most perfect man for you—kind-hearted, supportive, sexy, driven and funny—just happens to want to “ride you home on his handlebars.” And guys, maybe the perfect woman—warm, beautiful, quirky and smart—just happens to “collect action figures.” Please: Don’t count people out of your life before they’ve even stepped into it.

Now I do think it’s important to look at your life in the big picture and make note of the big dealbreakers. If you desperately want a family and the man you’re dating doesn’t want children, yeah, that is a dealbreaker. If you’re a deeply religious person and the date you’re with is adamantly opposed to what you believe in, yeah, another dealbreaker. But when it comes to someone’s personality traits—to the food they eat, the movies they watch, the shoes they wear—these don’t define a whole person. And maybe what you thought was a dealbreaker at first will turn out to be something you can embrace as the lovable quirk in the person who’s so perfectly meant for you.

Enjoy the show, laugh at the book, and—as Liz Lemon says—”if your man has appeared on Maury to take a paternity test,” he’s probably not the right guy for you. But after you laugh your way through the episode and her “book,” stop looking for ways to shut it down, and start looking for ways to open up. Love likes to surprise us, remember. Let it.

But I’m also curious to hear what you think about Liz’s dealbreakers: Have you been burned by not having them? Are there some you’d never give in on? Or have you scrapped your list altogether?

You might also like:
Love Doesn’t Need to be Quite So Tough…

Big love and let me know,

Amy Signature 4

The Edamame Lesson

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The first time I tried edamame was pretty mortifying. I was a young magazine editor asked to lunch with a high-end cologne company’s marketing manager to discuss their new products. The location: a midtown sushi restaurant. As soon as we sat down, the marketer asked if I wanted edamame. I didn’t know what it was, but so I wouldn’t appear too “green,” I said, “Sure, I love those.”

I was green about these green beans

I was green about these green beans

When the bowl came to the table, I reached in, grabbed a bean and, not knowing what to do with it…popped the whole pod in my mouth and started to chew. And chew. And chew.

“Oh!” the marketer said, “Geez, uh, you’re not supposed to eat the whole thing.” Then he took his edamame and popped the beans out of the rough pod shell to show me.

Not wanting to look even more silly, I pushed my charade even further. “Oh, I know that’s how most people do it,” I said (having no clue that’s how most people did it). “I just like to eat the whole thing.”

The marketer adjusted his tie, nodded slowly and said, “Oh, wow, okay.” And then, to prove the point I’d made, I had to reach in and eat a few more edamame pods. I gnawed and chewed the pods, trying to break the stringy bits that were turning into a cud in my mouth. After getting about six more pods down, I tried to doggie paddle my way out of it and said, “You know, let me try it your way.” I popped the beans out and fell in love with edamame for the first time.

Why am I telling you this? Because a friend of mine and I were sharing lots of stories like this—most of which were about dates we’d had. And we realized that it takes growing older and wiser to teach us that pretending to know it all is a waste of time and a waste of life. Life is all about learning new things about what’s around us and who’s in front of us, and we should never, ever feel silly figuring it all out. Remember my story the next time you’re stuck in an awkward moment on your next date. Ask more questions than you answer. And, please, continue to take the beans out of the edamame pods—they’re far more edible that way.

You might also like:
Embrace Your Embarrassments!

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Are You A “Sane” Dater?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

The other day, I came across that famous quote by American author Rita Mae Brown, who wrote in 1983: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Are you in an insane dating drought?

Are you in an insane dating drought?

And because I always have dating on the brain, it brought me back to one of my dustier single droughts, when I was spending two to three nights a week going to the same bar with a group of my British co-workers. Night after night, as I shimmied up to the same bartender, I’d look around at the same faces hoping that this night, someone amazing would walk in! But night after night, the same group of us would down our pints facing the same 50-somethings on barstools.

I enjoyed it for a while, but eventually, when I realized that nothing new—and no one new—was coming into my life, I started looking at the sameness I was stuck in. I was doing what Rita Mae Brown talked about: I was doing the same thing, night after night, and expecting different results. I needed a big burst of something as new—the way Tim Wow is Available Now! mustered with his infomercial about himself to find love.

So if you’re getting down because you’re  on the “same” wheel too, well, you know what to do! And this isn’t just true of where you’re going in life. This is also true of who you’re dating. You’re smart enough to start looking objectively at people you meet now, so if you tend to date the same woeful type over and over again to disastrous results, sharpen your dating radar and stop the insane cycle! Dating the same jobless, commitment-phobic, or personality-challenged person again and again and expecting a different result the next time is, simply, insane.

Eventually, during my dating drought, I took a break from the British pub uptown and found a new hang-out downtown that attracted a cool mix of new people. I made new friends, new business acquaintances and even ended up dating a few new guys I met there. So if you’re feeling like you’re going dating insane, try something—anything—new. Different thing, different results, sane state of mind.

You might also like:
“Flipping” It: A Story

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Do You Have IDS (Irritable Dater Syndrome)?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Here’s the weirdest connection to dating you may ever read. Are you up for it?

Look up and ahead to the future—not to your past (Image: Ken Spencer)

Look up and ahead to the future—not back at your past (Image: Ken Spencer)

I read about a study in the medical manual Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, which found that people who suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) tend to have a link between their suffering and their levels of stress. The solution? Well, the lead author of the study, Jeffrey M. Lackner, Psy.D, found that in a stressful situation, you should focus on what you can do, not on what you should have done to prevent where you are, all of which will help alleviate your IBS symptoms. Well, hells bells, that couldn’t be more true of dating, too.

It’s time to shake your IDS (your irritable dating syndrome) by ignoring the pain in your past and looking toward the happiness you want to feel in your future!

When I was single, I spent many days wishing I had said something different to the guy I liked, because then maybe he’d be in love with me. Or I’d replay a moment in time when I thought I should have approached the guy I saw at the chopped salad place, because maybe he was my perfect match. And you can do that all day long—go over the shoulda, woulda, couldas. But guess what? You can’t change what’s happened so far. All you can do is look at today and to tomorrow. So the next time you’re beating yourself up for being too “picky” or for making dating “mistakes” that lost you a guy you liked, stop it! Stop focusing on what you think you should have done in the past in dating, and start thinking about what you can do now to attract the love you want!

One great first step? Put on a big fat smile so your potential matches can see how gorgeous you look when you’re happy. Relax and enjoy the little things that life has to offer so that you’ll be better prepared to enjoy your partner when he or she shows up. Find a little happiness every day and your IDS symptoms should lighten right up.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Your Life’s NOT in Ruins!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The other day, I caught the Nia Vardalos movie My Life in Ruins. Not only did it make me salivate for Greece (sigh), but I recognized what a lot of us go through in life and love in Nia’s character, Georgia, who was feeling frustrated by her life as a travel guide through the country. Picture 2Instead of being open to all that life had to offer, Georgia was trudging through the motions of her job, feeling hopeless about her love life, and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. Sound familiar?

If it does, maybe you’d appreciate the same message Georgia got in the film from the character Irv (played by Richard Dreyfuss), who acted as the movie’s wise “oracle.” His finest moment came, I think, when Georgia was giving Irv reasons why she felt she wasn’t close to the love or life of her dreams. When she was finished, Irv had this to say:

“You’re looking for obstacles rather than looking for magic.”

What a genius line. And what a great thing to challenge yourself with, too, when the walls of difficulty seem too high to climb over. When you look to the future love you want to have, are you looking at the obstacles, or are you open to the magic?

Love is not rational, remember. It’s the one thing in life that whisks away even the most practical, organized, type-A. Love is all about magic. And if you want to invite it into your life, start getting good at believing in it! If you focus on the obstacles to having love (“I work too hard to date,” “No one I like likes me back,” “What’s the point, everyone’s a jerk anyway.”), then obstacles are all you will hit. Look, instead, further along the horizon. Look for the magic.

You might also like:
Oh, Sherri: Her Lessons in Love

Big love,

Amy Signature 4