My New Jam

“Tea is my new jam,” I just texted a friend in all seriousness. Because after years of an on again, off again relationship with coffee (mostly on, because hello, it’s a drug), I had to examine the dynamics of this incredibly co-dependent, one-sided chemical romance.

Wait a minute, you may be thinking, you don’t have to do anything, it’s not that bad for you and hell, don’t they say drinking coffee makes you live longer?

Yes. And there are also articles claiming the key to a longevity is to be in a loving, trusting, and intimate relationship. Next to another claiming staying away from men (if you’re a heterosexual woman) has the same effect.

Oh, and regular orgasms will do wonders for your skin. I may have made the latter part up, but my gut tells me there’s truth to it (I checked, and there is).

It’s the internet, and there’s a study, article, or meme to confirm the whims of your ever changing biases.

Coffee’s been a daily habit most of my adult life, and in recent years I’ve altered some other habits, namely no longer drinking booze or smoking the weed. What’s another substance to kick?

A friend recently mentioned going on a cleanse after returning from a road trip that involved mainly gas station snacks and fast food. Gross, right?

While I wasn’t on said road trip, I thought, yeah I’m down, I can always be more diligent with my diet. My guidelines were fairly simple: eat a ton of fruit and vegetables; no wheat/gluten, no dairy or meat, no added sugars, no processed/boxed/otherwise shitty food products full of preservatives bound to make one gassy and bloated.

Then with a bit of a shudder and intuition that this was a necessary change, I added no coffee.

Not no caffeine, gawd no. I’m not an effing masochist.

Green tea would replace my morning ritual, and turns out the effects are much more…mellow.

It’s been five-plus weeks. I’m going for the end of 2018, or two months. Who knows how long I’ll continue, but here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

• I’m saving hella coin.

To the tune of $1,000-plus a year. No fucking way, you’re thinking, from no coffee? Yes fucking way, and here’s how.

I was drinking at least one cup of coffee shop brew daily, which costs anywhere from $2.50 to $3.50 for an Americano or plain drip. Average that to $3. Multiply that by 365 days. You’ve got $1,095.

And that’s not including the days I’d overindulge. Because one’s never enough and four is my energy cranked on ambition and ideas, without any actual focus or plan.

So why not just make it at home and save that money? Well, my kitchen is a science project. The counters are filled with appliances. I make kombucha there. And occasional meals of sweet potato, avocado and quinoa. Doing anything that requires more gadgets and cleaning makes me tired thinking about.

Plus the coffee shops have internet, and I don’t. Because let’s not talk about rent.

• I’m sleeping better.

I admit I still have nights chasing the refuge of deep sleep, I still occasionally nap and yes, stay up well past most people my age, but I don’t have kids, a husband or a 9 to 5 which requires such regimen. Hopefully that didn’t come off like gloating. Though it’s pretty sweet. Ok, that’s closer to gloating.

I’m getting about six to nine hours a night, depending on what I’m reading, whether I’m writing, if I went out, if my cat is circling above my head and knocking things over while I’m trying to be lulled to sleep by the “Rain Rain” app.

I’m also more awake when I’m awake. Less dragging. My energy is more stable rather than way up, then down, then up again when I get another fix, then down when that wears off.

• People say I look better.

And who am I to argue? It’s an energy thing. Call me a vain, granola-eating fairy princess hippie, I’m down to alter my diet to enhance my physical appearance.

Turns out it works. Looking good naked is motivation. Continuing such lifestyle changes also feels better than previous choices.

• I still dream of coffee.

I was at Starbucks earlier getting a tall Jade Citrus green tea. So my previous mention of saving hella money from no coffee is true in theory, but in practice I still enjoy the ritual of ordering a hot drink in December.

It wasn’t even their coffee, but their espresso that got the cravings kicking. The Americano. A slight jolt. The high that would carry me into the next class I’d teach, the temporary energy surge I still imagine because like anyone with a habit they’ve kicked, the memories remain. Full spectrum. High-def. Vivid and don’t you just want to feel good?

I envisioned it. Saw and tasted it. Held it and let its heat enter my bones.

Coffee feels good. Coffee feels familiar. Coffee knows all the right tricks. Coffee’s my ex-lover who stopped growing with me so I found another.

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Buddha Lost

I’ll know it when I see it, the right gesture of affection and appreciation, an “I was thinking of you” gift albeit any potential “I was overthinking you” overtones.

I stroll Main Street, peering through windows, eyes climbing store walls toward antiques, books, paintings and knick knacks, moving into toy stores, art galleries, through hippie shops with bundles of sage and crystals like the one you surprised me with by leaving on my coffee table after our trip to the city.

You pride yourself in you minimalism, your lack of stuff and attachment because life’s been known to be turbulent. You’ve been known to be as well, with the vessel you’ve attacked and repaired, attacked and repaired, repeat the cycle and along the way we met.

My eyes fall upon images of the Buddha on mugs, coasters and statues. The soft face of tranquility you seek.

But nothing tells me this is the one, you’ll love it, you’ll think of me when you gaze upon it.

So I peruse rows and shelves of soap made locally, in France, or in San Francisco, of all colors and textures and scents of frankincense and cloves, of lavender and rose. Not for you, silly, but for me. I select my treats and head to the register.

And there it is. I spy to my right Buddha on a keychain. In multiple colors and postures. A green Buddha with hands at prayer, representing faith. A blue Buddha with one hand at prayer and the other resting on his lap, representing harmony. Purple for wisdom; he’s in meditation. The pink one’s got one hand raised in a peace sign.

Which best fits you? Speaks to where you are, what you’re seeking, what would be your inner Buddha? I grab the blue one.

But then, I want one to carry with me, though I don’t consider myself a practitioner or subscriber to any one philosophy. I grab a green one for me, remembering my faith in what can only be described as the indescribable.

When I hand you the keychain, your face lights up like a kid on Christmas, you exude joy in rare form.

A week or so later you tell me you’ve lost it. Or it fell off. Possibly at the alcohol and drug treatment center you work at. Maybe it fell between the couch cushions. Maybe a client stole it.

“You know how addicts are,” you say.

A couple weeks later when I ask for space after a weekend together I consider a lesson in trusting my intuition, you drop off like we haven’t been friends for over a year.

You get kicked out of your new living situation. You call twice but I don’t answer because I’m working. I call back and you don’t pick up. Or return texts.

You can’t be found. Like a trinket fallen to the wind-strewn ground.

You say “I’m over people” though you’re the biggest advocate I know for community and connection. You’re running. Hiding and shrinking and isolating and god knows what else but I pray to your inner Buddha you don’t relapse and die.

Because for a moment, I forgot how addicts are.

My Big Fat Existential Crisis

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Full disclosure. For a three(ish) week period recently I was on a downward depression spiral. Not getting out of bed until I absolutely had to, and not excited about any of it, it being the life I’ve created for myself that is sometimes (ok, frequently) unpredictable, unreliable and constantly changing.

Thoughts of suicide were popping up like pimples on a pubescent boy and I was scared. Scared that, for the first time since my mid-20s, and the only time since being in recovery from alcohol and drugs, I didn’t have the answers. I proved to myself that booze, pot and pills, weren’t the answer after years of trying to prove to myself otherwise. But yoga wasn’t the cure-all. Neither were recovery meetings. Or men (though I continue to try to prove to myself otherwise in that regard).

Financial woes were crushing me. I’d just spent money on dresses, shoes, a purse and other garb to go to Vegas with this guy I ended up breaking up with a week later. And I was sick, had fallen ill during the trip and stayed that way for two weeks without sick leave or benefits. I ran myself into the ground trying to show up to teach, to attend a wedding, to show up for the people I made commitments to, coughing my way through it all and hating myself for getting this way in the first place by going to a place I didn’t even like with a guy I hoped wasn’t actually who he proved himself to be.

Mucinex helped. But it affected my mind. My thoughts just weren’t the same as prior to taking them. Was that the culprit? Would it all go away once I got better and didn’t need to pop those orange pills that didn’t actually help you get better, but simply muted the symptoms long enough to not be bed-ridden for the duration of the illness?

Unfortunately, no. I got better and was paralyzed by fear, not knowing whether to give my prior career of writing and reporting another go, or to throw myself further into teaching yoga. My big fat existential crisis nipped at my heals the way my cat does when I walk back to bed after getting up to pee in the middle of the night. But she’s another story.

It speaks to me when I’m trying to sleep. Or when I wake up and can’t fall back asleep, and hear a voice that’s mine say, “Is this right? Are you sure? What have you actually accomplished, and where are you heading? Do you really think you’re meant to teach? Or to write? What if your mom was right and you should just get a government job and benefits and eek out the rest of your life in a building downtown doing work that’s not fulfilling, but affords you luxuries like vacation and dental care?”

“What if you’re chasing a foolish dream and get to be 40, 50, 60 even, and are still living alone trying to make enough money just to pay your bills?”

And…

“What if you don’t have that long, like your friend Aaron, and you leave your friends early and this is all you’ve got so you better be present as fuck for it all because this right here is all that matters?”

And I’m pulled back. To my breath. To these fingertips on these letter tiles on this laptop in my room on my bed covered with books and elections information and a magazine I don’t really write for any more and the kitty I yell at constantly because I don’t have the patience to train a god-damned cat.

So I went away. A couple weeks ago, to San Francisco for a workshop in chanting, mantra and Hindu mythology. With my favorite teacher (who happens to be an exceptional human as well) Janet Stone. I was buzzing. Had found my new drug of choice. And was slowly feeling a lift of dense energy. It lessened when I closed my eyes and opened my jaw, which has been tight and popping on the left side nearly the whole time I’ve been sober and I have no idea why but I’m sure it has something to do with that chakra and communication but I’ll also deal with that later.

This something I didn’t know I was searching for but had found by getting out of my Sacramento yoga comfort zone probably isn’t the answer either, but I’m gonna ride that wave nonetheless because it’s better than brooding and bitching and feeling sorry for myself because this life is too precious to get pulled under by depression for too long.

During this time, I spoke to a friend and mentioned what I’d been feeling. That I was thinking of writing a blog post on, “How to Keep Depression at Bay.” I’d include practical tools, I’m sure which have been covered by psychology magazines and the like, on how to get out of your house, how to connect with friends, how to do something loving for yourself, how to put yourself in different places and scenarios that force you to be present, and to not fall further down the rabbit hole.

She considered what I said, then countered with, “Are you not letting yourself feel what you’re supposed to?”

Fucking yogi friends. Always gotta bring up something truthful.

Then what really helped. In recovery we call it working with others. Or one alcoholic working with another alcoholic. Thinking less of me, and more of we.

I worked with another woman for a couple hours in a hot tub and felt major relief afterward. The next day, I felt useful. With purpose. And like I need a hot tub in my apartment.

The other week I read that those who use the “I” less frequently while journaling, are in better mental shape than those who are stuck in self. “They’re talking about you,” I thought. “Be more like your buddy David Sedaris and write about the weird shit of your every day.”

So today while saging my apartment, after cleaning my cat’s litter box, which, really I think she needs to be on a diet because that’s a lot of output there, kitty, I saw a black man outside my second floor window peeing on the sidewalk. He stood facing the street, a busy one-way that runs past Sutter’s Fort and all the way into downtown.

It was around 2 in the afternoon. He didn’t appear homeless, wearing pants and a jacket and without bags you’d expect from someone living on the streets. But not like a business man either. He zipped up and walked west on the sidewalk. A few steps later, a white man in a suit followed the same direction, walking right by the fresh urine left by a man who thought it better to face traffic while relieving himself than to pivot the other way.

I don’t know the answers, but I’m gonna keep trying, damn it.

Use Your Words

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Today at the grocery store I overheard an employee say, “I’m going to the back to drop this off, BRB.”

And then, “Should only be five minutes. BRB.”

Kid you not and my face did one of those cringe-like expressions that couldn’t hide my disdain. What the hell did she just say? Did I hear that right? Yes you did, and what the fuck. But not WTF. I mean, come on. Let’s use our words already.

I’m not a fan of using “LOL” even in text. Typing it here makes me uneasy. If a text actually makes me laugh, I type “Haha.” Or even, “Heh.” With a laughing so hard you’re crying emoji. If it’s actually funny. And only used sparingly.

I had too much time to think about it, but overthink it you can be sure I did.

Saying “be right back” takes just as much effort (and as many syllables) as “BRB.” It may even be less energy to use the actual words because you’re not placing emphasis on an acronym that saves no time and forces people’s minds to work just a bit more. The acronym is simply an awkward notification that you’re going away, and will return shortly.

Use your words. In my 20s my boyfriend told me this. Guess I had a hard time describing things. Spitting the proper words out to illustrate a circumstance, to relay a conversation or express my frustration at him for what, really, I don’t know, but don’t we all have angst. At the time I was highly offended. How dare you? I’m a writer just like you, I thought, I use my words every day! Only he was better at it.

What if we were to all start incorporating acronyms used mainly in texts and emails into our everyday conversations? How would our auditory landscape shift?

That story was so funny I was ROTFL!

OMG did you see the look on his face as I walked away? IMHO he was out of line.

JK guys, JK.

He seemed sweet and sincere when we were chatting, but IRL not so much.

But then, what about those that seem to fit naturally into conversation, that don’t break the natural rhythm and flow of words?

This may be TMI, but let me tell you about last night…

Brenda, I need you to get those test results back to me ASAP.

Look at this little DIY wreath I made for my front door! You can’t even see all the hot glue gun ooze in the back.

And did you know OK is a relatively recent addition to our dialect? Though disputed, it’s said the term originated as an abbreviation of “orl korrekt,” a silly, intentional misspelling of “all correct” which was used in the 1830s and became the Democratic party slogan of the 1840 American presidential election.

I’m guessing the grammar police from those days were similarly offended by a common phrase being whiddled down to two letters.

I’ve been accused of being one of the former before. And thank my high school and college journalism mentors for instilling an appreciation for proper spelling and grammar usage for the print mediums I went on to work for.

I used to be (and still am) a somewhat strict follower of the Associated Press Stylebook, the guide for media outlets. Every year it gets updated to reflect new words, formats and grammar changes. It was really exciting when the hyphen in email (previously e-mail) was eliminated in 2011.

Among the latest changes to the journalist’s bible, is the word “they” can now be used as a singular use pronoun. As in, a gender-neutral replacement of he/his/him and she/hers/her. So, “Jenna went to the store for milk but they didn’t make it that far after being hit by a train.”

According to an article in Slate, “the primary factor determining whether or not a phrase gets added is common usage.”

Meaning if those damn kids continue shortening “totally” to “totes,” we’re going to have a hard time distinguishing large hand bags from teenage/twenty-something agreement.

That may be an exaggeration. I may be getting up there, perceiving the younger generation’s extreme casualty with words as lazy and somehow offensive.

In my day, we had actual phone books and didn’t just use them to see over the steering wheel or reach the dinner table. There was no Google. And the I in internet was capitalized until 2016. I don’t know why it was, or for so long, but darn it, it was so new (until it wasn’t)!

And so it is when technology and language collide. When something new comes along and pierces my old-school ears, I can’t help but immediately recoil. What was that, and who said that was OK to say? Who gave them permission to create words?

Um. Oh that’s right. Nobody dictates what spills forth from our mouths but us. We get to choose each one. And the next and the next and maybe the next unless we take a pause to breathe and give space for someone else to interject.

But BRB. I’m still having issue with that one. So much that it’s past midnight and I’m still writing out my feelings, trying to use my words to express how much I can’t just let that shit go.

WTF, dude. From my POV as a customer it’s worse than screwing up my Nananut smoothie. That can been remade in less than five minutes.

But hearing BRB in a sentence. Twice. As if this is how we now speak.

I’m totes not at peace with this BS, TYVM. <insert laugh-cry emoji>

What The Hell is Ethical Non-Monogamy? And Other Sex and Dating Queries

I’m applying for a job as a sex and dating writer. I need your story ideas and questions. What would you want to read and learn more about?

Nothing’s off limits.

I posted this to my Facebook page earlier this month in hopes that other people’s ideas and questions would inspire and spawn my answers to the question on the application:

“Provide three story pitches. A headline. Two to three sentences about the subject. Provide a link to related resources.”

Some responses:

• “How to,” from Jay, a much older single man I occasionally run into due to our shared interest in abstaining from alcohol.

• “Threesomes,” from Stacy, a librarian-looking woman I worked with on the college newspaper who now teaches college-level English on the East Coast, and is married to a man.

“Can you be more specific,” I reply. “How to successfully pull this off? What conversations to have prior?”

“Yes,” she says. “All of the above. What to discuss ahead of time. What to do during. The pros and cons. Jealousy. Open relationships.”

• “Navigating sex after sexual abuse,” from Mandy, an old college friend I used to party very hard with, who’s now married to a woman with foster kids living up in Washington.

• “Whether humans are made for monogamy, LOL,” from my free-spirited, later 20-something sobriety and yoga sister Kristy.

• “Consent.” Period. From my yoga teacher/social worker friend Brittany, who’s married to a woman.

• A few book suggestions and podcasts.
The Ethical Slut – A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities
More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory
The Multiamory podcast
Mating in Captivity – how to balance eroticism’s need for unknowns and instability with our desire for intimacy and secure relationships which requires the exact opposite

• “What the hell is ethical non-monogamy, how does it work?” from Chuck, an old college friend I shared a first and only kiss with right before I moved away to newspapering 13 years ago.

• “What should our relationship goals be when science is now pretty sure civilization will collapse in just over 20 years?” from Scott, an anarchist rebel type I know from my ex-fiance during my mid-20s.

• “How to re-enter the current technology-induced dating scene after a decade or so of being out of it and not having technology as part of it to begin with,” from Kimberly, a later 30-something living in Utah or somewhere stunning.

• Then the direct messages came in:

– “Those things considered taboo,” from Mitch, a friend I used to find attractive who recently married a woman. Who am I kidding, marriage doesn’t change that. He’s still yummy.

“Can you be more specific?” I reply.

“Not entirely comfortable doing so. Because…Taboo. LOL.”

– “Why is it ok for a lady to experiment bi but not for males?” from a male friend who followed up with multiple messages about secrecy, being shy, hating rejection and the topic not being the easiest to talk about as a dude.

• “Dating after 40. Do I really want to put myself through that again?” from my oldest sister, Jamaie, who lives on the East Coast with three kids and has been married and divorced twice.

• Another book suggestion – If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path, which sounds like it speaks my language, from John, a yoga friend married to a woman.

• “Why does it seem that most men and women are more interested in being in a relationship than in being with an individual and allowing a relationship to form?” from Chris, who recently got out of jail or prison and attended a few yoga classes I taught.

“Good question. My take is that people who feel they need to be in a relationship should not be dating,” from Dave, a 50-something I also know from our shared interest in no longer getting fucked up.

• “Chemistry and friendship and where the two fit in with dating as a means of finding a long-term mate,” from Stella, a yoga teacher and married mother who I love and adore and make a mental note to follow-up with because I may head to Tahoe later today to meet a friend I also adore in a I-wanna-cuddle-you sort of way and know feels the same.

• “Not knowing these days when one is just being nice or flirting, it is a very skewed line these days,” from Brent, a former co-worker in his 40s. This describes my every day, I think.

• “What needs to be disclosed on the first date? When to bring up if you have kids, relationship style (mono, poly, etc.), religious beliefs, as well as other things that are likely non-negotiable and could potentially end the romantic relationship and move it into a platonic one,” from Lacey, a woman from Florida I met on a writing retreat over the summer with kids, a husband, and a boyfriend.

Removing the Beer Goggles (or the perks of dating in sobriety)

Following a Halloween that involved me dancing as a blacked-out fairy at a well-known bar nearly four years ago, I called it quits on drinking. It wasn’t the first time I drank so much the remainder of my night vanished, but will hopefully be the last.

And so it was that I found myself single and sober in my early 30s. No kids or ex-husbands, but also no experience dating without the icebreaking social lubricant that aided my twenty-something trysts.

I knew nothing – cue my favorite Game of Thrones quote, “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” – and while some time has passed, relationships have blossomed and withered, I still feel like a newbie when it comes to this whole dating thing.

But there’s one thing I do know, and it’s that dating in sobriety isn’t any easier. It’s just more….real. Vivid. High-def. All the pixels are crystal and there’s less wiggle room to be an asshole.

The persistent presence of impaired judgement that made it easier to overlook a potential mate’s overblown ego or rude remarks and simply follow primal instincts and jump into bed, doesn’t exist. So now when I do, there’s no booze to blame.

It kind of sucks. It’s also liberating. It’s often a shit show. Yet I prefer it over my old ways of late-night booty calls, all-day hangovers, regrettable one-night stands and a deep-seated lack of self worth that never filled regardless of who I fucked, pined over, or dated.

You’ll hear it from most people who put down the drink (and drugs) for good – my only regret is I didn’t do it sooner.

Following another breakup (no regrets there), I found myself reflecting on the benefits of going through such a relationship, and those prior, in a clear-headed manner. Here’s what I’ve come up with. Feel free to share your insights, questions or comments.

• There’s no hiding – You, or the other person, all parties’ behaviors and actions are on full display. From sweet, honest showings of affection, to micro aggressions that suggest deep character flaws, it’s all out there and impossible to un-see.

The difference between keeping your phone away during a date vs. having it on the table and frequently picking it up to check X, Y and Z, is impossible to ignore.

I’m often reminded, after being disappointed by someone’s character, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” That’s from Maya Angelou, one of the most bad-ass women and pioneering writers I’ve encountered. Easier said than done.

• Tolerance levels dip – What you used to brush off and make excuses for – a late arrival for a date, a rude remark directed at you or another person, a lack (or fanaticism) of professional drive – become less tolerable. Your awareness of others’ behavior grows. Those yellow and red flags get easier to recognize. It doesn’t always mean you’ll act on it. But they’re more discernible. Trusting yourself and your intuition is a whole other story.

• Tastebuds improve – Hopefully as your dating life evolves, so does the quality of those you’re attracted to. If you’re working to alter and improve the quality of your life by A) no longer putting harmful substances into your body, and B) changing your habits and behaviors, you’re more likely to attract someone on a similar path. Like attracts like, not the other way around.

• Good is good, bad is bad – Yes, I’m talking about sex here. I can’t tell you how many sexual encounters during my 20s were preceded by a night (or day) of overindulging in alcohol, but I’d estimate 90 percent. Instead of building an emotional bond that (for most women at least) coincides with greater enjoyment of sex, I took a shortcut that allowed me to trick myself into believing magic existed where it was probably just low-level attraction.

Today there’s no more tricking myself, no more lying. When the connection’s there, the sex is usually good. When it’s not, well, it’s obvious I didn’t spend more time getting to know the dude. Unfortunately sober sex doesn’t equate to amazing sex. Connection remains key.

• No more FWB and meaningless sex – Similar to what’s mentioned above. Meaningless, emotion-less sex like I tried to have early in sobriety with my (former) FWB turns out to not work (for me). Orgasm just isn’t possible. While I really wanted to make unattached, on-demand sex with someone who was physically outstanding but whose insides didn’t match the outside, I couldn’t use booze to bridge the gap between physical and emotional connection.

God damn it.

• No more blame game – Otherwise known as taking accountability for my decisions, which remain questionable even in sobriety. There’s no more blaming booze, pills, pot, or fill in the blank, for curious choices that still make me go, “Really? You went for that? You completely ignored that remark, that way he treated you, that feeling that something was off? So many warnings!” Yep. Several times.

The other day while talking to a girlfriend about aforementioned breakup, she said, “You’re really just mad at yourself for dating him.”

Fucking bingo. And ouch.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..
Ultimately the hope is you learn more about yourself through relationships. How to trust yourself. How to communicate and navigate life with another human. How to honor yourself.

Even if that means staying single and in the dating game for another decade.

And maybe after a decade-plus of alcohol-enabled encounters, this is just what I need to learn what other people figured out earlier in life.

My Sex & Dating Writer Cover Letter

Dear Editor (Name Removed):

If this job screamed my name any louder my neighbors would think something way more kinky was going on. Sex and dating are among my top interests, along with going to concerts, yoga, and other activities best enjoyed with others.

I’m a trained journalist with years of experience crafting stories and connecting with readers. Writing crisp copy comes naturally, as does networking to elicit as many perspectives as possible.

Paired with my insatiable curiosity, writing about the parts of life that make it worthwhile is a natural fit for my background and personality. So when I saw the Sex & Dating Writer opening at Bustle Digital Group, I sent a screenshot to a friend.

“That has you written all over it,” he responded. Quickly followed by, “That’s hot.”

Indeed. Who wouldn’t want to write about what’s on everyone’s minds? I’m thrilled to be writing to you to express my interest in this position. The freedom and responsibility to explore uncomfortable but unavoidable topics like sexual assault, sex during your cycle and making sure your needs are met, is a dream.

I’ve read about (Name Removed) brands and mission to deliver stories in a manner that’s smart, informative, fun, and supportive of readers’ relationships, choices, goals, and lives. As a millennial woman navigating the dating scene while growing personally and professionally, I appreciate (Name Removed) range of content and relatable approach. My ability to produce clear copy and interview experts (and ask questions that would make some squirm) makes me the ideal candidate.  

I’m a firm believer in providing contextual information in a thoughtful, entertaining way that invites readers into the conversation. My goal is for this letter to lead to the latter.

But onto what you asked.  

Here’s my availability:

(Information Removed)

As far as a millennial dating trend I’d love to tackle, it’s something I’ve been dying to take a stab at because A) it’s hit home recently, and B) so many people have questions and are grasping for guidance in this area. I’d call it How to Sensibly Navigate Digital Dating. I’d speak with psychotherapists to get their views on how mobile devices and apps are altering the dynamics of courtship and relationships. Without putting a negative twist on technology – it’s not realistic to simply throw our smartphones out – how can we balance the compulsion to check the devices with the expectation of being present? How can they be a tool to create connection rather than turn into another way to avoid intimacy? How do dating experts suggest we maintain healthy relationships with technology and the people we interact with through such channels? What’s the middle ground, and how can we apply basic social etiquette as we navigate new (or not-so-new) dating relationships?

All of the sex and dating-related topics sound like a blast to cover. Here are my ratings.

Dating apps – 5

Dating and social media – 5

Trending sex and dating news – 5

Dating-related astrology and zodiac pieces – 5

More explicit sex-related topics (like sex positions, period sex, dirty texts to send, etc.) – 5

Dating experimental pieces – 5

Sexual health and safety – 5

Feminism and dating – 5

Dating and entertainment crossovers – 5

If you’ve gotten this far it’s probably time to take this conversation to the next level. I’d love to share my voice at (Name Removed), where I go for my weekly horoscope and to find out what reading before bed says about my personality (turns out, yes, I’m a bit nerdy, open minded and know how to take care of myself).

Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking about my favorite pastimes with you.

In Gratitude,

Karen Wilkinson