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