“I’m the real one!”, I shouted to the spoon.


Mkay, y’all. Prepare yourselves. I’m gonna do something completely unheard of in this blog. I am going to cover issues so serious they should be the topic of a therapy session… only I’m not going to take them seriously in the slightest, because emotions freak me out.

Get it? It’s funny, because I do that all the time.

female soldiers

One hundred years ago, I met Gail at the Battle of Bud Bagsak*… wait. No. It was ten years ago at the Hometown Mid-High and we were in the ninth grade. It just feels like a hundred years ago, because… well, stay tuned.

* Yeah. I looked that up.

At 15, Gail wore the same grey sweatpants and oversized blue t-shirt with flip-flops every single day, rain or shine, and it was around this time I had begun my “overall phase.” Gail had fake teeth that she nervously clicked and neither of us wore make-up. We were social outcasts with smart mouths and rocky home lives. We met in Yearbook class, stereotypically enough.

Most days of high school…

Awkward 15-year-old Me: “What the hell happened to your teeth?!?”
Awkward 15-year-old Gail: “Well, I was at this party… and this guy had these piercings.”

We were fast friends.

As kids, our pastimes included telling Gail’s parents we were at Key Club meetings and taking photos in the middle of nowhere. We sat in her bedroom floor making collages of scantily clad women, because we thought it would be funny to convince her parents we were lesbians. I used to alter her report cards to raise the low grades and lower the high ones so her parents would never expect more than average and ground their strong B student for getting a low A. My mother never even asked to look at my 4.0 report card. We wrote blogs and did crafts. We fantasized about how we’d both meet country boys, get married early, and have babies. We’d escape our toxic parent/child relationships and our lives would be perfect. No matter what, though, we were always each other’s shelter from the storm and there was nothing we couldn’t tell the other.

Then things got… weird.

Neither Gail nor I had ever been kissed when we got our first boyfriends at 17… within months of each other. For realz, our first real dates were the same movie. Logically, we each lost our virginity around the same time, though Gail much sooner, due to the opposing magnets in her kneecaps.

I’m so funny. Fo sho.

We each got very serious very quickly in these relationships, so boys and sex were a brand new thing for us at the same time. Then came our second semester of senior year. You see, while most of our white middle-class classmates were excited for graduation day and the cliché Felicity college years, Gail and I were both just… uniquely lost. Her parents had made it clear that she was to move out if she wasn’t attending college and that they were neither going to pay for her college nor give her the information she needed to receive loans, because they didn’t want her taking on that kind of debt. My mother had… well, she was gone. She’d moved to a town about two hours away to live with her boyfriend and my ex-husband was living with me in her house. She brought by gas and grocery money, screamed about how messy the house was when she left a child alone for months, and then she’d be off. Gail and I both had zero guidance… no clear plans. So, instead of feeling elated when we threw our caps in the air, we were just terrified.

Who needs this…

lord of the flies
… when you could have this?

As summer took hold, Gail and I drifted. Gail was my maid-of-honor, but we both got so busy, we didn’t have time to maintain that high school relationship. About a year and a half later, though, I randomly called her and we chatted like we were 15 and stringing our own necklaces in the floor. It was then that we started to catch up… and realized the odd similarities in our lives.

Just a year after I married my ex, Gail married Shane, the rebound after her first boyfriend. She’d clung to him when her parents had made it clear she had to leave.

I’d clung to and married my ex-husband when my mother had left.

Gail and I struggled to pay the bills on our own as our husbands refused to work. Oddly enough, neither of us ever discussed our near identical marriages at the time. As close as we were, we still hoped that the next morning, they’d magically become good and competent men, get out of bed, go to work, and help support their families. In the meantime, if they could stop abusing the pets (mine) and looking at child porn (Gail’s), that would be super, too. Gail once told me that she didn’t mind that Shane was only working at Blockbuster, because at least he was working. I once told her that it didn’t matter if I didn’t trust my ex. You get different things from different people and there are other people I trust. I just needed him to work. Our best case scenarios involved minimum wage jobs they’d actually keep and no trust or security… ever. Once they grew up and stopped mistreating their wives, though, we couldn’t very well have our best friends and families hating them, could we? Besides, at this point we wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore, because we’d be pulling in millions harvesting fairy dust from a rainbow!

Remember that time we took a group trip to Candy Land with our wizard husbands?

So, as we’d done when we were kids, Gail and I clung to each other, sharing the occasional breakdown. Then Gail got pregnant.

Me: “So are things better with Shane now, or…”
Gail: “I don’t want to talk about my marriage. I want to talk about my baby.”

Okey dokey.

Then I got pregnant.

Me: “I’m not ready for this.”
Gail: “It’s good that you know that, because raising this little girl is the hardest thing I’ll ever do.”

Then I lost my baby in my late-first/early-second trimester.

Then Gail filed for divorce.

Then Gail lost Grace at eight months old.

It was at this point that we’d begun to think our life parallels were… startling.

Then Gail was raped at a party.

Then I woke up one morning, unsure why I was naked and the sheets were clean.

Man taking washing out of washing machine
Jeez… he was just trying to do something nice. Must I complain about everything?!?

Then I filed for divorce.

Gail ended her first relationship since her divorce.

We both took up dating again… navigated the treacherous waters of online romance, of boys who don’t call back…

Then we got jobs in our desired fields within months of each other.

What the fuck?

At this point, I could pretty much be attacked by a polka dot pink kangaroo and Gail would know to be on the lookout.

kangaroo attack

So, we decided some time back, that these similarities were just too bizarre. One of us has to be fake while the other is left rocking in the corner of a psych ward, eating her own lips, and mumbling about the other. The debate has now turned into exactly who is the real one.

becca convo without name

Every time we say something in unison, we’ll try to beat each other to the punch with “I’m the real one!”

I think I make a pretty strong case for why I’m real, though a good portion of that case is “I’m me” and that has yet to convince Gail. But I’m always first damn it. I had the boyfriend first, the abusive marriage, the miscarriage. I just inflicted these things on my imaginary friend Gail, so I would have someone who could relate to me. As I vomited on the side of the road on Thanksgiving night of 2010, weeping about my ex-husband leaving the dog tied up so long he dug a hole through the floor until his feet bled, Gail held my hair… in my imagination. I was really just projectile vomiting in a padded room, because the new medication didn’t sit well.

This is a party.

In the last two years, my life has completely lit up. It’s been wonderful. I have great friends and can financially support myself. I didn’t eat free popcorn from my job at the movie theater all through last summer. I know why the mattress is bare. Soooo… after I found a job with the library system, Gail got her job, which she fully intends to turn into a career. After I got an apartment that my ex-husband wasn’t breaking into to steal from me nightly (after the divorce was finalized), Gail moved out of her parents’ home, where she’d been living since Grace’s death. I’m not sold on the idea that having a man in my life will improve it, so I’ve inflicted one on Gail, in the form of Terry, to test it out. I’ve even sent us running in completely opposite directions in regards to gender roles, so I can experiment with both. I regularly say “the boy does that” while Gail changes a tire or pees standing up.

I actually did have an imaginary friend once. The Jolly Green Giant lived in my parents’ ceiling light and only visited me.

jolly green giant
Pictured: Gail.

I make a pretty convincing case here. I’d bet even Gail is starting to believe. In the meantime…

crazy buffy
See what I did there? See how I totally referenced Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this blog again?

I am so going to end up in Tupperware.

Remember the post Online Dating: Holy S#!+, I Don’t Have Time for This? Well, if you don’t, it’s pretty self-explanatory from the title. A couple of weeks ago, I swore off dating until I finish graduate school, at the very least. That lasted until one night last week, when I was up late procrastinating studying and decided to sign into my Plenty of Fish account. I’d like to take this moment to thank the good Lord for reminding me why I don’t have time for this… and for doing so in a humorous way.

woman praying

I had successfully avoided Plenty of Fish for about three weeks after trading a few long messages with Catholic Engineer (over the course of a couple of weeks), before realizing that I just couldn’t even fit responses into my schedule, let alone an actual date. After agreeing to the vague “I’d like to meet”, I proved my dick was biggest, like the jackass I am, by ceasing to sign in altogether without a word or explanation. I’m really bad at this. So, the other night, I expected to log in to see one or two messages, maybe a hurt “If you weren’t into it, you could have just said so” that would have made me feel even more guilty. Seriously. I am terrible at this. I should’ve remembered, though; this is the Internet and while, quite often, totally normal people sign up for online dating, it is still the place where crazy people go to hide.

crazy man
I suppose this profile picture should’ve been a tipoff.

Originally, I let out a sigh of relief. I had not, in fact, received any angry or hurt messages. Then… I let out a shudder. I had received no less than five messages in three weeks, each relatively lengthy.

– The first message was in response to my lack of response, explaining that he’d put the pieces together and realized I must be working the book sale for my library system, as I’d mentioned. He was excited by the prospect of coming by to see me.

– The second message told me that he was sorry he hadn’t made it by, his nerves got the best of him, but he couldn’t wait to meet me. He assured me he knew I was worth it.
(I debated whether this was an “aww” moment or a “get out of my tree and wipe the semen of my window” moment before. It is officially the latter.)

– The third message told me how he’d been thinking of me and hoped I was well. Gee, I must be really busy, but he knew that the best things in life are worth waiting for.
(Dude, if you weren’t so fucking crazy, you’d lose major points for ending that sentence in a preposition.)

– The fourth message told me how lonely he was and how much he missed talking with me and that each night he hoped to sign in and get a pleasant surprise in the form of a response. He was looking forward to meeting me and knew I was worth the wait.
(At least he’s not redundant.)

– The fifth apologized for sending me so many messages and assured me he was just lonely, but he knew I must be busy.

After reading through Catholic Engineer’s epic memoire, I immediately texted Gail to tell her that he was, apparently, super crazy. She told me to block him right away. I wasn’t completely sure if she was serious or not, since we were texting this conversation, so I didn’t. I am so going to end up in Tupperware one day.

That’s big enough for a human head, right?

The next day, I signed in again, also while procrastinating studying. I had a few messages from underwhelming, occasionally entertaining individuals, but nothing out of the ordinary. I realized that my profile was showing up at the top of several lists, because I was signing in again. I decided to make it clear that I wasn’t looking for much and added a short notation to the top of my “About Me” section, explaining that I was off dating, as I didn’t really have the time until graduation. I clarified that I just enjoyed logging in when I was procrastinating.

The next day, working dilligently on my homework again, I signed in for a quick browse and was greeted with message six from Catholic Engineer. He wanted to take the opportunity to thank me for my update and assure me that he understood my absence. He knew I would be worth the wait and couldn’t wait to hear from me in May. May’s just around the corner, after all! He wished me good luck and hoped I might feel like procrastinating soon.

silver music box
It is in here, that he will store my labia.

This guy had to be checking my profile daily to have read the update I left “him.” For reasons only partly related to this, my Plenty of Fish account has since been deleted.

I’ll give OKCupid a try.

I have got to stop reading romance novels, because they are the catalyst to the above stupid idea. I’m not afraid of dying alone, because I’ll never meet anyone, until I couple one too many romantic suspense titles with all of those Red Pill blogs telling me that without marriage, I’ll cry about cancer to no one. I don’t want to cry alone about cancer!!!! Sooooo… I signed up for OKCupid.

My creepy messages on this first day have been pretty standard, which is still pretty amusing. To quote a few:

You write well. I am a journalist. I was raised Catholic, but I left it behind. I might go back. I pray often about it. I have baggage, but I carry it well. Pun intended.

Now, a compliment to my writing is quite possibly the key to thawing my frozen heart, but I wrote a friggin’ profile, not the Great American Novel or even a kickass blog entry. That’s just a weird thing to say. Following it up by outlining his issues with God and a religion I’ve stated is important to me? Well, it’s not near as panties-dampening as telling me he has a shit ton of baggage. This was his opener!!!!!

Hence, I would be very pleased if I get the chance to have conversation with you sometime, that allows me to know more about you, and see what happens in therms of a physical or spiritual connexion between you and I, you know as the song says “let our hearts discover”

Okay… let’s just get one thing straight. You wait until the person has actually responded to you to mention any kind of “physical connection”. Also, is he trying to sound intelligent or is his grasp of the English language tenuous? I genuinely cannot tell.

In just the last few minutes I got a message from the blank profile, KeepItOnTheDL17. “What’s your e-mail and I’ll send you a pic?” Ummm… no. That’s up there with “What’s your address and I’ll send you a package?”

whats in the box
“What’s in the box?!?!?!”

My absolute favorite, however, has to be the guy who I’ve previously seen on Plenty of Fish with a four or five page profile talking about how awesome he is and actually using the words “if you’re lucky enough to win my friendship”. He used to have a “no fat chicks” paragraph as well, though he seems to have gotten wise about that one. I remember, because Gail and I giggled maniacly over it. Even now his profile includes:

I’m very picky and have high expectations when it comes to women.

I’m really good at pretty much anything I try.

Also, If you’re too busy to date, why are you on a dating site?

They aren’t too busy to date. They’re too busy to date you. Confidence is attractive and I have a higher tolerance for it than most, but wow. What is the purpose of tainting this excellent solo with the presence of another person? But, but… that’s still not the best part. The best is this little gem:

I don’t believe in divorce and only plan on getting married once. I want to make sure she is my best friend and my soul mate.

You don’t believe in it? It’s not a fucking one-armed fairy, you jackass. I assure you, it’s real. Furthermore, a good 70% of those people who are divorced likely said the exact same thing. They sure as shit didn’t walk down the aisle to Eminem’s I Love the Way You Lie. Way to judge 60% of the population of this state you bag of dicks. Also, at age 30, in the Midwest, a lot of your prospects are going to be divorced. Prick.

Pictured: Divorce

All that having been said, I’ll leave y’all to judge for yourselves whether I’m a glutton for punishment or just really dedicated to seeking out good material for this blog, because I gave another guy my phone number. I’m determined not to initiate, since I don’t particularly care about the results and I don’t have a penis. The boy does that.

Gail: “Just for my amusement, what does the girl do in return?”
Me: “Wears pink.”

He contacted me though, and we’ve been texting. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before I write about him asking me to lick his peg leg.

tupperware 1
Sigh… I always wanted to be cremated anyway.

E-Nose Job

Remember Jennifer Gray, from Dirty Dancing? I only do because Gail made me watch it and I’ll never forgive her. Anyway, the actress had a large and distinctive nose, but it worked for her and then after that movie, she decided to get surgery and render herself completely unreconizable at the height of her fame. I decided that was a great idea.

jennifer gray

Sooooo… I made a ton of changes to my blog and I did it all at once with no warning. Just to clarify, I’m still the same gal, formerly Atypical Southern Librarian. I not only changed the title of the blog, but also the domain. I actually paid for this one:


so I won’t be changing it again. If I (for some reason) didn’t renew it, it would default to thebelleofthelibrary.wordpress.com anyway. I claimed the gmail address belleofthelibrary@gmail. com also, so it’s a permanent change.

I was never quite content with the old title and had seriously been considering a makeover, though I’d thought to do it in stages. People had mentioned the old one was too clunky and I agreed. I started by changing Gail’s name from her actual name to make myself more anonymous. Then I jumped off the deep end and changed everything else, including the names of the other people in my life (particularly the guys), which can be seen on my page, Who’s Who. Obviously, I redid the entire layout as well. I kept my photo ID (which is actually me), though, so hopefully that and the remaining library reference will settle any confusion. I’ve gotten so many followers that I figured if I were ever gonna change it, I’d better do it… well, 50 followers ago.

Sorry for the confusion and I hope you like the changes! I, personally, am quite happy with them and would love feedback!

The Purple Pill

You may have noticed I don’t have a blogroll. You probably didn’t, though, because who cares? A blogroll lists the blogs a person recommends. I read blogs… obsessively… because I am a truly obsessive person. When I was a kid, I used to get really into a show or a book and I would talk about it for weeks. I’m still that person. I may control it a little better, but… wait. No. I don’t control it better. That was someone else.

It must have been her.

I don’t list the blogs I read, because they aren’t blogs that my readers would necessarily enjoy. While there are some touching divorce blogs, funny dating blogs, and entertaining satire blogs that I follow, the majority of what I read covers my latest obscure obsession. I went through a phase a few weeks ago where I followed the blogs of several people taking on group sexual relationships. Then it was blogs criticizing Fifty Shades of Grey. Then it was erotic blogs. Then book blogs. Now it’s blogs discussing the Red Pill and anti-feminism. For those of you who didn’t drink seven cups of black coffee so strong you could chew it, because you were up procrastinating on graduate school work last night, allow me to enlighten you. The Red Pill is a movement of sorts that pushes back against extreme feminism. It’s spearheaded by men who are tired of being treated like shit by women who have taken the women’s rights movement too far and think it means they don’t have to have respect or consideration for the opposite sex. That’s the most unbiased description I can give and I think it’s pretty good, because I’m pretty unbiased about this. The people “swallowing the Red Pill” are consenting adults who have chosen to go with the traditional idea that a man is the head of the household and it’s working for them. It’s none of my business. But it’s fascinating.

Yes, I’ve gone on a few Rosie the Riveter rants in support of women’s opportunities and choices, but that’s exactly what they are: opportunities and choices. Telling a woman that she has to hold a corporate position, when she just wants to be milked by snuggling infants is just as harmful as confining her to the kitchen when she wants to go get an MBA. We live in a society where we can make our own decisions and I’m all for that. End disclaimer and back to my point.

My dad’s family is highly matriarchal and Catholic. The couples are mostly wealthy, with each individual bringing in a large sum. We women are all loud and I’ve heard my grandma K shout “That’s fucking bullshit” in her nicest Christmas outfit with a drink in each hand. There are as many opinions as there are hugs. The love and liquor is plentiful. All the gals wear the pants on the little stuff (how to decorate), but will usually defer to the men on the big stuff (that move to Texas). My dad, however, was the obvious head of the household in all ways growing up. Because of my parents’ drawn out and explosive divorce, I was largely raised by my Gramma, who worked as a corporate supervisor in tailored pants suits and heels and was one of the first moms on her block to get divorced in the 60s. This woman never swears, unless it’s in defense of one of her baby chick grandchildren and where her heart should beat, she has the sneezing baby panda instead. She’s that pure. She’s traditional in the sense that she thinks it’s a travesty that my brother does the dishes while his wife lounges on the couch, but doesn’t understand why a woman has to take a man’s last name. She’s an adorable little contradiction. So where does all this leave me in regards to gender and relationship roles?

confused woman with maths
Confused as fuck.

When I was a teenager, I desperately (and perhaps unhealthily) wanted a man to take care of me. My mom had made certain that I had no relationship with my dad at the time and I was often abused at home when she couldn’t handle the stress of raising the teenager with whom she’d isolated herself. That being said… what the fuck happened?!! I married my ex-husband, who didn’t work, clean, bathe, feed the pets, or contribute in any way. Quite the contrary, he stole from me, trashed the apartment, abused my animals, burned down our house for monetary incentives, lay around all day, cheated on me, and even lied to fabricate jobs that weren’t paying him. He was the worst sort of person and no man at all. On the one hand, he was nothing close to a traditional man eager and willing to practice traditional gender and relationship roles. The very opposite of him should still appeal, yes? Well, yes, in theory, it does. I love my alpha male romances. On the other hand, I’ve had two years to take charge of my life and care for myself and I’m not sure I could ever hand over those reins again. You can only retain so much trust in people after looking at your dead pets all over the front lawn.

Gail is divorced also and had a similar situation to mine. Her ex didn’t contribute in any way, but he constantly quoted biblical ideals about being the “man of the house.” This has sent her running for the hills from anyone who might use that phrase. Today, as we discussed the Red Pill blogs we were both reading, I brought up my concerns. My Gramma has always told me that someone must lead in a marriage. She thinks it should be the man, but her main point is that someone always has more power. Maybe she’s right. Perhaps someone always is more dominant. The Red Pill school of thought titles this “Captain” and “First Officer” with the man taking up the hull. It’s a somewhat extreme take on gender roles that has Gail insisting that there can be two heads of household with no superior dominance. Gail has a kind and gentle, laid back boyfriend, whom she has seen infuriated once or twice, just not at her. They’re neck in neck for who is the most passive. It’s like watching kittens lick each other and trying to decide who’s angrier.

becca and adam

Partly just to piss her off, I told Gail that she was the Captain and just couldn’t tell, because she didn’t like the idea of wielding such power. She refuted my claim and I asked whose name was on the lease since Terry moved in with her. She said that was immaterial and I sent her an “Aye, aye” and the following picture.


Frustrated, she ended the discussion, so I sent her another:


I’m funny as shit. Gail’s lucky to have such an amusing friend.

Regardless of where Gail’s relationship lies, it’s still up for debate for me. Can there be a mutual partnership running the household? Should there be someone in charge, regardless of whether their sexy bits are concave or convex? The Blue Pill is assigned to men who passively let their wives run the show (like Terry, Gail) and the Red Pill designates men who’ve woken up and decided to lead. It’s a Matrix reference and it’s all a little extreme for my tastes, but intriguing. It’s working for these people. It’s giving the men a sense of control and making the women feel protected and they’re enjoying the initiative he takes. We all complain that he won’t just pick a restaurant… so he picks a restaurant. It may not be for me, but it’s made me wonder. Is there a middle ground? Must someone come out on top? Who should it be? Does it even matter?

I must say, I am girly as fuck. I love pretty dresses and the color pink and makeup and nail polish. I own pink guns. I think men should open doors and pay and that if a parent stays home with the baby, it should be the concave one. FOR ME. This doesn’t apply to other people, because I don’t give a single fuck about what other people decide makes them happy. Maybe I have a hot pink master bath and a dozen pretty dresses, but that doesn’t invalidate anyone for not following suit. This isn’t 1943 where women have to stay home and cook and breed. It’s also not 1983 where women have to fight for Vagina Rights and work 60 hours a week or they get their girl power ring taken away. It’s 2013 and we don’t have to do anything.

The key factor in all of this, of course, is respect. The feminists are demanding respect for women and the Red Pill enthusiasts are demanding respect for men. Most women still make .80 on the dollar to men for the exact same job. We’re teaching little boys that girls are cherished and protected, but wrapping those little ladies in shirts that say “Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.” In society and in a relationship, each group needs to respect the other, genitalia aside. It drives me crazy to see a woman on Facebook complaining that her husband is away on business. REALLY!? How about you have him plant his ass on the couch for four years? That’ll put hard work into perspective. Similarly, my brother regularly tells his wife that her salary means nothing, because she doesn’t bring home as much. It’s broken all around and we need to concentrate on respect and gratitude and praise in general. Example: “Hey, honey. Thanks for not killing all the pets and pawning my Gramma’s jewelry while I was at work.” Was that so hard? But that still doesn’t answer whether or not someone must hold more weight.

I suppose my “girly as fuck” declaration makes it clear that were someone to be in power in my future relationships, it would likely not be me. Despite my oh-so-witty banter with my Gail, I’m not an aggressive person. I’m sometimes too passive, because I tried everything with my ex-husband. I was his cheerleader. I left him alone. I nagged him. I cried. I begged. I screamed. I threw things. I ignored the problem. None of those brands of conflict worked, so I just naturally avoid conflict now. I work in a public service position, which exacerbates the issue, because this is an asset. It truly is. I love my job, but it is paved with eggshells and I know it. I’m good at it. Therefore, I don’t want to be in charge of other people at home. Were dual leadership an option, I could do that. I could be a teammate in leadership. My profession is all about group work. But is it possible? Or is my Gramma right and someone will inevitably tip the scales? Is it better to acknowledge this upfront and be aware of the dynamic or to be surprised when one person takes over, despite who it might be? Is it best to expend the effort to co-captain the relationship and family as Gail has insisted Terry do?* Or will this inevitably become a battle for power, causing more trouble than it’s worth? Is there a purple pill? I have no answers. But it’s fascinating stuff… and it renews my relief that I don’t have time for dating right now.

purple pill

* You just recently came to me for help pissing someone off, Gail. Just keeping sharp.

I was a 23-year-old divorcée.

I wrote this entry months before moving to WordPress, so very few of my 80 something followers have even seen it. It still greatly resonates with me and I find myself wanting to make the same points in newer posts, so I’m reposting it and I hate the “reblog” style.

The right idea…

In the Midwest, we marry young, often because we have kids even younger. There are a number of reasons for this trend, but to name a few…

One: you can buy a decent house here for well under $100,000, so a couple of 18-year-old kids can actually afford to care for themselves. Two: our parents did it and still effectively force smiles for the family photo. Three: if you have sex before marriage, you will get syphilis of the broken heart and Jesus will personally punch you in the head (or so say our middle school “sex education” classes). Four: country music said it was romantic

Mostly, we just make bad decisions.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some of these marriages that work, against all odds. Mine, however, was not one of them. Married at 19 (for an astounding number of terrible reasons), I divorced at 23 and can name at least 10 people in my graduating class who also want to start a club. One issue with marrying so young remains consistent regardless of location or motivation. When you marry at 19, you miss out on a ridiculous number of milestones and experiences that everyone else your age is having; or, in my hometown, that half of the people your age are having while the other half prepare for their inevitable divorces right along with you.

After high school has ended, we have the chance to go to parties and find other people our age who like the same weird crap we do and introduce each other to new things. We date and realize how and where to meet people, express an interest in them, recognize their interest in ourselves. We discover a personal style and catch up on any of the things we didn’t learn in high school, like how to flirt and dress up for a night out without looking too slutty. We discover what’s attractive on some and what works and doesn’t work for us. We learn how to let someone down easy or bounce back from a brush off. Maybe we even begin doing things alone and becoming comfortable with who we are. As I said, we have the chance. We also have the chance to throw it all away for a white dress that would’ve fit 10 years later and a whole lot of screaming.

Soooo… fast forward five years later. The divorce from the first boy you ever kissed is finalized. The crying and drunken phone calls have ended. You’re moving on. It’s healthy. And you have no idea what the fuck you are doing.

Divorce is bad enough on its own. You’re humiliated and you feel like you have to explain the story to everyone who hears the D word, so they’ll understand you’re not just careless with the sacred institution of marriage. Only, if you do, you’re that crazy woman who just told someone her life story for no apparent reason. You feel like a failure and if you’re religious, you feel like you pissed all over the Bible. Everyone acts like they knew it was coming from day one and you’re angry because they never told you. Logically, you know you wouldn’t have listened, but you’re furious at them for letting you get married and yourself for being stupid enough to do it in the first place. Everyone assumes you want them to badmouth the ex, but then you feel like an idiot for ever seeing anything in them. You have moments of such intense anger and hatred, you feel like no good and decent person could possibly think such thoughts. These are standard divorce feelings, from what I’ve heard, regardless of age.

A 23-year-old divorcée, however, has these and a whole host of excitingly unique problems. While everyone else was growing and adapting to the previously mentioned scenarios, I had stalemated as a person. Emotionally, I was still 19. Before my ex-husband, I’d never dated. At all. So upon my divorce at 23, I still had the dating skills of the 12-year-old who used to watch and rewatch the same episode of Roswell, desperately wishing she’d magically wake up Liz Parker. I had never changed a tire or filed my taxes or fried an egg. If you think growing up and learning how to be a big girl is embarrassing at 14, try doing it at 24.

Living day to day as a single adult is a completely foreign concept when you’ve been with someone else since you were a child. Waking up in the middle of the night and knowing that you’re the only one to care for you is terrifying. The first time you get sick and no one is there to give a crap, you openly hope it’s Ebola and that all of this will be over soon. Knowing, without a doubt, that you are the only one paying the bills or cooking dinner or hanging photos or getting the oil changed or making the big decisions will cause you to hyperventilate. It’s half the reason you stayed married so long. Even buying your first vibrator is an admittance that you are all alone and caring for yourself entirely. That is scary as shit to someone who has at least been able to pretend someone else was carrying their share of the weight their entire adult life. These are just basic day to day functions, like learning to cook because that was the one thing he would do. However, while you’re fumbling to act like a grown up, you also get to face looking like one.

Bow chicka wow wow…

When you’re struggling to put food on the table and finish college, sex appeal just isn’t a priority. I had to learn, at 23, that hair can do something other than ponytails and braided pigtails. My best friend and a damned Youtube video taught me to apply eyeliner. Multiple times I have stood weeping in a dressing room because I don’t know how to be grown up. One month, I decided I needed a more attractive walk. In my defense, I based this on an interview seminar where the speaker demonstrated the importance of standing up straight. But the forced sway, was all my addition. I thought my usual clumsy stumbling must make me look immature. Only after seeing one of my guy friends imitate said walk, did I realize I looked like someone trying to balance on stilts without stilts. This was nothing compared to the actual interview that involved heels so high, I hobbled in and fell over, praying the manager didn’t see and ran out barefoot with similar aspirations. Figuring out that dresses are a thing, however, is hardly the most terrifying aspect of being suddenly single, though. If trying to master acting and looking like a grown up, simultaneously, when everyone else is years ahead of you, wasn’t daunting enough, there’s dating.

A common issue for even us young divorcées, is that we wonder if we have time to meet anyone else. In the Midwest, we truly are rushed to meet, marry, and procreate as soon as possible. Your 20s don’t really exist. The people who didn’t get married the year you graduated high school are mostly married just five years later. So, not only are you single after the divorce, you are the only single person ever, making dating even less appealing.In my case, I seemed to have polar opposite reactions to men. I either thought they looked at me and internally mooed or they were desperately clutching locks of my hair at night. My first blunder in this area was with a dear friend, who helped me through my divorce. I was on the rebound, terrified of the future, feeling lonely. C was kind and supportive and kept me company through my constant texting. Our mutual friends always made jokes about us being in love. I suppose these things naturally led to my conclusion that C, indeed, had feelings for me. He did not. The awkwardness between us passed and we are great friends to this day, despite the time I tried to kiss him because I figured it would finally set things straight. (Don’t do that.) But even now, a year and a half after the papers were signed, I’m still screwing up my signals.

Online dating was an obvious first choice. I still consider this a valid option. Many people do it and the percentage of them that are nuts is the same as in a local club. Only they don’t usually let you know this by grabbing your ass and saying you owe them for it, so you should come back to their place. The first time around, I wasn’t ready and stopped talking to the guy after he asked to meet me. The second time around, about a year after the divorce, I talked to a new guy for far too long, before meeting him, because he was overseas. He was mostly a nice guy, though too old for me at 30. I felt nothing and purposefully left my phone and purse at the table when I went to the restroom so I wouldn’t talk myself into bolting. Once he informed me that there was no way my divorce was as bad as his, I regretted this decision and ended the date with “I’ll text you.” He never heard from me again.

In hindsight, I regret the way I treated Combat Brian. I should have informed him I felt nothing instead of ignoring him. But this goes along with all of the things everyone else knows how to do at 24. I had no idea how to tell the guy I wasn’t feeling it and figured he’d get the point when he never heard from me again. He may think I’m dead. While Combat Brian did deserve a bit more respect, despite calling my marriage (about which he knew nothing) a bouncy castle, The Air Traffic Controller who told me he ran over a cat on his bike and was pissed that it may have broken his wheel, did not. He had weirdly placed ears, swore too much, didn’t tip the waitress, and told me I was in idiot if I paid less than $2,000 for a bicycle. He texted constantly, even when I didn’t answer. (What the hell? Who does that? Someone with a vagina, that’s who.) So, again, I employed my trademark finesse and just stopped speaking to him. I’m not sorry. However, in the moment he texted me when he saw me at Chick Fil A, I was indeed a bit remorseful… in my pick of restaurants. I smoothly told him I was busy with finals and not deceased. Having more dating experience than I, he took this for what it was, me blowing him off.

Every now and then, I’ll think I’m getting better at this whole thing. I can put on my eyeliner in under a minute. I’ve only found myself stuck in a dress in a department store, near tears, once in the last month. I love living alone and can make Hamburger Helper. I pay my bills and handle rejection from a man I meet online with just enough grace. I feel like I’ve got it all under control. That’s when I do something completely fucking insane.

Bartender was a boy I knew in high school and, something I discovered only recently, worked at a popular restaurant. He’s flirty with a tongue piercing and not my type at all. For some reason, I decided that this was just what I needed. I often feel behind for the fact that my Magic Number is a whopping ONE. Yes. Take the number of people you’ve slept with and divide it by itself and you’ve got mine. I figured casual dating wouldn’t be the worst idea when Bartender wanted to hang out. I took this as a date. He claims he didn’t, but I think he just took the chance to declare crossed signals after I drowned him in text messages for a week and Gail convinced me to send him a sexual solicitation just to see what he’d say. I got $24 for said text and hysterically cried to another friend:

“I suck at this. I have no idea what I’m doing. At least other girls sort of know where they stand. They can look at an orange and think ‘Oh, a fruit’, but I look at an orange and think ‘Yay! A bicycle!.”

After things didn’t seem like they could get any worse, I kept texting him to convince him that I wasn’t insane. At first, it was in the way you’d expect, by explaining the situation… way too many times.Then it was at one week intervals, about unrelated things.

“See. I couldn’t have feelings for you when I’m just texting about True Blood. I’m so casual and smooth. Not crazy at all. Right? I mean, that’s what you’re getting out of this, isn’t it?………..



Lafayette’s my favorite.”

Finally, I’ve realized that the best case scenario here is that the heavy drug use will wipe me from his memory. Really? What was I thinking?

But all of this has taught me some valuable lessons. I now know to let them come to me if I don’t want to risk rejection. I also know that endless texting is really fucking annoying, no matter your intentions. Even the constant self-consciousness has faded a bit. I can now go to a movie alone and not wonder if everyone around me is whispering about why a woman is seeing a movie by herself. (I swear, humans are ridiculously self-centered and Facebook is not helping to convince us that we aren’t constantly being watched.)

This is what everyone in the theater sees…

However, I still find myself assessing every man in the room and looking for a ring. I wonder what they think of me, whether I’d be interested or not. If a sleeve tattoo is one that covers your arm, then the tattoo artist who touched up my foot yesterday had a ski mask. I still could not stop thinking about how badly I wished I’d shaved my feet before this. I may be able to sit through the movie alone, but it’s still awkward to eat out. I know that if I couldn’t take the most basic rejection, I really couldn’t handle a one-night-stand. My brother tells me all the good men are taken at my age and I can hear my biological clock ticking because I wasted so many good years and everyone in the Midwest thinks your soul has died if you don’t have a family of your own by now. I still sometimes cry in the dressing room because I don’t know if I look edgy or silly.

Appropriate for my first day of work, right?

But sometimes, another girl from high school tells me she’s getting divorced and I have some insight. I can relate to how she feels and let her know that, of all places, our hometown is the place to not feel alone in this. And lastly, I can remember that I’d rather be weeping in a dress, because I don’t know if it fits correctly, than weeping in wedding dress because I know it’s all wrong.

Fictional men I’d date… wait… on second thought….

In the past, I’ve dedicated entire posts to a man everyone loves, but I hate: Christian Grey. But there are others, whom I openly cheered for from the beginning… until I gave them a bit more thought. Producers, I must say, you’ve been doing a pretty shitty job of writing my dream guys for the last 50 or 60 years now. For example…

No, no. Not him. I’d have back-of-the-knee sex with this one.

Leonard Hofstadter of The Big Bang Theory


From the beginning, Leonard is the obvious favorite of the BBT gang. Sheldon’s too in love with Sheldon to date; Raj can’t speak to women; Howard’s hand is likely glued to himself in his mother’s kitchen. Leonard is actually a great guy. He’s funny, loyal, independent, cute in a pocket protector sort of way, ambitious, social, successful, smart, and doesn’t mind looking like a nerd when he’s having fun. Even if he is shorter than my preference and probably can’t shoot a gun better than I can, I’d give the guy a chance. On second thought…

I’m 25 and just shy of a Masters degree. Twenty-seven-year-old, PhD-wielding, first season Leonard would be a great match for me. Penny, on the other hand, is an incredibly lost and immature 22-year-old. Yes, at 22, some women are working full-time and planning a wedding. They have an understanding of their life goals and finances. I get that. Some, however, are collecting Hello Kitty panties while they wait for their fontanelles to close, like Penny. This girl has moved from Nebraska to LA with the hopes of becoming an actress. She laments the fact that she cannot accomplish her goal, yet rarely attends any auditions. She works at the Cheesecake Factory and spends well beyond her means, not just shopping, but by living alone in an apartment that two physicists can afford to share. She’s lost and looking for direction in life, a not uncommon occurrence at her age and the entire basis for the Fifty Shades series. She’s often short on her rent, so she needs someone else to pick up the slack, pay for her internet, cover her share of the fast food bill, and just generally finish raising her. Enter Leonard.

Despite his success and security in his career, Leonard is desperately clinging to the idea that the nerd can get the girl. You know what? That’s pretty danged true. Many women his own age have dated enough douche bags to look past the superficial stuff and recognize a decent guy. Leonard, however, is too insecure to approach those girls, so he takes advantage of the hot chick next door, who is desperately seeking someone to take care of her. Penny sees this in steady and reliable Leonard and mistakes it for romantic feelings, so he takes his chance to  prey on some of those daddy issues and get a piece of that Hello Kitty clad ass.

The issue here is not the general age difference, but the fact that Leonard and Penny are worlds apart in their interests, their aspirations, and their places in life. I don’t doubt that there are some couples who are 22 and 28 and function quite well. I doubt that Leonard and Penny could even possibly be one of them and that someone of Leonard’s intelligence wouldn’t immediately realize this. There’s no way he thinks he and Penny are even going to have common ground for small talk, but he pursues a relationship anyway, because the cheerleader turned him down one too many times. Penny just sees a nice guy who has his shit together, which appeals to her, because she so very much doesn’t. While both are adults and I’m by no means suggesting Leonard be placed on a national registry, I do think that based on his age and education, he’s more capable of recognizing “using someone” versus “dating someone” and therefore blame him for this destructive relationship.

Luke Danes of Gilmore Girls

luke danes

When Lorelei Gilmore leaves her stifling upper-class home life as a teenager (baby in tow) she takes refuge in Stars Hollow, Connecticut: a town with an exorbitant land-tax, based on the number of elaborate festivals held each year. Seriously. That’s what the sign at the city limits should say. Lorelei raises her daughter in Stars Hollow and exchanges adorable daily banter with Luke, the local diner owner for years, before she sees what all her neighbors and the entire audience could already see and they finally get together.

Luke is a successful business owner, just like Lorelei. He’s funny, intelligent, frugal, and doesn’t let anyone push him around. Shockingly, he has very little baggage for a guy in his mid-thirties, except for an ex-fiance and delinquent nephew. He loves Lorelei’s daughter and clearly adores Lorelei in a way I can totally appreciate, because it doesn’t involve any obvious emotion or romance. Ew. This is on cable, people, not Showtime. He’s the perfect small town guy. On second thought…

Lorelei loves Stars Hollow, the home that took her in, because being wealthy is awful or something. She really gets into the ridiculous festivals and town meetings and is friends with everyone. Her daughter has spent her whole life here and it’s the only home she knows. Luke is a true native, but he’s so fucking negative all the time that I can’t help but hope he gets lost in a hay maze or run over by a colonial wagon. It’s not enough to just not participate in something, he has to take the time and effort to make everyone else feel stupid for enjoying their surroundings (and massive amount of tax dollars at work) and having a good time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local hockey game. a town meeting, or a snowman building contest, Luke isn’t having fun unless he’s taking a shit on Taylor’s podium. Granted, that might be worth a celebration, but come on. He’s the fifteen-year-old who thinks it’s clever to publicly criticize everyone who likes Twilight or my coworker who says “That would lower my IQ” about all genre fiction.





No one is superior for disliking harmless fun. It’s fine to skip the All Night Danceathon. I don’t think I’d want to attend that either. However, attending it just to mock everyone who showed up sounds more exhausting than the event itself. Dating someone who’s constantly making you feel like an idiot for being involved in your community and immersing yourself in the local culture sounds like it would lead to the worst pillow talk ever.

Joey Tribbiani of Friends

joey tribbiani

I don’t care if I was six years old when the first episode of Friends aired. I can still totally relate to the depiction of the random years between college and babies, when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want in life. You know, the years that don’t exist in the Midwest. Joey Tribbiani was cute, loyal to his friends, good with birds (totally loses points for that, because birds are terrifying), funny, laid back, supposedly good in bed, and just generally comfortable to be around. He’d have been great for Phoebe, and not only because they were the only two left. On second thought…

I don’t even know how Joey Tribbiani got five friends, because he was a horrible person.  This show started with a 24-25-year-old Joey, who was still trying to be an actor. In time, he makes it on a soap opera, which is indeed impressive. The problem is that this lasted only two or three seasons out of ten. How did he support himself the other seven or eight seasons? Oh, yeah. He didn’t. It’s great to pursue your goals in life, but there’s a time to grow up and realize that you aren’t going to be a rock star. Perhaps you can still find a way to support yourself with your passion, and if so, that’s awesome. But that’s not what happened with Joey. He spent most of this series “borrowing” money from Chandler and stealing food from Monica and Rachel, all the while trying his best to contract some kind of venereal disease.

Not only was this guy a financial leech and a womanizer, but as the show went on, he became progressively stupider. I don’t understand how any of these people related to this guy after the first two years. Chandler and Ross were dedicated workers from the first episode, while Monica and Rachel  (who were two years younger) found their passions and careers in a relatively reasonable amount of time. Phoebe may never have joined the corporate world, but she did pay her own way through a means she enjoyed. In fact, Phoebe was the grown-up version of Joey, dreaming of being a singer while still working a day job she found financially and personally satisfying. It’s not like Joey even paid back his friends’ generosity in any other ways either. Joey half-asses every relationship in his life, from refusing to share food with his date to losing every single item in an apartment where he doesn’t even regularly pay rent. How did the guy even get laid past age 30 while claiming to be an actor with no day job and few auditions? I know I can’t wait to adopt support marry this guy.

George Bailey

george bailey

What the hell kind of list am I working from? Present day, 00s, 90s, and then the fucking 40s? For realz, though. If you haven’t thought of George Bailey’s big ol’ greyscale hands while masturbating, you’re doing it wrong.

Still reading? Or was that enough to make you close the browser?

George Bailey is the epitome of American Family Man. He has a sense of family loyalty to rival the Godfather, lost his hearing saving his baby brother, is kind (but not too kind) to the town slut, stands up to Potter, and repeatedly sets aside his own happiness to do what’s right for everyone else. He’s good-natured, charismatic, and the whole town freaking loves him. On second thought…

George Bailey whines more than any single holiday movie character ever and that includes Charlie Brown wanting to kill himself and Ralphie wanting his Red Ryder BB gun. So you gave up going to college to take over the Bailey Building and Loan, George? Well, that’s what happens when you choose to give up going to college to take over the Bailey Building and Loan. You got married instead of traveling the world? Well, that’s what happens when you choose to marry before you’ve traveled the world. No one forced this guy to do anything. George and Mary are about to embark on their honeymoon when they get news of a run on the banks and solve the issue by handing out their own savings. Then the babies come and they keep on coming, so the trip never happens. I didn’t once hear Mary complain about missing her honeymoon and giving birth to George’s litter under the stairs. She didn’t mention how she could’ve been the rich wife of Sam Wainwright instead of listening to George bitch all the time (though according to an alternate reality, no one would’ve wanted her and she’d have become ::duh duh duh:: A LIBRARIAN! Fuck. Off.) The guy wanted credit for making the choices for the greater good, but still wanted pity for all he sacrificed. Life is still about sacrifice and choices and that was far truer in the 1940s. This guy was no trailblazer for his hard times. Instead of standing by his choices, being proud of all the good he’s done, and leading by example, George complains so much that the freaking Heavens intervene. Angels are actually sent down to Earth to shut this guy up. Sure, I want to marry someone good and selfless one day, but not if I have to forever hear about how good and selfless he his.

How about these writers take the best qualities of all these guys – the smarts, the financial awareness, the laid back attitude, the confidence, and the sense of responsibility – and toss out the insecurity, the negativity, the laziness, and all the fucking whining? I’d write fan-fiction over that. Also, make him look like this…

I am telling you, I would do things that would make my Gramma weep.

I WISH I had married Lord Voldemort.

“If I had been a better wife, he’d have been a better husband.”

I wept that sentence so many times. Even after I stopped saying it, a part of me truly still believed it. Then, one day, I was cleaning out my hard drive and I found the conversations online. I only read a few lines. I didn’t need to read more. I thought of the time he had to go “work” out of town for one of the jobs that wouldn’t pay him. I thought of his indignation if I even touched his phone. I told Gail via text message and she responded with…

“And how do you feel about that?”


Emotions freak me out, y’all. A tenderhearted moment by text was not going to help the raw humiliation coursing through me. I’ve never been a fan of therapy and called it witchcraft through the several college courses Gail had taken. It was a mutual joke, but her asking me such a Black Couch question made me feel like a case study. Defensively, I responded with…

Me: “Oh, don’t try that voodoo crap on me. Go shake your rat bones at someone else.”
Gail: “Well, fuck you. I was just trying to help.”
Me: “Did they teach you that in your Intro to Psych class? I’m glad you changed your major if you’re going to tell your patients to fuck off.”

I can count on one hand how many times Gail and I have fought in ten years and this would be one of them. It didn’t even escalate. We stopped texting each other about it and spoke in person. Calmly, I explained that she’d made me feel like Test Subject 9. She apologized and clarified that that wasn’t how it was meant. I apologized for being a bitch. End of fight.

cat fight
Just like this… only halfway through, we lose steam and it turns into an awkward hug.

I remember setting his clothes out for him the rare times he had work, so he’d have no excuse not to go. I remember telling him how proud I was that he was providing for his family so he’d keep it up. He never did… even when he wasn’t lying about having a job in the first place.

“If I’d been a better wife, he’d have been a better husband.”

I told Gail that day that I didn’t believe that anymore, but I was lying to us both. The conversations I found were dated from the last year of our relationship. A part of me still thought that if I’d motivated him properly, he’d have gotten a job early on in our marriage and would have become someone else, someone faithful.

Hmm… it may also take the greatest sorcerer that ever lived.

Then, one day, I was lying in my living room floor. I wasn’t upset at all and was just trying to ease the pain in my back by resting my legs on the couch. I let my mind wander. I thought of all the times I’d left candles burning, forgotten to turn the stove off, microwaved a fork, left my Chi plugged in… and nothing happened. Fires don’t just start themselves. On July 12, 2007, my ex-husband lost his job… and I came home from work after less than an hour and everything was gone. What could be salvaged still smells of smoke and sometimes, just opening the right DVD case is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

The skill in my ex’s deception lay within his conviction, not his storytelling. He was always too innocent. He was the only one home, but claimed he’d never even turned on the stove. There was no insurance and therefore no thorough investigation, but there was still cash. The Red Cross and our landlord combined gave us around $1,000. That doesn’t include what we got from family. The devastation took everyone’s mind off the fact that he’d lost his job. The rent for the next month had been handled. The fire report stated that the cause was unknown, there were no wiring problems, and that the fire had started in the kitchen. The firemen speculated someone must have left the stove on.

My pets lay on the lawn with a blackened sheet over them. They looked like they were sleeping. The firemen said the cats hid from the flames. The stray puppy we’d just taken in was crated. They died of smoke inhalation… scared and confused. We acquired the kitten and the stray together, but the black cat had been mine since I was 13. I brought him into her life when I was the one who was supposed to protect her. I still hate myself for that. She must have been so terrified… and I wasn’t there.

Gail and I had drifted after high school. We hadn’t been close since my wedding, seven months earlier. We had both been so busy being miserably married that we hadn’t had much time for each other. She was still Gail, though. So when my heart was broken, I called her. She says the worst way I’ve ever opened a conversation was with “They’re all dead.” Hearing the story, she knew then that my ex had started the fire. She also knew better than to tell me that, because I’d feel I had to show loyalty toward him and defend him. It wasn’t until I lay in my living room floor a year and half ago, crying with the kind of sobs that shake your whole body and make you look uglier than a crying Anna Paquin, that I put the pieces together. When I relayed it all to Gail, she just said sadly “I know.”

sookie crying
Really… they should just make her stop doing that.

He wasn’t sad the pets had died. He didn’t cry. He even told me he was relieved not to have them anymore. He tried to get me to spend the Red Cross money on a new XBOX. He swore he’d never used the stove.

He swore he’d never used the stove.

He swore he’d never used the stove.

Fires don’t just start themselves.

I slept next to that man for three more years.

Our junior year of high school, there was a man in a nearby town who had killed a little girl and contemplated eating her. I remember discussing with Gail how awful it would be to be the woman who lost her virginity to that man. I was right. I want to scrub my skin off thinking I ever let such a monster touch me… that he’s the only one who has.

I don’t know if my ex-husband ever loved me or if I was just his meal ticket. I tend to think he did at one time, but that he truly and thoroughly lost his soul that day, at 19 years old. I realize now that it doesn’t matter. He made his choices and I made mine. He used and abused me and I took it… for years. He honed his skills with me and he’ll only get better. Regardless, I’m waiting for the day he ends up in federal prison for targeting the wrong person. Nothing gives a gal peace of mind like knowing her psychotic ex-husband has a warrant out for his arrest in her home state. He’s not my problem anymore, though. Thank you, Jesus.

If I’d have been a better wife… he’d have just had a sweeter deal.

Thank God I lost the baby.

An Epidemic of Lost Boys


When I was 4, my brother and I bounced up and down on my mom and dad’s bed holding hands and shouting about how he was turning 8. It’s an oddly precious memory from my childhood, because it sounds like something from Fullhouse, rather than the more accurate Roseanne, but we could not wait to grow up. Lately, though, I’ve been observing my generation – not just on online dating sites – and I’ve realized… a bunch of people don’t want to anymore.

Today, I’m 25 years old. I work two jobs. I’m in graduate school. I pay my own way, more or less. I’m on my mother’s cell phone plan and give her my share monthly. Every now and then my dad will buy me a new set of tires and my Gramma will give me money to get a new coffee maker… or a new coffee maker… or a new coffee maker. Seriously, that was the shittiest damned coffee maker.

coffee maker
This one. Do not buy this fucking coffee maker.

Overall, I don’t get a lot of outside support and I can’t wait until the day I can say I get no outside support. I know we’re in hard economic times, because I buy groceries and pay my bills. I understand the guy who can’t afford to live on a first-year teacher’s salary or the girl who can’t work enough to support herself while going to law school. I also know that sometimes the world falls out from under you. Gail spent two years living in her old high school bedroom (cough :: parents’ new storage closet :: cough) after her infant daughter died. She substituted with me and tried to figure out how to rebuild her life in the safety of the only home she knew, surrounded by unused picture frames and stuffed back rests. When I was going through my divorce, I used to go to my Gramma’s house just to sleep in her bed for a few hours, because it was the only place I felt safe and protected. I had no high school home I could retreat to to lick my wounds and if I had, I’d have moved back. I fully admit that.

There are exceptions… and there are the people with full-blown Peter Pan syndrome. The people to which I refer aren’t in college or trade school. They aren’t saving their money to buy a house or putting in the hours until they get promoted to full-time. They’re stagnant. They “live at home” and work part-time jobs… or they don’t. They pay a few bills… or they don’t. It’s senior year of high school eight years later… and it’s happening all the time. We have an epidemic of Lost Boys.

lost boys
A summary of your online dating search results.

Historically speaking, Failure to Launch is a trend in tough economic times.* Currently 56% of men and 43% of women ages 18 to 24 live with one or both parents.* If you weren’t paying attention, men top women in this trend by 13%, whereas women historically were more likely to stay home as adults. Compare that with my parents’ generation leaving home around age 20.* These are some interesting statistics, but that’s all they are: numbers. No one knows why this is happening, so allow me to speculate from my insider viewpoint.

Our parents saw an easier life for us than what they’d experienced. College was a dream for them and therefore the key to happiness; so they told us we could be anything we wanted. They remembered the harsh bullying and exclusion they experienced as kids; so they gave out “participation trophies.” They grew up with Depression Era parents who didn’t want to spend the extra dollar for entertainment; so they went into debt buying every new gadget. They left home at 20; so they let us stay indefinitely. They loved us; so they completely overcompensated.

Now, we are Millennials. We learned to type by chatting with friends over AOL Instant Messenger. We knew how to work the parental controls on the Internet better than our parents did. We went from Duck Hunt to Call of Duty without blinking an eye. We memorized the television prime time lineup. We invented cyberbullying. We were the first generation to Google the answer and do the research online the night before. Our authority figures stumbled over themselves to safeguard against the dangers involved in all of the above, but could never quite keep up, because they were still learning themselves. Essentially, we were a technological experiment… and look at the results.


Yes, many of us are moving forward with our tech skills, but because our parents were buried beneath a mountain of debt giving in to our (and their) every whim, we were constantly told how much being an adult sucked and to enjoy childhood as long as we could. Now, a number of us are doing just that. The aforementioned Lost Boys “live at home” to “save money.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They don’t live at home. I live at home. That’s what home is. They live at their parents’ home. Also, how much money have they saved? Ohhhhh, they can afford a nicer car and more nights out living at home? That’s not saving money, that’s spending money. Those are opposites. It is not expensive to live here. I survive on about $1,400 a month. Comfortably. That’s why people move to the Midwest. I have personally met many people my age who just have no reason not to live on their own. Some even have college degrees and decent jobs. They just don’t want to grow up, because it comes with more responsibility. Yeah. It does. It’s also not optional. No one’s going to freeze at 19 until they decide to get on board with this aging thing. They’re going to stay home and play video games while pulling the occasional evening shift at the movie theater and then what? They’re going to wake up at 28 and turn on the game system instead of going to their high school reunion, because they haven’t moved forward in ten years.

The thing is, this stagnation takes funding. The electricity running through that laptop to create that sad Plenty of Fish profile isn’t free. I am not blaming our parents. We are adults now. It is no one’s fault but our own if we choose not to move on with our lives. Just maybe, though, the parents with the 28-year-olds in the back room should stop enabling them. They aren’t scared teenagers searching for direction. They’re lazy, unaccountable, users and they’re eventually going to have to join society in their own right. It’s never too late for someone to turn their life around. It’s also never too late to sit them down and say “I love you, but I’m not funding this lifestyle anymore. You have three months.” No matter the coddling that took place growing up, it is up to us to be an active part of this world and not to take advantage of the parents who loved us so much that they destructively committed to giving us everything we ever wanted in life.

I was told over and over that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up.

victorias secret angel
A Victoria’s Secret Angel
Princess Eugenie
An actual princess
Beyonce Knowles

Now I’m 25 and it’s time to realize that I will never look that good naked. I don’t have royal blood. My singing could offend Helen Keller. I hope my generation will find a balance between the “walk it off” and the “participation trophies” when we’re raising our own kids. I hope that all of these people who think being an adult sucks will realize… they’re doing it wrong. The Lost Boys are missing out on so many things, from cooking naked, to having late night television marathons, to masturbating without worrying anyone will hear, to singing loudly off key, to only ever having to clean up their own messes, to playing their video games on their own time and dime, to feeling a sense of autonomy and accomplishment when they’ve mastered their budget. Most importantly though, their parents are missing out on some of their best years to do the same things. We’re taking advantage out of selfishness and misplaced fear.

“You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone. You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.” – Andrew Largeman Garden State

I love Garden State, but my ass. There’s no reason you can’t live alone and be single and make yourself a home. You’ve just got to actually try.





Why I may or may not be too stupid to date.

So not only do I not have time to date right now, but you know that scene in Where the Heart Is, where Natalie Portman has decided to teach herself to read after giving birth in a Wal-Mart? She explains that it’s absolutely exhausting because she has to look up every other word in the dictionary and then look up those words in the children’s dictionary. That’s me, but with dating, because I have no idea what the fuck I am doing.

natalie portman wedding
She eventually mastered both, however.

A few months ago, I went on a date with Engineer. He was cute enough in his pictures, had a big boy job, and the conversation had gone alright online, so I met him at a fast food restaurant after work one evening. I had homework to do, but figured I could fit in a little bit of a social life (wrong). As I was driving away from our first meeting, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just didn’t like him. Gail’s always telling me I don’t give guys enough of a chance, because she’ll go out with a guy whose shoes are made of wheat at least four times before she gets tired of hearing about how he’s going to make it big with his “art” one day, so the McJob is just temporary. So, after leaving Engineer, I thought of several reasons not to like him, but didn’t want to share any of them with Gail, because I was afraid she’d tell me I was going to die alone. I did, however, tell her when Engineer asked for a second date. I left out everything negative and she, naturally, encouraged me to continue getting to know him. A couple of days later, I sent Gail this text:

“I canceled my date with Engineer. I just really don’t like him and didn’t want you to tell me I’d die alone.”

At this point, I think Gail realized that she’d been making enough jokes about my dating habits to convince me I couldn’t confide in her and that’s how we both ended up married to lunatics that one time. So she called and was absolutely non-judgemental, but wanted to hear the whole story, because we tell each other everything.

bloody wedding dress
I never was sure what to do with that dress.

First off, this guy hated THE UNIVERSE. He was one of those people who thought that disliking things made him superior. He immediately insulted Twilight and anyone who reads “that stupid vampire crap.” I’ve read five books about vampires this month and had a private True Blood marathon this week. I like Superman, but Batman is better. I hardly watch T.V., but he didn’t even own a T.V. and was super proud of that fact, despite watching the shows he likes on his computer. That’s still screen time! He didn’t read and had never been to the local library. He was oddly against drinking at all and clearly judged anyone who wasn’t. He thought religion was stupid and that football was a waste of time. He didn’t like any movies and told me he hates all music, because it’s all the same.  For fucking realz, yo. On the way home, trying to pinpoint why I didn’t like him, I just kept thinking of how little we had in common… because he’d have nothing in common with anyone living. Then, venting to my best gal, the one person who is always on my side, I remembered… the rest.

Me: “I actually hurt my back really badly when I decided to take up running the same week I tried a P90X vid…”
Engineer: “Okay, no offense, but there’s no way you can do P90X.”
Me: “I was going to say it was just the ab exercise.”

He immediately told me he had ADHD and proved he loved to talk about it. He actually stopped speaking for a moment (but only a single moment in the whole fucking date) to tap the shiny lightbulb and comment on how it was shiny and he liked shiny things. It was like his dialogue was written by a 14-year-old who thinks that’s what people with ADHD say.

Me: “So if your ADHD is so bad, how’d you get through college with such trouble focusing?”
Engineer: “I slept. The professors knew that if they woke me up, I’d just correct all of their answers and embarrass them, so they just let me sleep.”

… and….

Engineer: “So I was working as a janitor at this plant, after college, and it just sucked, because I knew I was smarter than every single person there.”

I felt like the best case scenario would be dating for a couple of weeks before I lost my shit and shouted “OH MY GOSH! You hate everything but yourself! Why am I even here?!?!”

… because finally…

Me: talking about how my dad wants bragging rights from his kids “He loves to tell people that I have a master’s degree at 25, even though I’m not finished yet.”
Engineer: “Bet he doesn’t tell them what it’s in, though.”

Oh, go suck a bag of dicks! On your way, be sure to get distracted and suck a bag of super SHINY dicks!

chrome penis
I seriously need to turn on the SAFE SEARCH.

So how does all of this make me stupid? It was a bad date that I tried to smooth over. Maybe I gave that unreasonable effort, but anyone can be the victim of a bad date. “Too stupid to date” is awfully harsh.

The thing is, for someone who shouted “HOLY FUCKING CUNT ROLLS!” the other day, I have it on good authority that I can be shockingly naive. I didn’t even think to tell Gail the following until the end of the story.

Me: “Well, he did say one thing that might have been kind of weird, but I think I was reading into it.”
Gail: “What did he say?”
Me: “Well… um… nevermind. It sounds worse than it is when I say it out loud.”
Gail: “What did he say?!?!”
Me: “Well, when I texted to ask what intersection we were meeting at, he responded with ‘the restaurant or my apartment?’, but I think he just misunderstood what I was asking.”
Gail: imitating my voice… poorly  “Ell oh ell! You don’t know how words work!”

She thinks she’s the sweet one.

Me: “That can’t be what he meant! It was the first time we’d met! He did not want to have sex with me. He said he was looking for an actual relationship. People don’t do that.”
Gail: “Yes, Belle. They do. That is exactly what he meant. Also, he was lying.”
Me: “Oh, it is not. We’re too old for those games. If he wanted sex, he’d say so online. But… wait… maybe…”
Gail: “Maybe what?!? What else did he say?!?!”
Me: “Well, when he asked me to go on the second date, he asked what I was doing and said he was watching Arrow. I said I like that show and he asked if I wanted to watch it with him, but I’m sure he meant at some undetermined time in the future!” I spit the last part out before she could interrupt.
Gail: “Oh, he did not! He wanted you to come over right then so he could pretend his computer was broken and fuck.”
Me: “You’re making that up! He called me fat on the first date! No one does that! Ewwww.”
Gail: “Well, clearly he didn’t mind, because that’s what he meant.”
Me: “Maybe he wanted me to go over there, but that doesn’t mean he wanted to have sex. You’ve gone to men’s apartments several times when you’ve just met.”
Gail: “Yeah… and I knew what they wanted.”
Me: “Wait, then what did he mean when he said ‘if tomorrow night goes well’?”
Gail: “OH MY GOD! I am so glad you didn’t go to this man’s apartment! Do not apologize for canceling and do not talk to him again!”

It’s probably best for Gail’s nerves that I’ve put dating aside for a few months… especially since I never was completely sure of his intentions.

confused on phone

The Lucky One… rented a different movie.

I was supposed to go to a baby shower today, but there was an apocalyptic downpour for the ten minute window in which I would’ve left. I still want to send a gift, so I went to Family Video and got a gift card, some candy, and microwave popcorn to go with the sparkling grape juice I’d bought. I figured I’d give a date night, since I know shit about what babies do. Then I was possessed by demons, and not the good kind like the sexy ones from my werewolf porn, but rather the entire hoard of Gentlemen from Hush, the silent episode of Buffy. You know what they did to me? They made me rent The Lucky One.

You couldn’t have just taken my heart?!?!?!

I’ve been on a romance kick with my Kindle, so I figured I’d give this whole chick flick thing another try. Clearly, I like the sweet love stories, right? The thing is, unless it’s done phenomenally well, the words on the page are just too overdone on-screen. I’m afraid of emotion, y’all. I can’t handle this without laughing. You are really going to enjoy my entries if I ever get into another relationship. But… I decided to give the genre another shot and asked for a recommendation since the last movie I saw was The Collection, because boys are gross.

“If you like The Notebook, you’ll love this one.”

I totally intend to write a blog about everything that is wrong with The Notebook, but I didn’t feel like browsing any longer. The thing is, I don’t hate The Notebook. I Titanic it. What that means is that I think it’s a really sweet story if you don’t scratch the surface… not even a little. The Lucky One, though? Well, at one point, I accidentally changed the language to French and wasn’t sure if I liked the movie enough to bother figuring out how to change it back. It may grow on me though… like genital warts.

The movie opens with a battle scene where a freshly shaven and showered Zac Efron (Logan) and company are shooting people with what sounds like cap guns. Whatever, though. This is a love story, not a war story. The next day, Logan stumbles across a photo of a hot chick. When he bends down to pick it up, a bomb goes off and had he continued walking, he’d have been killed. More bad stuff happens and Logan lives, because the photo tells him to “Stay Safe” on the back. All his buddies keep telling him the woman pictured saved his life and he has to find her.

Wait. What? A soldier finds a picture of a woman on the ground and is immediately driven and encouraged to track her down? I know we find out later that the picture belonged to her brother, but Logan doesn’t know that. If a soldier has a picture of a hot chick on him, it’s kind of natural to assume she’s taken by a soldier. No one even considers or proposes this idea and Logan decides he must find his angel and thank her. ::Vomit::

Logan makes his family uncomfortable, because he’s irreparably damaged by war, so he walks from Colorado to Louisiana asking people if they know the girl in the picture, eventually finding her home town.

Wait. Shut the front door! He just happens to find someone who recognizes the girl in the photo, which says only “Stay Safe” on the back? I’m not fucking buying it. Unless there was a visible license plate number in said photo, the odds of just stumbling across her in the straight line you walked through two or three states are just too ridiculous for even a Nicholas Sparks story about fate. I read books about people who have to arrange their wings properly during sex and you still cannot convince me that Zac Efron finds the woman in this picture… but he does… because of fairy dust and love.

He didn’t walk. He rode in.

Logan eventually tracks down his savior and how incredibly disappointing is it for him that she is a total bitch? Has Nicholas Sparks ever even met a nice woman? This man is beginning to make me truly concerned for his personal relationships. If the movies based on his books are any indication, Nicholas Sparks owns a boat, is not nearly as terrified of geese as I am, and is in an abusive relationship. Beth the Savior is nasty to Logan from the beginning, with absolutely no catalyst. He says he’s a marine and she blows him off and calls him crazy, which I’m sure would make her brother proud. She implies that he’s stupid, because he only went to college for a year. Later, we find out that she doesn’t like him because he works too hard. Listen, bitch. Try being married to a man who is too lazy to bathe for four years and we’ll talk about the pitfalls of the man who fought for his country. At this point, I was hoping this was one of those movies where she gets a disease and dies.

Beth eventually warms up to Logan, and we’re not allowed to be angry at her for being a bitch, because she was sad that one time and we women can’t control our emotions around people who had nothing to do with our sadness. Yeah. I’m on board with that.

eye roll

There are two main conflicts in this movie.
1) When will Logan tell Beth he found her picture?
2) Why’s it such a big fucking deal?
Also, Beth’s ex-husband is a douche bag and sheriff, even though he’d have to be like 9 years old, based on the timeline of this movie. Seriously. They got pregnant and married at 18 and the kid is 8. He’s 26 and sheriff? I suppose it’s possible.

There’s a lot of slow sensual sex, because people in love don’t fuck with wild abandon, duh. We see them dance and laugh, even though we never once hear either of them say something funny. Finally Beth learns that Logan knew her brother… and I still didn’t get why this was a bad thing. I have a big brother. I love him very much, even if he is a bigot who thinks fart jokes are hilarious. I’d be devastated if he died in war. You know what else? I’d think it was super cool that this guy found my picture and it was his good luck charm. It’d be even neater that he was hot and good in bed. I sure as shit wouldn’t be angry about it.

In a wildly unrealistic turn of events, Beth’s kid runs off in the rain, falls into a river, and his dad dies in an act of heroism, because somebody built the worst fucking treehouse of all time. Lady, if that treehouse couldn’t hold up to rain, your kid probably shouldn’t have been in it in the first place. Fo sho.

Oh, I’m not being fair. Louisiana isn’t really known for its storms.

Logan finds a photo of Beth’s brother and realizes that he was one of the guys with the cap guns and he died to save his partner. He tells Beth and dramatically walks away.

Why not just leave the way you got there?

Beth catches up with him, they kiss, and the kid has like zero rebound time to get over his dad’s death. They all live happily ever after.

There are chick flicks I’ve truly enjoyed, such as Sweet Home Alabama, 500 Days of Summer, Riding in Cars with Boys and Bridget Jones’s Diary. It’s just not fun to review those, because I can’t be sarcastic and smart alek. There are many more I’ve enjoyed, but love to tear apart, because according to Jay I’m “too analytical”. These include The Notebook, Gilmore Girls, Bewitched, Just Married, The Twilight Saga, and No Strings Attached. I enjoy watching these movies with and without analysis. Then there are movies I hate: The Women, The Vow, Pretty Woman, Enough, License to Wed, Life as We Know It. I’m not sure where The Lucky One falls. It’ll probably just be forgettable. But it was worth the $3 rental charge to enjoy “over-analyzing” it. The rest are sure to come.

Top Lines That Did Not Work On Screen, Because Emotions Freak Me Out

“Why did you come here?”
“To find you.”
I think someone once told me that in an alley where no one could hear me scream.

“Finding something like that in a war is like finding an angel in Hell.”
Has Sparks read the Bible? Because there are evil angels (known largely as demons) in Hell. The infamous Satan being one of them. Duh. So… ‘finding something like that in a war is like finding ham in a refrigerator.'”  – Gail

“You should be kissed every day, every hour, every minute.”
That is going to get really awkward when I’m doing things you’d like to pretend girls don’t do.

woman on toilet