Seeing Ryan/Man Man1 this weekend started me thinking about family, given or created. I’ve also been watching episodes of Intervention, a TV show about addiction and family. In particular I was impressed with Cristy’s family, a group of people who still love and support her (and enable her, but that’s another thing) despite her ten years in a meth psychosis. In one scene her sister brings her a plate of chicken wings and Top Ramen , because Cristy hasn’t eaten in three days. She tosses the food in the air without eating it, then has a fist fight with her sister outside. Their devotion crosses into an inability to set limits on her behavior, but on the safe side of this, I loved watching their desire to work things out, a desire that would never extend to a friend or even a romantic partner (Cristy’s parents are divorced). No one would tell you to stick with your meth-psychotic girlfriend for ten years, some of those people would beg you to help your meth-psychotic brother.

If there was a window for me to create the same family, I missed it. I have a brother, but we were born 14 years apart. I also don’t have any childhood friends because I moved so much when I was a kid. so I don’t think I ever created my own “family,” which I think might be why I still feel displaced here in New York, even though I’ve been here nearly three years. I am mostly okay with this—I do live with my boyfriend, who (along with my cat), makes a unit of some kind. I have lots of “it was good to see you” friends. But sometimes I think about wanting the sort of close sibling-like relationship that only siblings and childhood friends have. But such things take a certain amount of unselfishness, which I am willing to accept, in order to create this sense of family.

If you accept, I will provide the following services for one year. Email me with the subject line “New family member” so we can work out the details. This list is not based on reciprocation, though, to be sure, this is not open to strangers.

Level 1
*No comments about your taste in movies, books, music, food or clothing
*Attendance at (4) of your band’s shows, or book readings, gallery openings, plays, dance competitions, open-mic nights, reality show appearances, without asking to be put on the guest list
*No less than one (1) round of drinks on me, with subsequent rounds matched, if not exceeded by me at all in-person meet-ups
*Two (2) “What does it all mean?’ conversations, to include but not limited to: God, life, death, evil, happiness
*Four (4) discussions of your hopes and dreams
*Unlimited accidental callings of my cell phone from your cell phone
*Guaranteed response to text messages within 30 minutes, from 9:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
*Unlimited blog/facebook/myspace comments
*Relationship status of ‘brother’ ‘sister’ or ‘cousin’ on facebook/myspace
*Unlimited viewings of photos of your pets
*Full emotional support of new haircuts or glasses
*One (1) trip to a spa for two (2) body treatments, one of your choice, and one of my subtle recommendation
*If requested, three (3) mixtapes, one (1) with standard mixtape formatting (explosive opening track, even better second track, weird end of side A filler, unexpected cover of a song you like by a band you don’t know, unexpected cover by a band you like of a song you don’t know)
*Free moving day help
*Unlimited back-gettings including one (1) physical fight, whether you started it or not
*Unlimited showing up early to help with party preparations, and so you don’t feel like an ass standing in your empty apartment, waiting for the first few people to show up

Level 2
*Full emotional support of your dating and career decisions
*Full emotional support of your breakup / job change decisions
*If requested, two (2) honest conversations about your life where you will have to “sit and listen to what I have to say” and “not get mad.” There will be a safety word for these conversations; the safety word is “stop.”
*One (1) “you could do so much better” conversations post-break up, no sooner than (3) weeks after your breakup, or after s/he begins dating someone else, whatever comes first.
*Unlimited wingman-ship and support thereof, to a ludicrous degree
*Unlimited buzzing-offs, if it looks like you are about to “get lucky.”
*Free congratulatory brunch within two days of “getting lucky.”
*Unlimited defending of you and your work in public
*Unlimited defending of you and your work in the “blogosphere”

Level 3
*Unlimited number of 3 a.m. phone calls to discuss panic, anxiety, sleeplessness, upcoming projects, tours, openings, but not blog posts
*Full support of a drug/alcohol decline, for four months
*Full support of your sobriety /attempts to get sober, for four months, after that time I will use the safety word, which is “You’re definitely not as much fun as you used to be.”
*Two (2) talk downs during bad trips
*Bringing of food, cold medicine, and hot tea with lemon during illness (within New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, parts of New Jersey)
*Organization of your bachelor/bachelorette party
*Unlimited hospital visits
*One lung or kidney (pending approval)
*Unlimited funeral attendance, up to and including your funeral

Level 4 (after end of first year)
*Blood oath

I think that I would like to have two brothers and two sisters. I think that could also be all I have time for, given the commitment levels I am offering.


1. The first time I had to arrange an interview with Man Man, I was told to IM “Honus Honus,” and he was told to IM “me.” The first thing he IMed to me was “Be not afraid.” This is what Christ said to his disciples after his resurrection. After that, Jesus asked for something to eat; for he was starving.

I think Ryan meant this only literally, as in, “don’t block me, we are supposed to arrange an interview.” I noticed last night that he looks a lot like my dad did in 1980, when my mom made him quit smoking because I was on the way.