One Night Standoff

One Tuesday night, after a(n) (amazingly heart-piercing) show by the (amazingly heart-piercing) Amy Kuney at the Bootleg, my dear friend, ironysradiocheck and I are feeling a little prowly. We decide to hit up Tenants of the Trees to see if any of nature’s fine-looking (comma tall comma witty comma kind-hearted comma well-read comma well-dressed comma dark/broody) specimens are planted by the bar – or, anywhere within its walls. We’re not picky.

Door Guy: I like your stomach.

Why thank you very much, sir, for that uniquely worded compliment. (I was wearing a very cropped crop top.) (I am sharing this part of the story not only because I am super proud of my baby abs in training, but also because sometimes wearing half a shirt makes you a quick target for casually sexist, racist, disabled-ist a$$holes.)

Enter Attractive But Maybe Slightly Too Macho Dude.

I spot ABMSTMD on ironysradiocheck’s and my quick, catlike stroll around the patio. Eyes lock, gazes linger, etc etc. (The etc etc is the part where I then proceed to stare down everyone around him, just to let him know I’m, like, totally chill and I definitely wasn’t checking him out at all.)

ironysradiocheck doesn’t see anyone of immediate interest/ABMSTMD doesn’t seem to be making any moves from where he’s standing, so we stroll back to the bar area/debate calling it a night.

Me: Yeah, if no one intriguing appears by the end of this drink, I say we call it.

Just as we’re about to leave, I see ABMSTMD has maneuvered his way a few feet down the bar.

Me: That guy might be kind of cute.

I look at him. He looks back. I look away. (Just as chill/casual/nonchalant as before.)

ironysradiocheck: Oh yeah, dude. I think he’s coming over here. Score.

Me: Hey.

Well, this is starting off well. (ironysradiocheck has found something super interesting/enthralling a few feet away with which to occupy herself.)

Me: Stacie.

Please say this single syllable thing continues for the rest of our convo.

ABMSTMD: Did you see me checking you out earlier?

Welp. That hope was fleeting.

Me: Ha. I did.
ABMSTMD: Why didn’t you say anything?
Me: Why did it take you so long to say anything?
ABMSTMD: Look, it’s 2016. I think that women should be equally responsible for initiating the conversation.

I love when guys are adamant about the need for gender equality – but, you know, starting with the ways in which it would make their lives easier as men.

Me: Ha. Let’s maybe start with the wage gap and work our way down from there.
ABMSTMD: You ladies really just want it all don’t you.

I respond with an eyebrow arch.

ABMSTMD: Oh, calm down. I’m just kidding. Where are you from?
Me: I’m originally from Nebraska.
ABMSTMD: Midwestern stock. Nice. Here, what are you drinking?

The conversation continues as he orders my Tito’s soda with mint.

ABMSTMD: So how old are you, Stacie?
Me: 32.
ABMSTMD: Oh wow.
Me: Oh wow?
ABMSTMD: I just thought you were younger than that. Don’t worry about it – I never would have guessed you were that old.

That old. Don’t worry about it.

Me: Ha. I’m not too concerned about it.

I stare his non-baby face straight in the eyes.

Me: How old are you?
Me (smirking): 38. Wow.

He gets the ‘aren't you a little old to be hanging around bars, attempting to pick up 20-something chicks’ inference. Now that we’ve set the combative tone for the night! 

ironysradiocheck pops over to say she’s peacing out. Hugs. Love. Promises of texts.

ABMSTMD: I love how girls always do that.

I love how guys “always” make statements about all girls always doing dumb girl things.

Me: What do you mean?
ABMSTMD: Just leave their friends with a total stranger. I mean, you’ve been talking to me, so you know I’m pretty normal, but she has no idea.
Me: I mean, I guess sometimes we forget that we’re just walking prey.

Are we flirting or do we hate each other? I decide it’s probably both. He starts planning our wedding.

ABMSTMD: You don’t have any crazy in your family or anything, do you? I don’t want to end up with some weird Asperger’s kid or something.
Me: You’re going to feel really bad about saying that when I tell you my brother’s autistic.
ABMSTMD: Oh no, so you’ve got f*cked up genes?

Is he f*cking serious? Hate. It’s definitely hate.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), his friends arrive at this moment, halting the diatribe of death that had just begun its expletive-ridden exit from my mouth. They happen to be wonderful. We bond. We hug. We dance. I realize the two drinks I've had are going straight to my head.

Me: Is anyone hungry? I didn’t have time for dinner and I am starving.
Amazing Friend #1: Omg yes. I could totally go for some food.
AF #2: Yeah, same. Let’s do it.
ABMSTMD: We could go to the diner by my place.

We pile into an Uber. But wait!, they say. First let’s just make a quick stop-off at a house party – there’s supposed to be a cool band playing! Sure, I say, pretending I’m not about to pass out from drunken starvation.

An hour later, it becomes clear this is no quick stop-off. I announce my planned departure via Uber.

ABMSTMD: Hey, I’ll go with you. Let’s go get you the food I promised. Sorry about these guys.

Somehow, the promise of food and the surprise of an (unnecessary) apology makes me forget my general abhorrence of him as a human.  (Vodka, powers.)

At the diner:

ABMSTMD: Sorry, you can’t come over after – my dad’s staying with me for the week.

Oh good Lord. Abhorrence suddenly v v remembered.

Me: I think I’ll find a way to get over it.

He follows this with some other horrendous thing regarding our possible sexual future that I have blacked out due to an inherent distaste for vomiting.  I order my omelette.

I eat well over half of the very large diner omelette.

ABMSTMD (broadcasting shock/dismay): Wow, you’re really going at that thing, aren’t you.

Straight face. Single blink.

Later, when the waitress comes to clear our plates/ask if I’m all done with mine, ABMSTMD goes ahead and throws his answer in on top of my affirmative.

ABMSTMDI think we can all agree she did a pretty good number on that one. 

At what point do I have legal grounds to stab him.

The contempt-laden conversation stubbornly continues its journey back to the good ol’ days, eventually landing on the topic of interracial marriage.

ABMSTMD: I just don’t think it’s fair to the kids.

HI, 1952. So nice of you to drop by/add your antiquated views to the ever-growing pile of backwards bullsh*t. 

Me: You mean, fair to the rest of us because they’re so beautiful? My nephew’s half black and is seriously the most perfect child you’ve ever seen in your life.
ABMSTMD: So your sister f*cked a black guy, huh?
Me: My sister dated, married, and started a family with an amazing guy/father who, yes, is a black man.

Where oh where is that knife when you need it. He pays the check before I’m able to summon the waitress.

Outside, waiting for Ubers:

ABMSTMD: Text me when you get home, okay?

I stare at him, taken aback by the sound of this gentlemanly statement coming from his very ungentlemanly face. He misinterprets the stare.

ABMSTMD: What? You didn’t expect me to drive you home when I live right around the corner, did you?

Thank God this battle is almost over. I am exhausted. 

Me (V. slow. V. measured.): I don’t expect anything from you at all.

Two weeks later…Sunday night, 1:28a text message:

ABMSTMD: How you been?

Okay, that I did kind of expect. Sorry to leave you in suspense, ABMSTMD, but I’m gonna go ahead and tap out of this dear little donnybrook. It's been...really, really, tragically real.   


Apparently, a vintage truck does not provide clear enough perspective - next time I'm standing in front of a measuring tape. 

Existing as a private, membership-based dating app populated by the kings and queens of Instagram, Raya is cool, hip, and always chill AF. (The kind of chill that shows just how DGAF it is about everything by doing things like abbreviating six letter metaphor vehicles.)

In keeping with this VSCO lens on life, user profiles are clean, filtered, and devoid of any extra information. Standard personal stat bubbles that clutter the pages of more mainstream (read: lame) dating sites have been replaced by a single blank box – a canvas for Raya’s artsy souls to paint whatever picture of themselves they think might intrigue/attract potential suitors. For many such souls, this does not seem to include much. A guesstimated (because I can’t be bothered with things like numbers) (what, I’m a dreamer, not a mathematician, GD) 90% of the profiles I’ve come across have absolutely nothing written/or emoji-ed in that space.

Fine, whatever – I don’t need to hear about your vinyl collection or the fact that you’re just looking for someone you can laugh your way through life with, but can a girl get some basic facts?? Like, possibly…your height?

For some reason, a fair number of dudes seem to view this as an inane request. The few times I’ve seen it listed, said lister has qualified the number with some version of an eye-roll. “Since it seems to be such a big deal to some of you…”

Is height a big deal? I mean, it’s not the biggest deal. No one’s dying over it, at least not as far as I know*. But are we all really supposed to pretend it doesn’t factor into our realm of attraction in any way, shape, or form? I, personally, think I have a right to know ahead of time if a date’s going to end with a man standing en pointe to hug my waist. (Mostly because I have a certain proclivity toward crop tops and that’s a little too much skin on skin action for a first date. I’m not that kind of girl.**)

Fortunately, just when I thought I was secretly popping crazy pills (and wondering what they were/how I could get some more of them), two vertically-challenged Raya clients stepped forward to show me that there are at least a couple short dudes out there who don’t want to be surprised by my lanky a$$ either.


VCRC1 and I had been talking for weeks. We covered all of our hopes, fears, darkest secrets, etc (aka spent the entire time trying to one-up each others’ jokes) when he decided to dig in on the personal Q’s:

VCRC1: Hey, how tall are you?

A quick gander at my profile page would have answered this question for him…

But hey, who am I to judge a lazy right swipe? (I totally judged. But then convinced myself he was too mesmerized by my obvious beauty to do any reading and felt better about the entire situation.)

Me: 5’ 11”

Almost instantaneously, our conversation disappeared. I found myself staring at the main page with all my matches. WTF. It took me several minutes, an iPad restart, and some deep soul searching to realize I had been brutally rebuffed. He had “unmatched” me. Not a word – not even a waving hand emoji. Just gone. My ego wanted to be offended, but I had to admit I admired his cutthroat approach. We’re all busy people here; why mince words – or even use them at all?


VCRC2 and I matched one glorious day last fall. Initial pleasantries faded into a silent winter. At the start of the New Year, VCRC2 picked up right where we left off:

VCRC2: How are you?

Me: Slightly older, just as tall, and hopefully skinnier than the last time we talked?

We spent the next three weeks trading sporadic responses. Finally, he asked if I would like to get a drink. Five days later, I said, yes. Ten days later, he said, “Cool”.

By the time we managed to get off the app and into each other’s phones, we had (very) technically been speaking for six months.  It would be six months and one week before we made it here:

VCRC2: Are you around this weekend?

I know – it’s a beautiful thing to see a miracle in action.

Me: I’m around tomorrow. The rest of the wkend is booked up w baby showers, bdays, and the like.

VCRC2: Maybe we could meet up tom night at some point. You gonna be in weho?

Maybe? WTF does “maybe” mean.

Me: Yeah that would be fun. Close…I’m in Beverly Hills.

VCRC2: Great let me know if you’re free.

Let you know if I’m free? Didn’t I just say – you know what, never mind. Let’s just keep this moving.

VCRC2: Odd question. But how tall are u?

Ahhh THERE IT IS. You have got to be mother*cking kidding me. There are three lines on my profile. Three. Wouldn’t these dudes want to do a quick scan of the written portion of my social exam, if only to discern that I’m not a complete idiot/have a basic grasp on words/grammar before inviting me out on the town? Apparently not. Again, I totally judged. But then convinced myself that in addition to looking super pretty in my carefully selected assortment of photos, I also look super smart. And then I felt better about the entire situation. (Except for that 'u'. How lazy do you have to be to chop off the y and the o? They're on the same exact keyboard line. Criminy, the y is right next door. I digress.) 

Me: 5’11”

VCRC2: Oh wow. Really really tall.

Me: Haha are you not really really tall?

VCRC2: I’m def not. I’m shorter than you. Prob 5’10” or ‘11”.


Me: Haha you don’t know your own height?

VCRC2: I grow every year.

So 5’7”. Cool.

At this point, I don’t know how to respond. Are we still doing this? It feels weird to be like, ok so we should probably just call this, then, no? Especially after it’s taken us more than six months to get to this juncture. And who knows, maybe we’ll totally bond on a friend vibe and turn out to be BFF homies for life.

I decide to sleep on it. Mostly in hopes that he’d be the one to put the kibosh on the whole situation. (I have a lot of friends already.) 

At 1:37pm the next day, I decide it’s probably a good idea to clarify our (non?) plans for the evening.

Me: Haha well if you still want to meet up at some point, I should be done w things around 8p.

VCRC2: Don’t you want a guy taller than you?


Me: Haha yes, but that feels so rude to say.

Because, you know, I secretly think that all diminutive men are harboring nothing but shame over their shortcoming(s).

VCRC2: Well then there you go.

There you go indeed. We end on a positive note – he tells me to let him know if I have any shorter friends for him, I tell him to do the same on the tall and broad-shouldered front, he says that’s highly unlikely because he doesn’t hang out with many meatheads, I say eh to each their own.

And then I go over to my (equally tall) best friend’s apartment for a Netflix binge fest, because every story deserves a happy ending. (And at least one collar bone to collar bone hug.)

*If you do know someone who is/has/was, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for new and different hypothetical events to be unreasonably terrified of.
**To my friends who are like, “Dude, Stace, don’t pretend you don’t love making out on date 1/every date in general.” Fair point, but I always have ‘em keep those hands where I can see ‘em, if you know what I mean. K almost aways. ... (You know who you are.) 

Lost in Emoji-lation

Today in things that happen with a BlackBerry that people with iPhones don’t understand:

One of the [very] few [and very far between] flaws with the BlackBerry is that emojis don’t turn up as super cute, full-color, emotion-laden graphics. They show up like this:

Not a huge deal, right? Hopefully most conversations amongst late 20/early 30 year olds don’t rely heavily on illustrations?


A few years ago, I was texting with a guy I was seeing* at the time. We shall call him Chad**. Chad liked to make fun of me for the always long and generally meandering stories I like to tell. After one such story, he sent me three emojis, knowing I would be unable to decipher them.

Me: Those better be ponies.

His nickname for me was Pony. I don't remember exactly why, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't for whatever reason you're thinking it was.  

Chad: Two ponies and a princess.

Adorable, right?

Fast-forward two days. One of my nearest and dearest takes pity on my lost-in-translation soul and offers up a piece of advice:

N&D: “You know you can see those on your iPad, right?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

N&D: “If you email yourself any of these texts, you’ll be able to see the emoijs.”

How glorious! Also effort-consuming, but, you know, worth it? (I used to have a lot of extra time/energy on my hands.) 

We decide to start with Chad's "two ponies and a princess": 

Chad and I didn't last very long


My Mom: Whatever happened with Chad? Why didn't things work out with him?
Me: We, uh, just didn't really connect on a, um, deeper emotional level. 
My Mom: Well, that's surprisingly mature.


Isn't it though?

*Sharing meals, movies, and beds with. So, you know, whatever that means to you.
**Not his real name

Yogurtland: Fake Flavors, Real Rewards


HER is sitting cross-legged on a floor pillow, balancing an overly warm MacBook Air on overly warm knees. Phone rings. She answers. It's her dinner date, announcing his very prompt arrival.

HIM: Hey, I'm here.

HER: Ok cool! Just one sec and I'll be right out.

Silence. Except for her fingers clacking on the keyboard.

HIM: Are you on your computer?

HER: Yesss. Why?

HIM: What could you possibly be doing right now that's more important than fried rice balls?

HER: Um. I'm just registering my Yogurtland card. I'm almost done, though!

HIM: Registering your what?

HER: My Yogurtland card! You know one of those, like, for every 3 purchases, you get one free sort of things. 

HIM: Right. And you're registering this because...?

HER: Because they forgot to swipe my card the other day, but the guy said you can go on the site and enter in the order number and they'll credit your account! 




HER: Hello?

HIM: Oh, I'm still here. I'm not really sure why I'm still here, but I'm

HER: We should maybe pretend this conversation never happened, huh.

HIM: Yeah...that's probably a good idea.




Apparently, some things are really hard to forget.

I Love Barcelona

Outside Faith & Flower, following a lovely birthday dinner, I was introduced to an equally lovely 7’ tall man. If the events that followed are any indication, 30 is going to be very similar to 29.

Him: Hi, my name is Pau.

Her: (Leaning in slash up to hear because she’s deaf. Especially when slight accents are involved.) Paul?

Him: Pau. Uh, P-A-U.

Silence. HER is obviously still confused. Because she’s an idiot.

Him: It’s Spanish - I’m from Barcelona.

Her: Ahhhh - love Barcelona!!*

And he thought he couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized. 

He can’t, by the way. We all went around the corner to Honeycut, where every man proceeded to chat him up, leading him to call it a night. THANKS, GUYS. It’s April - isn’t the madness supposed to be over by now? 

*HER has never actually been to Barcelona. But huge fan of the Lakers! Huge. 

Rezi Rating

Wherein icouldtalkironyforever and I dissect dinner date destinations in the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood area. It gets deep. 

icouldtalkironyforever: these days are so crazy
like giving up the hottest date night
or middle of the week
both days are hothothot

me: hahahahhaa right?
i think ima say wednesday

icouldtalkironyforever: YES
can you go somewhere cuter than mastros?

me: i know right?
i kind of don’t love mastros at all
like at all at all

icouldtalkironyforever: for some reason i can only see dinner with you at eveleigh

me: hahahahhahaa
and little door! and doms!
places with trees inside

icouldtalkironyforever: i hate mastros
i think of bad food
yes trees inside

me: yeah, and cheesy people
and like a thick, weird atmosphere

icouldtalkironyforever: thick

me: and i always do something awkward in the entryway

icouldtalkironyforever: ALWAYS

me: it’s always so uncomfortable
so much staring

icouldtalkironyforever: bouchon is a great alternative
dim lighting

me: ooh yes

icouldtalkironyforever: also church key is sooo good for dates
and they have a dim sum cart
that comes BEFORE you even order your food

me: ooh realllllly
i like this idea

icouldtalkironyforever: the vibe is fun

me: didn’t you say their food was subpar?

icouldtalkironyforever: yes

me: oh haha
that was the place

icouldtalkironyforever: but some stuff was coo
and they have a banana split

me: um

icouldtalkironyforever: but anything involving bananas is too suggestive on the first date
or maybe not…bc I love bananas
my dates/non dates are SOOOOOO aggressive

me: i feel like its esp too suggestive for men over 32
i love your dates

icouldtalkironyforever: we have great dates

me: haha we really do

icouldtalkironyforever: he should take you to doms
bc u love it there right?

me: comfycozyhomesweethome
my fave

icouldtalkironyforever: unassuming
love it 

5 Stars for Dominick’s. 7 for banana splits. 

The date still occurred at Mastro’s.

Good talk.

Love, Sex, & Onesies

INT. THE BEDROOM ifyaknowwhatimean

Him: Wait. What are you wearing?

Her: My favorite onesie?!

Him: Yeah. Take that off.

Her: You don’t like my onesie?

Him: No.

Her: But it’s so adorable!

Him: I don’t think that’s what you’re going for in here.

Her: Oh, you’d be surprised.


A few to eight hours later…

Him: Are you wearing that terrible thing again?

Her: My totally adorable onesie?

Him: Yes.

Her: Yep! And don’t you worry, I have a wide and varied selection of the sort. I even have a snap-front one with sleeves and legs and the whole bit.

Him: I’m sleeping with a seven-year-old.

Her: Hey, some men go to jail for this sort of thing. You get it risk-free!

I think HER won. 

Men Want What Women Want What Men Want

When I told my mom I had been maintenance-texted by a boy, she squeezed my hand reassuringly, “I wouldn’t look at it that way – I’d look at it like he was thinking about you!”

Thank you for feeding my delusions, Mother. That explains so much.

I can’t blame my mom for her indefatigable optimism regarding the intentions of the unfair sex. When she was walking the hallway of hormones, things were a lot more straightforward. My dad and his best friend flipped a coin to see who could ask her out. My father won. The end.  Or, more aptly, the beginning.

Many people like to blame the disintegration of chivalry on modern technology. Sure, the advent of texting and social media, and the ensuing fissure in formal communication, have thrown the game onto a whole new playing field; but, I think the real anti-courting culpability lies elsewhere: A serious lack of shotgun-wielding fathers.

If any man-child had so much as attempted to maintenance-anything my mother, Grandpa Smith would have taken to his pickup truck, Winchester in hand, prepared to supplement the fear of God with a few well-placed bullets. (Just ask my dad about the time he came to pick up my mom…on a motorcycle…with long blonde hair and short denim shorts. Let’s just say he’s lucky he has a good sense of humor – and happened to hold the state track record in the 400m.)

I would wager that, for most of us in our mid-to-upper twenties, our fathers are harboring such severe concerns over their daughters’ unceasing singledom that they wouldn’t dare scare off a potential suitor. Any suitor. Any suitor at all.

And they don’t need to; apparently, we are doing a good enough job of that on our own.  Basing this entire theory on personal experience and a solid number of conversations with individuals on both sides of the gender line, I have determined that men are now terrified of women.  In the words of one such shaky soul, “It’s just hard to figure out what you girls want.”

That’s fair. When last June’s Atlantic cover boldly declared that women can’t have it all, many of my friends and I found ourselves asking if we even really want to have it all. And what does “it all” entail, exactly, in today’s society? Then we realized we might be jumping the gun a bit. How are we supposed to boldly assert our right to rule the corporate world, with a ring on the finger and a baby on either hip, if we are still referencing the words of “Why Men Love Bitches” in daily conversation?

I am confident in my beliefs. When I know, without a doubt, that I want something, I have no problem stating that. But what about when what I want really depends on if you want it, too, but you’re not sure what I want, so you’re not entirely certain that it’s what you want? A magazine excerpt I spotted in a MoMA exhibit had a delightfully delicate turn of phrase for this dilemma: “You are your own woman in the hope of being just what someone else is looking for.” This clipping was from the 1950’s, suggesting that this is not a new predicament. I would venture to state that this is an age-old issue, exacerbated by the current lack of clear societal rules.

Women are getting married and having children later in life. They are no longer branded an old maid if they’re thirty and single, and long gone are the days of the virgin white bride. In the immortal Pretty Woman words of Kit and Vivian, “We say who, we say when, we say how much.”

By the same token, men are no longer compelled to commit.  The image of that sad, single adman drinking alone at the end of the bar, while his postwar suburbia peers sit huddled about the TV with their families, has been replaced by a group of laughing, boisterous, middle-aged tech tycoons flirting shamelessly with acquiescing blondes, twenty years their junior. Even if they do plan on settling down eventually, there’s no rush. I can almost guarantee you that there was not a single group of men discussing the potential freezing of their eggs over dinner last night.

Yay! Even playing fields! Betty Friedan would be so proud.

Unfortunately for us indecisive types, this basically means that you either figure out exactly what it is you want, and cling steadfastly to that banner, or you linger indecisively in insecure trepidation around a multitude of romantic possibilities, until one ultimately (hopefully) pans out.

Yeah, I’m probably going to go with option B, too.