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September 30, 2010

Struggling LGBT teens: It! Gets! Better!

Filed under: blogs, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:09 am

In Internet years this is ancient already, but I wanted to make sure that the ten of you who haven’t seen this yet did. Truly moving, and possibly live-saving, it’s Dan Savage’s You-Tube-based It Gets Better project. Savage wrote:

Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates — classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself….I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay — or from ever coming out — by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

And so we are. Watch (and upload your own?):

H/t Marjorie Ingall (w/whom BG shares mixed feelings about Dan Savage. But not in this case.)

August 18, 2010

Speedie Date

Filed under: Comedy, Treats, blogs, pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:35 am

Wow, yay, so much to look at here! But Ep. 1 of Speedie Date is what first caught my eye. Nicely acted, not 100% predictable, and I like how Heather and Mike are both kinda equally wrong and right.

May 24, 2010

Relationship hacks

Filed under: blogs — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:41 am

BG can’t believe it’s taken her this long to stumble across the incredibly useful, borrowed-from-techno concept of “relationship hacks.” (Then again, I’m one of those Luddites who hasn’t yet tweaked her iPhone to circumvent AT&T.) I’m not talking about hacky comics who are all, “Aren’t men and women different? FOLKS!” or hacking your way into your sigO’s Hotmail account, or their MIND, in order to access suspect correspondence, offshore account numbers, etc. I — along with a whole bunch of smarties who beat me to it — am using the basic metaphor of re-configuring a system to function in ways not part of the original design. A clever fix, a wise workaround. There is a Relationship Hacks website, but a livelier and more recent conversation seems to have gone on in this Ask Metafilter thread. To get the ball rolling, Wyzewoman poses this question:

A few times over the years, I’ve solved a relationship problem in a way that I was really proud of, because the solution met everybody’s needs when it looked like such a solution didn’t exist. I still turn back to these examples when I’m faced with a new difficulty, because I may be able to model a new solution out of the old ones.

An example of what I’m talking about: a roommate declared one day that he was no longer willing to share dishes with me: I didn’t wash them well enough for his liking, even after repeated reminders. Well, that sucked — it would be extra time, expense, and bother. But, we were able to talk about it calmly, and we worked out that really it was only the glasses that I drank milk out of which weren’t getting cleaned well. So I suggested that I get a set of milk-drinking-glasses, just for me, and that we continue to share the rest of the dishes. And it worked! We never fought about dishes again. The lesson I learned from that: try to whittle a problem down to its smallest core, and solve that. [Emphasis added by BG.]

It’s just a silly example — drinking glasses! — but I’ve remembered this incident for years, and modified the solution in various other issues of household maintenance. I’d love to have other examples to draw upon going forward. So, MeFites, when did you come up with a relationship solution that you were particularly proud of, and what lessons did you draw from it?

Responses include: Never use “but,” “should,” or fake “I’m fine”; the FailDance(tm); and my favorite, The Great Game of Moral High Ground. Read, learn, apply, and come back here to share your best hacks. (As above with the glasses, roommate — and family — relationships count, too.)

May 18, 2010

Does Facebook know when it’s over?

Filed under: blogs, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:27 am

We all know that Facebook offers up-to-the-minute tracking of your (and everyone’s) relationship status. But could Facebook actually predict your breakup (and etc.) before it happens? It’s not psychic; nor, as science goes, is it rocket: remember, Facebook knows how and with whom you spend (or don’t spend) your virtual time. As the blog AllFacebook reports:

It’s an inside half-truth that many friends of Mark Zuckerberg have told me over the years: Facebook knows when a relationship is about to end. My response was to always ask more questions as it actually sounded like a legitimate possibility. In David Kirkpatrick’s soon to be released book, “The Facebook Effect“, Kirkpatrick confirms that relationship patterns were something that Mark Zuckerberg often toyed with.

In the book, Kirkpatrick writes:

As the service’s engineers built more and more tools that could uncover such insights, Zuckerberg sometimes amused himself by conducting experiments. For instance, he concluded that by examining friend relationships and communications patterns he could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators.

Are you busy chatting with another girl instead of your girlfriend? Are you being tagged in a lot of photos with the same person? Facebook has a lot of information about who you are viewing regularly (or lusting over) as well as what your communication patterns are. While the company is not actively charting most users’ communication patterns for determining the future of your relationship, they are actively monitoring your behavior on the site to determine what should be displayed in the feed.

Of course, 33 percent, while impressive, is not scary accurate. And there’s a wide margin of error. Depending on how you use Facebook, for example, your lovah’s profile might be the one you look at least, given that you, you know, see them. (In fact, at least one expert says partners shouldn’t be “friends” in the first place. (“It’s a terrible idea for spouses to be Facebook friends with each other,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., co-author, with Heidi Raykeil, of [best self-help title EVER!] Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting It On Again. “Relationships are already filled with enough banality. I want to preserve what little mystery there is, which means I don’t need to see my wife’s latest check-in with her third-grade pals on her Superwall.”)

That said — though BG eschews unexamined anti-FB or “technology is eeevil” pile-on — we do know that, given its endless started-out-innocent opps for flirting and reconnecting with the one(s) who got away, Facebook can also = Homewreck. So it’s not like Facebook would need to uncrumple the receipts on your dresser to know what’s up.

And so, AllFacebook wonders, could there be an app for this?

Could you imagine using the site and then receiving a notification that the system has automatically determined that your relationship could be on thin ice? While it may provide useful to know, it would be extremely creepy to find out. For now, I wouldn’t expect to see any “relationship strength tool” integrated into the site, but it’s definitely interesting to know that it’s potentially something Facebook could project. Would you want to know how strong your relationship is based on your own Facebook behavior?

But here’s the real question:

Don’t you probably already know how strong it is without Facebook telling you?

May 15, 2010

Bride walks down aisle unaccompanied by patriarchy

Filed under: blogs, issues, media — posted by Paula @ 6:11 am

We just spotted this few-weeks-old-but-still-compelling post from LemonDrop: it’s a lovely meditation on designing a wedding that reflects the authentic values of an adult relationship, rather than trotting out cliches that may no longer be age- or couple-appropriate.

One of the traditions this smart bride (writer Virginia Sole-Smith) eschews is the whole “walk me down the aisle and give me away like I’m chattel” business. She’s not the first, only, or last to do this, of course, but  she’s especially eloquent about this and other decisions. Congratulations on your equal marriage, Ms. Sole-Smith!

April 29, 2010

No peakin’! Sex after the 30s

Filed under: Psychology, blogs — posted by Paula @ 8:29 pm

Do women reach their sexual peak in their thirties? That’s what folks say, often employing a saucy reference to (SPEAKING OF OLD) Sex and the City.

But an upbeat post at Your Tango begs to differ. Outing the original source of that old young wives tale (Kinsey, we’re looking at you!), it explains that actually each stage/decade of a woman’s sexual life offers a different set of advantages.

Although columnist/sex expert Dr. Trina Read oversimplifies the post-menopausal stage a bit, recent studies in both endocrinology and psychology (especially the work of Dr. Rossella Nappi) suggest that post-menopausal women do have problems with lowered desire and higher dysfunction, but can take measures to overcome these problems and enjoy good sex for the rest of their lives.

March 4, 2010

Typing test

Filed under: blogs, media, pop culture — posted by Paula @ 6:52 am

Back in high school, my sister and I came up with a flawless policy: the only guys worth dating were either Jewish or Italian. It was some ill-informed, possibly offensive stereotyping whose underlying basis was a premium on swarthy looks and/or in-your-face intellectualism.

Of course, this schoolgirl theorizing fell apart in the harsh light of reality, and we both ended up going out with a variety of types (a.k.a. “people”).

At this point in my life, I have been attracted to enough off-the-menu body-styles and personalities that I cannot claim to have any “type” at all.

You know, they’re all good–mesomorphs to ectomorphs, skin tone hexidecimals #000000 through #FAF8CC, blue-collar to Episcopal1an priest collar, raconteurs and strong silent types.

I was reminded of this while reading Lemondrop’s post about The Secret Guy ‘Types’ Women Lust After, and trying to come up with some ridiculously reductive categories that they may have missed. E.g., I.T. guys.  Personal trainers with hearts of gold. Mail carriers. Daytime bartenders.

Go ahead: your turn!

February 26, 2010

Just because I’m 32 doesn’t mean I want babies with you

Filed under: Psychology, blogs — posted by Kristine @ 8:35 am

As Amy noted earlier, Christian at OK Cupid’s blog recently found, using all sorts of lovely charts and graphs, that  “the male fixation on youth distorts the dating pool.” Maybe so, but I have an observation — or maybe a confession — to make: The fixation on youth isn’t just male. While it may be represented as such online, there’s still a whole lot going on offline. Since moving to New York almost 5 years ago, I have, ahem…well, I have developed a habit of dating younger men. Before living here, I mostly dated older men. Why the shift? Is it something in the water?

At the ripe age of 31, while staring into space writing at a coffee shop, I noticed a guy looking at me rather intently. He caught my eye, smiled furtively and then took a swig of his grande. I smiled back and continued about my business. The next time I looked up, his eyes met mine and he executed a rather sheepish wave of his hand. Within seconds he was sitting in front of me and by the time I left, a date was planned. About four dates in, we met up with one of my friends for drinks. Somehow the subject of age came up.

I figured he was younger from conversation and just how he carried himself. I’d also dated a 22-year old the summer I was 29, so when coffee shop guy told me he was 26, it didn’t faze me. What I wasn’t expecting was his reaction to my age. At first it was incredulous disbelief. Had I no proof of identification and a friend to verify, he wouldn’t have believed it. He had guessed I was 24 or 25, but suddenly it clicked. I was confident and self-assured, had lived on my own in quite a few places, and pursued various interests. I wasn’t 25 or even close.

Suddenly he made assumptions about what I wanted: something serious, marriage, babies. Like, with him.By next week. It didn’t matter that we were on date number four or that I was just out of a tumultuous relationship. In his head my age screamed entrapment. Like I was ready to drag the first guy who smiled at me that morning to the altar. Needless to say, our date was cut short and the warm goodbye that ended our previous date was replaced with a very reticent hug.

While looks have something to do with attraction to the young and virile/fertile, maybe the reason per Christian’s data that “the median 30 year-old man spends as much time messaging 18 and 19 year-olds as he does women his own age” is not only about physical attraction. What might also be at play is what those men want at the moment and what they perceive rather than just cut and dry looks. People seem to think that once women hit a certain age, we’re on this warpath to the altar or the birthing center. Yes, we have a time limit with reproduction, but we already know that and a lot of us make peace with it one way or another. However, we don’t have an expiration date when it comes to love, lust, spontaneity or enjoying life. We also don’t want to marry and make babies with everyone we go out on a few dates with. While we are more likely to be looking for a real relationship, we also like to meet new people and explore our options. What we don’t want is a constant reminder of how old we are and questions like “shouldn’t we be finding that special someone soon?”

For me dating younger men has been an eye-opening experience. At first I found myself drawn to them because they are cute and fun, but that’s not all they are and that may be a common mistake when going younger – the seriousness factor. The men who are choosing younger women are potentially not doing so at a disservice to older women, but possibly as a disservice to younger women.

When I dated a 22-year-old at 29, I embraced the experience. Surprisingly, fitting into each other’s worlds wasn’t actually that much of a stretch. What I was surprised about was the reaction from my friends, particularly my female friends. A lot of them voiced some concern because 22-year-olds wouldn’t want to get married anytime soon. That was just it. At the time, I wasn’t ready to get married. I was running far away from commitment and wedding freak-outs. Dating a 22-year-old was safe.

In terms of OK Cupid’s data, I would like to see a chart comparing what exactly each person is looking for – like are the 30 year old men who are messaging 18-19 year olds looking for a relationship or a “playmate”? Odds are, they are not looking for a life partner. As such, young women as a whole may be getting the short end of the deal in terms of their interactions with much older men. They may not be taken seriously or seen as viable long-term partners. Maybe the disparity between men and women’s dating habits with regard to age in the OK Cupid data is just as much about emotional age as it is about physical attraction. Hell, if those men need convincing that older women can be as full of fun and energy as a younger woman, then maybe older women don’t want them anyway.

My point is we often date people we think we might not get serious about when we are not ready to be serious –- which is fine, but we should also be open to the possibility that someone will surprise us. What I’ve learned as I’ve returned to a place where I am ready for a relationship is that men of all ages can be both fun and serious, thoughtful or thoughtless. Internet dating eliminates nuances as it makes us all check a box, but it’s only reflective of what we as a society already perceive. It’s time older women and younger women alike get as much credit for their whole person and not categorized by stereotypes of age and gender.

February 10, 2010

Bringin’ the Hurt, one pimp at a time

Filed under: blogs, pop culture — posted by Maria @ 11:14 am

“Super Fly meets The Equalizer?” Super fly! That’s why you might want to meet Jay Potts’s Blaxploitation homage, “World of Hurt.” As Potts describes it:

“WORLD OF HURT is a comic strip love letter to the Black action films of the 1970s. I’m not talking about the flicks with signifyin’ Technicolor pimps performing slow-motion karate or anything featuring Ray Milland’s head surgically attached to Rosie Grier’s body. If you want to know where I’m coming from with WORLD OF HURT, check out flicks like Shaft, Superfly, The Mack, Trouble Man, Foxy Brown, or Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off. Although none of these movies boasted massive budgets or flawless production values either, there was an undeniable edge and raw energy to them. These were films that spoke to a previously untapped market of urban Black audiences, who finally got to see their own heroes, and a bit of their own turbulent world, refracted through the prism of the silver screen.”

The weekly newspaper-style Web comic set in the 1970s follows Isaiah “Pastor” Hurt, a streetwise fixer in Pointe Blanc, California, as he investigates the disappearance of a bright young black woman, Alicia Patterson. Not only does it have a serious plot full of all the fist-flying, pow, fighting action you could want, but the Web site features blog entries giving readers the inside scoop on the artistic process.

What we like is that it’s not played for ironic jive-talkin’ laffs. As AintItCool.com put it: “…[S]tories paying homage to such blaxploitation films such as SUPERFLY, SHAFT, and FOXY BROWN are often written as spoofs. In WORLD OF HURT, the danger is real and the tone is straight…Approaching the material with a straight face is something fresh and new and worthy of notice.

Plus, the clothes.

January 19, 2010

Marriage: something old?

Filed under: Psychology, blogs, books, issues, media — posted by Paula @ 10:44 am

At the Daily Beast, Hannah Seligson, author of A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door, blogs about the resistance to matrimony among GenX and GenY couples. Among the reasons she cites:

  • Overinflated expectations about finding “The One”
  • Fear of divorce
  • Desire for an extended adolescence
  • Increased focus on–and longer trajectories of–career development
  • It’s an interesting topic. Among my own friends–many of whom have been married and divorced at least once–the major obstacle to marriage seems to be disenchantment with the institution itself, although I’ve also noticed that even the vehement nay-sayers seem to soften around the issue when their partners want to get hitched. It seems that, even if individuals are ambivalent about making it legal, our society as a whole is still pretty fixated on the idea–or else books like Ms Seligson’s would not exist.

    I turn to you, reader: Is there a real difference between living together (or dating someone long-term without cohabitating) and getting married? If so, what do you think it is? And has that made you more, or less, interested in marriage?

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