Hanukkah is on the horizon, and whether you’ll be spending it with loved ones or the one you love, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you learned this year and how to take those lessons of the heart with you into 2013. I’ve shared plenty of my own tales and advice, so this time around, I did some market research and came up with eight appropriate wine pairings.
Lesson 1: Love is unexpected. Be open–minded.
This truism came in all shapes and sizes, much like love itself. Someone even rolled out the box of chocolates simile. I can vouch for this one myself. Sure, we all think we have that “one” who is all of these things we love to love. And yet, who hasn’t been surprised to wake up next to a face we might not have picked out in a crowd? WINE: Antinori Orvieto Campogrande, 2010. It retails for $12. No judgment! Try it and get back to me.
Lesson 2: Love is a battlefield.
For some, love and relationships were likened to warfare. As Pat Benatar wailed at me from my laptop, I couldn’t help but agree. There will be sacrifices, strife and surrender. Sometimes there will be casualties, and while the goal is to win, we all know that what really counts is survival. WINE: Fay Rosso di Valtellina 2009. At 90% young Nebbiolo this wine is still tightly wound but the flavor is worth the fight.
Lesson 3: Nobody’s perfect. Not even You.
I had a little problem with this one, but it could be argued that egocentrism isn’t one of my strong suits. Several people reported back that their partners had some faults. The perfect man or woman is a fantasy, what’s beautiful is learning to see beauty where you didn’t before, and forgiving little things that don’t matter in the long run. It’s not about settling by any means (see Lesson #7) so much as it is re-prioritizing. Affection, intelligence, respect, and capacity to clean out the sink drain probably don’t deserve equal importance. And if you yourself were perfect, you probably wouldn’t be single. WINE: Saracco Moscato d’Asti, 2010. Light, effervescent and pleasantly sweet. Some people don’t take it seriously. Try it with creamy white cheese. Seriously.
Just because you’re using a dating site doesn’t mean you believe in them. I’ve tried at least five different ones, and I still feel twinges of cynicism every once in a while. Some say skeptical hearts can’t be broken, but skeptical hearts rarely take the plunge to begin with. I’ve met a number of successful “iCouples” this year, including a pair that recently moved in together. And remember, the cyber love jungle is vast and uncharted. I just got word that Twitter is a great place to pick up lesbian rabbinical students for example! WINE: Sign up for Garagiste, a brilliant, online-only wine club.
Lesson 5: Trust yourself.
When trouble strikes we tend to rally the troops to rant, analyze and strategize. Assess the situation and consider the advice of your confidants. Only they can see you from an outside perspective. If anything, use their observations to be a better version of the true you. Ultimately your own instincts must prevail. Your mother, sister, best friend and neighbor are not in this relationship. You are, and the real you is going to come out sooner or later. WINE: Zenato Amarone Classico, 2007. There’s a lot going on in this rich, complex red. Meditate on it.
Lesson 6: Be the person you want to be with.
Someone asked me this year: Would you want to be in a relationship with you? Would you feel safe with you? Would you just want to sleep with you? Sure, you’re great, but are your expectations honest and fair? WINE: Take one day off. Drink water. Make to-do lists. Do something to improve upon yourself.
Lesson 7: Don’t settle.
Apparently if you’re looking for marriage, you might need to lower your standards. I couldn’t disagree more! Even best friends and lovers will let you down at some point along the way. Why start a relationship that way? Hold out for someone you’re truly excited about. You’re far less likely to wake up resentful one day. WINE: Champagne. Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2003. It’s bold, rich and satiny smooth. You deserve it.
Lesson 8: Take the plunge.
Fear is for suckers. They don’t call it “falling” for nothing. Heartbreak after heartbreak, I still believe in taking risks and letting yourself feel. Make a vow to go out more often, say yes more often and smile at strangers. The love of your life might be sitting next to you on the train, but until you polish your perspective and take a chance, you might never see it. WINE: Paumonak Sauvingnon Blanc. 2010. One of the best I’ve ever had. And to think, it was right here on Long Island all along.