The Best From 10 Years of Dategirl

CAN YOU believe I've been writing this column for 10 years? I can't!When I first started Dategirl, I was a starry-eyed romantic looking for love. Now I'm a decade older, a few pounds heavier, and I've found it—though not without a lot of heartache, tears, and one instance of feces in my bed along the way. As I age, I feel a little fraudulent calling the column Dategirl. Maybe Datebitch would be more accurate, but whatever. I'm not nearly as skinny as the girl in the illustration, either.So for my big anniversary column, I thought I'd round up some of the highs and the lows of the past, gulp, decade...Most Popular Question to Ask the Girl of DateThat would be variations on "How do I meet someone to fall in love with/make the fuckity-fuck with?" If there were one good answer to this question, I'd be out of a job. So while I roll my eyes every time I hear it, it's also pretty much responsible for my career. So thank you. (Also, quit asking me.)Most Organized Group of HatersTie: swingers and psoriasis psufferers.Every writer gets hate mail. It doesn't matter if you write exclusively about puppies and rainbows, there's always some jerk ready to take time out of his busy day to tell you just how much you suck. But sometimes it's not just a lone crank—I've learned that it's possible to piss off an entire demographic with just a few careless words.In the first case, I poked a little harmless fun at swingers: "Call me uptight, but the thought of having some guy's dick in my mouth while a couple who look like my parents are sweating to the oldies in the next bed doesn't exactly make me dizzy with excitement." No need to clog my inbox with hateful screeds—it's my opinion. I don't like Dover sole or earth tones either. Besides, Larry King is reportedly a swinger, so I rest my case.I felt a little guiltier about having mocked psoriasis sufferers when I wrote, "I could be dropped into a room packed with nothing but perfectly sane men with jobs, and I would gravitate toward the one guy everyone else was trying to avoid: the unemployed know-it-all with the chronic case of psoriasis and a highly unsavory yen for his little sister (in his defense, she was a half-sister)."They said: "Did your membership in the KKK run out and you decided to pick on another group of people with a disadvantage on this earth?" This was just one of many comments and e-mails. Lesson learned: Next time I'll use eczema as my go-to skin condition.Hater Hall-of-FamerI'm never going to win a Pulitzer. So I have to take my validation where I can find it. I found it when the Catholic League put me on their Bad Girl list over what they called an "attack on Catholicism." This "attack" consisted of me calling it "a repressive, hypocritical religion run by mean-spirited men." After my niece's christening this past weekend—where the priest managed to work in screeds against abortion and gay marriage—I remain even more convinced of this. Not to mention that the Catholic League is run by Bill Donohue, recently in the news for saying that the Wisconsin priest who molested over 200 deaf boys wasn't actually a pedophile because "the vast majority of the victims were post-pubescent." I consider his loathing a compliment of the highest order.Creepiest Column MomentsHate mail is one thing—wanting to scour your hard drive with Brillo after reading an e-mail is quite another. The most unnerving correspondence I've ever received was from self-professed pedophile Jack McClellan. When McClellan first began sending me notes, they'd be hate-filled missives about the sex workers he regularly hired. He even had a johns website—sort of like a psychotic Yelp for hobbyists. It got worse when he re-engineered that into a child-stalking site, and wrote me about how he had "become less interested in women and more fascinated with pubescent and prepubescent girls."While most pervs would want to keep this under their hat, McClellan had a thirst for self-promotion, seeming to delight in the horror his website caused parents. Last I heard he was having a hard time finding a community that would accept him. Go figure.Biggest Eye-RollerWhen The Stranger ran a cover that looked just like the cover of my book, I sent their sex columnist, Dan Savage, a silly note, jokingly accusing them of copping my design.You would've thought he'd caught me finger-banging his kid, judging by his over-the-top Slog post on the matter. A mediabistro.com blogger agreed, writing "Savage went ballistic, sneering that he'd never heard of McGuire's book and that he was sure his newspaper's art director 'was harkening back to our first queer issues, and not perusing the dollar bin at Half Price Books, when he put this cover together.'"Guess he told me!Most Valuable Lesson LearnedDon't rhapsodize about men you're dating in print until you're certain they're worth the ink. Boy, has this one come back to gnaw me on the ass. You know how mortifying it is to reread your diary years later? Picture having that diary in print. I don't flatter myself into thinking that anyone remembers all the knuckleheads I've lost my mind over, but the fact that the evidence is out there—in print and online—gives me the cringies.Second Most Valuable Lesson LearnedFor all their myriad awesome points, regardless of your gender, race, sexual preference, location, or favorite color, relationships are kind of hard. Who knew?! Whether you're trying to get into one, stay in one, or get out of one—dealing with other humans you see naked on a regular basis is fraught with pitfalls and problems you never would've imagined.When I started writing this column, I was very single, and, as a judgy uncle pointed out this past weekend, kind of a ho-bag. As I write this, 10 years later, I'm shacked up with a ring on my finger. Please note that I do not think that this in any way means I've figured it all out. But I appreciate the chance Seattle Weekly and you, dear readers, have given me to keep trying.dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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