03 October 2015

One year later

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Today, it has been one year since this happened. The second event in my string of “back luck Q3-Q4 2014.”

A few weeks ago I realized this date was coming up and it was both dumbfounding and, honestly, emotional. Much like I was around my birthday, the ghosts of last year, haunt me just a bit. The feelings of sadness, fear and anger that years of work were coming to an unfair end, seem to loom just a bit outside of me, where I can’t see them but feel them. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I guess that’s the best way I can describe it.

Last year on this day, I told friends my sad news, and went from saying, “hey I’m doing okay!” to feeling total despair, where at one point, I had to hang up on one friend who called, because I was going to start to cry. I also drank two bottles of red wine and ate my weight in cheese, specifically blue cheese. Blue cheese makes everything better. Actually, any cheese does.

So rather than recreate that, this evening I’ll be out with friends, drinking cocktails and celebrating surviving a year from that day, and all the ups, downs, tears, laughter and moments of pure joy that slipped through. And toasting what lies ahead, which doesn’t feel as scary as it did one year ago.

And in closing, I wanted to share a passage from Mindy Kaling’s new book, “Why Not Me,” because my spirit animal had something happen to her that I could very much relate to.

The premise at this part in the book is, Mindy has developed the premise and basically, the pilot for her show, The Mindy Project and pitched it to NBC (where she was also starring in The Office.) But NBC passed and now her dream of having a show on the network of Must-See TV was done.

Let us bask in her genius:

“It’s weird when you feel your dream slipping away from you. Especially when you have no other dreams. I was surprised that my overwhelming feeling was not sadness; it was terror. What on ear am I going to do now? I thought…I had reached the level of self-obsessed insanity at which point no reasonable person would ever feel sorry for me. But sometimes, in life, or at least in driver’s ed, the best advice is to ‘steer in to the curve.’ It was from this terror that I got an idea…I was so excited, and I was really scared. I no longer worked at The Office. I was going to have a new office.”

So, not exactly apples to apples but pretty close. What she said about fear and terror and self-realization of what you had been investing your time in, did resonate with me and my situation, so I thought I would share.

And now, cocktails.



20 September 2015

Date check…mate?

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I love going out but I hate the many-times awkward moment that occurs when the check arrives. The “Oh how much did you have? Okay does that include tip? Do you need change” moment where conversation can die and damper the evening. Because after you argue over who had three mimosas rather than coffee or how much did Sarah REALLY eat of the calamari appetizer, you’re kinda like, so….the weather today was great!

But while I’ve been able to maneuver the social check situation with friends, I am a bumbling awkward idiot when it comes to that moment on dates….or “maybe” dates.

The first real guy I dated, never paid for me. Ever. We always went Dutch. He said that he “didn’t want to insult me because I am a progressive, independent woman.” It took me years to realize he was being a cheap fuck. And that scarred me to any future dates and not knowing if a guy would actually pay for our meal or drinks.

I’m not kidding.

And while I’m a progressive, modern woman who makes a good living and can financially support herself, I want chivalry. I want old fashioned romance and dates where the guy steps up like a fucking man and pays. Especially if he asks me out. I’ve been in relationships where I’ve picked up the tab at times but in the early stages of dating, IMO, the guy should pay.

I always offer to leave tip, or take my wallet out as a genuine gesture to pay, and every single time after cheap as fuck college guy, guys will take care of it or tell me no. But, I like to offer.

So, fast forward to Saturday night and being on date #2 with a guy who gives great text and has a lot of common interests as me, and after a pricey meal at a place he chose (with wine and apps), the bill arrives and he says to my face, “so let’s just split it down the middle, that’s fair.”


Conversation was good, but not THAT good. And, the date didn’t really start out on a good foot when he (dressed in jeans, polo and a suit jacket – a big step up from his Bristol Renaissance Fair-like outfit from date #1) said “thank you” to my compliment about his outfit, then proceeded to look me up and down and say nothing in return. Ouch. BURN.

After that moment of settling up the bill, he’s like, “let’s go for a nice walk.” To which I accompanied, and he made no effort or even cheap attempt to hold my hand. And, then I realized, I don’t have to fucking stay out here and walk around making small talk. I paid for my meal, I’m going home! So after about 15-20 minutes of awkward post-check conversation (where the fact that we split it felt like the biggest elephant sucking the air out of the room), I said, “yeah I’m tired, I’m going home.”

I wasn’t tired, but I was ready to go home. Oh well, one down.

How do you handle the bill situation on dates?


14 September 2015

The Love Languages

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

No I’m not making this up. And it’s not like the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” kind of thing.

It’s a book called, The 5 Love Languages, written by a man named Gary Chapman, who is a pastor and marriage counselor. The book exists for a variety of audiences, singles, couples, parents with teens, etc.

And the root of the book is to discover your “love language” so you know, as well as others, how to communicate with you and show love and affection, both in platonic and romantic relationships.

A friend of mine gave me the single edition of the book about a year ago and it was very insightful about me and how I communicate, and is a fascinating topic of conversation with friends who have also read it.

The five love languages are listed below (with a brief description of each):

  1. Words of Affirmation – Positive reinforcement or words to a friend or partner
  2. Acts of Service – Physical acts of service, like helping around the house, picking up something because it made you think of them, etc.
  3. Receiving Gifts – Pretty straightforward, giving tangible gifts to someone to show appreciation
  4. Quality Time – Giving someone your undivided attention when you are together, not being distracted by phones, other people, etc.
  5. Physical Touch – Hugs, hand holding, pats on the back, basically both sexual and non physcial interaction

The moment I picked up the book, I knew what my love language would be. And when I took the quiz at the end of the book (which you can also find here), I was not shocked by my #1 language, but also that there was one very closely behind it.

My languages are (in order):

  1. Acts of Service
  2. Quality Time
  3. Words of Affirmation
  4. Physical Touch
  5. Receiving Gifts

And the gap between 1 and 2 was like, one point. When I talked to a few female friends, they also had Acts of Service as their #1 language too (I only had one friend who had the above list in opposite order. According to her, she’s “all about the gifts.” That’s fine!)

One friend joked that, “I don’t need a boyfriend, I need an intern!” Well, yeah that would be nice, a boyfriend/intern mix. But really, you know what gets me hot? Having a guy listen to what I say, remember it, and pick it up because it made him think of me. A guy that helps me break down boxes from online shopping or helps me drop off items for donation. It’s little acts like that, that resonate the most with me. Why? Because I am the same way. That’s how I was raised, by doing acts of service to show appreciation and affection. So, that did not surprise me.

But now that I think about it, quality time is really important to me. Look, I’m guilty of taking the phone out when with friends, or checking Instagram while they’re in the bathroom. But when we are having dinner or hanging out, my phone is in another part of the room. And if I need it to take a photo of something, I do, then immediately put it away.

IMO, this is the tricky one. Because 90% of my friends are out with me but also on their phones. And it bothers me, a lot. Because they’re there, but not really there. But, I can’t exactly say, hey I think that’s really rude that you would rather sit with me but text with whomever while we eat. So, not much I can do about that, except try to change my own actions.

I was not surprised how low Receiving Gifts ranked for me. I appreciate gifts and yes, I do enjoy them, but I have a job, depending what I want to buy, I can buy it myself.

So, I would say the book is worthwhile to check out if you know someone who has it. IMO, the only part I could have done without is the overkill on explanation of stories and religious references/passages. But that’s a personal thing.

What’s your love language?


27 August 2015

Tinder and the state of modern dating

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Currently I’m reading Aziz Ansari’s book “Modern Romance,” and it’s a frighteningly real, fascinating and frustrating look at how romance and dating has changed since our parents were “courting.”

But before I started that, an article on Mashable caught my eye about the CEO of Tinder getting pissed about an article in Vanity Fair (Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse) where the brand was mentioned, and subsequently went on a tirade on Twitter blasting the magazine and article.

Naturally, this only solidified that I would read that article. Because if a grown man can have a public temper tantrum about it, it HAS to be good (or that true).

Thus, when my issue actually arrived, I went right to it and dove in.

First, Tinder has a reason to be pissed, but if the CEO took 5 minutes to step back and actually LOOK at what the article is saying, Tinder isn’t the bad guy. The bad guy is the general app dating culture, and the proliferation of this category’s growth as a whole (Hinge, Match, Ok Cupid, Bumble, etc.) Tinder is just the generic “Kleenex-like” brand that gets slapped on the dating app discussion.

Second, that article has to be the most fucking depressing description of modern dating. Either a) I’m that out of touch about dating or b) dating in NY is truly a Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies like situation. Or it’s a bit of both.

Third, Tinder doesn’t like being painted as a “hook up” app, but in reality, I know few who go on Tinder thinking they’ll find real love. They look at it as a necessity to be on, a curiosity of who they would get paired with and a reality of, look no serious guys are probably on there en mass.

In fact, in a post-Vanity Fair article segment on the Today Show, the CEO said that if you ask users, they would say the perception of Tinder being a “hook up” app is not the reality. But then the reporter talked to three of the most popular profiles in LA on Tinder, who said it’s basically shallow. So…okay. And while I was in Australia, the majority of my roommates and people I talked to in the dorms were using Tinder themselves to find local girls to have sex with, or guys to buy them drinks and hook up with after. Fortunately, none of that happened in my room. But on the other side, I have a friend who met her current boyfriend on Tinder and they have a good relationship.

But the Today Show (shockingly) made a comment that, IMO, hit on the larger issue that Vanity Fair tried to raise, that the “high tech, low commitment swiping culture” as the actual dating apocalypse.

Tinder isn’t the actual sign of it. The reality is that this culture has been building for a long time. But Tinder, who brought the “swipe right” feature to the mainstream, is by default going to be part of this larger category, like it or not.

Let’s be honest, the basic concept of romance and dating is very much almost dead. And it’s both men and womens fault. I strongly disagree with a comment in the Vanity Fair article that says it’s women’s fault that romance is dead. Wrong. It’s both sexes fault. Why? TOO MANY OPTIONS. Too many apps to cruise through, too many photos to view, too many people on the line to talk to or reply to or text back or schedule a date with. There is no need to really be present and settle down or look at someone as a viable partner because you have 15 other people on the app you can be flipping through. Why settle down when you could play the field?

It’s more than a full time job, it’s become a non-stop lifestyle of swiping, texting, emailing and going out. And ultimately being left (most times) with nothing to show for it than maybe a good story and hopefully not an STD.

And while both parties are to blame for dating and romance dying, men are especially to blame for being LAZY. I am a progressive, independent woman, but I don’t want to be the one having to initiate a date, or making plans. Not all the time. If I’m talking to a guy I may dance around getting together but I ultimately wait for him to ask. If he doesn’t, it’s his fucking loss because he’s clearly not that interested in me. If you’re interested, you ask them out. It’s that simple. Letting it get in to a benign, useless text conversation about random stuff, is just filler.

But I know a lot of people who will be matched with a guy, initiate conversation (fine), engage in conversation with them (fine) but then get impatient with them not initiating going out and do it themselves saying “so do you want get coffee next week?”. And the answer is usually the same from the guy, “oh yeah that sounds like fun, cool what day?” What day?? Take initiative! How much more work do we need to do? Sounds like you have something better to do, or you don’t really want to meet up. BYE.

The flip side to this is that, as you get in to your 30s, as a woman, you don’t want to wait around for this bullshit to continue but the overall options of men, especially in a city like Chicago, are smaller. So you almost have to tolerate lazy male behavior in order to have the option of a date. Some women feel this way, but I don’t. I have zero desire to date boys, only men, and a guy who is ready for a mature relationship and doesn’t want to stick his dick in whatever woman seems to walk by, will man up, ask me out and make plans.

And if that means I’m single for a long time, I don’t care. I’m not going to settle for crumbs.

Aziz’s book seems to hit on this stuff a lot too, so there may be more to share after I finish that book, but for now, I just could not hold this in.

May the dating and online dating app force be with you.



23 August 2015


By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Birthdays. An odd adult experience where you want it to feel as magical as it did when you were younger, but ultimately face more scheduling issues and unrealistic expectations which result it feel more like hassle than anything else.

Well, sometimes.

Today is my birthday. And, it’s kinda weird. Not because I didn’t expect it, but more like, because it feels very different this year.

Last year was a TERRIBLE birthday. It was a combo of a non-quarter life crisis that was coupled with personal issues and the beginning of the end of life as I knew it (as of then.) It was a horrible time of change and sadness and just feeling like, “what the fuck am I doing??”

I tried then to put on a good face, but it was a facade. I sat at restaurants, dejected, beaten down and just feeling like, is this it? Friends rallied last minute to meet up for drinks and surprising me with cheesecake, and that was truly the only bright spot of that weekend. And as much as I love that group of people that rallied around me, I just couldn’t feel the joy because I was just in such a bad place, entertaining very terrible thoughts in my head.

So, now it’s one year later.

And this time, rather than feel dejected and sad. I feel good. And, I’m not sucking down Old Fashioneds, trying to let the bourbon numb my emotion. But I did have a few Negroni slushies with friends, and I enjoyed it in delightful moderation.

I am in a much better place today than I was last year. Not everything is perfect or how I want it to be, but it’s still a lot better, and it feels weird, with the emotional ghosts of last year feeling very close (for some reason).

And given the change since last year, I don’t feel like making a big production of my birthday. Instead, I planned fun things throughout the weekend (and even in to tomorrow) to enjoy this feeling of “betterness” and focus on that and the things and people I love. It may be anti-climactic or boring, but when you finally start to feel better, and see the growth from the year before, I’d rather just savor that, rather than make a production of it.

Ta ta for today.







  • Early holiday decorations (not before Thanksgiving!)
  • Muffin tops (not the bakery-kind)
  • Bar Louie restaurant
  • Laundry machine hogs
  • County sales tax (10.25 percent - come on!)
  • Michael Scott
  • Harry & David
  • Chicago meteorologists