From the pages of Princess ¥ Number 4, June 1998 (280 Park Avenue South, 2G, New York, NY 10010; $4)

Excerpts from:

Boy Wondering: Entering Dates Into the Wedding Planner

By Nell Cross

I went to college to get an education, not find a husband, and I moved to New York to start a career, not a family. So would someone please tell me why it is that whenever I start to date a guy, I immediately imagine being married to him?

Now, I agree that picturing married life with a guy you’re going out with is a perfectly natural phenomenon. But all too easily I see myself shopping for placemats at Pottery Barn and contemplating the color of our all-terrain family vehicle during the first hour of a date–and that’s with a guy I don’t even really like, let alone really know. How disgustingly anti-girl power is that? I need help. Or a ring. Or both.

Example: John is an editorial assistant I’m introduced to at a Knopf party for Toni Morrison. He has sandy brown hair and a slight flush in his cheeks. I can’t help envisioning our future as a hip bohemian couple as he refills my plastic cup with cheap chardonnay. We would be shabby chic, living in a small East Village apartment with Oriental rugs (family heirlooms) and stacks of books all over the place. Our evenings would be filled with cooking great curries for friends while listening to Mingus and sampling the Nouveau Beaujolais. Sometimes we would sit on the fire escape and smoke some of Humbolt’s finest. Our children, Franny and Sam, would be gifted and dirty blond.

Potential problems: I would never own anything made by Gucci and I’d always be stubbing my toe on stacks of hardback books.

Example: Alex is a website producer who is on the short side and has a gym membership that is collecting dust. When my friends ask me what he looks like, I don’t know what to say except, “You know…a guy. His hair is kind of light brown…I guess.” I envision romantic e-mails back and forth all day that say things like, “Are you going to pick up the kids from soccer practice?” We’d have lots of stock options of something. Our kids would be technologically savvy, but the sound of everyone’s pagers going off all the time would give me migraines. I could never wear heels because of Alex’s Napoleon complex, so I would opt for Easy Spirit’s classic black flat.

Potential problems: I would die of boredom.

Example: I met Jesse in Los Angeles at The Ivy at the Shore. He is an editor for a new Hawaii 5-0 pilot and almost 10 years older than me. Imagining life as Mrs. Jesse takes almost no effort. We’d live in LA, schmoozing with the TV glitterati. I would become the kind of girl that gets highlights every three months and douches once a week. I’d start to speak that abbreviated Hollywood language, “Chinois on Main tonight, sweetums?” “Perf.” “How’s your steamed kale?” “Yummers.” “When did you tell Juanita we’d be home?” “In half.”

Potential problems: I would realize that I was living an abbreviated life, and first try to deny it by drowning myself in Veuve Cliquot. Then I would recover and move to Aspen to become a yoga teacher. There I’d meet and marry an even richer movie producer who’s three times my age. He dies eight years later, leaving me a multi-millionaire, 35-year-old, once-divorced widow.

Wow. I went through two husbands on that date, didn’t I?

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Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): zine cover.