Tao Okamoto and Boyfriend Tenzin Wild in Banana Republic’s New Campaign

 

If you don’t already know Tao Okamoto, the Japanese model and actress, now is the time. Okamato, along with her boyfriend Tenzin Wild, will be featured in “The New Look of Banana Republic” campaign, under the direction of newly appointed creative director and EVP of design, Korean American Marissa Webb.

The campaign, which has just been released, features “effortless cool, blending easy-wearing pieces and textures” according to Wall Street Journal. Webb also told WSJ in an interview, “It’s been exciting for me to work with the fall collection and push the fashion component even further through styling. I’m excited to share what we’ve been working on and the direction we are headed.”

Okamoto has walked for just about every major designer in the industry including Alexander Wang, Chanel, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and many more. She is also no stranger to fashion campaigns, once the face of Ralph Lauren and appearing in ads for Dolce & Gabbana and Kenzo. She’s also been featured in fashion spreads for international editions of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

Together with boyfriend Tenzin Wild, the EIC and co-founder of The Last Magazine, the two make a very stunning and stylish power couple, whom we all very much envy.

Here are some of their best looks together:

 

"Tao Okamoto 15" Exhibition Opening

 

 

Viktor & Rolf : Arrivals - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear  Spring/Summer 2014

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The couple pictured here with French model Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse

 

 

Asia Street Style: Let Your Clothes Do The Talking With NOVELTY TOPS

 

Novelty tops continue to be a favorite during the warmer months on Asian street style blogs. I’ve seen everything from childhood favorites like Mickey Mouse to pop art explosions, but ultimately I like reading the cool, edgy phrases that turn up on shirts.  Sometimes people prefer to let their clothes do the talking, and it’s quite fun to browse through a variety of designs and typography. It does appear that simple sans-serif fonts printed against plain backgrounds are favored this season, mimicking the style of quote posts we see all over social media platforms.

Despite what Alexander Wang’s spring/summer 2014 collection would suggest, message tees aren’t a new trend; in fact they’ve been around for decades (Frankie Says Relax, anyone?), but they are constantly being reinvented as mainstream pop and political culture is ever-changing.

Check out some of the novelty tops that caught my eye.

 


 

Sporting a message that can be interpreted in multiple ways will keep people thinking.

 

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Photo Above Courtesy of studiolumiere1.tumblr.com

 

Start the day off by sharing some positive notes.

 

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Photo Courtesy of iamalexfinch.net

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Photo Courtesy of seoul-style.tumblr.com

You, me, Oui!  A play on words and sounds can be fun expressions.

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Photo courtesy of instagram.com/sanddi_lee

Want to add some written expressions into your style rotation? Check out these three contemporary designer finds.

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Flam Boy Ant Box Fit Short Sleeve Tee by Zoe Karssen Available at: www.zoekarssenshop.com for $81.

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Happy Bowery Tee by Textile Elizabeth And James Available at: www.shopbop.com for $92.

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Super Loved Muscle Tee by Current/Elliott Available at: www.neimanmarcus.com for $108.

 

— STORY BY MIN A. LEE

Feature image courtesy of stalman.com.

 

What It’s Like To Be an Asian American Living in Paris

 

Founder of the Asian American empowerment writing program Glamourbaby Diaries, Ruby Veridiano is fulfilling a dream as a fashion student living in the City of Lights. Here, she tells us what it’s like to be an Asian American living in Paris. 

I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I’d ever have the opportunity to live in France. As the child of Filipino immigrants raised in a modest California town, I came from humble beginnings. Though I’d dreamed of living in Paris for many years, it seemed only a distant fantasy. Yet, as life has proven, no dream is too good to come true.

Over the past decade, I had invested my life in the nonprofit sector as an artist educator and girls’ empowerment champion. Through it all, I had never forgotten my first love: fashion. Last September, I serendipitously found a program at the American University of Paris that would allow me to merge my passion for social good with my love for fashion through a degree specializing in corporate social responsibility in the fashion and luxury industries. A few weeks later, I was accepted, and my whirlwind journey to France began. By January, I had officially become a fashion student and a formal resident of Paris. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

When I first arrived in Paris, I was awed by the romance and elegance of the city. Everything from the architecture to the food to the fashion was created in the spirit of exquisite beauty. In fact, all I saw during my first hour on the streets of Paris were well-tailored suits, plush furs and a sea of red-soled high heels in proper homage to Christian Louboutin. Having Paris as a classroom is pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to a fashion student.

 

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As I soon learned, the French art de vivre makes Americans seem like workaholic maniacs. French culture celebrates the ability to enjoy life, and that includes ensuring that work won’t detract from this pursuit. Dinner is enjoyed for hours to savor every taste, and meals are often gourmet heavens filled with artisanal cheeses and tastefully designed plates. And the wine! Red wines are so necessary to the French that they flow freely and endlessly.

Yet despite all the wonderful French food, a Filipina girl will always crave her rice, lumpia and, well, her community. Luckily, the biggest surprise I’ve gotten since moving here is that I can’t turn a street corner without seeing a Filipino person or hearing Tagalog. Since the Philippines has the largest domestic workforce in the world, Filipinos are everywhere, even in Paris.

In the 17th arrondissement, you can find groups of Filipina women gathering at Parc Monceau, a popular park in the city. Many of them came to France to pursue better working conditions and work as nannies for wealthy children. When speaking with one of them, I was saddened to hear how she has had to give up raising her own child for another, but she does it to ensure that she can take care of her family back home. This is the story many overseas Filipina workers share, and I deeply honor their sacrifice and resilience.

There are also Filipina and other Asian women who have grown up in France, and admittedly, it is strange to see that, although they look a lot like me, they speak a completely different language. And since Paris attracts visitors worldwide, it’s not uncommon to come across Asians with a diverse range of accents, ranging from Australian to British. Hands down, the biggest blessing of living internationally is witnessing how diverse our diaspora truly is.

 

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As I continue living out this dream, I’ve picked up a few favorite spots along the way. Here, some of the highlights of my Paris.

Chez Francis: Conveniently situated right in front of the Pont d’Alma bridge, the outdoor seating at this café guarantees a front row view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. A little pricey, but the view is worth it.

Palais Galliera: Paris is the fashion capital of the world, so it’s only right that you attend a fashion exhibit. Palais Galliera is home to the city’s most inspiring fashion curations. A must.

Lafayette Café: While you’re in the fashion mood, stop by one of the city’s largest department stores, Galeries Lafayette. You don’t have to shop, but you have to eat at the sixth floor café, which offers the best panoramic views of Paris.

Les Arts Décoratifs: Sure, the Louvre is famous, but the smaller museum to the left of it packs a pretty powerful punch, too. Come here to check out exhibits on decorative arts and design, including the works of legendary fashion designer Dries Van Noten.

 

 

Parc Monceau: All the runners come to Parc Monceau to jog, but as a Filipina, this place is crucial. Because many Filipinas congregate here, you can often find lumpia and Filipino treats for sale.

Rue Cler Market Street: A well-known cobblestone street near the Eiffel Tower, rue Cler boasts festive outdoor cafés, fromageries (cheese storefronts), flower shops and bakeries.

Le Refuge des Fondues: Situated at the top of Montmartre, a neighborhood that gives you a taste of old Paris, this place is unlike any other fondue experience — you’re required to climb on top of tables and drink wine out of baby bottles.

Les Cocottes de Christian Constant: Christian Constant is the Wolfgang Puck of France: a master chef with signature restaurants. Les Cocottes offers cozy fine dining with friendly service (a rarity in France) and the best caramel waffle dessert ever. After dinner, walk over to Champ de Mars, the park that surrounds the Eiffel Tower. If you time it right on the hour, you can watch the Tower sparkle.

Le 114: Set on a street where young Parisians go to party, 114 (“cent quatorze” in French) is my favorite place to dance and release that grad school stress. Come in your sneakers and prepare to let go, let loose and have fun!

Find out more about the author at rubyveridiano.com. 

 

— STORY BY RUBY VERIDIANO 

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here!

Song of Style’s Aimee Song Shows You How Celebs Vacay In Ibiza

 

It seems like every high-profile celebrity scheduled a sweet vacay to Ibiza this summer (Kimye, Bieber and Lohan, to name a few), and we weren’t invited (cry). But it’s OK — as long as we can live vicariously through the plethora of Ibiza-hashtagged photos littering Instagram and E! News, we’ll manage.

One of our favorite fashion bloggers who joined in the Ibiza festivities this summer was the lovely face behind Song Of Style — Aimee Song. Pronounced “aw-mee” according to her Instagram, Aimee lived it up on the star-studded Ibiza beaches with her sister and friends, and lucky for us, the popular Korean American fashion blogger documented her trip through an endless stream of enviable photos. As summer is winding down and fall is, well, falling right around the corner, we thought it’d be nice to daydream about cocktails on the beach and adorable bikini attire with a little help from Song of Style before sweater weather sets in.


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songofstyleibiza8Photo credit: @songofstyle on Instagram and songofstyle.com

 

 

Amazing Covers by The Filharmonic, the Newest Stars of “Pitch Perfect 2″

 

Exciting news for The Filharmonic fans! The Filipino American a cappella singers, best known for being finalists on season 4 of NBC’s The Sing-Off, are the newest additions to the Pitch Perfect franchise. The boys will join actresses Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson for Pitch Perfect 2, which hits theaters on May 15, 2015.

The all-male a cappella group consists of six talented Filipino singers: vocalists VJ, Joe, Trace and Barry, vocal bass Jules and beatboxer Niko.

According to their official website, the members come from a wide variety of backgrounds in the performing arts including pop, a capella, jazz, opera, theater and classical. In addition, “they honor their Filipino heritage through incredibly nuanced musical performances that are both moving and fun to experience.”

A few months ago, we were simply raving about their breathtaking cover of John Legend’s “All of Me.” Well, the boys are back with two more covers that are, once again, breathtaking.

Check out their cover of “Rude” by Magic, featuring AJ Rafael, as well as their cover of “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.

 

Indian Rape-Themed Fashion Photo Shoot Sparks Major Controversy

 

Let the record show that here at Audrey, we have no problem with creative editorial fashion shoots that showcase photographers and designers who think outside the box. We do however, have a major issue with offensive photo shoots that depict the scenes of a real-life gang rape incident that occurred in New Delhi, India, in 2012, where a 23-year-old woman was brutally raped, tortured and murdered on board a bus home.

This pretty much goes without saying, but it’s just an incredibly insensitive idea to have a rape-themed photo shoot in a country where 93 women are raped every single day. In fact, rape happens so frequently there that Indian women have created anti-rape clothing to protect themselves. Clearly, this is still very much an ongoing problem that has yet to be resolved.

Mumbai-based photographer Raj Shetye, the man responsible for the controversial photos series titled “The Wrong Turn,” claims that the photo shoot was not an act of glamorizing the “Nirbhaya” case  (Hindi word for “fearless,” a nickname given to the 23-year-old victim to protect her identity), but rather as a way to raise awareness for the safety of women in India.

“The message I would like to give is that it doesn’t matter who the girl is,” Shetye defended himself in an interview with Buzzfeed. “It doesn’t depend on which class she belonged in — it can happen to anyone.”

 

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I don’t know if you see what I see, but those photos seem to be an exact, literal representation of glamorizing a truly horrific event.

What do you think? Are you as outraged as we are?

Photos courtesy of Refinery29.

Move Over Harajuku Girl! The Kurogyaru Is the Latest Look Out of Japan

 

Ganguro is one of Tokyo’s most distinct fashion subcultures, which started in the mid-1990s and is well known for some key characteristics: dark tans, bleached hair and dramatic white makeup. Contrary to what some might think, the style originally came about in opposition of the traditional Japanese beauty standard of fair skin, dark hair and a fairly simple makeup look. In order to rebel against this singular idea of beauty, Ganguro decided to express themselves with an extreme style so as to make their message loud and clear that there are other ways to be beautiful. Though the Ganguro look had mostly faded away by the 2000s, a succeeding subculture, Kurogyaru (literal translation: black gals), is keeping the spirit alive and Black Diamond is at the forefront spreading the fashion style all over the world. We caught up with Black Diamond recently and got the scoop directly from them.

 

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Audrey Magazine: What inspired you to form the group, Black Diamond?

Black Diamond: We are all just a bunch of girls who love the Kurogyaru style. Our current manager originally wanted to publish a special edition magazine featuring Kurogyaru fashion, so he tried to bring people together which is how we got involved. Over time, we became a group and now we have more than 150 members in Japan.

AM: Although Ganguro is a trend from the mid-’90s, what made you want to revive it and get into the Kurogyaru style?

BD: As a group, our goal is to spread the Kurogyaru style. Ganguro has completely faded out and now Kurogyaru is a newer evolution of that subculture. We noticed that there aren’t many people dressing in this way, so we want to inspire people to enjoy Kurogyaru.

AM: What is the difference between Ganguro and Kurogyaru style?

BD: Ganguro is also known for the tanned skin, but other than that, we would say the styles are completely different. Ganguro makeup tends to be like heavy and white makeup around the eyes, but Kurogyaru is a lot more colorful. We have a more modern way of doing our makeup and hair, as well as clothing style.

 

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AM: What are your thoughts on the traditional Asian beauty standard of porcelain skin?

BD: We think that there’s nothing wrong with liking pale skin. We just happen to prefer darker skin and we hope people can see the beauty in that, too.

AM: So from your perspective, what is beauty?

BD: Beauty is … flashiness? Flashy hair, flashy clothes, flashy makeup, flashy nails? [Laughs] Beauty is dark skin and flashiness.

AM: How do you accomplish your daily look? How long does it take?

BD: Well, for makeup, we do it everyday obviously. [Laughs] Our outfits depend on our moods and the weather. Like today, Harutama (the one with blue hair) and Rise (the one with pink hair) coordinated together and did their hair like the popular Japanese characters Kiki and Lala [Little Twin Stars]. It really depends on each person, but on average, it takes us about one to two hours to get ready everyday.

AM: What is a must-have Kurogyaru item?

BD: A tanning bed. [Laughs] False eyelashes? Actually if we don’t have everything, the look just isn’t right. Every item is a must-have. [Laughs]

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AM: Black Diamond not only has members in Japan but overseas as well. How has your group grown internationally?

BD: The Internet. People saw and heard about us from the Internet and many people wanted to join our group from their home countries, so we have many subgroups in different regions of Japan and also in various parts of the world.

AM: Can you tell us about your ongoing or upcoming projects?

BD: We are working on starting our own clothing line. One of our greatest motivations is that there are many foreigners who are into Kurogyaru style and they cannot easily get the clothes or the right sizes, so we want to make our line more accessible for Kurogyaru fans internationally.

Kurogyaru are also known for their “para para” style of dancing. Check it out here:

 

 

For more information on Black Diamond, you can check out their Facebook page here.
–Story and photos by Mai Nguyen.

Asian American Teen Dies From Suspected Overdose at HARD Music Festival

 

This past weekend, the Asian American community experienced a tragic loss. Nineteen-year-old Emily Tran of Anaheim, Calif., died of a suspected drug overdose while attending the summer music festival, HARD, in South El Monte, Calif.

According to a statement from the organizers of the concert, Tran began experiencing seizures. The teen was admitted into a health tent at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, and was then taken to the hospital. Sadly, Tran passed away at about 5:30 a.m. the following morning.

Although the autopsy is still pending, there are major suspicions that drugs were involved in the death. According to LA Weekly, “sheriff’s officials believed the teen had turned up positive for signs of methamphetamine and ecstasy, although the latter is an amphetamine derivative that can set off signals of meth use.”

 

 

Unfortunately, this is not the first death associated with rave-like parties. In fact, electronic dance music (EDM) festivals were shut out of the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena in 2011 after a 15-year-old, who had sneaked into the a 2010 rave, died of an ecstasy overdose. Additionally, 24-year-old Montgomery Tsang passed away recently at Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas due to, once again, ecstasy overdose.

Although security was notably more strict at this year’s HARD festival, more than 100 people were arrested and many were narcotics related.

Some have pointed out that the Asian American community has a rather large presence at these rave-like parties, but we believe this issue of drug consumption is one that not only affects Asian American youth, but American youth in general. Could these overdoses have been prevented if the deceased knew more about the drugs they were consuming? What sort of steps can we take to prevent similar outcomes?

Tell us what you think.

 

 

Monique Lhuillier Designs Wedding Gown For Her Fashion Role Model, Her Mother

 

Wedding gown guru and highly sought-after fashion designer Monique Lhuillier takes frequent trips to visit her family back in her hometown, Cebu City. But when she made the 16-hour flight this year, it wasn’t just to soak up some Philippine sun. Instead, it was for a rather special — and golden — occasion.

This year marked her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Her father Michel Lhuillier, a Vietnam-born Filipino entrepreneur of mixed French descent, and her mother Amparito Llamas, a Filipino with Spanish roots and a background in modeling, celebrated the occasion in a grand ceremony and bash at the Cebu Cathedral.

 

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(Can we just take a moment to drool over how gorgeous Amparito looked on her wedding day?)

For an event alternatively called the “Golden Anniversary,” the festivities and, of course, the attire could be nothing less than pure gold. Lhuillier took matters into her own hands to create a wedding gown that was as uniquely special as the first one her gorgeous mother wore. (The perks of having a designer in the family, am I right?)

“What I wanted to do was take elements of her original [wedding] gown, so we took it out of the box after being there for 48 years,” said Lhuillier, who said she began prepping designs for her mother’s gown around a year ago. “We found it in really great shape, and there was something so beautiful and timeless about that dress. So I had her put it on and the wonderful thing is that it still fit!”

Using the lace from the original dress, which featured a Watteau train that flowed from the shoulders down to the floor, Lhuillier designed a new gown with a slimmer silhouette and long sleeves.

“Then I did this beaded antique gold overlay covering the entire outfit to incorporate gold into this dress. I dusted beads on her shoulders, her sleeves and then it trickled down the waist and the sides of the skirt. In the back, I drizzled it all over the entire train,” explained Lhuillier. “After all, it was a golden wedding anniversary!”

 

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The beautifully redesigned wedding dress was the perfect way to pay homage to the lady Lhuillier calls her fashion inspiration.

“I grew up with a very glamorous mother. Her elegance and chic style were my earliest influences. I was naturally inclined to design specialty dresses and gowns,” Lhuillier said in a ShopBop interview in 2013. “I’ve always gravitated toward a more glamorous aesthetic. My mother is such a sophisticated, regal woman, and when I was growing up, I didn’t know anything different. I thought all women lived life that way! My sister and I loved watching her get ready and transform.”

To this day, Lhuillier loves to see her mom get dolled up for an occasion, and the Golden Anniversary was no exception. “My mother looked like a queen that night,” she gushed. (And don’t worry, her father looked equally dashing in classic black-and-white attire with a winning bow tie.)

 

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How Men REALLY Feel About Trading Bachelorhood For Married Life; Columnist Paul Nakayama Spills All

In his regular column for Audrey Magazine, published in the Summer 2014 issue, Paul Nakayama talks about dismantling the man cave and other life changes he’ll have to make as he (finally!) bids farewell to bachelorhood. 

 

In my 20s and early 30s, I did my share of dating. Mind you, I didn’t have one night stands or a monthly swap-out of girls, but rather a steady string of long-term, monogamous relationships. I was generally considered a Nice Guy, and while Nice Guys do often finish last, I met some Nice Girls who found me at the finish line. But then I debunked the myth about Nice Guys being nice, and when things got hard I ended up screwing up the relationship. Now after a few years of mostly being single, I’m hanging up my bachelor hat again. I’ve met an amazing girl who makes it seem easy — I mean not easy easy — but easy. In fact, it’ll be the first time I live with a woman other than family. And therein lies my new dilemma: as I approach 40, I’ve kinda settled into the bachelor life.

For example, I’m a writer and I tend to keep graveyard hours — less people to bother you at night and it doesn’t seem so weird to drink during work. While most of the world is sleeping, I’m sitting at my computer thinking of new ways for evil masterminds to destroy the world or, in my most ironic of gigs, doling out really bad relationship advice to all of you. For a few more months, my girl is in Japan so our hours coincide. When I go to bed around 8 a.m., it’s midnight over there. But when we start living together, I have to start functioning like a normal human being. She even says that I need to be under the sun occasionally, despite my complaints that it’d be impossible to look at my iPhone or iPad and then I’d spontaneously combust from digital withdrawal.

I’m also deprogramming my brain and eyes to not check out girls anymore at restaurants and bars. After years of conscious and subconscious honing of my babe radar, I realize I’ll need some time to shut it off. It’s certainly not a deliberate action when I leer at a girl, particularly one that is exposed to the elements, but I don’t want to risk having my girl think I have eyes for anyone but her. To counter the programming in my internal detection systems, I have started to spend a lot more time reading menus, counting ceiling/floor tiles, staring deep into my girl’s eyes without blinking and ignoring all peripheral motion. Sadly, the only thing that seems to work well is to take excessive photos of my food and drinks. And my leftovers and empty dishes even.

 

 

The biggest visible change is probably going to be the dismantling of my man cave. Over the years, I’ve collected a serious treasure trove of video games, comics, DVDs, books, CDs and geeky art prints — and I love all of it. I can’t just abandon them when I make a new friend. That would just be wrong. But spatially there’s no way for her and her supposedly essential goods, like clothes, to fit into my apartment with all of my stuff. So in trying to be a good, accommodating boyfriend, I’ve come up with an alternate plan. I’ve studied the blueprints, sketched out some ideas and will be constructing a secret man cave by tearing down a wall in the broom closet. That way I can sneak in a few minutes here and there to spend with my precious lovelies. UPDATE: I was informed by my neighbor that he doesn’t appreciate me busting a hole into his living room; he said I was encroaching on his personal space. I suppose he may have a point, but I think that’s why he doesn’t have friends.

Speaking of living together, I’m told it takes a system of compromise and sharing to make it work. I’ve heard a competing theory that it’s more about giving up all personal freedoms and just saying yes. But let’s operate off an optimistic presumption for now. That means that I probably can’t watch Game of Thrones in my underwear while swinging a sword anymore. (I’ll try subtly tossing out the idea, but I have my doubts.) It means I’ll have to give her at least half of the DVR space, which is why I’m convinced that most BitTorrents are downloaded by husbands and boyfriends and not cheapskates. Meals will now have to be more nutritious than my usual fare of beer, steak and Red Vines. I’ll now have to take my music playlists more seriously and not “experiment” with One Direction and Taylor Swift songs … or maybe include more 1D and Taylor. Or something. I don’t know what the “good” boyfriends are doing these days.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to consider in the days ahead. I’m getting all of the cautionary tales from my friends, and there are a lot of them. But somehow, I’m still really excited. I’m looking forward to having a partner in my life. You know, someone to watch movies with or have spontaneous cocktails with or share my meals with, other than my pal Netflix. Someone to bring me toilet paper instead of having to waddle into the hallway. You know, really romantic stuff that’ll change my life for the better. Thankfully, I’ve been writing these columns for Audrey for 10 years now, talking about my bachelor life, so I’ve got a whole record of how I’ve messed up with girls … and I can save all my successes for this one.

 

— STORY BY PAUL NAKAYAMA

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here.