Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hello, I am back from my Forth Worth/Amarillo vacation. I can tell you that North Main BBQ in Euless is LEGIT, you Texans are really onto something with that whole Bluebell ice cream thing, and that it is as fun as you think it is to cuddle four tiny wiggly puppies simultaneously. My boyfriend’s family and friends are awesome and showed me a great time. He’s still back there getting his mom settled in after an extended hospital stay, while I am catching up with my local friends and planning the upcoming semester. I should be back to some kind of regular blogging schedule here. MASSIVE thanks to alphakitty for her heroic moderation efforts while I was gone.

Some announcements:

  • If you’re in the Chicago area, I’ll be speaking & reading some stuff from the blog at Northwestern University on Tuesday, January 22nd from 6-7 pm, in the Norris Student Center. Loose topic is “mental health & stress for college students.” There will be a Q&A afterward.
  • The great group blog In Our Words has an advice columnist devoted to answering questions from people in the poly & kink communities. I think this is the resource a lot of you have been wanting, yes?
  • The London Awkward Community is planning to make their meetups a monthly thing. Details of the next one below.
Dear Awkward Army,

The last two London meetups were so successful that we want to make it a regular monthly thing.  Next one is the 26th January, and hopefully the last Saturday of every month after that.

The venue last time worked out well, and they’ve offered us discounts (unspecified so far, but possibly free drinks), so I’m sticking with that.

26th January, 11:00 am onwards, Leon restaurant, 36/38 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TT.


Leon have a variety of good food at very reasonable prices – for central London, anyway!  Menu here:

This branch has an accessible toilet, and we’ll be on the ground floor in the back (around behind the food service counter).

I have long brown hair and glasses.  I will bring my plush Cthulhu to use as a table marker.  It looks like this:

My email address is kate DOT towner AT gmail DOT com

Incidentally, I also intend to weep along with Les Miserables that afternoon/evening, at the O2 or elsewhere by arrangement.  Let me know if you want to come too!Cheers,


Hi Captain Awkward,

A few months ago, I met a guy who works in my field through a professional networking event. Since then, I have noticed that he has such a brutal case of White Knight Syndrome that he will actually create Drama just to “save” the women who happen to be in his presence, including myself.

I only see him at business events (barely once a month), but it’s becoming more and more of a problem for me since 1) it is a small scene professionally, 2) he believes our passing acquaintance means we are BFF and thus FEELINGSDUMP and DRAMA in public from him every time I see him, 3) I’m just starting off in this field, and 4) because of 2), other networking attendees believe he and I are friends, thus making any attempts at networking that much harder for me. (Did I add that I am an introvert?) They see his unprofessional conduct, believe we are friends, and believe I am just like him. I don’t want him in my life at all! When I met him I was polite, but I didn’t know he would repeatedly try to violate my boundaries and neither do most of the organizers of these events. These events are also happening in public spaces such as bars and restaurants.

Any tips on what I could do next time he shows up?

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Hello CA,

I am finishing up a PhD in the social sciences, and will be on the academic job market soon. I really want to teach more than anything, either at the university or high school level. 

I need advice with regards to something in my past which may or may not come up as I look for positions and hopefully begin teaching: for several years, I did various forms of sex work in order to survive financially. This work falls within a grey area in terms of the legality of it in the place I was living at the time. 

Although I worked under an fake name, was never arrested, and did not consent to clients taking photographs or video of me, I know that it is possible that my images are online, and/or that I could be involuntarily “outed” some other way. This causes me a great deal of anxiety, especially in light of recent stories about teachers being fired when their involvement in sex work was discovered. 

I have no shame or guilt about how I used to get by (I don’t consider myself to have had much of a “choice,” in the matter but that’s a different discussion!) However, I’m aware that some may think my participation in the sex industry somehow diminishes my teaching abilities or sense of judgement. 

At this point I am wondering if I should have some sort of response prepared should the issue arise – and I guess I don’t even know if it would be better to deny my past (lie) or defend it. I don’t know what my “rights” to privacy are in a situation like this, or even the first thing I’d do if anything surfaced, now or ten years down the line. 

In the meantime, I feel like I’m carrying a big, dark secret around, which is isolating and stressful. After extensive research, I’ve determined that the area where I live does not have any resources for current or former sex workers, so I’m on my own trying to sort this out. What would you do in my situation? 

-Good Teacher

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Who stands like this anyway?

Hey, I’m up here. My eyes and brains are not located in the belly. Helloooooo?

Dear Captain,

I’m pregnant – yay! It’s still pretty early, but if things go well, I’m on my way to being a big gassy pregnant lady. (Right now I am a small gassy pregnant lady).

However, I’m already dreading handsy co-workers who I know will touch my stomach, comment on my weight gain, start referring to me soley as “mamma” and judge everything I do by how good it is for the “baby” (I recently saw one of them cover the ears of a pregnant woman – and not one with whom he was particularly close – when someone used profanity.)

These people are both very sweet and well-meaning, and entitled and infuriating. I’m trying to plan my responses well before I start showing without a planned response, I know I’ll come across as rude and cold, while they’ll look like super-awesome guys who are just trying to be so cool and friendly!

Can you help me come up with some scripts that a) help these well-intentioned bozos realise why their comments and contact aren’t welcome, or appropriate and b) don’t make me sound like the mean office grump who hates good tidings?

– Not “Mamma” Read More

Hey there, Captain Awkward (or Other Awesome Person),

I am currently lucky enough to be dating World’s Most Amazing Guy. We have been dating for over a year, and for the most part we get along great. The one major sticking point in our relationship is this: He wants to wait for marriage to have sex (PIV [Penis-In-Vagina] intercourse) and I want to have sex, like, 3 months ago. I try to not make him feel bad about his decision, but lately I’ve been getting more and more frustrated. I’m hoping you can give me advice on dealing with some of the not-so-great reasons I want to have sex in the first place, and that working through those issues will keep me from putting a strain on the relationship.

A bit of background – I’ve only ever been in one other relationship. I didn’t start dating until college, and my relative lack of experience occasionally makes me feel insecure. My previous relationship lasted two months and ended pretty badly. He fingered me for the first time and it hurt like crap for a week afterwards. During that week, he completely ignored me and made excuses to leave every time I tried to talk with him about how bad I was feeling. So I broke up with him.

So a few months later when I met Boyfriend, I was in no hurry to go further sexually. He told me right off the bat that he was waiting for marriage and I was completely fine with it. We are still dating over a year later, but I’ve found that my wants have changed. I want to have sex, and I definitely know enough to do it safely, but I’ve found that some of the reasons I want it (besides love and good feels) aren’t necessarily good reasons. They are as follows:

1. Having something more significant/further along the bases metaphor than what happened with first boyfriend, especially since I feel like I had to go through the shitty aftermath of losing my virginity without actually getting to have sex.

2. Getting rid of the stupid societal label of” virgin” which people use to mean innocent and inexperienced (even though virgin is totally a nonsense word and you define your own sex and it’s totally fine if you are inexperienced and yeah I know). I am particularly sensitive to this one because I didn’t date in high school and I’m also one of those small quiet people everyone always calls “cute.”

I want these to not be reasons for wanting sex anymore. Help?

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I am heading to Texas for the first time ever tomorrow morning, to hang out with my sweetheart’s family & friends. January is a good time to get the hell out of Chicago for a few days, yes? So I won’t be posting regularly for about the next week.

In the meantime, per someone’s request in one of the many recent threads, this is an open thread about crushes and the concept of Limerence. Have you ever had a crush that just felt unshakeable and like it was making you stupid? What cured you?

True story: Over a decade ago I had a longstanding crush on a very close friend. We were one of those inseparable pairs. We worked together, did everything together, people constantly mistook us for a couple. Despite ZERO sexual chemistry, I drank the “What a good couple we would make! We already do everything together!” Kool Aid and decided we should be soul mates. In my defense, it was Washington D.C. in the 1990s. If you’ve ever watched the West Wing, you’ll have an idea of what the dating pool was like: Deeply unsexy workaholics who never stop talking. I know those characters have an avid fannish following, which, okay, cool if that’s your thing, I guess? The whole “I am convinced everything I say is vitally, deeply important and you should listen while I speak in paragraphs” thing really doesn’t wear well on 25-year-olds fresh out of the intern pool. I found one chill, not-ugly dude who had interesting things to say in his paragraphs and seemed interested in my paragraphs to the point of eating lunch with me every day and hanging out with me both days of every weekend (and eventually living 2 doors down in the same building); I was going to hold onto him for dear fucking life.

My strategy for making this shit happen was vast and complex. It included:

  • Dramatic sighs.
  • Dropping hints and badly timed sexual jokes that were not answered in kind or received with anything but patient forbearance or kindly pretending that whatever I had just said hadn’t really just happened.
  • Long meaningful glances….that seriously made him ask one time if I had something wrong with my eyes because I was not blinking sufficiently to lubricate them.
  • Having long, involved discussions with all mutual friends about the depth of my feelings and how this person and I should obviously be together over the course of years, plural. How my friends did not euthanize me and feed me to the animals in the Woodley Park Zoo, I will never know.
  • Getting interested in things I had no actual interest in for the sake of spending EVEN MORE TIME together. Like, going to mass with him every week. In Spanish. A faith that I had long ago abandoned and language I do not understand or speak.
  • Trying to turn our hangouts into stealth dates by taking him to dimly lit romantic places, where you recline on cushions and eat while watching belly dancers and then watching him like a hawk to see if he had reactions to the sexy belly dancers that might possibly be transferred to me. NOT AWKWARD AT ALL.
  • Totally ignoring the prospect or possibility that anyone existed, because this was obviously the person I was meant to be with and I was going to prove that I was the most loyal and patient person in the world and will this into being!

One day, after years, plural, I could not handle my feelings in silence (by which I mean painfully obvious “conveying” and hinting and also talking about them at length to everyone but him), so I wrote all of them down in a very long letter on good stationery. Then I recopied the entire thing so the handwriting would be nicer and there would be fewer ellipses.

You’ve read my blog posts, right? Imagine the FEELINGSMAILS I am capable of generating. Comprehensive, funny, heartfelt, sexy, and above all supremely logical cases for why you and I should be together, In My Pants, Love Always, Me.

Instead of sensibly setting this letter on fire, I put it in an envelope, walked to his house, hung out with his roommate for a bit, excused myself to go to the bathroom, snuck into his bedroom, and left the note on his pillow.

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Dear Captain Awkward:

I need some advice on being a decent human being.

My wife and I have been together for 8 years, married for 5. She has severe depression and anxiety. She’s been in therapy since before I met her, but her illnesses still hit her pretty hard. I do as much as I can for her — earning an income, taking care of the chores and cooking, always giving upbeat feedback.

She hasn’t had a full time job in a few years, but she takes on a smattering of freelance projects because she says her career is the only thing that makes her life meaningful. Unfortunately, it’s a huge struggle for her to complete these projects — generally she’ll start them the day they’re due, and I’ll have to sit with her for moral support and try to take care of as many aspects of it (printing, mailing, etc) as I can without any professional training.

Most days she sleeps in late, spends the day messing around on the internet, and then tells me about how stupid and worthless she thinks she is. I can usually get her to a point of resolving that tomorrow she’ll wake up on time and I’ll help her make a plan to get some work done, but that generally doesn’t happen. Getting out of the house helps, but the process of getting her to get up the nerve to go can be exhausting.

She is also convinced that none of her friends care about her — though she has more and better friends than I do. She’s very intelligent, so she has an exceptional ability to rationalize and explain away any evidence I present to counter her thesis that “I am a horrible stupid person who nobody likes and who is probably just faking my problems because I’m stupid.”

The reason I’m writing is that this should not be a big deal for me — she’s not hurting me, I’m not the one who’s depressed, I do get out of the house for work and to see friends. But I find that as much as I love her, and as much as I love spending time with her, there are times I start to feel frustrated, start to wish her depression wasn’t a shadow hanging over everything I do. I know that’s not OK, and most of the time I can keep my focus on her rather than on me. But it seeps through sometimes, and I worry that it will affect her or that I’ll slip and say something like “let’s not make plans — tomorrow you’ll probably just sleep all day anyway.” 

Do I just need a kick in the pants?

Overwhelmed Husband (#429)

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