So your ex-boyfriend is coming to visit you in Brooklyn for a two-week trial period to “see if he could see himself actually living here” and while you believe it’s impossible to for him to really know in such a short, pressure-cooker of a visit, you miss him and you want him to move here, so you’re entertaining the idea that this trip could seal the deal.
You two dated three years — two spent together in New Orleans, one apart when you moved to New York — until the distance became too much and you had to break up. But it turns out you still care about each other and most of your problems resulted from being apart. You both are working off the premise he’s just not that into New York, but definitely still into you. So what makes up the perfect sales pitch? He’s from New Jersey, (please, he knows what New York is like, he doesn’t need to try it on) but “found himself” in New Orleans — where you were born and raised — one among so many Northeast transplants who moved down to do post-Katrina relief work and became born-again Yats. Some days he annoyed the piss out of you with their green (in both senses of the word) enthusiasm; other days you envied the way he magically became enchanted with your city, whereas for you, so much of it became old, waterlogged news, and you were drowning.
You needed to grow up. But it’s hard to break the spell. In New Orleans, he currently rents a two-bedroom with his best friend for $500/each, inside a compound that boasts a swimming pool, tennis court and football field-sized lawn. Beer costs $1.50, and dive bars are authentically that way, as opposed to here, where they’re curated like a pair of scuffed-up jeans in an Anthropologie display window.
Dudes roast pigs and boil crawfish and shuck oysters because they grew up doing it, not because the burgeoning twee movement provides a safe space for them to role-play masculinity. There, you can sit on the banks of the bayou at dusk and enjoy a glass of wine, your car parked right across the street (in one of five open spaces) your dog sitting next to you, maybe leashed, maybe not, but free to wander down to the water or maybe run up on a group of idling ibis; in short, the cops won’t slap a ticket across your ass just for breathing. You still shit on New York, in your mind, when you compare it to New Orleans, your first love. But it’s first love in the way your mother is and you have to wean yourself off her someday.
Here, you’ve made new friends, explored new neighborhoods, begun to understand how people live in another part of the country. You write for a cool blog and your resume is slowly stacking up with name-brand publications. There, 200 journalists lost their jobs after the daily paper went part-time, and you can count the other writing outlets on one hand.
In your opinion, he needs to grow up too. A bunch of his friends have left New Orleans, off to grad school or better job opportunities on the east or west coast. He just quit his job of three years and took the LSAT, idly pondering law school while working odd jobs to break even. There are plenty of schools and odd jobs up here! And not-so-odd ones too; he’s unequivocally in his late twenties now. Maybe it’s time to start gathering twigs for that nest?
And you’ll write a blog post asking everyone if they know any surefire lures that’ll make a man bite down and never let go. The transitive property doesn’t necessarily apply here: if he loves you, and you love Brooklyn, that doesn’t mean he has to love Brooklyn too. And if you can’t convince him to stay, well, at least New Orleans is a place you’ll always want to visit.
Follow Kate @yatinbrooklyn