Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dear Stuntwoman...

Dear Bitter Amanda, 

Someone once asked me, "Is it possible for two people to love each other and not want to be with each other (or want to continue being alone)?" I didn't have a decent answer for them, but I'm hoping you do. 

Also, while we're on the subject, does love even exist? 

Emotionally Stunted.

Dear Stuntwoman, 
I assume we're talking love in a romantic way? (Gross. I hate the R word.) I'll surprise everyone by saying yes, I believe it does exist. Not in the way that movies make you think it does because come on, Ryan Gosling is not knocking on my door and that's the real tragedy here. It exists in ways that aren't always pretty or easy. And most of the time someone (MEN) screws it up by being a total douchebag. But sure, let's operate on the assumption that love exists. It gets thrown around and tangled by previously mentioned douchebaggery or the universe or the dude's girlfriend/wife that he neglected to tell you about. (Or maybe he did.) It doesn't fit into your life or you won't let it fit into your life or whatever. 
Basically, I'm saying there are a lot of factors working against you and your personal Ryan Gosling. Not all love results in a relationship. We have to start being ok with that. Relationships are a big pain in the ass and they are SUPER high maintenance. Have you ever tried to buy a birthday present for a boyfriend? Talk about stress. Who has that kind of time? 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dear Frodo...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I asked a female friend out on a "official " date after a friendly brunch that seemed to have went really well. She didn't even give me the common courtesy of a no. She simply just didn't answer and in the sparse meetings since, has pretended like it never happened. This is the second time this has happened to me this year (different female each time). I've never been upset over rejection, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it's a real kick to the pride to not even garner enough respect for a polite "No thank you." Should I say anything?


-J.R.R Not so Tolkien

Dear Frodo,
Man, some of us can be super bitchy. You don't have to agree with me, but seriously.
I think you and I have both figured out that she's not interested in dating you. (And if you hadn't figured that out...sorry. But when I like someone and they ask me out I finish all my sentences. Particularly ones about whether I'd like to go out again.) I dated a guy like this one time. He was moving away while we were dating. He stopped calling, then moved away and we never broke up or talked about it or anything. At a family Christmas party that year, an aunt asked what happened to "that nice boy." I was about to say we had broken up...when I realized I couldn't. In fact, we might technically still be dating at this very moment. (Actually by now we might be common law married. Hmm.)
You should absolutely say something, if only so this girl realizes that she's socially inept. You know, kind of like, "Hey, I didn't realize a dinner invite would take this long for you to make up your mind--are you able to decide sooner if it's just coffee?" That would sufficiently embarrass me, were I in her shoes.

OH WAIT. Did you actually ask her out? As in, "Would you like to have dinner/see a movie/make babies/play mini-golf next week/this weekend/soon?" If you did, then you totally deserve an answer.
And if not...if you were all, "Oh hey wanna hang sometime?" then you should just be quiet. Because that's not a date invite. That's a verbal text message to your boys and it will not do in a romantic setting.

Just have to check, Frodo.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Numbers...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Today, I overheard a conversation where a woman said that she had only two and a half boyfriends all her life. I'm kind of smart but I can't figure out how someone dates half a person. Please explain.

Math-is-hard Barbie

Dear Numbers,
That half boyfriend is probably someone she dated while she studied abroad and after she returned home she never saw him. Despite any feelings she had for him and what they told Facebook, he didn't really count as a boyfriend because they didn't have to go through the motions of a relationship. That sort of thing. They slept together and she feels weird leaving him off her list.
I guess it could be a matter of a short man? Or a guy missing a testicle? But those seem rather petty--and trust me, I've been there and I would not call them half men.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Minimum Payne...

Dear BA,

A woman that's broken my heart twice in the last six months wants back into my life and I want her back even though I know it will likely end badly.

What do I do?

-Max Payne

Dear Minimum Payne,
I think we both know what you're going to do. You said it yourself. You just want someone else to say it's ok so you feel justified. You want someone to tell you you're not crazy. Sorry, but that won't be me--the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly while looking for a different outcome.
You're a grown up. Do what you want to do--just don't be surprised if twice turns into three times. I will definitely be here with an "I told you so."
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dear Robin...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I've been on two dates with someone lovely this week. Life just happened work out for a few short days between the time I found out he was newly single and the time when we will have to part company due to one of us moving away. Things are brilliantly new, sudden, and fleeting. Because of these circumstances, I am more likely to do things I wouldn't otherwise. This can be a good and a bad thing as you will soon see.
We went for happy hour on our last outing: pitchers and wings, for we are classy people. After several hours of brilliant banter and drinking, he cut himself off from beer since he was driving. Being a gentleman, he offered me a ride home, as well as the remainder of our pitcher. "Thank you," I said. "I would love a ride home, but I couldn't possibly finish the beer. Just half a glass more for me."
Half an hour later, while my companion sat serenely sipping his water, I was quite surprised to find the pitcher empty. I babbled without reservation about his likeness to various actors and cartoons, until he mentioned it was midnight, and perhaps we should go home. We managed to leave the establishment without incident, knocking over only one glass upon my rising from the table. We took a circuitous route to my residence, as I attempted to help him navigate the six city blocks with their complex grid-like structure. Arriving at my destination, I thanked him with a peck on the cheek, to which he replied "woo!" as I bolted from the car. I may or may not have said "Run away, run away!"
In the sober light of day, I can't help feeling a bit embarrassed. There is no persona I hate more than that of Drunk Girl, and would hate to think I offended or annoyed such an outstanding gentleman by simply ensuring none of the ale he purchased went to waste. Worse, upon further reflection, "woo!" seems to pick up vastly different nuanced meanings the more I think about it. Is it "Woo! What the hell was that about?!" Or merely, "Woo! You are tipsy, my dear girl, but I will allow this just this once." Or even, "Woo! I was not expecting that, but I liked it." Or perhaps, "Woo! She totally just ran out of the car like I was going to eat her."
Bitter Amanda, I defer to your wisdom. In this context, what does "woo!" mean, and what does it hold for future rendez-vous?
-In cervisia, loquacitatem

Dear Robin,
Woo? Really, woo? What, did this date happen on the pages of a comic book?? Did his eyes bug out of his head and turn into hearts, too? Was your date Batman? That is not an appropriate reaction to a girl kissing you on the cheek! Particularly without any further explanation. As far as I'm concerned, gentlemen, the only wooing on a date should consist of you bringing flowers and the like. Not the actual word. Unless your date's band just finished playing an awesome song. OR SOME OTHER SITUATION WHEN A WOO IS CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE.
This is so perfectly male, I can't even tell you. Rather than dealing with his emotions in an adult way (or even a coherent way) he resorts to cartoon bubble-esque responses to the situation. In reality, his woo likely means what so many things do, coming from the mouths of men. "I don't know what I want." Let's be serious--do they ever? Men do not know what they want in relationships. They only figure it out once someone else tells them or makes it impossible for them to have it.
This is a puzzling situation for me, and not just because of Archie's strange exclamation. Maybe I got some of the facts wrong. He's single, you're leaving the area, you were drinking together? And he's lovely? And yet...somehow...you didn't end up making out? Because I have to tell you, that's the outcome I'd have put my money on. But I'd have been wrong. Instead, he wooed and now you get to find the boy translation for that. How thoughtful.
So, do you have a future? Well, I don't think "woo!" is entirely bad, so what the hell? See him again. Just put a moratorium on anything that could be considered a sound effect. If he does anything of the sort, you have my full permission to respond in Batman cartoon words. See his woo! and raise him a POW or ZAP.
Then we'll see how outstanding this gentleman really is.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Brick...

Dear BA,

Facebook; why do people do that to themselves?


Dear Brick,
Let’s see…peer pressure? Narcissism? The siren call of stalking people in a socially acceptable way? All these are usually coupled with thinly veiled excuses about networking and reviving friendships from one’s 2nd grade Girl Scout troop.
Oh, and whatever that FarmVille shit is. I'm still getting invites to that--knock it off.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dear Pirate...


I went on a few dates with a boy. I thought things were going well, on our last date we spent all night cuddling and he told me I gave him butterflies in his stomach. Then... he fell off the face of the earth and I never heard from him again. I know he's still alive, he just stopped all communication. I'm pretty sure it's because his last girlfriend was a psychopath and he wasn't ready for a new relationship, but it still hurt my soul.

His company is one of my company’s biggest clients. They have a small facility, and I get to spend all day there later this week. What do I do if I see him? Call him out on his shitty actions? Pretend he's not there? Say hello and nothing else? Say hello and ask how he's doing? Get violently I'll and call out sick?

What should I do?!


Dear Pirate,
No. This is a no in two parts, one for each section of your letter.
First of all, let’s talk about your dates with him. He said some nice things. How nice for you. But you know what? Then he stopped calling. ACTIONS DO NOT MATCH WORDS. This is what we like to call a red flag, Eye Patch. It is easy to say things, but if you can’t back them up then they have no meaning. Psychopath ex or not, if he was into you, you’d know it.
Now. Onto the second movement of Symphony in No.
This no is more complex, with subtleties weaving in and out of the general chorus of no. Some of your suggestions for seeing him are not bad. But my big issue here is how much time you’re spending on it. He’s the one who cut off communication. He missed out! This is his loss, clearly. You are way more awesome than that. Right? Right.
If and when you see him, you don’t need to worry. Just go about your day, do you job, and be the fabulous person you are. Let him spend time figuring out what to say to you, for he will surely be embarrassed by his childish behavior.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Ms. T...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I want a guy who rides a bike, does stupid tricks, goes on random midnight adventures, watches cartoons, and will steal street signs to help me make art. He also NEEDS to be sweet, intelligent, and educated. Do you think one exists?


Dear Ms. T,
Not really, no.

Oh. That's harsh, right? Um...it's very likely that he does. But in the end, he probably also has a boyfriend or a prison sentence or a huge tattoo on his bicep of the ex girlfriend he's stalking or big plans for his upcoming 15th birthday party. So...you know, good luck.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear Twitter...

Dear Amanda,

I went to this Peace organization training in Dallas, Texas this weekend. And I was somewhat disturbed to see two semi awkward guys playing with one balloon for over 45 minutes! crazy. It could have been an movie Titled: Two guys one balloon.

I don't expect you to post this, but I do expect you to follow me on twitter,

The kid from D.

Dear Twitter,
That sounds painful to watch. I'm guessing these awkward gentlemen were practicing some really odd, nerdy and anti-social flirting ritual? Whatever works. I could go on for a while here about their need to get out and talk to some girls, unless they're looking for a nerdy boy to hang out uncomfortably with...in which case I'd say they're doing alright for themselves.
However. What I'd really like to address here is concern in two parts. First of all, that you watched this for 45 minutes. That is a seriously long time. Don't you know any girls to talk to? Or have any friends you could hang out with? Or maybe you could have joined in, making it a social event, rather than a sad, voyeuristic sideshow. There are lots of alternatives. My other concern is that you've likened this experience to a graphic, gross internet porn phenomenon. I'm not sure what, but it definitely says something about you, D.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS: Despite this, I will follow you on twitter. Don't disappoint! *ba

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Dear Dazed...

Is the following a compliment, or should I be offended? "I kinda want to see you when you're 50. You're so pretty now... who knows what can go wrong before then!"

-slightly confused

Dear Dazed,
...What? This...is baffling. I mean...talk about mixed messages. Let's break it down.
I kinda want to see you when you're 50. This could be "I am letting you know that in 20-some years I would still like to look at your face" in which case that's nice. Odd way of phrasing it, but nice. You're so pretty now... hey now, that's better! Pretty is a very straightforward word. who knows what can go wrong before then! Wait, what? I do not understand.
It comes down to who delivered this remark. A passive-aggressive aunt, speaking to a lifestyle she doesn't approve of with a thin smile on her face? Take offense. Then tell her she'll probably be dead by then. An ex? Take offense and then be glad he's gone. However, I suspect that it's neither of these. I imagine that it's a boy you may or may not be interested in. Who may or may not be interested in you. But those are two pretty important factors. Do you or don't you? Does he or doesn't he?
I'll tell you one thing--it doesn't matter. Because until a man can deliver a straight up compliment, he hasn't figured his shit out and he'll continue to hand out bizarre half-compliments masked in a veil of snark. Trying out some nonsense douchebag-endorsed dating advice, no doubt.
Ladies, do not accept a compliment unless you're positive it's meant as one.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dear Blockhead...

I met a girl.

I've known her from work for the last six months, been hanging out with her as a friend for four of those months, she's invited me to meet her family and attend her nephew's birthday party (an exclusive invite), I've met and been accepted into her friend circle, she's invited me to her brother's wedding, she tutors me in language, we eat a lot of dinners together, and we recently took a trip (with two other friends) to a few touristy locals. During said touristy adventure, something happened. She showed a side of herself not before seen and I showed a side of myself not before seen. She was more playful and wild and I was more charming and adventurous (maybe just adventurous). So, we talked a little after the trip and admitted that we had developed feelings for one another along the way. I mean, after our trip, they were just... there. Go figure. In the beginning of January we were kind of hinting around dating, but no one asked anyone out at that moment. I had to give it a lot of thought before deciding to ask as I am 1 - in a foreign country and would have to 2 - commit to a serious and long term relationship which may end up in marriage which meant 3 - I would have to stay abroad and of course 4 - change my whole life for one person. If you know me, which you do, that's sort of an epic question. Well, I surprised myself and the first answer I got in my head was, "I'll do it all."

On Valentine's Day, I asked her out (cliched, I know). She said 'maybe' because, well, it's a big deal to have a foreigner such as myself as a boyfriend. Apparently, she lost a lot of sleep over the decision and finally turned up with a "no" two days later.

Well, I was confused because, well, do you see the above set up? Friends, family, hanging out a lot, getting really close, admitting feelings... so I asked her why she answered that way. It even turned into one of those romantic movie scenes and as I walked her to the subway I basically bared all with just about any romantic thought I had in my head about her. Turns out, she's afraid of dating a foreigner. Why? She believes that the language and cultural barriers will not let us know each others minds. Maybe we will be sad because we can't fully express ourselves. I don't know enough of her language, she doesn't know enough of mine (though she is passable in any state in America any day). We manage to bring these things up from time to time with each other and it's almost like she's slowly being convinced to change her mind. At least, that's just the way I perceive things going.

Anyway, we are awesome friends regardless of all of this. I recently hung out with her and her sister and played with her nephew while we were shopping for groceries. She's invited me to visit her in her new hometown next weekend, we're going on another touristy trip together this month too, and she wants to have me over so she can cook some traditional foods.

Also, I gave her something. It was a gift that I bought while I was in New Zealand (yes, everyone knows who's writing this). I bought it for "someone"- this image of a girl I wished I could meet someday (honestly it was like making a wish), and though I have had a few opportunities to give it away, I never did until now. It's a teardrop greenstone necklace with a symbol of a koru (google it) engraved on it. She hasn't taken it off since I gave it to her and she proudly displays it everywhere. I think she loves me, but I think she's afraid to admit it. Could I be totally wrong? See above? Totally wrong?

So my agency contacts me last week. These are the people who got me a job overseas. They say, (paraphrased), "What's next for you? Beijing? Hong Kong? Taiwan? Japan? The world is at your doorstep, all you need do is ask us." I say (literal), "Before I can answer you, I have to see about a girl." In the extended response I asked them to look for places for me to work that would be near this girl.

So let me complicate my previous question. It used to be: travel the world or return to the United States of America. Now it's: the girl or the rest of the world? One whole world, or another?

Is this still an awesome problem to have? I'd say yes, no matter how much is drives me crazy, but what do you think?

-Charlie Brown

Dear Blockhead,
Sort of. It's sort of an awesome problem to have. I only mean that compared to other problems you could have. On a global scale, this problem rocks. However, on a relationship scale, this problem does not rock.
I like that you've manned up and you're out there with your feelings and not shirking away from them. I like that you're willing to commit to something, as many men in their 20s and 30s seem to be in this whole, "Hey man, I just want to do my own thing and go where the wind blows me, so putting down roots will seriously interfere with that" mentality. Those men should buy surfboards, rent a house together, and figure their shit out. ...Anyway. I like that you're sticking this out until you figure it out. It would be easy for you to walk away after hearing her say no.
I seriously wanted to throw up while I read the description of your time together. Like, I was mad at you for putting that filth in my inbox. Buy a diary and doodle hearts around it, already. For those readers who haven't read my other letters (although I know you have, Charlie Brown) this is usually a sign that a relationship is sickeningly sweet. I can't deal. That's just gross.
The universe conspires against us. I'm convinced. Trust me when I say that sometimes the universe does not have your back in the romance department. It's convenient to suggest that when two people are right for each other and make their friends gag, it will work out automatically. I guess it could? But more often that not, it would seem, we get obstacles thrown in front of us. There are basically two types of people: people who find an obstacle and see a stop sign, and people who find an obstacle and tackle it. It just depends on how hard you want to work. At the base of all the cultural stuff and distance stuff, we're people. The language is different and the cultures vary, but when it comes down to it, people are people. You don't have to speak the same language to gross people out with your hand holding and adoring glances.
Even though your sentimentality nauseates me, I'm going to tell you what I've told many readers. Go with your gut. If you believe she loves you and that you two have a shot at disgusting the world together, give it a shot. Keep at it. Talk to her about this romantic nonsense. You're talking about trading the whole word for her, for heaven's sake. If a man said that to me, I would slap him for being so sappy and pathetic and ask when Meg Ryan was showing up. Hopefully your girl isn't like me.
Like I told you before, figure out what makes you happy in life and go after it. Just leave the gory details out, thanks.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dear Old Fashioned...

Bitter Amanda,
I recently had a boy ask me if we wanted to take things to the next step - by which he meant becoming a couple.
He did this by text message. Is this normal? It seems to me a conversation about couplehood should take place in person. Kinda like not dumping someone via text - you shouldn't start a relationship via text either.
Am I just old fashioned? Is this the new norm? If so - I object. Whats next? Sex via text? Like that will ever work.
Grow a Pair and Ask Me in Person

Dear Old Fashioned,
Unfortunately, the spreading of good news in a digital format seems to be gaining momentum as an appropriate method. I do not agree with this. I don't understand why my best friend should find out my news at the same time as my dentist. However, it's happening anyway.
As far as I'm concerned, a boy texting you about taking your relationship to the next level? Is only appropriate if your relationship up to that point has been a texting and/or internet relationship. Using this scale, I would assume he's ready to start having phone conversations? That's sweet.
Buuuuut....if your relationship has been a standard issue texting/phone/date/face-to-face conversation sort of thing? Then it's completely ridiculous. Texting isn't the way to move things along in the relationship department! It's just plain lazy! I cannot believe the extent of this epidemic.
Where did we go wrong? I suspect this has been snowballing for some time. First we accepted flirting via text, and then we decided it was acceptable to ask someone out and before you can type "brb" we'll be reading on facebook about that time our friends got engaged when he typed "Will u marry me? y/n" into his iPhone and she responded with a y-smiley face combo. We can't let this happen! I won't stand for it--and neither should you.
Stay strong, Old Fashioned. You're not wrong. He needs to man up and have The Talk in person.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS: Sex via text will never happen? Seriously? I'm going to pretend I never saw that. You're going to immediately google Tiger Woods and learn about his failed marriage. *ba

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Dear Phil Connors...


I'm having some trouble with something. I'm out in the world, traveling, seeing some great things, experiencing new cultures, getting to do things that most people won't be able to do or simply can't do. Soon, I'm going to have to decide if I want it to end and return to the good old USA, or just keep going around the world - Italy, Germany, China, Japan, Taiwan...

The thing is, back in the states the economy sucks, there are no jobs that are available that I find appealing, and America is... not as interesting as the rest of the world. However, America has my friends, my computer, access to the Americana I miss, and my dog. I'm addicted to traveling the world but I'm wondering how long I can do that before I realize I'm missing out on family and friends, becoming the person "who is never there". Do I want to be that person? Or do I want to just keep going so one day, right before I die, I can smile and think, "I did that, and I never said no."

What's your take on all of this?

-Bill Murry

Dear Phil Connors,
This is rather timely, as I've recently been consulting with my partner-in-crime on a similar topic. It's a "curse" faced by many first world 20-somethings. "Should I find a stable job or travel the world the find myself?" Let's face it--there isn't a bad option here. You could travel the world and see awesome things and have life experiences fit to brag about in old age. Or you could go home to the dog who loves you and the people who matter and also have life experiences fit to brag about in old age. That's actually an awesome problem to have, if you think about it. Life could be a lot worse.
You're looking at this choice as a permanent one...it's quite limiting, don't you think? There's nothing to say you can't travel for a while longer and then return to America, or for that matter return to America and head out for adventures later.
As long as you have the resources to support it, you're in a great position to be flexible here. This is not the decision to stress about. Stop whining.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda