Friday, December 30, 2011

Kissing advice from the Internet

In honor of the highly anticipated midnight kiss on New Year's Eve, I scoured the Internet for the best kissing advice online. Not like I need it or anything. Kidding.

Among the highlights of my search?

One guide offers a 22-step process on how to kiss. Really?!? I had no idea it was that complicated. At the same time, I wish this guide would've been around when my adolescent self was reading Judy Blume books for relationship tips.

Speaking of adolescent awkwardness, I also Googled "how to kiss with braces" and found lots of helpful manuals, including this one. I revisited plenty of teen nightmares upon finding this article: how to kiss someone with braces without getting stuck.

And here's one just for you, guys...assuming you can handle the truth. Click here for the top 10 signs you're a bad kisser. Don't worry, there's always time to improve.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walking down the aisle

Among the holiday traditions I witnessed when I was home for Christmas: my dad making multiple trips to the grocery store, trying to decipher long lists of ingredients my mom needed for dinner.

I have lots of memories involving my dad and grocery shopping.

My favorite is a Sunday routine I had during childhood. My dad and I would wake up early and attend 7:30 a.m. Mass together, then hit the supermarket and buy a week's worth of dinner materials.

My dad's involvement in weekly shopping hardly seemed progressive at the time, but this article made me rethink that.

The headline: "More men taking the reins of the cart." Here's an excerpt:

Experts say the trend has been building slowly for decades. But the recession hit men disproportionately with layoffs and left many of them home to manage the household.

The nation's biggest food and personal-products manufacturers are taking notice, attempting to market products and adjust store layouts to cater to men.

It's a paradigm shift for the $560 billion retail food industry that has patently referred to the primary customer as "she," focusing marketing and advertising firepower on women, and mothers in particular — sometimes making fun of dads in the process.

Interesting, right? In your relationship, is grocery shopping a distinctly "male" or "female" task -- or do you share the shopping duties?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolution Generator

And...I'm back! Sorry for the brief absence -- I wanted to unplug for a few days so I could enjoy some quality time with my family. That's right, folks. I went home for Christmas for the first time in five years.

I'd forgotten how much I missed our holiday traditions. I've always had somewhere to go on Dec. 25, but there really is no place like home for the holidays.

Anyway...who's excited for New Year's Eve? I compiled a pretty thorough list of local bar parties, which will run in Thursday's To Do section. I'll post a link on the blog Thursday, too.

Aside from champagne and glitter, this week generates discussions of New Year's resolutions. My colleague Sara Pauff has done a great job with her series on the topic.

Here's another tool to help craft your 2012 goals: an online New Year's Resolution Generator. Yes, it does all the work for you.

I tried it, and my first automatically generated resolution was to watch the sunrise in 2012. Yeah, probably not gonna happen unless I'm on an early morning run.

Resolution No. 2: "Be a rockstar."

That's more like it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drinking with Mom and Dad

Happy holidays! Since many of you are likely heading home for Christmas, I figured this was a good time to offer some words of caution about drinking with Mom and Dad.

Some people stay away from the actively entirely. Others embrace it, savoring a chance to view Mom and Dad as equals amid a backdrop of poor karaoke.

And me? I'm somewhere in between.

I've had cocktails with my parents, but never to the point of "I'm so drunk, I can't believe I just said that."

As cool as it is to shatter the barriers of authority, I'm old school in my perceptions of parental units. I want them to be parents, not friends. I don't necessarily want to hear their stories of failed romantic flings and/or previous drunken escapades.

Go ahead, take Mom to the bar. But limit your fun...and pick up her tab.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paws amid Christmas stress

So, I'm definitely feeling the stress of the pre-Christmas rush. Please forgive me for not writing a longer post.

However, I'll leave you with this photo of my dog in her Christmas dress. Yes, I am "that girl."

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday power anthem

You'll either love or hate me for picking this song. Hopefully "love" is the correct answer.

Hope you're having a great week and handling the stress of Christmas crunch time.

Take a deep breath and try to have fun.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dating a journalist

Props to my local media friend Sarah Panko for directing me to this article, "5 things you should know before dating a journalist."

The post has attracted 350 comments, many of which center on a debate over whether "towards" is a word.

I love it...and while I hate to say it, I agree with the warnings.

My favorite is No. 2: "At some point, you will be a topic." Everyone I've dated -- even a single date -- has been inspiration for one of my columns or blog posts. Go ahead, call me the Taylor Swift of journalism. No, really. Do it.

I've been fortunate in that nobody has ever complained -- to my face -- about appearing in a column.

Actually, the only memorable criticism I received was from my current boyfriend, a fellow journalist. Early in our relationship, I told him I'd put him in a column and he responded, "I'd prefer to get my fame in other ways."

Ouch, right? Not like I'm still bitter or anything.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bar fights

For the most part, I've never felt unsafe on the local nightlife scene. I've encountered a few dangerous situations, but I've confronted them with common sense. And also, I'm rarely bar-hopping at closing time.

That said, I couldn't resist reading this article, which highlights "the most likely place for fights to break out inside a large drinking establishment."

The answer? The dance floor.

I'm not too surprised. Do you think the research holds true in Columbus?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Derek Jeter and dating

So, have you read this NY Post article suggesting Yankees star Derek Jeter sends his one-night stands home with "gift baskets of autographed memorabilia"?

It prompted one writer to devise this creative post: "What's in a one-night stand gift bag?" The result: a fictional gift basket that I actually kind of want. I love the addition of coconut water.

For what it's worth, I don't think the gift basket idea is entirely tacky...assuming it's done correctly. No, I don't want autographed memorabilia. Or a note that says "don't call me."

A toothbrush is a different story, however.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday overload

This is when I wish I was a kid again.

Remember how the days leading up to Christmas seemed to pass so slowly? I sometimes made mental countdowns leading up to the day before Christmas Eve, in an attempt to make the time pass faster.

Now, it seems like all my adult friends are asking the same question this month.

"Where did the time go?"

It's a little sad. When you're an adult, Christmas is often something that simply major countdown, no sleepless nights of anticipation. But what's the alternative? Most of us can't take time off work to savor the season.

Christmas is almost 10 days away and I've only bought one present. My travel plans for the holiday are still in the works. And as trivial as it sounds, I'm sad I haven't even taken my dog to see Santa yet.

"Real life" comes with the harsh realization that Dec. 25 really is just another day of the year. The universe doesn't stop to allow for Hallmark-worthy moments. Christmas doesn't discriminate against negative emotions.

So yes, I'm experiencing a slight seasonal overload...and trying to remind myself that a busy schedule hasn't blinded me to the intangible gifts that should define this time of year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Love goes viral

Wow...that headline sounds kind of nasty. Trust me, this will be a clean post.

TresSugar has a good roundup of all the marriage proposal videos that went viral in 2011. It's not a one-year phenomenon. In the past, I've reflected on the abundance of YouTube-ready proposals.

I think these viral videos have increased the expectations that come with popping the question. Proposals are now defined by even grander gestures -- you know, the kind that warrant a spot on morning TV shows.

Which makes me wonder: Do you think we're due for a backlash?

I can help wondering if we've moved beyond the infatuation phase when it comes to marriage proposal videos. Do you think the videos will continue to make people swoon, or will viewers will eventually question the sincerity of these relationships?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Socially awkward

The other day, somebody asked me if I'm naturally introverted or extroverted.

My response was probably consistent with what a lot of journalists would say: "I'm an introvert, but I became extroverted because of my job."

Journalism attracts a lot of people who'd prefer to fill their social circles with words and fictional characters, rather than real people.

But at the same time, the profession is very heavy on face-to-face interactions. You often can't survive professionally if you don't ditch your comfort zone.

The issues came to mind after I found this New York Times piece, "The dating travails of young bankers." The article focuses on some financiers' apparent bad luck in the dating world.

I'm really interested in one of the reader comments that accompanies the story. A reader lists "the most socially awkward people in order." The results?

1. Engineers/Scientists
2. Techies
3. Accountants
4. Lawyers
5. Artists
6. Finance types

Remember, this is merely a reader comment and it's not backed by any official research. Still...the list doesn't seem too far off base.

Weigh in: Do we choose certain professions because we're socially awkward?

Or, are we socially awkward because of the professions we choose?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas wedding proposals

This Glamour article, "6 signs he might propose this holiday season," seems like a recipe for disappointment. But maybe that's just in my world.

Either way, references to "a quiet holiday" hardly ensure you'll receive a giant piece of bling under the tree. And if your guy doesn't ask what you want for Christmas, he might just be clueless.

Sorry, ladies.

Bottom line? When you really want something to happen, it's easy to convince yourself that virtually every behavior supports your desired outcome.

Yikes. That was some serious tough love. Maybe I haven't listened to enough sappy holiday music this year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday power anthem

I had this song in my head for the entire day Sunday, and now I'm sharing the wealth. You're welcome.

Enjoy the week. Try not to get too bogged down by holiday stress. If you can't get into the spirit, try some Little Debbie Christmas snacks.

Trust me, they work. I'm eating a Little Debbie gingerbread man right now. Jealous?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Britney Spears: 30 and Fabulous?

So, um, Britney Spears is 30.

This news comforts me, since my mind has been swirling with thoughts regarding my upcoming 30th birthday. (By the's Jan. 9. I like lip gloss and Starbucks gift cards. Thanks for asking.)

My opinion might change in a month, but right now I don't have any big anxiety about turning 30. I mean, it's not like I've just been lounging around the couch during these past few years.

I've driven across the country. Written (relatively) coherent articles about topics ranging from politics in California to the Columbus, Ga., entertainment scene. I've finished multiple half marathons, despite hating exercise for the first 15 years of my life.

Wow...sorry for that brief bragging session. To bring things back to reality, I'm having a really bad hair day and there's a nasty smell in my laundry room.

Anyway, my existence is worlds away from Britney's universe. While some people say her vocals are processed and her fashion choices are often questionable, it's hard to hate Ms. Spears. Her ability to rebound -- even amid life's toughest times -- is reassuring.

And as I prepare to turn 30, that's exactly what I need: reassurance that life really does improve with time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Model behavior

I watched the Victoria's Secret fashion show this week and didn't have a nervous breakdown.

That's progress.

Popular culture has often focused on the rift between models and "real people." Die-hard "Sex and the City" fans remember "Models and Mortals," the episode that suggests "real" women often see models as competition in the dating world. I think the tension extends much deeper than dating.

Models represent an intimidating sense of perfection. That's why for the rest of us, it's often easier to turn away.

But maybe the tide is changing.

We've seen more "regular" women form bonds with their seemingly perfect model counterparts. Moments after the VS fashion show wrapped up, I watched an episode of MTV's "Chelsea Settles" in which the plus-size protagonist found some realness in a once unrelatable model.

I can talk firsthand about model behavior.

She sent me a friend request on Facebook. I knew her from high school, when she was someone whose life appeared so easy that you assumed she'd encounter complications later in life.

Instead, I learned she became a model.

Initially, my insecurities surfaced.

While I still can't pick out a specific point when things evened out, I eventually found a basic humanness that transcends the power of bust and waist measurements.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wedding gift guidelines

You get the wedding invitation and can't wait for the big night. Open bar...great music...limitless food. Then, you remember a critical drawback.

You must bring a gift.

Some people love perusing wedding registries. Others dread the task. When it comes to wedding presents, I've always been a gift card kind of girl.

Wedding gifts only stress me out when I'm shopping for someone I've never met -- say, one of my boyfriend's friends who's getting married. Again, this is why I subscribe to the gift card religion.

CBS gives price recommendations for wedding gifts, courtesy of The Knot.

Spend $50-$75 on a co-worker and/or distant family friend or relative; $75-$100 on a relative or friend; $100-$150 on a close relative or a close friend.

Do you agree with the estimates?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday power anthem

Come on, you totally knew I was gonna post this.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Now, it's time to gear up for all the awkwardness of the next holiday.

Need some motivation? Get pumped by listening to today's power anthem, then go out and seize the day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday revisited

To celebrate Black Friday, I'm reposting Mike Haskey's memorable video from my 2010 coverage at Target in Columbus. Enjoy, then click here to read my article about this year's madness.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, Black Friday & more

Blackout Wednesday. Thanksgiving. Black Friday.

Welcome to the excitement that dominates the rest of the week. Tonight, people will fill bars across town for what's often called the biggest party night of the year.

Thursday, people will gather around the Thanksgiving table for family time. Friday, people will wait outside stores at ungodly hours for sales that may or may not be remarkable.

My Thanksgiving weeks have been anything but consistent throughout the years, mainly due to the strange work schedule that comes with a career in journalism.

It's been quite some time since I had a traditional Thanksgiving with my own my own home...with my own familiar foods. I try to forget that fact, but it still makes me a little sad.

However, my mood changes when I remember I've been blessed enough to always find a surrogate family on Thanksgiving.

So to all my families, old and new...thank you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday dating

Does a romantic fling top your holiday wish list?

If you said "yes," you're not alone. In a recent survey, "46 percent of singles said finding a new romantic interest topped their holiday wish list."

It's easy to enter dateless and desperate mode during the holidays. But starting a new relationship around Christmas really isn't that appealing.

For starters, you have the awkwardness that comes with exchanging gifts. It's much easier to buy presents for someone you've known for more than three weeks.

Also, without even passing a major anniversary, you and your partner are immersed in the pressure of holiday gatherings. A deluge of family-oriented events might make you introduce your partner to your parents earlier than expected. That's not always a good thing.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday power anthem

I chose this song to honor Taylor Swift, the big winner at Sunday's American Music Awards. If you missed the show, click here to read my recap.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? And Black Friday?

I can't wait. Seize the day, and start dreaming about that green bean casserole. Mmm.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Twitter

One of my biggest weaknesses? Following the messages couples publicly share with each other on social networking sites.

Calm down, I'm not being cruel. Sure, there's a certain voyeuristic quality to the obsession, but overall I think the messages are pretty cute.

And yes, they can get slightly excessive at times.

So much that I now visit certain Facebook/Twitter accounts solely to see the newest romantic back and forth.

Enter the recent news that Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are divorcing. In this interesting article, Entertainment Weekly notes that Ashton and Demi were once regarded as the First Couple of Twitter. An excerpt:

The funny thing is that Moore and Kutcher were never particularly funny on Twitter. The attraction, I think, lay in their intimacy. Most celebrities make Twitter a one-way conversation: “I am celebrity. You are fan. We talk now.” The Moore-Kutcher dynamic was more complex — they let you into their intimacy.

Naturally, this makes things a little awkward now. When you decide -- either intentionally or inadvertently -- to make Twitter the third wheel in your relationship, you risk encountering a major dilemma in the event of a breakup.

Who gets custody of Twitter?

Granted, nobody's going to block either one of you from the site. But sculpting a new persona can be challenging, especially when fans have followed you as part of a two-person unit.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We broke up on Facebook

Remember when people thought Facebook breakups were totally outrageous?

New survey results suggest a third of adults over the age of 18 have broken up with someone via Facebook, text or email.

Surprised? Me neither.

Facebook is no longer "just" technology. It's a valuable part of our daily interactions. Plus, seriously...who likes breaking up with someone face to face? The coward's route is always more appealing.

I still think that for the most part, technology-based breakups are tacky. But that belief applies mainly to long-term relationships. If you've only gone on one or two dates with someone, go ahead and cut ties via Facebook.

But use a private message, rather than a public wall post. Please.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mommie dearest

Here are some handy tips for winning over your significant other's mother at Thanksgiving.

The article is geared toward women, but the tips might help guys, too. Among my favorite pieces of wisdom: "The principle behind the no-fail winning-mothers-over technique is this: PEOPLE LOVE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES."

Good advice.

Honestly, I think in most cases the "monster-in-law" image is a myth. Winning parents over is often as simple as smiling a lot, using common sense and saying "thank you."

And if that doesn't work, don't stress out. While a friendship with your significant other's parents is ideal, mere tolerance is perfectly acceptable as well.

Can you add any tips to this discussion?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday power anthem

There's actually a logical story behind this song. I ran the Soldier Half Marathon Saturday. Once again, the local event was awesome.

I loved all the new additions, especially the music that played at random points in the course. In fact, I liked the periodic dance parties even better than the beer at the finish line. Yes, I love music THAT much.

A volunteer on the course blasted this song around the 8-mile mark.

Thank you, random man. You encouraged me more than you'll ever know.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How to run a half marathon

I'm running a half marathon on Saturday.

"Good luck" is usually the immediate response to this statement, and that confuses me. Obviously, I'm not competing for a prize. I'm pretty slow. In fact, when I ran last year's Soldier Half Marathon, organizers exhausted the supply of medals before I crossed the finish line. I got one later, thanks for asking.

So what does "good luck" mean?

I'll start Saturday's Soldier Half Marathon with plenty of luck under my belt. Hopefully pleasantries exchanged on 11-11-11 carry extra weight.

There's a chance these well wishes pertain simply to completing the race.

It'll be a challenge. The mental battle will likely outweigh any physical strains. I don't run with an iPod, so I'm usually treated to an erratic mental slideshow that spans the good, the bad and the ugly.

And between those thoughts, there's the realization that I've come a long way. Not too long ago, I feared sports. Or at least I thought I feared sports. I actually feared the certainty of knowing that if I dabbled in this pastime, I would never the best.

I haven't fully embraced that realization, but I'm getting there.

In the meantime, I continue to accept good luck.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breaking up in Burger King

Would you break up with someone in Burger King?

If you said "yes," this article might make you rethink your answer.

This guy watched a couple fight in Burger King...and live-tweeted the entire thing. Awesome.

Confession: I've cried more than my fair share of public tears. But I try to refrain from engaging in public screaming matches. Especially when spectators have access to Twitter.


Father-daughter wedding dance

Would your dad do this? Thanks to Yahoo! Shine for the link. Make sure to watch the whole thing!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday power anthem

Sorry I'm a little late posting today's power anthem. Busy morning. It's all good, though.

Hope you enjoy this song. Jessie J is quickly becoming one of my favorite new artists. Yes, I totally just enjoyed a brief dance party at my desk.

Seize the day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Divorce: "We're still friends"

"We're still friends. In fact, we're better friends now than when we were married."

Have any of your recently divorced friends uttered that line? I've heard it many times. The first few times, I debated it -- behind the person's back, of course.

I'm pretty cynical of male-female friendships, especially when exes are involved. I think "friend" is often a term used to hide ulterior motives, at least from one of the parties involved.

But now, some people are suggesting divorces have genuinely become more amicable. Do you believe it? And if so, how do you explain it?

One writer outlines some theories, and I'm most on board with this one:

I think that growing up in the age of divorce has destigmatized it. One reason that couples tear at each other during a divorce is that they feel deep shame about divorcing, and that incentivises blaming the other person for the marriage's failure.

If you see no real shame in divorcing, it's a lot easier to say, "Hey, it didn't work out, but we're not bad people and we can get through this with the minimum of emotional bloodshed."

Then again, I'm not entirely sure divorces have become less hostile. Maybe we're just better at masking our real feelings. Or, maybe we just rely less on our human relationships.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kim Kardashian & breakup predictions

This week's nightlife column is about the joy of being able to say "I told you so" amid Kim Kardashian's divorce news.

In the dating world, the primary goal is generally to find a partner with whom you can enjoy lifelong happiness. If we can’t have that, we’ll often settle for the second most important mission: accurately predicting when the happiest romantic unions will end.

I’m only half kidding. Public conversations center on "congratulations" and "I’m so happy for you." Private conversations leave room for a harsher sentiment.

"I give it two months. At best."

Weigh in: When it comes to predicting your friends' romantic futures, do you have a strong track record?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No Shave November

My legs resemble a hairy mammoth, but don't freak out. There's a method to my madness.

Confession: So far, my participation in No Shave November is purely accidental. If I'm being completely honest, I'll also confess I haven't shaved my legs since Saturday night. Too much information? Sorry.

Anyway, I'll probably shave at some point this month. I'm sure my boyfriend just breathed a sigh of relief.

Plenty of people won't shave in November, though. No Shave November is an official event with its own website. Why do people forgo shaving for an entire month? Sometimes, it's to raise awareness for a specific cause, often prostate cancer.

Even if I don't last an entire month, I'm glad that we've entered a season when long pants weather makes it OK for women to only shave once a week, sometimes less. During my first year at the Ledger, I wrote a column about the bliss that comes with shaving sporadically in winter.

A reader called and accused me of not being ladylike.

Guilty as charged.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lessons from Kim Kardashian

If your relationship is still intact, give yourself a pat on the back.

Why? Turns out Halloween is a common time for breakups. That's because it's the "last stop before the holidays," according to this article.

Apparently, it's not cool to break up with someone amid the warm, fuzzy feelings associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If a relationship seems headed for disaster, people will often sever ties around Halloween to avoid the romantic pressure that comes with the holidays.

So maybe there was some real relationship science behind the fact that Kim Kardashian's divorce news made headlines on Oct. 31.

I prefer that explanation over TV ratings.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Devilish fun on Halloween

I couldn't let Halloween go by without posting this photo of my dog in her devil costume. Yes, I am "that girl." Happy Halloween!!!

Monday power anthem

Happy Halloween! I picked a scary song for today. Enjoy.

It was nice to see the massive pre-Halloween crowd downtown Saturday night. Confession time: I hadn't planned to dress up this year. My boyfriend was going out of town Friday and Saturday. And, um, who goes to a Halloween party alone?

But my boyfriend called me Saturday afternoon and said he was on his way back to Columbus. Woo hoo! Cue the last-minute costume. In the end, I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood. No complaints.

Seize the day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good news about men. Maybe.

You might want to jump up and down upon reading research suggesting that men are more likely than women to say "I love you" first in a relationship.

But hold on. Read this slight disclaimer first.

Rather more predictably, the research did show that men wanted sex for the first time after a few weeks, while most women preferred to wait a few months.

(A researcher) added: "It can be argued that men's falling in love and exclaiming this love first may be a by-product of them equating love with sexual desire.

"But research shows passionate love and sexual desire are distinctly different mechanisms."


Thursday, October 27, 2011

You scare me. I love you.

Haunted houses certainly have drawbacks. Masked men with chainsaws are often involved, not to mention those horrifying body-distorting mirrors.

It's almost enough to make you avoid haunted houses entirely...until you hear this news.

Scary places can help your relationship.

It's true. RedEye explains the science behind the process:

Basically, when your body is physiologically aroused -- and not necessarily in the sexual way; we’re talking skyrocketing blood pressure, drenched palms and a heart rate like a dubstep bass line -- your brain mistakenly links that feeling with whatever’s in your environment.

So if you’re in your date’s direct line of sight as his or her heart goes pitter-patter, he won’t just blame the slasher flick—he’ll convince himself you’re a heartthrob.

Interesting, huh? But remember: Not everyone shares your passion for scary things. So don't push the idea if references to "Psycho" make your date's face turn pale.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween costumes for men

During my annual trip to adult costume retailer Night Moves (2723 Manchester Expressway, Columbus), someone told me most men have a simple goal when it comes to Halloween costumes.

They want to look "not dressed up, but dressed up."

Sigh. Must be nice.

Most women have to consider a whole slew of undergarment issues and temperature concerns. Often, double-sided tape is involved. Then, you get to the party and spend the entire night self-conscious about your bare midriff, while your boyfriend savors the nearby keg in his "chick magnet" getup.

Or maybe that's just me.

Either way, I think most of us can agree female Halloween costumes get a whole lot more judgment than spooky getups designed for men.

Nonetheless, Glamour offers a handy guide for women: What your man's Halloween costume says about him. Apparently, someone dressed up as a Chippendales dancer still has a chance on the meet market scene. Who knew?

Weigh in, readers: When it comes to Halloween costumes, can guys mess up?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday power anthem

Seriously, the name La Bouche should speak for itself. Enjoy this trip back to the '90s and have a great Monday. You totally wanna be my lover. Or not.

Seize the day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dating: When to give up

After your Saturday night date, the waiting game begins. You check your phone constantly, wondering if a technical glitch has prevented you from receiving the all-important call.

By Sunday, you accept the fact that technology isn't the culprit. The sad reality? Maybe your date just isn't that into you.

When should you bow out of the waiting game and rejoin the dating game?

That question has stumped daters for quite some time. Fortunately, there's now an answer.

Monday at 11:48 a.m.

If you go on a first date Saturday night and don't get a follow-up call or text by 11:48 a.m. Monday, your chances of a second date are pretty slim, according to these survey results.

And now you know. Do you believe it?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween: Revenge of the Sluts

This weekend, I'll make my annual pilgrimage to Night Moves (2723 Manchester Expressway), where I'll survey this year's collection of female adult Halloween costumes.

The selection probably won't include any ill-fitting ghost getups.

Instead, I'll see sexy nurse. And sexy police officer. And sexy cowgirl. You know the drill. Nothing new here. In another key part of the tradition, we'll inevitably hear debates over whether these sexy costumes empower women or demean them.

My take? If you've got it, flaunt it. Unless you're wearing a sexy bunny costume to a cubicle job, I could care less.

Nonetheless, I was interested to find at least two articles online defending sexy Halloween costumes. Learn more here and here.

I'm not sure if the hate for sexy getups is really that widespread. Even people who don't wear them generally accept them as a fact of life, at least for one night.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yo Side Of The Bed

New research suggests "women care what side of the bed they sleep on, but men usually don't, so women often get their way."

Does this surprise you?

I'm a little surprised. I don't prefer a certain side of the bed, but I've noticed that guys seem very picky about this issue.

Tell me if you have a favorite side of the bed, then get all emo while listening to the song that accompanies this post.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Black wedding dresses

Black wedding gowns have moved out of goth territory and into the mainstream fashion world. Well, maybe.

The Huffington Post offers this photo gallery of Vera Wang's Fall 2012 Bridal Collection, which is heavy on tones like nude and black. Coincidentally, I viewed the gallery shortly after spotting a silver wedding dress during a Facebook stalking session.

I've never been a fan of puffy white wedding gowns, and to some extent I find the unconventional hues appealing. But it's hard to break tradition when it comes to wedding fashion.

Then again, we were told for decades to never wear white to a wedding unless you're the bride. Now white seems like one of the most popular wedding party colors. I'm talking to you, Kardashians. And Pippa Middleton. Wouldn't it be weird if we got to a point where everyone except the bride wears white to a wedding?

What do you think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday power anthem

Today's performance is one of my favorite power anthems so far. It comes from the Chamber Singers at Jesuit High School, the all-boys campus where I looked for dates in high school. Also, my brother is a JHS graduate. Go Marauders!!!!!!!!

Anyway, this performance is awesome. Taylor Swift even tweeted about it, so you need to watch.

As much as I complained about the local Catholic high school system during my teenage years, I look back and realize high school was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I hope one day I can teach my daughters how to write test answers under the hems of their uniform skirts. KIDDING.

Seize the day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sweetest Day is awesome

I love being reminded of my California roots, but I'm just as proud of my Midwestern ties. You likely won't find surfers or movie stars in the Midwest, but an inexplicable hometown feeling dominates the area.

I'll happily escape into memories of beer and brats whenever something reminds me of the region.

Like Sweetest Day.

The holiday falls on Saturday (Oct. 15), but I'm not surprised if you haven't heard of it. Sweetest Day is basically an October version of Valentine's Day. It's celebrated mainly in the Midwest, according to Wikipedia.

UPDATE: After writing this post, I got a phone call from my parents, who wanted me to remind you that Sweetest Day started as a chance to give candy to orphans, poor people and similar sectors of society. Learn more here.

I've watched couples in Wisconsin and Illinois exchange candy and balloons in October. Initially, I reacted with a confused "huh?" Then, the holiday kind of grew on me.

Even though it's not as mainstream as Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day is still inevitably criticized as a Hallmark holiday. But celebrating Sweetest Day in a state outside the Midwest -- say, Georgia -- is appealing. It's nice to receive gifts without the pressure to compare them to the roses on your co-workers' desks.

So give Sweetest Day a chance. At the very least, the sweet holiday is a chance to forget the relationship world's sour moments.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Extreme couponing in dating

Nearly one in five U.S. adults have used a coupon on a first date, according to these survey results. Would you do it?

I think it depends on the coupon. I wouldn't mind if my date got a Groupon that let us have a fancy dinner we couldn't enjoy otherwise.

It's a little tacky to bust out a $3 coupon at Steak 'n Shake, however.

Acceptance of coupons has grown amid our rough economy. I have no problem dating someone who's on a budget -- as long as that person is equally aware of my financial constraints.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marriage o'clock

I recently spent 15 minutes trying to back out of my boyfriend's driveway. Alone.

It was a colossal waste of time. I could have just asked my boyfriend to back the car out himself, or at least shout directions through my window. Instead, I aimlessly navigated the process myself -- and nearly damaged my car.

The strange thing? I got an adrenaline rush when the ordeal was over.

When you're in a relationship, there's often a weird sense of elation that comes with accomplishing a task alone. I get a high from moments that remind me I haven't yet become one of "those girls" who can't even drive a car in a husband's absence.

I love my independence, yet I cringe at the suggestion of spending my whole life alone.

That dilemma slightly summarizes the essence of this essay from The Atlantic: "All the Single Ladies." It's hard to succinctly explain what the essay is "about," but it starts off with the writer breaking up with her boyfriend when she was 28. Ten years later, she remains unmarried.

It's an interesting read that details issues too complex for this concise blog post. (Among those issues? A concept of "marriage o'clock.") Read it and tell me what you think.

National Pet Peeve Week

SFGate informs us it's National Pet Peeve Week. Stop tapping your nails on your desk. You're annoying me. Just kidding.

Anyway, the SFGate blogger gives some highlights from a list of common dating annoyances. What's the No. 1 dating pet peeve for both men and women? Smelly dates.

Um, duh. I totally agree.

Aside from basic grooming concerns, my top pet peeve in dating involves a failure to embrace basic gratitude. You can never say "thank you" too often, daters. Even if you know the relationship won't last, you can still thank your date for buying dinner.

Do you agree? What's your biggest dating annoyance?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pole dancing for dummies

As promised, here's my highly anticipated column about my brief enrollment in a Las Vegas Stripper 101 class.

I graduated, despite my instructor's critique that perhaps I was holding the pole too tightly. I suppose there are worse mistakes to make.

Anyway, I imagine it will be quite some time before a mainstream stripper fitness class comes to Columbus.

Note to any bar owners who are reading: This would be a great promotion for a girls' night out. Say, 8-9 p.m. on a Wednesday. Charge a $10 cover, teach a few lap dance moves and you're done. Call me for all your publicity needs.

Of course, discussions of stripper fitness classes and pole dancing tutorials usually come with debates over whether the activity furthers female empowerment or female degradation.

I dismissed those issues during my Las Vegas class and focused on claims that I'd burn 500 calories.

Sure beats the treadmill.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday power anthem

Happy Monday! I'm fresh off a five-day vacation in Las Vegas. Sorry I didn't mention my trip earlier. It was kind of a spontaneous thing. Sometimes you have to succumb to an urge to get married by Elvis. KIDDING.

Anyway, I had a great time and I'm writing my Tuesday column about this interesting experience.

In the meantime, enjoy today's power anthem and seize the day! I promise to post lots of updates this week to make up for my absence.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Redheads have more fun?

For a nearly three-year time period in my younger days, I craved red hair. This naturally led to many experimentation sessions involving at-home dye kits. I'm still not sure my tresses have entirely recovered. Sorry.

Anyway, I flashed back to the memory after reading this Glamour blog post suggesting redheads are very romantically, um, active...partially because the color red "provokes and arouses people" the most.


There seems to be a strong social fascination with red-haired women, but I've never heard my female friends offer concrete opinions of guys with red hair.

Weigh in: Is hair color a genuine attraction factor in the dating world, or are these studies overblown?

Friday, September 30, 2011

You're wrong!

Real Simple has a great collection of 18 common phrases to avoid in conversation. This post's headline -- "you're wrong!" -- is among the things you shouldn't say while fighting with your significant other.

Guilty as charged. Haha.

In all seriousness, I think I'm pretty tactful in my conversations. We all have moments of weakness, but I generally try to consider people's feelings and think before I speak.

I'm amazed by how so many people just blindly blurt things out. Don't do that. And if you do, know that your lack of tact will have consequences.

One more thing: You're wrong!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Must eat meat?

Here's an interesting story about a U.K. dating website that got busted for marketing itself toward vegetarians, but building a community that included lots of meat-eaters. Scandal!

Nonetheless, the concept made me wonder if there's any value in using dietary preferences as a way to make an initial romantic connection.

That question surrounds many of the newest niche dating sites. Does a shared passion for vegan cuisine or British accents equal a successful long-term relationship? Nope.

Is it a good starting point for a deeper connection? Sure.

Let me know if you'd sign up for a niche dating site.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anniversary etiquette 101

In this Glamour blog post, a reader asks if she should get her boyfriend a present for their six-month anniversary. The couple plans on going out to dinner to mark the date and the reader wonders if she needs to do anything beyond that.

I clicked on the article largely because I've been in a relationship for nearly five years and I've never celebrated an anniversary. Not like I'm bitter or anything. Hahaha.

In all seriousness, anniversaries are funny things.

Some people go totally overboard, celebrating seemingly trivial milestones like one-month anniversaries. Other people ignore anniversaries entirely, even when they're married.

There isn't a right or wrong approach to anniversaries. The most important thing is to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, celebration-wise. Otherwise, things might get really awkward.

Do you agree?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Patti Stanger: Love or hate?

"Millionaire Matchmaker" Patti Stanger is in some serious hot water over a recent set of comments that managed to offend gays, Jews and smart women.

UPDATE: Stanger has apologized for some of her comments. Learn more here.

What did she say? Read this article for a recap, which includes Stanger's claim that smart women must "dumb it down a little" before getting married.

I've never been a huge "Millionaire Matchmaker" fan. I'm still a little bitter about Stanger's apparent hatred of curly hair.

Nonetheless, she certainly has a following. Some people maintain she's not brutal, just brutally honest.

What do you think?

Monday power anthem

Wow...sorry for the recent lack of posts. I was busy with this. And this.

Anyway, three cheers for another week. Today's power anthem always pumps me up for a workout, especially when kickboxing is involved.

Seize the day and kick some butt!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Avoid politics while dating?

Here's a study suggesting people are more likely to reveal their weight than their political views in online dating profiles. An excerpt:

"At some point in the dating process, we somehow filter out people who do not share our political preferences," said study researcher Casey A. Klofstad of the University of Miami. "Our best guess is that in the short run, most people want to cast as wide a net as possible when dating. However, in the long run, shared political preferences become a critical foundation of lasting relationships, despite the fact that many Americans are not even interested in politics."

Pretty interesting, huh?

It's intimidating to discuss politics at the early stages of a relationship. Naturally, there's the chance your partner will have an opposing viewpoint. But I think people also worry about having to back up their stance and appearing uneducated.

Also, revealing your political views in an online profile is an entirely different matter. Generally, people's political beliefs are more complex than the simple categories you choose online. It's often easier to opt for no answer than an adjective that only partially describes your stance.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Unmarried and Single Americans Week

Sara has a great column about Unmarried and Single Americans Week, which is taking place NOW. Here's an excerpt from the wisdom she shares:

Before you break out into your best Bridget Jones rendition of "All By Myself," consider this: According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, singles make up 43.6 percent of U.S. citizens older than 18 -- that's 99.6 million people.

About 27 percent of those people live alone. That’s an increase of 10 percent since 1970. Single people may not be the majority yet, but they definitely aren’t alone.

Single ladies holla!!!

I have a boyfriend, but I frequently check the "single" box in situations where single is defined as anything but married. I don't mind the label at all.

It's important to retain aspects of the single life even when you're in a serious relationship. No, I'm not talking about hitting the bars alone and hooking up with a bunch of random people.

Instead, there's value in knowing how to eat at a restaurant alone...solving mechanical problems on your own...amusing yourself in empty home. I think you're often more confident in the relationship world if you've had a period of extended singledom.

What's your favorite thing about the single life?

Monday power anthem

There's nothing like a little a cappella on a Monday, right? I went this route to honor the premiere of a new season of "The Sing-Off," which premieres 8 p.m. tonight on NBC.

While choosing a song, I perused previous performances but I couldn't get my mind off my favorite a cappella group ever: Cimorelli.

I'm slightly partial to this group of sisters because they hail from my hometown. But I swear they're the next big thing. Apparently they couldn't go on "The Sing-Off" because they already have a contract.

I love you, Cimorelli!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheating. Explained.

The Huffington Post directs us to study results suggesting that "while men are more likely to interrogate their partners about the sexual nature of an affair, a woman will often ask her partner whether he is in love with the other woman."

Do the results surprise you?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Share your thoughts on the study results, as well as any other general reflections on infidelity, in the comments section.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fear itself

I believe in aromatherapy. I have a database of inspirational quotes. I tout the psychological benefits of exercise, and I practice what I preach.

Yet somehow, I end up spending a good chunk of my time afraid.

Part of this is necessary. I take a decent amount of (healthy) risks, because you can't savor a fear and adrenaline cocktail from the comfort of your couch.

Still, I don't welcome fear with open arms. It surfaces in a variety of forms. Sometimes I fear I won't hit certain life milestones. (Thanks, Facebook!) Sometimes I fear I'll regret the quality of my relationships, or lack thereof.

And sometimes -- like right now -- I fear things as mundane as a kickball game.

Naturally, my first instinct in this situation is to remind myself that concentrating on fear is a losing proposition -- it will consume your thoughts to the point where your dreaded outcome materializes.

That approach doesn't always work. Maybe it's too rational. So I've turned to Courage -- as in, the name of a tube of bareMinerals lip gloss in my purse right now. Laugh, but I use it very selectively and so far it has a perfect fear-conquering track record.

We all have a version of Courage lip gloss -- something that temporarily blinds us to what we consider a really complicated world. Sometimes, however, fear disappears when we realize it really isn't that complicated after all.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from Roger Ebert's new memoir:

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.

To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.

Lakebottom Bootcamp, part 2

I heard this song on my way to bootcamp AND on my way home. Coincidence? I think not.

In the name of entertaining my faithful readers, I followed through on a promise to attend Lakebottom Bootcamp this morning.

Short recap: I had fun!

And now, for the longer version. I arrived right at 7:30 a.m. and learned we were doing a PT test today -- a setup slightly different than the usual workouts, from what I understand. Basically we had to do sit-ups, push-ups and a half-mile run.

There wasn't really a quota, just an expectation to try your hardest.

It was a good format for my first time, since not everybody did their sit-ups and push-ups at once. You stood in line and stretched while waiting for your turn. When that moment arrived, the instructors timed you (2 minutes) and counted your push-ups, then sit-ups.

We all did the half-mile run together. The morning session had about 12-15 people, and I've heard the night sessions can attract up to 100. This morning had all women, spanning a variety of ages and backgrounds. Everybody was really nice, especially the two trainers.

I'll go back again, probably within the next few days, to see what it's like on a non-testing day. And yes, Lakebottom Bootcamp is still FREE. Check it out.

Lakebottom Bootcamp is held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Morning session is 7:30-8:30 a.m. and evening session is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Meet at the track at Lakebottom Park.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lakebottom Bootcamp

I'm going to start attending Lakebottom Bootcamp, a free exercise program offered on weekdays at -- you guessed it -- Lakebottom Park.

It's held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Morning session is 7:30-8:30 a.m. and evening session is 6:30-7:30 p.m.

My plan is to attend tomorrow morning (Thursday), but don't hate me if I'm too tired after obsessing over tonight's "Big Brother" finale.

It sounds like a pretty cool program. I'm only concerned about a likely emphasis on sit-ups. I had a bad experience in sixth grade involving sit-ups, PE class and a public meltdown. Let's leave it at that.

Anyway, I'll post a review after my first session. And yeah, did I mention it's FREE?!?

I know this post doesn't overtly pertain to nightlife and/or dating, but we all want to feel good about ourselves on the local meet market scene, right?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Will you marry me?

YourTango directs us to poll results suggesting one in 10 women have proposed to a guy.

Empowering? Maybe not. Here's an excerpt from the writer's post:

Having to propose yourself seems almost like saying, "Sure, honey, I'm willing to take on ALL the work—including asking you to be my husband." Screw that! The least a guy can do is make up his own mind to get married, plan the proposal, and get on one knee!

Do you agree?

I hate our culture's rigid gender expectations regarding marriage. It's frustrating that women can do so many things personally and professionally...but marriage remains the one arena where you basically have to sit back and abide by a man's time frame.

I'm even more frustrated that most women can't just say, "Whatever. I'm going to defy tradition and propose myself!"

Because honestly, a proposal that relies on the woman popping the question is viewed differently than the traditional scenario. It's often viewed as evidence of desperation, regardless of whether that's really true.

So what happens next? Do you think we'll get to a point where a woman can propose without worrying about social stigma? Are we already at that point?

Interracial relationships

In these Gallup poll results, 86 percent of U.S. adults said they have no problem with interracial marriage.

Jezebel notes, "Apparently this is supposed to be reason for celebration, but it's still disturbing that more than 1 in 10 people are against two people loving each other because of the color of their skin."

As someone who frequently peruses the racist rants in the online comments that accompany Ledger-Enquirer stories, I'm fully aware of these attitudes.

I know the race dynamic in the South is uniquely complex, but even while living in other parts of the country I encountered people leery of interracial relationships.

Even if things are improving, it's still sad that you sometimes need a certain level of courage just to walk publicly with the person you love.

What do you think? Does your community accept interracial relationships?

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's cooking?

These survey results suggest nearly a third of Americans don't know how to cook.


I bought more groceries than usual over the weekend, since I'm making a renewed effort to eat more meals at home.

My domestic abilities strike a healthy balance between "cooking" and "not cooking." Yes, I have about a dozen dinner entrees in my repertoire. No, not everything in those entrees is made from scratch. Yes, I'll occasionally rely on canned sauces and pre-cut vegetables.

Does that still count as cooking? You decide.

Many daters swoon at the promise of a home-cooked meal from their significant other. Yet they rarely specify their definition of "cooking" in this scenario.

So weigh in: If your date made you a "home-cooked meal" that relied largely on canned ingredients, would you be disappointed? Or is this a scenario where the thought counts more than the final result?

(If you're a novice chef, consult the Ledger-Enquirer's food blog for advice!)

Monday power anthem

I danced to this tune in hopes of making my weekend last longer. It didn't really work.

Still, this is one of my favorite party anthems. It's bittersweet, however, because Natasja Saad -- the woman featured in the song -- died in a 2007 car accident. RIP.

So seize the day and make time for a few brief dance parties in her honor.

Friday, September 9, 2011

College football and romance

This week's nightlife column is about what happens when you meet your perfect match...but he or she roots for your least favorite college football team.

Fortunately, I’m one half of a relationship that doesn’t include die-hard football loyalties. For football parties, I have the freedom to tell my boyfriend to wear colors that match whatever dress I’m wearing -- no questions asked.

What’s my advice for couples facing the uphill battle of conflicting football ties?

If you can’t embrace your partner’s point of view, at least accept it. Some kind of passion -- even if it rivals your own -- is better than a life that relies on lukewarm views.

On that note, the Columbus Contemporaries host a Contemporaries Kickoff party tonight (Sept. 9) at the Columbus Museum. Open to guests 21 and older, it starts at 7 p.m. Learn more here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coca-Cola Freestyle

Going on a movie date? Prepare for some serious indecision -- well, at least if you're going to Carmike Cinemas' Ritz 13.

The movie theater has five new Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, newfangled soda fountains that boast more than 100 different beverage brands.

Watch the fun video I made with Cameraman on Wednesday.

Your approach to the beverage selection process might have some parallels to dating.

If you choose classic Coke after perusing all the options, you're probably a traditional dater who relies on time-tested standbys like roses, chocolate and dinner dates.

Mix your Coke with, say, Powerade and you're traditional with a slight streak of unpredictability.

And if you go for something really wacky -- maybe a mix of Fanta, Minute Made Lemonade and Barq's -- you thrive on an unconventional approach to relationships.

Wow, I crafted that analysis pretty quickly. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is this your dream man?

This video strikes a perfect balance between fun and creepy. Just watch. You won't be disappointed.

(via Jezebel)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dream double date?

Glamour has an interesting blog post that asks readers which celebrity couple(s) they'd like to join on a double date.

It's an interesting question, especially since finding real-life couples suitable for a double date adventure can be challenging.

Throw the celebrity factor into the mix and you have an entirely new set of concerns.

Even though I often write about celebrities, I'm not too interested in the prospect of hanging out with famous people. I worry they'll be really mean in person and shatter my expectations.

Initially, I didn't want to join this celebrity double date discussion, but then the answer hit me.

Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed.

I'm totally obsessed with this couple, which includes an "American Idol" finalist and a "Twilight" star. I've already interviewed Paul McDonald, so I know he'd be nice on the date. I have no concerns about Nikki, either.

So, um, let's make this happen.

Which celebrity couple would you join on a double date?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer lovin'

Amid Labor Day's arrival, you've probably listened to some daters lament the end of a summer romance.

Sad day.

To curb the heartache accompanying the season's end, TresSugar offers tips "to keep summer lovin' hot for as long as possible."

I said many tearful end-of-summer goodbyes in my younger days, but I'm reluctant to use the phrase "summer fling" in adulthood. It just seems like a primarily teenage phenomenon.

And no offense, Georgia, but your extreme heat makes summers pretty unromantic.

Despite my love of sundresses and hot pants, I rarely feel sexy during a Georgia summer. That is, unless your definition of sexy includes frizzy hair and some nasty body odor.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Divorce rings

It seems like the trend of turning your breakups into party occasions isn't going away soon.

The newest development? Divorce rings.

Jezebel details the phenomenon, which includes a giant diamond ring shaped like a broken heart.

I'm divided on the trend. On one hand, I fully support anything that prevents my friends from moping around for two months post-breakup.

But on the other hand, does wearing a ring resembling heartbreak really mean you've moved on? Maybe breakup parties, divorce cakes and heartbreak jewelry only heighten an obsession with a relationship that's dead and gone.


Too old for frat parties?

This week's nightlife column is about the common urge to hang out at your alma mater after graduating from college.

I’ve had many boring weekends since leaving college, but keg parties and dorm rooms were always much more than a car drive away.

But even without geography on my side, I’d like to think common sense alone would keep me away from the college party scene.

Many of us have memories of "that person." You know, the one who graduated with honors, secured a job quickly -- but still somehow ended up hanging out in the dorms nearly every weekend.

You publicly praised his or her presence -- while privately wondering if social life in the real world is really worse than college.

I suppose there are exceptions.

You have more freedom when you return for an athletic event or homecoming celebration. You know, events specifically designed to let alums mingle with a crowd naive enough to attach value to box wine.

That’s probably the best setup for victims of college nostalgia.

Because from what I’ve heard, trips back to the dorms are often accompanied by a harsh realization.

You’re too old for this stuff.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slutty cities

Need more proof that Columbus is classy?

Fortunately, our city isn't included in this list of the 10 most promiscuous cities in America.

Calm down, Phenix City residents. You don't have anything to worry about, either.

In fact, there are no Georgia or Alabama cities on the list. Did we luck out, or are we really better behaved in the relationship world?

Portland took the No. 1 spot. Anyone down for a road trip?

Mommy issues

For Mother's Day, I planned to write an elaborate column about the link between a guy's relationship with his mother and the success of his/her romantic relationships. The whole issue was pretty riveting.

Before I knew it, I composed an entire essay on the issue. A little too deep for standard nightlife column fare.

So it joined the many items in my "submit to Elle magazine" file. Sigh.

Anyway, now there's this post on Nerve pointing to research suggesting that a guy's relationship with his mom affects his behavior in situations beyond family matters. Interesting.

In dating, do you pay attention to how a guy treats his mom? Is that a factor in your relationship outlook?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do you believe in Magic?

I'd like your thoughts on a dating debacle/adventure that's making waves online.

Here's a female writer's account of what happened when she dabbled in online dating and ended up going out with a world champion "Magic: The Gathering" player.

Things didn't end well. An excerpt:

Maybe I'm shallow for not being able to see past Jon's world title. I'll own that. But there's a larger point here: that judging people on shallow stuff is human nature; one person's Magic is another person's fingernail biting, or sports obsession, or verbal tic.

No online dating profile in the world is comprehensive enough to highlight every person's peccadillo, or anticipate the inane biases that each of us lugs around.

By the way, "Magic: The Gathering" is a collectible card game.

I know this largely because I spent a period of time smitten for someone obsessed with the game. It never really bothered me. A hobby is a hobby, right?

That said, I'm certainly not in the position to judge other people's dating dealbreakers. I didn't entirely hate the writer after reading about her decision to judge a guy "because he's a nerd." But she could have presented things slightly, um, more pleasantly.

Do you think the essay is too harsh?

Miranda Lambert and Twitter

I learned a new word today, courtesy of country singer Miranda Lambert.


Apparently, that's the appropriate label for a woman who's lost her husband to social networking site Twitter.

Twitter + widow = Twittow. Get it?

Miranda discusses her husband Blake Shelton's Twitter addiction in this interview, where she notes, "He's a Twitter addict... He promised me, the last time he put it back on his phone after he deleted it, that he was going to keep it under control."

I've never really bought into the idea of social media addiction. However, based on the amount of time I spend updating the Ledger's Facebook page on weekends, my boyfriend might have a different opinion on the issue.

Weigh in: Have you ever lost a significant other to Twitter or Facebook?

Monday, August 29, 2011

One MRS degree, please

Sad news: My alma mater isn't included in this list of the top 10 colleges that produce the best husbands.

Wait, it gets even more depressing.

There aren't any Georgia or Alabama schools on the list, either.

You might wonder what classifies a college as producing good husbands. Glad you asked. Apparently, the list is based on academic rankings, graduate salaries, alumni generosity and campus beauty.

So, um, anyone want to go back to school?

Monday power anthem

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Adele

So here's my favorite performance from the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Yes, I liked this performance even better than Beyonce's baby bump reveal.

However, earlier this morning I received an e-mail from a reader who noted, "Adele's performance is LAME."

I guess opinions make the world go round. What do you think?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grilled cheese martinis

My colleague Dawn recently told her readers to try Limoncello. Great choice, but we offer a slightly different variety of alcohol recommendations here at The Walk of Shame.

Exhibit A: This grilled cheese martini.

Yes, it really exists. The chief ingredient is grilled cheese sandwich-infused vodka, unsurprisingly.

I've had a handful of martinis modeled after different foods, but this one takes things to an entirely different level.

Would you try it?

(via Jezebel)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Silent disco FTW

So, this is interesting. There's a silent disco tonight (Thursday) at Bourbon Street Bar, 103 N. College Street in Auburn.

What's a silent disco? Well, it's basically your standard party...BUT everybody listens to club music from wireless headphones, rather than giant speakers. If you're not wearing the headphones, you can't hear the music.

Learn more by watching the video that accompanies this post.

Generally, this is a big city phenomenon and I'm a little shocked to see it come to Auburn.

Tonight's party is open to guests 19 and older. Action starts around 11 p.m. EDT.

Lady Gaga and dating

I attribute many of my dating mistakes to a Lady Gaga phase.

That's the premise of this week's nightlife column, which details Gaga's effect on my dating life.

Until recently, I couldn’t understand why some of my past romantic relationships failed. I found the answer after some soul-searching set to “Bad Romance.”

I failed at love because I tried to sustain affection with shock value alone.

For a long time, I thought the key to keeping someone around was to appear as far from ordinary as possible.

So I attempted to dazzle dates with tales of previous romantic exploits, half of them exaggerated or selectively edited.

In the process, I made myself an alien dater, someone whose obsession with tomorrow’s shock made her overlook today’s realities. Rather than trying so hard to prove I was extraordinary, I should have showcased my passion for the ordinary.

I boasted dating’s equivalent of a meat dress, when I really just needed to wear my favorite T-shirt and sing “Poker Face” at a piano.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facebook purity

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Generally, I justify it though my job.

By the way, can you please "like" Ledger-Enquirer on Facebook? Thanks.

Despite the amount of time I spend stalking people, I like to think I'm pretty private in my personal Facebook existence.

I rarely post pictures. I don't list my relationship status. I don't "poke."

Still, some people would I'm pretty active on the site. Consider my mom, who has three Facebook friends and still hasn't posted a profile photo.

Don't know where you fit in the spectrum? Take this Facebook Purity Test, which includes 100 quick questions.

Can't wait to hear your score.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Date Hell

I wasted some valuable company time perusing posts on First Date Hell, a Twitter account that asks people to summarize their horrible first dates in 140 characters or less.

Succinctly summarizing the experience can be difficult.

But then again, when you think about it, a date often falls into the "horrible" category because it lacks complexity.

In the world of really bad dates, there aren't long explanations or conflicting emotions.

Just a straightforward reason why you never want to see that person again.

Can you summarize your worst date in 140 characters or less?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Everything happens for a reason

Just when you think your breakup pain couldn't get any worse...somebody tries to console you with a tired piece of relationship advice.

Love conquers all? Just move on? Time heals a broken heart?

Those phrases are included in this collection of bad relationship advice. I agree with the items on the list, but I have an addition.

Everything happens for a reason.

First, I don't necessarily believe it's true. Second, even if it IS true, it's not likely something you're going to believe post-breakup.

Finally, the advice shows a serious lack of effort.

What's your least favorite piece of relationship wisdom?

Monday power anthem

Sorry for the recent lack of posts. I was home in California for a few days. I would've announced my trip earlier, but I have issues with telling the world when my house will be vacant.

Anyway, it's good to be back. Kind of.

As much as I missed Columbus' stifling heat and fried food, I can't help dedicating today's power anthem to my next vacation.

Seize the day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Training your man

Training treats for boyfriends? Don't discard the idea.

I came across an article that draws parallels between Man Training 101 and Puppy School. It instantly reminded me of "What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage," a book I profiled a few years ago.

Both writers apply animal training lessons to human interactions.

Naturally, the approach is vulnerable to criticism. You can easily argue it skews the dynamic in what's supposed to be a relationship between equals.

The aforementioned puppy school story attracted comments like, "Any woman who thinks she is going to use puppy training on an adult male is going to find that she's the one shown the door."

Side note to women: Even if you agree with the concept, it's probably not a good idea to tell your boyfriend you're training him like a puppy.

Anyway, what do you think of the approach? Offensive? Useful? Offensive and useful?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

College romance 101

Ah, college.

I've been a little emotional while watching college freshmen load up on storage containers and comforter sets at Target.

My college experience wasn't perfect, but I wouldn't mind reliving the thrill of move-in day and orientation.

That's when you ponder one of the most serious questions of your college career:

Will I find a serious relationship, or just hook up with a bunch of random people?

I avoided super-serious relationships in college. Still, I slightly envied the couples who latched on to each other during orientation and remained inseparable for four years.

This article offers advice for both approaches to the college meet market. Which approach do you recommend?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Want romance? Too bad

I'm surprised that our region is absent from this list of the top 10 cities to find a romantic man.

San Francisco took the No. 1 spot.

The closest thing to a Southern city on the list is Austin, Texas (No. 3). But there's no mention of Atlanta, Birmingham, or anywhere in Georgia or Alabama.

That strikes me as somewhat strange, since discussions of our state often include references to Southern hospitality and nice Southern gentlemen.

The list, compiled by, relies on "data based on the personality types of American singles."

So yes, maybe it's not entirely grounded in science. But I think the lack of a significant Southern presence warrants discussion.

Is the image of the traditional Southern gentleman a myth? And if he exists, is that Southern gentleman unromantic?

Monday power anthem

We're in luck, ladies. There's a male revue at Illusions this week. It's 8:30 p.m. Thursday and cover charge is $5.

Take it off!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting to know you

I joined another social networking site. I'm now three clicks away from needing an intervention.

My newest obsession/investigative project: TheIceBreak, a website for couples. No, it's not geared toward the swinger crowd.

Instead, it's designed to enhance your relationship.

You sign up individually, answer some questions and then get some suggestions designed to help you "discover more about each other."

I got this romantic "fix" based on the stats I submitted: "Plan a picnic for outdoors or living room."

Um, OK.

Nobody sees your answers to the initial set of relationship questions, and you and your partner don't have to sign up for the site together.

But upon signing up, I was strongly encouraged to invite my boyfriend.

The site includes a private "wall" where you can post messages to each other, as well as a place for you to post your sizes to "help your boyfriend find you a gift for those special days."


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Give back, get lucky

Among the noteworthy parts of this article about budget-friendly date ideas: a suggestion to volunteer together.

The writer cautions that it might not work as a first date, but could make a good third date.


I'm not sure if I'd go that route so early in a relationship. Make no mistake: I fully support an effort to make the world a better place.

But you have to be careful with unconventional date ideas. Dinner and a movie is a romantic staple for a reason. It's safe. Even something as innocent as volunteering at an animal shelter can ignite tension if your date is scared of dogs.

What do you think? Would you volunteer with a date during the early stages of a relationship?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Healthy breakups?

Are daters entitled to pain-free breakups?

I asked that question after reading this article about a recent conference designed to help teens have "healthy breakups." An excerpt:

To help the youngsters envision what a healthy split might look like, pictures and videos of several celebrity couples who managed amicable breakups were projected onto a big screen. Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz, for example, were heralded as healthy because "they’re still friends and were able to co-star in a movie together."

Their parting was juxtaposed with those of Kanye West and Amber Rose (West wrote a mean song about her) and Sammi and Ronnie from "Jersey Shore" (Sammi supposedly defriended Ronnie’s friends on her Facebook page), who each exhibited the kind of "unhealthy" breakup behavior that the Boston Health Commission hopes Massachusetts young people will rise above.

The world has changed a lot since I was a love-hungry teen. Back in my day, we had fewer ways to crush somebody's soul upon severing romantic ties. So yes, I suppose it's good to have discussions about how Facebook etiquette increases or decreases heartache.

That said, I'm not sure you can apply the term "healthy" to any breakup -- regardless of your age.

The intangible parts of a breakup often hurt more than nasty Facebook comments or heartless tweets. There's no magic conference that will force the rest of the world to play nicely with your emotions.


(via Slate)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tonsil hockey

The complexity of the phrase "first kiss" often goes unnoticed.

If you want to know the first time a boy kissed me, the answer is second grade. But does that really count?

There's also a slightly more complex first kiss: the one that comes in the context of a relationship, when your lips lock amid a backdrop of actual romantic feelings.

For all the hype surrounding first kisses, we often downplay the importance of kissing upon entering a serious relationship.

Case in point: British survey results suggesting nearly 1 in 5 married couples go without kissing for as long as one week at a time.

Surprised? Do you think the survey would yield similar results in the U.S.?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is two better than one?

When it comes to dating, there's nothing like strength in numbers, right?

That mentality drives a new adventure in online dating: DuoDater, which helps participants find potential matches through double dates.

It's an interesting premise. Here's an analysis of the service.

I've gone on double dates both as part of an established couple and as a single person looking to find a match.

In both cases, there are advantages and drawbacks. The advantages pertain mainly to increased ease of conversation. In most cases, more people at a table = less awkward conversation.

The disadvantages?

Well, the group dynamic can be tricky. Ideally, you want to hang out with a couple whose interactions are similar to your own. The average couple doesn't always enjoy sharing dinner with PDA addicts or "Jerry Springer" hopefuls.

What do you think?

Monday power anthem

Today's power anthem is a sneak peek into this week's nightlife column.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will perform Saturday in Auburn. I'll profile the show on Thursday. If you like live music, this is a great weekend option.

Not like I'm already planning my weekend or anything.

Seize the day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Too old for hickeys?

Thanks to Jezebel, I found a clip of panelists on "The Doctors" discussing hickeys. Specifically, a woman who died after getting a hickey.


But the post also addresses my initial reaction after seeing the headline: People are still giving hickeys?

As a product of bad teen soap operas of the '90s, I grew up expecting to witness a weekly "hickey plague" upon attending high school and college. That didn't happen.

I've seen maybe five hickeys in my 29-year existence, and I'm perfectly fine with that. Also, I'll proudly note that none of the aforementioned five hickeys were on my own body.

Weigh in: Do people still give hickeys? If so, is it purely a teenage phenomenon?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wear drag, help charities

This week's nightlife column profiles a pretty cool Friday event.

In Friday’s Downtown Drag-Race for Charity, participants will dress in drag and race tricycles in hopes of winning money for charities (Georgia Meth Project, Wounded Warrior Project, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley).

The Columbus/Fort Benning Cruise-A-Matics, a local rugby club, teamed with downtown businesses to organize the event, which includes a beauty pageant as well as the races.

Each participant chooses which charity receives his/her registration fee. Participants will compete in the race for money raised by the Cruise-A-Matics and donated by sponsors.

The first place winner of the tricycle races will determine which charity receives 50 percent of that money. The second and third place winners will each get to award 20 percent to their charities. The winner of the beauty pageant will choose where the remaining 10 percent is directed.

Anyone wearing full drag can participate in the event.