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An Apology, and A Break

Oct 24, 2013

Per the request of several readers, I gave my thoughts on online dating yesterday. Soon after the post went up, the comments started rolling in, on the post and on Twitter. Many were cheering me on and vehemently agreeing. Many saw my point but didn't agree completely, so they offered their points of view. But most of them were mean-spirited and caused me to question why I'm putting myself through this.

Do I regret writing what I did? You betcha! And I'm willing to admit that, with no snark or satire. My blog persona is gone this time -- this is just transparent, vulnerable me. When I decided to take down the controversial post, I considered giving up blogging altogether. But, because I'm running on high emotions right now, instead I offer an apology in the form of the lessons I learned during the past 24 hours.

1. Guys in DC want girls to offer to pay the check. I never knew this until now. Even still, I just started not offering to pay -- kinda trying out something new. But I don't want any guy I go out with, gentleman or not, to feel like I don't appreciate his effort or time. So I'll never assume the guy is picking up the check again.

2. I'm not as strong as I thought I was. Blogging has been a nice outlet for me during these past couple of months, but it's turned into something that's more self-destructive than helpful. I was trying to be a few steps ahead of where I actually am right now. I thought I'd made more progress on the broken heart thing than I probably have. It still hurts too much, so I need to be more careful with it.

3. Blogging is a front, and sometimes I get carried away. It feels good to pretend to be someone else sometimes. I'm tired of being so sad, and blogging has been a way for me to feel alive again. I feel terrible for making anyone feel bad in the process, though. All the comments and tweets reeled me back in. Me having a little fun is not worth the expense of others' feelings.

4. People are googling me more than I realized. Within 24 hours, three guys I was talking to read my blog post and swiftly let me know how they felt about me. Not the post, but me. Based on the post. As much as I want people to get that this is just my online persona, not me, I can't expect them to. That's not fair at all. I've been fighting my mother on this point for five years, and I finally see that she was right. I was wrong.

5. Now I remember why I made a point about this not being a dating blog. Dating is a tumultuous topic. I think enough other people write about it that I don't need to throw my two cents out there. The truth is, I'm rooting for all of us Singletons to find a match. I don't want any of us to get hurt, but we will along the way. I wanted to give us -- at least my fellow lady Singletons -- a place to laugh about it, feel not so alone in what they were going through, and hopefully say, "Yes! Exactly!" when they read my point of view. I think I accomplished that with many of them, but again, it's not worth it if it's going to offend so many other people.

So, for those of you who actually like what I write on here, just give me a moment to breathe and get my bearings again. I got in way over my head this time, to the point where I didn't recognize my life anymore. It's too much for me to handle right now, but I'll be okay soon.


Editor's Note: After much prompting and encouragement by readers, friends, my mother and even one of the guys who dumped me, I decided to republish the controversial blog post. Read it here.


  1. Alexander MorrisonThu Oct 24, 09:29:00 PM

    No, Mary-El. Guys do not want girls in DC to pay the check. They simply do not want them to expect them to pay the check. There is more chivalry out there than you might think. However, the distaff counterpart to chivalry is courtly love, a principal tenet of which is gratitude. You will find your unicorn, that much is certain.

  2. Oh Mary El, I wish I could give you a big hug, and maybe cook you some dinner right now! I am in grad school now and use your blog as a study break, because it is so entertaining! I even got my friend Mari hooked on it. I caught your post yesterday, and for what it's worth, I completely agree with what you said, based on my 5+ years of online dating experience (when I finally gave it up because I didn't like it.)

    Take your time, I'll miss you, but I'll welcome you with open arms upon your return.


  3. There's a sad question lurking here: Why do need to have a "online persona"? Why don't you just be yourself? What are you hiding from?

    If your goal is to help other single ladies, don't be fake. Don't be a "satire" of... Actually, I don't think you understand satire. Satire involves saying over-the-top things that you don't actually believe to make a point. If your blog persona is truly satirical, you want people to say "that girl's a spoiled brat." You don't take it personally because you don't yourself believe it.

    And you can't call the blog "satirical" when you're also posting serious, sincere things about love, loss, and Stitchfix. You can't turn the satire off in one post and on in another. People won't get it.

    If this really is satire, you can't take it personally. And you certainly can't expect men who are doing the online dating thing with you to understand that your posts about online dating aren't serious. Except, well, I suspect they are. There are some issues here to be worked out. Best of luck in sorting through them.

  4. Just because you've decided to stop blogging doesn't mean you have to stop writing:)

  5. Don't apologize, Mary El. You're writing a blog, not curing cancer. If people are really getting worked up over what your writing, they need to take a look in the mirror. They don't have to share your opinion, and if it really hurts them that bad, stop reading the

    I enjoy your blog and definitely question some of your logic, but that's the beauty of the human mind, its complete with ability to reason (or be unreasonable :))...

    Just so you know, you do have some men in your corner are MY thoughts (anyone who wants to bash, please do, I am a bit of a masochist).

    Guys in DC want girls to offer to pay the check. Seriously...glad I still live in Atlanta. Guys, if you don't pay (without question) on the first date, you're a ****. If you want the girl to offer to pay, in order to boost your own ego, you're a ****.
    I'm not as strong as I thought I was. You're stronger than most, its one thing to keep a journal, completely different story to put yourself out there in the public arena. Too many judges in that courtroom...
    Blogging is a front, and sometimes I get carried away. I love the 'character' idea in blogging, but if you want to write with a persona, accept the criticism with that same persona. What would 'Vanilla Manolo' (I'm lame I know) think about people's criticism?
    People are googling me more than I realized. Yo Famous! Now stop blowing your own horn...Joking :)
    Now I remember why I made a point about this not being a dating blog. Back to my original case, whether you blog about dating, cupcakes, shoes, or Bert and Ernie, its a blog. You may do it for many personal reasons. The readers should be reading for are not writing the 2013 Bible, Jimmy Choo Edition...

    Hate to see you stop, I just started reading your blog. But if the reasons you started blogging are no longer being fulfilled, adios...

    To end with a quote...

    "Caroline, you'd need a golden calculator to divide
    The time it takes to look inside and realize
    that real guys,
    fall for real down to Mars girls"

  6. Mary El,
    I really enjoy reading your blog and about your forays into the dating world. Any person with common sense could tell that there was a heavy dose of humor mixed in with the experiences you have gathered over your years on the D.C. dating scene. You're not passing this blog off as a factually-correct dating manual. These are your feelings that you are entitled to. People are so negative, but guess what? If they don't like what you're saying on *your* blog, there's a nice big "X" they can hit and they don't have to read it ever again!

    To quote my girl Rihanna, "Don't let the haters get you down".


  7. I love you more than Fridays. :)

  8. Mary El,

    Just remember that this is your blog. It's your voice. You can say what you want. Not everyone will always agree with you, but that's OK. If everyone had the same opinion, the world would be a pretty boring place.

    And, in my opinion, that's why writing a blog can be so tough. You have your own "online persona" that doesn't necessarily show every facet of you. It's still you, it's just the parts of you that you want to portray. But just like you limit what you show... so do your commenters. Unfortunately, people making comments usually don't only show their kind, sweet side. It's generally the snarky, rude, mean side that they would NEVER put out in public.

    And for all the commenters who reply to this and say "I would TOTALLY say that to her face", I call bullsh*t. You might stand by the argument you were making, but you would likely edit the harshness of tone and overall language. It would be a discussion, NOT an attack, which is what some of those comments were on the last blog.

    And if you would be that rude in person, well your mama didn't train you right.

    My point, Mary El, is to remember that blogging IS fun. It IS a great outlet for your creativity and your voice. But for every negative comment you read, know that there are generally 20 people reading your blog who enjoy it and agree with you... but generally remain silent. Because few are willing to engage those crazy commenters on your behalf just because they know how it's gonna go (like a lamb to slaughter).

    Don't stop blogging or being sarcastic. I'd just recommend NOT engaging those who choose to hate. My mama always told me, it takes 2 people to fight. If you don't engage, they get bored and go away.

    Good luck and I hope you keep blogging. I know I enjoy reading what you have to say.

  9. Y'all are all making me think a lot here... :)

    When your No. 1 most epic high school crush tells you he's reading your blog and hates to see you stop, AND that he's in your corner, AND he thinks you're a Martian, things start to look a little different. (I knew you'd always marry your wife because, duh, everyone knew that, but Mr. Aiken's class my junior year sure was fun!)

    I'm sure I'll pick this back up again in a few days. I've got two posts in draft form as it is! I'll probably even put the online dating post back up. Just gotta get over the hump of feeling like a complete jerk.

    Thank you, everyone, for your support AGAIN. You continue to restore my faith in humanity.

  10. Girlie, you are awesome!!! I love your blog and your sense of humor. I wish you did not feel sad. Everything WILL work out for you the best, in God's way and God's time. You are so beloved, by God and by many people :-)

  11. As the guy that commented yesterday about going on a date with you, I felt horrible seeing that you took your last post down. You are a great writer and very entertaining. I’m sorry, if I made you feel bad about your post. I just thought it did not seem like Mary El that I meet in the real world.

    It’s unfortunate that other guys held this against you, but it’s probably better at the end of the day. Just remember, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, I hope to see you blogging again soon.

  12. Mary-El,
    It's YOUR blog. You should post what you want... but just be sure that your words reflect your heart. The thing about the written or spoken word is that you can't take it back. You may be able to delete a post, but those words are still out there, have still been read. I didn't read your dating blog (mostly because I don't pay much attention to that realm,) but I've read many of your other posts. I always get that you're mostly being honest and true to yourself. I don't think you should ever apologize for how you feel, especially if you have good reason for thinking that way. You're a strong woman, so keep on sharing what you feel led to share. I'll keep reading.

  13. I think this post shows how strong you really are. I think it's important that you are humble enough to stop and listen when you think you might be hearing that you should change. Don't lose that quality, but don't let the haters be the only voices you hear, either. :)

  14. I'm totally on team keep blogging as well. Take your time, but your voice is important. The dating world is crazy and confusing, and if you can't joke about it (like you do here on your blog!) then it would drive anyone insane. I have loads of first date rules as well, many of which I'm sure others would see as contiversial. But they are MY rules and its ok for ME to play by then. Same goes for you and your rules. Anyways, I just want to say that I love what you do here and when you're ready to start again, I will still be reading!

  15. I wish the people who were critical of your last post could truly "get" your humor. I remember when we first met, it took a minute for me to catch on! But now that I do, reading your blog is one of my favorite things to do because it makes me miss you less. I don't think this is an online persona, it is exactly you, sarcasm, irony and all. Don't lose your voice because you're becoming a popular read and some people don't get it or appreciate it. :) It's lonely at the top. At least you got people talking! If people aren't enjoying it, why would they keep reading?

  16. I personally have enjoyed reading your blog this past month, it has been quite entertaining. Just beacuse a few people are easily offended or don't agree with your viewpoints is no reason to stop writing. (or at least in my opinion) There are always going to be people who disagree with you and want to start something. Go ahead and take your much deserved break, but I can't wait to keep reading what you have to say when you get back.