Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Long Cardigan

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

Happy Friday! I hope you’re all having a good week as we’re finishing off the year, with probably only one more work week to go for many of you before you hopefully get to take a little bit of a holiday. Right now there are so many affordable, highlyrated long cardigans on sale, and I’m not surprised — it’s difficult to layer them with a lot of outerwear unless you have a coat that’s super long. I think they’re a good look and can be nice and cozy — an inherently casual look, but that’s okay unless you really need something more structured (in which case, a blazer or a more fitted cardigan is always better). The pictured cardigan from Sejour comes in plus sizes 0X–3X in three colors for $66 (33% off) at Nordstrom, but there are a number of very similar options in regular and petite sizes for under $50. Long Cardigan

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  1. Chicago Thrift :

    Speaking of Frugal Friday… I’m new to Chicagoland and was delighted to find some good professional clothes (court quality!) at the Northbrook Goodwill last night. For example, I picked up a black Eileen Fisher open cardi in excellent condition for $5. Any suggestions for other good secondhand shops for professional clothes in Chicagoland?

    • Not in Chicago. I’m into sustainable fashion so try to stop by various secondhand and consignment stores. Just generally I find a lot of the Goodwills in suburban areas to be really good. Good luck!

      • Chicago Thrift :

        Thanks! I haven’t lived anywhere before that has such a huge sprawl of more affluent areas so it’s exciting to think of all the options.

      • Kelsey Resale has upscale consignment. There are several locations in Chicagoland.

    • I love the WINGS thrift shops. They usually have a good work wear selection (especially the Schaumburg location), and I’ve gotten some terrific vintage jewelry pieces there. Plus, they’re a great charity.

  2. Anonymous :

    It’s Friday AND I only have one more week left at my job (I’m thrilled to be leaving) AND it’s almost Christmas! What a good day.

  3. pointy toe suede flats :

    Y’all, I have some pointy toe suede flats in non-black colors. They are a wonderful break from heels. The point of the toe is looking a little faded / whitish, like I’m rubbing the color off somehow just in normal wear and tear. The rest of the shoe looks fresh (liberal suede protectant periodically, gentle wearing), so I’m hoping to prolong their lives. For the fading, on the burgundy shoe, I have similar shoepolish. Dab a little on to cover the fade? On the light gray ones, try the same thing? I don’t want to do anything to make the problem worse. Help!!! My feet love these shoes.

    • Suede will stain from the oils in the polish. It might not be noticeable on the dark shoe, but I wouldn’t risk it on the light shoe. I’m wondering if some kind of powder (like matching eye shadow??) might work better. I have never tried this!

    • Anonymous :

      Take them to a cobbler who can match the dye.

    • Yes, to the cobbler with you!

      I have a pair of pointy-toe flats that I thought were beyond repair because the toe was so damaged – my shoe guy cleverly put a small triangle of (similarly colored but not an exact match) leather over about the front inch of the shoe – it made them look so polished and nice again, and I still get compliments on them.

      Moral of the story: a good cobbler is worth his weight in gold.

    • Anonymous :

      The pointy toe of my nude suede heels got dark grayish almost immediately after buying it, and buffing it with a nail file brought it back to normal. If you really think the color is removed than I wouldn’t try this, but if it could be more of a scuff it’s worth a shot.

  4. Has anyone bought bitcoin? There’s so much hype about it lately.

    • Anonymous :

      No and it’s totally a bubble that’s going to crash soon. Buying bitcoin is a way to gamble with money you don’t care about, not a real way of investing.

    • I swear it’s the Beanie Babies of this decade.

      • Ha! Does each one come with a poem and a pristine tag? Tiny bitcoins in happy meals? #iwish

    • Anonymous :

      Still not entirely sure what bitcoin is.

    • Cornellian. :

      bought a tiny amount three years ago out of curiosity, it has ballooned.

      I am not at all a bitcoin enthusiast, and I am not encouraging anyone to buy any (and I’m not buying more myself), but I do think there’s a lot of out of hand dismissiveness towards it.

      • I’d sell soon if I were you. The bubble is going to burst and your ROI is good currently!

        I am considering buying a bit of Litecoin, but I will only do it with money that I don’t care about losing.

      • Yes. I know someone who bought a small amount when it was introduced (like… 30?). He is a computer geek type, and even has a computer that is running 24 hours a day “mining” bitcoin. I have no idea what this means…. Anyway, I think it is worth like half a million dollars now, and he bought it for nothing.

        • I read an article about mining recently. Totally new concept. Basically, people run computers 24/7 to authenticate bitcoin transactions, and they keep a small percent as their fee.

          You have to spend tens of thousands to buy the hardware to do so to scale, and you spend hundreds a month in electricity.

          It sounds like the kind of thing where you need to already be invested in technology and have the hardware to really make money off of it.

          I’m also not convinced that currency is worth anything. Sure, its half a million on paper, but how do you actually get that converted into USD?

          • That’s easy. You can trade it in for $, just as you would another currency. Or you can buy stuff online for it (I’m not talking about drugs, you can buy software, or book hotels or home Depot gift cards for Bitcoin).
            With the small detail that the buying power is unpredictable fluctuating.

          • That response was meant for the Anon who posted above Cornellian…

          • AlexisFaye :

            It’s not that expensive (the hardware or the electricity). The hardware is not abnormal. It’s CPU/GPUs depending on which currency you’re mining. And you convert it to USD by selling it. Just like any other “imaginary” asset like a stock. If you’re interested in checking it out, look at something like Coinbase. But be aware the site crashes when there’s big fluctuations.

    • Someone I know is a big supporter and has been for years. What’s happening now is mainly a bubble, people are trying to get in on the gamble.
      Before the value exploded this time round, my friend would occasionally use some of the Bitcoin to pay for something, i.e. using it as intended. I understand there is a circle of people who genuinely believe in it as a currency of the future, and the current bubble won’t matter in the grander scheme of things.

      Often, a sharp increase in value coincides with some crisis (North Korea, Zimbabwe hyperinflation), so it would seem that people show some inherent trust in the currency, as they choose to park their money there. I would therefore compare it to (very volatile) gold. The number of places that accept Bitcoin as payment is relatively small, which to me is what’s missing to make it a serious currency.

    • My husband got into the hype this week and was half-joking (I think) about buying one. It definitely feels like a bubble about to pop to me, although I’ll admit I’m probably not informed enough to have an opinion.

  5. Help me be a grown up :

    I’m going to a holiday brunch hosted by our real estate broker. It’s not at her house, but will be in a residential setting. Do I bring a hostess gift? I normally would but not sure if a client party has different rules … this was specifically presented a client event. This is my first time with this sort of thing.

    • Men’s work bags :

      Nope. If I’m reading this right, your RE agent is basically hosting a party for her clients to keep the relationship going/drum up new business.

    • Anonymous :

      No, she’s just trying to get more business out of you.

    • I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s Christmas and if she knocked it out of the park for you, a small token of appreciation wouldn’t be out of line. Realtors host these things to keep connected with their clients because they both want to sell the house they sold you and get you into your next one, and get referrals from you. The greatest gift you can give them is referrals and loyalty.

    • Anonymous :


  6. Stopping by Bloomingdales this afternoon and looking for recommendations for your favorite opaque black tights sold there. TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not near a Bloomingdale’s so I’m not sure exactly, but Hue tights are typically sold at department stores and they’re my favourite brand. They’re good quality and long lasting. I’ve even thrown them in the washing machine (in a mesh bag) with no issues.

      • Seconding Hue- my black opaque tights from them hold up for years. I throw them in the washer in a mesh bag all the time and hang dry.

    • You can’t go wrong at Bloomies. Wolford, Commando, Fogal, DKNY–whatever your preference, they have a tight for you. Commando black opaque are great for everyday wear–no dig and really opaque. For something more luxurious in feel (and price to match)–Wolford or Fogal. Hue is a much more affordable option that works as well.

  7. Hiding (Very Early) Pregnancy :

    After two years of TTC, I had a positive pregnancy this week! Next week, my husband and I are going on a week-long trip with his entire family. We would not normally tell anyone we are pregnant so very early in the process, but I am a known, enthusiastic social drinker so I fear there is a zero chance that his family will not notice when I turn down mulled wine in front of the fireplace for the entire week. (I could pass off skipping a drink or two easily, but over the course of an entire week, the baby will really be out of the bag.) Any secret tips for keeping a pregnancy under wraps in very close quarters??

    • This has come up so many times here – one of the simplest suggestions is to tell the family that you’re taking medication (e.g. antibiotics?) that’s contraindicated with alcohol. Also, congratulations.

      • Oh, and they may guess anyway, but hopefully they won’t all talk about it even if they do.

    • Anonymous :

      Congrats! When I was in your shoes I straight up lied and told people I was on a medicine that interacted with alcohol. Lots of medicines do (including such routine things as Tylenol) and people are usually hesitant to pry into a medical condition. People will probably suspect you’re pregnant, but until you announce a pregnancy no one will tell you they were suspicious.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Tylenol interacts with alcohol? Aaagh! I never knew that! Is it dangerous, or just makes you drunker or the tylenol doesn’t work as well, or what?

        • Too much alcohol and Tylenol is bad for your liver. It’s written right on the bottle. 2 Tylenol and a glass of wine probs won’t kill you but you shouldn’t be drinking a lot and taking a lot of Tylenol at the same time, and “a lot” of Tylenol is less than you think.

          • This. I switched to Advil because the safe vs. dangerous dose of Tylenol is a fine line, especially if you enjoy a couple glasses of wine in the evenings and don’t pay attention.

        • Yes, it says on the bottle not to drink any alcohol if you take it (just until the Tylenol wears off in 4-6 hours, and obviously it’s rare to take Tylenol round-the-clock for days on end). The correct dose of Tylenol combined with a moderate amount of alcohol is not going to kill you, but it can do lasting damage to your liver. There are other pain relievers you can take that don’t interact with alcohol.

        • It’s really not good on your liver.

        • SupadupaAnon :

          My cousin died from this interaction. Please be careful.

    • Hrm, you could lie/fake it (lots of good ideas in the archives here- in thi ssituation BYO red drink (cranberry juice), put in wine glass, and politely indicate you’re all set when people ask if you’d like more. Nobody will be the drink police and they’ll be none the wiser), or you might want to consider telling MIL (or similar) and getting an ally.

      We weren’t ready to announce our 3rd at thanksgiving, but like you, it is a no/brainer if I don’t have wine(s) in my hand. I told my mom and let her know I wasn’t sharing yet but wanted her to know. She followed me around and kept her wine glass near me at all times ;). I also filled a wine glass with fizzy cranberry juice and a lime and drank that. We announced last week and nobody had any idea.

    • Anonymous :

      They’ll all know. Just don’t acknowledge it out loud and they shouldn’t either.

      • Hiding (Very Early) Pregnancy :

        This may actually be my concern: I’m not sure my MIL will adhere to the social bargain. My MIL has been baby crazy for a while and is very excited at the prospect of being a grandmother. She could absolutely — out of sheer joy (and cluelessness) — end up on facebook or calling my parents to share her “hunch.” Hmmm this has me thinking we may need to acknowledge it and then firmly tell her she is not to say one blessed word…

        • IME, if you say it as “we got a positive test but thins are still in very early stages; we’re telling you but please understand we are keeping this under wraps until we have our first drs appt on xxx.”

        • Can you really trust her not to share though? I have people in my life like this and they’ll gossip either way so I’d rather the gossip be unconfirmed rumor rather than substantiated fact. Regardless of what you do people will probably figure it out before you’re ready to tell. I’m not a drinker so that wasn’t an issue but I bloated up like crazy by 6 weeks (seriously, I was smaller at 20 weeks than I was at 6 weeks) and when I announced at 12 weeks all my friends, family and co-workers said “Oh yeah, we knew.” So what? I’m still glad I didn’t announce early because if I’d lost the pregnancy before 12 weeks they would have eventually forgotten about it without saying anything to me and I wouldn’t have had to have a conversation about the loss with 50 different people.

        • If you’re dealing with someone who would speculate about an unannounced pregnancy on facebook, I’m not sure how telling her the truth and asking her to keep quiet would help… you may need to flat-out lie (say you’re not pregnant but doctor wants you off alcohol for tests or whatever), then when the truth comes out say it was early and you didn’t know yet. She won’t count the dates.

        • “Stop talking about this right now. If we had news we wanted to share we would. If you keep bringing this up we will leave.”

          • If someone spoke to me that way, I would want them to leave. You can get your point across and still be socially polite and not completely awkward and rude.

          • No way, Anon at 10:33. Bringing it up is rude, telling people to knock it off is not.

          • Anonymous :

            Rude: metaphorically crawling up your daughter in law’s uterus.

            Not rude: telling her to get out of your uterus.

          • Anonymous :

            Echoing everyone else that it’s just returning the awkward to the person asking. Don’t ask rude questions if you don’t want a rude response.

        • This is/was us exactly! We could not trust my in laws not to spill the beans and we didn’t want the world to know until we had the results of our first trimester screening. My in laws have the secret keeping ability of a 3 year old. I managed to attend a family wedding and Thanksgiving and I don’t think anyone guessed, though I am not typically a heavy drinker. A few tips – as others have suggested, say you got strep (either you or your husband should tell your mother in law before the trip that you are super sick and going to the doctor) and are on antibiotics and so you can’t drink. Hold a glass and take a fake sip or two. My in-laws already knew we wanted to have kids/were having trouble getting pregnant so we told them that I was doing IVF, and the meds were making me sick (which i wasn’t). I figured if she tells the whole world this, she will be the one who looks foolish since we aren’t actually doing IVF. When we told, it obviously wasn’t a huge surprise that we were pregnant, but it wouldn’t have been anyway. However, we are having two, so that was the shocker!

    • So I’ve always understood wanting to keep things under wraps at work, but I don’t really get it with family and friends. I’ve always known when people in these circles were trying, and have been able to be there for the ups and downs that come with successful and unsuccessful pregnancies. It makes me a little sad that you would want to hide something joyous for you – maybe just consider telling them? If the concern is the news getting out broadly, tell them not to share?

      • It might not be joyous yet. It might be really stressful, her whole family might not be a good source of support with a miscarriage, she might not want to have to manage other people’s feelings around that.

        • This. If I have a miscarriage, the last thing I want it to deal with is my MIL who will have a million questions and comments about what I ate and how much I worked that might have caused it.

          Don’t underestimate how much people will not adhere to not telling. DH found out his best childhood friend’s wife was expecting when his friend’s mom told DH’s mom at the grocery store. Friend told his mom not to tell, his mom told DH’s mom not to tell that she told, DH’s mom told us not to tell. Some people can’t not tell.

          • Yes. I’ve had a miscarriage after telling family including in-laws, and this is exactly what happened. I ended up feeling compelled to comfort *her* when I was grieving the loss of a very much wanted pregnancy after 18 months of TTC.

          • +a million. I do not consider my MIL to be someone I seek comfort from. If I had told her that we were TTC or had a miscarriage I would be bombarded with questions about it, and then bombarded with questions after about the status of our reproductive efforts. Some people are just not respectful.

        • I get it. It’s a know your family thing, of course. But keep in mind that people aren’t mind readers either. I’ve found that my family members who make he flippant “where are the babies” comments can turn really supportive when you tell the truth “we want them, have been trying, it’s not going well, we are hopeful right now but super scared so please let’s not talk about it”. It would be nice if people behaved perfectly without having to spell things out, and there are going to be people who act badly no matter what. I guess I’m in the school of giving peop,e the benefit of the doubt and trusting they will behave because it’s usually gone that way for me and I’ve had deeper relationships because of it.

          • You are definitely lucky! We considered telling my in laws early, until we were on the phone with my mother in law and she began a sentence as “I’m not supposed to share this with you yet, but so and so is pregnant…” And that was the end of any discussion between my husband and I about telling his parents before our first trimester screening. I personally would feel very very violated if I told someone something to keep a secret and later learned that they shared it with someone else and it would probably be something very hard for me to forgive, because to me trust is something I value a lot and I would view that as a HUGE violation of trust.

    • I think the medication route is your best bet, but I’ve also had friends successfully swap drinks with spouses. You both get the same drink, you nurse yours, your spouse drinks half of his, inconspicuous swap, rinse and repeat. In the end both of your drinks will look basically done.

      • Anonymous :

        This is what I’ve seen work well, especially if you drink out of an opaque cup where they can’t see that the drink level isn’t changing each time you “sip.” As long as you hand it to your SO for refills, they won’t notice.

    • If everyone knows you are TTC anyway, tell them you are cutting out caffeine and alcohol to see if that makes a difference.

      • This is a great one, especially if they know you have been TTC for a while.

      • Anonattorney :

        I think this is the best one. It’s also the closest to the truth, and that way you don’t end up having to explain later why you actively lied to your family. Note–I don’t think it’s wrong to lie to your family about this stuff, but sticking close to the truth just avoids more annoying conversations down the line.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, that would be my suggestion, too.

    • First, congratulations! Husband and I are planning to do the bait-and-switch-glasses-midway thing, in which I nurse a single glass of wine till I find an opportunity to switch it with husband, but the caveats are a) I am the world’s slowest drinker to begin with, so it’s very unlikely anyone will notice and b) I am fine with taking a few sips of wine from time to time while in a low-risk pregnancy. I also like the ‘I’m cutting out caffeine and alcohol as it might help’ tactic above :)

    • Congrats!! Try your best to hide it… but I’m sure they’ll be overjoyed to hear the news if it does slip out.

    • Anonymous :

      OMG carry around a wine glass and sip her and there.A few swallows of wine won’t hurt the baby.

  8. Anonymous :

    “with probably only one more work week to go for many of you before you hopefully get to take a little bit of a holiday” ….as a transactional attorney with pressure to close everything before EOY, this made me hate this s*t3 a little bit

  9. Men’s work bags :

    What do you male friends/spouses/SOs/siblings use to schlep their laptop to and from work?

    Husband works for a business casual/casual software company (think more like EMC/IBM vs Silicon Valley). He wears a button down dress shirt & slacks most days, jeans & sweaters other days. He’s senior management.

    He is carrying around – I can’t make this up- an old Dell laptop bag c.2004 that has long since lost its strap. He hates it but has never picked something new. He isn’t in a client facing-ish role (senior exec that makes the rounds to clients) where he wears suits.

    Any ideas on a good bag? Doesn’t need to be fancy or flashy but it would be nice if, you know, it had all its parts. I’m thinking maybe Tumi or someone makes a good bag? Leather sounds nice but may not make sense in practice.

    And/or good rec for an under the seat laptop + clothing bag? He does a lot of daytrips or one nighters and hates lugging the rollerboard.

    I’d like to keep the budget under $200 but can certainly spend more for the right bag.

    Casual messenger style bags are not his style (but apparently “vintage ratty dell” is ;).). I seriously cannot believe he is in the role he is carrying this thing. The female equivalent is carrying an old faux leather bag you got for free at a work conference that has a hole in it and peeling fake leather as a senior exec. To client meetings.

    • Men’s work bags :

      Sorry, he *is* in semi-a client facing role. And he’s not c-sure but close.

    • Anonymous :

      Yikes! Sounds like he really needs a new bag. Tumi is excellent quality. You’ll pay more than $200 but he’ll have that bag for years.

      • biglawanon :

        Yeah, my husband carries a sleek black leather Tumi briefcase. I think it came with a shoulder strap, but he carries it by the handles. Quality is excellent.

    • Check out LL Bean for something more casual and still sturdy and functional.

    • Tumi is the way to go for this, especially if he’s in senior management and going up. They aren’t flashy, are very utilitarian, and will last forever. He could get a cheaper one, but the Tumi will work even as he goes into the executive ranks, so you won’t ever have to “trade up” unless he wants a leather bag at some point.

      • Also should add: They also make good overnight-size bags. They’re above your stated budget, but like I said, they would easily be a “buy it once and use it forever” thing.

      • I’m a tumi fan girl as well, so good to hear. Any specific recs for styles?

        • I’m not as familiar with the men’s line. Do you have a store by you? That would be easiest. Otherwise, get something in their ballistic nylon line as they will be more rugged and classic. Style really depends on what he needs (like does he want something with more pockets or big enough to fit documents).

        • I have the Shaw deluxe brief pack. It’s the biggest backpack they make, but still not too big.

          I would take a look at how much he carries and choose according. Look for the add-a-bag sleeve if he travels a lot. Anything from the Alpha Bravo line would be more than adequate as far as being a good looking work bag.

        • My SO carries the Tumi Organizer Portfolio Leather Brief and now that I recognize it, I’ve come to notice a lot of men at that career level carrying it. Even when it’s well-loved, the leather still looks good. its also great for flights because you can’t fit a lot more into it than a standard laptop bag. It is higher than your stated price range though.

          • Corrected for clarity— *you ‘can’ fit more than a standard laptop bag.

      • biglawanon :

        Yeah, this. My husband is in a similar role and carries a sleek black leather Tumi bag.

    • Chicaganon :

      It would need to be in addition to a laptop bag, but my SO has been talking up the Commuter Weekend Garment Bag from Mark and Graham.

      I don’t have a specific recommendation for a messenger style bag (SO uses a backpack), but one thing to consider is how heavy leather would be. We have a leather messenger sitting unused in the closet because by the time you load it up with a laptop and associated cables it’s a pain to lug around. If your husband is used to a lighter laptop bag, he may prefer something that’s not leather.

    • My husband uses a backpack from Timbuk2. They probably trend more casual than what you are looking for, but the one he has now is surprisingly nice. It is kind of like this one:

      • Backpacks are out. Direct quote: “I am not a college senior.” (I’m aware of what he is carrying and how it looks relative to a backpack!!! He is a crusty old man ina 35 y/o body!).

    • My husband uses a laptop backpack he got at REI. His office is the more casual silicon valley type, but even some of the men at my business casual office use backpacks.

    • What about something like this?®-medium-screen-laptop-slim-brief-026516D2

    • My old-man-in-a-young-person’s-body husband has been carrying a Tustings Messenger Brief from Levenger for YEARS and loves it. It fits his MacBook Pro no problems. Levenger has some non-leather options including the Rupert and the @work. 25% off sitewide right now.

    • Patagonia messenger bag works really well for laptop carrying. Not as stuffy as a leather and shows a certain rugged devil may care attitude that works well in a lot of settings.

    • Honestly, leather is heavy. Nylon is more durable and considering his style preferences, I’d just go with nylon.

      Look at the Timbuk2 bags that are not backpacks. A nice black messenger bag works very well.

      I bought the nicest black ones for my two brothers for their computer carrying, who both work in high up roles, but dress casually.

    • My husband’s company just gave him a really nice Arctryx laptop backpack. It is really really nice looking and functional. The Blade I think. Right now he uses a Timbuk2 TSA compliant laptop back which is decent looking but not too fancy/heavy and great for travel.

    • My business attired (i.e., suit and tie) husband uses a Tom Bihn backpack for work. With packing cubes (from Tom Bihn), he is able to use it for up to a 2 night business trip. I’ve borrowed the bag and find it quite comfortable.

    • I agree that Tumi is great.

      If he wants more casual, maybe Chrome?

    • Check out Baileyworks, which is what we both have for messenger bags. Fully customizable and made in NH.

    • My stylish (but not flashy) male coworker carries a bag from Knomo London. I jotted it down one day because I thought his laptop bag was perfect. The label has both leather and non leather bags.

  10. Friendgroup :

    Please give me some perspective. I’ve been hanging out with a group of friends for about a year. The group is kind of a mix of coworkers and longtime friends – it’s not a group that’s been solid since college. I thought I’d been making some genuine friendships. I’m the only one in biglaw so I can’t make it to everything but they seem to understand my crazy hours.

    Over friendsgiving a couple weeks ago, a few people mentioned an upcoming gift exchange. They’re coworkers so I thought maybe it was work related. Then I saw facebook posts – the entire group except for me had a white elephant party. The party was on a day that I asked a bunch of them if they wanted to do something, so they must’ve known I didn’t know about the party. On top of that, I had a party the week before and no one from the group came. The ones I’m closest to seemed to have valid conflicts so I didn’t really think anything of it.

    I suppose it could’ve been an oversight? No one has asked why I wasn’t there. I’ve been invited to things since then so it seems like I’m not being totally iced out, but idk why I wouldn’t have been included in their big holiday party. I’m just confused and idk what to do about it. It seems kind of rude to ask someone, hey why wasn’t I invited to the party? Where do I go from here? Act like nothing happened?

    • Anonymous :

      Hugs. It’s always rough. I think you just take friendships as they come. They didn’t invite you to this. And that hurts. You can either stop being their friend at all, or enjoy the level of friendship available to you. My usual route (for whatever reason I’m one of those people who is often left out of the group) is to focus on the people I like the most and do more one on one things with them.

    • This sucks, especially with social media . . . did they think you wouldn’t find out? The fact that you asked some of them to do something on the same day as the party does makes me suspicious BUT I have decided to try to assume best intentions (or at least neutrality) unless proven otherwise. Seeing the party you missed doesn’t count as proof unless you ask. So, since you saw it on social media, and not knowing feels really crummy (and I have trouble continuing friendships if I don’t know why something like this happened), and there COULD be an innocent explanation, I would ask one of the people you’re closest to. “Hey I saw the photos of the party on Facebook, I would have liked to go, but didn’t hear about it . . . do you know why?”. Or something. I’d have to think pretty hard about how I wanted to ask, but I’d ask. And then decide what to do based on the answer and how it was delivered.

      • Also, it really does matter if it was the whole group except you. I am a firm believer that adults are allowed to spend their time as they please with who they want to spend it with, so for example, if there are 10 of you in the group and you saw photos of 3-4 of them having a lunch together or a gift exchange, well then that smaller group just wanted to spend that time that way and it has nothing to do with you or anyone else being “excluded”. But if it was all 10 people, minus only you, I would be upset too. I hope you can find a way through this.

        • Thanks for the thoughts so far. It’s a group of about 20 people (including me) and 17 were in the pictures. Two were out of town. So it’s just me who was in town and not invited.

          I totally agree with your point that people can hang out with whomever they want. In a group that size you’ll always be closer to some than others, of course you’ll hang out with them more often. Plus it’s just not practical to try to coordinate with 20 people every time you want to go to dinner.

          • Honestly, I wonder if this was just an oversight? Otherwise it doesn’t really make sense….

            Or could you have said something that made them think you weren’t into Xmas/gifting etc…?

          • Edna Mazur :

            My sister had something similar happen. Either she accidentally skipped him on the list while addressing invites or it got eaten by USPS but she found out one guy from her high school friend group wasn’t invited to her wedding when another friend asked if she minded that she brought him as her plus one.

            She felt awful and called him right away to explain. Sometimes there is an innocent explanation. But being excluded sucks. Hugs.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I feel like it is very likely to have been an oversight. I had a huge birthday party for my husband and thought I had invited everybody from a board we both serve on. We had a meeting the night before the party and I happened to see one guy in the parking lot and said “will we see you tomorrow?” and only found out I hadn’t sent him an invitation when he said “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

            Otherwise it seems insane. I’d definitely talk to somebody I’m close to and see what happened.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Yeah, I agree with this. Be non-confrontational but honest–basically “I’m hurt, can you help me understand?”

        I’m really sorry. This sucks. :(

    • Ug, I’m sorry. One thought – who hosted the party? Maybe that person in particular doesn’t like you for some reason and it’s not the whole group who’s icing you out?

      • Yeah I want to find out who hosted too. It wasn’t clear from the pictures. I haven’t had any conflict with anyone in the group so maybe the host isn’t someone I know that well and they didn’t think to include me? But we generally invite people by word of mouth when you realize they were left off the list, so idk why that didn’t happen.

        • My group is a little bit smaller, but I could see the word-of-mouth train just breaking down in this situation.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I have a post above in moderation, but this would be my working theory.

    • Anonymous :

      Sometimes people copy and paste e-mail addresses from an earlier e-mail exchange, and leave off one name by mistake, particularly the last one. Then the same list gets used again ……

    • Sometimes there is some weird drama you don’t even know about going on that you had no part in. In my group friend A is in a crappy relationship. Her on again off again confessed to A how much he likes B. Now A hates B but B has no idea this ever even happened and it’s not her fault. A won’t come to anything B is invited to. We don’t want to completely lose touch with A so sometimes a group of us goes to dinner with her. We also go to dinner with B but don’t invite A in that situation. We try to keep it off social media but I could see it getting on there. I think the whole thing is petty AF and A needs to realize her BF is a the issue, not B. If A was the host and you were B, I could totally see this happening.

      • Anonymous :

        LOL, this happened in my friend group too! With B as a lesbian and the BF probably saying something more suggestive.

        Now A and now ex-BF are broken up, and A avoids B, and B had no idea why.

  11. Gift Help :

    A plea for last minute gift help…

    My brother is in his early 30s, lives in a tiny NY condo with his girlfriend. He loves tech and gadgets, but tends to be an early adopter and buy whatever he likes for himself. For example, I was considering a set of Philips Hue Light Bulbs that he could control via his Echo, but he already bought them himself. Hobbies include biking, swimming, and running. He likes wine, but I’m hesitant to pick out something since he has particular tastes (and I worry a wine of the month subscription would be too basic). Due to the aforementioned tiny living space, I’m hesitant to buy housewares that will become clutter.

    Appreciate any suggestions! Budget is $100-150.

    • If you hadn’t said swimming, I’d have sworn you were talking about my ex. When we were dating, I got him a black cashmere crewneck sweater. Goes with everything, lasts for years, appreciated on the frigid walk to the subway.

    • Cornellian. :

      Could you get him a gift card to a well-stocked nearby wine shop? Maybe a sommelier could help him choose something out.

    • For cycling- a new jersey and fun socks
      Swimming- waterproof music player and headphones

    • What are you good at? I mean this in the sense that I have very real hobby/interests and no one is going to successfully buy things for me in these categories unless I tell them what to get. So my favorite gifts are when people get me things they’re “good” at or into – like great kitchen things or luxurious versions of things I wouldn’t buy myself.

    • 23andMe genetic testing kit

      And a modestly priced, unique gift that was suggested here yesterday that seems like a great idea for an active type….. snow shoes!

      Just the thought of snow-shoeing around Central Park after a nice snow makes me a little giddy!

    • KateMiddletown :

      We’ve been buying the Hue lights, but they’re pricey – it’s possible he only bought a starter pack and wants more! (Unless he only has like three lights in his place.) Maybe a wifi outlet?

    • Gift card for him and the GF to go to dinner together.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Does he have a balcony? If so… how about a weather station?

    • I recommend the SommSelect Blind Six for this. It’s probably right around your budget and it’s so fun!

  12. Longest week EVER.

    Sick kids are the only time I feel like, “Why am I working?!? I should be at home!” I think it’s a combo of anxiety plus sleep deprivation. My husband has more PTO and WFH options, so he jumps in and handles sick kids. While that’s great, I battle feelings of unfairness and guilt all day at my desk–which turns into anger at my company–which spirals into more “WHY AM I WORKING?” thought circles.

    Now I’m sick. Of course. But still here working because crap PTO and zero WFH options.

    And I had a huge fight with 12 year old this morning about going to grandma’s house for before/after school care and fighting with her little sister. She’s now sulking and throwing huge fits, yelling with her grandma and me and her dad, and I’m fielding these phone calls from my desk while trying not to cough so much I gag. The 12 year old is a whole ‘nother issue that I can’t even find words for right now.

    Today, I HATE being a working mom. I know by Monday I’ll feel differently, because everyone will be healthy and normal again, but OMG I HATE THIS WEEK.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re working so they can eat. Stop fielding the brat’s calls at work and be glad you aren’t spending all day stuck with grumpy germy children!

      • Anonymous :

        This is spectacularly unhelpful. You know a lot of women don’t work just so their kids can eat, right? I don’t know OP’s situation but my kids could eat (and play sports and go to college etc.) just fine on my husband’s salary alone. Does that mean I shouldn’t be working? It’s normal to feel sad and guilty when your kids are home sick and you can’t be there. She needs support about how hard this is sometimes and not attacks on the “germy brats.”

        • Apparently she didn’t mind my comment, so maybe less with the tone policing?

        • Yeah this tone policing is spectacularly ridiculous. Apparently women are fragile birds who just need so much support and commiseration. I’m not OP but I found the comment helpful.

        • Taken at face value the comment is blunt, snarky and dismissive. I laughed, but lots of other mothers wouldn’t. Anon at 9:51 isn’t being ridiculous.

          • Yes. She is.

          • Ok, so ignore it. People don’t give the answer you want all the time. Whining about how someone isn’t being nice to you doesn’t seem like a great solution to this problem

        • Are you the same one who tone polices ALLLLL the time? If so, maybe you should get a new hobby.

      • OK, this could be said better, but perspective: being a SAHM stuck home with sick kids (and no money) has its own major downsides. Sick kids aren’t always darling to be around. Sorry you cannot WFH, though, because that’s an in-between option and at least you don’t waste time commuting on those rough days.

        • I had to WFH this week and it is just awful.

          It takes about 10 hours to do 5 hours of work (clients, coworkers are unhappy with you).

          Sick kid wants to snuggle, begs you to play a game with your, you defer b/c you are working and hand her the remote. You do cook two basic meals to get her to eat and make sure she is drinking enough fluids. You still beg off for playing a game with her. Later you say. More TV. More s l o w work gets done. She still wants the game, but you are on a call.

          I hate year end closing deadlines. I hate WFH. I’d rather just be docked partial salary and check out (and lean in to a kid begging for attention who is sick) but it’s not an option. SO grateful that spouse could take the next day. SO SELFISHLY GRATEFUL SHE IS WELL TODAY.

      • I LOL’d at this, because she’s right. My kid is being 100% brat this morning. #truth

        • You’ve got this! Being home would make nothing better for anyone.

        • Yeah especially if her dad is home, you’ve got to be firm with your 12 year old that mom is working and you’ll talk about this later.

          Nothing but sympathy – I have teenagers and this stuff does not get more fun.

    • Sympathy here! Being a working mom is SO hard to balance, but you’re setting such a good example for 12 year old even if she doesn’t appreciate it right now. I’m so sorry that your job doesn’t have decent PTO or WFH- that makes it even harder. See if you can give yourself a bit of a mental break. Even though you’re at work, technically everything with the kids is being handled by Dad and Grandma so let that be a moment of relief. Let them handle the kids as much as possible, and work on feeling better yourself! If you can step away for a few minutes, run out and get some cough drops or cold medicine or even a latte or doughnut- whatever would make your day a little easier to handle. And know that you’ve got a community here that’s cheering you on!

      • And ignore the trolls. Working moms are basically Superwoman but without the cape and with an added dose of guilt. You’re awesome and I believe in you!

    • Edna Mazur :

      No suggestions but sympathy. Sick kids SUCK. Being sick while still having work and home obligations SUCK. And while I’m sure they have their upside (my kids are younger so I don’t know first hand) dealing with 12 year old emotions and brattyness is THE WORST.

      But hey, it’s Friday. Wine o’clock is coming up quick!

    • OP, I hear you. Know you’ve got a lot of women on this board who can completely identify with what you’re going through. Job resentment can come on strong in moments like this. The thing I keep reminding myself of is that things don’t feel hard because I’m doing anything wrong, they feel hard just because it’s a tough gig being a working mom. No matter who you are, it’s the situation that’s hard. And no one can handle your situation better than you. For what it’s worth I’m not sure WFH is that helpful. I worked from home one day last week with a sick infant screaming and my company executives shouting over her screaming on the conference calls. It made me super hateful at them and I was so steamed I just cried and held her for a couple hours. Anyways, know you’re not alone. Hugs

  13. Lead paint :

    My aunt wants to leave my several antique chairs that are 200+ years old. They still have original paint on them, although it’s somewhat chipped off. It probably has lead in it, right? Is it possible to get lead off of furniture safely? I may have kids one day so it could be a concern.


      Any value they have will be destroyed.

      Yes, they have lead, but unless your children will be making a snack of them, it’s not a concern.

      Talk to a reputable antiques dealer and consider getting an insurance rider for the chairs.

      • Well…there are infant/toddler/teething years where children will, in fact, gnaw on anything within reach, including furniture.

        But, that’s only an issue once you actually have kids.

        • And may not even be an issue then. My kid gnawed a little on his crib, but no other furniture. Most of the lead risk with kids is large paint chips peeling of windows/walls or something that the kid is always around unattended like a crib. Minor imperfections in other furniture wouldn’t bother me.

          • My kids were mouthy but never on the furniture. But if they are mobile and have teeth, dining rooms aren’t awesome. Mine always ran into the table, which is eye level but not something they focus on. Couches, beds, soft things –> those rooms are better.

            Seriously, if these are 200+ years old, I bet you can look on them and *not* find any teeth marks.

            It’s more that kids pick up peeling paint chips and taste them (b/c why not???), so more worry about household paint on walls / trim than this.

          • Lead paint actually has a sweet taste, which is why kids eat the paint flecks. Of course, they initially put them in their mouth because “Why not?”, but it makes sense that they keep eating it.

        • If there’s a real concern here (not sure there is as a mom of 3 whose children never nibbled on chairs…puppies? Yes. Babies, no.), put the chairs in the attic or garage during the 6-12 months you have a mobile tether. I don’t know *any* 3 year olds (and i know a LOt of 3 year olds!) that would chew on a chair. Climb them? Yes. Chew them, no.

    • Put the chairs in a room with the door and don’t let your future kids chew on them?

      • This. This didn’t use to be an issue. Those antiques were presumably around teething children in the past who survived to adulthood.

        • Well, you can survive to adulthood and still have cognitive deficits due to lead poisoning. It’s not nothing.

          But I agree that most people can find a way to keep antiques and also keep their kids away from risks until they’re old enough to understand and comply.

        • In addition to tesyaa’s comment, lead paint that’s peeling is more dangerous around kids than lead paint that’s in good shape because kids eat the paint flakes. It’s not necessarily true that these chairs have been around teething kids since the paint started peeling.

          That said, OP, if you like the chairs, keep them and don’t mess with the finish. When you have future children, you can keep the chairs in a gated room or store them or let a friend borrow them or wrap the legs with plastic wrap. I’d probably be worried about an approximate 6-month period when kids are mobile and teething and likely to bite or chew random things, but can’t really be taught yet to stay away from something. (It’s the same period of time when outlet covers are essential.)

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      What color is it? Different colors have different lead risks–white is a biggie. There is a safe way to remove lead paint, although I’m not sure what it is. Could you call an antiques or furniture repair/restoration place?

    • If your concern is great enough that you’d consider refinishing the chairs (which is fine; that’s absolutely your choice), you should probably just sell them instead.

    • You can get testing swabs for like $10. I would test the chairs to see if it is in fact lead paint.

      If it is, I would only worry about the parts that are peeling. For the chipping parts, I’d lightly sand it so all loose paint is removed and then cover it with either a paint/sealant that matches best.

      Unless your kid is actually eating the furniture, there isnt a real risk to him.

      The issue comes with dust/chipping paint.

      Basically all homes built pre-1979 contain lead paint/finishing. The key is to keep them in good repair so nothing chips off and then encapsulate (meaning sand and then paint over) the finishes that are chipping.

      I work in construction in an old city, employ lead abatement specialists, and have young children so this is a big issue in my life.

      • Do not do this. No new paint, no new sealant. Do like other people said and hide them during that time. These are heirlooms.

    • Do you love these chairs? If not (or maybe even if so), try to sell them. See what the market is for these chairs. A lot of people are talking about destroying their value, but what if their value is minimal? I have a toddler who does not chew on furniture, but I still wouldn’t want these in any area where he’s playing. I have two nephews who experienced lead poisoning from some antiques in their home, which was only discovered after their dogs both dropped dead within a couple days of each other. Their living spaces underwent some remediation while they moved out for weeks, and the boys seem fine now, but there’s not really any way of knowing if this shaved off a few IQ points (mom suspects it did).

  14. Anonymous :

    Has anyone tried one medical? Thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re in DC, they’re going out of network with CareFirst as of Monday 12/18.

    • My DH loves it, has had it around a year. I just joined his insurance so I’ll be jumping on as well. The locations are really convenient and the ability to FaceTime (or whatever)/chat the nurses has been really helpful when its things like “is this a bug bite” and “does this cough mean I need to come in.” They are also amazing at keeping to the schedule, which is really important for us.

    • Hated it in DC. Don’t get me wrong it’s convenient for a flu shot and has pretty offices. But you can never get in with an MD bc they’re never taking new patients and the ones who are are about 15 min out of residency. So you’re stuck with NPs and PAs who are super nice but also not terribly experienced and IME do thing like prescribe the wrong dose of simple antibiotics, take a wait and see approach etc and then when you go to a real MD at a real health system, they take one look at you and are like — OMG why did you wait so long to see someone??

  15. Anonymous :

    This is my first holiday season at my current job and the tradition in our department is stockings for each person. There are 25 stockings. Any suggestions for something I could buy (preferably on Amazon or Target) good for a mixed group of men and women, no more than about $50-$60 total? I’ve considered lottery tickets, mini bottles, and chocolates; just seeing if anyone else has gotten or given something they really liked.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Fidget spinners – I still like them.

    • That is a ridiculous tradition! Sorry you have to do this. How about phone charger cables or chewing gum?

      • Agreed! My SO works in a different department and they do Secret Santa with a $20 cap. And he makes more than I do.

    • Sleep masks, tide pens, little spice jars

      • Tide pens is brilliant. Along those lines maybe hand sanitizer or individually wrapped wet wipes? Or individually wrapped computer cleaning wipes? I put emergen-c and starbucks via packets into our stockings at home.

    • Chicaganon :

      This is a scenario where I’d go to a CostPlus World Market or similar store and load up on small chocolate, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, jam, mints, etc. samplers. You could either grab a bunch of single items or look for variety gift sets and break them up. I’m sure Target would have something similar.

      My preference is to receive consumables, but if you’d like to go in another direction you could consider office supplies (pens, notepads, etc.) in a large set and break them up.

      Also, since you mentioned Target – the dollar spot is full of fun trinkets usually in the $1-3 price range (stickers, toys, decor).

    • I got a tiny silicone spatula one year that we use all the time – great for getting the last bit of something out of a jar of food, etc.

    • My skin is crawling at the thought of receiving 25 knickknacks.

      Some thoughts: little packet of tissues, breath mints, chapstick, protein bars. Or maybe 25 cupcakes placed next to (but obviously not in) the stockings?

      • Absolutely. At my old job, the tradition was for everyone to give everyone else on staff – we had a staff of 22 – an individual gift. The first year I was there, I ended up with a ton of little tchotkes that I didn’t want and couldn’t use. The next year, several of us got together and said, let’s do Secret Santa instead, and it was much much much better. Give me a $20 bottle of liquor over $20 worth of pens, mini nail polishes and candy any day.

        • Please no gifts at work. At all. Ever. For this OP, I’d do lottery tickets. I don’t need 25 or even 1 geegaw from people who don’t really know me that well.

  16. Anyone here have a long cardigan that they love and would highly recommend (first time I’ve ever been on topic)? The barefoot dreams cardigans have an amazing number of reviews – does anyone here own one and wear it often? I’d like something that’s cute for outside of the house and not too bathrobe-like. I like black but if you love and get good use out of a non-black one, please share!

    • I have one from Bobeau (Nordstrom carries) that I love. I have it in navy, but it came in a bunch of different colors and sometimes goes on sale.

    • KateMiddletown :

      There’s a similar to Barefoot Dreams on Hautelook right now – I just bought a shorter version so I’ll report back when it ships.

    • I have the one from Cuyana, it’s great!

    • I have one from Barefoot Dreams and it is worth every darn cent. I also wear it outside the house… maybe it’s inappropriate? I’m pretty sure I’ve even worn it to the office on Fridays… gosh now you’ve got me thinking I might be “that person” lol Anyways, the MM Lafleur long cardigan is gorgeous. It’s the perfect length, only comes in black I think, and is machine washable. It’s on my holiday wish list but it’s pricey.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        I stopped into Madewell yesterday and saw a number of long cardigans. I wouldn’t say that they were structured, but as someone who works from home, I had a tough time not buying one of each. I didn’t even allow myself to try one on. :) I already have a couple of long cardigans which work fine– I really, really don’t need another. But they were tempting!

    • I have a long Barefoot Dreams cardigan with a waterfall opening. It’s dark green and I’ll wear it with leggings, t-shirt (long sleeve or short sleeve) or tank, a scarf, and booties. It’s a good travel outfit or to wear to the mall. The waterfall keeps it from veering into bathrobe territory.

  17. Anonshmanon :

    I like the cut and length of this cardigan, but am looking for something thicker with a bit of structure. I used to have this ribbed knit one from h&m that I almost cried over when it sprung holes.
    Any recommendations?

  18. We plan to start TTC in a few weeks. I’m weaning off anti-depressants and having a bit of a hard time with it. DH has generally been supportive, but last night we got into a fight and I’m still upset about it.

    A few days ago, prompted by a conversation about (of all things!) chocolate pudding, I mentioned that it’s OK to have the occasional bit of alcohol when pregnant – like, half a glass of wine on Christmas.

    Last night we were getting into bed, and DH suddenly burst out about how that comment has been weighing on him. How he doesn’t want me to drink at all when I’m pregnant, how I’ll call him uninformed and say it’s my body, etc etc etc. He basically had this whole fight with future me, without my participation. And this whole vision of me drinking bottles of wine while 8 months pregnant.

    It really hurt my feelings. I don’t intend to drink hardly at all, if at all. I’m really struggling right now to get off of my meds and doing this for the health of our future fetus. Rather than sympathize with me regarding my meds, tell me how grateful he is etc, he basically told me he doesn’t trust me to do what’s best for our child.

    Did you guys have these kinds of fights when TTC? How do you get on the same page? I’m reading Expecting Better and feel generally relaxed about the pregnancy thing, but I guess my husband is feeling anxious.

    • I think the issue isn’t the content of the discussion, it’s the timing. It’s a reasonable thing to want to discuss, calmly, and learn about together.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d lay it out with him and point out how he’s being a jerk to you right now. He’s letting his anxiety get in the way of being a supportive partner.

    • plus, you should make HIM read Expecting Better (and probably a few more sources of information) if he’s going to be up your butt the whole pregnancy with irrational fears and unchecked anxiety about you being pregnant.

      • I’m going to second this. You don’t have to read it all at once, the chapters are set out in a really helpful way. We both read it and it really helped.

      • Senior Attorney :

        No kidding.

        He does not get to be the boss of Pregnant You.

    • “If we are going to have a child together, you have to trust that I will take care of myself and our baby. It’s my body and I have the final decision on what happens with it.”

    • Have him also read Expecting Better. My husband did, and loved it – it’s a pretty fast read. He’s been really relaxed about a lot of pregnancy things (which isn’t his default).

      • Anonattorney :

        I agree with this entirely. I would calmly tell him that you would love to have a broader discussion about the pregnancy and what precautions to be aware of, healthy habits, etc. Then I would ask him to come to do some of his own reading so he’s informed on the issues. Finally, I would use the discussion to start talking about allocating some of the responsibility and oversight to him.

        Assuming that everything else in the relationship is fine and he’s not a controlling a**hole, then I think it’s sort of okay for him to suggest some healthy habits during the pregnancy. Maybe. But, let’s assume for purposes of this discussion that he can do that in a tactful way. If so, he needs to do some work too. For example, if he wants to make sure you eat fish once a week, fine (assuming you like fish). He can menu plan and arrange to go grocery shopping and cook you that meal. If he wants your prenatal vitamin to have X amount of iron, fine. But he needs to research and pick out the vitamin that works best and then go buy it.

    • It was weird of him to borrow trouble like that and have a fight about completely hypothetical drinking, but I can understand why he’d be concerned about you saying half a glass of wine is fine for pregnant women. That was absolutely not what my doctor told me, and not what my own research on the matter indicated (exception is very early on, when you’re not sharing blood with the baby, e.g., before you even know you’re pregnant). Expecting Better is a good counterpoint towards some of the books that are more fear-mongering, but I wouldn’t take it as the gospel. She has a PhD in economics, but no background in science or medicine. I was more comfortable following my own doctor’s advice and doing my own research in medical journals when my doctor didn’t know/wasn’t comfortable telling me definitively one way or the other. I also found the Mayo Clinic book to be a very sensible book that wasn’t too fear-monger-y (and is written by medical doctors).

      • Many many doctors say it is completely fine.

      • You, like the OP’s husband, need to read some actual studies instead of piggybacking on the fearmongering opinions of others. The EVIDENCE says that there is no harm in a woman having the occasional drink during pregnancy. Light drinking during pregnancy is common practice in most of Europe, and those countries don’t see scads of alcohol-related problems in fetuses and neonates.

        • Francophile Anon :

          Not super germane to the OP’s actual question, but where does this idea that European women drink during pregnancy come from? It keeps coming up here and it is baffling to me. I lived in France for the better part of a decade, had both my kids there (in 2012 and 2014, so recently), and in my experience drinking during pregnancy is just as taboo there as it is here. It’s not like I was in an uptight expat bubble either – my husband is French as are pretty much all our friends there, I saw only French OBs and midwives, delivered in regular French hospitals not at the American hospital, and was always told not to drink at all, as were all my friends who had kids around the same time (and we all followed the rules). Maybe other European countries are different, but I find these generalizations super weird and off base.

        • Just because they do something in Europe doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the correct advice. Pregnant women in Europe also don’t avoid unpasteurized soft cheese, which even Expecting Better agrees is a listeria risk. The overwhelming majority of babies born to women who drink during pregnancy will be just fine, so of course you’re not going to see “scads” of alcohol-related problems. That doesn’t mean there’s not *some* risk to it, and you have to weigh the risks against the benefits. Driving a car might be statistically riskier than drinking alcohol, but I have to do it to get to work so I can support my family. I don’t have to drink alcohol and so even if the risk is very small it’s an easy one to avoid. The medical consensus in America (as represented by ACOG) is that pregnant women should avoid alcohol and I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a husband to be concerned about his wife’s stated plans to drink during pregnancy. Having a fight about hypotheticals isn’t the correct way to go about it, but it’s a perfectly reasonable thing for him to want them both to discuss with the doctor at the first appointment.

        • Anonymous :

          “Light drinking during pregnancy is common practice in most of Europe”

          This isn’t true. It might have been years ago but DH is from Europe and we’ve visit pregnant friends and/or family in Belgium, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and England. I’ve never seen them drink or seen a pregnant woman in a restaurant drink. A sip from their partner’s glass here and there? Maybe, but in the last 10 years I haven’t seen a pregnant woman consume a glass of wine or a beer. What I have done is sat around with pregnant friends and laughed about how pregnancy books from 15-20 years ago in Europe said that a glass of wine everyday was fine.

          Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is often mistaken as ADHD especially in the milder forms where there are less likely to be distinguishing facial characteristics to lead pediatricians to consider that diagnosis.

        • Anonymous :

          The EVIDENCE doesn’t say there’s no harm, it may say that the harm hasn’t been well-documented at low levels (it has certainly been well-documented at higher levels) but there’s no amount of alcohol that’s been proven safe in pregnancy. The effects of smaller amounts of alcohol also wouldn’t be obvious. It’s not like having a little wine regularly is going to make you have a heroin-addicted baby that’s born going through withdrawals but that doesn’t mean the alcohol hasn’t affected your child’s health/future development.
          Honestly, if it’s so hard to give up alcohol for 9 months that you have to justify it with “everyone in Europe is doing it,” you’re an alcoholic. I don’t care how much you’re drinking or not drinking, addiction is about dependency as much as quantity, and it really shouldn’t be that hard to just stop drinking alcohol for less than a year.

        • It distresses me to see people citing Expecting Better on this point after all the backlash it received from medical experts for making this claim. And European countries are currently working hard on getting pregnant women to drink less, because of evidence that light drinking increases pregnancy risks and can cause alcohol-related developmental and medical issues that are admittedly less dramatic than full-blown fetal alcohol syndrome. Please don’t stop at reading Expecting Better.

      • yeah this isn’t about the wine – it’s about her husband being irrational and stirring anxiety up when there should be none.

        don’t make it about the wine.

      • Anonymous :

        The point is in fact that she has a Ph.D. in Economics which makes her (and not a medical doctor) qualified to analyze data the way she does in the book.

    • I would say something to him like “I’m happy to talk to you about what decisions I make during pregnancy, or any concerns you might have – especially after I consult with my doctor – but it has to be a discussion. I don’t appreciate you lecturing me or assuming that I am not going to take care of myself or the future baby.”

    • I realize that you didn’t ask this, but some anti depressants are ok and safe to take while pregnant, so if you feel like you need one, discuss that with your doctor.

      Regarding the drinking, I’d agree that the timing of the conversation was not good, but I guess I also think it is kind of sweet that he is concerned/has opinions about your caring for your baby. I’m currently pregnant and I suppose it would make me crazy if every time I ate something DH had an opinion, since it is my body…but it is our baby. Granted, I’m already crazy enough about eating the wrong things for both of us :-) . I personally had about 3 sips of wine for a religious occasion when I was about 2 weeks pregnant, and still kind of freaked out and mentioned it to my doctor.

      I know it is very hard to view it this way, and I honestly would probably have the same reaction that you did, like my husband should trust me to want to care properly for our growing baby and be grateful for what I am doing. I’m at the very beginning of my second trimester and have basically been nauseas/puking since getting pregnant and I do wish that my husband had been a bit more sympathetic/caring/grateful. But to put a slightly different spin on it and trying to think from his perspective, maybe he feels excluded from the process in the sense that while there are things that we as women do to prepare ourselves to TTC, there isn’t quite as much for men to do and this is his way of feeling included and having some control. Talk to him about it over the weekend when you can hopefully have a calmer discussion about it. TTC and pregnancy is a very emotional time!

      • This – I’d rather my spouse be caring and involved (even if misguided and needing education) rather than thinking of pregnancy and birth as a woman thing only.

        • This isn’t caring and involved, it’s controlling! It’s like her husband is just viewing her as a host.

          • I wouldn’t say “just” a host, but people get pretty picky about what they do and don’t put in their body when pregnant. Many people stop coloring their hair when pregnant and take all sorts of other precautions, so I can forgive him for thinking alcohol should be zero.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s his baby too and her actions affect the child. Alcohol is probably the most widely known pregnancy ‘taboo’ in the US (none of my friend’s husbands had any idea about things like cat litter or soft cheese, which are probably actually more harmful, but thanks to pop culture everyone knows pregnant women don’t traditionally drink), so it’s not crazy that he would balk at her saying it’s fine.

          • The reality is when you are pregnant, you are a host. It’s a crass way of putting it but everything you do can affect the fetus.

    • I guess I’m the odd one out here but I think a partner has some say in what you do when you are pregnant because you are carrying a baby that you both made and are both going to raise. I’m still pro choice so I don’t think the partner gets the ultimate say. However, where there is a gray area, I think it’s okay for him to have an opinion about the safety of his future child. One male friend of mine was adamant that he didn’t want his future child exposed to any alcohol. To make this fair, he gave up drinking for the duration of the pregnancy too. I don’t think that is super crazy.

      I do think it’s unfair that he assumed you would want to do one thing and played out a fight in his head. We also know our partners well though and what they would likely say in a fight. I also don’t think that’s crazy.

      A better way to handle it would be for him to ask you how you feel about alcohol in pregnancy and if it is different from how he feels, discuss that with you.

    • Yeah, my husband and I had a MASSIVE argument either right before or right after I got pregnant when he said I was going to be a bad mom because I was setting a bad example for our future child by leaving unfolded clothes on top of my dresser. (His dad’s a hoarder and he grew up in chaos, so having a messy house is a hot button issue for him.)

      It was so irrational, explosively emotional, and very similar to the kinds of arguments we had our first year of marriage. It was 100% not about me being messy. It was about jitters related to making a huge, life changing decision. I don’t think it’s about the alcohol. I think it’s about being afraid of the unknown of what yall are about to get yourselves into, and wanting to control as much as possible.

    • This is late, but my DH and I had the exact same fight about the exact same issue during both of my pregnancies. I am firmly on Team My Body My Choices and I made that really clear. However, I did ultimately realize that DH is an anxious guy, with a lot of fears about our unborn baby, and it was hard on him not to be able to control any of it. As a kindness toward him, I decided not to drink during either of my pregnancies. Particularly during the first two trimesters, when my amateur online research indicated the risk of harm was the greatest. In turn, DH also did his own online research and confronted his own anxieties and didn’t lose his —- when I had a sip or two of alcohol from his glass, particularly during the third trimester.

      FWIW I did drink in moderation when nursing.

      PS. DH’s attempts to control my body are nothing compared to my young kids’ sense of ownership and entitlement toward my body, LOL.

  19. Argh! I’m in biglaw and my assistant surprise added today onto her vacation next week. Now I have her gift sitting in my office that I can’t give her till after the holidays. She’s going to hate me.

    • Why on earth should she hate you? Truly, this isn’t a big deal.

      • Yeah I seriously doubt she will hate you.

      • Not all assistants are reasonable people, but hopefully the OP’s is. If the OP already asked her assistant “hey what’s your holiday schedule” (and it sounds like she did), that is total code for “when do I need to bring your gift in?” and a surprise extra day is totally at the assistant’s own risk for missing gift drop-off.

        • Not all [any occupation] are reasonable people. There is a super condescending attitude about assistants here that really rubs me the wrong way.

      • Chicaganon :

        This. Just give it to her after the holidays. She’ll enjoy it just as much then. :)

    • No she isn’t. Get a grip.

    • Huh? She took an extra day off, so she knows she wasn’t here before the holidays. I would not worry about this at all.

    • Huh? She won’t hate you. It was *her* decision to be out of the office. If she hates you over this she’s got more issues than National Geographic and you should disregard it. If this is your concern in a biglaw office, I want to come work for your firm.

    • Is the gift a puppy or a piece of fruit? Those are the only scenarios where I could see her hating you over this.

  20. J.Crew is doing 40% – has anyone bought anything from there recently that they love?

    • TBH, no. I used to reliably spend 100-200 a month picking up SOMETHING I really liked, but lately… everything is so droopy and drapey and ruffly and junky… the slippers aren’t bad for the price at 40% off, I guess?

    • No idea about quality, but I like the look of the 2007 Italian stadium-cloth wool toggle coat (not eligible for the 40% because it’s already marked down 20%) and I bought the silk/cashmere scarf for my MIL for Christmas.

      • I used to have these coats. The toggles frayed on the first one after a year or so of wear, the toggles on the second coat frayed within about a month.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yes! Tippi sweaters! Lucky sizes and colors only but I love them. Size up for slouchiness…

  21. Thanks for the pick! I just ordered this. Looks great for weekends and casual Fridays.

  22. Child free? :

    For those of you that are child-free, how (and when) did you know for sure that you didn’t want to have children? I’m on the fence about children and I’m interested in hearing how others have evaluated this decision in their lives. I totally recognize that I do not need to make a choice now (I’m 25), but I’m thinking about it because of dating. I just went on a date with someone that very much wants kids, and I didn’t know how to convey where I stood on wanting children, largely because I’m still uncertain.

    • How is that hard to convey?

      I really want kids!

      I’m not sure about kids yet!

      You don’t need to have a yes/never answer to this q at 25.

      • Well, if she’s looking for a serious relationship and wants to get married (getting married in your late 20s is common outside the Acela corridor) she does need an answer. I got married in my mid-20s and ended up getting divorced in my mid-30s because “I’m not sure yet” never materialized into anything more and my ex-h REALLY wanted kids like yesterday. So her question is valid.

        • No. She doesn’t. “I don’t know yet” is a valid answer. Might not work for every dude but that is fine.

          • I agree. I was on the fence about kids in my 20’s and came around to “no” in my 30’s. I said as much to guys I dated. Some were willing to postpone certainty on the question and some weren’t. Those responses are both fine.

    • The least helpful answer ever: you’ll know when you know. I was never keen on kids, but when I met the right person, that changed. I wouldn’t want kids with anyone else on the planet, but with him it’s a different story. FWIW, we didn’t meet until we were in our late 30s; I was pretty anti-kid until my mid-30s.

    • I’ve known for as long as I understood how babies were made/born. It has never been something I am interested in. I love other people’s kids, but I don’t want to give up how I live my life. I love my free time, I love having hobbies, I love sleep, I am selfish that way, but at least I know and recognize it.

      I am very upfront with it when I date because I don’t want to waste anyone’s time and I know it is not negotiable for me. I am in my late 30s if it makes a difference, but I have been upfront with it ever since I started seriously dating. I think saying that you do not know if you want kids yet is a perfectly reasonable answer. The person you are telling can make up their own mind about whether that works for them or not.

      • All of this is me as well, for as long as I can remember, but I want to ditch the word “selfish” in this context. First of all, most of the reasons that people give for deciding to have kids are just as self-oriented as our reasons for not having them. Secondly, when your temperament or life is such that you don’t think you’d make a very good parent, the decision not to subject a kid to that is deeply thoughtful and altruistic. I’m going to be a fabulous aunt, but I’m nobody’s mom, and that’s the way it should be.

        • Flats Only :

          Thank you. Why do people who don’t want kids always have to caveat it with “I love other people’s kids” and “I’m selfish”. It’s like if you don’t bracket the statement with those disclaimers you’re some sort of monster.

          • I have kids and I’m always surprised when people say they ‘love other people’s kids’. I mean I don’t dislike children but I’m just not that interested in kids other than my own. The kids v. no kids thing is completely personal and no one should feel like they have to justify anything.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            We like them because we just get to do the fun kid things with them and then hand them back when they get cranky/tired/etc. :-)

          • Haha, I agree. I adore my kids and am neutral about other peoples’ kids.

          • Because for me, the two statements are 100% true? I really do love other people’s kids. I am the adult at the party on the floor with them, holding them, offering to take them from parent’s arms, volunteering to go to apple/pumpkin picking, etc.

            I also am not someone that views selfish as being bad. I get to be selfish – it’s my life!! I don’t say it in a negative way. I am kind and I volunteer and all that, but when I want to do something with my time it’s FOR ME. Frankly, I don’t care if that means I have to skip an event that I don’t want to go to. I say no to things that I don’t want to do if it means I don’t get to do something I do want to do. Perhaps I am on the more generous end of being selfish, so the Merriam-Webster definition isn’t 100% applicable, but what’s a better word for doing what I want to do when I want to do it and being protective of my time? If there is one, I will certainly use it.

        • Thank you!

          Based on my own experience and many conversations with others in their mid-30’s, I think many, many people my parents’ age had children because it was just what you did rather than because they particularly wanted to have children. I don’t think that’s a kind thing to do to a child. Kids know it when their parents are ambivalent about being parents, and it’s damaging.

          • You don’t have to be 100% totally sure and invested before you have kids in order to be a great parent after you have kids.

          • Anonattorney :

            + 100 to tesyaa. I didn’t want kids, and then I just . . . did . . . when I hit my early 30s. I was worried about being a good parent because I actually don’t really like other people’s kids. Or babies. But I loved my husband and wanted to have kids with him.

            My thoughts on kids changed completely after I had my own kids. I am pretty much a lover of all kids now and think they are such strange, weird, and awesome little beings.

          • OK, I’ll clarify: my mother had kids even though she did not want them because it was what you did and it was damaging. I know multiple people who have had similar experiences.

        • Oh FFS, my response is in moderation. COME ON KAT

        • +1

      • I want kids and am currently pregnant and I do not think that not wanting kids is any more selfish than wanting kids! In some ways I think I’m selfish for wanting/having kids because I am fulfilling something that I want. In fact, when we decide how many kids we will have, DH and I will also be making a selfish decision, because it is about how many WE want/can handle. It is not like the kid exists yet and has an opinion on whether or not they want to be born. It is NOT at all selfish to not want kids! I actually think it is responsible! If all people thought this way, maybe there would be fewer kids with parents who didn’t really want them.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I’m 32 (almost 33) and don’t want them. I have always said I didn’t want kids. When I was younger, I was never around kids and found them rather annoying. Now I like my friends’ kids, but I still don’t want one of my own. I’ve just never been able to imagine myself having full-time responsibility for a child. I feel like it’s something you have to really want, and I just don’t have any desire for it. People have been telling me for years I’ll change my mind. So far I haven’t.

    • I only ever wanted kids when I was with someone I loved who, I thought, would be a good father and partner in parenting. I have never desired kids when I was not tightly coupled up. So for me, it never felt like a biological imperative, and it certainly was not a life goal. I also have very weird feelings about having children later in life, so I never even thought about having kids after I turned 30 single. If my dating life had been different, this might have all been different, but I do not now wish I had children. All that to say, I don’t think I really made a decision. Having children is not something I actively pursued, and I didn’t end up in a relationship that fostered a desire for kids, so this is how things turned out.

    • Flats Only :

      I realized it when I was 24 and in a my first serious relationship. He wanted kids, and had what I considered to be a fantastical picture of how our kids would be. When a kid at a neighboring restaurant table banged a spoon for 10 minutes, and I rolled my eyes about it, he assured me that “our kids won’t be like that”. It got me thinking, and faced with the actual prospect of having children I quickly realized that in addition to not liking kids I found the whole idea of having them and raising them oppressive. I broke up with that guy. Shortly thereafter I started dating DH, and within about 3 dates we had established that neither of us wanted children. Bingo!

    • Not my personal perspective (I have kids and while I knew I didn’t want them when I was *young*, I did know I wanted to have them *eventually*). My sister grew up thinking she’d have kids. She sort of wandered through her 20s, and got married at 29. She’d made comments like “aw, you’re having all the girls! save some for me so I don’t get all the boys!” And, about a few months ago (she’s 31 now), she said she doesn’t think she’s going to have kids, after all. Not her thing, she wants to do her own thing and have her own live and not worry about smaller people. And she likes being Fun Aunt.

      So, while I know there are people who are Child Free and know, I think there are also people who decide child-free much later in life.

      FWIW, I’m not sure where her husband stands on things, and I think their marriage is on the rocks for a variety of reasons, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is one of them.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I’ve also always known, as long as I can remember, that I do not want to have kids. I’m not particularly interested in other people’s kids either. Being childless never struck me as “selfish,” it’s just something I do not want with my life.

      I will mention that I don’t want kids very early on in dating. Because if the other person wants kids, I’m not interested in wasting either of our time on a relationship that has zero chance of going anywhere. That being said, I think “I’m not sure” is a totally reasonable answer, especially at 25.

    • I always wanted kids Someday. The same Someday when I would feel like a Real Adult, have it all figured out, my finances perfectly in order, wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed by work, and waking up early on Saturdays would happen naturally.

      I’m 33 and accepting the fact that I’ll never be the Real Adult that I imagined, and that’s OK. I like having down time. In fact I need it for my mental health. Constantly running around to shuttle the kids to and from daycare/school/activities sounds like a special kind of hell. And no I don’t want to spend all my money paying someone else to do that either. I like peace and quiet. I like being alone in my house. I like sleeping in. And I like shopping and traveling and going to spontaneous happy hours. The things I like most about my life just aren’t compatible with having kids. Heck I’m not even sure they’re compatible with having a SO.

      • Agree with this. I keep waiting for my Real Life to start and it hasn’t yet. So I guess this is my life.

        I love kids, especially babies, but I’m nearly 33 and as I get older the thought of giving up the things I love sounds so unappealing.

      • Exactly this!

    • I’m late 30’s, and have known since my late teens that I didn’t want kids.

    • A few years ago, after about 10 years together and 2 or 3 married. My DH and I had bought a perfect “family house,” were both in great jobs, and were by all outward appearances (and expectations) “ready.” But we didn’t want to do it. We were 26 and 28, respectively, and sitting in our backyard with our two dogs, and we turned to each other and said “why change this? no kids for us.” Within the following 18 months, we sold our house, moved to a bigger city away from our families and what we had grown up with (and were very very “over” by that point), and started our real lives. DH got a vasectomy last summer.

      We didn’t know going in that we didn’t want kids, but we were both not committed to affirmatively having them. Does that make any sense? We had to live out our new lives as kid free a bit–a little rumspringa–to get confident in our decision and choice, and we’re happier than ever living out loud, if you will.

    • Anonymous :

      In my experience everyone on the fence has wanted kids ultimately. And many of the people who never wanted kids end up wanting kids.

      • Anonymous :

        Not my experience at all. Three of my closest friends knew by the time they were teenagers or in college that they didn’t want kids and none of them changed their minds (all of them married before age 35, so I really believe not having kids was 100% a choice, not something they were forced into by biology or not finding a partner).

      • I always hated this sentiment. I very much did not want kids. I would never change my mind. Now at 36 I’ve tried for two years and I’m about to meet with a specialist and I’m considering IVF. While I hate that people like you were right about me, I’m not mad that I didn’t start sooner. Sooner would not have been right for me. It wasn’t an issue of finding the right person. We have been married 13 years. Part of it was getting comfortable in myself and my job. Part was seeing other people I admired having kids and not losing themselves in the process. Part of it was getting bored with video games and pets and the internet at night. If we don’t end up with kids, we’ll be alright. I just can’t believe we actually want them now.

    • I used to be on the fence about having kids (specifically, adopting ok, having one may be not). I met my husband in college and have been together since 2004, married since 2010. We never talked about kids, but around 2011 or so, my husband started talking about starting a family. I told him I wasn’t ready, but realized how much he wanted kids. I eventually realized I needed to comprise because I wasn’t willing to lose him. I am 35 weeks pregnant now, and the old feelings of indifference/lack of enthusiasm about kids has completed evaporated. I am very much looking forward to the baby. I don’t know what the takeaway from my story is, but I am happy I didn’t ruin my relationship with my husband because of kids issue when I myself wasn’t so sure of what I wanted.

    • Oh so anon :

      I’m 33 now. I have never wanted kids. Even when I was little and played with dolls, I was always “big sister” or “best friend”, never “mommy”. The whole idea of pregnancy and parenting has always just really turned me off.

  23. Veronica Mars :

    My dogsitter is Korean, married to an American, and they do a FANTASTIC job every time they watch my dog. And they charge me basically nothing. Like, $20 a day for a stream of pictures on how my dog is doing and round-the-clock care since one of them works from home. They don’t let me tip and really under-charge me (they often don’t want to charge me for pickup/dropoff day). Can I give them gifts? Is that the workaround here? I want to thank them for the great job they do.

    • Why on earth is Korean relevant? Give them cash. Leave it in an envelope. If they refuse to take it move on.

      • This.

      • This. But it sounds like there is an unwritten sub-question: what kind of gift is not a terrible faux pas in Korean culture? (Cash is fine.)

        • Cash is totally fine. For example, at Korean weddings there’s basically a table where you drop off your cash gift and someone records how much and from whom. But agree, I don’t think ethnicity has anything to do with this situation at all.

          • Veronica Mars :

            It does have something to do with it. This isn’t a wedding, it’s a service I’m paying for. Everything I’ve read online is that you can’t/don’t tip on services in Korea. So naturally I’m trying to see if there’s a way I can provide additional compensation that’s more appreciated.

          • But you aren’t in Korea.

            You are in the US.

            You know, your dog sitter is also American.

          • Not sure why you want to give them extra compensation if they have already SHOWN THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT IT.

          • Veronica Mars :

            She’s not an American citizen. She married an American and is working towards citizenship, but doesn’t have it yet. Stupid me, trying to be culturally sensitive, am I right?

          • Veronica Mars :

            RE: NYC — They wouldn’t accept cash. Which is why I was asking if there was another way I could show appreciation.

      • Veronica Mars :

        Because Korea is a non-tipping culture? So I’m asking what are ways that I can tip without being insensitive. I’ve tried giving cash and they flat out won’t take it.

      • +1000. It’s thoughtful that you want to get something meaningful for them, and maybe you don’t know that much about them apart from ethnicity and other obvious surface facts. Cash is really best here.

    • I don’t understand why it was necessary to mention their ethnicities.

      • Tipping is not part of the culture in many Asian countries, so I assume she included it as context about why the dog-sitters are reluctant to accept tips. Assume good intentions.

      • Veronica Mars :

        Yeah, really! Commenters can be so nasty here. I included the detail that one of them is Korean because I’m assuming that’s why they absolutely WILL NOT let me give them additional cash. And I wanted to see if there was another way that would be appreciated given that context. SHEESH! Everyone is so touchy here.

  24. I hate year end reviews . . . :

    Can i just say that I really wish the media would stop reporting that people are being investigated/fired for “unwanted s*xual advances”? That is so flipping vague and is leaving people with a serious misunderstanding of what is (and is definitely not) an actionable offense.

    Signed – the person who had to explain that no, we are not going to fire your male co-worker because he asked you out ONE TIME and accepted your refusal at face value and never asked again and you cannot point to a single thing he has said or done since then that is even remotely objectionable. And also if you were subjected to unwelcome “advances” at an industry event you went to last year (by people I have zero control over) then you are 100% welcome to not go again. And no – we are not instituting a no dating in the office rule (even if I otherwise wanted to – and I don’t – hello California law).

    Sorry for the rant. I has been a long week.

    • Wow. Sounds like you have a lot of sympathy for all the countless women who are assaulted and raped.

      • I hate year end reviews . . . :

        Actually I have boatloads of sympathy and have taken disciplinary measures against people who have actually engaged in misconduct (although fortunately not to the extent of assault and rape). My point is that the media is not distinguishing between rape/assault and asking someone our for a date (“unwanted sexual advance” and “sexual misconduct’ could be either). That is leaving a lot of well-meaning people genuinely confused and giving an excuse for someone who frankly just seems like she wants to make trouble, mostly for other women.

        Sorry (not sorry) – but I have sympathy for actual victims and (staring to be a bit frayed) patience for the truly confused and concerned. (Although if you are a brand new employee/temp, many ask around before you report possible harassment between two other people to find out if they are married TO EACH OTHER.) But I have basically no sympathy for someone who responds to her review by telling me about some completely harmless behaviors and takes the opportunity to engage in judgmental pearl-clutching about her co-workers.

    • Yes, the problem here certainly is that some women are over sensitive and not that men harass.

    • I can see that it’s been a long week–but hey, you’re an expert in a field that has suddenly become the hot topic (for very good reasons), and people are genuinely interested in the answers you can provide, even if they’re starting from a place of baffling ignorance.

    • I get it. I’ve been in similar conversations all week. I’ve been asked if the following constitute sexual harassment:

      He told me I looked nice today, once, three years ago

      He offered me (and two other people) a ride to a work-related event

      He bumped me in the hallway

      He put his left hand on my upper arm while shaking my right hand

      In each instance, there was genuine confusion about whether these should be considered harassment. I asked the reporter if they felt uncomfortable or uneasy at the time, and the answer was no – but they were now wondering if they *should* have felt uncomfortable or uneasy.

      I’ve also talked to people with some pretty horrific stories who haven’t felt comfortable coming forward until now, and in those cases, investigations are underway.

      It isn’t a matter of not having sympathy – it’s a matter of helping people with genuine questions recognize where the boundaries are. My rule is that if someone feels or felt uncomfortable, you investigate – no matter how innocuous something might sound. But if the behavior is objectively reasonable AND the person didn’t feel uncomfortable when it occurred, I don’t see the benefit of telling these women that they should have felt uncomfortable and with taking steps to punish the men involved.

    • Interesting point on the vague references in the reporting.

      It does leave open the opportunity that some people might interpret it as almost anything might apply, or the opposite, that only the most egregious examples might apply.

      I think we still have a way to go in this conversation in general.

      • I hate year end reviews . . . :

        My frustrations aside, this is my point. The reporting is both sensationalized and overly vague. It is also absent any substantive discussion of what is actually illegal or tortious. And it is not doing anyone any favors. People who want an excuse to say that the problem is overblown can (and do) argue that we have reached the point where just asking a coworker out on a date or having a completely consensual affair with someone below you in the organization chart can get a man fired – which undermines and minimizes actual harassment. People who want to make trouble (male and female) can complain about anything, no matter how innocuous, because it “made me uncomfortable”. And meantime, real and serious instances of harassment and discrimination get lost in the noise.

    • Anonymous :

      Understand the need to rant but a few thoughts for perspective:

      1. View this as you are doing a good job that people feel comfortable to tell you about these minor incidents. See, e.g., all of the new articles on how HR does not take action after serious complaints and then people don’t tell HR about anything and then companies get sued for failing to take action to prevent harassment.

      2. Just because something is not an “actionable offense” doesn’t mean HR can’t do something about it to prevent a larger issue in the future. That includes talking to the people who raised (genuine to them) concerns about the workplace in a way that (a) makes them feel comfortable raising concerns with you so the workplace in general knows they can trust you with concerns, and (b) maintains employee morale.

    • I completely understand your frustrations. It sounds like your organization needs to have a mandatory company wide meeting or meetings addressing what is and is not actionable conduct (or however you all choose to define it). I understand where these questions are coming from, and like Anon at 1:07, you should feel good that people trust you to talk with you about it.

  25. This is totally a first-world privilege question, but would/do you give money to schools where you have legacy status to make it easier for your kids to get in? Both my husband and I did our undergrads at schools with no legacy admissions, but he got his PhD from Stanford and now that we have a child I’m wondering if we should start giving (a relatively small amount of) money to Stanford to make it more likely our child will be able to get in. For context, we’re not buy-a-building status of giving and never will be, but we normally give about $5k/year to charity and could re-direct most or all of that to the university. I know grad school legacy is generally considered more tenuous than undergrad legacy though and $5k may be seen as essentially nothing by a university that has a $20 billion endowment, so perhaps we’re better off just saving the money or re-directing it to causes we care more about. Any thoughts appreciated.

    • If you want to give to Stanford bc you just want to, great. But if you’re giving 5k/yr bc you think it’ll make ANY difference for admissions, you’re fooling yourself. 5k/yr for 18 yrs before your child applies is only 90k. You realize there are people who give much more than 90k yearly?!

    • I think that’s kind of ridiculous to try to buy your kid’s guaranteed future. What if your kid doesn’t want to go to that school? What if they don’t want to go to any school? I would hate growing up with that kind of pressure on me (“We gave the school X amount, you’re going!”)

      • To be clear, we would be fine with our child choosing another school over Stanford. This isn’t “you must go to Stanford” it would be to make it more likely our child has one top school as an option. If she gets into Harvard and wants to go there instead, great. If she wants to go to our local state school that’s fine too (and she can go there for free, so it would save us a lot of money in the end, even factoring in the donations). We wouldn’t be happy about her opting out of college completely (not because of any money given to Stanford, but because we both think a college education is very important) but ultimately it’s her choice. We wouldn’t tell her about the donations and don’t intend to steer her in the direction of any one school, although we do plan to steer her towards a college education in general.

      • More ridiculous to think 90k over a kids life will buy you Stanford. If you can’t donate a building or at least get a lecture hall named for you, don’t bother.

        • +1000

          Please, teach your children better lessons about what is important in life and why it is important to donate/give to non-profits and why you choose where to give.

          Stanford doesn’t need your $ and it wont buy you anything. Your husband’s prior degree there helps a tiny bit.

          My relatives gave a small fortune to Stanford, and their very bright kids didn’t get in either and did just fine at Berkeley.

          • Anonattorney :

            + 1,000,000. These schools have such huge endowments already. Why not donate to something where your money is actually needed? Like high school programs for kids who are underrepresented at these institutions to actually help them get into any college; or mentoring for first-generation college students; etc.?

    • No I think it’s a ridiculous waste of money.

    • No, I absolutely would not. I find the fact of a school (any school but especially a wealthy school like Stanford) giving priority to kids whose parents gave money appalling and horrible. I want my child to get accepted to a school out of his own merit, not because mommy and daddy are rich.

    • anon and curious about this :

      I did my undergrad at an HYP and professional school at another ivy, both of which consider legacy status. I intend to donate to my undergrad as much as I’m able, though similar to you it’s probably not enough to move the needle on their campaigns. I give because I feel like it was a life-changing experience for me and I’d like that awesomeness to be available to other young adults. However, I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t acknowledge that I also hope that someday if I have a otherwise-qualified child who applies, they’d be accepted, and if they were not, I’d probably decrease (but not stop) my donations. As I do not yet have children, I give knowing that legacy status may not be considered by that time. I will not donate to my graduate university even though that would also be a door-opening sort of place for my child to go, because I did not enjoy my time there and do not feel like it added much value to my life beyond checking the box of giving me my degree. So I think I’ve taken a blended approach of giving where I already have gratitude, but also hoping that consistency of support may not hurt future offspring. I do feel guilt about this though, since I know it perpetuates inequities in our society…

      • anon and curious about this :

        Just to add: I also try to give back non-monetarily as much as possible for my undergrad by attending and hosting alumni and accepted students events, volunteering for conferences and major events on campus, and maintaining relationships with people at the school. If the school asks, I try to give.

    • Honestly – you are better re-directing your money. I work in admissions for a top non-Ivy and we really only notice if someone is the child of an alumni (their yield is higher but still not 100%, and at that point we really only consider it if they apply early decision) or if there is a development interest, usually at least at the half a million donor level. Your money simply isn’t enough to make a difference. I’m sorry! But it’s the truth.

    • Anon Admissions :

      I’ve worked in admissions at an elite university. People are wrong that you have to buy a building for alumni giving to have any impact. You have to buy a building to get an unqualified kid admitted. But small donations can make a difference for the many very qualified kids who don’t otherwise stand out from the applicant pool. We grouped applications into non-legacy, legacy without involvement or donations and legacy with donations. Legacies were more likely than non-legacies to be admitted and legacies with donations were more likely to be admitted than legacies without. If your kid is not a very strong applicant, there’s no way she’s getting in unless you give much more than what you’re talking about. But the way admissions works at elite colleges is that maybe 25% of applicants are clearly not as qualified as other applicants, 5% are very qualified and stand out for something like winning an Olympic medal or being the child of a former US President and around 60% are very qualified but don’t have anything that makes them stand out. Only a very small percentage of that 60% will be admitted and that’s where being a legacy can make a difference. $100K of donations isn’t going to do squat for a kid in the bottom 25%, but if they are in the 60% it can make the difference between getting in and not getting in.

      That said, it’s slightly increasing her odds of admission at one particular school that she may or may not want to go to. You have to decide if that’s worth $90K to you. It wouldn’t be to me. If you do decide to donate for this purpose, I wouldn’t give $5K per year. You’ll get credit for donating if you give much less and $5K isn’t enough to set you apart as a big spender, as others noted.

      • I have heard that Stanford takes exactly this approach to admissions. Moreover, I’ve heard that Stanford looks at any involvement – monetary donations at any level OR attending Stanford events (like reunions, Leading Matters, alumni volunteer days, etc.). Who knows what it will look at 15 years down the road, of course!

    • Admissions are so competitive now that I’m not even sure they take this into consideration.

      Also, given Murphy’s Law, the more you donate the less likely it is that your kids will want to go there.

    • I joined the alumni association this year just before my daughter applied, feeling like a guilty slacker for the 25 years that I ignored my alma mater. I’m sure it won’t matter, but I thought I should demonstrate at least the minimum level of involvement, just in case.

    • Putting aside the ethics of it all, honestly it will make more of a difference if you are active as part of an alumni family so you have established relationships with the school and give $100k in a lump sum a year or two before they apply.

    • There are so many places that could do way better things with your money than Stanford. You should read Matt Yglesias’s pieces on why giving to school endowments is a dumb idea.

    • I give $50/yr to my HYP undergrad, and have since we started thinking about TTC (prior to that, I’d occasionally give $10 if a friend really harassed me and said it would “count” toward whatever % giving goal they were working toward if I gave even $1). I think it’s important to give *something,* but I don’t think any amount I give will be enough to get an otherwise unqualified kid in, so I direct most of my charitable giving to causes I really care about.

  26. diversity issues. :

    I need to vent. I’m a WOC and I love my white friends (some of whom I’m very close to) but their very well-intentioned commentary about diversity issues (think “Black women are just so wise that we should put them in charge of everything and they’re going to save us all and we really need to thank them for Alabama” among many other things) is super frustrating me. And because they’re “liberal” and “progressive” and genuinely good people who are trying to help and who love me, I really don’t think I can address this. It’s driving me nuts. And now I am apparently advising a client on diversity. Client is wonderful, her heart is in the right place and she’s trying to do a good and necessary thing. But I think a lot of her sentiments on diversity are really misguided and are unintentionally underpinning the same kind of stereotypes that we should be fighting against (and I’m sure she thinks she is fighting against). There’s also a fair bit of virtue signaling going on in both cases, which is annoying but not a horrible thing.

    I just with I could be a “normal” person for a moment, not be a lighting rod for diversity things because of the color of my skin, and just be as oblivious as my friends are for a little while. And I wish there was some middle choice between outwardly racist people and people who love me and/or are good people, want to help, but are just so misguided. And with friends, I definitely feel like I can’t say anything ever, because there’s no way that they won’t feel like I’m calling them a bad person.

    Obviously it could be worse, but I’m just so exhuasted by this right now.

    • It sounds like a good time to interact with the POC in your life for support. Depending on your schedule and background, a trip outside the country might help for a break from our nation’s politics.

    • If I was your friend, I would absolutely want to know if my actions/intentions/words were misguided. It’s not your job to correct me and you don’t have to, but I would rather hear it from a friend that screamed at me by a stranger. I will not think you are calling me a bad person because you are my friend because you know I am a bad person.

      • French Soles :

        Me too. I am not doing it for virtue signaling. I have learned so much over the last year that I didn’t know – not because I am bad or malicious. It’s been a crap year and I am grateful for what I’ve learned but I would be receptive to hearing from a friend or anyone on this board where I’m off course.

        • French Soles :

          In fact, here’s a question – are we white women just as thick as men are being revealed to be? Some men will probably say they hadn’t given thought to women’s issues heretofore. Many of them are trying to learn, just as we are, but I wonder if you lump us in the same group.

          • diversity issues. :

            In my experience the answer to your question is yes. Very thick. It’s especially hard because the people involved here genuinely care and are trying to understand things. It’s just also really hard to point out how they’re way, way, way off the mark in a kind and loving way when it also makes me feel kind of sh*tty. I think my white friends WAY overestimate how much they know or understand about what I think/feel about these issues. Part of that is because they underestimate how hard it is to talk about these things (and the need to preserve their feelings b/c god forbid they feel uncomfortable) AND they interpret what I do say in ways that are just not accurate.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes, we’re being just as thick.

            I’m white and this has definitely been my biggest realization in 2017. The same way I’m exhausted from trying to help my well meaning and progressive DH understand s. harassment, feminism, emotional labor etc, I have come to understand that I’m basically the same way towards people of colour. I have good intentions but I don’t really ‘get it’ yet and I can empathize that it must be f’ing exhausted for people of color to have to deal with people like me. So my goal for 2018 is to try harder and do better on educating myself.

          • Anonymous :

            My assumption about myself as a white woman is that I am clueless about what is like to not be white in the same way that my DH (who is awesome! and very well intentioned!) is clueless about what it’s like to not be male. I have thought about what it is probably like, read things by WOC, etc, but I can’t really *know* it because I just don’t have that lived experience.

      • +1

        OP you said “And because they’re “liberal” and “progressive” and genuinely good people who are trying to help and who love me, I really don’t think I can address this.” It would make me, a white woman, sad to hear that a friend (of color or otherwise) felt that s/he couldn’t address it with me if I said something they thought was off base, about race or otherwise. I don’t know your friends, but hopefully they feel the same way. It’s not your job to do this, but I hope you can get to a place where you feel that you _can_.

        • diversity issues. :

          Oh, I know they feel the same way. They would absolutely want to hear it and want to feel like I could share with them. I probably will. It’s just that I think my white lady friends really don’t get how easily they become uncomfortable and how much they cling to what they think they know about other people’s experiences. I know my best friend, for example, will really try to understand and she loves me more than anyone who isn’t a relative, but her process to come to understanding is also going to contain things that just…. hurt to hear.

          I personally do believe I have an obligation to educate and to create the world that I want to live in (although I would never impose this viewpoint on others), so I’ll do it. I just find that people think that having good intentions is more important in this equation than it actually is.

          • Smart people want to believe we can understand anything if we think about it hard enough. Sometimes, though, you just can’t grok cause you’ve never been there. It can be hard to admit that.

            Best of luck with these hard conversations.

          • French Soles :

            Can you share any of this here? Think of it as practice. :)

          • diversity issues. :

            I’m happy to share whatever. What specifically are you asking about/where should I start?

          • Longer post in moderation sort of sharing the sentiment of “just tell them” but after reading your responses OP I want to thank you for keeping us clueless folks in check

            -Signed non-black WOC

    • I’m really sorry about this. I’ve seen what you’re talking about in real life (and also here on this board) and I understand why it would make someone uncomfortable. I think a lot of white women are taking it too far when it comes to proclaiming themselves as allies and distancing themselves from Trump and his supporters. I know a lot of my friends just want to be really clear they don’t side with racists, but in doing so they are almost making WOC into mascots. It’s not ill-intentioned, but it is embarrassing and awkward AF. So, again, I’m sorry. I wish you weren’t being put into this situation.

      I totally agree with the above advice about trying to surround yourself with other POCs right now. It’s going to be more exhausting than usual to get around white folks for awhile, most likely.

    • Betterandbetter :

      I’m sorry you are going through this. I am a WOC who is married to a white woman. She’s great and as interested in doing right and being inclusive and “woke” as can be expected. Seriously, she walks the walk. And yet WHITE FRAGILITY IS A THING. It’s really hard. When I push back against some things she says she sometimes does get reflexively defensive or there are times I say something and what I mean is “Isn’t it awful we have these screwed up systems.” And what she hears is “You are complicit, evil white person.” But less than you’d think and certainly less than before.

      And yet we push through and have the conversation and it’s better on the other side. I feel like I have to. I realize that I signed up for this by marrying her but she did too and there is a reason for that. We both signed up for the discomfort of mediating our different experiences of the world because the alternative for me would be perpetually feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place. The alternative for her is that she doesn’t have me in her life and I am absolutely willing to follow through on taking myself out of her life if we can’t work through those things. I’ve almost always found the conversation worth having with anyone in my life and I have had to have many different versions of it because I am queer in addition to being brown. It helps to realize that the other person is uncomfortable too and that they have had less practice being uncomfortable because of who they are so they have fewer coping mechanisms.

      But Yes. It’s exhausting. Especially when you can’t turn it off. I pass for straight and I know what a relief it can be sometimes to not have to have my identity on display all the time. I know that in some ways that makes it easier for me than my wife who occasionally gets “sir”d in public. We all have privledge of one kind or another we have to check. This helps me have compassion.

      Tldr: I hear you.

      • diversity issues. :

        +1 to white fragility. I tried to avoid using that term because I’m trying to be as neutral as possible in my tone here, but also because it applies to people I love and I want to be gentle with them. But yes, in my observation, one must never ever commit the cardinal sin of making a white person uncomfortable, and their feelings very quickly become front and center of whatever discussion is being had. I know a lot of people don’t feel like they do that, but they generally do.


    • wildkitten :

      I’m struggling with a genuine desire to support women and women of color in running for office (I’ve been telling everyone asking what they can do to fight the current climate to donate to Emily’s List) without coming down on the wrong side of this making black women our mascot thing. I think black women are the backbone of the democratic party and the concerns of black women have often been ignored because black women are such reliable voters that they get ignored rather than pandered to. How do we support black women without it being patronizing? (I’m being genuine, please be nice.)

      • Anonymous :

        I’m white but the sense I’m getting from OP and other women of colour is that they want support but they don’t want to be put on a pedestal. So we continue to vote and financially support the campaigns of the women of colour who are running for office. We keep calling and asking our current representatives to do better.

        • diversity issues. :

          I agree with that statement. I also don’t understand the need to put others on a pedestal here, and it comes across as extremely inauthentic. It reads as “I really want you to know that I’m not racist and I’m a really good person, so I’m going to be extremely effusive and obsequious with my praise.” My only request is that you *act* to make the changes you want to see. Up to you what that means (call your representatives, whatever). I see a lot of talk but no actual action, and that makes me think that someone is full of sh*t.

      • I really don’t understand this view among white women these days that black women are the backbone of the democratic party? What’s the basis for that? It seems like another attempt to put black women on a pedestal and strikes me as really odd (I’m a black woman democrat fwiw) Honest question here.

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve been understanding the backbone comments to mean that they are the most consistent and loyal supporters of the party. The party spends a lot of time courting the white male vote. Alabama clearly shows that you do not need a majority of white men to win. The party should be focusing on get out the vote efforts for people of color because that clearly made a difference in Alabama. WokeVote was heavily involved on the ground but the party itself needs to do more.

          • Okay, but statistically speaking the biggest driver of the Alabama election outcome was how many rural white voters stayed home. Black voters are just about the most politically engaged demographic and they reliably turn out and vote democratic. (not to diminish the relevance of that, I think the rest of society should model that level of engagement) my point is rather that black voters were already factored into the polls. What led to the surprise was white conservative voters staying home. In some places turnout was down like 75% from previous years. That’s huge. So it’s just not correct to say that black voters swung this election. They’re critical, that’s not what flipped this election/created the unexpected outcome.

            I think it’s dangerous to focus so much on racial identity as a dividing line in our society. Obviously identity means a lot and it’s going to be a factor. But I’m concerned that this line of thinking contributes to the exclusion of other groups (white people, white males) from the democratic party, which I don’t think is a healthy development for our society/politics. I think diversity is such a tremendous strength of the democratic party. I just don’t want “diversity” to start meaning the willful exclusion of any demographic group, even if that’s white people or white men. I guess I just want a more inclusive society where being black or white doesn’t have to divide us any more than it absolutely has to (which to be fair, is probably a lot).

            Before someone jumps all over me for not being sensitive enough to minorities, I’m black.

          • wildkitten :

            Yes I mean most consistent and loyal voters.

    • I’m sorry. That really sucks.

    • I am WOC (not black but I only say that to say I don’t understand the particular struggles you may be facing) and have learnt a lot from POC (or woke white people) who are my friends. I think of myself as generally liberal person who wants to help out/create change etc but I am also open to the fact that my experiences are different than those of other POC. I am open minded and very willing to be called out on perspectives that are misleading or hurting the causes I think I am helping.

      I know it is a burden to be a POC and have to be the spokesperson for all issues but occasionally I would call out the white friends on their ignorance. It doesn’t have to be confrontational, but it could be along the lines of, “you know that’s actually a big misconception because XYZ but in my experience, it is more likely XYZ that causes this.” You could suggest books/studies/articles/podcasts that reflect the specific issue if you do not want to get into it yourself but that may seem more passive aggressive

      As for the client you are educating on diversity, isn’t that the thing you are being paid to work on with her? If she has hired someone to advice her in issues of diversity, she should be able to handle the real truthbom*s you have for her. Again, perhaps a less confrontational more “there’s a study that shows XYZ actually has the best results when it comes to XYZ” may be helpful.

      FYIY, I have appreciated being called out on my own misconceptions and being told how things really are

    • AlexisFaye :

      My friend calls this the “magical black person” phenomena. Typically seen in movies, where the magical black person (mammie, butler, maid, slave, sidekick, whatever) enlightens the white folks who then save the day.

      As a white woman, who genuinely wants to love and support the POC in my life, I think you should be able to tell them, at least, if not the Client.

      They want to support you, love you, lift you up. If they are doing that in a way that is not helpful, then they probably want to know about it.

      Yes. Risk of white fragility/white women’s tears. Being able to name/not shame that is probably helpful, too. And give them this, which is what I try and think of. If you’re not feeling supported by their comments, then they shouldn’t offer them:

      • diversity issues. :

        I did in fact have to say to my friend yesterday “I don’t have mystical powers.” so yes. this is A THING.

    • turtletorney :

      I think I am one of your well-meaning friends (not actually)
      You don’t have an obligation to, but could you tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I should be doing? What you need from us? I feel like I’m trying but I’m just doing it wrong. & I don’t want to quit trying.

      • diversity issues. :

        I appreciate your attitude toward this. I do plan to talk to my friend about it, an in general I’ll try more to err on that side when I’m unsure.

        In terms of things that I notice that my friends should do differently
        * I have some unorthodox viewpoints that don’t square with exactly what the Progressive movement thinks. I am not in any way anti-woman or anti-POC, in fact I could not care more about these things than I do. My white friends seem to have some idea of what they’re supposed to think on race issues, and if I say anything in any way outside of that, they feel the need to assert the mainstream view. I’ve even been told that I’m part of the problem by people that I’m positive didn’t really understand what I was saying. You may not feel like what you’re saying is “you have a not-ok viewpoint” because there are more and less abrasive ways to make this point, but many of my white friends indicate in various ways that I have the wrong opinions on race issues. If your friends talk to you about this, you shouldn’t assert your viewpoints or make the conversation about you. Listen. Ask questions that will help you better understand where s/he’s coming from. Don’t try to convince them of things. For example, I 100% feel like I do have an obligation to answer questions like this and share my experiences. There are many reasons why I feel this way, but it’s a core part of my worldview and what I believe in. No one else gets to impose that on me, but my friends shouldn’t also try to convince me that I don’t have an obligation to do these things because some progressive rhetoric is that I don’t owe anyone anything. I believe that I can have a positive impact by doing these things even if they’re hard, and I therefore feel that I have an obligation to do it. It’s not fair, but a lot of things aren’t fair. That’s my obligation to take on myself, and I really am so tired of my very dear friends trying to tell me that I shouldn’t and that I would feel better.

        * Forgetting/not getting that I am a person first. There are lots of identity descriptors that apply to me that are big parts of who I am. There are lots of other things too, and I get to decide who I am and what matters most to me. It’s hard to give examples of how this happens without being too longwinded. But basically the way we talk about diversity I think basically programs us to think in terms of gender and race. Those things matter a TON and they define many things. But they don’t define anything. For example- I’m married to a white guy who grew up on a farm. I don’t think anyone really understands me as well as he does, even on these issues. Not in the sense that he’s shared the experience, but he gets how I think, he just… gets it. For reasons that don’t have to do with any identity thing or anything that I can really describe on paper.

        If you want to post an email I’m happy to talk further. It’s hard to give much detail here, and I just don’t want to do it on such a public forum.

  27. KateMiddletown :

    I can’t find any Men’s Medium Tall Pajama pants in stock for Christmas. Why don’t they make family pajama sets for both tall men and tall women? This is minor but aggravating.


      I would actually be happy to buy pricier pajamas for both of us, but I’m basically stuck with Old Navy.

      • Same, I finally found Tall pajama pants at Old Navy after searching for months. It’s so much easier to dress for warmer months as a tall person.

    • Tbh your husband probably doesn’t want to wear matching pyjamas.

      • Edna Mazur :

        My husband actually asked me to see if I could find any family sets this year…different strokes.

        • Anonymous :


          The main secrets I keep for my husband are his love of matching family pyjamas and his love of cheesy romantic comedies.


    • I think JC Penney online has matching PJs in both women’s tall and men’s big and tall.

      • KateMiddletown :

        That’s the thing, he’s only Tall, not Big. (Size 34/34 but really more like 35 length if it’s avail.) We might have to settle for joggers style pants this year!

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried Hannah Andersson?

  28. Has anyone bought a new house without selling their existing house first? We’re contemplating this, but keep hearing it’s a bad idea (although given the number of empty houses I’m seeing pictures of on, I don’t think it’s that uncommon). We have very particular requirements for the neighborhood and house we want to move into, and it’s likely we’ll need more time to look for a new house than we’d have if we sold the old one first. We have enough cash saved to do a 15% down payment on something new in the price range we’re looking at, and figured we could use that, then use the cash from the equity in our current house (about $70k) to pay the other 5%. We also could cover two mortgages for a period of time (although obviously wouldn’t want to do that forever). The housing market isn’t super-hot where we are but apparently it’s heating up, and with interest rates going up, our financial advisor is advising us to start looking for a new house now. Anyone have any experience with this – good or nightmarish – they can share?

    • The big thing is whether or not you can afford (from a bank’s perspective / debt to income) both houses at the same time. Few people are financially comfortable enough that they can afford two primary residences.

    • Yes, because we had plenty of cash saved for the second down payment, LOVED the new home, and could cover both mortgages with 1 of our 2 paychecks. Wouldn’t want to do it forever, but waiting out the 3 months it took to sell our old home was OK.

    • Is your current house listed? I’d at least make sure it is listed and ready to sell. You can probably work with a buyer (if you are that lucky) to do a longer than normal close, or a lease-back.

    • This is now recommended in my local market because inventory is so low.

    • Couple things, from someone who works in mortgage: if you buy another house in your current area, it will frequently be treated as an “investment property” for underwriting purposes. This often means a higher interest rate for the life of the loan, which may defeat your purposes of buying early. You may also need to show that you have principal/interest/tax/insurance reserves of X months for both homes in the bank. You’ll also need to be able to qualify for both homes at once as far as your debt-to-income and housing ratios go.

      It’s definitely doable, but not easy.

      • anon a mouse :

        As a counterpoint, we did this recently and indicated on the application that it would be our new primary residence. As long as your ratios and reserves meet the underwriting standards, you will be fine. You might have to talk to more than one lender.

    • It depends on your market, and your financial situation. I had always had a simultaneous close before. But this time, earlier this year, I moved into my new house before listing the old one. I had to be in a situation where to bank was ok with me having both debts for a while, and I had to have enough cash to pay both mortgages, though it wasn’t as structured/specific as the anon above indicated. I made it clear I was moving into the new house, and so it wasn’t considered investment, so my mortgage was a normal residential mortgage. It was a lot easier to show and sell my old house vacant, so I only paid a double mortgage once.

    • We did it recently, but our selling neighborhood was super hot and we sold it within a day. (We knew it would be that hot and figured we could float for a few months if it for some reason came to that)

  29. Posting for a friend; will try to adequately answer follow-up questions:

    My toxic, unprofessional, supervisor figured out through the nature of our work, that a customer was extremely low-income, and had several small kids. She (tactlessly and publicly) pressed the woman to accept charity gifts for the kids. Recipient even brought the kids into the office to thank toxic supervisor.

    Now, toxic supervisor has discovered that the local organization she thought would supply the money has no budget. So she’s just…not going to do anything for these kids. I won’t be able to sleep at night if I let their hopes be disappointed after what they’ve been promised. I always have some toys around for surprise gifts.

    But what do I say in my office? Status and the show of being lady beneficent are obviously the motivation for her, so if I embarrass her, she’ll be angry. Supervisor already hates me, I really can’t handle any more retaliation. I also have the option of going directly to the coworker who represents the charity, but then I would be bypassing supervisor, which is also fraught. Suggestions? Please?

    • Do you need to do/say anything involving the supervisor? Can’t you just give gifts to the customer privately yourself?

    • Have certain presents been promised and do you know what they are? Or is the promise just that there will be presents? Bc if it’s the second one and you’re so upset by this, call the lady and say I want to stop by with gifts, does tomorrow work.

      • That’s probably the best idea–but it’s a very small town, the details will still get reported back to supervisor.

        • But I think word getting around town and back to the supervisor after Christmas is still better than you going to her now and demanding that she do something for these kids; or you going to the other coworker and the 2 of you organizing some participation in this. Those things make her look bad more directly in the office and she make take that out on you more. If word gets back to her by the town grapevine that Joan delivered the gifts – she may think you’re a goody two shoes – but she’s not made to look bad in front of the whole office in a conference room meeting KWIM? Frankly if you don’t want it discussed much, drop off gifts as close as you can to Christmas. Then people are busy with their own plans that weekend and possibly thru New Years so by the time it’s discussed, the importance of this has died down.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      As infuriating as this would be, could your friend give the gifts to the supervisor to give to the children and let her take the credit? That way the kids do get their presents, and the supervisor might not be mad (depending on her exact flavor of unreasonable).

      • Anonymous :

        Oh, that would be ideal, but what would she say to supervisor?

        • Senior Attorney :

          “I just couldn’t let those kids be without gifts, so I scrounged some up. Here you go!”

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          I’m not sure without knowing more about the supervisor, but I’d probably go with something like “Hey, Supervisor, I have some toys I keep on hand for surprise gifts–would you like to give them to those children since the charity that was supposed to buy some fell through? I know they’d appreciate it soooo much” tweaked as necessary for the circumstances (it’s not clear to me whether anyone except supervisor actually supposed that the charity was going to buy presents, for instance).

          • Anonymous :

            Hmm…combining these two scripts might work. She’s big into the blame game, so pinning it on the charity for falling through might somewhat get my friend off the hook. (Not condoning any of this, but sometimes when you’re stuck in a terrible job, self-preservation!).

  30. French Soles :

    How do French Soles run? Ok for wider forefoot?

    • Anonymous :

      Not wide enough for me. I had a pair and the inner footbed lining peeled off (I guess from strain?) and would scrunch under my toes. They were awful. The sole was also painfully thin.

  31. Game time decision – I’m taking a survey. I have the choice of going or not going to NYC next week. 2 nights, 1 day. Have a place to stay so it won’t cost me; all I’d have to pay for is the Acela there and back from Boston and those tickets can be bought last minute. I don’t celebrate Christmas so it isn’t like I’m rushing to buy gifts/travel for the holiday? Would you go esp if you’ve seen nyc around the holidays before – though it’s been 3-4 yrs? Can’t decide if it’s a hassle or if it’s spontaneous and fun to be able to do this. Weather in nyc looks good next week so that’s not a deterrent.

    • This is really up to you! Sounds like you’re that that excited to go or you wouldn’t be asking random internet people!

    • French Soles :

      Can I say I have never heard of Acela before, and it has been mentioned twice today! Yeah, it sounds like you’re lukewarm. Go somewhere else that you’re jazzed about?

    • I vote go. It’s a minimal cost to you and it could end up being amazing. Are you visiting friends? Showing up, especially for something spontaneous, can really mean a lot to people.

    • I’d go. I lived in NYC for a few years and always enjoy visits. I have people I could call to hang out with if they’re available. I also love visiting museums by myself, and the Whitney closed early because of a blizzard last time I was there, so I feel like I have unfinished business. (Yes, I know, the exhibits would be completely different anyways, so that’s not even logical.)

    • Leaning towards going but feeling like I should be way more excited and have it planned to that it’s coffee with this friend, lunch with that friend, with breaks to see holiday things in the middle. The way it’s going it could be like going to the tree and 5th Av which I love and reaching out to a few friends last min to see who is around and maybe that results in one coffee or meal that’s it. But then I’m thinking – that’s still a nice change of scenery and not every trip has to be go-go-go.

      • If you’d enjoy yourself more at home (or elsewhere if that’s an option), don’t go. But try not to get buried under all those “shoulds.” There is no should for a pleasure trip.

      • In that case, go ahead and I’m sure it will be a good break from routine.

    • Senior Attorney :

      OMG I would always go to NYC!

    • Yes! Go & have fun!

    • I’m on my way to NYC via Amtrak right now to visit friends and my advice is definitely go… NYC is so great this time of year! One Amtrak tip from someone who takes it a lot… the tickets go up in price considerably the closer you get to the travel date, and you can get a full refund up until the minute before your train leaves (although if it’s closer than a few days you get Amtrak credit instead of cash). So if you think you might want to go, buy tickets now!

  32. Sugar Crash :

    What are your best tips for getting over a sugar crash? I overdid it on the treats this morning and am starting to feel sluggish and blah.

  33. New Tampanian :

    For today’s fun “Nice try, I’m a lawyer” story… I’m reviewing my lease renewal documents for the 4th year of my apartment lease and the leasing company tried to sneak in a likeness release. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Yeah right people.

    • IANAL but I’ve only heard of a likeness release in photography/video waivers. I’m curious, what does this mean in the context of an apartment lease?

      • Flats Only :

        Maybe it means that the landlord will own the rights to the footage from the camera they’ve secretly hidden in the apartment. Wouldn’t that be a nuisance.

      • New Tampanian :

        It’s essentially the same thing. Except they can use it for any of their own marketing efforts. I have never seen this in an apartment lease and I am certainly not being provided something by way of consideration for this. I also work for a very well known company and wear their logos a lot and I can see the leasing company attempting to make an argument that they can use pictures of me wearing the logos on their marketing which is a giant nope. I’m just not comfortable with it in any way.

    • Ha! I got to call out my apt complex once when, *on Memorial day weekend,* they posted fliers on the doors of everyone whose lease expired in August demanding that we indicate whether we want to renew our leases within the next three days or be subject to month to month rates. LOL. Nice try.

      • New Tampanian :

        Wait. Was this like outside the 60 day or whatever notice period that was in your lease or was there no such provision?

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My apartment complex had one of these–it was so they could use pictures for all their social media efforts. That one didn’t bother me, but in other “nice try, I’m a lawyer” stories, they also tried to get me to sign a “deck use addendum” halfway through my existing lease. It was poorly drafted and had some super broad indemnification language I was not comfortable with, so I just didn’t sign it. They called to tell me “I had to sign it.” They didn’t understand they couldn’t just add clauses at will when I already had an existing lease. I suggested they maybe wanted to ask their lawyer about that and not surprisingly, never heard anything else about it.

      • New Tampanian :

        Amazing. Everything is electronic now so I can’t really pick and choose. I had to email them. They haven’t responded so we’ll see.

  34. Random vent: just got a lunch manicure while a well-known rabid local Trump supporter got her eyebrows waxed by an Ecuadorian immigrant. She then left without tipping. The tech commented she never tips, and she goes there all the time as the salon is by her work. This really bothered me on several levels. Immigrants are good enough to make her look good, but not to come to the US, and not to get a tip. Tip your service providers! My mom taught me, if you can’t afford to tip you can’t afford to eat out.

  35. Has anyone made the switch from practicing attorney to legal operations and care to share their experience? Or do you work with legal operations? What’s it like? Is it a valuable role?

    • I worked at a public company as my 1L internship. The legal ops lady was a total PITA. She loved to delegate but did almost no work except useless things like making a legal wiki page for the company’s internal website with bios of each attorney. She spent A WEEK making a two-slide ppt for an intro meeting with another department. Good legal ops people do things like implement contract management systems, manage outside counsel bills (and scope of projects), help with hiring and managing legal-related projects. The issue is that it’s essentially project management by someone who can’t do the project herself. It’s a tough role. It can be done well if the person is backed by the GC and has actual authority. However, if you’re just the lady that says, “Have you finished that?” every two hours while the person you’re asking is in the middle of your other job, well, that’s not helpful.

      You don’t need a law degree to work in legal ops, and in that sense, it’d be a step down. In Silicon Valley, a lot of senior paralegals move to legal ops as a cushier job, for instance.

  36. For those of you who take anti-depressants and are mothers, how did you decide whether to continue or discontinue your prescription during pregnancy?

    Pregnancy aside, I’m a little baffled by the medical advice to “just get off” anti-depressants. If it’s a brain chemistry thing – as in, the brain doesn’t produce enough of whatever chemical – I don’t understand how it’s going to magically start and you can just magically stop talking anti-depressants. When life is objectively good, but your mind doesn’t view it that way, I don’t see how the recommendations to expectant mothers of talk therapy and hot tea are supposed to help. I’ve had persistent moderate anxiety and depression for the last 3 years, though it’s been worse during turbulent periods. I’m struggling with whether “moderate” depression and anxiety is “bad enough” to subject my baby to an SSRI for 9 months. I wonder if I should just “tough it out” for 9 months.

    Obviously, I have been and will continue to talk to my doctors, but I’m interested in hearing others’ thinking process.

    • Anon for this :

      I’ve been pregnant twice, and have discussed this with three doctors. All have been very supportive of continuing or starting SSRIs during pregnancy. I got PPD with my first and am pregnant again. I will be going on prozac at about 30 weeks. The doctor said that the only potential risk is that the baby could be sleepy in the 24 hours following birth, but that everything will cycle out of her system very quickly.

      I say find new doctors.

    • Are your doctors saying to ‘just get off [anti-depressants]’ or are you just questioning conventional wisdom? Because if it’s the former I would advise you to find new doctors.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I nursed on zoloft — good doctors were like, “yeah, that’s fine.” Terrible therapists made me feel like sh*t about it. They can bl0w me.

      Re: going off meds in general, my psychiatrist’s view is like: get on the meds, get stable, build strong habits as enabled by meds and therapy, then maybe the healthy mental structure you’ve built can stand on its own as you ease off meds. He talks about it like a cast — gives the support while you need it, but you can do work to repair internally. TBH I’m ehhh on that, not particularly motivated to try going off.

    • Bostonite :

      Check with your physician/medical provider.

      My wife went off her migraine medicine since it was contraindicated for pregnancy but stayed on her anti-depressants during the entire time since her prescriber said her type of medication was not contraindicated and it was healthier for her and the baby overall for her to take the drugs than for her to come off them.

      We did a lot of reading on this while she was making her decision and it seems that its not that anti-depressants cause a birth defects, its more like they can’t be reported as “safe” since it’s not feasible to do drug trials on pregnant women.

      That said, I think it’s a personal for you for you to make in consultation with your family and your medical provider.

      There are a lot of right answers here and you need to choose the one best for your family.

    • Anon Lawyer :

      My psychiatrist affirmatively thought I should stay on SSRIs during pregnancy.

    • I decided to stay on Lexapro during my pregnancy. When DH and I first TTC, I went off Lexapro because I thought that was the right thing to do. I was wrong. My anxiety went through the roof, and I had frequent panic attacks. Therapy didn’t help. After several months, I decided enough was enough, and went back on them. When I became pregnant with DD last year, my OB had no issue with me staying on it.

    • Went through an entire pregnancy and nursed on Zoloft. Doctor said to stay on, no problems, kid is as normal as a crazy 1 YO can be!

    • If they are working, I would keep taking them!

      I can’t take SSRIs for other reasons, so I take the amino acid precursors to the chemicals my brain needs when it needs them. It’s a gentler approach that is not enough for everyone, but it can really help with SSRI discontinuation. I’ve mentioned it here before because I’ve found that most psychiatrists don’t bring up OTC alternatives even if they are happy to help manage them.

    • IANAD but I’ve read that with most psychiatric drugs, it’s not like taking extra Vitamin A if you’re Vitamin A deficient– researchers aren’t totally sure how psychiatric drugs work in a lot of cases; it’s more hypotheses and trial and error because it’s much less measurable/managing symptoms not an actual “imbalance”. So they of course won’t magically fix themselves when pregnant (and may get worse, since depression is a frequent side effect of pregnancy.) You just have to decide if you can manage without for the course of the pregnancy with your symptoms, weighted against risk to the baby. Some drugs are worse than others– some have unknown effect and some the baby has to be detoxed at delivery.

    • Anonymous :

      This is a good resource for information:

  37. Christmas Games :

    My Christmas this year will involve five-ish adults and one child (4 yo). Are there any games we could all play that the child might also enjoy?

    • I think really little kids can play Uno and dominoes games (chickenfoot, mexican train, etc). Those are all I can think of right now!

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Unless he/she is one of those four-year-olds who’s happy to be on a grown-up’s “team” and move tokens, roll dice, hold onto cards, etc while having no idea what’s actually going on. In that case you can play basically anything that’s not obscene.

    • You could try, but that really depends on the 4 year old. Some can really enjoy board/card games (depending on their personality and maturity), and others will have no interest whatsoever. Games in the range of CandyLand and Chutes & Ladders will be accessible for the kid but boring for the adult (unless the adults are just good natured and enjoy doing whatever). Uno is probably the best bet to entertain everyone – the kid can play together with an adult as a “team” but probably can’t manage alone. Also, be ready for temper-tantrums at losing, which is pretty common at that age even for good-natured, well-disciplined kids. If you want a more fail-safe group activity, I’d suggest a craft like cookie decorating instead.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Mexican Train dominos. Sorry. Attack UNO. Regular UNO.

    • Bostonite :

      Old Maid and Go fish

    • Look at Busy Toddler and have the 4 YO do some Christmas projects nearby while the rest of you play whatever you want! Her ideas are really really easy to set up and good.

    • There’s a version of UNO called “UNO Moo” that’s basically the same as regular UNO but with farm animal figurines. It’s super fun because, let’s be real, who wouldn’t enjoy yelling out MOO! when they are about to win?

    • I have a 4 year old (turned 4 this fall, so on the young inside). She’s my oldest and also has more patience than other kids her age. Things she likes:

      -puzzles (lots of pieces are fine, she can sort colors, find edge pieces, and work on small sections). We did a 550 piece one last winter!
      – basic card games (go fish, Old maid)
      – tic tac toe

      She can also participate in a team for grown up games. We let her play settlers of Catan with us and she was the Dice Roller (she can count) and Road Builder. She could also be the bank for monopoly.

      Other ideas- kiddo might like doing a “show” for the grownups. Or making puppets. Or serving drinks (we have a water dispenser and my 4 y/o spent thanksgiving taking orders and refreshing water glasses).

    • Anonymous :

      Bingo or Zingo (though less fun for adults.)

  38. In case anyone feels like a discussion – do you feel like America is getting to the point where certain kids/families are born on 3rd base and if that isn’t you, it’s really really hard/almost impossible to catch up?

    Just had a discussion with someone whose kid is going to college at an out of state public. Mom and dad are buying a massive beautiful old home in the college town for their child to live in with roommates bc “rent is a waste.” They researched it and by putting the deed in the 18 yr olds name, it makes him in state for that u – so in state tuition. So mom and dad are thrilled that in 4 yrs he walks out with most of his college fund in tact for grad school, no debt, and an investment property that that’ll let him take the income/equity from. Awesome but wow – “regular” kids who are fortunate enough to have 1/2 loans and 1/2 parent pay will come out no where near the start this kid is getting to adulthood.

    And contrast that to a WSJ article I read re Dollar Tree which is exploding around the country esp rural America bc there is a population that can’t/doesn’t go to even Wal-Mart and can’t afford fresh food so the frozen pizzas/other instant meals sold at dollar tree are a life line to feeding their families. All of this in one morning and I’m like – is it true – the rich just continue to get much richer and make sure it continues generationally, even if they aren’t Rockefeller?

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think it’s that hard to “catch up”/have a perfectly good upper middle class life even if you don’t have parents paying for 100% of college or buying you a house when you’re 18. Almost everyone in the US has a decent in-state public school available to them, and four years of in-state tuition won’t leave you with debt that’s impossible to pay off. Coming out of a state school with a major in business or STEM or something like that you’re going to have no problem finding a respectable job, paying off your loans and saving for a down payment on a house. Not that I don’t think wealthy kids are getting a lot of freebies they don’t necessarily deserve, but I don’t think a comfortable life is out of reach for the average middle class kid who has to factor finances in when deciding where to go to college and/or take out loans for college.
      The people who can’t afford to shop at Walmart are a different story and yeah those kids are never going to be able to compete with middle class kids.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m a low income HYP grad, and I really disagree about going from low income to upper middle class in one lifetime. Those of us from low income families often have to support ourselves and help our family members, which is something that prevents accumulation of wealth. I have 2 siblings, neither of whom graduated from college. One has a GED, the other dropped out of college. Both live paycheck to paycheck, and I help them with emergency expenses. I can’t say no if my sister’s 15 year old car needs a $600 new tires and without the car, she is unable to get to her low hourly wage full time and part time jobs she works to get by. She’s in a rural area, so there’s no public transportation, uber, etc. Her car insurance is also outrageous even though she’s a good, safe driver because her area is low income. Premiums are more. Its expensive to be poor, in many ways.

        • Anonymous :

          Clarification: I come from a low income family, no longer low income.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh I totally agree with you. My comment was about middle-class kids whose families can support themselves just fine, but can’t afford to buy their kids houses or pay for private college, and so the kids maybe have to go to a state school and take out some moderate loans rather than having mommy and daddy hand them everything. I totally agree it’s a different story for kids from low income families who have to support relatives living paycheck-to-paycheck. There’s a huge difference between your parents not transferring wealth to you (whether in the form of college tuition, a house, an inheritance whatever) and your parents needing you to transfer wealth to them because they can’t pay their own bills.

      • “Almost everyone in the US has a decent in-state public school available to them” — Okay, yes, but what about a decent middle school and a decent high school? My heart breaks for the students who worked hard to make it to university (some of them come from high school; some transfer in from 2-year community colleges) and then find out the hard way that they just are not prepared. There’s only so much catching-up you can do in your finite time (while working of course), and that STEM major can turn into an “anything I can graduate with” major, or the debt may build up as the student retakes failed courses. Not everyone finishes. Some would have been better off not trying.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. There is solid evidence that income inequality is worsening. The lack of public health care system and a strong public education system means that the situation is worse than in many other western democracies which are also facing income inequality issues. I fear that we will end up with income inequality comparable to developing countries within my lifetime.

      • I agree. I’m 3rd generation middle class (the first two generations were blue collar/union middle class) and despite the advanced college degrees, we’re not advancing in income.

        I joked with my dad the other day that I’m finally on to my 3rd car. I’m 37–and I’ve only bought 3 cars! We compared our lives at 37 and both felt shocked. When he was 37, he and my mom were raising two kids on his income as an industrial electrician (no degree), we did the yearly beach vacation, and he only bought new cars every few years. He and mom were selling their starter house and moving up because they were doing well.

        In my life, at age 37, my husband and I both have to work at our degree required office jobs to raise our two kids. Husband is still paying student loans. We take *one* beach vacation every couple of years. We switched to used cars instead of buying new, and ride them into the ground. We still live in our starter house and decided we can’t afford to move up AND save for retirement, so we’re staying put. It’s taking more education and TWO people working to keep my family at the same level Dad had in 1987.

        • Anonymous :

          I grew up solidly middle class (daughter of a teacher and an engineer), but it never occurred that it was a good idea NOT to buy a used car and run it into the ground. I had to chuckle at being 37 and “only” having bought three cars. I am 38 and I bought my second car a year ago, having bought my first one at 22. It’s still running with a teenager who I gifted it to around 220k miles.

          • Yeah, I haven’t had that kind of luck with cars. They are dead by 100,000 miles / 10 years. I had a Chevy Cavalier (bought at 22), a Kia Sorento (bought at 28), and now a used Honda Accord.

            This Honda better last until 2028.

  39. How do you handle disappointments/contentious meetings at work? I had a meeting this morning, and one of the people took what I said out of context/took it the wrong way and said something along the lines of what don’t you come out and say what you really want to say. I feel bad, not for saying what I said, but the person got so defensive, instead of looking at something that I pointed out as an opportunity for improvement. Spoke to one of my team members who was also on the call, and he basically said don’t be discouraged, and he didn’t think what I said was out of place/in appropriate in any way. I ended up crying (alone), and feel down. I wonder how I can develop thick skin and be less sensitive.

    • You sound like a reasonable, empathetic person. Aside from “shake them haters off”, my advice would be to work on your phrasing. Some people are sensitive and I need to soften even gentle advice for them (I am often guilty of being too direct so YMMV). You also can’t help when your colleagues are being unreasonable or overly sensitive. I know that’s hard, but your job is not to be liked, it’s to get the work done. If your comments were regarding how to get the work done, then I think you’re fine. Hugs! It’s a stressful time of year.

    • Anonymous :

      Over time the thick skin develops. In my experience if someone is super defensive it often has to do with something else that you’re not even aware of and you’re just kind of touching a bruise you didn’t know was there. The most uncomfortable situation I was in at work involved me giving feedback to an indirect report and he took it so badly he got up, picked up the document we were reviewing and threw it at me he was so mad. I was a bit shaken by his outburst. It turned out he had been receiving a lot of negative feedback from his boss and was fired a couple months later.

  40. Dinner Party Favorites :

    Hosting a small dinner party – someone help me decide what to make! Trying to make something reasonably healthy as a break from all the heavy holiday meals. What are your go-to heathyish recipes for a group?

    • I just made a vegan paella and everyone loved it. I used soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s, peas, tomatoes, and peppers.

    • Anonymous :

      Fish, vegetables and rice
      Stir fry – though only if everyone eats chicken
      Tacos – that way people can go meat heavy or not
      Middle eastern (catered) – rice, chicken and or ground beef kabobs, vegetables and again people can go meat heavy or not

    • Senior Attorney :

      I did a dinner party this time last year and did two pots of chili — one veggie and one beef. Made a serve-yourself bar with toppings like cheese, onions, sour cream, tortilla chips, and so on. Everybody loved it. Not super light but different from the usual holiday fare. You could do a green salad on the side.

    • Roasted salmon
      Arugula salad with pears, gorgonzola, and balsamic vinaigrette or a dijon dressing
      Steamed green beans with almonds and lemon
      Gnocchi (I buy it at Trader Joe’s in the pasta section) with pesto and grated parmesan on top

  41. Anonymous :

    We are having some new friends over to our home for the first time. We do not wear shoes indoors. Is there a way to gracefully communicate this to people in advance? Is this necessary? Would you be annoyed to arrive at someone’s home and find out that shoes need to be removed?

    • biglawanon :

      We also don’t wear shoes indoors and neither do most of my friends, so not sure how valuable my opinion is, but I think it is a perfectly reasonable request that does not need to be communicated in advance. I cannot imagine someone not complying with this request on the spot.

      • anon a mouse :

        Requests don’t bother me, but I’d like to know in advance. I do not like to walk in bare feet because of an old injury. So if I’m not wearing socks and I’m asked to remove my shoes, I will be uncomfortable the rest of the night. But given a heads-up, I’ll happily wear socks and shoes.

        It would be thoughtful of you to have some cheap pairs of slippers on hand for your guests, if you are so inclined.

    • Oh no, not this topic! I hope that everyone knows to be prepared to remove their shoes when visiting someone’s house for the first time without knowing the rules.

      I would definitely be annoyed if a friend suddenly changed the rules on me, and I am physically and psychologically uncomfortable without shoes, but I don’t make assumptions when visiting someone’s place for the first time.

    • Anonymous :

      ‘Just FYI, we’re a no-shoe house, so feel free to bring some slippers or house-socks to wear if you come over’

    • Yes, this comes up here a lot, and there’s not much consensus. In some communities, shoe-free is the default/norm, in others it is not. (For example, most people I know, in the Midwest – not in the snow belt – do not have such a rule.) Contrary to anon at 3:25, I would not know to “be prepared” for this without being told in advance.

      Some visitors will not want to be surprised and to end up with bare feet in the winter or wearing their worst socks, or whatever. Just make a comment like the anon at 3:29 suggested; you won’t offend anyone who is used to a shoe-free environment and you’ll give a heads-up to those who are not.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Love this topic so much!

      Yes, I would be super annoyed if this were sprung on me. I think Anonymous at 3:29 has a good script.

    • Definitely say something ahead of time. Anonymous @ 3:29 has some nice phrasing.

    • My solution is to 1) take my shoes off when entering to signal as such, 2) leave shoe rack by the door to also indicate a no shoes house and 3) have a basket of fresh, never worn slippers (toes covered) with the plastic/cover still on for guests. I got a box of 50 for about $100 that I’ve been using for the last year+

  42. Definitely say something ahead of time. Anonymous @ 3:29 has some nice phrasing.

  43. My solution is to 1) take my shoes off when entering to signal as such, 2) leave shoe rack by the door to also indicate a no shoes house and 3) have a basket of fresh, never worn slippers (toes covered) with the plastic/cover still on for guests. I got a box of 50 for about $100 that I’ve been using for the last year+

    • Anonymous :

      A no-shoe household has been so rare in my life that my host taking off her shoes or seeing a rack of shoes by the door doesn’t signal a thing to me. I would need to be told. Especially since, in the area of the US where I grew up, it would have been rude TO take your shoes off in someone else’s house as a first-time guest. (When we had guests over in my house, growing up, we put our shoes ON for the guests, even though we normally ran around barefoot at all other times.)

      • Agree with Anonymous @ 9:59. I was in my late 20s before I ever encountered a no-shoe household. Growing up, we’d have thought it was bizarre (and a bit gross) if guests removed their shoes before entering the house.

        Heads-up, please. No one wants to be caught out in old socks or a bad pedicure, and it’s clear from previous conversations that the shoe/no-shoe approach varies widely across cultures and regions.

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