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I Put a Spell on You*

Ilan is the one on the right. Visiting Auschwitz.

A little known fact about Betsy Lerner is that she rolls with a posse of young men who all worship her. To this day my hottest, youngest ex-boyfriend is always texting me, asking after Lerner. What would Betsy think of this? Will she come to my new girlfriend’s housewarming party? It’s eerie. She just connects with the young men in a way that I think eludes most of us. Or maybe it’s not just guys – she also worked her magic on me when I was a girl of 25, and she’s totally tight now with Yale’s best offering to America, the great publishing intern, Casey Blue. But my favorite of all her boys is Ilan Zechory, the young man pictured at left. He’s happily pre-engaged with a very capable girlfriend, but if I were even five years younger I’d try to show him my vulnerable side. That’s how funny and cool he is. Anyway, now we’re both just happy to be part of the Lerner Posse, and I thought ya’ll would like to hear from him about it.

Ilan, for the folks at home, how did you and Betsy meet? Betsy and I took a screenwriting workshop together at Yale. I was an undergraduate and she was the continuing education lady. During the first couple classes, every time someone said something stupid or bizarre, she’d desperately scan the room to see if anyone had noticed. I noticed, and we bonded. We quickly moved on to pre- and post-class chit chat, snack-sharing, etc.

Do you have other older-than-you woman friends or is Betsy the first? My grandma is the OG killer lunch date, but she’s a shrink, so she tells great stories. Betsy is, however, the first mature woman I can talk to about NSFMom content (nudity, violence, strong sexual content, my “art”). This has been psychologically fortifying. Betsy’s not going to like this answer at all…

I know, but I think it’s cool. She really is so down and gives the very best advice. For me, recently, we were talking about relationships and she said, “You know how everyone always says that you have to love yourself  before you can really love someone else or be loved in return? I’m here to tell you, you don’t.” She always says exactly the right think in the moment. Can you remember a piece of advice that BL gave you that was really good? With me it’s a lot of of “No no, no, it’s NOT shit” type stuff, trying to keep my self-loathing in check. I could look back through my emails and find something more aphoristic. One time she told me “Your twenties just suck…” and that I should hold out for a better decade. That’s a thought that’s sustained me pretty well for the past few years.

Your first job in NYC was with Google, right? Are you writing? What are you doing now? After college I went to L.A. to work as a writing intern for David Milch. After a while L.A. started to make my teeth bleed, so I googled “good job in new york” and ended up with a job at Google in New York. Betsy wrote me a killer recommendation letter littered with false statements. I quit that job at the height of the recession (baller!!), and now I split my time between practicing clinical hypnosis and running Rap Genius, a website that explains the meaning of rap lyrics.

See what I’m saying? Don’t you think Lerner should open a school for wayward youth?

Wonderful Commenters: Besides wanting to hear your favorite Lerner one-liner or advice, what I really wanna know is: have you ever been hypnotized? And what was it like? What does it do? Should we throw Ilan some business? Can I watch?

*Betsy Lerner is on vacation so this post was written by Erin Hosier

And That Was All