Stephanie Lechner: Nametags and Hairnets

Failing career assessments since the 8th grade

Month: April, 2012

How About We (part 1 of 3)

Sometimes it’s best to treat Internet dating like one long social experiment. You toss out ideas and strategies at the wall and hope something sticks. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it goes catastrophically bad.

It is with that mindset that I signed up for a 3-month trial on NYMag’s site: How About We. To make a comparison to non-dating social media, HAW is pretty much dating twitter. You make a profile, then you post date ideas (I didn’t count, but it’s probably restricted to something like 140 characters). Potential suitors can respond to your date ideas, and thus a connection is born.

I’ve been on dating sites for almost two years now, and generally, my strategy in building my profile has remained unchanged. I pick out my best profile shots (usually one of my classic head-shots), write a few witty quips about my favorite pastimes and hope the fish bite.  To say that I’ve been unsuccessful would be an understatement (any friends of mine or loyal blog readers can attest to this fact).  It got me thinking that perhaps I should spend more time in strategically putting together my profile. First task: picking the appropriate profile picture. Usually I take one of my professional headshots with the best angles, but I started wondering if maybe the “pretention” of having a professional headshot was off-putting. I scoured my photo library for a picture that might best capture my personality.

I decided on this one:



By uploading this photo, I reached a startling conclusion: men LOVE Muppets.

Within 24 hours, my profile had received over 100 hits (which was greater than the sum of all my hits from the first few weeks on this site).

Simply remarkable.

You wouldn’t believe some of the Muppet loving emails I received. Most of the guys just wanted to know the Muppet’s name (it’s Edward by the way, and he lives with my 8-year old nephew). The comments ranged from clever (“If you’re good enough for a Muppet, you’re good enough for me”) to downright strange (“Everyone in my office has their own Muppet” This was most peculiar because the guy was an accountant).

My next experiment was with my date idea. Your job was to fill in the blank at the end of “How about we ______” Prior to that, I had kept the dates simply by plainly stating a cool NYC date idea with no frills or witty innuendo, such as:

“How about we go see a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade”

“How about we go check out films at the IFC”

“How about we check out the new exhibit at the MOMA.”

You get the idea. BORING. But I decided to go a more witty route and landed upon this, my piece de resistance:

“How about we occupy a bar stool.”

This was right around the time that Occupy Wall Street was making headlines, so it was topical (in the wise words of Tracey Jordan: “Wordplay!”). And I would be remiss not to point out the flirty undertones of two people sharing drinks at a single bar stool. I patted myself on the back and watched as I received a barrage of emails from eligible bachelors asking me out for drinks.

Oddly enough, my first actual date from this site didn’t happen as a result of my witty date idea. Instead, I ended up corresponding with a dude named Omar who suggested that we stroll through the aisles of Strand bookstore.

To be continued… 


Mind the Gap

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss preferences, attractions and “types.” I think it’s safe to say that most of us do have a “type,” a pattern of qualities that you find most appealing in the people you are most attracted to. Now, it is worth noting that I think that a lot of people also are open-minded not the limit themselves to judging others on whether or not they embody a pre-determined list of “must-haves,” but at any rate, it is always interesting to notice the pattern when it exists.

Specifically, I’d like to discuss physical types. I never judge a book by its cover. This is the reason that I have fallen for a wide spectrum of men who couldn’t look any more different, but if I were forced to choose and define my favorite look? After years of fighting the inevitable and convincing myself that my “type” might be a tall, dark handsome man in a suit, I have a confession. My dream man? He actually would look something like this:


Crazy hair? Check. Tattoos? Check. Edge, mystery and intrigue? Check, check and check! I can try to pretend that I don’t find the grungy rock star look devastatingly gorgeous, but a leopard-printed scarf cannot change its spots! I know what you’re thinking. Why would you ever need to pretend otherwise? It should be completely ok to like what you like. Some people like sports. Some people like taxidermy. We all have our preferences. But here’s where it gets tricky. Guys like that? Well, they typically go for girls like this:


I guess this post isn’t really about my love of sweaty rock stars. And it is definitely not about me trying to contort myself into Zooey Deschanel or rock star arm candy. It’s really about the sudden realization that somewhere along the last decade I woke up a complete Yuppie. Maybe it was a gradual transformation, but I do remember a time when I was the grungy rock kid (remember JNCO jeans? Oh lawd, I sure do. Ball-chain bracelets? You betcha!) I had rock star dreams. I was going to rage against the machine. Slowly, but surely, I went from your typical  grunge kid to this:


That’s me… my former Park avenue office…in a suit.  I don’t work there anymore, but I do work in a small cubicle in the middle section of the 12th floor of a corporate office building (lovingly referred to by me as the prison section for its proximity to zero windows). I am a cog in the very machine I was destined to rage against! I even own two pairs of Sperrys (who am I???). The 16 year old version of myself would call me a sell-out and then go cry in her room adorned with shirtless Jim Morrison and Led Zeppelin posters. But I love my job, and while I’ve slowly come to grips with my Yuppie conversion, my love of sweaty rock stars will likely never go away. I’m ok with that. I’ll just not-so-secretly hope that I cross paths with a fella who will help me bridge the gap.


Maybe it’s time for me to get that 2nd tattoo.

Insomnia is genetic

My mom always gives me a hard time about putting my phone on silent while I’m asleep. She thinks that the worst sort of emergencies happen in the middle of the night, and if I keep my phone off,  no one will ever be able to reach me. I suppose it is a fair enough argument, but I insist that people got along just fine before the existence of cell phones, and that whatever might happen in Indiana at 3:00 am could wait until 7:00 am when I wake up. I’d rather not disrupt my already delicate sleeping patterns.

Thursday I woke up around 4:00 am to get a drink of water and kick my cat out of my bedroom (Chaplin gets particularly annoying when it’s close to breakfast time). I saw the flashing light on my blackberry, and discovered that I had a missed call from my mom around 2:30 AM. Worry set in as I imagined that the dreaded “midnight family emergency” had finally happened. Before I decided to call her back, I noticed a text message sent at 2:34 AM and found this:


The picture is a little fuzzy, but the accompanying text explained this: “Piper enjoying Cool Whip!”

My mom had called me in the middle of the night to share a picture of her fat cat enjoying whipped dessert.

I went back to bed, and the next evening, on Friday, after I just arrived home, I received a call from my mom at 12:47 AM as I was settling in to go to sleep. Curious, I answered it, and immediately asked her “Why are you calling me so late?!?!” The conversation went something like this:

Mom: “This is important! Do you have QVC?”

Me: I have no clue. I thought you said this was important!

Mom: “Oh it is. They are selling Spanx with this great new material, and they’ve marked it down for the next few hours. I just woke your dad up to get have him get me the credit card.

Me: You do realize this is the 2nd night in a row that you’ve called me after midnight. Can we talk about this later.? I want to go to bed.

Mom: Aw,  Steph. Don’t you go out at night anymore?

So not only was my mother imploring me to buy discount Spanx at QVC, but then she put the nail in the coffin by mocking my latent social life these days. Apparently insomnia is genetic.

This is precisely why I silence my phone at night.


Diet Coke Detox

I’ve started a few drafts of blog posts, but I’m just not feelin’ it right now. I wouldn’t even call it a creative block. I blame it entirely on caffeine withdrawal. You see, I normally keep a steady IV drip of Diet Coke and/or Diet Dr. Pepper coursing through my veins. I also start each day out with a 20 oz Iced Hazelnut coffee from Lenny’s Deli. I exist on caffeine and aspartame. It’s a problem. My coworkers keep reminding me what diet soda can do to metabolism, tooth enamel and corrosion on a car battery. Ok, I get it. I decided that I should cut diet soda out of my life completely and restrict coffee to no later than 3PM. As far as diet soda is concerned, I’m 7 days sober. Cold turkey! And today? I didn’t venture out of my apartment, so I didn’t bother with the coffee. Needless to say, I feel exhausted, cranky and have a pounding headache, so you’ll have to wait on my half-written posts about the power of music on my life’s soundtrack and why I love Joe Perry so much.  I just need to power through the detox first.