Thanks for the memories, Bonne Bell.

1 Feb bonne bell lip smacker strawberry cheesecake

It’s fourth grade and I’m sitting in class at my hellhole of a Catholic elementary school. I open up my pencil case and smile. I have a secret. I am a rebel. I have lip gloss in the form of a Lip Smackers Raspberry Spritz Lip Sparkler in there even though makeup is totally verboten.

The tube itself is a little sad – the poor thing has been through a lot. It leaked a few times, so the outside is sticky and covered in a metallic grey film from rubbing against the broken pieces of graphite rolling around from my automatic pencils. Covertly putting it in my pocket, I head to the bathroom to reapply. Fuck makeup bans… I have like ten more of these at home, anyway, and I dare those nasty teachers to even TRY to stop me.

After hearing the news that Bonne Bell is shutting down all production in the United States yesterday, I felt as if I was losing a close friend. B one of the first to make fun flavored products for young girls and teens. They started a revolution – just look at how many different variations of lip products we have now! It brings back so many memories of just how much these products were a part of my life.

lip smackers, bonne bell

Goodnight, sweet princess.

When I graduated from college, I decided to move to the west side of Cleveland in a wonderful town called Lakewood. As I was driving around one day, I almost got in an accident. I had found the Bonne Bell headquarters. I immediately ran home, pulled open my makeup drawer and grabbed the first Smacker I could find. Sure enough, it said Lakewood, OH right on the label. I think I almost cried when I realized that my twelve year-old self would have NEVER in a million years guessed that she would one day live so close to where her favorite product had originated.

Do you remember all the seasonal tins they would come out with? How about Lip Lix, the more ‘grown up’ balms that were tinted and just as delicious as their more adolescent Lip Smackers counterparts? And does anyone remember what they were like BEFORE they started putting colorful labels on them? I sure do. How about the necklaces they used to make where you could switch your favorite glosses in and out? What about Sun Smackers, the sporty SPF versions that almost every lifeguard in the 90s had dangling around their necks at the local pools?

sun smackers lip smackers

I wish I could say I did research before writing this article, but I didn’t… I have so much love for these products, so many memories, so many damn tubes of them that I just can’t find it in my heart to say goodbye. Even though I’ve ventured on to better balms – ones without the cloying fake scents and excessive glossiness – hearing this news gave me the opportunity to do something that I think I would have felt guilty doing before if circumstances weren’t so dire: I bought every Smacker I could find on the Target shelves today and I didn’t regret it one bit. For now, they will stay in my makeup drawer with their packaging intact and their bright colors and fun scents untouched by my hands… hands that are much older, perhaps a little more wiser, but nonetheless the same hands that held so many of these in my tiny palms throughout the 90s and my Dr. Pepper and bubblegum-scented childhood.

Spinning Out of Control

15 Feb

What’s happening to me now is what I imagine hell must be like. I’m sitting on a bike going nowhere, doing ten seconds of intense peddling, ten seconds of rest, ten seconds of intense peddling, ten seconds of rest, to a modified version of Ke$ha’s “Timber” in which the already annoying refrain is being repeated over and over and over again. I’m sweating. I’m almost hyperventilating. I’m spinning.

When I first heard about spinning classes, I had a mental image of women pirouetting in a ballet room as some sort of latest-hype exercise. I had been going on the stationary bikes at my gym for a few months now and, after learning the truth about what spinning really is a few years prior, I figured that it would probably be a good idea to actually partake in some of the fitness classes that had tempted me enough into buying a gym membership in the first place.

I used to be really shy about being the new person in any type of fitness class. After practicing yoga in college, however, I learned the benefits of telling instructors when you were new. Pretending that you know the basics of yoga only to start off doing them completely wrong can build bad habits and even hurt your body. Equipped with that knowledge, I walked into the spinning room, sat down on a bike in the very back next to another girl, and immediately raised my hand when the instructor walked in.

I explained to the instructor that I was new to spinning and asked his recommendation on what height I should set my bike seat at. This man, after correctly guessing that I was 5’9, adjusted my seat so incredibly high that I was practically towering over the other bikers settling into the room. It felt pretty odd, but he insisted that it was the perfect height for my long legs. Whatever, not the first time that I’ve felt uncomfortable in a fitness situation (not sure what I mean? Talk to any person who was nerdy in high school).

spinning class

I settled into my seat and immediately started scoping out the other attendees. The girl next to me was the only young person besides me there – everyone else was in their forties and fifties and seemed in very good shape. To my amazement, some people were actually already powering away on their bikes even though the class was ten minutes away from starting! I spent the next few minutes talking to the girl next to me, learning that this was her first class at the gym and her first spinning class since college. Good, I thought, we can completely suffer through this together.

Then the fun began. The lights dimmed, the fake traffic light in the room lit up, and the instructor put on a microphone and started up his playlist.

The first ten minutes or so were great. I was here biking, doing my thing, enjoying the upbeat music and mentally patting myself on the back for remembering to bring a bottle of Gatorade and a sweat towel.

“Okay everyone, the next minute is going to be thirty seconds standing up, thirty seconds sitting down. Let’s go!”

I realized this meant that I actually had to stand up on what was already an extremely elevated bike seat and continue peddling in a standing position. I instantly knew it was going to hurt very, very much.

So here I am, standing up and peddling, watching the pros do it like it wasn’t a big deal at all. After about five seconds, I realize that my legs can’t take it anymore. I try to sit back down, only to realize the true meaning of the word ‘spinning’ – the bike peddles will literally continue spinning because they are tied to weights. As I try to lower myself down, I feel my legs completely fly out of the grips, and I hold on for dear life as my body almost falls off the seat. The peddles are spinning at the speed of light, and I wait until they slow down to place my feet in them again.

This exact scenario repeats itself four more times, and I’m too terrified to even look at the instructor because I’m pretty sure he’s laughing.

Meanwhile, the pros in this class put my already embarrassed self to shame: they aren’t breaking a sweat, they are actually smiling, which is horrific given the situation, and one of the men is even clapping his hands in the air as he is riding like a steroid-pumped seal.


Thirty minutes go by and I realize that it’s probably best to just forget the whole standing up thing. Before I know it, the instructor has hopped down from his bike at the front of the room and is tightening the grips on my feet. The grips had adjustors. Instructors, these are probably things you should tell first-timers at spinning so we don’t find ourselves practically spread-eagle on a bike with the peddles spinning out of control. Just, you know, putting that out there.

The rest of the class is comprised of me staring at the clock and trying to remind myself that I’m not having a heart attack. My heart feels like it is beating so incredibly fast that it’s going to pop out of my chest. My mouth tastes like bile. My legs feel like they will never, ever walk again. I am never bitching about doing chair poses in yoga again, I said to myself. I’d take that pain over spinning any day.

Amazingly, I made it through the entire hour and biked a total of 15.50 miles – that’s two more miles than it takes for me to drive to work every morning. The instructor walked up to me and asked how I liked the class, and I told him that I both loved him and hated him at the same time for putting me through that, to which he nodded sagely.

All in all, my first spinning class was slightly nerve-wracking and, like most things I do, didn’t go exactly right. The whole experience was really enjoyable, though, because I realized how far I’ve come. I used to actually cry about embarrassing sports-related situations like that in gym classes when I was younger, and I never felt confident in my ability to challenge my body. Now, I know that I’m able to try new things that I would have probably had panic attacks over during my elementary school gym days.

I walked out of the gym sweat-soaked and completely exhausted. Walking right next to me was the girl in my class, and we spent a few minutes talking to each other about when we joined the gym, what we did for work, what schools we went to, etc. She asked if I would come back and do more classes and, despite everything that happened, I said yes. And that’s the best thing about gyms, really – for a girl who dreaded P.E. all her life, my gym has some of the nicest, most supportive people. I wish I could have told my fifth grade self that pushing your physical boundaries shouldn’t be embarrassing, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be perfect . No matter how retarded you look, there will always be someone there to cheer you on. And that, to me, proves that this world really does spin in the right direction.

I Sleep With a Pistol

5 Jan



My cat Charlie stopped being a lap cat when he came out of his kitten stage. I’m lucky if I get to pet him now without him running away. I call him my little sailor — he spends his days licking at our bathtub or dipping his paws into the water collecting when I wash my face, and I can hear the clink! clink! of him licking at the metal part of the faucet all day. He walks around with the back of his head all spiked up like a punk rocker, wet to the touch. He’s a rebel. He’s interested in things that others like him aren’t. In other words, he’s like his mommy. 

One of my significant other’s two cats, Pistol, has become my new lap cat. He is fat, soft, and a beautiful shade of bluish grey. He cries and bangs at our bedroom door if he can’t get in to sleep with me so, much to the protest of my S.O., our bed has gone from being divided in half to divided in thirds. His chubby body holds the covers down and blocks me from pulling them over to my side, he spreads his paws on my face and arms and even tries licking them the entire night, but I happily allow him to take up space and overheat our bed.When his little bladder can’t hold itself any longer, he scratches at the door again, goes out to have a snack and visit the litter box, and then comes right back in bed. 

Pistol snores all day, even when he’s awake. They don’t sound like the snores of a dog or a person, but instead they are tiny little whistles and bubbling noises that remind me of the sound of coffee being made in the morning. It was that sound — that sound that so many classify as one of the best sounds in the world — that drew me to him in the first place.

So many people sleep with guns in their bedrooms because their minds are wired to be scared, paranoid or anxious. What’s wrong with me sleeping with a Pistol, then? While I sleep and have more and more terrible dreams, dreams of tsunamis and missing school deadlines and getting cornered by men in alleyways, my Pistol is there whistling his tune of love and positivity. 






I Don’t Care About Your Goshdarn Wedding

1 Oct

Sparkles. Surprises. Magic. No, I’m not talking about the life of Disney Princesses, I’m talking about the moment that so many women dream of: engagement.

I’m turning twenty-five in a few months and I’ve only been to two friends’ weddings so far, but I am already absolutely SICK of hearing about rings, venues, flowers, suits, dresses, everything wedding-related. A lot of women would not say this out loud (but I bet some of you are silently nodding your heads in agreement), so I’ll go ahead and be the martyr: I don’t give a goshdarn hoot about your engagement or wedding unless you are one of my close friends.


No, I don’t want to read a 800-character blog post about your engagement day and how you spent the night clinking champagne in flutes from Pier 1 (and omg, you’re going to register there, right?) or how you’ve secretly had your wedding planned a year in advance thanks to your “One Day…” private Pinterest board. I am not happy for you unless I’ve seen you at your worst and best, I know everything about you and I am close with you. Then, and only then, can I truly be happy for an engaged woman.

This has nothing to do with jealousy. In fact, I have never — not even once — dreamt about my future wedding day. I could care less. It takes enough effort for me to decorate my work cubicle, let alone a wedding hall. Instead, there are two things that rub me the wrong way with weddings these days:

1. The money

2. The need to spend excess money and show off thanks to social media, which has turned us all into self-absorbed idiots.

Let’s go a bit more in-depth.


Guess what? Our economy is still crap. Heck, we just had a government shutdown. Despite the fact that many twenty-somethings don’t make even close to what their parents would have made in the same position several decades ago, and despite the fact that we all have huge loans that we can’t pay off with our entry-level jobs, we still find it acceptable to plan $15,000 weddings. Maybe I’m just a frugal old man deep inside, but I can’t justify spending that much money on anything, even if you “get a lot of it back in gifts.” I really applaud couples who wait a year and a half or two years to get married and save money together. But, at the same time, that money could be spent on a future house, a car that really is getting old, retirement money, who knows. It’s just So. Much. Money.

Social Media is Destroying Our Life Events

I recently came across this amazing article which basically outlines the true underlying reasons of why we all go on social media. Spoiler: none of it is good. We are becoming self-obsessed, anti-social bragaholics who go online to get gratification for our lives and “prove” to other people that we are a fully functioning and enviable member of society. It’s ridiculous! Engagements and weddings are probably the most magnified life events on social media sites. From close-up shots of the ring to constant status updates about wedding planning, it is no wonder that so many women feel that they are almost doing something wrong because THEY don’t have those statuses yet. The same can be said for posts about new jobs, pregnancies or even new cars. Social media, Facebook in particular, isn’t a place where people are real. Instead, it’s where the best version of everyone lives, and sometimes that version is embellished.

Engagements are special because you are making a promise to marry the love of your life. Weddings are special because you are promising to love that person, for better or for worse, until you both take your last breath. THAT is the beauty of weddings, and that beauty can’t be shown through a $15,000 wedding, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s an event that is for two people… for their lives… for their future together. That’s it. No dollar amount is going to make a marriage better or worse and, if you ask me, starting off a marriage in debt from the ring/main event is no good way to start a life together.

Am I crazy? Does anyone else agree?

Grinding Off More Than I Can Chew

28 May

“Well, I’m done talking for the night,” I say. I reach over and use both of my hands to pry open a massive light blue box and cram my brand new night guard into my mouth.

“You’re what?” My boyfriend asks, completely aware of what I am doing and being his bratty self.

“I’m done thalling thor the nigh,” I reply, hoping that at least some of the spit from my lisping flies in his general direction. That’s what he gets.

This will be me for the rest of my life, I’ve realized. Well, unless I stop grinding and clicking my teeth every night. “This is how your body takes out stress,” my dentist says while batting her long eyelashes in mock sympathy as she hands me my new guard, “You need to wear this every night. Your problem is never going to go away completely, but we need to protect your teeth and your jaw for when you get older.” Great.

teeth grinding, someecards

After seven months of not wearing my previous guard – which did absolutely nothing except gain awful dent marks in it and acquire a sickly yellow hue that made me not only unable to close my mouth at night but also gave me a terrible mental image of the open-mouth, hillbilly yellow-looking teeth I must have as I sleep – to bed when I wasn’t alone, I realized that the constant jaw aches and headaches and overall awfulness wasn’t worth it anymore. I put my vanity aside for the better of my teeth. Now I know how Tina Fey’s character in Date Night feels (please, just humor me and watch the first five seconds of the trailer).

Wearing night guards for grinding isn’t that uncommon. A lot of people, the smart people, wear them to protect their teeth from cracking and their jaws from constant pain, and I would really love to be invited to some support group where we can all click our teeth together in harmony or something so I don’t feel like such an idiot. The fact is that the stress that I felt when I originally started grinding, back in sophomore year, hasn’t gone away and has been replaced by the stress of student loans, rent, a full time entry-level job, finding time and energy to exercise and maintaining a non-bitchy demeanor in front of the ones that I love. It means that I am literally biting and grinding out my anger, frustration, anxiety and helplessness instead of just being an alcoholic or druggie, which I would prefer because at least it seems a little cooler than being a ‘grinder.’

Grinder. Might as well place my jaw next to the peppercorn and parmesan cheese at Olive Garden.

I’ll stop complaining, though. Besides my grinding, acne and heartburn, three ailments that make me both prepubescent and a senior citizen all at once, I am a relatively healthy girl who has had a pretty damn good life. What I seem to struggle with more than actually wearing this guard is my fear that this will somehow make me less attractive, less normal, less simple. These petty fears embarrass me because I realize that I have placed vanity and trying to fit in over comfort and preventative care. It makes me sad because I think of all of the people who live in pain every day because they don’t want others to see that they are vulnerable or imperfect. Heck, just thinking about it makes me clench my jaw in distress.

lebron james mouth guard seems stupid...

No, I will take my new night guard-wearing, teeth clicking and bumping and grinding self into my arms. I will learn to count the indents on the piece of plastic as enthusiastically as an environmentalist counts the rings on a tree stump. I will wear it, damnit, even when it makes me feel like the least sexy person in the world. I will scrub it and protect it like the finest of gems. I will learn to be vulnerable and to take care of myself instead of putting what I think others expect of me first. Perhaps, like Dorothy, enough clicks together will help get me to where I really want to be. 

Graduating Again

25 Apr


I’m walking back to my car after a night of seeing my friend who will be graduating from the college that I attended two years ago. It’s raining and I’m running through the tiled area near the business school, and I notice that the tiles I’m running on aren’t loose and moving around under my feet like they used to. I’m surprised at the sense of security I feel even though I know that one wrong step could probably leave me tripping. I stop and walk up to the shrine of the Virgin Mary illuminated by candles, protected somehow by the intense wind and rain, and I stare at her. I wonder, if I stay and stare long enough, if she’ll turn to me and start telling me where to go.

Not where to go in the sense of how to find my car. I know where that is, of course. No – what I want, what I’m asking out of this inanimate religious statue — is to tell me what it is that my college experience meant and whether I’m doing the right thing with my life. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a common event for melancholic recent graduates such as myself. Maybe.

An hour before my awkward staredown with Mary, my friend is walking me through the halls of the buildings pointing out the new additions that have come about since my graduation. “We have recycling centers everywhere now,” she told me, “and there’s even a new free trade, student-run smoothie café!” She took me to a photography exhibit – something that my school never had before – and she even mentioned that my former marketing professors still remember me when she brings me up. My friend is a social butterfly, and we are interrupted quite frequently on our journey from building to building. When I am introduced, each student vigorously shakes my hand and gives me a genuine smiled. I am in complete shock, not only regarding the changes to the buildings, but to the changes that I see within the students that now go to my former university. Has my mindset changed, I wondered, or has this place finally turned into a school that welcomes people other than rich snobs?

I had specifically asked my friend to walk around the campus with me because I feel that it is important to return to places that were once important in your life. It’s easy to point to an old school or place of employment from far away – you can spew out as many I remember when…’s from that distance because it is safe. It’s the same as looking at a photo of a distant relative and actually hugging them in real life: there has to be that physical aspect to truly bring all of the memories and emotions together. For me, I felt an urgency to walk through the halls of the business school and to smell the familiar smells of the cafeteria, old books and incense from outside the chapel in the student center. I wanted to go down the same flight of stairs that I went down so many times, knowing that I could never had predicted what my life would be like if I were to go down them again two years later. As I was doing all of this, I felt like I was visiting a very old friend; a friend who gave me shelter, gave me an education and taught me how to be the person that I am today.

College was, as it is for many, a time of stress, uncertainty and exhilaration. I associated my school with a lot of negative feelings simply because I never felt like I belonged that well. Going back and knowing what I know now, I feel differently. I think that the biggest lesson that I learned from all of this is that situations are never as bad as what they seem. I learned that the things that I took for granted and often was waiting to run away from were actually things that I deeply appreciate now. I realized that life is not worth living if you can’t do something like this – if you can’t measure the steps that you’ve taken in the giant circle that we all will walk in life. When we come back to those places and we realize the good that we never saw before, it is because we didn’t have the capacity to appreciate it at other points in our life before. By recognizing this, we learn to be more cognizant of our lives as we are living them.

Growing up a Catholic, one hears many stories of God or the Virgin Mary popping up out of nowhere to bring important messages to others. Although I don’t practice the religion much anymore, there’s still a small part of me that wonders if something extraordinary like that could happen to me. Staring at the statue that night, I think that a part of me wanted it to happen. When you’re in your mid-twenties, you’ll take any shred of hope that you have that someone, somewhere, will lead you and your heart down the right direction. I think that I finally got that from the statue last night. It was told directly to my heart, not out loud, and unlike the reverberant booms of a graduation speech against auditorium walls, I discovered that the most potent messages are always silent in their clarity.

Online Dating At Its Worst and Best (…and my advice to those seeking love on free dating sites)

10 Mar

I want to preface this entire post by saying that I am in no way, shape or form an expert in online dating or dating in general, for that matter. I feel, however, that I truly have experienced the best and worst of online dating in the past year, and I hope that these experiences can help others who may be in the same situation or who are exploring online dating for the first time.

The Worst

A year after I had ended an awful two-year relationship, I met a man — we’ll just call him X — on a start-up online dating site. I actually wasn’t out looking for anything at that point, I simply enjoyed talking to him because he was from the Netherlands and I’m sucker for learning more about other cultures. A few months went by and we admitted that we both liked each other a lot but obviously the whole long-distance thing was a bad idea. Even with that said, we still continued to Skype once a week for a few hours. Fast forward to a year (yes, a year) later: I have stopped talking to X a couple of times because, deep down, I knew that it was unhealthy. Despite all of this, he kept coming back and telling me that he missed me. In June of 2012, he told me that he loved me. He was drunk when he did it, and I knew that this wasn’t the way I wanted anything in my life to be. We agreed that we wouldn’t date anyone else until we had met, and we made plans for him to come see me in dating

Before I go any further, I want to outline some characteristics of X that I knew were bad but had dismissed because I thought that I was being paranoid:

– He was a partier, good looking and very cocky

– He spoke of having sex with multiple women and even kissing a girl who was in a relationship with someone else at the time.

– He lived with his grandparents and didn’t have a real job (he dropped out of law school). Instead, he kept in touch with all of his international friends and pretty much visited them and got free places to crash all of the time. In a way, I felt like he was using these people.

– The only time he ever said he loved me, or said anything romantic, was when he was drunk.

– He wanted me to fly to him even though I was the one who had a stable job and had never flown overseas before. He said that where I lived seemed boring with nothing to do, and he used that as a way to keep pressuring me to come see a city (Amsterdam) that was actually cool.

Even with all of these signs, I had strong feelings for this man. My family was extremely concerned about me, and they had the right to be, but I defended him. I had a feeling that he was lying about being faithful to me, and so I did go on dates with other men but didn’t tell him about it… I never was serious about any of the men, though, and I did it more to have the “upper hand” if I ever found out that he was lying to me.

In August, I noticed that his relationship status on Facebook had disappeared. Around the same time, he “accidentally” deleted me as a friend and then added me back. A few weeks after this, I randomly clicked on one of the girls who had liked a picture of him only to find that her public profile said that she was in a relationship with X.

Suddenly, I figured it out: he had defriended me so that he had time to hide his relationship status from me. I found out that he had been dating this girl for several months, and I told him to never speak to me again.

I can’t express the feelings of anger, embarrassment and shock that I felt about this entire situation. He most likely would have continued to lead me on and I would have spent who knows how many months delaying my OWN search for love because of this man. That, more than anything, was the crux of my anger.

After this experience, I want to stress that long distance relationships do not work if you meet online first. I’m sorry, but the odds are seriously against you. I would never, ever recommend the experience that I had to anyone, and I would advise extreme caution to anyone who is taking this route. Yes, I have heard of success stories, but they are few and far between. In addition to this, I want other online daters to know that this can happen even if you are talking to someone locally. Ignore any person who takes forever to make plans with you, seems like he is playing around or just gives you an “off” feeling. I can’t tell you how many times my gut was telling me to walk away, and you need to trust that gut feeling even if you think that you are crazy.

This situation caused me a lot of pain and anger, and it was only because of this that I decided to get back into online dating SERIOUSLY this time. I made a profile on Plenty Of Fish and OKCupid, and I got to work on finding a man who truly was going to treat me right. For some of us, myself included, you need to get angry before you get happy. Never let a bad experience or relationship cause you to retreat from finding love. Instead, get pissed off about it — only then will you truly put your heart and soul out there and become determined to make your life better. Just make sure that you are in it for the right reasons, and not for revenge or attention.

The Best

After becoming very angry at my awful situation with X, I met a man on OKCupid about a week later. Apart from loving to travel, this man and I didn’t really have that much in common. He had cats, though, so we talked a lot about that. This man insisted on calling me, kept in constant contact with me and planned very nice dates. Even after the third date, I was struggling to find things to talk to him about. On top of this, I discovered that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend of five years and that they had been engaged. I was outraged, I told him that I refused to be a rebound, and I seriously considered dropping him every time I talked to him. My co-worker, who had met her fiance online, told me to not give up and to give him a chance. “Everyone finds out what they want at different points in their lives,” she told me. 

This man asked if I wanted to be exclusive after our third date. I told him no. I went on two more dates with him and he asked me again, and this time I said yes. It took me about five or six dates to really start learning about this man, understanding his personality and finding things to talk about. Every single part of this process was painful, and I really took a HUGE leap of faith with him.

Fast forward six months later. This man has turned out to be the perfect partner I could ever ask for. I found that dating someone who wasn’t similar to me in personality meant that there was more to share and discover with each other. Once we became comfortable around each other, we were able to truly act like ourselves and I found that I absolutely loved the man that he really was, not the person he had initially acted like when we first started dating. He was kind and patient about my insecurities with his ex. What at first was a very shaky beginning turned into something absolutely wonderful over time, and it’s all because I knew deep down that what I was doing before I met him, and the men I was selecting before him, were obviously not working out. If you feel that you’re in a similar situation, I dare you to date someone that is a complete opposite of you. It’s probably the best decision that I ever made.

Online dating is, as I like to say, the best boot camp that you’ll ever experience on the path to finding love. By taking leaps of faith and by being patient and open, you can become very, very hurt by people, but you can also find love. I personally think that you have to experience the bad to find the good, and this was definitely my case with online dating.

Am I protected against getting hurt down the road? Definitely not. None of us, even the ones who meet people offline, are ever truly safe. We are all going to get hurt. It’s how we deal with this pain, and what we channel that energy into, that really determines what is going to happen. Ultimately, you have the power to determine all of this  because 99% percent of life is showing up, and how you deal with that 99% is going to shape what your life will be like. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “The most successful people in life recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.” If I hadn’t met X and gone through that entire situation, I would have never gotten angry enough to truly go out and find what I knew I deserved. If I hadn’t been hurt, I would have never learned how to identify men who are unfaithful. If I would have never been open about my feelings to X and truly put my heart out there in a way I had never done before, I know that I would never have been able to open up to the man that I’m now in a relationship with as much simply because I used to keep my emotions very closed off. I really would encourage everyone to take the worst of online dating and channel that negativity in a way that you can also find online dating at its best.

When dating anyone online, you should:

– State exactly what you are looking for on your profile. Looking for hookups? Be honest about it. Looking for a serious, long-term relationship? Let everyone know. Put your personality into your profile and have at least two close friends read it. Ask them if it accurately describes you and, if not, what to change. Be sure to give your profile a good proofing, too. 

– Talk online to someone for a week, talk on the phone for a week and then you should be having your first date somewhere in this time frame. I don’t give a crap if you don’t like talking on the phone. Guess what? If you want to date someone, you need to find out if you can communicate well with that person. Suck it up, call them, and figure it out as fast as you can. If they do not suggest a date after this time frame, move on.

– Do not stop going on dates with others until you are exclusive with the person. I can guarantee that they are not focusing on one person at a time, and neither should you. Dating, online dating in particular, is about going through many dates with people and using that knowledge to determine what you’re truly looking for.

– Do not have sex with anyone you meet online, or anywhere really, until you are exclusive. I’m very traditional in this sense, and it really does weed out people quickly. Get rid of anyone who pressures you.

– Get used to the fact that online dating is a very fast-paced process. You may feel that you have nothing to talk about with the person, and that’s true because, um, you just met the person. This is the number one thing I struggled with in online dating because I was used to meeting and dating men by getting to know them in real life as friends first.

– Have a three date minimum. Would you like someone to judge and dismiss you after meeting you once? Give someone a chance enough to see them three times, and then make your decision to keep going or not.

– Keep trying. Online dating, just like dating in real life, is pretty much all down to chance. The more you put yourself out there, and the more duds you meet, the more you will learn about what you’re truly looking for. This is pretty much the best reward you can get out of going on a lot of awful dates. It also makes you a total pro at first dates and the art of conversing with someone you barely know.

Please feel free to comment or send me messages if you would like to ask questions about my experiences in online dating, long-distance dating or even if you have questions about how to make the perfect profile. I’d love to somehow use what I’ve gone through in a way that will help others to hopefully find love, too.

I Really, Really Like “Girls”

21 Jan

As a twenty-something girl who can barely maintain a blog, hasn’t had anything published since college and can’t take time out of the day to even read and subsequently gush about The Fountainhead anymore, I am supposed to hate twenty-six year-old Lena Dunham, who is now an award-winning writer, producer and actress of her smash TV show “Girls.” I don’t hate Lena, though. In fact, I kind of want to be her friend.

hannah horvath, lena dunham, hbo series girls

I won’t pretend that I was a “Girls” fan from the offset. I saw a preview for it a few weeks before the pilot aired, and it seemed like that horrible mix of awkward comedy, hipster quips and drug-fueled party scenes that tend to send me running in the other direction. I heard about the show winning a Golden Globe, I watched Lena give her speech and I immediately went to HBO Go to start watching the series from the beginning. A week and twelve episodes later, I found myself listing the many reasons why I love and identify with “Girls” while taking a shower today (seriously, I can never turn my brain off). I’m sure that a lot of amazing reviews have been done for this show, and I really don’t give a hoot. Here it is, WordPress – enjoy your millionth “Reasons Why I Love ‘Girls’” blog post. I’m not sorry.

Why Do I Love “Girls”?

It is the Only TV Show Set in New York That Doesn’t Make Me Insanely Jealous that I Don’t Live in New York

Lena has admitted that “Girls” is very much a “Sex and the City” for twenty-somethings. While this is somewhat true, there are many deviations, one being the fact that the four girls in Lena’s show are not partaking in the quintessential New York life – think brunch in fancy restaurants, shoe shopping, eating ice cream (or jogging, or hitting on hot men with cute dogs) in Central Park, partying in night clubs where they always cut to the front of the line and hot sex with millionaires. Instead, the show touches upon the economy and receiving money from their parents just to get by, the girls’ inabilities to pay rent or even find decent jobs despite their college degrees, sleeping with men who are most likely sociopaths and panicking over STD tests and pregnancy scares. The party scenes are few and actually play a part in the story or development of characters, and the clothing is less Prada and more Goodwill.

It is Unapologetic

Did you ever think you’d see a show where a man is lying on a bed asking Lena’s character, Hannah, to urinate into a pot because he’s too lazy (sorry, “in pain”) to get out of bed? How about watching a girl struggle to pull down her tights as she’s attempting to have sex with her super weird boyfriend-that-isn’t-really-a-boyfriend? This show is full of awkward, weird scenes that I’m sure many people find uncomfortable. The reason why they are uncomfortable is because they remind us, whether we are in our twenties or not, that we all do really stupid things when we are young and that the mid-twenties are less about confidence and more about trying to hide your anxiety. The show portrays both sides of the relationship spectrum for twenty-somethings: the hookup culture and “comfort” relationships that stemmed in college and have fizzled out but stayed intact due to being a security blanket. Neither situation, as the show points out, is a happy one. As Hannah says, “I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.”

It Has a “Real” Woman

One of my favorite shows right now simply because it proudly shows a woman who would be considered overweight by Hollywood’s standards is “The Mindy Project.” I absolutely love Mindy Kahling and think her confidence and figure are gorgeous. I didn’t know of any other shows that featured a healthy-sized woman until I started watching “Girls.” As many reviews say, Lena’s character continues to be naked in the show in a way that makes you wonder if the entire point is not for her to be naked, but to teach viewers a lesson. Her body is not toned, skinny or tattoo-free, and her hair is barely done nicely on most days, and this gives “Girls” a raw and refreshing feel. I really commend Lena Dunham for showing the unpolished, real side of everyday women. I think it may be the only “girly” show I’ve watched where I haven’t felt ugly, fat and without nice designer clothes. It’s real; it’s not selling sex, makeup and clothing and I would support the show on this fact alone, even if the writing was awful.

Men Aren’t the Saviors

I am not sure if Lena Dunham is a feminist, but her show definitely has some feminist overtones. Every man introduced on the show, whether it is Hannah’s father, her so-called boyfriend or the man Marnie is dating is there to let us as the audience make judgment calls on exactly what is considered a healthy relationship for a twenty-something woman. Is the man-child who has temper issues, is disgustingly lazy and belittles women unless they are there for sex considered a good person to date? What about the man who loves his girlfriend so much and is so sweet and emotional that he actually turns the girl off? What about the young man who doesn’t “do” virgins and rejects the girl who tells him she is one? “Girls” doesn’t point fingers or show which men are right, wrong, perfect or crazy. Instead, nothing is said – in fact, the audience knows that Hannah is in a very unhealthy relationship much, much quicker that she herself realizes in the show.

“Girls” is probably one of the best shows I’ve ever watched, and it’s not because it’s well-written, has great actors and is original. It is because it is the only fictional show I have ever seen on television that lets young women feel okay about the changes, struggles and situations that they are going through. It is the only show where I’ve laughed not because a scene is funny, but because I never once thought that other girls had gone through things that I have. That validation is worth its weight in gold, or maybe just worth paying extra for HBO. 

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