social norms

20 Lessons I Wish I Knew When I First Started Dating: An Open Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self

Hey there, little one,

It’s nearing the end of eighth grade, and a nice boy in metal shop class just asked you to be his girlfriend. You’re excited, terrified, and have no idea what to expect out of this relationship, but it will be the first of many to come.

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Why is Sex “Dirty”?

Despite vehemently disliking the phrase, I’ve been called a “dirty girl” on multiple occasions by various guys since the beginning of adolescence. I’ve also frequently been told that I have a “dirty mind” because I enjoy thinking and talking about sexual topics. I wonder, why do we refer to sex as “dirty”? (more…)

Valentine’s Day: Yet Another Way for Men to Fail

Last Thursday morning, as I was surfing my usual radio station medleys on my drive to work, I stumbled across a humorous Valentine’s Day promotion. Hot 99.5 was offering men who had not yet made Valentine’s Day dinner reservations the chance to win pre-made reservations at popular local restaurants. In exchange for the gift, the men had to imitate how mad their female significant others would be if they found out that the men had nothing planned for the big day. While male impressions of female nagging can be hit or miss, two of the three I heard were hilarious. (more…)

Men vs. Women: What Your Lover is ACTUALLY Freaking Out About in Bed

During last weekend’s torrential snow dump, over a homemade orange Fanta snow slushie and after many hours of binge-watching Sex and the City, I started pondering the differences between men’s and women’s expectations and fears in bed. (more…)

Do You Mind If I Tell People We Met at the, Uh, Gym?

Why is there still a stigma about online dating? We do EVERYTHING else online. We’re constantly technologically connected, and we crave instant gratification. Sure, that means you’re choosing between infinitely more people than you could otherwise meet day-to-day, but the convenience of being able to peruse countless (well, practically countless) potential dates from your couch, your bed, your toilet, the metro, or wherever is unparalleled. Why shouldn’t dating — or at least the preliminary stages of dating — be as easy as online shopping? (more…)

Man Up, Guys.

One of the radio shows that keeps me company on the way to work in the morning has a segment where they set up hoaxes for listeners who are concerned about the faithfulness of their significant others. The hoaxes usually entail calling the person’s significant other on the phone and posing as someone who works in a flower shop, under the ruse that the shop buys magazine subscription lists and the significant other has won this month’s random draw for sending a bouquet of a dozen roses (and sometimes a romantic massage for two) to someone special. (more…)

Why My Mom Thinks I’m a Nymphomaniac

Yesterday when I came home from work, my mom confronted me. She told me that she read my previous post this week — the first post I have publicly shared on Facebook — not to be nosy, but to inspect my grammar. She then noticed a few of my racier titles and wound up reading more personal, intimate articles, like the first time I had intercourse. I was flattered when she whimsically compared me to the legendary Samantha Jones, though I express my sexuality far too lazily to be anywhere near Samantha’s reputation.

What my mom saw inspired both a disturbed horror and curiosity, especially for someone of her generation. (more…)

Simplifying Your Nine-to-Five: Meet the Work Uniform, Ladies.

My friends know that my ideal daily uniform would be absolutely nothing, followed by nothing but my favorite sweatpants, followed by nothing but my favorite sweatpants and my favorite flip flops. But alas, I’m not rich enough (read: at all) to be able to afford to not work, so the next best thing is making my daily outfits as comfortable as possible. It’s not that I don’t care about how I look these days, because I do, but I care much, much less than when I was younger. Why? … because have learned to value myself as both a person and a woman even when I’m not my most conventionally attractive, despite my years of relentless social programming. Go figure that I’m the only one not self-fat-shaming at the office happy hour. SHOCKER.

In my office, the women dress quite differently from one another, based on their roles. Everyone wears makeup, but the non-attorney staff wear pants, sweaters, and general business-casual comfort-wear. The attorneys, however, wear dresses, pencil skirts, and high heels every single day — the stale, trite essence of professional hyperfemininity branded many decades ago.  (more…)

Maybe Baby? Maybe Not.

When I was twenty, I met a woman who remarked that she wanted to have a baby someday because that child would love her unconditionally. “HAH!!” I rudely retorted. “Relationships require constant maintenance. In the end, it is your child’s choice of what kind of relationship to have with you, if any. If you want unconditional love, get a dog.”

Since girlhood, I have always assumed I would have my own children someday because I love kids, and that’s what grown-ups do — reproduce. Recently, however, I have begun to question that assumption for the first time. Why make babies?  (more…)

Naked and Afraid, or Naked and Battered? (aka Wait, You Can Share A Bed Without Having Sex?)

My boyfriend and I are in a brand new relationship, yet we already radiate that “old couple” smell. People who see us together for the first time assume we’ve been together for years. Perhaps that’s in part because we have both prioritized spending time together early on to create and nurture a solid foundation of friendship that will last through the duration of our togetherness. (more…)