Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Wool-Cashmere Blend Boat-Neck Sweater Dress

Wool-Cashmere Blend Boat-Neck Sweater Dress Sweater dresses: yea or nay? I’ve had some in the past that felt like they hugged every curve, so I like that this one has a straight, almost relaxed fit, along with other cozy details like a slightly dropped shoulder and a boatneck. I like it as belted here, but I’d probably wear it unbelted, particularly for a business casual office or a casual day at a conservative office. At Banana Republic they’ve styled it with sneakers and knee-high slouchy boots, but if your office is on the more conservative side I think the dress would look great with classic pumps and the right accessories, like a long silver necklace. The dress is $138 at Banana Republic, available in regular, petite, and tall sizes XXS to XXL.  Wool-Cashmere Blend Boat-Neck Sweater Dress

This $50 dress is similar but on the more casual side of things, as is this one in sizes XXS–3X. For something a bit longer, try this one from Lark & Ro.

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Comments

  1. Nice dress. I like sweater dresses on casual days–always with tights and booties or boots. Unfortunately, this one would fall 2″ above my knee in the tall sizes (37″). The Nordstrom and Madewell options are barely tunics.

    I aim for 39-40″ shoulder to hem, with 38″ as a bare minimum. Slightly flared sweater dresses creep less when sitting or walking. Wearing a slip helps, too.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      There’s a midi-length sweater dress on Madewell that’s 44″ – I actually like that one much better than the option Kat picked. There’s also a colorblocked one that looks casual and is a bit longer.

    • There are some really long sweater dresses at Uniqlo right now. Cute, not spendy, but so long I’m a bit nervous that they may overwhelm 5-4 me.

    • This looks lovely and a good length as well.

      https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/eliza-j-stitch-detail-sweater-dress/5081970?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FAll%20Results&color=green

    • Everlane makes a fantastic cashmere sweater dress. It’s too long for me (5’3″) which is heartbreaking because it’s gorgeous. Give it a look!

  2. I like the look of sweater dresses for the weekend, but I’ve had a hard time finding many that are long enough for a conservative office. Even the tall size in this dress is only 37.5″ long. On me, that would be a good 3-4″ above the knee, and I’m only tall-ish (5’8″).

  3. I realize these are pretty crazy but I love them. I need styling ideas so I can justify keeping them. I’m a 36 year old mom/lawyer (obviously these are not for work).

    http://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/womens-shoes-boots/wedges/a0284-leo/womens-tan-leopard-platform-sneakers

    • Ooh, those are fun. There is a super-stylish mom at my church who wears that style with skinny pants and slouchy button-downs or sweaters.

    • Anonymous :

      I would wear these with black leggings. There are faux leather ones that are really comfortable. I would keep the top simple.

      • Any way to wear them with dresses or skirts?

        P.S. I would wear every.single.pair of shoes on Boden’s website right now.

        • Totally! I think a casual dress would look awesome – I’m picturing a neutral color rugby stripe dress with long sleeves, in cotton, knee-length. For socks, maybe channel your middle school self and get some black socks that you can scrunch down the tube part?

          I love these sneaks.

    • Anonymous :

      Those would be absolutely fine in my office. Just putting that there to start and I’m bummed for you that they aren’t in yours. Not my personal style, but I wouldn’t pair with skinny jeans and a silky blouse – I’d keep the clothing neutral to offset the print. I’d also top with a white tee and chunky sweater. Or with a maxi skirt and chambray button down knotted at the waist. Try pinterest for other ideas and style blogs too (I love this site for work and life issues but it’s not really a good place for fashion advice despite the headline).

    • Omg. If I had $170 burning a hole in my pocket they’d be mine!

    • L O V E. I would wear them with any of my casual outfits, whether jeans/leggings + slouchy sweater or a weekend dress.

    • Anonymous :

      I would return and find a cheaper version. Try Steve madden

  4. Anonymous :

    Rumors are flying fast and furious that my company will be acquired before end of year, which is when I will be going on maternity leave. There’s a lot of confusion and apathy right now as some layoffs have already begun. Workloads are climbing as these layoffs are happening. I am using our employee assistance program for some coaching to help with the stress. I’ve brushed up my resume just in case. I was planning on taking 3 months off, so we are currently saving money to cover the unpaid portion of my leave but will put aside a bit more now because of the uncertainty. What else should I be doing right now to prepare?

    • Panda Bear :

      I’d review all your insurance benefit information, to confirm stuff like what would be the exact termination date if you are laid off, what are the cobra options, what appointments/services (e.g. new glasses, dentist visit) are you eligible for that you can schedule soon, just in case. Maybe reach out to your network with some ‘just keeping in touch’ emails so you are relatively fresh in their minds, if/when you decide to job search again after the baby comes along. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      Research the employer’s legal obligations to you due to your leave. That varies by country and state. Then say «when I get back from my leave” if you have a protected position.

    • Print everything or save a copy at home. Your benefits info and contact for those providers. Your past performance reviews. Summaries of your key projects. Contact info for people you want to stay in touch with. A few months of pay stubs. Etc. Whatever you might want access to but would lose if you lost your job unexpectedly. (And bring home anything personally meaningful from your desk – like a treasured memento from your kid or a favorite mug or whatever. You have the perfect cover that you want to bring it home now so you have it on leave.)

      Do this today – prepare as if the stress will send you into bedrest and you can’t go into the office again.

      And then yes, what everyone else will say about making appts and understanding your policies and starting to look for jobs now.

  5. Informational Interviews :

    After 7 years at my current position (out of law school), I am searching for the next step in my career. I have some informational coffees lined up. Please, give me your best advice. Is it much different than when I was a student? Or is it different now that I have been out there for a while? Anything new over the last seven years that I need to know? Thanks so much! Mainly looking at in-house targets, if it matters.

    • Your post wasn’t exactly clear on what advice you’re seeking. I’m in a different field but also doing informational interviews after 15 years of working in large corporations. What’s different for me now is that I value the workplace culture much more and recognize how it can have a make-or-break impact on my job satisfaction. In my informational interviews, some of the questions I’m asking are about favorite parts of the job, biggest challenges, and what happens when something goes wrong.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m also approx your cohort and have switched jobs several times in this time period. A few themes I have picked up on- 1) many in house roles are individual contributor roles and not managing outside counsel roles. More will be expected of you than prior in house roles- you’re basically a firm attorney that works for the company and does not get the benefit of billable hours. a you’ll be pressed to do a lot and take on business decisions. 2) everyone has Linkedin profiles and some type of online presence- anticipate being searched and brush up your online presence, 3) the importance of your network hasn’t changed, it’s still your best bet, 4) there are more flexible arrangement opportunities available though they’re still in the woodwork. You’ll have to work your network to find them. But the rise of companies like Axiom jumps to mind.

  6. Lit. Finance Q :

    Can anyone provide some insight on the litigation finance market? For context, I’m a senior litigation associate looking to, perhaps, transition out of private practice. Litigation finance looks interesting and like it’s a growing field. And, with some googling, it looks like litigation analysis is a need those finance firms have. That said, I’m in the SE and it doesn’t appear to be very prevalent here. Really, if anyone has info. about the industry, growth, opportunities, culture, I’m all ears. TIA

    • AmLaw has a ton of material on this and covers the major players in the market. Might be a good place to get started

    • Financial Services :

      Not sure about in-house opps., but this is a huge and booming practice for my firm, which is based out of the SEUS and has a large footprint in the SEUS. In fact, we just hired another associate for that group.

      I would check out firms with strong financial services practices and apply. A recruiter may be worthwhile, but SEUS firms can be a bit reluctant to pay the high fees, so they much prefer direct applicants.

  7. Can we talk winter wardrobe essentials for work? What have been your workhorses, and what is the weather like in your area?

    I’m located in the Midwest. I drive to work but often walk a decent amount during the day. Winters are cold, and the wind is a bigger factor than the air temperature. I also run cold and I’m miserable if my feet aren’t warm.

    Shoes: Leather ankle booties by Ecco, in cognac and black. Sorel snow boots for really nasty days. I still wear tall boots and don’t plan to stop. ;)
    Layering: Basic scoop-neck cotton camis from Loft. Long-sleeve tees from Gap Body when it’s frigid.
    Outerwear: For deep winter, I have a knee-length parka from Lands End that is super toasty warm. I’m looking to replace my peacoat (worn when it’s 25-45 degrees) with something warmer and more stylish.
    Pants: I’ve worn Loft trouser cuts in the past since they work well with booties, but I’m looking for something new.
    Sweaters: Also looking for a good basic in lots of colors. The J Crew Tippi doesn’t fit me well (medium is too snug, the large looks frumpy and weird). I have a silk-cashmere cardi from BR that is lightweight but still warm.
    Dresses: Anything in Boden’s ottoman fabric, worn with tights and a blazer.
    Socks: SmartWool, all the way.

    • I’d look at Uniqlo’s heat tech line for some of those basics. The sizing can be a bit wonky but the quality is nice.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m obsessed with BR’s silk-cashmere sweaters, last year I bought almost all the colours and they’re still going strong. They do pill but I handwash and that seems to help them last.

      • + 1 BR sweaters. I have a wool/cotton blend that I love and have in multiple colors. They are especially flattering for an hourglass figure, fitted but not overly so. Note that some of the lighter colors are too see through.

        • +1 – I have a bunch of the v-neck merino wool ones from a couple years ago that I wear all winter long (layered over a tank top and sometimes under a vest)

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Also in the Midwest where it gets cold, but I’m able to park in a covered garage most of the time.

      My winter wardrobe isn’t terribly different from other seasons. I mainly swap in ankle boots for my other shoes. I add fleece tights to my dresses and skirts and layer on a heavier cardigans. I picked up a few thinner, fitted sweaters at JC Penney last year and I’ll rotate those in, too.

    • Vicky Austin :

      Bookmarking this comment, as I just moved to a super cold Midwestern state with like a 9 month winter. How do your Ecco’s hold up to snow and/or salt?

      • They seem to be doing okay. If they get really grungy, I’ll wipe them down a few times a week so the salt doesn’t settle on them for long. But if it’s really sloppy, I’ll wear real snowboots because they’re definitely not waterproof like Blondos.

    • I’ve definitely invested in “real” winter gear over the past few years, which has made all the difference: Sorels, a warm and waterproof North Face down coat, and good gloves and a hat. This and I even car commute! But I park outdoors at the office, so I need warm outerwear.

      I wear my Frye boots fairly often in the winter. Other than that it’s booties or heels that I change into at the office.

      For layering tees and tanks, I love the Fellini brand from Costco (and you cannot beat the price!).

      I’ve recently had a lot of luck with J. Crew sweaters, though I tend to stay away from cardigans in general.

      I’ve also found that Anthropologie has some great work-appropriate wear (trousers, blouses, blazers), but you have to hunt. I’ll try to post a few links shortly.

    • I made an earlier comment that’s in mod. Here are some winter items I like from Anthro:

      I own this in gray and navy and it’s a total workhorse. Got it on sale for less than $60 but I’d buy again at full price. Runs big (I am usually a M, sometimes L, and wear a small): https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/sweater-blazer?category=SEARCHRESULTS&color=060

      I am an apple shape who loves Anthro’s Essential Slim trousers: https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/the-essential-slim-trousers14?category=bottoms-pants&color=001 They also make a version with a flared leg. I own both, and I like that they sometimes carry them in colors.

    • My work horses have been Talbots all season wool skirts, a variety of tops but heavily leaning Lucky brand, and Eileen Fisher long cardigans in cotton and linen for warm weather, merino wool for cool weather. For dressier days like client meetings or presentations I tend to wear a dress or separates from mm lafleur. On extra casual days I wear my same tops and cardigans with the magic EF pants. But the skirt/top/long cardigan is my 90% of the time look.

      The shoes I wear most often are Fidjis but they are discontinued and I’m still searching for alternatives. (L’Artiste by Springstep and the brand All Black come close)

      I have two scarves/wraps from Etro that were gifts that I wear any time it’s slightly chilly, winter or summer. One is based in black and cream. One is navy with a chartreuse and fuchsia pattern.

      I have a puffy coat for when I travel to NY or anywhere cold but since I live in the Bay Area, just my merino separates + scarf work for most cold days. I have a car commute to a suburban office.

    • I swear by wearing legging under pants on bitter cold days (NYC based with subway commute). Uniqlo heat tech leggings are so thin and keep me warm. Other favorites – North Face parka, Halogen cashmere beanie (recommended here), Everlane cashmere sweaters.

      • Lake Effect Snow :

        Yes, merino wool leggings/long underwear under all my pants. Dressy merino wool sweaters as tops. Ankle boots with ankle-length pants, and knee-length wool socks to bridge any gaps. If it’s truly terrible outside, Knee length boots (I tuck in my slim pants, it’s not pretty but it’s practical), & change to ankle boots in the office. This has been my uniform for years in Buffalo.

  8. part time law :

    Looking for good experiences as a part time lawyer – do these positions exist?

    I recently moved in-house from biglaw and am finding that I am still working 12 hour days / 60-70 hour weeks. I am beginning to think this may be par for the course for interesting legal jobs in NYC? I’m wondering if there is some holy grail of interesting work / good pay (would take a 50% paycut to work a flat 30 hour week) / flexible or low hours? I’m a deal lawyer so there is some inherant non-flexibility but I also feel that my position is intentionally understaffed.

    I feel like software programmers have this figured out – my sisters are both developers and they work 30-40 hours a week in interesting jobs that do not gobble up their lives. Why hasn’t law figured this out as well?

    • There are software developers that work 60+ hours depending on the company and area. Your sisters are lucky!

      • part time law :

        One has worked at a F500 company and a remote startup, and the other has worked at 4 startups, all with the same reasonable hours requirements and six figure salary / equity packages. I know there are positions that require more in terms of hours but I literally do not know one position like that for corporate lawyers in NYC. They do live on the West Coast (Seattle / SF).

    • Perhaps not in a permanent, local role, but you might find interesting remote positions that pay relatively well. You also might have to transition to a different area of law.

      • Different Anon :

        Any thoughts on searching for these/where to look? I feel like I often see remote contract work, but not interesting remote work, if that makes sense!

    • I’m guessing you’re a type A that works at extremes. You think you have to work really long hours or go part time when really you’re with the wrong company. Find a new job. There are definitely many, and I’d say most, in-house positions that don’t require regular 12 hr days or weekends, even in the primarily deal space. Why take a pay cut when you can just find a job that fits you better?

      • part time law :

        You’re probably right. I started at my company about six months ago, so won’t start looking for another six months or so, but I worry that I will find it difficult to find (or screen correctly) for roles that are less extreme in NYC. It is likely at least partially a product of my network (also biglaw / demanding clients of biglaw). Ideas about where to network or how to screen?

        • There are so, so many well funded tech companies in NY that pride themselves on a ‘relaxed’ culture (now, whether they actually ARE relaxed, or people are white-knuckling their beers at mandatory happy hour, is a different story…) These companies need in house counsel when they get to a certain size. You’ve done the hardest part already, which is transitioning from Biglaw to in-house. Start networking within the tech scene instead of networking with Biglaw lawyers.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I have never practiced law in NY but I was in Big Law for several years in Boston on a 80% schedule in litigation. It did work, for the most part. Of course there were some weeks when it did not, but I made up the time another week. Caveat to this is that I had childcare 100% of the week because I couldn’t always guarantee having every Friday off. I also worked at a firm where pretty much every new mother was on a 80% schedule.

      I now work in the federal government in a challenging role, most of us work 40 hours a week. I know that’s not part-time but considering what you’re working now, it is! There are also a few part time folks who work 80%, but they were only allowed to do that after working full time for several years.

      If you like writing, you might also consider trying to become a career clerk for a federal district court or appellate judge. Challenging, fulfilling work. It won’t be part-time necessarily but will usually be a standard 40 hour week.

      • part time law :

        Thanks. I’ve been a deal lawyer for my whole career so feel that career clerking is probably not something I’d be qualified to do (plus I never liked legal research…so frustrating :)).

        80% schedules in biglaw seemed dangerous to me at my old firm – I never saw them work. I’m sure it varies from firm to firm.

        I think working in government could be very satisfying & ultimately I would not mind working 40 hours a week if it was basically guaranteed. I get the impression that the positions are mostly for former litigators, and it is harder to find a position with a transactional background.

        • Are you setting clear boundaries? :

          I did 80% at my former big law firm. My 20% time off was in a chunk of 2-3 months over the summer. I was fully on for the months I worked and fully off for the summer months I was off. This was a clear division of time and worked well for my firm since the summer is slower for deals.

    • I’d take a critical look at the work you are doing. What can you stop doing? What’s making you inefficient? What are you doing that’s unnecessary? My guess is probably at least 5-10 hours of work. Stop doing that stuff and voila you have a reasonable job at a decent pay rate. So much more is in your control than you think, especially when you’re not billing your time. Also, if some of your work is just sitting at your desk waiting for things to happen, use that time differently- go run an errand, pay your bills, go to the gym, etc.

      • part time law :

        Thanks. I think I’ve learned these skills already – biglaw for sure helped me gain confidence that I can just step out and do what I need to do when I have the time & I’m getting used to the urgency / non-urgency of items at my in-house job. I found a therapist around the corner and a yoga studio across the street from my office that I do make use of! But sometimes those activities make me get behind or require I stay a little later than usual. I’ll focus on reevaluating the use of my time over the next couple of weeks (and again at the 9 month mark or so – when I might understand even more about what I can cut or spend less time on).

    • I’m a part time litigation attorney and I have been for the last five years. I work about 25 hours a week. My deal is that I basically set my schedule and I have to get my work done. Because it is litigation, it can be very up and down. However, the nature of my field is that most cases settle so trial hasn’t been a big issue in my schedule. So, yes, these positions exist. With that said, I am way outside your market in a small/remote/less competitive area. A big reason I have been able to do it is that my firm was flexible to begin with, sort of boutique-y, and I am specialized in what I do, so not easily replaceable. My sense is that in NYC there’s a lot of competition so you lose that bargaining chip.

      I was at my firm 5 years before I went part-time. I took a pay cut overall (not hourly) and I have no benefits. Lawyers who I have seen go part time generally have to build up goodwill first and bring value to the firm (e.g. client list, unique skill set). I also think smaller/less formal firms will be much more flexible.

    • Are you setting firm boundaries? :

      I am in-house and there is a SIGNIFIGANT range in my small department alone with some attorneys working nights and weekends and others working 30-40 ish hours.

      The two biggest factors are (1) practice area and (2) personality. Certain practice areas have firm deadlines and a high volume (we have a regulatory group where the deadlines are fast and furious and the positions seem quite understaffed but also corporate and litigation groups where the hours are MUCH more lax).

      But personality is a FAR bigger factor. My family is my priority. Full stop. That’s why I took a big law pay cut and came here. I am very efficient and actually handle more client groups than anyone else in my area but I do not waste time at the office and telecommute even though we don’t have an actual telecommuting policy. I am not trying to get ahead, I am not trying to get promoted so none of those subtle pressures to just do more work. I do excellent, efficient, timely work. All the VPs are very happy with my support. But I draw clear personal boundaries and priority my family.

      I’ve talked to others in my Department and it’s clear that although they envy my work-life balance, they are not willing to make the career sacrifices I’ve made. They worry that setting boundaries or pushing back on client groups that try to pass their work on or saying no to “extra” work will prevent them from being promoted. And it will. But I just don’t care. My life matters more.

      You need to set a clear tone when you start a new job or start working with a new client group. You are efficient but also expect your time to be spent effectively (i.e., doing the work that only you can do – not doing admin tasks or client tasks); you take your vacations and personal days (you are available for emergencies but not fire drills). Many women think they have to “prove” themselves in their new roles but this often sets unrealistic expectations that you can’t dial back. Prove yourself with the quality of your work, not your availability for any minor non-legal task.

  9. Health Plans? :

    Any recommendatioms for federal employee health plans? I am planning on joining my fiance’s after getting married (soon) but am completely overwhelmed with all the options, and thought I’d try and ask if the hive has any recommendations, or tips on what to look for. We are in our early 30s, located in NYC, no major health problems. We may start TTC-ing within the next couple of years. Would also prefer if the plan covers therapy – I’m in the process of looking for a new therapist. Fiance sees a chiropractor and needs physical therapy from time to time. Thanks in advance!

    • We’ve been very happy with FEP Blue (the high option or whatever they’re calling it these days). I’m not sure about PT or the chiropractor. I believe they cover some therapy but I’m not sure. (I am trying to figure this one out myself.)

      It did cover all things baby – all the prenatal appointments and the hospital delivery with no copay or coinsurance or anything. It also paid for a breast pump. It also covers a good share of my spouse’s phenomenally expensive biologic medication, although we did hit our out of pocket maximum on him along the way and expect to do so next year as well.

    • For baby- check if/to what extent reproductive assistance is covered, check if rx formula is covered.

    • Anonymous :

      The FEP Blue/ Carefirst plans are pretty good. Both cover chiro/PT visits but there’s an annual cap on visits so check that. The higher plan will let you go out of network but the lower plan is limited to network. I’m in DC so everyone takes it and being in-network is never an issue, but if you have a preferred provider it’s good to confirm that they participate. I don’t think there’s a limit on therapy visits though you’ll have a copay every time.

      If you are TTC soon most reproductive assistance is not covered, though diagnostic is. Unless you know you have an issue, you are probably fine with one of those plans. (One of the non-Carefirst plans has good IVF coverage, but the rest of the benefits are not great.)

  10. 2L/3L panel topics :

    I coordinate the law student extern program in a government office and need to plan a lunch panel. We’ve already hosted a discussion on various attorneys’ paths to becoming prosecutors. Any ideas for a second panel? I’m drawing a complete blank. The majority of the students have solidified their post-graduation plans, so a conversation about clerkships would likely be unhelpful. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • I assume you work in a prosecutor’s office (by the topic of the first panel). Some ideas:

      – What makes an excellent junior prosecutor / day to day of a junior prosecutor / how to work with senior prosecutors (they might have gotten this already in an orientation but if not I think an expectations of how the job really works would be helpful & interesting)
      – Showing a different side of the legal community – actual judges or judicial clerks talking about their experiences with prosecutors, defense attorneys talking about their experiences / perceptions of prosecutors, etc.?
      – Hot topics / panel on specific cases that the office has done in the last ~2 years (recent, but not things that the students would work on). Could focus on showing trends or could just be an opportunity to show off a little bit depending on the nature of your work / the externship.

    • Tips for young attorneys. Ask junior staffers to speak and set it up as a casual round table.

    • Here are a few ideas:

      *How to transition from law school to the practice of law.
      *How to structure your legal career/think strategically about different choices and how they impact options down the road.
      *Paying off debt and the future of PSLF
      *Skills that good attorneys (or, specifically, prosecutors) need that aren’t intuitively obvious. For example, does it help to learn a lot about the science of DNA evidence or about finance, if one does violent crime prosecutions or white-collar work?

    • Evidence issues

      e.g., you sign a tax return under penalty of perjury so it is an admission for tax purposes; also, if you make a knowing false statement, it is perjury (but 18 usc 1001 is easier to deal with than a title 26 crime)

      Stuff like that and financial fraud / elder abuse

      • Is this a prosecutor’s office? I am a prosecutor in a large NE city. I wouldn’t get into the specialized stuff like some prior posters mentioned, as new prosecutors are generally in a large trial unit and don’t get into the specialized units until a few years down the road. Besides, your state rules of crim pro will be a lot more relevant than federal statues when actually practicing.
        Maybe get some cops or victim services people in. We work with cops on a daily basis. Learning from a detective as to what makes a good case can be useful. Get a gang unit person in if your city deals with gangs. It useful to know the players, plus it’s interesting to learn about. Victims and witnesses are challenging for a number of different reasons; it’s helpful for prosecutors to know how to handle them.
        If these presentations are meant to be more fun, have some cops bring in guns and drugs so the interns can see what they look like and learn a little bit about them.

        • Nerfmobile :

          But it could be useful to talk about what the specialized units are. My mother spent a good 10 years or so in her legal career with her county working on Civil/Involuntary Commitments and issues around defendants with mental health concerns. Certainly not a path she ever dreamed of when she landed her first job with the prosecutor’s office, but she loved the work. Lots of other odd little niches people could find interesting possibilities in.

  11. Need style help - sheer black tee? :

    Seeking fashion help – this is not a strong suit (heh) for me so I bought an Eloquii black layering top, like a nice blouse to wear to work. Unfortunately, it is awfully sheer! Is there any way I can or should style it for work? Can I wear it… over a pattern shirt? Is there any way YOU would wear this shirt to work? Link is in the comments, asssuming this comment goes through.

  12. I work for a massive company that announced a global restructuring last week (you can probably guess the one). No one in my area seems particularly concerned. Leadership said they’ll know more about numbers and what areas will be affected early next year. They’ve made it sound like they’ll be focusing on downsizing management. I’ve only been here a year (first job out of college) and am pretty nervous. Both of my parents lost their jobs in the Recession so I’ve been scared of layoffs and downturns since then.

    I know a lot of you have been through layoffs before, do you have any advice? Should I start updating my resume?

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Ford? (You don’t have to confirm, just guessing.)

      Former FoMoCo employee here, though wasn’t there through any layoffs (I left in 2004, right before a massive downturn…) If you are part of the new college graduate program, i would be VERY surprised if you are impacted by any restructuring. I would assume that your assumption is correct regarding who will be leaving– they will likely try to reduce headount via voluntary buyouts and forced retirements initially. Massive layoffs like what’s being proposed generally occur in phases (or they have, historically, at this company) and I would be surprised they got to your level. You’re (relatively) low-paid, and I’m assuming you’re a high performer (assumption based on the Type-A’s this s!te tents to attract!)– you’l be fine.

      By all means, work on your resume– it’s rarely a bad idea to keep that updated. But you’ll most likely be fine.

      • That’s the one.
        I’m not in the new grad program, was direct hired into my role, which I think is adding to my stress about it. My friends in the program are probably safe, but I might be less safe. They already did phased retirement this year and exceeded their goal for headcount reduction.
        However my org is paying for grad school and other expensive training, and sending me to a big conference. I feel like they’re investing a lot in me so I should be safe, but it’s hard to shake the uncertainty.

        • I think the uncertainty is just part of being an adult. I’ve been in the work force for over 10 years, and still feel that on varies levels at any given time — which is probably partly a result of living through the recession. In addition to updating your resume, I would consider whether you can put aside a little more in an emergency fund. I always feel better when I have money in am emergency fund so don’t have to worry about ending up on the street if I lose my job.

          • +1. Focus on your savings. I’ve been in the workforce 10+ years as well, and lived through a couple restructurings. Calculate out what 6 months of emergency spending would look like for you (rent + car pmts, utilities, food, a new suit for interviewing, etc) and work on getting that in a savings account.

            My number is $35K currently (I have a mortgage and two kids, one still in daycare with a two month cancellation policy) and I will likely always have that money in a regular savings account earning no interest but extremely liquid, just because of the horrible job churn in my 20s. I have a separate account for my emergency savings (things like car repairs and medical bills and whatnot), but this is my “job security fund.” It gives me immense peace of mind to know that even if my company announces something tomorrow, I have at least 6 months to get back on my feet.

          • My household went through something similar a few years back and while we were 95% certain my spouse would be retained, nothing is guaranteed. We had a baby on the way and several months of notice, so we began to stockpile cash, cut back on our extras, and prepare in ways we could control. As the plans around the restructure became better known, it became clear that the direction the company was taking wasn’t going to align well with my spouses career goals, so he started job searching and left before layoffs were announced.

            My best advice for you is to control what you can. Prepare your finances, make sure you’re up to date on reimbursements from grad school/travel (or better, make sure you’re putting everything you can on a corporate card), schedule visits to make the best use of your health insurance benefits, etc. Update your resume and be open to opportunities that arise.

    • When companies do layoffs, generally they start at the top and go down in waves. Those people make the most money, which in turn saves the most money. You’re at the bottom of that hierarchy so I think your odds are pretty good.

  13. What do you do after work when you’re totally exhausted? I have a new schedule and a longer commute which leaves me totally exhausted and getting home too late to do my normal after work activities (happy hour, workout, check out something in my city, rec sports game, etc). I know the obvious answer is to crash and watch TV but I’ve tried that and it’s not something I enjoy. Any other low energy activities to try? I’m usually mentally and physically done after work.

    • I only turn the TV on while doing another task- lately I’ve been knitting Christmas presents and making holiday decorations. The crafts make this more stimulating than just vegging out to TV, but I still get to check out from whatever my brain has been doing all day. I specifically choose projects that are fairly repetitive so I can do them when I’m really tired and not willing to think about anything too complicated.
      I find it hard to turn my brain off from the work day without something to distract myself, so the TV serves this purpose. Podcasts or music might be another good option, or talking with a friend. I have a few friends who live close by and are usually up for a low-key glass of wine and a chat while we work on our respective projects.

    • It sounds like you do have some time in which to do something if you’re asking this question, so I would do a gentle workout or work on a creative project like knitting, I would also read, which may or may not work if you’re tired.

    • I like to read a fun book. I find that more engaging then TV, but still very relaxing.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        I usually have two books in process – one that’s lighter and one that’s more serious. The lighter one is great for evenings when I am just flat worn out.

        • Coach Laura :

          Yes, I have two reads going on my Kindle – one new and the other that is something lighter that I read to relax. In my case, the something lighter is one of the first few Harry Potter novels that I know the ending and they are soothing for that reason. HP is free on Kindle Unlimited.

    • I like to read after work/after Kiddo goes to bed. But on days that I’m completely exhausted, the only thing I can do is watch TV. If your new schedule also involves you going into work later, you could also go to bed early and get up early so you have the morning to do some of your previous evening activities (work out, take a walk, coffee and the news, etc.).

    • What about taking a walk around your neighborhood? Not as taxing as a full on gym workout, but better for you than sitting on the couch. If I can make myself do this, I feel so much better the rest of the night.

    • I move my workout to the morning so I get it in and the. when the workday is done, I have less time to “waste” exhausted.

    • Honestly? Back seasons of reality TV. It’s my perfect zone out fodder.

      Better advice, can you go to the gym or happy hour immediately after your workday before you commute?

    • Is it Friday yet? :

      Books (sometimes non-fiction, sometimes heavy fiction, mostly lighter fiction or whatever my book club pick is that month). Crossword puzzles with undemanding TV (I recommend the Great British Bake-Off) in the background. Messing around on my laptop on the couch. I sometimes just watch TV, but I find I only have any attention span for it at certain times, and for certain things. I tend to get distracted by my phone, because I like having something to do with my hands – I actually just picked up a cross stitch kit to try while I watch. I also only watch if I’m home earlier – I turn the TV off by 11pm as a rule, so if I get home from rock climbing or trivia night or whatever at 10-10:30, it’s a no go.

    • anon a mouse :

      have you tried yoga videos? They can be low-key, and help you transition from a work day to a better state of relaxation. Or a foam roller. I find that when I’m working long hours I want something to physically counteract the toll of sitting and working all day.

  14. My wife is starting our first IVF cycle this month.

    Any tips of how I can support her? I am going to all of the appointments, but anything more?

    This is a big thing she is doing for our family and I want to support her as much as possible.

    • I found that I just had less to give overall. I went through it alone but would have loved someone to take care of dinners and make me a cup of tea when I got up early to do shots and doctor visits and def come to appointments when possible. Flowers would have been great. Also, it’s a lot of stuff. I was comfortable doing the shots myself, the instructional videos are great, but taking care of the sharps and the trash and the boxes would have been helpful.

    • When my sister went through that, she needed a lot of emotional support, both because TTC is a heavy topic, and because the hormones really messed with her moods. Since you’re asking here, I’m guessing that you’re already emotionally available to her, but maybe make some extra efforts in that direction during the cycle.

  15. Just giving an update on my situation from Monday about my boyfriend’s family/the cousin living situation/his unwillingness to stand up to them. We’ve had long, intense talks over the last two days, and basically what I’ve learned is that he’s been emotionally abused by his mom and aunt literally all his life. He was always “the adult” and the one who handled his mom’s psychiatric issues, relationship issues, job losses, etc. The mom and aunt threaten to (and have followed through on) stop taking their essential meds if he doesn’t do what they tell him to do and he’s literally afraid they’re going to die and doesn’t think he can live with himself if he is responsible for that happening. The good news – he’s acknowledged that he doesn’t know how to handle this and wants to learn how in therapy. I hope he also can get some healing from this abuse (it took him a while to realize this kind of behavior is abusive and just as bad as physical abuse), so I’m going to be supportive of therapy. Is that reasonable? I know I need to look out for myself, but I also think that once he gets the help and healing he needs, he’ll be able to form better boundaries with them and end this cycle.

    • It depends. Therapy is great, but what’s the plan with the cousin? Is he going to tell his mother and his aunt that he will not be living with his cousin?

    • If this has been going on his entire life, ending it will not happen soon. If you want to stay in this relationship (which only you know if that’s something you want to or should do; all we’ve heard about is some very negative aspects and his positive aspects may outweigh that for you), I would make sure you’re prepared for this boundary setting process to take years and to not go especially smoothly all the time.

      In the meantime, where is his cousin living? Is cousin prepared to do any work to try to end this cycle as well?

      I wish you luck. This is a hard situation.

      • I agree with this. This guy must otherwise be AMAZING because this level of baggage is… daunting to say the least. Don’t feel that you have to stay in the relationship just because he’s making an effort with therapy.

    • I think this is a good step, but only if he follows through to actually go to therapy and takes concrete steps to stop giving into their wants. Also, I don’t see it in your paragraph, did you emphasize to him that them taking their meds and the consequences of that aren’t his fault? He should work through that with a therapist as well.

      I don’t see a reason to break up if he’s really moving forward to resolve his issues, but you should put the breaks on plans to move in and get married. You shouldn’t enter a marriage with this level of conflict unresolved. If he’s not following through, it’s time to cut the cord. Also, stop talking to his family members and focus on supporting him, your previous post seemed like you were WAY too involved.

      • “Also, I don’t see it in your paragraph, did you emphasize to him that them taking their meds and the consequences of that aren’t his fault?”

        So much this. It is designed to provoke an *emotional* reaction, so the reaction has to be unemotional.

        “Do that or don’t do that, but it’s on you, not me. I am not responsible for your choices.” Hang up or guide the person out the door.

        (Note: do not say this to a depressed person who actually thinks people would be better off without her or him. But I have had an ex-boyfriend threaten suicide because I didn’t want to get back together, and had a parent – fork, fork, fork – attempt to put his/her decision to not provide medical care to my grandparent on me. As in, medical care was stopped because I wasn’t being a sufficiently compliant daughter and therefore, the grandparent would be dead before I could say good-bye. That level of cruelty ended when I just stopped caring or responding.)

    • It’s not unreasonable if he is very proactive. Like making a therapist appointment today. Did he call his EAP? Is he still considering living with the cousin.

      You’ve already invested 2.5 years with this guy. Unless you see real, significant change in the next 3-6 months, you’re unlikely to ever see change.

      And it depends how committed to change he is. On the cousin, is he actively seeking a therapist to help him explain to his mom and aunt that he will not be moving in with cousin? I don’t see how your relationship survives him living with the cousin. Mom/aunt will be there/be calling constantly.

      Don’t spend another 2.5 years with this guy unless there is significant change in the short term, end up single in your early thirties and with a much shallower dating pool to draw from.

      • Senior Attorney :

        So much this. He may have had an epiphany and be ready to turn his life around, or he may be telling you what you want to hear. Watch his actions very carefully and don’t waste too much more time in this situation unless there is significant change.

    • This is a really painful situation. I was the adult in my family, and I benefited greatly from DBT skills workshops and DBT therapy. Therapy was effective, and these issues are not a big part of my life anymore. DBT was built on CBT specifically to help abuse victims who have issues with boundaries (a group of patients who, statistically, were not doing well with regular textbook CBT).

      • (I don’t want to sound like a DBT ad; family systems therapy could also be relevant but takes longer, is harder to find, and has less research support.)

        I want to add that there were “life and death” stakes in my family too. I felt very supported by my therapist and therapy group in learning exactly the right things to say to establish boundaries, and to let myself off the hook for what happened as a result of doing so. I was fortunate in that the people in my family mostly rallied when they couldn’t rely on me anymore, but through therapy I was able to see and really feel that my choices to protect myself were improving these relationships even if the retaliatory abusive/self-destructive lashing out had been worse.

        By the way, establishing boundaries with my family did not take a lot of time. Feeling okay about it took longer, but the therapy I did was very action-oriented, and the situation (for me) improved very quickly. If weeks and months drag on in therapy, I would conclude that something’s not working.

    • I agree with Torin. Your boyfriend has a long, long path ahead toward even becoming reasonably healthy. Go very, very slow with relationship steps and commitment with him. This is a big deal; don’t be overly optimistic about how this will go.

    • I think it sounds reasonable. My own mother lives a more organized life than you describe your boyfriend’s family but is incredibly demanding. I grew up feeling like her happiness was my personal responsibility and carried that into adulthood. It is exhausting. It took me until I was 47 to set boundaries.

    • It could take years for him to learn to stand up to mommy and he’ll still end up living with his cousin probably. You don’t need those issues in your life.

    • I would give it a little time and see if he makes real progress. But assuming you don’t see that and/or if he still moves in with his cousin, I would break up with him. Creating those boundaries will be really hard for him, but only he can do it. Although I would be happy to support him as a friend when he works on that, I would not put your life on hold indefinitely to see if he actually follows through.

      • Yes, people are saying this will be a long hard road and take lots of time and decades, etc. It doesn’t have to be that way. Real progress can be made in a matter of weeks. It’s hard, but it’s not slow. I initially saw my therapist twice a week to speed things up (and again, I can’t emphasize enough that you have to see the right kind of therapist; I saw two therapists who were useless before I learned more about the different types of therapy available).

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Thanks for the update! Awesome that he says he wants therapy. Did he call yesterday and set up an appointment? Because there was nothing stopping him from doing that. If you want to look out for yourself (and you should!), then IMO, you shouldn’t hang around. I’d at least take a big step back from the relationship for the next 6 months.

    • I’m not being flip, but if his mom and aunt threaten to do something life-threatening, then your bf should call 911 or a psychiatric hospital, not do what they want.

      If I were you, I would only consider moving forward if the cousin does not move in and you see other major changes within 1-3 months, no more. Even then, i would tread cautiously.

    • Thank you guys so much for all of this. He called numerous therapists as well as his state bar association’s mental health line yesterday and has an appointment next week with a therapist. He said the cousin can stay with him for 6 months to help get her acclimated to new city (which I’m OK with as long as it’s on his terms and not mom/aunt’s), but then she needs to get her own place or find roommates. I actually feel terrible for the cousin too – she has a lot of emotional issues as a result of the aunt’s behavior, was apparently suicidal the last time she moved out on her own for college then had to move home, and I think just is desperate to escape living with these crazy people. I told bf that we’ll reevaluate everything in December and that I’ll support him in getting help but significant, concrete progress needs to be made by then. So…we’ll see. I’m not going to engage with his family at all during this time, will step back a bit, and reevaluate in December. Everyone’s advice (and reality checks) here has been incredibly helpful and I’m so appreciative!

      • Why does your boyfriend need to actually live with the cousin to get her acclimated? That is so weird and sounds very much on the mom and aunt’s terms still. Honestly, you might be in for a world of difficulty here. Best of luck though.

      • I would consider pushing that the move in is just for three months and he will help her find a roommate to replace him when he moves out. He will likely have to move out. She is unlikely to leave on her own. January is a new university semester in many places so may be a good time to try and find a grad student roommate or similar.

      • What happens Day 1 of Month 7 when she doesn’t have any where to go? Mom and aunt intervene and cousin stays put. I appreciate your trying OP, but i just don’t see how this works at all to your benefit.

    • That’s great for him, but I wouldn’t hold your breath about how fast things will get better, if they even do. You can love your boyfriend and wish him the best and still decide that being in a relationship with him isn’t the best decision for you.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, I think that is a reasonable position to take. Once your BF starts working with a therapist that he likes and trusts, I would not be surprised if the therapist wants you to come and participate, too, when it comes up in therapy that these issues are causing major problems in your relationship. I’m sure your BF doesn’t like the current situation that has been foisted upon him, but just feels trapped and has been dealing with it the best way he knows how. Once a therapist can teach him a different plan for action, provide him with the script for what he should say to them, and support him emotionally through the process, I think you will see change. I will keep fingers crossed for you guys! You have a lot invested in this relationship, so I think you owe it to yourself to see whether this situation can be fixed (or at least made a lot more tolerable). Glad you are taking steps to create change instead of sitting back and being miserable about it!

  16. Anyone out there married to or dating someone in academia? I’ve been dating this great guy who is a university professor. He is very cerebral, and I do enjoy our conversations, but it seems like he can’t just let loose and be goofy – always professorial. I think he is trying to compliment me through a round a bout mention of my intellect, that he values my opinion, etc., but he never once has said anything along the lines of “you look lovely” or “wow, what a catch you are.” I wonder if he is just lacking in social/emotional intelligence and if I should overlook this? I feel hurt that I get all dressed up to go to dinner and a performance, and it’s like I might as well be wearing a paper bag. I don’t know that I should have to, nor do I want to, ask him to please compliment me – it feels wrong and also like maybe he doesn’t think these things. I am 33 and worry that maybe I’m being too picky and should just go with it, but I do feel hurt and am thinking he just would need too much coaching in this area. He basically said to me last night he finds it “interesting that statistically [I’ve] paid off my student loans and have a high credit score, when by [my] age it is unusual.” I don’t want him to want to date me because I am fiscally responsible – so unromantic!

    • I get it: the heart wants what the heart wants.

      BUT, in his defense, I would find a fiscally irresponsible partner with a bad credit score wildly unromantic

      If he is a Virgo like me, he is being wild and crazy with his praise by noting your credit score and responsibility.

      • He is a Aquarius. It also feels off because I’m a lawyer and clearly make more than he does. I don’t get the sense he’s gold digging, but it just feels like an inappropriate compliment in the absence of all others.

        • Do you watch Big Bang theory at all? He sounds like one of the guys on that. And even they seem to get frisky.

          Is is the friskiness that you’re more wanting? Or to not have the practical compliments? Or just someone else?

    • to each her own :

      bwahaha if my husband said, “Wow, what a catch you are” to me I would think he’d had a personality transplant!

      Tell him what you want!! “Oh yeah, my budgeting skills are so s 3 x i e but what about this (do an Ellen-type move where you show off your assets). You know, I’m the whole package!”

      Yes people need coaching on how to be in a relationship with you because he’s never done it before and you’re not a clone of anyone else.

    • There is no way to get what you want out of a relationship without being honest about it. Speak up!

      • But don’t you think it’s odd if you have to tell the person “please tell me you think I’m beautiful”? High school boys know to say this. It isn’t like I’m upset about him not reading my mind for something that’s unique to me.

        • I regularly remind my husband that he needs to compliment me; sometimes I will look at him after i’ve gotten extra dolled up and just say “Pretty wife?” He reads the cue and compliments appropriately. But it is just not something he thinks to do on his own because it is not the way he expresses love. He is a wonderful partner, father, etc and I have zero hestiation about our relationship and his love for me. He just doesn’t tell me I’m pretty without prompting.

        • I’m sorry, but I have to correct you. High school boys to whom this comes naturally will say it. Anyone to whom it comes naturally will say it. I dated a high school boy to whom it did not come naturally to say anything to me at all. It isn’t unique to you to want this, but it seems to be foreign to him. Therefore, if you want to be fair to him, you either express your wishes (and I do agree with you that “please tell me you think I’m beautiful” sounds odd, but there are other ways to phrase this), or you end it. If this is so important to you that you asked internet strangers about it, then it is important enough to ask him about it.

          • Honestly, if my father (engineer) said this to my mother, I’d have him evaluated for a stroke (or perhaps, in a soap opera, this would be what tipped us off that it was my father’s evil twin). It’s not in everyone’s wiring.

            If some guy in high school told me I was pretty, I’d wonder what he wanted. I’m cynical like that (but also, I am not pretty; striking, yes, but not pretty).

        • I don’t know…my fiance just isn’t inclined to be verbally affectionate or complimentary. It’s not his jam or his default love language. What is his jam: thoughtful gifts (including to my family), doing his share of the chores, snuggling on the couch.

          I’ve told him a few times, “dude, I need you to tell me I look pretty.” He’s better about it now, and I know he finds me attractive; I’ve gotten to the point that I appreciate compliments more from him now, because I know that if he tells me I look nice, I look freakin’ smokin’ and I know that he really means it in that moment. It’s just not the hill I want to die on in my otherwise great relationship.

        • I’m not Anon at 11:21 but I could have written it. My husband basically never compliments my looks. He tells me he loves me all the time, praises me when I kick a$$ at work, is an incredible partner, fantastic father, more than pulls his weight when it come to the house and kids, etc etc. Admittedly, I run in nerdy, somewhat socially awkward circles with lots of academics, scientists and engineers but I can’t think of many men that regularly make comments about their wife’s physical appearance. For my husband, I think there’s a bit of feeling like a focus on women’s looks is anti-feminist (he tells our toddler daughter all the time that she’s smart, funny, kind etc. but never calls her cute or adorable) but I also think it’s just something that doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people. If I told him to compliment my looks, he would though. I don’t see what the big deal is with having one conversation about it. Part of being in a long term partnership is having lots of “hey, these are my needs and here’s what you can do to meet them” conversations.

        • I think high school boys know what girls want to hear and will tell them anything to get s3x. I’m not sure it should be a negative that he’s not acting like a high school boy in this regard. To me, it means he’s more mature and is telling you what he actually feels, not what he thinks you want to hear.

          • Right?

            It’s like on an old episode of Roseanne where some guy shows up at the diner with flowers and Roseanne says that either you did something very wrong or she did something very right.

            Compliments out of now where are just suspicious. Especially if it’s a word like “pretty” — it just doesn’t seem that sincere.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Naw, people have different love languages. My SO tells me how much he loves talking to me, how much he likes my brain, how clever I am, and how much fun he has with me. Getting him to comment on my appearance is like pulling teeth. If I ask him directly “Do you think I’m pretty?” he will enthusiastically tell me yes, but it’s not how he expresses affection, partially because it’s not what he values in a spouse.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I agree. I know my husband finds me hot, but sometimes I ask him to say the words: “do you like this dress?” He shows me in non-verbal ways [ahem] but sometimes I want the words, so I ask for them.

    • I’m an academic. Though the “professor”stereotype manages to excuse many of our foibles, his profession is irrelevant here. Many of us are goofy, social, romantic and know how to compliment! It sounds like this guy just isn’t particularly demonstrative. If that’s not a fit for you, I don’t see anything unreasonable about letting him go and looking for someone else who’s social/emotional style is a better fit.

      • Yeah this is him. Not academia.

      • I think it’s relevant in that he probably gets very, very little feedback from others on how he comes across. This personality type would be more or less mocked (with more or less friendliness) by colleagues in another profession, which would soften the edges more or at least produce more self-awareness. There are really great people in the academy who come across this way (there are also unbelievable jerks, and they can be hard to tell apart at first). There are also some people that I strongly suspect are a bit neuroatypical who have focused on playing to their strengths rather than shoring up their weaknesses (and that decision went pretty well for them if they ended up making it to a professorship!).

        • I think you’ve got some weird stereotypes internalized, OP. Rather than spend all this energy trying to figure out why this guy is the way he is and how you can change it, why don’t you just focus on 1) asking for what you want using words; 2) deciding if this is a deal breaker for you. In all your comments here, you seem to have this underlying assumption that your way is the correct way and his is not, so you can get him to change. That is just simply not true.

          • Anonymous :

            Sorry, 10:55 AM anon here. I’m not OP, but I know a lot of academics, and I believe that OP was correct in thinking that academia is an environment that caters to this personality type rather than pushing back against it. The stereotype exists for a reason.

            I do not at all agree that the OP’s way is correct or that there is a correct way.

    • You have to tell him what you want. This is true in many relationships, not just ones with slightly socially awkward guys.

    • My engineer/patent lawyer husband can be this way. I’m six years younger and he was really excited about that from the time value of money / retirement savings perspective. Also, when we met with the priest for pre-marital counseling, an exchange went like this:

      Priest: Why do you want to marry Anon?
      Him: Oh, that’s easy. She’s extremely reliable.
      Me: (cancels entire wedding in 15 second flash in my mind, including wondering how to return presents already exchanged)
      Priest: In 40 years of work, this is the finest answer I have ever heard.
      Me: (wonders if anyone knows how to have fun)

      I married him anyway, and it’s worked out well for over 20 years. It helped that he did not seem practical in the bedroom and is usually always in a good mood.

      • My sister’s stated reason for marrying my BIL was that he was “steady”. We all thought she was nuts. Guess who (out of all her high school/college friends) is still married?

      • Anonymous :

        I love this entire comment.

    • If you really like him, the time to learn to communicate openly with him is now. Just tell him, hey, I’m so glad that you love my mind, but I’d like it if you would acknowledge the effort I put into looking nice, or if you think I’m attractive, etc. It sounds awkward, it will be awkward, but you’re telling him how to best communicate with you. I try to think of it in terms of expressing to someone your love language, as hokey as it seems. Some people thrive on gifts, some on acts of service, some on praise – you need someone to acknowledge your mental and physical efforts to feel appreciated and that’s okay.

      But even if he has trouble expressing how good you look, know that he wouldn’t be dating you if he didn’t find you attractive. On the let loose and goofy part, that may not be a real part of his personality and if you need that, he’s probably not the guy for you. Some people are just serious and cerebral by nature and that’s ok.

    • Why are you dating him? He doesn’t make you feel good and you don’t really like him. Move on.

    • Is your guy an economist?! I’m an economics professor and as my husband puts gently, not very interested in traditional romantic gestures. You might like to google “economist greeting cards atlantic” for a laugh.

      But! I don’t think his job and his reserved? stoic? laconic? nature is the issue here. There are plenty of people outside of academia who can’t detach from work or aren’t particularly observant of the fact that someone dressed up for them or whatever. I also have at least one very extroverted friend who is a professor. You can reasonably decide that this guy’s not for you, or you can reasonably say “I’d like you to say that you think I’m pretty / notice that I put some effort into X” or you can reasonably decide that his other qualities mitigate this particular shortcoming. None of these options are wrong.

      Good luck!

      • Haha, my old college boyfriend is an econ professor at an Ivy League school. He got me a leather bound copy of Moby Dick for my 21st birthday.

    • This sounds like a love languages issue. It seems that yours is words of affirmation. I would consider reading the Five Love Languages book. I think you need to have some discussions about how to “speak” each others languages. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think it’s helpful to be aware of something like this in a relationship.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        +1,000 This is a Love Language issue. OP, don’t give up. Read the book. Have him read the book. You’ll get there.

    • This is all really helpful. Thank you. Especially knowing it can work with someone like this. Actually, on our second date we talked about the love languages book and he acknowledged he read it. I told him I’m definitely a verbal affirmation kind of person, but he hasn’t seemed to catch on and take action on it. He’s really bright (engineering, not econ, would have been a good guess though!), but I sort of thought he would take this on as a new project to perfect, but he hasn’t. Maybe I need to give it a few more dates. It’s just tough because this is long distance, so a few more dates means multiple weekends completely eaten up with high stakes travel, awkward accommodations, etc.

      • I’m the academic/nerdy one (field scientist/engineer) in my relationship, and honestly, I have to be told to tell my partner (government/financial services) that he looks good when he’s in a suit. I didn’t grow up valuing looks, and being in a field where looks should be the least interesting thing about you, complimenting someone else that “you look great!” is not something that comes naturally to me.

        You have to tell him directly – “I want you to tell me that I’m hot when I dress up,” and don’t dance around the subject. I didn’t get it until I was told directly, and now I do compliment him. Now if he still can’t compliment you after you’ve told him, that’s something to think about if that’s worth your price of admission.

      • Why. Are. You. Bothering? This is who he is. You don’t like it. Just call it quits! You are wasting time you could be using to find someone right for you.

      • I will also say that not everyone even WANTS to be complimented on their appearance. I have found that smart men complimenting me on my brain is just about one of the hottest things to me; I don’t really value being told I am attractive, because actions can show attraction just fine. I want to be told I am valued/admired for things that aren’t purely physical. It’s totally fine if you’re different, but just know that some of us don’t think your guy’s behavior is bizarre, but rather exactly the kind of compliment we’d want. It’s OK to tell him what makes you feel special.

      • GIANT RED FLAG

        “I sort of thought he would take this on as a new project to perfect, but he hasn’t”

        PEOPLE ARE NOT IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.

    • I’m married to an academic! FWIW, he compliments my appearance all the time. I think that this is more a personality thing than a career, although obviously there is some overlap in that particular Venn diagram. If you are looking for the advice and insight of an internet stranger, if I were you, I’d ask myself how important the romantic words and gestures are. If they are, cut your losses. It is okay to not want to date someone who is perfectly great just because they don’t do X. It is not being picky, it is being fair to yourself.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ll just add one more possible consideration: I worked for seven years on a university campus and most are very progressive and feminist–or at least try to create such an atmosphere. Perhaps he’s worried about giving offense by complimenting your looks instead of your intellect?

    • A few months after I started dating my husband (an engineer), this issue came up. I can’t remember exactly how I phrased it, but I was feeling unseen, and I asked him if he thought I was pretty or attractive. He looked confused and slightly worried, and he asked me what was going on. When I tried to explain myself, he basically said something like “I haven’t ever told you you’re beautiful because it’s so obvious that you are — it would be like me telling you that you are a human being. It doesn’t ever occur to me that I need to say it out loud…but I will if you want me to!” Paraphrasing, but you get the idea. And FWIW, I’m not conventionally beautiful. It helped me understand why there was a gap between what I wanted to hear and what he felt was important to say out loud. And it helps me that he tries hard to verbalize compliments more frequently now.

      In any case, I don’t think it’s a lost cause. Ask for what you need and pay attention to how he responds. That will let you know if it’s worth pursuing.

  17. Vicarious shopping :

    In case anyone is up for it, I’m looking for some booties similar to the Marc Fisher Yale or Yommi, in a taupe or gray suede, with a price point ideally around $100. I found the Yommi on Nordstrom Rack but they don’t have my size (8).

  18. I have a final round interview tomorrow with the company I’d like to work at long-term. Unfortunately, I’ve realized that the timing is awful for me, both personally and professionally—they want someone who can start immediately and after a lot of reflection, I don’t feel like I can leave my current position before a big project wraps up in the spring. I’m getting great experience, enjoy working on it, and don’t want to throw my current company under this bus. There are reasons why I don’t want to be here long-term, but I like my department and don’t want to burn any bridges since we’re a small, collegial, and niche field, and I will run into these people for the rest of my career. But I don’t want to burn any bridges with the company I’m interviewing with, either! Should I openly mention the timing issues tomorrow? I know the general consensus is to only discuss it at the offer stage, but I don’t want them to feel like I’m jerking them around. I don’t want the job right now and wish I’d never applied for it, but I do want to be able to re-apply the next time they have something open up, and I’m scared I’m going to torpedo that if they end up offering me the job and I turn it down. Help! I’m really stressed and anxious about this.

    • 1) Don’t mention anything until you receive an offer
      2) Your current company can and will move on without you and will finish up that project in the Spring just fine. If you died tomorrow, the project would keep moving on pace – I’m sorry to tell you but no one is that indispensable on work projects.
      3) Why are you letting loyalty to a company whose only responsibility is to make a profit torpedo your future career chances? This position may only come along once and you want to destroy your chances for a project that is a blip on the radar of your career? Seriously, it’s 6 mths away, they can and will find a way to finish the project without you.
      4) You’ll burn less bridges than you think if you properly transition your project. People understand when an opportunity arise.

      I have had to talk many friends through this situation and my advice is always: DON’T SABOTAGE YOURSELF FROM MISPLACED LOYALTY TO A COMPANY THAT WOULD LAY YOU OFF IN A SECOND IF IT HELPS MEET FINANCIAL GOALS! YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT CARES ABOUT YOUR CAREER, DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO GET AHEAD.

      • +1. You are not leaving current company in the lurch. They will have SIX MONTHS to figure out how to make the project happen without you.

        If it were a project wrapping up in the next few weeks, like say before Thanksgiving, I would understand a request for a slight delay. That’s a little too soon to train someone new and make sure the project goes smoothly, so it makes sense you’d feel a little investment to make sure the project runs okay.

        But this level of loyalty is absurd. Do not decline a good career at a company you want to be with, for a short term project at a company you don’t want to be with.

        You might negotiate for a three week notice period, so you can be extra thorough in transitioning the project. That will not burn any bridges and reflect well on you. But that is the MOST that would be expected by any reasonable employer, on either the losing or hiring side.

        • I know my company would survive without me, even though it would be tough. The issue is more that I don’t WANT to leave mid-project. I’m from a smaller unit and this project is getting me very good high-level exposure. It’s my baby. I genuinely love it and it’s not something I would be picking up at the new company. There are also some personal factors at play that I didn’t get into in my OP. The commute would be brutal (almost 2 hours one way) and we couldn’t relocate until the summer because of my partner’s job (he’s a teacher). We’re also in the middle of planning a wedding.

          The new company usually has 1-2 openings in the role I’m interested in each year. So unless I completely burn a bridge, there’s no reason why this would be my one chance.

    • Are you sure you can’t leave before this project ends in the spring? I would reconsider.

      • I can leave. I guess I should have been clearer in my OP—the issue is more that I don’t want to leave yet. There are also some personalal/life factors at play.

        Basically I regret having applied for the job. If I could undo my application, I would. What I’m trying to figure out is if there’s any way that I can gracefully withdraw without burning bridges for a future hiring cycle. If my only option is to take the job if offered, I’ll take it.

        • Yes, if you’re sure this is not for you, simply withdraw before they spend any more time on you. Probably send a formal email to the hiring manager + follow-up call to HR if appropriate. Approximate script:

          You’ve greatly enjoyed your conversations and learning more about Company X’s needs. The position is appealing, but timing and other company needs described in discussions on [interview date] make a match unlikely at this time. You’d like to withdraw your application for the present position. You hope you’ll have an opportunity to work again in the future.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes, I’d do that. I feel like doing it that way is more likely to make them feel sad that you got away, rather than mad that you led them on.

          • “work TOGETHER in the future”

            Sheesh. :-)

    • Story time – I also work in a small field where you run into your coworkers for the rest of your career. A few years ago, my boss took a new job. It was the WORST timing – announced 4 weeks before the biggest project any of us had ever worked on, so last day was 2 weeks before the project. He had asked for a longer notice period but new company had their own priorities and didn’t say yes. He apologized to us on the team about the timing, but worked hard those two weeks to transition as much as he could and create checklists for all of us to follow.

      Project went just fine without him. We did a great job, and I got a promotion out of it. Whenever we run into him, I and the rest of the team think of him positively. Not a single person faults him for the timing of his exit. It was the right decision for him, even though it caused more work and more stress for those of us left behind.

      The same will happen to you. In fact, because your project isn’t until the spring, people may not even remember that you left before the project.

  19. Fiber Artists! :

    I’ve just completed a knitting project and am looking for inspiration on what to work on next. What’s your current WIP? Knitting and crochet are my jam, but if you do something else throw it out there! I just finished the Moon Shawl by Skeino, with my own yarn options. I’m contemplating the Deauville or Kelpie shawls/wraps (which would be a stretch for my knitting abilities) or an easy crochet afghan like “Carefree” by Rachele Carmona of CypressTextiles. Everyone loves Scheepjes yarn, but do any of you have go to favorites that are more readily available state-side?

    • A Knitterly Soul :

      I’m working on The Wave (by Dandelions and Butterflies) in a yarn I bought on my summer vacation. Scheepjes is available at yarn.com and loveknitting.com, I haven’t worked with it. I tend to buy (too much) from some local indie dyers.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      I just learned to crochet this year, so my projects are very much in the beginner category. I’m currently working on a blanket for a Christmas present and an open-front cardigan for me. I’m using free patterns and Lion brand yarn for both. Once I finish the blanket and the cardigan, I don’t have anything officially in the queue, but suspect I’ll make a little amigurumi something.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m working on the Milestones (from Ravelry) baby blanket, because I like the 3D vibe.

    • Why don’t you try a knitalong? Jimmy beans wool just stared a mystery knitalong this week.

  20. Girls with ADD :

    For any of you who had ADD as a child (esp if ADD and not adHd), did you take any meds as a child?

    After a year of struggles and tears, we finally got our daughter tested and diagnosed. She is not doing horribly at school and has a pleasant (non-disruptive) disposition. H feels that grade-level work (barely) not on meds is OK in a big urban public school. I feel like we give her all other meds that she needs (allergy, other meds when sick, shots), we should try this so we can see what she is capable of with a normal attention span.

    [To be honest, he probably has it too; he did miserably in school to the point where he is ashamed; he did so poorly that he is not even aware of how dramatically test scores affect your life (in our state: you need a certain end of grade score to advance a grade level, many courses and schools require minimum scores on entrance exams, so it isn’t just a high school or college thing); I am shocked that he’d want to perpetuate that on a child.]

    • add grown up :

      I was finally diagnosed at age 22, and it was a suprise to me. Meds drastically improved my life (I was super bright, so was able to do extremely well in school while literally never studying/staying on task).

      I am supportive of meds, but :

      (1) I relied on being naturally bright/smart, so never was able to develop systems/habits. Now I’m 35 and am kind of losing the natural edge, but without systems to aid me. I think having some coaching as a kid to develop good habits and systems would have drastically improved my quality of life (writing things down in a planner, making checklists, having “days” to do certain chores, working backwards for getting ready on time/breaking down big tasks, designating a place for frequently lost items, habit tracker etc.).

      (2) I’ve recently been reading a lot about more natural interventions (combined with meds), and the advice of good sleep, limited screens, omega something fatty acids, pink noise during deep work, and regular, brisk exercise. I’m currently experimenting with being very deliberate about the diet/supplement/sleep and a brisk walk before sitting down to work in the morning. I’ll report back, but I think that it would be interesting to see how being really deliberate with these habits would help (I think everyone thinks they sleep/eat/exercise pretty well, but when I sat down to look at what I actually did, there was some discord there).

      So, TL: DR:

      YES to meds, if doc thinks that’s right, but also YES to helping her with coaching and good habits (so she doesn’t end up at 35 with terrible habits and a lot of self-created “emergencies”).

      • Anonymous :

        Not OP but that you so much for this post. Literally copying it to try the tips you’ve noted.

        I’ve been struggling with what I think might be ADD and this post is so very helpful.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I had (have) ADD and was not medicated until college. I was at astonished at my newfound ability to focus. I did well in K-12 school and was not disruptive but I was very bored. From my experience, I’d suggest that you’d at least try out medication. There are lots of kinds, so play around and find what works best for your daughter. Maybe you’ll stick with medication, maybe you won’t.

      Also, I work in K-12 public education now. Unless you’re at a magnet or an exceptionally high performing school, mastering grade level work in a large urban public school is probably not at the rigor level she needs to be competitive in college. If she can do better with medication with an acceptable level of downsides (med side effects, etc)., it would be good to find that out now.

    • I didn’t grow up with ADHD, but my son was diagnosed about six months ago. We are doing medication, in combination with therapy so he can build the habits that 11:29 talked about. He also deals with a lot more of the disruptive behaviors, which are less common in girls with ADHD.

      Have you considered a medication trial? The good news about meds, at least the ones that are prescribed initially, is that you know pretty quickly whether it works or not. DS has been through a few dosage adjustments — but even at the lowest dose possible, we could see a difference.

      I was surprised by how concerned our no-nonsense our pediatrician was about DS’s self-esteem, should we not treat the ADHD. Chronic underachievement (or in his case, the social stigma of being disruptive) has its own consequences down the road, even if we can’t see them now.

      Medication is a really personal choice and I know some families make it through without, but we reached the point where it no longer felt like an option. We had been white-knuckling it through school for more than three years and knew we had to do something to help.

    • Anonymous :

      I would tread with major caution. My sister and I both have ADD. For me, traditional stimulant meds made me have terrible anxiety, but I did perform school tasks better. Ultimately it took me a long time to realize the bad side of the meds were not worth the anxiety/personality change. My sister has much worse add than I do and she never really took meds consistently because she felt that it changed her personality and did not like that change. I also want to mention that it was very, very hard for me to stop taking the stimulants after years of daily use. I felt extremely lethargic and achey for months, even with weaning off gradually. That is another reason to tread with caution.

      What helped me the most other than meds was cognitive behavioral therapy. If my daughter ends up having ADD I will start with that and only use meds as a last resort.

    • Anonymous :

      I never took meds in school. I kind of wish I had at least tried meds, but all the students I knew who were on them hated the personality changes so at the time I was reluctant.

      Instead, I quit school before junior high and got tutors, took courses online, etc. I was able to get a bunch of AP credits that weren’t offered locally, which in turn helped me lighten up my course load in college and graduate with good grades on time.

      That particular path was only open to me for a variety of reasons, but there may be even more options today.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve only tried meds as an adult with ADD. The stimulants were really hit or miss for me. Strattera helped greatly, but it gave me insomnia. I’m not sure I totally understood how much ADD affected me until I experienced life on Strattera!

      Wellbutrin helped some, but the side effects caught up with me. I don’t know how many of these are suitable in pediatrics (or whether the other standby–coffee–is suitable or not).

  21. Back Deck Suggestions :

    We are about to remodel our back deck. I would love any suggestions. What are the best back decks you’ve seen, and what made them great? Ours is currently a simple wooden deck, uncovered, that we are replacing due to age. But we think we want to do a brick patio this time, covered, to have more of an outdoor living area. Might like to include a tv, a big swing, that sort of thing. Any suggestions of things you have seen and loved? From design concepts, things to include, things to avoid, things to add to my wish list? Probably would not do a full outdoor kitchen (it’s right off our actual kitchen), but open to any other ideas!

    • Don’t put up a pergola on a south-facing deck. It will cost a fortune to keep painted while not sheltering you from the sun or rain. Praying that a tree falls on it now (vs after I pay to replace with a legit covered porch now that it is also ROTTING).

    • I would love to have a porch swing with a porch big enough that I don’t have to worry about it knocking into stuff if the kids are too rowdy on it or whatever. I’d also love a big, classic rope hammock- the old-fashioned kind that are built to last and can be left out all the time without worrying about it.
      Other ideas in the dream category are a fire pit surrounded by brick, string lights (yeah I’m a little pinterest-y, sue me), and a shaded gazebo type area.

    • Demo just started on my patio project yesterday! I am expanding a brick patio that will more than double the size I already have. I am only covering about 80% of it so that there is a section where I can still sunbathe. Also switching from a brick fire pit in the yard to a propane fire pit on the uncovered part of the patio. Also building a custom bar. If you can, a mini fridge and/or ice maker adds convenience. A table for eating on the patio, plus comfy seating for lounging around and entertaining guests- rocking chairs or a swing are awesome. Don’t forget about lighting! Lighting can make all the difference on your outdoor experience and what you can use your new patio space for. Don’t forget about fun games- cornhole, ring toss, can jam, etc.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      On my dream back deck we have a bar-height fence/railing and the top of the railing doubles as a bar where we can set a drink and pull up a stool (because it looks out on the pool).

  22. Shopaholic :

    I’m really bad at firing on all cylinders at all times. When I’m disciplined about working out/eating healthy, I find it hard to put my everything into work. Now, I’m in a busy stretch at a new job and I’m finding I’m having a hard time motivating myself to eat well and workout.

    Any advice? I lost 20 pounds earlier in the year (but was not working a ton at a former job) and really want to balance a healthy lifestyle with a busy job but I’m finding when I’m not at work, all I want to do is crash.

    TIA!

    • Well, that sounds exhausting. Of course you’re bad at firing on all cylinders at all times. Part of adulting is picking your battles. If work is intense right now, you may not find balance in your life outside work. Or vice versa. If you want to crash, your body is telling you it needs rest.

    • Do you have time to devote one day this weekend to batch-cooking and freezing a bunch of meals? Or I know a lot of folks here love the freezer section at Trader Joe’s for healthy, quick options. You could make a trip and stock up?

      I enjoy cooking, and I spent a fair amount of time planning and thinking about what I want to cook. But when I’m in a busy stretch I need to just have something I can heat up without having to think about it. That means putting in some time up front, usually.

    • Do you have time to devote one day this weekend to batch-cooking and freezing a bunch of meals? Or I know a lot of folks here love the freezer section at Trader Joe’s for healthy, quick options. You could make a trip and stock up?

      I enjoy cooking, and I spent a fair amount of time planning and thinking about what I want to cook. But when I’m in a busy stretch I need to just have something I can heat up without having to think about it. That means putting in some time up front, usually.

      On the workout front, if I don’t have to leave my house to work out, I’m more likely to do it. Fitness blender, yoga with adrienne, yoga with kassandra, and yoga upload all have great free workout videos.

    • When I’m busy I tend to buy a lot of meals from Snap Kitchen.

    • Gently, nobody can run an all cylinders all the time. That’s life. You have to decide priorities.

    • Anonymous :

      When this happens to me, I try to be easy with my goals. So maybe this week, I’ll prep breakfasts and snacks for work. usually if I do some work like this, I’ll be inspired to make healthy choices when I buy lunch. Or you could decide to drink x ounces of water. And then expand your goal a little each week.

      I also have recently started 16/8 intermittent fasting – waaaaaay easier than I expected, doesn’t feel as obsessive as I even felt on weight watchers, and feel way less snacky/impulsive when it comes to food. i’m no expert on this, I follow Faster Way to fat Loss, but there’s a lot of info out there if you google.

  23. Sunscreen post (again) :

    Reposting as I accidently posted this in an old post last week:

    I’m set for my everyday sunscreen routine (Biore Watery Essence and Nivea Sun Super Water Gel FTW), but I’d love recommendations for your favorite sweat and waterproof sunscreen options for beach vacations / high altitudes, when spending tons of time in the sun.

    Ideally, something that works really well (broad spectrum etc.) but also feels good (rubs in easily, as non-greasy feeling as possible). I’ve picked up some Supergoop options to try (curious about the oil) but I have FSA dollars to burn, so I’d like to try other options as well. TIA!

    • For beach and snowboarding, I go with Banana Boat Kids spf 50. Yellow tube. It takes a while to rub in and can leave a bit of a white cast, but it keeps you protected.

      I wear Elta MD normally (but not the tinted one as i abhor any type of foundation/tinted moisturizer).

      • +1 to Banana Boat Kids. I didn’t think anyone else used this. It is kind of a pain to rub on, but that’s because it doesn’t have the nasty ingredients like avobenzone, etc. Once it’s on, it doesn’t feel greasy or anything. My family of 3 wore it all summer (we had a ton of pool time) and none of us burned.

      • +2. The Hubs also is a fan of the mineral sunblocks in the Alba line because he finds them easier to rub onto The Kid when The Kid doing his usual squirming thing. We get those at WF during their BOGO 50% sales.

    • This doesn’t fit your second criteria (as it leaves a bit of a white cast) but I am obsessed with Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection. I just replaced mine (third time I’ve bought this stuff, I love it) and they seem to have a new formula called WetForce. I’ve only used it twice since I bought the new tube but it seems to work just as well. It works incredibly at the beach or pool. Love this stuff. (I use it on face only, haven’t tried the full body as I am a NoAd devotee for body sunscreen)

    • Thank you both!

    • Coola Sport – spf 50, unscented, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

    • Australian Gold, the tinted one. The not-tinted leaves a bit of a white cast. Waterproof and reef-safe!

  24. NYC people – I have a friend coming to town and need to make a reservation for about 5 people. Any fun restaurants come to mind that are not overly stuffy/expensive and good to have a few drinks and food? I’m totally blanking for some reason.

    • I really enjoy Boqueria!

    • Without knowing the part of town or any food type preferences, here are some thoughts:
      – Quality Eats (multiple locations, really very reasonably priced as far as NYC is concerned)
      – Via Carota
      – Barbuto
      – Tia Pol
      – Bombay Bread Bar (haven’t been but I liked the precursor in the same place)

      • Love Via Carota, but I don’t think they take reservations and they get very, very busy. These (along with Boqueria from the previous poster) are all great suggestions though.

        I also like Narcissa for a group.

    • Anonymous :

      The Smith!

  25. Did we get an update from the poster who thought the verbal exchanges with her new boyfriend were lacking? I wonder how things are going.

    • Here’s what I wrote above: This is all really helpful. Thank you. Especially knowing it can work with someone like this. Actually, on our second date we talked about the love languages book and he acknowledged he read it. I told him I’m definitely a verbal affirmation kind of person, but he hasn’t seemed to catch on and take action on it. He’s really bright (engineering, not econ, would have been a good guess though!), but I sort of thought he would take this on as a new project to perfect, but he hasn’t. Maybe I need to give it a few more dates. It’s just tough because this is long distance, so a few more dates means multiple weekends completely eaten up with high stakes travel, awkward accommodations, etc.

      • I think Update is asking about a different poster, who wrote in a few weeks ago because she looked her boyfriend but found their verbal exchanges lacking (i.e. he didn’t banter).

      • Thank you! Would you believe there was someone else 2-3 weeks ago, too? She described feeling a little bored with conversation and felt bad about it since the new boyfriend had mentioned how much he enjoyed their conversations. I married an engineer/patent lawyer 24 years ago and honestly have not regretted it. I was, however, shocked to overhear him tell our teenager how lucky he feels that Mommy is the best looking mother from her sports team. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? I honestly think these engineers view physical attractiveness as an obvious trait like being good at tennis or standardized tests. The sad truth is that it takes early morning running and thoughtful habits to look decently attractive at nearly 50, so please feel free to tell me every 5 minutes or at least when my alarm goes off at 4:50 AM. :)

  26. I’ve bought some Spring Step booties a couple years ago that were a very comfortable, soft leather but are scuffed and scratched now. Not something that could be buffed out, it’s like the leather is torn or something. Is this just the cost of wearing them too much? I really loved them, so am wondering if I should buy them again or if it’s a sign of a quality problem and I should find something new.

  27. Jealous Anon :

    I have a pretty ambitious/career oriented friendgroup and sometimes I find myself feeling inadequate because almost all of them went to exclusive schools, have more glamorous lives than I do (lots of travel, friends with summer homes, etc). Its a mixture of high school and post-college friends – we’re all in our late 20s.

    I feel silly even caring about this stuff because its not like they throw it in my face. When I dont compare my life to theirs I feel secure and even grateful for what I have and what I’ve accomplished. How can I work on not letting jealousy get the best of me and feeling down on myself?

    • Hang out with other friends every once in a while? I don’t think you need to ditch that friend group completely or anything. But if you have another circle you can spend some time in that is not so focused on that stuff, it might be a better balance.

  28. I will also say that not everyone even WANTS to be complimented on their appearance. I have found that smart men complimenting me on my brain is just about one of the hottest things to me; I don’t really value being told I am attractive, because actions can show attraction just fine. I want to be told I am valued/admired for things that aren’t purely physical. It’s totally fine if you’re different, but just know that some of us don’t think your guy’s behavior is bizarre, but rather exactly the kind of compliment we’d want. It’s OK to tell him what makes you feel special.

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