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Globe-trotting Iowa grad wants to learn the language of love

One of our readers' awesome single friends is ready for her close-up.

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Top and necklace by J. Crew - PHOTO BY COLLEEN DURKIN; STYLING BY AGGA B. RAYA; PROPS AND SET BY DOUG JOHNSTON AND COLLEEN DURKIN
  • Photo by Colleen Durkin; Styling by Agga B. Raya; Props and set by Doug Johnston and Colleen Durkin
  • Top and necklace by J. Crew

Katie Aune
38, Ravenswood

Seeking: men

Occupation: director of alumni engagement for a law school

Her friend says: "She was included in a story on Buzzfeed entitled "11 Inspiring Stories of People Who Left Normal Life and Embarked on an Adventure." "

What do you do when you're not working?

Traveling, running, writing, watching sports, checking out hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants, trying to learn French.

Smoker?

No.

Pets?

Two cats.

Dietary restrictions?

I have celiac disease, so I can't eat anything with gluten.

Children?

No.

Religion?

Not religious.

What's your idea of the perfect Chicago date?

It would start with dinner, nothing fancy—Thai, central Asian and Middle Eastern are some of my favorites. Then we'd head to a Bulls or Cubs game (or even better, something big, like the Big Ten basketball tournament). We'd wrap up the night listening to blues at Kingston Mines, singing karaoke at a random dive bar, or dancing the night away at at Carol's Pub.

If you were on Jeopardy!, what anecdote would you share with Alex? Also, would you win?

I would tell him about the time I got my butt kicked in the state geography bee when I was in eighth grade. Unlike the geography bee, I would win at Jeopardy!.

What's your preferred method for surviving a Chicago winter?

I grew up in Minnesota, so I just bundle up and face it head on. I spent last winter training outside for a marathon, including running 16 miles in a snowstorm! There's no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.

If HBO made a miniseries about your life, who would you cast for the lead role?

Reese Witherspoon.

Go-to karaoke song?

"Sweet Caroline" or, as a duet, "Don't Stop Believin'."

What do you find boring?

Lengthy discussions recounting every single scene of a TV show or movie. I'd rather talk about real life.

Who would you kill if you could be guaranteed you'd never be caught?

I don't think I could ever kill anyone.

What was your first e-mail address/AIM name?

Hawkgirl98, which comes from the fact that I graduated from the University of Iowa (Hawkeyes) in 1998. I still use it sometimes (the name, not AIM!)

Please describe your understanding of cell-phone etiquette.

Don't talk loudly or about anything superpersonal on the CTA. Don't answer a call or check text messages when you're otherwise having a conversation with someone in person.

What 2015 ephemera do you think you'll be nostalgic about in 2035?

Twitter. Definitely Twitter.

What contemporary trend or habit do you detest?

Skinny jeans, especially on men.

PHOTO BY COLLEEN DURKIN; STYLING BY AGGA B. RAYA; PROPS AND SET BY DOUG JOHNSTON AND COLLEEN DURKIN
  • Photo by Colleen Durkin; Styling by Agga B. Raya; Props and set by Doug Johnston and Colleen Durkin

Where would you set the minimum wage?

$15 an hour.

If you could only eat one type of sandwich for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

Grilled ham and cheese.

What is your favorite curse word?

Don't tell my parents, but probably the F word.

How long do you stay angry, and do you get loud or quiet?

Anywhere from 24-48 hours, depending on what ticked me off. I try to handle it quietly, but I may complain loudly about it to my friends.

Do you like to talk about a movie right after you've seen it?

If it's a movie that really gives me something to talk about, maybe. I'm not a big movie person, though. I couldn't tell you the last movie I saw in a theater.

At what stage in your life were you the best (or worst) version of yourself?

I was my best during the year I took off to spend traveling around the world when I turned 35. I was confident, independent, patient, and completely free. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but I became a better person because of the experiences I had. My worst stage was probably my early- to mid-20s: I was working long hours in a job I hated, I was insecure and not confident enough to be myself, and I spent too much time pining over guys who weren't interested in me and likely missed a couple good ones who were.

Are you afraid of or excited to face the unknown?

Both. The fear of the unknown is what makes it exciting, and pushing past your fears gives you a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Do you have a personal mantra?

Don't stress over things I can't control because everything will work out in the end.

What's your CTA pet peeve?

People who don't move all the way in on the bus or el.

What's your favorite cultural depiction of Chicago and why?

I recently read The Third Coast, which covers the development of Chicago from the Great Depression through the 1960s, and I thought it was fascinating. It doesn't always show the city in a positive light, but as a Chicago transplant, it was so interesting for me to read more about the city's history and how we got to where we are today.

So, really, why are you single?

It sounds cheesy, but I just haven't met the right guy at the right time yet.

Anything else you feel like including to help people get to know you?

I really am passionate about travel­—and not just in the cliche way that everyone says in their online dating profiles. I spent 13 months overseas in 2011 and 2012, and I continue to travel as much as possible, usually to very off-the-beaten-path locales: Turkmenistan, Belarus, Mali, and Burkina Faso are just a few examples. I am not someone who goes on vacation to just go lie on a beach or party the night away somewhere. I love to challenge myself, meet new people, and learn about different cultures. I try to be as open-minded and open to new experiences as possible, but I'm sometimes better at doing that when I am abroad than when I am at home. I seriously don't think I could date a guy who doesn't share my passion for adventure travel.

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