Monday, December 09, 2013

Dear Santa...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
Flipping through the gift guide section in the December issue of my fave magazine, I found this: "sexy sweatpants"...what the...WHAT?!

Dear Santa,

You got my letters!! Sexy sweatpants--it's all I ever wanted! 

This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Sweatpants you're supposed to wear out of the house...I think I'm going to cry. 

This is a serious holiday miracle. 
Solitarily (and COMFORTABLY!) yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dear Good at Other Things...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I have some concerns. Soon I will be going to a friend from Grad School's wedding. I have been excited about it for a while until I realized that I will have to see OTHER people from grad school there. Currently I am the least successful person who graduated from the program. 

I need advice on how to deal with this wedding. What do you suggest?

Warm Regards,
I don't want to make small talk with my successful cohort members

Dear Good at Other Things,
This is a very real concern. I was at a wedding once with a friend who works for the FBI. To hear that success story and then see all eyes turn expectantly to you...yeah, I feel your pain. "...I write a blog. I've got a lot of twitter followers." It's not going to come out well. 

So how do you deal with this wedding? The plan I'm suggesting requires a little prep work. First of all, you need to examine your life. Make a list of the things that you're proud of--the stuff you're really nailing in life. Are you dating someone really hot? Have any celebrities tweeted at you lately? Did your new haircut get complimented like, five times at Target last week? Have you been involved in any awesome projects lately? Did your post on tumblr get tons of notes? Did you find a gas station with a great price and text all your friends? I don't care how mundane any of it sounds--this is the foundation of my plan. There are two reasons--the first is that it's important to bolster your confidence a little in these situations. (WEDDINGS, that is.) It's also about to be the first step in a a little research project. 

So, are you remembering how awesome you are? Good. You're better than those other grad students. 

Now you need to do a little research. It's social media time. All those cohort members who are "more successful" than you? Google them. Facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr. All of it. Focus on those areas where you are awesome. You're dating someone really hot? Time to find out if your classmates are. You're a twitter rockstar? Well how many followers do THEY have? You see where I'm going with this? 

You're good at OTHER THINGS. 

When you get to this wedding, get yourself a cocktail and mentally review all the stuff that makes you super awesome. (BECAUSE YOU ARE.) When it comes time to talk to the rest of your cohort, let them talk about those jobs. How one dimensional. Your work is not your life! Nod and smile and tell them that's awesome. Before they can ask you, ease the conversation away from work. Direct it towards that list we made. "Did I see that you're in a new relationship?" After those lames tell you about their generic boring girlfriends, they'll ask you. Oh, me? YEAH, I'm dating someone. Check out this hotness. Direct conversation towards your work in the community, or with children, or whatever awesome extracurriculars you've developed. Just constantly redirect the conversation. Stay in the conversation as long as you feel is necessary, and then make your escape. 

Then steal all their candy favors from the tables, go home, and tweet to your multitude of followers about your evening. 
Good luck! 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dear General Cuss-ter...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I'm looking for some new curse words. Calling someone an a$&hole just doesn't do it for me any more and I don't like using the misogynistic words (you know the ones I mean). Do you have any recommendations?

@$*^#€ you,
Potty Mouth

Dear General Cuss-ter,
Real confession: I opened your email and glanced over it before reading. I saw the phrase "asshole just doesn't do it for me" and thought, "THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF ADVICE I GIVE." 

I'm really happy you want to talk about swearing. 

I'm all for learning new things, so props to you for expanding your horizons. This is about creativity. There's a relatively small pool of words to work from, if you think about it. 
There are several things I've found quite useful. First off is the compound word swearing. Combine words, even words that aren't cursing, to come up with quirky and new ways to express your feelings. The other day a friend called someone a "dick sneeze." I wouldn't have considered it, but when he said it, it gave us a pretty solid impression of the person in question. You can take a curse word you'd normally use, then tack on a body part, bodily function, natural disaster--really the possibilities are limitless. For more delicate surroundings, you can also consider combining one of those with an animal. I'd probably be insulted if someone called me a dragon fart or giraffe testicle--you know what I'm saying?
Watch sports with someone who is REALLY INTO SPORTS. Wait for an official to pass judgment on a play or someone on the opposing team to step out of line--you'll hear some shiny new combinations. 
You can also broaden your scope and learn a new language! My summer campers know how to swear in at least 5 languages by the end of the first couple days of camp. "What the fuck" is a little more satisfying in Finnish, for example. It's also easier to get away with muttering these under your breath at work. (See also: Joss Whedon's Firefly) You can also look to other cultures. This one guy I knew in Ireland practically turned cursing into a sport. When he got was a thing of beauty, in a way. 
And finally, if you're looking for something slightly more creative and sort of off the beaten trail, look to the masters! Guys like Shakespeare figured out a million ways to insult people without coming right out and calling them a fuck face. It's a little wordier, so there isn't the instant satisfaction that comes from dropping the word asshole, but it's an option. 
Was this helpful? 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dear Anakin Skywalker...

What does "your loss" mean? I HATE when girls use it. To me it says, I kinda wanted you to come to this, but since you have other plans, I'll save face by being a slight dick. Perspective. 

Dear Anakin Skywalker,
You're not far off with that one. "Your loss" is a way of turning the disappointment off yourself and onto the other person. It always follows some kind of rejection--whether it's breaking someone's heart or a booty call being denied. I've experienced both sides of the "your loss"--I've heard it and yes, I've said it. And yes, it's kind of a dick move. But it's a defensive dick move. It's a way of saying "I could care less about this rejection--I pretty much won't remember it in five minutes--but man are YOU going to regret it." On the surface, it's "I don't give a fuck"...but underneath that it says "I CARE SO MUCH." 
Remind yourself that she's probably really into you and let that boost your ego for a bit, but let it slide so she can save face. She really does give a fuck that you said no.

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dear Optimist...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Facebook has now opened my eyes to what my friends are thinking and feeling, and as I read my friends post I’m noticing a trend. Someone is always whining about being single! So I started to think back to all the different groups of friends throughout my life and it’s true. Every group I’ve been apart of always has that one person who was never happy and always complained about being single. Who is always searching, always sighing always longing more for. I get it, it sucks! The dating world is a cruel place, but come on, we are all single that’s why we hang out all the time! I feel your pain, I truly do but I can’t take your complaining any more! Amanda, how do I make my friends shut up already? Can’t they see there bad vibes could be the reason they are still single? I love my friends but does there have to be one in every group?

Yours truly,
Frustrated by friends

Dear Optimist,
...Is this an intervention? Did you guys all get together to send this? 

No, that can't be right. I complain about men being idiots and couples being obnoxious...not about being single. 

You can't make them stop. There will always be that friend who complains about something. If she gets married, she'll find something new to complain about--the topic doesn't really matter. If she starts dating it might be her job. If she gets promoted it'll be her apartment. If that changes, she'll have family get what I'm saying. Some people just like to whine about their lives. (Tell her to start a blog! I've found that to be a useful vessel for complaining.) 

Seriously, this isn't from my friends, is it? 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dear Best Policy...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Is there a polite way of saying, "I think you are full of shit and I am not interested in what you have to say"? I've been trying to think of one but am having trouble with the exact phrasing.
Awkwardly Honest

Dear Best Policy,

I'm about to do something unprecedented and tell you I suck at this

I have no poker face at all. Generally speaking, if I think someone is full of shit and am not interested in what they have to say, my face says it all. My features arrange themselves into an expression of "I'm bored and no shits are being given," while at the same time I'm mentally high fiving myself on really nailing a neutral facial expression. This continues, I've noticed, until a friend yanks me away from a conversation unceremoniously under the pretense of needing my help with some vague task. Even then I usually don't pick up on what kind of trainwreck they are trying to stop until they mimic the face I've just been making. 

I have NO IDEA why this the one social area where I'm a complete failure.**

However, in the interest of actually helping you out, let's consider the various situations in which you might be inclined to say, "I think you are full of shit and I'm not interested in what you have to say." Sometimes you don't need to be polite. If this is some bro at the bar, then be blunt and get out. "I'm bored and I have to go now." You don't owe that guy an explanation. If it's a friend or someone you genuinely like, pick a fight about what they're saying. That's always fun, especially if other people are around to uncomfortably decide whether this is a big deal or not. 

Regrettably, if this is a coworker you'll be forced to mingle with every day over mediocre coffee in the break room, or some family member you're supposed to play nice need to just get out and let everybody save face. Fake a super important text message or something--anything that excuses you from the situation. Tell them you're about to pee your pants. Whatever you need to do. Life is too short to listen to bullshit. (Everyone just closed their internet browser.) 

Oh, and if it's your boss--work REALLY HARD at keeping your face neutral. And if at any point you feel like you're doing such a good job at looking neutral that you want to award yourself a mental high five, you're doing it wrong. Try harder. 

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

**Besides my dating life. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dear Jane Eyre...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I've noticed among women in social situations where they are apt to met new people of the suitable gender for their romantic proclivities, if they happen to be in a relationship, this is information they will tell you early on, particularly if the beau is not in attendance.  It's not overt, it's not jarring, it's just there to show everyone where they stand. "Oh yes, Peru is lovely. I went last year with my boyfriend." That sort of thing. Just slipping in a simple fact.

I like this. I like how it says, "I am enjoying your conversation, and, in case we are reading this situation differently, I just want to let you know I'm spoken for. Let us continue talking about our common interests and having a good time." (Granted, some people wield this like a shield, bringing up their significant other every three seconds, which is a bit irritating, but understandable if they are getting a lot of unwanted attention.)
Men, I've found, do not do this. This is annoying. Maybe it's not all men. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the male sex as a whole, but a disproportional amount of men that *I* meet and am flirting with/ passing my phone number to/ trying to ask out do not come clean with information about girlfriends until well into the conversation. A number of them don't even slip that bit of information in within the first meeting. I remember one time where I was shocked to find the gentleman in question had a fiance the whole time I'd known him, which was about nine months, and no one had informed me of this. Another time, I thought I'd been asked on an impromptu date, only to find I wasn't when he told me he was meeting his girlfriend at the movies later. Possibly my fault for misconstruing the invitation, but I still contend I should have been informed that a girlfriend existed by at least the first month in of knowing someone.
Is this some sort of convoluted chivalry? Are these men so sensitive to bandying a woman's good name about town that they neglect to tell me that they are in a long term relationship? Or are they dense and ill informed of social rules? Or, am *I* ill-informed and the general procedure now is to shake hands and ask, "Hello. Are you single? I just want to make sure it's ok to hit on you this evening should I feel inclined to do so." Or, and I hesitate to bring this up, are they doing this... conveniently?  ("Oh, I never told you I had a girlfriend? I'm sure I did, I must have.")
What do you think, Bitter Amanda? Why is this happening? And what can I do about it?
Yours truly,
Jane Eyre

Dear Jane,
If I had a dollar for every time I learned far too late in the game that a man was already in a relationship, I would be in a different tax bracket. 
This is so awkward! Women want to make it clear if they are in a relationship and that this is just a friendly conversation and not flirting, but they also don't want to be That Girl who can only talk about her boyfriend. But you also don't want to assume that every man who speaks to you is flirting. Most women have found a way to seamlessly introduce a significant other--generally before someone is asking for her phone number. On the flip side, single women also want to make themselves known without sounding sad or desperate--and they're pretty good at it.
Men are terrible at this. (And many other things in life, such as returning phone calls and regarding the feelings of another.) It's hard to tell if this is an intentional omission of information or just a stupid misreading of social situations. The first is unforgivable, the second is annoying. For me, the strangest part of this phenomenon is situations like not knowing someone is engaged. Your significant other shouldn't be the only thing you talk about, but how can you leave someone like that out of conversation for so long? Not a very good sign, if you ask me. 
And so, Ms. Eyre, let's get to your questions. Why is this happening? I am disinclined to call it any form of chivalry. That, my dear, is dead. Nor is this situation your fault. You're allowed to flirt and you're just using the information you've been given--or not given, as the case may be. 
I think the solution to this problem falls to men. (Sadly. This does not bode well for an efficient remedy.)
Men of the world, it's time to start paying attention. If you are unavailable and someone is flirting with you, you have a responsibility to your significant other to make them known. You don't have to wear a big sandwich board saying "I HEART MY GIRLFRIEND" or anything. Just a quick drop of the word "girlfriend" or even a female name will do. If said with enough familiarity, most women will pick up the hint. Do this as soon as she makes physical contact with you or asks what you do on the weekends. And don't flirt back! She might not be flirting with you, but she'll appreciate the heads up. Even if you're awkward about it, and you very likely will be, at least it's out there. 

If I may go down another path for a minute, I believe there is another reason women are so good at dropping their partner into conversations. It's a defense mechanism. A safety net. Very often, the only thing that stops a would-be suitor from showering a woman with affection (read: groping and sweating all over her) is the mention of another man in her life. The sad fact is that lots of men only stop unwanted attention out of respect for another man. I've had to make up boyfriends in order to get a man unwrapped from around me. It's not enough that a woman has said no or asked you to stop, which is pathetic. 

You keep doing what you're doing, Jane. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dear Vin Diesel...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I just read something for school (" a [labor] union as in a country, the best way to ensure internal harmony and unity is to have a state of 'war'."*) that reminded me of what an ex once told me about relationships: if you aren't fighting, you aren't talking. Are regularly combative and potentially hostile forms of communication actually healthy on a personal level?

Not the "fist" in pacifist

p.s. The ex and I rarely fought. Is that why we broke up? Is that ironic?

p.p.s. Sorry about the footnote in an email. I'm a little excited about being in school again. xoxoNerd.

*from D. Lilore, The local union in public libraries. (1984), p. 77 paraphrasing L.H. Fisher and G. McConnell, "Internal conflict and labor union solidarity" in K. Kornhauser, et. al. Industrial conflict (1954).

Dear Vin Diesel,

I'm not sure about that quote as it relates to labor unions or countries--I'd have to see more and I'm not an expert on either of those topics...unlike relationships, where I am clearly an expert--so let's focus on the part about your ex.**
Some people don't know how to communicate or function without some level of stress. (Come to hang out with a certain branch of my family. You'll know what I mean.) Some people need that constant level of stress and adrenaline. I'm not calling it healthy or unhealthy, but I'm pointing it out. 
But in a relationship? I'm going to disagree with your ex. Is arguing and having disagreements and working through them healthy? Absolutely. Work through your private, please. There is nothing more uncomfortable than witnessing a couple fight in public. It's almost worse than witnessing a couple making out in public. Almost. Rolling over and being a doormat because you'd rather avoid confrontation? Pass, thanks. But combative? Potentially hostile? That's not how I want my relationships described. (Although, my exes might disagree with that but WE WON'T ASK THEM.) There are ways to work out problems in a more...peaceful manner. 
Did you and your ex break up because you never fought? I don't know. My guess would be no. I'd be more likely to suggest that you broke up because he felt combative arguments were the way to your heart. Just a hunch. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS--I don't mind footnotes. 

PPS--I think I've had this email for a really long time. It got lost in my inbox. Like that time my blind date had to reschedule and, I'm sure, lost my phone number. Sorry. 

**Part of this sentence is a lie.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dear Whovian...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I think I received a note from Dr. Who. Can you please confirm?

Future Companion

Dear Whovian,
I assume you mean Doctor Who, as one doesn't abbreviate when referring to The Doctor.

So, are you a future companion? Unlikely. And not just because I'm fairly certain The Doctor wouldn't leave notes on old receipts. (I'm not saying he has some fancy embossed stationary or anything--I really wouldn't know--but it's just a hunch that this note is not he he rolls.) I say no mostly because for you to be a future companion, the author of this note would have to mean what he said and follow up on it. We all know that's rather unlikely for a man, hmm? 

If you believe in magic and want to save the universe, then by all means pen a missive in reply. Just don't get your hopes up that the TARDIS will show up on your front lawn. The guy didn't even provide a return address. Typical. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Ghost Chase...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I think the clock on the bedside table is trying to send me a message. Can you help me interpret it?

It's one of those cool alarm clocks that projects the time onto the ceiling which is great if you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and want to know what time it is. But one day, I noticed that the time was suddenly 4 hours ahead. It is disorienting enough to wake up in the middle of the night and not know what time, day, or century it is because you're so groggy, but to also be fed false information? That is unacceptable!

So I reset it to the right time, which for me is EST. And the next morning the clock was 4 hours ahead again! The clock keeps doing this, resetting itself 4 hours ahead no matter how many times I set it right. I don't know how, and I don't know why, but this is a true story. I swear!
Is this merely mechanical malfunction or am I receiving messages from the digital beyond (AKA, is my clock haunted)?

Please help!
Mocked by Clock

p.s. Just in case you were wondering, I use the alarm on my phone to wake me up in the morning. I was not woken up at ungodly-er than normal hours by this haunted alarm clock. So if that was the clock's plan, to disturb my rest, it failed.

Dear Ghost Chase,

Haunted. Your clock is definitely haunted. I'd do some google research on taking care of that. 

Then's giving you the time in western Portugal. It could be worse, you know? Maybe it's a sign. should change the batteries. 

It's definitely one of the two. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dear Stan...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I created a board on Pinterest of all the pins I think you would like. You're welcome.

Your Biggest Fan

Dear Stan,
WHAT. WHAT JUST HAPPENED. That Pinterest board is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I am actually feeling positive emotions over this. You're a pretty awesome Biggest Fan. Also you might need another hobby, since you made a WWBAP board on Pinterest. Just a thought. But you're still awesome! 

Readers, I also finally understand the appeal of Pinterest. Guess who won't be getting much work done in the near future? 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Miss Jones...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I'm in a bit of a pickle. I met an attractive and interesting man a few weeks ago with a common interest. We talked for a while,  and eventually exchanged information about other events that were happening. Now, I've been rather busy since then, though I had planned on contacting him this week about an event coming up, in hopes that we'd meet up and get chatting again. However, last night he may have showed up at a weekly event that I told him about, but to which I hadn't expected him to come... but then again, maybe he didn't.

Bitter Amanda, I can't remember what he looks like.

I know he had glasses and a beard, and was slightly taller than I am. There was a man there last night fitting that description, but was it him? I couldn't tell. I spent much of the evening sneaking furtive glances, trying to figure out if this was the same person, and being generally on the other side of the room so I wouldn't have to make conversation.

And here's the rub: I had good time chatting with him! I wanted to see him again! But maybe I did, and didn't recognize him. Why doesn't my brain work!? If I invite him to the other event, how will I recognize him? Did I just spend the whole night ignoring him after I told him to come? O, calamity!

I am aware at how ridiculous this sounds, especially since I did describe him as "attractive". But, Bitter Amanda, beards and glasses, two of those most distinguishing factors that you'd use to identify someone (for goodness sake, they major descriptors in the game Guess Who) are all too common these days.

Damn hipsters. Damn them all.

So what to do? Invite and hope that I hadn't avoided him the whole night and look like an ass? Or pretend the whole thing didn't happen, and give up befriending a quite interesting human being?

Forgetful Jones

Dear Miss Jones,
You know, most cell phones these days have cameras. Next time you meet a dude, take a sneaky picture of him. Or make a mark on his neck with a Sharpie so you can identify him next time. Maybe you can get one of those pet trackers! 
In the interest of separating this man from the hipsters, and because I am mean and just want to see it happen, you need to stage some sort of elaborate plan. Invite him to whatever unironic event you're attending--but make sure you can find him this time. Are you comfortable with lying? Not like, major "I'm moving to the moon" lying, but just...a little lie. A white lie. A short work of fiction with good intentions, if you will. So..are you? If not, you'd better try another advice column. But if you are ok with that, then let's go. 
So invite your bearded beau and talk up this event like it's really cool but you heard the weirdest thing about it! Tell him that apparently, you can't get in unless you're carrying a rubber chicken. (Still with me?) SO he walks in, rubber chicken in hand, and there you go. That's your man. 

But Amanda, won't he notice that no one else has a rubber chicken? Do I need to bring one too? What's the point of that? You're getting bogged down in details--it doesn't matter why! You can be just as baffled as he is, when you tell him. You don't need one because remember, that's the lie. I mean, if you're really into that idea or you have one, what the hell. Throw it in your handbag. But it's really not necessary. 

Right, but what about when he notices that no one else is carrying one? That's not my problem. I lured your tall man there--it's your job to handle him once he walks in. 

What if he gets upset about it or refuses to go because of this plan? Then he's lame and you should find another bespectacled friend. 

Ok, well what if he WAS the guy at this event and I ignored him? This is easy, throw it back at him. Why didn't you come talk to me? 

What if he shows up without a rubber chicken and we have an awkward encounter. Oh, I hardly recognized you without your rubber chicken! Simple. 

Have you ever done anything like this? Of course not. 

You do realize this is a terrible plan, right? Yeah, but you're still reading it. You came to a blog called Bitter Amanda for help--I don't think you have a lot of options right now. Go with the rubber chicken. 

Make sure I'm invited to the wedding. I'll tell this story and I'll try not to be mean to your bridesmaids.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

PS: I'll probably make fun of your bridesmaids. Full disclosure. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear Suburban Supervisor...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Does this count as an early mid-life crisis?

I can't leave my husband-to-be unsupervised. I just got home from a three day weekend visiting family with my mom and I came home to find that he bought a hands free step machine, two (2) 3-lbs. hand weights, an Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor, and an iPhone 5. The reason? He "broke up" with his gym and decided to make his own "gym" at home. He already has a punching bag downstairs from a Black Friday shopping spree and has used the step thing and hand weights while watching football this weekend (Wish I was home to see that!). Why the iPhone? 1.) He is jealous if mine, and 2.) He found an app that counts his squats. Apparently this makes it gym equipment.

My question for you, Bitter Amanda, is should I be angry or concerned about my fiancée's impulsive buys? I'm secretly a little excited to use the Xbox, and am still laughing too much to be objective.

Bewildered in the Suburbs

Dear Suburban Supervisor,
I'm assuming that the money was not a problem here. It sounds like you're not desperately concerned about him spending it, which would have led to an entirely different response. 

So. Is this an early mid-life crisis? Let's...go with yes. For selfish reasons. First of all, his shopping spree is focused on taking care of himself, so that could be a lot worse. He's not a cliched balding guy in a yellow convertible, looking straight up ridiculous. He isn't trying out skinny jeans like all the young guys in his office. An iPhone is pretty good, considering. 
Second of all, he's getting this out of the way early! If this is, in fact, a mid-life (or quarter-life, or third-life, or whatever fraction) crisis, you can just cross it off the list. It's done. Before you're even married. Awesome! 

I think you're good with laughing and enjoying the fruits of his crisis. When the day comes that he announces that you should both quit your jobs, sell your house, and move to Spain because a life of leisure is really what we need!, just remind him that he used his Mid-Life Crisis card already, then you decide where you're moving. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dear Antihistamine...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

Constantly sniffling,
Lady in Love (?)

Dear Antihistamine,
Allergies. Very likely allergies. Take some Benadryl and we'll see you tomorrow. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dear Ren McCormack...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I am fabulously single. No attachments, no drama, but lots and lots of cool friends, including male friends who alternately treat me as "one of the guys" or "the girl" depending if we're, say, getting a beer or going dancing. I dig my lifestyle. My mother, however, does not seem to understand the coolness of my situation. There's apparently been a lot of Valentine's Day specials on morning TV and I think they are getting to her. She has repeatedly told me that I should be dating more. Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against dating. If someone asks me out, I generally say yes, because I am cool and awesome and fun loving (although there's been more than a few "is this a date?" situations. Bitter Amanda, you may want to put out a handbook on that topic.).  But, it doesn't happen all that frequently, and that's fine by me. I have other ways to spend my time. My mother says, "Well, you should DO things that make them want to ask you out!" And my response to her is twofold: 1) If they haven't asked you out yet, you're not yet on their radar. And to get on their radar after the fact, most guys won't respond unless you throw yourself at them. 2) if I'm going to have to do that, why wouldn't I just ask the fool out myself? It's so much less demeaning. Mom sighs and says she just thinks I will be happier if I date more. How do I get her to realize that I am, in fact, quite happy and not bemoaning my singledom in the slightest?
Footloose and Fancy Free

Dear Ren McCormack,
I'm uncharacteristically proud to read this letter. It's so hard to be an educator and feel like you're talking to yourself, day after day, trying to help people. I mean, you hope you're getting through to someone but...

But this! Look at you, you shining beacon of hope! Embrace your singledom! It's a fun time! You're saving SO MUCH MONEY on holidays! You're a model Single Person and I applaud you! Even more so, given that we're staring down the barrel of Valentine's Day. Fifty gold stars for you. 

Forget what your mom is saying--she's probably going through Baby Fever, where she's starting to panic about not becoming a grandmother and it's happening all around her, and SHE JUST WANTS A BABY TO SNUGGLE, OK? IS THAT SO WRONG? My mom should start a support group for that. 

Keep dancing and doing your thing, Ren. You're doing alright. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dear Dancing Queen...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I was recently at a party where the boys spent a good portion of the evening bemoaning their inability to get women. (The room, I might add had a male/female ratio of 30/70, nearly all of the women being single, so these are the bright minds we are dealing with). The most common complaint was the initial pickup on a dance floor-- specifically, how do you get a woman to dance with you? We ladies insisted it wasn't difficult, and came up with two or three good suggestions. The men refused to believe us, saying that the "sneak attack" was the most foolproof (my word for when a guy appears behind you and all of a sudden you're grinding with a perfect stranger). The women unanimously voted this down, but the men insisted this works best. Please clear this up once and for all, Bitter Amanda. What is the best and/or most consistent way for a man to get a dance partner at a club?

Impatiently awaiting your verdict,

Dear Dancing Queen,
Why are men so horrible at this? I remember a wedding not long after I graduated college, where all the women were on the dance floor, dancing with each other even for the slow songs. There was, despite what you're possibly thinking, a group of eligible men--standing off to the side of the dance floor! I had had enough, so confronted them. "Are you going to dance with us?" The bride came and backed me up--and you do not mess with a bride. "No," they answered lamely, "this isn't our song." I stood long enough, glaring at them, that they got their asses in gear and asked us to dance. AND THEY ALL HAD DANCE PARTNERS ALL NIGHT. Isn't that funny? 

Ok. First of all, if you are a man reading this or you know any men in need of advice, this is the most important thing I'm going to say, possibly ever: Smashing your bits up against a lady while music is playing is not considered an invitation to dance. Got that? Should I repeat it? Do not dance up behind a lady and act surprised when she moves away from you. It's creepy. Hey, this party is fun, dancing with my girls, good music WHOA HELLO THERE PENIS. That's what goes through our minds. Sure, maybe a few women out there don't mind. Maybe we'll dance for a minute with you if we're expecting someone we know, but then once we figure out that you are not our boyfriend, we're out of there. Seriously, this is creepy. Don't let your penis do the introductions. 

There are probably lots of effective ways to get a girl to dance with you. Once at a club in Ireland, I danced with this very cute boy because he came up to me while the ubiquitous "Call On Me" was playing. (Note: not "Call Me Maybe", although I also love that one. I mean this one.) He mimed a phone in his hand, doing a whole "call me?" thing. It's lame but I was perhaps not sober and he was really cute. I was charmed enough to dance with him. (Then he proposed. Fun fact.) 

That won't always work. It really only works if the song playing is about calling someone. And if you're really, really cute. But guess what? You don't need that. 95% of the time I've danced with a man, I did so because he approached me and asked if I wanted to dance. He might have introduced himself first, he might have done some flirting or tried a stupid line first, we might have already known each other. But then he asked if I wanted to dance. It's that easy. 

I'm not kidding. It's not lame, it's not boring. Just freaking ask her. It doesn't have to sound like a formal invitation. You don't even have to be particularly good, most of the time! You just have to be willing to actually dance. 

Seriously guys, stop the sneak attack on the dance floor. It's weird. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear Chocolate Guardian...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I found a bar of dark chocolate a the bottom of a paper grocery bag that I was going to use for recycling. Not only did I find unexpected chocolate, I saved it from certain recycled doom! Hurray for me! I am a hero!

Sweet Avenger

Dear Chocolate Guardian,
You, my friend, are most certainly a hero. This is worthy of the highest of praise. I could not be more proud. (Well...I mean I probably could but I don't have the time to think of another scenario, so let's let you have you moment in the sun. It's Friday and I'm feeling generous. Anyway, back to you, Champ!) 
You've done the world a favor. Actually, two, you little recycler you! Which is probably why the universe rewarded you with some bonus dark chocolate. Karma can be a beautiful thing. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dear Jane Banks...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I was just wanted to say thank you for coming into my dream last night and giving me the business.
I had a dream in which I was trying to get back with my ex-boyfriend. In real life we were together and then broke up and then 5 months later got back together. Not surprisingly we broke up again 8 months later.

In my dream I was trying to sneak away out the back door of a house with him to go and make out. Then I turned around (in my dream) and you were standing there. Shaking your head and glaring at me.

Then I woke up. Thanks for keeping dream me on track. 

With much respect,
Nightmare Nancy 

Dear Jane Banks, 
That is awesome. I didn't think I would ever be excited that I showed up in someone's dream (because hello, creepy) but I'm actually psyched about it. Mostly because it sounds like I was the Mary Poppins you needed. AND I AM TOTALLY OK WITH THAT. 
So, let's talk about this guy for a second. Not to sound like a self-help book or anything, but there's a reason you broke up, (True story: I read a book titled "It's Called a Break-Up Because It's Broken.") Sometimes you break up because of life reasons that really don't have anything to do with the relationship itself. If you thought he merited a second chance, then do what you have to do.

However. Two tries, two break-ups...a third try would be foolish. Which you know, otherwise Dream Me wouldn't have been silently judging Dream You. I'm just glad you figured it out. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda