It Came From The Search Terms: Month of May

Turbulent month, turbulent song:

And yes, it’s that time of the month, when we treat the things people typed into search engines as if they are questions they want answers to.

1 “How to handle snubs from close relatives.”

Sometimes you end up related to people you would never interact with by choice.

If you’re the one who messed things up and you know it, apologize once and then try to do better.

If you’re not the person who caused the breach, or if your apology for what you did is not accepted, stop trying so hard to make the situation better. Your effort is probably wasted, and you don’t have to keep auditioning for the approval of people who regularly show that they don’t care about you or want you around.

When you absolutely have to deal with the person, it might help to find a basic amount of polite that you can be to them suitable to the occasion. Not because they deserve it, but because it might make you feel better if you have a plan for interacting with some dignity. If it helps, imagine they are distant acquaintances, like, employees of a satellite office of your company that you run into once a year at the holiday party. In that instance you’d say “Hi, happy new year!” and then you go talk to the people you actually like and want to see.

Don’t treat the family like a monolith. Form your own relationships with the people you care about and who you want to connect with. The uncle who hates you hosts Thanksgiving every year? You do not have to go to his house and choke down his grudge-turkey, but also you don’t have to let Thanksgiving and his turf be the only time you see any of these people. He doesn’t own your grandma or your cousins or the month of November.


2 “My aunt says my partner is not welcome, what do I do?”

“Well, Aunt, we’ll be sorry to miss you. Maybe next year.” It’s okay to skip events where your partner is not welcome.

Unless your partner is some form of Nazi. In that case, I’m Team Aunt and also you should dump that Nazi dickhead.


3 “Do you have to invite adult son’s girlfriend to family parties.”

Depends. Do you want your son to come to these parties and feel happy and welcome there, or do you secretly wish he’d stay away?

Also depends – is his girlfriend a Nazi? If so, definitely don’t invite her to anything.


4 “My neighbor doesn’t respect the property line.”

You need to find someone who knows the laws where you live. That’s not me, even if you live where I live.


5 “My boyfriend tells me how to eat how to exercise.”

Did you want a free volunteer personal trainer? If so, enjoy! If not, tell him it’s none of his beeswax.


6 “What do you say to someone who is trying to set you up with someone you’re not interested in?”

“I appreciate the thought, but I’m not interested.”

“No thank you!”


7 “I’m in New Jersey when is this oak pollen going to go away for god sakes.”

I’m in Chicago and I also want to know this.


8 “Where will Harry and Meghan live?”

Google says “Nottingham Cottage” in “Kensington Palace.”


9 “Stories of sexy young girl with huge tits.”

Stories of people who are not efficient users of search engines.



10 “Boyfriend wants me to better myself.”

Did you ask him to be your amateur life coach? If not, tell him to focus on his own issues and ambitions.


11 “I don’t like my grandchild’s name.”

Learn to love it, or learn to be quiet about it, or both.



12 “Coworker dating app.”

My jerk of a brain initially read this as “Oh shit did someone make an app to try to help people date their coworkers please god no” when really the person is probably looking for “what do I do if I spot my coworker on a dating app.” Picture my entire body seizing up with revulsion for a few seconds until my brain caught up with the more likely interpretation.

My instinct is almost always to say hey, just leave the person alone, it’s not like it’s some terrible secret that you’re both on the app, and it would be pretty cool if you could give each other the gift of a bubble of privacy while you both try to do something vulnerable, especially since you work together. If they spot you as well and are interested in you, they can find a way to let you know!


13 “Husband doesn’t want me on birth control.”

If you’re a person who can get pregnant, you are the ultimate boss of whether, when, and if. No exceptions.


14 “I want to call suicide hotline but don’t know what to say.”

“Hi, I’m [Firstname] and I’m having suicidal thoughts.”

“Hi, I’m nervous about calling this hotline and I don’t know what to say.”

You won’t freak them out or get it wrong. They want you to call even if you don’t know what to say. I really hope you get what you need.


15 “When family wants you to visit but they never visit you.”

Visit them when you want to and when it makes sense for you, and if they pressure you for more visits say “I won’t make it, but you’re always welcome to visit me here! Can we put a plan together?” 


16 “jean luc picard open shirt”


Image description: Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard wearing shorts and an open shirt reading a book on a green lounge chair. First spotted on this site here.


17 “Is it rude to invite guests to someone’s house without letting them know?”

Almost certainly yes! Even if you know this person is very hospitable and wouldn’t mind extra guests, why wouldn’t you at least let them know to expect them?


18 “firthing”

Refers to the way Mr. Darcy (as played by Colin Firth in the 1990s Pride & Prejudice adaptation) treats Elizabeth Bennett when he develops a crush on her. Especially characterized by weird, intense staring bouts or standing really close to someone while studiously NOT looking at them, general glowering, and hostile non sequiturs intended to camouflage romantic interest. If unchecked, Firthing can lead to cornering one’s love interest and vomiting a bunch of feelings all over someone who didn’t even know that you liked them, or doing weird shit like showing up in the middle of the night to give them wordy letters.

Mitigating factors: A really nice house

Best avoided by: Asking the person on a date pretty soon after you know that you like them.

(Please tell me someone who knows Colin Firth reads this blog and has told him about this, it would make my year.)

NOTICE: By request, this behavior will from now on be referred to as “Darcy-ing.”













247 thoughts on “It Came From The Search Terms: Month of May

    1. Ugh, I’m so sad I remembered that correctly. Who would think that’s a good idea…?

      1. FWIW it does require mutual consent:

        “You tell the bot who you’re crushing on in your employer-sponsored Slack channel. Feeld promises to keep the information private unless said crush tells the bot that he or she is into you. If there’s a mutual crush, it notifies you both”

        So for all the other issues, at least it doesn’t let someone pursue a colleague who isn’t interested.

    2. Not only is this awkward, but I also really don’t understand the need for an app to date your coworkers. You see your coworkers all the time. If you are interested in a date with one of them (and if you’re willing to take the dating-a-coworker risk), you have ample opportunity to ask them out. And then you either get a date or they tell you they’re not interested and you respectfully go back to being just regular coworkers. Anything else is awkward, unnecessary, and weird.*

      *Of course, these qualities don’t seem to stop lots of other dating apps/advice/websites/etc. from existing.

  1. Apparently there actually WAS a date-your-coworkers app floated at some point. I vaguely recall AAM talking about it and the general GAH NO from the commentariat there

  2. i have a friend who does #17, and that is why i don’t invite her to my home anymore. outings in public places only. every so often i’ll wonder if i’m being unreasonable, but sure enough, the last time we got together, she was almost an hour late and showed up with a random friend i’d never met and who she hadn’t mentioned until she was on her way.

    1. Ugh, I don’t miss my twenties aka “You don’t mind if this random guy I’m fucking crashes our friend-plans, right? Cool, ’cause here he is!”

      1. To me, one of the most annoying things is the stealth-ask. Like, had a birthday party last year, my friend came. DURING the party, she asked if I minded if her friend came. I didn’t really care that much, but it was clearly set up that I couldn’t really say no because (I bet) her friend was on her way.

        And then the person (not a romantic interest) she brought didn’t even pronounce her name right?

        I don’t understand.

        1. My old roommate brought my ex-boyfriend over (just to stay over, they weren’t hooking up or anything) and she waited to ask until it was too late to say no. The options i was presented with were: 1. he stays with us 2. he drives 1.5 hours home half drunk.

          Then since I reluctantly agreed that one time they decided it was 100% cool and he started staying over regularly and no one asked me. He always got up earlier than her and drank the coffee I had brewed myself and sat around chatting with me until I made up a reason to leave the apartment. Fun!

          1. Idk, I’m not entirely on board with needing ‘permission’ to have an occasional overnight guest when I pay a significant amount of my income to live in a place. IThat being said, if that person was consuming my roommate’s food/other belongings we’d have words.

          2. It’s part of many rental agreements that guests/people not on the lease can only stay in the place more than a certain # of days in a month (to avoid a sticky situation where they accrue tenant rights), and it should be part of agreements between roommates where everyone who pays rent in the house gets on the same page about how often/how much notice is needed. Think about in Broad City, how Abby’s roommate is never around but her boyfriend Bevers who does not pay rent is always, always in the apartment and Abby has to deal with him.

          3. This is a reply to Ihatecomingupwithusernames but these’s no reply buttom there:
            Having people stay over sometimes, yes. Having your roomates ex stay over without asking them, no, no and another big NO.

        2. Gah. My least favorite example of this was when I had two roommates, both were friends, but one had started spending all her time at her boyfriend’s house, avoiding us, and being generally weird without any cause I could see. Roommate A and I invited Roommate B to brunch to talk as friends and figure out what was going on with our living situation. Roommate B asked if we could meet earlier, we said okay. About 15 minutes after we had arrived to the brunch place, we got a text from Roommate B asking if she could bring Boyfriend. At this point I’m sure they were already on their way, so what could we say?

      2. yeah, we are mid/late thirties now so my tolerance levels are down near the zero mark. and that’s not even getting into the opposite situation, where she wants *me* to be the rando showing up at someone else’s house. hard pass.

      3. In my twenties, I had a friend I hadn’t seen for over a year drive 1500 miles to stay with me for two weeks. I did not know until he was literally on my doorstep that her random boyfriend that I didn’t even know existed would be part of the visit, too.

    2. Ugh, #17 is truly awful. The worst variant was when my ex, without asking me, had his family over to my apartment when I wasn’t there — “clean enough for boyfriend” is definitely not the same as “clean enough for boyfriend’s parents, who I barely know”! (They were in town for the day, boyfriend had a key to my place, they wanted to see my apartment because apparently that’s a thing??)

      I also had a variant where a friend asked if she could bring a friend of hers — an acquaintance of mine — and not Friend’s husband — to a dinner party at my place, and I said no because I didn’t have enough chairs. Friend showed up sans Acquaintance and was perfectly pleasant that evening, but then refused to talk to me for weeks afterwards because I had been “so rude” about Acquaintance. Like, folks, we aren’t in middle school anymore…

      1. What??? Who does that? Who goes, “Yes, let’s go see where the person you’re dating lives…..without asking… a time when they’re not home…” Like….basic boundaries, people!

        1. I’m thoroughly boggled by the parents and the boyfriend, but unsurprised that a. The behavior seemed normal to the boyfriend and b. He is no longer the boyfriend.

        2. Well… I will admit that I am a curious busybody sort and would love to see the homes of literally everyone I’ve ever met for half a second.

          But I have enough grace not to come over, uninvited, while they’re not home.

      2. People who 1. Ask for something extra (if you’re asking, it means you need permission), are 2. Denied because “we planned for nobody to have extra there is no extra,” and then 3. Get huffy about not receiving extra resources that don’t exsit really annoy me. Especially when it’s stuff where it’s obvious the resource is both limited and the askee will probably have already made a plan for that resource that doesn’t include an extra portion saved for “just in case,” like number of chairs at a table.

        1. I once planned a dinner party where I invited everyone a month in advance and made kind of a big deal out of saying, “Please tell me if you’re coming, I will be making exactly enough portions for the number of people who can attend, please tell me in advance if you’re bringing anybody else, please only bail if it’s an emergency, PLEASE”. Half an hour before it was due to start, a guest messaged me to say, “Can I bring my new girlfriend?” I said no, I’d made enough food for the ten people, including him, who’d said they were coming (and also I hadn’t had time to mentally gear up for having a stranger in my home). They then said, “Oh, maybe if food quantity is a problem I won’t come either.” The whole thing pretty much reeked of them forgetting about something they’d been reminded of several times and trying to pass it off like they hadn’t.
          This is why I’m a believer in either telling the whole truth in the hopes of forgiveness (“I fucked up, are we still cool?”) or a little white lie and accepting the consequences (“sorry to bail, I’m sick”).

          1. I assume said guest has not been invited to any subsequent dinner parties?

    3. Ugh: I used to do an annual chicks-on-the-beach long weekend with some gfs, which were always fun. Until one year one of them got involved with some dude, and she had him ‘drop in’ on the Saturday of the 4 days (150 miles from where he lived, so, not a drop-in.). So, it stopped being ‘chicks on the beach’ and instantly became ‘queen/consort and her court’, which was no fucking fun for me. Whether or not the other women were equally annoyed, I don’t know; I never went again.

      1. It sounds like this friend probably had some other unpleasant behaviors…. Queen and her court? Ugh.

    4. Ack, I’ve been guilty of #17. It was more of a GSF thing, where I wanted all of my friends to hang out together and we’ll all be great friends together!! I stopped when I was visiting the main person I did it too, and she’d brought her BF to meet me. She said that I always had someone with me and look, I had done it again! This time it was my dad, who’d driven me across the city to meet up with her because it was about 4 days after I cracked a rib and a city-wide bus trip was not an option. But after that I started asking if it was OK to bring someone else along/meet up with people I knew but the other person didn’t, etc.

      1. I was unwittingly guilty of #17. A girlfriend said that she had been invited to a halloween party and wanted me and DH to go with her. This was more than three weeks in advance. We put together a group costume. We asked who was planning to attend and were assured it was a big party put on by her coworker. Yeah. Got there and it was a family party with little kids, teenagers and grandparents. We were horribly embarrassed but couldn’t leave, because, of course, we had brought friend in our car. We did our damndest to be pleasant, not eat or drink too much and finally convinced our friend to leave after a couple of agonizing hours. Ugh. Never saw those people again, don’t know their names and still (years later) feel like I should apologize.

    5. A friend invited ALL her then-boyfriend’s friend circle to my Thanksgiving get-together without my knowledge or permission. I had met the boyfriend one time and his friends none times.


      “But that will be awkward!”

      “I DON’T CARE also will it be more or less awkward than when they show up at my house and I go ‘who the fuck are you go away’?”

  3. Re: #11:

    I come from a long line of people with lots of opinions about and investment in names. I know how it feels to see what a relative named their child and wince. But complaining about it now can only damage your relationship with your child and grandchild. Go ahead and feel how you want to feel about this name, but recognize that your one and only opportunity to control what a child was named was when you yourself had children.

    My maternal grandma always wanted a son, and didn’t get one. Had she had a son, his name would have been Grandpa Junior. When my mother gave birth to my brother (Grandma’s first grandson) they named him after both his grandfathers: Maternal Grandpa’s first name, Paternal Grandpa’s first name, Last name.

    Maternal Grandpa threw an almighty fit, because just having her first grandson share a first name with her husband wasn’t enough; she wanted his name to be Maternal Grandpa First, Maternal Grandpa Middle, Maternal Grandpa Last, Last name. She went so far as to send my parents the paperwork in the mail to have it changed.

    When Mom got the paperwork, she called Grandma: “Hi Mom, you’re right, it’s not too late to change the baby’s name. I think we’ll reverse his first and middle names and use Paternal Grandpa’s name first.” That shut Grandma right up. Moral of the story: your children may resent your interference so much that they will change the baby’s name to something you like even less! It’s entirely their prerogative.

    My MIL is engaged in an extended campaign to get us to name any future child for her father, which was unlikely to begin with, though we might have considered it for a middle (his name is quite old fashioned). Because she’s been so pushy, it is now definitively ruled out.

    1. Exactly!

      I know people have a thing about naming kids after elderly relatives, but it’s not an insult if someone decides not to. My niece is my parents’ first grandchild, and she’s named after a fictional character rather than any real people. People had some feelings about it (although not as extreme as your Grandma!) but pretty soon all the feelings were forgotten because there’s a new! baby! So, happy-feeling-times now.

      1. You want to hear the kicker?? MIL and FIL named my spouse for a character in a book… that neither of them had actually read. (They were stumped for names and a friend of theirs said “I read this book recently and this character’s first name sounds good with your surname. What do you think?” So they rolled with it.) Which is a perfectly cromulent way to pick a kid’s name, but does take the high horse out from under you if you get all into Naming Tradition when grandchildren arrive. They had their shot to use a family name for a kid, and they chose not to take it.

        1. Oooh naming your kid after a book character you haven’t read is risky! Hope it turned out alright! Did they at least know what the book and character was about?

          1. A friends mother barely dodged a bullet name wise. Her parents were immigrants and loved the song “Beautiful Ohio” ‘Smile A While and Kiss Me Sad Adieu”, so she almost was named Saddado, until someone clued her parents into the actual lyrics. Misheard lyrics at their finest.

          2. If you don’t mind, let’s all skip the “Real Examples of Weird Names That Exist” conversation. It always ends up somewhere really uncomfortable even if it starts with the best of intentions.

          3. Only vaguely! I’m not sure they knew the character meets a tragic end. (Moreover, the character’s ancestry, which is central to the story, is not one they share — though I do.) Luckily, the name is common enough that people don’t say to my spouse, “Oh, your name is X, like Character from Book!” It’s not like he’s Hermione or Othello or something like that.

          4. My maternal grandfather’s name was Herman, and my mom really, really wanted to name me Hermione after him. My dad sad, “ABSOLUTELY not.” I happen to be of the age where the first Harry Potter books came out when I was in second or third grade, and I was REALLY UPSET at that age that they didn’t go with Hermione.

            So it can also be a gamble to pick any obscure name–you never know if the next coolest book will star Arabella or Humphrey.

    2. I deeply sympathize. I don’t know what happened in that regard with my family but I suspect there was a lot because my former name was for a great grandfather and great, great grandfather (both deceased by the time of my birth) and my brother was named for both grandfathers (one of whom was still alive but died when we were little.)

      What I ran into as a result of it was demands that I had to comport my life in a way that family felt was fitting and honoring of the memories of those people.

      I’m a trans woman and you can probably imagine how much I enjoyed having that excuse to pick names unrelated to any of my family!

      1. That’s awesome. Not the pressuring part, obviously, more the striking out on your own and choosing a name that suits *you* part.

        Maybe a better question for the forum, but I have friends who’ve changed names for gender reasons, religious reasons, and moving away from a bad past reasons, and I’m always interested in knowing what moves people to pick their specific new name. I love stories like that. (although, obviously choosing a name is personal so if it’s none of my business I can butt out; the closest I’ve ever come is creating a pen name, which was liberating but probably not in the same way or extent).

        1. My mother has been [hername] since she was about 16 and first joined the boffer-weapons-and-medival-recreation group at a nearby college. Her deadname is perfectly nice, but it was the same name as her mother…and her mother…and HER mother. She wanted to be more herself than that long family tradition, especially since the Geek Runs Strong and her new name is much more sci-fi sounding.

          The deadname is my middle name, and I’m happy to have it and the history, but I’m glad it’s a middle and not a first. And I’ve always loved growing up in a family where I had the name I was given and an understanding that it was okay to want to be called something else. I haven’t changed my name as I’ve shifted from female to agender, but I like having the acceptance.

          1. I have been called by my middle name since birth, and the only good thing about that is that I always know if the person on the phone actually knows me or is a total stranger, because they will use my first name instead.

            The government, my polling place, and my bank insist I’m actually FirstName MiddleInitial LastName. I have spent decades trying to get them all to call me by what I actually go by. Result: Like the old joke about trying to teach a pig to sing, you ultimately fail and the poor pig gets annoyed. It’s not worth fighting The Suit Brigade or The Man because nothing changes.

            Now I look on the bright side.
            Mail in a white envelope with my first name and middle initial? Probably important. Investigate further.
            Phone calls with my first name? Waste of my time. Can hang up immediately without any guilt.

        2. I played a character with the name and the first time someone used it toward me it was like a key fitting in a lock, it just felt profoundly right.

    3. Jewish tradition is that namesakes aren’t given until after the elder has died.

      1. That’s only true for Ashkenazi Jews (Jews whose ancestors lived in Eastern Europe for the past few centuries). Sephardic Jews (Jews whose ancestors lived in the Middle East or the New World for the past few centuries – most are descended from Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition) generally name after the living. Either way, a child is never named after their living parents.

        I think it’s pretty universal that, in Jewish culture, naming a child after a beloved relative is a way to ensure that the relative’s name and memory live on through the generations. This is why Sephardim will sometimes break their own rules to name after the dead if the dead had no opportunity to enjoy a namesake before they perished.

        It can be very, very difficult to see a name that has survived for several generations – long after all other memories of the bearers of that name have disappeared into the mists of time (or antisemitism) – disappear, and that doesn’t negate that the choice of a name is the sole prerogative of the parents.

        1. Came here to say this too. I’m Sephardic on my mom’s side and our family has the tradition of naming first-born girls after their maternal grandmothers. So I’m named after my grandmother and my mom is named after hers. It’s nice really, since I got to know my grandmother for 22 years and be proud to be her namesake.

          I would never name a kid after a living relative on my dad’s side, though, because they’re Ashkenazic and it’s bad luck in the Ashkenazic tradition.

          1. I should have said: my mom’s side names first-born girls after their maternal grandmothers whether or not said grandmothers are living.

    4. My MIL hated the name we gave our first son. When I was pregnant, she called my mom, told her the name, and said, “we have to stop them!” My mom said, “when I was naming my babies, I didn’t ask my mother’s permission, did you?”

      Everyone told me that people get over the name when they meet the sweet baby, or at most when the sweet baby recognizes his own name. Nope. The boy is almost 12, and MIL is still trying to get a nickname to stick. But she picks really stupid nicknames, so it’s not working even a little bit.

      1. One of my nieces has a nickname that is commonly used for clowns, monkeys and dog-faced boys, so I don’t use it, because eventually she will have access to Google or a mean but literate acquaintance and she could be unhappy about it. I use her full name and will do so until she tells me directly that she LIKES her nickname, or I hear one of her friends using it (because it is unlikely she’d tell them “call me [Nickname]” if she hated it).

        1. Oooh, I share at least part of a name with your niece and that nickname? I ended a friendship over the lack of respect I was shown when someone repeatedly called me by it despite my being very explicit that I did not like it and would not answer to it.

  4. 11. I tend to feel that unless the name is in Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii territory, or they’ve named the kid after a serial killer or a Nazi, you should keep quiet.

    1. I remember the article about that little girl, they also mentioned a kid named Fish n’ Chips. Wherever y’all are, Talula and Fish n’ Chips, I hope life is treating you well.

      1. Talula was able to get hers changed, thank heavens. And I believe Fish and Chips were actually twins, and those names were blocked because the judge thought it was daft. Poor kids.

    2. The Zappa and Geldof children managed to do OK (with some exceptions) even with the unusual names they were given. They are certainly difficult to forget.

  5. Firthing is such a good word. Thank you for bringing it into this world, Captain.

  6. 13 “Husband doesn’t want me on birth control.”

    I feel like the response should have been stronger here. This is reproductive coercion and abusers often use it to try to get a woman pregnant and trap her in the relationship. It’s not clear whether this is some stupid moral objection the husband has or he’s actively trying to sabotage her, but the searcher should know this is a bright red flag.

      1. I continue to love how you answered that letter and shut down the ensuing shitstorm. 😘

      2. There was an update from the letter writer on the forums, in the last couple of weeks.

        1. Nice! I don’t read the forums (they exist as their own thing) but I hope all is well.

          1. Yeah, I wasn’t sure what protocol is for mentioning updates from the forums here. I’m not the LW so it’s not my news/update to share and where to decide to do it.

      3. I think I speak for a lot of people when I thank you not only for answering the letter, but for closing the comments. I saw the first one and thought, “Oh, dear. This is going to be a train wreck ,” and was very relieved not to have to wade through an enraged sea, though equally sorry that they then inflicted that rage on you.

        1. I was the LW for that one. The angry letter was not even new to me, I hear crap like that all the time. The support and encouragement was new though. I wish I had friends like y’all in real life. I don’t think I could have been brave enough without that.

          Update is, the health department set me up for pretty cheap. My husband was mopey about it at first, but it spurred a crisis of conscience which ended in him getting a vasectomy. We are both hugely relieved.

      4. I love everything about everything you said and how you said it in all three of those posts, but the “Don’t fucking @ me about the diva cup” at the end was pure fucking gold. Man. Do not @ people about the goddamn diva cup. WE’VE HEARD.

    1. because i am not cynical enough & because oral contraceptives are a depressive trigger for several women who are very dear to me, i was wondering if / hoping maybe this could be read like “hey babe, maybe we should talk about whether prophylactics or a copper iud would be a better fit for you” & not as patriarchal bullshit

      for clarity, i do not mean this as a derail & i am furiously against patriarchal bullshit

    1. I just want to know how the heck any search engine connects “oak pollen” to Captain Awkward! You can’t exactly set clear boundaries and expectations of behaviour with Darth Tree Bukkake, after all…

      1. I seem to remember the Captain expressing her feelings regarding pollen in the past. Maybe that’s the connection.

      2. There was a letter writer whose husband had severe allergies that seemed to be worse in their new home. He wanted her to handle moving again with their infant child right before her medical residency started, and she wanted advice on what to do.

        1. Wasn’t there another search terms one where the term was something like, “I have to move NOW, this environment is killing me,” and half the commenters guessed it was the political climate and others guessed it was the literal, allergen-inducing environment?

          Either way, valid reason to move.


      :normal speaking voice:


      Though you are in my opinion the undisputed master of the art.

        1. If it’s fake, someone went to a lot of trouble to make my day.

          If it’s real, I apologize for taking the name in vain to mean “Shirty Romantic Annoyingness” all this time, and also, the comment made my year. I’m a huge, huge fan of Mr. Firth and the years and years of amazing work.

          1. Personal headcanon:
            – Colin Firth first hears about the existence of the term ‘Firthing’ in May 2018.
            – Colin Firth searches for this term and comes across Captain Awkward, and the post that started it all.
            – Colin Firth reads the post, is hugely appreciative of the kind, direct advice that abounds on this website and falls down a Captain Awkward-reading rabbit hole, happily sacrificing a whole night’s worth of sleep to voraciously read more and more posts.
            – Colin Firth realises the regularity of It Came from the Search Terms posts and (having already signed up for new post notifications) realises on May 21 that his own search has generated his own answer.
            – Colin Firth takes the opportunity to set the record straight about tge difference between Mr Darcy’s behaviour and his own when expressing interest in a potential romantic partner.
            – Colin Firth continues to be a dedicated reader and occasional commenter of the site.

          2. I am a big fan of “came from the search terms” under ALL circumstances but this is the actual best. I choose to believe it’s real and his team is just like, A+ at Google Alerts.

          1. In my opinion, the “ciao” tells me it’s real. Colin Firth is married to an Italian producer, lives in Italy half the time and is fluent in Italian, says Wikipedia. It’s such a tiny, throwaway thing that makes perfect sense for actual Colin Firth to say but really random for an imposter to include, no? I think it’s him.

        1. Could there be a new definition of “Firthing”? Quietly popping in to an overheard discussion about oneself to express one’s point of view with a brief, good-natured comment?

          And now, back to swooning.

      1. In defence of Mr.Darcy and, most importantly, Jane Austen, I object to this. Darcy does not actually behave like that in the novel, and I don’t see why he has to be vilified for Andrew Davies’ sins.

        1. Doesn’t his first proposal come totally out of the blue, though? Elizabeth refuses because (1) she had no idea he was interested, (2) he was so incredibly rude to her and her relatives, and (3) the proposal itself was quite insulting.

        2. Yeah but he added the scene where he walks out of the pond. And I don’t remember that from the book either.

          So all is forgiven.

          1. The pond bit had to be added because Jane Austen never wrote a scene without a woman somewhere around; you never see two men talking alone together, and you never see a man hand his horse to a groom and dive into a pond. Dear Jane only ever wrote about what she knew and had seen.

            Doesn’t mean it never happened, of course; jumping into a pond strikes me as a very Darcy thing to do, except he would certainly have fastened his cravat and put his jacket back on afterwards; shirts counted as underwear.

            Not that I am complaining; Mr Firth in a pond is always worth watching.

        3. …He totally acts like that in the novel. Elizabeth and Charlotte both mention it at different gatherings, and I’m pretty sure Jane brings it up too. And his friends tease him about the fact that he sucks at parties because he just stands around glowering at everyone.

          I’m not sure why you perceive that as an attack on Austen. She pretty clearly meant for us to pick up in the creep factor. The title of the book is not “Boundaries and Social Graces.”

          1. Yes! The whole deal is, he behaves badly for most of the first half of the book, Elizabeth isn’t perfect either, they both learn some things.

          2. “weird, intense staring bouts or standing really close to someone while studiously NOT looking at them”: That one has some truth in it, in that, when he finds himself attracted to Elizabeth, he begins listening to her conversations with others to figure her out. I don’t think that he particularly stared at her or stood especially close (in the “violating personal space” sense).

            “general glowering”: He actually smiles more times than any other person in the book except Elizabeth.

            “hostile non sequiturs intended to camouflage romantic interest”: I don’t even know where that is coming from. He isn’t great at making conversation, and it doesn’t help that his intended audience loathes him and he has no idea. Most of the things he says are on normal topics of conversation and not hostile at all.

            “cornering one’s love interest and vomiting a bunch of feelings all over someone who didn’t even know that you liked them”: He proposed marriage, thinking that he had made his intentions clear beforehand. He could hardly have asked for a date. And at that point Elizabeth has no idea that he likes her largely because of her own prejudice (she keeps bumping in to him during her walks, she tells him where she plans to be so that he can avoid her, he keeps showing up every time, she is totally perplexed as to why he doesn’t avoid her).

            “showing up in the middle of the night to give them wordy letters”: In broad daylight he gave her a letter which doesn’t mention his feelings at all and is only a defense of other (horrible and mostly untrue) things that she had accused him of.

            The title is also not “Creep and Prejudice”. Austen wrote a proud man who thinks meanly of others and fails to treat them with ordinary civility, which is what Elizabeth, Charlotte and Jane comment on, not someone creeping on a woman.

          3. My use of Firthing did not equal creeping or being a bad person, it meant hiding interest…awkwardly…until it built up to a giant outburst because that was somehow easier than letting a crush know you liked them early on. That is what Darcy does in the book. The BBC adaptation just added a bunch of fun eyebrow subtext and a pond.

            Movie adaptations don’t ruin books, it’s okay to have fun with and build on and interpret the things in the book. The book is still right there.

          4. And, I mean, if you’re trying to convince people not to enjoy the film adaptations…read the room? You can feel however you want about them, but this is not that room.

          5. He doesn’t creep on people, though, and isn’t accused of that. They accuse him of being stuck-up, and of not making an effort to be more sociable in situations where he could have helped other people be at ease (e.g. avoiding dancing or talking at a party even though there are young women who don’t have a partner, which from a young man with as much social credit as he does, to ignore them comes off as a snub).

          6. Funny how we pick up the creep factor but pretend not to notice the whole series of mercenary young ladies.

          7. “Boundaries and Social Graces” made me snortlaugh so hard I startled the cat sleeping next to me. *presents award for Entire Internets*

        4. Thank you. As much as I admire Mr. Firth, let us respect the original Mr. Darcy.

          1. @JenniferP -thank you for clarifying the original definition of “firthing.” I too had understood it to include creeping. ‘hide your feelings until you burst out in marriage proposal’ is totally “darcying.”

        5. Wait, what? That’s exactly what he acts like in the novel. It was a brilliant depiction of the, “asshole who thinks he is having hot, moody, brooding, belligerent sexual tension with a woman and they are totally both getting ever more into each other, when in reality he’s an irritant she sort of tolerates when she has to and forgets as often as possible.”

          Having lived through that scenario way too many fucking time, I can tell you, she nailed it. She also nailed the outrage on the dude’s part when he finds out his “beloved” mostly regards him with weary contempt.

          1. Cool, interesting how different people can experience the same book completely differently.

      2. I googled on “Colin Firth fan club” and found:

        Colin Firth
        c/o Independent Talent Group Ltd
        40 Whitfield Street
        London, W1T 2RH

        That looks like it could be a legitimate address where fans can write asking for autographed photographs and can write appreciative, non-stalkery notes that an actor might appreciate. If someone were to write there, explain about this website, and ask for his opinion on firthing versus darcying, the note might get past the people hired to answer such things and on to Colin Firth himself. It’s worth a shot.

          1. *gets vapours*
            *reclines on a convenient fainting couch*
            *requires smelling salts and a cold compress*

            *awakens an hour later and assumes it was all a dream*
            *high-pitched squeeing sound draws curious swarm of bats in the vicinity*
            *two houses away, a drinking glass shatters with a sad ‘pop’ noise*

      3. As a Darcy who knows how to behave themselves around potential paramours, I wish my objection to be noted (though I know I can’t trump Colin).

    2. I … just… that has to be fake, but how freaking awesome a fake is that! LOL!

        1. I want to believe that Mr. Firth is a regular reader, although I’m sure he has good personal boundaries already.

    3. I… I think I’ve lost my jaw, it dropped so hard.
      Seems like a fair price to pay all in all.

    4. So, all those years that I referred to my dear darling moodily staring dog as Firth? Should I have been calling him Darcy?

      1. I have actively pointed out to the trees in my neighborhood that pollinating my nasal passages isn’t going to have the effect they want and will they please stop having sex in my nose.

        They never listen.

        1. It’s nice that I’m not the only one complaining about the sex life of plants near me.

          1. You are not the only one by a LONG stretch. I live in Florida, which is basically Pollen Allergy Hell. Pretty much the whole state is taking some sort of antihistamine and at least one decongestant this time of year!

          2. Oh gawd. My allergies prior to this year have been manageable with periodic OTC meds. Not this year. This year they are so bad that I thought I had an ear infection. I went to the doc expecting a z-pack of antibiotics and left with a sack full of assorted allergy meds. FOUR prescriptions! The trees need to get a damned room already.

      2. It is currently the season in Western Washington that I refer to as “The end credits of ‘Legend'”. You know, where all the plant floof is blowing through the air as Mia Sara romps through a meadow. Big white cottonwood poofs everywhere. Like it’s snowing.

        Even my dog can’t stop sneezing.

    1. That’s really interesting, and now I’m making a note when I someday own a house to plant a bunch of female trees of the species in my neighborhood.

      1. Reconsider if there turns out to be ginkgo. The fruit are full of butyric acid, meaning: they smell like old sweaty socks. You do NOT want a tree that basically grows a whole load of old sweaty socks in your garden.

        1. I used to live near some female gingko street trees (though more male ones), and didn’t find the smell that bad. On the other hand, we didn’t have a “whole load” to deal with because I had Asian-American neighbors who gathered the gingko fruit because they wanted the nuts (for either food or medicinal reasons).

          That said, if it was my garden I’d be looking at fruit trees: given where I live, that would probably be apple or cherry, maybe peach or plum. Or look for under-planted native species, with an eye toward what the birds and insects like.

        2. My town does have female ginkgos–and I happen to lack the scent receptor for butyric acid, so to me ginkgo fruits smell sweetly fruity. I am tempted to try eating one but I haven’t found any references that say if they are safe, because the possibility of eating them isn’t brought up very often…

        3. Chicago is notorious for those trees. I used to have to walk by one from the el to work and hated the season when the berries fell and everyone crushed them and released their noxious scent. I used to call it the vomit berry tree.

        4. I kind of like the smell of ginkgo seeds. They’re weird-smelling, but to me not unpleasant.

    2. I confess to laughing my arse off at this. Of course, I’m not allergic.

        1. A friend of mine was born in the Caribbean and moved to Canada for university. She thought the worst thing she’d have to deal with was the winter. Turned out that was fine (just wear more clothes, and also snow is fun). The real problem was in spring, when everything burst joyfully into bloom and she turned out to be allergic to all kindsa things.

        2. I learned a thing over the past few years.

          If you have hay fever?

          Don’t get a pet that eats hay.

          (RIP PigPig, the Elder Statespig, who lived to the ripe old age of 8 in my care, but whose main dietary requirement was frequently the source of sniffling and sneezing from me.)

        3. Sorry! 🙂 Does it help that I am contact allergic to some kinds of grass? If my skin touchs grass for any length of time I get a rash. No lolling on the grass for me. Still, not as bad as airborne tree bukakke!

    3. And if you’re going to plant all male trees, planting street upon street upon street of the same species is THE WORST.

      1. And it always seems to be a case of: “these trees have ONE advantage, so we’ll plant TEN THOUSAND OF THEM!” Case in point, Melbourne is full of plane trees, which are evil and create tons and tons of fluffy barbed lung-missiles. But the theory was they deal well with root compaction, so they didn’t let the fact that they’re death with leaves get in the road of filling the entire city with them…

    4. You mean I have the Old Boys Club to blame for my runny nose too??? ffs dudes.

    5. I was gonna ask how on earth you sex a tree, but the article explained it pretty well. Thanks, that was an interesting read!

    6. That is so interesting – thank you for posting the link! It seems like urban planners avoided one thing (female trees drop fruit, seeds, etc. and make a mess) but didn’t think about the *other* problems that an all-male tree canopy can cause. Achoo! (My friends and I are sneezing and sniffling away over here on the other coast from Jersey, too, so my sympathies to the LW)

  7. But grudge-turkey is delicious!

    — Buy the biggest turkey you can find, so there will be plenty of leftovers. Weeks and months worth of leftovers.

    — Stuff with about a pound each of slights, misunderstandings, and deliberate injustices.

    — Rub with unsalted butter and add a sprinkling of self-justification and sibling rivalry to taste.

    — Slow roast for five to forty years, until internal temperature reaches SEETHING.

    1. Ha! My Grandma used to have an ash tray with a “recipe for friendship” printed on it that made me roll my eyes even when I was seven (“a heaping cup of humor, a pinch of humility, something something God”). Now I want this turkey recipe on an ash tray, or engraved on one of those electric turkey saws.

    2. Huh. My recipe calls for extra salty butter. I love little differences in family traditions. ❤

  8. #16 OH YES

    #17 My husband and I had a roommate for a while that did this, even after being explicitly told prior to the living arrangement that all guest visits must be run by us beforehand. But he brought people over anyway, with this shit-eating grin on his face, and pulled the whole “don’t make a scene these people are so nice!/I’m going to use your food to feed them too” routine. Roommate had many problems, and came home one day to the locks changed and his stuff on the porch. (We kicked him out for many other reasons.)

    I’m a fairly generous person who typically says “yes” when asked, BUT YOU GOTTA ASK. Nothing brings out my inner Godzilla more than being voluntold or having boundaries crossed.

  9. “14 “I want to call suicide hotline but don’t know what to say.”

    Hi! I used to volunteer on one of those, and I can tell you that it’s fine. Lots of people don’t quite know what to say; the volunteers are trained to establish a rapport and create a safe space where you can say or not say whatever feels right to you. Trust me, as long as you’re not actively abusive, inventing hostage situations and blaming the volunteer for not preventing imaginary deaths, or telling long fictions about your sex life with one hand down your pants, you’ll be considered an excellent caller.

      1. I don’t mean to be flippant if someone’s feeling miserable enough to speak to a suicide hotline. Feeling suicidal is awful. I wish I’d added ‘Sorry you’re feeling that way’! But it’s just a rule of thumb that a certain proportion of people who call such lines are, for one reason or another, challenging people to interact with, so if you stick to basic politeness, chances are they’ll think you’re great.

        1. I also volunteered/peer trained on a crisis line for around five years and just want to totally agree with Ice and Indigo. Our job as a telephone worker is to help you to express how you are feeling and work to hear and validate your feelings so you have a safe place to talk about these feelings. Basic politeness is an awesome call, no eloquence needed. Call, you don’t have to know what to say!

    1. I’ve always wondered — is it safe to call a hotline if you’re in a situation where going to a hospital is out of the question?

      1. I have done that; generally it’s okay. The hotline volunteer worked with me to figure out multiple solutions so I could choose the one that worked for me. In my case, solution was, basically, go to the home of someone I trusted. Drink tea. Sketch. Sleep. They also stayed on the line with me and comforted me while I Google searched therapy options, etc, and cried. I kept apologizing for being too “cowardly” (my word, not theirs) to be able to Google by myself, but they reassured me that it was normal.

        They also did a follow-up call at noon the next day, which I massively appreciated. Their number does not appear on the phone screen and they do not leave a message.

        It seems like hotline volunteers only call 911 if you threaten to harm someone else, or if you have already begun an attempt and are now calling because you regret it. Otherwise, they get that there are many reasons people are calling the hotline and not 911.

      2. You can also do some research into the hotline, because different ones have different policies. Some may have rules about calling ambulances etc, but others can have rules about NOT calling without permission. Some are there strictly for counselling, and the most they’ll do is give you the number to call yourself. I don’t know where you’re based, but look into your options and pick the one whose policies suit you best. 🙂

        Hope you get the help you need. xxx

      3. If you happen to be in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, I know for sure that the Samaritans have a strict policy of not calling emergency services unless the caller gives permission (they are not able to trace phone numbers and do not know your location unless you choose to tell them). Their full confidentiality policy is here:

        There are apparently several US branches as well, which seem to have similar confidentiality policies. The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands, for example, says this about confidentiality: “Callers can rest assured that all calls to The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands are free and completely confidential. We do not have caller ID, we cannot trace your call, and we respect your right to make your own decisions regarding your life. You can truly share anything with us” (Their crisis line phone numbers are: 508-548-8900 and 800-893-9900).

        Note: Although the name sounds (to me at least) like it has religious connotations, the UK/ROI organization is completely secular. The US branch I quote says they are “non-denominational” and as far as I saw at a quick glance, there are no religious overtones to the service.

        I hope you are able to call these or similar services if it feels like that would be helpful, and that you have a positive experience if you do. Very best wishes to you!

    2. As another former volunteer, I would also like to add that we genuinely welcomed all calls, including both the “I am actively suidicial” and the “I don’t know if this is serious enoufh to bother you…” calls

      People worry that their call is either too much of a downer or not “serious enough”, but as a volunteer, I was very glad to take both. A lot of “not serious enough” calls absolutely were when you got down to it, and even if they weren’t, it was good to have a mixture of people who were absolutely in crisis and people who just needed some company and a bit of a pep talk.

      1. That’s true too; if someone’s problems are less extreme than average, it’s actually restful. Some people who call, their problems are so big that all you can do is offer some kindness – which matters, of course, but their lives will only be fractionally better because they talked to you. When someone calls who really did just need a bit of a pick-up, you get the big warm glow that comes from having actually solved someone’s problems. So yes, a mix is good.

  10. I don’t know if he knows, but I have worked with Colin Firth in the past (on the first Kingsman film). He’s extremely nice and polite

    1. omg! I love love love Kingsman, and I truly hope the on-set experience was as generally fun as the resulting movie. That’s super cool!

  11. I didn’t know that I needed Shirtless Picard in my day. Turns out, I did! Thanks, search term person and Captain Awkward!

      1. If I were still in touch with my high school Latin teacher, I might try to send a copy of that photo to her. She had a pic of him in his Jean-Luc Picard uniform centered above the chalkboard in her classroom because she had a raging crush on him. (This was the early 1990’s, so Star Trek: The Next Generation was in its original run.)

        She was generally awesome, too, possessing both the linguistic gifts required to impart Latin to high school students and the nearly-fathomless patience likewise needed.

  12. 15. Remind them in whatever way works for you (in my family, it’s jokes) that roads/trains/airplanes work both ways.

    Yes, sometimes there are reasons why it’s easier for one side to travel than the other, but there’s also a lot of bullshit that boils down to “you should inconvenience yourself for me but never the reverse”.

    1. My mother just called to offer this great “opportunity” where she was going to a conference a few states over and on her way back she volunteered to fly to Our Town so I could drive her home rather than her just fly all the way home…Yes mom, I’d love nothing more than to take a week off work to chauffeur you home for mother daughter bonding time…

    2. If there’s a good reason why you want someone to travel to visit you instead of the other way around, tell them what it is, and they might do it that way. (When my girlfriend and I had a long-distance relationship, I did most of the travel, for various health reasons.) In my calculus, “I get horribly motion sick” is a good reason, as are a variety of obligations that make it hard for someone to travel. (Reasons I wouldn’t consider good include “you moved away” and “you live somewhere boring.”) Also, the person who wants someone else to do all the traveling should recognize that they are asking for something nontrivial, and not take it for granted.

      This is definitely a “use your words” thing. If someone says “we never see you,” it’s reasonable to take that at face value and say something like “I miss you too. Would you like to visit us in July?”

  13. “Hi, my friend is having suicidal thoughts/threatening suicide. How do I get him/her help?” works too! I’ve totally had to do that one a couple of times.

  14. #14: Call them. They’re used to people hemming and hawing and not knowing what to say. “Hi, I’m [name] and I’m… um, I’m not feeling so hot.” Or, “Um, hi, um, er, help?” Or, in my case, 4 years ago, “Hi, I’m [name] and I want to die. Help.”
    I really hope your case turns out as well as mine! The lady at the hotline talked me down from my state of panic (Iwanttodie ButIdontwanttodie ButIwanttodie ButIcantdie ButImust ButIdontwantto ButIreallydo etc. etc.) and finally asked me where I was, then located the nearest hospital with a psych ward and sent me there. ER Psychiatrist talked me down (again) and persuaded me to stay overnight at the hospital, which turned into nearly 6 weeks, then 3 weeks at Outpatient Thing #1 and 6 months at Really Thorough Outpatient Thing #2, then I got the world’s most amazing social worker (whom I’ll have to say goodbye to soon because she’s going back to school, presumably to get a postgrad degree in General Awesomeness), and long story short, I’ve been on the right meds for 4 years now (FINALLY) and I’ve managed to build a pretty robust social support network and I’m back in college (I dropped out in twenty-oh-*mumblecough* due to, guess what, undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues) and also I’ve got 3 lovely and fluffy guinea pigs whom I love to bits.
    I wish you all the best. Or, if at all possible, even better than that. Lots of love from me and kissies from my guinea pigs, if you’re not allergic. ❤

  15. I want to point out re: question 14 that if you hate phones (like me) or are for whatever reason unable to use one effectively (ie if you’re Deaf or hard of hearing or not good at speaking) but still need some help, you can check out Crisis Text Line,

    Also, if you haven’t got a phone with texting abilities or can’t get to a phone with texting abilities, there are other ways to contact them! See their FAQ here:

    This is not just for suicidal thoughts, it’s good for other crises where you need someone to help you but can’t use a phone for that.

    To whoever wrote that question, and whoever else may be reading this, don’t feel ashamed of reaching out for help. That’s what those hotline or textline volunteers are there for, and if they save your life, they’ve done their job. It’s very hard to talk about those things with your family or friends, and that’s why those things exist. Sending all the love and hugs to you. ❤ ❤ ❤

    1. crisis text line is wonderful! i spoke to them a couple weeks ago. it was very late at night, nobody else was awake, and i was feeling very overwhelmed by my life. i got connected to someone, talked about how hard everything was, and they validated me (“wow yeah that sounds like a lot! i don’t know how you handle it all!”) and that was all i needed, was someone not a datemate to say pretty much exactly that. they are super super great!

  16. #12 I actually heard some friends (while I was ignoring them on my phone) discussing a proposal they’d heard for an app for coworker dating, one that would be like “you can raise your hand here if there’s a coworker you want to date” either for a specific coworker or for coworkers generally (with the latter being public and the former being more like a thing where if you proactively knew and typed in the name of a coworker you wanted to date and the coworker did the same the app would notify you, but you wouldn’t have a tinder-like menu of coworkers to browse and get similar notifications for).

    I assumed this was like to avoid sexual harassment issues when crushing in the workplace, but when I looked up from my phone and said something like “I’m not that horrified by the idea that you have to effectively opt in to being asked out by coworkers by downloading an app,” and they insisted that it had some other purpose like making it easier to meet your mate at work. (They were appropriately horrified that someone was proposing it for that purpose).

    1. This is what I get for searching by numbers for the comments rather than reading from the top. First post found the app.

  17. Reading the “firthing” made me so happy i got tears in my eyes, and made me want to go and rewatch pride and prejudice, even though i watched it last month. today i’m 64. thanks for making me happy!

  18. Okay, I understand why Colin prefers Darcying, but if it is indeed the actor, I would like to point out that Mr. Firth has employed this method in other films. “Love Actually” comes to mind.

    1. When you create something iconic, people want you to do it all the time.

      Love Actually Director Richard Curtis, to Mr. Firth: “Colin, I hate to ask you this.”
      Firth: “Not again.”
      Curtis: “I just need a little bit.”
      Firth: “But this guy has nothing to do with Mr. Darcy. Darcy wears puffy shirts. Jamie wears soft turtlenecks that match his eyes. Darcy has never been in love and doesn’t believe in it. Jamie is nursing a heartbreak but he knows that love is theoretically possible. They’re nothing alike! They’re in totally different places in life!”
      Curtis: “My dear fellow, I don’t want you to go full Darcy – you don’t have to pretend you smell a fart whenever Aurelia is in the room! I just want a little bit of that glowering thing.”
      Firth: “Shan’t.”
      Curtis: “Howabout a sexy lean?”
      Firth: “No.”
      Curtis: “Manufactured nonchalance?”
      Firth: “Richard.”
      Curtis: “There’s a scene where you have to ask her father’s permission to marry her, and there’s sort of a comedy of errors about that.”
      Firth: “I’m calling my agent.”
      Curtis: “One smolder.”
      Firth: “Just the one?”
      Curtis: “My hand to god.”
      Firth: “And I can keep the sweater.”
      Curtis: “You can keep the sweater.”
      Firth: “Fine.”
      Curtis: “Let’s roll it.”

        1. But that also lends weight to my argument for firthing: Colin Firth created this. Therefore, it should bear his name.

      1. Firth: RICHARD.
        Curtis: *manufactured nonchalance* hm?
        Firth: There is a POND?
        Curtis: mmmmm, well. It’s more a collected pool, the water is running, you see-
        Firth: And you want me to jump into it.
        Curtis: The woman jumps in first, and you feel a way about that and-
        Firth: Richard. We talked about this.
        Curtis: And you said “No ponds.”
        Firth: Richard.
        Curtis: As anyone can clearly see-
        Firth: Richard
        Curtis: The water is running. Into a small pool-
        Firth: Richard, no.
        Curtis: Colin, YES!
        Firth: And I’m to jump into it.
        Curtis: THAT’s the spirit!
        Firth: The water.
        Curtis: THE WATER, YES!
        Firth: … I’m keeping the sweater on.

        1. Oh, my VERY dear Captain and fellow Awkwardeers, there is no site on the internet that is as wonderful as this. I cannot tell you how much I needed this laugh today.

      2. Wait…there was a sweater? I missed the sweater part. I have no idea why.

  19. #17 – the parenting variant is bringing along siblings to birthday parties when they are not specifically invited. Newborn babies are one thing, but when you are paying per head for each child AND sibling is old enough to participate/eat stuff plus you are not a member of the “drop and go” cohort of parents it is seriously irritating.

    1. Most search terms from these posts, I can see how the searcher made their way here. That one made me tilt my head at an angle and state quizzically at my monitor.

  20. Just want to give my support to searcher #14. I’ve called a crisis hotline and they were very kind and patient. I did get the help I needed and I didn’t feel judged.

  21. I cannot be the only person here who read number 11 and didn’t immediately flash to Mallory Archer silkily offering Lana $50,000 to change the baby’s name to hers. And later offering $5000 if the baby were baptised in a white church. Oh, Archer, how I love thee…

  22. Although I am a little late to the party, I have the most awesome/unsettling name story.

    My father’s name is ‘Lloyd Eugene’, and goes by Gene. My brother (older by five years) is ‘Lloyd Eugene, Jr.’ He goes by Lloyd. When I was born, my parents decided to name me after my brother (?).

    They mixed up the letters, dropped a few, and named me …… ‘Doy’. Yes indeed you read that correctly.

    Once I hit about 2nd-3rd grade, I begged to go by my middle name (which is the most boring name on the planet, hands down). I mean, I was a chubby, introverted, buck-toothed very plain girl named Doy. I am now (legally, through court motion on my16th birthday) Boring Middle Name+Surname.

    Recently I told this story to a friend of mine and she observed that rearranging ‘Lloyd’ could have produced ‘Dolly’ – which, as unfortunate a name that is, is still a somewhat proper name – and why didn’t my parents go with that? I posed that question to my mom.

    She said, “Oh, I don’t know. We really didn’t give it that much thought.”

    I am not close to my parents.

    1. “Dolly — which, as unfortunate a name that is”

      Put some respect on that name in this house.

      Dolly Fucking Parton

      1. Fair enough – but I’m no Dolly Parton. I mean, who is, really? But no disrespect meant! There’s only one Dolly, as God intended.

          1. Unintended slight to Dolly aside, ‘Doy’ is a name no parent should give their child. That’s just wrong, let’s be honest! 🙂

    2. They could’ve also gone with Genie or Eugenie…

      At least they didn’t go with Oldy or Doll?

      1. Seriously, isn’t one of Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughters named Eugenie? If it’s good enough for a princess, it’s good enough for the rest of us 🙂

    3. I am imagining what it might have been like to be a kid named “Doy” during the period of the nineties when the expression “No doy” was in its brief yet extremely annoying heyday and having full-body shudders.

    4. …… wow.

      Kudos for getting it set up to change on your 16th birthday.

    5. Just of general interest about names– not a comment about your parents’ choices or yours.

      In the Southern U.S. and a few other places, it’s normal to give girls, or sometimes boys but usually girls, a mother’s or grandmother’s surname when she’s taken her husband’s last name (what used to be called a “maiden name,” but I hate that term). Think of Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor or Harper Lee. If the last name is traditionally a boy’s given name, it’s given to a girl anyway, and no one thinks it weird. So if Jenny Craig marries John Doe, she goes by Jenny Doe and names her daughter Craig Doe. A traditionally feminine name might be given for a middle name: “Craig Maria Doe” would not be considered all that odd or objectionable. This actually has advantages if the child is trans. The birth name can still work.

      Since “Doy” is a surname albeit an unusual one (a variant of Dewey), it would have made sense in some places. Same for “Dolly.” Adding -olly to the first letter of a given name was at one time a common way to form nicknames. “Mollie” was a nickname for Mary. “Dolly” was a nickname for Dorothy. “Lolly” was a nickname for Lauren or Lorelai.

      1. My (adult) child has a teenage transgender half-sibling (not my child), whose birth name was gender-neutral, something like “Bailey” (but not). Now that he’s transitioned, he uses a short, unusual name, something like “Zap.” Even pre-transition, he was dating another young transman with a conventionally male name, James. I learned from my offspring that James’ birth name was also gender-neutral, let’s say “Riley”, and I find it interesting that these two young men went from gender-neutral names to, in James’ case, a definitely male name, and, in “Zap’s” case, a word that’s not usually a name.

        1. One reason they might’ve done that is that a lot of names slowly become more female-coded as decades pass. When I was brainstorming new names for myself, at first I thought about gender-neutral ones, but then I realized a name that was gender-neutral now might be thought of as a feminine name fifty years from now, so I decided I’d better pick something masculine-coded if I didn’t want it to ever become feminine-coded within my lifetime.

          1. Another reason could just be existing generational or regional (which will show up as soon as you have friends online) differences in perception of what names are gender neutral. For example, the example name of Bailey isn’t at all gender neutral to me – it’s definitely feminine.So its possible what was gender neutral to you wasn’t to them.

          2. Ipomoea, I actually didn’t know Bailey was sometimes a girls’ name too! 🙂 Or gender neutral.

      2. Yep, I know a Dorothy that goes by Dolly/Doll! And it suits her perfectly! 😊

  23. When I was expecting #2 my mom said “if the baby is a boy please don’t name the baby your dad’s name.” I replied that actually we were thinking about naming the baby my paternal grandpa’s name. Deep freeze. “I have very bad associations with that name,” she said. To which I found a backbone for once in my life and replied “well then you can start a whole bunch of GOOD associations with that name!” Never got to see how it played out though because #2 was a girl. Although we were considering “[Grandpa]-ina” as a possibility at one point.

    1. Not exactly a “do/don’t name your child this/I hate the name” but related:

      When my mother was pregnant with me, baseball season was very much in, and this was back in the late 60s when the Oakland As were a phenomenon. My parents went to a lot of baseball games, and as my mom’s due date loomed closer my grandmother kept fretting she was going to go into labor/give birth to me at the ballpark.

      My mother’s reaction to this?

      “Well, mom, if that happens then we’ll name the baby Reggie if it’s a boy and Regina if it’s a girl.”

      Grandma shut up about it after that.

      1. When my parents were expecting my eldest sibling my grandmother called and said, “If it’s a girl, don’t name her Ellen because I once knew a cow named Ellen and I don’t want my granddaughter named after a cow.”

        1. haha! of all the names that get called “cow names” (i.e. Bessie), I’ve never heard Ellen put in that category….

          1. I think there was a cow named Ellen in one of the Little House on the Prairie books.

    2. “very bad associations” sounds kind of like trauma she doesn’t want to disclose, tho? i mean, i clearly don’t know anything about yr dynamic & maybe you knew that the stakes weren’t that high, but–

      1. Yeah… I mean, obviously we don’t know the whole story here, but that woulda given me pause.

        1. As far as I know the bad associations were unappreciated gifts and not helping them out financially when it would have been very timely/helpful. Also there was a very INTERESTING story about wanting to invite a female friend to their wedding who was NOT on the guest list, including calling the morning of the wedding to insist that she be invited, which my dad DECLINED.

          So, if a family member suggests that a name triggers them, you should comply with their request? Even if the name is very common and you don’t have bad associations with the name? Learn to love it or be quiet or both unless you have legitimate reasons not to?

          1. Agreed. This blog is usually pro-not managing other people’s emotions. I thought “you can learn to make good associations” was a perfect reply.

          2. Your response to your mother was perfect. Given that there was a family history and she was already objecting to using your father’s name, I think it’s safe to assume it was garden variety “ugh I don’t like that person.”

            If someone who was not a drama queen said they had “very bad associations” with and were triggered by a name that you had no idea they had any association with, you might inquire further. Maybe they’d never told you about their family of origin and the axe-murdering neo-Nazi rapist.
            But 99.999% of the time, people need to just start good associations with the name.

            ps- your grandfather and morning of the wedding invite for his female friend: :0

          3. Not nearly on the same level, but I once adopted a dog from some work friends of a guy I lived with, a sweet, doe-eyed lemon beagle mix that one of their old roommates had left behind when he moved out. When I asked her name, they told me it was Bear. “Bear!” I exclaimed, “she’s not a bear, she’s a cute little pixie!” And then Pixie was her name. My BF asked if I could call her something else, because his mom’s nickname was Pixie, and he thought it would be weird. I told him I’d think about it, and I did…and I couldn’t come up with a single thing. Not one. Nothing I could possibly think of suited her, or would fit her better than that. So Pixie she became, and remained for the 16 years I had her til she passed from old age. 💙

          4. if it’s a common name & she said “very bad associations w/ that name” rather than “w/ him (as in, paternal grandfather specifically),” i would also consider the possibility that she’d suffered trauma caused by someone who shares her father in law’s name. & if she wasn’t expecting it to be in the running as a possible baby name, i could see how that’d really rattle her.

            but i don’t know. family dynamics are all so different, & i trust that you’re the best judge of what she meant & what was the right way to handle the situation.

            personally: i feel that my mama can manage her own feelings about, like, how i’m queer or how i have pastel hair or the things i’ve published (that don’t involve her at all), but if a name i was considering for my baby somehow hurt her, i would change it w/o a second thought.

  24. Re: #11 –
    At my uncle’s wake, a woman overheard me calling to my daughter and said her name was Lydia* too, how unusual it is to hear that name these days, and how did we choose that name? I answered that it was similar to my grandma’s name, of which my husband wasn’t a fan, but he liked this version. My mother only heard the end of this comment, and cut in with “well, I still don’t like the name Lydia, and you only chose it to spite me.” Way to go, Mom.

    *Not my daughter’s name, although her real name is also the same as a Jane Austin character.

  25. I hope the searcher in #13 found your post on this. I found it so encouraging.

    Good news for them is that sometimes, when you go ahead and do what YOU want, with your OWN body, your spouse finds a way to be okay with it and it doesn’t have to be a fight.

  26. #13 Your body, your choice. Absolutely, no questions asked.

    But doubly so because men can be complete bastards and utter hypocrites when it comes to this issue. I agreed to using a non-barrier method of contraception because of my (EX) husband’s religious beliefs, but it turned out he was completely willing to put those beliefs aside when it suited him: he wanted to use condoms so he could continue having sex with me while he waited to be cleared of STD’s after having unprotected sex on an overseas trip. Not to mention all the whining (and later using it as the excuse for an affair) because the method HE WAS THE ONE TO REQUEST didn’t allow him to have sex whenever he felt like it.

    1. Huh, do you mean NFP? To me, “non -barrier method” means the Pill, but your later comment implies it’s not that.

      Not super consequential, just curious.

      Glad he’s an ex.

      1. Yes, I was talking about NFP.

        (CA, I hope this isn’t a derail of the topic thread or TMI, please feel free to delete my comment if it is)

        Using NFP requires the full commitment and agreement of the partners to make it work, both in terms of avoiding pregnancy and having a fulfilling sex life, and BOTH of these aspects are open to abusive behaviour.

        Physically I found NFP very effective and easy to use (I was lucky though in that I had fairly regular cycles and easily detectable signs of fertility. That isn’t the case for a lot of women). Emotionally and sexually though, it messed me up severely.

        It was difficult enough that both my husband and I had jobs which involved shift work and travel, limiting the time we were actually in each other’s company, though you’d think that there’d still be plenty of options for fun sexual activities that didn’t involve sperm getting anywhere near eggs during fertile times. But that would be before you factor in a man who is selfish and controlling, believes he is entitled to his wife’s body (although thankfully stopping short of actual rape), thinks that PIV intercourse is the only “proper” sexual activity (but not during menstruation because that’s icky) and anything else is either flat-out wrong (eg masturbation) or merely a prelude to the main event.

        I eventually went on the pill because the stakes got higher. I had problems with my (planned) pregnancy and then postnatal depression afterwards and decided that I was just not prepared to ever go there again. At the time I did not see any of my husband’s behaviour as abusive, and something which indicates just how much I’d internalised his values is that rather than assuming he’d be fully supportive of my decision and willing to put aside his own dreams of a large family in order to spare me from repeating an experience that was extremely traumatic, I apologised and said I would understand if he wanted to get divorced over this.

        I cannot stress enough how important it is to have control over decisions affecting your own body, even when your partner is respectful and you are seemingly in agreement on the potential outcomes of those decisions. Because YOU are the only one who truly has your own interests at heart.

        1. I apologised and said I would understand if he wanted to get divorced over this.

          oh my fuck I wish I could give past you the biggest hug. I’m so glad he’s your ex and you don’t have to deal with that shit anymore.

        2. Totally understand and relate to NFP messing you up. Even with a supportive partner, it makes you the gatekeeper of sex all the time, and that’s a role I dislike. And if you ever don’t want sex on a safe day, you feel guilty for saying no because that’s the only time he gets to have it. The advertisers say it’s sooooo respectful of women, but I’ve never felt so objectified.

      2. Can’t speak for zaracat, but “non-barrier methods” includes (among others) “stop/pull-out” method, and “safe periods” methods. Neither of which is particularily reliant, AFAIK.

        And the last sentence might indicate that ex was advocating for the latter method?

  27. #4- A couple of years ago, one of our neighbors asked if we minded him putting up a new fence, and I gave him our landlord’s (who was out of the country at the time) number so they could talk it over. Not only did the jerk not bother to do so, the workers he hired were awful, drove their equipment well over obto our lawn- ruining the grass, tearing up some of our sprinkler lines, and coming this close >< to knocking over our avocado tree. Not to mention the DUST- and as it was the hottest part of the summer, we have no AC, and ALL the windows that let in air are facing that direction, our house became FILTHY, everything was coated in dirt, some things had to be thrown away, and we were all furious, landlord included. But he didn’t sue.
    Because when the fence was put up, it changed the property line significantly- IN HIS FAVOR 😂 Our huge backyard is *even bigger* because nobody bothered to mark where the old fence was, just put it straight from point A to point B, which was several feet away from where it actually had been. And if there is ever any problem with the city, it will be HIS responsibility to fix.

    1. I don’t know how it works where you live, but here there are laws where after 15 years of using the land as your own you can claim adverse possession and be granted legal title to it.

    2. Hmm, CHECK THE LAW.

      My uncle’s neighbour had to pay my uncle over $20K for a “right of way”, plus surveyor’s fees plus legal fees, when my uncle’s neighbour on the other side found that the property line that had been surveyed in the 1860s was 40-something cm out. Yes, EIGHTEEN-sixties.

      There were three properties in an original land parcel that had been surveyed together when the land was subdivided, and both internal boundaries were out. One side was fine and no big deal after getting the new plans attached to the property titles – there were just a few shrubs along the property line. On the other side, my uncle’s neighbour had built a driveway all the way up the side of his house – right by their common boundary and right by my uncle’s house as well – a 6 foot high fence, and a large 2-car garage.

      Since my uncle had requested these things not be built 5 years earlier by asking politely and finally in a submission to the council – it was a heritage area with beautiful old houses, lots of trees, etc, and 1980’s-style large garages for the guy’s Beemers were not really in character (not to mention them driving the cars up and down the side of the house at all hours) – he really wasn’t that interested in “giving” the neighbour the land for free. That half-metre would take out the fence, garage wall, and a good chunk of the driveway, so the neighbour didn’t have much choice other than to pay for the transfer of the chunk of land to his deed, with all the costs that entailed over and above the actual purchase price of the land.

      So while it wasn’t the fault of the neighbour per se (other than being a wanker that no-one wanted to do any favours for), he ended up being incredibly out of pocket.

      Regarding the next comment, occupying the land nearly always doesn’t give the right to claim ownership in most places of the world … although in some places, you might continue to have the right to *occupy* it in limited circumstances once you go over a certain time period. (And yes, there are some rare instances where you can apply for the land title eventually.)

  28. I had to look up “Nottingham Cottage,” and I have to say, “royal love nest” is not a phrase I needed to read this morning.

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