Thought Catalog

23 Real People Reveal The Weirdest Request They’ve Ever Received In Bed

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 05:22 PM PDT


1. No condoms? I guess we’ll just have to have anal, then.

"The other night, in response to realizing I didn't have any condoms, this dude goes, 'can we just have anal, then?' I'm sitting there like, oh yeah TOTALLY guy, because unlike my vagina, my ass is immune to STIs. Come on in."

— Maeve, 22

2. Wanna fuck…in my grandma’s bed?

"Once, a guy asked me if we could have sex in his grandparents' bed. He said it would help him 'get in touch with his heritage.'"

— Opal, 20

3. I’d like to taste the rainbow…out of your ass, please.

“My boyfriend recently asked if he could put a Skittle in my butt…and then eat it. When I said no, he offered to ‘compromise’ with a Dum Dum.”

— Ollie, 21

4. How’d you like to get fucked with a garden vegetable?

"A guy once asked if he could fuck me with a cucumber."

— Ruby, 26

5. I’d like to watch you sleep, please.

"My first Tinder hookup asked me, mid-sex, if he could have a key to my apartment so he could let himself in to watch me sleep 'next time.' There was no next time."

— Nicola, 23

6. Will you make me a sandwich?

"My ex once asked if I would pause sex to go make her a sandwich. I was like, bitch, I know I'm whipped…but Christ, I'm not that whipped."

— Ray, 25

7. Can I have a snack…out of your crotch?

"I shit you not, in college, this random dude asked me if he could eat chips and guac out of my vagina."

— Lola, 23

8. Toss my salad…literally.

"A woman I was casually dating once asked me if I'd 'fix her salad.' I assumed she meant 'toss her salad,' so I was like, yeah sure, I'm down. She proceeded to get out of bed, only to return a few minutes later with a bowl full of lettuce and vegetables and a bottle of ranch. Then she sat on the bed, cross-legged, with the bowl in her lap, holding out the dressing…as if I was supposed to know what the fuck to do next."

— Carlos, 25

9. My nipples need some positive vibrations.

"The guy I'm currently hooking up with keeps asking me to 'stimulate' his nipples with my vibrator."

— Priya, 21

10. You get off to the Wizard Of Oz, by any chance?

"Um, this fucking CREEPER once asked me, mid-blowjob, if I'd put on these sparkly red Dorothy shoes he had in his closet and braid my hair real quick while he got on his 'favorite tin man costume.' Yeah sure, dude, as long as it's your favorite!"

— Nia, 25

11. You like a guy who misses his mommy?

"A one-night stand once asked if I liked guys with 'mommy issues' right after we'd finished having sex. I was like, 'uh, no…not particularly,' to which he responded, 'well…would you mind singing me a lullaby so I can fall asleep, anyway?'"

— Isadora, 24

12. May I vajazzle you, ma’am?

"A woman once asked me if she could 'vajazzle' my vagina so it could be 'more fun to go to down on.'"

— Nina, 22

13. Here’s an idea: let’s make a sex tape FOR MY EX, LOL!

"The first and only time I've attempted a 'find-you-at-the-club-then-fuck-u-and-never-see-u-again' one-night stand, the guy I picked up stopped mid-sex to ask if he could record me—'not your face, obviously'—so he could send the video to his ex. When I said 'fuck no,' he proceeded to cry."

— Jazzie, 23

14. Can I suck ur blood, please?

"When I was at boarding school, a girl I was hooking up with called me a 'sexy vampire,' and subsequently admitted to having a Twilight fetish…then, naturally, she requested that we do some vampire role play, and asked me if it would be OK if she 'broke the skin' when she bit me…"

— Tomás, 21

15. I’d like to share this moment with my boss, if you don’t mind.

"One time, a guy asked to take a picture of me while we were having sex to send to his boss, arguing that it was, like, the most normal, reasonable thing in the world. He literally picked up his phone to do it before I smacked it out of his hand (and never slept with him again)."

— Tilly, 22

16. Allow me to drug you.

"This sexy as hell dominatrix chick I was hooking up with asked me if she could blindfold me and give me 'a pill.' I was like…well…what kind of pill? She wouldn't say. I almost agreed, but then I was like, chill Paul…tonight is not the night you let yourself get roofied."

— Paul, 26

17. We shall sleep according to my compass.

“This British dude once pulled out a vintage compass and asked me if we could sleep ‘facing northeast.’ I complied.”

— Quentin, 28

18. Pierce your clit…for me, please?

"During our first hook up, friend-of-a-friend I met on Hinge asked me if I'd pierce my clit because he 'liked the way it feels.' Yeah, sure, guy I LITERALLY just met. It'd be my honor!"

— Eva, 21

19. Next time we have sex, I’d like you to be horse-tranquilized.

"A fucking weirdo I met on Grindr once insisted it would be super hot if I was on Klonopin the next time we hooked up, that way I'd be 'all relaxed and we could have really smooth anal.'"

— Wade, 21

20. Wanna fuck to my childhood?

"Last week, a guy asked me if wanted him to play childhood home videos of himself while we had sex. I was like…………….um, no thanks dude, I'm all set."

— Qi, 23

21. Do me like a teddy bear, please?

"When I was in college, a girl I'd just started hooking up with asked me to put on her Uggs and this bear suit she had in her closet. Obviously, her dream was to fuck a teddy bear."

— Zane, 25

22. I’m bored…do you mind if I jam out…by myself?

"This girl once asked if she could play some music while we were having sex. I was like, yeah, why not? She then plugged her earbuds into her phone, and started listening to her '69' playlist…….with the earbuds in."

— Umer, 24

23. Do you mind if Marc joins…like right now?

"My ex-boyfriend and I had always planned to have a threesome with one of his friends, and one night when we were at this guy's lake house for the weekend, my boyfriend asked me, in the middle of sex, if we could invite Marc (the friend) in. I was like, 'um, right now?' Before he answered, he was calling Marc into the room, and I'm lying there like, 'wait, what??? NO, not this second, I'm not ready for this shit.' Marc was completely weirded out. It didn't end well."

— Vienna, 23 TC mark

She Was Hypnotized To Become A Submissive And She Loved It

Posted: 12 Aug 2015 12:51 PM PDT

Twenty20 / nei.cruz
Twenty20 / nei.cruz

Caroline had been at her job for a few months, but had a hard time fitting in. Her colleagues, a bunch of catty, older women froze her out, because they believed she got the job on her looks, that she slept her way into her position. There was no truth to that, but her boss, Mr. White, had looked at her hungrily during the interview and always stood way too close while they talked. It was her first job out of college and she had actually been surprised she got it. Caroline had done nothing to encourage him and had rebuffed his advances several times, but her colleagues had seen how familiar he was with her and wouldn't believe her when she explicitly told them nothing was going on.

One day, Mr. White came to her desk and invited her to join him on a trip to Las Vegas for a weeklong trade convention. He said she would learn a lot, make lasting and important connections and so on, although the bulge in his pants suggested he had other motives. Caroline thought about it and accepted. They would have two rooms, so she could stop his advances. And he was right, it could be good for her career. Perhaps she’d find another job where she’d be happy.


A few weeks later, Caroline stepped off the plane in Las Vegas alone. Mr. White's secretary had called as she waited in the security line and told her that her boss had gotten food poisoning and couldn't go. She forwarded the itinerary and bookings to Caroline's phone and wished her good luck. Caroline was a bit nervous but excited; she had never been on a business trip before, nor had she ever been in Las Vegas.

She took a cab to the hotel to shower and get dressed, then it was time for the first symposium. During the day, she learned a lot and tried to make contacts. After a dinner with a few people from the convention, Caroline headed to the entertainment Mr. White had booked, “The Amazing Mesmer.” It was at a small club off the strip and it turned out The Amazing Mesmer was a hypnotist, a tall and slightly pudgy, but broad shouldered man, maybe a few years older than her. He started his show by explaining a bit about how hypnotism worked, and just hearing his deep voice did something strange to Caroline. He was really talented and funny as he picked person after person from the audience and made them do all kinds of things, using the light of a crystal in his hand to put them under. Caroline laughed along with everybody else, but as Mesmer put them under and ordered them around she found herself feeling fuzzy and compliant. When he ordered a man to bark like a dog she found herself woofing along with him until she caught herself and blushed in embarrassment. She looked around in the room and thankfully no one was looking at her, but when she looked back at the stage Mesmer smiled knowingly at her.

He pulled Caroline up on stage next and had her under almost as soon as he showed her the crystal. She was still kind of aware of everything, but it was like she was a spectator in her own body, floating, happy and fuzzy. Even Mesmer seemed surprised at how easily Caroline was to manipulate, and proclaimed to the audience that he could make her do anything! He explained that with most people the trance he induced lowered inhibitions and made them pretty suggestible, but that they wouldn’t do anything completely out of character. Once in a while he came across someone like Caroline though, who was extremely open to hypnosis and lacked the normal mental barriers. He smiled and said that it was the first time it was such a beautiful woman.

He got Caroline to sing and dance even though she normally suffered stage fright, and it felt so liberating to just let it happen. He then made her behave like a few animals, crawling around on stage like a dog wagging her butt like a tail, hopping around like a bunny, arching and purring and rubbing up against him like a cat to her owner. There were a lot of whistles from the audience and a few of the more inebriated men yelled out lewd suggestions. Part of her felt so humiliated and she struggled to get control even as she felt herself getting aroused by the strange situation and her lack of control. Mesmer then got her to tell the audience her most embarrassing memories to show that he didn't just have control of her body, but her mind as well.

As the show ended he had her stay on stage and then commanded her to come with him. He led her to his room at the casino and told her to stand still and quiet, to wait as he stepped into the bathroom. Caroline stood there motionless for 15 minutes or so as she heard the shower running. She struggled to gain control one last time before giving up, resigning herself to what he had in store for her, to that floating, happy and fuzzy place her mind was in. He came out of the bathroom naked, newly showered and with his big hard dick leading the way. She still couldn't move as he started caressing her, as he stripped her until she was standing there naked and wetter than she'd ever been. She was mad at herself for how she reacted, but his gentle touch and the mental bondage he had put her in was such a turn-on.

He stood behind her and played with her tits, switching between pinching and gently caressing her nipples, as his cock laid in her ass crack. He whispered a command in her ear.

"Lay down on the couch and spread your ass. Good girl. I want you to keep eye contact with me for this. I want to hear your pleasure, your moans, as I take you."

Mesmer took some lube from a drawer and started lubing up his massive cock as she obeyed. She felt a surge of fear as she realized what he was about to do. She was a virgin back there, but she was powerless to stop herself or him.

As he started working lubrication into her ass with his finger he made his next command.

"You will relax your ass completely as I push into you, and clench each time I pull out. Your arousal will build and build, and when I bottom out in you, you will cum hard. You will cum each time I bottom out, and when I fill you with my seed you will cum non stop until I pull out of you."

It felt dirty and taboo and she thought it should feel wrong, but it felt just too good.

She felt him remove his fingers and put his cock head against her opening and though Caroline's instinct was to clench, she felt herself opening up and his thick head went in with just a little twinge that just fueled her horniness.

Caroline whimpered and moaned as Mesmer slowly nudged his way deeper and deeper, stretching her out. It felt dirty and taboo and she thought it should feel wrong, but it felt just too good.

Caroline looked deep into his grey-blue eyes, unable to look away. He really was quite handsome, and that look in his eyes, that complete desire for her turned her on just as much as his cock going where nothing had gone before. She absentmindedly wondered what his real name was — he looked like an Andrew or maybe an Eric. Suddenly he jerked his hips forward, his hips slapping against her ass, and she came. It was the first time ever that she came without something on her clit, and it was a strange and wonderful orgasm that left her quivering and breathless.

He groaned as her ass milked his cock, but held back. He kept still and ran his hands up along her body, feeling her trembling stomach, teasing her nipples, running his thumb along her lower lip and smiling as she suckled at it. She felt him pull out until the head of his cock caught on the rim of her ass. He thrust in most of the way again and again, keeping her on edge, then suddenly he slammed in hard all the way, making her squeal and cum just as hard again. He made her cum again and again without any real pattern, sometimes he fucked her for a minute or two before going deep, other times he did it two or three times in a row. Caroline felt like she was dissolving into pleasure, the conscious part of her mind only focused on the next rush of euphoria and his eyes.

Mesmer's thrusts were getting erratic, and with a bellow he pushed in deep and came hard, filling her with his hot seed. She came harder than ever before, screaming so hard that no sound came out. The hypnotist slumped forward, resting his body against hers, his cock still deep inside her, slowly softening, keeping her at the peak of orgasm as he had commanded. Darkness was creeping in around the edges of her vision as the pleasure became too much, but she couldn’t move, couldn’t break his command. Through a massive amount of willpower she got enough control of her breath to at least whimper pleadingly, and he rolled off her to rest next to her on the couch. He kissed her on the cheek and spoke into her ear, "Relax your body, let it recover. You can stop keeping eye contact with me now."

She felt her body slump down on the couch as she drew ragged breaths and her pulse slowly returned to normal. Mesmer pulled her close so that her head was resting on his chest and he rested his hand on her waist. They stayed like that for a while, and Caroline felt strangely blissful and content even as her mind slowly cleared of that overwhelming pleasure. After what seemed like an eternity, Mesmer told her to stand up and led her into the shower. He washed her body from head to toe, and he paid special attention to her tits, her pussy, and her ass, making her aroused again. When he was done he had her wash him in return; she washed his hair and face, soaped his neck and shoulders and down his arms. She washed his back down to his butt, then each leg and foot. He turned around and she couldn’t help but notice that he was hard again, his impressive erection brushing against her belly as she soaped his chest and stomach. She lathered his shaft and balls, and down his thighs. Without him even telling her she stroked him and played with his balls just as he had with her, making him moan.

After he had rinsed off the suds, he commanded her to kneel and start licking his shaft. As she obeyed he continued.

"The taste of me is the best thing you’ve ever tasted, and it turns you on. You will blow me, and you will take me deep down your throat. You will not gag, you have no gag reflex. You will lick the underside of my dick as you blow me, and as I enter your throat you will swallow again and again to massage my cock. Each time you take me all the way down you will feel a spark of an orgasm, and when you swallow my cum you will cum hard."

Caroline had never minded giving head to her boyfriends, it had felt good to give them pleasure and it made her feel naughty, but with Mesmer's commands she felt wonderful. His skin and his precum tasted like heaven, and as she worked her way down his cock, swallowing and swallowing, she got hotter and hotter. Her pussy started clenching and as her nose nuzzled into his pubes she was right on the verge. She held him deep until she needed to breathe, then she pulled back and drew a few breaths through her nose before going deep again. Being so close to cumming felt both incredible and incredibly frustrating and Caroline found herself longing for his cum and the orgasm she knew it would bring.

After what felt like all too long, Mesmer grabbed her head and started fucking her mouth as she felt him grow in her throat. When he was right on the edge he stopped with just his head in her mouth and as she licked and sucked he came with a loud groan. Caroline soon had a mouthful and eagerly swallowed, triggering her own massive orgasm. He kept shooting jet after jet, filling her mouth again, and when she swallowed again she came once more, just as hard.

Mesmer pulled out of her mouth and helped her up to her feet. He hugged her body tight as they stood under the hot water, then he kissed her. He washed her face again and she washed his flaccid cock. They stepped out of the shower and he dried her off and then himself, and then led her to the bed. He laid down in bed with her, spooning her naked body to his, then he picked up the crystal from his nightstand. As the light from the bedside lamp played through the crystal into her eyes he spoke into her ear, telling her to sleep and dream happy dreams as she laid safe in his arms.


Caroline awoke slowly to a building pleasure, feeling his body wrapped around her and his cock sawing slowly back and forth between her nether lips as her hips responded. She moaned and opened her eyes and saw that it was still night. She also saw his hand resting on the pillow in front of her and so she grasped it with her own hand and brought it to her mouth. She kissed his fingertip and sucked his finger into her mouth, and the taste of his skin was incredible. This made her realize two things: That Mesmer’s suggestions still worked and that since she could move by choice and that fuzzy feeling in her head was gone she probably wasn’t in a trance any more. She considered pushing him away, to try to get away, but he felt so good and had made her cum harder than she thought humanly possible. Instead she let his fingers slip from her mouth.

"Please… Please take my ass again, Mesmer," she moaned.

He chuckled.

"My name is Nikolaj. Mesmer is just a stage name."

She felt his lips on her neck and his cock dragged back between her lips until it nudged at her back door, wet with her juices. She felt her ass open up for him, but he just teased her, rubbing and pushing in just a centimeter before pulling back. She tried shifting her hips back, arching to get him inside, but he followed her movements until she started to whimper.

"Please Nikolaj, fuck my ass, I need it!"

He pushed inside her in one slow and steady movement, her pleasure building and building until finally his lower stomach pushed against her ass. She came hard. As she came down from her high, she saw Nikolaj's hand in front of her. Caroline sucked his fingers, eager for the taste of him.

He fucked her slow and steady, almost lovingly as he kissed her neck, suckled her ear, kissed her shoulder and held her tight. The hand that wasn’t occupied with her mouth traced up and down her tummy, played with her belly button, and up to her tits. Every once in a while he would push deep inside of her and stay there as she came, moaning around his fingers as her ass milked his dick.

She felt him swell inside her and he pushed in deep, making her cum, her clenching ass bringing him to the edge. He pushed in deep again and again, making her cum over and over until his cock erupted inside her. This set off an even stronger orgasm that just wouldn’t end, that left her breathless and her mind blissfully blank, consumed with pleasure. This time he didn’t pull out when the darkness started creeping in around the edges off her vision, and she passed out from the flood of euphoria.

When Caroline woke again, it was from the muffled sound of the alarm ringing on her phone. She was still enveloped by Nikolaj’s body, his flaccid cock resting in her crack, so she gently extricated herself, careful not to wake him. She wasn’t sure if she didn't want to wake him because she was scared of being hypnotized again, or because she craved it, she wanted him inside her so badly that it almost scared her. She found her phone in her clutch by the couch and turned off the alarm, hastily put on her clothes and snuck out of the room. She hailed a cab and got back to her hotel just in time to shower and get ready for the first event of the day.

She felt weak in the knees, her panties were long since soaked through and she felt wetness run down the insides of her thighs, but she carried on with a smile, because he had commanded it.

As the day went on she couldn’t focus, her mind went back to the previous night again and again; that total lack of control and the strange relief and freedom of any guilt it provided, the exhilaration of being on a stage, being admired without stage fright, and of course the pleasure, the strange, incredible pleasure. Caroline had always had a bit of a submissive streak, and being hypnotized was like the ultimate form of submission, it made her wet just thinking about how it had felt just to be commanded and not being able to resist.

At lunch she looked up when The Great Mesmer would perform next, and saw that he had a show at four. The time was moving so slowly as she sat through the afternoon lectures, debating with herself if she should go see him again. By three she had made up her mind and walked back to her hotel room, making a quick stop at a pharmacy on the way. She cleaned herself inside and out and gave herself a Brazilian wax, paying extra attention to her ass. Caroline put on a tight summer dress and headed out the door in her sexiest heels. She got to the show just as Nikolaj stepped on stage and smiled nervously at him. He gave her a broad smile back and then gave his opening spiel about how hypnosis worked then said he would start picking volunteers from the audience.

Of course he picked Caroline first, and as she stood up she noticed that the audience this time was almost all male, and she regretted the dress and heels. He had her under just as fast this time, and as he stood close to her he whispered his first command, "While you are on this stage you will cum gently when I touch your skin, but you will show no sign of it outwards, it will be our little secret." With that he ran his fingers down her arm and suddenly she was cumming.

Mesmer used his control over her to show off his talent and to show off her body, much to the audience's appreciation. After he felt he should move on from her and take some more volunteers up on stage he stated that Caroline would remain and act as his assistant. In the hour and a half she was on stage Nikolaj must have touched her 20 times, and each time she came. She felt weak in the knees, her panties were long since soaked through and she felt wetness run down the insides of her thighs, but she carried on with a smile, because he had commanded it. She did notice that Nikolaj had to adjust his crotch a few times and she was excited to have that effect on him.

As soon as the show was over he hurried her back to his hotel room, bent her over the couch, wet his cock with her juices and plunged in deep in her ass, setting off a much stronger orgasm that left her breathless.

For the rest of the week, Caroline skipped out on the trade convention and spent her time with Nikolaj, being his slave, his lover, his assistant, and in between, they started to get to know each other, and started to like each other. He offered to drive her to the airport on the Sunday, and as they drove she saw him get out the crystal. All of a sudden they had arrived, and for the first time Caroline had no memory of what had happened while she was under. They kissed goodbye and Caroline went through the airport and boarded her plane. As she flew she replayed the week over and over in her mind, and she got so horny that she just had to find relief. She snuck into the tiny bathroom to masturbate, but no matter how hard she tried she just wouldn’t cum. She started to realize then what Nikolaj must have told her while she was hypnotized in the car.

During the week she grew more and more sexually frustrated, constantly horny and never finding release. During her week in Vegas, she had climaxed more than in her entire life before, and going from that to nothing but frustration was incredibly hard. She tried to call Nikolaj through the hotel, but she just got his machine, again and again. Her work was suffering, she was constantly distracted, and honestly she didn’t care much anymore. Her coworkers were as bitchy as ever, and Caroline's mood made her finally start talking back, though this meant that she felt even more on the outside. Her nipples were constantly hard and when her boss, Mr. White, couldn’t stop staring at her tits during a meeting she couldn't really blame him. When he casually grabbed her ass as they left the room, she finally had had enough. She slapped him and yelled and berated him, finally yelling out, "I quit!" and storming out.

Caroline called her super and told him she was moving out, booked the first flight to Vegas available and packed up all her belongings. What she couldn’t get in her suitcases she put in storage, and then it was off to the airport.

It was 2 AM when she knocked on Nikolaj’s door. After a few minutes, he opened sleepily and was surprised as she threw herself at him, giving him a deep kiss. After he got over his surprise they quickly dragged her bags inside, then he stripped her of her clothes as they stumbled to the bed. Caroline was so in need after over two weeks without an orgasm she was more aggressive than she had ever been. She pushed him down on the bed, eagerly sucked on his cock to get it wet and hard. She straddled him, reached behind her to get it in position, then pushed back as her ass swallowed the big cock, making her moan loudly. She kissed him as she pushed down and he pushed up, and she moaned and quivered as she finally came, and she knew she was where she belonged. TC mark

When They’re Bad For You But You Want Them Anyway

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 04:16 PM PDT

Twenty20 / shannonbolisig
Twenty20 / shannonbolisig

Late last night I made myself ONE and a HALF drinks and wrote the following:


You are a bad idea. And I know it. And you know it too.

Wanting you is walking into the devil's lair; it is playing with fire. This is what Hades must feel like.

This is wrong,

This is immoral,

This is everything I despise.

And yet here I am, still wanting, waiting, and watchful. You're all I see, you're all I imagine; a second moment doesn't pass without you. You are always one thought away.

I want you to kiss me, to feel me, to caress me, to hold me, to touch me in all the ways you aren't supposed to admit. You are such a bad idea.

I think of you and my breath escapes me a second at a time. I feel suffocated and violated and beautiful and sexy and stupid and impassioned and hating myself because you are everything that is wrong.

You are the cautionary tale. And the universe looks at us and judges. We are a bad idea.

Your beliefs are contentious,

Your body is imperfect,

Your soul is in danger,

Your thoughts are tedious,

And sometimes mundane and silly.

And yet I hang on every thought and every word. I want to be with them and with you all the time, and in this moment, I think, for all of time.

Maybe it's the thrill, maybe it's the never done-before, the ridiculous, the fantasy, the spectacular, the extraordinary. Maybe it's you existing and me existing and us existing in this one moment in time.

But you are a bad idea. And I don't need you. But my God, I want you.


Apparently all it takes to bring out the (closet, sort-of) poet in me is one and half drinks. (I do this from time to time.) If you're wondering, this was/is not about anyone in particular. (I would also rather be burned at the Internet stake before admitting that it was about someone in particular.) I try to keep my romantic relationships out of the Internet's business. But I have fallen for boys – for men – who were bad for me, and I knew they were bad for me but I wanted them anyway.

I like to think (and hope and pray) that one of the signs of growing up is that you start to fall for the "right" people and hopefully they fall for you back. You know, the kind your parents and friends and good people everywhere tell you that you "deserve." In my case, the real men. The kind that call you back and ask you out on dates like it's the 1950s or something. The kind that is thoughtful and kind and caring and make good dads – the kind that you grow old with.

But there are men that you want that you should not want to grow old with. There are men that from your very first introduction, you know they will bring you pain. And not the good kind of pain that comes with an honest love. But with a love that is heartbreaking and heartbroken. A love that makes you bold but not true. A love that is terrific but not adequate. A love that is spectacular but not permanent. I believe they call this a seasonal kind of love.

It is a waste of time to tell any person to not love the person their heart desires – they are going to do it anyway. Love isn't only blind, it is foolish, and stupid, and unrelenting. Most importantly, it is unstoppable. You can walk away and keep away and stay away for weeks and months and even years, and you can still love them. How awful. How especially awful when they are bad for you.

There is no remedy for this love really, at least not for the feeling. It's a human weakness that from everything from the half glass of your last drink, to the second slice of cake, to the thoughtless next sentence uttered, to the text after midnight, that we do things that are not in our best interests. What a tragedy of existence.

And especially when it comes to love – even if you are the most disciplined person in every single other area of life, even if you always do what is right or what is best, love makes most of us fall apart entirely. Where are our values and sensibilities and senses in the face of it? This is why people of faith don't just pray for love – they pray for a love that is good.

But even when you love someone that’s bad for you, it doesn't mean that the love they have to give is bad. It usually means it's just not enough; it's not what you need. And that's why it will always bring you the bad kind of pain – the pain you suffer for, but with nothing to show for it. There is always brokenness in the end.

That's okay though. This is life. You're going to be broken in one way or the other. But when you want and love someone who is bad for you, don't say you weren't warned. Usually, you knew it; you know it. They were a bad idea and you were playing with fire. The burns heal though, trust that the burns heal. But the scars remain.

And if you let in too many scars, you'll forget what your skin looked like before. And you should never forget who you were and how you loved before those scars became a part of you. TC mark

A Manifesto: 22 Ways To Avoid Being a “Mean Girl” Mom

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 03:50 PM PDT

Becoming a parent is a rich experience, one that's full of mind-blowing love, fear, immense responsibility, and possibility. It's a time when you need more support than ever, because everything is new, and you have no idea what you're doing. Yet the reality is that the parenting culture in America, especially among women, is very "Mean Girl." There's a tendency judge and form cliques, instead of reaching out a hand. This has encouraged me look inside myself to determine what I can do to avoid this, because that's a first step in inspiring positive social change. Here's my pledge, and one that I challenge others to consider as well.

1. I will hold on to my individual identity, even when motherhood threatens to consume me, so that I don't define myself through my child.

2. I will remind myself that there are many ways to do most things, including parenting, and no way is right or wrong.

3. I will contain my social media time.

4. I will acknowledge that it's okay (and normal) to be clueless.

5. I will ponder my own childhood, where my loving parents did things differently from how I'm raising my own kids, and everything turned out okay.

6. I will laugh.

7. I will refrain from turning parenthood into a competition.

8. I will trust and empower my partner in raising our children together.

9. I will acknowledge that I'm not perfect, and I'll forgive myself when I fuck up.

10. I will try a new parenting technique.

11. I will seek out my "tribe," the people I connect with deeply, so that I feel loved and supported.

12. I will remember that I am enough.

13. I will read articles and books that have nothing to do with parenting.

14. When I begin to feel snarky and discontented, I will ask myself what I need to do for myself to change this.

15. I will avoid bragging about my child's awesomeness.

16. I will ask for help.

17. I will commit to 30 minutes of self-care each day, whether this means exercising, practicing yoga, making a healthy lunch, watching a comedy, or simply staring at the clouds.

18. I will do my best.

19. I will not hang out with women who perpetuate the "Mean Girl Mom" culture.

20. When I get caught up in the minutiae of parenting, I'll step back to see the big picture.

21. I will remember that parenthood is (often) fun!

22. I will be grateful for the privilege I've been given to raise a child. TC mark

Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Answers The Question “What Do You Do When You Feel Down?”

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 08:01 AM PDT







I listen to familiar music, drink good wine and take long walks in the park with my dog (not all at the same time).

I play strategy games.

I sleep, do puzzles, and lounge. Also sing Karaoke (alone of course).

I read books, sip whisky, and plot a new strategy.

I meditate or journal- a few rounds of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) works well too.

I either distract or plan: read, craft, cook, exercise (my longest running long term plan is to get fit) or plan a vacation to get myself back up!

I start a new project or whatever else will engage my brain.

I control myself and do not let the situation to control me in order to get up.

My type is INTJ and when I feel down, I spoil myself somehow (get something special to eat, take a long bath, get a new piece of clothing, get a new game/game for hours on end, go to the gym then the sauna, have a glass of wine and a cigarette..). Or sometimes I look for someone to talk to/take a walk with.

I read books, meditate, practice martial arts, and sometimes talk with my kalyana-mitra (Sanskrit for spiritual friend).

I sleep, vegetate or play a video game… basically whatever shuts that conscious part of my brain off for a while or distracts it.


I encourage others, journal, read, or find something to celebrate!

I drinks with friends, be with people and good energy. That or listening to songs and have a crying bout. Right as rain after that!

I volunteer or help someone else – or go do something fun (in public) where I have to act cheerful and then I forget that I’m not.

I am an ENFP and when I feel down I usually remember that a lot of people feel like that too and I jump on my page and share something funny with my followers to pick myself (and them) back up! Or I become pretty introverted and just recite songs or write lyrics.

I run away from the crowd and think. Or go to a friend and talk about it over and over until I/we figure out the answers.

I’m the most awesome type (ENFP, of course ^_^) and when I’m down I vent to someone I trust or go play sports and run all my angst out.

I take a walk in a huge, populated park/ chat with a friend/ go on tumblr and scroll through psychedelic pictures of plants for a while.

I’m an ENFP and when I feel down, I go to Costco to pick myself up! Something about walking around aimlessly in aisles and reading nutrition facts on food that just relaxes me.

When I feel down, I ride motorbikes to pick myself back up! Not that I ever feel down though.

When I feel “down” I usually go on a trip/make an adventure to somewhere I’ve never been/ to do something I’ve never done, with friends and family, or alone to meet new people.

My type is ENFP and I am an ultra-sensitive empath who requires a lot of downtime for processing social interactions and renewing myself. For self-care, I rely on meditation, yoga, clean food, reading, listening to ambient trance music for hours alone at night, and long, luxurious baths with essential oils and DIY facial masks created from organic ingredients in my fridge, like Greek yogurt and raw honey.

I go buy something and then dye my hair.

I surround myself around with other people & talk to people, even if it’s to go to the coffee shop and sit amongst the customers I don’t even know. Energy from people recharges me.

I’m a ENFP and when I feel down I retreat into solitude and fantasy and make a world (with fae and without orcs).

I watch a movie I love and try to find the tiniest glimpse of a new idea/adventure and think about it.

I tend to wander aimlessly outside in crowded areas to gain mental clarity – or just go to the gym.

I’m an ENFP, and I have to receive a personal spiritual revelation to get perspective on my circumstances.

When I’m down I like to dance. Impossible to feel sad when dancing.

When I feel down I hang out with friends, exercise, and read research articles to pick myself back up!

I need to do some “fangirling” and I need to start loving people again to pick myself back up!

Depending on the variety of down, I either steal people away on random adventures, and/or pack a hookah and induce a cuddle puddle with close friends.

My type is ENFP and when down, I wait half an hour and forget about it.


When I'm down, I usually host a game night and feed all my friends!

I go shopping and pamper myself.

I do yoga!

I like to find my group of friends and hang out with them and either play card games, go on an adventure or just talk or be with them. Usually just being in the presence of happy people whom I care about lifts my spirits.

I’m ESFP and I start messaging my friends hello to chat! Or I go on yikyak or something.

I’m an ESFP and when I feel down, I ask a friend if she wants to get dinner or do some type of fun activity. Or I ask my girlfriend to give me positive affirmations!

I’m ESFP and I invite friends over for movie night – and lots of food!


When I feel down I tend to isolate and to pick myself back up. I have more than one method – I'll either binge watch a favorite TV show, read a good book or listen to music.

I isolate and analyze the situation/solutions. After the isolation period, I use upbeat music to get back out of my head and rejoin the world.

I listen to a lot of music and write occasionally when I feel down. Writing tends to churn out a solution to an internal problem after straight thinking and mental fixation take too long! Driving is also a very relaxing and freeing time to think and sort things out in my head.

Either have a 2-5 hour session googling random shit, or go on a bush walk.

I am an INTP, and when I am feeling down, I stay alone for a while, relax and try to think clearly. Music, television, games or reading something interesting also takes my mind off the tension.

I go outside and play with my dogs.

1. Obviously I would solve the problem that was causing me to be down but 2. Otherwise I would escape, escape, escape either into my bed or a book or a movie.

I go do something outside, preferably near water or in the woods.

Seconded on driving and writing. Walking: Solvitur ambulando. Caffeine. Nature. Isolated bubble baths with a fan on so I can’t hear any other noise. Reading.


What make me feel better is talking to my friends about their problems while having coffee with them. Or driving them around while they talk about their problems.

I’m an ENFJ and when I feel down I talk to my INFP wife about it and feel better.

I wish I could be better at fixing-myself-alone, but I am not, so my first reaction is spend time with people I love and trust. If that is not possible, my Se usually kicks me out, so I just go out and walk and usually sensory experiences will bring in a quiet meditation and inner peace.

I’m an ENFJ and when I feel down, I spend one on one time with a close friend and vent my issue (maybe over and over) to try and come up with a solution.

When I feel down I call my best friend cause she’ll usually come over and give me cuddles or a pep talk. When something is really, really bugging me I shut out people and go to the gym till Im usually sick – so I try and avoid getting to that level.

I read an outrageous novel with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s half-baked or meet a friend for dinner/movie.

I hang out with friends (…in the healthiest of scenarios. Sometime I order a pizza, watch Battlestar Galactica, and play tower defense games until I get sleepy).

My type is ENFJ and when I feel down I watch cartoons or read comics. About 99% or the times I feel sad it’s people related so I like to lose myself in some sort of utopia. Those fictional characters have the virtues I’m looking for in people so it comforts me.

I listen to disco music.

I go for a long walk with my Jack Russell, while listening to a book on cd. Preferably a Jan Karon novel.

I find friends having problems that I can try to help them with.


Solo kitchen dance party!

I’m an ISFP- if I feel down I select one of the following: going for a drive, going shopping, listening to music, exercising, watching TV with a favorite snack, taking a nap, or writing in my journal. The common thread is that I do these things by myself.

I drink tea and photoshop.

I talk to the right people and/or do stuff from my bed.

I’m an ISFP and I look at pretty things on the internet (or if it’s sunny I try to force myself outside because once I’m out there I find that this is literally the BEST pick-me-up).

I crawl on the sofa, under my blanket with my favorite chocolate and video game, preferably alone or praying.


I’m an ISTJ and if I’m down, I’ll tackle a project or make a to do list to pick myself up.

I listen to music and read books (at the same time).

When I feel down I like to distract myself by listening to music, exercising, reading, or enjoying nature.

I’m an ISTJ and when I’m down I try to do something else productive like cleaning or getting work done.

I reassess my situation, over a cup of coffee with a very close friend (who either has the same logic as mine or different so I can get another insight) and plan on what I will do to overcome the situation.

I’m an ISTJ and I usually sleep or do art things such as drawing to pick myself back up.


I give myself some quiet, alone time, have a cookie, talk to a friend, or pray.

I like to either nap or take walk alone on beach. I also like to have a small piece of a favorite expensive chocolate to savor with a pot of tea.

First I’ll eat a good meal, then I’ll spend all of my time in private and meditate my thoughts on the problem and cry out the feelings. Sometimes I’ll vent all of my thoughts into a journal so I can read it later.

I spend one-on-one time with a safe friend, or do volunteer/ministry work.

I knit/crochet, journal, talk to my partner or closest friends, spend time in nature.

What makes me feel better is having nice drink and watching a favorite (usually funny) TV show, taking my dog to the park, or spending intentional time with a small group of friends.

My type is ISFJ and when I feel down I get in touch with my spiritual blessings or what I received from God and I also go outside and get in touch with nature to pick myself back up.


I will isolate and go far away to the beach or for a drive.

I tinker with my aquariums, play racquetball with my brother, go fishing, sleep, plan which wine I could make next. All while drinking.

I go to work.


I ride the hell out of my bicycle, and see where the road takes me.

I drink absinthe while reading a book, with classical music playing in the background, usually Rachmaninoff piano concerto #2. Or go do something random and spontaneous with or without anyone around.

I explore (ideas, environment, thoughts, or whatever is available).

I go out/drink (terrible response to stress, I know).

I’m an ENTP and I usually go on a random adventure with a close friend to pick myself back up. Like a road trip without an exact destination while geocaching on the way.

I sleep and watch trash TV.

When I feel down I jump on an indie music blog like indieshuffle and discover extremely new music that most people have never heard of then I go share said music w/ my mainstream friends … To make me feel better.

Whenever I’m down I sing and dance to loud music or simply go explore the great outdoors. Or simply watch sci-fi/comedy movie. Or meet someone. Or… or… or…

What makes me feel better is drinking and venting or vrinking if you will. Often to an ENFP who will provide me with shots and tough love.

My type is ENTP and when I feel down, I get out of the house and explore or I solve a new problem to pick myself back up!

When I feel down, I avoid avoid avoid avoid avoid… Until I can’t avoid anymore, then I shake myself awake go into hyper-overdrive-problem solving mode, get extremely unemotional, dry, determined, somewhat mean and uncaring, fix the problem that has me down to pick myself back up. Or sometimes I just put on lively music and force “the dance” to come forth.

I listen to stand up comedy.

To pick myself back up I need to have a challenge that is isolated from whatever’s getting me down. So like a strategy board game or an escape room or something along those lines. Also it’s better if its a social activity.

I get out of the house and onto the busy city street. Immediate uplift. I don't like being isolated.


I workout. It helps me to work through the problems in my head, while burning off the stress/sadness and find a solution.

I have a really long quiet bath.

I have a variety of options but would most likely seek out something that helps a cause that I support. Helping others less fortunate quickly resolves my own situation.

I write out a plan.


I make a trip to Target and make a few impulsive decisions (like buying my favourite ice cream)!


I’m an INFP and when I feel down I give myself time for introspection and writing.

I read self help books/blogs or watch romantic period drama TV series.

My type is INFP and when I feel down I pray about it, I talk to my husband to help process the feelings, and then I remind myself that no matter how crummy I feel if I just give it some time I will start to feel better and there is no way to force or rush the process. It always works.

I like to go to the beach alone!

My type is INFP and when I feel down, I watch I Love Lucy or British comedy or other funny movies/films to pick myself back up! Or I write out all my thoughts until I get out all the toxic feelings.

I listen to music, read a book or play “World of Warcraft” and when i’m really deep down I used to talk to my mother.

I run while listening to badass music….or else completely retreat and write piss-poor, gloomy poetry (They both work. The first one works faster).

I listen to music, bake bread and snuggle with my doggies.

I go on a long stroll with a loved one that leads to a long sit by the sea in silence, that ends with a long journaling session that helps put all the pain in proper perspective.

I drink tea, eat chocolate, and watch tv until I’m rested…but if I’m really in a funk, it’s volunteering or doing something creative that will pull me out!

I do mundane chores, take long walks, plan getaways, make playlists, swim, write, or find someone I trust to cuddle quietly.

I’m an INFP, when I’m down first thing would be to get some hugs from my niece and/or nephew since they’re usually good at brightening my mood, then find something to fix/work on (car/stuff around the house) or take my bike out for a ride (weather permitting).

I knit and binge watch sci fi.

INFP and nothing. I just observe my feelings and dwell into it, I don’t try to push them away and after some time they will pass and I will calm down like the ocean after a storm. Talking to another NF about my feelings is also helpful.


I listen to upbeat music, watch a movie/show I love, or talk with my loved ones.

I’m an ESFJ and I blast music in my car/home and sing my lungs out. If I can get a group of friends together to go karaoke, that’s even better!

I volunteer!

I focus not on helping someone else (working as a nurse is good for this)!

I normally seek my friends’ company to hang out and vent!

I hang out with my friends and have a cocktail.

I am ESFJ and I usually seek out my mum or sisters to talk myself better. Talking a brisk walk also helps.


When I’m down I tend to either isolate until I’ve thought through the situation enough to come to a conclusion or call someone I trust with everything and talk to them until I feel better.

When I feel blue, I shed a few quiet tears alone, then I read the quotes made by the greatest people in the history of earth (or read their stories) and tell myself even though I might never get there, I must never stop trying.

I cry it out in a hot shower while possibly listening to sad music.

When I feel down I generally shut myself away from other people, listen to music or play an instrument and, if the problem is particularly severe and confusing, I’ll write out my thoughts so I can identify exactly what’s going on in my head. Or I’ll go for a walk with my dogs. I also rely heavily on my faith in God. All of that usually helps a good deal.

My type is INFJ and when I feel down, I read a favorite fantasy novel to pick myself back up.

When I’m down I like to think about the situation, listen to music and write affirmations, or talk with my close friends that I can trust.

I usually curl up with a good book. If I am just too severely down to even concentrate on reading, I’ll usually try isolate myself to just think about life and listen to very loud, powerful music. If the down-in-the-dumps attitude continues, I’ll either change my environment and go somewhere completely new or reach out to one of the few souls who know me well enough to make me come to my senses. It’s difficult to get out of a funk sometimes because I cannot make myself simply think about something else. When I get this way, i cannot simply allow myself become distracted. I suppose I’m a tad stubborn in that manner. I have to work through it, feel it, and then move past it with an improved mindset about whatever had me down.

I light a high quality scented candle or put on a favorite perfume.

I pray, take a walk in the woods, or write.

I either figure out the most rational way to fix the problem, or (if it can’t be fixed immediately) I find someone else who is struggling and overwhelmed, and help them the way I wish I could be helped. Keeps me from focusing on myself once it’s past the point of being helpful, and I get a second-hand mood boost.

Here are a few things I do: Swim in the sea, drink wine or tea with a close friend and analyze the situation, walk in the park with dogs, send snail mail to my family, write a letter to a friend.

I take a walk alone to a solitary place with a beautiful landscape and think.


I'm an ENTJ, and when I feel down I go out to a restaurant or café, or gym, and enjoy the company of others and the surroundings.

I do something physical, like skating or weights or organizing closets.

When I feel down then depending on the time available, I accomplish something small but significant or reassess my systems for accomplishing things so I can be more effective.

I volunteer or do something social and fun.

ENTJ here. I usually assess the situation and context, figure out where things fell apart, then put a plan together to address the problem. Talking things out with trusted friends helps. And sometimes just “sitting with it” and letting time do its thing is the best thing; this isn’t my natural tendency but it’s been a useful skill to learn.

I work more, or make a list of things to do (including fun things) and do it!

My type is ENTJ and when I feel down, I like to evaluate my life progress and make goal lists to pick myself back up! Or else anything productive.

I engage with people to re-energize.

I analyze the situation to figure out why I am down, what caused it. Then I research and read about it as much as I can so that it doesn’t happen again. When I am satisfied and confident enough that I have it under control, it’s all good again. TC mark

A Controversial ‘Spiritual’ Exercise That Guarantees You’ll Have A Good Day

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 08:15 AM PDT

via fivesixthreedays

To most people, philosophy is some confusing academic enterprise that's of little practical use. When they want to make their lives better, they don't turn to the ancients, they look to self-help gurus and how-to manuals.

Which is funny because philosophy, in its truest most classical form, is actually civilization's oldest and most effective form of real help. It's full of little spiritual exercises that — if practiced — solve some of life's biggest and smallest problems.

My favorite exercise is a little one that prepares us for the day ahead. It's something you do each and every morning, before you check your phone and head out into the world. But it's a little controversial as you'll soon see.

The exercises prepares you for the world each day by telling about about some of the crap you're going to have to confront over the next 24 hours.

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius opens his Meditations (a book of stoic philosophy) with almost this exact concept.

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surely.

In modern terms, he's telling you: The people I'm going to meet today may suck. They may hurt me. They might blame me for stuff or mess up what I'm working on. They might be petty, they might be selfish, they might say something I find offensive or ignorant. They may blow me off, they might flake on me, or troll for attention — no matter the kind. They might misrepresent themselves or waste my time. They might cut me off in traffic or mess up my order. Who knows what else…

He's saying you can't prevent it. But you can at least know it going in.

A lot of people don't like thinking this way. It's so nasty. What a pessimistic way to live. What possible happiness could come from that kind of thinking?

The writer Nicolas Chamfort once joked — along similar lines —
that "a man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over." The statesman and thinker John Morley was so incensed by it that he later said that "all literature might be ransacked in vain for a more repulsive saying."

I don't know why he found it so repulsive, because the line is hilarious. And true. Why is it sacrilegious to meditate on a very real fact of life? What if it could actually make us happier and better people?

Sure, naiveté feels nice, but where does it really get us? If the goal is tolerance, understanding and patience, surprise and disappointment are hardly positive emotions to throw into the mix.

The solution for the Stoics was a spiritual practice known as premeditatio malorum. That is: a premeditation of evils — thinking about the things that might go wrong before they happen. It's essentially negative visualization.

We might be able to do it for a business more easily (thinking about the worst case scenario or running a pre-mortem) but for people it's harder. What we don't do, what we don't like to think about, it that other people might be on their worst behavior. And by people I mean: our employees, our co-workers, our spouses, our friends, a random troll on Twitter, the car in front of us or the customer service representative on the phone. We seem to forget that they might suck sometimes. That they might suck in our direction. We seem to forget that the more successful we are in life, the more higher the chances of this will be. And then we wonder and complain why life feels so hard.

Which I suppose is an individual prerogative. Except it usually ends up making you worse than the people you're so pissed off about.

Going around with unrealistic or unexpressed expectations for the world around us puts us in a perpetual state of being aggrieved. So while we might have legitimate gripes, it turns us into something unrecognizable. We become exactly what David Foster Wallace voiced in his excellent This Is Water speech. We become the person who thinks (or says):

Look at how repulsive most of them are and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem here in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line, and look at how deeply unfair this is: I’ve worked really hard all day and I’m starved and tired and I can’t even get home to eat and unwind because of all these stupid god-damn people.

That hate. That anger.

Is that really any better than swallowing a toad in the morning?

There is a second half of that quote from Marcus. And when you see it, the exercise makes a lot more sense. It's not about resigning yourself to a shitty day from the moment you wake up. It's not writing your fellow man off before they even have a chance. On the contrary, it's about preparing yourself to forgive, to forget, to appreciate and empathize.

It's what you're supposed to remember right after reminding yourself that people might suck today. And why it happens and why you can't take it personally.

But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and I have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own — not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel; angry at my relative, or hate him.

You can be certain as clockwork that you're going to interact with someone who seems like they're an asshole today. But it's the seems part that matters. Because you don't know if they actually are. You don't know why.

But when you step outside your own experience, it becomes easier to think about that or what forces might be acting on someone. Or at least, if you've accepted that some people are going to act that way at one time or another, you don't have to make anything out of this specific instance. It happens. This person is just fulfilling their unpleasant role, as you yourself have on many occasions. (There is another great line from Marcus Aurelius "When faced with people's bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that.")

So here it is:

People might suck today. It's not going to feel great when that happens.

But it's far better to know that going in and to take your medicine up front, in the morning, than it is to dribble it out through the day.

And who knows — maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised sometimes. Better that than disappointed and pissed off. TC mark

Read This When You’re Having One Of Those Days

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 07:13 AM PDT

Flickr, José Manuel Ríos Valiente
Flickr, José Manuel Ríos Valiente

Sometimes it’s just a “too much” day.

You know those days, right? Or is it just me?

The days where you wake up, and immediately can tell that today, this day, will be a hard one. You get ready for your day, and your hair just won’t sit right. Your makeup won’t go on correctly. You spill your coffee on your favorite white and paisley blouse. Your pants are just a bit too snug.

You scream, “why won’t this day just END already?” Do you know those type of days I’m talking about?

When you make it to work, your boss decides on this day, this already tough day to remind you of all your shortcomings at work. Your report was late, your drawer balance was off, your computing skills are still not up to par, and the best part? You’re not eligible for that time off you asked for. So, this trip that you’ve spent the last six months dreaming about is now off the table, unless, you know, you want to go hungry and homeless for the next few weeks. All of the customers you have to see on this already “too much” day are not being helpful either. They’re yelling. They’re screaming. They’re using every single bad part of their day and taking it out on you. On the one person who is already having a rough day.

If you’re like me, then anxiety really has a hold on your life. You’re anxious all the time, and life has a way of getting to you, in the worst of ways. You’re overly sensitive, and sometimes think of EVERY SINGLE worst possibility in the world in less than two seconds, flat.

So what happens if you’re like that? If from the get-go your day is just giving you every single warning light that it’s going to be one of those “too much” days?

Panic attacks. Anxiety attacks. Crying fits. You’ll start hyperventilating and crying, and it will feel like the world is just too much to bear at this exact second. Everything feels wrong. Nothing feels right. Everything seems like it’s a mess. Even breathing is hard. Why is life so tough? Why does everything in the world have to fall apart on one day? On this day? Why do days like this happen? Are they just a cruel reminder that, on some days, we need to know that we are not the ones in total control? Is it just a “haha F U” from life?

So, on a too much day, what do we do to bring the calm to storm?

We breathe, or try to. We listen to music. We listen to calming words. If you’ve ever had a “too much” day, you know that calming areas and surroundings are of the utmost importance. We lay down, close our eyes, and we hope, with our microscopic hopefulness left inside, that tomorrow will be a better day.

We hope that tomorrow won’t be a “too much” day. TC mark

On The Ground In Ferguson: Is The Movement Working?

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 11:28 AM PDT

MB's Plaque edited
Erica Swallow – Michael Brown’s Plaque

On Sunday, August 9th – the date marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death – police in Ferguson, Missouri shot a man, later identified as 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, Jr., after he reportedly opened fired on them.

I heard about the incident not on the news, but on Twitter. And as I would soon find, the decentralized organization of the Ferguson protests would be both the impetus of me making a trip to Ferguson to support the movement and also the cause of the disappointment that weighs on my mind now as I reflect. What follows is an account of my experience in Ferguson on August 10th, the day following the shootout with Tyrone Harris, Jr.

Deciding to go to Ferguson

Back in Little Rock, Arkansas on the night of August 9th, I had just finished watching "The Last Dragon," a Motown-meets-Kung Fu cult classic friends had recommended earlier that day, when I tapped open my Twitter app to find that #Ferguson was trending. It wasn't the community gatherings and memorials in honor of Michael Brown that caused the trend, though; the first words I read within the hashtag were "man shot."

My heart sank, my throat locked, and I clicked the first piece of media I saw: a video by Black Lives Matter activist Tony Rice (AKA Twitter user @Search4Swag). It documented the scene immediately after the shooting, showing a handcuffed, bloodied man lying facedown on the pavement behind a chainlink fence, with cops standing nearby, and a policeman in a bulletproof vest pushing the videographer away from the scene, while someone off camera, who I assumed was Rice, yells, "We see he's still breathing. He's still alive. Get him some help."

"What the fuck is going on in Ferguson?" I texted the two friends who had recommended "The Last Dragon" earlier that day. "I leave reality for an hour and everything is fucked up," I continued. "Can we please do something about this??" As the next few hours rolled on, I followed tweets from users like Pastor Cori Bush (AKA @Ps_Cori) broadcast distressing messages such as the one she sent at 3:07am, "WE ARE BLOCKED IN AND THEY KEEP TEAR GASSING US AND SHOOTING RUBBER BULLETS. HOW DO WE GET OUT??"

By the time I read that tweet, I was pacing in disbelief, having resolved that I couldn't sit and watch injustice play out before my eyes without taking action. Coming from a journalism background, with a vested interest in the protection of First Amendment rights, I was particularly disturbed with the police’s handling of the protests.

I grabbed my backpack and began stuffing in items I knew I'd need for a protest, as I texted friends in Little Rock and a group of colleagues in Memphis to see if anyone would join me on a trip to Ferguson. By early morning, my colleague, fellow Education Pioneers Fellow, and social justice advocate Jacquelyn Martell, had accepted. I picked her up in Memphis, and we typed our destination into Google Maps: "Ferguson, MO."

Ferguson protesters on a building
Erica Swallow – Ferguson Protestors

Arriving in Ferguson

Jackie and I pulled up to Google's "pinpoint" on the map. We had been expecting that it would take us right where we needed to go, but instead, it had pitted us in the center of an unassuming apartment complex somewhere seemingly far from the action. It took another guess on Google Maps to find our grounding; we directed ourselves to "West Florissant and Canfield," street names we had seen non-stop in the media.

We had found it, and the spattering of protesters was our confirmation. Small groups of five or six protesters were strewn about — one group on the roof of a building, another in front of that building. A handful of people in the middle of the street. Others across the street. It was about 7:00pm on Monday, August 10th, and the group had not yet coalesced.

Don't just sit there. Don't just watch. We need you. Get out here!

Uncertain what we should do and finding no direction on Twitter or other social outlets, we parked, took out our posters and markers, and penned our signs: "New York stands w/ Ferguson," and "Little Rock stands with Ferguson." Like new kids at a high school lunch hour, we wandered up to a small group of inviting-looking people and wielded our signs, hoping to fit in. It had begun.

The first person to greet us was a local radio host. He saw that we were from out of town, given our signs, and came over to welcome us. He said he'd be back in the evening, recommended that we visit Michael Brown's memorial three blocks away, and pointed us in the right direction. Making it there just before sunset, we read the plaque placed in a nearby sidewalk in Brown’s memory and saw the re-paved section of the street where his body once laid for four and a half hours postmortem. It was now lined with stuffed animals placed neatly in the yellow median between two traffic cones.

MB's memorial edit
Erica Swallow – Michael Brown's Memorial

In the distance, a number of stuffed animals had been placed on a street lamppost, as if the toys were climbing playfully up to the light. Crickets and frogs chirped, and the four others who were visiting whispered respectfully. Jackie and I posted immediately to Instagram, because these were the images we had not yet seen of Ferguson. We had seen violence and chaos, but not much hope and healing.

As we made our way back to West Florissant, the sun set and the crowd grew. Dozens of protesters had arrived in the short time we were gone, and the number rose steadily until about 200 participants gathered, half of which participated as the others looked on from parked cars in the adjacent strip mall, in what appeared to me to be a tailgate-party fashion.

At one point, throughout the evening, I recall one of a handful of the most vocal protesters on a megaphone shouting to the onlookers, "Don't just sit there. Don't just watch. We need you. Get out here!" Some people shuffled about, but most people stayed seated atop their car hoods and roofs or gathered in circles, chatting.

Confusion and Moments of Hope

Monday's protest was deemed decidedly smaller and calmer than others on recent nights," by the Associated Press. Fox reported an uneasy calm" that night; USA Today pointed to "some arrests" that took place; and CNN headlined with news that the county had declared a state of emergency.

What I saw, though, was ups and downs. Instances of tense confrontation, followed by moments of extreme hope, and a mix of confusion among protesters – including myself – throughout.

Protestor leader edit
Erica Swallow – Protest leader in Ferguson

By 9:00pm, a megaphone-wielding protester had taken the lead, initiating the first round of chants as the group marched from one side of West Florissant to the other, where about 50 police officers stood in formation, fully suited in riot gear, head-to-toe. He was shirtless, wore loose jeans, white high-tops, a white headwrap, and a gold chain. He also had a number of tattoos that I now wish I had asked about. I admired his ability to excite the crowd. He led the most voiced chants of the night: "Fuck the police," "Fuck 12" (which refers to unit 12 of the police force: Narcotics officers), and "Who shuts shit down? We shut shit down."

He led the group to the other side of the street where officers were stationed. Protesters confronted police with these chants, and with arms raised to the sky, incorporated the "Hands up, don't shoot" mantra that originated from the shooting of Michael Brown and had become a marker of the fight against police brutality, particularly against unarmed black men and women.

A few protesters continued moving, but most stayed in face-off-mode in front of the police. I began to worry about the protest and its purpose. Had Jackie and I joined a protest focused solely on showcasing dissent? Or was this a part of the larger movement towards an end to police brutality and the rise of racial equity?

Ferguson police in riot gear at protest
Erica Swallow – Ferguson police in riot gear at protest

Suddenly, hope sprung. Another protester with a megaphone appeared and yelled to protesters, "Why you standing in front of the police? Fuck the police! We're over here. You can stay over there with the police, or you can join us over here! Fuck them." Amazingly, within a short while, he had corralled everyone back on the other side of the street. From there, the night waned from low point to high point — from "fuck the police" bouts to empowering chants like "We are the revolution. You can't stop the revolution."

More of This, Less of That

Jackie and I saw so many scenes that did not get translated into the news or social media. We saw volunteers handing out water, pizza, and respiratory masks. We encountered a lawyer who wrote the phone number for jail assistance on our arms, in case we were arrested. These were surprising visuals, given that I had not seen such instances in media. These were some of the moments that inspired me while in Ferguson.

On the flip side, we encountered a number of issues at the protest. As reported by multiple outlets, "frozen water bottles and bricks" were thrown at officers. I didn't witness bricks, but I saw three water bottles launched from our side of the street towards officers. The first one caused a stirring and led to the first arrests we saw that night. Everyone had rushed the streets, causing officers to take action.

I saw what looked like a cylindrical object thrown into the air, and seeing that people were running away, I thought it might be a tear gas canister. Jackie and I ran — someone pushed me, and for an instance, I thought I might fall. Turns out, it was a water bottle. And within those few minutes, some arrests had gone down. Jackie and I re-evaluated our support — were we willing to face potential police retaliation based on one dissenter's actions?

Luckily, protesters self-policed, with some taking it upon themselves to educate the group that throwing items at the police was counterproductive. And police stayed calm. Again, a moment of hope. It was those aggressive moments, when protesters threw bottles, for example, that the protest seemed to lack direction. We were protesting against violence, yet some within the group employed it.

Being two of the only outsiders at the protest – we didn't see or meet anyone else from outside Ferguson and the St. Louis area – we felt semi-lost in the happenings. Though we looked on Twitter, though we tried to follow the quickly changing leaders on the megaphones or otherwise, I felt a sense of confusion in the happenings. Sometimes the group was aligned in chants. Other times, we dispersed alongside the sidewalk, waiting for the next call to action. Even our arrival pointed to the lack of structure around the protest — there was no site to read where to meet, what to bring, what time to show up.

Just before 10:00pm, it was unclear whether there was a curfew in place or not — an activist we met at the protest informed us that there was a 10:00pm curfew and advised us to have an exit strategy, warning that the police would likely spray tear gas if we didn't disburse promptly. Seeing the three helicopters and drones above us, I heeded her advice but searched on Google to confirm, finding that there was, in fact, no curfew.

These are the small details that make or break a protest, that confuse or empower a protester.

Reflections on the Movement in Ferguson

Erica Swallow and Jacquelyn Martell in Ferguson
Erica Swallow – Erica Swallow and Jacquelyn Martell in Ferguson

The little time I had in Ferguson was eye-opening. I saw a lot of positive, but I also saw issues.

What I would have liked to see in Ferguson was an extension of the baseline infrastructure volunteers had put in place when they were handing out supplies, such as water and masks. As travelers joining the protest, we could have used information about meet locations and timing, for starters.

The protest itself could have used infrastructure, as well — instead of leaving chants up to the crowd, and coming out with "Fuck the police" as our key message of the night, what would the outcome be if we spent time defining the problems we see in the system? "Hands up, don't shoot," for example, points directly at a problem, but it was only chanted for a few minutes on Monday. If ending police brutality is our message, why was that chant barely voiced?

Likewise, most of the protesters in Ferguson are from the area. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that the world is arriving in droves to support the cause in solidarity. We should be, but I encountered only locals this week. Is this an opportunity to reflect on how to mobilize more people to Ferguson? Or is physical attendance even important in this era of technology? If not, how do we mobilize people's digital voices with greater effect?

We may not see racial equity in our days, but while we are all here, we can work towards it.

While people may not be flocking to Ferguson, there is massive support from outside — we need greater infrastructure for those supporters who may not be able to travel to Ferguson, but are willing to donate funds or send needed supplies. The pizza and water needs to be funded by someone — there isn't consistent messaging or an updated platform for people to lend a hand financially.

Much like #Occupy, the #BlackLivesMatter movement prides itself on a lack of leadership in the traditional sense — it is a viral movement. Much of the protest at Ferguson was rolled up under the #BlackLivesMatter umbrella, it seemed. For an outsider, it was inspiring, but hard to get up-to-speed.

My Unsolicited Thoughts on Moving Forward

I'm not a protest organizer, nor am I black, so let me check my privilege and inexperience. But I am a concerned world citizen and an American with a hope that one day racial injustice will be an issue of times long gone. I speak also as a Southerner who made the drive from Little Rock to Memphis, and then Ferguson to stand in solidarity, to stand up for my beliefs and the rights and safety of my neighbors in Missouri and elsewhere.

We may not see racial equity in our days, but while we are all here, we can work towards it. I may be overzealous in wishing goal-oriented, solutions-driven productivity on all of Ferguson's protests. Admittedly, there is certainly a place for pure expression of internalized oppression. Ferguson, as the rest of America, has a history of systemic racism — If I were black, growing up in the impoverished and undereducated, underemployed city of Ferguson, I would likely be downtrodden, too. And "fuck the police" might have become my mantra of choice, given those experiences.

Furthermore, I respect the brave men, women, and children of Ferguson and the surrounding area who I had the honor to protest alongside. I chanted with spirit when I believed in the message. And when I didn't, I stood quietly in support as others spoke their truths. It's not my place to condemn another person's or people's experiences or expressions. I can, however, disagree on tactics and point to potential strategies for more effectiveness. If we are to push this movement forward, we need greater infrastructure and a clearer message.

Flickr / Christian Matts
Flickr / Christian Matts

Today is not the civil right's movement of the mid-1900s, and the visionaries who led that movement aren't here to lead this one; nor do we need to recreate those structures. But when a decentralized movement is happening in one of America's most watched cities and traveling protesters can't find the basic information necessary to make it to a protest, we have a problem.

When supporters from other states and countries can't donate to the cause, because they're uncertain where to do it, we have a problem. When half of a protest's attendees are disengaged or inactive and many others don't know what they should be doing for half of the gathering, we have a problem. When we have protesters purposefully agitating and throwing objects at riot police, we have a problem.

Currently, Ferguson sets the tone for America's conversations on race and justice. It is the center of media attention regarding police brutality. Ferguson has the ability to change the conversation – to showcase to the rest of America and the world that this movement has a direction. It's up to us to define key problems within the system, suggest solutions, and spread the message.

Let's continue to use Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, and other platforms to distribute information. Let's continue to organize volunteers to power key events. But let's also build new foundations for even bigger impact. Let's think about the message we want to send and align on it. There is strength in numbers. There is strength in unity. To quote one of the chants of the night, which made its way from ancient Greek literature to a megaphone held in Ferguson, "United we stand. Divided we fall." TC mark

Producer’s Note: If you would like to contribute to the conversation, submit your article, commentary, or questions to

10 Women Talk About The Reality Of Dating Older Men With Money

Posted: 13 Aug 2015 07:35 AM PDT


Would you date someone for their bank account if it meant you could pay your student loans off faster and have a little bit of extra spending money? Many women are saying yes, they would. Stories about young women dating rich, older men for tuition money have increased over the years as more dating websites offer a place solely for young, attractive singles to seek out older, financially generous professionals.

It’s a seemingly ideal situation – find someone rich you’re sexually compatible with and let them take care of all your financial woes in exchange for sex and companionship. It’s basically like any other relationship except in sugar dating culture there are clear expectations of what the other person wants and expects to get out of the relationship. I talked to 10 women from various sugar daddy dating websites about the reality of dating older men with money. Here’s what they told me.


“Most of them are cheap as fuck.” – Kelly, 29.


“If you find the right sugar daddy, it can be a great experience. I found one in college I would see once a week. We’d go out to a nice dinner, have great conversation, then after a couple drinks we’d go back to his house and have sex. He gave me a $500 weekly allowance to help me out, which is small compared to what a lot sugar daddies on websites promise, but we had a great relationship for the 2 years we saw each other so the money didn’t matter that much. It was plenty to help cover my bills and I actually really enjoyed dating him.” – Emily, 25.


“They just want to show you off like you’re their Barbie doll while making demands. They’re always insecure and jealous little pricks with ex-wives squeezing them by the balls. They usually have a lot of rules and treat you like one of their children, except the difference is they want to fuck you and keep you around, so they’ll buy you jewelry or give you cash, and if you threaten to end it they cry like a little bitch.” – Veronica, 24.


“I’ve dated a couple of older men with money and both experiences were different. The first one was very particular about when we saw each other. It was on his terms. He’d call me up in the middle of the day when he knew I was home from school or work and ask to get a quickie or he’d tell me to meet him at his apartment later that night when his son went to bed. It might sound awful to be someone’s little toy they can order up whenever they want but I enjoyed it. He wasn’t super rich or anything but he was really attractive, great in bed, funny, and helped me with some of my bills. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend so it was kind of the perfect thing for both of us at the time.  The last older guy I dated with money was a lot richer than the first and someone I met from a sugar daddy site. He taught me a lot about life – just random things like about art, wine, cooking – things I probably wouldn’t have learned until later. He was more of a mentor. We’d go on dates and he’d take me to parties or art galleries but it was always his office where we’d fuck. No where else. Always wondered if he was secretly married.” – Chelsea, 32.


“My mom always said to me, “Why date a poor guy when you can date a rich guy?” I don’t care how shitty this sounds but yes, things are just easier when you’re dating someone with money. And when you’re a young, attractive woman you basically can have whoever you want. It’s just a matter of deciding who and why. People always want to say, “Good luck! He’ll just trade you in for a younger, hotter model when you turn 35.” And to that I say, thank god! Older men who only date women for their looks are always weird. They’re fun when you’re young and need to take care of college and are working on your career but that’s about it.” – Kristen, 25.


“I love sugar daddies. They make everything so easy. You both know what you want and you both get what you want if you’re both being honest. He wants a hot younger woman to fool around with when he has the time and you want cash and presents because your soul sucking day job doesn’t cover more than the bills. There’s usually no commitment, although you always discuss if each other will be seeing other sugar partners, so it’s just an easy exchange of fun, sex, money, and friendship. Is it prostitution? In a way, sure. But sugar daddies are men you actually build relationships with. They aren’t just someone you fuck for $100. Yes, you both give each other what each other wants, but it’s not a cold transaction. You still care for them. You still think of them between the dates and hot sex even if you never say a word about it.” – Megan, 26.


“Ugh. Rich guys are the worst. Give me a broke dude working a shitty job at a restaurant going to school or working on his dreams when his shift is over any day over some rich asshole. I tried the whole ‘sugar dating’ thing when I heard about different sugar daddy dating websites in college but those guys were always gross and basically just wanted a prostitute. They didn’t give a fuck about you. They just wanted your body and they wanted it for the least amount of money as possible. It’s gross. If I’m going to have a casual relationship with someone that’s based on sex I’d rather have a guy who respects me and my body.” – Heather, 29.


“Dating an older man with money is great. What isn’t there to love? They’ve usually already been through the wife and/or kids thing so they’re more mature. They’re experienced sexually, know how to please a woman, and they’re more culturally refined. They take you to the best restaurants and the best stores. They look out for you and talk to you about your goals, your finances. Even if they don’t flat out give you money for shopping or something they always make sure you’re well taken care of.” – Elisa, 33.


“Never again. I dated an older guy one time, about 15 years older, and he really tried to impress me like he had his shit together. I was only 20 and extremely naive so I didn’t see the warning signs or red flags that everything he said was total bullshit. In the beginning he would do nice stuff for me but by the end of the relationship he was pissed I wasn’t helping him pay his bills even though he made $100,000 and I was a college kid working at the campus library! No thanks. I’d rather date someone around my age and I don’t really care how much money they make.” – Kera, 27.


“Older dudes with cash are a lot of work. They’re like horny 15-year-old boys that never grew up. They spend their money in stupid ways to show off but then get pissed if you ask them to buy you a pair of nice high heels. They seem to have a lot of emotional problems, especially when they get older and their dick doesn’t work like it used to. Trust me, I know. I’ve dated 3 of them.” – Aubrey, 24. TC mark

30 Facts About Dogs I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know

Posted: 12 Aug 2015 06:21 AM PDT

Flickr carterse
Flickr carterse

1. Dogs poop in strict alignment with Earth’s north-south magnetic field.

A 2013 study that examined “70 dogs” and “1,893 defecations” concluded that dogs always align their bodies with the Earth’s north-south axis when taking a poop. Humans don’t defecate with nearly the same amount of geomagnetic precision.

2. Two dogs, 6 years, 66,000 puppies.

If you took one male and female dog and never neutered them nor any of their descendants, that pair would be responsible for producing 66,000 puppies in only six years. That is a lot of fucking!

3. Dogs are sociopaths who can’t feel guilt and probably vote Republican.

If you think your dog is feeling guilt because it’s sulking and whimpering after you scolded it, think again, you foolish human! According to Barnard College researcher Alexandra Horowitz, they’re just sad because you’ve been a dick to them. Dogs feel absolutely no guilt and probably even think Donald Trump is funny.

4. Don’t smile at them, or they might attack you.

If you smile and expose your teeth, dogs will interpret your exposed teeth as a sign of aggression, and as already noted, they will feel no guilt leaping into the air and ripping your throat out of its neck.

5. They can fall in love just like humans do.

Oxytocin—known variously as the “love hormone” and the “cuddle hormone”—is released by dog brains, too. It enables them to fall in love with both dogs and humans, and you are not one to question their lifestyle choices nor whom they deign to love.

6. They can smell how you’re feeling.

Dogs have millions more scent receptors than humans do, and they are able to detect subtle changes in your perspiration’s chemical composition that reveal your emotional state. If you don’t want them to know how you’re feeling, maybe you should shower every once in a while. Just a suggestion.

7. They are capable of deception.

According to canine-intelligence expert Stanley Coren, “They can also deliberately deceive, which is something that young children only start developing later in their life.” And you thought only fuckboys on Tinder were liars!

8. They can read your emotions merely by looking at your face.

Besides humans, dogs are the only mammals in the animal kingdom who are able to determine your mood merely by your facial expression. Cats not only aren’t able to tell—they wouldn’t even care if they could.

9. You can go blind just from petting them.

A 2003 study from The Veterinary Record revealed that merely petting a dog infected with a parasitic roundworm known as Toxocara canis can transmit the parasite to humans, at which point the roundworm can nestle in the back of your eyeball and eventually make you go blind. So…pet with caution and wash your hands.

10. They have magical powers that enable them to predict the future.

Dogs can tell that a storm is coming an hour before you’re standing there soaked in the rain because you didn’t think to bring your umbrella.

11. Male French bulldogs are total losers in the sack.

Because of their unusually thin hips, male French bulldogs find it nearly impossible to mount their female partners, which leads to the shame and embarrassment of artificial insemination, which forces the male Frenchie to start perusing men’s-rights chatrooms.

12. The phrase “raining cats and dogs” has a morbid origin.

The term originated in the 1600s in England, when a spate of vicious downpours caused severe flooding. When the streets would clear up, they’d be littered with the corpses of drowned cats and dogs.

13. Doggy menstrual blood was used as an ancient form of Nair.

In ancient Egypt, canine menstrual blood was used to facilitate hair removal on humans.

14. The world’s biggest pet collector owned 5,000 dogs.

Kublai Khan, pet collector. (Wikimedia Commons)
Kublai Khan, pet collector. (Wikimedia Commons)

Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan was said to have owned 5,000 Mastiffs, which would have easily qualified him to be on a modern episode of Hoarders.

15. Smallest dog ever.

According to The Guinness Book of World Records, a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier in Great Britain weighed only four ounces and stood a mere 2.5 inches tall at the shoulder. What a tiny little monster!

16. Oldest dog ever.

In 2013, a Louisiana beagle/terrier mix named Max died a mere 83 days short of his 30th birthday.

17. Their paws smell like Frito’s.

The reason for this is that dogs only sweat between their paw pads. The sweat gets mixed up with dirt, which leads to bacteria growth, which makes their paws smell like Frito’s.

18. Their owners can be sickeningly sweet and sappy.

Four-fifths of dog owners buy their pets presents for holidays and birthdays. Seventy percent of them sign their dog’s name on greeting cards. Sixty percent of them even pose with their dogs for family portraits. And a full third of dog owners “talk” to their dogs on the phone or leave voicemail messages for them while they’re away.

19. They are all descended from a 40-million-year-old tree-dwelling weasel.

All modern dogs can trace their ancestry back to a “weasel-like animal” known as the Miacis. This odd little tree-dwelling creature is the forebearer of the wolf and jackal. All modern dogs share 99.9% of their DNA with wolves, who started intermingling with humans around 12,000 years ago. You may not realize it, but there’s a wild savage beast sleeping in your den right now.

20. They are able to smell prostate cancer with 98% accuracy.

Don’t even ask how this is achieved, because I’m already traumatized by the mental images. But not only can dogs sniff out various cancers, they can tell when their owner is going to have a seizure about 45 minutes before the event, which in many cases can be life-saving.

21. They wag their tails to the left when scared and to the right when happy.

And they wag them low when they’re scared and fast when ready to attack.

22. They are as smart as two-year-old children.

The average dog can understand around 150 words. They can also count up to five. And unlike human children, it takes less than two years to potty-train them.

23. They are born deaf, toothless, and blind.

All puppies are born without hearing, without sight, and without teeth. What’s miraculous is that despite all this, they choose to go on living.

24. They can get jealous just like humans do.

A study at UC San Diego showed that when a dog’s owner showed affection to a stuffed animal, the dogs would get more aggressive and display more attention-seeking behavior toward their owners.

25. They are able to dream as vividly as humans do.

When you see your dog twitching and whimpering while asleep and suspect that he’s dreaming, you’re probably right. Brain-wave tests on sleeping dogs are remarkably similar to those of humans. Bet you didn’t know that. What you probably also didn’t know is that your dog constantly dreams of killing you.

26. The smaller the dog, the longer the life.

In general, those tiny yippy lapdogs live about twice as long as those massive dinosaur-like Great Danes and Mastiffs. Canine longevity is also correlated to snout length—flat-faced breeds such as pugs and bulldogs tend to die younger than dogs with long noses.

27. The media still discriminates against female dogs. Call it the “glass kennel.”

The “male” dog Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry. The “male” Taco Bell dog is a female Chihuhua named Gidget. This reminds me of how guys used to play all the male and female roles in Shakespeare plays. When will this sexist madness end?

28. The dog days of summer.

This term dates back to the Roman Empire, when Sirius—the “dog star,” not the satellite radio channel—typically rose from around July 3 to August 11.

29. Guys with dogs are three times more likely to get a girl’s digits.

The British Psychological Society published a 2000 study that revealed walking with your dog triples the amount of social interactions you have. It also makes you three times more likely to walk away with a girl’s phone number than if you’d been walking alone.

30. Nearly 100,000 Americans visit the hospital every year after tripping on their dogs or their dogs’ toys.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an average of 86,629 Americans visit the emergency room each year after a fall caused by pets or their pets’ playthings. Silly owners—watch where you’re walking! TC mark

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