October 17, 2014

RE-POST: "I Feel Like My Chances of Finding Love Are Hopeless" via The Frisky

I'm not sure if you've seen it, but I've been doing an advice column called "Make It Stop!" over on The Frisky for the past few months. Mostly I field questions about pesky co-workers and thorny family problems. But this week's question was the most profound one yet. It was about how to deal with feeling hopeless in love. I've re-posted it in its entirety below. I'm proud of my answer and I thought it might help some of you out there that are struggling with the same thing. And if you have any questions you want to submit, email me at anna@shmittenkitten.com. Hopefully I can nip some shit in the bud for you.

I’m 31 years old and I’ve never been in relationship, nor have I ever been in love. I look at couples — married, cohabiting, dating — and I’m so envious of their ability to open up and create something with another person. Sometimes I feel like I’m too broken to even be considered by the universe to find love. I’ve never suffered any emotional or mental trauma that would provoke these thoughts, but I wonder if it’s self-preservation. I feel as though I’ve put myself out there, but each time I’m unsuccessful. Any advice for someone feeling a little hopeless? 
The bad news: your attitude needs an adjustment. The good news: adjusting your attitude is free! Instead of telling yourself that you’re a failure, correct that narrative in your head and say that you just haven’t found the right person yet, which is totally okay and super normal.

You say that every time you put yourself out there you’ve been unsuccessful. How you’re looking at these interactions could be part of your problem. Put it this way, is it a failure if you ordered crappy nachos at a restaurant? Would you say that you “failed” as a customer? Or would you say, “Hey, at least I tried this restaurant’s nachos but man, they sucked” and go about your day? You learned that you don’t like salsa out of a jar and that you prefer fresh jalapenos to pickled ones. That’s what dating is: trying new things, seeing what you like.

One day you will order nachos and you will recognize why they’re incredible: the chips are crispy, the cheese is perfectly melted, the guacamole is tasty and the jalapenos are fresh as hell. And you will know how kick-ass these nachos are because you’ve had so many shitty orders of nachos. You’re now a nacho expert and you can say with certainly that those nachos currently in front of you rule the hardest.

Dating is the exact same way.

Each time I dated someone who wasn’t a good fit, I learned something about myself. I learned that I can’t be with someone who scolds me if I stuff my face with brownies when I’m PMSing. I can’t be with someone who makes me feel bad for loving Fall Out Boy. I can’t be with a smoker. And I can’t be with someone who refuses to watch movies with subtitles.

Are these relationships failures? Hell no! I now know myself better than ever because of these “failures.” That’s a gift.

Speaking of gifts, and I tell you this as someone who spent most of my 20s and early 30s single, this time you have alone is a gift. You have the time and energy to throw yourself in whatever projects you want. Travel to the places you want to go. Make you the best version of yourself that you can be.

Hold on to your laptop because I have a giant spoiler alert: relationships don’t magically make everything better. That feeling that you’re looking for, that all-encompassing love and acceptance, starts with you. Until you have it independently, you can’t have it instilled by someone else. That’s the huge secret of relationships. Once you realize that no singular relationship will complete you, you will truly be free.

Listen, I’ve been in your fuzzy pink slippers. It’s not easy to keep hope alive especially when it seems like a romantic relationship is less likely than “Homeland” being good again. If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t find myself in a committed relationship until I turned 35. It’s not our parents’ world where if you didn’t find a partner by 25, you’re branded a spinster. If anything, the sooner I realized that the longest relationship in my life was with myself, the happier I was.

And keep in mind that relationships—even the happy, healthy ones—take a lot of time and work. There’s no magical happily ever after. Committing to a life with someone takes a serious amount of negotiating, compromising, and communication skills. Those happy couples mooning over ricotta pancakes at brunch? I guarantee you that their relationship navigated some bumps too. It’s easy to forget that when you only see them at their best.

Anyways, you know what’s worse than being alone? Being with the wrong person. That’s a hell unto itself. That would be a true failure for you. So far you’ve avoided that, which is fantastic. Seriously. You haven’t settled just because you’re lonely. You’re pushing through the loneliness and I promise you that it will be worth it in the end. Just keep being the best friend and family member you can be. Because when you do meet the right person, you will need support from time to time. By having a web of positive people in your life, you will be happier and richer for it.

Your mission is to keep being open to new experiences and learn about yourself, so that you will be able to recognize when you’re with the right person. And that’s the true measure of success.

July 29, 2014

Real Talk: I Need A Date To My Friend's Wedding

As wedding season draws to its (merciful) close, I'm faced with one final nuptial hurrah, courtesy of two of my nearest and dearest friends who -- in a shameless attempt to make the rest of us feel bad about our lives -- had the nerve to fall madly, dizzily in love with each other. They're getting married this fall, and I will almost certainly be invited with a plus one. Which raises the question: who the hell am I taking to this wedding? Tempting as it would be to reinstate my OKStupid or Tinder accounts and troll for tail, the more practical approach seems to be tapping into the pool of available men right in front of me. To wit:

1. The Friend-Plus

We all have one: the rad dude you spend tons of time with and occasionally think, "Hey, should I bring this guy in off the bench?"

Pros: He's fun, friendly and easy to be around. He also looks great in a suit and will follow my lead on "Let's slow-dance" vs. "Fuck slow-dancing; where's the bar?"

Cons: Finding a guy friend who's fun, friendly and easy to be around is no small feat. Do I really want to risk losing him to ex-boyfriend-ville if things don't fly?

2. Out of Town Guy

He's not from around here -- which is the point.

Pros: It's virtually guaranteed that this guy's going to put out, if only because his options are:
a) spend the night on my Put Out Couch (it's like a pull-out couch, but...well, hence the name) 
b) do battle with the money-grubbing androids at Amtrak to finagle passage back home at 3 a.m. surrounded by the kinds of humans who are willing to brave Penn Station and its homeless shower facilities known as bathrooms at that hour of the morning.
Cons: IT IS VERY HIGH STAKES. I'm importing him for the evening, which means I'm contractually obligated to show him a good time, monitor my Prosecco consumption to keep from being too drunk to fuck, and serve as a human shield during potentially limitless embarrassing social interactions with the requisite pack of predatory bridesmaids circling any dude without a ring on his fourth finger like taffeta-draped sharks dabbing Paris Hilton perfume behind their gills -- er, ears. It's enough to send me straight to the open bar, and let's be honest, after a dozen or so well vodka sodas, I'm not going to be much good to anyone, even myself.

3. My Actual Crush

At this point in the #Trampage, I'm edging towards the inevitable "Do I Want To Make One of These Dudes My Boyfriend?" portion of the program, and while there are several candidates, there is a clear front-runner.

Pros: The meet-cute anecdotes practically write themselves. After all, where better to suss out a guy's true relationship potential than at an emotionally charged, well-dressed, liquor-fueled gathering of most of my social circle?

Cons: What if he says no? Oh, God. What. If. He. Says. No. 

indiana jones animated GIF

(It turns out that despite my best efforts to Keep Calm and #Trampage On, I do, in fact, still have feelings that can be hurt. Which, I guess, is nice to know.)

The invitation hasn't even arrived yet, and already I'm tempted to RSVP myself and my cat. At least she always wants to cuddle and won't judge me when I wake up the next morning with mascara-blacked eyes and a spiny blonde disaster where my sleek pixie cut used to be.

Which one is my best bet? What's worked for you? Tell me in the comments!

July 25, 2014

Flippin' Our Shades At Author and Blogger Samantha Irby

Samantha Irby is my favorite writer. Her blog, Bitches Gotta Eat, is one of the best blogs I've ever read. And her debut book of essays, Meaty, is brilliant. People in the book industry talk a lot about having a "voice" in writing and I didn't really know what that meant until I read her stuff. Her voice leaps off the page (or screen or whatever device you read her stuff on). It truly feels like she's talking directly to you. It's incredible. And everything she writes--whether it's about dating, sex, friends, or family--is fresh, honest and relatable. She hails from my hometown of Chicago and I'd like to think if I'd stayed in the Windy City, we'd be IRL friends and not just Internet friendz.

Hot off the heels of an incredible interview with The Rumpus, I emailed Sam some questions about dating. I kept her trademark writing style exactly as she submitted it.
2. What do most guys do wrong when they're out with a girl?
Sam Irby: they don't talk enough. nothing makes the ladies crazier than a dude mumbling, or sitting dead fucking silent, during a date. you just met me, homie. you know literally nothing about me other than which emojis i like to use when texting. ASK ME SOME SHIT.
3. What's the worst thing a girl can do on a date? What's the worst thing you've ever done on a date?
Sam Irbyhm. i am slow to criticize girls, because we are pretty fucking perfect. so i would say the worst thing a girl could do on a date is not be 100% herself. i am a person who is definitely guilty of letting it all hang out. here's the thing tho: you could be all vague and mysterious and withholding, but eventually you're going to have to take a shit or burst out in premenstrual tears and dude is gonna be all WAIT WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT INANIMATE OBJECT I'VE BEEN FUCKING THIS WHOLE TIME. or you could pretend to really be into [insert dumb thing he likes] but sooner or later the truth is going to come out and you're going to look like an asshole. and being someone you aren't is exhausting. so don't do that.  
i think the worst thing i ever did on a date was knock a bowl of mussels into this dude's lap and then awkwardly punched him in the dick as i tried to help clean that shit up. it was too embarrassing to be funny, even now. he just sat there looking at me like "i am never texting you again." and he didn't. we're still friends on facebook, though, because life is fucking terrible. why can i not delete that goddamned dude!?
4. Tell us a secret!
Sam Irbyevery night after work, if i don't go out, i eat my dinner in my pajamas while reading fashion magazines and watching the game show network. especially wednesdays, when they show, like, four hours of steve harvey-hosted episodes of family feud. i am obsessed with him, and i cry when people win the fast money round. every time, real tears. totally gross.
5. What advice would you give a younger version of yourself about dating?
6. What would you put on a mixtape for a person that you liked? 
Sam Irbyi could for real go on ad nauseam about this. like, if my life could just be making mixtapes for potential boyfriends without having to risk any of the in-person awkwardness i would be totally cool with that. okay so i would probably try to look cool as hell and flaunt my incredibly varied musical tastes rather than create a sexmood, which i would achieve later with the help of my clunky old humidifier and hastily-applied aspercreme. 
1 "creole" mos def and charlie hunter.
2 "deep fried frenz" mf doom.
3 "half time" amy winehouse.
4 "don't leave" ane brun.
5 "you took your time" mount kimbie feat king krule.
6 "something in the way" nirvana.
7 "the wheel" sohn.
8 "los awesome" schoolboy q.
9 "pull up vibes" beres hammond.
10 "breathe.scream.dream." denitia and sene.
11 "rain smell" baths.
12 "the hours" beach house.

1 "prelude/there's a lull in my life" cecile mclorin salvant.
2 "nakamarra" hiatus kaiyote.
3 "objects in the mirror" mac miller.
4 "mad lucas" the breeders.
5 "polyethylene (1 and 2)" radiohead.
6 "furthest thing" drake.
7 "blame them" blackbear.
8 "god bless us all" n.e.r.d.
9 "default" django django.
10 "come here" talib kweli
11 "every party has a winner and a loser" erlend oye.
12 "call me" n'dambi.
Follow Sam on Twitter @wordscience and buy her book!

July 23, 2014

Tip Our Hats: Guys Who Stake Their Claim On Me

I love, love, love when he does little gestures to let everyone around us know that we're together. Like when we're ending the night at his corner dive taking down beers the way Ryan Howard would take down pitchers. I catch him looking at me a little too long, and then he leans in for a quick kiss. I'm in Blush City, population: me.

Or when we're splashing around at the beach with all my friends and he swims out to where I'm dog-paddling (at 5'1'', it's not that far from shore), wraps my arms around his shoulders and lets the water lap around us as we sway with the waves.  

Or that time we were in the middle of helping a mutual friend move out of her apartment to escape the wrath of her Suddenly Psycho roommate when he pushes me up against the wall in the hallway and doesn't stop kissing me until Suddenly Psycho has walked awkwardly past us into the next room, glaring and muttering all the way.

I'm as rosy-cheeked as a birthday clown just thinking about it. Strange sounds that resemble Beyonce's liquid giggle in "Drunk in Love" squeak out of my throat. He just twisted the cap off the shaken-up soda bottle in my chest and I feel fizzy and frothy and faint with desire. That's right, kids. That man is here with me and those stolen kisses and squeezes are the freakin' best.

And if you think this is over the top, just wait until you see what I'm going to do with him once we get some privacy at home. *makes "rawr" noise*

July 21, 2014

Attention People With Dilemmas: I Can Help!

I'm not sure if you've heard, but I'm writing a NEW weekly advice column over on The Frisky called, "Make It Stop."

So far I've taken on sneaky roommates and reality TV-shaming boyfriends. And last week I put the kibosh about pesky co-workers and nosy drunkards.

Have a question you want answered? Email me: anna@shmittenkitten.com with the subject "make it stop" and I'll try my best to help you nip some shit in the bud.

July 3, 2014

I Legit LOL'ed At This Terry Richardson Spoof Video "I Stand With Dick"

My homegirl Rose Surnow wrote and directed this pitch perfect Terry Richardson-inspired video called, "I Stand With Dick." It completely captures the lunacy surrounding his fandom. Rose is a funny lady and this video did not disappoint. Just watch.

Do yourself a favor and her on Twitter @RoseSurnow.

July 1, 2014

Bonerkiller: Guys Who Won't Make a Move

You know what?  I'm exhausted.

It's July, the month of exponentially increased sweat production, exponentially increased air conditioning bills, short skirts and tube tops at all times, constant leg shaving, flip flops (but only in the park!) and afternoons that last until 9 p.m. There's a lot of daylight happening out there, kids, and I'd like to think I've been soaking it up. And that takes a lot of energy.

I'm so tired
So I hope you'll excuse me when I say: I wish he'd just make a move already.

I've been spending my summer enjoying what a friend delicately referred to as a Trampage (tramp + rampage = Trampage). I prefer calling it, "Celebrating My New Blonde Pixie Cut and Softball Tan," but her phrasing has a certain (more accurate) ring to it. And while I'm by no means averse to being the aggressor in a given encounter, I have to admit that it would be seriously dreamy if he'd just take the initiative and plant one on me.

I'm not sure when the onus shifted onto the ladies to make the first move, but I'm gonna go ahead and act my age for a minute and resent the hell out of it. Call me old fashioned. (Actually, don't, but if you want to go make me an Old Fashioned, I'll be right here waiting. Seriously. Take your time.) Call me anti-feminist. (And then run for the fucking hills, because few things make me stabbier than the implication that "feminist" and "romantic" are mutually exclusive.) Call me a dying breed. (Hell, that might even be true.) But nothing gets me hotter under the collar than that moment when a dude leans in for that first sweet, sweet kiss and all I have to do is tilt my head a little and mentally high-five myself. After all, don't we all fancy ourselves irresistible?

Don't answer that.

I hope I haven't misspoken: rapey "can't take no for an answer" dudes need not apply. But if the vibe is strong and the moment's right, nothing murders the mood more than a guy who won't go for it.

I wore my favorite red lipstick for this?
In the meantime, I'll Keep Calm and #Trampage On (Free hashtag! You're Welcome.) But come on, guy -- I'm ready, willing and able. The summer's not getting any longer. Let's do this thing.

May 21, 2014

I'm Leaving You And I'm Taking the Dive Bar With Me

I live in a city that’s all about its corner bars. I hang out with a lot of guys at corner bars. It’s what I like to do. Go on a date? Forget it. Throw this lady a beer and shot and we can bypass the rest of that pointless charade.

But when the dream is over, who takes the coveted favorite dive bar?

The answer is me.

I take the dive bar. The dive bar is mine.

I don’t mean to be selfish or immature but like all semi-shared assets in a fleeting romance, bars need to be split according to basic breakup etiquette. They know my name at the dive bar. They make my drinks the way I like them. This is where I go to dish juicy gossip over a cheap martini. I need that particular freedom of speech.

Just like toothbrushes, pets and spare keys, custody should be agreed upon upfront. Really, you’re doing each other a favor by divvying up the bar scene. You can skip awkwardly running into one another on dates. You don’t have to make small talk or fruitlessly attempt to ignore one another. You can simply just go to different bars.

But how do you divvy up the rest of the bar scene?

1. Margarita bars go to the gal pal. 
That’s just, like, the rules of feminism. Margaritas bars are a place where females go to laugh about their sexual misadventures and make eyes at the buttoned up mistake at the end of the bar. (Really, what kind of guys are you meeting at a tiki bar?) It’s only right to award this place to the gals.

2. Corner bars are divided territorially.
Whoever lives closer, gets the dive. No one should have to walk more than three blocks to “their” corner bar. It’s called a corner bar because it’s on the corner. People who live on that block go there. End of story.

"I came here to murder you!"
3. Venues and party bars are neutral territory.
You both have friends and interests here. This one is Switzerland. You’re less likely to be forced to interact with one another here. The more crowded, the better, and the easier to duck out if need be.

4. Date bars and BYOBs are at your discretion.
Hit up the Italian joint at your own risk. While I always advise against double dipping at the olive oil bowl, it’s not totally unheard of for you to want to return to a special date spot. Just remember: you do not want to be stuck at the communal four top, together.

5. “Your” bar is your bar. 
If either of you introduced the other to a particularly great bar, it belongs to the founder. It’s only fair.

Respecting your Ex-SO’s bar scene is respecting their space. The bar is a place of reflection. This is what we mean when we say that we need to respect one another’s “boundaries.” Me? I just need some space. And that space is specifically located on a corner near my house.

And if he does trample all over my triple sec parade…