NOT OKCupid and PlentyOfFish (ButNoneYouWant)

Hi guysss.
As is very evident if you read my blog, I am the definition of perpetually single. When I was younger, especially in college, this was something that was really tough for me, because I felt like there was something WRONG with me. But thankfully, college was an enormous character building experience and coming out of it I really kind of figured myself out and became comfortable in my own skin.
This recently led me to the decision that since I was finally happy with myself, it might finally be a good time to start looking for someone else to be happy with. And that was how I stumbled innocently, naively, into the world of online dating apps.
I documented my rather interesting experiences with Tinder, the first app I tried last summer. But things just never quite clicked for me and eventually I gave up on it.
I had essentially quit my pursuit of dating, but this fall, as something of a lark, a couple of my coworkers signed me up for OKCupid. And so I was sucked back into the wild world of electronic courting.
I started out, as I mentioned, with OKCupid. I liked it a million times better than Tinder, because you actually answer tons of questions about yourself and you can see what people you’re potentially interested in have answered to those questions. So, I can see if guys smoke or are against gay marriage or are virulently conservative or if they’re into threesomes, and I can harshly, harshly judge and reject them. It’s really quite fabulous.
And, shock of all shocks, I actually went on dates with TWO different guys I met on OKCupid (and naturally, because my life stubbornly remains a cosmic joke at all times, they both had the same name. Like, the same first name. And like, one guy’s middle name was THE SAME as the other guy’s last name. God). It didn’t work out with either, but the experience really wasn’t that unpleasant. I was slightly reassured that maybe, just maybe, online dating could work.
But after the first two guys, things seemed to go downhill. As always seems to be the inevitable rule, if I was interested in a guy and liked them, they never were interested back. If I looked at a guy and had no interest, naturally that guy would send me a message. It was all very disheartening and reminded me of my tragic youth where the guys I liked never liked me back (SOB).
I was starting to give up on the whole thing–eventually scrolling through endless profiles of guys just made me tired. What were the odds I’d find the guy who was right for me here? It seemed essentially impossible. I started to think that I was honestly just too used to being single, and deep down I didn’t even want to date.
I basically quit looking at the website, as the whole thing just started to get kind of stupid and I felt like I’d seen EVERY. GUY. and none of them were right.

So, naturally, I signed up for another dating app called Plenty of Fish.

At first, it was actually pretty exciting. There were tons of cute new guys who sounded appealing, and my irrepressibly optimistic, hopelessly romantic heart thought, “HE’S GOT TO BE HERE!”
Sigh.
Readers, let me tell you something. I just don’t think he is there.
Come along with me as I lead you down the magical and always delightful (HEAVY SARCASM) paths of online dating.
First, I will include a selection of my very favorite messages I’ve received. Enjoy.

“You into black guys??”
I’m just into guys??

“Hey, kind of off the wall question lol but would you be into having a threesome with two guys?”
LOL THREESOMES, A LITTLE OFF THE WALL AMIRITE?! Though you do get some points for giving me details, it’s nice to know just what kind of threesome I’m being propositioned for.

“Let me unsingle you girl ;) lol”
;)

“Hello Sarah, okcupid sent me in your direction and I’m glad they did.”
Too bad OKCupid couldn’t send you in the direction of spelling my name correctly, even though it’s right there on my profile.

“Would you dat a black guy just asking no disrespect”
Okay, 1. What is “dat”? 2. Why would this be disrespectful to me?!

“Hey I’m looking for a sugar baby. I own my own business and would love to take care of a good looking girl like yourself. If this interests you let me know.”
My personal favorite. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t consider this. The older I get, the better a sugar daddy sounds.

“Pics”
Of what? My cats? Because that’s about all I’ve got pics of.

“Hey sweetheart how are you”
Hey sweetheart, good thing I’m like three years older than you, you patronizing little twit.

“heyyy are you single?”
Oh, dear lord.

And, the BEST of all:
“sorry you’re still single. i cant help with that with my current situation but if you’re crazy enough to come to okc and get some head then im your dude haha”
So. Many. Questions. Like, what is wrong with you?

One of my favorite things about online dating, aside from the completely inappropriate propositioning of my person and lack of any recognizable grammar, is looking at the profile pictures guys select and wondering just what in the hell they were thinking when they did so. I suppose at heart I’m a horrible, awful person but I take so much joy in looking through a guy’s pictures and judging them cruelly. I’m sure there are guys who think the same about my pictures, but thankfully I remain blissfully ignorant of them.
I was deeply tempted to post all the screenshots of the really, really SPECIAL ones I’ve seen, but that seems just a touch too personal and mean-spirited. So instead, I’ve created a compilation of some of the most common types of profile pictures I see, performed by yours truly.
They are as follows:

The WAAAY Too Close-Up
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I’m not sure where any human being could get the idea that the closer to your face one gets, the hotter it is. Someone needs to show these guys a few Monet paintings. I’ve seriously seen so many pictures where the camera was so close to the taker’s face that I couldn’t even tell what his hair looked like. Literally the ONLY excuse for that is if you have T-Rex arms.

The Bathroom Selfie with Tons of Crap in the Background

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Not only do I get to see your best selfie pose, I also get to see every product you use in your shower routine as well as every single thing on your bathroom counter. This particular type is also at times taken in front of a closet, complete with random hangers and piles of clothes. The two are interchangeable, though the bathroom is by far the most prevalent.

The Shirtless, Pensive Romantic in Bed 

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This is a particular favorite of mine and one of the most common. These seem to be some kind of attempt to show a softer, more intimate side of the guy, because everyone knows that’s only accomplishable in bed. Most often it is accompanied by a dreamy look, sometimes with the subject gazing at a point just out of focus beyond the camera. Bonus points if a hand is put to the face with the eyes peeking up at you as though overcome with shyness.

The I Don’t Realize I’m Supposed to Look at the Mirror and Not My Phone Screen Selfie

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Though this type isn’t always taken in a bathroom, that is a frequent setting. Other acceptable locales include the gym, dressing rooms, or other public bathrooms. This particular guy seems unable to overcome the challenges of technology and optics in order to realize that, while it is a good idea to check your selfie on your phone screen, you need to actually look up in order to take a picture of your own face.

The I Kill Animals So I’m a REAL Man

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Maybe this is just a Southern thing, but the number of times my eyes have been assaulted by a grinning, self-satisfied fellow posing jauntily next to a dead or a large number of dead animals is really depressing. Nothing screams romance like the sight of blood and gore and death! Am I supposed to be impressed because you went into the woods and shot a defenseless animal with your high powered rifle? Sadly, I seem to be in the minority in Oklahoma, but I am so sick of dead deer and ducks popping up in my face with blood leaking from their mouths. There’s even a guy on there posing next to a dead zebra. A DAMN ZEBRA. I guess this is supposed to show me that you, the big he-man, can provide for me, the little female. Talk about caveman mentality… I’m by no means claiming that I’m a saint and that I don’t eat meat, because I do, but I don’t go sneaking up on animals and blowing a hole in them before posing triumphantly with my grisly trophy. Even if you are hunting simply to feed yourself, doesn’t it seem just a trifle disrespectful and hateful to paparazzi the poor, dead animal like you’ve done something SO AMAZING? Ugh. Thanks, but NO thanks.

The I’ve Got A Little Free Time In My Giant Truck

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I’m not really sure what the deal with this is, but I’ve noticed a strange but overwhelming phenomenon where guys take selfies in their vehicle, which is almost invariably a truck. Like, what’s going on? You’re just on your lunchbreak and you’ve finished eating and you think, Well shoot, I’ve got a little more time before I have to clock back in, might as well take some photos of my face?
Sometimes, I can’t tell if they’re actually parked or not, and then I have terrifying images of single guys swerving between lanes as they snap pics of themselves for their dating profile.

The I HAVE ABS NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORD MATTERS LOOK AT THEM

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I AM NOT EVEN A NORMAL HUMAN, I CONSIST OF NOTHING BUT PERFECT, BREATHTAKING, SIXTEEN PACK ABS. THAT IS LITERALLY ALL I AM, CHOOSE ME AND YOU ENTER INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH A DISEMBODIED, FLOATING WASHBOARD OF MUSCLE.

There are, of course, variations and there are even some nice guys who don’t seem to have any of these in the repertoire. But unfortunately, those guys seem to be the minority. Perhaps you’ve now gained some idea of why online dating is so very treacherous. For now, I’ll keep giving it a chance, and hopefully I’ll come away with some more good stuff for you guys, if nothing else. Stay tuned as I continue my search to find someone who could possibly live up to my true love, Steven Adams.

So, for my final thought– I used to think there was something wrong with me because I was single. Now I’m starting to think that maybe I’m doing something very, very right by staying single.

In the Interim

Ohhhh, goodness.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it guys? Boy have I got some catching up to do.

I know I always make the excuse when I don’t write for a long time that I’ve been busy, or lots has been going on, but I promise that when I don’t write for two months, there’s been some things going on.

Let me explain.

In my post from January when I talked about how I missed my friend’s wedding because I got lost, I also talked about New Year’s resolutions, and I made a short and simple list of what I hoped to accomplish this year. In case you don’t want to click that link and re-read that (I certainly try to forget that ever happened), let me refresh you on what those resolutions were.

Sara’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
1. Finish my novel.
2. Get a job.
3. Move out with my sister.
4. Get a tattoo.
5. Go on a date (maybe).
6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.

So, to bring you up to speed, let me tell you how close I am to achieving any of these.

1. Finish My Novel.
Okay, this is kind of a throwaway if you’ve read my blog at all, because I not only finished my novel, I self-published it on Kindle in July. And while I haven’t checked in a couple months, I’d sold like a significant amount. Like, well over 500 as of Septemberish (Maybe? To be honest, I stopped checking because I was afraid people would stop buying it and I didn’t want to know).
But anyway, I well surpassed any expectations I ever had. I also am about to self-publish the first run of paperback copies of my novel, and so many of my amazing and wonderful friends have signed up to buy it, which still just blows me away. Like, I still can’t really believe sometimes that people want to read my novel, much less PAY MONEY for it. I honestly still find it hard to believe that people actually want to read this blog.

Whoa.

Whoa.

But anyways, the point is that I think I can safely check this resolution off as completed.

2. Get a job.
This is also kind of obvious if you read my blog, because I’ve also been working at a wedding shop since July. Getting to dress people up in wedding dresses and veils and also getting to do so myself = automatic awesomeness. Not much else to say about that. I’ve truthfully already picked out my dress, belt, and veil and I tried to say yes to the dress, but my boss pointed out that I might want a fiance first. I just laughed that off, because I probably need a boyfriend before I even worry about that hurdle. But the job hurdle? Check!

Just call me Gatsby!

Just call me Gatsby cause I’m making paperrr.

3. Move out with my sister.
Okay, so this is kind of the big one. This has rather been the one occupying most of my time. As I type this, I am laying on the couch in the living room of the house I share with my sister.
That’s right, guys. I moved out. And it’s super, super weird. Like, I honestly feel like I did in college, when I was just living at school but my home was with my parents. It’s not helping that I had to leave Gus with them because he’s obsessed with running outside and we live on a super busy corner of a super busy street. I also miiiight have gotten a new cat named Henry who is like ridiculously adorable.
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He had to live with my parents for a while though, because it literally took us like two months to get our new house (duplex, actually) ready for us. I swear to god, it was a money pit. We just kept finding more things wrong that had to be fixed. I’m pretty sure that I have spent as much money in the past three months as I have in my entire life.
But he and Gus instantly became best friends, and now I feel incredibly guilty about taking him to our house, especially since we’ve already brought Finn up here (who took a full two days to come out from under my bed and even look around). So this has resulted in me going back home rather a lot.

HOW CAN I LEAVE THEM THOUGH

HOW CAN I LEAVE THEM THOUGH

But for better or worse, we are moved out and giving this thing a go. It is exciting, because we moved in just in time to celebrate Halloween and we had some adorable little trick or treaters come visit.

I also might have made a visit to my parents' house...

I also might have made a visit to my parents’ house…

We’re also planning on having Thanksgiving for my parents and some of my other family members at our house, so that’s also pretty cool.
But moving out? Check.

4. Get a tattoo.
So this is also kind of a new one. One of the main issues with getting a tattoo that I’d had before was that I couldn’t decide which one I actually wanted first. But after I lost Boo, it kind of helped me realize that I wanted a cat tattoo first in honor of him.
Thanks to my amazing best friend Brenna and her (then) fiance Jennings, I managed to accomplish this one.10699704_10153380516909057_5693046581355142999_o

Best photo of the whole experience.

Best photo of the whole experience.

The final product and its inspiration.

The final product and its inspiration.

Getting a tattoo is not exactly the most pleasant of experiences, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I have like zero pain tolerance so I honestly was terrified I wouldn’t be able to get through it. But the whole process only took about 10-15 minutes, and Brenna held my hand the whole time so I managed it. I am unbelievably pleased with the result.
I decided to get it on up my upper left leg, right where Boo always used to curl up and sleep against me. It makes me feel like where ever I go, I have him just right there with me. It’s honestly one of the best, most important things I’ve ever done for myself, and I love it.
So tattoo? A painful but well worth it check.

5. Go on a date (maybe).
Ah, despite my strong misgivings and uncomfortableness with the whole idea of dating, I even did this. Thankfully the date I went on was with a friend from high school who was very cool and nice about the whole thing and picked an awesome date (going to a local art museum) and the whole experience was really perfectly fine. (Except for the part where we got trapped for thirty minutes in the same parking lot where I went the wrong way and backed into a car–I’M TELLING YOU THAT PARKING LOT IS SENTIENT, IT IS EVIL, AND IT HATES ME).
But I did it, guys. I went on a date. Check. (But seriously, no rush on the next one because those things are emotionally EXHAUSTING)

6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.
Perhaps the hardest one of all with my sense of direction. And yet the two weddings I’ve attended since I last wrote were two of the best, most wonderful of my life.
In September, my long time friends from college, Lauren and Scott, were married in a sweet and elegant ceremony in Tulsa. They even asked me to read a poem or something along those lines during the wedding (they also told me they didn’t want me to tell them what I was reading, which let me tell you IS PRESSURE.) I went with one of my favorite poems of all time, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Luckily, I think they liked it and my speech, and I was absolutely honored when they asked me to be one of the witnesses that signed their marriage license. It was truly an absolutely wonderful experience, especially since I got to go to the rehearsal and dinner and spend the evening before with Lauren.
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In July, on the exact same day that I started working at the wedding boutique, my very first best friend Brenna got engaged. It was one of the best days of my life when she subsequently asked me to be her maid of honor. She was married in an absolutely gorgeous and stunning ceremony in Norman, and I literally cried through the whole thing. It was both strange and wonderful, because I couldn’t see her the entire time after she came down the aisle, but I could see her fiance’s face and the way he was looking at her was just pure love. I could tell he adored her and I was just so happy I couldn’t stop crying. I had tissues hidden in my bouquet and I’m sure it looked like I was literally wiping my face with flowers, and it was still one of the best moments of my life. I was afraid from the moment that Bren asked me to be her MOH that I would bawl my way through my speech, but luckily I think I cried it all out during the ceremony. Though I choked up a couple times, I managed not to cry during my speech.

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I also managed not to miss any of the weddings I was invited to. Check, check.

So. As you can see, I genuinely have been busy. I managed to complete all my resolutions, and by October–with a couple of months to spare!

That being said, life, as I have learned repeatedly, is always up and down. And the past few days for me have been very down.

My cat Gus, as I mentioned, stayed at my mom and dad’s house. A few days ago, he started throwing up everything he ate. My mom eventually took off work and took him to the vet, and they gave him a nausea shot to help and said he didn’t seem seriously ill. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t take the news well. I had a panic attack–the first I’ve had in months.
I talked before about how much I struggled with depression and anxiety in the past year and a half and what an enormous challenge it was for me to overcome. But with the help of my family and my doctor, I got counseling and I also got medication, and it has seemed to make all the difference. That’s why it made this panic attack so absolutely terrifying–I thought I was better. I though I was DONE with panic attacks.
It was so scary to realize that, even with regular medication, even with special medication to help me prevent it if I felt one coming, I could still have panic attacks. It was exactly the way it used to be, the same sickeningly familiar symptoms. I got dizzy and nauseated, and I couldn’t seem to stop crying, and I felt convinced that Gus was going to die at any minute. Ironically, an incident when we thought Gus might have eaten something poisonous and I had one of the worst panic attacks I’d ever had is what made me finally stop and say, I think something is wrong and eventually led to me getting help. It was a bizarre kind of full circle.
My sister drove me to my parents’ house, and I spent the evening there with Gus, who seemed to be doing better and who even managed to eat and keep it down. I started to feel better, and it seemed like he was better as well.
The next morning, I woke up and started getting ready for work, only to get a call from my mom that Gus was throwing up repeatedly again. We both agreed that we desperately needed to get him back to the vet for bloodwork–the problem was, no one could take him. Thankfully, my incredibly understanding boss let me have the day off so I could get him to the vet.

The experience I’m about to relate is not for the faint of heart, so if you’re squeamish about medical stuff or have a weak stomach I suggest you skip it.
I rushed to my parents’ to get Gus, who absolutely hates riding in the car. So, he proceeded to climb into my back window and howl for the fifteen minute drive to the vet. The vet doesn’t take appointments either, so when we got there we had to sit in the car and wait. We waited for almost an hour, and the only reason they called us back was because they had to have the bloodwork done by 10 in order for us to get our results back that day (it was Friday, and if we’d waited any later we wouldn’t have gotten them back until Monday).
So they took us back to like a nurse’s station where they do the blood drawing. They had to shave a little chunk of poor Gustav’s hair off, so he has a little bald spot on his neck where they drew the blood. Now, let me preface this by saying that as you may know if you’ve ever met me, I kind of have a problem with needles. Like, I hate them. Like, they literally make me sick. Like, I haven’t gotten a shot since I was 17 and my mother could no longer make me get them.
So they were trying to draw blood from a vein in Gus’s neck, but the first needle they used was too small. So then they had to get a bigger needle. And as they’re struggling to draw blood, the nurse is like “I think I should’ve got an even BIGGER needle.” Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t step out of the room since I have such a problem with needles, right? Well, in the first place, I didn’t realize I had a problem with needles when used on pets. I’ve seen my dogs get shots a hundred times and it never really bothered me. Second, poor Gus looked absolutely terrified as they held him down and I know it cannot feel good to have people stabbing at your neck with different needles (that phrase literally makes me sick to my stomach). So, trying nobly to be a good cat mom, I stayed so I could pet him and talk to him. As they were drawing the blood, however, I heard one lady say, “Man, this blood is so dark and thick.” I, of course, immediately looked at the syringe, because this concerned me. What did that mean? Was that a bad sign?!
She followed it up by saying, “Of course, you’d expect that in a cat that’s been throwing up.”
I felt immediate relief, followed by immediate heat. A short time later, I realized that I was staring at that little bald spot where they had the needle in, and I was getting even hotter. I realized I probably should’ve taken my coat off, and proceeded to sling it somewhere (I honestly don’t know where I put it). Abruptly, I realized I was also very sick to my stomach, and somewhat desperately I inquired where the bathroom was. They told me it was out of the room, down the hall and around the corner.

Now, I remember walking out the door of the room, but after that my vision disappeared. All the sound started roaring in my ears, and I felt myself fall against a wall. I was sentient enough to realized I had fallen into the wall, and I heard myself say, “Oh, oops!”
I don’t have any memory of what happened after that until I woke up and found myself sitting on the floor. I was incredibly confused and disoriented, and couldn’t figure out where I was in the vet or how I’d gotten there. I probably wasn’t out more than five or ten seconds, but I was DEFINITELY out. A nurse came out into the hall and goes, “Oh my god, are you okay?!” I sort of realized then that I’d fainted, and I replied in a low miserable groan, “Noooo.”
Then, I proceeded to throw up on the floor of the hallway at the vet’s office.
Yep. On the floor. In the hallway. At the vet’s.
I heard someone go, “Oh no.”
Then, a trash can was shoved at me and I managed to throw up three more times into it before dry heaving for a bit. At this point, there were people flitting about everywhere, because the more people to see my shame, the merrier! Someone handed me a roll of paper towels as someone called for a mop and I realized that I was half-sitting in my own throw up. It was then it occurred to me that I was within one of the lowest moments of my life.
I started apologizing repeatedly, and everyone was super nice, of course. The nurse brought Gus out into the hall and he was just meowing in her arms like, “Um, what are you doing? I am the one who is sick, not you!”
They made me sit in a room and drink a glass of water while I was waiting for the doctor so I could recover. Unfortunately, this also left me time to sit and stew in my shame and humiliation.
When I finally got to go home, I immediately collapsed in an embarrassment-and-exhaustion-fueled sleep. When I woke up that afternoon, I realized that I still had some throw up in my hair and I had to take a shower.
So, all in all, definitely one of my finest, proudest moments.

This was only the second time I had actually fainted; the other was when my sister had to have surgery and they put the IV in and got blood all over her hand. I made my way into the bathroom, sat on the floor, all the sound started rushing and getting louder in my ears, I passed out for a few seconds, and then I threw up three times in the toilet. Nice and tidy. To be fair, I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before, then I’d barely slept, then I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and I was overall incredibly stressed.
I have to say, my second experience with passing out was much worse than the first. Again, to be fair to me, I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before (panic attacks kill my appetite), I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat breakfast, and I was incredibly stressed.
So I think I’ve figured out the recipe to make me faint. Needles + blood + lack of sleep and nourishment + stress = shame and embarrassment. A winning combination.
Luckily for my sanity, we got the results back that same day and Gus’s bloodwork was completely normal, so I count it as worth it.

Basically, in the interim since I last wrote, I have been checking off resolutions… and humiliating myself in brilliant, awe-inspiring form.

So pretty much the same old, same old.

Poem: To All The Shy Girls

This whole Tinder thing lately has really got me flustered. In case you were wondering, I never again heard from The Lad, even after bucking up and messaging him. Ah, c’est la vie. But still, the whole process of setting out, deliberately, with intentions admitted, to find someone romantically feels rather bizarre to me. You’re essentially just shooting in the dark, hoping that the right person for you will come into your orbit by the most unlikely, randomest of odds. Instead, I’d always imagined that one day I’d simply stumble into the right person, and he’d catch on pretty quickly that there was something between us, and we’d just figure out things from there.
But what people have kept telling me, all with nothing but affection for me and the best of intentions, is that love will never work like that. You have to put yourself out there, take risks, get outside your comfort zone. You have to do the work, or you’ll never find anyone. That’s why I need to give dating a try, even if it’s scary and uncomfortable for me.
But here’s the thing–I’m just not wired that way. I’ve always thought that it was because I’m just too shy, but at the same time, I’m not really actually that shy. It’s always strange to me, this weird state I get in when I imagine actually dating a guy. So I did some thinking, and when I finished thinking, I did some writing. And I have concluded that, with all due respect to anyone who prefers other methods, I think that I’m just going to wait until I find the guy who feels like he’s worth the risk.

To All The Shy Girls

I used to think
that I was shy
that the reason
I couldn’t meet a boy’s eye
was an excess of embarrassment

And when I got
my first kiss
I chattered nervously
against his lips
and the second time
I giggled
helpless

Then one year passed
and then two
where I dreamed of
realer kisses
more than just a few
presses of lips

But again I couldn’t
meet their eyes
without a sudden tide
of bashful, red-cheeked stammering
to their amusement

How come when I
felt a blow
a fluttering clench in my chest
at the way his lips quirked
or his hair would rest
just so
on his cheek
and it seemed as though
he might feel the same for me

I was always gripped with a rush of panic
fathoms, oceans, miles deep
I believed it could only be
this overwhelming
overbearing
over-awkwardness
in me

Yet lately
I have come to think
that I am not shy because
I don’t want to be seen
No, I shy away
from men who never seemed
good enough to look upon
all that I have dreamed

I do not fear I’ve nothing to give
I look away, embarrassed
for they should fear me instead
I laugh nervously
for them
because they don’t know just how
lucky they would be
to press their lips to mine
as I’m giggling

So if someone looks away
when you don’t
meet their gaze
and cannot divine the crackle
of power
in your stuttered lines
know you have managed
successfully
to hide your riches
from lesser beings

You are a goddess
hidden in plain sight
wait for the one
who looks on your downturned head
and can recognize
your might

 

It’s Going Down, I’m Yelling Tinder

Hi, everyone.
I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, and I apologize. I’ve been pretty busy lately running around with friends and trying to find a job (as ever). You might remember that at the beginning of May, I wrote about how the Buzzfeed post I authored went viral, and it resulted in me getting a job offer to write articles for the British website WhatCulture.com. In the month of May I wrote three articles for about 90 bucks (whoop WHOOOOOO)!!!

SOMEONE PAID ME MONEY TO WRITE WORDS THIS IS CRAZY

You can check them out here:
9 Underrated Kid’s Movies You Didn’t Realise Were Awesome
20 Reasons Being A Single Woman Is The Best 
20 Obscure Movies With Hilarious IMDB Descriptions

Just a note, the single one was originally written as just being directed at single people in general, but then my editor randomly changed it after I submitted it and so now the title doesn’t really makes sense.
Ah, the realities of writing for someone else.
But seriously, I love writing for What Culture and everyone has been incredibly kind and I strongly encourage you to go check out, not just my articles, but everything else on their cool Britishy website. I’d love it if you’d share or comment on my articles, too, as it helps my standing within the pecking order.

But now, on to the most exciting thing I’ve been doing lately.
Friends, it’s finally happened.
I joined Tinder.

Heh. Heh heh.

I know what you might be thinking here. Sara, you’re saying, don’t you know Tinder is for hooking up?
Yes, yes, Unspecified Mystery Reader, I had heard that. That’s why I never tried it or anything; I was just as skeptical as you. But I actually talked with one of my friends that had Tinder, and she told me it’s not really that bad and she recommended I try it.

I thought about this for a good long while. As you all may or may not have figured out by this point, I’m a bit awkward and unfamiliar with this whole dating tomfoolery. If you don’t count times when parents drove because we were too young, I’ve never been on an actual date. At the age of 22, this often comes as a surprise to people, and makes trying to date even more awkward. It’s made it easy to make excuses and never really give dating much of a go.
Now, as I have said repeatedly on this blog, I do NOT think there is anything wrong with being single. In fact, I think being single for a long period of time is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. It allowed me to really sort myself out and figure out what I wanted and needed in a potential partner.
On the other hand, however, I’m just getting dang curious what all the “dating” fuss is about, and I’d really just like to give this whole thing a whirl. I even made a resolution for New Year’s that I would go on a date this year (probably).
But by May, my options still weren’t looking good. So impulsively one day, I plunged in and downloaded Tinder.

Eh, why not?

Let me explain the basic premise of Tinder for those of you who have never been desperate enough to use it. You create a profile where you can pick a few pictures to put on, along with a short bio. Then you set parameters like age range, gender, and distance from you. Then, Tinder looks for people who fit into your parameters in your area

Genuinely one of my favorite things to come from the internet.

You look at the profile and pictures of the people Tinder suggests to you, and it will show you if you have any mutual friends or likes on Facebook. Then, you either swipe left if you’re not interested, or right if you are. If someone you’re interested in also swipes that they’re interested, too, then it will show you that you are a match. You then have the ability to message each other and start a conversation. If you swipe left, then you never see that profile again–even if you swiped left by accident.
The first time I tried to use Tinder, I became very stressed out. I am terrible at making decisions, and Tinder is literally making what is essentially a snap judgement about someone based almost entirely off their appearance. I didn’t even swipe the first time I got on, because I felt so agonized about the prospect of making a mistake. I stared at this one guy’s profile for like fifteen minutes, paralyzed with indecision, before I finally panickedly closed Tinder by hitting the back button like five times unnecessarily. It took me a few hours to get my courage up again.
Tentatively, I tried again, resolving to be firmer and more hard-hearted. I braced myself, and swiped no on a couple of people. I immediately felt incredibly proud of myself. I could do this… I could Tinder!!!!
Then I came to a guy who I WAS interested in. Again, I felt crippled with indecision. What if I swiped yes on him but he didn’t swipe yes on me?! What if I was rejected BY A PHONE APP?!
And then, the beauty of Tinder dawned upon me.
WHO CARES IF YOU ARE REJECTED BY A PHONE APP, YOU NEVER HAVE TO SEE OR SPEAK TO THEM EVER AGAIN!!!! IT’S LIKE DATING WITHOUT ANY SORT OF PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!! I DON’T EVEN HAVE TO LEAVE MY HOUSE TO PARTICIPATE!!!

The excitement this realization brought me is perhaps a bad omen for someone who claims to want a date.

But back to my story. Bravely, I overcame my trepidation, and swiped yes for the first time. Instantly, a little message popped up on my phone saying we were a match.

Classy girls protect identities.

Classy girls protect identities.

Wait…. we’re a match? We really are? You’re saying someone looked at my picture and my profile and thought, YeahI’d be interested in her?!?!?!

God, what was I waiting for?! This dating thing is a PIECE. OF. CAKE. I started swiping like crazy, soon becoming drunk with the power to reject or approve potential soulmates (probably). And, even more heady, almost every single guy I swiped that I was interested in had already said they were interested in me.
It was a miracle– THESE GUYS DON’T THINK I LOOK LIKE I’M TWELVE YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!
Pretty quickly, a few guys even MESSAGED me. I was chatting with guys in a romantic context on my phone…. THIS IS THE FUTURE.

And, happily, most of the guys were really nice. Unfortunately, one fella got right off to a bit of a personal start, and inquired about my feelings on “butt stuff.”

And so I blocked his ass; hopefully that got the message across. One of the nice things about Tinder is you can block someone at any time and they can never see your profile or contact you again.
Overall, most of the guys I was matching with who messaged me were really nice and not creepy. However, there were definitely a few interesting profiles I came across:

Oh, hi there, pretend Eric Church.

Oh, hi there, pretend Eric Church.

Okay, but I really like his style.

Okay, but I really like his style.

wpid-screenshot_2014-06-01-18-40-27.png
I left his name because, oh my god his name is Countryman?! Also, I thought he was Kevin Durant for a minute.
But speaking of NBA players, the most exciting moment of my Tinder experience came when a profile was suggested to me that is most likely someone pretending to be Steven Adams of the NBA Thunder (my new favorite Thunder player if Derek Fisher retires), but OH MY EVER LIVING GOD IT COULD BE STEVEN ADAMS ON MY TINDER AND THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY HE MIGHT SWIPE RIGHT ON ME.

THE ONLY PROBLEM IS I WOULD PROBABLY SPONTANEOUSLY EXPLODE

I should’ve taken a screenshot of it, but I have NEVER swiped yes so fast on a Tinder profile in my life.
The most traumatizing moment definitely came when I discovered my own cousin on Tinder (I CAN NEVER UNSEE), and also horrifying was when one of my best friend’s younger brother appeared. But also cool was finding a couple guys I knew and went to school with. We both swiped yes on each other and then laughed about how we were both on Tinder.

Then, a guy I went to high school with but I didn’t know at all during that time matched with me. I’d actually played against him a couple seasons in indoor, so we’d at least nominally met, but I didn’t think he’d really remember who I was. Yet he straight away asked me to play with his indoor team, but I unfortunately have been injured with quad tears for the past two months (a whole other story that I will get to on another post). But, to my shock, even after I told him I couldn’t play, he asked me to still come watch his game. AND there was definite flirtiness (I think).
Was… was this a…. DATE?!?!

COME ON SARA KEEP IT TOGETHER

Let me just explain how surreal this is to me. This guy, who we will call The Lad (remember, classy girls protect identities), was really popular in high school and played football. I NEVER even came into contact with him in high school, much less spoke to him. I always just admired how hot he was from afar. And now I think he might have possibly asked me on a quasi-date??????

hahaha what I don’t know how to react or handle this or even breathe send help please help

But, as with all things when it comes to me and guys, this situation is not so simple. The Lad asked me last Sunday to come to a game that is tomorrow, Saturday. So Sara, you’re saying. What’s the problem with that? That actually sounds really simple. Why don’t you just go up to the game and watch? It’s not a big deal, and it’s not like you don’t spend a majority of your time in soccer arenas anyway. Just do it. DO IT. GO TO THE GAME.
Well, Overly Insistent and Pushy Mystery Reader Who Sounds Like My Family and Close Friends, here’s the problem.
I haven’t spoken to him since then. He hasn’t messaged me or contacted me at all since Monday. What if he forgot he invited me, or he only matched with me so he could ask me to play and then when I couldn’t he felt obligated to invite me to the game to be nice? If he was really interested, why hasn’t he talked to me? What if he’s just a big creep?
Now you may be thinking that I sound absurd, or silly, or why in god’s name don’t I just message him? But I have accepted this about myself and dating– I have to take baby steps. Really, really tiny baby steps. Maybe more like a couple weeks old baby steps that aren’t really steps at all but are just the baby kicking its legs around in the air under its mobile.
To date, I’m going to need a LOT of encouragement and reassurance. I am the most oblivious girl alive sometimes, and I NEVER realize when guys like me unless they come right out and say it– and even then I’m still a bit skeptical. Dating is just a whole new world for me, and I am no Hernando Cortez to go rushing right in and conquer it ruthlessly and without fear– the natives reportedly ripped out hearts, remember.

Yep, I mix history and dating. Maybe why I'm still single?

Yep, I mix history and dating. Maybe why I’m still single?

And so I waver indecisively, as agonizingly unsure as the very first time I faced a profile on Tinder. Should I go? Should I not? Should I message him? The answer is not clear to me, and I am struggling mightily with my natural shyness and awkwardness in a romantic context. I’m sure I’ll update you on the thrilling conclusion to the pathetic sagas of my love life, whatever they may be.
I just don’t understand why I ever thought Tinder was a good idea. Maybe I’m going to give up on this whole dating thing after all; my stress levels are rising exponentially and I don’t understand how so many people do the dating.

I’m starting to seriously question whether I’m cut out for it at all.

I don’t think it’s for me.

 

 

The Single Lady’s Calendar

(UPDATED NOTE: I’ve turned this post into a Buzzfeed post, which I would be so unspeakably grateful if you would check out and share any way you can. You can also read a little bit more about it on my other post explaining why I did so!)
Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!
As you all probably know, I am perpetually single, and I haven’t had a date on Valentine’s in nearly a decade. But contrary to what you might expect after hearing that, I love Valentine’s Day. I really do; it makes me happy because it is a holiday dedicated to celebrating my favorite emotion–love. Last year, in fact, I wrote a whole blog post about just how much I love Valentine’s and why. You can check it out, it’s one of the most popular posts I have ever written for the blog (so you know it’s, like, totes good).
All this being said, I know that there are probably just as many of you who plainly loathe Valentine’s Day–and hey, I’m not going to pretend like that’s not completely understandable. I love chocolates and gifts as much as the next girl.
A few months ago, I began kicking around an idea in my mind. I had seen those hilarious someecards on Pinterest that divided the months up into months for single people, and I thought they were pretty darn funny.

Like this.

Just trying to be funny (as I strive so hard to do), I started thinking up titles for all the months. And then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me– why not make an actual calendar for single ladies?!
The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea. But one thing I knew right from the beginning was that I would not be able to accomplish this feat on my own–my skills, such as they are, rest in writing, not photography or Photoshop or anything like that.
Enter my lifelong friend, Cindy Benton. Luckily for me, Cindy is extremely talented, crazy creative, and amazing with a camera–and she both had and knew how to use Photoshop. Together we cooked up ideas, ironed out details, and over two days in January, with the help of Cindy’s equally creative sister Erin, we shot The Single Lady’s Calendar.
Initially I planned to post this post on January 18th, the one year anniversary of the blog (YIPPIEEEEE!!!). But I was young, and naive, and I did not understand the rigors and treachery of trying to navigate Photoshop that Cindy would have to face down. It took much longer than I expected, but thankfully Cindy never threw up her hands and said she quit.
So we reassessed, and then I realized, when would be a more perfect time to post the calendar than Valentine’s Day?
After all, I wrote last year for all the people who loved Valentine’s Day. Why not create something for those who don’t feel quite so positively?
And so, in solidarity for all you single gals (and heck, even guys!) out there who consider February 14th to be Singles Awareness Day, I feel you. This one is for you.

The Single Lady’s Calendar

Jealous of Couples January

Fictional Boyfriend February

Movie Marathon March

All By Myself April

Marry My Cats May

Just Friends June

Join A Nunnery July

Always Alone August

Single September

Online Dating October

No Ring November

Don't Date December

There you have it, my friends! I hope you have as much fun with this as we did making it– and to all of my wonderful Readers, single or not, I hope you have an absolutely lovely Valentine’s Day! :)

PS Again, I cannot stress enough how much help I had in doing this. It literally would have never happened without Cindy, and she deserves just as much (if not more) credit for this than I do. I cannot say thank you enough to her, because she made it possible!!
And of course, special thanks to our assistant Erin ;)

Poem: All The Words I Haven’t Said

Hi again, Dear Readers.
My last post was all about things I’ve learned, and one thing I forgot to mention is that I think everyone should try and write a poem at least once. Once upon a time,  much like everyone else I knew in the sixth grade, I had only a fairly vague idea of what poetry was and thought it was pretty lame. Then we read some poetry in my English class, got an assignment to write our own poem, and I fell in love with an entire genre. So give it a try, you never know.
For today’s poem, we’re going a ways back, which is only appropriate because it’s “Throwback Thursday.” When I was a senior in high school, our final project in my AP English class was a poetry unit wherein we wrote different poems according to the guidelines our teacher gave us. I was introduced to a type of poem called a villanelle, which has very specific rules you have to follow in order for it to qualify (you can read about it here if you like). The most famous example of a villanelle is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, and if you’ve never read it DO IT NOW. A villanelle is one of the hardest types of poems I’ve ever had to write because the structure is so rigid, but it also grew to be a favorite of mine. Through a lot of effort and thought, I wrote my own villanelle, and it is still one of my favorites of any poem I have ever written. Hopefully you enjoy it too!

All The Words I Haven’t Said

 

All the words I haven’t said
are enough to fill a world of books;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

I know they’re an equal to all the words I’ve read
and all the ones I’ve spoken, or accomplished with a look,
all the words I haven’t said.

A wealth of wit and woe and warmth inside my head,
bound away in the shapes of words and gestures that never quite took;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

And I know the greatest source by which that speechless hoard was fed;
you dished out chances for my silence like an errant cook
made rich by all the words I haven’t said.

And all the hidden heart-shadows where I cowardly feared to tread
were a million words lost in silence like my king to a rook
and I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

Yes, the volume of my speechlessness is great, but in all those words’ stead
I wish I would’ve said the three most important ones, even if my voice shook.
Oh, all the words I haven’t said;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

Some Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far

It’s been awhile, friends. I hope you’ll forgive me, and  that you’ve stuck with me here on the blog. It seems lately that the writing well has gone dry after losing Boo. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy that I’m still deeply in pain over that, but if you do I honestly don’t care. Losing a best friend always hurts.
However. In the inestimably wise words of Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” As much as it hurts, as wrong as it feels, my life is going on. I have laughed, I have enjoyed myself, I have worried and fussed over other things besides losing my cat, and generally just kept on living, just like Robert Frost says. So in that vein, I have decided to share just a few of the more pertinent life lessons that I have gathered so far in my twenty-two years. I’ll try to be clever, and wise, and even funny again. And hopefully I’ll make you think, just a bit, as well. I also hope you’ll share some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in your life in the comments.

A Few Things I’ve Learned So Far

— Pets will break your heart. They will. But I have come to realize that I would never, ever, ever trade the love and joy and comfort of my cat, even to avoid how much it is hurting to lose him, and that’s true with all the pets I’ve lost and I can’t imagine not feeling the same when I lose other pets in the future.

— If you haven’t read ThLittle Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you absolutely and unequivocally should. It is one of the most poignant, brilliant, and gorgeous things ever written disguised as a children’s book. It is also especially beautiful if you have just suffered a loss. I read it the other night without knowing this, and found myself bawling with the bittersweet comfort it gave me. Overall, this book is just going to drop some serious truth on you.

It includes charming and whimsical illustrations.

— The probable number of people who have sang along passionately to “Someone Like You” by Adele while staring at a picture of an old love and crying is mind-boggling to consider.

Adele songs– always relevant.

— If you want to wear leggings as pants… go right ahead. Seriously. Wear whatever the hell makes you feel beautiful and happy, and don’t ever let someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear. Fashion is subjective and a matter of personal opinion, not an excuse to put down other people. Be like this guy–comfortable in your own skin, and whatever you chose to put over it.

— In that same spirit, this is a great quote to live by, brought to you by the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.” (This is not an excuse to be blind to all advice, help, and suggestions. It’s just a reminder that you can never please everybody, so at the end of the day you have to go with what you believe in.)

— It does not matter how much you love someone, or even if you believe they love you, too– if they don’t WANT to be with you, then it will never work. Falling in love is an act of gravity, a law of nature that you have no control over. Commitment is always, always a choice. Learn this lesson early, and save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run, even if it feels like your heart is breaking in the short term.

So. Many. Celebrities. So little time to creep them all. You just have to fill your stable, and then ignore the studs and fillies that go prancing by. (Until, of course, one of your stable gets married or has a significant other, then it’s time to head on down to the horse auction.) ((Why did I suddenly choose to go with a horse theme here???))

I honest to god hope I never, ever know Damian McGinty, because there are things I've done for this blog with Paint that can't be forgiven.

I honest to god hope I never, ever actually know Damian McGinty, because there are things I’ve done for this blog with Paint that can’t be forgiven.

— Travel. Anywhere you can, any way you can. It will change your mind and your life.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Paddington Station, London

Paddington Station, London

— The best birth control is working at a daycare.

— It is completely okay if you are girl in your twenties or thirties and you do not like wine; do not let Pinterest convince you otherwise. It is also completely okay if you do not like to drink.

Except the problem where I don’t like wine.

— One of the most disappointing but helpful lessons I learned at a college filled with foreign boys– JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS AN ACCENT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THEM SOMEONE YOU WANT TO DATE.

— You’ll know the difference between a crush and love, but there is nothing and no one that will be able to tell you if you truly love someone. Seriously, there’s just no way to tell for sure unless you decide you’re sure. Unlike my entire childhood led me to believe, there is no blurb on the movie/novel of your life that tells you definitively who the two romantic leads are. Thanks a lot, childhood.
Right-in-the-childhood

— Be kind. See Ellen DeGeneres if clarification is necessary.

— Sports are just a game. No matter how much you love them, always remember this: Just. A. Game. They do not trump human decency.

GRAMMAR MATTERS.

— Don’t overthink things. Most of the time, things are much simpler than you want to believe.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

Also this.

— Both tea and books possess magical, healing properties.

— You are not infallible, no one is infallible. Never, ever, ever believe that you are always 100% right, because you are not. Accept that you are going to be wrong sometimes, and learn how to admit it. It’s one of the most useful lessons, to own your mistakes.

— You can still get a sunburn when it is cloudy, USE SUNSCREEN.

— You have to love yourself before someone else can love you. Well, at least to have a healthy relationship, you need to love yourself first. I fully believe this; I have spent a lot of life struggling with insecurities and wondering what was wrong with me because no one ever liked me back. Now, finally, I have grown to love myself, my imperfections and my best qualities, and I am a million times more confident and comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been before. I think that translates to a maturity that would serve a relationship well, much more than if I’d been in one previously in my life.

— Cats will never miss an opportunity to put their butt in your face.

— You really should floss your teeth every night.

— You are fully responsible for your own choices. You are not responsible for the choices of others. In the end, you make decisions for yourself, even if it is only how you decide to react to something.

— Hair products can change your life.

— Romance novels are NOTHING to be ashamed of. Of course, as with all genres, there are fantastic books and there are horrible books, but the genre as a whole has progressed light-years since the stereotypical “bodice-rippers” of the past. Seriously, some of the most important things I’ve ever learned came from romance novels.

The answer is yes. Do yourself a favor, gentlemen.

— You will find friends in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times. You will also realize that some people will always be your friend, come what may, while others were only meant to be a brief chapter in your life.

— Eat dessert.

If Emma Stone says it, you should listen.

I call it my dessert tank, personally.

— It is perfectly fine to be in your twenties or thirties or any age, and to be a virgin or to not have a boyfriend or to never have been kissed. Just because romance is absent from your life does not automatically mean something is wrong with you or that your life is lacking or even that you’ll never find it.

I don't get what's wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

I don’t get what’s wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

— I believe you are responsible for your own happiness. I have known a lot of bitter, angry people in my life, and it has only reinforced this to me. Always try to make your own happiness.

— Unless you’re a sailor, take Dramamine before you go deep sea fishing. TRUST ME, DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKES MY FAMILY AND I DID ON THE UNSPEAKABLY DREADFUL SUMMER VACATION AFTER SIXTH GRADE IN SOUTH PADRE ISLAND (Incidentally, that’s also where I learned the lesson about getting a sunburn while it’s cloudy.)

— New lesson: Do not go to South Padre Island.

— You WILL make a fool of yourself in front of someone you like. Just accept it, and enjoy the hilarious story you’ll be able to tell your friends in the future. And, if you’re really lucky like me, you’ll humiliate yourself over and over and over again, and provide enough stories to one day write your own book about it. (In case you didn’t know, I am an optimist.)

Sublesson: Daily Odd Compliments are the best.

— You’re probably never going to use cursive or algebra outside of school, but learn them anyway, because learning is always important. Besides, I like to write in cursive, it’s much prettier than my print handwriting.

— Some things are wrong, even if the person in authority is telling you that they are right. (For example, it will always be gif with a “guh” sound, not a j sound. Jif is peanut butter.)

— Take naps if you can. And laugh freely.

–Do not, under any circumstances, get a drastic new haircut any closer than a month before a major life event.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

— From what I can tell so far, the golden rule is still the best one to live by.

— Wear bicycle shorts under your dress or skirt. Just do it.

— Be honest whenever you can, and kind when you can’t.

— If you’re going to drink a lot, do it around people you trust, especially the first time. And for godsake, have someone hide your phone from you.

The problem.

The solution.

— Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned so far: Love may not be all you need, but it’s the most important thing. Love comes in all forms, and whether it’s for someone else or yourself or your pet or your favorite food, love is the rain and the sun and the minerals that nourishes the healthy growth of life. I believe in love above all things.

— And the final lesson I am sharing with you today– make your own rules and learn your own lessons. All the things that work for me will never be exactly the same as the things that work for you. You may never learn some of the things I’ve listed, or agree with any of them, and that is absolutely and perfectly fine. What I do wish could be universal, however, is tolerance when everyone inevitably comes to the realization that no one will ever agree with every single thing we think and believe.

Post originally inspired by 25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know