“Blood Will Out”, by Lauren Stoker – Review

Blood Will Out (With the Proper Solvent) is dedicated to Terry Pratchett’s memory, which sets quite a high bar for author Lauren Stoker. I’ve read most, if not all, of Pratchett’s published works – many more than once. This book is a difficult read for the first quarter, dangling plot points and stranded characters. Once that deep into the story it gets a lot easier as things settle down.

The characters aren’t as well developed as I would like, and I didn’t grow attached to any of them. Also, the forces of “good” are massively over-powered which reduces some of the potential for the story arc. The last part of the book gets a bit preachy as well. People who read this for entertainment aren’t looking for an eco-sermon. It’s like going to the Salvation Army shelter for dinner.

The interior formatting is excellent, top-notch.  It is a distinct pleasure to turn each page (I bought the hardback). The cover doesn’t reach the same standard.

I rate the book a 3.5, based on the FCP book review standard. Priced under $20 on Amazon or at your local bookstore, it’s available only in paperback or hardcover, and is a fair entertainment value.

Image by ana carla from Pixabay

Online Dating

I’ve been struck by the similar nature of local profiles, almost as if the women had all attended the same seminar on how to build an online dating profile. In fairness, maybe the male profiles are similar as well, I can’t really tell because I don’t get to easily see those.

In Colorado, the archetype profile has a photo of the woman holding a just-caught fish. The surface message is that she enjoys outdoor activities which a prospective match might enjoy. However, digging deeper, isn’t she really saying she has no problem holding onto something slimy and gross with her bare hands? Now that is definitely a positive quality for all the prospective males regardless of their sporting preferences!


Another commonality is the fact that most mature (age 45+) female profiles are looking for a man with a graduate degree, regardless of their own educational level. It makes sense from a hypergamy perspective, but completely ignores the potential relationship problems of mismatched educational levels. It’s possible that a woman with a high school degree reads extensively and can carry an informed conversation on a wide range of topics (being an autodidact is a good proxy for higher education). However it is not probable. This type of mismatch works best when both are young, as building a family together can enhance shared experiences. Mature male daters aren’t looking for a mature someone to build a family with, they already have one if it was wanted. No, mature male daters want someone for companionship in all of its forms. The sex can be spectacular, but sooner or later talking is going to be on the menu. Women with high school degrees seem to instinctively understand it too, as their profiles tend to spend more time on their sexual attraction attributes. Women with Masters or PhD degrees spend much less profile space on their sexual attraction, instead highlighting accomplishments and intellectual pursuits. Sexual attributes are part of what’s on the table, but they don’t lead with it.


One of the shared attributes of many educated liberal dating profiles is the reference to the fact they read the New York Times. In context, it’s usually stated where they are emphasizing their intellectual prowess.

“I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn’t believe anything.” David St. Hubbins – Spinal Tap

If they are truly intellectuals, they read from a wide range of perspectives – too many to cite within a profile. Citing a specific publication is mere virtue signaling, “Look what a dedicated liberal (or conservative) I am, you’d better be too.” As a selection criterion, it’s a valid distinction but probably better expressed directly, “Not interested in Trumpers (or people who don’t support …)”

At the risk of being trite, I’ll cite one of my own sayings.

“I tend to doubt the virtue of those who signal it.” Dan M. Kalin


One woman expressed interest in a phone call, so we exchanged numbers for a chat later that evening. Her profile had a long rambling section about the things she was seeking and even more. I frankly confess to not having read it all (more than a thousand words). She had a PhD in some unspecified discipline (usually that means liberal arts), was Jewish, and owned a small business where she served as its CEO. First, if a person has a small business with less than 5 employees, calling themselves a CEO is ridiculous. Correctly they should be a President or Owner. Regardless, I decided to look up her business and it turns out her company helps children of well-heeled parents get into prestigious colleges by managing the application process. I had to smile remembering recent news stories about some issues in that vocation (e.g. Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin). I resolved to bring it up if it turned out she had a sense of humor.

We get on the phone, and it turns out she doesn’t have a sense of humor. She starts with, “I specifically stated in my profile that only Jewish men should message me. Are you Jewish?”

I stated I was not and apologized, saying I hadn’t noticed the requirement. In the meantime I pull up her profile and sure enough, buried at the end of her long screed is a sentence to that effect. I apologized again for wasting her time and wished her well on her search.

Then she backpedals, saying maybe we should continue talking since we were already on the phone. Fine, I had nothing else going on, it was during the lockdown of COVID – and we chatted pleasantly for a couple of hours.

I asked why she isn’t primarily searching on JDate rather than Match, if that is a critical issue. Her response was that the men on JDate, while Jewish, were also too nebbish. We didn’t remain in contact throughout the pandemic, but the conversation stayed with me. My profile stated I wasn’t looking for anyone too religious, so it wouldn’t have worked out regardless.

Takeaway, read the whole profile – no matter how tedious.

Image by Erika Wittlieb

Random Quote

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”
Robin Williams

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay