Friday, May 18, 2012

Flash Friday

What am I wearing?
A smile and bad intentions.

When will I know what I want to be when I grow up?
You'll know when you start doing it and no longer ask yourself that question.

Why does everyone treat me like a child?
You act like one?

How did my boyfriend find out that I cheated?
Your best friend couldn't let you embarrass him anymore.  She's a good girl. Don't be mad at her.

Will I ever be able to move on from what happened?
Eventually.  Don't rush it, though or it will just come back to haunt you.  Live through the pain now and you'll be free soon enough.  You're doing a great job so far and I'm very proud of you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bit and Bridle in the Bridal Party

Dear Eve,

I need help settling an argument between my fiancé and myself.  I think that we should combine our finances into one account and share it.  She wants us to keep separate accounts and split the bills 50/50.

Who is right?

Dear Fair and Square,

You're right, of course!  Combining your accounts is a gesture of commitment.  It's a way to say, "What belongs to me, belongs to you.  We have the same goals and values and trust each other implicitly."  You are showing each other that you are so confident in the forever-ness of your union that you're willing to give up any last vestiges of material autonomy that you've held onto.  Sounds pretty fucking awesome to me and is a wonderful way to start a fantastic life together.

A joint account, also, if you're doing it right, erases the crazy notion that one of you has more right to your funds than the other.  Sometimes it's reasoned that the person who makes the most money has more say in how the money is used and more right to use it for just themselves.  Or it will be decided that if one's not contributing money into the household, for whatever reason, access to the family money should be minimal.  And if you're in a really shitty relationship, the non-earner has to ask/beg for money when it's needed. This makes me furious. You can't have a relationship of equals when one person feels entitled to more while also feeling emboldened to treat the other like a child.  A relationship of equals is the only kind worth working for; if you're not ready for a authentic connection with your partner and the sacrifices that are a part of that, do everyone a favor and save your I-Do's for someone less permanent like your favorite bartender. "Do you want want that scotch neat?"and you, answering with tears in your eyes, say "I do. Until the end of forever! I do!"  You do, indeed.  That's a commitment I feel confident that you can honor.

The bill splitting is another thing all together.  You might think, "Okay.  We're each using half of everything, what's the big deal to split our expenses down the middle?  It's logical."  It may be logical, but logic never kept anyone married. Someone always makes less, so paying their "fair share" will be more of a burden.  You better believe that resentment will creep in if one person has access to play money each month and the other doesn't have the same financial leeway. Nothing says romance like having to borrow money from your spouse to go on vacation.  I've seen it happen and the money wasn't collected until the divorce settlement.  Yay for splitting bills!

For the record, I am not unreasonable.  I see nothing wrong with each spouse having their own private bank account if there is a surplus after all monetary commitments have been made to the joint account, including a savings fund.  Allow yourselves an equal amount of money per month with which to do what you will.  One of you might be a saver, the other might spend it all every month.  It's no one's business what you do.  You can have your own funds; just do it within a jointly determined budget.

In the end, if you can't give up control over the money you bring into the relationship, consider that you're not prepared to be committed to the idea of marriage itself, which is half of the equation of a successful, long marriage.  There is no "Let's prepare for the worst and keep things separate" if you're ever going to really give your marriage a chance.  When you give yourself an out, there's a pretty good chance you're going to take it.

Oh-one caveat:  If either person in the marriage is lazy, self-centered, has no aspirations, and is a nagging little despot that expects the world to serve them, they don't get half of shit.  You don't marry them, either, unless you have serious co-dependency issues.  Marry someone that is you equal in every way.  It will be your own damn fault if you choose not to.  I'll HAHAHA at you from afar (or in your ear if I'm in a bad mood) because you will have chosen this person knowing full well that they are worthless.  When you show up to the wedding with your bridle already on, no one will feel sorry for you when you get the crop, spurs and then are rode hard and put up wet.  ::neigh!:: ::air paw::  ::snort, snort::  Man, I don't like horses.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soul-Sucking Zombie or Sweet 'Lil Sis?

Dear Eve,  

My little sister and I are not close at all, but I sure would love to have the very close relationship with her that I have with my other brothers and sisters.  She’s been addicted to drugs and is currently in jail.  I've been trying to give the tough love and not enable her as our father and mother are doing enough enabling for all of us.  Does it help her or is it irresponsible of me to reach out to her while she's in jail?  In her last jail stint, reaching out only seemed to encourage her to continue to lie to us, but this time she's in for longer and I think she went in possibly with a better mindset this time.

I feel rotten, but I just don't know what to do anymore but  I don't want to be disappointed again!

Dear Please Don't Let Me Be Miss Understood,

You're just going to have to take a chance, bébé.  There is nothing easy when it comes to addiction, especially when the addict is in your family.  No one gets out untouched, whether emotionally, physically, or financially.  The problem is figuring out when it's time for the family to circle their metaphorical wagons and shut out the soul-sucking zombie that the person's become.  In my mind, the wagon train stops sooner rather than later.  There is an extremely small window for benefits-of-the-doubts and second chances.  The addict is a taker extraordinaire, with superpowers unknown to the average human.  They can take and take and boggle your mind in their ability to take even more.  The person is no longer a person, in any significant sense.  They are a drug ingesting machine: their only reason for being alive is to fuel that machine in any and every way possible.  

Know that this is the truth and accept that until she's had a sea change and embraced sobriety, there's really no reason to trouble your pretty little mind about a relationship with her.  However, since she is in jail and no longer an active drug user, starting to build a foundation is an option.  You're going to have to risk a little piece of your heart and endure the accompanying disappointment if it goes south, but she is your sister and will always be, whether she's lost her soul to mind-altering chemicals or not; she's worth the risk.  Just remember, though, that just because she's not ingesting the shit, doesn't mean that she doesn't still have addict behavior, i.e. everything that comes out of her mouth is at least a parital lie and manipulating is her favorite hobby.  However, a little love from you could make a huge difference.  Sometimes a mental encouraging squeeze can give someone the inspiration they need to make a real change.  And sometimes that same squeeze can inspire them to take advantage of you like a teenage boy and the first girl that lets them just "stick the head in a little."  A little usually goes a long way. 

It comes down to what you're willing to risk.  You won't be irreparably damaged if you get your heart hurt; you will be wiser and sadder, but you're a big girl and can handle it.  You have the choice to just write her off; it won't be the first or last time it will happen to her and when she gets super sober, she will understand and not judge you for it. 

Then again, you could also approach this a little loosey-goosey and keep a light and topical correspondence with no super-heavy overtones of familial obligations and make-it-or-break-it conversations. Let her regale you of her convict adventures and the "real characters" and super-nice ladies behind bars.  They believe in Jesus, I swear!  And don't belong there! And the judge was too harsh!  It will be exciting to learn about this new segment of America.  You, in turn, can tell her about the Kardashians and what an asshole your husband is.  Tit for tat.  Or tits for tattoos if she tells the story right.  Either way you go, she's your sis.  You're not going to be an asshole on purpose so don't feel guilty whether you choose to run, engage, or learn what a prick the night-watch guard is.  She gave up her option to choose; you, my dear, did not.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Flash Friday

Is my dress too short?
Not if you're wearing underwear.

Why is my best friend suddenly avoiding me?
You stepped over the line.  Just because you're thinking it, doesn't mean you should be saying it, yelling it, or writing in on the sidewalk with your pee.

When will we finally start to make plans for the future?
Never, bébé.  You don't hold him accountable for anything so, therefore, you get nothing.

Where are my keys?
On the dryer.

How do I tell my dad that I'm sorry?
The "telling" phase is over; it's time for doing.  Get on it. Neither of you are getting any younger and it really wasn't that bad to begin with, right?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Kissed a Frog and I Liked It

Dear Eve,

I'm a 20 year old girl and I wonder if I should get a boyfriend before I'm a senior in college. My parents met each other when they were my age and I worry about being old and alone.

Dear Buy-Him-Off-the-Rack,

Interesting.  Usually questions about procuring a mate have more of a "Will I ever fall in love?" or "Should I wait for my soul mate and not settle?" kinda vibe.  You seem more interested in knowing if it's time to drag a man back to your cave, which is so odd, it's kinda awesome.  I like a woman that has confidence that her destiny will be fulfilled when she deems it so.

So sure!  Get a boyfriend before you graduate if it will ease your mind.  I don't think it will make you happy, but that doesn't seem to be high on your list of priorities, at least not yet.  But honey, getting a boyfriend just for boyfriend's sake is a recipe for misery.  And woe! to the poor slob that you pick!  I hope he doesn't have a romantic bone in his body.

Why approach it this way, though?  I don't think it's unusual for a single woman your age who's not in a serious relationship to start to think about finding someone to spend a lifetime with, but usually there is a drive to find a partner; someone to help make you a better person; someone to make you happy, and laugh and be glad to be alive!  The focus is kissing a lot of frogs to find the prince, not just finding a warm(ish) body before the clock strikes 12.  YOU WILL NOT TURN INTO A PUMPKIN I SWEAR IT if you go home from the ball alone.  And please go home form the ball alone if your only option is bringing home a cold-blooded croaker with a Napoleon Complex.  Just be, woman, and have fun with where you are in your very young life.  Go out and meet new people, hang out with your friends, do the things you love to do and at exactly the right moment, someone will walk into your life and they will never walk out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And the Student Becomes the...Lab Tech?

Dear Eve,

Should I change my major? My parents think I should choose a major that will help me get a job, but I hate the one they've picked.  My current one is in the liberal arts, but my parents are pushing me into one of the sciences.  I know I could be successful in the career they think is best for me, but I know I'll be miserable underneath.


Dear Student,

If you're paying for your education, do what you want.  Out of respect, listen to what your parents have to say, but be sure they know that you are The Decider. You can remind them that you're capable of supporting yourself while sending yourself through school and so, rightly, feel qualified to make good decisions about your career choice, too.  So there!

If they're bankrolling your school and/or life needs, however, then your part-time job should be washing their feet with your hair.  You are simply that lucky/mind-boggling blessed that some type of adoration is called for.  If you don't know and own that, stop taking their money, please, like right now.  When you allow someone to act as an adult on your behalf, you lose a lot of the perks that come with being that adult yourself.  One of those perks is  getting an expensive degree that will be virtually worthless when job-hunting in today's economy.  Your parents have a right to be concerned with your money-making prospects.  They're paying bank now with the hope that when you're schooling is done, you'll be professionally prepared and able to land a job that will allow you to support yourself.  Then they can look at you and proclaim "Success!" and be proud of you and themselves for giving you such a great head-start in life.  But if you get out of school with a degree with few marketable skills in this soul-killing job market, they will probably continue to be a surrogate adult for you, hoping for the day when "Success!" miraculously lands in your lap and they can finally unload you.  This doesn't mean that  you can't have a serious conversation with them about your fear of being miserable.  Do it and then let them tell you to suck it up; be happy on your own time.  You have your whole life and many career changes ahead of you so lighten up and go get a lab coat.

Please don't misconstrue my advice that you get a marketable job as a condemnation of majors that fall into that not-so-marketable category.  I have a useless degree myself and I'm even friends with people with useless degrees.  I've had them to my house for dinner! I'm no condemner.  The thing is, I paid for that bastard all by my lonesome.  I knew there wasn't a chance in hell I'd make any money with it, but I was young, romantic, and looked at college as a place to learn and grow, not as a job farm.  The cool thing about my questionable decision-making process, though, is that it was all mine.  I didn't disappoint anyone or stress anyone else out;  I didn't put out my hand and ask for string-free subsidies. I earned, literally, the right to be a bit of a jackass and to choose obscure knowledge over money-earning power.

So, my darling, if you have a soul-deep need to get a degree in communications, you should do it with that burning passion that only communications majors seem to possess.  Just do it on your own.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Racism? No Thanks. I'm Full

Dear Eve,

My family are hideous racists, and I'm in a biracial relationship with a black man and have been for a year. I want to introduce the love of my life to my fam, but don't want to hear their ugly talk.  Mother's Day is coming up and a big deal in my family, so I'm hoping if I bring him during a fun family day that everyone will have to be nice and they won't be able to go crazy.  I'm scared that even if they are nice they will never accept him and probably kick me out of their life.  If I don't tell my family soon my boyfriend says he wants to break up.  He doesn't want to be with someone who is ashamed of him.  What should I do?

Dear Shameless,

Tell your family the truth?  Apologize to your boyfriend?  Expect more from yourself?  All of these, please.  It's not like you just walked into the situation and Surprise! Surprise! Mama and daddy are racists, oh my!  From the first lash you ever batted at your mister to the last full-body handshake you two shared, they were ugly ol' racists, and you have been Scarlet O'Hara-ing that fact to avoid the pain of confrontation.  You can't put it off any longer if you want to keep your man, so let me walk you through your preferred scenario, just for practice.

Let's set the stage: nice family gathering, beautiful day, staggering plates of sausages being slung around (hhhmmm,  sausages), pony keg of Bud Light in the corner, various ranking cousins and other outliers and relatives lazing about and waxing poetic about lynchings and having arguments about which tar is best when one is feathering a man of color...Bucolic.  And here you come in, basically using your boyfriend as a human flack jacket.  What a douchey thing to do! Everyone knows that when pony kegs are involved all sorts of crazy shit can go down.  But there you are, willing to let this man, whom you profess to love with a passion, to be put in a position where he could be emotionally, verbally, or even physically abused.  Don't do it, lady. He doesn't deserve it and your racist family doesn't deserve the IED, either.  By popping up with your guy out of the blue, you're giving your family a big "fuck you" and "let's see how you jerks handle this."

Do it right.  Tell them in person about the man in your life, or perhaps on the phone if they're really awful and could possibly get violent.  Give them time to adjust to this new information.  When you've done that, and if they've reacted in a reasonable way, set up a nice  get-to-know-you date in a neutral place, like a restaurant.  Your boyfriend will appreciate you treating him so respectfully and, if there is good stuff floating around in the universe, so will the 'rents.  To keep this positive, I've got a true story for you:  A family I know was in your exact predicament.  The dad was cruel and completely cut his only daughter out of his life for many years.  Well, as that man got older his heart got softer and he could no longer tolerate a life without his girl even if she came with a little "baggage."  It turned out that the boyfriend and the dad had a lot in common and became best of friends and stayed close 'til the dad's early death.  People sometimes surprise themselves.

Of course, you could continue to be a coward, have a dishonest relationship with your family, very possibly lose your boyfriend and, along the way, lose your self-respect, too. We all have options. Just make sure that the next time you need a flack jacket buy it off the rack.  Wearing your loved ones is never in season.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh, No You Di'nt! Plagiarize, That Is

Dear Eve,

My professor says I plagiarized a paper I turned in for a college class. He has results from an online service that checks for plagiarism that says my paper is 90% copied from online sources. I know I went to the web for some inspiration and help, but I can't have plagiarized from it. He told us at the beginning of the semester that he would fail us for the entire semester's class if we plagiarize for his class, but I think it's totally unfair that I'm being failed for the class for this one paper. I worked for hours really hard on this paper.

Dear Woefully, Wrongfully, Pitifully Accused & Accursed,

You fucked up.



Your professor, unless he has serious issues (which is a distinct possibility in academia), is not looking for ways to fail his students.  The usage of plagiarizing detecting software is a necessity in higher education, but you know that already!  Sometimes it's just too tempting to pass up perfectly turned phrases, which by chance (serendipity?) also magically echo your own sentiments so succinctly it's impossible to change them!  At least that's easy to think when you're reeling in Paperland, you've not quite got an opinion on anything yet because you're reading a lot of material (please, bob, let this be the case) and still trying to figure out where the hell to begin. Making a quilt of other peoples work is an easy trap to fall in, but one that can be easily avoided when you give yourself the gift of actually caring about your work.  If you did, then you would understand that no matter how cleverly you reword other people's work, it's still not yours.  Plagiarizing is more than just extracting sentences word for word; re-arranging words, phrases, paragraphs all count.  And more importantly, you can plagiarize an opinion; an idea.  Original thought is kinda the whole point of the paper to begin with, yes?

Of course you worked really hard and didn't do anything maliciously (You're a great student!), but that doesn't matter: consequences are consequences.  I can run over a guy that saunters into the middle of the street in front of my dope ride, who's just daring someone to hit him, then kill the swaggering bastard and get sent to jail for involuntary manslaughter.  It wasn't like I was gunning for him, but he's dead just the same.  You killed your paper and it doesn't matter if you did it involuntarily or not: the bitch is dead.

The important thing now is to not let this happen again.  If you have the balls and/or inclination to get more information on where you went wrong, you should.  I know very few profs who would turn a student away who seriously wanted to improve in any area related to their class.  It will help you not repeat the same mistake and it will let them know that you're not just another self-entitled, asshole kid with a helicopter mom and a credit card; that you, my darling, are a serious student. It's never a bad thing, either, to make friends in high(ish) places.  If the guy is a real toe-stubber and doesn't want to work with you, go to the student writing center, give 'em what you got and find out where you went wrong and learn how to write a paper.  You'll be amazed at how much you can improve in a few sessions.  And remember: Failing is totally okay.  It can be a blow financially for many reasons, but one class shouldn't be devastating.  If it is, you will still recover.  This is an expensive wake-up call to take your education more seriously.

On a side note, if I did involuntarily kill someone, don't worry! I wouldn't really go to jail because I'm white, female and foxy.  You wouldn't believe the things I can get away with!  I can only assume that, sadly, you didn't have the "it" that would make your professor overlook your ineptitude because then, you know, you could've totally gotten away with it.  Bad breaks, kid.  Bad breaks.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flash Friday

Is it okay to give up on my diet?
Sure.  Just don't give up on yourself or your ability to make better food choices.

Should I color my hair?
Only if you can afford it.  Then again, go for it anyway.  I can see that you need a change.

Do I give in and finally admit that I'm wrong?
Not yet.  Being passive-aggressive is good.  Throw in a little dishonesty and it's like, Dude!  You're a relationship guru.  Namaste.

Why do I like hot sauce so much?  It's like I'm addicted!
In a way, it's like you are.  It triggers dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin to flood into your noggin.  A mini-drug, so to speak.

How can I stop obsessing over my awful childhood?
See a talk therapist then work really hard to come to terms with it.  You'll amaze yourself with your ability to transform the terrible, haunting past into "Wow that was shitty.  Glad it's over and I'm free."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fun Soul Crusher Seeks Crazy Person for Friendship Only

Dear Eve,

I had an amazing friendship, which is rare to find as an adult. A few months ago, we \"broke up\" the way girls do sometimes. She overstepped the boundaries, we had words and I was crushed. She is sorry. I am sorry. We miss each other, at least she says she that is true. I wonder if we can ever be friends again.

I miss her. We had so much fun together. But I wonder if we can ever trust each other again. I told her I can forget it and move on....put my hand out there, but she has not returned my handshake and I am left there; hand hanging in mid-air. What else can I do to mend a broken friendship? Or is she just gone from my life?

Dear Broken Up,

You can't do anything else.  You've put yourself out there and she's not reciprocated.  I'm having a hard time understanding, though, why you're pursuing her when she's crushed your heart, you don't believe she's sincere in her apology, and you don't trust her as a person.  You did say she was fun, but I think she'd have to be going-to-Cirque-deSoleil-on-white-blotter-acid-fun for me to still be interested.

And because chances are she's not that fun, I think you just might be a little crazy.  Not in the poop-in-the-sink variety crazy, or the going to the grocery store as Lady Godiva and Godiva wants peas!  Naow, Fool! type,  but the more genteel let's-blow-things-out-of-proportion or I'm-not-likable-so-I-expect-bad-treatment or I-am-superior-to-everyone-and-they-are-jealous-so-they-leave-me varieties.  Crazy meaning you don't do "balance" well; your world exists in black-and-white.  If this is you, then scrap the friendship.  Your fun friend doesn't have a chance of ever being rid of the black spot she was given when she dared to cross one of your boundaries, of which I imagine you have many, replete with cold-war era landmines.  I don't think she's responding to your outreach because she knows that you will never be able to let it go.  You can miss each other, love each other, and have fond memories of the good days, but you're never going back to where you were.  Like my brother says, once bread is toast, it can never be bread again.

If you're not crazy, and I just know you're not!, then you're over-sensitive.  Really good friends can weather a huge front of shit-storms and come out on the other side, definitely wind-blown, but with their scotches still firmly in hand, and ready to meet the world as a team again. Was the infamous boundary crossing one that was so egregious that it can never be forgiven?   If she slept with your man, the bitch should be dead to you, unless he's a bigger jerk-off than she is, then I'd give her another chance, but that's me. Sisters before misters and all that.  If she gave you unsolicited advice about, say, your sub-par mothering (her opinion!  Back off!), home decor, or your choice to have an affair, and so on, then you need to let it go. You think enough of her to write in, so I'll assume she's not swapped bodily fluids with your mate.  My advice is to work on letting your hurt go unless she's malicious, toxic, or a soul-sucking jerk.   Don't make anymore overtures to her until you can forgive her, for real this time. Or decide that she's not worth it and move on.  Your fence-sitting antics will only serve to inflame your nether regions and make you walk funny.  Be kind to your lady parts and make a decision tout de suite; your vulva will love you for it.