Renee Dubeau

Creative non-fiction and inspirational shit.



I Made a Thing.

They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. They also say that writers should avoid clichés, but this one really works for me…

There are lots of ways to make lemonade- to focus on the positive, to find a place of gratitude in our struggle, or make things sweet even when they just kind of suck.

Writing is my lemonade. It’s the best therapy I’ve ever found, and the only way I’ve ever been able to make sense of my life.

Today, I published my first book, Dysfunction Diaries. It’s a collection of short stories from my early years as a humor writer. It’s ridiculous, vulgar, and exactly how I had to tackle the impossible job of becoming an author. It was my first little blog, the first website I built all by myself, and today, it’s my first book. That feels pretty awesome.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be surrounded by so much love.


xo Renee



Tinder- A Super Fun Users Guide / Tinder- the Symbolic Fall of Intelligent Society

Tinder is not a new thing.  It’s been around for a few years.  A lot of people still don’t know about it, because those of us who have used it are NOT going to go around telling everyone to check it out.  

Of all the dating sites you could join, I would venture to say that Tinder is the most superficial, which is partially why it is so much fun.  Here’s how it works:

First, you download the free app on your phone and set up a profile.  Your profile will consist of a few photographs, your first name/user name, your age, and a quick little bio about yourself.  The app will pull your stuff from your Facebook profile, but you have the ability to edit everything before sending it out to the world.  I have compiled a list of dos and don’ts for setting up your profile:

·    DO- Use recent photographs of yourself.  If your pictures are you in your high school football uniform, you at your high school prom, your senior portrait, and a random internet meme, we will assume (fairly) that you peaked in high school.

·    DO- Smile!  Show your teeth!  Smiling without showing your teeth signals a lack of confidence.  It also signals that your grill is busted, or that you might have a problem with meth.  Meth mouth is not sexy.

·    D0- Use actual pictures of yourself.  If your profile contains no photos, or photos of random stuff and not you, that’s not cool.  When I see a profile with no pictures of the user, I assume that he is either A-married, B- has meth mouth, or C- doesn’t want to own the fact that he is, in fact, using the most superficial dating site ever created.  I’m not cool with any of that.

·    Do- Write something about yourself!  You get a whole paragraph to tell me who you are.  If your profile is blank, I don’t care if you look like Arc Angel Michael- it’s not happening.  Be creative here.  Do you have any hobbies?  What do you do for fun?  What are you looking for in a potential mate?  What’s important to you?  How good is your grammar and spelling?  These are all important things that girls like me need to know.

·    Do- Keep it positive!  Make a list of things you like- not a list of things you want to avoid.  I can’t tell you how many profiles I have read go something like, “No drama, No games, No smokers, No moms, No fat chicks… this is not sexy, guys.

·    Do NOT- Post five pictures of yourself with dead things that you have killed.  I don’t understand these testosterone induced killing sprees.  If I was looking for a knuckle dragger, I would just go hang out at the Affliction store.  I’m looking for an intelligent date here, not a ruthless killing machine.

·    Do NOT- Post  your motherfucking wedding photos.  I’m sure you looked good in that tuxedo… but damn.  Nothing screams “disrespectful douche bag” like putting your wedding pictures on a dating site.

·    Do NOT- Use text speech to create your profile.  I h8 when ppl r 2 lazy 2 b smrt.

·    Do NOT- Use big general statements like “Just a good guy, looking for a good girl…”  WTF does that even mean?  Try harder.

·    Do NOT- Post a bunch of pictures of your kids.  I’m a proud parent too.  I just don’t feel like my kids belong on a dating site.  I’m glad you’re a proud daddy… but let’s focus on you for a minute, mmk?

·    Do NOT- Post 5 pictures of your toys.  I personally don’t care what kind of car you drive, or if you have a motorcycle or whatever.  (Please, just show me your teeth… are they all there?)

·    Do NOT- Post 5 group pictures so we can’t tell which one is you.  This is not a game of where’s Waldo, and I’ll be really sad if I thought you were your hot friend this whole time.

Once your profile is all polished, you’ve chosen 5 appropriate photographs, and written a little something about yourself, you are ready to play!  You set up if you’re looking for men, women, or both, an age range that interests you, and how far away you would like to look.  Tinder will then give you a pile of potential matches to flip through.  This is where the fun begins!  

Click on the photo to see the person’s profile.  You can scroll through the pictures they have used, keeping in mind that they are putting their best foot forward.  You can read the carefully written bio they have prepared for you.  If you like what you see, swipe right to “like” that person.  If not, swipe left.  

The ones you swipe left on may pop up again.  You can just keep swiping left on them.  

If you swipe right, and that person swipes right on you too, you are a match.  The app will notify you that you have a match.  At that point you can use the chat feature to talk to each other.  You can only chat with matches, and thankfully, you can unmatch yourself if you want to.

So that’s it-that’s the way Tinder is supposed to work.  I have had some very fun Tinder dates, and even a couple short Tinder romances.  But, there is an even more fun way to use this app.  If you’re not doing this- you are simply not living your best life.

The secret to getting the most out of Tinder is this.  When you run across an especially hilarious profile picture, screen shot it, caption it, and send it to your bestie.  

Warning- this is addictive and can cost you hours of productivity at work.  It will also test your bladder control at a level I’ve not experienced with any other dating site.  

Please enjoy my gallery below of some of our all time favorite Tinder profiles.

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Why We Are No Longer Welcome At The Sherwin William’s Paint Store…

I inherited a French Bulldog last January.  While I am absolutely thrilled to have him, and love him to pieces just the way he is, I must say he is the least athletic dog I have ever seen.  Thankfully, what he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in immortality, which is lucky for him because he is prone to accidents. One of these accidents, unfortunately, was my fault.

I woke early one morning this summer and decided to take Bo, the immortal French Bulldog, for a walk.  We live approximately four city blocks from my favorite Juice Bar.  I thought, surely, Bo could make the trip from our apartment to the Juice Bar and back safely.  It was early in the morning, it wasn’t even hot out, and it’s only four blocks away.

The trip there was a piece of cake.  We strolled leisurely along.  Bo stopped to smell every blade of grass and tinkle on every tree all the way there.  When we reached the Juice Bar, I tied Bo to a table on the porch and went inside to get a green smoothie for me, and an ice water for him.  We sat on the porch for a little while enjoying the beautiful day before beginning the journey back home.

It’s important to note that French Bulldogs are genetic anomalies.  They do not exist in nature, and for good reason.  Their cute, little, squishy faces make it impossible for them to breathe.  On a good day, Bo sounds like he could suffocate on his own jowls at any moment.  With physical exertion, like walking four blocks, he sounds like asthmatic Darth Vader with a smoker’s cough.

After about a half a block, Bo started huffing and puffing.  His little tongue flapping in the breeze as he slowed his pace gradually.  No problem, I thought.  We’ll take it slow.  There was plenty of shade, it wasn’t hot to begin with, and any healthy dog should be able to manage the easy trip.

As we neared the half way point, Bo stopped dead in his tracks.  He stood still as a stone on the side walk for a minute, then took a few clumsy little side steps into the grass.  He fell out in the grass, all spread out like a big, furry bullfrog.  Heaving for air, he stayed there in the shade.

After several minutes, Bo’s breathing was still labored.  Passersby stared at him with concern.  Certainly, it was the loud huff puff huff puff huff puff that caught their attention.  Some smiled a silent, “Bless your heart.” as they walked by.  I gently tugged on the leash to encourage Bo to stand up.

“B*tch, I’m dying!” he glared at me.

It was becoming apparent that Bo would not make the journey home.  I needed a plan.

Then, I realized that half a block away there was a Sherwin-Williams Paint Store.  It stood high on the hill at the end of the block.  Like a light house in the storm, I knew that if we could get to it, Bo would be safe.  They were sure to have air conditioning, a cold tile floor, and some cool water for him to drink.  I did the only thing I could do.  I scooped up all 30 pounds of panting bulldog and carried him up the hill.

I breathed a deep sigh of relief upon entering the paint store.  There was, in fact, a large empty area of tile for Bo to lay on.  He spread out in his bullfrog pose again, still breathing loudly.  I left him there, and went to the ladies’ room for some cold, wet paper towels.  When I returned, Bo was dragging himself around with his front legs to find another cold spot on the floor.  He had made a large pool of saliva all around himself, and continued to drool and pant loudly.  I bent down to squeeze the cold water from the towels onto his head.

“It can’t get any worse.” I thought, right before it got even worse.

Bo struggled to stand.  His stubby legs shaking under the weight of his stout little body.  The panting was interrupted by a new sound. His insides churning and pumping, churning and pumping, the horrible sound of “I’m fixing to puke.” A mountain of vomit erupted from my dog.  Bright yellow chunks of half chewed dog food in thick white foam spewed from him forcefully.  The vomit river flowed below him, growing larger and larger until I picked him up and ran out the door with him.

The little girl had come out from behind the register to walk a customer to his car.  She looked at us in disgusted, silent, horror.

I put Bo down in the grass while he collected himself. Come on, Bo.  Get it together.  Fear and guilt washed over me.  You can’t die like this, Bo.  Today’s not the day.

I took my pitiful dog back into the paint store.  Again, I left him on the cold tile floor and went to the rest room.  I returned with the trash can and an entire package of paper towel and began cleaning up the floor.

Bo gave me a side eye, “How’s your green smoothie, stupid?”

I sat down by my angry, disgusting, breathless dog.  As he lay dying on the floor, an old man approached us.  He bent over curiously to examine Bo, and with a raised brow asked, “What kind of dog is that?”

“He’s a French Bulldog.”

“Huh.  It’s too hot for him.” he said, turning on his heel to return to his shopping.

Thank you, sir.  You are a marvel among men.  Tell me, where did you get your detective training?  Your intuition surpasses all others…

“How are we going to get you home, Bo?” I whispered.

Bo used his front legs to spin himself around and turn his back to me.  I contemplated just leaving him there, the grumpy little sh*t.

The old man reappeared when his shopping was finished.  “Do you live close by?”

“Yes, sir.  Two blocks that way,” I pointed.

“Do you need a ride?”

“Are you sure you want this dog in your car?” I asked.  I don’t know that I would have put him in my car at that point.

“It’s my work truck, I don’t mind.”

I disobeyed mother’s number one rule, and accepted a ride home from a stranger.

“I hope he feels better.” said the bewildered little girl behind the counter as we walked out the door.

Please don’t be a serial killer,  I thought as I gave the old man directions and lead him right to my front door.  I thanked him sincerely, and admitted that he may have saved Bo’s life that day.

I put Bo in a cool bath and apologized profusely for nearly killing him for a trip to the Juice Bar to get a green smoothie.  He barely spoke to me the rest of the day, but eventually, he forgave me.

I learned a couple of things that day.  One, GMOs are bad- this applies to all genetically modified organisms- vegetables, flowers, dogs… Nature knows how to make things correctly, and humans can really only jack that up.  Two, there is no green smoothie delicious enough for me to risk the bulldog’s life.  In the future, he will just have to wait at home while I walk down there all by myself.  Three, there are kind strangers everywhere.  They show up just  in time to save the day when you need them.  And finally, just because stores have tile floors and air conditioning, doesn’t mean they want us to bring our dying pets in there for shelter.  The young girl working behind the counter was clearly traumatized by the dramatic scene, and for that I sincerely apologize.  I am certain that my money is no longer good there, and that we are definitely no longer welcome at the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store.

The End of an Era

The time has come for me to retire my first blog, Dysfunction Diaries.  It’s a bittersweet decision for me. I started that site about eight years ago. It was vulgar, irreverent, and usually hilarious. It’s where my writing career began- poking fun at my family and all the ridiculous things they do.

Dysfunction Diaries gave me a space in which to find my voice. It helped me begin to see myself as a writer. The feedback and encouragement I received while creating Dysfunction Diaries ultimately gave me the confidence to start writing my book, to join writing groups, take classes and workshops, and eventually to reach out to Elephant Journal with my work.

As I’ve grown as a person and an artist, my writing style has changed significantly. I’m much more interested in sharing my story now in a way that can help others. I’ve got a crazy story, and I know that the desire to tell it has led me to my purpose on this earth. I am truly grateful for every experience that has brought me to this moment, and it is always my sincere hope to uplift and inspire others with my words.

As I move into this next chapter of my life, I will not forget where I came from. I plan to honor Dysfunction Diaries by self publishing a collection of short stories from the site on Amazon later this year. It seems appropriate to allow Larry and the gang to live on even after the site has been put to rest.

If you’re a new reader, or you’ve been with me since Dysfunction Diaries began- thank you.  I appreciate you supporting me, as I make my dream of becoming a published author come true. I am the luckiest girl to always be surrounded with love and support. I couldn’t do this alone, and even if I could, I just wouldn’t want to.


xo Nee

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