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Adding Comedian to my Bio Starting Now

7 Mar
first night

Me on the left, sister on the right

I fell in love with comedy at an early age. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live with my mom and I watched in awe as my dad could instantly put people at ease with his quick wit and humor. I learned early on that making people laugh felt good, and it was something I was pretty good at doing.  I always gravitated towards people I found funny and I always had nothing but respect for people who made people laugh for a living.

I was told more than once that I should do stand-up, and it was always something I wanted to try, but I could not think of anything that sounded more intimidating than to be on a stage in front of strangers trying to make them laugh. After Brett died 2 1/2 years ago, I started to realize that this is it. We get one life and I was letting fear hold me back from something I wanted to do.  Earlier this year, I decided that this was my year to do it.

I had been working on material for a few weeks and I thought it was pretty funny. My comedic hero, and all-around dream man, Zach Galifianakis, advises comedians to go with material they find funny, and not to try to write FOR any particular group of people. If you get no laughs, who cares, try again. This was good news to me since I live in a college town and kind of don’t know what college-aged people find funny.  I sent my rough material to my sister and she told me it was funny, and that people in her office thought it was funny.

By some amazing stroke of luck, Greg, my niece’s ex-boyfriend, had been doing comedy for years and he was at the first open mic that I attended just to watch. He was then, and is now,  incredibly supportive. He told me about a workshop that local comedians attend to try out material and my god I hate the term but I’m going to use it, brainstorm, on material together. The day of the first workshop, I actually sat in my car, psyching myself up to go inside. I was afraid to go inside alone, because Greg had said he was running a little late. I didn’t know anybody else. And I’m old. And I’m a woman. An old woman who knows nobody. And I was petrified. The guys I had seen at the open mic I attended were funny, some funnier than others, but hell, they were all up there trying.

I sat there in my car texting a friend and my sister asking for positive thoughts because I was scared to even go inside the stupid coffee shop where the workshop was being held. They came through and I got out of the car and strolled in and nobody was there yet, so I sat down on one of the benches and ordered a giant glass of wine and waited.  Soon I started to recognize some of the guys from the open mic I attended. I introduced myself to them as they asked me who the hell I was (probably said much nicer than that. Just injecting some drama).  Greg came in and I almost instantly felt better.

Everybody took their turn in front of the room running through bits they were working on. Greg looked like he was born on that stage and I was jealous. I was so nervous about the whole thing, but I got up and went through some of my material…and some of them LAUGHED. These 20 something guys found humor in my stories about being a 44-year-old single woman in a college town, online dating, and my kids. Although embellished for the sake of comedy, this was my life, and they laughed.  I felt empowered. I decided that I would do an open mic in a few weeks.

I think I was less nervous before having my chest sawed open and having open heart surgery. I think I was less nervous driving my Aunt’s car in Washington DC the summer I was 16. I think I was less nervous before any first day of any job or any school year.  I almost talked myself out of doing it several times throughout the day and a couple of more times while sitting at the club waiting for my name to be called.

My sister came into town so she could spend some time with me and my niece and we went to dinner and dropped my boys off with their dad for the night so I could get to the club to sign up by 8:30.  I had spent the last few days in front of my bathroom mirror speaking my material into a hairbrush. I also ran through my material in the car with my sister.  By the time I got to the club, I was sure I had forgotten all of it.

I got up on the stage and my sister and niece were in the front row. I did not forget all of it. I did forget some of it, and while my first open mic was FAR from perfect, I felt really good about it. I still feel really good about it, but I am over being in love with myself and more into what I can do to improve.  I feel like if the material is good, my delivery and saying UMM all the time and nervous tics and stuff on stage, will get better with time. I’m working on more material, and I’ll be doing another open mic on this coming Tuesday, and will be competing in an amateur comedians showcase contest thing in a few weeks.  My plan is to do as many open mics as I can the weeks the boys are with their dad.  I plan to keep writing new material, and polishing this material, because it is ME. This is material I think is funny, and yes, I cuss, and I have some adult themes, but if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you should know this is who I am.

My dear sister recorded this and I had no plans to share it with anyone at all, but a lot of people wanted to see it, so now I am posting it everywhere. I am nothing if not totally fickle.  The response has been mostly positive.  I’m working very hard on not letting the negatives overshadow the positives. I’m proud of myself, and proud of my material.

Also, so many people have expressed an interest in doing stand up. Two words…DO IT. I greatly regret that Brett and my dad, two of the funniest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, are not around to see me do this.

Never Fear…It Is STILL My Year

21 Jan

I am such a good planner that I went ahead and got the health issues and hospital stay out-of-the-way first thing in 2014.  Sometimes I amaze myself…with my own stupidity.

The congenital heart defect that led to heart surgery about 4 years ago that makes me tick (literally and figuratively I suppose) requires that I take blood thinners. Forever. Forever and ever. The amount of blood thinner in my blood must be monitored weekly by in my case a clinic that must be the busiest clinic in the south because every trip there from beginning to end, travel time included, is about 3 hours.   If my levels are relatively stable, the clinic visits go down to once a month. I never managed to be very stable and it felt like I was spending a lot of time at the clinic. I have learned through a series of bad decisions on my part that spending a lot of time at the clinic beats spending 2 nights and 3 days in the hospital, or any time at all in the hospital.

I don’t know if I am so terrified of committing to anything that I felt the need to break up with my medicine or if I really do think I’m invincible, but after hearing lots of stories from friends and loved ones about people who knew people who had a stroke after being off of their blood thinners for two days and stories of people who died, and 1 very curt doctor who had me in tears, and my sister who really could make lecturing her life’s work, I realized that no matter how busy I am, or the fact that I moved, or that it was the holidays, I can’t mess around with my health like that. While there is no doubt that I am fabulous, I am not immortal, and my kids deserve to have me around  to torture them with my long drawn out speeches about injustice in the world. They need me around to make more vision boards and badly sew pillowcases for them. I’m their mom, and there is only one of me. I want to be around for them and I want to be here to see them bring home their first girlfriend, or boyfriend, because whoever they are is who they are and of course I love and accept them, for whoever they are (at this point they would be screaming at me to give it a rest.)

In the spirit of near-death collisions, I have put up another profile on OKCupid.  The latest iteration of my profile has been up for about 36 hours, and I have received some interesting messages,  including one from a man who says he has a Master’s Degree, yet his profile is riddled with spelling errors. I mean, where did he type his profile that NO spell checks noticed that one of his favorite books, presumably Water for Elephants, is not Water for Ella Phants, unless Water for Ella Phants is a book about a woman named Ella Phants who lives in a desert and is on a quest for someone to bring her water, and in that case, color me red.


I have received two messages within 12 hours from the same man, who I guess thinks surely there was a computer glitch and I didn’t receive his first message because why would I NOT immediately write someone who took so much effort to not fill out anything on his profile and who sent a message telling me how much better my hair looks straight rather than curly. Thank you for your unwanted and absolutely unnecessary opinion, man whom I will never message.

My absolute favorite so far is the man who simply sent me a message saying “u don’t look fat”.  I presume I brought this on myself because in my profile I have the audacity to state that while I am not a tiny little person, I am “comfortable in my skin”. This translated to him that I was fishing for compliments I guess, and in his mind, the worst thing a woman can think of herself is that she is “fat”.  What I really want to put on my profile is “don’t worry, I will never ask you if my butt looks big in anything. I have SEEN my butt, it is fantastic, and looks big in everything.”

Ah online dating. Honestly, at least I get a lot of really hilarious and hilariously bad stories out of it.  Keeping an open mind. HEY, maybe I’ll meet someone at the clinic.

peace love joy

Interviewing Dating Sites

28 Mar


A VERY broad generalization of course  –


Thank you all for coming in. As you know,  you are here because I am looking for an online dating service. Please have a seat and I will call you in as soon as I can.

Before we start, let me dismiss Seeking Arrangement and Christian Mingle. Sorry,  one of you creeps me out and the other, well, you both creep me out quite honestly.

Also, Craigslist, I am not yet at the place in my life where I feel the need to use you.  Should I reach total and utter desperation, I will give you a call.

OKAY, Match, you’re up first.   You are the most persistent applicant, by far. I see you everywhere it seems.  I see by your resume that 15 million people use you. That is impressive! I will tell you, I used you before, and did not have any luck and in fact, found several of your members to be quite angry, especially the one who called me a bitch for referring to myself as independent.  After I fired you, you still emailed me claiming someone chose me. I understand this is something you do to try and entice former users to use you again. It did the opposite for me, so I’m going to have to decline your services.  No, I don’t want to just try you for 3 months.  No, I don’t want to communicate free for a day.  No, I don’t want to see my matches.  Stop begging for heaven’s sake! Have some dignity, man. Get out.

Hi, OK Cupid…interesting choice to show up in Spider-Man makeup and you look quite a bit younger than the age I had specified. Oh, the  men my age are all in the 25-35 room?  Okay, well let’s chat for a bit. Yes, I said hi and you said hi, so let’s move on.  Hey is just another way of saying hi, so…I see that you like…well, not much is filled out on your application, what do you like? Ah yes, living life to the fullest. Excellent. Listen, I think we’re just about done here. I will keep you on the back burner because I am nothing if not a total masochist, but more than likely, this is not going to work out. Thanks for being free though.

Next up, eHarmony. What? They left? They decided they didn’t want to work with me? Okay then.

OH wow…Plenty of Fish and YES, there are plenty of you, all pants-less and/or shirtless.   Let me see, looks like you filled  out your application in crayon and it smells faintly of what seems to be a mix of Hai Karate and beer.  Okay, well, thanks so much for coming in.  You all truly made me feel like the belle of the ball for a while,  or at the very least, the most popular gal at the VD clinic.

Only 7 more years and I can give Our Time a shot.

Online Dating Sucks…

7 Mar

dating sucks

I just finished reading Online Dating Sucks…But It’s How I Fell in Love by John P. Gavin.  Given my long and sordid history with online dating I thought this book would be good for a few laughs, and it is, but it is really so much more than that.

As I read, I was struck by Gavin’s honesty. He addresses his own marriage and subsequent divorce, the fact that after his divorce he was a “player”, and of course, his experiences with online dating.  Besides all of that though, Gavin gives insight on the very differences between how men and women think, and of course there are exceptions to everything, but on the whole, I found myself nodding in agreement.

Perhaps my favorite thing about reading this book was the vindication I felt about some of the things I always suspected to be true.   I always had a sneaky suspicion that men tended to write their profiles sort of as the men they hoped to be.  Again, not every man does this, but I have no doubt some do. Just as I am sure some women do.

Gavin gives excellent advice to anyone who is thinking about entering the world of online dating. Advice that includes first and foremost deciding what you’re looking for. This is very important because if you don’t know then you are likely to be manipulated by someone who DOES know what they are looking for. It’s okay to want to casually date, if that is what you want. It’s okay to NOT want to just casually date if you are hoping to settle down and get married.  Just keep your goals in mind and don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

Also, something I could not do without ever, the importance of keeping a sense of humor when online dating. Like I said in my iReport, you have to have a thick skin and you have to let things roll off your back. I am a big proponent in realizing that you cannot control what others think of you. This is something I still struggle with and is not my default state, but I am getting there.  It is imperative when online dating, or dating in general really, that you not obsess over that guy who didn’t answer your email, or the woman who didn’t return your wink.  Gavin says it best so I will quote him, “worrying about what’s beyond one’s control is a recipe for disaster – let him think what he wants and move on – there are plenty more guys out there.”

This brings me to my next favorite part of the book. I found it to be almost spiritual in some ways. Gavin talks about the book The Four Agreements, and I had heard of this book, but I had not thought to apply it to online dating, but it makes sense as the Agreements are meant to be lived by, and if online dating is in your life, The Four Agreements should be as well.  I highlighted so much of this book and the last time I had done that was when I read a book about getting over a broken heart.  This book spoke to me like that one did.

My ONLY problem with the book is the whole age thing in regards to online dating but only because I did my own experiment and it really is true that after the age of 40, women seem to drop off the face of the earth on dating sites.  For a while I had my actual age on my profile, 43 (42 before this past January) and I got very few messages.  Very few.  I changed my age to 39 and Chuck Woolery bar the door, I was getting a TON of messages. Young men, middle aged men, old men, one woman (seriously), I was the most popular gal on all of OKCupid! Then, January came along and my age switched from 39 to 40, and it all stopped.  I went from being a hot commodity to feeling like I needed to invest in Depends undergarments.  While I agree with what Gavin says about not wanting to build a relationship on a lie I don’t know what my other options could be except to wait for 7 more years to join the  “Our Time” dating site.  They look like they’re having a lot of fun in those commercials.

In all seriousness, I recommend this book to anyone who is currently on the dating sites, thinking about joining dating sites, or even if you are not online and are just dating. There is so much good insight into relationships and doing the hard work necessary to make one work, if that’s your thing.

So Long Suckers

21 Feb
Something I have learned about online dating is that not only is it okay to not answer every message I receive (and I have had that confirmed by the book I’m reading now called, Online Dating Sucks…But It’s How I Fell in Love, more on that soon), but it is imperative that I do not because at this point I would rather hear a friend talk about their eye surgery and the shaving of their cornea than engage in inane banter with someone that I don’t really feel like talking to. I am not at the point where I feel like I should deactivate my OKCupid profile again but if I answered every  guy who messaged “yo” or the one who wrote “CUTE LADY AND THOGH WE DONT NOT HAVE MUCH IN COMMIN I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU” – actual cut and paste message – I will not only want to deactivate, I will want to burn my computer to the ground.

I don’t know if it is apparent, but I’m rather skittish when it comes to dating at this point. I get spooked if I start to feel smothered, and I start to feel that pretty much after the initial email. Might be a slight exaggeration, but honestly, if I get a whiff of desperation or neediness, I bolt. Fast.  Psychoanalyze all you want. I’m an open book. It’s just the way it is right now.

OKCupid is set up so that other uses can see when you are online and also alerts them when you visit their profile, unless you pay the extra money to be a premium member. At one point I did that but I have not renewed so I don’t have it anymore and here we are.

About a week or so ago I received a message from a man who is 59. I am 43.  This age difference is not totally crazy in my opinion, though on the site my cutoff is 55. However, I am trying very hard to look beyond age, especially if the profile is interesting to me. Having said that, his profile just wasn’t. I get it, filling out these profiles is not fun, unless you’re starved for attention and like talking about yourself. Needless to say I kind of liked doing mine. I just need more from somebody than one word answers to every question or every answer peppered with a lot of “LOL’s.” For instance, the question “what are you doing with your life?”,  should never be answered “I don’t know. Living it!  LOL.”  I mean it CAN be, but I don’t know anybody who would read that and think “oh my goodness…what a clever answer. This man must be mine” or even “I think I’ll answer his ‘yo’ message because he is obviously living his life and LOL’ing and that’s pretty much all I need.”  I take that back, SOMEBODY might, and that is fine. I just won’t. Ever.

The message I received from the 59 year old in question was “hey pretty lady.” I like a compliment just as much as the next person and I’ll be honest, this message coupled with an interesting profile might have prompted a response, but it didn’t. After receiving his message, I have not spent a lot of time on the site, though I do go on and check out profiles of anybody who sends me a message. I have received two messages since receiving his and both times I have been on the site he INSTANTLY sent me a message asking how I was doing.  I can only imagine him sitting in a darkened room wearing his bathrobe over his boxer shorts just waiting for “online now”to show up on the profiles of those he sent those “hey pretty lady” messages to. It is probably not accurate, but it is quite the visual.
Something else OKCupid does is alert you when an OKCupid user is “nearby.”  I have yet to figure out why this is a good idea.  While I’m lost in a Home Depot, I don’t need to be alerted that “Hot4YoU69” is close by unless he can tell me where the hell to find an electric screwdriver.  Anyway, last night my phone, which has the OKCupid app installed, dinged and alerted me that someone was close by. Usually, I just read the message and clear it because ain’t nobody got time for that. Last night, however, in a comedy of errors that involved my Vienna sausage fingers and tiny buttons on my phone coupled with frustration for not being able to locate an electric screwdriver, I accidentally clicked on the profile of the 59 year old. What happened next is terrifying. I immediately received a message saying “thanks for dropping by my profile pretty lady. I have been waiting.”  No joke.  I HAVE BEEN WAITING.  So, I’ll be dropping out of site and entering the witness protection program, or at the very least,  deleting the OKCupid app from my phone.

There IS Always a Funny Story

12 Feb

I found a cute story on CNN about online dating – The Upside of Online Dating: There’s Always a Funny Story

Wait  a SECOND,  I’m Amy Lawson! That is me quoted in that piece!

How did this come about? Well, thanks for asking. I am an iReporter with CNN and I wrote this for an iReport assignment and the producers liked it and interviewed me for the feature story above.

I did not write the feature story  but I am pleased as I can be that they liked my iReport and I was happy to be a part of the feature.  I come off obsessed about Star Wars, shoes, and doughnuts. I feel like the reporter really captured my “essence.”

Now I just sit back and wait for the checks to roll in and for Ellen to call to have me on her show to discuss my meteoric rise to fame.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Online Dating…part two

3 Feb

When I wrote this for CNN (that sounds SO official but it’s an iReport and anybody can write them) I had to cut it because it got very long. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to spill my guts to the world about online dating. Of course, everybody is different, but I wanted to share my experiences and thoughts on the whole thing.

I have had a profile on OKCupid off an on for a little over a year. The first time I was really just curious about who (or what) was out there. I don’t think I got ANY messages because I was timid about it and I didn’t even include a picture and I think the profile itself had 4 sentences.  I deactivated pretty quickly and swore that I would not do that again.

I DID do that again. This time, I was much more confident about the whole thing and I checked out a book from the library to help me write my profile. OKCupid has some open-ended questions for your profile and they also suggest you answer a series of multiple choice questions. The answers to your questions are used to match you with prospective mates, dates, whatever.

I have met a few men in person and gone on a few dates. I HONESTLY cannot remember the order of the dates I went on, regarding who I met first. I can tell you in the mix is a  librarian, a comedian (waiter), an  unemployed news director, and a construction worker.  I can also tell you that the comedian was not funny in the least, the unemployed news director ‘forgot’ his wallet on our date (he also ‘forgot’ to mention that he WAS unemployed, and didn’t have a car until we were on the date and he asked for a ride home). As for the librarian, I consider him a friend and I actually dated the construction worker for about 5 months until he broke things off, immediately moved in with a girl he met at Best Buy who then forged his name on some of his checks she made out to herself. After this happened, we tried the ‘friend’ route,  but I quickly realized he was kind of an idiot and I was not interested in being his friend. Sigh.

As of right now, my profile is still up and for some reason I have experienced a huge surge in messages I am receiving. I honestly thought for a bit that the construction worker I dated had put my profile up somewhere. Why he would do this is not something I thought about. I do not know why I am receiving so many messages. I double checked my profile and it looks fine. Nobody hacked into it and added under my interests ‘sucking golf balls through garden hoses’ or put that one of the 6 things I cannot live without is ‘sex’.

Sex brings me to the next observation. I receive a lot of messages from 20 something year old men looking for someone to be a ‘cougar’ to them. I am not judgmental in the least, that is just not my bag. I did laugh when one 20 something sent me a message (that sounded very much like a commercial for himself) and told me that he is ‘ferocious’ in bed. I was 20 once, and having sex with other 20 year olds, ‘ferocious’ is NOT the word I would use. ‘Quick’, ‘clueless’, and  ‘confused’ comes to mind, but not ‘ferocious’. Hopefully I have not offended my huge following of 20 something year old males.

I put together a little bulleted list of my personal do’s and dont’s of online dating. Who doesn’t like bulleted lists?

  • DO put up pictures from this decade. Cell phones have made it insanely easy for all of us to document every aspect of our daily lives. Surely you could take a break from posting your lunch on Facebook to take a quick picture of yourself to accompany your profile. None of us are supermodels out here. Just a quick picture of your face. Not you lifting weights, not you wearing your biking outfit (SERIOUSLY, nobody looks good in spandex. NOBODY), not you with an ex girlfriend with her face blocked out (tacky).
  • DO be CLOTHED in your picture. I see a profile with just abs or some shirtless guy I swear to the heaven’s above, I can practically smell vinegar and water because it reeks of douchiness.
  • DON’T send me a message that is literally one word ‘yo’, or ‘sexy’. I don’t even answer those. Anymore.
  • DON’T forget, this is your journey. You’re the star of your online dating movie. It’s all about you. Got it? Don’t be a bitch, but don’t feel like you have to answer every shirtless dude who writes you ‘yo’, unless that’s your thing then have at it. Not my particular thing. Anymore.
  • DO have a thick skin. Why let some guy get under your skin because you message him but he doesn’t respond? His loss. NEXT.
  • DON’T forget to have fun. This should be fun. If you meet 15 men and go on 5 dates and end up with 1 friend, those odds are pretty damn good.
  • DO be safe about online dating. If you decide to meet someone in person meet in a public place and tell everybody you know about where that place is. Maybe not everybody you know, but at least one or two people should know. It’s better to be safe than chopped up and put in somebody’s freezer.

I think the most important thing about online dating, or life, is to know yourself and your boundaries. If you’re okay with a casual relationship with no strings, then that’s fine. If you’re hoping to get married within the next 3 years, that’s fine too…though I would not suggest sharing that on the first date.

J. A. Allen

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