Monday, December 21, 2009

Dear Elijah Wood...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

In regard to your last letter, I have a few bones to pick:

What's the big deal about ballroom dancing? For that matter, what's wrong with doing it on a Tuesday? I've ballroom-danced on a Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and many other days of the week. In fact, the majority of the last weekend was spent ballroom dancing.

Perhaps you mean to imply that ballroom dancing is automatically super-date-like. All romance and roses. Au contraire. It's more akin to playing one-on-one basketball: two sweaty people moving around with a purpose, showing off, and attempting not to accidentally injure the other one during a collision.

Additionally, I will have you know that ballroom dancing is just as prone to "am I on a date?" syndrome as any other activity, including dinner and coffee or a hot cocoa rendez-vous, if not more so. While some of the evening may in fact be spent moving about the floor plastered to the chest the person you arrived with, you will still probably dance with many other people in the room. Conversely, when you have hot cocoa, usually the person sitting at the table won't get up and be replaced by some other guy plopping a candy cane in your drink. (That is not a double entendre, fyi.)

(Mon Dieu, there is a lot of French in this letter.)

So, perhaps your "no ballroom dancing" suggestion for "coo-coo for cocoa-boy" is a good one, but not for the reasons you seem to imply. In conclusion: ballroom dancing is a good activity for not being able to determine if you are on a date or not on a Tuesday. Or a weekend, for that matter. I know, because I've lived.

-Happy Feet

Dear Elijah Wood,
Wow, you are really into ballroom dancing.
There's nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, I think ballroom dancing could be great. (I myself am not blessed in the coordination department, so dancing is largely out of my scope of knowledge. Reading your assessment, though, I like that it sounds less romantic and more gross. I could get behind that.) But you chose to zero in on that one phrase in my response, rather than take it all in. In that, you've missed my point, I fear.
My point was not that ballroom dancing has to be super formal or inherently date-like. However, to the untrained boy, that is the kind of activity that screams "SUPER FORMAL" and "TUXEDO" and your average boy will freak out a little--particularly if, like my other reader, you only see him during the week. Should he pick you up in a pumpkin carriage and wear a tie? Will the lady be expecting a fairy tale evening? Should there be flowers involved? This is starting to sound like a senior prom--it's too much to take!
The goal is to pick something non-threatening because you want him to decide whether or not he'd like to hang out with you--not whether or not he'd like to learn a waltz. If you happen to be interested in a boy with whom you have ballroom danced in the past, then by all means throw it out there. But for a study/cocoa break boy, I'd suggest something more in line with what you usually get up to.
While I've got you here, penguin, it sounds like you've got some unresolved issues regarding dancing with boys. Wanna talk about it?
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Wednesday...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I have a story (not to mention a question) about a boy who I see in class twice a week and with whom I seem to have fallen into a routine: goof off in class and then exchange witty banter and loiter outside or in the library afterwards for hours at a time. Into this mix we’ve recently added late-night-cocoa-study-breaks, a downtown trip that lasted until 3am, burritos for dinner, lunch and studying, as well as additional hours of outdoor chatter. Don’t get me wrong, my dear bitter lady, I’m not complaining about any of this; I have, in fact, been having an inordinate amount of fun with my chatty fellow and what could potentially be flirting and what might even be called – dare I say it? – “dating.” That being said, the Thursday-to-Tuesday period without any word from the boy has become nearly unbearable. I am by no means a game-player, but the ball at the moment I clearly in his court. The waiting is driving me batty! Any advice?
Nearly off her rocker

Dear Wednesday,
Ouch. It seems to me that you're a work-week girlfriend. I actually felt nauseous while reading about your relationship with this boy. I mean, late-night cocoa dates? That's adorable. And awful. You are grossing me out. And then I got to the part about you not hearing from him all weekend. And that is not adorable at all; thus I do not want to throw up. This is usually a bad sign for relationships. Honey, weekends are prime dating time. If this man wanted to properly date you, you'd at least hear from him during the weekends. (And let's not forget that it's time to push proper dating. No more of this casual "hanging out" nonsense.) As it stands, you've got a weekday boyfriend. It could mean a lot of things. He might have a legit girlfriend/someone he sleeps with on weekends. Like the pill containers my grandmother used to have, he's keeping you closed tightly in that safe Wednesday compartment. Or he might not realize how similar to dating your situation has become. Maybe he's one of those "I'm not looking for anything, but I like hanging out casually" guys (=sad)...and he unknowingly found something. (And SERIOUSLY stop favoring that casual hang out, gentlemen.) Maybe he has no interest in dating you for real. (That one hurts, I know, but it's possible. I tell you this because you so clearly deserve better.)
All of these options really boil down to him being an idiot. (A common theme.) The wildcard is whether he's a clueless idiot or a conniving one. You might have to lay down the weekend card and watch his reaction. (I'm sorry about the multiple 'card' references here; I don't feel any better about it than you do.) Bring up some social thing for Saturday. Not ballroom dancing or anything, but something you'd actually do together, say, after studying on a Tuesday. If he squirms and mumbles something about an appointment and suddenly gets a text message and/or something in his eye he needs to take care of, then it's time to put those hopes back in your bag where they belong. But let's just hope he reacts like a normal human being.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Carousel...

Dear Bitter Amanda,


This dating thing sucks balls. I'm nervous all of the time. Self-conscious. Giddy. Unsure. Self-doubting. Questioning. And awesomely happy. And then all kinds of confused. And depressed. And super excited. Up and down more times than an EKG.

I think I might throw up.

Remind me not to do it again.


Entirely Bipolar

Dear Carousel,
Gross. I'm going to throw up. This was not the kind of letter I anticipated. I thought you were angry. But you're not! You mention some negative emotions, all of which can and should be associated with dating. But...I don't sense any real anger here. I think you're just upset because a good date sends people into emotional turmoil! And that means you had a good date.
So. Do you know what that means, princess? Shut up. I bet you're feeling insecure because he hasn't called in the 46.2 hours since you saw him. You think he had a bad time. But then you review it mentally...and that's just not possible! It was a great date! Why hasn't he called? Oh, because he doesn't want to seem eager and freak you out because he had a great time, too!
Gag. Really, this is disgusting.
I WILL caution you against doing this again! I'll warn everyone! I'm like U2 over here throwing out the warnings! But you won't listen. You'll listen to me until he calls you and you have some nauseating exchange and make plans for coffee tomorrow afternoon. Blech.
I'm disappointed.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dear Visible...

Bitter Amanda,
This is a follow-up to Legally Blind's question.
What if you are the girl who is: interested in the boy, talking to him more than anyone else around, texting him, making sure we're facebook friends, making sure he notices me, making sure he knows I'm free on the weekend and have the same interests he does, and making it completely obvious to everyone else around that I'm interested.
And the dumbass is completely clueless and doesn't pick up on the signals?
What can I do besides give him a lapdance so that the 'oh hey, she likes me!' lightbulb goes off in his brain?

Dear Visible,
You know that old saying about horses? "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." You do everything in your power to make something happen, but in the end, the horse has to decide to man up and take a freaking drink.

You see where I'm headed here? Honestly, I'm at a loss. We lead them right to the water, make sure it's a suitable temperature, assure them that drinking it is a Good Life Choice, and put a twisty straw in it--but we cannot make them actually take a drink. Mind boggling, no? There is, of course, the option of you asking him out. That's up to you--it's a personal choice we all have to make.

I'm sorry. That's not something you wanted to hear, but it's not my job to hold your hand and sugarcoat things. It's a tough world out there.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Readers: It occurred to me that I made a grave error in my previous letter, from Legally Blind. Please consider this a belated PS.

Dear Cher,
Ok, so I forgot who I was talking to--a clueless man. I don't know how that happened. (Wishful thinking?) I guess I figured you'd extrapolate from what I wrote--apologies. I stand behind every word I wrote to you. However, I forgot one tiny, but significant, detail in my advice for you.

If you notice any of these signs, or even think you do, and you're likewise interested in that lady, then by all means make a move. I know, rejection is a bitch. I feel marginally bad because it's a terrible (for you) double standard that you should be the ones putting yourselves out there while we wave the Magic Wand or Rejection or Approval. But it's better than ignoring the signs altogether!
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dear Cher...

Dear BA,

This is life, I'm totally clueless how to stop a girl who is interested in me. All my successes in the past have been been blind luck. You're a girl, right? What are the top ten signs a girl would give a guy to let him know, covertly, she is interested in him. You know. The signs that all guys probably miss 9 out of 10 times.

- Legally Blind

Dear Cher, you might be totally clueless on girls, but I'm totally clueless on how to answer your letter. I'm not sure if it's a typo or if you just don't know what you want--either way, I wouldn't be terribly surprised. I've had to read this a couple times. And...well, I'm still not entirely certain if I should tell you how to STOP a girl who is interested or how to SPOT a girl who is interested. The rest of your letter indicates that it's the latter. So...I'm gonna go with that. Oh, and thanks for noticing that I'm a girl. Well done, sir.
Covertly, you say? As if the things women have to do are at all subtle! We tried subtle, a hundred years ago, but you guys kept missing it and thinking we had something in our eye. We had to step it up. A lot. You say your past successes were blind luck? No. They. Weren't. You were successful because the woman involved was successful. Guys,'s like you're waiting for a lapdance to know we're attracted to you! (Hint: do not hold your breath on that one.) You're looking for a checklist; for me to do the work for you. Not likely, my friend. It's not like that--and also, there are some things I just can't divulge. A girl has to have some tricks up her sleeve.
The main thing you need to know in this situation is that women emphasize that it's YOU we're interested in. We talk to you more than anyone else around, we text you, we want to know about your life. We make sure we're facebook friends. We remember things you've talked about, we position ourselves near you. We have to exaggerate everything so you'll notice! In the end, we all but end up asking ourselves out. (Because we told you we were dying to see that movie we talked about and we let you know that we don't work on Saturdays.) If you think a woman might be doing something intentionally, or playing some sort of game, she probably is. We're very good at this. Don't worry, just keep your eyes open and don't overthink it. That's our job.

Remember, kids: spell check doesn't catch real words. Let's proofread.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dear Single Lady...

Bitter Amanda,
Seriously, am I the only one offended by Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies"? What pisses me off about the song is this phrase "if you liked it than you should have put a ring on it."
Dear Beyonce: you are a person, not an object that people can just add pretty decorations to. Please refer to yourself as "I" or "me" and not "it". Lets change that phrase to "if you liked me, than you should have given me a ring."
Don't even get me started on the part where she says "Pull me into your arms, say I'm the one you own." You are not an object to be owned!!
Its hard enough when men go around objectifying women, but here we have a woman objectifying herself. Millions of people listen to your music, and this is the message you're giving them!?! It hurts my soul.
BitterAmanda, how do we convince Beyonce she's sending out shitty messages to young people about the way women should be treated?
Really Irritated in CT

Dear Single Lady,
You have some excellent points. And bonus points were awarded for your letter because I felt your anger! I can't believe how irresponsible some celebrities are regarding the public image they present to young people--young women in particular. I don't think we need to shelter young people, but I think everyone needs to realize what an impact we as a society have on them.
This song has bothered me since Beyonce released it. (Beyonce, this song is great for dancing--why can't you use your powers for good??) To be honest, though, my reason is different from yours. This song was Beyonce trying to record the new Anthem for Single Ladies. She wanted us to have a slumber party and be angry together and I don't know, eat raw cookie dough? Whatever. She wanted to be the figurehead for our new Campaign Against Clueless Men. While normally I can totally get behind the idea, Beyonce seemed to forget one thing:
Her very public relationship with Jay-Z. She's been dating him for years! They got married in April 2008--6 months before she released "Single Ladies." Um, Beyonce? You can't lead the Angry Single Ladies Parade if your husband will be marching next to you. It doesn't feel genuine! It must be easy to say, "hey, guys, you have to treat us better or you can forget it" when you've got a man at home who loves you.
Did you ever talk to an adult when you were in your awkward adolescent phase and hear them tell you it'll get better? That you'll be out of the woods soon? Do you remember that sounding like bullshit in your young ears? Like, "Sure, it's easy for you to've done it. You're living the good life now!"
It's kind of like that. You mean well, but let's be rings of bullshit.

I'm not sure what we can do about Beyonce--I don't think she reads my website. (She should.) In the meantime, please enjoy this clip which makes me feel 100% better about Beyonce's song.

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear Bono...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

If a woman needs a man, then a fish needs a bicycle.

P --> Q

If P then Q. P is "a woman needs a man" and Q is "a fish needs a bicycle". Let's break it down. Let's say the fish does not need a bicycle. Q = false. I'll even throw in P = false, women don't need men. So, F --> F = a True statement. Fine. Now, it's been discussed that a woman would like to have a bicycle or a handbag (need), just to have around for it's usefulness when the time comes. P = True, but the poor fish doesn't need that bike so Q = False. T --> F That statement becomes False and therefore, a woman does not need a man even if she says she wants one around for the hell of it simply because that fish does not need a bike. Now, Let's say a fish could use a bicycle and needed it, but the woman still doesn't need a man. F --> T. It's a false statement, the woman is a wrong because if a fish needs a bicycle, then a woman needs a man! Finally, let's say both P and Q are True, then the entire statement is true! So our table looks a little like this:

P --> Q
T -- No man, no fish bike
T -- Woman needs a man but can't have it on the condition that a fish does not need a bike.
F -- A woman does not need a man but a fish needs a bike, and therefore a woman has to have a man because the fish needs a bike.
T -- A woman needs a man and a fish needs a bicycle.

And so it would seem that a lack of fish bicycles is preventing women from needing men. Who would have thought? In our table, as long as there are no fish bikes, there's no need for men AND without fish bikes no woman could ever need a man even if she WANTED to need a man. BUT, 3/4 of the time according to that table... a woman needs a man either because a fish needs a bike, needs a man only because a fish needs a bike, or she simply needs a man but can't have one because a fish does not yet need the bike. Allow me to fastforward.

(T --> T) /\ (F --> T)
T /\ T = True

A woman needs a man so someone should invent a fish bicycle.

Dear Bono,

Wow. Congratulations on passing Logic 101 at your local university. You've definitely pulled out the most germane parts of my previous advice. A fish bicycle is absolutely the solution.

Are you kidding me here? This is preposterous.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Awkward Turtle...

Bitter Amanda,
I like a boy. I think he likes me back. The problem is we are both socially awkward engineers, and we are both too much of a pansy to do anything about it.
Help! What do I do?!
Certified Socially Awkward Nerd

Dear Awkward Turtle,
This is a well-timed letter. I was just last night having a discussion with my partner-in-crime about taking initiative in relationships. The vast majority of women fall into one of thee categories: 1.) Take the lead or take a hike, 2.) I'm an independent woman and I'll handle this myself, thanks, and 3.) Let's just take turns on that because we all know it's tough.
I think it's important for both people to take initiative, although I'm not ashamed to admit that I (like many women) like feeling as though I'm being pursued. (You're an engineer, so let me give you some numbers to work with: I think 60/40 or 70/30 is preferable to 50/50.)
During our discussion, we stumbled upon the idea that your first serious or important relationship really sets the tone for your expectations. As a result, it's not always fair to the people waiting in our future.
However, you've got a smitten engineer on your hands. Back to work, hm?
Usually I'm a big proponent of a man locating his testicles and putting them to good use. But you're dealing with a shy engineer, and they're a difficult breed. Like an abused puppy in the shelter, you have to be careful about your approach. If they come up to you and don't get super positive feedback, they back off. If you approach too quickly, they spook. They won't try too many times if they're feeling rejected.
I think it's time for you to make a perfectly clear move and let him know you're interested.
Good luck!
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear Bridezilla...

Bitter Amanda,
I'm tired of dating. I want to get married. I've tried everything to convince my man to pop the question.
I left magazines scattered around, open to giant, full-page ads for diamond rings. I hummed "Every kiss belongs to Kay" and every other jewelry store jingle I could think of. I tried to work jewel-related metaphors into every possible conversation: "I wish my hair were PLATINUM." "My cousin's favorite reptile is the DIAMONDback rattlesnake." It didn't work. So I tried reasoning with him: "Look, neither of us are getting any younger, let's just get married;" and I showed him a bunch of spreadsheets proving how much money we could save by living together. He looked at me like I was crazy.
So when all those plans failed, I went the passive-aggressive route: When he asked what I wanted for Christmas I told him "I want to die alone, in my parents' basement, covered in cat hair". He's still not getting the picture.
Is it illegal to drug him and elope while he's high as a kite?
~Waiting Impatiently

Dear Bridezilla,
Well, I can't be sure on the legality of your plan, since each state might have different-- ARE YOU INSANE? You need to tone it down and chill the hell out or you will die alone in your parents' basement, covered in cat hair.
Dating sucks. It's a pain in the ass until you actually have a decent date. I don't blame you for wanting to move on. (But marriage? Really? What, is that shit contagious? Everyone's getting married these days. No thank you.) Here's the problem I'm noticing with your relationship: your boyfriend doesn't want the same thing.
Either he's one of those perennial bachelors who "just doesn't see the point of it" (=fine now but sad in five years) or he doesn't want to marry you. This next thing I'm going to tell you, it could be the thesis of my opinions on relationships.

You deserve better than someone who doesn't want to be with you.

That could be said in most of the letters I answer. If someone leaves you or treats you badly, well fine. You're too awesome for them. Any disgusting toad who doesn't see that does not deserve you. You eat some ice cream, watch sad movies, cry on the couch, go out and say angry things with your friends--whatever works for you. Then you move on because someone more awesome who will appreciate you is out there. They're elusive, sure, but you can handle the challenge. Me? I'd rather be single than settle.

That being said, I will award points for your varied methods. I like the creativity! But you failed and that's why I'm here. I stand by my advice of moving on. And calming down about the wedding. ...And toning down the crazy, at least a couple notches.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dear Elementary...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I'm beginning to suspect that he might actually be an asshole after all... damn...

Sherlock Holmes

Dear Elementary,
No shit. Of course he is. I'm not sure who you're talking about or what made you think he WASN'T an asshole, but they usually turn out that way. Better to move on.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dear Toxic...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Recently there has been some discussion in the news about how smelly farts can help regulate one's blood pressure. Some stupid-ass study showed that the chemical that causes smelly farts relaxed blood vessels in mice, and scientists think it serves the same function in people. Well, this has led my boyfriend to the conclusion its appropriate to let one rip at any given time. "Its healthy!" he says. What he doesn't realize if he continues this behaviour, I might have to kill him. It would be easy to make it look like an accident; "Why, officer, I didn't realize lighting a match in his presence would cause all the toxic fart gas to combust..." Is there a way to curb his 'healthy' behaviour without ending the relationship or ending up in jail?

The Gas Mask is my Friend

Dear Toxic,
I have been writing and dispensing advice for 3 years now, and I believe this is the first farting question I've had! I'm almost surprised, since many readers write to me about man troubles...and we all know there is some sort of connection there. Every day brings new surprises, readers.
Now, as for your boyfriend woes. Why do scientists do this?? It's as if no one looks over these studies before they're published to say, "Hey, this might backfire." Ohhh, no. Not if it's in the name of science! They're all in the lab, chuckling over their newest discovery, saying, "This idea has no flaws! It cannot go badly at all!"

Enter you, with your smelly boyfriend thinking he's doing the world a favor. Typical. You could do something decidedly underhanded and female, like talking to a doctor--your personal doctor might have issue with it, but maybe you have a friend with a medical degree? Or one who has started medical school? Or someone with a white lab coat and messy handwriting? Perhaps you have a friend with questionable ethics who once played Operation and feels that qualifies them to spout medical advice? Have your doctor or pseudo stand-in doctor prattle on about your blood pressure being TOO low, as a result of being TOO relaxed. Sort of, "Wow, darling, your disgusting farts were SO EFFECTIVE! Way to go! Now please stop before I die."
If this seems too soap opera for you (well...teen soap opera,'s not that dastardly) you have two additional choices. One is to put all your cards on the table and flat out tell him you're offended. The other is...well, it's gross. But if he's taken a casual view of farting in front of you, you might as well reciprocate. Challenge his notion that women don't emit any foul-smelling odors. Let him know that if he's going to ignore certain (perhaps antiquated, but appreciated by many) male/female standards, you will too. He'll soon see the error in his ways.

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dear Jessica Fletcher...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I'm in need of some guidelines. How do I tell if I'm on a date or not? Is there a checklist you could provide me with? I'm trying to figure out if people just enjoy buying me beer lately or if there is something else going on here.
Not Opposed to Free Beer, Just Curious

Dear Jessica Fletcher,
"Is this a date?" is truly one of the most enigmatic issues plaguing the minds of single women. (At least, all the single women I know. FYI, this number is decreasing at an alarming pace.) If you find yourself in this situation, take our your mental magnifying glass and Sherlock pipe, because you are trying to solve a mystery. But what are the clues you're looking for? I'll try for a comprehensive list, ladies.

Bitter Amanda's Guide to "Is This a Date?"**
1. Did he pick you up? (N/A if your area favors public transportation)
2. Does he smell nice? (If he's a friend, does he smell BETTER than usual?)

3. Did he bring you a trinket of some sort? (flowers, etc.)
4. Does he open your car door for you or hold other doors?
5. Does he pay?
5a. If you offer to pay, does he still pay?
6. If you're somewhere with a bar, does he go to fetch your drinks?
7. Have there been any compliments?
8. Are you both engaged in the conversation?
9. If things seemed to go well, does he suggest seeing each other again?

9a. In conversation, does he ever drop comments about doing something in the future?
10. This one is tricky, since it's not specific. It's hugely important, though. Are you getting a general vibe of attentiveness from your companion?

If you said yes to most of these, it's probably a date. If you said no, then either he does not consider it a date, or you're having a really bad date.

Clear Signs You're NOT On a Date (Or Having a Really Really Bad Date and Should Sneak Out ASAP.)
1. He answers phone calls and texts that aren't important or time-sensitive. (See: "Hey man, what's up?")
2. He openly ogles or flirts with your waitress or other women nearby.
3. He talks about other women.
4. He is totally uninterested in you.
5. Your conversation is basically you asking him questions about himself because he isn't actively participating.
6. You'd very much like to drive a fork into your eye or fake a heart attack for an excuse to go home. This is also why it's wise, ladies, to have a friend ready to call you at a certain time, in case you need to fake an emergency. In the case of blind dates, have several appointed times. For internet dates who come without the personal endorsement of someone you trust, double security measures and have a couple calls, texts at regular intervals, and a friend on standby to come get you. However, you should have driven yourself if at all possible. Kids, this is how people end up on the news.

Things change slightly if you're with someone you are already friends with. In this case, you've got a good opportunity to compare his normal behavior to his behavior on your Is This a Date? outing. Lucky you, you can also compare and contrast his grooming and wardrobe for further hints. I have also left out anything about him getting fresh with you. These are not necessarily helpful. I've had great first dates where the gentleman did not attempt to kiss me, and I've kissed gentlemen whom I was not dating. It's something you should analyze on a case-by-case basis, keeping in mind you and the boy. I can't include it on my checklist, or I'd have to re-evaluate all my past dates. I don't have time for that. It is, mind you, a great Date Signal if there is physical contact, no matter how subtle it may be. (Consider that Bonus Item #11, courtesy of Mellow Matt, who was rather helpful in providing a male perspective.)
Hope this helps!
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS--If you're still confused, check his twitter when you get home. Clues!

**If your companion is a man.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dear Magic School Bus...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I am currently sitting on the couch in my dear, wonderful apartment doing some ugh-it's-Sunday sort of work (ie grading and lesson planning). It's bad enough that I have to finish up a work-filled weekend with more work in preparation for a full week of work, but to make matters worse, hark, what do I hear? Giggles. And whispers. And more giggles. Followed by more whispering and further giggling... all coming from my roommate's bedroom where she and her (ugh) boyfriend are hanging out (ie doing gross things that I shouldn't have to hear). I don't really have a question dear Bitter, this was more of a rant... though I suppose any suggestions that don't involve buying a box of earplugs would be lovely.
Mz. Frizzle

Dear Magic School Bus,
There are few things more painful (and awkward, more often than not) than having to listen to other people's...activities. This is a major downside to having roommates. Early in my first year of college, my roommate M (if one must have a roommate, get a carbon copy of this girl) and I had a friend sleeping on our floor, having been turned away from her own room due to activities happening within. The next morning, M looked at me and said, "I am not sleeping on anyone's floor." Just as serious, I replied, "Neither am I." That was that. There was no further discussion. (Like I said, you want a roommate like M.)
As for your dilemma, I am afraid there isn't much to do, if you like your roommate and want to maintain your friendship. The precedent has been set, and as far as your roommate knows, you're Totally Ok With It. Unfortunate, maybe, but true. You could, however, do little things to make your apartment seem less "Let's Get It On." (Including but not limited to: altering your choice of music, watching any movies or newscasts about giving birth or STDs, and cooking with strong flavors. Be creative!)
Stay strong.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, April 19, 2009


"My view is that very few human beings on this earth can resist the almighty compliment of their instruction being sought. The implication is, you prostrate your lowly self before their greater wisdom. People love that."

--Being Committed, by Anna Maxted

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dear National Inquirer...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

What if I started greeting my guy friends with "Hey there, studly."?

Inquiring Mind

Dear National Inquirer,
Their heads would increase to the size of parade floats and you’d be forced to deal with the egomaniacal behavior of a man who believes he is extremely good looking until the end of time. Be advised, this is not in your best interest.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dear Lance Armstrong...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Today I was thinking about that saying, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle," and I was thinking about this t-shirt that has this really happy fish with his brand new bicycle and his parents looking on... He may not need that bike, but gosh darn it if he isn't enjoying it. I contemplated this and came up with the following: I don't have a man, but I do have a bicycle. I don't ride it very often because, well, I just don't feel like riding a bicycle all the time, but I have lots of fun taking it out once in a while. Also, the brakes don't work very well, and I like to be able to stop. Anyway, it occurred to me that I would like the same things from a man that I would like from my bicycle namely, 1) when I'm in the mood, they should entertain me, and 2) they should always have properly working brakes. So, do you think that the quote has been misinterpreted all these years? Have I hit upon the true intended meaning? It's quite deep, don't you think?

Zen and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance

Dear Lance Armstrong,
I have never appreciated the whole fish/bicycle saying. I’m not one to side with men, but I think it is a trifle unfair to their gender. I won’t comment on the intended meaning of the saying itself, since I haven’t done the proper legwork. (Nor do I intend to. I’m an advisor, not an investigative journalist, kids.) I like your take on it, though. Standards are important in both transportation and potential mates.
I prefer to think of the saying in other terms. Rather than a fish needing a bicycle, I like to think of a woman needing a man like she needs a new handbag. She’s fine without it, and it certainly doesn’t serve any purpose she can’t handle herself. Sometimes they’re more of a hassle—you have to keep track of it and make sure it’s not out of place at your destination. Handbags are useful at times and good to have around, and they can definitely improve an outfit if chosen wisely. But, I repeat, she’s fine without it!
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS— [Fish shirt:]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dear Show Boat...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

You seem bored, so let me shoot this question to you.

What is an unreasonable age gap for dating? Without getting overtly sarcastic or going to extremes, allow me to provide you with an example. Let's say that I'm 24. Is it okay for a 24 year old to date an 18 year old? How about a 26 year old and an 18 year old, is that a reputable couple? What if a person is 30 and dating a 20 year old? Is there an unspoken judgment somewhere that strictly says "No!"? Of course this includes only those people who are, of course, adults as defined by the law, I'm not asking for responses to questions that would go include anyone under 18. Is the chemistry between people the only thing that matters? I mean chemistry is fine, but a gap of six to eight year between people means a mess of developmental differences. In reality, an 18 year old who ACTS older really has a lot to go through still to BE older, and that only comes with time and experience. You can't fake experience.


What's your view on that one?

-Old Man River

Dear Show Boat,
Ok, I'm just going to put this out there at the start.
You should not be dating an 18 year old.Alright, I feel better now. This is kind of a sticky subject. People who ask usually have a specific person or situation in mind, and inevitably don't like what they hear. (Picky bastards.) (Oh, not you, Old Man.) ( might be. So far you're good.) There's no real rule or formula. I was once told the youngest a person could go was half their age plus 7. Following that, I could date a 19 year old. (He'd have to be a pretty upstanding 19 year old, to meet Bitter Amanda Standards.) But I think 19 is too young. This theory, along with all the others, is sketchy at best. My sister won't even consider anyone who is too young to go to a bar. Six years is a lot at my age, but thinking of a 40 year old dating a 46 year old doesn't even phase me. (Except that she's setting herself up for disappointment; a common theme no matter the age.)

For me, here's what it really boils down to: where you are in life. An 18 year old is dealing with, let's assume for the sake of me being right, finishing high school and going to prom and figuring out how to wear a mortar board without looking sort of goofy. (Hey grads, the answer is: you can't.) They are planning the next big stage of life, whether that's college or the military or a job or whatever. And that might sound a lot like your mid 20s, but ask yourself: do you want to escort your significant other to their prom? (Sweet, creepy old guy is buying the beer!) I don't know about you, readers, but I had one prom and that was quite enough. Do you want to take her to your office party? (Hey, the boss brought his daughter, that's sweet....oh, wait.)
When you're looking at age gaps, you have to forget the number (assuming it's over 18 for both parties, thanks very much) and look at where your life is. Chemistry is important, but if you can't have a real conversation and understand each other, you don't have much.

And no, you cannot fake experience. You can fake a lot of things--some people even fake whole relationships. But you cannot fake experience.

Finally, before I sign off, do not date an 18 year old. You're too old for that.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

(Bonus parenthetical insert!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Rover...

Dearest Bitter,

Oh where have you gone,
Sour relationship guru?
I miss your sharp wit.

Lord Byron

Dear Rover,
Apparently my credit card company expects me to send them money BACK on a monthly basis. Work has consumed my life. But I'm taking my own advice, and I plan on being all, "Hey, work, stop being so needy. Codependency is dangerous and pathetic. Sometimes I like to hang out with my friends and not check in with you."
True story.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dear Mariah Carey...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

In your latest response to Bill Murray, you encourage "harmless flirting". I want to know if such a thing truly exists and how one does it safely. Dear Friends of mine lead me to believe otherwise saying that no such thing can exist because every guy secretly wants to fuck you. Therefore, every flirt is hopeful. This news made me sad (and a little grossed out). Prior to this information, I enjoyed flirting for fun. It was like a hobby.
But then the a silly thing happened: I laughed in a boy's face as he was trying to kiss me (even you have to admit that is harsh [but if you were in my place, you probably would have laughed too!!]) and the Dear Friends dropped the no-such-thing-as-harmless-flirting bomb. I suppose it was kind of like an intervention. Am I a special case? Is my hotness so grand that I am incapable of flirting without causing destruction? Or are boys feelings really so delicate and all that machismo is a bunch of bullshit?
Please, Bitter Amanda, guide me to the truth!


Dear Mariah Carey,
It does kind of gross you out, doesn't it? It often leads us, as women, to adopt a blanket policy of ignoring strange men in bars or the general public. (Quick note, ladies: this is usually better, since randoms in bars are seldom interesting men.)
I still say flirting can be harmless. Not in all cases, but definitely some of the time. (Or maybe I'm the special case. Not unheard of.) Sure, it will still lead to the occasional awkward situation. That's not going to change! I don't think that's any reason to stop doing what you enjoy. I would guess that for every situation in which a woman gives off leading vibes, there is at least one man misreading the signals, like your poor rebuffed friend. (Hey guys, a quick FYI? Just because you cornered me and I've been talking to you for five minutes does not mean I plan on sleeping with you. You're missing all the bored searching over your shoulder for my friends. Go away now please.) As for victims of harmless flirting, such as your trampled suitor mentioned above, don't worry about them too much. It's a learning experience! He'll replay it in his mind like a game tape and alter his plan for next time. You're helping to mold him into a suitable boyfriend for some woman! (They all need it.) How very humanitarian of you.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dear Acme...


What's speed dating and is it recommended?
-Wiley E. Coyote

Dear Acme,
Ah, speed dating. I knew this would come up eventually. According to everyone's favorite information source, Wikipedia, speed dating is "a formalized matchmaking process or dating system whose purpose is to encourage people to meet a large number of new people." But basically you're at an event with other single people (Well, people who claim to be single. I'm sure there are some non-singles who go, the assholes.) and you go on a series of short "dates" with everyone of the opposite sex. (Unless you're at a gay speed dating event, in which case you don't want to be on dates with the opposite sex.) I haven't been (surprise) but have heard from lots of people about it.
Do I recommend it? I'm on the fence. For me personally, I'm not interested. I don't really care about answering whatever inane questions the man across from me comes up with. I'm not really looking for a date, speedy or otherwise. For others, though, it's a different story. If you're looking to meet new people, it can't really hurt. It's more personal than internet dating, as far as I'm concerned. (Know instantly if someone gives you the creeps!) On the plus side, if it's a bad date--most will be, sorry--it's only two minutes long! You'll get a dud, sure, but that bell rings and he's gone. You won't have to arrange for a friend to call you and fake an emergency or find the quickest escape route! It's actually much better than most first dates, if you think about it.
So, kitten, I say to proceed with caution. If you decide to go, for heaven's sake think of some interesting questions to ask during your two minutes! Try to impress someone. Also, maybe take a friend so you can make fun of the losers together later.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Dear Random...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I'm bored and ignorant. When are you coming back?

Bonsai Penguin

Dear Random,
I'm back now. Back to the frozen hellhole that is Michigan, after some blissfully warm weeks in Guatemala. Advice will resume tomorrow. Unsolicited advice for now: seek refuge in a sunny locale. It does wonders for the spirit.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda