“It’s not you”

There’s a double meaning to this beloved break-up go to that I don’t think is given enough attention.

We all know the generally accepted meaning, especially as it’s almost always accompanied by “I can’t get over this ex,” or “I’m damaged,” or “I’m not in the right place…” The “it’s not you” part is meant to focus on what you have no control over- the other person. You can’t solve this problem. Over. Done. No chance. But, you know, don’t feel badly about it, you can’t do anything about it, so you should be cool, right?

But, it’s also “not you” in another way. It’s not YOU- you’re not the one they’re willing to work for, to try to be with. You’re not the one worth their time and effort to get over their shit. And, let’s be real. We all have shit, baggage, something. “It’s not you” is a lie concealing the truth out in the open: It’s not you – it will be someone else.

Some of you are shaking your heads right now. “No, no, no, It’s TRUE sometimes! It happens. Someone could REALLY like the other person, but it’s bad timing.” But, those of us who know better, who are intimately familiar with “it’s not you-” we know it’s bullshit, trite, and in just a short while, there will be someone else whom “it is.” Could be a week or a month later- how’s that for timing? you were just a week away- but, now it’s someone else. It’s wasn’t you, no, it was them. You see? We’re just not buying this, “it’s not you” line.

Because, if it WAS you- if you were the person they wanted to be with, they considered worth it- you’d be having a completely different conversation, wouldn’t you?

Have the balls, the consideration, to just be real. Say something with actual tones of respect. “Sorry, I just don’t see this long-term,”You’re not the one for me,” “You don’t even watch Breaking Bad.” Whatever, just something less trite and insincere than “it’s not you.”


Taylor Swift, or why women are our own worst enemies

I sat down to write a completely different blog tonight. But when I logged onto WordPress there was a comment waiting for me. Not from one of my amazing loyal readers, but from a troll. Not just any troll, but the woman who stalked me and threatened me after my then boyfriend broke up with me to be with her, whom he was cheating on me with. She stalked and threatened to have me raped after she successfully broke us up. Why?

And why would she, after a year has passed, still be trolling me? Still be reading my blog, following my Instagram and Facebook- and taking the time to write nasty things to me- why?

Which brings us to Taylor Swift, and the completely ridiculous backlash she has received because she has accumulated a posse of some seriously badass women. Women, who like herself, have risen to the top of their game. We should be celebrating this awesome group of friends. Women everywhere should be high-fiving each other, acknowledging what a fucking cool example Swift is, welcoming women into this circle of friends with truly endless potential. Doing what we all can do, what we all should do. Women are the greatest resource of untapped potential in the world. Instead she is met with ridicule and trolls doing what they do best, tearing others down so they don’t feel as diminished as they have made themselves.

I was at a Christmas Eve dinner tonight with one of my best friends. A woman who has been so much to me over the years: a mentor, a boss, a confidant, an older sister, an example, a kindred spirit. And I met yet another of her amazing posse of badass Baltimore women. I left that dinner buoyed by the love of my best friend and her family and friends; men and women who, while they do not agree on all things, respect and acknowledge each others’ worth. The way most Baltimore women behave towards each other is amazing. It is noteworthy. It is a page out of Taylor Swift’s book.

You can’t film a “Housewives of Baltimore” because not one of the women in Baltimore would sell out their friends. For one, we all have too much dirt on each other, but more importantly, we are a breed of woman who believes in climbing together rather than climbing over each other. We know that we reach higher heights when we build each other up instead of wasting time and energy tearing each other down. If you don’t know this about Baltimore women, you’re not one of us. But you can be.

The greatest women in Baltimore are people like Gina Geppi, Sloane Brown, and Jeanine Turner. Women who are never intimidated by other powerful women, but who are encouraged by the power they see in others. They don’t keep the next generation of powerful women out of their circles for fear they will be replaced, they mentor their replacements proudly, ensuring their mark on their city through the next generation of women.

If none of this sounds familiar to you, if you scoff at Taylor Swift and her growing universe of Amazons, if you’re thinking of snarky things to say about this sentence; you’re as hopeless as the woman who, a full year after she broke up my relationship is still so unhappy with herself that she continues to troll me (which just increases my views, of course) and wastes her time and exhausts herself coming up with mean shit to say. Why do that to yourself? Why waste yourself creating misery when you could be so much more, to yourself, to those around you, to the world?

Don’t be your own worst enemy. Be badass Taylor Swift.

Little musings: The slash-professional culture

The first time I heard the term “slash-professional” I was working with my sister on the design of a personal logo and business card. I was debating with a friend on whether I should use a couple different card designs or one, and list the various roles I had. Growing up in a culture where having multiple jobs was looked down upon as proof you were not successful enough in your main occupation to afford the luxury of not needing additional work, copping to my various roles so blatantly seemed perhaps a mistake. Not so, my fiend argued, because the Millennials are making the slash-professional a popular personae.

Given this permission to embrace the slash-professional I didn’t even know I was, I took ownership of this newly-recognized culture and my sister created a logo design illustrating my penchant for multiple creative and productive outlets.  My logo is three commingling shapes of three different colors combining into one shape, with new blended colors. The representation, without initially intending to, seems to embody the slash-professional culture, but also the X Generation.

XGens really created the slash-professional, even while the Millennials make the trend fashionable. The first generation since the depression who will not succeed farther than their parents generation, at least via common modalities, XGens are challenged with chasing a new American Dream. Because A does not lead to B which no longer leads to C- A college education no longer guarantees a successful career path, and the family no longer automatically follows; there is a new American Dream. A dream focused on the individual’s journey to reach the fulfillment of a chosen personal identity. A job is no longer just a job, it is now very much an extension of who you are, how you see yourself, and how others see you. Because a secure career path with one organization is no longer a reality for most people, our values and ideas of a successful work life have changed.

Where once you could be assured a college degree would land you a job with a decent salary and assured growth, XGens (and now Millennials as well) are constantly plagued by the fear of the next layoff, restructuring, or even salary or bonus cut. Promotions, if you can get one without the help of cronyism, do not always come with the salary bumps once assumed. Often, XGens learn they have to leave a company to advance their careers. Hiring managers are fond of blaming young professionals for the lack of company loyalty today, but increasingly, it is the company to blame. The company has a habit now of relying on the moronic excuse of “the economy” to explain why even a cost of living increase is out of the question, let alone significant raises for exemplary performance. “You’re over-qualified” is the popular translation for “We think we can find someone younger who will do the job for less, even if they will not perform as well.” Companies are blatantly capitalizing on maintaining the shrunken salaries of the recession in gross. “We can’t afford to offer more” is bullshit for “Our executives and investors are used to, and happy with increasing their own salaries and bottom lines on the backs of employees.” We are witnessing American Capitalism on steroids, Ayn Rand’s wet dream.

The revolution is the slash-professional. A refusal to struggle against a sucking whirl-pool of corporate bullshit. The slash-professional pools resources from their various ventures to fulfill their needs and wants. A secure job making enough for essentials is combined with passion projects and experimental ventures to create a life worth working for. Passions are exquisitely leveraged into productive forms. Advances in personal business tools create avenues of invention. The options for the slash-professionals are limited only by their drive.

The modern unicorn (or, let’s get narcissistic for a moment)

I often refer to myself as a unicorn. I often refer to certain friends of mine as unicorns. My spirit animal is totally the unicorn. But we are not talking about a My Little Pony version of the unicorn. We are talking about the badass warrior unicorn. A majestic, awesome animal, proud because it stands out.

Unicorns are not easy to come by. They are those people in your life who identify themselves as being different, and are completely comfortable in being apart from everyone else, and when needed, in their loneliness. Being a unicorn is not easy. Our magic comes from knowing ourselves and often being outspoken in being true to our convictions. This is not always popular. We will not demur to societal niceties, we just don’t have time for that. We are interested in moving forward, growth and making change in our worlds.

We have some awesome allies, if not fellow unicorns, in our lives. Our herds are small. We don’t need an audience, though sometimes we sure do appreciate one. We know that if we just reach the right people, we are good. Sometimes our friends just tolerate us. We are not always easy. When you know early on, as unicorns do, that you are different from others, you tend to go about life a little differently. And by “different” that is not to say necessarily better; in fact for a long time you probably feel like a complete freak- which, let’s face it, horn growing out of your forehead, you totally are. But you know you are who you are, and who you are is not like the others. And as a unicorn, you don’t have time to apologize for that. (You would spend your lifetime apologizing for being different if you did.)

So, it is not always easy being a unicorn’s friend. Which is why we are fiercely loyal to our friends. It also takes a long time for a unicorn to know they have found a friend, because so many people will grow tired of us, or envious or decide we are just too weird. We absolutely appreciate those of you who stick it out with us for the long haul. We know we owe you one. A big one.

Each unicorn is spectacular in their own ways. (And they know it.) They might be called arrogant or prideful. But it’s not that, it’s just the refusal to concede modesty gets us anywhere. Don’t be modest about your accomplishments and abilities. If you are modest, no one will know your strength, and it will go to waste. Unicorns want to share what they are with the world. They want to give what they can to make things better. We won’t pretend to be less than we are, because that means we are less effective at reaching our goals.

I’m going to assume some people read this and thought, Wow, she thinks a lot of herself. And others maybe, Hey, I think I’m a unicorn, too, or at least, I want to be one! And perhaps, Damn, I know a unicorn! (That Bob, he’s quite the sleeper unicorn.) Whatever it is you got out of this short musing, I hope there is one thing you will take away with you: Unicorns exist.

The fresh fashion of Flash Tattoos

You may have heard about the new trend for beach fashion this summer: Flash Tattoos. These temporary tattoos are metallic, in silver, gold, and black. Depending on your skin care regime, they will last for one to two weeks. And they are the perfect answer to those of us who want to maintain our glamour while sunbathing, without the possibility of damaging or losing our jewels. Or pair them with a sundress or chic evening ensemble for just the right summer shimmer.

Kiss N Makeup in Hampden (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kiss-N-Make-Up/73730544517) was the first place to carry Flash Tattoos in Baltimore last year. Now you can find them at Cloud 9 locations (http://www.cloud9clothing.us/) and South Moon Under in Harbor East. Or go straight to the source: http://www.flashtat.com/.


Wear your Flash in the traditional style of jewelry…


Go boho with it…


Be a hot stepper…


Mix it with your 3-D jewelry…


Or embrace the tat.

Don’t let the sun be the shiniest thing on the beach this year!

Life IRL -True stories of dating hell- The pretty boy

I’ve written about “Life online,” dating via the internet. (There’s only two pieces so far.) But, we all know what starts online may jump off the screen, and onto the bar stool next to you. So, here it is, Life IRL, actual dates with actual dudes and actual hilariously terrible outcomes. Because let’s face it, when you’re a single gal in your 30s most of the outcomes are going to be hilariously terrible.

Let me tell you about the “Pretty Boy.” Monikers will be used only to protect my dating life… I want to have more hilariously terrible dates, of course, and I think I would have less of them if I used real names. I met the Pretty Boy, or PB, on Tinder. We both swiped right. Match made in binary heaven. And then we even, gulp, chatted via Tinder. And then we texted. And through all this abbreviated discourse we realized we actually sort of knew each other. Had some of the same friends/acquaintances. Then came the casual, Hey, what are you doing tonight? I’m out at [insert bar] with my friend, wanna meet up? Because in your 30s you have some how lapsed back into hanging out in a group before you get to that one-on-one date. (We’ll discuss that another time.)

Back to PB. So, PB meets my friend and me out at the bar. Then we go to another bar, we’re having a pretty good time, laughing, flirting. Then the group tab comes and if you are anything like me, a pet peeve of yours is when all of a sudden it takes everyone 30 minutes to find their wallets. Embarrassing. Fortunately, this is not really an issue with my friends. We are all pretty awesome about taking turns picking up a tab. But throw a new person into that mix, and we got issues. PB starts slowly going for his wallet and is asking about how much HIS drinks were, meanwhile I have already put my card down, and the bartender is picking up that little folder holding the receipt and my card, because PB is still getting his wallet out. Ok. This is where I should have just determined this dude sucks, not again. But, instead, like a moron, I give him another chance, because we did have some pretty good conversation and he did drive me home, and was a gentleman about it.

The next weekend is more of the same, Hey what are you doing, wanna meet up? Except this time he’s suggesting the place, a bar he was headed to in his neighborhood. So I get a Lyft, and pop on over. Happy Hour oysters and wine (beer for him). Conversation is ok, a little too vague and overly flirty, but ok, when he is actually talking to me, and not texting. Ugh. I see a guy friend across the bar, who comes over to say hi, and PB barely acknowledges him, texts furiously while my friend and I talk, then gets up to go to the bathroom. And my friend and I are both looking after him, going, Ok, weird. BUT I STILL CONTINUE THIS PSEUDO DATE. PB and I talk about what we might do next, and I suggest that eating something other than oysters might be good if we are going to continue drinking. PB seems uninterested in ingesting anything other than liquids. Mind you, this person is an adult, actually older than me.

We come up with a game plan to head downtown, where we each have friends, but first we are going to drop into a bar in the neighborhood PB likes. I again mention that eating would be awesome, which seems to fall on deaf ears. This bar PB wanted to go to is some random hole in the wall hotel bar. The place looks like “pros” pick up businessmen there. We sit down, I again ask about whether the bar serves food, and PB simply replies, I donno’, gets the bartender’s attention, orders a drink, then asks me what I want to drink. I say water, and instead of then asking about a menu, PB makes fun of me for ordering water. I again explain that it would be great to eat something, and excuse myself to use the restroom. My fault, I leave my clutch on the bar when I go to the restroom. This is someone I know, someone my friends know, he’s proven to be a decent person from the last time we were out, I think nothing of leaving him with my clutch. He apparently thought nothing of my clutch as well. I walk out of the bathroom to find PB walking down the hall towards me, to use the restroom. I ask him, You just left my purse on the bar?? The answer comes, Yeah, I’m sure it will be fine, he then pulls me to him -meanwhile I am thinking, I hope I get back to the bar before my purse disappears- and he says into my ear, You know I’m going to fuck you tonight. EW EW EW EW EW. Ha ha ha, ok, man, is my reply, as I wiggle away from him to get back to the bar. Amazingly my purse is still there. Thank you, Baltimore.

This shit gets better. So we leave the sketchy hotel bar, and standing outside, PB says we should go downtown now. I say great, we can get a bite before the next bar. PB is not amused with my interest in food, Yeah, well, where would you want to go, he asks, and I can hear the dread in his voice. How about Stuggy’s? (Just one of the greatest places to get a hot dog piled with deliciousness, ever.) His reply is basically a snort, You want a hot dog, seriously? At this point I would take a hot -dog from 7-11 just to have SOMETHING to eat. So then he says, let’s Lyft down, and proceeds to look at me. Yup, this dude now expects me to Lyft us downtown where likely we will NOT be going anywhere to eat. I look back at him, and say, yeah, sounds good. He looks back at me (stand off) and says, So… are you going to call a Lyft? I look back at him, Oh, you don’t have the app? He looks at me, Nope. I look at him, You should probably download that. I look at him more. When it is obvious he is not going to do shit, I get a Lyft.

At this point I should have just ordered a Lyft and Lyfted my ass the hell away from this tool bag. But I don’t, because I had the delusional hope the night was going to magically improve. It didn’t. Waiting for the Lyft, PB suggests we pop into another bar. Ok, cool. He goes right for the bathroom, I do the same. I come out, and PB is heading for the door. Ok, that’s a bit tacky. And I am not about tacky. So I say, Well, did you want to get a drink here while we wait. We probably don’t have time, his response. I show him we have 10 minutes. Well, ok, he starts, what do you want?

What do I want? I want you to stop being such a knuckle head and make it appear at least as if you want to impress me, or feed me, or do anything a damn grown-up would do on a date. What do I want? Well, at this point, I NEED tequila. He makes a face and groans, I can’t do tequila. And that is when I knew I was definitely NOT going to sleep with this jackass. We do shots of fireball. And I pay the tab. Because I am a moron, and his slow reach for his wallet was just too painfully embarrassing, standing at the bar with the bar tender waiting for someone to man up. I manned up.

By the end of the night my tabs for the evening were about double his. Which is hilarious because he clearly has a decent salary, judging from his JCrew magazine wardrobe. PB probably gets away with being a cheap jackass because he is pretty. I am sure he rarely hears no. I am also sure he is a shitty lay, with his self obsession and selfishness. Back onto my terrible choices during this night. I actually get into the Lyft with him, and go downtown. I direct the Lyft to the bar where my friends are, but this neanderthal actually yells over me in the Lyft, tells the driver not to listen to me, and to stop at the street where his friends are. And of course the Lyft driver listens to him.

We get out of the Lyft, and I walk right on past the bar PB walks into, he only JUST notices I am not following him, and shouts down the street at me, Hey, in here! Yeah, no thanks, I yell back over my shoulder, I am going to the bar where my friends are, where I paid the Lyft to take us, see you later. Oh, well, ok, text me later, then, was his reply. HA HA HA HA HA Yeah, sure PB, I’ll do that. I finally meet up with my friends, we hang for a moment, then proceed to another bar, where we actually cross paths with PB and his friend, who knows some of my friends. And my friends invite PB and his friend to come to the bar with us. They decline, because they are now going to the bar we just came from. About an hour later I start getting texts from PB: Hey, what’s up? Where are you now? Are you meeting up with us?? Come to [insert bar]. I finally call him back.

PB: Hey, what’s up? Where are you?

Me: At the bar with my friends.

PB: Well, come over here.

Me: Where are you?

PB: [insert bar]

Me: Dude, that is a mile away from here, I am not walking a mile.

PB: Get a Lyft then, we’re ready to leave, anyway.

Me: Yeah, that is definitely not going to happen. I am done paying for Lyfts for you to entertain yourself all night.

PB: Oh, come on, don’t be like that, come over.

Me: Not going to happen, I’ve ordered a Lyft, I am going home.

I shit you not, when the Lyft driver picks me up, just as my phone is dying, he says to me, I am so glad I found you! I could tell you had a rough night and needed help. Apparently he could hear the bitter surrender to the complete fail of a date I just had in my voice when he called to find out exactly where I was in the milieu of bar patrons. I had reached a new low in the night, the Lyft driver pitied me.

I get home and there are about 7 missed texts from PB when I plug my phone in. What’s up? Where are you? Are you coming? Dude? Where are you?

I text back, I am home now. Fortunately, the Lyft picked me up right when my phone died.

PB: You should have come to the bar.

Me: And pay for a Lyft so I could get you back to your place where you were going to fuck me? Yeah, no. There were a few points in the night where you could have shown the least bit of interest in me, and you MAY have had a chance of fucking me. But you didn’t. and you’re not.

Does this guy not then text me the next day: Hey. Then: What’s up? Then: Are you mad at me? And when all those texts are ignored he then messages me on Facebook a couple days later: Hey, what’s up?

I then text him: Listen, I am not texting you not because I am mad at you, but because I am just completely not interested in you. You are a self centered selfish person who never once gave any consideration to the person he was on a date with. You were crass, you expected me to pay for you to be driven around the city, and you were interested only in entertaining yourself. You probably get away with that shit a lot because you are attractive, but I’m attractive, too, and I don’t need to put up with your bullshit. And I doubt it would be worth it anyway, because people as self centered as you are shit in bed.

His response was the normal run down of pathetic excuses. Hey, I’ll give him credit for even responding to that text with anything other than: Go fuck yourself. But it was clear the list of excuses were a sort of last ditch effort to fuck me, and that was not on my To Do list.

Life online: OKTinder

I’ve more than dabbled in online dating. I am regularly swimming in the murky water of of profiles and personality measures and age range stipulations. I thought I had it all worked out. Tinder, the “breeders’ Grinder,” is for hook-ups and OKCupid is for those seeking something “real.” And then a friend made a very naked, honest observation: OKCupid is Tinder with subterfuge.

Tinder is more honest. Tinder is more like seeing someone across a bar, feeling that “spark” (ie. lust) and giving them bedroom eyes, a come hither look, by way of a swipe Right. OKCupid allows you to FEEL like the connections are more real, but how many of us have met up with an OKCupid date who had a great profile, and lackluster photos, and were pleasantly surprised? How many of us have regretted pretending not to be as shallow as we are? How many of us have wasted someone’s time because our loins, they were not a’burnin’?

OKCupid gives us a warm fuzzy feeling by making it seem we want more than simple animal attraction when we meet someone. We do, eventually, but if the looks aren’t there to begin with- if there is no initial spark, there is nothing to ignite a flame. And you need that initial flame. Romance is about the the heat as much as it is the head and heart. The heat stokes the flames, the head and heart keep the home fires burning. OKCupid feigns that connections are deeper than skin, and allows us to do the same, by coming up with pithy and clever answers to “List five things you can’t live without,” and “You should message me if…” We love to pretend we care more for the inside than the outside, while answering question after question about ourselves. We really just want to talk about ourselves, that’s why we complete a profile.

And the kicker is, we honestly expect our OKCupid admirers will read our entire, witty, original profile. Sentence after sentence of our deep thoughts on our favorite TV shows. We read maybe the first two sentences of each profile attached to a photo of a person we might consider hitting on, if they happened to be standing in front of us. It’s the most public and disconnected form of mutual masturbation you can find today. “Aren’t my opinions and musings so very interesting??” “Oh yes, of course, I read EVERYTHING. Don’t you think my favorite books show how intellectual I am?” “Oh my gosh, yes! Nothing says deep independent thinker like Ayn Rand!.” “Tell me how much you want to get to know me better because you found my ‘What do you think about’ answer inspiring!”

It’s true, a photograph is worth a thousand words, but no number of words will make you hot for someone you don’t feel that initial spark for. So, Swipe, my friends, Swipe to your eyes’ content, and perhaps you will Swipe a flame you’ll want to stoke.