Category Archives: Dating
Oh, Valentine’s Day. Aside from Christmas, this is the number one holiday fraught with crazy expectations. You can hardly go into the grocery store or drugstore without being bombarded with cutesy heart-themed items, oversized stuffed animals, and reminders that if you don’t make dinner reservations and spend a lot of money, you don’t REALLY love your significant other. It’s exhausting. Not everyone has the money to get a dozen red roses, a card, and reservations at that really cute restaurant with the overpriced prix fixe menu; or to spend a bunch of money on makeup, a new dress with accessories, and a cute hairstyle at the salon. So, as a service to you, dear readers, I have scoured the internet for some of the cutest date ideas that don’t cost a ton of money, or ideas to spend the day with other single friends.
If You’re Single And Hanging Out With Other Single Friends:
- Buy a bunch of pretty but cheap flowers, like carnations, and hand them out to strangers on the street.
- Go somewhere cheap to eat (like a fast food restaurant), dressed to the nines (do each other’s hair and makeup beforehand), and giggle at the people who give you weird looks.
- Invite your friends over to your house for a nice dinner.
- Buy movie theater candy, make some popcorn, and watch a movie that is anti-Valentine’s Day, like My Boyfriend’s Back, or any of the ones mentioned in this article. My girlfriends and I used to do this!
- Do a “secret valentine”, similar to a secret santa, and send your friends notes to tell them how much you appreciate them.
If You’re Attached And Don’t Want To Spend A Lot Of Money:
- Cook dinner at home, and then go out afterwards for cocktails and dessert. (Thanks to Moneycrashers!)
- Find a local arcade, bring a roll of quarters, and challenge your date to a game of Street Fighter. If you’re in the SF Bay Area, like me, Musée Mécanique at Fisherman’s Wharf is an excellent choice.
- Play hooky from work and spend the whole day in bed together.
- Order a pizza and ask them to put the pepperoni in the shape of a heart. Have some wine ready, snuggle under a blanket, and watch that movie on your Netflix queue that you’ve always meant to watch.
- If you live in a city, go to the local park and find a water fountain. Take a bunch of pennies and make wishes one at a time out loud while throwing them in.
- If it’s too cold, make a picnic inside with hot chocolate. (This one and the water fountain are from Londonlady.)
- Go on a late night drive. Find somewhere to stop and get a nice coffee.
- If you’re following me on Facebook, then you’ve already seen this! And if you’re not, then you should definitely click that button on the right!
Am I missing anything? What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?
Because I am a terrible procrastinator, and I am desperately trying to stop doing so many “This thing makes me so ANGRY! HULKSMASH!” kind of posts, I was browsing Tumblr earlier for some post ideas. I found a few really awesome things, like the Hawkeye Initiative, where a talented artist has taken to re-drawing the poses of female comic book characters as Hawkeye. If you need to giggle a bit, and then weep when you realize how ridiculous female comic book characters are drawn, take a look. But that wasn’t enough for a whole blog post.
But this? This is seriously cool.
DrinkSavvy is the brainchild of Mike Abramson, and his invention could save lives. How many times have you heard to “never leave a drink unattended”, or “watch your drink, you might get drugged”? I know that I have definitely had my drink spiked by someone that I trusted, while I was dating him. Normally, this sort of advice is directed towards young women, but the creator was inspired after being drugged himself.
DrinkSavvy is a series of products (cups, glasses, straws and stirrers) that actually change color in the presence of GHB, a common “date rape” drug. Although it has a slightly salty taste, GHB is colorless and odorless, and can be difficult to detect in a flavored drink. Here’s what GHB can do to a person, according to Wikipedia:
Its effects have been described anecdotally as comparable with alcohol and ecstasy use, such as euphoria, disinhibition, enhanced sensuality and empathogenic states. At higher doses, GHB may induce nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, agitation, visual disturbances, depressed breathing, amnesia, unconsciousness, and death. The effects of GHB can last from 1.5 to 3 hours, or even longer if large doses have been consumed. Consuming GHB with alcohol is dangerous as it can lead to vomiting in combination with unrouseable sleep, a potentially lethal combination.
If these products become widespread, then we can effectively eliminate one tool in the date rapist’s arsenal. Do me a favor, share this indiegogo campaign on every social media platform you currently use. I want to see these used in every bar in the US.
I donated to the campaign, will you?
I am suffering from some serious writer’s block. I was unexpectedly too busy to post yesterday, but I’ve had a couple of hours to write, and I just don’t have a topic that I can write a full post about today. So today, you get snippets of things that are rolling around in my brain.
First off, can we please STOP calling other women “whores” and judging them for having sex? One of my family members shared this on her Facebook wall, and it made me see red. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have definitely judged other girls that I didn’t know well, and called them “whore”. But you know what? I look back at those times, and every single time, it was an insult made out of jealousy.
You heard me. I have called other women awful names because I was jealous. I was jealous because I thought they were prettier, or because they had a nicer body, or they wore clothing that I could never pull off, or they were more socially confident than me, or they were better at flirting, or they had the attention of the guy that I thought was cute/dating/liked. Look deep within yourself when you decide to label someone “whore” or “slut”. Unless that person actually works in the sex industry, chances are, the reasons behind your loathing of another person is actually emotions that you’re directing at yourself.
Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you. - Cady from 2004′s Mean Girls
I’d like to add that calling someone a whore doesn’t make your sex or love life any better.
A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to be funny on the Nice Girls twitter account, and joked that The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino was so sexy, I was scared I’d run out of batteries.
One of my followers, who is also a friend of mine in real life, said that I should invest in a Hitachi Magic Wand. When I replied that I didn’t really have the money to spend on it, she actually bought me one! It gets delivered tomorrow, and you can expect a review after I’ve taken it for a test drive.
There are some really amazing conferences that I want to attend, but I always find out about them too late. I really wanted to go to CatalystCon, the Good Vibrations Sex Summit, and I barely found out about Arse Elektronika in time to attend one day of the conference. How does one go about getting on the mailing list for these things? Readers, if you hear about an interesting sex conference that you’d like to see me at, or read about on Nice Girls, could you let me know about it?
I read what seemed to be a really amazing, sex positive, open relationship positive book called Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles. I say that it seemed to be that way, because up until the final chapter, it was purely discussing how women and men are programmed to seek out partners outside of their primary relationships, and it even had some interesting theories regarding homosexuality. In the last chapter, it had a cloying story about an elderly couple and how being monogamous throughout their entire lives was the best possible reproductive strategy. It seemed like an odd way to end an otherwise open minded and rather engaging book. I’m still wrestling with how to review it properly.
In the interest of giving Nice Girls some more diverse voices, I am approaching some of my fellow sex educators about writing articles or columns for this blog. I’m also planning on starting a YouTube channel, so that I can interview some of the interesting people I come across in this line of work, and you can see it all!
Finally, today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’d like for you all to take a minute, and take a look at that website.
And now, I’d like to challenge you to be a transgender ally. When you see injustice, bullying, or any sort of hate-motivated violence (whether physical or verbal), take a stand. Make sure that your words are not going to hurt another. Intervene. Call the police, and then stand witness when they arrive. Make sure that those around you, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer, know that you won’t stand there and let someone else hurt them.
There have been a few recent articles about the “moral case” of either completely abstaining from sex until marriage, or having sex with partners beforehand.
This all started with an incredibly egotistical and almost horrifyingly judgmental article by Steven Crowder on foxnews.com. In his piece, Crowder calls women who have sex before marriage “floozies”, and is openly disdainful of another couple after meeting the bride at breakfast the morning after their wedding. That newly married man’s crime? Deciding to drink at his wedding.
The people next to us that morning? Well, theirs was just one big party. And the morning after? Just another hangover.
Our “weddings” were the same event in name only. They know it, and we know it.
Honestly? That is precisely how I envision my wedding next summer: one big party. I want my family, Fiance’s family, and all of our friends to be there, and to be celebrating our union. I want dancing and toasting and laughter and fun. The fact that I am intimately acquainted with Fiance’s nether regions (and vice versa) does not make our wedding, our engagement, or our relationship any less than yours, Mr. Crowder.
Fiance and I lived together for quite some time, and, unlike you, we have already gone through the awkward stages of living together. We know that we are compatible in practically every way possible, and that includes sexually. Yes, it still annoys me that he forgets to put his dirty laundry in the hamper, and he is largely baffled by my beauty regimen, but we have reached a point of homeostasis in our relationship and we know that we can actually share the same space. You’re going to have to learn all of that, and you’re going to have to learn everything about sex. Don’t worry, Mr. Crowder, I’m here for you and your wife!.
On the other side of the coin, Jill Filipovic (of Feministe fame) wrote a fantastic response article for The Guardian, detailing precisely why it is better to have sex with your partner before a long-term commitment. I honestly couldn’t have constructed a better article. This is my favorite quote,
Sex is good whether you’re married or not, and certainly folks who wait until marriage can have a lot of sex once they tie the knot. But waiting until marriage often means both early marriage and conservative views on marriage and gender – and people who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender tend to have higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages. We know that, on the other hand, there are lots of benefits to marrying later and to gender-egalitarian marriages. Couples who both work outside the home and also share housework duties have more sex. Financially independent, college-educated women who marry later in life have extremely low divorce rates.
It turns out that feminist values – not “traditional” ones – lead to the most stable marriages. And feminist views plus later marriage typically equals premarital sex.
I wish you luck with your marriage, Mr. Crowder. I wish you and your wife every happiness. It’s a pity that you, with your nose in the air, can’t find it in your “Christian” heart to do the same for me and others who are like me.
Good afternoon everyone! I’ve been busy reading books to review for you all on Nice Girls, and I thought that in the meantime, I would share some of the fantastic blogs I follow.
For reading up on feminist issues, these are my top four:
Patriarchy Survivor. This blog comes from a Facebook page I follow: No, I will NOT be quiet. This blog has a lot of submitted personal stories, and some of them may be triggering to anyone who has experienced rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence.
Make Me a Sammich. The author describes this as “a place to read and talk about being a woman in the USA in the 21st century.” It’s a great description, and she recently started posting some pretty awesome fiction!
Another Angry Woman describes her blog as “Part anarchist. Part feminist. All angry.”
Damn Right I’m a Feminist has shorter posts, mostly about current news articles and some fantastic quotes. Don’t miss her Sexist Song of the Day posts.
For some reading that is a little lighter in topic and tone (in other words, you’re much less likely to read something that will make you angry), check out these blogs.
Sex Lives of Moms has some occasionally hilarious posts, but offers advice and commiseration for those awesome moms who are struggling with regaining intimacy with significant others.
Online Dating – Why I’ll Soon Be a Crazy Cat Lady always cracks me up. If you’ve ever tried to find the genuinely good guys in the cesspool that is online dating, you will probably recognize your experiences in her blog.
Tomorrow’s post will be a review of Sex at Dawn!
Ooh! A saucy and sexy topic to start your Monday off right. Today’s post is most definitely Not Safe For Work, so for those of you who read Nice Girls at work, you might want to either switch to your mobile device or hold off until you are at home to read this one! Read the rest of this entry
I recently came across this video on the TED talks website. It features Tony Porter, the founder of A Call to Men: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women.
His eloquent 11 minute speech is a work of art. It was definitely worth the standing ovation he received at the end.
To my male readers: what is your experience with stepping outside the “Man Box”? Do you believe it is real? If so, what can we do to raise the next generation outside of this “Man Box”?
To my female readers: what are your reactions after watching this?
You can read Part 2 here.
I had my follow-up appointment following my HPV diagnosis yesterday. I was scheduled for a culposcopy and possible biopsies if the gynecologist found any abnormal cells. Until yesterday morning, I had a pretty ambivalent attitude towards the appointment.
My thoughts went something alone these lines: I have an STI. Unfortunately, my STI is not one that I can just take an antibiotic and it will go away. HPV is a virus. I have no control over which strain I was exposed to. I was concentrating on being as healthy and stress-free as possible so that my body could fight the virus better. I thought that I had reached a point of acceptance.
Even though I had spent at least 8 hours researching HPV, reading about statistics, and learning as much as I possibly could about it, I woke up yesterday morning and was terrified. I know that several women on my mother’s side of the family have had complications due to cervical cancer. While I know that cervical cancer is caused by particular strains of HPV, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is a genetic component to the cancer as well, if there was some way to be more prone to HPV turning into cervical cancer.
I spent at least an hour crying in bed, with Fiance comforting me. He has really been amazing through all of this. I expected him to be just as stressed as me. After all, we haven’t used a barrier method in a long time, and if I have HPV, it means that he does too. Instead, he took the diagnosis in stride, and focused his efforts on comforting me. My dear friends wrote uplifting and encouraging things when I confessed my anxiety. Thank you, girls, it really meant a lot to me.
The culposcopy was similar to a really long pap smear. Unlike with a pap, the gynecologist did not use any lubrication when inserting the speculum, and the speculum was opened a bit wider than normal, which was uncomfortable. The gynecologist cleaned my cervix with a saline solution, and then she placed a cotton ball soaked with vinegar against my cervix. The cotton ball was so cold!
The vinegar will apparently react with any abnormal cells, and make it easier for the gynecologist to see if the virus is creating warts, or, worse, cysts and pre-cancerous growths. She then used a culposcope, which is similar to a microscope, to examine my cervix.
I am sure you can imagine my relief when the gynecologist told me that she didn’t see any abnormal cells, and I didn’t need to have any biopsies performed. She was pretty surprised herself, and told me that this only happens about 1 in 20 times that she does a culposcopy. She did, however, take a sample of the cells inside my cervix, which will be tested. I’ll receive the results in about two weeks.
I want to reiterate that without Planned Parenthood, I wouldn’t have been able to receive this sort of screening without basically going hungry for a couple of weeks. Please, if you have the chance and the liquidity, consider donating to Planned Parenthood. Your donations help women and men receive vital sexual health care and information. It certainly helped me.
Thanks to a tip from one of my dear friends, I found out about Grace’s Diary, a beautifully drawn point and click game. But this isn’t your ordinary game.
Grace’s Diary is a visual novel with easy gameplay, but this game has a purpose. Grace is concerned about her friend Natalie and Natalie’s relationship with her boyfriend, Ken. Grace has decided that she should call Natalie and voice her concerns, but Grace needs to write down the behaviors that concerned her.
As Grace, you explore your own room for reminders of times that Ken or Natalie have acted in strange ways. If you find all of the evidence, and you navigate your conversation with Natalie successfully, there is a happy ending.
Although I think some of the gameplay is a little clunky (there is one piece that is particularly difficult to find, and I had to use a walkthrough to find it) and some of the dialogue could use some work, there is no doubt that Grace’s Diary is a great game. You can find Grace’s Diary on the Amazon App store here, and it is free.
You can find Part 1 of my Planned Parenthood Experience here. I was nervous when I woke up on the morning of my appointment. Bleary-eyed, I put on clothes, kissed the still sleeping Boyfriend goodbye, and headed to the car.
I entered the office and checked myself in with the front desk. After filling out some information regarding my current sexual activity, my income, and my sexual health history, I handed the clipboard in and watched Say Anything as I waited.
There was a group of three young women behind me, and they were discussing birth control options as they too were waiting to be seen. My ears perked up when one of them mentioned that she was considering getting an IUD. As readers of this blog are fully aware, I am a HUGE fan of IUDs, and I took the opportunity to share my experiences with it, and some of the awesome statistics.
After a short period of time, I was called into the back room, and had a chat with one of the attending nurses. She explained that, due to my symptoms and the length of time since my last pap smear, I was going to have a full pelvic exam and a full STI screening. She also explained that the state of California has an awesome program to help people with limited income to receive sexual health care for free, and even with my new job, I qualified.
The STI screening started right there in that tiny office with a prick of my middle finger. This particular test was to screen if I had been exposed to HIV, and amazingly, I would have the results of that test by the end of my appointment. I was blown away by this fantastic advance in HIV screening.
I went into the exam room after giving a urine sample, undressed my lower half, and waited again. When the doctor came in, she was very communicative and explained everything before she started examining me. She took three samples from my cervix, examined the positioning of my IUD (still in place!), and checked that my uterus and ovaries were not swollen. Before she moved her hands, placed the speculum, or swabbed, she was sure to tell me exactly what she was about to do. This definitely put my mind at ease, and kept me from jumping or starting when anything changed.
When she was done, she took one of the samples to their in-house lab, and checked it all out. Apparently, I had a bacterial infection that may have been the cause of the bleeding, and she handed me a prescription antibiotic. Then she told me that Planned Parenthood would call me if any of the other STI tests came back positive, but only if they were positive.
Unfortunately, I did receive one of those calls. My pap smear came back with some abnormalities. At some point in the past 10 years, I was exposed to HPV. The tiny sample that was taken was not enough to determine if I have one of the more benign forms, or if it is one of the types that can lead to cervical cancer. So, I have yet another appointment set to get some biopsies done.
I’ll have a post up on Wednesday, discussing HPV. I’ve gotten to know my STI a lot better since the diagnosis.