By her early thirties, Rachel Machacek realized she was not terribly adroit at dating. At all. So she concocted an experiment to launch her love life into warp speed. The project: To experiment with all the dating resources out there. Simple enough. Rachel dated men she met online, through singles events and friends, paid matchmakers to set her up, used advice from dating self-help books, worked with a dating coach and even traveled outside of her home in Washington, DC, to date in other cities just to see what would happen. The Science of Single: One Woman’s Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry and Finding Love is her account of exactly what did.
Rachel Machacek lives in Washington, DC with her cat Bart. Her work has appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines where she writes about pretty much anything including travel, food, beauty, and pirates. She muses and answers questions about dating (for all who dare to ask) on her blog.
Stick around after Rachel’s interview to win a copy of The Science of Single!
Rachel Machacek Takes the Deb Interview!
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Vegan rice pudding. I recently found out I’m allergic to milk -among many other things that makes going to the supermarket depressing to the point of tears. To console myself for what I can’t have, I’m eating great quantities of the things I can. I just ate an entire batch of vegan rice pudding. I’ve made three batches since last week. And I haven’t shared any of it with anyone. (I just got up to check how many servings a batch has in it. Six. Six servings that I ate in 30 minutes. Eighteen that I’ve eaten in seven days. I don’t count calories because I’m bad at math, but I’m sure it’s a lot.)
Which talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could play the harmonica. I can actually muster through the first stanza of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” but it’s slow and mangled and there’s a lot of spit involved. Like, my playing makes a toddler taking his first steps or a wobbly drunken sailor leaving a bar (those two—kinda the same don’t you think?) look Joffrey Ballet graceful. There’s something magical about making music by moving air through those little reed chambers and changing sound with the placement of lips, tongue and teeth. My songwriter friend wrote a ditty called “Katherine is Monica” that has a harmonica part specifically for someone who doesn’t know how to play. In fact the worse you are at playing the mouth harp, the better. I “played” harmonica on that song with him at open mic night once. Exhaled and inhaled to dog-whistle pitches and ran my mouth up and down the harp quickly and with little thought to artistry or composure. I was terrible. And so it was awesome. But it would be cool to play for real.
What time of day do you love best?
The blue of early morning. Right before dawn. I rarely see this blue as I’m never up this early. But sometimes the cat is pushing his food bowl around the tile floor, which I can hear because I live in a studio and I can hear everything he does all night long, and I wake up to pour kibble and rub my eyes and I’ll notice the light coming in through the window, which never has a shade over it and is always open no matter how cold it is outside. It’s this in-between time—night and day, sleep and wake, hunger and satiation (for the cat) that I love. I find brilliant ideas in this fleeting pocket before the expectation that daylight takes hold. Sometimes it’s a turn of phrase, sometimes it’s the first sentence of my next story, sometimes it’s the solution to a conflict (probably about a man that I’ve been dating) that has been confounding me. The best part about this time is knowing I get to go back to sleep after writing down my inspirations (never, ever fool yourself into thinking you will remember that life-changing, story-making idea just to avoid leaving the cradled warmth of your bed to rummage around for a pen and piece of paper).
Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.
I have an invisible hole in my lip. Seriously. I spill whenever I drink, and have had to resort to the equivalent of a sippy cup at work to protect my clothing even though all I ever wear is cotton because dry cleaning is evil. The cup is called the Eco First Sierra Tumbler. It’s plastic (the safe kind) and has the shape of a Big-Gulp cup with lid and straw and everything. It comes in pretty bright colors (mine is orange) and it works pretty well, meaning I rarely ever spill anymore. But every now and again, I’ll find dribbles down my chest or on my keyboard.
Do you have any phobias?
I am terrified of getting stuck in an elevator. My heart skips a beat if it simply takes to long for the doors to open. It’s a claustrophobic slash control thing. And don’t get me started about people packing the car like sardines. I tend to stick my elbows out a little more than usual if it looks like too many bodies will try to crowd in the car and I’ve been known to walk up 14 flights with a very large suitcase to avoid particularly rickety elevators.When I was writing my book, I was really worried about, well, everything (What if I can’t finish it? What if people get mad at me for what I say about them?) and I had a dream one night in which I was stuck in an elevator that started to plummet. But then this emergency brake appeared on the button console and I yanked on that baby hard. I stopped the elevator in my dream. Crisis averted. I was able to write the next day.
Thanks, Rachel, for coming by and taking the Deb interview! We promise not to steal any of your vegan rice pudding, or to squeeze into an elevator with ya!