Thursday’s Workwear Report: Cross Over Peplum Jacket

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

Topshop has a lot of cute, interesting things for the office right now, including this simple cross over peplum jacket. As pictured here, I’d wear it with lighter, spring-ier bottoms — and it might even be a great blazer to keep in your office for days where you need a little extra gravitas for your basic gray sheath dress. The neckline (as with Monday’s) can be tricky, but I’d go black here — if possible I’d find a t-shirt or blouse that mirrored the slope of the V, but a simple black scoopneck tank or a body-skimming turtleneck (or turtleneck bodysuit) might be great. The jacket is $75 at Topshop, available in sizes 0–14 (ooh, also available in a white — perfect for summer — or a daring bright yellow). Cross Over Peplum Jacket

Two plus-size options are at Torrid (before you scoff, see Racked’s “The Evolution of Torrid”) and Kohl’s.

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Comments

  1. Housecounsel :

    Working from home today. Husband had a last-minute schedule change and is also working from home. Fine . . . except I ordered basically the entire Internet over the last week and it is ALL scheduled to be delivered – today. I was really hoping to enjoy the unboxing without judgment but . . .

    • This helps your plight in no way, but I lol’d at “ordered basically the entire Internet over the last week.” :) Solidarity.

    • Anonymous :

      Take the role of HOUSE counsel very literally and advise him of the wisdom of these decisions.

    • Anonymous :

      This is why UPS MyChoice needs to add same-day package intercept capability.

    • Put a note on the door that says, “Please do not wake the baby. Do not ring doorbell.” Sneak packages in later at an opportune time to a secluded spot. Open later!

    • Anonymous :

      Wow. I can’t believe people are suggesting hiding this from your husband.

    • S in Chicago :

      Ha! I thought I was the only one to use the “Please deliver to side door” trick.

      Nothing worse than when I miss being the first one home on a crazy delivery day and DH asks “Is it Christmas and I somehow missed it?”

      • The side door trick saves marriages!

        A few weeks ago Amazon Prime Pantry must have taken a vacation…because every item in my order was boxed separately. My husband texted me a photograph of the PILE of boxes stacked across our front porch. He was mad until he started opening boxes with a single item packed inside. (Like seriously – I bought ten different spices. Total cost = $30ish…Total boxes = 10)

        • A similar thing happened when I ordered Christmas decorations from target last December. We moved over the summer, so I needed more garland… each piece of garland was in a different box. I ordered 12 piece of garland. So many boxes.

        • Ugh, that makes me so mad at Amazon for the waste of packaging!

    • Out of the Box :

      What finally worked for me was reminding my husband that the alternative is for us to spend HOURS at an outlet mall on our next trip,

    • We all live the same life in many ways. :)

    • This is why I send my Nordstrom purchases to my work address …

    • I have routinely told my husband “Oh, that’s weird. J Crew just sent me another empty box…”

      It doesn’t work (he doesn’t care, tbh)

      • I say this as a joke. “Oh look, another completely empty box from Amazon! How crazy!” as I carry a stack of diapers to the nursery or a new pair of shoes to my closet.

        He doesn’t care, but any “jokes” about becoming a UPS hub are quickly answered with “Yeah, but isn’t this 50 times better than spending our weekends at Target or the mall with the kids?” And he can’t argue with that.

        • Agreed! Like, I am not impulse shopping throw pillows and scarves this way, so, win.

        • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

          This is funny to me because Amazon does send me almost a completely empty box sometimes. The dash button was the most hilarious. Itty-bitty dash button, probably a 4x10x3 box.

          • So Amazon uses some algorithm for its box sizes. Basically they put the item in the box that will best fit in a Jenga sort of way on whatever truck it will travel on. Which is why you sometimes get hilariously large boxes for a jar of face cream.

      • Housecounsel :

        Mine does care. It’s really annoying, in that I work and earn and we are equal partners, etc.., and I don’t ask for his permission. Over the years, though, I have learned that his distress when the Nordstrom packages pile up stems from growing up with very little. He has a one-Nordstrom-package-away-from-the-streets mentality that I don’t share, having grown up with little financial worry. It’s an ongoing compromise (and having packages delivered when he can’t see them is part of it).

        • Do you have a car or a coat/mudroom closet? My mom always hid packages from my similar-to-your-DH dad in her trunk or the mudroom closet until he was gone.

        • Right there with you. Mine also thinks we are one Nordstrom package away from the streets, but for the opposite reason. He grew up rich and we are only middle class, which to him feels like poverty.

    • Or you could consider not shopping like a crazy person? I hope every responder in agreement with OP is the primary breadwinner in her home by A LOT. I’d have some words if my spouse was buying up the internet.

      • Chill out, it’s a non-serious thread. I’m sure we can all relate to purchasing too many items at once and having a pile of boxes looking like a bit much. And with the lack of time and income levels of the people on this board, it’s a drop in the bucket.

        You should try getting your basics delivered instead of taking a couple hours from your week to trek in store, you might be less irritable.

        • Couple hours? I don’t waste money like you people – i’m in and out in 30-40 min. Meanwhile I don’t believe you’re only buying essentials as you’re scoping internet for days for junk to buy.

          • lol @ “YOU PEOPLE”

          • Anonymous :

            *comes to fashion / shopping blog, complains about shopping*

          • Good god. I know it’s a joke that we recommend therapy too often here, but good grief you sound like a terrible, miserable person. Why do you feel the need to bash other people who have done nothing to you? Spend some of your excess cash monies on some meds, please.

          • Admittedly, I come to this board for this kind of snark. As well as other things. I am also bitchy today and I feel like I’m not so alone.

        • This is a super-suburban response. Like it’s so easy to just waltz into Target and get what you need. Guess what? I live in a city and don’t own a car. Your target run where you buy 8 rolls of paper towels is a lot harder for me as a city dweller sans car. Amazon is for sure cheaper than paying for an Uber, renting a car, zipcaring, or…using my own time to shop. Kthanksbye.

          • MJ, I used to be car-free and live in a city, and even with great public transportation, getting the cat litter home was a weekly trial. I completely get you on this.

            Now I live in a city, but in a semi-rural area. All the major stores that carry useful things, as opposed to the touristy stores in the center of town, are on the outskirts of the city, none of them on my usual travel routes. Just stopping off after work to pick up one or two things adds a minimum of 45 minutes to my commute. And honestly, by the time I finish up a 10-12 hour work day, the last thing I want is to spend nearly an hour to trudge into a store to pick up necessities. And Amazon is frequently cheaper than the local stores. Win/win for Amazon.

      • I also think of the environmental impact of all of this.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yeah, the pile of cardboard and plastic makes me twitch even though I do a lot of my shopping online, too. But I still haven’t figured out how much worse it is to have something delivered to my home vs me getting in my car and going to the store to get it. Ugh.

          • Grouping them to all arrive on the same day is probably ideal, and better than getting in the car.

      • Primary breadwinner doesn’t matter in a marriage; all assets are shared equally. Can we please stop telling women they have less of a share in the household’s income unless they outearn their husbands? Literally zero men who have breadwinner wives think this way.

        • The person who earns more has more of a share and more of a right to spend on junk. So I hope your husbands aren’t bringing in more because then you are wasting HIS money.

          • Pretty Primadonna :

            I am certain you aren’t married. LOL

          • I was wondering if it was a dude.

          • This is not the case AT ALL in my household, and I earn double what my husband does. We decided at the get-go that our money would be pooled and we would consider it all a joint asset. One day I may change jobs and make the same or less than my husband, but that doesn’t mean I will have less of a “share.” If we are making less overall as a couple, we will both cut back.

          • Anonymama :

            I don’t earn more than My Man, but don’t worry, he pays me a respectable hourly wage (out of HIS money, like you said) for all the washing and child rearing I do. That way he can relax and put his feet up when he gets home from his Breadwinner Job while I continue managing every household task like his inferior. It is such a privilege!!

        • Anonymous :

          I recognize that this is anecdata, but all of the men who have breadwinner wives that I know think this way. I am the primary breadwinner and the fact that I have more financial decision-making power is explicitly and implicitly acknowledged in my marriage.

      • Ugh, go away. :

        “Shopping like a crazy person”

        What do those with mental illness have to do with this? Or don’t they? Are you just being lazy with your language in an effort to insult people here? A lot of folks here do shopping for regular old items via post, and that’s fine. I can’t control it when Amazon sends my can’t-obtain-locally-necessity in a too-large box, or when they make crappy decisions about how they package.

        Also, breadwinner status? What the hell year is this?

        • 2018. Wasting money is wasting money. And the person making more has every right to be annoyed. So I’m hoping all you ladies out earn your men.

          • Nice job assuming everyone’s straight too. Cool.

          • So this guy (and yes I think it’s a guy) is def. a troll. I just can’t take someone who says “you ladies” and “your men” in the same sentence seriously.

          • Marriage is about give and take…not some authoritarian control based on the amount of money you contribute. My husband absolutely loathes shopping….I hate taking out the trash and auto maintenance. In his mind it is a fair deal.

            Further, he really does not mind my online shopping ways because I price match before I buy online. 365 Organics dry goods are the same price online as they are in Whole Foods and the $15 per month Amazon fresh membership has given us back our Saturday mornings. What you see as waste is me buying back my time.

      • This isn’t helpful. I’m single so won’t get into spousal conflict but why is it an issue if she’s spending her money within her means for things she needs? I have probably 6 packages showing up at my door today and tomorrow. I bought every preppy chic thing on the Banana Republic website during friends and family as my tall size isn’t carried in store. The packages shipped in waves from various locations. I’ll try on and probably send 1/2 back, but even if I wasn’t, why are we so quick to assume the worst of others? I could afford the whole lot, I didn’t buy any spring/summer clothes last year, and my size has changed.

    • Assuming you can afford it and you stayed within budget – tell your husband to stop being judgmental about how you spend your fun money/how you choose to buy things that the home needs.

      • Anonymous :

        This is my problem with the situation. Hubby comments on my packages while I don’t really care what he orders (unless it’s more stereo equipment we don’t need), so I just tell him to suck it.

    • Oh man! I hate when that happens. Can you have your orders delivered to the office in the future? That’s what I do.

      • I do this as well (not because of DH, but because we’ve had problems with package thiefs), and my kids are always asking if there are boxes to be opened. They love opening boxes.

  2. AnonAnnoyed :

    Good morning, wise women. Maybe you can help shed some perspective on this situation for me. I feel like it’s almost annoying to complain about, but my DH calls me at work 3-4x per day for a few minutes seemingly “just to talk.” When 9 times out of 10 I inevitably find out there is no pressing issue, I have a difficult time hiding my irritation because I find these calls disruptive and distracting when I’m trying to get time-sensitive tasks complete.

    I have asked him to text me rather than call if he doesn’t have a good reason to get in immediate contact with me, but he takes offense to this and tells me how plenty of women wish their husbands called them and that my priorities are askew. I have explained that my priority at work is work, barring some pressing family issue, and at home, my priority at home is at home unless work emergencies arise. I also have told him I respect that he is at the office and rarely bother him when he’s working.

    I am a younger attorney and am trying to focus and bill my hours, which incidentally, are relatively humane. I’m generally home by 6 and rarely do significant work on weekends, so it’s not like he never sees me, and most of these calls are about weekend plans, just to “see how I am” small talk on his drive home (he’s in education and gets out of work at 3:30), or recently about how he’s thinking of buying us concert tickets for August-topics we could discuss at home or over text when I could respond at a convenient time. I also don’t want the partner I work for to think I’m constantly on the phone during the work day. We generally only talk for a few minutes, but it’s always me ending these calls telling him I need to get back to work.

    I know the simple answer is don’t pick up the phone, but the paranoid side of me thinks what if I ignore him and an emergency really is happening or what if I am somehow not appreciating what he frames as thoughtful behavior? We have argued about this on and off for too long and I’m hoping to find out if anyone else has this issue and what they have done to resolve it.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t pick up the phone! You should have stopped long ago. If it’s an emergency he’ll call again or text. Sheesh. Just stop.

    • Anonymous :

      If it is important, people will leave a message (I’m going to the ER / car has broken down / working late tonight).

      If he thinks you’re ducking his calls, it’s “I was on the other line / down the hall / with someone in my office / picking up something from the printer.”

      You can slow his roll.

    • Anonymous :

      This is really disrespectful of him.

      I might touch base with DH via phone maybe once a day. We’ll text at the end of the day to confirm daycare pick up and supper plans. That’s it because we are working at work. I can’t think of anyone in my office or amongst my friends who talks to their DH 3-4 times a day while they are working. That’s so so needy. And NONE of these women what their husbands to call them more. Maybe SAHW in the 1950s loved getting calls because they were bored but that’s not a thing anymore.

      Tell him that you’ll call him to chat for a few minutes when you eat your lunch and otherwise he shouldn’t call unless it’s an emergency (as in , I’m at the hosptial emergency). Has he always been this needy?

      • AnonAnnoyed :

        He started doing this once he went into education and his hours changed. He may have more down time at work now and now has a longer commute, so I think this is boredom but it’s not my responsibility to entertain him when I’m working.

        I have always pushed back on this but before I took a hard line at screening his calls (which I already do regularly) I wanted to be sure I wasn’t somehow being unreasonable, particularly as a lot of my friends and women here talk about problems with their husbands’ deficiencies in communicating with or paying attention to them.

        • Nope. Not unreasonable. Don’t trouble shoot his life for him. All sorts of things he can change if he wants, not your job. Fix your own life. Don’t answer.

        • Buy him some audio books to listen to on his commute.

        • Anon -Wedding Woes :

          “particularly as a lot of my friends and women here talk about problems with their husbands’ deficiencies in communicating with or paying attention to them.”

          He isn’t communicating or paying attention to you. The fact that repeated, unwaged phone calls are the particular method of ignoring your wishes doesn’t mean he’s communicating or paying attention to you.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            YES THIS

            He keeps calling you when you’ve asked him to cut it out—that’s literally what “not paying attention to you” IS.

        • “He may have more down time at work now and now has a longer commute, so I think this is boredom but it’s not my responsibility to entertain him when I’m working.”

          Yep. Ignore his calls, and text him back and tell him you’ll talk later.

          • This. Don’t pick up the phone. Wait several minutes and then text him to say, “I saw that you called. I [was on a call/am on my way to a meeting/am in the middle of something]. Is there something you need right away? ….. OK, see you tonight.” Set the expectation that calls/texts during work hours are only for urgent matters.

        • Have you tried the humor approach?

          Hey DH it’s so sexy when you only call me once a day – it makes me so much more excited to talk to you and hear about your day when I get home.

      • I definitely text with my DH and some of my friends throughout the day but these are done when there is time and I don’t expect an immediate response. They respond when they are free too.

    • Anonymous :

      “I’m me, not other women and I’ve told you this is my work style and I would like you to respect that instead of telling me that I’m wrong. This isn’t a rejection of you, I just work better without having to switch gears constantly during the day. ”

      Agree that if it’s an emergency, he’ll call again. Or leave a message. It seems like his call on the drive home is kind of an unwind routine for him. Is there a way to have him switch to podcasts for the drive home, or for you to call him on your commute home to get his download (which I realize you could also do when you got home)?

    • This would drive me insane. I get irked when friends blow up my phone with incessant texts about random things during the work day just because it feels like there’s pressure to respond even if there’s not actually. I’m a young attorney focused on billing (and commenting here of course, eyeroll at self) and it is very distracting to deal with those interruptions. You’re not crazy or unreasonable.

      The problem is that he’s not respecting your wishes. The “plenty of women wish their husbands would do this” shows he doesn’t care how you actually feel. That really rubs me the wrong way– it’s so dismissive. It’s either “I don’t understand how you can’t appreciate this amazing thing I’m obviously doing for you” or “don’t you understand how lucky you are?” The latter is more problematic. He does not get to dictate how you should feel. He does not get to determine if your response is appropriate, or tell you your priorities are off.

      Maybe explain to him in detail how it’s not a question of amount of time you speak, it’s interrupting your work flow. People that don’t bill time and work jobs that don’t always require insane concentration sometimes don’t get that. Tell him that it causes you to have to stay later at work because it makes you less efficient, cutting into your actual time with him.

    • Anonymous :

      His behavior is bizarre and selfish – not thoughtful. I would be annoyed if my husband called me at work daily to chat, but 3-4 time a day is ridiculous. You are right to be concerned that it would give people in your office a bad impression. Why is he calling so much? Maybe counseling is in order?

      • Annoying is not a reason for counseling.

        • It is if the annoying behavior is a symptom of an underlying mental health issue (anxiety, depression).

          • AnonAnnoyed :

            He does have anxiety and depression that he seeks counseling for, which is one reason I wanted to get some perspective and am trying to be sensitive, but maintain my own boundaries.

          • 3-4 calls a day made me think he was being anxious. It could be that he needs an outlet for his anxiety and that is why he calls so often, or he’s lonely and doesn’t have friends to talk to. Maybe he could start going to the gym or something instead? In any case he should talk to his therapist about it.

          • Then make a boundary. Go home tonight and say “hey, we’ve talked about this a bunch but nothing has changed. I can’t talk to you during my work day. So from now on, I’m not going to answer the phone. If it’s an emergency leave me a message. I’m worried about you because I’ve said this a lot and you’re not respecting my wishes which makes me think there’s something going on with you. What’s up?”

          • When I read your post I immediately thought WOW…. this guy is either a controlling abuser or is really really anxious and needs to up his meds. That is how abnormal and unreasonable his behavior is.

            I can see maybe interrupting you once… or maybe twice in a day with a call if there is a question he has. But interrupting a billing lawyer with 3-4 calls per day? When you have explicitly, multiple times, asked him to start? Bordering on mentally unstable or dementia. And…. He could get you fired. TELL him that. Say your boss has noticed that you are taking too many personal calls and it could get you fired.

            And absolutely stop picking up the phone.

            And during a quiet moment, when you are calm, and he is in a good mood and feels safe at home….. talk to him. Ask… what’s going on? Do you need to increase your anxiety medication?

            Because a grown man with more free time on his hand and a longer commute should never need this much handholding.

            You are being completely and utterly reasonable.

            I agree that having a plan of a call or text at lunch (as I bet some days you never eat) and a call when you are on your way home is a reasonable offer to placate him. Then no other calls unless an emergency, text if urgent question.

    • Anon -Wedding Woes :

      If it is a genuine emergency, he will send you a text or email to that effect.

      There is no such thing as “genuinely thoughtful” behaviour that you have been repeatedly told is problematic and upsetting.

      Analogy time: I first met one of my best friends a few days before her birthday. I bought her an amazing chocolate cake. Turns out, she hates chocolate.

      The initial purchase was thoughtful. She appreciated it. I have since demonstrated my thoughtfulness on her birthday by buying her vanilla cakes or cinnamon ice cream – and the fact that other people would completely love chocolate birthday cake is beyond irrelevant.

      • Anon -Wedding Woes :

        Second paragraph: that *he* has been repeatedly told is….

        Sorry if that seemed like you were the on being thoughtless.

    • Ditto all of the PP. There’s something off here about how he’s not understanding why this isn’t ok. The only time I call my husband during the week is when we’re both on the way home for a, “Need anything at the store? Ok, see you soon.”

      When I feel like chatting with someone, I call my mom, Grandma, or MIL. They love the calls and the chats are helpful for passing time in traffic :) Try directing your husband there. And yes, stop answering the phone.

    • Out of the Box :

      Can you set a time to talk each day and only do a short call then?

    • Please don’t just avoid his calls. Talk to him – say the things you have said here. That it breaks your concentration and you need to power through so you can come home at a reasonable time, that you don’t want your boss thinking you are on personal calls all day, that you need to keep it to texts or just one call unless there is an emergency – in which case you promise to be available if he needs you. Be kind and gentle. And in the beginning help him adjust- answer the phone but say “hi sweetheart, I am trying to get X out the door, can I call you on my way home? Is everything ok?” He is your husband, try to work through this together instead of ghosting on him.

      Then make sure that when you are home you are able to spend quality time together and that he feels you two have a chance to talk and connect and aren’t simply roommates.

      • AnonAnnoyed :

        Thank you. This is thoughtful, helpful advice, and I appreciate the tone of your response. I know sometimes tough love is in order, but the vibe around here can come off a little harsh lately when people are looking for support for things they know are a problem and want a sounding board outside the situation.

        • Sigh. The original post made it very clear that you have had all of these conversations and they haven’t worked. He’s a grown man, you don’t have to treat him like a spoiled child. And we don’t have to treat each other like fragile hot house flowers. No one has been rude to you. Everyone has tried to help.

          • AnonAnnoyed :

            I didn’t say anything about people being rude or wanting to be treated like a flower. I truly appreciate everyone’s help and insight, particularly as many of you have much more experience in marriage and careers than I do.

        • I know sometimes being direct can seem harsh, but in my experience it’s also more effective to just say what you mean straight out. I feel like a lot of times we’re socialized to be sweet and coddle someone to manage their feelings, which is nice but can undermine your message. You can convince people to do things by leading them in certain ways, but at a certain point you’re going to be frustrated that they don’t really get it, and how could they if you never come out and say what you mean? Then it gets harder for you to respect someone, and you’re also more likely to snap and yell or fight because there’s all this built up frustration. At least that is my take on it.

          • I think my response was direct. To each her own, but I don’t lie to my husband – saying I was at the printer is the indirect path. If he is annoying me, I tell him. I still love him and treat him with respect, though. And perhaps everyone else here is more perfect but if the tables were reversed, I would appreciate my husband reinforcing it with me gently as opposed to saying “I already told you once, now I’m ignoring your calls until you comply.” Especially because there may be an emergency! It’s a line you both have to tend to. My advice was for her to sit down and talk about it with him one night and then work with him while it’s happening – you can be off the call in 60 seconds if you pick up and say “I have to get XYZ out the door, can we talk later or is it an emergency?” I’m betting that would do the trick and keep the calls to a minimum or move it to text. And yes, make sure that even if she’s not working while at home that the relationship is being tended to by both of them. No one wants to feel that they are simply roommates with their spouse.

    • My thoughts :

      My husband is a lawyer and I’m an accountant. We married when he was 30. and I was 24, and I can tell you that way back then (early 90’s), 24 year old accounting jobs (even with national firms) were just not that stressful. I did not truly “get” his work situation until about 20 years later. This just happened to coincide with my own level of responsibility increasing and a lot of work place attrition due to economic constraints. Everyone is doing more all the time, and everything has become an emergency.

      I suggest just not answering the phone most of the time. I usually say I had someone with me which is pretty much the case for you if you feel like your being on the phone is noticed.

    • I’ve got to dissent from the majority so far. This is your husband. I don’t think you should ignore him or screen his calls. You to talk to him about this. If you have already, you need to do it again since it bugs you. It also could reflect a need on his part that’s not “he’s bored and needs entertaining.” If he changed careers to teach, is he feeling insecure about that since you’re a lawyer? Does he need reassurance you’re still interested in him? There could be so much more going on here.

      • Also? Don’t lie to him. If you start with things like “I was down the hall” or “someone was in my office” when you are sitting there looking at his number flashing on your screen, you are giving yourself permission to be dishonest in your relationship. I think that’s a slippery slope toward having a nontrusting and non-communicative marriage. Those tricks are for coworkers, friends, parents, etc., not your spouse.

      • She did! She’s talked!

        • Yes! Asking nicely has not worked. OP said: “I have asked him to text me rather than call if he doesn’t have a good reason to get in immediate contact with me, but he takes offense to this and tells me how plenty of women wish their husbands called them and that my priorities are askew. I have explained that my priority at work is work, barring some pressing family issue, and at home, my priority at home is at home unless work emergencies arise. I also have told him I respect that he is at the office and rarely bother him when he’s working.”

          She needs to tell firmly and be consistent. Agree that she shouldn’t lie but she can say “sorry I couldn’t answer, I was busy with work”. She can do this because she’s in the middle of writing a memo or making notes on something or whatever. She doesn’t need another person in the office for her to be too busy to talk – that just supports the idea that he only shouldn’t call if it interrupts someone in addition to her. That he is constantly interrupting her work is enough.

        • Sometimes you have to keep talking in a relationship, you don’t get to say it once, check the box and call it done.

          • Eyeroll. Sometimes you have to just do something. She doesn’t need his permission to not take his calls. She can do that, and then also keep talking. Not answering the phone at work isn’t a divorce.

          • There is nothing in OP’s post or subsequent responses that indicates that she mentioned it to him once and is now done with the communication. She has asked and he has ignored her request. It’s reasonable for her to enforce boundaries. He doesn’t get to impose his preferred communication style/frequency on her. He owes the relationship respect as well.

            I’m very surprised that you think it’s reasonable for a worker to take 4 personal non-urgent phone calls in the course of their workday everyday.That would definitely be an issue for an associate in my office if I saw that happening.

          • Yea, I don’t really care if my reports take 0 or 20 calls in a day if they get their work done. I’m not into micro-monitoring, I don’t think that’s the way to manage professional adults. And I stand by she needs to keep talking. When you are married, and something is bothering you, you work it out. And if working it out to you means stonewall, ignore, use tactics like those suggested here, I think you’re looking at a short term relationship. That may be okay for some, but I’m presuming she married him for a reason and wants to stay together.

          • AnonAnnoyed :

            Bingo. My husband has otherwise always been my biggest supporter in my career, so in all likelihood, something is up. I will sit him down tonight to find out what’s going on, set boundaries, and will be firm in enforcing those boundaries.

          • She’s home at 6pm, not working weekends and losing an hour a day to chatty phone calls (4 @15 mins call)? That’s not micromonitoring – that’s an underutilized associate.

            She said they’ve talked about it for “too long” with no results. And your solution is keeping talking even if that means creating a negative impression at work?

          • Not picking up the phone isn’t stonewalling, ignoring, or a sign you don’t care about marriage. You’re ridiculous. This is how people wind up married to spoiled man babies. You make them.

          • Respectfully disagree with the man-baby comment. Men have feelings too. I’d check out Gottman on bids for this topic: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/happily-ever-after/372573/

            Also, I’ll risk a negative impression at work for my husband any day of the week (and thankfully I don’t work in nor do I create that kind of environment).

          • Anyone reading here already takes 4 15 minute breaks per day most likely.

          • Some people aren’t that into Talks; having endless Talks at someone who doesn’t communicate that way is ineffective. You have to follow up with action. Give the guy a fair warning, sure, but then you have to actually do what you said you were going to do, like, I will pick up the phone 1 time per day during work hours and that’s it.

      • I’m in the dissent here too. If you can’t spare “3-4x per day for a few minutes” to talk to a man you love, that you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with, then I think you have bigger issues. He’s trying to connect with you, or maybe he misses you? And if he is just bored, isn’t it better that he calls you and doesn’t go on the internet looking a you-know-what, or looking at past girlfriends on FB? He obviously wants your attention, and if you don’t give it to him, other women will….gladly.

        • good riddance to man babies. If can’t keep it in his pants because she doesn’t drop her work everytime he wants to talk then she can move on to a functional adult male.

          • Don’t feed the t r o l l s this is not a real comment. Surprised it wasn’t from our friend E!

    • Just a deflection here–could you get him hooked on a podcast or the like, so he’s otherwise occupied. Agree with prior commenters above, but maybe you could get him to focus elsewhere. I personally loved listening to The Great Courses CDs on Roman history (and the like) when I had a car commute. They were 30 minutes of bite-sized but fast paced learning and I loved them. Agree you should address this head-on otherwise though.

    • AlphabetAnon :

      Well, this is going to be an unpopular opinion, and it’s born from having been in abusive relationships. But I would begin by telling a white lie — my boss has noticed I’m taking a lot of personal calls, so I’m not going to answer any this week. It’s very important that he does not have this impression of me, so I can’t risk even one call. Here’s how to reach me in an emergency. (Make your boss the bad guy, so husband can’t blame you. You are totes team husband, but oh no gotta stay out of trouble.) Alternatively, I am working on a big project this week and in a lot of meetings or really have to focus to get it done, so I won’t be taking any personal calls — not even one. Here’s how to reach me in an emergency. Then you can demonstrate that you won’t pick up. Hopefully, your husband can restrain himself for a week. (Either lie is meant to explain why it is all of the sudden imperative that he stop calling as well as to prove to both of you that they can indeed stop.)

      Then tell him you rocked it so hard at work this past call-free week that you need it to continue. If your husband objects, he needs to explain to you why he doesn’t want you to succeed at work. Is he insecure in your relationship? Is he trying to sabotage your career? Then I expect he will shut up about it, occasionally call you to test your boundary, and never get to the bottom of his issue. But if you can stay strong and not answer his calls, the personal calls at work problem is solved! Good luck.

    • AnonAnnoyed :

      To be clear, these are 2-3 min calls at a maximum 4x per day (and prob on average more like 2x per day). Still way too much, but I’m not losing an hour of time. I’m also not underutilized, blowing deadlines, or billing poorly. This issue is more about a break in concentration. I have received a lot of useful advice here and my concerns have been validated. As discussed, I need to shut this down and there have been many suggestions on how to do this. Thanks to everyone for responding. I will check back on this thread tonight.

      • I’m going to gently push back on your assertion that you’re not losing an hour a day. You’re right – it IS about a break in concentration. A 2 minute call doesn’t cost you 2 minutes. If it did, it’d be nbd. You can’t really know how much time it’s costing you because after a call, you have to think your way back into whatever you were doing… oh and now I have 3 work emails to respond to so I have to break my concentration again… so DH’s call cost me that 1 hour block when partner was in a meeting. Depending on what you’re doing, that 2 minute call might cost you close to 2 minutes or it might effectively cost you close to an hour.

        Idk how to get someone to understand that if that’s not how his mind works, though. I’ve tried to explain it to SOs before and they just don’t get it. I guess they don’t concentrate like I do? Or maybe they just have terrible time management skills? The concept – it takes time to think your way back into what you’re doing – is hard for some people to grasp.

    • Talk to him about it once more. Tell him in no uncertain terms that he can only call you during work hours if there’s an emergency. Be very, very direct. You have tried to be nice and all that has done is obscure your message. So stop doing that and tell him what you need – you need to focus at work, DH is not your boss so he does not get to tell you how to work, only call if there’s something seriously wrong.

      This is going to take time to sink in – I guarantee he will still call. When he does, act alarmed – after all, you explained that you can only take emergency calls – omg are you in the hospital did someone die I’ll leave work right now… oh you just wanted to chat? You scared me I thought there must be an emergency after we talked about this at length! Glad to know everything’s OK see you when I get home! Click. Repeat as necessary.

    • I think you should do it to him one day.

      Call him 4 times in one day. While he is in class. While he is in meetings.

      Just so he understands what it is like for you. As we have learned in this country, many people cannot understand or empathize with another person’s situation unless they have been in it.

      Then again, he wont understand, as you do such different work. But maybe…..

    • So, I tend to have a similar problem in the early stages of dating. I think the OP and I might be wired similarly. I’d recommend the book “Attached” – it may give you some insight into your husband’s behavior, and the book includes an example of a husband and wife who had different needs for communication throughout the day and how they addressed the problem.

    • Just a bit of alternate perspective – my husband (of 8 years – hardly newlyweds) and I call each other to check in periodically throughout the day, and usually spend the day playing phone tag. We may never actually catch up with each other. Extra busy days trump that, and if either of us is in the middle of something or has someone in our office we won’t pick up, but it’s sort of nice and comforting to know that your spouse is thinking about you during the few-minute breaks in their day. (We all have them most of the time, or we wouldn’t be commenters here). It’s one of those tiny little habits that’s gone into building up our relationship. Obviously YMMV and every relationship has its little quirks and habits, but I thought I’d jump in to put in a plug for this one.

      • Anonymous :

        But like isn’t that what texting is for? Multiple posters mentionned texts as a good way to touch base with no expectation of immediate reply.

  3. Basic finance question :

    So I’ve now heard/read more than once that if I’m not planning to live forever in my current house, I shouldn’t try to pay it off early, and instead invest tat money. I just don’t understand why. I’m risk averse, and in my culture/ home country paying off a home even if you plan to resell it is quite common. I understand that interest rates can be higher in stocks but there is only so much (small amount) I want to lock in the markets.

    • Anonymous :

      The reason why is that if you have, say 10k, that money will earn you more invested in the stock market than it will in your house, even consider both your mortgage interest (because rates are low now) and appreciation.

      More importantly though, how old are you? If you are in your 20s or 30s nearly all of the money you are saving for retirement should be in the stock market (not just a small amount). At this point in your life you have plenty of time to ride out ups and downs.

      Don’t let your irrational money thoughts run your investments. Buy any basic guide to finances and read it. Be smart.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s about locking the money up in the house (which may or may not retain value, depending on when you go to sell) vs locking it up in the market. Vs just having it sitting in your bank account “doing nothing” (except making me feel comfortable about having it at all).

      I also think this is one of those things that is about optimizing your life, and optimization isn’t a goal for everyone, and you should do what feels comfortable to you. And comfortable may be more of a emotional decision vs a completely rational one, and that’s okay.

      • Anonymous :

        Being emotionally comfortable won’t pay the bills when you retire. This is really not good advice.

        • I think it’s good advice. No point in being stressed out for years for a marginal difference in financial outcome. Paying off the house vs. investing in the stock market won’t be the difference between living on the street vs. traveling the world in retirement.

          We prioritzed paying off our mortgage and I love it. So freeing to own a house and not have a mortgage. Zero concern that I’ll ever end up bottom up on a mortgage if the market crashes. Can move anywhere at anytime. I love it.

        • Anon @9:58 :

          Honestly, If I had extra money, I’m not putting in the stock market, I’m putting in my savings account or retirement or whatever. If it’s extra money that needs a job (so mortgage, bills, retirement, etc are all getting funded already), I can do whatever I want with it. If it makes me more comfortable to pay off my mortgage early, then I’m going to buy that peace of mind. If it makes you more comfortable to put in the stock market, then do that. But I am not obligated to optimize every part of my life from a rational perspective if all of my other needs are being met.

          • When you say you put it in “retirement” what do you mean by that? Because that’s the entire point. Your retirement savings should be in the market.

          • Anon @9:58 :

            Ok – but I think of my retirement money as different than investing after tax money in the stock market. I consider those to be different buckets of money with different purposes.

            Yes, I understand that I am investing in the stock market for retirement, but it’s something I’m doing before I’m putting anything extra into other debt payments. I’m not paying extra on my house instead of savings for retirement. What I’m saying is, that if I have extra money in my budget, after contributing to retirement and paying my regular mortgage payment, I can do whatever I want with that, whether it’s considered optimal by a 3rd party or not. And that extra money is not something that I’m likely to put into the market (non-retirement investing) because I like having an easily accessible cushion. That makes me comfortable.

            But thanks for explaining how my retirement fund should work…

          • Anonymous :

            You’re just talking about something else then. Thanks for telling me I’m wrong though . . .

        • anonshmanon :

          However, being stressed about having a big portion of your savings in the stock market is a recipe for panicked selling and losing lots of money in a downturn. It is true that if you are investing for at least 20 years, you can bear the market fluctuations. But that doesn’t work if you can’t sleep at night because of your investments.

    • Listen, there’s an emotional component to risk tolerance in all investing. But whether your house is an investment can depend largely on where you live. In the Bay Area, where land is limited and housing stock is low, your house is an investment. It is your nest egg. Even during the financial crisis, prices dropped, but not by a ton. Then there’s other parts of the country where housing prices barely rise. You need to know your market and what you’re working with. Also agree that you need to factor in mortgage rates vs. _average_ stock market returns and that it’s a huge mistake not to have your money in equities when you are young and have many years to retirement.

    • Instead of double-paying or throwing all your “extra” money into your mortgage, would it make sense to refinance into a 15-year or 20-year mortgage, if you’re currently in a 30-year? The payments are higher but often not that much more than they would be in a 30-year, and you can take the rest of your money and invest it while still being on track to pay-off significantly faster than the traditional 30.

      • If you’ve got a good interest rate on a 30 yr, I think it makes more sense to leave it as is and put the extra money towards the principal to pay it off faster. The upside is that you have flexibility to make lower payment some months if you need to and you aren’t paying the re-finance costs.

    • Last year we refinanced from a 30 year to 15 year fixed in order to pay off our morgage faster. Now we are wishing we hadn’t. Though we have a decent amount of savings each month, it would have been nice to have even more cushion in our monthly budget for future childcare costs and other things. Also, we probably won’t stay in this house as long as we originally thought.

      • Financially Illiterate :

        So mine is a 30 year mortgage but my interest rate of 3.5% is locked in for 7 yrs and can increase upto 2% after that (ARM). Does this apply?

        • After 7 years, your rate can increase pretty significantly. (Is it 2% total, or 2% annually, up to a cap? You should check that.) Interest rates are higher now, so it’s likely to increase. You will want to pay off the loan or refinance after the 7 year window is up. The hope is that you have enough equity after 7 years to refinance into a fixed rate mortgage.

    • I know this is late, but I just wanted to say that your concerns are reasonable. It might be true that investing in the market will give you a better return than paying off your house. But it also means that your financial situation is less leveraged. (Remember back in 2009, when “highly leveraged” was a bad thing?) The more leverage you take, the more you are at risk if your personal financial situation has a downturn. And just to be clear, a downturn means a combination of the following things: the stock market goes down, you have to sell your investments at a loss, and/or you lose your job, so you can’t pay your mortgage. It’s not the end of the world, sure, but it’s not unreasonable to want to pay off your debts before investing in a volatile asset like stocks.

      Things you should consider: what is your interest rate, is your interest rate deductible, what is your effective interest rate after considering the deductibility of your interest, how reliable is your income stream (can you depend on being able to make your mortgage payments until your mortgage matures), and do you have a cash cushion to fall back on in case you have cash flow problems and the stock market goes down? And what is your personal risk tolerance?

      As you can probably tell, I can’t stand it when people on this blog tell people that they are crazy to pay off their mortgage.

  4. What’s your impression of whether it’s common for men to be looking for a partner who’s an intellectual/professional equal, or whether being successful is threatening or a turn off? I was chatting with a (male) friend recently who recently married a super lovely, super well educated and successful lawyer and I remember hearing how frustrated he was while dating about not being able to find a woman like that. Specifically I think he wanted someone with her own ideas who wasn’t afraid to disagree with him, have an interesting discussion about it, and who had her own thing going on. He made a comment to the effect of basically every guy he knows would swoon over a woman like that and would want to put a ring on it in a heartbeat.

    I thought this was kind of funny, because in my observation men with this outlook are definitely out there but not very common. He seemed super shocked that I thought so. I’ve got very little dating experience compared to most people, so I’m wondering what others’ observations have been

    • I'll bite... :

      … As a single, successful attorney, I think his perspective is not common in my neck of the woods.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Neither me nor any of my bada** friends have been able to find a man like this. As in, I think I’ve only met a couple of men like this at all, ever. But maybe we’re jaded.

    • My SO said the same thing recently. He’s a biologist and has a really diverse group of friends ranging from people who havent gone to college to people with lucrative careers etc. and he says they all have expressed wanting a woman who is successful or at the very least see that as a positive trait – and this is coming from people who range in political ideology too. I was pretty shocked by this (we’re both 26 so perhaps this changes over time). And he was shocked by the fact that I was shocked haha. Curious to see other people’s thoughts on this too.

      • Triangle Pose :

        I think men express this view publicly and when they are in mixed groups but then in practice do not swipe to match with women who are successful. Every woman lawyer friend I know does not put they are a lawyer in their profiles and many have had first dates who get that deer in the headlights/intimidated/insecure look when they first find out about the job.

    • As a single, successful doctor, I think his perspective is not common in my neck of the woods.

      Many men in my top Med School class would have lunch at the nearby women’s college to pick up women. Young, less ambitious women, in awe of their fancy MD degree and $$. That’s the kind of woman they wanted. I was shocked initially.

      There were many wonderful guys who were not like this. But still a large proportion of them didn’t marry their peers. Many of my women doctor friends are single.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Same, went to a T14 law school and the dudes would be fully ok hitting on undergrads at the university women who were impressed with their JD. The undergraduate school was not as rigorous as the law school. I met my SO at law school and he is not intimidated and has his own career to worry about but IME this is the minority.

    • Were you talking to my husband? Except we met so young (in college) that we basically did a lot of growing up together, on both ends. (And I’m really not that bada**, I just think we are intellectual equals.) Unfortunately, I think you’re right – they are out there but not common. And by the time many people grow up enough to develop these perspectives, they may no longer be single…

    • I genuinely believe that this is why my husband married me – but I also think that there are a lot of men who think that they want a woman like this, but actually want a specific male fantasy of a woman like this. It’s the equivalent of men who talk about how great it is when women eat a lot, but also only date women who are size 2. They want someone who will make the conversation lively, but not someone who actually will call them on their BS.

      • Anonymous :

        This is so true.

      • Anonymous :

        So true. My husband has always said that one of the reasons he was attracted to me was that I am smarter than he is (his words, not mine). It was cute until he developed an inferiority complex. Now I have to dumb down my vocabulary, slow down conversations, and keep a lot of my thoughts to myself to avoid hurting his feelings. I have even decided not to take a particular professional certification exam because he failed it and is super sensitive about it. I think he likes being able to brag about me more than he likes actually living with someone he thinks is more intelligent than he is.

        • Anonymous :

          This is really sad to hear about. I would recommend your husband get some therapy to work through his issues. Please don’t hold yourself back professionally just because he can’t handle your success.

        • Triangle Pose :

          This breaks my heart but I 100% see this out in the world a lot.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – This has been my experience.

        I’m in a Texas city that aspires to be both a part of the Confederacy and the “plastic” stereotype stepchild of LA (should narrow it down ;)) and I’ve found very few guys who want to date women with more education, career success, and/or income than them. Some of it is personal cultural preference (aka 1950s misogyny) and some is that all the old men running their office expect them to have a “supportive team at home” so they feel like they can’t keep up if their wife has a demanding career too.

        The ones I’ve met who do claim to want a successful, intelligent woman also have the same old expectations that this woman be immaculately groomed, fit, stylish, and a master at the domestic chores. It’s actually worse because they just want you to be interesting and impressive for a little while at the beginning, and then assume your role as their sugar mama when it comes to private finances and their trophy wife in public social and (their) work situations.

    • Well, I once had a guy tell me he doesn’t need an intellectual equal because he has enough personality for the 2 of them. Gross.

    • So every guy I dated seriously was like this. I have met men who weren’t but never found them interesting so can’t speak for how common this is because pretty much everyone I’ve ever been attracted to as an adult fits your coworkers mold and I never spent a lot of time considering the opinions of people I didn’t consider dating, if that makes sense? I did have one long term high school boyfriend who was a little weird when I got a summer job that paid well and then years later, when we ran into each other and he found out i became a lawyer said, ‘I always said you were smart!’ as if I ever doubted that I was … but I don’t think that counts.

      I have seen friends date guys who were easily threatened and – maybe this was in my head – I felt like those guys always disliked me a bit and didn’t like when I would hang out with my friend too often. Like maybe I’d give friend bad ideas? I don’t know. To the extent geography is part of this, I’m in NYC. I also think part of my perception is a result of never having done online dating. Everyone I’ve ever gone out with was sort of prescreened, if that makes sense. I can see how if I made a bunch of dates for coffee with lots of guys some of them would have regressive attitudes toward all this stuff.

    • I think it’s ridiculous to try to generalize about what all, or even most, men want and doing so is a waste of time.

      • It’s just a fun discussion of personal anecdotes. Maybe your comment about how much you think it’s a waste of time was a waste of your time.

    • Delta Dawn :

      My DH is one of these men, but he is the only one I ever dated that had this view. My last ex before DH actually said to me during law school (I did trial competition, moot court, etc), “I am tired of you winning things.” He was in law school too, but he was not good at it. I think he wanted a wife who believed he was smart, but not one who could outdo him. And sadly, at least where I live, I think that’s common.

    • My dating history has been a mixed bag but I seriously want to know where these men hang out. Why can’t I find them?

    • Anonymous :

      I think there are a lot of guys who SAY they want this – but are put off by it when confronted by the reality of it.
      There is a much smaller subset who actually recognize they want this and like it when it happens. I agree that this has not been my experience with most guys I’ve met.

      One guy I dated seemed to like the fact that I was smart, but only to the extent that it made him look better because he could be smarter than me. He wasn’t – and the list of things he was so certain about (and wrong about) became a running joke. At one point he told me I should be more opinionated, but was only really interested in my opinions when the coincided with his, or I was up for a loud debate on the topic if they differed with his. I am more of the “have a discussion” than “vigorous debate” camp, so I just didn’t voice my opinions. And this guy needed someone with their own thing going on because he worked all the damn time – but when he had downtime, he only wanted to do his thing, and wouldn’t compromise to something I wanted to do with him. Needless to say, it didn’t last.

    • Anonymous :

      Ime the men who say things like this are the same men who waste their time with hot girls without a brain. Just like my successful female friends who swear they want a husband waste their time with hot boys without a brain. Then one day they wake up and realize that’s not working for them and they meet someone pretty quickly. What’s that saying from SATC… it’s like finding a taxi in rush hour, you have to get there right when they turn that light on.

    • Anonymous :

      When I was dating, people were definitely turned off/intimidated by my specialized tech job. There were a few people who visually looked like their lights dimmed when I told them what I did. I think some were terrified that I made more money than them and would dump them because of it, or they thought they had to exceed what I had achieved. Sad.

    • Attorney, research scientist before that. Got engaged last week.

      My fiance (so weird to say that!) believes that conversation is an important part of a relationship.

      I think there are a lot of men out there like that, but they might be very shy, or just not very savvy about dating. My beloved is in the latter camp, and he didn’t date much before me.

      So I think they are out there, just… hiding, doing things like reading at home instead of meeting the buddies for a drink.

    • I’ll chime in that since I started earning significantly more than my DH, he’s been mildly and good-naturedly (if there is such a thing) but visibly resentful. He is productively translating this energy into training for a higher-earning job but I think you see my point – he thinks he has to be on at least an equal footing with me. I like the competition (and felt and did the same things he’s doing now when he was far out-earning me) but I cannot help feeling that we may not have married under today’s circumstances whereas I would and did marry him when I was earning less.

    • I’m married to a man who had a history before me of dating successful, intelligent women, and who clearly relishes my professional success and intellectual curiosity. There aren’t tons of those men out there, but there also aren’t tons of successful, intelligent women out there (most people are average, etc.). The intelligence and professional success of the women represented on this board is much higher than average, so I would expect that there are going to be correspondingly few men who are going to be good matches.

      I would also absolutely put “lawyer” on my Tinder profile. I’d assume that anyone intimidated by my profession probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me and it’s better to know that up front.

    • I hadn’t thought about this before, but the guys I’ve met who appreciate strong women came from the households of strong women, either the children of single moms or widows who worked to support them, or of women who took roles of responsibility in the community like running for school board or doing hands on philanthropy.

  5. Anonymous :

    I’m sad about Daniel Mallory Ortberg! Also happy for him that he has figured this out, but Ortberg’s voice meant so much to me specifically as a female voice, I’ll really miss her.

    • agreed!!!

    • Agree that Mallory was definitely a feminist icon, but am excited to see what’s to come.

      https://www.thecut.com/2018/03/daniel-mallory-ortberg-interview-heather-havrilesky.html

    • It’s ok to mourn that. There is a lot of pressure on lesbians to “transition” (as if being masculine and female isn’t ok) and I think this type of thing is going to happen more and affect more lesbian role models. Wish him all best though.

      • What? He transitioned due to pressure from others? Is this something he’s said or is this just hearsay/speculation?

      • “There is a lot of pressure on lesbians to “transition” (as if being masculine and female isn’t ok) ”

        This is interesting. I have a background in the biology of sex determination/differentiation, so I totally get how being trans is a thing, but sometimes I wonder if, contrary to all other progress, our ideas of what is “male” and what is “female” have gotten more narrow. I mean, I know there’s a lot of “girls can do anything” and more options for neutral/less frilly girls’ clothing, but at the same time social media is so pervasive, especially among younger people, and seems to convey that there is a “right way” to look, that I wonder if some feminine boys and masculine girls think they are trans because they don’t seem to fit the images of male and female they see on social media.

        I could be totally off base. I’m old and don’t have kids or instagram. But there’s things I’ve seen and heard from the teenage children of friends that make me wonder. Please know that I am just musing and this is absolutely not an argument against the existence of trans people or against ways to help them.

        • The vast majority of gay people don’t transition or feel the need or desire to. Same with the vast majority of straight people who look/act like the stereotype of the opposite sex. People aren’t transitioning because they don’t like to wear skirts and dresses and makeup.

        • I agree with you. Society is very hard on women who aren’t gay but just have more masculine features and this is making it worse.

          • super anon :

            Yes, this is something I’ve struggled with as well. I’m a woman with very masculine features and PCOS (so think thick thick body hair, deeper voice, facial hair including more than just peach fuzz on my chin that makes me resemble a man unless you can see that I have an ample chest) and the number of times that I have been called “ugly tranny” in public is ridiculous. I even had an interviewers once imply that the company was very accepting of LGBTQ folks – which I was glad to hear, but just because I have thick eyebrows and some chin hair, that does mean I’m F–>M transitioning. It can make me feel like a fraud posing as a woman. While I support the LGBTQ community, sometimes I selfishly feel like the wave of tolerance skipped women like me who just aren’t conventionally attractive in a hairless/feminine way.

          • I have PCOS also. I’m a tiny, short person with blonde body hair and eyebrows but I still read male and get the same treatment. My brow line is lower (but with blonde thin brows) and hairline is high and people are not shy and VERY cruel. Every damn place I go. Now with all of the transgender stuff out there, everyone says that’s what I am or should be. F…if I was on hormone replacement therapy as a teen, I’d look a helluva lot more feminine.

          • I also have a very high voice. It really doesn’t matter if you look super masculine or a little masculine, people would say something.

          • Also, all of these “tolerance” people are frauds. They are only “tolerant” of what media or whatever says is “in” to tolerate. Now, apparently the new thing is polygamous relationships since we’ve tired out the gay/lgbtq stuff.

        • Yes, I have heard people say shocking things (on a regular basis, no less) like “my little boy wanted to play with Barbies, so I knew he must be a girl” or “my teenage daughter wasn’t interested in fashion, so I thought she might be a boy.” How are those not sexist stereotypes? They’re also homophobic since gender nonconformity in childhood is associated with same-sex orientation in adulthood.

          • Yeah, the whole trans movement makes no sense, because transitioning doesn’t make you look like the sex you want to be and your life gets even harder for it and as everyone is saying, the definition of what is male and what is female is narrower. Like just being who you are, which is the message we supposedly grew up with, is not good anymore.

            Let’s not pretend that this movement didn’t arise over politicians just trying get votes. Just take a small fringe issue, make it a million times bigger than it is, say everyone who doesn’t agree with you is Satan…And see how many are now being hurt by it. So many people I know now have kids who think they are the opposite sex…

          • Anon at 12:11, I agree. I saw a comic that summarized it perfectly for me:

            Religious conservatives: You must change your personality to match your sex!!

            Transgender activists: You must change your sex to match your personality!!

            Radical feminists: You’re fine just the way you are.

        • You’re not totally off base at all – this is a well-known phenomenon. It makes sense, too – if girls who don’t conform to gender stereotypes are bullied and harassed (just think of all the posts we’ve had on this site about helping teenage daughters deal with body hair so they don’t get teased), but then treated as brave and inspirational if they declare themselves to be transitioning, why WOULDN’T they transition, especially with so many other students doing it as well? There’s a big element of social contagion here; look up “rapid onset gender dysphoria” if you’re interested.

          • This is why I really dislike the way the public discourse about trans rights is playing out. It needs to be about letting everyone be their authentic selves, including “masculine” women and “feminine” men, not just lauding people who transition as heroes.

          • Yes. If you feel like you don’t have a place and don’t fit in, just joining the lgbt community can give you what you always feel that you needed…even if you may not be that. It makes you “special” and not just another floating in a sea of folks trying to find themselves in a cruel world.

            The lgbt community will give you a place to belong, be accepted, and now legally protected from harassment…when no one else will…

          • Kinda like if you are ugly/have a big nose and everyone hates you for it, and you finally get plastic surgery, you are a hero. Except transitioning doesn’t work out as well, but we’re supposed to pretend it does.

          • I am not sure where this reply will end up, but thanks to everyone for thoughtfully answering my question. I’m pretty saddened to think I was at least a little bit right about the nonacceptance, or more limited acceptance, of masculine women and feminine men.

            I like the term “social contagion,” too. Very useful.

        • There was a study recently on adolescent PCOS patients transitioning F>M. It makes me uneasy that people are making this decision in high school. I feel like 90s grunge left a lot of room for gender nonconformity when I was an adolescent with PCOS. But I had ambitions that were stereotyped as masculine, and I definitely didn’t want to have kids. I wonder if I would have felt pressured or incentivized to transition F>M if I were going through high school today–when all I really needed was some medical care and to go to college where the other career-minded women were?

          • I was also in hs during the 90s. Most of the girls didn’t wear makeup or girly clothing and I never felt abnormal. The “hottest” girls in my school were also the most athletic and had some of the most masculine ambitions.

            I am kind of upset I didn’t get my PCOS “treated” in HS, because I wouldn’t have the masculine facial features that I have that just scream “male” to people. When you are still growing, a little excess male hormone can harm you. A progesterone/estrogen imbalance can cause breast deformities. I wish the medical community would get on this.

          • I think that’s what I was trying to say–it was kind of easy for me in the 90s, but I wonder if it would actually be harder now (and if that is why some high schoolers with PCOS are choosing to transition).

            Yes, PCOS needs to be taken more seriously (last I checked, there were still only off-label treatments). Women with PCOS who weren’t treated early often have trouble breastfeeding later on. I hate my masculine jawline a lot, and I am sure it is from the PCOS (no other woman in my family has it). The acne is also no fun.

            Because I have severe side effects on the pill, I asked about bioidentical hormones for managing PCOS at a clinic which offers bioidentical hormones. (I had read that the side effect profile can be better for some people, and I thought it was worth asking about.) They told me that they offer bioidentical hormone therapy for M>F transitioning and for menopause, but not for PCOS. It made me think that I was really looking for was some F>F transitioning; why can’t that be an option too?

          • Look into Alisa Vitti/FLO Living for PCOS management. That’s what I do now.

            I was on the pill for years, but it didn’t do anything for me. I actually think it made my symptoms worse as an adult, but I was fear mongered into staying on it. Now, my gut is ruined from that and Spironolactone and I can’t eat anything. But that’s a whole other story.

          • Other Anon :

            Thank you for posting about what you are doing now; the most successful interventions I’ve made have been dietary, and I’m really curious about the idea of just going ahead and eating differently at different times of month. I will look into this.

          • You don’t even have to be that strict about it over time. The key is to get all of your micronutrients. There is a free app that you can download…even to your desktop…called Cronometer that you can track what you eat and what nutrients you are consuming. Of course, packaged foods only post an abbreviated version of this, so anything like that in the database may not be totally accurate. But you can add your own! Cronometer also connects to your fitness tracker if you want to do that.

            Alisa’s blog, book (which is at the library), and FB page has tons of info so you don’t have to buy the program right away to get the basic message. She also has an app for $1.99.

    • I’m a dedicated Dear Prudence reader and podcast listener, and here’s the thing: his transition has been underway for a while already, and during that time the content has been just as feminist as ever. I’m take that as a sign that what I value most about his work is going to stay consistent.

      In my 20s, I knew a few women who transitioned to men, and it was incredibly disappointing to see them turn from feminists into…sexist pigs. It was like male privilege was just too awesome not to take advantage of, once they could. However, I’m trying not to let that turn into an assumption toward everyone else. I’m hoping that greater maturity plus updated gender roles can increasingly mean that trans men stay allies to women.

      • Absolutely men can be feminist. But my feminism is all about uplifting female voices and seeking out women to hear from. That’s what makes me sad.

      • My question for Monday, for these people who transitioned to men and turned sexist. Are they still very sexist now? I guess when you have a new identity, many will try out the newly acquired privileges and power. I am genuinely curious.

        It’s an interesting idea that around gender entitlement/privilege. I know that I have been a little uncomfortable with transitioned females (who were formerly male) who speak to women’s experiences. Not to say they don’t have an important perspective but they do not have a lifetime of sexism (internalized and overt) I am thinking Caitlin Jenner and others.

      • Kindi of like gay men often feel like they have to be nasty and judgy…apparently like women are…

    • I’m glad you posted this. I look forward to what’s to come from Daniel but will miss Mallory’s voice as a woman. She really holds a spot in my heart for her unique point of view and my first reaction has definitely been a bit of mourning that. NOT to take away from Mallory’s search or from what Daniel will offer, and I realize that yes they are the same person. But I’ve found myself shocked by my own reaction.

    • Honestly, I’m hoping this opens up difference work from Dear Prudence. Completely aside from the transition, I HATE the advice given. The old Dear Prudence swayed way too conservative (and she was prone to victim blaming, especially in sexual assault contexts) and the new Dear Prudence who, I get is swayed by personal experience and Anglo-American culture, way too often advocates cutting off family members in ways that will ruin their lives/possibility of future relationships (especially in cross cultural contexts) and recommending counseling to people who from their posts very clearly can’t access it.

      The Care and Feeding advice columnists are consistently better voiced and give more practical advice.

      • *different work

      • Housecounsel :

        Anon at 11:20, I am so happy that someone else reads Dear Prudence with the same level of interest. I tend to agree with the advice given to cut off family members and never thought of this as coming from an Anglo-American perspective. Thank you for bringing this up, and I will consider this as I read/listen.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      This is SO off-topic, but Daniel is SO hot. It makes me really confused. (I am straight).

  6. Eyelash curler :

    Is curling your eyelashes worth it? I.e. do they actually stay curled and look different? I am willing to do it every morning but not willing to heat up the curler. (I don’t use a blow dryer and also just don’t feel great about putting hot metal into my eye area.) Product recommendations welcome too.

    • I don’t bother for everyday but yes they stay curled and absolute look different. No need to heat it up. I just use a cheap revlon one from the drugstore.

      • Housecounsel :

        I have a heated eyelash curler that takes one AA battery and heats up within a minute. I am too lazy to use it most days, but it really does work.

    • I do it every day. I am fortunate to have pretty good eyelashes on their own, but curling and a swipe of mascara makes them look awesome. I use a basic drugstore one, although I know there are fancier ones out there. I don’t use heat, but I hold it for at least 20 – 30 seconds. Lasts most of the day with mascara.

    • I think it makes my eyes look wider and more awake. However, I’ve found that pressing my eyelashes up with my thumbs yields the same results as an eyelash curler and avoids the crimps I’d occasionally get if the curler wasn’t lined up correctly. It also takes much less time.

    • I stick my curler under my knee while I do the rest of my makeup and it’s just a little warm when I’m ready to use it. Finding the right mascara to hold a curl makes all the difference too.

    • Yes, it makes a big difference. I have never ever heated up the curler. You can certainly buy a cheap one (I have one Sephora brand and one from Tweezerman) BUT the one thing that does make a difference is if you put a little effort into matching the curve of the curler to your eye, so you can get all your lashes at once. I get in place, feather it for about 5 seconds, and put on mascara.

    • Every day and I don’t heat mine with a hair dryer, I run it under hot water.

  7. Ladies, I’m looking for what’s turning out to be a unicorn. I’m searching for tan leather (not nude patent) low wedges or flats with a small heel to wear this spring and summer with ankle pants and skirts at work. This seems so simple, but I can’t find anything that’s dressy and sophisticated and attractive. Under $150 is ideal. Thanks for any hunting help!

    • These were recommended a while ago on this sub – very comfortable and cute.

      https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/franco-sarto-frankie-wedge-pump/365214?activeColor=252

      • The Franco Sarto Fletcher wedge pump (also on DSW) are my new faves and they come in taupe. Very feminine silhouette for a wedge and very comfortable. The taupe aren’t exactly tan, but maybe could work?

    • Ah, stuck in mod. Check out the Franco Sarto Frankie Wedge Pump

    • I can’t do a lot of browsing at work for specific recs, but some brands you might check out: Sofft, Antelope, Kork-ease?

    • Baconpancakes :

      I know the blogger Franish has a pair of cognac Frye wedges that I’ve always coveted – not sure if they’re still sold, but they seem to have held up.

      Cole Haan and Naturalizer tend to have wedges heels. They’re more taupe than tan, though.

      http://www.naturalizer.com/en-US/Product/EC0224362-3015463/Naturalizer/Taupe+Leather/Dove.aspx

      http://www.colehaan.com/tali-grand-bow-wedge-65mm-maple-sugar/W00966.html?dwvar_W00966_color=Maple%20Sugar&dwvar_W00966_width=#cgid=womens_shoes_wedges&start=2

    • https://www.6pm.com/p/cl-by-laundry-hartley-luggage-super-suede/product/8788606/color/766988

      https://www.6pm.com/p/nine-west-saige-light-natural-synthetic/product/8693675/color/56773

      https://www.6pm.com/p/ted-baker-immet-tan-synthetic/product/8857169/color/48896

    • These have been in my cart for a while now, to replace an ancient pair of VanEli structured nude leather flats. I prefer a bit of a point/almond toe on flats to look more formal, less little girl ballerina, but I love these.
      https://www.6pm.com/p/vaneli-cabot-ecru-nappa/product/8818274/color/179644

    • In mod with a link to 6 p m dot c o m’s VanEli Cabot

    • Baconpancakes :

      In mod with a couple recs.

    • How do you feel about kitten heels? https://www.zappos.com/p/calvin-klein-gabrianna-cognac/product/8613103/color/184651

      Also, do you have a specific shade in mind?

    • https://www.zappos.com/p/born-julianne-noche-tan/product/8070378/color/499626

      Looks comfy and versatile

    • I bought Cole Haan tali wedges a month ago from Nordstrom. They are nude for me leather and oh so comfortable.

    • Also in mod, but Born Julianne ($85 on Zappos) seems to fit the bill

    • cake batter :

      Not sure if this fits your definition of low heel (more medium to me), but look up Franco Sarto Frankie wedges at DSW. I have them, and they’re quite comfortable.

    • I’ve seen about 100 variations of this shoe at DSW. Just go into the store and take a look. Be open to different shades of tan (because “nude” is not a color) and what those look like on your actual foot and the fact that wedges, by their very nature are fairly antithetical to dressy and sophisticated.

  8. Yup, it totally works. I tend to do it as a weekend look.

  9. Venting/ looking for commiseration: I have been going on multiple interviews and I am so frustrated with the process. HR asks me to drop everything and come in that same week. I spend hours preparing, but the interviewers are barely spending minutes. They don’t even glance at my resume and don’t even bother to ask me questions (they spend the entire time either talking about irrelevant stuff or asking me what questions I have for them. I have plenty of questions to fill the time, but I would like the opportunity to share some non-resume bits about me). Then, to top it off, I get ghosted half the time. If you are going to bring me in for an interview at the drop of the hat because the position needs to be filled yesterday, then have the decency to reject me, rather than just not calling me back!

    • It’s probably best if you readjust your expectations. IME most HR departments are disorganized and not particularly helpful. The hiring process is annoying, frustrating, and, often, not as professional as we would like. That’s just how it works. You shouldn’t stop preparing as well as you do because you never know who you will get as an interviewer and every company is different, but I suggest lowering your expectations and try not to take it so personal. It’s a reflection of them, not you!

    • Looking for a job is the pits.

    • Nothing you can do about it. It is a buyer’s market.

      • I know there is nothing I can do, but having market power to choose candidates does not mean that basic politeness and professionalism should go out the window.

        • You don’t have to be professional or polite when you are busy and there are thousands of people applying for a few decent jobs. They don’t need you. Put up or work at Starbucks.

          • Well that’s true, but OP is right, people can choose to be decent. It’s a shame many aren’t and I’d use this as an opportunity to get insight into how it would be to work for them.

          • I think it’s more that they surely can’t have seen that many people if she was brought in for an interview. I agree. I’ve been flown out to an interview or spend 3 to 4 hrs interviewing and heard dead silence. Random applications and phone interviews, I understand. But if the applicant has put in half a day or more than a day in the process, it’s crappy to not follow up with a cursory one liner about going in another direction.

          • You’re right, you don’t have to be polite or professional when you are busy, but it is a good idea if you want to promote a welcoming culture. If you don’t have the time to be polite to interviewees, it doesn’t bode well for how you treat employees, which ironically puts you in the interviewer seat more often.

            And no, I don’t need to put up or work at Starbucks. Interviewers need me and the other candidates too, to fill the role. They want me to be the right person and I want to be the right person. We can figure out if it is a match faster if we are all professional.

          • Haha. Is “professionalism” a thing? Once you get hired, it is always boy’s club type comments, power struggles, general disrespect. Everywhere. And you are worried about an interview? I hate to be negative, but such a tiny aspect of our whole professional experience is not something I can even begin to focus on after all I’ve seen and been through.

    • I’m right there with you. I cannot tell you how many jobs I have applied to where you NEVER hear back. WTF people? WTF? I remember this happening in law school even with OCIs (which you would expect to be a bit more formal). It’s just so rude to not send a rejection letter

  10. Switzerland recs :

    Thanks to whoever recommended Scott’s Cheap Flights, I’m headed to Switzerland for two weeks this summer! No hard plans yet except to take the train everywhere and head to the Bernese Oberland area to explore and hang out for a few days. Flying in and out of Zurich. Does anyone have recs for places to stay or where to eat?

    • If you like opera, check out the Festspiel in Bregenz, Austria. It’s about 2 hours from Zurich with a good train connection. The opera stage is suspended over Lake Constance – it’s in one of the recentish Bond movies https://bregenzerfestspiele.com/en/programme/carmen-0. If you go stay at the Kaiserstrand hotel. http://en.seehotel-kaiserstrand.com/

  11. China Bound :

    I’m off to China tonight for 2 weeks – any last minute advice on stuff I should make sure to bring/do? I’ve got all the obvious stuff packed (passport, snacks, medicine, clothes, books, etc.), but having never been there before I figured I’d check with the Hive for any last-minute advice!

    • Cipro and Imodium.

    • Install VPN on your phone if there’s any likelihood you might need to use Google (search engine, email, maps etc). Pleco is a good translator app which works offline.

    • Have an amazing time!! I was in your exact shoes one year ago today. China blew me away in all of the best ways. Have you arranged for cell/data services? We both had it through Verizon and had access to Google Maps, etc, the whole time we were there. Of course that could change, but there was a huge access difference for those of us with international data plans.

    • Arundhati Roy :

      My biggest tip would be to open/remind yourself of the password for an email account that is not gmail. Like [email protected]! VPN is life saving but doesn’t always work and sometimes the best /only way people (at work or in family) can reach you is through those emails.

      • I’m totally ignorant here and not the OP but does google not work at all in China?

        • Arundhati Roy :

          Over my many trips, I’ve definitely struggled with Google based stuff. As an android user that’s tougher, so having alternatives to chrome, gmail etc were very useful to me, my friends and colleagues.

        • Yes – it’s all blocked by the internet firewall unless you use a VPN.

    • I haven’t been in 10 years, so this advice may no longer be true given the pace at which things change in China, but I found that even in Beijing many public restrooms had no toilet paper or soap. Everyone, including locals, seemed to carry small packets of tissues and hand sanitizer. I would definitely bring plenty of both.

      Enjoy! It’s a fun, fascinating place. I envy you the food you will be eating.

      • +still true re: tissue, hand sanitizer etc.
        – when shopping (esp at markets) always inspeact the final product- there has been bait and switch at the very last moment
        – remember return policies are non-existent in many stores- always ask before purchase

        – be sure to try the regions cuisine. handmade noodles anywhere in China are excellent.
        – be sure to brush up on business etiquette- this is a biggie.

      • I was also in China in 2008 and was about to post the same thing… Bring plenty of tissue for the bathrooms!!

      • +1 on tissue and hand sanitizer!!

        If you’re vegetarian, be aware that that may not mean what you think it means in a given restaurant.

        Use the calculator on your phone to put in your offer price when shopping and show the vendor. At least when I was there it was usually expected that you’ll haggle, especially in markets.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      If you’re taking any internal flights or trains, check carry on luggage restrictions as they’re a little smaller/lighter than US carriers.

      And yes, tissues and hand sanitizer.

    • I’d probably read up on the food I’d want to try and how to order!

  12. Cheesy Punny Joke needed :

    Odd request, I know. I have a call this afternoon with a colleague who absolutely loves puns/cheesy jokes. Anyone care to share a zinger so I can start this call with a good laugh/groan?

    • How do you make an octopus laugh?
      Give him ten tickles.

    • I should just have my husband call you directly.

      “I lost job at the calendar factory. All I did was I took a couple days off !!!”

      My daughter’s favorite: “I have a knock knock joke that only works if you go first.” (This is probably the best joke I know)

      My grandfather’s favorite: “I could never have gotten to where I am today without my friend Percy – you know, Percy Veerance?”

    • What’s brown and sticky? A stick.

    • KateMiddletown :

      My daughter’s favorite – Knock Knock. Who’s There? Cat. Cat Who? Meow.

    • What did Snow White name her chicken? Egg White
      What do you call a mischievous egg? A practical yolker

    • Why didn’t the frog have a car? Because it was “toad”.

      Grasshopper walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Hey buddy, we got a drink named after you!” Grasshopper says, “You have a drink named Herman?”

      Why did the farmer win an award? He was out standing in his field.

      What kind of animal do you not want to play cards with? A cheetah!

    • My sister is a pun master and I’ve learned to keep up. The key is to pick a theme for your puns during the call. Beginner level pun theme for you could be birds. Tons of bird puns. So many bird puns.

    • Horse Crazy :

      Why do seagulls fly over the sea?
      Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be bagels!

    • Anonymous :

      q: did you hear about the kidnapping the next street over?
      a: omg! what happened? (insert reaction)
      q: oh, she woke up.

    • Delta Dawn :

      What does a nosy pepper do?
      He gets jalapeno business!

    • A man walks into a bar and goes “ouch”. Say it out loud.

  13. Burning out :

    I recently wrapped up a stressful filing/project and am feeling really burned out. However, my employer does not allow employees to take vacations until after six months. I’m currently on my sixth month, but my performance has definitely deteriorated recently because I’ve been coming in to the office later than usual. How do I recover without taking vacation time? I just need to make it past another month until I can take a vacation. As a side note, I’ve been billing about 210 hours on a monthly basis since I’ve got to the law firm.

    Some ideas I have are: 1) take a vacation to a yoga ashram center in upstate NY; 2) take a solo vacation to Florida Keys just for the weekend. However, both ideas seem a little extravagant and pricy for me. The former will likely cost be around $300, while the latter will likely cost me around $600. Is there anything else at a more reasonable price point that will last a weekend and still be relaxing?

    • Both of those are dirt cheap weekend options. If you’re billing 210 a month you can afford it.

      • You know we don’t get OT right? And OP hasn’t been there long enough to get a bonus yet.

        • LOL that anybody would think you get over time. Duh.

        • Anonymous :

          Pretty sure Anon @ 10:57 meant that if OP is working at a firm that has demanded 200+ hour months for 6 months, she had better be in Biglaw or its salary equivalent, so yes, $300/$600 *is* a drop in the bucket. OP, if you’re billing 200+ hour months consecutively for half a year and not making a salary to afford a $300 weekend, you need a new firm.

    • Two nights at a cabin in the woods (plus food and supplies) or a hotel in an area you won’t get mugged will cost you $300 or more. Just take a short weekend vacation at the price points you state, because you won’t find anything cheaper, or frugal out at home with a staycation (I fill my staycation with long scented baths, hulu binging, hair and nails, a play and/or concert, and brunch) – a full weekend with no purpose other than to have fun and relax.

    • Are you in NY? Check out Kings Spa in NJ- it’s insanely relaxing, and there’s a shuttle from midtown. I think there’s a special right now that includes an hour massage, full day’s access to facilities, and transport for like $95.

    • You need to bite the bullet and pay a few hundred bucks. Both of those prices are absolutely reasonable for what they are. Consider it an investment in your health and in your career, since you need some relaxation time to get back on your A game.

  14. Family drama :

    My sister and I have historically been very close. But in the past 5 years or so, she’s developed/been diagnosed with* bipolar, and has been in and out of rehab for alcohol addiction. She’d been seeing someone ~10 years ago, then they broke it off, and they got back together 6 years ago. He has been an absolute saint through the entire ordeal of her having a massive breakdown, being hospitalized, moving across the country, being there to clean her up and get her to rehab when needed, to keep her going to meetings, etc. I have no idea why he stuck around, honestly, but he did. He gave up drinking (he was never a big drinker anyway) the day she was diagnosed. And they got engaged 3 years ago and married 2 years ago. My now BIL has had to pick my sister up from various places she’s gotten herself in trouble, has had to be the one to call my parents and let them know she’s been hospitalized again, etc. Again, I have no idea how/why he dealt with all of this, because my sister is a trainwreck, but he did.

    Fast forward to this Christmas, when my sister had yet another relapse, in front of our entire extended family, got herself a one way ticket to the ER to detox and then back to rehab (outpatient this time, for complicated reasons). My sister texted me 30 days later to tell me she’s been sober for 30 days and she’s moving out, wants to file for divorce.

    That was a few months ago. My BIL is both beside himself and also, at this point, just sort of rolling with things/likely in denial. He’s in the house (they rent, not own), she got another apartment in the next town over. He’s basically just continuing on with life and she’s, as it turns out now, actively trying to move on (vs reconcile). She texted me again this morning letting me know all about the various dates she’s been on, guys she’s been seeing, etc.

    I think my sister is a moron. In the past few years, I’ve really felt more like my BIL is my relative vs my sister, who has become a person I just don’t know anymore. And as I get to know her, I don’t like her at all. She’s vain, verbally abusive, really self-absorbed– and these are all thing that I (and most of my family) blamed on her disease initially. But it’s just not the case. My BIL, for example, did all the christmas shopping for my kids. He came over for christmas the morning after my sister was hospitalized for violent, black-out drunk behavior on christmas eve, and opened presents/played with my kids. My kids always as for “uncle BIL” and not “aunt sister.”

    So my question really is– (a) do I have to support her? (b) assuming now, how do I *not* support her? (c) to what extent can I support my BIL? My BIL is also very good friends with my husband and my brother, despite living 500 miles away. Do I just step back, let DH support BIL and I can passively not-support my sister? Is this just an awful thing to be thinking?

    “Support” might be anything from telling my BIL he needs to not get hosed in the divorce since he makes all the money and my sister is a parasite, to helping him reconcile (if that’s what he wants), to helping him get back out there and meet new people. He’s talking about just giving my sister things like the car they bought (with “joint” money that is 100% his since he works and she’s a grad student), about continuing to pay for her school, about how much he’s sending her to pay for her apartment, etc.

    *meaning, she’s only been exhibiting symptoms for 5-6 years, and was diagnosed 5 years ago. I don’t know enough to know if she’s always had it and it’s been latent, etc.

    • My sympathies. I also have bipolar family members. Dealing with the verbal abuse can be really hard. I too have come to the conclusion that I simply don’t like one of these family members, disease or no. That’s OK. You don’t have to like people just because they’re blood relatives.

      I think you can both support your BIL and your sister if that’s what you want to do. But the things you say you want to do/say to provide this support to your BIL go beyond support and into getting involved in their relationship and making judgments about how they choose to end it. You can tell your BIL you want him to remain in your life and you want to be friends, but I think you should say zero things about the decisions he makes in their divorce. Who gets the car is none of your business. That would be true if your BIL was just your friend married to your friend and it would be true if your sister wasn’t bipolar, and it’s true in this case as well. Don’t involve yourself in the details. At all.

      As for supporting your sister or not, what does that mean to you? You don’t have to tell her you think something is a good idea if you don’t think it is, but you also don’t have to tell her your opinion on how quickly she’s moving on. You can just tell her you hope she’s doing well and that she finds happiness. You don’t have to like someone for those things to be true.

    • You need to step far away from the details of that divorce. Just butt out. No good will ever come of it.

      You can (and should) contact your BIL and tell him that he’s a great person, the kids love him, and that you appreciate what he did for your sister. You should let him know that he is always an uncle to your kids and the divorce doesn’t change that.

      • This.

        I would also be inclined to say that you won’t think poorly of him if he insists on a fair divorce settlement vs. giving her whatever she asks for.

        Continued friendship with your DH/you and a continued relationship with your kids will likely be very meaningful to him.

      • Agreed. I’d try to keep BIL integrated into the family and invite him to events with your kids. It doesn’t sound like your sister has a healthy future with your family, but that doesn’t mean BIL can’t be involved.

        My mom’s brother divorced his wife in a less extreme, but similarly toxic way. He moved away and our family lost touch. But his divorced wife became our favorite aunt. She showed up for every family event, supported us as teenagers, and still sends all of us birthday and holiday cards. I’m so glad my family didn’t freeze her out just because my uncle was an a**hole.

    • Your sister sounds terrible, but your BIL sounds like an enabler, and there’s nothing you can say or do that will make him stop setting himself on fire for her (or others like her- hopefully he doesn’t wind up with playing white knight again after the divorce).

      Your support for him doesn’t have to be super direct and drama-stirring; for instance, if he mentions giving her the car, you can say, “Huh, that doesn’t seem fair” and then drop the subject. In other words, don’t lie about what you think is right, but also don’t borrow trouble or get involved in the details. You can help plant the seeds for his own realization down the line, but he has to get there himself.

      • Family drama :

        I think that’s about in line with what will actually play out. BIL isn’t a big chatter, it would be very odd for the involvement to get any further than “you know you have 0 obligation to do any of those things, right? In fact, [sister] is a grown up and can fend for herself.” He and I actually don’t have that high-touch a relationship, but he and my husband are very good friends. DH and I (and my parents, TBD, who also love BIL as a son) are horrified between ourselves at the politics of their divorce, but…we’re firmly in MYOB camp– half because we know it’s the right thing to do but also, half because we know they will do what they want regardless of what we say.

      • Family drama :

        I think that’s about in line with what will actually play out. BIL isn’t a big chatter, it would be very odd for the involvement to get any further than “you know you have 0 obligation to do any of those things, right? In fact, [sister] is a grown up and can fend for herself.” He and I actually don’t have that high-touch a relationship, but he and my husband are very good friends. DH and I (and my parents, TBH, who also love BIL as a son) are horrified between ourselves at the politics of their divorce, but…we’re firmly in MYOB camp– half because we know it’s the right thing to do but also, half because we know they will do what they want regardless of what we say.

    • This is rough. Sending hugs.

      My mom has borderline personality disorder–completely untreated except for self-medication with alcohol–and I often have similar feelings about her behavior that it seems like you have about your sister’s. While I can recognize that some of her behavior is not fully within her control, I also do lay responsibility on her for not making efforts to get the help she needs, when she is fully aware of the impact she has on those around her and has driven almost everyone close to her away with her abuse. I compare it to any other chronic, severe illness: it is not someone’s fault that they have X, and they will always likely have X impact their life in some way, but they do have the obligation to make reasonable efforts to seek treatment and take responsibility for their condition, within their ability to do so (at least, this is how I see my own chronic illness).

      So yes, I think you’re totally justified in not supporting her at this point, and in preferring your BIL. You can recognize that she has serious issues beyond her control and needs help, while also recognizing that she, herself, has made bad choices that you would not support regardless of her condition. Those of us with complicated families know that our families are, in the end, chosen–and that includes bio relatives as well as those who are not related to us by blood.

    • Your sister is mentally ill. Severely. It sounds like she is in a manic episode now. Is she getting medical care, do you think? Taking her meds?

      Yes, if she has bipolar disorder, this is organic, she is genetically predisposed to it. It is not her fault.

      Substance abuse is a common additional problem as a form of self medication.

      My father has bipolar disease. My Aunt has schizophrenia. There is extensive mental illness in my family

      Part of a severe mental disorder like bipolar is that you do not realize you are sick. A form of denial you might think, but it is deeper than that – called anosognosia. And if you don’t realize that you are sick, then why would you listen to a doctor/family telling you to take medicine that makes you feel awful (because it often does….).

      No matter how clear it seems to you that she is making poor decisions, may not be a nice person etc… you have to try to separate the behavior caused be her disease and her. It is crazy hard.

      Her husband is an absolute saint. Without him, she may wind up on the streets… Support him, and support your sister.

      This is brutally hard on the family. If you have the time, and desire, I recommend looking at the NAMI website and find the family support group in your area and go to one of the sessions. They have a wonderful class that is taught be peers that would be incredibly helpful for you. Your BIL should also go to these.

      My poor brother, after growing up with a parent with mental illness, is now married to a woman recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, who just had her first hospitalization. She only became symptomatic after their marriage. It is not uncommon for people to be “fine” early in life, and to become symptomatic in middle age.

      Sometimes life is so so cruel.

      • Anonymous :

        + 1 million. This is the compassionate response/course of action.

      • Family Drama :

        She’s actually complaint with her BPD meds, and has been for a few years. She is apparently in the throws of a depressive episode according to her/her therapist, but this stuff is never cut and dried.

        I’ve done a lot of Al Amina nd it’s helped tease out what is The Illness and what is my sister just being a b!tch. Because we’ve all cut her a LOT of slack for a long time because of Her Diagnosis when actually it’s just her personality.

        • Anonymous :

          From what you have posted, Al Anon is not the right group for you. You need a group for family members with mental illness. There is overalap, but they are fundamentally quite different.

          You say you used to be close to her sister. So I assume she wasn’t always a b1tch, yes? Most people do not change the fundamental nature of their personality. They just don’t. Unless they have a severe, life changing psychiatric diagnosis like your sister.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Take this for what it is worth but I don’t think you owe anyone who hasn’t treated you appropriately your support. I have a tough family situation, and a friend of mine who has a similar family situation always says its about your people. Your BIL can be part of your people even if he isn’t your blood relative.

      I think my husband has done a really good job of this. He has very surface level relationships with both his parents and strong boundaries. He’s pleasant, we see them occasionally, and they have no real access / knowledge about our lives and important decisions. You could do something similar with your sister – just nod along when she behaves moronically (this is what I do with my MIL) and don’t involve yourself more than that.

      Also no one has the right to be verbally abusive to you. You don’t deserve that.

    • I have a family member who has been arrested for domestic violence against his wife, and they’re now divorcing. We’ve long been close with her and have really tried to support her through this, so this is close to my heart. For us, what has worked is giving factual advice (so not, “you should get a divorce,” but “here are some lawyers in your town that we know have experience with DV and the military”), continuing to see her as we normally would (we often saw her without him before this started), and making clear to her that their divorce will not change how we feel about or relate to her.

      We’ve also repeatedly made clear that what he was doing before the actual incident of physical violence was not okay, that the violence itself was not okay, and that none of this was her fault. It’s actually easier for her, I think, because we (unlike other family members) haven’t focused on “he’s a bad person” (which is hard for her to process because she loves him), but rather on “what he did is wrong and he should experience consequences for that.” You don’t want to put your BIL in a position where he feels like he has to defend her as a person…it may be easier for him to admit that her conduct (rather than her personally) has been hurtful for him.

  15. Paging Scottish travelers (and I know there’s at least one Scot on the board)! We’re spending two weeks there in April/May – a couple days in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but the majority of our time in the Highlands. In the Highlands, is it appropriate to wear hiking clothes most of the time or do I need to pack more “city clothes?” I was planning on packing mainly trail shoes, trail pants, sweater fleeces, etc. For dinner, we were thinking jeans and sweaters. Speaking of sweaters, I’m expecting it to still be cool in the beginning of May – correct?

  16. This is an adult birthday question so feel free to skip if that’s not your thing. I planned to do dinner and a (very inexpensive and local) concert with friends for my birthday in a few weeks. I’m single and have been for a long time. I sent the invite a month ago – out of about 20 people (including SOs), 15 said they could come to one or both events. I advised everyone to get their concert tickets ASAP because it’s a small venue that’s likely to sell out and the tickets aren’t sold on s t u b h u b or similar as far as I know. A bunch of people said they were buying theirs immediately so I got mine too.

    Now the concert is sold out and apparently I’m the only one who bought a ticket. I’ve been to concerts by myself and don’t necessarily mind going alone but… I didn’t think I’d go alone on my birthday (even typing that sounds whiny ugh). I can’t really go to the concert, right? I imagine people will hang out for drinks after dinner, so I’d basically be leaving my own party to go to a show alone. I’m disappointed but I’m not sure if I have a right to be, and I’m not sure what I should do now. Thanks for any advice.

    • How badly do you want to go to the concert? Because if it’s not a once in a lifetime thing, I’d just sell your ticket and do dinner.

      I’m assuming you reminded friends and they went and couldn’t get tickets?

    • Oh that’s super disappointing! I’m sorry! I think you should stay sand enjoy the party but also totally normal to be disappointed. At least part of the evening is working out!

    • Aw man I’m sorry that sucks. Your friends sound super flakey.

    • If you want to go to the concert, go after dinner. Let them know you’re headed to the concert, alone, since no one followed through on purchasing a ticket. And for the avoidance of doubt, yes I think it’s fine to pettily remind them of how flaky they are. I have flaky friends who just no longer get invited to things that involve 1) money, or 2) any effort on their part. I call them my “rare dinner, casual game night with lots of people” friends.

    • I’m sorry, I would definitely be disappointed too! It would be one thing if people declined the concert invitation. But they said they would go and you made your plans based on what they said they would do, and they flaked. You’re entitled to be upset about that, whether or not it’s your birthday.

      If you really don’t want to go alone, and tickets are sold out, it sounds like you can probably sell your ticket. I might go alone if it were me though. I don’t like changing my plans if/when other people flake.

      • +1 I would go alone if it was a show I really wanted to go to. Eff changing my plans to accommodate flaky friends.

    • I’m so sorry. That really sucks. As another longtime single person, I’ve learned I really can’t rely on my married/mom friends when it comes to making plans. They’ll always have other priorities. If it makes you sad to be alone at the concert, I think you should sell your ticket and do something really indulgent for yourself like a spa day.

      • +1 to the spa day suggestion, but also to add that it’s nothing to do with partnered status… I have single friends who are flaky, and mom friends who are most definitely not (I guess because for them, making any evening plans involves coordination with husbands and/ or babysitters).

    • This sucks. I would probably either (a) go to the concert alone, but move dinner to another night so if my friends want to continue celebrating I won’t be skipping out to go to the concert or (b) go to dinner and skip the concert.

      In case helpful, I will give you some practical advice. We used to run into this issue with my friends. We’ve moved to a point person system. The person doing the inviting coordinates tickets – so they send an email, tell people to Venmo them the cost of a ticket by a specified date, and then buy everyone tickets. That way everyone who wants to go gets a ticket and the organizer doesn’t have to front the money.

      • This. Getting everyone to buy their tickets separately, especially for an event likely to sell-out will always cause problems.

        Happy Birthday!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      If you really want to go to the concert, I would say “Oh, if no one bought tickets, then let’s do dinner on X other night instead” and go to the concert by myself. Sell the ticket if it was more just a thing to do with your friends.

      Either way, you’re justified in feeling upset at them for flaking. Unless they’re always like this (in which case *this particular case* is not really the problem), I would let them have a mulligan and move on, but your feelings are definitely valid.

  17. Hard drive recovery :

    I had a hard drive disaster several months ago and asked here for recommendations on a data recovery service. I went with Computer Forensics in Minnetonka, MN. I’m happy to say that they were fantastic–restored a huge percentage of my data and communicated frequently and honestly with me throughout the process. It was very expensive, but I accept that that’s the cost (literally) of having failed to adequately back up my priceless data in the first place. Thank you to the reader who made this recommendation–and if anyone else is in need of data recovery services, I fully endorse these folks.

  18. Seeking semi Casual Maternity Wedding Attire :

    Any tips on where to look for cute maternity dresses for a wedding. Invite says “semi casual”. It’s a wedding celebration (the couple is recently married, this is the celebration). Its outdoors in a tent late May in new england (cape cod)… could be hot or cold weather. Event starts at 4pm.

    I am 5’1 and usually wear petite sizes. I’ll be about 34 weeks preggo. I am curvy with large chest, small waist (when not expecting) and bubble but… so all the fitted bottom dresses make me look like I’m wearing club wear (and to fit properly I’m about a size bigger on the bottom) I’m a size 6-8/M. Prints kind of overwhelm me, vnecks look better with my chest. I’d prefer to spend max $125.

    I am pretty picky, so not sure a rental would work for me… anywhere to look? so far I’ve been buy/return from Nordies and Asos with not much luck. Why is maternity fabrics so cheap, and everything looks like a babydoll dress?

    • No suggestions on where or what to buy, but I do have the advice my mother gave me for attending weddings while significantly pregnant: it’s okay to be on the casual side. And this advice was for a just-short-of-black-tie-fancy wedding – all the more so for a semi-casual celebration outdoors in a tent!

      Unless you really want to go get a new dress, if you have something presentable and comfortable that’s not jeans, I think you should feel free to wear that.

    • Have you checked out Jojo Maman Bebe? I like a lot of their current maternity offerings.

    • I have no advice on where to get dresses but what on earth is semi casual? Athleisure? Semi formal means not quite formal, so semi casual must be less than casual?

      • Seeking semi Casual Maternity Wedding Attire :

        I know! Googling it seems like they picked the wrong term… I think it will be a mix of dressy to preppy lilly shift dresses? Since it’s on grass, dressy sandals or not too high wedges.

        • Seeking semi Casual Maternity Wedding Attire :

          I am thinking cape cod prep look. Most guys in boat shoes… khakis + button down shirts. more shift dresses and dressy sandals and wedges for the women.

          There are over 200 people invited so not a small affair. Dinner is plated so still fairly formal. Everything seems either too dressy or not quite enough (that I like, I am picky!!)

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I think “semi-formal” means not as formal as “formal” and “semi-casual” means not as casual as “casual.” I would interpret it to mean “nice but not fancy.” Cape Cod prep sounds like a good way to go!

    • Asos

    • Asos. I got this and it seems like it might fit your needs. I have a bubble as well and its long enough to not look clubby.

      http://www.asos.com/asos-maternity/asos-maternity-midi-bardot-pencil-dress-with-ruffle/prd/9082535?clr=purple&SearchQuery=bardot%20maternity&gridcolumn=2&gridrow=2&gridsize=4&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=72

      • Delta Dawn :

        I have this dress too and love it. Perfect for a wedding. Any time I had to dress up during pregnancy, I alternated between this Asos and a very basic black dress (Old Navy from several years ago). With the black, I would carry a bright emerald wrap and wear a big statement earrings and pretty shoes (for as long as I could stand heels, anyway, which ended at about 7 months pregnant). Ingrid and Isabel invariably has a black stretchy maternity dress that you could accessorize into being formal enough for this event.

      • Seeking semi Casual Maternity Wedding Attire :

        Love this suggestion, I actually bought this and just had to return. I am 5’1″ and would need to be hemmed, and size up for lower half, but then too big on top :(

        • I went to Motherhood Maternity and got a few. Here are my suggestions from them.

          I missed the 5’1″ in your first post. I can see that dress being way too long. Im 5’10”.

          Anyway here are some that might work
          http://www.motherhood.com/cold-shoulder-maternity-dress/006-92203-58.html?cgid=new-dresses&dwvar_006-92203-58_color=006-92203-58

          I love this one! http://www.motherhood.com/ruffled-maternity-dress/006-93485-000-001.html?cgid=new-dresses&dwvar_006-93485-000-001_color=006-93485-82

          http://www.motherhood.com/cold-shoulder-maternity-dress/006-93296-86.html?cgid=clothing-dresses&dwvar_006-93296-86_color=006-93296-86

          I have this in navy and black and I think it flatters the bump and the b o o t y. Floral dresses it up a bit. I might get this for my shower(s). http://www.motherhood.com/side-ruched-maternity-dress–floral/006-96514-004-001.html?cgid=clothing-dresses-casual&dwvar_006-96514-004-001_color=006-96514-48

    • This, with a wrap, light jacket or long cardigan, a bejeweled sandal and fun jewelry. Stretchy, comfortable, low cost and you can wear it this summer postpartum. http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1010708&pcid=48687&vid=1&pid=265440012

      • Seeking semi Casual Maternity Wedding Attire :

        Thanks! I have this dress also. I think this would be veering too casual for the wedding but love this dress it was my go-to for basically everything since I was expecting in summer last time around as well.

    • Two Cents :

      I got so many compliments on this dress. Super flattering. It does hug the curves but it really makes you look amazing.

      https://shop.nordstrom.com/c/maternity-dresses?origin=leftnav&cm_sp=Left%20Navigation-_-Dresses

      Also try Isabella Oliver and Seraphine (esp. the latter, which is less pricey than IO).

  19. Bedroom Furniture :

    I’m basically looking for the MMLF of furniture. Is there such a thing? I want to buy a new bed that is made well, and not from a big box store.

  20. Sharing Some Happies (and Bragging, Thanks to Your Help!) :

    A few weeks ago I asked for perspective and tips on preparing for an associate review that I knew would not be entirely positive (not being bashful, I dropped the ball on some things).

    I felt well-prepared, though a bit nervous, and it ended up being a really positive experience overall. We all agreed on the things I need to improve on and though normally partner reviews aren’t shared, our practice group chair overshared and ended up reading one verbatim, “So and so partner said, ‘She’s a rockstar. Work product is excellent'” and a few other really nice comments. One of the reviewing partners, the partner I’ve had the most issues working well for, said that I had a real skill for drafting deal documents.

    They could have fired me right then and there and I would have still been over the moon, ha ha! It was just a really good and needed “reboot” to keep working hard this year. I love my firm and what I do and it’s just incredible to see how much I really have learned. Thank you for your encouragement and tips!

  21. Lawyer coaches? :

    Does anyone have any recommendations for career coaches that work with attorneys? I was recently laid off from my in house role, and am having trouble getting excited about other similar in-house roles out there, and can’t picture myself going back to a firm. I have outplacement services from my old employer, but there counseling stinks. Has anyone worked with a coach or counselor to help figure out how to best look for new jobs?

  22. Anonymous :

    Vegetarian ladies or those who’ve considered it – what do you do to keep iron/iron stores and B12 up. I know people always recommend lentils and peanut butter. Maybe I’m not consuming enough (despite several servings/wk) but those things just don’t do as much for me as say eating meat 3x/week. Someone told me absorption of iron from plants is harder. Yet there are entire cultures that are 100% religiously vegetarian so clearly they’ve figured it out.

    • Anonymous :

      i’m no longer a vegetarian but still have low vitamin b – i take supplements. you should consider that as well. iron is tougher because supplements dont absorb super well but i’d give it a shot.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Speaking of a shot, I’ve been taking B-complex shots and it’s been a game-changer for me in so many ways. I just take the syringes home and LH does the honors.

    • Anonymous :

      You take a supplement.

      Why fight this?

      Even my vegan/vegetarian friends who are doctors/scientists/love cooking became B12 deficient. Even though it was their committed lifestyle, one from a culture that is religiously vegetarian.

      So no, clearly they haven’t all figured it out.

      And do you want to completely cook a diet from another culture?

      So I’d say sure, don’t worry about the iron so much. Many women are normally low iron wise anyway and there isn’t really any danger to that. Manage that with diet as you prefer. But don’t risk it with the B12.

    • I have been vegetarian my entire life and have never had issues with iron or B12. Did you get blood work done recently, and that’s why you’re concerned?

      I eat a fair amount of beans, lentils (pretty much daily) and eat eggs 2 or 3 times a week. Lots of fruits/veggies too. You can also try iron fortified cereal if you’re worried. But I would think that a vegetarian (not vegan) diet with dairy and lentils/beans should give you enough iron.

      • Yes, aren’t eggs both high in b12 and iron? I would start there. Eat an egg daily, that should help a lot.

      • Agreed, I have been mostly vegetarian for the past couple of years and all my bloodwork came out fine. If your bloodwork showed low B-12/iron, just take a spray or supplement.

        Also, just make sure youre eating balanced. I’ve mentioned this on here before but I highly recommend using cronometer -or another food diary app/website where you can your food and make sure youre hiting your nutrient/vitamin targets each day – I typically hit at least 90% of everything each day (except water – working on it!).

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, some people just don’t have genetics on their side. If you donate blood, you should stop, or if you bleed heavily, that can have a huge impact – bc pills may help. I never have had a problem in 20+ years. Agree with the legume comments. One thing many people don’t know is that dairy can interfere with iron absorption, so be aware of how that may affect you.

      • Anonymous :

        And it’s not just dairy, but calcium in general. If you take calcium supplements, make sure you time them right.

    • I’ve been a vegetarian for about 5 years and was b-12 deficient on my last blood test over the summer. I’ve since started taking B-12 supplements, and while I haven’t had another test, I do feel like I have more energy. B-12 takes time to build up in the system so it could take a few months to be not deficient anymore after starting supplements.
      I’m not iron deficient, spinach and dark leafy greens are a good source of iron and I eat lots. If you’re worried you can take iron supplements too. There’s no shame in taking supplements, you’re making sure your body has what it needs while sticking to your desire to not eat meat.

    • I am vegan, used to be vegetarian. I do not absorb B12 well regardless, so I take a sublingual supplement everyday. It’s NBD to do.

    • Anonymous :

      Lifelong vegetarian. No iron deficiency but when I was pregnant I had to take b12 shots.
      I eat mainly Indian cuisine if that is any help.

  23. Anonymous :

    Is Lawyer Monthly a legit publication? I got an email last week saying I was nominated for a “Women in Law 2018 Award,” then today an email saying I was chosen for the award. Have never heard of this publication.

    • Anonymous :

      Answered my own question — https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t4pV2YlMt5aFmdaXH7px0UFYn0sQTLiFgsaZZvxKJQk/edit#gid=976482508 has a list of spammy awards like this one in case anyone is interested

    • AlphabetAnon :

      https://womeninlawawards.lawyer-monthly.com/criteria-guidelines/

  24. AlphabetAnon :

    IDK but it seems weird. Do you know who nominated you? Did you submit “supporting evidence” like it says you can in the 2nd step of their process? It doesn’t seem very competitive if you randomly won without even participating.

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