BG’s alter ego caught up with BG’s favorite new dating expert the other day at Salon.com. But Katherine Chloe Cahoon was also kind enough to stop by BreakupGirl.net to offer some exclusive advice to our readers, especially those who’ll be traveling across the pond on winter break!
BG: I am not blonde. Will European men still think I’m cute?
KCC: You don’t have to have blond hair to attract European men. Opposites do attract! So if you are in Spain and have blond hair, they’re going to like you. Plus, it’s relative. I’m not that blond, and they considered me to be one of the blondest girls they’d ever seen. Also, they would love you in Sweden.
BG: If I can’t get to Europe, what are my next best options for meeting European Men?
KCC: The world is becoming so international that I have actually met European men in the States. I would say the best place to meet them is at the dance clubs because dancing is so prevalent in Europe. It’s not like the States. You wil go to a club and they will know how to salsa and cha cha and samba — everything, you name it. I was in New Orleans five months ago and there were 20 European Men at the dance club! It was ridiculous! I am in Seattle now. We are pretty ethnic in that we have lots of different people from different countries. It’s very global and I have met Europeans everywhere from the grocery store to the park.
BG: What were they shopping for at the grocery store? Espresso, I guess?
KCC: Most of them were getting fruit. They were buying melon. They were just learning English, and they asked for help. That’s how I heard that they were European.
BG: There are a lot of countries in Europe. When I am able to go, where should I start looking?
KCC: When I went there to study I had an international media and management major. So I chose where to go based on what would be best for me business-wise and what piqued my interest. This is the number one key for women. They shouldn’t wake up this morning and say I have to find a boyfriend or go on a manhunt. They should say, I want to have fun and learn the culture and be carefree. So I would pick the country based on personal interest. Like if you know a language or speak a little that is an excellent place to start.
BG: What’s your advice if I meet a man from one of those really small countries and he doesn’t speak any English?
KCC: I think that girls should be in Europe to have fun. I advise you to pick up as much of the language as you can, but then don’t worry about it. I met guys whose language I didn’t speak, and they didn’t speak mine, and we had a fabulous time. It’s amazing how much you can communicate without speaking. You rely on pantomime. You can’t date someone seriously that way, of course. Though I have a friend who made it through five dates by relying on pantomime. And also as you’re in a country for more time you’ll pick up the language and will start to be able to converse with the natives.
BG: Why European men in particular?
KCC: I love American men as well as European men and men of many different nationalities. But I found that when we go to another place like Europe to lern the culture it’s much more fascinating if you do it with the natives, and European men very much want to show girls an excellent time. If you do go there showing interest in their homeland, your experience is going to be enhanced.
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:10 am
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.
This week Lynn aides a gal who might Need Closure. You see, she was interested in her younger boss but he always resisted any office romance — or was that just an excuse? Anyway, now she’s quit and …
Since I left his office, I have dropped 20 pounds (more to go) and had what my friends call a “makeover.” Should I give it one last face-to-face shot—or just walk away for good?
Do you think this is the right strategy? Read the full letter at Happen Magazine plus Lynn’s response, then add your own thoughts here in the comments below!
Teen Mom’s Amber Portwood has dealt quite a few blows, physical and emotional, to her oafish fiance-ish, Gary Shipley. This we know — cameras were rolling! — and this we cannot excuse. But this example has, like many before it, provoked the question: is female-on-male violence on the rise?
Today at Salon.com, BG’s alter ego tackles the answer. And suggests, in the process, that it’s not the most helpful question to be asking in the first place. In short: females have always been violent, towards men and otherwise. Specific DOJ data points show that when it comes to certain types of intimate partner violence, rates of certain types of aggression can be equal or mutual between men and women. (And neither is to be justified.) But: men are far more likely to put their female partners in the hospital, and men are far more likely to commit the ongoing, deeply damaging form of abuse known as battery, or even domestic terrorism.
That is not to say MEN SUCK; WOMEN WIN THE VICTIM PRIZE. Not at all. It’s to say that false equivalence between male and female violence is unhelpful and un-illuminating, possibly even damaging to all victims. As Lynn writes: “But when it comes to pop culture and public discourse, [female violence] needs to be discussed on its own face and in its own context, with its own set of causes and implications, not as a game of one-upmanship.”
Read the rest here. And if you — female or male — feel at all unsafe in your relationship, please click here.
We enjoyed this ruefully sweet essay by Sofi Papamarko in today’s Salon.com, in which she gets sucked into The Sims as an alternative to her — she felt — stalled single universe, which appeared to be late in delivering her standard coupled-up fantasies:
It is impossible to overstate how astonishingly easily my dream life came to me, how addictively its rewards added up. At the beginning of the game, for instance, I was given a charming little house in a nice neighborhood. Given! It was handed to me! I didn’t have to scrimp or save or deal with real estate agents or even apply for a mortgage! Landing a terrific job was as easy as showing up to the town hall in a pair of tight leather pants. I told my boss a couple of jokes and was instantly rewarded with a promotion and a healthy raise. In real life, my neglected tomatoes wither on the vine, despite my best intentions. In the game, I harvested huge, succulent crops after watering them no more than twice. I became a master angler and a gourmet cook, whipping up red snapper and catfish gumbo as if I were the secret love child of Nigella Lawson and Bobby Flay. Everything was easy.
And then I met Walter.
Ooh! Read the rest to find out how virtual Walter — and Bernie, and Jack — help Sofi discover that her reality is pretty fantastic, after all.
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:04 am
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. This Ask Lynn column is being promoted at Match on Yahoo this week…
This week Lynn helps Confused, who is bewildered why her new relationship isn’t moving faster
The [first] date was great … Our second date was also fantastic, and he asked me out on a third. Unfortunately, he had a business trip coming up … A day or so before he left I asked him if he would like to go to a concert after he returned from his trip; he did not reply, but I got a couple of text messages from him.
If you know your friend’s boyfriend or husband is cheating on her, is it your bound duty to inform her of this fact? In this particular case, I don’t know him very well, or maybe I’d try to talk to him about it. I’ve been in this situation (knowing about the affair) before, and both times the cheated-on wife/girlfriend was very angry that people knew her man was cheating before she did. Felt like a fool. But honestly, who am I to decide she ought to know? Another guy I know was cheating on his wife, but ultimately broke off the affair and went back to her. In that situation, I’m not sure she’d have been better off knowing. She has the man, and he’s making an effort to work things out even if he is living a lie. What do you think: is full disclosure always best?
Filed under: issues,News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:01 am
Today’s New York Times featured a lengthy article about how today’s mix-and-rematch post-divorce parents with kids make it work: not by marrying and moving everyone, and Ann B. Davis as Alice, into the same ranch house at 1164 Morning Glory Circle, but…close. As a means of preserving their own semi-independence, and sparing the kids an extra intrusion, they’re moving — well, into different ranches on the same circle, say. Or even: same house; different floors, different doors.
In the articles first example, the triple-hyphenate Curtis-Hetfield-Petrini household (two divorced parents, now each others’ partners; three kids among them), for instance, lucked into a two-family town house in Brooklyn. My initial crabby thought: “Well, of course it works great for them. They have a ‘sleek bamboo kitchen.'”
But (a) no fair, as we all know that when it comes to discord, creature comforts are more often cause than antidote, and (b) the article goes on to describe many types of blendy families in many shapes, forms, places, and real estates. And the broadest points are well-taken. First, the economic reality of a post-Carol world:
…What’s really driving the practice of committed couples with children living in separate abodes, [said Susan Stewart, a sociologist at Iowa State University who studies how families form and change over time], “is that middle- and upper-income women have their own money and independence. They are working, and can live on their own.”
And — most important — this, also from Stewart:
“The complexity of families is the real story. Family life is not what it was. The divorce rate” — roughly half of all first marriages still end in divorce — “has been high and stable since the 1980s. The majority of these people go on to marry or cohabit. Then there’s the change in custody patterns, with more and more fathers desiring more time with their children, if not full or shared custody. The traditional family — the married-couple-biological-children family — is in the minority.”
Lauren Ruotolo is a gorgeous redhead with a great job–Director of Entertainment Promotions for the Hearst Corporation–a glam wardrobe, a cool boyfriend, and a hot new book about getting a leg up in life, no matter what size your legs happen to be.
In addition to being a funny (anecdotes about LL Cool J!) and moving autobiography about coping with and triumphing over her condition, Ruotolo’s book is an old-fashioned, Dale Carnegie-esque motivational work organized around themes like “Rejection can be your greatest ally,” “Being different is a gift,” and “Avoid the word ‘no’.” She encourages readers of all abilities to get over self-doubt, self-consciousness–just get over themselves, period–and create happiness on their own terms.
We spoke to the vivacious author at her office in the Hearst Tower.
So, the advice—both life- and dating-related—in your book is geared towards a mainstream audience.
I’m wondering if you have any specific dating advice for people who have physical challenges or physical differences.
I think that the first piece of advice–and it’s not just for people with physical disabilities or mental disabilities–is that you have to love yourself in order for someone to love you.That was something that I had to learn–that I had to love myself the way that I wanted to be loved by somebody, and I had to learn to be comfortable with knowing that I am different from other people, that my body looks different, that when it comes to sex or being intimate with somebody that it’s going to be a little bit different, so I think that I had to understand all those aspects and love every aspect of who I was before I could allow somebody in. Iwas always so insecure about it.
And I think that you become insecure when you’re dating, anyway–everybody is insecure! But it really becomes difficult when there’s something different about you.I hope that I teach in the book–for people to really love themselves–and, like I said, love themselves like you want to be loved.
Your experiences with online dating were not very positive.
No! (Laughs.) Not at all!Oh my god, it was such a nightmare!I hope to never have to do that again in my life. When it comes to online dating, yes, you want to put yourself out there, and put as much information about yourself up front. But as I wrote in the book, how I have always seen myselfis not really as a “handicapped” person. I knew that if I presented myself as a girl walking with crutches, that’s all anyone would see, and I would be labeled as a “Girl With Crutches”…
You mention in the book that you entered therapy, and the key lesson there for you was acceptance. How would you define “acceptance”?
Acceptance, for me, was when I stopped hiding. I said, “I love myself, I have a family who loves me, I have friends that love me, and the next man I meet is gonna love me for me and I’m not gonna hide behind a barstool, and I’m not going to hide behind a photo online. I’m just gonna put myself out there and see what happens.”
And I did–I met [current live-in boyfriend] Nelson on a staircase.So it was that acceptance and getting rid of that insecurity in my head that got me there.I was always so strong in so many other ways—but when it came to relationships–well, like I said, I think everyone has these fears. Because society is like, all right, you get to a certain age, girls, and you gotta find that husband, and you gotta have babies, and that’s your life! When you’re a child, you dream about your wedding–you know, there’s this idea promoted by magazines, especially here at Hearst, and at Seventeen magazine, that they’re like two of the greatest moments in a girls’ life: her prom, that she’ll always remember, and her wedding.
“Who are you gonna take to your prom?Who are you gonna marry?”(Laughs) So it’s just always a constant conversation that makes us all nervous, but we all have to accept who we are, and that was really what I learned in therapy.
The wedding thing–is that something that has been in your mind pressuring you, or have you let that go?
I think as Nelson and I get closer, and as I get older, it’s something that I’ve thought about a lot more often than I ever did in my life–
–but, because you have the relationship–
Right, because I have the relationship–
–not because you’re thinking about the dress.
Exactly!(Laughs) Well, now that I’m in the relationship, I do think about the dress!
Ha! Tell me about Glamour Gals Foundation.
Oh, Glamour Gals is such a great organization. It’s an intergenerational organization that brings teen girls and elderly women together. The teen girls provide complimentary makeovers and facials and, more than anything, companionship to the elderly women.
My great-grandmother was in a home, so I know–when I would come visit, she would want to get dressed and she would want to put lipstick on and make herself presentable. With women, from the time we’re three years old, we want to wear lipstick ‘til the time we’re 93. We want to wear makeup!It just makes you feel good.And I think that it’s such a great opportunity for community service for girls.You know, when else are you really going to teach them that there are these wonderful older women out there, unless they have somebody in their family. And I think it really makes teens feel good about what they’re doing, and obviously the ladies feel great about themselves.So I’m really happy to be part of the organization.
The way that I found out about it was when my article in Marie Claire came out in March of 2009.The president and founder Rachel Doyle read it and contacted somebody here at Hearst called Susan Schultz who was on the advisory board and was like “Do you know this girl? I would like to nominate her for our Glammy, for most glamorous gal of the year.” And they did, and I accepted, and it was such a wonderful honor!
And now I’m on the advisory board, and I’m heading up their first gala in February.
Do you have any plans for a follow-up book?
I really want to do a children’s book.Children—at least from my understanding and the research that I’ve done on the street where children stare at me—don’t see racial differences these days because it’s everywhere.So, they have black friends, they have white friends, they have Puerto Rican friends, they have Chinese friends, and they don’t see the difference anymore, which is wonderful.But they still see the obvious physical differences of people with different abilities.And I think parents get nervous because kids are just outspoken.Not because they’re mean, because they just want to know!
They see somebody who’s different, and say, “Mommy, why is that lady so short?” or “What are those shiny things that she walks with?”And parents get embarrassed.And I see a lot of times where the parents are like “Shh!” or they just pull them away, and they don’t wanna notice it.
And that’s not the way.I really want to help children understand those differences.
(To read more about people living with short stature, click here.)
This has gotta be one of the best examples of art imitating life we’ve ever seen: Ships That Pass is, to use the site’s own verbiage, “a collection of fake, imaginary and literary missed connections posted to Craigslist and then re-posted here [at Ships That Pass’ Tumblr page] with real responses.” The brainchild of Brooklyn-based poet Brett Fletcher Lauer (who’s written an awesome guest post about the endeavor here), it’s what an online performance-art installation commissioned by Margaret Mead might look like. Or a post-millennial, dot-com remake of those Griffin & Sabine pop-up-ish epistolary epics of my romantically angst-addled adolescence. (Anybody else remember those?) [YES!!!! Sob! — BG]
Here’s how it works: Myriad poets, writers and artists craft ersatz missed-connection posts, complete with the fictitious posters’ ages and the appropriate tag (m4w, w4m, m4m, w4w). These are uploaded to Craigslist as any real missed-connection missive would be; simultaneously, they appear on Ships That Pass. Should any unsuspecting Craigslist readers reply to the post, those emails are readable on Ships That Pass as follow-ups to the original. On the flip side, should a suspicious Craigslister flag a post for removal — as has happened a handful already — news of that post’s untimely demise is likewise reported. A missed connection that receives no action at all (overwhelmingly the case) is earmarked with a little sad face like the Zoloft mascot, informing Ships That Pass readers of “Another Missed Connection Missed.”
As anyone who’s read missed connections for sport knows, it’s the unknowable of “But did Girl with Nose Ring Wearing Military Jacket ever hear from Guy Reading The Tender Bar on the Uptown 2 Train?” that feeds their addictiveness. That, and the messages’ unbridled sentimentality. Whereas Craigslist’s other alt-personals, Casual Encounters and Misc. Romance, can depress the hell out of anyone hoping for a shred of flirtation, intrigue, chivalry or grammar to hang onto, Missed Connections is a bastion of well-intentioned, intelligently penned, old-fashioned courtship. One’s for nutjobs; the other’s for l’amour fou.
Enjoying the newly-habit-forming element of “Is it live or is it Ships That Pass?” probably won’t bode well for anyone’s to-do list. And then there’s the question of whether Missed Connectioning under false pretenses is ultimately setting up a stranger for disappointment. Judging by the responses so far, though, it seems that what drives people to reply isn’t the expectation that they’ve been identified/fancied/remembered. It’s their complicit understanding that the heart wants what it wants, and their immutable belief in art for art’s sake.
I try to be supportive, but a friend of mine is really beginning to tax my patience. She has fallen hard for a long-time friend of several years. Spending all their free time together, they are virtually inseparable. All their co-workers and family and friends fully expect them to get married. My friend thought that they would, too. So of course, something happens: he reveals to her that he is, in fact, gay. He has not come out but lives a double life. So now that he has entrusted her with his secret, he torments her constantly with every detail about his latest love exploits, even though he knows how she feels about him. What is worse is that he uses her as a cover–he has gone so far as to tell people that she is his girlfriend in order to keep his sexuality a secret. My friend goes along with it and rationalizes by telling herself, and me, that she doesn’t care what people think. If she doesn’t mind participating in this deception, it is not my place to say. But it does bother her, and she is calling me all the time to complain about it. It is always the same story. Of course she refuses to confront him, but continues to call me about it. She might as well just periodically play a recording of herself to me at this point. I have told her that she needs to decide what she wants and just stick by it, but it has become evident that she would prefer to do nothing and complain. I cannot tell her what to do with respect to him, but I appeal to Breakup Girl to help me figure out what I can do–I can’t stand to hear the same story over and over anymore–and it’t not like I have time to kill, but I also don’t want to abandon her–she has not discussed this with anyone else with the exception of one individual, and those discussions just ended in shouting matches.