What does it feel like to be an unattractive woman?

Normally I use Quora for questions about WordPress, wireframes, and APIs, but a few weeks ago this post caught my attention: What does it feel like to be an unattractive woman? A taboo topic often unacknowledged, much like the women in the comments.

The answers are quietly heartbreaking, infuriating, and familiar: being passed over for prettier people, feeling invisible, the unspeakable cruelty of children and teenagers. Familiar, but not the same: I’m a white girl of average body size. I won’t deal with a lot of scenarios described by the commenters. So I’ll save the stories about my own issues with appearance for another day (don’t worry, they’re coming). In the meantime, go give it a read.






I don’t think we are built to be with one person forever.

I mean, if that’s what happens and it works for you, that’s great.

I just don’t think we were really meant for that.

Actually, post menopause or once the idea of sex is worse than seeing the dentist, I could totally understand pairing off with one person for compatibility sake.

The reason I’m monogamous (at the moment), is that I just can’t imagine being with more than one person at one time. Honestly, dating is pretty much the worst thing ever and having sex with someone I don’t know, care about and trust is not my cup of tea. The idea of investing time and energy into more than one person sounds exhausting and unpleasant and borderline impossible.

I’d love to give my partner the opportunity to have a little on the side, but how exactly does that work? Like, what if sex with that other person is amazing and suddenly that cuts into the time I get? What if they fall in love with that other person? What if some of that closeness fades because they are sharing themselves with another person?

It just sounds like you lose rather than gain even if both of you are actively taking advantage of an open relationship. If people were like food, yeah sure, I love having a ton of options in all ranges of price, atmosphere and ethnicity, but sometimes convenience and comfort triumphs. So does getting full. I think I’d much rather go to a place that offers some variety, is consistently really good and that I feel is worth the cost then going somewhere expensive, really far away and has no guarantee of being decent.

Maybe it’s more a matter of letting one another stray every so often. Though I’m not sure what that would look like either. I suppose if either party were THAT interested in sleeping with someone else and had the chance, why not give it to them?

Diamonds Are FOREVER

It’s not that I’m not happy for you.

I am.

He seems like a great guy. You seem like an awesome couple. Seriously, congrats.

But there is a reaction that happens when I see that diamond ring on your finger. It’s way more stomach clenching than your change in relationship status on Facebook.

I suppose that feeling is envy.

There is little that people have nowadays that provoke this in me. I don’t have a lot of money, but the big t.v.’s, designer purses, and tropical vacations don’t interest me THAT much. At the end of the day, if I really wanted any of those things, I could certainly save money or find a third job and attain them.

That’s the thing about engagement rings. They are not something you can just give yourself. They are probably one of very few things someone else has to bestow upon you.

Perhaps that’s what I take issue with the most. This idea that some women are given this token of promised whatever and get to wear it around like a prize. And it IS a sort of prize. Or at least, it feels like you are winning and I am losing. Even if I don’t feel like a loser, the outside world perceives it as such. The only way to validate my relationship (in the eyes of others, and for some people, their own) is by having very specific proof.

I find myself foaming at the mouth over montages of celebrity rings, much more so than I do over all of the baby bumps. As much as I want to roll my eyes at rushed engagements, I can only imagine the power of that diamond.

First Post, First Date

For my first post, I thought I’d share a story about my first date in Chicago. I moved here for college when I was 17 from St. Paul, Minnesota. I wish I could say I’d put a lot of thought into my choice, but the truth was I wanted to get away from home and to a major city, and NYU cost way too much money (sorry Chicago, sorry). Read on for a story of indie rock, poor choices, and dudes — three things that defined a lot of what I did in the early 2000s. Trigger warnings for  intense stupidity and uncomfortable social situations, but it’s not horrible in the way you think it’s going to be. Really.

“I hope he’s not some frat boy or something,” I said to my friend Brianna as I pulled down my ribbed black sweater, making sure the v-neck was low enough but not too low, the bottom aligned just so with my jeans. She nodded. Pedro the Lion played in the background as I squinted into her dorm room’s full-length mirror, dabbing concealer over discolorations left by acne scars, light pink remnants of high school bad skin. I slicked on another layer of Dangerous, a sheer dark reddish-fuschia, and turned around, facing this girl from Nebraska who’d helped introduce me to music beyond goth-industrial and Top 40.

“I’ll text you if it gets weird, okay? At 10 or something.”

Brianna nodded again then smiled, slightly sardonic  in the manner she did most things — friendly and sarcastic and a little mean. “Have fun!”

She shut the door behind me and I walked out into the still-warm October night. It was 2003. I had turned 18 a few weeks ago. I was a freshman at Loyola University Chicago. I was going on my first date. I was excited. He liked me. We’d talked on the phone yesterday. I didn’t think much beyond that. I didn’t think much at all.

We’d met a week ago at The Metro. I was there with Brianna to see Death Cab for Cutie. It was different than the Postal Service album I’d listened to until I was sick of it, but I liked it. At one point I closed my eyes, letting Ben Gibbard’s voice crash around me while Brianna murmured something I couldn’t hear.

He caught me as I was walking out of the restroom, midway through the show. I don’t remember what it was. It was something kind of sweet and kind of dumb. I remember smiling awkwardly. We saw each other again as the crowd was filtering out. A few more words were exchanged, I said something about giving him my email address.

“…or maybe your number?” he said.

I wrote my number down on a scrap of paper. My stomach flipped. He was short and built with spiky blonde hair. Not my type, but I didn’t care.

He called me a few days later. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember it being off-putting in a way I couldn’t place. I shoved the feelings down, and agreed to meet him at Clarke’s at 7pm that Friday.

Not So Young Adult

Adult relationships are hard, ya’ll.

While I never envisioned being married, I also had no idea what it would be like to date in my 30’s.

I’ve said it before, but having a “boyfriend” when you’re thirty-five just sounds stupid. I’m becoming your free spirited aunt who can’t settle down and does things like move to San Francisco on a whim.

Now be a thirty-something woman dating a thirty-something man and you both have super unconventional jobs, which leads to unpredictable schedules, throw in the fact that you both have roommates, live across town from one another and are both without cars.

Not. Easy.

We are like teenagers living in our parents’ house, holed up in a bedroom. We are romantically cooking dinner while another person sits 10 feet away eating cereal and watching t.v. We are subject to another person’s schedule at all times. We are together three-four days a week and a lot of the time that doesn’t feel like enough. Sometimes to compensate for not seeing the other person’s face, we Skype.

And how about when you’re just in a bad mood or not totally into being super affectionate RIGHT NOW, but it’s been three days since you’ve seen one another and you’re trying to make the most of this time and it’s not that you’re not happy to be together, but right at this moment you’re feeling a bit off?

I know it’s not supposed to look like anything specific, but really, what is this supposed to look like?

What comes after casual but before cohabitation?

The fact that we’re both pretty broke changes things, perhaps a lot. But I think in good ways sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I like fancy dinners out, going to movies and shows, traveling, etc., but those are activities you do with another person as a sort of distraction. It’s something to do instead of having to just be. Not that I want to sit across from someone at an empty table in an empty room, but some of my favorite moments are just talking with my boyfriend about whatever. It also means that when we are able to splurge on a pricey brunch or treat ourselves to whatever our heart desires for dinner, we appreciate it more. It happens enough that I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t looking for someone to do things with. I have friends for that. On top of this, the things I got used to doing by myself are now enhanced because another person is there. Sometimes I’m in shows and don’t always know if friends are coming to see it. Now more often than not, I have someone to go with me, sit with me, reassure me when I’m nervous, encourage and support. I have someone to watch Bob’s Burgers with on my laptop in bed. I have someone to meal plan with.

Maybe the best part of having this unconventional relationship is that because our schedules can be open during the week, I have someone to go to Hot Doug’s with on a Tuesday. Or a matinee on Friday. Or we can stay up late watching random PBS documentaries on Sunday because I don’t have to be at work until 11 on Monday.

These are the things I have to remind myself of. That despite some of the difficulties in navigating all of this, there are unique opportunities for us to continue to get to know one another. While that puts some pressure on the time we have together, it’s letting us progress in ways other couples who have it “together” more may not be able to.

And yeah, there are times when I think “what is this leading to” only to remember relationships aren’t things you can map out. Sure, you can want things and the other person can want things and you can work towards them. But in the end everything is unpredictable. Relationships on a day to day level are really “do I want to see this person again?”

If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track.


Welcome to Miss Spoken!

Welcome to Miss Spoken!

We are so glad you stopped by.

“We” are Carly and Rose. We live in Chicago. Not together. But close to one another. Like 1.7 miles apart.

This website is all about us writing on a variety of topics that are we find important, funny, interesting, complicated, weird or just worth discussing. We tend to talk about, well, girl stuff: periods! bras! relationships! but a lot in-between as well. Every now and again we’ll feature a guest post to keep our horizons broadened.

In addition to the site, we’re also the curators, contributors to, and producers of a monthly live show that will premier on May 28th at Gallery Cabaret at 7 p.m.

Here is our amazing debut line-up:

Samantha Irby

Natasha Samreny

Melanie LaForce

Jasmine Davila

Alicia Swiz

and of course, your hosts:

Carly Oishi

Rosamund Lannin

Miss Spoken (the show) will highlight female performers, writers, actors, comedians, storytellers and novices reading a nonfiction piece based on a different theme each month.

If you’re interested in getting booked, please contact us. More about what we’re looking for can be found here.

We are both super excited about this project and are looking forward to having you along for the ride!

Carly and Rose

P.S. Huge thank you to Monica Martinez for our logo design!