Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Unsolicited Endorsement: Doodle Dot Com

If there are at least two things having a group of girlfriends is good for, it’s fun get-togethers and having a full inbox. Because one cannot happen without the other.

You know the drill. It’s someone’s birthday, or the gang hasn’t gotten together in a while, and thus it’s time to pick a date on the calendar for everyone to go out and drink some wine and crush some guacamole and catch up and talk some shit while the guys sit at home wondering why they never go out and have fun like this with their friends (it’s because they’re not organized the way we are). But then the emails start:

LADY A: “Hey girls! It’s time for us to get together and I thought I’d throw some dates out there. I’m free on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 28th and 29th!”

LADY B: “Hi there! Fun! Of those dates I’m available on the 3rd and 28th!”

LADY C: “I can do the 2nd!”

LADY B: “ I can do the 2nd, but only in the morning!”

LADY D: “Argh! None of those dates work for me! But you guys go ahead and have fun without me. I’ll join next time.”

LADY E: “I’m free on the 27th!”

LADY C: “Noo, we can’t get together without you, D!”

LADY A: “Well, crap. Should we try for 2012 then?”

LADY B: “I can’t in 2012!”

After much wrangling and clarifying, eventually something works out and it’s a lot of fun until it all starts up again and then you remember the upside to staying home and reading magazines.

This is why I would like to endorse Doodle, a service that’s valuable when herding up a bunch of people to meet at one place and time. It’s not complicated: Lady A enters the dates when she’s available and sends out the email with the unique link to the poll. All the other ladies go in and check off the dates that they’re available, and the best-looking date wins. It's sort of like a one-time-use Google calendar.

I should say that I'm not receiving any compensation by recommending Doodle, I'm just excited by how much it's improved my social life. Since I’ve started using it, I’ve noticed a decrease in inbox volume and shorter turnaround time between the concept of getting together and actually pulling the trigger on the date (as well as hypothetical annoyance, but I’m never annoyed by my girlfriends. Never!).

See you at dinner! First pitcher of sangria’s on me. Please don't talk about me when I go to the bathroom.

Claire Zulkey is the author of AN OFF YEAR, and is a television critic and contributor to the Los Angeles Times and AV Club.  She lives in Chicago, where she hosts the literary humor reading series Funny Ha-Ha.

47 Comments / Post A Comment


Seconded! My book club uses Doodle, and I firmly believe we'd probably NEVER get together without it.


@killer_queen Are you in my book club (that I haven't been to the last couple times)?


@NeenerNeener Maybe? Does your book club meet in Santa Cruz? If it does, you should come! I brought multiple baked goods last time.


@killer_queen Ah, sadly Santa Cruz is far, far away from here.


@killer_queen i live in santa cruz and i want to join your book club!


@honeybadger Ok, yes! Um...are you on Twitter? I feel less weird giving out my Twitter handle (@sosaysmegan) on the internets than my email. (Either way-- you should join my book club! Let's make this work, yo.)


@killer_queen no im pretty much the only person on earth without a twitter! but i might have managed to sufficiently stalk you enough to find your blog and leave a comment with my email in it ;)

that sounds really creepy. the internet scares me sometimes!

Magpie Shinies

I sit here wishing I had this particular problem!


@Magpie Shinies my thought exactly...:(I guess I'll have to keep settling for an inbox full of spam


@Magpie Shinies me too :'(


@jstar @Magpie Shinies; we should get together and fill each others in boxes! (I hope that doesn't sound dirty...) we already have at least one thing in common!:)


I foresee this being mighty helpful for 'pinups!


i use doodle all the time for work. this would help with pinup planning!


@becky@twitter We use it for our Hairpin book club.


OMG. I wish this was around when I was in my eating club! (We ate a different cuisine for the designated letter of the alphabet each month.) Every single month there were 500 emails! FOR 26 MONTHS.


@punkahontas I have to know: what was X?


@cuminafterall "Xenophobic". They all got the early-bird special at the local VFW.


@cuminafterall For some of the letters we had to reach a little bit. When we got to X we went to a place called "The Spot" (as in X marks The Spot) which is a dessert restaurant. We had dessert for dinner. There was edible glitter on everything!

@Brunhilde We DID go to a Romanian social club at one point!

Johanna Albrecht@twitter

Doodle was so incredibly important for scheduling meetings with multiple professors ie recital hearings, thesis meetings... it's a good way to get adults to organize without even the appearance that you're telling them what to do.


I don't know, I kind of love those emails. I mean, for pure logistics they're nightmares, but with my particular group of friends they end up being this hilarious free-for-all, where we are all talking at the same time, and making each other spit drinks out of our noses at something funny...just like we do in person.

Sadly, most of that particular group has moved far away, so we don't have those emails nearly as often. Aw, now I miss my friends!


@Bebe So email about little random things! Of my three best girlfriends, only one lives in my city and I hardly get to see her anyway, but the four of us are emailing constantly. We send each other pictures and articles, or thoughts, or YouTubery, or tell each other about a job interview we've got coming up, whatever crosses our minds, basically.

And we still make each other spit out whatever we're drinking.


whenisgood.net is the best!!


@arizonatime I love whenisgood! Simpler to use than doodle, and it was ESSENTIAL for my group project-heavy master's program.


Less pretty, but when2meet.com is also super helpful and has fewer steps involved. Used it all the time in college.


Did you hack into my facebook account?! This is exactly how every conversation with my friends goes.


I literally didn't even finish reading this before going to this site and setting up a calendar for an upcoming event. well done, hairpin!


I had never heard of Doodle until book club started using it, but I don't get out much (read: at all). I love it because it saves me from having to send out an embarrassing: "I'm free every night!! Let's do it tomorrow, or Friday, or really, I'm free every night this week. Call me, I'm so lonely!!!!!" email.


@Nutmeg And here I was just thinking we were more important than everything else.


@Nutmeg I am the opposite; I'm like Lady B or D who's always shooting down everyone's dates, and feeling guilty because I'm (sometimes) the reason we can't meet at all. So Doodle helps me put it out there that I'm busy allll those dates without me having to say it.

Lily Rowan

@SarahP I am awesomely right in the middle of these -- I would swear I never have any plans.... except when anyone asks about a specific date, somehow I have something that exact night. But no other nights that month! I swear!


@Lily Rowan Same here. It's always "Hey, I know we haven't hung out in months, but I'm doing this awesome thing and want you to come, too!" and then I look at my sad little calendar and it is on literally the only day when I have something I can't reschedule.


@Lily Rowan It doesn't help that I have a bad memory and am so excited to agree to social things that I forget I'm already busy... like with tomorrow's pinup :(

Lily Rowan

@wharrgarbl And it feels like a lie, but it's the truth! Wah-wahhhhh.

@SarahP You're just popular.


@Lily Rowan Ha! My "social life" is actually 80% volunteering, so yeah, I'm very popular with ESL learners and people with reading deficiencies.


@Lily Rowan It totally feels like a lie, especially if you've already done the "Well, I can rearrange pretty much whatever, so when did you want to...? Oh, really? Then? Are you sure it's not the day after or before then? Okay, then." thing.

Though there are definitely some friends where I refuse to feel guilty about it, even if it totally looks like I'm lying to weasel out of hanging, because they will without fail flake on me if I cancel something else for them. If I go from "do everything" to "do none of the things" because of your didn't-bother-to-turn-up ass, do not expect me to prioritize you in the future.


@Lily Rowan Are you my doppelganger? Because that is my life.

miss buenos aires

I guess this is as good a place as any to invite NYC-area Hairpinners to my book club! We are focusing on the 21st-century canon(-in-the-making) and read lots of fun contemporary prize-winning literature. And there is always way too much food. Any takers?


@miss buenos aires You have at least one taker (me)! I'm in NYC and I'd definitely be interested in a book club


@miss buenos aires I'd be interested!

miss buenos aires

Yay! Now, is there any way for us to work this out without someone splashing her private email addy all over the web? Or even just in this one little web place?


@miss buenos aires

I'm interested too! My neighborhood book club is awesome, but we've been reading (or in many cases, rereading) a lot of classics lately. How do we find you?

miss buenos aires

@City_Dater Okay, ladies, here is AN email: elise 327 at yahoo dot com. Email me there and I'll give you my non-spammy email...


but your Google calendar will do this for you, you don't even have to respond to a doodle. You just click the "find a time" button!


My collaborators at work use Doodle all the time! I'm pretty sure it's the only way humanly possible to figure out a time when eight different worksites can find a time to hold a conference call and/or when in God's name we can possibly schedule central trainings. (I wish we could use it to schedule Happy Hours instead. Just ONCE.)

Nina B.@twitter

Doodle can also the WORST when people make the LONGEST doodle in the world and it takes me ten years to fill it out. Just sayin'. (It's happened more than once.)


My collaborators at work use Doodle all the time! I'm pretty sure it's the only way humanly possible to figure out a time when eight different worksites can find a time to hold a conference call and/or when in God's name we can possibly schedule central trainings
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