Pick-Up A Date, Darling: Say Hello & Get Seriously Friendly!

hello2 004Hello, dearest readers!

Autumn is our favorite season, here at Spinsters. There’s a nip in the air, there are adorable sweaters in every store, and everything smells like cinnamon. There is no season more romantic than fall! Which is why, of course, it can also be a harrowing season for singles. Who will you take to your office Thanksgiving potluck or on an apple-picking adventure in the country? Not that we have apple-picking adventures in Texas, but I’m sure that’s what romantic dates are like in the North. Do not burst my bubble, kittens!

So, anyway. Apples. Romance. Canoodling. FALL HAS ALL THE GOOD THINGS! All you need is someone to share them with, like—just off the top of my head—that foxy librarian at your local branch, who you can’t stop gazing upon. You know the one, darling: brunette, sweater vests, deep piercing green eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses. This is the year for your literary love affair, I can feel it. But how exactly do you begin the romance?

Say hello! 

Does that sound too simple? In love, simple is always best. It can be totally paralyzing to take that first step though, so we’ve thought up our favorite suggestions for kicking off your Autumn of Adoration. (Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it now. You’ll thank me later.)

  1. Compliment Away: If you’re having a hard time striking up a conversation with your future beloved, keep it positive. Pick out something personal about him or her—obscure band t-shirt, Alice in Wonderland tattoo, funky hand-knitted scarf—and let your intended know how much you like it. People usually respond well to being complimented, especially if it’s on something they love or put a lot of thought into. It shows that you notice them!
  2. Ask How Her/His Weekend Went: Unfortunately, if your love interest du jour is a librarian, there may not be much to notice. Librarian, lovely though they are, can be so buttoned up! In that case, a simple “Did you have a nice weekend?” will do. Intsant conversation starter! Of course, make sure you’re not in a no talking zone, liebling.
  3. Bring An Apple Pie: Your words have failed you, coming out high and jumbled. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Instead, have you thought about professing your interest through baked goods? Bring an apple pie for the office or cupcakes for your favorite librarians, as a thank you! People will be impressed with your kitchen skills and seek you out to say so. Sometimes, it’s easier to be on the receiving end of those compliments.

set1Our final tip, one truly simple in its sincerity, is just this: Smile! A gorgeous smile says so much that words are barely needed. Flash a grin, say a quiet hello, and let your pretty pearly whites do the work! In that vein, today’s sponsor, Hello Oral Care Products, is here to help. We’ve partnered up with Hello to help you get seriously friendly this autumn.

With delicious flavors—Sweet Cinnamint is my personal favorite—Hello mouthwash, Hello toothpaste, and Hello breath spray are the ideal accessories for your date night routine. No one wants to be stuck saying goodnight with onion breath! Luckily, no kiss need be avoided. Hello breath spray is pocket-or-purse friendly and beyond adorable.  You don’t have to be embarrassed to freshen up in public. Oral hygiene for the win!

Even better, all of Hello’s seriously friendly products are made right here in the USA and never, not ever, tested on animals. Their products are not only naturally friendly but alcohol-free, so that Hello mouthwash is easy on your delicate palate. They look great on your counter—with streamlined, user-friendly packaging designed by BMW DesignworkdUSA—but make both your mouth and your conscience feel great. You can find Hello at your local Walgreens, Duane Reade, Target, CVS, and other awesome oral care retailers!

Especially for friends of Spinsters, Hello has also graciously sponsored a giveaway of some of their fabulous products! I’ve been using their stuff all week and can’t say enough good things about it. You will love it and I’m thrilled to give some of these fabulous products away to a lucky reader!

Hello! 009

One lucky winner will win a Hello sunshine toothbrush, Hello mouthwash in Mojito Mint, and two Hello breathsprays, one in Supermint and one in Pink Grapefruit Mint! Woohoo!

How to enter the Hello Products giveaway: 

  • For +1 entry Answer The Following Question: What’s your favorite pickup line?
  • For +2 entries Like Hello on Facebook (http://facebook.com/helloproducts)
  • For +3 entries Tweet About Giveaway with the following message: Date prep is easy with @helloproducts. Enter to win flirty & friendly oral care from (Insert Your Twitter Handle Here) & #SayHello

For each way you enter, leave a comment on this post! On Friday, I’ll draw the winner and send you your lovely oral care goodies!

Just to get you started, I’ll share my favorite pick-up line: “If you were a Dementor, I’d become a criminal just to get your kiss.” Literary pick-up lines are my jam! What’s your favorite?

*This post has been sponsored by the fabulous Hello Products*

A Letter To The Client Who Called Me A “Bitch”.

The mature and well-thought out response….

Dear Client,

Your behavior towards me was unacceptable. It was rude, unprofessional, and uncalled for. But, aside from all of the obvious reasons you shouldn’t have called me a “bitch”, a word, for the record, that I don’t use, there are deeper and more profound reasons why throwing that word at me was completely unacceptable.

You put me in the postion of being “The woman who cried “bitch””, which is to say, I had to report the incident to my boss and suffer through endless questions that all seemed to be geared towards “Are you sure you aren’t being too sensitive?” “Is it possible he called you a “witch” and you misheard?”.  Despite the fact that I was the one who was insulted, I was the one being doubted. Yes, that blame falls on my boss, but you put me there. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, once you admitted to my boss that you had, in fact, called me a “bitch”, you put me in the position of being a “damel in distress” to which both my boss and your boss rushed to my aid, they were indignant on my behalf, they yelled at you to protect my honor, they forced an apology out of you, and then they patted themselves on the back from “saving me”.  This is all absurd. I handled the situation myself, did the right thing by reporting it to my superior, and then I’m still treated like a weak woman. No. No. No.

By calling me a “bitch” you put me in a losing positon. No matter what I did, I was the victim. There was no vindication. No acknowledgement that I did the right thing, the logical thing, the “by the book” thing. No. No. No.

I accept your (probably insincere) apology for calling me a “bitch” but you owe me apologies for so much more than that. The worst part is, you have no idea, no concept, of how far reaching the consequences of that word are for me and women like me. For all that, I don’t accept your apology.

Mae.

 

My first response….

Dear Client,

This is some bullshit. SOME MAJOR BULLSHIT. Grade-A highest level of BULLSHIT. This is some sexist BULLSHIT.

You’re an asshole.

Mae.

 

How would you respond to being called a “bitch” at work?

My First Boyfriend Was a Twit

Warning: This post is long. I wrote it on my plane ride home and got a bit carried away. So, maybe grab a snack? A cup of tea? Be careful, when you giggle with hot beverages, though!

Today, I’m going to tell you a story. This is mostly because I have nothing to write about (outside of Professor McGregor’s poor texting habits, which have me strung the hell out, kittens), but also because I’ve done some reflecting. A lot of people seem totally bemused/horrified by my inability to just let things roll in love. Nervousness is understandable, but relationships give me the sort of paranoid anxiety typically found in psych wards or Spanish soap operas. Luckily, I have done a psych rotation already! So, I analyzed brain-Grace a bit and came up with one possible root of my crazy:

Teenage boys are shitheads.

The end. Oh, you were expecting something more involved and eloquent than that? Okay, neat. Let’s talk about my first boyfriend in embarrassing and uncomfortably personal detail, shall we? This should be fun.

In the fall of 1999, two important things happened: I entered high school and became popular. I would like to say that my newfound status was due to my charming personality and excellent social skills, but that would be a lie. I was suddenly popular because I was blonde, had breasts, and possessed friends with strong social-climbing instincts. That I was in all gifted classes and spouted “fun” science tidbits were facts begrudgingly overlooked by the social elite. Because, you know, breasts.

Those self-same breasts attracted the notice of Chris Walters (name changed to protect the asshats). Chris was the coolest, dreamiest boy to ever walk the halls of Gizzard Junior High, the other feeder school, and I was blessed to be considered “pretty hot” by such a specimen. Or so I was told by my friend Ashley—whose name I’m not changing because everyone our age is named Ashley or Sarah or Megan—who’d briefly attended Gizzard and considered herself the social doyenne of our group. It was decreed that I should date him.

So, I did. Because that is what you do, when a cute boy says he likes you the first week of high school. I wasn’t a total social misfit.  What I was, it turned out, was crazy fucking awkward. Just so you know, historical romance novels do not prepare you for actual dating. High-school boys don’t understand Regency fan language, at all. Anyway, it was a disaster. Besides being cute, Chris was really into: gangster rap, drinking beer, and not doing well in school. Meanwhile, wee-Grace liked: N*Sync, not drinking beer, and being the first one to finish tests.

Our conversations went thusly:

Chris: Dude, that NASCAR race was so badass! Buddy and I laughed so hard when that car exploded.
Grace: Cool.
Chris: Don’t you think that new Methtastic Donkey Spittle song is awesome?
Grace: Uh…who? Wait, I mean, totally.
Chris: Mrs. Minchin is such a bitch. She gave me an F on that paper!
Grace: You said that Atticus Finch shot the dog, because he wanted to see how far the blood would splatter.
Chris: Yeah. Homie was tight.

We were like Romeo & Juliet, without all the dying or being passionately in love. How did this not work out? Well, I eventually figured out that Chris wasn’t cute enough to make up for how awful he was. We were at Ashley’s house, laying in the back of her stepdad’s pick-up—like you do in Texas—looking at stars, when this realization hit. It went like this:

Grace: Wow, it’s really pretty.
Chris (trying to put his hand near wee-Grace’s magical breasts):  Uh huh.
Grace: Someday, I want to go up there.

Note: You should know that I had just seen Armageddon and was still basking in a Ben Affleck-induced bout of romanticism. I did not actually want to go into space, because I don’t really like heights or Tang or death by fiery explosion, but it seemed really grown up and impressive to want to go into space.

Chris: In that tree?
Grace: No, you moron snookums. Space.
Chris: Ha! Yeah, right. You can’t be an astronaut.
Grace (who, I will remind you, didn’t actually want to space travel): What!? You don’t think I could be an astronaut? I’m in pre-AP Bio! And TAG Geometry! I could totally be an astronaut.
Chris: You’re too blonde to be an astronaut,  baby.

Later that night, I broke up with poor, dumbshit Chris on AOL Instant Messenger. Nobody tells wee-Grace she can’t be an astronaut! Also, in reality, he was getting less cute by the day. As it turns out, beer at fourteen isn’t so good for one’s weight or complexion. I was free! And I got out of my first real teenage relationship relatively unscathed, right?

Wrong. Because then some shit happened that ensured that moron got his revenge. Ashley, that lovely friend of mine, called the next afternoon in a breathless tizzy.

Ashley: Grace, I just heard the most awful thing ever!!! !! !! !
Grace: Lance Bass is gay?
Ashley (gasps): Not that bad. Omg, can you imagine? I would cry so hard. No, it’s about Chris. And you. I’m only telling you this, because you’re my best friend and we don’t keep secrets from each other, right?
Grace: Right…
Ashley: Apparently, he only went out with you, because he had a bet with Greg that you’d give him a blow job.
Grace: He’s probably just pissed I broke up with him.
Ashley: No way. Chelsea said Greg told her this last week, when y’all were still dating! I am so sorry, Grace. You must be sooo embarrassed. Tell me how embarrassed you are!

Y’all, I was sooo embarrassed. It was bad enough when the boy doubted my space-worthiness, but the whole time I’d been imagining romantic asteroid sequences, he’d just been trying to win a bet with his douchecanoe friend. It had been okay when I’d thought he’d liked me and I’d nobly realized the error of our match, but he’d never liked me at all? Seriously? Holy shit. If such a moron didn’t even like me, a smart NASA-appreciating guy never would. I was so screwed.

So, that’s a thing that happened. Combined with some other high school shenanigans (Highlights: You’re going to date my best friend, right after we break up?!,  You asked me to Homecoming, but only because Courtney already had a date?, and Of course, I believe you, when you tell me you’re not gay!) and my college boyfriend’s secret love affair with cocaine, it’s a wonder I’m not sitting in a padded room somewhere, mumbling about Ben Affleck. I have a hard time trusting that guys want to date me and not: just receive blow jobs (which I don’t give, for an entirely unrelated reason), date my best (gay) friend, or want to do drugs instead. Professor McGregor is really lucky I didn’t quiz him on gender politics in space, now that I think about it.

Incidentally, Ashley and I quickly went our separate ways in high school. She has all the same friends she did our senior year, including Chris Walters, whom she recently accompanied on a cruise to Mexico. Meanwhile, I am a really good person and didn’t wish the Norovirus upon their boat. I just passive aggressively wrote about them on this anonymous blog! Sainthood, here I come.

– Grace

Beards: Too Marvelous for Words

Men of the world, we need to talk. Don’t think I haven’t noticed what you’re doing. Everywhere I go, men are sporting more and more facial hair. Beards, goatees, and moustaches are running amok.

I love it.

Or, rather, my ovaries love it. Not so much the moustaches, as those skew a little 1970s creepster for my taste, but the beards. Good Lord, the beards. There’s something about a short, well-groomed beard that makes me more excited than Jessie Spano on caffeine pills. They’re right up there with British accents and three-piece suits on the list of Things That Make Grace Swoon.

Ryan Gosling, who doesn’t have a British accent, but is wearing a three-piece suit and sporting a beard. Swoon.

So, what is it about beards, exactly? We’re not supposed to like them. According to a study that made the rounds a few months ago, women perceive men with beards as more aggressive and older. By all biological rights, bearded men should send us running, mace can in hand (the foaming kind, mind you, to prevent blowback!), for the safety of a baby-faced harbor.

And, yet, I know I’m not the only one who loves scruffy men. Mae recently encouraged Captain Thoughtful to grow out a short beard for their wedding, because she wants pictures of a bearded CT sitting on their mantle for all of eternity. Bring up beards at a table with my friends and most of us start fanning ourselves. Is it because we secretly have caveman fantasies? Do we long for the embrace of a smelly lumberjack?

No. Well, not me anyway. You may love nothing more than a man who spends all day cutting down trees and wearing flannel. I shall not judge, liebling. However, my love of beards is a combination of things. First off, my sweet spot for men has always been the jawline. Blame it on all those Superman comics I read growing up. I love a strong jaw and beards do such a great job of defining one, or even creating one.

Second, they’re manly.

Fine. The damn study was right. Beards totally look all grown-up and aggressive. Why are these bad things, again? I know the 21st century is youth obsessed, but surely we can see the value in maturity. Maturity is hot! Do you really want a guy who gets carded every time he orders a drink? Or whom people sometimes mistake for your younger brother? No. You want a man who wears a suit well, but still looks like he can handle an ax. What happens if he whisks you to a Swiss ski chalet and the power goes out? Someone has to chop the wood shirtless, kittens.

Right. I just devolved into a Ryan Reynolds fantasy, didn’t I? Sorry about that. If you remain unconvinced of the beard’s allure, readers, I present one final argument: Bearded guys are fun to make out with. Not terribly scientific, I know. If my recent adventures with Professor McGregor are anything to go by, however, guys with beards are excellent kissers. The facial hair can result in beard burn, yes, but it also adds a bit of tactile interest to your romantic shenanigans. Who doesn’t love that?

Okay, readers, let’s dish. How do you feel about scruffy men? Do you love a smooth shave or do you prefer a little five o’clock shadow on your beloved? I’ve found points are best proven with photos. Lots of them. I shall get us started:

– Grace

P.S. Male spinster fans, I do apologize for this post. We try to be light on the mancandy around the blog, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I’d love to hear your beard thoughts, however! Do they itch? Are they hard to grow? Do you long to go all Gandalf and grow a long one?

Carrie Bradshaw, I Demand An Apology!

You know what I hate, darling readers? Dating.

Dating totally sucks. It is, hands down, the worst part of being a twenty-something. This was a shocking realization for me. On television, dating looks so glamorous! Main characters run around in pretty shoes, laughing over pretty drinks, and canoodling pretty men. Well, I’m here to tell you: it is not so. We’ve been tricked. It’s not all cosmopolitans and artists whisking you off to Paris! In fact, nary an artist has whisked me anywhere. Not even to Paris, Texas.

Carrie Bradshaw did not properly prepare me for this.

In the real world, dates are awkward. There is no montage of pithy banter. Instead, we spend the first three dates asking how each other’s days went. There are only so many times I can say, “It was good!” without blurting out the truth: an ER patient totally threw up on me today, so it’s a really good thing we’re required to wear bodily fluid repellent footwear. Talk of bodily fluids is so frowned upon during dates. If it’s not mild, work-related chitchat, my date is telling me stories about people I don’t know. They always seem to end with: Oh, that Smitty. You just have to know him, I guess! The glaring truth is: I don’t know Smitty. I will never know Smitty, unless we get past that awkward dating small talk. Sometimes, I just want to scream Cue the montage!

Which means, in the real world my relationships don’t normally result from traditional dating. My boyfriends have mostly been friends, or mutual friends, who prove that proximity breeds intimacy. We’ll be friends, then we’ll be friends who flirt, then we’ll be friends who accidentally make-out after too many margaritas, then we’re friends who are dating. Not exactly the stuff of magical, grand romances. Carrie didn’t have to wait for Big to realize he liked her liked her. Sure, they had plenty of commitment issues, but at least they never had that horrid initial friend stage! The friend stage also sucks. All that will-they-won’t-they is much more entertaining when you’re not they. On TV, you at least knew Harry was perfect for Charlotte, even if Charlotte didn’t know it yet. Honestly, the only redeeming feature of being friends first is that there is minimal small talk.

With all the pitfalls of modern dating, it’s no wonder our generation is known for its hook-up culture. Sometimes, you’d just rather randomly kiss someone than spend three days analyzing your current flame’s Facebook comment. (What does “See you there!” really mean!?) In real life, Carrie and Big never would have made it. That epic story of instant connection and poor timing would fizzle, in the face of sexting and Twitter updates. It’s not so easy to rationalize someone’s questionable dating habits, when he just tweeted a picture of himself and pretty redhead at a Death Cab concert. Carrie would have followed her own spin-off book’s advice and decided he was just not that into her.

Maybe things were different a decade ago. Maybe that glittery world of dating really did exist, for a brief moment, in the lives of rich ’00s Manhattanites. I’m starting to doubt it. Carrie, my dear, you are a lying liar from Liarville. Dating is not glamorous, cosmos taste like pink intestinal gas, and – fun fact! – Manolo Blahniks do not repel bodily fluids. Where is the sitcom about tea drinkers who wear Clarks and hate chitchat? There’s a show I could believe in.

–  Grace

Lions, and Tigers, and Break-Ups! Oh, My!

Did I mention I’ve been dating someone for a couple of months?  It hasn’t been anything super serious and I wouldn’t even go so far as to call us boyfriend and girlfriend, but it’s definitely been something.  However.

You know that first spark?  The one where they’re interesting and you have so much fun and you want to see them and blah, blah, blah?  Well whatever flame had been burning has been slowly flickering out and I haven’t known what to make of it.  This is always the case.  Something isn’t quite right so it stresses me out, then I retreat unto myself, I don’t want to hang out with the other person, I don’t act in an affectionate way (tho, to be honest, PDA-friendly I am not), and I go into excuse mode.  Well maybe it’s because I’m stressed at work…  Or maybe it’s because I’m just bad at dating…  Or maybe it really is us but it’s because we only go out to eat and don’t do other things so we don’t give ourselves the right opportunity… Or whatever.

Kate the Cowardly Lion

It all amounts to this: I am the Cowardly Lion of break-ups.

Rather than owning up to the fact that I’m just not into him, I hide and I make my excuses and feel sorry for myself and ultimately end up sabotaging things to the point where we’re miserable almost 100% of the time.  Cowardly Kate, right there.  The cruddiest part of it?  I date really fantastic guys.  I know, don’t hate me.  But I do. With the exception of one guy, my boyfriends have been really great people.  They’ve treated me well, they’ve been thoughtful, and when I was suddenly pulling away, coming up with my excuses, they were there trying to be understanding about it.  Cue massive guilt.

But I do think that’s part of it.  I’ve never wanted to own up to what’s really going on because I dread that conversation and the potential to hurt someone who is so kind-hearted.  When they’ve been so good to you, how do you tell them they’re just not right for you?  Yah, yah, you just tell them.  So you say.  It was never easy and so I never did it.

Until yesterday.  Call it maturity, but I finally realized how unfair it was to the guy and to me to go on in this state.  The conversation weighed on me all weekend (longer than that, if I’m honest) and I finally brought up my concerns, fully expecting it to The Break-Up Moment.  And yah know, a funny thing happened.  Not only was it not as bad as I imagined, but he reacted in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.  He said he really liked me and wished I’d given him feedback earlier so we could work on the issues which he viewed as easily fixable.  Huh.  I won’t go into the gory details.  In fact, I don’t remember the gory details.  (Really, who does?  Do you?  Because my own explanation of The State of Things became so convoluted that I could have talked about eating SpaghettiOs at the top of the Eiffel Tower, for all I know)  Suffice it to say, we are “taking a break.”  Yes, we cringed too.  But it’s not a bad plan.  We’re giving ourselves two weeks and then we’ll see.

Spinster friends, in a matter of hours “taking a break” changed my entire outlook.  Unsurprisingly, the weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I look forward to our next outing.  I know, don’t you just want to reach through the computer screen, shake me, and go, “SEE?!?!?!  When you talk to someone about your feelings, good things can happen.”

Right.  Yah.  For all my ranting about dating and such, I know I’m not even close to being perfect on that front.  My cowardly and non-confrontational way of addressing relationship issues is right there at the top of Things Kate Must Address if She Wants to Find Her Mr. Darcy.  So I can’t give much advice on this, but if you’re waffling about your man or lady friend dilemma and whether to say something, make like Nike and JUST DO IT.

-Kate