Ask Azra: Getting out of a Blind Date

Dear Azra. My friends are setting me up on a blind date that I don’t want to go on. I’m okay being single and I’ve told them that, but none of them are listening to me. They haven’t even given me the guy’s name so I can’t do a social media search to see what kind of crazy I’m getting into. All they tell me is that he’s nice and that he will meet me at the restaurant at seven pm Friday night. How can I get out of this?

Happily Single.

Well, Single, have you stopped to think why are your friends putting you through this? Why are they setting you up with random strangers? Could it be that you are not, in fact, good at being single? Perhaps you are such a mess when you are alone that setting you up with someone, no matter how random, is their last shot before one of them just ends up adopting you out of pity.

But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Since you don’t want your friends to keep trying to set you up, you’ve only got one chance to make this convincing. You have to make it blatantly clear, beyond all shadow if a doubt that you cannot be trusted in a relationship.  Not only do you have to scare away the blind date, but you also have to traumatize your friends enough so they don’t ever try something like this again. Go big or go home.

Since you are already single, you probably know how to scare off potential suitors on your own. Just in case, here are some tips on making sure you always identify with Beyonce’s song, “All the Single Ladies”.

·         Make a solid first impression by embracing your inner cat lady. Except don’t use cats, they are too mainstream. Use wild raccoons instead. Do your best to look like a trash panda- go excess smoky eye and over sized patchwork sweaters to make you look homeless. Bring your own feral raccoon to the restaurant. Say he is your service animal. Demand to inspect the dumpster of the restaurant before being seated. This way you can ferret through the discarded plates to see what is on the menu. Act like a raccoon. Be a raccoon.

·         Research him as much as you can... with him right in front of you. This is the perfect way to ask all of those nosy questions right to his face. Find his social media profiles. Ask what he meant by that vague post five years ago. Question his relationship with every other woman he is friends with. Demand to know why he doesn’t tag his mother in every other post. Pull his Credit Score and go over it with a fine tooth comb. Does he have any priors? Question him about his employment record. After all, this is supposed to be a “get to know you” date, right? Pull out all the stops. You never know if you will uncover the fact that he is a serial killer or a petty thief.

If, for some weird reason, the guy is still interested in pursuing a relationship with you, you only have one more option left.


That’s right. Vomit all over the table, the food, and the sorry bastard. Then run for your life.

Here’s to your Dream Date!


***Disclaimer***Azra is not someone to take advice from. He’s not even human- he’s an exiled angel that gets his kicks dispensing horrible advice to people. Do not take his advice seriously. It is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally.

How To Stop Online Dystopian Politics From Killing America

Politics was never the center of my life. I’m not an avid news consumer. In fact, the only reason I’ve picked up the political awareness is that I am working on a story where one of the characters is supposed to save the world. For research purposes, I lifted my head and started paying attention to what was happening in my country.

That’s when I fell down the rabbit hole.

I now completely understand the old adage “never discuss politics or religion”.

Being a reasonably intelligent person, this sudden descent into the cut-throat arena of American politics has been... well, the best way to put it is that it’s an experience I will never forget. This is probably because our entire culture has been saturated in extreme politics. There’s simply no escaping it because it is everywhere; social media, biased news reports, protests, work places, schools, the list goes on and on. There is no middle ground in this arena; there is only right or wrong and you are on one side or the other. This extremism is ripping this country apart.

The question is are we, as a society, already too far down the afore mentioned rabbit hole? Have we come too far down this twisted path of fake news, corrupt government, and pretenses of social justice? I’d be lying if my rage at the sheer lack of common human decency we display didn’t make me wish for some sort of apocalypse. Yeah. It’s pretty messed up when it seems that the only way to fix how broken we’ve become is to nuke it all and start over.

However, despite these nihilistic thoughts, I believe there’s still a kernel of hope for us. There is a way for us to back away from this brink.

You see, what is missing from all of the online screaming and frantic keyboard warriors is the calm voice of someone who strives to understand all sides of an issue. Someone who is not extreme. Someone who understands that nothing is black and white in this world of ours. The very things that make us human- our emotions, our intelligence, our rationality, and our compassion all have a place in our dialogues. The divisiveness we are all experiencing is the direct result of no longer having the ability to balance these things. A lack of moderation. We need to put aside all of this partisan bullshit and work together towards common goals. We are sorely deficient in rational, yet empathetic voices of the average, non-politically charged American.

I am not that person yet, but I am trying to be.

What’s more, I believe that you have it in you to be one too. In fact, if we, as Americans, are going to survive this explosion of extremism, our country desperately needs everyone to be rational adults about things.  We all need to change. We all need to be better.

Here’s how we can start.

1.       Listen to each other respectfully and with the intent to understand. We are so caught up in the echo chambers of our own points of view that it’s easy to alienate and vilify those that don’t think like us. Stop it. Make a point to understand different opinions. Ask questions to understand. Empathize. If you don’t agree, then say politely that you disagree. That is okay. I promise, disagreeing with someone, when done in a mature fashion, does not end a relationship. Have mature, adult conversations.

2.       Understand that most things on the internet and social media (especially memes and “info” graphics) are not true. Did you know anyone can put anything on the internet? As a result, it’s full of inaccuracies, opinions, and it’s a breeding ground for fake news and rumors. A good practice is to treat anything you read on social media as entertainment. Do not take it seriously. Social media is a place for fun and connecting with people. It is not a platform for social justice or divisiveness.

3.       If, for some reason, you fall for that incredibly poignant political post (and believe me, I’ve been there), please oh please research it. Look the topic up in different sources. Verify all the information in it is correct. Recognize whether it is an opinion or if it is a fact. Now, this process can be very problematic. Like I said before, we are inundated with incredible amounts of biased information. Fact-checking is no longer a simple process. A good rule of thumb is to find at least 3 independent sources to corroborate the information. The more sources the better, but shoot for at least 3. Be sure to understand the sources- ask yourself is the source reputable? Does it show any bias?

4.       When you feel the need to share or repost something of a controversial nature, stop. Think twice and consider the following criteria:

                   a.       Is it fact or opinion?

                   b.       Is it intentionally hurtful? (Examples: “stupid snowflakes”, “Nazi alt-right” “Lazy millennials”, etc.). Typically, if there’s name calling, it’s a bad idea. We are better than that, so let’s act like it.

                   c.       Will posting this start or propel forward a meaningful conversation?

5.       It’s alright to say you don’t know something and it’s not going to be the end of the world if you change your mind. These points were brought up at a recent Frank Turner show I went to. They stuck with me because it’s absolutely true. We are intelligent beings, but there is no way we can know everything about every topic. It’s human to admit that you don’t know something, but it takes real integrity to start asking questions and learning about what you don’t understand. If we don’t allow ourselves to learn, to change, to adapt with all of this new information, we will never grow beyond this point.

If everyone in America can embrace and consistently practice these 5 things, I truly believe we can turn our society around. We can stop dystopian politics in their tracks. We can stop the fake news cycles by not participating in them any longer. We can create the kind of America that we’ve always wanted, the one we’ve dreamed about.

We just have to do this together.

United We Stand,