You’re beautiful (to me, anyway) and probably naïve (like me). I hope you have inherited my eyes and my quick wit, and hopefully you haven’t inherited my constant need for affirmation and Burger King.

I made you a list of lessons, live by them. Hopefully I’ll be around to tell them to you in person — if not, I’ll be right back, I’m probably just watching reruns of Parks and Recreation.

1. There is no shame in eating a donut. Or two donuts. Don’t tell anyone about the third. Make fun of the fourth. When you make fun of your own shortcomings, you own them.

2. Never let anyone walk on you — emotionally or physically. (Basically, you don’t know where their feet have been and sometimes people look like they weigh less than they actually do.)

3. When someone asks you how much you weigh, smile, look them in the eye and say, “not enough.” Pull out a pack of Oreos and don’t offer them any.

4. Don’t just give yourself to anyone. This includes your time, money, love, affection, body, and chicken nuggets. All of these things are precious and should be treated as such.

5. Be where you are. But if you are somewhere you don’t want to be, call me and I’ll pick you up. Or pretend to text someone really important.

6. Don’t let a boy (or girl) dictate your happiness. You dictate your happiness. Follow your joy — whether that’s religion, or love, or the ocean. Follow it.

7. We all pee our pants past the age of 15. I think. It happens to everyone. I think.

8. If you are anything like me, you talk faster than your brain can think. Stay away from talking about hot topics like marriage equality, and feminism and the store Hot Topic.

9. Know your strengths — build on them. Know your weaknesses — work on them. Know your way back home — to me. Know your future is bright — so bright you can’t even quite see where it’s headed yet.

10. Smile when you’re happy. Frown when you’re sad. Scream when you’re mad. Feel what you are feeling, you don’t have to pretend you are okay.

11. Fall in love with yourself first. Someday someone else will come along that falls for you — I want you to understand why. In order to let them properly love you, you need to love yourself. Love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye.

12. It’s okay to be skinny, it’s okay to be chunky. It’s okay to be quiet and it’s okay to be loud. It’s not okay to be an asshole.

13. Lastly, and most importantly, know that your mother didn’t know anything at the age of 20 (and neither do you). These are just guidelines, as thought up by someone who doesn’t really have her shit together. Someday, when I meet you, I probably will still be wrong about a lot of things. A few things I know I’m not wrong about: I love you. I love me. Fall is the best season. Nick Jonas is the hottest Jonas Brother. Everyone cries to Coldplay.

(I’m actually not sure that Nick is the hottest. So, I guess I don’t know a lot of things for sure.)

Love always,

Your mother. TC mark

featured image – Sara Lando

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The Proposal
The Proposal

1. It really is a three-way relationship with you, them, and their phone.

Whoever invented texts and emails and apps and the whole nine was really just enabling an entire generation of a workforce to never really be out of the office. And some jobs demand that, and some people love being able to know what’s going on at all times. Really. That’s why they’re checking email at dinner, and while you’re both just mainlining a Netflix binge, and during se.. okay, if they do that, there’s something definitely wrong here, but any and all other moments will be, in their minds, fair game. Sometimes, it’s justified, but sometimes you’re going to have to tell them to put the phone down. Remind them that they’re often only as accessible as they make themselves to be. And while they might not believe you, or pay attention at first, they need someone to help them remember.

2. Any and all plans are subject to being rescheduled.

And not because they don’t want to see you — but they will constantly say that something came up at the office, or that there’s another project that needs to be completed by x day, or Saturday really needs to be spent at the office because… whatever it is, they’ll justify it. Or they’ll try to, at least, and while being ambitious and driven is great, you also deserve your plans to be treated as concretely as their meetings. Schedule it into their calendar, give them one free pass a month otherwise they’ll get fined — but it’s important that they understand that life can, does, and should happen outside of the office.

3. Often, it’s not just their own personal drive that’s causing them to be this way.

There’s typically an equally-as-driven boss or a super-demanding client or a really lazy coworker for whom they have to pick up the slack or parents who expect great things out of them by the time they’re 30 that revs them up even more. Chances are good you will hear about this other person a lot. Chances are good it will feel like the person you’re dating is dating the person they’re orbiting around.

4. 9 times out of 10, they are so type-A it hurts.

And like, to the point where even if you feel like a perfectionist yourself, you’re suddenly going to feel… wait for it… normal. Sometimes being so type-A is great, because they’ll plan amazing dates and give really thoughtful gifts and go the extra mile for your happiness — that is, if and when you can see them — but sometimes it’s just exhausting. You will be exhausted for them. You will be exhausted for yourself for dealing with them.

5. You will find yourself taking the initiative more often than not.

Like, forcing them to leave the phone at home, stealing them away for a weekend (and checking with their Google calendar to make sure that they can’t worm their way out of it), and telling them (again) that it’s time to take a break. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, remember? But because you’re often the one who is initiating…

6. Sometimes you’re going to wonder if you’re the one who cares more.

Because if they cared as much about you as they did about their job, they’d make more time for you and focus less on the job, right? Not necessarily. It’s very likely that they’re just so hardwired into working that much that they don’t know how to make the swap into balancing a relationship and their relentless pursuit of work excellence. Still, though, there’s going to be that nagging feeling in the back of your mind, and it’s going to suck more than a little bit.

7. Your texts will take a backseat to ones from their boss.

Or they’ll be in a meeting until 9 p.m. and you don’t get a response all day, and even though you know that nobody in this society does not have their phone more than an arm’s reach away from them at any one time, how are they honestly not texting you back? But the fact of the matter is, sometimes people do OTHER THINGS beyond answer their phones, and so it’s really a lesson for the both of you — that they should maybe keep in mind that other people are trying to reach them, and for you to remember that just because a text goes unanswered for a few hours does not mean the very foundation on which your relationship was built was a lie.

8. If you ask them to dream up plans, their go-to will involve sitting and relaxing.

Not that they are the Most. Boring. People. Ever. (though there are a few workaholics whose jobs are their whole personalities, and that is a can of worms in and of itself) but they’ve been going nonstop, and working upwards of 60-hour weeks. Sometimes this was a voluntary choice and sometimes it wasn’t, but once you hit hour 50 or so, the thought of having to plan an event date sounds like a literal nightmare. There will be a lot of sweatpants in your future. There will be even more Seamless. There will be very few hikes through the Appalacia (unless, because they are type-A, you both decide to plan for a marathon together. Don’t question how they find time to train in between their work schedule. They will. And they will do nothing else).

9.Their propensity to snap at little things is borderline clinical.

If you make a small change or question something, they tend to get super irritable. To you it seems like they’re just being a jerk, but they’re just been dealing with hundreds of emails, messages, and rearranged deadlines (most of which they probably didn’t have to deal with at all but did anyway so they knew it would just get done) so you think it’s just moving dinner up an hour, but to them, they now have to restructure everything they’ve been working all day to fix. Tell them to cool down. Remind them that the world does not revolve around their email inbox, and what was a dumb question to them might have been a legitimate concern. But also, commiserate sometimes and tell them that people are stupid. They’ll feel better, and like their stress is warranted. (Believing that you’re allowed to be stressed is scientifically proven to alleviate stress.)

10. But most of all, they’re doing this for a sense of pride.

It could be rooted in some childhood issue they never resolved, or some fiercely competitive streak, or anything in between. Whatever it is, though, if you remind them that you’re proud of them just for, y’know, being them — no career trajectory, no awards, just for who they are — they’ll melt a little bit. And they’ll feel more at ease and comfortable with themselves and you. And who knows? Maybe they won’t take on that extra project, just so they can spend that much more time with you. And that’s when you know that what they feel for you? Yeah, to them, this is real. TC mark

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• very dark •
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Shutterstock / jcjgphotography
Shutterstock / jcjgphotography

Ronan Keating may have put it best when he penned the lyrics, “You say it best when you say nothing at all” — and we’re willing to bet these 7 guys would agree.

Read on for the sayings they can’t stand — from bro terms to unnecessary abbreviations.

  1. Dude
    “I hate when grown women call me ‘dude.’ I am a 58 year old man. I’m definitely not a dude.” -John, 58
  2. I Can’t
    “The phrase ‘I can’t’ used while laughing uncontrollably. It makes no sense whatsoever. It’s an incomplete thought. You can’t…what? It’s the equivalent of me laughing and saying ‘applesauce,’ which makes just as much sense as ‘I can’t’ (none).  Also, it suggests you can’t believe what I just said. Well, believe it. It just happened.” – Joe, 27
  3. Acronyms, Spoken Out Loud
    “If you use the terms LOL, WTF, OMG, LMAO, JK, ROTFL, or anything else used in texting while verbally expressing the American lexicon, you’re detrimental to society as a whole. If you’re not Paris Hilton, and don’t have a billion dollar empire to go with your dollar menu brain, don’t use these IRL.” – Alex, 26
  4. Or Nah
    “Ever hear that song ‘Or Nah’ by Ty Dolla? The teeny boppers love it. I was dating this 20-year- old, and I swear every 5 minutes she’s like, ‘Do you wanna get something to eat? Or nah? Do wanna drive to Jones Beach? Or nah? Do you love me? Or nah?’ Do you have a gun so I can shoot myself with? Or nah?” – Jason, 25
  5. Just Sayin’
    “‘Just sayin’ is a trashy, annoying suffix to an unwelcome observation. It’s very much like saying, ‘so screw you.” – David, 48
  6. La-Di-Da
    “Have you ever seen the Woody Allen movieAnnie Hall?I’ve dated two women who used the phrase ‘la-di-da’ from the movie, and it absolutely drives me crazy.” – Nick, 32
  7. Totes Cray
    “I just essentially dislike it when girls want to make short words even shorter. There’s nothing worse than being in a bar with drunk girls that are amazed screaming ‘OH MY GOD THAT’S TOTES CRAY CRAY GUUUUURL.’ It’s just lazy.” – Shamal, 27 TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.


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1. The social media arguers.

Nobody wants to see a couple having a full-fledged argument on Facebook. We love a social media train wreck when it’s two ninnies from high school verbally assaulting each other in a quarrel over Obama’s presidency, but a pair of lovers throwing stones online feels icky. This ain’t TNT, we don’t need no drama.

2. The couple that tries to make you pick a side in their arguments.

The only time picking sides is fun is when you’re looking at a Boston Market menu. If you’re a couple in the midst of a squabble, don’t drag others into it. Nobody registered to vote for the winner of your bickering. Even if one person is clearly in the wrong, it’s not an innocent bystander’s duty to run into combat and risk getting hit by crossfire.

3. The couple sharing a joint Facebook account.

Peanut butter is delicious. Jelly is fantastic. Peanut butter and jelly joining forces is even better. But have you ever bought those combinations of peanut butter and jelly in the same jar? It doesn’t work. It’s a mess and you have to decide whether to refrigerate it or not, and it tears the bread when you try to spread it, and suddenly it’s just not as enjoyable. That’s what this couple is. There are conjoined twins who have separate Facebook accounts, and surely they’re as close, if not closer than  this couple.

4. The couple who says “The couple who [INSERT WHATEVER THING THEY’RE CURRENTLY DOING] together, stays together”

You’ll find this couple sitting on the same side of the booth in a restaurant, or sharing a pair of ear buds. They’ll also do things that’ll make you involuntarily roll your eyes, like this:

5. The couples who create a façade by posting happy pictures but actually hate each other.

Overcompensating for the lack of real-life happiness with an abundance of perfectly filtered snapshots on Instagram isn’t fooling anyone. We know y’all can’t stand each other, despite how blissful you can make a single frame of being together look. This couple is a bitter Taylor Swift song with a romantic John Legend music video.

6. The couple who’s all judgmental about their friends’ love lives.

Much like Judy and Joe Brown, they be judging. They’re always telling friends who to date, who not to date, why they’re single, why their relationship isn’t working, and what they would do in situations they’ve never even been in. Conversations with this couple feel like browsing sketchy websites where unsolicited, invasive ads and obnoxious notifications pop up constantly.

7. The couple who calls each other “Mami” and or “Papi.”

The couple who does that baby, babe, beb, boo, bae, bb nonsense is bad, but the mami, papi duo sounds like they’re reciting excerpts of a Pitbull song, therefor, they’re the worst. The worst. TC mark

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Braudie Blais-Billie
Zach Schwartz


Amy was my first girlfriend. I met her in marching band. She was a dancer for the band, in the group known as the “Starlettes.” She had just broken up with her boyfriend of the last ~3 years, and she came on to me, strongly insinuating that I should ask her to prom, which I did. A week later, we started dating.

At prom, her ex-boyfriend raunchily danced with his new girlfriend near us, and Amy responded by twerking on me harder. I got the vague, absurd sense that I was participating in a dance-off. After her ex-boyfriend dropped his girlfriend to the floor—a move which I couldn’t compete with—Amy ran off the dance floor. She was cold to me the rest of the night, and for the next 3 days. She finally broke up with me via text message.

The last I heard about Amy, she was married and had a kid at 19.


Madison was an extremely popular, attractive girl who displayed an unseemly interest in me during the beginning of my junior year. She introduced herself to me by saying that I looked like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and that Joseph-Gordon Levitt was her favorite actor. She began to hold my hand, call me “cutie,” and say things like, “Isn’t he adorable?” when we hung out with her girlfriends.

One day, she invited herself over my house. We smoked weed. She failed to get high, but I got higher than I’d ever been: a foaming-at-the-mouth type trance that left me babbling and incompetent. After ~30 minutes of me pacing around the room and apologizing, I sat down next to her, aggressively mumbled “I feel like I should kiss you,” and kissed her. We made out for ~5 minutes, during which I visualized myself as an octopus, and my arms, lips, and legs as tentacles. We heard the garage door opening—my mom coming home—and she pulled away from me. She darted out the front door. We never hooked up again.


Yvonne was my second girlfriend. She liked me more than I liked her. Our relationship ended when her dad read an email I sent her about giving me a blowjob. He told her he would kill me if he ever saw me again.


Veena was my third girlfriend and the first girl I ever said “I love you” to. She came from an ultra-traditional Indian background, so relationships were a big taboo in her family—when her parents found out about her previous relationship, they called up her then-boyfriend’s parents and screamed at them.

To get around that, we convinced Veena’s parents that I was gay. I spoke in a lisp when I was around them, wore women’s shoes, and paraded my guy friends as “my boyfriends.” Her parents bought it and left us alone.

Veena was the first girl I ever had sex with, for about ~30 seconds the week before both of us left for college.


I hooked up with Charlotte during my second week of college. She came over and gave me my first blowjob. The next day, she wanted to fuck, but I didn’t have condoms, so she gave me another blowjob. After that night, we texted once or twice, but I wasn’t interested in having sex with her, so we didn’t see each other again.


Olivia was my fourth girlfriend and the second girl I ever said “I love you” to. I was in an on-and-off relationship with her for the last ~2 years. We’re currently not talking so we can “get over each other.” To this day, when I’m feeling alone at night, I’ll pretend my body pillow is her and scream into it, “I love you! And I’ll love you forever and no one can ever replace you.”

This summer, I wrote and recorded a mixtape, “Heartbreak Mane,” about my relationship with Olivia.


This February, I lived in a mansion in Bel-Air for an internship I was doing, and Miley came to one of our parties. She introduced herself as a 17-year-old singer and actress and, after we made out in my room, she showed me a video of her on Youtube that had over 100,000 views. She said she had the same agent as Rihanna. She said she attended the Grammy’s the year before. When I typed her name into Google, things like “Super Bowl Commercial” auto-filled after it.

After our initial hook-up, we went on a date in West Hollywood. We both bought the same book, “In Cold Blood,” and promised we would read it together. We snuck up to a roof, held hands, and made out. She told me that she never had a childhood—she’d been acting since a kid—and that she wanted to be a stripper when she grew up.

I had to leave LA a week afterwards and we haven’t talked since.


La’quisha was a girl I met off OkCupid. She lived in the “hood” in Cleveland (her words, not mine). Her father was a drug dealer and her mom was a drug addict. After taking her to frozen yogurt, we went to my office in Cleveland and made out.

When I dropped her off that night, her neighbor was half-naked and pinned to the ground, being arrested on his lawn. La’quisha ignored it and kissed me goodnight.


Teyana was a girl I met off OkCupid. During our first date, she didn’t seem to have much interest in me, until I showed her my card tricks. She seemed delighted, pulled my hand, and said, “You have to show these to my grandma.” I went over to her grandma’s house, where Teyana lived, and performed magic tricks for them for ~1 hour.

Teyana was cool, we hung out for a couple weeks. I met her brother, a 6’3”, 250-pound half-Hispanic and half-black dude with a teardrop tattoo on his face and 00 Prada shoes, who was also a drug dealer. He seemed to like me.

On her 18th birthday, I had sex with Teyana in her basement while her grandma was upstairs.


I don’t remember this girl’s name. We met off OkCupid. I went over to her house and was in her bed within ~5 minutes. I couldn’t get hard and I told her it was because I didn’t feel an “emotional connection” with her, when really it was because she wasn’t as attractive as her pictures made her seem. She seemed sad, then asked me if she could at least give me a blowjob. I said that’d be fine.

Afterwards, I sat with my shirt off and showed her my card tricks, which she seemed to really like. As I was leaving, she said “Don’t be a stranger.” I said, “What?” Her cheeks flushed and she said “Never mind, I’m…stupid.” We never talked again.

I deleted my OkCupid account after that.


Wendy was a girl I met off Tinder. We went to a frozen yogurt place named “Harlem Yo.” Afterwards, we went back to my apartment and had a conversation. After she said something about being the best female basketball player in her high school, I was overcome with emotion (I love basketball) and kissed her. We started making out and I was confused by the way she was kissing: she kept her mouth open, like a fish, and I couldn’t tell whether or not she wanted me to put my tongue in it. Five minutes later, she pulled back and said, “I have to go.”

I texted her afterwards, asking her a) if she got home safe (“Yeah”) and b) that I hope she had a good time, to which she never texted me back, leaving me repeatedly checking my phone, alone in bed, embarrassed and a little insecure. TC mark

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1. Call a woman to ask her on a date instead of texting. In a world of technology where we use screens to initiate most plans, calling a woman for a date not only adds an extra personal touch but also sets you apart from other men who only want to communicate over texting or social media.

2. Open doors for others, especially when you see someone injured, elderly, or carrying something heavy. This goes for car doors too. It’s appreciated when a man will walk over to the woman’s side of the car and open the door for her.

3. Walk a woman to her door after a date to make sure she gets home safely and don’t expect it go any further. Saying goodbye at the front door makes for a nice conclusion at the end of the great date but you shouldn’t expect sex just because you made the extra effort to know she’s safe.

4. Pull out a woman’s chair. This doesn’t have to happen every time but if it’s convenient, it adds a nice touch to a date.

5. Never make fun of a woman’s cocktail choice, regardless of the color. Don’t judge her based on what she drinks or laugh about how girly her beverage is if she doesn’t like craft beer or hard alcohol.

6. Offer her your jacket. If it’s chilly out, drape your jacket over her shoulders to warm her up. She’ll appreciate the gesture.

7. Compliment her. Telling a woman how beautiful she looks never goes out of style. Make your compliments genuine. Don’t just tell her she’s “hot.” Let her know how gorgeous she looks when you go on a date, tell her she’s beautiful when she isn’t wearing any makeup. Acknowledge when she does something different with her look or style.

8. Drop her off first if you have to park far away. If you’re having difficulty finding a nearby parking spot, offer to drop her off at the entrance before finding a parking spot.

9. Walk on the street-side of the sidewalk so a car driving through a puddle doesn’t splash her. This is a sign of protection and a simple yet effortless way to show her you care.

10. Send her flowers just because. Holidays or birthdays are a great time to receive flowers, of course, but sending flowers to a girl you care about just to let her know you’re thinking of her always makes her feel extra special.

11. When you’re picking a girl up for a date, actually go to the door and knock. Don’t just text her and say, “here.”

12. Leave little notes she’ll find later on. A simple, “Thinking of you” note left in the pocket of her coat or on her bedside table to find when she wakes up will instantly brighten her day.

13. If you’ve been waiting for her to get ready for a date stand when she enters the room, let her know you’ve been waiting for this moment and you’re excited to see how great she looks.

14. Stick to your promises whenever possible. If you tell her you’re going to call her at a certain time or you make plans to be at her apartment at 9 p.m., be on time. Showing up late or forgetting is disrespectful and shows how much of a priority she is to you.

15. Nice dates at restaurants are always appreciated but finding simple ways to spend time together is important too. Get coffee or tea and go on a walk together through a park. Offer to pick her up and take her to one of your favorite spots in the city. These little moments mean just as much as the grander gestures.

16. Ask her to dance. Even if you two are just hanging out in the middle of your apartment, put on some music and ask her to dance with you. If you’re at an event that has music, don’t be one of those guys who “doesn’t dance.”

17. Keep your eyes on her. Not at bar TV behind her. If a woman is spending time with you, make it count. Don’t get distracted by the other stimuli in the room. Be genuinely interested in her and what she has to say. TC mark


This post brought to you by Stetson Caliber.

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