My Dearest Katharine…

My workplace is limiting my email storage so I’ve been forced to look at emails I wrote back in the day.  It’s fun to see how unprofessional I was when I was a wee little Kate, making my foray into the business world.  Like the time I used 17 exclamation points in one message.  That was really cool.  I’m sure the Vice President who got my three-paragraph thank you email about lunch thought that was really cute.  But I digress. It was during this clean-up that I came across a rather large group of emails from my last boyfriend in ::coughcough2007coughcough::. It would have been weird to go through them, re-read them, re-live my mindset from back then, so I quickly glanced at a couple then did a mass delete and it felt good.  But! I was reminded of something missing in my life.

Where have all the love letters gone?  [When I think these words they are to the tune of that Paula Cole song and it adds a little something.  You should try it.]

We live in an age where the love letter has been replaced with the email or the text message.  While I could use this as a platform to lament the use of the email or the text message, I will not.  You see, I actually like them quite a bit.  As opposed to a letter, they’re something you can get unexpectedly, any time of the day.  That text message I got after a grueling meeting from a date telling me he looks forward to see me tonight?  Yah, I’ll never object to it.

However, it’s the sheer volume of text messages and emails, and the obvious ease of sending them, which makes the love letter special, coveted, and missed.  It says something when your significant other takes the time to pull out the nice paper, the nice pen, and spend the time to come up with the perfect way to describe your golden locks or the way he goes all mushy when you tilt your head just so.


  • Love letters provide the perfect opportunity for you to use your lover’s full name in a way that’s really sexy.  In romance novels, the heroine always notices when the hero uses her first name for the first time.  I don’t know about you, but seeing Katharine on the page would definitely make my lady parts quiver a little bit more than seeing Kate.  And that’s just the first word!  Nicknames are acceptable but I would caution anyone that the love letter is not the place to test out that new “pumpkin cheeks” name you thought of when you saw your loved one bending over in the supermarket aisle to reach for that can of peas.
  • Love letters are an acceptable place to describe that weird quirk about your lover that you never knew how to say in person.  Or maybe shouldn’t say.  Like the fact that in he mornings you like watching his nostrils flare while he’s still sleeping.  You think it’s cute.  But imagine the conversation if you were to say that to his face.  Awkward!  The love letter, instead, lets you express this and avoid the strange look he might give you.  It might then even turn into a blush and he’ll take a certain pride in his schnoz, knowing it gives you so much pleasure.
  • Love letters have an enduring and tangible aspect that just isn’t with an email or a text.  I once found the love letters my dad wrote to my mum.  She keeps them in a box and I have to tell you, I was (still am) impressed with my 12 yr. old self and the fact that I respected their privacy and didn’t read them.  This, coming from the snoop of all snoops (I was a really awesome babysitter but my gawd, such a snoop!  “I wonder what’s in this drawer!”).  Still, it was very romantic and while I don’t know if she ever references them, it’s the idea that she could.  No digging through filed emails or trying to remember that sweet text message from five years ago.  The letters are there, in your hands, always available, and looking more loved and cherished over time.  Someday, your kids might even think they’d be great scrapbook material!  That wouldn’t be embarrassing or anything.

This is not exhaustive, but I hope you get the point.  There should be no objection to the love letter unless your dearest took out a restraining order.  So I encourage you to go forth, put the pen to the page, and resolve to write more love letters in 2012.  The world as we know it is coming to an end so it’s not like you have anything to lose.


Dating And Blogging- A Spinster’s Dilemma.

Dating and Blogging

I am a blogger. And not only that, but I’m a blogger who blogs without censor about my life. So, if you’re a part of my life, i.e. my boyfriend, you’re probably going to get blogged about. So it goes.

When I was single, I joked about how this was going to play out if I ever got into a relationship. You know, directing the boyfriend to a particular blog post about how I didn’t appreciate his snide remark the night before, or writing posts about the size of his penis, or even using my blog as a vehicle to break-up with him, thereby creating the most awkward and ridiculous break-up ever by inviting all my blog followers to comment on the relationship. However, once I got into a relationship (and a pretty spectacular one at that) all I wanted to do was protect him from my blogging. Me, who was so dedicated to the idea of not holding anything back in my blog, was holding something very big (seriously big y’all, he’s 6’4)  and very important back. And not only was I holding him back from my blogging, I was holding my blogging back from him- I refused to let him read my blogs for quite some time. Why? Because my blogging is a whole lot of crazy y’all. A whole lot of over-sharing, awkwardness, muppets, and tampons. And I’ve always been quite proud of that to be honest, and still am, but I was afraid it might be a bit overwhelming for my new (and uber-dreamy) beau.

But I knew that the “each of you in your corners” approach couldn’t last forever. So I fretted about how to handle this blogging/relationship situation. My dilemma was trying to figure out how to make two major parts of my life come together in harmony. Seriously, I stressed and angsted over this for weeks. And of course, like so many things I angst over, the solution came about so simply and naturally that it became incredibly apparent to me that I had angsted for naught. I mentioned, casually, to my boyfriend that if he wanted to he could totally read my blog. He didn’t have to, if he didn’t that would be fine, but you know, if he ever got curious, it would probably be ok. And he did. And he laughed. And he started offering me some killer suggestions for future blog posts. It was as simple and lovely as that.

Also, it helped that I set up some ground rules for myself.

1. No passive agressive blogging. I will not use my blog as a vehicle to complain or chide him.

2. No embarrassing. The only person who deserves to be humiliated by my blog is me.

3. Under no circumstances am I to use my blog to avoid having difficult conversations with him. I have to woman-up and face it if ever the need for a difficult conversation arises. No “blogging out” so to speak.

There you have it folks. That’s how one uncensored and often profane spinster blogger figured out how to be in a relationship and blog at the same time. It probably shouldn’t have taken me so many hours of angst to arrive there but I got there in the end and that’s (probably) what matters.

How To Survive A Solo New Year’s Eve

In less than a week, the ball will drop on 2012. Champagne will be guzzled sipped, confetti will fly, and millions of people across the world will kiss at midnight.

Oh, wait. Doesn’t kissing involve two people? Well, there goes that plan! Since seducing vikings with baked goods hasn’t worked and marathoners around the world are currently burning me in effigy, it appears I will fly solo this New Year’s Eve. This is nothing new. Thanks to a combination of poorly timed break-ups and far flung winter travels, I’ve rarely had a coupled-up, lovestruck stroke of midnight. After twenty-odd years, I’m a pro at holiday singlehood.

It’s harder than it looks. On most holidays, one’s single status is of little bother. Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve is one of the few days that has specific romantic connotations. To be considered a fully functioning adult by Hollywood’s standards, one must have a hot date to a glamorous party and be kissed at the precise year-switching-second by said hot date. Finding oneself down a lip-lock partner has the potential for heaps of awkwardness. No one wants to be that girl standing amidst her couple friends, smiling into space, while waiting for all the canoodling to – please God! – just end already. There is no moment so long or so torturous as this. Luckily, there are strategies to avoid this woeful scene. We will conquer this night together!

How To Survive A Solo New Year’s Eve (Without losing your mind, buzz, or self-respect):

  • Have A Wingman– This strategy was instilled in me at a young age. Every time my siblings or I attended some function, my dad insisted we have a “wingman.” Looking back, I’m pretty sure he just didn’t want us being kidnapped, because he’s paranoid like that, but it’s still good advice. Everything is more fun, when you have someone to laugh about it with. Bring your best single friend along with you. Y’all can point out the people on awkward second dates (a favorite pastime of your very own Spinsters), judge the kissing techniques of your friends and loved ones, and ring in 2012 with two of your favorite people – yourselves! Nothing says Happy New Year! like realizing your friends Jane & Arthur look like two electrified carp when they become romantic.
  • Dance About All Crazy-Like– Hooray! That last dreadful year is over! 2012 is full of possibilities. You could land a book deal, meet Ryan Gosling, and finally see the pink dolphins in the Amazon. It’s going to rock! Why not celebrate with a bit of a drunken happy dance? Who cares if everyone else is being all lovey-dovey? You have things to look forward to! When they’re done, your friends will happily join in. Meanwhile…dance it up, darling!
  • Wear An Excellent Dress– I believe in the power of a good outfit. A sparkly party dress and fun shoes (depending on party, sub with: funny science t-shirt and cute flats) will not only make you feel lovely, but will garner compliments all through the night. When midnight rolls around, you’ll be so high on how awesome you are that The Dreadful Moment Of Unison Tongue Twirling will pass in the blink of an eye. More likely, you’ll be too busy chatting up your new dress-gushing friends to even notice! Just remember: no matter how cute they are, make sure those shoes are comfortable. Yes, those scarlet heels make your legs look 7 feet long. However, no one wants to hobble back to the car shoeless, wishing for band-aids and Advil. That’s how we get tetanus, lieblings.
  • Find A Handsome Stranger– One should never discount the inhibition-freeing combination of champagne and holiday traditions. You know that single guy two tables over? The one with the – swoon! – Cary Grant hair? Position your group near his. When the strike of midnight comes and all the couples become islands of volcanic PDA, meet his eyes, smile, and…go for it! Seriously. Whether it’s a kiss on the cheek or a quick peck, anything you do with a shrug and an “Isn’t this so silly?” attitude will fly. It’s New Year’s! You’re just being traditional.
  • Skip It– It really is that easy. One of my favorite New Year’s Eves was spent on my couch with an old friend from high school, a bottle of champagne, and heaps of laughter. We gossiped up a storm, traded past New Year’s Eve horror stories, and watched the ball drop from the warmth of my living room. Who needs Hollywood’s version of life anyway? It’s not so great. While other people freeze to death trying to find cabs or have tiffs about where to end the night, you’ll be pleasantly tipsy in your pajamas. That, my friends, is the happiest holiday of all.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Are you taking your significant other to see Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chip Wrecked (Oh, the horror! Why do they keep making these computer-animated bastardizations of my childhood?) or are you flying solo to a fancy gala? Wherever you end up: Happy New Year! Just remember: wear comfortable shoes. You never know when you’ll have to flee the paparazzi.

– Grace

The Payment Dilemma

I’m a terrible first date.  It’s been one first-dating snafu after another.  All those taboo topics?  Kids? Politics? Religion? Sex?  Oh yah, I’ve broached them all.  Someone really needs to put a muzzle on me.  The words flow from my mouth and I try to reel them back in but they’re slippery little things and always seem to get away…

Perhaps the most repeated offense I make is the topic I don’t bring up.  I don’t offer to pay on the first date.  If you gasped and covered your mouth, you’re not alone.  Everyone (and I do mean everyone) tells me this is incredibly rude and Not The Way To Do Things.

99% of my acquaintances state a guy should pay for the first date.  This marks him not just as a man, but a gentleman.  Apparently it also tells you he’s not cheap, really does have a job, etc. and etc.   If that 99% of my acquaintances says that a guy should pay, then that means while a girl can offer, she should never pay.  Guys tell me this.  Girls tell me this.

So if I shouldn’t pay, and a guy isn’t going to allow me to pay, then why must I offer? Why is this?  Why must this be?

I tried to come up with several reasons behind it.  Perhaps the offer is supposed to tell the man she’s considerate.  Maybe it tells him she doesn’t expect things.  Or that she’s financially conscious during these hard economic times .  I get it.  Kind of.  But not really.

Hear me out.

If 99% of people think that a guy should always pay and the girl shouldn’t… then doesn’t the offer by the girl count as insincere? “I’m offering to pay and I really would do it but then I know you won’t really let me and you shouldn’t let me!”  There seems to be no point to checking off that box.  It makes it seem like the date is a  game show.  Offer to pay and you advance to the next round!  The reality is I just feel terribly fake when I ask because I know what the outcome will be.

This is, of course, remedied when I’ve made it through to date #2  and I’ve paid for that second meal.  If I can’t split a dinner the first time around, then let me pay for the second so I can show I’m considerate and I’m not taking advantage of the situation. This is acceptable, right?

Can I get a yay?

Or should I file this under things I shouldn’t overanalyze at 1:30 AM on my holiday break?

Or maybe just a “quit being a dumbass and offer to pay?”

– Kate

How About A Little Solidarity In The Sisterhood!?

Female Solidarity

I believe very strongly in women supporting women. Not in everything mind you, I certainly don’t support women serial killers or women puppy kickers, but as an overall and very generalized worldview, I think we as women should stick together. I like to call this “sisterhood solidarity” because I really like alliteration and also it makes it sound like we are all members of a really covert and subversive resistance organization and that’s just kind of neat.

One of the main tenants of sisterhood solidarity is that we don’t disseminate harmful stereotypes and supposed truths about women. I mean, we know it’s some bullshit, so why perpetuate it? I’m talking about things like “Women aren’t good at math”, “All women want to get married”, and “A woman isn’t fulfilling her biological purpose if she doesn’t have kids.” This is some grade-A fresh from the bull type of bullshit. Sure, some women may not be good at math, but I know loads more who absolutely dominate it, and I know dozens of women who are genuinely uninterested in getting married, and I certainly don’t think any of us are biological failures if we can’t or choose not to have children. So hey, let’s stop saying shit like this? Ok?

Pardon my soapbox standing but I feel like it’s crucial we keep reminding each other it’s not ok for us to say things like this and it’s certainly not ok for us to allow things like this to be said to us. To be honest, I didn’t realize we needed to be reminded of this until I overheard this conversation at lunch the other day. A woman was sitting at the table next to mine with three men who were clearly her co-workers and they were having a discussion about dating and relationships; this is that conversation. (Paraphrased obviously because I don’t go around carrying tape recorders so I can record people’s insulting conversations. That would be creepy or at the very least creepy adjacent.)

Woman: You know what they say, “Single for a season or single for a reason.”

Male Co-Worker 1: I don’t even know what that means.

Woman: It means if you know a girl and she has been single for more than six months, there is a reason for it. She’s probably screwed up, crazy, ugly, fat,  or all of it.

Male Co-Worker 2: True.

Male Co-Worker 1: Yeah, that seems wrong. I don’t think that’s true at all.

Woman: Trust me, I’m a Woman, it’s true. If they’re not crazy and single they’re probably ugly and single.

(Please note at this point I almost threw-up my delicious tacos because my body was having a physical reaction to her bullshit)

Male Co-Worker 1: That’s a really terrible thing to say.

Woman: Seriously, you take any girl who has been single for more than six months, give her some therapy, get her a gym membership, new clothes, and a facial and she’ll get a boyfriend instantly.

Male Co-Worker 3: Because she will feel better about herself?

Woman: No. Because she will look better to other people.

Male Co-Worker 1: This seems incredibly superficial.

Woman: Women are vain. It just is. And men won’t even give a girl a chance if she doesn’t look hot.

Male Co-Worker 2: That’s true.

Male Co-Worker 1: This is a truly awful conversation.

Male Co-Worker 3: Agreed.

Woman: I’m just telling the truth. People don’t like to hear it anymore but it’s still the truth.  All women want to get married and have kids and in order to get that they need to be pretty.

Are you kidding me woman??! Are you fucking kidding me?! I can not believe you are saying things like this and I really can’t believe you’re completely ignoring the man sitting at your table telling you this is insanity. Who are you and why do you hate yourself and other women? Why? Oh my sweet Athena, why?! I just can’t….I don’t even……what the….but….she…and then….women….wrong…..can’t…..blurg.  I’m sorry y’all, I might be having a rage-induced stroke. All I can say is, how about a little solidarity in the sisterhood??

Can I get an Amen? Or at least, can you tell me what provokes women to talk about women like this? Because I’m at a loss……

– Mae

My Brownies Bring All The Boys To The Yard

Darling readers, I have a crush.

You don’t know me well yet, so let me explain. I’m not a crush girl. Mostly, this is because I have standards. Mile-high, you-best-get-your-spaceship-ready standards. It’s not enough that a guy be cute and possess a working reproductive system. In order for me to get interested, that hardcore fantasizing-about-matching-Volvos interested, he usually has to: use big words, love to travel, wear sweaters occasionally, make me laugh, have a beard, and – ideally – be able to quote Hemingway on a whim. I really go for that tall, dark, kills at Scrabble type. They’re a bit thin on the ground.

Then, I met this guy. Let’s call him Bjorn. He looks like a Norse god and is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He also: infuriates the hell out of me, can be a bit of a know-it-all (Hello, pot! My name is kettle!), is impossible to read, and treats me like his younger sister. Readers, we once got into a fight about unicorns. Yes, the mythological virgin-loving creatures with horns. It was the most ridiculous 10 minutes of my life. (Though, you’ll be glad to note: I won.) And yet, to quote our dear Mae…I rather dig his chili.

Luckily, a game night was recently planned, hosted by Bjorn and his roommate, Captain Thoughtful. We were to eat, drink, and play Scattergories. The perfect chance to set myself apart! Nothing says Take me now! like bonding over your brilliant triple-score answer to Things People Gossip About (Who Slept With Whom…please hold your applause).

Yet, what if my mad board game skills weren’t enough? Cue conundrum. How exactly does one win the regard of such an odd, but dreamy, creature? Tradition, that darling institution, presented me with some guidelines:

  1. Wear a revealing outfit. Men, we are often reminded, can’t keep their eyes off a woman’s curvier bits. Donning a low-cut shirt, flaunting Watson & Crick like a pair of gravity-defying cantaloupes would surely work.
  2. Smell like Little Debbie. Anyone who has ever read Cosmo has heard the research. Men, it seems, love it when a woman smells like vanilla, sugar, or anything edible. I obviously needed a bottle of Hermes’ new scent, Eau de Macaroni-et-Fromage.
  3. Laugh. At everything. Men love to believe themselves funny. A giggling, simpering audience is mancrack. Sure, that conversation about the finer points of Orthodox Judaism may seem like a serious discussion, but a girl must soldier on. Bat those eyelashes and laugh whenever he says “Talmudic,” if you must.
  4. Unleash your inner Betty Crocker. The way to a man’s heart? Oh, not his brain, my dear naive butterlump. His stomach! Everyone knows that. Just because you’ve worked a ninety-hour week at the hospital, saving lives, doesn’t mean you can shirk your womanly duty. Bake something! Anything! Just make it from scratch. He’ll know otherwise.

Unfotunately, I have an embarrassing aversion to: dressing like a Kardashian, luring cannibals with my perfume (pre-seasoned blonde medical student! score!), and giggling in general. Baking, however, is something I can handle. So, I made my famous brownies. You know, the ones my aunt requests every time she’s in town, have been known to cure the flu, and are made in a special edge-only pan? It was on!

I slaved over the brownie batter for ten whole minutes, baked them to the perfect squishyness, and arranged them in an artful tower on one of my fancy Spode Christmas plates. When we arrived at the game night, I placed them in a spot of honor between the Heineken and the cheese cubes. All night, people gasped out their amazement. “These brownies are incredible!” was uttered over and over again. Even, I’m pleased to tell you, by Bjorn. It worked! I won his heart with baked goods!

We are getting married next week.

Psych! He still thinks of me as a younger sister. The only change? I’m down one Spode plate, after swearing that I wouldn’t take the leftovers home with me. Thanks for nothing, colloquialisms. On the bright side, I totally owned at both Scattergories and Taboo. Board game domination is just as good as a steamy Viking make-out, right?


The Run-In

I had other plans for this post but I’m hijacking my own slot to write about the awkwardness that just happened.  It was online date #4 (as in with the 4th person, not 4th date ever).  Anywho.  We were meeting for drinks and I got to the bar a little early.  The date called to say he was running a few minutes late so I attempted to busy myself with my phone while standing in the parking lot.  Until I noticed a dude sitting outside.  But not just any dude, one of the two dudes that drove me to finish my online dating profile during my boy-induced rage!

Now is as good a time as any to tell you the reason things didn’t work out between us had to do with the fact that he thought things were moving too fast.  I brought him out to friend’s birthday dinner and somehow that was just too darn quick for him.  Even if it was after a solid month we’d been dating.  And there were 16 people there so it wasn’t some intimate gathering.  But then you know how those things are.  If I brought him to a birthday party after just a month then obviously I had marriage on the mind.   From that night on he turned into a giant flake who couldn’t make up his mind about anything.  He continued to keep up with texting (no, he never did call and yes, that should have been an earlier sign) and he made one, “we should catch up tomorrow” comment after another.  I always thought he meant it, then he never followed through.  I’m honestly a little bit embarrassed that I wasted so much time and emotional energy trying to figure out our situation when it was painfully obvious that he was just not interested.  It was about Nov. 7th when I finally got really angry about the whole situation.  That’s the night I finished my profile.

So back to last night.  Of all the effing people at a bar that I never go to, it was almost too perfect.  You guys, I looked hot.  My legs went on for days, my waist was tiny and nipped in, and my newly highlighted hair was shiny and perfect.  I could have walked into the bar without sparing him a second glance but there was no way in hell I was going to waste the opportunity to show him what he was missing.  I walked back to my car to grab “something I forgot.”  Then my phone became incredibly interesting and it was very important that I stop, pose with my long leg placed just so, and send a text.  It was followed closely by the requisite hand-through-hair-followed-by-sexy-hair-toss move.  And oh, he noticed.

Then, then!  I happened to find an open table and what group should be sitting next to me?  Oh yah.  I was sparking and lovely, introducing myself to everyone and generally making a great impression.  Our mutual friend asked if they should leave after he found out I was there on a date.  Oh no.  No, no, no.  Please stay!  See me on my hot date!

And alright, this is where the story kind of falls.  I ended up sitting with my back to that table so I wasn’t distracted by anyone and the night sort of went on.  The table vacated at some point but I didn’t notice because I was caught up in conversation with my date.  And gawd, it was a good date.  He was intelligent and intriguing and I was happy for the date to go on, and on, and on…  It was the perfect of example of my initial desire to do the online dating thing.  He was more interesting, cuter, was engaging, and completely distracted me from the earlier events of the night.  I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details but he was a fantastic kisser.

I guess that’s the best revenge.

– Kate

The Lip Balm Quest

Joan of Arc

Ladies, I am on a quest. My quest is one I think you are all familiar with, although, that makes it no less treacherous or difficult. Ok, treacherous may have been a tad hyperbolic. But, it has been difficult. Since the age of 13, I have been on a quest for the perfect lip balm. Let me define what I mean by “perfect,” because I’m well aware that our definitions may vary based on our individual lip needs.

1. Must provide long-lasting moisture.

2. Must make my lips look soft and kissable.

3. Must have a light sheen, not glossy exactly, more like glossy-adjacent.

4. Must not be sticky.

5. Must not dry my lips out. (This seems obvious but trust me, it’s been a problem with more than one lip balm I’ve tried)

Five requirement for perfect lip balm. Only five. It seems like my quest should have ended ages ago, yet here I am, still questing. I have tried every type of lip balm imaginable. I’ve tried the natural, the “intensely moisturizing”, the oil based, the fruit based, the exfoliating, and the  lip swelling (bad reaction). Seriously, y’all, I’ve tried it all. I’ve paid $30 for one tube of lip balm. One tube. I don’t know about you guys, but when I pay $30 dollars for lip balm, I expect that shit to work like a charm. I expect it to make my boyfriend go wild with wanting to kiss me. I expect it to pay my credit card bill. Unfortunately, it couldn’t even keep my lips hydrated till morning. Yep, that’s correct, I put it on before bed and woke up with Sahara desert lips. Why was I chosen for this Zeus-forsaken quest??! Why haven’t I found my perfect lip balm match yet? Where is it? What is it? Does it cost $30?? I need answers Universe and I need them now!

Seriously, my lips are pretty dry. I could use those answers.

Any suggestions my blogging amigas? What type of lip balm do you use? And does it pay your credit card bill?

– Mae

Running A Marathon Does Not Make You Mother Teresa

‘Tis the season to deck the halls, eat candy canes, and run marathons.

Oh, running 26.2 miles at the break of dawn doesn’t sound enjoyable to you? Too bad, sucker. That’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. If my Facebook feed counts as a scientific sample, then 83% of people in their twenties are currently training for, have just run, or are pretending to have just run a marathon. It’s an epidemic! An over-priced Lululemon wearing, cutesy motivational poster posting epidemic! The worst kind. You know, other than Ebola.

Naturally, I have a theory. Our generation’s sudden interest in running boils down to this: We’re a bunch of jerks. When we graduated college, just a few short years ago, we were wide-eyed and optimistic. Y’all, we were going to save the world! That job we took, wresting candy and toys from cancer-ridden orphans? Temporary. We just needed to finish up our Peace Corps application. Fast-forward a few years, when we’ve trashed the application altogether and are really enjoying our new gold-plated toilet. Shit. What happened to that spunky, quixotic kid we used to be? There must be a way we can recover that golden aura of inner goodness! Enter the marathon.

Pardon me, while I get a little academic up in here, readers. You see, I live for studies on body image and cultural perceptions of beauty. One of my favorites is the “What Is Beautiful Is Good” study, which basically found that we think attractive people are nicer, more successful, and have rectums made of rainbows. In America? Universally attractive = physically fit. And nothing says “I am a fashionably trim bad-ass who can delicately bench-press a baby elephant!” like training for a marathon.

It’s a big deal. I will grant you that. You have to train like crazy, go on carb-loading binges, and there’s the ever-present danger of chafing. It’s a lot of damn work. It has a pretty big pay-off, however. When you tell people what you’re doing, they will act as if you just cured cancer. You will be called disciplined, persistent, and amazing! People will probably make t-shirts with your face on them, then come cheer you on at the race. When friends set you up on blind dates, they include your new-found athleticism in your vital This Person Is Awesome statistics: She works as an orphan oppressor, speaks Farsi, came in second for Miss Travis County, and runs marathons! You are suddenly like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and a star high-school quarterback. Obviously, you are on the road to sainthood, one mile at a time.

Nope. Sorry to rain on your parade, but you’re still an asshat. You’re just an asshat who now brags about that crazy cramp you got in mile thirteen. I know it’s hard to believe, but running dozens of miles does not erase your fondness for drop-kicking puppies or that time you slept with my boyfriend. That’s okay. We all have disappointments. Drinking tea and adding a “u” to color hasn’t made me British yet either.

What’s more, marathons aren’t necessarily good for you. Hear me out. I’m almost a doctor. (Really.) Running is good for you, yes. Extreme running is potentially not. Your heart is actually worse off at the end of running 26.2 miles than it was before. Cardiac Troponin T, one of the signs of possible heart damage, may now flow through your blood like herpes on the Jersey Shore. In some cases, your heart has actually changed shape and its ventricles are less efficient! It can take months for it to recover. If you repeat this multiple times? If you become that holy grail of fitness, talked about in hushed, awed tones by others: a marathoner? You could end up with scarring on your heart and calcified arteries. Fun times!

Here’s my advice: Instead of signing up for that marathon, where you will exchange money for a t-shirt, paper number, and a case of mild dehydration, go volunteer. It will make your soul smile, will still fool others into thinking you’re nice, and won’t damage your heart! Plus, I will find you less annoying. Please, just don’t go to the animal shelter. They still haven’t found a home for that poor Goldendoodle you “walked.”

– Grace

Author’s Note: If you’re one of those people who purely loves to run, you may continue. Just understand that when I don’t compliment you on your new, glittery 26.2 bumper sticker, it’s not that I don’t think you’re neat. Unless you’re Ryan Reynolds, I just don’t give a shit about your marathon time.

Author’s Note Part Two: It should be noted that I don’t hate marathoners or runners or even Lululemon lovers. Follow your bliss, my dears. My point was this: running 26.2 miles doesn’t make you a good person. It doesn’t make you a bad one either. You’re just a person who runs a lot, good or bad. Happy Holidays!

Online Dating: The First 24 Hours

Nine months ago I got curious.  It was three years since I’d had a serious relationship and while I’m in no rush, it was starting to feel like I had one of those number flip charts pasted to my chest, telling people just how long it had been.  They say 1 in 5 couples meet through online dating.  Since I didn’t want to meet someone in a bar, at work, or church it seemed my options were limited.  There had to be something there.  I started an online dating profile to test the waters and see what was out there but I wasn’t quite ready to go there just yet,  got cold feet, and never finished the thing.  Story of my dating life.

Flash forward to this past November when, in a fit of boy-induced rage (the details of which I’ll save for another time), I decided to finish my profile.  Watch me find cuter guys!  Watch me find more interesting guys!  Watch me show you!   And okay, it took me a few minutes to track down my username and when I realized what it was I was a little bit embarrassed.  How the hell did I come up with that?  But I suppose that’s one of the things you should know – if you already feel a little embarrassed about the fact that you’re writing about yourself and posting it out there for men to peruse as if you’re a vegetable in the produce aisle, you’ll feel even worse when you realize your username is KatetheCatch0022.

After the low of realizing my username I was greeted with the pleasant surprise of an almost complete profile.  There’s a certain joy that comes at 2:00 AM when you realize you don’t have to re-address the “do I want kids” question.   I cruised along, even more pleased to find I hadn’t changed that much in 9 months.  Gentlemen, I’m consistent!  Things were lovely.  This was easier than I remembered.  And then the dreaded free-form “About Me” section reared its ugly head.

It’s sort of like being asked to tweet your life story in 140 characters of less.  How are you supposed to properly convey your sparkling personality and what you’re looking for in a dinky little character-limited form?  Oh sure, they give you examples, but those feel more like cruel reminders of just how lame your own section sounds.  What should take you 30 minutes will be suck up 3 fucking hours of your life so grab a cup of tea and settle in.

Monday rolled around and when I got around to the good ol’ email, there were 40 messages waiting for me.  I like to think I have friends that care about me, but 40 personal emails on a Monday morning was unexpected.  Did I win the lottery and everyone else knew it but me?

And then I saw the first subject line.  And then it hit me.  My profile.  That sucker went live the second I clicked finish.

This is where, if you’re like me, you might experience a wee bit of hyperventilation.  Or break out in a cold sweat.  Or  both.  Fuck.  What did I do?!

Give yourself 10 minutes.  These feelings will pass.

If you get to this point, there are things you should know:

  • You could be saving wee lil’ ones from a fire but you’ll feel like you have to stop what you’re doing to check all the emails.  Boys!  More boys!
  • The next 3-6 months of your life will not be the same.  See, you can’t read those emails until you sign up.  After hemming and hawing about whether you should sign up (you’ll tell people it took you hours to decide when it was really a matter of minutes) you’ll go and find that discount coupon and slap down the cash.
  • You’ll feel embarrassed for a time, fearing it makes you look desperate.  Then you’ll come across guys you know.  Like that dude from your stat class in high school.  Or your mortgage broker!  When you tell people about this, they will exclaim that they, too, are on the dating sites.  Or that’s how they met their husband! You’ll feel a lot less desperate and start to proclaim the virtues of online dating.
  • A visit to the site that you think will take 5 minutes will take 5 hours.
  • Your social calendar is about to get very, very crazy.

Let the dating begin.