2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Good News!

The lovely and talented Tyler Fake-Last-Name has fixed my new website, so that people can now subscribe!

You WILL have to subscribe again on the site, even if you’re currently subscribed to this one. Sorry, boo.

http://www.sarahmariestone.com

Go to the bottom right-hand side of the page to sign up and get e-mails alerting you to new posts.

So – stop reading here – get on over there and do it!

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I’m going to completely STOP posting on this site on Valentine’s Day. So – come join our super cool club, and stop coming to this one.
It’s SO 2012…. pshyah….

I’m LIVE, baby!

As of today… (So, shoot me…it wasn’t January 1st…), I’m officially moved over to my new website!

http://www.sarahmariestone.com

So, from now on – visit me here.

IF you have an RSS feed, you WILL NEED TO RE-SUBSCRIBE on the new site.  It’ll only take a few seconds, I promise.

If you do NOT have a subscription…..why the heck NOT?  No more wondering if you’ve missed a post or if there’s anything new… it’ll conveniently come right to your e-mail!

So, check me out – I’ve got “stuff,” (ambiguously cool, eh?), I’ve got “Ask Sarah” and so much more.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Getting a Facelift

Dear Readers,

I want to take the opportunity with today’s post, to respond to some criticism my blog and I have come under in the last few weeks.  A recent conversation led to more conversations and finally, with the (my) realization that there IS, in fact, real merit to some of the complaints.   And I, as much as I hate to admit it, have some repair work to do.

Admittedly, for this approval-hungry ENFJ (Meyer’s Briggs Inventory) and high “I” (DISC Inventory) and “Sanguine (Dolphin)” (Personality Profile Inventory) girl, …receiving criticism, regardless of how truthful it may be, is quite jarring.  …Even painful.  So… I’ve given a lot of thought to the reproach I received, to my reaction to the negative feedback and ultimately, to my goals for this blog and my “voice” as I report on the world of dating.

Here are the comments/criticisms I’ve heard, with my reactions to each.

  1. “The blog is too mean. “

This one came as a shock.  Here I thought that the snarky edge in my written “voice” was just part of my blog ‘character’ that I use to convey my thoughts.  But, as I’ve been reflecting on this idea, I’ve had to admit that I HAVE taken a slight turn toward the harsh – more edge than I want to have.  I DO want to have a sassy spunk.  I DO want to have a sarcastic bite to my tone.  But, I don’t want to be downright hurtful or mean.  One friend said that the snark was so thick, that people couldn’t see my heart.  And, while this isn’t exactly an inspirational, feel-good blog, I do want it to be known that I HAVE a heart!

And so – to that end, I’m making a commitment to dial back the snarkiness ever so slightly, so that I can bring the blog back to a place of sarcastic, but not hateful humor.

2.  You hate men.”

Ok, this one cracks me up.  I hate men?  I’m SEARCHING for a man!  The whole POINT of being online and going on these dates is to find a man for myself.  I think men are great.  Hellooooo…I want one of my very own!  I don’t hate them.  I DO hate the difficulties of navigating the differences between the sexes, the way they behave and communicate,…but that’s also part of the fun – delving into the puzzle and learning how to be in relationship with people of the opposite sex.   I am certainly far from being a man-hater. I’m more like a man-hunter.  And along the way, I’m having a lot of fun befriending other men.

     3.    “You’re not explicit enough about your Christian faith.”

This one is on purpose.  I want the blog – and my life – to be accessible to as many different people and different belief systems as possible.  And I want the fact that I put my faith in Christ, to come across in the ‘between the lines’ of my life, not in me being preachy in my writing.  In the course of writing this blog and going out with men from dating sites, etc., I’ve met some AMAZING people who span the spiritual continuum from atheists to (as my atheist friend calls them), “hard core Christians.”  And I SO value the friendships of the people who believe differently than I do, that I don’t want anything in the way of that.  That’s NOT to say that I am ashamed of my beliefs or have watered them down to be friends with people who aren’t where I am.  I still go to church.  I still pray.  I’m still a theology nerd.  I still struggle with my own spiritual journey and understanding what it really means to be a follower of Christ in this broken world.

But, the blog isn’t a place where I need to plant my spiritual flag.  And that’s not how I operate.  I try to live my life authentically and in doing so, hope that the light of Christ in me will shine – without me having to SAY it.

I actually have a post in my drafts folder right now, discussing the difficult aspect in dating, of HOW to see if you line up with someone on this front… so, stay tuned.  The post is not, in any way, written to persuade,…but only to bring to light how hard it is to bring UP this topic on first or second dates… trust me…it’s not exactly a sexy talking point.

    4.    “You do too many ‘XYZ’ kind of posts and not enough ‘ABC’ ones”
             Or “Who is your target audience ANYway?”

Let me begin by saying that I want to accomplish ALL of the following:

–       General comedic entertainment

–       Dating/Relationship Advice

–       Creating solidarity with fellow women AND men in the dating trenches

–       Storytelling about my own and others’ experiences in the dating world

–       Discussion about men, women and relationships

–       (once my website is launched) – Dating Services (help with profile writing, links to photographers, etc., and even an “Ask Sarah” column…more on all this later)

Unfortunately… I can’t seem to please everyone all the time.  But I CAN admit that I sometimes get on ‘kicks’ where I neglect one facet of the blog.  I’d like to have posts about my personal dating life, online dating in general, relationships and of course, continue the “winner’s circle” editions with the (literally) ridiculous photos.  But, I am going to try to diversify more, as well as include more of the GOOD stories from my dating life.

To be honest, the majority of my dates are quite lovely.  And I plan to talk about those more, while hopefully keeping my sassy ‘flavor.’

In fact… in the advent season, I’m going to be writing a mini-series:  “The 12 Dates of Christmas” in which I’ll go on 12 dates between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where the men know ahead of time that I’ll be blogging about the dates afterwards – good, bad and everything in the middle.  In fact, one guy has already agreed, but on the condition that he write his OWN interpretation of the date and have me link to HIS blog!  It’s gonna be fun.  Again – stay tuned.

Basically – consider this a face-lift.  Everything you love about the blog – the snarky frivolity and sassy take on dating – will remain.  I’m just going to take some of the biting edge out of my “voice.”  Be patient with me, as finding this balance sometimes seems nearly impossible.  And thank you to those of you who’ve stuck with me.

Lastly – if you know someone who’s read the blog and was offended, or if you’ve felt that way – I encourage you to hang in there and see if it doesn’t soften a bit and nestle right back into your reading/entertainment sweet spot.

I Hate to be the Wearer of Bad News…

You all remember Raul?  If not…by way of refresher, he’s a guy I dated – it didn’t work out, and I wrote a blog post about our “break-up.”  You can check it out here.

Well, Raul and I have remained friends and it’s a great friendship!  I asked him for advice, the other day, on what to wear for a date this weekend, and he sent me a mini tome on the matter.  So, naturally – I thought I’d post it.

I figured, the women can read it to get some insight into what guys think about how they prepare for and look on dates,
and guys can read it to see if it’s an accurate representation.
I’d love some commentary below… I mean…do you other guys REALLY agree that you want a girl to come out “UN-spanxed??”  Can it BE?  I’m a doubting, spanx-wearing Thomas…
Convert me.

Enjoy!

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I have no idea if what I’m saying is worthwhile or representative of most guys – it’s just my sole opinion, but I’ll generalize as if I’m speaking on behalf of the entire US male population.

OK, here’s the bottom line:  99% of the time, we couldn’t care less what you wear.  Really, it doesn’t matter.  Whether you’re wearing a miniskirt or a canvas sack, we probably think it would look best on our bedroom floor.  There you go.  Plus, we won’t remember it the next day, anyhow, unless the impression was a really bad one.  How do you avoid a bad choice?  Follow these guidelines:

1) Wear something appropriate.  This is the number one – and probably the only – consideration.  Fortunately, it is also the easiest.  We certainly don’t expect you to obsess over what you wear to meet us; using your normal judgment in what’s appropriate should be simple enough.  After all, we’ll hardly give a moment’s notice to what you’re wearing unless it’s totally, wildly inappropriate.  If we ask you out to a honky-tonk dive bar, don’t show up in a ball gown.  If we ask you out to a nice French restaurant, don’t show up in sweatpants.  This isn’t rocket science.  But it IS probably the only time we’ll make a judgment about YOU based on your clothing.  If you show up in blue jeans and a t-shirt for the symphony, we’re embarrassed.  We make certain assumptions about your background/upbringing/education, and will give serious thought before inviting you to something nice again.

This also includes activity-appropriate clothing if the date involves a fair amount of movement (dancing, bowling, batting cage, shark wrestling, etc.), wear something that allows you to do that activity comfortably – if you knew what the date involved, we don’t want to hear you say “I can’t because my skirt is too tight / dress is too long.”

2) Wear something you are comfortable in.  This means two things:  First, don’t wear something that will cause you to complain (I’m cold, I’m hot, this scratches, my feet hurt, this purse is heavy – please hold it, etc.).  In fact, once you are dressed, look at yourself in the mirror and repeat a few times, “I will not complain on this date.”  Good, now you’re ready to go.  (OK, I’m exaggerating….a little.)

Second, “comfortable” means wear something you are confident in.  If you are visibly self-conscious, that’s a distraction.  If you are constantly tugging down your skirt, pulling up your strapless top, talking about the fact that other people are staring at you, etc., that’s a distraction that makes you look nervous or self-absorbed.

And yes, I’ve had the occasional date that seemed derailed by what the girl wore and how it made her feel (inappropriate to the venue, uncomfortable for the planned activity, inappropriate for the weather, and yes, someone who complained about her feet hurting every five minutes (so why did she wear those shoes?).  I just think that the early dates should be as distraction-free as possible, because you want to focus on each other.  But I could always be wrong.

3) Don’t show up all spanxed out.  This is false advertising.  I know, girls don’t want to hear that, but it’s true.  We want to see you for you, not the tucked-in, trussed-up, ratcheted-down, corseted, lifted, sculpted, Wonder Bra-ed version of you that does not, in fact, exist in real life.  That doesn’t mean thrown on some shapeless, frumpy, moo-moo as an alternative…it just means that whatever you choose should be an honest reflection of who you are.  If you want to be appreciated for who you are (and who doesn’t?), then don’t be afraid to show up that way.  We understand that no one is perfect, and we don’t expect perfection (lest you expect it of us!).

4) Don’t wear your “dating uniform.”  To quote Sarah, —  “TRY.  That’s it.  Effort.  [Men] love a [woman] who gives THOUGHT to us.  Effort is at the root of romance.”  We don’t want to feel like we’re just date #572…where you put on your “1st date” go-to outfit, pick up your lunch pail, and go to work.

5) Calibrate the “revealing” aspect of your outfit to where you want the date to go.  If you’re not sure yet, err on the side of demure.  I did not say err on the side of the masculine (for most women, pantsuits are as difficult to pull off successfully as very short haircuts), just go a little more conservative if you don’t want him to focus exclusively on “those” thoughts (remember, he’s a guy, those thoughts will be there even if you show up in a burqa).  If you don’t want to be complaining to your girlfriend that he never made eye contact above your neckline, then don’t where something that makes him spend the entire dinner hoping for something to slip out.  I’ve had girls show up for dinner at a restaurant in VERY revealing clothing, and I almost think that’s a test – if I glance down, I lose.

But if you do think you want the date to go there, then anything that leans towards descriptions like “short”, “tight”, “low cut”, or “see-though” (or my favorite – all of the above) is probably a good thing, as long as it manages to remain at least somewhat classy/tasteful, and does not cause others around you to think “who let that trollop in here?”  If meeting his parents for the first time, avoid anything with two or more of the aforementioned adjectives – remember, one is fine, two or more, and you’re “that tart that Raul brought over for dinner”.  Not good.

Well, them’s the rules.

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Aside from doling out advice for the women of online dating, Raul enjoys traveling, cooking, fly fishing, scuba diving, reading and, in general, getting krunk.
He currently works as a steel drum virtuoso in an internationally-recognized Calypso band.”