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)

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?

The definitive definition of dating

relationship (n.)
from re- (Latin: to return, again), lations- (Middle French: rapport report, bareback bear back), and hip (Shakira: don’t lie).

“Looking for something real,” people say on dating sites. Yeah, I mean, holograms are fun, but they always leave me feeling hollow.

“I’m just interested in something fun,” other people say. Well, yeah, me too. If it isn’t fun—to see you, to talk to you, to kiss you—then I’m definitely not in.

There are committed relationships and their legal embodiments, marriages. And then there’s everything else, which—can we please just call it dating?


Within both of those there are an infinity of options, poorly defined, including but not limited to: casual dating, casual dating while seeing other people, casual dating while sexually exclusive, serious dating, committed dating, polyamory, dating to see where it goes, having fun and being open to where it goes, having fun and going nowhere fast, torturing each other slowly, open relationships, primary partners, secondary partners, tertiary partners, dating to forget, dating to remember,  friends with benefits, fuck buddies, hate fuck buddies, lovers, sexting friends, surrogate boyfriends / girlfriends, dating to get over, dating to get under, boyfriend / girlfriend, side girl / boy, frenemies, heterosexual life partner, that relationship Winston has with his cat on New Girl, platonic soulmates, sexual soulmates who are fundamentally incompatible, secret dating.

Note that I didn’t say which of those are committed relationships and their legal embodiments, marriages, and which of those fall under this new, great, all-inclusive term of “dating” that I’ve just invented.

I know, I know—it’s overwhelming. So here’s a guide:

Does it feel good? Are you comfortable? If you’re uncomfortable, is it in a healthy way that feels like growth or maybe in a thrilling way that feels like a roller coaster if you’re a person who likes roller coasters?

That’s it. Have fun. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: be safe, be persistent, and I hope you get lucky.

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.


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.

Review of Date #13: The Smart, Literary Bro

It happened to me: I went on a date with a bro.

And, weirdly, I was really excited about this date. I can’t totally explain why, except he had a huge smile in his pictures and he used a lot of exclamation points and said things like “Cool beans!”—which no, is not something I recommend, but combined with his smile, it made me feel like I was going to have a good time—even if I didn’t like him. Even if I didn’t want to. Which, isn’t that the point of this whole thing? To be forced to enjoy the company of others?

Dating! When you’d rather watch Netflix but make yourself act like a human with a normal amount of emotions and desire for companionship!

The day of the date, I sent him a message.

Me: …do you have a beard or no beard right now? Trying to up my chances of recognizing you!

Him: Hahaha right? No beard right now… I’ll probably just be in chill clothes or something. I’ll keep you posted!

Me to my sister: What do you think chill clothes means?!?

My sister: Haha. Matt thinks sweatpants. I think he means it’s a casual event so he doesn’t know what he’s going to wear. Which he shared with you in a particularly hilarious way.

Me: Pretty happy with this date so far. And it hasn’t happened yet.

Let’s keep in mind this is Date #13. I must have been getting complacent, because I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t eat dinner early enough. All of a sudden, I had a half hour before my 8 pm date. Don’t eat? Try to find a snack on the way? Like an idiot, I opted for showing up at the restaurant early, ordering, and hoping my food comes in time for me to eat it—all before he gets there.

Hahaha. Yeah, right.

He showed up around the same time my salad did. I really was at the point of not caring. Plus, it’s just hard to feel like someone who says “Cool beans!” is going to be too hard about minor points of super awkward etiquette. He was broad-shouldered and well-muscled and wearing shorts and a t-shirt (chill clothes?). He looked—let’s just say it—like sort of a bro. And then he had such a sweet, big smile and deep, low rumbly voice.

Oh, I thought. Right. This is a date. I might like him? Woah, wait, what?

And: stupid salad.

As we talked, it gradually dawned on me that he had two responses to everything I said.

1. That’s awesome.

2. That’s crazy.

Me: “Yeah, I grew up here.”

Him: “That’s awesome.”

Me: “I work in communications.”

Him: “That’s crazy.”

Sometimes—if things got really exciting—he combined them.

Me: “I’ve been reading food memoirs.”

Him: “That’s awesome. That’s crazy.”

Well, I thought, maybe he’s just nervous. Dates are nerve-wracking. And even though I’m so overly comfortable with this whole process that I’m shoving giant pieces of Romaine lettuce and garlic into my mouth right now, and he isn’t even eating, maybe he hasn’t been on 12 dates in 12 weeks, or whatever insane schedule I’ve kept to.

As we got deeper into the conversation, his responses got longer. And he ordered mac’n’cheese. Ok, I thought, we’re settling into it.

Me: “I almost always prefer the book to the movie. And by almost always I mean always. It seems to me one exception might be Game of Thrones. I’m not sure the books add much. It’s mostly action, and the style of writing isn’t spectacular on its own.” Note: I have neither read the books nor watched the show; I’m just an asshole who offers opinions on things I know nothing about.

Him: “I thought the books were interesting. There’s quite a bit of landscape description in them. But yeah, I can see how you don’t really lose anything when you translate to the show. …That’s crazy.”

Me: “Even The Hunger Games—which is another action-oriented series—lost quite a bit.”

Him: “Yeah I really thought we missed quite a bit of Katniss’s character development and her interior motivation.”

Me: You read the books of both those series?!

Him: “Plus, The Hunger Games really are well-written and are elevated somewhat by having access to the author’s voice and style.”

Me: Don’t say it don’t say it don’t say—

Him: “…That’s awesome.”

Me: Sigh.

To his credit, he is the first and only person who has looked me dead in the eye and done this:

Him: Do you come here a lot?

Me: Yep. It’s close to my house. I like the atmosphere.

Him: You bring all your first dates here?

Me: Umm…yes?

Him: You have a routine.

Me: Yes.

Him: Let’s have it.

Let’s talk about my routine! I generally take first dates to the same bar. 8 pm on a weeknight. The bar’s close to my house. I like the atmosphere. It’s always busy enough that you can people watch, and noisy enough that you don’t feel like the whole restaurant is listening to you. It’s big enough that you can always find a seat, and not so noisy that you have to strain to hear. They serve cocktails, beer, and wine, as well as coffee and other NA beverages. I’ve had the bartenders make me non-alcoholic mixers. There are french fries on the menu, and a pretty insane brownie that comes freshly baked in a cast iron pan, if anyone’s feeling snacky. There’s a variety of portraits and taxidermied animals on the wall you can talk about if conversation stalls. I recommend sitting at the bar, so you can be close to one another—if things are going well!—but also looking forward rather than trying to stare awkwardly into each other’s eyes all night.

If dates go badly, it’s easy for me to get home.

And as someone pointed out recently—if dates go well, it’s also easy for me to get home. Tells you something that this viewpoint had not even crossed my mind, cheerful pessimist that I am.

Me: So what’s your routine?

Him: I don’t have one. This is my first Tinder date.

Me: Oh god. Do I have to make this a good experience? I know. I’ll do what I want a good first date to do: I won’t murder him!

If standards are going to be so low for good dates, let’s make it an even playing field.

Unlike my first Tinder date, I did not walk him around the city under the stars and talk about poetry and films and kiss him under a streetlight. I couldn’t get up the energy. I ate my salad, and he ate his mac’n’cheese, and we both had our drinks and conversation.

Grade: I don’t know anymore. People are surprising in all kinds of ways. He texted and said it was nice to meet me, and I said the same, and that was that.

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.

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.”