Remember that time I kept bringing up my ex, and how in “love” I was? Oh, like, here and here. Well, even though I still believe he should be considered an EX, I’m embarrassed to finally admit to myself that the “relationship” was never nearly as serious as I believed it to be at the time. And by “never nearly” I mean like not at all.

I can count on one hand the number of times I actually SAW the Ex in the year that we, for lack of a better term, dated. Four weekends, to be specific, not counting the two weeks we spent abroad as part of a group. That and sporadic Gchat convos on the order of a few lines several times a week for a year. As for phone calls, they were so rare that I actually felt OVER THE MOON when we had like-for-real conversations chatting on the phone. Why did I think this was a relationship and that it had the potential to become something real??

Even though I feel like a fool for having made up something in my mind that was clearly a dead-end fling or whatever it was, I can only breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over, and that I didn’t do something completely inane like move to the city where he lives. And, I’m happy to report that the fauxmance was definitely a case of temporary mind-cloudedness; I’ve met several interesting guys in the last few months that I’m enjoying just getting to know, without like, pretend-dating them.

Have you ever tricked yourself into thinking a casual relationship was something more? Tell me!

To say that I’m “done” with online dating is a bit deceptive, considering I never even met one guy via my four rounds of OK-I’ll-try-meeting-guys-online bouts. And most recently, I sifted through about 25 messages over a period of two months and sent exactly ZERO responses.

Online dating is just NOT for me. I’ve moved on from the Ex (capital “e” to denote that I’m talking about my most recent ex), so it’s not an issue of dating discomfort. I just feel uneasy about agreeing to a “date” with someone I’ve not interacted with in person. And the more I hear about men in the New York City dating scene – like hearing that many, if not most, if not all, go in for a kiss on the first date [I’m not a prude but eek. NO.] – the less amenable I am to saying yes to this setup.

Anyone else thrown in the towel on online dating?

Wanna date a celebrity? Apparently, you might be able to do so now – without going through the process of becoming famous yourself and somehow getting into their social circle – via Fox’s upcoming show The Choice, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Similar to the NBC hit The Voice, contestants will be interviewed by the celebrity panelists for their date-worthiness, physical appearance at first unknown. Contestants will describe themselves to the panel before revealing their appearance, and then the quest for a date continues with additional questions from the celebs and the celebs potentially squaring off to win the date.

We’ll see if beauty really IS just skin deep! That is, until the reveal – and then, well, it’s every pretty face for itself.

As a freelance writer, there’s no overstating how sweet a new byline is, and how hard-won. So naturally I’m intrigued by what some in the industry are calling a “gender divide” in terms of female vs male bylines.

This year’s finalists for the American Society of Magazine Editors break down like so: 12 women, 37 men (and 1 piece without a byline). There are NO women finalists at all in the major reporting categories: Reporting, Feature Writing, Profile Writing, Essays/Criticism and Columns/Commentary.

There’s no doubt that with the 2012 election heating up and recent attempts to legislate women’s reproductive rights cooling down (sort of) that the “war on women” is real. But is that what’s going on here? Are we looking for meaning where there is none?

Consider the recent headline for a piece by the NY Daily News book blog PageViews about the women (or lack thereof) nominated for ASME awards: “Women can’t write, says ASME.” Um, actually, that’s NOT what the ASME is saying, and we – especially women – need to stop thinking that’s what hinted, even at our most primal, knee-jerk level.

If there are fewer pieces bylined by women than by men, naturally there will be even fewer picks for the one of the industry’s highest honors. So, why aren’t more women writing? Are women writing less because they can’t, or perhaps because they think they can’t? Well, it hasn’t stopped us yet. So, what’s the real issue?

And as a writer, I get the draw of a really good, eye-catching headline. Good one, NY Daily News. You did get my attention. But please, let’s stop creating issues where there are none.

Ever since my most recent breakup (“implosion” might be more accurate), I’ve been trying to get out of my rut. I haven’t had the desire to get back with or contact my ex (aside from wanting to write a scathing email telling him off, but that’s normal, right?) but I haven’t exactly gotten back in the game either.

Truthfully, I know what my problem is. Once I like someone and have gotten to know him (and not even at a deep level, I’m embarrassed to admit), I stop looking instead of doing what smart daters do: cultivate a stream of prospects. And so not only do I make it easier for myself to get attached to jerks, but it also becomes obvious that I’ve closed off my options. Super attractive. Yep, the dreaded “Oneitis” isn’t just for guys! And even when you’re “cured” of it, finding a new interest is another step in itself…

So, I just reactivated my OKCupid account. I’m not making ANY promises, and really, I just did it because three of my friends have joined the ranks, and we’ve agreed to trade stories and make fun of the weird messages we receive. I haven’t put a lot of thought into my profile yet, so I LOVE that I’m already getting “I found your profile interesting so felt compelled to contact you” messages…

To say that at 28 years old I’ve learned not to waste time on a guy who’s not clear in his interest and not actively pursuing me would be COMPLETELY true. As in, I’ve totally learned that lesson. Put it into practice? Umm…

Yeah, so there’s no point trying to pretend I’ve not sunk to the depths of patheticness when it comes to this guy. (He’s not even worth a cute nickname. Jerk.) We’ve been off and on for over a year now, but it’s definitely time to pull the plug. Because, this last time, he made actual plans with me for this weekend (we don’t live in the same state and he travels a lot for work, so advance planning is a necessity). Three weeks pass, not a single word. No response to two in-the-meantime texts I sent. (I SEE YOU LOGGED IN TO SKYPE!)

“Let me know that you’re still coming!” I wrote in a very pleasant, very passive-aggressive email. Because, you know, weekend guests need to be planned for. Food bought. Place cleaned. Work schedule adjusted for airport-picking-up.

No response.

Four days later, beginning of this week, my Saving-Face-Email (still pleasant, even more passive aggressive): “Hey, since I didn’t hear from you I need to assume you’re not coming, because now I don’t have enough time to get ready. Too bad! :(” (Sad face is the ULTIMATE in this one-sided exchange’s passive aggression.)

NO RESPONSE.

I am pissed at him, at THIS, at myself. I’m beyond disgusted at myself right now. So, desperate measures requiring dire circumstances, I’m giving up any and all contact with this guy for Lent. I figure that a 40-day period should do away with whatever warped bond I feel to this guy who’s been stringing me along for a year now.

Maybe not the holiest of goals… But I’m not Catholic anyway, so whatever.

Let’s all, singles and couples alike, breathe a collective sigh of relief. Valentine’s Day has passed.

Ah. That feels good.

(See what I did by NOT posting a scathing review of Cupid’s day yesterday and waiting till TODAY? Take that, you little cherub.)

Let me explain. See, even the times I’ve been dating someone during the holiday, it was always…awkward. I like gifts just like the rest of us, but I never knew quite the reaction the guys expected when they gave me a gift, chocolates, flowers, or whatever. The guys always looked hopeful, and let’s face it, they kinda have a lot of pressure put on them, if not by their own girlfriends, by the collective of girlfriends. So…is a sweet smile enough? No? Like, do I have to…squeal? I think some guys need squealing. But me…I can never DO emotions on the spot under pressure, even if I totally feel them, so I almost always disappointed.

And then there was the pressure to give a gift in return. If you think choosing a Valentine’s Day gift for a girl is tough, can we say IMPOSSIBLE MISSION for getting something for a guy?

I just don’t see how this is a win-win except for totally genuine, know-what-to-buy-each-other, and know-how-to-properly-react-or-even-squeal couples.

I think it’s definitely for the greater good that all this post-New Year’s buildup to Valentine’s Day is done, and that engagement season is over. (No really, I heard this on the radio. There’s an engagement season.)

Single people can stop overdramatizing their loneliness and hating their friends with so-disgustingly-cute love lives and marriages. (I say this with, ahem, some empathy.) Unhappy couples can drop the act. Happy couples can continue being disgusting without totally flaunting it in their gushing Facebook status updates…(well, we can hope). And those who aren’t QUITE in a relationship can relax, because there’s no longer that big heart-shaped elephant in the room and on their date with them.

No matter what our relationship status, let’s all carry on and return to our normal states: complete and utter certainty about where this is all going.