How to be single in a sea of couples

I have spent years and evenings within those years being the single person in a sea of couples. Perhaps embarrassingly, I have stopped even noticing when this is the case. It helps—perhaps counterintuitively—if you’re with couples who have been together for a long time.

Because then they are bored of themselves and interested in hanging out with the group, and the group includes you. This isn’t some corporate Hollywood depiction of how all relationships are terrible and people in them hate each other and want to die; it’s just that shiny new things eventually lose their shiny newness and then sometimes you shine ’em up again and stare at ’em for a while and then not so much anymore and it’s all fine. I’m a big believer that if you’re around couples who are miserable, everyone in that situation is doing it wrong. Part of what’s nice about about hanging out with couples is that, you know, it’s nice to hang out with people who like each other.

But either way. Foolproof tips for surviving a situation that the world seems to think is difficult and I think is fine because seriously, we’re all grown-ups here:

  1. Choose your activity wisely. Nothing that requires partnering up. As long as you don’t go ballroom dancing, tandem bicycle riding, partner figure skating, or double kayaking, you’ll be fine. Maybe not camping? IDK;  use your best judgement.
  2. Act like a human being.
  3. Hope other people act like human beings.

If they don’t, leave! Screw ’em. Buy yourself a milkshake and flirt outrageously with whoever serves it to you. That 15-year-old boy with acne working in the service industry is having a worse day than you.

Dear Movember

This post originally appeared on Dear Mr. Postman on November 2, 2011. I’m reposting it because #relevant.

Dear Movember,

It’s that time of year again, when men indulge their secret desire to look like creeps from the 1970’s even though it is no longer socially acceptable for them to behave in corresponding creepy ways.

So now they grow mustaches, leer inappropriately under the guise of “irony,” and defend it in the name of a good cause. Political correctness is great.

Let’s pretend that Movember and its most visible cause—prostate cancer—is the male equivalent of the marketing push behind breast cancer (they’re not direct inverses, obviously, but bear with me for a second).

So one of the ways breast cancer funding is marketed is through this whole “boobs are sexy; let’s save ’em” thing. While I like my boobs, and I want them to be healthy, and I don’t disagree that they’re sexy, I still feel like this campaign is a very concerted effort to get men to care about breast cancer. Which is fine. Men should care about breast cancer. This is also manifested in the idea that most breast lumps are found by women’s partners…so get involved in catching breast cancer early by coping a feel of your lady’s ladylumps (really, do it). (“This isn’t for me, baby, I swear, it’s all for you. It’s a hard-on for health.“)

AND THEN in the other corner of the ring, we’ve got Movember! And prostate cancer! Wherein guys….grow mustaches. I took a poll, and it turns out this is something guys like and women don’t. So let’s call it an indulgence on their part. It’s their health issue, their gender’s health month, so ok. And then in an attempt to include women in this mission, Movember advocates “Have Sex with a Guy with a Mustache” day:

Awwwww so sweet! OH WAIT. I feel like this isn’t really for women, actually. I feel like it’s for the dudes with mustaches, whose sex lives have suddenly dropped off with the advent of Movember.

So let me get this straight:

1) To fight cancer, men get to feel women’s boobs and grow mustaches.

2) Whereas women have even more focus on their breasts (can be great but not the pleasure center, dudes), have to see guys in mustaches, and “get” to have sex with guys with mustaches. Which by the way does nothing to prevent cancer. Just in case some guy tries to tell you that, ladies—it’s not true.

3) Women need to get men involved in the campaign against breast cancer—need their support so badly (because this country hates funding women’s health issues, as evidenced by overwhelming evidence)—that the entire marketing strategy revolves primarily around drawing men to the cause. (I maintain “boobs are hot” is not designed primarily for women. By the way, should we talk about saving the woman who has the breasts? No? Oh ok my bad.)

4) Whereas the marketing to get funding for men’s health issues involves growing mustaches and encouraging women to have sex with guys with mustaches. As in, this does not actually show a concern for drawing women to the campaign through something that appeals to them. AT ALL. DOES NOT APPEAL TO THEM AT ALL. As in, men don’t seem to need women to support their health care cause.


Why doesn’t Movember include an educational component of “how to check your man for prostate cancer”? I don’t know that this is really for women, either, but it would at least make sense. It, sort of like Samantha on Sex in the City, would advocate sticking your finger up your man’s rectum.

As the video above would say: “It’s for health, baby…I’m fighting that asshole, cancer.” Or you could also say: “that asshole cancer.”

Punctuation is my favorite.


PS—Also this is a very heterosexual-relationship focused post because the campaigns are that way.

PPS—I support funding for health research for almost all issues. Except the boner ones. I think we can all agree we’ve sucked that one dry      flooded the market       raised awareness      opened the floodgates       tipped the fulcrum       it’s no longer no country for old men       oh screw it. (Literally, you can now.)

Review of Date #15: Walt Whitman

I’m going to call this date Walt, because he had a Walt Whitman-like beard. Actually, my date’s was longer and bigger and bushier and generally more.

Big beards are really hot in Seattle right now. They might be more popular than man buns.

I know that’s a big claim to make, but hot takes are where it’s at, folks, and I’m all about the clickbait.

I swiped right for a couple of reasons despite not knowing if I was truly interested in having a beard like that all up in my business. Because I was curious. Because he had nice eyes and a sweet smile. Because I wanted to do some research. Because his dog was cute. Because his profile said he was a photographer who liked coffee and I was all, I have an Instagram account!

Oh, whatever. Like your reasons for swiping right are any better than that.

Anyway, we had a chatty, funny back-and-forth and I liked him. We agreed to go out on a Sunday. Then he suggested noon. Then I was like, umm ok maybe we could get coffee and take a walk? This was the day after my second date with Arnold Palmer, and I was still dog-sitting. He said, great! He would bring his dog. It would be good for his dog, because sometimes his dog could be a little aggressive and they were working on that.

I never really pictured Walt Whitman with an aggressive dog.

And then I was like, “Yeah, how about no?” Look, I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t want to deal with his aggressive dog. I also didn’t want to leave my parents’ dog at my apartment because she isn’t technically allowed to be there at all.

Also, look, my parents’ dog is also sort of my dog—she’s the family pet—and I do mean pet. She’s spoiled rotten. And she’s bad with other dogs. She isn’t aggressive; she’s just an idiot. But socially oblivious and aggressive don’t pair super well together, you know?

ANYWAY, this Sunday at noon date was off to a great start. I texted him and told him to leave the damn dog at home or we could reschedule. Nicely.

He agreed and then I was like, “Uggggggggh I have to go now.” This was born of a few factors: I love canceling any kind of plans. This was my 2nd date in two days, and I had a third the next day, and I was texting a lot of people telling them never to let me schedule three dates in three days again, because what kind of fehking idiot does that.

It was a good thing I didn’t leave the dog at my apartment because our date was about 3 hours long.

We got coffee. He didn’t really want to talk about his beard, and the minute I met him, I remembered that people often don’t like serving as a mouthpiece for your personal curiosities about things you aren’t familiar with (see also: tattoos, haircuts and styles, piercings). He did tell me he’d been growing his beard since long before it was popular.

(Which—didn’t all these dudes with giant beards start growing them before they were popular, because they take a couple of years to grow, just like very long hair, and doesn’t that mean they all started growing them at the exact same time, which means that somehow long beards were, in fact, if not popular, at least in the popular consciousness? Whoa.)

So I went for a walk with Walt Whitman through Interlaken Park, which was lovely and cool and dark.

I did not quote poetry at him.

Walt remembered that he’d found a geocache in the park sometime before, and we went hunting for it again. I have never been geocache hunting. It turns out that it’s named very appropriately. There’s a cache, which is pinpointed with geography, and then you hunt for it. It’s….fine, I guess? I mean, sort of whatever? The hunting involves walking around and looking.

Like most hobbies that people get obsessive about—Settlers of Catan, Dungeons and Dragons, model ship building, football—I don’t really get the excitement.

Then we went looking for the next geocache in Louisa Boren Park. Now, on the map, Interlaken Park and Louisa Boren Park are right next to each other.

It isn’t that this isn’t true, but it doesn’t account for the hill that separates them. Or the 90 degrees that the sun decided to turn up without warning.

The dog had a little trouble, is what I’m saying. What a wimp.

In Louisa Boren Park, we did not find a geocache. We did find a man who wanted to talk to us about crows for 20 minutes and pet my dog, so we did that. And then I started working my way home.

I really enjoyed Walt. We’d had a good time. We’d scrambled and walked and talked about art and photography and writing and earning a living and dogs and geocaches and crows and cities.

Yard-long beards, or yeards, like any other aesthetic or stylistic choice, are extremely personal to the people wearing them, and your reaction is extremely personal to you, and neither the twain shall meet, or they shall if you’re into it, but whatever, keep your thoughts and questions to yourself if you’re just meeting someone. It turns out I’m probably not into it. Objectively.

Although I stand by the nice eyes of the individual behind the beard, I was not interested in making out with Walt Whitman in the middle of the day in the park. (I think that may have been an option but I allow that I may have been misreading signals.)

There’s a reason dates at night feel more, you know, date-y. Help me help you help me and let’s let the night cover some of the awkwardness of what you and I and those people over there with their cameras and young children are doing. I mean, I have also, for the record, ducked a first kiss in front of Molly Moon’s on Pine and 10th because the street lights are bright there and there are many passerby, and have you ever had a first kiss go wrong?

Because I have. And it’s fine. You can totally recover from it. No problem! Laugh it off! Try again. But maybe limit the number of witnesses?

At any rate, I was hot and wanted to sit in the shade and drink water. So did the dog.

And I was so aware of how many, many, many dates I’d been on, and how much I ached to be around someone who knew me already and who I knew well enough to predict, just a little bit, their reactions to things and what they might say next, or if not that, to be alone and feel the familiar comforting noise of my own head.

So we left. And on our way home through Volunteer Park, we ran into my ex-boyfriend sitting in the shade, drinking water. And we sat down for a while, which turned into a longer while and a slow conversation with someone who knows me well and who—despite whatever, whatever—still likes me well enough to welcome my company unexpectedly on a hot and slow Sunday, and who I like well enough to feel a rush of gladness at seeing.

We went, in fact, from Volunteer Park to Cal Anderson, stopping at Dick’s for burgers and fries in between. When we’d eaten and the dog had napped in the grass, we all let ourselves be lured by the fountain, taking off shoes and splashing in the rushing water until it really, finally was time to turn towards home.

I learned a few things that day—It was time to take a break from first dates. The water in the fountain at Cal Anderson is clean (I asked a passing park attendant) and you are allowed to play in the fountain (he did not yell at me). Someone who is someone to me and I can spend an afternoon together. I don’t know what we talked about. But I walked away feeling known, and seen, and rested. I walked away feeling what I have always known: that we were good to each other for a time, and we are different, but good, again, and we can be people who know each other in the world, differently, yet still.

After all, a good afternoon in a park is everything, really, I think you can ever hope or ask of anyone.

Friends with benefits, or: why aren’t you dating already

I’ve never understood “friends with benefits.”

First of all, the phrase kills me—don’t all friendships have benefits? Like, you know, warmth and good feelings and people who help you move and comfort you when you’re sad and explain to you why everyone on Bachelor in Paradise is so obsessed with Samantha and feed you dinner when you’ve had cereal three nights in a row and answer you when you text them pictures from a changing stall asking which pair of jeans make your butt look better?

Second of all, if you like someone enough to be their friend, which has to include some modicum of emotional support, and to see them regularly, and to touch them in private places (or public, whatever)…how is that not someone you’re interested in dating?

Here is a list of activities friends might do together:

  • Eat brunch
  • Talk about things
  • Work out or do something active
  • Have a drink at a bar
  • Watch Netflix
  • Climb a very steep hill in nature while carrying really heavy things (“hiking”)
  • Poop outdoors together and sleep on the ground like animals (“camping”)
  • Go to an aquarium. I have a thing for aquariums. Specifically, jellyfish.
  • Listen to music at badly balanced levels that will definitely damage your eardrums (“concert”)
  • Complain about work together (“quality time”)
  • Hug

Here is a list of activities people dating might do together:

  • Eat brunch
  • Talk about things
  • Work out or do something active
  • Have a drink at a bar
  • Watch Netflix
  • Climb a very steep hill in nature while carrying really heavy things (“hiking”)
  • Poop outdoors together and sleep on the ground like animals (“camping”)
  • Go to an aquarium. I have a thing for aquariums. Specifically, jellyfish.
  • Listen to music at badly balanced levels that will definitely damage your eardrums (“concert”)
  • Complain about work together (“quality time”)
  • Hug
  • Kiss
  • Naked hug

Maybe I’m doing friendships wrong?

Review of Date #14

Let’s call Date #14 Arnold Palmer.

As we traded opening messages, he mentioned that he was hosting a house party that weekend. This is when I realized I want Tinder to be college. Run into someone cute or who you vaguely know through friends of friends, get invited to a house party, round up some girl friends, walk into a house full of half-drunk people with someone DJ’ing off their phone, and see what happens. No? That doesn’t sound good to you?

I love a good house party. In theory. I love them more now that it’s been a solid decade since they were regularly a part of my social life.

In practice I’m definitely one of those women who has resting bitch face at parties and keeps vaguely gesturing toward the snacks as I drift away to get out of small talk.

The other day I was hanging out with a friend and ex-boyfriend. My friend described someone as “an Eeyore.”

“Well, every party has its pooper,” I said. “…and it’s usually me.”

Everyone was quiet.

For a while. Like maybe a full minute.

Then my ex-boyfriend goes, “…No?…” in the most dubious voice ever.

He’s known me since I was 18 so I can’t really contest on lack of evidence. It’s good to know where you stand.

The point is, Arnold Palmer didn’t invite me to his house party (strike one); we went to happy hour on a Tuesday night instead. I was his first Tinder date, making him my second first Tinder date. What is this, an epidemic? I thought. Do I have a face that just screams let me introduce you to online dating?

Don’t answer that.

Arnold was very into golf, as you might expect Arnold Palmer to be. He also forgot his wallet, which he was super embarrassed by.

We went on a second date, mostly because he asked and I couldn’t really think of a reason to say no. I was dog-sitting for my parents, so I suggested we take a walk and then head to a bar with a patio so I could bring the dog.

We met up at the park and wandered through the neighborhood. He brought dog treats with him, which was pretty cute. We ended up at the new Rachel’s Ginger Beer, a bar that specializes in Moscow Mules of all flavors. As we said goodnight, he reached down to give the dog a few final pets. “It was nice to meet you,” he said to her.

“Good to see you,” he said to me. The dog wagged her tail and curled up against his legs. I looked at him, trying to figure out what was next. We hadn’t kissed. We hadn’t touched at all, in fact. He turned and waved as he left.

It wasn’t rejection. He texted me the next day asking for a third date.

“I mean, I think I like him? He’s nice. He’s smart. He has a sense of humor. I just can’t tell if there’s any there there?” I texted my friend.

“You might have to kiss him to find out,” she said.

I have this conversation with her about approximately 20% of the guys I go out with. We call it the “slow burn or hard no” test. You get a couple of dates in. You enjoy someone but can’t tell if there’s anything there. It might be a slow burn. It might be a hard no. There’s only one way to find out.

So. When Arnold Palmer and I were texting about our third date and decided to go see the movie Dope, he texted me, “I’m into it but there’s sexuality/nudity and I might get nervous and cry.” This is funny, right? I thought it was funny.

“There goes my plan to make out in the back row…” I texted. Poking the waters to see what kind of ripples would appear.

“oh shit I’m getting nervous now” he texted back.

This is…a theme? Maybe real, and not funny?

“Is this like that movie Never Been Kissed?” I asked.

“Exactly except I’m Drew Barrymore?” he said. Funny, again. I think? Who knows? Maybe he’s never been kissed?

We went out to dinner. We had a good time. We went to the movie. I totally did lead us to the back row because that’s where I prefer to watch movies. I like to see the whole screen with my two eyes, not swivel my head back and forth. It’s a natural result of years of motion sickness. I do better if I can see the outer edges of the screen. Also known as another reason I’m very sexy and fun to watch movies with.

“Oh,” he said, sounding totally unreadable, “we really are sitting in the back row.” The lights dimmed. He leaned over. “So do you want to make out?”

We hadn’t touched once. Not on our previous two dates, not at dinner. I’d drifted close to him on the sidewalk and he’d stepped away from me. He’d opened my car door and kept the door between him and I.

“Um, sure?” I said.

He leaned over and kissed me. His hands stayed on the arms of his chair. I think he may have still been holding onto his soda and popcorn?

He pulled back. Kissed me again for a moment. “Hmm. That was fun,” he said. “I feel like I’m in high school.” Then turned to watch the movie.

Neither a slow burn nor a hard no. Huh. But also: WTF.

If I’m making this sound awkward in retrospect, it’s because it was awkward in retrospect. At the time, I was just mildly puzzled at the lack of organic physical interaction.

Then I told my sister this story and she said, “That sounds so awkward.”

“Oh,” I said. “I guess it was.”

“Incredibly awkward,” she said. “Like, really awkward.” Let’s call it a foul ball. Strike two.

(Sidenote: Dope is a great movie and I highly recommend it. The central friendship between the three main characters is so fun to watch. The whole movie is smart, fun, funny, and just a little bit heartbreaking. Good dialogue, good fashion, good music, amazingly well written teenagers and the way teenagers are always wanting wanting wanting.)

That weekend, the Supreme Court legalized marriage for everyone in the country.

“Are you excited for the gays today?” he texted me.

“I am! I’m excited for humanity today! Also, Pride is going to be nuts and super nude,” I said.

“Is that this weekend? it’s gonna be hot as balls for the gays no pun intended.”

“I’m not sure ‘the gays’ is preferred [terminology],” I texted him.

Also: This is when I realized he’d said the phrase “hot as balls” at least three times on every date we’d been on. I’m not against crude language—some of my best girl friends, just that weekend, were talking about how “swampy” the hot weather was making their thighs & vaginas—but I fault “hot as balls” for its lack of creativity.

“You’re just trying to stifle my creativity,” he texted.

“Nooooope,” I said. Strike three.

(Did you guys hear Donald Trump say recently, “I will be phenomenal to the women“? Nooooope.)

“fun weekend plans maggie tinder? you are in my phone as maggie tinder.”

Nail in the coffin. Now, everyone I know on Tinder has someone—if not many people—in their phone as John Tinder, or Jane Tinder. It’s a natural result of Tinder that you end up with phone numbers before you know last names.

He knew my last name.

Before, I was drifting. I didn’t have a reason to say no to another date. Past date 3, though, I definitely need a reason to say yes. I texted him and told him I was out, see him around sometime? And got a friendly note back thanking me for letting him know. Well, that’s nice and that’s that, I thought.

Then I got another text message saying, “I was just driving and could’ve sworn I thought I saw you in the window of revolver off olive way. either it’s you or someone who looks just like you.”

It was me. I was having drinks with someone else.


Grade: Superawkward.

Scumbags of Tinder Part 3

When I posted a set of terrible Tinder profiles last week, someone told me, “Those can’t all be real.”

Oh sweet baby boy, what a beautiful place of innocence you live in. Take me with you.

Aren’t sociopaths supposed to be charming?
I eat gummy bears two at a time so they don’t have to die alone
One time I got so drunk, I ate a tube of toothpaste because I thought it was astronaut food
I always smell good and have perfect teeth
Any man who takes selfies is no man
I only drink dark liquor. Clear liquor is for rich women on
Love all animals. Hate most people.
If you’re not going to talk or are boring as f*** with your replies, then please swipe left.

Because your picture says “If you want a nice guy, stop treating the nice guys like shit”
All money ain’t good money but no money ain’t good . If you want to know anything about me… ask. So… I’ve come to realize that a lot of women on here don’t really talk once there is a match. Why is that?

Well, that can’t be true. We’re never going to meet.
I’m the nicest asshole you’ll meet.

Your copy doesn’t match your brand promise.
I am a fun person. Like me and I will show you.

I’m already having the time of my life.
Here is my Tinder Top 5 on why you should swipe right:
5. I have a good job.
4. I have my own car and house. When we go on a date you won’t lose circulation crammed in a car to go! No roommates. I own my condo.
3. I am active. Hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, salsa dancing. You name it, I do it.
2. I am well educated. Contrary to popular belief some men do actually know how to have an intelligent conversation.
1. I know wine.

My lil’ ol’ heart? You wouldn’t dare.
I’m usually pretty lucky and people seem to like me. I’m super awesome but I’ll probably break your heart. Good beer and good food are a couple of my favorite things. I love an adventure and so should you. Hedonist at heart and a free spirit that won’t be tied down.

From seattle, just looking for a good time n laughs nothing to serious, also if u cant tell im the shit.

Who is the target audience for this?
6ft Tall, Fit n’ Fun, and looking for my soul date!
If you’re a bitch, I’m gonna call you out!
If you’re a nerd, I’m gonna pick your brainz!
If you’re a cutie, you’re gonna be mine!

Reverse these and we’ll talk.
Six figure bank account. Ten inch dick.

Sea tac for Mariners games. Meet me there

Let me note that this was a very pale boy.
Struck out on
Soccer player
Girls with curves

I think this started as a joke before it disintegrated in drunken over-honesty?
Tall, reasonably handsome male seeks exceptional female for procreational purposes. Height is the ultimate differentiator for candidates of a lesser stature will be considered if they display ample spirit and determination. Physical attractiveness is a female’s most efficient way to signal her mate-worthiness to males, i didn’t make these rules, i wish i didn’t like hot girls, they are often obnoxious, thats just the way it is

I know several people missing a couple of knuckles and they’re all fine. Video games might be hard though.
I recently lost a very close friend.. he got his finger caught in a wedding ring. Made me think about where I am and what I want out of life. I’m looking for someone to drink with, play video games with, go snowboarding, go to crescent bar resort with pretty much. Freckles, white teeth and snowboarders are a huge plus. I have a golden retriever so hopefully you love dogs. I bet I can make you laugh even when you’re mad. I promise I’m not a murderer but I’m pretty sure I could beat up a shark

If this has ever worked for anyone, please come tell me about it.
I’m just a regular guy wondering where are the beautiful nice women at. I like to have fun laugh eat watch movies just have a good time. It would be nice to dad’s hare that good time with a beautiful woman. And we can see what happens from there. Don’t pass on me I’m a great catch ladies

That’s funny. I get along best with men who don’t assume women are stupid.
A man who can rebuild a carburetor, field strip a rifle, name the last few Tony award winners, make his own aftershave and build you a nice cedar chest. I get along best with smart women. Just looking for my Tami 2.

And people think women are picky.
Tinder grindin! I’d like to meet a cool gal that’s a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll, a little bit high maintenance, a little bit gangsta, a little big comedian, a lot of nerd, a soft voice, nice butt, down to be girly but still do badass stuff involving the outdoors every now and then. Not into egotistical gals/people. Or vegetarians.

Donald Downer
Medical field.
Yes that is my view.
Lucky in life, unlucky in love.
Definition of insane? Continuing to use this app…

I don’t usually say this, but: be the change you want to see in the world. 
Tinder (tin-DUR), noun: An app in which a single individual judge’s another solely based on their appearance in order to hopefully engage in sexual intercourse with someone who also finds them visually stimulating, yet typically results in a one (1) day long flirtatious conversation via text.

The (unintentionally?) hilarious
Not here expecting a hook up. Having said that, if it’s on the docket at some point, it will probably not be turned down. My friends are mostly married so I’ve become pretty close with my dog.

Family Vacation: Day 4

Family vacation. Day 4. 57 degrees. Rain. Sun. Hail. Sun. Thunder. Sun.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch to Fort Collins. 

Thursday, we’re planning on going on a horseback ride. My mom’s been talking about it for a month. “This might be the last horseback ride of my life,” she says.

a) As if that’s widely understood to be a thing.

b) As if she’s going to die tomorrow.

c) As if she simply must go on one.

d) As if she couldn’t make another one happen if, in fact, horseback riding really is so very important to her.

We wake up Thursday morning to pouring down rain. Or—I should say—my mom wakes me up to tell me it’s pouring, that we’re pushing back our horseback ride, and I can go back to sleep. I get up. By the time we eat breakfast, it’s cleared up.

At the stables, we meet Tammi and Toni, the twin goats, a barn kitten without a name, and a very old, white, rheumy-eyed dog who follows me around after I scratch his head. Then we meet our horses.

My horse is Lonesome. He doesn’t always want to hang out with the others—often alone in the corner of the field—and when he goes on trail rides, he gets competitive and pushes to the front. He doesn’t want to lead—leading is more work—but he wants to be second in line. He’s little and a little bit pushy. Classic youngest child. He also doesn’t like anyone following on his tail too closely. I fall in love with him instantly.

My sister’s horse is Lil’ JoeHe’s pretty easygoing. Super nice. Seems to like the other horses. Apparently he kicks, though, if someone makes him mad. Except he’ll never kick Luke, my brother-in-law’s horse. This is because Luke could sit on Lil Joe and crush him.

My brother-in-law’s horse is Luke. Luke is the SUV of horses. He’s the Hummer of SUVs. He’s easily the biggest horse I’ve ever seen a human sit on. Luke’s a draft horse, and he’s all black. His bangs hang down into his eyes, making him look stoned out of his mind. He can’t possibly see but he plods along easily, going straight over what most people would consider small trees. They tell us not to let the horses eat, and I watch my brother-in-law lean back in his saddle, trying to keep Luke’s head up out of the grass, pulling on Luke’s reins with all his weight. Luke looks sort of like maybe a fly is bothering him and gradually turns his head with a bored look.

My dad’s horse is Rambler. Every time we stop and then start again, Rambler makes a move to the front of the pack and Lonesome gets his dander up and aggressively edges him out, preserving his place in line. Our guide tells me Rambler likes to eat and took advantage of some poor hapless soul last week who couldn’t assert authority. My dad has no such problems on Rambler. My dad also thinks it’s really funny to watch Lonesome get pissy and keeps encouraging Rambler in his quest to make it to the front of the line.

My mom’s horse is Susie. She used to be a barrel racer and apparently considers herself a bit fancier than the likes of these other horses. She steps along delicately at the back of the line, giving everyone lots of space. She’s tiny and cute. She appears to like Rambler and is content enough to swing along behind him.

My favorite part of trail rides is when guides tell you, “Don’t let them eat! Don’t let them nip at each other! Turn them around!”

Hahahahahaha. HOW?!? I can barely get my 50-pound dog to listen to me. I have no chance with the 90-lb beast I share an office with. He literally laughed at me the other day when I told him to sit. Sure, he sat. He sat and he barked at me for five minutes, and then he got a treat anyway because I’m a sucker. I have zero control over an 1,100-lb horse. I’m not sure Lonesome knew he had a rider. Luke definitely didn’t realize there was an adult human being on him.

Then we drove to Fort Collins, where both my parents went to school, and where dad’s youngest brother lives with his family. Our whole reason for this vacation in Colorado was ostensibly for his daughter’s wedding.

This is my favorite fact about Fort Collins: Both my parents went to Colorado State University. This always seemed fine to me. Then when I started looking for colleges, I tried to look CSU up in Princeton’s best 364 colleges and universities. It wasn’t there.

I’ve given my parents a lot of shit for this over the years since then. My dad revels in it. He thinks it’s hysterical. This might be because as far as “going” to school….he barely went. My mom doesn’t think it’s quite as funny, but she has five degrees from various schools, so she’s got lots of other academic validation.

In Fort Collins, we go by my uncle’s house to say hi. On the way there, we tell my brother-in-law about their old cat Rudd. Rudd was the biggest cat I’ve ever known. He must have weighed at least 40 pounds, and he was a gray, mangy-looking mother****er who ruled their house.

“Rudd was so big you couldn’t pick him up,” I said.

“Was he the cat that would hang from his paws outside their 2nd story windows, meowing to be let in?” my mom asked.

“No, that was their other cat,” my dad says.

“When Rudd jumped down from the couch, you could feel the floor shake,” I said.

“I feel like you’re going to tell me that when Rudd walked down the street, the trees would fall,” my brother-in-law said. “That dogs would run inside.”

At the house, we greet Ben and Jerry, their Beagles, and Titan, my cousin’s rescue pup who has the blockiest head I’ve ever seen.

“Why’d it take you so long to get dogs?” my mom asks. “You both love dogs.”

“We had to wait for Rudd to go,” my aunt says. “He was so mean to dogs they were all scared of him and we couldn’t get one until he died.”

Are you my lumberjack?

My Tinder profile right now says:

Just trying to date one lumberjack before I die.

I have gotten a variety of amazing and tedious responses to this. I have named all of these guys after their profile types. I’d like to explain to you that these guys, their pictures…they are things, on Tinder. These are categorical types.

Instead of species, you have “dude on snowy mountain in tank top.”

Guy wearing karate…scrubs? Is that what they’re called? I’m going with it. Guy wearing karate scrubs
I’m not a lumberjack, but I have used chop sticks : – )

Guy with a picture of himself with trees
It was the lumberjack picture that got your attention wasn’t it? I really like your sense of style.

Guy who’s cropped six other people out of a picture at a wedding
Hey hey! So my first question is this: when you say “lumberjack,” do you mean actual tree-chopping lumberjack?

Guy with a bike, in a climbing harness, crossing a finish line, swimming, whose profile says “If you’ve an opinion on Camus’ response to the Absurd and Foucault’s analysis of power, hit me.”
Yosh! Why a lumberjack? Worry not, I only do deep psychoanalysis in person. : )

Guy who wears half unbuttoned button downs in every picture
So….I’m not a lumberjack but I’ve been told I look like one when I don’t shave for a week and wear flannel shirts. Doesn’t that count for something???

Guy who is holding a banjo in one picture, a guitar in another, a glassblower in a third
Him: You’re not planning on dying soon, though, right?

Me: Not if I can help it!

Him: Good! ; ) I just posted a moment in tribute to your wish.

[So I look and he’s posted a Precious Moment, a sepia-toned picture of an old-fashioned lumberjack on the side of a mountain. My first Precious Moment dedicated just to me! This is what I get instead of dick pics. Yooow.]

Guy in a tank top on a snowy mountain
Haha, please say you swiped right for the beard!

Guy looking for a new rock climbing partner (haha! sucker)
Well I’m not a lumberjack but I’m pretty good with a chain saw

Guy wearing medical scrubs. 
I’m not a lumberjack but I bet I could jack you up real nice with my lumber!

[He unmatched me right after sending me this message, which is too bad. I had some real gems of things to say in response.]

Reviews of Dates #3, 4, 5

Let’s write about Dates #3 and #4 together. To be fair, this post is going to be more Dudes #3 and #4, because both of them got second dates. I know.

I really lined up my first four dates very efficiently. Friday, Friday, Sunday, Monday.

Dude #3 was the Sunday. He’s a software engineer who I later found out majored in music (saxophone) and has since switched to playing the keyboard in a low-key way.

Dude #4 is a computer programmer who majored in music (saxophone) and has since switched to playing the keyboard in a more committed way.

Let’s start at the beginning. Dude #3—let’s call him Spiderman—asked me if I was into pinball and I told him I was more of a skee ball girl. Right before I got there, he texted me that there was literally no one at the bar, which I appreciated. I prefer to meet serial killers in not only public but busy places. But I really like skee ball so I stuck with it. And then skee ball was broken.

We ended up playing pool instead. This was a terrible idea. I warned him repeatedly about how long it’s been since I played pool and how awful I am at it.

I was actually decent at playing pool in high school, when a friend’s grandparents had a pool table in their basement in Seattle, and a house in Arizona for the winter, which meant we spent way too many hours playing pool. It being high school, sometimes my friends played strip pool, which meant you could either refuse to play, get really good at pool, or end up in your underwear for about 10 minutes before putting your clothes back on. It was basically the winter version of skinny dipping.

I suddenly got really good at pool. Have I mentioned I’m kind of competitive?

But I haven’t played since then, and I didn’t have as much motivating me for this game. Except, it turns out, ending the game in a reasonable timeframe, because Spiderman did not warn me that he was only marginally better. Nor did he ever acknowledge it, a testament of will that I found very impressive.

Spiderman did admit to working for a dating start-up at one point and I may have grilled him about dating sites. He was the first of, well, basically everybody since then who has been on both OkCupid and Tinder. He also helpfully tipped me off to the fact that Tinder, OkCupid, and Match are all owned by the same company.

Did you know that? If you’re getting high percentages on OkCupid with someone you’ve already matched with on Tinder, it’s not because their dating algorithm works or that you’re good at picking people out. It’s that, you know, computer servers. They talk to each other.

That’s my operating theory, at least.

Spiderman and I parted with an awkward hug.

When I met Dude #4—let’s call him Batman—the next night, I was thoroughly exhausted of small talk and really glad we’d agreed to meet for tacos so that I would at least get tacos out of the deal. We’d had a comically mistaken conversation a few days before wherein he said, “Is it too late to get coffee?” and silly me, seeing as we were on a dating app chat and he’d initiated a conversation with me earlier in the day, I thought that he was asking me out. He wasn’t. The end result was that I offered tacos on a different day instead of coffee, and he agreed because I’m irresistible and also tacos.

This is what you need to know about that date: for some reason I was talking about doing yoga at work, and how yes, it can occasionally feel awkward to stick your butt in your co-worker’s face, but you just sort of have to get over it. And one of the ways I comfort myself is by telling myself that if my boss is doing it, it’s definitely okay for me to be doing it. And then something about wanting the day off.

He suggested that it’s all in how you ask, and perhaps the best chance for securing approval in this case would be to just go ahead and slide under her while she was doing cat/cow—maybe on a flat scooter, such as is used in auto body shops.

I laughed so hard I snorted salsa up my nose and cried.

After I stopped crying, I got an ice cream cone at Dick’s and bought a copy of their 50th Anniversary book, which is filled with awesome/boring/hilariously awful memories people have of Dick’s. People are weirdos and intensely passionate about Dick’s and it’s glorious.


Me: Who is this?

Batman: Shut up, jerk. I want to see you again.

As I was walking home from the date, I looked up and realized one of my Tinder matches was going the other direction in the crosswalk. I looked hard at him. He glanced at me. I looked hard at him. He looked harder at me. He did a bobblehead move after I passed him—a full 180 swivel like a cartoon character. He’s a baker, so let’s call him the Gingerbread Man. I’d talked to this guy on one of my first days on Tinder, and he’d asked me out for pizza. I said sure and then he never messaged me again. He’d picked up the conversation a few weeks later and we’d again ended up at pizza. He again didn’t continue the chat into that whole date-and-time thing which is rather essential for seeing someone.

Gingerbread Man: Did I just pass you on the street?

Me: Ha! Yes.

Gingerbread man: Wow 

Gingerbread man: Here’s my number. Text me sometime.

Me: I’m not going to do that but we can eat pizza!

Gingerbread Man: Ok. When works for you?

Me: *falls over in a dead sarcastic faint from shock but schedules a time anyway*

Batman: I’m here for the jokes


Then I sent him a suicide story told entirely in emojis.

Batman and I went on one more date and then called it. He really loves going to all-night techno parties, which I understand to be raves without the glow sticks, which seem like the best part of a rave to me. Clearly fundamental differences of opinion there.

I think we’re friends? I hope so. We like each other’s jokes, I know that for sure.

Gingerbread Man cancelled our pizza date the day we were supposed to meet. I’m counting this as date #5 anyway, because I went to the pizza bar with a friend and we had a great night and a slow, tipsy walk home.

Spiderman texted me intermittently for the next 6 weeks, super innocuous things that I always eventually responded to. He asked me out again one Friday when I was in a great mood, taking a long weekend, on the ferry with my dog on the way to Lopez. At that point, I’d taken a break from Tinder dating to, you know, do other parts of my life, and was feeling open to reconsidering. We went out for a drink and it sort of felt like being on a first date again, but more comfortable and with someone you’ve already met and hopefully can recognize.

I think Tinder dates—by the way—are more like pre-dates. You haven’t even met yet. For all you know, one of you could be lying about everything—what you look like, what your name is, whether you’re going to show up. I think Tinder dates tend to be called Tinder dates for a reason. It basically translates to “as low of expectations as possible.” You meet somewhere convenient for a drink or two, you generally call it quits after that even if it’s going well. If you’ve met someone in real life and determined they’re someone you might like to go out with, you might commit a little more—a full meal, maybe. Someone might treat instead of splitting the bill. I don’t know. You do what feels right, but—Tinder dates are like 1/2 to 3/4 of a first date. First date vs. pre-date.

Have I mentioned I develop facial blindness syndrome when I’m meeting Tinder dates? No matter how often I look at their picture beforehand, I still walk into a bar and freeze.

So because I’d met Spiderman before, this felt more like a first date. But it had also been over a month, so we were starting at square one and asking some basic questions.

So I’m chatting with Spiderman, and playing pinball, and in walks Batman.

This is what you need to know about that date: right as Spiderman was a) reminding me that he was a software engineer and b) majored in music (saxophone)—facts these two superheros have in common that I must have blocked the first time I met them within 24 hours of each other—Batman walks by and says, “SMELLS LIKE SOUP IN HERE.”

Grade: Dammit, skee ball, I just can’t quit you, but you treat me so badly. Tacos are delicious. You should try the ice cream at Dick’s if you haven’t. I know the milkshakes are great, but try the ice cream. You won’t regret it. That book is the best thing I’ve ever bought for under $7. Pizza makes me think of Rome. Dating is confusing. People are mysterious and unknowable. I still don’t know the difference between a programmer/coder/software engineer. 

Why I will never (again) date a 25-year-old

Because they look like babies. Literal infants.

Because they wear tank tops in every picture.

Because they list their college majors as their defining characteristic.

Because they post pictures of themselves wearing a cap and gown.

Because they post pictures of themselves with beer bongs.

Because they haven’t lost the baby fat off their faces.

Because they remind me of being in college. Or maybe high school.

Because when they write profiles they include the words holla, hella, or tight, which might be why they remind me of being in college (or maybe high school), and how are there not new terrible slang words yet?

Because just looking at them makes me feel like eating pizza and macaroni and cheese.

Because this one wrote, “3 things I like in a girl: boobs / someone who pushes themselves / butt.” He also classified himself as “not that big of a douche I think.”

Because they call themselves enigmas.

Because they quote Thomas Pynchon and Quentin Tarantino. And Ron Swanson. As if.

Because while I may think I’d be down to find a hot 25-year-old and see what happens, I’m not actually interested in their idea of “what happens” on Tinder.

I really need to up my age range, but it’s just way too fun to look at their baby faces and manly arms and terrible tattoos.

Plus, I never run out of people to look at. I don’t know the exact stats of ages on Tinder, but my friends who have their age ranges set to 30 and above often get the message that “there is no one new in your area.” I have never once seen that. The supply of 20something boys on Tinder is endless.

It’s not just that “there’s always another fish in the sea.” It’s that Tinder isn’t the sea. It’s a fish hatchery.