diary of an IM addict

I’m beginning to realize that this blog is becoming less of a diary than my daily IMs with friends.  See, I feel compelled to update them on everything: the fights we’re having over driving, parking, the damn GPS system.  "I will sit in the congested traffic lane if I know I have to turn in a mile.  It’s not worth getting over."  And then I added, "Today I couldn’t get over, so I drove a few miles out of my way."  Then I confide how he screamed at me until I cried, more than once, last week.  "You drive so fucking slow; you’re a danger to yourself and others.  You should seriously consider going to driving school."  Ass, it’s called "Austin Legs."  I’m just getting mine.  A new car and driving (since I haven’t done it since high school) are stressful when I don’t know where I’m going. It will just take me a while to adjust, to learn how the car turns, how far I need to pull up in a lot, how much I need to turn the wheel before hitting the gas.  And following someone who guns it at a yellow light is right up there with getting on the scale at the gynecologist*.  "Have you considered nice school?" I should have responded to Mr. I’m Just Concerned.  Sarcastic and snotty.  Last I checked, not so concerned.  I want to punch him in the head sometimes.  It’s not the hormones. 

"Sorry to be so mean to you first thing," the nurse said as she slid the weight along the metal scale.  I hate this part more than stirrups.  It was bad.  So bad I turned away, but I have a vague idea.  Not good.  I’ve been exercising here, eating healthfully, for the most part.  It would be easier if I lived alone.  Alone, I wouldn’t feel compelled to eat dinner.  I wouldn’t have to look at the cookie he has on the counter.  I could just eat yogurt and drink coffee and masturbate.  I would be thinner if I were alone. I also wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.

I think I need to go to a nutritionist, someone to keep me honest and accountable.  That’ll be my next project.  I’m also trying to make friends, which is weird, because it’s like I’m on a mission to meet.  When you’re looking for a mate, there’s Hurry-Date, speed-dating, Internet dating.  No one really makes a friend via friendster.  I refuse to scour craigslist in want of a bosom friend.  Friends usually happen organically.  Sometimes it’s a set up.  "There’s a girl I used to date there.  I think you two will hit it off, go get your Jamba Juice on together or something."  Sometimes it’s a reader offering up her services.  If you’re a mother, you meet like-minded mothers at parks, gymboree.  Mostly though, you meet people through work or school at this age.  A class.  Where will I meet someone who lives in Austin and isn’t moving away in another month? 

Here’s what I realized, it’s just like dating.  You know you go on that first polite enough date, both of you smile, snacking on the info-bites you’re given.  You know details but you have a feeling about them.  You just know if there will be a second date or not, pretty early on.  Sometimes it’s a tough call.  So you go out again, give things a chance.  Then you eventually get frustrated and decide to stop giving people the benefit of the doubt.  You call it "your gut," and you walk away.  Is it the same with the same sex though, when you’re looking to make new friends, as if it’s a job, when do you just stop returning her calls? 

"Look," I told my friend Alexandra over IM, "if she were a man, I’d never agree to a second date.  So why would I go out with her again?"  Of course I’d love to just make a new friend, just let it happen naturally, without prompting, emails, or set ups.  It doesn’t take meeting scads of women, it just takes one well-connected woman, who has her own set of carefully selected friends, to take me under her wing.  But I work daily writing in Starbucks.  I’m not meeting anyone here.  I’ve already been to five different ones, checking out the clientele for friendliness.  I’m now working from a drive-thru bucks.  Maybe I need to take tennis lessons.  No, not driving lessons.

*The gynecologist said nothing is wrong.  I’m perfectly healthy, just sans spot.  He’s prescribed meds to make spot magically appear. Provera. Broken vagina.  New car.  All the better in which to get lost.



  1. You wouldn`t be thinner if you lived alone. I thought the same thing but the reality is you get lazy and you start eating out even more. Eventually you`ll gain more weight because you`ll start to try out all these delicious meals and you`ll end your night with green tea and chocolate. So not good. (been there, done that)When you are with someone you think more about what you eat and how you look.
    Don`t forget you are beautiful and he loves you just the way you are.

  2. Sounds like stress. My husband in traffic is a "back-seat driver" nightmare. But I wouldn't trade him in for anything. (grin) Just take heart in the fact that you are re-learning driving in Austin and not D.C.! Then you'd probably try kill the Suitor, and then accidentally wrap the car around something while doing so. Despite the traffic and congestion in Austin, when I'm there, driving, and compare it to D.C., I relax! And friends will come. It took me a bit when I moved there originally. I did work at the Statesman, aka the Spaceman, and made some very close friends there, as opposed to working on my own, but Austin is a friendly town.

    And eventually you'll learn all those backways around, like taking Shoal Creek on one side or 38th across or Red River up the other side, or Guadelupe. Then you can skip the backups on MoPac and I-35.

  3. I have to disagree, Meryl. I've always been thinner alone than as part of a pair.

    Do consider the driving school…driving too slow is a hazard. And being comfortable behind the wheel will go a long way toward making you feel at home in your new city.

  4. Do they have medicine for everything, or what? It's good you went to the doctor to see if anything was wrong but, let your body work itself out naturally. (Did you say HE? You went to a male twat doctor?)

  5. Yelling and cursing at you til you cry? More than once? I hate to say it sounds like an anger problem. To get that mad about how you drive? I'm just saying…

  6. Hey girlie,
    I think building genuine friendships with other women is one of the most challenging things a woman can do when she moves to a new place. I'm headed to grad school soon and was talking with my sister-in-law about my concern that I would settle and make fast friends rather than being deliberate about the whole thing. If I had one piece of advice it would be to really trust that gut instinct about other people. Also, you have no obligation to anyone when it comes to going out or hanging out. I'm a very social person, so it's hard for me to say 'no.' However, I feel much more empowered when I realize that it's important to look out for number one (as self-centered as it sounds). I also think that people gravitate toward individuals who are confident in their interactions. Try it. It's pretty amazing to watch how other people open up when you yourself exude that openness and confidence.

    Best of luck, girl, in your new digs. I have no doubt you'll find what you're looking for.

    best regards,

  7. Making new friends is never easy. It takes time. You need to find some sort of activity outside of writing that will help you connect with people. Going to Starbucks to meet people is probably not the best way.

    I do think it is awkward when you force yourself to be friends with someone (of the same sex) you have nothing in common with – that can feel like dating.

  8. Maybe you should try non-Starbucks coffeehouses. Austin has great ones! Try Mozart's or Jo's or Spiderhouse.

  9. my best friend in Bozeman, MT just moved back to Austin in February. She's single, straight, 33, an accountant (don't hold it against her–someone has to do it.) smokes, drinks, makes people laugh. I highly recommend her as a friend. I miss her.

  10. You know, I had the same problem when I moved to Austin as half of a couple. I know how to meet men (i think, don't know if I remember) but meeting friends is so fraught and awkward. What is the pretense for introducing oneself? "I just moved here and I'm lonely…" Doesn't really fly.

    9 months later I'm still working on it, slowly and distractedly. And…wait for it…since I'm a foodie too and we'd probably like the same places, feel free to send an email if you feel like a girl-date.


  11. p.s. i do hope your new girlfriend(s) in austin don't make you cry ("more than once"!) just because you freakin' drive too slow or ask a relationship-type question without speaking your feelings perfectly correctly…. (okay, back to "nothing nice to say.")

  12. i agree with AustinGirl, Mozart's on Lake Austin is one of my favorite places, and i think you'd love it. the key here is to be friendly, and eventually you'll start seeing the some of the same crowd wherever you hang out, even in places like Whole Foods, or Book People. i think taking a class would be a good idea, a good opportunity to get to know a whole new group of people. it worked for me.

  13. As soon as I started dating my boyfriend, I gained 6 pounds, like THAT. I blame it on his constant "you wanna order Chinese?" You can't watch someone eat General Tso's and not want something that's NOT coffee and soy crisps. But the summer's coming and the summer is all about grilled salmon and lemonade and white wine. Which obviously less fattening that red wine.

  14. Stephanie, I'm sorry. I have never sniped at you, only at the assholes who are obnoxious because you have a book deal, great hair, and a metro NY upbringing. However, I do not like Phil. Not one little bit. From the cursing at you, to the bikini comment, to the screaming while you drive. He sound like my ex-husband and like lots of other ex-husbands. Controlling, enraged, entitled, etc. Really, I'm sorry.

    On a happier note, why not hit all the independent and chain bookstores, introduce yourself to the managers and/or marketing people — lots of whom will probably be women — and talk about do readings and signings. You'll probably hit it off with a couple of them beyond the business stuff, and next thing you know, a friend or two.

  15. RE friends, I think you meet people that you get along with by doing the things you like to do. Maybe a writing workshop or some of the great live music that I hear Austin has to offer. RE weight, call me crazy, but I am now, for the first time in my life, paying attention to calories and nutrition: it's really fascinating. I mean, a bit more attention than the vague idea that those potato skins with mozz, whiz, bacon, and sour cream are probably fattening. I found a great website that is a bit extreme, but serves as a nice constant nag until you internalize the habits of lighter eating: calorie-count.com.

  16. I know your pain in the car!! My boyfriend and I can't park together, we are great together any other time, but put us in NYC trying to find a parking spot and forget it. Something about driving just brings out strong emotions in people, not sure what it is.

    As for the friends bit, making new friends is one of the hardest things in my opinion. There are bookshelves full of titles detailing how to land a man, but nobody talks about landing a new BFF. If you are looking for an idea for the next book I'm sure this would be a bestseller!!

  17. Take a yoga class if you are really worried about your weight and want to make some friends. Two birds with one stone. Austin's an interesting place. Might be hard to make friends or it might not.

    What is worse is coming to a point in your life when you realize no one knows who you really are, even yourself as much as you try and there isn't a single woman you find intellectually, physically or emotionally attractive and then you post it on someone else's site. If you get bored, I'll buy you a beer in Houston.

  18. i really think you moved to austin as a twisted way for you to lose weight. you gave up on doing so in New York, for whatever lazy reason, and now think all of a sudden because you're in a warmer climate, you're going to be more active…good luck. and as for making friends..get real. the only friends you've made were guy friends…wonder why?

  19. Hey, this weekend will be awesome for meeting people. There's ATX Fest on Friday and Saturday at the Paggi House (www.atxfest.com). Then on Saturday, there's Eeyore's Birthday at Pease Park (SO much fun, google it for pictures), the Austin Poetry Slam Finals (www.austinslam.com for info), and on Sunday there's a benefit that I've been organizing (www.myspace.com/intagsolidarity) at Flamingo Cantina, an awesome bar on sixth street. Seriously, welcome to Austin, there's so much to do here that you can ALWAYS meet people. And, I've decided that mostly awesome people move to Austin, so most of the people you meet will be completely awesome.

  20. No one that I actually know or love has ever screamed at me until I cried. The only time that happens is with crazy people at my work and even then I have only cried once. That line made me really sad. Please understand that that is not a normal way to treat someone you love. I hope it is just the stress of the move and will not happen again.

  21. Stephanie,

    Go to Texas French Bread and have coffee and lunch while working. Friendly people. Or go to Central Market. I'm not sure if they have internet access.

  22. when I first moved to Phoenix from the City, I couldn't make any girlfriends, either. It was just exactly like dating, and it seemed like nothing clicked. So, I took a dance class for something to do at night besides pet my cat. And I met three really wonderful women who I still count among my closest friends.

    Best to you!

  23. Book club. Find one girl who's in a book club and who you could stand going on a "second date" with and go to the next meeting.

  24. Try getting your sea legs while in driving in Jersey. I've contemplated suicide while sitting on 495 and while trying to parallel park in Hoboken.

    boo hoo you big baby

    Now get back out there and drive Klein. And tell the suitor to shut it or he can walk home.

  25. check out places like the spiderhouse instead of starbucks. ask them for names of other places. meeting new people always sucks.

  26. (p.p.s. please tell him that sometimes he is such a big doo-doo head and he makes us really mad.) ::resuming quietness::

  27. Why is all that yelling necessary? Sheesh, and you're not even married yet. What are you driving? Take a road trip to H-Town and meet Sass already.

  28. Just got back from Mozart's and read your blog thinking–oh, go there or to Cafe Caffeine or Genuine Joe's or some more home-like place!

    You'll find your way. After the end of my marriage, which found me leaving behind almost my entire circle of friends, I had to start over. Between writing and photography groups, I got surrounded again. Thank goodness! It'll happen to you. Austin is an amazing trove of artists of every ilk.

  29. This is going to sound really cliche and perhaps even dumb, but what about starting a book club?

    Either that or perhaps you can look into joining a supper club? Now that is what really having friends with benefits is all about. ;)

  30. As someone who's moved to a new state not knowing a soul, not once, but twice, let me tell you that friends take a while to come by. The people you hang out with when you first get to town, will probably not be the people you will hang out with 6 months down the line. Finding a gym buddy or a coffee companion isn't very difficult, but finding friends takes time. It took me about 6 months of living in Michigan to find the Curly Haired Stick Figure. Yes, I had other people I hung out with before I met her, but most of them have fallen by the wayside. At least you have The Suitor. Life gets lonely after 5 straight nights of take out and Blockbuster.

  31. I've moved around quite a bit and always find it takes me about a year in a new city to feel tied to the city. Not that it took that long to make friends, but the ones I latched onto in the first year often were sort of transitional friends who introduced me to people who were a better fit. (Maybe it's a good argument for lowering standards on the first "friend date"?) I know that seems like an eternity, but with getting your new place set up, writing, baby-making, a wedding, and whatnot, it'll go by before you know it. After three years in DC, I finally feel like I have friends I could call at 4 am. So what do I do? Plan to move away in August. Starting over, part 17, table for one.

  32. I think you live near Davenport Village, right? You might consider joining BodyBusiness, the gym in the back corner. It's pricey, but has a small, intimate feel, owned by a kickass woman ( I used to work for her at another location several years ago) and they have training groups for beginners and all kinds of cool classes. You would defintitely meet some interesting women there.
    Another idea is to take a class through UT's Informal Classes. I took a screenwriting class once (although I quit cause there were no cute guys for me to meet. Sad but true.)

    Good luck!

  33. My cousin lives in Austin- She's 34 – Really fun, single and a legal recruiter- She knows EVERYONE– and she's lots of fun. No strings, she'll help get you started on the road to some "connected" Austinites that are lots of fun! At the very least- she can show you the best bars, eateries and live music that you can get in that area. Glad you are liking your new digs- sounds fabulous.. Tell Phil to be nice to you-We all know that men are the worst drivers! Lets be realistic :) For what it's worth, my DH and I think that Austin has the most fucked up roads in the entire U.S.! You can drive for miles, miss an exit and then get entirely lost trying to get BACK on the freeway– its nuts! Must have been those damn Longhorn Engineers! Take Care! Amydell~

  34. I'm definitely skinner when single. It's not the food — I'm pretty careful. It's that when you're with someone, they seem to get annoyed when you leave the house at 8:00 on a Saturday morning to go to the gym.

  35. Why is it, when they say "I'm just concerned", it sounds more like, "there is something really wrong with you"…
    You are right about making new friends, it is like dating — go with your gut – if you wouldn't go on the 2nd date, or if you would be uncomfortable introducing her to your parents .. best to skip it!
    Glad that you are ok!

  36. From experience, I would say when you move somewhere new ( in my case it was a new country, but seeing as you've moved from NYC to Texas, it's pretty much the same… ) it takes about 3 – 4 years to build up a complete social network. I'm not just talking friends, people to go to movies or drinks with, that doesn't take long, but a proper network, so that you know you know someone who knows someone if you get what I mean.

    In the meantime, enjoy the "dating" and get to know and like You, because you will end up hanging out with You ( and Phil and Mr Linus ) a lot. That's not a bad thing, but beware – once your social life picks up again, it will take a loooooong time before you stop viewing a night out as a chore and start thinking of it as fun again.

  37. I'm doing the Provera dance too – haven't seen spot since February! ;-)
    In terms of nutrition (I'm a nurse practitioner), I recommend looking into the South Beach Diet – it just makes sense, and it's EASY to follow. It's also cut my sweet tooth – that cookie on the counter isn't at all appealing anymore (and I used to be someone who HAD to have something sweet after every meal). The best part is that you're never hungry – seriously! – your stomach will not growl, and the weight falls off quickly. Just check it out.
    And don't let that boy make you cry! – try and have him in the car as little as possible when you're driving :-) I had to learn to drive standard in Bahhhhston (born and raised in NYC) – now that was stressful!!

  38. do you really think you can make friends with other woman? c'mon..the only friends you could possibly make would be guy friends for obvious reasons.

  39. I love how someone has to turn everyday emotions into anger management issues. Oy.

    Stephanie, when I first moved to the big city and was all messed up driving, I used to call my husband to ask what to do. Yes, that lame. Then I took it upon myself to venture out somewhere just for the sake of driving, watch myself get lost or anxious or whatever and feel a crazy sense of satisfaction when I worked it out on my own. It got better in a hurry, yours will too.

    Good luck with both friends and spot, just watch out for spotty friends! ;-P

    Enjoy your new digs, looking forward to hearing all about your adventures!

  40. Stephanie, Eyore's birthday celebration is this weekend in Pease Park. I'm volunteering at the Real Ale (local brew) booth from 5:30 onwards and would be glad to buy you and the suitor a beer. Also, the website austinist dot com is a great resource for local happenings.

  41. Try tennis lessons at Caswell tennis center with Mike. I met my best friend there years ago, and Mike is a great instructor. Or for something a little closer to home I think you can go to workouts at Courtyard Tennis Club without being a member. You might also try joining a league–it is a great way to meet a lot of people fast. Call the Capital Area Tennis Association for info. Unfortunately you may have to wait until fall. As everyone has said, there is lots to do in Austin, but it is hard to meet people to things with. You might also try volunteering: Capital Area Food Bank or Habitat for Humanity would be a good place to start. One of the best ways to meet people in Austin is through some kind of physical activity. You could also try Masters swimming. There is a group that swims at noon at the Courtyard Pool three days a week.

  42. Well I just went through a really painful breakup, and yeah, I've shed a couple pounds. But there has to be an easier way!

  43. Stephanie, thank you so much for this post! I'm looking at moving to Dallas with my Suitor in August, and nothing scares me more than the idea that I have to make new friends. Even though I know I'm not alone in a situation like this, it's nice to hear it verbalized :) Good luck!

    PS One of my best friends lives in Austin, and she was in the same boat you're in, about a year ago. Of course, as you already know, it'll work out!

  44. Sundry-Tell Phil to shut for me. My wife and I are complete opposites in driving. She learned older, and that usually doesn't work as well. I learned at 17, and the BB coach gave the lessons. You didn't forget your turn signal more than once with that guy. And my wife and I have not changed each other's driving one iota in the 100 years we've been together. Still, a couple lessons might help you, and might keep Phil quiet.

    On meeting people, I'd suggest the gym, and maybe the local Jewish center. You should familiarize yourself with it anyway.

  45. I think driving in Austin is insane. I think I would almost rather drive in Manhattan! All those short ramps and traffic jams? Be patient with each other. Remember the days when you could go to a resort with your parents, find some kid in the pool, swim up and say "will you be my friend," or "wanna play?" I WISH it would be that easy sometimes.

  46. i think that if you go about doing the things you love, like you did in NYC, you will meet like-minded people and it will happen. things never happen quickly enough, though. have fun though. making friends is supposed to be fun.

  47. This is a question more than a comment. How does the Suitor feel about the way he is portrayed on your blog, and the subsequent comments from your readers? I've noticed that he (at least in the past) is quick to respond when he feels you are being unfairly attacked, yet seems content to keep mum when he is regularly portrayed
    as a cruel, verbally abusive, king-of-queens-watching insensitivo…
    I'm guessing that he, unlike your faithful readers, gets that you are heavily dramatizing these arguments/incidents for the sake of interest and empathy, and doesn't mind being cast as the villain…
    But please correct me if I'm wrong!

  48. I'm so sorry you have to relearn the 'driving thing' in Texas! We are horrible drivers. So so so so sorry.

    When I moved up to Dallas by myself I met girl friends in aerobics classes I took (surprisingly). Just a thought, you could kill two birds with one stone. :)

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