We’ve all been there: One of your friends is dating someone who is quite simply the worst, and you just don’t understand what they see in this other person. (I believe the parlance is either “pussywhipped” or “dickmatized.”) In these situations, a couple’s friends sort themselves out into two types. The first type doesn’t want to get involved, assumes their friends are adults who can make their own decisions, and keep their mouths shut no matter what. The second type have perhaps watched too many episodes of Intervention but realize that when things get severe a good person will at least make an attempt to say something—and will let the matter drop if rebuffed.
Both sides have something to recommend them, and both have pitfalls in their application. In the first case one can be guilty of being a fair-weather friend, more interested in preserving a friendship than in actually looking out for someone that they supposedly care about. The second case smacks of miserable busybodies who want everyone else to be just as miserable (or as single) as they are. In neither of those situations do most of us have the objective perspective to be certain that we’re doing the right thing instead of acting viscerally. It’s a tricky thing to ponder.
I’m of the mindset that one should give one’s friends every possible benefit of the doubt. Yes, it’s true that relationships can be traps where one or both people lose their sense of self. But they can also be pockets of greatness that outsiders simply don’t or can’t understand—and even if they could, it would be none of their business anyway. Even bad relationships can have very many positive consequences, both as cautionary tales or even merely the benefit of having companionship for a period of time.
I found myself in this outsider’s perspective with regard to one of my closest friends, Toby. He and I had known one another since high school. During the decades since we’d never had even a minor argument. We complement each other well, and over the years each of us learned a great deal from one another due to our disparate interests. He’s kind of a jerk masquerading as a nice guy, whereas I’m kind of a nice guy masquerading as a jerk.
I liked Isabelle when Toby first started dating her. She had a great appreciation for humor, was very intelligent, and knew how to have a conversation without being annoying. Yes, she had her flaws—but I didn’t have to deal with them, and everyone has flaws to put up with. Most importantly, she made Toby happy.
About six months after they started dating, Isabelle moved back to Arizona to complete her schooling. Toby decided to go ahead with a long-distance relationship, with him flying to Phoenix or her returning to New York every so often. Things began to be a bit more difficult, but that is inevitably the case with an LDR. I felt my role was to listen to him vent as a means of relieving stress and thereby keeping the relationship going.
But as one year turned into two, I started noticing red flags. Isabelle was in the process of getting her doctorate and had never had a job. I’m not sure if that contributed to their drama, but it sure didn’t help. The crux of the matter was that she had a Disney-princess view of relationships. She felt her boyfriend’s role was there to validate (she called it “support”) whatever decision she made about anything. Even when she was doing the wrong thing by her own admission, his job was to be encouraging because she felt “bad enough already.” This was the case even when she did the wrong thing again. And again. And again. He was never to criticize but always to be her cheerleader.
Still, I held my tongue.
Things finally came to a head when marriage talk began. Isabelle was a devout vegan, and she unilaterally declared that any kids they had would be raised vegan. They’d even be getting their start on whatever the vegan equivalent of milk is, because she didn’t want to breastfeed. There was to be no discussion; her veganism was very important to her. I thought this was insane, but the particulars weren’t what bothered me. What bothered me was her approach.
What makes or breaks relationships—and I mean any relationship—is whether there are mechanisms in place for resolving disputes. Can the people involved argue without it becoming irrevocably ugly? Are they committed to resolving things once tempers calm down? Will they give the other person a hearing to state their case without punishing them for it? And in this case the answer was no.
The kid wasn’t even born and Isabelle was already issuing decrees without the slightest pretense of caring about Toby’s view. What would happen when the choice of schooling came up? Or any of the other difficulties that come with parenting? Buying a house? Without a space for Toby to make himself heard, this was going to get worse and worse for him over the years. In my view, he was going to ruin his life if he married this woman.
Toby was also starting to realize things weren’t all they were cracked up to be. But Isabelle treated any complaints on his part as illegitimate, as attacks, or as illegitimate attacks. She’d accuse him of imaginary things which “must” have been what was really driving his discontent. Toby began to simply hold his tongue. There was no point in causing trouble if nothing changed and it only caused drama.
I wanted to say something, but at the same time he would be able to tell me—correctly—that I didn’t understand the situation. I also didn’t want to interfere unduly, nor did I want him to resent me for butting in. I wanted to give him perspective, not orders. Isabelle was giving him enough orders already. Then I came upon a great idea that would do all these things without any of the negative consequences, and I’ve found that it’s a technique that works for any bad relationship. I took one of the IMs between the two of them—and I animated it.
Now, instead of rereading the text and “autocorrecting” to make excuses for Isabelle, Toby was forced to hear the dialogue as read by speech generators. He had no choice but to listen to it with cold, hard objectivity. That’s what it took for him to finally understand that he was dealing with someone who wasn’t exactly “the one.”
The site I used, Xtranormal.com, is now defunct. But there are plenty of alternatives. It works on couples, or for people in bad job situations, or for those who are generally being treated poorly. The best part is that you aren’t sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong and offering your opinion. You’re simply quoting someone else verbatim and letting their own words damn them.
There’s a low-key race going on in fashion right now: the race for who you can be the comfiest. And the ultimate marker of comfort? During these months it’s fur – faux or otherwise. When Céline came out with furry slippers we thought we had seen it all. We were cocky; we took ourselves for experts when we were mere rookies. Because now fur is cropping up in really unexpected places and, the weirdest part of all, is that it actually looks good.
1. Furry watches.
Like this Fendi watch. It’s funny, because I usually do look down at my watch and think how much better it would look if it was just swathed in fur. The classic adage rings true: How does one even tell the time without the support of Baby Alpaca? I can only imagine that when time is enveloped in fur, time will also, inevitably, be on your side. And how could it not? It’s like giving your watch a perpetual bubble bath; it will love you forever.
2. Furry shoes.
It comes as little surprise that something spearheaded by Phoebe Philo — the Céline furry slipper shoes — would inspire other designers to get on board. What is surprising, however, is that Marques’Almeida would choose to model their furry shoes after a hungover, physically and mentally deflated Cookie Monster.
A tad crass, wouldn’t you say?
Or here, riddle me this: never been to Africa? Right then! That makes one of us (I took a trip to Tanzania with my family in the 10th grade). Good news, though: you can feign a trip to Africa with Simone Rocha’s Spring/Summer 2015 shoes, trimmed with the fur from the famed African stork, the Marabou.
Or you could go with Opening Ceremony’s Fall/Winter shearling boots.
It’s a style that will not only literally ruffle an animal’s feathers, but one that will surely ruffle PETA’s feathers as well. With furry shoes, you’re not only wearing fur, you’re virtually stepping on it too. As if to profess your indifference towards endangered species with every stomp.
3. Furry sneakers.
“But what about furry sneakers?” you’re probably wondering to yourself right about…never. “No” is more likely what you’re uttering to yourself right now, “THAT is where I draw the line.” But you’d actually be surprised to find out how adorable your sneakers look if they just took a cue from Pierre Hardy and grew an orange goatee — made from fox fur, bien sûr.
Not so sure it’s the most practical embellishment for a pair of sneaks (as my dad would say), but it’s certainly a great way to get us to touch our toes.
4. Furry earrings.
Something else you didn’t know you needed: these Poms furry earrings.
The perfect earrings to fall asleep wearing! And…wait for it…they’re synthetic! That way, when you buy them, you don’t have to feel like some barbaric murderer who wears the skin of their prey dangling from their ears!
5. Furry bags.
Furry bags are neither groundbreaking nor too excessive and, in my opinion, a fine accessory to liven up an otherwise drab outfit. Marques’Almeida has two versions out right now — one in sheepskin and one in pony hair.
And they also made a cheaper sheepskin version for their Topshop collaboration.
6. Furry tech.
Perhaps you’re bored and looking for more creative ways to say “Fuck the world!” Well look no further than this shearling iPad case.
Because in the winter, it’s crucial to keep your…iPad…warm?
7. Furry keychains.
I’m always scared I’m going to lose my keys. And I can see why one might think buying this Kenzo keychain would be a good solution: decorate your keys in 80% calfskin and 20% lamb fur and one will probably take extra precautions not to lose them.
But then there’s the more likely scenario that I still lose my keys and thus my calfskin and lamb fur keychain as well.
My husband and I are big fans of sex toys. It’s not that our sex life is lacking without them, but they just add an extra special something to the already great sex life we have. Besides, let’s be honest, once you throw a vibrator into the mix, your partner gets quite a bit of help in making you come (luckily, we know the best position for that), so a lot of the pressure is taken off of them, and that’s a good thing, especially for women who have a hard time climaxing during sex.
Recently, my husband and I got our hands on a We-Vibe 4 Plus. The We-Vibe 4 Plus, if you haven’t heard of it, is definitely a breakthrough in the world of sex toys. Not only does its shape make for an ideal snug fit (it’s shaped like a U, and sort of clips into place), it has a remote control for fun within the home, but also, and the best part of all, it can be synced to your phone, too. What does that mean? Your partner can be anywherein the world and control the speed and intensity of the We-Vibe 4 Plus as you wear or play with it. I know! I was just as confused, skeptical, and all OMG, too. So, my husband and I decided to put it to the test.
First we messed around with the remote control. It was a Saturday morning, so why not start the day off right? I was in the bedroom with the vibrator and he was in the kitchen with the remote control. Living in one of those overpriced shoebox apartments in NYC, the 10-foot range in which the remote control works was ideal for us. It was really fun and exciting, but since the range, if we used the app, would allow for even more space between us, we just had to take our game up a notch.
It took us awhile to figure out how to sync our phones with the vibrator. It wasn’t that it was difficult, but the necessary notifications to connect us, kept ending up in our Spam folders. But then we got it together! So, it was time for us to really get the party started.
Once it was quite clear that my husband could control the vibrator when I was on the first floor of my apartment building (we live on the 5th), I ventured outside to do, of all things, errands. With my vibrator clipped in place and a tight pair of yoga pants for even more support, I went to get my dry-cleaning. Just as I reached in my wallet to pay for it, my husband, from back in our apartment, turned on the vibrator. I immediately went into panic mode. Could they hear the faint buzzing? Was my crotch visibly vibrating? Could they notice that I was blushing?
As a means to quell my own paranoia, I immediately brushed off the vibrating sound as my phone, which I’m sure they couldn’t even hear, but you know, neuroses is a cross I have to bear, and I feverishly dug through my bag pretending to look for it. It was all very flamboyant and dramatic of me, and completely unnecessary, but then my husband turned off the vibrator, and I managed to gain some composure.
Next, I headed to Duane Reade to pick up a few things and, of course, halfway there, the vibrator was turned back on, then off, then on again, then off. So there I am walking east on East 2nd Street trying to walk in such a way that would keep my vibrator from wiggling it’s way out of my, well, vagina. There was no one on the street during this part of our experiment, so I was able to enjoy it far more. I felt like I had a dirty secret; a wonderful dirty secret, and not only did I feel like I was sex on the move, but I felt sort of vulnerable in a good way. It was really hot for me to think of my husband at home, enjoying this game as much as I was, but in a different way.
As much as I enjoyed the wandering around doing my errands to keep things spicy and surprising, I knew the best place for me to really enjoy it would be if I went to a bar, sat down, and got a drink. I knew sitting, without the concern of the vibrator somehow wiggling it’s way out of my yoga pants, would allow for much more relaxing enjoyment … and it did. Oh, how it did. It wasn’t quite orgasm great, because I don’t think I could relax enough to climax in a public place, but it definitely felt good, and with my husband at the controls, the surprise factor was one of the best parts.
After a little while, I decided to head back to the apartment, with the vibrator buzzing the whole way, because, as I’d find out, he’d thought he turned it off, but had not. Obviously, we both need to work on this bit. He needs to learn how to use the app better and I need to learn to relax.
Takeaway? It was awesome. It was freeing and exciting to take our bedroom play into the streets, even if I couldn’t completely be at ease with it. I know that we won’t make it a habit of using the We-Vibe 4 Plus in such a way, but it was definitely a fun experiment. Since my husband and I spend some time apart because I’m from NYC and he’s from Paris, a sex toy like this is going to make our long-distance relationship feel, in some ways, less long distance. The sexual connection this particular sex toy offers is far different than a lot of the other ones I’ve experienced and, as one who writes about sex, I have a decent size collection of toys for the sexy times. Personally, I think the best sex toys are the ones in which both partners have an equal part in using it. We-Vibe 4 Plus is definitely a perfectly example of this.
I’ve already recommended We-Vibe 4 Plus to a bunch of my friends, and those who have already bought it, have been pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is. Granted, no one else has tried to do errands while wearing it (yet!), but considering I did that for the sake of scientific research for vibrator lovers the world over, I don’t expect any of them to ever try it, to be honest. But as long as they’re having fun with it in every other way that We-Vibe 4 Plus offers, then I’ll be a happy camper. Everybody deserves a happy and healthy sex life, and an app and remote-controlled orgasm is just the ticket.
“I don’t mind paying every once in a while, but if I’m not your girlfriend yet & you’re still trying to win me over, you should at least be paying for the first couple of dates. Geez, why are guys so cheap nowadays? BIGGEST TURNOFF EVER.”
2. Guys who can’t shut up about other girls.
“I HATE when guys bring up other girls that they have been with or slept with trying to make me jealous or make themselves sound good. It just makes them sound insecure and not worth it. Biggest turnoff for me.”
3. Boring guys.
“A man that can’t let go and just have fun…life shouldn’t be solely based on working. You need to take time and enjoy the little things. It’ll be over before you know it, and you only get one chance to live your life!”
4. Cocky guys.
“A cocky or arrogant guy…guys who think they are above or better than a woman.”
5. Guys who are ob$essed with money.
“I cannot stand when guys talk about money, whether it be that they have plenty of money or whether they’re broke. Keep your money issues to yourself; it isn’t attractive when you tell me how broke you are.”
“A man that can’t keep his word. Don’t tell me you’re going to do something if you’re not. Don’t make plans/promises to take me somewhere and then not do it. Guys that talk a big game but never follow through—TURNOFF!
“Self-centered guys. You think you’re god’s gift. But you’re not.”
8. Guys with halitosis.
“Stinky breath—that’s the worst, so disgusting.”
“Don’t show up somewhere like a mess; you can take 5 minutes to fix your hair and brush your teeth.”
10. Smelly guys.
“Bad hygiene. If you smell bad, stay far away from me.”
11. Guys who can’t communicate.
“Boys—I mean ‘men’—who can’t communicate. If they can’t communicate their feelings, it just isn’t gonna work.”
12. Insecure guys.
“Insecurity can present itself in many ways, from cockiness to control issues. Avoid it at all costs.”
13. Lazy guys.
“I hate a guy with no motivation to do anything—get off your ass and do something with your life!”
“A guy who thinks it’s cool to make fun of people. Well, it just makes you look stupid; get a life.”
15. Guys in general.
“Everything turns me off…maybe I should be a lesbian? Ha-ha.”
When my mother passed away at the young age of 48 years old my world was crushed. She was not only my mother but she was my safe haven, my best friend, and the reason I am who I am today.
After all I was her “mini me.” Everybody we came in contact with said how alike we were, and even more so after she passed away. We both had the same raspy voice, the same love for food, the same passion for the people we care about, the same sense of humor, the same eyes, the same love a great margarita, but most importantly we both shared the same desire live life to the fullest.
Just a few short months after she passed away, I came across a picture of her. In the photo she was about 24 years old. It was a breath taking image of her. She was beautiful, young, and glowing. It was almost as much didn’t change in the 24 years since that picture was taken, because in my eyes even at 48 years old she was still beautiful, young, and glowing.
I decided to take that image of her and a photo of myself at age 24, the age I was when she passed away, and I split them in half and place them side by side. I placed my photo on the left and hers on the right, I was blown away at how much we really actually do look alike. Although her photo was taken over 25 years ago, the comparison is amazing.
To me, if I could be half of the woman she was, I know I will succeed, live a happy life and I will forever see her face looking back at me each and every time I look in the mirror.