You get really good at ignoring workplace red flags when you have limited options. And one job sticks out to me for all of its crimson banners: the corporate retreat that turned out to be a rage room, the closets masquerading as breastfeeding hideouts that I soon learned were for crying, the 24-hour window I was given to go to New York City for a day of training and make it back to Pittsburgh in time for work the next morning. I took the job gladly though, with it’s 45 minute–1.5 …

As much as I love my brand new nephew, few things have brought me as much joy as watching people’s reactions to my sister openly breastfeeding him. This new parlor trick of my sister’s, clearing a room faster than a landing boot evicts a colony of ants from their home, has nearly overshadowed his arrival into existence.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I feel fortunate to live in an era when parents and babies alike are doing the arduous labor of de-sexualizing and de-shaming something as objectively not sexy and not shameful as breastfeeding a baby. But I often wonder what people are so squeamish…

It’s Free Real Estate

From a young age people have told me I have an active imagination. It has worked to my advantage, like that time I convinced my mother that my drawing a dotted line in black Sharpie across the length of my bedroom was born out of an interest in pointillist Impressionism and not sheer, dumb boredom. Other times, my imagination kicks into overdrive harder than Patrick Swayze’s dominant foot in Road House and gives me a wild idea like that I can afford a house some day.

Photo by Sabina Sturzu on Unsplash

On a hot September evening, at a Sheepadoodle’s first birthday party, I found myself…

Dating humans is rough. Dating humans in a pandemic is even worse. If you’re anything like me, you’d sooner attend a 6 am slack meeting with the whole office after a Wednesday-night living room bender than play another game of virtual 20 questions with a stranger off Tinder. Still, one might find themself choosing to endure all kinds of shitty virtual meetups because, well, there aren’t many safe alternatives these days. That’s why I have compiled this list of super eligible, COVID-19-proof mythical beasts if you’re totally over dating humans, but also don’t want to make any of them sick.

For the longest time my sexual fantasies involved me in a long pastel negligee, swanning into a sunny living room where a salt and pepper gentleman caller is awaiting me with a fully charged rabbit pearl in hand. Sometimes I’d swap the generic silver fox for Mr. Burt Reynolds himself. After having hours of sex in a bedroom covered wall-to-wall in vinyl monstera leaves, we’d go to the dinner theater where the conversation usually revolved around Mr. Burt asking how he could better prioritize my pleasure —the big band music roaring on in the background. …

Partners come in many forms. The ethical and trendy choice lately has been to shop local: seeking out partners organically through friends of friends, in the workplace, or maybe even at Target. Perhaps you are more of an arm chair dater and prefer to slide into a virtual inbox of some sort — we don’t recommend this one (read: telling someone they “look really good” after not seeing them since high school). But maybe, you are looking for a more unique and challenging experience. You’re a self-described overachiever and people can’t quite figure out why you’re still single. If this…

“Do you know who I am?” A man in a white jersey emblazoned with a stitched number seven asks me. Of course I knew who it was. Standing there in the middle of a Target in front of the tampons was the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback from 1998–2000.

Back, pictured from left: Hall-of-Fame nerf thrower, bus flipper, young Thurman Thomas, and confused author. In front: very small, lone Steelers fan of the family.

“You’re Doug Flutie!” I wrapped my arms around his neck to give him the tightest squeeze possible. I then woke up to the strange taste of corn flakes in my mouth (See: Flutie Flakes)and to the startling realization that I was no longer eight years old and that one of my childhood…

I sat on the carpet and pretended to be engrossed in the Montel Williams show coming through the giant console television in front of me. But what I was really focused on was behind me: my grandmother—known affectionately as Mother — in her easy chair the same color as a baked potato. She was clicking her pinky and thumbnails back and forth, biding her time until she’d light her next Marlboro Red cigarette.

Mother has always maintained one exceptionally long thumbnail on her right hand. The other nails are comparatively shorter but still pretty long by normal standards. The thumbnail…

Harry Chapin watches over my cat who is cradled with spoon

I don’t need to set an alarm anymore. My brain’s like, “No. I got you!” And every morning at around 7:50 AM, Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” plays in my head and jerks me out of my sleep. Chapin’s hit song entered my subconscious a few months ago and has since given himself an underwear drawer and spare key.

The first sign something was amiss appeared one morning shortly after I mustered up the energy to log roll from one side of my bed to the other. As my big toe made contact with the carpet, that intro riff…


Various succulents set in clay pots in greenhouse.
Various succulents set in clay pots in greenhouse.
Photo courtesy of the author.

I thumb through a dating app late one night, letting the answers to prompts swirl around in my head. The editorial patterns reach absurd predictability:

Oddly attracted to facial scars, big noses, nerdy girls with glasses, girls in STEM, crazy chicks.

Be down to earth, be outgoing, be kind.

I want someone who can handle my bullshit, call me on my bullshit, deal with my bullshit.

I know the best spot in towns for brews, tacos, tacos and guac, tacos and margaritas.

I am overly competitive about everything.

Find me at the party near the dog.

I swipe until the…

Alexandra Szczupak

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