Video description: The Bangles cover Big Star’s September Gurls in Pittsburgh in 1986.
It’s time for the monthly thing where we answer the things people typed into search engines as if they are actual questions. This feature is generously funded by Patreon supporters.
1 “How to stop a neighbour and hubby putting me down every time I walk past .”
Ugh, your husband is being a giant asshole, and it’s time to tell him straight up to knock this behavior off. “Stop doing that. It’s rude, disrespectful, and it hurts my feelings.” If he won’t, you’ve got Husband-problems more than you have Neighbor-problems.
2 “What does it mean when a girl says focusing on school right now after you say your feelings .”
It means she did not enthusiastically say “Yes, I feel the same way, let’s definitely date each other!” It means she’d rather focus on school than go out with you. Interpret it as “No.”
3 “Anonymous STD notification letter.”
National treasure website Scarleteen recommends InSpot for sending an anonymous e-card and has a good how-to guide on doing this kind of notification. Australia has a service called Better To Know that lets you notify partners of possible Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) anonymously via text or email. In both cases, you enter info, the person gets a message that lets them know that they may have been exposed to an STI (+ there’s a way for you to enter which ones) and should get tested. There’s a good roundup of similar services in this article.
If you’re feeling blue and alone in this, the Netflix show formerly known as “Scrotal Recall” (now renamed Lovesick) is a romantic comedy about a man who must notify past sexual partners about possible chlamydia exposure.
If you don’t want to go anonymous, a simple text or phone call that says “Hey [Sex Friend] I recently tested positive for ________. You should get checked out, too” is a very kind and ethical thing to send. The more we all remove stigma and shame around STIs, the better job everyone can do taking care of ourselves and each other.
4 “My boyfriend mom prophesied that we are not meant to be together.”
Translation: Your boyfriend’s mom does not want you to be together.
What do you and your boyfriend want?
5 “When some knocks on door and says the Lord compelled them to stop and talk to you.”
Translation: The someone wanted to stop and talk to you.
What do you want?
6 “How to decline a neighbor asking us over .”
“How nice of you to think of us, but no thank you.”
7 “What to do when your friend sets you up on a blind date and the guy’s interested in her.”
Acknowledge the awkwardness, have a good laugh together, tell the guy “good luck, dude, tell her how you feel and maybe we can avoid this sitcom nonsense next time” and go home with your dignity. You didn’t do anything weird.
8 “Should you invite girls of interest to your party .”
Throwing a party is a great reason to invite someone that you might be interested in romantically over. That person can meet your friends, see your place, everyone can see how everyone gets on together, you can get to know each other better without having it be a DATE date, etc. Why not?
Now, girl(s) plural is an advanced move, but again, why not?
9 “What do you do when your daughter owes you money and is not paying you back but takes vacations and spends a lot .”
Ugh, this is a hard one. Here are some steps for dealing with friends and family members who are not good/prompt/conscientious about paying back loans,
a) Assume that you won’t ever be repaid. Take whatever steps you need to shore up your own financial well-being so that you’re not depending on that money. If you do manage to collect it it will be a happy thing.
b) Ask the person to repay you what they owe. If you bring up fancy vacations or their other spending they will get automatically defensive, so skip that part in your request (even if it is relevant to the issue). Why skip it? You don’t need the story about how she bought the tickets long ago or how they were really a gift from a friend and you don’t want to give her a reason to feel judged and aggrieved (even if judgment is warranted). The vacation money is spent. It’s not coming back. She knows that you know that she knows that she owes you money. Just be simple and direct and ask for what you need:
Script: “Daughter, you still owe me $______. When can we expect repayment?” or “Daughter, you still owe me $_______. Can you repay me by (date)?” Brace yourself for the wave of defensiveness and excuses that is coming. Do not, I repeat, do not get into the details of her spending or her excuses or reasons. Just repeat the question. “Okay, so, when can you get the money to me?“
c) Don’t lend this person any more money. You may or may not ever get the money back, but you can definitely control whether you lend them more. You now have a lot of information about how they’ll behave when you lend them money and you both have a hard, awkward lesson. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior here, and “I’m sorry, Daughter, I don’t feel comfortable lending you money since you didn’t pay me back” is a situation your daughter created, not you.
I hope you get a good result. Also, general thought, if you are going to lend money to friends or family, it’s a good idea to put something in writing: How much, what it’s for, when & how will it be paid back. Your script can be “Let’s just write it down so we all know what the agreement is and I never have to bug you about paying me back.”
10 “Etiquette of peeing when surfing.”
We are people of action and lies do not become us: In the unlikely comedy of errors that lands me on an actual surfboard in an actual body of water, there is no way on earth my enthusiastic and prolific middle-aged bladder is gonna be able to wait until I swim to shore, find a land-based bathroom, and peel off my wetsuit in time to pee decorously in a toilet. This seems like a “it’s a big ocean” and “that’s between you and your wetsuit” issue to me, but maybe an actual surfer has insight?
11 “How to make girlfriend move out to Colorado.”
You do not make. You ask, and then she either moves or she doesn’t.
12 “I have to leave the Midwest or I will die but my husband thinks it’s all in my head.”
Ok, this seems like a REALLY specific situation and we are DEFINITELY missing context here but what if I said “Even if it were in your head, is your need to go so great and so urgent and so necessary that it’s worth going alone, even if that’s a difficult & sad decision?”
13 “Dating female academic awful .”
It certainly can be, since the prospect of relocation is always hanging over the whole deal.
14 “He said he wants to do his own thing and maybe see other people.”
Translation: “I am planning to see other people and have less energy/focus/time/interest for a relationship with you.”
It’s a prelude to a breakup, possibly one where “he” either wants you to be the bad guy and actually do the breaking up or where he’d like you to stick around in his life but in background/low-priority mode.
15 “My 23 year old son looks so unattractive, but he won’t shave or cut his hair .”
[Bad Advisor] Well, it’s definitely 100% his job to make sure his face and body look attractive and acceptable to you, his parent, at all times so definitely be sure to bring this up as often as possible! Your concern, constantly expressed, will only bring you closer together as a fellow adult human strives to please you in all things, including and especially the hair that is growing on his personal face and body where he lives and you do not.
Also, to be on the safe side, hide all of your copies of the musical about this very question, lest he get ideas about fur vests, naked dancing or protesting the Vietnam War.
It is not only your business but your duty to set this young man straight. [/Bad Advisor]
16 “What does it mean if you ask for a guy’s phone number and his response is he is antisocial .”
He did not want to give you his phone number, or, if he does/did, he is warning you that he doesn’t want to actually hang out. Try again, another dude, another day.
17 “Fucking past due invoices.”
Fucking the worst.
18 “Girlfriend of 11 years is leaving me .”
Repeat the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear to yourself.
(Or not, as it suits you).
19 “Angry that my husband allows his parents to come whenever they want .”
This would make me angry, too. His family may have a drop-in culture or agreement and expectations, but you do not, and therefore the family that you and your husband make together does not. There are several conversations/actions that need to happen if they haven’t already (and maybe they have and need to happen again):
a) “Husband, I want your folks to feel and be welcome in our house, but to make that happen I need some advance notice. Please ask them to call first and ask if we’re free, and please check with me before you say yes.”
b) “In-Laws, I really want you to be and feel welcome in our house, but I need more advance notice than you’re accustomed to providing. Just dropping by, even when I’m happy to see you, really stresses me out. I know this is different from how you do things in your family, but I need you to call first and ask if I’m free or if now is a good time. Thanks!”
c) “Husband, I know I’m somewhat ‘changing the rules’ on your family, but I really need some consideration here. Back me up.”
d) When they just drop by anyway and your husband isn’t home try: “Oh, too bad this isn’t a good time, I’m just stepping out” + LEAVE (go to the library or run errands or something, just take a drive around the block on principle). Btw if they have keys and are in the habit of just letting themselves in, put the chain on when you’re home alone. Teach them that you won’t drop everything because they came over.
e) When they just drop by anyway and your husband is home, “Oh, too bad, this isn’t a good time, I was just about to take a nap” + HIDE (in your bedroom with the door shut – keep books handy – and let him do whatever work of entertaining them). Risk seeming unwelcoming and unfriendly. You ARE unwelcoming…to people who invite themselves over.
This didn’t start overnight and won’t go away overnight but in my opinion it’s a battle worth picking.
20 “How to agree a girl for fucking if she dislikes doing it.”
Find someone else to fuck. Someone who likes doing it. Someone who enthusiastically likes doing it with you.
What the fuck, people.
21 “Got an apology from my ex after 15 years .”
That had to feel weird.
Whether this was welcome or unwelcome contact, there’s one important thing you should know:
It doesn’t obligate you to do anything or feel anything or re-open any kind of contact with this person. If you want to talk to them, ok? You could say “Thanks for the apology, I forgive you and wish you well” if that is true of how you feel.
But if you’d rather let the past stay in the past, you can 100% delete the weird Facebook message or whatever and go on with your life.
22 “Did the date go good or bad?”
This is a great question. You can’t control whether another person will like you, so after a date ask yourself:
- Did I enjoy myself?
- Was I relaxed and comfortable with this person?
- Could I be myself around this person?
- Did the conversation flow?
- Did I feel like the other person was on my team, helping the date go smoothly and laughing gently at any awkward moments? Or did the awkward silences turn into awkward chasms on the edge of the awkward abyss?
- Did the other person seem at ease and comfortable with me?
- Was the actual time we spent together fun/enjoyable/comfortable/pleasurable?
- Was it as good as spending time alone doing something enjoyable or with a good friend or do I wish I’d just spent the evening at home?
- Was I bored? Checked out? Apprehensive?
- Was it easy to make plans?
- Do I feel like the person was listening/paying attention/engaged?
- (If kissing is a thing you’re interested in) Can I picture myself kissing them?
- Am I looking forward to hanging out again?
- Were there any red flags?*
If the date went well for you, where you enjoyed yourself and felt good, ask the person for another date. The rest is up to the other person.
If you can get in the habit of checking in with yourself about your own comfort and enjoyment levels during and after dates, even a “meh” date can be useful because you’ll know more about yourself and what you’re looking for.
*Bonus list of some of my personal First Date red flags from back in the day when I bravely put on clean shirts and lip gloss and met strangers from the Internet for drinks:
- Was the person I was meeting generally congruent with the person presented on the dating site and during any prior conversations? If you’re “single” on the dating site and suddenly “planning to get divorced btw we still live together and no one at work knows we’re separated so I’d appreciate your discretion” when we meet, if you’re 28 in all your dating site photos and 58 in person…it was not going to work.
- Did the person monologue the whole time?
- Did I feel like I was monologuing the whole time at someone who just shyly stared at me and nodded? (The Silent Type is a great type and it may be your type but experience tells me it was not mine).
- Did I feel like I was an unpaid nonconsensual therapist while someone shared everything about their life?
- Did the person constantly talk about their ex & exes?
- Was literally everything they said a complaint about someone or something?
- Were these complaints at least funny and entertaining?
- In these complaints was nothing ever their responsibility? Was it just a long list of Ways I Have Been Wronged By Others with a subtext of Surely You Have A Duty To Not Disappoint Me Like Everyone Else Has (Now That You Know My Tale of Woe)?
- Ugh, mansplaining, especially politics or philosophy, how movies get made, the “authenticity” of whatever food we were eating, the makeup & history of the neighborhood where I lived and they did not (for example when I failed to pick the “most authentic” taco place in Pilsen or Little Village), telling me why everything I liked was actually overrated.
- Talking during movies. No.
- Taking me to some sort of performance and then critiquing how much it sucks into my ear in real time. No.
- Overfamiliarity, over-investment. “I can’t wait to introduce you to my son, he’s going to love you!” Ok but u just met me I am still wearing my coat slow down friend.
- Overdoing innuendo & sex talk too soon, like, “I just got a new bed, it’s very comfortable, you’ll have to come test it out with me later heh heh.” Ok but u just met me I am still wearing my coat slow down friend.
- Overdoing it with the touching. If dinner and a movie remind me of how my cat likes to constantly crawl all over me and make annoying biscuits everywhere it’s too much touching!
- Negging of all sorts, especially “I don’t usually date ________, but you seem really cool.” (Bonus Nope!!!!! if the blank includes fat people, feminists, “women who seem really smart”)
- Constant contact, expecting constant texts/calls/emails before we’ve even met in person, all up in my social media biz, “liking” every single photo/comment going back through the archives. It feels good to be seen and not so good to be surveilled.
- Neediness – We literally just met, so, surely there is someone else in your life who can drive you home from dental surgery or hold your hand while you put your dog to sleep or fly home with you to your father’s funeral or weigh in with you about whether you should accept this job offer? (All true stories of actual things actual men wanted me to do after a few emails and one hour-long bar or coffee date). I will move mountains to take care of people I love, when, you know, I have had a chance to figure out if love them.
- Casual, “ironic” sexist or racist comments, dropping code sentences like “I hate all the political correctness these days, I feel like I can’t say anything.“
- Bringing your feature screenplay to the date for me to read.
Your Mileage May Vary, as the great saying goes. My list doesn’t look like anyone else’s and I may have had stuff on there that is not necessarily a problem in itself or not a problem for you, or where there are exceptions to be made (I did drive the guy home from dental surgery as a human favor for a fellow human being, I just didn’t date him more) or that are just differences in styles and interest levels. It’s not meant to be universal and it’s about compatibility with you vs. any one thing being Good or Bad.
I’m including the list because I developed it over time by paying attention to what made me feel good, comfortable, safe, relaxed, happy, excited and what made me feel the opposite.I stopped asking people “Is this normal/cool/okay thing when you date?” and started asking “Am I good with this?” and “Am I delighted by this?” Those experiences (and the decision to be picky about second and third dates) helped me avoid some entanglements that would have been fleeting at best and draining at worst, and it helped me know “Just Right” when I saw it.
We focus so much on the auditioning aspect of dating – Am I good enough? Does the other person like me back? – that our own comfort and needs and pleasure can get lost right when we need them most. It was a good date if you enjoyed yourself and felt good and did your best to be kind and considerate. It was a bad date if you didn’t enjoy yourself. Whether a good date will lead to another one is up to more than just you.
I acknowledge, of course, that we are all imperfect humans, and what an individual officer does in a specfic situation is always the result of a million variables that are impossible to predict and often impossible to determine after the fact.
That's why I tend to focus more on training and evaluation protocols than on specific events. It's unjust to expect officers to do X in a sitution if they've been trained to do Y, but it's perfectly reasonable to expect officers to be trained to do X if we prefer that they do X in a situation.
I would prefer that police be trained and evaluated as peacekeepers rather than killers. So I would prefer, for example, they be trained and expected to identify situations that don't require a death, and to act so as to not create a death where none is required.
That said, how police are trained and evaluated is a collective decision, and if we collectively prefer police to choose deaths that aren't required -- for example, if we prefer to train and equip police as military officers who happen to deploy among civilian populations -- then that's how we should train and evaluate them, regardless of my preferences. That's part of the price I pay for living in a collective.
If police _are_ trained to choose unnecessary deaths, we should (individually and collectively) treat calling the police, permitting them into our homes, and otherwise making use of their services as a use of deadly force. Consequently, if we don't individually endorse the use of deadly force in those situations, we should not call the police, any more than we would fire a gun.
Those are individual decisions, not collective ones, and it's perfectly reasonable to hold one another as individuals accountable for them.
I acknowledge that this means that individuals who eschew deadly force in a situation may find themselves in conflict with any police who may arrive. I don't like this, and I don't endorse it, but I acknowledge it.
Steps to resolve:
* In Chrome, go to Window > Task Manager, or to [menu dots thing] > More Tools > Task Manager.
* Sort the list by CPU descending.
* Find whatever is making that top entry so horrible and kill it.
In my specific case, it's this entry:
It's correct in the CTM. I just don't want folk accidentally clicking it.
I googled on "hanstracker" and got a thread that suggested disabling a couple of specific extensions. The one I disabled that entirely removed this entry was Flatbook. It might be because the hanstracker[dot]com site appears to be down. Regardless, I uninstalled the extension and left annoyed noises on the extension in the Chrome store, because don't do that.
KUMAMOTO OYSTER watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette
ORA KING SALMON Vietnamese dashi caramel, spicy rau ram salsa
BLUEFIN MAGURO Republic of Georgia herb sauce
SANTA BARBARA UNI TOAST "NIGIRI" smoked trout roe, truffle honey
HAMACHI TARTARE ginger verjus sauce, spiced chile oil
WARM EEL Thai basil, kabayaki, fresh kyoto sansh
BLUEFIN TORO TARTARE ginger kimchee jus
LOCAL SHRIMP TEMPURA bacon truffle emulsion, scallion ginger oil
MARTHA'S VINEYARD SMOKED BLUEFISH rainbow trout roe, wasabi vinaigrette, micro celery
AVOCADO TEMPURA kabayaki, truffle salt, yuzu zest
CHICKEN BROTH foie gras shumai, Tokyo leek, shitake
WAGYU TSUKUNE 2 oz., confit egg yolk, green onion, dried mushroom
CRISPY PORK BELLY Akashi glaze, celery root purée
We declined to order dessert, but they decided that our anniversary merited something sweet, so they gave us coconut tapioca with lime granita and yuzu sesame dice and moshi donuts with jasmine caramel dipping sauce.
We decided that the next time we go--in another few years--we will concentrate more on the nigiri portion of the menu, because those were our favorites, but everything was delicious and fascinating and special.
I have a minor problem that as of now is entirely one sided. I am in college and have a group of friends who graduated ahead of me because I had to take a year off from school due to medical reasons. During that time they got close to another person lets call her N in my absence when I got back I tried to be friendly with her but she didn’t reciprocate but didn’t reject outright. I didn’t push and we are at best acquaintances. On of my close friends lets call her X moved to the area because of a job and while I was helping her move in. It slipped out that N doesn’t like me because of my voice and mannerism or something ridiculous like that. I felt vindicated because I got the feeling she didn’t like me. I was mostly annoyed but a little hurt, but I understand you have the right to choose who you want to interact with.
The problem is X is still close friends with N because she also lives near by and sometimes invites me to things for example N is having a barbecue and invited X and then she asked me to come. X said yes and asked me to bring cups and ect. When its the three of us N and X tend to talk I kinda get shut out of the conversation and I see no effort on N’s part to keep me involved these talks can go on for a while and leave me as a third wheel. When we talk and N is there I make efforts to keep her in the conversation. I really don’t want to interact with N or hear about her at all because of how she wrote me off because of my voice and how she reacts when I am around. But X talks about her, the things they do together and invites me along with them some times i do not want to go and I can tell N doesn’t want me. An example was before i knew for sure she didn’t like me we were planning a bike trip, N “helpfully” asked me if I was physically able to go, she has never shown any concern about it and it came out of no where, I got the feeling I wasn’t wanted so I backed out of the plans. (turns out they wanted to bike and drink and I cant’t drink).
I want to stay friends with X but I don’t want to hear about N or what they do together or really interact with her at all. I am unsure how to bring it up with X without sounding completely petty or jealous because N has technically never told me this in person as I said I was talking with X and mention N didn’t seem to like me that much and she let is slip out. Do you have any scripts I can use or should I just suck it up.
-Third wheeling it like a champ
Dear Third Wheel,
Here’s a six step process for disengaging from hangouts with N while nurturing your friendship with X to the extent possible. Ready?
1. Next time X invites you to do something with X + N, say, “No thanks!” and don’t go. Repeat forever. This is the most important, if you do nothing else, do this step.
2. Invite X to do something with just you. “I can’t make it to N’s, but I’d love to have lunch with you sometime soon, let me know when you’re free.”
3. Tell X “It’s cool that you are friends with N, but I don’t think N and I are destined to be close, so please don’t feel like you have to work so hard to bring us closer together or invite me to hangouts with her. Go enjoy yourself – I’d rather just fly solo with you when you have time.”
4. When X talks about N, make it boring. Don’t ask questions, change subject as soon as possible, for example by asking questions about things that just relate to X or to you and X.
5. If X tells you things N says about you, tell X “I’m not really interested in knowing stuff like that. It just hurts my feelings.”
6. Put your energy into other friendships. Meet some new people (college is full of opportunities to reset social groups), cultivate one-on-one friendships and smaller-group friendships with people you like. Don’t let N + X be the central hub of your social life or the only ones planning things or doing inviting in your group. Right now the equation feels like [(THE WHOLE GROUP (X + N))-YOU] but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Here’s a bonus script for anyone in X’s shoes:
Ns of the World: “I really don’t like your good friend, Letter Writer.”
Xs of the World: “Okay? Not everyone is destined to be friends. Good to know, though, I’ll stop scheduling group hangouts.”
Ns of the World: “It’s just, their mannerisms and voice annoy me.”
Xs of the World: “Weird, why on earth would you tell me that? Letter Writer is my friend and I don’t know why you think I’d want to hear you insult them, especially something they have no control* over.”
Ns of the World: “It’s just that their voice…”
Xs of the World: “Let me cut you off right there. Y’all don’t have to be friends, but you should drop this.”
*If N thinks the Letter Writer/friend-of-friend was mean or had mistreated someone, that’s a different script, but “I just don’t like this person” is reason enough – you don’t have to elaborate on the details to someone that likes that person!
Also for X, when you know two of your friends don’t get along, stop trying to be the social director pushing them together. You can like two people who don’t like each other. You can expect that they’ll do some adjusting for your sake, but be kind to them and yourself and make separate plans to see them. (This goes for every “my best friend and my romantic partner don’t get along what should I do” letter btw. You can’t force it!)
I hope things get better and simpler for you soon, Third Wheel. I think they will as soon as you stop putting yourself through these awkward three-person hangouts!
My friend Dana Norris writes a good companion piece to our plethora of “or you could break up?” posts here: “Dear Dana: After you break up with someone, how do you move on?”
“Staying with the wrong person won’t make you happy, but leaving the wrong person also won’t make you happy. Leaving the wrong person doesn’t create happiness—it only creates space. And that space can be filled with any possible thing. At first it will be sadness and loneliness, then restlessness, and then, maybe, eventually, hopefully, a form of happiness. But at first, you take your slight daily misery of being with the wrong person and you ratchet it up so it becomes an acute daily misery of mourning a relationship that has ended.
In order to completely change your life, to leave the person you love and set out anew, you have to basically take a portion of your life and set it on fire. You have to metaphorically burn it down to prevent yourself from going back. Some people may be well-versed in the art of breaking up with a long-term partner and still staying friends, but I think only 10% of the population can pull that shit off. The rest of us light a match, throw it, and run.
Burning down your life sucks because you’re surrounded by ash and rubble and you’re also on fire. Because, you see, in burning down your old relationship, your old life, you’re really burning down yourself. You’re the one who’s on fire. Lots of profiles on dating sites and apps state strongly that they aren’t looking to date anyone who’s fresh out of a relationship. Why not? Because people fresh out of a relationship, especially fresh out of a long-term relationship, are kind of awful. They’re metaphorically aflame and can’t be any good to anyone until enough time passes that they can put the fire out. But, in the meantime, they walk around, burning, singeing everyone they try to kiss. They can’t be of any use to anyone until they calm down, accept their new single state, put out the fire, and allow for something new to grow.”
Read the whole piece for how to do the next steps, which Dana calls “1) Wallow 2) Fuck Around 3) Do The Damn Thing.”
Edit: I meant 16th September, sorry folks
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 16th September, 12pm onwards. Please note slight change of location, same as last month – Green Bar rather than Blue, e.g. same thing as the previous location but the opposite side. Also please note we are starting an hour later than previously.
Crafting meetup – please bring any craft which won’t damage the venue, and bring stash for others if applicable. I can teach knitting to intermediate, but other crafts are welcome. Or just come and chat with us!
The venue sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most food requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.
Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Green Bar (go up in lift 1, sadly not as musical as lift 7).
Here is the accessibility map of the Royal Festival Hall: PDF map
I have shoulder length brown hair and glasses, and I will bring my plush Cthuhlu, which looks like this:
The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets. Waterloo tube station has step free access on the Jubilee line but not on the Northern line.
The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/
My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com
(October meetup will be the 14th.)