Monthly Archives: April 2014

Spanx for Nothing

Everyone knows someone or knows someone who knows someone who has met their spouse through an online dating service. It was beautiful and magical and now they’re living happily ever after. Right?

So no matter how horrible all of my online dating experiences are, I keep thinking “but it can work! So and so are normal, and it worked for them, so… maybe…” So I give it another shot, and something like this happens:


We had been emailing for a couple weeks and he seemed nice. His pictures were cute, he had a real job, and we seemed to have a lot in common. He was also Polish (as in actually born there) which I found intriguing. So when he asked me to meet him for coffee, I was excited. This was before I had learned to lower my expectations for these kinds of dates, so I spent a long time picking out a nice outfit and just generally looking forward to a nice date.

I was a little bit heavier at the time – nothing ridiculous, but I was also self conscious and worried that he might think I looked better in my pictures and be disappointed when he saw me in real life. As a precaution, I decided to turn to many a girl’s best friend – spanx. I wore the kind that has shorts, so they stopped mid-thigh. Normally, I only wear these under dresses, but I was wearing wide leg trouser pants, so the line of the spanx wasn’t visible.

When I arrived at the restaurant, he was standing outside waiting for me. My first impression was not good. His 5’9″ on his profile was apparently code for 5’5″. Ok, fine. I can live with that. And although he did look like his pictures, his pictures had definitely not given me a good sense of his style. He was wearing tight jeans with shiny, pointy dress shoes, and a weird, embellished t-shirt with a blazer over it. He also had about a gallon of gel in his hair and at least two gallons of cologne. But oh well, I was there and I was determined to give him a chance and have a nice date.

The conversation started off a little rocky as it always does with a blind date. I remembered that his profile had said he liked dogs, so I asked him if he had any pets. He then spent about 10 minutes telling me about his love for fish, and how he had a whole room at his house for his aquariums and all of his exotic fish.  Hm. ok. Let’s try this again. I asked, “What about dogs? Do you like dogs?” He shrugged and said he really didn’t care much for dogs or cats. Then he started talking about his fish again.

Once he finished describing his many aquariums, he asked me which hospital I worked at.

While thankful to be moving on to a new line of conversation, I found this a bit confusing as I definitely didn’t work at a hospital and we had discussed my job at length during our many emails. I gently reminded him that I worked for a news distribution company, but he just gave me a confused look and answered, “No, you told me you were a nurse, right? That you worked at a hospital downtown?”

“No.I’m sorry, but I’m not a nurse.”

At this point, we both realize that he’s gotten me confused with a different girl he’d been talking to online.  He gets pretty embarrassed, tells me how sorry he is, and then he does remember the right emails and we have a nice conversation about my work.  I actually thought this part was pretty funny. Obviously, I don’t expect him to be talking to only one person on the online dating site, and it was an honest mistake. It was also kind of cute how embarrassed he was, and really, it broke the ice a bit and lightened the mood.

After that, we had a pretty good conversation.  I was starting to come around a little as I really was enjoying talking with him. So, once our coffee was gone, he suggested that we do something else. It was only 6 in the evening, so it seemed a little silly to call it a night so soon. I don’t remember now why, but he didn’t want to go to a bar and get a drink (red flag!), so he suggested going to see a movie. Movies are horrible first date ideas, but he suggested a locally run theater close by that I really liked and a movie that I really wanted to see, so I said yes.

We had met at the restaurant, but he offered to drive us to the move theater, and I accepted. We got there, and he paid for my ticket which I thanked him for and we sat down to watch the movie. Approximately 30 seconds after we sat down, his hand was on my thigh.

I’m not talking lightly brushing my thigh, or accidentally touched my leg as he reached for hand, I’m talking about a full on upper thigh grab.

I should’ve moved my leg or even just removed his hand from my thigh, but I panicked. I started wondering if I had been giving him signals that this was ok. I mean, I knew I had agreed to go to a movie with him, but I’d known him for just under 2 hours and it had been a pretty rocky 2 hours. What had I done to make him think I wanted him to start rubbing all over my thigh? Who does that?

Well, he did. And I was too self conscious to do anything about it, so I just tried my best to ignore his wandering hand and watch the movie. Which, by the way, was really good. He obviously had no interest in the movie as he kept trying to talk to me during it and was obviously much more interested in my thigh. I tried a few times to adjust my position and get my leg out of his reach, but the seats were pretty close together and there really just was no way. I also, of course, was hyper aware that since he had his hand all over thigh, he must’ve noticed my spanx. The spandex shorts ended mid thigh, and his hand was right across the line of them most of the movie. But there was really nothing I could do, so I just continued to ignore it.

Once the movie ended, I tried to put the leg grabbing situation out my head and asked him what he thought of the movie. He gave me much the same answer as when I had asked him if he liked dogs. He shrugged his shoulders and said it wasn’t really for him. Then, when I said that I really liked it, he gave me a weird look and said, “Really? You like that kind of stuff?” Oh, come on. It was a baseball movie, so it wasn’t even like it was a chic flick or a girl drama. I told him that I loved sports movies, and he just shrugged his shoulders again and said he didn’t get it.

Once we got in his car, I was just ready for the date to be over. It was obvious that we had nothing in common and he was really starting to make me feel uncomfortable.

Then, about 30 seconds after we both sat down in his car, his hand was once again all over my thigh. I looked straight ahead and tried to ignore it. This time, he did at least decide to ask for my permission (sort of) with a “Is this ok?” as he started to caress my leg some more. It wasn’t ok, but I had let it go on for so long, I didn’t feel like I could tell him that it wasn’t, so I just decided to suck it up and deal with it for the 5 minute drive back to my car.

All of a sudden, he takes his fingers and pinches the end of my spanx. He grabs it and snaps it back down on my thigh, smirks at me, and says, “What’s this?”

Obviously, I was horrified. But not only was I extremely embarrassed, I was extremely annoyed. Who did he think he was? This was a first date, and he had spent the last two hours inappropriately touching my leg and now he had the audacity to ask questions about what I was wearing under my pants?! Really?!

Furious, I told him that it was none of his business and (finally!) I swiped his hand off of my leg.

Of course I realized that by not telling him what I was wearing, it made it seem like a bigger deal than what it was. I knew he thought there was something wrong with me, but I didn’t want to give in and tell him. It wasn’t his business and it never should’ve gotten to this point. So I sat there, silently stewing in my anger, while he continued to smirk at me. Then, suddenly, he reaches down to my ankle and sticks his hand up the end of my pant leg and touches my calf.

Well, I freaked out. I jumped in my seat, kicked his hand off my leg and yelled, “What in the world are you doing?!”

Sheepishly, he pulled his hand back and just said, “nothing.”

Honest to goodness, I’m 99% sure that he thought I had a fake leg and was checking to make sure.

I was so angry and embarrassed, but I felt like I had to set the record straight, so I threw up my hands and said, “Spandex, ok?! I’m wearing spandex. There’s nothing wrong with my legs; it’s just spandex.”

And we still had about 4 minutes of driving left. I’ve never felt so awkward in my life.

After a bit of super awkward silence, we stopped at a light behind a car with a Michigan license plate. I guess just to make conversation, he said something like “Oh, that car’s from Michigan.”  Now, I’m a graduate of The Ohio State University, so of course, on reflex, I immediately answered him with a “Boooooo.” I also immediately realized that he was Polish and probably had no idea about the OSU/Michigan rivalry or why I would be booing a random car. So, I quickly explained myself. I reminded him that I graduated from OSU and that the two teams/states had a pretty big rivalry. To this, he goes “Oh yeah, but who really cares about those things?”

Oh no he didn’t.

Obviously, as I just explained in great detail to you, I care. I just glared at him and said “I do. Actually lots of people do.”

We didn’t talk at all the rest of the drive home.

The next day, I deactivated my account.

Spanx for nothing, internet dating.




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Filed under Feelings

Weird Advice and Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes

During my sophomore year of college, I decided to change my major from Communications to Writing. I met with my adviser to discuss the change, and the conversation didn’t exactly go as planned. My adviser, while brilliant and kind, was also a little off beat and spoke with a very thick accent.

After telling him that I’d like to pursue a major in writing, he got a very concerned look on his face and said very gently,

“Ellen. I am worried. I am worried for you that you will never get married.”

Obviously, this prompted a very confused look from me. I was also worried about this, but not sure what it had to do with my major. He continued,

“Finding work as a writer is very hard. You will not make much money. I am worried that you will not have husband and then you will not be able to find job writing and you will have to be a cook.”


“I suggest you study English Education. Teacher is more practical career.”

At the time, I was appalled.  I got back to my dorm room and called my mom crying and babbling about being single and broke for the rest of my life.  It sounds bad, I know, but my adviser really did mean well. I’m fairly certain all he meant was that if I planned on supporting myself by being a writer, I should be aware that it would be very hard to make any money. Good point. However, the delivery obviously needed a little work. I ended up meeting with the head of the English department later that week who told me that if I had no desire to be a teacher than I really shouldn’t be one and that I should continue with my plans to switch my major to Writing. He didn’t make any promises about my matrimonial future, but I did feel a lot better after that meeting.

What’s even funnier (I think) is that I ended up taking a Creative Writing class from that same adviser a semester or so later and somehow or other our conversation about how I was never getting married came up in class (we talked about a lot of weird things in that class.) He had no recollection of course of telling me this and was dutifully horrified. He then told me that if any of his sons were not already married, he would be more than happy to have me marry any of them.

Well, it’s been a little over 10 years, and it turns out that he was partly right. I am not married, and I do have to support myself. However, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it, and parents and children across the US can all rest easy that I am thankfully not a teacher.

I’m never going to write the next great American novel, and I might never get married. Neither of these means my world is ending. What I can do is continue with my awesome job, write about my ridiculous feelings, and bake delicious treats. Take that, college adviser.

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Graham Cracker Crust and RumChata Frosting:

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart and b.u.i.cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. special dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 c. whole milk (2% will also work)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water

Start with the crust:

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 c. of the white sugar and melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Stir until combined.

Place 1 Tbsp of the graham cracker mixture in each muffin cup. Use the bottom of your 1/4 measuring cup to press down the crust in each cup. Reserve some of the crumbs to sprinkle on top of your cupcakes once finished.

Place 2 tsp of the chopped chocolate in each cup on top of the crust. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes until golden brown.

For the batter:

Mix remaining sugar (2 cups plus 2 Tbsp), flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your electric mixture. Use your paddle attachment and mix the dry ingredients together on a very low speed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add all at once to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and continue to beat on medium for 2 more minutes. Add the boiling water and stir it in.  The batter will be pretty thin.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle each one with the rest of the chocolate. Bake 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

RumChata Frosting:

1 c. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract
4 Tbsp. RumChata

Cream butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Add Almond extract, salt, and 2 Tbsp of the RumChata.  Mix on high for 3 minutes, adding some more sugar and RumChata depending on your tastes.

Frost cupcakes and top with remaining graham cracker crumbs.




Filed under Cupcakes, Feelings, Recipes