Desperate Housewives dating

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2020.09.28 07:03 Selass3 = 👰🤵+ 💁‍♀️ = 👰🤵💁‍♀️ - 🤵 = 👰💁‍♀️

Background knowledge: So my relationship with my partner of a year now initially came about from a polyamorous relationship or 4 months. We’ll call my partner Sal. Sal was married at that time and Sal and I hit it off from a tinder date, we fell in love instantly and so the games began it was fun but long story short the guy she was married to ended up assaulting her which is so disturbing and very hard for my partner to this day obviously which has lead them to their separation going on about month 9 now. We have been through hell and back together, Sal and I. Breakthrough, breakdowns, healing and doing the work loving each other back to life rlly. I adored the both of them and rlly looked up to them and their marriage the moment I met her, and him too. Once I got the chance to meet him I loved him too. We are born on the same day and so we were very similar, there were always so many comparisons which was cute but only at the time haha. We had plans to all move in together, the whole works. But there were times where I would see myself as the outsider in the relationship I think rightfully and respectfully though and say things like “you’re her husband and I’ll understand completely if you guys need time alone or you want her to yourself” even though Sal would be upset that Id say things like that and insist that she loved us both the same way. It later turned out after the walls came crashing down that he was feeling the same way (like the outsider) weird enough and trying to not overstep? Idk. Guess that’s y he decided to take what he wanted smh... but after many conversations he insisted that he didn’t want to intrude on Sals happiness so he didn’t express the feelings he had about the whole adding another partner to their relationship even tho he agreed to it all which lead to a lot of their marital problems like intimacy.
Now: fast forward. Sal and I live in a beautiful apartment together with our pup and we are sitting on the couch. I heard a quote earlier in the day and whilst we were re watching desperate housewives it dawned on me and I began to speak on it I said “so and so said that if you marry a man make sure he loves you more than you do.” Sal and I would always laugh about how one time she told her former husband after he said I love you! “I love you more” one of those cheeky things we say I guess and his response was “ya probably.” So in remember the quote and making the connection I brought it up I said that he didn’t love you more and that given how things played out that wasn’t love. She instantly got mad and started screaming at me telling me that I had no right to speak on a relationship that I had only witnessed 4 months of and that the only thing she has to hold onto is their good times. I immediately was put off by her defensiveness because all I wanted was to speak on the fact that he was a good man before he wasn’t and that the things he did just wasn’t out of love. They were out of ego, pride and anger. She wouldn’t hear it and was adamant that the fact that I was telling her that her ex husband didn’t love hewhat they had wasn’t love was so out of pocket and was not my place to do that at all meanwhile that’s not even what I meant. I got angry of course because we have both essentially gone through this whole divorce together and here she was defending his title or his name or his love I don’t even know. I was baffled and I said some hurtful things like “I’m not sure why you are defending him so hard like that is your best friend or something”.. I know that would upset anyone but I was so triggered by the fact that she told me I had no right to speak on the topic. When throughout everything I have been the closest and most supportive person of everything that’s gone on, hell I had a front row seat. I’m so distraught about how strongly she still feels after what he did to her. Am I wrong? Is she right? I am so confused.
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2020.09.08 16:43 FullyFledgedCryBaby I am in so much pain from heartbreak.

I know I'm not the first to experience heartbreak and I know I won't be the last. Hell, I've been through heartbreak BEFORE!
The first heartbreak sucked because she was my "first love" but this heartbreak is really emotionally and physically breaking me because she was the person I felt was "the one".
It just felt so out of the blue. We've had one big argument in the last 5.5 years. We'd never even had a break because we were just so... in tune with each other? I didn't know she was unhappy and I asked if there was anything I could do to help and make us work. But she apologised and said that it wasn't the relationship, it was that she needed to find herself and experience the things she didn't whilst with me (in her words: she wanted to experience dating and I no longer excited her). Which makes sense because I was her first ever relationship. And I can't say I didn't try.
I thanked her for everything she's done for me in the last 5.5 years, I wished her the best... I made sure I didn't do all the things I wanted to do like beg and plead and scream.
The reality is that if it's not meant to be... it's not meant to be. If she's not happy and wants to find herself, I do not want to be the person in the way of that - and that kills me that I am not making her happy anymore. Sure, there were things we began to clash on (like my tattoo SHE PAID FOR that she suddenly didn't like and said some very nasty things about) but I never thought within a few weeks it would lead straight to the end of us without us even trying to work on it.
I feel like in the last week I went through ALL the stages of grief. This week I have lost a LOT of weight because I feel so sick that I can barely eat or drink. I am lucky enough to still live at home with supportive parents who are helping me physically by ensuring I drink, making sure I take paracetamol to help with the physical pain (my mum read about the science of heartbreak), to just make sure I am making my bed, cleaning my teeth and not spending too much time alone.
I felt yesterday like maybe I was starting to cope mentally but I've woken up today just... in hysterics again. Everyone says just ride the grief - allow myself to be sad, to be angry, to be emotionally unstable but I fear that that is dangerous for me-
Heartbreak is not easy for anyone but I just feel like everything is exacerbated because I suffer with a personality disorder, I have severe anxiety... I'm not a very stable person in general and I feel like I will never recover from this.
Everyone has told me to just go and explore and find myself, especially as I am a 23 year old who's never really been single and just... go and have fun? I get people saying "you're so attractive, you'll find someone quickly!" ... which just annoys me because looks don't mean anything.
That is something that just isn't viable for me... I carry a metric sh*t ton of baggage and undesirable traits:
I read this list and I go "oh f*ck that!" - so how can I expect anyone but my ex girlfriend to be interested in a romantic relationship, let alone have somebody love someone so problematic and complicated?
I don't really know where I am going with this.
I miss her. It hurts. I feel unlovable. I want to just say screw it and be a bit reckless (in the sense of going and having one night stands etc NOT gambling, drugs etc) but I just cannot with my problems. I don't know. I hope it doesn't hurt forever.
Thank you for reading this.
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2020.08.31 06:46 cuddaloreappu How will onlyfans play out in India?

All apps dont get the same success or failure in different parts of the world.
Facebook , instagram and twitter are a great success in India while tinder and other dating apps are not so successful as them. Ask any girl if she is on Instagram she will tell it so proudly, but ask her same about tinder , she may say she has not even heard of such app. But silently tinder has millions of downloads and people are dating.Musically and tiktok took many by surprise, its sheer virality made it a number one app. Indian boys, husbands, dads were finding it difficult to come to terms that once shy indian girls, women, housewives took tiktok by storm with their performance. tiktok celebrities made lot of money too until it is banned.
Now comes onlyfans. for those who dont know, it is a NSFW version of Instagram but with paid subscription. It is like a hurricane , especially in this covid world where many girls & women have realized that they can earn literally millions in a month, more than anything they could ever make of being a doctor, scientist and so on. The world has become a place where a lot of desperate men throw anything and everything at beautiful women.
Now how will this play out in India, will indian girls/ women go for it? In india where the per capita income is very low , it is difficult for boys to have a credit card to pay for their subscription. but still there could be an ad based revenue model or micro payment. will women claim it is their right to be in onlyfans and any opposition will be viewed as misogyny. How is it going to happen here? How will guys come with terms that the college girl next door will be earning much more through onlyfans in a month than they could in a job for 5 years. Also there is concern about safety of women. they could be blackmailed.
so How will onlyfans play out in India?
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2020.08.26 14:45 Pwtan5 Faye Resnick

I’m just in the middle of binging the whole of the RHOBH franchise from the UK (I’m up to date with series 10, and whilst waiting for new episodes, I’m catching up with the whole franchise and currently on S03 E07). After Camille’s iconic shading of Faye in series 1, I did my homework to find out more about Faye, as I recognised her from KUWTK but wanted to know more about her.
Considering her notorious status in BH, how she’s always seems keen to insert herself into arguments with housewives (usually to back up Kyle- lol) since series 1 and how desperate she seems to joins the cast, I’m quite surprised that Bravo/Andy has never given her the opportunity to be an official housewife at least on a trial basis. I wonder if she has had that convo with producers?
I feel like the general consensus for Faye is that she’s so keen to be on the cast, which is off putting for a lot of viewers. Is she annoying? Yes. Is she likeable? Meh. But does she seem like good TV? I might be naïve but I want to say...yes? I might be wrong.
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2020.08.22 10:30 finnagains Latino Theater Company offers free virtual online season starting August 18, 2020

LOS ANGELES — Pay no attention to this dateline! Although the storied Latino Theater Company is based here, the virtual online season can be accessed literally from wherever you are in the world!
Over the next five months, LTC’s fall season includes streamed, archival footage of fully staged hit productions and live streamed “sneak-peek” readings of upcoming productions—including August 29 about Chicano activist and journalist Ruben Salazar on the 50th anniversary of his death. The calendar also includes live online conversations with company members; and live readings of new plays selected for the company’s annual Unmasking New Works playreading series.
All events are scheduled, on the respective dates listed below, to take place at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET. All events are free and will be available for viewing at www.thelatc.org/. At the bottom you will find the complete schedule. Keep it handy!
The season opens on Tues., Aug. 18, with an archival video presentation of LTC’s 2014 production of Premeditation, a dark romantic comedy written by resident company playwright Evelina Fernández and directed by LTC artistic director José Luis Valenzuela.
Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. But how many end in murder? A follow-up, online conversation with the artists will take place on Weds., Aug. 19.
Tues., Aug. 25, will see streaming archival video of the 2009 Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice” production of Solitude, also written by Fernández and directed by Valenzuela, with a follow-up conversation on Weds., Aug. 26. Inspired by a collection of essays on Mexican thought and identity by Octavio Paz, Solitude explores love, death, destiny and family through a contemporary lens, accompanied by live music from cellist Semyon Kobialka.
On Fri., Aug. 28, tune in for a sneak-peek reading of August 29, a play named for the date in 1970, exactly 50 years ago, when Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar was killed while covering the Chicano Moratorium, a large Chicano-led anti-war demonstration in East L.A. In the play, a university professor is writing a book on the life of Salazar. As she writes, those days from the late 1960s and early 1970s come to life, helping her recall the past and challenging her to renew her activism.
The reading will be preceded by a live, online conversation on Thurs., Aug. 27. Written and first produced in 1990 by members of the LTC, then known as the Latino Theater Lab, August 29 was initially announced to open this month at the Los Angeles Theatre Center and is now scheduled to receive a fully staged production in 2021.
September opens with an archival video of La Olla on Tues., Sept. 1, followed by an online conversation on Weds., Sept. 2; and a sneak-peek reading of The Last Angry Brown Hat by Alfredo Ramos on Fri., Sept. 4, preceded by an online conversation on Thurs., Sept. 3. Fernández and Valenzuela again team up for La Olla, adapted from the Roman comedy The Pot of Gold by Plautus and inspired by the Rumberas films of the golden age of Mexican cinema.
The LTC incorporates its distinctive style of comedy, music, dance and imagery to explore one of the most basic aspects of human behavior—greed—as a bit player in a shady 1950s L.A. nightclub finds a pot full of cash. In The Last Angry Brown Hat, four former members of the Brown Berets, a 1960s militant Chicano civil rights organization, reunite after the funeral of a pal. Together, they confront the dichotomy between their youthful anger and radicalism, and their current, more conformist lives filled with adult responsibilities.
Archival footage of This is a Man’s World, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story written and performed by LTC founding company member Sal Lopez, is scheduled for Tues., Sept. 8, followed by an online conversation with Lopez on Weds., Sept. 9; and a sneak-peek reading of SHE, a new coming-of-age drama by Los Angeles-based emerging playwright Marlow Wyatt on Fri., Sept. 11, preceded by an online conversation on Thurs., Sept. 10. In Lopez’s candid and intimate performance, music and memory swirl as he relives the lessons that shaped his life, from the scent of a pirul tree in Mexico to the thrill of young love to the effects of the Watts Riots and the birth of his son.
In SHE, in a small town filled with poverty and neglect, 13-year-old SHE escapes by reimagining her reality through poetry, until, forced to make her own way, she discovers that dreams cos—and you don’t always pay with money. Like August 29, the on-stage world premiere of SHE has been postponed until next year.
La Víctima was the first show ever produced by the Latino Theater Company, in 1985. Created by El Teatro de la Esperanza, a company that helped define Chicano theater and an entire generation of theater professionals, it’s a groundbreaking look, infused with humor, music and dance, at the history of Mexican-U.S. immigration from the intimate perspective of two families.
Watch archival footage of the 2010 revival featuring the late Lupe Ontiveras (Selena, Desperate Housewives), who was one of LTC’s founding company members, on Tues., Sept. 15, followed by an online conversation on Weds., Sept. 16. LTC will produce a second revival of La Víctima, in collaboration with students from UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television and the East Los Angeles College Theater Arts Department, when the company resumes production on the Los Angeles Theatre Center stage in 2021.
On Fri., Sept. 18, catch a sneak-peek reading of the newest play by Evelina Fernández: Sleep with the Angels. Molly is separated from her husband and in desperate need of a childcare provider. Then she discovers Juana standing at her doorstep.
Soon, Molly and her kids are swept up into Juana’s magical and charming ways. But who is Juana, really? A pre-reading online conversation is set for Thurs., Sept. 17.
Tues., Sept. 22 brings archival video footage of last season’s Home, writeperformer Nancy Ma’s coming-of-age tale about growing up sandwiched between two cultures.
Desperately seeking approval from her Chinese Toisan immigrant family, Nancy journeys away from her home in New York City’s Chinatown in search of the American dream, only to learn that you can only find “home” when you accept where you come from. Join Ma and director Geoffrey Rivas for an online conversation on Weds., Sept. 23. A sneak-peek reading of Just Like Us by Karen Zacarías is set for Fri., Sept. 25, with the online conversation preceding it on Thurs., Sept. 24.
Based on Helen Thorpe’s bestselling book of the same name, this documentary-style play follows four Latina teenage girls, two of whom are documented and two who are not, through young adulthood. Their close-knit friendships begin to unravel when immigration status dictates the girls’ opportunities—or lack thereof. The previously announced Los Angeles premiere will now take place at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in 2021.
Archival footage of Evelina Fernández’s Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice” and Los Angeles Drama Critics award-winning The Mother of Henry will stream on Tues., Sept. 29, followed by an online conversation on Weds., Sept. 30. Travel back to the working-class melting pot of East L.A. of the 1960s where five diverse employees in the returns department at the iconic Boyle Heights Sears form a tight bond as they cope with upheaval in their personal lives, their community and the rapidly changing world around them during the course of one tumultuous and historic year, 1968.
For eight weeks, Oct. 1-Nov. 20, LTC will stream its Unmasking New Works playreading series every Fri., with a preceding online conversation set for the Thurs. prior to each reading. An announcement went out last month seeking submissions of full-length plays that both reflect the full range of diverse communities and life in Los Angeles and are written by Los Angeles-based playwrights. The company received 61 submissions, and the selection process is currently underway. A final schedule with play titles will be announced in September.
During the first three weeks of Oct., the LTC will stream all three parts of Evelina Fernández’s epic A Mexican Trilogy. Part 1, Faith, will stream on Tues., Oct. 6; Part 2, Hope, will stream on Tues., Oct. 13; and Part 3, Charity, will stream on Tues., Oct. 20.
Travel with the Morales family through decades of the Mexican-American experience, from a remote mining town in Arizona during World War II, to the Phoenix family home during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, finally to Los Angeles following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005.
A Mexican Trilogy is the winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Ted Schmitt Award and is published by Samuel French. Each of the three streamed productions will be followed by an online conversation the following day: for Faith on Weds., Oct. 7; Hope on Weds., Oct. 14; and Charity on Weds. Oct. 21.
The last week of Oct., on Tues., Oct. 27, LTC will stream archival footage of Dementia, with the online conversation set for Weds., Oct. 28. Written by Evelina Fernández and directed by José Luis Valenzuela, Dementia was first produced in 2002, garnering a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Theater Production and four Ovation nominations; it was revived by LTC in 2010 (Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice”) and again in 2017.
This innovative play tackles topics taboo in the Latino community, including homosexuality, AIDS, teen pregnancy and euthanasia—all through the Latino Theater Company’s uniquely styled lens.
Closing out the season on Fri., Dec. 11, will be archival video of LTC’s signature holiday pageant, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin, which has taken place annually since 2002 at downtown L.A.’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Adapted for the stage by Evelina Fernández from the mid-16th century text The Nican Mopohua and performed in Spanish with English subtitles, La Virgen is the City of L.A.’s largest theatrical holiday production with over 100 actors, singers and indigenous Aztec dancers as well as children and seniors from the community. Join the tens of thousands who have become transfixed by the story of Juan Diego, a simple peasant to whom the Virgin Mary appeared on four occasions in the mountains of Tepeyac near Mexico City in 1531.
A Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice,” the production has been featured by The New York Times, American Theatre, Univision, Telemundo and Fox News among many others. An online conversation on Thurs., Dec. 10 will precede the event.
The LTC is dedicated to providing a world-class arts center for those pursuing artistic excellence; a laboratory where both tradition and innovation are honored and honed; and a place where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas contributes to the future. Now in its 34th year, LTC has operated the Los Angeles Theatre since 2006.
All Fall 2020 Virtual Season events are free and will be available for viewing at www.thelatc.org/.
Below is an easy-to-read schedule of events.
The Latino Theater Company Fall 2020 Virtual Season Schedule at-a-glance. Note: All programs start at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.
Tues., Aug. 18: Archival Video Presentation—Premeditation Weds., Aug. 19: Online Conversation—Premeditation
Tues., Aug. 25: Archival Video Presentation—Solitude Weds., Aug. 26: Online Conversation—Solitude
Thurs., Aug. 27: Online Conversation—August 29 Fri., Aug. 28: Online Reading—August 29
Tues., Sept. 1: Archival Video Presentation—La Olla Weds., Sept. 2: Online Conversation—La Olla
Thurs., Sept. 3: Online Conversation—The Last Angry Brown Hat Fri., Sept. 4: Online Reading—The Last Angry Brown Hat
Tues., Sept. 8: Archival Video Presentation—This is a Man’s World Weds., Sept. 9: Online Conversation—This is a Man’s World
Thurs., Sept. 10: Online Conversation—SHE Fri., Sept. 11: Online Reading—SHE
Tues., Sept. 15: Archival Video Presentation—La Víctima Weds., Sept. 16: Online Conversation—La Víctima
Thurs., Sept. 17: Online Conversation—Sleep with the Angels Fri., Sept. 18: Online Reading—Sleep with the Angels
Tues., Sept. 22: Archival Video Presentation—Home Weds., Sept. 23: Online Conversation—Home
Thurs., Sept. 24: Online Conversation—Just Like Us Fri., Sept. 25: Online Reading—Just Like Us
Tues., Sept. 29: Archival Video Presentation—The Mother of Henry Weds., Sept. 30: Online Conversation—The Mother of Henry
Thurs., Oct. 1: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #1 Fri., Oct. 2: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #1
Tues., Oct. 6: Archival Video Presentation—A Mexican Trilogy Part 1: Faith Weds., Oct. 7: Online Conversation—A Mexican Trilogy Part 1: Faith
Thurs., Oct. 8: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #2 Fri., Oct. 9: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #2
Tues., Oct. 13: Archival Video Presentation—A Mexican Trilogy Part 2: Hope Weds., Oct. 14: Online Conversation—A Mexican Trilogy Part 2: Hope
Thurs., Oct. 15: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #3 Fri., Oct. 16: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #3
Tues., Oct. 20: Archival Video Presentation—A Mexican Trilogy Part 3: Charity Weds., Oct. 21: Online Conversation—A Mexican Trilogy Part 3: Charity
Thurs., Oct. 22: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #4 Fri., Oct. 23: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #4
Tues., Oct. 27: Archival Video Presentation—Dementia Weds., Oct. 28: Online Conversation—Dementia
Thurs., Oct. 29: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #5 Fri., Oct. 30: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #5
Thurs., Nov. 5: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #6 Fri., Nov. 6: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #6
Thurs., Nov. 12: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #7 Fri., Nov. 13: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #7
Thurs., Nov. 19: Online Conversation—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #8 Fri., Nov. 20: Online Reading—Unmasking New Works Reading Series, Script #8
Thurs., Dec. 10: Online Conversation—La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin Fri., Dec. 11: Archival Video Presentation—La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin
All Fall 2020 Virtual Season events are free and will be available for viewing at www.thelatc.org/.
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2020.07.22 14:35 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Growing Up Duggar (by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar)

Hi all -- for the past few weeks, I've been occupying my hours of quarantine boredom by reading several of the literary masterpieces written by Real Housewives cast members and sharing write-ups of my perilous adventures with the BravoRealHousewives subreddit. But -- at my core -- I am nothing if not a glutton for punishment. So when u/acoffeycup suggested that I crack open my copy of Growing Up Duggar and do my best to decipher the wisdom within, I couldn't turn down the challenge. And in this newfound spirit of evangelism, it seems only proper for me to share the fruits of my journey with your pliant and receptive ears. So pull up a chair, scoop yourself a big ol' slice of tater tot casserole, and listen in respectful reverence to my personal testimony of Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar's 2014 book, Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships.
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On the book's cover, the four eldest Duggar daughters smile placidly at the reader, bedecked in a dignified assortment of denim and denim-adjacent garments. Yet even within these constraints, our feisty fashionistas still find ways to express their own unique aesthetic sensibilities. Jinger, for example, sports an early iteration of her now-iconic blazer, opting to emphasize her youthful spirit through whimsical cap sleeves and a precious baby-doll waistline. Next to her, Jessa stares soullessly into the camera, and -- almost against my will -- I find my eyes drawn to her hypnotic gaze. But thankfully, before I am sucked too deeply into that most barren abyss, I am distracted by the smattering of small pearlescent buttons adorning what might otherwise be mistaken for a extra-small mechanic's shirt, and I seize the chance to move along to the next Duggar offspring at hand.
Jill's silhouette is by far the most avant-garde of the foursome, perhaps foreshadowing her oft-hypothesized rebellious inclinations. A tunic-length dress is cinched cheekily above her waist with a thick, woven belt, while a long denim underskirt fully obscures her sheepish shins. In the back right corner, Jana jazzes up a simple tee with a bold statement necklace ostensibly purchased from the clearance section of Earthbound Trading Co., the perfect compliment to an exotically hemmed skirt that I can only assume has been sewn together from the tatters of Duggar rags past.
Eager to learn what invaluable wisdom these pages hold, I impatiently open to the book's introduction -- welcomingly titled, "Greetings: From Our Hearts to Yours." As I begin to read, I am heartened to learn that there is hope for each and every one of us, "whoever you are -- whether you're the girl we met who goes to a Christian school and attends church three times a week but is still struggling inside, or the girl with five tattoos and multiple piercings." Yes, whatever sins you may have committed in your ungodly ignorance -- provided, of course, that you have not yet blighted your body with that accursed sixth tattoo -- the Duggar girls hold a special place for you in their hearts:
Even though we have never met most of you reading this book, we want you to know we love you and care about your future. We want to share our stories with you, knowing you have a story, too, and hoping something we say here might empower you to use your story, your life, to help others.
The Introduction continues with a brief summary of the Duggar Family timeline, in which we are informed that "Mom and Dad look at life as a race against time." This seems to me a bit incongruous with the whole 'eternal life' thing, but perhaps Jim Bob and Michelle were affected by the hit 2002 film Clockstoppers just as strongly as I was. I am also excited to learn that I will soon get the chance to hear more about the authors' "passion for being involved in the political realm," as well as their "commitment and desire to reach out to people in faraway countries." With a few concluding remarks emphasizing the importance of relationships, the introduction comes to an end, and we begin the book proper with Chapter One: "Your Relationship with Yourself: Getting to know and love the girl in the mirror."
We are informed that "Jana and I (Jill) sleep in double beds with our youngest sisters, Jordyn and Josie, and the other girls sleep in twin- or youth-sized beds," which seems as good a time as any to clarify that our authors ranged in age from twenty to twenty-four years old at the time of this book's publication. But if you find yourself pitying the cramped conditions of the Duggar daughters, think again! Not only is it a delight to spend so much time surrounded by siblings, but the elder girls are often led towards profound truths by the innocent remarks of babes. To illustrate this point, Jill recounts a scene in which a young Johannah asked to wear her sister's retainer. Wise beyond her years, Jill gently denied the request, explaining that the retainer had been made to fit her mouth and couldn't be worn by the small girl (a small blessing, as I can absolutely imagine the Duggar family passing down a single retainer from child to child for a decade or more). But what sagacious insights should we glean from this touching tale?
Thinking about that conversation later reminded me that we can't conform ourselves to other people's molds. But we try sometimes, don't we?
It's so comforting to remind myself that I was molded for Jesus's mouth only -- why would I try to adapt to the crooked canines of this fallen world? We are next provided with a list of "ten aspects of life" that God wants us to accept. These range from the blatantly problematic -- "whether we're a girl or boy" -- to the bafflingly sinister -- "the date we will die." When it comes to the more physical aspects of your aesthetic presentation, however, a lack of effort is unbecoming. Or, as the Duggar Girls reminisce:
We heard a pastor say one time, "Any ol' barn looks better with some paint on it!"
The girls also explain their convictions regarding modest attire -- "we want to be respectful of those around us." Personally, I've always attempted to show respect to others by presuming that they have the emotional and cognitive wherewithal to avoid turning into some kind of raving hormonal beast at a bit of tasteful sideboob. But that's why I'm not the one writing an advice book!! Thankfully, in this day and age, a number of options exist for those who want to be both chic and chaste. For example:
Several of our friends have purchased stunning dresses from designers such as www.beautifullymodest.com or www.totallymodest.com.
I'm rather partial to inordinatelymodest.com myself, although the sales at bewilderinglymodest.com just can't be beat! But our gracious authors bring us back down to earth, reminding us that there are far more important things in life than the frivolous fads of fashion -- namely (as we begin Chapter 2), "Your Relationship with Your Parents: Love, respect, and communication."
In order to facilitate these crucial lines of open and honest communication across such an innumerable brood, we learn that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have made the radical decision to carve out dedicated time for one-on-one conversations with each child -- "usually on one Saturday a month." These precious monthly check-ins with one (or, on a particularly special occasion, both!) parents provide an opportunity for otherwise scant face-to-face contact, and also allow the Duggar parents to exercise some of their more cutting-edge parenting techniques. For example, our authors let us in on one particularly hard-earned pearl of wisdom practiced by their beloved parents -- "often to help get the conversation going, they'll ask us questions."
With such a lofty standard being proffered, I understand how intimidating it may be to even attempt to incorporate such advanced strategies into your own parenting repertoire. But rest assured -- in case you have yet to acquire the child-reading confidence necessary to formulate such thoughtful queries on your own, I've taken the liberty of transcribing a few of the book's most incisive inquiries to help you parent like a pro.
How's your thought life going?

What things about your past would you like to change?

What things in our family discourage you?
"Discouraging" is exactly the word I would use to describe Michelle Duggar's bedragged coiffure, although something tells me that's not exactly the kind of confession that line of questioning is designed to draw out. A subsequent passage emphasizes the importance of obedience, which we learn should be "instant," "cheerful," "thorough," and "unconditional." Such instruction is necessary, as the Duggar Girls explain, because "we are all born with a sin nature." Similar to the appendix, the "sin nature" is a vestigial organ that humans retain as a remnant of our distant evolutionary past -- at least, according to the heathens who indulge in that sort of paleobiological storytelling. And if such instructions still seem overly domineering to your unenlightened mind, this adage from George Orwell's 1984 the Institute in Basic Life Principles may help reframe your mindset:
Obedience is the freedom to be creative under God-given authority.
We transition from this doubleplusgood quote into the next chapter: "Your Relationship with Your Siblings: Becoming best friends," in which the authors waste no time in assuring us that the Duggar siblings "range from outdoorsy types to computer geeks, animal lovers to bookworms." Plus, I can only assume, a brain, an athlete, a basket-case, a princess, and a criminal. We go on to learn that the clan represents "a diverse assortment of personalities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses." Which sounds suspiciously like the noncommittal vagueness of someone who has never before possessed a character trait more forceful than, perhaps, a vague appreciation for wainscoting. Inevitably, however, these differences in temperament lead to vicious conflict. For example, as Jessa tremulously recounts:
An incident many years ago served as a lesson to us all. A younger sibling asked, "What kind of ice cream are you getting?" and the frustrated older sibling replied, "You don't have to always copy everything I do! Why don't you just pick out your own flavor?"
Mom immediately took that older sibling aside and shared how much hurt and devastation a remark like that causes. […] Apologies were made, and the younger sibling readily forgave. The older sibling resolved to never speak demeaning words like that again but rather to embrace and uplift this sibling, and today, these two continue to be the best of friends.
I find it truly inspirational to know that even this -- the most unimaginably devastating of sibling brawls -- could be delivered from the brink of schism and restored to genuine affection. Yet it is not just sibling relationships that must be navigated with this sort of grace and levelheadedness. No, as we learn in the next chapter -- "Your Relationship with Friends: 'Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future'" -- it is important to shrewdly evaluate our friendships to assess their effects in our lives. To illustrate this point, the Duggar Girls encourage us to be mindful of the influence we exert over our loved ones.
Think about your last conversation with your friend. Did it lovingly challenge him or her spiritually?
I think back to a time when a dear friend lovingly challenged me to take edibles and re-watch the first season of Double Divas -- surely this is the kind of spiritual development that a true confidante should inspire! The authors also relay a parable that their parents shared with them as children to demonstrate the importance of standing up for your convictions. In the apocryphal tale, a young girl begs her father to allow her to attend a friend's slumber party. He agrees -- provided she promises to uphold her Christian morals -- and sends her off after a parting moment of prayer. But what began as a carefree romp soon turns sinister, as the chilling saga continues:
The party was lots of fun, and the girl had a great time playing with her friends. And of course, what is a birthday party without a big piece of cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream? But late that night, before bed, the mom suggested they have a "pretend séance" using a Ouija board.
When the girl heard what this involved, she said respectfully and quietly to the group, "I'm not going to be able to do this."
When the mom asked why not, the girl replied, "I've given my life to Jesus, and I'm not able to do things like this."
The mother was stunned by the little girl's words -- and by her quiet courage in speaking up for her beliefs. She packed up the Ouija board and suggested the girls play something else before bed.
And that mother's name? Albert Einstein. But truly -- I can only hope to one day have even one fraction of the courage shown by this young girl, in this absolutely true story that definitely without-a-doubt one-hundred-percent happened. A more believable anecdote quickly follows, however, this time starring a young Jim Bob Duggar in the role of "huge nerd".
Dad became a Christian when he was only seven, and one day when he and some other little grade school classmates were out on the playground, one of the boys started using God's name as a curse word. Dad quietly told the boy he wished he wouldn't misuse God's name. "After all," Dad told his little friend, "He's the One who made us and loves us."
Following in her father's smarmy footsteps, Jessa encourages the reader to eschew those friends who are only concerned with "watching all the newest movies, listening to the latest pop music, and judging others whom they deemed 'not cool.'" We are also treated to the compelling account of an accident at one of the family's rental properties, in which several cases of energy drinks exploded within a warehouse. By the time this tragic mishap was discovered weeks later, "the energy drinks had actually eroded away a layer of the concrete -- in some places, a half-inch deep!" The moral of this story, as we are solemnly advised, is that "the same thing happens to us when we spend lots of time with 'friends' who may seem sweet and appealing but who are exerting a harmful influence on our hearts." I would have thought a more telling moral would have been "Probably don't drink energy drinks" (or perhaps, "Check on your rental properties more frequently"), but I digress.
Our rollicking ride continues with another of Jim Bob's classic legends: "the story of a nice, likeable young man who grew up in a Christian home but eventually became a drug addict." Eyes wide with horror at the very thought, I read on. After making the grave error of surrounding himself with people whose "sole purpose in life was to 'have a good time,'" this unnamed man soon finds himself ensnared in a perilous trap. Then, on one fateful night, he attends a party and is handed a beer by a passing stranger.
At first he just stood there holding the beer in his hand, smiling and contemplating what he would do. He had never had a desire to drink, but he did not want to feel like an outsider, so when no one was looking he poured half the beer into a nearby potted plant. A little later his friend came by and said, "You didn’t drink any, did you?" Then, grabbing the bottle out of his hand, he noticed that it was half empty. "Hey, guys, he's one of us!" the friend announced to everyone.
Shorty after that the young man started drinking; later he got introduced to drugs. How sad that one, seemingly small decision started him on a path of self-destruction.
I can only assume the rest of that pivotal party went more or less like this. A bone-chilling illustration of just how slippery a slope can be!
We move along to a more cheerful topic in Chapter Five, which switches gears to focus on "Your Relationship with Guys: Saving yourself for the one God has for you." Here, too, we are greeted by the eternal words of our communal patriarch-in-spirit, JBD:
About the time we entered our teenage years, Dad told us a story about a girl he went to school with in elementary and junior high school who was boy-crazy. […] He said he wondered at that early age if eventually this girl would find Mr. Right or if her habit of throwing herself into relationship after relationship would prove to be preparation for a future unstable marriage.
Sadly enough, when this girl finally got married, it didn't last long, and that same pattern of discontent, insecurity, and self-centeredness that had affected her dating also affected her marriage.
Prior to today, I would have found it hard to believe that anyone else could be quite as smugly infuriating as Jim Bob Duggar. But -- if even half of the stories I've read in this book so far are to be believed -- he's gotten only more mellow with age. It's a level of condescending smarm I wouldn't tolerate from a distant great-aunt desperate for an heir to her vast fortune, let alone from the insufferable schoolboy herein described. Nevertheless, my thoughts and prayers go out to this pitiable Jane Doe -- our nation's epidemic of Boy-Craziness has wreaked havoc on so many communities, no doubt the devastating consequence of 5G, vaccines, and/or the 19th amendment.
In order to avoid such dangerous impulses, a responsible woman should take care to abstain from romance novels -- "they paint a picture of an unrealistic, unobtainable relationship." I'm not exactly sure what part of Her Country Star Billionaire Groom seems so "unrealistic" to these narrow-minded nincompoops, but I'll table that conversation for another time. We have more important things to attend to at the moment. Namely, the continuing explanation that, for women, romance novels do "the same thing pornography does to men." I'm grateful for this analogy -- as the most delicate of damsels, I'm not even really sure what pornography is, let alone what about it those mysterious menfolk could possibly find so stimulating! But I do know that warm tingly feeling I get when I cuddle up late at night with a thick, beefy Harlequin Romance!
Alas, it is this very indulgence may prove to be my undoing! As we soon learn:
When a girl reads romance novels, she's doing something very similar [to watching pornography], drawing perfectionistic, romantic pictures into her mind of what she thinks marriage is.
This is a sentiment that, prior to the publication of the book I hold before me, had been most recently proffered by the famed Scottish wordsmith Charlotte Lennox in her 1752 novel, The Female Quixote, and I appreciate our authors for bringing light to such an underrecognized talent. The Duggar Girls continue our intellectual escapades with a reminder that "God put that deep need to be loved and accepted in our hearts so that He could be the one to fulfill it." As an astute pupil of the cultural arts, I immediately recognize this approach as step three of the D.E.N.N.I.S. System (Nurture Dependence).
For this vast array of reasons -- as eager as we may be to go to pound-town tie the knot -- we are cautioned to remain patient until our fated suitor arrives, engaging ourselves in trivial, non-threatening pursuits like "teaching younger girls" or "seeking out ways to bless others through ministry." We should also make it a priority to hone our skills of resistance when it comes to those worrisome "intrusions of lust" that Satan embeds within even the most innocent of minds.
We like to think of [these thoughts] as a live hand grenade coming our direction, and before it explodes we quickly pick it up and throw it right back at the devil.
I can only assume that this what Bruno Mars was trying to convey with his hit song, "Grenade" -- the intertextuality never ceases to amaze me! The Duggar Girls go on to demonstrate their dexterous command of the metaphor -- "We give God the position as 'boss' and 'ruler' of our lives, and we release the 'steering wheel' to His control." -- before highlighting ways to serve God regardless of your marital status. For example, "visiting places like Honduras and sharing the gospel with villagers is a ministry opportunity our family greatly treasures." And by "places like Honduras," I'm sure they mean, "places with countless centuries of rich cultural heritage ravaged by colonial conquest and its lingering effects," and not "places where brown people live." Pretty sure, at least.
But even once you've managed to attract the attentions of your future beloved, you must take care to guard yourself from falling too quickly. To ensure that you don't award your affections to an unworthy suitor (thus irrevocably tainting your eternal purity), the Duggars suggest asking the following questions:
Is his passion in life for earthy money or for eternal riches and rewards?

Does he have a vision for his life of doing great things for God?

Is he a man of character, showing initiative, creativity, diligence, enthusiasm, and wisdom?
I'm 99% sure that "initiative, creativity, diligence, enthusiasm, and wisdom" are the primary attributes from a knockoff version of Dungeons & Dragons -- who knew the Duggar girls were so into RPGs? (I guess they did warn us earlier that some of the family members are "computer geeks").
In the next several passages, the authors explain the "very real and very purposeful differences" between dating (bad!) and courtship (good!). First, they highlight a number of treacherous threats that pervade modern romantic culture.
A danger of modern dating is that it is typically two young people, alone, enjoying an activity. Usually a guy invites a girl out to a nice restaurant or some fun place or event. They enjoy a carefree time without the responsibility of the normal tasks and pressures of life.
I'm almost too overcome with terror at the thought of such a wretched situation! But somehow, (mostly by channeling the immeasurable determination of someone only allowed to show affection through three-second side hugs) I find the strength to read on. But to my despair, even more tragedies await me! As we are instructed to imagine:
What could be worse than having to tell your potential future husband that not only did you not wait but that you also have a severely painful STD that he will likely get if he marries you?
Not a SEVERELY painful STD?! But idk, lots of things could be worse than that, probably? Maybe it's just my overactive imagination, but it seems like you could knock out that whole conversation in one night over a bottle of wine, particularly given ongoing advances in modern medicine. But it seems I still have more to learn -- as I soon read:
Physical intimacy in marriage is pure, wholesome, and beautiful. Outside of marriage, it spreads disease, death, and destruction.
I've never really thought of myself as a "sower of destruction" before, but…I don't hate it. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what kind of casualties ensue the next time I have sex with my live-in boyfriend. As they say, nothing spices up the sex life like ascending to your thrones as eternal agents of pestilence and devastation!
Our next tip for identifying an ideal mate encourages "meaningful conversations about history, politics, theology, and such" -- I can only assume that the extensive footage of this intellectual discourse is edited out from the family's show at the demands of tyrannical production companies. But while those easily titillated minds might prefer to focus on worldly concerns, our authors are courteous enough to remind us of what truly matters. While he doesn't have to be "the best-looking hunk of human flesh ever created," it is vital that any potential partner practice "the fine old art of gentlemanly chivalry." As the Duggar Girls explain,
A gentleman's courtesy is not about women being weak or strong: it's about men needing to be men.
Jim Bob, as one would expect, exemplifies these virtues. We are regaled with recollections of his many demonstrations of decorum throughout his storied marriage:
Years ago, he was working on honoring Mom in several specific ways, including remembering to open the car door for her.
As soon as I finish reading this book, I'm going to get right to work on a list of specific ways that my boyfriend can work on honoring me -- I'm sure he'll be very appreciative for the guidance!
However, before I can get to that, I must tackle my next lesson: "Understanding What Christian Guys Look For in a Future Wife." Based on an admittedly "small and totally unscientific survey" of their male acquaintances, the Duggar Girls are able to share with us a few explosive secrets. For example, the ideal wife "has a hunger and thirst after righteousness" and promises to "faithfully help [her husband] grow deeper spiritually." What's more, she should also be "involved in some sort of ministry -- preferably music ministry." The chapter concludes with a convenient list of commitments for the reader, including pledges to "choose wholesome activities" and avoid "bad Internet sites."
In Chapter Six, the Duggar Girls lead the reader to examine "Your Relationship with Culture: Making choices that will keep you pure." Almost immediately, we are cautioned that
With just a few clicks of a keyboard, the Internet gives us the ability to research any subject. But it also has the potential to destroy the souls of those who get entangled in its dark side.
And lest you think this is hyperbole, our authors reiterate that "it is not a matter of if but when Satan will try to tempt us." As a thought exercise, the reader is encouraged to reflect: "would your Internet choices be the same when you were all alone as they would be when someone were sitting beside you?" In particular, the girls draw attention to the seedy underbelly of harmful gossip sites, breezily brushing off these piteous busybodies with the following bit of clever wordplay:
We've heard that some discussion boards or chat rooms might be better named bitter rooms because those drawn to them often seem rather bitter.
As our quipsters continue, "unfortunately, some people seem to derive much pleasure from nit-picking other people's lives." Thankfully, I derive my pleasure from nitpicking other people's books, so I'm totally in the clear on this one! Our authors encourage us to reform these renegade impulses by explaining that when we stop wasting time on mindless pursuits, we'll find ourselves becoming more productive, enterprising individuals. As a result of this ideology, we learn that "by age ten, John was working on and operating heavy equipment." I'm unimpressed -- call me when you've got a three-year-old on woodchipper duty. Regardless, it is clearly far safer than its petrifying alternative -- exposure to the horrors of television.
And what, pray tell, might these horrors be? Magic -- "which often shows up in children's movies" -- is revealed to be "part of a demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from." As the authors solemnly intone, "as harmless as it may seem, it's not a joke in God's eyes." Graciously, the Duggars have deigned to provide several reliably pure entertainment options:
many of the old classics that promote honesty, respect of parents, and reverence for God

educational documentaries that teach about science and history from a biblical perspective

many carefully selected episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as long as they are not centered around a lot of romance or deceptiveness, as some of them are
With regard to making appropriate music choices, "much prayerful consideration" is required, lest we "bring a blot to the name and character of the God we represent." However, in order to guide our future reflections, the Duggar Girls go on to provide a helpful technique for assessing acoustic chastity.
Soon after Mom became a Christian at the age of fifteen, a friend encouraged her to write out the lyrics of questionable songs and then compare them to the truths found in the Bible. For instance, if a song's lyrics are saying, "Follow your heart. Do what feels good," we compare it to the Bible and find that […] we're not supposed to follow our hearts, as that will only get us in trouble.
I suppose that means I'll have to rethink my upcoming single, "Follow Your Heart (Do What Feels Good)," but that will have to wait until I've fully absorbed all the insights this book has to offer. For example, as I read on, I learn that I should be particularly suspicious of "rock 'n' roll and its variations such as hard rock and heavy metal." As the authors expound:
Since its beginnings in the 1950s, this music's main goal and purpose have been to promote every one of the issues we want to avoid. A heavy backbeat and words being sung in a breathy and sensual voice -- and even the style of rock 'n' roll music itself -- give off an attitude of rebellion, resistance toward authority, and a rejection of morality. None of these things come without consequences.
Lest you think that our authors are merely being alarmist, they go on to explain that when they "examined the lives of many of these artists," they were dismayed to conclude that "the life expectancy for rock artists and musicians is around forty; many of them die at a young age for reasons related to AIDS, drug or alcohol abuse, or suicides. It's a tragic reality." Far less perilous to enjoy "classical music and traditional hymns," as they are known to "follow a pattern and maintain a very distinct and definite order."
With this final injunction, we move on to the volume's penultimate chapter, "Your Relationship with Your Country: Making a difference in the political arena." My attention is instantly captured by the opening sentence, which informs the reader that "God used a series of supernatural events to clearly lead our family into making a difference in the world of politics." The "supernatural event" in question turns out to be the undeniably divine miracle of Jim Bob Duggar…finding out about a rally against "partial-birth abortion" and then…attending it. I can only imagine how much more wondrous the world must seem if such a banal and explainable episode is sufficient to incite veritable fits of exaltation.
But this portent is just the beginning of Papa Duggar's political career, and I read on to learn even more about "the values Dad stood for." Although this lineup presumably does not include any sort of commitment to avoiding sentence-ending prepositions, it does include a promise to vote "the right way on life-and-death issues."
Before long, Jim Bob "felt God urging him to run for the US Senate," and although he loses the election, publicity from the campaign eventually brings about the family's first taste of national media attention. After much prayer and "wise, godly counsel," the family agrees to be filmed for a reality show -- "we agreed to do it based upon our hope that it would enable our family to share encouraging Bible principles with many other people." And indeed, the family now receives "hundred of letters and e-mails" per week from viewers who have been "spiritually challenged" by watching the series.
But rest assured -- "Dad's loss in that Senate campaign did not end our involvement in politics." If you, too, would like to follow our authors' example and become more civically engaged, you could "find a conservative Christian who is running for office and then call and ask them where he or she stands on the issues." I suppose I should give them a modicum of credit for the inclusive phrasing, "he or she," but the fact that I don't have the slightest doubt as to the intended meaning of "the issues," prevents me from even a half-hearted endorsement of this sentiment.
Blessedly, however, we've reached our story's denouement -- a final chapter entitled, "Your Relationship with the World: Developing a servant's heart." Jill tearfully recounts a ministry trip to El Salvador, taking care to highlight the contrast between the "iron-barred windows" of government orphanages and the "love-filled" Christian facility the group goes on to visit. What accounts for this stark discrepancy? "They've fed these children not only with food for their tummies but also food for their spiritual lives." As Jessa quips, "It is so neat to see how God works." Of course, as you might have suspected, the Duggar Girls quickly realized that, "as with every trip, it was clear that we were the ones who'd gotten the biggest blessings." Truly -- the engagement you get from an Instagram post featuring a bona fide orphan is worth more than any financial reward one could ever hope to gain on this mortal plane!
We next learn about Jill and Jana's experiences with the local volunteer fire department. Mercifully, this endeavor doesn’t necessitate as many Rugged Man Skills as you might assume, and the two are able to respond to such dainty predicaments as "a little old lady's cat stuck in a tree" and "a kid with his lip stuck in a sippie cup" without jeopardizing their feminine delicacy. Jill next shares more about her journey with midwifery. As she reassures us, it's not just "Christian, homeschooling moms" who opt for home deliveries, but "single moms" as well!
Jana, in contrast, tells us that she "[feels] called to focus on childbirth coaching and prenatal preparation instead of 'running the show,' as Jill does so competently when she serves as midwife." And Jinger has been called to minister at "the juvenile detention center in our area," which she fashionably abbreviates as "juvy" to highlight her comfort with urban vernacular.
As I read on, I learn more about the Duggar family's love of music, which is far more diverse and expansive than one might initially assume. For example, did you know that the Duggars "enjoy traditional music as well as classical," or that a young Joy-Anna was encouraged to undertake the daring pursuit of "[learning] to play the violin 'fiddle-style'"?
As these examples illustrate, God's gifts can take a myriad of forms! For this reason, we go on to learn about the importance of "learning how to give an enthusiastic, friendly greeting to others." This technique is a surefire way to spark a deep and meaningful conversation with anyone you may encounter. And, in the most dire of emergencies, "we know we can shoot up a little flare-prayer and God is always able to give us the words to say." However, one should always take appropriate caution "not to be too overly friendly with people of the opposite gender, as that can send the wrong kind of message!"
As luck would have it, we have only to look to the Duggar parents to find examples of more decorous ways to approach intimate dialogues. As we learn:
Many times our parents have guests over and then ask if it would be okay if we watch one of Jim Sammons's Financial Freedom Seminar messages together from embassyinstitute.org and then discuss it afterward. Once they watch one message, most people want to go through the whole series.
With a few final nuggets of wisdom, the volume comes to a close. The authors graciously offer an obligatory apology for daring to burden the reader with their inane female ramblings -- "Thank you for sticking with us through this super-long chapter!" As they continue:
We know we've shared a lot of concepts about relationships, but it is our prayer that God will direct and encourage you as you begin to make them part of your own lives.
As you go off and begin your own personal journey towards relationship rapture, you may find encouragement in the idea that -- despite their celebrated name -- the Duggar Girls are not just some faceless paragons of virtue. As the author biographies on the back inside cover remind us, these are regular people, with their own unique interests and capacities. While Jessa might be found "memorizing scripture" or "discipling friends," Jill would rather spend her time "counseling girls via phone, text, in person, or email." Jana "stays busy managing the family mailroom," and Jinger? She's "always full of energy, that is, when she has a cup of coffee in her hand!"
And with that cheeky witticism, I close the book and begin my quest towards docile, denim Duggarhood -- I wish you nothing but blessings as you enter this season of life!
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2020.07.21 22:24 scottydrewster Team #147) Godlewski Family (TAR8, 4th)

Team #147) Godlewski Family (TAR8, 4th)
For me this was the hardest cut so far. I haven't rewatched Season 2 recently so that's definitely a weak spot but do remember enjoying Mary and Peach's dynamic so they live to survive another day. Instead my nomination goes to the only FFFF team in TAR history in the Godlewski sisters.
Coming out of the gate strong they take a 1st place in the first leg. They follow this up with a few more Top 4 finished before being NEL'd in Panama. Especially with this team it was hard to differentiate the team members with all women being similar-ish in age with blonde hair. However Christine drew the most ire from her sisters, clashing with Sharon in particular for her chatty nature and tearing up on numerous occasions. They also had a feud (along with the rest of the cast) with the Weavers who christened them the Desperate Housewives, a nickname I did find pretty funny.
One wrong detour decision causes them to drop to 4th in the penultimate leg as their arch rivals pass them to secure the final place in the finale. A strong team of racers taking 3 wins in the season but the congested cast of TAR 8 means I can't rank them any higher. (Still gutted the Weavers are out so soon given their OTTP to OTTN edit)
To add to the pool or in this case the rink/track are the Olympians from the Blind Date season of Aly and Steve. They had a few cross words with Aly seeming more driven to win than Steve but overall a nice young athletic couple who didn't add a huge amount to their season.
Current pool:
-Mary and Peach (TAR2, 6th)
-Paolo family (TAR8, 5th)
-Jet and Cord 1.0 (TAR16, 2nd)
-Nicole and Travis (TAR23, 3rd)
-Amy and Maya (TAR25, winners)
-Aly and Steve (TAR26, 6th)
-Matt and Redmond (TAR29, 4th)
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2020.07.18 13:27 Cyterrortops [TOMT][TV Show][00s/10s] Particular episode of a show - IIRC it was Desperate Housewives, but might have just been something similar.

IIRC it was an episode of Desperate Housewives but I’m not 100% certain, I just know it definitely wasn’t a show I usually watched. I only saw this one scene but it stuck in my head. It’s two women talking about this guy one of the women is seeing. The friend (not dating him) says something about how the guy is desperate for kids and the other refutes this. The friend is then like “really?” And raises her voice to song the beginning o the Elmo’s world song (“na na na na, na na na na”), and the guy like leaps down the stairs onto the landing and sings “Elmo’s world”, and then goes back upstairs. The friend then looks at the other girl like “told you so”. Since I don’t know the show I don’t know how to google for it, and everything I have searched just comes back with actual Elmo’s world episodes lol.
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2020.07.17 16:43 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Secrets of the Southern Belle (by Phaedra Parks)

I hope the past few days have been restful and rejuvenating for you all, but -- as I'm sure you must have learned by this point -- the journey to personal betterment is an eternal endeavor. We haven't got a moment to waste, so let's bid adieu to the sunny serenity of the California coast and settle in down South with Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks, as she descends from her ivory porch swing and illuminates the esoteric in Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment.
True to the title's descriptive and straightforward sentiments, Phaedra begins the book with a concise synthesis of the worldview she hopes to present:
I believe every woman should be a Southern Belle or minimally aspire to being more ladylike, charming, and intelligent, because we should all be treated well.
As she continues, we get our first glimpse of the deep well of compassion that underlies Phaedra's mission to improve the lives of those around her.
Honestly, I sometimes feel sorry for women of northern persuasion. There they are rushing around in their baggy, drab clothes, doing everything for themselves and looking like they just rolled out of bed. They don't seem to understand there's a better way.
Thankfully, I no longer have to count myself among that witless horde. I feel like, until this fateful moment, I have been living like one of those people from the black-and-white "before" footage of an infomercial -- haphazardly bumbling through the most menial of daily tasks with no way of knowing how much brighter my world could be. Phaedra has freed me from Plato's Cave, and I have no choice but to follow her instruction and strive to shape myself in her image.
A true Southern Belle is known -- first and foremost -- for her fundamental kindness and compassion towards others, so it is only appropriate that the book's first section is succinctly titled, "Be Nice." However, even this simple directive has been trampled by the corrupting influence of the modern world. As Phaedra laments,
Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior.
She elaborates, providing specific examples of the personal injuries incurred as a result of these unmannered interlopers.
I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don't speak or thank you for your patronage. Don't they realize that without customers they would not have a job?
I, too, find it offensive when minimum-wage workers have the nerve to act like actual human beings rather than automatons at the mercy of my personal whims, and I appreciate that Phaedra is bold enough to ask the question that has undoubtedly been on the tip of our collective tongue. Yet somehow, she still remains humble enough to freely admit where she has room to learn; here, she lets the reader in on "something I've never quite understood about non-southerners:"
They're suspicious of basic southern warmth because they're worried it's insincere. But at the same time, they will tell you the most inappropriate things! They tell you stuff about their health that you don't want to know. They launch into crazy stories about their terrible childhoods and how misunderstood they are. They complain about what happened long ago, and they fret openly about the future. Then they tell you what they paid for things and you want to crawl under the table.
Frankly, that's not very attractive.
What is attractive, then, you may ask? Effusive compliments, for one thing -- "I don't know why some people are so concerned with being sincere, when being nice is so much more effective." We also learn to "never contradict anyone, even if you know they are wrong." Phaedra illustrates this particular lesson with the following example:
If someone tells you that your taxes are due on April 30 instead of April 15, you look puzzled and say, "Goodness, I had no idea. Did they change the date?"
And what happens after that? Either the person says yes and you're forced to play along with whatever bizarre delusion and/or power-play your companion is currently indulging, or they say no and you say -- what? "Right, of course, I knew that the whole time!" Or, "Gotcha! It's April 15th, you incompetent fraud!" Or maybe, "I don't even know what taxes are -- money is for menfolk!" I just can't imagine any of those scenarios playing out with less discomfort than a simple correction, but after four years living in New England, I can only assume that's just northern negativity clouding my vision.
We are next presented with a list of "compliments that come in handy," a few of which I've transcribed below for immediate incorporation into your own phrasal repertoire.
What an interesting way to think about it. (Good for a point on which you disagree with someone.)

You thought of every little detail; I love a meticulous lady!

Wow! That is so original. I would never have put it together like that. (In this South this might mean, "I hate it," but in a polite way.)
Boss Babe is out -- Meticulous Lady is in! Phaedra reminds us to keep health concerns -- "especially female issues" -- far from polite conversation, then shifts gears to a much-needed lesson in verbal comportment. It's not just their "attractive regional accents" that distinguish Southern Belles from their less-attractive northern counterparts; they also devote great attention to evoking grace through their cadence and tone.
Sometimes northern women can sound awfully abrupt. It's just a habit they have, poor things.
If you'd like to take your place amongst esteemed gentility, however, I urge you to change your ways! For one thing, when speaking, "slip in something affectionate so that a very harsh reality doesn't come across as rude or abrupt." For example, see how much unpleasant confrontation is avoided with the following turn of phrase:
Darling, don't you know you're too smart and pretty to be the town drunk?
Silly girl, haven't you heard? Addiction is for ugly people! You should also feel free to use these compliments liberally throughout conversation -- "You don't have to mean it, you know." As an example:
If you can tell that someone has put a lot of effort into a particular aspect of her outfit, just draw attention to it. Sparkly stars-and-stripes high heels could be terribly tacky, but you bet they're supposed to be noticed, so go ahead and do it. "Those are certainly patriotic shoes!"
Let me take a crack at it -- This book certainly has a lot of words in it! Writing a book is such an impressive achievement -- I'm sure it feels so rewarding to finally see it In print! And I love the way you occasionally use infinity signs as bullet points -- it's so evocative! I think I'm getting the hang of this!
"Another southern difference?" As Phaedra informs us, "we try not to make direct requests. It just sounds so forward and frankly unpleasant if someone comes right out and says what they want from you." Phaedra's Starbucks barista must really despise her -- If it isn't too much trouble, could I bother you for something to drink? No, anything's fine -- I wouldn't want to impose.
Almost like a modern-day Rosetta Stone, the next passage introduces us to the nuanced connotations that pervade a true Belle's vocabulary. For example, Phaedra tells the reader that "if I tell someone 'Goodness, you must have spent all day on your hair. I am so impressed!' it really means I hate it." Before I manage to convey how impressed I am by the book before me, I read on to learn that "when you're discussing a homely girl, you generally say, 'She's so smart!' The general thought is you can't be both ugly and dumb. God wouldn't be that cruel." Please excuse me while I take a few hours to re-analyze every compliment I've ever been given in my entire life.
Now that that's done, here are a few more translations to help you decipher the Belles in your life.
Belle-Speak: She's a nurse-in-training.
Unvarnished Truth: She dates only old men.

Belle-Speak: She's a butter face.
Unvarnished Truth: Everything looks good but her face.

Belle-Speak: Hope he's got money.
Unvarnished Truth: He's unattractive and pays for affection.
The second one is not even really a euphemism so much as Phaedra trying to demonstrate her knowledge of hip modern slang, but I digress. We transition into advice for conversation starters -- "don't throw them complicated or controversial subjects like politics, animal rights, or local zoning." Truly, I can't tell you how many times I've been approached at a party with an opener about municipal ordinances, and it just kills the mood like nothing else. Worried about how you'll ever find something to talk about under these restrictions?
Don't worry about sounding interesting. "Interesting" is an overrated notion. Just fill the empty air.
That…explains a lot, actually.
Our next lesson is in reference to dinner parties -- "don't make a fuss, unless you're complimenting the cook." In case you're confused as to how this guidance should be interpreted, Phaedra clarifies with some examples -- "'Is there meat in here? I'm a vegetarian' is the wrong kind of fuss." Since I typically ask this question while flailing my arms wildly and making intermittent whooping noises, I completely understand how it could be disruptive amongst refined company. Although I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I won't be able to keep track of these seemingly countless rules, Phaedra's next assurance puts my mind at ease: "If all else fails, remember the secret weapon of the Southern Belle is delicate helplessness."
In the next passage, we learn that, "if there's any characteristic that defines a Southern Belle, it's her habit of firing off little notes on any occasion." Just as with verbal compliments, these notes require little to no basis in factual reality -- "obviously it's perfectly all right to exaggerate." But while truthfulness is more or less dispensable, your choice of writing implement could have grave repercussions. As Phaedra exhorts, "Never, ever write a letter in pencil. You might as well not bother at all." Within the realm of pens, however, "blue and black are perfectly acceptable, even if they do lack panache."
We return once again to the topic of appropriate subjects for conversation, and are cautioned against asking anyone their age. Of course, wild speculation is encouraged, "as long as you're out of earshot." In the next tip, Phaedra declares: "Don't discuss the cost of anything. Any discussion of cost is just in poor taste." I just can't help picture how much of a nightmare this woman must be at a fast-food drive-through. Our final instruction?
Don't discuss hair color. Men always pretend they don't dye their hair, so you just have to go with it.
At first glance, this seems reasonable enough, especially in the context of the social graces espoused by the book so far. However, Phaedra's attempt at further explanation quickly begins to careen off-course.
For women, it's a little bit more complicated because you have the question of whether the drapes match the carpet, so to speak. And I do know some who dye the carpet to match -- that was the big thing in high school. Now with all this weird waxing, you don't have to do as much dyeing, but that's another thing you don't talk about either!
Let's see if I've got this straight: I should always believe a man about his purported hair color no matter what, but if a woman tries to lie about hers, she'll get caught…because I will inevitably be forced to confront the realities of her pubic hair? An intimate partner, sure, but I just can't imagine this situation arises with enough frequency to merit even the few lines its given in this text. And honestly, at this point, I don't even think I want to know what Phaedra means by "weird waxing."
This section of the book concludes with a final catalog of "the 'She did what?' mistakes." The list starts off strong with "wearing white to another woman's wedding." However, by the time we end on the most unimaginable of atrocities -- "drinking beer from a bottle" -- I'm beginning to wonder if this list was actually supposed to have been titled "things the sexy homewrecker does in a bro-country music video."
The following section is titled, "Work Hard," and I am immediately inspired to do exactly so by the implicit challenge thrown down in Phaedra's opening lines, in which she coquettishly asks, "Who always delivers a presentation on time, with the printed materials perfectly written and proofread?" I'm usually quite good at taming my most pedantic impulses, but contrarian passions I never knew I had are foaming at the mouth to find an upcoming typo and self-righteously call her bluff. Although perhaps I should find a more feminine way to phrase that; as Phaedra cautions, "we don't like to think of ourselves as driven, because that sounds so neurotic and unpleasant."
We next learn that "you cannot be a Southern Belle unless you understand what it is to be ladylike." But unfortunately, it is all too easy to be caught up in the ways of the world and lose sight of this primary calling.
A lot of women today enjoy being the feisty, brassy, foul-mouthed kind of gal who drinks with men and shows a lot of flesh. They think it's cool.
Phaedra continues and reflects that, "I've heard the argument that this is progress, from the feminist point of view, but I don't necessarily agree." I can never remember -- which wave of feminism was the one with all the feisty gals? But clearly, their agenda has gone too far! How, in contrast, does a delicate Southern Belle behave?
She looks as if she's heard of sex, probably has had sex, but has no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings.
I'm not sure exactly how to convey this highly specific sentiment in any other way than purchasing a t-shirt custom-printed with the phrase, "I have heard of sex, have probably had sex, but have no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings," so I hope that approach will suffice for now. Phaedra follows up by cautioning us that,
A lady never puts in the shop window what isn't for sale.
Personally, I like to think of myself as more of a museum than a gift shop, but to each their own! We next learn more about the delicate balance a Southern Belle must achieve in order to maintain her esteemed position. For example, while "she doesn't cuss and doesn't talk dirty," frigidity is similarly unbecoming -- "if somebody tells a good dirty joke in her vicinity, she'll laugh." I'm barely a third of the way through this book, and I'm already exhausted at the prospect of having to remember all of these hyper-specific edicts. It's no surprise that the Southern Belle has to remain consistently vigilant; as Phaedra intones, "coming from a Pentecostal family, I hate to see a woman down more than two drinks." It seems to me like the simplest way to avoid such emotional turmoil would be to simply refrain from compulsively tallying the beverage intake of strangers, but I soon learn there are far more perilous hazards lurking around every corner. Phaedra shares her personal strategy for avoiding the very implication of incivility in the following excerpt:
I don't ever go to the bar at a party; I think that just looks terrible. If I must have a glass of wine or crave a fruity adult libation, I'll ask a nearby man to procure it for me.
Sir! Procure me a fruity adult libation -- tout de suite! But I would hate to diminish the male gender by implying that they're only good for the acquisition of potables; no -- men can be leveraged in an increasingly broad array of day-to-day tasks. As Phaedra shares:
I have friends who have never in their lives pumped gas for their own cars. They will ask a complete stranger to do it for them. One of my besties from New Orleans will flag down a man, give him her credit card, and have him pump and pay for her gas.
Honestly, I can't help but wonder if this might actually be some kind of avantgarde performance art, in the tradition of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0. Because the idea that this gambit has never gone horribly, horribly awry truly strains credulity. As I read on, however, I learn that my current train of thinking is sorely misguided.
Sometimes when I'm at a grocery store the fellow bagging the groceries will ask if he can take them out to my car. Why would you say no to this? But sometimes women do. And I look at them and sigh and think, "Poor thing. She has a lot to learn."
Thankfully for my personal development, the next chapter — titled "A Crash Course in Being (Selectively) Helpless" — promises exactly the sort of content that I so desperately need to understand. As Phaedra explains, a Southern Belle is "never intimidating, because some things she just can't do on her own." She goes on to offer concrete examples of how to incorporate this ethos into your life on beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
Experts: assume help will arrive. Flat tire? Pull over to the curb, and don't sweat it. Can't figure out which wrench to buy at Home Depot? Or how to program your DVR? This is what former boyfriends and other gentlemen are for. Believe me, the age of chivalry is not dead.
Rent due? Don't sweat it -- a gallant gentleman likely already has a check in the mail. House burning to the ground around you? You should know a Belle doesn't walk down the hallway on her own two feet! Bear attack? I'm sure a male bear is just around the corner, ready to jump in and defend your honor!
Without a hint of irony, we transition to Phaedra's advice for the workplace. We learn that the quintessential gentlewoman is savvy, competent, and always at the top of her game. For instance, at her workplace, "she figures out how to work the coffee machine and the copy machine." With that kind of go-getting attitude, the Southern Belle will be bound for the C-suite in no time! Provided, of course,
She never does that thing I hear of in the North sometimes of telling you how little she paid for something. Why would you brag about bargains?
I can't hear the phrase that thing I hear of in the North in anything other than the voice of Tinsley's mother, Dale. Except she would probably use it in reference to something like "giving compliments to your daughter" or "weight gain." Regardless, a more appropriate question at this juncture might be, "Are you sure this book was proofread quite as judiciously as you claimed?" As I scan the page, my eyes happen upon the line:
10 percent for tithing, if your religion encourages tithing, which mines [sic] does.
Of course, it would be entirely uncouth for me to brag about my typographical superiority in this context, so now seems as good a time as any to exercise some of my newly acquired techniques. Oh, Phaedra -- bless her heart! I suppose we can't all be detail-oriented, can we? It must be nice to be so casual and carefree when you express yourself!
Without further ado, however, we move along to our next lesson -- "People don't know when you're hungry, because they can't hear your stomach growling, but they definitely know when you're homeless." To be honest, the more I think about this statement , the less sense it makes to me (people…can hear your stomach growling?). Luckily, with the jam-packed schedule of a Southern Belle, I simply don't have time to dwell on the issue for a moment longer!
Our next tutorial? "If you have one fabulous pair of shoes, you will wear them to church. It is the very least you can do for Jesus." As we all know, Jesus appreciates sweet kicks, so he loves nothing more than to see you rock the newest styles when you drop by on Sunday. And besides -- the higher the heel, the closer to heaven! Phaedra summarizes the Southern Belle's can-do attitude with the line: "We all may not be sitting around big ugly Formica boardroom tables, but we get things done." As someone who has only ever attended meetings held around moderately sized tables, I find this to be a validating sentiment.
When it comes to extracurricular pursuits, "beauty pageants are important." However, "as much as she loves performing, the Belle will not take to the stage: some of those theater people are just too peculiar, bless their hearts." Honestly, Phaedra and I come down on the same side on this one. But I will have to heartily disagree with her next passage -- with respect to traditions of stepping within Black Greek Life -- in which she states,
The traditionally white organizations don't have anything comparable.
Um, excuse me? Have you never seen this iconic video?! However, Phaedra does reassure us that she's far from ignorant in the ways of the world. As she states, "I have read about hookup culture and known a few easy women." Of course, easy men don't exist -- or at least, that's what I've read in all the most prominent textbooks regarding hookup culture. But don't mistake Phaedra's awareness for acceptance -- "that doesn't mean I like any of it." However, this sentiment is belied just a few paragraphs later, when our author recalls:
I offended the mother of one of my best friends once by booking some exotic entertainment at this friend's birthday party. My friend loved the anatomically exceptional dancer, but her mother was livid.
I'm sure that it was only your friend who loved the "anatomically exceptional" dancer, and I assume this must have been one of your aforementioned token "easy" friends, besides. A Southern Belle, in contrast, is interested in serious, long-term relationships. And for this purpose, "it would be much better to marry a young man that you can train. I have always said that I would rather be a babysitter than a geriatric nurse." Yet even these kinds of discrepancies seem trivial in comparison to the boundless passions of eternal love. As Phaedra shares,
I want Apollo and me to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, so I try to overlook momentary annoyances.
That aged well. Bless her heart.
We're soon treated to a cheeky list of "what her husband doesn't know," which echoes several key themes from earlier in the book -- most notably in its bizarre fixation with pubic grooming.
He doesn't know what her true hair color is, because the curtains always match the carpet.

He doesn't know how often she waxes, or exactly what waxing entails.

He doesn't know that she has her own credit card, her own savings account, and a safe-deposit box.
I've got to say, that last one hits just a little bit different with hindsight. Always timely, however, are Phaedra's views on the importance of the homemaking arts. In this evocative passage, she describes the primal horror of an encounter with a woman tainted by an unimaginable curse:
A nice lady from another part of the country recently confessed to me that she doesn't know how to do any crafts. In fact, she said, she gets all nervous and antsy in crafts stores, because they're so full of things she doesn't understand. I laughed like I thought she was joking, but really, I felt bad for her. Imagine not knowing how to make all those cute objects that brighten up lives in the South! I shudder to think what the inside of her house looks like!
With that fable still ringing in my ears, we transition to the next section of the book: "Look Pretty." Phaedra reflects, "I am always shocked when I leave the South and encounter the enormous number of women who don't seem to understand how their clothes should fit." Now feels like an appropriate time to draw attention to the book's back cover, in which an open-mouthed Phaedra swivels her torso in such a way as to create a bulging protuberance across one half of her chest. In awe of her commitment to inclusivity, I now realize this could only have been an intentional choice to make herself seem more approachable to us northern oafs, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Phaedra goes on to inform us that, "personally, I prefer skirts and dresses over pants." However, although "high-waisted pants and pants with visible hem cuffs are quite elegant and ladylike," one should take care never to forget that "minimalism and menswear looks are just puzzling and not appealing to a Belle." I, too, must admit that I find menswear looks puzzling -- a girl? in boy clothes? I just can't make heads or tails of it! And this is far from the only contemporary fad that baffles the true Southern Belle. As Phaedra continues:
I've never understood the appeal of the natural look. It's so easy to improve your appearance; why wouldn't you take advantage of the many beauty aids available to you?
In a frankly unexpected dig against the ceramic arts, Phaedra notes that "unless you are a professional potter (and I don't think Southern Belles generally are), your nails need to be clean and filed." More generally, your physical proportions should remain mild and inobtrusive:
Ever since voluminous behinds became fashionable, I often see these lumpy, huge derrieres on women with legs as thin as a chicken's, and I think God would never put a rump roast on toothpicks, so why did you do that?
That's why I always caution my friends to pair their butt implants with a battery of leg implants, in order to really round out the overall contour of the body and mimic that structurally stable, God-given look. After all, as Phaedra quips: "'Knowledge is power' -- that's my motto." But this knowledge doesn’t come without a price; being as world-wise as Phaedra often requires direct confrontation with the atrocities of today's world. As she recounts, for example: "I was astonished to find out that not every woman possesses a lint roller." It's truly a tragedy to learn how the other half lives!
We are next informed that, "you have to have your ears pierced, but only one hole in each ear." The consequences for an infraction of this critical edict are left unvoiced, from which I can only assume that they are swift and merciless. Any self-respecting Southern Belle has a taste for the finer things in life, and Phaedra is no exception. As she remarks:
I love diamonds; I'd have a diamond duvet if I could afford it.
Because I am less fiscally endowed, I have had to settle for stuffing my duvet with assorted Swarovski crystals, at least for the time being. However, I'm eager to upgrade -- I can only imagine that the extra hardness of the diamonds will add a satisfying acupuncture affect to my nighttime regimen!
Phaedra moves on to fashion advice, and cautions the well-heeled Belle to remain conservative in her fashion choices. But don't worry -- there is a time and a place to let loose and express your more artistic side. Or, as Phaedra says, "something a little funky or ethnic may even be appropriate from time to time." To further illustrate this principle, she explains: "If I were going out West, for example, I might wear some turquoise bracelets."
But some things are a bridge too far! Any woman with a modicum of dignity would know never to be caught dead in "polar fleece," "a naughty-nurse costume," or "footed pajamas." We are also encouraged to carry around a hand fan -- "the elegant way to stay cool" -- as well as a "small leather-bound notebook for jotting down inspirations." I lose my train of thought for a moment, caught up in a daydream about the ingenious wonderings that must be contained within Phaedra's hallowed journal. But I'm brought back to reality by a declaration of "what's not in my purse," beginning with the stern pronouncement: "any kind of contraband substance."
Our pilgrimage to polite society continues with a comprehensive exploration of the monogram's social gravitas. As Phaedra intones, "I've even seen cars with a very discreet monogram on the driver's door." But with light must come darkness, and the next chapter bravely confronts an issue many others would fear to face: "Looking Like a Tramp" ("There, I came right out and said it," Phaedra breathlessly gasps below the harsh text of the passage's title). She gathers herself together and courageously reports, "some women look downright sleazy."
Alas -- even more tragically -- couture catastrophes are not restricted to those of legal majority. Phaedra heroically pulls back the curtain on a nationwide epidemic of wardrobe misconduct being perpetrated against society's most vulnerable:
I saw a picture not long ago of some hippies or hipsters or whatever you call them from some remote city. The parents looked the way you'd expect them to look, a little bit bedraggled, but the worst thing was they had this adorable little baby all done up in a black onesie. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't even Halloween!
How to combat this terrifying trend? Phaedra offers words of wisdom: "Little Southern Belles always look sweet and appropriately girlish." Specifically, we are encouraged to incorporate design elements like "tasteful, conservative rickrack." By way of further explanation, she clarifies that, "what they don't do is dress like Lady Gaga in dresses made of butchers' best cuts of beef." I'm disappointed to learn that my idea for an Etsy store selling bespoke meat-based children's clothing might be a nonstarter, but I suppose I appreciate our author giving it to me straight.
Another childcare commandment?
No costumes outside the house. Of course every little girl loves to play dress-up. But I truly dislike seeing Snow White or a fairy princess trailing along behind her mother at the Piggly Wiggly.
As she sits in her living room, most likely waiting for a man to come to her aid for some reason or another, Phaedra is struck by a sharp, blazing pain. As the flash of blinding torment subsides, she catches her breath and shakes her head wearily -- another costumed child has gone into a grocery store. Forgive their guardians, for they know not the harm their actions have caused to our author's delicate and genteel sensibilities.
But it does us no good to dwell on the darker side of life! Rather, we'll move right along into the book's final section, "Have Fun." However, this does not seem to be exactly the same kind of "fun" colloquially mentioned in mainstream circles. Rather, the Southern Belle defines fun with the principle, "everybody needs to know that you made an effort." For example, "if you're pouring punch into paper cups for a gaggle of seven-year-olds, put a spring of mint in it." My previous experiences in the general vicinity of children lead me to believe that at least 75% of the seven-year-olds in this group would respond to this elegant enhancement by dumping the punch out on the ground because it has a gross plant in it. Maybe that's part of the fun?
No analysis of Southern culture would be complete without a discussion of that most hallowed of pastimes -- college football. And although "only a really unusual woman watches football alone," it is imperative that a Southern Belle attend the social events associated with the on-season. What's more, she should take care to do with impeccable style. As Phaedra laments:
Sometimes I see pictures of women in store-bought football jerseys and I feel sorry. A store-bought jersey does nothing to flatter the feminine body.
As for the game itself, minimal understanding is required -- "Naturally a Belle knows how much men enjoy telling her things, so she isn't shy about asking questions." True to her generous spirit, however, Phaedra nevertheless provides a basic primer in the rudiments of the sport:
Basically each team is trying to get the ball through the tall H-shaped goalposts at the end of the field. […] The problem is that the ball can look awfully little from pretty much anywhere in the stands. There's no shame in watching the video replay to see what really just happened.
As a final tip, Phaedra suggests that "belles whose husbands have season tickets might even invest in matching linens and china." Our next unit of instruction concerns the arrival of a newborn bundle of joy; as we learn, "the birth of a baby is a big deal in a southern family." It's so interesting to learn all of these unique cultural details! I don't know if I've ever heard of another culture that places such importance on birth -- I'd love to get an anthropologist's take! There are also strict guidelines to which one must adhere regarding the naming of a debutante-in-training:
A Southern Belle's name:
-- is obviously feminine.
-- is two syllables or more (names like Ann or Joan seem abrupt, like so many Yankees).
-- is a real name, not a geographic feature like Sierra.
-- means something. Preferably something nice.
Once born and appropriately christened, children should be painstakingly shielded from the contaminating influences of the world at large. Phaedra explains that "pop culture is full of children behaving disrespectfully." Without the slightest suggestion of self-reflection, she goes on to declare that "besides, we think TV characters are basically tacky."
Phaedra reiterates a few of the courtship commandments mentioned previously, most concisely in the adage, "Belles don't date losers." And, as any suitor worth his salt should know, "a date with a Belle is no time for a boy to experiment with 'alternative' clothes or grooming either." Instead, a Southern Gentleman takes care to keep his language clean from distasteful or offensive language -- "For instance, why say 'liquor' when you can say 'adult refreshment'?"
As we near the end of the book, it seems only fitting that we take a few pages to cover the traditions and rituals associated with life coming to a close. Buttressed by her extensive knowledge of mortuary science, Phaedra instructs us:
Postmortem is no time to experiment with cosmetics. No one wants their sweet aunt Gertrude looking like some ashy Jezebel when she meets Jesus.
The passage concludes with the brassy observation, "we don't usually cremate in the South; we figure if we wanted to burn we'd just live recklessly and go to hell."
Before the book closes in earnest, Phaedra shares a few of her special, meticulously developed recipes. The most evocative of her culinary optimizations is a recipe for sweet tea, in which she thoughtfully informs us, "sweetness can be personalized by adding more water or ice to the tea."
The book's final pages contain an instrument designed to measure the effect of the preceding 252 pages on one's essential courtesies, charmingly titled "The Belle-O-Meter Quiz." As Phaedra explains:
So, ladies, how are you doing? I'm sure you've all been very attentive to my suggestions and are amazed by the results. You're probably totally used to a steady diet of compliments and flirtation and invitations. But here's a little quiz in case you feel the need to measure how far you've come.
If you'd like to take the full quiz, you can do so here. But if your busy Belle schedule doesn't permit you to devote that much time to something so self-indulgent, a few example questions are provided below:
Your routine greeting when you meet a new person is:
a. A surly glare.
b. "Hi."
c. "Well, hello! How are you today?"

If your gentleman friend brought you a corsage to wear on a date you would:
a. Put it in the refrigerator. Nobody wears corsages nowadays!
b. Pin it to your coat collar and check your coat.
c. Pin it in an unusual spot like your waist or behind your ear, after extracting one little blossom to put in his lapel.
The answer key informs us that answering mostly C's means that "you are a genuine Southern Belle." As Phaedra goes on to suggest, "maybe it's time to share your new skills with a friend and pass along this book. I hope it's been helpful to you." As a book hoarder of the highest order, I will have to skip that suggestion, but I am nevertheless thankful to move one step closer to self-actualization with the help of another Real Housewife. Until next time!
Upcoming plans in comment below!
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2020.07.09 16:06 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Love Italian Style (by Melissa Gorga)

As much as I've been enjoying our literary exploration of RHONY's trailblazing cosmopolites, I think it's time to mix things up and travel approximately thirty miles down the road to get a taste of the suburban paradise that is the non-Jersey-Shore part of New Jersey. And since I'm sure we could all use a little bit of extra help keeping that spark alive -- especially in these trying times -- what better place to start than Melissa Gorga's 2013 relationship advice book, Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage.
If you were in any doubt as to our author's expertise on the particular issue at hand, never fear! You have only to flip the book over to its back cover to be thoroughly rid of any residual skepticism. What is love, if not those nuzzling noses, that slender hand thrown into contrast against a patch of coarse, hoary facial hair? However, I have to admit that my personal definition of love would probably have included a little help from my friendly neighborhood tooth-whitening app. Between an unfortunately positioned shadow and the striking contrast of Melissa's hyper-peroxided chompers, poor Joe looks like he got pulled into this photo shoot midway through eating a particularly unwieldy Tootsie Roll.
In the introduction ("Blueprint for a Better Marriage"), Melissa primes us on her motivations for writing this book.
Since I entered the world of reality TV, the number one message I get from fans is, "I want your marriage!"
She continues,
The number two message I get from fans: "How do you do it?"
I think a far more interesting question would be, Why do you do it, but that's neither here nor there. Melissa goes to empower the reader with the knowledge that, no matter the state of their marriage, there's always a way to turn things around.
If other women want a close-to-perfect marriage, they can have it, too. It's their choice. Even if they don’t think they are, they are in control. Women steer the ship. What they say and how they act towards their partner will directly correlate with his response.
I am breathless with relief, and immediately begin making plans to send a copy of this book to every domestic violence hotline in the nation. How silly of me -- the solution was there the whole time! How disappointing that all of those other women couldn't have just tried a little harder.
With that selfless act of charity over and done with, I soldier on through the following paragraph, in which Melissa introduces her "overriding 'Gorganizing' principle" of a good marriage: "treat your husband like a King." As a side note, for what I can only assume is an incredibly well thought-out and heavily symbolic reason, the words "King" and "Queen" are capitalized throughout the book (or, at least, throughout this chapter).
But treating your husband like royalty doesn't mean you have to be a subservient pushover! No,
In the game of chess, the King can only move one square at a time. The Queen can zip across the board every turn.
I realize how much my standards have been lowered by my recent run of Housewives memoirs, since my only reaction is to be decently impressed that Melissa got the mechanics of chess correct. However, the metaphor starts to fall apart shortly thereafter:
As the Queen, I create the playbook for our marriage. On our chessboard, I'm zooming up the iTunes charts and performing on concert stages, but I'm never more than one step away from being at my husband's side.
Take that, Bobby Fischer! We next follow Melissa back to her childhood to learn how she became the woman she is today, and she tells us about dating a series of bad boys as a teenager
My OCD kicked in, and I wouldn't let up until they'd transformed.
Despite a few failed relationships, Melissa continues in her unrelenting search for Mr. Right, but is dismayed to find that some men are hesitant to pay her attention -- "Maybe it was because I was sober and not dressed like a slut." We're treated to a family portrait tenderly captioned, "Guidos in pastel" before jumping ahead a few years to the moment that changes it all. Of course, the responsibility of recounting the numerous details of such a monumental event would be too much for a fragile female constitution to shoulder. Thankfully, as we read:
Joe loves this story. One of the secrets of our marriage is to grant him his moments. I call them "Joements." Whenever you see bold type set in a box, like below, know that these are my man's words. For extra fun, read it out loud in Joe's voice.
Hey ladies. It's me. The one and only Joe Gorga. I'm very proud of Melissa for writing this book. I'm honored she wants to hold up our marriage as an example for other woman [sic]. I knew she was the woman for me when I first laid my eyes on her.
Joe begins to tell us the story of meeting Melissa in Cancun while on vacation, but the couple loses touch when he gets "busy with business and with girls closer to home." Nevertheless, the stars align, the lovebirds reconnect, and the passion is unstoppable from there! Melissa encourages us to follow in her footsteps and adhere to the "100-date rule" for having sex. As she explains:
Even if sex with me turned out to be the greatest night of [Joe's] life, he'd lose some respect for me in the morning. I'm not going to apologize about how unfair that sounds, how sexist or old-fashioned. The fact is, a man won't fall hard if a woman is too easy.
Before I can formulate an argument against this, however, I read on to see that Melissa refers to Joe reaching climax as "releasing his poison." I now realize that delaying intercourse was probably the safest strategy for everyone involved, if only from a biosafety standpoint. She then quips:
Some women think waiting to have sex is just a strategy women use to trick a man into marriage. The opposite! For one thing, a "trick" is what whores do.
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting Melissa Gorga and G.O.B. Bluth to have this much in common, but it's always nice when multiple experts agree on a particular concept. Melissa goes on to reassure us that "it's like a math formula," so I'm pretty confident she's got things figured out.
The couple quickly tie the knot and settle into a comfortable newlywed routine. Melissa shares some hard-earned words of wisdom from these early days:
You might think you and your new husband can just sit down with an iPad, and bang out your official policy on the biggies.
Alas, as our guide sagely informs us,
On day 1,001, you'll realize that all those plans you made on the iPad aren't worth a dime.
Considering my boyfriend and I don't even have an iPad, I’m frankly a bit nervous about where this leaves me. Thankfully, the next section of the book promises to teach me everything I need to know to be "a lady in the parlor," so I remain hopeful that I can learn the skills to compensate for these minor deficiencies.
We begin with the topic of fashion, on which Melissa explains,
The one thing I've come to realize is that I need to take Joe into account when I get dressed.
After enumerating rules like "dress to please your man," "dress to please your man, part two," and "a King does not want his Queen to look cheap," Melissa informs us that
It's never appropriate to wear a super-short mini dress with a boob-popping, midriff-baring tube top. Absolutely not.
I agree -- absolutely not! A tube top on top of a mini dress? It wouldn't even bare your midriff at all if you wear it that way! Preposterous! She goes on to sternly remind us that "'I'm insecure and overcompensating' is not the fashion statement that you want to make." But as a matter of fact, I'll have you know that 'insecure and overcompensating' is exactly the aesthetic I've been trying desperately for years to achieve.
Melissa tells us that Joe loves to see her in the color red, so she "[buys] every red dress or shirt I see." It seems like it would actually be incredibly debilitating to live life this way -- I picture Melissa Gorga, quietly sobbing in the checkout line at Kohl's, arms straining under a towering pile of red shirts, red dresses -- red, red, red. She pulls a cart behind her, overflowing with shades of crimson, scarlet, and maroon, as she frantically swipes credit card after credit card, desperate to claim her all-important bounty.
Moving on to beauty tips, Melissa cheerily informs us that "the saltiness in sweat is an all-natural scrub." We next learn that Joe doesn't wear a wedding band, because he has "really chubby fingers" and "thinks that a ring is the most uncomfortable thing ever." Also that he is a "dedicated manscaper." And is "into feet." After reading this, I'm pretty sure it will be at least 100 dates until I have any desire to have sex again.
The next chapter introduces us to the couple's experience with reality television, beginning with their recruitment for Real Housewives of New Jersey:
For the record, Joe and I never called a producer. They found us. If it had been the other way around, we probably wouldn't be on the show. If we'd shown any interest, we would have been ignored. Bravo's style is, the more you want to be on the show, the less likely you are to get on it. Like a house cat, if you grab at him, he'll run under the bed. But if you sit and wait for him to come to you, he'll jump right into your lap.
I swear, if I ever get a cat, I'll name him Bravo. Although I'm deathly allergic to cats, so that may be a problem!
To illustrate the full depth of emotions experienced by a thoughtful, sensitive man in the cutthroat reality television industry, Joe Gorga returns and shares with us the toll this upheaval took on him. Per Melissa's advice earlier in the book, I suggest you read it in your best impression of his voice to get the full effect. .
I'm a simple guy. I go to work every day. We were married six years before we got on the show. I have a wife that doesn’t leave my side. We love to be together. She's my best friend. Every night, I come home. She's in the kitchen looking cute, in those tight pants I love, cooking my favorite food. It was my dream life. I was used to that.
And then it started to change. I'm not going to lie. It took some time to get used to. I remember one time when Melissa told me that she would be out doing press for the show. When I came home, walked into the kitchen, and saw the babysitter holding little Joey, I felt a pit in my stomach. I knew who she was -- I'd hired her -- but I wasn't ready for the reality of not seeing my wife when I walked in the door. In that half second between what I was expecting and what I was actually seeing, I got a little nervous of what was to come.
When Melissa got home, I told her that I was bummed out. I didn't want to make her feel bad, but it was all starting to hit me. She apologized, but there was nothing be sorry for. She did nothing wrong.
Melissa goes on to remark that "the spotlight has actually made me more humble and vulnerable." And perhaps this is why the less-than-scrupulous have always tried to take advantage of her -- "'Film at my store!' 'Plug in my business!'" But Melissa struggles on, and is soon offered the chance to fly out to California to shoot a magazine cover. Joe's response? "No. You can't just fly around whenever you want." You may find this attitude controlling or demeaning, but you would be underestimating the eternal wisdom of the Gorganizer himself:
After many honest and sometimes hard conversations later, I figured it out. Joe was worried. He was worried that if I was flying to L.A. to do a photo shoot on a Wednesday, then what was going to be on my schedule for a Thursday? How far would this go?
This is definitely a compelling argument, and not the literal definition of the slippery slope fallacy.
Melissa effortlessly manages to slip in the fact that this episode occurred "around the same time my first single, 'On Display,' hit the iTunes charts." For a rigorous scholarly analysis of this lyrical masterpiece, I highly suggest you listen to the first segment of this week's episode of So Bad It's Good with Ryan Bailey. The themes of Melissa's work can be quite dense and emotionally weighty, so it's in your best interest to have an experienced guide of Ryan's caliber to help walk you through her masterful prose.
Rest assured, however, not all of Melissa's songs are so enigmatic:
My most popular song on iTunes -- "How Many Times" -- was written for and about Joe. It rose all the way up to number four on the charts. The reason it was such a hit? Fans had an emotional reaction to a song about my love for Joe.
The chanteuse goes on to share advice about how to keep stage fright at bay.
You know that old saying, "To get over stage fright, picture the audience in their underwear?" Well, I just picture Joe Gorga. I will leave the rest of the details to you.
I can only pray those details are ones like "fully clothed" and "giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up sign." And really, it's not like Joe is a mind-in-the-gutter kind of man. He stops by to share with us that, "A lot of my friends go to a strip club every night after work. I'm not that guy." As a matter of fact, as Melissa continues, "with one exception (guess), he never loves me more that [sic] when I'm making pasta and meatballs for our friends and family." She also suggests spicing up a party with "a few unexpected twists and turns." Past favorites of the Gorgonauts have included "an inflatable bull-riding ring" and "a whipped cream fight."
When our guests are doubled over laughing, and saying, "Only at the Gorgas!" I know we're a hit.
Above all, it's crucial to spare no expense when "the happiness of your family and friends is at stake." As Melissa reminds us,
Whatever you put out there in life or on the table -- kindness, love, and quality meats -- it flows right back to you.
I'm not sure if a flowing river of quality meats is the exact metaphor that I would have chosen to express this particular sentiment, but far be it from me to criticize someone so steeped in the romantic arts! What I am more than happy to criticize, however, is Melissa's subsequent revelation that she and Joe spend parties "sending sexy telepathic messages about what we'll do when everyone leaves." She explains, "parties are like extended foreplay for us." This certainly puts a different spin on the "quality meat" references, to say the least. However, I'm blissfully relieved to see "shower before bed" on the list of sexy tips for men that closes out this chapter.
Melissa introduces the next section of the book by telling us, "It took me a while to get 'Gorga-approved.'" As part of the grueling authorization process, her mother-in-law would berate her cooking "for hours at a time " while Joe helpfully offered up "some constructive criticism. I'm pretty sure this is more or less the plot of the second Hunger Games movie, but please correct me if I'm mistaken. The chapter ends with a helpful reminder not to text at the dinner table -- "I don't care what carrier you have."
In the book's next section, Melissa shares her perspective on her and Joe's relationship:
No marriage is perfect. No man is perfect. Joe has his flaws, for sure. I'm not perfect either. The flaws in ourselves and in our marriage cause us to fight. When we do, it's loud. He's a passionate man, and I'm a passionate woman. Our fights go from 0 to 90 in about 2.5 seconds.
And no, she's not just being a hysterical, overdramatic woman (this time!). Joe confirms:
I lose it. It's true. But I'd never let loose if I didn't believe Melissa understood me, and can handle me. It's another version of trust.
Exactly like how I only steal from people when I know they have enough money available for me to take. It's another version of trust. Melissa informs us that, when Joe is mad, "the only defuser that makes a dent in his sulk is to ask, 'Don’t you love me?'" I presume she says this while affecting the accent of a young Blanche DuBois and ostentatiously collapsing across the nearest piece of furniture. At this point in the book, I am caught off guard by the tragic revelation that Joe Gorga suffers from a serious medical condition that puts his life and livelihood at risk. As Melissa explains:
That's when he told me about his severe poison condition. He described the need to expel his junk like it's a real physical crisis. We all know that Blue Ball Syndrome does not appear in any medical textbooks. But for Joe, not having enough sex is detrimental to his overall health. He genuinely can't function otherwise. He gets fidgety and stressed, distracted and irritable.
But Joe isn't suffering alone. This devastating malady is indiscriminate, affecting innocent men around the globe and wreaking its ruinous consequences. As Melissa solemnly intones, "The general consensus though is that if men don't get their minimum of sexual activity (on a sliding scale), they go crazy." Or, as Joe puts it, "Refusing to initiate is a Top Three reason men cheat."
We next learn about some of the expectations Joe has for Melissa in the context of their relationship. For example:
He wanted to make sure that I knew, for example, if I ran out to CVS and he came home from work to an empty house, he didn't like it.
I can only assume that this is because Joe Gorga is an infant child who lacks an understanding of object permanence, and becomes so alarmed at the prospect of an empty house because he is genuinely convinced that Melissa has disappeared off the face of the planet, never to return again. Plus, as she reflects, "In a way, it's flattering that he wants me all the time." Just like how kidnapping victims should be flattered that someone cared about them enough to take them for their very own!
Of her initial response to these rules and regulations, Melissa recalls,
My independent side wondered if he was trying to control me. I tried not to be too analytical about it.
This is the correct response, because women are wildly irrational harpies who lack the intellectual wherewithal to contextualize Complicated Man Things.
Before I introduce the next anecdote, take a second to imagine with me. You are writing a book about your fabulous, indescribably fulfilling relationship with the love of your life, thrilled at the chance to share your hard-earned wisdom with the eager audience. But what particular episodes truly capture the spirit of a marriage for the ages? How can one convey the innumerable intricacies of a decades-long relationship in something as hollow as the written word? After weeks of dogged pondering, you finally light upon the perfect sketch to illustrate your loving husband's tender devotion:
My girlfriend called me up one day from her doctor's office. She was getting her lips done. "Come over and try it!" she said. I was curious. I went over there. I didn't want huge big fake lips, so I just got a little done.
Mistake! Just that little bit made me look like a duck. I hadn't told Joe what I was up to. That night when I was cooking dinner, I kept my back to him so he wouldn't see my face. He noticed, of course. And he was NOT happy. "You look disgusting! You're like one of those freaks from Beverly Hills! What are you doing to yourself? What are you turning into?" He started slamming the plastic tabletop on the high chair (obviously, the baby wasn't in it), and it cracked.
Fat lips tell no lies: I hated the look, too.
He didn't talk to me for two weeks, about as long as the bruising lasted. When they went back down to normal size, I was relieved, not only for his sake. Puffy lips just didn’t feel right for me. Lesson learned. I never got them done again.
Sorry kids, Daddy's not talking to Mommy this week because she made herself look like a rancid Beverly Hills slut. That's love -- Italian Style.
Melissa tells us that she "[insists] on hiring all of Joe's secretaries at work" -- "If the candidate is over sixty, with an eye patch, a hump and a bald spot, she's hired." I can picture the Help Wanted ad now!
But just because your husband has mercilessly established an immovable network of pointless and degrading rules that he forces you to obey for the sole purpose of making his life as pleasant and free from consequences as possible doesn’t give you an excuse to let yourself get overwhelmed, No,
When things get hot, we remind each other that it's all noise. It's a sandstorm. But in the middle of the storm, with the sand swirling around us, we stand together solid as a rock.
This is the alternate music video to Darude's Sandstorm that I never knew I always needed.
We next learn that, "unwavering eye contact -- really staring -- is the test to a couple's comfort level." I've applied this principle in my own life to great positive effect, although my boyfriend was admittedly a bit concerned to wake up with my face inches in front of his own, my eyes strained open to ensure that I start my day with the necessary amount of close corneal contact.
An Odd Couple for the ages, Melissa and Joe Gorga let us know that they deal with conflicts in different ways. Joe "is the Incredible Sulk," while Melissa informs us,
I'm witty to get my way. I'm sarcastic. If he yells and I say, "That's fascinating, Joe," or "You're a real tough guy," he gets crazy.
I'm truly awed by the piquancy of these verbal barbs! I can only hope to channel Melissa's sarcastic wit in my own writing from here on out.
We learn that "men's attitudes are determined by their work and finances." In contrast to women's attitudes, which I assume are determined by how many dishes they have to wash and whether or not there's a coupon for their favorite brand of laundry detergent in today's circular. For this reason, Joe handles the finances for the Gorga household, and this system works exceptionally well. As Joe himself reports, "Our only glitch was when she questioned me about it."
In a heartfelt tribute to the man who's never left her side, Melissa pronounces: "He never wavered, never stopped busting ass." She's also generous enough to include several financial tips to ensure that the reader's marriage has an equally solid fiscal foundation. For example,
Live as well as you can: Buy the best car you can afford. Stretch by buying a house in the nicest neighborhood with the best schools.
I've been grappling for a few weeks now over whether or not to pull the trigger on a $400 Lego Hogwarts, and Melissa has just, however inadvertently, given me the green light. Thanks, girl!!
In the next section of the book, Melissa walks us through the timeline of her singing career, with a heavy emphasis towards the staggering toll her newfound success has had on her man at home. As she informs us, "Joe is empathetic. What hurts me destroys him." And ultimately, "having hit songs will not keep me warm at night. Joe will."
Melissa lets us know that "women are multitaskers" and that "cleaning can be soul-nurturing and creatively productive, if you use it that way." She continues to say that, "anyone can fold laundry on automatic pilot." I have a sneaking suspicion that by anyone, she really means women. After all, everyone knows that if a man folds laundry, he automatically turns gay. It's just science!
Again, you may be tempted to dismiss Joe as a chauvinist, an outdated relic of worldviews past. But that's why you're not the one writing a book about love and marriage, silly!
For Joe, it all comes down to respect. He was offended that I'd want him to waste even twenty minutes of our time together on a chore. Actually, Joe doesn’t want me to do chores either when he got home in the evenings.
And after all -- "Do you really want to see your man on his knees next to a bucket of sudsy water?" Real men should avoid kneeling at all costs, because kneeling is one step away from giving a blow job, and giving blow jobs is bad and gay and definitely not "Italian style." Again,
A man doing the dishes does not turn me on. Talk about crushing the fantasy of his being the big, bad protector.
And this isn't just Melissa making stuff up! She's got science on her side.
Anyway, a study came out recently that pretty much confirmed my belief.
As she elaborates: "When gender roles are confused, sexual roles are, too. If he's at the sink and then changing diapers, then who throws who down in the bed?" This makes absolutely no sense to me, from which can only assume I must have been doing sex wrong for all of the these years. As soon as I finish reading, I'm going to excuse myself to do some frantic and slightly embarrassed googling to clear up my confusion.
Melissa and Joe don't just uphold traditional gender roles in the bedroom, but allow this perspective to perfuse every aspect of their life together. As an example, "he thinks I'm the worst driver in the world."
Melissa tells us that
Joe and I are the King and Queen of the house. Antonia is our princess, and Gino and Joey are the little princes.
I can't help but notice that "princess" and "princes" are not capitalized like "King" and "Queen," although I'd be lying if I tried to pretend I had any clue what to make of this cryptic stylization. Joe writes a particularly meandering "Joement" in this chapter, in which he describes his response to the birth of his first son
"That's my boy!" I put a Giants jersey on him right away.
We should all be incredibly appreciative of Joe's quick thinking here. Without a Giants jersey, how would anyone would have known the baby was a boy? I can only imagine the horrors that could have ensued. Joe goes on to share his parenting philosophy with the reader:
My sons can have a separate entrance to the house. They can come and go as they wish. They can have anyone up to their room. I don't care. But I want to keep Antonia my little girl.
As he continues,
My wish is for her to have one boyfriend for a very long time. They have a mutual breakup with no bad feelings. Then she marries the next guy. That would be ideal.
It is totally normal and by no means invasive for a father to write what essentially amounts to elaborate mental fan-fiction about his young daughter's future romantic and sexual exploits. Joe signs off with the cheeky quip, "I know it's a double standard. But I just don't care!"
Melissa shares the inscrutable observation that when she and Joe first met, "he was like Mussolini." What's more, "it's no secret that Joe is a sexually voracious man and a throw-down lover." It's this experience that empowers Melissa to share with us the tips and tricks she uses to make sure that her husband never goes unsated. For example,
Thick luxurious carpeting can turn the barefoot walk from the bathroom to the bed into an erotic journey.
Joe stops by to proclaim the (patently and demonstrably false) claim that "A man will never go outside his marriage for sex unless he's not getting it at home," before Melissa instructs us that "sex is a marital lubricant." As she lets us know,
I'm proud of how I look, and not embarrassed to say so. Caring about your looks is superficial only if you do it for shallow reasons.
Reminding us that "being his sex object takes effort," Melissa commands the reader to "treat your body like a sex machine." If you let your physical appearance slip, "he might not complain, but that doesn’t mean he's not thinking Ewwww."
The next chapter boasts the vaguely terrifying title, "our version of foreplay." Melissa reiterates a message from earlier in the book, remarking that "Joe and I keep up the romance with extended foreplay." She also provides a helpful analogy to help delicate feminine minds comprehend the irrepressible male sex drive.
Most men are like pilot lights, always ready to burst into flame. They just need a blast of romantic fuel.
Melissa also tells us that Joe has "a tiny foot fetish." While I'm sure she means to imply that Joe's foot fetish is of a manageable intensity, I would much rather interpret this sentence to mean that Joe Gorga has a raging passion for full-grown women with teeny-tiny baby-doll feet.
Chapter fifteen is titled, "Full-Body Gorgasm." And if the physical reaction I had to being forced to read the word 'gorgasm" is any indication of its definition, it's more or less the physiological inverse of a regular orgasm. Displaying a characteristically Housewives ability to completely ignore the canonical definitions of fairly common terms, Melissa explains,
The traditional definition of "open marriage," is when a husband and wife allow each other to have sex with other people. Our version of "open marriage" means open communication, especially about sex.
She remarks that, "I know so much about how Joe's mind works," and I can't say that I'm even the slightest bit jealous. However, the man himself is kind enough to deign to let us in on some of these inner machinations:
One of the ways my wife shows me respect is by making mad passionate love to me. When I knock on the door, it opens!
But don't think this means your sex life has to be boring and staid! Far from it:
When I gained weight during pregnancy, Joe was totally into it. He said it was like having sex with a different woman. He loves variety.
This isn't the only way you can incorporate variety into your sexual repertoire. As another suggestion, Melissa suggests that you "be loud on Monday and whisper on Wednesday." Sing on Tuesday, mime on Saturdays. Also Joe swings by again to remind us that "the little things, touching toes, matter." Sure, just a very minor foot fetish.
Perhaps it's my fault for rushing so frantically through the sexual miasma of the previous chapters, but I'm surprised when I turn the page and am abruptly met with the book's parting words. Thankfully, trying to make sense of what lines like this actually mean will take up, I anticipate, a large part of the rest of my day.
Need is only a four-letter word if you don't accept it as another one: F-A-C-T.
At the back of the book, an exceptionally thorough index provides page numbers for a host of scintillating topics you will undoubtedly want to go back and reference. I'm sure that, generations from now, scholars will run their impatient fingers down this very list, thirsting for the lost vault of knowledge that only Melissa Gorga can provide.
children sex challenges, parental, due to, 225-26
Gorga, Melissa Marco, 48, 89 121, 229, 234 driving and, 179 stage fright by, 117-19
Nars products, 83, 85
Ralph (friend of Joe), 6
respect, 2, 4-5, 45, 52, 65 as cornerstone of marriage, 7-8, 9, 11-12, 186 in lovemaking, 223
sex, 217 faking orgasms in, 225 as marital glue, 11-12, 148-50, 195-96, 227-28 variety's importance in, 224
Short Hills Hilton, New Jersey, 53-57
Thoreau, Henry David, 109
See my comment below for more info on my future plans!
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2020.06.25 16:00 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Little Kids, Big City (by Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen)

Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response to my previous 'book report' on Ramona Singer's Life on the Ramona Coaster (seriously, thank you all -- truly supporting other women 🙏🙏), I decided to try my hand at writing up yet another of the embarrassing number of Housewives books in my personal collection: Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen's Little Kids, Big City: Tales from a Real House in New York City with Lessons on Life and Love for Your Own Concrete Jungle.
After reading just the title of this book, I'm already exhausted. It's pretentiously long and awkwardly phrased while somehow still managing to be entirely devoid of meaning. In other words, a perfect encapsulation of Simon and Alex. The summary on the back cover describes the pair as the "breakout stars" of RHONY, an assessment that I would charitably call 'debatable,' before going on to inform me that I can look forward to "informative and often hair-raising stories of life in the urban jungle," and that "Alex and Simon use their own hard-won experience as a springboard to discuss a host of parenting topics." I anticipate that this content will be quite useful to me, the guardian of four cats that I spoil endlessly and treat like my actual children.
One of the pull-quotes on the back cover allegedly comes from our very own Bethenny Frankel. I say 'allegedly' because I refuse to believe that the following passage would ever come out of Bethenny's mouth (or keyboard or whatever):
Alex and Simon don't take themselves too seriously, which seems to be essential to parenting. Their fresh 'he said, she said' perspective on parenting is both humorous and insightful!
Please, take a moment and do your very best to picture mention-it-all, betting-on-horse-races-at-age-five Bethenny unironically using the phrase "fresh 'he said, she said' perspective." To describe Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord. Right, didn't think so.
My experience reading Little Kids, Big City started on an unexpected high note when I opened the front cover to find that my copy (purchased used through Better World Books for the low, low price of $5.31 with shipping) had been signed by Ms. you-are-in-high-school-while-I-am-in-Brooklyn herself, Alex McCord! Truly a gift I do not deserve. Samantha and Debbie (whoever and wherever you may be), thank you for your service. I am forever in your debt.
Unfortunately, as would soon become painfully clear to me, after starting off on such a promising note, I would have nowhere to go but down.
The book, which is written in alternating passages from Alex and Simon, begins its introduction with a chronicle of Alex's "fashionably nomadic" early adulthood. Ever the proto-edgelord, she recalls, "I did all those things our mothers warned us about and had fun doing them." We switch to Simon's perspective to hear the deeply embarrassing story of the couple meeting through a dating app while Simon was on a business trip in New York City. No, there is absolutely nothing embarrassing about meeting someone on a dating app. But there absolutely is something embarrassing about using the profile name "Yetisrule" to meet someone on a dating app. To clarify, this was apparently Alex's username, and I remain hopeful that we will get a more thorough explanation of her connection to the elusive Yeti as this book continues.
Alex tells us that, while she and Simon hadn't initially planned to have children, they eventually started to have "clucky feelings." I have never heard this phrase in my entire twenty-five years of life, but based on context clues and also a Google search, I learned that it means they wanted to have a baby. Don't worry, though! As Alex tells us, "You can be eight months pregnant and wear a leather miniskirt." Personally, this is life-changing news -- I had always believed that I couldn't have kids unless I was willing to compromise my 90s goth aesthetic! Maybe I'll rethink this child-free thing after all.
The next bit of advice seems like it actually could potentially be sort of helpful. "No one is a good parent all the time -- nor is anyone a bad parent all the time," they reassure the reader. "You can become a parent without losing yourself." Unfortunately, as soon as I catch myself nodding along, the modicum of goodwill I'd built up is promptly trashed by a gag-worthy line from Simon: "If you take nothing away but a wry smile after reading our little tome, then we've done our job." I immediately vow not to smile until I'm finished reading this book. Excuse me, this little tome.
The book starts in earnest with Chapter 1: "Does a German Shepherd Need a Birth Plan?" To be perfectly honest, I was not expecting a riddle at this juncture, but I am nevertheless excited to hear Simon and Alex tell us "why childbirth is not an intellectual activity." First, however, we get a passing reference to "Park Slope, home of the ParkSlopeParents.com message board made famous in 2007 with a so-ridiculous-it-got-headlines discussion on gender-specific baby hats and where feminism can be taken to extremes." And despite the lame alarmist allusion to ~*XTREME feminism*~, this line did manage to lead me down an interesting Internet rabbit hole, so thanks for that, I guess?
Jesus Christ, I am on PAGE 4 and I am already so done with Simon. Presented without comment:
With the Park Slope OB-GYN, we had the first sonogram and saw the little blip on the screen -- our child-to-be. They say seeing is believing and as nothing was happening inside me, seeing confirmation on the video monitor that indeed my spermatozoa had penetrated and infiltrated one of Alex's ova made me aware that my days as a footloose and fancy-free guy might be coming to an end.
Y'all, I am currently working on my PhD in Molecular Biology. Which, if you were not previously aware, gives me the authority to decree that Simon is never allowed to use the word "spermatozoa" ever again. And so it is.
I was about to say that Alex's passages are at least more tolerable, but it appears I spoke too soon.
The stats they quoted referenced a 40 percent cesarean section rate in the city, and I wonder how that can be acceptable? Are we heading toward Brave New World, where babies are scientifically created in petri dishes and gestated in artificial wombs? Oh wait, we're already there. Are we heading towards a Wall-E existence, where we ride around in carts everywhere and do nothing for ourselves so that our bodies break down and we're all fat, oozy blobs drinking protein from a straw? Somebody slap me, please!!
Truly, Alex, it would be my pleasure.
As a Type-A person, just reading the story of Alex's first pregnancy and delivery gave me anxiety. She says that she just never really "felt the need to establish a birth plan" and that she "gave in to any craving [she] felt." Don’t worry, though -- "If I had suddenly craved chalk, ecstasy or Elmer's Glue, I'd have thought twice." I feel like there is some symbolism here to unpack (Could the Elmer's Glue be a metaphor for the childlike spirit of connection and unity???). Simon describes himself as "a learn-on-the-job guy" and tells us that he and Alex "failed to attend the last couple of [birthing] classes as by then we both just wanted to let instinct take over when the time came." As someone who has never trusted my instincts even once in my entire life, I cannot relate.
Twelve days after his due date, baby François is born. Except it turns out that he actually was born right on time, but Alex "didn't keep regimented track of [her] periods" and miscalculated. What a bummer that modern medicine hasn't advanced to the point where doctors can guide you about that sort of thing.
I don't even know what to say about this next bit, but God help me, I still have 215 more pages of this book to go.
Although the final stages of labor were very, very painful, I [Alex] never used our code word (tin can) for "game over, give me drugs." I definitely recommend using a code word, because it was kind of fun to scream, "I want drugs, give me drugs" through a contraction and have the midwife, nurse and Simon all know I wasn't serious. Once he [François] was finally out of my body, I experienced a tsunami of endorphins that was almost orgasmic, and I understand completely the stories other women have written about ecstatic birth. Simon was sitting behind me at the point of birth, and later when we untangled ourselves he discovered he'd actually ejaculated though hadn't felt any of the normal lead-up to that. It may seem distasteful to some, and definitely neither of us was thinking of sex at the time, but with the rush of emotion and my lower nerve endings going crazy, it's not too far a stretch to say that it's a profound experience.
Johan is born two years later, although it's unclear from the text whether either parent reached orgasm during the event.
The chapter ends with a top-ten list entitled "10 Things We'll Remember That Happened During Pregnancy." These include useful tidbits like
  1. Best advice I heard: men's genitals grow and change shape regularly, then go back to the way they were before. Don't worry about your female delicate bits being able to retract.
Which is…a lovely sentiment. But one that is slightly undermined by phrasing the first part in the grossest way possible, as well as by the use of the phrase "female delicate bits." I do like the idea that they "retract," however, because I think it's very cool to imagine the vagina as an SUV sunroof. By the grace of God, Chapter 1 comes to a close.
In Chapter 2 (titled "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn, What's My Name Again? and Who is This Alien?" -- seriously, were they padding their word count with chapter titles?), we get more questionable parenting advice from the McCord-van Kempens. They glibly dismiss concerns about co-sleeping ("Simon and I both slept with cats and dogs our whole lives without squishing them"), which I honestly would be more annoyed about if I hadn't immediately gone on to read Simon's account of "the midnight race to the 24-hour pharmacy to buy a breast pump as Alex's breasts were seemingly engorged with too much milk and she thought they were about to explode and fly off her chest." As it stands, I'm truly too defeated to care. Again, just to be perfectly clear: no shade to having issues breastfeeding, all shade to using the word 'engorged.’ And also for giving me the mental image of Alex's breasts desperately struggling to flee from her body (though to be fair, who could blame them?).
Proving that she does not inhabit the same world as the rest of us mortals, Alex tells us that she expected that her state of sleep-deprivation as she raised two young children would "spur [her] creativity with graphic design." For some reason, this does not seem to be the case. Alex is puzzled.
Finally, we've come to this chapter's top ten list ("Top 10 Memories of Random Things We Did While in the Post-Birth Haze"). While these lists have so far been utterly irredeemable, they also mean the chapter is coming to a close, so I can at least take some solace in that. This particular list ranges from the irritating…
  1. We subversively took sleeping babies to as many non-child-friendly places as possible to prove the point that children can be seen, not heard and not bothersome, such as dinner at the Ritz in London, the Sahara Desert, shopping on Madison Avenue, Underbar in Union Square and film festivals.
…to the truly unnecessary.
  1. While changing François' diaper on day one or two, we both stood mesmerized by the changing pad as meconium oozed out of him. It was really the most bizarre and fascinating thing I'd seen to date.
With the couple's general backstory and credentials now under our belts, Chapter 3 ("The Screaming Kid on the Plane is NOT Mine! (This Time)") focuses on advice for traveling with children, which Alex admits "can be a complete pain in the you-know-what." I cannot describe the rage I feel at the fact that she has -- in no fewer than 50 pages -- forced me to read about both her newborn son's excrement and her husband's ejaculate, but cannot bring herself to use the word "ass." Alex, we're really far beyond that at this point, don't you think?
Not to be outdone, Simon shares a conversation he had with François that is remarkable not for its content, but for the fact that one of Simon's nicknames for his son is apparently "F-Boy." Thanks, I hate it.
This chapter's list ("Alex's Top 10 Travel Memories") includes the entry:
  1. Both boys charging down Saline Beach in St. Barths like something out of Lord of the Flies.
So, like a horde of primal sadists? I'm wondering if Alex and Simon have inadvertently confused Lord of the Flies with the hit 2007 reality show Kid Nation. I really hope that's what's going on here.
Chapter 4 ("'Mommy, Johan is Gone!'") promises to teach us how to handle accidents. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel taking emergency advice from the authors of this particular book, but (in large part due to the fact that I have slept since reading the previous chapter, giving the pain a chance to dull somewhat), I am willing to at least hear them out.
After relaying a story of François needing emergency surgery after a foot injury, Alex tells us that at one point, she and Simon realized they had spent "nearly $5000 on Indian takeout" in the past year. For the mathematically averse, this works out to a monthly budget of roughly $100 worth of Indian food per week, making my quarantine Uber Eats habit seem downright quaint by comparison. The chapter-ending list walks us through the "Top 10 Things We Do in a Crisis," and fortunately, the tips seem pretty benign.
  1. Knowing what calms the children down, such as making silly faces or reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards.
Wait, hang on. What?
reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards
I'm sorry, please forgive me if I have missed some recent, paradigm-shifting development in the field of early childhood education, but what?? As in, "ends sidewalk the where?" "Sdne klawedis eht erehw?" I am truly befuddled.
Maybe the next chapter ("'Is Today a Work Day or a Home Day, Mommy?'") will have some applicable wisdom for me, as I will, in fact, be working from home every other week for the foreseeable future. And, I cannot stress this enough, I am a psychotically overinvested cat mom. Alas, we are instead treated to an unnecessarily detailed breakdown of how important it is to delegate, and specifically that Simon cleans up vomit and Alex cleans up "feces in the various forms that come out of children's bottoms at appropriate and sometimes inappropriate times such as the middle of Thanksgiving festivities." As if we needed another reason to consider Thanksgiving problematic.
The chapter takes a brief commercial break…
When an everyday product can do double duty such as Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty, a dish soap that seals in moisture while I'm tackling cleanup, sure, I'll buy it.
…before closing out with a list of the "Top 10 Things We Do Because We Were Here First." I am happy to confirm your worst suspicions and tell you that item number one is indeed "Have passionate sex."
In Chapter 6 ("I Saw Your Nanny…Being Normal?"), I find myself actually sympathizing with Alex for the first time in this book. Which is mostly just because the chapter starts by talking about all of the awful, catty parental competitions that seem endemic to a certain crew of white Manhattan moms, and it makes Alex come off at least slightly less irritating in comparison.
That is, at least until a few pages later, when she starts to complain about a previous au pair:
She was sullen, melodramatic and kept a blog about how she hated Americans, hated France, hated us and the children but loved New York. I think she must have thought we were idiots, and when she asked us to leave early we were only too happy to get her out of our home.
I would love to meet this woman. I think we could be great friends.
This chapter's list is even more difficult to parse than previous ones, because while it's titled "Top 10 Things Caregivers Have Inadvertently Done to Amuse, Annoy or Thrill Us," it's not at all clear which descriptors apply to which points. When a babysitter "accidentally used a household cleaning wipe when changing a diaper," were the McCord-Van Kempens amused? Annoyed? Thrilled? The world may never know.
In Chapter 7 ("'Putting To Death Is Not Nice,' a Duet for Two Boys and A Guitar"), Alex and Simon share some of their hard-earned childrearing wisdom with us. Which basically amounts to Alex telling us that, while normally misbehavior from the kids incurs a warning followed by a time-out, she has also developed an ingenious new strategy where she actually steps in to intervene when the stakes are higher. Let's listen in:
A third permutation is when there's a behavior that has to stop immediately, say if Johan has a big blue indelible marker and is running through a white hotel suite. I swoop in and grab the marker as to risk a three count [warning] would be to risk decoration of the sofa.
Take the marker from the toddler immediately instead of trying to reason with him? Groundbreaking.
Side Note: At this point in my reading, I am incredibly satisfied to report that I have discovered my first typo in the book, and in one of Simon's sections no less! ("These toads secret [sic] a poison…"). This is wildly pedantic of me and proof that I am a deeply sick person.
We run though a list of "Top 10 Things We Never Thought We Would Have To Explain" ("10. Why hot pizza stones do not like Legos.") before moving right along into Chapter 8, "Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons." Strangely, I have a very vivid memory of Alex saying "I have a chapter in my book called, 'Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons" in some distant RHONY episode or reunion. I guess she was telling the truth.
The chapter opens with a series of passages in which Alex and Simon respond to various comments that have been made about their parenting over the years. I think this device is supposed to be a bit of lighthearted snark on overbearing strangers, but instead just comes off as weirdly defensive and passive-aggressive. A few examples:
"My daughter is perfect. Her table manners are excellent, she never speaks unless spoken to and we've always had white sofas at home since she was a child, with no staining."
-A woman with one preteen daughter, no sons
Your daughter sounds boring. I wouldn't want my sons to date her..
Zing!
"Why are you outside?" - A bagel seller in Montreal, in February
I'm hungry and the stroller is well protected under the plastic cover. Johan is warm and cozy, the others are asleep in the hotel and I'm going stir-crazy. Is that enough, or should I buy my bagel from someone else?
Got 'em!
"Excuse me, your baby is crying." -- Someone said to Simon as they peered into the stroller to try and determine the cause of said noise.
You don't say! Do you think, you stupid idiot, that I don't hear that? Do you think I think it's just loud music? Do you think I don't want him to stop and that I like it???
Sorry, did I say 'passive-aggressive'? Let's change that to just 'aggressive.'
But despite bristling at being the recipient of unwanted advice, far be it from Alex to shy away from giving her opinions on the shortcomings of other parents.
There was a mom at another table who wore all black and told her hyperactive daughter that they had to have a family meeting to decide what to do next. The type of woman who might ask her daughter to "process her feelings" about which color to choose. The type of woman who wanted make [sic] a big huge hairy deal about including her daughter in the decision-making process and "negotiating" the next best step for the family to take in the pottery shop. Pardon me while I shoot myself.
I'm sorry, but I just cannot respect this take coming from a woman who calms her sons by reciting comedic children's poetry backwards.
We next learn that there are "many websites out in cyberspace," some of which offer child-rearing advice. Simon summarizes their useless "vitriol" as such:
They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, whereas for the 21st century surely hell no longer hath fury, as it's all been hurled at the belittled and scorned Internet mom.
I'm honestly not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean, and my confusion continues all the way through this chapter's "Top 10 Ways We Make Ourselves Feel Better When It's All Getting To Be Too Much." We begin reasonably enough…
  1. Check to see whether the person offering advice has children. How old are they?
  2. Do they have a point? Are they right? It is entirely possible.
…before quickly losing all sense of self-awareness and flying completely off the rails.
  1. Will we ever see this person again? If not, can we get away with unleashing our fury on them? Note, if you're reading this and decide to try it for yourself, go big or go home.
The last few chapters have been a bit Alex-heavy, but never fear -- Simon pops back up in Chapter 9 ("If I Wouldn't Eat That, My Kid Won't Either") to tell us a charming story about how the family refers to his Bolognese sauce as "Dead Cow Sauce," and this is because his children are incredibly enlightened and understand the circle of life and where food comes from. Or something along those lines.
This chapter also provides a lot of really incontrovertible proof that, even though you may swear that your kids say the most hilarious things all the time, you are wrong. I love kids. I can play cool aunt with the best of them. But this "recipe" for "Johan's Concoction" tries so hard to be cute and funny ("whisk violently -- making sure to spill a little out of the top") that I could barely stifle my groans. For anyone who happens to frequent RebornDollCringe, I am strongly and inexplicably reminded of Britton.
A list of "Top 10 Things We Don't Like About Children's Restaurants" culminates with
  1. Where would you rather be? A bistro devoted to race-car driving, with 1950s toy cars on the walls, or T.G.I. Friday's?
Excuse me, ma'am, you must be unfamiliar with the concept of Endless Apps®.
The title of Chapter 10 is "You'll Give in Before I Do!" and although the subtitle lets me know this is referencing "the art and warfare of bedtime," it's hard not to take it as a personal taunt from the authors. Most of this chapter is just transcriptions of 'cute' things François and Johan have said to try to avoid going to bed, but we do get this gem:
Slaying the dragon is our family euphemism for using the toilet (drowning the dragons that live in the sewer) and is fun for the boys to talk about, though probably not forever.
Before giving us a chance to adequately process this revelation, Alex goes on to reflect:
Hmm, perhaps I should delete this -- I don’t want obnoxious classmates getting hold of this book in 10 years and asking the boys if they need to slay the dragon in the middle of geometry class.
Alex, I assure you, you truly have nothing to worry about. Any self-respecting bully will be far too focused on the fact that Simon ejaculated at the moment of his son's birth to pay this comparatively trivial factoid any attention.
The authors shake things up and end this chapter with lists of both "Top 20 Bedtime Stories" and "Top 10 Lullabies," both of which are thankfully inoffensive.
In Chapter 11 ("Children Like Shiny Objects"), we follow Alex and Simon as they purchase the townhouse we see them renovating on RHONY. Although other (read: lesser) parents might store breakables out of reach or limit children's toys to playrooms and bedrooms, Alex and Simon were blessed with two boys whose aesthetic sensibilities are already quite developed:
One kind of funny thing that I noticed recently is that the toys the boys tend to leave upstairs in our red and black living room often tend to be red and black as well. I'm not sure whether that's intentional, but it's funny that the room always seems to match regardless of its contents.
The list of "Top 10 Craziest Places We've Found Objects" is mercifully absent of any orifice-related discoveries.
After reading just the title of Chapter 12 ("Raising Baby Einsteins"), I'm bracing myself for the self-satisfied smugness to come. This preparation turns out to be duly warranted. Baby sign language is dismissed as "a scheme dreamed up by ASL experts who wanted to sell classes to easily influenced new parents," Mommy and Me classes are "not really for teaching anything," and we learn that Alex and Simon have instituted a bizarre family rule that "if a talking toy came into our house, it had to speak a foreign language or speak English in an accent other than American."
We learn that Simon apparently does not know what antonyms are (for the record, Simon, the word you're looking for is homophones) and that New York City is replete with "wailing, nocturnal, type-A obsessed harridans willing to sleep with persons not their spouse if they think it will help their child get into THE RIGHT SCHOOL." Uh, yikes. After a tediously long description of François' pre-school admissions process, Alex informs us:
As a former actor, I've always gotten into play-acting and dressing up with my children. Perhaps a little too much. But I've taken the opportunity to show off a few old monologues, complete with bounding around like a puppy. If you have knowledge, why not share it? If you happen to know Puck's speeches from a Midsummer Night's Dream by ear with tumbling and staged sword play, why the heck don’t you share that with your boisterous boys, who love it and run around shouting, "Thou speakest aright!"
I am suddenly compelled to call my mother and thank her profusely for never making me put up with anything like this. Maybe I'll also get her thoughts on one of the tips listed in "Top 10 Favorite 'Developmental' Things To Do": "if they want something that you want to delay giving them, make them ask in every language they can before giving in." To me, this seems like an effective way to encourage your children to learn how to say "Fuck you, mom" in French as early as possible.
In Chapter 13 ("Urban Wonderland"), Alex and Simon promise to share their unique perspective on "taking advantage of raising a child in the urban jungle." But mostly, we just get a rant about how everyone thinks their kids have weird names, and that makes Simon mad. This chapter's "Top 10 Reasons New York is the Center of the Universe to a Kid" list reminds us what truly matters: "there are more songs with NYC in their titles than any other city."
Immediately after telling us how great it is to live in a city (excuse me, urban jungle), Alex and Simon switch tack and spend Chapter 14 ("'Daddy, a Cow! And It's Not in a Zoo!") expounding on the importance of exposing kids to nature. Sounds great, I'm on board. Unfortunately, we almost immediately take a hard left turn into a story from Simon's childhood where he and his brother are "befriended by this old guy, Dick, who lived on the outskirts of town in a small tin shed." We hear that Dick "occasionally pulled out an early Playboy magazine back from the days when the lower regions were airbrushed out," and that "there had been pretty strong rumors of pedophilia," before promptly returning to the main narrative with no further explanation. I can only describe the transition as 'jarring.'
I can tell how exhausted I am at this point in the book by how hurriedly I skimmed the list of "Top 10 Differences We've Noticed Between City Kids and Country Kids." To be honest, I'm almost annoyed when a particularly bizarre quote manages to catch my attention, because that means I have to think about it for the full amount of time it takes me to transcribe from the page. I'm beginning to think that my initial hope that I could glean some useful cat-rearing advice from this experience may have been overzealous.
Chapter 15 ("You're Such a Great Parent, You Should Be on TV (LOL)") is the only chapter to directly address the family's time on RHONY. It starts with this (attempted) comedy bit in which Alex and Simon pretend to be hilariously self-aware and self-effacing (Alex: "Look up 'Mommylicious' in the dictionary and you will see a photo of me in a ball gown, breast-feeding an infant while making Osso Buco and directing carpenters to build a bookcase for my Dickens and Shakespeare."). This posture would be infinitely more believable if I hadn't spent the previous 205 pages watching these two take themselves deadly seriously.
But rather than share any juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits (or, indeed, convey anything of substance at all), Alex and Simon spend exactly 3.5 pages blustering about how it wasn't harmful for their children to be on TV before giving us a list of "Top 10 Hilarious Things The Boys Have Done While Filming or at Photo Shoots." Spoiler alert: none of them are 'hilarious.'
Chapter 16 is literally titled "The Light at the End of the Tunnel," which makes me feel like this whole experience may have just been Alex and Simon playing some sort of twisted game with me. Alex tells us this is "the chapter of hope," but given that she then tells us about a time when she "spent one full hour discussing why magic markers cannot be carried around with the caps off, particularly in a hotel suite with white couches and walls," I'm not sure exactly where this hope is coming from. Also it seems like this markers-in-a-hotel-room thing happens weirdly frequently. We are then treated to Alex and Simon's "Top 10 Moments of Getting It,'" which includes
  1. Apropos of nothing, Johan said, "You give us time-outs because you are teaching us to be good grown-ups."
This is a thing I'm sure Johan said completely organically and not in response to hearing his parents say "we're giving you a time-out so that you learn to be a good grown-up" approximately seven zillion times.
This brings us to the book's Epilogue (a mercifully short two pages) featuring the line "If you made it to the end of this book, we salute you." Honored to accept this hard-earned accolade, I can finally close the book and start figuring out a way to erase the memory of Simon busting a mid-childbirth nut from my aching brain. Wish me luck!
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2020.06.09 15:06 Dianaofwhales Entitled Cousin, and her upcoming wedding with Entitled Groom

Edit : This has gotten more popular than I expected. I’ll go through some texts and try to think of things I’ve missed (there are plenty, these are just the giant highlights). Their wedding is this fall (2020) and ours is next fall (2021) so I’m sure there will be plenty more, as well. I’ll start posting under The Dipshit Saga, or something using the pet name, as suggested in the comments. I’ve got to be honest, the ring and dress stories are some petty bullshit because my fiancé and I are old and have careers, so we can afford nice stuff—hopefully I can tell those tales and clearly express my pretend Real Housewives of New York attitude without coming across as a real-life jerk (I’m not, I SWEAR...I just leaned into the petty because I find the tantrums funny)*
Ohhhh man, I am so glad to have found this subreddit. I can't wait to share this (ongoing) saga.
A little background info: I am an early-30's cis female, engaged to an early-30's cis male. We've been together for about four years; I was married once before to an abusive partner, and met my fiance a few years after escaping that situation and taking some years off to date around, go to therapy, and just generally put myself back together. I didn't think I'd even get married again, so I can say with confidence: my partner is the shit. We are both professionals, both own our own homes and buy our own shit, and are generally living a happy life in an amazing American city. More importantly, we are still desperately in love and have fun together every day. So what I'm saying is--I'm the happiest I've ever been (and, with the exception of the part coming up about my aunt and grandma, find this series of events all horribly amusing).
My cousin is a 21 year old cis-female. She has dated and broken up with a series of guys roughly her age as one should when they're 21. I never think too much about it, and maybe should have (but didn't) pay attention when she kept talking about moving in with and marrying each and every one...I had friends like that at 21, and probably also tried to envision this scenario with everyone I dated at 21, because it's a part of getting older and planning your life. HOWEVER...then my cousin met Dipshit (obviously not his real name, except in our home where it very much is the only name we call him).
I thought I didn't like him because I selfishly had other plans for my cousin; I was going to rent her a spot in my condo for way less than rent in our city, to move to our city (approximately 1.5 hours away) and get a better job in her nursing-adjecent tech field. Right now, she lives with her parents in a rural area and works two part-time jobs for a lot less money; there are so many huge hospitals here where she could have a well-paid career, and I had an easy avenue to help her get started in a new city. I have had a lot of great female mentors in my life, and I try to be one now to young women I love, as well. However, every time she'd get close to making this move (which she originally had approached me about, and ALWAYS CLAIMED TO WANT TO DO...but, in retrospect, always after a breakup--so maybe she was just in vulnerable "I want something better than this" places each time, which is understandable), she'd start dating some new guy. Whatever, you can do what you want...but I wanted her out of that tiny little town with no prospects and into a career...which, again, in retrospect, isn't fair of me because her life is her own and yada yada. This time was no different: enter Dipshit.
Dipshit and she went for it FAST. They met and started dating in September. My fiance-then boyfriend-was hinting around at proposing around that time, and now suddenly cousin and Dipshit were, also (according to my aunt). I thought it was just more young, stupid love. Dipshit didn't even work; no way he was buying a ring. Well. Dipshit already HAD a ring; he had been engaged to another girl the year before, having proposed at Christmas, and that broke up around July/August...then he met my cousin a month later. (Dipshit is also 21, if that helps you visualize). I'm sure you can imagine what happens next: Dipshit proposed at Christmas, after a whirlwind romance of approximately three months. At that moment, my fiance and I became enemy #1 to Dipshit, as did all of my married siblings and cousins having babies, because no one else's relationship could possibly be the center of attention. Dipshit quits his part-time job to work a worse part-time job; states his intentions to not work at all and sell shit on Ebay once he's on Cousin's health insurance (he has diabetes, and is currently on his parents' but they make him work "at least a" part-time job in exchange. Dipshit has problems with being lazy; his illness doesn't debiliate him as is often the case with people. He is not on any kind of disability, nor does he need those resources to my knowledge).
My fiance proposed on March 1, after I had just spent a weekend singing in the orchestra pit of the biggest theatre in our city, which was already a thrilling weekend; I literally walked out of the Stage Door after the last matinee, and hopped in the car to go to (what I was told was) a late anniversary dinner, since we had been so busy all winter and hadn't celebrated our three year. He also worked with my best friend to get about 20 of our friends there, and made the proposal an immedate engagement party. It was magical. ANYWAY, Dipshit and Cousin immediately cancelled plans to come to a big family dinner that month for Easter (moot point, since quarantine happened like two weeks later). My aunt (her mom) wanted a photo of my ring since I didn't post it on social media; I texted her one. I assume she sent it to my cousin, because I literally got deleted on every social media platform that night by my cousin. Weird...but whatever.
My aunt is then enlisted to ask questions about our wedding planning. I like talking to my aunt about it, but soon realize that it's causing problems. My aunt and uncle *took a mortgage out on their paid-off house* to pay for Dipshit and Co.'s wedding (scheduled for this fall) which is getting crazier and crazier as it goes. I stop talking to my aunt in specifics about mine, and just turn the conversation back to Cousin each time it comes up; I'm worried my wedding planning is influencing their wedding planning, trying to have "the best" wedding. (Our wedding is almost a full year after theirs). Cousin has already lost her shit once because I'm using one of her colors as a part of my color scheme, also...I told her if that mattered, I technically used the color first in my wedding like seven years ago and laugh at my joke because the concept of someone owning a color is absurd. I get an angry facebook message from Dipshit telling me I deserved to have been abused by my ex (apparently cousin told him) and it wouldn't have happened if I had been a better wife and "loved him harder."
Dipshit sends similar angry messages to other family members; my Brother and I laugh a lot because Dipshit tells him that no one can understand the kind of love Dipshit and Co. have, and that Brother clearly hasn't experienced that kind of deep love before. Brother has been married for nine years and has two amazing children.
Other Cousin and Wife have their first child; Dipshit and Co. call the baby ugly, and talk about how their kids won't be ugly. Dipshit and Co. start talking about getting pregnant before the wedding.
Cousin's Brother buys a house, and Dipshit decides he will live there rent-free and be the roommate. Cousin decided to move in, too--her brother is rightfully against that and tells them his house is not their love nest, and there are rules. They don't like that; now both of them are living with my aunt and uncle.
Dipshit and Co. adopt a puppy. My aunt takes care of the puppy.
Dipshit kicked Cousin's three year old niece out of the flowergirl role in their upcoming wedding, and calls that three year old a "bitch."
Cousin tries to get a home loan and buy a house and can't get approved because she's 21, has no credit, and works two part-time jobs. She screams and rages at my aunt for days, and my aunt ends up back in the hospital having suffered a heart attack a couple of months prior. Aunt ends up needing some more work done to her heart, I'm sure completely unrelated to the stress of Dipshit and Co.
Cousin's dad gets furloughed at work for a few weeks, due to quarantine. Dipshit and Co. tell him/my aunt they aren't losing a cent of their wedding budget.
Cousin goes to my grandma and asks her to sign paperwork so Grandma's house can be signed over to her, and offers to pay $30,000 for it in monthly installments. My grandma has no concept of modern money; Grandpa did everything and died a few years ago. We've always stepped in when she needed a new car, home repairs done, etc., so she doesn't get swindled. She thinks $30,000 is low but probably not THAT low, as she thinks the housing market still exists circa 1975. Cousin is the youngest and the only one that hasn't bought a house, so she thinks it'll probably be ok and that money can get split between her two daughters and Brother+me (our mom died when we were teenagers, so we split her third two ways in the estate. Doesn't even matter because my Grandpa had Alzheimer's and was in a nursing home for a couple of years, so the state will get most of it anyway--we just want Grandma to have a happy life). Other Aunt begs her not to sign anything yet, and gets the house appraised. Grandma's house is worth $120,000. Dipshit and Co are angry, because they wanted to buy the house and sell it out from under Grandma and keep that profit, and someone found them out. We decide we won't accept a penny under $120,000 from Dipshit and Co., and Grandma is mad at them. She also begins calling [real name] Dipshit.
There is SO MUCH MORE (especially with the wedding stuff...the dress and rings are their own sagas) when it comes to this entitled couple. I guess if this gets popular on here, I can give updates as they occur. Right now, we are kind of hoping their wedding can't happen due to COVID-19 and my aunt gets a refund...miracles happen.
submitted by Dianaofwhales to EntitledPeople [link] [comments]


2020.05.16 04:25 ThrowRAstupidboyfren I[25F] am not happy that my mother[58F] is dating and want no parts of her new man, but she won't respect my wishes and it's straining our relationship.

To start at the true beginner of this mess, we must go back a few years. I'm 25 and my parents separated six years ago. Prior to that, my dad was emotionally/mentally/verbally/financially/everyway except physically (though he threatened it) abusive of my mom their entire relationship. He controlled every little thing she did, and she enabled it for a looong time. I spent my life up until moving out controlled and abused exactly the same and it wasn't until I was 19 that my mom finally woke up and was like "wait...this ain't right." At that time, I still lived at home, and we wound up moving out of there together. We've always been extremely close. The words "enmeshed" and "co-dependent" come to mind because I've watched A LOT of Dr. Phil in my day and it all fits (no, but seriously).
In any case, they had what I can now see was a weird relationship. I seriously only ever saw them kiss once, when I was 13 and they officially got hitched and then they *had* to. There weren't any huggies or snuggies or any of that, they never went on a date in my life. I know they stopped having sex when I was 12 because my mom talked to me about it in detail. Yes, when I was 12.
Well, fast forward six years post-separation. My mom and I still live together. I’m sure to some people that’s weird, but whatever, it works out well enough...or has until now. My mom has started dating. That phrase alone makes the bile creep up my throat, but it is what it is. I was EXTREMELY taken aback from the moment she told me. I recognize it isn’t my place to tell my mom what she can and can’t do, so I was just like, “Oh. Kay. But I got to tell you, I want no part of it. I don’t want to hear about him, I don’t care about the dates, I don’t want to see his picture, I don’t want to meet him, and I’d prefer us to never be in the house at the same time. If you want me to move out, I understand.” Yes, I said all that. She blew up about me being unsupportive and uninterested in her life and “DON’T YOU CARE IF I’M EVEN HAPPY?!” and I just can’t.
Obviously moving out isn’t really easy at the moment, so we’re still stuck under one roof. So what does my mother do? She brings her fucking lover-man over while I’m home, after I explicitly asked her not to. I played polite and kept any responses brief, then immediately went to my bedroom and started searching for apartments. Not kidding. After he left, my mom came up and started ragging on me because I was “rude” and “didn’t take an interest.”
So, I told her the honest to God truth: It disgusts me. I’m extremely unused to seeing someone be physically affectionate with her for one and it makes my skin crawl, and secondly, she should’ve learned her lesson with my dad. I’m staunchly anti-romance. I’ve had enough of a man trying to control me for one lifetime, thanks. You’d really think she would be too but I guess not. I just don’t believe in romance. I think it’s a sham, I think it’s a big hassle people go through simply to do what they’re “supposed” to because it’s what “everyone” does, and as I already told her, I want no part of her following the herd. I also hate how he’s already made her change. It’s been 15+ years since I saw this woman put on a dollop of makeup and now she’s wearing it a lot. She’s dressing differently too, a lot more dresses and nice clothes than before. A big argument ensued, she called me a cold b!tch, I called her a wh-re, nothing we haven’t done before.
But, again...still stuck under the same roof and the tension is really growing. It sucks not having anyone to play Monopoly with now or talk about gardening or watch a movie because we can’t really stand to be in the same room together. And she had him come over AGAIN. Like yeah, just pour salt in the wound. He seems nice and all but I’m sure my dad did at first too and I just am not down for the “nice friendly step-daddy” show. It’s just been my mom and I for a long time, long before she and my dad even separated, and I resent this dude coming in having NO idea who we are, and I resent my mom for not respecting my wishes.
That’s MY mom. I’m HER daughter. There’s no room for anyone else in this relationship. There ain’t room for three at the Monopoly board, nor is there room for three when we have Desperate Housewives marathons. I really want this buffoon to hit the road and not come back, but since I can’t reasonably request that, I simply want us to be on separate sides of her life. She won’t respect that, so what can I do to salvage our relationship? What can I do to possibly get more comfortable with this boyfriend of hers without actually having to have a relationship with him?
**TL;DR: After a 22+ year abusive relationship with my dad, my mom has moved onto a new man since the separation. I don’t believe in romantic relationships and want no parts of this guy but my mom won’t respect my space. I’m not really sure what to do, who’s wrong or who’s right, if I’m justified...I guess what really matters is that I don’t want to ruin my relationship with my mother over this, so where do I go from here?*\*
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2020.05.15 07:21 touch_my_tra-la-la DJ James Kennedy, Brittany, and Kristen: Astrological Musings on the Aquarians of VPR

♒️ Alright my Pump-heads, as requested by vanderpumpghouls, haleighr, and itakecomedysrsly, today’s astrological focus will be on the Aquarians of Vanderpump Rules, and a small section on Moon in Aquarius, which Lala and Jax both have. ♒️
I’ve made previous posts on Virgo, Cancer, and Libra musings, feel free to check those out first if you haven't already!
Also, if you're curious to find out whether or not you share a birthday with a Bravolebrity, here is a link to a post I made on Bravo Birthday Twins. Also, here’s a link to my article on Sun and Moon signs of the VPR main cast.
I’d also like to mention something at the top of this interpretation: Kristen IS included in this post, but she’s actually a Pisces Sun. You've probably heard of cusps, which is when a person falls on the few days at the beginning or the end of a sign. For example: I'm born on September 19th, which is in Virgo but starts the Libra cusp. Kristen is also born on the 19th, but since the start dates of any given sign vary between each other, she’s actually the first day of Pisces. The Aquarius-Pisces cusp is probably one of the most debated, and part of that stems from the cusp being shorter than others, and Pisces starting earlier than other signs. The Sun usually enters Pisces on the 19th or 20th of February, but the dates change year-to-year, and I've met someone with a Pisces Sun born on the 18th! Due to these reasons, I don't fault Kristen for having the Aquarius glyph tattoo on her wrist, she was probably told she had an Aquarius sun in the back of some Cosmo Girl or amateur horoscope column. But-- if you input her information into any birth chart calculator, it always comes up as 0-1 degrees in Pisces, regardless of what birth time you put in. **This is why astrologers urge clients to get their EXACT birth time, because being off by 10 minutes could completely change your rising, moon, and all of your houses! I just wanted to give a little disclaimer about Kristen really being a Pisces but also being included in this post, and to take the Aquarius interpretation with a grain of salt when considering her chart. FYI: she has a Mercury in Aquarius, and both her Venus and Mars in Pisces, which really does explain so much that I'll get into below!
Alright, now to the goods: Aquarius is, what I consider to be, the most elusive sign of the zodiac. There are actually fewer births during this time of year, and Aquarius is one of the lesser-known signs, I would say they’re also one of the harder signs to ”crack” or interpret due to their stubborn personalities and desperate need for individuality. But when I say desperate, I don't mean Aquarius comes off desperate, rather they prioritize both individualism and independence. Aquarius’ opposite is Leo, The Lion, a Fixed fire sign that's very egocentric, all about being the center of attention, about all eyes on me! Naturally, Aquarius feels the opposite and actually focuses on humanity and our society as a whole, more focused on the ”bigger picture” of things. Aquarian's are humanitarians, they’re very philosophical, intelligent, and the biggest altruists of the zodiac. They think it's kinda silly to get bogged down by small details; they don't sweat the small stuff! They’re also usually scientifically-minded, and will be one of the first signs to discredit astrology. That's not to say there aren't Aquarians who appreciate astrology, but as a general assumption, Aquarius veers more towards science, facts, and black/white dichotomies, rather than exploring the occult, esoteric, and paranormal.
Aquarius is both introverted and extroverted- they can be incredibly social and the life of the party, but they can also be hermits and value their alone time. They also have a lot of pride: since Aquarius is so intelligent, friends and family members will typically rely on Aquarius to have the right answers, and sometimes they put too much pressure on themselves. The biggest insult to them is to be called stupid, rather than Leo who considers ”ugly” to be the worst insult.
Even when they’re completely out of control, they still function at a high level. Aquarian's are able to go about their daily tasks with so much ease and don't usually have to put much thought into it, which can be destructive in the long run if addiction or substance abuse struggles come into play. Think about James: we all know he completely loses control when he’s drunk, but he also doesn't completely lose control of his life. He's a highly functioning addict, he’s still able to maintain and uphold responsibilities without completely spiraling downward. Aquarius has a lot of bravery and a lot of self-actualization. They’re able to see the light at the end of the tunnel even at rock bottom; they’re able to tell themselves that everything will be okay and work itself out in the long run, and they have faith in themselves deep down, just like James and Brittany, who have faith even after being told by everyone else to drop it, Brittany with Jax changing his ways, and James with LVP and his DJing gig at SUR.
Aquarian's are similar to their Libra cousins (I say cousins because they're both Air signs and form a trine aspect, the most favorable aspect) because they wish for peace and harmony amongst not only their friend group but humanity and society as a whole. They want everyone to get along, and they’re usually able to get along with practically anyone. Aquarius (and Air signs in general) are typically open-minded and able to step out of themselves to see the bigger picture and also see the viewpoints of others. Think of Brittany: she’s friends with everyone, she wants everyone to get along, and she never gets bogged down by petty, minute details. She’s not catty, and she wishes the other girls could also see the bigger picture and realize how small these arguments and reasons to be upset with each other are in the grand scheme of things.
On the darker side of things, Aquarians are very set in their ways and hate to be told either: what to do, or they're somehow wrong. Aquarius can be too self-assured and cocky at times, and some have a difficult time with constructive criticism. Their Fixed sign stubbornness makes them unwilling to change or compromise at times, which can be frustrating for their partners. They can also be quite unpredictable, which screams James Kennedy and Kristen Doute. Aquarians are very familiar with inconsistency and instability. They can also have materialistic (Brittany) and rebellious (James) streaks, and may come off pessimistic or bratty at times.
As for Moon in Aquarius, which Lala, Jax, and Sandoval have (though Sandoval’s is on the Capricorn-Aquarius cusp, and he seems a lot more like a Cap moon than Aqua moon), these individuals have unconventional and atypical ways of expressing their feelings or communicating. They crave independence but they also crave being coddled and crave attention. They sometimes come off detached or seem like they're not emotional or processing their emotions. Lunar Aquarians have an interesting way at looking at things, and they definitely focus on the bigger picture rather than harp on details.
That's the thing about Aquarius-- it's the sign of humanitarianism and also the sign of seeing the "bigger picture" of things on a philosophical and cerebral level. If you think back on Jax's past, he's quite detached emotionally, especially after he's processed his initial feelings and emotions on any given topic. And Lala at Brittany's bachelorette party, when she was annoyed with the group for debating whether or not the club meant "Don't Do It Brittany" in a bad way-- Lala was just like "holy shit, who cares, is this really what you're going to be upset over?" That's very much Aquarius energy, especially Aquarius moon energy. Lunar Aquarians are said to be pretty resilient, though they wouldn't necessarily show whether or not they're hurt or affected by something that's hurt them.
Here is a direct quote from Astrology K regarding men with Aquarius Moons, and it's a dead ringer for Jax!:
”A flirter with all, a partner with few (or none), the Aquarius moon just wants to have fun. He loves striking up conversations with strangers, thinking up more crazy inventions, and having truly bizarre and barrier-breaking sex with you (and perhaps other people at the same time).
He says exactly what he thinks but may not understand your emotional needs, in part because he doesn’t understand his own. He actually thinks he has no emotional needs.
The parents have a bigger influence on how a man with moon in Aquarius feels inside. For instance, from the early age, if he is given too much freedom by them his emotions will start developing arrogance and indifference towards education and women. In this case, the uttermost thing in his life will be his own pleasure. Aquarius itself has trouble with love feelings. So this man, once spoiled, will completely hesitate in having romantic feelings with good intentions. He will also often find himself in fierce argument with his friends and family.”
And there we have it: some of my thoughts regarding the Aquarians of VPR.
Lastly, if you're interested in having me do your birth chart reading (typically between 15-20 pages), DM me for more information or email me your birth day/time/place and any focuses you’re curious about at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). Thanks for reading! ✨🙏✌️🏽♒️
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2020.05.13 04:45 toutfilm Why Women Kill saison 2 : Date de sortie, casting, potentielles intrigues... Ce qu'il faut savoir Après Desperate Housewives, Marc Cherry ... #casting #date #faut #intrigues #kill #potentielles #qu039il #saison #savoir #sortie #women

Why Women Kill saison 2 : Date de sortie, casting, potentielles intrigues... Ce qu'il faut savoir Après Desperate Housewives, Marc Cherry ... #casting #date #faut #intrigues #kill #potentielles #qu039il #saison #savoir #sortie #women submitted by toutfilm to u/toutfilm [link] [comments]


2020.04.21 21:38 drjallz Spent Hours On This But... Help Me Out

Okay so I had a lot of time on my hands today, and I finally wrote out this categorized list of tv shows, because I see a lot of people making amazing suggestions on here. I wrote a few categories people can suggest if I should bother watching it / finishing it / etc. Feel free to recommend something not on this list that you think I might like too... I watch a lot of TV and kinda always have haha. Hopefully I'm not forgetting too much on here that I haven't already seen/tried. Feel free to take any of these suggestions too and look em up, maybe you'll find a new gem!

TV SHOWS I DIDN'T FINISH (WASN'T CONTINUALLY INTERESTED, PROB WON'T FINISH, OR WATCHED EPS HERE/THERE, BUT NOT SEEN EVERY EPISODE)---
TV SHOWS I DIDN'T FINISH BUT WILL...SOMEDAY when they all come to netflix or my android box works.
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TV SHOWS I'M NOT SURE IF I SHOULD FINISH/KEEP WATCHING (IS IT WORTH THE REWATCH / CONTINUING ?)
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TV SHOWS I DIDN'T LIKE / COULDN'T GET INTO
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TV SHOWS I MAYBE WOULD GIVE A 2ND CHANCE TO (I THINK I TRIED LIKE ONE-TWO EPISODES AND THEN MOVED ON, WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?)
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TV SHOWS I LIKE / AM UP TO DATE ON / SEEN ALL OF
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TV SHOWS I'VE NEVER WATCHED - PROB NOT MY THING, WON'T LIKELY TRY EM W/O GREAT REASONS
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TV SHOWS I'VE NEVER WATCHED - PROB WOULD WATCH IF SUGGESTED ITS GOOD / WHEN IT COMES OUT (SOME NOT OUT)
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2020.04.19 12:29 Draquia Review of [Beyond the Curtain] by Bobika. The 2019 dystopian mystery in which Wizarding Europe is ruled by Voldemort from behind a magical Iron Curtain.

Premise
Beyond the Curtain is an AU sequel in which Voldemort sees Snape’s memories and changes the outcome of the war by avoiding killing Harry. Within four years, he has established his empire and an impenetrable magical Curtain is brought down over most of Europe.
Our story is set in 2019, 17 years after the Curtain falls, and told through Neville Longbottom, who still fights for the resistance movement outside the borders of the Magical Empire. In recent times, a Crossing has opened up in the Curtain, with goods being exchanged and muggles being smuggled out occasionally, but no one on the outside has managed to find their way in. Neville finds himself unexpectedly meeting Harry, who has not aged a day past 17 and appears to have unfettered access through the Curtain. With his help, Neville’s band of four resistance soldiers arrange to sneak past the Curtain and attempt an incredibly risky mission to bring the Empire down from within.
The story is currently two thirds complete, has been ongoing since August of 2018 and is 130k words. It is an Adventure/Mystery story with a T rating, though its themes are very much geared to an adult audience. It is a war story, with its thematic roots in the Iron Curtain of the Cold War.
Plot
The author has divided the plot into 3 arcs, the third of which is still unwritten.
The first follows Neville’s team’s journey across the border. Accompanying him are Bill Weasley and two original characters – Gregory Danes and Annie Karlsson. Gregory is a second-generation resistance soldier who refers to Neville as “old man”, and Annie is a muggle with a unique power: magic cannot function within a 1.5m radius of her. She cannot be cursed, even by an Unforgivable, but she cannot be magically transported either.
The Curtain crossing at Belarus does not go smoothly at all – Neville’s crew are instantly captured and must be rescued by Harry and another OC – Andrei Sadecki, who is a spy for Harry working within the army’s ranks at the Crossing. A few action-packed scenes end with Harry driving all 6 of them across Eastern Europe in a caravan, giving us an eye-opening road trip and a gradual easing into what the Magical Empire looks like.
The worldbuilding in this story goes so deep that in the interests of brevity I will only mention a few highlights here:
- Muggles in the Empire are either slaves with enchanted bracelets, or else they live in slums.
- The Trace now encompasses the whole Magical Empire, and tracks all magic used at all times. An unregistered wand alerts the army immediately, so Neville and the crew are unable to cast any magic until they get their wands registered.
- No muggle may step foot on the British Isles anymore – it is considered a sacred magical land.
The second arc begins as the road trip finishes and the crew make a base of operations within a muggle slum in Serbia. Harry slowly integrates the crew with his own resistance force inside the Curtain, who have literally been hiding underground for years now. This section does not have as much action but much more unravelling of the enigma that is Harry. How is it that Harry seems to have a superhuman awareness of what’s going on around him at all times? Why does he still appear 17 years old? Does he mumble to himself because he’s crazy, or is he talking to someone?
Because of the genre of the fic and the fact that it isn’t finished, I don’t want to spoil any more of what occurs, but I strongly encourage you to find out.

Writing
Beyond the Curtain’s prologue was the strongest opener of any of my recommendations so far. Harry has been captured by Voldemort, and while it is confirmed that all the other horcruxes have been destroyed, Voldemort is delighted at the prospect of having ‘discovered’ human horcruxes, complete with all their survival instincts. We don’t know what he does to Harry, but we do know that his aim was to make Harry indestructible, even through suicide. The desperation in Harry is palpable and the scene is absolutely gripping.
Neville’s 3rd person perspective is the lens through which we journey beyond the Curtain and into the unknown Empire. As a narrative choice, this was a stroke of brilliance. Much of the mystery of the story surrounds Harry himself, so having it told from Harry's perspective would have been like telling the canon story from Dumbledore’s – there would have been no tension or anticipation whatsoever. Neville is able to fill us in succinctly on life outside the Empire, but knows nothing about what happens past the Curtain, so we learn as he does.
I am also endlessly impressed by how well the author handles the genre of the fic. The plot is well structured because it knows where it’s going and how it’s going to get there. Revelations are foreshadowed either within the text of the fic or from canon, thus rewarding the audience for getting invested in many of the same ways J.K Rowling rewarded attention to detail in the books. As both a mystery and a sequel fic with a significant time gap, I cannot overstate what a fantastic structural choice it was to starve and drip-feed the audience with tidbits of information to keep us wondering what in the world happened here. A good literary tease can have an audience on the edge of their seats, desperate to know what’s in that next layer, that next revelation, and Bobika is a master of the tease.
The worldbuilding is also phenomenal. On two levels.
One is that setting takes a prominent place in the writing. Each chapter begins with a date and a place, which was very fitting as a formatting choice. As the first arc is a road trip, several real-world locations in Eastern Europe are visited and described in such detail that I have little doubt the author describes many of these places from experience. Svetlaya, Belarus. Ruma, Serbia. Silesia, Poland. I googled these places and many more as our protagonists journeyed, and found it both delightful and immersive to connect the characters to their landscape.
The second level is the sheer creativity of this fic. There are highly dangerous places in this story called “dead zones”, in which magic cannot function. Magical artifacts tend to explode when they come into contact with them, and they have only started appearing in the years since the Curtain came down. Since the Statute of Secrecy has long since been broken, muggles and muggle weaponry are heavily incorporated into the new world. The inclusion of dead zones and a girl with an anti-magic field seriously impressed me for the way it ups the stakes and makes wizardkind less god-like compared to muggles – it provides a balance that wasn’t there in canon.
And this isn’t even the half of the work that went into designing this story - the geopolitics and moral complexity of the war; the social hierarchy of pure blood, half-blood and muggle inside the Empire and the near utopia that exists for wizardkind and so, so much more deserves huge merit. I have rarely seen such extensive work go into developing a fanfiction like this, especially since it does so by devotedly building upon the canon rather than overwriting it. It is clearly a labour of love.
The general writing quality was extremely high, and it is pertinent to point out here that the author is not a native speaker of English. Despite this, the grammar was impeccable and phrasing was always on point. The mistakes I did find were spelling errors which would not have been picked up by spell-checker. Things like ‘sept’ instead of ‘seeped’, ‘rooster’ instead of ‘roster’, and I think my favourite was ‘otter chaos’, because it still works just as well. The author does use a beta reader later in the story, but I found mistakes in those chapters too. Lastly there are small continuity errors concerning the timeline, Bill’s children, and who survived the war. Nothing that really throws any kind of spanner in the overall reading experience mind you, it’s all small stuff that doesn’t repeat itself.
Pacing was fair, and whilst there was great tension during action scenes and I absolutely believed how high the stakes were, there were long swathes of complacency in between, especially in the second arc. I would have liked to have seen that broken up and the sense of urgency of the story kept a little more consistent.

Characterisation
While this was still a strong element compared to a lot of fics, it was weak compared to other elements of this story. Note that I also give a lot of leeway as far as canon characterisation goes, considering we’re imagining these people as they would be over 20 years from where we left them.
Neville’s characterisation feels comfortable and fitting for this version of him who has been over 20 years a soldier. He is married to Luna in this universe, and they have been living a relatively quiet existence in Finland since the Curtain came down. His day job is in local law enforcement but he is still quietly fighting a war under Bill Weasley’s command. He also developed a magical weed using mimbulus mimbletonia and I kind of love that.
One of my favourite things about having the story told from Neville’s POV is that we get to feel what Harry’s secretiveness is like from the other side. When we rode with Harry in canon, we knew why he would ask people to do crazy things without ever explaining himself (“Kill the snake.”), but when you’re not in the know, I am right there alongside Neville feeling super frustrated and resentful that Harry just railroads everyone else’s plans without giving a reason. It’s quite eye-opening really, when you think about how many characters must have felt this way about Harry throughout the canon text, especially around OotP.
Bill is a hardened soldier with a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Harry, but then, a lot of his family died following Harry into battle. We do see moments of him opening up though. There was a particularly good chapter called “Cherchez la Femme” in which Neville, Bill and Sadecki all bond by talking about the women in their lives and how those women influenced these men to be where they are today. The title comes from Andre Dumas, and means to “look for the woman”, if you want to find the root cause of the problem. It’s something of a detective fiction staple and “the woman” is almost certainly played by Eva Green.
However, if you were to actually “look for the woman”, you would come up dry in this story. Most of the female characters we’re familiar with are either housewives or dead, and the rest were in and out within a chapter or sort of swept under various plot rugs. I was certainly expecting more from Hermione and Annie.
The 40-year-old Hermione we meet in chapter 1 has been psychologically crippled since a traumatic experience during the war. She cannot stand to be around magic, has not touched a wand in years, is mute, and spends her days in total isolation in a dead zone, caring for her aging mother. Without downplaying the effects of PTSD, I have trouble wrapping my head around a Hermione who could bring herself to stop fighting, stop being involved in making the world a better place, especially while Harry was alive. She has apparently been in this state for well over a decade and her condition has never changed. I kept expecting a better explanation for writing her into this corner; I was even building up anticipation to read a chapter called “Hermione’s Worst Nightmare”, which I thought would look at this in depth, since the canon “Snape’s Worst Memory” chapter was so telling about how Snape grew to be the man he was. I was quite disappointed to realise that the title was actually just a gimmick about Neville feeling guilty for burning some books, and that Hermione’s entire role in the story was over by chapter 3.
Annie had real potential. She’s a soldier raised in the resistance and the best shot in her crew, since the other 3 are wizards who rely far more on their wands than muggle weaponry. Throughout the whole first arc no one could use magic inside the Curtain, so you’d think that she would have really shone here. Instead, she gets shot in the leg in the first conflict and just has to be carried for a while. As a side note, Harry does a basic stitch up for her and says she’ll definitely need proper medical attention soon, but then her injury is just never mentioned again, so I guess she’s fine?
In the second arc she drops off screen almost entirely. Neville is often off scouting or doing other things which require a person to be magical in order to be useful, so Annie inevitably gets left out, and none of relationship-building conversations involve her either. Two thirds of the way through the story I don’t have much of a feel for her personality, let alone empathy for her.
It’s easy to see her purpose in the story though – Annie is a Mystical Waif trope: the young woman in a group of men on a mission, and her mysterious power is the key to saving the world, if only her brave companions can her protect long enough to do so. This role is usually filled by a magical woman amongst more mundane travel companions, but it’s an interesting inversion to have the other party members be the magical ones and the mysterious power be the ability to nullify magic. Probably because of this power, the author was overcautious to not make her a Mary Sue (and succeeded), but unfortunately also failed to make her a fully realised character.
Gregory Danes has it even worse. Like Annie, his personality is extremely underdeveloped. Unlike Annie, I cannot see his purpose in the plot at all. His main duty is to guard Annie whilst Neville and Bill go off to do more important things, so he is also left behind a lot, and I have to assume he is just canon fodder.
The 3rd OC, Andrei Sadecki, is slightly better off than Gregory in that he gets to have a bit more personality and purpose. In one of the more exposition-heavy chapters, Sadecki unwittingly reveals that children raised inside the Empire do not know the reality of who Harry Potter is. The name is synonymous with a bogeyman used to scare children, and now that he is grown Sadecki believes him to be a myth, and that the Harry Potter he knows in person must have had parents with a poor sense of humour. Aside from his assistance in getting the crew past the Curtain, it’s clear that his role in the story was to provide this perspective on growing up in Voldemort’s world. After that was done, he just sort of sat extraneously in the background of several chapters before quietly dropping off.
Lastly, I am beginning to notice certain signs… signs which signal that a Harry Potter character interpretation has been cultivated in the DLP forums. They tend to be extremely cold, logical, clever, a magical force to be reckoned with, boundlessly confident, and of course he’s a strong independent man who don’t need no friends. Even his love interests seem to be pre-determined. The Harry of Beyond the Curtain falls somewhat into this trope. He didn’t seem so overpowered at first, and I thought I recognised the Harry of the books in his character, but despite a touching scene in which he opens up to Neville in the second arc, he was eventually revealed to have very little humanity left. This made me mostly disconnect from him and feel grateful to be travelling with Neville rather than Harry.
He is not a Gary Stu mind you. He has real flaws that are called out – he is pathetically avoidant of emotional conflict and extremely traumatised as an adult – but at some point I realised that he is also a one-man army, strategy board, spy network, smuggler, researcher and criminal mastermind. All at once, all the time, and frankly it asks for too much suspension of disbelief. No one has time for all that. Moreover, it becomes increasingly clear that Harry and Voldemort are the only two characters in the fic who matter at all, because their galaxy brains just render everyone else too stupid to be anything but pawns on their chessboard, and that’s kind of a turnoff in a fic which is otherwise so incredibly realistic.

TL:DR
I recommend the heck out of this one. It’s a fantastic premise, a planned out, well-structured plot, A+ worldbuilding and creativity and a gripping mystery. The only real downsides are some of the characterisations and the fact that it isn’t finished yet. It’s great for adult readers but not explicitly gorey or sexual, so it doesn’t really leave anyone out. Beyond the Curtain gets an 8/10 from me, and I look forward to seeing how it ends.
If you liked what you read here, this is where you can find my other reviews.
Next on the reading list: The Malfoy Backstory ‘Verse by ishafel.
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2020.04.11 22:38 ThrowRA_BffBoundary Is my (F25) friendship with my bff (M26) no longer ok now that he’s in a relationship? Have I been inappropriate?

My best friend of 14 years is also my roommate and happens to be male. We have never had a romantic relationship, unless you count one time in seventh grade where we felt like we had to date and got as far as holding hands a few days in before we felt icky and called it off. We see each other as completely platonic, but full disclosure, we have seen each other in numerous states of undress in our lives perhaps more than most friends but never in an intimate context. I’m not sure if it’s relevant but I don’t want to exclude something to sway people to my side.
He’s never committed before. He has had “flings” here and there, but has always been careful to never add a label or boundaries. As such, I could see how maybe I formed a warped view of what’s appropriate when he IS in a relationship. He recently met a girl and she is the first to give him butterflies. He is gaga for her and after only a few weeks he put a label on it and they’ve now been together nearly three months.
I am SO happy for them! Lately, however, it seems everything about our friendship is no longer allowed and I feel uncomfortable even existing in his space. I’m confused because his girlfriend is such a secure, self assured, straightforward woman and has openly stated she has zero problem with me after knowing our extensive history, seeing us interact naturally and the fact we were never involved. I’ve made a point to get to know her as much as I can because she must be something special to tame my bff’s wild ways.
Everything seems like a boundary, and what hurts more is I’m having to find all this out by reading between the lines and by time I realize I feel ashamed and embarrassed for crossing one I obviously should have known by common sense. I knew we’d probably cut out things like occasionally saying “love you!” (Usually followed by brother, sister, or bestie), or giving lots of hugs and cheek-kisses when we take off somewhere or haven’t seen each other in a while. Those I am totally fine and understanding about them possibly making an SO uncomfortable. I feel like things I didn’t consider are issues now, though.
We’ve always been the type to “dish”, I fear it may appear sexist but in the same sense you’d imagine girlfriends dishing. We’d talk about our relationships (or his equivalent) and discuss things like the sex over a glass of wine and a binge of Desperate Housewives. Once I noticed him getting strange if anything remotely sexual was brought up, I felt super bad and realized I totally get how that may not be ok since as much as we don’t play on it, we ARE the opposite sex and straight and committed. I cut it out. At this point he won’t even drink the same time I do anymore if it’s just us, as though that’s not appropriate either?
I’m wondering if it’s really all me being obtuse with everything, and maybe we have an unhealthy dynamic that’s simply becoming healthier and it just SEEMS extreme given the leeway for so long?Asking relationship advice has become awkward with him redirecting it. “Ask your interest”, “ask your sister”, “not sure”. He always says it without eye contact and making himself “look busy” around the house and I drop it. He isn’t sharing much of his own life anymore either. Of course, I expect this to an extent with the honeymoon phase and knew we’d have to distance a bit to figure out a new groove and let him discover his balance and our new roles as they grow their relationship. I cannot be the closest woman in his life anymore and that’s perfectly ok and natural.
An example of me trying to avoid unspoken landmines: I was cooking dinner and telling him about my new pair of yoga pants for the gym having been slightly see-through to an extent without anyone warning me until I came home and noticed myself. I mentioned how horrified I was and was laughing recalling it. Usually such a discussion would have us in tears, him calling me a dumbass and poking fun at one another. This time he only replied, “did you toss them yet? Don’t want to forget and wear them, should probably do it now.” I got red in the face and said not yet, they were on my bedroom floor and I should do that. Suddenly I felt as though he assumed I was trying to discuss it in an inappropriate way, when in actuality I was just sharing my day with my best friend.
I did eventually brave it and outright ask him if there were things we should not do any longer to respect his new relationship so I could stop stumbling into these situations where I overstep. All he said was, “if (his male friend) wouldn’t send it to me, do it with me or talk to me about it, then it probably shouldn’t be done.” And wouldn’t really elaborate beyond that. They have an entirely different friendship so all that tells me is we’re now only allowed to talk about soccer and tequila?
What has me writing this post is the fact that he is now turning my sport into an issue in an indirect way. For privacy reasons, I partake in an active hobby that I suppose some could see as sensual, however it’s never been about that for me. This is an activity he not only encouraged me to get into years ago, but helped me set up the station in our apartment and has always supported me and cheered me on and been very involved.
It started when he kept going to his room when I’d come out in my workout gear. This sport involves a lot of skin showing for practical purposes. Before he’d continue on with his day and pay no mind or even help me if he wasn’t doing anything.Then he began commenting on how small the space was, and why we didn’t set up the station elsewhere than the common area. I reminded him when we moved in we realized it wouldn’t fit in my tiny room, and he encouraged me to get the stuff and set up in the living area so I could practice at home. Now he’s started mentioning how tiny my clothes are and asking if I’m cold, if I was advanced enough to not need so much skin because he knows I get chilly easily - which is exactly the opposite of how advancing works. I’d lose more clothing.
It’s so weird because he acts sort of aloof and like he’s uncomfortable around me. I can only equate it to when I’ve had guys interested in me being a bit obvious and me trying to redirect their affection before they admit it, hoping they get the hint when I don’t engage in their flirtatious behaviours.
This morning I got up early to do my stretching and he opened up his bedroom door to see me on the living room mat in a pose - the cat/cow, so it was definitely not some sexy stance I was in. I lifted my head and made eye contact, but right as I began to smile and greet him good morning he acted like he “forgot something” and closed the door. He didn’t come out until he heard my bedroom door shut when I went back after over an hour. I texted him asking if I did something wrong since he’s been doing everything in his power to avoid me lately and he tried to play it off as him checking his phone and getting sucked into it before he came out but I don’t buy it.
Am I not seeing boundaries I am stomping? I have heard “intent is irrelevant”, so I want to make sure I’m not being one of those people that overlooks their actions just because they weren’t aiming to be inconsiderate. I also want to make sure I’m not stuck in my own view and making this all about me. Am I the type of girl you dread your boyfriend having as a friend? I’m really scared that 14 years of friendship is about to crumble down, and even more heartbroken that apparently our entire foundation was built to never last if a serious relationship was to happen for one of us.
TL;DR - male best friend of 14 years gets his first real girlfriend he’s crazy for. Despite her having no issue with our friendship, suddenly anything remotely sexual, involving our bodies or to do with relationships seems off limits. He appears uncomfortable for most things I bring up, and I’m unsure if I’m the issue and crossing obvious boundaries for people in committed relationships?
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2020.04.11 02:54 Rheevalka I am genuinely horrified and sickened at the behaviour Taylor Lautner had to endure after the first Twilight film

So, I just found out something outraging.
Yeah, so remember Taylor Lautner? Played Jacob Black in the trash-fire that is Twilight? Dated Taylor Swift? Noted for his abs? Constantly sexualised by 30-year-old desperate housewives?
Yeah, he was 15.
That's right. FIFTEEN in the first Twilight movie. Not even out of the fucking WOMB and he was treated as a Sex Symbol. For years. For FUCKING years, I thought Taylor Lautner was like 22-25 in Twilight. Imagine my horror at finding out he was 15.
After the first movie came out, all the tabloids said he wasn't buff enough to be Jacob. They wanted a recast, he wasn't hot enough, he doesn't look like the character, blah, blah, blah. He got the body in the second film after working on it to stay on the franchise.
If it were a 15-year-old girl who was pressured into an eating disorder to become thinner by the media for not being “thin enough”, then sexualised by 30-year-old men, the media would be outraged, there would probably be an interview with Oprah or some other philanthropist about the poor mistreated girl.
We see Taylor Lautner, a literal CHILD, treated as a sex symbol. NO CHILD SHOULD HAVE TO BE TREATED AS A SEX SYMBOL.
I AM DISGUSTED AND HORRIFIED!
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2020.03.24 13:08 Neenizzler My experience with my newborn

This is not meant to scare someone, this is simply just my experience with my baby. He is now 7 weeks old and it hasn’t been the easiest time. In fact, most of the time I’m miserable.
Week 1: My baby was born 4 days before his due date, birth was relatively easy. He was (and is!) perfect. After the birth I slept for 4 hours, the daddy was there to hold him during this time. He didn’t cry. After the dad was gone, I couldn’t put him in his little bassinet because I had gotten stitches and I was sore. I also couldn’t change him. Didn’t think to call the nurses, I was out of it. After a while, they came in and explained that my son had an infection and he had to go to the NICU down the hallway. And just like that, 10 hours after birth, my baby was whisked away and I couldn’t even stand up without help. 8/10 NICU nurses were super nice. The other two were super mean. „Put your baby down“, „you’re spoiling him“. My baby started crying a lot and I gave in and gave him the bottle after every feed. He stopped crying and started yelling at day 3. Yelling until his little face turned red. Nothing helped, no rocking, no sushing, no swaddling. One night, a nurse walked up and down the hallway with him in a stroller and let me sleep. I cried because I wanted to console my baby. He only slept on someone. I layed down with him in the super uncomfortable chairs at night 5 and 7. He wanted to nurse 24/7 which I was okay with. The mean nurses weren’t. „Is he not getting enough?“, „he might need a feeding tube“, „you can only get discharged if he sleeps 5-6 hours after a feed“. I cried myself to sleep every night. He reached his birthweight on day 5 and I stopped giving him the bottle after he threw it all up. His bloodwork looked good and we were discharged on day 7.
Week 2: I was terrified of going home. I am a single mum and at that point I was living at my mothers house because my apartment was under renovation. It was better than I had thought, my baby nursed a lot, gained weight steadily and I didn’t have to hear all the comments or weight him every feed (how would I do that, if he’s on the boob more than 16 hours a day!?). The nights went great, we were co-sleeping and he slept in stretches of 3-5 hours. He had the usual witching hour, but I nursed him throughout that. I had to adjust to only holding him (someone held him 24/7, I’m not kidding. He only slept if I layed right next to him). After half the week has passed breastfeeding became unbearable. I had to bite a towel when he latched and I cried if he nursed more than 30 minutes. I didn’t get any sleep. One night, I was so done that I just held him and rocked him while holding a paci, that he wouldn’t take. It took 4 hours (I did nurse in between) of screaming. Now my kid likes his paci lmao. I found out the next day that we both had thrush. Got some cream and endured the evening screaming sessions. I was a wreck at this point, constant guilt, no sleep and depressed. It got better after 4-5 days of treatment.
Week 3: My baby now slept whilst being rocked to sleep. I could breastfeed to soothe again. I could sleep a little again. Then the growth spurt came. A little early, but it was there. My son only took cat naps of 20 minutes. As soon as he entered deep sleep he woke up again. I spent three days in my bed, nursing him for more than 20 hours, getting an hour max of sleep every day. People brought food up to me but in the morning everybody was gone. I didn’t eat until 2pm every day and I worried so much about my milk production. His colic got worse and he now stops breathing while screaming at least 2-3 times a day. We went to the doctor, everything is fine. At the end of week 4, he was sleeping more regularly, started smiling at me and cried with tears. I also got a carrier (he hated the wrap and was strong enough to get his head loose whilst wrapping it. Even my midwife couldn’t help me) and the baby sleeps 3-4 hours in there. I could do a little housework now! I felt free. I also learned his awake time windows and his sleepy windows, which makes planning my days easier.
Week 5: The big move. I moved all my stuff back into my apartment within 5 hours and just like that, the baby and me were on our own. I wasn’t scared, I had done all the caring for him by myself before and the way the old house was set up, I couldn’t put my son down. Cats everywhere that layed in all the swings. Had to tuck away my stroller because they would pee in it. My room was three floors up (with only the necessities in it), so I had to carry my son up and down three stairs to get some water (or let him cry in his crib, which i couldn’t do). The first nights were great. Son slept fine, I slept fine. I could place all my swings where I needed them and he cried less. I didn’t have WiFi so I binged the entire first season of desperate housewives and lived on frozen food. I was happy. My son also slept 30 minutes in his crib twice. I could cook and eat in peace! My mother came into contact with someone that was in contact with a person that had corona. She couldn’t help or visit for 6 days until we got the test results back. Laundry backed up. I didn’t eat again. The carrier was my best friend again and I was walking miles in my apartment whilst eating or doing something.
Week 6: Grandma can visit again! Corona has shut the city down and I now have a new excuse why I’m not letting anyone see my son. Or me for that matter. LO is going through another spurt. He does not sleep for longer than 30minutes, will cry unless he is at the boob again. My son has learned new skills, he is now strong enough to unlatch himself during nursing. I have to basically pin him down to nurse him. He can also now roll over from his tummy to his back! He also starts smiling a ton and he will coo. It melts my heart. Maybe this little one won’t spend 18 years screaming my head off. My back hurts because I carry him at least 6-10 hours a day. He now has a new need, he gets bored! He will now play by himself for up to 15 minutes on his little blanket. At least, I can get ready now. Still haven’t taken a shower unless someone is with him. I’m still too scared. I now carry him for 23/7 instead of 24/7. His tummy is getting better and he now fusses before he screams. The end of the light. I also got my period. I hoped it would spare me for a few more weeks but nope, gotta have something to annoy about.
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2020.03.12 00:25 readingrachelx A recap of the Melbourne season 4 cast trip to Mexico, in which the ladies venture “South of America”

It’s a time-honoured tradition: the housewives cast trip. As we prepare for our Melbourne season four trip to Mexico, let’s set the scene. Presently, the following beefs are brewing:
  1. Lydia vs. Jackie and Janet - because Janet accused Lydia of trying to drive a wedge between her and Jackie, and Lydia retaliated by saying that Janet was talking shit about Jackie behind her back about something that happened while Jackie was on vacation with Chyka and Bruce (details unknown - if anyone has the tea please @ me)
  2. Venus vs. Gamble - because Gamble bought a fake lordship to mock Venus’ husband, sent a photo from a movie of a woman being murdered to her friend and posted it on Twitter and said it was Venus, and called Venus a cunt, amongst other things.
  3. Gina vs. Gamble - because Gina has accused Gamble of “stalking” her for the weird ways in which Gamble has tried to patch up their fractured friendship, including sending flowers to a group dinner Gina hosted with a card that said something like “I would never exclude you from my table.”
Jackie has invited everyone on a business trip to Mexico where she is planning to look into launching a new line of tequila along with her husband Ben. She begrudgingly invites Lydia along even though she basically hates her at this point, with the caveat that Lydia not mention the Janet accusations again, which Lydia refuses to agree to, but I guess production didn’t care about Jackie’s conditions and put her on the plane any way 😂. And away we go:
The end!!
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