Brenda Janowitz

Scot on the Rocks

How I survived my

ex-boyfriend’s wedding with

my dignity ever-so-slightly intact.


Thank you to Sherry and Bernard Janowitz, my parents. Without your love and support, I would be nothing. And to my brother, Sammy, and my sister-in-law, Stephanie, too. You are my family, but you are also my close friends. All four of you are always there to help me bounce ideas around, to brainstorm with me, and just generally make my life better. I appreciate you more than you can possibly know — thank you.

Thank you to Mollie Glick, my amazing agent. You were the first person who believed in my writing (besides my parents, that is. And my brother and sister-in-law, but the first person in publishing. You know what I meant. And, geez, learn to take a compliment, would you!?!). You helped me navigate the tricky waters of getting a first novel published, and I am so grateful for all of your advice and guidance along the way.

Thank you to Selina McLemore, my fabulous editor. When Scot came to you, it truly found its perfect home. Your comments and suggestions were always spot on — I always knew that I was in excellent hands every step of the process.

Thank you to Grandma D for being one of my earliest readers and for letting me borrow your maiden name.

Many thanks to Shawn Hecht, my best friend and first reader, for your support and encouragement. You may not be an objective reader of my writing, but you are an amazing friend, which is far more important.

Many thanks to JP Habib for your constant encouragement and willingness to read draft after draft. I can’t wait to be thanked in your first novel.

Special thanks go to Aunt Myrna, Robin Kaplan, Lauren Lindstrom, Jessica Shevitz Rauch, Jennifer Rauch, Greer Gilson Schneider, Esther Rhee, Donna Gerson, Tami Stark and all of my great relatives, friends and wonderful readers of early drafts of this novel (it’s totally different now, so even though you read it before, you should still buy it).



To all of my ex-boyfriends.


You’ve given me endless amounts

of material about which to write.


A recent New York Times article said that “new love can look like mental illness.” Really. That’s a quote. Actual real live neuroscientists studied brain scan images and found that falling in love prompts brain activity akin to a blend of mania, dementia and obsession. (And neuroscientists are, presumably, really, really smart people, so you can totally believe them.) These scientists found that the drive for romantic love in humans is similar to their drives for hunger, thirst or even a drug craving — a drive that is so strong, it can be stronger than even the will to live. That falling in love is the most irrational of all human behaviors.

So, in my pursuit of love, can I really be expected to behave rationally? I don’t think so. I mean, it’s a scientific fact!


As I walked back to my apartment that day, on my way home from work, I had a feeling that nothing could go wrong. You know that feeling you get when everything seems to be right with the world? When the planets seem to be in alignment? One of those days when you’re actually running on time, your apartment is (relatively) clean, and you haven’t gotten into an argument with your mother/best friend/boss/therapist in at least a week? That was exactly how I felt as I strolled home from work down Mercer Street to my apartment on 301 Prince Street.

I had left my office that evening at 8:30 p.m., which — at Gilson, Hecht and Trattner, the large Manhattan law firm where I work — is actually considered early, so I was feeling as if I had the whole night ahead of me. And I was going home to pick up my gorgeous Scottish boyfriend so that we could go out and meet friends for supper at some fabulous little downtown brasserie where everyone is European and the waiters only speak French, so I could hardly wait. I had the perfect New York City evening planned out.

Since I usually got out of work closer to 9:00 p.m. than 5:00 p.m., I considered myself lucky to have a boyfriend who liked to eat dinner late. I once dated a math teacher who left work at 4:00 p.m. and was in bed by ten. That relationship was destined to fail. Ditto for the guy who traded foreign something or others who started his day at 3:00 a.m. and ate his dinner before I even thought about getting lunch. My boyfriend, Douglas, on the other hand, thought that people who ate dinner before 8:00 p.m. were uncivilized.

I walked into the lobby of my apartment building — the poshest building in all of Soho — with a skip in my step. The Soho Triumphe, a building so fancy that, in addition to its staff of eight doormen, it boasts a twenty-four-hour concierge who can get you into any restaurant in Manhattan (not like Douglas ever needed any such help). It even has in-house dry cleaning, like at a hotel. I said hello to the evening doorman who, despite the fact that I had moved into Douglas’s apartment a full two years ago, still couldn’t quite remember my name.

“Um, 32G?” he asked with a pained expression that indicated to me that he was thinking, at least, very very hard about who I was. I nodded my head yes and pulled my hair out of the bun I usually wore at work while he checked his book for deliveries. Douglas loved my hair — dark brown with natural auburn highlights that was so long it fell down my back to just below my bra strap — so I always took it down right before I got up to our apartment.

The doorman handed me a mountain of dry cleaning — five custom-made Italian suits (Douglas’s), five monogrammed shirts (Douglas’s) and one skirt (mine). I checked the mail and took out four bills (Douglas’s) and the Barneys New York Spring Look Book (mine)…or maybe it was Douglas’s. You never could tell with European men.

Balancing it all in the crook of my arm, with my oversize work bag forcing my body to lean perilously to the right, I made it to the elevator just as the door was about to close. I kicked my foot out and stopped the door with my leg. Inside, I could see a tiny little man furiously pressing the “door close” button.

“You could lose a limb trying to get to your apartment,” I said to the man with a laugh. Rather than being embarrassed for not holding the elevator for me, he looked annoyed that I had made it in.

“Or you could just wait for the next elevator,” he replied under his breath. And they say that chivalry is dead.

With my free arm, I pressed the button for thirty-two. My work bag slid down my shoulder, catching my long hair underneath the strap. I tried to jump up to release my hair, turning my head quickly to the left as I did so. The dry cleaning began to slip from my grip and I begged it not to fall, whispering “We’re almost there,” to it as if talking to a small child. The man looked at me, his expression saying, “The economy must really be bad if our co-op board let this woman into the building.”

But I didn’t care. The night would still be perfect. No doubt I would get back to my apartment, and Douglas would be waiting for me with open arms. Seeing me with all of my packages, he would grab them from me, throw them on the couch and kiss me passionately. In his charming Scottish accent, he would say, “Darling, I missed you so much today I could barely stand it,” or something as equally romantic and heartfelt and we would go meet our fabulous friends for a fabulous evening out. On our way to the restaurant, he would turn to me and say, “How is it that you look even more beautiful after working a full ten-hour day?”

I bet that that tiny little man in the elevator didn’t have a gorgeous Scottish boyfriend to go home to. Or, actually, maybe he did. He was wearing really, really nice shoes.

But I did. I walked in the door to my apartment, starving to death (because, let’s face it, I’m totally uncivilized), and before I even had a second to put down our dry cleaning, my gorgeous Scottish boyfriend broke up with me.

Normally, my life isn’t this complicated. You see, I’m a simple girl with simple hopes. Up until two weeks ago, all I really wanted in life was for my boyfriend Douglas to buy an engagement ring. And he did! He just didn’t give it to me. But I was fine. Even though the breakup was difficult, I remained very dignified.

Well, not so much dignified as a screaming crying mess. But it’s not as if I embarrassed myself or anything. Unless you’d call throwing yourself at the tails of someone’s suit jacket embarrassing. Which, luckily for me, I do not. We had a very mature conversation, really, if you think about it. I sweetly said, “Please don’t go! Please don’t leave me!” Okay, so maybe I was screaming it at the time, but you get where I was going with that one.

“I’m sorry, Brooke,” Douglas said. “It’s not you. It’s me. You are an amazing girl. You have so much to offer. It’s just that this doesn’t feel right. It’s just not the time for us.”

Now isn’t that mature? So, I answered him in kind.

“And it is the time for you and that — that — bimbo? What the hell is her name?”


“That’s not even a naaaame!” I bellowed.

“Brooke, let’s not get hysterical,” Douglas said. Hysterical? I was, like, so not hysterical. “Can’t we make this friendly? Can’t we try to still be friends?”