Friday, October 28, 2011

The Softcup. Or, how vaginal dams are saving relationships across America.

There comes a time in every new relationship when a woman needs to tell a man: I am a real human woman. I can prove this because I am currently bleeding out of the very orifice you wish to penetrate this evening. This scenario is real. It is awkward. It happens every goddamn month to every goddamn woman I know.

Later on, when a couple's entered the 'comfort' stage (you know--when you start eating Cheerios in bed and move the granny panties to the front of the drawer again), there come alternative means to coping with menstruation and your horny boyfriend. Option A. Get messy. Grant permission to enter the floods. Option B. Tell your man he can take care of himself for 3 damn days a month while you get familiar with a pint of Rocky Road and wail to a marathon of Lifetime movies.

But the first time your 'time of the month' happens to coincide with your 'time to go on a date' can be uncomfortable, especially if you've already slept with your new friend. How do you explain that you can't have sex this time even though you had sex last time without offending him, making bizarre excuses (sick, um neighbor at home?), or being honest (and do you really want to talk anatomy on the 2nd date?).

Well, this week I came face to face with this very quandary. I had a 2nd date planned with my most wonderful smoocher from last week, didn't want to cancel, but didn't want to face facts. Lo and behold, I came across a tweet from fellow dating blogger, The Urban Dater, introducing me to an alternative to the horrors of...[shudder]...womanhood. Softcup, alternatively dubbed 'Instead,' is meant to, well, cup your situation up there. This seemed genius. We love to defeat nature! We hate wrinkles! We hate our real hair color. And we HATE our periods! Cup that stuff up up there and save it--I want to have sex, dammit!

Well, the Softcup isn't as easy as all that, friends. Like all of man's solutions to nature--botox, store-bought hair dye, and-apparently-'Instead,' shit gets messy. I didn't feel comfortable with what I suspected might be leakage halfway through the date and I plugged up with alternative means and made an excuse to leave his apartment early.

But I have high hopes for Softcup on future, more confident, evenings out. I have 12 more of these puppies at home (14 come per box, but I wasted one doing an ooh & ahh-filled  demo for a friend) and I will not waste my money, if nothing else.

Future Softcup users beware: taking the cup out is not as easy as putting it in. As I described earlier on my Twitter feed:
[Taking it out] was like bobbing for an apple. Except I was drunk. & the apple was a slippery rubber ring. & the water was my vagina.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rules for online engagement.

I am an online dater. I am not proud. I am not loud. I am not always confident that what I am doing is right. But online I am. And online I’ll stay…til my membership to expires in 5 weeks or I find a boyfriend. Whichever comes first.

While shopping for a partner online may seem like a whole lot of fun and games and browsing for chinos on J Crew, it’s crucial to remember that you’re not just shopping—you’re being shopped for. And creating an online dating profile that represents you—the real you—but not all the bad parts of the real you—just the alluring, attractive, amazing parts—is both a crucial and challenging task.

I was asked recently for tips of the trade (if dating is still my trade in 5 years, remind me to shoot myself). And seeing as I’m a good friend, a dedicated blogger, and have some time on my hands between dates at the moment, I’m all too happy to oblige.

Here are some key tips for marketing You (yes, you are a good for sale for all intensive purposes) on the digital meat market:

Your Profile Picture(s).

• No matter what they tell you, it is permissible and actually advisable to look at least as good, if not better, in your picture than you do in real life. In real life, your date will get to learn about all the wonderful non-physical parts of you that really matter. At first glance, he can’t see your kindness and bubbly personality. All he can see is that chip in your tooth and your kinky hair.
• If you’re worried that your one glamour shot picture may not represent you accurately and you want to offer a more honest glimpse at the goods, you’re right. Post a few pics. But the more, the merrier does not apply either. There is such a thing as too many pics on your profile. More than, let’s say, 10 can indicate narcissism. And it’s not all about you. Yet.
• Shots of you with just one other person of the opposite gender is not a good look (for a hetero profile, that is). I don’t care if it’s your best friend. Your brother. Your oldest mate. No one wants to see what may be competition in a picture with his future romantic interest.
• Beware your captions. They’re likely not as clever as you think they are.

Your Age.

• Guys. Girls. Everyone. It is not okay to lie about your age. More importantly than it showing you to be a liar, it will undoubtedly, absolutely, 100% get found out if you make it into a relationship. And then you won’t just appear a liar. You’ll appear pathetic and insecure. Also, how young are you aiming for your date to be that you feel you need to lie about your own age to score him? Avoid the drama. Your age is one of the few things you can’t change about yourself. Own it.

Your Interests.

Don’t check off Interests because you want to attract others who care about those things. Do you think someone else’s elevated interests will rub off on you? Someone’s karma transfer over? We are who we are. Our mates can help open our perspective. They are not meant to be the people we wish we were ourselves. If you want to start having ‘coffee and conversation’ (a good beginner’s interest for those of you used to checking off ‘loafing on the couch watching Housewives’), go out and grab a goddamn cup of coffee yourself. Feigning Interests doesn’t make you interesting.

Your About Me. And Who You’re Looking For.

A lot of folks feel that describing themselves in the ‘About Me’ section of dating sites is akin to forced bragging about themselves. False. Telling the facts about yourself is, in itself, not pretentious. It’s your tone that makes it so. You can share that you have a zest for life, are smart, have an Ivy League education, and enjoy watching tennis, and come off sounding absolutely delightful. Or, you can end up sounding like Muffy of Muffy and Buffy at the Snoot Town Country Club. Reread your statement. You should be able to decipher which side of the bragging line you come out on. If you have any sense of self-awareness that is. And if you do, feel free to throw that into your About Me section as well. Most everyone enjoys a self-aware partner.

As for the bit about what you’re looking for—well, what are you looking for? If you’ve gone online, chances are you’ve tried dating in ‘the real world.’ And found results to be less than ideal. Here is your chance to be specific about what you want in a partner. And hopefully you will have evaluated this before you put pen to paper. Does it matter to you that your new friend is a family person? Say it. Is it crucial that he be financially stable (please tell me you’re no longer dating couch surfers, readers?!)? Then write that ish down. You have literally paid your dues in order to shop for partners that suit your specific needs and desires. And there is no point in being coy about it.

Your Body Type.

No one’s saying a multiple choice selection process to describe your physique is kind. Or fair. Or even accurate. Take me, for instance. I’m probably not what you’d call a girl with ‘more to love’ by general American standards. I might even be considered amongst the smaller population, in fact. But, I don’t live in America at large. I live in Los Angeles. And in Los Angeles, I am not ‘slender.’ But do I say I am? Yeah, I say I am. Because no man thinks he wants to date a ‘curvy’ girl. So, let him meet me to find out that he does.

That all being said, I’m not encouraging blatant misrepresentation here [or in any part of your profile]. Saying you’re slender if you are, in fact, obese—count this amongst things that are not only not okay, but will also score you reactions resembling: aghast, horrified, and disappointed on Date 1. And that’s not good for your date. Or for your self-esteem.

I met a man recently whose last match had shown pictures of herself 65 pounds slimmer than the current reality. That date lasted 40 minutes. And I think that was kind of him.

Your Pets.

When I first filled out my profile I said I loved dogs. I didn’t have one, I said, because I didn’t have room in my studio apartment. A year later, I looked back at this and realized it was a blatant lie. I do not have a dog because I do not want a dog and, to be honest, I prefer that my partner not have one either. A boyfriend with a dog means to me: having to leave dates early to care for said dog, viewing endless albums of pictures of dog over dinner and having to feign interest and even excitement, sleeping in my man’s bed with a dog in between us, possibly drooling on me, and having to share my man’s attention with a hairier, shorter bitch. I’m not interested.

Another friend of mine was fibbed to by her now boyfriend who said he liked cats. When they moved in with each other months later, it turned out that he not only disliked them, he was allergic. They stayed together, but she ended up cat-less. A bummer.

So, what I’d encourage here is: honesty. If you’ve got a furry friend, let your potential mates know up front. If you’ve got an aversion to all things that walk on 4 legs, best to let others know that too, even if it does make you seem a little cold and heartless. Cold sure, but not a liar.

Honesty is the best policy.

As a general rule: be honest, be honest, be honest. From what you’re looking for (long-term relationship vs. short term tryst), to your education (we live in a digital age—he will find out if you didn’t graduate from Harvard, friend), to the things you share about yourself (if you’re not funny, don’t say you’re funny. I assure you he will figure this out within 10 minutes of date 1. I’m sure you have other lovely traits you can highlight instead.)

And be honest with yourself as well. About what you want, but also about who you are. If you are looking for something magical and wonderful and exciting, be the person who will attract this kind of mate—in other words, be magical and wonderful and exciting yourself. In the search for someone else, never stop working on Numero Uno—you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Every side of the bed is mine.

For 5 years, I've slept on one side of the bed--the right side.

This morning I woke up in the middle of the bed.

I went back to sleep.

I woke up in the middle again.

I take this as an affront from my subconscious. My sleeping self seems to think it's time I hoped for someone to fill the bed's other side.

My waking side says to f*ck off.

Maybe I just need a bigger bed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's in his bloody kiss.

When I was 10 years old and in summer camp—a disastrous 2 months for so many reasons, one of which was a cold, swampy lake—my fellow campettes and I made the following song our summer anthem: ‘It’s In His Kiss.’ The song instructed us young and impressionable campers that if we wanted to know if a boy liked us, we’d find the answer in his kiss. If a relationship was going to last, it was in his kiss. If the sex was to be blow-your-mind awesome, it was decidedly to be foreseen in his kiss. (This last interpretation, perhaps, came a bit later in life.) Meanwhile, at the tender, undeveloped, still carrying baby fat age of 10, I had not even held a boy’s hand, let alone kissed one.

Well, today—many [many] kisses later—and I can vouch for the fact that there’s some truth to this old adage which we got to know through Cher's wailing version of the song. A kiss doesn’t indicate just levels of lust, but it can translate passion, it can show care, and it really, truly can express love. When a fellow kisses you, you can feel sparks fly or you can feel bombs drop.

All this is to say: I had the most amazing kiss. ever. last week. He is a man I met on And for every rule I ever thought I knew about online dating—that it wasn’t possible to have that chemistry, the kind you have when you meet someone in real life and discover for the first time that you don’t want to keep your hands off each other—I was wrong. I was so wrong. I was a blithering idiot and it was proven last Thursday night at a bar in Downtown where I kissed Ryan [whose last name I still do not know] and thought my head might explode from time standing still and life reaching levels of bliss which had never been dreamed possible.

I’m not saying I found love in Ryan’s kiss. I mean, we hardly know each other (which is not to say we didn’t get to ‘know’ each other a bit better later on in the evening. cause we did). But we found something that was so special in its pure, physical perfectness for each other—a matching kissing style, tempo, head tilt just so—that I would see him again 100 times over, just to remind myself that that kiss is out there somewhere.

Will this perfect kiss get in the way of other relationships I’m exploring now? Maybe. Okay, probably. But I want it again. At the risk of sabotaging my feelings for other partners who may be more suitable in every other way for me, I will seek out that kiss again and again and again til our lips fall off or one of us marries or state line divide us.

I don’t know what it is. But it’s in his bloody kiss. And I want it again.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do. Twice.

Wow, how 3/4 of a year flies by when you're dating, breaking up, testing cougar status, falling into despair, embracing singledom, turning 30, and remaining utterly, eternally single.

It's hard to believe I last wrote in February. Do you know what happened in February that caused my hiatus from sharing woes? I fell in love. Well, no, that's not really completely accurate. I found a fellow who fell in love with me and boy oh boy did I love that he loved me. (Ego is responsible for no small percentage of life's disasters.)

And there was an end date on this tryst--I was about to travel for several months on work. Jordan was here for work and therefore leaving. We were 2 ships sailing and crossing and having great sex in the night and we knew that we'd end up on disparate shores so gosh, how we were able to recklessly enjoy climbing aboard each other's decks (have I taken the metaphor too far? stop me any time now).

But, as happens whenever a man likes me just a tad too much--just a hair over the edge of the usual dismissive, cold, moody emotions I usually contend with in my preferred breed of asshole lovers--I turned on him. And fast. His shoes--they were gross. The way he chewed his gum--it was foul. His hair--what was he, a middle school teacher from Iowa? Dis-gust-ing.

And so I went off to travel the country for work and live my Eat Pray Love summer throughout the midwest. And do you know what the Midwest has to offer, friends? Men. Young, handsome, willing men. And I forgot about poor Jordan like a girl forgets her underwear at her one night stand's house (the kind of forgetting where you sort of remember but hate to face the hassle of calling for their retrieval).

But Jordan had not forgotten about me. That's the problem when one doesn't break things off when she knows she ought to--when she knows she wants to. So Jordan wanted to call me. Jordan wanted nightly phone calls. Jordan wanted to...say what!?...visit me. Oh hellll to the N.O. Not on the Love section of my Eat Pray Love adventure. And so I broke it to him gently. On the phone. That a visit was not best. I'd need to think about things.

To me: think about things = we're dunzo. This ship has sailed. This ship has a new set of sailors and we're having a party up in Cabin 1 so don't come a knockin when the ship's a rockin.

To Jordan: think about things = we're going to think about things. Um, idiot.

One week later, he called. 'I don't feel like you've been thinking about things,' he says. 'Think about whaaa...[oh, shit, right]...oh, yeah, um. Okay, I thought about things. It's not really going to work out Jordan. Sowwwwy.' Click.

That's how you break up with someone twice, my dedicated, equally passive aggressive readers. You break up once, but not really. You break up again, for reals, and break hearts that kinda probably didn't need to be broken. But wasn't it so much easier? On you? Not to man up and do it right on round one? Yeah. Pretty much.

Tear for the heart broken. Thanks for that it wasn't mine.