One of Those Days…

IN A GOOD WAY!

Really, it’s beautiful out.  I fully intend to write a post about some of my new favorite television-y things, including some rad commentary on gay visibility in the media.

I also am going to talk about some silly laws and some sad stuff that happened in the news recently.  10 points and a high-five if you can guess what these are!

Now, though, I’m going on a dog-walking, apartment-hunting adventure, and you’ll just have to wait!  If you don’t have beautiful weather, I feel bad for you.

Also, pro tip, walking a dog around a nice neighborhood on a beautiful day is actually a GREAT date idea.  And the greatest part is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating a long time or not, because dogs are partner-magnets (unless it’s a Chinese crested, then you’re probably SOL there…) and who doesn’t enjoy being in the sun?

it looks like a tiny, ugly horse.  or a warg.

Seriously.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t go on a dog-walking date if you have an ugly dog.  But, DO go on dog-walking dates, because everyone wins!  There’s the cute factor with the dog, the nice factor with the weather, it’s a great way to get a little exercise in, and you can talk about pretty much anything!  Some of my greatest conversations with my ladyfriend have been while walking our respective dogs.  It’s my professional opinion that you should walk dogs with significant others.

In other news, it’s Pi Day!  What’s Pi Day?  Well, it’s March 14th, or 3-14, which are the first couple of digits of Pi, a really long irrational number that is involved with geometry and such.

because math is delicious!

I didn't make this, but I should have.

Go eat some pie after walking your dog with your significant other (or a friend even), because pie is delicious and really, there are SO MANY KINDS of pie!  There’s pumpkin and blueberry and sweet potato and apple and French silk and pretty much whatever you can think of!

Regularly-unscheduled postings will happen at some other point.  I’m going outside!

 


How to: Survive Valentine’s Day When Single

So… Tomorrow.  Oh, boy.

Tomorrow’s one of those days people have a LOT of feelings about.  It’s Valentine’s Day.  For me, I like the day because it has personal significance!  This was the first weekend my ladyfriend (the same one with whom I celebrated our 3rd anniversary not too long ago) came to visit me by herself and spent the weekend in my dorm room (MINDS.  OUT.  OF.  GUTTER.)

But for a lot of people, particularly single people, this is a day filled with sadness, resentment, wearing black and binging on chocolate and/or alcohol.

Just because I haven’t spent V-Day single in awhile doesn’t mean I don’t have some GREAT ideas for you non-romantically-connected folks!  Here we go!

First and foremost, treat yourself to something awesome.  Go to the movie none of your friends want to see, put your favorite record on and dance like a whacko, buy yourself some fancy chocolate or nice booze or even a new pair of pants!  When I am in need of cheering up and I have some space alone, I pull out my inner Sasha Fierce.

Oh yeah.  You know what this means.

If doing things solo that way makes you feel bad, you can always count on FMyLife to have the best and worst of humanity’s suffering.  It may not be a good day for you, but on that website, someone’s always got it worse.  If you don’t think so, you can always submit your own tale of woe, right?

Have a video game marathon if you’re one of those stereotypical single dudes (or ladies)!  Nobody’s around to tell you to stop playing and pay attention or do whatever, so go for it!  If you have an important thing to do, try not to forget it, but really, what’s the harm in killing some zombies or driving a car that you stole (IN A GAME)?

These next two could be combined, but your mileage may vary!

Have a movie marathon.  Invite your friends over and watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies!  Or all of the Star Wars movies.  Or Star Trek, or superhero movies, or Animal House, or something with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in it.  If you purchased nice alcohol and/or chocolates earlier, share them with your best buddies – it’ll only get great from there.

If you really want to have a good time, have a romantic comedy movie marathon, but make it into a drinking/chocolate eating game.  You might end up sick afterward, but hey – how else does one get through formulaic and stupidly heterosexual idyllic cliche garbage flicks involving Channing Tatum or Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan/every actor who needed a paycheck?  There are a couple guides on teh interwebz, but you can always make up your own rules, too!

Okay, now it is time for me to be serious with you.  Do not, under pretty much any circumstances other than “you need a ride to the hospital and nobody else is answering”, and I mean this: DO NOT CALL YOUR EX.  It won’t end well, it will be extra super weird because it’s Valentine’s Day and just don’t do it!  Remember that you broke up for some reasons.  I don’t mean that from a place of bitterness or resentment, but there were reasons and you should continue to remember those.

Also important: DO NOT DRINK ALONE.

drinking will not help your "forever alone" status or feelings

Seriously, drinking alone is not good.  Even if you’re chatting online, it does not count.  My rule is you have to be physically in the same space with another living, breathing human being in order to have safe drinking times.

Eating chocolate alone, however, is totally more than acceptable.

GO.  BE VALENTINE-Y!


How to: Survive A Fancy Restaurant

Hello and welcome back to me, I’ve been off doing silly things like studying for classes and celebrating my 3-year anniversary with my wonderful girlfriend!

To mark this amazing occasion, the lady took me out to a fancy-pants restaurant (or at least a lot fancier than places we usually eat, like McDonald’s…) The waitstaff was wearing nice pressed white shirts, white aprons, and very fancy dark blue jeans, so it wasn’t necessarily a black-tie place, but we dressed up nonetheless, ate some fancy food, drank some fancy wine, and had a great time!

Over the course of the evening, from the preparation to the restaurant events, got me thinking: Valentine’s day is coming up, and probably some folks are gonna go to a fancy restaurant.  Through my extensive field research and my own mistakes, I have created a how-to survival guide for just such an occasion!  LUCKY YOU.

First of all, pick the restaurant well before you go.  Most places have websites now, and sometimes you can even check out the menu before you get there.  DO THIS.  Reading up on the place and practicing pronouncing dishes (plus maybe looking at what’s IN dishes like that on Google or something), is a really great tactic.  This way you look smooth, smart, and above all, prepared.  And don’t forget to make a reservation.  Show up on time.  It’s kind of rude to go to a place and expect them to have held your table for you, especially when Valentine’s Day is probably the busiest restaurant day ever.

Second, dress up!  For god’s sake, isn’t it fun to put on nice clean clothes, make sure you’re all gussied up and lookin’ hot?  It’s different from going to a club where you’re trying to attract attention, and different from like a funeral or wedding where you HAVE to dress up.  This is where you can let these two styles collide – the dressy bit and the flair!  Don’t you dare wear a novelty tie, though, those things are not funny and I have no idea why they still make them.  You can ask what sort of outfit your date will be wearing, and try to dress so you don’t clash horribly (but you don’t have to match – that’s way too “high school prom”)

Next we get to the behavioral aspects of your night out!  I realize this is going to sound very old-fashioned, but wait for your lady to sit down, pull her chair out, push it in for her.  Be genuine and polite.  I hope you still genuinely enjoy her company!  My girlfriend did this for me and it was surprising and adorable at the same time.  It’s not about “putting a woman in her place” in this instance; it’s about showing you still really care about her.

When you’re ordering anything at a restaurant, do NOT, under any circumstances, give a waiter a “thumbs-up” or an “okay” sign.  I did this and I still feel stupid about it!  To be fair, I had a mouthful of appetizer when he presented the bottle of wine for tasting, and I nodded while chewing and gave the “okay” sign – I’m feeling a right idiot more than a week later, how do you think you will feel after Valentine’s Day?  Since my hindsight is 20/20, I should have nodded, put up a finger in the “one moment please” gesture, and finished my mouthful.  Bam, survival tip you can use over and over again!

Don’t rest your elbows on the table.  If you have to rest your hands somewhere, put one hand on a lap, and have your other forearm resting on the edge of the table.  Sit up relatively straight, so your nice clothes don’t get all messed up.  You’ll look better and more attentive to your sweetheart anyway.  Also, remember that you’re wearing really nice pants that you don’t want to drop food/wipe food on!  They give you big napkins at most restaurants, so shake ’em out and set them on your lap.  Cover those slacks, chaps, it’s okay to protect ’em!  Just don’t forget it’s on your lap when you stand up to leave – that will also be kind of embarrassing.

I hope you all have a great way of celebrating Valentine’s Day!  And who knows, later in the week there might be a “how to survive Valentine’s Day” guide for you single folks!  Thanks for reading!


Happy Holidays!

Hi y’all, I’ve been attempting to navigate family-laden holidays with the girlfriend in tow.  It’s been fun and time-consuming.

Also, I’ve been consuming tons of chocolate and booze, sometimes simultaneously.

What I’m really trying to say is I hope you all had/are having a very Merry Solstichristmakwanzikah, and be safe over the New Year’s weekend!  Be good to each other and make good resolutions.  I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours!


Help Someone

So hey, here’s a radical idea for that whole “charitable and giving” sentiment that’s floating around this time of year:

HELP OTHER PEOPLE.  Who?  How about this guy, who got the crap kicked out of him because he’s gay?

You can always donate to a coats for needy kids program, or donate toys to needy toys.  Volunteer in a soup kitchen.  Buy some turkeys for a food pantry.  Some thrift stores have programs in place that help charities, such as the Goodwill chain and Savers.  If you want to be a personal hero of mine, check out Heifer International or Oxfam or Water.org

Do I realize times are tough and other such platitudes?  Of course I do, I’m not exactly rolling in dough over here.  But I do know that there is a wealth of good to be felt in donating, and in helping people who really need it.  Some people always have it a lot worse, and while that may not be especially comforting, it’s an unfortunate truth.

The flipside of this is that we can DO something about this.  Check out the links above, talk to people about charities or helping others, just do what you can.  It matters.


Travel Revelations

Have you ever tried to plan a trip with your significant other?  No?  Well you could, right now, and it could end up being pretty fun.  Or it could end up sucking, but I guess that’s up to you.

My ladyfriend and I are going to be voyaging to the super-not-sunny Cleveland Ohio, because that’s where I went to college and I still have friends there.  Now, in theory it shouldn’t be too difficult to save for and purchase tickets for the flight and then think about hotel reservations and such.  It’s simple, right?  Pretty much cut and dry, and really straightforward (can I use that word talking about lesbians?).

In reality, this can sometimes turn out to be like herding cats – theoretically easy but complicated in practice.  My dear, sweet girlfriend is a bit scatterbrained, and we’re both really busy.  So we’re 2 weeks out from the trip, and we have no plans.  WHAT DO WE DO?!?!?!!

I’ve made a little list for you, and this is totally going to be a boldly-titled list.

1. Know Your Sites

It’s scary buying airline tickets.  This stuff seems SO EXPENSIVE at the time, and if you add in all the fees you can think of (luggage, being fat, whatever), it can add up.  Fortunately there’s a ridiculous amount of online travel agencies there just for you, and not only can you see prices in big bright numbers, but arrival and departure times are usually pretty clearly marked as well.  Orbitz, Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity, and Kayak are all pretty fabulous.

2. Survive the Airport

Airports are full of people who have to go places RIGHT NOW, and this is no truer anywhere else than in the security checkpoints.  People are SO ANGRY if you don’t have slip-on shoes and have belts with metal buckles, or have to try to organize your crap so you don’t lose any of it.  It’s stressful, and I know you’ve heard this a zillion times before but get there early and take your time doing your stuff.  This might sound like a dick move, and maybe it is, but I always think that those other people are in a big hurry because they didn’t plan well, and that it is in no way my fault they’re so grumpy.  Actually, I literally just found this post and it seems like an indispensable airport survival guide.

3. Don’t Go No Reservations

This might work for Anthony Bourdain, but I personally really enjoy knowing exactly where I need to go and when.  I loves me some schedules, whatever.  I don’t have a hotel reservation… Yet.  I will, though!  Why?  Partly because it seems weird and sketchy to show up somewhere at night and say “Hi, I want to pay you so I can sleep here!  Let’s do this!”  But also because if they’re full up, we’re totally screwed (in the bad way).

4. Foraging Tips

Fortunately for me, we’re going to a familiar city.  I know where some cool restaurants are, and I know enough about it to be able to get around with minimal problems (hey Cleveland RTA, I’m talking to YOU).  If you’re going somewhere new, do some Googling ahead of time and find some neat places vaguely close to the hotel you’ll be staying in – this is not rocket science.  You could also look for places within half an hour or so of where you’re staying, because a short jaunt here and there means sightseeing and discovery, and that is always fun in new cities!

5. Don’t forget a toothbrush

No, really, don’t forget one.  There’s nothing weirder than waking up in a strange room and having sour morning mouth FOR THE WHOLE TRIP.


Man Up and Pay For Dinner. ALL of It.

I’m going to say this as simply as possible.

You ALWAYS pay for dinner.

Unless this is explicitly discussed and settled before the date, you are going to pay for the whole meal.  Why?

1. Avoid Awkwardness

Have you ever been on a date with someone that you’re pretty sure is going to rock your world, only to have the check arrive and the weirdness to come out?  It’s never fun and never sexy to try and split a bill.  Instead of unnecessary confusion and general awkwardness for you and your date, just pay for it.  Which brings me to my next point.

2. Show her you are in control

Nothing sends “I am SO in control” signals to someone like taking care of the whole check.  This is almost a guaranteed lady-boner-inducer (provided you have had a good conversation/dinner/pre-dinner-bill experience!), so why not give yourself a few more points in her book and just DO it?

3. It’s impressive!

Boys who can handle spending some money without seeming like a douchebag are totally hot.  Trust me.  (And this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually LIKE dudes, so you KNOW I am telling the truth here).  Women LOVE this kind of thing, not because it shows you can buy lots of crap on a whim, but because you have secure enough finances to have and do more elegant or nicer things.  Generosity is not only impressive, but it’s VERY attractive.

Okay, here are a couple of things that you should never do.  If you do them, you will not be getting any.  At all.  Ever.

1. NEVER (EVER EVER EVER!) ASK THE WAITER TO SPLIT YOUR CHECK

This is just as classless as trying to do it yourselves, only you’ve drawn in a third party.  Some fancier establishments don’t even let you DO this, so it’s best to avoid all the nonsense and just buy dinner.  The lady will see that you are serious about this date when you don’t even bat an eye about who’s paying.  Seriously.

2. Skipping the tip

When you’re done with dinner, what’s the next logical step?  Pay the check and leave the restaurant.  Go to someone’s place, and see where the night takes you.  THIS IS A TRICK QUESTION.  You forgot to tip your waiter!  Do not pass GO, do not get laid.  This is a great way to get you noticed though – as a JERK.  So don’t forget the tip.  Why?

Not only does this show a girl that you know what you’re doing in a restaurant setting, but it sends the message that you care about other people.  How much better can this situation be?  And it’s pretty painless, once you think about it.  You’ve probably already spent some cash on clothing for the date, and maybe flowers or something else, and then there’s the cost of dinner – you may as well just splurge and give your server what he or she deserves (and sometimes a  little extra).  Your date will appreciate the classy gesture, you will look flush but not smugly, arrogantly wealthy, and you will look sensitive to the needs and efforts of others.  20% minimum, especially in this economy.  If you aren’t sure what the tip ought to be, round the bill up and do some speedy mental math.  It’ll work out.

I am not saying you have to take her to an expensive place.  Not at all.  In fact, if you aren’t sure you can afford a certain restaurant, then don’t go there.  And if you can’t afford to tip accordingly, then you really can’t afford that restaurant.

The really nice places, the SUPER DUPER “I am trying to impress you to get laid” places?  They won’t have their prices on the menus.  Call ahead, and be prepared.