People might not remember their first real-person crush, but most people remember their first celebrity crush. For me, it was Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I was in love with JTT in second grade, ‘in love’ meaning I thought he was cute. What else does an eight-year-old base her opinion on at that age? It’s not like I could get to know him, and at eight, who even knows what it really means to like someone?
Anyway, JTT. My main dude. I begged my mom to buy me an issue of some random teen magazine with him on the cover. It was one of those Tiger Beat or BOP! or Teen Bop or Beep-Bop-Boop magazines that always has the latest big-name celebrity splashed across its cover, pulling in all the young fans with promises of revealing what pop bands do in their downtime or a young TV star’s favorite movie—you know, all the vital information. The star of the moment was JTT, and how could he not be? He was starring on the hit sitcom Home Improvement and was the voice of young Simba in The Lion King. The guy was going places.
Have you heard about “Sandwich Girlfriend” yet? It took me a while to even find her real name. She has a blog called 300 Sandwiches. Here’s the site’s mission:
My boyfriend E is obsessed with two things: Star Wars and sandwiches. During a Sunday lunchtime viewing of “Return of the Jedi” he told me: “you are 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring!” … And so, I got cooking …
I honestly thought this blog was satire at first, but it turns out the sandwichmaker in question is one Stephanie Smith, a writer for Page Six. How could anyone not think this was satire? The intro on her blog begins with,
“Make me a sandwich.”
That’s what my boyfriend, E, asks without fail every morning. Not “babe, where are my keys?” Not, “honey, where are my socks?” And no, not even, “c’mon, just the tip?”
And then comes right out and says,
That was it—a proposal hinged on me making him sandwiches.
And she describes herself as,
I’m a Midwest girl living in New York, a writer and foodie who loves a good meal. I love chocolate, pork buns, and sushi more than I love a sale at Saks. I’m a woman who loves her man, but also never backs down from a challenge. If he wants three hundred sandwiches, then I’ll deliver.
(NONE of these are bad things. They just seem so very Onion-y. How is “Woman Makes 300 Sandwiches For Boyfriend To Get A Proposal” not the title of an Onion article? How is her description not the description of a character from an Onion article? “I’m a woman who loves her man”?)
But she’s very serious. Her blog contains recipes for every sandwich she makes. And she sees nothing wrong with making sandwiches for an engagement ring. Which, hopefully, both adults in the relationship realize is much more than a ring, but is in fact, a promise to marry. It’s a marriage. She’s trading sandwiches for marriage. I guess marriage has been based on lesser things in the past?
The thing is, I kind of don’t hate her.
Alicia can handle the rain. She can handle the weatherman getting it wrong. She will not give up because she got caught without an umbrella. She can deal with the smell of old urine in the subway tunnel, stale, renewed by the water other commuters drip in. In some perverse way, the smell takes her back to the farmhouse where she grew up. An old tomcat used to prowl around, and the rain always brought out his musk. This was like that, except the musk did not come from a vagrant cat but from vagrant people. But she can deal with that. She can deal with rush hour. She can deal with having to be the jerk who takes the empty seat. Nobody wants to look like a jerk so everyone stands around, looking at the seat and looking at each other. Their eyes invite you to sit down but they resent you for it if you do. But somebody needs to sit down, because the subway car is crowded, and the more seats that get filled the more standing room there will be. So Alicia can handle being the jerk. Alicia can handle sitting down.
Alicia can handle being damp. It does not damage her self-esteem to be the only one not dressed for the weather. In the future she will find a more reliable source of meteorological information. She does not mind feeling a little silly with runny mascara. In weather like this it does not seem likely that anyone will suspect her of crying. Last week she saw a younger girl crying on the subway, on a dry and balmy day. It occurred to Alicia then that crying on public transportation might be the worst kind of hell. It would amount to the final failure: the dam of composure breaking and everything on the inside pouring outside in a hot wet mess, with dozens of witnesses to the gory scene and no means of escape. You might as well be skinned alive. But on this day the other commuters will assume Alicia’s face is wet from rain. They will not suspect she is in any particular kind of hell.
She could handle their suspicions, anyway, if it was necessary, and it is not. There are lots of things Alicia knows that she can handle now. She can deal with locksmiths at three o’clock in the morning. She can deal with knowing that for every roach she sees in her kitchen, there are about three hundred she doesn’t. She can deal with the countless petty insults, like paper cuts, that she collects day in day out. Such as the man standing in front of her, grasping the ceiling strap. He has neglected to shake out his umbrella before collapsing it, and it is saturated. He is holding it under his arm like a prop sword that has impaled him. Its silver tip is suspended half a foot in the air above Alicia’s leg, and water is dripping off it. She can deal with this man’s lack of consideration. She can deal with the cold water trickling down her thigh. She can even deal with staying silent about it for the twenty minutes left on the ride.
What she cannot abide is the man with the microphone.
Dating & Hookup: How to Find Love in the Post-Dating World by Jessica Donalds
Let’s be real, the first thing people look at or care about on your internet dating profile is your profile photo. Your internet dating photos are like your business cards. I write a lot about dating and the internet and I’ve seen some of the best and some of the worst profiles out there. So here are my internet dating photos dos and donts. Some of these may be personal preferences, but give them a try if you’re not having results and see if things change.
DON’T upload less than three photos. People need a good sense of what you look like so when you’re meeting up for the first time they recognize you and don’t go up to someone who kinda sorta resembles you (or even worse, is like a better looking version of yourself). Women tend to experiment with different hair and makeup, so ladies, post a few of your different “looks.” For example, when I had a dating profile, I posted a photo of myself wearing red lipstick and not, and photos of myself in glasses and without.
I started “going out with” my first boyfriend at a very awkward 16.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of my being an active participant in the modern dating world. And, in honor of such a milestone, on my birthday I did something very nerdy and pretentious. I wrote a letter to my younger self–or more accurately my 16-year-old self.
When I was that very awkward 16, I was a theatre kid, and I felt things deeply; so deeply that for many years I could-not-would-not re-visit those feelings. It was just (sniff) too (sniff) painful. But now I’m 26 and I will say this: when you’re 16, and your boobs are sort of starting to come in, and the bass player of local teenage boy band Tony Flow is just hormonal enough to think you’re cute and call you his–you’ve got it made. And that’s the easiest dating will ever be.
Sometimes we all need to take a break and ask ourselves how we’re doing, and I don’t mean a quick assessment. I’m talking about an extended moment of reflection wherein we consider how we’re really progressing in all areas of life. That might seem overwhelming, because where do you even begin? Over at HuffPost Women they’ve compiled a list of 23 things every woman should stop doing; that seems like a pretty good place to start.
Sabrina Jeffries started quite a debate on her Facebook wall after linking to Almie Rose’s piece: Texting Backlash. We are proud that Sabrina Jeffries was one of our first contributors on Dating & Hookup. Check out her piece on her ‘Old School’ dah, below!
Okay, I’d be the first to admit that the modern world has changed the dating dynamic. In my day (I hate how old that makes me sound), there were no cell phones and no Internet. Consequently there was no text messaging, IM-ing, or social networking. And that makes what I’m about to say seem spurious. But trust me, it’s true.
Dating & Hookup existed in the 1970s and 80s. Now, admittedly it was mostly a high school/college/grad school phenomenon, but it existed. Most of my high school romantic relationships took place more in groups, either through church or for school activities, than on dates. The first guy who held my hand did it on a church-sponsored hay ride. The first guy who kissed me did it behind the piano of the chapel at a church retreat. I know I never even got around to dating with the first guy, and I maybe dated the second guy a couple of times. All our encounters were hanging out with friends at school and at church or on our way thereto. Don’t tell my parents, but I made out at church quite a few times. Hey, my parents were missionaries—I had to take what I could get.
I know this may come as a surprise to you (ha ha), but I developed pretty early for a girl. I had mature urges at a young age. This is the reason I became a slut at 13. I remember the day. I remember the boy. I remember all of the tiny details pertaining to me crossing over to the dark side. My virginity was something that I was terrified to lose, but because I was sexually curious and very attracted to boys; I literally did “everything else.” And I did it way too young.
I was in the 8th grade. My church had this trip scheduled for the middle school kids to go up to a big camp on a lake for a “Christian” retreat. There would be snow, activities, worship songs, and hundreds of boys from other schools. I was dying to go. After weeks of begging and deal making, my parents agreed to let me go on the trip and I was thrilled. Because I went to school in the middle of nowhere, it was hard to interact with kids from other schools in other areas. This would be my chance to meet some public school boys. After all, the first Christian school boy I dated dumped me for tying to kiss him and I did not want that to happen again.
After hours on a bus, we arrive at the camp and head up to the cabins at the lake. It is beautiful. We’re given time to settle into our cabins and explore the camp. As I’m walking around with the girls from my church, I spot this boy. He is wearing a t-shirt with dozens of tiny holes in it layered over a gray thermal. His jeans were slim and tattered. His hair was bleached to the whitest of blonds, and his dishwater blond roots were slightly visible around his face peaking through his black beanie. He was so dangerous looking and so cute. I wanted to go over and talk to him, but the church girls were with me and I didn’t want them to know I was on the hunt for a bad boy. We continued towards the lodge to get a cup of hot cocoa. I sat in the dining hall for a while watching the snow outside fall through the large windows overlooking the lake.
The other girls left to go snow ball fighting, and I decided to hang out there and stay dry and warm. This was a great idea because a few minutes later the beautiful boy walked through the door. Magically, he came right over and sat next to me. We flirted. I found out his name was Evan and he was there because his friend convinced him to tag along. He figured it was a chance to get out of town so why not. I remember asking about his shoes. “They’re not such a good idea for the snow, don’t you think?” I asked. He told me they were Chuck Taylors, and that they were great because you could order them from the J.C. Penny catalogue for $17.00. They were the only shoes he wore. This was 1998. He was a true rebel. Evan was pale, had adorable pink lips and sorta looked like a young Macaulay Culkin. Then a bell rang though the camp, echoing through the wilderness, letting everyone know it was time for church.
Overthinking: easy to start, so freakin’ hard to stop. Luckily, with practice, you’ll find that regular thinking is good enough for most decisions.
I’d never worn a tiara before. Parading around the West Village with a veil, a garter secured to my leg, a pink sash, and a giant plastic and flashing ring on my finger, I was the image of taken, “till death do us part.”
But I’m not. Single, 20-something, and living in New York, I’m technically still a bachelorette: “a woman who is not married.”
Yet, what separates the bachelorette from The Bachelorette is merely two things: the costume and the story.
Which is why, when one of my best friends overheard on z100 that fake bachelorette parties were becoming “an emerging trend,” it was decided that we must participate.
So last weekend, we did just that. Myself and three of my best girlfriends played the role for a one-night-only affair. We created the night’s itinerary across NYC, set the wedding date, made up the husband’s name, and concocted how we met. But because all of us were wracked with superstition and Catholic/Jewish guilt, we each rotated who The Bachelorette would be at each bar, thus spreading out the karma quite nicely.
So why’d we do it?
To answer one question: How desirable is unavailable?
Online dating has turned into more than just filling out a profile, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best. If you really want to be successful, you’ve got to see yourself as a brand. That sounds strange, doesn’t it? But really, it’s about representing yourself in the best possible light. Especially now that there are so many dating apps out there. I checked some of them out and that’s what made me realize that your little profile, with its opportunities to appear on so many different platforms, has to be your digital business card.
For example, Swoon, my favorite that I tried, is like shuffling through a stack of digital photos. You use your Facebook ID to sign in (but they never post anything to your wall or tell your friends, “HEY EVERYBODY, THIS CHICK’S LOOKING AT PEOPLE ONLINE!!!!”) and then you swipe through faces and “x” them or “checkmark” them. And no one knows if you “x” them out. They’re only notified if you “check” them. It’s wonderfully easy to use, uncluttered, and pretty cute.
But the thing about it — and for some people this is great, and others it isn’t — is that it asks the user to make snap decisions. Scrolling through lots of men/women without worrying about having to reject them to their face (digital or otherwise) makes it pretty easy to just keep swiping, hoping that maybe you’ll eventually find a Jon Hamm lookalike.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
Follow me on Twitter