Sometimes, when a relationship is beginning, we see major red flags (like you saying “I love you” and your partner never saying it back.) But sometimes, there are smaller, little red flags that we don’t see until later. I was reading an advice column in The Cut in which a woman lamented that her boyfriend never had room for her in his life, both metaphorically and literally — the chairs in his apartment were always covered with clutter, so she could never sit down. There’s a little red flag.
It made me think about the own red flags I ignored in my previous relationships, both big and small. Here they are. Maybe they’ll resonate with you, too.
So you had a summer fling, and it was pretty great. Now that summer’s basically over, the fling is too…right? Or do your plans for fall include picking just so many apples? Michelle Markowitz and David Ross show us that for some people, relationships can be a little tricky to define after Labor Day.
I’m a woman in her twenties, and yet sometimes, I feel like a woman in her eighties (no offense to all those badass 80-somethings out there.) I just feel like there are certain things in my life I’m getting too old for, and as my birthday draws near, I’m reminded of exactly what they are.
Dear Oprah 4,
Adulthood is the best. There is so much freedom! All you have to do is fulfill your responsibilities and the rest is basically up to you. Sure there are drawbacks, like cleaning out your own fridge, but that is the small disgusting price you pay for being able to vote, rent a car, and pay for your own square dancing lessons.
Sometimes I feel like a little kid walking around doing grown-up things in grown-up shoes, as if tricking people into believing I’m a human wasn’t enough, so I further tricked them into believing I’m an adult. But the evidence is clear. I can drive to Taco Bell and get nachos at 1am. I can legally buy fireworks in 16 states. And there is no rollercoaster for which I am too short. The privileges of adulthood are numerous.
The first time I ever felt this kind of freedom was when my friends and I would go for long bike rides during summer vacation. There were no schedules to stick to and no rules to follow. Our parentals were like, “Here’s a quarter for the pay phone, check in with us in 5 hours, peace,” and off we’d ride. They probably thought we were going on some adorable suburban-kid adventures, like tanning in the park or graffitiing abandoned properties, but no. We had other priorities.
My friends and I didn’t care about anything on Earth except hanging out at Aldo’s Pizzeria, every day, where we would get pizza and discuss the important tween things happening in our lives. Aldo’s was in a strip mall that was sort of like the town hub. If you wanted a Coolatta or a haircut, you went there. There was also a bank, a dry cleaners, a pharmacy, a deli, and a Foodtown. Aldo’s was in the middle of everything, so we would sit outside and people-watch the shit out of everyone’s comings and goings. It was a place to see and be seen, to leisurely sip Coolattas, and to admire the pimped-out gumball machine. But superb ambiance wasn’t the only reason Aldo’s was our preferred destination.
All of the Aldo’s employees were males in their 20s, and they all had tattoos and knew how to toss pizza dough in the air. Everyone who worked there was greasy in the best way. We wanted them to think we were cool so badly. It was with this goal in mind that we set forth upon our bikes each day. While other kids our age foolishly wasted their summers earning paychecks as junior camp counselors, we were heading off to flirting practice.
I get it. Online dating is stressful. When you don’t have someone else’s physical face in front of your physical face, it’s hard to get a read on what’s going on in their weird, strange, little mind. It makes you uncomfortable; it makes you insecure and, most of all, it makes you IMPATIENT.
I understand it, I do. But still. If I get one more goddamn pathetic second message within 48hrs of first contact, I am going to find a way to explode the universal mainframe* of OkCupid so that every man registered on the site has an immediate malfunction on their laptop, tablet, and/or smart phone which causes the device to spontaneously combust.
The second-sh%^&iest thing Roger Goodell’s NFL did yesterday was pre-empt my viewing of Bachelor in Paradise’s finale with PRECIOUS AMERICAN INSTITUTION FOOTBALL. Given this, you all probably know what happened on the finale, which makes me sad, because you won’t be reading it from me. I will do my best to keep this lively.
The Day Everything Changes
Everyone’s nervous about how Chris Harrison said everything is going to change on this day.
AshLee is feeling super-smug about her super-special relationship with Graham. Graham is more apprehensive, knowing that whatever is about to happen could render all of his previous experiences on this metaphorical love boat meaningless. “Lacy” comments, “Change in the Bachelor world can mean lots of different things.”
“Lacy,” c’mere, I have a sad secret: Change can mean a lot of different things in the real world, too.
Sometimes I wonder, “how much stupid shit on the Internet can I be offended by, and am I overreacting?” So I present to you, this cartoon I found on lolTen and was immediately offended by. Described, “how to understand women better”, the cartoon depicts a woman in a button down shirt in various states of undress:
They included, “It is pretty much easy to find the relationship status of the girl that you are interested in. The neck position of a girl’s shirt will tell us what her relationship status is. Quite simple, isn’t it?”
Let me explain why I am offended. This cartoon boils women down to the basic principle that their body dictates their entire personality, wants, wishes, and life. Because according to this cartoon, it’s “simple”. According to this cartoon, “happily married” women never show cleavage. According to his cartoon, women are defined by their neckline.
I find this cartoon in poor taste. Am I overreacting?
You may be inclined to say yes; something like, “yes, it’s just a silly cartoon”, and you may even find it funny. But to me, it’s just one of thousands of ways that women are continuously being put down and objectified online. We are consistently and constantly being judged based on our bodies. We are consistently and constantly slapped with labels. We are consistently and constantly made to feel inferior or small based on our appearance.
This cartoon implies that good, married women never show cleavage, because showing cleavage is something only desperate single women do. Why should we feel bad about our bodies? It’s as if it’s suggesting we’re 1950′s housewives who button up and save our bodies for our husbands. It implies there’s something wrong with wearing a low cut shirt.
It’s possible a woman did this cartoon — I don’t know. The “source” offered on lolTen only linked to the image on a page hosted by “Goon Feed”, so I have no idea who did this drawing. If it was a woman, I’m dismayed.
Do you find this cartoon as offensive as I do?
Most people are scared of something. Even the bravest among us might not exactly love the idea of being around spiders, right? Lucky for you, we’ve got a few suggestions for overcoming some of your fears!
Just when I thought I’d heard of every fear a woman could have, here’s a new one: women who are afraid to eat in front of their guys. I couldn’t believe this was a real thing, but The Daily Mail reported on women who have this exact concern. These women are terrified to eat in front of their husbands and boyfriends, for fear of being perceived as “greedy” or “not feminine” or “unappealing.” That’s what 32-year-old Abi Steel says about eating in front of her husband:
I’ve made a very calculated decision to limit the times we sit and eat together. It’s just so unappealing. I want my husband always to find me attractive, and munching away in front of him is the last thing he needs to see.
[...] Eating cereal is a particular problem,’ she says. ‘The noise is simply unbearable. Corn on the cob is even worse – messily eating with your fingers makes you so unappealing. It’s a relief not to have to eat with Tristan and also that he is happy to dine while I sit and chat to him.
And here’s the worst part — her husband, Tristan, agrees!
Maybe I’m writing this because Pharrell’s “Happy” is stuck in my head, but I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness and relationships. I believe that if a relationship doesn’t add happiness to your life, it’s time to get out of that relationship. But sometimes, it’s not that we’re deeply unhappy; we just know we can do better. So for those times, here’s some tips on how to have a happy relationship.
I think that communication is the most important thing in a relationship, and I know I’m not alone on that one, but what’s important is how you communicate. Good communication doesn’t mean never fighting ever. There are ways to fight fair. Good communication means never being surprised. So if you’re upset about something, you should absolutely bring it up to your partner, in a clear, calm, and concise way. And once you hash it out, it’s done. Don’t go back to it, and don’t bring it up again once you get closure. Otherwise you’re just, to quote David Bowie, “always crashing in the same car.” By all means, if something is bugging you, bring it up; then, put it to bed for good.
That’s my only question: What is the point of all of this? We pick up where we left off; Sarah assesses that Jesse is here “for free booze and to hook up with chicks.” Are those “the right reasons”?
Cody has told Michelle that he loves her. Let me make this easy for you, Cody: No, you don’t. It’s been a week. You are not in love. Cody is bummed out by Michelle’s sane desire to take things a bit more slowly.
Marcus gets the date card. He and “Lacy” go to what he describes as a “dinosaur park,” which prompts “Lacy” to name a dinosaur she thinks is real, the “Trionosaurus Rex.” They climb down a ladder into a hole, surely not at gunpoint.
“Lacy” makes several more grammatical errors involving “stellaglites” and “stellagments.” (You know, those things in caves).
They swim through a cave, where there are bats (and a camera crew). Apparently, facing fears together is good for a relationship. Someone is waiting at the cave exit to hand them glasses of wine.
The-Gaggle.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click here to submit your work to us. We love you.