Monthly Archives: October 2011

Dear Captain Awkward, 

I moved into my university apartment with some people about a month and a half ago. Last night, I went drinking with a couple of the guys, and we got drunk. I ended up in bed with both of them, but I was too dry and they left. Then, because I was still drunk, I went to one of the guys in his room, and he was a gentleman about it and turned me away. Then I went to the kitchen and long story short, I ended up giving the other guy a blowjob. 

Now that I’m actually awake and functioning properly, I don’t know what to think. Mostly, I feel like a slut. I also oscillate between freaking out and feeling weirdly detached from my situation. I feel like I lost respect for myself. I feel like I’m in a bad drama playing out in my head. I can’t believe I actually allowed myself to do that. I can’t believe I threw myself at 2 guys, because what the actual fuck. I also feel like I’m whining, because probably a lot of people feel like that after something like this (so sorry). 

I’m also feeling really awkward, because I don’t know how to face them. I can’t avoid them because we’re sharing the same flat until June next year, and pretending I can’t remember isn’t an option because I clearly wasn’t drunk enough (I also feel like a coward for even considering those 2 options). I just want to face them and see what happens, but I may really just end up making it more awkward because I may freak out and say something really stupid, or obviously try too hard to act like nothing’s happened. 

Basically, I don’t know what to do. 

Sorry for whining at you, 
Feeling Terrible 

Dear Feeling Terrible:

Can you do me a favor and remove “slut” as a mean thing you say about yourself?  In this story, it took three to tango, and every single other person involved in what happened was just as drunk and horny as you and is probably feeling just as awkward the morning after. You’re not a bad person for seeking connection, sexy adventure, acting out a super-secret fantasy of having sex with two men at the same time, orgasms, or whatever else you were looking for that night. It is very possible to bounce back from this, shore up your relationship with your roommates, and figure out how you want to handle sex (and alcohol) in a way that’s healthier and more fulfilling for you going forward.

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Michael Scott saying "That's what she said!"

The wrong kind of confidence.

Here are two questions that are both kind of about confidence.

Question #125: How do I regain my confidence?

Dear Captain Awkward

I’m a 25 year old who is at university for the first time in her life after making not the best choices as a teenager.
I have been there for 2 and a half years now and for the most part I have been doing pretty well, but recently I had to do a prac for my degree, and it went terribly, which I’d blame 50% of on a huge personality clash with the Mentor Teacher.

I am redoing the prac soon, so thats terrifying enough, but I have lost all my previous confidence in my student skills, I drag my heels on assignments, find it increasingly difficult to go to class and in general just feel really down on myself. I worked really hard to get up my confidence in going to uni as I have a minor learning disability (developmental dyspraxia) that can affect my work. but all that self talk I did to get myself there in the first place just feels really useless now. I’d really like your help in becoming confident again.

Wants To Finish Uni before She’s Thirty

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Joseph Gordon-Leavitt from 500 Days of Summer, looking pleased with himself.

500 Days of Summer: A movie about selective hearing by a nice guy who turns into a Nice Guy (tm).

O Captain! My Captain!

Our fearful trip is not at all done.

I’ve moved quite recently to a city I quite like.  I have a lot of casual pals but few close, trustworthy friends.  I’ve just started a new job, and am trying to balance my time between this job, a long-term creative project, taking care of myself (cooking, exercising, etc.), and of course making friends.

I also met someone who is, in some ways, really great.  (That “in some ways” may tell you all you need to know.)  He’s attractive, considerate, fascinating, and fun.  He’s also ridiculously intense. Like, RIDICULOUSLY.  I’m pretty sure that I am going to have to have an awkward conversation with him, and I’ve actually already figured out what I need to say, so that’s not the question.  (“I just moved here and am trying to put my life together, and I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed.  I really do like you and I want to be friends and hang out, but I need to get my life on track and make friends before I can even think about getting involved with anyone romantically.  I really do mean the friends part. Will you still come to my party?”)

The question is, instead, two other things.

One.  The way he’s intense reminds me of myself, like, five years ago.  I can totally understand why anyone didn’t want to date me then – I thought everyone would be the love of my life, and I was obsessed with my own perceived inability to have a normal relationship, and I took things personally that were not at all about me.  My do-gooder heart wants to find some way to be able to help him.  Can I?

Two.  A much more selfish query.  Is there any way I can go backwards in time, get rid of all the serious crap, and somehow just do silly things with him and maybe sleep together for a while?  (I didn’t sleep with him, never fear, in part because I was trying to find a way to get him to chill out.  In retrospect, maybe I should have; he’s bending over backwards trying to tell me he doesn’t just want to have sex with me, which might not actually be a bad thing.)  I suspect the answer is no, but I can keep hoping.


Too Much Too Soon

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Dear Captain Awkward, 

Quick background: I just graduated this June and moved to a new city in August to be with my lovely, lovely boyfriend. We’re not living together yet (but we’re discussing it and both of us want to move in together soon), but I am staying with an aunt and uncle who live in this new city. I applied like crazy for jobs when I moved out here and took the first one I was offered because the economy sucks and I was scared, etc., and I am incredibly grateful to have gotten work so quickly after moving, in spite of the job itself. I know that I am lucky in that regard.  I have some student loans to pay off, but those payments don’t have to start until January. I also bought a car, but my grandma helped me pay for it, so now I’m paying her back. That’s my financial situation right now. 

I’ve been working as a data entry operator at this job for about two months and from day one, I hated it. I cry on the way home from work at least once a week. I dread waking up to go to work every morning. I stare at a computer screen for forty hours a week in a windowless office in a warehouse with people I don’t like or have much respect for. The women I work with gossip about each other constantly and it makes me wonder what they’re saying about me when I’m not around. I don’t get up. I don’t do anything different at any point in the day, just shuffle papers from one pile to another. My commute is at least an hour in heavy traffic both ways. This job isn’t in my field of interest, there are no benefits, no networking opportunities, and no room for growth in the company. My boyfriend has been telling me to quit since week one and my parents quickly jumped on board because I am so unhappy working here. I’ve kept applying for other jobs (with non-profits, my field of interest) and keeping my head down at work in the meantime. 

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Hi Captain Awkward,

I am a 21-year-old college student about to begin my last year of school. My family is a bit nuts. My 22-year-old brother, diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at an early age, receives money from the government monthly and has never worked. My dad is in his 60s and also receives money from the government for bipolar disorder. This leaves me and my mom, who works full time and allows us to live above the poverty line.

 She is also an emotionally unstable alcoholic who frequently stays up the entire night drinking, banging on the door of whoever has angered her that night, screaming and cursing at them for hours and hours. And it doesn’t take much to anger her–one errant comment is enough to land someone in her bad graces.

My mom and dad hate each other, but my mom has trouble supporting both of us without my dad’s check and I think my dad gets lonely without us. Her pattern is to ask him to come live with us, and then if he says something stupid or something goes wrong–and something is always going wrong–she gets drunk and blames him for it. Cue hours of drunken screaming. She kicks him out of the house often, and my dad says every time is the last, but he always comes back.

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Graphic for The Brady Bunch.

I'm pretty sure the Bradys handled emotional crises by having Alice put Quaaludes in all of their food. Not recommended if you're trying to raise functional members of society.

Dear Captain Awkward,

 This is our family:

  • My partner, divorced & single dad for 7 years.
  • His daughter, 9 years old, who sees her mother only on the weekends.
  • My son, 7 years old, whose father lives on the other side of the planet (we’re fine with that!).
  • Then there’s our baby, two months old.
  •  Well, and me, the trying-not-to-be-evil stepmother. So you see, there’s a lot of potential for drama.

 I truly love my stepdaughter, and she likes me, too, and often confides in me or asks me for guidance or comfort. But most of the time, handling her is really exhausting. The divorce of her parents was a dirty mess and even now, their relationship is problematic at best but mostly an absolute disaster. So the girl bears the brunt of it and naturally, acts out since she knows no other way of coping. She shows early signs of self-harm (scratching, aggression, self-endangering behaviour) and gets sick a lot (psychosomatic illnesses).

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I’ve been Tweeting about this all morning, but I thought I’d make a slightly longer post.

Listen:  If you’re in the US and  you’d like to close your bank account at one of the big banks in protest  in favor of opening an account at a smaller bank or credit union, follow the list of recommended steps here to do it right.  Most importantly, open your new account and get it up and running before you close the old account. Because:

  1. Credit unions can be great, but they don’t work for everyone.  Many have strict rules about who can be a member. Many have fee schedules and restrictions that are just as onerous as those of banks. You have to apply to be a member of a credit union – it can take a little time for them to accept you, and they may NOT accept you.  Don’t risk financial limbo. Do your homework and get your account set up before you cancel your old one.
  2. When you open a new account, you might not have instant access to your deposits.  When I moved to Chicago and opened a new bank account (with a small community bank, where I still bank today) it took something like 7-10 days for me to have access to my money. Ridiculous?  Sure.  But very real. Also, sometimes it takes a while to get your new debit card and/or checks in the mail and to transfer automatic payments and direct deposits over. Get all your ducks in a row at the new bank and then close the old account.
  3. Not everyone qualifies for a debit card!  It’s something you “apply for” when you open a new bank account. I think this has broken the brains of some of my Twitter followers outside of the US.  Even though it is YOUR money, a debit card is still an instrument of credit and you need to meet a certain threshold of creditworthiness to have one (and/or the ability to write checks).  Even though merchants can instantly verify that the money is in your account and technology has shrunk the transaction time between presenting your card for payment and the actual debit taking place, when you pay with either a check or a credit card you are saying “I promise that the money will be in the account when you collect it.”  For most of you it wouldn’t really be a problem, but if you’ve been living to paycheck to paycheck, and things have gotten sketchy for you financially, but you currently have a bank account with debit card and everything is in good standing, hold onto that while you set up your new account.
  4. You need to make sure all of your outstanding financial obligations are met before you close an account. Never, ever shut down an account that is overdrawn.  It will profoundly negatively affect your ability to open a new bank account.
  5. Really audit your own banking needs, habits, and preferences. If you close your account at Big Evil Bank because they instituted a $5/month debit card holder fee, but you’re still using their ATMs twice a week because they have a machine near your house or your workplace and you don’t have time to locate your bank’s ATM, you are “sending a message” to the tune of of giving them an extra $24/month (Assuming $3/withdrawal – in addition to whatever your bank charges for using outside ATMs). Guess you really showed them!

Listen, it’s deliberately difficult and arcane to move your financial life from one institution to another – that’s how they get you. If you’re choosing to surmount that barrier and “vote with your feet,” do it!  I just want you to take care of yourself in the process.  It’s not a good “I’ll swing by after the protest and knock that out” decision.