Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Stretch Crepe Pants

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

comfortable magic pants for workWe’ve included these pants in a lot of roundups over the past year or so, but I don’t think we’ve ever featured them by themselves for a Workwear Report. Heralded by the readers as “magic pants” and “professional pajamas,” these pants are the thing you wear when you want comfort and style — certainly a solid pick for when you’re seeking comfortable workwear for late nights. They are a pull-on style, have no pockets, and have instructions to “dry clean or machine wash cold, tumble dry low.” They’re $168-$178, available in regular, petite and plus sizes, and come in a bazillion colors in the slim ankle pants (pictured in navy), as well as in straight leg full length styles. Eileen Fisher Stretch Crepe Pants

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  1. Lila Fowler :

    We are having a series of work events next week, and I volunteered to picking up breakfast foods one day at Trader Joe’s (it’s next to the subway stop near the office).

    I don’t normally shop there, so are there any specific items you would suggest for a team breakfast (around 10 people)? I was thinking about getting fruits, yogurt, granola and pastry style items. Does anyone have any specific favorites or suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think of Trader Joe’s as having pastries and their produce suuucks (I like TJs but produce is a weaknesss for them). Is there any way you can go somewhere else like Dunkin or Starbucks? People probably want coffee.

      • Not true! You CAN get great bannanna’s there, and they are ONLEY 19 cents each! Whenever Dad comes into town, we always to to Trader Joe’s and he gets a bunch of bannanna’s that he eats here or back on the LIRR when he goe’s home! He also has me buy FRESH pineappeale which we eat together with the PLAIN GREEK yogurt they sell. Also, you can get fresh fruits and nuts there which you have to wash b/f you eat them. But it is a good place to go! YAY!!

    • The cakes/pastries are delicious. The selection varies by store/time of year, but a great hit.

      TJ’s does not have “fruit trays” like most grocery stores, but they do have sliced fruits in the refrigerated section–huge fan of the mango slices.

      The honey greek yogurt is perfect and they sell a big tub of it. Not sure what you will have for drinks, but the “fresh squeezed” orange juice is fab, as are the sparkling lemonades (berry and other flavors). The sparkling water is also a big hit at my house.

      For the yogurt, you may also considered the dried fruits (in the nuts section), but make sure to get the non-sugar added ones, otherwise they might be a bit too sweet for breakfast.

    • Will you have access to an office kitchen? I don’t typically go to TJ’s for ready-to-eat stuff (as opposed to “easy to heat up in the microwave or oven for dinner” stuff). They do have takeaway sandwiches and salads, and some cakes boxed up/rolls/bagels, but they wouldn’t be my first choice for a “pastries and bagels and cream cheese” type run. Could you order from an Au Bon Pain or similar?

    • TJ’s is not the best source for ready-made meeting fare. If you want precut fruit, yogurt, and granola, you are better off at a regular full-service grocery store. For pastries or bagels, Panera or similar. And +1 to the suggestion above for coffee, unless it’s being provided separately. Coffee is what people really want at meetings.

    • Their bakery selection is extremely regional and seasonal. I think mine typically does not have pastry items, other than the frozen stuff. If you’re lucky there will be a coffee cake there, but if you’re not sure what they have it may be worth stopping elsewhere.

    • Not sure what time you need to be there, but if it’s pretty early then you might want to double check their hours. My TJ’s opens at 8 am; other grocery stores near me open at 6.

    • ANON TJ's lover :

      They have really good pumpkin bagels right now and pumpkin cream cheese. It’s actually not very sweet. They also have regular bagels and cream cheese. You could easily grab those, some of the pre-cut fruit, and maybe a tub of yogurt and be good!

    • TJs might have kringles. That would probably be your best bet for pastry.

    • Oh my gosh… your name! I was like, where do I know that name from… something fictional… and searched for it and got all caught up on the Sweet Valley gossip! Love it even though I’m more of a Babysitters Club girl, myself :)

  2. Anonymous :

    I don’t know whose loss I’m more disappointed in, Zephyr Teachout’s or Keri Russell’s.

  3. These pants look so….dorky? I dunno. I know everyone raves about them here but they don’t look stylish at all.

    • +1. They look like “cover up” pants to me. Best to wear at home.

    • What makes a pant more modern/in style? Not trying to say you’re wrong, but I don’t really know what is in style anymore.

      • Yeah I’m also confused by these comments. The pants look pretty inoffensive to me? I hate the shoes but ymmv. I mean clearly I’m missing something, idk what though.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Right? I feel like if you put these in a lineup with a dozen other pairs of ankle pants you wouldn’t be able to pick these out. Maybe they look very different in person.

      • I’m by no means a fashion expert but I think the leg is too baggy and not tapered enough. It doesn’t look sleek. Looks like something a 55 + frumpy woman would wear, sorry.

    • Yea, I get comfort but those look like you just gave up.

      • I disagree. I don’t own them, but they look tailored and sleek. Joggers scream “I gave up.”

      • I have these. I wear them to work. Yes, I gave up. I gave up providing a fashion show at work. I gave up spending discretionary funds to jazz up my work wardrobe and now spend them on stuff I enjoy. I gave up thinking I should never repeat outfits. I gave up spending my money to follow trends. My work wardrobe is clean, well cared for, professional, and appropriate to my office. It includes these pants. I continue to struggle to “give up” on being judgey about judgey people. And yes, I feel a bit cranky today and ordinarily probably would have just kept my opinion to myself, but today, not so much.

    • I own a pair, in the full length not the ankle length. They’re a classic straight leg style, I would say, but they’re not my most flattering pants. I wear them because they’re comfortable, not because I’m winning style awards at work.

  4. Recommendations and Pep Talk :

    Recently moved to an apartment and trying to get used to upstairs’ neighbor noise (walking, playing with their dogs, basically feels like we are living with elephants above our heads–though I really don’t think they mean ill.
    They don’t play loud music, the dog is very quiet, they just keep shift hours and we are early-to-bed people).

    Any tips for not going insane? Pep talks with perspective? Suggestions for white noise machines/fans?

    The issue is that it throws our dog off and he will growl in the middle of the night because he can’t figure out where the noise is coming from.

    Also looking for blackout curtain recommendations that may help with noise, as well. I realize this won’t make a huge difference, particularly as I like white/creme hues, but I do think they’ll be a nice upgrade.

    • Can you really gently mention it to them and ask if they have rugs? Maybe they’d be willing to put some rugs down or, if they already have, take their shoes off while at home. I don’t think there is much you can do on your end.

      • +1 most rental contracts require rugs over X%

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if they already do. In my experience, issues with upstairs neighbor noise are usually because the buildings are poorly constructed. The last place I lived it sounded like the neighbor was clogging all the time, but it was perfectly normal walking around.

        OP, I was in your situation and I moved. I couldn’t handle it anymore, it was driving me crazy and I hated spending any time in my home because of it.

    • You can get white blackout curtains. They will be opaque and heavy because of the blackout liner, but the fabric that faces the room can definitely be white. Along with the blackout curtains, get the blackout rod that allows the curtain to meet the wall to keep light from coming in along the sides of the window.

    • You can offer to provide them with rugs if they are really THAT noisy. But like anything else, you MAY get used to it. The big probelem I have is with the manageing partner’s brother, who lives next door. He carries on with women in the room right against my bedroom, so I get all kinds of noises, both from him as well as the woman he brings in that night. Some are REALLY noisey, and others are just moaners. FOOEY on them b/c I need my sleep, so I bought ear plugs to wear at night so I can avoid listening to all of the moaning. I think he is onley getting the moaning b/c they think he has alot of money and would like to latch on to him. He is onley interested in the s-x — he told me — b/c he want’s me to think he is such a big stud that I would sleep with him! FOOEY on that! I can NOT even fathom his huffeing and puffeing on top of me! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      • Ok I know other people get annoyed by this but I personally live for Ellen’s commentary. You go, Ellen!

    • I have Bose white noise headphones and they work great for me. I’ve been both the downstairs and the upstairs neighbor and I commiserate.

    • Earplugs?

    • I always have a fan running at night — it doesn’t drown out the random noise from other units, but it does cut it and make it not bothersome.

      You may have to do some dog-training research to figure out how to help your dog know what noises are OK.

    • Anonymous :

      I sleep with an air purifier on. It makes white noise and clears out allergens so double win.

  5. Division of labour :

    Ladies, help. Is an equal division of labour in a relationship even really possible? Or is it some rare unicorn scenario? I’ve had two relationships end after moving in with partners and realizing that I need to “mom” them. Not because I want to, but because nothing gets done unless I ask for it to be done and also give reminders. When I have voiced concerns, I am told “but I always help with cleaning/dinner/errands” – the key aspect, only when asked and only when told what to do. Sometimes I am told “I am absent minded but always willing to help”. Based on a lot of posts here, it seems like there are many women who are shouldering most of the emotional (if not also physical) labour of their relationship. How do you fix this? Or have some women accepted a lack of initiative as a price of admission and come up with strategies to deal with that?

    • The only way to fix it is to make him completely responsible for certain tasks and then make sure you are never involved in those tasks. Joint responsibility means that you will either do it yourself or constantly nag him to “help” you.

      • +1 to this. It’s worked in my house, fwiw.


        I have shown a completely passive, utter disregard for the cleanliness of our bathrooms for example (I swear I’m not gross): it’s his job, 100%, and he’s damn great at it if I just ignore it completely. It gets done on a regular basis and done well.

        This is exactly how he was raised to act about grocery shopping and food preparation (which I do 100% of by choice, and I enjoy), so I’m just leaning into his attitude on something else!

      • SuziStockbroker :


      • This exactly. Our division of labor is absolutely clear (whether it is equal is debatable.) My husband handles the dishes and floors in our house like a champ. Of course, if I spill something I will sweep it up, but otherwise I rarely touch a broom or mop. It is the same with the trash, garage and driveway. The initiative is now second nature for him and he takes pride in it.

        Early on in our marriage, we decided that a once a week cleaning service was the solution to most of our arguments. I don’t have to nag him to help change the linens….because I don’t do it either.

      • Yep, don’t get p1ssed off and take over the task and be resentful about it. My husband has been doing 100% of the laundry for years and he just developed a schedule for doing it and sticks to it because he will not have any underwear if he doesn’t. If I had swooped in and taken care of it for him, it would never have happened.

        Does he complain about the incredible burden of doing all the laundry? Oh my yes. But such complaining is easily and cheerfully ignored.

      • Yep. For example, I don’t vacuum. Ever. Nor do I comment on whether or not the house should be vacuumed. Husband does it once every 7-10 days, it’s his responsibility, and it gets done when it gets done. I trust him to do it and he does it.

      • +1 Works in my household
        There are some things I dont care enough about and he does them completely. If he doesnt do them I dont nag and I dont step in to do it e.g. taking out the trash. Occasionally he’s missed the trash truck day but I barely even notice (I am out of the house early) and he will figure out how to address it (wait until next time or whatever). Other things in this category – anything to do with cars, registration, yardwork, kids swimming lessons and sports camps. We have a cleaning service but I have a higher threshold for dirt so if I fail to schedule our cleaners, he will be the one to remind me until I do it (I don’t feel like I have the emotional labor on this).
        What I handle – anything to do with food.
        As I think about it, the secret to having a hands-off division is: not caring enough about some things! Lol.

      • anonshmanon :

        same in our house. Btw, it took some learning on my part (or rather, unlearning my mom’s habit of nitpicking). I’d disapprove of some aspect of his dishwashing/laundry doing, he’d tell me “do you want to do it, or should I do it my way?”. Years later, I can count the times I do laundry on one hand (when he’s out of town, and it is so much not on my radar anymore, that I will forget to take in the washing when they forecast rain all the time now.
        The other thing I did was to send him the Emma-cartoon ‘You should have asked’ and discuss emotional labor. After that, I could clearly see how he tried to see more things that need to be done and be proactive about chores. So, it takes learning from both sides but it can be done. What you can’t fix in my opinion is attitude.

    • I think DH and I have a fairly equal division of labor. He grocery shops and cooks most nights (we do takeout or a meal out 1-2 nights/week). Pre-baby, I would load the dishwasher, but now I have a baby attached to my breast for most of the evening so he does the dishes too. I do the vast majority of the emotional or organizational labor including taxes, managing medical appointments for everyone, researching baby stuff including childcare, sending gifts to family and friends, writing thank you notes for gifts sent to us, donating unwanted clothes and toys, etc. We have a cleaning service and lawn service, so neither of us does those chores. I personally think it’s easier to divvy up tasks then to try to share each task equally.

      • This does not sound equal to me. It sounds like he cooks and you do everything else. I’m not saying that as a criticism but moreso to ask if you can tell me what makes you feel this is equal? I know you outsource cleaning and lawn. This is similar to my marriage (he cooks, I do all emotional and organizational labor, outsource cleaning and lawn). To me it feels like he spends about 5 hours per week on cooking (and when I say cooking, often this is picking up meals prepared by someone else, it’s not as if he’s in the kitchen for an hour every night). In contrast, I spend probably at least two hours a day on emotional/organizational tasks, plus keeping a constant running neverending always changing list of what those tasks are. And it doesn’t feel equal. Help?

        • If you’re spending 2 hours a day on emotional and organizational tasks you’re either severely overestimating that or doing it wrong.

          • Anonymous :

            He spends 30 mins cooking and loading the dishwasher? He make simple meals and we have a cleaning service so we don’t do any deep cleaning. And yes, I spend at least 2-3 hours a week on my tasks (sometimes less but sometimes much more like when I was finding and interviewing potential nannies).

          • My kids are very small (toddler and infant) so that may be why, but it’s 2 hours per day and I actually think I’m pretty efficient. For example, today/this week those tasks include: order big boy bed for toddler (shop for and select bed, measure bedroom to make sure it fits, place order, etc); sell or get rid of crib (take photos, post on online sale site, google what it should cost, etc); also need big boy bedding so pick that out and order it, put away summer clothes for both kids, switch over to fall clothes for both kids, get down what I packed away from kid #1 to see if it fits kid #2, realize kid #1 has no fall clothes in size 3T so order those online, toddler now has alphabet “homework” (what the actual hell) so do that with him every night, unpack baby’s bottles and repack them for the next day (every night), put today’s pumped breastmilk in the freezer which means must reorganize freezer at least a little to prevent breastmilk avalanche, kid #1 is asking about Halloween costumes so make a note to deal with that later but no time to do it now because it’s not urgent enough yet but I better write it down so I don’t forget, kid #1 has two birthday parties this weekend which require gifts so order those from Amazon making sure that they are age (and budget) appropriate, and oh the budget! Remember to add up all the money I spent on big kid bed, big kid bedding, toddler fall clothes, and make it work into the budget…. so yeah. It’s two hours a day and I don’t think I’m doing it wrong.

        • I’m not the OP but I am much better at the stuff OP mentions doing and am more interested in it getting done a certain way so I wouldn’t want to give up control of it, whereas I don’t care to clean and although I like to cook I don’t care about it day to day. For instance, I research most of the stuff we buy and while it does take up my time I am almost always unhappy with what happens when I don’t. And I don’t want to discourage it by why should I do it all but the truth is I really would prefer to do it myself, my way about 75 percent of the time. I also think that while she does a lot of little things it may be easier (for me it would be) than the day to day cleaning and cooking and groceries. But it doesn’t sound that way for you! It sounds like you are stressed by your side of the equation which means you should probably rearrange it.

          I could easily say ‘you’re getting the bday presents’ but I enjoy doing it and care about what we gift so I don’t want to. He’d buy everyone presents in 5 min on amazon a year out but I wouldn’t be happy and you can’t give someone a task and then micromanage the level of care they give it. For this reason, I really think it’s important to take into account how you divvy up tasks and play to each other’s strengths and standards. When we first moved in together we would clean one morning a week but it was always exhausting until we decided that I would clean the ‘living areas’ and he would clean the kitchen and bathroom because he was better at just bleaching everything and cleaning things in a non discretionary way and I wanted the couch to look a certain way with pillows fluffed just so. It works and we would always finish in about the same time.

    • Yes it’s possible, because I have it. My husband and I met in our early 30s, so he had spent years taking care of himself very well. When we moved in together, he agreed to take kitchen duty (both cooking & cleaning up) in exchange for never having to clean the bathrooms. We both do laundry, we both sweep/mop/vacuum, we both do trash. It helps that I’m not a clean freak so I’m not looking for things to be perfectly done or done “my way” – as long as we’re not living in filth I’m good.

      I think a lot of this comes down to not constantly doing things for a grown person, and learning to let go of having things done your way – if you can’t deal with a messy house then you may end up doing them forever.

    • I don’t know. I have only been married for a decade. We have an equitable division sort of… He does the sweat equity items and virtually all isolated, insular tasks but he can’t/refuses to bear any of the strategic planning responsibilities. Finances and food are really important to me (and to him, to a lesser degree) and they require the most managing and emotional labour. I do them all and I do all the big strategic pieces like holiday planning, kids’ clothing storing/sorting/buying, doctors etc. BUT he does breakfasts, lunches, attends appointments etc. Supper is our big meal and he is detained at work many days, whereas I can leave so I do that meal. We have successfully shifted the line over the years. For example, we have a tight budget right now and he is unaccustomed to budgeting (because of how he was raised), so I told him I didn’t have the mental energy to learn YNAB but that we needed it, so he had to do it. It also plays to his technical aptitude and is a disaster for my lack of patience. So he did hoist it aboard and booked the necessary banking appointments etc. He has picked up more initiative over time, but I basically have to still tell him something is now his field. It hasn’t been painless but I feel like we are getting there. He is generally considered a unicorn father and does substantially more hands on parenting than I do, which is constantly remarked upon. Basically, he is a very highly skilled Master Corporal and I am the Company Commander….which is ironic because he is a senior military officer in real life….

    • I think a lot of us are in the same boat (my uncle called my cousin and me “jerks” for not being “grateful your husbands help when asked). One thing that does help is the complete division of labor, but even then it’s not easy. My husband is supposed to be 100% responsible for trash and is well aware that I want to play no part in the process, but I still have to be like “hey, this is full” or “the trash smells.” I hate this so much but I try to stay calm because my husband excels at the non-routine chores that I’m bad at doing quickly (and also does other chores *when asked*). He’ll research coupons for internet service or renew our annual parks pass and things like that without me asking and I do appreciate it.

      Also, it could be a lot worse. My aforementioned cousin’s husband literally leaves Mountain Dew bottles and pizza boxes around the house for days and claims it doesn’t bother him and that she should be “more laidback.”

      • It could be worse, but none of it is ok, and it all traces back to attitudes like your sexist uncle’s. Sounds like the cousin married a younger version of her sexist dad.

    • When I was on maternity leave, $ was tight. I was ironing DH’s shirts and he made a comment . . . I stopped doing his wash then and there, much less any ironing for him.

      I do kids wash (trying to outsource to them), but will not put it away. They do that and have for years. Once they are out of uniforms and in separate bedrooms, they can also do wash / dry / sort / fold / put away (or not; your wrinkles are you problem).

      I do my wash.

      DH can do his wash or not, not my problem anymore.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I did this, too. One day many years ago my then-husband complained about the level of laundry service I was providing. I bought him his own laundry basket and said the Laundry Fairy had left the building. Boom — done!

    • It’s the price of admission if the guy you’re moving in with has no interest in actually being an equal partner in the household.

      It’s hard to figure out whether a particular guy is like that. Lots of guys give lip service to equality, want a wife with a great job (because they don’t want to be the sole breadwinner), but when it comes to actually doing the work they’re totally effing useless. Even if they managed to have a home on their own for 15 years before you met them – which is just incredible to me. These guys are incredibly invested in this idea of not having to lift a finger once they wife up – they will let go of a wonderful relationship with a woman they claim to love because they are more invested in toxic masculinity than they are in your relationship. Idk what to tell you. It’s not you it’s them. And it sucks.

      • Sadly, this. During my divorce, my husband said “I thought my life would get easier once I was married”–meaning he was disappointed to find that it did not. We were in our 30s when we got together, and he’d lived on his own for years by then. Obviously it wasn’t the only problem in our marriage, but I’ve come to believe that he probably thought he had no more grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning in his future. His mom was a SAHM and he had no other model in a relationship.

        I had never thought my life would be “easier” once married. If anything, I saw it as taking on another person’s needs, not offloading any of my own.

        • Anonymous :

          Your last paragraph perfectly sums up this problem. Women get the message that marriage means more work. Men get the message that marriage means less work. I don’t think most people even consciously realize they have this assumption. It’s just kind of built into their idea of marriage.

    • You marry an adult. A fully functioning one. It’s completely possible.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. It took me three tries but Number Three is an equal partner. It may not be easy but it is possible and it’s worth holding out for one!

    • We have a pretty simple if it bothers you, it’s your problem to fix type of system. He likes things almost spotless from dust and pet hair, but I don’t care that much, so it’s his job. He has no problem eating takeout or frozen dinners for basically every meal, but I can’t stand that, so it’s my job.
      For cooking, I make what I want and say “this is what I’m cooking for dinner.” Occasionally, if I’ve prepped for a few things and can’t decide between them, I’ll ask which he’d prefer. And sometimes, he decides he wants takeout and I decide I want to make myself something homemade so we do that.
      We have a shared grocery/shopping list on our phones and whenever one of us goes to the store we buy whatever is on the list.
      I have heard that this division isn’t “equal” from people who think food is more work than cleaning, but I think the difference is responsibility. I want to make homemade food. It’s not an expectation he puts on me. If I don’t do it, the world does not end. Similarly, he wants a spotlessly clean house. I don’t care if the house is up to those standards, but he does, so he handles it.

      • I hate the “if it bothers you, it’s your problem” approach because that means almost everything falls on women. This is how you end up with a husband like the one mentioned above who leaves pizza boxes everywhere because it doesn’t bother him.

        If I want Kid to go to a birthday party for his friend, my problem. Want Kid to take an appropriate gift for friend? My problem. Don’t want pizza boxes everywhere? My problem. Don’t want to run out of toilet paper? My problem. Don’t like using the downstairs toilet because the upstairs one is broken? My problem. Want to send a birthday card to in-laws? My problem. Because not a single one of those things bothers Husband. But because he does not want to live like a man-child who benefits from my constant work, he contributes to these tasks. Not because they bother him, but because we are a team.

        • I think this is only true if you’re with a jerk. There are things I care more about and things he cares more about, and some things neither of us care much about either way, and in that case that rule works. If you’re with someone who gives a sh*t about you being happy then that means s/he doesn’t take advantage and that when you do more of X they do more of Y to make up for it.

        • I’m the OP, and this is the issue with our relationship. My most recent partner opted out of everything by being the one who cared less. It translated to areas of our relationship other than household management too. For example, when we were on a recent road trip, he did most of the driving (because he likes it and wanted to). We did not plan ahead, we just rented a car and bought a guide book and were taking it day by day. When he was driving, I was suggesting routes and stops and giving directions. He asked me to drive a few times but did not do any navigating at all. We drove past about 10 tourist attraction signs before I pointed out that if he wanted us to see anything in the region at all, he needed to get out the book. His response “Oh I thought we were just on a casual road trip without a destination.” Um…If I waited for him to do tasks only when they bothered him, I would have to do literally EVERYTHING. Like, I would never be able to have guests to the house because the bathrooms and kitchen would be in disarray.

          • Anonymous :

            Okay, but if he wasn’t helping, why didn’t you pull over when you saw something YOU wanted to see? The answer to the question of, why are you pulling over is because I saw a sign for something that looked interesting. Done.

            That’s not emotional labor to me, that’s me making a choice about what I value in a road trip. If I want to stop at something, I stop, just like I would expect my partner to tell me when they want to stop and if they don’t, I assume they don’t see anything they want to stop at because we are adults and use our words.

          • Because often the signs indicated significant detours and we didn’t even know anything about what the attractions were or whether the detours were worth it or whether we had the time… because he didn’t bother to even open the book.

        • Yeah, this system also ignores the fact that women are judged on the state of their homes, meals, and children, and men generally are not. Often women “care” more because they know that they need to. It’s not easy to just write off the opinions of your in-laws, kids’ friends’ parents, and anyone else who sees your home and routine.

          • +10000

          • Anonymous :

            It is though. If someone doesn’t like how I keep my house, that’s on them, not me. My house is not as clean and neat as my parents’ house. If they commented on it, I would tell them semi-jokingly that they are welcome to clean it for me.

            Women also TAKE ON this judgment as something they have to fix about themselves as opposed to actively shaking it off. I don’t give a rat’s patootie what someone thinks about my house. It’s my house! As long as it works for my partner and I, why should I care what anyone else thinks? Muffy saw a dust bunny and some cat hair? THE HORROR. She might talk about me at the club. OMG. I am exaggerating, but come on. The way to stop the cycle is to STOP THE CYCLE.

        • +1

          If the person who ‘notices’ the task has to do it, it’s just a game of “who can ignore this the longest”, or, “who is the messiest roommate”.

    • I have lots of thoughts.

      – I think we often don’t notice the labor of others, and I’ve learned to recognize the work DH does–for example, he fixes everything (computers, electronics, the refrigerator, furniture, toys), often before I even notice it’s broken. He’s also typically the person who gets things fixed (cars, home repairs involving electricity and plumbing). The few times I’ve had to handle these things, I’ve realized how much time it takes. Also, I’m not mechanically inclined at all, so I understand that some tasks just come more naturally to some people. (This isn’t all DH does, by any means, just an example.)

      – I think “mothering” someone is your choice. You don’t have to ask for things to be done and give reminders. You and your SO can usually survive something not being done, and then discuss how not doing something impacted both of you–especially if it involves cleaning/dinner/errands.

      – There have been different seasons in our lives when both of us were working really hard and when one of us has taken a step back at work and done more at home–housework doesn’t have to be perfectly even, as long as both people feel they’re in a partnership.

      – I do handle more of what I consider the emotional labor–planning tasks, routine finances (even if we’re not making big moves, we set aside time to discuss the big picture once or twice a year), managing the social calendar. It’s easier for me to think through planning tasks for whatever reason, and DH just is never going to have the initiative to receive an invitation to a kid’s birthday party, RSVP, calendar it, and buy the kid a gift. That’s a price of admission, and I’m not going to try to fix it.

      • +1 to all this, especially point A. And it is really hard when we have different priorities about what work needs to be done, but I have to remember that both are generally equally valid.

      • I think your first point is important. It would be easy to say “my husband does nothing” if you’re the one doing the big-ticket items like cooking or laundry, but when I thought about it, I realized my husband does SO MUCH that isn’t as obvious. I can count on him to research which credit cards to use and when to maximize our points earnings, to research and order the best TV streaming devices, to change lightbulbs and other fixtures, and so many other random tasks that would take me ages. That plus his complete willingness to help me more, even if I do have to ask a lot of the time, is a fine adult partnership for me.

      • Regarding your first point. And I’m not picking on you but I knew someone would bring this up.

        It’s kind of a BS “out” that men like to tell us. The tasks that traditionally fall to men are things that can be put off. You don’t cut the grass this week? It’s cool, it can be done next week. The tasks that traditionally fall to women are things that need to be done every day like clockwork. Kids gotta eat. Everyone needs dishes to eat off of. People need to wear clean clothes. You can’t just do these tasks when you get around to it. You have constant pressure that your tasks have to be done consistently under a pretty rigid schedule.

        Those types of tasks just aren’t the same. I’ll take his getting the oil changed and raise him writing thank you notes. But cutting the grass – which can be put off or done whenever – does not equal weekly grocery shopping that in effect has to be done on Sunday afternoon because we’re out of food by then and I can’t get to the grocery store during the week or on Saturday.

        • +1. I will add to this: routine car maintenance, home projects, and even dealing with contractors for outsourced jobs. These things can not happen for -years- and often they don’t.

        • I’ll push back a bit. My first point was merely that everyone’s labor tends to go unnoticed, especially when they’re on top of things. For OP, it may not be home maintenance or other traditionally “male” activities. I view OUR home maintenance as comparable to the planning and logistics tasks I handle, both in the time it actually takes and it tending to go unnoticed by the other person. Also, in our marriage, these responsibilities have never fluctuated because we’re both playing to our strengths.

          On the other hand, DH and I have traded off responsibilities for certain chores based on our jobs and income and major life events. At the moment, DH does more housework and childcare than I do (he probably does 80% of childcare and 60% of the housework), but there have been times when I’ve done more, and there have been times when we made enough money to outsource almost everything. I didn’t mention yard work in my original post, but lately, DH cuts the grass while I garden (like a real herb garden), so that’s relatively equal at the moment.

        • +1

          I think I’ve seen this written here before and I think it’s a great point. I know we all empathize with feeling the burden of completing chore/life maintenance tasks when we are all just so tired at the end of the day, which is above and beyond the burden of doing the chore itself.

          This was a big repeating theme in my parents’ marriage. My mom would resent my father so much because he would come home and drink beer and sit outside and not do anything. He’d claim he did all the lawn maintenance, got the oil changes, etc. Stuff that my mom “needed” him to do because he was physically stronger and A Man. Yeah, cutting the lawn on a lazy Saturday afternoon for an hour and then running through the sprinkler system with the kids to cool off is not as tedious as making dinner, doing dishes, packing lunches 6 days in a row, or no one eats. None of this is to say that what my dad was doing was *not* valuable, but the fact was that no one was paying attention to the particular burden of *when* chores had to be done, and thus they were talking past each other and not realizing part of their issue.

    • The only thing that’s worked for me is to assign the entirety of some part of the labor (finding and booking hotel / flights, trash, dishwashing on certain days of the week, etc) and be willing to completely let it go if its not done. Most men have a tipping point. Once they realize you will let this task fail, they will usually step up. They took care of themselves before moving in and can do it while in the home. If the guy you’re with doesn’t have a point where he will finally take over the activity, he’s filthy and you shouldn’t live with him anyway.

      Part of it as well is setting expectations. Simply don’t take over certain tasks when you move in and the expectation won’t be there that you do it. Also, you need to have discussions with these guys to change the perception of “help”. You don’t seem to correct that language – it’s not helping it is their role.

      • Delta Dawn :

        Yes and Yes to this. I have never touched one item of my husband’s laundry in our six years together. Why would I create that expectation? And the word “help” is not allowed in my house. After the first baby was born, we had a small argument about him needing to do something, and he said that I needed to ask if I wanted his “help.” OH HELL NO. This is YOUR baby, buster. You’re not helping ME. YOU have a baby just as much as I do. It’s been years and he’s never said “help” again.

    • It’s totally possible. I’ve been married for almost 10 years and if anything, the division of labor is tilted to him taking on more than half. He meal plans, orders groceries to be delivered, and cooks. We have cleaners come every two weeks, and he arranges for any needed rescheduling, makes sure we have cash for the tips, etc. He buys/sends gifts for his family without any reminder. Last night we noticed a leak under the sink and this morning he called a plumber and made an appointment. So yeah, men like that do exist.

    • I had this issue with male roommates, and honestly it’s best to set expectations before moving in, or right after, because once you let someone fall into the habit of not doing anything unless asked/reminded/”nagged” about it, they’re likely to get upset if you try to change the dynamic. What you want is to come to an agreement on what “clean” looks like, and that you’ll both be proactive in keeping it that way, and pay attention to what needs to be done.

      Also, words matter. If a guy looks at doing housework as “helping,” that’s not great, that word implies it’s not really his responsibility and he’s just lending an extra hand when you need it and he has the time.

      Definitely frame shared responsibility as something that’s really important to you. A mature man will take that to heart; if says “but I’m not good at that stuff!” and refuses to shape up, he’s probably not a good match for you.

    • Similar to others, we don’t share chores at all. I handle all the grocery shopping and cooking. He handles all the dishes, takes out the trash, and handles anything car-related. We have a cleaning service that comes regularly. We each do our laundry and make our own medical appointments. We don’t have kids, which makes this all easier, and we do trade off on who handles various house issues, calling contractors, etc.

    • You fix it by sitting down and having a conversation. Each person should come to the table with a list of how they currently live, and you negotiate from there. I don’t care about the sink being empty of dirty dishes every night as long as the counter isn’t messy – DH does and takes responsibility for all dishes. DH only changed his sheets every three weeks – I’m a weekly changer with a mid-week pillow change so I do all the linens in the house. I mow the lawn because I like gardening and DH does vaccumming in between the cleaning service visits. I’m not sure I even know how to turn on the new dishwasher. Whereas DH has no idea about ordering/fitting/washing kids clothes/shoes.

      The guys you moved in with clearly kept themselves fed, laundry done etc before you moved it. Have an explicit conversation about dividing up tasks and how that changes when you are two people living together.

    • Agree with most of the posters above, but also: when you are dividing up chores, count the emotional labor. I definitely do more of that in my relationship, but it’s recognized as part of our division of labor, and my husband does more of the physical stuff to balance it out. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of dividing up the tangible labor equally, and then one partner does all the thinking/planning on top of that, which is where the inequity sneaks back in. If one partner is going go do more of the thinking/planning, that’s fine – as long as it’s recognized as work and taken into consideration as part of the overall labor of running the family.

    • My SO and I are very equitable but we have regular conversations where we specifically acknowledge and thank each other for the emotional labor (sometimes he’s doing more, sometimes I’m doing more, depending on who’s more stressed), or where we mutually recalibrate if it’s gotten out of wack. It’s very much an ongoing discussion and always will be.

      • Anonymous :

        agree with this so much! On the other hand, I once lamented having to always change the TP roll, to which he responded that he just changed it the other day (your own efforts are always more visible to yourself). So now whenever one of us changes it, we make it into a silly, grand announcement about our service to the house.

    • Price of admission in my house, but I am in the minority here. I married DH for many reasons, but his ability to “keep a home” is not one of them and I knew that going in. We have different approaches to life (i.e., if I’m tired, I do the dishes anyways, if he’s tired, he goes to bed and the dishes can wait until tomorrow. I’m not sure one is necessarily better than the other, except that he requires more sleep than any human being I’ve met (minimum 10 hours) and has health issues that cause him to tire very easily which can be frustrating to someone who does not tire easily and sleeps around 7 hours a night). That being said, he decided to give up his career and stay home with our kids, so I would never venture to say he is not an equal partner (just that I know a lot of SAHMs that would kill to have a husband do what I do).

      Practically, what this looks like in our house is that DH washes his own stuff (but none of the “joint” laundry like sheets, towels, etc.). He occasionally washes a load of baby clothes when I point it out, but I usually do the kid stuff with mine. We use an online service for grocery delivery, so we both contribute to “grocery shopping”, albeit online. Pre-kids we got a housekeeper 1x a month so I didn’t have to nag him to help me clean and he wasn’t upset that we didn’t have any together time because I would spend weekends cleaning (very different standards of cleanliness – in the years of marriage I have lowered mine a bit – 3 hours scrubbing and cleaning every weekend seemed overkill). Post-kids we upped it to 2x a month. He is happy with takeout and freezer food, I insist that we need to eat better than that and find homecooked food better and healthier (and I am a good cook). So, I do 75% of the cooking, I do 99% of the dishes because of an error on my part when we first got married and I redid the dishwasher after he loaded it wrong and he put non-dishwasher safe pans in the dishwasher and now he refuses to do it because “You don’t like the way I do” despite repeated explanations that “at this point I don’t care how you do, just that it gets done.” Don’t be me. So, on nights I’m too tired to cook, we eat out or do delivery or eat something out of the freezer – he also does all the grilling. Once upon a time he would take out the trash when asked but I got tired of asking 3 times and being told “I’ll do it later”, so now I just do that too because it will be 3 days before later ever arrives. At the end of the day, he keeps our baby safe, happy and healthy for the 60-70 hours a week that I work, and I do pretty much everything else.

      • He’s a stay at home Dad who doesn’t cook, clean, or do baby’s laundry? Wow. I can’t beliebe how lazy that is.

        • Anonymous :

          Would you say that about a SAHM? Most women I know who stay home having cleaning help and many have food delivery or meal prep help too. Not OP but I feel like a stay at home parent’s job is childcare, not household care. DH made dinner every night when I was on maternity leave because I didn’t have time to do it while taking care of an infant. I was doing a lot for our child but very little for the house.

          • All of the SAHMs I know do the cleaning and cooking. Maternity leave with a baby is different, but after that time, most men I know believe that the main reason to have a SAHW is to get out of all housework.

          • Depends almost entirely on the age of the children. For an infant, childcare is a fulltime job without room for many other tasks… but if they are over a year old (maybe, maybe two years, to be generous), a stay at home parent should absolutely be capable of some cooking, some cleaning, and some laundry. Reasonable to still have food delivery or meal prep help, of course. But to laud this guy for being a SAHD to ambulatory, functional children without lifting a finger towards anything else is unreasonable.

          • I would say that about a SAHM in the situation of OP, yes. I think it’s absurd that she works 70hrs / wk to provide for the family, then does a second shift at home. Exchange childcare with a full time job, and you still have a lazy husband who checks out when wife gets home and can’t remember to do simple things like take out the trash. That’s not equitable division of labor, that’s “wife is home, I’m on break now”. Don’t confuse. I also think a SAHM is lazy if she can’t clean up after herself and make dinner while taking care of kids. No one is expecting a SAHM to keep the house spic and span, but if your kid isn’t special needs, you can definitely throw stuff in a crock pot, load some laundry, and take out the trash at some point in the day. Those are discrete short time items. Again, this person’s SAHD is lazy. Just because he’s a good father doesn’t mean he’s a good partner.

          • Anonymous :

            100%. If you’re staying at home, you take care of the Home. Sure. Not with a newborn. But after that? Yes. Your job.

    • Very possible. My SO works from home part time, though will hopefully moving to full time next year. Therefore, he does lots of the grocery getting, dishes, and of course all the car maintenance stuff without my help. I bring home the bacon and cook dinner because I love to cook, and I work next to a market with nice bacon. I imagine when he does go full time, my tasks will increase somewhat, but not that much.

      I think a fundamental issue might be how clean you think the house should be vs. what he thinks. My SO complains about junk piling up, but he is the main offender of the junk piles. When it bothers me I clean it up. He is also a “wash the dishes in a bucket” guy. I do not approve of this, and he knows this, and he knows while I will do some of the dishes if I need them to cook dinner, I WILL NOT TOUCH anything in the bucket. Because GROSS. He also believes in letting the dishes soak in the bucket for longer than I like. However, because he is doing it, I let him do it on his own time and don’t complain unless a sea monster starts growing in the bucket.

      Anyway, if I could not deal with the bucket situation we would have to break up, because thats the way he does things. When we were going through some of our biggest relationship problems a friend told us, “if its a problem that can be fixed with money, then its not a real problem.” And this holds true. Yes, I do not like the bucket, but it could be fixed by a dishwasher! Therefore, until we have the money to get the dishwasher, I deal with the bucket. And, I put up my boundaries about the bucket.

      Real problems, like those emotional labor problems, are much more difficult to work through.

    • I don’t know if an “equal” division of labour will ever come naturally, but an equitable division is possible with everyone playing to their strengths. For example, my husband is bad at making doctor’s appointments, calling the insurance company, filling out the form for daycare, etc. because his mom did 100% of these tasks for him until he was 20. By contrast, I am the oldest child and a girl so I was often in charge of organizing my younger siblings, so keeping track of the moving parts of our family comes very easily to me so I’ve taken on that labour. My husband does physical labour tasks like mowing the lawn, shovelling snow, taking out the garbage that he started doing when he was a teenager and I have never done. I don’t like cooking so my husband does it. My husband turns laundry pink, so I do it. We split childcare close to equally, but if our kid needs new shoes then I pick them out and purchase them and if he needs to be carried around the mall my husband does it.

      I think the biggest difference-maker is talking about emotional labour so that it can be recognized and counted as part of the division of labour rather than invisible work you take on in addition to half of the more traditional household labour.

    • You don’t date men like that, or move in with men like that. It’s hard, but it’s possible.

    • MagicUnicorn :

      I love this question and am reading the answers with great interest.

      FWIW, our division shifts depending on what is going on in life. DH is in academia and had this past summer off (not always the case, though) while I work FT and have very distinct slow/busy seasons. Our current division has me doing grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, lawncare, miscellaneous seasonal tasks such as window washing, and other random things like watering the houseplants and replacing empty tissue boxes with full ones. He does the cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, garbage take-out, washing of dirty dishes, and heights-related things like cleaning gutters and smooshing ceiling spiders.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, and you don’t have to get a single guy in his forties to have it. My husband and I were high school sweethearts and moved in together after college. We both work full time. He does all the laundry except my air-dry delicates, all the cooking, dishes, sweeping, lawn-mowing, cat-feeding. He does the emotional labor of remembering when the kids need diapers at day care and the day-to-day bill payments. I chip in occasionally on meal planning and do one-time awful things (retirement accounts, choosing health insurance plans, organizational systems, seasonal swap out of children’s clothing, doctor’s appointments for myself and the children, he does his own), cat boxes, weeding. We split the heavy cleaning before someone visits. I do the recycling, he does the trash. He does more child care than me on average, I think. We have twins, and that broke down the child care very egalitarianly (each feed a baby, each change a diaper). I have no idea why people marry and/or stay married to man children. If something that is his job isn’t getting done I just let it not get done. I’d rather drop all the balls than do any of that myself. I have a bubble bath to take.

    • Anonymous :

      We solved this problem by both working full time plus jobs and having four kids in short order. There is simply so much work to be done that there is no time to keep score or even discuss it. We both just do stuff, all of the time that we are home and not sleeping. If DH is doing dishes, I’m doing homework or reading with a kid. DH taking the garbage out and putting yard toys/bikes away– I’m bathing kids and brushing hair/teeth. DH picking DD up from sport, I’m prepping lunches and organizing tmrw’s clothes. I drop the kids off in the morning, he picks them up in the afternoon. DH will batch cook freezer meals and I’ll bake stuff for the kids, cut up fruits/veggies, etc. We text re dinner plans and store needs during the work day and we keep a google calendar (that is insane). If I dont want to do a particular task, like sign a kid up for something, I text DH and tell him I dont want to do it and ask if he minds. I travel for work sometimes and that is when the sh*t hits the fan but its just a cost of doing business for us.

  6. Just an FYI – probably not quite as comfy, but uniqlo has a similar enough pair for under $30 in a ton of fabrics/colors. I just bought a winter flannel pair and very happy. Same idea – pull on style but looks like real pants.

    • Can you post a link to these?

      • It’s the ezy ankle pants. They look a bit more fitted in real life, or on me, anyway. I tend to think that looks better but I guess size up if you like it better as styled? They had a promo when I got that made all the pants 19-29 but looks like they’re $39 now. FYI – they’re lined and uniqlo will do free hemming if you know your inseam.


  7. Who wants to do some vicarious shopping for me? I’m searching for a dress to wear to my rehearsal dinner in January. Northeast; it’ll be cold. I’d prefer to stay under $150, and I’d like it to be white or cream. I’d like something with a little “wow factor” as my fiancé’s family is filled with impossibly beautiful and stylish women, and just once I would like to not feel like the ugly duckling. I’m a 00 and 5’2. Thanks!

    • IDK but I dream shop at a website called the Modist (aimed at modest women, but not in a Juniper Creek way). Their caftans are to die for. I’d start there for ideas — long fancy caftans to me make everyone seem tall, willowy, and very chic. You could layer underneath so you’d stay warm.

    • Diana Barry :


    • Diana Barry :


    • Not sure if it’s too simple, but I saw this dress and thought it’d be lovely for this sort of occasion: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/gal-meets-glam-collection-victoria-pearly-trim-fit-flare-dress-nordstrom-exclusive/4965132?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FWomen%2FClothing%2FDresses&color=creme

    • Not sure how you feel about long, but this is $100 for the XS and I’ve had it on my list for a while http://a.co/d/7KGnjJr

    • I think it might be a little early to find a winter white dress with wow factor. A lot of the white dresses I’m seeing right now still look very summery.

    • I’ve been watching this one for some time. A bit over your budget but they often do sales that would bring it down. https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/tiana-dress?category=sale-dresses&color=011

    • This is $400 but too gorgeous not to share. https://www.ruelala.com/boutique/product/117940/61562523/?dsi=BTQ-683984661–af45cbe1-90d4-4e7e-b2a7-4423df3947b8&lsi=79281026-b23a-48df-8adb-dd34a9da7597&pos=28

  8. I have an unexpected 2.5 hours in San Francisco this morning. There are 3 of us, and we’ve done most of the highlights and Muir Woods before. How would you pass the time? We do have a rental car (if this helps or hinders is TBD).

    • Go to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at Moss Beach and watch the sea lions and look in the tidepools.

    • I would just walk around Lands End and enjoy the views. 2.5 hours isn’t much time.

    • I’d head to my favorite cafe – 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley and walk around after there, tons of cute shops. You should be able to park in the morning close-ish.

    • SFAttorney :

      Or go on a free walking tour though San Francisco City Guides. They are excellent and a bunch of them start at t11:00 a.m. I couldn’t find the duration looking quickly but my recollection is that they’re a couple hours.


    • SFAttorney :

      I think my post is in moderation — it has a link. I suggest the free tours by San Francisco City Guides Walking Tours.

  9. More books :

    I feel like I am missing out on my reading background — I switched schools a lot growing up, so I feel that I have holes in the basics of literature compared to what most people seem to have read (like I read Book A three times in various high schools — that must mean that I missed something that I wouldn’t have repeated had I not moved around and changed schools). I find myself reading wikipedia entries on books I haven’t read once I’ve heard them mentioned elsewhere (so I know what happened in the Grapes of Wrath, but I haven’t actually read it).

    I’ve got a community college and a small liberal arts college in my zip code. Should I start by signing up for a Great Books-type class and go from there? I feel like having a structure would be helpful, along with some guided discussions. [I would probably just audit the classes, which has a minimal cost, vs trying to get credits.]

    [FWIW, I work with a lot of bankers (90% guys) and the only book I’ve ever heard anyone talk about reading was Liar’s Poker, which I read and thought was excellent. But I realize that while it’s an entertaining book, it’s not regarded as literature. I think I’m overall well-read, but have gaping holes in the literature area. Not sure why it matters to me except maybe I’d miss something obvious to others in pub trivia.]

    • I had this happen – great high school but didn’t do the classics. I just googled lists of “best classic books” “100 books everyone should read” and read them. I’d alternate a book on the list with a more mindless current book. It went well and was a fun few years reading up on things.

    • I will say that I have a pretty blue collar background and went to schools where the “college bound” kids go to community college. And while I’m well-read, I know that I am just missing things (like I couldn’t pronounce Phillipa — I got the accent wrong) and it really feels awful to be laughed at.

      • Wait I still don’t know. Is it phillip-ah or fill-eep-ah or something else?

        • Well, it’s not fill-LIP-a (I think I was used to the bible book of Phillippians, where the LIP is stressed, at least in my church).

      • How IS this pronounced?

        • I’ve always heard it FILL-ip-a – which makes the nickname “Pippa” make a LOT more sense… Thanks British boss!

          • Huh. The only Philippa I’ve ever known went with fill-LIP-a, so that’s always how I’ve pronounced it. My high school and college career were full of Great Books. Granted my Philippa wasn’t British, and my classes were full of fellow Americans who may have not known any better either. Who knew.

      • Who knows?

        Maybe this is why Kate Middleton’s sister goes by Pippa?

    • Eh – do you actually WANT to read these books, or just feel like you should? I mean, if you want to – go for it, but i wouldn’t sweat it. But I’d start with maybe just reading one on your own, or seeing if you can find a guided reading thing online first, as a baby step before committing to a full course. Just to see if you can actually make it through a book?

      FWIW, I haven’t read the Grapes of Wrath either, or a lot of what is considered the classical canon. My HS lit class picked a variety of classic and modern novels to read, and I didn’t have to take any lit classes in college. I also think people get way to hung up on what’s considered “literature” – but I also consider reading an escape vs improvement exercise.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Do you really need a discussion on the books? Seems kind of unnecessary to pay for that. I’d just read them, and if you feel like you’re missing something, read the cliffnotes. If you just want a list of what to read, you can find course syllabuses for some college courses online, or just google “best classic literature” or something to that effect.

      But honestly, a lot of “classic” literature just isn’t terribly entertaining, and I decided life is too short to read things I’m not entertained or interested by. For example, Liar’s Poker, while perhaps not “literature,” is interesting. I’m not sure my life is any worse off because I’ve never actually read War and Peace or anything by Hemingway, for example.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        (This is not to say I haven’t attempted to read War and Peace or anything by Hemingway. I went on a similar mission one time, read a couple of chapters, and then decided, nah, not worth it)

        • I tried to read War and Peace at the gym on the recumbent bike. It was a big book (from the library — an ambitious borrowing to read in 3 weeks). I dropped it, lost my place, and just gave up after a while.

          I can see how it would be a good book and why people read it. Maybe there is an abridged version (although that might destroy the language — the use of words is what gets me about a lot of books. some writing is like velvet).

        • Ha, I love both War & Peace and basically all Hemingway. My bete noire is Faulkner. I just can’t.

          • I can’t with Faulkner. I just can’t.

            Love Hemingway. Have never attempted War & Peace. Unbothered by James Joyce. When I want to feel literary I fill in the gaps in my George Eliot/Virginia Woolf/Bronte sisters canon.

          • Joseph Conrad novels are also just really good reads.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            OMG Faulkner. I actually did have to read Faulkner for school growing up. I hate Faulkner. Hate.

          • Senior Attorney :

            All the no to Faulkner, but big thumbs up for Hemingway. I remember reading The Old Man and the Sea when I was maybe 12 years old and I cried my eyes out so hard! And then I wanted to read more Hemingway so I read The Sun Also Rises and I completely missed the main plot point (Jake’s war injury made him unable to, uh, garden) so it just went over my head! I still laugh about that every time I think of it!

          • I didn’t understand why everyone raved about Grapes of Wrath. Nobody needs an entire chapter about a darn turtle crossing the road. And I liked Joyce and Conrad so it’s not like symbolism and metaphors were lost on me. I’ve never felt the need to re-visit this book.
            I also disliked Faulkner although I can’t remember why (unnecessarily wordy?). Maybe I should try again with him.

          • @Senior Attorney: I totally missed that too and was so confused by what the angst was about. Like, I knew I was missing something. I just couldn’t tell what.

          • Senior Attorney :

            HAHAHA cbackson! I bet we weren’t the only ones!

          • Anonymous :

            LOL @Senior Attorney and @cbackson — me too!

      • I feel like I do — I am starved for grownup interactions.

        The one big thing that I hate and didn’t anticipate about having kids and continuing to work FT is that I have lost all of my working-mom friends (too time-starved, often worse than me) and just need fellow adults to talk to (who aren’t coworkers).

        • Anonymous :

          Maybe a book group is your answer. Though, those can get really weird. I went to a silent reading book club where we just read together and talked about what we were reading. https://silentbook.club/ it was really fun. That way you can talk about books, and other people in the club have already read them once.

          As far as classics that are actually good. I LOVE Pearl S. Buck. The good earth is amazing, I haven’t read the sequels, but I have read Imperial Woman and Pavilion of Women. STRONGLY RECOMMEND. Especially for older women. Though, I am a young person and I love them too.

          If you are interested in Africa, Things Fall Apart is a good one. Fun fact, the whole time I was reading it I thought that Yams were a type of Sheep. That was confusing. (I was 14 and we call them sweet potatoes)

          Don’t read grapes of wrath. It is awful.

          My favorite books from AP English were Don Dillilo’s White Noise, Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. If you like Science Fiction, you MUST read Stranger in a Strange Land. Robert A Heinlein Is amazing.

          Also! If you are busy I strongly suggest audio books. My library partners with the app Hoopla, so I can download four audio books a month. I prefer listening to Heinlein and not reading him, I think due to his style.

      • Not everyone will enjoy a genuine discussion of a book worthy of discussing, but if someone thinks they will, they probably will!

        Pretentious, unentertaining so-called “literature” is mostly a modern phenomena. If you go back far enough, the canon is nearly all super entertaining; that’s the only reason it exists.

        It might be fun to begin at the beginning and listen to an audiobook of an Epic of Gilgamesh translation. I kept feeling like it would be dry and inaccessible when I sat down to read it, but the audio really helped. Orally composed literature generally has great pacing, and it was often optimized for a broad audience so it’s not full of obscure references (compared to something like maybe the Divine Comedy or definitely War and Peace).

        If Gilgamesh is too popular (it definitely has some “pro wrestling” vibes), the anonymous Quest for the Holy Grail is a beautiful read. I personally think it translates better than Virgil (I read the Penguin), and I would recommend it over the Aeneid, though they are great together.

        Drama can also be a good place to start because plays are just not that long. If you hate one playwright, you may well like another. To stick with super canonical examples, I can easily imagine someone loving exactly one out of the Agamemnon, Doctor Faustus, The Cherry Orchard, and Measure for Measure. Someone who hates Shakespeare may love Racine or Moliere, and you can figure that out about yourself in an afternoon at the library.

        I guess what I’m saying is I would totally be up for this book club, and I never make myself read anything I’m not into.

        • This. We think of Dickens as a stuffy classic now, but he was the John Grisham of his day. I majored in creative writing but I really find most modern literary fiction deeply uninteresting.

          I LOVE Gilgamesh. So freaking weird. It reminds me of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, actually (which I suppose is sort of modern literary fiction, but it’s basically a bizarre historical fantasy story).

          • I love Dickens. Dostoevsky too. I am sure they would be part of the new Golden Age of television if they were writing today.

            I haven’t read the Buried Giant, so thanks for the recommendation!

        • Anonymous :

          I caught up on Dickens and Dostoyevsky via audio book. Way more manageable!

    • anon a mouse :

      What a fun question! You might explore a MOOC –

    • I’ll be following, as I’ve considered doing the same thing.

    • If you want some context and discussion, try reading the Norton Critical Editions.

    • Clementine :

      I wouldn’t sign up for a class – I would probably just start reading books that fall into that category.

      I’ve often thought about taking one of those ‘the 100 quintessential books of English Literature’ lists and just chugging through it as a hobby. I have a friend who did something similar – she read a bunch of the ‘banned’ books (note: she is a Librarian and this was a Thing – like the Banned Books Challenge or something?).

      • I did this for the classics of women’s literature (most of which I was definitely not assigned in high school). I found a list and chugged through it over several summers in the field back when I was an archaeologist.

    • Instead of paying for a course, why don’t you try one of those “100 great classics” posters where you scratch off the books you’ve read? See if finishing the poster is enough motivation for you.

      Or if you just want to read different books, try one of the book lists with vague prompts – Popsugar Reading Challenge is usually a good one. Then ask your local librarian to help recommend a classic that fits the prompt. You can usuallly google to find book discussions on any book, or at least questions for a book club, so that might help you identify themes.

      You could also try reaching out to friends/social media and see if anyone has a similar goal and wants to form a book club with you. “Hey friends! I’ve set a goal for myself to start reading some of the classics I missed in high school. Anyone want to join me in a small book club to keep ourselves accountable? Message me and let’s plan it out! (Feel free to share if you’ve got a friend of a friend you think might be interested!)”

      • This makes me wonder if there’s already a Slack or a Discord server somewhere doing exactly this (not the same as going out for coffee, but could be interesting depending on the moderation!).

      • Equestrian Attorney :

        Some texts really benefit from discussion in a class context – I took a Shakespeare class in college and the professor was hilarious and brought out a lot of cultural aspects of the texts that I certainly would not have understood if I was reading alone. Other literature is really easy to read just like any other novel. Don’t force yourself to read anything you don’t want to read, unless you have specific need to appear well-read (and even so, the cliffnotes will work) but I do want to push back on the notion that all classical literature is boring and pretentious and something people only read to look good. I have read some classics I have genuinely enjoyed and a lot of them helped shape my vision of the world.

    • What you need is to binge watch Wishbone!

      Seriously, that’s where the majority of my knowledge of classic literature comes from.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Late to the party here, but check out the Serial Reader app – you can get lots of classics for free, and it delivers books to you in bite-sized daily chunks (usually about 10-20 minutes of reading, depending on the book and your personal reading speed). I like it for tough books (looking at you, Moby D-ck) because you get pre-set starting and stopping points, and I found the small chunk per day easier to commit to than just making an open-ended commitment to read a book.

      The app itself is free, although you can also upgrade for more features (I did end up paying for the upgrade, it was a very inexpensive, one-time fee – I think like $2.99 or so).

  10. I’ve been monogamous with a new guy for a little over 2 months. He has a 9 year old that I haven’t met yet. Over the weekend, he had his child but asked me to come hang out after the kid went to bed. I had an early morning the next day so BF invited me to spend the night since I’d be gone before his child woke up.

    The child got up in the middle of the night and crawled into bed with us – while we were naked. I had no idea the door was unlocked and it didn’t occur to me this was a possibility with a child this age. BF woke up but Just cuddled the kid and went back to sleep. I got up and put clothes on. The next morning, I asked BF why he didn’t put the kid back to bed. He seemed confused and said he never does that. I said you realize I was naked right? He didn’t think it was a big deal. I said I’m really uncomfortable having people I’ve never met in bed with me when I’m naked – and he acted like this was all totally normal and I’m the weird one. I also mentioned that I would be bringing PJs over in the future so I don’t have to sleep in jeans again and he said he didn’t want that he wants to sleep naked with me (?!).

    I understand he has responsibilities but if you know your kid gets up in the middle of the night then maybe don’t have overnight guests when the kid is there? Or at least warn me that this might happen? And wtf with wanting me to sleep naked even though your kid might come in bed I’ve bever even met the kid! Am I totally out of touch with how parenting works, or is this legit weird?

    • It’s super weird! Like something that if his ex finds out about, could bring up in court. He has some judgement issues. If he really wants to sleep au naturel, lock the door!

    • if the kid was 3 or 4, I could see this not being that weird. But 9?!!!! That is insane.

    • Blah blah blah :

      Legit weird. I would have freaked out (internally) and may have left in the middle of the night. Has he ever introduced his child to a GF before?

    • Yes, that’s not appropriate at all. You’re in the right here, but I can’t get over the fact that you sleep naked!! Is this common? My mind is blown.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes, many people sleep naked.

      • I sleep in a t-shirt and underwear. I think sleeping fully naked is gross. Think how dirty your underwear gets at the end of just one day. If you don’t wear underwear, you sheets get that gross every night. Do these naked sleepers change their sheets daily? I doubt it.

        • What is wrong with you?

          • You mean, what is wrong with me that my underwear gets dirty and I have to change it every day? I have fairly heavy vaginal discharge all the time (no, I don’t have an infection, this has been true my whole life and my doctor says it’s completely normal). I honestly though most people changed their underwear daily though, and if you change your underwear that often, I don’t know why you wouldn’t change your sheets if they go directly against the same parts.

          • I think your doctor meant “this is completely fine” more than “this is how everyone else is.” I prefer pajamas, but I’d have to twist myself up in my sheets to get them to touch the same parts as underwear do (maybe it’s relevant that I hate jersey sheets and only use nice thick stiff sheets that tent).

          • Um… I don’t wedge my sheets between my legs and up in my @ss crack. They do not go directly against the same parts.

            You’re doing sheets wrong.

            I sleep naked AND have fairly heavy vaginal discharge (and am totally healthy) and really truly never get it on the bed unless I’m having s3x. Ever. My sheets 100% are not at all like my underwear at the end of the day. Why? Well, again, my sheets are wedged up there like my underwear is and gravity works in my favor, because I’m lying down. Also, maybe unlike you, I am not pissing and sh1tting myself in the bed.

          • What is wrong with you that you’re so nasty and judgmental? Sleeping without underwear is ok. I don’t rub my sheets on my vag.

          • Anonymous :

            Please. The nasty commenter is the one who said “unlike you I’m not pissing and shitting the bed.” I’m not judging! I just don’t get how sleeping naked works because I feel like my sheets would be nasty (from normal things like sweat and discharge, not from pooping or pissing myself..just to be clear).

        • Yes, exactly. The hygiene issue…shudder.

          • Do you poop in your sleep?

          • I have fairly heavy discharge even when I’m not on my menstrual cycle. My sheets would be disgusting if I didn’t wear underwear. I sleep topless though (except when I’m nursing and leaking milk and then I sleep in a nursing bra).

        • There are lots and lots of people around the world who sleep naked. I’m not one of them because I run cold, but you’re the one with the hang up here. Not them.

        • Yeah, no, you implied that a bunch of us (and people in generally) are rolling around in beds crusted with vaginal fluids and apparently have toddler-level awareness of where our bodily fluids go. You stated we were gross. That’s nasty and judgmental.

      • Yeah I hardly ever wear pajamas.

      • Well yeah, I’d think it’s pretty normal, especially if you hang out at a guy’s place, end up doing some gardening and then spend the night – what, was OP supposed to pack PJs for this? I guess you could borrow a T-shirt and boxers.

      • I can’t wrap my head around people sleeping in PJs! I love PJs but they’re strictly for lounging around. Even in the winter, except on the most bitter of nights, I’m in the buff and just pile more blankets on top.

      • Personally, I think there’s something wrong with you people who sleep in clothes!

        Naked sleeping for the win.

    • Wow. This seems wildly inappropriate. My initial reaction is he should better protect his child from people he’s only known a few months. Of course, I am NOT saying you would abuse the child, but broadly speaking, I would not let my 9 year old sleep in the bed naked with a man I’ve been dating for 2 months.

      I would have been extremely uncomfortable and probably left if that happened to me. This seems like a red flag. It is one thing is parents are comfortable with nudity around their children, but not with a new partner who hasn’t even officially met the child.

    • Diana Barry :

      Very weird! Not normal! He should have told you that his kid sometimes wants to get in bed with him, etc., and PJs would be a must (especially at that age!), AND if I were him I would have locked the door.

    • No no no no no no no no no. This is so bonkers I don’t have words. Never see this man again. Trust your instincts.

    • Legit weird. Also seems really early to have a date over where you could even meet the kid, much less end up sleeping in a bed with them.

    • Weird. Switch the genders of all involved — even Woody Allen isn’t that creepy (actually, he probably is; most of us are not).

      I’m a stepparent and my husband’s ex would have called the police had this happened with us. [It wouldn’t have; I am always cold; but I was mindful of the nekkidness thing when I was nursing.]

    • I think that there are actually a lot of issues here that all got wrapped up in one incident. 1. Your BF is not in charge of what makes you feel comfortable//uncomfortable. If you don’t want to sleep naked, that is your choice and he needs to accept it. 2. Your boyfriend is careful about introducing romantic partners to his child… unless youre all in the same bed together, possible naked. How/when introducing partners is something that a professional can help him with. He should talk to a therapist. 3. Sleeping in the same bed as your kid is also one of those things that people have strong feelings about, and also get squicked out about. My in-laws still let their 9 yr old sleep in their bed. It seems a bit old to me, but Im not in charge of their sleeping arrangements. How other families sleep is just one of those things that I think is better to just decide to not care about.

      I hope that you resolve these issues with your BF! I think it will help you to look at each element separately and then decide how to go forward.

      • I like you #2. It completely yet succinctly describes the boundaries being crossed and puts the cognitive dissociation where it belongs – on the boy friend.

    • This is soooooo weird. DH and I don’t sleep naked with our daughter in our house, precisely because she might wake up and come into our room at night. (And she’s 3, not 9, so for her it’s developmentally normal behavior). Not putting the kid back to bed is kind of weird even if you weren’t there, but I guess I’d say his house, his rules. But letting his 9 year old child (even weirder if it’s a son, because 9 is pretty close to puberty) in bed with his naked girlfriend is just beyond bizarre.

      • Is it Friday yet? :

        Ugh, just as weird if it’s a 9 year old girl cuddling with her naked father. It’s super ew, either gender.

        • That’s true. I meant it was probably even weirder for OP if it’s a boy, although she would certainly have a right to be uncomfortable with a naked 9 year old girl in bed next to her also.

        • Anonymous :

          In my opinion, it’s weird because US culture makes it weird. I come from a country where people are a bit more relaxed about the human body and where there is less shame around it.
          That being said, you BF wants to tell you when to be naked around others and how to feel about that and that’ not OK at all.

      • I don’t think letting your 9 year old sleep in bed with you after they wake up in the middle of the night is weird. But doing so naked certainty is.

        • Yeah my 9 year old son comes and sleeps in our bed sometimes, but we are always fully clothed! We lock the door when we are gardening and then get dressed before unlocking it.

        • The weird part is the other adult in the bed!!

    • As a parent, I vote weird. Very, very weird.

    • OH MY GOD. I don’t even have words for how weird this is.

    • Not a parent, so no ideas on kid norms, but it’s your body and you get to decide what you’re comfortable with. In this case you are not comfortable with the lack of heads up that your guy’s kid might join you in bed and being in bed naked if his child comes into the room in the middle of night. Both of those things sounds totally reasonable to me. Even if that behavior is normal in his household, he should respect that it’s not normal for you and that you’re not comfortable with it.

      (FWIW, I think it’s totally weird because that was not normal in my house growing up but I don’t know what other families’ norms are.)

    • Baconpancakes :

      No, that’s weird. It might not be weird for parents to sleep naked with a 9-year-old kid (well, it’s still a little weird, but it’s ok, it’s your kid and you still think of them as your baby), but it is super weird to let someone else be naked in the bed with your kid. It’s also probably not super healthy for a 9-year-old to have access to your bedroom when you’re having a LGP with someone else?

      • No all of it is weird.

      • It’s all very weird. Sleeping naked with a 3 year old is one thing. A 9 year old is on the cusp of puberty and should not be sleeping with naked parents, even biological ones.

      • No, this is weird and not okay. And I am completely fine with family bath time or changing in the same room or whatever; this is totally different.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Did you read the actual comment? Where I said this was weird? It might be ok with your own kid but not with someone else’s?

          • Yeah we all did. We are saying it is weird even with your own kid.

          • People are responding to this: It might not be weird for parents to sleep naked with a 9-year-old kid.

            It’s weird! Even if the OP were the child’s biological mom, it’s super weird. That’s what people are saying! The fact that she’s a GF who hasn’t even met the kid makes it a lot weirder, but it woudn’t be ok anyway.

          • Eh – I would say uncommon, but familial attitudes about nudity are different. So, I would go with uncommon vs weird (for your own kid).

    • Oh my god it’s super weird.

      Even if he doesn’t think it’s weird, its a red flag that he’s minimizing your concerns about this. Can you imagine the hell that would follow if the mom found out her child had been in bed with a naked stranger?

      • I have been wading through these comments hoping surely someone was going to make this point. HE IS MINIMIZING YOUR CONCERNS about a pretty objectively weird sexual situation that involves a minor. It’s one thing if this is some internal family situation (still weird but not the point). The point is he is TELLING YOU that your concerns are misplaced. That’s the most alarming part of all.

        You mentioned packing PJs next time. Why on earth will there be a next time? Seriously– you cannot be considering a continuing relationship with this man. He allowed you to meet his 9 year old child for the first time while naked in his bed AND THEN told you it was totally fine. NO NO NO RUN AWAY SISTER FRIEND.

    • It’s legit weird. I’m curious as to others takes on this, but it’d be a dealbreaker for me because it was really disrespectful and inappropriate to the child (and to you, but children first). And the child saw you there, apparently thought this was normal and climbed in … RED FLAG.

      What is he exposing this poor child to? How would you feel if you had a child with this man, got divorced, and your ex put your child into a situation where the child was in bed with a naked woman the child had never met and the ex had only known for a few months?

    • I see red flags everywhere: his reaction to your reaction, inviting you to sleep over before you had met his child, and his overall communication with you. It’s not your problem (you obviously are concerned about all the right things) but I can imagine what my reaction would be if I were this child’s mother and found out he had done this. It seems to me that this is normal to him and his child, as the child didn’t seem surprised to find…a naked woman he didn’t recognize in bed with his dad…. Personally, this episode would be a deal-breaker for all the red flags above.

    • I’m a parent and think this is VERY weird. I also wonder what the child’s mother would think. While that shouldn’t be the be all-end all, it is important and she’d probably (rightfully) FREAK OUT.

    • another parent :

      Yeah, if our school aged kid crawled into bed with us, we’d put some clothes on if we didn’t have them on (everybody covers their privates). The situation you described is really weird and shows awful judgment on the BF’s part.

      • +1 but the awful judgement started at BF suggesting to sleep over before she’s even met the child. This shows that he puts his needs before his son. As a single parent, never have I ever put my son in this situation (luckily my ex would not either). The child’s needs come before my s e x u a l needs.

        OP, this shows a lack of judgement on your part as well.

        • Oh please. Can we not with the – women must be held responsible for all things child-related. It’s not her kid. From the post, it sounds like she doesn’t have kids and is unfamiliar with kid-related things. She doesn’t have bad judgment for not knowing that it’s weird to invite a new SO over after the kids are in bed.

          • That is pretty much the definition of lack of judgement. Agreeing to sleep over, and naked, with a child in the house she’s never met is S T U P I D.

          • I don’t think its stupid on the OP’s part. Most master bedrooms have locks and I would assume the BF locks the door when his GF is in the house, especially when she’s naked. OP is not the one in the wrong here.

    • SUPER WEIRD and if I were the ex I’d have a huge problem. Did the kid at least climb in next to BF and not you?

    • OMG. I would flip out if my 9 year old reported back to me on this. Not at all normal or garden variety.

      • Honestly, I would consider finding a way to privately or confidentially inform the mother of the child about this if it was me because I think it’s so beyond the pale of normal behavior that I agree with the below commenter that it is bordering on grooming behavior.

        I mean….what about nights where there isn’t another person in the bed? Is that really all that better?

    • I’m going to be honest, this would be a deal breaker for me. Not just because I think it’s weird and kind of inappropriate for a parent to sleep naked with their child (of either gender) because it’s teaching really unhealthy boundaries with adults (even if literally nothing illicit is happening, which I don’t think you can assume).

      But just as importantly, while it can be up to BF and the mother of said child to determine their *own* boundaries with the child, it is YOUR choice about YOUR boundaries. And the fact that he was so dismissive of your concerns and even tried to tell you how you need to sleep is also unacceptable to me. Like, if a guy tried to tell me that I couldn’t wear PJs to sleep, that would probably be a dealbreaker WITHOUT the creepy kid meeting.

      Sorry, I know that’s not the nicest advice. Maybe you can talk it through with him and try to clarify why it made you very, very uncomfortable. But someone who has so little respect for your feelings and boundaries would be concerning to me, child or not.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I completely agree with all of this. I would be out the door and never to be seen again.

    • Wow. You were both naked — so either a close to puberty 9 yr old boy was in bed with a naked woman or a 9 yr old girl was snuggling with dad as his d was hanging out there. I’d break up – he has judgment problems.

      • Anonymous :

        Really, because the [email protected] orientation of the 9 year old can’t be assumed, a pubescent child being in bed with a naked adult of either (but in this case both) gender is problematic.

        • Anonymous :

          Eh, regardless of s*xual orientation it’s less weird when it’s the same gender. Yes, the 9 year old might turn out to be a lesbian, but she’s already in PE classes and locker rooms where she sees naked girls her own age and naked adult women and she has or will have the same parts, so seeing her naked mom is less weird than seeing her naked dad.

    • Still thinking about this. Is he grooming his child for s*xual abuse? I would ask him more questions about this whole situation (pretending to with-hold judgement) to get more information about what he is thinking here. Does he sleep naked? And the child is welcome to come into bed with him anytime? etc, etc. Then, I would consider telling CPS or the child’s mom. Like, he is seriously inviting you to be naked in bed with him and his child again? Wayyyy beyond inappropriate.

      • This is where my mind went. Is this child already being abused? That a pre-adolescent saw a stranger and felt comfortable enough to still proceed seems strange. And that’s even if there were clothes on.

        This would be a deal breaker to me. And I’d even be wondering whether I needed to contact the kid’s parent or school. This makes me really worried for that fourth grader.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree. At 9, I knew about sex and I was wearing a bra. I know this is early, but… its way too close for comfort. If this child is a littler girl I am really alarmed.

        This is something I would talk to the mom about. She should know at the very least what happened and that the dad thinks its completely normal.

        There are mitigating circumstances like the child has night terrors or a disability, but I feel like this is something that you would know about by now. Maybe the house is haunted? Maybe they recently moved in and the kid just is too scared to sleep alone? If these are the reasons, then, it needs to be discussed. Regardless, nudity is inappropriate.

        I wouldn’t want to sleep naked with a 9 year old corgi.

        • Anonymous :

          At 9, I went to sleepaway camp for 8 weeks. It never would have occurred to me to climb into bed with my parents in the middle of the night at that age. This is just super weird.

      • Is there some sort of legal issue at play here? Negligence? Not in law or anywhere close to it, but that’s ALL I could think of when I read this. Maybe not initially because kid walked in on his own, but then dad knowingly kept kid in the situation.

        This is all kinds of effed up and I’d be SO GONE given how dismissive BF is.

  11. We may have talked about this before, but how long does it take your office to “settle in” for the day? We all come in between 8 and 8:30 and usually by 9 the coffee and chat routine has wound down and the office is quieter and more productive. Recently, this morning hubbub has been dragging on much longer than usual. Today it was nearly 10 and nobody was working, which seemed excessive to me. Curious how other offices handle this!

    • I live in a billable hour world. There is no time to “settle in”. You come in, go to your office, and get your work done. But, TBH, I think this is how most offices work, whether billable or not.

      • Yeah. We’re a law firm. Not homeroom. To the extent there’s settling in, it’s what you personally need to do to get yourself together for the day- sip coffee, make a list, do a few admin things– not your office as a unit deciding they are done with morning crafts and juice and want to do work.

    • I don’t see this as something to be “handled” – we come in as we please, get our work done and leave when we’re finished. There’s always the hum of people coming and going.

    • Are you a manager? Are people not getting their work done? Is it affecting *your* work? If it’s affecting your work, then you need to set some boundaries and tell people you can’t chat right now. If it’s not affecting your work, I probably wouldn’t worry about it.

  12. Caitlyn Sanderson :

    THESE PANTS ARE THE BEST. They might look totally dorky, but on they are like skinny cigarette pants that never wrinkle. You can usually get great sales on them if you go outside of Eileen Fisher, to where they are stocked in department stores — I am currently wearing a bright red pair I got for $52 at Dillard’s during their Labor Day sale.

    • I love these pants too. I always think “magic pants” when I’m wearing them.

    • I’ve never tried them but have noticed a lot lately that clothes look better on people IRL than on the models online. The models online tend to drown in so many things that it makes it really hard to tell how they fit. Reviews and word of mouth are so much more helpful.

      • I got really mad the first time I learned that they don’t always even photograph the same clothing. (I don’t know if this is legal or just something they do anyway, but H&M is an offender; it’s not just YesStyle or something. My understanding is that there was a loophole like the one that lets them use fake food in fast food ads.)

  13. PSA: Flu shots are now available at just about every pharmacy and are free with most insurance plans in the US. It takes a few minutes and adds to herd immunity for those who can’t safely get immunized. And a week+ with flu? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    Please get immunized sooner rather than later!

    • Thank you thank you thank you! Taking my 8 month old in to get her flu shot this weekend. She was born in late January last year in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons ever and she couldn’t be vaccinated because she was too little. I was a nervous wreck and am so glad she can be vaccinated now.

    • I was just at my GP and she recommended waiting until October to get a flu shot – something about it wearing off before flu season ends if you get it now.

      • That’s not really true. They only make one batch per flu season so it’s basically the same whether you get it now or wait a month.

        I took my kid to the pediatrician yesterday and they offered us both flu shots at the end of the visit. So nice to check that off my list.

        And YES it is so much better than getting the flu. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t remember what flu feels like.

        • Oh no, I’m 100% getting the flu shot. She just said something about how long the vaccine will last and be effective in your system. Like if you get vaccinated now, it will have worn off before flu season has completely ended which is why she recommended waiting until October. But I agree, it is absolutely better than getting the flu.

          • Flu vaccines need 2 weeks to be “activated” after the first immunization and last between 6-10m. As previous commenter mentioned, pharma companies decide with regulatory bodies in which flu stems will the vaccines for the upcoming season contain and then they produce full year supply. Often times it happens, that the production is limited and in case there is an early case of flu (eg beg of October) and people decide to get vaccinated, the companies hit out of stock and you will need to wait for emergency production. Though these cases are rare, during true flu outbreaks, they happen. I got vaccinated early September as winter ends in March where I live.

      • For older/ younger/ more at risk people, my doctor said the optimum time is between Halloween and Thanksgiving, but if that is too hard and it’s easier to go sooner with the whole family (or you’re worried you’ll forget), go any time after Labor Day. It’s better to have partial or reduced protection than none at all.

        • Hmm, my daughter is 6 months (so very young, just barely eligible for the shot) and my doctor told us to get it before Oct. 1 for maximum protection.

    • I’m an immunosuppressed special snowflake so (a) YES PLEASE EVERYONE GET YOUR FLU SHOTS and (b) literally as soon as any doctor sees me once the vaccines have come in for the year, they vaccinate me. It’s kind of hilarious because I feel like someday I’m going to show up at the dentist and they’ll be like….TIME FOR YOUR FLU VACCINE!

      But, yeah, please get vaccinated everyone. It’s a small price for you and can save some of us a very, very big price.

    • Do you think an Obgyn would have the flu shot available? Unlikely right? Already have an appointment at GW for an annual this fall and would love to just get it there. I know it’s offered everywhere but I still prefer a dr office if possible rather than a grocery store – just preference.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        It can’t hurt to ask! In my mind it’d be smart for them to have at least a few doses on hand – pregnant women are encouraged to get flu shots along with everyone else, and it’d be great to just stick them while they’re at an existing appointment.

      • Delta Dawn :

        I’ve gotten the flu shot at my Obgyn twice– was in for a prenatal appointment and got it then, both times. They should have it!

      • Mine did. Last year I showed up at the OBGYN for my first “I’m pregnant!” appointment and he was like great – here’s a flu shot.

      • My OB had it.

      • Anonymous :

        Mine has it. Pregnant women are supposed to get it so I think most have it for that reason. But they would probably give it to anybody (any patient I mean, but just someone who walked in off the street).

      • Mine only offers the flu shot to pregnant women.

      • Anonymous :

        Ask – GW GYN should have it and often the rules re – only for pregnant patients are more the smaller private practices, not the big health systems. Lots of gyns also recognize that many women treat their annual as their only primary care appointment of the year, so they offer primary care services. Plus if they don’t have it/can’t give, very likely they just send you over the internal medicine on the next floor and you get it there on the same visit.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m pregnant and my OB at GW said they do not stock the vaccine. She said you can get it from the pharmacy and they will administer it, but I am just getting it from my primary care doc.

    • Yes! Thank you for the reminder!

  14. Shopaholic :

    I’m looking for a unicorn of a work bag. I really like structured satchels but turns out they’re completely impractical for my life as a lawyer/commute on public transit.

    I want something leather (but not too heavy), fits over my shoulder, isn’t a floppy mess, can fit my lunch in there. Ideally there would also be an outside pocket for my keys/phone and a zip top.

    Any suggestions?

    Also – does anyone have one of the Dagne Dover leather totes and can speak to them? I know they’re not zip tops but I really like the Charlie tote.

    • tory burch robinson?

    • Other than the zipper issue I love the Rough & Tumble 7 pocket tote. But they do custom work so may be able to add a zipper for you.

      • I just got a Rough & Tumble classic hobo and I LOVE IT. This version is floppy but the 7 pocket tote may be stiffer.

    • I just got a Dagne Dover Allyn bag, and I love it. My criteria: stands up on its own, has a safe place for my laptop, has somewhere for my bus pass and phone that is easily accessible, has a place for a water bottle, doesn’t have a lot of “wasted” space (some bags had a ton of vertical space which made the bag bigger but didn’t add useful storage most of the time – I’m looking at you, Lo&Sons OG), has room for my glasslock lunch containers (so at least 6″ deep), AND has a handle drop of at least 9″. So – lots of requirements, which the Allyn meets, plus it looks super sharp. I’m kind of regretting that I went safe and got the black rather than the burgundy, but otherwise I’m thrilled.

      • I have the Allyn in burgundy and I love it a lot. My criteria are the same as yours. I never bother to zip the tops of zippered bags, so the magnetic clasp is actually better for me. Plus I can stick my keychain to the magnet and always find them.

    • So, my posts are getting eaten for some reason, but I have and LOVE the Charlie tote by Dagne Dover. It can get heavy, but it wears like iron (I shove it under my seat on planes/trains/automobiles and it still looks new 2-3 yrs later). The open top isn’t ideal, but I haven’t had any issues with it as I usually keep things in there in pouches anyway.

    • Cuyana zippered tote with the organizer.

    • Anonymous :

      Lodis? I found Dagne Dover a pain because the handles aren’t flexible.

    • Not a fancy bag at all but I like the Betabrand “Big Travel Tote.” It’s pretty big and has various pockets, including some outside ones. It is also convertible to a backpack or cross-body for those days when you have way too much in there and need the extra support. But then you can take off the extra straps and it’s a tote again and looks professional. Also, it has structure which is nice.

  15. Japan Recs :

    Does anyone have must-do travel tips for Japan? I will be going on my honeymoon at the end of next month. We have 11 full days. We are into food, nature/hiking, city time, and recent history (less into things like temples and castles, though everyone says Kyoto is a can’t miss…). We tend to be pretty active/aggressive travelers and don’t mind moving around a lot. Other than flying into and out of Tokyo, nothing is booked!

    Appreciate any thoughts!

    • Stay in a ryokan. Maybe every night, but at least 1 or 2 nights. It’s an absolute must. Go to some hot springs too.

    • Flats Only :

      I don’t have specific recs, but a good jumping off point might be to look at the website of G Adventures or similar company with Japan itineraries, read their itinerary descriptions to see what might interest you, and then make your own itinerary from there. You’ll be able to see what makes sense logistically that way too.

    • If you like modern history, then perhaps a visit to Hiroshima. You can get a 7-day Japan Rail Pass for long distance bullet trains. Go west from Tokyo to Kyoto/Osaka to Hiroshima and then back to Tokyo. Go to Hakone for hotsprings and hiking. I know you say you’re not into temples but temples and shrines are often located along trails (hiking!) and offer great views once you get to the top. Kyoto would be great for that.

    • Wanderlust :

      Yes! We did Japan for our honeymoon too. We reserved a “mifi” traveling wifi device in advance and picked it up at the airport. We also ordered our Japan Rail passes in advance and had them mailed to us before we left… much cheaper that way. +1 to the Hakone suggestion, super relaxing if your room has a private onsen.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I had great experiences with private guides from www.toursbylocals.com in Osaka and Hiroshima (as well as a lot of other countries — big fan!). I’m sure you could find great guides pretty much any place in Japan from them.

      I enjoyed Miyajima Island, which is a 40-minute train ride from Hiroshima. Hiroshima was beautiful and the atom bomb museum is incredible, if terribly sad. And a big yes on the Japan Rail Pass, which you need to purchase before you leave home.

    • If there’s currently a sumo tournament going on, get tickets ahead of time!

      There’s a monkey park just outside Kyoto that’s really fun and worth a visit.

      • Wanderlust :

        Yes, in Arashiyama. We enjoyed this too — the people are in cages and the monkeys roam free.

  16. Marshmallow :

    I just bought, and am wearing today, a variation on these pants that seems to take the professionalism up a notch. Search for the stretch crepe pant in straight leg with pockets. They’re full-length and look much more like trousers, but just as comfy as the original stretchy pants (and pockets!!).

    • I’m wearing these too! Cuffed, though, to show off gorgeous new loafers from Boden, with a silk shell and open cardigan. Love the drape and the pockets. I feel comfortable but polished, not at all like I’ve given up!

  17. Wondering if anyone knows this offhand or if I should just ask someone at my firm – my firm has negotiated rates with hotels in each city where we have an office. When I travel for work, I always stay in one of the firm’s preferred hotels because of the cheaper rates. I also do this if I’m traveling for something work-related that I have to pay for out of pocket (I have an annual marketing/CLE/etc. budget and once it’s gone I have to pay out of pocket). If I’m traveling purely for fun, can I take advantage of the firm’s negotiated rate or is that not ok?

    • I think it’s a firm-specific thing so you have to ask. I worked at one place that was ok with it and one place that wasn’t.

    • I mean, you can ask, but everyone at the F50 company i used to work for did the same.

  18. Recommendations for romantic comedies or other movies set in Europe? I have some time on my hands and I’m in the mood for chic outfits, put-together men, and beautiful cityscapes. Would also be open to shows if there are any!

    • Midnight in Paris

      • +1, although I absolutely hated the “plot” it was certainly a BEAUTIFUL movie.

      • +1 I saw this movie in high school, before I knew anything about Woody Allen. This movie really made me feel like I was just walking around in Paris.

    • Vicky Austin :

      I’ve heard Ibiza on Netflix was quite good! Richard Madden… *swoon*

    • Not a romantic comedy or a movie, but the tv show Covert Affairs has a lot of episodes set in Europe and I lovvvvve her clothes (especially her shoes). If you don’t want to commit to the whole thing, the second to last season has a fairly standalone plot and is set almost entirely in Europe.

    • Before Sunrise

    • Bonne chance :

      The stupid one with Kate Hudson. Well, I think I am thinking of Le Divorce, I’m sure there are others

    • Don’t know if you’re a Downton fan, but there’s a new show on Amazon (or new to me, I just started this week) called Dr. Thorne by the guy who did Downton.

      Not precisely a romantic comedy but very periodesque with pretty clothes and fancy houses.

      • Oh, and if you don’t mind subtitles, Morocco: Love in Times of War on Netflix is a Spanish movie and it’s beautifully done. Though there are definitely times it borders on the problematic….

    • Anonymous :

      Amelie comes to mind. Very Paris!

    • I’ve seen some really good Spanish-language dramas on Netflix.

  19. How honest would you be with a friend? Friend has had a hard time in a job for many years. Recently she talks about it being very much a race thing — works at a non profit serving a lot of people of color; boss is apparently dismissive of clients and then of my friend (also a minority as am I) who cares deeply about the race issues they work on. Recently it’s this constant thing of – my boss is racist. IDK maybe she is? I don’t work there. But reality is friend has developed a HUGE attitude in the last few years — ie I run this place; boss and her favorites are dumb and couldn’t survive without me etc. I don’t say much except – it’s time to move on. But the reality is no matter how dumb or lazy anyone is, if they are the boss and you tell them that daily, they will hate you.

    Recently in giving feedback, boss told friend that she’s unapproachable and often angry. Of course friend is going off the rails with – she’s calling me an angry minority woman; microaggression etc. And all I can think is — uh she’s right. I mean friend will start yelling at me if I disagree on a race issue and supposedly she likes me. I can only imagine how she acts to her boss who she has deemed worthless. Would you say anything? Tired of nodding along and hearing – it’s ALL someone else’s fault I’m SUCH a team player. Yet don’t want to fight about it either.

    • Do you want to say something? There’s no right answer here, you’re fine either way. It kinda sounds like you want to say something though, so go for it. She will be upset but she’s already making you upset. Sometimes being a good friend means telling each other hard truths.

      Or just tell her you don’t want to hear about work anymore. She gets 10 minutes, set a timer, etc.

    • Honestly, your friend isn’t alone these days. I know a lot of people who are really entrenched in a victim mindset to the point where they are basically incapable of honest self-reflection and asking questions like “what could I do to improve this situation?” or “how is my behavior impacting my ability to ___?” I’m not sure what the answer is, especially when the situation is tinged with disagreements about race, but I do know that it’s a cautionary tale for the rest of us. It just never pays to assume the worst in everyone else/every interaction and consider yourself blameless in all ways.

      • This. To hear some people tell it, everyone is wrong, dumb and a racist and they are PERFECT. Reality is blame for most everything lies on both sides; it’s rare for one side to be totally without fault. She’s clearly doing things to antagonize the situation and maybe reading race into it (I know people react differently but generally speaking being of any race, you don’t want to let your boss know daily that you think she’s dumb. That tends not to work out for anyone.)

      • +1 to all of the above.

        I don’t think I would say anything. I also went through a really hard time where I exhibited a lot of the same behavior (not at work, it was limited to one issue and a couple of in-law family members and prompted by some ignorant and very hurtful behavior) Anyway, I never really talked to the in-laws about it, but I became a raging b*tch to my husband who I saw as part of the problem and basically went off the deep end of victimhood and awful behavior. To be fair to me, the situation was legitimately very bad on the race and acceptance dimension, but I had such a hard time with it I just leaned into the victimhood thing. I got through it/grew out of it, and I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t behave this way in front of anyone, but I honestly think I was so caught up in how I felt about things that I don’t think anyone could have pointed out my errors to me. i worked through it and see it differently now.

        Not sure how relevant that is to you- I’m generally a even keeled and self-reflective person, so it was super unusual that I ended up in that head space. But I guess that’s just even more reason not to say anything. If she’s not generally self-reflective and calm, the likelihood of you saying anything and it having a positive impact is even less.

    • I personally would not engage with the claims about the boss or the work environment at all (though I know there can be a lot of pressure to validate facts and not just feelings).

      But with the person in my life who couldn’t stop talking about the coworker they hate, I did a lot of reflecting. “It sounds like you’re really unhappy with your boss.” “It must be really hard to be told that.” “I wish you didn’t have to deal with this at work.” Some people may call you on it, but I guess that gives you an opportunity to counter complain (“We’ve talked about this before, and I’m not sure what’s left for me to say”).

      I personally have found myself ranting about a situation when what I really needed to do was either accept or take action, and I can’t say that I liked these boring and unrewarding replies. But if I was annoyed enough to become angry about explicitly supportive comments, that was a big red flag to me that I was part of the problem.

    • Honestly, you don’t work there so you have every entitlement to not care anymore. Her attitude at work doesn’t affect you – tell her to lay off the work talk and steer the convo elsewhere. You also have the option of calling her out on her hypocrisy and laying out how you see it and tell her, this is my perspective and you know it now, I don’t want to talk about your work anymore since we obviously don’t see eye to eye and its affecting our friendship.

  20. MZ Wallace :

    What’s a good smallish bag from there — the Jane? The Baby Jane (or Janie)?

    I need to carry a zip wallet, an iPhone (in otterbox, so it is huge), and reading glasses. And maybe a lipstick / pen. So not much.

    The Kate I feel is way too large (and I have an OG bag for when I need something large).

    I just need a lightweight purse for when I don’t also need to bring a laptop.

    I do want a zipper top.

    • I have a tweed Bea satchel from a few years ago that I think is the perfect size for when you don’t need a laptop. Unfortunately I don’t see that style on their site at all. The closest in size seems to be the Baby Jane or anything “mini,” like the mini Soho tote. I think the Jane will be too big.

      I also have two of their larger totes and one of the metro bags and I just love them all. They are very good quality.

  21. Another Trader Joe's question :

    What are your favorites there that you can’t get anywhere else? I like a lot of the ready-to-eat meals but many of them are sold under the Amy’s brand in other grocery stores. I’m looking for things that are really unique to Trader Joe’s, not just cheaper there.

    • Orange chicken
      Frozen mac and cheese
      Fresh pizza dough–much better than the stuff our regular grocery store sells
      Ice cream and gelato
      Frozen key lime pie
      Peanut butter pretzel nuggets
      Fig and walnut crisps
      Sweet and spicy pecans
      All the seasonal specialties–pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, Meyer lemon cake mix, jarred cranberry sauce, pumpkin butter, chocolate-covered peppermint Joe-Joe cookies, chocolate-covered peppermint pretzel thins
      The $5.99 rose with the goat on the bottle
      Whole-milk ricotta cheese–better than the grocery store version
      Brioche bread for French toast

      • Ha. Came to say the pizza dough, orange chicken, and ricotta cheese. Now I need to try the rest of your list!

    • Lunch — Frozen riced cauliflower bowl – it’s by the frozen tacos, etc. It has sweet potatoes and chickpeas in it. All of their Indian stuff is pretty good. I actually don’t love their frozen burritos as much as Amy’s.

      Dinner — The Japanese frozen fried rice is deliciou s- we buy it and add some protein and extra vegetables and everyone loves it. Also good for lunch, just have to make it the night before (i.e. it comes in a big bag for multiple servings, not a box like the ones mentioned above).

    • Organic cheese pizza, frozen almond croissants, stroopwaffels, fried rice, pita crackers, taco seasoning, and tamales are our go-tos. I never buy produce or fresh items at Trader Joe’s because the quality sucks, but the frozen stuff and shelf items are great.

      • Frozen Naan
        Soy Ginger fish-frozen
        Zhoug – a spicy green sauce
        Low sodium tomato soup
        Corn soup
        Frozen roasted corn
        Flax seed tortilla chips
        Honey butter potato chips
        Herbed feta

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      The mini bite-sized bries (eaten with a dollop of honey on top), the frozen mango & cream bars, and the chocolate-covered sea salt & sugar almonds.

    • Gorgonzola Gnocchi (frozen)
      Vegan Tikka Masala (frozen)
      Pasta with brie and asparagus (frozen)
      Soyaki Sauce
      Cold Brew Concentrate
      Chocolate lava cake (frozen)
      Everything but the Bagel Seasoning
      Dried Mango Slices

    • Chocolate covered pretzel slims!

    • Horse Crazy :

      My two favorites are the frozen chicken burrito bowl and the Peruvian Inca corn nuts.

  22. Any Glossier favorites? I need to order more of their Milk Jelly face soap.

    • Marshmallow :

      I’m obsessed with their new mascara. It’s a tubing mascara so it comes off with warm water and it gives a good everyday oomf without being too much. And of course boy brow; if you haven’t tried it it’s worthwhile. Don’t bother with the lipsticks, the packaging is terrible and they are barely pigmented.

  23. Mom Vegas BDay :

    I would like to plan a Vegas a couple of her friends. They have all been before, but I would like to make it more special. I figured I would start with a fun hotel, restaurant, and perhaps a show. They are all in so cal – is there a fun way to get there (other than flying or driving themselves)? I feel like there must be a planning service or pre-planned trips, I just don’t know about them.

    • First and biggest question is what is the budget? There are a lot of ways to “do” Vegas–but a lot of it comes down to your budget. You could take a Limo from LA to Vegas, which would enable you to pre-funk on the road. It’s a long ride though especially LA to Barstow. Best bets for hotels are Cosmo, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, and Caesar’s. Again–budget dependent–but all are mid strip and have phenomenal amenities. Shows are going to depend on what they’re into–Cher? Britney? J-Lo? Cirque De Soleil? All great options. Same with dinner–Vegas has some exceptional dining choices–French, Italian, High End Steakhouse, Sushi?

  24. Help, I just found out I have to give a presentation in one hour that I wasn’t expecting and don’t feel fully prepared for. Please send good vibes!

    • You must have been asked because you know the material and are the best one for the job. Organize your thoughts beforehand and then pretend you are just talking to someone. You’ve got this!

    • You can do it! Have confidence. And don’t be afraid to use phrases like, “That aspect needs further research.” But don’t apologize for it!

    • Sent! You got this!

    • Senior Attorney :

      You got this!!

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you all! I felt a little silly after I’d asked, but reading these messages before I went in seriously gave me a boost.

  25. A-type B-type Match :

    Just wanted to say Thank You to everyone who had commented on my question yesterday! Great food for thought and great tips on realigning my strategy. And thank you SC for the anecdote with the boxes (also, good job on just handling that!). And I realized maybe I’m holding a little bit of a grudge and need to appreciate all the A-complementary actions that hubs is great at.

    • I just went back and read the thread from yesterday. I think you got some good comments, and I would like to add a comment from the perspective of a type b, me! One type A commenter said (tongue-in-cheek, I think) that any decision is better than no decision. I definitely feel the opposite! I will not make a decision for fear of making the wrong one, when in reality, any decision usually is better than no decision. But it is hard for me and not just laziness. And even after the decision is made, I often hem and haw over it. So I really appreciate when others are decisive for me. And it helps me to get things done, too. So, if I were your husband, I would be more likely to get things done if I had very specific instructions. So instead of asking me to “research moving companies and choose one,” which seems daunting to me, I would prefer the task of “ask 5 friends which moving company they recommend. Then schedule the move with the one with the most recs.” Or, “Honey, tonight let’s pack up all the dishes;” then you do it together. If you want him to pick up bubble wrap at the store, ask him. Doing tasks together is so helpful for me. And it can be fun doing things together.

      • This is helpful. One of the things that confuses me about husband is that he always wants to do everything together. I’m like – but this is so inefficient! If I do X and you do Y, then we’ll be done twice as fast! And then I grumble when I find myself doing both X and Y and he’s just kind of milling about. Point taken and I enjoy doing things together too, I just need to chill out on the efficiency driving. We did do almost everything together before baby and we had a lot more harmony then. She’s old enough we should be able to reclaim some time away from chores and to doing things together again.

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