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Thursday, May 17, 2012

358

Not Chasing Amy

We were nestled in the relationship sweet spot: lying on separate sofas watching Gwyneth Paltrow deliver her Oscar acceptance speech for Shakespeare in Love. Then Amy muted the television and cleared her throat. The words came off her tongue too cleanly to be natural, making me suspect that her cats had heard them a few times before I did.

“What we have here might be as good as it gets, but I need to find out if things can be better with someone else. I’m going to move out, but not for a month because I need to save money. I’m going to stay here until then.”

It was a demand so concise and stripped of setup that I accepted, slack-jawed, as if a brawny repo man had shown up to take my car.

Before Best Director was awarded, I’d acquiesced to the details. We would continue to share our one-bedroom apartment, as well as its only bed — but I wasn’t permitted to be in love with her anymore.

We’d met at a party in Austin. Amy was friendly and eager to connect, but I could tell immediately that she was troubled. Her laughs ended abruptly, as though joy had to be carefully balanced with melancholy. But whatever her demons were, they had nurtured a dark sardonic wit that made any emotional lability seem worth the ride. 

Over the next few nights after the Oscars, my requests to spoon were denied with disgusted refusals: an emotional switch had been toggled. I couldn’t help but think there must be something more important fueling her detachment than the trite prospect of a better life with “someone else.”

Amy was routinely gone in the morning before I woke up, and she didn’t return until late at night. When I discovered the password to her email was no longer “p0etry,” I changed mine to “bitch1971.” In my defense, it was the year of her birth, and I was desperate to heal.

I was also out of work. And as the days passed, eventually discovered that festering alone at home devouring pornography and bean burritos wasn’t helping my self-esteem. I started spending my afternoons and evenings at a local bar. I think it was a hipster place, but 20 somethings in ironic hats weren’t called that yet.

I made friends with the owner, Gretchen, who also bartended in the early evening. She wore vintage ‘50s cardigan sweaters, had short dark hair styled with bobby pins, and loved the Pixies. We played Jenga on the bar, shared cigarettes, and when business was slow played pool.

As a stranger to my situation, Gretchen offered a perspective that rattled my already weak sense of masculinity. She was appalled that I’d agreed to let Amy stay in our apartment, and more than a little leery, if not disgusted, when I told her we still shared a bed. She wanted me to stand up for myself. As I continued, nightly, to seek solace and strength from my sexy new bartender friend, my life seemed to be following the lyrics of a Billy Joel song I couldn’t quite remember.

Each night, I returned to our apartment a little more capable of pretending I was building a new life for myself. Sometimes, I would even attempt playful conversation, but my boozy optimism only annoyed Amy.

One morning she went to work, forgetting her purse in the apartment. I’d decided the night before to repair my favorite shirt, which I’d ripped on the banister during a drunken jaunt up the stairwell. Not having a sewing kit, I fished through Amy’s bag for a safety pin and left it in disarray.

That night, I received an angry call from Amy. “Stay out of my damn purse!” And she hung up.

Two weeks earlier, I had been free to help myself to safety pins, keys, Chapstick, gum with hair on it, and coins stuck to wet cough drops. Now, just because she’d decided to attempt a lifegasm, her bag was suddenly sacred space. Had that much really changed?

When her move-out date arrived, she threw all her clothes in a suitcase, leaving me with her valuables: camera, cassette tapes, and two cats. It seemed more like she was taking a vacation than leaving a life.

Months passed, and, as a result of my penchant for $5 pints, I could no longer afford the apartment. I accepted an offer from friends to take temporary shelter in their spare bedroom. These were the obligatory couple-friends with whom Amy and I used to lie about our sex life and play euchre. I brought Amy’s orphaned belongings with me and crammed them into my new room. The cats were unhappy and peed on the paper grocery bags I was using as makeshift luggage. I had no money and no plans, but I spent as many evenings as I could at Gretchen’s bar, even though I had to take a bus to get there.

I tried talking to my new housemates about Amy, but they were oddly reticent. We had all been great friends, so I understood their unwillingness to trash her, but how could they not agree I was owed some sympathy?

After a month, I’d overstayed my welcome and started planning a move to New York City. I just needed to find a home for Amy’s cats. I asked my friends how to reach her so perhaps she and I could agree upon their fate.

My friend took a deep breath, silently poured us each three fingers of expensive Scotch, and gestured to a chair. He sounded disappointed and looked guilty.

“Amy said she was going to tell you, but I guess she’s not. We promised her we wouldn’t say anything until she had a chance, but we’ve both decided it’s been too long, and you deserve to know the truth.”

As he continued to speak, Amy’s behavior over the previous three months started to make sense.

A few weeks before the Oscars, Amy and I had each gone on short trips to our hometowns to visit friends. While back in San Diego, Amy had rekindled with an old high-school flame. I’m assuming they’d had sex outside under the stars at a golf course, then spent the night there, teaching each other the different constellations and sharing thoughts on mortality. During a moment of post-coital weakness, he probably had even agreed with her that God must be a woman.

Whatever the details, the reality is that they became sweet enough on each other that he proposed. And she accepted.

Amy had returned to Austin engaged. She’d lived with me, slept in our bed and watched most of the Oscars with me, all while secretly "soul-mated" with someone else. She hadn’t so much stopped loving me as she’d simply transferred her feelings to another man, like moving a cellphone number to a different carrier.

My friend told me that she wore her engagement ring around town, showed it off to our friends, and then hid it in her purse before returning home. That explained the angry phone call; while searching her purse for a safety pin, I might have discovered the empty ring box and exposed her secret. Why she didn’t hide it better, I don’t know, but perhaps, deep down, she thought that getting caught might be simpler than being honest. And who can blame her.

She’d left our apartment on a muggy morning to embark on a new life; her fiancé of one month was waiting in a taxi around the block. They’d driven to the airport, hopped a flight to Las Vegas, and wed that evening.

After hearing the story, I spent the next week walking the streets of Austin feeling like I‘d stumbled onto a movie set where everyone was acting except me.

Word spread among friends that I was in on the secret. I wanted them to validate my anger, but I understood that doing so would indicate that they viewed Amy’s actions as unfair and evil instead of predictably impetuous and worrisome. In their minds, and eventually mine, I hadn’t been dumped; I’d been released to find a partner who wasn’t destined to run away.

During a recent move from an apartment in Brooklyn to a house in suburban New Jersey, I came across Amy’s camera and cassettes. They felt significant in the way a rosary might feel to a reformed Catholic. I found some comfort in them, as they represented a need for drama that I’d outgrown. Crazy people are exciting, but most will unwittingly steer themselves toward a life of entropy instead comfort.

Sometimes even the most awkward rebounds result in graceful put-backs. I’m five years sober now, and married to Gretchen. In fact, it was she who encouraged me to quit my job to be a writer. We have two small boys who love that I’m home all day, and while my life is chaotic and often maddening, it’s also filled with warmth and security: the good kind of crazy.

The cats now live in Portugal. Gwyneth Paltrow is a country singer. And Amy, I recently heard, is on her third marriage and finally settled.

Jason Good is a comedian, writer, and numerous other things he's not willing to admit publicly. A children's book based on his blog post, “3 Minutes Inside the Head of My 2 Year Old” is due to be released in 2013. He is also a contributing writer to Parents Magazine. Jason lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons, and enjoys making them laugh more than anyone. You can follow him on twitter @jasonmgood.



358 Comments / Post A Comment

The Lady of Shalott

Good God almighty.

Passion Fruit

@The Lady of Shalott Yes. Yes. I have no words.

Myrtle

@The Lady of Shalott A MONTH of that and no remorse? No breaking down? Amy's a sociopath. (People that abandon their pets- burn in hell.) But congrats on getting a real woman and a happy life.

beatrix

Thanks for the post.@l

Susanna

Holy cow. I apologise on behalf of womankind.

angermonkey

@Susanna Yeah, I'm not one to dogpile regarding life decisions, but Amy sucks. Also, dude, your mutual friends suck for not telling you and then not joining you in a purgative game of Amy Sucks.

Genghis Khat

@angermonkey Seriously! I'm more mad that ALL of this guy's friends wouldn't take his side. Jesus.

damselfish

@angermonkey For real! Real friends don't let their buddies (Amy) do this to people without speaking up, either to their buddy or to the person she's yanking around.

Get rid of your friends, seriously, they're terrible.

fondue with cheddar

@damselfish I know! That's exactly why I'm no longer friends with most of those with whom I was friends before my ex left me. Man, I related to that part of the story so much.

redheaded&crazy

"But whatever her demons were, they had nurtured a dark sardonic wit that made any emotional lability seem worth the ride."

minus the dark sardonic wit, i like to think this describes me!

although i would never pull shit like that. R.U.D.E.

Toby Jug

@redheaded&crazie
My dark sardonic wit is the only thing that keeps me from communicating in the style of mid-afternoon Alex Balk posts.

EpWs

@redheaded&crazie My wit maybe used to be dark and sardonic, but now I just yell things in all caps that only make sense to 'Pin commenters.

wee_ramekin

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher <3 U EVERPRESENTIE!!!!!

EpWs

@wee_ramekin :D :D :D

Toby Jug

You guys ever hear that folk song "Bob Eli and Amy"?

but seriously whatacrazybitch I can't even

redheaded&crazy

@Toby Jug seriously

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Toby Jug OH MY GOD WE HAVE FOUND THE BOB'N'ELI WOMAN

Porn Peddler

@Speaking of cake, I have cake I just had to go re-read that shit. Re-reading it, thankfully, did not capture the insane shitstorm of HAIRPIN FEELINGS that letter inspired. woooooooooo.

TheBourneApproximation

So Amy's kind of a jerk. At the very least for not taking care of her goddamn cats.

beanie

@TheBourneApproximation is it weird that I'm curious how they ended up in Portugal?

TheBourneApproximation

@beanie I know, right?!!

datalass

@beanie Is it weird that I pictured them hopping a freighter like a mash-up of Puss in Boots and a young Andrew Carnegie?

werewolfbarmitzvah

@TheBourneApproximation Yeah! The cat part is actually what makes me the angriest.

trappedinabay

@TheBourneApproximation - I must know why they're in Portugal!! Did they finally say, "Fuck this shit!" and hitchhike on a freighter? Did Amy put on her responsible panties and fetch them and now they all live happily in Lisbon?

Snicker-snack!

@TheBourneApproximation I love how we're all like, some shitty stuff happened, but... CATS!

WaityKatie

@datalass Yes, like that cat who hitchhiked (or whatever) from Colorado to NYC!

Ellie

@datalass Yes! This is the best explanation. I was wondering that too.

EpWs

@TheBourneApproximation Perhaps they got caught in an elaborate art heist and got sent to INTERNATIONAL CAT JAIL.

WaityKatie

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Locked Up Abroad: Cat Edition.

trappedinabay

@WaityKatie - Neal Catfrey and Muffy are at it again on a very special episode of White Flea Collar.

Jason Good@twitter

@TheBourneApproximation I gave the cats to one of Gretchen's friends who ended up moving to Portugal.

EpWs

@Jason Good@twitter DAMMIT JASON THERE GO OUR PRIME-TIME CHANCES

olivebee

@all You guys make me happy. In real life, I am all alone in my catladiness. I come to the Hairpin, and large quantities of people are all "Hey but what about the cats?!"

LilyMarlene

@TheBourneApproximation It seemed wrong that my first FEELINGS about this article were: 1) AAAAAGGHHHHH WHAT ABOUT THE KITTIES??? 2) Whoa man, sorry about the awful, prolonged breakup with the parasitic sociopath. Thank you all for making me feel less Eleanor Abernethy-esque.

(That said, I was so afraid "living in Portugal" was some kind of metaphor to the second power for "they went to live on a farm, where they can run free and play all day...")

Obviously, there are circumstances where people have to give up their pets, and it's usually a heart-shattering experience. The fact that this chick was able to walk so glibly out of your relationship sans cats and avec shiny new engagement ring...well, it seems you're probably better off. Actually, so are the cats - lazing in the sun in Portugal all day? Pffft. You three protagonists win.

bluewindgirl

@TheBourneApproximation Seriously, people who are just like, 'see ya, helpless animal I promised to love forever, you are no longer convenient!' are the worst. It's like a litmus test for assholery.

selenana

@bluewindgirl Basically, totally.

TheDragon

I do the opposite. I have kicked guys who don't like my dog enough to the curb.
It's just like "sorry dude, but he's been here for me whenever I cry, chased away a burglar, chased away my stalker ex, cuddles with me every night, and just wants to be near me."
if you don't like him, gtfo.

melis

"the password to her email was...p0etry"

Well, there's your first red flag right there.

jinsher

@melis I'm pretty sure that's the only flag you need.

And really? We're excusing the friends that let this happen and didn't tell you? No, America. That's not how it works.

Killerpants

@melis Truer words have never been spoken.

tessamae

@jinsher RIGHT? Fuck those friends, bring on the fire.

stonefruit

@jinsher I heard your last two sentences in Bernie Mac's voice. "AMERICA!" sad.

Maryaed

@jinsher The "friends" that apparently helped her lie about it in order to maintain a convenient living arrangement. Nice.

TheUnchosenOne

@jinsher YES. Those are some shitty-ass friends.

MissArgentina

@jinsher i need the drunk to recovering phase to be explained. maybe that's where all the anger comes into play. maybe he has many, many journals of "You suck, friends!" and "Amy's a sociopath!"

atipofthehat

@melis

Admit it: you changed your password right before you made that comment.

dj pomegranate

@TheUnchosenOne Srslyyyyy. If my friend was like, "So I found my soulmate and we're gonna get married and I'm engaged--checkout my ring!!--but don't tell Boyfriend because I need to stay in our apartment for a month because it's convenient until I can move in with Fiance, k? THX!" I'd be all, Girl. No. And how could they wait so long to tell him?! I just don't comprehend this at all.

HeyThatsMyBike

@TheUnchosenOne Although credit to him for marrying Gretchen. She was the only friend that was being a real friend! I approve, and am glad she redeemed our half of the species in his eyes.

rambutan

@jinsher/@dj pomegranate I don't get why the friends with the spare bedroom couldn't put her up for the month?

zidaane

@melis What about "sandlewood"? Unintentionally spelled wrong.
What does it mean?

dj pomegranate

@rambutan I mean, especially since she seems to have left with very little anyway. I mean, if I were Amy (WHICH I AM NOT) I would want to get out of that apartment asap. It's just a bad situation for everyone, even Amy.

Faintly Macabre

@jinsher It reminds me of a blog I read, Notes from the Intern--the woman who writes the blog wanted to break up with her boyfriend, but he lived with her and she didn't think he had anywhere to go (they weren't living in their home country and she paid the rent). Once their relationship had dwindled to nothing and she started seeing someone else, she went home early one day to break up with him--only to find him and her best friend (who also lived there) having sex. Apparently all of their friends/neighbors knew but didn't want to get involved, and her best friend told the guy not to say anything because she wanted to keep living there rent-free.

antilamentation

@rambutan Because that would have denied Amy the possibility of being even more of a massive emotional-vampire-drama-queen-of-all-the-dramas.

Genghis Khat

@melis It's a red flag about both of them that they exchanged passwords. Why. What is that? No. Maintain privacy, boundaries, and personalities. Even if you loooooove and trust each other.

Myrtle

@rambutan I do. Who'd want her? And I hope "Amy" is her real name.

sophia_h

...daaaaamn.

Bittersweet

"She hadn’t so much stopped loving me as she’d simply transferred her feelings to another man, like moving a cellphone number to a different carrier."

Dang, if I ponder this too much more my head's going to explode.

Bittersweet

@Bittersweet And by "ponder" I really mean, yell "WTF! WTF! WTF!" over and over in my head.

E
E

How did the cats get to Portugal!? That's all I want to know. Is it easy to relocate a cat to Portugal? Do they need quarantine? Are they still roommate cats or does on live in Lisbon and one is in the Algarve?

purefog

@E Are they exclusively Spanish-speaking cats who now have to negotiate the weird x's and stuff of Portuguese?

E
E

@purefog I have no idea! But cats! Will you be my visa sponsors?

Scandyhoovian

@E All of these questions about the cats! I share them with you! How did they get to Portugal!?

melis

Sim.

And you're taking tetraphenol orally, right?

E também portuguese, en CD-ROM.

Ah, boa sorte!

Obrigado. I dunno, Krieger, maybe it's just because I'm a badass, but chemotherapy? It's kind of a breeze.

Yeah, that's my point. Two weeks of chemo with no hair loss and you're not experiencing any nausea?

Nao, gracas a doobie medicinal.

TheBourneApproximation

@melis Wait, so the cats were actually Hitler clones?

Tragically Ludicrous

@TheBourneApproximation I love Hitler, and Hitler loves me!

TheBourneApproximation

@Tragically Ludicrous Hey, Hank. Killed Hitler.

yrouttasight

@TheBourneApproximation Is that a Venture Brothers reference? If it is, I think I love you.

TheBourneApproximation

@yrouttasight Started in Archer-land, but ended in Venture-ville!

Marzipan

I love stories that suddenly sum up whole lives at the end, because it’s like a bunch of gossip packed into a tiny space, so it seems so crazy and extra dramatic, even though it is kind of normal. POW married POW kids POW it is Gretchen, of course it is, it was Gretchen all along couldn’t you see that, isn’t it obvious now POW Amy is on her third marriage POW not an alcoholic POW cats decided to move abroad.

Sometimes I save up gossip of things that happen to me and then I’ll call a friend and make it seem like it is just nonstop excitement over here, when really it is just a month-long accumulation of moderately-interesting things.

Emby

@Marzipan I love that the cats decided.

ReginaSavage

@Marzipan He came home one say to a pile of poop and a note that said: Dude, sorry it didn't work out. Thanks for picking up our shit. Love, the cats.

SarahP

@ReginaSavage Cats would never say "thanks" for that. They'd be all "We suppose we forgive you for not having better things than paper bags for us to revenge-pee on that one time."

datalass

@SarahP Ha! Yes, exactly. My cat recently revenge pooped in my shoe. I'm not even sure that I did anything wrong. I suspect she just noticed it was a Ralph Lauren Collection flat and calculated that pooping in it would really have a big impact. But, since I bought the flats on sale at Zappos, I win this one, right?

dj pomegranate

@datalass When I moved apartments my cat revenge-pooped in EVERY CORNER of my new room. There were six corners.

The best part is that he totally was just sitting on the windowsill when I discovered it, like, "What? Oh that? I mean, whatever."

Xanthophyllippa

@Marzipan I think you should write a novel and call it "A Month-Long Accumulation of Moderately-Interesting Things."

boysplz

@ReginaSavage I'll never get over the way that my cat can poop on my carpet and still make it out so that I'm the asshole.

Craftastrophies

@Marzipan Obviously it was Gretchen. She got a name and a description of her clothes/hairstyle. Anyone who didn't see that from the start needs to read more romance novels. (NB: No one needs to do that.)

My cat is the dumbest cat, but he has never revenge pooped on anything, even when I left him alone for a week (people came by! For food and pats!) and when he is going to vomit, he gets off of the soft furnishings. He is the best cat.

Michaela

@Marzipan He is the best cat! When my cat knows he's going to vomit he actually looks around for the most heartbreaking item. Like a textbook or library book or some other kind of book.

Anji

I literally said "Ouch" out loud at the bit where your friends finally told you what Amy had done. Gretchen sounds awesome, though, and I'm genuinely glad to know that the story has a happy ending.

Jinxie

@Anji Oh! He married Gretchen at the end!! Somehow I missed that bit on the first reading. Yay , happy endings!

karion

I really need this story to be about Jason and Amy, with the parts played by Jason Lee and Lauren with a squeaky voice.

Also, I loved the cuss out of this. All of it. Especially this line:

They felt significant in the way a rosary might feel to a reformed Catholic.

Congrats on everything. Gretchen was right - you are meant to be a writer.

boyofdestiny

These "Yo Should I Dump This Asshole" submissions are getting bleak.

atipofthehat

@boyofdestiny

"The first sign that all was not well with our relationship was the loaded crossbow she leveled dead-on at my stomach though her whole body was atremble with crazy rage. The second sign? She hadn't bothered to put the peonies I'd surprised her with that morning in water. They lay slumped in a chair, their thirsting petals already beginning to brown."

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat "should I dump this asshole?"

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazie

Leonard
You're not taking her on the plane with you?

Phillip Vandamm
Of course I am. Like our friends, I too believe in neatness, Leonard. This matter is best disposed of from a great height—over water.

—NxNW

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat my uncultured ass appreciates your citing the reference for your joke

okaycrochet

Gretchen! Be my friend! Tell me where you buy your sweaters!

MeghanElizabeth

So much break up stuff this week! I can't handle it. I really enjoyed the first couple paragraphs, but I just can't finish this while I'm at work.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@MeghanElizabeth Seriously! What's up, Hairpin? Did the Awl break up with you?

Reginal T. Squirge

@MeghanElizabeth Keep reading! It ends up ok!

MeghanElizabeth

@Reginal T. Squirge Thanks! I got through it and loved the happy, tidy ending. Phew!

Lila Fowler

@MeghanElizabeth SERIOUSLY. It's kind of working for me because it's like repeatedly ripping off my new break-up band-aid, but also OUCH MY BAND-AID aaaaah.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@MeghanElizabeth: Next week, all Hairpin posts will be written in the voice of Baby Goose, consoling us all with the intimation that he's trying to get with us

redheaded&crazy

@Lila Fowler So you would prefer all stories of happy couples being happy and ... ok now I'm crying too

Lila Fowler

@redheaded&crazie No happy people. No sad people. No break up people. No single people. JUST CATS.

Seriously, I would have loved this story if it was just about the cats moving to Portugal.

(Not trying to slam on the author. This piece was great- my heart's just puking up a lot of feeeeeeelings)

bloodorange

@Lila Fowler Ugh, me too. I'm in the midst of what I think is going to be a slow, slow break-up and OH HAIRPIN.

slutberry

@Lila Fowler Your comment just made me crack up uncontrollably at my desk. JUST CATS.

Scandyhoovian

What in the everloving crap is this thing I just read?

karion

@Scandyhoovian: see, that kind of comment just pisses me all the way off. You didn't like it? Fine. No doubt you have a million better essays of your own.

But why shit on this writer? God, that pisses me off.

boyofdestiny

@karion Maybe she was just expressing shock and surprise at the content?

KatieBarTheDoor

@karion Ditto to what boyofdestiny said; I interpreted this as a "holy cow would a person actually do this kind of crap to another person aagghh" reaction? Not a diss at the writer. But I could be wrong.

karion

@KatieBarTheDoor: I guess it is possible that I read the comment wrong. On its face, it seems to be calling the post a piece of crap.

I am wrong all the time, so I'll stand down.

KatieBarTheDoor

@karion No, I totally see where you're coming from. I'm just *hoping* it wasn't a thoroughly rude comment, you know?

Scandyhoovian

@KatieBarTheDoor ohhhhh no no I was appalled at AMY, not the writing!! I can't believe someone could do that to someone else :-(

likearollingpin

@karion For what it's worth, I read it that way too, and thought, "Nooo, internet vitriol has reached the Hairpin!" But I'm glad I was wrong and that things are still civil here. :)

Sandra Boiteau@facebook

I don't typically give a shit about other people's problems, but I do love a good Horrifying Breakup Story. It made me picture the last living room I shared with someone. Well done.

melis

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook IT'S SANDRA SANDRA'S BACK EVERYBODY, SHE'S BACK NOT GIVING A SHIT AND BEING REALER THAN REALLLL

leastimportantperson

@melis Coincidentally, Sandra's password is also p0etry.

rootmarm

@leastimportantperson everybody stay the FUCK out of Sandra Boiteau's purse.

stonefruit

@rootmarm Apparently Sandra and Manatee are the same commenter.

travelmugs

Sandra's poor cats. :-/

purefog

@rootmarm For that matter, stay the DOUBLE-FUCK outta Sandra Boiteau's way!

Emby

@melis Someone should get her and Chris Roberts@facebook together.

leastimportantperson

@Emby Someone please write fan fic about this right now.

melis

Sandra Boiteau@facebook: "Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?"

THE HAIRPIN: "The open steppe. A fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair."

Sandra Boiteau@facebook: "Wrong! Chris Roberts@facebook.com! What is best in life?"

Chris Roberts@facebook.com: "TO CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES. TO SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE YOU, AND TO HEAR THE LAMENTATION OF THEIR WOMEN."

Sandra Boiteau@facebook: "That is good! That is good."

Sandra Boiteau@facebook

@melis Can you put something in it about me getting spanked? I like to be spanked sometimes.

SuperMargie

@melis Oh god- I am laughing my ass off at work and NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!

purefog

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook The 'Pin commentariat is truly accommodating.

theharpoon

Does anyone remember Spates? I've been gone too long.

Ellie

@melis I agree there's not much point in comments that are like "Why did I just read this crap" but I find this kind of pile-on, in-group reinforcing circle jerk even more annoying.

melis

@theharpoon He resurfaced fairly recently! Only for a brief and glorious moment, though.

theharpoon

@melis I miss him.

insouciantlover

@Ellie But but but circle jerks are all we have

melis

@insouciantlover Awww shucks, we never get to play the games I wanna play.

insouciantlover

@melis ARE YOU PILING ON ME? Pile. That makes me think of carpet. Which makes me think of euphemisms for cunnilingus. Full circle? FULL CIRCLE JERK?

melis

@insouciantlover Servicey and insidery!

Faintly Macabre

@insouciantlover Full circle jerk circus?

Waiting

@melis Melis, do you have anything better to do than patrol the comments and take digs at people who disagree with you? I mean that in the kindest way possible. I'm sick of my favorite blog sounding like high school lunch tables.

melis

Digs at me, not especially. Dig on! But when my friend Simone Eastman writes a thoughtful, painful, harrowing piece for us that reflects upon the pain of trying to love an unloving mother - a piece that's vulnerable and honest and difficult - and someone drives in from facebook to call her a "lazy piece of shit" and accuse her of trying to prank call her (which, question mark?), then I feel fairly justified in making a Conan the Barbarian joke at their expense.

That said, it's not an un-salient point, what you bring up. You're a friendly commenter and you asked something that's not unreasonable! So I think I can abandon my "force-feeding the trolls" policy and adopt one of bemused silence, because I really wouldn't want you to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome as a result of my general tendency to wring all the comedy out of a joke until it becomes dry and stale.

Also, your handle is MalPal and I, as a Mallory, would not want to behave in a manner unbecoming to pals. So: thanks for putting that in a kind and thoughtful way. I apologize for taking the joke too far and souring the thread. Excelsior!

wee_ramekin

@MalPal Have you been around the 'Pin long? I also mean that in the nicest and least sarcastic way possible.

It's standard practice around here for @Melis to take on the role of troll force-feeder when folks dive-bomb the site and say mean-spirited and downright bitchy things to other 'Pinners. In fact, I think @melis usually manages to inject enough humor into her defense that everyone - even the trolls - ends up having a good laugh.

Frankly, I think @melis acts as an unpaid moderator 'round these parts, dishing up humor and enough scathing commentary that the trolls usually move right along and keep your favorite blog all shiny and happy (for the most part). I don't see her making digs at people who don't agree with her; I see her making digs at people who are purposefully being assholes, and for that, I thank her.

@melis, friend, I salute you. With fire™.

nyikint

@melis ...hey, you're not souring anything; you make shitty comments less shitty.

Waiting

@melis Trolls come and go and are an inevitable part of *internet* life. In fact, they are a fact of real life too. Trolldom is something that's bound to happen because we simply can not control the way every single person reacts on an open forum. I think the beauty of an open forum, like we have on the Hairpin, is in seeing how a wide variety of people will have very different points of view. So, I mean, I understand the desire to be defensive and I think you are completely within your right to respond but I do think this got taken too far, and I'm glad you agree. I think moderators are moderators because they do not add fuel to fires - they douse them or provide a link of communication that contains them. Maybe our moderators are doing their job just fine and we don't need to worry about patrolling the comments, for worry of seeming like an exclusive group of high schoolers.

Power to the Mallory's.

melis

@MalPal Dude, Mallorys rule. Try naming a bad one. I sure can't. Sir Thomas? He's missing an L, but we don't care. Alex's sister from Family Ties? Who doesn't love Justine Bateman?

...Those are all the other Mallorys I can think of.

Inkling

@melis
Sterling and Mrs. Archer of course!

hahahaha, ja.

@melis: ONE OF THE JUNIOR BABY-SITTERS IN THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB. She was pretty cool too.

Craftastrophies

@melis I wondered for a while if Melis had created an alter ego and was debating with herself in the comment threads.

Wait, I am still wondering that.

I stand by my comment of Melis being the white blood cells of the hairpin. Trolls come and go, but I'd like them to go faster. And I'd like the authors of articles to feel like they can come join us in the comments and not be upset or attacked. I don't always love or agree with every author here, but I have their backs.

That said there is obviously a line between defending, and carrying on a fued. I'm not sure where it is, but I am really glad that this conversation is even happening.

MAN I love the pin.

Ellie

@wee_ramekin "Standard practice"? Nobody is "dive-bombing" this site. I can certainly recognize the impulse to feel protective of a writer you like, but this is the internet. If you publish something in a public forum, you have to be aware of the possibility that someone will disagree with you or write something mean. This is true of everyone, all the time. It would be totally boring if we never had anyone dissent with us or speak sharply - even if we totally disagree with what they say, I don't want to live in a world, or read a website, where everything is met with sycophantic approval all of the time. There are like two trolls who have ever been here . . . this is already a really sanitized environment. We don't need "troll defense." It's seriously embarrassing to read things that sound seriously exactly like being 12 at the middle school lunch table . . . grow up. You guys know you're supposed to just IGNORE trolls, right? The AV Club is the only place that really does this. You just embarrass yourself otherwise.

slutberry

@Ellie I like being 12 at the middle school lunch table. Many conflicts can be dissolved by a good dose of immaturity.

I mean, yeah, this is the INTERNET! IT'S HILARIOUS!

insouciantlover

@Ellie If we sound exactly like we're 12 at the middle school lunch table then I should probably start lying about having already gotten my period.

wee_ramekin

@Ellie Why do you think that we have so few trolls? Usually they are ignored, or they are hurried along their way with some pointed humor.

Okay, I'll put this out there. I really don't get trolls. Seriously. I have no idea why someone would enter an environment, shake it up by being a tool, and then sit back and watch with glee. It really doesn't compute for me. And so when I see a trollish comment left in the normally respectful (even when we're disagreeing) comment threads, I do respond to it if the comment writer is directly disparaging the author. To use the 'What I Meant to Do' article as an example, the commenter in that case directly called the author a "lazy piece of shit". Even if that's "just trolling", those words mean something, and reading them was jarring and upsetting for me - and I would imagine it was worse for the person at whom they were directed. I honestly do think of 'Pinners as my online friends (hi!), and when someone says something that callous and rude, I'm not going to let it stand.

The special charm that @melis has, in my opinion, is that she writes witty, hilarious responses to the trolls that simultaneously a) let whoever is being attacked know that the 'Pintariat has their back and b) diffuses tension. I don't have that witty way with words. When I get angry/protective, I'm apt to say something that escalates the situation, or that is, at best, over-earnest. I find that @Melis's humor de-escalates things...everyone sees that the situation is being "dealt with", and so cracks jokes instead of ratcheting up the tension.

And yes, it really is "standard practice" around here for @melis, or sometimes @atipofthehat, to do this. I used that expression because as long as I've been 'Pinning (I guess...almost...a year and a half now? OMG.), that's how they've handled things. And in my opinion, it has worked really well so far.

redheaded&crazy

@all good discussion guys, as always! i have summarized the pertinent points for everybody who wants the coles notes:

melis: Digs at me, not especially. Dig on!

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazie "Cole's Notes"? Is that what they call Spark Notes in Canada? That is charming!

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin we just want to be cool like you guys without sacrificing our own identity!

oh, disaster

Whoa. Glad there's a happy-ish ending for everyone involved, especially the cats.

max bread

Amy sounds like a horrible girlfriend, but damn I hope Jason ditched all those friends, too.

TheUnchosenOne

@max bread I tend to stay out of other people's relationships but "Your girlfriend is engaged to another dude" is something I would probably mention to someone I considered a friend. And I would hope my friends would tell me if they knew.

SarahP

@max bread My husband and I have a pretty firm "take no sides" policy with couple-friends' breakups, but I WOULD TAKE A SIDE with this one.

KatnotCat

@max bread Seriously, no need to even take sides there. How can you keep that inside? Just be all "oh hey, I have no opinion on this at all or anything, but your girlfriend is ENGAGED TO SOMEONE ELSE. I mean, two sides to every story c'est la vie yada yada maybe you should check that out?'

whizz_dumb

@max bread He totally ditched those friends and moved the fuck away from them with his new awesome girlfriend. Horrible, horrible friends. Hiding the truth is such bullshit in this case, I would unleash some fury if I were in his shoes OH GOD I'M GETTING ANGRY *rip* HULK MODE.

LilyMarlene

@SarahP I try to balance the potential for harm in these situations - i.e., is it a dangerous secret to keep? If someone is at risk of massive heartbreak, financial ruin, plague, pestilence, locusts, etc., then the harm of keeping the secret is probably greater than that of telling.

My partner and I tried to help a friend by informing him that his live-in (gold-digging, malignant douche-tractor of a) girlfriend was remorselessly throwing it around like [sports metaphor that I'm totally ignorant of] behind his back. Said friend didn't want to know, promptly stopped speaking to us, and immediately turned a large portion of our circle of "friends" against us because of the "lies" we told about his fantastic girlfriend.

This obviously says more about the people who no longer speak to us than it does about us, but it still stings like mad that my partner is now ostracised from cherished friends because of such bullshit. Telling said friend was the least gleeful task ever, and we both were really sad for him, but...meh. These are absolutely joyless situations, and nobody ever comes out feeling awesomely righteous about themselves.

(Side note: LIGDMDT Girlfriend was not only forgiven, but lured back to Said Friend with a new iPhone, and most recently, a BMW and fancy new accommodation. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess - but it's absolutely maddening to watch a friend be a willfully ignorant supplicant in his own use and abuse.)

antilamentation

@SarahP What gets me is... Surely it would be ruinous to the friendships to be keeping Amy's secret? So then it's even worse than she burdens those friends with the truth (flaunting her engagement ring all around town), but requires them to conceal it from the OP. So then the friends are caught in the middle, and also agree to do it... No wonder they look guilty when they tell the OP the truth.

Basically, Amy doesn't care if she ruins the OP's relationship with his friends. It's all about the drama queen getting to show off her drama, and people seem to get sucked into it. Would probably have been better for the friends too if they'd put in some boundaries and said: "We don't want to get involved, but we're not going to lie either."

Myrtle

@KatnotCat "The one still sleeping in your bed with you." I think even Miss Manners might weigh in on that one.

Sandra Boiteau@facebook

This is too easy...

boyofdestiny

It was a nice piece of trollery, Sandra. You shouldn't have signed it.

Emby

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook Maybe bake a pie about it or something?

Sandra Boiteau@facebook

@Emby I mean... I did bake a pie today.

melis

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook SHE BAKED A PIE AND SHE FILLED IT WITH THE BLOOD OF THE VANQUISHED

Sandra Boiteau@facebook

@melis but of course. If you can call watching a bunch of bored people post boring comments vanquishing.

Emby

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook I think that's like the 6th alternative definition of "vanquishing" (archaic).

Bittersweet

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook bored bored boring bored boring boring bored bored boring bored bored bored bored boring boring boring boring bored bored bored bored bored boring bored borde bornig bored bored boring boring bored bored boredy-bored-bored boring boring bored bored boredy boringy bored boring bored bored boring boring bloring boring blored bored bored bored broed bored boring boring boring boring boring bring bring boring bored bored bored bored. Bored. Boring.

Reginal T. Squirge

@Sandra Boiteau@facebook

"You should really close that window."

"What window?"

"The one that lets that guy in who holds you hostage and forces you to read those comments."

Faintly Macabre

@Reginal T. Squirge "READ THEM OR I BURN THE HOUSE DOWN! AND LAUGH! LAUGH AT EVERY SINGLE COMMENT!"

Craftastrophies

@Faintly Macabre Burn it down WITH FIRE

slutberry

@Craftastrophies I DON'T CARE YOU CAN'T HURT ME THIS IS THE INTERNET THAT'S JUST INTERNET FIRE AND I BET YOU ARE ACTUALLY A BORING LOSER WITHOUT ANY FRIENDS :HUFF:

meaux

@Bittersweet. Are you quoting Vivian from The Young Ones? The episode where he is bored? Because that was a great one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccjfSyO9ncM

Bittersweet

@meaux Um, no. But that Young Ones episode is really good.

Craftastrophies

@Bittersweet I wish this was real money.

Reginal T. Squirge

So... what happened to the bar?

Myrtle

@Reginal T. Squirge And does that mean the pool table's finally open? *Jingles quarters*

OneTooManySpoons

As someone who has ALSO been dumped by a live-in partner who secretly got engaged to someone else, my mind was most boggled by the role your friends played in this. How could they have kept that a secret from you?? Why on earth did they give their loyalty to Amy?

But I loved reading this, because I love being reminded that things that are not meant to be will not be, and better things come along.

beanie

@OneTooManySpoons how does this happen more than once?? I understand dumping your live-in partner because you found someone new to date (which is not great, but happens), but getting engaged?

Passion Fruit

@OneTooManySpoons "But I loved reading this, because I love being reminded that things that are not meant to be will not be, and better things come along."

I applaud your optimism. As someone who dredged around much, much, muuuuuuuuch lesser stories of mean ex-boyfriends, I am afraid that this would truly crush me. How did you move past this?

And yeah, I CANNOT BELIEVE that the friends stayed shut about Amy's nonsense. I would have told the next day or two, and I would have told Amy I was telling. I am good at keeping confidence, but what this lady did was so cruel.

Kristen

@OneTooManySpoons A lot of cheaters that I know became serious with their new partners very, very quickly. I think it has something to do with the need to convince yourself that your cheating wasn't so bad because you did it with your SOUL MATE who you LOVED and WANTED TO MARRY. Since your new relationship is SOOOO IMPOAARTANT, all the pain you inflicted on some rando you just happened to be dating and living with at the time really wasn't that big of a deal.

OneTooManySpoons

@beanie Honestly, it was five years ago, and to this day I cannot give you an answer as to how it happens. I think @Kristen's explanation makes good sense, though.

@Passion Fruit- It's funny that you say that, because I think of myself as generally pessimistic. But I have always truly believed, and repeated to myself as a mantra, that everything happens for a reason.

In this case? I moved, penniless, out of our apartment into a giant smelly house of boys. I stayed in my room and cried a good amount of the time. I also moved countries for a few months, ehhhh, you know, no big deal.
But then I came back to the big smelly house of boys, and one day one of those boys had a friend come stay for two weeks, and that friend and I are currently disgustingly happy together three years later. So hooray for my breakup! Hooray for the big smelly house!

City_Dater

@Kristen

Yes, this, exactly. It is a way for cheaters to prove to the probably horrible people who don't mind sleeping with someone else's partner on the sly how very SERIOUS they are and how very unlikely it is that they will cheat again. Which is kind of great because it spares two other people, at least until they cheat on each other and split up.

Passion Fruit

@OneTooManySpoons Yaaayyyy! So happy for you! Glad to hear your story had a sweet ending.

Craftastrophies

@Passion Fruit I know someone who was with his partner for... I wanna say ten years? Fifteen? And then she broke up with him to marry someone else, but she stayed in their house because, wait for it, the new dude was living in a nursing home.

The story is more complicated than that, but not complicated enough to explain it. Jeez.

Bed Monster

@OneTooManySpoons Please tell me that your smelly house of boys rallied around you in support as they got to know you. I'd feel better about really liking the show New Girl if they did. And what a wonderful ending to your story! I literally feel warm and fuzzy reading it.

bluebears

I registered to comment just to say JESUS CHRIST that was an awful story. I'm glad you're doing well now. I can't believe not a single friend told you she was engaged to another man. There's not wanting be be involved in someone elses relationship and then there's THIS situation.

Reginal T. Squirge

Also, what the fuck is with this "separate couches" shit? Did you live in a palace?

SarahP

@Reginal T. Squirge That was the first sign something was wrong. No snuggling while watching embarrassing TV?

Jinxie

@Reginal T. Squirge Seriously! How big is that living room that it can hold not just ONE, but TWO, TWO ENTIRE COUCHES? The mind boggles.
(And does that also mean they had more than 1 teeny tiny closet??) [fans self]

WaityKatie

@Jinxie It does explain why he couldn't afford it on his own, though. It was a palace!

theharpoon

@Reginal T. Squirge And with 2 couches why were they still sleeping in the same bed? This story is perplexing.

wharrgarbl

@theharpoon Well, when the Hairpin Time Machine is finished, we can take him back to that night so he can make his past self tell her that no, she's not staying until she can save enough money to bail.

AmandathePanda

@Reginal T. Squirge My BF and I have two couches...or a couch and a loveseat? He owned them when I moved into the house. We kind of live in the suburbs though, and this is not possible in a city. We have our own offices too, but I would trade these things for living in a place with culture and people, which our suburb kind of lacks. We usually sit on separate couches while watching TV because I wiggle and the cat is spastic and all sorts of things. We share a bed though!

moose

@Reginal T. Squirge Same as AmandathePanda, we also have two couches over here! One is a loveseat and the other is smallish. They are both totally terrible for two people to snuggle on. They are both broken. This is being poor. We don't live in a palace, just have a large open main room. But I DO NOT understand sleeping in the same bed for either one. Who cares if the couch is uncomfortable, sleeping next to *that* would be worse!

GailPink

@Reginal T. Squirge - And I just wonder why wasn't she sleeping on one of the couches?

Myrtle

@wharrgarbl Also, to hand over the remote.

Slutface

I would've been Amy when I was in my 20s. I hope she's stopped running away from everything.

Slapfight

As a rule, Gretchens are better than Amys.

(Even I don't know what I mean by that.)

Slapfight

@Slapfight Seriously. I know some awesome Amys.

Porn Peddler

@Slapfight Pretty sure Amy Sedaris is better than her sister Gretchen (but Gretchen isn't famous so obviously I have no basis for that other than who could be better than Amy Sedaris?)

Slapfight

@Third Wave Housewife You are correct. There is no one better than Amy Sedaris. She is a goddess among humans.

whizz_dumb

Sharing a bed while broken up: I can empathize with that miserable phase. Any amount of time is too long but my 3 month stint was...oof

Slapfight

@whizz_dumb Ugh. Twice. Uuggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh... (shakes head at younger self.)

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@whizz_dumb: I... may have done this too. And she still stole all the covers!

Take away: Don't move in the girl you're seeing after 3 weeks of seeing her because she's getting throw out of her apartment

redheaded&crazy

@Too Much Internet stealing covers is not a habit you can just will away!

serpens kaput

@whizz_dumb YES whyyyyyy did I/we do that? I did it for 2 months, in a twin bed, in a studio apartment. Because we weren't breaking up because we didn't like each other, it was just "circumstances"? On the plus side, it forced us to work ALL our shit out. Maybe that's what enabled us to stay BFFs?

beanie

@serpens kaput whoa. How did you EVER share a twin bed, even when together?

EternalFootwoman

@serpens kaput THIS. My ex and I lived together for a year after the end of our four-year relationship. I am convinced that that year is why we are besties now.

EternalFootwoman

@beanie No one can move around very much. You get really good at spooning. At one point someone will probably fall out of the bed. If you do it long enough, you'll rotate simultaneously, in your sleep. When you leave the twin bed, you will either never feel comfortable in a large bed or you will only ever want to sleep in a king.

serpens kaput

@beanie We managed because his shoulders were way broader than my shoulders, which made being spooner and spoonee very comfortable. But more to the point, does ANYTHING about this situation make it sound like a time of my life governed by good decisions?

Alexmen

you will either never feel comfortable in a large bed or you will only ever want to sleep in a king....List on MLS

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Those friends are like if the lookouts on the Titanic had talked with the Iceberg, knew its floaty path, RSVP'd the time and date of their arrival, and then glared at the passengers in the freezing water for making THEM feel uncomfortable about their relationship with Iceberg.

SuperMargie

I admire the author's restraint in not promptly going on a killing spree with an industrial flamethrower and torching the everlivingfuck out of his "friends" that kept all that from him.
Holy crap, I didn't talk to a friend for a month because he forgot to tell me our old bus driver died.

Summer Somewhere

Anyone else disappointed by the lack of gay in this story? Amy, I'm disappointed in you.

Heat Signature

@Summer Somewhere I have to admit, I was waiting for the gay.

wee_ramekin

@Heat Signature You called?

Xanthophyllippa

@Summer Somewhere I myself was waiting for the sex change.

EpWs

@Xanthophyllippa Ditto

Summer Somewhere

@Xanthophyllippa okaaaaaaaaay but that wasn't in the movie!

Xanthophyllippa

@Summer Somewhere I believe it was in the sequel - you know, the crossover with Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager.

Heat Signature

Hooray for marrying Gretchen! Hooray for sobriety! Hooray for Gwenyth Paltrow's career change (not really!)!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Heat Signature Oh my god, can we talk about Gwynnie and her "country" music? I had HBO for a while and "Country Strong" was on constantly, and it became a drinking game in my house. There's not a redeemable moment in that whole movie.

BoozinSusan

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose What did you drink to?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@BoozinSusan Every time she had a bad accent, every time we felt uncomfortable by Blair Waldorf's interpretation of what humble must feel like, whenever they mentioned the BABY, whenever we thought Tim McGraw felt more like a serial killer than a manager, and, finally, when she ODs.

wee_ramekin

"I bet Amy's back in Austin...."

♪♫doo doo doo doo♫♪

boysplz

@wee_ramekin We could invite her to a pinup and berate her! Also, I wonder what the bar he's talking about is.

TheMnemosyne

This is so parallel to what's going on in my life right now that I am creeped out. Extend the 1 month to 8 months, introduce a plastic-smiled blonde Miss America Contestant Lawyer in as the new transfer-of-affections, and keep everything else (except the part where it works out at the end, because, haha! nothing works out for me) and yeah, it's my life.

Lucienne

@TheMnemosyne Aw, that is tough. :(

To paraphrase my favorite comfort movie - Life is like a film. Everything works out in the end, and if it hasn't worked out it's because it isn't the end. Good luck!

Aunty Christ

I think my life would be complete if I could find another couple to play Euchre with.
Sweet/bittersweet story.

EllyHigginbottom

@Aunty Christ Exactly what I came all the way down here to say. EUCHRE. It's what you do. #MidwesternersUnite

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@EllyHigginbottom I learned euchre from the Canadian side of my family, and they are fond of saying, "Euchre, I don't even know 'er!" Ah, Canadians.

dj pomegranate

@Aunty Christ The first Love Of My Life (I was 17, I was sure IT WAS DESTINY) taught me euchre at night on the roof of a house during a two-week summer trip. He turned out to be definitely not my destiny (Young love! So naive!), but I am forever glad that he taught me euchre.

Bittersweet

@EllyHigginbottom EUCHRE. And G&T's. That is all.

Jane Marie

@Bittersweet yes.

alpelican

@Aunty Christ Yes! Euchre! Michigan! Home!

BoozinSusan

@alpelican What....what is this euchre you speak of?

Myrtle

@EllyHigginbottom Canasta's my families' game, maybe that's a West Coast version?

Myrtle

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose OK, now I really don't know how this word "Euchre" is pronounced.

alpelican

@Myrtle "YOOK-er"

fondue with cheddar

@Myrtle Rhymes with "puker".

Megasus

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I HATE people like that. My ex basically did that, though as far as I know they are not engaged. Though to be far I had long since transferred my affections not onto someone else, just not him. Because I can actually take care of myself and have some fucking self respect. #issues
Oh also pretty sure his entire family knew and a month before I had a car ride alone with his mother and she STILL didn't say anything!

The Lady of Shalott

@Megano! I TOTALLY HAD AN EX DO THAT TOO. Well, not the living-together part, though. Just the part where "Uh yeah I'm seeing someone else now and it's serious so I have to break up with you" and he did it VIA FACEBOOK. And then also requested that I not tell anyone about it so things wouldn't get awkward amongst our mutual friends.

He is now engaged or married to the girl he left me for. Congratulations. How wonderful.

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott Oh, he didn't tell me. He told me he was moving out to "take care of his Dad." I was about 90% sure there was someone else, and even had it narrowed it done to two people. I recently had it confirmed, when, ON MY BIRTHDAY, the guy who never, ever, ever posts on Facebook posts about how he took said girl to a wedding. She is like...22?
BUT I saw a recent pic of him where he looked fat and ugly, so you know, no big loss.

The Lady of Shalott

@Megano! At what point did you kill him and dump his body in a remote forested area?

dj pomegranate

@Megano!/@The Lady of Shalott Seriously though how do people do this? I would die from guilt, especially if I was lying/cheating on/living with someone who presumably cares for me. (I am also a terrible liar, so I find it best to just fess up asap.)

And VIA FACEBOOK WTF That is just the worst. Good riddance.

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott Ew, I am not stepping foot in London Ontario for that toolbox!

Speaking of cake, I have cake

I want this story to be on an episode of This American Life. Suggestions for a theme?!

dj pomegranate

@Speaking of cake, I have cake "Held Hostage" --I know it was already a theme, but doesn't this feel sort of like a hostage situation!?

EpWs

@Speaking of cake, I have cake "Terrible People Who Are Terrible"

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@dj pomegranate 'Last To Know'?

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher 'Cats With Passports'

sarah girl

@Speaking of cake, I have cake "Things To Set on Fire"

Myrtle

@Speaking of cake, I have cake "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?"

Sister Carrie

Did anyone else click the link to his blog? I am sitting here reading and laughing until the tears roll down my cheeks. Where was this guy when I had two-year-olds?

Daisy Razor

@Sister Carrie Someone sent me that link when my daughter turned two, and it made me cry with both laughter and sadness at it's total, total truth.

Roxy Throatpunch

@Sister Carrie @Daisy Razor I totally clicked on the link and now have YET ANOTHER BLOG to be behind on in Google Reader.

I have a fifteen-month-old, and that entry speaks to me. She doesn't have a penis, but everything else is spot on. Heaven help us when she can string sentences together.

Tweedle Dumb

Frankly, I'd love to hear Amy and his friends' sides of the story. And probably the most truthful side of the story - the cats' side.

dj pomegranate

@Tweedle Dumb The cats could not be reached for comment.

teaandcakeordeath

@dj pomegranate
Maybe thats why the cats headed to Portugal.

sp0ka@twitter

Oh god I did something real similar to this to someone I super love a few months ago (except I'm not engaged or anything amazingly whack and did not leave a bunch of stuff behind) and I am so so so so sorry.

Crying at my desk until further notice, Hairpin.

LooseBaggyMonster

See, I knew something was wrong with Amy when she started a state of the relationship talk (though it turned out to be more like a fiat) during the Oscars. The Oscars are very important and should not be interrupted! (Yes, I'm from L.A.)

Myrtle

@LooseBaggyMonster And "Shakespeare In Love" was great!

GailPink

Third Marriage = Your Revenge

wealhtheow

The whole cheating and secretly engaged thing is obviously completely craze-balls awful, but...am I the only one a little skeeved by the whole "I knew her email password and as soon as she broke up with me I tried to check her email" part?
And even if I didn't keep my secret engagement ring hidden in my purse, I too would be pretty pissed if I found out my ex was going through my purse.

thebestjasmine

@wealhtheow Thank you! I was wondering why everyone else just skipped right on by him trying to read her emails and then when that failed snooping through her purse.

wee_ramekin

@thebestjasmine Also...y'all, this guy admitted that he was an alcoholic and that he was attracted to her even though (because?) he sensed she was troubled. Amy's behavior was craven, undoubtedly. What she did was a magnificently shitty thing to do. But the other side to this story is probably a lot more nuanced than "Some crazy bitch who thinks God is a she did a bad thing to me".

antilamentation

@wee_ramekin There is clearly plenty of Teh Dramaz to go round here. I don't think anyone comes off very well.

Except the cats. The cats are awesome.

Genghis Khat

@wealhtheow That creeped me out so much, and the fact that there wasn't even an excuse provided makes me really question this story. If I were with someone who kept tabs on what I did on the internet and went through my purse at night you can bet I would lie and get my ducks in a row before moving out.

Inkling

@Genghis Khat
Maybe that's the deal with the friends?
Amy and the mutual friends could have interpreted his behavior--his entitled attitude towards her purse [very personal {haha pursenal} property], his need to share passwords--as controlling, paranoid, and pre-abusive, and therefore decided to keep him in the dark until she was safely away? That jives with the bed-sharing; being physically close to a controlling individual makes them less paranoid.
I mean, she left all her valuables behind, even her kitties. It's possible that she figured his snooping tendencies would lead him to the truth and she didn't want the confrontation.

ETA: I don't believe a short story like this is sufficient for a character profile, so this is purely amateur speculation. However, when many people are triggered to act in a certain way towards an individual, it's more likely that the individual causes the group's behavior than that every single person in the group is irrational.

Arif Hasan@facebook

@Genghis Khat An excuse would have been worse. I think the implication here is that there was enough trust with each other in the relationship that when they were "on," this never would have been an issue. Given the messiness of the clean break, there is some degree of an ethical gray zone. Also implied is that he was lost and looking for answers to a sudden situation that, from his perspective, has no clear genesis.

I'm not excusing it, either - those are just inferences from the story that act as additional bits of context to me. I will say right now that I was involved in a relationship with a much less ambiguous break (for reasons about exactly as messy), and I did the same thing - read her email and her texts. It was ethically extremely wrong, and I'm not proud of it. I also do not regret it, because it has shaped who I am today, a year later. I can't find a way to resolve my actions as ethical, but I've accepted that I can't fulfill this ethical debt (either as a discrete action or in how it makes me feel).

My point is that it is better simply not to defend it - when explaining this to others, I never defended it and I never will. What I did was wrong. What she (my situation and the one the author mentions) was more wrong, but obviously ethics do not generally work like a balancing scale between wronged parties.

I appreciate that he didn't provide an excuse - it exposes who he is as a person: who we all are, ethically imperfect.

Jason Good@twitter

@Arif Hasan@facebook Well said. Thank you.

Danzig!

Oh man, the reveal... I'm flashing back to the day my (now best) friend sat me down and told me that the woman I had been in love with, who had served as the fulcrum of my life for 2 years, was essentially a pathological grifter and had skipped town. Everything she had told us had been lies, we didn't even know her name. I called my mom and told her and she said she had always known, but had never told me because I wouldn't have believed her, which was true. It was always there but I desperately wanted not to see it.

I walked around with a light head for a few weeks, after that. I couldn't trust such a massive trove of my happy memories. It was like she had been dead and I had carried on with her ghost.

Crazy people: They're real. I guess the upside is that you can easily spot them, after that sort of experience. It's surprisingly useful!

Passion Fruit

@Danzig! Ah, I'm so sorry! That sounds rough.

What are the key indicators of a crazy person? I avoid people that are too me-me-me, and too magical OR too melodramatic. I need someone whose feet are firmly on the ground, walking through the muck of life but not wallowing in it.

Danzig!

@Passion Fruit The self-involvement's definitely a big tip-off, but it has to go with a certain willingness to ignore boundaries. Like if they have no compunction to, say, use or "borrow" other peoples' things without their permission, or will just straight up commit petty crime like it's nothing, that's a thing. Your first time encountering it, it might register as admirable fearlessness (especially if you're a firmly entrenched square, like I am) or MPDG whimsy, but you learn soon enough that they're like that all the time. Also, do they talk shit about people and have an unusually large number of people they regard as enemies or people to be avoided? Are there people they actively try to avoid being in the same room with? If so, the avoided person probably knows about this person's craziness in an intimate way.

The thing is that initially it can be hard to tell the difference between someone who's unstable and someone who's just very, very extroverted (a good person to have in your life, provided you can nail them down enough to keep them in it). so you just gotta… keep them at an arms distance for a while, and look out for the signs. They usually manifest pretty quick.

And again, their ace in the hole is usually your desire to see them as the awesome person they present themselves as. once you're aware people can be really really shitty, it becomes a lot easier.

Passion Fruit

@Danzig! Phew, I am way, way too square to put up with petty crimes. I guess my own unyielding nerdiness protects me from crazy people and skateboard accidents (I never, and would never, get on a skateboard).

Myrtle

@Passion Fruit You'd think I have a stake in this book, but I don't other than it's changed my life: check out "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout. It's also quoted all over the Internet, if you want to Google it. A mental construct-considered incurable-- don't/can't feel remorse...
"The combination of consistently bad or inadequate behavior and frequent plays for your pity is the closest thing to a warning you'll ever get, that you are being manipulated by a sociopath."

Myrtle

@Danzig! Firstly, I'm sorry you had this horrible betrayal happen to you (and glad you're well past it) but secondly-on a website populated with adroit users of the language, your writing has a lissome quality that is quite delightful to read.

Danzig!

@Myrtle Wow, thanks! I'm blushing over here.

I suppose I was lucky, in that I had already resolved to eject that woman from my life by the time the truth of things came out. She had disengaged from mutual friends, denigrated them on the regular, and forbade me from speaking to them about her (they had made the rude discovery by that point), and the turn in her moods had started to tear me up. It made her departure empowering when I had anticipated a lot of heartache. Many of my friends had a harder time of it.

I hardly think about her anymore except to marvel at how insane so many of the situations we got into were, given what I know now. They'll make my memoirs slightly less dull, at the least.

whateverlolawants

@Danzig! Wow. I'm just seeing this now, and this is giving me a lot to think about regarding some people in my life. And also making me realize that my extroversion might sometimes come off worse than I realize (although hopefully people stick around long enough to see that I'm not really down with petty crimes and selfish drama and whatnot.)

Danzig!

@whateverlolawants Don't stress about the extroversion! If you're not manic in that way that my former friend was, you've got nothing to fear. People might judge you harshly but they would be doing that anyway, and it's their problem.

Besides, most people aren't on the lookout for this sort of thing, so to most people will take you to be the great, initiative-seizing person you really are, without a second thought.

whateverlolawants

@Danzig! That's good to hear, because I rarely act manic. Thanks for the thoughts... and I was particularly interested in the "forbade me from speaking to them about her" part of your description of your ex. I know someone like that.

Austin Still

Screw the cats. What happened to the porn??

Decca

Holy cow.

Gretchen sounds awesome though. Go Gretchen!

Austin Still

@Decca Agreed.

queenieliz

I'm not going to ask, because it's obvious that I am the only one bothered by the use of "crazy" as a descriptor here. This man went from being unemployed to being an unemployed writer, he didn't happen to mention when he became a psychologist. I was totally on his side till that. He's not qualified to make that diagnosis, and it really sounds like ugly sour grapes. I'd say if he's still throwing insults around he's not over it, but that's no excuse to stigmatize mental illness.

wee_ramekin

@queenieliz No girl, it bothered me too.

Xanthophyllippa

@queenieliz It doesn't bother me because it's no longer a technical medical term - that is, it's not a formal diagnosis anymore, so it doesn't have a human referent. Unlike, say, "psychotic," which does still have medical meaning, and which will send me absolutely through the roof when people throw it around as shorthand for "uncharacteristic" or "outlandish." I'll take "crazy" over that any day. At this point, it's just slang. (In my tiny little brain, at least.)

beanie

@queenieliz I allow sour grapes in this case. That was a brutal dumping. (Not like I am the master on this or anything, I just feel in this case he was justified in calling her terrible things).

queenieliz

@Xanthophyllippa I see what you are saying, but count two instances of commenters referring to "Amy' as a "sociopath." So, while it may no longer be considered a Medical Term, lay people still conflate "crazy" with "Mentally Ill" Anyway, it bothers me. When my boyfriend is talking about his ex (violent and violently jealous for no reason) It bothers me, I ask him to say one nice thing about her for every negative thing. I don't think holding onto that anger is a good strategy.
eta You know what really gets me about the use of the word "crazy"? It's that every guy who has ever been made to feel uncomfortable by a woman's display of emotion resorts to calling her "crazy." It is used all too often to invalidate a woman's thoughts and feelings.

redheaded&crazy

@queenieliz i always love a good discussion about the use of the word crazy as a descriptor!

personally, it's a red flag for guys to describes girls that way. Absolutely. I can guarantee you my ex refers to me as his crazy ex. I WOULD STAKE MONEY ON IT. because yeah, our relationship was so dysfunctional that it turned me, an emotionally volatile person to begin with, into an emotionally unstable person. and as you say, crazy is a convenient word for people with limited understanding of behaviour/mental health/emotions/relationships to use.

so whenever somebody describes their ex as crazy you can pretty much guarantee that the relationship was dysfunctional. unless the person actually experienced hallucinations and delusions, and therefore would be diagnosed as psychotic, which, often combined with mood disorders, is the most common psychiatric diagnosis that people think of when they think crazy. in which case i have some sympathy that being in a relationship with such a person can be very challenging, and if you weren't up to the challenge, you gotta get out of that situation.

but i don't know what's worse, calling a person whose emotions don't fit into the nice narrow box you've defined as acceptable "crazy" or calling an actually person with an actual mental illness "crazy" they're both pretty bad and make you look like an asshole.

I will however continue calling myself crazy until the cows come home. Quelle double standard.

Xanthophyllippa

@redheaded&crazie Oh, beautifully said! I think the distiction for me is something similar - "wow, that's a crazy idea" is an okay usage by me, but "dude, crazy bitch left me for no reason" isn't. The latter ignores and dismisses the depth of very real emotions and responses.

Or maybe I'm hypocritical. But a lot of contested words, for me, are fine in certain contexts.

Austin Still

@queenieliz Oh god. You sound like a pain in the ass. Sorry, did I just stigmatize hemorrhoids?

queenieliz

@Austin Still wow! nice to meet you too!

fuck fuck fuck

what is with all the trolling going on lately? i'm guessing sandra called for backup?

swirrlygrrl

@Austin Still *rolleyes* queenieliz, keep pissing off that segment of the population who thinks calling people on the use of stigmatizing language means you're no fun. I think you're fun, and rather awesome.

queenieliz

@swirrlygrrl I am no fun and proud of it. But thanks, I think you are awesome too.
@lighter fluid, I don't know, but it was kind of a surprise. I'm wondering if this person has a personal connection to the story? Maybe it's one of the "friends"?

redheaded&crazy

@queenieliz i am lots of fun and yet there's nothing i enjoy more than a rousing discussion about stigmatizing language. it's crazy how those two things can still co-exist!

Xanthophyllippa

@redheaded&crazie People who don't appreciate that are lame!

Wesley Coll@twitter

Damn it. Worse than being the train wreck I've been lately is to find out that I'm not even as noble and sincere and strong as Jason Goodboy here. Which means, it's not for me the redemptive 'promotion' he's earned later either. At least I seem to have better friends. I've just forgot how to live, I guess. Oh and now that I've read some of the comments, I feel even more terrible: everyone's offering soulful asides and analysis about their situation, while the self-centered dope here can only whine about himself. I don't know, it may be time to leave everyone alone now.

Passion Fruit

@Wesley Coll@twitter What are you saying?

BoozinSusan

@Wesley Coll@twitter Are you... Are you Amy?

Waiting

I feel like there needs to be another article just discussing Amy-ship and people like this, who do these things. I had an ex just up and walk out of my life, as if he wasn't cheating on me for months with another girl and was planning the whole thing.

datalass

@MalPal I agree. Mostly because I have so many thoughts about this and really want a forum to express them.

GirlJourno

@MalPal Amen sister. Someone I know had a boyfriend of three years who just stopped calling one day. Where do people come off doing this?

Also, I confess: I have been an Amy of (I'd like to think) less life-wrenching and bitchy sorts. It can be so tempting to just run away because... breaking up is really. fracking. hard to do!

Ok so, Hairpin. Girl. Where's the next article?!

fondue with cheddar

@MalPal I've been thinking of submitting something about my horrible marriage and the astounding aftermath when I learned a lot of Interesting Things about my former husband and his girlfriend, but I was afraid it would come off as OH POOR ME LISTEN TO HOW MUCH OF AN ASSHOLE THIS GUY IS I'M A VICTIM WAAAH, so I thought it might not be the right kind of story for The Hairpin. But this story shares a lot of similarities and it didn't come off as whiny. I guess it's all in how you write it. The biggest problem is it's hard to tell the story succinctly because there's just SO MUCH and I wouldn't want to leave anything out. (Though there are a few livejournal posts and comment threads still out there that contain a whole hell of a lot of juicy details if anyone desired further reading.)

I'm really sorry that happened to you. We should definitely all share our stories! FORUM!

Azalp Yerbua@twitter

She is a whore, but this guy is a woman. He should have thrown her out on day 1. What a pussy.

Allisaurus

@Azalp Yerbua@twitter OH NO NOT A WOMAN OH DEAR GOD ANYTHING BUT THAT

Passion Fruit

@Allisaurus YOU WIN!!! Your comment wins. Thank you.

slutberry

@Azalp Yerbua@twitter No, the pussies went to Portugal.

Xanthophyllippa

Anyone else get the feeling all these @twitter trolls are really the same one basement-dwelling person?

Mira

@Xanthophyllippa I certainly hope so.

redheaded&crazy

@Xanthophyllippa it was only a matter of time before the internet hordes came for us and found us.

slutberry

@redheaded&crazie GIRD YOUR LOINS, 'PINNERS. WE MUST PROTECT THE HOMELAND.

slutberry

@sniffadee THE DAY HAS COME. WE MUST ALL BE MELIS.

wee_ramekin

@sniffadee Hahahahaha. WE ARE LEGION! WE ARE MELIS!

and also....

THIS. IS. HAIRPINIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

catsuperhero

@wee_ramekin I can't hear that quote anymore without thinking, "Damn, poor Legion...the geth got fucked over good."

(anyone?)

Jay Green

Somebody tell me I'm not the only one bothered by Manic-Pixie-Dream-Gretchen? Oh, a supportive quirkily-dressed cutie with a quirky badass job whose sole purpose in this story is to Fix Him A+! We know all these things she did for him, but what about her? He doesn't even mention what she does now, besides being a wife and mother. It would have literally taken half a sentence dude! (dontevengetmestartedathowofcoursetheresolutionisaheteronuclearfamilyiamgoingtobringmyhomobuttovertherenow)

It's pretty appropriate that the title is a reference to Kevin Smith's work, given how flat the female characters are here. =/

Myrtle

@Jay Green Other thoughts I've been entertaining:
1) Gretchen's a co-dependant enabler, on Corner 2 of the Karpman Drama Triangle of Rescue, Enable and Persecute. Also handy: work as bartender.
I'm reminded of my brother telling me we can all find ourselves in some sort of relationship, that it's a matter of degree. So if they're happy, I'm of a mind to leave them alone.

Arif Hasan@facebook

@Jay Green Why is it a problem that his real life story followed a cliche script? Sometimes life happens that way, and it seems like the "heroes" are happy. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a nuclear family - only in normalizing it. He makes no claims of universality, it is merely his reality, as he subjectively experiences it.

If things need to be broken down into characters, the limited perspective on Gretchen is effective because it coincides well stylistically with the rest of the piece - she serves no purpose in the "plot" of the story than to provide a small degree of foreshadowing on a heartwarming resolution and as the catalyst for change. There is no question in my mind that she is part of a cooperative, codependent relationship in real life, but sometimes the story isn't about her.

Not because of gender, but because of the narrative and thematic structures. I understand the dangers of false equivalencies, but would we be as worried about these representations if the sexes were reversed?

Gregg

Jason---very nice piece. Tight; moves; we can all connect with it; your prose steps toe first...so you must be trotting. Really enjoyed it. Blessings on you and your little family.

catsuperhero

That fucker ditched her cats. THAT FUCKER DITCHED HER CATS.

TheDragon

@catsuperhero
NEVER ditch the animals.

Psychbucket

Amy is a massively cold-hearted and cowardly bitch, and the "friends" who kept the secret are not much better.

Arif Hasan@facebook

Regardless of thoughts on "Amy," I think we can all agree that this is a fantastically written piece. Even with the preview on HuffPo, nothing was really given away - I knew in a general sense what would happen. Regardless, I was still able to experience a small gamut of emotions in this small article. Thank you for sharing.

Beentheredoneit

Nice article and just the right amount of humor to balance the REAL story and your feelings. Just so you know, A LOT of people have been thru this same story. You were blessed she left YOU, and also the fact that you showed respect by living together while she is in another direction clearly shows your good sympathetic character.

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