Jess Downey

Jess Downey is a freelance writer, blogger, and online columnist who lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Introducing: Put This on Your List

Photo courtesy of Mattox (stock.xchng) 

Photo courtesy of Mattox (stock.xchng) 

I’m a big fan of features. When I lived in Chicago I wrote about date spots and that was a pretty big hit. Also, when I first moved here I started a little something called “Things I Want To Do This Month”. It was a lot of fun because it helped me share all of my new adventures and helped me figure out all of the things I wanted to do in NYC. I’d also like to think it gave other people some ideas too. But it was problematic because it didn’t allow for much randomness. And let’s face it, if you have ever lived/visited NYC you know there is all kinds of random experiences here.

But, as I was hanging around with Mr. T over the weekend I realized how much I missed the awesome parts of that feature. So, I’ve decided to start a new one that gives me the stuff I liked and allows me to do a whole lot more.

Allow me to introduce a little something I’d like to call “Put This on Your List” where each week I will bring you a little something that you need to add to your life’s to-do list. It might be a spot to visit, a great date idea, a recipe, a beauty product, or really just anything else that I think is fantastic and worth checking out.

Be on the lookout for the first one next week!

Stimulate Your Sexual Health with Sex Cereal

Oh Canada.

I was watching the news the other day when I saw something about sex cereal. Yes, you read that right. It was a quick clip and I was on my first cup of coffee so I thought maybe I was making it up in my head. But, after a quick Google search, I discovered I wasn’t totally crazy – sex cereal is a legit thing.

As the website boasts, it’s the first cereal of its kind. There is one blend for her and one for him because, ya know, we all need different things to get our libido going.

For her (photo from Sex Cereal website)

For her (photo from Sex Cereal website)

Now, I am not going to argue that perhaps this cereal does have some key ingredients to keep men and women healthy.  Our bodies are different. We take different vitamins and such. So, sure, I am on board there.

And, sure, maybe some of those things might help things out in the bedroom some. I mean, good health in general helps your sex drive, right? Or maybe it’s like buying new underwear or going on some romantic vacation. There are certain things that put us in the mood because of the feeling it creates.

For him (photo from Sex Cereal website)

For him (photo from Sex Cereal website)

But, I think calling it sex cereal is probably more of a clever marketing scheme than anything. And sure I haven’t tried it, but if you read the testimonials I don’t think my stances is that far off. Most of them boast about the flavor and the “romance” of it all, but I don’t see many that talk about an improvement in sex life.

What do you all think? Has anyone out there tried it? 

What It Means To Be Feminine


Warning: I don’t want to get all crazy women’s lib here, but I am going to geek out with some sociological perspective.  After reading this article, I felt the need to throw in my two cents.

What irks me about the article isn’t really the fact that she uses the word submissive. I mean, yes hearing that word is kind of like hearing nails on a chalkboard. But what really drives me nuts is the whole “what it truly means to be feminine” thing.

As someone who has a degree in Sociology and who studied a lot about gender, I believe that women are feminine because they are women (crazy, I know). But really. Femininity shouldn’t be something defined by society and there isn’t necessarily one overall definition for it. Instead, we define it for ourselves. It doesn’t take acting a certain way or wearing frilly pink bows to be feminine. You’re free to be tough, like sports and cars. You’re also free to like those frilly pink bows if you want. You’re just free to be you –whoever that is -- and it’s considered an expression of femininity (your femininity) because you’re a woman.  (And, likewise, the same is true for men.)

Now, I know that a lot of people would disagree with this, but I can honestly tell you that I don’t fit that traditional mold of what it means to be feminine. I guzzle beer like the world is about to end. I am loud. I challenge things. And I have to tell you that I don’t feel any less feminine than a woman who is a bit more traditional.

I guess the thing for me is that I don’t have an issue with submissive women. Or women who are in very traditional gender roles. Or the women dressed in pink frilly bows. If that’s who you are, more power to you. What I do take issue with is this idea that I have to behave a certain way based solely on the fact that I am a woman. And this idea that it’s OK for other women to say what’s truly feminine.

Ask the Hard Questions


I often hear stories about how people break up after several years of dating because they want different things in life. And this has always been something that’s puzzled me. Not that I want to sound like I am judging or anything here. It’s more that I just don’t understand how you could be with someone for so long but not have ever had a conversation about the hard questions.

I guess I just believe that before a relationship heads down the serious-long-term road, you have to have conversations about the things that you want in life.  I think it’s important to know you’re on the same page about where you see your life going and how you want to end up. I would actually say it’s just as important as that whole conversation about where things are going between the two of you.

And maybe people are having these conversations, but they’re just not being completely honest about the answers they’re giving.  But that’s actually an important point too – not only do you have to have the hard conversations, you also have to be totally honest when you’re answering them. You have to be open and honest about what you want (and don’t want).

I get that it’s hard and sometimes seems a little scary.  If you’ve finally met someone that you really seem to click with you don’t want to do anything to mess that up. It’s also a pretty deep conversation to have which can obviously be a little intimidating.

And let’s be clear here -- it doesn’t need to be on the first date or anything. In fact, I would say that’s not the best idea since talks of babies, marriage, and houses with white picket fences don’t go over too well when you’re only a couple hours in.  It’s cool to do it whenever it feels right for your relationship. Just as long as you do it some point before things get too heavy and serious.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you have to want exactly the same things or you’re doomed. I’m also not saying there’s some kind of guarantee you’ll find ever after if you do want all the same things. I also know that things aren’t black and white. But, ultimately, you need to know where a person stands on things (and they need to know where you stand) if you’re going to keep moving forward and have a future with them. 

I Don’t Believe In Soul Mates


I have a confession to make -- I don’t believe in soul mates. I know, I know. How cliché. A gal who writes about dating and who lives in New York who doesn’t believe in soul mates. How shocking.

But really, I don’t.

I think I once did when I was younger. But I also used to sport a flannel with an ESPRIT shirt under it. So clearly I’ve had some moments where I was wrong about stuff.

So let me explain my reasoning here.

What happens if this so-called soul mate dies soon after you meet them? Maybe that’s a little morbid, but let’s all take a moment to be realistic here. Sure we all believe we will live to be whatever age seems really old, but things happen. Buses. Diseases. Wrong place, wrong time.  So what happens when you meet Mr. Soulmate at the age of 25 and he dies 10 years later? It seems strange to me that you would go on living your life completely closed to the idea of meeting anyone because you already met your soul mate and he tragically left you too soon. Sure, you might not rush out to find someone new, but I think it’s weird to say you would never date ever again.

Also, don’t you think that creates a whole lot of pressure for this other person (and for you)? I mean, sure you probably aren’t going to tell them an hour after you’ve met them (unless you’ve got your crazy pants on). But even if you wait years, it’s still a lot of pressure to know that you think this other person is the one and only human being you’re destined to be with. It gives them a whole lot of something to live up to. And what happens if things go sour? What happens if you both don’t want the same things?

Finally, how and when do you figure out that kind of thing? Obviously I believe that you know when you love someone and when you want to spend your life with them. But some people say I love you and have many serious relationships before settling in with the person they marry. So how do you differentiate? Or do you just think each person is your soul mate until you meet your actual soul mate? I find it all very confusing.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are situations you’re supposed to experience and people who you’re supposed to meet. But I guess this whole idea that there is one person that we are predestined to be with is just a little too heavy for me (and a little too Nicholas Sparks).

I promise I’m not being cynical at all here – couldn’t be farther from the truth. Obviously I truly believe in love and romance. I also believe that you can (and) will find a person that you want to spend your life with. You’ll probably be crazy in love with them. But that’s a key thing here – I think you find the person you want to spend your life with and you make it work. It’s more of a conscious decision. Not something that was written in the stars before you were born.