I do not like to wait.

Tired and impatient, I shuffle from foot to foot, craning my neck to see what the holdup could possibly be.  I’m in line at Target at 9 pm on a Sunday.  This is apparently not Target’s Happy Hour.  I neglected to get a cart, and (as always happens in Target) have about five more items than I planned or needed.  I shift them in my arms, hoping to maintain the pile’s balance.  Thankfully, a cashier appears and opens another register.  The family ahead of me defects to her lane; I follow.

And that’s when I notice them, and finally pay attention to the very specific items in their overflowing cart. 


We’ve talked about sex. We’ve talked about religion. It was only a matter of time before we talked about politics, right?

My 28th birthday is this weekend, and I’ve reached the point in my life where I have no interest in wasting my time. Because of this – I like to get down to the nitty gritty on the very first date.

Taboo? Perhaps. But who’s got time to spend with someone that they just don’t align with? Not me. And I bet you don’t either, #BossLady.

The Power of Wanting

Fun fact: in addition to being a *full-time blogger (*HA), I am also a singer/actor. I do musical theatre. I love it.

In college, I was trained to approach auditioning as the real job, and performing as the reward. Actors receive roughly 99x more rejection than we do offers, and in all honesty, I’ve adjusted fairly well to it. I’m pretty resilient.

About 3 years ago however, I recognized an audition habit I’d developed after my first few years of working professionally in theatre.

I didn’t care.

A Literal GGE POV

A really big part of my life, which you may have noticed given the title of this blog, is food.

Like, food makes me happier than….let’s just say ‘most things’. And while some might categorize me as an “emotional eater”, I just categorize myself as SOMEONE WHO RECOGNIZES THEIR WANTS AND NEEDS. GoddAMNIT.

Because of this, I’ve decided it’s time for a literal GGE post. Ima countdown my top 5 Chicago date spots, and what to order when you’re there. I didn’t keep a detailed list of every date I went on in 2016 for nothin’.

“When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them”: 2016 in Review

Halfway through this shitshow of a year where we elected a racist president, lost countless beloved celebrities, and are preparing to bid adieu to the GREATEST FIRST FAMILY OF ALL TIME, I also personally went through a breakup.

Along that same vein, I also approached a semi-breakdown. I was 27 and unexpectedly single.


Over the next 3 months I went on 17 first dates (yes I kept a detailed list).

I’d say about a third of the dates lead to a second. And about 3 lead to more than that.

Yes, part of me felt like I needed to sow my wild oats. But more so, I just wanted to see what was out there. I’d been in a relationship for 3 years, and dating again somehow felt like this marvelous, magical new land. The game has changed (whether we like it or not).

Matriarchal Lineage, Traced:

When I think of my name, I think of how easily it rolls off my lips and onto my tongue. I purse my mouth and let it sit there as it boils beneath the skin: Mariam. If you say it right, it’s magic. The Arabic of it all feels like home, like I never left Syria, like my grandma is still alive, rolling grape leaves as my other grandma kneads dough. My name smells like their kitchens, tastes like their kisses on my cheek. 

The Truth About ‘Putting Yourself Out There’

It’s funny, writing a dating blog. A lot of clichés come to mind when exploring these age old issues. Some of the clichés just plain suck. But others, like I’ve said before, are clichés because they’re right on the money:

“Put yourself out there.” How many times have we heard that one? And what the FUCK does it actually mean?

Of course, the episode of Sex and the City comes to mind when Charlotte and Carrie go see a dating coach speak. The coach challenges Charlotte to ‘put herself out there’, to which Charlotte responds “trust me, I am putting myself out there. All. The. Time”.

Here’s the thing: it’s a really, really good piece of advice. But it’s not tangible.

And so, my dear friends…I’ve compiled a list.

Date Hacks: How I Caught my College Crush by Coughing in his Mouth

When I was 19 and in the PEAK of my college glory days (thank you Swine Flu #BirthWeight), I started going out with the dreamiest of undergrad boys.

We’d been ‘dating’ (whatever that means in college) for a couple weeks when I got a really bad cough, we went to a party with a few friends of mine, and I consumed 2 WHOLE BEERS.

Watch out folks. She’s wasted.

We got back to his dorm room (*gasp*), and I realized that I probably couldn’t take Nyquil after consuming 2 WHOLE BEERS. So naturally, I made the dude google whether or not you can mix Nyquil with PBR.

An Ode to Ovaries, My Mom, and The Braverman’s

Fast forward to when I was 23 years old. My mom was in Chicago, visiting me for a long weekend. We were riding the bus, and I told her that I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to have children.

“What?” she exclaimed. “But you love kids! You’re so good with them!”

She wasn’t wrong (#humble). At the time I was a nanny for several families I adored, I’d always babysat growing up, and for years I’d so badly wanted a younger sibling.

I told her that yes, I love children, but I just wasn’t sure if it was for me. I’m very career-driven and I like my life the way it is! I’m a city-dweller, and I’d come to the realization that having a family was an option, but not the only option.

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

If you’re okay with sleeping with someone on the first date and never hearing from them again, more power to you!

If you’re not okay with sleeping with someone on the first date and never hearing from them again, more power to you!

I encourage you to really spend time weighing these scenarios – there’s complex  emotional risk involved in each. Examine previous sexual encounters, and how they made you feel, if the relationship didn’t work out. Were they worth it?

It Was the First of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

I deeply understand not wanting to date someone in the same industry as you. But I made it pretty clear to him that the focus of my management position is administrative/marketing in nature. Nevertheless, it still seemed to bother him, and I get that. We all have limits.

What I do struggle with, however, is someone who doesn’t understand how to have a 2-sided conversation. And what I don’t get is how someone would assume that their date - who hasn’t uttered an entire sentence in an hour - might like to go home with them. THE AUDACITY. Sounds like somebody just wanted to get laid with no strings attached.

Love in the Time of Post-reform and Opening China

When I was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in China, the three questions that my students most frequently asked me were: Can you speak Chinese? Can you use chopsticks? Do you like Chinese boys? My standard answers were these, respectively: Enough to get by. Does it look like I’m starving? What are you actually asking me when you ask me if I like Chinese boys? These answers evolved as my relationship with China evolved. And as I heard these questions more and more, I realized that they were more than silly questions; they were valuable insights into the mindset of my students. The first two questions are perhaps not so silly.

Back in the Saddle Again

Ya HAVE to wonder though…was it a sign? After what was probably the worst 7 days in the history of me (breakup, losing a singing competition I’d prepared for for 6 months, throwing out my back, and losing my job), was a date the absolute last thing I needed?

The dirty work of being a female; or, cleaning the house

The nervous, excited, third-date energy was going to manifest itself into something productive, dammit. And before I had properly considered the future implications of what I was about to do, I put on an apron and started cleaning the plates and cutlery that were overflowing the sink. As I soaped up the mess, we looked at each other, grinning, and I made a joke about already being barefoot in the kitchen.

On Kids

I never day dreamed about one day marrying the man I had been with since I was 15, moving to the country, and popping out six kids. Those thoughts literally never entered my head. The main thoughts in my head at the time were “Wait what?! That’s how much I owe the government for 4 years of private school education?” and “Where am I going to move so I don’t have to live in my hometown?”

I Will Keep You Safe

In the training we received during our adoption process, and in current “big” conversations about adoption, open adoption is touted as being most emotionally healthy for the child – and I fully agree.  In theory.  Open adoption puts the child first… except when it doesn’t.