Coffee Break – Monica Pumps

Samanta Monica Platform PumpsHonestly, today I’m torn between two different Samanta pumps, both available at Amazon. Ultimately I like this Monica Platform Pump better than this one, in large part because that indigo blue is so, so pretty. I love the cutouts, and I always like a deal. It’s 52% off — was $185, now marked to $88.56. Samanta Women’s Monica Platform Pump



  1. anon for this one except to those who already know... :

    Just a vent… why are men so intimidated by an educated woman? Why am I expected to dumb down or boost someone’s self esteem or minimize my achievements so some guy feels better? Here’s a thought: if I’ve chosen to date you, I think you’re worth dating. ARG!

    (stories to share on this topic, gals?)

    • Gah. Guys like that s*ck and don’t deserve the honor of dating anyone as awesome as a ‘rette.

    • karenpadi :

      Ugh. This. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

      The ones that aren’t intimidated are idiots who want a “sugar momma” (hello warehouse worker who really just wants to write comic books) or software engineers who hate my job (patents) and stop the date before it’s started (this has happened about 5 times since March).

      Can we also talk about guys who “must have” a women who likes bicycle riding and wants to take 50-mile rides with him every weekend? Look, I grew up in a bicycle-riding family. I understand the compulsion to take long bike rides. None of the post-puberty women rode because bikes are not engineered for women! If I ride 50-miles, there will be no s*xy times for at least a week while I heal.

      • Anon Biker :

        I went on a 20 mile bike ride with my SO this weekend. If it had been 10 miles he would have had a much happier weekend, just saying.

      • CA lawyer :

        Without commenting on requiring a partner to take long bike rides, I just want to give a shout out for cycling as a sport for women. There are great bikes out there for women and the right shop can help you get the right bike and adjust it so that it fits you properly. In the Bay Area, I’ve had great experiences with Mike’s Bikes, whose awesome annual sale is coming up this month.

        Also, cycling on the Peninsula can be super fun.

        • karenpadi :

          Thanks! I’ll keep it in mind. I’m not averse to biking but the equipment issue is really big for me. May be if I have a reason to go biking (e.g., a supportive boyfriend), I’ll stop by Mike’s Bikes.

          • SoCalAtty :

            You should check out the Felt bikes. They make a petite size, which is a 43cm frame. I’m 5′ tall with a normal torso and short legs, so you can imagine how super fun fitting a road bike was for me! I love it. I did a 50 miler last year, and it wasn’t too bad. I had the fit adjusted professionally down in Santa Monica.

            I was planning on doing the AIDS LifeCycle this year until I found my new awesome TinyLaw position, and I didn’t want to take that week off and then another for the wedding I am attending in Italy at the end of June. (Problems, right?)

            Did I just call my new firm awesome? I must be settling in (just passed the 3.5 month mark).

            As to the intimidation factor – that’s everyone for me. I really have more of a problem with it with other women than men. I feel like if you are driven and a hard worker, even if you aren’t out for anyone’s job, they think you are a threat. That could be my jaded southern CA experience speaking. Lucky for me I met my husband in high school, and he has been with me through undergrad and law school, and he likes the smarts! He didn’t even finish community college, but is a very successful business owner and is much smarter in other ways.

            At the risk of being vulgar, my mom always said I had to marry a man with bigger [email protected]!ls than mine. HA! It might take some effort to find one, but they are out there. I got lucky, but my mom always had that problem and, although she did eventually find someone, it was tough. Hang in there and you will find the right one!

        • Seattleite :

          Also, check out the Moon Saddle, available at everyone’s favorite a->z retailer.

      • Ha, Karen, this is my “must have” for men. Maybe you should send those guys my way (I’m in your area). I need someone who doesn’t mind that I want to spend 5-6 hours out on my bike every Saturday (and maybe even Sunday). So I have to find someone like minded, which hasn’t been that easy.

        • Also, getting fitted with the right kind of (women’s specific) saddle + chamois cream = no lady problems…

      • I think my so is secretly thrilled my 1L job pays less than his and that his job requires working more hours. I however am thrilled he earns more money than I do since that means in our joint bank account there is more money. I hate his overtime. Men are mad.

      • Cycling enthusiast :

        Your body does adjust to cycling. When I’ve been off the bike for a few weeks, the first ride back has some painful aftermath, but if you ride consistently, your body adjusts. And the right sized bike, and the right bike saddle makes a difference.

      • Anonymous :

        Gosh, Karenpadi, my non-college educated husband was not intimidated by my law degree. He thought it was cool, and loves to hear court stories, but he sure didn’t need a sugar mama since he was making a decent salary when we met.

        • karenpadi :

          Anonymous, I am really happy for you and your husband. Unfortunately, my experiences have been different.

      • Karenpadi, I ride a $150 used craigslist bike with the saddle that came with it and in no way am I a racer or bike geek. I have done rides up to 45 miles in one day and ride most weekends. And I never get sore. I think you have a LBS (local bike shop) visit in your future – they should be able to fix you up with a bike that doesn’t hurt.

    • I’ve never had this problem. My husband loves my smarts, and I don’t think could be prouder than me. Dating before that I never encountered this. Are the men that are intimidated have something else in common (region maybe?) I don’t think any of my friends have had this problem either.

      • I’ve actually never had this issue ever. Maybe its that I have no patience for idiots and take very little crap (so I never would get that far with guys who would react that way) — but every guy I’ve ever been involved with has been nothing but supportive of me.

        • I think it really depends on the guy. Some guys are intimidated; others don’t care; yet others find it hot. I have never dated anyone who cared but most of the guys I have dated have been very secure about themselves, and in fairness I have been with the SO since mid law school. I have a friend who’s married to an idiot who doesn’t like to be around women with post grad degrees but he’s got loads of other problems/issues. For anyone’s who encounters this problem too often though, I think you have to figure out a way to expand your dating pool. A little bit of initial awkwardness might be expected but anything lingering is probably not a good thing.

      • I’ve heard about this problem a lot, so I don’t want to express doubt that it exists, but my experiences are closer to cfm’s here, too. Most of the guys that I’ve dated, even in high school, were less academically inclined then me (though still smart), and, if anything, I always got the impression that they liked my smarts – they bragged on them, and listed them as things that they liked about me when they were feeling lovey-dovey. (Full disclosure, I married young, so this is guys I knew in high school and college years; I don’t know what changes when you get into the “adult world.”) I see a lot of gals here who will list having a college degree as a requirement for a potential suiter – if you’re one of them, maybe you should try going outside of that box? If they’re not a college grad, they’re less likely to be ambitious in that area, which translates to less likely to be threatened, I think.

        I’ve mostly had good relationships with southern conservative guys. In my experience, enlightened liberal types are far less, well, that.

        • I think that last part is a pretty radically broad over-generalization. I don’t think it necessarily has all that much to do with liberal/conservative or even more-educated/less-educated.

          Some guys (just like some girls) have the internal self-confidence to be happy for others when good things happen and some guys view success as a zero sum game. You shouldn’t waste your time on the latter.

          • Yes, when I say that something is in my experience, that will usually point to a broad generalization. Doesn’t change the fact that my experience is that. There are cultural factors at play that come from somewhere, though. I’m suggesting one place they may come.

          • Fine, as long as you realize that just adding “in my experience” to the beginning of something like that doesn’t stop it from sounding pretty broadly judge and well…unenlightened.

          • Blaaah. Must everyone qualify everything they say? So what if it’s an overgeneralization. Most opinions we have are overgeneralizations. This site is a place where someone can pop on and comment in between talking with a client, or finalizing a report, or filling a kid’s juice cup or grabbing a coffee. If you require everyone to proofread, re-read, qualify, scrutinize and sharpen every single comment, it takes the fun away. Take a breath, relax and give yourself permission to allow people like Lyssa to voice whatever opinions she wants to voice.

        • I have to say that my experience jives with yours, Lyssa. I’m not sure what it is, but despite my own liberalism (I mean, I was liberal for the south. In Seattle, I’m firmly in the center), I had better luck dating the conservative guys of the south than I have out here.

          I’m not quite sure how to explain this, but I’ll try: I’m very alpha female, but I’m drawn to men who are fairly alpha male. I found that more conservative men weren’t intimidated by me (whether or not this was due to more traditional ideas about female roles, I don’t know). They seemed to get that I could be a very strong woman and still want someone else to carry the burden sometimes. In dating out here in Seattle, I frequently feel like the men who’re asking me out are kind of…more beta, for lack of a better word, and are maybe interested in me because they want to be taken care of, or they wanted someone else to drive the train in the relationship. Like they’re looking to date someone who will make them be a grown-up, almost like a mother.

          • Seattleite :

            cbackson, you can find lots of alpha men at the local ranges. Just sayin’. :)

          • And in your hometown Southern city, which I believe you are moving back to?

          • Haha. If only I weren’t leaving on such short notice! We could solve all my dating problems :).

          • karenpadi :

            cbackson, I know exactly what you are talking about. I refused to go on a second date with a guy because: 1. His mom still bought all his clothes. 2. His favorite hobby was making strange flavors of ice cream by mixing in random foods (think bacon and pineapple). 3. He equated the right of women to own property to the right of robots to own property. (Begging the question, does he think of women as robots whose only purpose is to serve men? See #1) 4. He liked using his french horn to make f*rt noises. 5. He didn’t feel comfortable going to a bar.

            Yes, I think he is a4 year-old child in a 35 year-old body.

      • cfm, my husband is like yours- proud of me, totally not intimidated by my accomplishments (or by much, in general). I suspect that his not being intimidated by me is more with his general attitude of not being intimidated by much, and not feeling so insecure that he has “something to prove.”

        In college, I dated a guy who was certainly smart, but not comfortable in his own skin and he majorly flipped out that I had better grades than him. I thought he was kidding at first, and then when I realized he wasn’t, I lost all respect for him, because he kept harping at it, and sniping at me. That’s also why I dumped him.

    • I never got that when I was dating. I always seemed to end up with the guys who put me on a pedestal, whining about how great I was and how they didn’t deserve me. I would end up spending all my time reassuring them about themselves until I couldn’t take it anymore and said, “You’re right – you suck,” and ended things.

      • Pretzel_Logic :

        Ha! I’ve had the same experience. It’s just ornery when all these beta guys come after me and pull these shenanigans. I feel bad, because they are always nice, blah blah…and then I have to squish their spirits. Then I remember they’re nice but they irritate me to death. Be a man, man.

        Whoever said they needed to marry a guy with bigger cajones than you…that’s what I need. HAHA. The other day my mom said “John Wayne.” I laughed, but there’s something to that.

    • I’ve generally been dumped for women who were at least as accomplished as I am, if not more so, so whatever it is about me that’s off-putting, I don’t think it’s my resume. :P

      I can definitely relate to feeling frustrated about having to prop up your date’s self-esteem with constant reassurance, though, so there’s that.

      My theory is that these are the kinds of guys who think they attract women with their accomplishments/status/money/smarts, so if you have all of those things yourself, it diminishes their sense that they can impress you and makes them feel insecure. Just a thought.

    • My guy has never had a problem with my intelligence (because deep down he knows he is really smart) but I do think sometimes my level of education (significantly higher/different from his) is an issue. Most of the time he doesn’t let it bother him but every now and then when we are getting ready to hang out with my college or law school friends, there is a comment. And if he refers to something I did as being during college and I say “no, that was during law school” he’ll say “yeah but your law school HAS a college.” To him it’s the same thing and he doesn’t understand why people differentiate.

      • this made me laugh…but in real life he would really annoy the hell out of me :(
        he knows law school and college are different. are college and med school the same to him too?

    • I had a similar problem when I was dating. Men who claim they liked an educated, driven woman but yet when I worked more hours than they did, it was offensive to them and I didn’t have my priorities straight. And then honestly, I met a guy who likes that I work a lot. There are guys out there who are not on ego trips and do want an equal partner. Unfortunately, it just takes some trial and error to find those guys.

      So unfortunately, no advice just commiseration!

      • Yes it does take trial and error! I was married to someone with more education than I have but who couldn’t figure out what he wanted to be and was generally unhappy and tried to use a new career path/education as a way to find happiness. Since my divorce, I’ve been very happily with someone who doesn’t have a college degree but who was very committed to his career and his continuing education. He had (now retired from) an administrative job that was at least as hard and interesting and important as mine and we often marveled how similar our jobs were, despite wildly different fields. Other than feeling somewhat self conscious about his lack of a degree, he is a confident man who loves me for who I am and who doesn’t mind when I tower over him in heels.

    • I agree with your sentiment, and was done a while ago with guys who made me feel I needed to fall all over myself reassuring them. I think the key is to decide: I’m going to be with a guy who doesn’t feel inferior all the time, or I’m fine being single.

      Here’s a personal experience of a kind you might not expect: advising a male friend on this issue. My very close, best male friend had just met a woman who was very accomplished in a field that really impressed him, and did amazing work. (Keeping it vague here…) Once he found this out about her, all his friends were in awe and he became very intimidated. He was telling me that he almost didn’t want to bother asking her out again, taking it further etc. because he just knew he wasn’t going to be able to match her. I told him he was punishing her for being successful; he was discriminating; he was taking away from a woman who seemed like a great person the *opportunity to date him*–in addition, of course, to cutting out a great prospect for himself. Guess what kind of type he had been dating all along before he met her? Immature, tantrum-prone bratty little girls whose lives were stagnating. Who had made him miserable, but also made him feel like the adult in control. You can bet I pointed that out to him as well.

      The first time I met this superwoman girlfriend, the three of us had dinner, and she and I even compared notes about men being intimidated–with him sitting right there! She and I hit it off, their relationship is great, and he’s happier than ever. The moral to this story, I think, is that guys who are prepared to have this revelation can indeed have it.

      PS: AIMS, I know you and I have both moved on from the morning thread. However, the pushiest friend you’ve never met is standing by in case you have a pic of your new bag!

      • Haha, I just got back to the computer …. I responded on the earlier TPS thread. Will repost if I don’t hear back :)

    • My ex was intimidated by me – even though we went to the same college! I know this is going to sound silly, but I didn’t realize it was an issue until we played scrabble together. I beat him by over 100 points, he got upset, and then became even more upset when I didn’t want to play again. To me, scrabble was not a good game for us! When he had calmed down, he told me was upset because I was smarter than him.

      I was in love and it didn’t bother me, but it sure bothered him. It probably has something to do with him being my ex though.

      • yeah, my ex got mad when I beat him in golf once. Refused to believe it, thought I cheated, etc. Also, my parents and my sister were there. He acted so bratty and rude to me. We never golfed again together, simply because he gave up golf because of that. So yeah, he’s my ex and all….

    • STORY 1: I dated a guy while I was a first year law student, who had just graduated from the same law school and has passed the bar. When I (accidently) exposed that I had gotten mostly As my first semester, it was the beginning of the end. He literally said to me that I would have career opportunities that would never be available to him, and as a result, we were on different paths in life. I strongly believe that it is the main reason that we broked up a month later.

      STORY 2: At the church I attended while in law school, several guys my age openly commented that they would (i) never date a woman that made more money and (ii) never date a woman who had a higher degree. One of the men that I was particularly close with (like on the cusp of dating) asked me what the law firm I summered at would pay a full-time first year associate. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to know, and since it was public on there web site, I told. He then promptly told me that he wished I had not told him. We never dated.

      I ended up marrying a man who is definitely smarter than me, but I ended up mostly supporting us for the beginning of our marriage due to the fact that he was still a resident and then a fellow. Now, he makes aboout 10% more than me. (I must admit that it slightly burns my biscuts because I had to take a pay cut to follow him to a city for a job that he really could not refuse.) He loved it when I was the sugar-mama though, and despite the fact that I have no doubt that he is smarter, our intelligence-level is close enough and he is very proud of both my intellect and career. He is my number 1 fan.

      • I’m glad you found a great guy like your husband, those first two sound awful!

    • What about dating outside your normal pool of men? Someone else suggested men without as much education, but more generally, there may be men who are successful at what they do but not on the same old traditional career paths.

      When I was dating (back in college), I would date smart, driven men who would get upset that I did not seem as driven or disciplined as they were (or as they wanted themselves to be, if we’re being honest). They would get upset that I didn’t have my priorities straight when I skipped the occasional class or took a night off from studying. Then they would get even more upset when my grades were better than theirs. So, I think, this was rooted in the same intimidated-by-my-achievements mentality, but with some patronizing, competitive guilt trips thrown in.

      I started finding better luck when I dated men who had different skills from me – creative or interpersonal or whatever. My DH- who I’ve been with for almost 10 years – brags about my success all the time, and his job is one that I can’t imagine being able to do everyday.

      • I agree with you SC – this is purely my experience (others MMV), but I previously dated university educated men, and found that they were quite intellectually insecure and often lacking real-world smarts. My current SO is an electrician and one of the most intelligent people that I know. He is dyslexic, but has extremely high-level problem solving, mathematic, and financial skills. And much better people skills than my college-educated ex!

    • Can we take a step back from viewing this in the dating context to recognize that this is a *relationship* issue. Everyone has had a friend who suddenly disappears when you get a promotion, or when you get better grades then them, or starts acting passive aggressive and cutting you down. Its not surprising that there are men who do the same thing.

      I think its further complicated in male-female relationships because of the “traditional” gender roles we were once supposed to fill, in other words, men were taught when they were little that they were to be the providers and whatever so that’s what they feel like they’re supposed to do. But just like you can find friends who can support you no matter what, even when they’re out of a job or not getting as good grades, there are also men who are supportive of your career even if its more successful or as successful as theirs. Its just a personality type, I think.

      • Oh…and you should all date men obsessed with Quicken. Then, when you make more money, he just gets more excited because he can add more debits to his little plus sides. And he smiles.

        But seriously, because my husband is finance minded, I think he seems to think really concretely about work and pay almost no attention to “prestige” which kind of cuts off all the pride stuff at the head.

    • Questionnaire :

      @ anon for this one except and Karenpadi

      I live in a very conservative county in one of the most progressive states in the country. I have had the exact same issues with men whose expectations of a woman and a relationship were not the same as mine when it came to my professional life (including the fact that I *have* a professional life). For ten years between my divorce from my first husband and meeting my second husband, I basically did not date. If pressed, I might be able to count the number of dates I attended on one hand. Men here are simply not interested in my demographics, which was fine because I used the time to become a partner in an AmLaw 200 firm. Then I met my husband. Who is smarter than I am (as “anon too” mentions in her comment, which resonated with me, too) and is smarter in completely different areas (e.g., science and math and in another language because English is his second). He was totally turned on by my success, as was I by his.

      You are not imagining this. It exists.

      To entertain you, I am attaching here a memo I created after returning home after one of the handful of dates I had while single. While nursing a glass of bourbon and wondering what on Earth our mutual friend thought we would find attractive about each other, I drafted the following. Enjoy.

      “In order to facilitate the dating process, I have decided that anyone who wants to go on a date with me must first complete the attached questionnaire. Potential applicants will be screened for suitability and contacted accordingly.

      1. For whom do you plan to vote in the next election and why?

      2. How much money do you give annually to Planned Parenthood or similar organizations?

      3. When was the last time your mother did your laundry?

      4. What is the longest you have been faithful to one person?

      5. True or false: faithful includes kissing.

      6. In three sentences, describe your favorite novel.

      7. What is the relationship between the Parthenon, the Hagia Sofia and Saint Peter’s Cathedral?

      8. Name one current Supreme Court Justice.

      9. What does separation of church and state mean to you?

      10. When is the last time you played a sport and what was it?

      11. When was the last time you went to the doctor? What happened?

      12. Do you want children?

      13. If so, do you plan to carry and bear them yourself?

      14. What was the last practical joke you played on someone?

      15. What is your favorite museum and why?

      16. When was the last time you accepted financial assistance from your parents?

      17. Do you snore?

      18. How often do you trim your nails, shave and have your hair cut?

      19. What are your three favorite foods?

      20a. To how many partners have you said, “I love you?”

      20b. Of that number, with how many do you still speak?”

  2. Kontraktor :

    Any tips on driving? How long did it take you to feel comfortable in the car when you first learned how to drive?

    I drove some over the weekend and managed to get to work on the highway twice now (with husband semi-instructing from the other seat). Also took a 1 hour lesson and got on the highway for practice during that. But, I am still really scared and stressed out. Merging onto the highway and lane changes worry me. I am stressed out about driving home (I have only driven to work at this point- when I drove here for practice on the weekend my husband drove back).

    Am I going to be scared forever? I am hoping that something ‘clicks’ in a week or so because I’ve only got my husband for 10 more business days before I have to do this on my own. Perpetually terrified.

    • I totally get the stress. Keep practicing. It took me a few months to really get comfortable (I learned at age 26), but the learning curve was steep. If you make sure to drive every day for the next 2ish weeks you will be much more comfortable at the end of that. Good luck!

    • Highways are probably the scariest part of driving. How much highway driving do you have to do? It really just takes practice. Lots of practice. I’d stick to suburban/less busy city streets to practice and to get used to the operation of the vehicle.

      • Kontraktor :

        I wish I could do this! Unfortunately I am stuck commuting to a work location about 35 miles away and across a bridge such that the highway is the only way to get to work. Luckily about 1/2 of the commute is on a very quiet, 2 lane highway, so that part is not so bad- it’s the bigger, first part of the highway that’s unnerving.

        I’m job hunting too and would pretty much kill for one of the million public transit accessible city jobs I have applied to. Fingers crossed that might work out…

        • I’d still suggest doing some non-highway driving to practice outside of the stressful situation. It allows you to develop some muscle memory for the vehicle at less than highway speeds. Even just driving to the mall, or grocery store, or whatever.

          Also – practice getting lost, or what you’ll do if you miss your exit. Because it’ll happen – or there will be construction, or something will happen that requires you to deviate from your known route. It’s helpful to know if you can take the next exit, even if it’s to get off the highway to consult a map to figure out your better route.

          Also, consider these driving tips (it’s called the Smith System) – I’ve work with professional drivers (school bus) and they are taught these tips:
          1. Aim High in Steering – see, evaluate and act on distant information – look beyond the end of your car
          2. Get the Big Picture – pay attention to the traffic situation all around you
          3. Keep Your Eyes Moving – constantly scan, by doing a constant circuit of your mirrors
          4. Leave Yourself an Out – as much as you can, don’t let yourself get boxed in. This includes giving yourself stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. You can’t break the laws of physics!
          5. Make Sure They See You – Make eye contact with other drivers/pedestrians in an intersection (if possible) – This advice works when you are a pedestrian as well. People tend to automatically make eye contact with you if you look at them.

          Oh man – I have a lot more Dad advice ringing in my brain, if you need it :)

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      My BFF used to be a really nervous driver. Some people never get over it because they let the nerves take over, but the key is practice, practice, practice. She was super-nervous when she never used to drive, but then got much better by just going out on the roads.

      I don’t know if this is in any way helpful, as I haven’t been in your situation, but I would suggest the following:

      1. Drive a familiar route a few times at different times of the day – if poss do so when the roads are quiet at first to practice merging onto the highway etc and then graduate to rush hour using the familiar route.

      2. Drive unfamiliar routes when it’s quiet – those big shopping areas are great for that, where you have like a ton of superstores, as you can just drive around and it doesn’t really matter if you go the wrong way.

      3. There is nothing wrong with not changing lanes unless you have to. Until you feel more confident, it’s totally ok to just drive on the right hand lane on the highway and stay there until you have to come off.

      Good luck! You will be fine!

      PS. I understand your husband is being deployed – just a thought but some of the nerves may be a factor of that and because you are worrying about him generally not being around for a while, so trying to come to terms with that may help with the nerves, too.

      • Kontraktor :

        Thanks! The story/tips are helpful. I think forcing myself to not think too much is going to be key because the more I think about it, the more stressed out I get. Of course this is easier said than done, but it’s an important point to think about that the more nervous I make myself feel, the more nervous I will probably stay and the longer it will take to feel more confident.

        • Yeah, when you start thinking too much, just try to remind yourself that millions of people drive on the highways every day without incident, and you will be ok. I definitely have a tendency to overthink, so I know what you mean!

      • Minimize your distractions in the car at first – no passengers (unless you know they can be calm navigators), no fiddling with the radio, turn off your cellphone (so you aren’t tempted to answer it), no eating, etc.

    • i am so sorry for the stress you are going through. i can’t offer any advice, but i feel your pain. i’m hitting 30 and still do not have a driver’s permit/license. i’ve always lived in metropolitan cities and have never needed to learn. i can’t imagine the stress of needing to make such a big transition.

      • Kontraktor :

        This is pretty much me too! I’ve always lived somewhere that a car was unnecessary so there was never any pressure to learn all these years. I highly recommend learning at a time when you can do so at your own pace, although I guess a tiny tiny tiny part of me is ‘grateful’ that I am being forced to learn now.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I got my license at 16. My husband got his at 22. I learned to drive a stick at 19. He never did. I ski, he doesn’t. Here is what I figured out watching him learn and try to ski.

      We are fearless when we are young. We do things because we want to and we don’t consider all the consequences. I raced my friends at over 90 MPH on the highway at 16. I thought I was in control and invincible. At 25, I couldn’t do a ride-a-long with a cop because going 50 through a residential neighborhood, despite the lights and sirens, made me want to pee my pants and I had a full blown panic attack.

      You have to adopt some of that “I don’t give crap” attitude. I remember clearly learning to drive stick and I ignored all the beeping and honking and just thought “eff off and go around me, loser” and kept driving on my merry way. You need to adopt the attitude that it is your road, you own it, and everyone else has to watch out and go around you.

      Yes, stop and red lights and yes look both ways before pulling out. But chances are, if you screw up, someone else is going to see you and avoid you and you won’t get into an accident. Don’t stop when pulling onto a highway. Just go. It is a game of chicken. Make the car next to you move. Drive like a jerk just for a bit until you get some confidence. Then learn to drive safe. Frankly, I think that is how teenagers learn. You can do it!

      • Kontraktor :

        Such a great post. Made me smile and laugh. I totally agree that I need a bit of teenager attitude.

        • First Time Poster :

          I recently learned how to drive a stick shift in NYC (at the urging of my husband, who insists on owning only a stick shift car). I completely sympathize with your nervousness…I have the same problem every time I drive our car. Now we have a baby, which only compounds my problem, I am so nervous to take my son in the car with me when I am driving. The funny thing is, my skills have improved a lot over the last year, but I am still just as nervous as ever. I agree that it is better not to obsess about it, but just to go for it…easier said than done, I know.

      • Despite my desire not to, I have to agree with this 100%.

    • I actually sort of taught a friend of mine to drive on a road trip once. I only discovered that she didn’t really know how to *actually* drive after we left on the week long road trip. It was an adventure.

      There are some things you can do structurally to decrease the stress. You need to make sure that your seat and mirrors are in a place where your foot sits comfortably on the gas without straining, whatever that location is for you, and you can reach the wheel comfortably with both hands. You need to be able to check all three of your mirrors without moving more than your head. You want to minimize your blind spots as much as possible on a structural basis.

      Then the other thing that can cut down on the stress of lane changes (other than not doing them) is to use the constant scanning strategy. Which is that I probably check my rear view and side view mirrors every 15-30 seconds (again just a glance), that way you almost always know where cars are that are coming up on your rear. So if you do need to switch lanes, you are much more likely to know if something is likely to be in your blind spots (remember, check with your head, not with your car.)

      Finally, create a playlist of low key music you enjoy for these first few drives and hook it up before you go so it just starts playing and you don’t have to futz with it. Turn off the ringer on your phone and pretend it doesn’t exist. You just want to be able to drive without even having to change the volume on the radio, because when you’re inexperienced distraction is your worst enemy.

      • Kontraktor :

        Thank you!! Great concrete tips. I think I will force myself to drive home today and practice checking mirrors a lot. I am getting used to checking the mirrors but think I should work on that even more.

        Any tips on how I know I am positioned correctly? My right arm was hurting a bit today on the way in and I didn’t know if that was because I was tense or because I was positioned incorrectly. The rest of me felt fine.

        I’ve got down the no radio/no phone/no distractions thing… OMG. The thought of even trying to do anything other than drive at this point terrifies me… yes, that would include turning the radio on. :-)

        • You probably are just tensing up! I once threw my back out driving home through flooded streets in a bad neighborhood.

          I remember, from driver’s ed in high school, that he would tell us that we had to not be scared and to keep our speed up on the highway. FWIW, I think driving a stick has made me a better driver. It makes me concentrate more on my driving rather than just going through the motions.

        • Don’t check your mirrors so much you get distracted from the road in front of you, just a quick scan to keep track of what’s going on around you (its a skill I picked up as a lifeguard I think).

          I think a lot of people sit too close to the wheel so that their ankle is flexed all the time on the gas as they depress it (and then it starts to hurt). You really don’t need that much power to push a gas or the brake, so I try to push myself far enough back so that I can rest my heel lightly on the ground and my ankle can be relaxed while I rest it on the gas.

          In terms of your hands, the “textbook” is 10-and-2, but if I had to guess why your arm is hurting I would bet its that you’re locking your right shoulder into place and pushing yourself into the back of your chair because you’re stressed. Try sitting up straighter from your lower back and actually relaxing your elbows as you drive (and even putting your right arm down to the bottom of the wheel is okay once you’re used to it).

          I actually think you might benefit from SOME music (relaxing music! Maybe Adele or something soothing). Complete silence can actually be worse than some background noise. It just needs to be set up in a way that you don’t have to fiddle with it. Do you have an aux cable in your car? Or else even just a reliable radio station you like? Just make sure you turn it on before you leave and you should be fine.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            My grandfathers first rule of driving is always look in the direction that you are moving, so I second the suggestion to not overly check your mirrors.

            The soreness will go away as you became used to driving, even if you don’t really relax. I remember being physically tired after driving and the first 2-hour trip I drove was painful because my body just wasn’t used to being in that position for that long. You’ll build up some muscle memory that should decrease the soreness and hopefully help you relax.

          • re: hand position. Newer cars with airbags have a preferred hand position of appx 8pm and 4pm. You can tell where the preferred hand position on any car is from looking at the steering wheel. If there are hand cutouts, that’s where they want your hands to go. It took me some getting used to. Link to follow.

            This may make your right arm more comfortable when driving, too.


            It’s a little dense, but worth reading, I think.

          • (or 8am and 4am…. i’m not sure why my brain made me add the “pm” – habit I guess)

          • Probably, because we shouldn’t be driving at 4am!!!! I know I don’t want to!

        • Re: the pain in your arm – you’re probably just tense. I actually had a similar problem when I first started learning to drive. I had pain in my shoulders which I later figured out was a combination of tensing too much and my seat not being properly adjusted.

          Switching lanes was one thing that freaked me out when I first started learning. Two things to keep in mind: (1) Unless the car you’re going to be getting behind is slower than you’re going, do not hit the brake. You’re instinct might be to slow down, but try to stay at your current pace. (2) If you’re trying to change lanes in front of another car that’s next to you, once you can see that car’s headlights in your review you’re at a safe passing distance (especially effective if you’re wanting to pass semis).

          • Also, SMOG: Signel, check your side Mirror, check Over the shoulder to clear you blind spot, and then Go.

          • I was taught you don’t pull in front of the car you’ve passed until you can see its tires on the ground, which is a little more generous than headlights (particularly important with semis).

            Always use your turn signals when you’re changing lanes.

            If someone is driving crazy, slow down a bit, if you need to, to let them pass you. Better to have them in front of you.

          • Kontraktor :

            Okay, so it sounds like I should look for headlights and/or tires of the car in the lane I want to change into by checking in my upper, rear-view mirror?

            Can I use the same standards for the side mirrors? As in, if I can see the lights/tires of the car in the lane over, in my side mirrors, am I okay?

          • Yes, you’re ok if you can see the headlights (or even tires) of the car behind you in your front rearview mirror. Same for your side mirrors. Don’t pull in front of them until you can see them in your front rearview mirror.

            Your right arm pain is due to tension.

            Drive as much as possible while your husband is home. It takes many many many hours of practice to feel comfortable. I’d try the highway once a day if you can. Make two trips a day.

            Drive the speed you are comfortable. If it’s less than 15 miles below the speed limit, then get comfortable on a slower road. But there are a lot of jerks out there, and if you’re driving 5mph below the speed limit, then just let them pass while you practice.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Music is a great idea. I am convinced I am a better driver when singing along to Top-40 hits. Maybe singing along keeps the anxiety-source portion of my brain occupied. And +1 on turning your phone onto silent without vibration.

        Scanning strategy is good too – maybe get one of those superwide rear view mirrors so that you can really see everything. I remember my driving instructor telling me that I definitely had enough space to change lanes if I could see both headlights of the car who I wanted to be in front of in the next lane over in my regular-size rear view mirror. So if you want to move into the left lane, when you look up in the front rearview mirror, and see the whole front of the car that’s behind you and to the left, you can be confident that you have enough space to get over safely (after you check your blind spot of course).

        I also remember being told that I have plenty of space to stop if I stay one second per 10mph behind the car in front of me, so when I first started driving, I would see the car in front of me pass a lightpost or whatever, and then I would count the seconds until I passed it. Then I could be confident that I would stop in time if I needed to. Of course, that’s easier said than done on a busy freeway because people (like me now, admittedly) see that if you’re following 6 seconds behind the car in front of you, there’s enough space for them/me to merge over. And given your drive on 680/80 near the Cordelia junction, allow even more than that to lane change in front of semi trucks – they need lots of space.

        • On stopping, I count, too, but at night or in the rain, I brake when I see brake lights. That’s what I was taught to do, since your depth perception may not be as good with poor visibility, and you may need more stopping time in the rain. You can always speed back up if you didn’t need to brake.

    • Hugs!! The highways are scary, esp the ones around the bay area. But, it will click. Just keep doing it, and eventually you will just get used to it and it won’t be as scary. And, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that BART-accessible job! ;o)

    • lostintranslation :

      Hi! I wanted to send you encouragement on Friday about this, but I was too late in the thread. I’ve been driving since I was 16 and I feel really confident in the US, but I moved overseas 5 years ago and haven’t driven where I’m currently living at all. In my case, it’s even more “dumb,” because I enjoy driving but am irrationally terrified of getting behind the wheel here. Don’t worry though, we’ll both get over it really quickly :-) And to echo the other posters, just keep practicing, and you’ll feel fine in no time. Still sending you good vibes for those jobs you can commute to by public transit (I’m applying to those kinds too!!)

    • Have you checked out the possibility of continuing your “practice” with a professional driving instructor? This will give you additional time to practice as well as getting professional advice on how to deal with your nervousness about the task of learning how to drive.

      • Oooo, this is a brilliant idea! It could be really helpful, often, driving instructors can figure out how to explain tips to you, that your husband might not think about because they are intuitive to him.

        • Kontraktor :

          I really liked my driving instructor in DC I used to get my license. I had a lesson with somebody new from here on Sunday and he was… not as good. Very eccentric/high stress/gnat-like in terms of attention span and also used some scare and high stress tactics as presumed “motivators.” I booked with him because he got the best reviews in my area for a driving instructor. Perhaps I’ll have to dig a little deeper to see if I can find somebody else, although I am not sure I’d want to risk going on a lesson with somebody who has no reviews.

          • Take the time to find someone you click with. Call around and ask if there are instructors who have good success with “older” learners. I’d guess the reviews you see are based primarily on teaching young (i.e., 15 or 16 YO) novice drivers. You could call AAA or a local public school driver’s education department for suggestions as well.

    • I presume you take 80 to 680 and over, given where you live and where you work. 80 is just a beast to drive because people are absolutely bonkers. It isn’t the best freeway to learn on, for sure. Stick to the 2nd lane from the right. The slow lane just has too much traffic merging on and off, and the trucks on and off at the Cordelia scales mess everything up. On 680, I presume you climb over the Benicia bridge? I hated bridges for a LONG long time. Oddly, I started singing myself a song as I drove over them. I found it bizarrely calming. After a while, it just seemed a lot easier. And I NEVER drive in the slow or fast lane on a bridge– I like just being in the middle… I feel safer & like I am in the “mushpot.”

      For what it’s worth, I usually find a nice car going 65-70 to hang out behind on 680/80. Usually can hang out there for a nice, long time. Let the speed demons pass you on by.

      As for the merging, depending on which on ramp you are getting on, there are some onto 680 that are much longer & gentler. Careful getting on right at Concord Ave– everyone is trying to race over to merge off onto 4, so it’s more hectic.

      You’ll get the hang of it… hang in there! If it’s any consolation… the commute via BART into SF wouldn’t be amazingly awesome. It’s long and tedious. And, although you wouldn’t be driving, you would be dealing with a ton of people, fluctuating temperatures, mass transit that is seriously out of tune with reality (think 3rd world country with respect to punctuality and efficiency) and all the fun that comes with it. Suddenly… driving isn’t so bad.

      • THANK YOU for saying something realistic about BART! I am so sick of people thinking I’m crazy for not taking it often – though they are almost always people who don’t use BART.

        • I know what you mean, I am really not a fan of BART. But I am much less of a fan of driving into SF (read: very afraid) …. so I do feel like it is the lesser of the two evils…

      • Kontraktor :

        Thanks for these great tips. I am actually going from Concord up north right now, so I am doing basically the reverse of what you describe. Luckily I do not have to get on 80 at all to go to work, but I do have to cross the bridge. Right around that area, I do find a bit scary. Once I get off the bridge, the highway is only 2 lanes on a side so I don’t feel threatened too much there.

        My husband has shown me a way to get to work that involves going on some highway and then onto 4 (I think) and then onto 680, so that is what I’ve been doing so far. Basically I get nervous before the bridge.

        I like the idea of sort of humming/singing during stressful parts to stay more calm and focussed.

        In terms of BART… yeah, public transit is no picnic. I used to use the DC metro and it was so awful at times (including all the issues you said and more). I think public transit is just what I’m familiar with so I wish I could use it.

    • So I learned to drive as a teenager, but only automatic. After I got married,
      I moved to the west coast. My ex-husband traveled a lot (about 250-300 days/year), and our only car was his stick shift. I had to learn posthaste, because he left on a four-week trip right after we moved to the isolated, semi-rural area we lived in. It was SUPER scary, but in a sense, I found that being in the car on my own was lower-stress than being in the car with him. I didn’t worry about whether or not he was frustrated with me; I was free to freak out without feeling bad about seeming like a freaked-out idiot, etc. After about 3 months, I was just fine. It WILL get better, I promise!

    • I learned at 16 and was terrified; I got worse the more I drove, because my mother (who had to supervise me, given that I only had a learner’s permit) would second-guess my every move, start screaming hysterically that we were going to crash if the light changed and I didn’t start braking at least 10 car lengths away from the next car.

      I didn’t drive in undergrad, and I didn’t drive in NYC for a few years, and then I started taking roadtrips (1-2hr trips) and it “clicked” after the first 2-3. Driving alone for me was the key– plus, lots of navigational prep (studying maps, writing down all the turns on my route) prior to the trip. It meant confidence.

      Now, I do not tolerate backseat drivers. They will get 1 warning. After that, they get booted from my car and given cabfare.

      • I learned from a professional driving instructor. It was probably the best investment my parents made in my teenage years. (Didn’t take drivers ed in school.)

    • Jenna Rink :

      I didn’t get comfortable driving on highways until I went to college. My drive to college involved what felt like a never ending drive up a long, boring, not very heavily driven highway. Spending all that time driving on the highway helped me become more comfortable even on more heavily populated highways. Is there a less busy highway near you that you could spend a little while practicing on?

  3. Oh man – I do love that other pair of Samantha shoes, particularly in the brown! May have to check back after payday…

  4. looking for the bright side :

    I need some help or advice. I’m an attorney in a small firm, and I do general civil litigation, and some business – although nearly all of my clients are very small businesses (<10 employees, most family-owned). I’ve been an attorney for four years now, and I am so miserable that it is all I can do to get through every day. Specifically, I’m so tired of feeling as though I must slave away in .10 increments. I hate being the person who always has to bring up “here’s what might go wrong” instead of “here’s what we might be able to accomplish.” I’m tired of running damage control. The only thing that keeps me going is a vague sense of duty to my family, and the knowledge that plenty of people out there work jobs they hate to keep their family from going hungry. I was one of those people who went to law school seven horrid years ago with a vague sense of “this is a good idea, what else will I do with my liberal arts degree.” For the past year my husband and I have been living at poverty level on purpose to try to finish off these student loans. If we keep going at this rate, we’ll be done with them in about two years – which is good, because I think my soul will be completely sucked dry by this job in two years and four more months.

    I know that I want to be involved in the field of business and economic development on the financial side, but I don’t feel like I qualify because I don’t have an MBA, and because I have what really looks like a general civil practice at this point – and I’m practicing enough that I’m not really “new”. I don’t know how to get from point A to point B. I would love any advice on how to transition to a totally different industry, in terms of contacts and what experience or certifications I could get.

    Second, I would love any advice if there is anyone else out there who has lived a lifestyle of poverty while paying off student loans. I am just so miserable at work that I cannot stand to purchase anything because all I can think about is how many more hours that will cost me. Yet, we need new ideas for individual and couple activities and hobbies that don’t really cost any money.

    • What type of economic development interests you? Some bar associations have economic development pro bono opportunities. Of course, you would provide legal assistance, but it’s a good way to transition into that area.

    • Kontraktor :

      I feel for your situation. Since I started working after school, I’ve felt somewhat similarly about my job, just feeling like it isn’t going anywhere or giving me any satisfaction. I don’t have a ton of tips because I’m trying to get out of my current situation as well, but here are some thoughts.

      Hopefully you can for the weekends. I find myself planning and thinking about my weekend on Monday. I think about small things that I will do that will make me happy- sleeping in on Saturday, having a cup of coffee after dinner on Saturday night (because I don’t need to get up the next day), finding a new church to try services at, thinking about what we might have for dinner. I find concretely thinking about the things I will do on the weekend helps to get me through the week. Also, you can try to live for the evenings. I know you’re in BigLaw, so I don’t know how much evening time you have, but can you similarly plan for positive things once you get home? Plan the bubble bath, look forward to watching an episode of a favorite show, think about what you will have for dinner? I find that planning for things, even if they are small and stupid, helps to give me concrete things to look forward to. So like, my day sucks, but I planned a really great dish I’m making tonight and can’t wait to get home and do that.

      In terms of cheap activities, pick some shows to follow on TV or hulu (or even on You Tube!), find a radio station you like and have that on often and actively listen to it, pick some books you’d love to read and just do that in a nice, positive space together on the weekend. Plan some meals to cook- if you’re on a budget, perhaps searching for good/cheap meal recipes could be an activity? There is always walking/strolling about different areas of town. Any free concerts? Any farmer’s markets? A lot of times local universities will have free speakers/events/vendor fairs/etc. so you might be able to find some activities like that.

    • Away Game :

      First, congrats on maintaining the necessary financial discipline to be able to make choices later; a lot of folks would like to be in your shoes but haven’t been able to pull it off. Second, don’t make the mistake of getting a degree or any certification because you “think” you need it for “the field” of whatever. Lots of folks who did that..ended up with law degrees. MBA’s aren’t all that different, I think, so ask yourself the same series of questions that the excellent advisors on this site have posted for people considering law degrees. There is a TON of stuff you can do in the corporate sector that does not require an MBA. Figure out some options. Do some networking. Dust off the informational interview skillz and go talk to people who work on the finance side of things to see what they do. If it turns out you do need another degree/cert to get X job, think about similar jobs (like lawyer vs. paralegal, I guess) that might get you there without putting another two years and lots of money into another degree.

      On the bright side, you have two years to network and do informational interviews and some more research. Dig through the alumni list of your undergrad and see if they can hook you up with people in completely different industries on the finance side. Focus on much larger corporate enviroments than the small business side you see now (because you can obviously see what they do already). Also, check out institutions like large universities, hospitals, or local government. If you want to stay in the same area, why not troll the webpages for the largest x corporations in your city and watch for job postings to see what they are looking for in a new or lateral hire. Would you consider an entry level position in a large consulting firm, like McKinsey or BCG, as a way to get your foot in the door? What’s the minimum salary level you could realistically accept?

      In short, I guess start where most liberal arts grads start, and consider the entire range of business development. Your law school may not be able to help, but maybe your undergrad classmates have settled enough and are high enough in their industries to give you a feel for what they do all day.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I have no personal experience doing this, but I heard a speaker at a CLE recently discussing alternative fee arrangements for his small business clients. Is that something you could explore with your small firm? I don’t know how they decided to do it, but it was something along the lines of a low flat fee plus a small portion of revenues from the business. He said it makes both the attorney and the business people feel more like partners in an endeavor.

      No real advice on what to do that costs no money as a couple, but one of the things I did was start taking pictures. I’d go explore a new place in my city and just wander around taking pictures and then posted them on a Tumblr blog. Granted, I live in NYC so there is a lot to see, but it took up lots of hours of my time and I found it enjoyable. The other thing I did was keep my Netflix subscription. It was the one thing in my budget I just would not cut. It kept me entertained on days when the weather was too bad to get out of the house.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Why do you need to pay off your loans so dramatically? Could you focus more on lowering your monthly payment while living a bit easier? Do you want to be in non-profit business development, a corporation, or some other venture? I think given your level of misery, it might be time to spend a bit more on yourself, and start job hunting. Moving in house might boost your business credentials and be more enjoyable than what you are doing now. And I’d consider talking to a recruiter who is active in tge field you’re looking to enter, they might be able to identify ways to make yourself more marketable.

    • I second the comment about getting an MBA, unless you know it is a pre-requisite for the job you want. Have you seen jobs that would interest you posted? What are the requirements? Another commenter also mentioned moving in-house, which could be a good way to transition (eventually) to a business role. You could look for positions with financial firms or even just those where the finance group would be your in-house client. Good luck to you.

    • Maybe I’m oversimplifying this, but to me it sounds like you just picked the wrong side of the litigation/transactional law divide. It reminds me of a pre-OCI presentation we had in law school…a transactional lawyer had a PowerPoint slide that had questions that were supposed to get you excited about doing that kind of work, including: “1. Do you enjoy creating solutions instead of finding problems? 2. Do you want to help people figure out how to do things right rather than tell them what they did wrong?”

      I actually have no personal experience whatsoever in transactional work (funnily enough, I answered “no” to all of those questions – I like crisis resolution!), but from what you describe it sounds like you’d be happier making deals, drafting contracts, etc.

      • Roses,

        This is exactly right. This is EXACTLY me. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ve given me so much to think about!

  5. Boston wills attorney :

    Reposting here:

    Can anyone recommend an attorney in Boston to help my husband and I draft a will? We own a home and have a good chunk of savings, but would not consider ourselves high net worth. Just need someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about drafting will. Would strongly prefer someone in the city. Thanks!

    • Diana Barry :

      I can do it when I get back from maternity leave. :) If you post your email, I will email you (if you don’t tell any ‘rettes who I am!)

    • My firm has a Boston office and two other offices in MA. We have a Trusts and Estates department which does excellent work but (since our main office is outside of Boston) for less-than-Boston fees. I can email you my firm’s name and my info if you post your email.

  6. PharmaGirl :

    C-o-r-p-o-r-e-t-t-e, you are officially killing my ‘budget.’ I love these shoes oh so very much.

    • I love these shoes too. The only thing that’s keeping me from buying them is that my physical therapist would kill me if I wore heels like that.

  7. Anon Pulling the Trigger :

    Decided this weekend to pull the trigger on a move from NYC to DC. For a boy. (No need to judge, I am self-judging plenty.)

    Any ideas for a Washington D.C. legal recruiter? I’d prefer to stay BigLaw. I did a site search, but the most recent results were about a year old.

    • Why judge? Someone has to move in these situations, and if it makes sense it makes sense!

    • lostintranslation :

      Yeah, I don’t have any advice, but the first thing I thought was “so cute!” So don’t be so hard on yourself and good luck!

    • My now-husband moved from DC to Boston for me. We’re married, own a house, and he is an executive level officer at a company that he had never even heard of when he made the move. Sometimes we make decisions for ourselves and everything else falls in place!

      You don’t live to work, you work to live. :-)

    • Anon Pulling the Trigger :

      Thanks for the support, all!

    • I moved from DC to the boondocks for a boy so definitely no judgment on moving to what I consider to be a nice city that I’d love to go back to!

      No advice on a legal recruiter but best of luck!

    • A lot of the NYC big law recruiters will also place people in DC. So, if you have someone you like in NYC, you may want to see if they also do work in DC.

      And, my husband moved from NYC to Boston for me. He proposed two weeks before the move, and now, we have been very happily married for 3.5 years. I then moved from Chicago to Boston for him. Now, we own a home and I am expecting….

      Oh- and through it all I am still working in Big Law.

    • River Song :

      DC is also a wonderful town! The food is fantastic, the hiking/running trails are lovely, and there’s no shortage of arthouse cinemas, theatre, readings, etc. to go to.

    • Littlest Attorney :

      Does your NYC firm have a DC office? That might be the easiest transition, unless the practice group doesn’t carry over well.

      • Anon Pulling the Trigger :

        It does. I have yet to determine how to negotiate a move without jeopardizing my job in my current office.

      • That may be your best bet. The D.C. legal market has not yet recovered and is flooded with out-of-work attorneys.

    • Good on you! I am doing something similar so I feel your reservations

      As some unsolicited advice wear an engagement ring to interviews. No firm would hire me after I moved cross country for a boyfriend until I was engaged.

    • needs dresses :

      My boyfriend just moved from NY to DC (yay), and switched biglaw jobs to do so. Several recruiters were interested in working with him; he found them by going to some general legal recruiting website which had a list of many legal recruiting firms and filtering out the ones that focused on DC. But he actually ended up landing his new job by cold emailing his cover letter and resume to a bunch of firms. If you have a good resume/law school record/are coming from a well-respected firm, some firms are definitely hiring. They seem to be dealing with underhiring the last couple years. Good luck!

      • needs dresses :

        oh but be warned: if you apply to a firm yourself, a HH cannot contact that firm on your behalf for 6 months. So maybe try using a HH first and see how it goes. BF got several bites with both tactics.

    • lucy stone :

      Moved from Minneapolis to rural Wisconsin for a boy and we’re getting married. No judging here.

    • anon for this one except to those who already know... :

      have done this twice in my life… once it lasted for 2.5 yrs and ended but I’m glad I went and got to know and love people in that new city. the other one lasted mere weeks after I moved. he wasn’t the only reason I moved though, so I suppose that ended up ok too.

      I really hope it works out for you and that you go into this knowing that, even if it doesn’t, it’s a new experience and you’ll have learned about yourself too!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Martha Sisson at Garrison & Sisson. They do in-house, but also law firm placement.

      Another is Dusti Plunkett at Metropolitan Legal Search

    • I am doing this too in exactly one month, although PA –> DC. Congrats!

      I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities (other than taking the bar – 4 yrs practicing grrrr), because I do not want to go back to BigLaw. Good luck!!

  8. anyone else have a problem with too-high front center shirt dress slits? solutions? i am wearing a particularly offensive one today that hits below the knee, but the slit goes wayyyyyyyyyy too high.

    • I have a dress like that and have yet to find the perfect solution. I usually wear it with hose/tights and a spandex slip. When sitting at my desk, I sometimes put a pashmina over my lap. I tried safety pins, but that didn’t work at all. Maybe adding a snap?

    • Anonymous NYer :

      Get a small snap or two sewed on? Will still open all the way to keep the style of the shirt dress, but will hold the bottom closed however much you want it closed.

    • Snap buttons, have someone add them to the skirt. I find if you cross your legs and sit upright that helps. There is also Velcro fabric tape you can try. It sticks on and acts like Velcro… I use it for back slits sometimes.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve sewn the too-high part of a slot closed before. If you can’t do it yourself, I’d take it to a tailor. That way there wouldn’t be a gap like there could be with a snap when standing vs sitting, for example.

    • On occasion, I have sewn shut the skirt part of shirtdresses, leaving only enough from waist up to be able to put it on. And then add invisible snaps between th remaining functionnal buttons.

      (It reminds me of a very painful wardrobe malfunction, when I realized after a long work day that the buttons of my shirtdress were gaping horribly … All the way from top to bottom … yes, *all* the way. Thank God I had suitable … ahem … background but it was mortifying none the less. From this day on, all my shirtdresses go straight to the sewing machine).

  9. Woods-comma-Elle :


    I’m working late and just found out the takeout place downstairs is now closed on Mondays! The outrage! Mondays really suck sometimes…

  10. Do i want this jacket? :

    So, i’ve been debating this for the better part of today. I’m eyeing this in white, is this okay for an office environment? I work in a pretty casual, but still business attire office, and i’m in a support role so what i wear doesnt really matter a ton, just wanted some feedback if anyone else loves/hates/has this jacket.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I think this is appropriate, but kind of “meh.” I prefer a more fitted look through the waist – but that’s just me.

    • a passion for fashion :

      i have a similar frenchi blazer in cream that i wear to work. i actually wear it a lot more than i thought i would becuase its really comfortable. I did size up though b/c its basically jr sizing

    • I like it in white. I like it even better in white linen!

    • The looseness makes me think lab coat.

  11. Ever feel like you are being foiled by forces outside of your control, even when you make good choices?

    Okay, that sounds really dramatic.

    My issue is that I brought carrots for an afternoon snack but they tasted really gross, so I had to throw most away. Now I’m hungry and trying to figure out how to resist my nemesis, the vending machine…

    • You are awesome. I love that you express this in such a dramatic way. We were foiled in the opposite direction this morning. Had cookies in hand for a long meeting but they turned out to be stale and inedible. Saved me from myself!

    • Yes. I am the queen of responsible financial decisions, yet last week my car broke down to the tune of half the money in my savings account, two days after I bought it four new tires.

    • The first sentence sounded like you didn’t get a job despite have great grades or something. I did not see “my carrots were icky” coming.

      Lol. Life…is all about perspective I guess.

      Oh…and yes. Life frequently foils my good life choices. But then there are all the bad ones I make that don’t really come home to roost, so I figure its kind of karma.

    • Love this! I could even imagine the dramatic, ominous soundtrack to this, and then: plop! Carrots!

      • Nothing like a little over-reacting to add some spice to a Monday, right?

    • I’m fighting that same battle right now. I have carrots but REALLY want a bag of chips.

      • I’ve been trying so hard to eat better at lunch – chicken, green beans, grape tomatoes and carrots. Then it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to eat cookies!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I’ve recently lost a fair amount of weight, but ever since I went on a cruise, I’ve basically had to start over on the good habits front (although not the weight loss because I only gained about 1 pound on the cruise). I’m fighting with myself over going to get a box of Junior Mints right now. Trying to focus on how well I’ve eaten today and the desire to not mess that up versus the desire to say that since I ate a very healthy breakfast and lunch that I’ve somehow “earned” the Junior Mints.

          I feel your cookie pain!

          • On the spectrum of things that are bad for you, Junior Mints aren’t all that bad. Not to encourage you or anything ;)

  12. Could people please please please send good vibes into the universe for me? I had the first interview I’ve ever had today, where I left thinking “OMG I want this job!” not “Well, I need health insurance…” Nerves compounding by the facts that 1. I actually want it; 2. the description of the job made it sound less awesome than it looks like it would be, so I kind of went into it with an I-d0n’t-give-a-crap attitude and didn’t prepare as much as I should have; and so 3. I was not as smooth, fluid, and polished as I’ve been in every other interview. At least they laughed at my jokes?

    • Former MidLevel :

      Good luck! And for what it’s worth, I always think it’s a good sign when people laugh at my jokes – at a job interview or otherwise.

    • Thinking of you….hope it works out! I have gotten job offers from some of my worst interviews – if you were genuinely excited about the job I am sure that showed through!

    • I’ll keep everything I can possibly cross crossed for you!

      If my hair was long enough anymore, I’d even braid it.

    • Good luck! Hope you get good news!

    • Good luck!

    • vibesvibesvibesvibes.. good luck, a.!!

    • Thanks y’all. At least they said they’d get back to me inside of two weeks? So I hopefully won’t be cooling my heels for all that long.

      Tomorrow morning I will try and write the most thoughtful thank-you emails of my life, succinctly showcasing all of the smartness and translating-of-my-skills that I think I failed to do in my interview.

  13. Calling Team Hose :

    Travelling outside the U.S. for business; hose required. Hose now shredded. Amazing admin assistant at local office offered to pick up a pair for me at the drugstore, since she had an errand to run anyway. She asked if I wanted the 10 denier or 20 denier ones. Uh, I have no idea. I asked her to pick up one of each so that I could have a spare, but honestly I don’t know the difference and if it matters, and I don’t recall what it said on the box of my recent Hanes purchase. Apparently the hose costs about 2 bucks a pair, so it’s not like I made a major investment that will go sour. For future refence, though, what’s the difference between 10 and 20 denier and which one is more appropriate for work? Yes, I’m junior varsity Team Hose.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      The higher the denier, the thicker the hose. So like if you get 100 denier black hose, they will be totally opaque whereas 8 denier will be super thin.

      In my experience, if you get 10 denier, get good quality ones if you are snag/ladder prone, as the thinner ones are more likely to break.

    • Calling Team Hose :

      “Reference.” Gah. Sorry.

    • Dude, I’m the captain of Team Hose, and I would have had to google what denier meant.

      [Kanye…only I’m not Kanye] shrug.

    • Equity's Darling :

      the lower the denier the more sheer. So 10 denier is more sheer than 20.

    • Also Team Hose. And also have never heard of denier. I just get the L’Eggs stuff at Walgreens. Works fine for me.

  14. Anon for this one, whee. :

    You guys, every now and then, and coinciding with a few days before my period, I get suddenly and irrationally angry with my boyfriend. I feel so strange and suddenly keep getting explosively angry and almost want to break up with him to “get back” at him. I know that this is insane, and I can usually, but not always, control it.

    Beside birth control pills/therapy, etc., does anyone have any experiences with dealing with these kinds of things? Advice, what worked for you… Thanks!

    • zoloft

    • Warn him about the possibility? Mark it on your calender so you are forewarned?

      My gyno has also recommended staying away from excessive sugar and salt during PMS to try to minimize some of the mood swing stuff.

      • “Warn him about the possibility?”

        haha Yeah, that’ll work.

        If my husband said, “Are you sure you’re not just pissed at me because you’re getting your period?” I would seriously want to kill him.

        • BigLaw Optimist :

          I made this mistake — I was totally PMS-ing once and went apesh*t on my husband for no good reason over something embarrassingly small. I then make the SUPER mistake of fessing up and telling him the real reason I freaked. Now ev.e.ry. time I get ticked at him he asks me if it’s because of my period or if I’m *really* angry. Because he is amazing in every other way, I have decided to let him live. But please learn from my mistakes. :-D

          • Yeah, been there, but not with my SO. I have one day a month where I feel like living h*ll because of hormones. I feel like I have a cloud over my head. I fussed at one of my staff on that day once because she had done something really out of line. I made the mistake of mentioning how I felt that day and she took that as license to ignore what I said. Argh.

          • BigLaw Optimist :

            Ugh, NOLA, that’s so much worse! At least I can tell my husband that no, I’m REALLY REALLY MAD, and if he doesn’t fix it or shut up I will hurt him. Don’t think that will work with your staff . . .

        • Haha, I have tried to explain that to mine. “I get irrationally irritated and upset when I am PMSing but if you say ‘are you being a B bc you’re about to get your period?’ I will probably want to smack you.” So be aware, but the first rule of PMS is we don’t talk about PMS :)

          • one of my favorite email jokes

            Mood Ring

            My husband, not happy with my mood swings, bought me a mood ring the other day so he would be able to monitor my moods.

            When I’m in a good mood it turns green.

            When I’m in a bad mood it leaves a big red mark on his forehead.

            Maybe next time he’ll buy me a diamond.

        • Too true – maybe in a “I’m having a really bad day today, so I need some space so I don’t accidentally hate on you”?

        • Ugh. I just talked to a 12yo mentee in my office. She said she yelled at her roommates last night, and btw, she’s also just started her period. I said, “Make sure they don’t know that.” It’s good for self-reflective purposes, but holy crap, I get offended when someone asks if my negative reaction is just a product of my hormones. It’s as though they aren’t listening at all to what I’m upset about.

          • Oops. Not 12yo. 21yo. 12yos don’t usually have roommates. Only some of them have periods.

        • PharmaGirl :

          This has actually worked for me. When I get the irrational PMS crazies, I warn my husband, letting him I know I will need more space than usual for a few days. He gets it now, and backs off until I lose the desire to Hulk smash his face. It never comes up the rest of the month.

    • Seattleite :

      B-6 supplements. Take them every day of your life, not just during shark week.

      I’ve also used tang kwai supplements during shark week or other times of great stress.

    • PMS can be treated by anti-depressants; however, before you go to the Dr for a Rx, I recommend trying exercise and herbal remedies. Seriously.

    • FormerPhotog :

      I know some people who’ve had great success with Evening Primrose oil. I had to go off my (life-saving) OCPs last year when I found out I had a patent foramen ovale, and now I just ramp up my exercise the week before my period to help stave off my rather extreme mood swings, and that seems to help.

      I do use a tracker, though, even though I don’t actively tell my spouse, it reminds me not to take my own reactions as seriously a few days beforehand.

    • Might be PMDD, which is kinda like really bad PMS. A friend of mine has that and tried to regulate it w/ bc pills for years. They helped some. She recently found out she has a thyroid problem. The medicine for that has completely alleviated the PMDD. I don’t know if you can take it just for PMDD/PMS, but that might be worth looking into.

    • I have terrible moods around my period. My GYN’s solution – stop getting your period. I now take my BC continually (no placebo) and it’s cut it down from monthly to about 3-4 times a year.

  15. Attention, Bay Area Ladies! :

    I’m relocating to the Bay Area and am thinking about renting a place in Adams Point, Oakland — near Lake Merritt. Any thoughts on that neighborhood? I have a lead on a house there that looks great :)

    • Adams Point is a very nice neighborhood, super cute houses/buildings, w/ lots of young people and mid-income people. It’s also very close to the Grand Lake shopping area, which is nice, and sort of walking distance from downtown Oakland. Downsides: it is not close to a BART stop, and on street parking is near impossible. So, either having a car or not having a car can be a bit of a pain around there.

      I was looking at apartments there for a while, but ended up going with something closer to Temescal b/c of plentiful, free on street parking.

      • Attention, Bay Area Ladies! :

        Thank you! This is really helpful. The house I’m looking at has a driveway, so I think parking would work out.

        One other question (also apropos of the BART conversation earlier): if you lived in Adams Point and needed to commute to SF (near the Ferry Building), how would you do it? Drive? Bus-t0-BART? The internet gives me a million options, but I can’t figure out what’s really practical.


          If you can find a AC Transit transbay line that works with your location and schedule, I would go for that. I think AC Transit transbay service is the best kept secret in the bay area.

          There’s also a casual carpool stop somewhere around grand lake, but I don’t know much about it.

          • yeah, what mamabear said: transbay or casual carpool are probably your best bets. And I will also second something mamabear said in another comment; watch out for people falsely stretching the boundaries of a neighborhood, that is a real concern and I totally forgot about it. I would definitely recommend checking out the place on foot before committing to anything. Cause Adams Point is adorbs, but there are neighborhoods next door that are pretty meh.

            I live very close to that part of OAK, though, so if you have more questions about the neighborhood, etc, please feel free to email me: zora dances at gmail … and welcome to my town! ;o)

    • it’s so street-by-street, neighborhood-by-neighborhood in Oakland (or any urban area) you really should visit to make sure. I’d say Adams Pt up by 580 and closest to the lake is going to be fine, but I don’t know the larger neighborhood. Also, people like to use neighborhood names they’re *near* but not really *in* (I live in the Elmwood and am shocked at how many houses are for sale in the “Elmwood” that are really, really nowhere near being in the Elmwood).

      All that said, I have a friend who lives on the other side of the lake in what google maps calls Cleveland Heights and it is the cutest neighborhood ever.

      • Attention, Bay Area Ladies! :

        We have a visit planned for later this month, but I’m trying to do as much work in advance as I can. Good to know about Cleveland Heights, though!

      • Gooseberry :

        Mamabear, I used to live in Elmwood (on Hillegass — real Elmwood, I swear), and then I moved to Rockridge, and can TOTALLY relate to how people describe those neighborhoods. They can live *not*at*all* in Elmwood or Rockridge, yet somehow interpret the map very creatively.

        Not really a rant, just an “I’m with you!”

        • One of my daughter’s classmate’s parents bought a house below Telegraph, kind of toward the Smokehouse from Whole Foods (it’s so nice to know there’s someone on this board who will know where that is!) and I hear them calling it Elmwood. I believe that’s what their realtor told them it was. Ha!

          • wait, so which neighborhood do I live in?! :

            Mamabear, that’s where I live! Your daughter’s classmate is probably one of my neighbors :)

          • it kind of cracks me up that in central Oakland, every other block has it’s own individual neighborhood name, but then once you cross Shattuck it’s just “West Oakland” or the other side is just “East Oakland” it’s kind of like: “everything else.”

        • Mary Ann Singleton :

          I used to live on Hillegass too! This was back when I was a student, and I lived with 12 other people in a big, fun house that was slowly falling to pieces. Those were the days.

  16. Event Advice :

    I’ve been asked to put together a lunch event or presentation at my firm on “Gen X/Gen Y issues” with no further explanation. I’m not really sure what issues should be covered or where to even begin. In the past these types of lunch events have been panels, guest speakers, or movies. A partner floated the idea of bringing in a consultant (in the Philly area) to discuss these issues. Any recommendations? TIA!

    • Eeeewww. Just please don’t let it break down into older partners telling “the young folks” about how they don’t know how to work anymore or they don’t want to earn anything or whatever.

      How about a panel on concrete steps to building good mentoring relationships in the law firm context?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think technology is a huge one. There are terminology issues, e-discovery issues (as in, even knowing what metadata is), work flow issues (dictate v. type), face time v. remote, I could go on and on. You have to tread carefully though because you can’t assume an older person didn’t stay up on the tech or that a younger person is a tech guru but at most firms there is a big divide in tech savvy between partners and associates.

    • I would focus this on communications styles. For instance, Gen Y is much more likely to communicate via email as their first choice, whereas, for example, Gen X might find a phone call a better medium. That sort of thing.

    • I’m confused – is the subject “issues that affect X and Y when they interact,” or is the assumption that X and Y are largely similar and the subject is issues that arise when members of these generations interact with others (e.g., Boomers)?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I would like to suggest a viewing of the film Billy Madison. In high school I had a philosophy class that we regularly did presentations for and over the course of the year we managed to want Billy Madison and The Matrix in their entirety. Adam Sandler is trapped between Gen X and Gen Y and trying to navigate both. It would certainly be a memorable presentation. ;-)

    • Legal Marketer :

      I have seen the generational presentation by BridgeWorks – it was nicely done and my understanding is that they will travel anywhere within the COUS.

    • I don’t know how much time you have to think about this, but I recently read “Managing the Millennials” by Espinoza et al. and it was really good about talking about how different generations view the workplace. It actually spanned the WWII generation to today, and talked about the strengths of each while acknowledging some areas of conflict. Might be a starting point to help you shape what you want in a presentation.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      How about things like:

      1) Communication styles (email vs phone)
      2) Face time issues (I’ve noticed my boss really likes to see me sitting in the office, even if I’m getting nothing done. I love to w-f-h, and am very productive but rarely do it)
      3) Job hopping. Most millenials will have 5+ different careers (not job!) in their lifetime.

      Pricewaterhouse Cooper put together a good slideshow on millenials/Gen Y at work. Maybe it will help?

    • I attended a seminar by Peter Sheahan last year talking about Gen X vs Gen Y. He is Gen Y himself. For the first part of his presentation, after asking the audience for thoughts on Gen Y, he took each negative & put a positive spin on it. The most useful thing I got out of his presentation, however, was that it doesn’t matter if we, the older generation, think that Gen Y is wrong in their attitudes. What matters is understanding their attitudes & learning to work with it. Perhaps that means more lateral job changes, more fex work time, etc., because it is what it is, and the Gen Y-ers have lots of things to offer, and without them our organizations will eventually die. I haven’t read his book, but he was a great presenter, and he has a blog about Gen Y – generationy dot typepad dot com.

  17. SF Bay Associate :

    I don’t know enough about that neighborhood to have an opinion, but can tell you that parts of Oakland are really great, and parts are really bad. Whether that house is a good idea for you will depend in part on the specifics of that neighborhood, as well as your street savvy-ness. I would not encourage someone who’s lived in safe rural/suburban areas her whole life to move to Oakland.

    The Oakland PD’s crime map may help:

  18. This morning, I arrive at the office to find a series of frantic voicemails from a senior colleague of mine, desperately asking for help sending out an important notice to some of her clients, as it needs to go out today and she’s about to get on a plane for the remainder of the day. By the time I get her messages, she’s already on the plane & unreachable.

    So I, trying to be a team player, spend most of the morning resolving the error she was having and send the client notices out myself, only to find out after the fact that she had not communicated anything about this notice to our sales force, who are now getting indundated with calls about the notice & have no idea what’s going on.

    Now I look/feel like an idiot for communicating this information to our clients without notifying our sales force first, which I wrongly assumed Senior Colleague had already done. I’m moving on to a new role at a new company at the end of this month, so I suppose it doesn’t matter a lot, but at the same time, I don’t want this to be people’s final impression of me.

    To add insult to injury, as I was working with the director of my group to rectify the problem and get the necessary information out to sales, the director sends me an IM implying that I should communicate better in my new position. Ugh…not my best day.

    • Lametastic!! Ugh, I hate when you’re trying to help and get burned, the megaworst. :o(
      internet hugs!

    • Hey, not your fault. Does anyone know she dropped this on you at the last minute? Don’t go blaming her to the entire sales force, but the director or your supervisors could stand to know.

      It sounds to me like you were put in a difficult situation and handled it with grace. Nice job. :)

  19. I’m trying to think of a way to ask this that encompasses all the complexities of the question, but my thoughts are boiling down to “why do people get divorced?”

    I’m getting ready to marry my bf. We have been dating for five years, and are still completely, over the moon in love and happy. We disagree well and respectfully, he is so supportive, kind, trustworthy, loyal, funny, smart and hardworking. Basically I’m thrilled to marry him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. But I’m also thinking “doesn’t everyone feel like this when they get married?” and yet so many people get divorced! So if anyone feels like talking about it, I’d love to hear stories about what lead to divorce, especially if you dated a while before hand so it wasn’t a case of “true colors” suddenly appearing.

    • In my case, there were red flags that I did not heed and patterns that did not emerge until after we had been married for several years. Live and learn. For what it’s worth, you sound like you have a good relationship!

      • “In my case, there were red flags that I did not heed and patterns that did not emerge until after we had been married for several years.”


        • Do either of you feel comfortable talking about the red flags? How did you put them together into a pattern and decided enough was enough, or did you find that the flags were pointing to a bigger problem down the road and get out before?

          • Oh the patterns were different from the red flags. One of the big red flags was his “equipment problems.” I thought that would go away. It didn’t and we fought about it and it was ugly. He moved here for me so we felt obligated to make it work but we fought a lot that first year and not respectfully and I should have seen that. He also had a lot of debt and it was almost the undoing of us financially. The patterns were about work:
            -his idea of “working my a$$ off” and mine were quite different.
            -he constantly wanted to quit his career and do something else, but what that something else was changed pretty frequently. I ended up looking like the bad guy because I wouldn’t move for him to go back to school. I did relent about law school because it was free and here, but he quit halfway through the first semester.
            -he would get a job, be convinced it was the best thing since sliced bread, then end up hating it after a year, hate his boss, and either quit or be fired after two years.
            -he had no passion. For anything, including me. I’m a passionate person. Love both my vocation and my avocations. I enjoy my life and he was constantly searching for what he could be passionate about.

            None of things were immediately apparent. They only became clear over time. The red flags were there the first year and I ignored them because I thought I wanted to be married and I thought I had to make it work. I hope I’m not a Debbie Downer for you!

    • I am not divorced, but am the child of very messily-divorced parents. My 2 cents: the best marriage advice I ever heard was that great relationships put one another first — not your job, not your kids, not your dogs, not your extended family, but one another. That means you are his number one and vice versa. I’ve been married almost five years (which I realize is peanuts in terms of a timeline), but this really rang true for me both when I heard it and now, looking around at the couples whose relationships I admire.

      I also think you know in your gut when something is wrong — with a job, with a marriage, a relationship, whatever. So to answer your question, no, I don’t think everyone feels “like this when they get married.” I think many of them are ignoring that voice in their head — the one saying “Nooooooooooooooo!”

      • Thanks, this is what I’m trying to get at. Do many people who get divorced have that little voice, or do they feel like I am feeling and then something happens- external forces or something changes, etc.

        • Definitely had the little voice and ignored it. Now I’ve been with Dr. Bhaer for just over 2 years, and I can honestly say I never felt this way about the ex. Everything is easier and just.more.right.

        • I should say that I distinctly remember wondering, on my wedding day, if all the divorced people I knew were ever as happy as I was at that moment. I didn’t think it was possible for any couple that was as blissfully happy as we seemed to be to end up divorcing.

          So no, there’s no insurance. There’s no way to know, for certain. That is the great terror and great joy of it.

    • I think most divorces fall into 2 camps: people who should never have gotten married in the first place and people who grew apart over time. For the former, the flags were probably there all along. For the latter, flags probably arose as the marriage went on. Life is long and it’s important to grow together with your loved one.

      • My theological question is whether people think the divorce rate will decrease. I’m at the age where my friends are just starting to get married. Of the weddings I’m going to this year, the couples have been together for 7, 5, 5, 4, and 6 years. I think people date for a lot longer now, and all of those couples also have been living together. I’m wondering if this weeds out some of those flags arising,.

        • Frankly, I don’t think that either dating for a long time or living together are panaceas. In fact, I think for a lot of people (not everyone), living together actually makes it *harder* to ignore the red flags, because you get your lives so entwined, you’ve invested so much time in this person, etc.

          As to your larger question, I think you should do an honest assessment – is there anything about your relationship that really stands out as a potential problem? If not, don’t worry so much about statistics and other people and just be happy that you found someone you care about so much.

        • anecdotally, no. my parents dated about a year, engaged another year and have been married 34 years. both sets of grandparents were a much shorter timeline (under one year meeting to marriage) and were both married 40+ years until one spouse’s death. of my friends that have already been married and divorced by their mid-late 20s, all the people had been together 5+ years before marriage.

    • Nope, not everyone feels like that when they get married – my parents, for example. Mom gave Dad an ultimatum. He begrudgingly agreed to marry. Mom wanted kids. Dad begrudgingly became a father. As you can imagine, none of it ended well.

    • I’m divorced, after 4 (miserable, horrible, abusing, proved-to-me that I’m resiliant and strong) years. And, I never felt as sure and happy about my relationship as you do. It was more “well, this SHOULD work…everyone says how great we are…”. So, don’t underestimate how many of us get married without ever feeling as happy you are! I personally don’t believe good relationships turn bad all that often…more often they weren’t that good to begin with. Now I’m in another, wonderful, good, healthy relationship, and, I just don’t worry about us ever getting divorced. I just do the happy dance every day! Because I’ve been in a relationship that ended in divorce, and this one just feels totally, fundamentally, at every cell, different.

      But in answer to your question….before we married, he was sometimes a bit cranky, and I was worried that we didn’t laugh that much together, and that we didn’t have as deep of conversations as I wished. Then I rationalized to myself that I was having unrealistic expectations of one person. Crankiness turned to depression and emotional abuse within 3 months.

      I read something recently (sorry, can’t remember where!) about what makes happy relationships turn into bad ones. The answer was being critical or contemptous…and sometimes that can initially coexist with a happy relationship, but will ultimately destroy the marriage.

      Congratulations! If you’ve been happy for 5 years….go to bed tonight knowing you’ve been hugely blessed by life, and hug your sweetie extra tight=)

      • I realized that what I really should have written was, before we married I knew he wasn’t my best friend, my favorite person to be with….we weren’t really kindred spirits, there was something missing. I should have taken that a lot more seriously! With my current boyfriend, I knew within 30 minutes that we just “got” eachother. Never ever felt that way with my ex.

        • Totally this. With the ex, it never felt like biggrandmovielove, and now it does. Which is not to say that there’s not any work to do, just that I’m *sure* in a way I never was before.

      • SoCalAtty :

        It is good to read all of these comments! We’ve been married for 5 years, but were together for 10 before that…starting when I was 16! One thing I realized this weekend is that even though we fight (and boy, do we have some good ones!), after it goes on for long enough it always ends with one of us putting their arms around the other one and saying, “are we done, because I don’t want to fight with you anymore.” Try staying mad through THAT! The fights are always typical couple stuff – money, in-law interference, whatever…but we always figure it out. It really is about putting each other first above everything.

        My grandma always told me to never go to bed mad or not speaking. We manage that 99% of the time, and I think if you can follow that you will be in pretty good shape.

      • You’re right, it’s actually been studied and proven that contempt is one of the biggest indicators of eventual divorce.

        • As evidenced by the eyeroll, which is apparently a physical manifestation of contempt. So, if you find yourself rolling your eyes at things your SO says or does, then you may be having unconscious (or conscious) feelings of contempt.

      • Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you are now with someone who makes you so happy!

      • Contempt. Oh, yes, there’s nothing that kills love like being treated with contempt.

    • Late reply. Before I got married, I read several chick-lit books about “people who just woke up one day and fell out of love” It freaked me out. Five years of marriage later (and plenty of stressful major life events), I don’t really worry about that. Marriage requires constant gardening. We have learned to regularly check in on how the other one feels and not keep it a secret. It may take a few days of being huffy, but we get through it. Also, it’s like parallel roller coasters. You will be at highs and lows, hopefully at different points and guide each other through. You won’t always be at that low/high point and that helps.

    • I’m still not sure. In my case, we were almost deliriously happy for the first two years of our marriage. The third year, things started to get a bit strange – he was kind of standoffish and cold at unexpected times; he started to treat me in a way that should have been a danger signal (scornful, dismissive) but that I was too confused to see. Then, one day, he came home and told me he wanted a divorce. After a one-month separation, he filed and it was final about a year and a half ago.

      Something changed for him in that third year, and I don’t know what it was because he refused counseling (other than one session, at which he told me he wanted a divorce) and always denied that anything was wrong. That’s the scariest thing about relationships, I think – part of it is putting your heart into another person’s hands, and you can’t control what that person does with it. I wish I could tell you that, with hindsight, I see what the problems were, or that it was obvious that we weren’t meant to be together. But sometimes it’s a mystery, and I don’t think I’ll ever know.

    • Just wanted to say that this is an excellent question that I think many many women have on/near their wedding day and never ask. We’re coming up on our first anniversary and I distinctly remember thinking about this last summer. It has been very interesting to read the responses.

  20. Blonde Lawyer :

    I’ve read a lot on here about people’s concerns with bad public schools and paying for private education or a house in a “good” neighborhood. My husband and I are considering buying a house in a great neighborhood in a major city in our state. The schools have a bit of a bad rap. The “inner city” has a pretty high crime rate, the city itself has a ton of poverty. The positive is the schools are very diverse with over 50 languages spoken in each. We would be living in an upper middle class neighborhood and the elementary schools at least would skew to that demographic.

    I have no idea if we are ever going to decide to have kids. Everyone keeps saying “but what about the schools *gasp*” when we mention where we are buying. I guess I just have the attitude that good parenting will teach kids to choose correctly between right and wrong and a driven child that wants to learn will learn and do well in life. I have coworkers with kids in these schools in honors classes and getting into great colleges. Yes, some of their classmates have parents in jail and yes there are drugs in the school system, but I bet there are drugs in EVERY school system.

    So, what type of “bad schools” would you not send your kids to and does anyone else believe that there is no such thing as such a bad public school that a driven child couldn’t thrive?

    • My school was not good but it wasn’t “bad” It was a suburb voc tech school. So a lot of kids that would never think about college, drinking and fighting etc, but not rampent meth use (but there was some) I went honors track, and it was totally fine. I was with the same kids in most all of my AP classes, but they were all smart and went to pretty good schools.

      I think you are focusing on the wrong thing though. Its not just about being a driven kid, but a kid that can survive those other kids. Bullying, teasing, etc can severly test a child. A child isn’t going to raise his hand, no matter how good his parents are, if he knows he is getting teased or pushed around from it. I grew up blue collar, so even though I was a “nerd” I was also a varsity athlete and had enough confidence/ knew how to project it even when I didn’t have it that I was safe from most stuff.

    • really violent schools.

    • This question has been on my mind a lot lately, so I am really interested in seeing the answers! DH and I are struggling between waiting a really long time (years) before being able to afford an apartment in a “good” school district in our city, waiting a short-to-medium time before buying in an average school district, or moving to the suburbs. Right now we’re debating whether we can reconcile ourselves to an average school district and not feel as if we’re doing a disservice to our future kid.

    • Yes, I think there are “bad” schools in which a child might not succeed.

      First: just because you are driven, it does not mean your child will be. And generally, elementary school kids aren’t all that driven, because they’re still young kids. So in those early years, you can’t count on drive alone getting a kid through. And what if your kids are not in the honors program? What if they’re just “regular” kids?

      Second: schools are often labelled “bad” if they lack resources. So, more kids in the classroom, no para or teacher’s aide. Less access to technology, books, you name it.

      Third: parental involvement. One of the things that makes a HUGE difference in a school is the level of parental involvement. Do parents help in the classroom? Is the PTA active, supporting the school? Lots of involved parents can do a lot to negate a lack of resources.

      Fourth: environment. Ok, maybe there are drugs in every school. But how are they handled? How is bullying addressed? Are there gang issues? Will there be a threat to your child in attending that school?

      Fifth: the unknown factor of your kid’s needs. What will be your child’s personality? What will s/he need to succeed? One of my kids has Asperger’s syndrome. He has a lot more needs and sensitivities. I could most certainly see him fall through the cracks in a “bad” school which had less resources and less teacher time to devote to him.

      • Your first point is so key. Every kid is different. I was a smart kid, but did not do well in my public school system because it was over-crowded and unstructured. I need more discipline and invidual attention, so my parents sent me to Catholic school where I did somewhat better, but clashed with the teachers because I had no respect for authority. I was never a great student, but I think if I had stayed in public school, I would have become a total delinquent. I have friends who were more self-motivated and did just fine in those same public schools.

      • Anon from Chicago :

        This. all of this comment is exactly right. I thought like the original poster, until I had children. And now my oldest is getting ready to start kindergarten in the fall — at a public school, but one in a good area of the city. We waited about 3 years to save enough money to be able to afford into a neighborhood with good public schools. now that the time is upon us, i am so very glad we did.

        • Anon from Chicago :

          one other thing you shoudl consider is the fact that the school is in a “good” or affluant neighborhood doesnt mean the schooln will reflect that. Here in Chicago, kids are bussed in to various neighborhoods from all over the city. This means that there are some extremely affluant neighborhoods that have horrible schools with bad test scores etc. and most of the kids in the neighborhood go to private school.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            To add some clarity. Most of the neighborhood school in the poor communities of Chicago are terribly resourced, so those parents who want better for their kids and know how, participate in lotteries, or their kids take tests to get into selective enrollment schools, and as such go to school all over the city. They aren’t bused, however, instead their parents often leave home with them at 6-6:30am and take trains and/or buses to get their kids to a better school in a more affluent neighborhood where there are more resources for the kids. This works if the kid gets in for kindy, but can be a challenge if the kid doesn’t get into the school by lottery until second or third grade, because they are dropped into the school in catch up mode.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        All of this (I too, am a mom of a kid on the spectrum). Only thing to add is that you could end up needing to send your kid to the school that meets his/her needs, which may or may not be your neighborhood school. In our instance we have one in private, one in public, and the one in public is in a completely different neighborhood…..

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      Even if you never have kids, I’d seriously consider the quality of the schools and the impact it will have on resale value if you ever decide to move. We survived the housing crash with very little impact on our home value in large part because we chose a house in an area known for great schools (even though we expect to move before our kids are school-aged). Had we bought a few blocks away in a different school district we wouldn’t be in nearly as good a financial position as we are now.

      • This is an important point. The schools a home is zoned to may affect your resale position–both the speed with which you can resell and the amount you can get.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Strongly, strongly agree. Whether or not you have kids – if you buy in an area where the schools are good (and likely to stay good, ie, not constant redistricting), you will likely protect your home value longterm. My parents have always made significant money in home resales and a lot of that is only due to buying in areas where the public schools are excellent.

    • We had some experience at a not-so-good school (elementary), because my mom worked at the school and so my daughter went to the school and would go to my mom’s classroom until I got off work. The major benefit to this was that my mom was able to hand-pick the very best teacher each year for my daughter and things were really great until 4th grade. This is when bullying really started with the girls. Now, I am sure that bullying probably goes on at all schools, regardless of the socio-economic status of the parents in the area, but one thing that seemed to be a bigger problem at this poorer school was theft. I caught one of my daughter’s friends trying to steal her IPOD when she was over playing at our house, because the girl didn’t have one, yet really wanted one. Another issue that I noticed, though wasn’t too bad, was that some of the kids were either so poor or maybe they were neglected, but either way their basic needs were not being met at home, which cause behavior issues and distractions in the classroom to a greater degree.

      At the school my daughter is at now (the one in our district), there was some bullying that went on, but all of the parents were so much more involved that one phone call took care of it. The kids get together for projects and everyone has the necessary supplies, and it is clear that everyone has their basic needs met.

      The difference between these two schools (in the same district) is the SES status of the parents. At the first school, about 90% of the kids qualified for free lunch. My daughter was the only one in her class, maybe even her grade that did not qualify. At the new school, maybe 10% of kids qualify. The parents are just much more involved, and have the resources to do so. I know many of the parents at the old school really did their best for their kids, but when a single mom is working two jobs there is just not time or energy left to deal with some of the issues.

      Anyways, long story short, a kid can do well at either school, but there are a lot of factors that come with poverty that make the entire classroom and school more difficult, in my opinion….

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I grew up in public schools. A plethora of things can make a school a bad school. I absoultely do not believe that there is “no such thing as such a bad public school that a driven child couldn’t thrive.”

      Huge class sizes mean kids don’t get individual attention. Smart kids that could be challenged with more advanced material are ignored because the teachers are struggling to control children who really belong in special ed but whose parents refuse to get them tested for whatever reason, and the right to education means those kids have to be in a classroom. The teachers have to focus on getting the entire class up to barely basic proficiency so that the class and school can do ok on the statewide testing, so that the teacher doesn’t get fired, the school doesn’t get shut down by the state and/or feds for poor performance. Smart kids are ignored, bored, and disengage. Or they are involuntarily deputized to tutor their… dumber… sorry… classmates because the teacher just can’t teach as many kids as s/he was assigned. This happened to me in multiple grades.

      Good teachers often transfer to better schools and/or better districts, leaving the dregs of the teaching profession in the bad schools (along with a few impassioned advocates just trying to do the best they can). No resources, as one person said below – not only computers, but art supplies, musical instruments, sports equipment, play structures, paper, chalk, etc. Ancient, falling apart textbooks. The basketball hoops at my schools didn’t have nets – the nets kept getting stolen, and then the funding ran out.

      Theft is also a problem because there are children who are poorly disciplined and/or not getting what they need or want at home. Brand-name anything gets stolen. Violence is pretty common, with kids acting out stresses from their neighborhoods and families.

      There’s also the unnerving presence of being in uniforms because of gang violence concerns (yes, even elementary kids), going through metal detectors, random locker searches (middle and high school), and lockdown drills to prepare for campus violence. High security doesn’t encourage learning, I don’t think, because you remember WHY you need the high security.

      My sister has a learning disability. Her public school didn’t notice for years until finally our family caught on, and put her in a private school where she’s finally learning to read.

      I ended up turning out ok, but the schools I went to are much worse now than when I was there, and even I have large gaps of knowledge from years where my teachers literally slept through class. Funding continues to be cut, resources more strained. I would not send my child to any of the schools I went to. I’ll live in a tiny apartment in a good district over a house in a bad one.

    • another anon :

      In addition to what others have said, I think you need to look at the specific schools your future children would attend, and not just the district as a whole, because there can be quite a bit of variation among individual schools. I went to a public high school in a medium sized city, and while there were definitely problems with gangs, violence, drugs, etc., the school also offered a ton of honors and AP classes, and pretty much everyone that was in those classes went on to be pretty successful in life. (The people who weren’t, well, I guess it depends on your definition of success, but they generally are not doing as well financially, at least.) Most of the other high schools in the district did not offer the honors/AP classes–I really don’t think I would have done as well in life had I gone to one of those schools.

      I do think that there was a lot of value for me in going to a diverse school, and being exposed to people from a huge variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Also, I moved to the district for high school, having gone to elementary and middle school in a suburban district that was considered one of the best in the state. And I found that the bullying-type issues were actually much less pronounced at the urban high school than what I had experienced previously. Now, some of that may just be a result of going from junior high to high school, and kids becoming a bit more mature. But I do think that at least part of it had to do with the fact that the kids at the urban high school had generally been in pretty diverse environments for their whole lives, and as a result were generally more tolerant of differences.

    • This is probably going to sound terrible, but… in affluent neighborhoods, you can have good schools with poor funding, because there won’t be as many kids with challenges in class, and the parents will pay for all the extracurriculars.

      In less affluent / more diverse communities, it is possible to have good schools – I truly believe that – but to get there you have to have lots and lots of funding.

      The worst combination is low income / diverse areas + poor funding. You just can’t overcome that. A handful of students can, but by and large, results won’t be good.

      I’m a proud proponent of public schools, but a realist.

    • Red Flags: Schools that lack services and alternate education routes.
      I was an honors track kid in a suburban public school, a town that was known for having “good” public schools. Classes were great and I was challenged. I think for average/average smart kids, the most important thing is teaching your child how to be driven and how to handle teasing and bullying. Other kids are mean, where ever you are.
      My younger brother is dyslexic and my parents had to *fight* to get him services, even in our good district. Learning disabilities are something that parents think the teachers will catch and the teachers think the parents or doctors will recognize. There isn’t enough education/training/advocates on recognizing and helping less obvious learning disabilities. That’s one aspect that you as a parent CANNOT plan for, and where a “good” public school definitely beats out a “bad” one.

    • One thing to point out, even if you got pregnant tomorrow your child would not be attending that school for another 6 years. I am guessing that your neighborhood is filled with a lot of couples just like you and that you will be part of this urban baby boom that seems to be happening. I think urban schools will look a lot different in 5-10 years when everyone has enrolled their kids.

      I live in what is most likely a similar type of urban neighborhood. In 7-8 years when my theoretical child is ready to go to Kindergarten I firmly believe that this so-so school will have transformed into a great school just because of all of the involved parents sending their kids their.

      One final note, I would urge you to get involved in your neighborhood school now. The school will only get better if the community supports it.

      • Communities can evolve “uphill” as well as “downhill”, and it is prudent to consider both possibilities in your long-term plans.

      • Seventh Sister :

        It’s also important to consider your individual home school v. perceptions of the school district as a whole. I live in a city where people will freely say “School District Acronym Sucks!” without mentioning that there are a lot of great elementary schools and even some really excellent middle and high schools.

        It’s not just test scores, either. In my small urban school district, the test scores of all of the home schools are impacted by a very popular magnet that is attractive to a lot of affluent and/or involved parents.

        If you can actually talk to a parent who has kids at the school, that’s a lot better than what a realtor might tell you or a resident who doesn’t have kids at the local school.

    • I went to an overcrowded middle school where there was a stabbing in the middle of an 8th grade history class, oral s*x going on behind the bungalows, a student who had an abortion in my 6th grade homeroom class, where we were regularly pulled out of class at random for drug searches and pat downs, and where we had a police officer assigned to our school roaming the highways. I don’t remember if he was armed or not.

      I also had really supportive, nurturing parents who enriched my education at home and I was in a smaller learning community of huge nerds who were having a ball learning physics and singing in choir. It never occurred to me that I was learning in an oppressive environment and I’m sure things would have turned out just fine if I had stayed in my school system. Instead I got financial aid and went to a fancy shmancy prep school where there were five acres of grounds for every student and teachers were focused on engaging curricula and not policing classrooms…I suddenly realized how much of my daily life at my old school had been dedicated to navigating a kind of scary place.

      Every student is different, for sure. But just thought I’d share my experience.

    • A driven kid does much, much better among other driven kids.
      The best option is a diverse school with low percentage of FRL students.

    • I will not send my child to a school that performs at average or below average. Period. IMO and IME, you will struggle with selling a home that is in a neighborhood where the schools are not strong performers. But more to your questions, there is no amount of diversity in a school or neighborhood that will make up for my kid not getting the education that I expect because his teachers are too busy dealing with kids who are coming from chaotic home environments to really provide a robust learning environment. So yes, I absolutely think that an underperforming school can be an absolute disaster for a child who loves to learn and otherwise is not at risk for not learning how to read and do math. But I also think it’s a parent’s duty to provide the best education they can for a child and to remove barriers to learning, even if doing so means that you have to live in one neighborhood when you’d prefer to live in another. Putting that aside, even in my affluent neighborhood, we struggle to fundraise to afford basics that you probably expect all public schools to have because you haven’t been inside of one for 20 years. Public schools that do not have the robust community supporting the school are in awful shape. You are very much kidding yourself if you think that any child wired for learning can thrive in any school. If you’re really serious about buying in this neighborhood then you ought to go tour some of the schools.

  21. First thing I thought of when I saw the name of the shoe was Tony from Who’s The Boss? saying “Samanta” in his Brooklyn accent… just me?

  22. Oh – sorry Kat, those cutouts? Cheap and cheesy looking.

  23. TCFKAG, wanted to thank you for the silk reflections recommendation! I bought some a couple weeks ago and love them and now I am wearing them basically everyday. Must order them in bulk from onehanesplace now I think.

    • You’re welcome! Since I just randomly bought them at Marshalls one day, can’t take too much credit. :-P But I’m glad you like them.

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