in praise of the suitor

“All I fcuking want is a man who can take charge, ignore my bullshit and the dumbass blog, and realize I’m more than words.  I’m messy.  I’ve got a scent and tears and a dog that craps on the floor. I’m not Town & Country hot.  I don’t drink milk and snack on red apples.  That has to be okay.  Why is it so hard to find a man who can just deal?  When I find him, God willing, you will all hear about it. His photo will be posted, beside the post, and you’ll all want to clap.”
–excerpt from this post written in February, 2005.  As promised…
I’d met “the suitor” back in February, before the book deals.  When I say “met,” I mean “corresponded with” via email.  One of his first emails to me was on February 8, in response to one of my lists.  Here is some of what he wrote:

12. I don’t know where Wyoming or Montana are on the U.S. Map. Oklahoma, neither. i’m the smart one, you’re the cute one.
14. The second toe on both my feet is longer than my big toes. It’s called the Royalty Toe.  you’ll match my third nipple
19. I lost my virginity when I was 15 to a boy named Eric Finka fink joke would be too easy.
23. Macaroni & Cheese is my ultimate comfort food  i love you, stephanie
31. I have never lost money gambling. I always win at Roulette. acceptance is the first step to healing
34. I once worked cold-calling people at home to sell Chimney Cleaning Services. i numbered urine samples for a lab in h.s., top that.
35. I am a distant cousin to the person who sings the theme song in the movie Manequin (Nothing’s gonna stop us now by Starship) name dropper
40. Yes, my hair is naturally red, and no you can’t make me prove it.  yes i can.
57. I own a cordless dewalt drill and keep it in my bedroom. no vibrator stories
58. “Lovey Dovey” is a terrible expression. Don’t say it.  agreed
60. I don’t like pizza. I’ll eat it, but I don’t like it. no pizza or power lines?  who are you?
63. I don’t understand people who eat onions like an apple.  are these the normal ‘rea’ people you were referring to?
67. I don’t understand how any woman can be seen in stockings and sneakers, even if it is a commute. There is absolutely no excuse for this.  i wish i had written his
69. Meryl Streep came up to me in a museum and told me she liked my hair.  that wasn’t meryl streep.
70. I don’t have much tolerance for dumb people.  dumb people like power lines, history and pizza.
72. I don’t understand people who do touristy things in any city.  this i will change your opinion on.
74. I’m an exceptional cook.  i dare you
85. So I married an axe murderer is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.  “look at the size of that boys head!”
89. I am attracted to men that make me go crazy, and I hate being crazy.  let’s start with dinner, ok?
92. I can climax from having intercourse. Normal sex. is this not normal like ‘rea’?
95. I have a tough girl attitude, but really I’m a soft turtle inside and worry that the simplest things will make me cry.  if its not too forward, can i see your turtle please?
99. I like sex in the morning when I’m still half asleep, whether or not I’ve brushed my teeth.  check that, let’s start with breakfast, ok? 
104. I was married.  me too.  we weren’t married to each other, were we?
134. I don’t think I’ve ever had a boy buy me lingerie. This makes me sad.  don’t be sad.  valentine’s day is a coming…
144. I hate when people use LOL. emoticons are lower than pun or mime.
145. I think the book The Rules sucks. I never play by them. I’m too impatient… I make my own.  i hope your rules include meeting me.

He made me laugh.  And think.  And want to meet him in person.  He asked me out for Valentine’s Day.  “Um, hello, I’m so not going out with a stranger on Valentine’s day.”  I was mildly depressed and decided instead to binge on McDangerous until I felt guilty.  Valentine’s Day isn’t as depressing on a Monday.  You can almost gloss over it by working late.  All in all, it wasn’t a loss; I wasn’t ready for anything then.  We finally met, I think a week later, at ‘Cesca, on the Upper West Side, after one of my Monday night classes.

After our polenta and wild mushrooms (the item I always order there), I was still hungry.  “You’re still hungry aren’t you?”  I liked him, right there, in that moment.  “Want to order the Paella?”  No, I loved him, right there, in that moment.  A lobster head sat between us, beads of rice clinging to mussel shells.  More wine.  He walked me home.  I texted him when I was finally upstairs and he was in a cab on his way home.  “I really can’t wait to see you again.”  Then we went out.  Again.  And again.  Speaking every day.  And then we didn’t.

I wasn’t ready.  Timing.  Something.  I was unsure.  So I kept dating, and I wrote about it, knowing he’d read it.  That worried me.  The last thing I ever wanted was to hurt him or ruin anything, but I was not about to stop doing what I needed to do for me… and that was blogging up all over myself.  “You write whatever you want, Stephanie Klein.”  I loved that I could be me.  He lets me know that being my most authentic self is when he loves me most.  When we’re out with other people, and I suddenly excuse myself to go write in my notebook at the bar, he gets it.  He knows it’s not about my lack of interest in him, it’s about my having to be me.

He calms me and makes me want to give him the world.  Mine is brighter with him in it, even if from time to time, I go languageless.



  1. Congrats on your last day at work. The best of luck to you! I don't think you will need any luck however. You GOT the talent, the personality, the looks. Just try to post more often :)
    (Or at least some more pics of the city!!!)

    Good luck with the next puzzle piece, finding YOUR man, man.

  2. It is BAD KARMA to moderate your comments!

    Congrats on your last day at your job. Best of luck to you! I don't think you will need any luck, however. You HAVE the talent, drive, personality, looks, to get this far, which is the dream of more than a few.

    Just try to post more often:)
    (Or at least more pics of the city!!)

  3. Well instead of beating a dead horse and talking about how attractive you are…I'll talk about how attractive Kelly is. Wow…

  4. Stephanie, I will not judge you – I don't know you. I will say, I enjoy reading your blog, and studying your photos, you have a great eye, and your writing is a great read. I wish you much success – you are obviously very deserving and very talented. I am looking forward to your book.

  5. well, jeez, it's no fun to judge you when you actually ASK for it. way to take the wind out of a guy's sails, stephanie ;)

  6. that photo of the white pup with the shades and his tongue hanging out is the best of the lot–a really good photo–great detail of his tongue!

  7. A trip to Newport, photos delivered to us…and not ONE PICTURE OF A WICKER BASKET??? There are three things I must get pictures of when I take a New England excursion…covered bridges, displays of maple candy, and WICKER BASKETS!! I do love Newport, though…speaking of Newport…pick up a copy of John Coltrane's "Newport '63". Great stuff from the famous annual jazz-fest there. Newport aint never been funkier…

  8. You went to the Ocean State and you didn't take along the pride of Pawtucket, Derek Stubbs? He could have had you betting the dogs at Lincoln Park. Or watching the PawSox at McCoy Stadium. Or sucking a quahog in Woonsocket. Maybe once the P-Bruins season starts you two can check out a game at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Let the wicked time roll!

  9. Oh, that look of slightly dazed satsfaction on his face…and yours :). I really like dsc_0814. He's got that "yeah, she's with me" look to the side. It's great.

  10. Just for the record those are not carnations they are marigolds. Not much a of horticulturist, huh? Just like you weren't much of a food critic. Marigolds = carnations, garlic = weed….come ON! Now, now your a writer….LOL!

  11. No wait – the deep red ones ARE zinnias – the orange ones are marigolds.

    Need more info about Phil.

  12. NO WAY!That Phil guy looks smart, funny and tender. So good for you! *blows kisses from Germany to the Steph-hemisphere*

  13. Brett looks like a somewhat younger version of my ex boyfriend. Hot as hell, but hopefully the degree of emotional dysfuction is much less than my ex's, for your friend's sake.

  14. Do you not have any big girl friends?? You talk about fat camp days, did ya not make any friends or did they all get skinny like you? Just curious!

  15. Leave it for God to judge—I can only have an opinion, which is that you're a terrific photographer, along with being an excellent writer. Aside from that, your personality is what brings these talents together- that make it so entertaining. Good luck!

  16. So The Suitor won, hmm? Good for you, and for him… you seem so happy together…

  17. Brett outta be in pictures, magazines, the movies. He is gorgeous!!! Get that guy into modeling, for Calvin Klein underwear!!!

  18. Phil's "the suitor"?! Must go back and read all his comments. Yup…it's possible – they're all quite nice comments with a hint of familiarity…

    but I'm confused – why the continuing I need a man talk?

  19. I loooove Newport. You need to check out Purgatory. well, its really in Middletown but its awesome.

    I got a boyfriend that deals with me but in return I deal with him. It's all about compromise……..

  20. I'm still thinkin those are not marigolds, unless the scale is off, they look too big to be marigolds. But likely zinnia is a better guess.

    The more important question is, Is Jen single? and can she email me at…….

    Stephanie, I've recently put a lot of focus on the power move about which you've written previously. At some recent social events, it was amusing to pick up on every guy's move. What I discovered though, is that if the power move is not backed up with sincerity, it is a hollow gesture designed to cover up an insecurity. The man who is sincere and does the things a man should do, the power move is an extension of his integrity. Thanks for helping me discover this.

  21. Quitting your job to write? A new boyfriend sans judgments? ahhh you're good fortune is making me feel a little more optimistic. And suitor, no comments from you eh? Congrats on everything Stephanie!

  22. "Love and Happiness"…as Al green would put it. My German great-grandmother would say that Phil is a good man because he has a strong nose. Yes indeed, a fine beak. I wish you more happiness.

  23. Kim Plaintive I am so mad at the weave..LOL. I am jealous of that fiery hair though…

  24. Stephanie, this is my very favourite post you’ve ever written. I feel warm and fuzzy just reading the banter that Phil creates. This is the love that you should focus on, it is your foundation. This makes me feel so darned happy. Get back to this. Thanks for making it so easy to find – – I’d looked through all the archives but couldn’t find it!!

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