Sweater Weather

Nina was already at the diner when I strode in, five minutes early.

“I have a massive hangover,” Nina said. “So this better be good.”

“I’ll tell you when Ashley gets here.” I opened my menu and zeroed in on the starchy section. “What did you do last night?”

“Nothing. Just went to dinner with Brad. We only split a bottle of wine.”

“Nina,” I said, reproachfully.

“I know!” she wailed. “It’s happening. I’m turning into my mother who gets a hangover from Penne a la Vodka.”

We ordered coffee while we waited for Ashley. After ten, fifteen minutes, she was still MIA.

“Her apartment is like three blocks from here,” Nina whined. “I’m starving!”

Finally, I saw Ashley stroll past the window. “There she is.” I nodded and Nina turned in her seat. “What is she wearing?”

It’s been cool-ish in New York these last few days, but most people are still walking around in t-shirts and sandals. Ashley was wearing a full blown chunky black turtleneck.

Someone’s a little excited for fall,” Nina said as Ashley sat down next to her.

“You know it’s my favorite season,” Ashley said, somewhat accusingly, as though Nina was a bad friend for not knowing that.

“Relax,” Nina said. “You look cute. I would be sweating my balls off if I were you, but you look cute.”

“Whatever, Nina,” Ashley grumbled. She opened her menu and stared it down, but I got the feeling she wasn’t really reading anything. Nina raised her eyebrows at me.

“Ash,” I said, “you okay?”

“I told you I wasn’t feeling well,” Ashley said, still not taking her eyes off the menu. “But I came anyway, like I always do. Can you just get to it so I can go home and get into bed? What’s the problem this time?”

Insert hissing cat noise here!

“I thought you just meant you were hungover like this one,” I said, pointing to Nina. “Go home if you don’t feel good. Seriously. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Ashley suddenly dropped the menu and covered her face with her hands. Her shoulders shook, and I could see tears slipping out from underneath her fingers.

“Ashley!” Nina said, shocked. She put her arm around her and held her close. “Oh my God, you are burning up. Take this thing off.”

“Stop,” Ashley said, shaking her off. “I don’t have anything on underneath it.”

“Do you want us to go back to your apartment with you so you can change?”

Without saying a word, Ashley nodded.

Nina and I left money on the table to cover our coffee, and ushered Ashley out of the diner.

Once we were inside Ashley’s apartment, Nina turned the AC on. “You need to change out of that blanket immediately.”

Ashley still didn’t say a word. She pulled the sweater off, revealing that she was wearing a white t-shirt underneath. “Why did you say you weren’t”—I stopped when I realized what was going on. When I saw the purple bruises on Ashley’s wrist, her upper arm, and most worriedly, an ugly one about the size of a thumb on her neck.

“Ashley,” Nina gasped. “What happened?”

Ashley bit her lip. “We had a fight last night.”

I seriously thought I would throw up right then and there. “Tom did this to you?” As soon as I said his name, a look of defiance passed over Ashley’s face.

“I know how it looks,” Ashley said. “But he didn’t hit me. Things just got heated.”

“What do you mean he didn’t hit you?” Nina snapped. I know she didn’t mean to come across as angry at Ashley, but I could tell that’s how Ashley took it. “How do you explain this?”

“We were like, grabbing at each other,” Ashley said. “I did it too! But it didn’t, like, hurt me. There weren’t even any marks until I woke up this morning.”

“This is insane, Ashley,” Nina said. “I can’t believe you’re making excuses for him.”

“I’m not making excuses, Nina. I’m telling you what really happened. If a guy hit me, I would break up with him in a heartbeat.”

“Wait,” I said. “You didn’t break up with him?”

“I just left,” Ashley said. “We didn’t break up. I just stormed out. I’m furious. He’s been calling me all morning.”

“What was the fight even about?”

“Thanksgiving,” Ashley said. “I want him to spend it with my family and he wants me to spend it with his.”

I was suddenly able to form the full picture of this Tom guy: Whisking Ashley away every weekend to the suburbs, alienating her from the people in her life, his non-existent interest in getting to know Ashley’s friends. He was one of those scary-possessive guys you read about in Cosmo and Self!  He wants to alienate you from your friends and control you. And Ashley was completely under his spell.

Both Nina and I spent the next few hours trying to talk some sense into Ashley. Well, first, we tried to convince her to go to the ER but she basically laughed at us. “I had more bruises from riding the bull at Johnny Utah’s last Halloween,” Ashley said. Which was technically true but it just made me nervous that someone had put that much pressure on her neck—enough to bruise it that severely. What if an important vein had been crushed?

We also tried to make Ashley see that she hadn’t done anything wrong, but that Tom absolutely, 100% had. “I pushed him first,” Ashley said. “You don’t understand. It wasn’t him abusing me, it was like a couple getting into a tussle.”

“Men do not get into ‘tussles’ with women!” Nina said, exasperated. “Don’t you get that this is not normal?”

When we’d run out of steam, Ashley thanked us for our concern in the most emotionless, clinical way possible. “I know you guys are just trying to look out for me,” she said. “But trust me. If it was what you think it was, I wouldn’t accept that.” She shrugged. She had hardened against us; I could see it in her face. We’d somehow managed to make it worse. Now we were the enemy, the ones who didn’t ‘get it.’ Not Tom. It was terrifying to realize just how brainwashed she was.

It was dark by the time Nina and I left Ashley’s apartment. We offered to stay, to just hang out and order dinner, but Ashley insisted she wanted some alone time.

“I can’t fucking believe this,” Nina said, once we were out on the street. It was chilly then, and I could have used Ashley’s oversized sweater.

“What do we do?” I asked, helplessly. “Do we call the cops?”

Nina shook her head. “She’ll just lie for him. And if he finds out…I’m scared what he’d do to her if he found out.”

We walked in silence for a few blocks. “Want to get a drink somewhere?” I asked.

“For the love of God, yes,” Nina said.

We ended up at a little wine bar not far from Ashley’s apartment. Once we had a carafe of cabernet in front of us, Nina said, “Oh my God! So you never even told me what happened that made you call that emergency brunch.”

I shook my head. “I’ll tell you, but it seems ridiculously trivial compared to what we just dealt with over the last few hours.”

“Give me the most trivial shit you’ve got,” Nina said. “Anything to take my mind off of that.”

I ran Nina through the last few days—from the Social Media party up until the text I’d sent Richard. At some point while I was in Ashley’s apartment, Richard had texted me back that our friendship was important to him and he didn’t want to lose it. ‘I’ve been soul searching,’ he wrote, ‘Which is lame but is what one does when one gets fired. And maybe you’re right? Maybe I just want what I can’t have. If I’m not sure, I can’t ask you to be sure either. There are a lot of things in my life I want to change right now.’

We agreed to grab lunch in a few weeks, once the dust had settled and it wouldn’t be awkward-city for us to be alone together.

“Um,” Nina said, when I finished. “You do realize who you’re acting like right now, don’t you?”

“Who?”

“Justin.”

Ugh,” I said. “I swear that name triggers PTSD for me.”

“How?” Nina asked.

“It just makes me feel pathetic,” I said. “I practically begged him to be my boyfriend and then it all blew up in my face. I honestly wake up in the middle of the night, cringing at how desperate I must have seemed to him.”

“Do you ever stop to think that that’s why you’re keeping Peter at arm’s length?”

I wrinkled my nose. “No. But please, give me your thoughts, Doctor Nina.”

Nina rolled her eyes at me and took a sip of her wine. “Keep being an asshole and I won’t give you my diagnosis.”

“I’ll pay for the wine,” I offered.

“That’s more like it.” Nina grinned. “What I was going to say before I was so rudely made fun of was this—have you ever stopped to think that you feel rejected by your first two real boyfriends? Your high school boyfriend who swiped your v-card and then broke up with you immediately, and Eric, who cheated on you. Then you have Peter and things get fuzzy, but in your head you may still feel like he chose Elizabeth over you, and then you have Justin, who you also feel rejected you. Aren’t you just afraid to go all in with Peter because you’re scared you’re just going to get your ass handed to you again? But you also don’t want him out of your life completely because deep down, so much of your self-worth is tied to having a boyfriend? You always have a boyfriend.”

“God,” I said. “Your version of events makes me sound like such a loser.”

“Oh, the smallest violin in the world is playing for you right now,” Nina said. “You’ve taken down some hot pieces of ass so I’m really not feeling all that bad for you.”

“Well, when you put it like that.” I grinned.

“I’m really serious though,” Nina said. “Do you see a pattern at all there?”

“Of course I do,” I said. “But what’s the answer? That’s part of why I’m hesitant to just lock this down with Peter. I feel like I’m taking the easy way out. Just relying on having a boyfriend to make me feel full and complete. I should be able to feel like that on my own.”

“I would tell you if you were doing this because you just wanted a boyfriend. But this thing with Peter, it’s special.” She finished her wine. “Shit or get off the pot.” She climbed off her bar stool. “Speaking of, I’m going to the bathroom.”

I signaled to the bartender and he brought me the check. I left a hearty tip—I felt like I needed all the good karma I could get. It was almost 9 PM by the time Nina and I stepped out onto the street, and both of us were exhausted. We agreed to do some investigative work over the next few days and find out how best to support/get through to a friend who is in a situation like Ashley is in. It still felt weird to call it abusive—how could someone as strong and stubborn as Ash find herself with a guy like this?

As Nina tried to hail a cab for herself, I sent Peter a text, ‘Hi. I miss you. Crazy day. Brunch tomorrow?’ It was true—after realizing what a bad egg Ashley had found, it made me appreciate a guy like Peter even more.

Nina climbed into a cab and waved goodbye at me. “Make good choices!” she called out the window as the car pulled away.

I’m trying to.

5 Deliciously Romantic Meals To Cook For Him

If you want to show your love to your man you definitely should cook him a delicious dinner. We give you ideas for romantic meals to cook for him.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, ladies everywhere are looking for romantic ways to pamper their men.

They always say “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and it’s definitely true.

So, instead of trolling around adult stores or booking a romantic dinner at a restaurant, prepare for a romantic night in and cook a delicious meal.

1) Spaghetti with meatballs

Spaghetti pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce

While this is a simple meal in terms of skill and taste, it’s a favourite among men.

There’s something about the simple slurp of a spaghetti noodle that makes a man want his lady to be slurping at the other end.

If you’re both sharing from the same plate, then that’s a romantic bonus…especially if you’re feeding each other.

Don’t forget, it’s also the very same dish that united our favourite Disney Lady and her Tramp.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz dry spaghetti
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz each)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

1. To make the meatballs, sauté onions, parsley and garlic in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Cook, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Remove ¼ of the mixture and set the remainder inside.

2. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, milk, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and the ¼ cup of the onion mix that was just made. Use your hands to stir in the ground beef and pork, and then form them into 2 inch balls.

3. Warm a tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the meatballs and cook, turning often, until browned on the outside. (5 minutes or so)

4. To the pot, add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, pepper, and salt. Add in the remainder of the sautéed onion mix. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

5. Cook pasta according to the directions given to you on the package. Place in a serving bowl and spoon the sauce and meatballs overtop. Enjoy!

2) Roast chicken for two

When it comes to keeping a meal simple, roasted chicken comes to mind. It is an easy, uncomplicated dish that can tantalize his tastebuds and keep his belly full.

Pair it with a nice, fruity wine (such as a Riesling or even a flirty Rose), some mashed potatoes and his favorite veggies to make it complete.

Ingredients

  • 1 150g roasting chicken
  • ½ tsp sage
  • ½ tsp savoury
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • ½ a lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

2. Grease the roasting pan with the olive oil and then place the chicken in.

3. Sprinkle the sage, savoury, rosemary, salt, and pepper all over the chicken.

4. Place the lemon half inside the lower cavity, along with the two cloves of garlic.

5. Place the roasting pan in the oven and let it roast for an hour and 20 minutes, or until juices run clear. Must have an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees Farenheit.

6. Serve with mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetable. Enjoy!

3) Grilled Ribeye steak

Sliced medium rare grilled Steak Ribeye with rosemary

Men are all about meat and potatoes, aren’t they? As long as there’s a nice cut of meat and a starch on their plate, any man will be satisfied with the meal, right?

When it comes to cuts of beef to grill, the Ribeye is the most popular.

It’s tender, well marbled, and absorbs flavour a lot better than some of your usual choice cuts.

Grilled, buttery garlic shrimp is a great topping for a Ribeye if you want to make dinner extra special.

Ingredients

  • 2 8 ounce ribeye steaks
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 12 de-veined, shelled shrimp
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Heat the butter in a skillet on medium high heat.

2. Place the shrimp in skillet, along with the minced garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Cover both steaks with the Worcestershire sauce and the remainder of salt and pepper.

4. Heat oil in another skillet over medium high heat. Place steaks in skillet and cook for varying times, depending on degree of wellness preferred.

5. Remove steaks from heat and place upon plates.

6. Top each steak with the garlic shrimp.

7. Serve with boiled baby potatoes and corn.

8. Enjoy!

4) Coq Au Vin Blanc

Coq au Vin

The French are a notoriously romantic people. It only makes sense that their cuisine is a match to their personalities.

Coq au Vin Blanc is a simple, tasty, romantic dish that is sure to please your man and your taste buds at the same time. It’s a perfect dinner for two!

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup white wine (works best with zinfandel)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped pancetta (regular bacon works well as a substitute)
  • 2 parsnips, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat.

2. Season chicken thighs with salt, and pepper. Place them in hot oil and cook on each side until browned.

3. Remove thighs and set aside.

4. De-glaze pot with the white wine and chicken stock. Stir until all bits are removed from bottom of pot.

5. Return the chicken thighs to the pot.

6. Add the chopped fennel and parsnips and stir until well distributed.

7. Cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked. Internal temperature must be at least 170 degrees and the juices run clear.

8. Serve in a bowl with a sliced baguette.

9. Enjoy!

5) Pork chops in Port wine sauce

Pork chop with beetroot leaves garnish and cream sauce on white plate

Not many people associate pork chops with a romantic night in, but this port wine sauce these chops are paired with will be an instant favourite with your man.

He might want you to put this sauce on anything and everything he can…perhaps you should make a stash of the sauce!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup port wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup plum preserves, strained
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 bone-in center cut pork chops (1 ¾ pounds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Bring the shallots, Port and sugar to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Boil until the mixture is reduced to ¼ cup.

2. Add the broth, return to a boil and reduce again to ¼ cup.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the plum preserves, half of the salt, half of the pepper, and cook for two minutes. Cover and keep warm on low heat.

4. Combine the coriander, garlic powder, remaining salt, remaining pepper and sprinkle over the pork chops.

5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops in a single layer and cook on each side for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through and juices run clear.

6. Serve each chop with the sauce spooned over top. Serve with roasted asparagus and gruyere polenta. Enjoy!

Making a romantic meal for your favourite man isn’t too difficult if you use one of these delicious, decadent recipes.

Not only are they straightforward to make, but they also make any time you spend sharing a meal an unforgettable pleasure.

Keep in mind that men are easy to please when it comes to food, so keep things simple!

credits: youqueen

Decisions, Decisions

“Why are you looking at my phone?” I asked. It was all I could think to say.

“You left it on the table,” Peter said. “I thought it was mine.” He tossed the phone onto the bed.

Peter and I did have the same white iPhone 5. And I do tend to walk around with my phone in my hand, putting it down wherever I land. But had I left it on the table or had it been in my bag? I honestly couldn’t remember.

This was all secondary to whatever it was that Peter had read. I dug around in the sheets, found the phone, and turned it on.

‘I really have nothing to say for myself except to say I’m sorry. Not that it matters, but I didn’t sleep with her.’

THANKS FOR THAT, RICHARD. I looked up at Peter. The expression on his face was a mix of confusion and sadness, and it broke my heart.

“I don’t want to pry into your life, Josie,” Peter said. “You’re not my girlfriend, but I mean…if you saw that on my phone you’d want to know too.” He sighed. “What the hell is that about?”

I folded my legs underneath me and wondered where to begin. I didn’t feel like it was deceptive to keep this from Peter before, but it definitely would be deceptive to lie when asked point blank about it. So I told Peter everything, starting with the Social Media party. Well, I guess I didn’t tell him everything. I skipped the part about our conversation at work, the one where Richard asked me if I felt anything for him and I didn’t know how to answer because I did.

“I remember this guy,” Peter said, when I finished.

“You do?”

“Yeah, from your Hamptons house. I could tell he liked you.”

“I don’t think he likes me. I think he just wants to sleep with me and he isn’t used to girls who don’t want to sleep with him,” I said. Off Peter’s expression, I instantly regretted saying that. For some reason I remembered this one lesson from my Intro to Psych class in college. The professor was trying to demonstrate how different men and women are when it comes to love. She asked the room which scenario would be more hurtful—for your partner to fall in love with someone emotionally—no sex—or, for your partner to have meaningless sex with a random person and feel nothing. All the girls in the room raised their hands to show that they would prefer their boyfriend to have meaningless sex with someone, and all the guys raised their hands to show they’d rather their girlfriend fall in love with someone emotionally. The point is guys just really don’t like the idea of another P near their V.

“But I don’t want to sleep with him,” I added, quickly.

“You sure?” Peter asked, quietly.

I would have said anything to make this situation better. And even though it wasn’t entirely true that I didn’t want to sleep with Richard (a little part of me is curious, I can’t help it—the vagina wants what the vagina wants), it was true that I would never actually do it. So I didn’t feel like I was being dishonest by saying, “Yes, Peter. I’m sure.”

Peter sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Here’s the thing, Josie. It’s not that I don’t believe you. It’s more…I feel like you just like to court this kind of drama.”

“Says the guy who gave it another go with the biggest drama queen I’ve ever met,” I shot back. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe you like the drama?”

“Yeah,” Peter said. “I have. And you’re right, I was like that once. Over the last year, I thought a lot about the choices I’ve made, and what I was doing wrong, because I wasn’t happy. I don’t want to play these little mind games any more. I’m too old for that shit.”

“I’m not playing mind games,” I said. “You popped up into my life out of nowhere. I had stuff going on, okay? This Richard thing, this had been brewing since summer.”

“I had stuff going on too!” Peter said. “I had a girlfriend.”

“That’s not fair,” I said. “You wanted to revisit things, and I told you to call me but only if you were single, which, I’m sorry, is a normal and decent thing to do. But at the same time, I’m not going to just drop everything in my life the second you show up. We agreed to take this slow.”

“I never asked you to drop everything for me.”

“Fine, then don’t be mad that I didn’t.”

We were both silent for a moment. “So what are we even fighting about right now?” I asked.

“I just don’t like it,” Peter said. “Would you?”

“No,” I said. “I’m sorry for that. But at the same time I don’t feel like I’ve necessarily done anything wrong. Are you seriously telling me that you’re not playing a little bit on your own too?”

Peter was silent for a moment, and it was like a punch to the gut. I suddenly understood what he was feeling. “It’s like friends trying to set me up,” he said. “But the whole time I’m with these women I just wish I was with you.”

That got the water works going. I felt like I was back at square one, wishing Peter and I had better timing, and that we both wanted the same things at the same time. “I just don’t know how to be casual with you,” I said, wiping a tear off my cheek. “I feel like we’re all or nothing, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be all right now.”

Peter bit his lower lip, but didn’t say anything.

“Are you ready to be all right now?” I asked.

“Sometimes, yes,” Peter said. “But sometimes, no.” It was exactly how I felt.

He came towards me then. He sat down on the bed and hugged me. I was so exhausted I could have fallen asleep right there on his shoulder. Eventually we crawled back under the covers, curled up, and went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, Peter wasn’t beside me. I checked my phone—it was almost 11am. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d slept that late.  I rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and splashed water on my face. My face looked like Mama Elsa’s from Real Housewives of Miami—swollen and puffy.

Peter was in the kitchen, making eggs, when I finally emerged from the bedroom. I pulled up a bar stool and took a seat. “Hi,” I said.

Peter turned around. “Hi.”

“Any epiphanies in the middle of the night?”

Peter smiled. “Not really. You?”

I shook my head. Peter pointed at the eggs in the pan. “You want any?”

“Sure.”

Peter divided the eggs between two plates and pulled up a seat next to me. We ate in silence. When we finished, I said, “So, are we going to talk about it?”

Peter shrugged. “Didn’t we?”

“I mean, where do we stand?” I asked.

“What do you want?” Peter asked.

“I want to keep seeing you,” I said. “But I meant it when I said I want to take things slowly. I don’t think we should just jump back into things. I hate the idea that you’re dating other women, the same way you hate knowing about this Richard thing. But it’s just the reality of the situation, I guess.”

Peter toyed with a lone piece of egg on his plate. “I don’t want to see other women. Do you want to see other guys?”

“Not necessarily,” I said. “But if we decide we’re going to be exclusive, then it’s not really taking it slow, is it?”

“So maybe we don’t take it slow.”

That gave me pause. I fiddled with my napkin. “I just feel like I made this promise to myself that I wasn’t just going to jump right back into a relationship. I need to be okay with being single sometimes. It’s something I’ve never really been able to do.”

Peter pushed himself off the bar stool. He took our plates and dumped them in the sink. “You need to do what you need to do.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that you need to make a decision. Just be decisive. What we are right now, it’s not really you being single, is it? So decide to be in, or not.”

Was he ultimatum-ing me? It sure sounded like it. “I don’t want to lose you,” I said, my voice cracking over the words like a prepubescent boy’s.

“So don’t,” Peter said. I wish Richard could have been a fly on the wall right then. Peter didn’t just want to sleep with me. He wanted more. A lot more, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give it.

“I need time to think about this,” I said. “I don’t know if I’m ready to be in a relationship right now.”

Peter shook his head and smiled, but it wasn’t a nice smile. “Go for it,” he said. The words were dripping with sarcasm.

I helped Peter clean up, then changed back into my work clothes. It was awkward saying goodbye to him—I stepped in to give him a kiss and he basically negged me by turning his cheek. Hell hath no fury like a hot guy’s ego bruised.

I decided to walk back to my apartment to clear my head (Peter lives about twenty-five blocks from me). On my way, I texted Nina and Ashley, ‘Brunch emergency!!!’ I expected Ashley to be in Westchester with her man, but to my surprise, she wrote that she’d come back early that morning.

‘But I’m not really feeling up to brunch,” she wrote. “I think I’m coming down with something.’

‘Please?’ I begged her. ‘I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t an emergency. We can pick a place near you.’

After a few moments, she wrote, ‘You win,  you always do.’ A quote from one of our favorite SNL skits with Will Ferrell.

The next person I needed to text was Richard. I wanted Richard in my life, but I also needed to keep him at a safe distance. No good could come from us hooking up, and I couldn’t put myself in a position where that could happen again.

When I arrived at my apartment, I’d decided to text Richard, ‘Thank you for this. Want to just pretend like the last seventy-two hours never happened?’

Then I showered, changed, and hurried out the door to meet Ashley and Nina. Maybe they would help me find some clarity with the situation.

Every Day I’m Hussy-ing

Walking into the Literatti offices the day after the bloodbath was like walking into a ghost town. Desks and offices that just the morning before were filled with cute girls in Banana Republic pencil skirts and guys in skinny ties were now empty and silent.

“Creepy,” I muttered to myself. I made my way over to my desk and turned my computer on. It was 8:30 in the morning. I estimated I had forty-five minutes to myself before my co-workers—the few who were left—came rolling in. I felt out of control with FEELINGS like a real girl, and it’s why I was there even earlier than usual. I never thought I’d become one of those ‘career gals’ who prioritized work above all else. I like partying and going to the gym and eating pizza with my friends so much that I never thought I’d let a job truly interfere with my ‘real’ life. But the very first thought that popped into my head when I woke up that morning was, ‘I can’t wait to get to work.’ This was my ‘real’ life now. It was soothing to know that I had this, my job, and that I was good at it. William had told me I was indispensable to him, and I wanted to keep being indispensable. I could fuck up my love life beyond repair, but I as long as I was holding it together here, I had something solid in my life that I could be proud of. Tear, I’m growing up so fast!
I was surprised when I heard the elevator doors ding open. Even more surprised when I saw Kate step out of them—wearing her clothes from last night. Here we go.
“Josie!” she whisper-yelled as she scurried over to me. “I knew you’d be here.”
“What are you doing?” I asked, not even bothering to hide my annoyance. Who does the walk of shame into work the day after half the office gets the heave-ho? Have some common sense! Says the girl who defiled the DVF store with her asshat co-worker at four in the morning. Kettle, I’m pot, have we met?
As Kate got closer, I realized she was upset. I snapped into Mom mode. “What happened?”
“I’m such an idiot. I somehow lost my keys last night and I just spent the last half an hour pounding on our door, but my roommate must have gone to the gym before work or something because she isn’t there. I’m panicking—will you change clothes with me?”
First things first. “Did you sleep at Richard’s?”
Kate groaned. “That’s the other thing.” But she just stopped there. You’re killing me, Kate.
“Did you?” I prodded.
Kate nodded. Her cheeks flushed as she said, “But Josie, it was awful. We got there and he just suddenly changed his mind. He said he didn’t want to do this anymore.”
For some reason a line from the movie Empire Records (thanks!) popped into my head: ‘Shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior.’ In this case, it was the lack of deviant behavior that was so shocking. “So you guys didn’t have sex?”
Kate shook her head. “No! He said he cared about me and he was an asshole to me before and he didn’t want to do that to me again. That’s bullshit, right? He’s just not attracted to me.” She sighed. “God, I need to lose ten pounds.”
“Stop,” I said. “You are gorgeous. You know you are. And actually…I think that’s….kind of sweet.”
“Sweet?” Kate spat.
“Yeah,” I said. “He stopped it because he respects you. I don’t think that’s bullshit.” I heard the elevator doors ding again. The office was waking up. “Come on ya little huss, let’s go change before anyone sees us.”

“What’s a huss?” Kate asked as she followed me into the bathroom. “And do I want to be one?”

Nina, Ashley and I used to call each other ‘huss’ in college. Like, ‘You hussing tonight?’ It’s similar to being on the prowl, except it isn’t only applicable to hooking up. It’s just about bringing it no matter where you go and what you do. You can huss at the gym, you can huss in class, you can huss on the dancefloor. Why, you can huss anywhere! (That’s the sound of Dr. Seuss rolling over in his grave right now).

I don’t know why we stopped, but today I was bringing back the huss! My position at Literatti had been spared and I was going to huss like I’d never hussed before to keep it that way. I was also energized by this news that Richard and Kate hadn’t slept together—not because it meant there was still a chance for us, because that would be bigger disaster than Anthony Weiner’s mayoral run, but because it meant that he did have a decent bone in his body, and I didn’t have to stop being friends with him. Kate and Richard are the two real friends I’ve made since moving to the city, and they are incredibly important to me. Richard made questionable decisions when it came to his dating life, but I’d be prettyyyy hypocritical if that was the reason I decided to cut him out of my life.

I decided to just give the whole thing with Richard a few days, then text him to see how he was doing. That is, if I didn’t hear from him first. Since Richard had put the kibosh on hooking up with Kate, I honestly didn’t see a reason to tell her about what had happened. Maybe I really could sweep this little incident under the rug and move forward with no collateral damage? Famous last words if I ever heard them. Go easy on me, karma.

The rest of the day was spent reassigning proposals and deals. Sifting through Megan’s desk to find out where she stood on certain projects. Around 1 PM, William called a meeting of the remaining staff. We’d gone from thirty people to twelve, and William, who had unofficially been in charge of the imprint, was now the official editor-in-chief. Which made me the most important assistant in the room (probably not, but this is what I told myself using my huss logic). William made a big speech about how no more major changes were coming, and everyone standing here was an integral member of the team and we needed to be giving all of ourselves, every day, and treat matters with more urgency. “There’s a lack of urgency around here,” he said, really driving that point home.

Here’s the thing about Megan and William—Megan is hands down smarter than William. I think even he would admit that. But what William said about her is true: She’s not a company person. Megan is socially awkward, and she isn’t savvy like William. And charming clients and being able to read people is a huge part of our job. William also brings connections that Megan simply doesn’t have because she’d prefer to bury her head in a manuscript as opposed to go out and mine for talent. Megan didn’t want to play the game, and they needed someone who wanted to be out there on the field. I made a mental note of that—go to events! Talk to random strangers even though you’d rather get a Brazilian from that woman who almost maimed Nina’s vagina!

I stayed in the office late—and not just to prove a point. I had about thirty things on my to do list. It was 11PM by the time I left the building and headed to Peter’s. We’d texted earlier and were supposed to grab dinner, but I had to bail on that.

I almost burst into exhausted tears when I arrived at Peter’s and saw that he had ordered dinner for me, from my favorite Thai place that doesn’t deliver to my apartment even though I only miss the cut off by two blocks. Jerks.

“I figured you were hungry,” he said. And then I really did burst into tears. On top of being physically and emotionally spent from everything that had happened at work over the last forty-eight hours, I just generally felt like a shit for making out with Richard.

“I’m sorry!” I croaked. I suffer from ugly cry face, and shielded the evidence with my hands.

“What is it?” Peter asked, kind of laughing, but kind of perplexed too. He took hold of my wrists and pulled my hands away from my face.

“No!” I said, burying my face in his chest. “I don’t want you to see my face like this.”

“And I don’t want you to get snot on my shirt.” Now he was just laughing.

I removed my face from his shirt. “I don’t snot when I cry. I’m a lady.”

“Okay,” Peter laughed. “Josie, as much as William can be a sleazeball, he was right when he told you that you’re young and that you haven’t seen this kind of thing happen a million times before. You get a little jaded as you get older. It’s really not that big of a deal. All your friends will be okay.”

That wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg, but I couldn’t tell him that. Instead I just nodded. “I’m proud of you for hanging in there,” Peter said. “You should be proud of yourself too.”

“It isn’t a reflection of my job performance,” I said. “Some of the other assistants were good at their jobs too but they had to let them go because they basically eliminated their positions. I just got lucky.”

“Give yourself some credit,” Peter said. “They cut, what? Half the staff? They wouldn’t have kept you if they didn’t think you were valuable.”

It was such a nice thing to say. I stood up on my tippie toes and kissed him. And like that, the Thai food was forgotten.

We stumbled down Peter’s dark hallway, pulling our clothes off as we went. Peter had me on my back in bed, and his hand was on my neck. I thought he was going to squeeze, that we were going to get into some kinky stuff, but instead he just leaned over me and whispered in my ear, right as he thrust inside of me, “I thought about this all day.”

Usually everything with Peter is so charged, so hurried and urgent (See? I do approach some things with urgency, William), but in that moment it was like everything slowed down, the rest of the city fell away, and it was just us. It was intimate, too intimate for me, and I tried to roll on top of him, to get on top and raunch it up. But Peter pushed back, holding me down. “I just want you like this,” he said. He kissed me. “I love you like this.” He pressed himself close to me, moving in slow circles, grazing against me in a way that felt so good I felt like I was melting at the seams. Peter is the only guy who can make me come without his hands.

The L word was shocking to me, but it wasn’t like he said ILY for real. And I admit, the way he said it warmed me from the inside out. Everything that had happened in the last forty-eight hours—all the chaos, the anger, the name calling. It was like this was a safe place from all of that. Peter would never yell at me, or try and humiliate me the way Richard did. What the hell had I been thinking? This was what I needed. Peter was who I needed.

“Are you close?” Peter brushed his lips against mine, and I nodded. I arched my back, pressing closer into him, felt Peter’s eyes on me as I came. When he was sure I was done, he finally let himself give in.

Well, now I was starving. Peter heard my stomach rumble and offered to go get the food and bring it into bed. An offer I obviously accepted. I was pulling on one of Peter’s t-shirts (I do not eat in the nude. Nope. Gross.) when Peter appeared in the doorway. But he wasn’t holding the food. He was holding my phone.

“Who’s Richard?” he asked.

Oh, shit.

4 Major Health Benefits Of Boxing

Boxing is often seen as such a daunting and physical sport, but it has many health benefits. In boxing you work out your whole body while having loads of fun!

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – Muhammad Ali

For people who don’t box, this quote has little meaning and has only been said by boxing legend Muhammad Ali, but for people who do box, it symbolizes much more. It sums up boxing in one perfect line by saying that a sport of such strength and power is also a sport that is full of grace and elegance.

Boxing gets a bad rep for a lot of reasons, such as being a cause of Alzheimer’s and head injuries, but there is also a lot of good that comes from this sport. You don’t even have to fight anyone, you can just spar and practice on the bag and still get the same benefits.

Gone are the days where the only place you could box were the gritty old school-styled gyms; boxing is now being made readily available for everyone to try in various gyms, which, for some, may be a lot more appealing. Boxing has even grown as a sport: there are variations to it such as kickboxing and tae-bo, and the benefits to picking up a pair of gloves have also become evident.

Enhanced cardiovascular health

Attractive Female Boxer At Training

Would you rather run on a treadmill, around the same area or box? Personally, I’d rather box! The bonus is that you get a great workout for your cardiovascular system that is as good as the one you get from running, if not better, and you will have more fun doing it. Working your cardiovascular system will help to prevent heart disease, burn calories and help you to lose or maintain your weight.

To enhance your cardiovascular health, you need to put a moderate amount of stress on your heart and lungs, which will get them pumping and your blood flowing—this is easily achieved in boxing before you even get to the sparring. The warm up, which is a mini workout on its own, is enough to get you going, and the bonus comes when you get to start boxing. It’s exciting and will keep your heart pumping.

Improves total body strength

All the kicking, jumping, side-stepping and hitting takes a lot of energy and strength because you do it multiple times. Keep in mind that when boxing in a match, the goal is to keep hitting the person until they are knocked out; if that doesn’t happen, you’re scored and judged on how well you did by the end of the match, meaning that there is a high number of hits and blocks that are required.

Due to the high intensity involved and the fact that your whole body is being used while you box, you build muscular strength and easily stay toned. Boxing is a sport that focuses on your upper body, lower body and core all at the same time—even the circuits for training use your whole body.

Improves hand-eye coordination

Attractive Female Boxer At Training 2

Hand-eye coordination is something we rely on every day, so strengthening this will not only help you in the world of boxing but also in everyday life as it will increase your reaction time and give you quicker reflexes. In addition, it will help you later in life as reflexes tend to slow with age—by strengthening them, your reflexes won’t slow as quickly.

While boxing, you need to think of your feet and be ready for whatever your opponent does. You need to block quickly, then take a chance with a hit and you will need to side swipe. You also need to be able to do a combo with a right hook quickly, while being able to react to what your opponent is doing. This means that boxing definitely improves your hand-eye coordination through all the training and through the sport as a whole.

Decreases stress and improves your better mood

Beautiful Female Punching A Boxing bag With Boxing Gloves at the gym

When exercising, your body releases endorphins, which make you feel happy, stress-free, focused and ready to keep exercising. This will happen with any type of exercise, but boxing delivers it with a knockout punch when it comes to increasing your mood.

Boxing is a great outlet because a workout typically transitions between high and low intensities: during the high intensities, you let your frustrations out punch-by-punch and you become happier with every punch.

During the low-intensity parts, you’re too busy catching your breath while waiting for the high-intensity interval, so you have no time or mental energy to think about what’s bugging you and frustrating you; instead, you just take it out on the boxing bag. Boxing tends to be cathartic for some people because it’s a release from all stress and bad vibes that, in turn, brings good vibes.

Boxing is certainly one of the best workouts you can do: you work out your whole body at once while also having fun. It increases your strength, speed, stamina, and agility, and will also boost your confidence. Boxing also allows people to embrace something new, express themselves and to have fun while building muscle and toning up, so don’t be afraid to pick up a pair of gloves and get started. If you can think of any more benefits of boxing, feel free to share them below!

source:youqueen