Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear Calamity Jane...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
My grandmother once told me, "You can fall in love with a rich man just as easily as with a poor man." What are your thoughts on this? Or, how about this hypothetical: Say that you, Bitter Amanda, know two kind/smart/reasonably attractive men. Actually, first, let's pretend you are in a Disney movie. (This will make the rest of this scenario more reasonable. If you can call it that.) Now lets say you know two fine dudes. Mr. A, and Mr. B. Let's assume you have a good rapport with both-- you can goof off with each of them, share personal stuff without feeling too awkward, etc. In short, they both embody all the traits of a really really good friend, which is, obviously, important in a mate. By some Disney-fied twist of fate, they both propose to you. (Because the goal of most Disney movies is to marry off the leading lady. We will skip commentary on that for the time being.)
Consider the following: Mr. A gives you butterflies in your stomach every time you see him, but the money situation is spotty. Maybe he's a musician or an activist or something awesomely hip and idealistic. Spending time with him always feels like fireworks and flying, but you've been watching a lot of Discovery Channel and know that 90% of the time, that 'whee!' feeling wears off in 5 years, at which point you may still be renting the basement from your parents. Still, he's got all those other qualities mentioned above, and right now it's super exciting. Mr. B, you totally have a great time with, but he's not as super hot as the other guy. He's got a pretty sweet job, and can take care of himself, and you're definitely attracted, but you aren't tripping over chairs or dropping tea on your shirt like you are with Mr A. Mr B is just sweet, comfortable and caring, and also he occasionally pays for your cocktails.
Who do you pick? Do you think there's a stigma of picking one over the other? If the genders were reversed, would your answer be different?
--Conundrum Sam

Dear Calamity Jane,
Let's start thinking of ourselves as badass ladies, hm? (Forget the part where calamity means disaster.) 

Sure, we could pretend this is a Disney movie where you're the leading lady and I'm the talking tree/fairy godmother/teapot who gives you advice. But if this happened to be a Disney movie, and not your life, one of these guys would inevitably reveal himself as a villain out to get your father's fortune and kingdom. (We would also have some catchy songs and fun animal sidekicks, but that's not important right now.) This isn't a Disney movie. Sorry. I don't sing. Your grandmother wasn't wrong, but she also gave you advice from a different era. 

You raise some very practical questions, and a certain amount of that is expected and healthy. You want to go into a marriage with you eyes wide open on the financial stuff. That being said, I have a question for you: 
Why do you have to marry one of these guys? 
Why can't you just date one and decide if you can tolerate his bullshit on a daily basis? At some point you'll have to choose between them--and it sounds like you're at that point--but choosing one doesn't mean you have to marry him. Life isn't all about money--yes it's important and yes life is easier if you can pay your bills--but it's not everything. Go with the guy who annoys you less. Find a man who puts the toilet seat down and doesn't lie to you. (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.) See how things go.

Is there a stigma attached? I don't know. In my experience, your life choices will usually be the source of gossip somewhere--no matter what decision you make. Gossipy bitches will always find something to hate. You can't worry about that. You do you. 

For the record, my answer wouldn't change if any of the genders in this scenario were different. Unless it was my gender, which brings up all kinds of what if questions about the course of my life leading me to write advice on the internet.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Dear Nancy Archer...

Dear Bitter Amanda,
I recently had an interesting conversation with a male friend of mine on the subject of height in dating. He's slightly below average height, but has no qualms about asking out taller ladies. He mentioned that he thinks it's annoying when guys have strict physical requirements for women, and that he doesn't like it when they are all about, to quote, "tits and ass". He thinks that female-imposed height requirements are the male equivalent. My first question is, with you being a tallish lady, what do you think of this analogy?
Also, being a tallish lady, do you find yourself basically invisible to men within +/- 2 inches of your height? I mentioned to my friend I'm usually I'm approached by men quite a bit shorter than I am, and very occasionally by men well over 6 ft. Anyone close to my height is basically oblivious to my charms. I wondered to my friend why this was, but he didn't know, because, in his experience, people seemed surprised when he asked out women taller than he is. Any thoughts on my scenario? Or his, in fact?
And now for the kicker: Given these two perspectives, who do you think is more hung up on height in a relationship (in general society), men or women? And why do you think that is? This is of great sociological importance! You now have the opportunity to weigh in on this pressing issue.
-The Big Friendly Giantess

Dear Nancy Archer,

Ugh, it is crazy how much we all care about height in dating. Here's the thing: we're ALL hung up on it. And we can't do much about it! Let's make some sweeping generalizations, shall we?

You're right--I am a tallish lady. Men my height are generally considered average height, but for a woman I'm on the tall side. I also happen to like wearing tall shoes from time to time. If you were to ask if I like tall men, then my answer is yes. (I can't even lie to you--I started humming Baby Got Back and changing the words in my head to be about tall men and now I'm not sure I respect myself anymore.) Do I exclusively like tall men? Not even close.

It's not a terrible analogy from your friend. However, I think it's only half done. Sure, there are guys who are all about tits and ass--but there are also women who are all about a sixpack and well-toned biceps. And yes, short is a dealbreaker for some women. Body type and height are separate things we look for in a partner. That being said, I think your average height friend is too forgiving of his average height brethren. I was going to make some animal kingdom comparisons using a rainforest example, but I realized I was mixing up animal habitats and I don't feel like googling for accuracy. For the record, my forest floor/treeline/above the canopy deal was going to dazzle you. But life is full of heartache, so you'll have to deal with some personal observations instead. 

Nancy, of all the people I've met, the people with the biggest hangups regarding height are medium height guys. Hands down they are the most sensitive to a tall woman. From my observations, tall guys hardly notice if you're wearing heels, and short guys definitely notice but don't care because you're already taller than them. But medium height guys care. I've had medium height guys get pissy with me and ask if I have to wear heels. (My answer is always yes because I am not about to spend the rest of my life--and that includes this evening--wearing flats just for some guy.) This medium height angst is probably why people are surprised by your friend's actions--they aren't used to a guy of his stature being so comfortable around tall women because they are so often throwing a hissy fit about it

As for your second question, I haven't noticed a similar pattern. I am equally visible to tall, medium, and short liars men. I suspect it is because I'm loud and insert myself into conversations. (I have other methods that I rely on for invisibility.) I actually can't imagine why men your height aren't noticing you..I mean, you're at eye level! Perhaps they are used to looking down. Although...this would lead them to a direct confrontation with your chest...and you'd think THAT would get a reaction... Unless they're all looking up? Which seems odd that you'd be encountering all the average height guys looking for a tall woman. It just doesn't seem likely. Maybe you could try some kind of eye-catching stop I hate myself for that even more than the song I made up earlier. 

I'm actually baffled. Perhaps one of my readers has some wisdom. 

Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Dear Medium Height Guys,

I still love you. 

Well...I love you just as much as I love short and tall guys. 

You all annoy me equally. You're just as likely to get my phone number as a short or tall guy. (None of you will get it.) 

xo ba