If People Behaved In Real Life Like They Do On Dating Websites . . .

“I just found the Skipper’s profile online at “Plenty of Fish!” I don’t think it’s a little pond anymore — it’s a big swamp.”

 

PART ONE

“I love online dating,” said no one ever. My recent foray into internet matchmaking was shocking in many ways, but mainly because I couldn’t believe how much the virtual anonymity afforded people permission to do and say things they could not normally do (or never would normally do!) if they’d met someone “live” out in the actual world.

Let’s start with the actual profile. The very first impression you’ll give, and also an “advertisement” that’s supposed to not only entice someone to “pick you” but should illuminate your potential compatibility.

Let’s examine how an online dating presentation might translate in real life, shall we?

YOUR NAME

Online — This is a screen-name representing how you wish to be publicly known when you come up in search engines — most people don’t use their given birth name. Instead they get uh, rather original. Or just the opposite — they could care less about this aspect and let the website generate any old number for them. In my case I got creative and put down, “MissWriteRight4U.”

Real Life — “Hi, I’m EatPrayLoveSex — so nice to meet you.” OR  “Allow me to introduce myself, my first name is Size Truly Does.  And my last name is Matter. But you can just shorten my first name to STD.”   OR in the case of a random number, “Hello! I’m #24601. Seems like we’ve met before . . .  like in the musical Les Miserables, perhaps?”  OR in my particular case, they’re in for a  2-for-1 — “Hey there! MissWriteRight4U at your service. Wanna hire me to write an article for your website, or get married on your wedsite?  It’s all good!”

TAGLINE

Online — This is a phrase following your name that’s sorta like a pick-up line. Currently (for reasons totally unknown and extremely baffling to me, except they think they’re being cute n’ clever) everybody seems to use this one, “Seeking a Partner-in-Crime!” (My female friends tell me they all just swoon for that one??)

Real Life — “Hey baby, wanna knock off a bank on our first date? You be Bonnie and I’ll be Clyde, and we be digging our own private crime scene. Then later on in the jail cell, you can drop the soap in the shower. Heh heh heh.” (Where’s your fainting face now, ladies?)

PHOTOGRAPH

Online — Photoshopped, bedroom eyes, shirtless, muscles flexed, not from this decade.

Real Life — “So I know we’ve just met here in this grocery store and I’m pretty disheveled, but imagine this 5 o’clock shadow gone, my hair combed back, I won’t look so hungover, zero holes in my shirt, and I’ll smell like I own a bottle of cologne. Whadya say?” OR “Come over my place right now and I’ll take a bathroom Selfie in my mirror with a strategic bulge. I’ll even break out the Windex for a spotless shine.”

STATISTICS

Online — With a few quick keystrokes, it’s easy to falsify your age to become younger, your height to become taller, your religion, location, education, career, smoking, drinking, all modified in print.

Real Life — “Alright, so here’s my passport and driver’s license. (From 1988) And a Harvard diploma. (My father’s) Will you be needing any more documentation as proof that I’m a very thorough liar?” OR “This cigarette? Haha, someone asked me to hold it while they went to the bathroom. Personally, I NEVER touch a cancer-on-a-stick.” OR (Standing on tippy toes) “You betcha I’m 6 ft tall, sweetheart.” (Google for stores selling elevator shoe lifts.)

INITIAL MESSAGES FROM MEN

Online — Hey Gorgeous! OR Hey Sexy! OR Hey Beautiful! OR Hey Adorable! OR Hey Pretty Lady! OR Hey Hotness! OR Hey Lil’ Darlin’! OR Hey Cutie Pie! OR Hey Good-Looking! OR Hey Glam Girl! OR Hey Stunning! OR Hey Wonderful Woman! OR Hey Delicious Dame! OR Hey Ravishing Raven-Haired Rebel! (last one should only be sent to a brunette like me)

Real Life — “Hey uh . . . Striking, Savory, Sweet, Special, Scrumptious, Stylish, Savvy, Satisfying, Splendid, Spectacular, Sassy, Scintillating, Sophisticated, Seductive, Sanctimonious Starlet!” (Quickly hides book titled, “Thesaurus For Bedding Women Who’ve Heard it All Before Online — Alliteration  Addition  Edition”)

SECOND INTERACTIONS FROM MEN

Online — “Everyone else is a Suspect. But I’m a Prospect. Thought you’d appreciate the wit!” OR  “If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable! Get it?” OR “Hey Baby. To B or Not to B? That is the Question. And please let your answer be Double D!”

Real Life — (Gosh so she’s a real author. She likes wordplay. I like foreplay. There’s gotta be some common ground to be found there.) “So can you guess what’s on tonight’s menu?   ME  N’  U!”  OR  “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put ‘I’ and ‘U’ together.”  OR  “Honey, if you were words on a page, you’d be fine print!”

Okay, okay . . . so there is absolutely ZERO difference between online and real life second interactions once they find out you’re a writer. Both are cheesy to the max!

Stay Tuned for Part TWO  “Taking Online Dating Offline! (The First Meeting)”

Readers: Can you think of any other ways that online dating behavior would be preposterous in real life? Please comment!

A cute profile pic that also screens out allergic guys!

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What’s DRIVING Your Relationship? (Odd Advice For Couples, Thinly Disguised as Car Talk!)

 

Gentlemen (and Ladies!) . . . Start your engines!

SHOULD YOU CARPOOL DOWN LOVER’S LANE?

  1. BE VERY SELECTIVE: If you’re letting someone inside your car, it’s like being with every single person they’ve ever driven with before you! Which often leads to becoming . . .
  2. A NON-DRIVER: There are other perfectly good modes of transportation like the subway, biking, or walking. Even rollerblading can be fun solo.
  3. DRIVER’S TRAINING: You’ve had your license for years now and this isn’t your first time circling around the block, but the rules of the road may have changed and who knows, it could be a rebuilt motor this time with extremely rare, hard-to-find parts! Take courses, read books, and google, “Better communication skills.” This will go a long way to preventing totaling your vehicle in a serious crash.
  4. TRUNK: This can be the most dangerous part of a car and if you’re embarking on a trip (thru life!) with a new carpool partner, I see nothing wrong with requesting them to remove their baggage from the trunk before you start the ignition. Just politely ask to open up their luggage for inspection. I’m not saying to screen like TSA security does at the airport, but if there are some major causes for flat-tires zipped up tightly in a side compartment of one of their suitcases, it’s best to find out early on. (Always carry a jack and a lug wrench just in case.) Better yet, offer to unpack your baggage first. There! Isn’t that freeing?
  5. STEERING WHEEL: Pay attention to who’s taking the wheel during your joint cross-country road-trip. Control “freaks” come in many different forms. Some (like me!) just feel better when they have some power and control over themselves — preferring to fuel up their own gas tank and choosing when/where/how and why to have a tune-up or fix needed repairs. However beware that other overly-controlling individuals will extend the life of the warranty to cover all of YOU….bumper to bumper! Be careful because their motto usually is, “It’s MY way or the Highway!”
  6. GEARS: Don’t shift too soon or too fast because you might pop the clutch, throttle the relationship, or permanently stall out. Seriously, where’s the race? If the spark-plugs are in good working order, and the entire electrical system is obviously functioning well, I’d suggest coasting in neutral until you make sure passenger and driver are making a smooth automatic transmission together. If I were a BMW (Beware Men/Women!) dealer, I’d recommend for optimum performance, waiting 3-4 months before implementing the pistons and cylinders. The internal combustion you’ll experience if you delay using these parts will be a power-boosting propulsion system like no other! If you MUST shift into overdrive early on, at least use a seatbelt for protection.
  7. HITCHHIKERS: This is simple. Just don’t ever pick ANYONE up on the side of the road. The last thing you need is either of your mothers or “well-meaning” friends, siblings, or children along for THIS ride!
  8. HEATING OR AIR-CONDITIONING?: Okay, this is where all the car metaphors come to a screeching halt! Real life advice here, because this topic will make or break your relationship faster than you can google, “What’s Considered Normal Room Temperature?” And if it’s not settled before you climb between the sheets, those sheets will be flying on and off the bed all night long. So decide now…..does your engine tend to run better warm or cold?
  9. STEREO:  Keep an open mind and don’t have too many preset radio stations. And for goodness sake, don’t keep pushing all your driver’s buttons. And don’t immediately reject an 8-track or cassette player because you may be dealing with a classic chassis, the value of which is not immediately apparent.
  10. HAZARDS: Don’t put yours on. Nobody else on the street needs to be alerted with flashing lights if you’re experiencing driving difficulties. Go down a private road!
  11. REAR VIEW MIRROR: She’s not gonna be real happy if this is the angle you’re constantly focused on.
  12. HORN: I wouldn’t be constantly tooting your own if I were you.
  13. GPS: The end destination is not the point, it’s how well you follow directions! Signal well in advance if you change lanes so you don’t cut anyone off. And no sudden U-Turns if you change your mind. Just tell your driver you’re carsick and ask to be let off in a well-lit safe area on the side of the road, and thank them for the lift thus far.
  14. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY: But if you keep passing by all the exits (even though your low fuel indicator icon has ominously lit up!) that’s probably a good sign you want to run out of gas with this person forever — and your relationship gets the green light to accelerate. Now you should Merge carefully together out of oncoming traffic and avoid going near your local DMV(Divorce/Mediation/Victim).

Good luck and Drive safely!

 

Are You Out There? I Imagine You Are . . .

When I log in to write a new post here, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and tossing it out to sea. Maybe nobody will ever read one single word, and therefore it’s as if I haven’t written anything at all.  Or maybe a certain someone (that the bottle was secretly meant for!) will be be surfing (the ocean or the internet?) and analyze it closely, looking for hidden codes or puzzling underlying messages to decipher and then act on what they’ve read between the lines and track me down in the real world. Maybe they’ll find my phone number and call me with important similarities that can’t be just coincidences. Maybe . . .

So these words are for YOU . . . I imagine you’re out there somewhere and things will go down just like this:

  1. You’re a woman around my age who always longed for a sister. My weird words make you laugh and you strongly identify with things like chronically being out of style, becoming a librarian who shouts instead of whispers, and recreating slumber parties you didn’t get invited to as a teen where you stay up all night and eat Twinkies while doing impersonations of Rizzo in Grease singing, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee. You’ll leave me a comment and we’ll plan to meet on a cruise ship to Alaska because….well because we’ve both always wanted to dance on a glacier.

  2. You’re a single guy who finds my wordplay to be foreplay. My puns, double entendres, and euphemisms drive you to distraction. When you read my work, you fantasize about having unprotected syntax, premature articulation, and propositioning me with prepositions. If you peruse my blog at your office, you’ll urgently need to take a break in the lunchroom where you’ll eat other employee’s food because you’re hungry for that which you know not how to pack yourself. You’ll contact me and we’ll instantly fall in love and go on a talk-show discussing couples who were destined to be together because of Linguistic Lust.

  3. You’re a literary agent who receives ho hum query letters by the hundreds from would-be authors, but you’ve always preferred to extract the diamond-in-the-rough from the blogosphere quite by accident, just like Lana Turner was discovered drinking a soda in Schwabs drugstore, even though that’s just an urban legend. So 26 blogs ago, you’ve been following me and saying to yourself, “Her Words! I must have Her Words. On coffee mugs or on tee-shirts — they’ll make an absolute fortune. And I’ll take 25 percent.” Then you’ll contact me, exploit me, and find a publisher for my humorous recipe book. Because food should always be funny.

  4. You’re a college student who doesn’t exactly know what you want to do with your life but somehow my blog about turning rock songs into news articles greatly inspired you. To cheat. That’s right, you thought to yourself, “If she’s out there literally transcribing the lyrics from Stairway To Heaven into a breaking news story (and not getting into copyright trouble) then I’m lifting the words to “C’mon Baby, Light My Fire” and typing them up for my next English essay.

You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

If I was to say to you

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher . . .

5.  You’re a grandmother type who doesn’t have anybody to spoil but you’ve discerned from reading my blogs that I have six kids and thus you think you’ve hit the jackpot with knitting sweaters, baking banana bread, dispensing advice, treating them to frozen yogurt and in general starting every sentence with “When I was your age…” Next you fly to San Diego and stay in our guest room, insisting everyone call you “Grammy Goldie” but once you get slightly senile, we put you in a maximum security home for the aged and visit you only once a year because we’re not really related. Sorry in advance,

6.  You’re another author and you’ve been looking for that perfect writing style, (that would complement your own brand of genius) and also a team player who bestows actual unique titles on book chapters, rather than just assigning them a boring number. You contact me and we collaborate on a new novel about librarians who shout — which will become a NY Times bestseller, or should that be a “BestYeller?”

7. You’re a fellow insomniac who notices the timestamp on my blog posts and either wants to share with me some personal tips about falling asleep at a reasonable time, or else you want to play me in Words With Friends into the wee hours of the night. My username is OneQuoteGal. I sometimes try putting any letters together to see if they’ll go through. Is that cheating? Find me anyhow.

8. You’re a retro television show watcher and have seen how many posts I’ve written on The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy. You’re compelled to feel sorry for me that my hairstyle is still from Charlie’s Angels and my idea of a good time is straight out of Bewitched even though I cannot twitch my nose. You contact me strictly to discuss who shot j.r.? And also the twist ending of Newhart. You’ll leave a comment right now telling me your favorite Twilight Zone episode and we’ll bond immeasurably.

9. You’re looking for a place to live in sunny San Diego and you think I’d make the ideal housemate. Okay, “ideal” might be exaggerating just a tad. You think I’d be the type of roommate that mystery thriller movies are made about — the kind who has a secret locked door in her house that leads to? And plugs flashing night lights in the baseboards of her living room so the mice can have their own discotheque, and designates two whole shelves in the pantry and refrigerator in which to store your private food but then insidiously eats it all because it looks better than my own. That kind of housemate. C’mon….write to me, I’ve got a spare room and you just know we should be cohabiting.

10. You’ve got sadness and fear deep down in you that you also try to disguise (or avoid completely!) with humor. You found this post of mine right HERE buried within all my quirkiness and wondered, “Is this fiction?” It’s not. You contact me and we talk depression and anxiety and instill hope within one another.

11. You’ve battled an eating disorder once upon a time (or now) and you understand that it’s not really about food, weight, or body size. You find me on Facebook and we support each other during the times life closes in and threatens to shut us down.

12. You’re a mid-life individual wondering, “Is THIS really all there is? This hamster wheel world that continually goes round and round with the same old thing? And why oh why can I not learn to be more grateful?  Or just meditate and stay in the present moment? How on earth is everyone else DOING this? Hint: They’re not. We need to talk.

13. You kinda already know me in real life and come here specifically because you think I’m a wild card or a loose cannon who might impulsively write something about you. And it might be far more interesting than the real you. And maybe, just maybe you’ll let me know you’re more than just an acquaintance, that you feel a real connection with me, and we can go the distance in friendship.

14. You’re someone else entirely, (not previously mentioned above) because I am afraid if this goes on for too long, nobody will ever read it. Even if they’re the one the message in the bottle is specifically meant for. But rest assured, I also write this blog especially for YOU. And you know who you are. So tell me!

 

Dear Reader . . . Won’t you finally reveal to me who you are? 

Stephanie Debra Lewis, AKA Little Miss Menopause

The GPS Lady is Our New Magic 8-Ball !!

For decades many New-Age people have claimed that the universe sends us signs — if only we’d just tune in and pay more attention. They claim that finding feathers indicates our guardian angels are frolicking nearby and a fork-in-the-road symbolizes an important decision will need to be made. And I always scoffed, “Sure! Right! Whatever.”

Until the one fateful day this past December when I started getting profound messages (and spiritual guidance!) from the Modern Digital World. I’m not kidding! It all began rather innocently. Just like this . . .

WALKING WONDERS!

I tried to cross the street at a busy intersection while debating what to do about my unsatisfying relationship. “Should I break up with my boyfriend now or delay things until after the holidays?” I wondered aloud, while pressing the crosswalk button. Immediately the light turned red and an emphatic male robotic voice reiterated over and over again, “Wait! Wait! Wait! . . . Wait!” Startled, I looked around at the halted pedestrians patiently anticipating the traffic signal to turn and grinned broadly, realizing I had just saved a $200 therapy session. “Of course I should wait,” I mused. “After all, he might put a terrific present under the tree this year.” Never mind that we’re both Jewish.

CAR CODES!

Inside my Mazda, I caught a glimpse of my mousy brown hair in the rear-view mirror and for the umpteenth time that day contemplated, “Should I dye it blonde or go with auburn highlights?” Without missing a beat, my GPS lady wisely advised, “Take the Highlighted route.” Well, that settles that! (I guess blondes will just have to have more fun without me.) Gosh, this woo-woo stuff was actually pretty cool.

Thinking of my boyfriend waiting for me in bed, I started to connect my cellphone to my Bluetooth when it instantly blurted out, “Ready to Pair!” Well I wouldn’t go that far, but I was feeling a bit aroused at the thought of him shopping for my Chanukah present. Maybe there was something to this, “Getting Messages From Beyond” thing after all?

As I pulled into the parking lot of my next destination, I wondered if I would ever get to a place in my writing career where I would finally achieve real success? “You have arrived!” exclaimed the GPS lady enthusiastically. “Really?” I flushed with excitement. (Now if only my publisher saw it that way and sent me on a lavish book tour.)

CHECK-OUT CHARMS!

Using the self-checkout kiosk in Target, I had to admit to feeling pretty self-conscious about my appearance lately, particularly since I hadn’t been sleeping well and the skin under my eyes appeared swollen and puffy. After swiping my credit card, I entered information into the keyboard indicating I would use my own totes to carry away my purchases. “You have zero bags!” the machine comforted me. Blushing, I thanked it for the compliment on my complexion.

My next errand was clothes shopping. As I waited in the long line to pay for shirts for my boyfriend, I wondered how on earth I would know which register would be available first? Immediately a seductive computerized voice loudly announced over the P.A. system, “Cashier number 3, please!” Wow! The Electronic World certainly does have all of life’s answers! I made a mental note to set-up The Checkstand Lady Voice with The Crosswalk Man Voice, who was so diligent at his 10-9-8-7 countdown while I strode across the street. It would be a match made in digital heaven. And now I was eager to see what psychic information would come across next from another device!

MAYTAG MARVELS!

As I piled the dirty towels into the front-loading machine in my laundry room, my thoughts drifted to a possible pregnancy. My period had been erratic and it was getting rather challenging to predict. “What’s my monthly going to be like?” I asked aloud. The washer was quick to reassure me there was nothing to worry about by lighting up the control-panel with, “Normal Cycle!” Thank goodness — I was getting way too old to change diapers.

NETWORK NUANCES!

Even text messages on this special day became uncannily spiritual. Feeling stressed, I contemplated what kind of self-care I should do? Perhaps meditation or maybe a long walk on the beach? Just then I replied to my friend’s request for a good pizza parlor, prompting her to text back, “TY!” Normally I knew this acronym was just a typical social nicety, expressing gratitude. However on this unique day, I somehow recognized it didn’t stand for “Thank You,” but instead my smartphone was now an algorithm guru telling me in secret language to “Take Yoga!”

Next I made the decision to create a cool new self-image on social media. I changed my User Name, put up a hip new profile pic, then sent friend requests to all the buddies of my adult kids so I could become popular with the younger in-crowd. Upon acceptance, many of them greeted me back with a timely acronym, “WTF!” This was unbelievable! What were the odds?? Every single millennium was warmly communicating back to me, “Welcome To Facebook!”

EXTRAORDINARY ENDINGS!

Before I fell asleep that evening, I called out to Alexa, “Please wake me up at my usual time.” And she ominously confirmed back to me, “You will become Alarmed at 7 am.”  Wow. Just wow.

The next morning I was eager to tune back in to my Digital Universe of Guidance, but nothing seemed to be working. When Siri asked how she could help me, the Yelp Chinese restaurant review she directed me to was rather ordinary. Google merely gave me a synonym for “intelligent” that was actually rather dumb. My Voicemail wouldn’t play back any new messages from my boyfriend for me on my phone. And even WordPress had no wisdom to impart. At first I thought, “Status: Draft!” meant that the U.S. military would be mandatorily inducting young boys into the army again, but nope — it just meant it had saved the silly blog post I wasn’t too sure about publishing.

Sadly, all the magic emanating from my digital world had abruptly ceased. Where had it all gone? “Appliance Reliance” had turned into “Appliance Defiance.” And I was simply left with only my “Inner Navigational System” to rely on, which I now refer to as M.O.M — “My Own Mind.”

But perhaps this 24-hour accounting of unusual events will somehow help someone else out there obtain sudden flashes of intuition from their technological interactions?

Please leave me a divine comment from your mystical Apple Watch to let me know if that’s the case!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/undulate/

Comedy Central Is Hiring Me!

cws3

Okay maybe not quite just yet. But I’m getting closer to my big dream coming true. Over the holidays I boarded a cruise ship of which the destination doesn’t matter….because my internal GPS just wants me to end up anywhere I can proudly announce, “Okay, world, I’ve finally arrived!”  And this (to me) entails substantial amounts of fame.

And somehow this also translates to my long-term goal of writing humor material for an illustrious comedian. In fact, Jerry Seinfeld recently called me and remarked that my blog seems to be about nothing and he’s got a new idea about another show that’s still about nothing. Perhaps we could collaborate on writing? We had long discussions, brainstorming everything about nothing, but at the end of the day, nothing ever came of it. Nada.

That’s why I set my sites on the comic of this cruise ship who performed in an onboard nightclub called “The Punchliner Lounge. The first evening I sat in the front row and the comedian incorporated me into his routine about hair. There’s no need for me to elaborate on this topic if you’ve seen me, but let’s just say that if he continues with his mediocre level of jokes, he’s going to be “hair today, gone tomorrow.” And I made sure I “straightened” him out by getting some “parting” laughs with a “hairlarious” one-liner that was a “cut” above the rest.

That’s when I had him — I just knew it. Sure enough after the show, he asked me to come back to his next performance and once again to sit in the front row. I was excited to become a regular in his act because that would surely lead to writing for him. Turns out he just wanted my wild, big hair to block the view for his overbearing mother who sits in the second row and constantly tells him his jokes suck.

But that was okay because I was making “headway” into the world of Funny Guys and it wouldn’t be long before I supplied him with my humorous anecdotes for major $$!

Now I’ll take a pause here to address what most people start to wonder about me. If I love to create stand-up comedy so much, why don’t I just deliver it to audiences myself verbally. Because I’m shy. Instead of the Off-the-Wall person I portray on this blog, in real life I am soooooo ON the wall, that I’m actually a Wallflower. Now you might understand why I’ve set my sights on staying behind the scenes and writing material for famous comics instead.

The next afternoon I saw Mr. Comedian at the buffet, ladling out cauliflower soup which sloshed around in his bowl because the seas were particularly rocky. Sidling coyly up to him, I decided to use some of my seasick seductiveness along with my witty wordplay to let him know I was more than just a “hair-brained” audience seat-warmer. I efficiently spooned some soup into my own bowl, smiling about the funny line I was about to dish out.

Me: Hi there. Did you know it’s not the motion of the ocean — it’s the size of the waves?”

Mr. Comedian: Oldie. Heard that one a lot. And you’ve got it backwards, by the way.

Oops, back to my hair I suppose.

Me: (shoving a tendril of my long curly locks into his face) I mean THESE waves.

Mr. Comedian: Oh right. Pretty funny stuff you got there, Miss.

Me: Permanent Waves. You know, like a bad 80’s perm??

Mr. Comedian: Right. I get your explanation of your joke.

Me: (Waving my hand over and over like a beauty contest winner on a float during a parade) Look! Now I’m stuck with a permanent wave!

Mr. Comedian: Yep. You sure are.

Mr. Comedian’s Mother: You suck, sister.

This was a good start. We could bond together eating soup and discussing his overly-critical mother.

That night I was the first one in the audience again, this time wearing an extra short skirt and my hair swept high into a chignon. I had an idea to try out some racier material since this was an adults only show. Sex always sells.

Mr. Comedian: So where’s your crazy hair this evening, Miss Front Row?

Me: I thought because it was R-rated tonight, I’d show off my tight buns instead.

Audience: (Stares at me as I climb onto a chair and point to my fancy updo and my back side.)

Me: See my hair is in a bun and (lifting my skirt a tad higher up my thighs while blushing) You currently write material for Comedy Central, but I’ll help you write for Comedy Sensual! Not only will you become a great stand-up, but the audiences will get so turned-on, they’ll stand up too. Get it? Stand-up comedian…so the audience stands up.

Audience: Sit down! Booooooo. Down in front with that awful hair and ass!

The next morning, the Captain of the entire ship knocked on my cabin door and issued me a restraining order which proclaimed I wasn’t to get within 500 yards of the Punchliner Lounge. But because they wanted my business back on future voyages, I was also given an invitation to be a contestant in the passenger talent show, where they said I’d be welcome to freely showcase my humor.

Choosing to look on the bright side, I consoled myself that this was one step closer to my goal of becoming a famed comedy writer. As the talent show drew nearer, I began to pray that my innate shyness wouldn’t prevent me from getting my hysterical material across through the microphone.

When the master of ceremonies introduced me to the stage, he called me, “Funny Lady.” If only I could sing, I’d belt out Barbra Streisand’s, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and just call it a night.

Once under the heavy bright lights and with all expectant eyes on me, I began to have an actual panic attack. What was I doing? I had no verbal delivery! I was just some hack writer. That’s a good joke? I could develop a hacking cough. Out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly spied a whiteboard at the end of my platform that listed the order of the contestants. Running over and spitting on it, I smudged away the names using the sleeve of my sexy dress and began to do the only thing I knew how to do……with the dry-erase marker, I penned out a joke.  The audience looked and tittered for a moment. Next I spelled out the opening paragraph of my most popular blog in all capital letters. People put their glasses on and slowly read, but eventually they chuckled some more. I erased and jotted something else down. Guffaws! Next time I’ll bring my computer keyboard connected to a big screen so I can keep the laughter coming even faster.

And now I’m calling Seinfeld back to partner up. Because he needs to know I’ve   got a new angle about comedy writing called, “Much Ado About NOTHING!”

Dear Readers: Happy 2018! It’s good to be back blogging after being away for a while. The real truth is that this particular cruise ship comedian read my Huffington Post blogs and invited me to call him when he docks in the next port! Please wish me luck on this new writing venture. Also please leave me a comment and state the name of the comedian you think is the funniest. Perhaps I can submit my WRITTEN material to them . . .  and then you’ll have to find a new favorite! 😉

comic

 

 

Have You Self-Improved So Much that Now You Suck?

All the psychologists and marriage counselors know to flock to my garage sales because every few months my living-room shelves sag with the extreme weight of hundreds of self-help books (ranging from having better relationships to communicating more effectively to figuring out if you’re addicted to self-help books!) and so I put every single paperback and hardbound copy on the front lawn with a sign, “Take All My “Fix Yourself” Books For $500.”  Oh! I’m not selling them for that price, I’m actually willing to pay someone that amount to haul them the heck off my property.

In addition to reading scads of these books, I participate in dozens of self-improvement courses, programs, classes, groups, meetings, and listen to Ted-Talks and podcasts. And this is where all of this SELF studying has gotten me today.  Have a listen!

SUPPORT GROUP SOCIALIZATION

ME: Wow, that was a great discussion you facilitated today. I got a lot out of it.

LEADER: People-Pleasing!

ME: No, I just meant it was perfect for me.

LEADER: Perfectionism!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry.  I appreciate you pointing this stuff out. I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying those kind of things!

LEADER: Catastrophization!

ME: Oops, you’re right. I just really want you to like me.

LEADER: Not everybody is always going to like you, you just have to accept that.

ME: Yes, how does that go again? Let’s see…”What other people think of me is none of my business?” Is that right?

LEADER: Approval-Seeking!

ME: Oh now this is getting kinda silly, don’t you think? Just tell me if I said it correctly.

LEADER: Controlling!

ME: Oops, I guess that kinda was. So how are you? You mentioned last week you were getting over a cold.

LEADERS: Boundaries!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep, I was truly concerned. I’ll just keep my big, fat mouth shut from here on in and then maybe you’ll be happy.

LEADER: Self-Deprecating AND Passive Aggressive!

ME: I am soooooo sorry.

Leader: Overly apologetic!

As I leaned in to give her an “I’m not upset” hug goodbye, she whispered “Co-Dependent!” into my ear.

While I went about the rest of my day, I decided that two can play at the psychobabble game! And this time it would be to my advantage.

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE AT SON’S MIDDLE SCHOOL

PRINCIPAL: We’d like to discuss with you what we foresee after graduation when your son starts high school.

ME: Oh!  I’m sorry but I only live in the present moment.

PRINCIPAL: Really?!  Well, don’t you think you should think about the fact that he’s not passing several classes at this point and he should have a tutor.

ME: Watch those “should” statements. Always substitute “Could” for “Should.”

PRINCIPAL: Alright. Could you conceive of your son failing biology, history, and math? Because every single one of his teachers Could.

ME: Magnification!

PRINCIPAL: Well, what’s your plan as a mother to cope with your son not graduating?

ME: I’ll just “ACT AS IF” he’s graduating. Haven’t you read The Secret? You really should.

PRINCIPAL: I suppose I Could.

I flounced out of his office and went straight to the bank to secure a loan. When the teller went to shake my hand, I pointed out that he might want to deal with his attachment issues.

FIRST AMERICAN NATIONAL UNIVERSAL WORLDLY BANK

ME: Let me start out by clearly setting my intentions. I am here to borrow money. Dollar signs have also been placed on my vision board.

TELLER: Your what board? Never mind. So you say you’d like some extra cash for Home Improvement? Can you be more specific?

ME: Boundaries, please!  Let’s just say I’ve given up on Self-Improvement.

TELLER: (odd look) I see. Gosh, Miss Menopause, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do for you today.

ME: You’re in denial!

TELLER: That’s a river in Egypt.

ME: Humor Defense Mechanism! Let’s unpack what’s making you so uncomfortable about this issue, shall we?

TELLER:  I am required to ask you certain questions and I’m also accountable for deciding if you’re a good risk. It’s a lot of responsibility for me.

ME: Narcissism! It’s not always about you.

TELLER: You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been at such a total loss before, like I am right this very moment.

ME: Reclaim your power!

TELLER: Ok. You’ll either need to respond directly to my questions or immediately leave the premises.

ME: Black & White Thinking!

And with that I raced home to practice my relaxation and meditation. My kids were in for a treat because I challenged myself to see how many times I could (NOT should!) use the word “Mindful,” which was how my yoga instructor told us we should approach life.

FAMILY TIME

SON: What’s for dinner?

ME: Do you think you can go one morning without asking that idiotic question? It’s enough to make me lose my ever-loving Mind-ful!

DAUGHTER: What do you think of my new dance routine? Do you like the music?

ME: please! Do you Mind-ful?? I’m trying to relax right now and that godawful song is blasting!

DAUGHTER: Can you at least tell me what you think of my new outfit?

ME: It’s wintertime. I have a good Mind-ful to let you freeze to death in those skimpy shorts.

SON: Gosh, whadya think is up with Mom today??

ME: Will you both just Mind-ful your own darn business?!!

At that point I gave up completely and wisely switched from meditation to medication. Forget Self-Help. What a difference in my life just a single letter can make!

READERS:  Are you, or do you know someone else who is overdosing on Self-Help Stuff? Leave me a comment if this strikes a chord and then God help us all! 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Your Ex Back (Even If You Don’t Want Them Back!)

Wait a sec. . . I think my title is supposed to say, “Getting Your Ex Back (Even If THEY Don’t Want to Come Back!”) But either way, it makes as much sense!

Hey! Did you know that . . .

the “Reunite With Your Ex!” industry is thriving!

Not a day goes by I don’t get an email shouting, “8 Ways To Make Your Ex Beg To Reconcile!” or “10 Phrases To Text That Will Make Your Ex Realize They Made a Huge Mistake!” or “How To Get Your Ex Back And Ignore All the Valid Reasons You Broke Up With Him in the First Place.”

And my personal favorite, “How To Lure Your Ex Back Without Looking Like a Psycho!”

Last week I sat at a cocktail table with my girlfriend Tiffany (Yes, Stephanie and Tiffany — it’s beyond precious!) at a Mix N’ Mingle event when she immediately burst into tears lamenting, “Why am I here? I just want him back. I’d give anything for that to happen.”

Immediately a man in an ugly green tuxedo shirt and suspenders materialized from behind a pillar and launched into a routine so smacking of a vacuum salesman, I anticipated him scattering clumps of dirt on our white linen tablecloth and sucking them up with his expensive sample machine.

“For just $1,000, I’ll have him crawling back before the New Year. He’ll be full of yearning, promises, engagement rings, and offering homemade Key Lime pie.” He danced a little jig as he spoke.

“She hates Key Lime and besides . . . ” I started to say.

“Really? That’s my favorite pie,” he interrupted.

“Then maybe YOU want her ex back?” I winked.

He pretended I wasn’t there, and turned his attentions back to Tiffany, who btw is not the sharpest tool in the box.

“My schemes are guaranteed to have him crawling on hands and knees no matter whom he’s currently frolicking with.”

“He’s frolicking with God,” I stated solemnly.

“OMG, he is??” asked Tiff, incredulously.

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said to Tiffany and then without missing a beat, threw a bunch of mud on our table — at which point she paid him $89.95 for a DustBuster.

“Forget that creep,” I told my friend.

“But I do still love him,” Tiffany protested.

“I meant the jerky salesman, Tiff.  Sheesh, even I have better ideas to get your guy back!”

Suddenly Tiffany had an epiphany! (But again remember — not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.)

“That’s right!  You’re creative!  You can help me. So far all I’ve come up with is losing ten pounds because he’s always hated my muffin-top. I just KNOW you’ll give me advice that will work.”

After reluctantly researching this idiotic topic, I realized there are two contradictory schools of thought. One was basically to disappear completely, because supposedly he’ll miss you terribly and come running back.

And the other is the exact opposite — recommending you definitely do NOT vanish because then he’s liable to develop complete amnesia and forget all about the amazing sex you had on the balcony during your cruise to Alaska. (What? No cruise to Alaska?? Well now we know exactly how to get him back, don’t we? Anchors away, my eskimo friend!) So essentially this technique advocates staying very much on his mind!

Alright so back to my dimwitted friend, Tiffany. I created two index cards outlining each of the very different ways to proceed. Essentially little cheat sheets for Tiff to pick one strategy and then follow it. Easy Peasy.

 

 

 

 

 

But Tiff couldn’t make up her mind which method to try . . .  so of course she utilized them both!

One day she unfriended him from all social media, cancelled every one of her memberships, and changed her phone number/email address. The next day she sprayed her signature perfume on the welcome mat of his front door, requested all radio stations play their favorite song, and had billboards put up on his route to work with pictures of her and another guy. (It was just her twin brother and they’re not identical, so this didn’t blow her ruse.)

She carried on like this for weeks, alternating days of being totally in his face with days of falling off the face of the earth — until I was sure the poor slob didn’t know whether he was coming or going — much less what Tiff was doing!

Meanwhile she also continued her Atkins diet and lost 10 lbs. However one fateful day she discovered he was on a European vacation for three months and the person she’d been seducing back was his 85 year-old grandma who was house-sitting. Not a good plan.

At this ridiculous news, I decided to permanently end my career in the field of “Reconciliation” and  just stick to writing. As a last ditch effort, I suggested that Tiff text him with an offer no man can refuse….having really great Make-Up Sex!

But Tiff claimed that he liked her face au’ naturale, without any mascara or lipstick — so I had to explain the concept.

The next day Tiffany was elated to report his response was, “Yes! But before we have great makeup sex, we need to have a really HUGE tiff.”

It was a Win/Win! Not only did Tiffany think he was referring to her name, but she was also thrilled to increase her calorie intake.

THEY SOOOO DESERVE EACH OTHER!

READERS:  HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DESPERATE TO GET AN EX BACK? WHAT DEPTHS OF DESPAIR DID YOU SINK TO? LEAVE ME A COMMENT!

Wanna Befriend FAMOUS stars? Just become Their Student!

blogger-image--1957697618Are you familiar with a new self-help trend on a website called MasterClass? It’s where you can learn from “the best teachers in the world” by signing up for lessons with famed individuals. Online. By video.

Now Dear Readers, THIS is exactly what I’ve been waiting years for! After taking a few of these $90 classes, I can now officially put down on my resume that I studied writing under Judy Blume AND James Patterson.  I’ve also been schooled in the art of comedy by the inimitable Steve Martin! Additionally for good measure, Serena Williams trained me to play tennis, without my ever needing to set foot on a court. Yep, these are just some of the website’s many famous superstar instructors!

But then the MasterClass company made the fatal mistake of inventing an “ALL ACCESS PASS.” This is exactly what it sounds like — for one price you can take every single class they offer. Really?? Hello Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Diane Von Furstenberg, Wolfgang Puck, and so many more! Indeed, why not add directing, producing, acting, fashion design, and cooking to my already amazing skill-set?

Next I read the fine print. Seriously? These big-time celebrities will even hold “office hours” and MIGHT personally critique some of my submissions. That’s just dandy! I always knew that given half the chance to become acquainted with me, (and my charm and talent!) famous personalities would want me in their lives in a very intimate way.

But how to convince them they’ve been missing out on knowing me? Simple….

“ALL ACCESS” (at least to me) means I have complete admittance into their world via email, telephone, or even in-person. And there you have it! I will simply contact all these celebs before the start of their courses and introduce myself, just like any ambitious pupil in college does. I will cozy up to them so I’ll be a stand-out on the first day of class.

Here are the instructors I set my sights on befriending, and the oh so clever tactics I employed to demonstrate that I’m their biggest fan, and that we have much in common!

DUSTIN HOFFMAN:  Sent email with “Hey Tootsie!” in the subject line and signed the email, “Meet me in my hotel room ~ Mrs. Robinson.” In the body of the email I stated that I would be “The Graduate” of his course whom he would be the most proud of.  I also mentioned I admired him so much that I actually named one of my twin boys, “Dustin” (Actually true!) and the other one “Hoffman.” (Not so true?)  I searched and found his cellphone number and left voice messages exclaiming, “Kmart Sucks!” and “Uh oh . . . ten minutes till Wapner.” Lastly, I taped a note on his front door with the class roster and my name highlighted in yellow so he could know exactly whom to make his Teacher’s Pet.

STEVE MARTIN: Sent email with witty salutation, “To The Jerk!” and mentioned he was a better Inspector Clouseau than Peter Sellers in the body of the email. Promised I’d be phoning him soon so we could discuss his course syllabus, piquing his interest by mentioning I might have two brains.  I then signed off with, “From a Wild and Crazy Girl.” Zero response, so I called and sung my version of “King Tut” on his answering machine. I currently await a coffee invitation.

JUDY BLUME: Sent an email with, “Are you there Judy? It’s me, Stephanie D. Lewis!” in the subject line. I told her that she writes puberty novels about getting your period and I write menopausal blogs about losing your period, and that I just know we’ll become BFF’s AND collaborate on a book together since writers use periods so often in sentences. I think she’ll appreciate knowing that. But just in case, I added that I was also a Fourth-Grade Nothing. I’m presently making a reservation at Outback Steakhouse for the both of us to have lunch.

WOLFGANG PUCK: I was aware that this instructor needed to be approached through smells, textures and tastes, but no boring teacher’s apple would do. Instead I shipped my famous Jewish brisket to his home, but the gravy obscured my return address so I’m sure he didn’t know whom to thank. Next, I emailed him with, “What’s cooking?” in the subject line. And ended it by declaring I would be the most skilled skillet chef in his whole entire cooking class. Can’t wait to trade recipes with Wolfie very soon!

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: I texted her and said, “Here’s what you and Gloria Venderbilt taught me in 8th grade–‘You’re only as good as the designer’s name on your jean’s pocket.’ So thanks for that! Ps. Can I get a vintage dress if I sit in the virtual front row of your fashion classroom?”

UPDATE:  As of this blog posting, there hasn’t really been any replies or acknowledgments to all my enthusiastic student overtures. After thinking it over (and I’m sure you’ll realize this isn’t just sour grapes) I’ve decided that I can do better than these people. Far better. After all somebody very wise once said, “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach!” NO TRUER WORDS.

Now excuse me while I stalk the individual who said that, and have him give me lessons from his new class, “Thinking Up Profound Quotes!”

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READERS: Would you sign up for one of these online classes with a celebrity? Or do you find this to be a gimmick? All comments welcome!

Is it a Speakerphone or a “SNEAKERphone??”

speaker-phone

Very SNEAKY speakerphone crimes are on the rise these days and even Yours Truly is guilty of a few. See if you’re the victim of any of the ones I’ve made up names for below — or if gasp….(be honest now!) you’re actually The Perpetrator!

  1. THE BRAG — Being around other people and expecting a phone call you know will contain good news? Possibly someone is going to be praising YOU for a job well done? You answer the phone and say, “Gosh it’s so hard to hear you. Let’s see if you’re more audible on speaker. Keep talking.” Bingo. You’ve just modestly made everyone around you aware that it was your quick thinking and innovative talent that saved the day!  Look properly sheepish when hanging up, but don’t overkill by saying, “Awwww shucks,” if someone around you offers a high-five or a congratulations.
  2. THE JEALOUSY — Your relationship has just passed that two-year mark when people typically start taking each other for granted just a tad. You’re out with your girlfriend when the call comes through and you recognize the name/number as the young sounding female nurse from your doctor’s office, obviously calling to report your lab results from your recent physical. You answer the phone on speaker but as soon as the caller chirps, “Hi, it’s Katherine . . . ” you awkwardly (guiltily?) interrupt her and say in a lowered voice, “Hold on so we can uh, talk more privately,” and remove speakerphone. During your long silence (in which she’s reading your blood results) nod your head enthusiastically, smile a lot, and suspiciously doodle on a pad of paper — the initials that stand for bad and good cholesterol . . .  “LDL” + “HDL”   This works best if your name is Logan David Lewis and the nurses name is Hilary Denise Lawrence.  Then put a plus sign in between the two and for good measure, draw a cute heart around the whole thing.  (Don’t jot down your triglyceride levels, that’s not romantic at all!) Upon hanging up, chuckle nervously while announcing to your gal, “That? Oh that was just the doctor’s office calling. Heh heh.”
  3. THE BUFFER — Did you just crash the car? Forget to do something important you promised? Spend a ton of $$ on something frivolous? Are you afraid to reveal these things to a certain someone because they fly off the handle easily? Simply make the call and when they answer, casually inform them you have a little bad news, but to first say hello to some mutual friends. Have a few people shout, “Hi there, Tom!” Guaranteed your confession will be received calmly and serenely. They may even say, “Don’t worry about it, you know stuff like that never bothers me.”
  4. THE EMPATHY — Your best friend calls you once a week to read entries from a journal she keeps on her relationship. This week she suspects her boyfriend may be having an affair with the young nurse from his doctor’s office. You turn on speakerphone, but you employ the mute button so she cannot hear you doing the dishes and vacuuming. After she finishes (and your house is tidy) and she asks your opinion, you say “I’m just too stunned to formulate any words.”
  5. THE CHORES — Call the child who always loudly protests their responsibilities, from their best friend’s home. Proceed to tell them you’re having tea with the parent and how proud you are to hear they’re sooooo helpful and polite whenever they’re a guest in this particular parent’s home. Next, remind them to please walk the dog, empty the garbage, and make the bed before you return home. When they pleasantly agree, resist asking, “Okay, who is this really?” (This is my personal crime and it works like a charm.)

READERS:  Please comment on any other speakerphone abuse I may have omitted besides the obvious — not letting someone know when they are on speakerphone, and people who talk on speakerphones in public places. Poor chaps never had walkie-talkies as a child!

97a2ef40a23743b2aacced49a6ae8c9e

    Do You Have Options for Declining An Invitation This Holiday Season?

72-og Here’s a very simple (yet timely) question for you, Dear Reader.

When you are invited to yet another gathering or festive night out and you’re not going to be attending, do you give a reason why or do you just politely refuse?

During “The Ghost  Host of Christmas Past,” I’ve felt obliged to elaborate and provide a good enough reason, (or an innocent made-up excuse!) to avoid hurting the host’s feelings. But recently people have told me this is unnecessary and it’s actually oversharing.

Below is my track record with this social grace ….

ME: I’m so sorry, but I’m already committed.

INVITER #1: Really? To do what?

ME: I’m committed to not saying more than that when I decline invitations.

INVITER #1: No really, what exactly are you doing instead??

Note To Self: Get less assertive friends.

ME: Thank you for thinking of me, but I have another engagement.

INVITER #2:  Again? OMG! Hopefully you make it down the aisle this time! Feel free to bring your new fiancé.

Note To Self: Next time use more specific language, while still not stating exactly what you’re doing since it’s none of their business.

ME: I’d love to, but I’m having an affair of my own that same evening.

INVITER #3: No wonder your engagements never last, you cheatin’, lyin’ slut, you!

Note to Self: Go back to my little white lies.

ME: Darn, I’d really like to come to your annual potluck tree-trimming party, but I’m allergic to pine.

INVITER #4: It’s artificial this year. Vinnie always pees on all our real trees.

ME: Well I’m allergic to dogs.

INVITER #4: Vinnie is our 15-year-old son.

ME: Seriously! Was he born in a barn??

INVITER #4: Yes. I went into labor cleaning the horse stall and gave birth on a bale of hay. . .

ME: Ahhhh! Which I’m very allergic to?

INVITER #4: In our previous house.

ME: Guess I’ll be bringing peanut butter cookies to your potluck tree-trimming party.

INVITER #4: I have a life-threatening nut allergy. You’ll bring 2 dozen filet mignon steaks instead.

Note to Self: Google who said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Hmph. Guess honesty IS always the best policy.

ME: To tell you the truth, I just really don’t want to come.

INVITER #5: Well frankly, I really didn’t want to invite you but your siblings forced me to.

Note to Self: Let a few weeks go by and then call Mom and apologize for not being more tactful. 

ME: Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it because my really messy closet has me barricaded from my front door.

INVITER #6:  “When first we practice to deceive . . .” Oh come now, you can do better than that! A messy closet. Sheesh, what do you take me for? I’ll expect you at 7 pm, unless you send visual proof of that whopper.

mes

INVITER #6: Uh…Maybe my guests can bring some hangers and come over and help dig you out. It can be a “Coming Out Of The Closet” theme shindig. 

Note To Self: Wear those mustard yellow pants hanging in center of closet. AT. Every. Single Party. (To eliminate future invites.)

READERS: When someone declines your invitation with a vague, “Thank you for thinking of me and I hope you have a great time!” Be honest — Are you a teeny bit offended, wondering if they could totally attend, but just don’t want to? And how do you personally say, “Thanks but no thanks?”

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