Webster’s Dictionary defines a “hack” as a person who begins an essay with the words “Webster’s Dictionary defines.” I define a hack as a person who shrouds his or her voice with artifice and nonsense, then rationalizes the approach as anything other than fear-based.

This week: No bullshit. Just when you thought you knew what to expect from this postmodern dating column, we will boldly kick out in a new direction. Today: the straight Truth.

So, can I kick it?

Well I’m gone … check this out.

There’s a girl I want to see. I don’t get to see her this week, but maybe I will be able to soon. I’ve been trying not to think about it (the potential date), her (the her), or me (the neurotic). I suspect I’m afraid further examination will engender excitement and I’d rather not allow myself excitement, a necessary precursor to disappointment and a physiological mirror of anxiety.

Since self-preservation prevents me from focusing on what is clearly principally on my mind, I turn my energy elsewhere. I clean the house. I read books. I look outward to humor and art. I turn inward in similar pursuits. “All speed” toward anything fulfilling but with limited consequence. Whee!

However, sometimes in my flight, I run into an idea, a thought, a vista, a performance, a piece of art that grasps me and pulls me to a stop. Whatever stops me grants me its perspective and I see that perhaps all the acrobatics, rhetorical flourishes, intimations of oblique intellect, especially those employed in the service of a dating column that avoids addressing dating in any—

Holy shit, why haven’t I ever tried to put a GIF in this column?

People don’t spend enough time playing with Medium’s formatting. It seems possible to gracefully carry on side conversations in each margin.

Yes, that is the first GIF I found on my desktop. No, you don’t get to know what it was doing there.


The third paragraph of famous fitness writer Rachel Cosgrove’s advice column on how to distract yourself reads as follows.

You know that moment when the chocolate starts to call your name or the bread basket is taunting you and you are having the discussion in your head of should I…?

That’s the entire paragraph.

You know that moment when you set out to make fun of somebody for writing one-sentence paragraphs and you are realizing how many one-sentence paragraphs you’ve just written…?

Back to Rachel’s advice. What does it mean? I don’t know. I got bored and never made it to the rest of her article. But doesn’t it seem like a perfect analogy for my predicament? This girl is a bread basket. I need to distract myself. Because carbs, or something.

Butter. Bread. They wanna toast me.

Let’s get distracted!


You know who’s not Rachel Cosgrove? Rachel Cosgrove Payes is not Rachel Cosgrove. However, she is also a writer. She wrote books in the Oz universe, as well as romance novels. I can distract myself by researching her and perhaps I can even pick up some super-romantic dating advice to pass on to you dear readers!

One of Ms. Payes’ books is called Satan’s Mistress. It looks like this:

The Chinese national anthem is called “the march of volunteers.” This is one of those times I really wish I knew what irony was.

According to Goodreads, this is what it’s about:

With dizzying speed, beautiful Fiona McQuade went from shopgirl to protege of a duke and duchess. Dazzled by the luxurious living, Fiona forgot her lowly origins and even dreamed of marrying Viscount Will Huxley, the duchess’s handsome lover. But of course the arrogant duke and duchess had other plans for the lovely Fiona. They all were members of the dreaded Hellfire Club: jaded nobility who satiated their decadent desires on the young and innocent. And so the unawakened Fiona was ravished by many men, the handsome Will Huxley among them. She had been sold into sexual slavery, and Fiona vowed they all would pay, even the man she loved.

Whoa. Move over, Stephenie Meyer! There’s a new—

Holy shit, is that really how she spells her name? S-t-e-p-h-e-n-i-e. That’s awful. Although, I bet there are worse name spellings out there at which to scoff. To the mommy blogs!

Here’s the good stuff. Moms talking about names.

The colder the room you sleep in, the higher the chances are that you’ll have a bad dream. Maybe that’s why we like cuddling so much. Sigh. You know, I bet this girl–NO. Focus. Rather, unfocus. Moving on.

Great question, backonthedecaff. Why do people do that to their children? It’s just plain wrong! You ain’t havin’ it? Good, me either. And to answer your second question: Stephenie Meyer.

Now that I think about it, “jaded nobility who satiated their decadent desires on the young and innocent” describes a healthy swath of New York pretty accurately. Lest I turn into a jaded New Yorker myself, I’m going back to bringing the Truth. Sorry for all that nonsense. No more distractions.

Truth time.

So many one-sentence paragraphs.

Dating is hard. Making it silly or absurb helps. That’s why this column exists. Keep your head (both of them) where they’re supposed to be. Butter. Bread. Toast me. I think I’m going to text that girl.