Several years ago, I went backpacking in Europe with some friends. Toward the end of our trip, we all split up to check out different cities and countries.

Six weeks on your own gets lonely. Eating alone, walking alone, seeing the cool sights alone. I met up with other backpackers at hostels and took some tours with them, but in the end, it was just me traveling the world. It teaches you something, and I’m glad I did it.

One of many new experiences was attending a movie by myself. Thanks to train schedules, I was stuck an extra day in a French city I’d already seen. I found a hole-in-the-wall movie theater showing American movies in English with French subtitles.Cost: 2 Euro.

Oh the joy! I escaped the hot sun in the cool, dark theater and wrapped myself in the comfort of hearing my own language and seeing familiar faces in Shrek 2 and Harry Potter. I forgot where and who I was, drowning my isolation in the movies. It’s something I’ll never forget.

I recently overheard a girl exclaiming how ridiculous it would be to go to the movies by yourself, and I smiled. I’ve done it, and it was fantastic.

Since returning, I have never gone to the movies alone. Here, it’s a social activity, and I don’t often want to shell out $12-15 for a movie anyway. But I feel like it’s something you should not be afraid to do.


It’s a dish I used to love. The flavor, the satisfying feeling afterward.

And after all, food brings people together. Dishing about boy information is something my friends and I used to taste daily.

I’m not even sure guys understand what kind of details women share. What’s he like? How was the date? Can you believe that douchebag said that to me at the bar? And yes: how big was he?

But my friends, mostly in serious relationships, don’t dish anymore. Neither do I.

Now, it feels almost sacred. Kevin and I have our couple stuff. But it’s our own flavor of behavior, and a dish we do not share with others. In fact, when another couple serves too much of it in front of others, we question the appropriateness. Keep your cutsie stuff in your own kitchen, please.

Sometimes I miss the flavor of the dish. Really, I just miss the connection it gave me with my girlfriends.

And there is no way I’d trade in the blissful happiness Kevin and I have just for that taste. Bliss is an entirely different thing: a whole sweet, salty, savory meal.

Do you ever notice a shift in sharing when in a serious relationship?

The other day, a friend of mine asked me when Kevin and I will get engaged.

Actually, he asked if Kevin and I were “talking,” and pretended to wiggle a ring on his left finger.

Sure, we’ve been talking. And at this month of the year, it’s hard not to think about. Because now is the time of year when cute proposals hit the news.

You know, the guy who proposes at a sports game on the scoreboard. The guy who pops the question in a comic book.

We’ve all seen or heard of odd proposals. And usually the girls says, “Yes.” But what you don’t see is that later, she’s a bit bummed about the story. Remember, it’s a story you both will be asked to tell many times — even decades later. “How did he pop the question?”

And don’t forget, some women have been dreaming of this moment their entire lives. So guys, here is a how-to list to make sure your engagement story lives up to fairy tale expectations :

1. Avoid the scoreboard. First of all, guys, those can go horribly wrong. Just look at these videos on Huffington Post. (Though some appear to be commercials for a jeweler.)

A guy proposed on Valentine’s Day Sunday at a Rangers’ game and the woman just walked away. Turns out it was a hoax. But would you want the public humiliation if she says, “No”? Plus, I’m just one woman, but sharing one of the biggest moments of my life with 70,000 of my closest friendly strangers does not make good romance.

2. Set the mood. Speaking of romance, think like a chick flick for a moment. Sure, it’s not fair that producers in Hollywood have come up with all these fake movie moments against which you will be judged. But now that they’re out there, at least try for something special. Flowers, candles or twinkle lights,  music — figure out how to create a special scene and feeling. Watch a few movies and jewelry commercials if it helps.

3. As any real estate agent will tell you, Location Location Location. This will vary depending on your fiancee-to-be of course. But you can’t go wrong with a place that has some meaning to the two of you. The place you met, or where you went on your first date, had your first kiss, said, “I love you” for the first time.” You get the idea. It can even be at home, if you set the mood right (see No. 2). (more…)

Today is National Wear Red Day, the kick-off for American Heart Month and the Go Red for Women campaign.

Today is Go Red Day

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Many buildings, including Raleigh’s Shimmer Wall, go red to help us remember.


  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women age 20 and over, killing about one woman every minute, and one in three U.S. women die from cardiovascular disease.
  • More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
  • While 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer, about 1 in 3 die from cardiovascular disease.

On the fun side:

  • Go Red For Women is looking for women to share their heart stories and the choices they make to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, empowering others by example. If you share your story, you could be chosen to be a spokesperson for the cause. Casting call is from 5 to 7 p.m. at Macy’s at Crabtree Valley Mall.
  • If you wear red to Macy’s Friday through Sunday you get a 20 percent discount.
  • The Red Room Tapas Lounge will offer free heart-healthy appetizers to patrons as well as information on heart health from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, 510 Glenwood Ave.

I stared at the ceiling, feeling sort of like I was at the gynecologist. We chatted about the weather.

“Ok. Now pull on your skin right here.”

I followed her orders, tensed my muscles and held my breath.


And that, ladies and gentlemen,  is the sound of a Brazilian bikini wax. I had my first such experience Monday, and while I can’t claim I’d prefer the gyno, it’s a really tough call. Especially after she asked me to turn over to “do the rear.”

“Do you ever get grossed out doing this?” I asked, as I lay facedown on the table.

“No,” she said. “I’m also an X-ray tech and basically, I’ve seen it all.”

Not to TMI you to death, but typically I get a waxing once in awhile and shave most of the rest. Waxes are not cheap, and generally I don’t have a ton of money. But as I experienced the “take it all but the patch” for the first time, it occurred to me that guys really do have it easy.

I know a guy who let his girlfriend wax his back. Now THERE’S a guy who goes above and beyond the call of duty and gets a gold star for the year. Sure, wax it, but get a professional, right?

His wasn’t even so bad — just a bit thick in certain spots. Not the rugs you see on some guys’ shoulders that leave you thinking, “Oh yeah, I need to pick up brillo pads when I go to the store later.”

If my guy Kevin was a brillo pad, I would require him to wax it. Because hey, if I’m willing to get some very sensitive spots yanked to go (almost) bald in the name of beauty, frankly, I’d prefer no hair there when it comes to his back.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?

When I first met this girl, she seemed ok. She was sitting a table with my usual crew at Landmark, dressed well and chatting with the peeps.

But something seemed off. At first, I thought it was just the new, especially female, face in my group of friends. Maybe I was just being territorial.

So I swallowed a chill pill and started to ask her about herself. Maybe she could be my new gal pal.

Within the first two minutes, she began to gush about her 21-year-old boyfriend, and how he had wooed her so far in their three-week relationship. He drew her a bubble bath, brought her Chinese food when she canceled with the flu on their second date. She’s 25, so began chatting about the age gap and how so far, no worries.

I’m just starting to think she might be kinda cool … a bit flighty, but cool.

But not 20 minutes later, within two minutes of introducing herself to our friend Mark, she’s sitting in his lap. She’s laughing and smiling and putting her face pretty close to his. Um, ok.

I support women who are free to be. This is 2009 and if girl wants to flirt, so be it. I get the deets later from Mark, who got her digits. He has no plans to call her, because she continued to drop the “boyfriend” word into his lap.

Ah, so she’s a free flirter. Open love, baby. But as she flitted from lap to another conversation and then flighted back over to my buddy Paul, I found myself annoyed with this girl.

Am I getting old? Or am I right to find this irritating?

It’s that time of year again. The time when men get to use Halloween to wear dresses, makeup and pantyhose out in public and pretend they don’t like it.

It’s the time when women are required to dress like sluts. Slutty nurse, slutty devil, slutty Catholic girl … you get the idea. witch_halloween

I’m not the first woman to bitch about this phenomenon so I’ll keep my soapbox ranting on this brief.

Here are four reasons single ladies should dress like a Geek, not a slut, for Halloween.

1.    Guys like geeks. The good guys really do appreciate a girl who knows some obscure pop culture or video game reference. I.E. Wow – this girl is beautiful AND fascinating. Even a basic She-Ra costume is likely to get more “awesome!”s than the slutty devil.

2.    Guys like creativity. ANY girl can grab the nearest set of fishnets and some four-inch plastic platforms from Priscilla’s. But hand-painting that cardboard box and making a cardboard hat to make yourself look like the Wicked Witch of the East? That’s taking it to the next level.

3.    Almost EVERY OTHER FEMALE in the bar/at the party will be dressed as a slut. Why not stand out from the crowd? Your androgynous Boba Fett outfit is going to get a LOT more attention.

4.    If you MUST be a slut for Halloween, at least geek it up a bit. Be Kitana from Mortal Kombat.

I need to hear from the guys on this one. Maybe I’m waaay off base here. Are you excited that once a year the conservative gals strip down to high heel military boots and a spiked collar? Or would you rather chat up the chick in the Princess Leia white drape and buns?

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