Melanie and Tony. Day 25.

“Readers, I've felt nervous about the judgement I'll get from you.”



1. HONEY! How was your day?

The day was pretty fine. We left Arkansas today and headed home, which was a bit of a long process. Tony and I talked on the phone for a minute. The layover was shorter than I thought so I had to kind of cut the conversation off. It was probably more my mood than Tony, but I was feeling a bit bored while we talked.

I also felt a bit of anxiety that there are only 5 days left. I couldn't figure it out at first, but while I watched the Brene Brown special on Netflix (the queen, bless her for all her wisdom) I realized part of what has made this feel so vulnerable is I feel afraid to fail. And I think the story in my brain is I've failed this dating experiment if, after 30 days, I haven't figured out all my mental blocks to dating. I think I have an expectation that to not fail is to end this thing dating Tony. And honestly, readers, I've felt nervous about the judgement I'll get from you. But Queen Brene helped me realize that the only opinions that I actually care about are my close circle of people who matter to me and give me the honest feedback I need. So though I generically love you for reading this, I've decided to relinquish any caring on how you feel about me or your judgement on if I've failed. I get to decide what success looks like, and I've learned a ton already about being brave and honest so regardless of the next 5 days, it's a net positive for me.

I want to apply a more accepting approach like this when I'm dating outside of this experiment. I care too much about what people think of MY dating relationship, but what actually matters is me and the other person. Beyond that, the influence of others isn't as necessary.

2. Scale from 1-10 how would you rate your chemistry?

I'll see him tomorrow for the first time in a week. Today felt like a 7.

3. Do you and your bae have nicknames for each other? Pet names? Expound pls. If not, you have 5 days left, but tell us one from your childhood.

He's tried to get babe to stick. I've mostly resisted it cause it's not my favorite term of endearment. I've called him Tones some. Cause it's a shorter version of his nickname.

The best nickname I had growing up was watermelanie. In college some friends called me Nemalie.

4. What is something you have learned about your bae this past week that you wouldn't have guessed on day.

These questions are hard because I feel like Tony was pretty transparent from the beginning. I guess I didn't expect he'd listen to so many politics podcasts. Not a negative.



1. HONEY! How was your day?

My day was pretty good. I went to work and had a somewhat productive day. Mel is travelling back from Arkansas today, so I called her when I got back from work and we talked for about a half hour while she was waiting to board her plane. We talked about a TED talk that she recommended to me. I watched it this morning while I ate breakfast. It was about the common moral roots of liberals and conservatives. We have talked about this quite a bit—the idea that things seem so divisive in our country right now. I think we both feel like when you actually have a conversation with an individual with a desire to understand their point of view, you can find a lot more common ground than division. The TED talk highlighted two main areas where liberals and conservatives agree—Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity. It seems that all of us, regardless of the political affiliation want to take care of the weakest among us and have similar strong feelings toward those who do harm to others. In addition, all of us seem to want fairness to abound in our societies as well as a mutual feeling of reciprocity with other members of that society. I feel like it was good to hear this perspective to remember that there is a lot more that unites us than divides us.


2. Scale from 1-10 how would you rate your chemistry?

For me, it is hard to rate chemistry when we haven’t seen each other for a week, but we have fantastic phone chemistry, if that counts! I would say that I feel around an 8.5 with her right now. No specific reason. Just feeling an 8.5


3. Do you and your bae have nicknames for each other? Pet names? Expound pls. If not, you have 5 days left, but tell us one from your childhood.

We actually talked about nicknames for each other and apparently Mel decided that she is particular about nicknames. Other than “Mel” and “Tony”, we haven’t really settled on any specific names. Occasionally, Mel will call me Tones, one of my other nicknames. We will make this a top priority in the remaining 5 days to ensure that we have adequate nicknames to report on.

Nicknames are a big part of my life. As a child, I had several nicknames. My first nickname was Twan. It came from my uncle calling me AntwanJoBear, which actually referred to me and my brother, Jeremy as one single entity. Oddly enough, Jeremy was never referenced as JoBear separately though. Eventually, it was just shortened to Twan. I went by Tony in High School, and Tones came from a series of nickname transitions that started after the mission. On the mission, my Samoan name was Melo (a samoan-ified version of my last name), my friend Ryan’s Samoan name is Lole and Devan’s is Sikivi. Devan eventually become Schkeeve and sometimes just Schkevan. Since Tony is two syllables, and that takes too much work, Ryan would just shorten it to Tone, which then elicited a new nickname for him, Lone. Then it was Toner and Loner. Tones and Lones.

My family was really into nicknames as well. My mother, Diane, was Madre Corsonado the Third. My Dad, Ralph, was Ralpski and Ralpheenie, then eventually just Feenie and Grandpa Ski. My sister Heather was apparently the only normal one with Heathe. My sister Mandie was Stewart and eventually just Schlander. My brother, Jeremy Frederick Merrill, was particularly unique with his nicknames. He gave himself a new nickname every time he felt a distinctly different emotion—it was very difficult to keep track of them all, but we did our best! When he was a kid, he was Juice because he would get a mustache every time he drank juice and instead of teaching him how to drink juice we just gave him the nickname. Jables (stolen from Jack Black) was when he was in a normal emotional state, then there was Gunther (when he was upset). There was one when he was hungry and one when he was tired, but I honesty can’t remember them all. He had JerBear, Jay, Gerald Miller, Chester (when he would tell stories about riding a donkey), Louise and eventually just Luis and Luisito. Currently, my brother will sometimes call me Gerald Darrell and, because my full name is Anthony Ralph Merrill, he will often resort to Janthony Falph Merrill. As you can see, nicknames have messed me up and caused a massive identity crisis! 


4.  What is something you have learned about your bae this past week that you wouldn't have guessed on day 1.

That she wants to spontaneously combust!! That is definitely something I would not have guessed  I can honestly say that every time we talk, she is incredibly consistent with what I understood about her on day 1. She is kind, compassionate, understanding and dependable. I think part of the reality is that on Day 1 we hit it off so well and had such great discussion that we were quickly able to get an idea of who the other person was and what their personality entailed. While we did get to know each other better, there hasn’t been anything that I have learned that has been too surprising or out of character. Everything that I learn about her makes sense with the kind of woman that she is.