Thursday, August 21, 2008

10 date night ideas under $15

Unless you're a believer in the "no dating" method of saving money, here are some recession-proof date night ideas, courtesy of The Nest ( Yeah, they're cheesy, but they'll help you think cheap.

Here's an idea for some delicious and caliente amusement.

— Novelty sombreros: $10
— Chips and salsa: $5
— Doing the Mexican Hat Dance naked in said novelty sombreros: hilarious
Total: $15

Positioning you and your sweetie on opposing teams makes for an excellent grudge match and great make-up sex later on.

— Kickball: $5
— Big grassy field: free
— BYOB: whatever you've got at the house
— Cotton T-shirts and markers (clearly you need team jerseys): $2/each if you get at least 12
— Losers buy the pizza: makes things much more interesting
Total: around $10/person

While it's odd to say that dogs once epitomized romance, we loved the scene at the Italian restaurant in “Lady and the Tramp.” Skip the pricey pasta and opt for the cheaper (and cheesier!) pizza instead. Kissing isn't optional.

— 2 slices of pizza: $5
— 2 glasses of wine: $4
— Ice cream for 2: $6
Total: $15

She loves “Project Runway” for the fashion and drama, he loves it for, well, Heidi Klum. Combine your passion for fashion and fun and then take it all off at home.

— Trying on ridiculous outfits at a vintage store: free
— Disposable camera: $6
— Incriminating pictures: priceless
Total: $6

Miss the wild abandon of your college days? Have the gang over for beers and movie but save the make out session for later.

— Renting “Old School”: $5
— Inviting your friends over: free
— Going really old school and having people throw in beer money at the door: awesome
— Going streaking through the quad: optional
— Popcorn for 20: $10
Total: $15

Like our love lives, it's easy to overlook the beautiful things that happen around us everyday. Watch the sun go down and then share a kiss under the stars.

— Blanket to sit on: $6
— Sunglasses: $2/each at your local drugstore
— Lemonade: $1/each
Total: $12

When it's done right, poetry can express love like no other medium. Remember Byron's “She walks in beauty like night?” Well, bad poetry can be just as evocative and downright hilarious.

— Berets: $10
— Espresso: $5
— Trying to out-do one another with cheesy, horrific poetry about your love for one another: awesome
Total: $15

Not all dates have to be steamy! Simply spending time together is what dating is all about. Pick a beautiful day to sit on a bench in a park and marvel at the wonders and freaks! of nature.

— Bottle of wine: $8
— Plastic cups: $3
— Bench: free
— Marveling at the wonders of the public: more fun than you think
Total: $11

We'll let the Wikipedia entry for edible underwear speak for itself on this one: “Edible underwear is a type of undergarment that is formed of an edible material which can be consumed by the partner during sexual activity. In this case, pleasure is heightened by undressing the partner with the mouth. However, this sort of underwear is often given as a gag to friends …”

— Edible panties: $6
— Kama Sutra booklet: $5
— Keeping information about the number of positions you try to yourselves: please do
Total: $11

Hot tubs are overrated! There's fun to be had in your very own bathroom. Rub-a-dub-dub, keep it sexy in the tub.

— Luxurious bath soap and salts: $8
— Back-massaging Loofah: $5
— Getting clean and being dirty at the same time: sexy
Total: $13

Friday, August 15, 2008

High school, 20 years later

When I walked into my 20-year high school reunion over the weekend, I almost immediately saw one of my best friends from the era. He's rail thin and (maybe) comes up to my shoulder. He ignored my delighted hello and took my purse away from me and tossed it on a nearby table. While I was asking about my purse, he snatched me into his arms, whipped my protesting body down into a dramatic dip, aaaaand ... he slipped and dropped me on the floor.

Deirdre McGruder, welcome to your reunion!!

The accident happened early enough in the evening that not many people saw it, and even so, I wasn't really upset. In a perverse sort of way, it wouldn't have been my reunion if something potentially horrific hadn't occurred.

The rest of the night went well, big crowd. (True confession time: I had hoped that one guy in particular would show up, but he didn't. It was probably for the best.) My class turned out interestingly enough -- we had a pro football player who played in a Super Bowl, a Navy deep-sea diver, a guy who moved to New Orleans to help with Katrina recovery, at least one recovering drug addict, a former stripper, and one dude who came out after college and brought his partner with him. (They wore matching shirts and by the end of the evening I was doing the bump with the partner out on the dance floor.) The women aged remarkably well; the men, not so much. People milled about, high school cliques for the most part ignored.

Here's the weird thing: I was at the bar when the guy voted "still the class clown" that night came up with the guy who was voted "cutest" back in high school (he held up fabulously, BTW -- still cute). Turns out I was standing next to the cute guy's wife. They both joked about how the wife had to be careful with me, because I was mean -- I was painfully shy in high school and cold indifference was my defense mechanism, but I was still surprised that's how they remembered me. We were all laughing when the cutie leaned in to his wife.

"Here's the weird thing," he said as put he put a hand on my shoulder. "We never spoke in high school. I knew her name, I knew who she was, but we never said a word to each other."

"That was your fault!" I protested, still laughing.

His smile faded as he straightened and looked into my eyes. "It was both our faults."

I opened my mouth for a smart-aleck retort, and closed it just as quickly. "You're right," I finally said, because it was true. A simple "hi" from either of us back then and we might've been friends.

Later, I was talking to the chick voted "best looking" 20 years ago. We weren't in the same social circle then, but we chatted easily now. When I mentioned her class title, she shook her head and said, "I don't know what people saw back then." She was beautiful then and is just as beautiful now, but didn't seem to believe it. Isn't it amazing that we sometimes see ourselves so differently than others see us?

When the reunion went more than an hour past its scheduled time, I decided to skip the after-parties and opted for late-night eats back in my hotel room. While I enjoyed seeing everyone, I'd had my fill. I also knew nothing good would come of more alcohol and memories.

Turns out I was correct. My friend -- the one who dropped me at the beginning of the evening -- called me in the morning to fill me in. The party crowd moved on to a bar, closed it down, then transferred to a dance club. As the night wore on, people grew maudlin and wistful. The girl voted most likely to succeed in high school had repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) hit on the guy voted "most changed" that night; he was a former geek who'd morphed into a laid-back, good looking man comfortable in his own skin. She was later seen crying on a street corner, reluctant to say goodbye to old friends. The (ex) stripper, surgically altered, deeply tanned and obviously high, kept referring to a former band nerd as her "reunion boyfriend." The ex-band nerd was married, but didn't bring his wife. They were walked to their respective cars to make sure they didn't leave together. As my friend put it: "maybe you don't want to throw away 10 years of a marriage for a shot at the girl you couldn't have in high school."

Or maybe you do and need to be saved from yourself.

People at the reunion were at different stages in their lives, and some needed it more than others. Many were curious and just wanted to see how we'd all turned out. I count myself in that group. It was nice to visit the past for an evening ... but even nicer to return to the life I have now!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Facebook, MySpacers 'can't form relationships'?

I stumbled upon this article on a message board. It made me curious:

Facebook and MySpace generation 'cannot form relationships'

Here's an excerpt.

Dr. Himanshu Tyagi, a psychiatrist at West London Mental Health Trust, said social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have fostered the idea that relationships and friendships can be formed and destroyed quickly and easily.

"... It's a world where everything moves fast and changes all the time, where relationships are quickly disposed at the click of a mouse, where you can delete your profile if you don't like it and swap an unacceptable identity in the blink of an eye for one that is more acceptable.

"People used to the quick pace of online social networking may soon find the real world boring and unstimulating, potentially leading to more extreme behaviour to get that sense."

He said teenagers who socialise online put less value on their "real world" selves which puts them at risk of impulsive and even suicidal behaviour. They may be less able to form relationships as they do not learn the physical clues involved with communication including body language, tone of voice and facial expressions.

That last sentence really spoke to me because it's one of the main reasons I don't like online dating sites. Not only do you not know who you're talking to, but you can't see the effect your words have on them and they can't see how what they say effects you.

The article isn't all doom and gloom; for example, online communication can strip away geographical boundaries and there's less discrimination as race, gender and wealth have less meaning. But still ...

What do you think? Are online networking sites chipping away at our ability to communicate?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Edwards mess: People really think like this?

After returning from a trip down to Alabama this weekend for my 20-year high school reunion (I'll fill you in on that later), I was cleaning out my e-mail when I came across this from a co-worker:

"This is one of the comments on the Edwards story," she wrote. "It disgusts me."

Here's the comment:

"Big deal. The guy got a little outside action. I'm sure he loves his wife and kid and he is concerned about his wife's medical condition. Nothing wrong with cheating on your wife, just don't bring any STDs or unwanted babies home. I'm sure he paid the woman money, paid her rent, gave her hush money, etc. I'm sure she knew he was married. Get all you can Mr. Edwards, just be a little more careful next time."

Get all you can, Mr. Edwards? Are you kidding me?

I want someone to please explain this statement to me: "Nothing wrong with cheating on your wife." How can there be nothing wrong with betraying the trust of someone you supposedly love?

Readers, do you agree with this commenter? Is cheating on your spouse OK, as long as you don't bring home diseases and babies ... and you don't get caught?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Unsafe sex 'the new engagement ring'?

Hey, guys! I'm back from mourning the blog loss (sob!) of Alisha Hord, co-founder of We Can Relate. She has moved on to another gig, as most of us are wont to do, and I wish her and her hubby Richard all the best. Peace out, sister.

And now I've returned with lots of stuff for us to talk about! Let's start with a little day brightener (NOT!), courtesy of

"Pendarvis Harshaw, an Oakland (Calif.)-based teen, recently sparked a slew of controversy with his public radio essay which stated that in his social circle, 'sex without a condom is the new engagement ring.' "

Yeah, parents. Shudder at the thought. Trendcentral continues:

"(Harshaw) said that for a generation who has grown up with safe sex education and divorced parents, the real symbol of trust, love and commitment has nothing to do with walking down the aisle; the ultimate oath is letting your guard down in the face of potentially life-long consequences. While we don't condone this behavior, or claim that such activity is true across the board (hey, the Jonas Brothers are still wearing their purity rings), we have been hearing from young people that safety and protection -- both physical and emotional -- are the issues that concern them most about relationships and dating."

Man, oh man, oh man.

Just because those cute Jonas Brothers boys wear those rings, that doesn't stop them from being the biggest gigolos on Nickelodeon. They probably aren't, but I'm just sayin'. And once again, I'm thankful not to be the parent of a teenager, because that has got to be the hardest job there is. How do you convince a 16-year-old in the throes of first love that using condoms IS the best way to express that love? Not only are you protecting yourself, but your beloved from unplanned pregnancies and STDs. (Have you seen this week's news about AIDS? And NPR's "Talk of the Nation" had a segment yesterday that'll make you want to go get an HIV test right now. Remember: It's not how much sex you've had, but who you've had sex with. Public Service Announcement over.)

I believe that safety and protection are the issues that most concern teens about dating and relationships; after all, they're pressing issues for us adults as well. But having unprotected sex -- at no matter what age -- flies in the face of such concerns. You're just opening yourself up to a whole new mess of worries.