Monday, October 5, 2015

The Late, Great Tyler Weiner

My house is a zoo. I actually rarely know how many pets we actually have living there, because my mom is constantly giving away cats and adopting new puppies (well, buying them from designer pet stores). My freshman year of college, she called me three times to tell me about new dogs she'd purchased  — one of whom was a male pomeranian that she'd named "Baby Zoe" because she missed me so much — and my younger brother threatened to move out of the house.

#Squad (Tyler's Not Pictured)

Through the revolving door of Weiner animals, one remained constant: Tyler.

He kept on kickin right up until he turned 18 (which in my opinion is a very long and very happy life) and my parents sadly had to put him down earlier this year. My mom nonchalantly called to tell me this as I was walking into a 2nd date, which I subsequently walked into sobbing. We went on to date for five more months, probably because he was afraid he would have to see me cry like that again if he ever broke up with me (which eventually, he did).

Jewish Dogs Are the best dogs.
Tyler was a legend. When I was in first grade (my most adorable age), I convinced my parents to buy me a puppy from the pet store that opened up next to the supermarket. Like any 6 year old, I did zero to actually take care of the puppy, which is probably why he was never potty trained.

When we were little, my mom brought Tyler everywhere. Once, when I was in 6th Grade, she brought him to visit me at school and then got distracted and forgot him. I was sitting in English class when all of a sudden, Tyler came barreling down the hallway and somehow found me at my desk. He came to math and science with me, too, before my mom even realized he was gone.

As much as my mom loved Tyler (until she got newer, smaller dogs that she liked better — not dissimilar to how she feels about my little brother and I) my dad was his BEST friend. The two of them went everywhere together. My dad in his signature red, white and blue Adidas track suit, Tyler on his lap with his head out the window, blaring Motown. I don't think my dad has ever liked any of his kids as much as he liked Tyler. Actually, I know he didn't, because he tells all of us so all the time.

Ty-Ty loved vanilla ice cream, manaschevitz wine and humping stuffed animals. He will forever be remembered as the most beloved, and longest lasting, pet in the Weiner household. To this effect, he will forever be commemorated in this painting at the top of our stairs:

The real star of this painting is Tyler, to the left.

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Journalistic Skills Have Turned Me Into a Full Blown Stalker

If I've learned ONE thing so far in journalism school, it's how to investigate. It has made me curious as hell (I'm a huge pain in the ass to have a conversation with — I Google everything) and when there is a question, I absolutely need to have the right answer. I've become an expert researcher, and can get to the bottom of pretty much anything.

This skill has come in handy in my schoolwork, but until today I didn't recognize its importance in real life — that is, until I needed to use it to get a date.

Let me explain.

This morning on the 1 Train, I was seated across from the absolute hottest guy I have ever seen. I can't even describe him in a way that would do his hotness justice.

Of course, I was coming straight from the gym with sopping wet hair, and in my 6am sprint out of the house forgot to bring a bra, so I  wasn't exactly looking my best. I was too nervous to sit near him, so I sat three seats down, then got even more nervous so got up and tripped my way into the seat directly across from him. It was super graceful, don't worry.

For the next 15 minutes, I stared him down while he quietly read his book. I even went so far as to take off my headphones in the least subtle way possible (they're HUGE and make me look like the Napster guy form 2002) just in case he noticed me looking at him hungrily and decided he wanted to chat.

Weirdly, he didn't.

To make things as creepy as possible (except not, because it gets worse. Just wait.) I took a discrete picture of him, figuring I could submit it to HotDudesReading or use it on my "Missed Connections" post on Craigslist.

After exchanging zero words and one moment of uncomfortable eye contact, he got off the train at Times Square. I chased him for a little, but lost him before I could say hello (which was probably for the best, considering I had no plan of what I would say to him if I ever caught up to him, panting like a madwoman).

Saddened by the fact that he'd gotten away, I went onto @hotdudesreading (which, if you're not familiar with, is the best Instagram account on the planet) to figure out how I could submit my creepy stalker pic to their site in the hopes that he would see it and track me down and marry me. Realistic, don't you think?

I got distracted by the hotdudesreading and started scrolling the feed, and lo and behold THERE WAS MY NEW SUBWAY CRUSH.

Like any good investigator, I decided I had to find him and this was my chance.

This is where the real A+ detective work comes into play:

I spent 20 minutes scrolling through the comments (yes, there were a lot) trying to see if someone had tagged him. As luck would have it, someone did!

This brought me to his Instagram page, which gave me his real name which allowed me to find him on LinkedIn within seconds (he didn't have a Facebook, which made him even more desirable).

I enlisted the help of my friends, and by 9:06am (exactly 26 minutes after getting off the train) I had his work email and phone number — 2015 is a scary time to be alive.

At this point, I was kind of stuck. I couldn't exactly e-mail him out of the blue, considering we were strangers and I had spent a large portion of my morning stalking him to the ends of the earth, so I picked arguably the creepiest means of communication in existence (normally reserved for girls with handles like @bigb00tybitch and @sweetluvin69) and Direct Messaged him on Instagram:

I mean,  LOOK at this guy. He's without a doubt the hottest person I've ever seen— in real life or on TV.  This picture doesn't even do him justice. I also think my message was really well crafted: as un-creepy as possible, given the circumstances, and for the first time in a long time I didn't have to lie about having read a book I was talking about.


As if his hotness wasn't enough to make me swoon, he literally turned out to be the nicest guy on the planet. I did some recon, though (because I'm a journalist and that's what I do) and his girlfriend looks like she's pretty cool, but I can't decide if that makes me feel better or worse about him being the one that got away, especially after all that hard work.

The good news is, if things don't workout between them, he knows where to find me. You say psycho, I say resourceful.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Something INSANE Happened To Me On A Date Last Week

I've been on bad dates before. I once had a guy who ordered 6 tequila shots and left before the bill came, and another one who spent the entire night telling me that being a "writer" isn't a real job. Both were complete ass holes, and I never saw either one of them again, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can compare to what happened to me last week.

On Friday night, I was out at Village Tavern (the bar where I happen to have met two of my last three boyfriends) and got to talking to a seemingly really great guy. He was cute and funny, went to a good school and worked a great job, and we had friends in common. We exchanged phone numbers and parted ways, but not before making tentative plans to have drinks the following week.

When he texted me the next day, I was pumped. He asked if I wanted to help him "puppy sit" for his best friend's dog, who was spending the night at his apartment. I declined, though not before a LOT of consideration: on the one hand, it sounded like the plot of Law and Order: SVU (titled "Girl Gets Lured to Stranger's Apartment With the Promise of an Adorable Dog, Then Gets Chopped Into Pieces"), but on the other, it was a REALLY cute puppy, so I said I would still love to see him some other time. He seemed AWESOME, and had access to a dog — basically my dream come true.

That Sunday night — two days into what I was sure was going to be a beautiful relationship — he texted and asked if I wanted to get drinks and watch the Giants' game. I'm not exactly a football fan, and was having a really cozy Sunday night with my roommate and Season 1 of Nashville, but was really excited for our first date so pulled myself together and headed uptown.

When I got in the cab and let him know I was on my way, I received the following texts:

Understandably,  I was really, really confused. I thought he wanted to send me more pictures of the puppy, like he'd been doing all weekend. I was already in the cab, flying up 2nd Avenue, as the conversation continued: 

What the HELL?? At this point, I was standing outside of the bar, losing my mind. I had sent screen shots of this madness to all my friends, none of whom could figure out WHAT was going on. I was positive that it was some sort of joke, and decided that I needed to go inside and clear things up so we could get on with what was sure to be a fantastic first date. 

I  walked into the bar (which was not, as I expected, a sports bar packed with people — my date was the only person in the room, and the sole TV wasn't even showing football) and he immediately jumped up to hug me. 

"You came! I can't believe you came. Let's get beers and mac and cheese and hang." 

I was so relieved. He somehow read my mind about what my favorite food was. Things were going to be fine. 

"Haha yeah! I told you I was on my way! But you almost lost me with those weird x-rated photo jokes that I think went over my head. You're lucky I was in the cab already!" 

"Oh, no. Those weren't jokes. I have this really great picture that I thought I lost from two years ago," he took his phone out of his pocket and started scrolling, "So I texted my ex-girflriend and told her I needed her to send it to me so I could use it to convince a girl to go on a date with me and thank god she still had it! I'll just show you and let you decide what you think..." 

And before I knew what was happening — BAM! I was looking at a picture of his penis. 

We hadn't even been sitting there long enough for me to order a beer. It was the LITERAL definition of the phrase "buy a girl a drink, first." 

"OH HELL NO," I yelled in his face and ran out of the bar. I was hysterically laughing, but also sort of crying because the whole thing was pretty traumatizing, in a dead sprint down 2nd Avenue because I was afraid he was following me. It was awful. 

He kept calling and texting me, apologizing for the "misunderstanding." He also left me a one-and-a-half minute voicemail, in which he apologized for "being a dick." I LOVE a bad pun, so that almost made the whole thing worth it. 

Needless to say, I didn't text back.

I unfortunately don't know this pervert's last name, so I can't slander his reputation on social media nor can I Venmo charge him for the two taxis I had to pay for to get to and from a date where I got zero beers and an unwanted flashing.

And PS? This is why I don't watch football.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

#TBT: My College Essay

Now that I'm back in school, I've been revisiting a lot of my old writing (If you're feeling nostalgic too, I would highly recommend you visit my other two blogs, clickable right there ^^). The other day, I came across my college essay, which only me, my college counselor and the admissions officers at Georgetown ever got to read. It seems like a waste considering how much time I spent on it (ok, not a  total waste because it helped me get into college) so I've decide to share it here. Plus, the whole thing is about how my name sounds like a penis, so it's kind of funny.

It has always felt to me like “Weiner” is the most commonly mispronounced name in the English language. As an elementary school student I used to dread any activity that involved roll call, knowing that the announcement of my name would precede uproarious laughter. Whenever my last name was called over the loudspeaker at summer camp, I cringed, fully aware that 300 girls were giggling at me from their bunks. I wished nothing more than to change my name to something normal, something that could not be mispronounced as a dirty word. I begged my parents to let me take on a new name, to put me up for adoption, anything that would separate me from my title. I spent hours testing out different surname combinations: Zoë Hepburn, Zoë Clinton, or my personal favorite “Her Royal Highness Princess Zoë.” As a discontented twelve year old, I made it my personal mission to detach myself from my embarrassing label.

Now, five years later and with peers who are slightly more mature, Weiner has come to be much more than a name. It is the embodiment a strong family history and the continuation of a legacy. It is a representation of the American Dream, as seen by my ancestors who left Lithuania for Ellis Island to pursue new opportunities on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It is my connection to great relatives from Eastern Europe who suffered through and survived the Holocaust.  It is my inheritance from my grandfather, Irving, a man who came from nothing and worked himself to death as a pickle salesman in the hopes that he could provide a better life for his family. It is my father, Mark, a cancer survivor whose name, in our small state of Rhode Island, is synonymous with philanthropy. It is my mother, Susan, who since marrying into the Weiner family has become the quintessence of our family values: dedication, compassion and trust. It is my sister, Cathy, a woman who has always given me someone to look up to. It is my older brother, Steven, who despite having Aspergers syndrome has joined the world of professional wrestling as Steven “The Turtle” Weiner. It is my younger brother, Richard, who is on the road to becoming a professional golfer. It is me, a world traveler who is terrified of heights and dreams of becoming a rock star. It is my future nieces and nephews who will one day be born into this world to carry on the family name. The name Weiner is the binding force that connects me to the people I care about, a single title that has come to determine my unconditional love for all who share it.

Although we are no longer wine makers in Europe, we still carry the implications of our name set forth by our predecessors. My last name represents the courage and strength of those who carried it before me. It stands for my family’s Jewish roots and has bred the traditions of a Hanukah Tree and a Passover puppet show. It has provided me with recipes for brisket and noodle kugel that have been passed down throughout generations and are used without fail at every birthday, holiday and special event. It has given me my dark features and coarse hair, which often cause people to question where I come from. It is the reason why I say things like “Oy Vey” and “Meshugannah.” It was my motivation to study for eight years and become a Bat Mitzvah. 

The name Weiner is a distinctive part of who I am: a product of my family and my heritage. My last name has provided me with a support system, without which I would be lost. I tried for so long to be independent of my embarrassing label that I overlooked how important my ties to it truly are. After years of torture, I am finally proud of who I am. I am a student, a singer, and a passionate debater. I am an animal lover, a community activist, and a world traveler. I am a lot of things, but above all I am a Weiner.

A Few Thoughts:
  • HOW did Georgetown accept someone who used the phrase “Her Royal Highness Princess Zoë” in her personal statement
  • Weiners still drink a lot of wine, it wasn't just a thing our ancestors did
  • My brother never became a professional golfer
  • My only nephew's last name isn't Weiner 
  • "Terrified of heights and dreams of becoming a rock star" Shut UP 17 year old Zoe. Just, shut up. 
  • I have no idea how to make brisket or noodle kugel
  • My motivation for studying for my Bat Mitzvah was part religious, part the promise of being allowed to make a grand entrance on a swing in front of 300 people
  • I can't believe I ever described myself as a "passionate debater"
  • Or a "singer," "animal lover" and "community activist" 
  • I've stopped correcting people on how to pronounce my last name. It's too hard. I am now, officially, Zoë WEENER.
  • Even though the Weiner family sometimes drives me nuts, I love them even more now than I did 6 years ago. I just probably won't be writing a cliché essay about it anytime soon. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

My Complicated Relationship With Football Season

Glory Days.
My first (ok, only) serious boyfriend was the quarterback and captain of our high school football team (#humblebrag). Despite wearing his jersey to school every Friday (a tradition, might I add, that I invented 9 years ago and is still in practice today) and going to his games every Saturday for 4 seasons, football was never really my "thing." I much preferred arriving an two hours late with chic Northface fleece and a hot chocolate and gossiping with the other football girlfriends until the game was over than actually watching what was happening on the field. Every once in a while, I would shout "YAY BILLY!" to prove I was paying attention (and to inevitably receive dirty looks from his entire family)— regardless of whether or not he was on the field.

Now, I'm seeing a guy who is obsessed with Fantasy Football (and, as my mom and 4-year-old nephew would be pleased to know, is a nice Jewish boy). I didn't see him for a week when the draft was going on (partly because he was "studying" the league, partly because I'd acted batshit crazy the weekend before) and he is constantly updating me on how his (multiple) teams are doing. He's great, but between that and the intricacies of his finance job I rarely understand 100% of what he's talking about. But I'm trying, I swear. 

The only picture that exists of me in a
football jersey is from 2006.
The thing is, I genuinely like the act of watching football. Between the beer, the burgers and Tom Brady's crooked smile, what's not to like? Sidebar Sundays are jam packed with cute guys, and Giants' Games make fantastic  backgrounds for Instagram photos. The issue, though, is that I just don't like the actual football itself.

Trust me, I've tried. It would make me sound so much cooler on first dates if I knew AT ALL what I was talking about and could say with authority that "Gronk" made a "great play!" or that the Patriots are "my" team. I would love to get excited when a team "goes all the way," (is that right?) but to me, Super Bowl Sunday is just an excuse to eat my friend Mar's buffalo chicken dip and cry at Budweiser commercials.

This season, it unfortunately doesn't look like things are going to be any different

Last night, in honor of opening night, I put on my favorite MOSES BROWN FOOTBALL sweatshirt, ordered chicken wings from Seamless (ok, it was organic grilled chicken and brussel sprouts from Westville) and watched 3 episodes of Friday Night Lights.

Go Pats!

(My relationship with football is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that this post, which was meant to be about football, is mostly just about guys I've dated).

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Grandmother is a #Queen

My Grammy (or, "Ruth," as my older siblings call her because she was "too young to be a grandmother" when they were growing up) is the chicest woman I know. She is always in Chanel, perfectly accessorized with insane stacks of pearls and  diamonds. She is your quintessentially fabulous Jewish "Bubbe," but if you call her that, she'll kill you.

We are, more or less, identical twins. We look alike, act alike, and can fall asleep in absolutely any situation, no matter how inappropriate (my dad is like this too; it's made for some pretty awkward dinners with boring ex-boyfriends). She is a woman after my own heart. Or I'm a woman after her heart? Not sure how that works.

She just turned 89, and would beat me with her bedazzled walker if she knew I was advertising her age on the internet, but she looks damn good and the world — and all my potential suitors— needs to know that I have good genes and will age incredibly gracefully.

For her birthday, my entire family flew down to Florida to celebrate. She just moved into a new apartment around the corner from my parents' house, complete with hot pink walls and a reupholstered La-Z-Boy and was ecstatic to have the whole family together for the sole purpose of showering her with attention.  I wasn't kidding — we're exactly alike.

In addition to being fabulous, Grammy is also very fancy: her favorite food is lobster, and for as long as I've known her she's been exclusively drinking vodka martinis, extra dry, straight up with a twist. So, in her honor, that's exactly how we celebrated (minus the vodka — we opted for the equally fancy Whispering Angel instead.).

Because this was a big birthday, my mom hired a professional photographer to come to our house and document the event, so the first hour of the party was spent on the couch in various poses with different combinations and arrangements of family members. My mom always makes us wear head-to-toe white when she knows we'll have to take group photos (as someone who spends 10 months a year in Florida, she likes to show off her "natural glow") so my dad rebelled by wearing red pants. He did, however, accessorize with a needlepoint belt covered in lobsters, which was quite a departure from the Adidas track-suit he wore to his own birthday party.

The rest of the party consisted of me being unable to crack my lobster, drinking my mom's, my brother's, my grandmother's, and my own glasses of rosé, and spilling potato salad on my  (ok, my mom's) white dress. Grammy loved the outfit I picked out for her, and my brothers loved the fact that I put their names on the card. I actually missed my flight back to New York because I stayed for a second piece of birthday cake, but used the extra time in the airport to get better acquainted with my Hinge matches, so it all worked out for the best.

I only hope one day I can be as fabulous as my lobster eating, pearl-rocking grandmother, barring that at least some of my jewelry survives the next 65 years (based on how much of it I lost in the ocean this summer, I can't be too sure) and that I have a family who loves me as much as we all love her. HBD Grammy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's Not Over Yet

Great news to all my fans out there (Hi Alix! Hi Ellin! .... that should cover it):  The blog is getting a reboot. 

As it turns out, I really love writing about myself, which, considering how much I love talking about myself (a fact anyone who knows me can attest to) makes sense. And so, instead of giving up on this whole project now that the summer's over (because, lets be honest, saying goodbye to beach weekends and daylight until 8pm is hard enough as it is), #summerofzo has become #lifeofzo. 

Stay tuned on this new and improved blog to hear about my new adventures back at school (where after a full month, I still have zero friends), my fall boyfriend-hunting tactics (kidding, mom, I'm super focused on school and definitely haven't been right-swiping in class) and whatever other weird stuff I'll inevitably manage to get myself into. 

And please, visit the site often— I paid $12 for the new domain name, so it better have been worth it 
One last picture from the summer, because, well, it rocks.