The Dating Pact

922912547d6e7c6b7eac36cff48f6738Recently, I wrote about how dating apps can make you feel like you’re dating… when all you’re doing is scanning pictures and having conversations that legit lead nowhere.

Before I wrote the post, I had a conversation with my roommate C about how logging onto Tinder or Hinge (or countless other dating apps) is so easy, but actually getting up the guts – and putting in the minimal effort – to meet someone for a drink can be really hard to do.

And so we decided we would keep each other accountable for getting out there by creating The Dating Pact. And now, I invite you to join us (and possibly win a prize!)

The rules are simple:

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So I’m Pretty Sure I Was Catfished…

worstdate1The first rule of online dating is to keep your boobs off the internet. The second rule is to never, ever (EVER!) text too much before meeting your match in real life. And maybe don’t commit to dinner with someone you’ve never met offline, either. I learned the latter two lessons after going on what I consider one of the very worst dates in my life (the guy who cried was a bad one too. And the one that blatantly asked if I shaved my you-know-what 20 minutes into drinks—but more on those real winners later).

I connected with Jordan on OkCupid—and his first message to me was uncharacteristically charming. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was enough for me to click on his profile and go through the mental checklist I always use to determine if I want to respond or not:

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What to Do If Your Date Stands You Up (I Would Know)

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.50.45 PMIf there’s anything that’s annoying to hear after years of flying solo, it’s that friend-of-a-friend who excitedly says, “OMG, I have the PERFECT person for you. He’s great. Can I set you up?”

I never know the right way to accept or decline the offer, so I usually just nod and smile, remember my Southern social graces and allow my number to be passed on. My mentality is usually, hey, if he makes a move, I’ll go out with him. It can’t hurt to add another one to the long list of could-be boyfriends, right? So when I heard from Luke only 12 hours after this friend-of-a-friend sang my praises, I was pleasantly surprised to learn—via text—that he was actually…kind of awesome?

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23 Things I Love About Being Single (in GIFs)

There are some things that really suck about being single. But then there are some awesome benefits of flying solo. When I start thinking about how annoying it is to go on bad date after bad date, wishing for my single days to end already and wondering where the hell is this guy I’m apparently going to end up with… I remember all of the reasons I actually love being single.

Here are just a few… (add your own in the comments!)…

1- Peanut butter and popcorn for dinner? Occasional glass(es) of wine with hummus, carrots and a hard-boiled eggs because I just want it instead of cooking? Grub from the food truck late at night? Ain’t nobody that’ll be laying next to me… so…

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Don’t Let Her Down

That 5-year-old girl who didn’t know better than to believe in imaginary friends and far away places, where being anything at all was not questionable, but expected. That girl with that braided hair and those wide, eager eyes who saw beauty in old, ragged dress-up clothes and in the mud of the front yard that could be turned into cakes and pies, doughnuts and cookies for a tea party with a very wise queen. That girl who wanted to be everything she could think of: a trapeze artist, a sculptor, the President of the United States, a teacher, a preacher, a princess, Lois Lane, a warrior jet fighter, a this and a that. That girl who never told herself she wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough, that wishing and hoping could make things come true, that by simply being herself, she would grow up to be not just something, but a someone. A big, big someone.

Don’t let that girl down. Chase your dreams, no matter how far-fetched they might seem or how much you’ve forgotten how to run.

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That 10-year-old girl who insisted on getting certified as a babysitter so she could have her very own babysitters club (with all of her best friends). That girl who didn’t think twice before jumping from patio furniture to table, from one side of the kitchen counter to the other, performing an elaborate dance routine to the Spice Girls for her parents, the cat and the dog. That girl who wore the same bracelet she made for weeks beyond end, not caring if it was in style or matched her clothes or was part of the popular kid’s approval list. That girl who stood up to the mean guy on the bus who commented – inappropriately – on the body she hadn’t grown into mentally, who wouldn’t stand for someone talking down to her, especially for something her mother called “breasts.” That girl who was awkward and probably obnoxious, sporting crooked teeth and the first signs of acne – but more than anything, she was herself.

Don’t let that girl down. Be brave enough to be who you are, wherever you are, whatever you do, whoever you’re around or puts you down.

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Ya Gotta Do You

When you write a weekly column about relationships in your college paper – that no one takes seriously – but gets great traffic, you suck up the snide remarks from other staffers. When friends and people remind you time-and-time again that when you move to New York, you might not work for a magazine. You might not get a job in editing at all. You might end up being an intern forevermore and never make any money and eat Ramen until you can’t possibly stomach another noodle – you smile and take it all with a grain of salt (or put it on said Ramen).  When you receive hate mail on the very last day of your very last class of your college career, where someone says they hope you fall on your “pretty little face” in New York because “being pretty” doesn’t mean you can be an editor – you vow to frame that letter when get that corner office. When the chancellor of your university says that you just don’t really have what it takes to lead a staff and that you would fit in better at a glossy than writing about “serious topics,” you congratulate the new editor-in-chief, graduate early, move to New York, and land a job… writing about “serious topics.”

Because even if people find you ridiculous or don’t believe you can’t do what you keep sayin’ you’re going to do — ya gotta do you.

When you start a blog way back in 2010 because your day job –  an editorial assistant at a business magazine – just wasn’t quite what you wanted, you spend hours (and hours) after work building your social presence, writing content and scheduling posts. When you meet someone two weeks into designing a blog about being single, about learning to love yourself first before loving a man, you put off the relationship talk for as long as you possibly can and stick to your rules, no matter how self-imposed they are. When your blog generates traffic from all around the world and you’re basking in the afterglow of being featured on the homepage of WordPress, you remind yourself that fans are fickle and the Internet, like some men, loses interest quickly, so be thankful. When your boss at that business magazine isn’t a fan of you posting the blog on LinkedIn and pulls you aside about it, you kindly decline the request to remove it because it’s part of who you are.

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How to Breathe

During the summer in New York, right around 8 p.m., as we’re heading off to indulge in sangria and sunsets, there is an orange shadow that cascades across the streets, beaming off the buildings, and leaving everything it touches with a crisp, bronzed haze. It is one of my favorite moments in the city all-year-round, and regardless of where I am or who I’m with, just seeing the amber reflection is enough to distract my attention and make me take a big breath.

I was thankful for a moment of clarity before meeting Mr. Unexpected for a celebratory sushi and sake date on Friday night, after a very long, very exasperating week. I had a hard time sleeping every night last week, my nerves never calming down from the many changes of the past few months circling in my head and enticing my heart to race. And though I always get a little anticipant to see Mr. Unexpected, once we start talking, he has a certain way of calming me down, too. Sitting across from him, with the citrus sun still radiating above us, I took another big breath of pure stress release.

In fact, I’ve been reminding myself to breathe a lot lately.

To say this year has been ripe with change, expenses and new experiences would be a vast understatement. If anyone would have told me all of the things that would happen in 2014, I would have never believed them.

Just to recap:

  • My dad had unexpected heart surgery at the start of the year.
  • I had my last day at iVillage – after three years – on a Thursday in April.
  • The next day, I left for a 10-day trip to Paris and Rome with my mom.
  • Two days after I got back, I started my exciting, challenging and entertaining job at WEtv.com.
  • Then I got in – via raffle – to the NYC marathon.
  • Two weeks later I met who I thought would be my roommate for an October 1 move date.
  • Then I realized my lease ended on September 1. (You know, when I’ll be in London visiting J for a week.)
  • Which means I would have to move by August 15.
  • Two weeks later, I met Mr. Unexpected.
  • 20+ dates later, we are an actual thing.
  • The roommate, who I thought would be moving with me, couldn’t anymore.
  • I decided that I couldn’t possibly train for the marathon, go on a big trip, do well in my new job and find an apartment and train for the marathon. So I backed out.
  • So with a month to go to find an apartment, I somehow found two roommates.
  • And a subletter for my current apartment – for just a month.
  • I signed a lease yesterday. To move to the East Village!

Whew.

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