Ask Sarah – When to NOT have sex?

Dear Sarah,

I’m convinced that God intended physical intimacy as a gift that should be reserved for marriage. However, I get the impression that this is not the normal practice on the dating scene, especially when you’re a grown adult, even within Christian communities. This is a really important faith practice to me, so much so that I want to find someone who shares the same perspective. That brings me to two related questions: 1) How unusual do you think this belief is within the 30’s+ dating scene? 2) How do you advise someone who holds this belief to communicate it both (a) early enough to be forthright and (b) not so early that you’re a creepster?


Dear Sex-Saver,

What a great question – and you’ve definitely come to the right place.
I am an expert in how to NOT have sex.  In fact – a whole lotta of my single life has been comprised of just that.

Oh…that’s not what you meant?


Well, regardless of where your ‘line’ is for sex, most people have SOME standard they try to follow…and when should such a thing come up?  How do you talk about it with a potential relationship partner?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first question you asked was how common your perspective is.  I can only answer from my own experience, but I’d say it’s (sadly) EXTREMELY RARE.  I can count on one hand the number of people I know or have ever met in this season of dating,  who hold to the ‘wait until marriage’ sexual standard.

Now, that certainly doesn’t comment on the rightness or wrongness of anything.  It’s just to say – VERY few people I’ve interacted with fall into this camp.  So, yes, that makes it really difficult to hold to your beliefs…when almost no one else is – even in the Christian community.
Le sigh…

One side note of encouragement on this front:  it works to your advantage that you’re a man.  Men who want to wait until marriage, (in my opinion) have an easier go than women who do.  Women who want to abstain have to find a man who wants to wait (and we all know that, statistically, men – on the whole – have a greater or more seemingly ‘urgent’ sex drive than women.  Oh…chill people.  I know it’s not true across the board.  I also know that sex drives are expressed differently between the sexes… but c’mon… typically men want sex sooner and more aggressively than women do.)  Anyway – if that’s true, it’s going to be a lot easier for YOU to convince a woman to wait, than for me to convince a man.  Women are touched/impressed with men’s resolve in this arena.  Men are typically just turned off.  I’m just sayin’…

I would say this… like SO many other sticky-wickets of dating… people are a whole lot more likely to get on board with something they might not otherwise agree with or choose…if they find themselves smitten by you.  I’m not saying to TRICK people, but I AM saying…let them see how great you are before dropping the “fat chance of gettin’ lucky tonight, babe!” card on ’em.

On my online profile, I have it listed like this:

waiting for sex 6


Why that one?  Because it’s the truth – but it’s not enough to scare someone away.  I’d much rather wait until after having met a guy and started getting to know each other – to drop the “I’m kinda a prude” hammer on him.  It’s my HOPE that by that time, he’ll be so insanely smitten with me that he’ll be willing to wait longer than he had originally planned.

Another thing I did – just to put this on the radar of anyone interested… was to put this in my profile:

waiting for sex 1

And it’s not just religious folk who think it’s a good idea to wait.  Even Steve Harvey tells women not to “give up the cookie” for 90 days.  That’s a long time in the modern dating world!  Why 90 days?  Because Christians or not, smart people know that when you hold off on sex… there are loads of relational advantages, not the least of which is seeing if the person is even willing to stick around to get to know and love YOU!

And there are lots of other ways to let someone know you’re sexually conservative without spilling the “on the wedding night” beans so early it scares ’em.  I’ll sometimes use the opportunity of flirty texting to throw it out there.  If a guy makes a joking reference to sex (which…hello….give any of them enough time, and they all will), I’ll sometimes text back, “haha – rewrrrr!  But I should tell you… as much as I love the entendre jokes and flirty banter, I’m actually a good girl.”  I’ve never had a guy respond negatively to that.  Probably because if I’m texting him, he’s likely a decent fellow – and they tend to actually WANT to date someone with a bit of moral fiber in her character.

Also, if you use OKCupid (which is the one I recommend to people), you get to answer tons of questions about all kinds of topics.  Then, when you have a potential match, not only can you peruse his/her profile, but you can see how your answers line up with theirs – AND you can search by category!  What?!

waiting for sex 5

It also lets you leave comments on the questions to clarify your stance.  Here’s an example of one I wrote – to let people know I’m not a goodie goodie for lack of desire…but because I think there’s something there worth waiting for.

waiting for sex 3

So, I guess what I’m saying is this:

Don’t focus on the fact that the majority of the dating/single world doesn’t hold to your standard.  Focus on getting to know someone who seems otherwise great – let her see how great YOU are, and she might just be willing to wait for cookies…

In the meantime, you can put some hints out there – (see above examples) – but I wouldn’t explicitly bring it up until at LEAST date 3.  And trust me… a guy who will wait to talk/joke/intimate about sex… is a pretty dreamy anomaly in today’s dating world.  Women (the good ones, at least), will find it refreshing.  Let her know you’re interested and you desire her, without chomping at the bit.  That’s the sexiest thing in the world.

Love Kills

Warning – the following blog post is wrought with reverse sexism.  It’s a joke, people.  Please don’t comment about how I’m setting women’s rights back. 


Recently, I’ve had a bit of a bug problem.  Gross, huh?  Well – it’s all fixed now, but when I was texting my landlord about it, I was joking with her that she could either call an exterminator or, …find me a man.  A man who will kill bugs for me.

* Swoon *

Well, I’m still waiting on the man (thanks a LOT, Glenda… geez…what do I even pay you rent for?), but we did get to talking about how many dates you’d have to go on to be able to ask for such favors.  I propose that a girl should be able to ask for such things on date 1… as part of the sizing-up process.  You see… there’s lots of different methods for disposing of 6 and 8-legged creatures (yes, yes, I know spiders aren’t technically insects… You can spare me the science lesson on thoraxes and such… but if they’re an abomination (which spiders CLEARLY are), they count toward my thesis…and they need to die), and the way a man kills them tells you tons about him. 

 Bug Killing Personalities:Bug killer

1.  The “Squash and Scram”
This is the guy who rides in on his noble steed, who bravely vanquishes the befouled beast, and then leaves you to …clean up the guts?

Where is the chilvalry?  Where is the sacrifice?  The guts clean-up is the worst part.  Nay – it is the essential part.  It’s that “fashion a giant mitt of paper towels to mop up all manner of pest entrails and juice, whilst fighting back the bile creeping up your throat” moment that begs for a big strong man who will smash it, and conceal all evidence.
That’s the stuff of fairy tales.

2.  The “ ‘If you Love it, Set it Free’ Bug Hippy”

We all know these people.
They take that whole “why he wouldn’t even hurt a fly” thing WAY too seriously.
They’re the ones tenderly corralling the 4-foot cockroach into your good Tupperware (which now has to be burned), only then to liberate it from it’s hu
man home-shaped prison, back into the wild where mother nature intended. 


The only catch-and-release program happening in my home, is the one for the guy who won’t actually kill the bug.  ‘Cause I know what happens….. that bug, once emancipated, goes and tells all its horrid little friends about the mean lady who was scowling and rolling her eyes while the knight in shining armor rescued it from its certain death…. And then they conspire to come and get me in the night. 

Yup…I’m fairly certain I have my finger on the pulse of the bug community and this is exactly how it goes down.  Town meetings, assembling a quorum, grabbing their tiny pitchforks and storming the castle of my bedroom to call down their reign of terror.  So – if you’re going to set it free… you might as well just keep walking.  Your alleged mercy is my impending doom.


Bug Killer 3

3.  The “Girly-Girl Trapped in a Man’s Body”

(if it wasn’t already anti-feminist before…buckle up) 

Look – I want a man who kills a bug like it’s built into his DNA.  …Like it’s no big deal or better yet, like he enjoys protecting me from the multi-legged menaces.  I don’t want someone to cower or whimper or scream like a girl while performing bug murder.  (I’m not making it up – I’ve had two significant men in my life who would literally scream while taking care of an unwanted critter). 

75% of the bug killing’s purpose is to actually exterminate the invaders.
The other 25% is to display his bravery, so I’ll practically faint with adoration. 

I’m being silly, but there’s something to this… I’ve watched as friends of mine handily kill and dispose of a bug and I find my insides getting all squishy with desire.  Recently a friend killed a spider outside my house and I think I may have audibly moaned.  Yup.  That happened.

So, if he winces and eeks in fear, I’m still glad for the insect death, but I’m not going to pounce on him for a smooch either.


4.  The “Half-Hearted Warrior”

This is the guy who doesn’t really get what the big deal is.
You’ll find out who these men are when faced with the bugs who get away…
you know – one of those “I just saw him, but I don’t know where he went” moments. bug killer 2

Guys – we want a man who will go on the hunt – for LOVE!  I mean… er… for the bug.  If you say, “well, I don’t see it now…” and sit down on the couch expecting my affection to resume at the same level where we left off… you are sadly mistaken. 

See, the importance of my happiness to you is directly correlated to how long and how hard you’ll search to end the little devil’s life.  Will you move a couch?  Will you look under a bed?  Will you lie in wait for the creature to think he’s bested you and leave his hiding place, only to suffer your wrath?  Now THAT’s romance.


I could go on, but I think we get the idea. 

There are a few things you have to experience with a significant other – to truly know whether it’s a good fit.  Dance with ‘em, play Monopoly, have them meet your parents, and maybe most importantly …see if/how they’ll kill bugs for you.

Look…this life is hard.  If I can find some small measure of solace in the strong arms of a bug killing man… is that too much to ask?

Kill bugs.  Kill ‘em good.  Clean ‘em up, and come back to claim your reward.  Rrrrrr….

Marriage Proposal Monday

So the other night, I’m sitting in my PJ’s, about to go elbow deep into some microwave popcorn, when my phone vibrates with a message from a friend, telling me she just received a marriage proposal from a guy online.  A guy she’d never met.  A guy she’d never even messaged/talked with.

This is blog fodder GOLD, friends.

I’ll just let you see.

marriage proposal setup


Oooooooooh yeeeeeah, baby.  I was drunk with power… what to say?  What to do?

Was it my place to steer this poor lost lad in proper online dating courtship methods?  You know… stuff like, don’t lead off with lifelong commitment?  After all – with great power comes great responsibility.
Or could I just have some fun with him?

I think you all can probably guess…I chose the latter.


marriage proposal

So there you have it.  I feel I’ve really done some good in this world.

I’m like a SuperHero of online dating, basically.  The Dark Knight (or is it Knightess?) of cyber love.
And you all are my co-voyeurs.

You’re welcome.

Love Hurts

I was talking with my kids the other day about love. Yes – this is what life is like in the Stone family… is anyone really surprised? When I asked my daughter, “how can you tell if someone loves you?” this was her answer: “Because he’ll be mean to you.” mean boys 1 *record scratches* Wai….wha….huh???  Where have I gone wrong in my parenting?  How have I failed her so? With pained eyes and a pleading furrowed brow, I asked her to tell me why she thought that. She went on to tell me a story – that inspired this post. See, there’s this bully at Charlotte’s school.  For the purposes of protecting his identity, let’s call him ‘douche-face.’ Oh…am I not allowed to call a 7-year old that?  Fine… FINE!  We’ll call him Jordan. Jordan has picked on Charlotte (that’s her REAL name…isn’t it pretty?  Yup – just like she is) for a couple of years now.  He’s a real piece of work.  One time last year, I had to come to the school to pick her up early after an ‘incident’ where he acted very inappropriately and the school had to write it up.  They were great about it – he, on the other hand, is a predator in the making… So, apparently, this last year, after some skirmish on the playground, Charlotte told a teacher what was happening, and the teacher’s response to her was that “Jordan probably just has a crush on you.  When boys like little girls, they’re mean to them.” Let’s hear that again:  “When boys like girls, they’re mean to them.” Ok – let the record show that I HATE this. [The record shall so reflect.] I do not think there’s a fine line between flirting and bullying. I think it’s a wide highway of bad choices. And it’s why some grown men think that insulting a woman will win her heart.  Or, in extreme cases, it’s a slippery slope to an abusive relationship. I know, I know… it’s true that little kids often display their burgeoning romantic feelings with teasing… out of an immaturity of understanding relationships. I remember those days.  I get it.  I really do. Insert funny caveat here… (yes – click this and watch). My problem isn’t so much with the occurrence of that immaturity, but the way we TEACH it to the girls. Thanks to one teacher’s misguided philosophy of love, my daughter has now been given an incorrect (or at the very least, an incomplete) message, by a grown up, about how love works. Yes – A message. We all collect messages as we grow up, that help shape what we believe about the world around us.  Heck – aren’t the college years basically just a time to sort out which messages we’ll keep and which we’ll dismiss?  Between parents/families, school, friends, civic organizations, churches, etc., we all get an enormous amount of data about how things are – social mores, rules of conduct, ways to think about finances, love, work, sex, and on and on it goes. So, now my daughter has another data point that says – “boys show you they like/love you by being mean.”

mean boys 2

Let’s just consider the implications of this: 1.  Because it’s a sign of their deep affection, being treated unkindly should be allowed, perhaps even enjoyed.  So – don’t be upset that someone’s hurting you. In fact… maybe you could learn to like it – since, after all, it’s a sign he likes you. Awesome message to give a little girl.  And we wonder why our young women are in and out of therapy later in life. A corollary assumption would be:   Boys/men don’t know how to express affection, so either put up with their meanness, or take it on as your own project to change them. And I think we can all agree that a woman trying to change a man – is a recipe for relational disaster.

(A note about boys/men expressing their feelings… I DO know that guys often use teasing or physical methods of communication with each other… I’m not here to say that needs to stop… but there’s a difference between razzing other guys, and being mean to a girl or making her feel unsafe, hurt, or uncomfortable.)

2.  If YOU love someone (or you’re on your way to love), you show it by being mean. Hey – if little boys can do it, and it’s ok, it must work for anyone! And we wonder why women use passive-aggressive behaviors.  It’s just a sophisticated form of mental bullying. 3.  Lastly, not only is it how boys show you they’re into you – but it’s GOOD. The teacher didn’t say, “I’m sorry he’s doing these things…I’ll tell him to stop, but it’s probably because…blah blah blah,” no, she used the “he has a crush” mentality as a rationalization… as if to say, “so that’s why this is happening – isn’t it adorable?”  This might seem like splitting hairs from number 1 on the list, but it makes a difference later in life when women chase after the ‘bad boys’ because the’yre seemingly better. I recognize that this is an age-old issue and that boys aren’t going to stop teasing girls anytime soon. BUT… I think we have an obligation to teach our girls that, while that may be the case, it is NOT acceptable or good.  We need to give them a lexicon of assertiveness.  Phrases like, “I do NOT like it when you do that.  Stop it.”  Pretty simple, right?  Yeah…..try saying it on a date when a guy is pressuring you for more than you’re up for… sigh… As far as the Stone household, we had a nice long talk about how Stone girls look for guys who use their cleverness for flirting, not belittling; their strength for protecting, not bullying; and their words for engaging conversation, not emotional tearing down. Granted….I’m still looking.  But, at least I’m not chasing the bad boys… and in my book, that’s coming out ahead of the game.  

Ask Sarah – Dating at the Graveside

Dear Sarah,
     I’ve recently encountered a situation that requires the advice of a love expert like yourself. Here’s a brief background story: In the fall of 2012 one of my dear and most loyal friends died of a self inflicted gunshot.  I ran into his ex-girlfriend various times over the next couple months and the poor girl was obviously a wreck, …and then we didn’t see each other for quite a while.
     Several weeks ago I ran into her again at a gig I was playing and we caught up – it was great seeing her. I immediately asked her how she was, and I guess by the look in my eyes, she knew what I meant and said she was doing better. She looked better, she looked great. So after an hour or so passed, while we spoke, and while more booze was consumed, I started to notice that she was getting a little flirty. And when I say a little flirty I mean it, nothing blatant, just a couple of the eye movements, and brief contact with knees. Keep in mind she is a very attractive person and normally it wouldn’t take much to win me over. The difference is that she is an ex of a deceased friend of mine. Not just a friend but a loyal man who would have given his life for me. He told me several times “Anybody who messes with you’s gotta mess with me first!! I’m serious, Bobby.”
      So the question is: Is it ok to sleep with, date, or pursue an ex of a deceased friend?
My philosophy is that you cannot do any of the above with the ex of a friend, associate, or anyone you know or respect. If you don’t care about the person, then fine, go for it, otherwise stay away a**hole!! What do you think? Also is she considered an ex since she was dating him at the time of his death? They weren’t married so she can’t be his widow.
Anyway Sarah I’m lost about this matter. Please give me any advice you can know of.
Thank you,
Your fan,

Let me ask a few questions first.
1.  Does she understand the difference between “your” and “you’re?”  EVEN when texting?
2.  Has she stopped using hearts for punctuation?
3.  Does she own fewer than 5 cats?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then what’s the problem??
I want to tell you a different story and you tell me how you react.
There was a sweet couple – Jean and Hank – high school sweethearts – married 40 years when Jean was diagnosed with cancer.  As they battled the disease over the course of 4 more long years, they hired a live-in nurse, named Maria, to assist with medical issues and offer support.  The family became very close with Maria: it was clear she cared about all of them and she became more than a nurse… she was a friend.  As Jean slipped into her last weeks of life, Maria was there around the clock, tending to her, but also offering a listening ear or holding Hank’s hand as he grieved for his wife.  The day finally arrived and Jean passed away.  Maria was there for every moment of the mourning process – helping with the Memorial service details, talking with some family members, crying with others, sitting silently with some.  And as the weeks and months after Jean’s death passed, and life slowly started getting back to normal, Maria stayed in contact with Hank and his children, coming to family dinners from time to time, meeting for coffee to check in on them, etc.  She and Hank had developed such a strong friendship over the next year or so, that no one was surprised when one day, he announced that he and Maria were dating… and a year after that, they married.
How does that hit you?  Does it sound scandalous or wrong?  Does it break the bro code?
I have a feeling it sounds normal… sweet even.
Is that so different from your situation?  The only real difference is the age.  They’re old.  You’re young.  But why is it wrong simply because of youth?
Bottom line is that I absolutely disagree with you.
Who BETTER than those who were close with (read: possibly shared similar values and character traits as) the deceased, to take care of, and love, those left behind?
Now – if your question is, “can we have sex?” then my answer is different.
But if your question is, “can I start a relationship with this person and see where it goes?” I give my unequivocal two thumbs up!
Think of it this way – if he really loved you as much as he says, if you could go back and time and ask him, in a serious moment, “Dude… if something every happened to you, what kind of guy would you want to end up with your girlfriend?” – I bet he’d respond with something like, “Oh man, I’d want her to end up with someone like you.
What’s the alternative?  I’m guessing she’s not going to be celibate and alone the rest of her life.  So, if she’s going to date and eventually marry SOMEone, why not someone who loved the man she loved?  Makes sense to me.
The only sticky wickets in this king of situation would be:
– entering into a romantic relationship too soon after someone has passed away.  People need time to mourn.
– turning it into a purely physical relationship where, in the end, she’ll just feel used by someone she trusted
I find it interesting that you stated it this way:
“My philosophy is that you cannot [be in a relationship] with the ex of a friend, associate, or anyone you know or respect. If you don’t care about the person, then fine, go for it, otherwise stay away…”
Seems backwards to me.  “If you DON’T care about the person, then fine?”
So, let me see if I have this straight:
Date people you don’t care about… and stay away from those you do?  Hrmmmm…
If you care about someone who passes away, you’re supposed to remove yourself from his loved ones’ lives?
I sure hope if I were married and my husband died, that my friends wouldn’t adopt such a policy.  I want them to stay close – for comfort, friendship, support, and ultimately – healing.
So, there you have it – my permission to date this girl (if that’s what she wants too!).
And I’ll be curious to hear how it goes!

Sometimes The Glass IS Half-Empty…

I was inspired to write this supremely depressing 2-part post (can’t wait to read it now, can ya?) by a middle-of-the-night phone call I got the other night.  Here’s how it went down:

Phone vibrates.  It’s 1:48 a.m.  You know who calls at 1:38 a.m.?  People whose limbs are falling off or people who want to cut off your limbs.  Oh, and occasionally – drunk men, in the mood for ….well, yeah.

I look and it says, “Unknown Caller.”  I answer in my groggy, but firmly “I’m certainly not all alone in my home, just waiting to be killed” voice, “Hello?”
-hang up-

Now, ordinarily, that would just be a minor inconvenience, but for some reason, it awoke me in just such a state that getting a hang-up call from a blocked number scared the sense right out of me.  I was now in full-panic mode – the kind where you just KNOW that if you shift in the bed too noisily, a terrible man is going to come upstairs and remove all the skin from your body like peeling a grape, or something (I MAY have watched a few too many episodes of Criminal Minds.  I’m never worried about dying, mind you…I’m always more concerned about the bag of tools in tow, and the bizarre form of torture I’ll inevitably endure.)
So, while I’m trying to talk myself out of being irrationally afraid…a good 5 minutes later, I get this text:

Glass Half Empty 1Ok – At least now I was on the path to believing there wasn’t a serial rapist downstairs ….and yet… I needed more details.

And so, the following middle-of-the-night conversation ensued.  (So, to all the Words-With-Friends opponents who asked why I was playing at that crazy hour…now you know… to distract myself from thoughts of medieval torment machines being assembled in my living room).

glass half empty 2Yes.  That would be inadvisable…ESPECIALLY considering that that was my “I’m not alone!” voice… not my sexy voice.
*rethinks ‘not alone voice’*

So, I was finally able to calm myself down and drift back off into sleepy land, when what should happen…?
He called!
what??  Oy…

Let’s just review… this is a guy who I had ONE conversation with (by phone… in daylight hours), who said he would follow up with me and take me out for lunch.  Then I didn’t hear from him for weeks, until he messaged me….  Well, actually, let me just SHOW you.

Here’s our first encounter – on the IM feature on OKCupid – many months ago…

first convo

Seems cool, right?  He tracked with me on theological stuff, joked about smooching, …there was some banter there.  Decent stuff, no?

He called the next day (as in…while the sun was still shining and I wasn’t asleep…) and we had a pleasant-ish conversation.  He came off sorta pretentious…but not enough to not see how lunch went.  He said he’d call or text about lunch…then nothing.

For several weeks.

Then, this conversation:

post convo convo

And then……. you guessed it…. nada.

No contact again.

I figured between the flakey plan-making (a particularly unseemly quality in my book), AND the snobby tone he’d adopted on the phone call…that I had zero interest.

So…when he disrupted my beauty sleep – on a school night, no less, and called a SECOND time…
– I was particularly miffed:
glass half empty 3

You were bored, were you?  BORED?  Well, color me smitten.  A man who would rudely awake me and then ‘woo’ me with words like, “just bored” is the kind of guy who inspires some disillusionment.

I mean – I expect this stuff from the low-life guys I quickly swipe past on online sites, but… “et TU, professor of philosophy?”  If an educated, witty guy can succumb to late night fishing expeditions, then who the heck is LEFT?  So, while I promise to return to my normal cheerful, holding-onto-hope in this world of dating tone soon…  for now, I’m going to just shake my head in dismay.
Join me, will you?

A 2:00 a.m. booty call from a guy who seemed so great…is the kind of thing that has so many single people convinced that there’s nothing of quality left out there.

So, before I rally and give you my speech about how there ARE still great guys out there and that you should hold onto your hope and your standards, I thought I’d languish in the pit just a BIT longer… Come back another day for a better-rested, more hopeful blogger.

Lovers Gon’ Love

MjAxMy1mYTc1NjkzZDJhZDU1NzBk_511718d534a78Why do so many people hate Valentine’s Day?

Right, right, I can hear many of you reciting that over-used line, “It’s just a ‘Hallmark holiday’.”


Is Hallmark inherently evil?
Don’t thousands of companies latch onto holidays to boost sales?  We’re capitalists!
We don’t hate Presidents Day because linens are discounted, do we?
Does Egyptian Cotton trump flowers and candy?

Perhaps you’d say, “It’s an invented holiday.”
OOooooooh, ok… not like those organic ones we’ve found while out farming the land.  Right…

Maybe you’d respond with, “Why should someone else tell me when to show the person I love that I love him/her.  I SHOULD be showing them all year ‘round!
Great!  Yes!
You should!
Go do that!  Valentine’s Day isn’t keeping anyone from showering their loved ones with affection on the other 364 days of the year.

Are you afraid you’re going to think up a romantic gesture for your sweetheart and right when you’re about to leave her that note or give her that gift, you’ll get a firm knock on the door from the Valentine’s Day Police?  “Sir, …sir, are you aware that it’s April 12th?  What were you THINKING?  Loving your significant other is strickly forbidden.  Any thoughts, words, or actions of amorous expression must wait until next February 14th.  V-day LAW.”


Truth be told, Valentine’s Day isn’t making anyone do anything.  It just is.

If there were such a thing as “Hug Day,” would you fold your arms and refuse free hugs?  What about “Compliment Day?”  or “Get $100 Day?”  These are all good things… things that should not make people bitter, but excited!

The beautifully sweet thing about this holiday is this:
It’s one day a year, set aside, to celebrate love.

That’s it.

LOVE, people!!

The most important thing in this life… ought to have a day…right?

I mean… even people who aren’t at all religious, let baby Jesus have a day.  (That’s Christmas, y’all)
And hardly anyone turns away green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
No one complains that the 4th of July FORCES them to play with fireworks and eat BBQ.

Why does Valentine’s Day get such a bad rap?

I think the answer is this:  people resent the fact that they don’t have the love they most want.
Valentine’s Day shines a light on the places where we feel lonely or hurt.  Stick with me for a moment.

– Married people who are unhappy in their marriages – hate the idea of a spotlight on love… because they are feeling that awful cringing pain of not feeling loved.

solo– Single people who crave a relationship, but don’t have one – hate the world turning their red and pink attention on those who HAVE found their lobster (which are, appropriately red…).

– Boyfriends and girlfriends in undefined, ambiguous relationships, don’t enjoy the holiday that breathes down your neck and whispers, “you know… you really ought to think about what you want, and what this is.  …I’m just sayin’…”

Anyone who is at all unfulfilled in any relational way – feels the heat of a day whose focus is the very thing you want, but don’t fully have.

And I get that… if there was a day that celebrated designer clothes or cool cars or fancy big houses, …I might feel left out.  Like, “hey – I want those things too… but, alas… not this year.”

The DIFFERENCE is that  Valentine’s Day is about ALL love… not just the Rom-Com, smoochy, McDreamy, end-of-the-movie-swoon-worthy-speech, PDA, fluttery tummy, grand gesture, sweeping soundtrack, surprised by flowers and poems kind of love.  Valentine’s Day is about so much more.

Those things are all fine…but they are one sliver of the story.

I propose… you look a little further.

Celebrating love doesn’t have to be a romantic love.

cheesy v-dayI know, I know…this sounds trite…you’ve heard it before, …but all those super classy corner tables/tents full of roses and cheap teddy bears don’t exactly scream equal opportunity love…they ONLY make us think of 2 groups:
1. gooey-eyed lovebirds – new to the sweetheart scene, and untarnished by the world.  Or,
2. guilt-driven men in panic-mode, on their way home from work

But, I’d encourage you to look beyond the consumeristic piece of this holiday and contemplate the heart of it.  Aha!  The HEART!  😉

You really can take a step back and look at your life…and appreciate the love of your parents, you can ponder the love you have for your children.  You can take an honest look at the friends, co-workers, roommates, neighbors, etc. in your life…and have a moment of happiness when you realize they are all gifts.  And maybe, …maybe you’ll even be inspired to tell them so!?

And if you look around at your life, and you truly have NO one to love… then (and I’m not pandering… I mean this), reach out.  Maybe that means seeking out friendship, maybe that means reconciling with someone who’s caused you pain or who was the recipient of your anger/distancing/etc.  Maybe it means visiting a church to find a new community.  Heck, come visit MY church!

I know you all probably get sick of me going on and on about how I still have hope for finding love… and I do.  But today is about appreciating and celebrating the love you ALREADY have.  I’m blessed to have so much love in my life – amazing friends (I mean, AMAZING), awesome family (who I can call ANYTIME when I need a ‘shoulder to cry on’), and the two most beautiful, creative, sweet children a person could hope for.  So, on a day made to honor love… I am full to the brim.  🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

Val-Day 2014 print


Dating in an LOL World

Things are not as they seem.  …or as they USED to be… I just used “lol” in the middle of sentence in a text…and I wasn’t L-ing at all, certainly not OL. I don’t even recognize myself… What has HAPPENED to me? I’ll tell you – the same thing that’s happened in the world of dating – the rules have changed. Sigh… Oh, how they’ve changed. And “Lol” is only the beginning… I used to be the biggest stickler about this one – I’d only ever type “lol” if I had actually ‘laughed out loud,’ (which of course I do often, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch). But, now, if I audibly laugh, I feel the need to type something like, “LOL!  I ACTUALLY laughed!  Out loud!” I mean, mercy!  Isn’t the point of having those three letters, so that you DON’T have to type out a play-by-play of your comedic response? The term and use of “lol” have changed since its inception.  It no longer means you actually laughed…it just means something is laughABLE, or even mildly amusing.  People use it to poke fun at a situation or themselves… it’s become a texting tic. And it’s not the only phrase that’s seen an evolution in its use and meaning.

The dating world is full of phrases, ideas, and expectations that don’t mean nearly what they used to.

A couple examples :

1.  “Hang out” used to mean spending time with someone – maybe meeting for a drink or to take a walk.  Now it means, “give me directions to your home – I’ll bring the ruffies.” russian BC 1 Russian BC


2.  “Hooking up” used to mean – connecting with someone once you were both out on the town. [e.g. “Cool, I’m out with a friend now…let’s hook up later and grab a beer!“]
Now it also means – have casual sex.  (I’m noticing a pattern here).


And not only have the phrases/lingo changed, expectations and ideals have shifted dramatically.

A few of the myriad ways:
1.  The age of a man complimenting a woman is gone.  If you find a man who will verbally appreciate your beauty or character, he’s a rare gem and you should put a ring on it.

2.  Major declarations of intentions or significant messages can now be delivered via text, and it’s not rude.   Texting someone that it’s not a good match, or conversely, that you REALLY like them… isn’t cheating.  It used to be that texting was for quick logistics, or for lazy people, but sentiment was left for the phone or in person.  Not anymore.  And that’s ok…if you know it. The problem with this one is that not everyone is on the same page.  So, feelings get hurt or people feel underappreciated.  You have people like me who’d rather NOT talk on the phone…I’m a text or in-person kinda gal… upsetting those who still want an old-fashioned phone convo.  Sigh…

3.  A first date is no longer necessarily an all-night event.  Where there used to be an expectation of dinner and a movie, now there’s just coffee or one drink.  In fact, truth be told, most of us in the online dating scene, would prefer a quick 5-minute meet-up to be sure you do, in fact, have all (ok, most?) of your teeth, you smell relatively normal, don’t give off that “I may have a few dead hookers in my backyard shed” vibe, look remotely similar to your online photos, and don’t get that crusty foamy stuff in the corners of your mouth. Yeah…the bar is nice and low, friends.

4.  In the olden days (you know…that nebulous period of “feels like forever ago”…), a man would meet a woman who intrigued him, and immediately ask her to dinner or, depending on how ‘olden’ we’re talking, to join him for parlor games with his parents at the plantation.  (I’m making this stuff up as I go, folks… and the bulk of my ‘olden days’ dating knowledge comes from vampire novels, but stick with me).  Nowadays, a guy will sit on a potentially great relationship for WAY too long without initiating a face-to-face meeting.  I have girlfriends who have been messaging guys for WEEKS and there’s no talk of “we should get together!”  WHAT?  If someone is exciting enough to send messages to every day, don’t you want to be sure you’re not chatting with a tech-savvy 12-year old named Aiden or Tate or something equally nauseating? I, for one, am all for the quick-to-meet philosophy.  What do you have to lose?  If the person is interesting in person, they’re still going to be so by text.  But if they turn out to be a me-monster, or insanely insecure…don’t you want to cross them off the list before wasting weeks of well-crafted flirty texts?


There are countless other ways that dating has changed, but I’ll close us out today with a most bizarre scenario that happened with me a few weeks ago – where my humor (and only a sliver of the ocean of funniness within me, truth be told) cost me a first date.


Met this guy on Match – he messaged me first… we took it to texting and made a plan to meet a couple days after the New Year.  We were just making small talk – he was sick, I was busy, blah blah…boring stuff… this is why I’m quick to meet with someone. We checked in with each other every day or so, but with the holidays, it was busy and since I hadn’t yet determined that he was ‘full throttle adorable text’-worthy, it was limited communication.  I was just looking forward to meeting him and seeing if there was real potential there.







And then this happened…. What?
I mean… what?


Billy 1

Billy 2

I like to think I stay ‘up’ on the ever shifting shadows of the modern dating world, but this one even caught me by surprise. Apparently a random insertion of cat allergy discussion is NOT a laughing matter… and I was supposed to be doting on this guy, by text, more intensely than I was… before ever meeting and establishing that there’s chemistry at all.

Ah well… lesson learned. But, no love lost, he used WAY too many emoticons anyway.
And if THAT’S not a red flag, …well then I don’t know what is.

Resolution: Don’t be a Jerkface

‘Tis the season to make empty promises to yourself.  Lose weight, spend less, be more patient…blah blah blah.

I don’t hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  In fact, I think it’s an admirable way to start the new year – wanting this one to be better than the last.  And self-improvement is commendable.  But, I’m a firm believer in making those resolutions specific and quantifiable.

– “Be nicer” doesn’t count.  Committing to hand out 1 honest compliment a day – does.
– “Exercise more” isn’t nearly as attainable as “do 100 push-ups a week.”

Specific.  Quantifiable.  Accomplishable.
Mine is to give up ice cream.  Sigh… it’s going to be a long, sad year… 😉


Forget all those ambiguous resolutions you’ve made …or even the list of unattainable goals you’ve typed into your phone ‘notes.’
I’d like to offer my services and take it one step further… Consider this a public service – my suggestions for how to not be a jerkface this year.   Here’s what you really need to do:



If you can cut these out of your life, you will be a measurably better person in 2014.
You have my highly-opinionated word on it.


1.  “No offense, but…”

Stop.  You’ve already offended me.  Anything that follows this phrase is something you probably shouldn’t say.
And couching it in that super crafty qualifier isn’t fooling anyone.  It’s just a preamble to unsolicited criticism or jerkfaceness.

You might as well just say, “I’m about to be cruel, uncaring and arrogant.
But I don’t want you to think less of me.  Even though you should…

People say this and then expect that, because they prefaced their mean words with an untruthful statement, that somehow you can’t get mad at them …or hurt.  Problem is… no qualifier can keep that from happening.

If what you’re about to say IS offensive – you probably shouldn’t say it.
If what you’re about to say ISN’T offensive – you don’t need a qualifier.
So, just stop saying it.
Don’t be a jerk.


2.  “It is what it is”

Oh, IS it?


Why don’t we just go around saying other obvious things like, “I breathe air.”

It IS ….what it IS?
This is the verbal version of shrugging your shoulders and lamenting that a certain situation is unfortunate, but not likely to change.

You know what a more apt phrase would be?  “I’m sorry.  That sucks.”  Or maybe just a hug.
A hug is almost ALWAYS in order.

When people say “it is what it is” to me… internally I say to myself, dripping with sarcasm, “wow…thanks for that… I feel worlds better.”


3.  “Don’t take it personally”

Isn’t that exactly what everyone does…about everything?
We are people… persons.  Most things that matter are ‘personal.’
We receive information and process it through the lens of our collection of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, mood, etc… we are designed to ‘take things’ personally.

Thing is – no one ever uses this phrase about something impersonal.

You’d never hear a math professor explaining the Pythagorean theorem, saying, “So…the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides…but don’t take it personally.”    Eh???

No – people always use this when something PERSONAL has happened.  But they don’t want to have to witness your disappointment.  That would make them uncomfortable, so they tell you not to let it affect you.

This phrase gets used when people experience breakups, getting laid off, receiving disappointing or scary news, being on the wrong end of constructive criticism… often something that exposes them or makes them vulnerable… the very time that they will have an emotion…that feels…well…personal.
The very meaning of the word “personal” is ‘belonging or relating to a person.’  Isn’t that pretty much everything?

Related side-note… for added frustration, stupid people sprinkle this phrase with poor grammar by not even having the decency to use the full adverb, and instead giving it that uneducated flair:  “Don’t take it personal.”
No offense, but – we are not animals, people.


4.  “Love on”

It sounds like a cat rubbing up against your leg.  Pass.

This one’s big in religious communities, but really everyone’s susceptible.  The phrase is often used about someone who could use some extra love… and it’s said in an overly mothering tone, suggesting that person go somewhere that they can get “loved on.”

Hold on while I go dry heave for a minute…

love ON?”  How about just LOVING?
No on.  Take that ‘on’ right out.

While we’re ON the subject, it’s also “by accident.”  Not, “on accident.”  I die a little every time I hear someone say that.
Hmmm…I’m noticing a trend.  Perhaps I have a problem with phrases ending in “on.”
Then again, I don’t mind the word so much when it’s preceded by “turned.”
I digress.

Anytime you show someone genuine affection, you are loving them.
Why must we bastardize the word by adding a cutesy preposition?

I think people use this phrase because they’re afraid if they just say “love,” that it implies they’re IN love.  [Insert junior high whiney playground kid’s voice…”ewwwww…you LOVE her…”]
Oh NO!!  Not LOVE!  Not the thing we all crave and move mountains to get a drop of…not the stuff that really matters… not the most important thing in the world.  We wouldn’t wanna get tangled up in all of THAT.  Grody.

How about we just start being bold about loving.
Showing love (hugging, snuggling, caring for someone, doing nice things, making sacrifices, etc.) isn’t something we need to tiptoe around.
Loving is doing.  Loving ‘on’ is talking about it…awkwardly.

I’d rather be a doer.


5.  “Of COURSE this would happen to ME 

How self-involved can you get?  Unfortunate things happen to everyone.  It’s not worse when they happen to YOU.  That makes you sound like you think you’re at a higher level of importance than anyone else.

The close second to this phrase is when people say, “I canNOT get sick right now,” or, “the LAST thing I need right now is a ______.”  Guess what…NO one ‘needs’ those things.  It’s bad timing for everyone.  There’s never a good time to have your dog pee on the kitchen floor, get stood up, be assigned extra work, contract an illness, etc.
It’s not worse for YOU.
And saying it makes you sound pretty self-absorbed.


So, to sum up:


5 Phrases

Do You Believe?

santa 6Ah, Santa.

What do we do with Santa Claus?   Jolly ‘ol Saint Nick.

Some people don’t believe we should propagate the fantasy with kids, some people are neutral, some people go full-tilt fantasy as long as their kids keep believing and then some (*raises hand*).

I’d like to make a case for Santa.  After all, he’s WAY too busy today to speak on his own behalf.

This year, my little girl is right on the cusp of belief and disbelief.  It’s definitely the last Christmas I can pull off the fantasy.  So, I enlisted the help of my dad (an excellent storyteller) to tell the kids about the origins and evolution of Santa Claus…to drive home all those smooshy feelings that keep you choosing to believe in something, even when the evidence is beginning to outweigh the power of imagination.

santa 4Turns out the REAL story of St. Nick is the story of love, kindness, and helping those in need.  Isn’t that a story we can ALL get behind?

santa 1The original Saint Nicholas, who was later made Bishop and mimicked by countless other secret night-time gift-givers, was so convicted about giving to the needy and providing money, food, and toys to children who had nothing, that it caught on.  Talk about a trend worth following!

Whether you’re spiritual/religious or not, the idea of showing basic human kindness to others is something everyone can agree on.

So, the question isn’t really whether you ‘agree’ with Santa, it’s – are you on board with our modern-day take on him?

santa 8And, yes, I admit, the idea has morphed into a more materialistic chase that frustrates even the unbreakable Christmas spirit in me, at times.  But, we don’t have to let it BE that.  Instead of surrendering to the greediness that can be bred by the Santa story, we can use the idea of Father Christmas to do two things:

1.  Enjoy the gift of creativity and imagination.  There is such beautiful artistry in a great story.  Think of the delicious elements of a timeless fairy tale…   The way we weave the best aspects of the known world we can think of – pleasure, love, good winning over evil, bravery, sacrifice, etc., along with the supernatural or impossibly wonderful – (i.e. magic) – into a narrative that fills us with wonder… is there anything better?santa 5


You do this on a small scale – all the time.  Even bah-humbug grown-ups make up miniature fantasies anytime we WISH traffic would just part and make way for us to scurry home, or we close our eyes for a milisecond in hopes that that guy will call us back after a date, or we hope, beyond all reason that it’ll be sunny even when the weather channel says there’s a 100% chance of rain on a special day.  We WANT there to be MAGIC.  It’s in our nature to yearn for fantasy.  It’s why stories and movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are so popular!

Passing this on to our children is a gift.  The gift of creativity and the gift of WONDER.  Teaching them that there is a possibility ….that there exists the tiniest crack in reality that …COULD be magical.
That COULD be other-worldly…
it not only stirs their imagination, but it breeds hope.

2.  Appreciate the thrill of anonymous giving.  The anonymity that exists in the legend – that is, the fact that you don’t get CREDIT for the gift – gives it a another layer of honest goodness and sweet satisfaction.  Any selfish desire to get that kickback feeling that comes when someone recognizes you… is gone.  So, it removes any self-centerdness to reveal a pure underlying love of giving and generosity.

Have you ever given a gift where the person never knew it was from you?  Wasn’t it divine?  This is another certain privilege of participating in the Santa story.

santa 9

This is a season where that crack of possibility, that there might be such as thing as magic, opens just a little wider;
Our capacity to dream becomes a little larger;
Our willingness to open ourselves up to whimsy and wonder and even the foolishness that a fairy tale brings, becomes greater.
And our reluctance to suspend disbelief starts to chip away.


And maybe for just a moment – BELIEF in something magical becomes a reality.  Even if it happens for a fleeting moment…just a flash of “what if?” …isn’t it wonderful?

santa 7So – I don’t know about you, but as long as there are Christmases, I’m going to choose to engage in the mysterious wonder of Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to ALL of you, and to all – a good night!