List 15: Things That Are Better In Theory Than Reality

A million years ago I contributed to a now-defunct blog called The Secret Society of List Addicts.Β  This post originally appeared there.


You know what I mean. It seeeems like a good idea, but then? You do it and it’s pretty damn lack luster. Things like:Ice Skating
Sure it seems romantic and graceful. But really? My feet and ankles hurt after three minutes, I’m cold and there’s a six-year-old showing me up as I shuffle around the rink once to her seven times.Dating The Bad Boy
Seems hot and exciting. Mostly just exhausting, humiliating and emotionally damaging.

Really High Heels
I cannot walk, dudes. Seriously. No walking. I look hot, but I cannot make it to my car.

Grad School
Oooooh, how romantic! I’m going to be surrounded by heaps of smart people talking about fascinating things all the time! Or, you’ll work really, really hard, have no money and no social life. But when it’s over, you’ll probably be glad you did it.

Big Boobs
I cannot vouch for this one personally, but I have many, many friends who can. Too much staring, expensive bras, sore backs.

I always think I want to read it, but then 30 pages in, I feel fat and I think I can hear my braincells crying.

A lunch consisting of Doritos, an ice cream sandwich and coffee
Really? That doesn’t turn out well? Weird. Because I never seem to learn and keep trying to do this at least once a week.

What do you find disappointing every time you try it?

original image (without the text on top) by retro roadside photo, for sale here.



– drunk dialing. duh.
– random high school/college/ex-coworker facebook 'reconnecting!'
– jumping in the pool with your clothes on
– going for a hike without a map b/c it's adventurous, right?
– Re: Cosmo. Even Nylon is dragging me down lately.

Karyna @ Paper Squid

Hi, just wanted to share that Nylon has been dragging me down lately too, LOL. I usually really like that mag, but the last time i took a look it just seemed a bit off.

Thought I'd share πŸ™‚



I love the last one – so true! I usually resort to that kind of lunch when I forget to bring my lunch from home, which is a terrible habit.

Consider Me Lovely

So true!! I was determined to give ice skating another try a few weeks ago, and I totally didn't glide, almost fell many times, and was aching afterwards. I'm in grad school, and I'm so over it!! lol I am too close to finishing to stop though, lol.


I'd say New Years Eve is always on my list- at least the "getting dressed up, going to a party" variety. This year, my man and I made a whole pile of food and ate it picnic style, drank champagne and watched Mr. Bean episodes. Best new years ever.
I would have to say that ice skating is fun, just not romantic with a whole pile of people all going in the same direction!
I will never learn that that sort of lunch doesn't go over with my stomach very well. Every time.


Swap out "Mr. Bean" for "Doctor Who", and you have how *I* spent NYE this year. Best decision ever made. Eff that going out nonsense. I had a great time, and when I was too drunk to continue having a great time, I went to bed, which was FIFTEEN FEET AWAY. NYE made of win!

Erin Depew

OMG I'm copying your idea next year. NYE is at the top of my list. Followed closely by doing beauty rituals (mani/pedi, hair cuts, spa day whatever) with girlfriends. I love my girls, but when I go to get these things done I just want to sit in silence and read trashy magazines, so I'm absolutely no fun.

and Sarah, your list had me laughing so hard I almost cried, especially the lunch one. Guilty as charged.

Destrehan's Daughter

Watching football or most other sports on television is mine. I have tried a bunch of times with friends, with snacks, with liquor, and nothing makes this an enjoyable event for me. It sounds like a good time, but I get soooo bored.


Ice skating, yes! This was not fun the second I stepped on the ice. And being wild & crazy and partying until 5am…ugh! Not fun anymore at all.

Samantha Kimble

Ugh nothing along the line of Cosmo is ever good. I would also add to the list one more gummi bear even though you think you had enough. Watching too much Food Network than entering the kitchen thinking that you are Iron Chef, er well maybe this is just me. My presence in the kitchen is never a good thing.

Leslie Pauley

Expensive bras are one of my Favorite Things Of All Time.

Trying a new recipe is my Not Fun In Reality thing. It usually ends up tasting good, but somehow leads to every bowl and spoon I own being dirty.

Cosmo I agree with. I already know how to please my man, and it doesn't involve hanging upside down from his penis in stilettos while he sits on the couch and watches football. Not liking Cosmo/Glamour/Etc. any more is on my Grown Up Things list, which is also my Older Than 25 Now list.

Katherine Ann

I do like ice skating….and I do like my big boobs.

but uhg, grad school. It was supposed to be so magical. I really did go into thinking it would be like hanging out with all my undergrad profs all day, who were super smart and driven and wonderful and had so much knowledge that I didn't… but it's hell. I hate it. I struggle every day with strong desires to drop out, but I'm in a PhD program and caught in that whole "I've already spent almost 2 years here, I should at least get my masters so I don't feel like I've wasted my time". Bleh.

Katherine Ann

yes! I have. I think the problem is that I'm not emotionally fatigued or anxious or overwhelmed like most of my peers in grad school. Basically, I'm ignored by my advisor, I'm not getting any training, and have been told "no" to seeking additional experiences. I think if my mental health was seriously suffering from being here, I would have a much easier time leaving. But I'm in this really "nice" place where I'm getting paid to get a PhD while having the lightest workload I've ever had. I feel bad for even complaining!

Mona Vivar

Brussel Sprouts. Brussel Sprouts are so perfectly shaped and brilliantly green and so very HEALTHY good for me. Then I put one in my mouth and UGH. Complete disappointment Just can't go it!

I agree with everything on your excellent list. Can't vouch for ice skating. I have never tried it because I am afraid of falling down and breaking bones…It would undoubtedly disappoint me.


I must admit, as someone with large breasts who deals with the ups and downs of something I had no control over, calling the feature out as "better in theory" on this list rubbed me the wrong way. There's a lot that comes along with this topic for a lot of women, and this didn't seem like a sensitive way to bring up the discussion. Though, I'd like to point out that it would be great to see a post dedicated it – there's so much that women of all breast sizes could contribute.


I love me some ice skating, but couldn't agree more re: Cosmo. Additional lackluster things…

Being Cool. Long ago I dated a musician and we had a super hip social circle and were just soooo coooool. The Cool Kids are now either still trying to be cool but really just kind of look pathetic, or else have gotten over themselves and are busy having lovely real lives and happily sinking into uncool oblivion.

Getting Drunk. I went out wayyy too hard the other night (Musso & Frank's has the best martinis in L.A. Not a reason to drink three.) and ended up leaving my car in Hollywood overnight, taking a midnight nap in a neighbor's guest bed, and losing my favorite lipstick. LAME.

Cupcakes. They're cute but never fail to give me a raging headache / sad face. Also, if I see one more on Pinterest I'm going to barf.


I have to strongly disagree with big boobs being on this list! They are a part of my body – it's not like it's something I chose to try.

Sarah Von Bargen

Liz (and Anon above)
I see where you're coming from. As someone who's a natural blonde (which I obviously didn't choose either) I'd add "being blond" to the list. When I'm traveling I attract a lot of unwanted attention, people think I'm less smart than I am, and most people assume I spend lots of time, effort, and money to get this hair.

I didn't mean to indicate that big boobs are something that a person chooses to have, I put them under the same heading as being blonde: "Things Society Seems To Believe Are Awesome But Are Occasionally Overrated"

Karyna @ Paper Squid

Lol, Agree with the points. I know someone mentioned this above but I have to agree, getting drunk is one (gets overrated – but maybe I'm being hypocritical because in my early 20's I did this a lot, now I don't even really drink). As for the heels, yep, they look great but make me want to scream.

great post πŸ™‚

Lucy Milne

I agree with the being blonde as I've got blonde ringlets, which again, not as good as you'd think! Getting drunk, yep. Heels, definitely. Can I please add beach holidays (hot sand that sticks to suncream, anyone?)and exercise at the gymn.

Loved the post


These are great! Add taking the kids ice skating and that's even worse.

Re: boobs . . . mine are way smaller after having four kids. Actually, it's SO much easier to look put together in shirts now. I vote for small.


GREAT list. I'm inspired to write one of my own!

I agree with the big boobs. No matter how great they look when you're 20, you know that they'll never look that good when you're 50. Sadly.

It sounded so dramatic and terrifying when I was younger. Now, I question if it actually exists. And if so, surely it's not a huge deal.


Hilarious list. ditto on high heels and junkfood meals. I'll confirm that big boobs are a huge pain in the…boob. They get in the way, they make me look chubbier than I am in certain types of garments, etc.


Staying up late to get things done. I end up vegetative on the couch watching The West Wing. Then wondering, time after time, why I'm so stupid.


I feel like I could have written this list myself! The ice skating one is spot on… every time I drag my boyfriend to the ice rink I always want to go home after five minutes.


Yesss. All of it. Especially Cosmo. If I stumble upon it I think, "this will be fun and indulgent!" Instead I feel bored and slightly depressed by the time I get to the table of contents ater 30 pages of ads.
And I'm so glad to hear someone else say that about ice skating. I've felt that way since 10-year-old birthday parties and thought I was missing some joy-gene.


I have a couple of things to add:
– The beach. In theory, it seems so relaxing: the lapping waves, the salty air, the warm sand. In reality though, I always seem to experience scorching hot sand, gritty eyes, sunburn and jelly-fish stings. Also somehow I always wind up taking half of the beach home in my hair.

– Pinterest. I know, I know. So many people are in love with it. The idea is great: have all your ideas for crafting, recipes, DIY etc in the one place! Rather that inspired, I find that a Pinterest session leaves me feeling fatigued and overwhelmed by all the things Yet To Be Done.


Could more average-ly sized boob-havers please stop participating in the weird subtle culture of boob-shaming? Please? I can't tell you how many times I've had relative strangers make comments along the lines of 'oh I'm so glad mine are nothing like yours/those must hurt/your back must be tired/etc.' Perhaps some of those things are true, but, without elective cosmetic surgery, they're what I, and lots of other women, have. Until you've actually managed to find some way of walking a mile in our bras, so to speak, I suggest striking this item from this otherwise entertaining list!


THANK YOU! I'm truly surprised that more comments like this and a few from above haven't been posted. I'm actually embarrassed by the way we put down each other's body types so easily. It's hurtful.

Alicia Cumming

These random strangers could be A) what you've said-that big boob havers are "freaks of nature", or B) former big boob havers who suffered what big boob havers suffer and they're so freakin relieved over not having them vs YOU they've lost all sense of propriety and express their thoughts of profound relief to your face. I'm B.

Alicia Cumming

ps-But I do get it, as I got it when I was witness to a small-boobed womaan talk in my big-boobed presence how smaller-breasted women's breasts are more sensitive to touch thus easier to arouse sexually. THANKS.


@Alicia, and how would the small-breasted woman know that?

I had breast reduction surgery not because I just woke up one day and thought that well, lets go for a referral to surgery. I had the surgery done because I was having some very real health problems with my shoulders, neck and back. The problems with finding bras, tops that fitted me somehow and more was just a bonus feature. I went from an unmanagable bra-size to a c-ish cup. Anyone favouring bigger sizes is fine with me.


Running on the treadmill πŸ™‚
I try to convince myself that I don't hate exercise machines, but every time I step on one I'm wishing I could be in a group fitness class instead


Great idea for a post. I was really disappointed when I tried zorbing; I'd wanted to do it for ages, and although it was fun to start with, I felt sick for hours afterwards. Not fun. xx

Kate - Crazy Lovely Me

I've got pretty large boobs (D teetering on the edge of DD) and I dread what will happen to them when I have kids. It's already hard enough to work out – I usually have to wear two sports bras trying to keep them in place so I can run. I hate buying nice, button-up shirts because I can find them to fit my chest or fit the rest of my torso but it's rare to find one that fits me everywhere else and doesn't gape in front, and I can't wear anything lower cut without attracting a lot of attention. Some people might call it "boob shaming" but I personally dislike the size of my chest and totally understand why people don't want big boobs. Once I do have kids, I'll probably go ahead and get breast reduction done and go down to a C.


My point was that it's fine for everyone to have their own preferences regarding their own body, but to list an attribute that someone has inherited via genetic lottery as 'overrated' based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence from friends seems needlessly hurtful and irresponsible. It's something the author has no personal experience with, so….why include it in the list? And in such a way as to imply that those of us who have large breasts should feel badly about it, or like we got the raw end of the deal somehow, universally?

Shannon and Scott

I am a figure skater so I totally do not agree with ice skating. But I know it totally can NOT be fun if you have to deal with the horrible rental skates! They are usually not sharpened (hence the sliding around), have hardly any support (so achy ankles). If you have your own pair, believe me, skating can be tons of fun and its a great workout. There is nothing like zooming around on the ice or landing your first jump!

Jenn Rowell

I'm with you Shannon! I used to figure skate competitively and coach and I miss the ice! There's a rink in my new town and after going to my friend's hockey game last weekend, I'm definitely going to break out the skates! But yes, rental skates are the worst!


Fried okra. I'm born/raised/living in the South so I'm supposed to like fried okra, but every time without fail I try it and bleck!


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