On How to Have a Boyfriend, "Advanced Dating," and Girls With Short Hair

I'm no expert on coming out, but I do have some direct experience with telling family members in a "loving but firm way to ... shut the fuck up."

There's two part methodology:

Part one: you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you tell certain family members you won't want to hear from them on the topic, then you can't talk about it with them either. Not that you hide, but you just don't discuss it. Would be nice if you could share your bi dating woes or talk about bi-identity (bidentity?), but you have to realize it's not to be. It becomes topic non grata with these people (and these people only -- again, it's not about hiding).

Part two: make the denouement quick and blunt. "You know, this isn't your business and I don't think we need to discuss it any further. Please don't bring it up again." Then if they do, hang up the phone, walk away, or stare at them silently until they get really uncomfortable. Don't get mad, be as loving a family member as you always were, but don't let them push you around. If there's any magic here, the phrase "this is not your business" might just be it.

It would be nice if everyone could support who you are and what you do, but it's just not going to happen. The only alternatives are to avoid them completely (which is always your ace in the hole if they don't cool it), get really angry and fight a lot (not recommended), or set firm boundaries on them, and yourself, and calmly enforce them.

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm 0

On Not That Kind of Death: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty

This was a great piece.

A couple of years ago, our big beloved dog became extremely sick. Because he was very large and very ill, we decided to bring in a home-visit vet rather than transport to the office. The prognosis was not good. The options were euthanasia or a much more painful death a few days later. Now the SOP for most people is that you take your animal to the vet and they take them into the other room and then they're dead. Poof, just like that. But that's not what we wanted for our good friend and family member.

Instead we spend the day with him and then the vet returned to perform the procedure in our living room, in the presence of our entire family including our 8-year-old child and our other dog. My hands were on his big beautiful head as he passed. We wrapped him in a sheet with flowers from our garden and because he was too big to bury ourselves the vet helped us get him into the car for the drive to the local Animal Shelter, where, after a final hug, we arranged cremation.

There is no doubt that this was better for him, in terms of dying calmly and without fear... but what surprised me was how much better it was for all of us as well. We are robbing ourselves of a great deal of meaning and perspective by hiding from death. I consider this experience one of the most powerful of my lie (up where with giving birth, logically enough).

Posted on October 27, 2014 at 5:55 pm 2

On How Many Types of Millennials Are There?

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) It's our responsibility to reach out and teach the younger generation. To crush that youthful idealism. So grab that broad brush you Gen-Xers and Millennials and paint, paint, paint those kids (Baby Boomers can just shut up though). How will kids today know they're lazy, entitled, and vapid if we don't tell them so?

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm 0

On How Many Types of Millennials Are There?

"I'm sick of being pigeonholed into an era accused of being superficial, vapid, and careless,..."

As a member of Gen-X, I'm offended by you Millenials stealing our shitty stereotypes! Get your own shitty stereotypes, please. I was being labeled superficial, vapid, and careless by old people before you were a glint in your daddy's eye. So get off my lawn you kids!

My question is, who's doing all this stereotyping and will they please die off already before they bankrupt social security and destroy all of society with their entitled hypocrisy and holier-than-thou attitudes? (/irony)

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 2:06 pm 3

On Apologia

I completely agree with the damage and manipulation of "stop hitting yourself" messages to women. It's unfair to chastise women for necessary survival mechanisms, especially when you aren't addressing the need for those mechanisms. And judging other women's experience is... unhelpful, to say the least.

But it's also valuable for each of us to ask, individually, whether those mechanisms are necessary for us at every moment. I find that overall the more I stand up for myself and the more confident I am, the LESS shit I seem to get. By demanding the world treat me with respect and by refusing to apologize (unless I'm wrong about something, because, well, that's just being a good human), I get more respect. And the people I like, like me for that (it helps that I define "people I like" as "people who like me for who I am and how I am" -- simplifies things incredibly).

Can I get away with being as much of a rude, blunt, asshole as a man can? No. But I don't want to be that person anyway... of either gender.

There's such a big grey area between "brash as fuck" and "insecure, irritating, thoroughly un-empowered." I think there must be some middle ground that we each work to set for ourselves, someplace that combines self-preservation with self-confidence, while at the same time working to make those apologizing behaviors less necessary for all women.

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm 0

On What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name

"when people asked if we’d chosen a first name, we shared our last name choice instead"

When people ask what you're naming the baby, the correct response is John or Amy or whatever. When you go out of your way to bring it up, as if you are unsure, as if you're justifying, you end up inviting opinion... whether you want it or not.

Our daughter has my last name. Apart from a private conversation between my husband and his mother, we refused to let it be a big deal... and it wasn't. If people ever made some comment, I'd reply "we're matrilineal." I didn't open the door to discussion, so most people kept their thoughts to themselves. Attitude is a lot of this.

My husband occasionally gets mail with my name, and I do get mail with his. My husband's grandmother sends me mail with "Mrs. Husband's-First Husband's-Last" on it! But hey, she's old and of another time. Our daughter sometimes gets mail with my husband's last name or both our names hyphenated too. But most people, and all official organizations, get it right.

With the current divorce rate and frequency of blended families, you wouldn't think anyone would be confused by people in a household with different last names.

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm 2

On Ask a Fancy Person: Consignment Shops, Gendered Pronouns and Leaving the Forever 21 Zone

@commanderbanana Completely agree with this! I'm black/grey/navy for neutrals and red/royal teal/emerald for colors. Plus white shirts. The results is that everything matches everything else. And when it comes to picking neutrals, beware browns. Every black matches every other black, but browns come in so many shades and it's harder to look pulled together when shoes / belt / purse are all different ones (a real concern when shopping consignment). Plus if you only have a few colors to worry about, you can get statement pieces in those colors (like a red coat or bag) because it will go with all the stuff you own and won't look out of place.

Also, if you wear pants, decide in advance on your preferred heel height and stick to it within half an inch plus or minus. That way you won't have to match heel heights and pants thereby reducing the total number of outfits. All my dress pants are for an approx 2 inch heel and all my casual pants for flats. Shoes are expensive and hard to find consignment so the fewer you need to buy right now (and note the comment on a good cobbler -- invaluable).

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm 0