Introducing: For Love Or Peanut Butter

Kelly Shanley
Jan 28 · 5 min read
Illustration by Emily Clouse

Would you give up peanut butter for love? Sorry: could you give up peanut butter for love?

Yes, that’s the kind of critical thinking we’ll be doing in this column.

(If you have a peanut allergy, or don’t like peanut butter — WTF, BTW — simply substitute your favorite snack to shovel into your mouth with a spoon straight from the jar while standing in the kitchen. Or cheese.)

Anyway, could you give up peanut butter for love? I started seeing someone who has a life-threatening peanut allergy. As in, if I eat peanut butter and then accidentally kiss him, his throat will close up. And then guess who’ll be in charge of stabbing the EpiPen deep into his loins? Me. Exactly.

So, it’s either spooning my organic, creamy, salted peanut butter into my mouth or getting spooned by my living, breathing, unsalted boy toy. I simply cannot have both.

I’m aware that I sound nuts (couldn’t help myself), but cut me some slack. I’ve been dating in Los Angeles for the last decade (yes, DECADE), and I only just now realized that every love story has its peanut butter. That’s right. Every relationship, long or short-lived, near or far, functional or dumpster fire, requires at least a little sacrifice.

It’s not typically as simple as peanut butter though, and if that’s the toughest thing I have to give up this time I’ll consider myself very lucky. In the past I’ve given up a LOT to other failed relationships, then severely overcorrected and refused to give an inch in others, which may or may not have contributed to me remaining single well into my thirties.

Was that my plan? No. If you told ten-year-old Kelly that she would be unwed and childless at 35 would she be thrilled? No. Do I have some amusing yet soul-crushing stories to share? Absolutely.

But wait, if I’ve been dating for this long without finding my person, doesn’t that mean I’m bad at it? What wisdom could I possibly have to impart to my potential readers? Aren’t I just a cautionary tale?

Possibly. But personally, I think cautionary tales are kinda fun, and some of them are personal heroes of mine. Every group of friends needs their Samantha Jones, their Jane Austen, their Elsa. Without these intrepid, single women, we wouldn’t have these pearls of feminist wisdom:

No, I don’t have the sex life of Samantha Jones, the literary prestige of Jane Austen, nor the ability to build ice castles with my bare hands. Yet, whenever I’m around my married friends, I find that I automatically “have the floor,” as they never seem to tire of my anecdotes from the front lines of singledom. They don’t pity me, they laugh with and encourage me.

Besides, I’m not the same person I was when this journey began. And by journey I mean the seemingly endless string of first dates, sporadic romances, three-ish breakups, one crushing heartbreak, and my eventual journey of self-discovery.

Despite being quite content as a single woman, I do want a partner and a family, so I had to discover how I had contributed to my perpetual bachelorette-dom. I was the common denominator in all of these failed/never-got-off-the-ground relationships, so there had to be something I was clinging to, refusing to surrender, unconsciously abetting over my potential suitors...

What was my peanut butter?!

We’ve all heard the old adage that love takes sacrifice, but that sounds so dramatic. It implies moving across the world, or giving up a career, or pretending you’re not a princess so you can marry a commoner. But it’s not always that obvious! Sometimes it’s something as subtle as an attitude, a belief, a mindset.

Those are harder to recognize but equally significant in impeding (or assisting) the hunt for a mate. After a lot of introspection, I identified mine. It was squirmy and hiding out of sight and masquerading as self-preservation and high standards, but eventually, I exposed it for the saboteur that it was!

And it was dark.

I had come to believe, wholeheartedly, that all men were commitment-phobic fuck boys, and I was just an innocent bystander in the unrelenting drive-by that was my love life.


That attitude certainly didn’t align with those of my feminist icons. It cast me as the powerless victim, not the self-assured heroine.

Identifying it was step one. Next, I had to expel it from my mind. We all have our metaphorical peanut butter to renounce, and I was no longer allowed to self-medicate by way of shirking responsibility for my desolate love life.

So, I made some changes. And that’s what this column will be about: a seemingly eligible bachelorette who can’t find love finally delves into the WHY and the HOW she has remained single into her mid-thirties. I hope you’ll join me for the reminiscence and retrospection.

But seeing as how this is a humor column and all, you’ve just got to hear about some of the insane dates I’ve been on, right?

So, I’ve listed a few dates below. Check them out, and let me know in the Medium comments which date that I endured you’d most like to see appear in greater detail in an upcoming column:

A) An awkward Valentine’s Day first date with a man who talks incessantly deteriorates further when he can’t stop picking his nose.

B) A first date hike gets rocky when our heroine realizes her suitor is an aspiring gold-panner and geologist who can’t talk about anything but rocks.

C) A depressed mansplainer scares off our heroine as he redirects every topic back to his dead parents.

For Love Or Peanut Butter is a twice-a-month Slackjaw column by Kelly Shanley.

Follow Slackjaw on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Medium humor. Large laughs.

Thanks to Alex Baia and Sarah James

Kelly Shanley

Written by

LA based writer and comedian/mountain girl at heart. Fitness enthusiast, world traveler, loud laugher.



Medium humor. Large laughs.

Kelly Shanley

Written by

LA based writer and comedian/mountain girl at heart. Fitness enthusiast, world traveler, loud laugher.



Medium humor. Large laughs.

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