Author Archives: Sweet Machine

The Puns

Alternate plan: tell them you’ve changed your name to Kate Beaton. (Seriously, everyone go buy her book! WE LOVE YOU KATE BEATON)

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m an undergrad English student who just got published for the first time (yay!) and I’ll be starting work on my capstone thesis next semester (although I’ve already started reading and outlining and stuff like that). My family is currently very supportive and thrilled for me- also yay! Problem is, I’m not sure if that will continue once they actually read the paper in question. I promised to get them copies of the journal in the heat of the moment when I first announced my big news, and now I’m thinking that might not have been such a good idea.

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Dear Captain Awkward, 

Not wanting everyone all up in your business: a cultural history.

Seven weeks ago my husband of six years told me he wants a divorce.  There is no room for negotiation on his side.  We’ve been to a marriage counselor a few times since he told me, and have spent most of the sessions talking about how we’ll divide the assets, deal with the house, ect.  He’s not changing his mind ever.  I don’t want the divorce and don’t think our issues are anything that counseling could solve, but I obviously can’t make him stay married to me so we’re getting divorced.

I don’t know how to tell people.  

I’m happy to say that this is my most pressing question about sex ‘n’
relationships ‘n’ stuff right now.  The short version is that a lot of
people who don’t know me that well aren’t sure whether I’m lesbian,
straight, or somewhere in between.  I’m sure where I am (straight) but
I also like the protective shield that uncertainty gives me against
unwanted (male) advances. (The unwanted female advances are rare and
flattering.) But now I’m wondering if this is kind of a shitty thing
to do, knowingly allowing people to draw the wrong conclusion instead
of being honest about who I am, just so I can avoid a few passes.  I
also worry that I am missing out on all the guys who don’t want to be
so gauche as to hit on someone who might be a lesbian.


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It's hard not to crush on the cute girl who saves the day.

Dear Captain Awkward,

Okay.  I am worried at the lack of emotional intimacy in my life, I think?

On Thursday, I ignored my flu, got gussied up, and attended a two-author required reading for my fiction class.  The first author read an entertaining chapter of his book on taxidermy (yes, it was really good!)  Then the second stood up.  She would be reading about a young girl’s first lesbian experience, she said.  Fine with me, sounds lovely.  She would also, if we had time, be reading about the girl’s road trip, with her conservative aunt, to a degaying camp.  I knew immediately that I would start crying soon.

Why would I start crying?  I’d never been to a degaying camp.  I did have the flu.  My mother had been fairly awful about my coming-out.

I wanted to leave, but kept coming up with reasons why I couldn’t:  this being a required reading, having to step across all the people in my row, the writer on stage thinking that I left to make a statement of homophobia (I really don’t look queer).  Now I have a script in my head that I could have used.  I should have left when I knew it would get awful, apologized and explained to the teacher later, and asked him to pass on the message to the writer.

Instead I sat through what should have been an enjoyable reading–it was a really good book!–dreading the words that would make me spill, looking up at the ceiling when my eyes got too full, and sniffling a little too much even for the flu.

I actually managed to get through the reading and make it to the building’s kitchen for a cup of tea without crying.

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