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Friday, January 27, 2012

361

Unmet Demands and the Eternal "Are You Sure You're Sure You're Sure?"

Hey there, I've got a question. My long-term boyfriend and I are absolutely inseparable. We talk about anything and everything, and our communication is great. I'm a very, very sexual person and if something isn't right I'm not afraid to speak up. For the past few months I've had little to no oral sex because he just doesn't do it right. I've been trying to teach him for months. I've even demonstrated on him what I want him to do, to no avail. He just licks it. I've literally said ''Suck on the clitoris'' and he just makes a weird clicking noise, no saliva just dry lips. It makes me angry how bad he is, because it ISN'T hard to do. I've even asked his opinion on bringing a lady friend to the bedroom for an oral sex lesson, but he's not open to it. He's read online articles, watched pornos and everything else we can think of. But he still just isn't getting it! My patience is wearing thin, especially because I make sure that he is pleased. It's not that he's selfish, he *wants* to please me. He's just lacking in the skill department. Thoughts? Advice?

The other day I was having dinner with some friends, and there was a lull in the conversation which I attempted to fill by explaining why my man and I keep saying our new catchphrase, "It's all goooood," and why it's so funny!

See, 'cause it's lame, sure, but when you say it, you KNOW how lame it is, which makes it a double flip of lameness so then it's not lame anymore. GET IT? SO FUNNY RIGHT?!

Obviously, the more I tried to explain it, the less funny it got. (Obviously.) And the more frustrated I got by no one else understanding how funny it truly was, because what was wrong with them! Ugh! PEOPLE!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, sometimes the more you try to explain something — especially something kind of magical like jokes or sex — the less explicable and more fraught it gets. So I think you should pipe down for a bit. At least about head ... at least for a while.

Now let me say that, in general, I believe that everyone should totally speak up about what they want, especially in bed. But not you. You are speaking up so much that you're actually making it worse. You're at an impasse, my dear, and everyone knows the only solution to that is for someone — namely, you, the aggressor — to back off. Did we learn nothing from The Zax?

To be honest, your tone here is giving me a twitchy eye. Seriously, are you getting angry about this? Frustrated, I can see. Baffled, sure. But angry? In the context of an otherwise idyllic relationship? Time to swap shoes for a minute: how would you feel if he got pissed at you for the way you go down when you'd tried and tried again to do it just like he said? Wouldn't you just be like, "Oh, all right then, let me just get out of the way so you can suck your own ..."? No? Just me?

You gotta remember, there is no objectively right and wrong way to Do It — his method might get another chick off in 20 seconds flat. If isn't working FOR YOU in a particular moment, that doesn't make it, or him, "bad."

And may I remind you that no one signed a contract entitling you to head that meets your precise specifications or else you get your money back? It doesn't work that way. Relationships aren't about figuring out how to get what you want out of the other person — they're about creating something together, something that sustains and fulfills you both.

Right now, what you're creating does not involve your favorite variety of oral sex, but it does seem to involve lots of frustration and disappointment and self-fulfilling prophecy. You have both created this monster, and you specifically have the power to stop it. So relax! Try something else. Open up a little space around this so that something new can happen.

I mean, haven't you ever been in bed with someone when they're doing something that's not working and you're thinking about something else and getting frustrated and then you remember to breathe and let the moment be what it is and realize that you care about this person and it actually IS working if you can just shut your brain up for a minute and respond to what's actually happening rather than expecting one particular thing to be happening?

If not, that's what you should try.

Please understand that if you had told me he was grossed out by going down on you, or he was inattentive or unconcerned, my advice would be totally different. But your letter paints a picture of harsh judgement and grim determination, which ... Yikes! Not sexy, and kind of sad, and totally unnecessary. Cease fire, girl! Let the poor guy up for air!

SO. A good friend just moved in with her boyfriend. She's the type who longs for kids and a house in the suburbs. After lots of failures, through online dating she finally found one she liked. When all of her close friends met him he was affable enough, contributed to conversation, seemed like he enjoyed our company. There was a hitch in their giddyup when she found out he had a child from a previous marriage (that happened when they were tres young, around 21). He didn't see his child often but assured my friend that he was supporting his child, and she said she'd never want to be with a man who wouldn't take care of his own children.

Fast forward two years. They make the leap and move in together, and she's determined that this will be it for her, her ticket to the suburban life with a nuclear family. The problem is that we've all decided the guy is an asshole. The niceness toward all other people seems to have been an act aimed at winning her favor, and for the last six months or so she's sometimes dragged him out so that he can sit in the corner with his iPad and ignore everyone in a way that indicates he thinks he's too good for us. Plus she no longer seems to care about this other child of his. A large group of us went on a trip together, and over the course of four days he didn't say a word to anybody else there unless he was making a snide comment about something. (And at one point he did something hugely disrespectful in front of a huge group of friends and strangers.)

The assumption is that they're going to get married, but as friends, we all know she can do better. Is there ever a time (short of when there is physical/mental abuse) that friends can say something to another friend about her choice in a mate? Or is it our duty as friends to plaster smiles on through their wedding and wave at them fondly as they head out to Westchester and hope they stick and are happy enough?

I should say, if I thought he was the perfect man for her and if I thought she was getting everything she wanted, I wouldn't give a shit about whether he liked me or I liked him. There is a strong feeling among the people who know her best that she's settling and putting up with things she'd have never put up with –lowering her standards, adjusting her expectations — because she's in her mid-30s and wants a family. There's a Stepford quality to all this that makes me feel like she wouldn't want to see the problem if it were there.

Yup. He sounds like a juicebox. And, just like our albino alligator doppleganger ancestors before us, we love our friends and want better than mere juiceboxery for them. "Him? Really? Are you sure?"

But you have to know that the last sentence of your question contains all the answer you need. Your friend isn't an idiot — she's getting something out of this situation, something that she either wants or thinks she wants. "Are you sure you're sure?" isn't going to make her change her mind. She's all in already.

Which, I know, kind of sucks. I KNOW. When otherwise capable, brilliant, beautiful women make jaw-droppingly horrible decisions with men, it is unbearably, hideously squirmy to watch. Worse than bad rapping, even. Erggh! Make it stop!

(Until you're the one making the questionable decision, but it doesn't seem like that at all until a few years later and then you're like, Oh. Right. Oxytocin is a hell of a drug.)

At any rate, I don't think you're beholden to pretend to be happy over something that makes you feel ill. And as a very close friend, I do think you get to express your feelings to her — once, or maybe twice if you're drunk together and it's after 2 a.m.

But there are some bounds on what you can say. "What the hell is wrong with that guy / you for liking him?" is not on the approved list. You have to be gentle with him, and you have to be clear that you respect her autonomy and will love her even if she does marry this utter ass. Things like, "He's not who I imagined you with" and "I wonder sometimes if you're making the best decision with him" are about as harsh as you want to get. And then you want to back waaaay the heck off.

Because, unless something remarkable happens, she IS going to marry him and start building a life with him. And if she's mid-30s and wants a family, it will probably all happen pretty fast. Is it a mistake? A Lady knows not ... but we all know that it's her mistake to make. So if you want to continue to be part of her imperfect life, you should probably refrain from insulting the star to which she and her wagon are getting hitched.

Here’s a question: how does one move on from infidelity, and by infidelity I mean infidelity lite. Basically five months in to our now two-year relationship, my boyfriend got snogged by a sexy (I hope) French girl. He felt bad, nothing else happened, and he decided never to tell me. Like, diet cheating. When he got back I knew, just knew, but could never really prove that anything had happened, until two weeks ago. He left his Facebook on, from out of nowhere a little psycho bubble popped up and was like “you know how you suspected...way back when...well here’s your chance!” and I read the messages between him and the friend he went with — there was mention of both of them having had incidents. I rang him, hissing like some kind of evil death cat for him to come back from wherever he was and explain himself (we had just moved in together — zing!). He explained himself, I threw (soft) things at his head then went to an all-day seminar, because I can keep my cool when I need to like that.

So that’s that. I forgive him, these things happen. I can understand that had he told me at the time I would probably have ended it, and we wouldn’t have the AWESOME relationship we have now. I feel like we can move on. When we thought about ending it we cried a lot. So by that measure, why then am I now a thinly veiled Glenn Close death wreck? I feel as if I’m very pretty and have large but pert breasts, so why then do I feel like a manatee? How does one rebuild that trust? I am a sensitive lady, I believe in things taking time, and so given how much time I’ve invested in this I’m having trouble getting over the hurt — some ladies may be cool with stuff like this, but for me it’s a major transgression. We’re (both!) working hard on moving on, but I’m having trouble accepting that my boyfriend is probably just a normal guy that does find other women attractive sometimes as opposed to the vaguely monotheistic idol worship that I had (completely rationally) assumed he felt for me? How do I not view other women as a threat and/or not become some kind of ... anti-sexy-French-woman racist? How do I deal with him looking hot while not in my direct line of vision? Is this normal, do other women just move on from this?

Aww, you're funny. That helps when your boyfriend does infidelity lite on you and when you snoop around on him. (Quick PSA: folks, please, can we stop with the snooping? NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES OF IT. EVER.)

So, yeah, big steaming pile of trust issues. I see that. And there's something else going on, too — for the first time, you're starting to see that although Love Itself is divine, relationships are every bit as adorably fucked up as we are. Which is oddly liberating, but also kind of depressing. Sorry about that. :(

But first things first: have you gotten a proper apology from him? Like, heartfelt, sincere, you totally believe that he regrets his actions? And have you apologized for snooping in his Facebook? Because that is totally necessary before anything good can happen. Everyone screwed up here, and that needs to be acknowledged honestly.

From there, getting over it can be done, but it takes a good deal of time and effort. You start by asking yourself, "REALLY do I trust him? Am I sure I'm sure?" And you take a good long while to make up your heart/vagina/mind. And then, if you ARE sure, then you decide to act like you trust him.

Even more important, you decide that whatEVER anyone else in the world does, including him, you're not going to let it affect how you feel about yourself. Because fundamentally, each of us is 100% responsible for our own thoughts and actions. He's responsible for his, and you're responsible for yours. What he does has NOTHING to do with how cute / awesome / worthy of love you are. So put your hand solemnly over your heart, and repeat after me: I reject that bullshit sexist script. I vow to protect my brain-space like a lioness protects her tiny lions.

And here is how you do that: when you start to feel jealous, un-pert, or manatee-y, you take a breath and remind yourself that those emotions are Just Emotions, not Accurate Reflections of Reality. In fact, you really don't even have to think about these issues anymore, because the rational part of you has already decided your stance: we trust him. We like ourselves a lot. We are not a manatee.

Warning: this is really fucking hard. Writing it all down can help. I happen to have several notes to myself that I pull out and read whenever I'm starting to feel and/or act crazy. These notes say things like, "Are you about to start bleeding? 'Cause remember, that shit makes you crazy!" And, "Why don't you knit something, honey? And maybe smoke a bowl and watch G.I. Jane? You'll feel better tomorrow, promise, xoxox!"

It sounds goofy, but in my psycho-bubble moments, it really helps to (a) laugh at myself at least a little, and (b) remember that I do sometimes exist in another, more rational and easy-going form. Maybe it will help you, too.

So yeah, just give it some time, and try to maintain a little objectivity on how you feel — as much as you can. Radically easier said than done, I know. I know! But it's one of the worthiest endeavors, and will serve you well in rebuilding things with your man and in just about everything else you try to do in general.

Over time, trusting him won't be so hard anymore. Even better, you'll start to see that feeling like a manatee is a mechanical, predictable thing that your brain does. Brains make thoughts like butts make poops, and none of it necessarily means anything. We get to decide what is important and true. Thus sayeth A Lady.

You will also notice that the less you indulge that old sea-cow feeling, the less you will be tempted to snoop. Truth!

Previously: Delicate Subjects, Erratic Cycles, and the "Best Friend."

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by AigarsR, via Shutterstock



361 Comments / Post A Comment

Hellcat

OH MY GOD, The Zax!

madge

@Hellcat i want to refer to the zax about 3 times a year and always forget what they are called!

Hellcat

@madge I regularly start reciting "The 23 Daves" just to see if I can remember all the names in it. Also, I like to reference the brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits from, I think, "The Lorax."

JessicaLovejoy

and he just makes a weird clicking noise, no saliva just dry lips.

My outer lady parts retracted in horror upon reading this. I'M LIKE A BARBIE DOLL DOWN THERE NOW

yeah-elle

@JessicaLovejoy Seriously, what is this? WHAT IS IT?

squid v. whale

@JessicaLovejoy It sounds like maybe he's gumming it? Like, drawing in his lips over his teeth and smacking? Now everyone in my lab wants me to stop making the clicking noise.

realtalk

@squid v. whale ahahahaha my lab is looking at me all weird too!

Anji

@JessicaLovejoy I legit just inhaled my Coke Zero at this. And now I plan on stealing that phrase for when I come across something incredibly unsexy.

two-cute

@JessicaLovejoy like, i don't even know what that is supposed to mean? what could he possibly be doing down there???

Lily Rowan

@squid v. whale OMG, he read bj tips and tried to apply them.

squid v. whale

@Lily Rowan YES! But surely not? But maybe?!

Bebe

@yeah-elle Forgive me, because I was bored last night and Hall Pass was on HBO, but - maybe he's "fake chowing" her?

Megasus

@JessicaLovejoy I secretly hope so, because that would be hilarious. I mean, still terrible, but I would laugh a lot.

iheartoxytocin

@JessicaLovejoy I assumed he was giving her little pecks, like middle school kisses? Sometimes it amazes me how little knowledge men have re ladyparts.

squid v. whale

"BRAINS MAKE THOUGHTS LIKE BUTTS MAKE POOPS" (emphasis mine.)

Going easy on one's self is one of the hardest lessons I've ever attempted to learn.

xxAnniexx

@squid v. whale
Ahahaha! I was also just about to pay homage to this line with the quotation mark trophy.

squid v. whale

@xxAnniexx I love a good poop joke, but it's coupled with PERFECT ADVICE, and man I am jealous of whoever is bestest friends with this lady.

Hella

@squid v. whale That line hit me with a great big "AHAH!" of truth. Not all thoughts are wise and meaningful! Some are just dumb reflexes.

miwome

@xxAnniexx Me too!

sarahe

@squid v. whale For real, so amazing.

Thanks, A Lady, for invoking poop and giving me a (maybe NSFW?) mantra.

Craftastrophies

@squid v. whale I might need to make a cross stitch sampler with this on it.

Chris Clark@facebook

@squid v. whale 10,000 agrees! This is my new favourite sentence - and learning that everything you think is not utter gospel is a really hard thing but sooooo useful for the whole of your life.
Great advice and so beautifully, poetically, expressed xx

LilyMarlene

@squid v. whale This quote pretty much just rendered my last twenty years of on-and-off therapy completely unnecessary, and has nicely summarized the secret to having a quieter mind.

bonanza

@squid v. whale With this and "vow to protect my brain-space like a lioness protects her tiny lions," this lady is really killing it.

ArcherLady

@bonanza I quoted this in my FB status and someone asked me if it was a Vonnegut quote. Definitely killing it, A Lady.

The Lady of Shalott

Please tell me I'm not the only one who is absolutely desperate to know what the "hugely disrespectful" thing is the juicebox did!!!!

Maria

@The Lady of Shalott me too.

two-cute

@The Lady of Shalott same! i'm not reading these for the advice, i'm reading them for the gossip, and i hate when people hold out!

Emby

@The Lady of Shalott He used his salad fork to eat his veal and failed to compliment the china.

DangerDangerDanger

@Emby Outside in. duh.

SarahP

@The Lady of Shalott One of the only reasons it would occur to me to tell a friend "I do not approve of the dude you're dating" would be if he were racist or homophobic, so in my head he said something like that.

But maybe all he did was smack her butt in public and the friend didn't find it disrespectful because she actually likes that? (But LW2 is a prude so did find it disrespectful.) I always like to think on the bright side. And about butts.

thebestjasmine

@SarahP In my head he was mean to a waitress, because I find that that's what juiceboxes do (especially since the other person seemed not to be a member of their friend group).

Megasus

@SarahP Well, I know someone from uni who was dating a dude who would ask her friends out behind her back (like literally texted one of her friends to meet up for coffee, and she went because she thought his girlfriend would be there, and then he started going on about having second thoughts about their engagement and that it was a date), but no one ever told her so they're married now. OH and he also makes giant red flag comments that suggest he might be a pedophile (for example: "I don't think I could have a daughter, because it would be weird to like hug her and have her sit on my knee.")

Nutellaface

@Megan Patterson@facebook AHHHH WHAT

Megasus

@Nutellaface I WISH I WERE JOKING BUT THIS MAN IS REAL.

Inkling

@SarahP
Never not thinking about butts.

Inkling

@Megan Patterson@facebook
Someone needs to know about the second part of that. Like instantly. Better safe than molested.

travelmugs

@Inkcrafter Agreed. Anonymous letter if you can't actually work up the nerve to tell the friend. But seriously, people need to know.

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott Well, I'm not close enough to this person to say anything, but we have a mutual friend, and I have told her many, many times. And she already knows about the pedophile thing, as he says this sort of thing in front of her all the time. I mean, I don't know who to even tell about that, because you can't really do anything unless you know he's done something.

Maria

"Brains make thoughts like butts make poops"
I feel this should be embroidered on a pillow. Where are my crafty 'pinners at?

EpWs

@Maria I will learn to cross-stitch for this.

miwome

@Maria My thoughts exactly.

Jane Err

@Maria I'm on it!

EpWs

@Jane Err I WILL PAY YOU MONEYS FOR THIS.

Maria

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher @Jane Err
Aww. I knew you all would come through for me.

ChaCha

Lady number one! Check your dude to see if he is tongue tied! I'm not even joking, this is a real life thing and it can impede proper suckage and lickage, which would explain the clicking and all around bad oral sex. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankyloglossia

Reginal T. Squirge

@ChaCha This makes it sound like LW1's boyfriend is her dog. Which is how LW1 made it sound as well.

ChaCha

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Sure, I could have phrased it better. It was intended to be a light spirited comment, I wasn't being literal. I know that generally human beings would probably frown upon other human beings grabbing them by the jaw and checking out their frenulums without having a chat about it first.

Reginal T. Squirge

@ChaCha Yeah, I know it was best intentions and all. These things just make me feel weird when I read them. People talk about training their SO's and such and I wonder if people would be more upset if the genders were reversed.

EpWs

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I get unreasonably angry when women talk about how much their boyfriends/fiancees/husbands are "whipped." THIS IS NOT A THING TO BRAG ABOUT.

princessS

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher ME TOO. When my co-worker was engaged she once said, "I'm excited to be getting married because now I can yell at future-husband all the time and he can't do anything about it." That is not ok and you sound like a huge bitch. Well, to be fair, she is.

Jane Err

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher That is not unreasonable! I also feel that way about guys being "whipped" or "trained". Ew.

EpWs

@princessS NONE OF THIS IS OKAY! As ReginalTSquirge@twitter pointed out, if the genders were reversed, people would be yelling so much about it being an abusive relationship that the roof of the internet would blow off, but it's somehow okay/endearing/acceptable when women do it? No. Not playing that game. Relationships without mutual respect are not okay.
@JaneErr You are totally right. I get reasonably angry about this because see above. NOT OKAY.

princessS

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Agree agree agree all day. I don't understand how some women find this to be cute and/or empowering behavior. Like, nope, that's pretty much the opposite of how powerful, smart women get shit done. Don't be a doormat, obvi, but more flies with honey and all that.

joie

@ChaCha I used to be tongue tied and had surgery to get it fixed when I was 16. I still have a slight lisp and can't stick my tongue out very far. I've had to work really hard (haha!) to be a proficient oral sexer, and it's only in the past year that I've felt like, after almost 10 years of giving head, that I could actually do it and not feel self conscious about my itty bitty teensy tongue/mouth issues. So, maybe the boyfriend has a similar thing, and if so, he has my deepest sympathies.

Craftastrophies

@princessS Cosigned, all of this. I left a party in a huff the other day. Somehow I ended up in the Mother's Ghetto while the men got to talk about interesting things (note, I have many mother friends who I enjoy talking to at parties. This was not that crowd. It was a baby-off). Apart from whose baby was smarter/more difficult, the only topic of discussion was how useless men were, and bragging about ways the women had 'won' in situations.

If you have to think about your relationships in terms of 'winning', then everyone's lost. See earlier 'it's supposed to be you two against the world, not against each other' advice. It made me so mad - if the genders had been switched, everyone would have been outraged. But no, it's 'empowering'. I call bullshit.

Xanthophyllippa

@ChaCha I’ve just really been wanting to grab you by the jaw and check out your frenulum.

bonnbee

Ughhh, LW2 is there EVER a good way to tell a friend that her beloved boyfriend is a total juicebox and asshole? Methinks not. Ask A Lady's advice is the best there is. Because if you're like, "He is SUCH an asshole!" your friend will back away and the friendship will get weaker.

One of my friends has been on and off with this total juicebox for years, and he sounds just like your friend's man. We go to a bar and he pouts in the corner the whole time. She's dying to get engaged, but there are soooooo many warning signs. If their relationship was a highway there'd be concrete walls and blinking lights and "TURN AROUND" signs everywhere. No one in our friends group knows what to do because that marriage will not last but no one wants to say it to her.

Also, something else you said kind of makes me sad. It reminds me of something another friends said the other day. She was talking about her friend, who I'll call Annie, who's in her mid-thirties. Annie wants kids and a "nuclear family" so bad she didn't care who her husband was. She dated this guy for like a year (not a long time at all before getting married, IMHO), planned their wedding including booking the catering hall before she was engaged, and got pregnant on the honeymoon. My friend was like, "Yeah, I mean they're both very practical. They're friends and get along. You don't need to be in love to get married, life's not a fairytale. They both just wanted to be parents." It kind of sounds like your friend has the same idea, and it gives me sadface.

Argh why do competent, smart, beautiful ladies settle for juiceboxes??

leastimportantperson

@bonnbee The older I get, the more I think you totally can tell your beloved friends if you really think their SO is heinous. It's just that the price is probably going to be whatever's left of your friendship. I know that sounds bad and impossible, but sometimes things get so poisonous the respect drains out of the friendship. I don't know that it's always great to try to remain super close with someone whose SO grosses you out.

Hellcat

@bonnbee I have a few friends--well, probably more like higher-tier acquaintances, mostly--that have, IMO, settled. And what I can come up with is this: for some people, the wedding/suburbs/kids thing is a higher priority than the "perfect" romance. It's hard for me to get my head around that but maybe they feel the same way when they assess my relationship lifestyle (separate homes--still renting in my case; no kids; older cars; no college funds to save for...)?

I don't know; I am probably not explaining it well. Everyone deserves the best possible partner but maybe some people are working from a whole different pros-and-cons list. Sort of like how I won't move into a place without a washer/dryer, but someone else absolutely needs a garage?

thebestjasmine

@bonnbee In answer to your last question: because they think they won't find anyone else.

karion

@leastimportantperson: Holy shit, this is stupendously good advice:

It's just that the price is probably going to be whatever's left of your friendship. I know that sounds bad and impossible, but sometimes things get so poisonous the respect drains out of the friendship.

If you find yourself unable to resist editorializing on your "friend's" lousy SO, then you aren't nearly as good of friends as you think you are. You have probably lost respect for her, maybe because of him, maybe other things. But unless you are specifically asked your opinion, only an asshole would volunteer up their opinion - as though their opinion had any bearing on the matter. GAH.

entangled

@Hellcat I totally get what you're saying. But I think there's a big difference between what the LW's friend is doing and what the "Annie" example sounds like. There's a world of difference between a disrespectful juicebox and a relationship based on friendship and practicality rather than love and romance. A relationship without respect is not built to last even before the added stresses of children but the settling for a relationship without romance is difficult and sad, but not necessarily doomed (I feel like maybe a lot of relationships get there eventually over the years and while it's sad, it's maybe not a disaster).

Then again, I try to be as forgiving as I can about this because being near the end of one's childbearing years and wanting children desperately is something that seems really heartbreaking and yet something that as a childfree and partnered person I realize I can't really relate to.

leastimportantperson

@karion I mean, I've had plenty of friends date guys that ranged from annoying to boring to "I'm sending you the sociopath checklist, tell me this doesn't ring a million bells". And I haven't ever really blown up the friendship by saying something. But looking back, there are one or two points when I wish I had just done it. Because it would have been more respectful overall to be like, "Okay, I've fucking had it with this horrible monster you're dating, and I'm done biting my tongue and talking smack about him to my mom." Just because sometimes those seemingly inexplicable relationships are harbingers, and they're showing you how things are going. Friendship is 20000x more complicated than most people give it credit for.

City_Dater

@bonnbee

Sometimes when people want certain things that have, or feel like they have, an expiration date, they get all practical in a way that looks completely wrong to those of us who don't have those wants.

Which is my way of saying I know more than a few people who really wanted to be married/parents by a certain point in their lives, and they are in relationships that involve more compromise and adjustment than I personally would find comfortable. But I have always had a perfectly silent biological clock and tend to make impetuous relationship decisions that very likely terrify these married people.

Hellcat

@arrr starr Same here--I have no idea what it might feel like to want those things knowing that you more or less have a biological time limit, whereas the things I want have no such thing. And, yes, the "Annie" story sounds far more feasible to me than this LW's friend's situation.

I think, though, that there are so many variables regarding telling a friend what you think of their significant other (all of which mean nothing if there is actual abuse happening, obviously), one being the whole "Annie" thing, but others being, like, what kind of attitude does this particular friend typically have when someone expresses an unsolicited opinion? Or, if she does solicit it, is she a person who only wants the "right" answer? Does she care one way or the other what her friends think of her fiance, or anything else for that matter? Has she already considered all of these things about the guy and decided for herself she's OK with his ways? I don't know; I guess my approach in something like this would depend on the other people involved.

@City_Dater Yes to all of that what you said, especially that silent clock. Because me too on that.

Emma Peel

@arrr starr Agreed, those don't sound like the same thing at all. My parents were friends who happened to "fall in love" right when my mom was 30 and my dad was 35 and the "time to settle down!!!" alarm was going off. They've always seemed to have more of a business-partner type relationship than a romantic one, but they seem happy enough.

It's not ideal, but it could be a whole lot worse.

Settling for an asshole because you don't think you'll find anything better? That's another story.

Diana

@everyone

Basically, we assume that everybody wants to be Eliza Bennett, but there are many ladies who are perfectly fine becoming Charlotte Lucas. We might think Mr. Collins is hideous and awful and would never marry him in a million years, but if they are comfortable together then it's not the worst thing in the world, sometimes life and circumstances are unfair and you make the best life in this world that you can. There's nothing shameful about being a Charlotte Lucas! She was not the pitiable part of the story! Now if your friend's boyfriend is such an asshole that you think she's Lydia Bennett.....that is an entirely different kettle of fish.

timesnewroman

@Diana Oh my God Diana. That is beautiful. A+++

yarabollocks

@Diana
I think you just helped me FINALLY realize something about my bff and her husband. She is the world's biggest P&P fan, so it especially fits. Hmmm... *ponders*

Killerpants

"Brains make thoughts like butts make poops, and none of it necessarily means anything. We get to decide what is important and true. Thus sayeth A Lady."

This Lady is my favorite Lady. My very, very favorite.

EpWs

"When you start to feel jealous, un-pert, or manatee-y, you take a breath and remind yourself that those emotions are Just Emotions, not Accurate Reflections of Reality."

I would like to have this painted on a billboard and have that billboard stuffed into my bedroom, somehow.

redheaded&crazy

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher "Hi, yes, I'll need that to come with flashing lights and loud blaring noises. And can you put a rush on this order? I'm talking HIGH. PRIORITY. Step on it!"

EpWs

@redheadedandcrazy I feel like someone with Graphic Design and Typography Skillz (I know you're out there, 'Pinners!) needs to be making these things into super stylish desktops that we can all download...? Please?

j-bird

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I want stickies in cool colors and typefaces that say all of these things.

Especially this one:
"Are you about to start bleeding? 'Cause remember, that shit makes you crazy!"

DianaPrince

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher @j-bird @redheadedandcrazy - I don't have any of those Skillz, but I do have photoshop, and work I am avoiding, so I made you ladies a present!

redheaded&crazy

@xx-xx-xx OH MY LORD THIS IS GOING ON MY DESKTOP!

redheaded&crazy

@xx-xx-xx although I believe I requested flashing lights ...

but no no, it's cool, it's really great!

EpWs

@xx-xx-xx OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

redheaded&crazy

it REALLY is REALLY great! :D

DianaPrince

@redheadedandcrazy - I don't know how to make flashing lights.... do blink tags still work on the Internet? Let's find out... (just found out, they don't).

EpWs

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher HOLY SHIT IT WORKED. Well played, glitterboo, well played.

j-bird

@xx-xx-xx EEK! Saved to my desktop as manatee-wisdom.jpg.

:)

LilyMarlene

@xx-xx-xx OMG, MOAR PLEASE!!!

Xanthophyllippa

@xx-xx-xx Will you graphic-design my entire life?

KanadrAllegria@twitter

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher, et al. I feel like this thing where people make inspirational gifs/posters/stamps/bilboards with flashing lights/whatever-you-want-to-call-this out of the wise words of a Lady should be a regular occurrence. That's not just me, is it?

EpWs

@Bobbi Nunn@twitter It's me too! Edith, Jane, if you make this happen (throw pillows, please!) I promise we will pay you moneys for them.

noodge

@xx-xx-xx FABULOUS. new desktop motif.

noodge

sometimes sexual compatibility is less than awesome in certain parts of a couple's dynamic, but more than awesome in others. like, some dude's p in v action is boring to me, but their cunnilingus is AMAZING. other times, their cunnilingus is ho-hum or ouchee (i HATE the clit sucking, btw... feels awful to me) but he's great and open minded with toys. i agree with A Lady - the letter writer sounds waaaay angry for something that's kind of a fact of life sometimes - namely, some incompatibility factors with oral sex. does she think he's intentionally not doing it the way she wants it?

H.E. Ladypants

@teenie Exactly! You and your partner are both going to be awesome at some things and less awesome at other things. Building a compatible sexual relationship isn't about finding a partner who can do (or learn to do) every act just the way you want it. Sometimes you have to accept certain things will not be perfect and move on to the bits that are more bad-ass. And that's okay!

oh, disaster

"Brains make thoughts like butts make poops, and none of it necessarily means anything." This Lady wins this week.

bookbike

Hey Last-lady writer. Nearly the exact same thing happened to me. Except for instead of finding out that he was talking to a friend about the out-of-country transgression, he was talking to the chick with which he committed it. I don't know. It really hurt for awhile, but I did as A Lady recommended and decided that I really did trust him and that I would just have to sit down and have a TALK. Also, just be really strong about reminding yourself of who you are and how many awesome things you have to offer. Remember that he is choosing to live with YOU and you only. Obviously you two have a thing that is more important than any other thing with any other girl - foreign or not.

yeah-elle

This is the evil bad person hiding inside of me that is speaking up, but...LW1, is there any chance that he's being bad at oral sex on purpose because he doesn't want to do it? Like, he thinks if he's consistently bad at it, you'll stop asking? I am probably just being a suspicious turd by typing this at all.

junkle

@yeah-elle Or not trying because he's seething with resentment?

MilesofMountains

@yeah-elle I feel like if he was doing it because he just doesn't like giving oral, by the time he's put up with lectures and demonstrations and instructional videos and her potentially bringing another person into their sexy-times for the express purpose of being a sexual version of those CPR Annie dolls (how much fun would that be for lady they bring in, eh?) then he'd probably have decided it was less of a PITA to just suck her off already.

fabel

@yeah-elle I thought that too, because her description of it does wow, sound so awful. And I agree with A Lady that giving him instructions constantly can only be detrimental, so maybe he DID want to do it, but doesn't want to anymore. But ahhh, I'd be angry too actually!

fabel

Also, guys who give good oral genuinely LIKE doing it & get really into it themselves. So if he's bad, that probably means he doesn't like/want to do it. (I know, generalizations and possibly faulty logic, but in my personal experience I have always found this to be true)

yeah-elle

@junkle Yeah, the lack of appreciation of whatever effort he's making isn't exactly conducive to trying harder or him enjoying himself (which should be a component).

charizard

@yeah-elle For real, it's not *that* hard. Stimulating the sex organs isn't rocket surgery - especially when your partner is telling you exactly how to do it. LW1's partner sounds like a shitty lover in the first place and a resentful baby after that, but that's probably the message I got from LW1's description of the whole thing.

MoonBat

@yeah-elle
Ugh I think LW1 should be grounded from all oral for a year based on acting like such a mean selfish monster about making her bf do it exactly her way and no other!!!

yeah-elle

@MoonBat Oh, I totally agree. LW1 is definitely not dealing with her frustration in a kind, or even respectful manner. A lady like that should step waaaay back and consider her entitlement issues. But the matter still stands—the dude is not improving at all, and doesn't even seem to be picking up (even slightly) on her (perhaps more previously gentle) instruction. I feel like there has to be some kind of explanation.

thebestjasmine

@charizard Her PARTNER sounds like a shitty lover and resentful baby? He seems like an all around great guy and prince of a man if he can put up with her ordering him around like this and he must be a pretty great sexual partner too if he cares this much about her to undergo all of this (or, sadly, just in an abusive relationship).

sophia_h

@yeah-elle My guy sucks at it because he doesn't like it. End of story. We've been together for 12 years (I'm not that old, we started young!), and I went through a period of time where I acted kind of like LW1 and always wanted to talk about why he would never go down on me and like, analyze and dissect our respective feelings, and he would just clam right up. Then I realized that on the rare occasions when he would do it, I didn't even enjoy it because he wasn't into it and was just going through the barest (gross and slurpy) motions.

End result: I haven't asked him to do it in years. We do other things. Life goes in and everybody still has orgasms!

charizard

@thebestjasmine All she said is that she tells him how she gets off, that he's read some articles about cunnilingus, and that this has been a problem over a period of months (and I bet he doesn't try to go down on her every time they get together, so what, a couple of sexual encounters?). Sure, she's angry, but if she would have used a slightly different word (say, "frustrated"), you'd be singing a different tune.

A less than charitable person will accuse her of being abusive and ordering him around, but on the other hand, maybe she's just telling him how she likes it. Should we shame her for saying exactly what she wants, when not doing so is exactly how you wind up with miscommunication problems?

thebestjasmine

@charizard If she said that she was frustrated and used all of the same words, I'd still feel really sorry for him. I'm not sure why you think that this reaction hinges on the word angry, it's all about her behavior. She's been telling him for months how much he does it wrong (and since she said that they're long term and she's very sexual, I don't really understand why you would think that means a couple of sexual encounters), gives him articles to read and porn to watch for instruction, and wants to bring another person in to show him how it's done (wow, that's humiliating for him and a terrible thing to do to someone else). I'm not in the habit of shaming people for anything really, but she's done a lot more than say exactly what she wants. He knows what she wants, he can't provide it, now she's just harassing him now.

treeskier170

@charizard I'm kind of with you on this one, but kind of not. The woman definitely sounds like she wants it one way, and any deviation from that is not good enough, which kind of sucks, b/c maybe he's not so good at sucking on it but better at licking it, which she doesn't like, which is unfortunate. On the other hand, I (personally) want my gf to tell me how she wants it if I'm not giving it up good enough. If she doesn't need to tell me b/c my way is good enough, awesome for me. I do have to say though, you need to be into it as a dude. You need to want to get right in there and make give some orgasms! If he doesn't like it, he won't know what the f to do. And if she's constantly ordering him around, maybe he's afraid to say he doesn't like doing it? Like she won't want to have any sex with him anymore? If this is a deal breaker though, b/c there are plenty of other things out there that give good orgasms, maybe it's the relationship as a whole.

thebestjasmine

I feel so so sorry for LW1's boyfriend.

BoozinSusan

@thebestjasmine Ha, you got what I wanted to say, much more succinctly. Poor Dude.

melis

@thebestjasmine "You have four minutes to bring me to orgasm or I'm going to slice off your lips, Brian, hand to God."

noodge

@melis "what are you DOOOING down there? Lindsay, will you come in here and show him how to eat some pussy like a real man?"

Hellcat

@thebestjasmine I do too. I keep thinking of how my own BF would feel in this scenario and it makes me sad.

Daisy Razor

@thebestjasmine I keep imagining that her idea of foreplay is going, "BEDROOM. NOW!"

MilesofMountains

@thebestjasmine I'm trying to picture my boyfriend sitting me down with BJ porn with the instruction to learn to do it the way they do it and I can't do it. I go straight to red-haze-of-rage.

EpWs

@MilesofMountains "God, just let me bring in another dude to show you how this is done."

thebestjasmine

@MilesofMountains Yes, this is where her boyfriend's friends are probably biting their tongues like LW2 has to.

PistolPackinMama

@thebestjasmine Yeah, it's the "angry" part. That seems kind of entitled. If Imperfect Oral is a deal breaker for you, then walk on the contract now so he can go be with someone else. Once he gets over the issues this will have given him about sex.

atipofthehat

@Daisy Razor

WORKS FOR ME

... reporting to bedroom

Daisy Razor

@atipofthehat Everything's fun in the right context!

BoozinSusan

Resoundingly agree with A Lady's response to LW1, if only because yeah, the more aggressive you get about ANYTHING, the shittier the other person is going to feel, and the less inclined they'll be to help you. I actually am not sure how her BF puts up with her angry, entitled attitude, and yes, if it were a guy constantly yelling at his girlfriend to get his bj's right already goddammit, this totally wouldn't fly.

NB: I'm not saying pleasure isn't important. I'm echoing A Lady: she needs to try to relax.

emilylou

Blah, LW2. I've seen a good handful of awesome, smart girls date a good handful of juiceboxy guys. Like, maximum juicebox. Juicebox overflowing with juice, then you poke the straw in the top, and next thing you know it's spilling all over your table and making a big mess. Okay, this analogy is sucking.

Anyway, ugh, at HARD AS THIS IS FOR ME TO SAY, less is more when it comes to the criticizing. I have gotten myself into some unpleasant friendship snags after being too vocal about the douchiness of the boyfriends.

One of my very good friends just broke up with her boyf this weekend but she didn't even tell me for like a week because, according to her, "I'm sure you're just tired of hearing about him, and you'll just say I-told-you-so" :/ Sorry for partying, and by "partying," I mean, "pointing out how awful some dude is."

lora.bee

@emilylouise I like your analogy! Maybe there are different levels, like how there are actual juice boxes and then there are those crappy ones in the shiny bags with the skinny skinny straw that ALWAYS makes a mess!

Or maybe there are just juiceboxes. Period.

miwome

@emilylouise "this analogy is sucking" I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

MrComment

@emilylouise Maybe the better strategy is to build up their confidence as much as you can and help them realize they're too good for the dude.

emilylou

@MrComment Totally, and I try to take that approach. My normal stance is something along the lines of "He doesn't value how awesome you are, girl! He needs to realize what a great girlfriend you are! You deserve someone who makes you feel amazing, not insecure!" etc etc. I don't just rip on the dudes ("He wears ugly clothes! He seems dumb!" etc). But still, it always just seems like veeeeery thin ice.

To be fair, when perfectly rational friends have given me the "your dude doesn't treat you right" speeches in the past, lord knows I've ignored them and defended the j-box. We all have our blinders on when it comes to relationships sometimes. It's hard to hear what we don't want to, even if it's the truth! Life is weird!

MrComment

@emilylouise Ladies night out- "Look at that hot guy over there, but I feel like he's more you're type, don't you think?" I think sometimes people forget that they're actually making a choice to stay with someone. Or it could be that her last dude suffered from a short tongue and dry lips, and the new one happens to be quite skilled so there's no way she's letting him go.

Slapfight

@emilylouise In my experience, A Lady nailed this one. Maaaaaaaybe a polite mention of doubts can pass, but people choose who they choose and sadly you can't prevent them from getting married (and possibly divorced) later. As long as the friend seems happy, I leave it alone.

junkle

You know, a funny thing happened when the big light shone down and I never felt like snooping again. At the same time, I got over anyone snooping on me. Partly in a good way, like, If someone finds out my secrets, then that's me, take it or leave it. Better you know, maybe. But also in a stupid way, like, No one's going to be interested in reading the stuff I write in my little notebook, so I won't be as on-the-spot about keeping it locked up. Which is just not true.

It's very strange. But also liberating. I was a teeeerrible snoop, and got bitten in the ass many times. And now I just, don't care. And it feels better. I recommend it. And my therapist, if anyone needs one in the bay area.

null

@junkle SAME! I know not everyone here is a Dan Savage fan, but I completely agree with his take on snooping:
"A confession: I've looked through my boyfriend's e-mail; I assume he's looked through mine. I've scrolled through his text messages; I assume he's scrolled through mine. Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people. It's a nice thought, JB, but knowing what we know about human nature—and knowing that we ourselves snoop, fart, and fantasize about other people—it's a little unrealistic."

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@junkle
I had a friend who was almost-engaged with this guy, then there was a bad breakup, then they got back together, then she read his phone while he was out of the room. He was back on OKC.

So they broke up, for good, at last. But it's such a quandary! Snooping is wrong, but wouldn't you rather know?

:Cinnamon Girl:

@junkle: I'M SO HAPPY TO HEAR THIS! Isn't it liberating not to snoop?! Snooping-related woes seem to show up in advice columns all over the place. Is nothing sacred anymore? Am I an idiot for trusting people not to snoop? How can you spot a snooper?

I REALLY value privacy, and I hate how our society seems to tell us we have a right to know our beloved's every thought and feeling. I dunno, I guess I just cringe at the thought of snooping or being snooped on (even if I have nothing to hide). I've never snooped on a boyfriend, even when given easy opportunities. Have I been tempted? Of course. But I just NEVER go there. I use this golden-rule somewhat selfishly -- A) by establishing a no-snoop policy in a relationship, hopefully he respects that I don't touch his stuff, so I can leave my journal or laptop around without worrying he's going to snoop; and B) because I can imagine snooping to be habit-forming, and I don't trust myself to go down that road.

I'm not saying that nothing good can come from snooping. Obviously I'd want to know if my partner were on OKC. But I happen to be on the forgiving/understanding side of the spectrum, so unless I already had suspicions, was seriously thinking about ending a relationship and needed some solid evidence to give me the push, I don't think it's worth it. To me, the costs of snooping are too high. Any other dinosaurs out there???

Slapfight

@josiah I've been snooped on and it made me FURIOUS, even though I had nothing to hide. It's still my goddamned privacy. At one point I had the opportunity to snoop in retribution, I clicked on one email and immediately closed it because I felt gross.
Nothing good ever comes from snooping, but also, yeah people find out things they should know sometimes.
Maybe I'm too damned trusting.

Dusk

@.Lauren. I totally hear you on the weird (new?) views on privacy. But at the same time; shit happens, you know? You can't be totally 100% sure all the time that your SO just doesn't randomly happen to have his gaze fall on something and read it - even by accident!

For me, even though I am CRAZY about privacy, I make sure that I keep the bits I want private kept in things that are small and CLEARLY known (with words and pointing), and I try my best not to worry about the other stuff. And of course I respect his privacy in the reverse!

princessS

LW3, are you me? Seriously. I just went through a very similar thing with my manfriend shortly after we moved in together after several years of long-distance dating, which UGH. It was beyond terrible but this Lady is spot on with her advice. It is so, so important to remember his poor decisions had nothing to do with you, your looks or anything about you at all. Cheating, even cheating lite (which, I don't know about you fellow 'pinners but cheating is cheating is cheating IMO), is a very selfish act.

It is possible to forgive and move past it, it is a long slow road but it sounds like you have a great relationship otherwise and people do make mistakes etc etc. But if you start doubting your fabulousness because of this and let it eat up your self confidence...just don't do it! You're great and he did a shitty thing and he needs to remind you every day how beautiful and wonderful you are and how lucky he is! (Also, you have to stop snooping...I'm still working on that...ummmm)

And anyway I think manatees are cute!

miwome

@princessS Manatees are SO AWESOME I mean really.

Slapfight

@miwome AAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH! SO AWESOME! Some friends and I went kayaking in Lover's Key FL and saw so many! Even a baby! They come right up to the boat. The first one scared the crap out of me though. It looked like a giant rock and we were headed straight for it. Luckily it was better at maneuvering the waters than we were.
Sorry. I get really excited about manatees.

Hella

@princessS Manatees are the original mermaids!

sceps yarx

@Hella I think those sailors liked their ladies with some curves! Which is rad! Let's all remember that a couple of hundred years ago manatee-y was a compliment.

Roseflowers

@princessS I am lady three! I guess it must have been a good few months since I wrote my letter, and I can say that it does get much, much better with time. We've moved on, we're healthier because we dealt with it. In this sense I am kind of glad that I made the (poor, admittedly) decision to snoop, because it reaffirmed everything we'd come to feel about each other and we no longer take each other for granted.

But the fact is, Lady is so right! I took the decision soon after writing that letter that taking the path of rolling around eating my weight in KFC and wailing about how grim I felt about myself would only lead to bad things. It always does! Since last year I have adhered to an intense regimen of radical self love, sexy dancing in front of the mirror while listening to sleigh bells and generally just being aware of my thoughts (vaginal and cranial) and stopping them negative brainwaves before they get too big.

By the by, the manatee is in reference to that song Nothing Came Out by Kimya Dawson, the bit where she's like "Iiiii'm just, a huge manatee". And you know Kimya, it's cool to be a manatee. I love manatees too.

alexandra

This batch of letters is such an emotional rollercoaster. From OMG STRESS RAGE to UGH JUICEBOXES to FUNNY HYPERWORRIED in 45 seconds flat. phew!

boomforreal

Ugh L3. Extremely similar experience, and still surprised at how long it's taken me to process infidelity lite. I love you, A Lady, and agree wholeheartedly with your advice, even though you made me cry. Not just because it brings up sad memories, but out of gratitude for how far I've come and how far we'll go. Every lady dealing with the vortex of infidelity/trust/insecurities should read this Sugar column, too: http://therumpus.net/2011/08/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-81-a-bit-of-sully-in-your-sweet/

DrCatPantsPhD

@boomforreal
Thank you for this. For your story and for the link to the Sugar column. That was probably the first thing I've read in this past year that has given me strength and hope in dealing with a very similar situation. I want to print that whole thing out and keep it in my back pocket for those times when my emotions take hold and I really need to check myself.

Oh, and it made me cry (the GOOD kind) a little bit too...

redheaded&crazy

Man, wanting better dudes for our friends is a universal constant, is it not?

rasko

@redheadedandcrazy Also wanting better ladies for our dude friends?
(And better partners for everyone in general?)

redheaded&crazy

@rasko what you said! replace what I said with what you said

BETTER PARTNERS FOR EVERYBODY! YOU GET A BETTER PARTNER! YOU GET A BETTER PARTNER! YOOOOOOOU GET A BETTER PARTNER!

miwome

@redheadedandcrazy LOOK UNDER YOUR CHAIRS!

wee_ramekin

@miwome "Thank you so much Oprah!!! *sobs*"

redheaded&crazy

@miwome it's a BEEEEEEEEETTER PARTNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!

SarahP

@redheadedandcrazy This is one of the reasons I'm almost always against telling a friend you don't approve of their SO. Because really, would you approve of anyone who isn't a model with a Harvard PhD who volunteers at animal shelters?

(I'm using "you" here but I sorta mean "I" or "we.")

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@miwome I'm not sure I want a partner who can fit under a chair...

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@josiah Chaise longue? Triclinium? Barstool? (Ok, maybe not a barstool)

Jane Err

"Brains make thoughts like butts make poops."
"I reject that bullshit sexist script. I vow to protect my brain-space like a lioness protects her tiny lions."

I love this A Lady, muchly.

meaux

"Relationships aren't about figuring out how to get what you want out of the other person — they're about creating something together, something that sustains and fulfills you both."

Well, that is just lovely and perfect, truly. I mean, it's not something I'd want for myself, of course, but still.

rasko

"Even more important, you decide that whatEVER anyone else in the world does, including him, you're not going to let it affect how you feel about yourself."

I copied this (well, the whole paragraph) and the next paragraph into a word document titled "Relationship advice from hairpin for someday when I need it."
Planning ahead, etc.

Jane Err

@rasko Totally. I've already memorized sections and committed to them as my new mantra. Amazing.

karion

In re LW#1: My long-term boyfriend and I are absolutely inseparable..
Yeah, this sounds like an otherwise healthy relationship. I keep imagining the outrage if this had been written by a man, complaining about his GF's blow job skills, especially if he had included the inseparable line. GAH.

In re LW#2: none of this - NONE OF IT - is your business. Your friend is a grown woman who makes all of her own choices. You get to make yours, and it really sounds like you have lost respect for her. You need to end this relationship, and stop prodding her to end hers. You are the asshole in your relationship, BTW. You. Have a nice day.

SarahP

@karion Aw, but "inseparable" doesn't have to mean codependent or unhealthy. You can be a well-rounded individual and still want to spend as much time as possible with your partner.

atipofthehat

@SarahP

By "inseparable" she means she won't let him up until he gets it right.

H.E. Ladypants

@SarahP Yeah. My boyfriend and I have days where we wake up together spend all morning being silly and chatty, email/text a dozen times about what's going on during the day, during to the day, go hang out together, and then come home and stay up late talking.

Inseparable doesn't have to mean unhealthy. Sometimes insparable just means going through a period of BFFing really hard with your partner.

SarahP

@H.E. Ladypants "BFFing really hard with your partner!" I love it! My husband and I have been like that almost from the start of our relationship, and it's awesome.

ilikemints

I kind of want to stick up for LW1. I've been there. To paraphrase Chris Rock, "It's not right... but I understand. After a while, no matter how patient you are, it starts to feel like somehow you're being punished, but you aren't sure why. Getting your flowers arranged should be a grand ole time just for you... and when it consistently is irritating instead of pleasurable it really does become infuriating, especially when it's from someone you love. You hope to be with that person forever, therefore, you'll receive terrible cunnilingus forever, while everyone else is orgasming explosively all the time always. And it does make you start to resent your partner. But therein lies the problem. Everything gets soured, and it starts to color your entire relationship because you cannot see past it.

I read somewhere that sex should always be centered around the ideas of confidence and joy. You have to believe in your partner, and focus on the joy aspect. That isn't to say settle, which is kind of how I feel A Lady answered the question. Give directions in a positive, sexy way, go heavy on the positive reinforcement. It feels from your letter you may have turned it more into a chore for him- try making it more of an exciting event.

Again, though, I've been there. And there may just be plain old sexual incompatibility, and you have to decide whether or not no or bad vulva kissing is something you can live with.

madge

@ilikemints i like the confidence and joy idea ... but LW1 needs to back off in a major way before she tries any more "tactics"

redheaded&crazy

@ilikemints I've been there too, although not to the same porn demonstrationating extent. But I do get the frustration of giving oral (and enjoying it) and feeling weird that it's not reciprocated. And it really does cause resentment and relationship souring.

I have no helpful advice. And I agree that the way the situation has developed is super UN-helpful.

I would take all oral off the table for an agreed upon and significant period of time (make it up front that this is the case) and enjoy all the other enjoyable stuff so that there's less pressure and stress and blah blah blah. (this is Dan Savage tm advice sorry) And then when it gets put back on the table, take the approach described by ilikemints and try to stay positive.

I dunno. I have so many FEELINGS about the whole to-demand-reciprocation-or-to-DTMFA-or-whatever.

noodge

@ilikemints to me, confidence and joy in this situation could mean "hey, I really like (something that is not oral sex but you truly like) - let's do that!" to explore their sexual experiences and find out all the places he can make her toes curl. Oral sex is not the be all and end all - and if that is the extent of this person's sexual repertoire, then there are possible some other issues.

ilikemints

@madge No, I totally agree about how she's being bratty/unreasonable about it. I just think that her desire to fucking fix this sitch already has made her lose focus on what's really important, which is a loving and respectful relationship.

Marzipan

@ilikemints Yeah, I read somewhere that if your partner makes you feel like you are good at sex, you'll be way better as sex. I don't know how this was researched? I thought it was some kind of study, but now it definitely sounds like it came from Cosmo? I feel like if someone lied to boost my confidence, I would feel like it was insulting and manipulative? But if I didn't know it was a lie, I do think it WOULD kind of work on me, so. I mean, yeah. Confidence is sexy, shame and embarrassment and frustration at not being good enough is not.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@ilikemints: Because you never closed your quotation, I read your whole comment in Chris Rock's voice. Funny and enlightening!

wee_ramekin

@Too Much Internet Haha! I did the same thing! I was like "Wow. Chris went from biting wit to Rul Profound rul fast!".

H.E. Ladypants

@Marzipan I think that's sort of true of learning anything, though. (By which I mean positive reinforcement rather than lying.) Generally when people get positive feedback on anything they're doing they lean harder towards what they're doing right and do all of it with more confidence and gusto. I've seen this happen with everything from learning how to ride a bike to creative writing. It totally makes sense to me that sex would be the same.

ilikemints

@Too Much Internet Ah! I like it better that way, too!

CranberryQueen

@ilikemints I kind of want to stick up for her too. I have this issue with my boyfriend- I don't orgasm very often and I really feel oral would help. He claims to be bothered by the lack of orgasms but in practise does very little about it. The few times he's tried going down on me, it hasn't been very good and I've tried to give him tips in a supportive, encouraging way, but he doesn't seem to take any of it on.

He told me he doesn't want to do it because he doesn't think he's very good at it, and since my tips weren't working,I found some good instructional articles about it and showed them to him, thinking that seeing it in writing might help since my verbal explanations didn't. He tried some of the tips and it felt really good and I let him know, but I didn't quite reach orgasm that night and since then he's just tried once more in his old style, then he gave up, saying he just isn't good at it. But I know that when he tried some new things it was working, so that's really freaking frustrating.

I love sex, I love going down on him, and since I have a higher sex drive than him I kind of feel happy whenever he wants to have sex at all. But the saying that he cares and then simply seeming to give up and revert to pre-oral-tips and claim lack of skill is frustrating and I can understand feeling angry about it. I happily looked up bj tips to see if there was anything else I could try for him. I mean, when it comes to pleasing your partner, if you care, how hard can it be?

noodge

@CranberryQueen yeeeahhhh, but if your bf is not doing oral sex the way you want him to, despite your attempts to encourage him in the right direction, then... that's kind of it. you can't force him to be different (any more than anybody can force anyone else to be different). trying to do so just creates resentment and BAGGAGE. if LW1's dude has never really "gotten it right", and this is a big big deal to her, why has she made this guy her Love - her Long Term Boyfriend who she is "inseparable" from? The more i read this letter, the more it seems like a younger individual who wrote it, because most of the ladies I know (in late 20's or early 30's) wouldn't allow a relationship go this far with such a glaring incompatibility issue.

You can't go into a relationship saying "this is The One! I love him SO MUCH! except for this - he needs to change this if it's going to work. and I'm not going to leave him if it seems like he's not going to change, i'm just going to keep on hammering on it until he gets it BECAUSE HE'S MINE!!!" - I was in a relationship like that (not about sex, but about a number of other things) and I swear to god it would have been such a cleaner and nicer situation if he would have just said "yo, this doesn't work for me" instead of "i love you and want to be with you forever, but you need to..." whatever - grow your hair long, be "sexier", stop making that face when you're being silly. That's just a load of mind-gamey BS there, and LW1 needs to understand that and stop it.

Maud

I once was in the position of being the friend with the juicebox partner. I felt some of my friends were...surprised by the fact I fell in love with him, but they never talked to me about it. Even if I asked about their feelings towards him they just went like: hmmyeahheywantsomecoffee? I seriously think it would've helped if they just told me WHY they were not happy with him. Because, then it maybe would have delayed me moving it with him. And I'd have had more time to find out what a prick he was. Plus, when it ended, everybody was like: yeah, he wasn't right for you. Which felt like: 'hate to say I told you so' except for no one ever told me.

(no, I don't always do what my friends tell me to, and yes: everybody has the right to fall in love with a juicebox once, but still :))

oh, disaster

@Maud I once told a friend that I thought her ex-bf was a juicebox (after some pressure from another friend of hers to be honest). She seemed hurt but also seemed to take it well ('seemed' the key word). Then a couple months later, they got back together and SHE TOLD HIM WHAT I SAID. We were roommates, so I saw him all the time, and it was awkward city. Granted, we were 18-year-old college freshmen (aka super dumb), but I still have a hard time telling my friends their bfs are awful until it's definitely over and done.

miwome

@andrea disaster Oy, I told my juiceboxy ex that his friend was a juicebox (I believe my exact words were "waste of oxygen") and HE TOLD HIM WHAT I SAID. We were in the process of breaking up anyway, but COME ON.

SarahP

@Maud I am normally firmly in the camp of do-not-say-anything-unless-the-relationship-is-actively-hurting-your-friend, but if you must tell someone you don't like her SO, I TOTALLY agree that you should say why! Saying "You're too good for him," or "he just doesn't mesh well with our group" are useless when it comes to the "no, guys, he's so sweet" bubble. Saying "I am not sure he's the one for you because he kicked a puppy and then tongue-kissed the waitress while you were in the bathroom just now" is more likely to make a dent.

Scandyhoovian

@SarahP I'm wary of "say nothing unless it's actively hurting the relationship" because I have once been the person with the juicebox none of my friends liked, and because of distance (cross-town college relationship) and circumstance he got away with a whole lot of cheating where my friends and I couldn't see it. None of them liked him 'cause he was generally just not a good human being (i.e. "only nice to me 'cause I was sleeping with him, dick to everyone else in the world, especially my friends!"), but none of them said anything 'cause I was in the relationship. Then, after we broke up, all of them went "UGH WE HATED HIM, HE WAS AWFUL TO ALL OF US!" in this chorus of unison that did absolutely nothing except a) make me feel like my friends had been talking about me and my relationship behind my back all the time (true) and b) feel really crappy that none of my friends would tell me when my boyfriend was treating them like crap.

(Though a few weeks later, it came out of the woodwork that he had been cheating ALL OVER THE PLACE and one of my friends had known and wondered "do I tell her?" and the other friends had said "no it'll hurt her." So I don't even know what that says, aside from the fact that maybe my friends were juiceboxes, too.)

SarahP

@tekkatron I guess I consider cheating actively hurting someone (but maybe that's passively hurting someone...?), because I agree that's something you want to tell your friend. Saying you don't like someone is different to me from saying "he is doing this awful thing"--the latter is more important to me to know than the former.

Hellcat

@SarahP After rereading, now I kind of think LW would be perfectly within her rights to mention to the friend that the BF is actively being dick to her, the LW. Not that I didn't think that before but I was focusing on the other stuff. I don't know that I would bring it up in the same situation (I might wait until Friend says something like, "Why do you not come out with me and BF anymore?), and I don't think I'd mention what the other mutual friends thought. In the absence of flat-out abusiveness to my friend, I'd probably just let her do what she's gonna do without rocking her chosen boat. But if he was being an ass to me, maybe I'd say so.

HaughtyTotty

@Maud Told my very good friend (a fully grown-ass woman, totally hardcore, confident in everything else in life and one HELL of a derby blocker) that her on-again off-again bf was a total juicebox, backed up by quotes of things he's actually said to her. I said I was worried because of all the times she came to me crying over him instead of smiling. Result? She went out with him instead of coming to my goodbye party the day I moved 2,000 miles away. Two years later we are still friends, she's still with him and I just don't mention him anymore. *shrugs* Sucks but you can't fix someone's life decisions, ultimately you can just be there when they need you (with a big drink, compassion and no told-ya-so's).

Diana

@Hellcat

I think that's the critical difference here. If he's being an asshole to the world in general it's not really your business to point it out to your friend and she won't listen anyway. But if he's being an asshole to YOU, specifically YOU, her bestie, her friend, then it is of course your business to speak up - not just for her sake, but for your own sake and your own self-respect. Now it's not just a matter of "your boyfriend sucks" but "your boyfriend has made me feel terrible, if you value me as a person you'll listen carefully to what I'm saying." And if she refuses to see the light then she's not a respectful friend anyway and you should end that friendship.

Hellcat

@Diana Yeah, more and more, I'm thinking that if it's just a general "I don't like that guy" or "She could do better" or "I don't think they're a good match," mouths should be kept shut, lest the friend think that you don't believe her opinion counts in the matter. Specifics make all the difference in this kind of thing.

sparrow303

We are not a manatee. I repeat: We are not a manatee.

tortietabbie

@fishiefishfish But if we were, we would be the best goddamned manatee there ever was.

DangerDangerDanger

@tortietabbie More like a (g)narwhal, I'd hope. I guess they're a little masculine though.

SarahP

@fishiefishfish I'm going to write this on a note to myself.

Liina

To LW3: I've been with my husband 8 years, and about a year+ into our relationship he kissed his boss while they were wasted (they worked in campus food service, so she wasn't much of a "boss"). I was especially pissed off because it was in a bar and he was totally against PDA and wouldn't kiss ME in a bar (although we did make out once in the pit of a Mudhoney show...damn, that was cool). She was way less attractive than me, which is kind of like...is it better or worse that way!? I was a total bitch TO and ABOUT her for a few years but I finally got over it. I even let him be friends with her on facebook! And neither of us has committed another transgression since then.

So I'm trying to say, relationships can totally survive that kind of thing, when you really love each other and want to stick together.

Remember that even if the girl he kissed was sexy, he's choosing to move in with YOU.

Hellcat

@Liina I don't know about the rest but I had to tell you how awesome the Mudhoney thing is! Ooh, that's fabulous!

Marzipan

Yessss: Yikes! Guys, let's all use 'Yikes!' more often. It's so fun, and cute, and accurate. It has got this sweet, old-fashioned quality, but it's so fun to say, and useful.

While we are at it, I'm trying to get toads as an abbrev for totally going, and salty needs to be used way more often. I'm so salty about how salty isn't as appreciated as it oughta be. Also, I guess it's regional, so if you don't know it: now you do. Go forth and be salty about shit.

Words are fun! What else are y'all trying to make happen?

tortietabbie

@Marzipan Scoundrel! See also: rapscallion.

SarahP

@Marzipan I use "yikes" all the time!

So are you rooting for "toads" because you're against "totes?"

Emby

@SarahP Yeah, "totes" already has a ton of momentum behind it. "Toads" is going to be a tough sell as a replacement. Especially when you can say the effusively fun phrase "totes mcgoats!" which is objectively superior to "toads mcgoads."

SarahP

@Emby Wasn't Totes McGoats one of the Puritan babies from yesterday?

lalaland

@Marzipan Oh sad, I say "yikes" all the time. Do people not? I also say jeez and gosh a lot. I am in my mid-20s and I live in LA.

redheaded&crazy

@lalaland I'm with you! I use all three of those on a REGULAR basis.

ohmygosh can pretty much summarize my feelings about most things ya know?

(and if not, yikes and oh jeez work wonders as well)

chickaboom

@Marzipan YES! My fifth grade teacher said "I'm getting salty," every time our class misbehaved, which in 5th grade was like... every day.

Yikes! Feeling salty! Love it.

LauraIngallsWildest

ok i'm sorry to threadjack this but i DESPERATELY need advice from awesome Ladies:
there's a boy. i love him, he flirts with me, we spend all our time together, he talks all the time about how he wishes he could date someone like me, he gets jealous when i talk to other boys (because i certainly haven't let him stop me from doing that haha), he wants to be around me 24/7....and he won't make a move and i know i should woman up and say something but i'm SCARED, DUDETTES. i'm not...conventionally attractive (read: thin) and i feel like if i were, there would be nothing stopping us from dating...but...i don't know.

also, i'm sitting across from him at a bar "doing homework) (<3 u law school) right now...thoughts?!

paddlepickle

@LauraIngallsWildest Please look up from your computer and say to this boy, "Hey, you know how you said you wish you could date someone like me? How about, yknow, just dating me?"

madge

@paddlepickle HEARTILY SECONDED

redheaded&crazy

@madge THIRDED. If he doesn't want to actually date you, then AT LEAST YOU WILL KNOW and can move on to flirt with somebody else, hard and sucky as that would be.

But if he does actually want to date you, happy happy joy joy~! :)

two-cute

@paddlepickle go for it!

oh, disaster

@LauraIngallsWildest Do it, do it, do it!

paddlepickle

@redheadedandcrazy Yeah and if he doesn't want to date her after saying "I wish I could date someone like you" he must be crazy/the most insensitive person in the world, because that is an insane thing to say to someone you wouldn't date, unless they are your dog.

EpWs

@paddlepickle EMPHATICALLY FOURTHED/FIFTH/SIXTHED/SEVENTHED. And then kiss him. Kiss him right now.

SarahP

@LauraIngallsWildest Lady up! Honestly, I have let doubts about myself get in the way of so many could-have-been relationships, and looking back on them, I regret I didn't try to make a move with every single one.

MoonBat

@paddlepickle
Lite/Chicken version of this: flirt with other dudes in front of your crush, and when he pouts, let him know that the only way he can stop you us to date you, because you just so happen to be an amazing and loyal girlfriend who values her relationships.

redheaded&crazy

@paddlepickle yes, excellent point. basically, IF he doesn't want to date you WHICH it sounds like he does, then yes it's going to hurt for a bit and me in that situation, i would let myself hurt for a bit, and then i would turn that hurt into indignant rage, and then that indignant into moving the fuck on to somebody newer and awesomer!

but i'm being so negative. JUST DO IT! report back :D now you have to because you told us you would

redheaded&crazy

@paddlepickle also I totally would date someone like my dog.

(not so that I could whip them into shape like a dog. so that they would be super fluffy and cuddly? ok this isn't making any sense)

Hellcat

@LauraIngallsWildest Your user name is exquisite! LOVE IT!

EpWs

@LauraIngallsWildest Also I do not want to hear about this whole "I'm not conventionally attractive or else we would be dating" thing. You are awesome and smart (you read and comment on the Hairpin AND you are in law school, evidence enough of badassery). It really does sound like this dude is Into You and is, most likely, too intimidated by your awesome to make a move. So do the poor guy a favor and follow @paddlepickle's advice up there and then PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW IT GOES. :)

LauraIngallsWildest

@all you. guys. are. the. best. i'm going to do it. and then i'm going to report back with stories of either victory kissing or defeat gin. which...honestly either one of those sounds pretty good.

thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!

oh, disaster

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I second this! Hush the 'not conventionally attractive' talk. You're a future lawyer! You will kick ass! Fortune favors the bold!

joie

@LauraIngallsWildest you can do it! Sashay up to him with that big law schoolin' brain and bewitching figure and go for it. Amaze yourself with your chutzpah!

two-cute

@LauraIngallsWildest you got this on lock, girl! godspeed!

allifer

@LauraIngallsWildest the suspense is slaying me

smidge

@LauraIngallsWildest did you do it yet? how about now? hurry!

karion

@LauraIngallsWildest: Have you ever wondered how smart, funny, successful women end up with juiceboxes who treat them like shit? Well, one way is that they think thoughts like this about themselves and their dynamic with their Other:

i'm not...conventionally attractive (read: thin) and i feel like if i were, there would be nothing stopping us from dating...

I'll stand alone here and urge you not to act on anything until you have a better relationship with your self worth. We signal to others how to treat us, and my heart is breaking for you after reading that.

wee_ramekin

@allifer Oh my gosh, I know! @LIWildest...YOU GO GIRL!

Mingus_Thurber

@allifer I'm hoping the delay is because they're making a spectacle of themselves at the bar.

rararuby

@LauraIngallsWildest Goooo for it! Can't wait to hear an update!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@LauraIngallsWildest Everything has already said what I would say, but I am commenting because I want to be on this thread for the update :)

packedsuitcase

@LauraIngallsWildest WOMAN. "i'm not...conventionally attractive (read: thin) and i feel like if i were, there would be nothing stopping us from dating...but...i don't know." Do you know what level of smackdown you would lay on anybody that said that about your BFF? Because it would be level: infinity. You are awesomesauce, and you need to recognize it. These negative thoughts are NO BUENO, and only ever get in the way of fun and happy and sexytimes! So go. Go knock your friend/crush's socks off and report back. Because you rock, lady. For reals.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@LauraIngallsWildest Actually, that's a lie. I wanna say EVERYONE STOP IT with the "if I were thin, this would've happened by now." We all have something that makes us think, "if I were _____, then life would be simple." But that's just not how it works!! I am conventionally attractive, and before I really trust someone I'm dating, I have insecurity because I worry that they only like me for my looks, and not for my heart/mind/sense of humor/whatever/etc. What I'm saying is, life is never simple! Except for that it's simply crazy and the best thing to do ALWAYS is BE BOLD IN LOVE AND LET THE CARDS FALL WHERE THEY MAY. Good luck!!

itmakesmewonder

@LauraIngallsWildest OH MY GOD, did you do it yet? Ahh!!

itmakesmewonder

@.Lauren. Sorry, lady, when a self-professed conventionally attractive person tells me to let my insecurities about my weight go, I 100% Don't Buy It At All.

thebestjasmine

@.Lauren. Yeah, there's a big huge difference between "they only like me because I'm so pretty" and "they won't like me because I'm fat." Big big big difference.

To expand on that, it's because yeah, maybe someone who goes on a first date with you only likes you because you're pretty, but then they'll stay and get to know you. But if they don't like you because of how you look, they're not going to stay around to find out what an awesome person you are.

PistolPackinMama

@LauraIngallsWildest Or victory gin?

Go, lady, go! I can't wait to hear...

PistolPackinMama

@LauraIngallsWildest PS: if he doesn't want you to flirt with other men, but is too shamed to date you because you're hot in a way that makes him hot... he is a juicebox economy pack. But he probably just wants to bone you and be your man, and isn't a juice box, so no worries.

PistolPackinMama

@karion weeeelllll... one of the very best things for my self esteem was going out with a dude who thought my unconventional attraction. It didn't work out for other reasons, but he did all the men who will come after him a BIG BIG favor, as well as helping me out.

So... fake it till you make it sister.

H.E. Ladypants

@.Lauren. Yeah, I've been on both sides of the fence and I have to second what these ladies are saying. I was rather thin and very concerned with my looks, then I gained quite a bit of weight for a few years and wasn't as conventionally pretty, then I slimmed down again. (I'm not saying bigger girls cannot be pretty- far from it- but it was a less conventionally attractive period for me for a number of reasons.)

When I think about the years in between, I get sort of amazed at the difference. It was like I sort of disappeared from the world. Everything from small flirtations with cashiers to being approached by men in bars almost vanished.

I dunno. I get from experience that there are problems on both sides, I just think that the question of what is socially valued can change very much change their impact.

HOWEVER, I feel the need to throw out that I still had a romantic life and sex life during my not-as-pretty years but it was different. The men in those years were the ones who hung out and got to know me. There were still plenty of awesome dudes around but the nature of the game still changed.

I think maybe in a perfect world we'd all be be wooed like we're pretty and loved like we're plain.

packedsuitcase

@PistolPackinMama "So... fake it till you make it sister." A-freaking-men! I decided a while back that my insecurity was doing nothing good for me or anybody around me (though God bless my friend that talked me down when I would call her and say, "Hey, so, you know that thing I do where I lose all perspective on my body?" and she would tell me that We Are Not A Manatee), and if I just kind of lived like I was actually confident, it wouldn't be a horrible thing. Now, I'm not saying I'm a tall tower of confience now, but I'm less of a cowering mess AND I'm not driving my friends insane. Win-win!

Jolly Farton

@LauraIngallsWildest DID YOU DO IT YETTTTTTTTTTTTTT
(no presh, but)

H.E. Ladypants

@PistolPackinMama "So... fake it till you make it sister."

YES. There is one thing that will always make people want to have sex with you... believing that people want to have sex with you.

It's a deliciously self-fufilling prophecy.

karion

@packedsuitcase @packedsuitcase @HE Ladypants:

you know, after I posted that cautionary restraint, I realized that going for it is precisely what gives you the confidence. Not going for it does the opposite.

So yeah - all of you were more right! More often than not, the best way to get to the emotional place you need to be is to act like the person you want to be.

emilylou

WAITING TO HEAR, oh man I picked the most scintillating time to come back from lunch...

BoozinSusan

@H.E. Ladypants I am joining this thread just so I can get an email notification when our Sister in Waiting reports back from her venture : )

thesailorsaid

@thebestjasmine For real. In a philosophical far-away-from-my-situation way, I can appreciate how it would feel weird to have people ask you out since you're pretty on that basis alone. Wondering if they like you or your rack or whatever. I mean don't we all want to be appreciated for our unique personalities and the total package we bring the the table? It's just that due to my unattractiveness, nobody even considers coming to my table to inspect the package at all. Sure, getting people to try with you just by looks might not feel ideal, but at least they actually DO try with you.

Also, when you find someone attractive, it's easier to be charmed by their personality. You already want to find their jokes funnier. You overlook little mistakes. You want to like them, and plain-out try a lot harder to do so.

melis

OH COME THE JAM RIGHT FUCK ON HOW DID IT GO

themegnapkin

@itmakesmewonder I have been overweight, but I'm thin now. When I was overweight, I obsessed about my weight. Once I lost the weight, I obsessed about a skin problem. Years later, I'm finally at peace with that skin problem, now I obsess about a different skin problem. So, i don't think it's "overweight girls, get over your weight insecurities," I think it's "all, don't let your body issues hold you back because there will always be something about your body you are not happy with, and you are wasting your life worrying about this."

EpWs

PEOPLE CALM DOWN THEY ARE CLEARLY MAKING OUT

:Cinnamon Girl:

@thebestjasmine & @itmakesmewonder Ugh! I just wrote a response and then my internet server ate it. Sorry this one isn't as good.

I wasn't saying that she should "get over it." That is patronizing as hell and mean. I was merely saying that life isn't simple and we should stay away from mapping our thinking as "If only I were _____" (in this case thin), "then Life Would Be Easy" (in this case, she'd be dating the dude she likes). There is always something to fuss about. I find that I use this "if only" line of thinking as a mechanism of self-protection… a justification to avoid putting myself out there and taking risks... and sometimes we give the advice we most need to hear.

Perhaps it was uncouth to speak as a "conventionally attractive" woman on a subject related to body image. I was just trying to say that we all have insecurities and hangups (lord knows I've spent hours in therapy trying to work through mine. I might be "conventionally attractive" and thin, but that doesn't mean I feel "so pretty." And because I have a newish and serious disability, guys seem to be drawn to my looks, but can't handle the health-stuff, or things don't work out around the same time the health-stuff starts to come up - which feels like a very personal rejection, and like they just want me for my body, which DUH they are guys, but still. It sucks. I don't want this to seem like an essay on why being conventionally attractive is So Hard, because I'm aware there are helluv perks in our awfully looks-ist society, and I'm definitely not trying to rank my insecurities as more important or limiting than anyone else's).

Basically life is hard and we're all dealt different hands, but we have to put ourselves out there! LauraIngalls (and all my hairpinners) -- you are worthy of love, and if this guy reciprocates your feelings then YAYYYY. If not, he is a jukebox and it's better to get clarity so you can be the beautiful and desirable woman you are with someone else. And if indeed it is the weight-element that's the impediment to him wanting to date you, then HOW SAD FOR HIM. How horribly limited he is. Looks-ism runs deep and it probably says more about our society than him, but still. What a shame.

I'm bummed you guys don't even get to read my previous response. It was much better, but my meds make me have short-term memory loss (woo!!), so I can't really remember what I said in it. And I have to be honest with y'all because this is a safe space: I feel a little hurt and misunderstood (and emo! Sheesh, Lauren, listen to yourself!). I know you gals are just being honest about your experience in your body -- which I seriously appreciate hearing about -- and you probably didn't mean it that way, but it felt a little attack-y. No hard feelings, but I'm a straight-shooter when I value a relationship. And, let's face it, I spend a lot of time here, so ours is a relationship worth investing in :)

GO LAURAINGALLS! WE ARE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU (to be bold) (and then make out with an amazing dude) (or gain clarity from a jukebox who has been very unclear with you).

melis

I AM GOING

TO LITERALLY

SET MYSELF ON FIRE

IF I DON'T GET A RESOLUTION ON THIS STORY BEFORE 5PM PST

WHEN I HAVE TO GO TO HAPPY HOUR

FIRE

EVERYWHERE

LITERALLY.

spoondisaster

@PistolPackinMama Faking it until making it is the best strategy. Wasn't there some study done that showed that even fake smiling made people feel happier? It's science!

redheaded&crazy

@LauraIngallsWildest noooo pressure!

dokuchan

@melis WE THE PINMUNITY DEMAND AN UPDATE!
SRSLY I am hanging on the edge of my seat and hoping for the best.
The best or FIRE.

thebestjasmine

@.Lauren. Here's the thing: I understand what you're saying, I do. But "I worry that people are just going to like me for my looks" comes from a lot of privilege, and is pretty much the exact opposite of "No one is going to want to date me because I'm not attractive." So while I understand that your message was "We all have stuff we stress about and need to get over!" putting it that way makes it seem like you have problems that many people would dream about. And I totally understand that dreams are not reality, and your longer post shows that a lot. But for someone to say that they're afraid their crush isn't going to like them for their looks, and then to hear "I think people like me only for my looks" it feels like a slap in the face. I know (now) that you didn't mean exactly that, but that's why you got the reactions that you did (at least from me, I don't want to speak for anyone else).

Limaceous

@LauraIngallsWildest I really hope that no update means success (squee) because the lack of closure is killing me!

themegnapkin

@melis MURDER

;)

automaticdoor

@LauraIngallsWildest oh my god please update! I reeeeeeally hope this means success! <3

teebs

@LauraIngallsWildest
I'm dying to know what happened. But I can wait!

thesailorsaid

@.Lauren. What thebestjasmine said is exactly right. As someone who gets consistently ignored or outright rejected in the dating world for her size, having to worry "that they only like me for my looks, and not for my heart/mind/sense of humor/whatever/etc" sounds blessed and luxurious. I mean, everyone, attractive or not, has to worry about finding a heart/mind/humor fit, and that is a struggle. I have to somehow convince people to see me in a appealing romantic/sexual light on top of that before they even start considering the rest of it.

itmakesmewonder

@thebestjasmine @.Lauren. I second everything Jasmine said. I made a flip remark pretty much as a defense mechanism, because seriously, "I know how you feel, I'm so pretty I never know if dudes like me for me or not" seemed like something someone would say to me in an anxiety dream. Oh my god, where are my teeth? And pants?

So I'm sorry if that flip remark hurt your feelings, Lauren, I didn't mean for it to.

melis

You can all stop wondering about that stuff, because in thirteen minutes, no one will ever see past your looks ever again, because you will BE ON FIRE.

melis

So you want to find a boyfriend by setting yourself on fire! Good for you. You may have questions, like how do I know if a guy likes me for me, and not just because I’m on fire? Great question. We’ve all felt that way before. Is he checking me out because he thinks I have a lot to offer, or does he just see me as a flaming, shrieking collection of blistering limbs? My charred eye sockets are up here, guy.

The best way to find out is to get to know him. Ask his friends! Have all of his other relationships been brief affairs with on-fire women in the few moments between the moment of ignition and final involuntary twitch as their soft tissues are consumed by a thousand ravenous flames? If so, he may be a bit of an ash man. That doesn’t mean you can’t change him, but be wary. You only have four or five minutes of a searingly and incandescently painful existence left once you strike that match – fewer if you use an accelerant – so choose carefully, then hold him tight as his struggling, terrified body finally melts into a burning brand in your fiery embrace. He’s yours forever now.

beerd

@MoonBat
"flirt with other dudes in front of your crush"

I have succombed to this treachery.

madge

@melis charred eye sockets. you are so silly!!!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@thebestjasmine: I'm sorry that things I said stung. That is the exact opposite of what I was trying to do, and I understand that even if my intentions were good, rhetoric matters. Live and learn, yo.

@itmakesmewonder: Thank you for your apology. I really appreciate it, and I understood exactly what you're saying. This is a very loaded topic, and sometimes I forget that you guys aren't my best friends with all the context of how I think….

@thesailorsaid/thebestjasmine: I would like to clarify that my primary message wasn't "we all have stuff we stress about and need to get over" as if to lump all of our problems together, or even compare them. It was that the "if only ______, then my life would be simple" line of thinking is limiting, which sometimes is productive (protection from jukeboxes), but if we never give anyone a chance NOT to be a jukebox, we don't get to enjoy the company of the fantastic non-juiceboxes out there. It might be that life would be easier if any given person were conventionally good-looking or rich or white or male or able-bodied or straight, but I maintain that it's best to be who you are and when the situation arises, BE BOLD IN LOVE AND LET THE CARDS FALL WHERE THEY MAY. The part where I'm conventionally attractive was something I probably should've left out because it wasn't really the point of what I was trying to communicate.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@EVERYONE: I hope that we can try to be body-positive here. I've always thought of The Hairpin as a safe and loving space. There are too many places Out There that will shame or laud women for their bodies… reduce them or limit them or give credit or open doors because of their looks… The same system that shames women for being plus-size, pays them no attention or under-values their words/attractiveness/etc, is the same system that makes thin/pretty women feel like they are only successful because of their looks, that drives women to starve themselves and hate themselves and cut up their faces/breasts. No matter her looks, many women place themselves on a spectrum of worthiness that's defined by photoshopped alien robot women on magazine covers and numbers on scales, by companies trying to make a buck or billions of them, by porn that's infiltrated men's brains without them even realizing it, etc ad infinitum FOREVER. We place ourselves on this spectrum because that's how society treats us, and habitual experience is a strong, strong force.

This poisonous system not only has rigid definitions of attractiveness, but also ties the value of a person to these definitions. And I hate it. Just because I'm on the privileged end of this spectrum, doesn't mean I don't think the mere existence of such a spectrum is fucked up. I don't want this community to be a part of that!! Even if that's far-fetched or not actually possible.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

hi everybody hows it goin?

thebestjasmine

@.Lauren. xoxoxoxoxo Don't think the Hairpin doesn't love you back!

thesailorsaid

@.Lauren. Fair enough milady! Pardon my snappies. Been rejected so many times that I'm really bitter and don't even know how to start on working on that really.

@Everyone we can pretty much conclude LauraIngallsWildest is living up the last bit of her username at this point right? So much doing it.

EpWs

@thesailorsaid I certainly hope so. GET IT GIRL. We can't wait to hear all about it.

teebs

@thesailorsaid I really hope so!

PistolPackinMama

@LauraIngallsWildest I feel like we are all being The Sassy Friend in the Rom Com of Your Life, while we sit around drinking virtual martinis and wait wait wait to hear back on Law School Lover.

EpWs

@LauraIngallsWildest I second @PistolPackinMama. And speaking for the rest of us, I hope you are having an amazing night full of both gin AND kisses (for good reasons!) and cannot wait to hear back from you. (Which I hope we are doing soon because melis has set us all ON FIRE and we're just kind of charred lumps of anxiety at this point.) Soon you will return to the sorority house and there will be much squealing.

redheaded&crazy

k so literally every time i received an update of this thread, i wanted to respond with something to the extent of:

DAMN ladies y'all on your PERIODS or what?!

but then i was all, maybe i shouldn't get (more) in the way of serious, emotional debate

but here we are the end of a friday night. so i say to you all,

DAMN ladies, y'all on your PERIODS today or WHAT?!

teebs

@redheadedandcrazy
actually...

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@redheadedandcrazy I'm reasonably sure I'm not. Like 95% sure.

Maladydee

@LauraIngallsWildest a)best username ever b) confidence is sexier than thin-ness ALWAYS, even if you have to fake it a little and c) I hope the next update to this thread is awesome news about victory kisses!

LauraIngallsWildest

@errbody guys. i definitely didn't cry when i read all of your amazing responses because that would be lame. and i am nothing if not SUPER COOL. but really, even as an avid reader/unfortunately extremely occasional commenter, i feel so freaking lucky to have access to such an incredibly supportive community love you guys etc etc.

so, i told him that all of his actions were making me super confused...and basically he was a jerk about it? not a jerk jerk, but he was like "omg, we're such good friends! i can't believe my constant flirting and touching you and all of that lead you to believe i was interested in you!" so that is a bummer.

but more importantly? i'm pretty great. so his loss. and thank you ALL for affirming that. also, i'm preeettttyyy hammered right now. defeat gin turned into victory gin + dancing with cute strangers for the better part of the evening :)

sorry for the novel. thank you all times more than i can even express. i love this community. and i love all of you. besos besos besos.

LauraIngallsWildest

@melis also, the dancing on strangers tonight was greatly facilitated by the fact that many cute gentlemen learned the stop drop and roll method as children, so when they saw me on fire they were all of the sudden on top of me...it's a great ice breaker!

thebestjasmine

@LauraIngallsWildest Ahhh, I'm going to go out to a club TONIGHT, and set myself on fire. This is an awesome tactic with the stop, drop and roll, you people are brilliant!!

Hugs and kisses to you. Sorry that be was a jerk, but yay for victory jin and dancing up on cute strangers.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@LauraIngallsWildest: YAYYY FOR YOU. I'm so glad you put yourself out there and got clarity. Also, what a poo-flavored juicebox! And can someone make another embroidered pillow with "Being on fire is a really, really great ice breaker."

PistolPackinMama

@LauraIngallsWildest You are so right. He's kind of being a jerk. I mean, I am sure he is a nice guy and a good person to have as a friend, but... there is a whiff of juicebox there, too. He gets jealous when a woman he doesn't want to bone flirts? What?

You, however, are totally fierce and will soon learn that rejection from mildly juiceboxing boys will be insignificant shadows in the white hot glow of your awesomeness.

XOXO

PS: I got to say "you know, there's a solution to that problem" recently. And what was awesome was I am in such a place in my life where I could do it as, you know, sort of an eye roll? Because the dude is someone of whom I am fond but is also a juicebox. And it was SO NICE because now I more or less get to say "quit whining at me, it's tiresome" if it comes up again.

It's very empowering to tell someone you can see their schtick and aren't buying it.

automaticdoor

@LauraIngallsWildest GO YOU. Seriously, GO YOU for putting yourself out there and realizing that it's not you, it's him. He's a juicebox. I'm glad you partied anyway! Also, remember, guys in law school have the emotional age of 14-year-olds for the most part. Ughhhh. (PS where are you geographically? If it's the DC metro area I want to meet other Pinner law students omgggg)

redheaded&crazy

@LauraIngallsWildest seriously you rock! there is nothing like having an internet community of ladies (and gents) rooting for you to encourage one to take action :)

honestly, I just. the amount of time I have WASTED in my LIFE pining after people when a) nothing ever happened so ugh if i had just known there was a definite no i could have gone out and danced with cute strangers! or b) something did happen so ugh if i had just gone for it earlier we could have been making out a long time ago or whatever...

I dunno. I just think it's so empowering! It's such a good feeling to be like I have the courage and lady balls to say what I want and do what I want, even if you don't respond the way I want!

madge

@LauraIngallsWildest so badass. L-I-V-I-N !

itmakesmewonder

@LauraIngallsWildest Oh, gross, I'm sorry it turned out that way.

Why do dudes create these inappropriately physical friendships? It's like a distortion of the healthy role opposite-gender friendships can play in men's lives. It feels like a mindgame.

madge

@itmakesmewonder ugh i know right? you too can have all the emotional support of a girlfriend with none of the responsibility! this happened to me so many times goddammit!

BoozinSusan

@LauraIngallsWildest You handled that immensely well. The guy just sounds pretty clueless and you seem like AWESOME SAUCE. I just had a similar thing happen to me - although I had made out with the guy two weeks ago, last week he was like, "I don't know how the signals I'm sending you are ambiguous." Moving on! Onward and upward!
Also, you seem to know this already, but a friend told me yesterday, "Confidence is not striving to show him how awesome you are. It's knowing your own worth regardless of how he [or any other juicebox] treats you."

BoozinSusan

@PistolPackinMama "Rejection from mildly juiceboxing boys will be insignificant shadows in the white hot glow of your awesomeness." FO' REAL. When I think of the random yesteryear rejections I've gotten, I'm always amazed and how I let it get to me then and how little it counts now (not at all). Disappointment will fade so fast. The white hot glow of your awesomeness will take these stupid wayside forgettable rejections and SET THEM ON FIRE.

Chesty LaRue

@LauraIngallsWildest I spent some time on an oil site for work (nine months) and my coworker was gorgeous with a hot bod and funny and flirty and could eat most boys under the table. I often felt like a fat lump next to her, but once I got to know her, I realized that she had low self-esteem and I have High self-esteem.
She was constantly getting hit on (everywhere we went, it was sickening), but you know what? I did at least as well as she did in the old dating game. I dated a fireman, a 23 year old, the hottest guy I've ever dated, another fireman, a good-looking electrician (handy around the house!), a french guy...
The point is that in a head to head battle between a confident fat chick and a seriously hot chick, confidence wins way more than you'd think. Way more.

EpWs

@LauraIngallsWildest You are fantastic! Boo on the oblivious juicebox, YAY for going for it and getting him to straighten out his act, and DOUBLEYAY for confidence! And dancing! And victory gin! I look forward to hearing about your future encounters with even hotter dudes who actually appreciate your awesome.

phenylalanine

@LauraIngallsWildest Oh my goodness you are super amazing. <3 I realize this comment is about five years late in internet times but I still really want to say that I admire your confidence and badassery. Rock the fuck on.

Lili L.

@melis I love you.

Lili L.

@LauraIngallsWildest You're my hero. Just FYI. For saying your piece, for taking the initiative when it's hardest to do, and for practicing owning the power to ask for stuff you want. We all need to practice that. I've been thinking lately that it's like a muscle. A You-Want-Something-So-Try-To-Get-It muscle. I've let mine atrophy for so long, sometimes I forget it's even there.

joie

@LauraIngallsWildest you completely rocked it, and I'm so proud that you had the courage to speak up, even if the outcome wasn't what you wanted. On to better, less juiceboxy men!

Dusk

@LauraIngallsWildest Lady you did GOOD. Be proud. Be relieved (now you know, instead of not knowing and feeling all weird and confused!) From: Random Internet Person

Maladydee

@Lili L. That is such a good comparison. "Yeah, I've been trying to bulk up my You-Want-Something-So-Try-To-Get-It muscle. After that, I'm going to really tone my Not-Saying-Sorry-For-Things-I-Don't-Need-To-Feel-Sorry-For-ceps."

wee_ramekin

@LauraIngallsWildest Girl, I just read the updates on this thread. I am sorry that it didn't work out the way you would have wanted it, but I am REALLY PROUD of you for putting yourself out there. You come out the classy one in this situation, since you had the ovaries to put yourself out there. You're AWESOME!

kayjay

You can't tell your friend that you hate her boyfriend and that she should break up with them. Because they mostly likely won't listen to you, and, in fact, your friend might turn on you and bounce you from her life (people tend to take things like that personally, as they may see it as a reflection of how you feel about them and their tastes in men/women). All you can hope for is that she'll figure it out on her own sooner than later.

But it might not hurt to gently let her know that you're there for her when she needs support and a shoulder to cry on.

Xanthophyllippa

@kayjay Except that "when she needs support and a shoulder to cry on" often becomes "every waking moment of every day I live," and that's when I snap and tell her to DTMFA.

nerds

A Lady, you are the best. I'm not in the same situation, but I am batshit crazy right now over one big thing. The whole, "Are you about to start bleeding? 'Cause remember, that shit makes you crazy!" and "Brains make thoughts like butts make poops, and none of it necessarily means anything." are kind of life-savers and may have made me take a deep breath and try to stop being so crazy.

sarah girl

This is my faaaavorite Lady.

Also, for a second I thought the photo was of Tami Taylor on a motorcycle and I was all *swoon!* I would TOTALLY read an advice column written by Coach's wife.

j-bird

@Sarah H. That's what I was going to say about the photo!

paddlepickle

Forgot to mention to LW2 that you need to be careful with your words about the boyfriend EVEN IF THEY BREAK UP, at least for awhile. A friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend and we were all "OH THANK GOD HE IS SUCH A TOOL" aaaand now they're probably gonna get married. Actually, they've broken up like three times and each time we didn't learn from our mistakes and said "OH THANK GOD AGAIN HE IS SUCH A TOOL". Awkward turtle.

redheaded&crazy

@paddlepickle co-signed. hooooooly co-signed.

wee_ramekin

@paddlepickle

_[|||]_

That's my Awkward Turtle hand-sign! It doesn't really look how I want it to. Awkward turtle... :/

wee_ramekin

@wee_ramekin This one is better!

\[|||]/

H.E. Ladypants

@paddlepickle Also, as a friend of mine said whilst going through a bad break up, "I wish people would stop telling me how awful they thought [ex-girlfriend] was. What does that say about me then because I spent two years with her?"

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@H.E. Ladypants: I dunno. In my mind, that's an excellent invitation to self reflection.

"They said my SO sucked, so they say my choices sucked. That makes me feel bad." THEN, follow with "Are my choices bad?" Self inquiry, learning, etc.

I do not like to use feelings as a shield from self-truth, even when the truth is not flattering to me.

melis

@H.E. Ladypants UGH, it says that you were being a big insensitive jerk who stopped being able to even pretend to give a modicum of a shit about the emotions of anyone around you, Emily, and everyone could barely stand to put up with you that whole time, but we DID, you owe us all like twenty free dinners and a bike.

melis

Also a ride to the mall whenever we need one.

H.E. Ladypants

@Too Much Internet I think the point was sort of along the lines of people who were trying to be supportive by dissing the ex very hard.

Sometimes we can help our friends learn things and sometimes it's just adding insult to injury. And I think paying attention to the context and the friend before speaking to distinguish between the two is worthwhile.

Hella

I have mixed-ish feelings about LW#1. If you're a person who really take pleasure in rocking your partner's socks off, making them happy in bed, and you feel like it's an essential part of the way you show your love for them, being GGG and all that, when your partner doesn't reciprocate (can't reciprocate??), it starts to feel like they just don't care enough to bother!! It can lead to resentment for sure.

To go straight to TMI personal anecdotes, my boyfriend had never gone down on a lady before he met me. For about a month, he was absolutely terrible at it, but by now (three years later!) he's pretty awesome? There were oh-so-many stages of awkwardness and frustration in between, though, and I absolutely faked positive feedback a lot, which I think LW#1 needs to work on.

LeafySeaDragon

@Hella ugh, my first boyfriend told me he had oral expierience, and that i was weird. i found out later, no it was NOT me, he had never been that close to ladybits before. it's kind fo fucked up that most men have PIV expierience before giving oral, but for ladies it's the opposite.

Hella

@LeafySeaDragon Yeah, sometimes I feel like there should be a little pamphlet that goes out before having sex: 1. Oral is just as important as PIV, 2. It's no fun unless everyone is having fun, 3. Split birth control costs!!

packedsuitcase

@Hella Okay, definitely remembering this. My dudefriend started as a one night stand, and I remember talking to my friend afterwards about how he was enthusiastic if a little unskilled. And now I am off to visit dudefriend in a few short weeks (okay, right now they seem like SUPER LONG weeks) and am worried that perhaps alcohol wasn't what was actually causing it to not be super great because sometimes when we talk about Things We Wish We Could Do the things he says make my ladybits worry. The PIV was great, thank goodness, but I will remember the positive reinforcement and the making it fun and sexy as pointed out upthread somewhere. But, umm, if it's not super TMI, maybe some concrete examples of how to do this could help? Because I'm super excited to see him and only get a week and would ideally have mutually beneficial sexytimes and no hurt feelings.

wee_ramekin

@packedsuitcase I've found that a way to help better any kind of sex skill in my partner is to frame my request in a way that's about MY personal preference, rather than as a commentary of THEIR (perceived) lack of skill. So, for example:

"One thing that really gets ME off is (gently sucking on the clit / two-fingers in a come-hither motion / breast play etc etc etc)." You can be as descriptive about this as you want, and again, it's not you saying "It doesn't get me off when you (blow in my ear / suck my toe / etc)", it's you describing (in great detail) what gets you off.

That way, it's not a commentary on the person's level of skill, it's just some information that they can take and do with what they will. If they are enthusiastic but just lacking technical skills, they'll appreciate the info and it won't bruise their sexual ego.

Also, if you can possibly "show" something, rather than "tell" it, that's always aweseome. And again, frame it as "Here's a Handy (ha) Guide to Getting ME PERSONALLY Off". Plus, damn, it will be extremely hot for them to watch you get yourself off a little and/or grab their hand and show them how to do it.

Good luck!

Hella

@packedsuitcase I second what wee_ramekin said about framing your requests in a positive yet descriptive way, as in "I really, really like it when you do X, Y, Z, it's so awesome and hot!!" (And then you guys can also take turns in finding out what the other person is into and trying that out, equality in bed ftw.)

Also, another thing that helped us a lot was acting extremely silly and making lots of jokes to each other. Sex is inherently kind of funny sometimes, and it's hard to get too stressed out about your sexual technique if you are both naked and cracking up. It helped take a lot of the pressure off of my bf and me by making it not all "YOU FAIL", or "I AM SO MAD" but more like, "We're playing around, so let's have fun trying everything out."

MerelyGoodExpectations

Ah, LW3, I think it's gonna be OK! But to echo what several other commentators have said: strap yourself in, cause that shit takes TIME to process. Especially when the brain has already sorted things out, but is STILL making thoughts like butts make poops (!), it is so, so easy to get impatient with yourself. But-- and I feel OK speaking authoritatively about this-- there is simply no timetable for When to Get Over It.

mackymoo

@MerelyGoodExpectations More echoing. My version of the "incident" occurred when I graduated college and almost two years later I think I'm almost okay again, but it took so self esteem rebuilding to get there. It always sounds so self-absorbed, but you really have to do things for yourself. The Hairpin has really helped me get over the "My Boyfriend is Attracted to Other Girls Ergo I'm Ugly" frame of mind. Ugh see even writing this is drawing me back into it. ESCAPE.

Scandyhoovian

Oh, LW2, I could have written this question myself in '08. My BFF from pretty much the day I moved to Atlanta and started making friends went to get her masters' degree abroad and while there she met this total skeeze. He had this horribly shady background that--no exaggeration--made those of us that had known her for years seriously question if he wasn't some kind of serial killer who was trying to marry her for US citizenship so he could get out of his own country and hide in ours. And when we all flew overseas to go to the wedding they told us they'd had to postpone the wedding because he wasn't yet legally divorced from his first wife (!?!?) and the paperwork involved hadn't gone through. So instead we were just there to meet him and party with them, and the whole time he said nothing but snide remarks and avoid hanging out with us. So while it was nice to see BFF for a few days the juicebox she was preparing to marry made nothing but bad impressions.

The thing is, those of us that were concerned tried to tell her, but like A Lady said... there's no setting someone off that course if they're already on it. She's married to him now and they have two kids and seem to be having a nice little life, but, well, she's not really friends with any of us anymore, and I'm pretty sure "none of us like her husband" is a large part of why.

madge

@tekkatron that is a shame ... but it sometimes happens. sometimes the juicybox is too juicy to even be in the same room together!

itmakesmewonder

Is the word count just a suggestion? Because two of these three are way over it and it showwwws.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@itmakesmewonder I don't think that part is more than a couple weeks old and the question queue is loonnnnggg

Xanthophyllippa

@itmakesmewonder I think it shows in part because #2 and #3 are the latest versions of the ever-present tropes of "do we tell someone we hate their partner" and "OMG I snooped and now I'm upset." No, honey, your situation is NOT different than the rest, and adding in another page of background will not change that - the answers will still be "no" and "don't snoop," respectively. Besides, are these really the only problems women have?

Xanthophyllippa

@Xanthophyllippa Not a complaint about A Lady, mind -- this is a fab column and I loved it -- but rather about our creativity in having things to be upset about.

karion

A personal anecdote relevant to LW#2 - my college best friend was dating a serious, serious juicebox. I lived across the country, so I hadn't met him, but just listening to her tell me things like how he removed certain things from her grocery cart because "she didn't need that" kind of shit.

I met him the day before they got married, and his juicebox was off the charts. He humiliated her in front of me (and another of her close friends) by yelling loudly at her behind closed doors. Knowing and loving my friend as I did, I wanted so badly to confront and acknowledge the juicebox within the man she was going to marry, but. But. It was the day before her wedding. I wasn't gong to tell her anything she didn't already know. And she had made her decision and her choice. All that was left was the "for better or for worse."

Years later, I ended up calling her right after I took the bar exam. I just wanted to hear her voice, hear about her life - anything to take my mind off the exam. He answered because she wasn't there, and after I clumsily tried to get off the phone after explaining why I had called, he kept me on the phone and was...charming. Thoughtful. Funny. Endearing.

I wasn't wrong about him when they got married, but I wasn't entirely right, either. Turns out, I didn't have nearly the perspective to make a fair assessment, and ultimately, trusting her judgment strengthened and deepened the relationships all around. I wouldn't have married the man, but I know why she loves him, and she loves their lives together and their family.

SarahP

@karion You have captured another reason I'm not comfortable judging friends' relationships: sometimes people come off badly in front of crowds, or don't mesh well with me, but are still caring, loving partners.

Once, when I told a friend how my now-husband (then-boyfriend) asked me to move in with him, said friend was like "Oh, so he is sweet to you? I was worried." My husband is one of the sweetest, kindest people I know, but because he's shy, his at-rest expression is sorta scowly, and our interactions in public are mostly sarcastic jokes, quite a few of my friends assumed he was mean and/or judgmental early on in our relationship.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@SarahP: "his at-rest expression is sorta scowly"

This is my thing too, and I think it has a lot to do with how lonely I have been in life. :\

redheaded&crazy

@SarahP this is a good point, one of my friends used to say "You never get it unless you're in it."

Everybody has their bad sides and some people's bad shit complements each other really well.

@Too Much Internet *e-hugs!*

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@redheadedandcrazy: Thanks! One of my good guy friends jokingly calls it 'asshole face' (he has it too.)

My mom, a couple christmases ago, bought me a Hallmark charm that is a small iron star with 'smile' inscribed on it. It's good advice!

Xanthophyllippa

@Too Much Internet Come over and we can hang out in a coffeeshop and be happily at-rest scowly together. One of my former bosses told me I always look like I'm mad.

Also, with the exception of my mom, I would punch anyone who told me to smile. Especially when I *am* pissed off; then smiling is more like baring my teeth in a frightening display of predaciousness.

Chesty LaRue

@Too Much Internet I have a downturned mouth and people at work are always asking "what's wrong?" and there are constantly strangers saying "smile!"
1. Nothing was wrong, I'm just checking my email, now I'm kind of annoyed that you asked, so here's a real frown, thanks.
2. Um, I don't just walk around smiling, that makes me feel like a crazy person.
3. Sorry the look of my face offends you so much that you had to comment to a perfect stranger (me) about it? Get a life.

Xanthophyllippa

@Chesty LaRue YES! This is me, though I just have a flat expression when I'm not smiling. As for #3, a really dim girl walked up to me my senior year in high school and said, "Smile! At least you don't have cancer!" and instead of saying, "I'm sorry; I was having a perfectly happy day until you took it upon yoursel to erroneously judge and comment on my mood," I snapped back, "How do YOU know?"

She never talked to me again.

Xanthophyllippa

@Xanthophyllippa (I did not consider that a great loss.)

isavedlatin

this notes to oneself idea is very good.

lemniskate67@twitter

are you freaking kidding me? The guy, it sounds like he's not even listening to her when she tells him what she'd like him to do, and instead keeping on doing the same old things she doesn't like, and the advice is to basically shut up, stop complaining, and be glad you're getting any?

Insert "wrong answer" buzz here.

Xanthophyllippa

@lemniskate67@twitter Well, my advice would have been to let the guy go free so he find a woman who appreciates what he can do in bed and so LW#1 can find someone who doesn't need browbeating to be comfortable giving oral. Do you like that any better?

BoozinSusan

@Xanthophyllippa I support this comment. I knew that some people would react like, "Are you just telling her to shut up and take it?" No. She just sounds like an aggressive control freak and he *has* tried to please her, even if it hasn't worked. I support him walking, although their being "inseparable" might make that difficult.

AmyB

#2 - You ever think that your friend has found herself a Fitzwilliam Darcy? He might actually be a cool guy and you and your other friends may actually be modern versions of obnoxious Mrs. Bennet, Kitty and Lydia.....it happens.

carogriffin

@AmyB Yeah. I don't want to be a jerk-apologist or anything, but I sort of felt like that. My boyfriend hates/is deeply uncomfortable in social engagements and definitely wouldn't say a word to anyone but me if I dragged him to one.

I think this lady's strategy should just be to bring up that sometimes he seems kind of cold to her when she'd like to get to know him better. Like...a nicer version of "ugh, why is he LIKE that?" Getting her friend to talk about what her boyfriend's like most of the time might be a better window into his deserving-of-her-ness rather than just saying "anyone who doesn't get along with me is bad for my friend."

I mean...give various comments about disrespectful public things, he probably is just a jerk. But...he might not necessarily be? I don't know. This is why I'm not A Lady.

Lauren_O'Neal

Re LW2: How come it seems like so many of my cool smart funny cute lady friends date juiceboxes, and my cool smart funny cute guy friends don't?

:Cinnamon Girl:

@Lauren_O'Neal Because there are fewer female juiceboxes.

mystique

Hello here is me asking for more advice from you lovely ladies! So I am avoiding the guy friend I asked out, but now he's come up and said hi to me a couple times. And it's like...nice but also kind of hard, dammit. I have one friend who is like "do NOT give him your time" and another who's like "he's super awkward [which isn't what I think personally? maybe he's just comfortable around me? I get lucky that way with people], but at least you aren't awkward around him and now you can be friends" and another one who's like "just be friends with him, but you should wait for those feelings to recede a bit." Ehhh it's so weird. It's like "augh I asked you out two weeks ago, either break up with your gf or just leave me alone for a bit, because even if you're not doing anything WRONG, it still hurts."

Also, just in general: I tend to ramble sometimes and I especially ramble with him because he doesn't stop me, but I don't know if it's because he's awkward or what. Because I'll think about it later and be like, "aahhh that was so rude" but he totally takes it when I talk to him. So what's the deal, awkward people who don't ramble? Are you guys just being nice or are the ramblers dominating the conversation?

LeafySeaDragon

@mystique if he knows you're interested and he's not available, and he's still coming around? dbag alert, run away screaming.

carogriffin

@mystique I don't know about that other stuff, but re: ramblers...

I have a friend with ADD (like...legit, medicated-for ADD) who, as a result of her disorder, rambles a LOT about basically anything. I've never had a brief conversation with her. Sometimes I'm just being nice because I know that's just her deal (which I guess I flatter myself into thinking that's the Good Person version of "just being nice" rather than "I'm begrudgingly listening because it will look bad if I just end this abruptly" or whatever) but a lot of the time I'm genuinely interested because she's also a smart lady with a lot of interesting thoughts and ideas--I'm giving your dude that you asked the benefit of the doubt and saying this probably applies to him. I don't know what your rambling deal is, if you're just a long-winded person or whatever, but in my experience the people that actively communicate with you on top of not stopping you from rambling are people who don't really mind you rambling.

I think I just rambled through that whole response. Jeez.

redheaded&crazy

@mystique i dunno but i am mystified by some introverts

you know those people who are like "screw small talk i can just sit in silence"

HOW. CAN YOU. JUST SIT. IN SILENCE.

In some ways I'm extremely shy, but in other ways I'm like - introversion, does not compute.

by the way i also tend to ramble on, that was the reason i came here to respond in the first place.

you know, sometimes i like to give a little courtesy pause. like, i'll be silent for a bit, and you can take that opportunity to say something if you feel the need to jump in, or not. and then if they don't jump in, well, away I go again.

ADHD may or may not run in my family

(it does)

:Cinnamon Girl:

@mystique: some peeps wanna have their cakes and eat them too. From the limited information you've given us, this guy loves cake! I say tell him you want some space. Do you want to be this guy's friend? Or do you want to be more than his friend? Be completely honest with yourself here: being okay with being his friend in the hopes that it'll turn into something more is not a good place to build a friendship OR a relationship. So if you're not 100% sure you're ready to be Just Friends And Nothing More (if you're asking your friends for their opinions, you probably aren't), then I say tell him to look you up when he's single. He has a girlfriend, not a wife. Chances are they'll breakup and if he's really interested he will contact you, and if not you're better off being rid of him right away!

tiptoemammal

I seriously enjoyed LW3's letter, and the response is just stellar. So full of gems!
-"take a good long while to make up your heart/vagina/mind" Yes!
-"I vow to protect my brain-space like a lioness protects her tiny lions." OMG YES!
-"I do sometimes exist in another, more rational and easy-going form" Totally, yes!
-"Brains make thoughts like butts make poops" AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

There. Hairpin-gasm. More of this lady, please.

Aphrodite

@tiptoemammal "I vow to protect my brain-space like a lioness protects her tiny lions." THIS.

slizzii

"I happen to have several notes to myself that I pull out and read whenever I'm starting to feel and/or act crazy. These notes say things like, 'Are you about to start bleeding? 'Cause remember, that shit makes you crazy!' And, 'Why don't you knit something, honey? And maybe smoke a bowl and watch G.I. Jane? You'll feel better tomorrow, promise, xoxox!'"

Love this! I should do this.

E Wren

I'm a wee bit late to the party, but LW3 you should read this piece of advice about dealing with infidelity very similar to your situation. http://therumpus.net/2011/08/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-81-a-bit-of-sully-in-your-sweet/

It was an uncomfortable read for me because it smashed all sorts of preconceived notions about love. Damn if I didn't rear and buck against accepting that good people who love you can cheat and that you can have a strong relationship despite that.

Also, you are witty and hilarious! Best of luck to you, my dear

the angry little raincloud

Hairpin Nation, I'm a bit late to this party, but maybe someone can help me? This is tangentially related to LW#1.
Years ago (like 2005, but probably even earlier) there was the most amazing tutorial (just text, no video) on giving blowjobs. It was spectacular, and it yielded compliments from several men, to the effect of "that was the best blowjob ever." Seriously. But, somehow, I lost my blow-job mojo. Chalk it up to a long-term, rather unsatisfying relationship, but I cannot remember the fabulous tricks that truly, really worked on a broad spectrum of men. It wasn't the crappy Cosmo sex advice shit. It was pure gold.

Anyone? Anyone? The google results I've been getting are, well, frightening. I am currently with a man with gives the most amazing oral sex ever, and I would I like to reciprocate, because I don't think I'm doing that great of a job right now, and damn, I want this one to be happy...

the angry little raincloud

@redheadedandcrazy
Oh. My. God. YES! That is it. WHOOOOO HOOOOO.
Redheadedandcrazy, are you in NYC? Because, if so, I'm buying you a bunch of drinks at the next pinup (I'll finally go to one). If you're not in NYC, well, I'll send you a bottle of scotch.

redheaded&crazy

@ladysporksalot sadly I do not live in NYC - but no bottle of scotch necessary :P just doing my part to spread good oral to the world!

Dusk

@redheadedandcrazy Bookmarked. Thank you. :)

mutedposthorn

@unmetdemands, have you considered that your boyfriend might be gay? This doesn't sound like a problem of an inability to learn how to eat A Lady, but just of a person who just doesn't like vaginas. Dry lips? Sounds like he's vagina shy or scared, maybe a symptom of not actually being into girls.

Lili L.

BRAVO to this lady, whoever she is!! Totally hilariously transcendent.

ixchel

I reject that bullshit sexist script. I vow to protect my brain-space like a lioness protects her tiny lions.

A Lady, I want you to know that this became a mantra for my sister and I as we navigated a very happy, but also very right-wing Christian, family wedding this weekend. Thanks for the help!

annev6

These are all amazing answers, seriously.
But, for LW #2 - maybe this dude is acting juiceboxey because he feels left out? Maybe you guys are always talking about something he can't totally contribute to? Maybe you guys are a little inside jokey?
I'm not into defending people who sit there on their iPads while people are talking (super rude in any case), but I've also been the girlfriend who literally CAN'T talk to some of my sig other's friends because they're always bringing up an inside joke, or a story I wasn't there for, or talking about some industry everyone but me works in. It's one of those things where early on in the relationship you put up with it and feign interest, and then you just give up and become the bitter sad sack in the corner who starts to feel deliberately excluded or unworthy.
It's no excuse for him to be such a dickwad, but assuming your friend marries this dude it could behoove you to make more of an effort to reach out - it could at least make him more tolerable in short spurts?

pamela m

@annev6 I was wondering the same thing. Honestly, if everyone is banding together fretting about her choice behind her back, there are two equally likely possibilities: 1, they're a legitimately concerned group of friends, 2, they're sort of cliquey and judge-y (and the cliquey and judge-y usually won't admit to being so).

Another possibility, which is impossible to say if it applies in this case since we're only hearing one side of the story, is that the woman in question is ALSO kind of sick of her group of friends, but she's still sort of hanging on to it. In that situation, the guy has probably heard her complaining a lot about these people, and he might have good reason not to be into them. When a woman chooses a new boyfriend "over" her friends, sometimes it's just a way of choosing to get out of her clique. Sorry, other friends, but you might suck (or at least she might not feel like she has anything in common with you anymore).

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