Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear Butt Stuff...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Having recently moved to a big city, I was talked into joining Tinder. "It'll be fun," said my friend. "It doesn't even HAVE to be about random hookups. You'll get out, meet people, have fun interactions, maybe even make a friend or two." 

Boy, was he overselling the concept.

My very first "match" (which is what Tinder calls this inexact science of judging people by their Facebook pictures and liked pages) seemed promising. Look, I'll be honest: I have a type. Like, if there's a guy with more than 10 words in his bio and a picture of performing at some comedy club, I'm going to swipe right. You think, "Hey, here's a guy invested in making people laugh. And capable of using the English language to his advantage. What could go wrong?"

The answer to that, dear Bitter Amanda, is A LOT. Because his immediate response to me, despite this happenstance taking place at 2 pm on a Thursday afternoon, was, "Butt stuff?" 

Many reiterations of the same type (how many guys are doing standup comedy now, anyway?!) did not amount to much more. One guy made a delightful pun involving a crude description of the female anatomy. Another immediately launched into a story about being shot in the hand the previous weekend. Yet another posed a terrible pickup line about swiping our genitalia against each other as a metaphorical homage to our (as he called it) "digital meet-cute."

Is this really what dating has come to, BA? Must I modulate my expectations for my late twenties as a montage of "digital meet-cutes" with neanderthals inside my phone? 

Dear Butt Stuff, 

No. No no no no no. IS THIS HOW WE'RE TRYING TO IMPRESS EACH OTHER, FELLOW SINGLES? Is this really something we're comfortable making our dating trademark? "Butt stuff?"?! This kind of message should really only occur between people who either know each other or who are fully aware that the other person might be into that. To me, that's a 2am text message from your occasional hook up. That is NOT an introduction on a Thursday afternoon. That is NOT a "meet-cute" at all. That's a meet-gross. It's not even a well-crafted sentence! It's not a sentence at all! Talk about a gamble that didn't pay off. Guys, you have to stop this nonsense. (Ok, before you all jump up to tell me that I'm unfairly stereotyping, let me just tell you that in all my days, I've NEVER heard complaints that a woman pulled this crap upon meeting another single. Never. So sure, maybe I'm lumping you all together, but you are the common perpetrators of this ridiculous behavior. Don't blame me, blame the first guy who sent a dick pic to a lady without her expressly asking for one.***)

Your letter is particularly well-timed, as I witnessed Tinder for the first time some weeks ago. It was...eye opening. I've been working on a blog post about it. (No, before you ask, I am not on Tinder.) As a concept, I sort of get it. It's a dating site hoping we love instant gratification and making snap judgments enough to join. But in reality, I share your concerns. Must we lower our standards? Maybe I'm meeting all the wrong ones, but I'm not impressed by the ways I'm wooed by men. It's underwhelming. I'm not blaming Tinder for this, since it was already a problem. I don't even know who I'm blaming! For once, it's not men. (Victory!) I saw this book at a used book sale last week, which elevated my concerns. 

You guys I don't want to settle for Mr. Good Enough. I don't know about you, Tinderella, but weddings are annoying enough without including a tolerable groom. 

Let's raise our standards, singles. Let's not send complete strangers a message that simply says "Butt stuff." Let's be better than that. 

Solitarily yours,

Bitter Amanda

***Let's talk about dick pics another day. A sentence I never imagined typing. 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Dear Not Even Close...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I know you're not an iPerson but what do you think of this app for couples?

Do You Want To Do This With Me Y/N?

You&Me - Messaging for Couples by HowAboutWe

Dear Not Even Close,

No. No no no. This is not ok. Your email subject line, "Gone too far?" is very appropriate, except I'm telling, not asking. This has indeed gone too far. Couples, do you just have to have EVERYTHING? 

I was going to say that this is a good thing, since maybe it would keep some of your couple bullshit out of my face. However, I have a sinking feeling that the type of couple to use a Secret Message in a Bottle, No Singles Allowed app is the type of couple who will still make public declarations to each other on facebook and it will still show up on my newsfeed and leave me to wonder what gross sappy nonsense is possibly left to share in your Super Secret Couple App. 

Even technology has turned against being single. I hate everything. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dear Jumpsuit Barbie...

Dear Bitter Amanda, 

I just got spam from a designer clothes outlet informing me that jumpsuits are a fashionable trend on the horizon. IN WHAT UNIVERSE?!? 

Enraged Fashionista

Dear Jumpsuit Barbie,

Not even worried. It was in your spam folder, right? Have you ever read any of those messages? They're full of random words and phrases in hopes that something will seem legit and trick you into opening it. It honestly looks like two toddlers had a conversation in another language, while another toddler took the minutes, then popped it into google translate. 

There's a reason this email went to your spam folder. It's nonsense. Rest easy, fashionista. 

HOWEVER, on the off chance that this email is legit and jumpsuits are trending...well, I consider my onesie a jumpsuit. Fashion trend for spring: comfort

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dear Daydream Believer...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I don't know if you interpret dreams on a regular basis, but I had a strange one I'd like to get your opinion on.  In it, I ran into two guys I used to know; one from high school, one from a job.  I wasn't really close with either of them, and I don't even think they ever met each other in real life.  But in the dream, they are both fighting for my attention. It was like they were trying to determine "alpha male" with me as some sort of prize.  At one point in   the dream the tension between them was so thick I went to the bathroom not to pee, but to get away from them. (Random side note: I got lost on the way to the bathroom, which was on the other side of a field and more like a large outhouse with a bunch of women changing into bathing suits even though it was late, cold, and nowhere around to swim.)

But why are guys I haven't seen in years popping up in my dream? I wasn't close to them, wasn't attracted to them, and don't speak to them anymore. And could the fighting for my attention symbolize something else that's going on in real life (because guys fighting over me isn't exactly happening in the real world.)  And I'm a feminist, why wasn't I upset in the dream when I was being objectified and fought over like a trophy?  Is my subconscious trying to tell me something, or am I trying to read too much into this?


~Confused Dreamer

Dear Daydream Believer,
Ok, so I'm going to confess a few things here. One, I sometimes read my horoscope. Two, I've been to see a psychic...twice. And three, I probably still have the dream dictionary I got at the book fair in middle school. 

But I am not touching your dream. After all, all that weird shit happened in your head. This is about your perspective. When it comes to dreams, even the internet can't agree on things--I did a google search on the meaning of a dream about teeth falling out--a common theme, apparently. Some people say it's anxiety, other that it's about losing something important. Freud, of course, says it's about sexual repression--we get it, Freud. So you see what I'm saying? It's not exact. 

So this is on you, Dreamer. You can think about your dream and try to stumble onto some personal meaning. Or you can chill the fuck out, because yeah, you're probably reading way too much into this. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear Calamity Jane...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
My grandmother once told me, "You can fall in love with a rich man just as easily as with a poor man." What are your thoughts on this? Or, how about this hypothetical: Say that you, Bitter Amanda, know two kind/smart/reasonably attractive men. Actually, first, let's pretend you are in a Disney movie. (This will make the rest of this scenario more reasonable. If you can call it that.) Now lets say you know two fine dudes. Mr. A, and Mr. B. Let's assume you have a good rapport with both-- you can goof off with each of them, share personal stuff without feeling too awkward, etc. In short, they both embody all the traits of a really really good friend, which is, obviously, important in a mate. By some Disney-fied twist of fate, they both propose to you. (Because the goal of most Disney movies is to marry off the leading lady. We will skip commentary on that for the time being.)
Consider the following: Mr. A gives you butterflies in your stomach every time you see him, but the money situation is spotty. Maybe he's a musician or an activist or something awesomely hip and idealistic. Spending time with him always feels like fireworks and flying, but you've been watching a lot of Discovery Channel and know that 90% of the time, that 'whee!' feeling wears off in 5 years, at which point you may still be renting the basement from your parents. Still, he's got all those other qualities mentioned above, and right now it's super exciting. Mr. B, you totally have a great time with, but he's not as super hot as the other guy. He's got a pretty sweet job, and can take care of himself, and you're definitely attracted, but you aren't tripping over chairs or dropping tea on your shirt like you are with Mr A. Mr B is just sweet, comfortable and caring, and also he occasionally pays for your cocktails.
Who do you pick? Do you think there's a stigma of picking one over the other? If the genders were reversed, would your answer be different?
--Conundrum Sam

Dear Calamity Jane,
Let's start thinking of ourselves as badass ladies, hm? (Forget the part where calamity means disaster.) 

Sure, we could pretend this is a Disney movie where you're the leading lady and I'm the talking tree/fairy godmother/teapot who gives you advice. But if this happened to be a Disney movie, and not your life, one of these guys would inevitably reveal himself as a villain out to get your father's fortune and kingdom. (We would also have some catchy songs and fun animal sidekicks, but that's not important right now.) This isn't a Disney movie. Sorry. I don't sing. Your grandmother wasn't wrong, but she also gave you advice from a different era. 

You raise some very practical questions, and a certain amount of that is expected and healthy. You want to go into a marriage with you eyes wide open on the financial stuff. That being said, I have a question for you: 
Why do you have to marry one of these guys? 
Why can't you just date one and decide if you can tolerate his bullshit on a daily basis? At some point you'll have to choose between them--and it sounds like you're at that point--but choosing one doesn't mean you have to marry him. Life isn't all about money--yes it's important and yes life is easier if you can pay your bills--but it's not everything. Go with the guy who annoys you less. Find a man who puts the toilet seat down and doesn't lie to you. (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.) See how things go.

Is there a stigma attached? I don't know. In my experience, your life choices will usually be the source of gossip somewhere--no matter what decision you make. Gossipy bitches will always find something to hate. You can't worry about that. You do you. 

For the record, my answer wouldn't change if any of the genders in this scenario were different. Unless it was my gender, which brings up all kinds of what if questions about the course of my life leading me to write advice on the internet.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Dear Nancy Archer...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I recently had an interesting conversation with a male friend of mine on the subject of height in dating. He's slightly below average height, but has no qualms about asking out taller ladies. He mentioned that he thinks it's annoying when guys have strict physical requirements for women, and that he doesn't like it when they are all about, to quote, "tits and ass". He thinks that female-imposed height requirements are the male equivalent. My first question is, with you being a tallish lady, what do you think of this analogy?
Also, being a tallish lady, do you find yourself basically invisible to men within +/- 2 inches of your height? I mentioned to my friend I'm usually I'm approached by men quite a bit shorter than I am, and very occasionally by men well over 6 ft. Anyone close to my height is basically oblivious to my charms. I wondered to my friend why this was, but he didn't know, because, in his experience, people seemed surprised when he asked out women taller than he is. Any thoughts on my scenario? Or his, in fact?
And now for the kicker: Given these two perspectives, who do you think is more hung up on height in a relationship (in general society), men or women? And why do you think that is? This is of great sociological importance! You now have the opportunity to weigh in on this pressing issue.
-The Big Friendly Giantess

Dear Nancy Archer,

Ugh, it is crazy how much we all care about height in dating. Here's the thing: we're ALL hung up on it. And we can't do much about it! Let's make some sweeping generalizations, shall we?

You're right--I am a tallish lady. Men my height are generally considered average height, but for a woman I'm on the tall side. I also happen to like wearing tall shoes from time to time. If you were to ask if I like tall men, then my answer is yes. (I can't even lie to you--I started humming Baby Got Back and changing the words in my head to be about tall men and now I'm not sure I respect myself anymore.) Do I exclusively like tall men? Not even close.

It's not a terrible analogy from your friend. However, I think it's only half done. Sure, there are guys who are all about tits and ass--but there are also women who are all about a sixpack and well-toned biceps. And yes, short is a dealbreaker for some women. Body type and height are separate things we look for in a partner. That being said, I think your average height friend is too forgiving of his average height brethren. I was going to make some animal kingdom comparisons using a rainforest example, but I realized I was mixing up animal habitats and I don't feel like googling for accuracy. For the record, my forest floor/treeline/above the canopy deal was going to dazzle you. But life is full of heartache, so you'll have to deal with some personal observations instead. 

Nancy, of all the people I've met, the people with the biggest hangups regarding height are medium height guys. Hands down they are the most sensitive to a tall woman. From my observations, tall guys hardly notice if you're wearing heels, and short guys definitely notice but don't care because you're already taller than them. But medium height guys care. I've had medium height guys get pissy with me and ask if I have to wear heels. (My answer is always yes because I am not about to spend the rest of my life--and that includes this evening--wearing flats just for some guy.) This medium height angst is probably why people are surprised by your friend's actions--they aren't used to a guy of his stature being so comfortable around tall women because they are so often throwing a hissy fit about it

As for your second question, I haven't noticed a similar pattern. I am equally visible to tall, medium, and short liars men. I suspect it is because I'm loud and insert myself into conversations. (I have other methods that I rely on for invisibility.) I actually can't imagine why men your height aren't noticing you..I mean, you're at eye level! Perhaps they are used to looking down. Although...this would lead them to a direct confrontation with your chest...and you'd think THAT would get a reaction... Unless they're all looking up? Which seems odd that you'd be encountering all the average height guys looking for a tall woman. It just doesn't seem likely. Maybe you could try some kind of eye-catching hat...no stop I hate myself for that even more than the song I made up earlier. 

I'm actually baffled. Perhaps one of my readers has some wisdom. 

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Dear Medium Height Guys,

I still love you. 

Well...I love you just as much as I love short and tall guys. 

You all annoy me equally. You're just as likely to get my phone number as a short or tall guy. (None of you will get it.) 

xo ba

Monday, January 06, 2014

Dear Jenny...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I am a bit worried that my boyfriend is moving...a bit too fast. I love him and I truly believe that he could (in the immortal words from Disney's Hercules) Go The Distance! We've met each other families and his parents really like me and my parents adore him. Even more importantly, my friends seem to like him and his friends like me. I really understand that he wants to start planning our future together. However, I don't think i am ready for this big of a move. I mean, a joint cell phone plan is a big deal.

I have had my cell number since the end of high school. I don't think I could just give it up, not even for a handsome face and really good sex. Also I think he wants to get us on a plan that would get him the newest iPhone and I, personally, am Android user. It's like we are two star-crossed operating systems. How do I tell my man that I am not ready for this kind of commitment?


Dear Jenny,

Don't change your number. It's in the song. 

Ok, it's more complicated than that. I get it. First of all, you have my sympathies for being an Android user dating an iMan. I've been in your shoes and I can only hope that your boyfriend doesn't constantly try to convince you to switch. Operating systems shouldn't make or break a relationship, but iUsers sometimes think it can. To hear about your choices time and time again would be awful. (Am I projecting? I think I'm projecting. Let's move on.) 

I do NOT understand the push to combine bills and checking accounts and other adult stuff. I can understand making space in the closet. I understand their sweatshirts slowly being adopted into your own wardrobe. I understand you drink Pepsi and I drink Coke but I bought you Pepsi for when you're at my place. But money? Money makes me nervous. I caution everyone to think long and hard before combining any financial part of your lives. I'm not saying your partner is going to wipe out your joint account* or that you'll get stuck paying the bills every month waiting for them to get their half to you.** It's not because of a fatalistic belief that all couples break up, either.*** It just makes everything so much more complicated. Finances are stressful and you're putting that stress on a relationship. Relationships are hard enough to navigate without arguing how much data you think you'll need. Don't do it. There's time for all that later. 

People don't write to me because they're in a perfect relationship. (Thank God.) You're here because you're not ready for this. And that's okay. There isn't a set relationship timeline you have to follow. The way I see it, you can handle this conversation one of two ways. The first way is to distract him with sex every time he mentions cell phones. On the plus side, you'd be having great sex. However, there is a small chance that his brain will start connecting talking about phones to sex, so you'll have to deal with the weird side effects of that. It might be awkward if he gets excited anytime a Verizon commercial comes on television. 
If you're a bit nervous about starting a Pavlovian response to AT&T stores, then you should probably (SIGH) have an honest conversation with your boyfriend. Gross, I know. But relationships are like dogs. You chose this. You have to pick up after them and feed them and take care of them, even when you don't want to. Serious Relationship Conversations are the dog shit in this scenario, obviously. If you ignore it, it will pile up until it's filling your yard and your friends feel awkward saying something about it. 

Just be honest. (UGH I KNOW I'M SORRY but that's just how adult relationships work, I'm told.) If he's as great as you say, you'll be ok.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

*Except that does happen.
**That too. 
***I'm sure you guys will be fine.