Dear Blonde Woman in the Stock Photo,

We’ve got to stop meeting like this. It’s Tuesday night, 1 am, and once again I see you at the bottom of a news article in that bewitching section called SPONSORED CONTENT. As usual, I’ve come here to fill an existential void with slideshows of botched plastic surgery. You’ve come here to sing your siren song, “10 Ways Millennials Are Changing Wine Forever.”

You have changed my life forever. Let me number the ways:

1. Before seeing you, I never knew a person could be so excited to drink wine. I grew up in a household where wine was a pleasant accompaniment to dinner, or maybe something you passed to Uncle Moshe after a Hebrew blessing. For you, it is rapture. Your eyes in that stock photo sparkle as if the experience of drinking pinot has catapulted you to the climax of a roller coaster, or to the peak of a back-breaking orgasm with Robert Downey Jr., who watches you from an adjacent stock photo. (“Who Knew,” he purrs, “That These 20 Male Mega Stars Were So Small?”) Tossing back those golden locks, you are somehow physically able to laugh and drink at the same time—straight from the bottle. You have taught me to partake in life the way you enjoy Yellow Tail chardonnay: on my computer screen, late at night, pretending to have an excellent time.

2. You are stunningly gorgeous. If I met you in person, I would think, “That girl should really consider modeling.” Of course, you’ve already considered this because you’re in a stock photo. Watching you has inspired me to count how many beautiful people I’ve seen in advertisements, and how many of you will find success someday in acting, or high fashion modeling, or music—and how many beautiful people do all sorts of things, really, like check me into the doctor’s office or collect my garbage on airplanes. And then I realize that the world is filled with people more attractive than me. For this, I thank you.

3. Continuing this train of thought—just humor me, Blonde Woman in the Stock Photo—what percentile hotness would you say I am? To make the math easier, you should assume the world has 7 billion people. I’ve got to be at least in the 70th percentile, right? Is the 80th too optimistic?

4. Sorry for the digression, Blonde Woman in the Stock Photo. It’s just that your beauty is intimidating. I find myself wondering whether you were one of the pretty girls in middle school. As a child, I sometimes wondered whether I, too, could befriend them, if only I hadn’t worn green tights in the school play. (I was the Pied Piper, in case you were wondering. I played my clarinet onstage.) But maybe you were also a loser. And look at you now! So, reason number four why my life is different: Thanks to you, I’m reminded that the hotties on my banking website might not always have been so well adjusted.

5. But now that you’ve grown into your own skin, your social calendar must be booming. Do you ever get together with the group from my health insurance pamphlet? They’re attractive like you but more approachable. My favorite is the Latina sitting under a maple tree, or the white bespectacled guy reading from a clipboard with his black doctor. It’s an insurance plan for grad students, so all of us are millennials, you see. We speak the same language. For some reason I never see you with them, though I suppose this is just more of your sage wisdom: Only white and blonde millennials can be sexy. Still, the others give me hope that I’m not so different after all.

6. Am I really so different for drinking wine out of a glass instead of a bottle? You’re only trying to heighten the drama of the stock photo with that bottle, right? To be honest, I’ve never actually read the ten ways millennials are changing wine forever, so I might be missing some important trends. Everyone else could be out at bars right now, chugging Syrah out of shot glasses perched on one another’s navels. I wouldn’t know because I’m spending my Friday night writing you this letter.

7. Wait. You’re drinking on a Tuesday night. Now I just feel worse.

8. Let me be clear: I’m not interested in you romantically. (Robert Downey Jr. is more my type.) I don’t want to be with you so much as _ be_ you. The glamour of your life is just what I need to fill that existential void I mentioned earlier. Which brings me to one final realization, or maybe we should call it a request: If I can’t have your life, can I at least live it vicariously? If you ever tire of Robert Downey Jr., I noticed a guy two pictures over with mouthwatering abs. He’s responsible for the “Controversy Over a New Steroid Alternative.” You’ll like him.

So maybe now we can be friends?

Awaiting your reply,
David Weinstein