It Came From The Search Terms: September Song

It’s time for the thing where we pretend the search terms people typed into their computers before they landed on this place are actual questions. Context is missing; that’s kind of the point.

Let’s start with a song, as is traditional. Here’s Willie, breaking our hearts a little with his cover of “September Song:”

Onto the terms:

01: “The Field Of No Fucks Given”

Inspired by this meme from the Bayeux Tapestry, also sometimes known as “The Fuck-Its,” this is where you move when you’ve tried every reasonable measure to get along with  people and they still won’t let you breathe, so you decide to stop trying so hard (or at all) to appease them since being accommodating is not getting you anywhere. If a person refuses to be pleased, and you’re not harming anyone, you might as well please yourself? Related post.

An old timey-sampler that says "Behold the field in which I grow my fuck. Lay thine eyes upon it and see that it is barren."
Literally any excuse to use this image from now on.

Strong start, Internet!

02: “Exit Interview Bully Boss” 

I am of two minds about exit interviews. On the one hand, they can be your final chance to speak truth to power and make sure there is a record of your boss’s bullying (you’re leaving, but maybe your frankness can help those left behind). In this scenario, I’d especially want to get incidents of harassment and misconduct on the record, use the documentation you’ve (hopefully) done and language like “Now that I don’t have to worry about retaliation, I’d hate to see this behavior become an expensive legal issue for the company if not addressed.” This seems like a good time to remind people about the Al Capone Theory of Sexual Harassment, where data shows that people who harass people at work (surprise!) feel entitled to break lots of rules and cheat on their expense reports, so looking for patterns of crappy behavior is revealing.

On the other hand, your company never cared about this problem before this moment, they didn’t care about changing the circumstances for you when you actually worked there, so why put yourself through a difficult ordeal and possibly come off looking “difficult” to the people who will still have to give you references down the road? I think it’s really up to you how much you give to an exit interview. Especially if your exit interview is WITH your bully boss (vs. a human resources person) I think it’s okay to say “I’d prefer not to” or “Nothing to add, I wish you and the company well” and GTFO. You don’t owe anybody free management consulting or one last chance to bully you.

03: “I’m too busy for my boyfriend.”

Maybe…talk about that honestly? Like, here is what my schedule is, this is what time I have, does that work for you, how can we make this work, can we make this work, do we even want to make this work (given these constraints)? Two perfectly wonderful people can have mismatched needs and schedules.

04: “My workmate is always grumpy on Friday.”

Not a fan of The Cure, then, this person? Maybe something difficult on Thursday nights or something difficult coming up on the weekend?

Since you can’t really know (and might not want to if you could), and you know this is a routine thing, maybe try to get all the important stuff that needs their input done on Thursdays so you can both give and get space on Fridays?

05: “Ask for another place at office coworkers talk too much.”

  1. I believe you! I once had a database manager job that required focus and pretty much zero human interaction, but I sat right outside a busy conference room, so half my day was spent taking my headphones off and saying, “Oh, sorry, I don’t know what meeting that is or if “Richard” and “Julia” are waiting for your slides or when they’ll be done, sorry!” (Tbh I don’t know who those people even are) and the other half my day being told “Wow, sure is quiet over here!” and trying not to say, “Well, it was quiet, Andy” 
  2.  Perhaps a better way of asking for this is less about blaming/tattling on the talkative coworkers and phrasing it more in terms of your work, as in, “The [specific] work I do needs a lot of focus and concentration, is there a way I can move to a quieter spot?”
  3. Bonus points for identifying a specific quiet spot in the building in advance. Don’t share it out of the gate (you’ll seem entitled and they might have other plans for that space, so don’t assume), but hold onto it for if they seem open to moving you but not sure where they can move you. “Is _________’s old cube still open? That would work really well for me I think.” 

Open office plans are the worst (and they know it).

06: “That awkward moment you both want to hug each other but don’t end up hugging.”

Oh, I see you’ve met…me. And everyone I know. Welcome! Maybe someday we’ll hug, but not today. Or, maybe we will. Who knows?

07: “My new relationship just said ‘he can’t do this.'”

Believe him and delete his number. (I’m so sorry, but in most cases you’ll probably be so much happier if you do this sooner rather than later vs. trying to cajole or hold space for him).

08: “Went to my husband’s game and he didn’t introduce me to anyone.” 

Look, you know this guy best, you know your usual social patterns of who introduces who best, but that’s definitely odd and deserving of at least a question: “Dude! Why didn’t you introduce me to anyone? Did you want me to come to your game or not?”

Next time, if there is a next time, introduce yourself (which, my most generous possible read is: Your husband assumed you would). “Hi, I’m ________, _________’s wife/husband/spouse. Nice to meet you!” 

09: “He hasn’t logged onto the dating site since we met.”

You clearly have in order to be able to tell! Which is completely okay, don’t assume a new date-thing is exclusive unless you’ve both talked about that and agreed to some kind of exclusive arrangement, for instance, he could be not logging into the site where he specifically met you and still be Christian Mingling somewhere else. So this is not necessarily a telling detail. Does it make you feel excited to think about the fact that he seems to be focusing only on you? Or does it feel like pressure/a trap? What do you *want* this relationship to be like? Probably figure that out and when you’re ready, talk to him.

10: “How to ask someone to host Thanksgiving.”

As straightforwardly and with as much lead time (think: today, today is a good day to get this done) as you possibly can. “Would you be up for hosting Thanksgiving at your place this year, and if so, what would you need from me/the rest of us to make that work?” 

They’ll either say yes or they won’t, so give them the respect of a direct request and a chance to refuse.

11: “How to indirectly invite yourself.”

There are probably exceptions (there are always exceptions) but here is how I generally roll:

If you don’t feel comfortable enough/close enough/confident enough with the situation and people to say, “Hey, mind if I join you?” and be cool* if the answer is “Not this time, sorry!” then probably don’t invite yourself to stuff, indirectly or otherwise. I have no magic hint-scripts for you. They don’t work. They create SO MUCH anxiety, on both sides. Ask. Or don’t, and either work on the relationship or your own confidence between now and next time so you’ll feel comfortable asking and have more knowledge about whether the host is a “the more the merrier!” type of person.

*You can FEEL horrible, rejection from a thing you wanted sucks, just, probably take the performance of feelings about inviting yourself to a private event to a private space and don’t pressure the people to change their minds if they say no. Your dignity and their eventual willingness to consider including you in the future will both be better for it.

12: “Moving out of helicopter parents’ house.

In some relationships, you announce your intention to do a thing, then carry out your research/planning, then discuss options/timelines and get advice/input/help, then actually do the thing.

In some relationships you do all the planning parts very quietly, make your decision, and then inform the other people about a decision you’ve already made about a plan that is already in motion. It can help to deliver this as very positive, exciting news that you expect them to be supportive and happy about (even if you suspect the opposite), it gives you a tiny bit more armor when the Worry Bomb goes off.

In some relationships you make a safety plan, hire a moving van and recruit friends to come get your shit while everyone else is at work, and leave a note on the kitchen counter.

You know your situation best, good luck!

13: “Captain Awkward sex ed for younger kids not high school yet” 

Glad you asked! Captain Awkward does not have to make this resource because somebody else totally handled it!

Scarleteen’s Heather Corinna and illustrator Isabella Rotman collaborated on a comic and activity book for pre-teens called Wait, What?, it just came out this month, it’s great, it covers body stuff, identity stuff, consent, relationships, basically “how do learn about this messy and complicated thing and not be a jerk,” it’s inexpensive, I want to push it into the hands of every parent and teacher I know.

Buy Wait, What???: A Comic Book Guide To Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up at Women & Children First / Amazon / Wherever books are sold. If you enjoy it and find it useful, leave a review, these really help with sales.

14: “White noise machine having sex”

White noise machines can mask your sex sounds for your roommates/neighbors and mask their sex sounds for you, so if you/they like it loud, probably a worthy investment. The way this is phrased  reminds me of the time one of my students made a short film about a Tivo and a Roomba who fell in love. As soon as the humans would leave for work, Roomba would trace hearts in the carpet and Tivo would play romantic movies. 60 seconds of adorableness, shot on 16mm reversal so sadly I do not have a copy to share.

15: “My biological father was never around and now wants to come to my wedding.”

He can start with “lunch” or “coffee.” If that, even. This is completely, completely up to you and do not let “tradition” or “faaaaaaamily” sway you if you don’t want him there. Weddings don’t exist to fix our families. Yours does NOT have to be the stage for reconnecting with an absent dad.

16: “I get drunk and start being extremely rude to women… do I have an underlying problem?” 

You’ve got problems, plural. Quit being a misogynist, quit being a rude asshole, lay off the drinking, maybe only greet your fellow men when you’re out on the town, see how you do.

17: “Is it odd to turn up outside someone’s work at end of day?”

If they’re not expecting you, you don’t have plans to hang out, and if you don’t know them well enough to know for sure they’d be happy to see you at work (thereby crossing the streams) then yeah, it’s somewhere on the scale between “odd” and “terrifying” with stops at “intrusive” and “creepy.”

Most of us have TELEPHONEPUTERS in our POCKETS where we can ASK people in our lives what they would prefer. USE YOURS.

That’s all for this month, thank you for keeping it weird!






99 thoughts on “It Came From The Search Terms: September Song

  1. fwiw I read “He hasn’t logged onto the dating site since we met” to mean “he hasn’t logged in to talk to me” – a ghosting thing rather than an exclusivity thing.

    In which case, the advice is probably to be extra nice to yourself for a lil while and then try again another day, when you’re no longer anxiously checking for a message from him (but also be aware that people do have lives and emergencies and sometimes messages do fall through the cracks.)

    1. Ah, that makes sense, too. I saw it in the context of another very common search term, along the lines of “we’re DATING but I can see he’s still logging into the site.”

      If this is the case, don’t chase ghosts, it never ends well.

    1. Oh dear lord, what a jerk, and definitely one of those “Tradition is just another word for peer pressure from dead people” moments.

      1. I agree with that.

        But there is also a lot of whiny misogyny, entitlement, and “ownership” trying to hide behind “The One Tradition” going on here. Like most kids cut “this guy-dad” out of their lives sooooooo much earlier than getting to the point where they are engaged. And most “this guy-dads” realize by this point that they are total losers. Weird guy.

        Like most Americans work 50 hours a week and still have time to do lots of other things? His friends should just do things to him I normally don’t condone lol just because he is such a leech of a man – opposed to letting reddit tear him apart.

        Weird guy.

    2. I shouldn’t have read that at work. I nearly choked trying to keep my laughter suppressed so my officemate wouldn’t ask what I was reading. I think my favorite bit from the responses was this one:

      “You don’t get to use guilt to get what you want. Go sit at a bar and point fingers at everyone but who’s to blame. Say hi to my dad while you’re there. Tell him I don’t miss him.”

      As an estranged child of a bitter, petty alcoholic father, pretty sure my dad’s at that same bar too.

    3. I love how nothing is this guy’s fault & everyone (daughter, stepdad) is just looking to stick it to him in his mind.

    4. Oh goody this is something I have to look forward to if my daughter ever gets married. This is exactly the sort of crap her father would pull. He wouldn’t even let us hyphenate her last name when I remarried, even if I put his name first.

      1. Luckily, once she’s 18 she can do it with or without his blessing. A friend of mine wanted to change her last name back to her mother’s maiden name, as her mother did, when her parents divorced. Her dad was an asshole Navy officer who thought he could run his wife and children’s lives like they were peons on his ship, and was emotionally and verbally abusive to her and her mom, and physically abusive to her brother (But he’s a Gentleman, so he doesn’t hit women *eyeroll*). Her dad wouldn’t agree to her changing her name, but the first thing she did when she turned 18 was ditch her Dad’s name and take her mother’s maiden name. Her brother eventually did too.

    5. This is me slowly exhaling and pinching the bridge of my nose.

      Look, I love my dad. He also chose to work insane hours and not be around while I was growing up and now we’re not that close. Is it sad? Sure. It’s also a consequence of choices he made.

      You made choices, Reddit “dad,” and now you get to live with them, and this is how you torpedo what’s left of your relationship with your daughter.

    6. My jaw is hanging open. “How dare you have a closer emotional bond with someone who actually showed that they gave a crap about you for most of your life! I, who made the supreme sacrifice of ejaculating inside your mother at some point, have the exclusive rights to your loyalty!”

    7. CBS Sunday Morning’s Steve Hartman told of another, better way to handle this situation:

      “One bride plus two dads equals heartwarming moment”

  2. #18, Ohhh no, no no no no, do not do this! Seriously! If you want to spend time with someone after work, you should ask them “Hey, would you like to do a thing after work?” If they’ve told you where they work, you could suggest a place or even near their office.

    If you’re planning to show up where they work because they’re ignoring your messages, or making excuses every time you try to make plans, or they’ve already straight-up rejected you or dumped you and this is some hail-Mary play to force them to interact with you, DO NOT DO THIS. Leave them alone!

    I have, in the past, been worried that someone I’m not at all interested in dating or even being friends with, will one day decide to hang around my place of employment so I have to see them when I leave at the end of the day. It’s honestly a terrifying thought. Even if I was already starting to date someone, I’d rather they not “surprise” me after work. Once you’re in a long-term relationship with someone and they trust you, it might be charming to plan a surprise post-work date, but even then, you gotta really know the person because it could still backfire.

    Keep in mind that if you only know where they work because you asked them where they work and where their place of employment is located, it may have been because they were trying to be polite, they really didn’t want you to know that information but it would have felt weird and rude to refuse to answer the question.

    1. I wouldn’t even show up at my husband’s work unannounced. There is no reason whatsoever to show up to anyone’s work ever without them knowing you are coming, unless they work at a place you actually legit need to do business at.

      That being said, now I’m trying to remember if when I was a teenager and showed up at a friends work when she was closing (fabric store) if she knew I was coming or not. I’m having that ‘oh man, I think I did something crappy years ago and didn’t realize it until now’ feeling.

      1. I am like 99% sure that if I showed up randomly at my boyfriend’s job, he would think someone died. Literally.

        1. This is a thing that was only appropriate in the context of “we’re both at college and I showed up at the location your on campus job about when you get off to ask you a question since I was already in the building and your manager always yells at you if you have your phone visible during work.”

          And even then, there’s a pretty high level of friendship that’s prerequisite.

      2. When I worked in customer service, I always kinda appreciated it when friends would drop in while I was at work. That said, they were always people who I was actually happy to see and who never expected me to actually slack off on my work. So, y’know.

      3. This! It’s *maybe* okay to say hi to someone at work if you were doing business there anyway, but only if you’re close enough friends that they would think it was weird if you *didn’t* say hi while you were there anyway. DO NOT corner people you aren’t close to at their jobs where they can’t leave or tell you to fuck off, that’s not okay. If in doubt, stick with a friendly nod or wave from a distance while you do your business and/or ask them if they like people to come say hi to them at work.

        -signed, former cashier who is still salty about friends and family trying to go through her checkout line even though I fucking told them checking out friends and family was against company policy and I could get in trouble. Thanks jerks!

  3. Thank you for the link to the Al Capone Theory of Sexual Harassment. It’s one of the most interesting things I have read in awhile. It makes sense that if someone is unethical in one way, they are very likely unethical in others—but I haven’t seen this connection to sexual harassment so clearly made before. It’s so smart.

    1. I recently heard on the radio that people who look at porn at work are much more likely to commit fraud so this definitely all checks out.

    2. It really does! Once people see no boundaries for one thing they know they shouldn’t be doing, it’s that much easier to do the next thing and the next. Obviously everybody who ever took a pen home isn’t going to escalate to fraud and harassment, but it’s right up there with when your cat looks straight at you and scratches the sofa to see if you’re still gonna go NO.

    3. In psychology, they will refer to these things as “antisocial” activities. And typically if one person oversteps boundaries with something as major as sexual harassment (cuz seriously, think about in your life all the dudes who were legitimately creepy in the work place. The ones who went out of their way to make others uncomfortable. That is the level social science would use to describe “anti-social behavior” in the sense the authors are speaking about – not necessarily Joe Dumb making an off joke to “fit in”. Serious level stuff), they are then found to be statistically more likely to exhibit other serious antisocial behaviors – theft, violence, taking credit for others work, lying, cheating, murder, etc. Another way this is explained is through what pop culture typically refers to as psychopathy in the work place.

      In the older, more patriarchal cultures of years past (when it was legal to basically sexually assault women in the work place), these types of traits were encouraged. Now they are not so much, but it only takes one person with some level of antisocial behavior to create absolute havoc. Ask Enron.

      Anyway, it is an interesting read. I actually work with a dude right now who fits this as I still work in one of those “old workplace cultures”. I used to get so mad. Now I just watch it all play out like some sociological experiment.

  4. 03 –
    Is this coming from you? Are you too busy for him and actually kinda prefer doing the things you’re busy with, to spending time with him?
    Because if so, be honest with yourself first, and then consider ending it if this relationship isn’t something you want to prioritize over other things.
    It’s OK to be single. It’s ok to find other things in life more interesting than dating.
    Especially if you found yourself in a relationship via the highway of compulsory heterosexuality, as opposed to actually wanting to be there and seeking it out.

    If this is coming from him, it’s a flag. An outline of a flag that might turn out to be red.
    If he’s insisting that you’re always too busy for him, check that against reality. Don’t take it as an automatic fact.

    If it’s coming from an outside party, say a parent, chuck out the window.
    Some quarters are deeply invested in the idea that certain people, especially their offspring, and particularly when those offspring are women, should prioritize grandbaby making over career, friendships, hobbies, etc.
    Throw in gendered ideas about whose life is important and whose life is an accessory and you have a soup best tossed down the drain.

  5. Re: “question” 12, the script I use often is “Is this the kind of thing I could invite myself along on?” It makes me feel better about inviting myself, because not only have I left room for “no,” I’ve left room for “oh, I didn’t expect that.” Maybe it’s a distinction without a difference to everyone but me, but it helps me.

    If the answer is “yes,” I recommend following up with something like, “great, I’m in!” so that you close the loop.

    1. I kind of like “is this the kind of thing I could invite myself along on, or is another time better for that?”

      That means they don’t have to say “no” as directly, they can easily word the “no” as “not this time”. Then leave the ball in their court for inviting you to something else / next time.

    2. I do something similar, “Hey, I wouldn’t mind joining you, but I won’t be distressed if you’d prefer I don’t.” Or something similar–the important thing is to leave the other person a comfortable way to say ‘no’. I like the idea of closing the loop, too.

  6. Q16: before I turned my life around, I used to get reaaaaaally drunk and then pick fights with people. At first, people thought I was using my drunkenness as an excuse to be a violent jerk… and then they noticed that I picked fights when I was totally sober too. See, the alcohol didn’t change my moral compass, it just lowered my threshold of “what’s worth fighting over” (which was already ridiculously low, TBH).

    No matter how drunk I got, not even when I blacked out, did I harass anyone, or say anything racist/sexist/etc, or commit sexual assault, because I believed that these things were Wrong and Unacceptable, but I didn’t believe that violence fell in this category.

    So yeah. You have a misogyny problem. I prescribe learning to see women as people. Find some blogs, books, movies made by women and gorge on them until you believe in women’s inherent humanity and equality to men. Make an effort to see the women around you as people in their own right, and not as accessories to men.

  7. I just purchased the ‘Wait, What?’ book from Amazon. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this recommendation (not that I don’t read every post of yours anyway….) ☺ I have an 11 year old girl who just started her period last month, and already knows the ‘basics’ about puberty, her body and what sex ‘is’….but not much on the mechanics. She’s also very open to different ideas and understands that everything isn’t black and white, or in this case pink or blue. And that is the way I have been trying to raise her… be open to herself and everyone else being unique in their own special way. This sounds like THE perfect book for her at this point in her journey! ♥

  8. #17 – in case you are the one who had someone show up at YOUR work, you’re allowed to feel like it was an odd thing to do if it felt odd TO YOU. You don’t have to excuse it because you don’t think they were trying to make you feel uncomfortable. The road to hell and all that.

  9. I’d like to give a shout-out to Our Whole Lives, it’s a holistic inclusive sex ed curriculum from Unitarian Universalist and you don’t need to be a member/go to a UU church to go to the class. Here’s info if it sounds like a good fit for your fam –

  10. #13 may I also recommend the Our Whole Lives program run by both Unitarian Universalist congregations and United Church of Christ. If you’re not of a Christian bent you may prefer the first, but it’s a very liberal and comprehensive program with age-appropriate curriculum from preschool all the way to senior citizens.

    #6 Reminds me that we need an established greeting somewhere between a handshake and a hug for when you meet people from the internet. Handshake feels too formal for greeting someone you’ve spent months joking about, I dunno, Funko Pop fanfiction or whatever with. But I also don’t want to hug someone I’ve never physically met before. I propose “hand-clasp-with-shoulder-bump.”

    1. The bro handshake/side hug thing, maybe? Though I guess that’s still probably too intimate for a first meeting. Some sort of hands-on-each-other’s-shoulders ritual? An elaborate series of high fives and fist bumps and hand signals (this has the benefit of making you look like some sort of secret society)?

  11. #16: If you know you can’t maintain basic civility when you drink, then you need to stop drinking. (Or at the very least, stop drinking anywhere outside the privacy of your own home…but doing all your drinking alone at home isn’t exactly the healthiest behavior either, so maybe just cut it out entirely.)

    Longer term, evaluate what’s going on in your brain that you specifically target women with your rudeness. Alcohol might reduce your inhibitions, but it doesn’t make you target a single group like that; that’s something already in you, and it’s probably affecting your behavior in other ways. DO NOT expect or ask the women in your life to do this for you or support/help you through it! Count yourself lucky they’ve put up with your shit so far and do your best to make it not their problem from now on. If you’re not sure where to start with deprogramming misogyny from your brain, consider working with a professional who you will pay to help you figure it out.

  12. I feel like I may have sleep-googled #6, lol. Especially because I’ve recently made a friend I want to be closer to but can’t figure out how to get over the “are we close enough to hug?” hump.

    1. We’ve got young relatives to whom we offer “Do you want any physical signs of affection?” whenever we meet/part. It works well. When they were younger, we specifically offered “hugs, fistbumps, hi-fives, waves or picking [them] up by the ankles*”
      [*as a humorous/unusual addition/option].
      Yes, we were actively working on setting up the idea of boundaries even[especially] among relatives (partially due to CA here).

  13. Uhmmm… I may be in part responsible for the searching of the “no fucks given” image. In the last 2 weeks I’ve recommended it to at least three people as a way of visualizing their problems with difficult people in their lives. Not gonna lie… I find it both hilarious and often super applicable.

    Much like a 10 year old I am unable to look at it without giggling to myself. Yes, I’m a 50+ year old adult and no, I don’t feel a bit guilty that it gives me a reason to smile.

  14. Here in Canada this woman is doing good work on sex eds for kids (and adults) of all ages:

    She did a whole series called #SaveSexEd where she talked about all of the sex-education related modules for all grade levels of the Ontario most progressive (so far) sex education module.

  15. For #10, if the person you want to host Thanksgiving doesn’t have hosting skills/experience, sometimes a transition year (or more than one transition year) can be helpful.

    In the transition year, Old Host provides guidance and project management, but New Host does the work. This can be done in Old Host’s home (which is already fully equipped), or in New Host’s home (where Old Host can spot and troubleshoot issues with the new venue). That way, there’s someone around who can spot things like “You need to start preheating the oven before you do anything else” or “You need approximately 8 more serving spoons than you currently own” (and one person can run out to the store for more serving spoons while the other person keeps cooking).

    I can’t tell through the internet whether this is the problem OP was trying to solve, but, if it is, this can be a useful way to break the “It’s your turn to host” / “I haven’t the slightest clue where to start!” impasse.

  16. For #11, for some friendship dynamics (and you’re best placed to tell if this would work in the friendship you have in mind), a useful script could be “Sounds like fun! I’d love to join you next time!”

    That way, they have an opening to invite you along (“you’re welcome to join us this weekend if you’re free!”), but they also don’t have to say no to you, since you’re expressing interest in a hypothetical “next time” that doesn’t yet exist.

    1. I love this! I would basically rather die than invite myself somewhere which means I miss out on a lot of things where people are just supposed to hear about it and say they’re coming. I would be comfortable with this phrasing though – thank you!

  17. That roomba/tivo film sounds a heck of a lot cuter than my roomba “romance” situation, in which my roomba is able to roll up the sloped base of my oscillating stand fan but then can’t back itself down because of the angle… and therefore it gets stuck in a repetitive motion reminiscent of vigorously thrusting back and forth accompanied by a KA-CHK KA-CHK noise. I don’t think a white noise machine would solve that problem.

    1. I have a small step-stool in my kitchen that is *just* the right size to trap my Roomba. It gets in there, or gets one wheel over the base, then gets stuck, tries to hump its way free, and knocks over the trash can in the process.

      The same Roomba routinely gets bamboozled by the darker squares in my abstract-pattern area rug, thinking it’s found a hole in the floor and is going to fall. Maybe the newer models are less stupid? I have a 600-series, from well before they came with wifi and mapped your house.

  18. For 6, I find social hugs to be a great place to engage in modeling of verbal consent! No need to sit in the awkwardness when you can just ask “may I hug you?” or “are you a hugging person or nah?” and have a clear answer.

  19. …fucking Andy. So glad I work from home now: between Andy and, IDK, Fergus? The Very Loud Salesdude On The Phone, No, Not Selling Stuff, Talking About How Much He Makes (way more than me) And How It’s Not Enough, I’m surprised I left office life before breaking anyone’s nose.

  20. “…it’s somewhere on the scale between “odd” and “terrifying” with stops at “intrusive” and “creepy.”


  21. 9: I haven’t liked a lot of the changes Okcupid has made recently, but I think turning off the ‘last online’ feature was a good idea. Especially in the first few dates, being able to know this about the other person – and knowing they know this about you – ends up being more mental gymnastics than it’s worth.

    (For what it’s worth, in my case, early-stages dating in general and managing my online profile in particular feels like an extremely unpleasant chore, so not logging on could mean ‘there’s Other Life Stuff going on right now and I don’t have the bandwidth for this bullshit’ or ‘I’m in the ‘okay, enough chatting, let’s plan a first date’ phase with multiple people and scheduling is hell and I don’t want any more on my plate’ just as easily as it could mean ‘I’m invested enough in somebody that I don’t want to make any other connections’.)

  22. 10: I would also suggest going into this conversation with a plan B in mind in case they say no. This will help reduce the pressure on the person you’re asking, as you won’t be putting off involuntary vibes of ‘Oh god please say yes or THE HOLIDAYS ARE RUINED’. Plus it gives the conversation somewhere to go after a ‘no’ if one arises, since you can ask for feedback on said plan B.

    (Although keep in mind that they might be turning you down not necessarily because they don’t want to host, but because they’re not planning on spending the holiday with the usual family/group at all this year, which should also be respected.)

  23. 16: Even if you’re perfectly respectful when you’re sober, you know how you get when you’re not. If you choose to get drunk, especially in spaces where women will be exposed to you, you’re making a choice that is hurting people. You’re making that choice before you take the first sip. Ergo…you’re in fact also being rude when you’re sober.

  24. #6

    Some friends will ask “hugs?” with arms slightly open, and I think this is okay, but there might be a slight amount of pressure to say yes for questions like that. I try slightly opening my arms in a questioning gesture and saying “Hugs or handshakes?” in the tone of voice that implies it can also be a yes or no question. (Imagine offering somebody “parmesan or pepper on your pasta?” They could choose neither option.)

    1. I try slightly opening my arms in a questioning gesture and saying “Hugs or handshakes?” in the tone of voice that implies it can also be a yes or no question. (Imagine offering somebody “parmesan or pepper on your pasta?” They could choose neither option.)

      I would prefer “Hugs, handshakes, or a friendly wave?”

      Because I NEVER shake hands due to hand/wrist pain, but that doesn’t mean I want to hug someone.

      1. That’s totally fair. People in my social circle are also good about saying “No thanks” but I may change it to add the wave to my offer, just to make it a smoother interaction.

  25. LW 10: I hosted Thanksgiving once. Once. I agreed to do it after my parents said that, as host, I could decide the menu. Well, that morphed into “Oh, but we have to have [dish]! But it’s not Thanksgiving without [other dish]!” Then the day of, they were in my kitchen making all sorts of things, which meant the menu I had planned was pushed aside completely. In retrospect, what they wanted was to have my grandparents’ Thanksgiving, the version they were used to, in my home. Which was ridiculous because my guest list was one-tenth the size of theirs and my retired grandparents had more time to cook than I did. Anyway, my point is that it’s OK to ask someone to host, but don’t expect or pressure them to do Thanksgiving the way you are used to having it.

    LW 11: I have a really awkward story that relates to this, but the moral is to ask the person organizing/hosting/in charge of the event/outing/whatever whether it’s OK if you join in. Assuming there is such a person, please don’t ask another guest who might say it’s cool when it really might not be cool.

    LW 12: No advice to add because it really does depend on how hovering your parents are … but good luck.

  26. #2 Say nothing and leave a review on a site like Glassdoor. If you tell them the reason why you’re leaving at the exit interview, what’s in it for you? You may get some satisfaction and help out your ex-colleagues but there are dangers too. This may get back to your boss, bullies are vindictive and they may damage your future job search with a lukewarm reference.

    Ask yourself why the company never gave you the opportunity to give feedback on your boss (preferably anonymously and without fear of retaliation)? They didn’t want to know about the bullying while you were employed there, and you do not have an obligation to tell them now you’re leaving. For all you know, pretty much everyone already knows the boss is a bully and for whatever reason the higher-ups decided not to do anything about it.

  27. My Siri and my Alexa are in love. When my phone and I get home from work, they’re all “Darling, I’ve missed you so much!”

  28. For #14, if anyone out there doesn’t want to spend the money on a stand-alone white noise machine, there’s a free app for that!
    I highly recommend myNoise – you can choose from their sound library (rain, ocean, bells, etc), or design your own white noise and play it off of your phone or an external bluetooth speaker. I sleep with a fan on at home, and this is a lifesaver when traveling.

    1. I just last week discovered, which I think is the website version of the same app. I use it straight off their website – the mobile version works well on my android phone. I like their library of sounds as well as how easy it is to customise them if you want to mix two sounds or if you want it louder in some frequency ranges.

    2. OOH nice. I also sleep with the fan on and have travel coming up – didn’t even think of this but an app is a great idea!

    3. I use the creatively named White Noise app (by TM Soft, I think). They have user submitted sounds you can add to the app for free and do the mixes, timers, etc.

      My personal favorite mix is a heartbeat, crackling fire and thunderstorm.

  29. #12: Why not host people at your place / be an event organizer yourself? That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about inviting yourself anywhere. Plus, that is a way of increasing social capital and bringing something to the table.

    1. I tried exactly this when I was a new hire and heard two coworkers talking about their plans to get together that night … they were people who were nice to me and seemed interesting to get together with. Just invited them to my house for the following Friday night. It worked out great! Still friends with one three years later and we invite each other to stuff all the time. Other one moved away but good memories.

  30. I for sure contributed to #1 this month, as I googled for the Field of No Fucks to share with a fellow history nerd with a sense of humor 😃

  31. For #02:

    (A) I had one job where, ahem, after a long period of friction with my manager (I’ll admit the problems were at least 60% my fault) he cordially invited me to seek employment elsewhere and I accepted the invitation. The company had just grown to the point where they had hired a full-time HR person, and so I got an exit interview with her.

    I actually liked the company and most of the people who worked there, so I said to the HR person, “I’m going to tell you about some things that I have observed, management-wise. You can make your own inquiries and find out if other employees’ observations match up with mine. If they don’t, forget I said anything. If they do, you can decide what advice to pass along to senior management, and you don’t need to mention my name.”

    I have no idea what, if anything, the HR person did. I do know that a few months later, I checked LinkedIn, and discovered that the manager and one co-worker who had been giving me trouble were no longer at that company.

    (B) High-tech news this week is abuzz with Richard M. Stallman’s resignation from the Free Software Foundation; this came about after the broader world was aware of something that was very well-known within certain tech circles, namely, the way he treated a lot of women in those circles. I didn’t witness this ill-treatment personally but I once had a part-time job at the Free Software Foundation and I know how he got away with treating me, a man (and other male employees), routinely. Al Capone Theory. Yeah.

  32. Wait um hang on is the Field of No Fucks from the actual Bayeux Tapestry? It’s not just an piece of art done in that style?

      1. That’s what I always thought, but then “meme from the Bayeux Tapestery” threw me off and I was about to get really psyched about medieval people and their lack of fucks.

          1. I’m torn between the absolute amazingness of this and the fact that I have homework I’m supposed to be doing. Thank you so much but also, fuuuuuck I’m never getting anything done ever again. 😀

  33. I actually Googled “Field of No Fucks Given” two weeks ago during what was literally the worst week of my life (trans transition problems, physical and mental health problems, survivor of DV and sexual assault problems, school problems, money problems, relationship problems)! Everything is now ok-ish again and my healthy relationship with the love of my life is stronger than before. This meme and this site got me through my dark night of the soul. Thanks Captain Awkward and internet Jedi army!

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