Blog Posts by Erin Flaherty, Shine staff

  • Is the recession good for your love life?

    Getty ImagesGetty Images
    There's a great post in Healthy Living today about fear during uncertain times (Roosevelt's quote "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," makes even more sense within the context of economic woes), and it got me thinking about how when I lived in New York City after 9/11, what followed the disaster was a phenomenon called terror sex. Salon sums it up like this:

    "Many New Yorkers recall the feelings of vulnerability, the need to connect with someone physically, the hot, sweaty sex that followed the attack on the World Trade Center last fall. It wasn't sacrilegious; we just didn't know what else to do. We clung to each other -- just sometimes without clothes. Throughout the city were echoes of screams and cries of pain, panic, despair and passion all rolled into one giant force of uncontrollable emotion like none of us have ever experienced before."

    Naturally, now people are talking about the similar recession sex. Apparently, gay-hookup website Manhunt saw its biggest numbers ever

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  • Did McCain insinuate that women's sexual health is inconsequential?

    Dozens and dozens of news reports are slamming McCain's use of air quotes.Dozens and dozens of news reports are slamming McCain's use of air quotes.
    McCain was widely criticized for his offensive use of the phrase "that one" during the last debate, but his most recent gaffe seems comparatively more shocking. Did he alienate women voters by being openly dismissive about our health concerns? Here's a roundup of what journalists, bloggers, and organizations are saying today:

    "Dial group report 2: Um, Sen. McCain, women don't like it when you put 'health of the mother' in air quotes."-Jim Poniewozik, Time

    "But I think the line that someone is going to regret, one that will resonate and will hurt McCain the most is when McCain ridiculed the idea that the life of the mother should be a concern in the abortion debate. Women everywhere will reflect on that--that they'll be forced by the government to carry to term and give birth. This will be seared on women's minds: the government is not going to excuse you, short of death, from giving birth. It's the extreme pro-abortion position."-Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

    "Tonight, John McCain showed he

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  • Do cheesy romantic gestures skeeve you out?

    Poor dude. He looks so proud of himself too./Getty ImagesPoor dude. He looks so proud of himself too./Getty Images
    I just came across this great post on The Frisky about how sometimes your partner can do the sweetest stuff and it just melts your 'lil heart, and then again, some gestures are so damn syrupy and cheesy that it just totally turns you off. And as Shine editor Jenn Romolini pointed out, the latter ends up making you feel really bad for being such a callous, cruel person. Still, I think we can all relate to the following please-don't-do-that-ever-agains, and some of us may even be guilty of committing similar "crimes of passion" (hello answering the door wrapped in Saran Wrap--whoops). Frisky blogger Leigh Raines writes:

    Things That Are Intended To Be Romantic But Provoke Gag Reflex

    1. Having your date get down on his knees at a movie theater and serenade you to New Edition's "Mr. Telephone Man."

    2. Having your date order for you (um maybe I wanted the chicken?).

    3. Rolling in money Indecent Proposal style. Money is one of the dirtiest and most germ-infested things on the planet.


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  • Breaking news: Madonna is getting a divorce

    Dave M. Benett/Getty ImagesDave M. Benett/Getty Images
    Speaking of celebrity romance, looks like Madonna and Guy Ritchie are officially divorcing. Perez Hilton reports:

    "Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed the media speculation on Wednesday, saying that the singer and her husband, film director Guy Ritchie, will divorce after 7 1/2 years of marriage."

    It's kinda sad, no? Sniff.

    Look for Entertainment Editor Joanna's full report later today!

  • What's the one thing your partner could do that's unforgivable?

    Getty ImagesGetty Images
    The most hilarious (and crazypants) news of the day comes straight out of Elizabethton, Tennessee, where a new father has named his newborn daughter Sarah McCain Palin.

    Without his wife's consent.

    Mark Ciptak ignored their mutual decision to name her the rather beautiful "Ava Grace," and opted for the more politically charged moniker to show his support for the Republican ticket by secretly registering the name on their baby's birth certificate. As for his wife's reaction?

    "I don't think she believes me yet," he told the Kingsport Times-News. "It's going to take some more convincing."--Associated Press

    Huh. I bet. Cause for divorce much?

    This er, not so minor infraction got us thinking: What could your partner do that was well, quite simply, inexcusable?


    What's your relationship dealbreaker?

    10 online dating red flags

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  • 10 things NOT to say on a first date

    Getty ImagesGetty Images
    First dates are stressful, period. You don't want to lie or stretch the truth per se, but you also don't want to send your date running off to hail a cab before you've even ordered the cheese plate. Basically, the goals of a successful first date are to reveal that adorable, endearing part of yourself, learn more about the stranger sitting across from you, and to see if there is any connection between you two crazy kids. Obviously, it's important to be honest, but some of the more intimate parts of you are well, sorta personal, and no one's forcing you to spill all the beans. (Besides, everybody is intrigued by a little mystery and you want to save something for the second and third dates, right?) We don't really believe there are any hard and fast rules when it comes to dating, and despite what movies would have you think, there is no such thing as the "perfect date," so take these with a grain of salt. Still, here's hoping you find a couple of them helpful, and good luck out there.

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  • Help a breast cancer survivor win her dream wedding!

    I don't know about you guys, but I can never resist a good old-fashioned love story. Shine reader Deborah writes:

    Hi Erin,

    My name is Deborah Singer. I am a huge fan of your writings as well as the entire Shine site! I am writing to see if you can help out one of your female readers....

    I am a young breast cancer survivor and women's health advocate in Fayetteville, AR. I recently found out that I carry the BRCA1 (breast cancer gene) and my docs have me under high surveillance. Because of mounting medical bills, my fiance and I made a short video about our relationship and entered it in a free wedding contest. We've just been named 1 of the 4 finalists! If we get the most online votes between now and October 17, we will win our dream wedding!! BUT here's the deal - to win this wedding, we are going to need A LOT of votes.

    My fiance and I have a really romantic, inspiring love story. With Breast Cancer Awareness month beginning this Wednesday, can you profile our story on SHINE to

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  • Heavy Petting: We talk to Glenn Close about her dog blog

    Glenn with Bill, Jake and Sweet PeaGlenn with Bill, Jake and Sweet Pea
    I got an interesting call the other day. A coworker happens to be acquainted with Glenn Close and her family, and would I be interested in speaking to Glenn about a pit bull mix she's been fostering? Random! Of course, I was also delighted. As someone who has also fostered a pit (the often misunderstood breed that needs all the good publicity it can get), naturally I um, jumped faster than my own doglet does when I say "dinner!" at the chance.

    Most of us immediately picture Dangerous Liaisons (that teardrop!), Fatal Attraction (that bunny!) and other classics--you know, the ones where she proves time and time again that she's one of the best actors ever--when we think Glenn Close. And a new generation may first identify Glenn with her role as the most infamous dog hater of all times, Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians. Ironically, where the latter is concerned anyway, turns out she's such a passionate dog lover that for the past year, Glenn's been quietly turning out a blog, Lively

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  • Breaking news: Gay marriage OK in Connecticut!

    Getty ImagesGetty Images
    Oh the times they are a changin'! Connecticut, the fifth state in the Union, can now add itself to the few, the proud, but hopefully expanding list of states that allow same-sex couples to marry.

    "Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.

    The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

    'I can't believe it. We're thrilled, we're absolutely overjoyed. We're finally going to be able, after 33 years, to get married, said Janet Peck of Colchester, who was a plaintiff with her partner, Carole Conklin."--New York Times

    Three down, just 47 to go. Congrats Connecticut!

    See also:

    Brangelina still won't marry until the gays can

    Hallmark supports gay marriage, right wing

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  • Moment of zen: Michelle on her marriage to Barack

    The Daily Show with Jon StewartThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart
    No matter what your politics are, I think we can all agree that things have been getting awfully nasty in the election. Recently, there have been death threats and racial epithets spewed at McCain/Palin rallies, and the order of the day seems to be gutter-level character attacks. So we thought it would be nice to take a quick vacation from all the negativity and mention Michelle Obama's recent, very positive "moment of zen" on "The Daily Show" hosted by Jon Stewart.

    She always comes across as smart, charming, and it must be fun to sit around the Obama dinner table, because she's also kind of hilarious. This was no exception, but what really grabbed us was what she said about her marriage and her take on her husband. She claimed that she's (understandably) trying not to read any of the negative press against Barack, and admitted to getting nervous for him when it comes to the debates. But then Jon said that it seems obvious that Michelle looks at Barack objectively, and she retorted,

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