I am a man in the late twenties, who have zero dating experience.

I have recently met an insurance agent on the street who approached me to get my contact. Even though I mentioned to her that I already have my insurance adequately covered and personal agent whom I trust a lot and thus is unlikely to be getting anything else insurance-related from her, she remained friendly and said that she would still like to meet up for coffee one day and thus I gave her my contact eventually.

I have to admit that I was rather apprehensive at first since I was familiar with the insurance agents’ ‘modus operandi’. They would generally position themselves along the busier walkways and utilise a ‘throw everything at the wall, some will eventually stick’ approach by striking up a conversation beginning with a survey to get a brief outlook of your financial status and then arranging a meetup so as to perform a personal review and then to persuade the other person to take up policies from them. This is so as they are generally paid based via commission and have a target to hit every month.

As such, knowing myself that I would not be taking up any policies for certain and so as not to waste the other person’s time, I would try to avoid them or just decline politely. As in this case I was already upfront with her, I thought that there’s no harm meeting up just on a friendly pretext if she wants to.

Subsequently, we met up twice over lunch. During the first meet-up, we chatted a bit and eventually, she turned the conversation towards my financial position and on giving a second opinion. Once again, I reiterated my position (especially in addition to the fact that I’m currently taking part-time studies and am really strapped on cash).

Still, the whole lunch appear to go over quite well and I was keen on meeting up with her again. I asked her out over text and she agreed. The second time, we just chatted about stuff in general and did not mention anything insurance related at all.

I thought that things were going well, however, my past two attempts at getting to meet her up again have been faced with her attempting to postponing by mentioning that she is really busy with work. In our last correspondence, she even mentioned that unless it is to meet up for ‘business’ even though she ended with a ‘just kidding’.

Should I just forget about her and move on? I should mention that I’m a very introverted person in general and rather bad at reading social cues. Thus I have a hunch that my optimism was misplaced and that she actually just viewed me as a potential customer.


Head says yes but heart says no.

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My sweetheart gets out of the hospital today after a 10-day stay. He has bipolar disorder and had been cycling quite a bit for the past few months, and it just could not wait until the only psych appointment he could schedule with someone who takes our insurance and was also taking new patients…in April. He stopped sleeping, started getting more and more irritable and agitated (alternated with deep sads), and despite trying like hell to keep it all together until Spring his brain chemistry needed some major tinkering to keep him well and in this world.

The conversation about whether to go, how to go, when to go was one of the hardest and most necessary of my life. I’m forever grateful for this guest post, which let me know what to expect from hospitalization (he’d been through it all before).

I talked about it a bit on Twitter, but I’m still in the middle of FEELINGSTOWN and not fully able to write about all of it yet. My anxiety has been acting up, to say the least, and I may have freaked out crying on his (excellent) doctors on Monday when they told me he was out of the woods. They were like, are you okay, and also, here are tissues, you don’t have to wipe your face on your shirt and I was like DON’T YOU KNOW RELIEF-CRYING WHEN YOU SEE IT?

(They did)

My thoughts, in no particular order: He had the very best care and he’s got a good after-care and support system in place, I locked in a new therapist for myself, and our friends and family and community have poured out of the woodwork to support us. I can’t wait to see and kiss his giant face in 2.5 of the longest and shortest hours in human history, and I am going to ignore all y’all for a few days.

Jeremy at medieval times wearing a crown smiling

Behold: My favorite face.

Jeremy holding a tiny black & white cat

Favorite person holding second-favorite face.

If you’re feeling down, I hope you can reach out and find some help. If you love someone who is feeling down, I hope you can remind them that they are loved and steer them toward some help. Let’s let Margaret Atwood take us all out of The Februaries together and listen to a pretty song.

From Vicki:

Hi, Captain,

We’re having a meetup next Saturday afternoon in Seattle; can you please announce it on the main blog?

This is what I just posted on the FOCA forums:

We will have a meetup next Saturday, March 14, from 2:30 until 4:30 or so, later if people want. Bauhaus Cafe, 414 E Pine St, Seattle (that’s on Capitol Hill). This is a two-level location, without an elevator; I will try to find a table on the ground floor.

I will aim to be there by 2:30, and plan to hang out until at least 3:30 even if I’m alone with my cup of tea and my kindle. (If you see me sitting alone reading and I don’t look up, please do say “Vicki?” or “Awkwardeers?” or similar to get my attention.)

I have flowing white-and-gray hair (which tends to get loose even when I braid it back), and plan to bring my stuffed tarantula to put on the table as a signal unless someone comments in the next few days that they are arachnophobic, in which case I will look around for something else that is both distinctive and portable.



Have a great time, Seattle! Thanks for organizing this, Vicki.


I’m very attracted to a man I see in my local supermarket, I’ve seen him in there many times over the past year and we acknowledge each other, smile etc. unfortunately I’m too shy to ask him face to face if he would be interested in meeting for coffee or having a beer. I have found him on an online car forum and I’m not sure whether I should try sending an email through the online forum or whether that would that be stalkery and rather creepy? Any thoughts?


P.S. I’m in my mid 40’s and he’s a similar age.

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Info and RSVP for the next Awkward Meet & Geek for singles (and “available” poly folks) is here. I hope I will see some of your smiling faces.

The “is there one true right way to do things” discussion reminded me of a story from my childhood:

When I was very little, my parents taught me that if you have to fart, you should try to get away from other people, especially if it happened at the table during a meal. You should also say “excuse me” after you do it. We also called farting “pooping” in our house. Poop was “Number 2″ or, and I say this with a visible cringe, “dumpies.”

What this meant, in practice, is that three little kids…and my dad, to set a good example (and possibly because he was the chief offender)…would frequently rise from the table, walk over to the doorway into the back room where Muffin the Great Dane was gated during meals, fart in the dog’s general direction, cheerfully say “excuse me!,” and then sit back down. Hilarious, right? It is possible that my brothers and I made this a competition, of sorts. I dunno, my mom was part of a hippie food co-op, we ate a lot of brown rice and carob and grew our own vegetables. We were gassy people.

So, imagine me starting school. Imagine me feeling the urge, getting up from my seat, marching to the door of the classroom, pointing my rear out into the corridor, firing one off, loudly exclaiming “excuse me!” and then sitting back down in my seat. I didn’t understand why everyone laughed. I mean, I thought I did…I thought they were laughing because it was awesome and they were jealous of how stinky & loud it was. That turned out to be not why they were laughing.

I did this a few times before my teacher took me aside at recess one day to say “Hey, about that…why…maybe…don’t” We agreed that if I felt like I had to fart (once the distinction between “poop” and “fart” were made clear), I should just ask to be excused to the rest room, and if I didn’t catch it in time and it was loud/stinky/obvious to others I could say “excuse me.” How she did all of it with a straight face, I will never know.

Lots of us are taught truths and manners and practices that hold up only in one specific context. So, I’m curious to know, what’s a thing that you were taught at home that did not hold up in the outside world?




Hi there,

I was with a guy for just under two years and in that time, I included him in my busy social group. I have a very large, very close group of friends that I have been friends with for nearly a decade. When I met my ex, he didn’t really have any friends of his own but made a few friends in my group and was friendly with just about everyone. We broke up 3 months ago due to him having kids and me not wanting kids, which I have a lot of guilt about, despite knowing it was the right decision for both of us.

Here’s the problem. He’s still showing up to our parties and events. I KNOW I can’t tell him who to be friends with – but I also wish he would stop coming around. I already have one ex in the group, my ex-husband, which is awkward enough, but we made friends with these people at the same time. This guy was only around for maybe a year and a half and while my friends liked him well enough, he was definitely still seen as MY boyfriend and not a member in his own right. Cliquish? Yeah, probably, although no one would ever be unwelcoming to him and as a group we are HEAVILY infested with Geek Social Fallacy #1 so I doubt that he’ll stop being invited to things.

I feel like a giant, selfish jerkwad because I know he doesn’t have (m)any friends of his own so he wants to cling to the ones he made through me and he IS a good guy – but I also feel like these are MY friends and having him around is uncomfortable and awkward. It will be even more so as I have started dating someone else and while I’m not ready to start bringing the new guy around yet, I will at some point and then will have to deal with him meeting not one, but TWO of my exes.

I don’t know what to do about this as I am fully aware of how selfish this desire is and that I sound like a total jerk. I know that a lot of this is a reflection of the guilt I feel over our break up and seeing him just reminds me of that, which I understand is my problem and not his. I get that I can’t tell him not to come around anymore, but short of just stopping going to events myself, what can I do? Do I just have to deal with this or is there some middle ground I’m not seeing? If it is something that I just have to put on my big girl panties and deal with, do you have any suggestions on doing so?

- Not normally a jerk, I promise!

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