January 14, 2011

A Woman’s Plea

Please take me on a date. Like, a real one. Not one that later I will question if it was a pseudo-date, or merely you making sure I actually have two ears and two legs and one nose. One where other people will see us and instantly be able to recognize between your look of sheer terror at the thought of not entertaining me enough, and my full face of make-up that we’re both hoping at some point in the near future to wind up horizontal and We Are On A Date because of this. It doesn’t really matter where you take me— I mean, as long as they serve beer, you could take me to a cockfight (not a euphemism), and I would still try to make sparkling conversation and validate your choice of venue. The key to impressing me is to ask me out in the first place, because, let’s be honest here, from there, it’s all downhill. Even if we were to go on a second date, or a sixth date, or end up together for two years, sooner or later, you will discover how I always leave an inch of drink left in my cups in the fridge, which I never plan on finishing, and I will discover, at some point, your love for either 80’s power ballads or anime porn. It will never be as new and exciting as that first real date, ever again.

Please take me on a date. If we go out to eat, please pay for my meal. It’s not that I’m a gold-digger; it’s just that I’ve run out of edible combinations for the pickles, peanut butter, and fiber crackers that make up the remains of my kitchen cupboards at home. If I plan the date, or suggest eating while we’re out, it’s because I’m hungry at that moment, and I promise that I will pay for whatever I get, be it Starbucks, or lo mien. But if you’re the genius who came up with the idea of going to that crazy-expense new sushi place because it boasts aphrodisiac sea creatures and the “romantic atmosphere” you hope will get yourself laid, please pay for my meal. I signed on for a date, not a second mortgage.

Please take me on a date. I promise to act like a normal human being. I will not ask you if you can do the M.C Hammer dance, because I really want the groom at my wedding to be able to do it with his groomsmen while wearing Stormtrooper helmets. I promise to stay off hot-button issues like politics, my lack of religion, and your pants. I promise to at least smile at your jokes, if not laugh at them, and only discuss things that I’m passionate about, like living in Italy and the Impressionist art period, so I light up from the inside and come to life, not things I’m passionate about, like sticking it to my ex and how I loved Mark Wahlberg even when he was Marky Mark. Especially in those magical white boxer-briefs. I promise to hold my fork the etiquette-class way, and not like I’m getting ready to spear your hand if you reach across to steal one of my fries. I promise to order more than the salad.

Please take me on a date. Make the first move at the end of the evening. Unless I’ve been blatantly yawning at you or texting through the entirety of our time together, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’m giving you the female air traffic control signs to align your lips with either my cheek, or if you’re feeling particularly dangerous, my own. Even if we don’t kiss goodbye because I am hacking up a lung and possibly my left kidney, and though you’re willing to swap cigarettes with me, you’re worried that your immune system will not be able to keep it’s shit together if it meets with my saliva, just know that I am wearing nice underwear. Though the chances of you actually seeing them at this juncture are slimmer than the chances of Nixon ever admitting to being the mastermind behind not only Watergate, but the Snuggie, too, just know that were we to somehow trip over a storm drain and a freak gust of hurricane wind were to rip our clothes off on the way down, and I landed on top of you…yes, these are from Victoria’s Secret.


- From SATCG

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SATCG Dating Humor Columns

January 15, 2011

Stoplight Theory

Men are kind of like stoplights when it comes to being in the mood for sex. There’s “HELL YES,” there’s “You can convince me,” and then there’s “Get the fuck away.” You can start a man out with “You can convince me,” and get him to “HELL YES.” It’s all about waiting your turn and abiding by the rules of the road. Or, in this case, head. (You decide which.)

Women are not like stoplights— we’re like taxi cabs. Either our light is on, or our light is off. There’s no convincing us to flick it one way or the other once we’ve already made up our mood. So when a woman’s light is on, and as plain to see as if we were actually holding a neon sign above ourselves that read “Open For Your Business,” in the iconic words of Sugarhill Gang,jump on it. Because when a woman is closed, she’s closed. There’s no changing her mind. Unlike with men, there’s no amount of ego-stroking or caressing that can make her change the way she feels about your chances for that moment. Keep in mind, for a week out of every month, we’re bleeding, and there are also the nights we eat or drink too much or just aren’t feeling all that sexual. Even I sometimes wind up not feeling all that sexual. I’ve been working lately on the whole not-getting-drunk-and-having-sex-thing, and without that cushy fog of inebriation, it’s true what they say: it makes you feel better about yourself, and when I’m not thoroughly convinced by the beer goggles that I am slammin’, I’m winding up a lot more in the “off” camp than in the “on” camp.

This is why it sucks for you guys but why we women think men are great. When a woman wants to have sex, she can usually convince her partner it seems like a great idea. (Reason #324 it’s great to be a lady.) However, on the flip-side, if we can’t convince you to turn on when we are, it’s like the Great Depression of 2010. There is much hair-tearing and emotional rending. In short, it really sucks (invisible) balls.


- Reposted excerpt from SATCG; October 2010

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SATCG Sex Men vs. Women

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 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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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 27, 2011

Miss Communication

Communication is a funny, funny thing. But like any one-sided joke, I feel like one side of the conversation is always left hanging and unamused.

Some people are great communicators. Some people can talk and talk and talk about everything from the weather to their job to their passions to themselves to what the next door neighbor did this morning with his wife to their own desires to what other people desire. Some people are bad communicators. Some people are good listeners. Some people are me and will gladly pull teeth before they start to converse about their emotions. Some people are awkward communicators.

And then there’s men.

This recently came up while talking to a friend who was wondering why a guy hadn’t responded to a text she sent him.

I thought about what she said for a minute, weighing in with my personal experience before responding, and trying to be as helpful as possible. “I would have said something more than ‘Happy Easter’. I ‘Happy New Year’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Thanksgiving’-ed, and never got responses back. Many men have never responded to my holiday greetings, and both men that I have and have not slept with. I think men just look at those texts, grunt, file it away, and move on with life. Or devouring whatever cavebeast they just managed to maul and kill.” 

Personally, I think we women would get a lot further in keeping their attention if our clothing designers started using bacon as a fabric.

This frame of mind is pretty much the only thing that makes me keep my shit together when I myself send messages that never get responses or aren’t returned. Though I am pretty sure at this point that it is standard male procedure to read messages, respond to them in their mind, and then go back to whatever it was they were previously doing, sure that the telepathic message will get through, no bad feelings meant, nothing makes me want to sit in front of my computer more, fuming, and then scream like a she-banshee and bash the stupid little “no messages” or “empty inbox” icon with the closest heavy object. (Most likely, a shoe or the Murano glass ashtray.) Here is a thought: Sometimes, even if it is not required, or you don’t think it’s so very important, a response is not only nice, but proper good manners. 

No one is perfect— at the moment I have three outstanding messages to get back to, and one is over a month old— but it’s the effort that really counts, even if all it is is an “Ok” or an “I’ll see you then.” One of my favorite guys of all-time was the best friend of a guy I was seeing who never once failed to respond to a message, even if it was a text back saying, “Hey, I got your text.” When I met his mother, I gushed about what a great guy and great communicator he was for a solid five minutes. She was astounded and proud. I understand. It’s a rare thing these days.

Little things like that make all the difference to some people. Like the person who just sent you that “Happy Easter” text or that “Hey, here’s a reminder” email. So, um, here’s a hint— RESPOND if you care for that person or your previous and continuing relationship with them just even a little bit. Thank them, wish them the same, then end the conversation when you tell them that you’re busy with your family on the holidays instead of leaving them guessing. If you’re too swamped with work to take the time to answer their questions and write back, a brief “Really busy— I’ll get back to you ASAP,” will suffice and give them better peace of mind. Yeah, you shouldn’t have to jump to it and constantly be responding to texts and emails and messages, but really, when someone takes time out of their day to wish you good feelings or let you know that you’re on their mind or that they want to check in with you and make sure things like your 8 PM dinner appointment are still on, take a second— just a brief second— and let them know that you care, too. It can be a three word response, but it’s still an acknowledgement. Don’t push people away or upset them when it can be easily remedied. Life is too short. People mean too much.

Agree? Disagree? Want to tell me how we shouldn’t be chained to our personal messaging devices and be expected to wait on them hand and food? Tell me. C’mon. Respond. That’s what that comment box is for.



- Excerpt from SATCG, April 2010

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January 30, 2011

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 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 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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February 17, 2011

1+1= What Do You Mean, I’m Not Single Anymore?

For one of the world’s happiest Single Girls, some of the weirdest moments of being in a relationship again aren’t the big things you’d expect, like handing out your key or finding another person sitting at your kitchen table for breakfast in the morning when you surface from your coffee cup, but the little things that are hard to get back into the swing of again.

Take, for instance, the fact that dating can make a perennial Single Girl look like the most spoiled creature this side of the Mississippi, just for not realizing the social gap between the two statuses. I realized about two weeks into dating the guy that I’m seeing that I was always forgetting to say “thank you” when he took me out and paid the bill, something that would have shocked and horrified my mother, who raised me better than that, and definitely shocked and horrified myself. I realized it wasn’t a sign of being ungrateful— the exact opposite in fact, because I was so, so grateful— it was just foreign to me. Not only had no other guy ever taken me out on dates, routinely or otherwise, but was just used to paying the tabs and not having to thank anyone. I’d paid my own way for so long, it was hard to get used to the concept of having to thank someone else to do it for me. And that was just the tip of the iceberg of moments I started noticing that seemed…well, for lack of a better word…a little unreal for me. I spent my entire girlhood before getting all jaded and sarcastic and single dreaming about the little, mundane things that make a relationship seem so magical— asking him how he takes his eggs, packing his lunch, TiVo-ing his favorite shows— and now that they’re happening in real life, I have to ask myself…Am I really cut out for this? Can I be part of a duo without losing my uno?

Sharing space is one of those things that’s hard for me to get used to. Not only am I obsessive-compulsive, but I’m also an only child. I’m used to my space being my space, and things being juuust so. So when TGIS (The Guy I’m Seeing,) asked if there was someplace he could put his stuff where down from my molting down comforter wouldn’t get on it, like possibly a shelf or drawer, I’m pretty sure I looked at him like he had three Cerberus heads. Remember that episode of Sex and the City when Aidan moves in and tells Carrie that she should make room for him in The Closet? It felt like that. Like someone had just asked me to realign my kingdom’s borders, and even for love of them, money, or a relationship, I was unwilling to concede any space. Until I royally fucked up, and realized that having someone who wanted tangible space in my life was maybe more important than having three shelves for my shirt collection and worth making my tank tops live with my t-shirts. Needless to say, I gave him a shelf. (Some of it was partly an ulterior motive— him having a place to leave clothing means I get to sleep in big, perfectly worn-in shirts that smell like Man. Which I must admit is one of the things I miss most and long for when I’m single.)

Being single is hard to stop being used to. I was extremely confused when I started noticing that girls downtown were giving me more dirty looks than I was previously used to, but a few weeks ago, I watched a pair of small blondes in Frye boots no older than 18 look from a spot beside me to giving me the hairy eyeball, and when I looked to my right, I finally got it: There was an attractive man there. He was walking beside me. We were obviously together. We were going out for brunch, where we’d sit together, and I wouldn’t flirt with the host as he sat us, and the guy with me wouldn’t flirt with the waitress when she came to take our order. At the end of the meal, he’s pay for it all, and would kiss me as we walked out the front door, after I thanked him, and he told me, “Anytime.” I had become a Lady Who Brunches. We have a weekend routines; a routine the likes of which I’ve never been a part of, short of a few Girl’s Hungover Brunches Out With An Ungodly Need For Coffee that I’ve been a part of in the past. We have other routines that are new for me to get used to, which feels novel sometimes, and downright strange other times when I find myself in a room full of strangers, watching the Super Bowl with them instead of a few streets over, with my own group of dudes belching craft brew burps and smoking inside. We spend time with his friends, and I’m not always around to spend time with all of mine all the time because of it anymore. It’s the push and pull of balancing two people’s lives in the time that you share together. I consider it like taking a hiatus to cement foreign affairs. And my friends? They understand, most of the time. Men may come and go, but your girls know that they’re forever.

The other thing that became blatantly obvious were the things that constitute my SSB, or Secret Single Behavior: Never before had I thought about how much time I spend naked or in various states of undress until he commented on it one day, mentioning that it was one of his favorite reasons for spending time at my place. It was flattering, but something I read in Cosmo years ago tickled my memory— maybe being nearly naked all the time, in situations not related to sex, isn’t the best for the fact it gradually desensitizes someone to your body, and while this may be a great tactic for friends and roommates, I’m pretty sure we always want the guy we’re seeing to be excited when he sees your bare body, not thinking, “Oh…it must be laundry day.”

There are also those moments during your day as a Single Girl that you never think of being odd or a Big Fucking Deal until someone else is watching you, like wearing your wet hair up in turban after the shower, mascara running all over your face until you wipe it off and apply a new coat; doing your make-up in front of him and how hard it is to keep your hand steady with the eyeliner while he’s giving you the eagle eye from across the room, undoubtedly wondering if you’re going to poke your own eye out, because that’s what it looks like to him; the way you expend your arm over your head and stick your armpit out to put on deodorant (is it just me, or is that like, really, really weird to watch or have someone watch you do?); or all the other awkward moments for another person (who you’d like to still consider you sexy for at least a while longer,) to watch you become apparent. There is one time I wish I was single more than anytime else, and it’s NOT when I find myself shaving my entire body for the 3rd time in a week— it’s when I’m trying to furtively apply deodorant and realize he just walked back into the room as I’m hunched over with my arm slung in my shirt like a sling, Secret Clinical Strength hidden underneath like a concealed weapon. And then I have another war/peace moment when he takes it from me and uses it himself— on one hand, that’s your armpit hair in my speed stick. On the other hand, you’re secure enough in your masculinity to use my “fresh powder scent” shit. Awwwww…

I never thought that “Carissa, which toothbrush is mine?” would be one of the most frequently shouted questions across the apartment, in a bass register, not in Alli’s voice. I never really thought about the fact that there could even BE a third toothbrush on my sink. But it is now. And I deal with it some days better than others, but no matter what reality I’m currently in, single or not, I think what’s the most important thing to remember is to not lose the Single Girl even if you have a man— to do your own thing sometimes, and don’t be afraid to strut your stuff into the bedroom post shower with your Queen of Sheba towel turban proudly crowning your head, if that’s the only way your hair is going to get dry— we can’t be sexpots all the time. And just because you have a man now doesn’t mean you have to jump every time he says “pop”— sometimes, doing your own thing and meeting up later after he has time with his boys and you go to a friend’s party by yourself is sexier than being together the entire night, because he gets to see a glimpse of her, who you used to be, and who you will always be at your core: the independent Single Girl. Be your most fabulous self— always. Remember, the name of the game is “Uno,” after all.



- From SATCG

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February 21, 2011

Freaks and Closet Geeks.

There are some things that are sacred to women: Chocolate. A pair of heels that fit perfectly and would never pinch, even if you walked 50 blocks in them. A perfectly made cocktail. Sleeping in on the weekends. Happy hour with your closest friends. How our mother will always be one of the first people we call with news. The four-letter words S-A-L-E and L-O-V-E. And closet space.

A few weekends ago, wading knee-deep in down from a comforter that’s apparently determined to molt in time for spring, the guy I’m seeing took one look at the floor in the corner of the room he normally puts his clothing in, and winced at the gathering tumbleweeds of feathers residing there. “Do you have someplace I can put my stuff where it won’t get down on it?” he asked, and I froze, like I was suddenly subject to the 10 degree weather outside. There was someplace he could put his things, but I really didn’t want to think about it. How could I tell him that my closet is like my personal kingdom, where I am ruler of all labels and ruling regent of all spatial reasoning, keeping the tank tops separate from the dressy shirts from the cardigans, without sounding like a total freak of nature?

In the end, I ended up pushing aside the hangers and clothes on the hanging rack so that he could have easy access to put his bag and jacket on the shelf underneath, but my clothes looked so forlorn, pushed to the side like unloved stepchildren. I’d like to blame what happened later on the fact that I was overtaken with thinking about my black mesh dress pressed up against my woolly Italian sweaters and getting pulled on by their fibers, but actually, there’s no excuse for what happened next.

Sometimes, we can all go a little bit crazy. As far as it may be from us, our past is still our past, and as much as we dislike to have it tarnish the golden views of our present or future, it sometimes does. I live in eternal fear of the One Reoccurring Theme of my dating history: That I am merely a placeholder until some thing or someone else better comes along…that while logic states I, an obsessive-compulsive, nymphomaniac, time-consuming, giving, impulse buyer of gifts, needer of needy men, should be more than enough for one man, but if there’s one thing my history has taught me, it’s that I am remarkably replaceable, and that I tend to be the entrée— there’s always an appetizer or dessert on the side.

But while I’ve served as the main course, it’s important to note that there’s a lot of things that I’ve never done before that I suddenly find being a “normal” part of my life: I’ve never had someone else’s toothbrush and towel residing in my bathroom, other than a roommate’s. I’ve never eaten out so often together or gone out as a couple. I’ve never slept as many consecutive nights with someone as I have been doing recently. Only one other man was ever even allowed into my house to stay overnight, and that was one time, so I understandably am not used to someone living with me nearly a third of the time. So you better believe I’ve never had reason, cause, or practice to give away a drawer or a shelf for a man to use as his own. The strangest part of all is, I actually really love all of it. (I seem to have come a Very Long Way since the girl who went through men in under one month like Brawny paper towels.) None of this actually feelsstrange until I take a mental step back, look at my current life, and assess the Big Picture. Which I did the other day, while simultaneously having a VERY spectacularly large fret about putting all my eggs in one basket and shirts on one shelf and worrying about the possibility of other women fucking my toothbrush-and-towel present reality over. And so I did something when the opportunity arose after he left that I’m not very proud of, at all, and took my last deep breath of sanity, and momentarily dove off the deep end. I freaked.

I knew it was wrong. I knew what I was doing was like stealing, or at very least, breaking and entering, even though the metaphorical doors were already unlocked for me and I didn’t touch anything; didn’t open any Pandora boxes. All I had to do was use the two eyes I was born with, but even that, I knew, was too much. I surfaced when I didn’t find anything that I seemed to be looking for— there were no illicit messages, no secret trysts set up, no whiffs of another woman’s perfume or lip gloss smudges. There was nothing of cause for concern. In fact, what I did find made me feel even worse than what I imagined finding something that I was looking for would make me feel: Instead, there I was, my name staring myself right in my face, not erased or replaced— the messages a sane women had written being saved by the man who was doing her right, as she let her inner freak flag fly postal. I felt worse about myself than I have in years. I vowed at that moment to lock the super-freak in me up in the closet and never let her out like that again.

As a silent mea culpa, I cleared away my tank top shelf and consolidated some of my hanging rack for his stuff in my closet —like he had asked for the other night— at 3 in the morning in a “retribution-for-my-wrongs” fit, all while mentally begging for forgiveness, and finally letting him, and trust, into my life…for real. I figure, in my world, giving him a part of my precious clothing space says “I’m sorry; and I’m showing it by proving I love you more than I love my tank top collection” far more than anything else I could ever say or do.



- From SATCG

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February 22, 2011

To the person browsing my other blog looking for porn, I really want to be like, “Hey Al, buddy. Do you really think it’s a good idea to customize your iPad with your name and then go searching for college girl porn on sites that use tracking data?” But I think that may be an invasion of privacy, though whose— his or mine— I don’t know. Hysterical to think about, all the same. Stupid people fascinate me.

Would you do it?


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February 23, 2011

Should We WANT To Lose Ourselves?

We all know the sayings: Lose yourself in the moment. Lose yourself in your work. Lose yourself to find yourself again. But should we want to lose ourselves in the first place? Lately, I’ve been wondering what good can come from losing oneself. I hate that moment in a relationship when you suddenly realize that you’re not happy being alone anymore, or, at the very least, have come to expect that someone else will be around to entertain you. And when that’s not the case, then that thought becomes an obsession, and it’s like you’re suddenly a half of a Siamese twin severed, who feels like they’ve lost their identity, or what was special about them. In many way, identity theft may be kinder than the moment in which you find yourself realizing you’re losing yourself, or, at least, losing the things that used to make up your life or define you as an individual or Single Person.

The existential crisis started around 56 hours ago (and counting). Thursday morning, I was woken up by a text from TGIS, and we continued correspondence from afar until about 5 o’clock that night, after which, I haven’t heard from him since. (Granted, I haven’t been trying very hard, but that’s because A.) I’m under the severe impression it’s just better not to nag, and B.) I’ve always thought it gives you a better symptom of your relationship to see when he finally gets back around to you.) One day was fine. But when I woke up this morning, I felt odd, disoriented. And that’s when I realized it was because I’m so used to waking up beside someone. Noon came, and I found myself still in bed, because no requests for brunch out had been made. By this evening, I was in full-out obsession mode about not only the state of my affair, but also, about what the FUCK I was supposed to do with myself and all this free time that had suddenly (and unwelcomely) been found on my hands. So while I may not be neuros-ing about it all over him, I found an outlet for it elsewhere: With my girl friends. Obviously. Because some things never change, even if your established weekend routine suddenly does.

I’m in my twenties. I’m so close to having my Bachelor’s Degree in hand I can almost feel it; I paid for the insanely expensive and insanely luxurious Ralph Lauren sheets on my bed myself; I’m paying down my credit card; and I’m giving a presentation at a national writer’s convention in Boston in March. My life is pretty fabulous, and yet, all it takes is two day’s worth of silence, and I find myself acting like I’m 16 again, trying to occupy myself by making a list of things to do with items like “Wash dishes,” “Moisturize entire body,” “Watch a ‘thinking’ documentary to try to get my mind off of ‘thinking’ about the fact it is a weekend and I don’t believe it without another person here: Sexual Intelligence; Wild China; Food, Inc.; or Prehistoric Predators, Season 1,” “Find some way to make a palatable drink with Skyy vodka, the dregs of orange juice, whipped cream that’s lost it’s whip, and anything else in the fridge, all while really just wanting a nice glass (or bottle) of wine,” and “Try not to ‘wine’ anymore.” It made me wonder: Do our lives really still revolve around boys?

Once upon a time back in sophomore year of college, my mother thought my friend Madison was secretly my lesbian lover. I can see why she might have thought that— we spend an uncomfortable amount of time talking to each other. Mostly, I think, it’s because we usually have equal levels of confusion in our lives, and think about things similarly. So it was Madison I turned to when asking, “Why do I always panic like this if I don’t hear back from a guy for like, I’m not shitting you, two days? I mean, it’s TWO DAYS. My sane self knows this. However, my relationship self is going mental. What I want to know is, why do I FREAK out?”

And then Madison said something very true, yet not very heartening at all: “Because you haven’t had good luck with similar situations in the past.”

Touché, my dear, and good fucking lord, there is no hope— I’m done for.
I am not the only one who seems to be wondering about the ramifications of losing yourself for someone else. Madison has her own issues, too. “The problem is that I’ve always known that [I was letting him use me like a doormat]. I just kind of let it happen. And that’s not me at all. And that’s why I’m ashamed.”

And that’s when I hit my epiphany in our conversation: “Secretly, I think we’re all ashamed at things we do in relationships or non-relationships with other people. Look at me— I’ve forgotton how to be ok with being suddenly alone. I think there’s something about wanting to be with another person that makes us crazy and makes us forget and sacrifice parts of ourselves because we want something else SO MUCH.”

It’s all so terribly ironic, because as I was driving home on Wednesday night after bringing TGIS back to his hometown, I was smugly reminiscing on this relationship versus past relationships, thinking to myself how you can be the person you’re supposed to be and want to be when you’re with the right person. Give me 56 hours of silence, and I’m still the confused little mess I was a year ago, give or take a different man, situation, and a few relevant learning curves. Look how far I’ve gotten on the road map to finding myself.


So what about you? How have you learned not to lose yourself, or how to occupy yourself when you’d rather be doing something with someone else? Do you think that we’re more willing to sacrifice parts of our lives and our selves if the payback of having the love of someone else is an option?


- From SATCG

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