The problem with being single for a decade (and counting) longer than planned is that your standards are forced to go down right when they should really be going up. You're finally smart enough to know exactly how you deserve to be treated and filter out all the unworthy types of guys you would have dated when you were younger... except now the filtering has been done for you and then some.

If I wanted to marry riffraff, I could have done that right away. I didn't wait this long just for someone's leftovers and their three bratty kids.

New strategy: The most expensive face cream I can afford and a newfound interest in hanging out on college campuses. Legal is legal.


Top Ten Baby Names (That Should Be Trending) for 2017

It's time for my Top Ten Baby Names for 2017! (But first, review the Top Ten Baby Names for 2016.) You can name your kids Sophia and Jackson like everyone else. Or you can give them a respectable name. It's up to you, but whatever you do, don't worry: It's just your children's entire future at stake.

10. Terrence and Trevor are wussy names. Just be honest and call your son Terror.

9. You're not really going to name your daughter Clementine, are you? And it's a little late to hop on the Lydia trend. You know what will help this situation? Chlamydia.

8, 7, 6. So you're having triplets? Congratulations! But that's triple the names to fight about. Your spouse probably wants them to be match-matchy like Jenny, Jamie, and Julie. Gross. Meanwhile you're suggesting more reasonable possibilities: Amanda, Madeline, Clara... Annette, Violet, Lynn... Here's a compromise: Mandolynn, Clarinette, and Violynn. Plus, you already have a family band in the making. Win-win-win.

5. It's tempting to follow the trends that are reaching back farther and farther to pull out grandmotherly gems like Eileen and Scarlett. But if you're going for something that antique, might as well name her Eyelett after that horrible lace from the same century as those oldy names. In fact, while you're at it, look in the attic for the bassinet passed down from your grandmother Eileen... it probably has some eyelet bedding with it. Now get rid of that and get a proper crib.

4. Sage has been moderately popular for awhile, and you'll even meet some Basils -- but why do we have to take our hippie inclinations so literally? What's wrong with something normal, like Megan? Or if you must incorporate a spice, at least go with Nutmegan. Lots of nickname options there.

3. But if you insist on naming your child after an herb, at least let me help you justify it: Preempt Camille's potential stuttering problem and just call her Chamomile to begin with. People might mutter "child abuse" under their breath when they hear that your plan to name your child after a disgusting tea, but these are the same people who named their kid Aiden/Caden/Jayden back in 2010. Ignore them.

2. Ariel and Aurelia are unique enough for some, but to really ensure she's the only kid in her class with her name, call her Areola. You might have a hard time finding a keychain with her name on it at touristy gift shops, but I guarantee she will not have to go by first name + last initial.

1. Calista and Charity are okay I guess, but I don't understand why Calamity hasn't made a comeback yet. It doesn't have to be Calamity Jane, if that's too boring. Just play around with it: Calamity Susan... Calamity Jezebel... hell, you could even go with Calamity Sophia.



Maybe those mail-senders know me better than I know myself, because I just found out that I have early-onset osteoarthritis. Of course I do. Why wouldn't I? Gray hair and regular colonoscopies starting at twenty-three... arthritis and orthotics at thirty-three... It's like my very body is giving up on me. Like it just skipped my child-bearing years and went straight to old age.

God I love being alive. It's the best.


We Heard You Might Be Dying

The house where I singly rent a room recently received mail addressed to the "Hagans Family" from the mortuary. I guess they heard I'm not the hugest fan of being alive and figured they would find out what to do with my body while there was still time -- and before the competing mortuaries could get my business. I don't believe I am acquainted with these people, but they start their correspondence with "Dear Friend" and promise me a Final Wishes Organizer as a token of their thanks. What a timely and thoughtful gesture! I'm busy drafting my response to this most considerate of offers...

1. How old are you?
Getting up there, apparently.

2. Are you currently: 
A. Retired YES
B. Employed YES (I like to give back)

3. If you have given thought to this subject, which of the following would you choose for yourself?
A. Burial
B. Cremation
I appreciate your tactful albeit naive assumption that I don't think about death all the time. So far I like you better than the mortuaries that didn't bother to reach out. Keep it up.

4. How important to you personally is the location (proximity) of the cemetery:
I prefer to die directly in my grave plot, thanks for asking.

5. Are you aware that prepaid funeral plans exist?

6. Have you ever considered a prepaid funeral plan?
No, but now I feel guilty that all the effort I've been putting into my upcoming suicide should be going towards that instead.

7. How much might you expect to pay for a funeral?
A. $0-$2,000
B. $2,000-$4,000
C. $4,000-$6,00--Okay, I get the point!

8. Do you maintain up-to-date biographical information and accurate family records to assist you or a loved one with funeral planning?
What do you think, Friend?

9. Have you made firm plans and arrangements for cemetery property?

10. Do you currently have life insurance that is allocated for funeral arrangements in the event of your death?

11. Are your loved ones and family members aware of what you desire and prefer for your own arrangements?
They will be once I receive my complimentary Final Wishes Organizer (ahem). Thanks for helping me up my suicide note game.

12. Do you currently have a will?
To live? Not really, no; hence all of these arrangements for my death.

13. In the event of your death, who would be responsible for making the arrangements?
A. SpouseNOPE
B. ChildreNOPE thanks now I want to kill myself again

BTW, If this letter reaches you at a time of illness or loss, please accept our sincerest apologies.

Hilarity. I've also been getting mail from the AARP urging me to apply for a membership, so I'm not sure how old all these strangers think I am, but I'm totally offended because their membership benefits are not even worth it.


Limited Edition

Our new air freshener in the bathroom at work smells so good, I would seriously wear it as perfume. I looked at the can to see what it was, and it was a scent called "Fresh Sky," and then I saw that it was also labeled "Limited Edition."  Come again? First of all, why is it that every time I find a good product, it gets discontinued? Secondly... Limited Edition air freshener?! Hey marketing team, you guys realize this is a cleaning product, right?

I'm tempted to buy a can for myself, but whether to save it as a collector's item or spray it all over myself, I can't decide...



"Do you have a plan to hurt yourself?" the doctor always asks. The plan is to get cancer. Sometimes I stand in front of the microwave, or sleep with my cell phone next to my head. One time I heard a story about a girl who botched a suicide attempt lying down on train tracks. Instead of losing her head, she lost her legs and survived and then she really wanted to die. So you'll understand if I'm a little gun-shy about the whole suicide thing.

The doctor said I could see an eating disorder specialist or try a new medication that will make me gain weight. The medication seemed more efficient. It's also supposed to keep me from having suicidal thoughts, but the one of the side effects, besides weight gain, is suicidal thoughts. I see what you did there, pharmaceutical industry. I'm not supposed to drink alcohol with this medication, either, because it may cause drowsiness, but the main reason I'm taking it is to help me sleep, so... I think what they meant is for maximum effectiveness, take with alcohol.

The pills are so tiny, I can hardly tell if I've swallowed them or if they're still in my mouth. They only gave me a two-week supply, but they still put it in a huge bottle. When the baby enters my room, he always goes straight for the drugs and shakes the bottle like a rattle. Now there are two bottles, one for each hand. The baby grins as he practices his percussion. The drugs work better on him.


How to Get Girls, Part 3

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2.)

The Bait and Switch

Step 1: Locate a female. Preferably one with severe emotional issues who is going through a particularly vulnerable time and won't be able to enforce healthy boundaries. Caution: This may backfire if she's so mentally unstable that she violently attacks you later.

Step 2: Ask her out. The beautiful thing is that it doesn't matter if she says yes or no. If she says no, which she will...

Step 3: ...Carry on as though she said yes. As in, conduct the relationship in a way that looks exactly like dating. The key here is to use her own word: "friends." That word is like a magic license to treat her as outrageously inappropriately as you want. If she suggests including other friends, veto this immediately. Isolation is essential.

Step 4: Now that you've got her isolated, don't waste any time in obtaining extremely personal information. Schedule her therapy appointments on your calendar to be "supportive" -- since no one else can match your unhealthy level of attention, she'll become dependent on you. (The other beautiful thing is that it doesn't even matter if you're not smart or funny or interesting at all... just act unbelievably nice and she'll be under your control.) If she's having a bad day, make sure to seem more understanding than anyone else would ever be so that she'll keep coming to you. Stay in contact all throughout the day, or every other day at the least. Make her homemade soup when she mentions feeling slightly under the weather. Get all dressed up and take her out to dinner and the ballet. Hell, rent an airplane and take her flying if you can! You know she never gets to do such things, so she won't be able to resist. Compliment her dress... her hair... her eyes. Get more and more flirtatious slowly over several months so that she doesn't notice what's happening until you're holding her in a long embrace. As long as you still call her a "friend," she can't possibly get attached to you, but you get to feel like a hero. (One exception to the "act like you're dating" rule: if she insists on paying for herself, let her. No reason to invest in something temporary. You're getting a great deal, plus she'll be tempted to believe that you're respecting her boundaries.)

Step 5: Repeat step 4 until a new prospect comes along. Trade in the placeholder immediately. If she points out your place-holding behavior, turn it around so that you're the victim -- she is invalidating your lifestyle and that hurts! Admit no fault, and certainly don't apologize. Why should you? This person has ceased to be useful to you, so reconciliation is unnecessary. You got what you wanted... and guilt-free, because after all, you were just friends -- she said so herself! And you know what they say: "Words speak louder than actions." (Don't bother yourself with the ethics of gaslighting someone who already has literal brain damage from gaslighting... you have more interesting things to worry about now!)

Step 5: Charm this new person into marrying you as soon as possible -- before she can change her mind. Four months is plenty of time to turn an acquaintance into a spouse. Remember, the only thing better than abruptly merging your entire life with a near-stranger (and having a black eye in your wedding pictures) is to time it so that you're also starting a stressful new job and moving out of state where you lack the social support your questionable decisions certainly require.