Review – The Button Box

Sep. 19th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] thebibliophibian_feed

Posted by Nikki

Cover of The Button Box by Lynn KnightThe Button Box, Lynn Knight

The subtitle kind of sums this book up: “The story of women in the 20th century, told through the clothes they wore”. It covers the wars, the periods when women went to work and when they were turned back out of the work force, suffragettes and suffragists, the New Look… It’s not my usual area of interest, but Lynn Knight makes this about more than fashion — it’s about how fashion highlighted the preoccupations of women and what it said about their status and expectations.

I found it really restful and, yes, interesting — I love the concept of rummaging through a family button box to look at past garments and fashions. It makes me wish I’d dug through some of my grandmother’s stuff sometimes. I think even my mother has some odd buttons and so on lying around; in a way, ready-made clothes being such a thing has cut my generation (and somewhat the previous generation) off from the continuity with family we used to have through rag bags and button boxes. That’s not all a bad thing, but I loved the anecdotes from Knight about playing shop with the buttons for payment, the buttons that reminded her of home made clothes…

If you’re a fan of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, you’ll probably love this. If you’re a fan of microhistory, again, it’s probably up your street. And if you need something restful to remind you of a childhood playing with buttons and doll houses, well, it might also be for you.

Rating: 4/5

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:47 am
yukonsally: (Default)
[personal profile] yukonsally posting in [community profile] unclutter
I've found a lot of little things lately and remind myself the little things make up clutter.

Last night I shipped a thing to my mom. I recently found a stash of half used tiny toothpaste tubes, so I am using them up--how kids can brush their teeth with bubble gum toothpaste all the time is beyond me--and I'm sure I'll use up the watermelon toothpaste they are currently ignoring. I have finished off two tiny shampoo bottles and am working on a third, all from my travel bag. On to the last bottle of body wash I don't particularly like, but it's soap and I don't actually mind it. Always gathering outgrown kid clothes to send to a friend--and make room for the handmedowns coming from another friend soon!

I reactivated a seller's account on amazon to sell a book. It's not worth much but it might be worth the effort.

I've made a list of things to sell to the consignment store, whenever I can make it there. One is particularly sentimental but no longer useful so I am working through those feelings. A friend will pick up a large baby thing soon (I hope soon) and I cannot wait to regain space from it! She will also take the excess of handmedowns as her kids are right behind mine, size-wise.

Last week I gave away an instrument case that didn't fit my instrument well, and I replaced it with a case that fits much better. This is a great investment and it takes up less space than the previous case!

In my travels, I am happy to report that I purchased only the case, 5 CDs, a hoodie and a picture for the kids, a lawn decoration already in place, and a collectible mug. This sounds like a lot, but in past years, I've come home with 10 CDs, shirts, yarns, scarves, etc. Instead of buying a jacket for me, I got my favorite hoodie embroidered so it feels new.
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by Fatin Marini

Lately reading the news from around the world has felt like swimming in a wave pool. Every time you get over a wave and find your footing, another one comes and knocks you off your feet. It’s hard to rejoice in anything positive.  Having fun seems like a betrayal. Attempting to create art feels like a futile exercise.  Constantly feeling like, what is the point? And yet, even with the barrage of bad news, there is so much to feel inspired about.

This summer I visited my family in America; Dearborn, Michigan and New Jersey specifically.  I have nieces and cousins who wear hijab ranging in age from 9-24. What struck me is how confident they are in their hijab. They don’t just put a scarf on their heads. They go to their elementary schools, high schools and colleges and rock their hijab. It is who they are.  I admit I find myself wondering a lot about how they do it. How did they get so confident? I started wearing hijab when I was 18 and I was anything but confident. Even now, I am still figuring out how to put my outfits together with hijabs to match. But these girls make it seem so effortless. And yes, I have asked them and they just shrug it off… “I don’t know.” It’s something they can’t seem to articulate, probably because they haven’t really thought about it. It is absolutely second nature to them.  And I envy them; but I’m also so happy for them.

I am happy that they are finding themselves represented more and more in the media in ways I never did when I was younger. Muslimah Media Watch, for instance, is a prime example. There are blogs, Youtubers and Instagram stars appealing to Muslim women. There are also books with Muslim characters and some with actual hijabis on the cover!

Have you all seen the ad for Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty? No? Click here. It’s glorious. Finally, an ad that had women of different complexions! An a makeup line offering more diverse makeup shades. The line just hit the market so we’ll have to see the reviews on whether or not the line delivers on its promise.  But until then, I will forever remember the way I felt watching hijabi Black model Halima Aden appear on screen. I wanted to cry when I saw it. For the first time, this felt like real representation as a Muslim woman. She’s just a beautiful Black woman walking down the street, laughing with friends, who happens to wear a hijab. She isn’t being saved. She isn’t “breaking barriers.” She isn’t the “first hijabi to…” She is just being who she is.  I am here for it. It’s exciting.  Seeing her reminded me of watching my niece audition for HijabFest, a modest fashion show and bazar in New Jersey.  I sat there while 30 hopefuls, aged 5-35, walked the mock runway. This diverse group of women were wearing their hijab in every way possible.  I wish I thought to take pictures because these girls were slaying their walks! They were confident fashionistas living a dream.

Halima Aden- via IMG Models

Much like Ayana Ife on Project Runway this season.  While not the show’s first hijabi, what makes me love her is that her design aesthetic is modest clothes, which Ife defines as “not showing any skin.”  Whatever the challenge, she puts a modest spin on it and shows that being modest and fashionable are not mutually exclusive concepts, something that MMW has explored in the past (here, here and here). I’m intrigued to see how it all plays out in the show. So far, at the time of this writing, the judges have been impressed with her skills and designs.  She’s a joy to watch too. She’s funny and sweet and her smile makes me want to smile.  During episode 4, she  schooled Heidi Klum about how hijabi women dress outdoors versus indoors for a sleepwear challenge, and that two-minute conversation was better dawah than any lecture I’ve seen. It was just a normal conversation between two women, one who happens to be an Über-famous supermodel mogul and the other one who wears hijab.

And speaking of modest fashion, this year Anniesa Hasibuan became the first Muslim Indonesian designer to bring her designs (including hijabs!) to New York Fashion Week.  She also focused on featuring only immigrant models during her show. When I see those pictures and videos, I think of my nieces and cousins who might not buy from the collections because, like most designer clothes, they aren’t affordable to the masses, but they can use them as inspiration to create their own masterpieces. And it seems like other fashion houses are taking notice. In The great cover up: why ​we’re all dressing modestly, designers talk about how the trends are moving to modest fashions and how Muslim women are driving that trend.  But here we have designers making clothes that fit the Islamic aesthetic instead of co-opting the actual clothes like Dolce & Gabbana did with their abaya line.

Just this week, Time magazine published a series of covers and profiles entitled Firsts: Women Who are Changing the World. One of the 46 women chosen is Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim woman to become a legislator. Imagine little Muslim girls, more importantly Black Muslim girls, looking at this cover.  Maybe some will see a career in politics as possible. Or maybe they just see being on a magazine cover as possible. Or maybe they will see a Muslim woman on a cover of a magazine and think nothing at all, because it is becoming the norm. I, for one, am excited at the possibility.

Ilhan Omar- Via Time Magazine

I don’t love the concepts of ‘firsts’ or ‘smashing stereotypes’ because the stereotypes and limitations it takes to be “the first” are often imposed on Muslim women by the same institutions that have oppressed them and are now congratulating themselves for “valuing” them.  But some Muslim women have resisted those discourses. In her interview with Time, for instance, Ilhan talks about “shifting the narrative.” I like that idea so much better. It acknowledges that there is a narrative already in place that doesn’t include everyone and needs shifting. We need to modify the narrative for those possibilities to exist. An important thing to acknowledge is that a good part of these shifts in narrative are being put forward by Black Muslim women, despite rampant anti-Blackness in Muslim communities, including in my own Palestinian community. Thus, as non-Black Muslim women we need to acknowledge and support the narratives led by Black Muslim women. We also need to also appreciate all of our Muslim sisters not only for what they accomplish and how that “contributes” to Muslim communities, but for who they are themselves.

The world may be literally on fire and underwater but there is hope on the horizon.  There are examples of good things happening every day.  It’s ok to celebrate the wins and more positive representation of Muslim women is always a win!

Graham-Cassidy

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:45 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Via [tumblr.com profile] vassraptor and [tumblr.com profile] realsocialskills:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network: ACA repeal is back – and so are we

Explanation, script and guide to contacting your representatives.

Daily Happiness

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:47 am
torachan: onoda sakamichi from yowamushi pedal with a huge smile (onoda smile)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I actually slept in until ten, which is not something that usually happens lately even if I have the opportunity.

2. I had a nice relaxing day and didn't go anywhere or do much of anything.

3. Cooler weather means cats in the bed.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Dear Hannah! I daresay you would know best, but you do not show at all, are you entire sure you are with child?

La, Maurice, I can assure you that women – most of 'em - know the matter’s afoot. At least once they have already been about the business a time or two. One does hear tales of young girls that did not realize their state, and women at a certain time of life that supposed ‘twas the climacteric come to ‘em.

He began to drape stuff around her and take measurements. If we gather it thus - you see? – makes a pleasing effect and none would suspect what lies beneath.

Mind you do not make it too fine – I shall not be about giving speeches the while, and going to as few meetings as I may. But one may not eschew all company, and there is the matter of village gossip.

He looked at her. It was entire pleasing to see such a happy young woman in his fitting-room. So many of the ladies who came to him had some matter that troubled them, or were discontent by nature, and even a little flattery, and dressing them very well, did not entirely soothe their spirits.

You manage matters 'twixt the pair of you very well: how is Miss Ferraby?

Entire well. We are indeed fortunate. But 'tis agreeable to come to Town and see family and friends. But indeed, I should ask is all well with you – Lady Bexbury said you had been having some little trouble?

Quite resolved, he said, greatly hoping that he was not the subject of conversation over that lady’s supper-table.

She said somewhat to the effect that 'twas indeed good of you to see me now you have so much business come upon hand now 'tis all remedied.

Sure, you are family.

Why, I am daresay there are those among our connexion would not wish make that acknowledgement, was all known.

Maurice looked at their reflections in the pier-glass. Provided, he says, one does not flaunt, maintains a due discretion, so that it does not have to be openly spoke and known about –

Hannah’s eyes met his in the glass. She did not need to voice her understanding.

Some moments later, while she was putting on her accustomed garments, she said, but really I do not understand why people make such a bother about it. So unnecessary. Sure society is very cruel to unwed mothers and their offspring, but one may see that there is some reason – may not be a good or charitable reason, but if 'tis not the fear of the fathers about bringing scandal upon them, ‘tis the more general worry that they may come upon the parish and cause expense and raising of the rates. She sighed. And at least one may talk of that, and say that that harshness causes unhappy women to destroy their infants, and make arguments for more humane treatment. But when something may not even be talked of –

He patted her shoulder.

After she had left, he scribbled down a few notes and sketches for the gowns he would have made for her, and then told Miss Coggin, the head of the sewing-room, that he would be going out. Did not have any ladies coming for fittings the afternoon; did any come in hopes – vulgar creatures, murmured Miss Coggin – she might go take their measurements and requirements and ask 'em to return once they had been given appointments.

She pursed her lips in the way he knew meant that she would bring any ladies that did so to a fine appreciation of the consequence of the establishment.

He set off on a journey he did not particularly want to take, but was to undertake a prudent matter to dispatch. He took a hansom cab to some distance from his final destination: for although the tavern he sought was not precisely within the notorious rookery of Seven Dials, it was on its border. He picked his way fastidiously along the streets, keeping his walking stick in his hand in a manner that suggested it might serve as a weapon as well as a fashionable accoutrement.

From long habit he looked about before entering the place. But it was very unlikely anyone who might recognize him would see him here.

Enquiring as to whether Nat Barron was on the premises, he was directed by a jerk of the thumb into a back room.

Nat was there among various members of his gang. One of whom – presumably a new recruit – said, 'ere, oo’s the pooff: earning himself a smack or two about the head from Nat. Show some respect, Maurie may look the gent but he’s an old friend.

Nat Bannon and Maurice clasped one another’s shoulder, looked into one another’s faces, and then Nat motioned him to sit down, pouring him a glass of the gin he kept for himself.

Got somebody that needs warning off? he asked.

Maurice shook his head. I think word has got about after making a few examples.

For what had gained him the position he now enjoyed at the club was this connexion that enabled severe warning to be given to any that used knowledge gained there for the purposes of extortion. In return, Nat acquired the good feeling of fellows in high places that might well be useful to him did necessity arise. 'Twas entirely mutually beneficial.

Pity, said Nat, as you see there are one or two fellows here would be the better of some occupation to work off their feelings.

Maurice took a sip of gin, and disclosed to Nat the recent trouble he had had.

Oh, and you want us to show this spying fellow the error of his ways?

Why, it might gratify my feelings did you so – Nat smiled and shook his head and says, talks as good as a play – but I thought, a fellow that has a memory like that, might be of use to you.

Nat nodded slowly. A good thought. You always did have that long view.

Maurice shrugged. If a long view was considering that luring fellows into alleys so that Nat and his boys could rob them was an occupation with a rather short future and like to end badly for him, whereas obliging gentlemen in comfortable indoor surroundings was not only remunerative but provided him with considerable insight into gentlemanly habits and behaviour, yes, he took the long view: and the even longer view had been completing his articles of apprenticeship. But he also made sure to stay on Nat’s good side. Passed on any useful gossip he learned from ladies in the course of his day, and had constructed this very beneficial alliance 'twixt Nat and the club.

Sure he owed Nat a considerable debt for the protection that in younger days his friendship had afforded an undersized pretty boy disinclined to the usual boyish pursuits and happier to play with girls.

May not linger, he said, but thought you should know of the fellow as soon as might be, before goes completely to ground.

Maurice walked to where he might find a hansom cab and directed it to take him to his lodging. Once there, he washed himself very thoroughly with the very expensive soap, to get rid of any lingering stink of Seven Dials before he went to the club, where he was bidden to a committee meeting to consider upon new members.

Smoothing pomade into his hair, he had the unwanted memory of a larger hand stroking it in a fashion it was entirely foolish to suppose affectionate, rather than the pleasure one might take in stroking a fine purring cat.

But that was past and done.

At the club he was ushered into the committee room. It was ever gratifying to him, even if these marks of respect were founded upon those early connexions.

Sir Stockwell sat at the head of the table; Chumbell at the foot; Colonel Adams, late of Bengal and with the most fascinating stories of dancing boys; Sir Hartley Zellen, whose fine looks were becoming a little florid, and his hair thinning; Terence Offerton; Lord Saythingport, that had a wife, an established mistress, and had at one time offered Maurice an establishment.

Ah, good, Allard, said Sir Stockwell. Mysell-Monting cannot come, but we have a quorum, nonetheless. Now, the matter of fellows we may solicit to join our number –

Various names were put forward, of whom Maurice knew little but any public reputation they had. Some former comrade of Adams in the East; a scholar known to Chumbell – a Cambridge man, but nevertheless a sound fellow, very sound; a naval officer acquainted with Sir Stockwell; a couple of young fellows in Saythingport’s set –

Sir Hartley cleared his throat. Has not the time come to consider MacDonald? he said. Sure it would have been somewhat vulgar to approach him very shortly after Lord Raxdell’s dreadful demise, but ‘tis nigh two years ago that the accident happened. An excellent fellow.

Is he not, replied Saythingport, given out most exceeding radical in his views?

Why, said Sir Hartley, he is a philosopher and will throw out a deal of hypotheses, but our set have always found him sensible and practical.

Is he not, squeaked Chumbell in great excitement, considered something of a classical scholar?

I would know nothing of that, said Offerton, but has quite the cunningest hand at billiards, next after Jacob Samuels.

Why, said Sir Stockwell, as to his abilities in classical learning, I was late conversing with Admiral Knighton, that says that his lady wife, that is known for her most remarkable unwomanly capacities in that sphere, holds him in quite the highest esteem. Also considers him a very clever fellow himself, that has a particular knack for sounding out mysteries.

Maurice felt his face settle into a mask as of one considering these arguments. 'Twould be entire vulgar to blackball MacDonald, that had done him such great service in his own difficulty. But one might confide that Saythingport, and possibly Adams, would do so.

But, when the balls for each candidate were tallied, there were no black balls for MacDonald.

Maurice’s heart sank.

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:55 pm
kittydesade: (courtesan in training)
[personal profile] kittydesade
There's something particularly offensive about when you actually go to fucking bed on time or even a bit early, and then stay up thrashing for two hours and wake up again two hours after that and. Yeah. Guess what I spent all last night doing. I'm honestly amazed I'm as functional as I am right now.

Work is getting done, though. Slowly.

I managed to sit my ass through the rest of The Defenders yesterday (it was not as bad as I thought!) and then managed to be so enthusiastic about it that I got [personal profile] lireavue to watch it and now I get to have hilarious fun listening to her exhort Matt and Jessica and yell at Danny Rand. It's so distinctive, Danny Rand's role is, that she started yelling at him and I was all "Oh you're at the point where he storms into the room and is all I AM THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST YOU WILL CEASE YOUR EVILDOING AT ONCE" That's not even a spoiler really, that's his role in the entire goddamn show. To storm around saying he's the Immortal Iron Fist and people will cease to be awful. Oh honey. That's so not how it works. You're adorable. Here's a pair of safety scissors and some construction paper. Don't eat the paste.

I think Monday's language exercises will always be entering information into Duolingo's tiny cards for Hindi and Arabic. I tried using Memrise but mastering a whole other keyboard on top of a bunch of other vocab words is a step too far, and it was so difficult I just stopped doing the lessons entirely. So flash cards are better. Hopefully if I do a little of this every night before bed etc I'll get better at it. I can do the grammar, but the vocab is kicking my ass. But it's nice to be picking up these languages again.

But. Blergh. I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get that and the bread done. STILL. It's been the most productive day and evening I've had in a couple weeks, partly because allowing myself to do shit but also just.... I'm not sure why else, actually, considering I got fuck all for sleep. So I guess I'll take it, and try and finish what I don't get done tonight, tomorrow. As per usual but this time with some hope that it'll happen.

Dolphins!

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:58 pm
soc_puppet: Dreamsheep as Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time (Default)
[personal profile] soc_puppet
Cut for image )

Doll-finzzzz~! I'm giving the image hosting site Imgur a try at a friend's recommendation, after ranting hardcore at them about Photobucket being a butt. (Dreamwidth, I love you, and I am 100% going to store more images here and love it, especially for accessibility, but you currently don't have the image organization tools that I require. I have well over five hundred pictures of crocheted things alone, and don't care to try and sort through all of them every time I want to get to a Dreamsheep icon, for example.)

Anyway, these are all of the dolphins I've made so far for ICON, the local SFF con, one of whose staff members commissioned me to make a little somethin' for the Con Benefactor bags. They only need seventeen, but I'm like, why stop there? So I'm currently up to twenty-six, and there's still another week-and-a-half before the con for me to make more.

Lots of colors were specifically requested, or I probably (definitely) would've gone with all pale blue/periwinkle/gray/vaguely-real-dolphin-color-ish. (The color of the four light-blue-ish dolphins in the top of the picture is listed as "lavender" on the yarn. I mean, it looks a lot more blue-ish to me, but there's something like a 25-50% chance I'm a carrier for red/green colorblindness, so.) I think I'm kinda glad for that request, because it's actually made using the same pattern over and over again less boring :P I love how naturally the yarn tends to stripe, too.
full_metal_ox: (Default)
[personal profile] full_metal_ox posting in [community profile] metaquotes
[personal profile] sasha_honeypalm's musical tribute to Barbara G. Walker's (professionally published!) novel
Amazon:


Don't know much about history
Don't know much about theology
Don't know much 'bout how to write a book
Don't know how to cite the quotes I took
But I know all that I say must be true
And I know if you believed it, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much sociology
Don't know how to understand folklore
Don't know what a reference book is for
But I do know that one god is bad
And if we'd kept the goddess we once had
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don't claim to be a goddess
But I'm tryin' to be
For maybe if I'm a goddess, people
You'll all worship me.

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about technology
Don't know much...


[personal profile] rosepsyche's paean to the Power of Story is also quoteworthy:

I have to call "bull" on Antiope's reasoning that art and music are inferior because they are "not alive" for another reason. No, such creations aren't living, breathing things. However (and I apologize if this gets a bit corny), the best of them can seem as if they are alive, get us invested in their characters, have us cheering about their triumphs and crying over their tragedies. They are just as valuable in their own way for their ability to entertain, to inspire, to teach, to help us grow and develop by seeing the world from a new point of view, and I don't think anyone involved in creating them would appreciate being told that their work can never compare to something that was squeezed out of a vagina.


Context sporks the world's worst Wonder Woman fanfic.
[syndicated profile] oxforddnb_feed

Today's biography from the Oxford DNB:
Rackham, Arthur (1867-1939), painter and illustrator
torachan: (shibito no koe wo kiku ga yoi)
[personal profile] torachan


Title: You Will Hear the Voice of the Dead
Original Title: 死人との声をきくがよい (Shibito no Koe wo Kiku ga Yoi)
Author: Hiyodori Sachiko (Uguisu Sachiko)
Publisher: Champion Red Comics
Genre: Shounen
Status in Japan: 9 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Nostal
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Sickly Kishida Jun has the ability to see ghosts, but in his opinion, it's a stupid power and nothing good ever comes of it. Considering the number of grisly situations he seems to find himself in after the ghost of his childhood friend Hayakawa Ryoko starts following him around, he may have a point.

Chapter Summary: In chapter 19, strange things start happening after Kishida and Koizumi find themselves near a tunnel where a bus full of students died in a fire. In chapter 20, the occult club finds themselves trapped on a farm, surrounded by pigs who seem to have developed a taste for human flesh.



Chapter 19: The Haunted Tunnel
Chapter 20: Day of the Pig

And this brings us to the end of volume 3, so here's a full volume download for those who want it.

!!!

Sep. 18th, 2017 05:16 pm
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)
[personal profile] yhlee
Dear Generous Benefactor,

Thank you for the copy of All Systems Red, which I am really stoked about getting to read. (For the curious, my local bookstores didn't stock it.)

I have turned on anonymous comments for the moment, which are screened. If you'd like me to write you a thank-you flashfic, please feel free to leave a comment to this post. I'm probably going to turn off anonymous comments by week's end (sooner if I start having problems with spam comments).

Thank you!!!

Best,
YHL

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sep. 18th, 2017 04:57 pm
laundrybaskets: laundry (Default)
[personal profile] laundrybaskets posting in [community profile] exercise_every_day
Hey, EED community!

Here is your daily exercise check-in post! Hope everyone is having a great day!

The church of rock and roll

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:23 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

This is, I think, a lovely story. It's about coming together to help bear each other's burdens, even when those burdens are unbearable. This is closer to what "church" should be than what we often see from the church itself.

Travel/travail

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:11 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Today has been mostly airports and planes - both flight AND connecting flight were delayed, so even more hanging about airports than anticipated.

Now fed and in hotel - serious lack of/unhelpful positioning of power sockets. But at least free wifi and brekkers inc.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

"Biblical counseling" is a nasty bit of work that's going to get people killed. In the meantime, though, it will provide a bit of revenue for its fundamentalist advocates, while helping to isolate their followers from any source of truth they don't control.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

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
.”

Wallow. Fuck Around. Do The Thing.

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.

 


havocthecat: a magical tree (feelings tree magic)
[personal profile] havocthecat
We were reviewing the kidlet's U.S. history project on Colonial Virginia, which involved Jamestown, and I took it kind of farther than his teacher did. (I do that a lot. History is broadly expansive.) Also I got to explain that Captain John Smith was an asshole, and I got to whine later to Mr. Havoc that I really don't like Pocahontas (the Disney film), not because I don't like Pocahontas (she was awesome), but because John Smith was an asshole, not a romantic lead.

You have no idea how much my dad told me about John Smith and Jamestown when I was a kid. You really have no idea.

So I also learned that the kidlet didn't know why the Church of England formed, and this all culminated in my explaining to him that Henry VIII wanted to get remarried, the Pope told him no, and the Henry said, essentially, "Screw you, I'm the King of England! I'll start my own church!"

It was a glorious moment. I love being a parent.
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