Monday, October 29, 2012

An onslaught of trolls

Sometimes, the Internet disgusts me. As much as I rely on cyberspace for my connection to the world, it really does bring out the trolls. I'm always kicking myself after I've scrolled down to the bottom of an article to read people's comments. "Geez, why did I just do that? Why would someone say that? WTF??" 

Good grief, there's so much negativity out there. So much cruelty. So much poison.  

Last week's gruesome murder of two New York children, apparently by their nanny, have opened those floodgates even wider. The trolls are feasting on this story. Taking a big, juicy bite and regurgitating it to readers in the most awful ways.

I can't think of a better way to describe this social malady than John Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory. You take a normal person, give him an audience and absolute anonymity and zero accountability, and what do you get 90 percent of the time? Yep, total dick.

And really, that could be any of us. It's tempting to indulge in our knee jerk reactions and lash out. It's easy to spit venom when you're in the safety of your bedroom, cubicle, school library, coffee shop, etc. And let's be honest, we all have the capability of tapping into our inner troll. We have the same twisted thoughts and ask the same judgmental questions. All it takes is a computer or smart phone and Internet connection.  

This is the way I see it. The Internet and all platforms of social media -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Foursquare, Yelp, etc. -- is like being at a cocktail party. You wouldn't want to be known as the heartless jerk at the cool soiree. So THINK before you speak. Or in this case, THINK before you type. Please refrain from verbal diarrhea and when in doubt, edit edit edit.

Your fellow Internet party-goers will thank you.

Read below for an articulate response to the trolls writing carelessly about the Krim family tragedy.

The Krim family tragedy unleashes an onslaught of trolls
By Mary Elizabeth Williams (October 29, 2012)

Shortly after the news broke Thursday that Marina Krim had discovered her 6-year-old daughter, Lucia, and her 2-year-old son, Leo, had been stabbed to death in their Upper West Side Manhattan apartment, allegedly by the children’s nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, my friend and fellow NYC mother lamented wearily that she was bracing herself for the inevitable trend pieces and ugly comments the tragedy was about to inspire. And sure enough, we didn’t have to wait long for them to erupt.
It’s understandable how the Krim murders — two defenseless children brutally killed by, it appears, the very person entrusted to care for them — would provoke a primal response. It’s the stuff of nightmares. The demoralizing aspect of the story is how quickly it’s been exploited as an opportunity, both by the media and the sanctimonious troll community, for all kinds of judging.

An outpouring of love and support seen outside the Krim's Upper West Side apartment.
We need less trolling and more of this in the online community. (Photo:

How many different terrible ways can this story be spun? There’s been the subtle and not-so-subtle observation that this happened to a well-to-do family, evidenced by the Schadenfreude-tinged commentary about their “luxury” apartment and Greyhound dog. On the perennially loathsome Urban Baby, which Gawker astutely describes as “the 4chan of rich New York parents,” members are busily speculating, “How much money do you think Krim made? Did they own or were they renting? Does anyone know if he went straight from working at Bloomberg to CNBC, or was there a period of unemployment? How much do you think they paid the nanny?”
At the other end of the economic scale, there’s been, simultaneously, a wave of kicked-up suspicion of foreigners, evidenced most tidily by the HuffPo commenter who demanded about Yoselyn Ortega, “Where was she from?” CBS news commenters likewise couldn’t wait to rail on how crime represents “a problem with illegal aliens” and “all those idiots employing them” — despite the fact the suspect was a naturalized citizen. And the Daily News promptly ran a don’t-let-this-happen-to-you trend piece on “How to run a background check on your nanny” – your no-doubt homicidal, foreign nanny — accompanied by smiling photos of the young murder victims.
There’s also been a lot of rubbernecking because Marina Krim kept a blog, which the family has since taken down. The blog has quickly become to certain empathy-deprived Internet posters another piece of damning evidence against the family. A commenter on Urban Baby noted that Krim “posted a photograph of one of her girls on the toilet while the other was on her potty chair. She posted a photograph of her older daughter just wearing her underpants. I’m sorry, but I find that grossly inappropriate. It’s an example of poor judgment at the least, which I find very revealing.” And on the New York Times, another commenter blasted Krim’s blog as “a venue for a pure display of the Upper West Side lifestyle that not only women magazine and mom blog readers tend to fantasize about.”
Appalling as all of the above is, the most revolting aspect of the reactions has been the nakedly hostile backlash the crime has triggered against mothers. Fox News, of course, was right out of the gate with a piece on how the crime “has sent a chill through working mothers already conflicted over the often agonizing decision to leave their children in the care of others while they work to put food on the family table.” Writer Cristina Corbin broke the mind-boggling news that, “the deaths, while tragic and disturbing, did not seem to have an immediate effect on the decision by most working mothers to go off to the job.” The implication is clear: It’s “agonizing” for a mother to go to work, especially because someone might butcher her kids, and yet mothers continue to work anyway. Never mind that Marina Krim was actually at a swim lesson with her other daughter, Nessie, when the murders occurred.
Even more despicably, there’s been the tsunami of self-congratulating from other mothers who don’t employ nannies, because I guess otherwise their children would be brutally slaughtered. As one mother on Twitter wrote (I won’t link because I’m too disgusted), “This is the reason I stay home with my kids and work in the evenings while my husband can be home. #soscary.” Similarly, a mother on Urban Baby wrote, “My fears, some would say irrational, kept me out of the work force for six years to raise my kids myself,” as the conversation then segued into how day care is also dangerous: “What about kids who were molested at day-care centers?”
The range of revealingly fear-based reactions to the murders definitely serves as a window into our darkest anxieties, ranging from comments that “I think menopause was a contributor” to the disdainful observation of Krim’s blog that her “apt furnishings looked like IKEA.” But while it’s clear that we have a long, long, long way to go in our country before we work out our collective baggage about class, about foreigners, about motherhood, about how our children are cared for, the Krim tragedy isn’t the litmus test of any of those things. It’s a unique and heartbreaking story. And it is also, sadly, a barometer of the soul of the online community. If you need the death of two small children as an excuse to validate your own paranoias or life choices, there’s a lesson about humanity there all right. But it’s not about the Krims.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Love in the Millenial Age

In this case, judge a book by it's cover.
(Illustration: Lucas Aardvark Novak/

I came across this article in last Thursday's New York Times and was so disturbed. Disturbed on many levels: firstly, that so many single women today, especially in their 30s-- smart, beautiful, lovely-- have found success in all areas (education, career, financial independence) except for one (love). Secondly, that single men aren't stepping up and embracing their call to gentleman-hood (I know that's not a word, but more on that later). Thirdly, that self-professed relationship gurus, like the duo mentioned in the article, are dishing out the worst dating advice, ever.

Now, I'm no relationship expert. But as someone who has kissed her fair share of frogs and who's had many insightful (and heartbreaking) conversations with girlfriends who are still waiting, praying and hoping to find Prince Charming (yes, the idea still exists!), I wonder if such cavalier attitudes toward dating and relationships only hurt us.

"If you want to hook up, hook up... And afterward, be natural. Crack a joke. Have some food. Act as if fun, casual sex is just that: fun, casual sex-- nothing more." -Jessica Massa and Rebecca Wiegand, founders of The Gaggle.

Really? Crack a joke? Have some food? And this is supposed to be empowering? It's sex, people. Not a night at the Improv.

Call me a romantic. Call me an idealist. You can even call me old fashioned. But I think sex is a really big deal. It's a beautiful act shared by two people who love and honor and cherish one another. Hookups are not awesome. Ambiguity is not cool. And I hope non-commital attitudes will never be considered "the new norm."

When did we women relinquish our strength? When did we decide that selfish, non-chalant attitudes (usually reserved for what women in my mother's generation called "male chauvinists") toward sex and relationships would amount to equality? Is feminist progress, as Hanna Rosin writes in "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women," now largely dependent on hookup culture? I hope to God it isn't.

The kind of feminism our great-great-grandmothers established defended equal political, social and economic rights for women (namely, the right to vote, get an education and seek employment). We've come a long way since the Seneca Falls Convention some 160 years ago. But if Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were alive today, I wonder if they would find our current pursuit of feminism fruitful. 

Woman warriors (clockwise from top left): Alice Paul, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott,
Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.

If feminism is about empowerment, the question is: how do we meet that end? Do we make progress by adhering to a philosophy that casual relationships are just that-- casual and nothing more? If this kind of thinking is prevalent in a man's world, are we to consider ourselves "equal" because we adopt the same perspective? Why should we lower our standards? Why should we descend into a dead end? Eventually, men find this kind of life empty and lonely. And guess what? Women will find it, too. 

Our bodies are our temples. We are spectacular, shining pearls with equally radiating souls. We are unique and beautifully crafted. We have been made with intention and purpose. We are like the Taj Mahal, the Sistine Chapel or the Sacred Temples of Angkor. We are a treasure. And we should expect men to treat us accordingly.

Back to the article. Some specific things I found troubling:
"We're dealing with a different generation of men," [Jessica Massa] said. "We're dealing with technology. We're dealing with changing norms."
A different generation of men, huh? Well, this generation of dudes needs to wake up and stop being so pathetic. If you like a girl, then ask her out (and don't do it by text messaging her!). Call her, take her out on a date. Court her. Do men even do this anymore? I can't tell you how many lame things my girlfriends have had to put up with. "When he came to pick me up, he didn't even come to my door. He texted me that he was outside!" and "He sent me a text message to say he was breaking up with me." Guys, take up your torch. You can be a gentleman. So Be. A. Gentleman.

Nowadays, young men and women often hang out together in groups, leaving some of them uncertain about where friendship ends and relationships begin. A series of hookups may or may not lead to a relationship, which can mean a longer period of uncertainty for women who are increasingly delaying marriage.
One time, a girlfriend of mine was at a party and met a man she was interested in. He too, seemed interested in her. But instead of asking her out, "He said, 'Let's hang out,' which usually meant going bowling with a group of people.'" Now sometimes I can understand that safety comes in numbers. But when it comes to dating, we shouldn't be afraid to put ourselves out there (that goes for us women, too-- if you've never asked a guy out, try it. It's exhilarating!) After all, love means taking risks. 

"We live in a confusing, ambiguous post-dating world," said [Rebecca] Wiegand. "We cannot expect to impose upon this world a set of rules, a set of regulations, a set of expectations."
I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. This is the kind of social relavitism that only hurts feminism and hinders female empowerment. We CAN impose a set of rules, regulations and expectations. If you demand that men treat you with respect, guess what? Men will treat you with respect. 

"They all like to communicate via text message," [Charlise] Ferguson said. "When you tell a guy you want to talk on the phone, it's like you want to get married to him."
It's no wonder women in the Millenial Age are having a hard time communing with men. Again guys, put some effort into it! If a woman gives you her number, it doesn't mean she expects an engagement ring. It means she thinks you're cute and WANTS to hear your voice again. 

OK. Enough of my soapbox. Read the article below and let me know what you think.

Seeking Love? Find Strength in Numbers
By Rachel L. Swarns
The New York Times, 10/25/12

The young, single women flocked to a dimly lighted wine bar in TriBeCa in their skinny jeans and stylish dresses. They were writers, lawyers and advertising types, among others, who were gathering for a most unusual how-to session, a primer of sorts on how to find love in the millennial age.

The 20-something relationship gurus of the evening, Jessica Massa and Rebecca Wiegand, had a blunt message: Praying for that prince with a dozen roses and a dinner reservation for Friday night? Forget it. Clinging to your mother’s rules about waiting for his e-mail or phone call? So last century.
Their advice: Embrace all of the men in your orbit, whether they text or G-Chat, whether they’re hunky or grungy. Savor every connection — the drunken conversation at the bar, the casual sexual fling and the impassioned philosophical debate over pumpkin lattes — without worrying whether any of it will lead to love. And in the midst of this confusing, messy muddle, the young women argued, romance can (sometimes) bloom.
Every generation has its relationship sage: There was Helen Gurley Brown in the 1960s with her best seller, “Sex and the Single Girl”; Dr. Ruth Westheimer, with her radio and TV shows in the 1980s; and Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, who wrote the best seller “The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right” in the 1990s.
Now the focus is on the so-called millennials, the young women in their 20s and early 30s, many of whom are struggling to find their way at a time when traditional dating seems like a quaint relic.
“If you’re following the rules, that just doesn’t work anymore,” said Ms. Massa, 29, who is the author of “The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want.”
“We’re dealing with a different generation of men,” she said. “We’re dealing with technology. We’re dealing with changing norms.”
Ms. Massa, whose book has been featured in Elle and Cosmopolitan, released her new guide to the lovelorn in June. Lena Dunham, the writer and star of the HBO comedy “Girls,” landed a multimillion-dollar deal this month to write a book that will offer “frank and funny advice on everything from sex to eating to traveling to work.”
And in January, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Ms. Fein and Ms. Schneider will jump back into action with their new guide, “Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating.” The book will include tips on instant messaging and a helpful chart with text-back times for women paralyzed by the thorny question of when to and when not to text.
Of course, romance has resisted such rules since the days of the Montagues and the Capulets. But that has yet to stop the lonely from seeking romantic advice or the commercially minded from selling it.
To the women sipping sauvignon blanc and vodka cocktails as they listened to Ms. Massa in TriBeCa, the flurry of books from professed relationship writers makes perfect sense. As professional women accustomed to forging their own way, many have been struck by how hard it has been to navigate their love lives, which seem so different from the ones described by their mothers or depicted in movies.
“Nobody picks me up, nobody drops me off at home,” said Anne Zelek, a 27-year-old marketing manager, who says she has embraced Ms. Massa’s approach of simply enjoying the company of the men she meets without focusing on finding Mr. Right.
“Oftentimes I don’t really know that I’ve been on a date until I get home from one,” she said. “It’s confusing. All of our love lives are confusing.”
Nowadays, young men and women often hang out together in groups, leaving some of them uncertain about where friendship ends and relationships begin. A series of hookups may or may not lead to a relationship, which can mean a longer period of uncertainty for women who are increasingly delaying marriage.
“I think a lot of women might prefer a regime of serial monogamy rather than serial hookups, but that doesn’t seem to be emerging so much,” said Paula England, a sociologist at New York University who said she has conducted online surveys with more than 14,000 women at 21 colleges and universities. “There’s this much murkier thing that’s taking place. You can tell that they are trying to figure out how they stand with these guys. They are struggling with the ambiguity of the situation.”
Some writers have argued that the hookup culture makes women more vulnerable to depression, feelings of low self-esteem and sexually transmitted diseases. But others have embraced the shift, arguing that it allows women the freedom to enjoy their sexuality without getting locked into serious relationships or marriage, which might impede their efforts to further their careers or education.
In her new book, “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women,” Hanna Rosin writes, “To put it crudely, now feminist progress is largely dependent on hookup culture.”
She acknowledges that many young women lament the lack of traditional dating, but says that many are still looking for “fulfilling relationships that exist outside the path of marriage.”
“Nobody says, ‘I love the hookup culture,’ and nobody says, ‘I want it to change and go back,’ ” Ms. Rosin said. “They sense that it’s more liberating, but there are still kinks.”
Ms. Massa and her best friend and business partner, Ms. Wiegand, share a similar philosophy. They urged the young women gathered at the happy hour in TriBeCa to embrace their sexuality. If you want to hook up, hook up, they said. And afterward, they advised, be natural. Crack a joke. Have some food. Act as if fun, casual sex is just that: fun, casual sex — nothing more.
“We live in this confusing, ambiguous post-dating world, and we need to embrace that,” said Ms. Wiegand, 29, who, along with Ms. Massa, is the co-creator of the Gaggle concept. “We cannot expect to impose upon this world a set of rules, a set of regulations, a set of expectations.”
Nonsense, say Ms. Fein and Ms. Schneider, the authors of the new “Rules” book. Romance and dating are alive and well for women who refuse to settle for anything less, they insist. They argue that women should try to preserve an alluring air of mystery — no easy task given that many young people chronicle their every move on social media.
“It is harder today,” Ms. Schneider said. “But the reality is that you can still pretend it’s the 1950s when we didn’t have all of this technology. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t answer the text.”
At the happy hour in TriBeCa, the young women drank, laughed and shared stories about how Ms. Massa’s advice had played out in their lives. Charlise Ferguson, a 28-year-old magazine editor, savored the camaraderie, saying it felt like a “group therapy session” with like-minded women who know exactly how hard it is to commune with men these days.
“They all like to communicate via text message,” Ms. Ferguson said. “When you tell a guy you want to talk on the phone, it’s like you want to get married to him.”
Nafeesa Saboor, a 33-year-old blogger and freelance writer, said she recognized Ms. Massa’s description of a post-dating world and liked her suggestion that women should enjoy their connections with men regardless of whether they were going out on formal dates. (“The only people who make reservations when I go out are men in their 50s,” she sighed.)
But she disagreed with Ms. Massa and Ms. Wiegand’s unabashed endorsement of hookups and with their idea that women shouldn’t make some more demands of men.
“There’s no one answer, no one book for everybody,” Ms. Saboor said. “It’s going with your gut and using your discernment. That’s frustrating and exciting. But that’s the way love is. You just never know.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Best marriage advice, ever

Single dad and blogger Dan Pearce offers up some pretty darn good marriage advice. (Photo:

I love Dan Pearce's perspective on love, marriage and parenting. His blog, Single Dad Laughing, puts me in stitches. But this particular post, "16 Ways I Blew My Marriage," is not only funny, it oozes with wisdom. Read on. Especially if you're married, about to get married or want to be married (heck-- it'll do you good even if you don't have any interest in getting hitched).

16 Ways I Blew My Marriage
Reposted from
Oct. 17, 2012

You know what blows big time?
The other night I was sitting with my family, most of whom are very successfully married. We were going in a circle giving our best marriage advice to my little sister on the eve of her wedding. It’s somewhat of a family tradition.
But that’s not what blows. What really blows is that I realized I don’t have any good marriage advice to give. After all, I’ve never had a successful marriage out of the two marriages I did have.
And so, when it was my turn, I just made a joke about divorce and how you should always remember why you loved your spouse when you first met her so that when times get tough, you can find someone new that is just like she was.
There were a couple courtesy giggles, but overall my humor wasn’t welcome in such a beautifully building ring of profundity.
They finished round one, and for some reason started into another round. And that’s when I realized. Hey. I don’t have marriage advice to give, but I have plenty of “keep your marriage from ending” advice (two equivocally different things), and that might be almost as good.
It eventually came to me again, and what I said would have been such great advice if I were a tenth as good at saying things as I was at writing them.
And so, that night, I sat down and wrote out my “advice list” for my little sister. You know… things I wish I would have known or done differently so that I didn’t end up divorced (twice). After writing it, I thought maybe I’d share it with all of you, too.
I call it my “Ways I Blew My Marriage” list. Also, for the list’s sake, I am just going to refer to “her” instead of “them” even though they almost all were true in both marriages.
When I first dated the woman I ended up marrying, I always held her hand. In the car. While walking. At meals. At movies. It didn’t matter where. Over time, I stopped. I made up excuses like my hand was too hot or it made me sweat or I wasn’t comfortable with it in public. Truth was, I stopped holding hands because I stopped wanting to put in the effort to be close to my wife. No other reason.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d hold her hand in the car. I’d hold her hand on a star. I’d hold her hand in a box. I’d hold her hand with a fox. And I’d hold her hand everywhere else, too, even when we didn’t particularly like each other for the moment.
BONUS! When you hold hands in the winter, they don’t get cold. True story.

Obviously when I was working to woo her, I would do myself up as attractively as I possibly could every time I saw her. I kept perfectly groomed. I always smelled good. I held in my farts until she wasn’t around. For some reason, marriage made me feel like I could stop doing all that. I would get all properly groomed, smelling good, and dressed up any time we went out somewhere or I went out by myself, but I rarely, if ever, cared about making myself attractive just for her.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d try and put my best foot forward throughout our entire marriage. I’d wait to fart until I was in the bathroom whenever possible. I’d make myself desirable so that she would desire me.
BONUS! When you trim your man hair, guess what. She returns the favor.

For some reason, somewhere along the way, I always ended up feeling like it was my place to tell her where she was weak and where she could do better. I sure as heck didn’t do that while we were dating. No, when I dated her I only built her up, only told her how amazing she was, and easily looked past all of her flaws. After we got married though, she sometimes couldn’t even cook eggs without me telling her how she might be able to improve.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I wouldn’t say a damned thing about anything that I thought could use improvement. I’ve learned since my marriage ended that there is more than one right way to do most things, and that the imperfections of others are too beautiful to try and change.
BONUS! When you tell her what she’s doing right, she’ll tell you what you’re doing right. And she’ll also tell her friends. And her family. And the dentist. And even strangers on the street.

I knew how to woo a girl, for sure. And the ticket was usually a night in, cooking a nice meal and having a romantic evening. So why is it then, that I didn’t do that for her after we got married? Sure, I’d throw some canned soup in the microwave or fry up some chimichangas once in a while, but I rarely if ever went out of my way to sweep her off her feet after we were married by steaming crab legs, or making fancy pasta, or setting up a candlelit table.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d make it a priority to cook for her, and only her, something awesome at least every month. And I’d remember that meat in a can is never awesome.
BONUS! Candlelit dinners often lead to candlelit bow chica bow-wow.

I’m not talking about the angry kind of yelling. I’m talking about the lazy kind of yelling. The kind of yelling you do when you don’t want to get up from your television show or you don’t want to go ALL THE WAY UPSTAIRS to ask her if she’s seen your keys. It really doesn’t take that much effort to go find her, and yelling (by nature) sounds demanding and authoritative.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d try to go find her anytime I needed something or wanted to know something, and I’d have both gratitude and manners when I did. I always hated when she would yell to me, so why did I always feel it was okay to yell to her?
BONUS! Sometimes you catch her doing something cute that you would have missed otherwise.

I always felt I was the king of not calling names, but I wasn’t. I may not have called her stupid, or idiot, or any of the other names she’d sometimes call me, but I would tell her she was stubborn, or that she was impossible, or that she was so hard to deal with. Names are names, and calling them will drive bigger wedges in communication than just about anything else.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: Any time it got to the point that I wanted to call names, I’d call a time-out and come back to it later. Or better yet, I’d call her names, but they’d be names like “super sexy” or “hotness.” Even in the heat of the moment.
BONUS! She’ll call you names in better places. Like the bedroom.

As the main bread earner, I was always so stingy with the money. I’d whine about the cost of her shampoo or that she didn’t order water at restaurants, or that she’d spend so much money on things like pedicures or hair dye jobs. But seriously. I always had just as many if not more things that I spent my money on, and in the end, the money was spent, we were just fine, and the only thing my bitching and moaning did was bring undo stress to our relationship.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d tell her I trusted her to buy whatever she wanted, whenever she felt like she needed it. And then, I’d actually trust her to do it.
BONUS! Sometimes she will make bad purchase decisions, which leads to makeup purchase decisions. Like that new gadget you’ve had your eyes on.

There was never any argument that was so important or pressing that we couldn’t wait to have it until the kids weren’t there. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist or super-shrink to know why fighting in front of the kids is a dangerous and selfish way of doing things.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I would never, ever, not even once fight in front of the kids, no matter how big or how small the issue was. I’d maybe make a code word that meant, “not with the kids here.”
BONUS! When you wait to fight, usually you both realize how stupid or unimportant the fight was and the fight never happens.

I always thought it was love to tell my spouse, “I don’t care if you don’t take care of yourself. I don’t care if you don’t exercise. I don’t care if you let yourself go.” But that was lying, and it was lying when she said it to me because the truth is, we did care and I wish that we would have always told each other how sexy and attractive the other was any time we’d go workout or do something to become healthier.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d ask her to tell me that she cared. I’d ask her to encourage me to go to the gym. I’d ask her to remind me of my goals and tell me I’m strong enough to keep them.
BONUS! Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don’t kill other people. (Name that movie!)

I don’t know why, but at some point I started thinking it was okay to poop with the bathroom door open, and so did she. First of all, it’s gross. Second of all, it stinks everything up. Third of all, there is literally no way to make pooping attractive, which means that every time she saw me do it, she, at least in some little way, would have thought I was less attractive.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d shut the damn door and poop in private.
BONUS! When she does think of your naked body, she’s not going to be thinking about it in a grunting/squatting position.

It always got to a point when I’d more or less stop kissing her. Usually it was because things were stressful and there was tension in our relationship, and so I’d make it worse by refusing to kiss her. This of course would lead to her feeling rejected. Which would of course lead to arguments about it. Other times I had my own issues with germs and whatnot.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d kiss her in the morning when she looked like people do in the morning. I’d kiss her at night when she’s had a long day. I’d kiss her any time I felt like she secretly wanted a kiss. And, I’d kiss her even when my germ issues kicked in.
BONUS! She feels loved when you kiss her. That’s bonus enough.

Age shouldn’t matter. Physical ability shouldn’t matter. Couples should never stop having fun with each other, and I really wish I wouldn’t have gotten into so many ruts in which we didn’t really go out and do anything. And, I’ve been around the block enough times to know that when the fun is missing, and the social part of life is missing, so also goes missing the ability to be fully content with each other.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d make a rule with her that we’d never stay home two weekends in a row.
BONUS! Awesome stories and awesome memories come from doing awesome things. And so do cherished embarrassing moments.

Pressuring each other about anything is always a recipe for resentment. I always felt so pressured to make more money. I always felt so pressured to not slip in my religion. I always felt so pressured to feel certain ways about things when I felt the opposite. And I usually carried a lot of resentment. Looking back, I can think of just as many times that I pressured her, so I know it was a two-way street.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d make it a point to celebrate the different views, opinions, and ways that she had of doing things. I’d find the beauty in differentiation, not the threat.
BONUS! Authentic happiness becomes a real possibility. And so do authentic foot rubs.

Sometimes the easiest phrases to say in my marriage started with one of three things. Either, “you should have,” “you aren’t,” or “you didn’t.” Inevitably after each of those seemed to come something negative. And since when have negative labels ever helped anyone? They certainly never helped her. Or me. Instead, they seemed to make the action that sparked the label worsen in big ways.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I would learn to stop myself before saying any of those phrases, and then I’d switch them out for positive labels. Instead of “you should,” I’d say “you are great at.” Instead of saying “you aren’t,” I’d say “you are.” Instead of saying “you didn’t,” I’d say, “you did.” And then I’d follow it up with something positive.
BONUS! The noblest struggles become far more conquerable. And you don’t think or believe that you’re a schmuck, which is always nice.

It was so easy in marriage to veto so many of the things she enjoyed doing. My reasoning, “we can find things we both enjoy.” That’s lame. There will always be things she enjoys that I will never enjoy, and that’s no reason not to support her in them. Sometimes the only thing she needs is to know that I’m there.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d attend many more of the events that she invited me to. I would actively participate and not tell all the reasons why I’d do it differently or how it could be better or more fun or time better spent.
BONUS! Go to something she knows you don’t enjoy and the gratitude gets piled on later that night, like whipped cream on a cheesecake.

I never got to experience the power of make-up sex because any time my wife was mean or we got in a fight, I’d completely distance myself from her, usually for several days. Communication would shut down and I’d avoid contact at all cost. This never let things get worked out, and eventually after it had happened enough times I’d explode unnecessarily.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d let myself communicate my emotions and feelings more often, and I’d make sure that she knew I still loved her any time we had an ugly bout. Sure, we’d give each other some distance. But not days of distance.
BONUS! Fantastic make-up sex. Or at least that’s the theory.
I had lots more, but the list started getting super long so I’ll stop right there. It’s amazing when you’ve had relationships end, just how much you learn and know you could have done differently, isn’t it?
My sister and her new husband will be amazing. Hopefully she’ll always be giving amazing marriage advice in the future and never have to hand out the “keep your marriage from ending” advice like I get to.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

Monday, October 22, 2012

School cool

Ivy League-inspired style for fall. Hooray for cardigans!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My style icon: Iris Apfel

Businesswoman, designer and New York style icon Iris Apfel
knows a thing or two about being fabulous. (Illustration: Joana Avillez)

Youth comes and goes. But Iris Apfel reminds me that true beauty-- the kind that comes from confidence, inner-strength and not taking oneself too seriously-- is always in fashion. At 91 years young, the New York style icon represents what I've always loved about fashion: it's an opportunity to tell a story about yourself. We're all blank canvases when we're born. We might as well have fun and use our palette!  

My favorite thoughts from the style maven:

91 years young and totally workin' it.

"Personal style is curiosity about oneself." 

"If you put something together and it doesn't look so good, the fashion police are not going to come and take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail."

"I can't tell people how to have style. No amount of money can buy you style. It's just instinctive. You can't try to be somebody you're not; that's not style. If someone says, 'Buy this, you'll be stylish,' you won't be stylish because you won't be you. You have to learn who you are first and that's painful... I don't try to intellectualize about it because it tightens you up. I think you have to be loose as a goose."

“I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre -– a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!”

"He told my friend that he thought I was very attractive if only I would go and get my nose fixed. So I said, 'You can tell him to go fly a kite.'" (On meeting her husband for the first time)

"You gotta have fun. If you don't have fun, you might as well be dead."

"I say, dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something that says 'Here I am!' today.”

“I do have a dominant shopping gene but, unlike a reasonable person, I never plan for what I need each season. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the discovery and the endless search."

"Style is all attitude. Attitude, attitude, attitude."

Learn from Iris: beauty begins from within.