To dare to disturb the universe with an original, strong, beautiful, smart, funny, and fun beauty and health site.

Daring because it’s created and written by An Actual Journalist with world-class medical, beauty, and journalist advisors.

Universal because we’re connecting real beauty and health information with real women and girls who care about those things as much as we do.

As for our name, More Lovely. It was inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: 

 

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely…

In our context, this means you were born lovely. So you’re already lovely. And you can be more with the right guidance, experts, and products.

Let us go then, you and I.

A More Lovely Take on Modern Romance

A More Lovely Take on Modern Romance

By Gigi Anders

I know less about men than anyone else in the world. The numbers don’t lie: my double-digit track record of ignominious failure speaks for itself. I could fill a book with what I don’t know. Hell, two books.

Oh.

I have.

Everybody’s born with individual gifts. My kid brother, for example, is a business wunderkind. By the time he’d turned 16, he’d opened a checking and a savings account, and paid cash for his first car. By the time I was 16, I’d  learned more about sexual than symbolic relations with my algebra tutor, smoked Hawaiian weed with my dermatologist, and been jumped by a friend’s father one night when he got really ripped.

Those felonious experiences with the opposite sex did not deter me or mitigate my enthusiasm for amour fou, crazy love, the only kind of amour I could seem to grasp. Au contraire, I liked the strive, the all-consuming drama of it.

I identified with the winsome Essie Carmichael, a truly terrible yet utterly determined ballerina and clever candy maker of a confection called Love Dreams, in “You Can’t Take It With You.” I played Essie in our high school theater production of the Kaufman and Hart 1936 classic. Essie lived in pink ballet slippers – she never walked anywhere, she jeté’d – and took private ballet lessons for eight years from her Russian instructor, Mr. Boris Kolenkhof. It didn’t improve her performance. But being lousy at ballet didn’t stop her. Essie’s true Love Dream was dancing. Dancing made her happy. So she danced.

This is precisely how I approach relationships. I know I’m not gifted. But men are my Love Dreams. Consequently, I’ve had lots. You name it, I’ve dated, lived with, or been engaged to it: Good boys, bad boys, mamas’ boys, suits, hippies, geriatrics, babies, eggheads, fools.

Who’s left to go out with?

When I met Dino at a journalism conference one fall, I thought, Hm, maybe I haven’t dated everybody. A handsome Ivy League man and divorcé, he was a sarcastic, smart, full-lipped Jewish editor from Manhattan who loved the Metropolitan Museum of Art (desire), Joni Mitchell (consummation), and baseball (nobody’s perfect).

During our first Hanukkah together, I made him Ina Garten latkes. Dino devoured the entire batch in one sitting. I wasn’t surprised. Like Essie’s edible Love Dreams, the recipe’s a sure thing. Its success requires only that you follow it. Too bad there’s not a relationship equivalent. I’d love to be able to control ingredients, amounts, and temperature settings.

Afterward, Dino gave me a delicate bracelet made of tiny copper wrist watch parts and movements.

“Even a broken clock is right twice a day,” he said.

Wait, did he mean me? I was the broken clock because I was closer to 40 than to 30 and still single? Or did he mean himself? Dino had, after all, one broken marriage behind him. Maybe he meant both of us, one finally correct strike each?

        “Meaning …?” I asked.

        He laughed it away.

        Passover neared. Dino’s and my conversations strayed into whether we preferred May or October nuptials. I had kept all those back issues of Martha Stewart Weddings. Maybe now they could finally be put to use. I’d kissed toad after toad after toad. Maybe Dino could be not another in a series of, you know, amphibians, but an Actual Prince. Maybe he could be the exception to my love life’s rule.  

If he could be different, maybe I could be, too. Hedging my bets, I called in reinforcements. Involving a certain trinity of semi-objective experts might diminish and prevent another iteration of my pathetic past: My father for my heart, my therapist for my mind, and my rabbi for my soul. All bases covered. Dino agreed to meet them. A toad would never agree.

Would he?

We drove down from the city in early April to Washington, D.C., my hometown, where the three wise men reside. On a rainy Wednesday evening, we met my father at (the tragically now-closed) La Fourchette, a cozy French bistro in the Adams Morgan neighborhood that’s Dad’s favorite.

Before we’d even tucked into the steaks au poivre and frites, Dad and Dino had met cute bonding over the old Washington Senators and Sandy “Lefty” Koufax. I languidly dragged a frite through the cognac sauce, bored out of my mind but happy for the new couple.

“I love this guy!” they announced in unison. In unison. They made plans to go to spring training in Florida to see the “Nats” – the Washington Nationals baseball team — and ordered crème brûlées.

Dad called me the next day.

“Dino’s terrific, honey,” he said. “And so are you.”

“Thanks, Dad,” I said. “But you love everybody.”

“Not everybody. I don’t love Hitler. That’s why I’ll never buy a Mercedes.”

“Okay, but aside from Hitler. And everybody loves you. So it’s kind of a wash.”

“He knew all of Lefty’s stats,” Dad said dreamily. “I can go to games with your new husband! What more do you need?”

A second opinion.

And a third.

Thursday morning found Dino and me at my therapist’s home office in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Though I’d long since stopped seeing him when I moved away to the New York City area, we’d stayed in touch. A large framed photo of a breaching whale hung on the wall just above my doctor’s head. That was from his South African whale-watching trip. I’m pretty sure I paid for most of it.

“I’m not anti-marriage,” my therapist began. “I’m just anti-marriage to the wrong person. How’s the sex?”

“Good,” I said, jeté’ing over the truth. I wouldn’t have had to jeté at all had Dino not been sitting there, inert and heavy as Rodin’s Thinker. It wasn’t that the sex was hideous. I’d had worse. But it wasn’t particularly fou, either. Look, I don’t expect Champagne, Reddi-wip, and $2,000 sheets, which is what one memorable lover brought over the first time we were together. I get that every time won’t be, can’t be, the fourth of July. But missionary exclusively gets old. I’d gently tried steering Dino toward more varied positions. He never bit. Mostly he’d just fall asleep, occasionally during. One time I offered to, in the beautifully euphemistic words of Leonard Cohen, bend to his longing. Dino’s reply?

“That’s okay.”

I told myself I could live on his other romantic qualities. He kissed well. He gave me a red Club for my birthday. He took me to Seattle and bought me a paper bag full of Rainier cherries.

“Because that’s what marriage is,” my therapist continued. “It’s every fucking day and every fucking night. If you love each other, get married already. No one gets younger.”

Now there’s a fucking frigid shower of a statement.  

Indeed, by Friday morning, Dino looked as resigned and beige as his worn-out London Fog.

“What’s wrong?” I said.

“Your dad is fabulous,” he said. “But this whole Magi thing … I don’t know, I think we need a break.”

Here we go. The perfect Joni Mitchell moment: Again and again in the same situation for so many years …

“Break up with me later,” I told him. “We’re not standing up my rabbi.”

I brushed my hair back into a chignon and stepped into pink suede ballet flats, as I imagined Essie would do, to perk up the proceedings in the rabbi’s book-lined study at the Reform temple near my therapist’s house in Chevy Chase.

“When’s the date?” the rabbi asked from behind his tidy desk. He was holding a pen and had an open diary before him.

“We haven’t set an official date,” I said. “It’s only been six months. But we love May and October best.”

“When do you want to get married?” the rabbi asked Dino.

“Once I’m sure this is gonna work out,” he said. He made a sound, almost like a little burp. Was it a burp? It sounded more like . . . a ribbit. He covered his mouth and cleared his throat.

“What would give you that certainty?” the rabbi asked, putting down his pen.

“I have to be convinced this relationship will succeed long-term,” Dino said. “I won’t even live together until I’m absolutely sure.”

“Couples should live together for at least six months before marriage,” the rabbi said. “That gives you time to evaluate things. The point of premarital counseling is – ”

“This is premarital counseling?” Dino said. His tone was oblique, abstract, like when he’d given me the bracelet and made the broken clock crack. I couldn’t tell whether he felt ambushed or he was insulting my holy man.   

“We’re here to define and discuss the big-ticket items,” the rabbi continued, “so when they come up in the future they won’t blow your marriage out of the water.”

“There a men’s room?” Dino asked.

“Down the hall,” the rabbi said. “On the right.”

Dino leaped out of there. Making a thumb’s down sign, the rabbi called him damaged, and said he was sorry. I knew Dino wouldn’t be back. Not to this meeting and not to a Martha Stewart-worthy chuppah. He preferred dwelling in any marshland but marriage.

I opened my umbrella and jeté’d – badly -- into the rain, wrecking my pretty flats in splattering puddles. I’m the suede, I thought, and he’s the rain. We don’t go together. Would Essie Carmichael cry over spilt Love Dreams and spend the next two years overeating and questioning her lovability?

No!

She’d make new Love Dreams, maybe even better Love Dreams; buy brand new pink suede ballet shoes; and keep right on dancing. Sometimes a fictional character is More Lovely than a mere mortal could ever be.

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