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.)

Dear Couples’ Costumes

Last year I went as Baby from Dirty Dancing for Halloween. I already have Jennifer Grey’s former nose and hair, so it was an easy sell.

(Side note: Growing up, Jennifer Grey was my model for having what was kindly termed a “strong” nose in my family and being considered pretty (anyway) as a girl. “Look at Jennifer Grey! She has a great nose, and so do you,” my mom would say. “At least you didn’t get my dad’s or your uncle’s nose—whoa! Now THAT’S a nose,” my dad would say. Then Jennifer Grey got a nose job. Then as an adult I had to have sinus surgery and my mom asked the doctors if they could just sort of fix the crook in my nose “while they were in there.” Answer: “Um, no.”)

These are my requirements for Halloween costumes: That they require no effort. That they cost no money. That there shall no be crafts involved. That they be easily identifiable. That they be comfortable and easy to move around in. That they look awesome and make me seem clever.

This is an absurd and impossible list of requirements.

I don’t like Halloween very much.

I also don’t quite understand the point of it as an adult. The best thing about Halloween is little kids in costumes. Adults in costumes are weird, alternative universe versions of themselves playing our far-fetched and often disconcerting fantasies.

James Bond: I’m wearing a tux and a misogynistic attitude.

Sexy kitty: I live in a society that is not only sexually attracted to cats, but is playing out a bestial-pedophilic attraction to the infantile development of said animal.

Batman: Glamorization of a rage-filled citizen vigilante obsessed with latex.

Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz: This costume is always half-assed. Take acid to do it right.

Maverick from Top Gun: Short man with a Napoleon complex who believes he will live forever due to the harmful and psychotic beliefs perpetuated by a egomaniacal 21st-century false prophet cult.

Mario & Luigi: Sexualization of round, short, bald Italian men who are good at fixing houses.

Banana: Jaundiced penis.

As writer Erin Sroka puts it in this great essay in The James Franco Review, getting ready for Halloween “in the traditional way” includes “turning non-clothing items into clothing, sexualizing occupations and characters from children’s media.”


Anyway. I put on a white button-down shirt, jean shorts, converse, fluffed my hair up (just kidding, I had to tame it down), and called myself Baby, like a totally normal grown woman.

I almost didn’t do this costume, because I realized it would be so much better if I had a Patrick Swayze to play Johnny Castle. Then I got really pissed off about this false idol worship of couples that emerges on all holidays, from Christmas to Labor Day to National Cat Day.

So instead of sourcing a boyfriend for the day, I made myself a paper doll of a picture printed from the Internet of that muscular and soulful-looking man with a distinctive jawline and hair swoop, and put him in my pocket, and called him Pocket Swayze.

And it was totally normal that I felt like I had a friend looking out for me all night from the corner of my denim shorts and felt genuinely sad when Pocket Swayze was lost on the dance floor at Rhino, a terrible and giant cavern of a bar on Capitol Hill that was filled with tourists from Bellevue and one very handsome and tall Urkel that bent his long lanky legs to fold around me on the dance floor and gave me one of the sweetest moments of my life.

Him: “Damn, girl, you got them abs.”

Me: “It’s so hot in here, I’m sorry I’m so sweaty, please stop touching my stomach sweat.”

Him: “Huh? Abs! Girl! ABS.”

Me: “Oh my god marry me. Someone has to be dressed as a preacher in here.”

Sorry, I’ll stop gushing. I know you guys hate romance.

So I was thinking about couples’ costumes again this year, and the sneaky pervasive belief that they’re better. This is one of the nasty social pressures: get married by the time you’re 30, have babies before your eggs rot, anyone who doesn’t want to work at Amazon just can’t hack it, your costume sucks unless it’s part of a matching pair.

In all other aesthetic considerations, we’ve gotten rid of matching. You’re not supposed to match your shoes to your shirt anymore. You’re not supposed to wear matching outfits with your mother once you’re grown. You’re not supposed to wear coordinated cardigans with your partner, unless you’re queer, in which case it’s so counter-culture it goes all the way around the circle to be cool again. You’re not supposed to wear matching bows in your hair with your pack of corgis. Etc.

But Halloween comes around, and our society goes full suburbia: all the matching! Match or die alone and have your face eaten off by the sexy kitten costumes of yore!

I think matching costumes are great if they meet certain conditions.

  • One of your costumes is hard to identify on its own, but together, you’re unmistakeable. The Princess Bride is a good example of this. Without a bald, nasally man by your side, you could be just any giant. But with Vizzini, you’re clearly Fezzik.
  • You in some way need each other—literally—to complete each other. Like an iPhone that’s dangerously close to dying and its charger.
  • Your costumes help each other level up. My sister and her boyfriend once were figure skaters ice dancers (correction issued by my sister, who tells me there is a huge difference). Now, a woman dressing as an figure skater ice dancer? Eh. Just an excuse to wear illusion netting and sparkles and a bum skirt. A man dressing as an figure skater ice dancer? Easily mistaken for a mariachi player (true story). A couple being an ice dancing pair? 9.6.
  • Nontraditional romances. Don Quixote and his horse. Alison Bechdel and her pencil. Vincent van Gogh and his severed ear. Adjunct professor and health insurance.

My sister, who is better at crafts, themed parties, friends, and being in relationships than I am, has frequently been in highly imaginative paired costumes while I was a vintage stewardess for three years in a row because I had a navy dress with gold buttons on it (FTW!).

Beyond the ice dancing costume (half of which she tragically lost in the break-up), she has also been half of a lion tamer and strong man (skilled use of contouring can really help on this one depending on how much CrossFit you’ve been doing) and half of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell from Overboard.

What I don’t understand is the insistence on couples’ costumes without even an idea for one.

“Hey, babe, I have this great idea to be Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. And I’m going to carry 100 tampons with me.”

“But what will I be? We don’t even know who her sugar-cheese was or if she had one because all we know is that she was awesome and it’s like she stood on her own apart from her love life. Can I be a tampon?”

“No, honey. This is something I need to do on my own. I don’t know. Maybe you could dress up like an independent human being?”

“So confusing.”

Now group costumes. All of the Arrested Development siblings. The characters from The Lego Movie. A set of legos that forms a spaceship when connected. (Come on, humanity, up your game. What are all those engineers at Apple doing, anyway?)

But the trouble with group costumes is I don’t like people.

Now friend couples’ costumes. Sam and Frodo. Abby and Ilana. Romy and Michelle. Many of the costumes from this pretty amazing ’90s two-fer costume list.

But maybe I’m just revealing the neuroses of what my friend recently called “your former aversion to couplehood.”

Hahahaha! Former!

Periods are having a cultural moment and I couldn’t be happier

You know how farmer’s markets are really hot right now? So are periods. And I just couldn’t be happier.

The proof is in the Internet pudding.

I made a joke awhile back about waiting to talk about your period until the 5th date. I didn’t mean it. I think I meant to say don’t wait longer than your 5th date. Bring it up early and often! Be all, “We can’t have sex on this, our first date…not because it’s our first date—rules are dumb and bodies are great, let’s bang them together whenever it feels right and safe to both of us, which might be now or later—but because I have my period and while I love having sex on my period and we will definitely explore that in the future, I’d like to not get blood all over the condom the first time.”

Or be like, “Things are going to get messy. Wear a snorkel.”

Because PERIODS!

If you read one article from this round-up, please let it be this one.
“…as a broader strategy, the notion that educating women in the grotesqueries of termination will be a game-changer is absurd. As [Planned Parenthood president Cecile] Richards could tell [anti-abortion crusader David] Daleiden if he asked her his question, women already know what abortion is. We know more about blood, innards, fetuses, and the babies they may become — in short, about life in reproductive bodies — than anti-abortion activists seem to understand. The average age of menarche in the United States is 12; the average age of menopause, 51. During the intervening decades, most women bleed regularly, and if you think we emit that chlorinated blue water in the maxi-pad ads, you are incorrect. I was in high school the first time a friend joked about a “period chunk.” I was also in high school when I first heard that an acquaintance had had a grapefruit-size dermoid cyst removed from an ovary; as is not uncommon with those cysts, it contained teeth, hair, and skin. The act of controlling or preventing pregnancy for a heterosexually active woman is filled with corporeal maneuvering.”
The Cut: The Big Secret of Abortion: Women Already Know How It Works

Or maybe this one. Oh, whatever, they’re all good, because they’re all about periods!
“At the end of the day, I’m having my period in outer space, and that’s pretty damn cool. –Lynnette Myers, Fake Astronaut”
The Toast: Inspiring Quotes About Periods From History’s Boldest Made-Up Women

This one is complete with gifs, just the way you like it.
“Not my good underwear! Another loyal soldier, fallen in vain.”
Bustle: 14 Bizarre Thoughts Every Women Has During Her Period But Never Says

“When Kiran Gandhi realised she was going to be on her period on the day of her first-ever marathon, she decided to do something unexpected – she ran the entire race free-bleeding.”
Buzzfeed: A Woman Ran A Marathon Without A Tampon To Take A Stand Against Period-Shaming

The incomparable Ann Friedman on whether women should, in fact, take sick leave for their periods. My answer: yes. Men: you try bleeding between your legs for a week of the month and see how you feel!
“The truth could be the opposite of what popular culture has long told us: It’s not that women are overly sensitive when they’re on their period. It’s that we feel restricted from expressing our real emotions when we aren’t. Wrap your head around that one.”
The Pool: Let’s Do This. Let’s Talk About Periods. 

I can confirm that these fears are equal.
“What is our personal nightmare? 25% Getting attacked by shark because we are leaking period blood in the water. 25% getting period blood on the passenger seat of crush’s car.”
The Hairpin: The Insecurity Pie chart

And the follow-up to the pie chart. What can I say, Ann Friedman was really on a flow.
“In response to this week’s period-blood pie chart , women have shared many fine anecdotes about menstruating all over the fucking place.”

Becoming a period cheerleader was a conscious decision for me. Because #feminismisnm
“Becoming the vagina’s #1 cheerleader wasn’t a conscious decision. One second I was sitting on the toilet as my two daughters wrestled each other on the bath mat, and then, suddenly, I had two wide-eyed toddlers staring at me as I held a bloody tampon in my hand.”
Refinery29: Why I change my tampon in front of my children

Do you guys remember high school? Do you? Because this is not a small thing for a high schooler to be doing. 
“Garcia, who is in the 10th grade, told BuzzFeed News he had noticed a troubling trend. He said most of his male friends treat menstruation as if it’s “repulsive,” and a lot of his female friends get embarrassed or feel bad about having their period. Garcia said he was bothered by that attitude. “I actually had started carrying tampons and pads in my bag because my girl friends often had to improvise with amusing (but not-so-sanitary) ways to stop themselves from leaking,” he said.
Buzzfeed: This 15-Year-Old Boy Brings Tampons And Pads To Class To Help Out His Female Friends

And finally….close it out, boys (they don’t get it completely right but they’re talking about PERIODS! so)

I already love you: come party with me

If you just want your party invitation, skip down to the bottom. If you want to take a journey, take my hand and let’s walk in slowly together, our fingers intertwined. 

One of the great pleasures of this blog is that everywhere I go (work, coffeeshop, dates, my sister’s house), people (friends and friends of friends) come up and talk to me about online dating.

“Oh my god,” they say, “I got the worst message the other night.”

“I’m so sorry,” I say. “What was it? Tell me right now and I will write about it on the Internet. Or not, if you prefer. But definitely tell me.” Then I try to play it cool by blinking a normal amount. How much is a normal amount to blink? Five times a minute? More? I have no idea. I do not succeed.

I have always been interested in the details of other people’s love lives. This is called being a gossip if you repeat those details, or an advice columnist if someone will give you a paycheck, or a voyeur if you’re fond of dark nights and lighted windows, or a human being if we’re all being honest with each other. And now I have found a way to get those details.

It’s called “I’ll show mine, if you show yours.” I should have known. This is always how people have operated. You sit down for coffee with a new friend, and they tell you about a problem they’re having in their life and then they stare at you expectantly and pretty soon you’re telling them about that time you pooped your pants in Mexico and then you’re friends forever. It’s sorcery and it’s also used in international negotiations about trade treaties. What do you think Hillary’s emails are really about?

My friend keeps saying we should have a party and invite all “our” new friends from Tinder. She mostly means mine. She knows so many details about my dates—she lives next door and I knock on the wall when I’m home from a date—that she feels she knows them all and wants to meet them in person. Plus, of course, there is the fact that I really do think Dates #3 and #4 would be best friends if they were ever to meet. They have so much in common!

“No,” I say. “It would all be dudes.”

“You have single girl friends!” she says. “They could all meet.”

“All my single girl friends met guys off Tinder and are dating them,” I say, only somewhat resentfully. I am not upset that I haven’t “met someone” on Tinder. I am resentful that the one glorious moment when all my friends were on Tinder was so brief.

People tell me that “everyone” is on Tinder.

“Are you on Tinder?” I ask.

“Well, no,” they say. “But everyone else is.”

I go on Tinder and start writing about it on the Internet. I post the links to my Facebook and through seeing people I know on Tinder itself, and Facebook comments, likes, and shares, I pretty quickly figure out who of my friends is on Tinder—all of them.

The feature I want the most on Tinder is “refer a friend.”

Artists make art. They frequently make art out of lived experiences or shared social environments. I am a writer who is taking my online dating experiences and making them into something else—the essays I post on my blog and articles I write about online dating are truthful, but they are not the thing itself—they are something else. The experience is not obscured or altered, but it is transformed in the telling.

Other artists must be making art about online dating, I think. What are they making?

On the Bachelor, there is one happy couple at the end. Everyone else goes home disappointed. It is interesting and weird and very strange that it has been on television since 2002—that’s 13 years, and a total of 30 seasons.

In “IRL” dating—when you meet a friend of a friend, say, or your mom fixes you up with the IT guy at her work—most of us meet one person at a time, sort of see how it plays out, move on. Unless, of course, you’re unlike me and leave your apartment more than twice a week. (Who are you and why are you?)

This isn’t true in online dating. In online dating there are lots of options in a short span of time, if you want. This makes online dating more like the Bachelor than some other things (hiking, yoga, gardening, talking to your grandma, vacuuming, getting your fake tooth replaced).

Bachelor in Paradise, it turns out, is just as fun—maybe more so, I haven’t decided—to watch as the Bachelor/Bachelorette.

On the Bachelor, there is one happy couple at the end of the show. This is your friend who is happily married to the guy she met on the first day of college.

Bachelor in Paradise takes everyone else and puts them in a room together and lets them sort themselves out. And they say things like, “I just wasn’t that interested in the Bachelor on my season,” because duh. And there is a lot of making out.

People say things like, “Your boobs look outrageously good right now,” which I can verify from experience is a real thing women say to each other. In between talking about social change, stock markets, and the dissolution of the monastery class in the 18th century.

There is a growing social network created by online dating sites in cities across the United States. I went to a CD release party for a former Tinder date’s band. While there, I met a nice-looking man wearing my same sneakers who lives in Germany. Who went to high school here and we ended up swapping stories about mutual friends. I’ve let Tinder dates know about job openings that I knew they’d be interested in. I am quite sure that some of your dates would like some of my dates and that six degrees of Kevin Bacon has been replaced by six degrees of online dating (or maybe it’s more like 2 degrees and a bacon emoji and how is there not a bacon emoji).

What happens when you put all of this in a room together and mix it with a bar and Britney and Ginuwine played at full volume? Will you jump on it, let’s do it, ride it, my pony?

I guess we’ll find out in two weeks, on September 17. I made a social experiment an art party. And you’re invited.

Brian McGuigan, Jean Burnet, Steve Barker, Corina Zappia, and I will read stories about online dating. One of the readers has promised to eviscerate him/herself. One of them has promised that s/he will tell the most embarrassing stories s/he can think of. One of them may talk about catfishing.

Ryan Molenkamp and Carrie DeBacker will show art about online dating. Ryan draws portraits of pets he matched with online. Carrie asked for advice before online dating and was told, “If he seems like a creeper, he probably is.” So she did what anyone in their right mind would do and created the Creeper, an 8-foot-tall caterpillar-like creature and painted his relationship with a human woman—going to yoga, going to the movies, doing the crossword.

Babeland will give away an incredibly expensive sex toy to the lucky, lucky winner of online dating bingo. And they’ll teach a workshop on sex tips and tricks, because sex, guys, am I right?

Anyway, it’s at 8 pm at the Fred Wildlife Refuge. Some of their walls are painted bright pink and some are zebra striped. There are a few booths with a curtain you can pull which I’m not saying are perfect for making out. I’m just letting you know about them.

$5 at the door. Start saving your laundry quarters.


Scumbags of Tinder Part 2

I thought I was desensitized to terrible Tinder profiles. You’d be amazed at how quickly your standards lower after a couple of months. Spelling errors all over his profile? Ehhhh; at least he isn’t holding a gun. Terrible Anchorman quote? Ehhhh; at least he spelled everything correctly.

After a while, profiles seemed fairly boring to me. Yep, made the same mistake the last five guys did of not really showing his face. Yep, another profile without anything other than “Sup?” in it. Yep, another profile detailing his love for Seahawks players in weirdly sexual terms.

I felt like I wasn’t taking nearly as many screenshots of bad/hilarious profiles to send to my friends as I had in my first month.

But when I came across something that struck me, I still dutifully stored it away.

And ok, I just went back through the screenshots for March to July, and DUDES ARE THE WORST. I’m sure there are terrible female profiles on Tinder, too. But this is about how DUDES ARE THE WORST.

The sad thing is, none of you are going to fight me on this. You haven’t even started reading and you’re all nodding, Yep yep. Dudes are the worst.

In fact, most of you are wondering how it took me this long to figure it out. It’s not that I didn’t know. It’s that I have to forget this idea long enough to go about my day in a functional way that allows me to interact with men I encounter. If I were thinking about these profiles all the time, I wouldn’t be able to buy an ice cream sandwich from the nice man at the 7-11.

Let’s get started, shall we? To make reading easier, I’ve grouped these in handy categories for you to compare. Sort of like “Who wore it best”? Except around here we play “Who imploded hardest”?

Some of these might be jokes? Tone-deaf, poorly timed jokes? But since I can’t tell, they’re going in the pile.

I mean, I like ice cream and pizza…
Sup kitten, I’ll melt away your daddy issues like ice cream on the beach. Let’s get trashed in the moonlight and then I’ll buy you pizza

It just doesn’t really feel like you’ve ever talked to a real woman?
I’ll totally order dessert when I’m not hungry, because I know that’s what you want. What’s that? You don’t know where you want to eat? It’s ok girl, I’ll pick a spot. And I can listen to your day without trying to solve your problems with your asshole coworker…that’s right, just listen. And I know you want to stop and look at designer shows. You know what else? Your dog just got a new best friend.

This is not how the OED defines feminist
Right now, mostly looking for non-monogamous dating or friends with benefits. If you want a hookup: I’m good, giving, and game, and give great head. I’m a feminist, which means I know that no means no, I don’t think “hey bb u wan sum fuk?” messages are the best way to get in your pants, and I don’t believe in slut-shaming. 6’1″ and size 13 shoes (you can figure out the rest). If you want to date: smart, funny, beer brewing, motorcycle riding, foul mouthed atheist. Cat owner & dog lover.

I mean, chocolate’s not that expensive? I can buy my own
I think the thing about online dating that has always irked me the most is the whole self-testimonial thing. Tell potential romantic partners about yourself, etc. I know we can lie on first dates too, but there’s something about writing out a selling speech that drive me nuts. So, if you’re interested in someone (me) you should just ask those questions. I can’t wait to answer them. Sum up: I am an archivist, musician, avid movie/tv watcher, dog lover, and love to give girls chocolate.

Please god no
Hey girl, I’m the 6’4″ male form of the pumpkin spice latte, only better. Let’s talk about our feelings and cuddle. KCCO!

So…um…what is that, exactly?
Runner, world traveler, volunteer & philanthropist, progressive liberal without the stereotypes, hiker, mountaineer, sailor, soccer player, track athlete and road runner, budding chef, linguist, artist, photographer, painter. All the things you want in a bad boy without the lack of IQ or respect for women.

But I have 20/20 vision
I aim to change your view of men. The only thing that holds us back is some degree of self-doubt. Most girls say they love my olive skin.

Well, that’s fine. I don’t want to have sex with you either.

Can cats ride horses?
Where are the words to put into perspective the person I am? Jack of all traders; master of few. Music makes my world go ’round. I make every attempt to be humble, and honest. No, I’m not after your puss…get off your high horse.

Make up your mind, already
I’m 5’11″….You shallow sloots
EDM is Fantastic
If you’re just looking for a one night stand.. Swipe left..
Well.. Never mind…Swipe right
Handstands don’t impress me
Seahawks can suck it

You say keep away, I say okay
I don’t take this thing seriously. I have honestly given up on the female populace; you ladies can’t be trusted. I just enjoy judging if you are attractive or not just like you ladies do. Sarcasm is my first language; No I won’t hook up with you; No I won’t pay for your dinner or drinks either. I am the worst guy you could ever date. Keep away. You have been warned. Plus you ladies can’t keep up with me anyway.

This is embarrassing for everyone
Late night organ donor
After that he disown ya
After that he just hopeless
Soul mates become soul less

Thanks for explaining to me how this app I’m using works. I wasn’t sure.
Please keep in mind that when I’m hitting the “X” or the “heart” I’m basically just saying I’m interested in this person visually, or I’m not. That simple. Don’t know anything beyond your photo! That basically makes this a “hookup app”, but I’m open to friends and a possible relationship too if the right one comes along.

I… I just… either we have a different understanding of how the English language works, or…are there love languages I don’t know about? Or a drug I can take that will help me understand what’s happening here?

Maybe I don’t know what 420 friendly means?
I bite. Hard. I have no tattoos or piercings and I’m not impressed by either. I party occasionally. Not 420 friendly but I do smoke a lot of weed. I’m a short guy but I’m confident as f***. One thing is for sure you Tinder girls do NOT want to hook up. If I message you don’t be rude, say hi, be nice. Otherwise I will obliterate you with my mind.

Knife fights?!
I just wanna do hood rat shit with my friends. Likes – laughing, dogs, ponies, music festivals, knife fights, outdoor activities, indoor activities, coaching/training boxing, yoga, good vibes, motivated individuals, open minds, the occasional bill found in my pocket and most importantly the little things that make life sweet – Dislikes– tummy aches, closed minds, laziness

I feel like you’re in love with your best friend
hi! Not really sure what I’m doing here… Meeting new people.? I work hard.. Play harder and train for my next race. I’m crazy about sport… Dogs.. Good food.. And genuine people. My best friends first impression of me was that I was an asshole, I thanked her… And learned not to be. Ha! But seriously. I was – it sucked.

Is this a weight watchers point system?
Non-smoker = 10 points
Sternum tattoo (et. al) = 20 points
Regular squatter = 50 points
Healthy eater = 100 points

You had me until zoo
“Any zoo is a petting zoo if you aren’t a little bitch.” –Abraham Lincoln
If you love Leg Day, dive bars, trivia nights, rugby, dogs, bacon or ‘Merica, we’ll get along. Thigh Shy need not apply. Homophobes need not apply.

Channing Tatum started as a stripper
So my dating circle are the people I work with. However I work with strippers and they aren’t the sanest of individuals. Bonus points go to girls with tats, nerd girls, tall girls, good teeth (really weird and big pet peeve)

Journalist isn’t a proper noun. Dick is. If that’s your name.
Good with words, which is important, seeing how I’m a f***ing Journalist.

Bad girl Riri
I see the qualities in a bad girl.

I want to work on the way you use periods. Let’s talk.
Far from vain. Uploading a few look at me shots is lame. Wildly untaimed with not much fear in my brain . Exponential love in the heart . Envelop me to shine light thru dark . To provide that spark . So along this blessed journey . I’m a moth to the flame . To the muse who can inspire me — Note: I cut the screenshot of this one off accidentally. We’ll never know! I’m the worst. I’m sorry.

Things people say when i tell them i’m on tinder

“Isn’t that a hook-up app?”

“All people who are online dating are just trying to hump.”

“I hope it never comes to that for me.”

“Have you tried showing more boob?”

“Good for you!”

“Why not OkCupid?”

“I didn’t take you for that kind of girl.”

“I guess I’m just old-fashioned.”

“Have you read Aziz Ansari’s new book?”

“Are you lonely?”

“Me too.”

“I thought that was for hook-ups.”

“You just trying to get some D or what?”

“Have you tried JDate?”

“Why not meet people in real life?”

“It’s so great you’re getting out there.”

“What is that?”

“All my friends are on it. I wish it’d been around when I was single.”

“You mean Grindr for straight people.”

“Did you read that article in The New York Times?”

“Have you tried Plenty of Fish?”

“Can married people do it?”

“Is that that swiping thing?”

“But you’re so pretty.”

“Are the men awful?”

“Yeah, I know. I’ve seen you on it.”

“Have you tried Match?”

“I’m so pissed I’m in a relationship.”

“Can I see it?”

“Can I swipe for you?”

“Have you tried Siren?”

“Dudes are the worst.”

“It’s like a pocketful of men waiting to make out with you.”

“So…you’re just trying to hook up.”

“Everyone on that is just trying to hook up.”

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get killed?”

“All the women on that are spambots.”

“Have you tried Coffee Meets Bagel?”

“I can’t be on that thing. I looked at this girl’s and I was like, that’s my competition?! I’m basically competing with f***ing Matt Damon. F*** that. I’m out.”

Missed Connection: Paint Boy

My car battery had just died. It was raining.

You were whistling as you came loping down the sidewalk. Loudly. I turned onto the street just ahead of you and you gained on me and then passed me quickly.

You hit the door of Caffe Ladro on 15th and gestured me in ahead of you.

You were wearing basketball shorts, a paint-splattered t-shirt, and had paint in your beard. And a big, easy smile.

Me: So what are you painting?

You: A wall.

Me: How’d it go?

You: Good! I finished.

Me: Congratulations! That’s a good feeling.

You: …I actually finished a year ago.

Me: ….

You: I just really like this t-shirt.

Me: *stares at the paint in your beard* It’s a good t-shirt.

You: *follows me to the coffee lids* So do you paint?

Me: No. I mean, I’ve painted a wall or two in my day. But I try to avoid it.

You: Me too! I haven’t painted in a year. The wall still looks great though.

[Later, my brother-in-law: You should have said you paint with words!]

I sat down with my coffee, willing you to follow me. You looked after me for a moment, then left.

A year ago, I was baffled. How do you go from a few exchanges to asking for someone’s number? Especially at 11:30 on a Sunday morning?

It’s a sincere question. No one’s in that frame of mind at 11:30 on a Sunday morning in their local coffeeshop. I had about 3 minutes from the start of the interaction to the end. Thirty seconds to make a move once it’s clear you can’t keep stirring cream into your coffee forever. Introduce yourself. Decide to sit down. Follow her to the table. Stand there until it’s clear you’re just standing there. Follow him out the door. Ask a question unrelated to paint. Ask if it’s toothpaste in his beard. Oh god, don’t ask that.

It seems somewhat insurmountable. But I often think that. How do you go from meeting someone to asking them out? For that matter, how does anyone ever go from talking to someone to walking down a sidewalk with him or her to kissing?

It’s baffling. It’s a jump. It isn’t a step forward, or even a break into a jog. It’s a sudden level jump, and sometimes it takes a mushroom or a star or an extra life. I don’t play video games. Can you tell?

But people do it, all the time. Today, I’d do something. I would stand awkwardly at the lids until neither of us could justify it any longer. I would get up from where I was sitting at the table and follow him out the door. I would ask him for his number. Tinder keeps you in the game. I’m in practice. I’m also a little bit fearless right now.

He was cute. I wish I liked Caffe Ladro’s pastries more. I’d go back more often.

Grade: I still think about you. You looked so happy, whistling your way down the sidewalk. If you read this, call me.

Help me out, Internet!

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.]

Who should join Tinder?

I’m like a Tinder ambassador right now. In the month that I’ve been using the app, I’ve convinced a co-worker, a neighbor, and a friend to join. I’ve also accidentally convinced 6 people in 3 seriously committed relationships that they are missing out.

The most effective thing, when convincing people to join Tinder, is just to show them the app. It’s so simple. It’s so fun. This is usually how this goes—I explain to people how it works, and then I hand them my phone, and they play for 5–10 minutes, choosing and rejecting guys for me. Then I take my phone back. Then I say, “Get your own.”

My friend and I were crossing the street when she decided to download the app and she literally stopped in the middle of the crosswalk to try to take a new, more flattering selfie. I had to drag her out of oncoming traffic and convince her we could get that same glow without a rush of life-threatening adrenaline.

I’m trying to get my friend in New York, and all I had to do was screenshot a couple of cute guys and text them to her. Pretty soon, she was texting me, “Make out with all of them! Who are they? Why can’t I have them? I am signing up so I can make out with all of them.”

This is a friend who is vehemently against online dating. She also won’t date friends within her social circle or mutual acquaintances. She also won’t date strangers she meets in a bar because they could be serial killers.


Did you hear that Tinder just made its first match in Antarctica? Here’s the thing. They aren’t in love. They may never be in love. But they’ve met now.

I’m going to make some really cheesy statements about hope and possibility, considering I’m talking about a dating app that appears, on the surface, to be the most superficial of all the dating sites.

Feel free to argue with me in your head, but I turned comments off on this blog a long time ago, because like America, this isn’t a democracy. It’s a republic.

Say it’s a sunny day. You’re walking down the street, looking at everybody you pass, and everybody’s heads are up, and people are smiling. Everyone is interesting. Some of them look like people you’d like to be friends with. Someone is the best bucket drummer you’ve ever seen. And some of them are handsome motherf***ers who you’d like to date.

Maybe you even make eye contact with someone. But how in the world are you going to meet him? Basically no one is aggressive enough to ask someone out while passing them on the street, and that attention is almost never welcome in that context, and even if those two things line up, that move would be so aggressive that you would be suspicious and threatened by its existence. Totally cute guy that you would want to ask you out if you met through friends? –> Serial killer/creeper/street harasser if he stops and harasses you on the street.

This is fine. Totally ok, even. If it’s a choice between overcorrecting and undercorrecting, I choose overcorrecting until all women feel safe to walk all places all the time. Then we can work on being “friendly” or whatever you street harasser apologists call it.

But Tinder! Tinder is like walking down a very crowded street full of people about your age, in your city, of your preferred romantic-partner gender, and when you see someone you like, and they like you back, a text message conversation opens. Literally. That’s actually what happens. Except for the walking part, because Tinder is best done from the safety of your couch while watching Broad City.

I was reading an article that said you shouldn’t swipe through people for more than 15 minutes at a time, because you become more picky at that point, and you’re probably eating cereal in your underwear, so let’s knock off the judgment, ok guys?

Which I thought was a very fair point, since I was eating cereal and reading articles about Tinder in my PJs at 7 pm.

On the other hand, I maintain that using the word “bitches” in a profile is a fair reason to dismiss a dude, even if it is in the context of, “Big fan of the Oxford comma…bitches love the Oxford comma.”

You could argue that all online dating gives you the chance to meet new, cute people, which is all I’ve really managed to say so far.

But Tinder’s gamed the system in two very effective ways: the barrier to entry is low and the entertainment level is high.

Have you ever heard anyone say they were excited to sit down and make their OkCupid profile? Or even seen someone pull out their phone to spend a few minutes casually looking at other people’s OkCupid profiles?

It all feels like a commitment. There is so much work required that it takes real effort to do it. All of which feels too heavy to me. I’m not actually searching for a serious relationship. I’m not saying I would turn one down, I just don’t want to put energy finding one. A lot of stigma about online dating has been removed, but not the (fair) perception that people who are doing it are looking for something, relationship-wise. I’m not even sure I really want to be dating right now. I’m not against it. It’s just sort of last on the list, after writing more, remembering to cook dinner, figuring out what I’m doing with my life, watching all of my Netflix queue, reading my stack of library books, cleaning my bathroom, flossing more, jogging, and getting allergy shots once a month for five years.

But what I did want was something new to look at on my phone while doing all of those things. What happened was this: I listened to Serial. Serial ended. I downloaded Tinder.

I’m not the only one. I think this article—”How Tinder Solved Online Dating for Women”—summed things up pretty nicely:

In July, most of my single female friends weren’t playing around with online dating at all. They were busy with work and friends and not looking to settle down immediately, so why put the time and effort into meticulously constructing a profile, screening dozens of messages, and going on dates with guys who look nothing like their pictures? By August, all they could talk about was Tinder.

The article goes on to explain that besides being easy, Tinder is fun. It doesn’t feel like a chore to open up your messages and be worried about what you might find in there. (And if there is something unwanted, there is an “unmatch” feature that quickly cuts the offender off and removes their ability to talk to you. There is also a way to report abusers.)

I also like that Tinder isn’t pretending to know what you want. It doesn’t even ask you to know what you want. We know that dating sites’ algorithms—while largely based in very real behavorial psychology—are mostly bullshit. Just read OkCupid’s blog. Have you read OkCupid’s blog? Go read OkCupid’s blog. I’ll wait here.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t know what I want. I went on Tinder thinking, I’ll just look. Pretty soon (ok, really soon), I thought, “Well, I could talk to some people.” Then, “Well, this is a dating app. What’s the point if I’m not going to meet people in real life?” (Psssst: going on dates is fun. Going on dates with low expectations is even more fun.)

If I don’t know what I want out of a relationship right now, then I certainly don’t know what I want in a person. Besides, so many of us think we want something that we don’t. So many of us think we want “someone like us,” when in fact almost none of us wants to date ourselves. How many of you have ever ended up in an unexpected relationship because you just really liked the person?

Everyone just raised their hand? Earth is tilting from all the hand raising?

Yes, Tinder requires you to make a decision about a person based on little information—a picture, a short bio. And yes, I could reject someone who I might really like if I gave them a chance. But I could still meet him in person! He still exists! Though Tinder may not be our medium, but he doesn’t get killed if I don’t swipe right (like). He doesn’t even ever find out I swiped left (nope). This isn’t Ender’s Game, you guys. I hope. Oh god, what if it’s Ender’s Game?

In the meantime, while we try to figure out if Tinder is fighting a war in outer space and deciding who lives and dies through our arbitrary actions…I’ve found that Tinder has made me more open to the idea of meeting people, in general. My friend pointed this out, too. “I actually think Tinder is very good for me. I’ve talked to more new people through the couple of months of being on Tinder than in the past six years of living here.”

It’s reminded me, too, that meeting new people can be easy. That talking to a guy and seeing where it goes doesn’t mean declaring your intentions toward him, or toward what you want out of life. That other people want to meet new people, too. That who we “like” isn’t based on some objective standard of who looks like a model—but who looks like someone we might like. Real-life like.

That decision’s based on all sorts of cues—and not all of them superficial.

Plus…everyone likes getting this little digital present:
Someone who you think is cute thinks you’re cute.

Let’s talk about why middle school has kept me from ever joining a gym

Let’s start with the minor problems of being in a gym, all of which can be summed up with the phrase “other people.” Subsets include:

  • Other people can see you working out.
  • Other people can see how long you’ve been working out. Or not.
  • Other people can see it when your arms or legs get all jelly and shake. 
  • This basically recreates a terrible moment for me from middle school, when we were doing the Presidential Fitness Test. You could either do pull-ups or you could do this terrible thing they’d devised for those of us too weak to ever do a pull-up, called the flexed arm hang. Where you held onto the bar in a “pulled up” position for as along as possible and your tiny female gym teacher with the scary dyed red hair timed you, counting the seconds out loud so everyone could hear, just in case they weren’t capable of counting to “17″ on their own.
  • Anyway, at about second 11, my arms started to shake so badly that I actually heard someone in the crowd say, “Look at her arms shake!”
  • Hahaha oh god I’m still proud that I didn’t cry. 

In middle school, I wasn’t actually in all that bad of shape. When I was a kid, I played sports. For some reason people who have only known me as an adult in social situations are amazed by this? I guess because I tend to act horrified when people talk about throwing themselves face-first down cliffs? 

And I do get nervous about signing up for backpacking trips into backcountry with random people who do that stuff all the time, saying yes to boating expeditions into the Arctic North to hunt great white whales…

What if they make me do a flexed arm hang?

I, like a lot of people, quit playing sports when I hit college, and now that I’m an adult, I’ve lost some confidence.

It’s not all psychological: it turns out it’s true that if you do nothing but read books for several years, you get sort of winded and dizzy when you try to hike in 97 degree heat, and end up sitting with your boyfriend’s grandfather in the shade instead of walking on a gently sloping trail. I HAD AN EAR INFECTION. Let’s not talk about it.

Ok, so now I’m trying harder. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I hate running– but perhaps you’ve also inferred that now I do, in fact, go running. I’m not a good runner but I am stubborn. 

I run slowly and for short distances. I run outside, which is great for several reasons:

  • It gets me outside, which gets me light. I live in Seattle. Even if it’s cloudy, being outside for half an hour gets you your daily dose of Vitamin D. Really. I read about it. 
  • I can run with my dog. Sometimes she sucks though. When she gets tired or bored, she does the pee fake-out, where she pretends to squat so I have to stop. Which I love because it’s a great excuse to stop I resent because I love running so much
  • It solves the “other people” problem. You may not think so, since typically “other people” are allowed to walk around outside and use public spaces, etc. but here’s the thing: if I’m running, and I pass you, you DON’T KNOW how long I’ve been running or how far! I might be running this slowly because I’m warming up for my marathon training, or cooling down after a 10 mile sprint. I might be recovering from double-ACL surgery after doing a Sahara 100 mile race that I won, and just getting back into it. YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE. 
  • Whereas if I’m in a gym, you can see me get on the treadmill and pant and gasp and trip over my shoelaces and sit down and get whizzed off the conveyor belt in a heap. 
  • Here’s the issue: it’s really, really cold outside.

The major problem with being in a gym:

  • Something about gym machines makes me illiterate. I have a graduate degree in reading, basically, and whenever I look at those instructions, all I see is landing directions for a spaceship written in Cyrillic. 
  • It’s like when my friend was putting together a piece of Ikea furniture and loudly protested, “THE PICTURES ARE IN SWEDISH.”
  • And the penalty for getting the machine instructions wrong is breaking my spine. And then having to do a flexed arm hang in front of my crush while worrying about whether or not people were making fun of me for not shaving my legs yet while a math test looms in half an hour.

I was also bad at the V-sit and reach. Which is just mean, to have that double-whammy. It’s a wonder I’m allowed to vote in this country at all.