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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

365

Be Less Crazy About ... Bad Boyfriends

I am a proudly independent woman. I value and crave my solitude, I have hobbies and an active social life, and clingy guys turn me off! But I can’t seem to stay single for one reason: there are some things I just don’t want to do alone. I have to admit it: more than once, I have found myself settling for a really bad boyfriend if it means I have a built-in date for trying new restaurants, going to amusement parks, weddings and similar functions, cuddling in bed on Sunday mornings, making out in the park, and, yeah, well, having sex. (You know, non-BFF activities!) The side effect is that I end up staying with guys who make me feel crazy and sad.

The world tells me that I'm a square peg if I don't have a date. EVERYONE I KNOW is married or engaged. And yeah, sometimes it does come from inside my own head. Like when I lie in bed and imagine arms wrapped around me, and just cry cause they're not there. Aaah, even typing it makes me cry! But I'm not co-dependent or even lonely, so what's the dealio? Is what I wonder. 

Dealio the first: I know this wishing-for-arms feeling of which you speak, but I do not think it means what you think it means. Of course, girls are taught that our deepest longings must obviously be all about love (see: every pre-Pixar fairy tale ever told). But answer me this — have you ever actually had your bad boyfriend’s arms around you and felt the same feeling, or something close to it?

I bet you have. I know I have. Arms present and accounted for, but same sad shivery feeling. Even now, when I’m mere weeks away from marrying a truly lovely man, I still sometimes find myself crying soundlessly in a dark room for no apparent reason. All of which shows that That Feeling is not about love or romance or anything other than the simplest reality of being alive — the fact that on a very fundamental level, we are always alone.

WOW I am really cheering you up here, aren’t I? Sorry! But I want you to understand this: that feeling just happens sometimes. Frequently on a monthly basis. And though there can be great comfort in being close to someone, closeness doesn’t make it go all the way away. So please don’t stay with a bad boyfriend trying to avoid it — it doesn’t work. 

Dealio the second: How bad is that boyfriend, exactly? There are some distinctions to be made here — prone to playing too many video games and messier than you’d like is one thing; addicted to heroin and physically threatening is another. If your bad boyfriend is at the harsher end of that scale, please get in touch with someone in your city and get some in-person help. Please please please, right away!

If he is just garden variety not right, though — if you find yourself checked out or fighting or “trying to make things work” more than 10-20% of the time — then come along and let’s have ourselves a think about why ladies stay with bad boyfriends.

Why do they? Why do we? It’s a matter of perspective. From the outside, it is so easy to see when someone is better than what she’s settling for, and it makes us cringe so hard! Just dump him! ARGH! It is so simple!

But when you find yourself playing the role of the lady staying with the bad boyfriend — we all take at least one turn, it seems — you realize that it isn’t simple at all, because your thoughts and feelings make it all crazy and complex. Specifically, the thoughts and feelings of your lizard brain.

The lizard is your friend, but a little scary, too. She lurks deep within, operating on millennia of aggregated evolutionary knowledge, so she remembers a lot. Like how for thousands of generations, women required strong relationships with strong men in order to simply survive. How, without someone to protect them, our foremothers were vulnerable in every way. How dearly so many of them suffered for it.

So when a liberated modern gal such as yourself contemplates leaving a romantic relationship, even a middling-to-shitty one, the lizard feels she is honor-bound to make you stop, to get right up in your face and scream stuff like you’ll never do better and you’re not getting any younger and you’re lucky to have anyone at all and any man is better than no manand THESE ARE FACTS DAMMIT!

Now, given what she’s seen, her reaction is completely understandable. But it screws up your life, too! Because she ensures that even here in the future that is now, and even when you know you’d be far better off on your own, it still feels like the act of breaking up might actually kill you.

Does this sound melodramatic? Sure. But it’s also pretty accurate I think. What else could drive so many amazing women to put up with such unending amounts of bullshit from their men, from silliness all the way up to abuse? From the outside, it looks like just plain old being a doormat, but from the inside, it really can feel like life and death.

The ancient and powerful wisdom of the lizard is a lot like body craziness — it slithers up from the the dankest sub-basement of consciousnes and demands our attention whether we like it or not. And if we want to be able to operate rationally in this realm, to have enough faith to let go of bad stuff so we can find better stuff, we have to learn how to handle it.

Thankfully, this can be done! How? You just never let the lizard be in charge. She is trying to protect you in her loving creepy way, so hear her out and be sweet to her and maybe give her some nice bugs to eat. But don’t forget that she is willing to make tradeoffs that you are not. Really awful tradeoffs. For her, any man really is better than no man, and that is bananas!! So listen to the lizard but decide what to do with the rest of your brain. Never ever let her get wet or eat after midnight or take control.

I am talking a lot about how this part of your brain works, because when you break up with this dude — and you know you have to, right? — I want you to be prepared. The lizard may rise up inside you, and you may panic. You may think you are losing your mind and not be able to breathe, and it might feel like you will die if you don’t call him RIGHT NOW so you can gloss over all the excellent reasons why you dumped him and get back together immediately, anything if the panic will just end.

But you must not do this! It’s a trap! The only way out is through! So DO NOT CALL HIM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Call your friends instead, distract yourself with movies and cooking and long walks and whatever else you can do to take up time, and remind yourself that the panic will subside. Because it really, really will. I promise.

It will suck for a while, but then, sooner than you think, you’ll catch yourself singing in the shower and realize that you feel tentatively better. Then you’ll go dancing and sweat out gallons of history and feel MUCH better. And then you’ll find yourself sailing down the street on a sunny afternoon, laughing at how wonderful you feel, your heart floating up inside you like you just drank a fizzy lifting drink.

Do you remember this feeling? It is called freedom, and it is exquisite, and I want it so badly for you. But the only way to get it is to earn it. So be brave and let the bad boyfriend go! Venture forth with the lizard as messenger rather than master! Stop settling for what you have when in your heart you know it blows!

Most of all, give yourself the chance to think your own thoughts and do your own thing without someone else’s thoughts and thing getting in the way — I swear it is even nicer than you remember.

Previously: Be Less Crazy About ... Weight.

Do you ever feel kind of crazy about something and you know it's crazy and you want to stop but you're not sure how? Get the book, read the blog, ask Megan anything.

365 Comments / Post A Comment

Emby

Whoooaaa spooooky how am I posting before the article has been posted yet I must be a wizard ghost ooohhhoowooooooooo.

Re: the article, it's great advice. Something I think that can be difficult (as a guy who's been in the exact reverse of the situation, right down to the wanting someone to do activities with rather than doing them alone) is breaking things off with people who are perfectly nice, perfectly sweet, easy to get along with and just for whatever reason don't ignite your fire the way you thought they might. Because breaking good people's hearts sucks balls, especially when the best reason you can come up with is, "Eh, just not feeling it." Which, yeah, I've read the Dear Sugar article, but it doesn't make it any easier to actually do the deed.

Oooohhhoowoowoooooo wizard ghooooosssstttttt

Ophelia

@Emby We're all in the fuuuuuuutuuureeee! It's so nice and quiet here.

...wait, where is everyone?

OHMYGODTHERE'SNOONEINTHEFUTUREWHATHAPPENEDAT1:35PM????

Emby

@Ophelia Langoliers.

Nicole Cliffe

(I watched "The Langoliers" on Netflix Instant this past weekend, and it was everything I remembered and more.)

graffin

@Nicole Cliffe You watched it despite remembering it? Did your Netflix have only one movie available?

Emby

@graffin You hush your fingers, that movie is fantastic.

SarahP

@Nicole Cliffe I kind of want to see it, but I enjoyed the short story (novella?) and don't want to ruin it for myself...

teaandcakeordeath

@Nicole Cliffe
*spoiler alert*
Mistress Mary from the 1995 Secret Garden film running away from what appeared to be flying meatballs?

Ophelia

@teaandcakeordeath Eh, I think we're past spoilers on The Langoliers, same as with things like Gone With the Wind, or A Christmas Carol.

teaandcakeordeath

@Ophelia
It's theoretically possible someone was saving The Langoliers for a special occaision? No. No it's really not.

However, I've never actually seen Gone With the Wind. I might just be the last one.

Nicole Cliffe

@teaandcakeordeath SHUT UP THAT'S HER?!? OF COURSE IT IS!!

teaandcakeordeath

@Nicole Cliffe
What can I say? The girl had range.

HeyThatsMyBike

@teaandcakeordeath I have also never seen GWTW. And I live in Georgia.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Nicole Cliffe: Evil Balki!

LaLoba

@teaandcakeordeath You mean meat ball pacmans?

MoonBat

@Emby Spoooooooooky!
The advice is dead-on, I agree. And it does sometimes suck to be single, especially if your friends are all hooked up and difficult to make plans with. I have to also remind myself sometimes, that considering dating someone who asks me out only because they've shown interest in me, not because I've been interested in them, isn't fair to anyone.

fondue with cheddar

@jen325, this is future jen325 telling you to stop reading The Hairpin and get back to work!

Even though I know you won't listen.

anachronistique

@jen325 YOU'RE NOT MY MOM, YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO

ReginaSavage

Ugh. This is my life right now.

Damn you, lizard brain!

Oh, squiggles

@ReginaSavage Me too! Lizard high five! Or four, or how ever many fingers lizards have.

Lizard fingers! fistpump!

ReginaSavage

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Totally!

I'm gonna count my lizard's fingers when I get home. Because I actually have one as a pet.

waltzedout

@ReginaSavage me too.

TheLetterL

"The lizard may rise up inside you, and you may panic."

I don't think that sentence has ever made so much sense.

zamboni

@TheLetterL of course you'd panic, IT SOUNDS JUST LIKE 'ALIEN'! ("The only way out is through" indeed)

lavender gooms

@TheLetterL For some reason, I read this in the voice of David Byrne a la "Once in a Lifetime."

okaycrochet

@lavender gooms I don't know if anyone else has been saying "The fire rises!" in a Bane voice as often as possible, but if you have, bust that ish out right now because THE LIZARD RISES!

LaLoba

@okaycrochet My friends and I have been saying everything in Bane voice for two weeks and at first we said "No, we did it all night it just doesn't get old!" But I'm afraid it might be funny. Just add, "I was born in the ___" to what anyone has said to indicate your precedence in the matter.

Oh, squiggles

This article was so good it appeared to make a tear in the time-space continuum as seen in the above comments. Wow.

But yes, I found this to be a very good read! And it created a question in my mind, which is this:

Are there perfect relationships? If so much advice is about not putting up with bullshit from your partner, then are there relationships that exist without bullshit at all? Like 0? And if not, what level of bullshit should we be willing to adjust to? I've always thought that compromise is a fact of life. But how much is too much? And how much is too little, when it comes to relationships?

rayray

@Awesomely Nonfunctional THIS IS MY QUESTION. How bad is bad.

Reginal T. Squirge

Beyoncé and Jay-Z. QED.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Fab question. Everyone has their own tolerance for bullshit, just like everyone has their own tolerance for heat and humidity. How long can you stand and say, "Well, it's sort of nice out and that breeze is cooling my skin," before you say, "Fuck it. I'm heading north until I find a place that doesn't have air conditioners sticking out of windows."

nyikint

@Awesomely Nonfunctional My imaginary boyfriend gives me no bullshit at all.

angelene

@Awesomely Nonfunctional There are no perfect relationships, but there are definitely good relationships, where the net effect of the person in your life is positive. Relationships can't survive when you expect the other person to fulfill all your needs and be who you want them to be all the time, but they do work when you listen to and understand each other despite differences. There will be moments of disappointment along the way because nobody is perfect, but overall, they make your day feel brighter. Or maybe 'richer' is a better word, as there are times when caring for another person might contribute to your unhappiness – if they get ill, for example – and it can be a burden just being with another person all the time, no matter how lovely they are. But they enrich your existence, you love them, it's a great thing.

SarahP

@Awesomely Nonfunctional What counts as bullshit? Everyone in the world has issues of some sort, and when you're in a relationship, partners' issues tend to become shared. Is that bullshit? If so, I don't think there are perfect relationships where no one has issues and no one gets sad and no one feels lonely (or at least a little misunderstood).

StandardTuber

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Personally speaking, it's all about your boundaries and checking yourself by trying to have perspective about the relationship. I do this in my relationships, not just with my partner but with friends and family.

TheDragon

@Awesomely Nonfunctional
This may be really cold an analytical, but I have a "cost/benefits analysis" I run. If the cost of the bullshit is less than the benefits I get from him, then he stays. If not, hello revolving door on Kendragon's bedroom/heart. It's good to see you again.
(Benefits and costs may be weighed on whatever you want. But genuine, uncontrolled happiness is a good way to count. Feeling shitty about yourself is too. How good you look on his arm is not a very good scale.)

angelene

@nyikint Love makes you feel things more intensely, both happiness and sadness. A good relationship, as well as intense happiness, will also contain those feelings of fear or sadness, but you will not feel the need to censor them.

Queen of Pickles

@Awesomely Nonfunctional
Such a good question. And WHERE IS THE LINE between "trying to change someone" (bad) and "asking someone not to do something that they think is normal but that you find hurtful"? (good?) With my Ex-Dude, we'd keep finding ourselves in situations where I thought it was the latter, and he thought it was the former.

Like, one night my friends had a dinner/board game party. He said he'd come as soon as he got out of rehearsals. He wound up being three hours late and drunk, because he'd been having drinks with the cast. But I hadn't said "This is a special night, come meet all my friends" - but, I mean, three hours late! Very drunk! Eyebrows raised all around! Or the time when he wanted to make a smoothie at 1am and I kept telling him it would wake up his housemate, and he very stubbornly went ahead with it and woke up his housemate, and I felt embarrassed for being there with him.

And it makes me feel like a colossal jerk for being embarrassed by these things - like they're things I should just accept, the same way I accept his appearance, profession, personal choices. He's just so different from all of my film-theory-discussing, hip-restaurant-visiting, well-dressed liberal college friends. And thank God, too. He's very unpretentious.

It's easy to just say "Oh, he was an asshole, DTMFA" but these are the only things that I think it was defensible of me to object to. What about things like using the word "tits" in front of my (female) friends? Or how he never goes to the doctor, ever ever, eats bacon all the time, family history of heart disease? Is it controlling to be like "VISIT THE DOCTOR PLEASE"? I mean, you can see why we broke up, but are there ways to work things like this out? Assuming that he is a stubborn, kind, loyal, fiercely independent, good-humored person, and I am too, how does one navigate these things?

Whoa, that was long.

nyikint

@angelene I was just joking! I didn't mean to imply a I touch no one and no one touches me-ish sentiment.

MilesofMountains

@Awesomely Nonfunctional This is very pertinent to my life. I feel like relationship advice tends towards "You must wait until you find the person who is wonderful in every way and every day you are with them is like a thousand suns of burning love and affection that never ever ends and you find everything they every do to be a magical gift to the universe and anything less is selling yourself short". I'm a pretty practical-minded, non-emotional person. I'm pretty sure I won't feel that about anyone or anything ever, my brain just doesn't work that way.

City_Dater

@rayray

As someone who spent more time than I should have in a crappy relationship while telling myself "yes, but relationships are about compromise" I say:
If you are unhappy more than you are happy and/or frequently have that "I am steering this ship alone" feeling, RUN. There is a big difference between two people adjusting to each others' quirks together, and turning yourself inside out to please someone who isn't even close to meeting you halfway.

cuminafterall

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Every relationship has some level of bullshit (if by that you mean something the other person does that you don't like). Questions to ask are: How free do you feel to call the other person on their bullshit? Do they change their behavior (or make an honest effort at least, if it's something minor and habitual i.e. leaving dresser drawers open all day) when you call them on it? And accordingly, how do you react when they call you on your bullshit, and do you change your behavior when they call you on it?

If bullshit-calling and -changing isn't a two-way street, or if it is a two-way street but both ways are extremely steep and icy and difficult, I think that's when there's a real problem.

angelene

@nyikint Haha, I wasn't actually responding to your comment, I was just having extra thoughts! ;-)

rayray

@cuminafterall That is both a wise and reassuring answer.

angelene

@cuminafterall Yeah, from what I know of bad relationships they can become almost parental – the partner is demanding too much and not taking responsibility for their emotions. For hurt to be tolerable they have to recognise it and take steps to change it. I should make clear that overall a good relationship will make you happy, as my earlier comments came out a little bleaker than I intended – just that relationships don't = instant happiness, I spent the first few months of my current relationship with recurring terrors of/obsession with death, which I suppose was something I had to work through and he allowed me to do that without judgement and without running away. Now I'm a much happier person in every way and he contributes unbelievably to my happiness. Good relationship.

terrific

@MilesofMountains I like this thread. I'm definitely an "if the net positives (drastically!) outweigh the net negatives and you are happy, you're doing all right!" type person. I do feel like theres a lot of pressure on "if you aren't a beaming ball of optimistic happy sunshine ever and maybe once in a while there are differences your relationship is wroooong and I think that's unfair! Just like everything else in life, it's good to be realistic in relationships. Being realistic is not settling.

catsoncatsoncats

@rayray yeah exactly. This was so well-written, by the end I was like "freedom! Yeah! I don't need him!" And then I remembered that my relationship is actually pretty ok.

angelene

@Awesomely Nonfunctional If all else fails you can always ask 'Yo Should I Dump This Asshole', in which case the answer is always yes, i think.

OhMarie

@Queen of Pickles This is a really complicated and interesting question, I think. It changes a lot based both on what the thing is and how deep you are into your relationship. Like, I think all of the things you listed are at least ok to mention. "Hey honey, I don't like the word tits, would you mind not using it," for example.

Maybe where it gets into changing people is when the thing is less of a behavior than an actual personality trait or something else that it would be difficult/impossible for them to change even if they wanted to.

chevyvan

@Queen of Pickles It just sounds like you guys were not compatible and like your ex was kind of an immature juicebox. I think we've all dated people who we connected with on some level...and maybe we were sort of fascinated by our differences in the beginning...and then it begins to grate and just get kind of embarrassing.

I've also had to learn to pick my battles. The current battle I'm facing is when/how to tell my boyfriend that his feet are disgusting and to please maybe be more thorough about foot maintenance. DEAR GOD. And yet there are more serious issues...like how he conducts himself when he's in a bad mood...that I felt I needed to address b/c it was really affecting our relationship and could have long term implications. Or, on the other hand, I've always been the type to not pick ENOUGH battles...like just kind of letting it go when I felt like my ex's binge drinking was kind of unacceptable and I was like, "but I love him! what's a little binge drinking??" But then I secretly couldn't stop monitoring his drinking habits. (His stock response to any relationship issues i brought up, btw, was, "Well, I'm not going to change, sooo...") I think if you're feeling the need to micro-manage someone that's not a good sign.

BornSecular

@MilesofMountains I hear ya. I have been with my partner for over 11 years, and just this weekend I asked him again if we had "settled" for each other because we weren't all about PDA & make out sessions like our friends. I mean, we are excellent companions for each other, but the sparks don't fly a ton, and really never did. It's all about trade offs I suppose. I am reminded of recent post about the best time someone called a radio advice show, something about "Butterflies, not lightning bolts." And generally, when my lizard isn't acting up from all the chick flick, romance novels, and crappy women's magazines, I agree!

fondue with cheddar

@SarahP "Everyone in the world has issues of some sort, and when you're in a relationship, partners' issues tend to become shared."

That's true. And forgive me if I reiterate what someone else said because I don't have time to read the entire thread. But the difference is how you feel about sharing each other's issues. A fair amount of my current unhappiness is a direct result of my boyfriend's issues, but it's not a burden on our relationship. I'm going to continue supporting him as he goes through what he's going through, and I don't resent him for the pain his circumstances cause me. It's hard, but his pain is our pain, just as mine is his. As @angelene said, he enriches my existence. I'm okay with helping to carry his baggage because he's a good person. He's just worth it.

Shara

@Awesomely Nonfunctional When I ask myself this question (which is often, more often than I would ever admit to my bf), my mind goes back to this incredible Dan Savage advice about "The Price of Admission" in relationships. Still, I ask myself this all the time. (Btw, this question sucks WAY worse when you are married/with kids and is best sorted out before lifelong commitments are made, obvi. Speaks from experience.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1tCAXVsClw

runner in the garden

@Reginal T. Squirge Dude, I am all aboard the USS Jay-Bey, but she was a 20yo pop star and he was like 32, maybe a decade out of slinging dope and a year out of assault charges for stabbing a dude at a party. You think they never had an argument?

They have handled their relationship near-perfectly for a celebrity couple, though.

Carrie Ann

@Awesomely Nonfunctional So much great stuff in this thread. I would add that I think Bullshit comes in Grades, which we all assign according to our values. So untreated addiction or racism would be Grade A Bullshit for the majority of us - dealbreakers. Things like lack of ambition, indifference toward your friends and family, moodiness, lack of intellectual curiosity - those things could run the gamut from Grade A to Grade Z. For me, they'd probably be Grade B - serious problems that indicate a lack of compatibility.

I think the real point is that when you're dating someone with whom you're generally, consistently happy, you don't have to think about the Grades of Bullshit very hard, because none of them will reach the A/B level. But it's also possible to be in a bad relationship with only like D-Level bullshit -- where you're very compatible but just not happy with each other. Either way - and this sounds so Oprah or whatever - if you find yourself thinking really really hard about how much bullshit is too much - it's probably too much.

BornSecular

@Carrie Ann I like your system. In my relationship, pretty much the only time I worried about being together was when I had a panic of "oh no! you're the only person I've eve dated! How can I possibly know you are THE ONE?!?!?!" And he would calmly ask me if I were happy, which I was, and then tell me that wasn't a good enough reason to break up. He logic-ed me out of breaking up at least twice.

E
E

@Awesomely Nonfunctional @Awesomely Nonfunctional No. No. No. About a 3 (on a BS of 10 scale, with 10 being charlie sheen), with occasional sidesteps into a 2 or 4, maybe a 5 if someone you love dies or gets sick.

My friend and I were talking about this, about how she decided to get married (after a long dating relationship where they each faced doubts), and about how annoying the "you'll just know" thing is, but also how it's sort of true. She was saying 1. He's just more fun for her to be with than without (in the aggregate, she pretty much knows that he's fun to go places with. 2. the things that annoy her about her partner, she hit this point where they all turned into background noise and it doesn't mean she suddenly LOVES the things, but she's in the place where she's embraced that they will happen for the rest of her life, and it doesn't really phase her.

And I guess what I took away from that is she wasn't sure she wasn't compromising for a while, until they'd waded down in the muck together and when they got through it she felt this, "Ok, this is a great team, we can take on life together." a

Another friend of mine who's been married for a while said, "If I'd wanted someone who didn't complain a lot I wouldn't have married [my wife]" and I thought that was sort of the romantic way of putting it- first when you are with someone you are like, "THEY'RE PERFECT, THEY GET ME!" then, "they are an alien! I don't get them!" and later on it's like, "They're not perfect, but I get them, and they get me"

sevanetta

@MilesofMountains I know what you mean about the smug relationship advice, and someone else has also mentioned the highly irritating 'You'll just know', which is absolutely awful advice for anxious types who overanalyse everything (me).

Now I am in a really good relationship, after others which were varying levels of ergh to what I thought was good at the time and then turned out not to be. And I think of it all in these ways.

- I heard you should have 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction. My bf and I can both be very sensitive and very critical, but it's very rare. So we have intense highs where we are disgustingly loving, and (small) intense lows. We both think we are 'difficult' to be in a relationship with, but the tradeoff is that we both understand being 'difficult' and sympathise.
- One of my bf's best qualities is that he gets that everyone has coping strategies/things they do when they feel bad, and we try to recognise each other's. The other is that he doesn't back away from discussing difficult things, he always wants to get things out in the open.
- We both try very hard not to yell or call names in arguments and if we start sounding aggressive we back off.

We do have that work-well-together, so-much-in-common thing, but we still have our differences - what helps us is being able to disagree respectfully.

The other important thing is, I honestly think, wanting similar things in life. A lot of unhappiness in relationships can be traced back to not being supportive of the other person's goals and not both being agreed that this is just a casual thing / a comfy relationship For Now / really want a long term thing but no kids / really want a long term thing, get married, have kids etc.

The other thing is. If you are not really an intense personality - then there is probably some nice person (or people!) out there who is similarly not built for Mad Passionate Lurve who would still like to have a lovely long term relationship with you, peacefully coexisting. Love can look like whatever the hell you want it to. There's a reason many people fall in love with their best friends/their partner becomes their best friend.

MilesofMountains

@sevanetta That's really nice to hear, actually. You don't hear much about how couples work with the things that maybe make them a bit tough to be in a relationship with. I'm glad it's working out for you. My boyfriend is similar to me in that he's pretty laid back, emotionally, so it seems to be working out pretty well, but I know when we started getting serious he was waiting for that Hollywood all consuming passion and it caused a bit of an issue in the relationship.

tea tray in the sky.

@BornSecular Urg, I'm having the same issues. But not with so simple an answer, I don't think! I've been dating my boyfriend for 9 years, and we're reaching a bit of a crossroads where we sort of have to decide whether we're going to commit or not... and I'm literally split 50/50 where half the time I think "we definitely need to break up" and the other half thinking "will you marry me". I've talked to him a couple times about it because it's been REALLY bugging me, and I just seem to be able to talk him into whichever mindset I'm in at the time. Not helpful.

I think I'll bring this to the Friday Open Thread. You ladies are so smart.

fondue with cheddar

@Carrie Ann It's true. If you're unsure it probably means you shouldn't be together.

@sevanetta I've heard that 5 positive / 1 negative guideline, and it's a good one. Your relationship sounds like mine. I've always had a tendency to avoid discussing difficult things, but my boyfriend is better at bringing them up. And when we have such discussions they're not stressful or scary, which makes me less likely to avoid bringing up future issues.

My dad said something to me about relationships years ago that I disregarded at the time but now I see the wisdom in it. He said you should be with someone who makes you a better person. That could be because they have qualities you admire, and being around them makes you more like them; or it could be because they support you and encourage you to be a better person. Ideally, it's both. My boyfriend and I both make each other better people, and that's a big part of the reason why it works so well.

montivagant

@MilesofMountains
I'm exactly like that! Realism trumps romance!
And just in case you like to hear non-Hollywoody stories, MrVagant and I have been together for over 13 years. It's not a thousand burning suns, and sure as hell more real-life-is-hard-sometimes than happy-ever-after, but it's good and fuzzyfeelings and just right for us.

fondue with cheddar

@montivagant A thousand burning suns cool down. Happily ever after is a fantasy. But good and fuzzy feelings are real and lasting.

montivagant

@jen325 Aww. That reads like my kind of a love poem.
(And here's Tim Minchin with the realistic love song: http://youtu.be/Gaid72fqzNE)

E
E

@tea tray in the sky- I'm struggling with trying to put this in a way that makes sense, but I think that crossroads 50/50 feeling has two parts. One part is thinking about the person you are with, and if they're the right person and I think there's a lot of literature out there about that, but the second, less discussed part about personal inertia, and the feeling that you need CHANGE- which is why either change is sort of appealing- both a break-up or a wedding would be big change with a concrete set of goals to aim for. And I'm trying to think how to phrase it, but have you been able to talk to each other about the life changes you want? Is there a dream that you are denying yourself? Have you been in a personal growth suspended state for the past few years- no new responsibilities or challenges for a while? Maybe what you really need is to decide that you need to change jobs or move across the country or lean to tap dance or go to therapy and work through the issues you always had with your mom, and you are scared to do those things and so you place it outward on "this relationship needs to grow and change".

I want to say that I know literally ZERO things about you and I anticipate I could be 100% wrong, but I know for myself and people I know, there can be a personal growth thing that gets really wound up in a "relationship growth" thing, and you get panicked about the relationship, because really, what you need to do is be a different version of yourself and you've been putting that off for a while (so you imagine break-up you or bride you would be a different woman that other people would recognize). And then, because you are being distant from the truth of yourself, you feel distant from your partner, even if your relationship works. And that distance is because they can't possibly know you if you are hiding something from yourself as well.

To bridge the gap and resolve your 50/50 thing, I think you could try and talk about something hidden and scary in yourself with your partner and see what happens. Like, "I never told you this but there was a time in life when I really wanted to learn to be clown. I know I'm a serious scientist and that's how most people think of me, but I also feel like I wanted people to laugh with me, and express that. And my parents told me that was a stupid thing to do, and it's killed me, and I stopped making jokes for years, but now I think maybe I want to buy a red nose and take this class." And then, see what he says. If he says, "YOU? A CLOWN?! PFFT!!!"- I think you have your answer. If he says, "I never knew that! But I can totally see it! I'd bet you'd be good. I'll move my sunday band practice to saturday so you can have the car and go to clown college"- well, if you still don't know if you want to marry him after supportiveness, then probably break up- because then at his best he's still not what you want.

Passion Fruit

@all

WOW, this was so helpful. I am pretty much struggling with this exact topic, as evidenced by my frantic FOT post a week or two ago. I'm glad that other people also are confused by the "When it's right, you'll just KNOW" sentiment, which sounds good, and may be true for some, but I mean, sometimes you don't know. And you still have to move forward with your ambivalence and confusion into an unpredictable, complex, beautiful world doing the best you can. It's weird.

tea tray in the sky.

@E What you said about personal growth vs. relationship growth really resonated with me! I am feeling like I'm a bit stunted, like I haven't been able to really grow into my own person because my boyfriend and I have been together since we were 16. But, at the same time, I think we've really informed each other's growth and supported each other really well. Again, 50/50 flip-flopping.

The only reason I'm feeling like we need to decide what to do really soon is because we're both living abroad together for school, and when we graduate in a few months we need to either make plans to decide where to live together (neither of us even know which country we want to be living in next year!) or where to live separately. We're both feeling like, since we're in the same field, it will be really difficult for both of us to find work if we're living in the same area (tough job market) and easier to find relevant employment if we each respectively go where the wind (jobs) take us. But we're also really ingrained into this relationship. And we have other problems (major ones).... and we really love each other. And we're both sort of craving new relationship experiences... and we both want a house and a dog. BLUEGH. I don't even know.

Thanks for all your input, really.

bitzyboozer

The voice is coming from INSIDE YOUR HEAD!!!

But really, this is great advice. Not always easy to follow, but great.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@bitzyboozer The call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE! (That's how I read that; same sort of terror.)

ThatWench

@bitzyboozer I do like the advice in the piece, but the lizard brain part made me wince almost hard enough to stop reading.

The thing is, the timeline in which women have been economically subjugated-and-therefore-dependent is really, really short compared to the timeline of homo sapiens, let alone all the near-human ancestors just before us. Which means I really come down on the "nurture" side in terms of where we get the "you are incomplete without a primary romantic partner" message. I think the LW got it really right about the world telling her she's a square peg, and the same is true (I hope) about the whole weight issues one. (How would we ever know to agonize about 36-24-36 unless someone told us that was "good"?)

I think (and really want to believe) that these are things that get into our deepest brains because our whole culture is constantly, subtly (or not-so-subtly) telling us about it. I want to believe this because I really want to believe we could fix our culture to not be so obsessed about it, even as I'm pessimistic we ever will.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@ThatWench Yes. I agree with this. The answer is getting Inception-ed in my head because I can't tell if she is writing about the lizard brain because that idea has been circulated due to societal sexism, etc... Make my reasoning skills dizzy.

You'll be sorry Jo March

@ThatWench I agree. I was totally with it up until the lizard brain part, and then my eyes narrowed and I started to skim, and then I went back to re-read because I felt bad, but then I skimmed anyway.

adorable-eggplant

@You'll be sorry Jo March Me too! I feel like maybe I do have a lizard brain, but it reacts to faulty logic as if sexist misinformation were a tiny mammal that will some day rise up and subjugate my whole family (i.e. trap them in terrariums). I may have hissed audibly when I read: "She lurks deep within, operating on millennia of aggregated evolutionary knowledge, so she remembers a lot. Like how for thousands of generations, women required strong relationships with strong men in order to simply survive."

My grand(fore)mother would probably have hissed and thrown something. She lived from the great depression through the 19freakin50s without a strong man protector. Self-reliance: women can do it, too.

Rubyinthedust

the title of this series makes me feel icky. "be less crazy about..." when really its normal to stress lots about things like weight and bad boyfriends. i think that the plight of the modern woman is she feels pressure not to "be crazy" which results in putting up with lots of bad treatment instead of recognizing her own emotions' validity.

wee_ramekin

@Rubyinthedust I agree with you. I love the advice in the columns and I love Megan's warm and bracing tone, yet I'm not at all a fan of the series title. I think you hit on a big part of my discomfort in your comment, and I'd like to add that some of us suffer or know someone who suffers from disorders that society labels "crazy" (biploar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, etc.). It feels like this title undercuts the very attitudes it's supposed to be fighting against.

Oh, squiggles

I remember this being discussed when the series was first introduced. Was a better title ever suggested?

iceberg

@Awesomely Nonfunctional "Let's All Relax About..."?

wee_ramekin

@iceberg Yes! That's a good one! Or maybe "Let's Take a Look At...".

themmases

@wee_ramekin I agree. I like the series, but I never really enjoy them as much as I could because of the title.

I have a fairly non-serious and non-exotic brand of crazy (anxiety and depression), and it does not respond to advice no matter how wise or fun or loving-- it is just mine, to monitor and manage, forever. By the Transitive Property of (My Personal) Crazy, even cute everylady problems like bad boyfriends are not responsive to advice if they happen to coincide with a period of the cray.

Advice (with a side of questions about my period) is something I've already gotten a lot of from people who are supposed to love me when I am already freaking out, knowing my perceptions are faulty which makes me broken, oh but maybe this one really hurtful perception is still real. It is really hard for me to have a sense of humor about lumping that in with universal, lizard-brain lady problems.

sarah girl

@Rubyinthedust I agree, the title makes me cringe every time. As one of the aforementioned women who has brain problems, it feels pretty demeaning. Also, how many times have women (not just those with mental/emotional issues) been told some variation on "be less crazy"?

*Edit: YES. What themmases said, exactly.

sarah girl

@Rubyinthedust Also, I just noticed the header: "Ask a Sane Person."

Really?

m. marie

@Rubyinthedust I kind of feel like you have to be willfully dense, or, at least, pretty combative to reach the conclusion that this usage of "crazy" is gaslighting. It's obviously done in a "servicey" way to help people who are bothered by their obsessive thoughts, or by the way they let things like this upset them, not as a criticism to invalidate your feelings. You're free to feel offended, but I, for one, will cast my vote in favor of the title as innocuous. Like at some point we need to be willing to engage critical thinking skills and say "is this use of the word crazy, in context, telling me that I'm being hysterical and histrionic and need a good lay to get over my irrational lady thoughts" or is it a tongue-in-cheek usage coming from someone who has faced the same kind of pressures you do.

Judith Slutler

@themmases I thought it was fine when it was dealing with body image problems, which are you know, literally disordered thinking.

This, I'm not so into.

timesnewroman

@Rubyinthedust Co-signed. I think it's odd that the title of the series gaslights the entire gender it's aimed at. I also don't like the use of evolutionary psychology to explain away problems (see below rant).

wee_ramekin

@m. marie I don't think that it makes you willfully dense or combative to dislike the title. I'm willing to give the 'Pin the benefit of the doubt that they're doing this tongue-in-cheek, but for me, that doesn't make it any less irksome (much like the [for me] skin-crawlingly titled 'How to Be A Girl' column that I like except for the title). Why can't the title of the series be something like @iceberg suggested, which I think would be a lot less problematic for many folks? It would convey the exact same thing, without the poking fun at mental illness and gendered connotations.

m. marie

@wee_ramekin @wee_ramekin You're free to dislike the title, that's not what I said, actually. (I mean, I disagree strongly, but that's just my opinion). In my post, I wrote that it's combative to interpret this as gaslighting, and I stand by that, because I think the definition doesn't apply. I just feel like there is a really big and clear divide between telling someone that their thoughts and feelings are invalid and insane, and helping someone with thoughts that they, personally, acknowledge as irrational, intrusive, and a negative influence on their mental health. Like if somebody says "wow, my boyfriend's behavior drives me crazy" it would be gaslighting to say no, he's perfectly normal, you're the insane one, but if you say, well, here's a way to come to terms with all the confusing thoughts that you, yourself, say are causing you mental anguish... you aren't gaslighting at all, by any definition of the word?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@all I totally agree. Some of the most self-hating things I've ever done or seen other women do have been in the name of trying not to be "one of those crazy girls." UGH. I hate how that word has become a catchall for any female behavior that a guy finds displeasing or annoying.

timesnewroman

@m. marie I feel like the whole gender of women is being gaslighted by being told that we're crazy for sticking with useless boyfriends, when we're (in my opinion) just doing what society's told us to do, not displaying any signs of poor mental health.

m. marie

@timesnewroman Uhhh... But the article is written to help people, so going out of your way to interpret it as gaslighting is where I say the willfull denseness comes in.

I actually have a really good comparison here, I've seen a lot of people complain about Dan Savage being an anti-LGBT bigot by saying "It Gets Better" because for a lot of people, it won't get better, because they'll die or struggle their entire life because they don't have the privileges he has, and that's definitely true... But you have to actively WANT to misinterpret the point of that campaign to get that negative message from it. It's about discouraging suicide. You dont walk up to a suicidal gay kid and say "good luck, but if you're not as privileged as me, there's a chance your life will suck anyway, ha ha ha." I don't know what these people think would be a better campaign? And they don't ever have any suggestions for improvments? Just criticism for this guy trying to help. And I feel like that's kind of what people are asking this girl to do when they say "don't give people advice on how to get over this problem that a lot of women face and a lot of women want to overcome, because the women who DON'T want to overcome their attraction to bad boyfriends will be offended and insulted that you said it's crazy to be attracted to bad boyfriends." You know what I mean? I'm not trying to be rude here, but that is the best way I can think of to put it!

wee_ramekin

@m. marie I see your point (in your response that was directed at me), and I think you're correct. I don't think Megan is trying to gaslight people, or say that these things that they're thinking about are figments of their imaginations.

I think that for me, the use of the word "crazy" in the title and the tag 'Ask A Sane Person' are problematic - even when used all in good fun - because they are so very, very gendered. The easiest way to defang a woman's points or disagreements is to call them "crazy". How many times have you met a guy who told you his ex was "such a crazy bitch", only to find out that no, she really wasn't, y'all just disagreed about things? I think that because "crazy" has been used for such a long time to discredit women and their ideas and feelings, even innocuous use of it is problematic, especially in a woman-oriented space and especially when there are other titles and tags you could use to convey the exact same sentiments. Add to that the fact that several commenters who live with mental disorders have expressed their discomfort at the labeling, and I just don't see the value in keeping the title.

And to address your point in your response to @timesnewroman where you say:

"And I feel like that's kind of what people are asking this girl to do when they say "don't give people advice on how to get over this problem that a lot of women face and a lot of women want to overcome, because the women who DON'T want to overcome their attraction to bad boyfriends will be offended and insulted that you said it's crazy to be attracted to bad boyfriends."

I don't get the sense that Pinners want Meagan to stop giving advice. In fact, I think many of us really like her advice! She' speaking to internal struggles that a LOT of us identify with, and I for one find her perspective refreshing. My complaint - and I think I speak for others here - is with the title and the "marketing" (i.e. the'Ask A Sane Person' tag), not the content of her posts.

timesnewroman

@m. marie Pretty sure nobody said this: "the women who DON'T want to overcome their attraction to bad boyfriends will be offended and insulted that you said it's crazy to be attracted to bad boyfriends". It's nothing to do with whether or not good or wanted advice is being offered, it's about the use of the word "crazy", which wee_ramekin's just done an excellent job of pointing out the problems with. And yeah I personally do think that the word "crazy" being used to label a pretty humdrum everyday part of female life is in a mild way gaslighting.

m. marie

@timesnewroman Alright, well, I wasn't going to argue about this because I'll definitely only be able to agree to disagree, because "crazy" is way too much of a slang word to ever eradicate from the language and I'm just not ever going to have a problem with that... I know some people think "stupid" and "idiot" are bigoted ableist slurs, but they've been thoroughly worked into the common parlance, like how "crazy" and "insane" mean "irrational/doesn't make sense" now, and I really do think that is an act of censorship too far to try to cut these extremely common, extremely slangy words out. I don't mean in the sense that it's unacceptable, but in the sense that you have to be working hard to object to it based on the historical usage, and this is where the willfull denseness comes in again. Like how people say "I'm not a homophobe because I'm not SCARED of things that are the SAME," language changes and it isn't always "this word was offensive in the past = this word is offensive forever."

That said, considering the fact that crazy now means "does not make any sense," I will repeat that (in my opinion) it is both acceptable and appropriate in this context to answer a girl who says "help, I have these irrational thoughts where I can't let go of my bad boyfriend! I'm so conflicted mentally! Help me sort this out!" in a Be Less Crazy column. She didn't go up to a girl who said "here, I have a totally normal dilemma that I'm handling perfectly rationally, sit by and watch me figure everything out for myself because this is a humdrum everyday problem" and say WAIT, YOU'RE BEING SO CRAZY!! (Gotta leave work nowish, so I can't reply for a while... sorry! Shouldn't be a problem, though, because I'm not going to convince you and you're not going to convince me ;) but I hope you understand where I'm coming from when I say you have to want to be offended to call this gaslighting).

m. marie

@m. marie Oops, I can't edit anymore but I wanted to say I'm not really explaing things well because I'm in a bit of hurry. No offense meant if I said something wrong, and sorry about grammar, etc.

bitzyboozer

Considering "Be Less Crazy" is the name of her website and her book, I'm thinking Megan's pretty committed to it. For me it's such a commonplace word that I can't imagine being offended by it in the way described here, but I guess I can see how other people might be more sensitive to it than me. She addressed this very issue in one of her posts: http://www.belesscrazy.com/2012/06/on-the-word-crazy/

I don't know if it will change anyone's mind but to me it makes sense. She's calling the behavior out as crazy, not the person, and if the behavior weren't problematic then well, there wouldn't be a problem, right?

Oh, squiggles

This is a fascinating debate, and I can see it being carried out in different venues, with similar circumstances.

Basically, it seems like some people get upset about the usage of a symbol(words are symbols) because the symbol has multiple meanings and connotations, and one or more of these is cruel or hurtful. But other people, while able to recognize the hurtful connotations, also don't want to be handicapped in their use of the symbol for its other meanings.

Both of these viewpoints are valid. On the one hand, we don't want to use a symbol that might inadvertently hurt someone. On the other hand, communication is vital to a healthy society, and we need a variety of symbols with which to communicate with.

I don't really have an answer to this problem. Except for thinking that we need to start making new symbols (specifically words) that have one definite meaning, and parsing down the old symbols, so that we don't have to keep having this debate.

PistolPackinMama

@wee_ramekin Yeeeah, my three mental health meds and SAD light would like to register my agreement on my behalf.

*ahem*

Pistol Packin' Mama might be crazy, but that's not the same as never having good judgment, critical skills, or perception. Or even always being dysfunctional, actually. Our feeling on this is, depression when it's chronic is always there, it's just managed well or it isn't.

Better living through chemistry, yo.

*thus speaketh the meds* **

**of course, writing comments in the voice of SSRIs is probably not the best way to convince anyone you're totally a working (but not perfect picture of) mental health.

adorable-eggplant

@m. marie Pretty combative, that's one of my best qualities.

Lola P.

@wee_ramekin it bugs me too, y'all.

i think we're all in agreement that "crazy" is a destructive ableist neg that has often been slung against women in particular AND that megan's use of the phrase is an intentional (tongue in cheek) response to this. feeling the conflict that it's whether or not it's a restorative use. is there enough context given to it so that it wouldn't just reify the neg to someone reading casually? like, does it give everyone the same pause? i don't think so.

i think in lieu of that if the linguistic room is available to choose a term that doesn't have an (even historical) negative valence (I love the suggestion of "Let's All Relax About...") you should go for it.

Hiroine Protagonist

@wee_ramekin
Yep. I led this charge last time. Willfully ignoring the loaded history of how women have been oppressed under the banner of being so irrational they can't make good decisions and asserting that words are just words is basically the shallowest approach to history and feminism you can take, in my opinion. If Dietz has developed a rationale where she says she's using it it tongue-in-cheek, then she needs to be a lot more upfront about it, because she's basically just perpetuating the stereotype now. Nobody writes columns for men called" Be Less Crazy, Dude".

This is the banner under which women are oppressed. If you wanna fly that banner for some kind of personal therapy, why not just call it "How to Trade Political Awareness of Your Oppression for Sickness". Pathologizing oppression. Guess who that lets off the hook? All the political shit that keeps things like this. It's so frustrating to this antiquated nonsense peddled as redemptive and innovative.

Hiroine Protagonist

@m. marie

Intentions - they are not magical.

http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/intent-its-fucking-magic/

m. marie

@Hiroine Protagonist @Hiroine Protagonist Catchphrases made up by feminist blogs - they are not word of law. ;) That lecture doesn't even apply because I'm not even saying that she said something offensive and she just MEANT something less offensive in her brain; I'm saying that she said something fundamentally inoffensive and you are choosing to be offended by the word alone despite its context, because in an entirely different context, it could have been offensive.

It just isn't gaslighting to response to someone saying "I have this irrational, crazy inner conflict where I don't like my boyfriend but I don't want to be lonely" by saying "let's soothe those conflicts." That's just not what the word gaslighting means. Yes, there is no men's column called "Be Less Crazy About Weight," but there is no men's column about how to spend your man allowance every friday, or how to do your man makeup either. The fact that there isn't a perfect analogue for men does not make this any less of a relevant women's issue that is relevant in many women's lives.

"This is the banner under which women are oppressed. If you wanna fly that banner for some kind of personal therapy, why not just call it "How to Trade Political Awareness of Your Oppression for Sickness". Pathologizing oppression. Guess who that lets off the hook?" These are nonsense words, really. I mean, if your boyfriend is an annoying slob, and you stay with him out of loneliness, until one day you tell yourself, "no, this isn't smart, I'm being crazy about relationships! I deserve better!" are you letting your boyfriend off the hook? No, your boyfriend isn't to blame for the fact that you have a weird hangup about being single. If you are crazy about relationships because society and men in general MADE you crazy about relationships, THIS CRAZINESS HAS STILL BECOME A PART OF YOU, and blaming other people will not change your thought patterns. Acknowledging that you have these irrational thought patterns and getting rid of them WILL change the thought patterns. I don't know how it's possible for you to think anything else would even make sense here, to be perfectly honest.

I think the fundamental problem you are having here is that you think that even admitting that some women have these "crazy" thought patterns is BLAMING the women for the thought patterns.

Some of these posts are about how society makes women crazy about these things, therefore it means we can't acknowledge that women ARE crazy about these things. The fact that the source of these emotions is sexism does not undo the fact that women have these turbulent, conflicted emotions, and she's not blaming anybody for having these problems by giving them suggestions on how to overcome the problems. An analogy, I read an article that said that the African-American population around the black belt of the southern united states, where historically, there were large populations of slaves, has a lower income than the surrounding area and tends to vote democratic (the actual article is about the cretaceous coastline, pretty cool: http://deepseanews.com/2012/06/how-presidential-elections-are-impacted-by-a-100-million-year-old-coastline/). This is undeniably the legacy of racism and slavery, andn obody would argue that it's fair. Arguing that women aren't crazy about weight because the patriarchy is what made them crazy about weight, is like arguing that these distrcits aren't really poorer than other districts because white supremacy is what made them poorer. ***That is, acknowledging an inequality isn't inherently blaming someone for suffering from that inequality.***

Long story short, you can say that women are often crazy about weight without attributing it to an innate failing on the part of the gender as a whole, and saying that we aren't allowed to acknowledge that women have these conflicted thoughts isnt going to solve anything, or make those thoughts go away. It's just a shallow attempt at making the topic taboo.

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Except, the thing is, when I said it was an act of censorship too far to try to make a fuss about words like crazy and stupid, I mean that because it's futile. Look up the term euphemism treadmill. Simply telling people not to use the word "crazy" will not de-stigmatize a more-or-less objectively negative trait, and it won't undo the stereotype that women are crazy. "Crazy" and its inevitable replacement words will be stigmatized. This isn't really like the word "Gay," where it being used as an insult was directly linked to a culture that stigmatized homosexuality, because we're never going to say that it's a good and acceptable thing to be irrational. The solution to the problem that women are steretyped as crazy is not to pretend the word doesn't exist (because, news flash, it's just as rude to say "women are all irrational"/"women all have mental problems"/whatevr you want to replace the term with), it's to erase the stereotype where it ISN'T true and confront it and combat it where it IS true (like on topics of weight and relationships!)

"Pistol Packin' Mama might be crazy, but that's not the same as never having good judgment, critical skills, or perception. Or even always being dysfunctional, actually." Yes, but no use of the word crazy in this article said or even implied that being "crazy" means "never, ever, absolutely not even for one moment having good judgment, critical [thinking] skills, or perception," so that's a straw man definition. In fact, it's even specifically referred to as being "crazy" about one thing in particular. Like stupid, crazy can mean a lot of things. It might mean hearing voices, or having depression, or obsessing over your weight, but it doesn't have to mean ALL the bad things, all at once, every single time. If you self identify as crazy, it's kind of like self identifying as stupid: you can't tell other people not to ever use an incredibly general slang term just because you use it in only one way. Like if I said "M is stupid about physics, but that doesn't mean that M can't do any math, or understand economics or jokes in The New Yorker."

Phew! Lots of words about essentially nothing, and I'm sure I'm not going to change the minds of anyone who quotes "genderbitch" ;) but I think it's actually kind of fascinating how people can pick their fights and still think crusading against this particular common slang word is a worthy use of their time, so I thought I would try to explain how the other side thinks. ;) Just because you CAN come up with a reason for why something might be sexist, doesn't mean it IS sexist. Context really does matter, and context isn't the same thing as "intent".

Hiroine Protagonist

@m. marie

Gosh thanks! No one could ever have figured that out without your help! And really? Winky faces?

Yep, talking about a feminist interpretation on a blog that invokes feminism at every turn, what a totally ridiculous thing to do. Let's none of us ever do any political analysis. I can't even with this, enjoy your smug certainty.

m. marie

@Hiroine Protagonist Figured what out withour my help? I'm directly disagreeing with your theory, and I'd like to know what part of it you think is wrong!

Oh, and I'm talking about a feminist interpretation, too, for the record. I agree that these brands of craziness are the result of society and men, but I would basically argue that once they've become a part of you, it is not self-blaming to admit that you are not thinking rationally, and the only way to start thinking rationally is to clear up those irrational thoughts. Like, if you can't break up with a bad boyfriend because you hate being lonely, blaming the patriarchy really, really hard isn't going to make your bad boyfriend go away. Saying "whoa, these thoughts about loneliness are crazy, let me get over that!" will.

m. marie

@Hiroine Protagonist @m. marie Eeeps, no need to answer that, really, because I have to get to bed. That was a pretty dismissive response of yours, but I'll let it fly, because I don't even really care about the column that much. ;) I hope my perspective was worth a couple of moments of thought, though, and goodnight if you come back to the post!

rocknrollunicorn

@m. marie I kind of agree with the others, and I don't think that it's "being willfully dense" to recognize that this is a form of gaslighting, in that, even if it is tongue in cheek, the title continues to perpetuate the stereotype that women are being "crazy" when confronting emotional issues. What I'm thinking here is that the 'Pin, as a publication for women that I think tries to avoid embracing negative, misogynistic stereotypes, would perhaps find a different clever title that doesn't involve being tongue in cheek about an issue that continues to affect women -- the charge of being over emotional, "crazy," etc. is still hurled at us quite a bit!

rocknrollunicorn

@m. marie Also, it is completely condescending to imply that an issue that is important to someone is "not worth their time." You have no idea how internet commenters use their time that is not spent internet-arguing the use of a word, you have no basis of comparison re: the percentage of their time they spend on this, and to some people, language that they interpret as harmful is a pretty major deal.

adorable-eggplant

@rocknrollunicorn Thanks for putting that so succinctly. I wholeheartedly agree.

themmases

@all I really enjoyed reading all this through my email even though I could only just now get back to the actual site. I wanted to be nice(-ish? for me?) so I refrained from adding before that bringing up "censorship" in this conversation is ridiculous. The only times I see it brought up in conversations about respectful language, that person is at best asking everyone to handhold them through 101 topics as an independent study, and at worst bringing it up in bad faith to raise the stakes from "basic politeness" to "no, I'm the oppressed one!" After having my email sprinkled with condescending winky smiley faces, I feel a lot more comfortable now pointing that out.

No one is trying to censor Megan, Pinners are overwhelmingly supportive of the contributors here including her, and most writers who actually hope to make a living at their writing appreciate constructive feedback. Which, coming from their target audience, "I enjoyed your piece but this one thing threw me off" is. I cannot believe I am actually spelling this out.

With regard to shaming language specifically, you don't have to share my politics or my beliefs about language to respect the request of someone you've hurt to change your behavior. Just for now! Go home and tell your roommates all about your crazy day, I can't stop you! But there actually is no debate that at least some of the people "crazy" could describe are hurt by that language, because they are right here saying so. When you insist on using it anyway, you are saying that getting to use that one word, not just sometimes but right now and whenever, is more important to you than me (for example) feeling comfortable and respected. A fellow human. Who just told you so.

Maybe you are like Megan, and you made a thoughtful decision to use that word and are more committed to your reasoning than to the feelings of every internet stranger. Or maybe you just disagree that that word is all that bad. But why would you go out of your way to comment again and again, knowing you are hurting people's feelings, over a word you just feel neutral about? That is the part I truly don't get.

StandardTuber

God, sometimes the lizard is one of those big ugly iguanas that people wear on their shoulders at the beach, and walk around with and they think "Yeah this is cool, people checkin' out my iguana." When, really, people are kind of grossed out that you're wearing a big lizard on your bare skin and want to ask you what the hell are you thinking.

Oh, squiggles

@Mabissa There is a beach where people walk around with iguanas on their shoulders? That sounds kinda awesome.

StandardTuber

@Awesomely Nonfunctional There are such beaches, yes. But the iguana wearers don't announce their appearances in advance, and you kind of have to know where to look. They seem to like to hang around young women in bikinis who want nothing to do with them, and children who are scared/fascinated.
I prefer the people who wear cats or birds to the beach, far more interesting.
I have never seen an arachnid, pig, or horse on the beach though. I probably just jinxed myself.

cuminafterall

@Mabissa Is this Florida? I feel like this would happen in Florida.

StandardTuber

@cuminafterall Oh yes, Florida Iguana Guy exists, along with the Florida Boa Constrictor Man, and Florida Skink Lizard Couple. They represent, respectively, Parental Guilt and Socially Unacceptable Behavior.

garli

@Mabissa If you want to see horses on the beach try Del Mar or Santa Barbara. (Two places I have seen horses on the beach)

tea tray in the sky.

@Mabissa Where I used to work, I saw a guy walk by on the sidewalk every couple weeks with a snake around his neck. Just doing errands and stuff, I guess. Snake errands.

StandardTuber

@tea tray in the sky. Snake errands!

TheDragon

And when you dump that guy?

The whole world opens up. (Also, all the Pinners on the open thread will have your back.)

wee_ramekin

@The Kendragon Did you dump him?!

TheDragon

@wee_ramekin I did!

I also saw my best friend after three months of being away, and I think that might be the best "breakup blues" remedy ever.

wee_ramekin

@The Kendragon Yaaaaaaaaaaaay! I was holding my tongue so hard in the FOT discussion because pro-life-but-I-don't-want-to-use-a-condom men are one of the things that make me instantly see red and lay waste to small villages.

I am glad you have your best friend around, and I hope that your road to recovery after this break-up is short and well-paved :).

TheDragon

@wee_ramekin I had about a day of SERIOUS, gut-wrenching, lizard-dominated remorse. But I avoided contact, (Which NEVER happens. I am a text a holic. BAD) and called some of my friends, and my mom instead.
Also, I really don't want to jinx myself, but one of my friends who I called is one I've had a crush on for years. And he kind of flirted. He wants to go dancing a lot this semester, and watch Packer football games. I am trying so hard not spazz. But yeah, THAT killed the last vestiges of doubt.

RNL
RNL

@The Kendragon Congrats! That lizard-remorse is terrible, especially when you see it for what it is but still feel it. My very clearly lizard-remorse after a recent breakup lasted like 2 months! I should have gone dancing with a Packers fan.

TheDragon

@RobotsNeedLove @wee_ramekin Thank you, both of you!

I think it's a pretty rock-solid plan to get over the ex. Even if nothing comes of it (which is likely) flirting, dancing, and watching football with a big ol' sweetheart seems like it's always a good idea.

Megasus

@wee_ramekin WHOA I SOMEHOW MISSED THIS PART OF THE SAGA WTF BURN HIM WITH FIRE

aliceandstuff

Can there be a Be Less Crazy about being single?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@aliceandstuff Ooo ooo, I could write that one in my sleep! I'm pretty much always single and pretty much always happy about it, and I have a standard "how to rock being single" pep talk I give to anyone who needs it.

shutthefrontdoor

@quickdrawkiddo I would be down to hear that talk, says a girl single for 7 years and who just had 12 friends get engaged this week on facebook (what is up with the end of August?!).

Wrecking Ball Gown

@quickdrawkiddo This is relevant to my interests. I have my own methods but would love to compare notes.

WaityKatie

@shutthefrontdoor 12?? Please tell me they're all going to get married to strangers at a mass Moonie wedding.

shutthefrontdoor

@WaityKatie I wish! I don't know, it was pretty quiet on the engagement front and then boom! end of August! Everyone's got to nail it down, I guess?

WaityKatie

@shutthefrontdoor I guess they are locking in their winter fiances.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Wrecking Ball Gown Word! I could probably expand mine out to one of those small, disproportionately expensive lectures-turned-books (wait, why haven't I done this yet??), but it's really just two basic principles: 1) find things that make you happy and do them, and 2) go to everything you get invited to. Pretty much all the success I've had at both dating a lot and being single can be traced back to one or both of those rules.

redonion

@quickdrawkiddo I would also be excited for it, says the lady who loves being single and would maybe rather stay in and eat Cheez-its and watch Star Trek with her cats forever and never meet a new guy again, but lately she has started considering the notion of being a person who stays single always and finding her heart sort of shrivels up at that thought. Plus stupid cute babies are always punching her uterus with their invisible fists.

cuminafterall

@shutthefrontdoor 12?! I thought Thanksgiving through New Year's was Engagement Season!

Wrecking Ball Gown

@quickdrawkiddo Excellent way to condense it down. I have also compiled a list of some mental reminders to run through any time I start feeling crappy about being single (doesn't happen too often but when it does it's a doozy).

@redonion What would maybe be helpful is a Be Less Crazy About Being Single (But Also Don't Get Too Good At Being Single That You Can't Be Bothered to Date Although Working Toward Your Life Goals Would Require You To Date At Some Point).

madge

@aliceandstuff send in a question!

Wrecking Ball Gown

@quickdrawkiddo Although, I'm not always great at (2), so maybe version 2.0 could be Be Less Crazy About Being Single, Now For Introverts.

Apparently I'm going to capitalize everything today. And give hypothetical books some really long names.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Wrecking Ball Gown Yeah that is the toughie for me as well, as someone who started life as a mostly-introvert and has been gradually edging my way toward extroversion. I have gotten pretty good at going to parties where I won't know anyone but the host and just throwing myself in and meeting new people. But it takes practice!

Atheist Watermelon

@quickdrawkiddo yeah, i could use that pep talk too. I've been single most of my life with hiatuses of dating emotionally unavailable douchebags and/or gay men, whut whuut. i definitely believe that it's better to be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong ones, but i'm not sure i've ever been 100% HAPPY happy being single. (although, the above advice does raise a great point: not sure i've been HAPPY happy in a relationship, either... hm). I gotta say, I'm amazed by the number of people I hear say they can't stay single- WHERE ARE THEY MEETING ALL THESE GUYS?!! I never meet aaaanyone.... EEVVVAAAR.

tessamae

@Didldidi Are you me? Are we the same person? Are you typing these words right now?

Atheist Watermelon

@tessamae it was that rip in the time/space continuum earlier ;-)

PistolPackinMama

@quickdrawkiddo signing on, in case you do...

Litebrite Idea

@Didldidi I think there are a lot of people who find being alone so rather intolerable that they are more easily attracted to and flirt with new people or go looking for people or up the sexytimes with people from their friend circle than those of us for whom being alone means, "Yay, I get to do the obscure things that make me happy without worrying about whether the person I'm dating is just doing them to make me happy and find out a couple years in that they really hate everything I like..." Ugh. But, yeah, maybe I'll get to that "in new place, check out the online dating scene" after I've organized my new office, caught up on media stuff, hung out with the friends and family I want to, done a couple of outdoorsy things, gone to a couple of good concerts...

TheDragon

@quickdrawkiddo I'd also like to add "pamper yourself" and "flirt ridiculously every once in awhile"

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@The Kendragon Yes yes! I am always a fan of treating oneself nice and learning to enjoy your own company, as cornball as that sounds. My (also single) roommate likes to go for walks by herself in a park nearby, and we have a standing joke that she does this in order to hold her own hand and gaze into her own eyes and fall more in love with herself. Which of course is just us being silly BUT I think there's an underlying truth there too, that it can be genuinely rewarding to get to know yourself like you would a lover and to take pleasure in doing the things that make you happy, if that makes sense.

Drink All the Coffee

This is good advice. I used to be a Settler (not of Catan, though) and it made me feel icky and weird and, though I didn't realize it at the time, even lonelier than being alone. Now I'm happily single and I do get that fizzy-lifting-drink feeling a lot.

Sooo I know it's super dorky but I really love Sark and she has this great book called "Succulent Wild Woman." She writes about going places alone and taking yourself on dates. I love it. I think it's important for women (and other types of people, also) to enjoy being alone.

On that note, let Amy Adams and Miss Piggy show you how to have a Me Party!

SarahP

@Drink All the Coffee Settling Catan is probably the only good form of Settling.

lora.bee

@Drink All the Coffee Always a Settler of Catan.

sarah girl

@Drink All the Coffee I love Sark! Small doses, for sure, but she's so wild and colorful and loving.

iceberg

Get oooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutttttt.

(a) What if you're dating Mr. Temporary (or Ms. Temporary, for those of you so inclined) when Mr./Ms. Right comes along and then s/he doesn't make a move because you're already in a relationship and that would be wrong?

(b) What if you end up having a kid? Boom, connected for life to Mr. Temporary and less free to find Mr. Right / be happy on your own.

TheDragon

@iceberg God yes. I know I bring up "The Roommate, The Baby, and The Sea-Worthy-Douche-Canoe" way to often, but for the love of god get out out out if the thought of having a baby with him and being tied to him for life makes your skin crawl.

iceberg

@The Kendragon - Ladies, once you're tied, it's too late! so really really think hard about that one. Money, embarrassment, shame, a new place to live - all these can be worked out so much easier if it's just you leaving.

OhMarie

@iceberg Oof, I need to have a serious conversation with my sister based on this ENTIRE CONCEPT. She has this boyfriend (who I actually find delightful) and has been extremely frank with me that he's nice to hang out with but is definitely Mr. Temporary. But now she's like 3 years in and they live together and have 3 pets. Seems like Mr. Semi-permanent at best.

wee_ramekin

"I have found myself settling for a really bad boyfriend if it means I have a built-in date for trying new restaurants, going to amusement parks, weddings and similar functions, cuddling in bed on Sunday mornings, making out in the park, and, yeah, well, having sex."

I understand the sentiment behind this quote, because there are some things that you just need a partner for (ahem, non-solo sexy times!). But it makes me really sad that this LW thinks that you need a romantic partner for the first few activities on her list. New restaurants? Amusement parks? Weddings? Why can't you bring a friend to those, or, in the case of a wedding, go alone? I totally get where she's coming from with the cuddles and the sexytimes, but as a lady who has been single most of my adult life, I can assure you that restaurants, amusement parks, and weddings are just as fun with a friend or solo!

TheDragon

@wee_ramekin
I bring my dog to new restaurants a lot. Also hiking, and the dog park, and the beach, and the farmers market.(Outside dining and polite doggies are the best inventions ever. Sorry if your one of the people who are dreadfully grossed out by dogs at dinner.)
Also yes, bring your friends, bring yourself, have fun!

WaityKatie

@wee_ramekin I don't know, though. I mean, I do virtually everything alone, and some things are fine/better than with someone (movies, for example), while others are boring/torturous (restaurants and I'm guessing amusement parks would be in this category). Of course I like to go to things with friends, but when you're single and everyone else is coupled, it becomes really hard at some point to constantly wrassle up someone to go to things with. I'm not going to languish and throw myself down a well or anything, but these concerns are based on something real. (And on weddings...having been one of THREE single people at the most recent wedding I attended, and the other two left early, I can safely say that that wasn't very fun at all! The couples/families glared at me like I just threw a drink in their faces whenever I tried to start a conversation, too.)

SarahP

@WaityKatie I used to enjoy going to restaurants alone when I was single! But... amusement parks, probably not so much.

cuminafterall

@wee_ramekin Going alone to wedding can be really fun if you're extroverted or have other friends and family going! I'm going alone to my cousin's wedding this weekend (only engaged/married people were invited as couples so my terminal boyfriend was not invited). There will be drinking and dancing and catching up with people and at the end of the night I get to sleep all alone in my very own hotel room. I'm really looking forward to it.

bitzyboozer

@wee_ramekin I agree with you, and also I found it delightful that amusement parks ranked so high on her list of concerns.

WaityKatie

@cuminafterall I love "Terminal boyfriend" - sounds like he only shows up when you're waiting for a plane.

wee_ramekin

@WaityKatie I definitely think that restaurants and amusement parks are better with someone than alone (usually -- sometimes there is nothing sweeter than a night alone at a good restaurant with a good book).

I think I may be coming from a different place than a lot of folks regarding weddings. For me, unless the wedding is the wedding of someone I know very well, I usually don't go (I live far away from most of my family and friends, and I don't see the point in spending money on a plane ticket for someone I don't know that well). So, when I go to weddings, I'm guaranteed to know at least the bride/groom well, and that makes those events really fun and easy to get through.

I'm in my late twenties, and more and more of my friends are pairing off and getting engaged or living with their partners. I do sense a loss of "lady time" with them, especially since I am and am likely to remain single for the foreseeable future. However, I've been able to wrangle a weekly "Ladies' Night" from my close female friends where partners are Not Allowed, and I think that has enabled all of us to be a little bit more flexible when we hang out at other times. It's almost as if, because we already have this one event where partners aren't on the menu, we're better able to not automatically include them every time we hang out. Does...that make any sense? I think because of this, I generally don't have too tough a time calling up one of my female friends for a movie or a restaurant and having her come without bringing her partner.

cuminafterall

@WaityKatie I meant it more like "terminal degree," but he's very useful in airports, too, come to think of it.
.

H.E. Ladypants

@wee_ramekin Yeah, as a lady who has similarly spent the bulk of her adult life un-partnered, this just confuses me. Also, I have noticed something sort of magical! When you are single, you somehow end up having more single friends! I mean, I have beheld some startlingly lonely times where I was hurting for a partner during my single years (hullo, lizard brain) but I was never at a loss for good conversations or adventure buddies.

I've noticed there are sort of two types of people. Those who rarely end up uncoupled and those who have yawning gaps between relationships. The ones in the second category seem to me to be the sorts who have less trouble doing things on their own and more active in seeking out deep, meaningful, platonic relationships.

Anna Jayne@twitter

@wee_ramekin "unless the wedding is the wedding of someone I know very well, I usually don't go (I live far away from most of my family and friends, and I don't see the point in spending money on a plane ticket for someone I don't know that well)" - exactly. I have never brought a date to a wedding, and I've never had a bad time at a wedding, because if I don't want to go, I just don't go. When I told my boss I had three to attend this summer/fall, she got all sad and sympathetic and I didn't know why, because weddings are the best!

Lily Rowan

@wee_ramekin Right on. And I realize I have somehow lucked into magical Actually Good Friends, but my friends are still fun when they are married/partnered! And generally their partners are fun as well! So if I'm the only single person at the wedding, it's actually fine because my friends do not shun me [assuming I have other friends at the wedding. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't go]. Due to being Actually Good Friends.

Living the dream, people!!

WaityKatie

@wee_ramekin Not to be a total killjoy here (oh, why stop now?) but I have noticed a huge change in friend-availability between my late 20's and my (current) mid-30's. Because once your partnered friends start having kids, it's kind of all over. They disappear into babyland. Everything becomes baby things and Couples' Nights. Even the ones who aren't baby obsessed have to schedule things months in advance, and then it's kind of "let's have a quick drink before I run to catch the train back to my suburban lair." And then I get to slink back to my apartment and spend the rest of the night alone. Which is fine! But it's still lonely sometimes. It gets a lot harder to meet new, single friends, too. But maybe it's just me, I dunno. I don't pine for a relationship, but I do admit to wanting more available friends.

City_Dater

@WaityKatie

I'm a little older than you and I have noticed this: the parents of young children often desperately need nights out with single/childless friends. In general I find I have to make the first move in scheduling with my friends who are parents, possibly because they forget to be kind to themselves and schedule adult fun every so often. Fortunately for them, I am willing to be The Bad Influence.

Scandyhoovian

@wee_ramekin I was single for something like five years straight and did all those things on my own or with my friends or what have you. It never really bugged me. But I do know (because it keeps coming up as I plan my wedding) that for some reason, weddings in particular are huge sticking points for some single people. We have two in our wedding party (one on each side) and both of them are really vocal about how much they don't like the idea they will be there without a date and how hard it is to go to weddings alone. Their arguments all revolve around having someone to dance with and the focus-on-the-singles feeling of the bouquet toss and garter thing.

So, while I am totally on team Go Alone It's Just As Fun, I can sort of understand (after hearing the other end so frequently lately) the non-appeal of weddings, at least.

WaityKatie

@City_Dater No, I know, they do want fun, it's just that logistically it's so hard to schedule that you end up seeing them once every few months. Which isn't exactly sustaining a rollicking social life for me, if you know what I mean. I don't have any friends right now that I can just call up and say, "let's go to this movie tomorrow," and I miss that. It's more, "are you free on September 23rd, at 7pm, for one hour? Ok, I'll just live in anticipation of that, then. Carry on."

shutthefrontdoor

@WaityKatie Late 20's gal here and it is so not you. Also, does anyone else ever get the long-time single girl side-eye? Even my best friend will occasionally be in the middle of a "I don't know why you're single, you're so wonderful!" speech and then boom side-eye. Like it just occurred to her that I've been single an awfully long time, and maybe there's something just plain weird about me she doesn't know about. There's not! But still. :/

WaityKatie

@shutthefrontdoor There are a lot of plain weird things about me, but I assume my long term friends should be able to tolerate those by now. My favorite is the awesomely clueless but (I assume) well-meaning advice that forever-coupled people try to give. Like, "Can you meet guys at art openings?" Or (prior to my latest solo vacation) "Maybe you'll meet a guy on the plane!" Uhhhh, I'm not Carrie Bradshaw, you're clueless, please stop.

City_Dater

@WaityKatie

Oh, I know! And scheduling "hanging out" time feels weird.
However, as I get older, I notice that I am not as available on short notice as I was in my 20s, even though I'm so extremely single and supposedly unencumbered. Trying to keep up that post-collegiate lifestyle of last-minute plans and few obligations may be an unrealistic goal for anyone, single or coupled.

City_Dater

@shutthefrontdoor

The side eye! I prefer the "maybe you're secretly disturbing and difficult" side-eye to the Pitying Gaze. The Pitying Gaze usually accompanies some clueless piece of advice about how to meet single men, as if we don't all know they stay home masturbating in front of the television while single women are out "taking classes" and "enjoying new hobbies."

WaityKatie

@City_Dater True, but I mean, I can usually make plans on Monday for Friday. Coupled/childed people usually make plans for 10 Fridays from now on Monday. And then they're "tentative" anyway.

MilesofMountains

@WaityKatie Socializing with kid-possessing friends is definitely different than non-kid possessing friends. The last of my non-kid in-town friends is trying to get pregnant, and I'm going to miss just having her come over for dinner and chatting and drinking wine. We'll still chat, but first I'll have to kid-proof my house and there'll be no drinking. Another friend has four small rowdy boys, and she's actually never seen the inside of my apartment because there isn't room for them to run around and she doesn't go out without them.

Wrecking Ball Gown

@WaityKatie Ugh, this bothers me too. I wish they wouldn't also complain about losing all their single friends once they become parents. Look, I prioritize time with you, and if keeping your single friends meant anything to you, you might try to prioritize too. Don't just throw your hands up and treat it like a foregone conclusion when really, it just means you have other priorities that mean more to you than keeping your single friends.

KatPruska

@WaityKatie I'm picturing your friends buying you random roundtrip tickets in misguided but enthusiastic support of the "meet someone on a plane!" theory of dating.

WaityKatie

@KatPruska Haha, if that would happen, I would let them say anything they want to me!

Roxanne Rholes

@WaityKatie I just this summer went through a breakup, and everyone is shoving the "you'll meet someone" bullshit down my throat already. Why does everyone think they need to assure single people that they'll meet someone? I'm not curled up in a ball under my bed, here.

Kulojam

@Roxanne Rholes This! Is single life so pathetic that the number-one supposedly uplifting piece of comfort is that I will meet someone again? I mean, I get it, I'm going through a divorce and I have moments when I'm scared I'll never meet/love anyone again. But I'm also going out, deepening my connections with my friends/making new ones, kicking ass at work and spending time doing the things I love.

social theory

@Roxanne Rholes here, here! as a single late 20s person myself, i am happy to report that i took myself out on a fabulous date tonight. i also spend a lot of my time traveling, which is something that i would not be doing if i had a partner. i'll meet someone when i feel like it--right now i'm busy having the time of my life, taking care of myself, and writing a dissertation.

sevanetta

@Wrecking Ball Gown I have been loving this whole thread. I wanted to respond to this particular comment because I am tired of reading about people whinging that they had a child and all their friends disappeared. You've got a kid and usually a partner - there are tradeoffs in life, and usually people find a partner and have kids because they want to have that. I'm not disputing that it could be lonely, but fuck, you chose it. For the three years I was single, I wanted those things, and didn't really choose being single, I just happened to be single because I couldn't really meet anyone I wanted to be with. I also didn't choose to have most of my friends disappear into couple-land, mortgage-land and baby-land. I was totally ready to continue hanging out with people, but the people just weren't there anymore. People have less sympathy for you when you complain about that, although you don't choose that situation.

Litebrite Idea

@Anna Jayne@twitter Actually, two weddings have inspired me to break up with boyfriends because they expected to be my date and I realized I wasn't serious enough about them and didn't want the wedding to give them any such weddingly-ideas! Also, I ended up with a boyfriend from going to a couple weddings we both attended single!

effystonem

@wee_ramekin Thiiiiiis. Almost all of my close friends are partnered up, and honestly most of the time it's totally fine - I actually have become really good friends with my bff's boyfriend, and another boy/girl couple are also good friends of ours, so the 5 of us hang a lot - but because they're all partnered up, they will sometimes make little remarks. Once we were going to a nautical-themed party, and I brought a silly captain's hat and I asked, "Um, is this completely embarrassing?" and one of the dudes cheerfully said, "No, guys love it when girls do stuff like that!" I practically face-palmed. Of COURSE I was only being funny to try to attract a guy! And if we go out my bff will sometimes be like, "That guy's cute, you should go talk to him," and I just roll my eyes or something, because I've made it clear to her that unlike her, I don't have to flirt with every male I come across (and actually am currently in the throes of a long dude-hating phase), and she'll make a comment about me being in my mid-twenties (!), implying that I don't have that much longer to be able to catch a man.

I know they don't do it on purpose, or at least out of malice, but it's annoying when you know friends see you as pathetic just because you're single. And I've never cried about wanting a boyfriend or anything, which is the baffling part - it's all just understood by coupled people that single girls = desperate for a man. Oy.

Hellcat

@WaityKatie Yes, this is a thing I've noticed too. Two of my high-school friends are married to each other (we're all in our early 40s) and have two small kids, and it's very difficult to get a night out with both of them at once, especially spur of the moment. And it's not like it was when we were little, when our parents would just call some random local teenage girl to babysit; from what I see, it's more of asking relatives, which you probably don't want to do every single weekend. (Luckily, the BF and I, and they, finally stopped being dumb and realized we didn't have to hang out in a bar and we could instead--duh!--just go to their place.)

Roxanne Rholes

@Kulojam Ugh, during a divorce? That's even worse! It's so unhelpful to focus on finding someone else when you're going through a split. I'm focusing on enjoying being away from someone who was making me unhappy, you know? Not on finding a new person! Not yet! Slow down!

Saskquatch

@shutthefrontdoor You made me laugh out loud! They stay home and masturbate, yes actually, quite a few do (according to the talk around the construction site).

frigwiggin

Ugh, I hate that feeling of loneliness and sadness when I'm not sure what I'm lonely for. WHAT DO YOU WANT, BRAIN, WHAT DO YOU WANT. At least when you're lonely and sad for your dead best friend I know what's up.

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin The pronouns are all weird in that comment because I apparently believe my brain and I are two separate people, but also are inextricably intertwined. Or maybe I just need more tea.

iceberg

@frigwiggin "Let's just get through this, and then I can get back to killing you with beer"

frigwiggin

@iceberg

"This is it, Homer. It's time to tell her the terrible secret from your past."

"Marge, I ate those fancy soaps you bought for the bathroom."

MoonBat

@frigwiggin I am so happy that she specifically said "monthly" when referring to the Single Sads, because I KNOW that there is a definite link between my cycle and the internal whine of "why didn't the guy that was kinda meh with all of the red flags call me for a second date....whyyyyyyy????"

TheDragon

@MoonBat I don't have that cycle. I have the call the ex cycle. "Hey, bitch. Guess what? It's The Kendragon. I am obviously too good for you, so where the hell do you get off on trying to 'fix' me, and change me to your ideals? Guess. What? I'M FUCKING PERFECT, ASSHOLE."
It's a very convincing argument.

Queen of Pickles

@frigwiggin
Oh, my brain and I are three beings at LEAST. There's the wordless animal part that wails when it's lonely (1), the cold assessing-beast that can get angry or walk away if it has to (2), and then there's me, who is trying to hold the bridles of these two brain-horses that want to run in very opposite directions.

MoonBat

@The Kendragon I would like your email address, so that I can send you a list of names and numbers to call during your next hormonal ex rage. I am willing to pay for this service!

TheDragon

@MoonBat That might actually be amazing for me. I like to think that I'm usually pretty caring and compassionate, but once in awhile I just need to get my bitch on. Then I can go back to being nice. (Getting the bitch on is especially soothing when the person is genuinely awful and deserves it.)

frigwiggin

@Queen of Pickles Brains make terrible pets.

Ophelia

@frigwiggin Mine never took to crate training, and is impossible unless you give it treats, like all the time.

social theory

@Ophelia mine loves cheetos, but is fairly good about working for them

SheTheChange@twitter

I needed this. And do did my good friend. Thank you!

loki_monster

Ugh. First, I have been a victim of my own lizard brain and have put up with all kinds of bullshit and misery. I am OVER THAT SHIZ! I have a friend who has been allowing her lizard brain fears to convince her to stay in a terrible (long distance!) relationship that is NEVER GOING TO WORK and it is so painful to watch her make mistakes similar to those I've made. It's gotten so bad that I think maybe she's a lizard person?? And that scares me! When she finally gets through this and has had enough she is going to fall SO MOTHAFUCKING HARD and it's going to be heartbreaking. F U lizard brain!

@loki_monster I am that friend! What's gonna happen to me? I'm scared

Bgwee

@loki_monster "And then I pull off MY mask, and I'm a lizard person too!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGW_guW7KbI

bluewindgirl

Yeah, I'm kind of the opposite of this, in that I routinely do a pre-emptive break-up speech after seeing a guy between 3 and 5 times. (Alternately I sometimes just ghost away/ignore texts/avoid them on social media, which I truly believe tarnishes my soul.) This is when I'm like, aaaaaa, you are really nice, but I see no future here and I'm pathologically incapable of making bad decisions. It's like I head off the settling before I see it coming. I don't think every relationship should last forever, I just can't start something without thinking that it *might*. This is why I have been on eleven billion dates and have never been in a relationship that lasted more than six months. Is this... better? I dunno, I kind of feel like dating is universally terrible. Settling is terrible! Not being adventurous is terrible! Someone tell me if there is a better way?

SarahP

@bluewindgirl Yes! When I was reading this I was thinking either my lizard brain is dead or it does the opposite of other people's, because I, too, shut down anything before it got serious or even before it turned into a thing, because I didn't see myself wanting to be with this person forever.

I have no advice, but it worked for me anyway because eventually I found a person I did want to be with forever (my husband). It was just a little lonely until then!

themegnapkin

@bluewindgirl this is me, too. Let me know if you figure it out!

H.E. Ladypants

@bluewindgirl Ack. Your lizard brains work like mine! I have always been the dumper and the runner.

The only way I ended up keeping the current terrific guy was telling a friend of mine, "he is terrific. You need to stop me when I start to run." Which she did! Several times.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@bluewindgirl & @SarahP me toooo! Here's what it always comes back to for me, though: I know a ton of people who didn't settle and are glad they waited for the right person (or in one case, are glad they're still single and happy). I know a few people who didn't settle, are still single, and are starting to wonder if they did the right thing. And unfortunately I know a few people who settled and totally regret it. HOWEVER, I have never yet met/read a book by/heard of a person who has said "I settled and I'm glad I did." Not that one person advising me to settle would change my mind, but the fact that I have yet to even come across ONE person who's glad they settled (Liz Lemon's mom notwithstanding) is a pretty compelling argument to keep on waiting for The Awesome, at least for me.

bluewindgirl

@quickdrawkiddo I know, right? Except for when you occasionally meet The Maybe Awesome and they reject you, that is terrible. That is the tricky thing, really: we all want someone who is CAPABLE of breaking our hearts, but doesn't.
Anyway, I feel validated by all the other dumper/runners out there... I worry that I have bad dating karma though, and I might someday need to undertake a quest where I find/apologize to all the nice men I've confused.

themegnapkin

@bluewindgirl The Maybe Awesome sums it up pretty well. It's strange (to me, anyway) that my last Maybe Awesome was not even the best guy I've dated. Not the nicest, funniest, most interesting, smartest, etc. I have not felt it with plenty of more terrific guys.
I wonder, too, about my friends who seem to fall magically from relationship to relationship. How can you meet so many people that you want to date for more than a week?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@bluewindgirl Oh my god, we are the same person! I just met one of the first Maybe Awesomes in a looooong time and went on two fantastic dates with him, only to get dumped (for work, but still). On the one hand I was glad to know I still had feelings like a normal person. But on the other, getting dumped suuuucks.

RNL
RNL

@bluewindgirl I do this too! I'm like "ugh, you have flaws, I can't possibly love you." But everyone has flaws. How can I possibly love anyone? Do I even have a heart? Help.

E
E

@quickdrawkiddo I think you'll never hear from "a happy settler" because someone who has successfully settled doesn't see it that way anymore, and no one wants to be the one to say they had doubts. Or as one of my friends said, "I felt like after I got married I wasn't allowed to have a PROBLEM with my spouse because then everyone would think, 'See? that's why they're going to get divorced!/Shouldn't have gotten married'." Everyone buys into the narrative that once you get permanent with someone you can't say you participated in a trade-off. The closest anyone ever gets is to warn you not to expect someone to "be everything" to you.

But I really feel some of what "finding the one" is, is actually mellowing out yourself- like riding out your impulses to run from intimacy and working through your fears of getting hurt. You stick around to have the fight and see what happens on the other side of running into an incompatibility together. And sometimes that happens when you finally meet someone who seems worth it, but also maybe sometimes someone finally seems worth it when you start to play by a different rule book. Which is like, "here are my non-negotibles. I'm open to anyone who doesn't do those, I've stopped looking for someone to be all 300 things on this list, I'm open to a real flawed person instead of an imaginary perfect one, and also open to it being my fault sometimes too." And I think maybe that's really "settling" except really it's more "maturity".

TattyEmu

@E Just before dating my now boyfriend, I would have called dating him settling. Many years in, I feel like I won the boyfriend lotto.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@E Totally, that's an excellent point and one that my wise and awesome roommate often brings up when we talk about this. There are definitely choices you can make that might be *perceived* as settling to an outside observer who knows about your penchant for, say, guys over six feet tall -- if you finally end up marrying someone who's five foot five, your friends are probably going to wonder if you "settled." But the key distinction to me is what's going on in *your* mind, whether you're like "ugh, short guys are gross but I really want to get married and I'm pushing forty," OR "wow, I always thought height was important until I met this hunk of manflesh who makes me laugh and listens when I say stuff!" So I guess I was implying people who do the former when I referred to settling, because as you rightly put it, the latter isn't really settling at all, it's growing up and learning that there's no one person tailor-made to your exact specifications, but there are awesome people out there who you could be happy with if you give them a chance.

E
E

@quickdrawkiddo I guess I'd say that there's something in between those two mental places, or something at close to the "height was important, but you are more important" end of the spectrum, where you don't exactly give up the other thing you wanted, but you also make peace with not having it?

In the 4 or so serious relationships I've been in, plus the 3 or 4 grand passions that burned out quickly, they all had really different flavors. And the later relationships have been affected by the things that precede them- so your later relationships come with mental grooves and preferences that your earlier relationships set up- you long for a certain kind of puppy love because of the first real boyfriend, or get mad about chores faster because of the third guy or whatever, and sometimes "settling" is letting those unreal things co-exist with your real relationship...There's a portuguese word, "saudade" which means something like deep nostalgia for something that can't exist or never was or never can be, it's not an active misery, its more like wistfulness?... and I think that in a relationship you can have saudade where you love the partner you have and also mourn the roads you didn't take. More than being like, "height isn't important now that I have you", its like, "aww, I wish I had a tall lover, AND also I'd NEVER trade you for a different tall person".

And this is true of all life arenas- you can only have one, maybe two careers at a time, only live in one place, etc. So even if you wanted to be a marine biologist and a surgeon and a pilot, you can't live all of those lives at the same time, and if you do all three, you probably can't get the rich depth you'd get from one. If you somehow found yourself doing something really different from all three, like computer programmer, you might have this dislocation where you think, "How can I be happy doing this?! I trained to work with dolphins!" And you'd be happy, but also bemused?

Like in the Ang Lee Sense and Sensibility when Kate Winslet gets thrown over by Willoughby and ends up with Alan Rickman. Did she settle? Or did she change and grow? Or is it a bit of both? I lean a little towards the last on what "settling" really is for a lot of people.

RNL
RNL

@E Not only is this an insightful and interesting comment, it also includes my favourite non-English word and a reference to Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility. Amazing. You are clearly really great.

E
E

@TattyEmu Yes! This is the other part too! What happens over time in a "settling" relationship? I think it's possible for two people to start dating and have one or the other think, "hmm this won't work" and then as time goes on be startled to find that they're actually getting on better and better while other people who started like a house on fire fall apart.

And this isn't to say, stay in a shitty relationship or expect your partner to change for you! I think thats the dangerous part of talking about what relationships exist between mad passion/finishing each other's sentences and being miserable/misunderstood. Holding on through some reservations long enough to see what's what is not to make yourself unhappy, or be in a relationship just to have someone, its more, about, what do you expect when you think about what love is and is it open to different types of love and are you able to recognize a deep abiding love that isn't flashy, or built like a rom-com.

I have a friend who goes on dates and says things like, "he's a sweet fun guy but there was NO CHEMISTRY" and that's fair enough, but also, maybe, you only hung out for 3 hours at dinner and drinks in a loud place, asking standard date questions. If you'd met through friends of friends, and you kept bumping into each other over time at game night and picnics, would some chemistry flutter to life when you brushed hands at trivial pursuit? Are you looking for reasons to be unimpressed with other people? High standards are SO IMPORTANT, but you have to base those in the right values- a guy who looks sexy and well dressed but talks condescendingly may cause you more "chemistry" but the guy in the horrible white sneakers and polo shirt who listens thoughtfully to you is secretly hotter. It's going to be easier to buy Mr. White Sneakers a sexy jacket and nice shoes than it will be to get the impeccable dresser to care about your feelings. I willingly admit to making so MANY relationship choices around really smug and horrible superficial things, and I had to struggle to stay with my excellent partner because of things like his emotional honesty and willingness to be silly in public, both things which I am totally shitty at.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@E Wow, this was actually REALLY helpful, so thank you for taking the time to tease out all the nuances of settling vs. growing up/finding out what's really important to you. I haven't been in a long-term relationship since high school (which was SOME TIME AGO now) so this is something I mostly know about via hearsay. And I like that you brought it back to making choices and knowing that nobody gets to do EVERYTHING they wanted -- you have to choose one path, knowing that there were an infinite number of other choices and that some of them might also have made you happy. Seriously, I might copy this out and keep it next to my desk for moments of confusion. Thanks!

E
E

@RobotsNeedLove Thanks! I have been dealing with some cascading life epiphanies lately, and this topic is one of them! I think my perspective avalanche involved a small pile of books: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (heteronormative, but you can apply to all relationships, even non romantic ones), The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, How to Be a Woman, and Wild, plus the Brene Brown TED talk on vunerablity- Any wisdom I have about things always traces back to my reading list.

T A@twitter

@quickdrawkiddo But if they're still with the person they settled for, maybe they don't want to trumpet it from the rooftops. Those people are probably hidden in the cluster of happy couples who claim they've found, "the one."

kickupdust

@E I'm jumping on this a bit late, but I just want to say that I really really appreciate all you've taken the time to think about and write out here. It made me super happy to read!

SarahP

I know this is a silly place to post this, but I have to share: today's my birthday, and it makes me so happy to see my birthday date written out anywhere, including at the bottom of all the hairpin comments. Like every comment belongs to me somehow, because it has my birthday on it.

TheDragon

@SarahP HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I give you permission to own all the awesome comments.

cuminafterall

@SarahP Happy birthday! This comment is dedicated to you, SarahP.

Lily Rowan

@SarahP HBD!!

PS: Did you join the new google group? I'm afraid invites went to spam for some people....

wee_ramekin

@SarahP I knew you were a Virgo. I could just tell! Hee! Happy birthday, from one Virgo to another!

(Nicole is a Virgo too! We are in good company.)

MoonBat

@SarahP ALL OF THE COMMENTS (except any that you find offensive) BELONG TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

frigwiggin

@SarahP Happy birthday! That feeling is so great. I have to wait another two and a half weeks for this to be true for me. (Set up some good articles for September 7th, Hairpin!)

SarahP

Thanks, everyone! I'm happy to keep your comments. I think I'll even keep any offensive ones I find, and I'll wear them like a skull necklace to frighten my enemies.

@Lily Rowan I don't think so? Better check for some hairpinny spam!

Oh man how great is the word ("word") hairpinny?!

Marquise de Morville

@SarahP Happy Birthday! Summer birthdays are really neat :-)

anachronistique

@SarahP HAPPY BIRTHDAY I hope you get to spend some time outside because it is gorgeous! <333

You'll be sorry Jo March

@SarahP HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY

Joey

Such a thought provoking question and what a skillful and caring response! I love the description of embracing one's lizard brain and reframing her role as messenger rather than master. I would like to add my thought that the "must stay with" panic stricken feeling comes from deep within our first experiences as an infant. We feel as though we are one, literally, with our parent(s) and then realize we are alone and every bit of safety comes from our parent. All of that attachment stuff gets triggered, I think, in romantic relationships. Thanks for sharing this question and answer.

TheDragon

@Joey That's very good, and interesting point. I thought of myself as independent, and grown up, but I clung to my (then) boyfriend like I was drowning when my parents moved across the country.

 
timesnewroman

@queenofbithynia THANK YOU.

The last post in this (badly-titled) series was good, but I only managed to get halfway through this one before running down here to see if anyone commented on this. So glad you did! Evo-psych is bullshit and starts a slippery slope of misogyny. You do not feel loneliness because your prehistoric ancestors needed cavemen protectors!! Come on!

Like how for thousands of generations, women required strong relationships with strong men in order to simply survive. How, without someone to protect them, our foremothers were vulnerable in every way. How dearly so many of them suffered for it.

Please. Show me the evidence for this.

What else could drive so many amazing women to put up with such unending amounts of bullshit from their men, from silliness all the way up to abuse?

Um, socialisation, maybe? The aforementioned fairy tales? Watching your parents interact? Any number of other factors?

Sorry everyone. This shit drives me nuts.

queenofbithynia

@timesnewroman ha, yes, I deleted that comment because I felt I was being too much of a dick for the Hairpin yet not nearly enough of a dick considering what I thought.

I feel like maybe people are taking this "lizard brain" bit as a charming and original way of framing things instead of as the hackneyed bit of evo-psych jargon it is? and also, it is just that same old thing of when men and women exhibit human behaviors, find a human reason for the men but a female reason for the women:

so, when a dude does this (cling to bad partners because a bad one is better than none at all), it's because he's lonely and has low self-esteem and needs more close friends -- you know, like a person -- but when a woman does it, it's because her lady brain parts are working on dim prehistoric instincts that she must suppress with all her might. or whatever.

themmases

@timesnewroman Thank you! I must have been writing (below, not in the deleted comments for anyone who reads later) at the same time as you, because I got to the bottom and was really surprised no one else had said this.

timesnewroman

Yes yes yes, also, what ThatWench has written above us: The thing is, the timeline in which women have been economically subjugated-and-therefore-dependent is really, really short compared to the timeline of homo sapiens, let alone all the near-human ancestors just before us.

Also, I'm wondering if this would have been received so well if a man had written it. Maybe that's not fair, but I'm not so sure.

adorable-eggplant

@timesnewroman THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This pseudo-science it killlllsss meeee. I studied physical anthropology in college, and the first lecture on day one was "Everything you've heard from pop-culture, evolutionary psych peddling magazines is wrong (and here's why with pictures)" Part of me wants to email my old professor and ask for the slides.

I think my tiny cry of woe turned into a shriek of outrage when I read that TOTALLY INACCURATE statement about "strong men". Female bonding, especially in closely genetically related groups, is sooooo critical in primate behavior (depending on a lot of factors that I'm going to gloss over). Our foremothers would be MUCH better served by forming strong friendships with each other.

And why do many men endure (or in the very problematic words given "put up with") abuse? The 'our vulnerable foremothers needed the menz' theory doesn't have any explanatory power for that situation, which is a big hint it's a flawed explanation.

Alright, calming down. I'll to Be Less Crazy About... Sexism. ahem, working on it.

Oh, squiggles

I felt a twinge of upset about this as well.

Evo-psych issues aside, I think it is misleading to say that women feel this way because of an instinctual need to be protected by men. For one, it doesn't explain why men stay in bad relationships! We are a social species though, and have accomplished a lot by being so. The loneliness we feel may indeed come from a instinctual need for society. Society is one reason we have survived and flourished as a species. But the whole "women need relationships because our ancestors needed protectors" thing doesn't ring true to me.

Raptor41d

@adorable-eggplant I only every studied sociology and some very basic psych, but I remember reading enough take-downs of evolutionary psychology in both those fields to develop a deep mistrust of it. Frankly, I think the world needs to know to Be Angrier About...Terrible Pop Psychology.

Which is not to say, at the same time, that I disagree with all this advice. Most of it is very good. But there are better ways to get to it, I think.

adorable-eggplant

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Doesn't ring true, because it isn't! And there's a whole, fascinating reason that these kinds of myths got promulgated and slipped in to academic papers and bandied about as 'this is so obvious, why would we need to prove this?' truisms (hint: academia for much of its history has been male-dominated) but I've made myself a hot cup of tea and calmed down, so I'mma hold on to that feeling.

That said, I think the Akin blunder showed us how harmful it can be when people have a fundamental misunderstanding of the gap between biology and socialized behavior and, well, reality. Sooo, yeah, I don't think gender essentialism and the sexism of evo-psych are a minor issue, but yes I think this was a well-intentioned folk explanation, which is not how science works, but is a lot how people work. Gah. That was supposed to be conciliatory, but it may sound condescending.... in a nutshell: great advice, terrible hand-wavey pseudoscience, but it's understandable because these misapprehensions permeate society (much like people used to generally accept the notion that there were fundamental physiological differences between 'the races' because, well, we can all see them and it seems so obvious and our ancestors had to develop big brains to deal with harsh winters, whereas your ancestors, my tropical friend... *knowing look from Victorian phrenologist dude*) So discredited way of thinking has not totally been eradicated; that's cool, just um, don't do it again.

But being lonely! We can all relate! Even the dudes! If my best dude friend ever re-unites with his totally terrible (more than slightly abusive ex) just because he needs warm hugs, I will totally send him this article with several choice phrases highlighted.

PistolPackinMama

@all of y'all-- This series of comments made me really happy. U,adsjfba,dsjb, bad science.

@adorable-eggplant I have some adorable eggplants on my balcony right now! They are tiny and streaked with lavender.

adorable-eggplant

@PistolPackinMama Yay! My neighbor is growing eggplants, and I often slow down to admire them as I drive by. Sigh. So cute.

PatatasBravas

@queenofbithynia So fucking thrilled someone took on the evo psych!

Frog Doctress

@queenofbithynia YES. Evo-psych misogyny, really.

Regina Phalange

Ahhhh you guys this is a little off topic but kind of in the same ballpark (idontknow). And I am hoping to get the collective wisdom of the 'pinners...

I am going through kind of a weird depressive slump-thing (like, brushing my hair seems like a monumental task? and whereas I'm usually pretty go-get-'er, now I'm just listless?), and I think I am getting on my way out, but I JUST MET THIS BOY AND OH NOOOOO I AM GOING TO TERRIFY HIM. I can feel it.

So, (a) if you have any advice about how to get out of the slump, that would be GREATLY appreciated, and
(b) how can I not mess this up? Cute, smart, nice guy! Scary, unbrushed-hair, listless lady!

Saaoirse

@Regina Phalange Don't worry about being listless and depressed because of the boy. Worry about it and get better for yourself. If you still want him, it'll be a lot easier to go after him when you're happier.

Regina Phalange

@Saaoirse Ahhhh this is so nice! And true! And I realize you may not have all the answers to my questions, but how do I even get out of this?! Bah.

Queen of Pickles

@Regina Phalange @Regina Phalange I recommend doing things that (a) make you happy, (b) move your body around in a powerful way, and (c) take your mind entirely off him.

Like yoga or dancing around your kitchen really intensely.

Because 1. endorphins, and 2. I'm much calmer about things when I can get my mind off of them. And then I'm like, right, boy! Hi boy! I forgot about you for a minute, but you're cool too.

Judith Slutler

@Regina Phalange If you terrify him, he doesn't get to have you. Depressive slumps happen. Relationship things happen in weird times that are also depressive times. Either he can understand that, or he can GTFO!

(also, if this has lasted more than like a couple weeks, and you haven't sought treatment, go see a sympathetic doctor! you don't have to fix this all on your own and sometimes we can't pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, yanno?)

laurel

@Regina Phalange: I'm sorry, because I doubt this is what you want to hear, but a combination of therapy, physical exertion and medication are often? usually? the fastest, most consistently successful way of pulling oneself out of a depression. The good news is that it can make an immense difference and give you a ton of knowledge about yourself.

I also thoroughly endorse dancing around the kitchen really intensely.

chevyvan

@Regina Phalange Running. Therapy.

amysee

@Regina Phalange
Fight the current?
-Get out of bed every day at the same time, in the morning
-Force yourself to put on real clothes, every day, even if the plan for the day is Stay Home
-Eat real, healthy food, at least 3 times daily, at the same times each day
-Exercise outside every day (a walk around the block at lunch absolutely counts! Looking up and noticing things counts more!)
-Have a real interaction (i.e. not just a text exchange) with at least one friend/family member you care about every day
-If things you need to do are causing you anxiety (pay bills, write thank you notes, figure out student loans, whatever), make a list of them and commit to making a plan for dealing with each one, one thing per day
-Read or listen to or see or do or be one interesting thing each day. The unbrushed listlessness will not be what the boy notices if you have a brain full of interesting things, and a day full of things you need to do.
-If faking it until you make it doesn't self-propel you out of your slump, it might be time for counseling/medication/a combination (that's what finally worked for me).

TattyEmu

@Regina Phalange as per the Boy. Not all guys are terrified by women who are complete and complex people; bad and good all tangled up with each other. You are not scary.

PatatasBravas

@Regina Phalange Do what you need for you, and flirt away if you want! The right person will stick with you doing you. I have been the non-depressed person with a new partner who is depressive, and it was a great two-year relationship, and it was not the depressive inclinations that split us up.

Regina Phalange

@PatatasBravas @Saaoirse @Queen of Pickles @TattyEmu @Emmanuelle Cunt @laurel @chevyvan @amysee You guys, I'm sorry I'm so late in saing thank you - but THANK YOU. Seriously, I called and set up an appointment with someone (it's been a pretty long bout), and even started running again (ohhh, not pretty, but so needed). Yay for 'pin support!

WWVMD

You guys, this was my life up until a few months ago. I was living with my long term boyfriend who was perfectly nice, but just not a great match for me, but things were fiiiine and yeah, I was sad a lot, but it just seemed so much easier to have someone to live with and do things with, etc. Anyway, I finally worked up the guts to break things off and I thought i would be sad forever, but here I am 3 months later and I don't think I've ever been happier. I don't have any future prospects and sure, it's a little bit lonely sometimes, but the FREEDOM is fantastic. So, no real point here except to say that you will recover even when you think you probably won't.

SarahP

@WWVMD Aw, congrats on being a happier, freer you!

chevyvan

@WWVMD Congrats! Something similar happened to my friend...she was with a guy for a few years (married for one) and nothing *bad* ever happened but not much good ever happened either so she felt she didn't have a solid reason to break up except: I just don't want to be with you anymore. Although it has been tough for a few months, she now seems happier and more carefree than I've seen her in a while.

Maladydee

@WWVMD This is my exact same situation, right down to being broken up for 3 months. Except that I know I'm not yet at 100% of where I could be, more like 75%, compared to 50% when I was with my ex. And I think I will be t 100% again within the next 3 months, if nothing in my life blows up.

christonacracker

This would have been timely for me about a year ago but now I am in the full throes of unrequited HORROR and all I can do is roll under my desk and make loud sighs. Someone tell me why all of my internal organs yearn to be with someone who is totally untested and may turn out to be a complete disappointment -- and in this yearning, develop an ENORMOUS UNFAIR COMPLEX about myself which I did not have before (I didn't think I was boring! But oh my god! I'm clearly boring since he doesn't want to spend every waking second with me!) ~flings self under desk, sighs~

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@christonacracker Uggghh that feeling. I do the sighing thing too! Usually that means I need to either a) watch Brief Encounter and overempathize and cry, or b) watch The Fugitive and be glad I don't have to dye my hair and steal an old man's clothes just to avoid being shot on sight.

laurel

@christonacracker: It's the untested ones that really suck you in.

TheDragon

You know what I realized the other day that depressed the hell out of me? I've never dated a guy who I was physically attracted to AND crazy about.
I think I might need to jack my standards up a little.

TheDragon

@The Kendragon Or I could just eat pizza, pantsless in bed, and ignore men. Damn. I want Pizza now.

cuminafterall

@The Kendragon I don't think casually dating someone who's just one or the other is so bad, but in a relationship/exclusive dating situation, it's worth holding out for both.

cuminafterall

@The Kendragon On the other hand, pizza is very attractive, too.

TheDragon

@cuminafterall And warm. and gooey. and delicious. My mouth is watering.

TheDragon

@cuminafterall But yeah, I would really like to hold out for the guy who makes both my heart and loins sing.

km1312

@The Kendragon
Aaah this is me. I’m currently in the pickle of a 1.5 year relationship with a great guy whom I love, but who doesn’t light my loins on fire or whatever – and an ex-friend-with-benefits, who lights EVERYTHING on fire but would be a pretty terrible partner in every other way, and has recently resurfaced in my life. I feel like, be smart! Boyfriend is wonderful and makes you happy! But then my reverse-lizard brain (my sex lizard?) tries to convince me that I need ex-FWB sex in my life, even though he would never take out the trash and I would be too embarrassed to introduce him to my mom.

Bleeergh.

TheDragon

@km1312 (I just have to say, I love "my sex lizard?")

I would maybe be inclined to scrap it all and find someone totally new, but I am not you, and don't know all the facts. I do think that being treated well is more important than sex, but sex is important too!

PistolPackinMama

@The Kendragon crotch karaoke. Heeey.

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama What, your loins don't sing?
You should really get that checked.

PistolPackinMama

@The Kendragon

Vulva Vocal.
Orgasm Aria.
Clitoral A cappella.
G-spot G-clef.
Fucking Forte.

Okay, I'll go now. Sorry.

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama
Pelvis Poem

PistolPackinMama

@The Kendragon

sexing sonnet
sexing sestina!
humping haiku...

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama
Copulation Carol
Lovemaking lullaby

TheDragon

@The Kendragon I TOTALLY ate pizza pantless in bed. Also brownies. In a mansion.

themmases

Also (and seriously I enjoyed the article and would love it if we could share bad boyfriend tales of horror, but) my answer to "What else could drive so many amazing women to put up with such unending amounts of bullshit from their men, from silliness all the way up to abuse?" is "the patriarchy."

My patriarchy stomper badge is shiny and beautiful, and I polish it with the tears of male relatives.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@themmases for realz, let's give poor Science a break for once and blame Society instead.

laurel

I think I forgot to be embarrassed about going out to dinner alone. There I sit with my plate, glass and book, oblivious to the pity of the couple at the next table, thinking instead, "Eeesh, lady, your boyfriend is so boring!"

thisisunclear

This is super great advice, especially paired with vintage A Lady advice to use gold star stickers in a secret calendar to mark every post-breakup day of making no contact. I am currently winning with 12 gold stars in a row. [And also texting my BFFs, booking irresponsible weekend trips, taking long walks, and eating ice cream.]

Go away, lizard.

TheDragon

@thisisunclear ALL the gold stars for you! That is impressive. (I'm at one! But we broke up Sunday, so that's something.)

Roxanne Rholes

@thisisunclear Oh man, that's such a good idea! I am definitely doing that. As soon as I move out. In two weeks. The longest two weeks, ever!

thisisunclear

@Roxanne Rholes oof, that is long, especially in break-up time. all the good thoughts sent your way!

EpWs

@thisisunclear You are doing great! All of you!

Because it is in my head (damn this catchy pop nonsense), I'm shooting this ridiculous new Taylor Swift song your way: WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER. (Just give in and yell it a lot, it's really okay.)

Hugs to all of you!

Maladydee

@Roxanne Rholes The last 2 weeks before I moved out with my ex were, I swear to god, twice as long as the last 2 months before them. But it starts getting better so much more quickly than you expect, afterward.

Maladydee

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher ...... I think that's the best thing I've seen on youtube all week. And I'm not even normally a pop fan.

emeegee

@WWVMD, @The Kendragon, that's fantastic and, frankly, courageous. I wish I had been brave enough to end it when it needed to be done. Instead I nodded earnestly at the lizard and said "yes, good point, I *will* marry him." Five years later he left me, and it took me a shockingly long time to recognize that walking out was the nicest thing he'd done for me in years.

John Darnielle has a way with phrases:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZDpksvNRjM

Linette

I'm kind of new to this, but would like some support from Le Hairpin, since it isn't a Friday and there is no open thread, this seems like the best place to ask.

It is my anniversary with the man who is no longer my man-friend. We were really wonderful together and the circumstances of our break-up had nothing to do with our being wonderful together, just poor timing. We still very much wish we could be together, and trust me when I say we tried every which way to make it work, and we've finally concluded that holding on halfway is causing us way too much pain and that we just need to be away from each other for awhile.

It's our anniversary and I want to tell him how much he means to me. I know he'll be glad to hear it, but he will also be heartbroken all over again, and I don't want to do that to him. I just need some support because today is awful for me and I would like someone to tell me I'm doing the right thing by keeping all my sadness to myself and letting him keep all of his sadness to himself, and not breaking open the wounds again.

I've been trying to get a little friend-support but this is one of those days when no one is around. I'm sure they'll all surface in a few hours to love me up, but meanwhile I am sad and I wish someone would tell me it's going to be okay.

TheDragon

@Linette Oh, honey. It's gonna be ok. It's not going to be fun, or easy, but it will be ok.
And even if it's not Friday, and there are no relative threads, we will listen on other threads. Anything that you want to talk about, we will listen

Linette

@The Kendragon

Thank you. I figured the Hairpin was a pretty listeny place. It's comforting to think it's out here, this little community. I didn't need advice or solutions or someone to tell me I'm better off without him, which is what I feel like most people do automatically. 'Pinners keep to get that there are some things that just inherently suck, and you need to get through them, and meantime here's a tissue.

Nicole Cliffe

@Linette You're a nice person. And if I were him, I'd be happy to hear it, even if it made me sad.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Linette YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING! I have been there and I know it feels like literally the hardest thing ever and like you might actually die. Hold your own hand and be sad, but know that this is the first tiny step toward feeling like a whole person again. I'm so sorry you have to go through this :(

RNL
RNL

@Linette I'm so sad for you. That sounds really hard.

I'm going to speak up for "maybe don't tell him". If it really truly has to be over, let it be over. When you can think of him without your heart hurting at all even a little bit, and you think he can probably do the same - then you can tell him. But now is healing time, and those kind words may just rip the scab right off.

Edited: Oops, I just re-read the "I don't need advice" comment above. Sorry for the advice. Good luck and I'm sending you warm thoughts!

City_Dater

@Linette

It is going to be okay! And I agree with Nicole -- you're noticing the date and feeling sad; he's noticing the date and feeling sad... it isn't a terrible idea to send him a short email (he can always wait to open it if he isn't up to hearing from you right now).

BornSecular

@City_Dater Wow you (and hypothetically he) have waaaaay better self control than I do! If I saw an email like that, I would open it up stat, painful emotions/scab ripping be damned. But I'm the type of person that can't leave a sore spot alone.

RNL
RNL

@BornSecular Yeah me too. And if I got the email, I would be sent spiraling. And if I sent the email, I would be sent spiraling, waiting for a response, hoping I might get one, wondering wondering wondering. Myself, I'm a big ol' emotional hornets nest. One poke is all it takes to set me abuzz, stings to follow.

Linette

@RobotsNeedLove and @BornSecular I am this kind of person and so is he. That's the worst bit. He's fantastic at not being the one who makes an overture, but if I make one, there is no power on earth that will stop him from answering the phone or reading the email or whatever. And I know this! So I try not make the overtures, because I don't want to be that person.

I am so completely that person. But I'm going to pretend I'm not for awhile longer.

Linette

@quickdrawkiddo Thank you SO much. It is the worst thing, but the "hold your own hand" suggestion was actually extremely helpful. Sometimes the right words will make you believe in something even when the hypothetical concept just wasn't doing it. You win the game of verbiage.

Linette

@RobotsNeedLove That is the plan, and no worries about the advice: it's the advice I'm giving myself over and over again, and it helps to think that it is sound advice. Thanks for the consideration and for the sweet empathy, too.

Linette

@City_Dater ACK don't tempt me! I may, in fact, send him a brief "thinking of you" sort of thing later, but only after there is no chance in hell either of us is going to make an impulse trip to the other's house.

Linette

Thank you so much to all of you, truly. I really needed this.

City_Dater

@Linette

Oh! If you're both scab-rippers and you know he'll read it right away and answer right away and everyone will just feel worse...then write a note and DON'T SEND IT. This is stock therapy advice that gets hauled out for every potentially painful interaction we think we want, but it can help.

Linette

@City_Dater I think the hard part is not feeling like either option is necessarily in keeping with the kind of person I want to be.

On the one hand, the person I want to be acknowledges big moments and how much important people matter on the days that they are hoping to be acknowledged for that. On the other, the person I want to be does not go around ripping off scabs for the brief satisfaction when she knows PERFECTLY WELL that it will just start bleeding and become a scab again.

Both options suck. I'm going for the one that will suck less in the long haul (I think) but more right now (for certain sure).

EpWs

@Linette Girl, that is so, so hard. Do what you think is best right now and take the rest when it comes! It is going to suck for a while, and that's okay. We're all here. Lots of hugs to you! (And you can always, always ask these things, anywhere. Promise.)

Annie Murphy@facebook

What I do seems to work pretty well: non monogomy until I'm in love. Not saying that you need to be monogamous when you're in love, that's just my style/comfort level. But now, I'm single but dating. I don't know why it usually seems to be so black and white in terms of you're in a relationship or you're not/ you're someones girlfriend or you're not, etc. But dating is the best! It's casual and fun and you can have all the company you want or don't want. I'm just really clear to any gents I might be seeing about where I am in my life and what I expect from them/our relationship and ask for the same in return. Don't rush into relationships because you feel like you'll be alone if you don't commit to someone. Commiting yourself to someone is a reverential act, not something to do out of fear or indifference. So go ahead, date and bed all the men and women, and they will bring you flowers and you don't have to feel guilty if you don't want to hang out with them.

PomoFrannyGlass

@Annie Murphy@facebook AH, yes, this. I don't necessarily call it nonmonogamy but I get super frustrated with the fact that my friends/peers/culture seem to be only be able to talk about relationships in terms of forever/marriage/babies (I'm in the 30 year ballpark), like anything that doesn't have clear potential for Happily Ever After is a worthless waste of your time. I hope I meet some one with whom I'd like to hang out forever and perhaps have babies! But it's not, like, my only goal, I am comfortable with the idea that I might end up having different life adventures instead and I don't see any reason why it's bad for me to hang out with people whose company I enjoy but who don't necessarily give me visions of Happily Ever After (as along as the other party isn't having those visions, then I'd feel mean). It's not about settling or not wanting to be alone, it's about learning about people/relationships/myself (also, sex. It's definitely about sex. And obviously all the usual caveats re: safety and responsibility apply in this context.).

PomoFrannyGlass

@PomoFrannyGlass Agh, typos.

Trilby

Soooo.... You just blew the lid of the whole "girls like bad boys" thing. Wow. Years ago, I married a really nice guy and had babies with him, but he was too nice and too wimpy for me. So I reverted to my old ways, and dumped him for a bad boy. A VERY bad boy as it turned out, who made my life hell and even tried to abuse my daughters. I left his sorry ass 3 years ago and I've never been happier. I am alone! Solo! Just me and my shadow. It is blissful. I highly recommend it.

TheDragon

@Trilby I am a cliche, but I like to take bad boys home. But I don't like dating bad boys.
I think I'm in the "bad girl" territory though, so I don't find many good guys.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@The Kendragon: Good guys that like bad girls are legion, but present possibly the most narrow of initial attractions

TheDragon

@Too Much Internet Hmm. tell me more. (I'm not a bad-bad girl. I just cuss, drink, (very occasionally) fight, and sleep around. But mom's always like me, so there's that?)

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@The Kendragon : I've told friends in the past, I want a bad girl - that makes good decisions. In my thinking, the opportunity to meet and the initial attraction that would bring two people together is minimal, so you just don't see it often. When it does though, I think it makes for a very nice opposites attract scenario in that the good qualities of one rub off on the other. :D

TheDragon

@Too Much Internet I want a good guy, with a biting, sarcastic sense of humor.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@The Kendragon: The good thing about good guys, is that a sense of humor is much easier to cultivate when you have the confidence to laugh at yourself (bad boys can't break character and allow themselves to be the butt of the joke).

He's definitely out there. You'll know when you get into a back and forth verbal spar with him. He'll give as well as he gets.

TheDragon

OH MY LORD MAY I BITCH ABOUT MY EX?
So I still have his hat, and he wants it back. Understandable. BUT he moved recently, I've only been to his new place once and he won't give me his gate code. Or appt number. Also, I'm supposed to drop it off when he "won't have to see you."
WHAT THE FUCK? We dated for a month. I HIGHLY doubt I broke his heart.
Someone needs to pull his damn diaper off

Megasus

@The Kendragon If the entryway has a garbage can put it in there
My ex's stuff policy was: "You have until this day to pick it up, then I am throwing it out." Which is what happened (except he left a couple things worth keeping and they are mine now)

TattyEmu

@The Kendragon If the man wants his hat, he can drive his ass over and get it. When the amicable stuff swap has been rejected, he loses courier service. But I'm a petty bitch like that.

TheDragon

@TattyEmu @Megano!
I told him I'd hang it on the fence of his complex. I really don't want him coming over. I feel like he'd never leave.

TheDragon

@TattyEmu
I'm a petty bitch too. Considering wearing it in the hot sun while doing field work tomorrow. Then giving it back sweaty and sunscreeny.

wee_ramekin

@The Kendragon Just mail it to him. This has the extra benefit of being Ice Cold and Extremely Badass.

Cat named Virtute

@wee_ramekin Agree with wee_ramekin. A complete lack of any sort of note is also a good way to underscore the iciness.

wee_ramekin

@Cat named Virtute OOOOOoooooooooooooo, EVEN BETTER: don't even put your return address on the envelope.

*cues up "You're As Cold As Ice"; walks away*

TheDragon

@wee_ramekin I'm too cheap to pay shipping on some dudebro's hat. Also, I really need a field hat for tomorrow. But I may just leave it on the welcome mat

Cat named Virtute

@The Kendragon An entirely legit position. Your plan sounds good. Good riddance etc etc.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@The Kendragon: If left on welcome mat, place photo of you underneath hat (photo of you not giving any F's)

TheDragon

@Too Much Internet
I love how delightfully bitchy we all are.

j-furr

this makes me think about last night at a lady date with some friends, my pal came up with a term for those early 20s messy boys that were perfectly fine and fun at the time, but obviously not long term partner material: I present the term: "Garbage Bed Boyfriend", because these boys, while sweet, allways seemed to have a distressing collection of non bedroom related material ( usually consiting of dirty laundry, dog eared books, takeout containers etc) in thier bed.....

m. marie

@j-furr TAKEOUT CONTAINERS! That is basically unacceptable. In my experience, the beds weren't literally full of garbage (oh my god!) so much as likely to be unmade and unwashed in a horrifying amount of time. If you want to hear a horror story, ask one of these guys when the last time he washed his bedding was. Go on, try it sometime. Not to be sexist, I will admit that I knew girls who were this gross as well, but it's less horrifying to know somebody has never washed their sheets when you've never climbed in between them...

paddlepickle

@j-furr Yes, and they all have black sheets and a mattress either on a box spring or on the floor. I um, might still be dating them. They're so CUTE. And they build their own bikes (mine do, at least)!.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@j-furr Gaaahhahaa! I love it. I've also noticed that they seem to eschew all bedding except a gross acrylic crochet blanket that, like, their grandma made in the seventies? That's full of crochet holes so it doesn't keep you warm when it's cold but is all hot and itchy if it's warm? I'm always like "HOW DO YOU SLEEP OH MY GOD."

Megasus

OK so....1/2 of those mentioned things CAN be done with a bestie, c'mon now.

rocknrollunicorn

@Megano! I totes bring friends to weddings all the time. Bring a girlfriend, meet single wedding dudes... um, win/win.

rocknrollunicorn

@rocknrollunicorn I apologize for the use of "totes," I really am trying to quit that word.

TheDragon

@rocknrollunicorn Or bring a girlfriend, dance together, laugh over champagne, and don't meet anyone but the awesome old lady relatives. (Seriously. I meet awesome old people at weddings.)

forensicRN

OK all of you grown up ladies; I do not have the time to read all of the 302 posts. She is correct in her advice...been there and done it; to the letter. And it works. Sure it bites to be alone; but it is better to be alone that the anxiety of what's going to happen today. We can all do this together; us "Pinners".

TheDragon

Also, lady. Sex with oneself. It's fun.

fondue with cheddar

@The Kendragon It also won't result in disease or pregnancy!

T A@twitter

I feel this way, but about my job. I convinced myself to give notice, and move away from this town, but now my lizard brain is screaming that it's a recession, I don't have a job yet, and maybe I should just stay no matter how miserable I was when I made the decision to leave.

My lizard brain is being really convincing. Is she also right?

LaLoba

@T A@twitter Naah. It's better to be broke than miserable! And once you quit the job you have taken the next step toward your better life. If you had stayed in it, you'd be so much further behind where you are now!

fondue with cheddar

@T A@twitter My boyfriend was in that exact situation and got laid off. Now he's much happier. There are jobs out there you can do while you look for something you really want, even if they don't make as much money. He's doing side work with a caterer. You do what you have to do.

T A@twitter

@LaLoba I hope you're right.

T A@twitter

@jen325 I'm definitely on the lookout for odd jobs to help me pay the bills. I think my biggest fear is that the problem isn't so much the job, but that i'm just too picky. I'm just afraid of making the change/move and not really liking that either.

fondue with cheddar

@T A@twitter I hear ya, because I'm someone who tends to fear making changes for the same reason. But the important thing is that you get out of the job you hate. Find any old job to get by while you look for something else while. If you change to something you haven't made an investment in (a job you aren't looking at as a career), then you won't have any grand expectations about liking it and you won't feel guilty for leaving it when you find something better. It's just a stepping stone.

Jane Dough

I always said I'd rather be alone than settle, and that meant I spent a lot of time alone-- years, even. Then when I was in my mid 40's I met Mr. Right. We've been married 6 years now, and it is awesome. IT CAN HAPPEN!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Jane Dough AWWW! High five! I love hearing stories like that!

NYC123

This is great advice. Do not call! I needed to hear that today! But, friends, this lizard brain/evolutionary pysch stuff is crazeee. Can we get a reasonable anthropologist to refute some of this nonsense? ( I can suggest many). I find it a bunch (not even a little) dangerous to tread so close to fiction esp re: gendered roles and expectations and somatizing social conditions.

adorable-eggplant

@NYC123 Yes! People are discussing this very problem up-thread. I would also love to see a refutation by a reasonable anthropologist.

clipse

Did anyone else actually hear a fist hitting the table at "THESE ARE FACTS DAMMIT!"??

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