Dear Young Dumb Self,

Dublin. Remember?

I was in Ireland for two reasons: to present a paper at a conference, and to make out with a handsome stranger. Or at least talk to one. Or at least make eye contact with one, and then spend years ascribing gravitas to a single delicious moment.

The paper was the easy part. I was pursuing a degree that felt transparently meaningless, so I tried to give my life (and my tuition payments) purpose by applying—and very, very occasionally being accepted—to highbrow academic conferences. Once there, I’d stand trembling before a crowd of true scholars, hoping they would forgive both my armpit sweat and whatever fraudulent claim I made on their turf. In Dublin, I delivered a lazy thesis (“Something Something and the Irish Diaspora"), accepted my per diem before they could detect the fraudulence, and slipped away like a preteen shoplifter with her fist closed around a tube of watermelon lip gloss.

Once the escape was complete, and once I had somewhat curtailed the damage wrought on my hair by the Irish humidity, I focused on my second objective.   

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