Friday Updates & Open Thread

Hello readers! I’m excited to get back into the blogging swing next week, but first, some chitchat!

Medical News: Surgery went fine, all is well as can be though last week sucked so bad as my body tried to decide between “pain regulation” and “all other bodily functions.” I’m back to my normal routine, got a clean bill at the follow-up visit. Now we just wait for “Guillame” to shrivel and die and do more imaging in a few months.

Random Culture News: I watched a rough cut of my friends’ upcoming movie Monuments last night and it was so, so, so good. They’re still in post-production and I don’t know the expected release date, but anyone out there who thinks “I’d like to see a kindhearted Coen Brothers-y, David Lynch-y sort of comedy about love and death and mythology that is a journey through the middle parts of America and it is sometimes a musical” are gonna like this one.

Kitten News: Daniel Striped Tiger and Henrietta Pussycat will be a year old at the beginning of May so time to switch over to Cat News officially then, but we’ve got two weeks left, right?

Sleepy Cats
Henrietta (L) and Daniel(R) are cuddled together asleep.

Lenée Appreciation News: This week ends the current guest-blogging stint by Lenée aka @dopegirlfresh. It was such a gift to have her help so I could recuperate, and it was a gift in other ways, like, how interesting it was to see someone else step in and do my job and watch that process up close. We did a little Q&A to close out her time here.

CA: When you said that you wished you could take over for a week was there a specific topic or letter that made you think “I have Things To Say about that”?

L: I found myself wondering whose internet-job I’d like to do. Would I want to tweet for Fat Kid Deals? Would I be able to field customer service on Wendy’s Facebook page? The answer was a resounding no; I realized I like talking to people and decided that being Captain Awkward for a week was right up my alley.

CA: You’ve stared directly into my inbox and lived to tell the tale. I’d love to know what you thought of the experience as a whole. Were there any trends you noticed, things that surprised you?

L: I noticed that people really, really trust you with their deepest and most intense stuff. I love that you’ve been able to build such a great space for people to get support and reassurance. Nothing surprised me; perhaps because I’ve been on the internet a looooong time, there’s next to nothing that surprises me.

CA: Do you have favorite advice columns or sites? Are there advice columns you wish existed?

L: Honest answer: I only read and consistently enjoy CA. I’m an occasional reader of the Redditships Twitter account and always read screenshots from AITA on twitter as they come down my timeline.

wish there existed an advice column that focused on trans and queer people of color. (Somebody please start one)(CA: YES HARD AGREE I will help in any way I can) 

CA: We’re surrounded by tips, “life hacks”, and advice from all sides. How do you sift out the good stuff from the useless stuff from the actually harmful stuff? What do you wish  advice-givers did more of (and less of)? Why do you think people are so into the idea of advice?

L: I often consider the source of a tip. For instance, I never read stuff in Cosmo or any similar magazine. It couldn’t be any less inclusive of me or anyone I care about. I would never take advice from, like, anyone affiliated with Fox News. And I don’t believe in anything Lena Dunham says, because Lena Dunham.

L: They can read my Twitter (@dopegirlfresh) or find me on Medium (same user name). In a few weeks, I’m launching a monthly column and will happily share that link with everyone as soon as my first post goes up!

Period comic by Sarah Andersen, your uterus is trying to ruin your life
EXTREMELY RELATABLE Period Comic by Sarah Andersen?

CA: I can’t wait to read your work and I cannot thank you enough for your help and support. I know you’re also a member of Club My Uterus Went Rogue, so I’m going to promote the shit out of your medical fundraiser right now. Hopefully you can come back and hang out with us soon.

It’s good to be back.



91 thoughts on “Friday Updates & Open Thread

  1. Hi, y’all!!
    Thanks to everyone who’s read my posts here, and joined the fray on the twitters. xoxo

    1. Hi Lenee, thanks for filling in for CA (get well soon, Captain.) I thought you did a good job, and your responses to #1193 and #1190 were particularly good.

    2. I loved reading your answers here. You’re just as supportive and awesome as the Captain but you have a unique voice, you know? It’s wonderful to get a slightly different take on things.

      Captain, I’m so glad you’re doing well!

    3. Loved reading your take on some pretty intense questions! Thanks for your insight.

    4. While reading your guest posts I kept thinking it would be great if you had your own regular column because I appreciated your take on things so much! You got right to the heart of each issue with empathy and clarity. I’m pleased to hear that you are starting a column, and I look forward to reading. 🙂

  2. So glad to have you back, Captain! Congratulations and a swift recovery! :)) Lenée, thank you so much for taking up the blog for the week, I was really excited to read your perspective, and you didn’t disappoint at all ^^ I was a bit taken aback at your identifying a LW’s experience with PTSD and hypervigilance (because of the rule against Internet-diagnosing), but other than that, I loved reading your words 🙂 Thank you both very much for this collaboration!

  3. I just want to say I LOVED Lenée’s columns this week!!!! I totally saw what CA meant about Lenée choosing slightly different questions than CA normally would. I really hope we can have Lenée back as a guest sometimes!! (Or as a tag-team with CA? or switching off CA picks-Lenée answers and vice versa?)

    Glad to hear you are recuperating well and getting back into your routine Captain!!!

  4. Aww, so glad you are on the mend! And Daniel and Henrietta continue to be SO CUTE!! I love their sleepy smiles. They may always be kittens in my mind…

  5. Glad to hear you’re on the mend, Captain! And thank you Lenee, I really enjoyed reading your advice this week!

  6. Just here to say that I really enjoyed Lenée’s posts, and I’m now following her on Twitter— she’s great all around! Lenée, if you’re reading this, I love how succinct yet kind your advice is. I hope we see you guest blogging on CA again in the future!

    Captain, I’m glad you’re recovering and that you were able to take some time away from the site knowing it was in good hands. I’m happy to have you back!

  7. Glad you’re back, Cap. Hope you’re feeling 100% better soon; glad you took some time away to recuperate. Thanks for leaving us in good hands. I too look forward to reading more of Lenée’s stuff.

  8. Missed you, Captain. Glad the surgery went well. The kitties are beautiful. And those drawings of a troublesome little uterus were just what I needed to see today myself.

  9. So glad to hear that your surgery & recovery went so well, I hope things continue to get better and better for you! I missed your posts, but I agree with everyone else who have said how great Lenee’s posts were, too.

  10. Loved your guest poster. She was terrific. The same type of inclusive, compassionate, take-no-shit advice we all love you for, but with her own flavor. I followed her on Twitter immediately. Because Twitter is a cesspool of compassionate conservatism. Thank you to your guest for being super-wonderful, and I’m so glad you’re alive and in one piece and Guillaume is on his way out. I know you two were close, but it was time. Sending a hug if that’s OK with you. Hot tea, or a tequila, if you’d prefer that.

  11. Y’all’s advice columns have been excellent and you make my life so much better and I’m glad you’re feeling better, CA and I just came by to say that!!!!!!!!!

  12. Glad you’re feeling better, Captain! I hope your recovery progresses as quickly and smoothly as possible.

    And many thanks to Lenée for sitting in while you were out of commission.

  13. I’m so glad your surgery and recovery are going well. I had similar surgery a few years ago and it improved my life so, so much. I hope the same is true for you.

  14. I loved the guest poster! I missed you. Glad to hear you’re doing better (and hope it continues) and am excited that you will be back. Kittens are cute!

  15. Celebrate the good stuff: you’re back, and basically okay! Surgery sucks, but it gets rid of nasty things! Pain sucks, but there are medications! Daniel Striped Tiger and Henrietta are a year old! Lenee took over and ROCKED. (Seriously, girl, I am so glad you said that about Lena Dunham, because everywhere I look people are all “She’s so original,” and I’m all “um, yeah, no….”) You’re married to the man you love who makes you happy (and vice versa)! Books exist!

    Not to be all Chicken Soup for the Soul (what about the vegans??), but for real, Lenee was great and we’re all happy you’re back and we love The D and The H and their snuggly pictures.

  16. Popping in to say I loved the columns this week, and I’m so glad the Captain is back safe and sound. I especially loved “The Accidental Mistress”: as someone who’s had several runs of bad luck in the past that were wholly out of my control but left me feeling like I, as the only consistent variable, must somehow have caused it all. Thanks for reminding me that’s not true!

    PS: Can I join the Club My Uterus Went Rogue and can we get badges?

  17. Welcome back, Captain – but if ever you need to take a break again, you have a very able backup act waiting in the wings. Thank you, Lenée, and good wishes with all your projects. 😎

  18. Yay, the Cap is back! Lenee’s columns: A+ would read again.
    Taking advantage of the open thread to ask a question. I have this vague idea of once reading an advice column (maybe CA?) where a LW said their parents kept referring to their husband of a couple of years as their “friend”. (I believe the LW was a woman.) Does this ring a bell for anyone else, and if so do you know where I could find it?

    1. I don’t have an answer for you, but if no one else in the comment section has an answer either, there’s a place over at the Friends of Captain Awkward Forums specifically designed to help people track down old CA posts!

      1. Hey, funny you should mention FoCA Forums. I tried to register over there, but after I fill out the fields, the bot-block keeps telling me I’ve “sorted wrong.” Can anybody point me to a user-support-like resource?

        Also: I’m so glad the Captain is back and safe! And Lenée, thanks so much for keeping us fed and warm in her absence!

        1. Can I just say your comment about keeping us fed and warm made me picture all of us as CA’s pets and Lenée as the pet sitter the Captain hired to keep track of us while she was out. lol

          Just picture thousands of cats mobbing the metaphorical front door as it opens, tails high, voices loud, yowling for food and pets. Lenée, you were fantastic (and very brave in the face of that kind of eager hoard).

  19. Welcome back, CA! And to @dopegirlfresh, thanks so much for keeping this space alive and tended.

  20. Welcome back, Cap. Glad to hear you are healing and doing well. Lenee was fantastic, enjoyed and appreciated her wisdom. Happy birthday kittiekins!

  21. Joining the chorus: Welcome back, kittens are gorgeous, Lenee was fantastic and I’d love it if she guest-blogged regularly. But mostly, feel better soon!

  22. Glad to see you feeling up to posting, Captain! Yay for successful surgery (slight boo for post-op body confusion re: how to body)! Yay for kittens/cats! Yay for amazing guest blogger, Lenee! I’m going to go add her on Twitter, even though I basically never check mine, LOL! But I’m sure she’ll add some good stuff to my feed when I do check it!

      1. Maybe if we could actually define what we think being a woman or a man is, that would help? And I think the TERF label is a bit over-stated. I don’t know any feminists of any gender who want to exclude or are phobic of transpeople. But I know quite a few who do not know what being a woman or a man is, apart from biology. I don’t myself know what it means to be a woman, apart from that. Which means freedom from stereotypes, which has always seemed to me to be an excellent thing for the entire human race.

        1. This is a transphobic comment. There are and have been many feminists who are transphobic, as well as specifically hateful towards trans women and trans femme people, including prominent figures associated with radical feminism like Robin Morgan, Mary Daly, Germaine Greer, Andrea Dworkin, Julie Bindel, Suzanne Moore, and Lisa Vogel. Moreover, feminists who are cis are transphobic just as cis people in general are transphobic. But really, this is not a place for cis people to stage faux-reasonable debates about affirming trans identities or including trans women and trans femme people, because there is never a place for that. As your comment makes crystal clear, the only thing these discussions are good for are packaging transphobia and transmisogyny in pseudo-civil pseudo-rational pseudo-feminist phrasing. These assertions about biology and stereotypes are meant to seem axiomatic and uncontroversial, but they’re really a way to imply that trans identities are not valid – shallow, based on stereotypes, not deeply rooted, based in biology – and furthermore that trans people are unreliable witnesses to transphobia as they encounter it, unlike (cis) feminists who are enlightened and rational in their analysis of gender. Treating this comment like an attempt at discussion would be worse than pointless – it would be harmful, it would be transphobic. So please stop.

        2. “if we could actually define what we think being a woman or a man is”
          That right there is pretty much TERF in a nutshell.

          A woman is someone who identifies as a woman. Any definition beyond that is exclusionary, because the moment you try to define woman using biology, or culture, or any other marker, you are going to exclude someone who identifies as woman.

          Frankly I don’t “know what it means to be a woman” either, but I know I am one. If you and I can identify as a woman without a “definition” of “woman,” then other women can too.
          I must accept that a trans woman knows she’s a woman the same way I know that I am. If I doubt her, I am claiming that I have some special right to woman-ness that she does not, that because I was born bog standard biological female I have the right of self identification and that she does not.

          The moment we question a trans woman’s identity we are being TERF. We don’t get to define who other people are.

        3. Denying the validity of any non-biological definition of “man” or “woman” sounds like precisely what the TE in TERF stands for.

          1. I didn’t hear the poster deny the validity of it. They said they didn’t know what it was, which is an entirely different statement and one most people have to consider at some point in their childhood or adulthood.

          2. TO_Ont, “I don’t know,” in this context is rhetorical, especially coupled with the reference to “stereotypes” and the assertion that the commenter doesn’t know any transphobic feminists. (That also strongly implies engagement with this issue, and therefore with alternatives to “biology,” i.e. ASAB superficially based on “biology” – this comment about how there are no viable alternatives to “biology” is a response to a detailed discussion of two alternative frameworks, both of which are significantly less exclusionary.)

            It’s like saying, “Well, I don’t know how you would define marriage,” or “I don’t know how you would define life.” It’s a way to position a bigoted assertion as simple common sense, just the way most people naturally think. It means that trans people start from the outside, and that trans-affirming frameworks are defined as unnatural, counterintuitive, and alien. And that trans people, themselves, are not part of “people.” Their sense of how this all works, and their awareness of the limitations of “biology,” is not part of “our” perspective. “We,” naturally, are cis.

            It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s intentional. It is extremely transphobic.

            And sure, generally, people in a transphobic culture will have to grapple with transphobic norms in order to reject them. We can point to many other kinds of dehumanization that must be challenged in order to be fought. After a post about IUDs, CA had to fend off approximately a bajillion thinky thoughts about how effective birth control makes you selfish and unnatural. I’m sure some of those people would benefit from an online kiddie pool in which they can splash around in the concept of bodily autonomy. That doesn’t mean that those first steps towards respecting and affirming trans people – including the airing of transphobic ideas – should be hosted in a trans-affirming space. That’s what this is supposed to be.

        4. YIKES FANTASIA, NO.

          Also, I’m missing where I said “here is an invitation to start ‘debating’ these ideas.” There was no such invitation.

  23. Kitten News is always appropriate. They are always kittens. My two kittens are seven and almost three years old. They are still my kittens.

  24. Welcome back! Recovery from surgery can be lengthy (ask me how I know!) so I’m glad to hear you are doing well.

  25. I relate excessively to the uterus comic. “IF I DIE YOU DIE WITH ME” makes no impression on my uterus. Possibly it’s fine with that as long as it takes me down. It is a jerk organ.

  26. Hi, I hope it’s okay to post this here. I’m the LW of the “Am I a stalker?” question which Lenée so kindly and empathetically answered. Thank you for your response.

    If anyone is curious, things have changed a lot in the months since I wrote that letter, and my former co-worker and I are now a couple. We spent about six months becoming platonic best friends (very much a reciprocal and mutually supportive relationship) that finally turned romantic. We are taking it very slow and I’m working on not putting all my emotional eggs in his basket, but I am extremely happy.

    1. So glad to hear it! We do need closeness and love in some form but sometimes it looks almost impossible to cross the divide, always nice to see it happen

    2. Yay! I’m super glad it worked out for you. Best of luck in continuing to work on stuff!

    3. AMAZING, I am so glad. ❤

      I think so many people could relate to your letter, I saw a lot of myself in it in terms of getting very fixated on people when I was much younger – being starving for affection and safety, making meals out of crumbs, and just generally being Too Much. It’s why I watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend slowly and with lots of breaks and deep breaths (I’m only in S1), I can relate to the shaky ground of self making somebody else’s ground look incredibly solid even when they aren’t inviting me to park there. It took a lot of therapy and a long process to unwind it. Glad everything is going well.

      1. Cap, I know this is only a passing remark but it certainly resonates with me and I’m sure will with other people. Thank you.

      1. Oh Monica, that’s lovely. Very glad to hear that you are happy and taking it slow – sounds perfect!

  27. Captain, will you please post the link to Lenee’s column when it starts? I’m really looking forward to that.

  28. Welcome back Captain! I’ve had the same procedure you did, and that first week was…interesting. The end result has been nothing less than miraculous, though. Best thing I ever did. Hope your recovery follows the same course:)

  29. Great to have you back, CA! I’m glad to hear that you are also recovering well from your surgery! Monica, I am so happy for you! I’m glad that things are finally getting better for you.

  30. So glad you’re recuperating well! Lenée was a terrific guest host, but I’m really glad that you’re back and the comments are open. 💙

  31. I’m glad your surgery went well and that you’re on the mend! I hope you have many kitty cuddles, warm drinks and pairs of comfy pants! I enjoyed Lenée’s posts a lot, and was especially impressed at her response to #1191 – I feel like most guest bloggers wouldn’t have touched that one with a 10 foot pole, and I thought she did a great job.

  32. Good health to you, friend! I am staring down the barrel of some private-parts surgery here shortly and am hoping for the best but am NOT excited about it. Thanks so so much for all you do!

  33. Captain, so glad your surgery went well and that you’re on the mend.
    Lenee is brilliant. Loved her super-straightforward and spot-on responses, and am looking forward to her column.

  34. Glad to hear everything is going well Captain! May Guillame exit promptly pursued by a bear.

    Lenee is an awesome guest post writer (thanks so much for hosting ’cause it was so nice to hear her perspective on some really tough letters!) and I’m looking forward to her column!

  35. Captain, swift recovery wishes to you! Lenee, thank you for filling in as an awesome guest columnist. And Henrietta and Daniel have grown from cute, adorable kittens to magnificent stripy house-tigers! Give them kisses and ear scratches from me!

  36. Great news about Guillaume’s imminent demise!

    Daniel Ortberg over at Dear Prudence has been answering a lot of questions with a trans focus for the last few months at least on the podcast (can’t speak for online column) – the column is not exclusive to trans issues but it’s a basis for thoughtful advice until a dedicated one comes along.

    1. Daniel/Prudence is super great (and also super white, as am I). There’s also ¡Hola Papi! and Michael Arceneaux’s Dearly Beloved written by Latinx and Black gay men, respectively. Nothing quite fitting the lane that Lenée is hoping for, at least nothing that’s bubbled up where I can see it, but good news, the water’s warm and the field is wide open.

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