Meet Our Readers

August’s theme is Sleepovers, and we’re ready. Ready for late-night whispering, makeovers, and those pillow fights I think only happen in the movies. Did you ever have a pillow fight? Really? Will you come to the show and tell me about it? I’m not gonna believe it’s a thing otherwise. While you’re there, hear stories from the ladies below. We trust they’d never freeze our bra.


Ali Kelley

alikelley_photoAli Kelley is a writer living in Chicago. She co-produces Story Club Chicago and performs her stories at series around the city. You can find her talking about ’90s pop culture and teen angst on her blog Sleepoverz and HelloGiggles.





Stefania Rudd

Stefania Rudd HeadshotStefania Rudd is a Chicago based stand-up comedian, who escaped the vast prairies of her home state of Oklahoma to tell jokes in the big city. A graduate of the iO Improv Training Program, the Second City Writing Program, and the Feminine Comique Stand-up Program, it’s apparent Stefania likes taking classes to help focus her wit. She has been performing in Chicago for over 2 years with The Kates, Zanies’ Female Funnies, and various local showcases and open mics. While traveling for work or fun, she takes time to drop in on open mics and sample the local pizza selection. When not on stage you can hear her co-hosting one of Chicago’s longest running podcasts, Your Chicago, where she interviews the people who make Chicago go.

Steph Fowler

FullSizeRender (1)Hailing from a small town in rural Iowa, Stephanie Fowler has been in Chicago for 12 years, making her an official transplant with full corruption privileges. When she’s not winning costume contests or enthusiastically singing karaoke poorly, Steph can be found kickboxing, eating tacos, or scribbling in a notebook at a local pub. During a recent life transition, she rediscovered her interest in creative expression and found writing to be instrumental to re-establishing her identity and rebuilding her life. She looks forward to helping others do the same in her work as a therapist and coach, and she’s thrilled to take the storytelling stage for the first time at Miss Spoken!


Lynne Roberts

L Roberts headshot1Lynne Roberts is a Chicago stand-up comic and storyteller. She was raised in the suburbs in the 1980s, so she’s pretty sure her life is actually a John Hughes movie. She got her degree in English and worked in children’s book publishing for years before deciding to go back to school to save the environment. Now she works as the most unscientific scientist on the planet, for the planet.



Here’s a recording of our June 2015 show. The theme was Orgasms. Readers included Kim Schultz, Lesley Pearl, Jess Krista Merighi, Kim Nelson, and Meg Grunewald.







Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless G-Chat

Timehop (a typically fun app that shows you Facebook posts, Tweets, texts and the like, from years passed) pulled up an old G-chat between me and an ex-boyfriend when we had just started dating. And will continue to do this until April of 2016 (the month we broke up.)

It would be like if you had transcripts of all of your phone calls and put them in a time capsule and then someone mailed them to you everyday seven years later.

It’s weird. And kind of uncomfortable. But also…fascinating?

At the time, we were obviously rebounding from serious relationships. It appears we ignored this huge red flag and plunged into things head first.

And it was really great and magical feeling. I was also hella insecure and still not at all over the guy who dumped me a mere six weeks before we met.

But there it all is: An entire word for word conversation that I totally forgot we even had. All of the “lol’s” and flirting and declarations of wanting and hoping and eventually, loving.

It’s a strange thing to have access to such intimate detail of an interaction with someone who is long gone from my life.

It’s so odd to watch you fall in love over the computer, to remember it after so many years having not really thought much about it.

All because of a phone app that didn’t exist back then.

Sure, Gmail saved all of these conversations. But I’ve never felt like going back and reading all of them.

Now they’re coming at me like hororscopes. A part of me wants to skim right past them. But it’s like watching a movie of yourself from another time.

I can’t look away.

Not to imply that I want to reminisce about these old times with him. Even if we were on any kind of speaking/friendly terms, it would be way too awkward to have a “remember when?” chat.

Still, there is something about this being between the two of us that makes me wish we could because he’s the only one that would understand. In a bubble that doesn’t exist in real time.

At least now in my current relationship we can go back and read old email exchanges and laugh or remind one another of “that one time” and it’s a shared experience.

Instead I have all of these detailed moments that I’m reliving alone.

I don’t want to erase them and I know eventually they’ll disappear from my consciousness like before. It’s just been a very unexpected thing to have them pop up on my phone, a text message from 2008.


“Dating” is Terrible and Always Was

I just read this stomach turning article on Vanity Fair about Tinder and “hookup-culture”.

I don’t know anything about dating in your 20’s in 2015 and have been out of the game for two years, but I have some thoughts on the matter that I still think are relevant.

The gist of this story is that dating apps have changed the way we interact with people when it comes to finding love, sex and relationships. And the people winning out from this “evolutionary” change are men. Men who now have access to what seems like an endless stream of wanting and willing women are not interested in anything serious, let alone buying you a meal. (Seriously, one guy bragged he only spent $80 total on three different girls. Way to go, bro?)

The problem I had with this whole thing (aside from how gross and obnoxious and probably very true it is for some people), was the idea that women just had to “go along” with this. That men are setting the pace and in order for us to keep up, we have to play the game.

No, ladies you do NOT HAVE TO AGREE TO ANY OF THIS. And the more you do, the worse it’s going to get.

Men (who) want to get laid and will do whatever they have to to make that happen. If the baseline for doing so is that they respect you (and maybe, like, try to get to know you), then they will. If the baseline is that they don’t have to do anything, then they probably won’t.

If someone is an asshole, why are you sleeping with them? If I surveyed women who were OK with casual relationships or not looking for anything serious, most of them probably wouldn’t put one night stands above sex with someone they actually liked/had a connection with/knew for longer than twenty four hours.

I’m not arguing against women having one night stands. I’m arguing that if women don’t want to have one night stands, stop having them. If you want something more meaningful, stop sleeping with someone the first night. If you are actually OK with someone coming over and having sex with you and before you even put your clothes back on he’s looking at Tinder (actual story from this article), I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.

All of the women who want to find someone who will give a shit tomorrow (or, god forbid a week or month from now), you absolutely should stop talking to these dudes who are sending unsolicited dick pics and pizza emojis.

Also, I know it goes against everything we’re taught about being validated as human beings, but just because a cute guy swiped right on you, that doesn’t mean he gets to treat you like a P.O.S. Why do you even care if a jerk who is trying to sleep with someone different every night of the week thinks you’re doable?

I know. I know. Easier said then done. I’ve fallen into this hell hole called “dating” in the not SO distant past. I’ve used online dating sites and apps. I get the temptation. I get the instant gratification. I understand wanting to go with the flow because you feel like the only way you’re going to meet someone is to play it cool. I’ve done this. But in the end, you’re only hurting yourself.

Being alone can suck. But it can’t be worse than sleeping with a douchebag WHO IS APPALLED AT THE IDEA OF CARING ABOUT YOU.

If Every Single Guy is acting like this, then stop interacting with them. Netflix and Grubhub may not help your self esteem, but neither does a “Sup” text at 2 a.m.

Are you jealous of your girl friends who aren’t having orgasms and who hook up with guys who can’t get it up? (Actual anecdotes from young women in the article.)

Yes, these men need to straighten up. These guys who’ve all become pick-up artists because they know how to operate a smartphone all need a lesson in human decency. BUT UNTIL THEN, STOP GIVING THEM THE TIME OF DAY.

If every guy suddenly decided they didn’t want to go down on you anymore, would you all just be like “OK, I guess this is how it is now”?


You don’t have to accept any of this. Please ask yourself why you do. Why do you want someone who is behaving this way to be your dude?


Please don’t misinterpret this message as me telling you to “act like a lady” or play hard to get/make them work or the whole “if he’s getting the milk for free…” crap. I know that’s what it sounds like. What I’m saying is that if this is the new age of dating (as in, this is your first exploration of the like in your late teens, early-mid 20’s) it’s up to you to set the rules. Women: You Are In Control. Stop putting up with this bullshit and they will stop acting this way.

Remind yourself that you are obviously not missing out on anything even remotely great by taking yourself out of the game completely or setting totally reasonable expectations for how someone should treat you.

Or wait it out.

Dating apps are like buffets. We have all of these choices and we want them all. But eventually we get full. Or we zero in on our favorite thing and enjoy that the most. Or we get sick of the buffet because if that’s all we did everyday it would be really gross.

The guys you want are the ones who’ve had their gorge fest (or try it and think “this is not how to meet someone in a real and genuine way”) and finally realize this isn’t actually what they want either. Maybe a guy in his 20’s isn’t there yet. I don’t know.

Look around you. People you know are still in longterm relationships/getting engaged/married/having babies, right? So there’s your proof.

Everything I remember from a lot personal experience is that dating is one of the worst things I’ve ever subjected myself to. It is the most draining thing, heart, body and soul, one can purposely endure. I absolutely acknowledge the disgustingly large amount of horrible behavior you will encounter. But there was no greater feeling than to finally tell myself I wasn’t going to accept any crap and to actually put that in practice. It was the only way to make dating enjoyable (and empowering.)

And when I was totally overwhelmed by all of the indifference and callousness, I deleted those dumb apps and online profiles and went about my business as a single, eligible person who would rather die alone than be treated like a barely human flesh light.

Maybe you could put the phone down (which is probably not what the cool kids do, especially if you’re 22 and living in Manhattan) and meet someone at a party or a bar. Which is what I did.

And if you know me and are thinking to yourself “Gee Carly, I guess I could get knocked up and trap a man”, AT LEAST I CAUGHT A GOOD ONE.