Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday gift guide: Clothes

Welcome to the first day of my holiday gift guide! Today we're discussing the garment gift which, believe it or not, is more than merely a nice way to tell your boyfriend you're sick of his unwashed hooded sweatshirt.

If you shop smartly, the recipient could view your chosen T-shirt as a reflection of dedication and attention to detail. If you shop carelessly, well, ouch.

When it comes to gift-giving, here's how clothes measure up:

Pros: It has potential to reap tangible rewards. Nothing beats watching your boyfriend show up to work in the tie you gave him, or seeing your girlfriend flaunt the dress you hand-picked.

Cons: Size issues. With the exception of one size fits all items, it's best to skip out on the clothes category unless you're 100 percent confident in your knowledge of sizing. Otherwise, you risk hearing this line: "You got me a large? Are you trying to say I'm fat?"

Of note: For a twist on the conventional T-shirt, visit, one of my favorite Web sites. It lets you create unique, personalized T-shirts at a pretty affordable price.

I've always dreamed of getting a plain white tee that says "I Love You, Sonn-Dogg" in pink letters.

I'd also accept "I didn't steal your boyfriend."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My holiday gift guide

Hi everybody! I'm enjoying(?) a week-long furlough right now, which prevents me from doing any kind of work or associating with any of my co-workers. Yes, even to exchange biting fashion commentary.

Sad times, I know.

But don't worry: In advance, I wrote a week's worth of blog posts to entertain all my loyal followers. Yes, Mom, I'm talking to you.

This week, you'll get my take on the traditional holiday gift guide. I've compiled many common categories of gifts, discussed the pros and cons and offered a few recommendations, too.

The fun begins Monday. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What's going on this weekend?

Looking to extend your Thanksgiving festivities? Here's what's going on at the bars this weekend:


Whisky Bent, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, free. 706-322-3460.

• Thanksgiving party, 9 p.m. Club 1244, free.


• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Jasper Drive, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Java Monkey, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Stereomonster, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9:30 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

The Cove, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.


• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Jasper Drive, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Java Monkey, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Classic Addict, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Little Brown Peach, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

SidAerial, Prologic 13, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey party people! Before you bond with some pumpkin pie, I'd like to thank you again for your readership, support and constructive criticism.

While growing up, my Thanksgivings were pretty low-key. The holiday was rarely spent with anyone other than the four other members of my immediate family, and we devoted most of the day to convincing my mom she wasn't cooking for a party of 20.

Then, as I entered college and eventually joined the workforce, things changed.

My nomadic nature made me often share Thanksgiving with makeshift families -- everyone from co-workers to Grateful Dead-loving neighbors who offered me my first taste of collard greens.

I also learned that the world doesn't stop just because the calendar says it's a holiday.

I celebrated many Thanksgivings beside a newsroom computer, not to mention the one Thanksgiving I spent mourning a MySpace breakup.

But despite the chaotic schedules and my growing geographic distance from my biological family, I've always been able to find some place to call home on the holiday.

And for that, I'll be forever thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blackout Wednesday

You sever ties awkwardly, leaving his house with a bitter tirade about how you never really loved him OR his stupid flea-ridden dog.

"On the plus side, I'll never see him again," you tell yourself on the ride home.

That is, until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Today is known as Blackout Wednesday, one of the biggest party nights of the year.

Craving some detox from family time, everybody heads to the bars. Fortunately, you can expect lots of cool entertainment and drink specials. Unfortunately, you can also probably expect to run into your high school prom date.

Check out Lemondrop's handy list of the 11 people you'll meet on Blackout Wednesday.

Former loves rarely stay buried in the past. That's most apparent during winter, when hometown visits combine with seasonal sentimentality to lead to a whole slew of conversations dominated by "what if?"

Here, a CNN columnist writes what happens when dates from the past pop out of the woodwork.

Thanks to a combination of social networking and the natural cycle of events, it's now hard to end a relationship and assume your former love will never resurface.

To some, that's the beauty of relationships -- constant hope a chance encounter will resuscitate dormant feelings.

To others, those same chance encounters are nothing but a roadblock to romantic progression.

Where do you stand?

What's going on tonight?

Some people say Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest party night of the year.

The idea makes sense: College students home for the holiday are mingling with old friends. Other partiers simply want to celebrate the fact that they don't have to work Thursday.

Hit your favorite hot spot and you'll likely find a crowd tonight. Still need plans? Try these party highlights:

DJ Roonie G at The Roadhouse. Looking for a high-energy dance party? You got it. DJ Roonie G, who hails from Columbus, is a nationally recognized entertainer who frequently performs in hot spots like Las Vegas. He mixes music with video, so don't be surprised if you see your favorite cartoon characters dancing to a hip-hop tune. Action starts at 9 p.m. The Roadhouse is at 1047 Broadway.

Brent Stephens at Flip Flops. The bar, which opened in January, is participating in the Thanksgiving eve madness for its first year. They're pulling out all the stops to draw a crowd, including drink specials and live music from local rocker Brent Stephens. Music starts at 9 p.m. Flip Flops is at 1111 Broadway.

Turkey bowling at The Oasis. Don't understand the mechanics of turkey bowling? Neither do we. But hey, it's another way to get some time away from the family, and you're almost guaranteed to leave with a good story. The Oasis is at 1107 Broadway. Turkey bowling is scheduled for Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving night.

Ladies Night at Belloo's. If you're looking for something a little different from the traditional booty music scene, stake out a table at cigar and martini bar Belloo's, 900 Front Ave. Tonight, the hot spot offers its Ladies Night menu with $5 martinis beginning at 7 p.m.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy fighting

No good will come out of a relationship conversation that starts, "I appreciate everything you do for me, but..."

An occasional blowout fight can be good for a couple -- assuming you don't resort to emotionally abusive character assaults.

Here, Double X details the importance of using analytical words -- terms like "think," "understand," "because" or "reason" -- during a heated argument. Those words can help keep stress-related chemicals in check, some research contends.

When I feel like I'm due for a fight, I often mentally map out my anger monologue in advance.

It's partially an attempt to lessen the fight's severity...and partially an attempt to ensure scenes in my life mirror "The Hills."

Bottom line: Fighting is always uncomfortable. But you can make things a little more civil by thinking before you speak.

What's your advice for navigating relationship fights?

What's going on tonight?

Tonight, there's a full nightlife lineup for anyone looking to start their holiday festivities a little early.

Here's what Tuesday partiers can expect:

*SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, hosts a performance by the local rockers from Poanna. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. Call 706-568-3316.

*New house band DixieMafiaa entertains at the Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road. Music starts at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-507-3418.

*Scruffy Murphy's, 1037 Broadway, hosts a performance by local party band Boneheadz. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. Call 706-322-3460.

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., offers a Ladies Night menu with $5 martinis beginning at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-494-1584.

*Club 1244 has its Nocturnal Tuesday promotion featuring drink specials and alternative, underground and indie rock music. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lunch dates

Relationship advice from Sabrina the Teenage Witch? You bet!

Here, a Glamour blogger cites a recent interview where actress Melissa Joan Hart said lunch dates are her secret to a happy marriage.

The lunch date's appeal makes sense: an hour break from the workday's chaos, spent in the company of your one true love.

Perfect, right?

Not so fast.

Lunching together can be a perfect midday treat, but if approached incorrectly, the dates can leave you craving some serious detox time.

Some of my coupled friends savor lunch as a daily meal shared with friends, or even alone.

If you eat lunch and dinner together every day, your designated daily relationship time can begin to feel, well, a little bloated.

Weigh in: How many meals a day do you share with your significant other?

Adam Lambert AMA performance

Sunday night, I had the honor of live-blogging the 2009 American Music Awards. So at 8 p.m., my friend and I turned on the TV and waited for the Taylor Swift worship to begin.

During a pre-AMA dinner, we gave our predictions for the night's performances. For the most part, we were right.

Lady Gaga was divisively awesome, Jennifer Lopez was a train wreck and Whitney Houston was the comeback queen.

Nothing prepared us for Adam Lambert, however.

He performed a sex-infused version of his single, "For Your Entertainment." There was crotch nestling, humping, leashes and an on-stage makeout session.

Today, some people are saying it was enough to ruin the career of the "American Idol" runner-up.

I wouldn't say that. If his goal was to get people talking, he didn't fail. And Lambert's extremeness is at least memorable -- which I'd certainly prefer over the "meh" personality of last season's "Idol" winner, Kris Allen.

But I do think Lambert hurt himself by letting a focus on shock value supersede real talent.

Even though the singer had some experience prior to "Idol," he is for the most part inexperienced on the mainstream music scene. I think he resorted to a mindset that your ability to shock people mirrors your talent level.

If you missed the performance, you can watch it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon roses

At the onset of "New Moon" mania, I half-jokingly tweeted that the movie might bolster flower sales. You know, with all the guys trying to imitate Edward Cullen and everything.

Turns out, my hypothesis wasn't far from reality.

While driving back from an assignment in Phenix City, I saw a sign outside Nosegay Florist. It said "NEW MOON SPECIALS." I was strangely intrigued. I went inside and asked about the promotion.

See that, Team Jacob fans? It's part of what you can expect from the deal, which includes a special kind of rose packaged in red with a "New Moon" sticker. Totally hot.

But will it sell?

Sales associates at the store are pretty confident. Check out staffers Ashley Huckaby, left, and Lanie Brown. They're the minds behind the promotion. They say guys are striving to reach the romantic appeal of fictional heartthrobs Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.

"Guys are trying to compete with them, obviously," Brown said.

And what better way to compete with a vampire or werewolf than by having a custom bouquet ready for your girlfriend when she returns from an afternoon screening? (Calling her "Bella" probably won't hurt, either.)

The roses come with a variety of stickers. You can buy a single rose ($4.99), a half dozen ($29) or a dozen ($49).

Nosegay Florist is at 2006 Crawford Road in Phenix City. Call 334-298-7726. Access the store's Twitter site here.

What's going on this weekend?

Here's your lineup, partiers:


• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

Eleven Standing Still, Last Episode, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Spent, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Pipers Down, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy's, $5. 706-322-3460.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Boneheadz, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.


• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Liz Melendez, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

Pipers Down, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy's, $5. 706-322-3460.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Boneheadz, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

Spent, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Mercury Heat, Critical Darlings, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Meet the parents

Wow, I'm sure glad I have the Internet to remind me it might be a bad idea to impress my boyfriend's family by belching the alphabet.

Here, relationship goddesses Em & Lo offer 10 ways to win over your partner's parents this Thanksgiving.

It's a good read -- one that highlights courteous gestures that are often overlooked.

You know, like offering to help clean up after dinner.

I've never feared meeting a boyfriend's family. The worst part of the ordeal is deciding when to move in for the obligatory "I love you just as much as I love my own family" hug.

Do it too soon and you look needy. Do it too late and you look icy.

That's why, whenever I hug a boyfriend's parents for the first time, I feel like I'm reenacting the awkwardness previously reserved for a certain scene between Dr. Evil and his son Scott.

Whatever. They still love me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Foot in mouth

One of the hottest topics on Twitter right now is what not to say on a first date.

Among the most popular suggestions? Comments regarding a certain physical resemblance your partner might bear.

As in, looking like your most recent ex.

Or looking like one of your parents.


Most sane daters know that any conversation beginning with "you look just like" should be aborted -- unless the names Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie are involved.

But let's pretend we're dealing with a dating universe that doesn't know the meaning of tact.

What's worse: "You look just like my dad," or "You look just like my ex-boyfriend"?

What's going on tonight?

Hey Thursday partiers! Believe it or not, there's a social lineup beyond the highly anticipated midnight premiere of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

But if you're interested in checking out "New Moon" at Carmike 15 in Columbus, get details here.

Here's what's up on the bar scene:

• Open mike, 8 p.m. Fountain City Coffee, free. 706-494-6659.

Surgestone, 9 p.m. Shanty Shack, free. 706-507-3418.

Steve McRay with Larry Jackson, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, free. 706-494-1584.

The Cries Of, Tyler Melashenko, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, free. 706-568-3316.

• Also, Club 1244 hosts its Nocturnal Thursday promotion. It features alternative, underground and indie rock music. Action starts at 9 p.m. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway in Columbus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Decent exposure

Finally, an answer to one of the world's most pressing questions:

How much skin is too much skin?

One study says women should woo men by showing 40 percent of their skin. Here's a summary:

For the purposes of the study, each arm accounts for 10 per cent, each leg for 15 per cent and the torso for 50 per cent.

The head, hands and feet are not included in the calculation.

Suitable outfits might include a sleeveless dress that skims the thighs.

But showing off any more flesh than this could be counterproductive.

I still don't really understand the mathematical process, but I think it's fair to conclude you shouldn't party downtown wearing only a bra and underwear.

Conversely, it's also probably not a smart idea to hit the clubs with your entire body wrapped in gauze.

Ladies: How often do you follow the 40 percent rule?

When your girlfriend loves Twilight

It's irrational to be jealous of a fictional character, much less one who values sucking your wife's blood over taking her to dinner.


Details has an interesting article about how men are affected by the adult female obsession with the "Twilight" vampire saga.

The piece is dominated by a belief that romance in our country has become too safe, too predictable -- and that's why so many 20- and 30-something women worship vampire Edward Cullen.

But does that obsession have any effect on the real men in their lives? Maybe.

In the article, one 37-year-old guy whose wife worships "Twilight" says the series' focus on seduction has made him wonder if he should up his game. He says:

"It makes you think: Why can't I ante up and do those kinds of things? Have I slipped a little? Have I gotten a little too comfortable? When was the last time I bought her flowers? Or took her out? When was the last time I was spontaneous?"

Male readers: Has the widespread female obsession with "Twilight" made you change your attitude toward love and romance?

For more on the teen obsession with "Twilight," check out my colleague Katie Holland's excellent blog post here.

(via Jezebel)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winter flings

Believe it or not, the term "fling" doesn't only apply to situations involving sand and sunblock.

It also characterizes scenes centered on frumpy sweatsuits and flu medicine.

Maybe I'm being a bit too critical of the winter fling.

YourTango describes the phenomenon here, offering four tips for a no-strings-attached holiday fling.

The more I think about it, there's no reason the fling concept should be confined to summer. The holiday season is filled with meet market-friendly parties, not to mention seasonal pickup lines like this:

"Put your arms around me. I'm cold."

But winter seems to have more of an emphasis on serious commitment. Meet a date in June and your biggest social obligation will likely be a July 4 barbecue.

Meet someone in November, however, and you'll quickly be forced to decide if he/she should join your family for Thanksgiving dinner.

That's cool if you're looking for a serious relationship, but not exactly ideal if you only want a fling.

Which is better: Summer flings, or winter flings?

(Get more info on holiday parties at the Ledger-Enquirer's newest blog.)


There's no advance warning, no well-rehearsed speech about how this decision could affect your future relationship.

Instead, you stumble upon the news accidentally. A seemingly innocent perusal of your Facebook account yields a harsh realization:

You've been unfriended.

Sorry, I can't say anything that will stop you from feeling like a social outcast.

But look on the bright side of things: You now have a personal story to attach to the New Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 Word of the Year.

That's right, the Oxford folks gave "unfriend" top ranking because of its "popularity in everyday usage and cultural importance over the previous twelve months."

As trivial as the word sounds, I think the unfriending process has definitely changed our social interactions. Until about a month ago, I'd only been unfriended by people who had canceled their Facebook accounts, or didn't talk to me at all anyway.

Then, out of the blue, I couldn't access a friend's Facebook page. This was somebody I talked to on almost a daily basis.

I panicked, reevaluating every conversation we'd had in recent history. I even drafted an e-mail begging her to let me enter her cyber world once again.

Long story short, it was all just a technical glitch. But the fact that a simple computer error jeopardized our real-life friendship so quickly was kind of scary.

How many people did you unfriend in 2009?

(via Fark)

Tuesday night entertainment

Based on tonight's entertainment lineup, Tuesday is the new Friday. Bars across town host a variety of promotions.

Check out these options:

*SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, hosts a performance by the local rockers from Poanna. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. Call 706-568-3316.

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., offers its Ladies Night menu with $5 martinis beginning at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-494-1584.

*The Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road, hosts a performance by its new house band, DixieMafiaa. Music starts at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-507-3418.

*Club 1244 has a new Nocturnal Tuesday promotion featuring alternative, underground, rock and indie rock music. Action starts at 9 p.m. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway in Columbus.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dinner at Golden Corral?

Nothing tests the limits of love like watching your significant other devour gravy-soaked sushi...right beside crab legs smothered in nacho cheese.

It's one thing to savor a fancy steak dinner together.

However, it takes an especially solid relationship foundation to survive a trip to the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Why? For starters, there's the clientele.

While dining at an all-you-can-eat restaurant, I once sat beside a woman whose shirt read "I will cut you." I spent the entire meal praying my last supper wouldn't be permanently recorded as a plate containing raspberry Jell-O and a soft taco.

Then, there's the staff.

For the most part, they are helpful. But as a friend of mine once accurately observed, there's always one manager walking around like he's afraid the meat chef might kill somebody with a chicken breast.

But the most difficult thing about the all-you-can-eat buffet date is that you must be prepared to watch your lover transform into a human garbage disposal, taking on an animal persona that throws caution to the wind while mixing teriyaki and alfredo sauce.


Check out this very comprehensive guide to the buffet experience. It offers wisdom like this:

Do not bring others who have time constraints, will judge for over consumption, will belittle the environment or other patrons, get bored easily and especially those who are not even planning on eating. You’ll want the strongest support team that you can muster and as everyone knows, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.


(via NY Times)

Man-gagement rings

Turns out women aren't the only ones who like shiny objects: The male engagement ring has once again entered the spotlight.

The blogosphere is buzzing about this ABC News piece, where some of the trend's most ardent supporters state their cases.

A comment from a New York jeweler draws on the most popular argument in favor of engagement rings for men:

"If you think about it, a woman is engaged and wears an engagement ring on her finger, oftentimes [for] north of a year. And a guy's engaged during that same time and walks into a bar as a free man ... so I think for $350, $400 for a woman to claim her territory, it's catching on pretty quickly."

Man-gagement rings: Territory claimers, or just plain cheesy?

(via TresSugar)

Sensitive men

It wouldn't be Monday without another scientific study highlighting your relationship's inadequacies.

Today's news: Men say "I love you" quicker than women, according to results of a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by Stella magazine for the Sunday Telegraph, concluded men take an average of seven months to say "I love you," while women take eight months.

I'm not buying it.

With the exception of drunken dialogue -- which totally doesn't count -- women rarely feel confident guys will drop the L-bomb first.


Share your thoughts in the comments section, and then check out this cautionary tale of a woman who said "I love you" to her guy.

His response: "Thank you. That was very brave of you."


Friday, November 13, 2009

What's going on this weekend?

Hey party people! Don't forget about two especially exciting events this weekend: Nerdacon (Friday and Saturday) and the Ultimate Guys Expo (Saturday and Sunday).

Here's the rest of your lineup:


Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-653-8277.

Pipers Down, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

Boneheadz, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Sum Ever After, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

• David McBride and the Razin Kane Band, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

Thousand Watt Halo (farewell show), Down From Zero, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Big Woody and the Splinters, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.


Ben Deignan, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

Big Woody and the Splinters, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-653-8277.

• David McBride and the Razin Kane Band, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

Boneheadz, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Hold Cell, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Don't call me honey

I got a call alerting me to a severe, potentially libelous error in my most recent column:

"You never call me 'honey.'"

My boyfriend was referring to one of my written descriptions of our relationship, and he was right.

When I write about the words we exchange, I'm more likely to preface our sentences with words like "honey" and "sweetie."

On paper, the words look cute. But I rarely use them in real life. I consider "honey" a gateway drug that eventually makes you call your significant other "snuggles" or "baby cakes."

Less than 24 hours after we had our conversation, I found this Glamour blog post -- dedicated to one writer's hatred of "honey" and its saccharine counterparts.

There's nothing dramatically wrong with the words. They just always sound so artificial, as if they're designed to get outsiders' validation rather than bolster a couple's own romantic feelings for each other.

So I dropped off a sandwich at my boyfriend's desk today, fully aware that when it comes to terms of endearment, we'll likely never move beyond "boo."

He ate the sandwich, and expressed his gratitude with a two-word note on my desk:

"Thanks, honey!"

The SEC football date

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the tradition of fraternity guys wearing ties and taking sundress-clad dates to Southeastern Conference football games.

The piece, which focuses heavily on Auburn University, outlines the etiquette for the Southern football date. It also notes that female companionship is key to fraternities maintaining their coveted stadium seats.

An excerpt:

According to several sophomore members of Auburn's Sigma Nu chapter, the best quality to look for in a date is that she makes a good "babysitter" (read: she will take care of you if you get too drunk). Others say the best dates won't mind doubling as bourbon-transportation vehicles. (Taping a flask to a date's leg is, by many accounts, another age-old Southern football tradition.)

The football date tradition was one of the hardest things for me to understand upon moving to the South.

My college football team played its games in a high school stadium, and we wore sweatshirts and heavy jackets during much of the season.

Do I feel like I missed out? Kind of, especially when I read the aforementioned passage about taping a flask to a date's leg.

Give me your tips for football date etiquette.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Male midlife crisis

A few days ago, I uttered the line again:

"He might be a nice person, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's good at relationships."

At that moment, I realized the sentence had become a mantra of sorts in recent years -- not only as I consoled female friends post-breakup, but also as I examined my own romantic pairings.

And the strange thing is, in a majority of cases, it wasn't a cliche. In my (admittedly biased) mind, the line seemed like the truth.

Which is why I surprisingly can't be too critical of this buzzed-about Marie Claire article, headlined "The new male midlife crisis."

It contends today's male 20- and 30-somethings are reluctant to settle down and are "turned off by the sweaty maneuvering of the type A girl, the Tracy Flickishness in how she knows what she wants and goes after it without apology."

Try this description on for size:

These guys are part of a cause-less generation. They didn't grow up burning their draft cards or fighting the Nazis. They weren't part of the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, or any other movement. They were spoiled as kids and now they want to spoil themselves as adults. The old cliché was that a man would wake up one morning and realize that he wanted his youth back. The new version is that he never reached adulthood in the first place.

Not everyone buys it.

Where do you stand?

Reebok EasyTone shoes

I'll put on my figure-toning shoes and walk to the nearest buffet.

That mentality is one of the biggest potential drawbacks surrounding the newest footwear obsession, Reebok EasyTone shoes.

The shoes promise to tone your legs and butt while you walk, thanks to a "slight instabililty" that "forces your muscles to work a little harder."

It's not the first time we've seen something like this -- Sketchers offers a similar model -- but EasyTone has attracted lots of attention with its sex-driven, quasi-controversial ad campaign.

I'm incredibly intrigued by the shoes, which cost about $100. Nonetheless, I can't help worrying they'll lead to an increase in this line: "I don't have to work out today, because I wore my special shoes."

Which is kind of scary, given the conclusion reached on exercise shoes in a recent Wall Street Journal article: "Short-term data show wearing the shoes makes some muscles work harder, but so far there's no rigorous evidence that they speed weight loss."

Even if these shoes really tone muscles, they can't be used as a substitute for exercise since they seem to only work a very concentrated part of your body.

So if mass public interest continues to follow EasyTone, we might end up with a country of women with really toned legs, but giant arms and guts.

Totally hot.

What's going on tonight?

Hey party people! There's a Nocturnal Thursday promotion at the Whiskey River Live Bar inside the new Club 1244. Expect alternative, underground and indie rock music. Action starts at 9 p.m. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway in Columbus.

Also, don't forget that Belloo's (900 Front Ave.) has Ladies Night with $5 martinis.

Here's the rest of your lineup:

Gary Parmer, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, free. 706-494-1584.

Connor Christian, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, free. 706-568-3316.

• Open mike, 8 p.m. Fountain City Coffee, free. 706-494-6659.


Is it possible to move out of a significant other's house without breaking up?

Lemondrop has an interesting essay by a woman who moved in with her boyfriend -- and then moved out.

Her reason? When they lived together, their relationship turned turned into a marriage. Neither of them wanted that. An excerpt:

I wasn't unhappy. Just instead of a sexy courtship where I'd jump out of bed to brush my teeth in the morning, it turned into a comfortable marriage where we'd discuss our finances over dinner, then have a glass of wine with a DVD. We talked about our cat a lot. We were married in every sense but legally.

And I don't want to be married. Because I love my boyfriend, but I still have a lot of partying to do.

The decision to stop living together was mutual. From the essay, it seems like the couple is still together.

But I think that's the exception, rather than the rule. I could never leave a failed living setup and keep the relationship going.

Could you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wisdom from Amy Poehler

You turn on "Family Guy," and the countdown begins.

Within the next 30 seconds, your boyfriend will imitate Stewie Griffin.

He thinks the impersonation is clever and hilarious. You think he sounds like a mix between a cow and a used car salesman.

Nonetheless, you pretend to laugh uncontrollably: "Honey, you're going to make me pee my pants!"

Ah, the things we do for love.

One of the harshest relationship lessons is learning your partner isn't always funny. In fact, sometimes your partner is distinctly unfunny.

Perhaps the realization comes from an overdone Kate Gosselin joke. An outdated Jeff Foxworthy imitation. A fart joke too juvenile for third grade.

Comedienne Amy Poehler recently offered this advice: "Girls, if boys say something that’s not funny, you don’t have to laugh."

In relationships, how long can you politely tolerate a bad sense of humor?

Thanksgiving awkwardness begins

Suddenly, you desperately want to savor an inedible casserole while exchanging awkward pleasantries about a stranger's dentures.

My, how things have changed.

With Thanksgiving just about two weeks away, many new couples -- and some not-so-new ones -- have hit a new high in awkwardness.

Blame it on the family Thanksgiving dinner invite, or lack thereof.

Suddenly, relationship Web sites are flooded with inquiries, most of which fall into one of two camps: "Should I invite him?" or "Why didn't he invite me?"

Need examples? Click here and here.

As far as I'm concerned, if a guy doesn't initiate a conversation about spending Thanksgiving together, he's not ready to do the whole "meet the family" thing.

But maybe I'm being overly cautious.

Weigh in: If you're in a fairly new relationship, is it weird to ask your boyfriend if you can spend Thanksgiving with his family?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Real Househusbands of Atlanta

Does the title seem intriguing? I didn't think so.

Still, the company associated with the "Real Housewives" franchise is shopping around a version of the reality TV series that focuses on men.

It will reportedly be set in Atlanta and titled "Boys Club: ATL."

Here's what one insider said about the project:

"We'd obviously admired from afar what (casting exec Princess Banton-Lofters) did with 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,' and when she approached us with this idea, it was a slam dunk" said Evolution President Douglas Ross. "Men's lives are as dramatic and interesting as their female counterparts."

Not exactly.

In fact, I see absolutely no parallels between the two concepts. Men's lives may be interesting, but they certainly lack the potential for petty drama that drives the "Housewives" franchise.

Trust me: That's not an insult, guys.

(Via the AJC)

Rent the Runway

The NY Times has an interesting profile of Rent the Runway, a new Netflix-like service for designer dresses.

Here's how it works:

The rentals run $50 to $200 for a four-night loan and are shipped directly to the customer’s doorstep. After wearing the dress, she puts it into a prepaid envelope and drops it in the mail. Dry cleaning is included in the price, but damage insurance costs $5, and in the case of outright destruction of the dress, the renter is responsible for the full retail price.

Is Rent the Runway recession-friendly? I don't know.

It certainly beats paying $500 for an evening gown, but I don't know if I'd even be willing to shell out $200 for something I couldn't wear for more than a weekend.

Plus, Rent the Runway is an invitation-only service. What's up with that?

It's bad being broke. It's worse being broke and not even cool enough for membership in a RENTAL service.

Why underpants matter

Some girls get stomach butterflies by hearing "I love you."

Other female hearts flutter while buying a boyfriend a new pair of boxers.

The second camp? They might not be that crazy, this Reuters article notes. The piece includes perhaps the best headline ever: "If he lets you buy his underpants, you're 'The One.'"

An excerpt:

"Our research shows that you can tell when a man is looking for a partner by the number of new underpants they buy for themselves," said Debenhams Head of Men's Accessories Buying, Rob Faucherand.

"If he buys more than 31 pairs every year then he's either still trying desperately to impress the woman in his life -- or else she's not The One."

However, Faucherand said that if your man seldom goes to the underwear section on his own, and instead assumes that you will choose for him, then you can be certain that your relationship is in a very stable phase.


As much as I want to buy this theory, I have to wonder: Are guys really THAT willing to let someone else control their underwear shopping?

I wouldn't do it. There are important issues of fit, color and elasticity involved.

Then again, maybe men aren't as picky with their undergarments.

Are they?

(via Jezebel)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Take a hint

You strategically place bridal magazines around the house. You take road trips while listening to a custom-made CD in which every song includes the words "I do."

You sleep in a white lingerie getup that includes a veil.

He has to understand you're ready to get married, right?

Well, maybe not.

Here, one guy accurately notes that "men are not the masters of the subtle," as noted by the accompanying list of 5 female hints guys don't get.

I admit to falling into the hint trap in relationships. It's just so much easier than being direct.

Plus, I think I speak on the behalf of many women when I emphasize that hints give us something to obsess over, and that's always fun.

Nothing beats hours alone spent planning how you're going to "accidentally" leave a Cosmo article entitled "How I got him to say 'I love you'" at your boyfriend's apartment.

While hints may be unsuccessful in relationships, they're even more futile on the meet market scene.

Given the skewed gender ratio in Columbus, I've learned it's best to directly say "no" if you're not interested in a guy's offer to dance.

Otherwise, you end up playing the "I'll dance with you while I wait for my faux lesbian friends to drag me away" charade.

And that's just a waste of time.

Love and leprechauns

Irish eyes have a new reason to smile: The Irish accent was recently voted the world's sexiest, Lemondrop reports.


As much as I want to embrace my Irish heritage and celebrate this victory, I don't necessarily equate the Irish accent with sexiness.

It brings to mind images of jolly leprechauns and "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." I'd rather hear sweet nothings from an Italian stallion.

Many women who go crazy over accents.

The aforementioned Lemondrop post cites a poll where six out of 10 women confessed to being seduced by a man solely because of his accent.

I don't fall into that camp.

Maybe I've just had one too many awkward linguistic moments that involve mistaking "get me another beer" for "I love you." Whatever.

Accents: Turn-on or just "meh"?

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's going on this weekend?

Hey party people! Don't forget: Eighty-Five opens on Front Avenue below Belloo's Friday. The bar focuses on '80s, indie and alternative music.

Friday, doors open at 7 p.m. and a $5 cover starts at 9 p.m. Col. Bruce Hampton and the Quark Alliance perform.

Also, there's a First Friday Block Party downtown. One $10 cover gets you into the majority of Broadway hot spots.

Here's the rest of your lineup:


Strokin Dixie, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

The M&M Band, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, block party cover. 706-653-8277.

Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Classic Addict, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, block party cover.

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness with special guest Marshall Ruffin, 9:30 p.m. The Loft, block party cover. 706-596-8141.

Branded with Fear, 8 p.m. Daileys, block party cover. 706-320-3353.


Strokin Dixie, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

SubCam, Mind Trip, Camp Normal, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-653-8277.

Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Branded with Fear, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

• Jasper Drive with Mary Bragg, 8:30 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

Cougars: Due for extinction?

Get ready for a harsh lesson: Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher do not reflect reality.

It seems like it's impossible to watch TV without hearing the word "cougar" at least once.

But the Associated Press reports the cougar phenomenon -- younger men pursuing older women -- isn't exactly thriving in the real world. Well, at least when it comes to marriage.

An excerpt:

Dating experts say they have seen a rise in older women seeking younger men, though not necessarily the other way around. And they say those matches don't tend to turn into long-term relationships.

In fact, only 1 percent of all marriages in 2008 were between a woman who was 10-14 years older than her husband; 2.6 percent 6 to 9 years older, according to Census figures.

This doesn't surprise me. I'm totally over the "cougar" label.

Anyone else think Hollywood's cougar obsession is due for extinction?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is technology ruining romance?

One NY Times columnist says yes. Here, David Brooks argues cell phones and text messages have undermined our understanding of romance.

People have been debating this question since I was in college 5 years ago, when boyfriends and girlfriends in adjacent dorm rooms would instant message each other rather than simply walking next door.

Yes, technology has erased some of the formalities that come with relationships, but it's also added a whole new set of romantic milestones.

Consider the following:

*The anticipation, fear and comfort you get upon changing your Facebook status to "in a relationship."

*The thrill of finally convincing your boyfriend to send a text message that says something other than "OK."

*The satisfaction of shocking an ex by posting a really hot picture of you with your new flame.

*The elation you experience upon realizing your boyfriend gave you your own ring tone -- that's not "Crazy Bitch."

So while cell phones have given traditional romance cloudy reception, a relationship's stomach butterflies are far from extinct. And that makes me happy.

Or, um :)

Get married, get fat

Another advantage to living alone? A smaller waistline.

This Houston Chronicle article cites a study that concluded "couples are more likely to become obese within the first two years of marriage than those who are dating."

To make matters worse, "women are also more likely to gain weight when they are living with a romantic partner."

I've written about the "boyfriend bulge" before, and it's an understandable consequence of all the wining and dining that comes at a relationship's early stages.

Also, it's incredibly easy to pick up your significant other's bad eating habits.

One day you're requesting nothing but pesto pizza with extra veggies, and the next day -- thanks to your boyfriend's influence -- you're discussing the culinary value of three dangerous words:

Hot and Ready.

What's the worst eating habit you've picked up from a relationship?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Living alone

Here, the Washington Post describes how the D.C. area has seen a surge in single living. The piece seems to be slightly indicative of national trends.

With the exception of my immediate family and college roommates, I've always lived alone.

It's an arrangement I often ponder late at night, as my dog encourages me to go on Craig's List and find a roommate who will stalk us in our sleep. The discussion usually goes something like this:

On the plus side...

Living alone makes for an unrivaled level of privacy. Need proof? Refer to the many Fridays I spend watching "SuperNanny" while wearing my seventh-grade gym clothes.


I really hate cooking for one. I buy ingredients only to watch them spoil, and on most nights I surrender to the convenience of microwave dinners.

Then again...

Sharing occupancy of my home would mean I'd actually have to be clean. That's not an ideal situation for someone who's on a first-name basis with the dust bunnies under her fridge.


Being alone gets, well, lonely sometimes. And if I lived with someone, I might actually be able to enter the modern age and pay for cable.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Weigh in: What are the best and worst parts of living alone?

Have leftover Halloween candy?

You don't have to use that cauldron of Reese's pieces to heighten your office's obesity epidemic.

A feel-good alternative: sending your leftover candy to troops overseas.

Here's more info, courtesy of the Sacramento Bee. The project is done through an organization called Operation Gratitude. Ship candy by Dec. 5.

You'll ship your goodies and walk away with some warm fuzzy feelings. That's a whole lot more than you'll get from watching your manager devour his ninth Milky Way bar.

(For more military news, check out my colleague Lily Gordon's blog here.)

Couple friends

The essential accessory to any healthy relationship?

A couple who reminds you of your romantic shortcomings.

Their public displays of affection annoy you, and you still can't stop rolling your eyes when they insist on ordering identical entrees.

Your double dates aren't perfect, but you tolerate them. Because good couple friends -- even good couple frenemies -- are hard to find.

Here, Wall Street Journal describes the complicated universe of couples dating. An excerpt:

Actually, the date itself is just the beginning of the stress. Wait until the next day, which can be just as excruciating as the day after a singles date. If you didn't like the other couple, you'll need to plot ways to avoid them. If you did like them, you'll need to deal with your anxiety.

Because what if they don't call? Should you contact them? And if you do, and you still don't hear back, what does that say about your relationship with your partner? Are you irritating? Insufferable? Uninteresting as a team?

This is exactly why I've never been a fan of double dates. They only make for awkwardness.

Well, that's not entirely true.

You do come away from the experience with one valuable gem:

The freedom to smugly say, "See honey, things aren't that bad. We could be like them."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weddings and tragedies

The NY Times' City Room blog has an interesting piece about couples who got married on Nov. 23, 1963 -- the day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The writer asks some of the brides why they opted for a "show must go on" attitude.

Among the interesting responses:

“When you’re getting married the very next day, you’re totally preoccupied. Even though you’re affected by this, you put it off until you can deal with it.”

It's one thing to get married directly after an unexpected national tragedy, but couples face just as many dilemmas in tying knot on the anniversary of a catastrophe.

Here's a good article about couples' mixed emotions in choosing Sept. 11 as a wedding date.

Would you cancel your wedding if it coincided with a national tragedy?

Would you marry on Sept. 11?

(via Jezebel)

Post-Halloween Stress Disorder

Halloween's over, and you're not happy.

I feel your pain.

Right now, lots of us are experiencing the condition: Post-Halloween Stress Disorder. Without go-to conversation topics like costume choices, cubicles are suddenly quiet.

It doesn't stop there.

Most of us got our first taste of PHSD in childhood, when our seemingly bottomless candy cauldrons were inexplicably reduced to two flimsy bags of Raisinets.

Things get worse when you're older.

Halloween's passage marks the onset of Thanksgiving and Christmas, holidays that can't be mastered by merely buying a skimpy police officer getup.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in less than a month, you'll be subjected to the annual slew family inquiries about why you haven't gotten married/had kids/found a "real" job.

On a more practical level, without seasonal justification, you'll be forced to face a harsh reality:

Those poorly dressed partiers aren't wearing costumes. They just have really, really bad taste in fashion.

But keep the faith.

Things seem severe now, but we'll survive this bout of PHSD together -- even if recovery involves a bag of stale candy corns.

And if it's any consolation, I'm sure your Obama mask will fit just fine next year.

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant

Don't worry, Mom: This isn't a personal confession.

Instead, I'm referring to the popular show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," now airing its second season on TLC.

I caught a marathon of the show while preparing to hit downtown Halloween night. Few goblins are scarier than watching a dramatic reenactment of a woman giving birth in her pants.

For the uninitiated, Slate summarizes a typical episode of the series:

What to expect when they're not expecting? An off-screen narrator, his voice mitigating the insistent sonority of a true-crime-show newsreader with the studied warmth of a third-year resident, smoothes the flow of each 15-minute segment as the video cuts between new interviews with the parents and professional re-enactments of their old selves.

I'm astounded by this show's mere existence, but I'm equally amazed producers found enough first-person stories to air marathons on a regular basis.

"I Didn't Know I Was Pregant" is one of those shows people probably joked about 10 years ago, noting, "TV might be bad, but it'll never air something like that."

Look who's laughing now.

On the plus side, I'm now hopeful we'll soon see a primetime version of "I Didn't Know I Was an Annoying Facebook User."