Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dating in college

I didn't have a major long-term relationship in college. Yes, I went on dates. And flirted. And cried over boys.

But I didn't have one of those relationships that lasts from freshman to senior year. Which was good and bad.

On the plus side, I was able to move back home without worrying about accommodating someone else's career plans.

However, I was also a little jealous of the people who moved in with their college sweetheart immediately after graduation. They somehow bypassed all the stress of balancing the meet market and job market.

I'm reflecting on college romance because USA Today has an article claiming "that traditional dating on campuses has taken a back seat to no-strings relationships in which bonds between young men and women are increasingly brief and sexual."

Um, duh.

Do you regret how you approached relationships in college?

Male pedicures

Will a full-service spa for men survive in Columbus?

You might ask that question after reading this week's nightlife column, a profile of Van Dykes for Men -- a new full-service spa where no girls are allowed.

Among the available services: haircuts, massages, straight-razor shaves and more. Join a members’ club and you’ll have access to bonuses like a members’ lounge.

The spa sits near Old Siam in downtown Columbus and is scheduled to start serving customers at 9 a.m. Saturday.

After posing a question about male pedicures on the Ledger's Facebook page, I was surprised by the number of women who expected a date to boast proper foot hygiene. "I could never sleep with a man that doesn't get pedi's," one woman wrote.

Anyone agree?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sound familiar?

Ah, the joys of drunk dialing. Listen and learn.

(via TresSugar)

Worst dating personalities

Few people actively pursue a pessimistic partner. And daters rarely enter the meet market with this line: "Hey, I'm looking for a narcissist!"

So you probably won't be shocked by this list of seven personalities to avoid when you're dating.

Among the entries: The Narcissist, The Clinging Dependent and The Depressive.

The advice would be a little more useful if our personalities were defined solely by one characteristic. But in most cases, our worst traits exist beside more redeeming qualities.

Most people have minor moments of narcissism and dependency. I certainly wouldn't want somebody to dump me in my moments of weakness.

Do you have traces of dating's dreaded personality types?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breakups hurt. Really.

Yes, I've thrown up in a breakup's aftermath.

I rarely cry amid romantic setbacks, but I sometimes become physically ill. I hate feeling like I'm "letting" my heart control my physical well-being.

At least there's some relief in this research suggesting breakups cause actual pain.

While it makes me feel better, I also have a slight concern the news will reinforce a belief that your entire existence shuts down after a breakup. That outlook often makes us dwell on a past relationship longer than necessary.

Have you experienced physical pain after a breakup?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Would you use a coupon on a date?

The New York Post asks if the rise of websites like Groupon makes it more acceptable to use a coupon on a first date.

On the plus side, coupons often allow you to try something you normally wouldn't consider. They erase some of dating's decision-making pressure, since you can simply offer this line: "Wanna try a new restaurant? I have a coupon."

Unfortunately, many people still view coupons as a little tacky.

Would I judge a guy who used a coupon on a first date?

It depends on the restaurant and the price. If he's asking for a discount on a meal that costs just $25, that's kind of stingy. Sorry.

However, if the coupon offers a discount on a $100 meal, that's a different story. Same goes for something like a free dessert.

What do you think?

Monday power anthem

It's time for yet another trip into the depths into my musical mind. Today's entry is a song I've had in my head for precisely two weeks.

The "Glee" mashup of "Stop! In The Name of Love" and "Free Your Mind."

Go ahead and laugh.

It's not that I actually enjoy the song -- I don't exactly dislike it, either -- but it just keeps entering my life in different ways. So, um, stop and free your mind.

Seize the day!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Groupon for dating

Glamour tells us about a French dating website with a premise similar to Groupon.

Instead of a "deal of the day," there's a single man of the day. Single readers can contact the featured guy for free. Of course, each deal has an expiration date.

Cool, right?

Online comments are mixed. One reader says, "This is so cool! I love it!!" Another notes, "What a horrible notion... that's effectively treating people like a piece of meat."

What do you think?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are you skeptical of a guy who promises to give $10,000 to whoever introduces him to his future wife?

The question dominates this essay, a profile of a guy who set up a website with that goal.

Ultimately, the writer concludes the guy behind the website is "shockingly kind, sweet and genuine." Nonetheless, she understands why people view the project cynically:

The friend who had introduced me to his site jokingly e-mailed to call dibs on the $10,000 in the case that I hit it off with Chas and ended up marrying him myself. I joked to a co-worker: "I wonder if I get the ten grand if his future wife finds him through my article." What a cynical bunch!

It brings up a good point. I've watched people set up websites expediting a friends' quest to get married. I've heard stories about parents creating websites to find their son/daughter a date.

Are these people social geniuses or desperate fame seekers?

No regrets?

While discussing romantic relationships with female friends, I often hear this line: "I have absolutely no regrets."

My response is simple: "Liar."

OK, I don't really say that.

But sometimes, the "no regrets" line prevents you from acknowledging the romantic mistakes you've made and, in turn, becoming a better person.

At the same time, if you over-analyze life's regrets, you end up trapped in the past. Which isn't the best path toward self-improvement, either.

Women are more likely than men to list romance among their life regrets, according to results of a recent study.

As Jezebel notes, the results aren't shocking. Women often regard relationship status as an indicator of life success. Plus, I think women in general are inclined to over-analyze past relationships and consequently arrive at a sense of regret.

Finally, I think our culture subtly believes it's the woman's responsibility to resuscitate a dying relationship. Sure, men deliver flower-accompanied apologies, but we sometimes regard women as the ones who are supposed to "save" their misguided partners.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor and relationships

Amid news of Elizabeth Taylor's death, USA Today offers this piece: "What Elizabeth Taylor taught us about love, passion."

I'm always leery of a tendency to assume every celebrity's life teaches us major lessons. Go ahead, call somebody a great actress or a pioneer in entertainment. But those skills rarely translate into a life that offers more teachable moments than a typical existence.

If there's a lesson to learn from Elizabeth Taylor, it's that celebrity status hardly gives you a leg up in understanding the relationship world.

Or maybe the lesson is that we need to stop looking for relationship lessons.

When to give up

When, if ever, should you give up on a relationship?

I asked that question after recently finding this Modern Love essay. It's from 2009, but the writer is releasing a book on the same topic next month.

The essay tells what happened when a woman's husband said he didn't love her anymore.

Did she scream at him, start crying or vandalize his property? No. Here's how she describes her reaction:

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

The rest of the essay tells how the woman refused to let her husband's personal crisis ruin their relationship. And, long story short, it didn't.

The thought commonly enters your mind after a breakup: "Maybe I should have tried harder."

But there's a fine line between trying harder and holding on to a relationship that's reached its expiration date.

In relationships, how do you know when to give up?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I got it at Walmart!

I have no shame in admitting I've bought more than one outfit from Walmart.

But do I broadcast the news on a daily basis? Not exactly.

Even if you scored an entire work ensemble for under $40, you never know the response you'll receive upon announcing a Walmart deal.

So most Walmart apparel addicts are still "in the closet."

Which why I'm grateful for the growing popularity of Penny Chic, a blog devoted entirely to chic outfits found at Walmart.

Amid the blog's rise, The Daily Beast asks a valid question: Can Penny Chic make Walmart chic?

I say yes, but I already own a few Walmart sundresses.

Weigh in: Would you wear an outfit from Walmart on a first date?


Do we need an entire article reminding us of the proper response upon learning about someone's engagement?

Yes, apparently.

This piece reminds us to say "congratulations" when someone announces an engagement.

Common sense? Sure. But I've witnessed multiple conversations when people think "I got engaged" translates into "Tell me what you really think about my relationship." Um, no.

Trust me, I've witnessed many train wreck relationships culminate in an engagement. Did I express my honest opinion of the union's future? Of course not.

The worst is when someone uses an engagement announcement as a cue to lament his or her romantic shortcomings. There's nothing worse than having your bliss cut short by a whiny, "I want to get married, too!"


Monday, March 21, 2011

Text messages are romantic?

It's become a common mantra in the relationship world: With technology, there's no romance.

Need proof? You have lots of options. Go ahead, say terms like "LOL" and "OMG" have diminished the appeal of love letters.

Or, argue the wealth of information available on Facebook has erased the sense of mystery that makes some romances so appealing.

Here's another approach. Consider the idea that maybe -- just maybe -- technology is actually enhancing your love life.

The mindset comes from this Time magazine article, which suggests "technology can smooth the course of true love, whether it helps find it, nurture it or, if need be, end it."

Maybe technology isn't erasing romance, but rather giving it a much-needed makeover.

The aforementioned article mentions a guy who made a calendar tracking the chronology of his relationship, using only the text messages he exchanged with his girlfriend.

That's pretty cute.

How has technology enhanced your relationship?

Monday power anthem

I can't get this song out of my head right now. What does that say about my Monday?

I figured I'd subject all my loyal readers to the same musical torture. You're welcome.

Seize the day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Worshiping Bethenny Frankel

I whisper the confession to only my most open-minded friends:

"I don't get Bethenny Frankel."

My confusion certainly seems like the exception, rather than the rule. I have friends who loyally purchase Frankel's products and squeal upon finding a marathon of her reality TV show.

And now, there's this article -- one woman's claim that Frankel "shows that having it all is possible."


When judged against the "Housewives" crew, Frankel is a certainly a role model. That's not saying much.

Yes, she demonstrates a certain honesty on her reality show, all while merging personal and professional success.

But aside from her celebrity appeal, does she translate to the average woman's life? I don't know.

What do you think?

Breach of promise to marry

Did you know you could be sued for a broken engagement?

Jezebel has an interesting post about a woman who filed a lawsuit against her former fiancé in an attempt to gain reimbursement for their canceled wedding. She lists expenses like her gown and catering.

The article made me Google breach of promise to marry laws, which let potential brides and grooms sue a partner who breaks an engagement.

Georgia is among the states that have breach of promise to marry laws, according to this article. (It's a little dated, but I couldn't find a more current resource.)

The aforementioned article outlines a case in which a woman quit her job, moved to a different state and accepted a lower-paying job in the name of a relationship. The relationship led to engagement, then broken engagement.

When the woman sued her ex-fiancé, a jury awarded her $150,000, the article says.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to survive a long-distance relationship

This post's headline is misleading. There is no simple guide for surviving a long-distance relationship -- take it from someone who's tried nearly every uncertain form of the romantic setup.

LDRs aren't impossible. They're just difficult. Very difficult.

I revisited that stress after reading a New York Times essay, "In the current of a long-distance relationship." Consider this excerpt:

I became used to passionate greetings in dark garages used for short-term parking; exhaust fumes will forever be an aphrodisiac to me. But I never became used to the dreaded drop-offs, which were excruciating despite my attempts to mask the pain with stoicism or strained humor or complaints about the expectation of long lines at security.

Ah, the drama.

Erin go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hope you've avoided the social awkwardness of being pinched by a stranger. If you're looking for local party options for tonight, click here.

I love St. Patrick's Day. The holiday always reminds me of my grandma, a woman who sculpted my passion for all things Irish.

She loved her Irish heritage and often embraced seemingly inexplicable things like leprechauns. We were critical when she was convinced a certain star in the sky was an angel.

It's been more than 10 years since she died, but I think about her every day.

So last night, when the brakes on my car conveniently began their demise around midnight, I said a little prayer that my grandma would help me safely drive two miles to the auto shop this morning.

I made it.

And while I respect the traditions associated with St. Patrick's Day, I think even my grandma would say the two-mile trip relied on factors much deeper than sheer luck.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meghan McCain, continued

Maybe I should have asked Meghan McCain about dating after all.

A day after I interviewed McCain, I stumbled upon a discussion about her newest Daily Beast column. The forum? A popular women's website geared largely toward dating and relationships.

The column is about restoring Las Vegas' economic stability. The part that made the aforementioned website, however, is McCain's confession that after a breakup she canceled a speaking engagement to have a girls' weekend in Vegas.

In some readers' minds, the anecdote will likely reinforce a belief that women don't have the emotional fortitude to hold leadership positions.

You can argue McCain's Vegas story hurts women -- maybe it supports a fear that we'll back out of our professional commitments when our romantic lives get complicated.

But there's also the argument that McCain is simply demonstrating a basic humanness that's often absent from the professional sphere. We often walk around like these stoic career robots, intent on avoiding any behaviors that might remotely resemble emotion.

I would never bow out of a major assignment amid a breakup, but that doesn't mean my way is the right way.

Where do you stand?

Need Wednesday plans?

Check out Sips and Strokes tonight with the Columbus Contemporaries. The event starts at 6 p.m. and includes St. Patrick's Day themed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails sponsored by Locos Grill & Pub.

From 7 to 8 p.m., there's an art class.

The cocktail hour is free for members, $10 for non-members. The art class is $20. Reservations for the class are required. Call 706-748-2562, ext 542.

The event is at the Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road. Learn more here.

Schoolgirl fantasies

If you haven't already heard, I went to an all-girls high school.

Cue the fantasies of short skirts, pillow fights and ponytails.

Sadly, that's a distant stretch from reality.

My time at an all-girls high school was the most emotionally challenging period of my life. I was bullied. I struggled with my weight, sense of self and appearance on a level that was far beyond the realm of typical teenage growing pains.

I'm still haunted by images of arriving at school with my parents and crying in the car, begging to stay home for just one more day.

I hated high school, and I think the emotional strain would have been less severe if we had boys at our school.

Which is why I can't immediately embrace this idea of all-girl preschools.

I won't argue with claims that single-sex classrooms boost test scores. My high school had a rigorous academic curriculum that laid the foundation for skills that dominate my career.

But at the same time, I developed a certain social ineptitude -- treating men as rare endangered species and approaching women with the assumption they'd eventually become my social and academic rivals.

Naturally, it all evened out. I matured, befriended my former high school rivals on Facebook and watched my sister attend the same high school and love it.

And as much as I complain about my high school experience, I now navigate professional life as a 29-year-old woman who's not intimidated by talk of gender disparities in the workplace.

Maybe those pillow fights paid off after all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meghan McCain in Columbus

I spent most of Tuesday covering Meghan McCain's speech at Columbus State University's seventh annual Women's Leadership Conference.

Did I ask a bunch of dating questions? No way. I didn't want to be "that reporter."

But you should still watch my interview with McCain, a prominent blogger and daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Our conversation covers Newt Gingrich, social media, Gilbert Gottfried and much more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exes at your wedding?

Sorry, but I'm pretty inflexible in the debate over whether you should invite an ex to your wedding.

My answer? NO.

Go ahead, say that you're "just really good friends." Or that he or she was "just a really big part of your life."

I don't care. Your wedding is supposed to celebrate your current relationship, not pay homage to your past ones.

Apparently, I was never destined to become British royalty.

The New York Times reports Prince William and Kate Middleton have invited exes to their wedding. The invitations are consistent with the British royal family's etiquette rules, the article notes.

Maybe the practice has become more common, regardless of whether or not you're royalty. Consider this excerpt from the article:

Most people have more romantic ghosts in their lives today than ever before. People stay single longer, and fall in and out of love more often. And breakups have become like cellphones — smaller and lighter, less complicated and more familiar. So maybe it’s time to befriend our romantic ghosts, or find them less haunting anyway.

Yeah. Thanks but no thanks.

(via Jezebel)

Monday power anthem

Did anyone else become a bigger Meat Loaf fan after watching him cry on "Celebrity Apprentice" Sunday night?

Hmm, maybe I'm alone here.

Either way, I'm busting out some Meat Loaf for today's power anthem. Enjoy and seize the day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Justin Timberlake is single

Dear Justin Timberlake,

I'm sorry about your recent breakup with Jessica Biel. I'm sure you must be very confused right now.

I doubt dating is the No. 1 thing on your mind. However, I'd like to remind you that 29-year-old journalists often make the best romantic partners.

Conveniently, I'm a 29-year-old journalist. Have I mentioned I own all your CDs and I used to listen to "Girlfriend" as a personal power anthem during college?

I also have a special fondness for your thick-rimmed glasses and if necessary, I'm fully prepared to pretend you're intellectual.

Thanks in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you shortly.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Looking for Prince William?

Call me abnormal: I have absolutely no interest in the royal wedding.

Maybe I'm not alone. This article suggests magazine covers featuring the "Teen Mom" girls sell more copies than covers featuring Kate Middleton.

I believe it. I've never been fascinated with royalty, and I'm hardly addicted to wedding news. Then again, I'm not planning a wedding right now.

My concerns aside, the royal wedding certainly has a following.

Need proof? Consider the rise of, a dating site that pairs British men with American women.

Here's an interesting interview with the site's founders, a husband and wife team. Unsurprisingly, they were inspired by their own romance.

'Boyfriend' phobia

No, I'm not talking about a fear of having a boyfriend.

Instead, I'm referring to a fear of saying the word "boyfriend."

That's the subject of this week's nightlife column, which describes how may women have imposed a verbal block against the popular relationship label.

When viewed in isolation, the term often generates images of passing notes and holding hands in the park.

Which is great -- if you’re savoring your first fifth-grade crush. The label seems a little out of place if you’re in a relationship that’s endured annoying exes, career drama and 30th birthday parties.

Once you've recognized those concerns, one question remains:

What do you say instead?

YourTango's list of alternatives is only mildly helpful. Does anyone really use the term "manfriend"?

Share your suggestions in the comments section.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Does adultery have a double standard?

Is our culture surprisingly tolerant of women who cheat?

I asked that question after reading a male writer's essay that recently appeared on Jezebel. Short summary: There's a double standard when it comes to adultery, and we don't judge female cheaters as harshly as male cheaters.

An excerpt:

Just imagine, for instance, if Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, decided to write a tell-all book about leaving his wife in favor of his South American mistress, including his trips to Argentina to enjoy the cultural delights and the food of the faraway land.

That book might, in fact, sell -- but not for the same reasons that "Eat, Pray, Love" spent 57 weeks atop The New York Times bestseller list.

Mark Sanford as memoirist wouldn't be celebrated as the guy who has reached into our collective souls and spoken to our deepest desires as men. No, Sanford would still be in the headlines as yet another example of manhood gone desperately wrong.

Some aspects of the essay are flawed, mainly the fact that the writer repeatedly cites "Eat, Pray, Love" as an example of female infidelity. But as the commenters note, I believe the writer was divorced -- or at least separated -- when she embarked on her international journey.

The aforementioned essay raises some interesting questions. I think our culture is strangely accepting of the female quest for adventure, even when it hampers personal relationships.

Then again, I'd imagine you could find just as many essays saying we're too critical of women who divorce their husbands and leave their families.

The answer is that there is no answer. Sorry.

Lent and relationships

Are you giving up bad dating habits for Lent?

TresSugar has a list of relationship-related items to give up for Lent. Among the options? Snooping, fakeness and your ex.

I'm so bad at devising Lenten resolutions. I don't have a specific vice when it comes to food, and food-related items always seem like the most popular things to give up.

This year, I'm really making an effort to be a better person during Lent. Calm down, I'm not going all "Eat, Pray, Love" on you.

I'm focusing on the simple things, like not being so critical and appreciating the good things rather than dwelling on the bad stuff.

Do you use Lent as a time to reflect on your relationships?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras 2011

Want some beads?

If you're hitting the town for Mardi Gras tonight, check out this roundup of local party options. I'm totally craving some king cake right now.

Also, check out Glamour's list of cheap date ideas inspired by Mardi Gras.

Have fun!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Best face forward

Apparently, it's cool if you and your significant other look like brother and sister.

Don't believe me? Check out New York Magazine's article about a new dating site that aims to match people with similar faces.

I tried to peruse the site,, but it's not up and running yet.

The theory? Facial matches can help ignite initial attraction. However, the dating site's founder says face matching is only the first step and doesn't ensure long-term compatibility.

Weigh in: Is this cool or creepy?

Monday power anthem

On this day in history, Alexander Graham Bell was issued a patent for his telephone.

So naturally, today's power anthem is Lady Gaga's "Telephone" -- with a twist. I found a pretty awesome classical cover of the dance floor anthem.

The performers have all sorts of cool classical covers. Learn more here.

I love discovering new music!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't ask, don't tell?

If you're not paranoid enough about your relationship, check out this article: "10 things your spouse won't tell you."

Most of the items center on money, ranging from "I spend more on my mistress than I do on you" to "I blew our savings because the saleswoman was beautiful."


Free fries at Chick-fil-A

Are you a dipper or a squeezer?

I'm sure the answer to that question somehow affects your dating life, but explaining the phenomenon requires a degree beyond my qualifications.

Instead, I'll refer you to a video about the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze Ketchup packets.

Cameraman and I filmed the investigative project on Thursday. I learned a variety of lessons, including the unique taste sensation that comes with putting 27 grams of ketchup on a burger.

We posted the video in conjunction with Free FryDay at Chick-fil-A. Visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant between 2 and 4 p.m. today (March 4) and you'll get a free medium order of fries. But there's a catch: You must ask for Heinz Dip & Squeeze Ketchup.

Happy dipping! Or squeezing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inappropriate meet markets

Sara's blog post about dating at the library makes me wonder: Are any places off-limits when it comes to meeting a romantic partner?

My answer is the gym.

I think you should have the freedom to get sweaty on the treadmill without being interrupted by someone asking for your phone number.

And as someone who's received one too many pickup lines in the reference section, I can see how the library could be considered an off-limit meet market as well.

Any other inappropriate meet markets?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen and dating

It was surprisingly easy to find an article connecting dating and the recent Charlie Sheen fiasco.

With just two clicks, I found this Huffington Post piece: "Is your ex worse than Charlie Sheen?"

You'll learn all about the High Conflict Personality Pattern, which is described by terms like "rigid and uncompromising, repeating failed strategies."

Sound familiar?

Read Across America Day 2011

I was a weird kid.

The revelation probably doesn't come as a total surprise, but I'll attempt to justify my eccentricities by noting I attended five different schools before ninth grade.

When I moved to my third school in fifth grade, I decided I was officially done with making friends.

I spent every recess sitting against a wall near our classroom door, reading a book.

Before long, I became somewhat of a freak show attraction. I watched my classmates whisper while brainstorming ways to lure me away from my book and onto the playground.

The thing is, I wasn't really lonely. I kind of enjoyed existing in a bubble and only befriending fictional people whose allegiances existed only between a novel's pages.

It wasn't entirely healthy, though. Eventually, I learned a valuable lesson:

Books can be an escape, but they can also urge you to live beyond their chapters' limits.

Happy Read Across America Day!

Choose your own adventure

Newsweek has an interesting piece called "The science of making decisions" -- though it probably should be retitled "The science of indecision."

Short summary: Sometimes, sources like Twitter and Facebook offer a depth of knowledge that helps us make more informed decisions.

But other times, those avenues provide too many pros and cons to weigh -- in turn paralyzing our decision-making skills. An excerpt:

The research should give pause to anyone addicted to incoming texts and tweets. The booming science of decision making has shown that more information can lead to objectively poorer choices, and to choices that people come to regret.

I've certainly seen this "info-paralysis" extend to the dating world. Even at a relationship's earliest stages, people have a tendency to pose their romantic quandaries to all their Twitter followers and Facebook friends.

It's nearly impossible to find any sort of coherent consensus, leading the dater to either make a poor decision or (more often) second-guess the relationship entirely.

If there's any lesson to learn from all this, it's that perhaps we should occasionally make decisions without soliciting additional opinions from the Internet.

You know, the old-fashioned way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Natalie Portman & mommy wars

The conversation happened four years ago, but I still remember it vividly.

I was having dinner with three female friends. Somehow, motherhood entered the conversation. My friends, all of whom were working at the time, agreed motherhood is the greatest job of all.

"Don't you think so, Sonya?" someone asked.

I said no. My friends were briefly silent. Then, they asked me to explain my answer.

"Well, I'd really like to work at a bigger newspaper one day," I stammered. "And maybe write some young-adult novels."

We ate our Thai food to avoid a greater debate.

Fans of Sunday's Oscars watched best actress Natalie Portman call motherhood "the most important role of my life."

Now, some people are questioning the line. Check out this excerpt from a essay:

Why, at the pinnacle of one's professional career, would a person feel the need to undercut it by announcing that there's something else even more important? Even if you feel that way, why downplay your achievement?

Why compare the two, as if a grueling acting role and being a parent were somehow in competition? And remind me -- when was the last time a male star gave an acceptance speech calling fatherhood his biggest role?

Share your thoughts, please.