Essays

"Single, Female, Mormon, Alone" - The New York Times - January 2011 (The essay was noted in 2012's Best American Essays.)

Brian Rea for The New York Times' "Modern Love" Column

Brian Rea for The New York Times' "Modern Love" Column

"Of all the places I felt sure I’d never go, Planned Parenthood topped the list. Because, you know, they perform abortions and give condoms to kids, or so I’d been warned. Yet one spring afternoon found me in its waiting room next to a teenage girl, who was clearly perplexed by the intake form and likely bound for an uncomfortable, humiliating four minutes in the back of a borrowed Chevy Chevelle. But what did I know? I was a 35-year-old virgin, preparing for my own “first time,” which, incidentally, didn’t happen until I was well into 36..." Read more here and listen to the podcast here.

"Premonitions" - City Arts Magazine - March 2017

"Recently, I went online and traced my genealogy back to the 1600s—spent 12 hours staring at a screen until my eyes actually went blurry. It felt suddenly urgent to figure out whether I am—as the family mythology goes—related to the fatalist Victorian poet/novelist Thomas Hardy. It turns out we aren’t related, not directly. Unless thematic obsessions can be inherited, like genetic traces of trauma. There are eerie echoes between his work and mine, like a century-old game of call and answer. “All romances end at marriage,” he wrote in 1874, in a book I’ve never read. Just last summer I wrote, “It’s strange how romance can suck the romance from life.” Which left me wondering about all the ways histories could be doomed to repeat." Read more here.

"Spending a year at sea, I was living the dream. But Thanksgiving was lonely." - The Washington Post - November 2016

"Every elementary school sleepover I attended was plagued by some homesick girl, begging to be taken home just hours into the evening. I judged that girl harshly. And continued to judge, as she grew into the preteen at summer camp, the freshman in my dorm, the graduate student in Vermont, the expat in the Caribbean, the woman on vacation in the South Pacific. All of them would weep into telephones, wanting to be rescued. I would roll my eyes, unable to fathom making that kind of call. Until I spent Thanksgiving at sea, that is. Empathy kicked in at age 43 — just off the island of Rodrigues, in the middle of the Indian Ocean."  Read more here.

"I am a female bachelor in my 40s. I’m grateful for that, not sad." - The Washington Post - August 2016

"'You’re a bachelor,' Theo said. I laughed, knowing exactly what she meant — there is no word in the English language to describe a woman in her 40s who enjoys being single. According to the stereotype, we’re all crying into our oversized, food-stained sweaters, sobs of despair echoing through our apartments as if we’ve just been told we have 10 days to live." Read more here

"The suitor I’ve never been able to turn down: Wanderlust" - The Washington Post - July 2016

"People ask whether I’m lonely, and I tell the truth: Loneliness has been my most constant companion. The blue tsunami, I call it. Without warning, the weight of a lifetime of yearning crashes over me, takes my breath if I’m not careful. The wave grows taller, more monstrous, every year that goes by without someone who understands me intimately, who sees me as I truly am."  Read more here.

"I Was 36 Years Old and Had Never Had Sex Before—and Then Things Got Awkward" - Marie Claire - June 2016

"Then, six years after losing my virginity, I decided to sail around the world aboard a square-rigged tall ship. I had paid to work as a member of the crew, to learn to sail, and to cross oceans the way people did in the "age of sail"—a phrase I found devastatingly romantic. Many of the crew were young Scandinavian sailors, with whom I lived in very tight quarters. It wasn't long before the most improbable pairings became probable. Predictable. Inevitable." Read more here.

"Letter to Santa" - City Arts - November 2013

Jess Bonin for City Arts Magazine

Jess Bonin for City Arts Magazine

"Dear Santa: I know that you know that I know some things are simply too much to ask. And yet, the Libra in me wants life to be fair. Or at least slightly more fair. So perhaps this year, the best thing would be for Sofia Vergara to develop a wicked (though short-lived and innocuous) thyroid problem? I wouldn’t mind seeing James Bond with a stutter, or an STD. Maybe the editors at Simon & Schuster could manage to be less compelled by the former cast of Jersey Shore and guys like Si from Duck Dynasty..." - See more at: http://cityartsonline.com/articles/letter-santa#sthash.k4k6Qs5t.dpuf

"Another Thing Novocain Can't Do" - Quiddity 6.2 - 2013 - Nominated for a Pushcart Prize

"So I’m in the dentist’s chair about to have two fillings replaced. My jaw is pried open so far I imagine myself in the form of a python, devouring not a mongoose but a rubber dam, a metal clamp, an air turbine dental drill, a curved aspirator tip, and both of Dr. Robinson’s meaty hands. Dr. Robinson has been my dentist since I was six years old, so I can’t imagine going to a different dentist, despite the fact that his hands seem over-large. I’d prefer a dentist with pathological body issues in the manner of college wrestlers or Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I want a pocket-sized dentist, like a jockey, or a leprechaun. Dr. Robinson is nowhere near as small as a leprechaun, and he’s currently pinching the side of my mouth to disguise the bite of the 27 gauge needle flooding my cheek with Novocain." Listen to the rest here.