Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Rimini Tailored Dress

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

Reiss Rimini DressI’ve said before that I think light gray pants are even more versatile than white pants for spring and summer, and this light gray sheath dress looks amazing for the same purposes — you can wear it with a pop of color (pastel or bright in spring, and start introducing darker reds and olives in late August and September as you get excited about fall) or neutrals (navy, black, white). I love the seaming, and I think the cap sleeves look perfect for a summer blazer or cardigan. The dress is $360 (and does have matching pants and a blazer). Reiss Rimini Tailored Dress

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  1. I love this dress! Unfortunately it is more than I can splurge on right now. I will definitely be checking back hoping for sales on it!

  2. Yay! Pricey Monday’s! I love Pricey Monday’s and this Sheathe dress! But what is with the model’s leg’s? She look’s like she was rideing a horse all weekend, no? Myrna participated in some sort of IRON WOMAN contest on the beach over the weekend and there were alot of SCAREY women there–one woman even had a mustach! FOOEY! But Myrna did well, especialy in the run on the beach where she even beat the woman with the mustach. We found out later that the woman with the mustach worked for the local fire departement! DOUBEL FOOEY, b/c if you are in a fire, you do NOT want your mustach (or any other hair) to catch on FIRE!

    Willem bought me a ticket to Belgum for June 8, which he say’s is OK b/c if I can NOT make it, it is fuly refundeable, but I am feeleing a littel pressure now to have to date him exclusivly b/c it is soooo expensive to go to Belgum on a refundeable ticket! Beside’s his mother and grandmother now want me over there to teach me some “wifeley secret’s”….I can ONLEY wonder what that is about. Also, the manageing partner keep’s asking about new case’s and he does NOT want me doieng any PRO BONO this summer, like I have done with peeople who need estate planning advise, which Madeline and I do at the local law school. TRIPEL FOOEY b/c some of those peeople have money and eligibel son’s that I might be able to date and MARRY, so I would NOT have to go to Belgum.

    I found a $5 bill on the beach–it was bloweing around and there was NOT one person to ask if it was their’s, so Myrna and I went to Dunking Donut’s and had a coffee and donut with it! YAY!!!! We did NOT tell Dad, b/c he was NOT pleased with my tuchus and said that it is no wonder that only a Belgan person would want to marry me and that tuchus, b/c it get’s cold in the winter in Belgum, and he remember’s spending a few nights with a Belgan woman with a big tuchus. Mom was NOT happy to hear this, but she was NOT suprised, b/c Dad has alway’s had a big ego (and a lot of testerone, mom say’s, that make’s him need to have women at night). FOOEY, b/c I do NOT want Willem needeing me at night.

    Harold also texted me. He said he was passeing Crumb’s and thought of me. I do NOT want men thinkeing of me just when they pass a bakery. Myrna think’s Harold might be fun, even if he is baldeing and has bad breathe. She say’s she can wash his mouth out with Listereane, and put a bag over his head if she has to. FOOEY b/c I could NEVER think of him in a sexueal way. I keep thinkeing of the manageing partner, and that is what Harold will look like in mabye 30 year’s! DOUBEL FOOEY!

  3. Boden Sale :

    Has anyone been to the Boden Warehouse sale? What did you think about it – worth going or not?

    • Never been, or heard of it! Where is it? I love Boden, especially the kids clothes.

      • Boden Sale :

        I think it’s been traveling around to different cities, held in convention centers and places like that.

    • Diana Barry :

      I think a ‘r e t t e commented that she went to one and the line to pay was too long so she left without getting anything. But I haven’t been to one myself!

    • Yep–I went to the one in Boston in January or February. It was awesome chaos. They set up tables by size range and literally dump the merchandise as high as they can stack it before it falls off.


      Be patient. It’s crazy. This is not a high-touch or high-end shopping experience. If you don’t think you can set aside 3-4 hours to shop, this is not for you.

      Get there early. I was about 1/2 an hour early and this was not early enough–I didn’t get access to much of the suiting or cashmere pieces. (Note, they set up the suiting and really fancy dresses on racks, not tables) which were away from the size-range tables. Bring a book and wait two hours.

      Bring a HUGE bag–like a big LLBean boat tote or an IKEA blue bag. It’s a crazy free-for-all where you are best served by grabbing anything that looks remotely promising and stuffing it in your bag to try on later. Once you have a big enough pile, you retire to a corner or to a cordon-off, non-private dressing area. In this area, people are stripping down and just trying on stuff like mad. Also, you have to watch your stuff because people start rummaging in the dressing room for discards in their size…it can get a little aggressive, but it was still friendly.

      Wear easy-to-change over clothes, like a camisole and leggings, unless you want to get nak-o in front of strangers.

      Bring cash. The cash line was about 20 minutes long. The CC line was about an hour. It made a huge difference.

      Bring a friend! They had these cheap mirrors which were “skinny mirrors”, so, I must say, I looked ah-mazing in everything I tried.

      Come with a plan. Based on pricing, I knew that suits were cheap, dresses were cheap and tops were cheap. I ended up spending about $500, but I got five dresses (including two suiting dresses which are normally ~$200 each), six tops, a pair of pants, and a blazer. Nothing was over $50 per piece, and I got several new work dresses and casual (summer) dresses.

      Understand there’s a cycle – the clothes all get snatched up, tried on, picked up by staff, and returned to the tables again. So if you are patient, a lot of the “first dibs” good stuff came back to the tables, but not for an hour or two.

      Note that they will carry mostly stuff from last season, so I went in winter and they had mostly summery clothes…not exclusively, but mostly. I would imagine if you go in spring/summer, they’ll have mostly winter/spring clothes.

      I will definitely go back if I am in town for the summer one!

      • I can’t tell if this sounds like fun or like my worst nightmare. I love a bargain but I hate direct competition. I think I’d end up in tears.

        • It might be the time to bring your shopping friend with the sharpest elbows.

      • Thanks for posting. This is a great list of tips that really can be applied to any warehouse sale.

      • Very helpful. Did you happen to notice whether they had the “longs” anywhere among the sizes? (That is to say, were they all mixed in with the numbered sizes, or was there a separate table for longs)? Does anyone know where these are scheduled to occur next?

        • I am a Long, and they were mixed in…but you’re just sorting through like mad…you’ll see them.

          Also–I forgot to say this above for Boden, but…know your sizes. I already know what sizes I am in their clothes and that cut down on a lot of futile trying on things that were wildly off–I saw a lot of folks struggling with that in the dressing room, but I knew just which sizes to go for. #shoppingninja

      • Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to check out the next one. Was there a good selection of sizes or did it skew larger/smaller?

      • Gah, I was hoping to breeze in and out because it starts only an hour before a yoga class I really wanted to go to. Maybe I’m better off going after.

      • Meg Murry :

        Not sure if they will let you do this at the Boden sale, but the trick I’ve learned at other warehouse/Black Friday type sales with a long line is to go with a friend or two. Have one person get in line immediately (or as soon as they’ve found 1-2 items) and then take turns standing in line and shopping. For places like this where you try on as you go, I’ve also seen people get in line with everything they might want to buy, then weed out the nos while waiting in the hour long line. No mirror in that case, but if you have an honest friend with you that might do.

  4. Hive – what color shoes do you wear with light grey? I have a light grey skirt, and black shoes sometimes seem too severe because I am often wearing white or a similar light (or bright) color on top.

    I struggle with what works on bottom and doesn’t “weigh down” an outfit that has a light grey bottom….thoughts? Also, wrt nylons, is the right answer “nude for you” with light grey? Grey on grey or off-black seems too dark or too fashion-y. Thanks!

    • First Year Anon :

      I wear black…or camel looks nice too!

    • Diana Barry :

      I usually wear some kind of bright color depending on the rest of the outfit – I have shoes in kelly green, red, yellow, purple, silver, gold, so I usually coordinate the shoes with the top rather than with the light grey.

    • I do navy or purple, depending on what I’m wearing on top.

    • Moon Moon :

      I have a pair of baby pink patent ballet flats that I wear with a light gray skirt often (with nude hose, if any). I’ve also done navy shoes if that’s your thing, often when I pair the gray skirt with a navy blazer.

    • This is a YMMV/know your office but I have a pair of navy patent heels I like to wear with light grey, as well as pair of patterned black/white/pink heels, green, and various shades of brown.

    • Camel, tortoise, even a colored shoe if you are leaning slightly less conservative. I’ve even done brown shoes with gray slacks.

    • Shoes: virtually any color works because gray is a neutral. So, navy/blues, nude for you, pastels, reds, purples, greens, etc. I either contrast the shoes as something interesting or make it something that is similar to the color I’m wearing on top.

    • I have a pair of darker grey (pewter?) shoes that I often wear with light gray. If you have silver shoes that are office appropriate this seems like a good time to wear them too.

      • yeah this, too. I have a couple pairs of grey shoes (again, i have a grey problem) but any shade of grey looks great with light grey bottoms.

    • Depends on the season. Burgundy for fall/winter. Navy, camel, or maybe cherry for spring/summer.

    • Red, purple or dark red.

    • Um, I wear grey constantly. My entire wardrobe is grey and blue (mostly cobalt) and a few things of black. I also wear a lot of grey on grey. I need help with my grey problem…..

      • me too! On Friday, I realized I was wearing 3 different shades of grey (grey jeans, slate tank, charcoal cardigan) with red shoes. At least my shoes were interesting!

        • ha, that sounds awesome actually!!
          My other problem is most of my greys are almost the same shade. I clearly s*ck at shopping.

    • I treat gray as a neutral so pick shoes based on the top or jewelry. For spring, I bought a pair of silver kitten heels.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Silver is a great neutral for shoes! I bought a pair at Christmas and have gotten an amazing amount of wear out of them!

      • TO Lawyer :

        Do you think you can wear silver shoes to work? I’m picturing something really metallic that might seem a bit dressy for the office. Am I wrong? (I hope that I am because silver shoes at work sound amazing)

        • Not sure about silver, but pewter, yes. I have these in red and have been eyeing the pewter: http://www.amazon.com/Adrienne-Vittadini-Footwear-Womens-Cecelia/dp/B00EVLZ8Z6/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1396890424&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=adrienne+vittadini+cecelia

        • I do. These are the ones that I have and they are otherwise conservative in design: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=39339&vid=1&pid=558360032

    • Anonymous :

      Grey-toned snakeskin!

  5. Ladies, have you ever been left out of a celebratory lunch/HH for a project your worked really hard on? My coworker was looking at another associate’s calendar and realized that the boss is taking a group of people out to celebrate their efforts and completion of said project. The problem is that only 3/6 of the associated were invited. We all had equal parts and all had to stay until midnight for long periods of time. How would you approach this situation? Should I even bother asking why we weren’t included or just take it as a note that it’s time to start looking at other options? My coworker is a bit confrontational and is planning to “demand” and invite but I’m not sure how well that will go over.

    • Are you sure the boss knows who all worked on the project? Are you close enough to one of the other invitees to ask? Or you could just let your more confrontational co-worker lead the charge and see how it plays out. Either it was a complete oversight that gets fixed or there is something else going on. I don’t think you have enough information to trigger a job search.

      • The boss definitely knows we were all on the project. We have weekly status meetings that lasts for 2 hours each time.

    • You don’t deal with this. If you end up invited, you go. If you don’t get an invite, you don’t. If it really is celebratory (if only half are invited, I doubt it) then you have information about how you are viewed. Use that accordingly.

      • Couldn’t agree more! (And, incidentally, I meant to press “REPLY,” but agree so wholeheartedly, that in my haste, I pressed “REPORT.” Kat will clearly know there is nothing to report here – but, sorry, still!!

      • Eh, I’m not sure if I totally agree. It could be a clerical error and if OP doesn’t bring it up, they can’t correct it. I doubt the boss is going to double check and make sure all are on the list. And if it is truly the case that OP wasn’t invited intentionally then it may be a red fla that it’s time to go.

        • But it’s not just OP that’s not on the list, it’s half the people on the project team, which indicates the lunch has nothing to do with the project.

          • I would like to clarify that the lunch invite states “celebratory lunch for the completion of project x.”

        • Not getting invited to a lunch is a terrible reason to quit a job. We’re not in grade school anymore.

          I would only bring up the lunch invite issue if if the lunch itself was the only way that work is recognized at the OP’s office. If the OP’s work is sufficiently recognized through her work via compensation/bonuses/promotions/etc then who cares about a lunch?

    • Olivia Pope :

      I wrote a longer answer that got lost in the ether. Short version: wait and see how boss reacts when co-worker raises the issue. Factor that reaction into how you feel about your workplace overall.

      • I would agree – if she is friendly with the invited co-workers, ask her to ask the boss “what about the other 3 people”? If she’s not the only one left out, maybe the boss is inviting 3 people this week and the other 3 people next week? Its an awful lot easier to get a table for 4 than a table for 7.

      • Totally agree with Olivia Pope here. Let your confrontational co-worker nose this one out. It may be a “celebratory lunch” for the supervisors or to figure out what gift to give the rest of you. Who knows.

        Agree that if it doesn’t get figured out to your satisfaction, I’d put that on a list of things to consider in whether to think about making a change, but not necessarily as the deciding factor.

        (And FWIW, this kind of thing is why I hate co-workers getting to see each others’ calendars. My DH can see his boss’s calendar, and all kinds of drama is created when he sees things on there that really should be private, or for other peoples’ eyes only.)

  6. marketingchic :

    On a related note – what colors are you wearing on top with light grey pants/skirts? I have some pants I’ve yet to wear because I can’t figure it out. 10 years ago my answer would have been black tops, but that feels dated to me.

    • Clementine :

      I have a mustard colored shirt that looks great with light grey, as does teal. It really is a neutral, so depending on the lightness I’d go with most jewel tones and consider navy as an alternative to black with it.

      • I wear navy/blues, black (dark grays for a monochrome look), purples, greens, teals, reds/pinks, and camel. The only color I don’t do with gray is yellow but Capitol Hill Style did her (dark) gray sheath with a bright yellow and it looked good. So maybe the answer for me is to go a more saturated yellow.

    • I think now that it’s spring/summer time, light grey is a great basic to wear with light and bright colors to feel springy!

      • Senior Attorney :

        One of my very favorite outfits for spring is my light gray pants with my apple green knit top and blazer. (Yes, I have an apple green knit top AND an apple green blazer. It just sort of happened…)

    • I agree that black shirt, grey pants is a little dated, but :-( :-( as it’s a combo I really liked and wore all the time…

    • Anything. It’s a neutral. I wear pastels, jewel tones, earth tones, whatever. Think of it as black.

      My wardrobe is mostly gray and brown, with mostly cool colors (blues, greens, & purples). I wear them all mixed up all the time. Add teal, red, or mustard yellow necklace or belt, and it looks great.

  7. Wildkitten :

    Does anyone know how to figure out your Income-Based Repayment if your income will be different in 2014 than it was for your 2013 taxes?

    • My loan servicer asks me to fill out paperwork in the fall to re-certify my eligibility for IBR. I can use my previous year’s tax return if my income is the same or else send them two consecutive pay stubs if my income changes. They’ve said I can contact them to fill out that paperwork if my income changes at another point during the year.

    • Here’s the calculator: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/ibr.phtml

      Also, they let you use your last two pay stubs, if your salary has changed.

  8. Debt: legal options? :

    I have been unemployed for ~16 months and also have some credit card debt which was turned over to a collection agency at the beginning of this month. According to the agency I have to pay the balance in full which of course I can’t without an income. I am also unable to come to an agreement about any payment plan without an income of any kind. All through I have tried to keep the creditors updated and have made intermittent minimum payments when I can, I had some small part-time gigs but they didn’t pay much either. So I am wondering what are my legal options? Can they take me to court? Can they pressure you to declare bankruptcy? A friend said they wouldn’t because according to him what I owe may not be worth it(~3k for one A/C), but this person is not a lawyer. Any input is highly appreciated.

    • If it’s just credit card debt, don’t worry about it. They can’t collect and they know it so they are just going to harass you. It will affect your credit score, but that’s it.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I don’t know what you mean by “they can’t collect.” They can most certainly take you to court and get a judgment. (Even if it’s old debt, the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that you would have to appear in court and raise.) It wouldn’t be in their interest for you to declare bankruptcy because debts are discharged in bankruptcy.

        There is a lot of information about collection agencies and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act on the internet. Have you tried educating yourself on the subject to get an idea of what your options are? (Real question, not trying to be snarky.) Maybe start here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/search?selected_facets=category_exact:debt-collection

        • Yes, agree with all of the above. My first job out of law school was with a creditor’s rights firm. I disagree that the amount is too low for suit, that depends on how the creditor handles low balance accounts. Our lower limit was $1,000, who knows what theirs is. In the state I practiced in, a creditor can get a judgment for the total balance due, attorneys’ fees, and post-judgment interest at 18%.

          You can do two things now (short of actually paying the debt, which obviously would be best):

          1. Educate yourself on the FDCP and do not allow the creditors to step over the legal limit of how they can contact you. If they do, take very detailed notes and try to save everything you can.

          2. Stay in touch with the agency and be honest. One of the worst things you can do is tell them you’re can pay in full in a month, and then break that promise. I always did everything I could for people who were honest and called back when they said they would, etc. I had no inclination to help the people who I thought were lying to me or avoiding us.

        • Debt: legal options? :

          Thanks for the advice Senior Attorney and everyone else. I will look into the FDCP. Really appreciate all the advice. Thanks so much

    • Not legal advice, but I tend to agree with the other comment you got. It isn’t great and will stay on your credit report, but chances are good they aren’t going to take you to court over it (the $ amount is just too low to pay a lawyer to sue you). It will affect your credit report for the next 7+ years after the last payment you make, and they’ll continue to harass you by phone. They DON’T want you to declare bankruptcy, because chances are good that all your unsecured debt will be paid out at pennies on the dollar and fully discharged (meaning no further obligation to pay), rather than them having a slim collections chance once you obtain new employment.

    • It will negatively impact your credit score, and remember that interest continues to accrue (and probably at a pretty high rate) so that ~3k can turn into a much larger amount in a hurry. FWIW I’m not in the states but I work for banks doing collections like this all the time (I am a lawyer). They will absolutely sue you if your debt goes over a certain amount (for me it usually seems like 5-7k is the magic number but I have seen lower). Can you make any monthly payment (even $25 or $50?). Again, not in US but if I sue someone I will wait until they start working again and then garnish their income. It’s not pretty and we pretty much will not stop unless you go bankrupt.

    • I defaulted on a few credit cards after college and got a lot of hate mail and phone calls but the credit card companies did not do anything other than be annoying. When I was able to pay about 2 years later, I called the companies and settled the accounts. This was a long time ago, but I believe that I paid the principal and they waived all of the accrued interest. They were just happy to close the accounts. My credit was horrible for years but recovered well.

    • The credit card company may choose to sue you. If (when) they obtain a judgment they can then try to collect on it in various nasty ways–record a lien against any real property you own, for example–depending on the laws of your state. I think your friend is probably right that the amount is too small to justify this expense, however. Credit card companies have no interest in you declaraing bankruptcy. In a chapter 7 case the credit card debt would be discharged and they would receive nothing. In a chapter 13 case, they would get *something* but if you don’t have any income, you won’t qualify for chapter 13 anyhow. You have the right not to be harassed by collection agencies. If your accounts have been sold by the credit card companies to collection agencies, look into the “fair debt collections practice act.” You should be able to find some form letters that you can send to your creditors that require them to stop calling you. This is a good guide: http://www.georgialegalaid.org/resource/how-to-use-the-fair-debt-collection-practices .

    • There are “credit counseling” agencies in many areas. Check google and see if there is one local to you. This might be a more nuanced answer based on your personal and financial situation.

    • Double-Bingo :

      Be very very careful with “credit counseling agencies” – they run the gamut from reputable and helpful to complete scam.

      Also, can you see if you qualify for free legal aid, since you have no income right now, or go to a local law school’s civil clinic to get some legal advice about your options?

  9. Gift Ideas? :

    I need to get gifts for 4 year old twins (boy and girl) and a two year old girl. All are siblings & the budget is $100-150 total. Any thoughts? I’d like to get something that will actually be appreciated by the kiddos and not just add on to the endless playroom pile. Thanks in advance!

    • Might be easiest to get a themed gift that is intended for all, like:

      -An easel (whiteboard or chalkboard on one side, paper roll on another) with paints/chalk/markers (Ikea has a good iteration)

      -“Dramatic play” gear, i.e., costumes! Maybe some animal stuff (ears plus tail/wings/etc.), chef’s toque and apron, doctor kit

      -Stomp rockets, kid bowling set

      -Magnatile set (kids of all ages 2+ love, love these, but they are pricey)

    • How about a large Lego Duplo set to share and a book for each child? I love Robert Munsch books – the board book version of Thomas’ snowsuit for the two year old and regular versions for the older kids (I love ‘Paperbag Princess’ for girls and the one where the subway stops in the apartment is cute too).

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Books! For that amount you can probably give them most of the original Dr. Seuss oeuvre.

    • +1 on the tent or a water table.

    • MAGNATILES. I cannot say enough good things about them! They’re expensive but you could get some big/a couple sets within your budget and they’re wonderful for kids from age 1-100 (kind of an exaggeration, but my husband and I both love playing with them). Highly recommend — both my kiddos, ages 4 and 14 months, play with ours every day. I bought our 4-year-old a 100-piece set for Christmas and am already thinking about ordering more.

      • If you get magna tiles, don’t get the DX version with your budget – it only comes with one car, which will lead to tears (in my experience). But I agree, magna tiles are amazing.

        Otherwise, we got a lot of use out of a toy kitchen, and within that price range you could add some play food accessories.

    • academama :

      My kids are that age and I would love it if someone were thoughtful enough to spend a big chunk like that on something they could all share…because those kinds of gifts would be the kind that wouldn’t be junk after a few weeks.

      Love the Magnatiles suggestion, as well as Magformers. Both are expensive and really you need an investment of at least $100 to have enough to be really fun for 3 kids to play with.

      The 2-year-old might be too young for marbles but check with the parent – if not, Quadrilla marble runs would be awesome.

    • hoola hoopa :

      My kids are this age and I agree on the group gift + individual book for each.

      Love the ideas you’ve gotten so far. Magnatiles would be my top pick because they are great for a wide range of ages, really fun, and need that large initial investment. Easel with misc art supplies (*washable*) or play tent would be my next choice, but only if they have the space. Duplos get a ton of use by both kids, but with two 4-yr old twins they may already have an established lot. Agree marble run would be fantastic if the 2-yr old would be okay.

    • Meg Murry :

      If you get a bigger gift that will take up a decent amount of room you may want to ask the parents if they would like you to get toy storage as well. My kids have a TON of duplos and they keep them in those plastic drawers like this one (we didn’t put the wheels on though) http://www.target.com/p/sterilite-ultra-2-drawer-cart-white/-/A-13794884#prodSlot=medium_1_1&term=plastic%20drawers

      Giving a gift WITH storage also makes it much more likely to be played with. More for the “they might already have it but if not” – wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs – basically anything you wish your parents would have kept from when you were a kid.

    • membership to zoo or children’s museum or other type thing

  10. MAS, your post on last weekend thread’s on life satisfaction caught my eye. A few months ago, I would’ve said you were a mind reader. Especially, the “I think I want/need a new job, I want to move, I want to meet an SO, and I want to be more engaged with my family and friends.”

    Fast forward a few months, I figured out what I actually wanted, where I wanted it, and how to be more present with people I care about. And I am trying to do something each week for each thing.

    It hasn’t been easy, I haven’t achieved what and where I want to be yet, and I am far from perfect at it — last week, I cold called someone in an industry I’m interested in, and after our conversation, I physically cringed at my lack of savvy, sigh. But, doing something like that each week, acknowledging there will be setbacks, and trying to be better the next time around has helped me to keep going after what I want.

    • I’m not MAS, but thanks for your story/advice and the reminder to expect setbacks. I’ll keep it in mind for my own ongoing life satisfaction project. :)

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Thanks for the follow-up! It’s encouraging to hear that you’ve figured out what you want and that you’re taking active steps.

      I’ve lately focused on taking control (rather than just sitting here with a passive “woe is me” mentality). I started updating my resume, and today I’m having coffee with a former colleague who’s gone in-house. I also put my foot down at a work a bit (not about working long hours, but about their unreasonable expectations that I can serve two very demanding clients at the same time and be in all-day meetings with both of them at the same time. I know, right?). I think it was the first time I ever spoke up for myself at work. I was cringing after and wondering if I was going to get fired, but instead I got a junior associate assigned to one of my projects so I can delegate a bit (even though I have to train him, but I’ll take it).

      And I’m getting in touch with friends to make plans – I think after so many years in BigLaw and cancelled plans, they were starting to assume that I never have time to meet up and that’s why I stopped hearing from some of them.

      So, Alex, January and everyone else working on a life satisfaction project – check in with updates every now and then! We can keep each other accountable and make sure that the focus is always on taking control and making positive changes, rather than just complaining (which I’m so very guilty of).

      • espresso bean :

        MAS, I also read that post with interest but never got around to responding. Just wanted to share that a friend and I who were feeling similarly have decided to start an accountability/goals-setting group that will meet monthly. We talked about how all the tasks we have at work get done because we’re accountable to bosses and coworkers, but somehow the life goals on our to-do lists always get pushed to the side. Well, no more! Now we’ll be accountable to each other. Maybe something like that would be of interest to you, although it sounds like you’re well on your way to accomplishing things on your own!

    • I love your mindset. I decided that 2014 would be a year to embrace change and I have so far changed jobs, sold my condo and am planning my first ever big trip on my own. Being mindful and appreciative of relationships is also a great goal that I should likely adopt…

  11. I need some gift ideas. My uncle is having a surprise 50th birthday party for my aunt this upcoming weekend. I don’t know my aunt well, she has always lived 6+ hours away from my family, and it is my father’s youngest sibling (as in, my father was in college when she was in elementary school, so while they have a good relationship, we’ve never been super close. She has two daughters, ages 9 and 7, and recently moved to North Carolina from Connecticut. The party is in Maryland, splitting the difference between friends and family, and so it is very close to me.

    I don’t really know her well enough to know her likes and dislikes for gift giving purposes. Majority of my interaction with her over the past 5 years has been weddings and funerals (they do not normally travel to our family holidays, and instead do them on their own, as my uncle works in high-level retail supply chain and he cannot get days off work). Does anyone have any good ideas?

    • So it’s a gift for a 50-year old woman with 2 children? Are their any more details that might help refine suggestions?

      • She is a stay at home mom, and they recently got a cocker spaniel. Her girls are in dance lessons (I’ve seen photos on facebook). Her husband is into tennis and she goes to tennis competitions with him.

        I really don’t have much to base it on, as my interactions with her are 10-15 minute conversations once or twice a year. My family is absolutely gigantic, and she has always lived across the country and doesn’t come home for holidays, which is what is making this especially hard because I honestly don’t know her well at all, and most of the information my parents can give me is from a long time ago (the last time she lived in the area, before the recent move)

        • She probably spend a lot of time driving the girls back and forth. How about a gift set that includes a good quality travel mug, a selection of nice teas and coffee and a Starbucks gift card. If she’s a SAHM, she may be less likely to splurge on $4 coffees for herself.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I would skip the gift set and just give the gift card. I’m in that age range and would consider the mug and other stuff to be clutter, but I would use the Starbuck’s card and if I couldn’t use it I could certainly re-gift it.

    • In the Pink :

      What about a nice tote? She’s probably on the move a lot with the kids.

      Or a nice pen (Levenger or the ACME brand via amazon)

      Or nice stationery (American Stationery) or Stationery Studio (on line) had some great charts, calendars, schedules, note pads, shopping lists that you can personalize.

    • Gift card for a nice restaurant.

    • A spa gift certificate and a bottle of bubbly? With kids that age she probably doesn’t need more “stuff” in her life, but I bet she would enjoy some pampering “me” time.

    • Tagging onto the idea for a tote bag — look at the Scout bags. They are nice totes made of a wipe-able material which stand up on the their own and come in bright, fun colors and patterns. They are great for travel and any kind of spectator sport because they are structured enough to stay up and don’t get wet.

    • How about a pair of nice earrings or some jewelry?

  12. Skinny Opinion :

    Guys, I need some help. I’m a “big” girl, 31, happily married with no kids (yet) and working in an investment bank and doing reasonably well. My problem is everytime I meet aquaintances (women only) like hubby’s friends or colleagues I’m reasonably closer with (as in going out for frequent lunches and making a quick stop at jcrew/ann taylor/banana republic before heading back to work kinda thing), they tend to advise me on eating healthy or excercising. Why does it bother them so much that I’m on the heavier side? They all seem to find a way to mention that in our conversations and it is completely unsolicited. To be quite honest, I’d rather live this life being even 50 or 100 lbs heavier than live their lives.

    But putting all the negativity aside, I wanted to know what skinny women think of plus sized women? I promise I won’t be judgmnetal. Do they view it as a sign of weakness/having no control over their lives and bothers them enough to actually comment about it?

    • I feel like I am wandering into a minefield, but I’m willing to try this one.

      I would never make a comment, ever. Here’s what I’m thinking: that I am blessed with skinny parents, and if I weren’t, I’d probably lack the ability to lose a lot of weight. So I’m mostly empathetic, but secretly, I’m counting my blessings. However: I have enough difficulties in my life that I’m sure many people (no matter what their weight) are counting their blessing that they’re not me. Life is not all about weight, that’s for sure.

    • I think it’s really rude of them to bring that up! I’m not small, but average size and the only comments I give about how my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances look is when I’m giving them compliments!

    • Are you sure they’re really trying to advise you because they think you need help, or are they just talking about what they have going on in their lives? I’m decidedly chubby and when my skinny friend tells me all about the joys of Bikram , I tend to read it not as judgment of me but because she’s excited about it.

      And why would you rather be 100 pounds heavier than living their lives? That seems vastly more judgmental.

      • +1 – I think context matters a lot – I’ve invited plus sized friends to yoga classes because that’s what I like doing and sharing with friends – not because I thought they needed to lose weight – same for sharing a new recipe or similarly – I really like to cook so I talk about it with my friends. I would purposely not avoid those topics with a plus sized friend (unless they asked me to) because I wouldn’t want to presume they wouldn’t be interested. Plus sized people like yoga or whatever too.

        Otherwise – if they are straight out saying you need to lose weight then that’s awful and rude.

        • I’m pretty skinny, and I find myself concerned that I’m crossing a line or coming across wrong by talking about something that’s just on my mind re: exercising or eating healthy or similar. (Example: My secretary is plus-sized, and eats from the fast food chain in our building just about every day. I almost always bring leftovers (of varying degrees of healthiness, though I try to include a vegetable – health is one reason, but expense and convenience are also important). We were chatting in the breakroom about lunch options or bringing lunches or something and I thoughtlessly commented that I like the ff place, but hardly ever eat there and rarely eat fast food. Then I got really worried that she would take that as a judgement on her eating it so often, and tried to change it to a statement about it being too expensive. Then I realized that that could come across wrong, too, since I obviously make more money than she does. I’m probably completely overthinking that and she showed no signs of being offended, FWIW.)

          As for overweight women, I generally agree with Teyaa; I don’t give it much thought. That said, I will admit that if I know a woman who is both constantly complaining about her weight and constantly eating junk, I definitely internally roll my eyes at her.

          Also, FWIW, I don’t shop for clothing with other women any more. At all. I committed to not doing it several years ago because I was so sick of hearing comments about my size from other women every darn time.

        • As a plus-sized woman, I don’t get offended when thinner, fitter friends invite me to yoga. It’s part of their lives. Honestly, I’m flattered they think I can hang and don’t laugh at me for suggesting I’m interested in such and such fitness class. I find it inspiring to somewhat vicariously live through others’ fitness regimes and see how they fit it into their lives and what I can take from it.

      • The last bit struck me as super judgmental, too.

    • First, how effing rude. Do they think you are stupid and never heard of Google? You know how to find what is healthy, and what exercise to try, and it’s ridiculous that they would assume you don’t.

      Anyway. I am thin, but not skinny, so I will tell you what I think of plus-size women. I think that yes, it is a sign of ONE weakness, but not weakness in general. I also think that all people have weaknesses, it’s just that you can’t always tell what those weaknesses are just by looking at them.

      Here’s what I DON’T think. I don’t think it means you are stupid or need an education. I don’t think it means you are lazy (and on that note, I know many skinny ladies who do not exercise at all, so I don’t think weight proves industriousness or lack thereof). I don’t think it means you aren’t fun, nice, considerate, pretty, or that you don’t look damn good in a dress.

      So next time one of these people tries to tell you about healthy eating, how about advising them on the best way to not be a total a$$hole.

      • Lily student :

        Thank you so much for this. In December I reached my ‘goal weight’ for that year. But I was clinically depressed. Now I’m eight pounds heavier but I don’t care. I went to see a therapist in January and he turned my life around. My weight is a weakness, sure. But that I’m still at university (I came THIS close to dropping out)… That’s my strength.

        I just really needed to read that. Thank you.

    • I really love this question. I feel exactly the same way about my life (and honestly, prioritzing all those other lovely things is one of the reasons I don’t prioritize weight loss), and I am really curious. Also promise not to get offended. My guess is that what people really think is not bad in comparison to what I may imagine.

      • I agree with this. I love food. I love cooking and baking. I cook whole, healthy foods and we don’t really eat anything “processed.” I like working out but I love spending the few waking hours that I have away from work with my kids and my husband. I work out when I can, but it’s just not high on my priority list compared to family (and sleeping less than 4 hours a night, which is what I would have to do to workout regularly).

    • I am naturally on the heavier side and work really hard eating healthy and working out 6 days a week to be on the high end of what is healthy/looks good for my height, so I probably do not qualify as “skinny” although I don’t think most people perceive me to be heavy either. I do have friends and family who are heavy but I would never comment on their choices unless they explicitly asked or we were in a discussion about their diet or exercise habits. Since you asked how it is viewed, I certainly don’t view it as having no control over one’s life. I generally view it as (1) they lack the knowledge to take control of this one single aspect of their life (mainly because that was the situation for me before I sought out the knowledge and changed my lifestyle); (2) they have the knowledge and don’t have the willpower to change, or; (3) they have the knowledge and don’t have the desire to change. Regardless of which category someone falls under, I still don’t tend to offer information unless it is solicited.

      • This describes me pretty well. A bit overweight but healthy and fit and I work out a lot. My friends know this about me so they will sometimes complain about needing to exercise. But my one friend tried to come to the gym with me and pronounced me crazy and fanatical. Oh well. She needs to figure out for herself what she can and will do. I would never say anything to her about it unless she approaches me. Another friend has gained weight since she quit smoking and said she needed to start exercising so I offered to give her my exercise bike. I have given a lot of thought to health and fitness so I’m willing to talk about what I think about it, if someone asks, but I wouldn’t bring it up.

      • “I generally view it as (1) they lack the knowledge to take control of this one single aspect of their life (mainly because that was the situation for me before I sought out the knowledge and changed my lifestyle); (2) they have the knowledge and don’t have the willpower to change, or; (3) they have the knowledge and don’t have the desire to change. ”

        Wait, what??? those are the only three options of what to think about someone who is heavier than you?

        How about: humans bodies come in many different shapes and sizes and I love my friend just the way she is? and I have no assumptions about what she thinks in her head about her own size?

        • Hence why I said “generally” instead of “it is absolutely becuase of one of these three things.” Obviously there are a plethora of reasons beyond those why someone may be the size they are – there were a plethora of reasons why I was overweight when I was. The OP asked for honest opinions, not sugar-coated ones. She asked what people thought – were we all supposed to say “we have no thoughts about this”? I am human so I have a tendency to wonder about the motivations and thought processes of the people in my life and how they relate to my own. Nowhere in my post did it say that I thought less of my friends because of how they looked or that I didn’t love them because of it – I think that is a huge assumption on your part.

        • Seriously zora. I am flailing at that one. Genetics y’all! They are real! Humans: different sizes!

          I don’t even think I can respond to anything in this coherently, other than to say (and I’m sure I will get flamed for this): ladies who are larger than is acceptable in our society’s shockingly narrow range of what is okay, SCREW EVERYONE WHO THINKS YOU ARE NOT FINE THE WAY YOU ARE.* I cannot even say this enough. If someone judges you, SCREW THEM. If someone comments on your food or exercise choices, SCREW THEM. If someone side-eyes you or shames you, SCREW THEM. Any of those actions/statements say 1 million times more things about their own issues, hangups, and internalization of unrealistic, often unattainable, and harmful standards of beauty, than they do anything about you.

          Also, please read about Health at Every Size.

          *with a very limited number of exceptions for health practitioners who may be aware of specific things in your specific situation in your specific body that may change this.**
          **but not the ones who respond to any ailment with “have you thought about losing weight,” because…NOPE.

        • Anonymous: I was not making an assumption about how you feel about your friends, but you listed the things you think when you see heavier people and I responded based on the actual words you typed.

        • The OP said she wanted honesty, and I actually really appreciate it as well. Attacking someone for being honest isn’t helping. I actually am quite plus-sized, not just on the high end of normal, and I’m not remotely offended. I don’t think she’s necessarily right, but appreciate the honesty.

    • I personally do not have many thoughts about the weights of my friends, though I might feel weird if I kept bringing you to stores that didn’t carry your size while I shopped. In generally I think that people feel compelled to go on and on about diet and exercise when they’re gotten into it themselves – like if they lost some weight or started a new routine and it was so great and novel for them that they must share it with everyone, despite it not really being appropriate or even very interesting.

    • I’m more curious what you say in response to them raising it.

    • PinkKeyboard :

      I think they are incredibly rude! I’m smaller (due completely to luck and genetics) and would never offer advice to anyone if they didn’t ask, and really I wouldn’t have any anyway. I really just think that they have a different metabolism. Honestly I just can’t get over the fact that they keep saying these things. I’ve discussed acquaintances diets if they brought it up but that’s it.

      • +1 to “I just think they have a different metabolism.”

      • PinkKeyboard :

        I was apparently so offended that all sense of grammar and punctuation fled completely. Gah. In summary, I view heavier people as having different metabolism/body types than me. If they are offering you “tips” that you didn’t ask for they are being incredibly rude and judgmental.

    • I will chime in as one of the skinny girls who recently lost even more weight, I fit into size 0-2 dress size (but do have wide hips). I have some friends who are plus size but I have never told them they should eat healthy or exercise more in an unsolicited manner. Only if they personally ask what I do, I highly recommend workout classes which has genuinely worked for me and I like it as a good stress buster. But honestly, no I don’t judge my friends simply because they are overweight. It is their body and whatever works for them, I am happy with that. Look my life isn’t all that fancy and perfect, I am still single in my early thirties with miserable relationship/dating history (having size 0-2 figure doesn’t help me one bit) and stuck in a job/location for reasons out my control at this point. I am happy to have girlfriends to hang out, no matter what size they are.

    • First, if in fact your friends are giving you unsolicited advice that “you should do XYZ to lose weight,” that’s totally rude and I would respond “Ok, but I didn’t really ask for your advice.” It’s rude. That’s different though than statements focused on the person themselves – “You should try this new kale recipe, it’s so healthy!” Depending on how it’s said and the person’s personality, that’s either a statement of true (if banal) excitement of a new recipe/exercise/whatever, or a humble-brag about their recent efforts to be healthy. It’s not about you.

      As far as the secret-judgment thing, I don’t judge people on weight alone. You never know why someone is really overweight – there are so many factors that go into it that often are out of the person’s control. But if a person of any weight makes a statement that they don’t care about their health and will eat whatever they want without regard to the health consequences, I do judge. It’s the exact same thing as smokers who don’t make any effort to quit. Yeah, you have the right to do it, but the hundred-fold increase in risk to your health doesn’t affect just you – it exacts a toll on society in 1) lost tax revenue because of lost years of living or productivity, 2) increased insurance costs, 3) increased Medicare costs, if you live long enough to have chronic conditions that will need to be managed.

      To reiterate, I never *assume* from someone’s appearance that they are consciously putting this burden on society, it’s only when people make overt statements to this effect (not just for food, but also smoking/drinking/drug addiction) that I judge. I totally get that there are plenty of uncontrollable conditions that also would result in 1)-3) – including those that will result in someone being overweight – but I think people owe it to society to try to control what they can.

      • Eh, one more disclaimer before the inevitable flames start – I also recognize that there are plenty of overweight people that do not in fact exact a toll on society, because they don’t have increased health risks because they eat right and exercise.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I disagree with this, and here’s why: People do all kinds of things that have all kinds of risks. What about those thin people who do rock-climbing, or river rafting, or marathon running, or water skiing, or any one of a number of active sports that have very high rates of injuries. Your knee surgery or your elbow surgery is a cost to society, and there’s a new study about how runners die younger, but I don’t see anybody judging or hating on the runners or tennis players about how they “owe it to society” to not engage in those activities.

        And I’m still waiting to see the science that shows that anything short of super-mega-obesity is anything close to a “hundred-fold increase in risk to your health” (and what does that even mean)?

        Gah. I’m not fat any more but this kind of thing drives. me. nuts.

        As for the OP, I was miserable when I was fat but I recognize that not everybody feels that way. I would never dream of giving unsolicited advice of the type you mention and I am horrified that your so-called friends are doing so.

        How do I feel about plus-sized women? Honestly? I feel like I envy the ones who are happy with and accepting of their size, and for the ones who are unhappy with their size, I wish they could all have the awesome weight loss surgery I had, which has been a total game-changer for me. But again, all of these feelings are completely unvoiced. Nothing to do with anybody else’s body is any of my business.

        • Yes, everything SA said.

          And I hope you do not consider this flaming, but I am going to state my contrary opinion, respectfully.

          I firmly believe in the social contract, and that there are lots of things it is our responsibility to do to create a strong society for all. But that stops at *my body* I don’t owe society anything with my body. I can have a baby or not, eat junk food or not, do a dangerous sport or not, get a tattoo or not. My food and exercise choices are not the business of society in any way.

        • +1 to everything in your last paragraph. I’m in the process of losing weight (estimating 35+ pounds so far. 100+ more to go.) I’ve considered WLS but decided not to do it, instead doing another plan that’s really working for me so far. I wish I knew what weight I was happy at — when I was a skinny (for me) 199 pounds, I was miserable personally. When I was at my heaviest, I was also miserable, wishing I could be 199 again. I’ve had body shame issues since the 1st grade. I hope one day to be finally happy with myself, no matter what the scale or the clothing label size says.

          And as for anyone who decides to pass judgment on me based on how I look, just think about what dark secret you are thankful no one knows about you — and then imagine if it was tattooed on your forehead. That’s kind of what being an ashamed plus-size girl can feel like.

          OP, if your acquaintances are making these kind of comments, you need new acquaintances.

        • Rock-climbing, river-rafting and marathon-running may cause a slight increase in the risk of acute injury, but in the end that is very much miniscule compared to the reduced risk of chronic conditions that exercise brings (The idea that recreational runners have worse knee trouble than the average person has been disproved, btw). The same is not true for professional or semi-professional football players, on the other hand – science is starting to show that concussions and such can cause irreversible damage. So I would judge that too, as well as motorcyclists who weave in and out of traffic, and other very risky behavior where there is a very high risk of incurring long-term medical costs.

          Also, again, re-iterating that I am not judging people for simply being overweight or obese. It’s people who actively disregard the content of the food they eat that I judge. Poor eating habits and being sedentary are linked to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, as well as conditions caused by malnourishment itself, like gout.

          And finally, re-iterating that it’s still rude to bring this up to anyone’s face. I judge people for other things too, but it’s generally a good idea to keep your opinions about things to yourself when there’s no immediate danger to you.

      • This is not cool. It is not cool to assume that people who are overweight “eat whatever they want and don’t care about their health.” It is not cool to assume that overweight people “extract a toll on society.” It is not cool, ever, to judge people on their decisions that affect only themselves. Because you know what else extracts a “toll” on society?

        Everything that you do, that we all do, every day in our lives.

        Fly a lot? Toll on society. Order packages from Amazon? Toll on society. Eat a lot of meat? Purchase clothes? Use electricity? Have children? Or maybe you are a negative person, and bring down others around you with your judgment? Toll on society.

        Seriously, how dare you quantify which people’s life decisions extract a “Toll” on society more than anyone else’s life decisions? Out of all the decisions that we all make in our lives that extract some sort of unquantifiable toll on society–why is being overweight the one you are focusing on? Or health in general? Because guess what–what other people decide to do about their own bodies is none of your business. And don’t couch it in some sort of BS “Toll on society” philosophy–because by that standard, ANYTHING is a toll on society.

        Look in the mirror. What are your flaws? I promise, you have them. You’re just lucky that they’re flaws that the world can’t see on your body.

        Let’s live and let live, people. Life is tough enough as it is.

        • Dude. Read what I wrote. “To reiterate, I never *assume* from someone’s appearance that they are consciously putting this burden on society, it’s only when people make overt statements to this effect”; “I also recognize that there are plenty of overweight people that do not in fact exact a toll on society, because they don’t have increased health risks because they eat right and exercise.”
          Also, it’s not my place to comment on other peoples’ bodies – it is still 100% not ok for OP’s friends to overtly give unsolicited advice. But OP asked about what people judge, and I answered.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Everything we do has societal costs. And anon apparently chooses to disregard everything that doesn’t fit in her Puritan view of “health risks.”



        • THANK YOU.

    • I really don’t think about other people’s bodies. I am super-into running and exercise and sports, so I’m always interested in encouraging people to get out and do that stuff, but it’s never something I bring up, and if I do talk about it when another person raises it, I talk about what I consider to be the real benefits of sports and exercise – having fun, reducing stress, and enjoying your physical self. I don’t care AT ALL if training for a 5K will cause a friend to lose weight, but I care A LOT if it will help her feel a sense of accomplishment and strength.

      I was anorexic for years, so I know first hand that skinny doesn’t equal healthy. I also know, first hand, that body hatred hurts us all, the skinny, the fat, and the in-between. FIGHT THE POWER, ladies. Just say no to judging other people’s bodies – and just say no to judging your own!

    • I’ve now been on both sides of this proverbial ‘fence’ as a professional — both as a ‘big girl’ and more recently as a slimmed-down version through a lot of effort and angst and a daily battle. I offer that only to say that I, of course, have a lot of stuff wrapped up in these issues. It is totally inappropriate to offer unsolicited diet/exercise ‘tips.’ However, I will say that it was my experience, that I was able to see only in hindsight, that as a ‘big girl’ I was unknowingly paying a ‘fat tax’ in my career. People treat me remarkably different and much better now. And it was and is still really hurtful to me. I haven’t entirely worked out how much is them and what part is mine (I am, much as it pains me to say, in some measure ‘different’, at least in presentation, confidence, something — and I would have said I was confident as a ‘big girl’). I would at least consider whether being ‘taxed’ or discriminated against in your career because you are heavier matters to you. If it does, then you’ll have to assess whether you are inclined to try to change it.

    • My perspective as someone at peace with her size ? Effectively never think about other women’s sizes.

      I used to be heavier and my anxiety about size was all-consuming, even when I seemed to be successfully taking on difficult work, relationships etc. But even then, other women’s sizes wasn’t something I spent a lot of time pondering.

      I do think we are much harder on ourselves over our body shape than anyone else is likely to be !

    • I’m sorry you’ve been hearing such judgemental comments from your friends… I am relatively thin due to my metabolism and genetic mix not any particular effort of my own — so I feel no credit or blame attaches to anyone’s size. And you know, if when I’m older, and my metabolism slows down even more, and I put on weight like my mother because I enjoy my food…it won’t be a big deal to me. If people feel the need to stress and be judgemental about themselves that’s their choice, but it’s awful when they impose such judgements on others.

    • I only think anything about people’s weight if they constantly comment on it. So whether you are my size 2 friend or my size 22 friend, if you constantly talk about needing to lose weight, I will get annoyed and think you should shut up about it already. If however, our conversations generally focus on other things, size isn’t something I really think about.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I’ve been thinking about this all morning because it’s really bothering me. So here’s my thoughts, as someone who is average (‘thin’ me is a size 4, ‘lazy’ me is a size 8).

      It depends on the people, but most likely these people are just really focused on their diet and lifestyle and you happen to be the one they are talking to at the moment. They are the ones with the issue, but they are probably judging you down because of it. It breaks my heart to say it, but it’s unfortunately probably true.

      For example, in a previous office everyone was extremely health conscious. It was nice in a way (no tempting break room goodies and it was easy for me to get approval to take a long lunch to accommodate a noon swim, for example), but although they were very nice as people it made for some really awkward moments when food was involved or if exercise/fitness was being discussed. I was at my thinnest and in good shape, but there was zero acceptance of me eating any treat. A (thin) coworker and I got brownies one day for an afternoon snack and literally people stopped by our desks to make comments. A birthday celebration would have cake, but no one would eat it and instead watch who did take a piece and make comments about the sugar and fat content to them. Etc. There were no truly overweight or obese coworkers, but I know they would have been considered not as competent and would have been subject to a lot of ‘advice’ and scrutiny.

      In my current office, no one cares. My overweight and obese colleagues here are just as well respected and appreciated. No one assumes it affects their work effort or competency. No one makes comments. I’m at my chubbiest and completely inactive, but no one offers me advice (accept for one extreme runner who tries to get me back into running) and people offer me a treat right along with everyone else. An average weight cowoker recently mentioned starting a diet and exercise plan to loose some lingering baby weight and the response was “Good for you… but why?” So if you’re feeling judged at your current office, please don’t expect that it’s that way everywhere.

      • anonymama :

        I think people who make comments like that are usually people who spend a lot of time thinking/worrying about their own bodies, and what they eat, and how much they exercise, and whether they are being “good” or not, and part of that is probably comparing themselves to other people, which makes them feel better or worse depending on how they compare, and they project that same attitude onto other people (like, they would expect you to also be comparing your body to theirs, and maybe feeling badly about it, of course, since they couldn’t imagine thinking any other way). I think clothes shopping probably also is something that sort of makes women think about their bodies, and their flaws, in a more intense way than, say, going to a movie might.

        Personally, as a smaller person, I think the vast majority of weight stuff is dependent on genetics. I mean, I’m moderately active/healthy, but don’t really think about it much, but I’ve seen friends and relatives work so, so hard, and really spend a lot of time and effort eating healthily and exercising, and they are still bigger girls (super cute and fit too!), just because they have different body types.

        Also I want to second hoola that not everyone thinks this way, I think it can feed on itself in certain social circles, and become sort of what people talk/think about. Most of my good friends really don’t talk about weight at all, and only bring up exercise or (rarely) diet in the context of what they are doing for themselves, with no projecting on or judging anyone else.

    • Anon for this :

      I only really judge over weight people if they are sloppy, but if you have your shit together, nice outfit, keep up with your hair, nails, skin ect. I don’t look any differently at you .

      On a completely statistical note. I live in a place where we have universal health care and I can’t help but be a little upset at over weight people (or smokers or some other bad habit) because I know in the long run its ultimately negatively impacting my health care. My doctor always makes note how great a patient I am because I am in the lowest risk for everything and she doesn’t have to nag me about my bad habits or constantly run diagnostics. So I definitely think its shitty that because you gave yourself high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes I am impacted.

      My mom is on the heavier side of life and constantly yo-yos so I always give her food and exercise advice and when I visit I make her eat what I eat and work out with me. But thats my mom, and I know she is unhappy, thus a different sort of situation. Infact my mom asks me how to prepare certain veggies or cut meat from meals so my advice to her is generally solicited.

      I don’t give out unsolicited advice to my over weight friends but I always avoid going out to eat with them. I like suggesting tea dates because then no one feels pressure to eat/drink in a certain way.

      • anonymama :

        What does being overweight have to do with being sloppy? Do you not similarly judge skinny people who are sloppy, or do you think overweight people are somehow more likely to be sloppy?

        Also, it seems super weird to me that you would avoid eating with overweight friends, but then most of my favorite time spent with friends is over meals, or otherwise involves eating in some way. I guess I could see the reason if someone was on a super restricted diet or something, but it sort of sounds like it just bothers you to see your overweight friends eat.

        • Anon for this :

          My place of employment is 90% men or so, and of the women there are only 2 of us who are thin, we also happen to be the best dressed. I just find being schleppy (at any size) to look bad, and none of the fore mentioned co-workers are parents or even married for that matter, so they have the time to look nice for sure.

          I just don’t eat processed or restaurant food, and its a bit much asking someone who doesn’t put thought into their food to go to a 100 mile unprocessed vegetarian place when they wont “get” it. Thus tea dates, I don’t feel pressure to eat unhealthily and my friends don’t feel pressure to eat healthily.

    • For an honest reply – I’d probably say that I’m a Skinny. I’m super into running and working out. That being said, if I brought up these topics to my friend (size 2, 12, or 22), it would be because I just like to talk about these things. Fitness is a passion in my life, and I like to share it. So maybe that’s where OP’s friends might also be coming from?

    • DC Darling :

      As someone who’s been on both ends of the size spectrum (12/14–>2/4) I will see I’ve seen a vast difference in the way people treat me as a result of the weight loss. Women, even friends, became less friendly while Men became much more so.

      What did annoy me was when my plus size friends would make comments about how I was “so lucky to have good genes” and “you can eat what you want no matter what”. lolno? I worked really damn hard to get in shape after a lifetime of eating like cr*p so please don’t devalue my hard work to make yourself feel better.

      Honestly, I will say sometimes I look back on how much my life has changed for the better since getting in shape and want to share that with people but I actively avoid talking about it unless someone else brings it up so as not to seem “braggy”.

    • Of Counsel :

      I too like to think that I do not judge people based on their body types. However, I will confess to being internally judgmental about people who complaint/talk ALL THE TIME about their physical ailments that are clearly related to their weight and/or eating habits but who make absolutely no effort to change. I have a family member who has been told unequivocally by her doctor that she should not eat certain foods but who refuses to stop. She is certainly entitled to eat whatever she wants – but I get really tired of listening to her complain while she is literally eating the exact thing her doctor told her not to eat.

    • To answer the OP’s question, I do think there can be judgment from smaller women toward larger women.

      But not all smaller women judge larger women. I think there’s probably regional differences too. I would imagine women in the upper midwest might be less judgy than if you lived in South Beach or LA or whatever.

      I’m a size 14. Most of my friends are thinner and more athletic than me, and I live in an area where there are a lot of athletes. My best friend is obese. She never talks about her weight, and I never bring it up either. I know she’s going through fertility problems, so I support her in that regard. I’m sure it has to do with her weight, but really that’s between her and her doctor. Mostly we go to movies, eat normal meals, and do a sedentary hobby together. We do not exercise together. We do not shop together. I never notice her eating anything different than I do. She drinks less alcohol (even before she was TTC). Thinking back on it, I’ve had several close obese friends over the years, including in high school and before. I think my skinnier friends talked more about their weight and diets and exercise than my obese/overweight friends did.

      My view is, my overweight friends probably think about their weight so much that they don’t need me to bring it up. They need me to focus on who they are inside.

    • As a person who has overcome an eating disorder (and has done lots of therapy to do so), I’ve learned not to engage other in conversations about their body size, weight, etc. I mean, what makes it okay for me to comment on whether someone is overweight, underweight, etc.? That’s their own business. If people make a comment to me on weight loss, I usually say thanks and move one (although, I’ve been taught that I should politely stand up for myself and tell people I’m uncomfortable w/ that comment….I never do). I’ll talk about things I enjoy doing….skiing, soccer, eating healthy food (I like it, because it makes me feel more alert and mentally stable) and invite my friends to do stuff w/ me…but never because I think they need to be more healthy or something. There’s no right or wrong for anyone, we all are free to make our own choices about our bodies. But that’s just my personal experience/opinion.

    • I don’t have advise. I have always been the chubby one (14/16 regular size, so borderline plus size) in a sea of size 2-4 friends. NO ONE has ever, ever, ever made these comments to me. One (ex) friend would make comments about others gaining weight to me, which I would try to shut-down, but I also realize (in retrospect), her statements came from her own (bad) food and body issues. I guess I’m just adding on that your friends behavior is not normal behavior.

      As to what I think– I think everyone has different priorities in life. I do believe that basically everyone is capable of losing weight But for some of people, it would mean counting every calorie, feeling hungry all the time, and exercising 2+ hours a day. And those people have decided they would rather do something more enjoyable with their life and obsess about their weight.

      One more thought I have when I think about “big” vs “small” girls– It’s harder for “big” girls to look good, and I think we have to put more effort into our clothes and appearance than “small” girls to get anywhere near similar treatment. There is fat bias out there (just look at this tread), and I guess I cave into that by trying harder to look my best at a bigger size than I ever did at a smaller size.

  13. Jeez, up super early, at the office and on the first of a series of phone calls by 7am. Part of me can’t believe I am actually doing this, and part of me really liked the light traffic and cruising into an empty parking lot.. but: ouch. Moar Coffee Plz!!

    • Yay you! Hoping today is better than last Friday. :)

      • aawww, thanks!!! and thanks for remembering… I had a couple of fun friend things over the weekend which made me feel a little better… but still a long road ahead ;o\

  14. Pear -- cigarette pants :

    Any recommendations for cigarette pants that work for a pear shape (29 waist / 38 hips)? I had some a million years ago that I loved for spring / summer, but the got stretched out (not so much butt as the knees, of all places). Would rather go for quality than disposable fashion (but Old Navy, you are often such a good option for my shape). Thanks!

    • I really like those from the Limited. They fit me much better than ones from more expensive stores and maintain their shape very well.

    • I have similar measurements (27″ waist, 38″ hips) and have had good luck with the Michael Kors straight leg ponte knit pants. I bought a pair from Nordstrom 6-9 months ago, but it looks like they are still in stock on the site.

    • Charmed Girl :

      Try the Sloan Ankle pants by Banana Republic. They are so cute and flattering!

  15. Has anyone ever dated someone that approached them on the street?

    In the last coup.le of weeks, I’ve been stopped by men while waiting for the train, walking to get groceries, etc., and I honestly just always feel uncomfortable, but I’m wondering if I should be more open? If not, is there a graceful way to avoid/get out of these encounters? I almost always have on my earphones, so I don’t think I look approachable, but once I get pulled in, I can’t figure out a graceful way to get out.

    • I just don’t talk to strangers. I’m not Midwestern. If someone asks for directions I’ll share, but if there’s any follow up I just keep on with my day. In my experience nice normal guys dong interrupt me whild I’m running errands, entitled jerks do.

      • …I’m Midwestern and I would never talk to strangers, especially men. We don’t all live in small town, USA, you know!

    • I once dated someone I met in a parking lot, after leaving happy hour. If you don’t feel like talking to people, I don’t see why you’d need to. Maybe say, “Sorry, I’m in a hurry” or “Sorry, I’m not interested” and continue on with your day.

    • My fiancé and I met on the train.

      Really, it’s low risk (but with the potential for high rewards!). You are in public. And if you like (or don’t like) the person, you get on or off the train as appropriate. You are not obligated to talk to anyone, but you do have to accept the responsibility for voicing your preference (“Actually, I prefer to listen to music/read on the train. This is the one time I get time to myself” and put your earphones back in or same thing in the grocery store – if you want to move on, you simply smile and say “nice to have met you” and move on.)

    • Wildkitten :

      “I’m going to listen to my music now.” *puts headphones back in*

    • If you are looking to meet people/men I don’t know why you would discount someone in whom you would otherwise be interested simply because they were being friendly (I am from the midwest and we view this as being friendly, not entitled). It probably took a lot of courage to initiate a conversation with you and I don’t know why that should be viewed as a bad thing. If you are interested and the guy seems genuine and not-creepy, I would give him a chance (exercising the same caution you would with anyone whom you don’t know anything about). Now if the guy is creepy, rude, etc. then obviously that would be a different case. If you are not interested in meeting men (such as if you are already in a relationship), I would suggest just politely ending the conversation – just say you would love to chat but are in a hurry, really busy doing something on your phone/reading, etc. I utilize this now that I am in a relationship and used to use it at the gym (where I was just not interested in meeting people).

      • Yeah, I’ll +1 this. OP, if you want to talk to people, talk to people, as long as your personal danger-zone warnings are not going off. If you don’t want to talk, “I’m late”/”I’m on my way to an appointment”/”Excuse me, I’m listening in on a conference call”/whatever and keep walking.

        I will say I’ve actually been on the opposite side of this–I once approached a guy on the street, chatted for a bit, asked him out, and we ended up dating for three months. Didn’t work out, but eh. I’m a pretty outgoing person, had my dog with me (she is a cowardly ball of face kisses and exposed tummies, but technically an “aggressive breed” so people don’t mess with me when I have her along), and the stranger danger factor was low since it was in such a public place. Overall, YMMV. Do what feels right for you.

    • Baconpancakes :

      If they make you feel uncomfortable, there’s probably a reason. I was asked out by a sales guy at Home Depot one time, and that was fine. He seemed nice, a little flirty, and even though it turned out we had nothing in common, that was fine. I once met a guy at a bus stop, he asked me about the book I was carrying, and we ended up being work friends when it turned out we were both hired by the same company. I’ve also been approached by men on the street who make me feel like they’re leering at me, and that skeeves me out. If someone makes me feel uncomfortable, I ignore them, but if they seem respectful, I’ll usually say “hello,” and smile, and keep walking.

    • Are you single and looking to mingle? If so, there’s no harm in being friendly to a cute stranger who approaches you in public.

      If you are not interested, just try not to make eye contact and don’t take the headphones out. If they approach you, shake your head “no” or move to another seat/area.

  16. Gift suggestions for a friend that is pregnant with their third child? She has a lot of of baby things, but I want to get her something that’s for her, hopefully something that is relaxing?

    • Condoms. A variety pack including flavors and colors.

      Or flowers. They’re pretty and cheerful and don’t add clutter.

    • If you’re in the same town, a gift certificate for a massage and offer to watch her kids while she has it done? Or a nice, soft, washable robe to wear around the house once the baby is born?

    • certificate for pre-natal massage

    • I just got my friend (who’s having her second) a few new post-maternity dresses/skirts to wear, since she is probably sick of the one I constantly saw her in the first time around.

      Gift certificate for takeout food / Seamless.

      • hoola hoopa :

        I would also appreciate these. When I was pg with my second, whenever someone asked what we needed I said gift cards for take out. And we’re planning a third and I am super tired of my (now pretty dated and worn out) maternity clothes.

  17. advice, please :

    Ladies, I need your advice. I am in a relationship with a sweet, kind man. We trust and respect each other, have a lot of fun together, communicate well, and plan for our future together. It’s been a very happy year together, with adventures and great partnership. However, I have some nagging thoughts that are beginning to coalesce into serious doubts.

    First, I am significantly farther along my career path than he is. While he has never asked me to finance his dreams, I do get stressed out about his ability/willingness to realize them — lots of minor missteps now make me wonder if he’s got what it takes to go the distance

    Second, we have different personalities in public. I enjoy socializing, while valuing a few close relationships. He has no friends, and he is often painfully awkward with mine. Our social interactions with others make me feel guilty, because I feel that I am pushing him way outside his comfort zone. He tells me that it’s “good for him,” but it often results in awkward evenings after which my friends feel as though he dislikes them, and I feel confused as to why the happy, talkative man I see in private never comes out in public.

    Third – and this makes me shudder with shame to even write – there is an intellectual component that is lacking. His vocabulary is not large, and he does not think quickly on his feet. He keeps abreast of current affairs, but often misquotes things or misstates facts. He told me once that he is afraid of “messing up” in front of me, because I often correct him. I was horrified at being such a jerk, whether unconsciously or not, but maybe it’s a sign that we are not compatible?

    If I were reading, and not writing this, I would say, “Why tell us? Just go talk to him.” I hesitate because I don’t know whether these are warning signs or just things we can work through. Someone here wrote about regretting leaving a “true love,” someone who weathered the grittiness of daily life with them. I am nervous and worried about potentially losing such a love. Help, please!

    • Are you thinking that he may have some kind of anxiety or social anxiety issue that is holding him back? I suppose you could talk about it with him and maybe suggest seeing someone, but that would be touchy. I think they could be warning signs – would you be happy with him forever if he never progressed anywhere in his career or made friends? But then again, they are also things that you could work through. It all depends. Sorry that’s not very helpful!

      • advice, please :

        He definitely does, and has been through a lot of therapy, and says he still needs to work on it, which is why he feels our evenings out are “good for him.”

    • Hmm. I’m perpetually single, so take what I’m about to say with a shaker’s worth of salt, but I’d probably opt out of this relationship, if I were you. The way you describe your boyfriend is just not all that flattering to him, and in response to your last paragraph, I wouldn’t even suggest that you talk to him about your doubts. What are you going to say? “Dear, it makes me uncomfortable that you are so socially awkward. I’m also embarrassed by your lack of verbal skills. What if we made it a weekly project to practice small talk and witty banter? Also, I think we should find you a career coach.”

      It’s not clear from your post that you actually really like this guy (you might love him, but do you like him?). Do you?

      • Add to the list of things you can never say to someone: “you’re not quite an intellectual match for me, and I feel so bad about correcting you…”.

        Personally, there is no factor or even group of factors that could make a “tradeoff” for feeling this was missing in my relationship. As people here often say, just figure out if this can be compromised for you, and if it can’t, don’t beat yourself up–but also, don’t pretend it’s going to work. Not fair to either of you.

      • +1
        I don’t think you should ever be ashamed or embarrassed of your SO. That’s a big flag. And it’s not a knock on you, it just seems like maybe you two aren’t the best fit. He needs someone who is proud of him, flaws and all, as we all have them. And you need someone who challenges you more. It doesn’t mean you both aren’t good people but that you aren’t the best people for each other.

        • Cosign. The fact that these minor details bother you so much shows that you two may not be compatible as life partners. Honestly, feeling this way about him surely can’t be good for his anxiety.

          • I’m not even sure they’re minor details, they sound like dealbreakers to me.

      • Bargain hunter :

        +1. I was in a similar situation and attempted to have a similar conversation with my then-boyfriend. No matter how you phrase it, it’s going to come across as “I think you’re not good enough for me.” I was completely in love with the guy and the subsequent breakup (for these reasons) was very difficult, but now, a decade down the road, I’m happily married to someone else and I know that this was for the best.

    • My friend married a guy who she felt was below her intellectually. The marriage did not work out (for MANY reasons), but I got the feeling the guy knew that she felt he was “below” her. It didn’t help them deal with the other problems that developed.

    • Wildkitten :

      I don’t think you need to talk to him. I think you need to talk to you. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to make the compromises that would be required to be with him. Is what he’s bringing to the table worth missing out on what he isn’t bringing? And it’s totally okay if the answer is “no.”

      • +1 and ask yourself what is *really* important to you in life, in your life the way you see it, and in life with a partner.

      • advice, please :

        Very sound advice. Thank you.

    • I agree with other posters. I don’t think it would be particularly helpful to talk to him. This sounds like a really difficult place to be, but I have to say if I was in your shoes, the several “negatives” you list, all together, would probably be a dealbreaker for me… and the main reason is not how his personality makes you feel, but how his perceived deficits compared to you might make him feel. He’s already said he’s “afraid of messing up” in front of you. This seems like it could make a turn for the worse in the future.

      Maybe see how things progress in the next 6 months?

    • I can’t tell you what to do, but I will say this. You may be feeling like your relationship is coming to somewhat of a fork in the road where you will need to either take it to the next level or consider moving on. Your brain does a funny thing at this point. All of those nagging little feelings you have start to become louder and louder in your brain. This isn’t necessarily because the issues you are having are things that are dealbreakers or things that are going to bother your for life. I think it has more to do with elevating your relationship status. I’m not saying to ignore those nagging feelings. Your concerns are legitimate and this is something you need to work out for yourself. All I am saying is, recognize that this is happening and is likely playing a bigger part in these nagging feelings than you realize.

      • advice, please :

        Wow, this hits very close to home! There are definitely some external pressures (lack of support for the relationship from my family, possible long-distance ahead) lately that have made me feel defensive and protective of our relationship. With each problem, I ask myself, “Is this worth all the fighting for?” Until now, the answer was yes.

        I have no gut feeling one way or the other as to breaking up — just need to sort out my thoughts. Thanks to you and the other posters for helping me do so.

    • I think it’s very hard to make a relationship work if you don’t respect your partner. I remember reading something (maybe Malcolm Gladwell?) about how the biggest predictor of divorce is rolling your eyes when your spouse says something. I think all the things you mention can be worked through IF you want to work through them. But if ultimately you end secretly thinking that your SO is getting the better end of the deal in your relationship and that you’re “better than him,” it probably won’t work.

      No judgment, btw. I think it’s totally fine to say, “I’m the cerebral one, that’s not his strength” but then you also have to be 1000% okay with that and really know that you’re getting tradeoffs for that *you* really value — e.g., he’s great with fixing things, he’s great in bed, he’s a fantastic cook, whatever…

      Likewise, it’s okay to have a mate that’s a bit awkward socially. Mr. AIMS tends to be not into hanging out with my friends and when we go to weddings or other stuff with them, it tends to be a little weird for me, but we also have an understanding that that’s not his thing and so I tend to go to things with my friends by myself most of the time and we socialize as a couple mostly with his friends or one on one. It works for us, but it wouldn’t if I was the type who wanted to do double dates with my best friend or if he thought I shouldn’t go to things without him. You just have to figure out what you are okay with.

      • advice, please :

        The tradeoffs are exactly how I’ve been looking at it. I’m the planner, the financially savvy one, etc. He is absolutely all the examples you listed, plus the protector/soother.

        There were some benefits to the social awkwardness: it helped me determine that some friendships were really just full of small talk and not a lot of depth, so it was no great loss to have a slightly disastrous evening with those people. It’s the evenings with close friends that upset me, and make me worry about future interactions with my family (my people live far away, so he hasn’t been able to meet all of them yet).

        • Do you view the things he brings to the table as being equally valuable as what you bring to the table? Not just inevitable trade offs, but actually something you need and want?

          I have a friend who is very brainy and ambitious and prides herself on that who is married to a guy who is not known for being particularly bright. At one point, before they married, she was becoming interested in a very successful, established, brilliant man that she worked with. Ultimately, she realized that as stimulating as he was intellectually he would never do the things for her that her now-husband does all the time, like leave her food with reheating instructions for when she comes home late, or calling to make sure she didn’t miss her doctor’s appointment, etc. A lot of people look at that relationship and can’t figure out what’s going on there but it works for them because they each value what they each bring to the table.

          When you say “slightly disastrous” what does that mean? If he’s a bit too quiet and seems like he’s not having fun, you can fix that by just saying, “listen, babe, I know you’re having a fine time but sometimes it looks like you’re unhappy so can you just try to smile a bit more so that my family doesn’t think you don’t want to be there?” If they think he’s a bit boring or shy, what’s the big deal? Or is it something else like he says things that are embarrassing to you? THAT, I think, is a bigger issue. And then you may want to re-evaluate if you truly think he’s so great one on one, or if you just stopped noticing these things without other people’s reactions.

          • advice, please :

            Thanks for the follow-up. What I’m gathering from these comments is that we may both have good qualities, and even find each other’s qualities desirable, but we may just not be fitting into each other’s lives.

            Thank you all for weighing in, as there is not really anyone I can discuss this with in my life. I don’t want to bias my loved ones against him, and I can’t trust a casual acquaintance with this heavy talk.

            Feeling very sad and confused, but hoping to make decisions that bring us both happiness.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I think you make a great point here. He can be a super great guy and still not be the right guy for you. You don’t have to make him a bad guy in order to decide you need to make a break.

      • I think the eye-rolling finding stems from John Gottman’s marriage research. One of the “four horsemen” for divorce that he has outlined is contempt, and a way couples often display it is rolling eyes at each other. Rings very true to me–whenever I see this in other couples, I cringe, and if I noticed it happening in my own marriage I’d think it was a terrible sign. Such basic disrespect/disregard.

        • What are the other three? Now I am curious.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Stonewalling, criticism, and defensiveness. The fourth is contempt, which is manifested by, inter alia, eye-rolling.

          • Thanks! It’s funny how after I read that I became super conscious of the eye rolling. Now I will have to see if I start noticing the other three.

      • Senior Attorney :

        It’s Dr. John Gottman who does the divorce-prediction stuff. (When I first found out about his work, it was clear that Mr. S.A. and I were headed that way, but I was determined to prove him wrong. The day I moved out, I imagined Dr. Gottman up there in Seattle in his lab, laughing maniacally because he’d been proven right once again. But I digress.)

        What you are describing is an awful lot like the marriage I just left: Guy with no friends, not as smart as you, doesn’t make as much money as you do, sometimes embarasses you in front of your friends, and your family doesn’t really approve of/like him. My question to you is why you are willing to settle for this guy instead of holding out for a guy who is your equal?

        I stayed for 16 years before realizing it wasn’t going to work. And I’m urging you to take a very close look at it now.

    • This is probably my own personal bias speaking, but your last point is what concerns me most. In my own romantic experience, a lack of respect for my partner’s intellect has been totally fatal to my long-term attraction to them. That’s not to say that they have to have my same level of education or share an identical body of knowledge, but *my own* attraction to a person is hugely driven by wit and our ability to share our worlds with each other via conversation. I also tend think there is nothing s*xier than someone who shows mastery and knowledge of something — that “something” might be congressional politics or mechanical engineering or how to run a cattle ranch, but I want to hear them talk about it. And I want to respect their opinions — obviously I don’t care if we agree on everything, but I want to respect how they got there.

    • I am engaged to a guy who is less-educated than I am (by a couple levels) and who holds a blue collar job while I have a professional job. I like to read (although nothing particularly intellectual), while he likes to watch tv and do outdoorsy things. However, if I was asked to describe our relationship, those are not the things I would list. He may not be as formally educated as I am, but he knows a lot of useful stuff about technology and fixing things (cars, electronics, holes in the wall, etc.) for which I am completely worthless. He is also really funny, outgoing, and personable and is a huge asset to me when I take him to networking events (even with other professionals). We also push one another to try new things. Our strengths and weaknesses complement one another well.

      It is quite possible that there are a lot of great attributes your SO has, also, and that they are not included in your post. I was reticent to event comment on this because I feel like none of us really know what your relationship is like. However, the fact that your post focuses on these really big negative issues (while the positives are very general and glossed over) leads me to believe that you already know these are really big issues. Personally, I don’t think I could be with someone who inhibited my relationships with other people in my life, which sounds like the case in your situation. You should really consider what specifically your SO is contributing to your life, and decide if he is really a good complement for you. If you decide that this is not the best relationship for you, I agree with the other posters that your SO will not benefit from you explaining to him why you feel that way. These sound like parts of his personality rather than just bad habits that can be changed.

    • A bird and a fish can fall in love but where are they supposed to make the nest? Call me a judgmental snob but I really don’t think that this man is a good match for you.

    • I was in a situation exactly like your first two points a couple years ago that did then lead to long distance. I accepted it when we were together because there were good parts. When we were apart, he became more of the awkward, quiet person that he was around all my friends. I felt like I had to make all the effort and he couldn’t even bring a conversation topic to the table. Add that to the fact that he didn’t seem like he was motivated to do anything (he definitely needed therapy). It ended quickly.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      Do you respect this guy intellectually? Are you impressed by him for other things than the things you list?

      Amy Dickinson once said in her “Ask Amy” column that both partners should really think they are not good enough for their partner. If there isn’t really anything that really impresses you about your guy, then I’m not sure it has a future.

      Many of the things you listed describe my husband. He’s a scientist/engineer/accountant type. He’s not as socially fluid as me, doesn’t really follow current affairs that much, and isn’t super ambitious with his career. But I’m so impressed by him in other areas that I’m constantly amazed and in love with him. If that’s not how you feel, I’m not sure what’s left of your relationship to be sustainable.

    • It’s that he doesn’t have any friends that concerns me most. I dated a man with no friends. There was a reason for that, as it happens. I felt like I had to apologize for his behavior all the time when we were together. Ugh.

      The book which always gets recommended here is “Too good to leave, too bad to stay” and it really helped me solidify my thinking and decide to end the relationship.

    • girl in the stix :

      Can you imagine yourself with him in 5 years? 10?

  18. Negotiations :

    Hello Hive, seeking some help here, particularly from anyone in BigLaw!

    I have a lot of thoughts tumbling around in my head about negotiations surrounding job offers. On one hand, I’ve read Lean In, recognize the statistics about women’s pay, and feel like I am comfortable negotiating when the situation obviously calls for it (e.g., buying a car). On the other, I’m wary of the backlash, loss of goodwill, etc. that accompany negotiation for women, especially young women.

    I guess my question is: can one negotiate with BigLaw firms, given the market-based salary structure? In this economy? Or does lockstep mean lockstep? Should I be thinking about more creative routes? I have two years of clerkship experience (one year at a district court, another at an appellate court), a STEM background (passed the patent bar), and would be looking to enter as a third-year in a major metro market. I have one offer, a strong intimation that a second is forthcoming, and another interview scheduled at a third firm. Am I lucky to just get market salary and the standard clerkship bonus? Or am I selling myself (and my whole demographic!) short by not leveraging these offers? I’m not greedy and don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I also don’t want to leave something on the table.

    Thanks for any thoughts; they would be most appreciated.

    • Wildkitten :

      I don’t think it’s a given that you’ll be counted as a third year or be given a clerkship bonus. You may need to negotiate for those.

    • Pear -- cigarette pants :

      Gah — you really don’t want to enter as a third year. The major culling starts in years 4 and 5, so you are probably guaranteeing an offer to pursue other options (so start looking as soon as you land). Have a long-term greedy attitude: second year, any clerkship bonus, and an awesome CLE (like the Kiawah trip that my T&E friends do). You want to shine at the top of the class you’re in a be a person they want to keep long term (and have good bonus prospects along the way). You don’t want to set yourself up for a quick churn on biglaw’s terms.

      • Totally agree with this response. You definitely don’t want to negotiate for a higher year just so that you get pushed out in a year or so when you aren’t keeping up with the rest of your class. Starting as a second year and being at the top of your class year will be so much more beneficial to your career long-term. I’ve seen many cases of people jumping class years and it coming to bite them in the rear-end.

    • If you’re in true biglaw, salaries are going to be lockstep for associates. I agree with Wildkitten that you can negotiate a clerkship bonus or associate “year” but generally won’t be able to ask for an additional $10K on top of what they offer as you would outside of large law firms.

      • Also, I would add that sometimes it’s better to come in “below” your class year. If you can’t hit the ground running (I’m not saying you can’t, but biglaw is different than clerking), then it’s nice to have the “slack” that is granted to juniors vs. the tyranny of high expectations that is applied to midlevels, who are supposed to know what’s up and how to navigate things. IMHO, ten or twenty grand is not worth “washing out” by messing up early and getting written off. I’m not saying not to negotiate, but…be careful what you wish for…it can be better to have another year in biglaw. Not always–depends on the size of the firm, how much responsibility partners give to juniors, etc. but higher class year doesn’t always mean better experience. Try to talk to some of your classmates who didn’t do clerkships to gauge what’s best for the firms at issue. Good luck!

  19. No Name for this one :

    Hi all, can anybody share with me their experiences with going off the BC pill? I’ve been on for about 10 years to control acne, regulate cycles, etc. Started on it in late teens and have been on basically the same brand since with few issues. I want to come off it (for various personal and health reasons) and start using the fertility awareness method for my BC (my husband and I are not trying to get pregnant any time soon). But, what I want to know is what are others’ experience with coming off, how long did it take you to get normal again, and if you now use FAM, how did you deal with the ramp up time as your body went back to normal. Thanks in advance for your insight, my ignorance on the transition period is largely what is keeping me from taking the plunge, despite my desire.

    • PinkKeyboard :

      I’ve followed approx. the same schedule, went on as a teenager and came off at 25. Mine was in preparation for TTC (not working though). I’ve been off for about 2 years now, it took a few months for my body to return to my “normal”. I find that my periods are heavier, my cramps are worse (helpful though-cramps show up a day before my period every month as a warning), my skin is definitely breaking out more. I don’t feel different in daily life but I would say that I can be more emotional, on the pill I had absolutely no “PMS” type symptoms and now I can definitely be more sensitive sometimes. I also am fairly irregular off the pill, up to 1.5 weeks late at times but other times a typical 28 day cycle. However as I am having fertility issues I have a feeling that the irregularity is due to that and not to coming off the pill.

      • Long time pill user who went off when I stopped getting my period (it just kind of freaked me out even though 2 gynecologists told me it was probably fine andprobably the result of having been on BC from ages 19-30). As the gynecologists predicted, it took a few cycles (I think 3?) to get a period again and then I had the same issues as PinkKeyboard. Worse cramps, heavier periods, more PMS. Also my cycle started to lengthen a little bit (more like 29-30 days than 28).

        • BCP alumna :

          Ditto here. On a lo-dose pill from ages 17-32. Went off and charted per Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Cycle was normal in the first month, but extended over time. I had extremely short periods and no PMS on the pill. More PMS , heavier flow, and significantly more cramping off the pill. No skin changes. Slight weight gain, but that could be attributable to nightly ice cream. :)

          One of my close friend went off the pill at 35, and took 22 months for her cycles to become regular. Highly recommend TCOYF book.

          We used barrier methods (c-ndoms, sp-rmacide) until my cycles were regular enough to not use them during non-fertile periods. Still use them during fertile days.

    • Diana Barry :

      Just IME, I didn’t get periods at ALL after I went off the pill. I had a blood clot and that was why I had to go off, and didn’t get any period for over a year. I didn’t have any other changes in terms of acne, weight, etc. So we jumped straight to the RE when we wanted to TTC about 14 months later; I didn’t need to go through the trying-for-a-year first.

      • No Name for this one :

        Did you basically just do the deed without worry then? I am worried about not having periods for a long while (although I suppose that would mean I am not ovulating and thus “safe”) or just being weirdly irregular and being too terrified for s*x because the temp/signs charting won’t be accurate. While I think my husband might be okay with rare s*x for a month or so, not sure either of us would be down with like complete absintence for months and months on end while I figure self out. Maybe c*nd*ms while we figure out?

        • Diana Barry :

          No, we didn’t – we used barrier method. I also had no temp changes or signs that I was ovulating, but was also terrified (up until TTC) not to use backup.

        • Anonymous :

          One of my friends did this. Nine months later she had a baby. I’d use a barrier method until your cycles are regular unless you want a baby.

        • I had the same experience as Diana (no periods after getting off the pill). We were TTC, so the worry wasn’t there, but it was weird nonetheless. I’m writing as a warning – I did get pregnant without having a period first, so definitely don’t count on that! (I had taken a hormone that was supposed to jump start them, though, so I guess that’s what triggered ovulation first. But just a word of warning; it can happen.)

    • hoola hoopa :

      I quit BCP after about six years. I was in my mid-20’s at the time, so I’d been on them since my late teens. I was stupid and quit mid-pack, which was a horrible idea – but I felt normal on the next cycle. My cycle steadied after ~3-6 months and has been regular for years after.

      Definitely use c0ndoms while you chart until your cycle finds it’s normal.

      I feel great without BCP, btw. I’m never, ever going back.

      • No Name for this one :

        How long have you been charting with no pregnancies? It sounds like a few years? It seems to me that people can go many years without pregnancies presuming they follow the FAM rules to a T and don’t take risks on questionable days.

        • hoola hoopa :

          We use c0ndoms, not FAM. I’m very familiar with FAM, but we’re more comfortable with c0ndoms. We’ve electively had a couple of kids, but no surprise pregnancies after ~6 years of potential (ie, excluding time when I was pregnant).

          • hoola hoopa :

            Post below reminded me. I had more cramping the first few cycles, but they faded out as my body adjusted. I lost a little weight. No skin changes. Overall, just felt better in mood and body.

    • I did this recently. Same story – went on at 19/20 to regulate cycle, was on for over ten years (13?).
      I have to say that not much happened. I was almost kind of disappointed. I thought maybe I’d lose 5 lbs., or have a super increased libido, and I was, of course, worried about break-outs, and really not very much happened at all. My period more or less showed up (maybe 32 days later vs. 28), it was a little heavier, and I had a bit more cramps, but nothing to write home about. I didn’t start to break out more but I still get a pimple or two on my chin when my hormones fluctuate. I did try to be more diligent about skin care to counter the possibility but that’s about it, as far as that goes. But, everyone is different. That’s just my experience.

      As for tracking my cycle, I got two awesome period tracker apps (I used to know when my period was due only by running out of active pills, so I needed something). One is called Clue and the other Glow (I think). They tell you when you’re supposed to be ovulating. Not an exact science obviously so if you’re serious about not getting pregnant I would not rely on them without a backup but it is helpful to keep track of these things.

    • espresso bean :

      As far as my cycle goes, I had no problems going off the pill. I did go down half a cup size (but it was the same half a cup size I gained going on the pill) and my skin broke out a lot more (especially my back and chest, but also my T-zone), but the pill was just masking the fact that I actually have very oily skin and hair. Once I got used to that (thank you, Proactiv!), it really wasn’t a big deal at all. No mood issues or anything. My cycle returned like clockwork. I can predict not only the day it’s going to come, but often the hour! My period was lighter than I remembered it nine years ago before I started the pill, but it still lasts 6-7 days. Good luck!

      I actually just went back on it this week after almost two years off, so I’m curious to see how that goes.

    • Anon for this :

      I was prepared for some issues with going off BC, but I got my period the next month. For me the change has been dealing with increased cramping/bloating, a slightly heavier period, and increased acne (some face, but a fair bit of bacne).

      I track my periods (using the My Days app), so I have a rough sense of when ovulation is. When we weren’t TTC, we either just avoid LGPs during that time or use condoms. I was always super paranoid about getting pregnant when we weren’t ready, so that was my solution.

    • I’ve been charting for years — over 120 cycles now. You need to get to know your body after you adjust to being off the pill. I use a 3-day rule instead of 5-day rule, for example, because my cycles are short. Anyway, it’s possible, but pay close attention to the book (TCOYF) if using for birth control.

      • No Name for this one :

        Thanks for this. I got the book and am reading. My next step is to find a place I can take a class with my husband so we have an actual person to talk to/get brought up to speed on. My understanding is that those instructors will often be available to you via email/phone to ask questions of. I am also exploring the possibility of booking well woman care with a midwife versed in FAM/natural mehods so she can help me through any physical ills associated with coming off. So good to hear success stories!

        • BCP alumna :

          I have never heard of this but would love it!

          I just had my husband read a few chapters of the book, and take the author’s suggestions on how to involve partners – he wakes up with me, hands me the thermometer, records the temp, etc.

    • I went off after about 11 years on, although there were a few 3-6 month breaks in that 10 year period. I had a perfect 29-day cycle immediately, with predictable ovulation starting on the 2nd cycle (meaning I didn’t ovulate 2 weeks after my last pill, but did after 6 weeks). No experience using FAM for BC since I went off in order to get pregnant, and was successful on cycle 3 (didn’t chart, just had sex whenever we wanted). So it isn’t /always/ difficult and unpredictable!

      • No Name for this one :

        I would love such a regular outcome for myself. I’m a pretty rule-oriented person and think FAM could be easily doable if my cycles turned out to be regular fairly quickly. I think I might freak out if I had weirdo cycles that took months/years to return to normal. But, sounds like barrier methods might be a good backup in this case, and I guess if we want kids eventually, better to deal with the weirdness now than being on BC for ages longer and realizing when we want to have kids that it will take us a year+ to normalize. Thanks for your positive story!

        • Meg Murry :

          Yes to barrier methods, and also to discussing with the H/SO what will happen if you say “barrier method needed today” – will he say “ok” or will he say “nevermind then”. Is it always going to be on you to keep track, or will he as well? And will he blame you if you do have an “oops”? I think you need to have a hard conversation about how risk averse you are (would you just prefer not to get pregnant yet or would it be utterly disastrous?) to make sure that you are both 100% on board with FAM. But for some ancedata, I know quite a few people that use FAM and if pressed the ones with “oops” pregnancies were the ones who slacked on insisting on barrier methods at key times or weren’t counting strictly enough.

  20. Wedding catering q :

    Hi guys, we recently found out from our wedding venue that they want to charge us extra for giving our guests a meal choice (as compared to everyone eating the same thing). They want to charge us an extra $x per person per course (4 courses). Our contract only says “$x per person for catering” but I assumed that would mean you could at least pick between 2 options for each course. We offered to confirm all meal choices 30 days prior so they have lots of advance notice, but they still want the extra cost. It is at a hotel with a restaurant (with a full menu) so they will be making other food all night. I don’t see why they can’t bake 2 types of pies instead of one type of pie – what’s the difference? Doesn’t it seem lame that everyone will be eating the same thing for every course? Or am I being crazy? FWIW we are paying a LOT of money per meal (probably the highest price in my city), and expected better than this.

    • Unfortunately, this is normal. I am an event planner in NYC, and even the really upscale venues we work with do this. How much more per choice? I would say $10 per additional choice per course is par.

      Sorry :(

      • I think your only recourse here could be to say something like “We should have asked in advance, but we really don’t have the room in our budget for increase in catering and really need to have both a meat and fish entree option to accommodate certain diets. Is there any way we could have a second choice for only the entree at the same price?”

    • That’s a pretty standard fee. It takes more work to create multiple types of entrees and service is more complicated too. We chose to give everyone chicken and there was a vegetarian option available and spent the choice fee on nicer appetizers.

      • Wedding catering q :

        Thanks guys… they’re asking for $15 per course per person. I guess part of what is making me really mad is that we are only having 25 guests so it is not like they need to make crazy amounts of food.

        • A larger event is more assembly-line. A smaller event probably means they’re paying more attention to the quality of the food. To pay such attention to two separate entrees is probably more work than for an assembly line caterer to broil a few pieces of frozen salmon for non-meat-eaters.

        • hoola hoopa :

          I think some of the cost is to account for the difference in service. They have to keep track of who gets what vs just serving everyone.

          I’d probably do same (vegetarian) courses for 2-3 of the courses and offer an option for the main course plus maybe one if budget allows. As a guest, that would be fine with me. Honestly, the idea of selecting all four courses on an RSVP card feels a little overwhelming. Be mindful with food allergies, but I wouldn’t worry too much about preference. With four courses, if someone really doesn’t like it, then they’ll have three others to enjoy.

    • Wedding catering q :

      Sorry – I am seriously flooding this. Follow up question – if we only have one dessert is it weird for it to be chocolate? Originally we were going to have a chocolate option and a berry option, but now… ugh. I love chocolate but not everyone does…

      • No, I think chocolate is fine. I frequently choose it for the one dessert option for dinners. If you love it you should have it.

        Other posters are right, they should have a silent vegetarian option included in the price, you should check with them.

    • just a thought, vegetarians will definitely need a separate meal- will they also charge extra for that? not having planned a wedding myself, that does not seem normal.

      • Kontraktor :

        I found a lot of places will do a vegetarian option on an individual request basis only and not charge extra. But, definitely something to ask.

      • No. It is considerate to offer a vegetarian option, but that is all. Whatever someone’s reasons for being a vegetarian (or adhering to other dietary restrictions) – you are not required to accommodate that at your wedding.

        • This seems totally wrong. If someone cannot eat meat, then they should not have to? If you have been a lifelong vegetarian, it can make you ill to consume meat.

        • hoola hoopa :

          I’m not a vegetarian, but this doesn’t seem right to me either. Wedding guests are essentially captive. If someone can’t get a meatless meal, it’s not like they have another option. Would you expect them to go hungry or to go out to the hotel restaurant alone?

        • There’s certainly no law, but I would find it amazingly rude. Your guests are presumably people you like and want to be comfortable, no?

      • Having planned large events, nearly every venue offers a silent vegetarian option for no additional charge. However you may want to check. Depending on your city, they may also offer a silent kosher option.

    • FWIW, a few thoughts.

      I think it is very standard for the appetizer/salad/dessert to be uniform.

      When I’ve been given an entree choice at a wedding, I’ve almost always had to make the choice in advance with my RSVP.

      Depending on the size of your wedding, yet, it could be a significant extra burden for the venue/staff to have every course be a choice made on the spot. Remember, they are likely going to start preparing the food before the staff would be “taking orders,” particularly for the appetizer/salad. I’m guessing there are additional staffing needs associated with providing choices, it’s simple to bring the same thing to each guest/takes longer to take orders and even organize delivery of different items to each guest.

      • You might ask them about “dual courses,” e.g, surf and turf as an entree, or a dessert that is standard across guests but has two different items on the plate.

        • Wedding catering q :

          Just to be clear we are more than willing to confirm way in advance, we’re not looking for them to provide choices on the spot

    • This is typical, at least where I work.

      It’s because you are having two (or more) different preps, in addition to the food costs. So even if the two entrees cost the same for food, you are having to employ twice as many workers (or having twice as much time to prep) for the same event. If you knew it was only going to be a handful of alternate entrees, then it might not cost extra (we typically build in that 5% ish will need an accommodation), but to have two choices means extra labor.

    • BCP alumna :

      Two options means extra labor and extra ingredients purchased and prepared, and probably more waste. I think it is normal and perfectly reasonable for these places to charge a fee for an extra option. Sounds like you can ask for the charge to be waived, but your contract doesn’t seem like that would be required.

      Chocolate for your one-size-fits-all dessert. It’s what most people order anyway.

  21. Paging DontBlameTheKids :

    Lynn, just so you know, I’ve been reading your blog – you’re a fantastic writer. And from your comments here, you seem like a fantastic person too. Too bad your husband is missing out on you :)
    But really, your writing and your whole thought process seems to be so positive and uplifting.

  22. anonforthis :

    We hired a nanny a month ago. So far, she’s missed three days of work – one for a family court hearing, one sick day, and one day because she says her car won’t start. But today, when her car allegedly won’t start, she also won’t pick up the phone or text me in response to my offer to pick her up or let her use our car.

    We pay her $1050/week, give sick and vacation days, and work hard to treat her fairly and kindly. But I’m beginning to think that this is just not working out. What would you all do in this circumstance?

    • if you’re not comfortable look for another nanny. Non-responsiveness via phone/text would be enough of a deal breaker for me.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Things happen, but not coming in because her car won’t start and then not responding to offers to make alternative arrangements sounds like she’s not taking it seriously. If she were simply stranded, then she’d be available. If her car won’t work and her phone died, she’s unreliable. I’d get a new nanny and tell her you need someone with more reliable transportation. An unreliable nanny is worthless.

      • Diana Barry :

        Yup, too flaky. I might give her one warning first and then fire her the next time it happens, but not picking up her phone =/= good sign of reliability.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would be looking for a replacement. This nanny is not reliable.

    • Second on looking for a replacement. Non-responsiveness is not the quality I want in a nanny.

      And I might not even give her another chance.

  23. Going along with the wedding catering q – if you are going to be attending a wedding and there is no vegetarian option (and you are a vegetarian), is it rude to ask the host about it?

    • I feel you would be absolutely fine asking in advance. The host of the wedding should know anyways whether the venue has a vegetarian option (you can’t be the only vegetarian!). I would just avoid asking the night of… that could put the host in an awkward/guilty place.

    • You can ask beforehand, but if you didn’t for some reason, it’s fine to ask the waiters. For large events it’s a pretty typical question, and I’ve never been somewhere where there wasn’t a vegetarian option available.

    • Rural Juror :

      Depends on where the wedding is – if it is a larger venue I would just notify the server at the beginning of the meal. If the venue is smaller or unusual I would ask the host beforehand.

    • If you’ve waited until the night of, I wouldn’t bother the bride. Ask the server/catering staff or wedding planner or someone else in charge of logistics.

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