Adventures in Online Dating

I often say that publishing writing online is akin to publishing naked photos online.

It freaks me the fuck out. It puts me in a very vulnerable position, open to scrutiny, criticism, misinterpretation, and yes, compliments too. Plus, my parents read my blog, which can be awkward sometimes.

With that in mind, please enjoy this pointless drivel of a metaphorical striptease.



“Online dating is for people who don’t know how to meet people in real life,” I snidely chimed to Alex and Christine, while demurely swirling a robust red blend in my water glass.

olivia pope

They had reasonably suggested that I was still single not because of my own shortcomings, but due to my work situation (one employee in a company of – at the time – three), and my perchance for hanging out in dive bars. To them, the obvious solution was to get online. I refused.

I stuck to this sentiment that online dating was for social goobers – despite the fact that Alex & Christine (both who have online-dated) are attractive, well-adjusted, socially competent women like myself – for close to two years before breaking down and setting up an OK Cupid profile.

Surprisingly (or maybe not) online dating ultimately ended up being an exploration of the self, more so than an exploration of suitors.

The first thing I learned is that online dating was really good for my ego.

“It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of men!” I squealed in delight to Christine, approximately 36 hours and 50+ messages from dudes later. “I see the light! Why didn’t I do this before?”

The second thing I learned was how to be picky at the buffet.

There was the guy who was the vanilla ice-cream of men. There was the guy who made a fat joke and then remarked on his desire to shoot raccoons  with a BB gun. There was the guy who invited me to a baseball game (the tickets were supplied by his boss), and then was too cheap to shell out $6 for a watered-down beer.

There was the date that went incredibly well until the guy threw up and passed out on my bathroom floor. There was the guy that pursued me like an over-eager puppy – despite my polite attempts to communicate that he needed to cool it – until I had to send him a “break up” text.

There was the guy that I actually hit it off with. We dated for a month or two, until he began to slow-fade me.

Let me be very clear about something: I can fucking tell when you’re slow-fading me. I will give you the benefit of the doubt for a few weeks, but realistically, you are not fooling anyone. You are just being an asshole.shoshonna

For a while he rebuffed my invitations to hang out, then stopped replying to texts altogether (always with the texting), until I told him “it seems like you’ve lost interest, which is fine, but gradually disappearing is rude and cowardly.” Suffice to say, being called rude & cowardly did get a response from him.

There was the guy that treated me like a stop-n-go, then months later “humbly beseeched” for my forgiveness.

“Maybe he realized afterwards how cool you are, and he regrets it,” my friend Jackie mused.

“Maybe holiday party season is coming up, and he doesn’t want it to be awkward,” I shot back.

There was the guy who stopped talking to me after I had drunkenly called him to hang out, then told him “you’re the worst” when he declined.

Needless to say, while the buffet has been immensely entertaining to sample, I found myself walking away hungry.

girls

“That’s funny, because I wouldn’t peg you as hard-to-date”, my friend Marco told me as I relayed my dating escapades to him.

“Maybe it’s because they can tell you hate men,” Christine suggested at a girls night out, as I lamented that even Charles Manson had a significant other, but I did not.

For the record, I do not hate men.

“You have another ten years (I’m 23) before you should start freaking out”, my sister consoled me. She recently got engaged, prompting a barrage of wedding-fever-esque commentary from my parents & grandparents about how “Sophie’s wedding is next” and “the girls’ grandchildren shouldn’t be too far apart in age”.

My awkward smile has been getting a lot of face time around my parents.

But as I try to get to the root of my dating woes (is it me? is it them?), it’s hard not to feel down on yourself when every romance dissolves right around the two-month mark.

big girl pants

I guess two months is the amount of time it takes to realize that I am a psycho that will blog about you.

But in my defense, I have exercised  an enormous amount of self-restraint in keeping mum about their sexytime behaviors. So there’s that.

How do I conclude this striptease of my admittedly hilarious, yet totally depressing online dating stories?

The third thing I’ve learned from online dating: How to be my authentic self.

As I looked for a common denominator for why I had failed so miserably at love, the one thing I could put my finger on was a horrible one:

Me.

I was the common denominator.

It could be that I dress like a total bum. It could be that I stoppped wearing makeup. It could be that I’m a smoker, which is gross, or a vegetarian, which is inconvenient, or that I don’t want kids, which is for many men “pointless”. It could be because I’m an angry feminist. To which I will say; unless you are a complete fucking idiot, it is impossible to be a happy feminist. It could be because I CrossFit, which some people find butch and threatening. I could be because I’m “the most opinionated girl ever” (according to a shoe salesguy, who had only heard my opinion on the shoes in his store, but nonetheless parroted a phrase that I’ve been hearing for the vast majority of my life).

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

“I’m going to throw myself a perpetual bachelorette party,” I told my sister and her boyfriend (now fiancee) as we waited for our table at Homeroom in Oakland. “Every year that I’m a bachelorette, I get another party.”

They think I’m kidding, using humor to deflect my inner hurt at being so incredibly accomplished, yet so incredibly single.

But I’m not.

Perpetual bachelorette party, here I come.

more-wine

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An open letter to everyone who has told women “Don’t get too muscular”

This post was originally written as a guest post for Tony Gentilecore, and was first published on his blog here.


 

I have been strength training for about two years now. Before that, I was a starvation-dieter.

I began dieting around the age of 13 or 14. My freshman year of high school I discovered I no longer fit into size zero jeans and bam! Diet time. By the time I hit 21, the years of self-imposed malnutrition had left me at 100lbs, able to easily wrap my thumb & middle finger around my upper arm (“bicep” doesn’t seem like the appropriate word) and unable to open jars, heavy doors, or windows by myself.

Why am I telling you this?

During my seven years of starvation-dieting, I was never once told, “don’t get too thin”.

In contrast, during my two years of strength training I have been told, “don’t get too muscular” countless times.TG post 1

The first time it happened to me, I had excitedly been telling someone about my new squat PR. Weighing in at a (finally) healthy 125, I had just squatted 100lbs. I was in the middle of explaining  “my goal is a bodyweight back squat-” when I was interrupted with a “well, don’t get too muscular now”.

Being new to strength training, this crushed me.

For an awful few days it took my focus away from becoming stronger, and back to measuring myself by the gauge of “is my body pleasing for others to look at?”

After I got over it, my dismay turned into anger – no – absolute fury at this society in which 42% of girls 5-8 years old want to be thinner, and 10 million women are battling eating disorders (source), yet we hear the words “don’t get too muscular” far more often than “don’t get too thin.”

Now, while this unsolicited “advice” is generally never welcome nor appreciated, it brings up two issues: The encouragement of female weakness, and the lack of respect for female body autonomy.

One:  Culturally-encouraged female weakness

Let me tell you right now, women who strength train know how hard it is to build muscle. If you tell a woman who strength trains “don’t get too muscular” then congratulations! You have just ousted yourself as a totally ignorant fool who doesn’t even lift.

The problem is that women who don’t strength train don’t know how hard it is to build muscle, and so this phrase, “don’t get too muscular” will seriously deter them from ever picking up heavy things in the first place.

This is a big problem. Naomi Wolf explains it better than I ever could:

A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”
― The Beauty Myth

When women strength train, it is an act of borderline social disobedience. “Don’t get too muscular” is the phrase of choice used by people who are threatened by strong women to put them “back in their place”. And it’s working.

We have three generations & counting of women who have been brainwashed into voluntarily physically debilitating themselves.  Three generations of women who have been more focused on losing weight than running for government. Three generations of women have would rather be thin than intelligent. Three generations of women that would rather let the men-folk open jars for them, rather than develop the strength to open jars for themselves.

Now, I am not advocating that people start going around, accosting teenage girls with desperate pleas of “don’t get too thin! Put some meat on dem bones!” But to be completely honest, I probably would have benefited very much if I had received the message “don’t get too thin” at some point in my adolescence.

So. If you are going to say anything to a woman about her body (which you shouldn’t be doing in the first place, as I am about to explain), “don’t get too thin” is 1000% preferable  over the completely moronic “don’t get too muscular”.

Two: Lack of respect for female body autonomy

blog 2Why do people think it’s appropriate to tell women what they can & can’t do with their bodies in the first place? What makes someone think it’s perfectly acceptable to tell a woman “don’t get too muscular”?

This is an issue that’s been going on since the dawn of time, with female body autonomy being disrespected from reproductive rights, to personal space in public places, to -yes – appearance, weight, & fitness.

Most tellingly, no woman – no matter what kind of body she has – is immune from invasive suggestions on how she should be caring for her body. Women who strength train are warned against getting too “bulky”, “muscular”, or (my absolute favorite) “manly”. Women who are on the larger side by far endure the most unwanted commentary. From people remarking on what’s in their shopping carts, to what they should order at a restaurant, to what type of exercise they should be doing, to what they should be wearing whilst exercising… it never stops. Even thin women can’t escape the self-appointed body police, who unhelpfully pester them to eat more because “men like women with curves”.

 

If you are a man, and the idea of a random passerby raising knowing eyebrows at your gut whilst commenting on your ice-cream cone sounds invasive and preposterous – that’s because it is invasive and preposterous. You are just lucky enough to not experience it every day. Sometimes multiple times a day.

Men, for the most part, do not have to entertain this type of “well-intentioned” advice, because people actually respect male body autonomy. This is something that women would like to enjoy as well.

The people who tell women what they should do with their bodies are, frankly, so arrogant they believe their “benevolent suggestions” are actually doing the woman a favor. Y’know, helping us be more attractive to potential mates.

This completely disregards the fact that women do not exist to be aesthetically pleasing for others, and we (this may surprise some) often do things for ourselves.

Which brings me full circle to my anecdote in the beginning, about the first time someone interrupted my squat-excitement to not-so-helpfully remind me to avoid bulky she-man status.

Women who strength train are doing it for themselves, not for you. Women who lift weights have already eschewed social norms by touching iron in the first place, and I guarantee they give negative fucks about your opinions on their bodies.

So next time you are tempted to “help” a woman by telling her not to deadlift things because you don’t like muscular women, remember that nobody cares about your stupid boner. Especially not the lady deadlifting 200lbs in the gym tank that says “GET SWOLE”.

But even more importantly than not telling this to women who already have the ability to overhead press your girlfriend, don’t say it to women who aren’t strength training yet (like your girlfriend).  Because chances are, with every “don’t get too muscular” a girl hears, weight gets added to the already-heavily weighted scales that tip women away from becoming strong, healthy, and powerful, and towards a life of cardio, carrot sticks, and misery. And no woman deserves that.

If you (or a lady-friend) are ready to start getting strong, I highly recommend Krissy Cagney’s Beginner Strength program. She is an extremely knowledgeable professional, but more importantly, Krissy embodies female empowerment and is the type of coach that can actually change a girl’s life for the better. 

Becoming a Lady-Beast

Hello! So with the flurry of media attention my blog has been getting out of late, I’m also getting a ton of questions from fellow ladies about what my exercise & diet plan looks like. I’m a huge advocate for lifting heavy, but it’s true I’ve also never gotten very specific about which lifts you should be doing. Hence…

Sophie’s Guide to Becoming a Lady-Beast

bear deadlift

The first step to becoming a lady-beast is to roar.

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New Years Post!

Hi all,  I  realized I haven’t blogged (or written any words at all) for a long time, so I thought I’d get back in the groove with a new years post. Now, I’m not very good at commitment, and new years resolutions usually tend to be a massive fail on my part. My goals tend to be like rollover minutes… except in years. Oh well, here it goes then:

1) Get that goddamn pull up.

WOW. It’s been over a year since I’ve started strength training, and I still haven’t got that pull up. Yes, it is kind of my fault. I’ve gotten close on occasion, with really consistent training, but then something would happen (l moved, I got a second job, I went on vacation, I moved again) and I’d stop training for a few weeks & BAM! No more pull up progress. Right back to the beginning.

2) Get a booty.

Ok, yes, another fitness goal. A lot of you know I’m kind of obsessed with nice booties and getting one for meself. So, this year if I haven’t done anything else in a day, I will do at least 50 squats.

3) Finish a story & publish it. 

I currently have one story written down and two more in my head. By 2015, I need to have completed & sent out at least one. 

4) Plant an herb & vegetable garden.

Many of you know I’m not generally a fan of small animals (or children), but this year I got a basil plant and it really made me like growing plants! Ok… most of the basil is dead… but that was like a practice round. This year I’m going to plant & grow some edible stuff.

I had all these other little things in my head like, “wear a little black dress once a week” or “wake up by 9am on weekends” and of course, the vague but relevant “be more awesome”, but I think I should just be realistic and keep the resolution count at 4.

Now that they’re public I have to do it! Or, at least I hope that’s how it works.

Working on something new…

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