Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dear Apple Polisher...

Dear BA,

I am curious if the saying "I'm flattered" can ever be genuine or not? The word is inherently disingenuous, right? Or can someone actually say I am flattered and mean thank you or that they are touched or something of the like? reinforced my thoughts:

1. to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.
2. to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively: She flatters him by constantly praising his books.
3. to represent favorably; gratify by falsification: The portrait flatters her.
4. to show to advantage: a hairstyle that flatters the face.
5. to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile: They flattered him into contributing heavily to the foundation.
6. to please or gratify by compliments or attentions: I was flattered by their invitation.
7. to feel satisfaction with (oneself), esp. with reference to an accomplishment, act, or occasion: He flattered himself that the dinner had gone well.
8. to beguile with hope; encourage prematurely, falsely, etc.

-The flatterer

Dear Apple Polisher,
Flattery does tend to slant towards the negative side. The differences between flattery and compliments are frequency and purpose. General wisdom deems flattery excessive in nature. A showering of compliments, it often detracts from the value of the words. I find that flattery comes from wanting to make oneself look good rather than making another feel good. It's what makes balding middle-aged men think so highly of the slutty 19 year old interns at work.
Now. When one says "I'm flattered" things change. When I say I'm flattered, I typically mean, "Thank you, I appreciate that but please do not continue with this unwelcome showing of affection." I often follow "I'm flattered" with the tricky conjunction but. (We've talked about dangerous conjunctions before, yes?)
So yes, it can be genuine, but it's not necessarily good.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear Angry Face...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

My boyfriend once told me that he knew I had my period because I smiled more than usual.


Dear Angry Face, preposterous. I am simultaneously impressed and dumbfounded by your boyfriend. On one hand, he is obviously smarter than I give the average man credit for. To observe your behaviors enough to not only notice changes but to keep track of them long enough to formulate theories? Is pretty good. Well done.


Women are perfectly aware that our periods cause changes in our mood, behaviors, etc. They aren't necessarily things we're proud of, but we know ourselves. I know that I am a tad more emotional while I'm PMSing, for example. Does that mean I want my boyfriend to say, "Jesus, it's just a Pixar movie, chill out. Guess we should pick up tampons while we're out,"? Big. Fat. No. In fact, that would probably cause me to head off on an infamous crying rant. (This maneuver, while technically difficult, has zero fans. Not that it bothers me.)
This illustrates a point I was discussing recently with my partner-in-crime: some people do not know the line regarding What to Say Out Loud. Ask my father all about this. His classic moves include but are not limited to"Oh, I've heard all about you!" to boys who DID NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT THANKS DAD and "Well, that's a lot of eyeliner..."
My friends' boyfriends seem to suffer from a great deal of this inner/outer monologue confusion. I've heard many stories like yours, Angry Emoticon, from my girls. You're not crazy for making an angry face for this.
But don't worry. I'm sure if you were, your boyfriend (ex? current? I'm guessing the former?) would inform you of as much.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS: I'm glad to see that you're not suffering from your period at the moment.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dear Patsy Cline...

A friend was telling me how one of her guy friends (Matt*) repeatedly asks her "Hey, do you want to have sex?" since both of them are single. And she always replies no, and has informed him she will always say no. But he continues to ask every now and then. And I pointed out "the worst thing that can happen is you say no. If you don't say no, that means you say yes and he gets laid. It can't hurt for him to ask."
Then we were talking about how its been awhile since I've gotten any action. And she suggested I try the Matt* Method! Just ask someone single "Hey, do you want to have sex?"
I'm kinda thinking about it. If I ask in a half/joking, half/not-joking way I can get laid if they say yes, and pass it off as 'just-joking' if they say no.
Have I gone crazy?
~Just Askin'
*Name changed to protect Paul's actual identity

Dear Patsy Cline,
Yeah, you sort of have.

Not that I don't applaud your out-of-the-box thinking or your determination to keep romance out of this equation. However, I would hardly say the worst case scenario here is a negative response. It's a positive response--to a test at the doctor's office. You have no idea what kind of grossness a random single dude may or may not have. A lady** has to be cautious about who she sleeps with! I'm not saying you shouldn't have sex--go for it, have a good time--but I'm saying there should be a bit more of a screening process before you vacate your undies. Just like, you know, two or three additional questions.
Thanks for checking in on that one.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

**Or really anybody.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dear Superfan...

Dear BA,

So, I've been reading your blog for ages now, and i've always enjoyed the advice you have given other ladies (and men) when they are in a tricky situation. Well i am in a situation myself. I don't know if I went on a date or not. about 9 months ago i started talking to a guy I met on match. We hit it off really well, went out to lunch and then he kind of stopped talking to me. Another guy asked me out and i said yes because well, the match guy disappeared. He showed up a few weeks later but i was already attached.
fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I was dumped, facebook statuses change and match guy starts fb chatting with me again. So we talk a bit and he uses the word "dear" with me, in the context of "yes dear" and "of course dear".
Well he rides motorcycles and i asked him if he would mind having a passenger before the weather got cold and he was for it. So yesterday was our set time to go. he is supposed to call me around 2/3 pm and i don't hear from him until 4. turns out he was in a car accident and his car is totaled but he still wants to go for a ride. So he shows up and we are getting ready to leave and he gets a phone call, and it turns out we are going to have dinner with his cousin and his cousin's girlfriend. Which i had no idea was going to happen.
So we go to eat with them and i feel out of place. I mean they talk about cars and motorcycles and people they know and i just kind of sit there trying to be a part of the conversation. He pays for dinner btw.
then "we" all go to the mall, not on a motorcycle ride like i was expecting (even though we rode the motorcycles to the mall and to eat). Match guy is attentive, and we talk/flirt. His cousin and girlfriend want to walk around the mall, so we do.
We finally leave the mall and the sun is starting to set and we go on a short (10 minute) ride before match guy takes me home. (a great thing about motorcycle rides is you are forced to hold on to the person in front of you, and i couldn't help notice match guy has GREAT abs.) But its not just match guy who takes me home but his cousin and his girlfriend also come along. So I take off my helmet, hand it back to match guy and he put it on (there are no helmet laws in Indiana and match guy let me use his helmet and he went without).
We stand around talking for a bit and then I go inside and I THINK i hear his cousin say "why didn't you kiss her?" they leave.
I am confused. Was that a date? or did he bring his cousin along so he didn't have to be alone with me? he did date things like pay for dinner and pick and drop me off, but the date moments were counteracted by all of the non-date moments.
I need professional advice, what do you think?
an avid reader.

Dear Superfan,
There needs to be a hotline for this kind of thing. The number of women wondering this same thing is absolutely ridiculous. Alternately, I would like a TV show about it...Mystery Date Squad...who follow you around and decide if you're on a date.
I'm not going to call men stupid (what??) but rather say that men are constantly making choices that women generally regard as clueless. (Example from your outing to follow, Reader.) It's very difficult to have faith in them sometimes, after dealing with so many Bizarre Life Choices. And so, so many of them seem to happen when debating whether or not one is on a date. Coincidence? Your call, friend.
I can see why you're confused. Lots of moments there point to Date. And popping back into your life out of nowhere? That's interesting.
I don't think he brought his cousin to make sure he wasn't alone with you. I would actually call this one more toward Yes on the Date Scale if forced to choose, since it was his cousin and his cousin's girlfriend.
Remember those clueless choices I mentioned? Here we go. Mr. Motorcycle Abs might have wanted to kiss you! He might have been working on that. Or maybe he wasn't. We'll never know! Why? Because his freaking cousin and his cousin's girlfriend were standing there providing you with a super awkward audience! Who is really going to go in for the first kiss in front of family and other people? Kissing is not a spectator sport!
Ok, so maybe his cousin didn't realize there was a Vibe and that he was totally stepping on Kissing Time. (Could I please capitalize more things in this post? I'll work on it.) Sure. Totally valid. HOWEVER. If you are aware enough to ask why it didn't happen, you should be aware enough to realize that you should step away for a sec. (Boys, get it together!)
All in all, I'm calling this a Pre-Date. (Capital letters just for you, kids.) An interview for a date. You can't really call it a date because there are too many weirdo factors at work. However, I'm not comfortable saying it wasn't a date, either. You and I both need more information. If given another opportunity to hang out with this guy (and you're feeling it), go for it. We can reevaluate after that.
Tell him to leave the family reunion at home.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dear Interesting Name for Reader...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I just saw Waitress, a charming and funny movie about how disappointing life is. Adrienne Shelly was a talented filmmaker and I find it tragic that she is no longer with us today. There is a scene in the film where a cranky old man reads a letter from an advice column to the main character. I couldn't stop laughing. It made me think of you. Please, please, please give us your answer to this fabulously bitter letter.

Witty closing,
Someone Clever

p.s. If you have not seen this movie yet, do. RIGHT NOW!!

"[OLD JOE reads advice column for the lonely hearts] 'Dear Elizabeth. My husband fell in love with another woman from his workplace. I want to kill myself. I want to write the perfect suicide note to let him know how much pain he's caused me. I'm wondering if you can dispense any advice on composing a suicide note that would harm my snake of a husband and his slut girlfriend the most. Yours Truly, Betrayed In Biloxi'

OLD JOE: I love living vicariously through the pain and suffering of others."

Dear Interesting Name for Reader,
I am ashamed to say that I received your letter many moons ago. However, I was intent on seeing this movie before answering you. This letter was like my high school boyfriend's phone number: it was in my brain and if reminded that it was there, I could recite it. But until Waitress was on Lifetime the other day, it remained in a dusty box.

I suck.

However, I have seen Waitress now. Let's do this.

Dear Forlorn in a Film,
You are absolutely going about this the wrong way. This man does not want to be with you anymore. So clearly you deserve someone better! Any troll of a man who would cheat on his wife does not deserve a good woman. Killing yourself? Won't have the outcome you're hoping to achieve. First of all, you'd be dead. Huge point in the "negative" column. Second of all, he might be sad, but part of him would also be all, "Hey now, messy divorce proceedings? DONE." And then go home with his slutty coworker. (Who will inevitably leave him for someone with more hair, more visible abs, and more money.) ON TOP OF THAT, he will probably try to play the "Barbie McSlutty here was really there for me in my time of need when I was grieving!" card. Lots of people will probably say how brave he's being in the face of tragedy and how great it is that he's opening himself up to love again and other Hallmark card sentimental bullshit.
How dare you make his life easier for him.
No. That is not what you need to do at all. You need to make him regret losing you. You need to make him suffer. Here's what you're gonna do: You're going to look really good anytime you might see him or any mutual acquaintances. You're going to look so good that word of your hotness will get back to him. You're going to live your life for you and do awesome things that will make you so happy your horrible slimy ex won't be able to feel anything other than remorse. When your girlfriends gossip about him and his whorish new ladyfriend (taking liberties with the word "lady" here), you will sip your drink and feel justifiably smug that you got off that sinking ship before it was too late.
And one day in the future, when the stupid little tart leaves him and he comes crawling back to you? And you get to turn him down? A bruised ego limping away from you will be the moment you waited for.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dear 60 Minutes...

Dear BA,

Sorry! Sometimes being male means you like to put in your two cents, even if its been said already!

-Andy Rooney

Dear 60 Minutes,
I find that totally unsurprising, though I appreciate the email. It's so rare that a man is willing to admit his shortcomings to a woman. Usually you let us discover them for ourselves.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dear 15%...

Dear BA,

Recently I've read a posting of yours about how to read the minds of men... or perhaps it was about not bothering to read the minds of men. Likely, it was the latter. Anyway, your posting was in response to a woman who had been told that she smelled good by a man despite the fact that she was not trying to smell good. I suppose this posting begged me to respond as I may be one of the only male readers of your blog, and I have to say, I disagree with your preliminary analysis.

Thinking as a man who has used sample statements such as the phrase "You smell nice," I can tell you that is nearly always used as a lure. The same as "You look nice/great/pretty today," or "Your hair looks nice/awesome/sweet today". It is meant to see if the girl will bite at the compliment, repay the compliment, and just create a general awareness that there is some interest there. Men are trained to hide what they are thinking from everyone except for other men. In some cases, the more innocent the compliment, the more thought went behind it. So I have to disagree with you when you speculate that it is a man simply stating the facts. I would conjecture that men state facts out loud much more often when they DON'T like something and mostly keep the things they DO like to themselves, for example; "Dude, your farts smell like rotten cabbage and hard boiled eggs," or "That girl's voice annoys the hell out of me," with the exception to the rule being when something violent or competitive happens like "He just kicked him int he nuts! Awesome! OR when it promotes him in the current social hierarchy such as, "I can eat a whole pizza by myself!"

So I would have to say in an 85-15 split, in favor of a flirtation, that the woman who wrote you that message should wear some nice smelling things and maybe even some nice clothing in order to confirm the flirtation. The safe bet is that this guy will continue to compliment having an excuse now to compliment and thus more flirtation can continue and finally someone can sit down with the other someone and say, "My-oh-my you seem to have been taking a big interest in me. Should we have dinner sometime?"

But never forget that 15%.

-Charlie Chan

Dear 15%,
I am constantly surprised by the letters sent to me by men. Why? I'm not sure. But you all consistently keep me on my toes. I guess that's good, as I would have nothing to write about otherwise. (So...good for blog, bad for personal life? Hmm.)
I'm preeeetty sure I told Rose that her coworker was likely flirting. I didn't suppose that he was just pointing things out. ("You are wearing green today! Your hair is brown! The sun is shining!") What Rose hopefully took away from my words was that this gentleman didn't mean the other things she feared--such as, "You smell good because you do not smell like a dumpster today and that is definitely a positive change." Guess you should read all the words before you shoot off an email, huh?
While it is nice to know that there are some brave men trudging their way through my posts, be careful not to disagree with me if you don't actually disagree with me. (This is one of those things that would likely start a fight in a relationship and then guess who gets to sleep on the couch? That'd be you.) You'll notice we both lean towards this being a sign of flirtation, although you seem to think my reader ought to step up her game for it to continue, whereas I would like to remind everyone that in nature, it is the male who typically shows off and struts about to impress the female. I'm just saying. Let's not give this coworker a free pass on anything. Men may appreciate a little extra effort, but they are not alone in that.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Friday, September 03, 2010

Dear Secret Decoder Ring...

I had a (recently single) male coworker tell me "You smell nice." Which took me off guard, because I wasn't trying to smell nice. I had showered the night before, was wearing clean clothes, and remembered deodorant that morning. So I don't think I was smelling bad... but there was no reason for me to "smell nice."
So here are the options:
1. I mysteriously started to smell awesome, which he kindly pointed out.
2. The coworker at the desk next to me smelled good, which was mistakenly attributed to me. In which case, he thought I smelled like a dude. Which would be weird. Since I'm a girl.
3. I work in gross places, so wouldn't be surprised if I get back to the office and smell like cat piss sometimes. Maybe he was pointing out "you smell nicer than your normally-foul just-got-back-from-the-
landfill" stench.
4. He was looking for a way to give a compliment... and what girl doesn't want to hear she smells nice?
So lets assume its a combination of 1 and 4. Did I fuck things up if, instead of just accepting the compliment, I stated "I don't think that's me. I'm not trying to smell nice." Because that's what I did. Which turned out to be an awkward thing to say. Do boys normally say things like that if they aren't interested in a girl? If I was trying to smell nice I'd probably just think "yay someone noticed!". But I wasn't, so I'm confused.
Am I overthinking this?
BitterAmanda I don't know whats going on! How do boys minds work? What was he really trying to say?! Please help decipher!
Smells like a Rose?

Dear Secret Decoder Ring,
Yes, you are overthinking this. That you've worked yourself into a letter-writing frenzy over whether or not a boy thinks you really smell nice? Means you are clearly overthinking this.
Boy minds? Work pretty much the way they appear. Generally speaking, the things they say are basically what they mean. Or a misguided lie, when they've royally screwed things up. So unless you've had a huge fight with this coworker recently and he's doing his best to make things better, then he probably meant "You smell nice." It's that simple. I've written before about the perils of decoding the words of men...they just don't operate the same way we do. Which, despite being a constant source of anxiety for many overthinking women, at least gives us something to talk about with our friends, I suppose.
That being said, I think it's safe to say that you just straight up smelled good. (This could mean that you smelled good on a normal scale, or that you smelled good in a non-animal urine kind of way. It's an odd scale to use, sure, but you never know.)
However. That he chose to voice this opinion is another matter entirely. There's the distinct possibility that he was attempting to flirt with you. And if that's true, that is awesome. Wanna know why? Because if you weren't trying to smell good and he still thinks you do? You would literally have to put in ZERO EXTRA EFFORT to continue impressing this boy! If you're into him and things progress? You can start wearing your sweats around him so much sooner than the average relationship.
You'd be living the dream, Rose.
Oh, and I would guess you didn't totally screw things up by blowing off a compliment. Fixable, for sure. (I mean, this is a boy we're dealing with here.) And if he was totally offended by your remark? Well whatever, he was probably talking about the guy at the next desk anyway.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Grammar Check...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

What does the phrase "My girlfriend used to be from around D.C." mean?

I know a boy who has a talent of referring to his girlfriend in the past and present tense in the same sentence. Yes I could ask, but I feel odd as we've known each other long enough that it's generally assumed that I know his relationship status. I wanna know if I can tap that without getting anyone in trouble.

Syntax Error

Dear Grammar Check, a conundrum. One can't change where they are I can see where you're confused. The way I see it, there are three possible reasons for this kind of lazy sentence structure.
1. He is no longer with this mystery girl from the District. However, I would be hesitant to get involved in any tapping. If he refers to her often enough for you to see a pattern, there are still feelings there. The term "ex-girlfriend" needs to become a part of his vocabulary.
2. He is currently in this relationship and does not know how to string together a coherent sentence. This is problematic because...well, because I am a snob about the men I associate with and I think everyone should be. Particularly when it comes to men you're thinking of making out with. (Or women! This is an equal-opportunity statement, readers.) It is also problematic for you because it would mean he is, in fact, taken.
3. He is currently in this relationship but likes to maintain a veil of mystery about it. This third option is the most troubling. I know not everyone likes to publicize the details of their relationship...and that's awesome. But those people who are vague and tiptoe around the subject? That's just sketchy. Sure, maybe this guy isn't being vague on purpose. But to me, it kicks up a little red flag. Maybe a little, "I'm open to other things" flag, or perhaps just an "I'm a shitty boyfriend" flag. Either way, this option renders him a common douchebag and not worthy of your time.
Admittedly, not great options. Better to look for someone who paid attention in the 4th grade.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dear Smoke Monster...


Simple question:

I have all the best traits in the world to do with what I wish, but I'm not in a career and I'm single and that makes my parents unhappy. Do I drop my ambitions to see the world to find a career I don't want and meet a girl I have to drop my standards to be with just so I can be close by to a now happy set of parents? I mean, they did raise me. Pursuing my own ambitions seems to be selfish.

I don't know. Maybe it's not a question so much as it's a WTF moment.


Dear Smoke Monster,
Oh yeah, that's definitely a great plan. Find yourself a mediocre relationship and an ok job and spend the rest of your life resenting your parents because you're only content. Spend your days in some cubicle wondering what your life could have been like if you'd done what you wanted to do. Settle for a very nice woman who frankly deserves someone who is totally enamored of her. Have a couple kids and perpetuate the "American dream."
Our parents are from a different era, where the thing to do was get a job and have Sunday dinner with your parents. (Alright, a fair share of them are hippies who HATE kids like that but clearly that's not what you're dealing with.) If that was what you wanted and it made you happy? That'd be awesome. But it's not. Maybe one day it will be what you want, but for right now, you're looking for more.
Yes, your parents raised you and you want them to be happy. That means they did a good job. But it's just as important to realize that they want you to be happy. And they DO NOT want you to have a midlife crisis where you leave your pretty nice wife, quit your pretty ok job, and decide that your calling in life is selling handmade keychains on the beach in Spain while you deny that you're going bald and wear clothes for a man twenty years younger. That's just sad.
Do your thing, if you can swing it (financially, etc). Better now than when you're aging and pathetic.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dear Lamp...

Bitter Amanda,
Do you want to come to the pants party?

Dear Lamp,
Are you trying to tell me that there's a party in your pants, and that I'm invited?

Because that is a terrible, pathetic excuse for a line. I'm sure there are desperate women out there with lower standards and this line, applied with whatever limited charm you possess, might work on them. But on this lady? Not so much.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dear Mysterious...

Dear BA,

You know, I realized something lately - a lot of the girls that browse and post on your blog might be the kind of girl I would like to meet. Would it be wrong to shamelessly promote myself on your blog as a single guy with mostly good qualities? If not:


Brown hair/Brown eyes
Mostly white
Super smart, somewhat sensitive, low maintenance
Great kisser, athlete in bed
Downside - Can be shallow & plays video games

Ok, I laughed out loud while typing this, but I'm sending it to you anyway.

-Mr. E

Dear Mysterious,
I'm torn. My immediate reaction was to say yes, you are shameless. Then tear apart your dating resume. (What do you mean by "5'11ish"? Is that like "the last time I was measured by a medical professional it was 5'11" but you never know since that was a while ago"? Or more like, "Well strictly speaking I'm 5'6" but I carry myself with the confidence of a man taller than that"? And when you say you're an athlete in bed, I worry that this is rather vague. Are you getting at a whole team player, physical stamina thing? Or fiercely competitive? What sport are you talking about? Because some sports are kind of a one-man deal. Like luge. Those guys don't worry about anyone but numero uno. Is that the kind of sexual partner you are? I'm just trying to clear things up.) I mean, what kind of site do you think I'm running here? This isn't some dating pool, pal. I'm not particularly interested in hooking you up with one of my readers so you can be a Hallmark movie. (Or worse, a Lifetime movie.) Gross.
A tiny part of me considered allowing this and throwing you to the wolves. I figure there are plenty of women who are ready to be disappointed by a man when the relationship doesn't match Disney fairytale-levels of romance. You seem eager to fill the role, and at the very least you provided some honest (albeit questionable) commentary on yourself.
But then...I remember that I am not interested in setting a precedent around here. I'm not your meddling aunt flipping through my ancient Rolodex to find you a life partner. I sleep pretty well at night, and I'm afraid that would change if I encouraged this. Just like in relationships, I trust my gut when it comes to advice. Points for putting yourself out there, E, but this is a no-go on my end.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dear Sketchy...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Two years ago I dated a girl that I met through a friend. It didn't work out and we stopped seeing each other after a few weeks. She however has infrequently texted me over once every few months in the last 6 months asking me to various events. The latest of which is a hockey game, watching hockey being an activity which I actually enjoy. Not wanting to turn it into a date, but also wanting to catch a game before the end of the season, our text conversation went like this.

her: you wouldn't happen to be a hockey fan would you? I've been wanting to catch an ice game. i don't know why. thought i'd ask
me: i go a few times a year. it's cheap and enjoyable
her: feel like going anytime soon?
me: i could fathom getting a group together
her: 26th would be good
me: let's invite the masses then
her: okay. i will attempt but might get a person
me: you know we have this facebook thing at our disposal. one of us should create an event and invite folk. i'll spearhead

It was late, but I didn't get a response. I wanted to get it across that I wasn't interested in having it be a date, but I'm worried that I left it too open. Let's be clear: I'm not interested - we already tried dating and it didn't work.



Dear Sketchy,
Yeahhhh...she wants to date you. Whatever you've done in the past to convey that you don't want to date her has not worked. Because she still wants to date you. She may have attempted casual there, but that's because she's not typing everything she's thinking. If she had, it might look a little like this: (additions in bold)

her: you wouldn't happen to be a hockey fan would you? I've stalked you on facebook and I know you are. I've been wanting to catch an ice game in hopes of showing you that we share many interests. i don't know why. thought i'd ask because I would like to spend some time with you and I'm confident you'll say yes to this activity.
me: i go a few times a year. it's cheap and enjoyable
her: feel like going anytime soon? Also our children would be really cute. I'm just saying.
me: i could fathom getting a group together
her: 26th would be good It would make a great anniversary for us. Nobody I know has a birthday or anniversary that day and it's not a holiday or anything.
me: let's invite the masses then
her: okay. Not really okay. i will attempt but might get a person I will probably ask two or three of my girlfriends who already have plans, hate hockey, and know that I want to be alone with you. I will not leave messages if they don't answer. I will call them on the 25th. Something tells me they will say no. Looks like it's just you and me!
me: you know we have this facebook thing at our disposal. one of us should create an event and invite folk. i'll spearhead

Do you see how that's not casual? It is very much to your benefit to make this a group outing. You'd like to be assured that she'll get the point and you'll be out of the woods, right?

I can't do that. (Let it be known that what I'm about to say is not something I feel good about. Like telling a child that coloring on the walls is totally fine just this once and expecting it to go well.) You have to be mean. Not a complete douchebag, mind you. But a little mean. Anything date-like will stand out as encouragement in her mind. It will be what she tells those girlfriends she "invited" to the game. It will be the story she imagines being told in her maid of honor's wedding toast. You have to be super-extra-without-a-doubt clear. And being mean? Is a great way to lose a woman's interest!

...Actually you may want to find a date for the game--either a real one or get someone to pretend. Do you have time to make up a
fiancée or something? That'd really help.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dear Pointless...

Bitter Amanda,
I got dumped via text message at 7AM the day before Valentines Day.
Just venting. No advice needed. Since I'm never dating again.

Dear Pointless,
Ouch. That is brutal. Every part of that sentence added to my considerable anger. If I had to make a "How Not to Break Up with Someone" checklist, those would all be near the top. You have to wonder what makes a person think, "Hey, here's the best way to let someone know I'm not interested anymore."
Obviously you don't need advice about the loser who dumped you. Anybody who behaves that way is pretty much devoid of desirable qualities. Let's face it--dating is way too much of a pain in the ass to be involved with someone less than awesome.
And as we've all noticed, there are PLENTY of people who are less than awesome. Many of them are, as you correctly assessed, straight-up douchebags.
Let's all stay away from the douchebags. Okay? It just gives our friends more to gossip about behind our backs.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dear Ebenezer Scrooge...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
Why does Valentine's Day matter? And when did it become the new Christmas? Am I really expected to get my boyfriend, my mom, my dad, etc presents?
Celebrationally Challenged

Dear Ebenezer Scrooge,
Valentine's Day doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, Valentine's Day really ought to register as a mere blip and nothing more. A tiny snag in the tapestry of life. Or whatever.
However, anyone who has set foot in a Target recently (and by recently I mean since December 27th) knows that isn't true.
Some people try to pass Valentine's Day off as "a holiday for everybody! It's a celebration of love!" (Mom and Dad, I'm looking at you.) But we all know the emphasis is really more on Significant Others. Nobody in a jewelry commercial is handing their sister a diamond pendant. (...I really hope those aren't siblings, anyway.) It is a Romantic Holiday.
But! Then! Someone at Hallmark or Whitman's or another purveyor of glittery heart wares realized what they were missing! An untapped market! And so Valentine's Day went from a Hateful Romantic Holiday to Christmas Redux (But Mostly for Couples and Way Less Fun).
[I have no idea how it went, but I like to imagine it went a lot like that, and all the bigwigs were cold, unfeeling men twirling their sinister black moustaches as dollar signs flashed in their eyes like a cartoon.]
Yeah, you should probably do a present or card or something for your boyfriend. It's the done thing, I suppose. Blech. But parents? Absolutely not. I buy my parents presents for their birthdays and Christmas. Mother's Day and Father's Day also require gifts. And my parents' anniversary is the only one I remember and buy a card for. That is a lot of presents! I will not add Valentine's Day to that list--it's time to take a stand. Join me! (This year my parents will get a greeting of "Yeah, whatever," when they wish me a happy Valentine's Day. And they're lucky to get it!)
Let's keep Valentine's Day what it was meant to be--a detestable, lonely holiday where people get unnecessarily sentimental and nostalgic.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Lovebug...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Last week, I was asked out by an amazing guy. He's apparently been in love with me for almost 16 years, is one of the last few genuinely good people I know, and would make me the luckiest/happiest girl alive... if only I were the least bit attracted to him.

Now I know that these things can't be forced, but I also know how much rejections hurt. It's one of the greater tragedies of life that I keep falling for the wrong men, so I'm pretty experienced in that area. This guy deserves better. How do I let him down easy?

-- Loveless Monster

Dear Lovebug,
No. No no no no no. You can't force attraction! If you're positive it's not there, then it's not there. I'm guessing you've given it some thought and always wind up back at this same answer?
I'm sure he's a very nice guy. Actually, I'm not that sure. I'm 99% sure he's got Typical Male Behaviors lurking in him somewhere. However, I won't argue that with you right now. I'd hardly expect you to believe me on this, considering none of my friends ever do. (Ladies, stop asking what I think of your new boyfriend! I can only come up with so many neutral statements. "He is very tall!" "Wow, he was wearing red!" "He texts a lot.")
We'll go ahead and assume he's a real-life Lloyd Dobler, hoisting an ipod dock above his head to declare his feelings.
You're not Diane Court. Yeah, that sucks. But I've said it before and I'll say it again:
You deserve better than someone who doesn't want to be with you. Don't be one of Those Girls and string him along until you've ruined him for the real Diane Court of his life.
You have to be the bad guy and just tell him. There's really no easy way to let someone down, if you think about it. It always comes back to "no." Take care of yourself first, and worry about his rejection second. (We all have to get used to it.)
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, February 01, 2010

Dear Crusher...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
There is this boy I like. He smells good. And I've been getting mixed signals from him.
Turns out that when I met him he was single, but then shortly thereafter had a girlfriend. When he told me he had a girlfriend, it felt like an "I am interested in you... but I was waiting to see if this other thing would work out first."
FML. I rarely fall for people, and this is crushing my soul.
~Crushed and Crushing at the Same Time

Dear Crusher,
A boy who smells good is like a lily of the valley. You see a lily of the valley and it's this lovely little flower and it reminds you of your grandmother's garden and picking them to put in a juice glass to take home**. It's all very warm and fuzzy, right? But let me tell you a little something about lily of the valley: they're poisonous. You don't want to tangle with the lily of the valley; they are deceivers. (And by "tangle with" I mean eat. Just so you know.) It's a trap! You'll regret it.
Where was I? Oh, right. Men who smell good. That scent is there to attract you and make you feel the warm and fuzzies. (Blech.) But don't be fooled by this--it's another trap!! Sooner or later, they're going to start with the disappointment and bullshit.
Your man there, the one keeping his options open? His behavior is just...lame. It's not despicable, although you're totally justified in thinking really mean things about him and also his new girlfriend. He's just a clueless jerk who didn't think about anyone but himself. Predictable. He sucks, and you're better off.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

**Shut up I never did that.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Dear Finders Keepers...

dear bitter amanda.

I'm pissed! But I'm not sure if I have cause to be, so since I've always enjoyed your blog I thought I'd ask for some advice of my own. I go to a relatively small college, and for my Psychology class I have been working closely with (what else) a boy who I think I like a lot. (And I don't normally like people, I suppose because I'm particular.)
Anyway we have spent the past few weeks working together which equals LOTS of working together time. One of the student observers (our school lets incoming students from the area or some underclassman sit in on classes and help if needed, particularly for students interested in teaching.) One of these students is a girl who I met last semester through some friends, who I always got along well with. However lately her and my partner (aforementioned "boy") have been talking a lot. Most of the times I'm there but more and more I've seen them talking and he's talking to me about their hanging out.
Our school is very small so everyone essentially knows everyone, and a lot of people have been talking about these two even though I'm pretty sure nothing has happened yet. The thing is that he and I are both seniors and she is (in my opinion) significantly younger - five years. It's not that I think she's immature or anything, just too young! Is it wrong of me to feel just a little bit entitled because he's my partner and we met first and I'm older and all? I don't know what to do! And what to do about my friendship with the girl? Her and I have never talked about it. I don't know if you've ever experienced anything like this but boy, am I just going crazy! Please, Help!!!!

Dear Finders Keepers,
Ok. I know you wrote me really hoping that I'd side with you and call her a skank and get all "you go girl" on you. But that's just not going to happen. Here's why:
1. I never get all "you go girl."
2. You only mention hanging out with him in academic settings. not dating, in any sense of the word.
3. You never talked about it with the other girl. She probably has no idea how you feel, so you can't blame her for trying. (This entire reply would be different if you'd talked to her about this boy. In that case, I would definitely have called her a skank and I might have encouraged you to cut a bitch. I'm a big advocate of girls not stealing a friend's man. But, alas, that was not the case.)
4. Since you don't talk about him with other people, I am guessing you haven't talked about it with HIM. And on that note, you're probably not trying...I'm guessing there hasn't been any strategic hair flipping or sending yourself flowers and candy so he'll see how desirable you are? (Deduct points from your life total if you don't know what that's from.) Boys are totally oblivious; you have to make it SUPER OBVIOUS that you like them like them.
5. You said yourself that you're not even sure you like him.
I don't even know what to do with that! It sounds to me like you're upset this girl did what you didn't/couldn't do. She made a move and it's sort of working, at least from what I can tell. And that sucks. For you, it sucks bigtime.
However, I'm totally with you on her being too young. An incoming student? Assuming everyone involved is a traditional aged student, then he needs to grow up because that means she's still in high school. (I've written about that before; check here.)
Are you allowed to feel a little territorial? Sure, I can't hold that against you. I've been in your position before. (It sucked. I hated it. A lot. Let's move on.) But the Girl Scout didn't really break any Girl Rules and so it's out of my hands.
Not to be all maternal here, but maybe you learn from this one. Boys are really more like life experiences anyway. Until you like a boy enough to admit that you like him, he's not really worth your time. (They so rarely are; they frequently suck at life.) Next time, trick him into asking you out before another girl does.
Chin up, buttercup, because he'll realize soon enough that he's not interested in taking her to the senior prom and that'll be over. Maybe then you make a move. Or just sit back and laugh. Your call.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda