It Came From The Search Terms: Wake Me Up When September Ends

WordPress has changed the way that it displays these, but I have remembered to periodically collect the good ones. Let us now answer the search strings that people typed in to find this blog as if they are actual questions in the traditional way.

1) What does “I told you its over between us” mean

Rough translation: It is over between you, and the person would like you to stop doing whatever it is that you’re doing (calling them, hanging about, inviting them to stuff) because they want their relationship with you to be past tense.

2) My UK wife opens the front door naked

Sure she does.

On the off chance that this is a question and not a fantasy, a) does it bug you b) have there been strange consequences, like, with delivery people or neighbors c) have you tried asking why she does it?

3) When he criticizes your dress

“He” is being a jerk.

4) How to seduce a girl with chats

I don’t give seduction advice, but let me try to help you out at least a little bit:

Make friends with spelling and grammar and you will set yourself apart. Remember that dirty talk is fraught with peril and that one person’s sexting is another person’s staged reading of hilarious things out loud to their friends. Pay attention to what that particular girl likes and take your cues from her.

5) He mistreats me but his family loves me what can I do.

Mistreatment is never ok. I hope you can get away from him.

6) Boyfriend trying to make me better

Better, as in, no longer sick with the flu? Or some flavor of “improved” as a person?

One of these is acceptable. Hint: It’s the one that involves rest, broth, and marathoning Slings & Arrows.

7) How can u win a girl u love but have never met

Meet her and get to know her. Tell her you’re interested in her, but hold off on talk of “love” until you actually know her – that’s kind of intense out of the gate and it doesn’t work the way it does in movies. See what she says about that.

8) What does it mean when you only talk to someone when you’re sad

This may not apply to you, but one of the most common letters I get is a version of “Someone I care about is going through something really hard, and I want to be there for them, but I feel like their unpaid 24-7 therapist and it’s way too much for me. But I’m afraid that if I disengage, they will take it very hard because they don’t have anyone else to talk to.” Even people with the best of intentions can fall into unbalanced patterns and habits of communication. It’s great to have willing sounding boards and crying-shoulders who have your back in a crisis, but maybe re-evaluate this dynamic a little bit and call/text/chat/see this person when you are in better spirits sometimes. Seek out a therapist or counselor who is trained to really absorb and work with your sad feelings, or try a daily ritual of dumping your negative thoughts into a journal. See if you can leave some of your problems there so that you can be more present for your friend and have more reciprocity in your relationship with them.

9) My wife like to call me captain

Aye aye

10) Roommate repeatedly enters my room without permission

Animated gif of a girl riding an octopus and saying "nope!"

Install a lock. Say, “I do not want you to ever go into my room.” Start looking for a new roommate if this is not respected.

11) How to reply to a compliment from a friend

“Thank you” is the simplest and the most common/expected response.

“Please don’t compliment my appearance, it makes me uncomfortable” if you’re at work and it makes you uncomfortable.

12) How do you handle someone who invites others to your party without your permission

Tell them bluntly, “It’s not cool for you to invite people to my party without my permission, at least ask me!”

If they apologize and understand why you are upset, issue solved. If they try to explain to you why it’s not a big deal, don’t invite them to things anymore.

13) I’m not interested stranger facebook

If a stranger messages me on Facebook with anything remotely flirtatious –an overabundance of compliments, “I’d love to get to know u”, or most hilariously “hey” (as in, ‘I have done the work by reaching out, now, entertain me, woman!’), I don’t say I’m not interested. I skip straight to “Block.” In my experience, any attempt to say “Hey, do I know you/you’re coming on kinda strong” just leads to an annoying conversation where they get super-mad at me for not wanting to listen to their sales pitch. YMMV.

14) Become ambidextrous

Now you have me Googling this. Science seems to say “don’t.”

15) Sex with my captain

If you are in the armed forces having sex with someone in your chain of command is a very bad idea and could lead to career consequences for both of you.

16) When you see the real person and they are mean and 17) Someone whom always make u feel like shit

Disengage from them. Spend time with people who make you feel good.

152 thoughts on “It Came From The Search Terms: Wake Me Up When September Ends

    1. Aw, man. Show up and think of a funny joke; go to the comments and everyone’s already made it. Sigh. Welp, great minds etc. etc.

    1. I’ve had a rash of those lately. Half the time they appear to be some sort of bot; a bland-looking older white guy with a slightly weird name (Cardy Harkins??) who types like English is not really their first language. The other half are a real person from a different country (as in, they have a real and public profile, lots of status updates, pictures of relatives) who has inexplicably decided that I will be interested in them romantically from literally the other side of the planet.

      I really don’t know which I find weirder, but they’re both kind of infuriating.

  1. Oh, my dear sweet #7… I really love We See Lights*, but if at any time you start to sound like you’re straight out of one of their songs, it’s almost certainly a bad sign.

    *For reference:

    Choice lyrics:

    “Well, I think that I’m in love,
    Even though I’ve only spoken to you
    About twice.
    I’d like to know your favorite colour
    And maybe even meet your mother! Is that
    Too soon?”

    “And everything I do, I’ll do for you.
    What Bryan Adams sang is true!
    And I’ll put that on a mix tape for you.
    Would our baby be a boy or a lassie?
    Please stop me if I’m going too fast here!
    I just think I might be in love with you.”

    Please, LW, don’t be that person. It’s only cute when it’s puppets with a Scottish accent, and even then it’s slightly heartbreak-flavored.

    1. (And yes, this is a little gratuitous, but I’ve wanted for ages to see the narrators of WSL songs write to Captain Awkward. They need the help.)

    2. See also: The Lumineers, “Stubborn Love.”

      Every time I hear that song I think “Dude no, get off her porch and stop screaming out, she is never coming downstairs and also the police are on their way.”

        1. Doesn’t it just? I’m pretty hard-pressed to think of a love song that has good romantic reasoning actually!

          1. Well, in terms of classic pop, you could do worse than “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

            My “Catchy Bad Romantic Advice” playlist starts with “It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song),” because you really *should* pay attention to the way he acts, no matter what’s in his kiss.

  2. To #14: But if it’s for a specific reason, such as your dominant hand Has Problems like mine does so you need to be able to use your nondominant hand effectively, then what you do is go to your local teacher store, buy a handwriting book for kindergarteners, and start practicing. Use a nice pen that glides smoothly until the muscles start getting strong enough to use a pencil or regular ballpoint. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but it can also be the mother of adaptation, and I believe in your ability to adapt!

    1. Yes, I don’t think anything *bad* will happen if you try to learn to be ambidextrous, it’s just not necessary if your dominant hand is working fine, and teachers no longer consider writing with the right hand a necessity.

    2. I broke my dominant arm very badly in 4th grade, so I spent a while learning to write with my other hand. It’s come in handy since!

      I do this weird thing where I put eyeliner on my left eye with my left (dominant) hand, and then switch the pencil to my right hand to do my right eye. I literally cannot do an eye with the “wrong” hand. I’ve only met like one other person who does this.

      1. I don’t use eyeliner specifically but I do this with all the eye makeup I use (mascara and eyeshadow)! *waves at you excitedly* I’m right-handed but there are some things I only use my left hand for – like the makeup thing, or opening and closing bottles, for example.

      2. Me, too! I’m what is called ‘random-handed.’ Some things exclusively righty, some things exclusively lefty, some things either/or.

        1. I didn’t know there was a word for this! I’m a mechanic and I have very specific handed-ness with tools and tasks – my dominant right hand usually gets used for holding delicate parts in alignment, so my left is handy with a hex key or a wrench, but can’t use a screwdriver to save my life.

          1. I do things that require strength righthanded, those that require dexterity (no pun intended) lefthanded. If a task requires both, I’m screwed.

        2. Apparently I cut my food right-handed, but as soon as I start thinking about it I can’t figure out how to hold utensils anymore.

        3. Huh! Hadn’t heard that. Had only recently learned “mixed-handed” and decided that was a better fit than ambidexrtous, sorta, maybe. Some things only right-handed always (usually strength/sport related), some things left-handed always (usually fine motor skills), some things always either one equally well, and some wander from one to the other or both or I forget and confuse myself.

        4. Or “task-handed.” That’s what I am. I’m lefthanded and used to mouse exclusively righthanded until I had surgery on my right shoulder and couldn’t mouse righthanded for a few months (or do much of anything else — it was amazing how many things I discovered that I do righthanded in spite of ostensibly being lefthanded). When I tried to go back to mousing righthanded after I was able to use my shoulder again, it was almost impossible. Our brains work in mysterious ways.

          1. Also, maybe socialization plays a large role here? I think lots of things we do that we learn from other people don’t actually need fine motor skills or strength, and so we just copy them exactly without bothering to switch hands unless it’s uncomfortable and you test it out. My gran is left handed, but she knits right-dominant and does any sort of sporty stuff right-dominant because that’s the way she was taught and the way the sports equipment feels best. Similarly, you can reconfigure your computer to be left-dominant, but it’s just so much easier to keep the default settings that most people don’t.

          2. Partly. I used to work a public desk, so I’m sure that’s why the mousing happened that way. OTOH, I was taught to use scissors by my mother. She’s righthanded but uses scissors lefthanded. I’m nominally lefthanded (I write, eat, and do needlework lefthanded, but do a lot of other things righthanded), but I use scissors righthanded. So not that part, no.

        5. Oooo! There’s a name for this! I do everything right-handed, until I decided I wanted to spin (as in make yarn on a spinning wheel). It just didn’t work until I switched to using my left hand. Only thing I’ve found so far, but it always makes me laugh.

        6. Interesting, I do this too I think partially because I broke my dominant wrist in 2nd grade so I learned to do more with my non-dominant hand and partly because the hand was never overly-dominant anyway. I don’t notice it usually unless someone points it out to me, my Mom’s right hand is very dominant and she always is flabbergasted when I do things “left handed”. I also still put on and take off shirts strangely compared to most people because of having to learn to do it over a cast that went up past my elbow 🙂

      3. I’m 45, and I never knew that putting mascara on my left eye with my left (non-dominant) hand was unusual. I’ve always switched the wand to the opposite hand, I can’t even figure out how to contort myself to do otherwise. But a friend of mine I went on a trip with where 4 of us women shared the same hotel room pointed it out to me in amazement, and everyone else there agreed. So I guess I’m one of the weird ones!

        1. Huh, now I’m thinking about this.

          When I put on mascara I switch between hands, but I can’t use an eyebrow pencil with my left hand at all for some reason. Maybe I should start practicing, my left eyebrow might look nicer!

        2. How do you do it otherwise without stabbing yourself in the eye or getting mascara on your nose?

      4. Cool! I write and do most things left-handed, but use a mouse and scissors right-handed. When I was learning to groom dogs, my instructors were righties, and lefty scissors cost a lot more.

        1. I’m left-dominant, but like one of the commenters above I use my right hand for anything requiring strength over dexterity. My teachers tried to make me use leftie scissors; I just couldn’t get the hang of them. I can’t play any sports left-handed, and I do the switchy thing with eye makeup. I thought I was odd, but apparently there are a few of us.

      5. That’s pretty interesting. Makeup is one of the things that I can do only with my dominant hand, or for some things (e.g. false lashes) with both hands working together. Fortunately for me, unless I’m doing very complex decorative makeup, my dominant hand doesn’t need to be fully functional in order to do my makeup, it just has to be able to hold a brush. When I was a little kid, though, I used to draw with my right hand and color with my left, so there’s that.

      6. My mom is writing-ambidextrous because half the kids in her second grade class broke their dominant hands/arms climbing trees or whatever kids do and the teacher got fed up, so she just taught them all how to write with both hands. They were still new at the whole literacy thing, so it was easy.

      7. I may need to try this, manybellsdown. I’m very left-handed, but now that you mention it, I do find coordination between parts of the same side of my body to be easier than if I’m mixing sides. And the movement would be different to use left-on-right-eye than left-on-left-eye, affecting symmetry….. ok, definitely going to try this. Thanks.

        Mind you, I’ll probably try this late in the evening when I’m not going out, since the fine motor control for my right hand sucks. But I have previously had some success with right-hand mirror writing, since I’m essentially using the movement patterns from my left hand to guide the right.

        I use a computer mouse righthanded, but that’s largely to save my left hand for other things (like writing and not risking carpal tunnel).

      1. I’m the mirror image of my mother. Everything she does righthanded I do lefthanded. And since we’re both taskhanded, there’s more switching back and forth than you’d think.

      2. My mother and my oldest sister were BOTH left-handed, so you’d think I’d have learned some ambidexterity, but no. I am extremely, hopelessly right-handed.

    3. I have broken bones on my dominant hand/arm a few times over my life (having the natural tendency to catch myself w/ my dominant hand while falling), so I eventually decided that I needed to be semi-ambidextrous as a survival skill. I tend to be strongly left-handed, but I enjoy being at least competent at right-handed use. (Although while I can do things such as write legibly, for some reason I could NOT manage brushing my hair with my right hand. And using a knife was right out. I had nice friends bring me food until the left hand was back in commission.)

  3. To #10: Use the lock consistently. If they whine about how “roommates don’t have locked doors” and “why don’t you trust me” and “but what if there’s an emergency and I need something from your room” your answers are “That’s an interesting idea” and “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “there won’t be”.

    If this is a case where they barge into your room repeatedly to talk to you even though your door is closed in the universal “housemate busy, do not disturb” position, install the lock. Keep door locked whenever you don’t feel like being interrupted/talked at. If there’s whining, find a new roommate.

    Alternative:. Skip all of this and find someone to live with who already understands that bedrooms are private and you need permission to enter them. (It is unreasonable to expect everyone to have this knowledge ingrained in them since birth. It is reasonable to insist on living with someone who respects your reasonable desire to have a space that is just yours and not communal property.)

    1. My parents did that. “what if the house catches fire” “what if you choke or something and we need to get in” “if you trusted us you wouldn’t have a locked door!”

      I was so glad to get my own room in college. A single. Yesss.

      1. Break down the door- bedroom doors and locks aren’t usually that strong. The symbolism is powerful though.
        I won’t eat in my room.
        Yes, you’re right. If I trusted you, I wouldn’t have a locked door.

        Which is to say, I am glad you got a single in college, too. That room of one’s own thing is no lie.

        1. That one made me shudder and then feel so glad you got your single room, because my entire family used to barge in and out of my room as if I didn’t exist several times a day because you had to go through my room to get to my brothers’ room and also because my mother didn’t see the need to knock when she wanted to see me or put something in my room, because respect was something daughters should have for their mothers and not the other way round. I once said politely that I would really appreciate it if she allowed me some privacy and tried to remember to knock before coming in, and she yelled about how dare I ask for privacy in HER house and demanded to know what was I trying to hide from her in HER house?

          Ugh. That house was chock full of fuckin’ bees.

    2. Thank you for the note about ingrained knowledge. Reasonable people who like you listen when you set boundaries, even if they don’t understand the boundary. Expecting everyone to know the boundaries without being told is a nice fantasy.

  4. #5: If he mistreats his family, I can predict fairly accurately how he will treat you, should you ever be (willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly) assigned to that category.

    #7: Get to know her… unless that means moving to where she is and/or following her around looking for opportunities to introduce yourself. Get to know her in a non-stalking way, like saying hi to her outside of class or asking her out for a beverage. Providing she shows interest in getting to know you as well, this may or may not lead to a place called love, but it’s a start. You can’t make someone love you, also, the feeling of really liking someone without actually knowing them is generally called infatuation. AKA, a crush. Nothing wrong with a crush! Just, you know, don’t be obtrusive about it if the other person doesn’t reciprocate. (don’t hide behind bushes either)

    1. I wondered if it was a question about cultural norms? As in, my wife is from the uk and does this, is it a respected cultural tradition?

      (Spoiler: it’s not. I believe they do it on Craggy Island but that’s not the UK.)

      1. Well, I’m not married but I can assure you that I always answer the door naked except when it’s too cold. Then I wear socks.

          1. It is also mine, and the Father Ted references are making my day. (And possibly my decision about what to watch while I knit away my rainy evening.)

    2. I have a feeling the searcher was after British porn. Which is a style of porn where the settings are domestic, everyone is pasty and unattractive, and the women ‘will do anything’, as long as it’s tawdry and fake. Err, at least, so I’ve been told… (ahem)

      1. Really? Cause I’ve had a legit problem with this issue in the past where a (now ex) partner’s body positivity apparently trumped anyone else’s boundaries about getting a choice of whether or not to be around naked people. Including the postman.

          1. Hehe, yup! But it’s really hard to suggest that when it’s being framed as an empowerment narrative.

          2. OHGOD, this makes my friend’s husband (and my shoulder-ears reaction to him) make so much more sense now.

            He used to make a big deal about how it was HIS house, and HE could do whatever he wanted in it, including being naked. So he’d host poker nights, and he’d be sitting there wearing only boxers (and apparently talking loudly about how people were lucky to even get THAT much of a concession out of him).

            He kept inviting me. I kept declining, politely. I really like his wife (even though he’s the one I’ve known for longer), but something about that dynamic just felt really off to me.

            And now I know why. Yay.

        1. I feel very sorry for the postman, who doesn’t have a choice about having to go to places, and who probably doesn’t want to know that much about anyone.

  5. #4: Do not ignore boundaries. If she says no, or that something makes her uncomfortable, back off and apologize instead of continuing to press things on her.

    Also, you don’t mention whether or not this is on an online dating site, but if it is? Really, really read her profile and respect whatever boundaries she’s put up there, because the one thing that pissed me off more than folks who didn’t read my profile were those who read it and then messaged me anyway, telling me they were ignoring my age requirements. (Or, better yet: the one dude who told me he fit in them, as if I couldn’t read and/or meant he was entitled to a (favorable) reply.)

    1. I got a message from a guy once who was like “I know we have a low match rating, but don’t worry, I checked, and it’s nothing important”. Except, of course, OKC lets you tell it what you find important and what you don’t, so a low match rating means that we disagree on stuff I DO find important, and, oh yeah, maybe don’t fucking presume to tell me what I do and don’t find important. Spoiler alert, the stuff we disagreed on were dealbreakers for me.

      1. Ugh, seriously. That’s so ridiculously entitled. There was a dude who liked my profile, and I found out, surprise surprise, that our values were diametric opposites of each other, hence the low match percentage.

  6. “make friends with spelling and grammar”? IS that really necessary? I’m a little tired of ableist stuff like this on feminist blogs to be honest.

    1. Story time!

      I have a visual proceeding disorder. It is very, very hard for me to parse “txt speak”. Something like “r u uP 4 t w/ m3 or 2o u w a n t 2 t3y l8t3r” is impossible for me to parse.

      People have preferences and needs. The fact that many people prefer or need their communication partners to communicate a certain way is not ableist. Some people can’t (literally CANNOT) read text-speak; some people need to communicate in text-speak.

      It’s not ableist to recommend mastering many forms of communication if your stated goal is to widen your dating prospects.

      1. Yeah, I took the “make friends with spelling and grammar” to particularly refer to the LW wanting to “seduce” someone via “chat”. I imagine texts are more likely to be “seductive” if they aren’t riddled with errors and text speak (I have not yet been seduced by any kind of textual medium addressed to me so I don’t know that).

        1. Really, it’s my strong opinion that personal preferences aren’t ableist. Some people can only be seduced by people who can quote Shakespearian sonnets from memory.

          Now saying people who can quote Shakespearian sonnets from memory are Objectively Better partners? That’s ableist, sure. But a preference for that is just a preference.

          No one owes anyone a Social Justice blowjob.

      2. Something really interesting in terribly spelled English, or text-speak > boring, rude, or inappropriate but perfectly edited mainstream social communication English. The difference between “has terrible spelling in mainstream informal social English” and “is fluent in text speak and emojiese” isn’t hard to discern. If you can’t summon reasonably polished standard informal English writing grammar and spelling for [reasons], that’s okay! If you’re being terrifyingly amazing in your message, it will probably show.

        This from a writing teacher with an SO who for [reasons] does not have handle on spelling. Like, to the point where sometimes sentences don’t make any sense at all because autocorrect will make unusual choices if you’re misspellings are really misspelled. They are gentle, sincere, hilarious, and has never once said something creepy or gross in writing or speech.

    2. It is a rule that commenters on the blog cannot correct each others’ spelling or grammar (out of just such concerns as you raise and because it’s a total waste of moderating energy and the people who comment only to point out errors tend to be tedious motherfuckers).

      Would it be better to say “get good at words” or “get good at writing” if someone wants to meet new people through a textual medium?

      1. Maybe something like… “Appreciate that some people want conversation rather than to be ‘seduced’ by chat. If you want to jump straight to the saucy part, ask someone directly if they’re up for that and be respectful of their answer. If you want to get better at having a sexy chat conversation, consider reading some erotica – the letters page in a porn mag or smut fic, whatever – and see what phrases or ways of describing and talking about an action seem sensual to you”.

    3. It’s not about whether you have dyslexia or something, it’s about people who write all their stuff in lowercase text speak.

    4. In my experience, there’s always been a very low correlation between posters who would have genuine excuses for not being bestie with spelling and grammar (second to nth language speakers, dyslexics, various disabilities, little formal education) and people who are unfamiliar with grammar and spelling.

      People who struggle with communication and who make an effort are never a problem. (They tend to run spellcheckers, for a start. People who cannot be bothered to make their communication easy to read *are* a problem, and it shows.

      Plus there’s the multiplication factor. If it takes a writer an extra five minutes to proof a long text, it will take each of his ten (hundred, thousand) readers five extra minutes to decipher that post. And inflicting that on others because you cannot be arsed is… rather rude, I find.

      1. I would agree. I work with people who are not native English speakers, and I can generally tell the difference between someone who just doesn’t have a handle on the language and someone who straight-up doesn’t care how they’re being perceived.

      2. yeah, my brother is really severely dyslexic, and there is a marked difference between the way his texts to me read vs. the typical “hye babeee, cum suk my dic?” messages I receive far too many of on dating sites. Especially considering that I misspelled about 4 words while typing this message, and it took me an extra 5 seconds to right click and select the word I meant to write.

      3. Five extra minutes to decipher… if the readers themselves do not have any issues with reading. For those who struggle with reading, some writing that the average reader finds difficult to understand might as well be encrypted.

    5. I once got snapped at because I asked someone what “taz-empt” meant. They thought I was making fun of them, but I honestly had no clue that they were trying to say “tax-exempt”. That was a business-related conversation and not dating-related, but still. I don’t think it’s ableist to want to understand what the people I’m talking to are saying.

    6. Wow, I honestly regret coming back to see the comments. To see a bunch of people on a feminist blog defend the classist and ableist habits of criticising grammar is is pretty gross. Captain, I’m glad that rule is in effect, and I think your suggestion is a good one. Obviously we need to acknowledge how some people may have barriers of access or ability to getting good at writing as well though.

      1. I’ve been thinking about why things like this are prevalant in feminist spaces (aside from the fact that they are prevalant in all spaces because ableism and classism are like that) and I think part of it is because these spaces, and indeed other anti-oppression spaces, are often trolled by anonymous hate and this became a way to get people to laugh at it. Nobody wants to write a long, serious reply defending their right to exist to an anonymous troll who won’t ever read it. And so came the responses that said ‘you spelled this word and this word wrong and also used incorrect punctuation here and here’, which got shared around for people to laugh at. This doesn’t excuse it and it certainly doesn’t excuse the way casual ableism is excused in our movements. People don’t think about it. It’s like people using ‘piss-baby’ and ‘diaper baby’ as insults and thinking they are harmless, because they don’t consciously think of people who are inconctinent as people worth protecting or valuing. This should be something we are all thinking of. Thanks for bringing up this topic, whistlewren. My only other thought on it is that if person number 4 uses text speak or abbreviations for speed then maybe don’t as they can be hard to understand for those who don’t know them (I didn’t know what ‘ttyl’ mean for ages), but seeing as a lot of people have smart phones now which guess the word youre trying to say all the time so you can just tap it and have it appear, it seems less likely that people would use it for speed so I’m not sure that’s really relevant here.

        Here is my advice for number 4: let go of the word ‘seduce’ altogether. Hopefully the link the Captain provided to the old posts helps explain why (PS the LW is being kind of gross with their follow up in that thread. Don’t be that person), but just in case, the whole concept of seduction has some non-consensual undertones. See it as a conversation to get to know her better. If you’d prefer to meet face to face then ask and if she says yes then she probably has at least some interest in you. (girls can find it hard to say no in person but its much easier over text/online chat so this should help gauge her interest.) DON’T bring up sex stuff out of nowhere. It’s really creepy and off-putting. Good luck! Hope you didn’t also find some pick up artist mess. 😦

        1. Something that really bothered me as a librarian who worked with the public for sixteen years is the automatic assumption that “many people have smartphones so ___ doesn’t matter.” That’s another sort of -ist in itself. Not all that long ago (less than 10 years, and from what my former colleagues say this hasn’t changed that much since) I used to work with quite a few people who’d never used a computer and had to be taught how a mouse worked so that they could use our catalog. Many, many people do not have access to the technology that the kind of people who frequent blogs like this take for granted. If we’re going to be so careful to avoid -isting, that’s another one to give serious thought to.

          Of course, this is another argument for the relevancy of libraries, too, but I won’t go into that particular rant here.

          1. I’m not saying smartphones mean that anything doesn’t matter, just acknowledging that text speak has probably changed a lot since I last used it. About 10 years ago I was in school, mobile phones were just coming in and people used text speak for 3 reasons: for speed, to make texts shorter to save money, and simply because everyone else did it. But nowadays designs and contract styles have changed for a lot of people (I didn’t say every technology user has a smartphone, I said a lot do. Would ‘some do’ be better, though?). I brought up technology because like the Captain I assumed ‘chats’ to mean text message chats or maybe instant messages online. I don’t think it’s out of line to bring up technology in this instance.

    7. There once was a guy who was into me… and every time he texted me, he misspelled my name (and other things). Let me tell you, it wasn’t very seductive to read my not-really-uncommon name written just plain wrong (and it wasn’t even the alternate spelling). I have a friend with dyslexia and don’t mind her spelling, but that this guy couldn’t even bother enough to get my name right…

  7. #12 is the reason i had to stop inviting my BF from college to my house, and stop accepting any invites from her to nebulously ‘hang out’. she’d invite randoms to my place, or randoms to her place when i was there, or invite me over to other people’s houses like NBD! now i will only agree to specific plans to meet at places where i can make an exit. i love her and i miss hanging out with her as much as we used to, but i do NOT miss the stress and awkwardness of the vague plans always changing and her trying to constantly throw all her friends (most of us strangers to each other) together.

  8. Points to you for Slings and Arrows!

    #7: If you ask me, you do not love that girl. You have a raging crush on her, but you don’t love her. Stop flinging “love” around casually. Love is that deep, intense intimate feeling you can only get when you actually know someone and have accepted their flaws etc etc. If you ask me.

  9. Re: #15-

    …unless it’s with Captain America.

    (That’s how it works in fanfic, right?)

  10. Hi #8!

    Are you always sad, so whenever you talk to your friend, it’s default for your day? But somehow when you talk to this friend, the fact that you are sad becomes central to the discussion? That’s one thing!

    Are you only getting in touch with this person when you are sad, but you’re not sad all the time? That’s another.

    Do they talk to you only when they are sad but not any other time? And, another,

    Do they get a chance to talk to you at all because when you are together you’re doing the discussing? And yet another!

    Talking to a sadness specialist should definitely help with your being sad, and that’s very good! Another good thing to talk to the pro about is how to be the best kind of friend you can, if your actual relationship with this friend is something you’re worried about. Also, how does your friend take to this dynamic? They might have some ideas about how you can arrange your friend dynamic so you’re both getting the best from each other’s friendship.

    Good luck! I am pulling for you.

  11. #11: True story: one day I was wearing a pair of red shoes (because red shoes make the universe better!) and a colleague of mine commented, “Wow, those are some red shoes!” I answered “Thank you!” because that is my response to compliments from people I know. But then I saw her face. And then I blurted, laughing, “Oh, wow, that was totally not a compliment!” She pressed her lips together in disapproval. You know what? I didn’t internalize her disapproval. I still felt great: red shoes make the universe better, and who cares who disagrees with such a universal truth?!?

    Moral of the story, ‘thank you’ is a good response. If it’s a compliment, it’s polite and appropriate. If it’s not, well a ‘thank you’ will at least flummox them some, and is still polite.

    1. Besides, red is a neutral! As is leopard print. And purple. Removing these useful neutrals from wardrobes across the world makes dressing more of a chore, for those of us who like a red shoed uniform!

      (But srsly tho, whuttttttttttt)

    2. Red shoe Rock! Consider Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers… Dorothy obtained them from Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and kept them from the Wicked Witch of the West in order to get home. 3 pair were made for the Wizard of Oz. And the [air in the Smithsonian is one of the most frequently asked about artefacts in that great museum. One pair was stolen while on loan and there is a million dollar reward for its return.

      So if you ” Put on your red shoes and dance the Blues…..” and find they are Dorothy’s ruby slippers, turn them in for a million bucks…

      And yes, nothing disarms a snarky comment like a simple “Thank you! “

    3. Red shoe fist bump. I had to turn 40 before I could hush the scolding nanny in the back of my head enough to buy the awesome red shoes I’d lusted after for more than a decade. Hell, I had to publish a short story with them in it! And my family immediately said everything the inner nanny had been saying, but I was like “Suck it, my shoes are AWESOME!”

      And they are.

    4. I did the same thing when a Random Bus Dude was like, “That’s an interesting haircut.” (And followed up after my enthusiastic “Thanks!” with “It’s cool, too, I guess.”) I went home and told my chosen family, “I totally did a Captain-Awkward-tastic thing on the bus earlier!” Now I just need to learn to do it on purpose.

    5. Makes me think of an old fairy tale that I’ve only heard in Germany for some reason. To sum up: Girl gets bitchin red shoes. Girl tricks colorblind grandma into thinking they’re a neutral color, so she can wear bitchin red shoes to church. DISAPPROVAL. Girl later wears Bitchin Red Shoes to a dance. The Bitchin Red Shoes won’t let her stop dancing, and she dances herself to death.

      Maybe the colleague was raised on tales like this, where Bitchin Red Shoes = Death?

      1. That’s a Hans Christian Andersen one. You can tell by how it’s even more cheery than regular fairy tales. 😉

      2. I’ve heard a variation, where the shoes are white and she wears them to church when Granny is unwell. On the way home, she starts dancing… and dancing… and she can’t stop dancing. Her feet bleed and the shoes turn blood red. Then she dies.

    6. I haaaate when people make a statement like that. like, if your only comment on my hair is “wow, your hair is really red” or “you got a haircut, it’s very short” just don’t say anything at all.

    7. I like the line from Terry Pratchett following “You know what they say about women who wear red boots.”
      “I don’t care, so long as they also say they’ve got dry feet.”
      From “Witches Abroad”, I think.

    8. I like to do that- “You’re so- pale.” “Thank you!” They boggle, I walk away and giggle to myself.

    9. Your reaction == best reaction.

      I have a great pair of orange-red shoes. I think the official color was “Ember”? They are my first pair of maryjanes and they look great.

  12. huh. Surprised at #14. Did not know that. I purposely trained up my non-dominant hand for….shits and giggles, really. I had presumed it helped that I’ve been playing the piano for over 30 years now. When I took up fencing at uni I deliberately went non-dominant, to the point that people were surprised to learn months later that I wasn’t actually that-handed.

    Now I tend to write on a flat surface with my dominant hand, but on a vertical surface with my non-dom. It’s a good classroom trick that wows the kids – I can stand in the middle of the board, start writing a sentence with my left and finish it with my right, so I don’t have to move. Quite different handwritings, though…

    1. PLEASE tell me that you have taken the opportunity with fencing to pull an “I am not left handed” gag on someone a la Princess Bride.

      1. I had a theatrical fencing class, and I was also the only lefty in the regular fencing class. Which frustrated the instructor no end as some drills do not work if you both have the foil on the same “side”. So for our Theatrical Fencing final, we had to choreograph a fight scene – and mine included “I am not really left-handed!”

        1. I was also (briefly) a left-handed fencer. It gave me a noticable advantage, as my sparring partners were used to fighting right-handers.

          1. Exactly so! It was an edge both physical – few people were used to fighting lefties – and pschological: I would wander up carrying in my right hand, faff around a bit and greet them, and then at the verylastpossible minute plug it in on the left. The look on their faces never failed to be a priceless ‘ahshit…’

            I pulled the Montoya line a couple of time in practises but you couldn’t do it in bouts, it would involve a five-mintue stop to unplug and re-thread the wire up the other sleeve, alas….

          2. I think it was really the only reason I was any good at fencing, as I am not terribly coordinated or athletic. That, and I was so skinny in college that the guard was practically a shield for me.

    2. Ehh, I question the science in that article anyway– just because there seems to be a slightly (their word!) higher incidence of certain disorders in people who are NATURALLY ambidextrous doesn’t mean that training yourself to be ambidextrous is somehow going to undo your own natural neural development and capacities. The link could even be genetic rather than “USING BOTH HANDS IS BAD BECAUSE SOMETHING SOMETHING CROSSING THE STREAMS!!” It could be that there is other research out there to support their point, I haven’t looked into it, but the article certainly doesn’t provide any!

  13. # 1: Even if ‘it’s over between us’ means something other than ‘it’s over between us’ it is ALWAYS a good idea to take a person who says this at their literal word.

    If they’re dissembling, they can then come clean with you. If they’re not, you will have at least done them the compliment of honoring their wishes to be ‘over’ with you.

  14. I’m not convinced by the ‘science’ that says that ambidextrosity is bad, partly because I am coming from a sport where being balanced and equally capable on both sides of your body is the goal (dressage riding). Being forced to use your non-dominant hand sound like a Bad Thing; doing it voluntarily (and balancing your body throughout, it’s not just a ‘hand’ thing) seems to be beneficial.

    I used to be extremely right-handed, even though I did several activities (like handling horses and playing the piano) that needed me to use my left hand. I learnt to drive on the left; but it wasn’t until I moved to Britain and got a right-hand drive that I started to become more capable of mirroring actions. The first time I reached for something with my left hand without noticing was _weird_.

  15. Maybe #15 is looking for Cordelia Naismith/Aral Vorkosigan fanfic, in which case I hope they found Archive of Our Own.

    1. So much this!

      (Also now I need fanfic where Aral reads feminist blogs to better understand the repeated exclamations of “Barrayarans!”)

  16. 9) My wife like to call me captain

    This sounds like it might be a “red pill” thing. Came across it on reddit, a guy confused about why his partner wanted to call him captain and wanted him to start taking charge. Turns out she was reading red pill women stuff and wanted him to start behaving like a red pill man and part of that was using the term “captain”.

  17. I feel pretty uncomfortable about the title of this being used so callously? Apparently the song is about the singer’s father dying in the month of September and how it was one of the worst months of his life. Using the song as though it were a meme is pretty disrespectful when the singer has specifically asked people not to treat it that way.

    1. He asked people not to directly send him actual jokes on Twitter, iirc. I think we’re good. People have been joking and punning about very sad pieces of art for a looooong time.

      1. Just because people HAVE been joking about it for a long time does not mean it’s a good idea to joke about it?

        And even if he only specified not to send him jokes about it, I still feel like making jokes about it is offensive and in poor taste.

  18. #11 again: some things that may look like compliments are not actually compliments. For instance, a man calling out “Nice tits!” to a female-appearing person whom he does not know on the sidewalk. This is not a compliment. This man might defend his behavior by insisting it is a compliment, but that will not be true. This is street harassment. There are many acceptable responses to these not-compliments depending on circumstance and safety, including no response at all. It is not rude to refuse to reply to a harasser. No “thank you” required.

  19. I like to think that the person who wanted to “seduce a girl with chats” is a Francophone and intends to ply her with kittens.

  20. 1. It means you are no longer seeing this person, so quit trying to argue them out of the breakup.
    3. Unless he’s a fashion designer who designed what you’re wearing and is saying, “I think it might have been better with angel sleeves,” then he needs to put a sock in it.
    5. You can leave. Really. No matter how much his family loves you, he does not, so get out and find someone who does love you.
    7. If you’ve never met her in any form, you’re not in love. You have a crush on her.

    1. 3. He could be a cat who does not like wearing the clothes you design for his widdle body. “Noooo! This would be so much betters with angel sleeves,” he howls frantically as you pose him for photographs;
      5. Break it off with him and start seeing his family after an appropriate interval;
      7. Find the album, “A Girl U Love (But Have Never Met).” If there is not such album (there has got to be such an album), produce it. Offer it as part of a girt basket for some worthy organization holding a raffle. Play that raffle. Repeat until won. Good luck! (I suppose 7 could be a pregnant woman having custody issues— in which case, woman, get your shite together— social worker therapists can be good at this— and see a lawyer?).

      I have no answer for 1 that better fits reality, unless the subject is playing games, in which case, congratulations upon losing that manipulative child.

  21. 5. Dearest, it doesn’t actually matter whatsoever what his family thinks. You’re dating him, not his family. Be done with him. Alternatively, send them a break-up card? Like maybe “You guys are really great, sorry your son is A douchecanoe”?

    7. If you’ve never met her, you don’t love her. You love a made-up idea of her. Stop.

    9. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a problem, unless you hate pirate puns. There will be puns.

    15. If you’re in the Armed Forces, NEVER EVER EVER HAVE SEX WITH YOUR CAPTAIN. NOTHING GOOD WILL EVER COME OF THIS. STOP. STOOOOOPPPP. If you MUST, have sex with someone else’s captain. In a different brigade.

    If you’re on a civi ship…. maybe don’t bang your captain? I don’t know enough about ships to say yes or no. But if you’re going to work together again, seriously, don’t.

    If you’re the Wife of 9, have fun! (make some puns!)

  22. 3. Unless he is telling you that the lining is hanging out in shreds or the seams have visibly parted or, I dunno, the fabric is noooooot as colorfast as you had the right to assume when you bought it, he needs to shush.

    1. Now that I think on it, this could be the opening of a science fiction story on the subject of sentient clothing. “He doesn’t like my dress. The feeling is mutual.” Of course, it ends with you naked and shivering, the dress and your ex having frolicked off into the sunset, your roommate having made off with your favorite sweater…

  23. Okay, I TOTALLY thought about #6 today. I had a nasty headache (and some other stuff too, but the headache was the worst), and I thought about how nice it would be to have a boyfriend come make me all better! (Playing games with friends helped a lot too.)

  24. Other good ways to accept compliments depending on the subject:
    “thanks, I worked hard on it.”
    “thanks, I enjoyed doing it.”
    “thanks, I like it too.”
    “thanks, it’s new.”

  25. “Please don’t compliment my appearance, it makes me uncomfortable” if you’re at work and it makes you uncomfortable.

    I am kind of confused about this one – I just feel like that’s kind of a weird/awkward/snooty-sounding response.

    1. Does it change your perception if you realize that this “snooty” response would only ever come up after the person is made really uncomfortable by repeated personal compliments and the complimenter ignoring all signals to stop?

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