Let’s Talk About Ex(es?)

Y’know, part of me wonders if social media is making things better or worse for all of us.  On the one hand, I can learn about things that are happening to other people I know with a quick glance at my Facebook or Tumblr feeds.  On the other hand, I can learn about things that are happening to people I didn’t want to know about with just a quick glance at my Facebook or Tumblr feeds.

For instance, I can learn that a couple coworkers went and saw a terrifying movie, and I can be glad that I’m not going to have nightmares that involve things with too many limbs or possessed children or people in animal masks.  I can check to see if my friends in flood zones or fire hazard areas are okay (or if my friend whose building roof caught fire has a place to stay).  So I think it can be good for a lot of things.

Unfortunately it’s also a great way for me to indulge my curiosity and to check up on what my exes are doing!  YAY.  And I’m pretty sure that until Facebook starts tracking who is looking at your profile, I’m going to keep doing it.  I don’t know why, and I don’t really know what makes this seem like a good idea.  Every so often I get the urge to compare myself to my exes – the ones I am not still Facebook friends with, anyway.  So in their name goes to the search bar, and then there’s some clicking, checking on their profile pictures and career moves… It’s not totally creepy, is it?  (Is there a way that I can talk about this without seeming creepy?  Ah, well…)

Today I learned that the ex who cheated on me is in a really super-happy relationship with the woman with whom she cheated on me.  It kind of sucks, and not because I wish her unhappiness or unkind things, and definitely not because I’m unhappy with my own relationship, but… There’s a part of me that didn’t want that to work out.  If I’m going to be completely honest, if I had the power to change this I would.  I would make it so they couldn’t be together, because I’m still not 1000% over having been cheated on.  Let’s be real – being cheated on SUCKS and it hurts to feel like you’ve been replaced.

Today, though, I also learned an important thing:  I am better off letting go.

Look at me, look at what you just read through.  Checking on this particular ex, and learning what I know now, has made me feel insane.  Not the madcap Ace Ventura brand of crazy, but the “I AM GOING TO STALK YOU AND PUT DOLL HEADS IN YOUR MAILBOX AND SET THINGS ON FIRE” kind.  That’s a really terrible feeling, and it’s a little confusing to have these feelings about a girl I haven’t dated for 7 years (yeah, I know – old lesbian is old).

I can’t really identify what it is that makes people revisit past relationships.  If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t have movies like High Fidelity, or any rom-coms, and probably Friends would have been an awful TV show.  But I think what might be most important about this revisiting isn’t realizing the good or bad things that are long since past, I think it’s realizing how much you’ve grown since that relationship ended.  I’m definitely not the same kid I was when I broke up with this girl, and I can’t tell you how much of a good thing that is.

Every relationship is a learning experience, hell, everything we do is a learning experience.  But I think people come into your life and touch you in a way you never expected (and in ways you TOTALLY expected!), and I think it’s important to realize that you don’t have to hate your ex.  I don’t hate my exes.  I don’t like a lot of them, and I don’t stay in touch with most of them, but they aren’t necessarily bad people.

And really, I’m not a bad person for checking Facebook.


Oh Hey!

Hey everybody!  I’m not dead!

I’m about a trillion percent sorry that I haven’t updated in… Um… Oh balls, since April!  What’s wrong with me, why do I neglect you so?

I don’t know about you, but I have had a bit of a whirlwind few months.  I joined a band, graduated from college (no really, I wore the stupid little hat and a dress and everything!), and the biggest one…. I GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!

Image

I’ll have details on all of this stuff if you ask for it, but first I gotta know, who the hell is Googling sexy pictures of Tank Girl and finding this blog?  Shine on, you crazy diamond!  Shine on!

Anyway, the good news is that things are settling down in my existence, and there’s a lot of LGBTQ-related things happening in the world.  Fortunately for you, this means lots of new post ideas, hoorayyyyy!

Stay tuned, kids!


How to: Break Up With Someone

Hey there, all you lovely people!  Did you miss me?  I missed you.  I’m sorry for my prolonged absence – sometimes life just does things, you know?

I promise I haven’t been completely ignoring you guys, and I really have been intending to write more posts.  In fact, I have one RIGHT NOW that took me a bit to get together.  It’s funny, a few days ago I got an email from a gentleman who ended up taking my advice, and now he’s unsure about whether the relationship he’s currently in is going to continue.  I want to make it very, VERY clear to this particular dude: this post is a coincidence and not necessarily the advice I’m giving you as per your question.  I need a bit to figure out what I would do and also to get more info.

Without further ado, here’s how to break up with someone!

Let’s get something out of the way right now.  Breakups suck.  There’s no good way to break up with someone, and in my own experience, at least one person ends up being really hurt.  They can be messy, and they can really ruin your day, but hopefully these tips will make it a little easier.

1. Be Direct!  Waffling can only confuse the issue.  If you’re gonna break up with someone, it needs to be a real breakup.  It needs to NOT be friends with benefits, or “close buddies” or “we can still be friends”, because odds are if you’re breaking up with someone, you don’t want to be their friends.

2. ABSOLUTELY NO POST-BREAKUP SEX.  Nothing about this scenario will be good, I promise you.  Post-breakup sex leads to confusion, and confusion leads to awkward situations where you’re not sure what your status might be.  Or, weirder, it leads to that gray area of “are we or aren’t we back together?”  None of these places, none of the confusion or anxiety about that confusion, makes it okay to boink your very VERY recent ex.

3. Stay strong!  You had a reason (or three) for this.  I’ve noticed that, by and large, people don’t want to be dumped.  It’s something about how rejection is awful and hurtful and blah blah blah.  When they’re put in this position, they are prone to doing dumb things, like promising you they’ll change, or that they want to “work this out”, or that they will get back together with you as long as there are other guidelines or rules.  Guidelines and rules in relationships are fine, but if you are setting out specific conditions for getting back with someone, things can get hairy.  They’re never conditions that stick.  That change they promise you isn’t change you can believe in (SORRY MR. PRESIDENT).  Sometimes, your douchey ex needs to stay your douchey ex.  You broke up with them because of something.  Stick to your guns.  Chances are you’ll be much better off for it.

I once dated a lady I thought was the shit, and we hit it off and were very clear that the relationship would be over when she moved away for school.  Well, that plan lasted a whole two weeks after she moved, and then we were long-distancing like it was our job.  That ended in lots of tears and her sleeping with several other people.  It isn’t exactly the fairy tale I envisioned, am I right? If I had stuck to the plan of “no it is totally over and that’s okay”, I would have avoided the ridiculous feelings I had after I learned she was cheating on me.  It’s okay to stay broken up with someone, no matter what they say to the contrary.

4. Be careful with your rebounding.  This might go without saying at this point, but do NOT try to have rebound sex with your ex.  Or any ex.  That shit is WEIRD and it can get really weird.  I don’t recommend it.

Sometimes rebounds can be good, but sometimes you can end up projecting feelings about needing to be with someone (like your recent ex), and then your rebound becomes more of a commitment than you were expecting (or maybe that’s just what I do, but whatever).  It’s okay to be wary of feelings with other people, as long as you remember that even the person you choose to rebound with deserves common decent respect.  Be clear with them about getting out of a relationship recently, I can almost guarantee it will prevent horrid awkwardness and uncomfortable conversations down the road.

4.5 Don’t feel you have to have a rebound.  There’s an odd expectation that getting out of a relationship means you get to run around and have tons of sex with other humans… And then reality happens and most of us don’t get to be that lucky (haha, pun intended).  Rebounds aren’t for everyone, and they’re certainly not something you should feel you have to do.  Nobody wrote that it was required for breakups, and look – I’m writing the exact opposite!  It’s okay to just take some time to yourself without running off to bang someone else.  Trust me on this one.

5. Take some time for you.  This is probably the thing I forget most after a breakup, because I’m usually very worried about what the other person is thinking or feeling or doing (or WHO that other person is feeling or doing, if you know what I mean), so I spend more time obsessing over that than taking care of myself in ways that work for me.  Give yourself room to mourn the loss of a relationship if you need it.  Go out with friends if you need it.  If it settles some part of your soul, go get wasted and sloppy-drunk and pass out on your own apartment kitchen floor.  These things are okay, because breakups suck.  Just try not to make the more self-destructive things super habitual, because that can get very dangerous.

You guys, breakups are the worst*.  There’s nothing fun about a breakup.  More often than not, there’s nothing good (at the moment of breakup) about your situation.  (*Notable exceptions include abusive or awful relationships, in those cases breakups are AWESOME).  There are things that make them easier, and things that make them harder.  In my own experience, doing the opposite of the things listed above make breakups harder.

I hope this helps, if this is what you need.  Be good to yourselves and each other, and keep being safe.


On Safety

Hey guys.  I hope you all had a spectacular holiday season, that your New Year’s celebrations or shenanigans were awesome and safe and wonderful, and more importantly, that you’re excited for another year of Gay Girl Advice!

Anyway I was thinking about what to write for y’all and I have also been oot’n’aboot doing things like socializing and watching football games, which is weird because I pretty much don’t actually care about football.

Saturday night was one of those nights, and it was really great because I spent time with some cool humans, the team we were all cheering for won, and they made delicious food and it was a super good time.  They live on the opposite side of town from me, which isn’t a big deal, I grew up here so I know my way around.

I got followed home.  And not by a cop, and not by someone I knew.  I mean legitimately followed by some probably super-creepy person and it was the single most uncomfortable experience I’ve had in a very, very long time.  I decided to tell you how to tell when someone is following you, and what to do if it happens, because safety is a really important thing.

1. DO NOT GO STRAIGHT HOME Oh my god, if you’re being followed do not lead that person to the place you live.  I realize this is common-sense kind of, but it’s also really really way super vital that you don’t go home.  If they know what building or area you live in, that could get really bad really quickly, and that is not something anyone should ever have happen.

2. Go straight to a gas station or 24-hour restaurant.  This is one instance where going to Denny’s may actually save your life.  Go to a place that has lights and has people, because some creeper tailing you isn’t trying to meet up for a social engagement, they’re more likely hoping you go somewhere dark and quiet to hide.  Don’t do that.  Be as ostentatious as possible in your choice of destination.

3. Be aware of other vehicles when driving.  I don’t mean this in a “pay attention to other cars so you don’t hit them” way, because I assume that’s what almost everyone does when driving anyway.  The only reason I noticed this truck following me is that they were tailgating me for a good 3-4 miles.  Yes.  Miles.  It’s irritating at first to have big-ass truck headlights in your rear view mirror, and then when it doesn’t change and they don’t pass you even when they have room, it gets weird.  Headlights on cars come in a couple different shapes, and if you pay close enough attention (or are a car dork like me), you can usually tell them apart.

4. Get a vehicle description.  Some information is better than no information.  If you can tell someone that it was a large vehicle, what color it was, a make/model or other distinguishing features, that’s great.  License plate numbers are usually really difficult to see at night, plus they’re hard to remember outright, but a general description of the vehicle following you is a great start.

5. Call someone and tell them what is happening.  Fortunately for me, I was able to call my girlfriend and tell her what was up, and what area of town I was driving in.  If you can tell at least one person that you’re being followed and the general area, that narrows things down if law enforcement has to get involved.

6. Call the cops.  If you think you’re genuinely being followed, and it’s freaking you out, don’t stop your car and ask that person why they’re following you.  Call 911 and tell them something is wrong – that’s what they’re there for.  If you can’t get an officer to respond, tell the operator the kind of car you’re driving and your license plate number, and where you are.  Tell them anything you can that identifies the vehicle following you.  If nothing else, it makes the police more aware of something that could be a chronic issue in your area.

 

I know that these seem really obvious guys, I do, but please consider your personal safety to be of the utmost importance.  I know we all like to be the intimidating hero, and that’s well and good up to a point.  For me, I keep a baseball bat in the back seat of my car in case zombies appear I feel I need to defend myself.  But when I’m being followed by a strange person in a strange vehicle, I’m not going to try to go hand-to-hand with that person.  Furthermore, they might even have a gun, and I’m sure as shit not going to try to tangle with that.

I was lucky, because the truck following me peeled off when they saw me hang up with my girlfriend and get ready to make another phone call.  I’m glad that blue glowing screen scared them.

It’s crossed my mind that whoever was following me wasn’t particularly malicious and didn’t intend to harm me.  Apparently it’s a thing that some bored humans do on occasion.  If this is your hobby, grow the fuck up.  We live in a world full of enough bad shit, nobody needs to have panic issues in their own neighborhood because you can’t think of something better to do with your time and gas.

You all have the right to feel safe, but you also have the right to BE safe.  Keep that in mind as 2013 continues to unfold for you.  I wish all of you nothing but the best of luck in this new year.


Gay Family and the Holidays

This is going to be a combo rant-advice time, which I realize might frighten some of you.  Sit down, things are gonna get intense.

The holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice, etc.) are generally celebrated by gathering with family.  In most cases, this means biological family, which means seeing people you only see kind of rarely.

This, for me, was the first Thanksgiving where I was not living with my parents, so I got to stop by casually to see everyone.  Another fun fact: I have a staunchly conservative, Catholic grandmother who is somewhere in her eighties.  I’m not out to her.  I made the choice not to come out to her after I saw “defend marriage!” and “we hate abortion” flyers in her car a few years ago.  It just seemed like the responsible thing to do.

I have learned, over the years, how to deal with the grandma questions.  You know the type – the ones about relationships and marriage and children and crap.  For instance, my first Christmas home from college we were all in our pajamas and eating chocolate on Christmas morning, and apropos of literally nothing, my grandma turned and said, “So, do you have any special boy in your life?”  Super-amazing deflection response: “No, grandma, I’m really busy and haven’t thought about it.”

Two years later for Christmas I got a really nice box of silverware, but it had a card that was basically like, “Just in case I die before it happens, here’s your wedding present!”  Really uncomfortable; I said thanks and we’ve never talked about it.

Fast-forward to Thanksgiving 2012, greeting everybody and saying my hellos as a visiting family member.  My older brother whispers to me, “When are you gonna tell her you’re gay?”  While talking about Black Friday shopping with my grandma, I mention my “roommate” (secretly my girlfriend, for those not in the know) had to work a really stupid shift at her retail job.  Not two minutes later, my little brother went, “So… Roommate, huh?  You should just tell her.”  A little while after that, my mom felt it prudent to take me aside to remind me that my cousin had already come out, and that “grandma is totally okay with him being gay, so you could tell her.”

What does this have to do with anything advice-wise?  A couple of things, actually, that I consider pretty important.

If you have a family member who is LGBTQ and they are not out to another person, family or no, it is NOT your job to tell them they can come out.  We do not require your permission on this front.  I don’t need you to tell me when I can or cannot talk about my personal life, or in what terms, and it’s really quite condescending and paternalistic for this to happen.  If someone comes out, it is because they have given themselves the permission to do so, not because some straight person has deemed it “okay”.  If you have a queer family member, don’t you dare tell them this ever, because it’s rude.

The second issue is that people are different, and people are viewed differently by other people.  My grandma, for instance, might consider me her favorite grandchild (or maybe not, I don’t know), but the point is that she might view me in a different light than my cousin.  That being said, she might not react as well as everyone seems to think if I were to come out to her.

The third issue is that the holidays are not just about one person.  I don’t want to make a big scene and make Christmastime or Thanksgivingtime memorable to my octogenarian grandmother because that’s when she learned I’m gay.  It’s about togetherness and family and being glad we have what we have, it’s not about coming out.  Not for me.

At this point, I’m very thankful I can be out to the family members who do know.  Further, I’m thankful I can still make my own choice and that nobody has outed me (as far as I know) without my permission.

So please, take a step back and consider, if you have to, the position your non-heterosexual family members might be in.  They will come out to the people they choose, at the times they choose to do so.  Don’t be a douche and try to push them to do it any sooner than they are comfortable.


How to: Not Talk To Gay People About Sex

Do any of you have something that really just grinds your gears and gets you every time?  I happen to have a lot of them, and if I were to list them all it would require more time and dedication than I could ever hope to expect from any of you.  Consider this an act of mercy that I’m only focusing on one moderately upsetting thing for today.

I had this particular thing in mind for today, because it happened to me last night.  Sometimes being gay can really stink, and a lot of those times happen when you’re interacting with other (mostly heterosexual) people.  One of those interactions I despise is when someone decides it’s a good idea to ask The Question.  You’ve probably encountered it, either in a movie, with friends, hell – maybe you’ve even asked it yourself.  The Question is, for me, as follows: “What do 2 girls, like, DO, y’know… In bed?”

It’s almost always followed by lots of nervous giggling on the part of the asker.

There are a couple of responses that I use for this question, and the one I pick depends upon how well I know the person asking me, and how much I want them to not hate me.

In this case, I was at a bar, so I was able to be all, “I haven’t had enough tequila for this talk”, and that seemed to work pretty well.  (Other fun responses are things like, “Let’s go find out” and “Please shut your face”, but my favorite is, “Well that depends. Are we sleeping or fucking?”)
I’m not a particularly private person.  I’m loud, kind of annoying, and really obnoxious.  I’m outspoken about a great deal of things.  And yet, this one single question leaves me feeling utterly flabbergasted.  I really think this is a prime example of straight privilege, because nobody asks a straight couple what THEY do in bed, right?  Because everyone knows.  But apparently asking gay folks is not only a) super appropriate and acceptable but 2) going to give you an answer to apply to every gay person ever (because we’re all the same, duh!)

I was told that I handled the question like a champ, but I’m still really riled about it.  I also told the particular asker to check things out on the internet.  It’s a wonderful place and there are TONS and TONS and TONS (etc. etc. ad nauseum) of resources on how two ladies might get it on.  Betcha you’ll never guess what happened next.

“I FEEL DIRTY DOING THAT.”

But you feel perfectly alright asking someone you don’t know very well TO THEIR FACE about their sex life?

It would be completely different if this person were asking me about things to do to make one’s sex life more interesting.  I personally feel I have a lot of really brilliant sexytime ideas, and since I’m obnoxiously outspoken, I find very little shame in sharing them.  This, however, was a whole ‘nother scenario.

The moral of the story this week is pretty simple: don’t be an ass.  I don’t care if you’re drunk, I don’t care if you once asked a gay person in a pride parade and they answered.  I’m a different human being, and you should fucking respect that.

We’ll be back for regularly scheduled shenanigans later on.


Self-Help Books Can Actually Be Helpful???

Okay I’m sorry, I didn’t fall off the planet, I’ve just been shirking my duty as your faithful advice blogger for… Well for long enough to risk falling off the planet, I suppose.  I haven’t really done much, apart from the usual going to the gym, going to work, and eating food routine that most people seem to have.  So exciting.

One thing I have done is finish reading a book.  An advice book, no less – something I normally avoid like a cat avoids water.

I’m not usually one for self-help books. I tend to find the advice therein trite, condescending, and in some cases enabling of the behaviors the person reading needs help with. Of course, when my mom handed me this book I went, “Yeah, sure, I’ll read this. Eventually.” Because my mother likes to hand out advice, wanted, warranted, or not, I really just rolled my eyes. And then my girlfriend read the book first. And then something ridiculous happened – she told me it was good. Not just good, but something that I should be reading.

Thus, I just finished reading, The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay, PhD. The book is broken down into a few sections, on love, work, and being a grown-up. Really, the whole book centers on acting like an adult now instead of later, and getting your act together before you’re 30. There are a lot of examples that Dr. Jay uses to describe exactly what she’s getting at, whether it’s the twentysomething boy who was essentially homeless because he grew up in an unsettled divorced parenting situation, or the young Korean American woman who had grown up being teased for being different and a virgin in high school, so she never stopped to consider the sort of qualities she actually wanted in a partner – she just wanted to be wanted.

I wish I couldn’t identify so well with each of the people in this book. I’m way overeducated for my current job. I know this, and I know what I want to be doing, I just don’t know if I can actually put in the work to get there. I just keep assuming that everything will fall into place, because that’s what I’ve been taught to expect. I’ve also been hearing, “You’re young, this is what you’re supposed to do” an awful lot, too.

I think, contrary to popular belief, “YOLO” (you only live once) is part of this problem that leaves folks screwed over in their thirties. The twenties are apparently to be spent partying, traveling, working as a barista at Starbucks, and generally not giving a shit about the future because you’ll think about it “when you’re thirty” or “way later”…. Draw a timeline of how you want your life to go. If you have a picture like that, and “babies” and something like “medical school” are in the same place… You might have to reconsider what you’re doing.

What resonated most with me, for a silly reason, was the entire section on love. Every time my girlfriend and I have had problems of any sort, I have been advised by at least one person to break up with her and find someone else. I’m always told that I will have plenty of time to find my perfect someone, because my girlfriend and I are “so young” (I’m almost 24, for the record). I think getting together at a pretty young age, relatively speaking, is seen as a thing of the past. I have a friend who just got married, and she’s a couple years younger than I am. Do I think that’s too young? Maybe. I don’t know.

The point I’m trying (and failing) to make is that I feel really lucky in love. I don’t think I care if my perfect soul mate life partner match from heaven is out there in the world somewhere. There are another 7 billion people on this planet, of course. But, at this point, I think instead of stressing over whether or not my girlfriend and I are completely 100% totally perfect, I am going to focus on all the great things about being with her. At least in this respect, I feel like I have my shit together.

I wish I had an idea of what I want to be when I grow up. I wish I knew what I wanted to DO with my life. I want to do a million things, and I’m so afraid of all the possibilities that I don’t know where to start, and so I’m just paralyzed by all of them.

This paragraph I just wrote isn’t in the book, but there are a bunch like it. It makes me feel less bad, being as concerned as I am about my career future, because Facebook and the media seem to keep telling me that I should be gallivanting around Europe half-naked and fucking my way through hostels or something to that effect. Those same institutions tell me that I should drink more and do stupid shit because, after all, “you only live once”.

While that’s all probably a good time, I will take my amazing girlfriend, our tiny apartment, and a half-cooked plan for the rest of my life over drinks in an English pub any day. I may not know where I want to go, but I know who I want to get there with, and I really think that’s a big step in the right direction.

I’m not advocating for or against settling down at an earlier age, and I’m not even knocking working for Starbucks.  All I’m saying is that this book is pretty great, I recommend it, and I think we could all stand to get the ball rolling on the rest of our lives a little faster than age 30.

A little ambition never killed anyone.

…Right?