I always thought it would be awesome to date a writer, and that’s not just because I am one. 

It’s because it’s one of those jobs where the person you are dating can get perks from it.
Need a report written? Done.
Need a cover letter for a job? Sure— AP or ChicagoManual Style?
No problem.
But Henry, this guy who my friend Ashley dated, found a problem with that setup. Toolbags usually do.
Henry owned a new bar that opened in New Orleans and Ashley, my writer friend, met him at the grand opening.
She was there to write about the place, as part of an overall list of new things to do this summer. 

Ashley was a freelance writer who the newspaper called to write about new openings and she was excited to get experience under her belt.
Ashley was pleasantly surprised to notice how hot Henry was and they exchanged numbers and it quickly got…uh…not entirely professional.
She told him about her work as a freelance writer—which he was seemingly impressed with—even though she was just starting out with smaller assignments.
She wrote a nice write-up on Henry’s new bar, which was a one paragraph description in an online blog about the 10 best new spots to try, but rather than be excited or beam that the girl he was dating was a published EFFING writer for a very prominent newspaper, he threw a fit.
Was it because she got his name wrong?

Was it because she said he served $1 hot dogs when he did not?


He was just an asshole.

“If your editor wants the REAL story on the bar, tell her to email me. Not that fluff you wrote about,” Henry texted after it went online.

The whole LIST was fluff—it was just a list of places to go, BuzzFeed style. 

This wasn’t a novel on his “journey” for F*CKS sake.
But, way to be grateful, Henry.
Now, telling a writer that something he or she has written is anything less than perfect stings. 
Having the guy you’ve been sleeping with for two months criticize your work even though it was FREE PUBLICITY is completely unacceptable.
“I’ll have my editor call you directly,” Ashley wrote back, furious.
Henry then waxed on about how Ashley is a NOBODY and she should have better dreams and goals than just writing “fluff.”


Seriously, rather than be encouraging or even being clever and suggesting new articles for her to write (about his bar), or even hiring her to write his own publicity pieces, he just started belittling her.
Ashley stopped texting him back of course—no sense for a writer to waste words on someone who is downright mean and ungrateful.
Also, ahemHENRY, it takes a lot of nerve for someone to get an ego that big over a bar that has gotten many 1 and 2-star reviews on Yelp.

I guess writers do win sometimes.



Boys can be so MEAN. (FYI: I just realized that “mean” is really “men” with an extra vowel hahaha)

Also mean? Massive work deadlines that I’m under, so I CAN’T write a long Toolbag Tuesday story today with a moral and everything.

I know…I’m so mean.

But what I CAN do is post notes from Toolbag Tuesday submissions I’ve received that have NO moral.

The ones with a certain WTF quality about them…you know, where I don’t want any more information.

So without further ado, I give you: MEAN BOYS COMPILATION, TAKE 1:

1.) He dutch-ovened me on a one-night stand and then stole my shoes. (Ed note: hahahahaha I actually should get more information about this.)

2.) Immediately said “don’t tell Britney about this” after we hooked up (Britney is my best friend.)

3.) I planned a very sexy celebration weekend for his birthday and found out at dinner that he had actually gone out for his birthday (on the actual day) but I was not invited.

4.) Flew back to visit my long-distance boyfriend for the holidays after almost six months away and asked him, “So what are we doing for New Years?” And he said, “As of now, I’m going hunting.”

5.) He had a ticket to go to France and then broke the news the day before he left that he was actually going to visit his ex-girlfriend there. He promised they were just friends and he’d email me all the time. I got one email from him, of a photo of a busted statue from a museum with no subject, note or description. He never called me again even after he returned.

6.) Picked a fight with me because he said I “cut green onions wrong” when I was making us nachos and it made him question our entire relationship.

7.) Found out he was picking up men AND women on Craig’s List, only because I got a notification that he changed our Craig’s List password. He was using the same account we had used to sell our sofa.

8.) Hooked up with a guy and the next day had a mutual friend/co-worker of his find out if he liked me, and he told her that he was actually secretly in love with her and asked her out to dinner that night.

…I mean, can there possibly be a moral to any of these??? 

Other than….just DON’T do any of these things, because they’re really, really mean??

It’s common sense, really:

Don’t steal your one-night stand’s shoes.
Don’t pick up people on Craig’s List.

..And make your own damn nachos.

Got a Toolbag Tuesday story? 

Email me at



It’s just an unfortunate fact of life: Not everyone has an identical twin sister to bring as their date to work-related, couple-y events.

…Which is where a boyfriend really comes in handy.

I know, I know, who goes to a work-related couple-y event in THIS economy???

Who’s throwing a gala??

My twin sister, Joy, has been my date to work-related couple-y events for ten years.

(Christmas parties, retirement parties…uh…Harry Potter opening night at the movies.)  

This isn’t so much because I’m perpetually single (uh…), it’s because I’ve made the BONEHEAD decision to have long-distance relationships for most of my life.

And no one is flying 1,000 miles to go to a stranger’s retirement party, no matter how many crab cakes they promise.

Not that I mind having Joy there.

She’s the perfect work-related, couple-y date: She talks excitedly to everyone, is genuinely interested in who they are/what they do, and when co-workers and I get into deep conversations about the state of print journalism, she brings over the remaining bottle of wine.

(It also helps that people fuss over how alike we look. Instant conversation starter!!!)

Call me crazy yuppie, but it’s really important to have a date with you to a work-related, couple-y event.

(Weddings are different. At a wedding you’re with friends, you’re drinking, you’re dancing and you’re probably checking out a groomsman. Ha.)

For a work-related, couple-y event, however, you need to have someone to talk to (so you don’t end up standing in the corner alone by the cheese), someone to SHOW OFF, someone who supports you and your career.

And, let’s not forget, someone who you’ve been telling your co-workers about.

You can imagine my excitement when I found myself in a proper relationship with a guy when I lived in New York.

I had just started a new job at a book publishing company, Joy and I had just moved to the city…THE CITY HE LIVED IN…and I was invited to several work-related, couple-y events within the first week of getting there.



Riiiiiight, that was the year I realized the difference between a good boyfriend and a bad boyfriend.

(And not knowing the difference until you live in the same city.)

Forehead slap!

His name was Edward and he was a financial adviser, which translates to super big hotshot in New York.

He was from New Orleans, my hometown, and I was excited to be in the same city as him after almost a year of dating long-distance.

I told him after my second day of work that there was a company birthday party at a bar on Friday night and asked if he could he please come with me.

I made it obvious that it was important, and how I wanted him to meet everyone.

He said yes.


When everyone at work started buzzing about the party, I told them that we would both be there.

I actually beamedsaying it. (Awwww 25-year-old Jenny.)

Edward didn’t have to work Friday night and had nothing going on. It was a perfect gathering for everyone to meet—a reserved outside patio at a bar.

I went straight after work. Edward said he’d meet me there.

I waited. And waited.

After a HALF-HOUR, people were asking where he was. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe he got stuck on the subway,” I said.


“Hey…do you mind if I don’tgo?” Edward spoke the horrifying words into my cell phone 45 MINUTES after the party started.

“What? Why?” I asked.

“I just…don’t want to be on a smoky patio. You know how much I hate smoke.”


I looked around, and ducked out of earshot.

“No one is smoking…” I said. “What are you doing?”

“Just watching TV on the couch.”

I could have killed him, seriously.

“Well, I really wantyou to be here,” I said. “I’ve only been working here for five days, I don’t know anyone, I’d like a friend with me.”

Edward wasn’t moved.

“Yea, well, if it was ANYWHERE else…” he said. “Anywhere with no smoking…”




You can’t SUCK IT UP for two hours?

What about,“I really want you to be here” DIDN’T he understand??

I almost cried, I remember. I felt like such an idiot.

And what a dorkyexcuse, too.

Oh, he doesn’t want the POTENTIALto have to smell cigarette smoke the required 20 feet away from the entrance??


(SPOILER ALERT: It was a B.S. excuse. He was just selfish and unsupportive.)

But because I was 25 years old and really wanted it to work out between us, I forgave him and downplayed my hurt.

Until the next WORK-RELATED, COUPLE-Y THING, of course.

The second gathering, THE NEXT WEEKEND, was a “field day” picnic at Central Park (Central Park!) where everyone played Trivial Pursuit and volleyball.

“Free food!” I said to Edward.

I mean, why the Fdid I have to twist him arm about it?

It was a great Saturday date anyway. A stroll and picnic in the damn park.

“Yea, well, I’m planning on going to the gym until 2 o’clock…” Edward said.

My teeth clenched.

“Could you…maybe skipthe gym this Saturday?” I said.

“Ohhh….I don’t really want to,” he said.


That’s when I lost it.

Here I was a new resident to HIS city and he couldn’t even carve out time to be my date to an effing Saturday picnic.

I tried to be more clear.



“Ok, I’ll come,” he finally said.

“Thank you.”

Edward arrived at the park at 3 p.m.

“SORRY I’M LATE, I WENT TO THE GYM,” he announced.



This guy.

And that’s when I realized that Edward wasn’t just clueless, he really didn’t care about making me happy.

He didn’t care about anything but himself.

And no amount of explaining my feelings would make him be a supportive person, or make him stop doing whatever the Fhe wanted to do.

On the bright side, Joy won second place in Trivial Pursuit that day. 




You’d think I’d run out of ways to talk about how guys get caught cheating.

Or, even ways about how a guy who is sleeping with a girl gets caught cheating by really having a whole ‘nother life with a whole ‘nother girlfriend. 

(Or wife. Or boyfriend.) 

My favorite story (i.e. the most random) used to be the case of the guy whose CAT dragged a used condom from out of his bedroom and dropped it at his feet the exact moment he was insisting he wasn’t cheating.


Pussy CONTROL!!!

But the cat story is no longer my favorite completely random story anymore!!


Because this one is about journalism.

I’m a journalist!!! Glad my industry was of service!


Jason, the guy in question, and my friend Eva had an on-and-off completely bad idea long-distance romance after meeting at a work convention and yes, terrible idea but they had a THING together and they hooked up and kept in touch when they went back to their respective cities.

It was an even MORE terrible idea when Jason, a PhD candidate, found out he was awarded? accepted? into some program in Germanyto do research or whatever people DO when they’re getting their PhDs.

And he had no real “coming home” date.

Eva was devastated.

She had feelings for him and this was an impossible situation.

Dramatic hand over forehead—have fun in Germany, Jason!!!!!—sniff—Auf Wiedersehen!, and then she deleted his phone number.

But he soon crawled his way back in, almost immediately.

He Skype messaged her, he sent her emails addressed to cute nicknames, he kept asking her if she was dating anyone.

“He’s probably just lonely,” friends told her.

But Eva would get invested again and again with HIS persistence and his flirtatiousness—genuine conversation peppered with sexual innuendos that would make her laugh—and she’d fall back into contact.

One time, he offered for her to come visit him in Germany.

No! Bad idea Eva began to save up money for a plane ticket.

For the next six months—SIX MONTHS!—they played this game, her saving up money, him flirt Skyping, calling and emailing.

But then, right when she saved up thousands of dollars, he became noncommittal.

“Oh, uh, I might be going to uhhh HAMBERG (or whatever) that week! Let me check my schedule and get back to you!”

Eva was hurt and confused. He contacted her at least three days a week either phone or email or Skype or damn WORDS WITH FRIENDS (Ed note: people still play that??) and now nothing.


And then, as if the most perfect timing as the CAT dragging in the bad news, Eva logged onto Facebook and saw the CONVENTION WHERE THEY MET Facebook Group linked to a newspaper article entitled “PhD Candidate Jason Blah Blah from his small hometown of Georgiadoing research on Blah Blah!!”



And it was in that article where it mentioned how he is working on this ALL IMPORTANT RESEARCH with his research partner and LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND.




I asked her why the article mentioned a “live-in” girlfriend, because I’m a journalist.

“Because they were doing research together on BLAH BLAH BLAH and were planning on moving out of THEIR apartment to live together in a tent for the next couple of weeks,” she said.




Why would Jason pursue her for six months and know very well she had feelings for him and was saving up money to visit him when he and his LIVE-IN girlfriend were nature-bound?

Eva concluded he just wanted her around on a hook, as backup. Oh, and he appeared to enjoy their Skype sessions.


The newspaper article was the worst reality check ever.

It wasn’t just a rumor or a vague Facebook photo, but a bona fide, journalist-backed, CITED article about his love life.

The daily paper in his small hometown of Georgiawas NO liar.

Black, white and waaahhh RED all over!!!

But it was a blessing in disguise.

Without that article (and journalists!!!) Eva would be all bummed out about where he was and what he was doing and would probably get sucked back into Skyping him.

So she blocked him from all of her accounts. There is no way he can get back in touch with her.

The only tragic thing is that she has all this money saved up and nowhere to go.

I think she should bail out a newspaper.



It’s no secret that guys don’t know a good picture of themselves. 


Look at the hottest guy you know in real life’s Facebook profile picture. You know you wouldn’t hit that!


Facebook isn’t real life. 

However, there are some guys who do need to know what a good picture of someone looks like. And those people are PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS. 

Life lesson #43257346273: Never go on a date with a professional photographer and then cut it off. 

Don’t do it. 
Their lens will punish you.

Here’s the story:
I met Mark, a freelance photographer, and we went on exactly one date before I realized that he was an angry guy, and not the type of angry guy that I find hilarious. 
The kind I find annoying. 

But we still talked about work – me writer! him photographer!  Looks so good on paper….ha. (Pun intended.)

Mark told me that in addition to photograph-ing sports for the NBA (whaaaat) and The Associated Press (whaaaaat) he also did small side projects for local schools for their brochures and websites.

But he was still angry and shat on everything (the bar is dirty, the river is ugly, I hate people who walk slow)

So, after our date, I made a point not to return his calls or text messages. I mean, did I owe him anything?? Is it better to remain silent or is it better to break the news that you’re an angry little man?? 

I knew I made the right decision when I started getting messages from an anonymous person telling me he had a girlfriend and that he was a cheater hahahahahaha. 

(I sure can pick ’em)

To be honest, I forgot all about Mark until I was recently asked to attend a career day at a local elementary school. 

I get asked to do a lot of career days because I have a job that children can understand. 

I’ve done about 15 career days in my illustrious career.

Meeting in the library before our presentations to children (WHICH YOU DON’T GET PAID FOR) it’s always me (the “newspaper lady”)  the police officer, the lawyer, the firefighter, the dentist.

Can you imagine: “Hey kids! This is Holly. She sells unnecessary medical devices to doctors for a ridiculous markup! Say hi to Holly everyone!!”


So there I was, giving my spiel to the kids about what a newspaper budget is (it’s where you plan what stories are going to be in the next issue, it has nothing to do with finances) when the door opened and everyone stared at the principal entering the room…with Mark. 

And his big camera. 
He was frowning, go figure.

It had been four months at least since I had seen/remembered him, and then suddenly I froze up there in front of everyone. 


He did not acknowledge knowing me at all, even as I tried to make eye contact and started ClickClickClickClick-ing with his fast-ass shutter and I got red in the face and tried to continue my discussion on deadlines. 

I was nothing but professional about the awkward encounter, and I assumed HE was going to be professional. 

…Even though I left him hanging with a bunch of unreturned text messages. 

Put all your biases aside, right???  

Not for Mark. 

For reference, this is from another career day years ago, taken by NOT an asshole:

(Can’t blame the photographer for unflattering pants)

But I guess perhaps now, instead of newspaper advice, I should start instructing students to NOT to go on a date with, and promptly end things with, a photographer. 

That’s a more useful lesson.

Don’t do it kids!!! Because one day you’ll see him again, and he’ll be taking professional pictures of you and there’s nothing you can do about it, and while everyone ELSE who had their picture taken at career day looks happy and normal, your picture— emailed to HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE marked CAREER DAY 2013!!!!!, will look like this:


UGH times infinity.


Of course Mark chose this picture to include in the roundup. 

Is there anything flattering about this photo??? 



Did he NOT notice that half my face is asleep, like a stoke patient? 

That he made me look cross-eyed and have FOUR CHINS??? 


I think he absolutely noticed.


At least it looks better than his Facebook profile picture.



How is it possible to bust a complete stranger who just got your number??? 

without the use of Facebook???

Without knowing anything about them, no mutual friends, no background information, zilch????

Just work for a newspaper. 


Just kidding.
….OR AM I?

The truth was this bust was just a perfectly-timed coincidence, probably the work of this dude’s KARMA ruining his game. 

Taylor met my friend Brenna at bar trivia. She was sitting nearby on another team, but Taylor kept getting her attention and smiling at her. 

Brenna, who was single at the time, was flattered, and Taylor wasn’t hideous, so she smiled back. He introduced himself and told her she was the prettiest person in the bar (blush). 

The next week at trivia, Taylor and Brenna talked for a few minutes about what she did for a living. 

Brenna told him she was the graphic designer for a local newspaper and he seemed to think that was super cool (It is). He then made his move at the end of the game. 

The last trivia question asked players to decipher a whole bunch of Roman numerals into regular numbers, and Taylor used that opportunity to get her actual phone number. 

“Here,” he said handing her a piece of paper. “Write down your number…not in Roman numerals.” They both laughed. It was cute. She hoped he’d call that weekend. 

But he didn’t. 

Brenna frowned when he didn’t show up at trivia the next week. Was he injured? In jail?? 

A few days after his noticeable absence, Brenna was working double duty at the newspaper answering phones and taking down classified ads in the secretary’s absence. 

“The XXXX Journal, this is Brenna,” she said when the phone rang. 

“Brenna?” asked a male voice on the other end. “Brenna from bar trivia?”

She paused for a second – WHO IS THIS PERSON WHO KNOWS SHE PLAYS BAR TRIVIA ON FRIDAYS??? – when the voice said, “This is Taylor.”

“Oh!” Brenna said, awkward. Then confused…she had given him her CELL phone number…right??

“Um, what’s…up?” she asked.

“I was calling about putting a garage sale in the paper,” he said. “I didn’t know you answered the phones.” 

(Translation: I didn’t mean to call you personally, even though I now have TWO numbers to reach you)

“Oh, yea, well, I can still take down the information,” Brenna said, trying to be professional. 

“It’s a moving sale,” Taylor said. “We’re selling a living room set (ed note: who buys living room sets anymore??) and a lot of kitchen stuff and clothes.”

“Clothes?” Brenna asked, the word “we” running through her head. “What kinds of clothes? Children’s clothes? Men’s clothes?”

“Mens…” he said.

…and women’s.” 

Brenna said there was a very obvious pause, which made it very obvious to her that she shouldn’t expect a call for a date because he already HAD someone to go on a date with. 


“Ok, got it, men’s and women’s clothes,” Brenna said. “And a living room set.”

“Yea,” Taylor said trying to be chummy all of a sudden. “We’re moving closer to downtown.”


Taylor of course didn’t elaborate on the ‘we’ – “they’re my mom’s clothes!!! they’re my EX-girlfriends clothes!” – because they were neither.

“Ok, well, I need your credit card now then,” Brenna said curtly, not addressing the details of his garage sale. 

She cursed herself for telling her roommate the day before how excited she was that someone had gotten her number.

A quick Facebook check of his full name (thanks Mastercard!!!) showed that he was, in fact, with another girl.


Why go through all that flirting and chatting and using the cheesiest pickup line EVER to get someone’s number if you’re LIVING WITH A GIRL, SIGNING A NEW LEASE WITH A GIRL and WE, WE, WE-ING ALL OVER TOWN??

Does this constitute cheating?? 
Because that’s grounds for being disqualified in bar trivia. 

Either way, he’s in last place.



I really should thank Max for being such a toolbag, since his job was the one that I took over as editor for once upon a time.

…But I still hope I never meet him in real life.

Max, the 40-something-year-old guy who held the editor position for about four years, was fired. 

Not laid off, in the way most people stop working for a print newspaper, although laid off would be an appropriate thing to say here, since the man was fired for DOWNLOADING AND LOOKING AT PORN ON HIS WORK COMPUTER. 


How much porn do you ask?? 
Like a NSFW email clip that wasn’t deleted???


Try FOUR DVDs worth of 2-minute clips. 


Could you BE more inappropriate???

“Hey Jenny, how’d you get that editor job?”
“Oh, the former editor was fired for downloading porn.”

Now, please forget  like I have  the fact that I had been USING SAID COMPUTER and TYPING ON THE KEYS daily.

Let’s review the facts here.

1.) The computer is not a laptop. It can not be moved, and was not taken home. Which means that the only time and place Max was downloading and looking at porn was at work….and being paid for it. 

I remember my first day before I sat down at the desk, the boss asked the IT guy if the computer “had been cleaned out.” 

I thought it was odd, when the IT guy nodded in a weird way, and then they both stopped talking immediately.

When I was finally clued into the office gossip, I was mortified. 

When I asked if anyone suspected anything, the employee said, “Not really, he’d be in his office all day with the door closed.”

Door closed. One guess why.

I looked throughly grossed out and was told, “Don’t worry, we painted the walls before you got here.”


Then: Oh God. Don’t answer that.

2.) Max is married. When I expressed my disgust with this fact –  “His poor wife!!! Can you imagine having to tell people that your husband was fired for downloading 4 DVDs worth of porn at work???” – the same employee noted, “Well, he can’t very well watch porn at home with his wife and kids around! What was he supposed to do??” 

I scoffed at this justification. Why couldn’t he have gotten a smartphone for his viewing pleasure??? 

But then, well, Max wasn’t a very smart guy…

3.) He was caught. NOT red-handed or red-faced, thank God (uggggghhh). 

But still, there’s something to be said for people coming (that’s what she said! No, this is no time for sex jokes) …coming clean about things they do wrong, rather than get caught. 

But Max didn’t come clean. He got found out, and in a way that could have put the entire company in jeopardy. 

I swear I am not making this up…from what I’m told about the discovery, the president of the company was at the office alone in the evening when a woman stopped in to look at a proof of an ad that she was running for her business. 

Her business happened to begin with the letters “B-u-s-t…..” and GUESS WHAT SHOWED UP WHEN THE BOSS SEARCHED FOR “BUST” in Max’s computer????


Image after image and video clip after video clip of “busts” of all kinds showed up – big busts, round busts, black busts, juicy busts…and the boss thought right then he was going to be accused of sexual harassment when this poor woman’s jaw dropped.  

They were the only ones in the office.

“I don’t know where all this came from!” the president said, frantically trying to close the “search results” window. 

“I’m a married man!” he told her. 

Ugh…yea, so’s Max. 


This is the icing on the cake. 

When the IT guy peeked into Max’s computer and saw that Max had more porn clips than actual work documents, he was fired. Duh. 

But Max didn’t go quietly. No, he actually said to the boss – and everybody – that he was going to SUE for WRONGFUL TERMINATION  because, and I quote:

No, really, get ready….










So, now we need to specifically say in employee handbooks that employees are NOT allowed to download and watch porn at work???

What about not pooping on the floor???
That’s not…illegal either.



The IT guy said that threat was how and why they know exactly how many porn clips he had, since at the advice of their lawyer, they copied all the incriminating files onto DVDs in case they had to present it in court.


Thankfully, no one has heard from Max in court, or in life, ever since. 

And the only things with the word “bust” on the computer are press releases from the sheriff’s office.

…For illegal things, of course.