Wednesday’s TPS Report: Durlia Bourgeois Stripe

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Theory Top - Durlia Bourgeois StripeI actually had this lovely silk blouse on my list of things to recommend when it was at $235 — imagine my surprise and pleasure when I saw that it is now marked down to $164!  I love the simple, fun pattern — although they show it with a black bandeau here, I think it would like great with a bright white camisole or tank for the office, or perhaps even with a sweater vest worn on top.  It’s $164 at Bloomingdale’s (which is having its “private sale” right now, including allowing you to save an extra 40% on all permanently reduced styles). Theory Top – Durlia Bourgeois Stripe Button Front


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  1. I LOVE this blouse, although I am supposed to be on a shopping diet and already have 10 very similar ones. What to do!?

  2. Great blouse, horrible styling by Bloomingdale’s.

  3. I just want to say thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions and tips yesterday! I am going to start experimenting and see how things work out, It’s good to know I might be using too much product etc. and I will have to start tracking down sulfate free products

  4. That skirt reminds me of what I used to wear to middle school..

    VP of my Alma Mater (BS and MS) called me requesting I’d be the guest speaker for the capstone awards ceremony at our School of Science and Engineering.
    I have 10 minutes to inspire the fresh brood, and give them valuable advice on the job market and generally things I would have loved to hear and know when I was a fresh graduate.


    • The NerdWearsSkirts :

      How fun! Here’s a few things I might mention (I’m an EE, fyi).
      You technical skills will get you hired; your ability to work well in a team, and get the PROJECT done well, will get you promoted. This means that things like getting along with people, communicating clearly, focusing on the highest priority task rather than what might be most fun to you, and rocking out that presentation to the customer can be as important as how awesome the code you write. This also means that there’s a lot of leeway in determining exactly what kind of awesome engineer you want to be, since all these things need to get done within the team.
      Save money – when you get that first job, start saving 20, 30, 40% of your take home pay. It’s easiest when you’re right out of school, and you never know when you’re going to want to quit to start the next Facebook, or have a niece with huge hospital bills, or fall in love with a guy who lives a 16 hour plane flight away. (Ahem=) That guy’s totally worth it!=))
      Develop good habits right from the start – make it a habit to come in and review your highest priority tasks right away, and then start the first one. Bad habits are really hard to break (says the girl who accidentally trained herself to read the nytimes every morning, when she didn’t have enough work to do).

      Have fun!

      • Research, Not Law :

        I like this. Have skills, be a good team member, find your niche (or, I’d say, let it find you). I like the point to save money immediately. I made the decision to live like a college student for about two years, which gave me a very comfortable pad (that I needed later!!!).

        Agree that you shouldn’t worry about the fact that you’re not much older than the students. A couple of years out of school = big difference in experience.

      • My SO is a scientist that is in a science-related position, but now he writes all day. Make sure their writing skills are good!

    • I love the idea of a ‘sunscreen’ type speach for this

      • Gem, I just googled the sunscreen speech. I love it.
        The only issue is that I am not THAT senior to the fresh graduates.
        I have only left school 3 years ago, and due to administrative problems and the longest ever thesis, I only got my paper diplomas last year.
        I am honored for being the one selected because I know the University board view me as a “stellar example of what we want our students to become” (yeah they’re good at making you blush and accept immediately to travel 5 hours for that speech)
        If I am only a few years older than them, I might come off as a bit condescending.
        I like the flow of the speech so I will study it and try to tone it down.

        • I’ve never given that type of speech, but I just graduated a couple of years ago and I now teach at my alma mater, so maybe I can provide some tips.

          -Don’t worry about coming off as condescending and being just a few years older. Many of my students are older than me, and the mere fact that I had a couple years of post-school experience tends to make it a non-issue.

          -A handy way to grab their attention is to share a story about when you were in school. As in, your experience with the “tough” professor, a funny story about the library, etc.

          -My students constantly ask me questions about how I utilize what I learned in school. You leave school with so much knowledge and, at least in my field, most of what you need to know to do your job you learn on the job. They really like little nuggets about the knowledge I learned in school that I was glad I held on to.

          -I have found that the best way to inspire students who are basically my peers is to keep it light and fun. They want to see that you are enjoying life in the real world and not hating your career. If you talk about your career with joy and pride, students tend to respond well.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          The sunscreen speech is good. There’s also a “you are not special” one that was at some high school this year that I liked, but I imagine that’s not really applicable to Morocco. I think that part of your speech is that life will put obstacles in your way and it can really, really suck, whether at school (diploma delay) or at work (your horrible coworker) or at life (harder to be a woman in many situations) – things you can speak to from personal experience, even if you don’t go into details. The lesson? You always need to be an advocate for and responsible for yourself because no one else is going to do those things for you.

  5. PharmaGirl :

    Shopping challenge:

    I need a new smallish bag that can be used both on the weekends around town and during the week as an adjunct to my work bag. It should be big enough to fit a wallet, iPhone, lip gloss, a small lotion container, and keys. I prefer something in a neutral color so it will go with most outfits; no large logos or prints. Something similar to Kat’s recommendation yesterday could work but my budget is <100. Crossbody is fine if there is a handle or strap on top.

    Any ideas?

  6. PharmaGirl :

    Pretty sure the dark outline is from the pockets on the shirt, not a bandeau.

  7. AtlPatentLawyer :

    This is a long shot, but does anyone know of IP lawyer women’s networks? I’m starting in IP law at an Atlanta law firm in the fall and would like to join a mentoring/social network of women lawyers in IP law. I’m currently a member of an incredible bankruptcy women’s network (IWIRC) and would love to join something similar in my field since I’ve gained so much from IWIRC. Thanks!

    • AIPLA has an active women’s network. Each year, law firms across the country hold a “women in IP” function at the same time on the same day. Each firm invites all the women IP lawyers it knows (other firm lawyers, in house clients, professors) and the AIPLA hosts a conference call in which the Chair addresses us all and each location announces itself. Either after or before the call, depending on time zone, the firms then host a dinner and speaker. On the call this year (a couple months ago), I roughly counted about 350 attorneys during the roll call.

      I would fnd out which firm in Atlanta hosted this year and call them and introduce yourself.

    • Former MidLevel :

      It isn’t a women’s group, but you might consider looking into the Atlanta Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. The Inns of Court are a great way to meet and network with other lawyers–including female lawyers.

    • AtlPatentLawyer :

      Thanks, everyone! I actually just joined the AIPLA this morning, but I don’t see any events in the near future near me. Hopefully, I’ll start getting newsletters with more information.

  8. "Allergies" PSA :

    I posted in March about allergies and going to see an accupunturist who was not helpful. Then I started a course of self treatment (Claritin, Sudafed) that eliminated my symptoms. Finally, in May I broke down and saw an allergist who said he couldn’t test me until I took a 10-day course of antibiotics to clear up a sinus infection I hadn’t realized I had. When I still had symptoms after the antibiotics, he wanted to start the tests. By this time, I had no sense of smell (I literally could put my nose inside a rose and smell nothing or against the top of a bottle of scented lotion and smell nothing.) and little sense of taste.

    Yesterday I saw an ENT specialist. He used a scope to look inside my upper sinuses and confirmed that I have a serious infection that is killing my smell sensors. Today I am starting a 21-day course of more serious antibiotics and a 6-day course of oral steroids. Then I will return for a CAT scan to see if the infection is gone. He told me that if my sense of smell hasn’t returned by the time I finish taking the drugs, it probably never will.

    So, my PSA is: if you think you have a cold or an allergy but you’re not sure and it seems weird, and especially if your sense of smell and taste is affected, see an ENT immediately.

    • I hope you will feel better soon

    • Feel better and stick with it. I didn’t know that I had an infection in my tonsils and it took 3 rounds of antibiotics to get rid of it.

    • the ingrown hair poster :

      Wow! Good luck and I really hope this all turns out for the best with minimal side effects and that you regain your senses.

      I also learned to not let things go. My ingrown hair kept healing and re-appearing so I finally saw a derm today. I have an under the skin cyst from an infected hair follicle. I’m also on killer antibiotics for at least 10 days. It will be 30 if the culture comes back as a “bad” strain. We are hoping this skin closes on its own. If not, I will have some procedure to close it. If that doesn’t work, the skin and cyst will have to be surgically removed – – from my pubic area. Awesome.

      I’m not trying to steal your thunder here. Just want to give you a misery loves company post and a reminder to everyone to get things checked out rather than letting them go until they are dangerous.

      • "Allergies" PSA :

        Exactly! Who knew such a minor thing — stuffy nose or ingrown bikini line hair — could be such a big deal?

        I just made a table to keep track of all my medications for the next three weeks. I am convinced that I will be one of those little old ladies who uses a week-by-week pillbox to keep track of what I have and haven’t taken yet.

    • Oh man, isn’t that scope thing SO WEIRD????????? I really feel for you, though. I finally caved and saw an allergy specialist when Sudafed+Allegra+Aleve stopped working. I’m doing that same 6-day steroid course, Nasonex 2x a day for a month and hopefully my sinuses clear up. If not….maybe surgery. Good luck to us both!

      • "Allergies" PSA :

        The scope. Oh, my! It didn’t help that the PA came at me with a sniffer without telling me first that she would be giving me sniffs so that the MD could use the scope. The scope is totally Star Trek Next Generation medicine, but it creeps me out to think that it was so far inside my head.

        Steroids. Yep. I was told that steroids means:

        * possibly extreme anxiety
        * possibly becoming (more) aggressive
        * no alcohol (so good luck with the above)
        * no grapefruit
        * potential dizziness, upset stomach and diarrhea.

        Fun times. I will be thinking of you as I take my meds. That makes it a little easier.

    • punk rock tax lawyer :

      I had chronic sinus infections for a year, and as a result had almost no sense of smell. I had surgery to correct the problem because it was related to structural issues with my nose — my infection finally cleared up and I got a lot of smell ability back. My sense of smell is still not amazing but it’s much better than it was. Anyway, maybe some hope for you there that your sense of smell will return.

    • I find it kind of weird that the allergist wouldn’t do a test until you were 100% healthy. I have been to two allergists (at different stages in my life) when I was symptomatic, and both did a skin test. (Bizarre – I was allergic to two different sets of things.)

      I find it hard to believe that people would go to allergists when they were 100% healthy. Don’t most people go when their sinuses/asthma/whatever is acting up?

      • "Allergies" PSA :

        The allergist would happily have started the tests the first day I saw him. I did not want to start the testing because I have zero interest in starting this long, painful process to determine what I am allergic to, only to then transition to an interminable process during which, in my copious free time, I spend years getting allergy shots twice a week or weekly or monthly. If there was a better solution — like I have a cold or an infection that we can treat, and then maybe I can just take minor OTC allergy medication until we see next season whether I even have allergies — I preferred to do that. This was the first time I had experienced these symptoms, and I just wasn’t buying the whole “you have allergies and must now spend years doing something major about it” schtik.

        • The skin test actually takes about a half hour. And finding out you’re allergic to things doesn’t mean you have to get shots. It may just mean a prescription for Zyrtec or whatever, a once-a-day pill.

          You’re being a little dramatic/fatalistic.

  9. Talbots promo: starting tomorrow (Thursday), Talbots is having a 30% off sale. I only skimmed the fine print, but it doesn’t look like you need a code, and it looks like it applies to regular-price and sale merchandise.

    On a related note, I recommend the Talbots wrap-bodice dress, which should be part of the sale tomorrow: short sleeves, knee length, top doesn’t require camisole or double-sided tape, machine-washable – close to perfect for a casual summer work dress.

    • Do you know if this applies in-store?

    • Thinking about ordering a suit from there. Does anyone know if they run TTS? For what it’s worth I’m guessing I will be in the plus range. TIA!

      • new york associate :

        Also in plus sizes, and I think they run a little big. I would encourage you to order widely and return what doesn’t work — for example, in jackets, I usually order my size in W, WP, and regular. It gives you more options.

        • Also plus size and I agree, although in my experience jackets are a bit big while pants are more TTS or even small. Or maybe I’m just in denial about my true pants size…

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I agree too. My experience has been that the jackets run big, but I’m not sure if they are actually big or that the styles are just too boxy and that makes them seem big. Pants seem to run more true to size.

      • I’d try the apparel sizes first (up to size 20) seeing as the cut of the woman sizes can be quite different. Talbots sizing is more generous than a lot of retail stores, so I order my usual dress size rather than ordering a size up like I usually do for business wear. (Perhaps others wear the same size in dress pants as they do in jeans, but I reckon dress pants should be a little looser on the body.) I had trouble with Talbots suit jackets until I ordered a 16P because it was the only size left, and I’ve never looked back! I’m 5′ 5″ and don’t usually buy petite clothing, so it was a revelation.

  10. Merriweather :

    Litigators: Do you catch yourself deposing your SO, and if so, how do you stop yourself? This weekend I noticed that I “trapped” my SO into admitting that something that is 3 hours away is not really that far, based on his “assertion” that some place near by is “only” a couple hours away. What? Who cares? I don’t think it bothered him, but it bothered me, as it doesn’t seem like that’s a nice way to talk to someone…

    • a passion for fashion :

      i totally do this. my husband does it to me though too, as he is also a litigator. I am much better about it since we had kids, as i found that when my oldest was a baby and we would get into these “heated” discussions (which, of course, were not arguments at all but rather just our big personalities talking) that would make the baby upset. So I really tried hard to stop this practice, at least in front of the kids, and have been largely successful at it.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        We’re both litigators, too. He’s better at deposing people than I am, so he ends up “winning” a lot of our arguments in terms of oral advocacy and pinning me down to a particular (verbal) position. Curses! Then we laugh and it’s fine, but apparently I need to study up on my skills.

    • Litigating Life :

      Haha, yes! Along those lines, the other day I was talking to a colleague and actually said, “Pursuant to…” and I stopped myself and started laughing. Seriously? Who says that in real life??

    • Totally had an exchange with my SO the other day where I gave him multiple hypotheticals and slightly lost it when he kept dodging them. I may have said “answer the hypo!” a few times. So yes. Given that we were having a really big important discussion, I felt like the the deposition skills were actually kind of useful, but I think I need to avoid it in any other situation.

    • YES. All the time. I am trying to be more conscious of this, but I usually fail miserably. My SO asks me constantly to please leave it at the office. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I would also love to hear any advice/suggestions.

    • Sometimes I just find myself being snippy at my husband because he just seems to say the dumbest things out of thin air occasionally. Like, really dumb and completely non-sensical. I think it irritates me so much because they are things he should 100% know or he has had experience with, or they are things that if he just took 3 seconds to think about what he said, he would realize how stupid they sounded (but he says them totally seriously). Maybe an example would be like, I might say, “I am planning on making tomato sauce with meatballs on Saturday,” and I might get a response like, “Oh, are you going to make the meatballs out of tuna? [deadly serious question]” Like, for real. Maybe not quite that bad/starkly apparent, but that’s the type of statement I’m talking about.

      It grates on me to no end and I find myself sometimes going off on this huge road of verbose explanation as to why his statement is absurd. So, maybe it’s not quite the same thing as you’re experiencing, but it’s still me sort of going off against my husband on trivial issues to let him know exactly how and why he is wrong. And I feel bad because it’s not like I need to ‘win’ against his stupid statement, but it’s like a reflex sometimes to respond as such.

      I think my strategy to be better about this is to take a deep breath when he says something dumb, say my snarky mean one line response in my head to myself, and then verbally try to respond with something bland and simple. Like, “[beat/pause] No. [pause] The meatballs will be made out of ground beef as I make them normally.” And then I try to drop it and just keep saying the snarky stuff in my head. It doesn’t always work because sometimes my tone still comes out as snarky, but at least it’s better than me saying my indignant tirade. It’s something I have to work on in terms of my communication skills.

      • My husband does this to me sometimes and I find it really demeaning. He’s not trying to be a DOOSH, he’s just so incredulous sometimes that I just asked the dumbest question or made the dumbest assumption in HISTORY (usually about how things work – I could not be a mechanical engineer – my brain doesn’t work that way), that he can’t help but point out I must know how stupid that was and I’m just not thinking. But no. Really I don’t get it. Or sometimes I said or did something a little absent-mindedly. Thanks for spending 5 minutes pointing out that you think I’m an idiot. When he acts like a moron (we all do it occasionally) I try not to dwell on it. Anyway, moral of the story, it’s not fun to be on the receiving end of the behavior you’re describing.

        • Ya – sometimes I ask a perfectly innocent question (which sometimes may be a dumb question or I just don’t remember some historical fact) and my husband will repeat it right back to me, like in all caps with appalled question marks. The last time he did it though, I pointed it out to him and explained that he could just, you know, answer my question instead of making me feel dumb. He hadn’t even realized that he does this and he apologized etc. He seems more aware of it now. So it may be worth your while to call him on this next time, Meme.

          • Oh no worries. I don’t let him get away with it. He knows he does it and gets that it’s not cool and that he wouldn’t like me to react the same way to him. And he’s gotten better, though he still does it sometimes without thinking first. I think INCREDULOUS??!!!? is one of his deep-seated personality traits that he’s struggling to reign in. We’re both litigators and that probably doesn’t help him on his path to recovery, lol.

      • I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Kontraktor thank you so much for posting that. I’m a litigator, and I do quite a lot of motion work, so whenever my husband says something that just logically makes no sense, I tend to lose it a little. We’re working on getting an FHA 203k renovation loan, and spent quite a lot of time explaining the procedures to him. Then I get an email asking me a really stupid question that we had been over that he could have googled.

        I also catch myself “deposing” him and backing him into admissions – stupid ones, like about the laundry. He never realizes what I’m doing until it is too late…he isn’t an attorney, but he is a business owner and electrical contractor so he isn’t dumb, he just can’t think around corners like us warped attorneys do.

        • Kontraktor :

          Yep your first paragraph happens to me/us all the time!! I definitely see my responses sometimes as a personal weakness and I truly am trying to work on them and be better about my attitude in my responses. He doesn’t deserve to be snipped at, and I would not want to be in that situation either.

          But like, argh seriously. The stupidity of the questions just drives me insane sometimes. And it’s worse because honestly I know my husband knows better and his brain is just apparently dying for a few minutes. Like, where in the world would you get the idea that meatballs were to be made out of tuna??????

          Oh well. All we can do is try our very hardest to be conscious of our shortcomings and work to fix them. :)

          • Maybe it would help to just ignore this kind of thing. Of course it’s idiotic. But it doesn’t mean you should really point out how dumb it is.

            (I’m not sure that helps anything ever.)

    • I may do this from time to time, but I don’t see why it’s bad. We actually joke about it frequently. Maybe we’re weird, but since our romance evolved from hypos about life estates in Blackacre, I think it kind of works for us.

      • Same here. Neither of us are lawyers, but we both have PhDs and live in our brains all the time. That’s neither here nor there, but it’s just the kind of people we are, and a major reason that we’re compatible. We challenge each other like this, though not using the wrong tone, especially if it’s something trivial. I think based on our traits this is the only kind of partnership that would really work for either of us.

        I think the red flag goes up when you’re being made to feel stupid or find yourself trying to “win” such that he looks stupid. I’ve had that dynamic in past relationships and it reflected poorly on both of us.

        • Totally agree. I don’t think I could sustain a relationship if I thought he was “stupid” or that he thought I was same. I thnink there was a study recently that found that one of the biggest predictors of divorce is eye-rolling. In other words, if you find yourself dismissive of your mate’s thoughts/opinions and lack a basic respect for them, all other things being equal, there’s a good chance it just won’t work out.

        • this is a little different than deposing. I have my “lawyer mind” on a lot, but deposing is a lot more aggressive. See Jules example below. Its about short sentences, cornering someone, bringing back what they said earlier. like merriweathers example might go soemthing like
          DH: yeah but cityville is kind of far
          MW: its three hours away
          DH: yeah thats kind of far
          MW: didnt you, just yesterday, say that othercity was “only” a few hours away
          DH: well that was a little diff-
          MW: you used the word only, right?
          DH: yes
          MW: You meant it to mean :merely”
          DH: Yes
          MW: So by your own words, if other city is only a few hours away, than cityfille is also only a few hours away, so its actually not far away.

          thats an extreme example obviously. i think deposing is a prime example of “trying to win”

          • Merriweather :

            cc, this is almost the *exact* conversation. Part of the problem (for me) is that we are totally different. He is in IT – he listens to music and talks to no one all day, works structured, consistent hours, and doesn’t plan. I am constantly on the go, planning is my sanity, and every day is completely different in terms of my schedule. Of course, he does have a calming effect on me most of the time, but I do get frustrated with is his inability/unwillingness to brainstorm quickly, commit to plans, consider multiple options, etc… We have not been together long (less than a year), but long enough that I consider him significant, and I am these personality quirks growing pains…

          • Merriweather :

            *I /consider/ these personality quirks growing pains…

    • Yes. I do this. And I ahve only been a litigator for 9 months. (However, I was raised by a litigator who did this to me growing up). My BF is very very patient and tolerant though, and when he catches me at it he’ll jokingly call me out and that shuts me down. Unfortunately I sometimes do it to other family members who aren’t so willing to call me out. Would love some advice on this as well!

    • I am a litigator and my SO is a bailiff (who definitely should be a litigator instead of me!) and he “cross examines” me all the time. It’s annoying sometimes but it has certainly helped me be more precise when I’m outside of work. :) He’s getting better at not doing it, especially after I pointed out that he sometimes does it to his daughter. I think what has helped most is stopping and asking whether the answer really matters.

    • I’m not a litigator, but I do a lot of transactional work where I’m used to negotiating and arguing with other lawyers. My SO did not go to law school, and when I start down a line of questioning or trying to trap him, he is terrible at responding! So then, not only am I upset about the original (usually meaningless) issue, but I’m more upset about how terrible he is at formulating arguments for himself! It really is terrible.

      • Oh, me too. I am also a transactional lawyer and used to negotiating, but my very logical, non-lawyer BF views this as “arguing”. I try hard to see it from his perspective but it is hard to disengage the lawyer brain.

    • I am NOT strictly a court room litigator (tho I do alot of admin WC defense cases before the WC Board), but I did have this probelem with my ex, mostly when he had been drinkeing. He would always demand that I stop doing what I was doing so that I could talk to HIM. He would NOT talk to me when I wanted him to talk to me, but insted would INSIST that I talk to him when he wanted me to talk to him (which mostely was when he was drunk). Since I did NOT like talkeing to a drunk, I often did NOT do so and this got him even more mad at me. Ugh!

      I told him I would talk if he was sober, but he was not, so I did not. I understand your issue’s with your man. I no longer have this probelem and will make sure I do NOT EVER get involved with someone who abuse’s alchohol like my ex did (and still does). FOOEY on him!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Yes and my husband has been in law enforcement or quasi law enforcement investigations for many years. If he asks me a question and I look down and to the left I get called out for “creative answering.” He knows all the tips and tricks to see if someone is lying, uncomfortable answering, dodging a question, stretching the truth, etc. We do it to each other and to an outsider it is probably hysterical.

      • Almost This. My SO is in law enforcement and almost every disagreement we had early in our relationship ended with me feeling interrogated because of this. In some ways it has gotten better, but I also have a tendency to avoid conflict.

    • I totally do this, and my non-litigator (non-lawyer) husband has gotten good at it as well. We have intense debates about stupid things (i.e., how to pronounce words, sport rules, etc.) You can actually do it in a way that’s fun. Keep it about stupid things, don’t make it personal, don’t make the other person feel stupid.

    • This is okay as long as at the end you said “LAWYERED.”

      And yes, I sort of do this to my husband. He gets grumpy. But I win more arguments, so there. :-P

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Then you can write it down and use my LAWYERED stamp :-) Or maybe not, unless you want to cause a big fight!

      • Merriweather :

        It feels a little too mean to me to say LAWYERED to my BF, but I say it to my brother all. the. time. I get lots of eye rolls.

      • Oh, and I forgot to note that part of my husbands job requires him to read legal documents, plus he’s taken a couple of corporate law classes, and he remembers quizzing me on stuff in law school. So its especially fun when he starts throwing out legal terms but in entirely the wrong context. The “discussions” turn silly after that.

        • TCFKAG – YES! Being a business owner, my husband knows just enough of the law to be dangerous. He also helped me do flashcards all through law school and while studying for the bar, so he’ll just randomly throw things out there. My favorite is when he argues with me on points of law in “newsworthy” cases. Love it when he tries to interpret case law…

        • My husband likes to throw out random latin phrases at me, like “ipso facto” when he thinks I’m “lawyering” him. He’s a chemist and thinks he’s hilarious.

    • I have found that mad skills in cross-examination come in handy with an pre-adolescent or teenage child. A sample from an interrogation of a 14-year-old after a co-ed sleepover at the home of a girl who previoulsy had slept at our house in a t-shirt and satin tap pants so short that they caused another kid at the sleepover to exclaim, “Romy! Where are your pants?”

      Q: Who slept over at Romy’s?
      A: All of us.

      Q: Okay, but WHO?
      A: Me and Jacob.

      Q: Where did everyone sleep?
      A: Jacob slept out on the couch

      Q: Where did YOU sleep?
      A: On the floor.

      Q: On the floor WHERE?
      A: In Romy’s room.

      Q: Did her parents know about this arrangements?
      A: I THINK so.

      Q: Was Romy’s bedroom door open?
      A. Yeah. Mostly.

      Okay, I didn’t feel much better after the answers. But hone your skills on your spouse; you’ll need them for the kids. A teenager can make the most evasive witness you’ve ever dealt with seem easy..

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I am SO going to do this to my kids. Brilliant.

      • Hmmm…my mother the social worker who specialized in adolescents used to do similar things to me. She would trick me into telling her all SORTS of stuff. Only, she was more stealthy about it, because you know, that was her job.

        But all my friends loved her, cuz she was “cool” — they didn’t know her evil talents. ;-) (Just kidding, I love my mom, but seriously, she was like a super sleuth.)

      • One of my friends walked by the restroom at her school one day and overheard another teacher saying “Where’s Miss Sharon? And where are your pants?” It has become one of our catchphrases.

      • Research, Not Law :

        My aunt is a (now retired) police detective. She always made me jumpy when I was a teenager. LOL, she was just trying to make conversation!

      • Hah, see with my parents they were sort of the opposite. Unless they could prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, us kids couldn’t get in trouble for it. So that taught us to lie and to stick to our story like crazy.

        i.e. Brother, being an a$$hole from birth (seriously, he’s 28 now and no better) gets sent home from school with a note that he got in trouble for throwing rocks at the 3rd graders (he was in 1st). Brother insists, with a straight face, “I wasn’t throwing the rocks, I was just STANDING there and the other kids were throwing the rocks! It’s not fair! I can’t be in trouble for just STANDING there!!”

        One week later: Brother comes home with a note that he’s in trouble for shooting spitballs at kids in the boys bathroom. Brother insists, with a straight face, “I wasn’t shooting the spitballs, I was just STANDING there and the other kids were shooting the spitballs! It’s not fair!” I can’t be in trouble for just STANDING there!!”

        Sum total of discipline: Nothing.

        Luckily, my mind protects me from remembering the occasions I used the same trick, which I’m sure I did… :-)

    • Yes. Every time I do it my SO sighs about the perils of marrying a lawyer and then I continue to trap him in his inconsistencies. Not great.

    • Yep. I do it primarily when we are arguing, or when I feel he’s being evasive about answering a question. He hates it. I guess I don’t hate that I do it, but I try to be conscious of it because I know he doesn’t like it. Sometimes he will say, “Stop deposing me,” and that’ll be my cue to stop.

      How to stop? I think the most important thing is to be cognizant of it. I can literally feel it coming on. I start to get frustrated, think more critically about his answers, nitpick them, and then I am suddenly funneling him down to the true answer. When I start to get that feeling, I just take a deep breath and stop myself.

    • yes! But I would call it cross-examining (or direct, depending on the circumstance), not deposing- mostly because I don’t do a ton of depositions in my particular line of work, but I do a fair amount of witness examinations.

      Anyway, my husband hates the cross-exams. He is not a lawyer and I find that my lawyerly argument tendencies can be pretty detrimental to our marital relationships, so I try to turn it off. It’s like playing a game where only one person knows the rules. The direct exam skills are more useful because DH is not the clearest communicator, but it still requires a delicate touch to avoid becoming a full interrogation. It took a while for me to be able to turn this off and I’m still working on it. If it’s a major argument, forget it- the lawyer mode will not shut off.

    • Yep, happens to me all the time. It does bother my SO (understandably – who would want to be heckled until they admit they are incorrect, exaggerating, generalizing, etc.?) so now he makes fun of me when I cross-examine him by saying “Baam! Lawyered!”. It reminds me not to sweat the small stuff and makes us laugh.

  11. Professor TBA :

    Dear ladies – Do you have suggestions for what to wear to an academic conference at Oxford in November? I assume it will be cold, but how cold? Also, dressier or less dressy than American conferences? I know it’s still early, but I’m trying to think ahead. Thank you for any advice or suggestions!

    • I would wear normal, ‘semi formal’ business attire. Unless you’re presenting, a suit is probably not necessary, but definitely bring a nice selection of slacks, sweaters, blouses, etc. A lot of people wear tights so if you like that look, it’s probably fine. It’s chilly in November (think 30s, maybe 40s if it’s warm) and will possibly be gross and wet, so I would bring shoes that can work in the rain/muddy streets. Unless you are really good at walking long distances in heels or want to carry another pair of shoes, I wouldn’t recommend wearing heels, as the distances between buildings can be very long and the streets uneven/made out of cobblestone in some instances. Definitely bring a coat, scarf, and gloves.

  12. I am moving in a week and I should be packing, but I just want to go shopping.

  13. Just wanted to report that I got the navy knit blazer from the Limited featured last week. The material is less flexible (less like a “swazer”) than I thought it would be, but I think that’s a good thing; it looks crisp and professional while still being comfortable. Fit is great; I got the XS and it’s one of the few jackets that aren’t baggy in the sleeves, and it hits me at the high hip (I’m 5’3). It might have a more shrunken look for someone taller or wider-chested. Overall, a great pick – thanks Kat!

    • I just got the navy and also the oatmeal version of the blazer, and like them too (especially for the price!). Because they’re 3/4 sleeve, they’ll be great for the summer. I agree about the material – less sweater-y than I expected, but still kind of cozy.

      I usually wear a 10-12 in suit jackets and got the medium. It fits perfectly.

    • So excited for mine to come in now! I’m tall, but I love a good shrunken 3/4 sleeve blazer, so I’m hoping this will be my summer go-to. Glad to hear it’s worked out for you!

    • I just got this also in the navy! I think this is my first purchase from the Limited in 25+ years! I normally wear a 14 in jackets (boobs and wide shoulders) and I got a L. This fit great and I love it!

  14. Ladies, question – I’m wearing a lovely DVF skirt today in the vain of “the skirt” from Halogen. How do I keep the darn thing from riding up? It’s so soft and stretchy that it keeps creeping up my thighs and waist. Any suggestions? TIA!

    • This means your skirt is too small, and you need to order a larger size. if it’s soo stretchy and tight that it rides up when you walk, it is tooo small, especially for work.

    • Probably it’s too big on the waist and too tight on the hips. I don’t think getting a larger size will help unless you also get the waist tailored – the skirt just isn’t cut for your shape.

    • I find this problem is exacerbated when I wear pantihose (I don’t always wear pantihose – only during the cold months) so I use a product called StaticGuard which stops my skirt sliding up my legs as I walk. It comes in a blue aerosol can and is usually sold in drugstores or department stores with laundry products like Tide-to-go.

    • Thanks all. It doesn’t look bad, just not as office-polished as I’d like – it’s snug on my hips, but no muffin-top/spillover/etc and my top is pretty conservative. I’ve decided it’s a live and learn moment.

  15. Graduate student help :

    Just an update. Hey guys, I posted here a few times over the weekend after I got blindsided by my (now ex) boyfriend with whom I was just last week talking about marriage with. Yay.

    You should all know that I have an exam tomorrow as well (can’t believe he dumped me before my major exams). Any recommendations for powering through?

    I also booked a nice vacation for myself once I get my degree in September. I’ll probably post asking for some more advice later, but has anyone been to South East Asia? Gives me something to look forward to.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’m so sorry that happened to you! A few years ago, three days before my graduate school applications were due, I got dumped by a serious boyfriend. I still think it was a huge dick move.

      Re: powering though – do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to be alone with your thoughts. There will be time to wallow later, but you now should focus on the exam, making sure you’re prepared, etc. If you already feel prepared, go out and do something that keeps your mind away from the whole thing. See a movie (even alone) watch a whole season of a television show, etc. Keep yourself so occupied you cannot think about him at all.

      And also, southeast Asia is lovely – I particularly like Malaysia and didn’t really enjoy Singapore all that much.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Hang in there! I think the best thing you could do would be to exercise a lot today, and tomorrow morning if you can – even 20 minutes of strenuous cardio or weight lifting will make you feel a lot better. I did my bar trip in Thailand. It was fantastic and I hope to go back someday.

    • Kill on that exam! :

      Your best revenge and best path forward: get 100% on that exam! You can do it!

    • I missed the weekend comments, but I imagine everyone told you he is a doosh and you should JSFAMO. (My long-term, long-distance BF broke up with me at the end of my first year in law school but had the grace to wait until the day my exams were over.)

      I don’t have any great advice except to indulge yourself as much as possible — this is definitely the time for cookies and wine, or gelato, or whatever is your indulgence of choice — and to try to focus on the exam. The break-up s*cks and you will need to be angry, grieve, etc. but there’s time for that later; the exams will only happen once, so you need to get through them and then think about the other.

      We’ll all be pulling for you.

    • Get angry and use that to power through. Remember living well is the ultimate revenge. So power through and ace it because this guy is not worth failing/resitting/being lesser for.

      Also, he sounds like a delightful, charming and considerate chap. Consider sending a thank you note to him – he saved you a whole lotta hassle later and bonus you now get to visit Asia and really soak up the culture.

      Finally, look after yourself. Really. Not the I’m fine variety of looking after, the I’m awesome variety.

    • Studying for exams won’t be a picnic – you could definitely have a tendency to get into your own head. But here’s something I’ve learned over the years – there are people who let adversity derail them and there are people who plow through it. Don’t let this a-hole have any power over your success in school. Be good to yourself and definitely take the advice to work out and eat gelato!

    • Research, Not Law :

      I missed the original post, but it sounds exactly like what happened to me when I was in grad school, the week before finals. I agree – put your energy towards studying. It actually helps me immensely to have something to focus on that wasn’t related to my social/romantic life. Plus, frankly, I had a lot of time on my hands. I did great on my exams!

      GL and big, big hugs! This will be better for you in the long run, I promise.

    • If the pain is sharp and debilitating, I recommend one evening to indulge yourself in a Warcraft LAN party and excellent whiskey. Really dulls the edge to get you through the first part. Okay, maybe that’s just what works for me.

    • Seattleite :

      My only hint for your vacation is this: never get involved in a land war.

      For powering through: set an appointment with yourself for a time after the exams when you can wallow and cry. Then say, “I won’t cry now. I will cry Saturday at 10:15.” That gives me a mental out – I’m not working so hard to hold it all together, because I have a scheduled release.

    • Graduate student help :

      Thanks guys! Tomorrow is the big day and then I’m done. Studied hard today and just unwinding with a glass of wine.

      FOOEY I say. Seriously, he waited until HIS exams were done!

    • Re southeast Asia, pick Indonesia and /or Malaysia. You can’t go wrong!

  16. Can we have a general discussion about sweater vests? This is the second time that Kat has recommended one in the last month or so. I find them only appropriate for dressing up like a preppy golfer for a theme party.

    • Amen!
      I think unless you’re on a golf course or wearing a private school uniform, it’s a no-go. It’s just not conveying any sort of sophisticated vibe typically sought at work.

    • My husband recently attended an office party where everyone wore sweater vests to roast a guy in the office who wears them a lot.

    • They’re not my style, but I have no problem with them at all.

    • Agreed. I haven’t worn a sweater vest since fourth grade, with one exception. In law school I often wore a black cashmere sweater vest with faded or black jeans and a white t-shirt, preferably with the sleeves cuffed. I stole the look from a woman in my class who had a punk haircut and wore this with white socks and presumably ironic black penny loafers. (I wore boots.)

      Lisa Cuddy on “House” would sometimes wear sweater vests, which I thought looked goofy. But at least they weren’t tight and they covered up the cleavage that used to make me screech at the TV “No professional woman would dress like that!”

    • I love sweater vests and routinely wear them in the winter. They’re not as constricting as sweaters so I can easily wear them with suit jackets.

    • I bought a sweater vest from a good name-designer. Every time I put it on and look in the mirror I take it off again, it’s just too sad. I think I’ve worn it twice, to the grocery store, on chilly days :(

    • Senior Attorney :

      Okay, I will admit to rocking a sweater vest from time to time with lowish-rise trousers and a collared shirt and jacket and long pendant. I like the 70s vibe. My favorites are fairly lightweight and more of a flat knit than a sweatery knit, if that makes sense.

    • Sweater vests are my jam. I think its all about coloring and styling. Obviously you shouldn’t wear a light purple one with a white skirt or something. But when I wear my ox-blood one with a button down and black pants (I don’t wear it with skirts generally) I definitely do NOT look like I’m on the way to the golf course. Instead I feel a little bit like I’m dressing like a boy for a day, which is just subversive enough to make me giggle all day.

      But I will say, it annoyed me when Rick Santorum was getting all that sweater vest attention, he was totally jacking my look! (actually, I’d never wear khakis with it either…but that’s another story.)

      • ChocCityB&R :

        TCFKAG, if I needed one more reason to love you, it’s your use of the phrase “my jam.” I had forgotten all about it, and now it is going back in my vocabulary rotation.

      • Man. I own several–one solid and a few houndstooth/patterned conservatively. I wear them with button-ups, whether with skirts or pants. I like that they make the shirt warmer and vaguely make me feel like a man. That last bit wasn’t a typo…

  17. Wen? Has anyone tried it? Anything good, bad or indifferent to share about it? I would really like to try it, but am on the fence. Thanks!

    • I get spam about Wen, so will never buy it.

    • My mom uses it and says: “it’s weird, but it seems to work pretty well. My hair really is softer. I wish they’d stop sending me so much mail.” So take that as you will.

    • My mom and I both tried it. I have a lot of very fine hair, and I find that my hair is much greasier 3-4 hours after using it. (Despite rinsing and rinsing and rinsing in the shower.) I tried it daily for about 2 weeks, and then said to heck with it.

      That being said, with the approach of summer and more pool-time, I occasionally use it when I take an evening shower, and my hair is feeling dried out from chlorine. Sort of like a deep conditioner.

      And yes, they spam the heck out of me.

    • I have it and used it for about five days. I loved how my hair looked when I straightened it, but when I left my hair curly it always seemed way frizzier (probably roughed up the cuticle with all the scrubbing, even though I combed conditioner through after all). The reason I stopped using it is that my scalp became unbearably itchy. I have reactions to a lot of different shampoos, though, so the problem could be me. I often CO wash with VO5 or Suave, and my hair doesn’t feel as clean as it does with the WEN, but it also doesn’t itch as badly.

    • I have been using it for about two years. I used to wash my hair with shampoo every day (because I’m a greaser with a heavy exercise schedule to make things worse). Now I use shampoo every other day and Wen every other day, which works perfectly. My hair is healthier because it’s getting less shampoo, but it doesn’t look dirty. So I guess I use it like other women use dry shampoo.

      I bought mine from Amazon so I don’t get spammed by Wen.

    • I use it and, aside from the price, I love it! I have thick, curly hair, which I color, and it definitely keeps my hair healthy and frizz-free. The trick is to make sure you use enough product and really work on massaging the scalp with your fingertips and working it through your hair. It gives me soft, thicker, ropier curls that need very little styling.

  18. Bizarre family situation :

    I have only posted here a few times, but I regularly read the comments and I have a huge amount of respect for the insight and opinions of the readers who post here . That being said, I am wondering if the hive can help me out with how to deal with a bizarre and somewhat disturbing family situation.

    I just finished law school in a state 7 hours from where almost my entire family lives. I have two brothers who are older than me and a younger sister. They all live within 15 minutes of my parents. My brothers are both married, with young children (all 1o and under). So, I am the only one who is outside this bubble right now. My parents waited until after I graduated and was visiting home a couple weeks ago to tell me what was going on.

    Short version:

    I just found out my brother is a polygamist.

    Longer version:

    For quite a few months, a woman has been living with my brother and his wife. She had left her husband, and from what my family knew at the time, she just needed a place to stay. Now, over the past couple of months, it has been coming out piece by piece that my brother is in a relationship with this woman. But, it is not an affair. As he says it, he has “made her a part of our family.” He has not actually tried to marry her, so it is not TECHNICALLY polygamy. However, my sister-in-law is in on this. She goes along with it and says things to the effect that it has been a good thing for their family. My family is not of a religion that supports polygamy, and I think my sister-in-law displays similar inclinations as women who have battered wife syndrome. I don’t think there is any physical abuse, I just mean in her willingness to go along with this and how she has not stood up for herself. I think my brother has her brainwashed into thinking this is the right thing for them to be doing.

    Mostly, I am just worried about the kids and that they will grow up thinking this is normal. It doesn’t help that my brother is very manipulative and tends to say he does things because he believes God told him to. I should note that my brother has not mentioned any of this to me. I am probably the least close to him of all my siblings, but we have always had a good relationship (with normal sibling rivalry). As of now I am just biding my time and not saying anything. Other family members have let him know how they feel, and when my parents went to his house to have a peaceful discussion about it he threw them off of his property.

    I am still living two states away, but will be moving back to my home state (but an hour away from my family). Does anybody have any advice as to how to deal with this and maintain as normal of a relationship as possible with them (especially the kids)?

    • I am really not trying to sound harsh, so please don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think this is any of your business. It is a bit worrisome that they are not being more forthcoming about this and that they are not being patient about your family’s reaction, but ultimately they are all consenting adults. What is more hurtful is that he hasn’t mentioned it to you or most of your family, but judging from your reaction, maybe he is just waiting to talk to your in person. I would wait until a good time and say something like, “Hey, so tell me what is going on in your life. I am a little hurt to be left out of the loop with something so major.” If you want to maintain a normal, or “as normal,” relationship, you’re going to have to, at least, keep an open mind.

      As for the kids, I think you should do your best to maintain a good relationship with them, which means not saying judgmental things about their parents. There is no such thing as normal. This is certainly a very unusual arrangement but it doesn’t have to be a scarring one. I would follow their lead and only discuss it if they bring it up. I would also try to be extremely diplomatic about it. Pretend you are Switzerland.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Thank you for the response. This is pretty much the tack I am taking.

        I realize there is no “normal” and you say they are all consenting adults. This is where I have a problem, though, because of the personalities involved and other issues — I am concerned about whether my sister-in-law is in fact consenting. But because it’s not really any of my business, I have not and do not intend to say anything. Nevertheless, this certainly does have implications for the kids because when one parent manipulates the other in the way this seems to have occurred, it creates dysfunction. This is one of the things I am really concerned about, and I think it is valid. Maybe I’m wrong, though…

        • IMHO if you’re getting all of this information second hand from your other family members who have already expressed their disapproval, you’re probably not close enough to the situation to know if your sister-in-law is consenting or not, unhappy or not, etc — and even if you were convinced that you had a good read on their interpersonal dynamic, it doesn’t sound like you’re close enough to your brother or SIL to be offering unsolicited advice. I’d second AIMS’ advice to try to get in touch with him and keep an open mind if you want to maintain the relationship.

    • I agree with AIMS, unless you put more context to your statement that she seems to have battered wife syndrome. The only example you give is that she hasn’t stood up for herself, and is saying that she is happy with the arrangement. Is there more than that? Or you just can’t imagine a woman actually being ok with it? I think just try to keep an open mind and just be normal with the kids, be there for them in general. Having an awesome aunt or uncle is really great for kids. they can operate in that “adults but not my parents” zone

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      IMO, I would do some research into the polyamory community. While it’s definitely not right for me, there are plenty of people who do follow this lifestyle and are happy and not exploited doing so. I have friends who are poly (maybe it’s because I know so many people in San Francisco) who would definitely be offended by the implication that they were being abused.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        My family lives in an area that is quite the opposite of SF, and many of my brother and sister-in-law’s friends have already shunned or partially shunned them. My parents have indicated that the second woman is not welcome in their home for family gatherings.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I guess I disagree with this. Even when I disagree with a family member’s decisions, I rarely feel like shunning or cutting them off is a good way to bring them around to my point of view, nor does it help protect the children (who sound like they do need outside contacts what with homeschooling and potential cult involvement). Shunning them seems like it will just make them even more insular and, if there is abuse occurring, make it even more hidden.

          But to be honest, there are many parts of the country where people react like this (shunning, your lover is not welcome in my home) toward gay people, and I know I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but it seems on the surface to be mostly the same, to me.

        • I wonder if that might make things harder for everyone, including the children. Making it clear that the third partner is not allowed to attend family gatherings might drive them all away. if the goal is for the children to be surrounded by “normal” family relationships, then driving the family away will result in them not being exposed to your extended family’s “normal” relationships and only seeing the “abnormal” polyamorous one.

          Polyamorous people do not exist solely in SF or other big cities. It is possible that they will find a community of people who see relationships in the same way they do. Or meet new friends who are not offended by it. I second momentsofabsurdity’s recommendation to do some research into polyamory. It’s certainly not something you have to believe in, or even support, but doing so might be best for your entire family in the long run.

          • Bizarre family situation :

            I am definitely concerned it will make things harder, which is why I don’t necessarily agree with my parents’ decision to do that and I intend to have a relationship with the whole family (however they define it).

    • I’ll second AIMS. It’s none of your business. This might be a phase or it might be a serious long term relationship. Welcome the new woman into the family and be happy your brother and his wife found a third they both like/love. If you reject her, you are also rejecting your brother and SIL.

      By “normal”, it sounds like you are referring to a traditional nuclear family with a mom, dad, and their biological children. That definition isn’t written in stone. These kids will know it’s not “normal” just like kids of gay parents know their family isn’t “normal” and just like I know my family isn’t “normal” because my parents are divorced. But they still have a family that loves them and cherishes them. That’s the important thing here.

      Be a good auntie to your nieces and nephews. Don’t ostracize their new “mom” (or aunt or whatever they use to refer to her) or their parents.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        My parents have already rejected her as part of the family, which I can understand from their point of view (my family is conservative Christian). I don’t want to ostracize her and I don’t intend to. This whole situation is just becoming more and more difficult because of the tension between my parents and my brother and the fact that he has not said a word of this directly to me.

        • K... in transition :

          I agree with AIMS. Also, you have 3 choices; pretend you don’t know/forget you know this info (not likely possible), contact him and see if he tells you while updating you on his life, or let him know you know and aren’t going to shun him. It sounds possible that he hasn’t told you because other family members have reacted so poorly and he hasn’t felt like hearing it all again. What if you sent a “thinking of you” card to his home in his name, but, inside, list his name, wife’s name, this woman’s name, and the names of each child? It’d be a nice way of acknowledging that you know and that you’re not shunning them or her. Then see if he reaches out.

    • I definitely think your concerns are legit, or at least more legit than some of the responses here seem to imply. Sure, definitions of normal vary and different family types work for different people in different situations, etc. But you know your brother and sister-in-law, and so do your parents, and if everything was hunky-dory you probably wouldn’t be too freaked out and your brother would not have thrown your parents off the property, and there is always more to every situation than a comment here can really portray. However – everyone is probably right that there’s not much you can do, really. I would just suggest reaching out to your sister-in-law as you move back to the area and maintaining a strong relationship with her independent of your brother (invite her for a girl’s night or coffee or shopping or whatever). Don’t bring up the other woman unless she does. Just let her know that you are there for her as her friend and sister-in-law, so that if she really does have a problem with this arrangement, she feels comfortable talking to you. Try to be there for her kids as a friendly/available aunt, also, since you seem to be concerned about them too. Good luck. :)

    • I agree with what everyone who says that there isn’t really much you can *do* here. But I disagree with people who say it’s not cause for concern and just lifestyle choice like polyamory. I have no problem with polyamory, but it sounds like OP here has reason to believe that her SIL didn’t have equal bargaining power to agree with or veto this decision, which is not what polyamory is about. If that’s the case, I agree that it’s a situation to be concerned about, especially for the kids.

      I think the only thing you can do is work to maintain good, open relationships with SIL and the kids. Be a person that they can talk to without being judged or hectored about their family situation. Be a person they can come to for help or advice if/when they are ready. You might be wrong about your suspicions but you can never go wrong being a place of safety for your loved ones.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Yes, I have come to the same conclusion that there is not much I can do (nor that I should be doing, really).

        I just want to be a good aunt to the kids and maintain a friendship with my SIL.

    • Conservative Christian :

      I totally get what you are saying, and I’d like to politely disagree with other commenters that the issue you are bringing up is your disagreement of their “alternative lifestyle”, because it’s definitely not about that, from my read.
      I live in a very conservative, Christian area and in my own community (so not speaking for anywhere else – please don’t pick a fight with me) there is this line between happily married, homeschooling couples where the women wear skirts, the man makes all the decisions, and everyone is satisfied and content, and then, on the other side of the line, these terrifying, controlling relationships where everyone is isolated and sexual pressure/abuse/nontraditional relationships occur. They look very similar on the outside, except in (1) the women look happy, and in (2) the women look exhausted and terrified. There’s no physical violence that anyone can see, but where there is, it’s not angry rage punching, but rather calm, methodical squeezing, pinching, or hurting.

      Here’s what I hear you saying – you think the wife is going along with this because she feels she’s supposed to, and you are afraid of the effect of the kids – not of mom and dad having a threesome, but of learning it’s okay for dad’s voice to be the sole voice, and to hurt mom (sexually, emotionally, etc) to meet dad’s desires, all in the name of God. And you don’t know what to say or do. Plus all the family drama, and the fact that this is your brother.

      I recommend keeping your ties very open with this family, as dad/brother is successfully isolating his family by making outsiders pull away. Sooo classic. For you – Don’t be judgmental. Bite your tongue a thousand times. Be a good friend to SIL/mother. Be a great aunt to the kids, when you can. Compliment them all on their strengths and positive qualities. Be kind and friendly to the newbie – a lot of the women who show up as single wives in the bad polygamous situations are leaving something much worse than what they came from. They will know, simply by the way you live your own life, that another life exists. By continuing to reach out and simply engage them, you can be the ‘mustard seed’ planted in their minds that comes to fruition months or (more often) years down the road when her or the kids wants to choose a different path, and the resource they will want then.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Thank you! You said that way better than I did — and what you are saying are my exact concerns.

        • K... in transition :

          Also, if you truly believe the kids are in danger of emotional abuse or something else that just doesn’t “feel right,” contact child services. That’s what they’re here for :)

          • I sort of agree, but if the brother finds out she’s contacted child services, it’s a pretty safe assumption that he’ll prevent her from ever seeing his kids again. I don’t think I’d contact child services unless I was pretty certain that some form of abuse is occurring.

          • Christian Conservative :

            I’m somewhat on the other side of the fence about this. In my experience with suspected family abuse in these types of cultures, often the perpetrator of the abuse has a larger network through their “religious” organization that provide them, and by extension the family unit, with what to say and do over time so as to beat the system – so that at the end of the day, after a thorough investigation, there’s not enough for any action on the part of DSS.
            They (wrongly) genuinely believe that DSS is the wrongdoer trying to hurt their family, and that they are justified in having an offensive defense strategy, and their community/cult/organization provides that strategy. It’s a very different ballgame from the individual dysfunctional family unit.
            In my area, at least, there are sometimes special forces that deal with these types of situations across a community, but too often simply calling social services would end up hurting more than it helps.

            I’m interested in your thoughts on this – my experience is from the legal side, and not from the counseling side.

      • Agree with Christian Conservative, and I am a non-religious East Coast liberal.

        If your brother and SIL’s embraced a polyamorous lifestyle, they would not go in hiding and shun family. When someone is proud, they live out in the open. When someone is doing something wrong/shameful or something they know they shouldn’t be doing, they keep it a secret and otherwise go into hiding.

        As Christian Conservative said, manipulators succeed in their quest by driving family members away and not talking about it. I’ve been manipulated by narcissistic men who also made me keep our relationship secret and drive caring family members away. This sounds eerily similar.

        • On a related note, I am on the fence about family involvement. There’s overbearing, nosy relatives. And then there’s indifferent or standoffish family who think it’s best not to meddle, all the while an abuse or mistreatment of a loved one continues because no one wanted to interfere. This only isolates the loved one more because no one would stand up for them or ‘meddle’, when the person in question might sadly be too weak or manipulated or blinded to stand up for themselves. I am not sure that’s the case here, but I would not say carte blanche that butting out is always the best (even if it is the path of least resistance).

      • Role Model :

        Would it be over the top to make comments every once in a while when she is with the kids along the lines of “I’m so glad to spend the day with you and I’m so happy that I went to college and have my own job so that I can pay for this lunch/dinner/movie that we all chose to spend time doing!” or “When you graduate from college and have your first job, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do?”? Just to telegraph to the kids that they can look forward to a time when they each, boys and girls, get to be independent and make their own choices?

      • Anne Shirley :

        This is one of the most insightful, compassionate comments I’ve read on here. +1000LL points

    • Sounds like your brother and SIL are into polyamory. I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t have to like it or pretend that the third member of their relationship is your friend, but you should keep your opinions to yourself unless you have reason to believe that your SIL or their kids are actually being abused in some way. I think it’s fine to talk to your SIL in private and make sure she’s ok, but keep in mind that someone who seems demure in public can still be really kinky in private. If she doesn’t think she’s being abused or manipulated, then just tell her she can call you if she ever needs support and leave it at that.

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    Also, Lane Bryant’s new (to me) cami shape is awesome. It’s got a nice seam under the bust that lets it fit nice on my bust and on my torso. And it’s super soft and comfy. And the lace trim are on sale on the LB website:

  20. Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

    Threadjack, if I may. How do you deal with crazy and/or incompetent people in the workplace?

    I lead a team that consists of members from different departments in the organization. Although I am the most senior and nominally in charge, I am not the direct supervisor of any team member. I have been in this role for some years and have always gotten along very well with all of my team members. We’ve always gotten the the work out timely had a pretty good time, as well. Until recently…

    For the past few months we have had a team member from one department who is difficult in the extreme. She is consistently late to team meetings, she doesn’t provide information necessary for other team members to do their jobs, the information she does provide often turns out to be wrong, and she is increasingly confrontational and insubordinate with me. Seriously, this person has a reputation throughout the organization of being both mentally unstable and not all that bright. And she’s been driving. us. all. crazy. and just ruining the work experience for everyone.

    I have tried all my managerial tricks from private chats to gentle chiding in front of the group to keeping it all business, all the time and doling out consequences when she drops the ball, and nothing. has. worked. Her direct supervisor hides in his office all day and has been unwilling to come out to discuss the situation.

    The good news is that she will be transferred to another team next week and I will get somebody new, who can’t help but be better than the person who is leaving. The bad news is that I feel utterly defeated. Part of me is saying “Whew! Glad she’s going!” And part of me is saying, “If you were REALLY a good team leader, you would have figured out a way to win her over and transform her into a functional member of the team.”

    What says the hive? Are there situations where it really IS the problem person, and the only course of action is JSFAMO? Or should I be looking harder at my role in this fiasco? And if it’s the second one, what could I have done?

    • Leading people who do not report to you is extra challenging. So first, give yourself a pat on the back because it sounds like you do a good job of it.

      What else could you have done? Well, it sounds to me like you already tried a bunch of things. The only other one that comes to mind is figuring out what makes her tick and using that to your advantage. For example – making her look great in her supervisor’s eyes if that’s what will get her to give you good info, or helping her on something that is important to her. I’m also assuming that you already asked your team for their input on how to work with this person. Honestly though, thank your lucky stars that this woman is leaving! I vote for JSFAMO!

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        Thanks, Flamingo! As for figuring out what makes her tick, oh my sweet Lord I have spent many many hours on that very subject! My big thing as a leader is “I want everybody to get as much of what he or she wants as is reasonably possible,” and I could never even figure out what this person wanted! (My assistant says “She just wants to cause trouble!” LOL)

    • The fact that you’re even asking these questions at this point speaks volumes to your strengths as a manager. Also, your strong leadership can be seen in that this individual’s behavior hasn’t resulted in problems with you leading the rest of the team. Normally I would throw out some advice on whether you appropriately pursued setting incremental targets, developing accountability metrics, celebrating successes, establishing check-ins outside of the group, etc. But it honestly sounds like you’ve explored these traditional performance aids. Sometimes you truly do end up with someone who may have their own issues going and as a result simply refuses to function. Since others are experiencing the same challenges, you can’t even look to successes elsewhere for inspiration—and that says a lot about it likely being a situation beyond your control. Yes, it is too bad that you couldn’t be there if and when a turnaround would finally occur, but you can’t beat yourself up.

      It is completely up to you, but if you truly feel there is untapped potential in this individual and worry for his or her long-term career success, it may be a kind thing to invite a “coffee break” or such away from the office and have a somewhat casual heart-to-heart on what the individual perceives would have been necessary to advance projects more effectively, and perhaps you can then transition this into providing some carefully worded feedback on what might aid the individual’s performance in the next role. But honestly, you’re probably going to be wasting your breath. Some folks are bound to be their own destruction. You also risk turning a currently difficult relationship into a really bad one. No need to burn a bridge if you don’t have to.

      Sadly, I think you have to JSFAMO.

    • I hate to say this but you’re better off just JSFAMO. Until recently, I had someone on my team who was defensive and techno-phobic and sometimes downright destructive. I look around now at all we have accomplished and think how much harder all of this would have been if he were still here. My former boss (now retired) used to regularly remind me of how much progress I made with him in getting him to do things our way, but the fight sometimes got to be too much for me. Just be happy she’s leaving and be thrilled with how much easier your projects will be without her.

      • oops. “just JSFAMO” is redundant, isn’t it?

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        TGI, I have thought about the coffee heart-to-heart, but honestly she’s so unstable she scares me a little and I think the potential downside to such a meeting outweighs the extremely slim possibility of any upside. Which is really sad.

        NOLA, it’s great to hear from somebody who has been in a similar situation. It really goes against my grain to place blame/responsibility/whatever for a bad situation on somebody other than myself, but there’s a first time for everything, I guess.

        FOOEY! says I!

    • You should just hire me instead (since I now know who you are…though I actually have no idea WHERE you are). We can bond over our love of sweater vests. It would be awesome.

    • I may be too late responding here but I work in a similar situation, where I am in charge of several parts of a project but am not the supervisor of a lot of people implicated. Again, there is only one person who makes things difficult, only goes to meetings if he feels it is worth his time, going above me if he disagrees, etc. it is a challenge but must people on the team perceive him to be so out on his own (and he has burned bridges with many of them independently) that it doesn’t affect the team dynamic too much. If you have been In the team lead role for a while take her leaving as a chance to simply regroup and move on, I’m sure you are very capable at leading those wo are looking for that guidance. It is impossible to get everyone to play nicely so don’t let it impact your confidence in yourself!

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        Thanks, I appreciate it. It’s just so confounding to work with somebody who is completely not at all bought into even the idea of “the team leader gets to lead,” you know?

        As you can see, I’m still processing this.

        On the bright side, she called in sick today and I won’t be surprised if we don’t see her again at all before the transfer on Monday.

        • My troublesome colleague says that the bureaucracy only stifles him so he will use any means to advance his agenda, but has ensured that he will NEVER leave his current post as no one else will put up with him, despite his (I grudgingly admit) sometime brilliant ideas. He won’t play the game, so won’t win. I choose to focus on the people who contribute to the team so I can help THEM advance and us all succeed together. Put your energies towards those who will appreciate it, maybe this new staff member will be looking for your leadership.

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