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Don’t tell women to stop lifting weights because of your own insecurities

March 11, 2017

So, hi.

It’s been a while since a wrote a post on this blog and you know, that’s OK. I’m not the kind of person to live my life on social media.

Since I last wrote, I’ve quit my full-time career in market/survey research and become a full-time CrossFit trainer. I know, how millennial of me. It makes me really happy, and even though I’m making just over half of what I used to make, at least I don’t wake up every morning pounding my mattress and saying, “NO NO I DON’T WANNA” when it comes to going to work. Even when I’m getting up at 3 a.m. to go teach a 5 a.m. class.

Living the dream.

But I have to get something off my chest. Many things, actually, since I’ve become a coach in a world dominated by men, as many domains are. One thing in particular.

If you know a woman who is involved in CrossFit, or lifting, or fitness in general, STOP TELLING HER TO STOP.

I can’t tell you how many women I’ve interacted with who have started CrossFit for the purposes of living a healthier life, only to be told by her friends and family that she needs to stop. Maybe it’s because she might “get bulky”. Or she’s “lifting more than the boys.” Or that “women don’t need muscles.” But here in 2017, women are still being told that they should not be doing things to make them physically stronger.


We have a lot of (hetero) guys in the gym who are really passionate about CrossFit and weightlifting and I often ask them, “Hey, what about your (wife/significant other/partner)? Would she be into coming here?” The answer I get more often than not is, “Well, she likes working out and she does (SoulCycle/Pilates/barre/something else) but she doesn’t want to get bulky.”

This is some bullshit.

(Interesting side note: when it’s a non-hetero guy, a lot of the time their longtime partners are totally into CrossFit or are at least willing to try it with them)

So I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 5 years and I am 5’1″, 113 pounds and definitely not bulky. OK, so I might have the traces of a six-pack and more muscle definition than I did when I was actually trying to be a bodybuilder/figure model in my teens/20s, but yeah, *so* not bulky. I don’t think there’s a single woman in our gym that would fall under the “bulky” label. Even so, what’s the problem with bulky? Eeeek, a woman with muscles. SO FUCKING WHAT.

I’d rather be bulky AF and healthy and fit than thin and not be able to go up two flights of stairs without getting out of breath or unable to carry my groceries home.

Another thing I’ve been seeing a lot of is women in our gym being actively discouraged from working out by important people in their lives. The women post a photo or a video on social media of themselves hitting an awesome PR and the comments are along the lines of, “STOP. That’s enough of that.” “Scary!”

Would you tell someone who has run a 10K to stop, that’s enough running for now? That’s enough yoga for you? Stop it, you’re scaring me with that savasana?!

I’m thinking no.

Would you say that to a man posting the same thing on social media?

I’m thinking no.

“That’s enough weightlifting for you, sir.” Said no one on social media, ever.

MY MUSCLES HAVE PURPOSE AND THEY HELP MAKE ME BETTER AT LIFE. Why would you want to discourage that? What is wrong with you?

Women can’t win. We can’t be fat or else we get told to lose weight. We’re too skinny and we get told to eat a sandwich. But if we try to take steps to be healthier, we get warned about the dangers of being bulky or told to lay off the weights. God forbid you not be sexy enough for the male gaze or at all threaten the masculinity of any of the menz out there by  lifting more than them. How dare you try to be stronger. How dare you try to better yourself. Know your place, woman.

What message are we sending women by discouraging them from lifting weights? Be weak. Be passive. Don’t threaten the men. KNOW YOUR PLACE.

You can’t call yourself a feminist if you aren’t OK with women bettering themselves physically as well as mentally and emotionally.

We carry so much of the load emotionally. I’m not going into that because it’s been done before. Why can’t we carry some of the physical load? Does “carry that weight” apply only to men?

As a closing anecdote, let me tell you about an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago. UPS delivered a package to the gym I work at. The guy dropped it off at the top of the stairs with a huge heaving sigh. I signed for it. The guy said, “Careful, it’s heavy.” I took a long look at him and said, “I work at a gym. Don’t worry, I got this.” And I picked it up without a problem and carried it downstairs while he gaped at me easily handling the box he’d struggled with.

Ladies. Don’t worry. We got this.









The Belle of Bayside 2014

November 29, 2014

I retired from roller derby at the end of 2012. I was coming off the best year of my career and after 7 years of being involved in the sport, it was time. I do still miss it, or aspects of it, at least, but I was lucky enough to have already discovered something else to fill any potential holes left by leaving derby behind.

That something else was CrossFit.

OK, I KNOW, lots of people are like, “Ew, Crossfit, it’s so bad for you, it’s a cult, blah blah blah” but you know what? I don’t care. I like it. If you don’t, fine. I don’t care what you do to work out, if it works for you. I do what works for me. This guy does a better job than I could of articulating my feelings about other people’s feelings about CrossFit, so just go read what he has to say and imagine that I’m saying the same thing. There are a lot of people who have similar thoughts about roller derby, so I suppose I’m used to it already (except nobody ever tells me, “Aren’t you too small to do CrossFit?”).

So, yes, CrossFit. I started in January of 2012 at CrossFitNYC and fell in love pretty much instantly. I started as a way to supplement my derby training, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that my skill level at derby increased as I increased my concurrent involvement in CrossFit. It was tough to do 3-5 derby practices and 2-3 CrossFit WODs a week at the same time, but I managed for 10 months until my last derby bout in November 2012. It was also really nice to make friends outside of derby, which is notorious for isolating people from their friends and family. Having my CrossFit friends really cushioned the blow when I left derby and decided to concentrate on CrossFit as my main fitness involvement.

Since November 2012 I’ve gone to three or four, and sometimes five, WODs per week. In April 2013 I did the Civilian Military Combine for the first time, and, disappointed in my inability to run between obstacles because I wasn’t conditioned enough, I took up running the next week. Supplementing my CrossFit training with a weekly run of three to seven miles (and a few of 10+), I competed in a few 5Ks and then a couple of 5-milers and 10Ks, and finally did my first half-marathon in May of 2014 (the Brooklyn Half, finishing in 1:51, well beneath my goal of 2:05). At the same time, I’d been logging my workouts and able to track my progress over time, and it was nice to see gains in skills such as the amount of weight I could lift and progressing from pullups with a thick black band to being able to do them without any band at all. CrossFit appeals to the quant nerd in me because it’s extremely easy to quantify your progress in terms of time and poundage.

Eventually I got involved enough to go earn my CrossFit Level 1 certification, and toyed with the idea of becoming a coach. I still like this idea, but more about that another time. Still, the one thing I adamantly did NOT want to do was compete. I did the CrossFit Open in 2013, skipping a couple of the WODs because they were physically impossible for me (I didn’t have a 95# clean at the time and wasn’t even close to getting one–that has since changed), and I did all five Open WODs in 2014 and performed respectably well but definitely not to the point of moving further to regionals. I’m realistic–competing at the regional or national level will likely never happen for me. I’m pretty small and it is physically impossible for me to move the amount of weight needed to compete at that level, no matter how hard I train. Also, I’m 35, turning 36 in two weeks and I’d be competing against lots of women who are 10-15 years my junior. Maybe I’ll be able to do Masters when that time comes, assuming I’m still CrossFitting.

Anyway, competing was not a thing for me. My friend Saphia had expressed some interest in it, and she convinced me to go to an informational meeting about trying out for the CFNYC competition team, and I went mainly for moral support. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I couldn’t do it, it was that I really didn’t want to. I had already been through this with derby. What started as a fun hobby eventually ended up taking over way too much of my life, and more often than not toward the end it was an obligation or chore instead of something I did because I enjoyed it. I didn’t want that to happen with CrossFit. One of the main appeals of CrossFit for me was that I could pop in, socialize, get a good workout in an hour, leave, and have no further obligation to it at all. Competing would create an obligation, with minimum numbers of WODs per week, longer WODs overall, and I was very reluctant to even begin going down that road lest all the fun get sucked out of my CrossFitting experience.

I had articulated this to Saphia, so I can understand why she was slightly hesitant to ask me if I wanted to be her partner for an upcoming women-only competition, the Belle of Bayside. It was a partner competition, and she really wanted to do it, and was looking for a teammate. I hemmed and hawed at first but figured, it was one time, sure, why not, and we signed up.

Comp day came much more quickly than I’d anticipated. Two weeks ago we joined 47 other teams in Long Island City at 9 in the morning to get this thing done. Three WODs, four if you were in the top eight teams. We knew some of the other women we were competing against, given that many of the teams were also from CFNYC, so the goal was modest–just finish and don’t come in last (not that there’s anything wrong with last–last still finishes ahead of those who didn’t try at all).

The first WOD was a complex of 1 clean, 2 front squats, and 1 jerk. Four minutes to warm up, five minutes to find your heaviest weight, score was the total combined weight of both teammates. Saphia lifts more than I do, so I was just going to get in and get my sets, she’d use the same weight to warm up to her heavy set, and the goal was to get her to go as heavy as possible. I was aiming for 93 pounds, 15 below my 1 rep max for this sort of thing, but it was something I knew I could nail.

I hit 93# with no problem in the warmup. So a minute into the WOD, I attempted 108#, my max, and got it. It wasn’t the prettiest split jerk around, but the judge took it, and so we changed the weights around for Saphia to go heavier. Except we got confused with the weights and I’m pretty sure she did a rep at 118# and then one at 113#, as we only had a limited assortment of weights and we miscounted when we switched some plates around. Oh well, we still did better than anticipated, both of us. I regret not attempting 113#.

Second WOD was an 8 minute long AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 9 burpees over the bar, 6 hang power cleans at 65#, and 3 thrusters at 65#. This was after a 100 double under buy-in that both teammates could work on one at a time. Then the 9-6-3 was alternating partners. Saphia and I had a plan for this that we had practiced the week before. She started the double unders and then when she failed, I took over. Lather, rinse, repeat. I had a little bit of a hard time getting going, which happens sometimes, but overall, Saphia killed the DUs, and we managed to start the AMRAP at about 90 seconds in. We were in the third heat, and had already seen several teams who were severely limited by the time it took them to do the double unders. So I felt pretty good about that. We managed to get in 6 full rounds (3 each). Not bad!

The third WOD was a chipper. Two rounds for time, 10 minute time cap of:  75 Russian kettlebell swings (16kg), 50 weighted step ups on a 20″ box with the aforementioned 16kg kettlebell, and 25 deadlifts at 155#. We’d also practiced some of this the week before and knew that the deadlifts were a little bit of a struggle for me (I’m good for 5 at a time at that weight, but Saphia was able to bang out 10-15 with no problem–how does that work, given that we both have the same 1-rep max of 253#? Methinks that someone can actually do a lot more than a 253# deadlift…). I had done well with the stepups in practice so I was prepared to handle the majority of those. And we both rock at kettlebell swings.

We’d seen a lot of teams before us not finish this WOD with the time cap, so the goal was just to get to the second set of kettlebell swings. The first set we banged right through, 15 or 20 at a time before switching off. Then I set to work on the stepups, and did 20 before handing it off to Saphia, and working through that relatively quickly. Surprisingly, those stepups were much harder than anticipated. My shoulder ached from holding the kettlebell and my legs felt wobbly. The deadlifts weren’t too bad, I did 5, Saphia did 10, I did 5 more and she did 5 more. We had enough time for more kettlebell swings and still had a little over a minute for stepups. I started out and got to 8 before I stood up on top of the box and saw black spots swimming before my eyes. I staggered off the box and handed Saphia the kettlebell, apologizing for not doing more. She got in 10 or 15 before handing me the kettlebell again and I powered through a few more pretty slowly before hitting 28 total and time running out. I felt really lightheaded and was scared I might actually pass out, so I sprawled on the floor to try to catch my breath and stay conscious. I think we were both pretty glad that that was the last WOD of the day for us.

As expected, we did not place top eight and we were more than happy to be spectators for the rest of the competition. Later on in the day, after we all went home, the results were posted online and we saw we’d placed 39 out of 46 (two teams did not finish). I was really proud of us! It was the first comp for both of us and we had a great time.

So, would I do it again? Absolutely. I had a lot of fun, and this was right around the appropriate level of skill and fun for someone at our level of CrossFit ability. I learned a few things: competing with a teammate is awesome, competing is only as serious as you make it, and it’s great fun to be a part of a community where you can compete and support each other at the same time.

You can see how we did here (team Fire And WODder). I have to admit I’m a little disappointed at the lack of creative team names, but that’s the former derbygirl in me talking. Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it), CrossFit seems to be a much less punny endeavor.

Has this now become a CrossFit blog instead of a (sorta kinda, very rarely updated) derby blog now? Hm…maybe.

An Ugly Rite of Passage

August 31, 2012

So a guy groped my ass on the subway yesterday.

I was heading home from the gym on the Q, where I’d gotten on at Union Square. I was standing by the door because there were no free seats, and the train was packed, so when the doors on my side opened at Dekalb and then Atlantic Ave, I turned and stepped slightly out of the car to let people pass and then took up my position by the doors again as they closed. At Atlantic, as I was standing waiting for the doors to close, the guy sitting next to the door reached through the seat railing and grabbed my butt.

At first, I was in shock. Did that really just happen? Maybe it was an accident. But it was a distinct fondle, not an accidental brush. I was at least five or six inches away from the seat–he had to reach out to grab me. It was NOT accidental. Did anyone see that? It didn’t seem so. If they did, they didn’t say anything. As I was processing what just happened, I moved a few feet away and closer to the door on the other side. I glanced back to the culprit and yes, the look on his face told me that he knew EXACTLY what he’d done. I considered making a scene, but ultimately didn’t want to draw attention to myself. And thus, I became fully baptized as a female New Yorker–I had been groped on the subway.

I’m still angry at myself for not doing anything. In my head, I always had this fantasy that if anyone put their hands on me on the train, I’d grab their fingers and twist as hard as I could while yelling, “WHOSE HAND IS THIS AND WHY IS IT ON MY ASS?” I wouldn’t let go until other passengers held the guy down and a cop came and arrested him on the spot and I’d have done my part to eradicate sexual harassment from the city. But it didn’t happen that way. I stayed silent. Because I didn’t think anyone would believe me, and if they did, they’d probably shrug and say, “What’s the big deal? Get over it, lady.”

That’s the kind of attitude that allows violence against women to perpetuate in our society. Not just the indifference of bystanders, but the inaction on my part. I feel awful now. I should have done something. But it’s a victim’s right not to make a scene or press charges. I shouldn’t have to feel a duty to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable in the name of saving other potential victims. At the same time, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE A WOMAN ON THE TRAIN AND NOT HAVE MY ASS GROPED.

The situation of having to spend two minutes on the train with the guy who groped me has brought up a lot of mixed feelings in me in the last 16+ hours since this happened. This is actually not the first time I’ve had someone touch me inappropriately on the subway. A few years ago I was getting off the N at Times Square when a guy striding down the middle of the car smacked my ass as I was stepping onto the platform. I turned around, agape, and he glanced back as the doors closed, smiling as if he was the cleverest person in the world. There was nothing I could do as the train pulled out a second later, but I sincerely hope that the people on that car beat the everloving shit out of him, or at least shamed him into never doing anything like that again. There was no chance for me to do anything about it, and so I didn’t feel what I’m feeling right now, where I had all kinds of time to take a picture, or tell someone, or scream at him, “THAT WAS NOT OK, YOU PIECE OF SHIT.”

Again, I feel strongly that a victim should be able to make a choice about pressing charges or not, but at the same time I recognize that the potential backlash and public shaming is a very strong deterrent to doing anything. Say that I had brought charges against the guy. I’m sure it would have been brought up that I was wearing tight spandex workout pants, and that I may have positioned myself badly by standing near the door and brought the entire thing upon myself. Never mind that even if someone has their butt in your face on a subway car with a skirt that is 3 inches long, that doesn’t give you the right to fondle them against their will.

I do remember his face, though, and if I see him on the Q again and he tries the same thing, you better believe that the next time, I’m breaking fingers.

The Most Fun You’ll Have With Something Double-Ended That Is Not Sold at an Adult Novelty Store

November 3, 2011

OK, so this is NOT a product review blog. While I do find them fascinating, and I enjoy writing the occasional review (see the MakeupAlley and Yelp review links on the sidebar), I do not want to make it a regular thing. That is, unless you are someone who wants to send me free stuff to review and then I will happily try it and report back with my honest opinion, because I enjoy free stuff and giving honest opinions.

But TODAY–we depart from our usual blog blatherings and go to a review. I could put this on MakeupAlley too, but I am doing it here, because this is something that YOU, the infinitesimally small portion of the population who actually reads this blog, should know about THIS.

First, a little usual blog blathering.

If you had asked me to describe anything about my style or usual grooming oh, say, a year and a half ago, I would have said I was a straight up jeans-and-tshirt kind of girl. That started to change a bit when I recognized the joy of summer dresses, which are wonderful such that they are light and cool and not sweaty in the heat. Dresses are sort of like Clothing Yourself for Dummies, because you don’t really have to think too much in order to look at least somewhat put together. You don’t have to worry about matching the style and colors of a top and bottoms. Put a dress on, add some shoes that are Not Horrible, and BOOM–the dressing is DONE, dude. If you are feeling particularly adventuresome and stylish you can add some accessories and look Even More Put Together, and perhaps even approach Kind of Fashionista status, if you do it right.

Anyway, I discovered the Joy of Dresses and so the majority of my new clothes purchases focused on them. And then I got a job where I did have to actually make a bit of an effort to look Somewhat Like an Adult, which was especially important for me because it was teaching college and I am often mistaken for being a college student (although with the gray hairs that I earned from teaching, the chances of being mistaken for significantly less than my actual age are rapidly declining. Someone actually did guess that I was over 30, in recent memory [last weekend], and that made me realize, OH SHIT, my looks are catching up with my actual age and perhaps I should get out of denial about my adulthood already. So yeah, those days are numbered, and maybe being mistaken for a college student anymore is a bit of a stretch but I do not want to look as if I am approaching middle age when that is, in fact, Reality with a capital R fully intended, and to be perfectly honest, I have never once considered actually BEING old, and this is like a big fucking slap in the face to my self-concept. OK, done with overly long parenthetical digression). So, in order to set myself apart from my students and hopefully project an image of authority, I bought somewhat professional clothing (a term that the boundaries of which are tested quite thoroughly in academia) and started to think a lot more about what I actually look like, instead of basing my fashion sense on what tshirt suits my mood on a particular day and which jeans smell the least bad.

Dressing nicely is an insidious little habit, because soon you find yourself paying attention to Fashion and Trends and other Very Important First World Issues like that, and you start spending a lot more money then you did before and buying clothes more often than’s $10 tshirt sales. And then you start thinking about all the other little details, like Accessorizing and Styling, which is pretty much a fancy word for “changing the look of an outfit by putting on a belt or wearing different shoes”. And along with THAT, if you are of the female persuasion, comes a healthy examination of what your face and hair look like, because your outfit is not just what you are wearing, it’s EVERYTHING all put together and soon you start thinking about manicures and makeup and hairstyling too.

So that, Dear Reader, is how, in a mere 18 months, I went from a jeans-and-tshirt kinda girl to someone who notes the labels of what she is wearing when she gets dressed in the morning in case her dream comes true and she gets stopped by one of those seemingly ubiquitous street style blogs who seem to only stop people in SoHo to talk about their outfits. And who does her nails religiously at least once a week (for the record, I have always been religious about giving myself pedicures, but that was more because my toenails are exceedingly ugly when they are not polished and I didn’t want to horrify anyone in case I decided to step out in flip-flops), and who has read up on all kinds of ways to apply makeup but is still too nervous to wear much of it out lest she looks like a 9-year-old who played around in her mother’s vanity. I spend far too much at Sephora on a regular basis, buy nail polish in bulk, and check numerous fashion  and beauty related blogs and stores EVERY SINGLE DAY. What. The. Fuck. Happened. To. Me.

That was probably way too much background perspective on what I am about to share with you. Actually, there’s a little bit more. Being someone who is somewhat In The Know about stuff like this, I recently bought a shit-ton of stuff at Sephora for the Friends & Family 20% off sale. I got my package at work on Monday and I raced home to gleefully try on (or “swatch”, in the makeup blog lingo) the FIVE lipsticks, FIVE eyeliner pencils, TWO lip pencils, ONE pressed powder compact and THREE nail polishes that I bought.

Jesus Christ. I think I have a problem.

I am, however, returning some of that stuff, because apparently I still suck at knowing what is a good color for me and what is not.

One of the non-makeup things I bought was a Double-Ended Blemish Extractor.

This is simultaneously the awesomest and the most horrible thing I have ever bought.

Basically, this is a fancy little tool to pop your zits. And it does that really, really fucking well. It also exists to clean all the gunk out of your face, the shit that you had no idea was really there in the first place. I mean, I knew it was there, because it was a blackhead, but when I roll this puppy over it and stuff starts coming out, it’s like the Coney Island Freakshow in my bathroom: SEE THE WOMAN WITH THE BOTTOMLESS PORES!!! Seriously, I had no idea about the kind of evil lurking in there. I mean, I knew there was some gross stuff in there, but holy shitballs, not to this degree.  After a quick session with this and seeing all the disgusting crap come out, I just want to set fire to my face and start over again from the beginning. I’ve had extractions during facials before, but I never saw what was ACTUALLY being extracted. I’m a little afraid that now I’m going to become one of those girls who really gets off on popping her boyfriend’s zits or finds satisfaction in YouTube videos of people squeezing shit out of their pores. However, the thought of using this on someone else disgusts me, and that’s comforting because it means I’M STILL NORMAL.

But seriously, this thing is pretty crazy (in the good way). My skin sucks, and the way it usually goes is that any clogged pore eventually gestates into a full-blown zit (which may be one of the things that makes me look younger, the fact that I am dealing with MORE acne in my 30s than I did as a teenager), and if I can nip that whole process in the bud, maybe for once I’ll finally have clearer skin. Or a new hobby, at least.

This is funny…NOT.

October 17, 2011

There is something that has been bothering me for the last 20 years or so.

Twenty years. Think about that. 1991 doesn’t seem that far away, does it? But doesn’t 2031 seem like it’s a really long way off? In 1991, I was 13 years old, had braces on my teeth, Coke bottle glasses, and had my first period. In 2031, I will be 53 years old, will likely be completely gray and wearing bifocals, and will probably be going through the beginning stages of menopause. Fuck. Time sure flies.

Anyway, that is all beside the Very Important Point I am about to make. I’m arbitrarily picking 1991, because this was 3 years after the first “Wayne’s World” sketch aired on Saturday Night Live and a year before it was spun off into a feature film of the same name. Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar were a comedy fixture at this point, and many of their catchphrases had made it into the popular lexicon. Who wasn’t saying “Party on, [insert name of friend here]” or “Schwing!” or doing that dream sequence thing with their hands?

There is one saying in particular that caught on. The “Not!” joke. You know the one. “Yeah, Wayne, I’d go out with her…I totally would…NOT!” That one was a real kneeslapper the first time you heard it, right? And then you used it in every situation you could.

“Do I look fat in this?”

“Yeah, you do…NOT!”

Har har har.

Somewhere along the way, this joke lost the necessary sentence structure to make it work. Originally, you had to phrase things in such a way that the “not” negated the verb before, which was usually a conjugation of “to be”, “to do”, or “to have”. As shorthand, anything that could be shortened into a form such as “isn’t”, “won’t”, “couldn’t”, or the like worked. “I can…NOT!” “It is…NOT!” “I have…NOT!”

But then people started just plopping a “Not!” onto any old sentence. Even the joke “expert” in the movie “Borat” gets it wrong when he explains the structure of the “Not!” joke. He uses the example of, “Your pants are black…NOT!” Wait, what? No! That doesn’t work! That doesn’t make any sense! There is no verb that the “NOT!” is busy negating.

This misuse of “Not!” is rampant when people attempt to throwback to this joke. Nine times out of 10, when I see/hear someone make a “Not!” joke, they failed at it. And it’s a reminder that we lost the wordplay that made this joke funny to begin with. That verbal cliffhanger that brought the laughs is gone and replaced with a cheap, meaningless interjection. We have managed to dumb down an already dumb joke, people. This is fucking pathetic. You idiots will laugh at anything nowadays, won’t you?

I know you’re thinking, Jesus, Mandy, grow a fucking sense of humor already, will you? LET IT GO. And OK, sure, you have a point, there are bigger fish to fry when it comes to the downfall of American culture. I promise you, I will let it go, someday, I truly will.


Today I Learned…

July 25, 2011

So I am a single lady. And I’m pretty happy with that. But I do enjoy companionship and every so often I get a wild hair (or is that a wild hare?) and I wind up doing yet another stint on OkCupid. I don’t really make any secret of the fact that I’m a habitual online dater. Unlike many others, there ain’t no shame in my game. Online dating has been working for me since approximately 1999, when I first posted a profile on Yahoo! personals as a junior in college. In the past 12 years, I’d say that only about 10% of the dates I go on are from guys I’ve met in real life. I don’t go to bars that often, when I go to parties I generally already know everyone there, and especially with derby taking up so much of my time, my lifestyle is just not that conducive to meeting new people of the straight, non-creepy male variety. Besides, I’m kind of selective (no vegetarians or vegans, must love cats, not want kids, have a college degree) and you just can’t narrow the field like you can online.

I never thought of this as a disadvantage in any way. I go on a pretty fair amount of dates and every so often I wind up with something approximating a boyfriend for a few months. Contrary to the stereotype of online daters, I’m not socially anxious or crazy (at least, nobody has ever told me if I am). But…I am realizing that making this my main method of meeting people may leave me at a slight disadvantage when it comes to meeting people the old-fashioned way.

Let’s take this past weekend, for example.

Saturday we had a bout (Bronx won, yay!), there was an afterparty and I went to said afterparty. This is the extent of my bar-hopping nowadays. Aside from the occasional beer or glass of wine at home, I don’t really drink very often. Bout afterparties/derby events and major holidays are pretty much it.

So, afterparty. I’m watching the bout we just played and talking to various people, and it’s generally a good time. At some point in the evening I’m introduced to two guys who happen to have animal noses and whiskers drawn on their faces. Turns out this is from a “cat face party” that was going on down the street. Apparently, it was lame, so these two wound up at Manitoba’s. One of them had been to the bout before the party but the other had not. I am conversing with these two gentlemen and they seem generally ok and not creepy and they are interested in roller derby, so all was good. The one who had not been to the bout expressed interest in me and I wasn’t repulsed, so I was not rebuffing his advances, but I wasn’t draped all over him or anything like that.

(I would totally use names here, but I seem to have lost them in the bottom of a pint of Mother’s Milk stout. So from here on out we have Bout Guy and Hipster Glasses. Bout Guy is obviously the guy who went to the bout. Hipster Glasses had, well, hipster glasses, was kind of beard-y, and had on a blue v-neck tshirt. Somehow, I remember this but not his name.)

So Hipster Glasses and I seem to be getting along OK, I don’t remember talking about anything other than derby, but I liked what I knew of him and he seemed to like me as well. It’s getting a little on the later side and I’ve made up my mind that I’m leaving as soon as our bout finishes showing on the TVs at Manitoba’s. I tell Hipster Glasses this and he asks if he can walk me home. I’ve made the  stumble home from Manitoba’s by myself many a time, but sure, OK, if he wants to. Bout Guy had already peaced out by this time and so I say my goodbyes and Hipster Glasses accompanies me the 4 blocks to my place. On the way there he runs into the bodega catty-corner from me for a bottle of water. I, bleary-eyed and exhausted, teeter on the corner for a minute while he does this. He walks me to my door and I give him a hug and he goes in for a kiss. I let him peck me on the lips but I’m not allowing any more than that. I know I’ve been drinking a bit and wasn’t trusting the potential thickness of my beer goggles at this point. Besides, I think it’s kind of gauche to play tonsil hockey on one’s stoop right after closing time.

Hipster Glasses is trying pretty hard to get past just repeated pecking, and I make a move towards my door. “Would you like me to walk you up?” He says. I know I am not that drunk to let some dude I just met at the bar come up to my place. I also know that there is a bag of the worst-smelling skate gear ever on my kitchen floor, along with my sweat-soaked uniform, sports bra, and shorts all airing out in my bathroom and counters. My apartment was barely habitable for me, let alone a visitor. Not that that made much of a difference. For a dude with a cat nose and whiskers drawn on his face, he’s already lucky I let him walk me home and peck me goodnight. I giggle and tell him I’ll be OK, and he tries again with the kissing. And again, he’s not getting anywhere. Finally, I kind of nudge him away, because I’m nearly falling asleep on my feet at this point, and my bed is calling out for me, and me alone. We stand there awkwardly for a moment.

“Um, so I guess this is the part where I give you my phone number?” I say.

“OK. Sure,” he says, unlocking his iPhone and bringing up the “add contact” screen. He hands it to me and I dutifully enter my number. I helpfully add my full name, for some tipsy-logical reason that I can’t remember. I can’t even remember his name at this point but I feel it necessary he know my legal one.

“There you go!” I say, in as chipper a voice I can muster after 4 hours of yelling to be heard at the bar. I sound like I’ve gargled with lava rocks at this point so it sounds more like a growled threat than the cheerful sendoff I was going for. Hipster Glasses takes his phone back, hugs me goodbye and mentions he’s getting a cab back to Murray Hill, or Kips Bay, or whatever you call that horrendous bro-infested area that is not quite Gramercy and not quite Midtown. “Get home safe!” I croak as I unlock my front door. He nods and walks off towards 1st Avenue.

It wasn’t until the next day and a doozy of a hangover later (which demanded an emergency order of cheeses, bread, and cured meats from MaxDelivery), that I was in the shower and it occurred to me that OH MY GOD Hipster Glasses totally thought he was going to get laid. I was laughing so hard at my naïveté that I had to turn the water off and sit on the edge of the tub until the fit passed. He likely bought condoms along with the bottle of water as I was waiting obediently on the corner for him at the bodega. And he probably thought I was going to invite him up, but when I didn’t, he tried to ask himself up.

I dried off and got on IM with my friend Andy, who is a gay dude, but a dude nonetheless, and knows better than I do how dudes think. He confirmed my suspicions:

Andy: i think he just got the wrong idea
i think he thinks walking home from bar = action
and he probably thinks ur a tease for not asking him up
me: maybe
i just don’t see how walking a girl home that you just met equals sex
guys who don’t get it always call the other one a tease
some people think there are promises
they’re idiots
he probably told his friend he got laid
i hope he at least said i was good
no tongue kissing is a pretty clear sign that it’s not gonna happen, right?
i mean the walk home is why he was sure
I’ve let guys platonically walk me home and never got any expectation of anything
i’m saying that’s why he got it
that’s so weird
yeah, ask around
i totally take that at face value
yeah u do, ur literal
“walk me home” = “walk me home”
yeah, in what world does “walk me home” = “I wanna have sex with you”?
me: I’ve dated a lot and have never had that implication before
someone u met in a bar
walks u home
thinks he’s getting laid
well that’s my problem
I have literally never met anyone in a bar before
Andy: right
that’s the nuance
how u met
me: ahhhhhhhh
that’s so weird
it’s like a whole subculture i know nothing about
Andy: well this makes more sense to me now
that u say u’ve never met anyone in a bar before
cuz i couldn’t figure out how u didn’t get it
me: yeah this was a total first in that regard
oh this makes the whole thing even more hilarious


Well. You learn something new every day.

Street harassment for the timid

May 5, 2011

If there was any ever doubt that the Craigslist Missed Connections are really just delayed reaction street harassment, this post really proves that point:

Fine little shorty black tights early am damn baby that assssss – m4w (les)

your also very beautiful i pulled over had to see that again annnnd again wowww

*facepalm* I’m having sympathetic squickedness for this poor woman.