THE TRUTH LIES IN JEST

Ask Catherine Cohen: How Do I Survive Wedding Season Without a +1?

“The phrase ‘wedding season’ just made me swallow my own tongue? Is there a doctor on the plane?”


Photographed by Ryan Lowry for W Magazine. Cohen wears a Michael Kors dress and belt, Mondo Mondo necklace; Rebecca Price necklaces; Oscar De La Renta necklace and earrings,

Catherine Cohen is a comedian and actress. In her original show tunes, character videos and on her popular podcast Seek Treatment (co-hosted with fellow comedian Pat Regan) she skewers the clichés of millennial aspiration, deadpans about sex on antidepressants, and earnestly celebrates such triumphs as finding love or drinking seven beers. Her Netflix Special, The Twist...? She’s Gorgeous, and her book, God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems From a Gal About Town are out now.

Have a question for Catherine? Send it to askcatherine@wmagazine.com for a chance to be answered in her next column.

I love all of my friends, but I don’t really like any of them. Any advice?

Wait, do you like me though? Is this helpful? BRB getting “the world does not revolve around you” tattooed backwards on my forehead. Ok back to business—I think you should…get…new…friends? Not to be so obvious but this question is ultimately serving Occam’s razor realness—i.e. the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. And in this case, maybe that means it’s time to invest in some new pals.

You don’t have to cut these people out of your life entirely (unless they’re taking a serious toll on your menty health) but why not open your heart to investing in the new people you meet? Invite a work friend to a weekend brunch. Ask your chic cousin’s girlfriend if she wants to go thrifting with you. See who you meet while doing the activities you love—maybe you volunteer at an animal rescue or play in a kickball league. You’re more likely to vibe with people whose paths you cross when you’re focusing on making yourself happy first.

Old friendships are usually complicated and rewarding at the same time. It’s okay to step away for a bit and reevaluate. Who knows: It might be a new friendship that helps you get in touch with a side of yourself you never knew existed. One is silver and the other gold vibes!

My boyfriend and I fight a LOT. Where is the line between healthy fighting and too much?

When you drop me a line? You’ve drawn the line! Should that be my new catchphrase? I guess I’m saying it sounds like you’re fighting with your boyfriend too much. Even the phrase “healthy fighting” is a bit of an oxymoron. I think it’s healthy to disagree, to have tense and difficult discussions, even to be annoyed with your partner and need alone time, but fighting implies you aren’t listening to each other. People typically fight when they aren’t being heard, or when they’re on reality TV.

Are these so-called fights fostering conversations that bring you closer together? Or are they just wasting your time and making you resent your partner? Having the same fight over and over again is exhausting. If you feel like these fights are making you a stronger couple that’s great, but if you feel like these fights are taking too much time away from other aspects of your life, maybe it’s time to move on. Isn’t life hard enough? Spending time with your partner should feel easy. ☺

It seems like all of my friends are getting married this summer, and I can’t even get a date. What’s the best way to make the most of wedding season when you’re without a +1?

The phrase “wedding season” just made me swallow my own tongue? Is there a doctor on the plane? It’s crazy all the things we have invented! Humanity is industrious and worrisome, random, and romantic. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it feels like everyone is getting married and sometimes it feels like everyone is getting divorced. You are right where you need to be. Literally always. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself (My Personal Greatest Pastime™) because you already have everything you need to have a great time during wedding season with or without a date. The more you focus on celebrating your loved ones, dancing in a gown, and eating mini crab cakes, the more likely you are to enjoy yourself and maybe even meet someone. I truly believe love is always just around the corner. Even if the corner feels randomly so far away.

It feels like everyone I know is much further along in their lives (love, work, etc.) than I am. How do I stop driving myself crazy comparing myself to the people around me?

Legally I can’t answer this question because I’m obsessed with comparing myself to others. Why did that girl with brown hair get that thing I didn’t even want?!?! But I can try to give us both a little pep talk. The past is gone and the future isn’t guaranteed. Are you breathing? You’re literally killing it.

“Further along” doesn’t mean anything—people get together and break up every day for a myriad of reasons, people book their dream job and lose it or burn out. No amount of money, fame, success, or attention will ever feel like enough. Rock on! Life is not something to complete. Life is not a task, it’s a just a lil’ nickname for the amalgamation of moments we all experience.

Plus, comparing yourself to someone else is impossible because you don’t actually know what’s going on with them. They might be looking snatched, twirling their impossibly thick hair in a Tom-Hanks-in-Big-inspired Soho loft, but they could be rapidly unraveling on the inside. They could be posting incessantly about their new Netflix comedy special (check out The Twist? She’s Gorgeous, now streaming!) but still feeling so stressed that they haven’t shit in two weeks…or something like that! Make an effort every day to take stock of what you do have (amazing taste in advice columnists, a computer, an internet connection) and try to appreciate the little things. Ugh, clichés are randomly so true.

What is your favorite thing about New York? I’m trying to remember why I moved here.

Oh honey!!! My favorite thing about New York doesn’t matter. I don’t matter to New York, yet it accepts me all the same. There’s a line in that Mary Oliver poem, “the world offers itself to your imagination.” Well darling, New York doesn’t offer you a thing. It doesn’t need you to like it, but it will keep you company at the diner as the snow falls on 9th Avenue. No one here needs each other, but oh how we want each other! New York is a city for those who want everything and all at once—very dry, with a twist.

How easy to be anonymous one day and the talk of the town the next. Remember when I was leaving therapy, walking down 5th avenue and ran into that boy who broke my heart? Three years later, we take the L train across the East river to sleep side by side every night. Three years is so long in New York time. I’ve never met a gal who doesn’t move apartments every year. In New York anything can happen in a day. I’m at a warehouse, on a rooftop, in the basement, on the E train. Oh fuck I ended up in Queens. No matter, in New York I can cry and wail and no one will even look at me. The city is alive like a tree in the park—you don’t need to water it, it will grow. Isn’t it nice to feel small? And nicer even when the guy at the bodega lets you just pay him the rest next time.

In New York, you belong from the second you arrive. Your feet can get you almost anywhere you need to go, and there’s always somewhere to be. But I get it, it’s obvious how one can tire of the city—it’s not easy and it’s certainly not cheap. It’s okay: You can leave, you can come back, too. The numbered streets remain ordered, the cab lights go on and off—sometimes it’s your turn, sometimes it’s not. John Updike once said, “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” So, are you in on the joke?