Monday, April 28, 2014

Sentimentality? Ugh.

I'm more sentimental than I care to admit. There are boxes in my closet full of old birthday cards and my best friend's wedding invitation and a picture of a boy I loved. I know, gross. It's easy to be sentimental about objects, though. Your prom dress just hangs in the closet and every once in a while you look at it and think that was a fun night. (Except when that bitch tried to steal my date.)

Here's the danger--all those memories take up space. Sure, that box of ticket stubs isn't doing any harm. It's just sitting there until I take it down from the shelf. But what if you realize that you have a pile of clothes stacked up on a chair because there isn't any room in your closet? What then? 

As usual, I'm talking about something besides the notes passed in my middle school hallway and posters of boy bands. (Don't focus on that part. My extensive fangirl history is a tale for another day.) I'm more concerned about being sentimental about people. It can be really can turn on you. One thing I've noticed about sentimentality is that it can cause temporary blindness. And with people...I'm worried about hanging on to people because the relationship used to be wonderful, even if it's not so wonderful anymore. 

(Sidenote: I think that's why people try to stay friends with their exes so frequently. But we were friends before we dated, I don't want to lose that. Too bad. Honestly--that part does suck. Unfortunately, you can't go back. Your relationship has to transform in some way, so even if you can genuinely be friends, it will be a different friendship that you had before you dated.)

The part I struggle with is admitting that your relationship or friendship or even acquaintanceship has deteriorated--and not in the we're both so busy it's hard to find time to catch up! way...but in a negative way. Then what? What do you do after you open your eyes and say this used to be so great...what happened? Do you try to hold on anyway because you're not ready to abandon it? Do you confront it and hope you can repair things? Do you cut things off and prepare for fallout? Do you slowly stop trying and let it fade away? It's not easy to decide. It's tempting to look at the past you have and try to preserve that. But in the past few years, I've been trying to focus on the present--and on myself. It's very clear that we have to take care of ourselves, because sometimes our long distance boyfriends check out of the relationship with no warning whatsoever. And when something is making you feel like shit, it's ok to distance yourself from it. (Unless that something is your committed relationship, in which case you should first let the other person know you're distancing yourself. LET THEM KNOW, nope I'm not over that one yet I guess.)

I've been on both ends of this. And it's really shitty. You just have to hope that everyone involved will benefit somehow? I don't know. I have no wisdom for you and I can't even make this a funny post. How about a picture of a puppy? Will that help? (If not, see my tumblr for more puppies. Among other things. But lots of puppies.) 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jealous Much?

Ok, so there's this woman on television and I think she's talented and beautiful--from afar. However, I don't feel the same way about her face. I'm sorry, but I don't get it. It doesn't do anything for me. 

So when Dancing with the Stars popped up on one of the TVs at the bar and a couple of the guys made a comment about her, I asked what about her was hot. It was genuine curiosity, because I don't get it. And they immediately called me out for being jealous of her. 


I admit, the whole thing was petty to begin with. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that crap. But I was looking for their perspective! Do they agree that her face is a little busted but the rest of her is great? Do they think she has a gorgeous face and we have different standards of beauty? Have they never taken a good look at her face? What is it? 

I never got my answer. But it got me thinking about jealousy--situations like the one above and also within relationships. (When I was in a long distance relationship, there were times when I envied anyone who got to spend time with him, simply because I couldn't.)While I sort out my thoughts, I'm looking for yours. Is jealousy acceptable? A dealbreaker? Does it depend on the situation? Is it normal? Help! 

You can leave a comment here or on facebook/twitter, or email me. (dear.bitter.amanda at gmail) Looking forward to your thoughts on the issue! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Getting an Early Start on Wedding Rants This Year.

With Easter this weekend, stores have been packed full of pastel colored candies. Every year, Twin and I like to browse the aisles deciding what new things we absolutely have to try. We love Easter candy, ok? A few weeks ago we found Russell Stover red velvet cake eggs, which were pretty good. Yesterday we found ourselves in a drugstore we seldom visit, and naturally wandered over to the Easter candy. They had Russell Stover eggs in so many flavors! Twin tried a cookie dough one. (Better to stick with actual cookie dough.) Then I spotted one I didn't recognize. 


NO. No no no no no. Russell Stover, you've gone too far. WEDDING CAKE? This is Easter! Easter isn't about weddings! Easter isn't romantic. THAT'S WHY I LOVE EASTER. Easter isn't about buying diamonds like Christmas or Valentine's Day. You don't need a date for Easter! Easter is about chocolate! (And Jesus? Not the point here, guys.) You can't have Easter too, wedding industry! Leave it alone, couples. Don't you know this is the one holiday where no one judges you when you eat chocolate for breakfast? On Valentine's Day, it's "sad" and "not really a good coping mechanism"--but Easter? You're just getting into the spirit of things on Easter! WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME, RUSSELL STOVER? 

So naturally I had to buy one. 

I predict that it will taste like Jordan almonds and loneliness. Either that or white chocolate.  Because honestly, wedding cake isn't even a flavor! I'm no wedding expert but I'm pretty sure you can get your wedding cake in any flavor you want. So what's going to make this wedding cake flavored and not just cake flavored?

What the hell is this?! There isn't a cake topper or a heart anywhere! It didn't start playing the wedding march when I opened it and a bouquet didn't fly out at me! 

It just tastes like white chocolate. I'm so underwhelmed. Oh, hey wait...
is that disappointment I taste? 

Maybe it IS wedding cake flavored! 

How dare you, Russell Stover. And don't think that just because the rest of your chocolate is delicious that I'm forgiving you. Not even these tiny, baby chocolate bunnies will get you out of this one. 
They're the size of  dime and they're delicious. 

NO RUSSELL STOVER. You're not forgiven. You go and think about what you've done. 

(Happy Easter/Passover/weekend!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Judging You: Reality vs. Fiction

So here's the thing about people: I generally like them. I KNOW, LET ME EXPLAIN. I'm talking about people I've gotten to know. I generally like them. Like I don't want anything bad to happen to them and I don't mind talking to them at a meeting or a party. I don't have a long list of enemies.

Strangers are a whole different issue--lots of strangers annoy me. I don't want to listen to your phone conversation, I don't want to see you kissing your girlfriend, I want you to take your screaming baby home instead of browsing the shoe department at Target. I want you to walk faster in the airport terminal and I would love it if you stopped being rude to the barista at Starbucks. Strangers get on my nerves. Often.

But people I know? I mostly like them. There are people I try to avoid because I don't enjoy my time with them, of course. The people you say hi to in public but you don't invite to join you unless someone else mentions it first. However, the number of people I truly loathe is pretty small. Easily less than a dozen over the course of my nearly three decades. These are people I hide from in public. People who make me genuinely angry. The thing I've noticed about these people is that it's usually mutual hatred. They don't want to be around me any more than I want to be around them. We'll both look away and act like we haven't seen the other. When forced we'll make small talk centering around the weather. I'll try very, very hard to control my face because I've no poker face whatsoever. (I was physically yanked away from one of those unfortunate dozen once, in a pub. Apparently I was being "really rude and making faces." Allegedly. Well maybe if she hadn't been such an idiot and told consistently terrible stories, I wouldn't have been making any faces...allegedly.) 

Confession: most of those people that I can't stand? We've either been facebook friends at some point** or I've creeped on their social media. I've checked out everything short of their LinkedIn profiles, because LinkedIn is a NARC and tells people who looked at their profile and it's too easy to forget you're logged in when you're google stalking someone. So yeah, I've kept tabs on those people. It's tempting to take a peek from time to time and find out if you're still dating that girl who isn't as pretty as my friend that you dumped. On a bad day, yeah maybe I will judge the bridesmaid dresses you chose for your wedding. Sure, I've made a mental note of the grammar in your status updates. Oh please, like you've never done that.

It's a morbid curiosity. I have to know. 

Let's table that topic for a second. I have a point, I promise.

Lately I've read several books that I really enjoyed despite not liking a single character. The characters are well written and interesting, but I can't stand them. I wouldn't want to hang out with any of them. (The books in question are Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen--I recommend all three.) I'm still reading Freedom because I had to take a break from the characters for a few weeks. Every new situation has me asking them what they're thinking. I put it down and read a couple other books before I felt I could deal with Franzen's creations again. But it's so good! 

So tell me: why is it ok for me to hate them and still read about their lives, while I'm considered childish for reading about the lives of real people I can't stand?*** It feeds the same morbid curiosity, right? I mean, the books are far more compelling than a boring instagram feed. I get it, the guy at your coffee shop knows how to make pictures in your latte. Every single day. Great. But we're allowed to question a character's choices. Sure, I question the judgment of Flynn's main character and I'm engaging with the text and developing critical thinking skills. But I question the choices of a former nemesis and it's rude and judgmental and petty. WHY? Which is it, world?? Make up your mind!  

Anyone else? No? Let me know.

**It should be noted that I did some spring cleaning about a year ago and removed people I can't stand from various profiles. It felt pretty good and I've been much less tempted. You proud? 

***For the record, I'm talking about observing. I'm not talking about commenting or sharing or any other troll-like behavior. Just reading and commenting internally and keeping it all to myself unless I have to call my BFF about it, but that doesn't go any further. If you're doing shit like reading your ex's facebook and commenting on it about hating her new boyfriend, you need a different hobby.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Three Minute Rule?

Twin has been trying online dating for over a year now, and it has indeed been trying. She's found a lot of duds, unfortunately. Last night over a beer she showed me the various messages that have come to her inbox lately. Aside from the 18 year old who wanted her to slap and humiliate him and the WAY too self-deprecating guy who even put himself down for having a boring name, I noticed a trend. 

These guys expected a reply yesterday. Patience, it would seem, is not a virtue among the internet dating crowd. Most of her recent conversations begin with a string of messages from the guy. The first one is his opening line, his introduction or whatever. And more often than not, the second message in the conversation is also from him, generally around ten minutes later, asking why she didn't answer or apologizing for bothering her. Sometimes there is a third from him. (If a guy is going to be rude, it's in the third message. He'll call her a bitch or say she's stuck up and she's really missing out by not giving him a chance. I wish I was kidding.) Sadly, a lot of her opening lines in these conversations revolve around telling him she was busy, or to chill out. It's all very romantic. 

A couple years ago, I met this guy--we'll call him Boy Band--at a bar. I was out with some friends who like to buy rounds of shots and he had a cute smile. He seemed perfectly normal so when he asked if he could take me to dinner sometime, I gave him my phone number. Having grown up with Sex and the City, I figured I would hear from him in three days--two if he was really eager. I was confident with that assumption, because basically every sitcom from my childhood until that point had an episode about The Three Day Rule. RULE. It's so widely known that it has a name! Everyone knows The Three Day Rule! If a guy on TV only waits two days he says he just couldn't wait another day and his friends still give him shit for it! Like it or not, that is the world I know. 

So when Boy Band called me that night after he got home from the bar, I was surprised. (Particularly since my friends hadn't even left yet--we were still at the bar so I had to go outside to hear him.) He texted me the next morning--and all day. I had a busy day planned, including an evening with friends. He texted constantly to see if I had any free time yet. Sitting around a bonfire that night, I missed his text inviting me to his friend's house. When I noticed it after about twenty minutes, I also had another message--"I get it, you don't want to see me." 

CHILL OUT. As my friends laughed at him, I wrote back. Then he tried to flirt with me, but feeling suffocated really doesn't do it for me. I ignored two (TWO!!) 2am drunk phone calls and one good morning text during a family brunch the next day before I deleted his number. How could The Three Day Rule have failed me so miserably? 

Ok, fine. The rule kind of sucks. It's silly. I don't care if you call the next day. I don't even care if you text that day. But I do care that you can't wait for a damn reply. Guys, what is your problem? Do women do this? Is this a side effect of smart phone culture? Like, everything is on my phone and I always have my phone, so no matter how or when you get in touch I should be responding that instant? Or is this an ego thing? You feel like a wounded bird after ten minutes of silence so you blame me to make yourself feel better? Because you're such a catch that I should drop everything to answer you or else I'm missing out? What is it? Because my outgoing voicemail message says that I'm probably doing something more interesting--I don't have time to sit by the phone. 

This idea of "how dare you ignore me for fifteen minutes, I'm awesome" is not attractive. It doesn't make us realize we've made a huge mistake and send our apologies. For me, it's a big red flag. I'll pass, thanks. Play it a little cooler, guys. I'm not saying you have to wait three days, but remind yourself that she probably has a busy schedule give her some time to answer you. 

Otherwise you might end up as the guy her friends still make fun of. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Does Timing Matter?

"Can I request a blog topic?!" 

Absolutely. This came from someone in my real life, but I'm always open to ideas, even from those who don't have my phone number. 

"Is it possible to meet the right person, but have it be the wrong time? And if so, is it possible to meet again and have it be right?" 

Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts about timing. I'm glad you asked. I think timing is a huge factor in relationships. Timing has gotten in my way more than once. It would be really convenient to believe that if you meet someone and you're attracted to them and they're attracted to you, you're ready to live a Hallmark movie life. That would be great. But that's not how it works. 

If you're sitting there thinking, but Amanda, that's how my relationship started, then first of all shut up. No one likes a bragger. Second of all, please know that your situation is not only annoying but also not how it goes for all of us. 

So often you meet someone awesome but you're in a relationship or they're in a relationship or they're leaving for a semester abroad or you're at a friend's wedding out of town or they have kids and it's hard for them to date or they're not over someone else or a million other things that the universe sends to cockblock you.** Because the universe WILL cockblock you. Not every time, but sooner or later the universe will get in your way. 

And that sucks. It's a horrible feeling, to meet someone and think, wow, this person is not annoying and I think I could sustain a conversation with them for at least a whole meal...and then find out that he's moving in the morning. And sometimes (IF EVERYONE INVOLVED IS SINGLE) you choose to spend time with them anyway, knowing it's just temporary, until you fly back home. Sometimes you walk away (ESPECIALLY IF ONE OF YOU IS IN A RELATIONSHIP) and think about how that sucked. Sometimes you do some plotting to figure out how you could make it work. Sometimes one of you acts like a douche about it and that's that. It could go a lot of ways, is what I'm saying. (UNLESS ONE OR BOTH OF YOU IS IN A RELATIONSHIP, IN WHICH CASE NOTHING HAPPENS BECAUSE THAT IS THE DECENT WAY TO BEHAVE. Yeah, there's a sort of theme today.) But it happens. Timing matters. There will be people who say I'm wrong, that the only thing that matters is both of you wanting to make it work. That's a lovely thought, but it's not realistic. I'm not talking about long distance relationships, for the record--that is a whole different topic. I'm saying that every other piece of your life contributes to whether or not the time you meet someone is the best time to pursue them. A few years ago I met this guy at a bar who seemed really great...we chatted for a few minutes before he told me he was really sorry and he'd noticed me earlier and I was really cool but he had a girlfriend. That sucked, but I appreciated his honesty and thanked him but I was really bummed. Some time later, a mutual friend asked if I remembered him because he was single again. I was in a relationship. Timing is a factor.

Now for the second part of your question...what if someone comes back in your life. Remember that thing I said about the universe? Well, we're not done with that. I believe the universe rights itself and shitty people will get shitty things later in life. I believe that sometimes the universe puts you in the right place at the right time. And I believe that when people come back into your life, there's some reason. (I know, this reads borderline sentimental. I have a point, though.) 

I'm not saying that if someone comes back into your life the timing is right, though--let me make that clear. You'll probably give it a shot anyway. And then you'll realize my point here--there's some reason. Your journey isn't done or whatever. In my experience, that reason might be to give you an answer to what if? You might go out with them...try a relationship...and whether or not it works at least you'll know. (It probably won't work. Just saying.) Or maybe seeing them again is a lesson. If someone is a dick to you, leaves, and then shows up in your life again, maybe the universe is sending a reminder. Hey remember how that woman made you feel? How shitty she was? Don't let anyone else make you feel that way. You get what I'm saying? People come back because they still have something to teach you, because you have something to teach them, or both. You won't know until it's over. Or you might never know. That's how it goes.

There are a million reasons someone might show up in your life again. So yeah, maybe the timing is right the second time around .Or maybe not. I can't tell you what it means--you'll have to let it play out to get your answer. Just go in with your expectations low and your eyes open. 

**I think it's worth noting that I'm using the term cockblock even if, in fact, neither of you is equipped with such bits.