Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Immediate next steps at the close of 2009

I'm not what you'd call a here and now person. I'm what you'd call a here-and-now-and-six- months-from-now-and-two-years-from-those-six-months person...who pretends to be all here-and-now. I live in the moment I'm in - the whole presence is a present deal - but I plan for the moments way far down the road, chronically.

This isn't entirely problematic. It's good to plan. It's good to see the forest through the trees. It's even good to have a vision of what you want five years out.

When it becomes a problem is when we get to decisions of which the five-year-out impact cannot be determined. Every action has a reaction - that I can pretty much decipher. It's the unknown domino of the reactions to those reactions that drive me insane. I'd prefer a selective chrystal ball - one that answers the questions I want answered and goes cloudy over the stuff I'd rather just ignore.

And so I - like so many of us in this phase of our lives slash all phases of lives - take the safe road. I make no move. That or I make a move that is movement but in a direction that doesn't necessarily connect to the large moves I need to make. Like, I need to be walking (or in some cases running), but instead I just start dancing (essentially in place) because that feels like I'm doing something and is also very fun. This needs to stop.

In my marketing/media job we do these status sheets around the projects we're managing. They're excel charts with columns for the elements and party responsible and due date. And then, at the very far right there's a section called next steps intended to identify the next thing the needs to be done on a given program element.

When I first started filling out these status sheets the next steps column was the bain of my existence - much like a not-at-all-funny joke to me. We're talking a 8.5x11" piece of paper here. How I was going to fit the next steps around the element of "live concert event" inside said 1x1" box was a major issue, and this is coming from a girl who fits 65+ shoes (boots included) inside a 8x10' bedroom, without a closet. The whole idea of how to say everything that needed to be done miles down the road from the day produced the kind of stress only comparable to having to go through the subway turnstile with all my luggage (on account of that one time the handle of my DVF rolling duffel, gold with bronze detailing, got stuck on the steel claw of the turnstile and I was stuck there like a foolish tourist, at rush hour. Kell nightmare).

Apparently I was over-thinking it (again slash still...). My next steps box was only intended to be filled by one line - one specific move. If the element was "live concert event" the box could be filled with 30 lines of details on what needed to be done, but the point of the next steps heading was to identify the immediate next steps so "schedule status call around live concert event" or "create list of live concert event location options" - one, immediate move. Imagine that.

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions because I tend to break them sometime around Feb. 1, but I'm going to try this idea of focusing on immediate next steps as my 2010 philosophy - a journey-of-a-thousand-miles and baby-steps-into-the-elevator and slow-and-steady-wins-the-race year philosophy. Instead of getting caught up in the five steps that follow the first I'll focus on the first and the calm the hell down. Instead of thinking five years out I stick to six-months-to-a-year. And instead of dancing in place instead of crossing scary starting lines, I'll makes some solid moves forward...but maybe still soul train style.

Monday, December 21, 2009

In defense of the "one of my best friend just got engaged" freak out

One of my best friends got engaged last week. The actual moment was a surprise, but she's been dating one of my best guy friends since we were seniors in college, so the marriage was inevitable - inevitable and wildly supported among the entire friend group. I could not be happier for this couple. They have an incredible relationship, and we're all lucky to have them, as a set, in our lives.

There's my disclaimer. The rest of this post has nothing specifically to do with Matt and Carly as a couple. It has to do with the idea of Matt and Carly as a couple in my life who just got engaged. Stay with it.

There is an inevitable and indescribable "wow, whoa, shit..." that occurs the moment one of your very best friends gets engaged. This - like I say - has little to do with the actual friend. It's a purely selfish reaction. It's about assessing where you are versus where they are and feeling one of a dozen or so ways - all of which end in one of those three words - pretty much interchangeably:
  • They are engaged, and I'm in a relationships about as a serious as theirs' so I'm probably going to be engaged soon too...whoa...
  • They dated for five years and are just now getting engaged. I haven't dated someone for more than three months in those same five
  • I am the same age in the same city with a similar job at this girl and yet I can in no way at all image being ready for marriage...shit...
Are you a tad jealous? Sure. Everyone wants to find someone great and have it work out beautifully. Are you a little worried? Of course. There is no guarantee that just because your friends start to get it all together that you'll simply follow suit by fate. Is part of you relieved? Yeah, that's a part of it too. If I had to start saving for a wedding right now a significant amount of things would have to change in my life, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give those things up.

The one-of-my-best-friends-just-got-engaged freak out isn't about one specific issue. It's about that over-arching, oh-so-common 20-something issue of "tracking." Are you tracking with the group at large. Have you sown the oats they've sewn, experienced the "growing up things" they've experienced, made similar sacrifices to those they've made. It's like if we knew when we were toddlers that we were supposed to roll over and crawl and walk and talk at certain month/year markers. Would we have scanned around the playroom and gone, "shit, another one just went I in for it?"

But the difference between your toddler and your 20-something milestones is that the toddler ones actually exist. You should roll over at x months before you crawl at y then hopefully walk at z. You can't start on solid food without making it through those months of pureed carrots. If you're outside a certain growth percentile the doctors may put you on a growth hormone.

There is no growth hormone that will get you engaged. Nor is getting engaged or buying your own condo or getting an advanced degree something you need to do at a certain age slash ever. You could be a late bloomer or a never bloomer and that's still just fine. There is no baby book for the adult section of our lives - no pink cursive ink reading, "Jessie saved X% for retirement today!" for you to fill in the blank.

And so when one of your closest friends - one of the people you feel most "like" in the world rolls then crawls then walks before you've so much as sat up straight without toppling over it's only natural to go hhmm...

This is why we girls - and the guys who admit it - have that mini mental melt-down the second we hang up from the "oh my god we're engaaaaged!!!" phone call. Yes, for some people it's because all they want for Christmas is their own diamond ring. And for others it's that the prospect of marriage is so ridiculous we can't even fathom our best friends' going through with it. But for the majority of us it's just that tiny twinge of, "should I be a lot closer to doing that too?"

Is judging yourself against every other 20-something the fastest way to go insane slash no where? Yes. But is it avoidable - especially when it comes to the major milestones of life? Nope.

Congratulations to my favorite recently engaged couple. My tiny feeling of "whoa" in no way diminishes how WILDLY happy I am for you! XO

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Over being "adult about it"

One of the most annoying things about being an adult is that you have to "be an adult about it" all the freaking time.

When we were kids we were "just a kid." We could throw temper tantrums and hit other kids and lie and cheat and steal and eat random candy and fall asleep wherever we wanted and ask people inappropriate questions and cry about anything and everything we wanted to cry about whenever we wanted to cry. We were just kids. We didn't know any better. We didn't have control over ourselves. We didn't know how to behave.

Then we became teenagers, and we were "just being a teenager..." Rebelling against our parents, functioning on 2 hours of sleep, eating Golden Bell Diner disco fries two to three times a week, dating idiots because they were popular, being popular because we were idiots, smoking, drinking, and lying about it, wearing whatever we wanted as self expression, doing whatever we wanted because we're only young once, and getting away with most of it because at least we weren't drug addicts or worse...pregnant. We were going through a phase. We were finding ourselves. We were leaerning from our mistakes. We were accountable for our actions but the whole world knew to just roll their eyes at us and then ignore us until we grew up.

Now that we're grown up we're grown ups which requires us to be "grown up about it." We're encouraged to have feelings and feel those feelings but only express said feelings in an appropriate manner at an appropriate time in an appropriate place. If someone hurts us or wrongs us we have to think about the situation and determine how best to address the issue in a manner that leaves us looking calm and rational. We have to be "the bigger person." When politics and hierarchy are at play (at work, in friend groups, in families, at work again, and then at work one more time, ...ahem...) - we have to swallow our tongue slash pride, let it go, stay on the right people's right sides so we don't get targeted as someone who's "too emotionally invested" or "not being a team player." We have to be professional which is often code for - let it go, you can't win this one. We have to let other people make us look bad without throwing them under the bus because they're more powerful than we are. In the relationship realm we have to walk on egg shells to ensure we aren't pegged "a bitch" or "an asshole" even if someone deserves to be treated like a bitch or asshole might act. We now have reputations to maintain - reputations that no longer have a disclaimer. It's not, "well she's just in her late 20s so how can you blame her?" We can now, officially, be blamed.

It's all rreaalllyy annoying sometimes.

Lately I want my Mom to call some of the bosses of my work contacts and handle them like she would the Mom of a kid who was teasing me relentlessly in school.
  • "Hi, this is Angie Rosen, Jessie's Mom. Listen, I understand that your employee said some incredibly out of line things regarding my daughter on a recent conference call. Listen, that's rude, and it's hurtful and it's no way to behave, and I want it to stop or my next call will be to your boss."
I want to post mean things on the Facebook walls of people who have treated me like crap recently so the entire world (on entire world) is aware of what they did.
When people do really, really dumb shit right before my very eyes I want to say, "that was some really, really dumb shit you did just then" - even if those people are waay more powerful than me. Whe people do really, really rude things to me in front of other people I want to say, "that was incredibly rude, and I'd appreciate an apology right now in front of all of these people" - even if that would probably get me fired.
And just once, I want to take a stack of papers or one of those 4 inch, 3 ring binders, or better yet, my phone and throw it clear across my office so it's clear just how frustrating certain things can be.
Unfortunately, I'm an adult, so I can't just do whatever I want - behave however I feel, no matter how justified may be.
But what's funny is that these behavior constraints - these rules of appropriateness that govern the grown-up world - don't seem to apply to everyone. And the more I examine and experience, the more I notice that the more "important" of a grown-up you become, the less grown up you're actually required to be.
Run a company and you can treat anyone however you want whenever you want to. Be really, really ridiculously good-looking and rich and let people fawn all over you. The bigger you get the smaller you seem to be allowed to think.
Unfortunately we 20-nothings are beholden to everyone above us. We're climbing the ladder, paying our dues, learning from people with more experience - in other words doormats, punching bags, and scapegoats. Right now we have to do everything so by-the-book so we can get high enough to finally say what we think and believe.
The thing is - I don't really want to act like a child - to throw tantrums and make people think I can't handle myself. It's not productive. It's not rational. It doesn't really help anything or anyone - even though it feel awesome. I just want all the other adults to play by the "be an adult" rules.
So for now - I'll play by all the rules because I have no other choice. Plus, I don't like how behaving like a child makes me feel.
But once I'm an adult with the kind of power to behave like a child I'm going to make sure that all the adults below me act like adults, without behaving like a child to force them.
End rant.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kennedy and the Case of the Superior Set up

"Hey! Jessie! I'm so pumped. I thought of a bunch of stories to tell you so I can finally make the blog!" Kennedy said to me 1.5 minutes after I arrived at dinner. He was 8-10 people down from me at a 10-12 person table positioned in a room so loud he had to yell it for me to hear. This did not stop him.

I haven't seen Kennedy in approx two years aaanndd had no idea he reads this blog but material and straight, male fans are two things I'd be foolish to refuse. Unfortunately Kennedy was too drunk to get out more than one story. Fortunately, for his fifteen minutes of fame, it was a good one.

Kennedy works in an office where he has important superiors. Superiors you not only want to please but want to curry favor with (if that is in fact the saying...) whenever possible.

One such superior had taken interest in Kennedy's dating life and, upon finding out that Kennedy didn't currently have a dating life, strongly recommended he go on a date with a fellow employee. This is where I'm fuzzy, but somehow this person works among Kennedy but not directly with him such that the superior thought it totally appropriate for them to date. Not important. He gave the green light.

"So here's the thing," he tells me, now from the seat directly next to mine where I unexpectedly found him after I returned from the bathroom, "she's fine looking. Fine. Not bad. Just know what I'm saying?"

"Yes," I said, "I know what you're saying."

"Like fiiine, but not great. Like, maybe great to some guys, but just fiine to me," he said.

"Yep," I said, "got it."

And then he said something to even further clarify his very clear point that I won't repeat here sos not to tarnish his moment in the spotlight.

The issue: this superior wants very badly to make the set up happen, but Kennedy knows he's not really interested in dating this girl. He'd be fine if something maybe happened with this girl after, say, the company Christmas party (see above), but a formal date - especially one initiated by this important superior would be a bad idea - "right?" he asked.

"Very right," I said.

So then, he wanted to know. What are his options?
  • Tell the absolute truth to this very important boss? "Thanks so much sir, but this girl you think is perfect for me is actually not my type at all."
  • Lie to get out of it? "Thank you so much sir, but I actually just started seeing someone, so it wouldn't be appropriate for me to go out with this girl."
  • Or just take the recommendation, go, and make something up afterwards? "Thank you so much again sir. We had a nice time, but I've just recently decided to become a vegetarian, and she's not, and I think it would be too difficult for me to date her at this time."
Let's take a pause for a moment for me to disclaim the answer I'm about to give.

I understand that lying is not appropriate in most-to-all circumstances. It is wrong, inherently, and I know this. That said, I believe that there are circumstances where you are best served by telling a variation on the absolute truth that mitigates strong, negative issues that all parties involved would experience by telling the absolute truth. Case in point, this case (or do I just say "Case in point."?...)

No good is going to come from Kennedy telling this superior that he's just not attracted to the girl. He could very well say, "you know sir - thanks so much - but she's just not my type. I actually prefer ________ girls" but that's just going to open the flood gates for this superior to set Kennedy up with every ________ girl he knows. At the same time, a lie as blatant as, "sorry, I'm actually seeing someone" is just going to bite Kennedy in the ass because the superior clearly has no problem meddling in work people's love lives. And so - in my opinion - Kennedy is left with one slightly weird option that, technically speaking, is a lie. It's the - "Thanks sir - appreciate you thinking of me - but I have a strict no-dating-anyone-associated-with-work policy. Just a personal rule, so I'm going to have to say no to the idea of the set-up," response.

Yes, this superior may protest - he may say, "come on! I authorize it! everyone around here does it," and that may be true, but Kennedy has every right to head the warning of the don't-shit-where-you-eat principal. The superior will have to respect that. Game over.

And yes, Kennedy may some day find himself in a compromising position with someone from the office, but in that case he can either keep it quiet or plead black-out...

I gave Kennedy this advice as we were leaving the restaurant, but I'm not sure he got every detail straight. Lucky for him this story became his blog premiere, so it's all captured right here for him to review at any time.

Thanks Kennedy. Great to see you. And let me know when you want to talk through the rest of the bunch of stories. I could use a Wednesday topic...

Friday, December 11, 2009

When can you expect the call?

Monday, 5:30pm

B: im almost sure you've blogged on this - but if not, id love what ever thoughts you have

B: see a guy in bar on sat -- know him from HS/college -- mostly just catching up chatter, some minimal flirting -- he asks for my #
when (if ever) should i expect a call?
me: never
B: haha
me: Ha. I’m kidding. Sort of. I only mean you can never ever predict if he's going to call
B: that wouldn’t surprise me
me: I would say that if he doesn't call within a week, you don't want to date him
but that any time within a week is totally logical in man-brain
B: i guess - but is there a time after which if he hasn’t called, I can give up?
me: I make it more about when I want to give up
B: (I mean- I figure Monday is too early to give up - but I’m just trying to emotionally prep myself)
me: like - after 2 weeks I decide I don't want to be with anyone who can't remember to call me after 2 weeks
B: haha - thats a good outlook
me: (except my 2 weeks is 1 week...I'm picky)
B: i like it - im picky too - one week it is!
me: so this guy has one week to meet your standards - if he doesn't, that's too bad for him

Tuesday, 12:30pm.

B: youll get a kick out of this. heres the chat i just received from a guy friend:
  • Guy friend: Query:
  • B: si
  • Guy friend: If I gave a woman my email address on Saturday...
    ... at what point, assuming I still have not heard from her, does it mean I'm not going to hear from her?
me: hahahahaha
B: i had to laugh -- then explain to him why
me: did you give him our thoughts?
B: yep - he is even more stringent -- he thinks wed should be the cut off and that even wed borders on impolite
me: wow - can I date him?
B: he lives in germany right now
me: oh - well Germany is just too far for me right now
but in that case, you should tell him that the rules may be diff in Germany
they're probably stricter - so he's in good shape
B: ya
I tend to answer questions with answers that weren't the question, so to answer the actual question - you can expect the call (which will come as a text in 99.9% of cases) absolutely any time. Case in point: in the winter of 2007 I met an Australian guy at a party. We hit it off. He asked for my number. One week passed, nothing. Two weeks passed, nothing. a MONTH and a HALF later, he texted, "Hey, it's ________, we should get a drink." I texted back, "sounds great, when are you free." A WEEK LATER he texted, "Hey, I'm free for a drink tomorrow."
Moral of the story - once a flake, always a flake.
But to continue answering the question I wasn't technically asked...with another question - do you want to date someone who meets you and calls you after 2-5 days or someone who texts you three weeks later? Sometimes the answer to that question is - "I want to date anyone who calls me at all" - I've been there...recently... But I've got to assume (because it's happened enough times that I can make a pretty strong assumption) that a guy who isn't into it enough to get in touch shortly after meeting me is going to stay that not into it - and by "it" I mean me.
So if I guy calls me after 2-5 days I think, nice, this has some potential. If he makes it more like 5-8 I'm a little, hhmm, not off to the best start. And if it's longer than that slash never I think, good to know...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Regarding that "settling" article from The Atlantic, begrudgingly

Over a year ago an article appeared in The Atlantic by a very brave woman named Lori Gottlieb around the very controversial topic of "settling." Her advice - settle. Stop being picky. Realize good men aren't easy to come by, and marry the one you've got so long as he's good enough.

Her words: "My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It’s hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who’s changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.)"

Two of her supporting thoughts:
  • When we’re holding out for deep romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier. But marrying Mr. Good Enough might be an equally viable option, especially if you’re looking for a stable, reliable life companion.

  • I don’t mean to say that settling is ideal. I’m simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap. As the only single woman in my son’s mommy-and-me group, I used to listen each week to a litany of unrelenting complaints about people’s husbands and feel pretty good about my decision to hold out for the right guy, only to realize that these women wouldn’t trade places with me for a second, no matter how dull their marriages might be or how desperately they might long for a different husband.
If you kept reading you're now either enraged, enlightened or in total agreement. I - and if you know me this comes as no surprise - was all three after I first read the piece.

Since then I've read it at least five times trying to make a judgement one way or another on how I would feel if I were this woman and how I personally feel now. Thanks to Em and a recent BC girls gmail chain, I've finally come to some conclusions. Here goes:

There is a distinct difference between "settling" and "choosing a life you know you don't want."

Settling is knowing your man is probably not THE best looking man you could find, but he's X,Y,Z other things you want and need; realizing the guy you marry doesn't have the exact job you evisioned telling co-workers at holiday parties ("my husband, the MTV executive") but that he has a solid, stable income; understanding that the fact that he is probably going to watch football every single Sunday even though you hate football with all your might will just have to stay because he'll make a really amazing Dad. Not loving his mother but dealing. Not loving the fact that he wants to raise a family on Long Island not Manhattan, but swallowing your pride (read: my pride). To me those details (plus...) are settling. Saying yes to marrying a man you know you do not then and probably will not ever love is a very different thing. That thing, I cannot support. The former, I get.

There is probably some truth in the fact that you may end up happier, in the long-run, with someone you're technically settling for.

I think there is very strong validity to the fact that you may be happier in the long run marrying the guy you're "settling" for versus marrying your Mr. Big. I firmly believe that Carrie would have been happier with Aiden after 10,20,30 years than she will be with Big, if it lasts even that long. Yes, I know these are not real people (most of the time), but that idea of a crazy, passionate, cannot live without each other love and our search for that love is very real. Sometimes people get both that passion and the happiness/stability of a life with a guy that - as Abby likes to say - "looks like a husband" (read: not like a Brad Pitt) - but I think this case for growing into love being potentially more successful is an interesting and maybe true one. I said maybe.

Most of the problem is in the word "settling"

And finally - I think if this writer hadn't used the word "settling" once in her entire piece but - as she even admits other self-help books do - had changed her message to "don't be so picky" or "see the beauty in men you might not otherwise choose" or "at 35, start to think about stability and not sweep-you-off-your-feet" people wouldn't take NEARLY as much issue with this article. We cringe at the word settling. We never, ever want to admit we're even emphathetic to it because it means we've given up on having everything we want...and deserve. So this article - though attempting to be about logic and sense - can never really be read in that context, even by the most sensible of women, because it pulls to hard at those damn heartstrings of hope.

So will I someday settle? Maaaaybe. But will I ever, ever admit that I did? Nope.

Now, let the arguments begin.

Monday, December 7, 2009

2-year Blog Birthday and 20-Nothings the book

Two years ago this blog was started as part creative outlet, part keep-friends-in-touch method, part (and really mostly) me appeasing Pierson who insisted I have a blog.

Two years later this blog is a list of things I barely knew were options. It has been my introduction to professional writing and my segue to transitioning that writing from to TV, film, and theater. It has gotten me be back in touch with people I never thought I'd be in touch with again. It has introduced me to perfect strangers that are now close friends. It has prompted more and more open conversations with close friends and family than I thought possible. And one time on a car ride to Boston, it prompted a really awkward conversation with my parents...
  • Mom: You have a blog? That's great! When did you start it?
  • Me: Awhile ago actually...
  • Dad: How long of awhile...?
  • Me: Oh, you know, like around a year and a half...give or take...
  • One of my sisters: Niiiice one...
Some of the blessings this blog has brought are based on luck, timing, and marketing smarts, but the rest is that all-powerful principle of tenacity. Three or more days a week - rain or shine or hangover or vacation or mean blogger comment or personal stuff, good or bad. I love it. It inspires me. It changes me. And so I just keep going.

If after two years and some unexpected successes I can offer anyone any advice - about writing or really anything - it's to find something that brings you joy and do that thing for two years straight. Maybe it's something you create. Maybe it's something you attend. Maybe it's someone you attend to or someone you help create something. But my advice would be - commit to something you love, and it will change your life. I can't say when or how, but I can say with absolute certainty that it will.

And so to mark this 2-year blog birthday, I am thrilled to release 20-Nothings the book! A self-published collection of old posts and new on the topics I've come to cover most:
  • Transitions: from point college to point life
  • Relationships: getting into, out of, and over them
  • Wisdom?: if it ends up being right, it will have been wise...
You can preview a copy at using this link or the link below and order as many as you'd like for yourself, your friends, and your family - just in time for the holidays. Consider it the perfect gift for any 20-something on your list - in age...or just in spirit...

Thank you - as always - for reading. Here's to 4 more years of 20-Nothings and, thanks to my recent purchase of - beyond!

By Jessie Rosen

Friday, December 4, 2009

An open letter to anyone who knows anyone who's about to end a relationship

Dear everyone who falls within the above category and/or the actual people contemplating ending whatever you have going on with someone:

First - really sorry to hear that and hope you slash this friend of yours learned something valuable from the relationship and well done for getting into one in the first place and etc.

Second and more importantly - if you are a person someone seeks counsel from before ending their relationship, as in - if you find yourself on the other side of the table from someone going, "so...yeah...I think I need to take a step back from it...probably end it. It just isn't there. Not sure why, but it's not happening for me..." I on behalf of all man-kind am begging you to make them do so in a respectful manner (we'll get to what that means).

Samely (whatever, it should be a word) - if you are the breaker-upper, I am doing the same degree of begging for you to man up and end it in a way that is as least hurtful as possible.

To take a step back - I get it. It sucks to end it with someone. It's awkward. You know you're hurting their feelings a little slash a lot. You know it's going to be a really uncomfortable conversation. You don't want to lie, but the truth sounds so mean and dumb. You're like - shit what if they cry!? Oh my god I cannot handle it if they cry... It's just this annoying, miserable thing that there doesn't ever seem to be quite the right moment for, and so you put it off a week or a month until the person you're breaking up with goes, "so, hey, is something wrong? you seem...different..." And even then you're so consumed with all the shit they're going to say about you after you end it that you let it go a few weeks more. I get it. I've been there. I've done it wrong, too.

But here's the thing(s):
  • Their feelings will be infinitely more hurt if you pull the one-week disappearing act blow-off (working title)
  • It's going to be a waaaay more uncomfortable conversation if it starts with them saying, "hey, so I got your text saying you think we should stop seeing each other, but I wanted to talk that through over the phone seeing as though we're adults..."
  • Whether you tell the truth or tell a little lie it's not going to sound nearly as dumb as, "sorry I know I should have addressed this instead of just ignoring you for two weeks but, well, I didn't know how to deal with it."
  • And trust me, they're going to talk considerably more shit about you if you do it like a dick versus a sincere person.
I know it's hard to see the forrest through trees on this one - especially if you're ending something that wasn't really official, or ending something with a generally great person, or ending something because - bottom line - you met someone better. There is no great way to go about it. But - and here is the crux of my point - there are really, really shitty ways. Don't do those.

So to the friends on the other end of the table I'm saying push hard and use threats if necessary. Because remember, you are closely associated with this person, so this stands the chance of making you look really bad too.

And to you, if you so happen to be in this situation: again, I'm sorry. But I'm not sorry enough to excuse you from treating someone you dated like someone you barely know and definitely don't respect. So if you're really that incapable of dealing with this like an adult, please see the below email template. Good luck!

Subject line: (ed note: this part's on you...)

Hey _______,

Listen, I've been giving some thought to what we've had going on for the past few (choose one) months/weeks (ed note: if this is years you close that email and go do this in person, asshole), and I realize that I (choose one): need some time to myself/don't have my heart in it/am in a place where I don't want to be in a relationship/feel like we have a lot of differences, so I think we should stop seeing each other.

I'm incredibly sorry to say this over email, but I can't handle telling you in person or over the phone. Please know that I really respect you and enjoyed the time we spent together, and that I realize it's lame for me to communicate this in this way, but I can't do it any other way because I just can't. I'm sorry, and I wish you all the best.

Take care!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A farewell to Facebook: one man's war story

As promised, below is the account of one man's official and permanent exit from le book. My friend, the incomparable Stephane had his reasons for leaving (per the below), but those reasons didn't end up being why he's really glad he did.
Random Person 020885: Hey, you’re really cool!
Me: Thanks. You too!
RP 020885: So what’s your last name? I’ll find you on Facebook…
Do you remember life in your mother’s womb? Probably not. In a bubble. Swimming. Peaceful. Your safe place. Nothing to worry about. Then a light appears. And little do you realize that this curious happening will change your life forever. For the better? You are no longer swimming. You can hear screaming in the distance. And all of a sudden you are being pushed. No, not pushed. Something’s pulling you out of your safe place. The light grows bright. You are cold. And scared. So you cry out. Hoping someone. Anyone. Will hug you. Make you feel warm. Safe.
Me: Sorry, I’m not on Facebook anymore.
RP 020885: Anymore? Like you were on it? And left?! Wow, you’re brave!
Me: Yeah, I guess so…
Before I left FB, I thought myself to be a confident and secure individual. Thousands of “friends.” Too many wall posts, so little time. Invites a plenty. Blah, blah, blah… And so of course when I decided to leave FB, I thought it would be like any other random 20-something decision: I think I’ll call in sick today and go to the MoMA. Yes, I’ll have another shot of Jameson. And no, I will not go home with you. However, I failed to notice that my years of FB-ing conditioned me to believe that technology (text messages included) was my only means for (sober) social interactions.
RP 020885: So why did you leave?
A boy. We dated for two months, which in retrospect wasn’t that long. But on FB it felt like years. The endless wall-to-wall postings and picture tagging. And I didn’t want to tempt myself with possible… definite FB stalking. Having to un-tag photos. Or the ultimate kiss of death: un-friending him. In addition to the I just heard about you and… Are you okay? wall posts. And, as expected, I thought after I made my exit, people would call and check up on me. I’m only off of FB; I’m not dead. But very few did. A handful out of thousands of “friends.” I then saw the bigger picture: Facebook was my womb. My safe place.
Me: You know, I don’t really remember. But I don’t miss it…
I have so much more free and me time in my day, for reading blogs like this one (I love you Jessie!) as well as many other extra curricular activities.
RP 020885: So how do you stay in touch with friends?
I had to force myself to reach out to people on a more personal level. Something a little more meaningful than the obligatory Hey, Happy Thanksgiving! or the I’m so drunk right now! Wish you were here! texts. You know, real life, face to face, human contact. And I wanted the same in return. I wanted to be around my Hey I’m having a get together, and I’d really like you to be there friends versus my Oh, I’m sorry I forgot to invite you. You’re not on Facebook, anymore acquaintances. And call me old fashioned, but I still enjoy the call you on the phone/hand letter writing days.
Me: Well, here’s my number. Call me and I’ll tell you all about it…

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who holds the courting game power? the guys or the girls?

Spend more than a half hour talking to a guy about relationships and he'll deal you the line they always deal when the convo turns to how impossible it is to get a girl: "you know, girls have all the power."

If you're me you respond, "really...interesting...what makes you say that?" and then pull out the moleskin you keep in your clutch that's purposefully big enough to hold a moleskin.

It's a confidence thing, they'll say - meaning girls are inherently more confident than guys and therefore stand more chance of making something happen. So, girls hold all the power in a bar. Or "because girls ultimately say yes or no, go or stop" - an argument that applies to the sexual dynamic; girls hold all the power in the bedroom. "Plus," I heard one guy say, "girls can live without guys way easier than the other way around. We need it. Girls don't." Unclear...

Bottom line - the male camp thinks girls hold all the cards, but ask the female set and they'll say, "no we most certainly don't."

My question has always been - what does it mean to have all the power? Does it mean that guys are inherently less likely to go get a girl so any girl who's confident and willing has the cards stacked in her favor? Fine, but I know a lot of women who would make that age-old, "but guys want to pursue girls and keep the control, so we're inclined to sit back and let them come to us." In essence, girls may have the power but guys wish they did, so girls are better off relinquishing.

Is all the power sexually based? Do these guys mean that because girls have to consent to sex they have control of the relationship? That they say when it goes from one level to the next?That makes sense, but only if the entire relationship is about sex. So do girls "control" if a hook-up happens? Probably. But do they control if the guy ever calls for a follow-up? I'd say no - and that no would be a well-tested no.

I tried to think of all the relationships my friends are currently in and the relationships I've been in myself. It's a 60/40 split to be honest. More of the girls I know have made the moves to get the guys they have, and in my own case more of the relationships I've been in started because I initiated them, but that's far from a "girls have all the power" maxim.

To me if we're talking first move I'd argue that a confident and forward girl will do just as well as a confident and forward guy - in a bar, in a friend group, on the internet, wherever. But maybe that's just the bars and friend groups and internets I've experienced.

What have you seen? What have you experienced? What do you think makes one side think the other has all the power? And if you think it's your gender who has it, would you rather you didn't?

*Thanks Brendan. And in the future I'll let you know if something you randomly say is going to be turned into a blog post.