January 14, 2011

I flipped a shit a few months ago about the height of the comfort level when I was left alone in a guy’s apartment to sleep in. This morning, I left a guy sleeping in in my bed and the keys so he could lock up after himself. Who am I, and what is going on with myself and this trust bullshit?


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Relationships Things That Could Bite Me On The Ass

January 16, 2011

Finding The Right Label

If you think someone is the bee’s knees and they might not even know you exist, you’re crushing on someone. Conversely, they might know they exist. They might like you, too. But other than talking and hanging out, if no one’s made the first move, you’re still just crushing on someone.

If you’re being blatantly obvious that you’re crushing on someone, and they’re talking about other girls or other guys and are asking you for advice or help with landing the opposite (or same,) sex, or call you “bro, man, homie,” or any other generic, genderless term of affection, you’re just friends. You are in the friend-zone. Even if they were stupifyingly drunk, you’re probably not getting any. Also, you could just be friends if they’re someone that you’ve never had a single sexual thought about, and the same is true for them about you. Caveat: If you’re NOT being blatantly obvious that you’re crushing on them, now might be a time to start, because if they DO also like you and you say nothing, you will still get stuck in the friend-zone. Not, as I hope you want to be, in at least the next classification, where sex is involved.

If you’re having sex and he’s never hinted at or tried moving things out of the bedroom or car or motel room (other than to change location for sex), you’re hooking up. Also classified as fucking, or being fuck buddies.

If he takes you out more than twice and drops cash on you, no matter how much or how little it is, and keeps making noise about wanting to keep taking you out and/or treating you— you’re datingAnd he’s a keeper.

If you’re spending time together, going out, sleeping together (both sexually and physically in the same bed), in each other’s top 5 contacts lists, and have met the important people in each other’s lives— roommates, friends, parents, etc.— you’re seeing each other. Now, there are two classifications to seeing each other: casually, and exclusively. “Casually” implies that there’s been no exclusivity talk or commitment; that if you don’t see him a certain number of times in a week, it’s cool, and that both of you respect each other’s social lives without needing to be in it 24/7. “Exclusively” just means that you had that chat where you said that you only want to be with the other, and you now have an excuse to castrate him with the closest dull yet pointy object if you catch him with another woman after that conversation.

Another word that you can use in place of “seeing each other” is that you’re together. He knows that you’re together. You know that you’re together. Both your friends know that you’re together. The people that see you out and about know that you’re together. But just like the difference between “casually” and “exclusively” seeing each other, that girl who he’s chatting up at work when you’re not there might not know that you and he are together. So get it confirmed in conversation if it’s going to bug you. Or if it’s been a few months that you’ve been “together.” Then, it’s just time to shit or get off the pot. While relationships aren’t about sprinting through the classifications or steps, they generally do need to progress, though it takes time to get to know someone, and if you’d like to go to the next level with them. Exclusivity is always the next step in the relationship at this point— it just takes some people longer to work around to it than others. And if he won’t give you his exclusivity, or if you’re unwilling to stop trying to get with other people, then it’s time to end it…

…AKA: break up. You can use the term “break up” to describe what happened with anyone at any point after hooking up— it’s just easier and clearer what you mean that way, rather than saying “we’re no longer communicating,” which means you could still be fucking, just not talking. (Hey…it happens.) Even if you were just sleeping together, if you’re not anymore, if you had a nasty conversation about why you won’t be anymore, you broke up.

NO ONE is anyone’s boyfriend or girlfriend until the question is raised and the ok is given to refer to them as such. This would mean that you need to either say, “Hey, would it be ok if I called you my boyfriend?” or he says “I’d like you to be my girlfriend.” Even if y’all have been dating and sleeping together for two or more months, if you haven’t talked about it outright, he ain’t yo boyfran, as my friend Caiti would say. In which case, if he does something above and beyond what he needs to do in your current status, you can tell him he’s the best “not-boyfriend" ever. Or if you do something above the call of duty for him or his friends, you’re allowed to comment on the fact with your friends that it officially made you the best not-girlfriend ever. The “not” is the most important part of this phrase. It shows that you’re aware of the fact you don’t have this label, yet are perfectly capable of and willing to do the things that would come with it. Strangely, I prefer the title “not-girlfriend” to that of “girlfriend.” I think it’s because it means I care about someone enough that I’m willing to do what I don’t really have to, just because I want to do it. Caveat: Sometimes it’s easier not to fight society’s previously conceived conventions and try to explain that someone is not your boyfriend. In these cases, either grin and bear it, as we talked about earlier, or correct them if it really irks you that much, or you feel that you need to our should. If you’re stuck for a term to correct them with, “significant other" covers it well as a blanket term. A "significant other" is someone who is the most significant other person in your life that you’re in a relationship with— be it a not-boyfriend or not-girlfriend, or a not-quite-yet-fiancée, or your baby-daddy who isn’t thinking about making an honest woman out of you yet, but is in your life and supportive.

If you’ve moved on to seeing each other exclusively, and have had the labels conversation, you’re in a serious, committed relationship. You might now be going on vacations together, be invited to each other’s family events, thinking of signing a lease together, or he may have started casually browsing the front window displays of jewelry stores. (Note— this classification is highly age and maturity regulated.)

If you signed a piece of paper together, exchanged rings, and remember saying “I do,” I hate to break it to you, but you’re married. That is the only time it is appropriate for anyone to call your girl “the wifey.”

And now for the toughest term— a relationship. A “relationship” can be taken a few different ways. You have a relationship with your parents. You have a relationship with your friends. You have a relationship (and probably, some sort of understanding,) with your landlord. And you certainly have a relationship with the person of the opposite or same sex in your life, regardless of the fact if you’re just fuck buddies or if you’re in a serious, committed relationship. One of my exes explained it this way, and tricked me into a relationship with him in doing so, which was probably the most clever act a man has ever pulled on me as well as the only way a guy could wrangle me into something: “Technically, we’ve already had relations (read: sex), so whether you like it or not, we’re now in a relationship.” It’s true— sex changes things between two people. So does him taking you out, even if you haven’t slept with each other yet. And if he’s spending nights with you, that’s another step up the relationship pyramid right there— not only are you together, but you also have a different relationship as bed partners. (He steals the sheets, you kick, and you’re both learning how to deal with the other one while asleep.) So, if you have a different relationship with him that exceeds your friendship, no matter what it is, from sleeping together to being engaged, you’re in a relationship with that person. Again, it can be serious or not serious, but dynamics between the two of you have changed.



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SATCG Relationships Columns

January 18, 2011

Close Encounters of the Girl Kind

What are the five most awkward or nerve-wracking situations a girl can get herself into today? What are the things that make us lose sleep at night, or break into cold sweats at sweltering house parties? When are the times that you can actually see fear in our eyes like the look that a guy gets as he walks up the front steps of his date’s house for the first time? (Always thought that was a hilarious and telling moment to watch.) Here are the top 5 situations that a group of women I polled at work agreed on as the things that we worry about the most, and the quick, sweet fixes for them. You’re smart, you’re pretty, now how about being a little less awkward?

Situation 1: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind
It’s always awkward when you bump into a girl who used to see or sleep with the same guy that you’re seeing. There’s always that implicit understanding of who’s doing what or who’s done whom. I’m nervous and defensive by nature, but I learned quickly that being a bitch gets you nowhere— it’s always better to smile, say “hey,” and ask them how they’re doing. The thinking is that if you’re nice, it’s hard not to like you— if something is still going on, they’ll feel worse about it (believe me, I’ve been on both sides of this one), or if it’s all over, it’s always easier to concede defeat to someone you actually like. Make sure you always smile, wave, or say hi first. Ask them about something going on in their life. Be interested. Your confidence will shake anyone with lesser confidence off, and appears as if you’re perfectly in control of the way things are, even if you’re not. This can also be called “gesturing,” “peacocking,” or “being alpha bitch.”

Situation 2: Hold The Phone
Even Ron Jeremy agrees that when someone he’s with is texting constantly, it makes him, King Dong, worry about the presence of another dude. “If I see men’s cologne in a girl’s bathroom or if she is texting constantly, it’s a big turnoff.” Same goes for women. Nothing makes me more morbidly curious than a cell phone vibrating on a nightstand at 2 AM. Maybe your dude friends are insomniacs too, but I doubt it. Maybe it’s because I’m under the general persuasion that since bars close at 2, that’s a late-night drunk booty call, because, let’s face it, we’ve all been the one sending that text, but honestly, nothing makes me feel less likely to get in the mood than wondering what the fuck is going on and if someone else wants to be in my place on my side of the bed. So…if I can be cognizant enough to either tell the other men I’m talking to to stop texting me past midnight, or to turn my ringer and vibrate OFF, I really feel like for peace of mind and in an active effort to not kill the mood, it’s not too much to ask that other people do it as well.

Situation 3: The Rag’s a Drag
I think we can all generally agree that when you’re turned on, you’re turned on. For men, this isn’t much of a problem. For women, Mother Nature has other plans for us a week out of every month. Some women don’t mind having sex while they’re menstruating, but for others, it’s a definite “no.” Unfortunately, biology fucked us ALL over, because when a woman is ovulating or during her week long of Bloody Sundays is when she’s at her most attractive. Our faces get brighter and shiner. Our hips swivel more when we walk. We smell better and our hair is softer. And, to quote my drunk-ass self, we have “luscious tits.” Understandably, men find us attractive. So, how do you turn away a dude who wants to be all up in your business when you’re closed for business, without having to go into the gory details and make a pick-up a bad B-rated bloody slasher movie? Simple— tell him that you’d love to, but you already have made other plans (for that night if it’s not too late, like at 1 AM, or for the next morning, like a breakfast date), and then tell him you’d like to make a rain-check for another time. This implies that you’re interested, yet not flaky, and are open to things happening…just at another point in time, like when Trojan has replaced Tampax as your best friend. Actually, in cases other than that time of the month, the sandwich of “I’d love to, but I already have plans for early tomorrow morning…can we make a rain-check?” is a winner. Memorize it. Practice it. Use it.

Situation 4: Don’t Mention The War!
Speaking of sending 2 AM texts… So you sent a text you maybe shouldn’t have. It was late; you were impaired; you were lonely; your vibrator had broken. You wake up the next morning after being either ignored or turned down flat, and you kinda want to kill yourself, or at least relinquish rights to your phone and your snatch. Rather than taking a vow of chastity, there’s an easier and less sucky way to remedy things: Just don’t call or text again for awhile. People forget things easily over time, and even if you were coming off as presumptuous or needy, NOT being in contact like it ain’t no thang for awhile will rectify that view. Give it a week, live your life, do your own thing. Buy a new vibrator. Next time you see or talk to the text’s recipient, act nonchalant, like it never happened and you, too, have experienced mild amnesia. Be like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers— “Don’t mention the war!”

Situation 5: Bringing Up Exey
Sometimes, you just can’t help it. Sometimes, you talk about your ex. Sometimes, it comes up in conversation— they ask for more information or about where it went wrong, or, like me, you get people confused and end up looking at your current S.O and saying, “Are you the one who slept with night lights, or are you the one who’s afraid of roller coasters?” Yeah. It can get a little awkward. Possibly MOST potentially awkward, however, is the fact that the memorial tattoo I’m planning on getting shortly partially includes the last name of a guy I was romantically involved with for awhile, though first and foremost, we were close friends. Things like that, however, shouldn’t be hard to explain. You should be able to say, “I loved him, and I lost him, and this is my way of honoring his memory.” If someone doesn’t get that, then they’re a jackass. What can be harder, however, is when the person you’re seeing asks you, “Was that the best sex of your life, or what?” I keep very close tabs on what I consider the best sex I’ve ever had. What usually is best in this situation is a non-committal “mmmm.” Generally, people know the best sex of their life when they find it. Lying doesn’t cover anything in that aspect.


P.S— For more advice for anything from what cute flats to wear at the office to how to be a better friend, visit Molly at smartprettyandawkward.com.

- From SATCG

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Dating Girl Shit Relationships SATCG Sex According To Ron Jeremy...

January 19, 2011

Winter Gothic

The pond was frozen over and the wind had blown renegade snowflakes under the feeble plastic covering the car’s cracked windshield. There used to be two cars parked in front of the house on the corner— two matching Subarus, Mschef and Mschef2. Now Mschef2 was all that was left, deserted, snowdrifts piled along its running boards all winter long, for at least the third running winter in years. Overall, it was the sort of sad winter scene a depressed landscape artist would paint while contemplating if he really needed his left ear; if the world really needs to be heard in surround sound. Even the Canadian geese who hadn’t quite made the winter cut-off flying south who were now squatting by the pond looked like they were considering just ending it before having to go through another Vermont winter, and we all know how little comparable intelligence a goose possesses. There’s not a gently teasing idiot remark about it for nothing.

I used to drive by about 6 times a week during high school on the way to and from the barn, when it was occupied, in better times, and I remember thinking it looked like the sort of place I would want to know the kind of people who would get matching “Mschef” vanity plates and live in an old clapboard house on a wide corner of a country road and go swimming in their pond in the backyard. They were probably artists, I thought, the two Mschefs— projects got started, and never seemed to get finished, like the sliding doors on the north side of the house that, while installed, still looked raw around the seams and beams, like someone had found another project to worry at before they could finish fixing the trim. Ms. Mschef was probably a chef or caterer, the sort of a woman who always has a “To Do” list and is methodical yet nonchalant about getting it all done; Mr. Mschef seemed liked he’d be a house painter by day, and an abstract painter by night. Maybe it was the fact that he seemed handy around a house, yet scattered.

The house and car had been left vacant in the middle of those scattered renovations, the impedance unknown— a divorce; an affair; a death; an unplanned-for birth, perhaps. There are, after all, some things that just can’t be explained to a spouse. Why your newborn son looks more like the cashier behind the local general store and why you’ve been running more “last-minute late night errands” to get supplies for the next day’s “intimate rehearsal lunch for 12” is one of them. Now, left all exposed wood and pink insulation tufting out to be mauled at by small mammals and birds to feather their own nests, it resembles so much nothing better than a big stuffed Valentine’s Day heart, ripped apart, trailing entrails and the stuff two people thought would be enough to keep them warm. The only sign of life left on the property were those two Canadian geese out by the pond, and even they looked like they wouldn’t be sticking around for much longer, if they could help it. After tragedy, sometimes, the stench just remains.


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Creative Non-Fiction Making Up Stories Relationships Life

January 22, 2011

What can we learn from this?

#1: Be proactive. If it ain’t goin’ down, LET HIM KNOW that it ain’t goin’ down. It’s only fair; it’s only polite; wouldn’t you want him to know sex isn’t int he cards before you make a fool of yourself? Extend the same courtesy. As he says, there is nothing wrong with a woman saying no to sex…before sex is literally on the table. Once you let things get to that point and then renege on it…that’s when you’re a tease, and not in the hot way.

#2: To steal from “He’s Just Not That Into You,” like he says, you are not the exception. If he’s done it before, chances are, he’s gonna try to do it with YOU. If you let him, it’s your funeral. Only if you stop him and get yourselves on the same page real quick is when he’s going to start thinking about you differently than those other 101 girls, because you’ve made him see you differently. Lately, I’ve been hearing from more and more men that strong, independent girls who speak their mind and aren’t afraid to sass back are the type of girls they’re into. This explains why my friend Julia, who was voted “Most Likely To Marry A Rockstar” in her high school yearbook, does so well with me. (She’s a reigning Champlain LikeALittle queen.) She never lets herself by lumped in with the rest of the pack. If all the girls are leaning left, she’s leaning right. Guys go crazy over her. Emulate. Stop being the meek, “doesn’t rock the boat” girl, and being all surprised when you’re not getting what you wanted out of a relationship. Lay it all out there. He’ll respect you more for it. And sass is hot. I mean, just look at that word. It’s already got “ass” in it. Of course it’s awesome.

#3: Thou shalt put in as much work as he is. "Everything was cool— talk on the phone everyday; she would stop in to see me, I’d go past to see her…" The amount that you put into a relationship is proportional with how into it he thinks you are. And vice-versa, for that matter. If you want him to know you’re genuinely interested, stop doing the aloof woman shit, and be the one to ask to make a date or see each other. That’s when he gets that you’re feeling him— NOT when you wait three hours to respond to his text because your friend Amy told you that you don’t want to appear too over-eager. Be smart, like I know all you girls are— use your judgement about when is a good time to play the game, and when it’s not.

#4: If he’s paying for your meal, chances are, unless he is a very platonic friend, or the nicest and most generous man in the world with a disposable income, he’s gonna want to see something for his Benjamin’s. This is no secret or surprise. There are differences between a man paying for your Junior Whopper or paying for your crab leg dinner. One means peaceful co-existing while eating together. The other means “I’m taking this out in sweat from you later.” Think about it this way: How many of your male friends, who you’ve known for years, and consider like the brothers you’ve never had, have paid for a meal of yours? None of very few? That’s right— that’s date territory. And while I’ll have my boys over for dinner, or they’ll make me spaghetti and homemade meatballs in their humble abode, it’s not like they’re taking me out to Leunig’s downtown for a slice of banana cream pie…and a steak. So, unless you want to sleep with him, or unless you’re very, very hungry and very, very poor and don’t mind being very, very rude— don’t accept a dinner invitation out with him to somewhere where entrées are over $20.

#5: The ears are the sweet-spot. AMEN. Ears are very dangerous things to play around with. DO NOT go for the ears unless you’re ready for the consequences. Men, women, dogs…I don’t care what gender or even species you are…the ears are where it’s AT. Earlobes are packed full with nerves and are an erogenous zone, don’tcha know? So don’t go near my ears unless you want to be having buckwild sex in about .02 seconds, and I won’t go near a man’s ears unless I want the same. Let’s all make a pact right now— keep your mouth off the ears, and no one will have any mixed signals or wishes that can’t or won’t be fulfilled, ok?



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SATCG Relationships Dating Men vs. Women Columns

January 23, 2011


draw your swords // angus & julia stone

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What a haunting quality to his voice! 

I also highly enjoy the lyric “you are mine, and I am yours; let’s not fuck around.”

Discussions on monogamy in the 21st century?


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Music Monogamy Relationships When Swearing Is Sexy

January 24, 2011

The Little Things

Coming up on under a month to go until Valentine’s Day (ick, ugh, roar,) I’ve (and I’m sure, the rest of the world has, too,) been spending a lot of time lately trying to come up with ideas for small things to do. However, whatever it is, it won’t be nearly as grand and stunning as the couple’s massage/day at the exclusive gym/dinner at the gourmet restaurant that one of my friends is planning for her live-in boyfriend of over a year thanks to a hotel’s stellar Valentine’s Day discount incentives. Talk about a treat!

I’m big on spoiling my guys, be it either on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the week that ends in “-day.” It can be little things— picking up his favorite magazine while you’re already out grocery shopping and see it while you’re standing in line and waiting for the slow check out girl to hurry up with her bagging, already, or giving a $10 gift card to someone’s favorite store to go towards their next inevitable purchase— that show that you’re invested in making someone happy. 

That’s exactly what it is— it’s the little things that tell someone you’re a keeper—buying him a drink, giving him a spur-of-the-moment back massage, letting him sleep in. Because if you’ll do those things for him on your own accord, it gets him thinking about what you’d do for him if/when you REALLY love him. Not every woman gives her guy her Netflix account password and sets him up with unlimited instant entertainment. But nearly every woman will give a blowjob. The latter is nearly expected. The former is not expected, greatly appreciated, and fucking free, with a great emotional pay-off.

Some other instant brownie point winners to set you apart from the rest of the female crowd:

- If he’s light on boxers (or briefs, or those heaven-sent and god-created boxer-briefs,) or socks, pick him up a few cheap but fun pairs. Chances are, his mom, exes, or best girl friend are the ones who usually bought them for him, and the hole his big toe is sticking out of isn’t paramount in his mind on the list of Things To Do or Get. Spoil his inner child just a little bit more by getting a few new pairs and taking that item off his plate of things to stress out about when he opens an empty drawer and suddenly remembers what he’s been forgetting to buy.

- Food really is one of the best ways into a man’s heart. A simple home-cooked meal is a favorite among guys, especially when you’re in the comfortable and slightly broke section of dating. If you let him help you prepare it— chopping the vegetables, stirring the pot, mixing the salad dressing— he’ll feel even better about the meal he helped create, AND may learn some hands-on cooking skills for the next time he’s solo in the kitchen. If you feed a man, he’ll be satiated for one meal. If you teach him how to cook, he’ll be mostly satiated most of the time you’re not around to cook with or for him.

- If he’s a frequent overnight guest, make sure than you have sufficient amenities for him in the morning. A (new!) extra toothbrush, some manly soap, and a towel he knows is “his” to use will go a long way toward making his mornings (and nights!) more comfortable. Plus, you don’t have to kiss morning breath, so really, it’s win/win. Also, if he’s approaching other roommate status, and it looks like neither of you are going anywhere else fast, carving out a drawer or a shelf in your closet for him to have a change of clothes or at least a place to leave a spare shirt and pair of boxers and socks would be a nice gesture.

- Keep a few of his favorite snacks around. If he’s partial to orange juice, keep some in your fridge. If he goes crazy over movie theater-style popcorn, get a few packs so that next time the two of you are staying in to watch a movie, he’s got something to munch happily on other than your crunchy, fruity granola.

- And possibly the easiest, more meaningful tip of all: Every time you see him, pay him one compliment to let him know how much he means to you. It can be something like “I think you’re such a babe, you know that?” or “You’re honestly one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met,” or a simple “Thank you for doing everything it is you do for me; I really appreciate it.” This is what will keep him from straying when a random chick at a bar tells him he’s hot; this is what he’ll remember you love about him next time he’s feeling down; this is what will make him want to be all those things you compliment him about, for YOU. A guy who knows how you feel about him is a guy who is content, satisfied, and clear on what he’s expected of.

Recently, I did what I preached and took him out to lunch, on me. I know that the standard and traditional scheme looks like the guy paying for everything, but I was amazed how relaxed and right it felt to pick up the tab when it hit the restaurant table. Best yet was when he reached across the table…for my hand, not the check. He picked it up, pressed it between his, kissed it, and looked me straight in the eyes and said “thank you.” Everyone, take note—- this is not only a great way to show heartfelt appreciation if you need to cop this move for your own, but it also got my heartstrings strumming a little. It struck me that I am so lucky. So, so lucky. Which is exactly why I’m bashing my brains out trying to come up with the perfect “little thing.”


P.S— While these are all idea slanted towards your significant other, boyfriend, or the significant man in your life, please note that with a little tweaking, similar things can be used to show appreciation for the important friends in your life, and they’d be just as welcome. I’m sure your roommate would be surprised and touched if you brought her home the latest issue of Cosmopolitan randomly, or your always-there-to-pull-you-back-together work buddy would appreciate if you took them out for Happy Hour drinks after a particularly trying day at the office. Remember, while your romantic relationships may be the ones you focus on because they’re getting you laid and potentially setting you up for the rest of your life, you’d be nowhere without your friends and family, who are always the ones who help take care of you when the romances fail or falter. Show love to all.


- Excerpt from SATCG

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Gifts Relationships SATCG Valentine's Day

January 25, 2011

I operate under this weird assumption that one of me should be enough for one man, and he doesn’t have to go looking anywhere else.

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Men vs. Women Relationships Girl Shit Playa

January 30, 2011

Me and Sex and the City 2 are enjoying NOT being single.

To all the single ladies, here’s the perennial single girl saying how nice it is to have someone pick your drunk ass up in front of the club at 2 AM and bring you to McDonalds to buy you a McChicken sandwich.

I mean, that’s above and BEYOND the call of duty. There are some things worth giving up the single and fabulous life to be not single and yet still fabulous for.


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Relationships Single Girls Life Sex and the City

The Size And Shape Of Relationships

Relationships come in all different shapes and sizes and styles, like any good department store’s merchandise. Some relationships are only made to fit you for a season before you outgrow them, where as others are cut so versatilely to go from brunch with his mother to the football game with his boys. Some are itchy and uncomfortable and don’t get worn for long before they’re relegated to another home, via consignment shop, while yet others are so luxuriant and sensual that you can’t help but wearing them over and over and over again, even when it’s not an appropriate occasion. Some relationships are made to only fit one couple, while the tradition of dating seems to suit thousands, even millions, and be coveted by still others. The point is, however much we might think we look good in one particular style, no single relationship is the same as another couple’s or looks the same on the people who are in it as it would with any other person in the same equation. They’re all individual, all unique, all a wonderful one-of-a-kind piece of couture. No one can declare any sort of “relationship fashion.”

Some of us need to see the person we’re with everyday. Some people would prefer being single. Some iPhone couples run a constant chat conversation with each other, 24/7, even if they’re just in the other room. Some couples only meet once or twice a month, and still see other people. Some husbands and wives sleep in separate beds, even separate bedrooms (though the idea of sleeping in a separate bed, let alone room, sends my insomniac bed-partner-loving self into a state of panic). Some girls prefer not to call their long-term partner their “boyfriend” because it sounds childish, even though some unmarried 40 year old women love calling theirs that for the sense of nostalgia. Some couples move in together quickly, after only a month or two, while others wait until becoming engaged, or married, to share a lease. One of my friend’s fathers lived in an apartment in New York City for work during the weekdays, commuting to Connecticut from Friday night to Monday morning to live with his wife and children, whereas my mother, used to having my father around for the past 37 years, hates to spend a single night alone without him, feeling odd when he’s not there. And as I previously mentioned, I hate sleeping alone, while I always sleep the best the night AFTER whoever I’m currently sleeping with leaves. Those are just examples of 11 different relationships, and none of them can be considered a “classic.”

I’m currently seeing someone who demonstrates this point perfectly. We live in different towns, and have different circles of friends. I go to college; he works long nights. But I knew he was worth a little bit of impatience and the extra effort to see him when he kept making it a priority to see me, at least once a week, and despite of everything else. We now spend chunks of time with each other when we can; other nights, he can only make it into town for a few hours. The point is to maximize the quality of your time together— if we’re going on day 2 in a weekend of co-existion, I don’t feel bad taking an hour or two here or there to go to my class on campus or do my homework while sitting side by side with him in bed in the morning. If we’ve only got a few hours, things stay focused— we stay home, eat together, catch up, spend time relaxing and talking, and watch a movie. In between visits, we keep in touch electronically, through either text or chatting— though talking on the phone might be a more intimate ideal, I can’t help but preferring the written word mediums; I am such a writer. All in all, we get to spend about a third of every month together— 10 nights in 30, a few more days here and there. But it works perfectly for our needs— while I have time to write so I don’t miss (many) deadlines, he has time to do the things with his guys that he wants to and time to chill at home. I’m more happy seeing him when it’s possible than I ever was seeing someone frequently a few times a week who while only physically 10 minutes away in town, was light years away from me emotionally and in terms of effort and desire. It shows. I look happier. I’m dressing differently.

I’m also learning new things, one of the benchmarks of any good relationship, platonic or otherwise— the perennially Single Girl who struggles with feelings of independence when letting a guy pick up all of the tab, I’m learning how to wear the perfect balance of gratitude and grace when it’s his Amex on the counter and back account digits rolling back; how to adjust to someone else’s quirks and sleeping style and snoring and eating habits; and when to gracefully admit defeat and need of assistance and call someone to be waiting outside the front of the club for me because I am too drink, drank, drunk to get to him. I’m even learning when to take someone’s arm when offered so I can lean on it, because there is someone to lean on. And to my surprise, it’s not even cramping my “single and fabulous” style. In fact, it’s evolving to become part of myself, a newer version, this year’s It model. And it looks damn good on me.

The point is, it is not the title on the relationship or the label that you give it or each other that counts— it’s the time, effort, and emotion that you put into and get from it that really matters. Never let anyone else dictate your style, either. If you’re wearing a casual relationship when nothing but a wedding gown will do for you, you’re always going to be uncomfortable, but as soon as you find the right match and become your own designer, I’m sure you’ll find something that you can make work and will look beautiful wearing it. As Samantha once said in Sex and the City, “…The true test of a relationship is if it makes you feel like this (frowns), or like this (smiles beatifically).” Be with someone who makes you smile, if not all the time, than most of the time, and I promise you that you will always feel like the luckiest and happiest girl in the world.

Other than me, of course.



- From SATCG

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February 1, 2011

What A Real Man Looks Like.

What is a real man? What does he look like? What does he do? And where, where the HELL, can you find one?

A real man will be willing to part with money for your time. A real man dates. He knows your time is not free, and he’s willing to reasonably spend to take you out to lunch and talk to you, even after you’ve been doing it for awhile and are sleeping together. A real man knows picking up the tab doesn’t stop after your panties drop.

A real man is cognizant of the fact that you’re a woman. He knows that there are some things that may be needed from him because of this fact, and will pick you up from in front of the club at the end of the night so you don’t have to fight off the sharks or find your way home drunk, even if he wasn’t out with you and your girls. A real man will offer you his arm, even when you CAN walk in a straight line by the cops.

A real man always asks to see you. He knows that you have a life, and friends, and a job, and plans that don’t necessarily involve him, and so, he never takes the fact that he can see you, or you, for granted. He calls ahead to secure time and plans with you, and is equally comfortable letting you come up with plans as he is making them himself. A real man understands the give-and-take effect of work and play, and time.

A real man knows when to use words to solve a problem, and when to get physical in a confrontation. He knows the different between force, and being forced. A real man is a protector. A real man knows the extent of his own strength.

A real man never shows up empty-handed, even if he appears with nothing in his hands. If he has nothing to give physically, he’s 100% invested in being there mentally and emotionally. One man might bring you dinner while another brings jewels while another brings you stimulating news, but all real men will bring something to the table.

A real man has plans and ambitions. He may be living in the penthouse suite with millions in the bank, or he may still be living in his momma’s basement, but regardless, he’s actively planning and doing things with his life. He’s not content with what he is and what he can offer— he wants to be better and have more to offer. He is constantly on the grind, and is not satisfied with status quo or the bare minimum of effort. He puts in time and pays meticulous attention to detail. He thinks things through and goes by-the-book. He can relax when it’s time, but even when he’s chilling, he has a constant desire to better himself. A real man is a dedicated hard worker.

A real man is an attentive lover. He knows all women aren’t the same, and what worked for the last doesn’t necessarily float the boat for you. He’s open to trying new things and is comfortable talking about sex openly and frankly. He knows being safe and proactive is smart, and he practices what he preaches. He gives, and yet can still take. He can be dominant when you need to be manhandled, and yet submissive when you want control. He takes the time to learn your body, and what you like and need. He stops when you say “stop,” waits when you say “wait,” and knows that when you ask for a massage and wink what you REALLY mean. A real man makes you feel comfortable enough to lower your inhibitions and gives you what you really want.

A real man is kind to animals, children, your friends, and his family. He respects women, loves his mother, and always has a kind word or smile for people. While your friend who says “like” every third word may drive him crazy, he’ll talk to her for a few minutes when he bumps into her. Though he’s allergic, he’ll still pet your cat.

A real man is not afraid of commitment or relationships. He knows that one woman is enough for him, if she’s the right woman, and knows that even if she’s not perfect, he doesn’t need to look anywhere else to find what she lacks. A real man doesn’t play, because he knows emotions aren’t something meant to be a toy.

A real man takes care of himself. He values his health, and is aware of it. While he may not necessarily go to the gym every day, he knows that exercise is valuable, and is no stranger to it. A real man takes pride in his appearance, and has style, whatever that may be. He knows what he looks good in, and he knows how to keep himself looking good in it. His diet is smart, not juvenile. He has a healthy relationship with food, drinking, and drugs. A real man can cook for himself, in a pinch.

A real man isn’t ashamed. He’s proud to have you at his side. He introduces you to others, and doesn’t think twice about bringing you into public with him. (A real lady is someone who a real man wants to bring into public and be seen with, by the way.) He’ll kiss you in public, in front of his friends, in front of your family, in front of the world. A real man is not afraid to say what your relationship is, and is as eloquent in expressing it as he is articulate about his feelings and expressing his intentions for you.

A real man opens doors for you, both physically as well as metaphorically. He always remembers the little things to the best of his ability. A real man says “please,” and “thank you,” and is courteous to the wait staff and tips well. A real man can say “I’m sorry” with sincerity and admit when he’s been wrong. He’ll call your mother “ma’am,” or “Mrs. ______” and your father “sir” or “Mr. _____” until told otherwise. A real many carries the heaviest boxes and kills spiders, or lets them loose again back outside. A real man will protect you and stick up for you, always, even when he’s not happy with you at the moment. A real man knows a woman’s worth. He will pick you up for your date, and see you safely home. A real man knows his worth. A real man will understand if you tell him you can’t see him anymore. A real man will fight for you if he loves you.

A real man doesn’t have to be dressed in a three-piece suit. A man in a suit can be an ass, while the homeboy in the do-rag and chain could be the real thing. A real man doesn’t need to drive a flashy car to assert himself; he does it instead by the way he fills the space he stands in. A real man doesn’t need to be made of money— if he can’t take you on a date, but takes you on a walk around the neighborhood instead, his listens intently and actively to what you talk about. A real man doesn’t need to be making a set salary, as long as he’s making all the ends meet, and he’s in control. A real man has no set age— he could be 65, or he could be 18. A real man is made, not born. A real man does not have to be perfect, but he does have to be trying. A real man is not a physical manifestation— he’s an attitude, and a way of living.

And every woman needs a real man in her life.



- From SATCG

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February 4, 2011

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.

-Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City (via theneonspectre)

I whole-heartedly believe in this quote.


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February 5, 2011

Growing Pains

There are some things in life that are just naturally painful. Root canals. Cute shoes that are unfortunately too tight. When your friend pinches you to shut up after you say too much. Spider bites. And talking to your exes about your current relationships.

I may have been clear in the past that just talking to your exes in the first place is probably painful enough, as you’ve got some colorful history, and sometimes, it’s just easier to pretend it (and that person) doesn’t exist. But there are some exes that you can’t just wish away or out of your life, because, let’s face it, at one point, you loved this person, and even if you’ve since fallen out of love with them and/or moved on, you still bump into them, or you still have mutual friends with them and still occasionally wander through each other’s social lives. Or they still keep showing up on your cell phone’s screen.

A few weeks ago, I was riffling through the kitchen cupboards on a raccoon-like rampage at 2 AM for something sweet when I heard my text ringtone go off back in my bedroom. Thinking it was the current boy, as we share insomniac tendencies and are prone to late night conversations, I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie, and ate half of it in the time it took me to take my sweet time getting to my room, grabbing my phone, and sauntering back into the kitchen to prepare a response. When I flicked the screen’s lock up and saw my ex’s name instead, I froze. Cookie crumbs dropped from my hand, as well as the pit of my stomach, not to mention anything about my previously ravenous appetite. I texted back, more incited with his extremely casual text than anything else, and had to take a seat when I realized I was dizzy from this sudden turn of events. Our conversation quickly boiled down to him asking if I’d come over (and believe me, SOMEONE wanted to enjoy some cookie that night other than me), but other than establishing the loss of desire to finish the rest of mycookies and being saved from my sweet-tooth, it also established some odd revelations:

1.) I was able to turn my ex down, something I previously did not know I was humanly capable of. I deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for this. You may not think so. You don’t know my ex.

2.) This meant I liked the guy I am currently seeing a lot more than I previously realized. Oh. OH.

3.) In the moment of having to explain to my ex that I would not be coming over this time, or any other time in the foreseeable future, I felt a sudden wave of extreme tenderness and empathy toward him. It can’t be easy, I thought, to reach out to someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in awhile, let alone slept with, and admit that you need them for one of your basest desires. I certainly know how hard that is for me, and knowing that I was about to be turning him down made me feel incredibly caring toward him, in a totally platonic way. It made me wonder, what is the least painful way to talk about your new relationship with your exes?

It feels odd to be sympathetic with your ex, and nearly even protective of their feelings again, especially if you haven’t interacted with them for awhile. But there I was, finding myself asking how he was after telling him I was seeing someone else, wanting to make him feel like it wasn’t a total loss to go out on a limb, wanting him to know that even if he lost the girl, he hadn’t lost the friend, instead of saying, “I wasted a year on you, to have to cheat and lie and use me, and now, NOW you expect me to roll over from a guy who’s actually treating me like a princess, just because you finally decided on your own accord that you want me?” like I would have wanted to a few months ago, when I was still raw and fresh and sure that I would never heal, that I would never find someone to right the wrongs. Surprise.

A half hour after his initial text and being turned down, he surprised me by texting back and asking if my new S.O was a good guy. I told him he was, and thanked him for asking. I thought this was a good move. I thought it was classy. And then I got another text from him last night. And this time, I had to be firm about it and tell him clearly that I was currently monogamous with someone else, even after he offered so gentlemanly to pay for my cab fare over to his place (the first time he ever offered to pay for anything in the last year and a half we’ve known each other in a romantic sense). “Well, if you wanna take me up on that let me know. Anytime, probably,” he told me, and it was suddenly like I was back in Italy and had to be very straight-forward about the fact that nothing was going to be happening, while still being polite as to not start an international incident.

"Thanks for the offer, but I’m pretty happy right now."

Strange, as he used to be the person I was thinking of while gently turning other men down. I was caught in a sudden kaleidescope of time fragments, thinking about how I used to hold out on other guys for him; how he and I had our own falling out; how I was now holding out on him in favor of another man, while at the same time learning how to put aside my feelings of disappointment and disgust about our dissolution in favor of seeing him as a real person again, a real person who went out on a limb with no promise of a safety net, whose feelings could be crushed, who was trusting me to at least let them down gently— which, to my surprise, I found myself doing as I thought of him as my friend and the man I once loved for reasons I once knew well, and not just an X in a box for “been there, done that.” Oh, how times change. And how YOU change.



- From SATCG

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February 6, 2011

Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them.

- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City (via swan-heart).


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February 7, 2011

Bringing Sexy Back

Work and play overlapped in a way I didn’t see coming yesterday that left me feeling a little shook not only about how my job and interests bleed into my personal life, as well as how “comfortable” isn’t always a good thing in a relationship, despite the connotations of warmth, bliss, and utter lethargy. The conversation that started it all (lightly edited for content, clarity, and privacy,) is as follows:

He: ”My friend who you met at ____ has been in one of they’re videos.”

Me: ”Really? And yo’ grammar. It’s outta control.”

He: ”You can bug me about it, but I don’t give a shit.”

Me: ”Good grammar is sexy.”

He: ”If I thought I still had to make sure I was being “sexy” for you online then I would, but I REALLY don’t feel obligated to go back over every sentence I type right now, especially since I’m doing a couple things at the moment.”

Me: ”Real romance never dies. Proof-read so I can think more about jumping your bones and less about proper usage.”

I work in a writing center, and I’m a professional writer. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the English language (and occasionally, other languages, so holla to you, French and Italian), and it’s something that’s obviously important to me. The guy I’m seeing knows this. It’s no secret to him that I decided to give him a chance after he used the word “microcosm” in a comment on my Facebook wall— he literally had me at “the world in miniature.” Which is why it was such a bummer for me to see the wrong “their/they’re/there” in something he typed— when he was still working on winning me over and wooing me, everything he wrote to me was flawlessly edited for maximum correctness, and if he slipped, he’d immediately correct it. He knew I have a hard-on about grammar, so he put the time in to make it all look appealing. It meant a lot. To me, good grammar is sexy. Words are sexy. Which brought up the question today— At what time is it ok for the sexy to stop? Is it ever really ok?

Granted, it’s hard not to feel comfortable with someone when they’re leaving their clothing, their beer, some food, and have a toothbrush in your apartment, but I would hope that someone would always want to be sexy for me, regardless if we’ve been together for two months, or two decades. No one likes to admit when sexy changes from something that you do inherently as a means to an end (getting laid), to something that falls by the wayside because you’re now comfortable with someone (and now getting laid regularly). As Carrie said in “The Drought”— “There’s a moment in every relationship where romance gives way to reality.” And it blows. But does it have to? Does the sexy really ever have to stop?

True, it’s a lot of work to maintain, but that’s what makes a relationship go from “work” to “magical.” So what if you have to spend a few more minutes proof-reading something? I’m not going anywhere. And so what if you’ve woken up next to me with sex-hair, or seen me in the shower with mascara running all down my cheeks? Just because I’m comfortable enough with someone that they’ve seen me looking pretty bad doesn’t mean I still don’t bust hump applying make-up, choosing the right outfit, and doing my hair for a good hour before I see them, still. Right now, it’s still all smooth legs and thongs. But what if I decided I was comfortable, and let the romance die? What if I stopped shaving my legs regularly and started wearing more cotton full-coverage bikini underwear? I’m pretty sure there’d be some protests, if not some full-on Egypt-scale riots. Because really, those are two things I definitely DON’T do to keep it sexy for him. And both take more time and effort than using spell check does.

I don’t mean to come off as griping, and I think at this point, we all know I consider myself a very lucky girl, but I just think that this example illustrates the differences in men’ and women’s ways of thinking better than nearly anything else. To me, the romance, the effort, the spark (if you will,) in a relationship is really important…nearly as important as the good grammar I get paid to look for. If that means that I’m going to have to put in a little more work to keep things fresh and exciting and sexy, then yes, I’m going to do it. To me, comfort is letting you use my laptop without hovering over your shoulder paranoid you’re going to go through my search history, or leaving you the keys to my apartment, not burping in front of you and occasionally being caught wearing something from Vickie’s cotton college dorm-wear PINK line instead their Sexy Little Things collection. So no…no, I don’t think it’s ever ok to think that comfort with someone equals the fact that they’re a sure thing and let the sexy slip away, because if grammar is the first thing to go, it begs the question of what the next thing to slack will be. The sexy needs to be nurtured, in moments like the Hollywood Kiss that took me by surprise one random night when he grabbed me and dipped me for a kiss (in the Top 3 Most Romantic Moments Of My Life, for sure), or when you spontaneously reach for the whipped cream in the supermarket or the new pair of underwear he’s never seen before, or that random moment at 2 AM last night when he texted me, just to say “hi” and ask how I was doing. The sexy is what takes a relationship from normal to fireworks, and you best believe that I’m a fireworks kind of gal. I love fireworks. Almost as much as I love the Oxford comma.



- Excerpted from SATCG

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