There’s a spider who lives behind the driver’s side mirror of my car. For over a year she’s relentlessly rebuilt hundreds of blown down, torn down, and wiped off webs. I’ve tried to (lovingly!) evict her, but she’s crafty. She likes the dark space behind the glass, tucked deep in the casing of the mirror. She must creep out at night, weaving, spinning, re-creating the house I’ll accidentally or intentionally destroy the next day.

It seems clear to me that I know best. How she could live, trauma-free, if only liberated from her groundhog day prison. But she refuses to accept my help.

Once I spotted her, poised at the lip of the mirror and I leapt to catch her, intent on giving her my idea of her freedom. No luck. My wife suggested I might not know what’s best for her. That I just leave her be. Meaning I just keep wrecking her home. Or maybe I take off my side view mirror?

We leave the state, the country, for a week, for a month, and I return to a side view mirror cocooned in silky thread. Back from the Pacific Northwest my poor, abused pet had been busy at work. Are there no trauma memory banks in a spider’s brain? Has she mated for life with my mirror?

I wonder what I should name her?

by _Annie_Crawford

Hearts are tricky things.

Sometimes they break.

And I don’t mean break in the metaphorical, grief diet, lovelorn way. That “I can’t stop listening to ‘Sail’ by AWOLNATION on repeat” kind of way. The self-consuming survivor aftermath of a broke down relationship kind of way.

I mean the “I’m not ticking. I’m not pumping. I’m not fucking humping along anymore” kind of way.

39 is young for a heart to dissect and peel apart. To aortically depart from the norm. Her body so tired that even hope of an import made the tissue teary and weary and grave. Thinking of all that work it became impossible to breathe.

That moment when a hearts break for real.

And those who remain? The physically unbroken? We’re left with that flash of understanding that fades too quick: Hold tight to people we love, make the zine, take the trip, do all the things do them now, do them before you can’t. Thanks for the kindness you showed me Deborah.


I recently pulled a romantic comedy move and slipped a handsome stranger my digits. I was a first-timer to this strategy and it was kind of thrilling. He responded to my smooth moves and in our ensuing text flirtation I almost texted him embarrassing family photos because iPhone + clumsy thumbs = super smooth . So smooth, right?  Here’s what happened.

I was having tea in the Mission, just minding my own business. Except every time I got up, this foxy guy made eye contact with me and smiled. He was super cute— all laid-back business-y in his tailored plaid shirt, funky oxfords, and sexy beard. Yes please.

As we were leaving, I had the unexpected urge to give him my number. I normally would never, but I thought what do I have to lose? Besides my pride, of course. But I was feeling rambunctious, it was a Friday afternoon, and I was wearing big ass hoops and low-slung cords. Why the hell not?

Outside my moxie dwindled. Seems the romantic comedy scene I had in my head didn’t involve me having to actually psyche myself up for the play. For 20 minutes I screwed around on my phone, reorganized the entire contents of my bag, applied lip gloss, and gathered some courage.

For once in my life I didn’t have a pen or paper. Rummaging through my shit, I found peachy nude lip liner and a ticket stub from my de Young museum visit the day prior.

The scenario was becoming even more sexy and glamorous than the idea of actually dating him. I was enamored with my mystery note in peach lip liner. Even better than the 80’s glam of the lipstick was that the ticket stub for was for the de Young’s dazzling Bulgari jewel exhibition.

Note in hand, I marched my booty back in there, and headed straight toward him, making eye contact the whole way. I have to tell you this was very unnerving. I like attention if I’m trying to make people laugh, not if I’m trying to sultry walk them into romance. Stopping dead on in front of his table I deposited the note. “This is for you.”  He gave me a big smile and said thank you as I turned tail and bolted for the door.

Exhibit A for context:


Translation: “I think you’re cute. You should call me and see if we get along.”
(I photoshopped my digits cause I heard you shouldn’t put your private biz on the internet.

10 minutes later I got a text:

Him: Annie?

Me: Haha! You can read my lipstick! Didn’t have a pen.

Him: Yes, tough read, but very admirable job, given the medium. Flattered that you left the note. I live in Austin and leave tomorrow, so linking up could be tough. (Then he wrote more about how he used to live in SF and details, details, blah, blah.)

Me: Haha. Cool. I recently moved here from Austin! Have fun on your travels!

Him: Thanks, have we met in Austin? You seemed kind of familiar.

Me: Maybe? Who knows!

Him: It’s Austin, so probably ; ) Have a great day. Might be out later in the Mission with some friends.

This is where I was composing an incredibly cool and clever response which involved several drafts and re-reads. I was deleting draft #4 of my response when my unwieldy thumbs somehow “pasted.” The item they pasted?  A 20 photo album of a recent family hot air balloon trip. Awesome. Frantically trying to erase, I almost hit Send. That might have gone down as the most fabulously awkward flirtation attempt ever. A mere text of photos but underlain with the message that, “I know we’re just ships in the night, handsome man, but I want you to feel as close to me and my parents as I feel to you. What I mean to say is, well, I love you. So much. If only you had been part of this joyful celebration with my family and I—perhaps even proposing marriage mid-flight!” I should be a dating coach.

Instead I sent this cool Miss Cucumber response back:

Me: Sweet. Maybe I’ll run into you. And that’s hilarious that you’re from my old orbit. I’ve never done that before (the note) and it was kind of fun.

Him: Glad to be your test run. It works for you. Have a great day.

Next missive from him came in at 1:27am:

Him: Hey hey

I didn’t answer, because really, it was too late and cutie with a beard wasn’t on the menu for a 1:30am booty call. And if we’ll recall, I had instructed him to call me and he had clearly texted. Can’t stand a man that can’t take instruction.

What have we learned besides the fact that I shamelessly overuse exclamation marks and Hahas? Turns out the situation was perfect. I got to be risky and frisky with great return and no actual work of having to go on date with a stranger. Win-win-win.

Tell me your tales of random flirtation.

That summer was action packed.

That was the summer I moved to San Francisco, got spanked at an adult party, and dated a man who lived next to a federal penitentiary.  I learned that marriage-minded lesbians don’t like it when you also want to makeout with men.  I started eating chicken after 23 years free bird.  I was in the best shape of my life. I had a sweet ride, a kick ass job. I lived in an amazing beach pad until I came home to federal IRS agents raiding my landlord. I was underemployed and broke and lived beyond my means. I was stylishly homeless. I had fun.  I was super fucking anxiety ridden and slightly crazed.

And I dated so many people.  I dated men and women.  I dated to date, to get fed, and fed attention, to have my ass rubbed, and to find some safety. I kept looking to relationships like some sort of Plymouth Rock to anchor my new life, to get my boat to stop fucking rocking. But wouldn’t you just know-they only made it worse.

I knew dating was adding to my crazy, but I didn’t care.  Honestly, I did it for the chaos it brought. When I had text messages to agonize over, the reality of my tumultuous life seemed irrelevant.

When I finally thought to backpedal, to swim my way out of the molasses bog of romance, it was way too late.  I was sunk deep in the sexytime trap.

Who cared that my fugitive housemate had disappeared to Texas and left me with his mean-ass dog? Not I! I had bad-idea makeout parties to distract from the rapidly shedding dog fur now coating all my tight-ass spandex pants.

My darling friends would listen and shake their heads, oh really, oh you’re making out with him again? That must be interesting for you. Hmmhmmm, oh yes, we remember Tyler, the unemployed 41 year old musician with murky life goals.  Ahh, ohhh, really? Oh Marcos stayed at your place last night? The one you broke up with because he said he wasn’t into ‘emotional entanglement’? Glad to hear that’s going well.

It was like Sex and The City except instead of a brunch table, the ladies would bring their mimosas to the side of my relationship bog and murmur hopeful support while I paddled in the muck and told them tales of my frogs.  If I kiss enough of them, I reasoned, one would transform and save my distressed ass.

When I started to come to, to recognize that dating was making my shit even nuttier than it was, I turned off my OKCupid account. But even offline I was fucked.  My goddamn libido was spinning out pheromones faster than a Tibetan prayer wheel.  I’d meet strangers at the coffee shop that I’d fall in love with.  It’s like my heart couldn’t keep its pants on long enough to save my soul.

Holy shit, will I survive? I’ll keep you updated as it unfolds!

Follow me on Twitter: @ScarletDates


Courtesy Google Images/Photo Credit: HD Wallpaper

If he's your ghost, go ahead and call him, honey.
If he’s your ghost, go ahead and call him, honey.

Are you haunted by the ghosts of dating past? You know, those one time dates you swore you deleted who keep resurfacing in your contact list. Wouldn’t it be so terrific (in a terrible way) to phone those random OKCupid numbers that you gave strange nicknames to and who mysteriously refuse to disappear? Just today I scrolled through my contacts and had digits dating back from 3 years ago. Let’s imagine if we called:

Isaiah Yoga Flow.

Oh Isaiah. You suggested a first date at a really hard 2-hour yoga class. You told me it was your “church.” Hasn’t anyone told you not to mingle church and state? Keep your funny business on the side until you know it’s gonna fly. If I was crazy, I could have stalked you each week. Fortunately for everyone, I’m mostly sane, and totally not attracted to you. Men doing yoga is a touchy thing.

Now, I acknowledge that my “waterproof” mascara didn’t help matters. That class is sweat city. My waterproof mascara was anything but. I ended class looking like a post-concert Gene Simmons. You did still take me to sushi after, but neither of our hearts was in it. Besides. You work in Mountain View.

If I did call, I would think you might remember me? It depends on how prolific your dating has been, or how drawn out your poor judgment in bringing potentials to church. I would certainly be surprised at an offer of date two. But who knows, dudes are shameless opportunists, especially when it comes to Kiss.

Jonathan Hannale.

Did we even go on a second date? If so, it slips my mind. We for sure kissed. We met at some stainless steel and wood beam small plate joint with an upper balcony. I wasn’t impressed when later you said my use of a dirty word shocked you. Not sure what else a girl should have to say for herself at 12:36am playing pool in a bricky cool kid lounge when her date is attempting to lure her back to his apartment with the promise that his gf won’t mind. Hmmmm. I did give you a ride home though (no car), and did kiss you (investigative research), but I think all that happened was you texted me for months until I told you I had moved across the country for lady love.

I imagine the call would go…straight to voicemail (you seemed too cool to answer your phone.)

Text: Hey, it’s Annie, the redhead. We went on a date, like, two years ago. How are you?

Text Back: You mean the girl who wounded my soul when she left me on my doorstep (I don’t have a car still), unwilling to participate in my questionably approved non-monogamy?

Text: Yes, that’s the one.

Text Back: I’m busy. Peace.

Leondardo BM

Nicknaming is par for the course in online dating. You’ve got to keep these suitors straight. To clarify, BM stood for Burning Man, nothing intestinally related.  But like the medical term and yoga men, Burning Man can be a touchy subject. It’s best to earmark this trait in case of potential future problems. We met at a divey lounge where I told him about my post heartbreak spree and drank endless diet cokes. He was uncomfortably interested in my dating adventures, had several strategies about saving me from the chaos of my life, and kept inviting me back to his house for lentils. Lentils. It all seemed too ridiculous. When he followed up that night and then the next day (he had hoped to loan me books on human sexuality (gah), I let him know I was just too tender to be dating.  He took this to heart and contacted me every two weeks or so, to see if he could be of service.

I think he would welcome my call with open arms. He might not remember me, but he would definitely invite me over for hippie soup.

I won’t actually call any of these numbers because:

1. I’m in love, and

2. There’s a reason it’s not with any of these people

But I urge you, valiant dater, to play late night reconnect with strangely nicknamed one hit wonders in your catalogue. And report back.

Shout out to Ghostsingles dating website. Ghosts for realz.