How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Step 318: Observe basic rain-safety

Quick reminder: If your windshield wipers are on (for non-bug-removal purposes) your headlights should be on too. Do you hear me, Portland?

15th Feb 2014 377 notes , Comments

Adulting Classic: Do not wage an unwinnable war against Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! To my readers in Oregon (yay!) or Arizona (boo, until you stop being so awful to Latino people!), happy statehood day! To all the singles … uhh …

I was single for a long, long time. Sometimes I loved it, mostly I hated it, but it was what it was. And yes, when you’re single, seeing a couple being all schmoopy really stings. This I know well. And Valentine’s Day can be especially crappy. I am not trying to pile on here.

But you gain nothing and lose all sorts of dignity when you go around making a huge fuss over Valentine’s Day or, as some call it, Singles’ Awareness Day (SAD = most fitting acronym ever). In general, if a group of people is celebrating something that you, yourself, do not particularly care to celebrate, the gracious thing to do is quietly let them celebrate while doing your own thing. Don’t barge loudly into their holiday and declare it a sham. Just sit it out.

Instead of going on and on to anyone who will listen about SAD and insisting loudly that you like it this way, go eat two hamburgers and fuck whomever you please, because being single can totally rule … if you don’t spend your time self-consciously trumpeting that fact to everyone.

12th Feb 2014 765 notes , Comments

Step 317: Be ready before you move in together

I’ve gotten a couple inbox asks about moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Aside from the practical considerations of any new apartment, here are some useful things to think about:

Before you do it …

• You should probably date, very successfully, for several months after the honeymoon phase ends before moving in together. “Successfully” in this case can be defined by the things that aren’t happening: No big ugly fights, no almost breaking up or actually breaking up then getting back together, no nagging feelings that this relationship is doomed. Moving in together will not solve any of those problems.

• Sit down and have a looooong, boring talk to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to the home itself. Is it always going to be sparkling clean, or are socks draped over a lampshade par for the course? Can you compromise on décor (or, ideally, have one person that could give a fuck less about color scheme?) Is your house loud and full of guests, or quiet with an early bedtime? You probably know a lot of these things about your boyfriend or girlfriend already, but an ounce of discussion ahead of time is worth a pound of yelling at each other to pick up those goddamn shoes.

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8th Feb 2014 916 notes , Comments

Song and life pairing: XO and moving into your first solo apartment


Kelly: for some reason, i think when you move in
you should play XO
and just spin and spin in place
while friends and family throw glitter on you

(Source: meredithhaggerty)

5th Feb 2014 171 notes , Comments

Derailing Christmas dinner

When your relative asks how things are going and whether he’s going to propose soon: Make your mouth small and your eyes so big. Gaze around. “Boyfriend,” you whisper to no one in particular. “I had … a boyfriend …” Get up and walk to the window. Gaze out into the darkness. Exhale on the cold pane, then draw a ladybug in the condensation. Chuckle to yourself. Return to the table. “Great! Things are great. So, so great. Oh my gosh. Great.

— Crushing Christmas: How to Win Every Argument, on the Daily Beast by yours truly

24th Dec 2013 1,014 notes , Comments

Step 316: Don’t feel embarrassed on behalf of other people

Via Boyfriend Dave:

"You know, you don’t have to feel embarrassed for people when they’re doing something on purpose," he said. "They’re doing it because they want to. They’re doing it because it makes them happy. Don’t worry about her — she’s just doing her. She’s not embarrassed. So why are you?"

Someone wearing a weird outfit? Someone dancing who’s not great at it? Someone getting up for karaoke without the voice for it? Don’t cringe on their behalf; that is almost always an expression of your discomfort in your own skin. It takes a lot of courage to be yourself, to do something because you love it. Don’t worry about those people; they are fucking fine. They’re great, in fact.

25th Nov 2013 1,609 notes , Comments

The holidays … they are coming. Face them with the zeal of a challenger.

Full disclosure: I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love Christmastime with a passion normally only achieved by deeply religious 46-year-old moms. 

But. But. Every year, I have at least one major holiday-related breakdown. This is inevitable, but today I did something that will make it better.

Behold, the Christmas poster!

This includes:

  • Travel plans, including flights, hotel reservations and how I’m getting to/from the airport;
  • All holiday events I want to go to;
  • All the non-holiday stuff that still must be attended to (job deadlines! Bills that are due! Friends’ birthdays!);
  • Dates out-of-town friends are in town, so I don’t miss them and;
  • A couple days set aside to get all my holiday shopping done and wrapped.

Beginning to end, it took me maybe 40 minutes. 

25th Nov 2013 352 notes , Comments

There is a horrible but small chore in your life that you have been putting off.

Today, you are going to do it. You are going to spend that five minutes cleaning that hideous toilet or finally calling your insurance company or whatever it is. Here’s how.

Step 1: Steel yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Step 2: Gather the items required to get this thing done.
Step 3: Put on “Fancy” by Reba McEntire (or the original by Bobbie Gentry; your choice), the single most inspiring and motivating piece of art ever created by humans. Let its fineness and flawlessness and power flow through each cell in your body. Realize you are so much bigger — and stronger — than your humble roots and nigh-impossible odds whatever stupid tiny chore this is. When she ramps up to the climax, belt, “I may have been born just plain white trash — BUT FANCY WAS MY NAAAAAAAAME!" at the top of your lungs.

Step 4: You now have the strength to do anything. Re-play Fancy if need be and get that shit done.

Here’s your one chance, Fancies, don’t let me down!

24th Nov 2013 1,857 notes , Comments

If you have to do an interview via Skype …

Tape googly eyes next to your webcam to help maintain eye contact.

NOTE: This is not an original tip. I saw it somewhere awhile ago, and can’t remember or figure out where. But still great advice!

29th Oct 2013 80,869 notes , Comments

Step 315: You will not be truly good at something worth doing until you have done it again and again and again and again, for years. Do not get discouraged. Let your discontent fuel you.

Ira Glass has already said this far more eloquently, but it’s true.

I just finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. I felt, as I always do when reading something stupendous and heartbreaking, both exhilarated and insanely jealous. I would finish a sentence, stop and let it wash over me, and then feel small and inadequate and embarrassed about everything I’ve ever written.

I remember the first time I read something by her, an essay a mutual friend had posted it on Facebook, feeling empty but also changed. “You will never write like she does,” said an 8th grade mean-girl voice in my head. “Why bother, when there are people like her who can write things like this?”

But writing, or making art, or music, or any pursuit that begins inside you and then is proudly or quietly offered to the world, is more craft than divine inspiration. It is slogging through vast periods of mediocrity and frustration and slowly improving. It’s doing it whether you feel like it or not.

It is also — and this is the hard part, at least for me — not putting yourself up against anyone else. Instead of feeling sad that you can’t make the things someone else can make, spend that emotional energy writing more.


28th Oct 2013 1,223 notes , Comments