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Don’t Call Me Beautiful

Like most all single people in this day and age, I have tried online dating. I have tried just about every platform there is out there. I’ve done the monthly membership ones and the free ones. Which one is my favorite? None of them. They all annoy me. But as the thought of going and hanging out at bars or clubs to meet people is even less appealing, online dating is a means to an end. So I’m on one of these sites now, and I’ve come to realize that the majority of guys who send messages start out their message with, “Hi beautiful,” or “Hi gorgeous,” or the one I got today, “Hello gorgeous. I wanted to send you a quick message because I think you are incredibly attractive.” And there’s little to no other substance included. Now this seems fairly innocuous, and maybe I should be flattered, or enjoy the compliments. But the truth of the matter is that it drives me frickin’ nuts! It is quite honestly my biggest pet peeve with online dating, and I think I finally figured out why.

I am not model, or Hollywood starlet gorgeous. I wouldn’t even classify myself as a classic beauty. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I pull out the stops I can turn heads with the best of them. I’m also incredibly photogenic so it’s easy for me to get a great picture. But 99% of the time, I rock the quirky best friend look. I rarely wear makeup, my “uniform” is jeans and a t-shirt, and before I cut my hair short, I wore it in a ponytail most of the time. Quirky best friend. I am not only good at rocking this look, it is my preference.


As the quirky best friend, I’m known as the writer, the goofball, the friend, the organizer, the puggle mama, the Shakespeare nut, the girl who’s allergic to everything but can still throw awesome dinner parties. I’m known as the Civil War expert, the biographer of dead broads and the children’s book author. I am known for my personality, my strengths and my accomplishments, and I LOVE that. The reason that I have never put forth the effort and the time to highlight my physical appearance is because I so prefer to be known as all of these other things.

We're even both named Kat!

We’re even both named Kat!

So in all honesty, when I read these messages my first thought is,

“I don’t care if you think I’m beautiful.”

I already know that I am beautiful, so I don’t need someone else to tell me. And if that is the only thing out of my entire profile that interested you, then I’m gonna pass. I want to know that the lame joke I told in my profile made you chuckle. Or that we have a similar interest, or that you too have played life-sized Jenga. I couldn’t care less that these men find me physically attractive, it’s actually a bit of a turn-off when that’s all they see. Maybe I should just put that in my profile. Don’t call me beautiful.



Crazy Train

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to relationships I am a bit of a commitment-phobe. Okay, I am very much a commitment-phobe. The reasons for that are long winded and a couple of different therapists have been paid good money to hear all about them. I’m working on it. Part of working on it, is identifying things that I do to sabotage relationships, like dwelling on every little thing that I might not like about a guy, instead of looking at the good things. Or not bringing it up when he does something that drives me nuts, instead letting my annoyance fester and then eventually breaking things off because he never fixed the behavior. I don’t do this with friends or acquaintances, only romantic (or potentially romantic) relationships. Crazy right! Totally crazy train. I’m much better than I used to be, but I still find myself slipping into old habits at times.

Crazy Train

So recently a guy came up to me while I was out walking my dogs in my neighborhood saying that he’s seen me around, thinks I’m very beautiful and interesting, etc., etc. Which to start with is not the best approach for a woman who has seen every Criminal Minds episode ever made – not that I’m paranoid or anything . . . okay I’m totally paranoid. So that first day I basically said thank you, then quickly headed home with my dogs. The next time I saw him, I decided that maybe I should give him a shot and at least talk with him. So I did, and he asked if we could exchange phone numbers so that we could text. So I did.

Which is all well and good, except that every time that he texts me, he always starts off with “Hey beautiful” or says things like, “Looking good today.” In fact the majority of everything he says is some sort of compliment about my appearance. Which is nice I guess, but to be completely honest, I’m starting to find it really annoying. Every now and then is fine, but every frickin time we talk is getting old! It’s as if he either doesn’t have any interest in anything other than my appearance, or he thinks all I want to hear is compliments. Or some other male reasoning that is beyond my understanding. Whatever the reason, I’m annoyed. I actually had the thought after the last text of, “I don’t give a crap if I look good when I’m out walking my dogs. I’m picking up dog shit for god’s sake!”


That’s when it occurred to me. I would so rather a guy compliment my personality, my creativity, or something along those lines. That’s great that you think that I’m beautiful, but if that’s all I am to you, then I’m not interested. Or if that’s just what he thinks that women want to hear, and he’s looking for a woman who wants to hear that, then again I’m not interested. So, instead of letting this fester, I finally asked him why he was so fixated on appearance. Thus began a whole different conversation. Apparently, I’m taking a break from the crazy train . . . and I learned something about myself. I don’t need somebody to tell me that I’m beautiful, because I already know that I am, and have decided that that isn’t one of the top criteria that I want to be known for. So the money I spent with therapists talking about that particular subject has also paid off. Good to know.

We May Have Been On to Something . . .

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually think we had something figured out back in sixth grade. I know, middle school is the tenth circle of hell that Dante left out of his Inferno for fear that he would scare people to death. But when it comes to dating, I think we had something figured out back then. Think about it, if you liked a boy you mooned and giggled over him with your friends for a bit, and then you’d send one of them over to him with a carefully folded note – the folding was very important –


that had some variation of this on it:

Do you wanna go out? Circle yes or no.

Yes                         No

He got the note, he responded and you were either on cloud nine, or you became so depressed that you wanted your life to end . . . until your BFF gave you her Lisa Frank folder that you’d always been jealous of and then everything was alright. How much easier is that, than what we do as adults?!? It takes all of the pressure off! Imagine a bar – because we’re adults now, so we’re allowed to drink! – where you go with your friends and when you see a guy that you like you send one of your friends over with a note:

Do you wanna get a coffee tomorrow at 10:30? Circle yes or no.

Yes                         No

He gets the note, he responds and you either keep looking or you have a fantastic evening with your girlfriends secure in the knowledge that you have a coffee date the next morning. The next morning you go out and chat over coffee – where you can make nice sober decisions – and decide if you’d like to pursue things further. So. Much. Easier.

Or, if you’re a little more adventurous than that, there could be a nice game of Spin the Bottle over in the corner. A coat closet designated for 7 Seconds in Heaven. You can find out a lot in seven seconds! Sometimes, all you really need to know can be discovered in seven seconds, ladies you know what I’m talking about. If things get really out of hand then maybe some Twister or Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board!

Okay, that’s going a little too far, but the rest sounds fantastic! No skeezy guys invading your space who won’t take a hint, no public rejection for all to see. A simple yes or no question and then you move on with your evening. I like this plan. Who’s in?


I have always considered myself a strong woman both mentally and physically. I keep my cool in emergencies and I am usually one of the first people to act. I’m 5’9”, I have a broad frame and I pack on muscle just by looking at a set of weights. I am larger and stronger than the average woman and because of years of stage combat and self-defense training I would fare much better than the average woman in a fight. Yet the UCSB attack and the emergence of the #YesAllWomen campaign has really made me think. I am very fortunate in the fact that I have never been in a verbally or physically abusive relationship with a man. I am also very fortunate that I have never been sexually abused or assaulted. Sadly, this puts me in a minority group. I have lost track of how many of my friends have been raped. When I really stop and think about it, the number is mind boggling. It breaks my heart that I have friends that have to differentiate between when they forcibly lost their virginity and when they chose to lose their virginity. I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors that exist in their past.


Then I realize, that to a certain degree I can, because like them, I live every day in fear. I have never had any of these atrocities acted upon my body, yet there is an ever present warning light in the back of my mind reminding me that my turn could be just around the corner. I am not a victim, yet. All of the strength and training that I possess may not be enough to stop the inevitable. That’s right, the inevitable. I think every young woman, if she’s honest with herself, expects to be harmed by a man at some point in her lifetime. And that’s not right. There are a lot of really great men in this world, but they aren’t the ones that we’re taught about. So we’re afraid. I am afraid . . .

Because admitting that I’ve never been raped will eventually be met with the quip, “Challenge accepted!” and no one will be there to shame the man that says it.

Because I was taught to scream ‘fire’ or ‘fight’ instead of ‘rape’ or ‘help’ because the former will draw attention and the latter will not.

Because I was trained to carry my purse so that I can swing it at an attacker in a moment’s notice.

Because I was taught that you never open the door to an unknown man after dark, because obviously he is there to rape and kill you.

Because I’ve said yes to sex, even when I didn’t want to, because I was afraid of what might happen if I said no even though the man had shown no signs of aggression. Better to have the semblance of a choice, then have the choice removed completely.

Because I was given a “rape whistle” at my college orientation, and I knew girls that needed it for that purpose.

Because in college my friends and my reaction to men sticking their hands up our skirts at a dance club was either to avoid clubs completely, or make sure that we always wore pants.

Because I automatically start going over my self-defense training whenever I’m alone at night and see a man.

Because I sleep with a dagger by my bed, and nobody questions why it’s there.

Because I live my life with this insidious fear I have the tiniest glimpse into what life must be like for the women who are less fortunate than me. That makes my heart ache and my very soul cry. We should not have to live like this. #YesAllWomen deserve equality, but more importantly we deserve to be safe.

To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name . . .

I got into this great conversation with one of my neighbors last night about pseudonyms and the internet. It cracks me up, I have lived everywhere from a tiny bush village at the mouth of the Yukon River to the booming metropolis of Los Angeles. Yet it is here in Los Angeles that I have the most interaction with my neighbors. I stumbled upon this great little apartment complex that has a central courtyard, where neighbors actually hang out and chat with one another. We know each other by name and say good morning. We know whose kids belong to who and the day that Zoey ninja-ed her way out the door and made a freedom run across the courtyard, someone grabbed her without a second thought and brought her back. It’s a community and it’s great. Any who, I went over to my neighbor’s to buy a clutch purse – they’re awesome, you can get them here! – and we wound up chatting for almost two hours.

Pen Name

One of the topics that we delved into was having an internet presence. She does everything under a brand name and I do everything under my real name. Which to be completely honest, can be a little odd. If I do a google search of my name it isn’t until the third or fourth page that links start showing up that aren’t related to me in some way. Between my weekly theater reviews (and the quotes that get pulled out of those), my monthly Heroine of History articles, my blog posts, poetry, social media presence, videos and published book I am all over the internet. Don’t get me wrong, that is exactly what I was going for, but on say, a first date it’s a little awkward. I went out on a date where, judging by how much he knew about me, the guy had probably spent hours looking through my online presence. I hadn’t googled him at all, because I prefer to learn about someone from them if I have the opportunity. Therefore, he showed up with a, “I already know a ton about you so this feels like a third or fourth date,” while I showed up with a, “You seem like a cool guy, this will be a fun first date,” attitude. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I prefer to save in-depth talk about my dead mother until well into the relationship. Awkward!

Mask Girl

Yet at the same time, I obviously have no qualms with writing a blog about the subject and if someone comments on that blog I don’t find it odd in the least. There is something so surreal about the internet. It is at once anonymous and personal. You can share parts of yourself openly and get feedback and reassurance that you’re not alone. There are people out there that understand and have gone through similar. Sometimes it’s the person behind the user id providing me comfort and sometimes it’s the other way around. In a sense it’s no less of a community than what exists at my apartment complex, it just exists in the ether and can be carried around with me wherever I go. I guess choosing to use my real name instead of a pen name blurs the boundaries and gives me an identifiable anonymity . . .

. . . that just made my brain hurt . . . I need more coffee . . .

Precious Commodity

I’ve come to the realization, that as much as I may want to be and as much as I may try, I am not a daily blogger.  I think sporadic blogger is a better description, and honestly I don’t know why this surprises me.  Even growing up when I kept a journal, I never wrote in it daily.  Some weeks I would, and then I would take time off.  I guess I never really felt compelled to write for the sake of writing.  I had to have something on my mind.  A story that I wanted to tell or something that I wanted to work out.  That’s what writing has always been for me, a tool.  It’s one of the greatest tools that I have in my arsenal.  I can’t think of a single time that I had a dilemma or an issue that had bogged me down that I wasn’t able to work out by writing about it.  The simple act of putting it down on paper, stream of consciousness, has always helped me get to the root of whatever was troubling me.  Writing it out makes it clear.  Not to mention there’s a definite satisfaction to laying out all of your troubles and then ripping them to shreds!  If you’ve never done that, I highly recommend it, it’s very therapeutic!  Write out your troubles, your fears and your worries.  Lay it all bare, read through it, soak it in, then tear them to shreds and let it all go.

Or start a blog and put them on the internet for all to read . . . doesn’t really have the same panache, but it has a different kind of release.  So I decided that against all of the advice and how-to’s about how to have a “successful blog” I am no longer going to concern myself with keeping a steady flow of content.  I’m going to write when I have something to say and hold my tongue when I don’t.  That’s how I work, and trying to do anything else is going to come across half-hearted and insincere.  I’m going to do it my way, because that is the only way that I know how to do things that are meaningful and if it doesn’t mean something what’s the point?

Maybe that’s the real crux of the issue, I’ve never understood why people spend so much time and energy on things that in the end won’t amount to anything.  For me this especially shows up in dating.  I’ve never casually dated.  If I don’t see something in a guy that sparks my interest long-term, then I’m not interested short-term.  If I had a dollar for every time a friend has told me to, “Relax, and just have fun with him.  You don’t have to marry him,” I could probably pay off my car.  And I’ve tried, but I can’t do it, because inevitably I realize that instead of spending time with “Mr. Okay For Right Now” I could have been doing something worthwhile.  It sounds horrible, but I greatly value my time and I know where I want that precious commodity to go, which is not to “Mr. Okay For Right Now.”  I know, l know, loosen up!  I’m working on it . . .

Shakabuku Epiphany

I had an epiphany today.  I’m a member on an online dating site.  Yes, I’m a single woman in the . . . the . . . this day and age – seriously what is this day and age called, does anybody know? – so of course I’m on a dating website.  No, I have not found Mr. Right, truth be told I haven’t even found Mr. Good Enough For Right Now.  For the most part I’ve found invites for Internet sex or sexting and requests that I send pictures of myself in a bathing suit.  Which officially begs the question, do women actually send pictures of themselves in a bathing suit to men that they’ve never met? Crrrreeeeeeepy!  At any rate, I’ve tried out a couple of these sites and they all have these questions that you answer so that they can match you with guys.  Without fail, there is always a question similar to this:

So far has your life been motivated by?

  1. Love
  2. Money
  3. Commitment
  4. Dedication

Honestly, I think they’re missing the real answer for a lot of people: fear.

I know that for me it is true. I think for me it was something that was learned very early on.  My childhood was spent in a state of anticipation, a state of fear waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have no studies or testimonials to back this up, but I’m going to guess that this is probably a pretty universal experience for kids that grew up with a sick parent.  There was always a fear of what was to come next.  Was she going to be okay, was it going to be a good day or a bad day?  Would she suddenly take a turn for the worse?  My mind was filled with fear.  No matter how much reassurance I was given, the fear remained.  When she died, mixed in with all of the other sundry emotions was a palpable relief; relief that I no longer needed to wait for the other shoe to drop, because it just had.  It was as if I was Atlas and the world had been lifted from my shoulders.  Shortly thereafter a heavy helping of guilt replaced it, but that’s another topic all together.  The fear was gone, but only fleetingly.  Like all old habits, it came back and I found other things to fear.

I was afraid that if I was my own person no one would like me.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be good enough . . . at anything.  Even in jobs that I knew I was doing good work and that I was a valued employee there was still this underlying fear that one day I would do something that would upset the applecart so egregiously that they would fire me on the spot.  I thought that I had tackled these fears years ago and moved on, but traces remain and pop up in the weirdest of places.

I’m afraid that I’m not taking care of my dogs properly.  I’m still afraid that I will get fired from my job suddenly.  I’m afraid that somebody will find out that I like Taylor Swift’s music more than Beyonce’s.  Whoops, let that cat out of the bag!  I can’t help it Swift’s music is catchy and quite frankly, “Cause I’m not your princess, this ain’t a fairytale, I’m gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well“ is a much more interesting lyric than, “If you like it then you should have put a ring on it” repeated ad nauseum – no offense intended to the Beyonce groupies out there, I just don’t get the hype.  With how much money she has, she couldn’t afford to buy another lyric?  C’mon!

My point is, why live in fear?  How is that profitable?  Which brings me to my Shakabuku – for those who are saying “What is the world is that?” see here or here.  You can’t live in the moment if you are perpetually afraid of what might happen in the next moment.  It’s impossible.  Go ahead and try it, you can’t do it, and the key word in that sentence is MIGHT – it’s not even a fear of a definite.  So this living in fear has got to stop.  Right. Now.  I believe that everything happens for a reason, the good, the bad and the really shitty.  I don’t regret anything in my past, because it has made me who I am today, and I am strong.  I can take anything that life throws at me, because quite frankly I’ve probably already been through worse.  So bring it.  After all, if everything happens for a reason, what is there to fear?  How’s that for a swift kick to the head?

Better Alone

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately talking with a friend who is in a bad relationship – and we’re talking bad with a capital B – and it’s really got me to thinking that maybe it’s better to be alone than with the wrong person.  It seems like a lot of people stay in bad situations largely because they fear being on their own.  As someone that has been a single more than I have been a couple I really don’t understand that.  True, I’ve never been in a long-term relationship, or a marriage so I can’t fully relate, but I can’t help but think that alone has got to be better than bad.

Now that’s not to say that I want to stay single for the rest of my life.  I would love to find someone that I can spend the rest of my life with.  That’s something that I want very much, and there are times that it weighs very heavily on me that I haven’t come anywhere near that.  But I have also learned that I can be very happy on my own, which, I think, is why I don’t put up with guys treating me like crap.  I walk away.  Yes it sucks to watch something crumble.  It sucks to go from “+1” to “1”, but I’ve never regretted the decision to walk.

I’m single now, and I’m in one of those “it sucks to be single” moods.  Which is ridiculous because I have so much going on right now that my brain would probably implode if I tried to throw a relationship in on top of everything else, but hey the heart wants what the heart wants.  I think that’s the saying anyway.  But I know one thing about my heart, it knows exactly what it wants and exactly how it should be treated and listening to my friend’s tribulations has firmly cemented that conviction.  So for now I can leave all the “Mr. Wrongs” at the bar and walk away knowing I made the right choice.  Sometimes being alone is better, because with the right friends even though you’re alone, you’re not lonely.

My Top Ten . . . er, Five

I over heard a couple of girls . . . women . . . girls discussing an article that they had read at lunch today.  Or at least I think it was an article.  At any rate, it was all about the Top 10 Things That a Guy Needs to Know Before Dating You.  In other words, ten deal breakers.  Ten things that if he doesn’t understand, if he can’t get on board with, the two of you just won’t work out as a couple.  This intrigued me.  It posits some interesting questions.  Are there things that, if a guy knew coming in, would make things easier in a relationship?  So obviously I listened even more intently to the conversation that I wasn’t a part of.  (We’re gonna call this an occupational hazard.  I wasn’t eaves dropping because I’m nosy, I was eaves dropping as a study of human behavior for future/current characters.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

Anyway, I was kind of befuddled by the answers that I heard these girls discussing – and mind you it is their answers that makes me qualify them as girls and not women.  Their biggest concerns seemed to be that a guy know that he needed to take them to fancy dinners and buy them expensive presents; that a guy needed to be able to buy them a really big engagement ring.  Their answers got me to thinking about myself and I realized that my priorities are COMPLETELY different from theirs.  In fact, none of mine have anything to do with money.  So since I can’t seem to focus on anything else but this and I’m going to write it out anyway, here ya go!  My “Top Things That a Guy Needs to Know Before Dating Me.”

  1. At least once a week, I will walk out the front door wearing clothes that don’t match.  It’s not on purpose, not some cool hipster style.  It’s because I slept in, was trying to do ten things at once and didn’t bother to double check that my clothes matched.  At some point during the day, I will look down, realize that I don’t match, give a smirk, and then move on with my day.  This is the extent that it will bother me.
  2. I’m a planner.  I need to have plans.  Now that’s not to say that I can’t be flexible.  These plans can change.  They can be rearranged.  I’m perfectly okay with saying, let’s get together tomorrow at 7 and we’ll figure out what we’re doing from there.  But this vague, “Oh, I’ll call you tomorrow and we can figure something out” that guys seem to be such fans of, doesn’t work for me!  If we’re talking now, then I don’t need to talk to you tomorrow to figure something out, because we can figure something out RIGHT NOW.  I have other things that I need to get done tomorrow.
  3. Disagree with me, call me out if I’m being stupid/unreasonable, and if I tell you to jump you better be asking “Why?”, not “How high?”  There is no bigger turn off than a “yes man”.  It is not all about me.  My wishes, needs and desires are not the only ones that matter.  So you acting like my desires are the only ones that matter in the relationship, tells me that you have very little respect for yourself.  I need to be able to respect the man that I’m with, and if you don’t respect yourself, how I am supposed to?  There is a fine line between a “nice guy” and a “wet sponge.”
  4. I’m a goofball.  I get very excited about very random things.  I find joy in everyday life and I like to share that joy.  I do not care that onlookers often find this strange . . . especially when I’m sharing my joy with them, because I don’t know anybody around.  For those that can’t picture this go to my twitter account and find the “Yam” tweet. It’s in all caps because my phone was malfunctioning at the time. But all of my friends laughed hysterically because they knew, despite my insistence that is was just the phone, that I was actually that excited … over yams … you had to be there … go find the tweet.
  5. And I know I’m going to catch slack for this one, but here goes.  Don’t tell me that I look beautiful, unless it’s an appropriate descriptor.  I’m a writer, and a word snob.  I’m a HUGE word snob.  There’s a plethora of words out there that can be used to describe how someone looks.  Mix it up, and choose appropriately.  Why?  Because if I’ve just spent two hours getting ready to go out with you, and you tell me that I look beautiful, that compliment will have completely lost its efficacy if you said the same thing to me two days earlier when I didn’t match and was running on four hours of sleep.  Words are powerful if used correctly; empty if they are not.

So there you have it, my top 5 anyway.  I’m sure I could get to ten, but I’m going to stop at five because these alone are making me sound like a bit of a nut, and I tend to believe in stopping while I’m ahead.  I am ahead right?