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Celebrating 20 years of ‘Sex and the City’!

Photo credit: HBO – one of my favorite scenes from the series.

This week, fans of “Sex and the City” have been celebrating its 20th anniversary – can you believe it?

HBO’s iconic series debuted in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. We didn’t have HBO at my house growing up, so I didn’t come across the series until I was a junior in high school, when I went on a college visit to Miami of Ohio.

It was 2001, and I saw an episode on DVD – I’m pretty sure I fell asleep before the episode was over. To be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about dating when I was 17, and I certainly knew nothing about sex.

But by the time I went to college, I’d scrounged up all of the available seasons on DVDs and brought them to Louisiana. The episodes made me laugh, and I started to see why so many people loved the show so much – they spoke so honestly about dating, and in college, I really needed that.

My DVDs also came in handy when I applied to get a new roommate during my second semester of freshman year. The only open bed available was with someone who’d scored a room alone – she was probably REALLY disappointed when I showed up with my boxes of crap on a random weeknight.

Until I showed her my SATC collection and told her she was welcome to watch them anytime. We watched loads of episodes together.

It’s difficult to believe now, but SATC changed the dialogue about sex  and dating, and it was one of the first shows (aside from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) that put single, career-driven women at the forefront.

It also carved a larger path for sex columnists, given that SATC’s main character has a weekly column titled, “Sex and the City”. I quickly became a fan of Natalie Krisnky’s writing, who was the sex columnist for Yale’s campus newspaper until 2004.

I also wrote the relationship column for the LSU paper, and while that was not the start of my publishing career, it gave me a place to vent about my dating troubles, and gave me confidence to start this blog, and eventually publish multiple books on the topic of love, sex, and relationships.

Based on the best-selling novel by Candace Bushnell, SATC gave us four women that were relatable, yet far enough out-of-reach that we could drool over their fashion, apartments, and exclusive access to New York City.

In the span of six seasons (from 1998-2004), Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte became our best friends, even if only digitally, we related to their love, loss, fun, and fights.

The best part? The writing is timeless. Over the years, SATC episodes covered first dates, baby showers, breakups, and marriage, and even dipped into more serious issues such as cancer, abortion, miscarriage, infidelity, interracial dating, and sexual identity.

No matter the topic, the tone of the show was always hopeful – that we can get through just about anything with the support of our friends and the relationship we ultimately have with ourself, and that’s a lesson that never comes too late.

As part of a week-long celebration, the E! Network has been playing all of the SATC episodes, and although I have the entire series on DVD (I was gifted an entirely new set after wearing out the first set), it’s fun to just turn on the TV and see all of the episodes I’ve watched countless times – I could probably recite most of them.

For this post, I was trying so hard to think of my all-time favorite episode, but it changes depending on what I’m going through at the time.

Right now, I can definitely relate to “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” (season 6, episode 9) when Carrie attends a baby shower and is asked to remove her Manolos – they get stolen, and she gets “shoe shamed” when she asks for a new pair from the hostess.

I have also always loved “Hot Child in the City” (season 3, episode 15) where all of the women face something from their childhood – whether it’s scooters and sunbathing or getting braces.

Just a few episodes later, in “Cock a Doodle Do”, Samantha goes to WAR with transsexuals on her block – it involves eggs and lots of yelling, but eventually they makeup and throw a rooftop party.

I never really did like any of Carrie’s boyfriends, not Berger or The Russian – I only like Mr. Big. One of my favorite episodes with him is “I Heart N.Y.” (Season 4, episode 18) when he’s getting ready to move to Napa. There’s pizza in an empty apartment, and several references to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and it’s perfect.

SATC also gave us some epic one-liners, including:

  • When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.
  • Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means that you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.
  • They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.
  • I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.
  • Maybe the best any of us can do is not to quit, play the hand we’ve been given, and accessorize the outfit we’ve got.

I will probably spend a large chunk of my weekend watching SATC without regret. But I’d love to know, what were some of your favorite moments of the show? Or, did it change your life in some way? Give you confidence for a career move? Help you meet new friends?

Let me know in the comments! Have a great weekend everyone!

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Is foreplay feminist?

Sexual women shouldn’t be ashamed.

A few years ago, I had a date with this guy I really liked. We cooked dinner at his house, and before I knew it, we were upstairs, in his bed, making out. I quickly told him I wasn’t ready to sleep with him since we weren’t monogamous and hadn’t even been talking that long.

He was okay with that, but I noticed he also never tried anything else but kissing. Never even touched me anywhere below the waist. I chalked it up to him being respectful and that was the end of it.

We had a few “incidents” over the years that put us apart, but, as life would have it, our paths crossed again, and there I was, back in that same damn bed. Only this time, I wanted to sleep with him. He was a nice guy, we had a lot in common, and I kind of didn’t care if it went anywhere afterward or not.

But he proceeded to take things from making out to sex. As in making out to going for it, without ANYTHING else in between. No touching, no feeling, no oral, no whispering in my ear, not even kissing on the neck.

Umm… what? No.

“I’m going to need something else,” I told him.

“What?” he asked.

“You know, touch me…” I said.

“Oh,” he said. “Well, I haven’t done THAT since college.”

And he let out a little chuckle.

No wonder you’re single, I thought.

I can’t speak for every woman, and I won’t, but I’ll say that yes, I need more than just thrusting. I need to be touched, I like oral sex, and you know what? I’m not ashamed of it. I’m a sexual person (imagine that, a woman, being sexual)!

I give and take, and I think sex should be equal work and pleasure for all parties involved. I want to be with a man who wants me to get off.

There, I said it.

This incident OFFENDED me, a lot. Possibly more than I have ever been offended.

In a single second, this guy made me feel embarrassed, ashamed, and ugly. I felt like he didn’t want to touch me or show me a good time. And you know what? I have unfortunately been with some guys who were jerks, but they STILL wouldn’t dare sleep with me and not ensure I had a good time.

This small act let me know who this guy is: a selfish one, who has no interest in pleasing women, and has no interest in trying to the point he insulted me while I was naked, in his bed.

The other thing I found weird, was he said he hadn’t done that since college. That was 10 years ago for us. So, all the women he’s been with between then and now just get the three thrusts and done? Also, why decide “Oh, once I graduate college, I am SO done with oral sex and foreplay”? Newsflash: My basic sexual needs didn’t change when I got a degree.

I clamped my legs shut, and rolled over to go to sleep. In the morning, I was still pissed.

“Good morning!” he said.

I said nothing.

He continued talking to me and I continued ignoring him.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“No, I actually think you’re an asshole,” I said.

“What? Why?” he asked.

“Umm probably because you just go around putting your dick in people without doing anything else and you just take what’s good for you,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “That was selfish of me.”

He went outside, cut a flower, and brought it inside to me.

“That’s nice but it’s not an orgasm,” I said.

I don’t know if it was lack of confidence, lack of caring, pure machoism at its finest, or what, but I cannot.

So, I’d love to know thoughts on this – especially from the guys! I don’t want to get into numbers here, but I’ve been in enough situations to know this isn’t really normal. But when I talked to some of my girlfriends about it, they said yes, they’ve been with lots of guys who don’t care if they (the ladies) enjoy themselves or not.

This is not ok! I don’t care if its feminist or not, I refuse to be with someone who isn’t interested in what I want, and really what I need.

What’s Your Number?

What does your number say about you?

What does your number say about you?

My best friend and I were sipping wine, while letting clay masks harden on our faces, and we got to talking about guys we’ve slept with.

She said someone she knew had slept with 80 guys, and I was shocked at first, but then I started thinking about my own number.

Before I ever had sex, I just assumed I would only sleep with one, maybe two, men in my whole life.

Of course, I was clueless and had a Polly-Anna view of how my love life was going to go down.

My sex life started off innocently enough. I lost my virginity at 20, to my then-best friend, and we were in love.

That was 10 years ago, and I’ve gone to bed with way more than two men since then.

In college, I was really worried about my “number.” I felt like I was racking them up quicker than I should’ve been.

My roommate at the time had just gone through a bad breakup and was going through her “fun” phase that all of us tend to have.

I remember her telling me that my number was no one’s business but mine, but she also had a trick for whittling it down if I felt that guilty about it.

“I don’t even count the guys if there was a condom involved,” she said.

Hey, whatever works (this is a judgment-free zone).

While I won’t reveal my number totally, I’ll say it’s less than 20.

So, if you do the math, it’s been 10 years since I lost my virginity, which makes that approximately two new partners a year – give or take.

Meh, not bad, I guess.

After a quick Google search, I found a calculator on Slate.com that asked for my gender, age, and the number of sexual partners I’ve had since I turned 18.

I typed in my number, and it said I’ve slept with more people than 88 percent of my peers.

Uh, what?

The information following was taken from a survey of 13,000 in 2014 that said millennials, on average, slept with 8 people in their lifetime.

Again, what?

I called my friend to dish my “sex calculator” results, and essentially tell her that, according to Slate.com and this survey, I was a slut.

She then wondered if it was because most people were married before 30; many people we know were married before 25.

It’s a valid point.

If I’d married the person I was dating at 25, my number would certainly be lower (although it still wouldn’t be 8).

The truth is, it’s all relative. It depends on you, the situation with that person, what you’re going through in your life… or it could just be relative to who you’re talking to.

I’m really not bothered by my number. In fact, until I plugged it into the calculator, I thought it was kind of low.

So, yeah, I’ve slept with people. Surprisingly, I’ve never even had a one-night stand. Which means that every person I chose to be intimate with was someone I cared for on some level.

But I think it’s a good rule to not stress about your number. It’s only your business, and it’s not something that needs to be shared.

In fact, outside of medical purposes, it’s not something I’d lose sleep over keeping track of.

After all, my number certainly isn’t going to get any lower.

Recipe for Monogamy.

Am I built for monogamy?

Am I built for monogamy?

“It’s only ever happened one time in my entire life.”

My hip-hop dance instructor, Dimitrius, was trying to explain to me that he’s been in a serious relationship for most of his life.

For the sake of this column, we’re going to assume that he was single at birth, but probably found another cute baby in the hospital parking lot.

I guess you’d say he’s a serial monogamist; always in an exclusive relationship.

But now, he’s single, and says he meets people through Grindr and during his shifts dancing at a bar.

“Dating is… interesting,” he continued. “Some of the people out there are just so…weird.”

No shit.

I know a few people who seem to always be in a relationship, and it makes me wonder if they know something I don’t. Are they holding on to some kind of secret that makes them eligible for staying with the same person for months, or even years?

As I get older, I feel a little bit of pressure to be involved in more serious relationships. And when I really think about my past, there’s not a single relationship that reflects your typical definition of “serious.”

In fact, my relationship past is mostly made up of glorified f*ck buddies, and… that’s it.

How am I supposed to go into any sort of meaningful relationship having no real experience in one? Sure, I know there’s a first time for everything, but I’m 30. It’s about time I get with the program.

But instead of punishing myself for my past, I’d say it’s time I start appreciating it for what it is. And I’ll say that I’ve learned a whole lot about types people, dating, and sex.

So maybe I don’t know the key to a lasting relationship yet, but I do know how to hold great conversations on dates, how to spot a red flag from a mile away, and I’ve had some fun experiences in the bedroom.

I suppose my problem isn’t in those beginning, fun stages of a relationship. The issues arise when things get to that point of going serious, or staying in the “friends with benefits” zone.

There are times when I just wonder if I don’t come across as marriage material; or perhaps I’m just simply not.

Living in the South, it sometimes seems like those old relationship stereotypes hold true: be seen, not heard, and do everything you can to be a housewife.

I look ridiculous in pearls, and as a relationship (ok, sometimes sex) columnist, I can’t go without being heard. Housewife? Sure, I’ll stay home, cook, clean, and start drinking martinis at 2pm. No problem.

A friend of mine told me he didn’t feel very “experienced” in the bedroom — he’s like Dimitrius in that he’s always involved in something serious.

I started thinking back, and the truth is, I’ve had a lot of sexual adventures (more than I’d like to admit).

I’ve always heard that people in serious relationships don’t have much sex, but I didn’t want to ask if he was admitting that.

If that’s part of the “secret” to being monogamous, then I don’t want to be it!

Although my rocky past still weighs me down at times, when I think about Dimitrius — out there in the dating world for the first time — I’m sort of glad I’ve had the experiences I’ve had.

They’ve shaped me in a way, whether it’s for the better or worse, and I’m still holding out hope that there’s someone out there who’s going to put up with me.

In memoriam: The Fabulous Jackie.

Jackie and the Reatta.

Jackie and the Reatta.

I learned yesterday that one of my favorite writers, an inspiration, Jackie Collins lost her very private battle with breast cancer after nearly seven years.

A woman as fabulous as Jackie was never defined by age, and so we’ll not mention how young she was, but we’ll just say, she’s left us too soon. What are we supposed to do without the famous Santangelo saga?

My career as a relationship blogger and columnist would be non-existent if it weren’t for Jackie, as she was a trailblazer for women in literature, which is why this blog has mentioned her many times (read this profile on her amazing self), and she will never be forgotten.

Jackie embodied the lifestyle (in some aspects) of the characters she wrote about; she lived a writer’s dream. Her success in writing about the scandals of the Hollywood elite rewarded her with unheard of sales — more than 500 million copies of her books have been sold around the world. She’s published 31 consecutive New York Times Best Sellers, including the wildly famous “Hollywood Wives.”

She was a class act, and fabulous, by every stretch of the word. Her home reflected her success, but her work ethic was as classic as it gets — she wrote all of her work in longhand before handing it over to an assistant to type. She kept every original manuscript bound in leather journals in her home.

What I find most interesting about Jackie is how she kept her cancer journey private, until very recently. In what would become her last interview, she discusses her decision to keep her battle just between her daughters (her sister Joan found out about the diagnosis only weeks before Jackie’s passing).

Sadly, Jackie suffered from cancer many times before she was diagnosed, losing her mother, second husband, and a fiance to the disease.

But nonetheless, she forged on. And she did so with the type of class that’s rarely seen anymore. She was talented and humble; as the Telegraph described her, “a combination of the down-to-earth with the almost unreachably glamorous.”

She was a feminist because she lived that way; not because she talked about it.

What I loved most about Jackie is that she never, ever forgot her readers. She was quick to take up social media to connect with us, and just as I always write an author when I love their book, she always wrote me back. I will forever treasure her words to me.

May she rest in peace; and may her next life be just as glamorous as the one she lived here. I know no female author can ever replace what she’s done for the next batch, but I hope we can at least try.

Whatever you have a passion for, then you must do. If you want to write, write about something you know about. — Jackie Collins

Birthday Perspective.

Cheers, it's ya birthday.

Cheers, it’s ya birthday.

I turned 30 last week.

I’ve never been big on celebrating my birthday. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a little shy at times, or because having a birthday so close to July 4th made parties as a kid nearly impossible (everyone was always out-of-town).

I never thought age would bother me — it’s just a number. But since my 25th birthday, each year the number has bothered me more and more.

I thought I’d be married with kids by now. Is single “okay” at 30?

For my 26th birthday, I flew to Chicago to meet up with my best friend.

I was in an on-off relationship with a guy that, looking back on it, really treated me poorly. Now, he’s married to one of the women he cheated on me with.

During my layover in Houston, I got drunk and missed my connecting flight as I was chatting with a cute guy.

He was on the same flight heading to Chicago, and when we tried to get on a new one, the airline told us we were stuck until the next morning.

So, I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do in this situation and hopped in a cab with a perfect stranger.

We went to a bar, played darts, and took birthday shots. My flight was at 6 am the next morning.

He offered his place for me to sleep, and said he’d take me to the airport.

I had no luggage, so he let me borrow his phone charger, a shirt to sleep in, and we ended up hooking up.

While I would never recommend anyone doing that, I was starting to wonder if my now-30 self would ever be that spontaneous and daring.

I was certain I would not — I find myself getting less excited over potential boyfriends, and I do a lot of telling myself that it’s going to be okay even if I never get married.

But, then my 30th birthday happened.

My friend stuck with tradition and offered to take me to dinner. We went to City Pork Brasserie & Bar, where we had wine and a Grand Board (the salmon pate is delicious).

We closed down the place, bought the kitchen a six-pack, and were ready to hit the town.

Next, we went to Pelican House where we met a slew of pretty cute guys, and drank too many beers.

And somehow, we ended up at The Penthouse Club around 1am with said guys.

Naturally, my friend got a stack of dollars and we proceeded to give the Penthouse ladies some love.

Being that it was my birthday, I got a lap dance and ended up in a private room with Lauren, from New Orleans.

She got most of my dollars.

Just when I thought turning 30 meant giving up my fun card, I had a night like that.

Sure, I felt like absolute crap the next day, but it was completely worth it.

Age is all about what you make it.

At 30, I’m starting to see the world really is my oyster. I’ve got options — sometimes too many — and I can basically do whatever I want… Even if it means lounging at The Penthouse Club on a Thursday night.

Pic of the Week.

Tweets on Tweets.

Tweets on Tweets.

Last Wednesday, I was really excited to get to attend a social media seminar — “Making the Hashtag Your BFF” — hosted by a local creative firm, Dezins Interactive.

I’ve seen DI advertise for these seminars before, but I’ve never been able to make it, due to my hectic retail schedule. Well, I guess no one shops during the summer, because they cut hours big time. So, not only am I writing more and helping clients, but I’m also just doing things I’ve been wanting to do for the past six months, but have had to put off.

Since I left corporate world, I’ve had this giant fear that all of the sudden, I’ll lose all of the knowledge I gained over my seven years of work. I’m not really sure where this fear came from; I think it’s because I spend a lot of hours working from my dining table (or from my bed) and most of the conversations I have are with Blanche, and they’ve got nothing to do with style rules, social media, or Google Analytics.

So, I’ve made it a priority of mine to keep up with the outside world. I watch the news every morning (HLN with Robin Meade at 6am, and TODAY at 7am), keep up with any tech news via Twitter, am teaching myself the ins and outs of SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7), attend networking events, and go to seminars where I can meet people and learn a few things.

I went to a networking event about a month ago, and I came equipped with a fresh stack of business cards. I met lots of people and it seemed to be a successful event — I walked away having several potential clients.

But one in particular threw me for a loop when she started spouting off statistics regarding social media visibility. I hadn’t heard any of these numbers she was mentioning; and a lot of her social media “rules” were ones I didn’t think were correct. Was I losing my knowledge?

So, I was excited when I had a morning off at the same time DI was hosting a seminar on hashtags. Now, I’m pretty familiar with the hashtag, as I use it all the time for personal use — Instagram, Twitter, blogs, etc. — and I’ve helped businesses and brands build campaigns around it. But it’s always good to have a refresher course.

I did learn a few things about hashtag etiquette and how I can promote my personal hashtags (#TheBitterLemon, #CatLady) more online. I want to use these hashtags to spark an open dialogue with my readers, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or something to share, use one of the hashtags!

It was also cool to see so many individuals from different businesses and companies around Baton Rouge embracing social media and learning the tricks of the trade in order to promote their brands to the world.

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.

Closing the Door.

Closing opportunities for awkwardness.

Closing opportunities for awkwardness.

“This is a bit out of nowhere but I may be homeless in Baton Rouge tomorrow…”

It was a text I got a few weeks ago from a fellow writer friend who was coming in town from states away.

He went on to ask if he could stay at my apartment the following night.

It was, as he said, completely random, and although I’m happy to help out anyone who needs it, I wasn’t even going to be home the night he suggested.

But when I asked him what he was in town for, or how long he’d need a place to stay, I didn’t hear from him for another day.

He was really busy getting drunk in Lafayette, he said.

While I did consider this guy a friend, we also have a deeper history than that.

Years ago, I had a huge crush on him. He is one of those people that’s so passionate about what he does, he’ll do anything to do it, even if it means sleeping on people’s couches, apparently.

We hooked up one summer — after getting drunk and reading passages from “The Great Gatsby” — but everything ended abruptly when he decided to get back together with his ex.

Things were awkward for awhile, and then he moved away to be with her, and I haven’t seen him since.

We talk on the phone or via text maybe once a year, but it’s nothing more than that.

Over the next few days, he persisted on staying at my place. But the more I thought about it, the less comfortable I felt.

Was he planning on staying on my couch? Or in my bed? I was afraid it was a situation that would lead to something bad, given our past.

Sure, I’m single. But I’m trying to avoid putting myself in situations that are going to leave me hurt, even if it means being a stickler over houseguests.

That Saturday, a coworker showed up at my apartment with his pillow and a rice cooker. He’s in college and had asked to sleep on my couch weeks before and I agreed.

I remember being broke and in college.

I swear I don’t usually get people begging for my couch. My apartment is small, as it’s just me living here.

With my college pal on the couch, there was really nowhere for the visiting writer to sleep.

Unless, of course, I gave up my bed and got a hotel. By the text messages I was getting, writer guy would have been happy to kick me out of my own bed.

“Have you no mercy?” he texted.

I eventually stopped responding because I felt like it was going down that manipulative road I am too familiar with.

If he just wanted to see me, or visit, why didn’t he ask me for coffee or lunch? Why did it have to involve an overnight thing?

And frankly, if he was that desperate for a place to stay, why didn’t I get more than a day’s notice?

I don’t like to assume bad things about people, but all signs were pointing to red flags.

I just couldn’t even deal with it. So I didn’t.

I’m sure I looked like an asshole, and in this situation, I think I’m okay with it.

Perhaps it wasn’t my nicest move, but in the end, I got to sleep in my own bed, and avoid any awkward breakfasts.

And just in case you’re wondering, I’ve been sleeping just fine.

Stepping outside the lines.

Simply gorgeous!

Simply gorgeous!

Last week, social media was ablaze with one thing: Caitlyn Jenner made her stunning debut.

For me, Caitlyn’s transition isn’t about fame (dare I say it) or fortune; it’s not about TV ratings or the Kardashians; forget the Twitter records and the courage awards; it’s not even about sexual orientation (whom Jenner decides to sleep with).

It’s about the freedom to just be.

In April, when Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer, I sat in front of my TV, indulging in some takeout beef and broccoli.

A part of me thought this was all a bunch of shit — Jenner just wanted attention. But right off the bat, it was clear that wasn’t true.

Call me emotional (because that’s what I’m supposed to be, as a woman, right?), but I was nearly in tears at the end of the two hours.

Here was a man, a praised man, who’d essentially gone through the motions of life for 65 years.

His body is physically that of a man; but his identity, his soul, is that of a woman.

I cannot imagine what that’s like. Sure, I do things every day I don’t want to. But I can’t begin to picture what it feels to live a lie — an unwanted secret — for nearly my entire life.

Over the past few years, the cameras have hounded Jenner for his physical changes, and he revealed in the ABC interview that he contemplated suicide as a result.

But upon Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair coverage, there was an overwhelming display of support; something most transgenders don’t get.

Prior to writing this, I curled up with A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which states that 90 percent of those surveyed experienced harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job, 19 percent were refused a place to live due to their sexual identity, and 53 percent said they’d been verbally harassed in a public place.

Maybe I spent too much time with the hippies at Hangout Fest, but can we get a little peace and love ‘round here?

Sawyer touched on one question I keep hearing about regarding Jenner’s sex life: will Caitlyn go to bed with men or women?

The buzz (mainly insults) I hear regarding this makes me sick. For starters, whom anyone chooses to go to bed with is none of my business.

It seems like we’re only comfortable inside the lines, as we force people into boxes we can understand. From ethnicity to income, political stance to diet restrictions, and apparently whom we choose to love, are all things that must be defined in order to walk the streets.

These labels — white, democrat, middle class, carnivore, straight — make it easy for us to judge each other in a single word.

I’m over it.

I don’t care who Caitlyn Jenner, or any person, chooses to sleep with, or what they wear, or how they live their life.

We are all humans.

No one owes me an explanation for being themselves. I never had to tell my parents that I’m attracted to men, so I’m not sure why we make this huge deal about having to tell everyone the details of our sexual orientation.

I’ll shout it from the rooftops, “Let us be free! Let us live!”

Of course, Caitlyn is no ordinary transgender, with reports saying she’ll potentially profit $500 million from it all.

But in any case, she got the bottom-shelf conversation started, and that’s priceless.

So for that, I say, you go, girl.

Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover hits newsstands tomorrow; or check out a preview on Vanity Fair’s website

Status: Emotionally Unavailable.

There's an EUP in New York I kinda like...

There’s an EUP in New York I kinda like…

A few weekends ago, my friend and I ventured to Gulf Shores for our second Hangout Music Fest.

I’d been looking forward to the sun, sand, music, vodka, and naturally, all the hot guys without shirts.

The fine creators of Hangout Fest announced that this year, they were offering weddings. That’s right, you could get married on the beach, complete with a Ring Pop and a three-day marriage license.

I was determined to find someone that I could call my husband — even if only for a weekend. Then, society would accept me given that I’d been married at least once, right?

So, I was keeping my eyes open.

The sun was really hot, and I get super thirsty, so I spent a lot of time at the bar. I was averaging around 10 vodka-sodas per afternoon, when I realized my bartender was sheer perfection.

Cute? Kind of. Attentive? Yes. He memorized my order, and called me “Sweetheart.” That’s all I needed on a weekend like this.

His name was Barton; Bart for short.

But Bart was working all weekend and I knew he wouldn’t have time to pull himself away from the bar to get married to a patron.

I moved on (not from the vodka, of course).

On the final night of the fest, my friend and I were heading to see My Morning Jacket, when we ran into a group of four guys all wearing the same baby blue t-shirts.

They were from New York, in town for a bachelor party, and they had thick accents.

Doug was the one getting married; then there was Chad (married); Tim with a broken wrist (married); and Dan (single).

Hello, Dan.

They supplied us with more vodka and we traded words to laugh at each other’s accents.

They joined us for the final show of the festival, Beck, and then we hit up The Pink Pony for shots and karaoke.

When it was time to head home, Dan and I exchanged numbers. We’ve been texting off-and-on ever since.

I realized the other night, during a text conversation with Dan about the lyrics of “Blurred Lines,” that I’m a little bit of a sucker for guys that live far away.

I’m not quite sure why, as I never think long distance relationships workout.

After all, there’s no physical relationship when there’s an entire wing of the country between us, but I like having someone to text with before I fall asleep or, perhaps when I’ve had one too many vodkas.

I wonder if, on some level, I’m really not ready for a full-fledged relationship, so I go for a guy that is unattainable.

So, I Googled, and I came across an article entitled, “12 Signs You’re Involved With Emotionally Unavailable People (EUP).”

It even has an acronym.

Upon reading the 12 signs, it appears to be true, as I’ve fallen for all of them: married, can’t commit, emotionally distant, mainly interested in sex, prefers long distance, abuses substances, are narcissistic, makes empty promises, etc.

Mind = blown.

I don’t necessarily think I’m emotionally unavailable (though that’s not out of the question), but I do believe I fall for men that are.

And there it is: I’m not quite as ready as I thought.

Perhaps I’ve just got too much going on right now — work seems to take up most of my life.

But, when will things ever be in perfect condition for me to be in a relationship? Will the right guy coddle me into feeling emotionally ready or do I need to work on my issues first?

I think the real question is this: does my health insurance cover therapy?

Learning to Forgive.

Free the heart with forgiveness.

Free the heart with forgiveness.

“I definitely miss talking to you,” his text read. “I have some things in my past I need to work on. I took it out on you and I sincerely apologize.”

Those were the words I’d wished for, for months after this guy told me he didn’t want to talk to me again, with no explanation as to why.

I spent weeks wondering what I did to piss him off so much that he’d never want to speak to me. And there it was: I’d done nothing.

In a way, I was completely relieved to read this, but in another way, the damage had already been done.

One of the worst feelings in the world is having someone you trust turn on you, especially with no reason or closure.

When he did it, my heart broke. I felt insecure for weeks. I questioned whether or not I was even ready for a relationship.

I asked him why he did this to me and he said he has commitment issues and a habit of pushing people away.

Having “issues” is definitely something I understand, but I wondered what happened to him that made him so scared of a relationship.

Perhaps it was a previous breakup; or something with his family, though I’m fairly certain his parents are still together. It’s a question only he can answer.

As I get older, the odds of meeting people dealing with baggage or issues gets more likely. And there are things I’m working on, too.

But I hate to think that even at 30, some of us are dealing with things so difficult, we can’t even talk to people.

One of the most difficult things for me is learning how to forgive. I’ve got a lot of hurt in my past, and I’m really bad about holding onto grudges.

I don’t claim to be bitter for nothing, folks!

There is a huge part of me that wants to forgive this guy and let him back into my life — assuming he even wants to be back, of course.

After his apology, he mentioned all the times he thought of me and wanted to message me, but was too afraid.

We shared a decent number of good memories together in a short amount of time. And that’s something that doesn’t happen often.

But who’s to say he wouldn’t go cold on me again?

And that’s the catch in every relationship. Love is always a gamble; one of the biggest bets you can make.

After a bad breakup several years ago, I sought the help of a therapist. I needed to know why terrible things kept happening to me — especially in relationships.

My therapist explained to me that everyone’s life moves in cycles. You may meet someone at the top of their mountain, or you may meet them as they fall.

How we treat others is in direct correlation to how we feel about ourselves, or our situation at the time.

So much to say that when people hurt others, it usually has nothing to do with the “victim” at all.

I don’t know what the future holds for this guy and me. Of course, I hope he can learn how to move past his issues and find a way to accept people into his life.

Perhaps we both just need to forgive those from our past and face the future with open arms. Sure, the house usually wins, but you just never know when the odds are stacked in your favor.

Pic of the Week.

His and hers.

His and hers.

I’ve had a houseguest since Saturday. He’s a coworker, and needed a place to stay for a month while he works to save money for his apartment rent come July. He’s 19.

Welcome to Hotel Holly. Well, Hotel Holly & Blanche.

When my friend said he needed a place to stay, I wanted to help him. But I told him we’d have to set some rules. After all, my place is small, I’m used to living alone, and I didn’t want us to hate each other at the end of June.

So, he agreed, and here he is. So far, he’s insisted on being my “housewife” and has put away my clean dishes from the dishwasher, folded my clean clothes from the dryer, and shared his homemade pasta sauce. As I type this, he’s pulling a tray of homemade cheese bread out of the oven for us.

We’ll see how long this lasts, right?

I’ve never had a houseguest for an extended period of time, and although it’s a new experience for me, I think it’ll be a good one. When I was prepping my place for his arrival — dusting, mopping, sweeping, putting things away — there’s things I really started to appreciate about my apartment.

Sure, it’s small, but at least it has 10ft ceilings so we don’t feel cramped sitting in the living room. I also have plenty of tupperware for my houseguest’s leftover food needs. And I have a stock of candles, toothbrushes, and other toiletries for his use. And above all, my place is safe and quiet. At the end of a day’s work, those are the most important things, at least to me.

So far, it’s been kind of nice having someone around when I come home from the gym or from work. But I also have to pull myself away from impromptu cheesey bread and conversation when I should be doing freelance. Like anything, it’s a balance.

Maybe this experience will teach me something about living with someone. It’s not a romantic relationship by any means, but it’s already made me realize some things about myself — like I should do a better job at cleaning my dishes.

Setting up friends, for a date.

Whoa, they look happy.

Whoa, they look happy.

A post on my Timehop app the other day reminded me of a few dates I went on with a guy who was introduced to me by a mutual friend. For some reason or another, our relationship didn’t work out — but the dates we had were absolutely fantastic!

Being set up by a friend can be a really good thing. It can be a nice surprise; let’s face it, getting set up is basically the laziest way to find a date. But statistically, a setup is how many people find their matches for life, probably because the person setting them up knows them well and thinks they’d get along-slash-have something in common.

The risk is… what if things go wrong? Then the friend might be placed in the middle — never a good place to be. So, there’s a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of becoming the next Patti Stanger.

  1. Make sure it’s okay. Don’t just spring the news on your single friend. Ask first. A simple: would you be interested in me setting you up with another friend of mine? Because sometimes single people just want to be single, alright?
  2. Have some reason for the match. Make sure the two folks you’re setting up have something (or maybe a few things) in common. Don’t just set them up because they’re both single. Not going to work.
  3. Don’t oversell. Don’t pitch the date to your friend with any false information, don’t embellish, really, I don’t even think you should discuss it too much. Just let the person go on the date and make opinions for him/herself.
  4. Figure out the logistics. Is he going to text her? Are they just going to meet in public first? Work out the details so the date can be low-stress.
  5. Try to stay out of it. Once the date happens, sure, be there to clear up any confusion, but make sure you’re not the one adding to the complicated mess. Leave it up to the daters — remember, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle.
  6. Don’t take it personal. If things don’t work out, don’t get upset or think it’s your fault. On the other hand, if things DO work out, be happy for them!

Fresh Friday: Yogini.

Harvey Prince makes alotta perfumes!

Harvey Prince makes alotta perfumes!

I know so many of you are AMPED that a 3-day weekend is upon us (not for me, but story of my life) — however, I hope y’all have a happy, safe Memorial Day weekend! And please, eat lots of burgers, because I can’t think of anything better than to kick off summer with a burger from a charcoal grill.

Anyway, I got a sample bottle of Yogini by Harvey Prince in my latest Birchbox and I’ve been wearing it all week.

On the little package it came in was a nice description: Get whisked away by Yogini, the fragrance that calms the mind, soothes the soul, and frees the spirit. Experience the purifying powers of Sandalwood, the age-defying glow of Grapefruit, and the sensual warmth of Egyptian myrrh. Crafted with the highest quality natural essences and oils, Yogini will make you feel as good as you smell.”

It’s pretty apparent that anything offering to soothe the soul and free my spirit… SOLD! I definitely like the mix of the citrus with the warmth — it makes it a bolder scent, but not so strong that it would offend anyone.

Other than Yogini, I was thinking the other day about layering scents. Not necessarily perfumes (though I’ll definitely look into it and get back to you), but what about all of the scents we put on? The other morning, I realized I use bamboo body wash, blueberry shaving cream, coconut body lotion, and then whatever perfume. Do I smell like a disgusting mix of scents?

TODAY had a decent article on it (7 Smart Layering Tricks to Help Your Fragrance Last Longer), suggesting o choose a body wash and lotion that will either add to your regular perfume or choose a scent that will help it last longer.

The article also tells you how to learn your “fragrance family,” so you know what scents you can layer, with body wash being the foundation. Pretty cool — though I don’t think I’ll be able to give up my blueberry shave cream.

And, there’s that. Have a great weekend everyone! See you back here on Monday — even if you’re outside grillin’ and drankin’.