Blogging in the Post Carrie Bradshaw Era

“Your friends must be really boring if you’re contacting me after all this time,” I typed into a gchat box that emerged without warning from a user I had long ago hidden from my chat list.

“Not the case here. All of a sudden I remembered your blog and wondered how you were doing.”

A little over 2 years ago, I had parked my car in an upper west side garage, a stone’s throw from the American Museum of Natural History (read: a neighborhood with premium parking rates) and met a 30-something lawyer for lunch. It was my second date of the day, having already breakfasted with an artist/industrial designer turned tech-recycler (is that a thing? Maybe his official title was Project Manager…). I had been seeing the Designer for about a month by this time, but it was going nowhere about as fast as a black hole. The Lawyer had potential, and he had been appropriately (maybe inappropriately, depending on your degree of conservatism) aggressive in his pursuit. I’d met them both online. I knew to temper my expectations.

After our date, which was a challenge, I went home and ranted on my blog. It was the first time I had ever railed against a guy, and I grouped him in with a string of unsuccessful online dates, belittling him and some guys who were, at the core, decent guys but just a bit oblivious. The Lawyer called me out, and I retracted the post and replaced it with an apology and philosophical definition of what this blog is all about. We didn’t speak again, until this week when he felt the need to apologize (!?!?! Wasn’t I the one who behaved badly?)

It happens with surprising frequency that I go out on a date and for some reason, mostly because he’s done his due diligence and researched me prior to our rendez-vous, my blog comes up. Most never read past the title or the “About Me” section, and so they proceed under particular assumptions.

The Professor, who is 20 years my senior and was a lunch companion earlier this summer: “Now, I don’t want to see our conversation end up in a blog post!”

A guy I think I briefly dated in 2011: “Feel free to write about me all you want. Just make sure you let everyone know how awesome I am.”

My Ex, who is the only ex to get a capital E (I think he actually read the blog, and might still): “I want to make sure you won’t have anything to write about any more.”

What they all assume is that this blog is “tell-all” dating blog. But here’s the thing: if I write about how terrible a date was, or how stupid a guy might be, then to do it fairly, to make it a post that says anything, then I need to turn the lens back on myself. Most single-girl blogs read like this: I went on this bad blind date, I had this one-night stand, this is my hook-up buddy, Why can’t my best guy friend figure out that he should be in love with me.

Writing a typical single-girl dating blog is relatively easy. But I’ve never been a fan of what’s easy.

I want you to read something of substance. Not everything that happens on a date or in the bedroom has substance. And, the simple truth is, some things need to stay inside a relationship.

If single-girl/dating blogs are a by-product of the Sex and the City era, most of us do Carrie Bradshaw a great injustice. When Carrie wrote about the men that breezed through her life, she tried to reason through a moral – didn’t every episode start with a “philosophical” question? What we saw play out in each episode where not only Big’s flaws, but Carrie’s… and in turn, the flaws in romantic relationships and even friendships.

Writing to ridicule men is boring, or at least it’s one tone. And if part of your impetus for blogging is a general frustration with men, perhaps getting hung up on all the ways men fail you is part of why we’re single. The way I see it is: it’s more interesting when you look at why YOU were hurt or disappointed, and what that says about you, your expectations, and your relationship goals. He’s only ½ the problem.

My Lawyer is case in point – he was a decent guy who felt bad sparks didn’t fly. I never gave him a chance, I just attacked him on the internet. “You are entertaining,” he wrote last week, 2.5 years after our infamous lunch. “We should have stayed friendly.”

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The Seam-Splitters

I've nicknamed my thighs the seam splitters....
I’ve nicknamed my thighs the seam splitters….

I’ve nick-named my thighs “the seam-splitters.”

Arguably, it’s not a very flattering nickname, and I’m sure you’re wondering why a young woman would want to give such a self-effacing and school-playground-teasing nickname to a part of her body. Or, perhaps you’re saying to me, “common, your thighs aren’t thaaaat big.”

No, really. They are. Just ask my wounded pants…

Right now there are 3 pairs of jeans draped over a wicker armchair in my bedroom, each a victim of the seam-splitters. One pair just returned from a tailor who painstaking reconstructed the upper legs with patches, as if the jean were an ancient, priceless Athenian terra cotta vase. The other two are awaiting the same treatment, though they are more likely destined for the trash.

None of these victims have seen more than a year of action, and yet, despite their youth, there they lay, the stitching along the inner thighs torn asunder, split and worn away — jeans in their prime, fatally maimed in the name of fashion.

I know the distressed/patched/custom look is always chic, but still....
I know the distressed/patched/custom look is always chic, but still….

It’s a fate I prepare myself for every time I go shopping: the jeans I buy will split along the inner thighs.  I’ve come to think of jeans as if they are pantyhose: not quite single use, but I shouldn’t get too attached —  it’s only a matter of time before “tricks of the trade,”  like applied clear nail polish or hairspray fail and the devastating run wins, rendering them unwearable.

I’ve learned to spot all the signs that a tear is pending, that the next wear will probably be my last. If I do find a winning pair, they get set aside as “special occasion” jeans. Sometimes, I just buy two right up front.

In high school, I wrote an essay for my AP English class entitled: I Run on Diesel. I was, of course, referring to the Italian denim brand that finally offered me a cut of jeans that seemed to accommodate what my father so kindly referred to as my “thunder thighs.” If there’s nothing else to take away from this look back on my teen years, its that my battle to find well-fitting, properly-enforced leg-wear has been lifelong…

What is a relatively new phenomenon is acceptance. This is just how I’m built. We all have those body areas that give us grief and make us self conscious. For most of my life, that area was my thighs.  For years, I attacked fitness routines and diets promising trimmer legs. It was a mean twist of irony when, as I got fitter, my legs packed on muscle, so instead of shrinking, they got bigger. When I was a competitive athlete, my thunder thighs were an asset. Now that I’m retired, my main goal at the gym is to keep my thighs in seam-splitting shape.

Jeans, be warned.

I’ve learned to ❤ my thunder thighs, aka “The Seam Splitters”

Indispensable Desk Items

Happiness is a very small desk and a very big wastebasket. — Robert Orben

Desks are very personal spaces, our life's command station. And to command our lives effectively, some tools are indispensable.

Desks are life’s command stations. From there we apply for jobs, complete assignments, plan vacations, write novels, and scan the internet for photos of celebrity’s cellulite so we can feel better about ourselves in a bikini. As a result, desks, like bedrooms, are very personal spaces and their states becomes a metaphor for our lives in general — controlled chaos, perfectly systematized, completely swamped, etc.

Recycled canisters are Kitschy, functional, and green!

As we curate our workspace, we arm it with indispensable items that help us wrangle our day-to-day, and sometimes, are even pretty to look at. No matter what I throw out on designated clean-up days, these things will never see a wastebasket…

Storage Facilities Made from Salvaged Containers

I’ll never understand why people pay for desk accessories when a washed 28-ounce food can and an old box will suffice. The Tory Burch gift box houses post-it notes, staples, and fountain pen ink cartridges while the recycled can stores my pen supply. Equal parts kitschy, functional, and green!

Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style”

Sometimes, I forget how to use commas. This little book reminds me when punctuation is necessary.

Kiehl’s Hand Salve and Chantecaille Lip Chic gloss stick in Zinnia

For when the postman rings twice, hand cream and lipstick are never far from reach

Moleskin Calendar

It’s red, compact, portable, features monthly as well as weekly calendars, and gives me note pages. The added bonus of stickers makes me feel both organized and like a kid again — how can I miss martini night when there’s a bright neon green sticker to remind me!?

Vintage Stapler loaded with colored staples

I'm very possessive of my stapler and its colored staples

When it comes to staplers, I’m very fussy. Milton Waddams ain’t got nothing on me. This one has been in the family longer than I have and I refuse to share it. I gave up on standard silver staples in high school — the red slash in the corner of my resume is my version of Elle Woods’ scented paper.

Vitamin D3 Supplements

Vitamin D is the new super vitamin, apparently. Spending most of the winter cooped up inside depletes resources. I take my daily dose to stay happy and healthy, do you?

Quiet, Supportive Companions

It's always good to have silent, supportive companions my your side to cheer you on through the work day.

Meet Jorge, Mozart and Mooey.

Jorge is my traveling NY Yankees gnome. I bought him one night after watching an Amazing Race Travelocity challenge episode. Jorge has seen some pretty cool places since then.

Mozart is a reminder that I’m cultured.

Mooey is a flashlight that moos, and is the only thing that will stop my dog from trying to eat my bird for dinner.

A 5-lbs Dumbbell

Just because you’ve got your ass in a chair and deadlines to meet, doesn’t mean you can’t pump some iron and workout those biceps. Can you tell I’m a big believer in multitasking?

So, common, your turn… what’s on your desk?

2010 in review — What you Thought of They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 3 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 48 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 55 posts. There were 80 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 115mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 29th with 1 views. The most popular post that day was You Borrowed My Bob Dylan CD and Stole My Heart. I’d like them back now, please. .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.com, facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, twitter.com, and android-vs-ipad.co.cc.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for richard armitage, richard armitage spooks, how to find a rich husband, they told me to find a rich husband, and richard armitage naked.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

You Borrowed My Bob Dylan CD and Stole My Heart. I’d like them back now, please. September 2010
72 comments and 59 Likes on WordPress.com

2

Just in case you thought otherwise, Richard Armitage further proves I’m a Nerd April 2010
2 comments

3

They Warned Me I’d Find Love August 2010
48 comments and 28 Likes on WordPress.com

4

About July 2009
13 comments

5

Board Games & The Brothers Grimm, or, When I believed Happily-Ever-After Meant Tiffany’s and Vera Wang March 2010

 

Thank you, dear friends and WordPress readers for finding “They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband” and for suffering through my musings on this, that, and the other.

Stay tuned — I’ve got big plans for us in 2011.

 

How Blogging About Dating Suddenly Made Me a Desirable Date

Successful Relationship blogger? What do I tell him? Deny thy blog or confess its fame?

“You may not want to lead with the fact you have a blog about dating,” my friend Jake kindly advised me as we sipped lattes and commiserated over our recent dating droughts.

He had just brought to light an interesting dilemma: When you’ve made something of a name for yourself writing about love and its aftermath, do you deny thy blog, or confess its fame? Will guys think you’re clever or dub you as trouble?

“On the other hand,” he continued, “this whole blogging thing might just be the making of your love life. I’m worried that with your recent success, you won’t stay on the market long enough to keep They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband going. Seems now it’s a sooner, rather than a later, that you’ll land your Mr. Big.”

A recent slew of “Can I take you out for a drink?” messages from They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband’s male readership helped me make up my mind and lent a modicum of credibility to Jake’s alternative forecast.

Who would have thought that blogging about dating would make me a hot date ticket?

“What do you do?” — It’s a question we’re always asked when we meet someone and a question I always answer with caution.

“I consider myself a writer on the verge of landing a paying day job.”

“What do you write about?” The inevitable follow up question.

“Dating and relationships… I have a blog.”

Their eyes open wide, an eyebrow rises, a half-smirk curls upon their lips and they lean in a little closer.

“What’s it called? Maybe I’ve read it,” they coo.

“They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband.”

Usually, the next thing the guy will do is take a sip of his drink and pause. “So, do you want to be that Millionaire Matchmaker lady?”

“No…no, I don’t really care about other people finding rich husbands. ‘Find a rich husband‘ — that’s what people tell me to do. I’m the only person I’m really interested in. Blogging is a selfish business”

Pause.

“So does that make you a real-life Carrie Bradshaw?”

We ladies all think we're Carries chasing our Mr. Bigs. Turns out, guys are out there chasing their Carries.

Carrie Bradshaw — she’s the shadow-casting pop-culture icon we who write about dating in New York can never escape. As I chuckle and shrug, part in acceptance, part in denial, his next move is typically to put a hand on the small of my back to pull me in closer. The look in his eyes is telling. He sees his pseudonym in print.

“Carrie wrote a column called ‘Sex and the City,'” I’ve been known to reply. “I moved north of the city a few months ago. If I turned my blog into a column, eventually I’d have to call it ‘Celibacy and the Suburbs.'”

“Well, we’ll have to fix that, won’t we?” Before I have a chance to process or respond, his hand is up the back of my shirt and his tongue is searching for my tonsils. Hold your horses there, Cowboy!

“When you write about me tomorrow, make sure to call me ‘Mr. Hottie,'” more than one guy has said. If they only knew…

Apparently, the prospect of being the subject of next week’s post can be something of a turn on. Thank you, Carrie Bradshaw for making dating columnists sexy. Before you, we might have been considered raging feminists, and a dating no-go. It would just be nice if the men in this city didn’t conflate you with your side-kick, nymphomaniac Samantha Jones… because, as their roaming hands and steaming eyes make evident, it seems they always do.

Woes of a Freshly Pressed Post: The Morning After

I'm your writer and you can't see me, or how publishing "They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband" as Anonymous got me no where.

When I started writing “They Told Me To Find a Rich Husband,” I had all intentions of remaining an anonymous authoress. It seemed that writing about loves won and lost, not offending anyone (that didn’t deserve it), and attaching my name were mutually exclusive requests. Convinced I could make my way in the blogosphere as another Nameless Sage, my first few “Rich Husband” entries went up sans byline and sans self-promotion. Neither a “by Kathleen”  nor facebook/gchat status with a “please read my blog!” were seen. And how do you think my little blog fared?

I got 5 hits in as many weeks.

Obscurity, thy name is Anonymous.

Now I’m a shameless self-promoter. Screw anonymity. Virginia Woolf said, “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman,” and I’m a woman proud to have a blog of my own. I have a byline and my blog has a  facebook page and a twitter account. I’m branding. Former flings, be warned: you’re fair fodder… and names will  be changed  to protect only the innocent.

A year after I first shared my opinions on and my experiences in the realm of the single 20-something, educated females, “They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband” has been lucky enough to land two spots on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed. Each placement was accompanied

poised to press another winner? my blog is good for the soul

by a giddy victory dance and a warm feeling of satisfaction. It became my day’s occupation to watch the number of hits climb and the comments reel in (they like me! they really like me!). I was buzzing. I was on a high. It was like I’d finally been discovered.

And then there was the day after…

I never intended They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband (or my flagship blog, “Meet Me in the Drawing Room”) to be a daily diary, so I never felt pressed to produce content more often than inspiration deemed necessary. But now, thanks to Freshly Pressed, I have readers! woot woot! And you claim you want to read more! Hurrah!….. or is it eeeeeek! You have expectations, and what’s worse, a bar to measure me against.

So yes, earning a spot on Freshly Pressed is every blogger’s dream, and I’m honored. But with earning the publicity comes the pressure to produce and produce with quality.

I promise, dear readers, now that you’ve found me, I won’t let you down.

my real journal and a room with a view... it's time to go to the archives to keep you entertained