Tag Archives: links

I wrote a piece for VICE about taking good care of yourself during holiday visits with family. We’re at work on the sequel about hosting holiday visits that people won’t have to write to internet advice columns about.

The therapist I spoke with for the Vice piece, Rae McDaniel, is a delight and had so many quotable bits besides “Discomfort is not harm” and “You’re not going to be able to buy groceries at the hardware store” that had to be cut for space, so I want to direct you to their online coaching practice for people who want a safe place to explore gender in case that’s a thing that would interest you or someone you love. Lott Hill, a former colleague of mine quoted in the article, also had some beautiful things to say during our interview that we couldn’t include. He and I talked a lot about college students who were in the process of coming out or exploring gender identity and sexuality and who felt afraid to go home,  and this is one piece of advice that sticks with me about what parents can do to affirm and welcome their kids:

“Encourage any parent at any opportunity to tell their children that they are proud of them and appreciate them. If something terrible happens that’s unavoidable, like a relative goes off despite being told what’s unacceptable behavior, a parent can check in later and make it clear to their child that they don’t agree even if they couldn’t speak up in that moment: ‘I don’t agree with what your Grandma said and I love you very much.’

Remind parents that for the majority of their child’s life, they’ve been protective of that child in whatever setting that child is in, don’t forget that you’re still in a position that you can protect your child with as much strength and awareness and compassion as you’ve always protected that child. You don’t have to speak for them, but you can intervene and protect them at a very vulnerable times in their lives.”

❤ Imagine a holiday celebration where everybody tells everybody else: “I’m proud of you and happy to see you.” What a wonderful world it could be.

On a related topic, this Asking Bear column: “My home is unsafe for me to explore my gender. What do I do?” is extremely good. I completely hate that it’s necessary to strategize and work at “surviving” a situation, but S. Bear has very good advice for getting through.

It’s also a good day to mention that Scarleteen is offering donors a preview of their ADORABLE and HIGHLY USEFUL sex ed zine. Need an affirming, funny, safe way to articulate just what the heck it is you even think about sex? This is a great tool for that and a great cause.

Hope everybody’s staying warm and that your holidays are the good kind of awkward. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled advice programming very shortly.

Lindy West reacts to a new book by the authors of The Rules with the correct amount of “What the everloving fuck?” (h/t Bitches Gotta Eat)

So, essentially (according to these jokers), online dating is a forum where you put yourself up for auction and then passively watch while men compete for your silent company by bidding varying amounts of pork tenderloins and tennis bracelets. Whatever you do, don’t express an interest in or attraction to anything. The worst thing you can do for your romantic life is to play an active role in your romantic life. Also, Fein and Schneider say, once a man does contact you, under no circumstances should you let him know that you’ve looked at anything on his profile. Keep yourself vague. Because there’s nothing hotter than a woman-shaped blob of nothingness.

Or you could ignore all this speculative, baroque, antifeminist bullshit and just be a fucking human being.”

Yo, should I dump this asshole? should cut into my traffic & inbox significantly. I agree with the author that people who self-describe as “feisty” are to be avoided. See also: Quirky, zany, and madcap. Always avoid the madcap. Though, on that topic, I liked this piece at The Gloss taking down the overuse of the word “crazy”:

You know, it’s funny, generally when men refer to their exes as ‘crazy’ what I keep hearing is ‘she had emotions, and I did not like that…’

And when men do this on a regular basis, remember that, if you are a women, you are not the exception. You are not so cool and fabulous and levelheaded that they will totally get where you are coming from when you show emotions other than “pleasant agreement.”

When men say “most women are crazy, but not you, you’re so cool” the subtext is not, “I love you, be the mother to my children.” The subtext is “do not step out of line, here.” If you get close enough to the men who say things like this, eventually, you will do something that they do not find pleasant. They will decide you are crazy, because this is something they have already decided about women in general.”

A good friend and collaborator once told me I was the first and only non-crazy female director he’d ever worked with. He meant it absolutely as a compliment, I am sure. It’s not a compliment, and it took me a little while to figure out why it sat so badly with me. So then I gave him a piece of my mind about it that started with “Actually, I have a mental illness, so I AM technically ‘crazy,’ and if we’re going to work together again I need you to think real hard about whether you have a different standard for what’s crazy when a woman does it vs. a man.” People paid Stanley “I need the clouds to be just right” Kubrick, Werner “Yeah, we’ll need to carry that over the mountains” Herzog, Terrence “I can only shoot at the Magic Hour” Malick to direct movies. Meek, ever-agreeable and self-effacing is not actually a good quality in a director. Or a girlfriend.

Work/Career Advice:  Bitch Magazine’s post on 10 Things That Would Have Been Good To Know At and After Graduation is pretty spot-on. Congratulations, class of 2012, especially my beloved students and former students. This speech from Neil Gaiman about making a career as an artist is what I wish I could tell all of you. This advice about How To Get and Keep A Mentor is pretty useful as well.

Got any recent great reads you want to link in the comments? (Shameless self-promotion is allowed).

Oh, before I forget, yesterday I spotted honest-to-god FEELINGSART/FEELINGSMAIL outside my CTA stop:

"Billy Jean, I love you. Call me. Love Louis" written in chalk on a sidewalk.

Way to use your words, Louis!

So, so good:

“But here’s the thing: You can’t have sexual relationships without messy, awkward, emotionally risky interactions. You just can’t. You can deal with the messy, awkward, emotionally risky stuff up front and honestly and increase your chances of having fulfilling mutual interactions, or you can wait and hope it doesn’t blow up in your face. But you can’t engage on such an intimate level with another human being without it sometimes being weird. The sooner you make peace with that and stop imagining this stuff is easy for everyone but you (because it’s not: It’s messy, risky, and emotionally awkward for everyone), the sooner you’ll stop letting things “just happen” and take control of your sexual and romantic life.”

Go read this excerpt from the brilliant Jaclyn Friedman’s What You Really, Really Want at Jezebel. THIS is what we’ve been saying here at Captain Awkward Dot Com Enterprises:  Put yourself out there. Even when it’s weird. Use your words.  Ask for what you want. Don’t call yourself a slut – own your desires! You can be friends-with-benefits, as long as you treat each other like friends!  If you’d like your partner to make a move already, talk about it. Don’t apologize for being sexually inexperienced!

I’m also loving Sady’s answer to the question Why being skinny so important to so many girls? in Rookie. (Because if people can trick women into worrying about how skinny they are, they can make us buy stuff and also divert our energies from taking over the world, mostly).

If you’d like to sponsor a young woman to participate in a workshop about feminism led by members of the Crunk Feminist Collective, here’s where you help (or buy her a feminist book).

Finally, how’s this as an awesome pitch for a YA book?



  • Mildred Pierce.  I love a Depression-era women’s picture, and this one is getting a beautiful reworking and letting a bunch of amazing actresses just go to town.
  • The Killing.  Smart protagonist, smart writing, beautifully shot, great use of rainy Seattle, and a very real portrait of how a crime tears apart a family and a community.


  • Pork and beautiful fresh eggs from C & D Family Farms.  Do you live in Chicago?  Do you like humanely-farmed delicious meat?  Perhaps the magical white van comes to a parking lot (and soon, a Farmer’s Market) near you.

Listening To:

  • Sprawl of Glass (Arcade Fire’s The Sprawl + Heart of Glass = Awesome)

Over The Moon About:

This fake blog milestone brought to you by 50,000 Polish zloty.

Page views (which, like all bloggers, I monitor with the attention of a cobra watching the rat who has wandered into its lair…yesssssss…refressssssssshhhh) climbed over 50,000 today.

Welcome! I love seeing what search terms people use to find the site.  Until I get a chance to write about this topic (I Have Thoughts), I’d like to refer those of you who searched for  “consent is sexy” and “how to make sex with someone new not awkward” to Manboobz for today’s awesome sex education post.  It’s for both assholes and non-assholes, so everyone should be covered.

I feel like I can help the person searching for a  “clingy friend who’s always up my ass” and the one who wants to know  “is it awkward to tell a guy he’s cute” (Answer:  Yes, it’s a little awkward, but the payoff is high – he might like you back, and you’re also doing a solid for feminism by breaking down the stereotype that men ask and women wait).  As for the person who searched for “i need a rich sex girl” and “how 2 make a decent girl dirty”…I don’t know what to tell you.  If you’re trying to “send boyfriend’s ex a message,” don’t, and if you “want 2 get over someone,” ask yourself what would Dune protagonist Paul Atreides do?

I have a few really interesting questions in the mailbag – How do you interact with parents who were abusive when you were a child now that they are old and mellow?  How do you build community for yourself and find people you can really count on?   – that I’ll be writing up in the next few days, but I can always use more.

Thanks for reading and for celebrating this arbitrary milestone with me.  Stay awkward.