It’s been ten years since I’ve been to Rome. Not much is changed. Because, well, Italy. The Colosseum is, as one would expect, just how I left it. The sunburnt buskers are still there, dressed as Roman Centurions with plastic breastplates, charging their fees for strange photographs–Rome’s answer to Hollywood Boulevard’s own lycra-clad freaks. The Spanish Steps sit, littered with trash and people, the former of which gets washed away every morning at dawn with a high-pressure hose, erasing the trace that they were ever there. Time and its debris. No place makes you feel that quite like Rome does, with its ancient buildings casting shadows over modern young women holding selfie sticks, street hustlers trying to sell you plastic laser pointers made in China. Yours today for only 10 euro.
There are two days in Rome before we head to Naples, where we’ll board a boat and head down the southern coast, onwards towards the Aeolian Islands and Sicily. I try to bookend such luxuries, so often planned and provided by a terribly kind friend, with something I like to call “reality.” I Airbnb an apartment down the street from the Hotel de Russie, which is a stunning building on Via del Babuino with a salmon-pink courtyard filled with terracotta potted plants, white canvas umbrellas hanging over black bistro chairs. It’s the kind of place where the light is always buttery and where one should always be in love, wasting days mouth-on-mouth while tourists busy themselves elsewhere with less important things. My Roman apartment is nothing like the Hotel de Russie.
The woman who checks me in is kind and wall-eyed and tells me she doesn’t speak English. She does know enough, though, to say “one more flight” after I’ve already hauled my bags up to the landings of three, and to tell me to absolutely do not touch the am/fm radio buttons in the standalone shower, which looks like an upright tanning bed or a glass coffin with water-stained nozzles, I cannot decide which. When she leaves I spread a bath towel over the duvet before sitting down to strategize my day. The benefit of having an unpleasant room is that you don’t ever want to be there. Comfort makes you lazy.
And two days later I am plenty comfortable, indeed. Our boat is a shiny white thing with a French crew and orange accent pillows. It makes the real world look dirty and unappealing by comparison, though the real world does have incredible pizza and pastries soaked in rum. Before we board, we stop by Da Michele in Naples for an 11 a.m. slice (or five) of doughy margherita. That was following the aforementioned pastry, which, in case you’re ever swinging through Patisserie Scaturchio on Piazza S. Domenico Maggiore, can also be ordered in the shape of Mount Vesuvius.
Once we set sail, reality grinds to a halt, erasing any memory of the apartment in Rome, the three hour layover in Dublin, life in general. The jagged coast of Italy passes by in scenes: peach hotels perched above blackened cliffs; weathered fishermen on rickety boats; sunsets setting, gasoline pink. Every day offers a blissful opportunity to do nothing at all. We jump into coves, dock in bays, eat gelato on stone streets and drink cocktails on hotel patios. Just another group of inept and hungry sailors traveling through the Mediterranean, holding our breath until the sand runs from this particularly fine clock.
SAYING YES TO AN IMPERFECT SITUATION CAN EQUAL THE PERFECT SITUATION (LIKE A BOAT OFF THE COAST OF SARDINIA)
There used to be more reasons to say no. Not more valid, but just, well, more. Maybe it was because time then felt like this infinite, craftable thing; in my early 20s, I thought that the offers I refused would be as powerful a tool in shaping my life as the ones I said yes to. And so I turned down a lot of things that I assumed wouldn’t help shape the mold that was Future Me. Everything had to be the perfect opportunity, the perfect trip, the perfect set-up. That way, one step would lead tidily to the next. In theory.
Life, as I’ve learned since, isn’t tidy. It’s a mess of disorganized, happenstance chaos, with enough coincidences and movement to con you into thinking that you are somehow in control. Saying no to life’s ever-fleeting opportunities isn’t mitigating the chaos in any substantial or significant way, it just limits a set of bigger, more expansive options you usually aren’t clever enough to dream up on your own. My life at the present moment, from the apartment I live in to the writing I do to the boy I am dating, can only be attributed to that which I have said yes to. None of the no’s have mattered.
But saying no isn’t just about finding perfection. A lot of it has to do with fear. Fear that you’ll get stuck working for the wrong company, fear of discomfort, fear that you won’t ever live the life you dreamt about as a kid. Choose the wrong door, and there goes the white picket fence, the 401k, the mortgage, the lease, and every dull surface achievement that should never define a life, but so often does. Yes embraces fearlessness. It puts you on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean with four strangers and seven friends. It sends you jumping 30 feet into the ocean to surface with a racing heart and bruised skin. It demands risk.
In the end, what you’ll remember are the conversations had at 2 a.m. with someone you’ll never see again, the sunset burning off the horizon of a foreign country, the mistakes that you made and every subsequent invaluable tear. There are countless possibilities in a yes. In a no there is only one.
THE LEPRECHAUN TRAVELOG
Friday, 4:30 p.m. – Ireland Standard Time Two hours of white-knuckle driving and one frightful entrance into a roundabout going the wrong way, we have finally made it to our destination: A castle in Ireland. Not like a Ren Faire castle or one of those Medieval Times places filled with cheap mutton and sadness, but a real life 13th century castle, complete with moat, parapet, and a long history of hosting people like King George V, Queen Mary, and Brad Pitt (the ‘90s version). We’re here for a best friend’s wedding. The whole weekend is pretty much black tie. When I unpack all the fancy shit I’ve bought for the occasion and hang it in the closet, I realize that in my fear of falling short in the fashion department I have forgotten basically anything to lounge around my bedroom in, unless my less-nice cocktail dress can double as pajamas. I did, however, remember all my underwear. Underwear is great.
Friday, 8:30 p.m. – We have successfully exploited the grounds, taking photos while seated on red velvet that four hundred years ago someone would have probably chopped off our hands for doing so. Then again, there weren’t any cameras back then, so… #ashfordcastle The friends and family welcome dinner is cocktail attire. I wear something tight with fringe and people can actually see what the shape of my butt is. I’m also wearing heels and I have curled my hair. I cannot remember the last time I’ve subjected myself to such heteronormativity. When I walk into the room, my male friend double-takes, confused as to whether he might be having a heart attack or an erection. “I barely recognized you!” he laughs, which I take vague offense to until I acknowledge that one of my favorite outfits is a shapeless piece of black cashmere that goes down to my knees and makes me look like I should be trafficking bodies in a morgue. Needless to say, my choice tonight is a comparative hit.
Saturday, 10:10 a.m. – I wake up late. I hate black-out curtains and am immediately disgruntled. What makes it better are the literal four-leaf clovers used as garnish on my poached eggs. So begins a steady loop of “They’re always after me lucky charms!” in my head which lasts until the end of the weekend. After breakfast I discover the aforementioned ‘90s Brad Pitt. The photo is hung proudly in a hallway amongst other celebs, none of whom have as strong of Dad-chino-game as Brad did back then. I miss old Brad.
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. – Anyone who ever has anything bad to say about a tea sandwich with no crust and plenty of mayonnaise clearly hasn’t had the opportunity to eat a tea sandwich in a castle. Castles make great tea sandwiches. They also make excellent Aperol Spritzes, of which I have about 3 over the course of our dignified snack time, which makes me just lubricated enough for a photoshoot on a trampoline wearing a slim fitting cocktail dress that was not made for anything much aside from standing and sitting politely. Both I and the dress survive.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. – It is already time to change into another nice thing. I have never felt so much like a celebrity on a press junket in my whole life. And I have to say, it’s great. I feel like a damn lady. For the reception dinner, I go long black dress with a deep V cut-out and a gold choker made by my friend, the bride. The dress itself is from a designer I used to fit model for for years. They’d pin and tuck and chat around me while I stared in the mirror and wondered what kind of life the girl who got to wear these dresses lived. Finally I know the answer: It’s this one. Right before dinner we all take pictures on the lawn and I feel like I’m in a scene out of Great Gatsby. These are the moments in which I am happy to be getting older, because ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to come to my friend’s wedding in Ireland and play dress-up with my best friends. Getting older is good.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – I wake up late. Again. I seriously hate black-out curtains. I head downstairs and try Irish porridge, which is softer and sweeter and requires far less chewing than American oatmeal. I make a mental note to eat this again when I’m 90 and don’t have any of my teeth.
Sunday, 8:00 p.m. – It’s here. The wedding. The main event. We get dressed up one last time–a blue chiffon thing for me, this time around–and head downstairs to the castle grounds, which are, as one might imagine, very well-maintained. Everyone looks like a million British pounds. After this weekend, I am a staunch supporter of black tie weddings, even if it means everyone’s a little broker as a result. We walk down a green and wooded path that eventually opens up into the ruins of an old abbey which have been transformed into a temporary church. There are candles everywhere. A string quartet plays “Everlong” and I’m already crying by the time my friend hits the aisle, looking like an Old Hollywood movie star. More tears. More string quartet. More my friend now officially being someone’s wife.
Monday 1:00 a.m. – Drinks are poured. Fireworks go off. Dancing begins. The dancing keeps going until everyone is moved into the bar/dungeon for after-hours. The amount of broken glass on the floor is indication of how much fun everyone is having. Outside the castle, the sun begins its crawl over Ireland, turning from bright pink to gray. The music is still thumping downstairs when I go to bed. I sleep for 56 minutes, wake up, spoon some porridge into my mouth and drive away from our black tie weekend–this time staying on the correct side of the road the whole way.
THE SINGLE GIRL’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING WEDDING SEASON
Weddings. It’s a time when a couple, dressed to the nines and eyes glassed over with glee, comes together to share their love for one another with the world. Family and friends take to the mic with well wishes and mazel tovs. Canapes are passed, drinks are over-served, and everyone is bubbling an infectious collective enthusiasm over the fact that two people are ready to partake in one of civilization’s oldest traditions: To shackle each to the other for all of eternity. Then there’s you, dateless and solo, wondering why no one wants to shackle themselves to you for all eternity. Bring out the violins…
Anyone who’s ever attended a wedding as a single girl knows that the emotions can be a real bitch to manage. It’s like all your selfless happiness for the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom from here on out–thanks, SCOTUS!) is this delicate, precious thing floating just above the surface of a deep, dark, endless well of your own self pity. One mental trip-up or floundering response to the dreaded “So, are you dating anyone?” question that’ll inevitably come up and you’ll flush all that happiness down into a pit of self-consumption like a bag of drowned cats in a country river. It’s happened to the best of us. Hearts are complicated. Weddings bring up some serious “Why me?” sh**.
Though there are some of us out there who are bigger, better single human beings capable of removing our own (possibly tarnished) feelings about love from the equation for the day, others, well, have a harder time. Once, years ago, when I was still very single, I attended a wedding in the Maldives. Literally paradise. You’d think that I would have been so blown away by my surroundings and the occasion that I would have had little room for any other feeling aside from slack-jawed joy, but I couldn’t help, from time to time, standing in my perfect hut-on-sticks, music playing, the ocean spread out endless before me and thinking, “Why don’t I have someone to be here with?” Whomp whomp.
There are countless websites offering tips on how to get through a wedding while dealing with the perils of your own consumptive existential loneliness (“Look great!,” “Flirt with guests!”,“Don’t get hammered and sad!”) but the real trick about surviving wedding season as a single person is just shoving your own personal, totally-valid-but-presently-irrelevant garbage so deep into the unseen, far-away caverns of your mind that you have nothing left to do but enjoy the moment at hand. Your friends only get married once (hopefully). By dredging up the past you’ll only be ruining your present. And, anyway, no one brings balloons to a pity party, and the prison of your mind for sure doesn’t have an open bar.
CRAZY CHICKS (AND THE BOYS WHO LOVE THEM)
Melissa is in the front seat, a wall of red brake lights between us and the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel, as it opens its gaping concrete mouth to thousands of New Yorkers escaping the city for the weekend, ourselves included. “Larry’s last girlfriend was a total psychopath, and his girlfriend before that was totally nuts. Like Grade A Insane,” she tells us, for the benefit of Jade, a friend sitting next to me in the back seat. Jade had recently gone on a date with said Larry and can’t tell if she’s his type or not. According to Melissa, Larry’s track record indicates a penchant for over-privileged, underworked rich girls who think a side of steamed spinach qualifies as a hearty entree. “If he wants crazy,” Jade responds, “it’s not going to be me. Plus, I really like cheeseburgers.”
What is it about men and the unhinged? In my five years of dating in New York City, 65-percent of the guys I had what you might call “relationships” with had been or were presently on the hunt for a woman more, I don’t know, off the rails than myself. They wanted the girls they had to scrape off of the bar floor at night, pull out of bathtubs half-drowned and unconscious, throw over their shoulders and carry through life. This was something that was occasionally communicated to me during the “relationship,” which always made for a real great self-esteem booster and a grand questioning of my own existence: Was I too good? Should I pick up a drug problem? Are women who are looking to make something of their lives undesirable to men?
Unlike my friend Jade, who respects her value as an Ivy League-educated non-lunatic enough to not make accommodations to fit one man’s twisted little mould, I–on more than a few occasions—have found myself trying to morph into the thing that these crappy guys I was dating wanted: A trainwreck. I drank vodka sodas by the gallon and stayed out late at pretentious clubs, spending half of the week trying to recover from the alcoholic and emotional hangovers. I knew I had done a convincing job playing pretend when one night, drunk and bent over the lap of one particularly disturbed boy I was dating, he told me, “You know, you’re actually more of my type than I thought.” It was a questionable–and very short-lived–victory. In the end, I won nothing. Unless shame counts as a prize.
It was a steep learning curve, but in the end I came to grips with the fact I would never appeal to someone who needed to save another person. I was always too concerned with keeping myself afloat to expect someone else to offer a life raft. I would never need them badly enough. No amount of cocktails and manic, sleepless nights could change that. I once thought my level-headed nature was a weakness, but now see I see it as a strength and a safer long-term strategy. Anyway, we’re all a little nuts, but hopefully our worst selves and our pathologies don’t dictate who we fall in love with, and, just as importantly, who falls for us.
WHEN U R 2 OLD 4 FESTIVAL
There’s a herd of 14 year old girls next to me screaming the lyrics to Tove Lo’s “Talking Body.” Not the whole song. That would require too great an attention span, too selfless an exploration into the art of another. Mostly they focus on the chorus, especially relishing when Lo gets to the “we f**k for life” part, as if to stake their claim on the deflowering they all hope to experience soon, but–if their braces are any indication–have yet to experience. At this moment I confirm what I expected on the ride from New York: I am way too old to be going to festivals. Like, way, way too old.
Ten years ago, I lived for concerts. There was one summer when I went to most of the shows alone just because I couldn’t be bothered to wrangle a less enthusiastic friend with me. I danced, I sang, I bought overpriced swag. It was a revelation–a 20-something’s rite of passage. There will be no greater memory than sitting in the center of the mezzanine at the Avalon in Los Angeles, my face pressed against the bars, listening to the opening chords of Band of Horses’ “Funeral” and thinking Ben Bridwell looked like a younger, skinnier Fidel Castro from Appalachia. Or watching the sun come up over the Hollywood Cemetery as Bon Iver rattled out “Skinny Love,” while the sky turned blue, purple, pink, until it was time to go home. That’s what the shows were about–this sensory climax of information and perception. What the band looks like, what they sound like bouncing around the ether and into your ears, and where you were positioned in a venue at the moment when they changed your life.
Today I am drowning in a sea of high school students who aren’t here for the music. Not really. Mostly, I think they’re here for the #selfies, and the body paint, and the opportunity to sneak out of the house wearing the same negative-three-inch-inseam pair of cut-off shorts, the straps of their bras showing through the back and sides. Sure, they stand and scream for Charli XCX, and when Kendrick Lamar comes on, they pump their fists and gamely allow the insane bass levels of the set to shudder damagingly against their young ear drums. But I don’t think they’re really here, or here for anything more than to say, “I was here.” Too often I look up to the stage only to have my line of vision thwarted by a wall of iPhones in video mode, relaying the scene back to me in real time, compressed into a file and glowing through a glass screen.
I think I’m too old for festivals now, less because of my actual age, and more because I remember what it was like before camera-equipped cellphones ruined the act of seeing a concert. Now it seems like people care less about the actual set list and more about what they’re wearing and if everyone knows the who/what/where of their weekend, as cropped, filtered, and streamed on their Instagram. And, yeah, okay fine, I’ll admit it: All the banana yellow signs taped around the pavilion screaming “YOUR BIRTHDAY MUST BE ON OR BEFORE TODAY’S DATE IN 1994 TO PURCHASE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES” make me feel about a million years old and some change.
On Sunday afternoon, as Wet (an unbelievably good band, just FYI) played their last song, the sun streaming through the trees, I packed up my things and made my way for the exit, preferring to skip Day 2’s headliners and make it home before 3 a.m., officially turning in my festival badge. As the saying goes, If the music’s too loud and the shorts are too short and the signage makes you sad and you remember the good old days when people used coins in pay phones and cameras had film inside… well, you’re too old.
LESSONS IN CRASHING A CELEB PARADISE
When you Google “St. Bart’s” what comes up in the image feed is a combination of neon blue water surrounding an island mixed with ‘razzi shots of various celebrities tanning their personal-trainer bods. With its sandy beaches, perfect climate, and $50 bowls of lobster pasta, it’s up there with St. Tropez as Destination Numero Uno for the rich and famous. But just because every billionaire is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to.
Here, I break down the real real of St. Bart’s, so the next time you see yet another picture of Candice Swanepoel on a yacht on the Caribbean you don’t burst into tears.
St. Bart’s airport runway is one of the most dangerous in the world. It’s pretty much the size of a driveway and is sandwiched between a small mountain and a beach, upon which tourists stand and take pictures to send the authorities in the event that you miss and fly straight into the water. Though only a 10-minute trip from the bigger airport in St. Maarten where you hitch this hell ride, it’s enough to make you sweat bullets and feel your whole body go numb with fear. Especially when your pilot consults a laminated “How To” cheat sheet on takeoff and landing. Which is exactly what ours did.
DRESSING THE PART:
For someone who has never seen the need to invest in caftans, St. Bart’s presents a sartorial crisis of grand proportions. The only thing you’ll see more of here than bikinis and topless European supermodels are beach coverups in all forms: beaded, crocheted, woven in gold by the nimble hands of mermaids. Not having one makes the insecure high school student buried deep inside of you feel–incorrectly, of course–like all you’ve packed for the weekend are some sad and insignificant rags. Note: Your lack of diamonds, designer heels, and dinner clutches will elicit a similar sensation.
FOOD AND DRINK:
When it comes to the Caribbean, St. Bart’s has everyone beat in terms of edible and drinkable fare. Their French roots mean they’re not just frying everything willy nilly and trying to pass it off as food. All that culinary prowess comes at a price, of course. Whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, when the bill comes you’ll be wishing you had a Victoria’s Secret contract and Leo was footing the bill.
SOME REALLY CHEESY RICH PEOPLE:
The ratio of People with Taste and People with No Taste is about a 50/50 split. For every class act with a fresh blow-out there’s another woman with a bucket of new silicon threatening to burst out of her lips and a rhinestone-studded shirt reading “NOT A MORNING PERSON.”
St. Bart’s is beautiful–one of the jewels of the Caribbean where you let your wallet be plundered for a weekend of feeling fabulous. If you make it there at one point in your life, good for you. If you don’t, take consolation in knowing you’ll never have to rack up a $4,500 bar tab for the pleasure of watching some hairy guys in chain necklaces spray each other with champagne.
HOW INSTAGRAM TURNED MODELS INTO REAL BREATHING HUMANS
BY JENNY BAHN
“Now you look like a model!” I was 19 and had been modeling for six months when I walked into my agency, a veritable snake pit of judgement and nerves, wearing a black tank and black shorts and some cheap pink slingbacks. Prior to this particular moment of praise, I had been sporting the juvenile wife beater tank and jean skirt combo I had taken a liking to during my high school days, culled from Bruce Weber-shot Abercrombie catalogues and then further bastardized on my person. Paired with some flip-flops, I looked utterly like the Valley girl I was. My newer, sleeker turn my agent lavished over was less about me wearing something spectacular (trust me, I wasn’t) and more about the fact I was wearing something so definitively nondescript. Because casting agents and clients don’t want a person, they want a blank slate. The best way to get hired is to dress like one.
Snagging a magazine cover requires years of hard work… and dressing like a 6-foot nun.
About a decade ago, one agency in New York used to make their models wear the same exact pair of Ksubi jeans with the exact same tank tops. They would walk into castings like a parade of Robert Palmer girls, stripped of all the makeup and sex and a couple dozen pounds, no one more remarkable than the next, an army of black fighting for the same paycheck. The logic was basically the less personal style you had — good or bad — the better. The skinny jeans gave the casting directors the added benefit of accurately assessing your inner thigh gap and various unsightly bulges. God only knows what you’d be potentially hiding under a skirt or a dress or a generously tailored pair of slacks.
As someone who generally considered herself a human with her own opinion and sense of personhood, I resisted this uniformity (with the exception of the aforementioned winning ensemble) likely at the expense of countless jobs. Instead of playing the game, I played dress up, attempting to express whatever personality I had in a belted vintage dress or a button-up shirt. I was naively convinced that, despite what my agents had told me, a client would appreciate someone who wanted to appear clearly influenced by the industry they worked in. I had sat in the same room watching some of fashion’s most prominent stylists craft magic out of collections: Camilla Nickerson chain smoking in a windowless room filled with gauze trenches and lace slips, Lori Goldstein yelling “POLA!” across the room every time she needed a picture. It was hard to not walk away from these experiences wanting to up your fashion game. Black jeans and a tank with a built-in bra were not a part of this grand vision. At least not to me.
WHY YOU SHOULD ONLY GO TO THE HAMPTONS WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU
BY JENNY BAHN
Nothing in life is free, especially the Hamptons… especially an invite to the Hamptons. Long gone are the days when you could be Nick Carraway, renting a tiny, twee cottage for the summer, just over the hedge from all the billionaire Gatsby action. That cottage is renting for either 40k a month now or it’s been bulldozed by Calvin Klein to make way for a servants’ lounge adjacent to his beachside mega-mansion. Unless you’re pulling $5 million a year, there’s almost no way to do the Hamptons on your own. Those of us priced out of participation have to rely on the 1% crew for sponsorship. It’s an alms for the poor weekend getaway. #FirstWorldProblems.
Given the Hamptons supply/demand problem (limited geographic supply versus entirely justified FOMO demand), invites are a prized and cherished commodity. When you get one, you take it. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a troll. And unless you have rich friends who love you very much and feel like you’re better company than someone more important they could have brought–for instance, say, someone who owns a tech company–invites to paradise will most often come from trolls. Or, like, there is at least one troll involved. The troll will want to sleep with you. You will not want to sleep with it.
Now, you might be thinking, “Gross. Why would I want to sell my soul/ass for an invite to a beach house?” You clearly haven’t been to the Hamptons, my friend. The Hamptons is worth selling one’s soul/ass. The beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. The roads wind under canopies of green trees and the cars are always shiny. The houses are rich and pristine and have gaudy, ridiculous sculpture littering their lawns–not because it looks good, but because art for rich people is a big dick competition for which aesthetic taste is an afterthought. The Hamptons is Beverly Hills on steroids, every quaint foot of it irrigated with ancient, East Coast liquidity. A weekend there is a vacation to an alternate dimension, where people don’t sweat and the food is always organic.
Given my fondness for this place, I have on a few different occasions–mostly in my younger, dumber years–subjected myself to strange conditions in order to secure my place for the weekend. There was the time I leveraged a connection to a man/boy who clearly had a crush on me to secure an invite to his friend’s East Hampton manse though I had absolutely no intention of letting him get into my pants (white linen for summer, obviously). Then there was the time I accepted an invitation from a totally random, totally married hedge funder to hang out with a crew of equally random people in the hopes of making out with the hedge funder’s blue eyed, salt-and-pepper, velvet-loafers-always friend. We made out. We danced under the cathedral ceilings of a living room bigger than three of my apartments combined. We made out some more. He drove me back to New York in an SUV, invited me to St. Bart’s, and never called me again.
As I’ve gained a few years’ wisdom in the Hamptons game of thrones, my tolerance for these courtly machinations has changed. Like all New Yorkers who are forced to learn a lesson from the shifty sands of eastern Long Island, you might charitably call this adjustment in R&R strategy an informed adaptation or just call it like it is: being shamed into some much-needed adulthood integrity. Either way, I am no longer willing to subject myself Hamptons trolls, no matter how many olympic-length swimming pools or lobster dinners or movie rooms are involved. At this point I’d rather sleep head-to-toe with three girlfriends in a roadside HoJo watching America’s Most Wanted reruns on a tube TV. And that, my friend, is a little thing I’d call “growing up.”