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Still happening: ‘Catfish’ & Nev.

Nev & Max, hotness duo, are baaaaack.

Nev & Max, hotness duo, are baaaaack.

Last week, MTV premiered season 5 of “Catfish” – the show we all know, and have subsequently turned into a verb. If you live under a rock, I’m not sure why you’d be seeking my blog for news and advice, but a Catfish is someone who lies about their identity and often fakes multiple relationships online.

An episode of Catfish details how Nev Schulman goes into detective-mode and sniffs out bullshit from states away, so by now, you’d think people would do the same (it’s a lot of Google image searching) if they’re in a “fishy” online relationship.

But, here’s the thing: the show is so good and mysterious, and Nev is super fine, and well, so is Max, so as long as people keep Catfishing each other, I am going to watch that shit.

If you’ve been watching “Catfish” each season, you might remember one season when Nev was pret-ty open about his girlfriend. I don’t think she’s in the picture anymore, as he mentioned he was single in an article last year, where he also said he still is not online dating. Smart man.

And just in case you weren’t sure, the term “Catfishing” comes straight from the movie “Catfish”, where it is revealed that cod was originally shipped in tanks from Alaska to China, and because the fish were bored the entire way, they ended up as tasteless. It was later discovered that if Catfish were placed into these tanks with the cod, they would keep the cod “on their toes” during the trip. In life, we are challenged by catfish, they keep us guessing, and in the end, they make us better people.

So, the show is on Wednesday nights on MTV, and while I kind of feel like nothing can shock us now, there’s a new show staring Nev that comes on right after, called “Suspect”.

I’ve watched it (how could I not) and essentially it’s similar to “Catfish” in that Nev is uncovering truths and lies, but the secrets usually aren’t revolving relationships. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s deep, dark secrets that they’re uncovering.

It’s pretty interesting.

On “Suspect”, Nev is joined by artist and activist iO (not Max, but still cool). I didn’t know much about iO, so I did some Googling, and found out she photographed 2,000 people who identified themselves as not 100% straight, called Self Evident Truths. She’s also done a TED Talk on this project, and I find this incredibly fascinating – no, seriously, if you’re at all interested in human rights, you should check it out.

So, who’s going to break down and watch “Catfish” and “Suspect” with me? Any takers? Well, you know where I’ll be each Wednesday night!

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Online Dating: ‘Love at First Swipe’.

My new favorite show!

My new favorite show!

I recently became obsessed with watching “Love at First Swipe” on TLC. The show stars Style Expert Clinton Kelly, along with Online Dating Guru Devyn Simone.

The point of the show is to help women (I haven’t seen any male contestants yet) present their best self on their online dating profiles. At the start of the episode, the viewer is presented with the woman’s current online dating profile.

Naturally, it’s a disaster. It usually has racy or very old photos, some sort of weird screen name, and other, general information that makes the woman appear un-dateable.

One recent episode featured a woman getting her Master’s in math. She only wanted men who were also math geniuses to message her online, and she made that very clear on her profile.

The next part of the show involves the contestant meeting Clinton and Devyn, and the expert pair works to get to the root of the problem: why is this woman presenting herself in a way that attracts the wrong types (if any at all) of men?

Then, Clinton works with her to get a new, flattering look, as well as new photos for her profile, while Devyn works with her to figure out what type of man she is looking for, and what she can put on her profile to represent her best qualities and attract the right man.

In the end, the contestant’s new profile is presented to 100 men, and of the (usually 70 percent or higher) men that say they’d like to date her, she gets to pick one to go out with.

I know I like this show because I’ve tried my hand at online dating, and it’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve always looked at it as a passive way of putting yourself out there, but we’re all so “connected” these days, I’m starting to realize it’s not passive at all.

As of now, I’ve tried Match, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Glimpse. While I’ve gotten hundreds of messages between all of these apps, I’ve only gone on actual dates with three men from them.

Just like the women on “Love at First Swipe”, I too, have wondered why certain men message me and others don’t,  or why the men I meet online don’t end up as successful relationships.

While my profile is nowhere near as extreme as the ones I’ve seen on the show, I’ve started to realize that some of the information I’m putting online probably isn’t representing my best self. One of my main profile pictures is of me, drinking a mug of coffee. The mug also has my blog address, The Bitter Lemon, which is usually my username as well.

I think this kicks me in the ass in two ways: 1. It automatically says I’m bitter, or bitchy, and 2. It leads men to this blog, which has a lot of personal information about me right off the bat; and a majority of that information is about my dating failures.

Not attractive.

I’m not saying it’s information I’m going to keep secret, but I probably shouldn’t lead with that. I’m also working on letting go of my past heartbreaks. Sure, it still affects me in some ways, but it doesn’t define me, and it’s not something a date needs to know.

Right now, I’m not participating in online dating, but after seeing this show and considering some ways I could improve my presence to potential suitors, I’m considering it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be seeing you online soon.

Removing the Mask.

I actually LOVE this idea!

I actually LOVE this idea!

I’m finally going to admit it: I hate Halloween.

As a kid, I loved it (duh, free candy), and in college, it was the perfect excuse to wear fishnets and do keg stands.

But, I’m older now, and truthfully, a lot of things that didn’t scare me before, terrify me now.

I’m particularly terrified of masks. Any type of mask. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a mask, if it’s covering someone’s face, I’m out of there so fast.

According to my mom, I’ve been scared of masks my whole life.

Honestly, who wouldn’t be? If you can’t see someone’s face, it’s difficult to tell who they are. What’s more frightening than the unknown?

In high school, a guy I dated invited me to come over. When I arrived, he was wearing the infamous white mask from “Scream”. He didn’t chase me or tackle me; he just sat there staring at me.

It was creepy as hell, and after many shrieks for him to remove the mask, he did, and everything was okay again.

But when you consider dating, there’s all sorts of things people can do to trick us into thinking they’re someone they really aren’t — and not just in October.

The last guy I was in a serious relationship with put on a very sweet façade at first. In this world, he was a good father, a hard worker, and a loyal boyfriend. But, four months into our relationship, the person behind the mask started to reveal himself.

Truthfully, he was a deadbeat, he was fired for stealing money from his job, he was arrested for drunk driving, and he was infatuated with his side chick.

It was one of the meanest tricks anyone has ever played on me.

While it’s been two years since that went down (like a razorblade in an apple), I’ve certainly come a long way, but I find myself very cautious as I attempt to step back into dating. Will it be a mean trick or a sweet treat?

Technology makes it easier for people to trick us into believing one persona, when there could be worlds of secrets behind the mask (also known as the Instagram filter).

When I use dating apps, I constantly wonder if that’s the real person I’m talking to, or if Nev and Max are going to arrive at my door and tell me I’ve been Catfished.

Even when messaging with guys, I sometimes question the meaning behind the text, or if they’re even as single as they’re telling me they are.

I recently started a new job, and everyone told me they never celebrate Halloween at the office because no one was into it.

Sweeter words have never been spoken. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to see masks at my office at the end of the month.

But, of course, enough people spoke up that they wanted to wear costumes, and so, a costume contest has been added to our task list. And, what’s a costume contest without a Halloween-themed potluck?

But, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a team player, and I often try to keep my mask fear to myself.

So, I need a costume. I’m toying with the idea of going as Amy Winehouse, because I can rock some ballet flats and a Bump-It without judgment.

Halloween is all about living as someone you want to be, right? Then, I should totally go as Kate Middleton, because she’s got killer style and a hot, kind husband. Or, maybe I should go as Ronda Rousey – powerful, rich, and knows how to kick ass.

Who knows what kind of costume I’ll end up putting together. But I know this: it’s time to start putting a few of these fears behind me. Sure, I don’t want to get tricked by a man in a mask, but if I’m going to find my knight in shining armor, I’m going to have to get out of the dark.

Dating Outside Your Type.

Dating outside your type could bring someone good!

Dating outside your type could bring someone good!

When I was 16, I had my palm read. The psychic told me I would end up with a guy who was tall and blonde, and he may even have the initials “J” and “S” (in any order).

In the last 14 years of dating, a majority of the guys I’ve fallen for have been short and dark-haired — the opposite of what I was told. Is that just my “type”?

Honestly, I’ve flattered myself a lot thinking that I’m the woman who dates all different types of men. I have a soft spot for your standard emo-punk guy, I love a jock, and I will lust after any man that looks half-decent in a suit.

When I worked retail, it was fantastic to get a cute guy in the store. I recall drooling over many men who would try on plaid shirts and ask for my opinion.

Removing buttons of said plaid shirts with my teeth would be the next step in my retail fantasy, but I’ll stay on topic.

One of my coworkers merely said, “oh, he’s cute, but he’s not my type,” when one of the plaid suitors left the store.

Huh? If he’s cute, why not date outside your type? How does a person even really know their type?
Well, I started with Google and I took the Dating Persona Test from OK Cupid, of course!

After answering about 50 questions, including “Does living on a sailboat sound like a good idea?” (Yes) and “Have you done a lot of kinky sh*t?” (depends on your definition of “kinky”), I had my answer.

It says I’m a Deliberate Gentle Love Master, or “The Maid of Honor.”

It really didn’t say much about the type of guy I should be looking to date. My male counter-type, “The Gentleman,” is said to be steady, mature, marriage material, yet also a “male slut.”

Well, this is just a bowl of cherries (insert Demi Lovato bisexual reference here).

My real beef with dating within your type is, how do you know if that type is even the right type for you? What if you’re ignoring an entire world of men or women simply because they’re not your type?
According to an article on Oxygen.com, dating within your type is extremely limiting, as you could be passing up a person who’s a perfect match.

Not to mention that whole opposites attract thing, and the idea that differences within a relationship can lead to really great things.

Of course, there are boundaries here. If the men of my past were my type, then my type is a cheating liar, who’s got a knack for manipulation.

So, right off the bat, let’s put all of those traits in the “do not date if…” category.

If you’re only dating people based on superficial traits, that’s when you run into problems.

Okay, so maybe the guy or girl isn’t completely ripped or a billionaire. But what if they’re kind, fun, and great in bed?

There could be an entire awesome relationship waiting for you just because you’ve overlooked hair color or job title!

The most important part about dating outside your usual type, is that you could gain a completely new perspective.

With any new relationship, there’s always a chance you could get hurt. But learning something is always a good thing.

At the very least, you’ve met someone new, and you may learn a few things about yourself and your “type.”

A Dating App for Women.

 

Will Coffee Meets Bagel help me find the one?

Will Coffee Meets Bagel help me find the one?

A month ago, I downloaded a new dating app called “Coffee Meets Bagel.”

I’ll admit I downloaded it on a rather lonely night, as I was watching “Nightline”.

The app’s founders were on the show, after they’d turned down $30 million from an episode of “Shark Tank” — the largest bid in “Shark Tank” history.

The founders, three sisters, claimed their app was the “anti-Tinder,” as it is geared toward women users.

In order to cater to women, the app uses information from your Facebook profile and presents potential matches (called “Bagels”) based on mutual friends, as well as shared hobbies and interests, instead of being focused on physical aspects.

“Meh, why not?” I thought.

I’ve tried Tinder (gave it a whopping five minutes before getting creeped out), and Glimpse (a dating app that feeds through Instagram).

And I’ve also tried Match.com (for which I’m somehow still getting “wink” alerts two years later), and Ok Cupid.

I’ve met up with guys from Match.com and Ok Cupid, but haven’t had much luck from the apps.

With Coffee Meets Bagel, you’re presented one Bagel a day at noon. You get to see four pictures of their choosing, and a small snippet of their profile — likes, dislikes, where they work, and what they look for in a date.

You can either “Like” or “Pass” on the Bagel. If you both like each other, then it’s a “Connection,” and a chat feature becomes available (very much like Tinder).

Over the summer, the sisters presented a TEDx Talks, revealing data about online dating.

They found many stereotypes we know in dating are true: men date younger women, and women like men who make more money.

But what they also found was that the people who ended up in relationships had profiles that were longer in content.

These same people also shared messages in the chat feature that were twice as long in length.

In other words, they put themselves out there. The app founders looked into the other half of the equation: why were the singletons being so quiet?

Because they were afraid.

Putting in effort could mean a hurtful rejection.

Whoa. I am definitely feeling that.

The cool thing about Coffee Meets Bagel is that once a week, you get a report that gives you a little tip to get more profile likes.

I’ll admit I’ve got the, “Your Bagels are requesting more information” tip at least twice.

Guess this writer better get to writing!

The only thing that’s impossible to control on dating apps or websites, is that you’re only going to meet someone else who’s on the app.

What if my dream guy doesn’t watch “Nightline” or “Shark Tank”, and doesn’t even know about Coffee Meets Bagel?

This is when us control freaks have to put all the cards in fate, and somehow just “know” that whoever is meant to be with us will make his/her way to us.

Sounds a little crazy, amiright?

But, it all boils down to one thing: we all just want to be accepted and loved.

Since joining Coffee Meets Bagel, I’ve made several “Connections,” but I have only messaged with a few guys, and haven’t met up with any.

I will admit, it’s nerve-wracking to meet someone new in-person.

But, I’m still willing to go for it. So, I suppose it’s time to update the ole profile. I wonder how the whole “relationship columnist” thing will go over with the Bagels?

Love on LinkedIn?

I'll take him on LinkedIn any day.

I’ll take him on LinkedIn any day.

Years ago, I joined LinkedIn. Back then, it was a new service and all of the cool kinds were joining.

If you’re not sure, LinkedIn (according to its website) is a place for professionals to connect and be successful. Basically, it’s the social network for nerds.

Honestly, I didn’t see much use for it as I already had a job and there really wasn’t much else you could do on it.

But I wasn’t bothered by the professional social network until my most recent ex kept trying to “link” with me, even after I declined his offers several times.

I didn’t understand why he wanted to connect via LinkedIn; I’d already blocked him from Facebook and there’s basically no “creeping” you can do on LinkedIn — unless you’re really into professional headshots.

After he kept sending me invitations to connect, I decided I didn’t need LinkedIn that bad. After all, those spam emails were really annoying and seeing his name repeatedly was more stress than the network was worth.

So I deleted my account (which still doesn’t completely rid your chances of getting spam email).

About six months ago, I decided to resurrect my account, as I figured it would help my job search. A fellow professional in the industry told me I had to have a profile on LinkedIn.

Desperate times really do call for desperate measures.

Within weeks, my very same ex tried to connect again. And again, I deleted his invitation.

Bye, Felicia.

But I saw something even more disturbing in my LinkedIn inbox: a message from a former hookup.

“I don’t want to be rude but is there a reason you’re adding me? You’re not very friendly to me when I see you around town.”

Is this really happening over LinkedIn?

This was a guy who I strictly hooked up with in college. Weeks before, I used LinkedIn’s invitation feature, which allows users to connect with all of their Facebook friends who are also on LinkedIn.

He got my invite by default.

For starters, I didn’t realize getting added to someone’s LinkedIn profile was so exclusive.

Secondly, there’s the part about seeing each other around town. I’ve seen him one time, and he was with his wife, at Zapp’s Beer Fest. I was already drunk, and I did say hello, with what I thought was a smile.

What’s a girl to do? Did he want a red carpet welcome complete with America’s Best Dance Crew?

An article from Inc5000 last year suggested that LinkedIn was a great place to meet potential dates due to its large database, along with its available information including where the person went to school and their current occupation.

Like many dating websites, LinkedIn also shows users who viewed their profiles (and even what day).

Dating, or even flirting or contacting exes, on LinkedIn just seems completely wrong. It’s mixing business with pleasure, and Monica Lewinsky has taught us all many lessons about how that scenario ends (ahem, with a dry cleaning bill).

Further investigation led to my discovery of LinkedUp, which is a Tinder-ish app that taps into users’ LinkedIn accounts.

I digress.

So far, LinkedIn has tremendously helped my job hunt, so I’ll give it that. But as for dating, I think I’ll keep my apps separate.

Blind dates: a thing or not?

Nice blindfold.

Nice blindfold.

Between cell phones, Google, and social media, I’m left to wonder: do people still go on blind dates? Even if you don’t know much about the person, aside from their name, there’s always that temptation to search them online, and casually stalk their posts or pictures, and analyze bits of information that probably create an untrue picture… right?

But before we dive too deep into things, remember the TV show, “Blind Date” with Rodger Lodge (who could forget it, really)? It aired for seven years in the early 00’s, and was based around a pair of strangers that, you guessed it, went on a blind date. It was always painfully obvious the couple was completely WRONG, but that was the beauty of the show!

Anyway, back to blind dates. I’ve been on one blind date, like a traditional blind date, where all I knew was his first name before we met up. The person who set us up purposefully didn’t tell each of us much about each other, and it was a pretty refreshing change of pace. It was nice to go into a date without any preconceived ideas — whether they be good or bad.

While I don’t think the traditional blind date is completely dead, it’s more likely that people are going on similar dates with people they met online. Sure, you’ve seen some pictures of the person (but was it really them in the picture), and maybe you’ve messaged a few times, but you still don’t really know them, or how things are going to go.

I’ve been on 4-5 dates with people I’ve met from Match or Ok Cupid… and the thing I dislike the most about these dates is the initial meeting. I get really terrible anxiety over arriving at the meeting spot, and then wondering which person is coming to meet me. Even though I may have seen a few pictures of the person online, you can never really spot someone out of a crowd from just a few pictures — that may or may not be accurate.

Other than that, I think blind dates — whether traditional or updated — are good. No matter what technology we’re presented with, I don’t think people will ever stop setting people up, or seeking their perfect match. But I’d love to hear from you: have you been on a traditional blind date? What was it like? How did you get setup?

What is Tinder Really Doing for Dating?

Will you Swipe Left or Swipe Right?

Will you Swipe Left or Swipe Right?

We’ve all heard of Tinder, the social app that shot to fame as an easy way for tech-savvy single people to meet others in their area. It’s as simple as any dating app can get: you link your Facebook profile and the app populates your photos with your profile pictures from Facebook (decreasing odds of getting catfished). Once your profile is set up, you’re then presented with other Tinder users in your area. You can set the app up to show you members of either sex, and limit the results based on proximity too.

Users can then use the feature that Tinder has become known for: “Swipe Left” for “No” and to move on to the next user, and “Swipe Right” for “Yes”, indicating your interest in the other user, and then move on to the next. If you and another user both “Swipe Right” for each other, you’re a “Match” and can then start messaging each other, presumably to start getting to know each other and setting up dates. In essence, Tinder is speed-dating on a mobile platform, and many agree that it’s made dating easier. But what exactly is the app doing for relationships?

First off, Tinder relies on our growing reliance on social media to actually get anything done. It’s just another one of the hundreds of thousands of apps that rely on Facebook to work. Over the years, Facebook has become tied into everything from online shopping, to trying to find employment, with LinkdIn using Facebook to populate contacts as well. Blog posts from the company that launched mobile social gaming website Pocket Fruity also say that even the online gambling market is trying to move forward with integrating their games with Facebook. This increased reliance on social media has, unfortunately, been proven to be detrimental to healthy relationships. Studies have shown that connectivity via social media might be too much connectivity, and they have not just been shown to accelerate affairs, but elicit jealousy and insecurity as well.

30% of Tinder users are married.

30% of Tinder users are married.

Of course, most of the people who use Tinder are actually interested in hooking up with someone, right? After all, you wouldn’t be on the dating app if you were already in a relationship, right? Well, sadly, that’s not the case. Studies published by the Global Web Index show that 30% of all Tinder users are already married, and 12% are already in a relationship. And because the app shows you potential matches based on proximity, it wouldn’t be surprising to find people you already know on the app, and maybe even be presented with relatives and friends as potential matches.

And when you do find someone you aren’t related to or don’t already know and looks attractive enough, you’re presented with a choice to “Swipe Left” and never hear from them again, or “Swipe Right” and get chatting. And what do you have to go on? Not much, other than a few handpicked photos, and a short description authored by the user as well.

Does Tinder make us shallow? Willard Foxton thinks that there’s a chance it might. Having tried out the app, he found himself being largely ignored before a female friend told him, “You’ve used your Facebook profile picture, haven’t you? The one with you looking fat and quizzical? Also, in your bio, you say you’re looking for a relationship. Chubby and looking for a relationship? That’s a bad Tinder combination”. Once he’d switched to a more flattering photo and changed his bio to a witty one-liner, the matches came pouring through.

But the only date he managed to arrange was with a lady who met people on Tinder for fun, without really looking for anything special. Caroline Kent echoes the sentiment, saying that she found herself swiping through photos and discounting potential matches based on “weird fringes” and on being the shortest person in a group shot. And when she did manage to meet up with a stranger that a shared acquaintance assured was “a safe bloke,” it was for nothing more than sex, and neither she nor the guy made any effort to hide it.

Caroline also presents one of the most compelling observations about Tinder: “Tinder isn’t a dating app, it’s the Yellow Pages for ego-boosting one-night-stands.” Many of the people who go on Tinder aren’t there to actually meet someone who can change their life and begin a relationship with. Rather, they’re there to boost their own egos, and see how many people think they’re attractive enough for a Swipe Right. If that’s what you’re looking for, and you’re really just DTF, then you might have a good time on the app for a few days, but if you’re after an actual relationship and want to date someone seriously, you’re better off staying off of the app.

Still at it: online dating.

Are the times changing, even with online dating?

Are the times changing, even with online dating?

I’m SURE you heard all the hooplah in the last few weeks: Hilary Duff joined Tinder.

I suppose the real craziness over The Duff joining Tinder — I swear I heard this news at least a dozen times — is that she is actually taking it seriously, and is actively going on dates.

I have incredibly mixed feelings about this, and I know I’m probably just going to come across as a crazy person, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. For starters, it makes me really sad to wrap my head around the fact that a gorgeous, talented, celebrity such as Hilary Duff is having to stoop to Tinder to meet people/get laid/get a date, etc.

On the other hand, I’m sure she’s just doing it to have fun and I kind of hate it when we all freak out over celebrities doing “normal” things like sitting at home swiping away right before a new episode of Intervention.

Anyway, I only bring this up because I realize I’ve been talking a lot about online dating lately. And because of that, I’ve been hearing a lot from YOU guys about your experiences in the online dating world — I love hearing your stories!

But what your stories have shown me is that even a world that was once thought of as so modern and unconventional, like online dating, even has it’s changes, but it also is rooted in our antiquated ways, as humans.

Think about it. We’ve heard it before — all of this technology isn’t making us any better at communication, and we could assume this theory is equally true for the dating world. If a person can’t communicate via voice, they probably can’t communicate by email, text, or social media.

When it comes to “typical” dating, we have a lot of questions: when is it okay to call the person? How often should I text? When should the relationship progress physically? Blah, blah, blah…

The thing is, there are just as many (if not more) questions in the online dating world. Just because we’ve figured out the technology, doesn’t mean we’ve figured out the actual dating part.

Since my date about a month ago with a guy from Ok Cupid, I’ve checked my messages a whopping ONE time. I stopped logging into Glimpse altogether.

While I’m not giving up on it, it’s safe to say I’m taking a small break, partly because other areas of my life have taken over, and partly due to the fact that when you think about it, there’s just too many questions.

About that spark…

'Cause baby you're a firework...

‘Cause baby you’re a firework…

I’ve been on OK Cupid for almost a year. It’s not my favorite way to meet a potential boyfriend, but I just look at it as having another stick in the fire.

A few weeks ago, I met up with guy no. four from Ok Cupid. We messaged for a few weeks before meeting face-to-face, but the messages were short. He said he really liked to just get to it and meet the person before getting into any serious conversations via online messaging.

I really appreciated that — no sense in wasting time.

So, we met at Nino’s, where he had a reservation.

He was definitely the same person in his picture (always a plus), and we had a really nice dinner. Over wine, salad, and seafood, we talked for hours.

On paper, it was a pretty perfect date. He was polite, the food was great, the atmosphere was a little romantic, we had plenty to talk about, and we laughed a lot.

But I didn’t get that feeling. I wasn’t sitting there wishing he’d kiss me at the end of the night.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and I’ve noticed it’s a pattern when it comes to the men I meet online.

When you message someone online, it’s impossible to tell if there’s going to be a physical spark once you actually meet in person.

The thing is, I was really disappointed when I didn’t feel that spark! As we were eating, I was thinking to myself, “Holly, this is the type of guy you should be dating.”

He’s smart, in shape, has a good job, goals, and he seemed to have good, genuine intentions.

I think some of my friends mistook the lack of spark for superficiality, which isn’t true. But while physical attraction isn’t everything in a relationship, it is a part of it.

And, I’m well-aware that I’ve dated men who are in no way conventionally hot, but I’ve found them to be very hot and the sparks flew.

I’m not superficial, but if you think sexual chemistry, or that physical connection isn’t vital to a relationship, you’re denying our nature as humans. We were created to have sex. Period.

At the end of the day, I want to be dating someone that I just cannot wait to make out with. Is that horrible? Yes, I’m hoping to connect with someone intellectually, but it has to be there, physically.

“Don’t you hate it when that happens?” My gym buddy could relate to me.

Yes, I hate it so much I almost feel guilty for feeling this way.

Truthfully, I’ve yet to feel a spark with anyone I’ve met online. There are times when I wonder if something is wrong with me. But instead of dwelling on it, I always tell myself that perhaps the person just deserves another chance.

A spark can grow over time, right?

I usually go on a second date with the person (if they ask, of course) to see if there’s something there or not.

After the dinner at Nino’s, we hugged goodbye, and when he got home, he sent me a text saying he had a good time.

I never heard from him after that, and I wonder if he felt the same way I did. It was a great date by the looks of it, but maybe missing that vital part of what makes a relationship exciting.

And it’s okay if he didn’t feel it, either. Because everyone deserves that feeling; that spark of something new and promising.

Back to it: Online dating.

Online and offline dating.

Online and offline dating.

I recently logged into my OK Cupid account after not touching it for two months, because 1. I was seeing someone that I thought would turn into something, and 2. The email account which I signed up with was definitely one I don’t have access to anymore since “the incident.” Oops!

I joined Ok Cupid several months ago, though it wasn’t my first stint with online dating — I gave Match.com a try when my ex and I broke up. I figured it was another way to put myself “out there” and if anything, it would be a good way to practice meeting people and going on dates.

But Match.com proved to be one expensive way to get rejected (read it all here), so I decided to give a free service a try. Within 48 hours of creating a profile, I had more than 50 messages. Way more than I’d ever gotten through Match.

Of course, most of them (the messages) are… interesting. As a writer, and an editor, I TRY not to be judgmental when it comes to the actual writing, spelling, or grammar (“Hey, you’re cute and you like too fish!!”) of the message. I know not everyone is decent at it (but there is a spellcheck within the app).

However, one thing that’s startling about online dating is how rude people are. I suppose, just like with anything else, people feel okay sitting behind their computer/phone screens and being mean to people they’ve never met.

But I’ve noticed guys get really, really pissed when you don’t respond to messages immediately. Here’s a few I’ve gotten:

  • I like that your main profile picture has the address of your your blog about what jackasses the guys you meet are 
  • Well I guess you are too good to speak to me. My apologies for bothering you. Have a nice life.
  • Haha it was whore I Catfished u I’m married bye loser hahah 🙂
  • How’s the luck here? Is the line long to get to know you or are you here just for chatting fun?

The funny thing about Ok Cupid is that you can see when someone logs in, what time they read your message (if they read it), and when they’re on- or offline. So, hey dudes, when I haven’t logged in for a day, or haven’t even read your message yet (!), how about picking up a hobby or two instead of staring at the computer screen waiting for chicks to reply?

Just a thought.

Nevertheless, I’m back online! In general, I’ve met up with maybe three guys from my adventures in online dating, and while none of them panned out to be relationships, they were all good experiences that I’ve learned from. Nothing wrong with that!

The Column: One New E-Male.

I've got male... seriously.

I’ve got male… seriously.

Thanks to spam email, my inbox always has at least 50 unread messages. I usually use my elevator rides to delete them in what seems like a never-ending game.

Goal for 2015: unsubscribe to Target, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Restoration Hardware, and Barnes & Noble email lists.

I was about to delete one, when I realized I’d never seen the sender before, and the subject line was “Cheers.”

I opened it:

Holly,

Hi, my name is Justin, I work with Travis… he turned me onto your site and mentioned, more than once, what a cool girl you are. I have not lived here for very long, less than one year and only recently have I stopped traveling back and forth from Texas every week, so in many respects it seems like I just got here.

I want your love (story).

It wasn’t long ago that I obsessed over Lauren Conrad’s wedding, and purchased all of the magazines that mentioned it so I could get all the pretty details. One of those magazines was Martha Stewart Weddings — my first time purchasing a wedding magazine — and I found that it was filled with non-traditional stories of love.

And I absolutely loved it.

So, why not continue with the theme and feature YOUR love stories here? After all, ’tis the season of joy.

Got a story you want to share with me & my readers? Write it and send it my way by emailing it to: Wittywriter7@gmail.com

Here’s a few story ideas to get you started:

  • How you met
  • The proposal
  • Your first date
  • The moment you fell in love
  • Planning the wedding
  • Meeting the parents

Or, maybe your love story didn’t end so great. You know me, I’m down for the breakup/divorce/scandalous stories, as well!

Worried you’re not a good writer? You probably are, so stop worrying and get to typing. Seriously, I will help proofread and correct any mistakes. Or, if you really don’t trust yourself, shoot me an email and I’ll send you some questions to answer so I can craft it myself.

I will feature one story per week on the blog, starting… as soon as I get my first submission!

Cheers to love, and to you telling me all about it.

Oh, there goes my self-esteem.

Lily Ghalichi looking perfect.

Lily Ghalichi looking perfect.

I know that everyone has their “thing” — the thing that makes you insecure in the blink of an eye. Chances are, it’s illogical, it’s all mental, whatever it is. But it’s there, and mine has been bugging me for years.

My thing? It’s those perfect girls. The ones that seem like they just have everything, or everything that’s good in this world. They’ve got money, looks, friends, family, a great job (or better yet, no job and a trust fund)…

In the past, I’ve dated guys whom I thought were attractive, and it made me feel confident and sexy to have a good-looking man by my side. But the second we stepped into a bar with a cute little waitress, or a fancy restaurant with a class-act hostess, my confidence deflated. Would he think she’s prettier than me?

In general, I think I’m an attractive person. Not necessarily because of the way I look, but I do think I have a lot to offer someone, as a friend, and as a partner.

But it doesn’t matter how great I feel walking out the door in the morning, if I cross paths with one of these perfect chicks, I all of the sudden feel defeated. Why does this happen?

A few years ago, my girlfriend and I went out on a Saturday night. I felt great, I was working some new, black hot pants and a cute top. And then, she ran into a group of girls she knew. They gave us both the once-over, and continued on their way after a short conversation, mentioning they were out looking for guys.

They were done-up, although in jeans, their hair looked professionally done, makeup full-blown, finished with crisp, white teeth.

“I always feel insecure when I see girls like that,” I told my friend.

“Yeah, but they’re single,” she said.

And she had a point. So why was I so torn up about it? Whenever I get the chance, I poise this question to guy friends, pointing out the most-perfect girl in the room.

“She’s on that level of hot that I just can’t get to,” I’ll say.

“Yeah, but no one’s taking her home to mom,” is usually the response I get.

So why does it still bother me? Actually, you know what bothers me? When these girls look perfect at the gym. It’s like they don’t even sweat.

Most of the time, I attempt to rationalize and talk myself down from my nearly-unstoppable jealousy. Because most of these perfect humans I see aren’t natural — hair extensions, false eyelashes, professional makeup, fillers and surgeries… when I’ve got nice, natural hair, real lashes, real boobs, and if I can get to the gym four times a week, my stomach is pretty flat!

The only thing I can really blame this on is that somehow, at some point, I got this insecurity rooted inside of my brain. And I know, that there’s a guy out there (somewhere) who thinks I’m perfect, and no one else.

And deep down, I know that no one is perfect, and that everyone has something in their life they wish they could change… it’s all just a matter of how you feel on the inside.

Pic of the Week.

Mexican brunch remains.

Mexican brunch remains.

Last week was incredibly rough.

Nothing traumatic happened per se, it was more about the impact of several events all rolled up and combined with my case of the blues.

Even though my blog has “Bitter” in its title, I do try and keep things on the uptick ’round here. But the truth is, things aren’t always so easy. And if there is one thing I’ve always promised my readers, clients, friends, and editors in my 13 years as a writer, it’s that I will always be honest. Even if that honesty is ugly; so, let’s do this.

For starters, it was my first full week of work in awhile — there was Labor Day, and then my beach trip, which gave me two awesome short weeks at the office, right in a row.

I mentioned a few weeks ago, that I recently got into some trouble at work (someone screen-capped my personal Twitter feed), and I was told that I was not a good representation of our office (um, duh), and that I should be ashamed to even show my face at work.

And while I don’t believe I did anything wrong, I’ve tried my best to follow orders and basically hide in my office for the last few weeks. I put up curtains, got a candle warmer, hung photos on the wall, and strings of lights around shelves. I even put in a microwave so I wouldn’t have to visit the break room.

So, when I get to work, I go straight to my 3rd floor, corner office, and I work all day, not stopping for lunch.

But I can’t hide all the time. Part of my job requires going to meetings. And I am supposed to go to said meetings with a positive attitude (I was told this).

While I’ve had my job for more than six years, I can say with confidence that I’ve always felt like an outcast. I dress different, I talk different, my ideas and attitudes are different. Unfortunately, that doesn’t sit well with my superiors.

But I can’t be fired just because I’m not well-liked. What in means though, is that going to work is more difficult than it should be — I feel alone at work.

And although I’d love it if my hobbies — my blog, my blog class, my books — made the money that could cover all of my expenses and I didn’t have to have a traditional office job, that’s not the case (today, at least).

Post-brunch beer.

Post-brunch beer.

Of course, that’s the beauty of having this blog as a place to go to when I need it the most. When I can share my story with someone out there (even if it’s just one person that I don’t even know, I appreciate you).

The fact that anyone even reads this brings a smile to my face, even when there’s no one around to see it.

But lately, I’m starting to really feel that loneliness like never before.

A few months ago, a writer friend approached me about doing an authors event — I would read an excerpt of my book to a small reading group, and then sell and sign copies of it.

It has always been my DREAM to do that! My stomach was churning with adrenaline and I gave a little squeal of happiness behind my closed office door.

But then I pictured it: me, packing my car with all of my shit. Going to the reading group with said shit. Unpacking it. Smiling as I read stories about my broken heart. Smiling and laughing as I sign and sell shit. Packing it up, driving home, opening my door to see no one, and (let’s drive this one home) eating dinner, alone.

It’s my worst nightmare. What’s success with no one to share it with? And yes, I know, I don’t need a man to be happy. Being single is so fun.

Heard it all before.

But there are times, I wish to have someone by my side. Someone to share it all with.

Last week, my 4th book was published. While I felt this huge weight lifted from my shoulders, and I felt proud of the work I’ve put into the universe… my phone was silent. No messages of congratulations from my friends or family, or my crush (said crush has since been eliminated).

And boy was I bummed. I know, it sounds selfish, and it makes it seem like I just do it for the lip service. I really don’t. And some of you readers sent me congratulatory messages, and I loved them! I hope I’m not asking for a pity party here; I swear I’m not trying to.

Instead of running home and popping a bottle of celebratory bubbles, I did my usual workout, and I watched the 2-hour premier of The Voice (#TeamPharrell) with my cat.

And that’s when it all started to sink in. I really am a team of one. I haven’t spoken to my dad in two months. Aside from my mom, I actually haven’t spoken to anyone in my family for years.

No matter who’s at fault, I do know that we are only on this earth for a short time. And I’ve always kind of had this fear of dying young; which is probably why I feel this incredible sense of urgency to get stories and words out there NOW.

I want to pick my battles and let go of grudges. I want to smile more. And I really would like to find a person to share my life with; the tears and the laughs. If he’s out there, I’m waiting. And I’m really working hard to be the best version of me while I wait.

All of this is what swirls around inside my brain most of the time; and then the universe does its thing and delivers me a reminder that I’m not all alone. I’ve got some really awesome friends around me.

One of them had a birthday over the weekend, and we celebrated over Sunday brunch (okay, and margaritas on Friday, and champagne the Thursday prior). which is possibly one of my favorite things. Although the celebration wasn’t for me, it was a moment that I needed.

And while friends aren’t the same as being in love, it’s exactly what I need. I may never find happiness in my job, my coworkers will probably always give me side-eye, maybe my family will win the world record for the silent treatment, and maybe the cute guy at the gym will never ask for my phone number.

But friends. I’m really good at keeping my friends around. Maybe that’s really all I need: friends. And Sunday brunch.