Dating, humor

Dear Newly Single Men: Please Stop Doing This

“Have you ever seen Gary Gulman’s stand-up bit about finding a $20 bill in your coat pocket?”

My opening line to Kevin on Hinge paid tribute to his profile prompt: “Dating me is like…finding that $5 bill in your jacket from last season.”

I wasn’t sure if I should message him. At 31, he was nine years my junior and his profile featured a series of photos that each looked like a slightly different person. Long hair, short hair. Beard, no beard. Muscular, pudgy. But there was one photo I found irresistible: He was hitchhiking, thumb out, wide smile, holding a sign that read, “Late 4 Summah Skool.” I’d later learn that the photo wasn’t staged and he had in fact had great success hitchhiking all over the country – as long as he held a funny sign.

Even though I’d long sworn off marathon messaging on dating apps (“Let’s skip all the messaging and meet up to see if there’s a genuine connection,” my profile currently reads), we quickly fell headfirst into the kind of dazzling banter I liked to imagine Aaron Sorkin spotting. (“Holy shirtballs, Jules, I’ve been waiting decades to find a writer like you!”)

“My entire being is concentrated on not making typos because I’m a writer and we have a reputation to uphold,” I wrote that night after several glasses of wine.

“My entire being is concentrated on not making typos in fear that a writer will *eviscerate* me,” Kevin replied. “Yes, allow me to flex my associates degree in spelling.”

“If someone ever gave me a degree for spelling, I would propose.”

The teasing went on for hours and I lost track of the amount of times I laughed out loud. He reminded me of my ex-husband’s most attractive qualities. Witty. Masculine. Confident.

“I just want someone who sparkles – like my friends do!” I’d been telling girlfriends over the past few months. After several years of dating off and on in central Oregon, it seemed like I was asking for the moon. “The kind of guy who’s really comfortable in his own skin and treats you like you’re the hottest thing he’s ever seen and knows he’s THE MAN because he gets to be with you.”

Messaging Kevin on Hinge, I began to wonder if he just might fit the bill.

The $5 $20 bill.

Two days later, we made plans to meet at a dive bar at 4pm, a couple of hours before my friend’s holiday party. Kevin showed up early and secured a booth, his funny messages continuing right up until the moment I walked through the door. My heart pounded. I wondered if, instead of carrying the conversation like I often did on first dates, I might actually have trouble keeping up with this guy.

I spotted him immediately, wearing a worn-out, turquoise shirt and baseball cap. He was slightly taller than me and just as masculine as I had imagined, right down to the beard and rock solid hug.

I sat down and when he smiled, his eyes glowed and my stomach somersaulted. Everything in my body told me that this was going to be a good date. Really good. He stared at me silently for a long moment until I finally said,

“What is it…?”

He grinned and then, in his deep and gravelly voice, said slowly, “You’re a fucking smoke show, Jules.”

I laughed and he reached into his pocket. “I’ve got somethin’ for ya.”

He pulled out a small slip of paper and as soon as I saw it I said, “Well, I guess I have to get down on one knee now.”

“So should we just get all of our red flags out now?” he asked.

“Tit for tat? Let’s do it,” I answered, palms flat on the table, accepting the challenge readily.

“I have no money,” he began and I giggled.

He went on to explain that he was newly single, had a crappy-paying but steady job, and would be traveling for work for six months, starting in April.

“Well if we hit it off, you’ll just have to get a new job,” I said, unfazed. His red flags were no match for our instant chemistry and what I quickly learned was an identical life philosophy.

“I always make decisions based on what will make the best story,” he told me.

You don’t say, Kevin.

“Do you want to come to this holiday party?” I found myself blurting as the clock neared 6pm. “It would make a good story.”

“Do you want me to?”

“It’s going to be a grown-up-y cocktail kind of party,” I cautioned.

“Do you want me to come?” he repeated.

“Do you want to go?” I asked.

“Yes or no, Jules.”

The way he leveled me made my heart flutter. Of course there was only one answer.


We spent nearly the entire party canoodling on the living room couch and ignoring everyone else. Resting a hand between my crossed legs, he confessed that he was dealing with not only a bad break-up, but a tragic family death, his eyes welling with tears.

“We don’t have to talk about this now,” I said gently, my hand on his knee.

“It’s okay,” he said. Later, he would say that he didn’t really talk to anyone -besides his new therapist- about this.

“Can I kiss you?” he asked at the end of the night, long after the party had ended and after another drink back at the dive bar.

Just like the last question he’d asked, the answer was crystal clear.

When I got home around midnight, we texted for hours.

“You’re going to have to give me a minute to believe all of this is real,” I confessed via text. “You just started dating again, but I’ve been at this for years.”

“Tell me how I can help.”

“Just keep touching my butt and complimenting me.”

We hung out again the next night with one of his friends at yet another dive bar.

“I missed you. I’ve been telling my friends about you,” he whispered after I sat down next to him.

When his friend left for the night, he gave us a little smile and thumbs up, clearly approving our undeniable connection.

“I’m all in,” Kevin blurted once it was just the two of us. “But that’s a conversation for another day.”

We were both too exhausted to hang out again the next night, Sunday, and doubt started to creep in when his messages abruptly slowed. Had he changed his mind? Was this real? Were we really a match? Was it moving too quickly? Was I being love bombed?

“Brad and I spent every day together when we first met,” my friend, Amanda, reassured me. “We moved in a few months later and now we’ve been together 17 years!” She was on Team Kevin, or rather, Team Jules Needs a Goddamn Break, and had met Kevin at the holiday party.

Despite the sudden halt in messaging and a couple of short, lackluster phone calls, Kevin came over on Monday night and I greeted him with a kiss, trying to overcome my insecurity. Later, when he asked if I wanted him to sleep over, I said,

“I think we’d need to talk about what that means.”

“I’m the lowest I’ve ever been,” he confided, our limbs intertwined on the couch and my dog nervously panting, wondering who this strange man was. “I do ultimately want a partner, and I think I’m ready for that. I don’t know. One minute I feel one way, the next minute another way. I’m kind of all over the place. I really like you and want to keep hanging out. I can’t promise I won’t go on other dates; I’ve just put myself back out there, but I think you’re great. You’re a catch, Jules. …Does that help?”

Part of me felt relieved by his monologue. It was more tempered and realistic. After all, I was still planning other dates myself – we’d only known each other for four days.

We made out until the wee hours, the chemistry overwhelming. When he left at 2am, though, I was suddenly crying. I knew something was off. The next morning, I Googled “dating a grieving man” and read for two hours. It seemed to explain the hot-and-cold behavior, but I still felt unnerved. His actions were the same kind you see when a guy, well, just isn’t that into you.

“It’s so confusing. I really like him and I haven’t felt chemistry like this in so long,” I sighed, twirling the straw in my vodka tonic, chatting over drinks with a friend.

“Just go with your gut,” she replied. I wanted to feel comforted, but I genuinely wasn’t sure what my gut was telling me.

After distancing himself even more for two days, Kevin asked me to call him that Thursday night, which I did. He didn’t pick up. The next day around noon, my phone rang.

“What’s shakin’ bacon?” he asked in his gruff voice, despite me teasing him that that was a pretty bad nickname for a vegan.

“What’s cookin’ good-lookin’?” I replied, feeling fairly confident that he was going to lockdown some weekend plans and that I was better equipped to navigate his grieving behavior.

“Nothin’ much, just watering plants.”

“Making plans?” I questioned, mishearing him. “That makes my project manager heart flutter.”

“Watering plants,” he repeated.


“What are you up to today?”

“Just getting some work done, then exercising. That’s about it for today,” I answered, my pride not allowing me to initiate any plans. “How about you?”

“Nothin’ much. I got volun-told to bring fish for sushi-making tonight, so I gotta get that together.”

My stomach sank. On our first date, he’d tried to woo me with the promise of a dinner date at his place, making avocado and tofu sushi. “I almost never eat meat,” he had said – music to my ears. Now he was talking about bringing sushi somewhere else? Somewhere I wasn’t invited? Somewhere with another woman…?

“My red flag is my massive jealous streak,” I had told Kevin on our first date. Even though I called it my red flag, I knew a sensitive, loving partner would do everything in his power to make me feel secure. I was beginning to realize what my gut was telling me. Run.

“And you have your work holiday party on Saturday,” I added, trying to play it cool. Would he invite me to that?

“Yeah, I really don’t want to go, but I got talked into it. They want us to dress up, but they don’t pay me enough for that.”

We chatted about his notoriously raucous holiday work party for a minute and then he said,

“So…I need to talk to you about something.”

A pit formed in my stomach and I braced myself, trying to go numb.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” he continued. “And I really don’t think I’m ready for a relationship. I’m leaving [for work] in April and it would just be a waste of time. I know that’s what you’re looking for, and I’ve been trying to figure things out, and I wanted to be upfront.”

“Okay. …Thanks for being upfront,” I said flatly. A waste of time?

“I’d still like to hang out, though. I really like you. But of course that’s up to you.”

I let that hang in the air for a moment before saying quietly, “I think that would be confusing.”

“Okay,” he seemed almost surprised, and maybe disappointed, by my answer. “I hope I didn’t ruin your day.”

Fire flared in my chest. How. Dare. You. I swallowed thickly, willing myself not to cry. I thanked the heavens for instilling me with enough self-worth and stubbornness to recognize this situation for the utter bullshirt that it was – even if my heart was cracking in a few dozen places.

“No,” I said firmly, my mind racing to plot out the rest of the day. 1. Cry. 2. Finish work. 3. Make plans with sparkly friends. You do not have the power to ruin my day, you motherforker.

“I’ll leave the ball in your court. If you decide to text me at any point, it won’t be weird. I would like to hang out. But like I said, I’ll leave the ball in your court.”

“I guess we made a plan after all,” I deadpanned. “…Bye.”

I archived our text message thread, wiped away a few tears, and grabbed my laptop. Better things were waiting for me.

Justin Timberlake? Did you hear that?


P.S. – I know, I know! I never gave you an update onĀ Mr. Brought Roses to Our First Date. We had a few more very nice dates, he accidentally gave me COVID despite having never touched me, and we’re now friends. I think. I obviously have no idea what I’m doing.

Dating, humor

The Worst Kind of Date

I twisted the last strand of hair around my curling iron, staring into the bathroom mirror. Every time I did my hair, I felt like a teenage boy trying to unclasp a bra.

Okay. Not bad.

“Bing!” my phone sounded. I walked the short distance through my bedroom into the living room to check it.

“Hey! I’m so sorry. My roommate is in the hospital.”

Dennis, my 20-something Hinge (first) date for that evening, had just thrown me a curveball.

“Oh no! Are they okay?”

“Yeah, everything is fine. But I’m afraid I won’t make it tonight. I hope you’ll let me make it up to you.”

I chewed the inside of my lip. On the one hand, I wanted to sound supportive. On the other hand… I snapped a selfie and sent it.

“I’m so glad they’re okay! But you’re buying the beers next time because I did my hair and everything.”

“Aw man, you look so pretty. And absolutely.”

A few days later, we made plans to meet at a local food truck lot for happy hour. Once again, I stood in the bathroom curling my hair – one of my least favorite activities, but one that turned my fine, straight hair into something a bit more alluring.

Or so I continue to tell myself.

As I got ready to leave, my phone chirped. I looked at the screen and saw a text from Dennis.

“Hey, just got home. Don’t think I’m gonna make it tonight.”

My mouth sagged and tears pricked my eyes.

“Why?” I wrote back after a moment’s hesitation.

“Just not feeling it.”

My stomach fell along with a tear. My mind raced with a thousand things I wanted to say and continued to do so for the next 24 hours. Instead, I decided to say nothing.

“I’m really sorry about last night,” Dennis texted the following morning. I never wrote back.

“Of all my worst dating stories,” I recently told Henry, central Oregon’s last remaining gentleman, “the absolute worst was this guy, about a year ago, who basically stood me up – TWICE. The second time because he ‘just wasn’t feeling it.'”

“You’re kidding,” Henry replied in shock.

“I think it was social anxiety, but still. It REALLY hurt my feelings.”

This week, I received a new Hinge like. It was Dennis. A year after he’d stood me up. I finally seized the opportunity to say what I hadn’t said before.

Maybe I was wrong to lecture him, but I wanted to shake him out of his own self-centeredness. How many times had I rallied to meet a friend or first date so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings? Seeing Dennis on Hinge reminded me of a similar dating story earlier this year with “Craig Who Cancels,” one of the strangest dates I’ve ever had (and you know that’s saying something)…

“I’m actually a stand-up comedian,” Craig explained as we messaged back and forth via Bumble.

“No way!” I replied, gearing up to geek out on our favorite stand-up comics. After a few more messages, I invited him to meet me for Friday happy hour. “I’m going with some girlfriends, but it sounds like you can hold you own.”

“I love working a crowd,” Craig fired back, agreeing to meet me at the brewery at 4pm on Friday.

Around 2pm on Friday, I received a bizarre message:

My girlfriends and I attempted to decipher the confounding note.

“Maybe he has Covid and doesn’t want to say.”

“Maybe he panicked.”

“Maybe he started seeing someone else.”

Disappointed, I wrote Craig off and turned my focus to other activities and matches. A week later, and despite having my phone number, I received a new message from Craig on Bumble saying he had two extra tickets to a comedy show. It wasn’t clear whether he was offering both tickets to me or fishing for a date.

While waiting to see if my friend was available to join us, I switched our conversation back over to text messaging. Which is when things got even more interesting:

When I got to the comedy club, Craig greeted me with a hug. He was more nervous than any date I’d ever met, his voice trembling.

“Whew, I’m really blowing it,” he said, stumbling over the bartender’s name while trying to place our drink order.

Turns out the nerves were date-specific and he was a regular performer at the comedy club. He began introducing me to everyone in the small venue and I sunk inside my cold shoulder sweater.

Because I knew three of them.

Because I’d gone on first dates with them.

Apparently I have a type.

“Congratulations on a [recent promotion I saw on a Facebook group we have in common],” I said to Marty, an older guy I’d gone on a walking date with several months earlier (who then ghosted me after I turned down his second-date-booty-call proposition).

“Oh thanks,” he grinned, his overconfidence nearly balancing out Craig’s nervousness. “We went on a date in…December, right?”

My eyes darted over to Craig, whose expression I couldn’t read. “That sounds about right.”

Marty looked at Craig and raised his eyebrows.

“As I recall, I didn’t make it to a second date.”

I raised my eyebrows in return.

“That is correct.”

Unfazed, Marty chatted with Craig for another moment before flitting off to someone else; he was the MC for the night and clearly enjoying his role. For a small local comedy club, the show was surprisingly tolerable. Funny, even.

“I’ll call you,” Craig promised after walking me to my car at the end of the night.

I never heard from him again.


Dating, humor

It Finally Happened

“Has anyone ever brought me a gift or flowers on a first date?” I wondered, driving slowly through quaint downtown Bend, Oregon, careful to dodge the pedestrians who often crossed the street willy-nilly. “Do people even do that anymore?”

Making a mental note to survey my girlfriends, my mind drifted to the previous night’s date…


“Hi Paul!” I greeted with a wide grin.

Paul was ten minutes late, a bootleg version of his Hinge profile photos, and unsmiling.

“Hey,” he replied, not making eye contact.

We sat at a picnic table in one of my favorite food truck lots and, sensing imminent disaster, I blurted, “Should we get a drink?”

“Okay,” he agreed, his face unreadable.

“Have you been here before?” I questioned while Paul stared at the beer menu.

“Yeah,” he deadpanned. “Like a year ago.”

“I’m gonna grab something from the cooler,” I said, walking away to procure a can a.k.a. half bottle of sparkling wine, which apparently I was going to need to shotgun in order to survive the next hour.

When we sat back down, I immediately took charge of the First Date Starter Kit questions: work, hobbies, family. With each query, I got a one line reply with zero return questioning.

Twenty minutes in, I decided to see what would happen if I stopped talking. Paul stared at the ceiling.

“So do you live with roommates, or…?” I casually began again. I’d learned that that was the most tactful way to ask about a first date’s living situation. Especially one in his 20s. (Hey. I’m open-minded.)

“I moved back in with my parents to save money,” he replied and I kept my expression neutral.

Oh, Paul. That’s wonderful.

“Smart,” I answered. “Houses are so expensive here.” I paused. “I saw on your profile you like Harry Potter. I LOVE Harry Potter. I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway last December and it was the best show I’ve ever seen!”

“I’ll have to check it out,” he replied in monotone.

‘Check it out’? In central Oregon? Does he not understand where Broadway is?

After ten more minutes, I surrendered and pulled out the Ace I’d tucked in my back pocket: A subject I had no interest in, but suspected would light him up.

“So tell me more about motocross! Is it moto-cross, without an ‘r’ in the middle?”

“Yeah, mo-to-cross,” he replied. I couldn’t tell if any enthusiasm was building.

“That trips up my brain! Tell me everything; I know nothing about it.”

“Well,” he began, shifting in his seat and staring over my left shoulder. “It’s on a closed course, and…well. Um. Yeah. I don’t know. I guess it’s hard to explain.”

“Allllll right everybody!” a booming voice announced from the back of the room. “Trivia is just about to begin so make sure you submit your team name!”

“Yikes,” I grimaced at the volume, but then immediately sensed a golden opportunity. “Gosh, I think it’s going to be too loud to talk now. I’m sorry I had no idea they had trivia here! You finished your beer so we should probably call it, huh?”

Paul moved his head in a way that was neither a nod nor a shake. I stood up, chugging my wine. I didn’t even care that I’d have to sacrifice more than half the can by leaving 25 minutes into the date.

As we walked outside, I quickly turned the opposite direction while calling out, “Thanks for coming out tonight!” I made a beeline for my car, relieved he didn’t suggest we go anywhere else. I instantly dialed a friend’s number.

“Holy forking shirtballs.”


I shuddered. I was now two minutes away from my current destination, on yet another Hinge date. After recently dipping a toe back into central Oregon’s shallow dating pool following a six month hiatus, I was somehow still feeling optimistic about the night.

Tonight’s date, Henry, seemed to tick all of The Jules Boxes and then some: My age, liberal, vaccinated, didn’t want kids, active, smart, social, good job, lived alone, dog owner – and “98%” vegan. On the voice recording accompanying his profile (Hinge lets you add audio and video), he sounded gently masculine, thoughtful, and eloquent. In the few messages we’d exchanged, his responses had been fun and sincere. When I’d mentioned seeing local live music that week, he’d looked up the musician and then sent YouTube clips of other songs he’d thought I’d like based on my taste.

When I walked inside the wine bar, I was sure he’d already be there. Instead, he wound up being a few minutes late and a knot in my stomach began to form. Maybe I was wrong… Three minutes past our meeting time, I looked to my left and saw a well-dressed man walking towards me.

Carrying a bouquet of long-stemmed roses.

*mic drop*

“Hi Henry! Are you a hugger?” I said, walking towards him and going in for one.

“Hi Jules! I am!” he said, wrapping his arms around me. He was solid, and at 5’11”, a few inches taller than me. He didn’t even lie about his height!

“Thank you SO much!” I exclaimed, taking the roses and admiring them. I felt several sets of eyes on us as we walked back to our table. “They’re gorgeous!” I put them to my nose. “And they smell amazing!”

“There’s 11, because you said 11 was your favorite number,” Henry explained, taking his coat off and draping it over the back of his chair. I instantly noticed his shirt.

‘No one dresses like a grown-up here,’ I had lamented to friends a week earlier. ‘Like what ever happened to a nice button down shirt?’

Henry’s button down shirt was impeccably tailored, pressed, and tucked in; white, with tiny blue stripes. You could tell he worked out by the way it hugged his torso. My stomach started to flutter. Was I prepared for an actual date? With a fully adulting human male?

This was a first.

“So how’s your day going?” Henry asked.

The conversation flowed from there, though I occasionally tripped over my words.

“Oh no no, you go,” he said every time we spoke at the same time.

Henry never interrupted, asked questions, listened, responded appropriately, and there was never a lull in conversation. He didn’t even bring up his time in a mental institution, his alien blood type, or his shotgun collection. I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone.

“I don’t understand why people would put up a misleading photo,” he said at one point, when the inevitable ‘online dating’ topic arose. “You look exactly like your photos.” He smiled, clearly giving his approval.

I definitely didn’t stress all day wondering what to wear and then put on the outfit I always do, Henry.

“I also don’t understand when people roll into a first date like they can barely bother to be there,” I replied. “I feel like you have to treat every first date like it’s special.”

“Because you never know!” we both said at the same time.

When the date ended a few hours later, Henry walked me to my car and gave a solid hug goodbye.

“I’d love to do this again sometime.”

“Me too!” I answered.

“Send me your number through the app, if that’s okay?”

“I will!”

Shortly after I’d gotten home, Henry’s first text arrived.

“Such a wonderful evening! I wish it would have gone longer!”

After a few more exchanges, he said, “I have to say this was an awesome first date. So, I’m pretty much free anytime to see you again so whatever date works for you, I’m totally available.”

Single men of the world? I hope you’re taking notes.



I Lasted 48 Hours on Tinder

“We met on Tinder!”

“…And now we’re engaged!”

“It’s really not just a hook-up app anymore.”

In recent years, I’d heard testimonials trumpeting Tinder as, “No Longer the One Night Stand Dating App You Used to Love to Hate.” Nevertheless, given that I wasn’t a big fan of dating apps (or, let’s be honest, dating), I’d steered clear.

Two years ago, when I moved to Oregon from New Jersey, I’d been single for two years. Free from marriage, Corporate America, and east coast humidity, I decided it was time to fire up Bumble (a dating app similar to Tinder in its swiping, but where only women have the power to send the first message). Let’s see if the scene is any different now that I live 3,000 miles away from my hometown.

Arguably, it was far worse in my new, small town (as the story linked above will prove). In New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S., you could go weeks without bumping into a familiar face. The likelihood of running into an ex or bad first date in Bend, Oregon, however: 113%. (Give or take.)

I quickly gave up and resumed my usual lifestyle: Friends, food, fur babies.

If only I could date him. Side note: My fur baby is famous now.

There was always the nagging thought that perhaps I’d “given up” versus consciously deciding to bow out of the dating scene.

“You’ve gotta put yourself out there!”

“It takes time to meet the right person.”

“Give him a chance!”

Despite honing my gut instinct over the past 38 years, the din of the masses still got to me. Maybe “they” all knew something I didn’t. Maybe everything I thought was right for me was just a way of protecting myself from getting hurt. Maybe I was going to DIE ALONE OH MY GOD I DON’T WANT TO DIE ALONE.

And that’s how I got sucked in -AGAIN- to downloading a dating app on my phone last week. This time, I bit the bullet and chose the infamous Tinder. I swiped right, I swiped left, and I periodically put down my phone to hide under a blanket.

As matches and messages trickled in, my heart raced. Not in the good way. More in the clammy, “it puts the lotion in the basket,” low-level dread kind of way. Okay, Jules. Maybe you’re just talking yourself out of a good thing. Maybe you need to just get a post-COVID date out of the way. Break the seal.

I fired back a couple of overly clever replies to two men. Ugh. No. I can’t do this! I don’t want to meet any of these people! Who knows who they really are?!

I’d been on enough online dates to know that, no matter how many photos and phone calls you exchange before the first meeting, you’re still going on a blind date. And does anyone really want to go on an endless series of blind dates?

NO. BECAUSE IT’S WORSE THAN SYPHILIS. Or so I’ve heard. From a friend.

Let me put it this way. The best online date pales in comparison to Netflix and pasta. And involves far more prep time.

Do you think this just happens?!

Within 48 hours, and long before I could exchange more than two short messages with anyone, I deleted my Tinder account. I briefly entertained the fantasy that some of my matches fell to their knees, shaking their fists at the heavens, crying, “WHERE DID SHE GO? WHERE?!?!?!”

A few nights later, I shared drinks with a couple of girlfriends, and the conversation turned to our exes.

“I just got this random Facebook message from my ex’s new girlfriend. Look.”

She showed us her phone, which displayed a long string of messages: “I hope you don’t mind me reaching out. I know you dated [him] a while ago and I just have to know… did you experience anything like this? He’s gotten really emotionally and verbally abusive, accusing me of cheating and calling me all of these names and I just don’t know what to do.”

My friend was too afraid to say much in response for fear that this ex had created a fake account and was in fact the one messaging her. “Oh my god he’s been doing that to me!” the new girlfriend wrote. “Creating fake accounts…stalking me…”

“I still fear for my life from one of my exes,” I chimed in. “Everyone knows who to arrest if I go missing.”

Hint: It’s not Uncle Jesse. Even though I know he’s still plotting his revenge after this haircut.

“Yes!” my friend exclaimed. “Every woman I’ve talked to has a story like this!”

A familiar feeling rose in my chest. A mix of nausea, compassion, and curiosity. All of the “scary ex” stories always made me think, “What are we [as a society] doing wrong? This can’t be the result of testosterone overload. If our male counterparts could express hurt, sadness, and fear freely, would any of this happen?”

The very next morning, I woke up to a ‘New Blog Comment’ alert. Someone from, with whom I went on one date six years ago, had commented on a blog post from 2015. I had written a post about our first (and only) date and… apparently it didn’t land well with him.

He also took the time to create a fake email address and website to leave this comment.

I scratched my head. How did he even FIND this? I don’t think I ever mentioned that I had a blog, I always change or omit names, and I try REALLY hard not to say anything seemingly cruel… In fact, I had intentionally framed the post as, “This bizarre thing happened on a first date: what would you do to handle it?” to avoid coming across like I was maligning the man.

(In a nutshell: After our first date, this fella started sending me a cappella karaoke clips he’d recorded on his phone, and some other things I wasn’t quite sure how to react to, like a LinkedIn connection request and an article he’d written many years earlier [which he copied and pasted, in its entirety, into a single text message].)

After rereading the story several times, I definitively concluded that the post was funny – and harmless. Also, half the reason I’ve suffered through dating is for the stories.


Still, I cringed. I’m sure it can’t be fun to stumble on a blog post about you, even if it’s innocuous (…and six years old). More than that, though, I felt that same swirling concern. Why? Why do we exist in a world where hurt and pain (or simply bruised egos) become violence, cruelty, stalking, and aggression?

Here’s a situation where I spent a few hours with someone -a perfect stranger- six years ago, never saw him again, and now I feel unsafe. Perhaps the most disturbing part is that my inner monologue shouts, “Well. You blogged about him. YOU’RE ASKING FOR IT.”

Sigh. If anyone wants a pasta and Season 4 “Breaking Bad” binge, hit me up.

Ah. That’s more like it.


I almost don’t want to ask this, but: Any similar stories or concerns you’d like to share? Or, what do you think we can each do to create a safer, kinder world?