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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>



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#NerdsUnite: The cost of "whatever it takes" ... is it actually worth it? 

I said something out loud to my girlfriend a few weeks back that I had yet to admit to another living being, and said statement was followed by a solid understanding that my life is coming full circle. 

Maestro ... 

"So what has Jen Friel been up to?" she asked as we sat down for an impromptus happy hour (my office happens to be across the street from her building)

With a straight face, and little to no emotion I said, "I've experienced a fundamental shift in the last 30 days, I'm ready to get married and have babies." 

YAY!! She said super excited. 

My actions weren't mirrored, and without an actual mirror, I'll just have to assume that my face looked something like this ... 

"What happened, what made you come to this conclusion?" 

"My health," I said. "It's no big deal, but I had an 'episode' a few weeks back."

I might have been capable of admitting that I was ready to start a family, but that still didn't mean I was capable or willing to admit what the "episode" actually was. 

Cue flashback sequence ... 

Back in July, I was warned by my doctor that if I didn't start to find balance with my work and actual life, it would start to affect my health.

That's where this post came from: 

Four letter words are becoming a trend - my favorite of them being "sold." Remember that "other" TV show I mentioned during talk nerdy's relaunch? It sold. (I'm in front of and behind the camera on this one.) Upon finding out the news, the handful of people I told asked, "how are you going to celebrate?" Celebrate? I thought laughing. I have to get ahead of the announcement, and push along xyzabc123 projects. Then yesterday, I went to my doctor (unrelated), and he told me if I don't take a break it's going to start to affect my health. "You look like shit," he said, "which must mean you sold something." Mind you, not only does this man have a successful practice, he's also the bassist for Ryan Adams (even has a thank you note in his waiting room from @taylorswift ). Before I got back into my car, I reached out to my buddy Hugh and asked if I could accept a standing invitation to Catalina. Not a problem, he said! So now I'm on a boat heading to an island to hang out with my second favorite Irish family. Fingers crossed we end up on @lisavanderpump Instagram again ... #nerdsunite

A post shared by Jen Friel (@talknerdytomelover) on Jul 27, 2017 at 1:07pm PDT

I took his words very seriously, and once I found out a project had received a pilot order (a big deal in TV), I left for an extended weekend vacation on an island (not far from LA). While there, I had met someone who I was not only attracted to, but in his previous life, built homes. THAT'S PERFECT! I thought knowing I wanted to renovate my apartment. 

<tangent> See, I want to take the money from both TV projects and invest in homes. (This is how my parents made their money.) Since I don't own a home yet, I figured why not build a design portfolio using my own apartment (which could later translate into a career in staging homes). I have no idea if I'd be any good at it, but I viewed it as a calculated risk with the plus side of creation satisfaction in a tangible realm. Everything I build professionally is online. I wanted to find balance between both worlds. </tangent> 

I then purchased all the supplies required (which was hilarious because it was the first time I went to the hardware store and actually bought supplies for my home).

I've previously bought a 3 gallon bucket for an ayahuasca ceremony, chicken wire for the sliding mechanism on my freelance Charlie Chaplin costume ... 

The costume needed the stache and to keep it on I used fishing line and chicken wire which allowed me to slide it left or right and still keep it on.

The sign on the back made it a little weird past midnight. I did not anticipate people taking me seriously.

Freelance Charlie Chaplin meant that pants were optional.

... and spackling (bought to mimic frosting for my Katy Perry costume). That was a fun adventure!!

Anywho, we began painting one Saturday and somewhere in between the long strokes and reminder of wet things, we began tearing each other's clothes off. 

There were no lonely trees in this picture. There was wood however ...

The sex was incredible (sex really does change as you get older and become more comfortable in your skin), and close to my own climax we switched positions to the back of the couch. (A fun perk of home renovating is all the new angles you can utilize with your newly placed furniture.) 

As I began arching my back sticking my butt out (this makes your butt look amazing before doggy), time began slowing down - rapidly. I took a handful of deep breaths but before I could process what was happening, the world began moving in a circular motion like a fast/ forceful stream of water being sucked down the drain. 

My body then involuntarily fell forward (thankfully onto the back of my very soft couch), as I felt a "spark" inside my brain. I tried to speak, and realized I couldn't. It wasn't until my arm began violently shaking that el boy-o realized something was wrong.

He was coming in hot from behind, so there was no way he would have noticed something any sooner. 

When I was finally able to speak (the entire "episode" lasted a handful of seconds), I said "I'm okay, I'm fine. I'm okay, I'm fine," only, I wasn't. I just couldn't stop trying to take control of whatever situation I had involuntarily found myself in. 

"You are very clearly not fine or okay," he said immediately going into action grabbing towels from my bathroom, cooling them down with water and placing them on my body. (He's been trained in the military so if this was ever going to happen to me, I was glad it was happening with someone logical who could help and not freak out.) 

Not knowing what to do, I put on pants figuring pants were the minimum requirement should I need to be taken anywhere. 

Cautious to make sudden movements, or really any movement, I was immediately reminded of my doctor's prediction. 

"I need to make more money, and I am going to work less," I said. Everyone knows startups are notorious for paying peanuts, and my problem is that I'll be the last one to take. I'm a stubborn asshole who has survived off of bartering, but I can't continue to gamble with my own life. 

This was a full blown wake up call that I need to add balance in my life and if I chose not to listen, my body would do what it needed to do. 

I waited a full 24 hours before emailing the founder of my company.

You feel this weird residual after effect with an "episode," and I wanted the email to not come from a place of fear or disorientation, but rather a place that was honest and grounded (or as grounded as I could be)

El Boy-o was surprised. "You've got a lot of balls emailing the founder on a weekend saying you're going to take more money and work less." 

I smiled knowing that I am going to make a lot of money at this company (something I am going to need if I end up down the road being a single mother), but what good would all that money do if I'm not alive to enjoy it?

I created my own bottom line realizing that if I am going to stay I would have to have those needs met. If not, I totally get it, I wouldn't take any of it personally - I fiercely admire the people I work with. 

I arrived at the office on Monday (a little later than I planned). The founder and I walked outside as I began telling him what happened. "Zero history of this. Nothing in my family. Nada. It has to be stress, just like my doctor warned."

He asked why I wasn't in bed, and I explained that I had a big meeting to focus on (I know ... I know ... but I really did relax the rest of the weekend, but relaxing to me is also doing whatever needs to get done so I can stop thinking about it). "Whatever you need, we'll take care of it."

He then connected me with a doctor friend of his, and I immediately broke down what happened (including the previously received warning). It all felt so cut and dry in my head that this was stress related, but his response caught me off guard ... 

The doctor sent that email at 2:38 pm. By 2:45, I was out the door sobbing the entire ride home. 

I don't know why it upset me so much the idea of having an MRI, but it was this jolting reality (literally) that I wasn't in control of my life. As a strategist/ planner, I can quickly assess possible outcomes but this time I forbid myself from "going there" and feeling sorry for myself. Whatever it is, I will handle it ... quite frankly, I have no choice. 

When I got home, I googled low cost MRIs. I didn't want to go through insurance and the reality that I need to see this doctor to get the referral to that doctor who is going to hand the results off to this clinic where I can get tested on even numbered days that aligned with the return of Halley's comet. 

I had already lined up three doctors who agreed to analyze the photos (one of whom works at Harvard). I just needed the photos done well, and fast. 

Three days, and $275 cash in hand later, I arrived at the testing facility and signed in with a fake name (no ID was required). I had no reason to use a pseudonym, but I figured if I was in the process of going full blown cray, I might as well be authentic and just start doing weird illogical shit on the reg. 

A very long hour and some change later (someone moved in the machine causing them to have to redo the exam), I entered into the back room. For a cash place that lets you get an MRI without showing any form of identification, I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and inviting everything felt. This experience shook me to the definition of my core, yet here I was questioning what kind of Lysol they were using. 

 I removed my earrings and placed my bag in the locker adjacent to the exam room. I grabbed the key and placed it on the table inside. On a scale of 1-10 my fear was ranked at a 100.

I didn't expect the trajectory of my 32nd year to potentially include the word "tumor" or "cancer," said every person that has said those words ever. 


I was placed on the table (which was actually quite comfortable), and given a blanket. I was instructed not to move. I laughed thinking movement wasn't an option as my body was already paralyzed with fear. 

The operator went back behind the partion as the procedure began. Surprised by the sound of the machine, my body continued to involuntarily shake. (Enough to know I was shaking, not enough to disrupt the exam.) It was the sound of the machine that surprised me. 

For some reason, I expected it to sound like a dot matrix printer ... 

I was wrong. Very wrong.

Here's what the machine actually sounded like ... 

... only in the one they were using the sound wasn't constant. Every time I attempted to lull myself into some form of advanced meditation, the high pitch pierce would come back providing that additional reminder that yep, this life moment is happening. 

To make matters worse, the clinic was blasting KOST 103.5. Normally, I love that station, but on this particular day, in that particular half hour, I resented their every being ...  

FTR, I'm not crazy or unwell Matchbox 20!! 

SHUT UP with your, "I want something just like this" Chainsmokers & Coldplay. 

This isn't my fight song Rachel, but if I make it out of this I will be taking my life back (whatever that really means).

30 minutes later, I emerged a grumpy mcgee pants. I was scared, angry, and sad. I executed the motions, but still couldn't handle the e-motions. 

After the test, I drove back to the office where I attempted to have a meeting. Fortunately, it was with a guy I had previously dated, so when he asked if I was okay, I felt comfortable enough admitting that I wasn't. I sobbed in his arms saying I could barely even drive back. 

"YOU DROVE YOURSELF TO THE CLINIC?" he asked shocked. 

"I know, I said, I should have taken an uber." 

"With all the people you know, you didn't ask someone to go with you?" 

"I didn't expect this kind of response. I normally stay eerily calm when I'm nervous or scared. I'm also a stubborn asshole who needs to learn it's okay to show/ admit any sort of vulnerability to another living being." 

I paused for a moment. 

"I have zero problems showing vulnerability in relationships now. I guess I still need work on extending that outwards to my friends." 

"What about the guy you're dating?" 

"He offered to take me. I told him no." 


I paused. 

"Fuck, you're right. I'm causing all of this. I have the help all around me, and I'm not accepting it." 

He then gave me yet another big hug as we agreed to postpone the meeting to the following week. 

End flashback sequence ... 


"Wow," she said. "I don't think I've ever seen you stressed." (We've all known each other for over a decade.) 

I laughed saying I feel stressed all the time. 

"That's when you know you're good at what you do," she said. "Even if you feel that way, it never shows." 

I thought about it for a moment, and wondered if that was a good thing. 

"So, you're okay now?" she asked. 

"You can say that. There's no going back from that kind of a wakeup call though. Everything came back 'unremarkable,' which is ironic because on the contrary I thought the experience was quite remarkable." 

"All that made you realize you're ready to start a family?" 

"No," I said. "This was just the first part. The following week, my parents got on a plane not knowing what country they were going to, and for four hours I had no idea if they were safe or not. And then the week after I rescued pussy on Hollywood Blvd. Out of all three experiences, that one impacted me the most (from a maternal perspective)." 


"First, let me go and take care of Buster (who was still hanging out at the office). Let me drop him off at home, and I'll meet you for dinner."

DONE! she said. This I have to hear. 

Me too, I thought. 

click here to read PT 2





#Fetish: I had read this one on Urban Dictionary, but yep, it's actually "a thing!"

I spent this past weekend in a tent off the grid on the island of Catalina. I met a buffalo, golden eagle, bald eagle, and was happier than a pig in shit ... which reminded me of this story. 

Maestro … 


In 2013, I fell in love and ghosted this website, my life, (which at the time were one in the same), and moved to an island without telling anyone. (Family knew, but that was it.) I had discovered a handful of months prior how unhappy I was, and since my ultimate goal was to find a lover to talk nerdy to me - in my mind, I succeeded! 

(As most of you know) I then moved to the island with said gentleman, but by the end of November that year, we had broken up. Never one to go down without a fight, I negotiated the terms for a solid month and some change. After all, it was like this person was telling me my arm didn’t exist. It was (in my mind) like oh no, this isn’t possible, let’s strategize steps a) b) c).

He gave me a gift at that time, I just didn’t/couldn't see it. What I did begin to see was the reality that I had to get my shit back together, and at 29 reinvent myself (yet again ... only this time as a person, not a persona)

<tangent> Remember that morning after I was placed in a mental institution on the 5150? I had to pick myself up by my bootstraps (even though I wasn’t allowed to keep the laces).

The cockroach infestation? That sucked. Had one box left to represent 27 years, but looking back, had it not been for that life experience I wouldn’t have “given up everything I owned” to live in the corporate sponsored Ford Fiesta.

Your perspective is like prescription lenses. Your sight is the result of a series of choices you have made that have framed your reality. I didn't pick these experiences, but I was at all times consciously aware that I had a choice ... do I choose to "learn from these experiences" (whatever that means), or do I allow myself to be blinded by my own misery. </tangent> 

I spent a month and some change feeling scared, lonely, and constantly wondered what was next. (I got my own place in town not to remain close to him, but because I liked the person I was becoming in that space.) 

Then one day, my neighbor knocked on my door and very seriously asked if I was “alright?”
Confused, I paused for a moment, then remembered the night before (and the 30 more nights before that) I listened to "Nobody wants to be lonely" on repeat over and over and over (I was also using an apple TV with bose surround sound.)

Don't judge, we've all done things we're not proud of. 

I thanked him for the concern, and realized that being called out made me want to change my tune. I can keep doing the same thing over and over (which is the definition of insanity), or I can take action.

The next day I woke up and said "one foot in front of the other, Friel, you can do this. If not, well, fake it until you make it."

Previous iterations of reinvention occurred in familiar territory, island life was all new to me. Also, now that I was becoming more honest with myself in terms of my emotions, I wasn't sure how happy tech was "actually" making me. Afterall, I had reached all of these goals I had wanted to accomplish, and still felt empty.

I then typed up a resume and immediately deleted it. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to believe half of what was on there. Have you read my LinkedIn profile? Nothing has ever been normal (and I still to this day don't have a resume).  

Fortunately, while having lunch with my parents in Miami one day, my father said the founder of his company (who happens to have previously been Pablo Escobar’s surgeon) could possibly point me in the right direction.

DONE! I said, as we had our first of many dinners.

I would sit and listen, wanting to understand his world. He’s a 33 degree Cuban born mason who was against the embargo being lifted (he actually told me before it was going to happen, and I equally connected the dots once the Carlyle group started buying up properties on the island for their ports).

Any who, I knew I could help him with my entertainment connections back in Los Angeles, but LA was the last place I wanted to go back to. 

“I have someone for you to meet,” he said. 

Never one to ask a lot of questions with someone I trust, I just said DONE! 

I then met one of his friends (who happened to be involved with local politicians)

THAT'S IT! I said. I can help with digital on one of the campaigns, or speech writing - I don’t care, I’ve scrubbed floors before!! I can do that!! I just know I want to stay here, and need to find work to support myself. (I had previously done work with the #Tech4Obama campaign, and even quietly helped the governor of a neighboring state with his re-election.) 

How did you get here, she asked, and why the Keys? 

Tale as old as time, I said laughing, “it was all because of a guy.”

Here, she said grabbing a piece of paper. I want you to meet my nephew. 

I smiled immediately knowing that if her nephew was single she was going to try and set us up. 

I looked down, and saw that it was the address of a harbor in Ft. Lauderdale. 

“He’s a fishing captain,” she said. 

I tried to hold back my excitement and love of fishing (and the sea in general). 

“He’s looking for someone to help with his marketing for the charters on his boat,” she said. 

I immediately drove over to the address, and eventually found the ship. 

Hi, I said waving from the dock. My name is Jen Friel, I just met your aunt. His deckhand started laughing as I wondered if my suspicions were about to ring true. 

Sure, come on in, he said inviting me to take off my shoes and tour the boat. 

If someone had to play him in a movie it would be Eric Dane’s tanner cousin from South Africa (+1 for the accent, swoon!). He had a squint in his eye that could mean 1) he’s been in the sun for too long, or 2) he was attempting to be aloof.

Focusing on my own bottom lines (and not his), I asked if he could tell me more about his world. I grew up fishing, I admitted, but know nothing about commercial fishing and the business models of charters; I want to learn. 

Why don’t you come by at 4:30 tomorrow morning. I have a charter, and we’re going out to catch tuna. 

Done, I said shaking his hand as I grabbed my shoes choosing to stay at my parents house that evening (to be closer to the boat). The next morning, I grabbed a cooler and some beer from my parent's house. (I wasn't sure the laws in Miami in terms of purchasing alcohol at that early of an hour, and I wanted to "win" the crew over by bringing something I knew they'd enjoy.)

The charter guests arrived around 5 am, as I watched the crew sprint into action from the top deck. I have a lot of respect for not only the ocean but the discipline it takes to run a boat. 

As we pulled out of the harbor, the captain sat down next to me and he asked if this was my first time deep sea fishing. Not wanting to be a "fish out of water," I lied and said no. 

"So you don't get sea sick?" he asked. 

Nope, I said cool as a cucumber. 

The water in the morning was calm, and as we got out to where I'm assuming the "deep sea" begins, I learned the true definition of the color "Caribbean blue;" I had never seen a color like that with my own eyes. 

Hours later, the waves started to pick up and as the fish started to pile onto the boat I was reminded of my own hunger. I then climbed down from the top deck, and went inside the galley to grab my cooler. Once inside, the waves gathered strength as I was knocked off my feet and onto the couch.

The sudden change in direction created an instant disruption in the pit of my stomach.

Not wanting to pull a Blair and exercise the contents of my breakfast ...  

... I quickly grabbed the cooler remembering the worst place to be with motion sickness is indoors. 

Climbing back up to the top deck, the captain laughed asking how I was feeling. Judging by his confidence in the question, I'm assuming my skin turned to a shade of seaweed. 

Fine, I said, again lying to myself. 

Unzipping my cooler, as I went to pull out my sandwich, we got knocked by yet another big wave. This time the captain seemed more concerned. 

"Shit," he said.

Not knowing what was happening, I just held onto the closest bar and remained calm. The captain went downstairs to check on the guests, as the waves swelled up past 12' (the boat was 50'). At 5'7 and 120 lbs, I America Ninja Warriored myself to the safest spot to anchor on the top deck. 

The captain laughed upon his return. "You really do know your way around boats, don't you?"

"Common sense," I said, "but I've never experienced waves this strong." 

"This isn't even that bad," he said. "It's bad, but not the worst that I've seen." 

He then navigated the boat back to safety, and before sunset we were back at the harbor. 

I then helped the charter guests off the boat, as I asked if there was anything else I could help with? 

"I'm impressed," the captain said. "You didn't get sick, and you held your own on the water today. We should go out for a sunset cruise sometime." 

"Why not right now," I said pointing at the sun that was actually setting. 

Surprised I was still game to be on the water, he agreed and as the crew wrapped up their work, I began mine.  

On much calmer waters in a literal sense, we again sat next to each other on the top deck, this time with a drink in our hands. I wasn't sure what I wanted in that scenario. Yes, I was attracted to him, but I don't ever let that come in between me and a job. My ultimate goal was to stay on the island and support myself. That was all I could focus on in this exact moment. 

That is at least, what I told myself ... 


The first sunset was followed by a second, and shortly after we started dating. I remember looking at him on our second date, and being surprised by what I was feeling. I was genuinely starting to like this guy.

Having given myself so wholly to my last boyfriend, I wasn’t sure if all of the pieces had come back yet. 

Stop thinking big head, I thought. You have butterflies again!!! This is amazing!! Figure the rest out as you go!! 

My trips to the harbor then became an every day occurrence. I became a bikini barnacle of sorts spending part of the day hustling to win over walk-in charters on the dock, strategizing digital marketing, and then having sex. A lot of sex.  

After about a month of dating, he introduced me to his family (remember, I already knew his aunt) and weekly dinners became a "thing." I could tell that they really liked me, and I really liked them. Everything and everyone was a win, and that was something I desperately needed in that moment. 

As we got more comfortable with each other, he asked what I was "into." Oh I'm a F.R.E.A.K, I said (now finally able to talk dirty in bed). In a cocky manner (hehe), I continued, "between running a "relationship/sex blog" and my own experiences, nothing surprises me." 

"I like that," he said. 

Later that night, he poured me a glass of wine (red, which was surprising since we were on a boat), and poured himself a glass of scotch as we cuddled up on a couch inside the galley ready to watch a movie. 

A glass of wine past my bedtime, we proceeded to make out like the world was ending moving from the galley to the bedroom. (There were two small bedrooms below deck.) He then threw me onto the bed (something I am into), and as we began having sex he kept whispering in my ear "I want you to relax." 

Not knowing what he meant, I took the talking dirty cue playing along by saying "oohhhh, I'm relaxed baby, so relaxed ..." 

A handful of pumps later, I felt his hands on my backside as he cooed for me to "let it go." 

Continuing to play along, I moaned ...  

"Let it go," he said now distancing my cheeks. 

Finally catching the actual cue, I realized he wanted me to expel the contents of my colon ... 

Being jolted into my head meant that my own orgasm wasn't going to happen. Not wanting to spoil his, I talked dirty in his ear choosing words as my weapon against mass deconstruction. 

He quickly finished, and as we rolled over ontop of each other (the only way you can sleep on a boat), he went straight to sleep and I was scared straight. 

"This is ACTUALLY A THING?!?!" I thought. "Maybe it was the alcohol. I know I'm an open minded person, but am not sure if I'm THAT open minded." 

The next morning he woke up, and it was game on. Not wanting to put myself in an uncomfortable position, I immediately got ontop of him as we began having sex. 

"One second," he said getting out of bed. "Let's use this," he said placing a towel down underneath me. 

OHHHHHHH.MYYYYYYYY.GOOODDDDD. I thought. This isn't just a drunken request, this REALLY IS HIS "THING!!!" 

Never one to leave a partner hanging, I method acted myself back to a place of back door comfort.

Here I was thinking I was so bad ass the week before for finally being able to pee off the side of my girlfriend's boat. Now you want me to plan a trip to Cleveland? I wasn't even questioning if I could do it, I was confident that I wanted to keep my shit to myself. 

Unable to even articulate exactly what kind of fetish he was into (I guess my mouth isn't as dirty as I thought it was), I avoided the conversation at all costs and focused on something I could wrap my brain around - work. 

"You need a brochure, I said, basic marketing materials. Let me reach out to some people and find you someone." 

That'd be great, he said. 

A few days later, I had a basic mockup of the brochure, and was ready to show him.

"What's your schedule?" I asked calling from the island (a solid hour and a half drive)

"Let's meet at 3:30."

Done, I said. See you soon!  

As I arrived on the dock an hour and a half later, I took off my shoes and hopped onto the boat opening the galley door - only this time, it was locked.

Weird, I thought looking into the boat and seeing no one. He must have gotten stuck in traffic somewhere.

I then sat down on one of the plastic chairs on the dock and continued to edit.

15 minutes later, I saw his neighbor (whom I had become friendly with).

"Do you know when the Captain is coming back," I asked? 

"Coming back?" he said confused. "He’s on the boat."

I then went to try the door again, and it was still locked. I couldn’t see anyone in the galley and there were only the two tiny bedrooms below deck. It was so illogical that he was in there that I didn’t even knock on the door, I just went back to the chair and resumed working. 

15 minutes or so later (total time on dock :30), I hear the door click open. 

Without moving my head (I was wearing sunglasses), I lifted my eyes above the laptop screen and saw him with ... another woman. 

I immediately froze not in anger, but genuine shock.

I took a deep breath and quickly assessed the situation. Logic, Friel. It was pretty clear that he just put his dingy inside her thingie and for whatever reason (like the fish he fries) he wanted to get "caught." 

<tangent>Truth be told, I can’t remember if we had the “what are we” conversation, but I had been completely embraced by his family, even helped fix a washer and dryer in his mom’s house. We were beyond the “implied” stage of commitment, but again, in fair honesty, I can’t remember. </tangent> 

He may have been freshly fucked, but he had no idea who he was fucking with. 

Without a stroke of blush (which is hard to do with Irish people since we turn red at almost everything), I calmly closed my laptop, and hopped on the boat. 

“Hi, I’m Jen!” I said perky as a peach out stretching my hand. 

Hi, I’m so and so. (I can’t remember her name, I just remember she was super beautiful, and clearly a bit thrown at the GPS coordinate of a Bermuda love triangle)

"So and so wants to do a bikini shoot on the boat for her fashion line," the Captain said. 

Uh huh, I thought, wondering if that's what the kids are calling it these days. 

"That’s awesome!" I said again method acting myself back to a place of comfort. 

The captain then said that he was going to call her tomorrow to discuss scheduling with the models. 

"Not a problem," she said, extending her hand again saying it was nice to meet me. 

"The pleasure is all mine," I said with a smile knowing that this next conversation had nothing to do with her.

<tangent> I’ve never believed another person can “take” you from another person. We’re all adults, and actions have consequences. At the end of the day you have to decide what you stand for, and what you are willing to accept. Boundaries, bitches. It took me 10 years in therapy to understand what Swayze was saying in, “this is my dance space, this is your dance space.” </tangent> 

I hopped off the boat for a second to grab my laptop (Florida sun), and walked into the galley. He remained standing as I sat down opening up my laptop. I could tell he was mentally counting down until some sort of explosion. 

Before I let him speak I opened with, "just so we’re clear, my personal time is no longer on the table. Now, in terms of this brochure, I need your email address to send you the copy, and connect you with the designer. I can see the design in my head, but need to make sure it’s done right. I wish you nothing but the best, and will not speak of this to anyone on the dock, or our mutual family friends - but so we are clear we are done."

He remained silent. 

I couldn’t tell if he was shocked or still trying to remain aloof.  

Giving zero fucks in figuring that part out, I stood up and opened the now unlocked door. 

He quickly followed. 

As I exited the boat I peripherally noticed that his friends were watching (obviously seeing/ knowing that she was there the whole time). Instead of causing a "scene" I abruptly turned around and shook his hand. 

“It was a pleasure doing business with you Captain.” 

“Thank you, Jen” was all that he said.

I then Nsync-ed myself off the dock keeping my composure past the gate, into my car, and made it all the way to the security guard at the front (that I had also befriended)

“Will I see you tomorrow?” he asked as I lost it. 


I then proceeded to cry like a sea lion barking ...

...  the entire way home.

Barely able to speak, I called my close girlfriend telling her what happened (still in shock hearing the words come out of my mouth).

"Say no more, she said. We should grab drinks at sunset. Would you like that?"

I would, I said still sniffling. 

An hour and a half and one full mental state later, I arrived at the island version of “Cheers."

Continuing the trend of being in shock, I surprised myself at the fact that not only did I keep my composure throughout the entire evening - I also genuinely enjoyed myself. 

"What’s done is done, I said to my girlfriend. Not only did this guy teach me that I was capable of loving again, but I ACTUALLY SAID WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IN REAL TIME!!! THAT'S A FIRST!!" (The second time was last year in an elevator with one of my favorite pop stars.) 

<tangent> When I was younger I would play out conversations I had earlier in the day strategizing what I could have said and what I actually wanted to say. Of course these conversations frequently occurred at 2am, but that's neither here nor there. </tangent> 

My girlfriend was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't sulking since she knew how hard I took my last break up. No matter what, I knew she would be there, but it was nice in that moment to not have someone feeling sorry for me. Even through the "heartbreak" I could recognize that I had learned a lesson, and it was time to move on. 

The bartender then turned (obviously overhearing part of our conversation) and said, “Jen, island rule, don’t date commercial fishermen.” 

"Noted," I said with a smile.

I was proud of the fact that I wasn't willing to take his shit ... ::whispers:: nor was I willing to give him mine. 



#Confession: I had sex with a married man (and btw, I don't regret it) - Part 2 

No intro needed. Click here to read PT 1

Maestro ... 

Our intermittent messages continued. I love to learn and have my hands in a lot of projects, so I used work and my schedule as a reasoning for lack of communication. I was afraid to tell him that I was questioning him, myself, and the value I place in the sanctity of marriage. 


One aspect of my personality that people often get wrong is that I seem like I "jump" into things. I don't jump into anything, I'm calculated crazy. I just so happen to have a super fast processor, so it never takes me long to make a decision, and I stand by which ever way the wind blows. I've never believed in regrets, only learning experiences. 

I joke that I live in my own little world, but now I was truly beginning to feel like an alien. I've taken great pride in my morals, not because of how they are reflected on other people, but based upon my own reflection in the mirror that I see every morning. What would that next morning feel like? Next week? Would I look the same? 

Having been IN THOSE SHOES with being cheated on, it affected my self-esteem, my body physically. Sure on the other hand it launched this website, but it doesn't mean it was a life experience I would ever wish upon my worst enemy. (I did a year and a half ago meet up with said guy again. That was ... well, what it was.)

When a girlfriend of mine has been cheated on, I've warned them to keep me away from the guy. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've cussed a guy out (sometimes ... come to think of it most of the time publicly). Loyalty is something I carry deep in my heart, and here I was branding myself to be a hypocrite. 

<tangent> Even growing up, my parents met in grade school and have been together their ENTIRE lives. I am the product of a loving marriage (albeit one that takes work, but apparently all marriages do). I come from a super old school Irish-Catholic Connecticut family!! Outside of murdering someone, adultery is right up there on the big guy upstairs' list of things one shalt not do!!! </tangent> 

Not recognizing who or what I was becoming, I talked to a select few about my dick dilemma, and each one carried their own colorful commentary. 

"You always surprise me Jen with what you're up to, but never did I suspect you would want to put yourself in a situation where you're the sexual equivalent of 'Make a Wish.' Out of all of the people to be with, why this guy?" 

"I don't know. I keep asking myself the same question."  

The messages continued ... 


I did my best to keep it "friendly." The last thing I wanted to do was lead this guy on. I knew I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and that left me in this weird sexual limbo of wanting to be fair to both him and myself. 

While most of his messages (during this time) involved various fantasies he was curious to explore, I deliberately kept my shares work related. (Somewhere along the way I developed that skill where people think you're sharing something about yourself, but you're really not. The worst thing you can ever say to someone is "I can't tell you this ..." or "don't push this button!") 

I then texted that I closed a deal - and no, it wasn't the same deal he was looking to close ... 

Two MORE weeks passed, and I still hadn't arrived at my decision. I had already decided that I was attracted to him both mentally and physically, but I wasn't sure if that was enough. 

One thing that was winning him HUGE brownie points was his honesty and openness to discuss what he's explored and wanted to explore sexually ... 

Paging Dr. Freud ...


A few years back, I made a rule with partners in terms of boundaries; anything goes as long as it doesn't involve kids, the elderly, disabled, or animals. Anything else? Full throttle. We all have fetishes. Hello! porn has categories for a reason! What I've learned about intimacy is that it begins the moment you're willing to share those fetishes/fantasies with another person. Naturally, once you start sharing (if your partner is not a cold hearted asshole) you pretty quickly realize how sexuality is like an onion. It's layered, sometimes can make you cry, and can be chopped into little pieces and caramelized to deliciousness. 

Wait are we still talking about sex? Or am I now thinking about cooking ... tangent, Friel tangent. Fetishes, yes! 

Fingers crossed that one day I find a guy that has a thing for Mario. I REALLY want to wear this costume again ...


My 30th birthday party was so. much. fun.

Out of all of the adventures from Talk Nerdy V.1.0 there was one piece of advice I specifically go back to. I received it from a Vegas taxi cab driver named "Lucky." (I wound up doing a ride along with him between 4-6 am during CES. I got kicked out of a casino for sleeping, and he said it wasn't safe for me to walk around alone.) I asked him how he felt safe doing his line of work (which was equally funny considering Lucky himself spent over a decade in prison for an assault charge - people really open up to me quickly)

He turned and said, "you know the people I fear the most?" 

"Who," I asked. 

"You, the people I pick up at the massage parlors at 4am and drop off at the convention center at 6am. Murderers, rapists, crack heads - you know where they stand. You people though, you're the worst - your insanity is repressed, THAT is dangerous." 

I have a deep deep respect for people that are willing to not only admit what they want, but also go after it.
He was doing both.


Reaching the end of what I viewed as a fair period of time to still be milling over a decision, I asked one final person for advice. He is the founder of my company, and I'd say in the top three of people I highly respect on this planet. 

We had lit up a J in the back alley outside of the office, as we began shooting the shit. (We were friends before I started with this company. Technically, I was hired for another project then fired [but stayed friends] and then rehired again for his next venture.)

"I haven't made a decision about having sex with the married man." (I had told him one other time in passing about my new night night buddy.) 

"You know one of the things I learned in prison (he has an utterly fascinating story - read this article) is that people don't regret what they do. Locked up, everyone talked about all of the things they regretted not doing - they didn't necessarily hold any regret for what got them in there in the first place." 

I sucked the J, and as I blew out the smoke I knew what was coming ... 


The planning the next day was intense. He had to put his phone in airplane mode, to be truly "off the grid." My directions had to be CRYSTAL clear. 


Fortunately, they were and 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door. 

I took a moment before answering. For a split second I thought about all of those corny memes people post in social media ... 


I hadn't just passed comfort zone, I was past Guam, Mars, and currently circling Uranus. 

I was scared. Not of him, but of who I was going to be after this. 

Come in (pun intended), I said, it's open. 


He entered, quietly placing his bag on the floor (his cover was that he was going to the gym). For my part, I purposefully didn't wear perfume (incase it transferred over)

I sat on the ottoman to my big oversized love-seat. I thought the couch was a bit too inviting. The chair felt safe. The ottoman, even safer. 

He sat down wondering if I was going to make a move. Frozen like a deer in headlights, I just sat there. Stone cold emotionless face (not intentional, it's just what happens when I get like that)


I'm PAINFULLY awkward with any type of flirting. 

He asked if I was okay, and I think I replied with a yep, or uh huh - I can't say I remember anything other than being frozen. 

He then leaned into kiss me. Soft and gentle at first like a grade school peck.


He quickly graduated to an 8th grade make out (including tongue). Followed by a hand behind my head as my body moved backwards onto the chair. 

Buster then made some sort of noise which spooked him. "Let's go in your bedroom," he said. 

"Uh okay, yep," I think I said. 

We then undressed. Not in like a sexy way where one partner pulls the clothes off the other - we undressed like you would if you were going to the doctor. 

He neatly placed his clothes in a pile, as I sat on the bed and discussed what I was into (finally)

Oh yeah, remember before when I said I couldn't even talk dirty in bed? Those days are long gone. I am an absolute freak and fluent in fucking. 

I knew what I wanted, and I was very willing to go over the play by play. 


He listened and respected while fulfilling one of his own desires ... 

Personally, I've never been a huge fan of oral. I love the concept - a lot, and maybe it was the guys I had been with, but I find myself 90% of the time wondering how long they're going to be down there, and then I'll catch myself reviewing my laundry list of things I still need to do during the day. It's not at all an insult to them, it's just a matter of fact observation of how far I live in my head, even while getting head. 

He laid me down on my bed, as he stood up then bending over to an uh, appropriate level as he began the introduction to my ... 


and after a certain amount of time (I was enjoying myself too much to even contemplate time), I received an introduction of my own ... 


Then a second introduction was made, followed closely by a third. 

Scared there was another one in there, I just laid back trying to breathe. 

"That was amazing," I said. 

Thank you, he said beaming with pride. 

Not fulfilling his Princess Pillow Fetish, I returned the favor, and we each let out our inner Rick James. 


He then quietly unfolded his neatly placed clothes and got dressed. Still unable to talk, I laid there indicating he could show himself out. 


I wasn't intentionally being rude, I was just also trying to process what I had just experienced and needed a moment by myself. 

Sometime when I was able to move, I checked my email and saw that he had messaged. I replied ... 


Continuing the night night trend, he also messaged on KIK ... 


I had to stop focusing on getting ahead to get out of my head, and into receiving head. 

I knew I could learn from this guy, but I didn't realize I'd end up learning so much more about myself. I had sex without expectation. There were no labels attached to either of us, and no "hey maybe we can do this again." I was perfectly content in that moment, and present enough to gift myself with the ultimate pleasure (multiple times)

In my 20s, when I had one night stands, I never knew they were one night stands. I didn't lead with sex, but I would have sex thinking it would lead to something.


Yeah, doesn't happen. 

Now, I'm so far on the other end of the spectrum, and I'm not sure that's the best place to be either. 

The next week, I went to San Francisco for an insurance conference, and wound up saying the second sentence I DEFINITELY never thought I would say ... 

"I met someone ... at an insurance conference." 


He's an actuary, and without a doubt one of the most attractive men I had ever seen.

He's a combo of Collin Farrell and Gerard Butler.  




My company had a sponsorship at the conference, and as I was demoing our drone capabilities he came up and just stood there. He didn't ask a single question, he didn't stare awkwardly, he just waited. 

It took about 20 minutes for the crowd to die down, yet there he was ... still waiting! 

Still in business mode, I asked him what he did. 

He explained that he's an actuary (I had no idea what that meant at the time), and he lives in Los Angeles. 

Woah, I said, me too. 

He then sat down, and we chatted for over an hour before he had to catch his flight. I found out that he's into extreme sports and is a "wild man" of sorts. 

Dude, not only was this guy absolutely smoking, but he was smart, AND he's not the typical GQ LA "don't get me dirty" kinda guy? Who the fuck are you and when are we making babies?? 


When we both got back to LA he took me out on our first date (at a book store). ::awwww:: 

I quickly forgot all about my night night buddy, even though the emails kept coming in. One right after the other, I didn't respond. 

Then, I realized I was being an asshole and I needed to "adult" and explain what was going on. 



And that was the end of that! 

Oh, and the super hot insurance guy? We dated for a month, and equally had OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD. experiences because he was hung like a ... 


At the end of the day, our travel schedules couldn't make it work (I was traveling about every other week at that time), and so was he. Great guy, not my guy.

When all was said and (literally) done, I didn't go back to my night night buddy. There was nothing to go back to! I intuitively knew I was going to learn something from him (although never in a million years expected that), and I did. I allowed myself to have an awakening of sorts, and when I look in the mirror I don't see an "adulterer" or a scarlet letter. 

I just see Jen. A little bit older, maybe a little bit wiser (debatable), but definitely one hell of a fucking freak, and I'm okay with that. 

For now ... 

until the next adventure ... 



#Confession: I had sex with a married man (and btw, I don't regret it) 

This was one of my favorite songs growing up. I only knew the 10,000 Maniacs version (that I played on my cassette player that didn't even have a rewind so when I wanted to hear the song again I had to fast forward on the other side). Patti Smith crushes it, and loved hearing the story behind the song on the Defiant Ones on HBO. 

Maestro ... 

Picture it. Tinder. July 31, 2016. Scene: Friel is seen zipped inside inside her onesie lounging on an oversized sofa chair snuggled next to her dog, Buster Brown. She sips her wine as she begins swiping ...

Last summer while swiping on Tinder, I came across a profile featuring a man in a suit with with his face deliberately hidden. Wondering what he had to hide, I clicked on his profile ... 


Actual screenshot 

I'm not sure what kept my interest in that exact moment - the radical honesty? the marketing of intelligence? I'm not the kind of person that would ever want a guy because he was "someone else's," in fact quite the opposite ... I'm more likely to ask for a threesome.

Surprising myself, I swiped right.

It was an instant match. Oh shit, I thought. 



<tangent> Talk Nerdy v.1.0 was all about welcoming situations that I wanted to explore while concurrently learning about myself. I'm solid on who I am at age 32, and I don't need to do that anymore. With each stroke (pun intended) I question if I am even going to publish this ... </tangent> 

Within seconds he messaged saying he couldn't stay on Tinder long (for obvious reasons).

Not needing long (that's what he said), my questions were Vin Diesel style fast and furious ...

Gray text (him): Hi 

Blue text (me): Hi. (the period was deliberate) 

Gray text: Have you read my profile? 

Blue text: Yes. Why cheat? Why even get married? It's so cowardly. 

Gray text: There's more to it than that. 

Blue text: OH I'M SURE (capitalization was also deliberate) 

He asked me to email him. (For obvious reasons he didn't want to keep talking through Tinder.) I waited a full 24 hours before sending this ... 

I wasn't sure what to say next. I wasn't sure I cared since I was more focused on getting ahead than receiving it ...


("more pictures" references more than what he had posted on Tinder, which again, omitted his face) 

The "horny" part was a test, I wanted to see what he would lead with.

Would he flat out show me his little Richard? Does he take a photo of his face? I was curious to find out. 

He sends me a photo of his chest which was congruent with the athleticism he advertised. 


The pose was neutral and confident. He didn't do one of these elbows out, hands clasped behind the head "come hither" style. Independent of the circumstances he was looking to place himself in (quite literally), I felt like I could learn from this guy. What? I wasn't sure, but he didn't operate in the "predictably index" I've known previously of "cheaters." 

<tangent> After over 7,500 blog posts, and an equal amount of zip codes I’ve taken “residence” in - people operate on a spectrum in my brain based upon the behavior I learned from people I've previously met. If it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, I got a duck, and I can’t be mad at a duck for not being a giraffe. I'm very rarely surprised in life in terms of people. This guy was genuine, this guy knew what he wanted, that equated to a power I was attracted to know more about. </tangent> 

Attraction aside, sex wasn't even entering into my brain at this point. The predictably index acts as a "chastity belt" of sorts. It takes me a really really really long time to finally have sex with someone based upon the fact that I've more likely than not had sex with this type of personality before! In four years I can count on less than two hands how many people I've slept with. NOT because I'm proud of that fact, quite the opposite actually. I find myself more often than not in a state of frustration and take said frustration out by using ... 


Porn is only .5% LESS frustrating than going to bed with a guy only wanting to dip out two seconds after he was done dipping in.

(I do however enjoy feeling another body on top of my body, like a sexual Thunder Shirt of sorts. It calms and soothes, but then I'm all YUP! Good - get off of me).

I confidently used self control as a sexual shield. I genuinely didn't give a fuck about getting fucked. I'm not surprised by personality types. I've seen it been there. Done that. And they're making a TV show. 

<tangent> Can we talk for a sec about how god awful porn is? The story lines, I mean, I want to write a porno just to give quality storytelling and proper narrative. OH, and then you watch the 10 second thumbnail and think YES! THIS IS GREAT ... 

... only to discover the tongue that you thought you were going to experience is not in fact native ... 

Maria, please tell me you made him work for it and didn't just give up your ... 


Anywho, back to my own hooha ... he then sent me his KIK, and the convo continued over the course of a few days ... 



 I don't like meeting people anymore. I've met a lot of them. I will 100% til the day I fucking die meet a reader of this site and say THANK YOU, but other than that - no. I'm good. I like my home, my dog, my wine, onesie, and Netflix.

The convo then went to what we were each studying. I had just discovered Revisionist History from Malcolm Gladwell, so I told him, and then he shared this ... 

Then came time for the photo exchange.

He referenced grooming preferences before sending his first photo. 

BTW, we are talking about his face and not his ...  


You can't tell in the screenshot, but I did SLIGHTLY unzip the onesie ... 

Over the next couple of weeks, we became each other's night night buddies. We'd talk about our days (our experiences in them, never the parties involved), and eventually once respect was earned from an intellectual perspective - things got sexualish


I wasn't about to let him know that I was following his command. I really was typing that before I read what he had written.

I didn't see his last message, my fingers quickly closed out KIK and opened up the google ... 

 Per Kinkly (appropriately named)

There's a typo in this. It should read "does not make an effort to reciprocate."

I had never heard that term before August, but apparently let it seep into my subconscious when a boy I found attractive texted around my birthday (I won't date him because he's vegan, and I'm a massive. massive. carnivore. I did go on a #BJDiet afterall ... ) ... 

We never ended up meeting that day because I wound up going to a last minute work holiday party. I never viewed what I do as a "sacrifice" because I enjoy it so much, but in writing this post I am realizing how much sex I am missing out on. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, FRIEL?!?!!??!

Anywho, back to the sex offered by something other than my own hand ... 

Our messages continued for two straight weeks before I finally agreed to meet up. He had already checked off the intelligent box, checked off the kinky box, would I actually let check off my own box? I wasn't sure, but invested enough in my night night buddy to find out. 

We agreed to meet during the day at a bar that is shockingly popular during the weekday. 

I can't remember who sat down first, I just remember we arrived around the same time (such nerds for being on time). For as open as I know I am sexually, when you share aspects about yourself before meeting someone IRL, there is like a weird disconnect. That's one of the reasons why I won't say more than two or three words to a guy on Tinder before/ if I know I want to meet him.

I know what I want, I want what I want, and I don't need to talk about it.

I've found that when I talk to someone too much online before meeting them I place a projection on who I think they are vs who I can figure out they are. We are shockingly transparent, and the older I get the easier it all is to see. 

We both ordered a bottle of cold beer (I ordered bud light, I can't remember what he ordered), and as he started talking - I tuned out the words that were coming out of his mouth. I can imagine he was narrating the steps it took for him to be able to arrive at this random bar that I picked on a weekday, but I didn't care. I just wanted/ needed to know what his motives were and if he was genuine. Everything I could tell about this guy was that he was honest, and yet here he was about to commit (from my perspective) the most dishonest act a person can do.

Cheating in general is no bueno in my eyes, cheating on your wife? Even worse. 

I started talking somewhere where it was logistically acceptable. I brought up the one thing we had yet to talk about, his wife. 

"Why cheat?" I asked point blank. 

"It's not what you think," he said quiet while leaning closer.

I paused, not saying anything verbally or physically. 

"We've tried counselling, she is going through something. I don't know what, but I'm also a man and have needs." 

"How do you know she's not cheating?" I asked honest and not judgy. 

"It's more physical on her end, I just know she's not." 

I still wasn't entirely sure, but I quickly asked another question ... "why not just get a divorce?" 

"Because of our family. She's an amazing mother, and great wife except for this one thing." 

My eyes said they understood, but it was hard to understand not having walked in those shoes. From my perspective, I wouldn't ever want to teach my children that a sexless marriage is okay. Sex is a HUGE part of intimacy, it's in fact one of the greatest parts. Here is this ONE THING that you share with this ONE OTHER human being. If that's not the definition of closeness, I don't know what is. Again, not being in that position I knew I couldn't relate, I could only listen. 

He continued to tell me about his experience in marriage, and all I could do was respect the guy. Here he was in this brief moment being "seen" not as a father or as a husband (particularly one that can be viewed as "failing" to a certain degree), he was just a guy that I thought was smart and easy to talk to. The intelligence factor is what I need to find someone attractive, so the fact that he had that AND he was (by any definition) commercially attractive AND I could tell he wasn't bullshitting me meant that I still wanted to know more. I still wasn't sold on sex, but I was more certain than ever that he more likely than not could change my mind. 

After we departed, he emailed ... 


Alrite, much like dudes after sex, that's all you get for now. Did I mention though, the next post will be written to this song ... 

It was so FANTASTICALLY dirty, and now that I've come this far, it would be a shame to stop ... 


Click here to read part 2


#NerdsUnite: Getting attention is one thing, being called to attention is another

I wrote most of this post inside Rhys Millen's sweltering hot trailer located somewhere so off the grid we had to drop pins telling people where we were. Oh and I can also cross the life experience of "flipping a car" off my list. Oh and we caught the eye of the po po somewhere near the rim of the world (this is a thing) who then wondered why the word PENIS was written on my forehead. While I can’t say all of this attention was desired, it did at least inspire this post. 

Maestro … 

A few weeks back, I went as my brother’s date to his military banquet dinner. He’s now a full blown second lieutenant in the army (he just graduated from BOLC - for those who know what that means), and as his annoying little sister, I carry great pride in being his plus one. (And by great pride, I mean we're both still single in our 30s, so yeah.) My brother is my dude, we’ve been thick as thieves our whole lives and as I've gotten older, I realize how special that is. 

 <tangent> I'm over telling this story, but I need to establish the background … but growing up, my brother was heavily favored in our family. Not by my parents, but pretty much everyone else. I still remember sitting on his bed at age 6? and touching his heart wondering what he had in there and I didn’t. My parents themselves had less than harmonious relationships with their siblings, so they made it a priority for us to at least “try” to get along. Like any other siblings we relentlessly tortured each other, but if anyone else tried to mess with either of us? Let's just say, they did not have the best day. 

You can read the story here, but when my brother was getting picked on in the 3rd grade (I was in 1st), I WWF style “off the top rope” threw myself into his bully and broke up the fight. (Hashtag: Learned behavior from Brett Hart, Yokozono, and Razor Ramon.) Even at that age, I never thought about it or batted an eye - I took care of the situation, and we take care of each other ... fiercely ... and always. </tangent> 

Assisting in el brother-ino's success (in whatever means necessary), I made sure to look the part, making my dress a top priority.

There is no better marketing than a woman in a beautiful dress (well, maybe a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress - but even if you only have 50% of that, you’re still good). 

 Here’s what I wore to his first military formal … 


I was a big. big. hit and baby had some serious back ... 

Sure he got shit from his colleagues as to how attractive his sister was, but he also made some fantastic connections and everyone anchored said success back to one thing - “that beautiful dress.”

Left to my own devices and operations, I’m a tom boy, but do I like looking nice for special occasions? Fuck yes! (Besides, I also need to refresh my dating profile pics every once in a while, so double yay!) 

Did I mention that the dresses I wear are rented so not only do I spare myself the garment gluttony, but also the cleaning bill. 

What's that you say ...??? 

When you’re wearing a dress that people admire, they come up to tell you. Of course, a microsecond after the compliment has been processed, I make sure to introduce myself while quickly asking if they had a chance to meet my brother as well. 

<tangent> This is where men get it wrong with the concept of a “trophy wife/ girlfriend.” You have to find a woman that is confident enough in her own skin to know that she’s working a system, yet remembers to take care of her partner at the end of the day. Albeit that can mean different things to different people, but anytime a guy offers for me to be his “trophy” I laugh saying, I only like boys that shine mine. I’m a partner, not a puppet. </tangent> 

I don’t mind attention, I just don’t need outside validation anymore. I genuinely prefer being the one behind the scenes, and working systems watching the people I’m supporting succeed all while going “excellent” in the key of Mr. Burns maneuvering work and life like a game of chess.


Shortly after my arrival in yet another "middle of nowhere" scenario, the Friels united and as I checked into my hotel room on the base my brother ran down the evening's itinerary.

"This won't surprise you," he said continuing, "but you're sitting at the head table with the colonel (an invited guest of my brother's)."
"HA! I said laughing."
"I've also been asked to MC the event, that means you're going to mostly be on your own." 
Not a problem, I said with a smile happy to be there to support him.

<tangent> My brother and I often find ourselves in "adulting" roles. Anytime an actual adult needs to leave the room, or put someone in some sort of leadership role, there is a 99.999% chance we will be asked. So him being asked to MC was the equivalent of being told what day it was. </tangent> 

Ready to rock and or roll at the early bird hour of 4:30, I met my brother in the lobby as we climbed into the colonel's truck heading over to another part of base where the event was held. (He and his wife drove into Missouri from DC.) En route in, and still a little early, we toured the building where they had various uniforms, police cars, and general army memorabilia. 

The colonel and my brother mostly spoke in acronyms that I didn't understand. Bee tee dubs, talk about the boot being on the other foot - I've spent my whole life talking in tech acronyms watching my brother's eyes glaze over. It was my turn to be confused, but like any true gentlemen, they were very open to answering any and or all questions I had. 

The event commenced promply at 5, and the group paused before entering the room. My brother walked into the hall first and shouted ATTENTION!

Eyes as wide as saucers, I stared over at the colonel's wife not knowing what to do next. 

The colonel was the highest ranking officer in the room, and when they enter you show some damn respect. I might still be learning the traditions within military culture, but I have to admit, I admire what I've seen so far. For as "new school" as I may be, I was also raised with etiquette in a super old school Connecticut family. (If I cut my food and ate with my fork still upside down my grandmother would scowl saying I was "european." Which btw, I learned on a date last year was a WW1 method of determining who was a friend and who was a foe.) 

Anywho, emerging from behind the scenes inside a room called to attention, my brother organized his thoughts and presentation as I was introduced to his colleagues and their sig-o's. Seeing this as an opportunity to muster up some dirt (for the upcoming holiday season), I asked for some embarrassing stories. 

Not short on supply, they mentioned a few before one of his colleagues stopped saying, "I gotta say one thing though, Friel worked really hard." 
"Oh yeah?"
"His first week here, he didn't pass a shooting test required for the course. Instead of just giving up, he spent every weekend there after at the gun range."
"That's Michael," I said smiling knowing first hand how easy certain things come to him, but also how hard he works if he truly wants something. (My brother is actually so smart that he frequently finds himself bored.)  

After months of hard work, he had to take the shooting test again, and not only did he pass but he qualified for a medal. 


After dinner, we went back to the colonel's hotel room for a night cap and a catch up as gentlemen, not officers. "You should come to the dinner in September, it's for a three star general." 
I laughed saying, "I'm in as long as I'm not traveling to yet another 'middle of nowhere' type place." (In the last year and some change for my brother I've been to Oklahoma, Georgia, and Missouri. Super happy to support him, but dear god I'd like a break from bumfuck.) 

His wife then chimed in saying she was happy to make introductions for my brother. He thanked her, as I piped up saying, "I'm happy to make introductions specifically to any of the single soldiers. I'd truly like to thank them for their HARD work and tireless service." 


Everyone laughed as my brother and I departed for the next part of our adventure. 

Compartmentalizing my own exhaustion from 12 hours of travel, we walked back to our hotel as I asked my brother what was next.

At dinner we had been invited to meet his team at a place called "Chicken Bones," but again being cut from the same cloth (just styled differently) I knew that everyone else going somewhere would have little to no influence on what my brother actually wanted to do.

"Let me get changed, and we can head out to the bar with everyone."
Done, I said.
I ran back to the room freshening up my own makeup, and a few moments later I heard a knock.
I opened the door still in my dress. 


The photography doesn't do this dress justice. Another lesson learned! :)

You're going to go to the bar in THAT dress? 
Without skipping a beat, I said, "this isn't a dress, this is a sensation!" (Technically speaking I stole that line from the movie Sweet November, but damn did it work well in that moment.)
"Fair," he said still in stiches.
Again I was in a situation where I could use this dress to my advantage. We're in the middle of nowhere, and I'm going to walk into a bar in a damn ball gown. That's attention level 100, and the social equivalent of leaving the barn door wide open. Whoever he wanted to talk to, he was going to talk to. As his little sister I was going to play any card I had to make sure that happened. 

In the cab on the way over I objectively laughed at our circumstances ... 


As we walked into Chicken Bones located next to the fudge factory in Uranus, Missouri ::snicker snicker:: we were stopped at the door by the hostess. "Wow, she said, you are by far the hottest woman in here." 

Thank you, I said with a smile in the direction of my brother. Personally I registered it as someone shooting a fish in a barrel and displaying it on the wall, but again, not seeking the outside validation meant that I genuinely didn't care. 

My brother went to grab us drinks, as I sat down with his friends (who were playing pool). I was invited to play, but in that moment preferred to watch. My schedule has been the busiest it's ever been, physically it doesn't bother me, but mentally it does. I need a fucking vacation. 

Moments into my stare off into space (I found a hockey game on), I noticed a group of douchey looking dudes giving the "come here" gesture. I laughed to myself continuing to ignore them focused directly on the TV above their heads. Are they out of their damn minds? If you want to talk to a woman, you politely approach. The "come here" might have worked in my 20s, but in my 30s that's a boat load of hell to the fuck no. I'm a classy broad, and you better show some respect. 


Frustrated at the lack of attention, they began to borderline on desperation conducting what one would call a "dance off" of sorts ...
only they were clearly absent the day dance lessons were taught ...
and their bodies flailed around mimicking one part seizure, one part "The Sprain" ... 

Attention was not won. In fact, there was not even a consideration of it being placed on the table.

Focusing on the only thing that mattered, my brother returned Chicken Bone Bar souvenir cup in hand (WINNING!). He then asked how I was "actually" doing. I laughed telling him the story of what I experienced while he was away, but then also said, "I've lived like Bethenny Frankel Season 1 and Season 2 of Real Housewives for a long time now. Today, tomorrow, and every day forward, I'm going to be like Bethenny Frankel Skinny Girl Boss Bitch." 


"I know, he said. I'm really proud of you. You've worked so hard to get to where you are now." 

"Thank you," I said, "but also for the first time in my life I can enjoy it." 

When I was hustling Talk Nerdy back in the day, I was constantly in this hyper sales mode. Now, I don't have to do that anymore. With this new stage comes entirely new challenges and new standards, but I can also feel like I can breathe for the first time in a really fucking long time.

6 year old Jen said she was going to work in the entertainment industry (with tech as my fallback since it came so naturally to me). 32 year old Jen not only works in entertainment, but also in tech (which is becoming one in the same). I constantly placed myself in the right place at the right time without ever knowing it. I didn't sleep my way "to the top," I didn't have to. I worked hard and threw down just as hard (if not harder) than the guys. I earned a lot of respect along the way, but most importantly from within myself. 

Somewhere past our bedtimes, we left the bar and the next morning decided to pick a handful of spots in Uranus ::snicker snicker:: before heading back to St. Louis for my evening flight. While in more of a "typical Jen ensemble," (translation: people are a liability and please for the love of god don't talk to me) we stopped off at a winery en route to sample local flavor. 

<tangent> I'm not going to change. After all these years and adventures, I'm pretty solid on the person that I am.

Exhibit A: Jen age 8, launched first computer "company" after numerous failed attempts at lemonade production/ driveway sales ... 


Exhibit B: Jen age 32 hanging with her big brother in Missouri ... 


Samesies. </tangent> 

As we walked up to the bar inside the winery, we were greeted by the bartender asking if I had dyed my hair. 

What? I said genuinely confused. 

"Did-you-dye-your-hair?" she said slower and with the same amount of confidence.  

"Yes actually, but I've never been here before so you wouldn't know that."

My brother looked equally confused as she continued, "oh it's okay, I just stalk you is all." 

Assessing the situation I could tell she was joking and being super friendly, but I brushed it off saying "oh I have plenty of those" (the inside joke not lost on my brother)

Six sips later, we grabbed the bottle we enjoyed and as we went to pay, we grabbed the attention (yet again) of our new friendly friend. 

"I can take you over here," she said. 

I turned and smiled as we stepped out of the line. 

As she rang up the bottle the computer erroneously double charged. My brother piped up saying "oh you mean we get the family discount! See, my uncle owns a liquor store and his way of taking care of the family is being charged twice." 

I laughed along and for the first time I realized how happy I am that my brother didn't have to experience a perceived "void" that I had for so long (in terms of family). He doesn't know what it's like to feel like such an outsider in your own family, friends, and your own skin.

Finally, I smiled for a reason other than attention. 

On our way out, our new friend invited us both to a screening of Rogue One later in the evening. Outside of earshot I commented that "she wanted me, but she'll take you." We laughed, and as he dropped me off at the airport hours later I told him yet again how proud I was of all that he's accomplished. 

He replied with, "same." 

Then, this past weekend (clearly ignoring my own declaration of avoidance of bumfuckery), I went up to Lake Arrowhead and then to somewhere called Soggy Dry Lake for a new off road racing automotive project.

See, I'm a workaholic, so anytime my friends say that they have an idea, I'll think about it and process to see if there's a way I can help. 99/100 times it never ends up going anywhere, but that once in a blue moon has kept my brain creatively satisfied for over a decade. 

On the way to set in a pimped out Ford Raptor (we were shooting content for a soon to be launched new website), we caught the eye of the po po and his Kanye West style lights ... 

As we pulled over, the driver asked for assistance in finding his insurance card on his phone while he spoke to the officer. Being a pro racer means that he has more than one insurance policy, and as I pulled up the (at least 20?) cars he had insured, I handed the phone to the officer confused saying, "I have no idea which car we are currently in." 

He looked down at the policy on the screen, and then mirrored back the confusion to what was on the top of my head. "Does your forehead say the word PENIS?" 

Oh, I said laughing, the company is Chalkin Social, and these guys are like my brothers so we mess with each other as often as possible. 

Hearing an officer outside of the "rim of the world" ask me why I had the word "PENIS" written on my forehead made every penny spent on the hat worth it. 

An hour and some change later, we arrived on set. We were working that day with Rhys Millen, and Estevan Oriol. Being such a newbie to the racing scene, I was excited to have a first hand experience (so I can understand more of the narrative they were interested in telling)

Estevan had yet to arrive to set, but one of his guys was there, in addition to Rhys and his team, and two drone operators I had hired to take aerial shots. 

I've been friends with the main driver for years (I don't even consider him a friend, he's family), and after a quick race with Rhys, he asked if I wanted to go for a spin. 

Abso-fucking-lutely, I said climbing into the passenger side of the Polaris RAZR. After we were both secured, we got a quick pep talk before taking off ... 


A post shared by Jen Friel (@talknerdytomelover) on Jul 3, 2017 at 11:44am PDT

Less than 10 minutes after this video was shot, we flipped (my side was down on the ground).

See, earlier in the morning, I felt what it was like to "feel like you're about to flip" in the Ford Raptor. It's all a process in how you handle the vehicles. Off road racing is very different, and while my brain wanted to freak out thinking "danger danger!!," the reality of the situation was that I was fine.

Except of course, when we technically weren't and hit the ground. Not one to panic, I held onto the "oh shit bar" (which is directly in front of the passenger side) as the driver actually said ... 


My shoulder hit the ground, followed by my head (which was safely secured inside a helmet), and in that moment I quickly realized the degree of athleticism required for this sport. If I had just kept my core tighter, I wouldn't have hit my shoulder (and then subsequently experienced whiplash in my neck). Super interesting, I thought still sideways. 

Realizing we might need medical attention, the crew rolled upon the also rolled vehicle. 

Sideways I shouted, "DID WE GET THE SHOT?!?!? PLEASE TELL ME YOU'RE ROLLING!!!" (the pun is always intended)

The guys were all super impressed as they began to film once again.

"Capture everything - I don't care! JUST DON'T STOP ROLLING!" I continued to shout. 

Falling doesn't scare me. If anything it gave me slightly more confidence in having a first hand experience in how my body (and brain) responded to a crash. While I would have been more pumped spending the day behind the camera (rather than in front of it), after everything was said and done we not only produced great content, but I immediately won the respect of the whole racing team. 


Besides, I can't let my big brother win. He may have received a medal, but I got a motherfucking badge of honor ... 


(This photo was taken 4 days after the fall. I can show you more, but then I'd have to charge you.
JK, I'm not for sale. Life experience has taught me not to devalue myself in that way.)