the five grossest things you will see this valentine’s day.

SOCHI COCA COLA MICHAEL SAM GEORGE ZIMMERMAN! HA! Just kidding. This blog is about NONE of those things… Continue reading

Ten Things Women Should Never Say to Men: This is a real eHarmony article.

I have a confession to make: I have been spending a lot of time on eHarmony… a LOT of time. Why? Because when I wrote the blog 15 Reasons to not date a comedian, I thought this eHarmony article was just ONE article. But then I started perusing and discovered a MILLION OF THESE ARTICLES!!!! Continue reading

The Wanakah Wives: a Christmas Odyssey.

Every year around mid-December, I get nervous. My wrists start to sweat (what can I say, I perspire weird), I get anxious, and I have a deep unexplainable desire to head to a local department store and try on dresses that will never look good on me. Well, it’s not TOTALLY unexplainable… it’s a bit of a family tradition.


Every December when I was growing up, my father would be invited by his old high school buddy (in town for the holidays) to play in a winter golf tournament. It was one of my dad’s favorite tournaments, mostly because he was with an old friend, but also because it was at the bougiest, most prestigious, most annoying country club in Western New York: Wanakah.  As a chubby middle-class kid, I was only invited to Wanakah once by my neighbors to go swimming. I don’t remember the pool, but I remember the chicken fingers. They were choice. Wanakah was the kind of place that was a dream for a kid, and a nightmare for a working mom.  Why? The whole tournament culminated in a Saturday night dinner-dance, where all the wives of the golfers would arrive in epic 90s style to dazzle the men with their ability to drink chardonnay and wear tight mini-dresses.


Growing up, my mom worked 70 hours a week.  She didn’t have a personal trainer. Her gym was the house, cleaning it with us every Saturday morning. Then, we did a real life Supermarket Sweep with my great grandmother, taking her to get two slices of deli ham, one slice of provolone, two bananas, and the ingredients for about thirty pounds of pasta sauce. We would take her home, then go back to the grocery store to buy our groceries.  Sunday, my mom would furiously finish cleaning the house, then make 3-4 pre-made family dinners and stick them in the fridge with notes for my Dad to throw in the oven: to this day, I think he only knows how to cook anything if it’s on 350 degrees for one hour. She didn’t have time for laying in the sun or hitting up a jazzercize class- her dusty Jane Fonda tapes were put to good use in making stairs for my lego fortresses.  But every year, at Wanakah, she would have to face the Wanakah Wives. Like 90’s mean girls, these bitches could literally disintegrate you with their shitty comments about how your outfit was last season, or how “cute” it is that you have a job and support your family.


These women were unreal. She would describe them to me as she plunked me down in the backseat and buckled me in: sequined mini-dresses with shoulder pads, perfect tans in DECEMBER in Buffalo, long thin legs in perfect nylon sheathes and two hundred dollar shoes, reflective teeth and huge eyes. To me, they sounded like glittery monsters. To my mom, they really were. She couldn’t compete with their tanned legs and tight frocks: my mom’s most dressy outfit was a pants suit with a patent leather collar that she adored. But we would always try to find some new dress the day of the event.


At the mall, we would park right next to the entrance (which was rare for my mom because she loved any chance to burn calories). But I knew why. We would head inside, and by the time we were in the dressing room with two dozen dresses, my normally stoic mom was already on the verge of tears. I sat on the floor, collecting straight pins and making snowflake designs in the carpet for the next bored kid, while she tried on dress after dress. Nothing worked. I wanted to say, “These dresses weren’t made for real women!”  but since I was 8, I said, “That looks stupid. Wear your black pants suit!” Tears welled up inside her as we ran out of the dressing room, to the car, and straight to McDonalds.


The conversations we had the day of the Wanakah Wives were always the most real. My mom was the most frustratingly honest I ever saw her. “How the hell do they stay so tan all year?” “I would have time to look that good TOO if I didn’t have a career!” I would give her conversation starters because she said these women were impossible to talk to, and we would joke about trying to talk politics with them. “They can’t even SPELL politics,” she huffed between chicken nuggets.


I always waited up in bed on Wanakah night, and now that I’m older, I feel like I know what she went through. We’ve all been through it: walking into an awkward holiday party, in last year’s dress, facing women who literally spend their days making themselves externally perfect while they rot from the inside out. At some point, my mom would literally say “fuck it,” and throw back a glass of wine.  My dad would pull her out on the dance floor (he is a great dancer), and they would dance until her basic black pumps ended up in the corner of the room.  When I heard the car pull in the driveway, I would close my eyes and wait for her to come upstairs, in her stocking feet with her shoes still in the car. She would stroke my hair, and I would open my eyes. “How did it go?”

“Brooke, those women are awful. But I had fun. I love you. You should have been sleeping three hours ago.”

I’m not very good at resolutions or holiday cheer, but this time every year, I remember the Wanakah Wives in all their glittery glory.  I think about my mom walking in that room, the silent panic and frustration she would feel as those women judged the fuck out of her.  The legacy she gave me from those weekends every year was more valuable than the baubles of costume jewelry those wives passed on to their kids.  I won’t drink my coffee out of a straw, and red wine will always stain my lips.  I refuse to stretch and burn my skin under tanning lamps, or skip dessert. Dessert is the fucking best. I will love my family, take care of them however I think best, and I won’t let anyone stop me from throwing off my shoes and dancing all night. Happy Holidays, readers. Now, go get yourself some dessert.


Note: Brooke Cartus is a horrible dancer. If she does throw her shoes off any dance all night, be advised. Someone will be going home on crutches.

15 reasons to NOT date a Comedian.

On eHarmony’s website, under dating tips for women, you can find some real gems. Highlights include titles like, “15 Reasons to Date a Neurologist,” “Three Ways to Bounce Back from a Rejection (that I assume don’t include binge drinking and stranger fucking like a normal person),” and “Ten Pick-up Lines for the Gym.”  I guess these tips are here to get women to get “back on the horse” after they were emotionally pummeled by the last horsie they tried to mount  because that horsie had commitment issues and climax problems due to excessive marijuana use. Stupid horsie.


My personal favorite of ALL of these advice articles has to be “15 Reasons to Date a Comedian.” Anyone who has dated a comedian, don’t bother reading this, because you know all of these things already. In fact, you are probably sitting there, sipping on a half empty bottle of whiskey, just trying to get through the day.  Recovering from dating one of us can be difficult. Let’s go through these helpful tips and then rip them apart. Because they are fucking stupid. And eHarmony needs a new puff piece writer:


1. Comedians want to make people laugh. Get ready to be entertained. ENTERTAINED? ARE YOU SERIOUS? The most annoying f*^&ing thing in the world is when someone says, “You’re a comedian. Tell me a joke.” You want a joke? Fuck yourself. If I wanted to be entertaining all the time, I wouldn’t be a comedian. Geez.

2. Comedians see the humor in the otherwise unfunny stuff of life and can look at the same situation from different perspectives. Yea… different DEVASTATING perspectives. Comedians are notoriously sardonic and brooding. Don’t come to us if you need a new perspective, unless that perspective involves a straight razor, a case of lighter fluid, and a pile of old photographs. The only perspective we see: pain.

3. Your date will be the life of the party — at the party. Oh, we will be the life of the party. So much so, you probably won’t see us all night. Because we are busy being awesome.  Get ready for everyone to come up to you and say, “Oh my god, he/she is SOOOOO funny. You are so lucky.” Only you are the one who knows that you will be picking up the pieces of your funny drunk mess on the way home when they puke all over your hedges. And that’s not a metaphor.

4. At home, however, comedians are often introverted and sensitive. Your steady support will be very welcome. At home, we are conceited and self-involved. Out of the house, we are hilarious and fun, towards everyone but you. Lucky you.

5. Comedians are usually following their dreams. You might be inspired to start following your own. Following our dreams? Yup, my dream was to make tens of dollars telling jokes. You too, may be inspired to put thousands of hours of time into something that makes you no money.

6. Is “stand-up comedian” a lucrative job? Not always. But how many people can say that they’re doing what they love? That’s very admirable. Shut up.

7. Related: No one will accuse you of being a gold-digger. But they will accuse you of being an idiot.

8. Because of the unstable nature of their careers, comedians appreciate healthy, stable relationships to come home to. Untrue. Excited to hear all the gory details of your healthy, stable relationship on stage every time you have a fight? And you can never break up with us. WE. WILL. DESTROY. YOU. With jokes.

9. Introverts, rejoice. Date a comedian and you’ll have most weekends to yourself! Introverts, run away. You will be dragged to countless open mics where  we will leave you to hang out with our alcoholic comedian friends. You will be left at the bar drinking alone. Congrats, with all your binge drinking, you are halfway there to becoming a comedian yourself!

10. Comedians share their life stories with strangers every night. They’re good communicators and are willing to be vulnerable with others. We are awful communicators. We can’t take anything seriously and are ironically enough, also insanely oversensitive.  Also, we drink our real problems away until they bubble up and explode onstage in front of all our mutual friends.

11. You can visit your date at work — and actually have fun while doing so. Who doesn’t love going to a bar at 1 in the morning on a Tuesday to watch ME tell five minutes of jokes? Oh, and the beer? Each beer is 7 dollars. This place is fancy. Pony up.

12. Your date will introduce you to plenty of interesting characters.  Most with extensive records, shoddy employment pasts, and alcohol addiction problems. Hey- maybe you can meet someone!

13. Your friends will think your significant other is hilarious. Related: Bragging about your date’s newest comedy routine will do him/her good. This one is true. We are fucking hilarious.

14. Not every comedian exploits his personal life in his act. Most will outline boundaries with you. (Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t diss his wife on stage, and he’s done okay for himself.) ALL COMEDIANS ACT EXACTLY LIKE JERRY SEINFELD. THERE ARE NO OTHER COMICS.

15. A common love language for comedians? Words of affirmation. Build up your partner verbally, and you’ll likely be the recipient of praise, too. What the fuck is a love language? Tell me I’m funny, I won’t believe you. Try to give me constructive feedback, I will cry and tell you I hate you. EVERYONE WINS.


Clearly, eHarmony is putting about as much money into paying their staff writers as I get to tell jokes for 20 minutes on Wednesday night (so… zero dollars.) My recommendation for anyone looking to date a comedian? Don’t do it. Date a neurologist. They seem to be much more stable. Also, don’t use this advice if you are queer… eHarmony doesn’t like the queers.

Dustin Meadows also wrote a great list here. Original post can be found here. The comment section includes another 15 Reasons to Not Date One of Us. And also some really enjoyable personal indulgences that are TMI. Oh, comedians. 


how to land a life partner by christmas.

WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. Ads for Black Friday are plastered all over social media, and congloms like K-Mart and Wal-Mart are busy promoting lay-away-elmo plans for every family in America.  Up for facing your family alone this Christmas? HELL NO.  The only thing worse than dealing with your annoying cousins is dealing with those cousins WITHOUT a stranger they’ve never met- it’s the perfect buffer! Continue reading