The Time I Let Natasha Write a Blog Post

Important Alert

Last night at approximately 5:23 p.m. ET, Alexandria (editor’s note: not my real name) “Lexie” Bond was kidnapped outside of Camelot in Dupont Circle. I received a ransom note from her kidnappers early this morning.

“To ensure the safe return of the fake blonde fake eyelash-ed girl, send 50 triple whoppers to (address retracted) by 6 p.m. tonight and she will be released.”

We need your help. To all lexiebond.com readers out there, all 5 of you, please send triple whoppers immediately to P.O. Box 867, Eugene, Oregon 97440-0867. Remember, if you don’t – we’ll never know what Lexie was really doing at Camelot at 5:23 p.m. ET on a Sunday or what she did last Summer.

the craigslist missed connection

I used to work in the middle of nowhere in Gaithersburg, which meant if there was an event I wanted to be on time for in DC, I had to suck it up and take the metro all the way from the end of the red line. While most people would keep busy with music, a book, a nap–normal stuff–I liked to find alternative ways to amuse myself. Namely, conversations with strangers.

One day (a few years back) I was getting ready to transfer from the red to the green line for a Nationals game when there he was–a silver fox standing three rows away from me. As fate would have it, the seat beside me cleared and I gave him a subtle smirk and narrowing of my eyes towards the empty seat, as if to say, “It’s all yours, big boy.”

Somehow this worked, but I was only one stop stop away from my destination. The silver fox had enough time to comment on the bandaid tattoo on my knee before I left his life forever.

Or so he probably thought.

The next day at work I put up a Craigslist Missed Connection (something I’ve never done) for “The Older Guy On the Metro Who Commented on My Tattoo.”

To the older guy on the metro who commented on my tattoo – w4m – 25 (Red Line Near ChinaTown)

age : 25 hair : blonde

You asked me how I was and commented on the tattoo above my knee (if you see this, tell me what the tattoo was so that I know it’s you!).That’s pretty much how our brief conversation went (I had to get off at the next stop, Gallery Place, unfortunately), but here’s how I wanted it to go:

Hot older guy: Hi.
Me: Hi.
Hot older guy: I like you.
Me: I like you, too.
Hot older guy: Wanna make out sometime?
Me: Yup.
Hot older guy: Wanna go to Taco Bell after?
Me: Yup.

I’m blonde and was dressed very patriotically (was on my way to the Nat’s game).

Responses included:

  • It’s super rare that a girl in DC would be happy hanging out at taco bell. 🙂
  • Taco Bell? Really. The quesarito is surprisingly good. I hope you find him.
  • Why can’t something like you describe happen to me!!?? I’m Latin, 42 if you are interested in showing me your tattoo…for starters!
  • Did he reply? How tall are you?
  • Hi, if you don’t find your hot older guy, would you be interested in another possibly hot older guy?
  • I wish I was your hot older guy on the Metro, because I totally would have taken the conversation in your fantasy direction. Handsome professional with a twinkle in his eye who would love to meet a pretty girl with a sexy tat. Taco bell afterwards would be swell as well. Shall we?
  • older guy here happy to help if he doesnt answer….
  • First off, I am not your Metro MC. And yes, I realize this is quasi-creepy to reply to you, but I wanted to tell you that I have met two people through CL Missed Connections over the years and I am holding out hope for you. 🙂
  • u sound like a freak and i love a freak.. im 44 black m.. i will take u to taco bell .. or Nats game ..but def making out is the key..llol
  • I just saw your ad in craigslist on missed connections…and I really wanted to comment. I’m not the guy you spoke to on the metro, but I wanted to tell you I totally got a chuckle out of your “wished-for” conversation. I’ve always wished I could have a similar conversation with a lovely woman some day–especially if she has a sense of humor, as you obviously do… (and you could see past a man’s age.)  Now, that’s rare. Its a pity to miss connections like that, but your post proves that once in a great while, “other party” has the same mental conversation.Thanks for that.
  • Did he ever contact you? I need to start chatting more with the young hotties on the Metro since it seems like some of them are into hot, older guys. Ciao.
  • Hello, I’m probably not the guy you are seeking… but I ride the red line all the time, and I’m older, and love making out, and Taco Bell!  If you are interested in meeting me, please write back!

Some of the responses included pictures. Surprisingly only one included porn to “excite me while I waited.”

AND THEN.

I received this response.

Well, your posting was certainly a nice surprise.

I am 90 percent certain that I was the Red LIne “older guy” whom you seek. And, though I can’t recall the kind of tattoo, I’ve attached a photo of myself that should be helpful in deciding whether I’m the guy. (The photo is itself 5 years old.)

If I am, then please contact me. Of course, you can trash this if I’m not the guy.

Again, though, pretty sure it’s me.

Aaaaand we’ve been dating ever since.

Just kidding he was the Craigslist Killer a creep like 99% of the people I meet through Craigslist. The 1%? A nice married, newly pregnant couple in Alexandria I bought a small couch from.

getting out of the grey area

Every once in a while, I stumble across something that I’ll consider a “game changer.” An insight or a bit of knowledge that shakes up my belief system and makes me question how I could possibly have had it so wrong for such a long time.

Being single at 27 is a hell of a lot different than being single at 24–and I don’t just mean because my looks are on a steep decline and my disposable income is on an inverse trajectory (quite the opposite really).

As much as I feel as though I’m less apologetic about what I want and what I don’t want, I’ve found this creates an extra layer of vulnerability. To put it in 24-year-old Lexie terms, I’ve learned to open my heart with the ease that I once opened my legs.

That was vulgar.

But important.

Feelings are the best and feelings are the worst. And for whatever reason, I have an impossible time concealing them. Nine times out of ten, I’m the first one to say “I love you” in a relationship–which seems like an odd fraction given that I’ve dated like, 2 1/2 people in my life (also an odd fraction since I’ve dated only full bodied people. Can you believe I used to be an algebra tutor?).

Subtlety has never been my strong suit. So despite how open I am with my little heart and my little feelings (my friends like to refer to an infamous Lexie Bond sobbing drunk message I left an ex-boyfriend proclaiming “I have a little heart too you know–with little feelings!!”), this has not always been the case with the objects of my affection.

I’ve found myself in the grey area enough to wonder if maybe I should just make it my permanent residence because, well fuck, the rent there HAS to be cheaper than the rent in NW DC.

Here’s where the game changer came for me though.

If you’re in the grey area to begin with, you’ve already lost.

One of my favorite Lana Del Ray lyrics is “When you talk it’s like a movie and you’re making me crazy/If I get a little prettier can I be your baby?”

And I used to think like that. That if I was prettier/smarter/funnier/wealthier/blahblahblah that I could convince the people I liked to like me back.

But

Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they’re not happy with you now, what makes you think they’ll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you? What does that say about you? That you believe you need to convince people to be with you?

Being single at 27 is in some ways better than being 24 because aging often leads to self awareness, self improvement, and self acceptance. I’m comfortable with so much of me and I’ll never stop trying to improve upon the parts I’m not (progress never perfection).

Which leads me to the super clutch part of this game changer:

It’s time to get out of the grey area. It’s either “fuck yes or no.” 

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” implies that both parties must be enthusiastic about the prospect of one another’s company. Why? Because attractive, non-needy, high self-worth people don’t have time for people who they are not excited to be with and who are not excited to be with them.

30 (okay 10) days without drinking

I started a draft of this blog post during my Whole 30. It was intended to chronicle my 30 days of no drinking and my quest to find out how sober people spend their time.

And then I got a little distracted. So yeah. I broke Whole 30 a few times. Progress never perfection, friends. Enjoyed the first 10 days of my semi-successful/semi-failed health attempt:

Day 1 – Friday, Sept. 30

I started off the day without my usual pre-work Bloody Mary (hahahah kidding. maybe.). Had no problem saying no to the beer and pizza at a work party later in the day. Contently munched on a Whole Foods salad while my friends had pizza, wine, and brownie sundaes while watching the Amanda Knox documentary. Passed out on Natasha’s couch around 11:30, not because I was too drunk to drive home but because trying to keep up with the Kardashian’s is exhausting (exhaustingly boring, actually). 

Day 2 – Saturday, Oct. 1

No Saturday brunch or tailgating for me. My entire apartment is clean, I’ve worked out, and read a magazine. My Keurig is broken so I go get a cold brew at Dunkin Donuts. Holy shit Dunkin Donuts has cronuts? What a wonderful time to be alive and a terrible time to be doing a Whole 30.

I set a 90 minute timer and force myself to work on the blog and my book. Take a short nap. Meet up with friends at Shake Shack. Eat nothing. Head to Old Town Alexandria for the evening to see some live music at Murphy’s. Stop at sex toy store with friends. Make note to order sex toys online when not with friends. Stop at Ben & Jerry’s before Murphy’s. Get nothing. Order salad and grilled chicken at Murphy’s. Tell people who ask why I’m not drinking that I’m pregnant.

Day 3 – Sunday, Oct. 2

Make healthy breakfast. Go for a run. Go with Leah to get her haircut in Fairfax. Buy some new workout clothes at TJ Maxx. Hope that I don’t replace my drinking hobby with a shopping hobby, though I’m not sure which one would inevitably cost me more. Buy spaghetti squash in bulk at Wegmans. Go for a walk through the H Street area with Brandon and Leah. Eat spaghetti squash. Sip hot tea while watching the Steelers game.

Day 4 – Monday, Oct. 3

Have lunch at the picnic tables with my Whole 30-participating coworkers. Drink a thousand cups of tea at work (I swear this helps for some reason). Go to Body Pump. Eat salmon. Work on the book.

Day 5 – Tuesday, Oct. 4

Work late. Go to trivia at Mellow Mushroom with Natasha & Shaheen. Realize I’m the weak tit on the mama cat when it comes to trivia. Make it a point to start playing Sporcle again in my newfound downtime. Eat salad and drink water while Trash & Sha eat pizza and drink beer. See a giant dead rat in the alley on my walk home. Work on the book.

Day 6 – Wednesday, Oct. 5

If you’ve done a Whole 30 before, you might be familiar with the Whole 30 timeline. By day 6 I was to have exited the “Kill All the Things” phase and entire the “I Just Want a Nap” phase. Instead, I somehow skipped to the Days 12-15 “Boundless Energy” phase. I sense that my coworkers who joined me on the Whole 30 hate me for this.

All day long I can’t wait to go to the gym and get a really good run in. But I end up working late. Whatever. I show up to the gym at 8:45 and run anyway. I get home and meal prep like a motherfucker and work on the ol’ blog and chain.

Day 7 – Thursday, Oct. 6

Standard day. Saw a snapchat of some cinnamon rolls and almost cried (it’s a good thing you can’t smell through snapchat). Headed to RFD tonight to check out the comedy scene in the evening. Brought komchuba so I would have something to do with my hands.

Day 8 – Friday, Oct. 7

Invited Monica over after work and cooked for her. We made mocktails and little mini (bunless) burgers. I told her if this was ever our actual life and not our Whole 30 lives, that we should just kill ourselves. We walked down to an adult store in Dupont called Bite the Fruit. I bought something to entertain myself for the rest of my drinkless days.

Day 9 – Saturday, Oct. 8

Gym. Movies and dinner with Natasha at Kramer Books. Went to bed early.

Day 10 – Sunday, Oct. 9

Went to the zoo with Jill and baby Jake. Meal prepped. Read a book.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for non-drinking activities, you should read, write, cook, workout, and buy sex toys.

up and coming

“They say I’m up and coming like I’m fucking on an elevator.” – Ed Sheeran

30 Days without Drinking & Costa Rica

Back in September, Monica and I booked a pretty spontaneous Costa Rica trip for November. Which means just when I thought that my bikini days were over and I could hide my semi-frequent drunk Jumbo Slice trips under big chunky sweaters, I all of the sudden have to once again attempt to keep my body looking its “Perfect 7” best (okay, yes–a seven is generous).

So Monica and I both decided that another Whole 30 (we’ve done two together before) wouldn’t be the worst idea we’ve ever had. (In case you’re wondering, the worst idea we ever had was attempting to go to the Renwick museum after 3 hours of bottomless brunch at Masa 14. We fortunately never made it, which means I threw up, took my shirt off, and passed out for 8 hours in the middle of the day in my apartment instead of in a DC museum.)

If you know me or follow my blog, you probably can guess what the hardest part of Whole 30 is for me–no alcohol. I knew I can do it, but I was surprised by how many of my friends doubted I could do it. “What are you going to do on the weekends? Or in your case, what are you going to do on Tuesdays,” they asked.

But there’s gotta be more to life than happy hour, bottomless brunch, and scrubbing vomit stains out of your carpet, right? I’m working on a post that details how I’m spending my 30 sober days in the city. And then I think after that I will write a post on what it’s like to drink every day for 30 days straight in the city.

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Monica and I in Puerto Rico last year. Her family referred to me as “Mas Tequila” while we were down there because that was the only Spanish I knew. I picked up on a little while I was down there–like “mas carne.” We ate chicken gizzards that day and Monica’s family reminded her “white friend” to reapply sunscreen after 15 minutes. It was an amazing time.

My Book Is Coming

I’m single, I live alone, and I’m currently taking a drinking hiatus. This means I have a lot of extra free time on my hands, which is good because I have set a deadline to self publish my book by 12/31. One of the biggest reasons I haven’t made more progress on my book (Always a Blogger, Never a Bride) over the past few years is because the idea of trying to attract a literary agent sounded harder than trying to attract a man to buy me a dinner. Or at least a drink. Or at least lie on top of me. So I’m self publishing.

And the book will be free for you to download. I’m considering CreateSpace for people who want a hardcopy, and also considering providing “Girl on a Train” book covers so that you don’t have to be ashamed of what you are reading in public places.

Wedding Dress Shopping with Maddie

So while I’m busy writing books about being always a blogger, never a bride, my little sister is planning her wedding for Sept. 2017. She was drunk one afternoon and asked me to be her maid of honor, but then she asked again sober recently so I think she means it.

Part of me was convinced that I’d make a terrible maid of honor, but Maddie said I’ll I need to do is write a speech and plan a bachelorette. Now THAT I can do.

I’ll be headed home later this month to tell her which wedding dress makes her boobs look the nicest.

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Halloween

My core little friend group consists of 5 people, so Shaheen thought we should dress up for Halloween as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I would have to be Sweet Dee since I’m the only blonde, and Natasha and Leah had to fight over who was going to be Charlie and who was going to be Frank. Realistically this is a terrible idea and no one is going to know who we are. I’m probably going to bail and dress up as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce attorney.

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Halloween 2014. Monica and I both were dating people but did a couple’s costume with each other instead. Cool Ranch Doritos and Nacho Cheese Doritos, obviously.

i just want you to know…

…that I caught the mouse.

The last time I blogged, I wrote that I checked all four of my mouse traps for weeks without ever catching anything. My landlord has an exterminator come to the building once a month, so I assumed I was probably in the clear. One Saturday I’m cleaning my kitchen, and there behind the kitchen trash can is a dead mouse in a trap.

Forget everything I ever said about being a single independent woman. Ladies, if you don’t want to clean up a mouse corpse, there should be no shame in texting every man you know and offering to buy him a steak if he comes and handles your deceased rodent disposal.

I have to give myself a little credit though–Shaheen may have picked up the body but I scrubbed the blood off the floor. Plus, we took our friendship to a whole new level! How many friends can you say you’ve cleaned up a dead body with

…if you ever find yourself in the outdoor DC Sculpture Garden…

…there’s a statue that has my exact boobs.

img_3029No joke. You’ve now basically seen my boobs.

…that among my many talents, I’m excellent at coming up with monologues

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I’m also great at roasts and figuring out who would play you in a movie. Just know you might not like the answer. Bailey will never forgive me for telling her that she’d be played by Kathy Bates.

…my natural reaction when I realize I’m starting to have feelings for someone.

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But that I secretly (or I guess not so secretly) crave a love so deep it would make the ocean jealous. And yes, I stole that from Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram bio.

…if you’ve ever purchased a family size bag of Doritos from Costco and it wasn’t for a party…

…you’ve probably given up on life.

…secret single behavior is making a comeback.

For the first time in three years, I’m living alone again and therefore, secret single behavior is making a comeback. Again, my life is an open blog, so nothing with me is really a secret. Like, yes I like to do squats in my stilettos in front of a mirror to work my leg muscles in different ways. And yes, I will leave my clothes in the dryer and use it as a second closet to get dressed out of the mornings instead of hanging clothes up. And no, it’s not weird to eat pickles for dinner when you live alone.

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…you might be old if…

…you are at the pool on a Sunday afternoon and you are tempted to tell the girls next to you to turn down their Drake music because you’re trying to read Hemingway.

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…but you’re not that old if…

…you woke up completely topless on a Sunday at midnight a few weeks prior, see a vomit stain on your floor, look through your phone and realize you ubered back from brunch at 3 but that 15 minutes prior to that you called someone in your phone named “Plan B” and have no idea who it is.

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lately i’m…

1….thinking cute strappy front bathing suits are best left for night swims:

2. …expecting to wake up with a mouse in my hair.

It was my first week in my new apartment living alone. I had just gotten back from a fun weekend in Myrtle Beach with my crew. Out of the corner of my eye I saw it run past the wall nearest my TV–a mouse. I saw it three more times that night and briefly considered downloading Tinder just to see if anyone within a mile radius wanted to come over and handle my mouse. I only imagine this would be slightly misleading when they showed up and I handed them mouse-catching tools.

I set 4 mouse traps, shutting my own hand in the trap no less than four times. The traps remain empty to this day. So I’ve decided to reframe the situation. I don’t have a mouse problem. I have pet mice.

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3. …sporting a new whip.

Last November, I rear ended an SUV on 495 hard enough to push it into the pick up truck in front of it. RIP Phillip Smartcar Hoffman. The nice thing about totaling a smart car and living to blog about it is that it gives you an optimistic new outlook on life… and it drives you straight into the arms of a bigger, safer vehicle. Meet my Honda HRV, which I’ve lovingly named HRV Positive.

I feel like the new whip says “I’m almost 30 but I’m still fun.” Which is probably better than what the smart car said, which was, “I’m almost 30 and I have a death wish.”

4… chasing waterfalls. Literally.

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(Catoctin Mountain Park. This is Brandon’s shirt I stole. Sorry Brandon.)

Four years ago when Brandon told me to “get a hobby,” I think my two strongest ideas were hard drugs and smart car ubers. Someone could have told me that hiking was just taking long walks in the woods. This might be the only healthy hobby I’ve ever had.

5. …convinced that the older I get, the more I look like a Hanson brother.

6. …wondering how many more pictures of myself I can fit into this blog post before Carley Simon starts playing. Maybe just one more good one.

7. …getting around to doing the things I always said I was going to do.

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I did my first stand up set last week with Underground DC at the Big Hunt. The video is most likely soon to follow. Putting it online means accepting the fact that I’ll probably never be able to run for office but I think that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I don’t compliment myself often, but I was super impressed with my ability to achieve the perfect level of intoxication to deliver the set with maximum confidence while not forgetting or screwing up the punchlines.

how i get over breakups (then and now)

Then: Change my hair color.

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Now: Out of curiosity, I looked to see the last time I had my hair done. De-fucking-cember. Two things I’ve actually decided aren’t compliments when it comes to hair:

  1. Your hair is so long! This is tricky because it almost sounds like a compliment but notice that the person said “long” and not “beautiful/pretty/pure sex.” I’m pretty convinced this is just a nice way to say “It’s time for a haircut, bitch.”
  2. You have mermaid hair! Oh cool. I look like I’ve been swimming in the ocean all day. Thanks.

Then: Get tattoos of sea life with facial hair.

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Now: This is not a reasonable way to cope with a broken heart. If I keep getting tattoos every time I go through a break up, I will look like Kat Von D by the time I’m 35.

I will tell you a funny story about my last tattoo though. My first tattoo, for those who don’t know, was a white ink tattoo on my left wrist that says “Never Again.” Eight years later, I’ve pretty much done everything again that I said I would never do again. So when my friend Shaheen and I got drunk in Adams Morgan and ended up at the tattoo place on 18th, I think it’s pretty obvious what I decided to do. I got a white ink tattoo on my right wrist that says “Never Mind.”

And yes. That’s how you spell it, but thank you Nirvana for popularizing the one word spelling so that I can get in constant arguments with people who think I’m one the same level as the “no ragrets” guy.

Then: Do weird things with sleep aids (NyQuil brownies come to mind).

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Now: I need sleep aids about as much as John Goodman needs a deep-fried Twinkie. I’m starting to think I might have narcolepsy. I feel asleep THREE TIMES yesterday during the middle of the fucking day. Now that I think about it, it might have been that entire bottle of Pinot I drank by the pool and not narcolepsy.

Then: Contemplate becoming a lesbian.

Now: Let’s be a little more open minded here. Why limit myself to a gender? You see that TLC special about the guy who dates pool inflatables? He might have the right idea.

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Then: Experiment with hard drugs.

Now: Experiment with vitamins. What is it about being almost 30 that has me popping vitamin bottles like they’re Moet bottles? Probiotics changed my life and I’m so amped that I found collagen in chew form.

Then: Eat cheesecake.

Now: Bribe myself to work out. Every time I work out, I put money into a special bank account for my boob job. Working out 4x a week for a year could get me out of the Itty Bitty Tittie Committee by next summer.

Then: Watch more Internet porn than usual.

Now: Wonder if it’s inappropriate to watch Internet porn in a coffee shop because my new apartment still doesn’t have Internet.

Reframing.

One final note on the topic. I was telling one of my coworkers that I’ll be forever alone. He corrected me said that I’ll be forever free. Isn’t it funny how reframing something can completely change your narrative?

who am I and what do I want out of life

This blog post was repurposed from a Readers Are Leaders segment I wrote for my company email newsletter. It was inspired by this article, shared by the lovely Lauryn Evarts.

Do you ever wonder what the difference is between the people who get what they want and the people who don’t? Luck? Destiny? Hard work and drive? Money (assuming that’s not what you want to begin with!)?

I’m sure all those things play a role, but a concept that I dare say changed my life is that the people who get what they want get it because they actually want it.

Wait what?

Let’s take a step back for a second.

This blog, at it’s very root, is me trying to figure out this whole “adulting” thing. Sure, I don’t make my bed and I sometimes eat freeze pops for breakfast, but I also pay my bills on time and attend my bi-annual dental cleanings. Progress never perfection, my friends.

Of course one of the biggest parts of “adulting” is that quarter life crisis you have where you question “Who am I and what do I want out of life?”

This question isn’t super helpful because the core of our answers is probably the same—

–to be happy.

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So if you really want to figure out what you want out of life, don’t ask yourself what you want out of life. Instead, ask yourself,

“What pain do I want in life.”

Why? Because happiness requires struggle.

It’s not enough just to want something—you have to want to sustain the pain necessary to get it.

Let me give you an example. I could list a thousand reasons why I’m not a size 2, but the crux of the problem is that I don’t really want it. Would it be nice to be a size 2? Sure. But I don’t want it enough to make it happen—to always leave work at a reasonable hour to get to my gym class, to say “no” to pizza every Free Lunch Friday, to stop drinking half my calories…

So how do you choose to suffer?

This question just might change your life because it forces you to move past what you desire (high paying job, nice car, house with a white picket fence, Tom Hardy, etc.) to what you actually want. Because at the end of the day:

  • You can’t want the reward without wanting the struggle.
  • You can’t want the result without wanting the process.
  • You can’t want the victory without wanting the fight.

The next time you wonder why your coworker was promoted before you, know that she’s at the office at 10:25 p.m. while you’re pounding margaritas at Alero. The next time you wonder why your sister looks better in her jeans than you do, understand that she’s willing to get up every morning to run before work while you abuse the shit out of your snooze button.

Unlike me, life isn’t easy. You don’t get to go through life pain-free. So choose your pain.

8 reasons why i’m not looking forward to dating again and 2 reasons why i am

  1. Speed dating isn’t what it sounds like. Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.04.12 PM
  2. As if always looking your best isn’t hard enough, always being on the lookout while always looking your best is downright dangerous. Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.04.31 PM
  3. More often than not, men mistake my humor for honesty and my honesty for humor. photo-2 copy photo
  4. Dry spells.
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  5. The inevitable lowering of expectations.
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  6. Some guys might want to date you but most just want to reenact the movie Fear Dot Com and kill you.
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  7. Unsolicited dick pics (if you haven’t seen the Bye Felipe Instagram, you’ll quickly get the point).
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  8. I’d rather die alone than go on another Internet date (see this post).

And now for a much shorter list, reasons why I am looking forward to dating again:

  1. Blog material.
  2. This.