Category Archives: eDissonance

The true-fact tales of a middle-aged internet huntress. Every episode is washed down with cake.

Chapter 1b – Still Hunting at the Park

“Let’s walk,” I urge us up out of the mental replay of another failed hunt. “Got any new gossip?”

“I saw Aurora at the park yesterday.”

“Right, Aurora. The chick from Alaska. Is she still playing Lacrosse at the university?”

“Yeah, she said she has a new boyfriend who doesn’t really get along with her other roommates.”

“Uh oh. Not another drunken 911 call to Royal Oak’s finest.”

Aurora was a short, not-beautiful, not-fat, but certainly fully-packed college Lacrosse player from Alaska who was on her 3rd boyfriend of the season. I didn’t know anything about Lacrosse, but Aurora walked with the no-bullshit stride of an Inuit seal-hunter. And from the twinkle in her shiny dark eyes, I’m guessing she had been high-sticked a few times.

“Is it high-STICKED or high-STUCK?”

Carlee looks at me sideways . “What are you talking about??”

“Can’t you read my mind?”

“Anyway, Aurora managed to calm the boyfriend down with promises of lingerie and beer.”

“I can’t imagine Aurora in a Victoria’s Secret anything. Do they sell sweat pants?”

“I was thinking Doc Martens and a whip.”

“Maybe a harpoon.”


We had just begun our third loop through the woods when we saw Doris. Well, we heard Doris.

“Can you believe this HEAT?!” Doris doesn’t so much speak as she does bray.

“It’s GLOBAL WARMING, that’s what it is. And those DAMN REPUBLICANS!” Hee haw!

Doris’s donkey voice could impale you from halfway across the park. Doris might walk at the shuffling pace of a 70-year-old embittered Al Gore supporter, but she had honed her attack-opinions into soul-piercing arrows designed to pin you down while she loudly evangelized for the democrats in all capital letters. It was like walking through a fight scene in Braveheart.

“How could ANYBODY vote for GIULIANI, that HYPOCRITE?!!”

Dammit, Carlee, I’m hit! Save yourself!

The bark park is self-service, dooty-free. Owners are supposed to clean up their own dog’s fecal donations and dispose of them in the little white plastic bags provided in convenient dispensers. As Doris spit her political venom at every passing mongoose, her Weimeraner (AMBER!) expelled a runny dump right behind her. Doris was oblivious. Doris only watches her dogs if there aren’t any politics to shout at somebody. AMBER! (Doris always SHOUTED the dog’s name, always in all caps, AMBER!, and always followed by an exclamation point.)

AMBER! looked up from her repulsive squat and grinned at us.

Hey, Doris. Your politics are squirting out the backside of your dog. You want a bag? To put over your head?

“Hi Doris.” I went still as I formulated an exit strategy.

“I watched the Republican debates last night.”

“I heard.”

Doris does not converse. That would imply at least two people talking. Instead she projectile-vomits monologues of invective toward any available ear. I try to evade Doris like a loud commercial. Come to Crazy Eddie’s!  Mute, goddammit, mute! Doris doesn’t visit the park for her dogs; she comes to throw up on an audience.

Her miserable Weimeraner (AMBER!) was chewing on a shit nugget it had found near the scene of this crime. Doris finally sees her. It. Sees the brown froth.

“AMBER!! What are you DOING??!! I told my husband it would be AMAZING that anyone with a CONSCIENCE could vote for Ron Paul.”

Oh my god, that IS amazing. Doris has a husband? I’m in here dragging my net for any semi-conscious goat with two legs, and Doris has caught herself a lifer? I briefly wonder if her husband is deaf.

“Come on, Carlee,” I say, nudging the snickering beret towards the gate. “I want to show you that magazine article I was reading: ‘Laryngitis and How to Give it to Others.'”

We holler for our girls. Carlee walks to the woods in her cute boots (when did she get cute boots??) and whistles her distinctive “Yoo-hoo!” into the trees. She pulls her vibrating phone out of her bag and glances again at the text display. Her pit bulls finally appear and Carlee turns back toward me, subtly closing her phone again with a smile.

“You’re killing me.” This time I manage the glare.

“You’ll find someone.” She pats me on the shoulder as we head toward the exit. Pats me.

“Yeah, but in the meantime…” I gesture toward Doris and AMBER! and the shit-shake on the ground she’s still ignoring. “… I’m going home to type out another chapter about this place.”

I am almost grateful for Doris’s wall of sound because at least it’s not silence. Listening to Doris is like sticking your finger down someone else’s throat.


“Hey, I forgot to tell you, Erin. My mom has a date this weekend.”

Carlee has saved this for last.

“Your mom? Your mom is eating duet prime rib and I’m swimming solo across Lonely Hearts Mac and Cheese?!?”

We get to the gate and I leash Bowie. I rest my hand on the wooden post to unlatch the fence. My hand squishes on something slimy. I pull it up to find a smashed slug. No, wait, it’s two smashed slugs. They were mating.

“My mom found her date on-line. Maybe you could try it,” Carlee says. I wipe my hand on my jeans.

The whole world has a date. Carlee, Carlee’s mom, Aurora the Plug-shaped Athlete, Silver-Hair the Sausage Eater. Doris the Psycho Democrat has a ferchrissake husband. My spayed dog gets more play than me. These two slugs on a fence post in the middle of a canine toilet have found each other and I’m going home to tell my computer about my day.

“Maybe I’ll try it.”

On line.



“How do you do that?” I stare at Carlee’s head.


“You’re wearing a beret. How do you pull that off?”

“I don’t. I just wait until it falls off at the end.”

“Oh, just cut out my heart. And these other parts I’m not using.”

“You can do this, Erin. I believe in you.”

“If I didn’t love you so much, I’d hate you.”

“I know. Me, too.”

I wipe my hands again.


Why is it so hard to find a date?

I think I’m a regular person. Sure, I eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, apply lip balm like a meth head in the Sahara, and only drink water if it’s so cold it hurts, but these are just quirks, right? Not deal-breakers? (“Meth Head in the Sahara” would make a great band name.) So why is it so hard?

I’m not actually lonely. I’m too busy and involved to be lonely. I am the mother of a teenager, a teenager who is in and on a dozen of everything, which means I’m in and on a dozen Committees to Raise Money for Everything. I have a real family, two church families, and one bark park family, although certain members of the bark park family make me want to shoot a nail through my head.

I lean over to Carlee for one last moment of inspiration. “Was Mary Elizabeth here yesterday?”

“Of course.”

“Capri pants and a halter top?”

“Don’t forget her pink belly.”

“Like Jabba the Mole Rat. Jesus, Carlee. She’s in her 50s. Why do we have to look at her silly putty?”

“She has a lot. She likes to share.”

“Granny panties?”

“Inspected by number 12.”

“Was there lipstick on her teeth?”

“And her hair.”



“She’s married, isn’t she.”

The park goes still. Carlee looks straight ahead.

“Yes. Mary Elizabeth is married.”



“Would you please smack me with your ball-whipper? As hard as you can until my stuffing flies out?”

“It’s probably not stuffing so much as it is bile.”

“I love you too, Carlee.”

So I do have people I can hang with; there are plenty of people who can fill my time. I have people to talk to, to text, to email, to eat potluck with, to write stories about. The problem is that none of them qualify as a dinner companion with benefits. Huggable prey. Meat.


I look all right for a middle-aged huntress. Maybe I don’t look like Madonna, but on the other hand… I don’t look like Madonna. I’m tall and slender and hunch-free. My tits are too small and my ass is too big, but I exercise regularly which keeps my saddle-bags roped in. My smile is white and my hair is curly, though chronically out of control. My eyes are big and bright and I have two of them. Why is it so hard to find a date?

It used to be so easy. Good grief. I remember sitting in our track stadium as a high school freshman watching the boys run the mile relay. When the anchor runner (a pretty, pretty green-eyed senior) pulled ahead to win for the home team, I thought, “Him.” I pointed like Babe Ruth. “I want that one.” The runner was smooth-skinned and shaggy-haired and delicious-looking and a whole lot of other hyphenated words. I waited for him after whatever mysterious things boys did in the locker room, and later we shared a Coke and some spit and the inside of my prom dress. Home run.

In college, it was the same thing. Easy, easy. Just point and shoot. The ATO fraternity house held a New Year’s Eve dance in the middle of June (so clever, those engineers!). The frat was hoping to initiate a particularly stunning young man from one of my Calculus classes, a former all-state water polo player with a sculpted swimmer’s torso and sparkly grey eyes. I, too, was thinking about initiating him. In fact I was making up hazing rituals just watching him walk. When the midnight countdown was drunkenly shouted, mostly in order, by some blasted-to-shit future car designers, I walked up to the swimmer, tapped him on the shoulder, and kissed the next two years out of him.

It’s not the same now. If I tried that today, I’d get arrested. And I’d need shots.

I toss a bag of dog shit in the garbage bin.

I zip up my ugly sweatshirt and go home to hunt. On line.




eDissonance, “Chapter 1b – Hunting at the Park” by Erin Waugh


Chapter 1a – Hunting at the Park

 eDissonance – “Hunting at the Park” Chapter 1a


“Hey, who are you texting?” As the only other member of the Hungry Huntress Club, I had the right to ask Carlee this question.

“You remember Marco?” Carlee’s blonde hair waves a halo around her Cheshire grin.

“How do you do that?” I’m scowling at her face.

“Do what?”

“Your hair never gets stuck in your teeth.” She closes her phone and ignores me.

“Marco? I remember Marco.” Boy, do I remember. “That Italian hottie you met here at the park, what, a week ago?” My eagerness looks remarkably like drool.

“Italian and Greek,” she smiles. And it was probably more like three days ago.

“Yum. Two of my favorite flavors, now conveniently wrapped in a single package.”

“Heh. You said ‘package.’”

“We’re pigs.”

We walk. She agrees by smiling some more. And not telling me anything.

“What does he want?” I know; I just want her to say it.

“He can’t spell for shit,” Carlee says, gifted at not answering.

“He sure is purty.”


We look out across the grass, tucking a memory of Marco’s shiny Italian eyes into our pockets. Or somewhere. I wonder which parts of him are Greek.

Carlee is my friend. Carlee and I met at the dog park and our friendship was fast and furious. She was fast and I was furious. No, that’s not true. It’s just that I was single and Carlee was beating men off with cell phones. No, I mean FIGHTING them off.

I’m a pig.

We were walking our dogs around the perimeter of the Bark Park. Carlee has two, and I have one. Dog. Although that ratio was pretty much true with everything, especially all things hound-related. It was a cool, early-spring day in Michigan, light jacket weather, which for me meant jeans and an old B.U.M. sweatshirt that I liberated from a thrift shop. Somehow I’d made it to middle age without ever owning an excellent spring jacket. By contrast, Carlee was smoking hot in a hip-length safari coat and a cocky beret. (A beret!) She can actually pull off a beret without looking like a cartoon. If I didn’t love her so much, I’d hate her.

“It sure didn’t take Marco long to start spelling poorly at you.” I fail at keeping the snark out of my voice. “Which dog does he have?”

“You remember, Sonny? That beige cocker spaniel?” She knows that I will know. At the park, we are our dogs.

“Right. Sonny. Named his little rug-dog after a Pacino character. Cute as hell, that dog, but still intact, isn’t he? Coglioni still dangling about?”

“Yeah, humps everything that can’t pesto out of the way.”

“Like owner like dog?”

“You’re a pig.”

“Come on, gimme something.”

“I’ll keep you posted.” She grins under the beret.

We sit on the edge of a picnic table, feet on the bench.

“How about you?” Carlee asks, always kind, and genuinely concerned about the lack of Pacino characters in my phone. “Got anything in the works?”

I attempt a glare, but it devolves into a pout.

“I’ll take that as a ‘no,'” she says, patting me on the arm. Patting me. This is pathetic.

“Come on,” I say, getting up from our table. “Let’s walk these bitches around the park.”

I wasn’t exactly jealous of Carlee’s hunting skills, but every time she told me about another good-looking sweet-treat who sniffed up on her hoping for a pat on the head, a part of me twinged. And the part of me that twinged was drying up. It had been a long time since I’d had a date.

Okay, maybe I was a little jealous.


We walked our girl-dogs leash-free around the bark park.  Carlee had two pit bulls and I had my Bowie. Bowie is a husky/border collie mix with one brown eye and one blinding white eye. Not really blind, just striking. All of our dogs were shelter rescues, all of our dogs were girls, and all of our dogs were spayed and therefore unmolested by thoughts of virile Greyhounds – Italian or Greek. Theirs was a pampered existence of doggie ice cream and bottled water. They battled each other like Roman Centurions, but we indulged them like princesses. Carlee and I met at the park to let our girls run free and watch them turn away the insistent (and uncut) males who tried to tap a little of that sass from behind. But our girls weren’t having it.

“Ooh, come here, sweetheart,” an aggressive boxer might call out to my Bowie. “Back that thing up and drink my punch. I’m gonna show you what Mike Tyson WISHES he had.”

And Boxer Boy, impatient and cocky as the business end of his turgid joy rocket dripped Y-chromosome juice on the dirty grass, would paw my Bowie-dog’s shoulder. Once. Then she’d whip her head around and bite his attitude with a “PISS OFF!” And then piss on him, and trash-talk him for the final insult: “Back off, ya pansy fighter-boy or next time it’s my enamel on your nuts. You’ll be eating Rice Krispies through your blow hole after I Snap, Crackle, and Pop off your hush puppies.”

I love my little girl.

Carlee and I walked around the Bark Park watching our girls, and, yes, if not exactly hunting, then at least trolling for appealing possibilities. Carlee, however, didn’t even have to bait her hook. She would strut her bouncy blond hair and her beret (a beret!) barely inside the park and pretty puppy-eyed men would chase her. If they caught her attention, the men would mewl and wag their tails. Then offer to paint her house. I, on the other hand, got nary a runt. Not even a mercy pat for the wingman. But I kept trying. Because, you know, men.


“Hey, incoming.” Hungry Huntress alert.

I nodded my head toward the bark park gate where a single male was entering with his spotted dog. The man was at least 50 meters away, but he walked upright and had hair, so we were obliged to analyze his potential. It was in the bylaws. We perched on a picnic table to adjudicate.

“Count the rings,” I say, asking Carlee for both an age estimate and a marital status prediction.

“Pretty good posture, but his hair is silver. Got kind of an Anderson Cooper thing going on. I’d say he’s in his mid-40’s and exercises regularly.” Carlee taps the tip of her tennis-ball-tosser on the ground, rhythmic, measuring, listening to the earth like the skilled predator she is.

“Yeah, and he’s got those loose-jointed limbs. Runner, do ya think?” I ask hopefully. We lean forward and focus our sharp binocular vision.

Carlee nods, “Maybe.”

“Flavor?” Carlee has keen ethnic evaluation skills.

“Um, mixed heritage. Northern European. He has likely eaten sauerkraut a time or two.”

“I can do sauerkraut. Married?”

“Well, his clothes match and they’re awfully clean. He’s probably married.”


The sexy silver-hair loiters around the front gate as his spotted dog runs in circles, pestering him. “Let’s play, let’s play!” the dog says with every vibrating muscle. “What are we waiting for?” The dog’s desires are obvious.

Another male arrives, dark-haired, with a dainty Schnauzer on a leash. Carlee and I both sit up straighter. The new dark-haired visitor greets the silver-haired man with an almost-hug, a kind of chest lean-in. Their dogs sniff each other’s assholes and wag their tails. The dogs have obviously met before, and they run off to play tackle. The dark-hair and the silver-hair walk slowly around the park brushing shoulders and whisper-laughing.

Shit. These two are not in season. More precisely, they are not in our season. Their desires are also obvious. If they could sniff each other’s assholes they would. Carlee and I both lean back, breaking the spell, conceding that the hunt is over as our gay-dar finally kicks in.

“Dammit. He eats sauerkraut and kielbasa.” My hopes go limp as I recognize them as sausage-eaters.

“No fair!” Carlee whacks her ball-whipper on the ground.  “I couldn’t tell from here. I couldn’t see their teeth! You know I can always tell from their teeth.”

“Their teeth?”

“I can tell if somebody’s gay just from their teeth.”

“You cannot.”

“I can. Remember all the chatter about Doogie Howser?”

“Did he come out?”

“He will,” she says, banging her ball-thrower on the ground. “His teeth are as queer as his medical degree.”

“I don’t know, Carlee, clearly your gay-tenna needs some long-distance tuning. Besides, what could we possibly measure on men from this far away?” We giggle like school girls. Like school girls who are pigs.

When not actively sifting the litter for potential meal companions, Carlee and I would people-watch at the bark park, because it doesn’t get any better than watching dog owners chase their canine charges around a giant fenced-in dog-toilet, plastic bags on their hands, ready to scoop up Boomer’s droppings before they ripen in the rare Michigan sun.

And this is where I came to find a date.


eDissonance, Chapter 1a, Hunting at the Park, by Erin Waugh
2 August 2015


La la la la... I can't hear you.
La la la la… I can’t hear you.


I pull up the eHarmony website. I fill out what feels like the same survey that I filled out on, but eHarmony is going to “analyze” my answers and “scientifically” match me with people who are “compatible” with my “personality.” I just hope that I don’t end up with a “man” in “air quotes.”

The questionnaire is long, but I’m sure it’s worth it because “each compatible match is pre-screened across 29 dimensions.” I hum through 29 keys of “I Love Technology” and answer their questions. eHarmony offers declarative statements for me to evaluate like “I work better if people follow my lead.” I answer “strongly agree” only because there’s no option for “fuck, yeah.”

29 coffees later, I finish the questionnaire, and now eHarmony wants my money for the privilege of using their science. Holy romance on a printing press – why is love so expensive? For one month’s worth of eHarmony matches I could buy a bushel of zucchini and all three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.  But, this is science! So I agree to their usury and give them my credit card number. I submit my data, my pics, and my “personality.” I’m kind of excited. Who will the passion geeks pair me up with? Johnny Depp? Dave Barry? Neil DeGrasse Tyson? The anticipation gives me a small girl hard-on. I hit ENTER, sit back, and wait for the matches to roll in.

And I wait. And I wait some more. One day, two days go by. I’m imagining some massive Cray computer in Texas just churning away, rejecting applicant after applicant. Angry white lab coats whipping scraps of paper to the floor. “No! He’s not good enough for her. Have you seen her thighs? Try again!”

Finally, three days later, I receive an email telling me to log back on to eHarmony.

Congratulations! Chris from Lake Orion, Michigan, has reviewed your basic information and would like to start the process of getting to know you better.

Hot damn. Let the science begin!

I log on to see my new match. The eHarmony nerds must be really good, because Chris lives right here in Lake Orion, my home town, Where Living is a Vacation. (It says so on the sign.)

I read his bio. Chris is a Christian man, about my age, about my height, and he does not smoke. A great beginning! I pull up his picture; there is only one. (I sent in 29.) It’s a close-up of a rather large, rather round head. The head has a lot less hair than I’d like, and the eyes are sort of crooked and half-closed. Maybe it’s just a bad pic? Not everybody adores the lens like I do. I press on. This is science.

Christopher passionate about:
Relating to others, their opinions, staying healthy and being there for family and friends.

Okay. Generic and uninspired, but not offensive. I’m very fond of health.

Chris’s friends describe him as:
Affectionate, easy-going, a good listener, optimistic.

Boring, but it would be refreshing to meet someone who’s not a walking stress fracture.

The most important thing Christopher is looking for in a person is: Being a Christian! I need truth and honesty, love and respect, but NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE SO DON’T EVEN ASK!!

Whoa. Women must be all over this dude for him to write it in all caps like that.

The first thing you’ll notice about Christopher when you meet him is: My smile, laughter, and jovial good humor.

Excellent! Make me laugh, dammit. MAKE ME LAUGH!!

Some additional information Christopher wanted you to know is:
I do not have a “victim mentality,”
but my health may concern some women.

Well, okay. Maybe this is no big deal. After all, Farmer Bob from LoveAndSeek had a reconstructed esophagus, but it didn’t impede his ability to swallow my tongue. What little imperfection do you have, Chris?

I am on disability, unemployed, and my peripheral vision is shot.

Wait… what…? Not even hair and a job?

I have recently been declared “legally blind.”

But… how are you even typing this…?

I am a double amputee below the knees. I had a triple bypass in ’97 and a kidney/pancreas transplant in ’99.

No. This is…No. I’m being pranked. This is who the scientific ass-punks of eHarmony think is my ideal mate?? An overweight, unemployed bald man who can’t see, can’t walk, and can’t breathe?

I just had a stent put in my heart where there was 90% occlusion, and alas, my weight has crept up as the skin on the stumps break down when I exercise. I have no kids, I have never been married.

A man with someone else’s kidney but his own bloody stumps? What. The. Science.

I sip my coffee to recover my composure. I push my chair back from the desk and stretch my legs (I have legs!), and I accidentally run the caster over my purse reminding me that… THEY CHARGED ME FOR THIS MISTER POTATO HEAD!!

An ideal mate for me? Me, who takes her dog out running every day? Me, who puts an unnaturally high value on hair and the outdoors and the ability to create one’s own urine?

And hold on one more god-fearing minute there, FrankenStumpy. “The first thing you’ll notice about Christopher is his smile?” Not his mother-fucking wheelchair??

And did he really yell in ALL CAPS that there would be no sex before marriage? Has this been a serious problem for you, Short Pants? Not trying to be mean, but rooting around in the untrimmed cleft between Colonel Sanders’ white meats searching for your raggedy pope’s nose sounds like… Okay, I’m mean.

Dammit, eHarmony… This FAIL is so loud it hurts my ears. I am deafened by eDissonance.

Screw this. I turn off the lights and turn on Captain Jack Sparrow. Bring me some veggies.


From the chapter “Why Do I Need a Man Anyway?”
“eDissonance” by Erin Waugh