Cindi Leive

cindi leive glamour editor in chief

It’s not every day you get dating advice from Glamour’s Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive. It’s also not every day you photograph Leive and her husband, Howard Bernstein, at their favorite date spot in Brooklyn.

Let’s start from the beginning. At first we wanted to chat with Leive on all things food, fashion and publishing. We soon found out though that dating advice would be an added bonus in light of Glamour’s July Issue on all things love. Plus, tomorrow night is Glamour Date Night so um, boys…step it up.

Whether you’re interested in where publishing is headed in 2015, why guys shouldn’t write at 5:30 PM about a date that starts at 6, or where to get the very best eggs in the morning, this interview has – quite simply put – everything you need in life.

Thanks Cindi. You’ve (A.) brought the week full circle and (B.) inspired us to say Tina Fey’s “That’s a dealbreaker ladies!” a few more times than usual this week…

glamour editor in chief

What would be your ideal food day?

Well, it definitely starts with coffee, and if I’m lucky Stumptown Coffee, which is my particular obsession. I do like breakfast, but I don’t eat it until I’ve been up for a few hours. I usually have coffee, then I go exercise, get some work done and then I’ll typical have a business breakfast. I like eggs. I would say my ideal breakfast on a weekday would be two poached eggs, sliced tomato, and yes, another cup of coffee. On a weekend, I would probably go a little more all out. I love to cook, so I would probably make a frittata. I’m an egg person; I was kind of late to the news that eggs had some negative health effects. And in college, I think I had two eggs every single morning for four years, until somebody finally explained that there was a little cholesterol issue. So, if I’m at home, either I’ll cook or we’ll go out to some place near us. I live right across the street from the Italian restaurant Bocca Lupo, so I might have baked eggs there or pick up a pastry at Café Pedlar or one of our local Brooklyn places. If we’re up at our place upstate, I’ll probably cook.

For lunch, I’m a big sushi person. So I think my ideal day would involve a sushi lunch. I really love anything with a little plum paste in it. Not to sound totally pretentious but shiso-beef with plum paste is a favorite roll of mine, though a little bit challenging and embarrassing to order because of its specificity. Sometimes I’ll go out for lunch, but often that’s the typical lunch.

And then at night, either I’ll cook or go out. I would say my ideal day would probably – all health considerations aside – involve a great salad that is followed by a fantastic, hearty pasta. I love pasta. There are so many wonderful places to eat in Brooklyn now in our neighborhood. I love Frankies. If I’m not in the pasta mood, I like Seersucker. If I’m going out for work, then I’ll maybe go downtown and if I’m in a pasta mood, maybe go to Carbone or some place like that. But a great day always finishes with a cup of tea at the kitchen counter trying to catch up with my husband over our day.

What brought about the July dating issue? Is that something Glamour always does?

Well basically, it kind of came out of conversations that we were hearing women have. We were hearing women complain about what a terrible turn for the worst dating has taken over the last couple of years, and it essentially doesn’t exist anymore. So we decided to encourage every woman in America to go on a date on Saturday, June 28th, and hopefully beyond that. Sometimes it’s good to be given an assignment. America, your assignment is to date.

What’s one thing that both men and women should know to do on a first date?

For men and for women, put your freaking phone away. Unless you are looking up something absolutely hilarious that you want to show to the other person that you can share a laugh about, just put it away and don’t have it on the table. Just stuff it in your purse. I’m not asking anybody to actually turn it off, but that would probably be a good thing. I hear a lot of women saying that they want guys to make more plans, and that the passivity of the average American guy around dating drives them crazy. Particularly for a lot of guys in their twenties, there’s a lot of, “I don’t know, what do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Then the woman is like, at her desk at 5pm going, “He hasn’t even texted. I don’t know where we’re going!” Listen, I’m not advocating any kind of return to rules or that women wait around for a guy to arrive in some kind of chariot or anything like that, but we all have to make a lot of decisions all day long in our work lives. So sometimes it’s really nice for someone to say “Oh my God, I know this amazing Italian restaurant and I made us a reservation for 8.” That is something that I think a lot of women would like guys to do more.

What about ordering etiquette and paying etiquette?

I think this just gets us back to discretion. Don’t complain; don’t put yourself down. Nobody wants to hear, particularly on a first date, about all of the things you want to improve, or all of the things you don’t like about your job. You don’t want to be that person and you definitely don’t want to have dinner with that person. In terms of ordering etiquette and paying etiquette, I think splitting the check is perfectly acceptable and should be considered the norm. I think a lot of women still really like it when guys pick up the tab. So you know, guys, it’s probably a nice thing to volunteer, but I also think we’re a bit too far advanced in the twenty-first century for women to expect that to happen continuously. A lot of women, particularly in their twenties or thirties, out-earn the men in their lives.

Is there anything that you and your husband do every year without fail?

It’s tradition. I’m usually in Paris around the time of our anniversary in the fall, and over his birthday in the spring, just because of the rhythm of the fashion shows. So usually, almost every year, he’ll fly over for a weekend for his birthday, and we get to have a nice weekend in Paris together. That’s really nice, and that’s a total food weekend. It’s basically all about what restaurants we are going to that year.

And what are some quintessential New York dating spots?

You know, I think New York is such a great place. I’m a big fan of the favorite dive-y restaurant as a first date, so if you have a favorite Chinese spot, or Mexican, or you know, Indian in Jackson Heights. People love discovering new restaurants, and I think those are great date destinations. You know they’re not expensive, but to be able to say to somebody, “I love this hole in the wall place in Chinatown. Let’s go there,” takes a little bit of the pressure off. You can put your elbows on the table, get a little messy, but the other person has also put some thought into it, so I think that’s really nice. I also think there’s something to be said for the all-out cheesy New York City date. I mean, the top of the Empire State Building or Central Park are fantastic places to go on a date. Though, I probably wouldn’t do that on a first date. It’s a little too much pressure; nobody wants to be trapped at the top of the Empire State Building with somebody that they don’t have anything to talk about to. I would save that for a few dates farther (laughs). You can go to the Domino Sugar Factory and go see the Kara Walker exhibit. It’s sort of short and sweet and a fun place to be, and then you can go out in Williamsburg after. I kind of think New York is totally unlimited that way. Not every date needs to be a major New York location type date, but there is so much to choose from.

How did you and your husband meet?

We have absolutely the worst how-we-met story because neither of us can remember how we met. We have a mutual friend who my husband went to high school with here in New York, and who I had gone to college with. So when I came to New York after college, we were just a part of a mutual circle, but we were kind of on opposite sides of that circle for years. So we were eventually friends before we started dating, and we honestly for the life of us cannot remember how we met. But we do remember our first date. It involved burritos and we ended up at a dive bar in the East Village afterward playing pool.

How has women’s media changed since you first started?

I think it’s changed in a million ways. I think media in general, not just for women but probably particularly for women, has become more visually oriented. They’ve transitioned towards visual delivery of information. Think about how Instagram is driving the conversation everywhere right now. I think there is a whole generation of young women who consume media completely visually. If you look at a website from ten years ago, it looks like you’re looking at the encyclopedia. It is all text. And that’s just not how anyone thinks in any medium anymore. I mean, there is a reason why every newspaper now has an infographics editor. It’s just become how people understand things. So I think that’s a big change. I think for women, in particular, there’s also been a general movement towards the more casual. Anything stuffy is rejected in favor of things that feel more raw, authentic, and organic. Things that sound like they were produced by humans, because they were. So at Glamour – and I think at a lot of magazines – we really prize the great first person choice. And we don’t believe in hiding our editors anymore, because we want our readers to connect with them as humans. That’s what people want now.

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