Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quick Boyfriend Story

Here's a fun fact: 

I once dated this guy who learned about my lingering childhood fear of a particular movie. He loves that movie and couldn't understand, so he tried to get me to watch it all the time and quoted it regularly and changed my caller ID picture to the main character on his phone. 

Cool guy. 

Should that have been a red flag for me?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Obvious Relationship Advice, Part One

A friend called me late the other night, admitting to slight drunkenness and the need to talk. He started his weekend by ending things with a woman and ended it by calling me. Quick to tell me he didn't regret what he did, he said it was weird that she wasn't around. This is a guy who isn't looking for anything serious. He's honest about it and he got out when it was clear that they wanted different things. (I applaud this.) During our chat, he commented that it was weird that he missed having her around. (But really, more missing having someone around than having her around. Huge difference.)

This brings me to something we'd both seen making its way around the internet.

After you stop giggling, because farts, I'm thinking you'll agree with us that it's accurate. I know what I'm about to say is going to sound really silly but please remember that this isn't one of those Your Relationship Broke (But It Didn't Break You!) sort of self help books. Bear with me: I really think that meeting someone really awesome can lead to reevaluating what kind of relationship you're looking for. Now personally, I'm much more comfortable with casual, non-committal relationships where no one feels any pressure to discuss their feelings. Then I met The Astronaut and I was ok with some feelings talk, because I wanted to be with him. (Considering how that one turned more feelings talk for this girl! Lesson learned.) I told my friend that by keeping everything in his life separate from this girl, he obviously wasn't looking to make it serious. We know what it means when we never meet your friends, guys. We know what it means when we're not facebook friends. How serious can that relationship be?

Ultimately, your relationship should not feel like a chore. Sure, you have to put in effort to make it work, but it shouldn't feel like some shitty obligation. It's not an office baby shower, guys--that is a shitty obligation. But apparently relationships are something you're supposed to enjoy. If you like talking about feelings,  that is. Friends in successful relationships...let me's supposed to be fun, right? Back me up here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seeking Closure

One thing I learned about relationships from television when I was growing up was that whenever something ended, you needed closure. It was everywhere, even though I was only vaguely aware of what it meant. Everyone was talking about needing to find closure--and not just regarding romantic relationships. Any ending is the beginning of our quest for closure.

Television taught me that closure was something you have to seek out. It's not just handed to you. You are Carrie Bradshaw, chain smoking in expensive shoes as you write this week's column. You are Rachel, with perfect hair despite the roller coaster that is your relationship with Ross. (Ok, that's a lot of female perspective. This behavior is not limited to ladies, though! High Fidelity--both the movie and the book, although I'd rank the book slightly higher if I'm being honest--is the story of a dumped man looking to figure out his relationship failures and seeking out closure from his worst breakups of all time.) You need to know why your relationship is over. You will go and claim the closure you are due!

So...what is closure, then? Right, if we're talking dictionary definition, it's a conclusion or the bringing to an end. got dumped. (Or you did the dumping, or you got fired, or a friend cut ties, or your shampoo was discontinued..) So there's definitely been an end. Closure is more than that. Closure is you accepting that it's over, whatever it is, and moving on with your life.

If you follow the Sex and the City Guide to Life (don't), then seeking closure means calling your ex or showing up at his apartment and demanding answers. (Sometimes it means sleeping with your ex one last time. That's a blog for another day.) But really, how will that conversation benefit you? This is something I was struggling with in the aftermath of my last relationship. Before it was Officially Over, Twin asked me, "Is there anything he could say that would make you forgive him?" Nope. The answer jumped out of my mouth quite easily. The damage was done. So when I was trying to make sense of the wreckage, I thought about talking to him again. What would I say? Well naturally I would ask why. (Plus or minus some choice words, depending on my mood.) What could he say that would make me feel better?

Well, I was an enormous dick and forgot how to act like an adult. In my pathetic attempts to juggle everything going on, I let you fall to the floor and forgot I was in a relationship. Did I mention I acted like a dick? Because I did. You deserved better than that. You didn't do anything wrong and nothing you could have done would change my actions. I'll always regret the way I treated you. Please accept this million dollar check as my apology. 

Yeah...that would probably make me feel better. But will he ever say that? Not likely. We experienced the end of our relationship separately--and differently. The truth is, I wouldn't like anything he said to me.

Here's what I think--I think closure comes from you. When I composed my ex's explanation, I decided that was the truth. To hear it from him, I would predict three possible outcomes: 1. His explanation sucks and I hate it and guess who is still angry? 2. His explanation is so beyond weird that I never could have come up with it and will probably have a hard time believing it. 3. I'm dead-on and my imagined explanation is exactly what happened. In that case I don't need to hear it. Maybe I'm altering history a little bit, but it helps me sleep at night so I don't really care. A university in the Netherlands did a study on apologies. Following an exercise, part of the group received an apology from their partner. The other part were told to imagine their partner apologizing. Those who imagined it were more satisfied with their apology than those who actually received one. Basically, those who imagined it heard exactly what they wanted to hear--and it turns out that we value that more than the reality of knowing the other person is sorry. 

Thanks for trying, 90s television, but I'm not asking for closure. I'm creating it and moving on.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Vacation Recap...

...from my sickbed. 

I spent last week at Disney World, so it comes as no surprise that I brought home the germs of thousands of children. Oh well--a little sneezing and congestion is a small price to pay for a week in the sunshine with my flip flops and some of my favorite people. 

My BFF ran the Disney marathon, which means our Florida vacation began with a very early wakeup call for her to catch the bus for runners. If you're wondering how to define friendship, setting an alarm for 3am to make sure your BFF is a prime example. (Apologies to my instagram friends, who were treated to a poorly lit selfie to mark the occasion. #nomakeup has never been a more apt description.) Being at the marathon was pretty's a cool atmosphere. Everyone cheering for anyone that ran by, runners encouraging each other through that final stretch, all the signs people create. We developed a bit of a relationship with the others watching around us, trading places for spots at the front when someone announced that their runner was approaching and pointing out the more creative costumes that ran by. 

I've never spectated a marathon before, but guess what I learned? People like to propose at the finish line. I witnessed three proposals during my couple hours waiting. Way to steal thunder from the other runners, couples

I also learned that Disney sells bride and groom Mickey ears, so you get a good visual on couples celebrating their engagement, vows, or whatever else would cause grown adults to walk around like that. (Also, little girls wearing the bride ears? Awkward. Just saying.) On the positive side, I'm pretty sure I photobombed some couple selfies with pretty ugly faces. OOPS. 



Despite all the happy couples trying to ruin my vacation, I had a spectacular time. I'm sorry for bragging, fellow midwesterners, but it was nice to escape this polar vortex panic. I also met another internet friend! It was totally normal! And nobody killed anybody! So that's good. Hooray for internet friends! 

But here I am, back in the mitten, isolating myself from others and enjoying a routine of vitamins and cough medicine and hot tea and juice and water and soup. It's all very glamorous. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Who's the Fairest of Them All?

I'm turning 30 this year. I accept this and it's fine--really. The only obstacle I had to overcome was accepting that the reality of 30 will not look anything like I once imagined it to be. Other than that, I'm excited for my 30s. I think they'll be great--I mean, my 20s were a huge improvement over my teens, and particularly the end of my 20s has been...underwhelming. So 30s, I'm coming for you

For a couple years now, my close friends have been Dealing with Thirty. I can't tell you how many of them have talked about turning 30 as when you become old. But you know what? I'm contesting that. By calling 30 old, we're doing ourselves a huge disservice. Thirty is not old. Seriously. I've come up with an analogy I'd like to share with you. I'm calling it the Mirror, Mirror Effect

In our youth--our teens and 20s--we're Snow White. 
We're innocent and fresh-faced and look at all those chipmunks we befriend. Pure of heart and all that bullshit. All kinds of dudes lining up for you. (But really they're going to use you and let you cook them dinner and clean up after them. Yes, men in your 20s, I'm calling you the Seven Dwarfs.) 

And then our thirtieth birthday looms ahead and we panic. We're taught that our youth is fading and the end of the world is approaching. We feel like the old hag is handing us a poisoned apple--but instead of an apple, she's handing us her haggard face and warty nose. Everything sucks, right? 
Farewell, youth and beauty! 

I'm calling bullshit. This is a gross exaggeration, and it's totally overlooking a very important phase in our lives! Yes, one day we'll be Old and we'll start wearing ill-fitting gowns and we'll worry less about eyeliner because who cares and we'll be miserable old witches who poison our young, lovely neighbors out of jealousy and spite. Sure, that will happen. 

BUT NOT YET. Before that, we have what I'm willing to bet is the best phase of our lives

Evil Queen. 

Yes. Look at her. She is flawless. Her eyebrow game is strong. She is rocking that red lipstick. She's a powerful woman and she knows it. She gives no fucks. She can't be bothered. She doesn't apologize for anything she does--she goes after what she wants and she knows how to get it done. You think she'd cook dinner for those dwarfs and let them get away with their behavior? Hell no. Those dwarfs would be cooking her dinner. Because she's a bitch--and bitches get stuff done. She doesn't care what you's the hallmark of a good villain. She's in some pretty great company, too. 

Look at them. You think they call themselves old? No. They call themselves fabulous. (I'm not sure what this image was meant to do, so Jafar's presence is a little baffling to me? Whatever. He doesn't give a fuck either.) 

We're looking at 30 years of doing what we want, the way we want. We're not in Hagsville yet. Just as long as we don't let hubris or long-winded monologues drag us down--because come on, we all know how that ends. 

Who's the fairest of them all? Doesn't matter. I know it's me. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Relationship Remains

2014 is the Year of Progress. With that attitude in mind, I went into my attic and found the box I shoved into a corner when my relationship ended. In the weeks of uncertainty, between finding out he was, in fact, alive and not unconscious in some hospital unable to answer my messages, and the actual end of our relationship, I didn't have the energy to sort through relics. I threw it all into a box--pictures, cards, gifts, stuff I permanently borrowed from his flat. Out of sight, out of mind--and I needed it out of mind. 

But this! Is the Year of Progress! So I marched upstairs, rooted around until I remembered where I put the box, and sorted through it. Clothes have been donated, but the rest of has to go. For now, it's all in a bag on my back patio, frozen under a mound of snow. It deserves nothing better, and it certainly doesn't deserve space in my home. When the weather improves, if that ever happens, it'll get chucked into a fire. (I'll try and document for you.) 
It's there somewhere...

It brought up some questions, though. What do you do with the artifacts of extinct relationships? Is it right after the end, or do you wait? Does it matter how it ended or who ended it? I'm curious...tell me your rituals. 

I asked online, and got a few interesting answers...

--"Viking funeral is always fun."
--"Step on it a lot. Then clean it. Donate to charity."
--"I'm a big proponent of pyromania."
--"I used his t-shirts as dusting and cleaning rags."
--"Not to sound like Al Gore or anything but--put it in a lockbox."

I love it. So, it's your turn: what do you do? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, January 10, 2014


Now don't panic, but next week will be a bit different around here. Not Grace Helbig's youtube channel different, but different. I've scheduled a blog to go up early in the week, but other than that, it will very likely be silent. 

The same goes for my facebook and tumblr

It's probably NOT true for my twitter, though. That will probably be pretty active with updates from my trip to Disney World.

That's right, I'm escaping the snowy midwest tundra that has trapped me and heading to Florida for a few days! My BFF is running the Disney marathon (because she is a badass) and I am officially cheering her on! (Because I'm a good friend. Not so good that I'd run it with her because BE REAL, but a pretty good friend.) 

Now, if you'll excuse me...I still have to pack. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

It's coming.

We're almost done, guys. We made it through Thanksgiving, with our families asking too many questions about our lives. We made it through holiday engagement season and the ridiculous amount of announcements and ring shots on our facebook newsfeeds. We got through New Year's Eve and everyone on television telling us it was time to grab that special someone for a midnight kiss. We've come so far. Good job. I'm proud of you. 

But we're not done yet. We still have to get over the biggest hurdle yet. 

Valentine's Day is coming.

Here in the midwest I'm living in a frozen tundra, covered in ice and snow and realizing that frostbite is a very real concern. And while I am very nervous about that kind of weather, it is merely serving as a reflection of my cold, frozen heart as we head into this holiday. It's already taken over retail. I just wanted 90% off candy canes from Target and was assaulted with their red and pink displays. 
It's terrible. I hate it. I just want to shop in peace and buy things that aren't heart shaped. And retail is just the beginning! Pretty soon, it'll be a new crop of jewelry commercials, since all the Christmas ones are off the air again. Then it'll be the Hallmark commercials. After that, all those silly Christmas movies playing on television will be romantic comedies. The whole world will morph into one big stupid heart shaped love song until the middle of February when we can all BREATHE again. 

After that, we're in the clear until next fall. St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Passover, Memorial Day, Mother's and Father's Day, 4th of July, Labor Day,'s all family-oriented or meant to be spent with friends. It's perfect. Sure, Sweetest Day falls...somewhere in there? But it's a minor blip of irritation compared to winter holidays. And most people don't get engaged on Sweetest Day, which isn't even a nationally recognized thing! From what I understand, it's pretty regional. (Do you have it where you are, readers?)

We just have to get to February 15th. We can do this. I believe in us. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Holiday Recap

With the arctic tundra that is outside my door right now, I'm not leaving this house unless it's necessary. I'll take care of puppysitting duty and come right back home. (Puppysitting will look a lot like a dog huddled at my feet while I plead with her to just pee so we can go back inside.)  No social invitations will be accepted today, sorry. 

I've taken a couple days into the new year to be still and tidy up the remnants of what felt like weeks of holiday celebrations. It was a flurry of lunch dates, brunch dates, family dinners, neighborhood gatherings, catching up over a beer, and errands. I saw old friends, family from every branch, the babies I'm going to teach bad words to in a few years, and lots of puppies who are the best company because they don't care about your marital status. Here are a few highlights of my holiday season...

--Gossiped with one cousin about another until the person in question walked by.  First cousin changed the subject by inquiring about a fake date I never went on and asking how I felt about pursuing another long distance relationship. 

--Declared an Old Maid Corner during dinner with the other unmarried cousin, successfully avoiding all questions about our futures except one meaningful glance when the aunts talked about babies. We threw the just-married cousin under that bus. 

--Broke my streak of striking out.

--Competed for Best Aunt award. 

--Played Robot Shots. This is Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots where the loser takes a shot of peppermint schnapps. 

--Walked into a room, heard "health care" and "birth control", and backed out very slowly and escaped. 

--Won THIS in an intense gift exchange game. 

--Revived my career as a Rock Band drummer. 

--Gave no shits about football. Spent one unprecedented afternoon watching hockey. 

--Lamented the popularity of the Christmas proposal. Why is this a thing?

--Took peppermint bark everywhere because man, that recipe makes a lot. You've been warned. 

Overall, I'd say the holidays were a success around here. How about yours?