Friday, April 29, 2011

Fat guy in a little coat

"It's different for guys."

I often utter the line when my boyfriend expresses guilt upon eating fast food. He says he'll get fat. I don't disagree, but I note his stomach bulge will attract less social judgment than mine.

The thought crossed my mind when I read this Salon essay: "Why the fat guy should lose his privilege." An excerpt:

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost 70 percent of men are overweight, compared with 52 percent of women. Yet, somehow, 90 percent of the commercial weight-loss industry's clients are female, and somehow, this industry hasn't seen males as a viable business. How can that be?

It's not exactly a shocking revelation. Still, it raises some valid questions.

When it comes to dating, do you think overweight men have it easier than overweight women?

Will and Kate forever!

Despite my initial reluctance, I got sucked into the allure of the royal wedding this morning. It was bound to happen. My alarm went off at 5:05 a.m. and I left for a viewing party around 5:35 a.m. My first stop: Covenant Woods, a Columbus retirement community.

They e-mailed me an invitation to their festivities earlier this week and I couldn't resist. I showed up to find an awesome Dunkin' Donuts spread, including the coveted royal wedding donuts (pictured above).

I watched the ceremony with about 10-12 viewing partners, most of whom said they also watched Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding. It was a great crowd and I especially enjoyed the folks who sang along with the wedding music.

My invitation to Covenant Woods said it was OK to wear my pajamas, but the scene wasn't entirely informal. Case in point: this hat, which was worn by royal wedding viewer.

After about 90 minutes at Covenant Woods, I checked in with Ledger-Enquirer royal wedding correspondent Dawn Minty, who kindly offered me some morning snacks. Click here to read Dawn's excellent coverage...all done from the comfort of Columbus.

My royal wedding viewing experience was motivated mainly by a desire to be in the loop. I always hate being "that person" who can't participate in a social discussion.

But I also appreciate how a royal wedding fascination crosses generations. I called my parents at 6:45 a.m. California time and they were eating crumpets. Seriously.

So maybe I'll embrace today as chance to celebrate without over-analyzing the cause for celebration. Fortunately, the 5:05 a.m. wakeup call left me a little slap happy, so I'm already rocking a serious cubicle party.

(Let me extend a special thanks to my morning hosts. You are Columbus royalty!)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal wedding. Again.

Don't forget to follow the Ledger's royal wedding page for updates on the festivities.

Here are a few more items related to the royal wedding. I promise they're not sappy.

*This Royal Name Generator is awesome. Use it. Now. The Ledger-Enquirer's royal name is Marquess Ledger Jeeves Enquirerton of Columbusburgh.

*Here are some helpful tips for watching the royal wedding with a date.

*Finally, during a random Internet stalking session, I learned a girl who graduated from my high school now gets paid to pose as Kate Middleton. I'm jealous.

Romance at the Rankin

I want to get married on June 25.


If you follow this blog even semi-regularly, you know I'm not a huge fan of the whole wedding scene. I have absolutely nothing against the institution of marriage. I'm more opposed to the stress and money that commonly define wedding ceremonies.

I've always told my parents that if I ever get married, it'll happen in either the courthouse or Vegas. I saw absolutely no middle ground.

Until I checked Facebook today.

Enter Romance at the Rankin, a June 25 group wedding ceremony at the Rankin House. It costs just $300 for a couple to participate.

This is amazing. It's the one ceremony option that makes me actually want to get married. Perfect setting and perfect cost. I'm having a hard time controlling myself, so I'll just cut and paste the announcement:


Forecast calls for love and romance at the Rankin House, June 25, 2011.

Couples can have the ceremony of their dreams for a fraction of the cost this summer, June 25, 2011, at the Rankin House, 1440 Second Avenue.

Weddings and vow renewals are available. The Rankin House will provide a romantic setting for these brief, inexpensive ceremonies. Couples will exchange vows in the beautiful courtyard and then have a reception inside the home. A special treat will be provided for each couple to share as they toast their love and prosperity. A photographer will also be on hand to capture the moments of your most memorable day.

Appointment times are available between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., with couples saying “I do” every 30 minutes. The cost per ceremony is a $300 if you book before June 10, $400 thereafter.

All proceeds to benefit Historic Columbus.

Wedding ceremony couples are asked to bring a valid marriage license. A maximum of 20 guests is allowed.

Call 706-322-0756 for more details and to reserve your special time.

Critics and lovers

Most of my boyfriends have had some sort of interest in writing, either through traditional journalism or more creative stuff.

Fortunately, this makes for all sorts of book discussions and grammar debates. Unfortunately, it also allows for inevitable fights spurred by "honest" critiques.

"Hey, read this and tell me what you think."

When not handled appropriately, that line can be the kiss of death in a romantic relationship between two writers.

The thought crossed my mind after reading this essay: "My editor, my wife." An excerpt:

Though her criticisms are often less than gentle ("I'm going to throw up" is a representative margin note), she makes my work better. Much, much better. I save her marked-up manuscripts as an unluckier husband might save love letters.

Letting someone read your writing -- and genuinely listening to his/her critiques -- is an indication of the seriousness of your relationship.

If your romance can survive a red pen's wrath, it's likely on the right track.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal wedding entrance dance

See, I'd definitely be interested in the royal wedding if this dance was on the agenda.

But alas, it's simply a timely spinoff of this viral video.

It's still pretty awesome, though.

By the way, have you checked out the Ledger's royal wedding page?

(via Jezebel)

Romance by the books

"Women do not date men for more than two years."

Does that advice hurt?

Yeah, that's exactly why I generally don't read relationship manuals.

The books seem to only reinforce the social judgment I receive from dating someone for four years without getting engaged.

I also have some serious gripes about "He's Just Not That Into You." But that's another story for another time.

The Huffington Post has a pretty cool gallery of books with the worst dating advice ever. Among the wise authors? JWoww from "Jersey Shore."

What's the worst advice you've received from a dating guide?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal wedding overload

I'm getting to the point where I throw up a little in my mouth whenever I hear about the royal wedding.

No, I won't watch. Yes, I will continue to write occasional blog posts about the event because it provides easy inspiration.

But how's this for a deal? I promise all my coverage will focus on anti-royal wedding material.

Like this Double X post, where one writer explains why she's not waking up at 4 a.m. Friday. An excerpt:

Royalty-watching seems to be a guilty pleasure even as it becomes a dying pastime, and we are more aware than ever that neither of these people has done anything at all to earn our interest, no matter what they may someday achieve.

Other than an appreciation for the spectacle itself, it's pretty near impossible to come up with a rational reason to watch. Which is just one reason that I'm glad I don't have to.

Well said.

That said, the Ledger-Enquirer blogosphere is blowing up with royal wedding posts. Read more here and here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Body Shop's shower challenge

Everything about the scene screams class and elegance. Well, except for this line: "I still haven't showered today."

Ah, yes...good old shower resistance. It strikes most commonly on weekends, but nobody's immune to the occasional hectic workday morning that makes you embrace dry shampoo.

Or no shampoo at all.

That said, sometimes it's a little unsettling to learn your date couldn't muster the energy to savor a brief encounter with body wash prior to your night on the town. This usually happens during the "comfortable" stage of a relationship.

Fortunately, there's always the tried and true excuse of water conservation. Nobody can argue with environmentalism, right?

Which brings us to The Body Shop's recent challenge encouraging people to take a three-minute shower.

In the world of water wasting, I'm probably not a major culprit. I shower every workday, but my recent conversion to the world of straight hair means I only wash my hair twice a week.

Nasty but cool. Right?

(via Jezebel)

Monday power anthem

Today's power anthem isn't exactly a song, but rather motivation to finally start your summer exercise routine.

I've been totally obsessed with this Heather Morris dance video since it surfaced among last week's top Internet search trends. I watch it at least once a day, usually right before hitting the gym.

I like to believe my dance moves look like this, but deep in my heart I know I bear a closer resemblance to Elaine from "Seinfeld." Woe is me.

I love you, Heather Morris!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Head thongs

I feel obligated to begin this post by informing my editors it has absolutely nothing to do with lingerie or pornography.

Feel better?

Now that we're all on the same page, I'll revisit my disbelief upon learning head thongs are apparently a new hair accessory. They look exactly like they sound -- beaded contraptions resembling thong underwear, but worn on your head.

See photos here.

I agree with MTV Style's confusion upon processing the apparent new trend. On the plus side, it'll probably never make it to Columbus.

That aside, does anyone else think head thongs are a little bizarre? Would anyone go as far as to describe them as "hot"?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Misery Bear prepares for a date

Watch this. I never thought a teddy bear could accurately reflect so many human emotions.

(via Glamour)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dating coaches

Here's a writer's firsthand account of getting advice from a dating coach.

Going into the article, I assumed she'd ask the coach questions about meeting men. Not true. She went into the experience having a boyfriend of almost two years.

Unsurprisingly, her dilemma involved taking that infamous next step. She wanted the coach to validate her decision to move in with her boyfriend.

Here's what happened during her session with the coach (Lauren):

After I explained my situation to Lauren, she told me that I was doing pretty well: I did my "romantic research" and secured an agreement from Greg about the steps we wanted to take together.

However, Lauren said that it sounded like a deadline for engagement —"an expiration date on the exploration phase" of our relationship, as she put it — would make me feel more secure.

The writer has the conversation with her boyfriend, and it's predictably a bit awkward. But she's still happy with the decision to move in together.

Would I ever visit a dating coach? Sure.

But I'd probably spend the days after our session analyzing why he/she was entirely wrong.

That's just the way it goes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twitter relationship fail

Is Twitter ruining your love life?

Nerve directs us to a study suggesting "frequent Twitter users have shorter relationships than those who don't microblog."

An excerpt from Nerve's analysis:

Are people who Tweet all the time too narcissistic to commit to another person? Are they Tweeting twenty five times a day for work, and just really busy?

Or perhaps the most convincing (and least satisfying) of all — are they just younger? I'm sure that more twenty-year olds than forty-year olds tweet daily, and I'm sure they have shorter relationships too.

If a correlation between Twitter and short relationships is true, what does it say about modern romance?

Flirting and finances

These survey results suggest the money women spend preparing for a date exceeds the money they spend on the date itself.

Naturally, men spend more money during the date.

Here's what stuck with me: Apparently, 65 percent of women in the survey spend more than $50 getting ready for a date.

I immediately flashed back to Friday night, the most recent outing I'd classify as a "date" with my boyfriend. We hit the lavish world of Carino's.

The time I spent looking for the restaurant coupon definitely exceeded the time I spent getting ready.

That's not to say I've become one of those people. I never want to be the girl who assumes life in a relationship resigns her to a wardrobe consisting entirely of sweatpants.

Then again, it's been a long time since I spent $50 getting ready for a date.

What do you think?

Women and competition

No matter how much research you distribute, I refuse to believe women are less competitive than men.

Blame my stance largely on the time I've spent in all-female environments. I watched young women aggressively compete at the all-girls high school I attended.

Upon joining a college sorority, I witnessed a similar sense of competition that encompassed everything from physical appearance to career paths.

Double X addresses a female sense of competition -- or lack thereof -- in a recent blog post. The post refers to a study widely reported to suggest women were more likely to pass on a job "once they found out part of their pay would be based on their performance versus a co-worker."

While discussing the study's potential implications, Time magazine notes:

If women don't like to compete, they are less likely to put themselves in these types of situation. That can allow less capable male workers to end up with the better job titles and bigger pay checks.

Weigh in: Are women less competitive than men? And if your answer is yes, is that necessarily a deterrent in the workplace?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday power anthem

Today's power anthem celebrates Tax Day. Three cheers for procrastinators!

Seize the day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to lose a guy in 10 days

Sometimes, bluntness is the best option.

It's not fun to tell someone, "I don't like spending time with you and I'd prefer to end our relationship right now."

But in the long run, that way is much simpler than the alternative: taking a series of steps to ensure your partner will want to end the relationship.

The strategy isn't confined to chick flicks. I've watched some women go through complicated processes designed to make themselves look undesirable in a partner's eyes.

Need proof? Check out this collection of the top nine ways to lose a guy's interest. Among the suggestions? Call him repeatedly and make him read your diary.

What do you think is the best way to lose a guy's interest?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nirvana fans do it better

The AJC directs us to unscientific survey results that tell us which music fans are more likely to "go all the way."

The moral of the story: If you want to get lucky, go out with a Nirvana fan. You're chances aren't nearly as good if you date someone who likes Coldplay or Adele.

Among the artists attracting the most sexually "active" fans: Nirvana, Metallica, Linkin Park and Kanye West.

Artists that apparently make their fans less sexually active: Coldplay, Adele, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

And now you know.

Meeting the ex

Jezebel has a handy guide about how to survive meeting your significant other's ex.

It's a column topic I've wanted to tackle for quite some time. Perhaps my boyfriend is aware of this fact and thus intentionally sabotages any ex encounters.

A couple Christmases ago, it seemed like I was thisclose to the experience that will one day earn me a Pulitzer.

But alas, after a last-minute change in plans, I left my boyfriend's hometown with no investigative research under my belt.

Of course, my obsession with turning the encounter into a column is largely a defense mechanism to avoid inevitable fear and awkwardness.

It might make a good story in the long run, but meeting an ex is rarely something you'd immediately classify as pleasant.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Starbucks and marriage

I love lip gloss.

As a reward for surviving a week of work, I usually treat myself to a new shade every Saturday. Since it rarely costs more than $10, it's a relatively inexpensive weekly indulgence.

Then again, outsiders might think differently. Especially when you consider the fact that many of my new lip glosses go unused.

Fortunately, no one else has a say in my budget.

Which is why I did a cute little "Single Ladies" dance after reading this Wall Street Journal column from a woman whose husband is critical of her passion for Starbucks. An excerpt:

The truth is: When it comes to small indulgences -- fancy espresso drinks, tubes of drugstore lipstick -- I see the budget as an aspiration. Like a diet, it's something to respect and work toward. When we first met, Joe thought my flighty, creative, nonlinear approach to finances was cute. That was a long time ago.

Weigh in: If you're at the shared finances stage of a relationship, do you and your partner fight over indulgences like Starbucks?

Happy (early) Easter

Earlier today, my co-workers and I reminisced about this Easter video, filmed during my first year at the Ledger.

It's not exactly conducive to a short summary, but it remains one of my favorite projects from my journalism career.

Hey, not everyone gets paid to eat Robin Eggs on company time.

Fake phone numbers

How much thought do you put into the fake phone numbers you give weekend pickup artists?

Glamour tells us about a service that gives you a temporary phone number to give potential dates. Here's how it works:

After a quick registration (and a payment of $9.95 for one month, $6.95/year), you’ll receive a secondary phone number that you can give out. When you call out from your phone, you can first dial your Tigits number, wait for the prompt, and then call the strange guy you want to reach. He will only see your Tigits number, and if a stranger/stalker calls you, the Tigits number shows up, so you know it’s someone you gave that number to.

I've never been a huge fan of the fake phone number approach. I'd rather opt for a flat-out "no."

Then again, guys are often too pushy when it comes to asking for phone numbers. I've had guys press me for a phone number even after I say I'm attached. So yes, maybe it is easier to just hand out a fake phone number to end the conversation.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ask me out on Wednesday

Don't know when to ask your crush on a date? Try Wednesday.

The advice comes from some study results that recently landed in my inbox. Check this out:

The best day to ask someone on a date is Wednesday, and if you suggest a 2-part date, the odds are even greater he or she will say yes.

That's according to a study conducted this week by dating site, which invites users to post actual first-date ideas online for others to read -- and potentially accept. Recently surpassing 100,000 dates posted, the site analyzed patterns in its data to shed light on today's dating culture.

Sunday is the worst day to propose a date, according to the study.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Men saying 'I love you'

Here's a study suggesting men are more likely than women to say "I love you" first in a relationship.

The article emphasizes most people think a woman says "I love you" first, but the findings don't exactly surprise me.

I think women have the feelings associated with "I love you" before their partner, but don't vocalize those feelings for a variety of reasons.

From advice columns to dating blogs, most sources warn women against the potential pitfalls of vocalizing their feelings too early in a relationship.

There are lots of urban legends about women who say "I love you" too soon, scare their partner and watch their relationship explode. Amid those fears, we often feel like our only option is to sit back and wait to hear "I love you."

So yes, many men say "I love you" first. But that doesn't make things any easier for women.


Monday power anthem

Today's tune comes courtesy of Packway Handle Band, one of the bands that performed at Frogtown Hollow over the weekend.

I attended the music festival both days and had a great time. What did you think?

Seize the day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Self-esteem & shacking up

One study suggests "shacking up" could lead to low self-esteem among women in certain countries, including the U.S.

The reasoning? Check this out:

The study suggests that unmarried women who live with a partner were less happy than married women because they had violated "normal" behavior, had to endure disapproving glances from neighbors or hotel staff, and others pitied them "for failing to persuade their man down the aisle."

I don't think "shacking up" itself generates self-esteem issues.

However, I do believe women with existing self-esteem problems might be more inclined to prematurely move in with a guy in hopes of securing a sense of completion.

Those same women could have a hard time with the questions that sometimes accompany "shacking up."


Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's your price?

I couldn't turn away from this headline: "New dating site treats members like prostitutes."

The article profiles a new dating site, The site is for "generous" and "attractive" members. Here's a summary:

The reason these categories exist? Because "generous" members are supposed to make offers to the "attractive" members in order to negotiate the terms of a first date. Yes, you read that right. According to this site, it should be perfectly commonplace for someone to pay a man or woman just to go on a date with him or her.

Wow, right?

I really don't know what else to say, so please weigh in with your comments.

Do I look fat?

No, that shirt doesn’t make you look fat. Yes, I can tell you’re losing weight. No, there’s nothing goofy-looking about your hair.

Sound familiar?

Today's nightlife column is about how much honesty you expect out of your significant other.

We face a fine line in relationships. On one hand, you want to be your partner’s safe haven from the rest of the world. But on the other hand, you want to help your partner be the best person possible -- which can involve facing some harsh realities.

So what do you do? Most daters navigate these questions with no official game plan, aside from the constant relationship goal of avoiding fights.

After all, pointing out some mustard on your girlfriend’s chin is one thing. Shattering her hopes and dreams is another.

Anyway, I worked pretty hard on the column and I'll feel all warm and fuzzy if you read it. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Average cost of an engagement ring

The average cost of an engagement ring was $5,392 last year, according to the results of this survey.

Does that number surprise you?

The survey, courtesy of, is based on responses from nearly 19,000 recent U.S. brides. Consider these highlights:

*Most popular engagement month: December

*Average amount spent on a wedding dress: $1,099

*Average spent overall on a wedding (excluding honeymoon): $26,984

As someone who's never planned a wedding, my first instinct is to look at the numbers and say, "Wow, just think of all the other things you could have bought with that money."

I think it's possible to have a nice wedding for much less than $26,984.

Do you agree?

(via SavvySugar)

VIDEO: Watch my Aflac duck voice

Sorry for the lack of activity on here yesterday...I was in Atlanta covering a casting call to find the new voice of the Aflac duck.

How was the experience? Well, it's probably best to watch the video, which includes some pretty entertaining footage of my attempt to get the duck job.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Bookstores and romance

Do you know your local bookstore is a good place to meet a date?

The answer is probably yes, thanks to our culture's growing tendency to push the belief. Sara recently addressed an extension of the idea when she wrote about speed-dating at the library.

And now, we have this eyewitness account of finding love in bookstores. An excerpt:

There are many reasons why bookstores are naturally romantic environments: the smell of paper, the soft lighting, the baseline understanding that those inside like to read, and are therefore probably not morons.

Am I the only one who's a little worried about this concept's rise?

Don't get me wrong: I love books and like Katie, I get sad when people say bookstores could become an endangered species.

But I worry that all this hype about bookstores being meet markets could erase some of the "underground" appeal that makes bookstores so romantic.

I have no experience with bookstore dating, but I assume one of the best parts about meeting someone in a bookstore is the fact that you're chatting with someone whose primary mission isn't to find a date.

Write a few more headlines about people meeting in bookstores and you'll have daters who visit the stores primarily to find a romantic connection. Not to mention all the cheesy pick-up lines you might hear in certain store aisles.


Monday power anthem

I loved this performance from Sunday's ACM Awards! What did you think?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dinner dates made easy?

Just in time for the weekend, Em & Lo offer this handy collection of dinner date rules.

They warn guys against ordering for women. They ban cell phones from the table. You know, pretty standard stuff.

The major thing that attracted discussion in the comments section was a suggestion not to order the lobster -- "unless it’s been clearly established that you’re paying."

In the comments, somebody wrote, "If he is a lawyer, a doctor, a high level engineer, an IT specialist and picks you up in a Lexus, Damn, order that Sea Bug."

Even if I knew my date made a ton of money, I probably wouldn't order the most expensive thing on the menu. I usually opt for something in the middle of the menu's price range. If my boyfriend's paying, I rarely order something more expensive than what he's getting.

Weigh in: If you're not paying on a first date, is price an issue in what you order?

April Fools' Day 2011

Ladies, I'll give my annual April Fools' Day public service announcement:

"I'm pregnant" is not an acceptable April 1 prank.

Got it? Likewise, guys, it's not a good idea to punk us with a fake marriage proposal. You're only setting yourself up for a fight.

I've never been a huge fan of April Fools' Day jokes. Or jokes in general.

However, I think the rise of social networking has only heightened an obsession with April 1 trickery. I've seen people post Facebook status updates ranging from fake engagements to fake breakups to fake pregnancies.

There's just one problem: Humor rarely translates over the Internet. People take things waaaay too seriously.

So you're left with a bunch of people writing you congratulatory messages...even after you've posted that your status was just a joke.