Monday, January 24, 2011


What's Your Thing?

A few years ago a friend looked me right in the eye. "I want to tell you something," she said. "I want to tell you what your thing is."

"Um," I said. "My thing...?"
"Yes. Everyone has a thing standing in your way, stopping you, that everyone can see but you. And you need someone in your life who's honest enough to tell you what it is. I want to do that for you."
"Yes!"I said. "Please do."

My friend nodded. She took a breath, and then she told me, "Bonnie, stop fucking with your hair and get a boyfriend with a job."

So. Was that my thing (my two things...)? Arguably yes, if you had met that boyfriend, and seen that hair. It's reminiscent of that drunk character who leans over across the table, cigarette trailing ashes, and slurs, "Wanna know whut yerrrr problem is?" But I loved her theory and I loved that she clearly wanted to help and told the truth as she saw it. I started telling this story. Some people immediately broke in and demanded to know their own thing.

Once, as I told the tale, yet another friend interrupted to say she knew My Thing. "You always think you're right." And I guess it didn't surprise her when I disagreed.

"I think maybe that's a different question." I said.

"No, no. That is Your Thing."

"I think that's more like, The Thing About Me That Annoys You the Most." For the record, I do know my thing: focus. God, focus. But I did drastically reduce the hair fuckery.

Do you know Your Thing? Would you want to hear the answers if you asked? It's a revelatory but dangerous game, people. Play it with someone you trust.

45 Comments / Post A Comment


Bonnie you probably won't be able to find a boyfriend with a job because that kind of guy would be intimidated by your blogging success.

Bonnie Downing

That has been the problem so far, as I understand it.


One time, completely unsolicited, this girl from college I am not even close to --but she had just gotten married and lived in town and I had seen her a bunch so maybe she thought we were close? -- sent me a listicle from MSN's homepage (so, not even an interesting source!) about things that were preventing single women from getting married (things like, "they are too picky! they won't settle!") with an attached note that said something like, "thought this might be helpful for you".

Bonnie Downing

wow. That is the Black Swan passive-aggression style Your Thing, to my friend's utterly well-meaning White Swan.

Just to clarify, my friend was practical and family-oriented and wanted everyone happily married. And she had gorgeous, shiny hair.


I like your friend. You are right, my friend was Black Swan, except minus that Black Swan = Fun Swan and my friend was Not Fun Swan in addition to being psycho.


Oh no, are people really saying "listicle" now?

Bonnie Downing

and even being paid to write them, occasionally.


So your non-friend from college apparently (a) is not picky, and (b) totally settled. I hope you pointed this out to her.

Lila Fowler

I have always wanted to know My Thing and have drunkenly demanded that friends tell me on multiple occasions. So far all I've been told is that I smoke too much, which is true but underwhelming. I WANT BIGGER. WEIRDER. Why will no one talk about the alien growing out of my shoulder???

Bonnie Downing

Fine. Your Thing is big but weird. There, I said it.

Lila Fowler

Phew. Thanks for being a real pal. I needed that.


My Thing is definitely being Too Emotional. I'm such a Cancer.

Liz Colville

Same here! Pisces, and what's worse, descended from a Cancer father!


As a cancer myself, I think the funniest thing has been with the new "signs" that have come out, nobody on earth seems to really care except for all the water signs, i.e. Pisces and Cancers. My friend is all I am sooooo an Aquarius! And I am all, totally Gemini now! Thanks-


No, no, no! Your Thing is that you're too into astrology.


One time in college I got extremely drunk in a crowd of acquaintances and informed everyone that I would be providing frank appraisals to anyone who requested one re: themselves. I was relieved to learn the next day that the appraisals were largely inoffensive.

I think My Thing is getting drunk and yelling. :-(

Jane Marie

my friends don't have things unless you count BEING AWESOME as a thing.

Bonnie Downing

Can I be your friend, so that my Things will dissolve into awesomeness.
I have several Things. At least several.

krugmanic depressive

People who know what "their thing" is sometimes need to find a different thing. Like this guy.


Oh man, I think we all need a friend who will occasionally lean across the table and tell us what our Thing is.


All I have are Things. I need a nice curio cabinet for my Things. That way people at least have something to look at when they come over. Except I don't have people over. That is one of my Things.

Caitlin Podiak

Yeah, I suspect that my Thing might involve the fact that I spend way too much time and effort pondering the many, many, many Things that are wrong with me.


i feel ya sister.


Ms. D, can I clap the erasers?

Bonnie Downing

That sounds vaguely dirty.
And yes!

Bonnie Downing

Just realized this is rather similar to a Personal Best I contributed to.


So it turns out that I just like to be insulted, but only by people who like me? That My Thing.


I so wish someone would tell me My Thing and not have it be 'you don't condone my drug use/bad behavior/abusive boyfriend.' Maybe My Thing is bad friends!


My thing: Cutting my own hair because I hate having to chat up the hairdresser, and then having to walk around with my head tilted to the side to make it look even.

fits and starts

Fellow DIY barber! I cut my own hair too and have done so for years. (In addition to hating small talk, I'm also cheap and lazy.)


I'm pretty sure mine is my inability to ever relax and not take everything seriously.


My Thing is finding, disseminating and commenting on posts that explain and/or justify my behavior.

George Kr

first thing that came to my mind is chronic masturbation. dreamcum is my new favorite word.

George Kr

i dreamcum all over this website! im gonna do this until "dreamcum" shows up on google search....


i was told by a "well-meaning" college "friend" when i was 19 that nobody wanted to hang out with me, because i was too self-centered.

i then basically went into a self-imposed banishment from all friends for the next 6 months, feeling like an asshole. at that time i didn't realize that most 19 year olds tend to be kind of self-centered and that i was pretty OK.

what she obvi didn't realize is that my thing is being WAY oversensitive. and overusing quotes.

why do people offer this information, unsolicited?


maybe it's because i don't have enough female friends, but i've never experienced being told about my thing. i think an interesting corollary would be the thing that every boyfriend you've ever had has accused you of. mine is "thinking i'm always right."


I have to have the last word. HAVE TO. Even if inside I am screaming at myself to shut the fuck up, shutupshutupOMGWHYAREYOUSTILLTALKINGSTOOOOOOOOOPIT, my mouth still moves and words still come out.

The last friend to point this out to me received a shallow shrug and a "Yeah, I KNOW" which just. I cannot even stop doing My Thing when people are telling me about My Thing!


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Once, as I told the tale, yet another friend interrupted to say she knew My Thing. "You always think you're right." And I guess it didn't surprise her when I disagreed.

"I think maybe that's a different question." I said.

"No, no. That is Your Thing."

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