Great Escape

Society thinks it’s time I partner up. I think it’s time to retreat into the woods.

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The woman taking my temperature is young, not yet 30. Her skin is tight and glowing in a way I only recognize now that mine is dragging and a little dull, her eyes eager to smile, her whole face nearly smiling already. She wears a crisp white shirt under a teal cardigan. The accents in her gold necklace are the same teal; so are her glossy nails. Staring down at my hands, I notice the coffee stain on the arm of my sweatshirt, a rip in its cotton cuff.

As she inspects my ear, I explain that I’m going away…

It is said, ad infinitum, that women apologize too much. I’ve spent a non-trivial amount of time wondering what “too much” means, when I regularly wish the men in my life would apologize more. While women are said to apologize more than necessary, men’s defenses are often impenetrable. Neither of these are good, but there is no national campaign to lower male defenses, as there is for women’s apologies.

The reason we feel in the right to scrutinize women’s behavior over men’s is likely the same reason that behavior exists in the first place — it’s business as usual for…

The policies of the most dominant social media network are stifling — and even worse for women

Photo illustration sources (Getty Images): Thinkstock; skodonnell

When I started my company, advertising on Facebook was never the plan. As a solo, female founder, and a longtime women-in-tech advocate, I wanted to build a company that operated with feminist values. Our culture was open and collaborative, our structure was flat, and communication with our community was authentic and transparent.

Even before filed by the FTC and 46 States against the company, Facebook represented everything I found toxic about tech culture. The lack of transparency around privacy, the frequent exploitation of data, , and addictive design despite how emotionally harmful…

Emily Smith and Scott Muska talk modern relationship challenges, gender differences, and writing about dating.

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We often read stories about dating on Medium, but rarely do we get a real conversation between people with two very distinct perspectives. Emily Smith and Scott Muska met through Medium, and write regularly about dating and relationships. Emily regularly for Medium and other outlets, and also founded and runs her own dating app, , and writes all over the place (while also serving as a contributing editor for this very publication).

In this first installment of this conversational series, Emily and Scott discuss modern relationship challenges, gender differences in dating, and what it’s like to write about…

This Is Us

My sustained lack of motivation has forced me to question what that motivation was made of in the first place

Sad girl lying down on bed as sunlight wafts in.
Sad girl lying down on bed as sunlight wafts in.
Photo: milos-kreckovic/Getty Images

There are no unknowns when I step out of bed. I will enjoy my first sip of coffee. I will comb through emails I don’t care about. I will refresh Twitter too many times. I’ll plan to go for a run. I won’t. I’ll work as much as I can until my lack of motivation snowballs into futility, then continue refreshing Twitter until the phone rings and the wine is poured. I no longer have the attention span to watch a show or read a book so I talk to friends until “bedtime,” the illusion of a schedule, at which…

This Is Us

But according to the men I know, the feeling’s not universal

Double exposure of a couple standing on staircase against railing.
Double exposure of a couple standing on staircase against railing.
Photo: Sophie Filippova/Getty Images

An ex of mine, who I’ll call Matt, recently admitted that if he were to meet someone with a life as established as his own — someone extremely committed to her job, who owned a house, and felt rooted in her community — it wouldn’t work, no matter how compatible they were. It would be too hard for them to merge lives, he explained. He preferred someone who fit into his; he just wanted someone “easy to hang out with.”

Though it felt like a million little knives piercing my skin to hear my otherwise-progressive ex admit that no matter…

No profile can convey what you’ll learn in the first few minutes of a date. Which is why we created Dating Roulette.

I started online dating ten years ago in my late-twenties, so my dating life is split, almost exactly, between pre and post online dating. When I first started online dating, swiping wasn’t a thing. It was more like browsing a big Macy’s catalogue of people, which was weird in its own right, but now feels extraordinarily thoughtful compared to the split-second judgement that Tinder has since normalized.

Swiping took over because, whether we like it or not, it’s thrilling to look at people and judge them. But the allure is wearing thin as it becomes clear that this type of…

Photo credit: IOL

I’ve always found long distance courtship particularly charming. There’s something deeply romantic about the banality of a phone call. There is no fancy meal, no night out, no goodnight kiss. You are simply choosing to spend time listening to each other’s voices. The act of writing a letter — or email if we’re being realistic — too, is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve spent days, weekends, and sometimes many weeks, composing an email to someone I care about, to convey feelings — some good, some bad — in just the right way. …

Lots of things are bad right now. But dating in pajama pants is not one of them.

Hand holding a heart in front of a bright yellow virtual background.
Hand holding a heart in front of a bright yellow virtual background.
Photo: Aitor Diago/Getty Images

They say if you do something enough, you’re an expert at it, and I take a bit of pride in my mastery of first dates. Not that they are always good or that I always give or get a second, but I can feel people out fairly easily and adapt accordingly. I can read a room decently enough and come up with questions beyond the standard fare. Because my own fear of rejection makes it physically painful to see rejection in others, I laugh generously and appear interested (within reason). I know my way around a first date.

Enter the…

By now the conversation is so recognizable I can sense it long before it comes. Someone of the same cultural and political ilk — progressive, coastal, eager for change — admits they prefer Sanders to Warren; it’s not that they don’t like Warren, they’re always sure to make that clear, she’s just not their candidate. When pressed on why, given how close the two candidates are ideologically and how desperately we need a woman in the White House, that person — usually a man, though not always — minimizes gender as an argument and instead dives into nuanced policy differences…

Emily J. Smith

Writer and founder of Chorus, the matchmaking app where friends swipe for friends. More at (or ).

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