Monday, May 6, 2013

A History of One Night Stands

I have a hard time with commitment. Blame it on any factor from my childhood that you like, but the sad truth is I hate committing to something. It's not just the big decisions in life. It's also the small ones. I flit from wildly declaring my everlasting allegiance to morning omelets for breakfast to averring that yogurt and granola is the best breakfast ever. With such indecision in the breakfast department, I have no idea how I'll ever decide on a mate for life.

So it's only logical that one night stands are the best route for me. Not with guys, because that only leads to awkward mornings, but with magazines. Magazines want you to commit. They want you to buy their company for a year, and for a split second I'm completely taken in by the beautiful, shiny covers. Kind of like how guys are taken in by tall hookers with very long legs. But I don't have hooker tastes in magazines, because the current one I am flirting with is McSweeney's Quarterly Concern.

McSweeney's, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is beautiful. It's like the Josh Ritter of subscriptions. Wildly interesting, completely original, and kind of cute. You'd totally bring this home to meet your mom if it were a guy. But I'm afraid. Every magazine I've ever subscribed to ends up stacked up neatly beside various bits of furniture, because when they do show up at their prescribed times I'm generally busy carrying on with another book, author, or series. I never manage to actually read them. Now I'm at the point where I carefully roll them back up and leave them in the mailbox until the mailman leaves passive aggressive threats taped to my door. The pressure of giving them what they want is so strong and since I dislike being pressured to do anything, I'll break up with them before I give in.

There's also the issue of space. Elevating a one night stand to boyfriend status creates baggage, and then he will want space to store his baggage. Boyfriends demand drawers (or at least space for a toothbrush). Magazines demand shelves. And I have none to spare. My bookcases are bowing under the tremendous weight of my book collection. I try to practice abstinence when it comes to books, but it is just as difficult to turn down that beautiful book cover as it is to turn down the fourth ninety-nine cent margarita, even though you know nothing good ever comes from tequila. Where do I keep all these magazines without becoming the scary lady of the neighborhood who also has a treasure trove of toilet paper hoarded over the course of three decades?

So, for now, online flirtations and one night stands are the answer. I flirt with the magazines (which I feel sure I shall someday fall head over heels for) by reading them online. Maybe when I hit forty I'll be in a better, more stable place, one that allows me to throw away half-read magazines with no lingering feelings of what could have been. And when that time comes, I'll be the first in line for the New Yorker, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Lapham's Quarterly, the New York Review of Books, and whatever else I have fallen for through my years of one night stands.

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