Tag Archive: romance

  1. Stamps

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    The crash woke Joseph John from his sleep. There was not one but rather several crashes, one primary, jarring thud followed by several tremulous echoes that settled into the emptiness of the blue air just before sun-up.

    Presently the chickens, somewhat recovered from the trauma, began to cluck and gulp once again. John ordered his mother to stay in bed as he tested each wall of the house for cracks. After breakfast he deemed it safe to inspect the outside of the house, at which point he and his mother discovered the object itself. It lay by the chicken coop, nestled in a moist indentation of earth: a white column of some hard smooth casing, tapered at one end and flattened at the other to form a spoonlike cavity. The thicker end was an expensive-looking blue.

    “A shell,” John’s mother suggested. She glanced fearfully skyward.

    “Not a shell,” John frowned.

    He lingered by the coop as his mother squinted at the sky with a hand over her eyes. It was clear by now, John’s mother decided, that the white column was not alive. She had seen a tortoise once, at the Duke’s fair. Its shell was hard, but pebbled with growth, not so smooth as this, and the creature had breathed slow breaths inside its pinched-up skin. The white column did not breathe. She went to touch it but John jerked her back. “Careful!”

    She crossed herself in gratitude that the new chicken coop — paid for by her dear boy’s latest weaving — had not been crushed. John was still quiet, hand on his neck.

    She kicked the white column over with a cautious, rapid cuff of her boot, and the object was still motionless. “It’s not alive, Jack,” she whispered. Its underside was white, too, smooth as an  eggshell, but now smeared with mud and grass. The object was utterly tubular, alien. No chicken could have birthed such a thing.

    Jack could make out the letter R under a glob of dirt. R. I. T. And a small circular glass window, under which rested a white paper inscribed with a light blue cross.


    Marni had picked the curtains for their sunflower print. She had imagined, standing in JoAnn Fabric with the bolt of sunflower-print curtain-cloth in her hands, that the sharp morning sunlight would soften through the yellow fabric and fill her bedroom with butter-light as the sun rose over the mountain of her husband’s back. He slept deeply, but she had always been grateful that he did not snore. His shoulders shuddered with each exhale.

    This morning, Marni had been awake for some minutes — 18, in fact. As she lay on her side, facing away from Pete, with her hand wedged in the under-pillow coolness, she rehearsed the past five minutes, as if to ensure that she had followed proper protocol. Open eyes, pull on robe, drape comforter convincingly over Pete’s back, tiptoe to bathroom, open package, urinate in cup, dip stick into cup, wait two minutes — during which, shuffle quickly back to bedside to grab cell phone and set timer for one minute 40 seconds — close bathroom door and use the flashlight function to read the sign in the yellow-tinged window. A plus sign, as it happened.

    “Oh, fuck.”

    She tied the belt of her robe and marched over to the window, which was slightly open to let in the summer air. Pete grumbled from the bed. She slid her wrist through the open slot of the window and in a quick motion, before she could doubt, she tossed the pregnancy test to the bare earth outside.


    At the sight of the cross Jack’s mother crossed herself reflexively. “God help us,” she muttered.

    “Right,” said Jack.



    “What is it, John?”

    “Riiiiiight … aid.”

    He was reading, her brilliant son. She whipped around and pinched his cheeks.

    Thus gratified she returned to the Eggshell, as she was determined to call it. The Egg of God, of Christ — for did it not bear a cross? She cried, “Joseph John, run to the friary and call them to come. Speed, Joe! Speed!” He ran along the path and she crossed herself once again as he vanished behind the hickories. “Speed, Joe! Speed!” Blessings, Blessings be upon them, a Gift of God!


    “It is out of my hands, literally out of my hands,” Marni muttered to herself in the cafeteria.

    “It’s what?” asked Carolyn Bowers from HR.

    “Nothing,” said Marni. She moved her tray down the line. Each carton on her tray reminded her of him. He could fit in each, his muscled arms draped over the Styrofoam edges, his legs splayed — relaxed, jovial even — across the sliced melon cubes. Her Jack.

    At home she prepared Pete his Scotch and settled him by the television. A quick kiss on the cheek and she had fled to the bedroom, torn open the curtains, pushed up the window. Breathless, she surveyed her sunflowers. Her eyes scanned the green flesh of their roots. As she knew it would be, the white plastic stick was gone.

    “What’s the meaning of this?” He was standing on the windowsill, panting.

    “Jack,” she said. He was glaring, though. His stubble had grown out since she’d seen him last; she imagined the tiny roughness of it on her fingertip.

    “You threw something. Right Aid.”

    ”Rite Aid. Yeah.”

    “She’s sent me to the friary.”

    “The friary? Why?” She scooped him into her palm.

    “It’s of God.”

    “The pregnancy test? Oh. The cross.”

    “You haven’t thrown anything before.”

    True, she had not. She had always been gentler, cognizant of her size. A forceful shove would kill him, a squeeze could crush his ribs. She nearly had crushed him, the first time, when he was climbing up her sunflower curtains like an oversized cockroach all those months ago — at her screech he’d fallen: a man, lithe and dark-haired with delicate eyes and a white linen shirt split to the collarbone, sitting — lounging, really — in the palm of her hand. “Hello,” he’d said.

    Now she set him on the boudoir and sat in her green-upholstered chair (an engagement gift from Pete’s mother).

    “Did you mean to crush the house?” he asked softly. His hand rested on the crescent of her thumbnail, tender. “Did you mean to attack me?”

    “I didn’t attack you.”

    “My mother, then?”

    “No, Jack! Did you even read what it said?”

    “The white stick? Right Aid. The right aid.”

    “Rite Aid. You sounded it out, then, Jack?” She abandoned her severe expression long enough to communicate, through a tiny crinkle by her eye, that she was proud of him. The hours he’d spent in her breast pocket at work had paid off. (“Manaaaaaaagggg,” he would sound out, in her ear, from his perch in the crook of her neck. “Yes, very good,” she’d whisper back, soft enough that Susan, the next cubicle over, could not hear. “Manaaaaaggggmmehhhh…

    managggmen….” a quiet, rumbling drone as he held on, tenderly, to the curve of her ear lobe, balancing on those nimble booted feet. “Management,” she finally revealed. “Management consulting, Jack. Glencorps Management Consulting. See the pear? Our logo.” And he demanded to know what a logo meant, and she told him, in tiny giggles that subsided into stern throat-clearing when Susan glanced over, perplexed).

    “I sounded it out, Miss Marni,” he replied. “Rrr rabbit Iiii ice Tttt table Eee egg Aaaa apple —”

    “I told you not to call me Miss Marni,” she said. He crossed his arms. It made her feel old, he knew that. She’d be 30 in four days, and he was what? 19? He claimed his mother couldn’t remember but for the rains that accompanied the summer of his birth. It had been months before she could convince him to call her Marnina and even longer — till December, at least — before he called her Marni. She remembered that night, the way he sleepily mumbled “Marni” as he lay in the fold of her nightgown on one of those nights when Pete was far from home.

    “I’ll call you what I please,” he said now.


    “You dropped a holy cross on my house.”

    “It’s not a cross, Jack. It’s — plastic.”


    Rehearsing the moment, Marni had never considered the complications. “I’m pregnant, Jack,” she’d say, matter-of-factly, and then demand — what? They had never really taken his assets into account. Chickens, she knew. And the cow, but he’d sold her to get the alchemist’s sunflower seed that he’d dropped in the wood, that pushed up all verdantly muscular into her sunflower patch one day.

    And here he was, unable to comprehend plastic. Her lover, whose entire body measured the length of the pregnancy test itself.

    “It’s plastic, Jack,” she explained, again. “It’s not eggshell. It’s man-made.”

    That confidence that puffed his small chest up — how she adored it, the way he’d plant his feet on her stomach and recite poetry to her, after one of their Reading sessions sequestered in the corner of her room. She was a goddess, he proclaimed. He listened to her soft descriptions of the tea shop she’d like to have one day, the stamps she’d like to collect. They spent afternoons curled in the warm square of sunlight, her body a castle around his, Jack leaning on his arm, his tiny bicep popping. Every so often he would look up, from The Cat in the Hat, to gaze at her with those limpid eyes. At the end, she’d let him pick a stamp from the glass case. They were the size of paintings in his hands, and his fingers would explore the crenellations. He’d never seen such art. When Pete’s car pulled into the driveway, she would lift him to the windowsill and watch him climb down the sunflower stalk, the stamp blowing over his shoulder like a square and colorful cape.

    “When’s the baby born?” he asked softly. His rage had subsided. He sat, arms crossed, on  her powder box.

    “November, I imagine,” she replied. She’d counted the months on her fingers.


    Pete had been very regretful to be in St. Louis for Valentine’s Day. He tried not to show it to his wife, as he didn’t want to aggravate her anxiety — the therapist had recommended “taking things slowly” after their intake session, during which Marni confessed that she had been talking to herself. Generalized anxiety disorder, the therapist nodded understandingly. He spoke with Pete a few times, separately, and urged him to “be gentle. It seems Marni’s going through a hard time.” Why, Pete could not say. So he’d left her a note on February 13, on his way to the airport, and a box of chocolates on the kitchen counter. She’d been very supportive of his trip, actually. Very affirming. It was a good sign.

    Jack told his mother he was going to the market that day, to sell his latest masterpiece. The Duke had initially thought the spiked white edges of Jack’s tapestries a bit odd, but the Duchess adored them. No one else in the country made such art! The Duke conceded that the “37” in the corner of each had a certain charm. He ordered the tapestries hung along the Great Hall, the better to impress his royal guests. Even when the Duchess pressed him, Jack wouldn’t reveal how he produced such smooth fabric, which increased the allure of his mysterious work. Even the castle weavers could not distinguish one thread from the other. Once he had brought  a tapestry of a green lady, an ancient sculpture, who held a burning torch aloft and wore a crown of daggers. The friar blessed it. “Forever,” Jack had woven into the corner. And on another, “USA First Class.” The friar declared him touched by Christ.

    On the fourteenth of the month, his mother waved goodbye and Jack sprinted to the woods, through the February cold. He wrestled up the great green stem. One mitten fell to the earth, spinning downwards in the freezing wind. In her giant bedroom, Marni had lit candles. She lay on the bed, her breasts draped in red lace. From where he stood on the windowsill, across the room from her warm dusky-shadowed skin, she could be his size.


    By the time the evening news concluded, Pete was quite anxious. Marni’s voice had crescendoed to a point, and he now heard the distinct hiccups that signaled dry sobs. He clicked off the television — CNN spiraled into a white dot — and sighed. Her Xanax was in the bathroom cabinet. Maybe he should encourage her to take some time off work, get ready for the wedding in July. Glencorps could do without her for a time, yes?

    He stood outside the bedroom door.

    “You don’t understand!” she said, her voice trembling. “I can’t do this. I meant it. I meant what I said, that you should go. You should go.”

    Oh, God. He gingerly fingered the doorknob.

    He heard the sound of a pillow being thrown. She gasped. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to throw that.”


    “I can’t have a baby.”

    Pete’s fingers clenched. Marni—?

    A soft noise. Was the radio on? Her sniffles. That sniffle she made after  a long day at work, when her wrists were sore. Marni, Marni.

    “No, I don’t think God would—”

    A pause.

    “He can’t know.”

    A pause.

    “You must go, you must go. You mustn’t come back. No, I won’t throw anything. I won’t do anything. Take them—take them. Take the one with the Canada goose, you’ve always liked that one—” she was babbling now— “and this one, take this one for me, take it, yes, take this 42 cent, this 42 cent, this Forever. Take this Forever for me and go, go, go.”

    The sound of the lock on the glass case—and a long, soft wail from Marni—and then the window shut.


    Pete’s mother took some time to come around to the smaller wedding, which she regarded as rushed. Pete ignored her disapproving glances when the baby arrived a mere seven months later. He paraded the newborn around the maternity wing, admiring his son’s delicate features, the way he was so rounded and smooth-skinned and perfectly proportioned even if he weighed only three and a half pounds. Marni lay in bed and dutifully swallowed her antipsychotic medication. How lucky she had been treated, how lucky. How lucky they all were. A new chapter, a new life. Pete resolved not to hold her episodes against her, or to ask why, when he had been weeding the garden, he had found the sunflower patch outside the bedroom window littered with stamps.

  2. The Unlearn'd Astronomer

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    When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

    How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

    Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

    Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

    — Walt Whitman

    At last, the eve of the astronomy exam rolled around. The midnight oil had near burnt off, the text of “Universe: The Ninth Edition” began to blur, and the PA system in the library crackled to life: “It is now 1:30. Bass Library will be closing in 15 minutes. 15 minutes.” Time for one last review problem.

    (13) A Martian lands on the surface of the moon closest to Earth. (A) What does the Martian see? Describe the surface features and geological composition of the moon. (B) The Third Quarter phase occurred a week and a half ago, what phase is the moon in now? (C) What is the luminosity of the moon in this phase?

    Let’s see, surface composition… Well, according to the collision-impact theory, the moon was formed millions of years ago when a small planetary body collided with Earth, kicking up rock and rubble that eventually, by gravity, condensed to form a large orbicular mass in a geosynchronous orbit slightly offline with the Earth’s celestial equator. Over time, through bombardment of meteors and asteroids, various craters and Lunar Maria formed over the surface of the moon. Furthermore, we know the moon orbits the earth over a period of about 28 days. Therefore, there are exactly seven days between the first quarter, full, third quarter and new phases of the moon. Since the Martian landed a week and a half after the third quarter, the moon is likely in the waxing crescent phase. 

    Okay, A and B, done. 

    Now, part C … Luminosity? How the heck do I calculate Luminosity? Well, we know the moon has a diameter of 3,476 kilometers, an albedo of .11 and a vastly fluctuating surface temperature from -180˚C to 130˚C …

    Suddenly the pounding in my head turned into a rapping at the door of my cubicle. The security guard. Dang, out of time. I shut the book, gathered the loose papers and pencils into my backpack and shuffled out of the library.

    Then, as I stepped outside, body stiff, mind numb, there it was: the Moon. Thin wisps of clouds drifted across it, moonbeams falling so thick you could catch them in a jar. The faint outlines of craters and plains faded in and out of the crescent, hinting at the dark portion of the circle. The sense of fall in the air seemed a flirtation. Moonlight drenched the rooftops. Numberless stars chimed in. For a moment, my backpack felt weightless. And while staring up at the first edition of the universe, all the data of “Universe: The Ninth Edition” seemed to fall a bit short.

    To the newly landed Martian in problem number (13), the moon is a rock, 3,476 kilometers in diameter, 384,400 kilometers from the Earth. The surface holds no pixie dust, nor is it cheese; it doesn’t even glow. In fact, the surface more closely resembles the Mojave desert than a glimmering porcelain ball. It has an escape velocity and a confusing luminosity. Science can even explain the magical mutations the moon undergoes every night, through all the months of the year. All of these, the Martian on the moon might understand. But from the Earth, from the steps of Bass Library at 1:45 a.m., the moon is also Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” It’s Méliès’s “Le Voyage Dans la Lune.” It’s the white spot peering out of the ocean in Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Wave, Night.” Its light cloaks Gatsby in his reveries of Daisy. And it’s Margaret Wise Brown’s “Comb and brush and bowl full of mush.” Apart from the facts and figures — likely since before those numbers were even discovered — the moon embodies the endearing, incalculable human appreciation for beauty and romance. And every now and again, when the hour is late, and the air clear, and the thin crescent of white light beams down from the sky, through still leaves, and onto the ground in front of you, the moon is simply lovely. I think even our Martian would agree.

  3. fLeXtInG ;)

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    There’s flirting, and there’s texting, and there’s flexing, and then, there’s flexting. Flexting, not unlike flexing, in that it is a display of muscle power (finger muscles, naturally), is the love child of flirting and texting. In the simplest possible definition: flirty texting. The term flexting entered my vocabulary the other day as my friend anxiously checked the time stamp of his most recently sent text to a potential romantic interest. 8:35, fuck. My friend had, he dejectedly explained, sent his last “flext” at 7:52, 40 minutes after he had received a flext (7:12, post-meridiem), which meant that it had been 43 minutes with nothing. No banter-laden retort, no emoji, no hope.

    However, we deemed this duration acceptable for the following reason: My friend himself had waited only three minutes less than his flexting partner had thus far waited before replying, and so, perhaps this potential romantic interest was feeling the need to surpass my friend’s response-resistance time. This theory, however, would be blown if a text were not received in the next half-hour. That exorbitant amount of time would be beyond reason, and there would be no hope at romance, friendship or, perhaps ever flexting again.

    Unfortunately, he sighed, these are the realities of flexting (now officially coined). It also came up over the course of our conversation that my friend was not entirely sure his flexting partner was “available.” How many people was he flexting? Was my friend one of many? Filled with self-doubt and emojis on the tips of his fingers, my friend shoved his uncracked iPhone five into his pocket and groaned. You’d be a fool to think that flexting is easy.

    And there is not simply one kind of flexting. Oh, no. There are three. Flexting with someone old, flexting with someone new and flexting with someone borrowed (N.B., no one likes to flext with someone blue). To complicate his situation even further, my friend did not know with whom he was flexting and thus what category his flexting relationship fell into. Yes, someone new, but someone borrowed too? Someone off the official dating market, but on the flexting game? It was unclear, and thus my friend, a self-proclaimed pro-flexter, was thrown off, anxious, and lacking his usual flexting confidence.

    Flexting with someone borrowed is complicated, and really just not acceptable. But, because our phones aren’t our lips, or our tongues, or … you know … flexting with someone borrowed is, somehow, not considered cheating in our college world. But let your girlfriend catch a glimpse of that smirking emoji you just sent to the chick you sit next to in “The Structure of Networks?” You’re outta here.

    We love to flext, we hate to flext, we love to hate to flext, we hate to love to flext. Last week, I was out to dinner with a friend who had just acquired a new flexting acquaintance. Jumpy and excited to be flexting with someone brand-new, my friend discussed with me proper flexting protocol, which is especially difficult when with someone new; you have yet to gauge their standard response time and banter aesthetic. During our conversation, my friend mentioned a recent piece of advice she had been given on the matter of flexting: When it is appropriate to send the first flext, or the first text for that matter? The advice she received on the matter was the following: If your happiness is contingent upon whether or not you get a reply to a text, do not send it.

    Sometimes a flext is successful, sometimes it isn’t. But if sending a text message (emoji or not) is going to shape the outcome of your day, distract you from your friends, your work or your procrastinating, the appropriate movie is probably to catapult your phone across the room. Valuing your textual flirting success rate over your self-respect? Let’s not. So the next time you’re debating whether or not to send a flext, ask yourself, would not getting a reply have the potential to ruin your Woad’s? If the answer is yes, leave your phone in your room and get your ass to penny drinks. Hey, maybe you’ll get some new flexting digitz … Or better yet? Try having a conversation with someone in person.

  4. A Dance Through the Fires of Love

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    If you have yet to take Love Actually off the shelf of romcom sacredness this holiday season (or maybe you’ve already watched it and worry about overindulging), try tuning in to the Yale Cabaret’s production of Bound to Burn this weekend. The narrative structure even seems familiar: smaller plot strands instead of one cohesive story. Each of the three couples featured, though, communicates a different aspect of those amorous emotions that almost cannot be conveyed by words — the ones, perhaps, that can only be expressed through body language. Throughout the performance, none of the couples utter a single word. For those Hugh Grant fans especially fond of his Prime Minister dance sequence, you can expect your choreography appetite to be satisfied — just in a mellower, hot-chocolate-y sort of way, until the pieces start to … you guessed it … burn your tongue a little.

    Though the level of technique may perhaps not be So You Think You Can Dance level, overall the dancers succeed in conveying intense, enthralling emotions. At first, I wondered if the show had been properly titled. There was an adorable duo locking eyes, holding hands, looking lovingly at each other from across the stage. Not to mention the soundtrack setting that stage: The Civil Wars’ “Poison and Wine,” which I had never heard before, but is now likely to take a spot in my Top 25 Most Played list. This first pair, Elizabeth Mak DRA ’16 and David Clauson DRA ’16, complemented one another. Mak’s facial expressions especially carried me into the scene, even while the plot was difficult to understand.

    Later in the program, we learn that Mak was “Valerie, the Breadwinner” and Clauson played “Tim, Her Husband.” In the theme of the show, however, an unlikely wordlessness in the normally theatrical Cabaret, I wonder if these “role” words enhanced the atmosphere, or if these explanations are instead excessive. The subtlety in Mak’s movement revealed more about her personal state of mind. The second couple in the triptych, Chasten Harmon DRA ’15 and Daniel Reece DRA ’14, continued this theme of miscommunication for me — until, once again, looking at the program’s cast list. Without reading it, I saw the two as classic examples of the jilted girl and flirtatious guy — as stereotypes, even.

    Then, I read: “Jessica, A Free Spirit” and “Mark: Her Heart.” Was Mark (Reese) really her soul mate? If so, their opening pas-de-deux seemed a little too light-hearted, so to speak, slightly too playful to have transformed into a Jamie and Aurelia kind of love. I could maybe see Jessica jumping in a lake to save the opening chapters of Mark’s first novel, but I definitely can’t see Mark marching into her family restaurant or, you know, reciting Portuguese phrases on escalators. The third team, Steven Rotramel DRA ’15 and Rob Chikar ’14, had mastered the art of pantomime. Just as they may normally inflect certain lines of dialogue with more emphasis, then shift pianissimo, then scream, so they triumphed by illuminating the stage with emotional force, their bodies the only instruments they needed. Rotramel stood downstage, gazing up with an expression of immeasurable satisfaction and awe. It was, simply put, beautiful.

    Of course, as some love stories do, the “never saw true beauty ‘till this night” uplift ultimately unraveled and singed. Remember in the most recent film adaptation of Les Miserables when some criticized Russell Crowe’s untrained voice? I thought his rawness even more emotionally charged than some of the “trained” voices of his comrades. Rotramel touched me in a similar way, though he clearly does have some dance background. As the couples’ pieces intertwined, he remained in the moment. Discovering later that he portrayed “Ryan, A Prostitute” opposite “Braden, His Hope” added another dimension to the story — but, as before, the power of their amorous arc glimmered through even in the absence of that information.

    “Bound to Burn,” with all of the inevitability embedded in its title, does not culminate in a coming-together of all its characters, or in a sweet kiss in an airport waiting room. It’s just not that kind of show. Its tale of love ends with more ambiguity, more tears, some home and redemption and in the end, maybe more gulps of reality.

  5. Ravioli Romance

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    Walking onto the patio of L’Orcio, a contemporary Italian restaurant on State Street, I felt as though I had been transported into a romantic fantasy world. A few blocks away from Yale’s familiar campus, the restaurant is an ideal place to go when you want some privacy. It is superb as a date spot: there are plenty of sparkling lights to set the mood; the portions are big enough to share; the cocktail menu boasts all sorts of aphrodisiacs for the over-21 set. And I know the full romance this place holds first hand.

    No, unfortunately for me, I did not figure out a way for the YDN to pay for a hot date. Rather, I got to witness one. That is right, I went to L’Orcio with one of Yale’s sexiest couples — Maia Eliscovich ’16 and Rohan Misra ’16 — to scope out just how intimate this charming bistro could be, and on that front, it did not disappoint.

    Beyond the romance and intrigue the restaurant provides, L’Orcio did not entice me to return — either by the 20-minute walk or $9.70 taxi — any time soon.

    When we sat down at the restaurant — which was Zagat rated for 2012-2013, so props for that — the hostess looked at us a bit more suspiciously than graciously. OK, we get it: you don’t normally have three people on date night. She did not ask us whether we would like to be inside or out, and just led us onto the patio. As previously described, the patio is gorgeous, but Maia and Rohan deserve their options, especially on a night as warm and buggy as ours was.

    The menu had a typical range of Italian classics, as well as some upscale options. The insalate choices all looked amazing, and this vegetarian really wanted to see someone eat the handmade lobster ravioli. We all started off with a “Piatto Locale,” which boasted mixed cheeses, honey and lavender-walnut bread that were all locally sourced. The presentation was not particularly noteworthy, but all three cheeses were delicious.

    Our waiter was just as mediocre as the hostess. He was far from attentive. As college students, we were younger than their normal guests, and it was clear that they were not especially keen to attract a Yale clientele. But judging by how busy the restaurant was on a Wednesday night, they do not necessarily need to.

    Maihon (Roia? couple name TBD) decided to go vegetarian so that I could share with them, and we settled on three pasta dishes for our entree — the Sorrentina, the Norma, and the Ravioli di Pesto. When Maia took her first bite of the Ravioli di Pesto she remarked, “I really like it.” Rohan found the Norma, which was Cavatelli pasta in an eggplant sauce, to be a little bland though he enjoyed the al dente texture. My Sorrentina, ricotta gnocchi in tomato sauce, was very fresh, but perhaps a little too soft.

    Overall, the food was authentic but not necessarily good enough to lure me that far from campus. For next time, I’ll maybe try to find my own date. Yorkside, anyone?

  6. The (Final) Blindest Date

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    Our final Blindest Date was a pizza extravaganza! Our musical lovebirds, songstress Emma and guitarist Will, made their way to Kitchen Zinc this week, where they both had their first actual date (ahem, thanks YDN!). We hope you enjoy their stories. And as for our little social experiment: The Blindest Date shall return next year with a new batch of eligible, keen Yalies. Thanks for tagging along for the ride. Now get out. Catch you on the flipside, lovers!



    Though well-familiar with the walk to one of my top 3 New Haven restaurants, I wound up eight minutes early. I hid in the crook of a building, called my mom for support and at 6:28 p.m. headed inside, slipping through the velvet curtain and waltzing up to the hostess.

    “Hi there,” I said. “I’m here for a date.” She looked at me blankly.

    “It’s a blind date.”

    She kindly asked what I wanted to do. Should she take his name and call me over?

    “I don’t know his name,” I blurted. “But he has red hair. They told me he has red hair. I’m here for a contest. I can just get a table and then look for him.”

    She nodded and smiled. “Okay.” She led me to a table near the bar.

    Kitchen Zinc was made for dates. The intimate space is packed with rows of tables for two, small squares big enough for pizza and two pairs of elbows to lean on.

    I downed a pitcher of water before I saw a redhead by the door and waved. Will mentioned he knew me from “Daily Themes.” I probably looked perplexed because I didn’t recall him. My brain was preoccupied with signaling me to sit like a normal person.

    Excited to sample the menu, we ordered two pizzas to share: the prosciutto special, a personal favorite, and a new one with broccoli rabe, sausage and hot peppers.

    The conversation flowed from classes and activities to how we skied over spring break (he’s a pro, tackling Swiss mountains, while in upstate New York I tried for the first and last time), to television (he joked that he’s “bad at watching it”), to movies (we both saw only one major film last year).

    The whole time, I didn’t know where to look. I stared at his face. When I felt that was awkward, I glanced away, only to repeat the cycle.

    I felt relieved to learn I wasn’t the only one who had never been on a blind date, or for that matter a real date where you sit across the table from someone and that table isn’t in a dining hall. We agreed that we were doing pretty well. I asked who was his “Daily Themes” tutor and was baffled to learn we had the same one.

    Will and I had much in common, including the fact that we both had rehearsals to get to. Suddenly it was almost 8 p.m. — you know the conversation is going well when neither person pulls out a phone for almost two hours. We walked back and parted ways at WLH.

    Halfway through rehearsal, when I had finally come down from my jittery high, it struck me. Not only was he in my class and shared a tutor, but we had once been in the same four-person critique group. I had read and discussed five of his pieces, among them a particularly enjoyable “Jabberwocky”-esque theme about the fictitious fishlike groolaï.

    I’m so clueless that I failed to see my blind date wasn’t even blind.



    What do you call a blind date that isn’t totally blind? A myopic date! Har har! I refrained from making this really terrible joke during my date with Emma, though it crossed my mind when I arrived at Kitchen Zinc and realized that I kinda sorta knew her already: We are both in “Daily Themes,” and we have the same writing tutor (hi, Donald Brown!).

    The next few minutes after I sat down were like some great purging of all of the nervous laughter I thought would plague me the whole night. We laughed about: the ridiculousness of the whole blind date situation, the nice YDN photographer who took 100 shots from various angles while we awkwardly posed, and telling our waiter that we needed more time to look at the menu because we had just been paparazzi’d.

    After the stifled laughs left us, we settled into a great, relaxed conversation. Over the course of our lovely dinner, we learned that we actually had quite a bit in common. Our dialogue flowed naturally as we traded shared facts about ourselves, like this dinner being our first “real” date ever, our passion for music, our uncertainty about how Credit/D/Fail really works and the hefty commitment of our extracurriculars: She a member of an a cappella group, I a member of an improv group.

    Also, we are both 20, and thus were unable to partake in some of the delicious-sounding beer with which the waiter taunted us. Boo. What we did order more than made up for it: one red pizza (sausage + broccoli rabe + spicy peppers = woo!) and one white pizza (prosciutto + pine nuts + balsamic glaze = sweet!), both delicious. We realized we still had some more money in our budget, so we considered a dessert. However, we both had rehearsal for our respective groups at 8 p.m., and time was running out. A nice compromise: We ordered a dessert pizza (thin crust + mascarpone cheese + pears = love!) to go. We left Kitchen Zinc after 8 p.m., already late but not caring. With personal pizza boxes in hand containing our evenly split dessert, we walked together to our shared rehearsal location, WLH, and parted ways with a hug. I did it! My first blind date! I didn’t make awful jokes, but I did make a new friend!

  7. THE BLINDEST DATE: Recaps #2

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    Our two lovely winners tell us all about their first encounter. We see lots of <3’s in their future!



    As we arrived at Thali Too, she seemed slightly disappointed that it was a vegetarian restaurant since she is a self-proclaimed carnivore. So she asked our waiter for suggestions and we ended up with two great curries, a beer for her (in celebration of a hugely successful day at her lab) and a mango lassi for me.

    After Allie (the Yale Daily News photographer) came by to be our paparazzi, we got to talking about our lives on campus — our gripes with balancing a science major with extracurriculars, and our hometowns, which really couldn’t be more different. She’s a California girl who can’t stand a cloudy day, and I’m a hearty New Englander partial to the four seasons.

    The conversation carried on easily; we ended up talking about our respective summers abroad in Europe, and our shared interest in history of science. She even asked my opinion on the Darwin-Wallace debate (swoon!). Towards the end of the meal, she tentatively asked if I was interested in dessert, to which I answered with a resounding “of course!” since I have never in my life turned down an opportunity to indulge my sweet tooth.

    We didn’t want to stop chatting after we were done with the meal and the restaurant had already emptied, so we con- tinued at her apartment right around the corner. We discussed feminism, queer politics, our experiences in Catholic families (things that are completely out of line on a first date, I hear), but she was such an easy conversationalist and had such interesting opinions that it seemed to work quite well.

    Before (what seemed like) very long, I looked at my watch and realized that it was 11 p.m. and I hadn’t touched my homework yet, so after a quick exchange of numbers and a promise of raspberry margaritas, I headed back to Timothy Dwight.



    It was a cold Monday night. One in which I had been trapped in a lab for several hours, and so I was not looking forward to the chilly walk back to my apartment. When I looked up at the clock after running my last experiment, I realized that I was already late.

    On the way over, I realized that it was probably not my dread of the cold so much as my fear of meeting someone completely new that caused this tardiness. Would we have stuff to talk about, or would dinner be filled with awkward pauses followed by the general questions ingrained into every Yalie’s social arsenal since freshman year? After quickly showering, I ran off to find out.

    When I arrived, a few minutes late, Kristen was standing outside, under the shadow of the Apple store. We introduced ourselves briefly, and she held the door to Thali Too open for me as we went inside. The waiter showed us to our table, and we tried to decide what to order. Neither of us had been to Thali Too before, so we decided to get recommendations from the waiter, both of which turned out to be delicious.

    As the night went on, we talked about various topics, from Darwin to how Celine Cuevas ’15, a mutual friend, is an unbelievably productive person. We finished up with dessert and then walked down Broadway.

    When we stopped in front of my apartment, Kristen had just been in the middle of what seemed to be a long story, so I invited her up because of the freezing cold. There, we talked for a few more hours until she finally decided it was time for her to head home and start work. She asked for my number, and then I showed her out. I thought about walking her home, but figured the walk would give her time to decompress from our long night. She told me she’d call me; I told her that I had a great time and that I would be down to hang out again.

  8. THE BLINDEST DATE: Dating Poll #3

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    Here we go — the last hoorah, the final frontier: The Heterosexual Scene! The straighties flooded — FLOODED — our email inboxes with requests and profiles, clamoring to earn a coveted spot in our dating game.

    Read through these profiles and vote for your favorite bachelor and your favorite bachelorette. The two winners will be paired up and sent on a blind date! Share this poll with EVERYONE YOU KNOW. We know you want to. PLUS: Read all about our second Blindest Date winners’ vegetarian adventure.


    The Guys

    Bachelor #1

    Major: Applied mathematics

    Interests: Basketball, singing, video games, track and field.

    Random fact: I try to appear really bad ass, but I’m really just an awkward hopeless romantic.

    Looking for: A lady who has good manners, who is easy to talk to, who has passion for what she does.

    Bachelor #2

    Major: American Studies

    Interests: Other people’s passions.

    Random fact: I was bullied in middle school.

    Looking for: Eye contact, spunky, self-deprecating.

    Bachelor #3

    Major: Economics

    Interests: Huntin’ bucks and drivin’ trucks.

    Random fact: I’ve never actually shot a buck, but I do have a truck.

    Looking for: Someone to cruise the dirt roads with me.

    Bachelor #4

    Major: Writing concentrator doing a poetry thesis.

    Interests: Fresh water aquariums, poetry, Freud, certain particular mothers. The television show TUGS.

    Random fact: Two — Harold Bloom called me “The Gloomy Thersites of [my] generation.” My therapist said I could be a professional amends writer.

    Looking for: Courage.

    Bachelor #5

    Major: Sociology and Environmental Studies

    Interests: Having a good time, music, cooking, dancing and making people laugh.

    Random fact: I used to dance on old-school 4-wheeled skates.

    Looking for: A chill girl who is easygoing and willing to try new things.

    Bachelor #6

    Major: Biomedical Engineering

    Interests: Hip-hop and soul, long boarding, hiking, football, and just hanging out with friends.

    Random fact: I’m trilingual and my name rhymes with a famous landmark.

    Looking for: Someone who finds joy in the little things. Someone calm and collected. Someone who likes to go out and have fun.

    Bachelor #7

    Major: Mechanical Engineering

    Interests: Raging, traveling (especially abroad), the outdoors, volleyball, flute, social entrepreneurship, global health, raging.

    Random fact: Half Cambodian, half Latvian/Russian.

    Looking for: Adventurous, solid sense of humor, athletic, easygoing, confident, fun.

    Bachelor #8

    Major: Sociology

    Interests: Break dancing, writing music, watching and talking about movies.

    Random fact: A long, long time ago, I was rocking a jew-fro.

    Looking for: A girl who’s got some sass in her and knows how to use it.

    Bachelor #9

    Major: History and Philosophy

    Interests: I love backpacking, rock climbing, and whitewater kayaking. I have a love for music (I play the bass guitar with a bunch of different guys around campus), international relations, normative ethics, animal rights, soccer, the Green Bay Packers and collies.

    Random fact:  I have a twin brother at the University of Florida

    Looking for: A cute girl who is willing to have some fun, who is funny and who is outgoing.

    Bachelor #10

    Major: Physics

    Interests: Pottery, metalworking, running, rock climbing, reading Russian literature.

    Random fact:  I once went into zero gravity!

    Looking for: I would love someone who is interested in doing things outside, like hiking in the woods, playing frisbee, or laying on the grass (at least when it is warmer).

    Bachelor #11

    Major: Music

    Interests: Songwriting, “Arrested Development,” improv comedy, Carly Rae Jepsen, sushi.

    Random fact:  I once won a pie-eating contest. It was blueberry.

    Looking for: A genuine connection during conversation, even if we’re talking about the weather.

    The Gals

    Bachelorette #1

    Bachelorette #2

    Major: Molecular, cellular and developmental biology

    Interests: Dancing, Google Docs, dogs, smoothies, the fact that mike from “Homeland” is Shane Omen from “Mean Girls.” And smiling’s my favorite!

    Random fact: In kindergarten, my career goal was to work at Subway because I thought latex gloves were awesome.

    Looking for: A guy who’s sweet, funny, really passionate about something, and just has that boom badoom boom boom badoom boom bass.

    Bachelorette #3

    Major: Anthropology. Otherwise known as “academic people watching.”

    Interests: Making music, YouTube videos, cooking sumptuous feasts for friends, mental health, interior & graphic design, whiskey & ginger, cats & dogs, my family, and the trajectory of Lykke Li, Robyn, and other Swedish pop stars’ careers within the American pop landscape.

    Random fact: I have three tattoos, only two of which you can see with the *naked* eye!

    Looking for: Somebody with a lot of love to give, a lot of knowledge to share, and enough time to enjoy a good adventure each week.

    Bachelorette #4

    Major: Anthropology (#anthro4ever — ask me about my main man Clifford Geertz!)

    Interests: Wine tasting, late-night Hemingway, border crossings, all things fur, vodka martinis (straight- up), post-modern feminism, and the 3 “R”s: red lipstick, Rudy’s and rowers.

    Random fact: I won my county’s spelling bee championship. Twice.

    Looking for: I like quirk, a healthy sense of adventure, and abs. Ideally he can talk about Tolstoy, fix things when they break and ski. Foreign accents a plus. Nice Jewish boys finish first.

    Bachelorette #5

    Major: Global Affairs and Ethnicity, Race & Migration

    Interests: Dancing on elevated surfaces, traveling to countries that most people deem “dangerous,” talking to random people on the street without getting jumped.

    Random fact: Dave Matthews once asked me to hop into a hot tub of German chocolate cake with him.

    Looking for: Someone who is witty and doesn’t take himself too seriously; someone who is worldly yet overall has interests different from mine such that I can learn from him. He also would preferably be over 5’11” but that is negotiable.

    Bachelorette #6

    Major: Mafia Studies (lots of real-world business experience, but a suspiciously low graduation rate …)

    Interests: Bicycles, burritos, beer and bubble baths.

    Random fact: I sat next to Jay-Z at the Miami airport and got so nervous that when I said hello, I called him “Mr. Jay-Z.”

    Looking for: The fashion sense of Dean Marichal Gentry, the gravitas of Ronnell Higgins, the mustache of Peter Salovey and the money of Richard Levin.

    Bachelorette #7

    Major: Psychology

    Interests: Crossword puzzles, long walks, yoga and Joan Didion.

    Random fact: I’ve never spent more than $15 on a haircut.

    Looking for: Someone who is unpretentious and honest, and likes wine.

    Bachelorette #8

    Major: History (?)

    Interests: Everything and yet nothing. More specifically, jug band music, Anselm Kiefer, hockey, G&T, sleeping on couches, hiking, hedgehogs, George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”, Catch-22s, the environment, skinny-dipping.

    Random fact: The other morning I cried over how beautiful whale sharks are.

    Looking for: Dark hair, cynicism, glasses, knowledge of obscure Eastern European historical figures, cynicism, interesting/cute birthmark, cynicism, desire to move to New Mexico and start an arts commune. Must like 4 a.m. strolls through New Haven.

    Bachelorette #9

    Major: Political Science (Environmental politics)

    Interests: Singing and wine and humor.

    Random fact: A man once pulled up his pant leg to show me a tattoo of himself as a pinup girl.

    Looking for: Someone who makes me want to be a better person.

    Bachelorette #10

    Major: Economics

    Interests: Sporcle, Scrabble, playground swings, The Beatles, the NHL, all kinds of cheeses, Eskimo kisses and overweight animals.

    Random fact: I dyed part of my hair purple as a reward for getting a summer job! But nobody can see it! 🙁

    Looking for: Someone who is goofy, hunky and kind, and smells nice. He’d stop tickling me when I say so and understand when I take the whole blanket. he isn’t too cool to hold my hand or my pet hamster.

    Bachelorette #11

    Major: Political Science

    Interests: Kitties, film scores, warm cookies, dazzling summer mornings.

    Random fact: I was in a commercial for Lil’ Miss Mermaid bath toys when I was six.

    Looking for: A wicked sense of humor, a kind smile, the body of Michelangelo’s David … someone who will be the king I know he is (the king I see inside).


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    Just two Southern boys, living in a lonely world, taking the 6 p.m. train going to Prime 16. Our first date of the season, despite Mother Nature’s

    weepy disposition, seems to have given our two strapping young winners a nice respite from the Midterm Madness. You can read all about their experience here, but our guess is, they are being a little coy. They are Calhoun neighbors, after all, and there is no saying what will happen behind closed doors. Who needs Grindr when you have WEEKEND?



    I mean, let’s be frank. I give pretty terrible first date. So last week, when I got that fateful message from matchmaker Jordi — “YOU WON THE BLINDEST DATE,” his email gently informed me — I wasn’t so much excited as I was apprehensive. Still, on Tuesday, after a few minutes of quiet reflection in front of one of my more forgiving mirrors, I put on an unobjectionable oxford shirt and my best cardigan, and then I braved the cold, wet walk to the restaurant.

    I got to Prime 16 a little early. Matthew walked in a few minutes later, sporting an easy smile and a comically large umbrella. He said something nebulously charming about the weather. I giggled. The chemistry — and, thus, sexual tension — was unbearably palpable.

    The Yale Daily News had promised that a photographer would come take a picture of us at the beginning of the date, but said photographer never materialized. So after a few minutes, we got ourselves a table. I busied myself with the not-so-inconsequential task of somehow spending $40 at Prime 16.

    I should note that Matthew, Southern gentleman that he is, ordered an iced tea.

    We finally got to talking about our lives. I found out that Matthew lived in Belgium for eight years and that he was taking a trip to Budapest this weekend. (It was quickly established that I knew nothing about Budapest.) I also discovered that he played the double bass; I used to play cello! We jointly reminisced about our respective upright stringed instruments. There was so much goddamn chemistry.

    In an unfortunate incident, he asked me what I planned to do after graduation and I reacted pretty violently. A momentary lapse.

    We left the restaurant and walked back to Calhoun, our college. I bid him farewell and rushed off to my section. All in all, not disastrous. That’s about as good as it gets for me.



    I was going to be pretty early for our date, so I decided to take what any Hounie would call the “long way” to Prime 16: an extra block down College, a leisurely stroll on Crown and then a swift left turn onto Temple. It’s a good thing that I had borrowed my suitemate’s extra-large umbrella for the occasion; on this night New England showered me with rain of a long-forgotten vigor.

    Finally, while approaching the restaurant, I sidestepped a massive puddle and brought my gaze back up just in time to see a slender figure appear out of the shadows ahead of me. After the initial awkward introductions (“Hi, so I’m Matthew”), Isaac led us to a table and nabbed the coveted booth seat. He talked about his experience as a transfer student at Yale, his work with the Yale Daily News, and “30 Rock”’s final season.

    We talked about our mutual friends, our shared major and what a coincidence it was that we both live in Calhoun (Glory to the Mother Houn!). Armed with many stories from my childhood spent abroad and prepared to talk about an upcoming trip to Budapest, I valiantly waged war on awkward silence. Among several LOLs in our conversation, there were also some lulls. So, I launched into a tedious ramble based on what little I know about Hungary, expressing my anticipation for the great goulash I will eat this weekend.

    It was only when our food arrived that I remembered how intimidatingly massive the burgers are at Prime 16. While Isaac neatly polished off his moderately sized beef fare, I struggled with the ginormous slab of chicken sandwich that lay in front of me, first taking a measured approach with the help of my good friends Fork and Knife before diving in elbow-deep for the soppy finale.

    Isaac had another engagement at 7 p.m., so after settling the check we grabbed our things from the coatroom and headed out. I clumsily fiddled with my suitemate’s umbrella, trying to hold it steady as we walked home to Calhoun. I thought myself lucky that the wind didn’t take me up and away, Mary Poppins style. Somewhere near the corner of College and Chapel, I awkwardly realized that Isaac would probably appreciate the shelter of my umbrella.

    Eight years in Brussels were sufficient to condition me to always “go Dutch,” but Isaac, like a true Southern gentleman, insisted on footing the bill. Isaac was kind, sweet, and funny; I enjoyed getting to know him better. A door from his common room opens into my stairwell, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing him around!

  10. THE BLINDEST DATE: Dating Poll #2

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    Read through the profiles of these 10 lovely bachelorettes and vote for your favorite one. The top two vote-earners will be paired up and then sent on a blind date! Results will be announced on Monday. Share this poll on every social media platform you own — be that person. After all, you’re pulling the puppet strings here, baby. Enjoy! PLUS: Read all about our first Blindest Date winners’ spicy rendezvous.


    Bachelorette #1

    Major: Molecular, cellular and developmental biology (probably)

    Interests: Theater, music, coffee, the Sun; when the Blue Line bus comes in time for me not to have to walk up Science Hill.

    Random fact: I thought snow was a figment of the northerners’ imaginations until I came to Yale.

    Looking for: “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” I like the former.

    Bachelorette #2

    Major: Women’s, gender and sexuality studies

    Interests: Indie pop, decorative arts, thrifting, cooking, friendly conversation.

    Random fact: I’m really talented at nail art.

    Looking for: Someone whimsical (and a little punny) who can turn anything into a dance party.

    Bachelorette #3

    Major: Drinking wine.

    Interests: Kindness and witty banter.

    Random fact: I love rhythm.

    Looking for: A sweetheart.

    Bachelorette #4

    Major: Molecular, cellular and developmental biology

    Interests: Reading and roller coasters (not at the same time usually).

    Random fact: I can do a one-handed cartwheel.

    Looking for: Someone relaxed, fun and cuddly.

    Bachelorette #5

    Major: Computer science (and maybe Psych? Linguistics?)

    Interests: Art, music, writing, learning, general geekery, Lord of the Rings, open-mindedness, tea and good food.

    Random fact: I’m asexual! (ish)

    Looking for: Actually, I’m just looking for a new friend, someone who likes hugs and/or cuddling, with whom I’d enjoy low-key hanging out — talking, procrastinating, playing games. In a partner, add: romantic, 5’7” +/- 4 inches, a tendency towards non-feminine expression.

    Bachelorette #6

    Major: Ecology and evolutionary biology

    Interests: Bugs, feminism, trashy pop music, Jane Goodall, Twitter, Fall Out Boy’s return from hiatus.

    Random fact: I had pizza with Richard Dawkins last summer.

    Looking for: Someone talkative, laid-back and nonjudgemental, especially regarding my horrible taste in music.

    Bachelorette #7

    Major: Chemical Engineering

    Interests: “How I Met Your Mother,” long and (debatably) productive Gchats, sports, warm weather, 90s jam sessions (clearly the best decade), cooking/baking.

    Random fact: Even though she didn’t donate to the non-profit I was working for, Linda Hamilton from “The Terminator” made me a fruit smoothie to make up for it.

    Looking for: Someone that’s not afraid to be silly, and more importantly, have dance party study breaks during the wee hours of the morning.

  11. When pussycats and bow-wows pout

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    “Haven’t you ever seen a ding-a-ling?”

    Waiting for the coveted monkey bars, I stared doe-eyed at my fifth-grade suitor. No, I hadn’t (turns out, it’s not a delicious Hostess product.) At age 11, amidst the cesspool of public school recess, I was introduced to the racy concept of sexual innuendo.

    That idea is all too present in the Yale Cabaret’s latest production, “Ermyntrude and Esmeralda,” adapted and directed by Hunter Kaczorowski DRA ’14. But don’t be fooled by the title’s Elizabethan echoes. More fitting, I think, is the play’s self-styled moniker: “naughty puppet show.”

    The titular characters converse through a series of monologues, as they share their written correspondences with the audience. The conversation is aggressively relatable, a Victorian display of “Dawson’s Creek” soapiness. Esmeralda (Ceci Fernandez DRA ’14) gossips with insatiable adolescent energy about potential husbands. Ermyntrude (Sophie von Haselberg DRA ’14) dishes about her star-crossed-lover attraction to Henry, the dashing footman.

    The two pen pals stumble to crack the code of silence surrounding S-E-X. With endearing naiveté, the two form their own sexual vernacular. Ermyntrude relates how her “pussycat” purrs for Henry. Esmeralda, eyes wide and mouth agape, wonders about the inner workings of each man’s “bow-wow.”

    The stage, small and simple, mirrors the organic nature of the show’s dialogue. Esmeralda and Ermyntrude each sit at a desk, writing from their respective households, sometimes standing to gaze out at the audience. It’s as if we’re eavesdropping on a split-screen phone conversation, and the characters’ physical closeness on stage fits the intimacy of their relationship.

    Shadow puppets periodically emerge in the background, with black figures dancing about in eight scattered picture frames. These scenes have a medieval simplicity to them, serving as natural complements to the dialogue.

    With each appearance of shadow-pussycats and shadow-bow-wows, the sexual tension heightens, as when one cat silhouette spawns out of the lap of Ermyntrude’s puppet self. The puppetry adds an extra layer of nuance and insight into the character’s imaginations, directed with a precise amount of humor and economy.

    It’s easy to attribute the show’s sexiness to its understatement. The staging and the wardrobe, so British in its formality, successfully underlines the forbidden nature of the dialogue.

    “Ermyntrude and Esmeralda” entertains with witty wordplay and well-delivered innuendo, but it is more than mere ramblings à la “Sex and the City.” Read the script literally and the show dips into the prosaic pot of romantic conundrums — is love compatible with marriage? Why should it matter who we love.

    Occasionally the characters slump into this predictability, though usually only for a line or two (as when Esmeralda vacuously asks, in contemplating her romantic life, “Have I finally discovered what I’m looking for?”). But at times, the play hints at larger societal issues, as the girls unwittingly question contemporary moral conventions about love through their innocence and idealism. When Esmeralda discovers two men in the act of lovemaking, she fails to understand her father’s repulsion toward this socially unacceptable behavior.

    The narrative format compensates for any tiredness in the show’s message. The production is billed as a “Come Celebrate Valentine’s Day” affair, a day that thrives on the imitation of Baz Luhrmann-worthy flamboyance. It’s a holiday — and I say this with the least cynicism possible — of pomp over substance. “Ermyntrude and Esmeralda” succeeds in resisting that empty flashiness. Of course, our inquisitive heroines sacrifice no sense of theatricality in the process (Fernandez sometimes edges perilously close to melodrama in her imitation of teenage wonder). At its heart, the production challenges the gratuitous explicitness of modern expressions of romance.

    In each sexual suggestion, in every shadow puppet scene, the show typifies the characters’ emotional curiosities in the most comedic way. Even as Esmeralda and Ermyntrude edge toward their prescribed fates, they still desperately want to understand the simplest concepts regarding sex. The Cabaret’s adaptation does not oversimplify this plot, but instead provides a masterful representation of the dilemmas weighing on the protagonists’ shoulders. The answers to their questions, it seems, are as hazy as the shadows projected on the stage.