Media Monday if You Don’t Love Love

Relationships and love are complicated and messy. Today I bring you:

My Spotify playlist about how love can suck

Where Should We Begin?
Esther Perel’s podcast about relationships and all their complexity.

Dear Sugar
Formerly an advice column, now (and for several years) a podcast featuring the past two writers, Cheryl Strayed (yes, that one) and Steve Almond.


Shark Week

Me: It's Shark Week!

FHubs: I'm all about the sharks, about the sharks, no fishies.

112 Weddings

A documentary filmmaker shot over 100 weddings on the side to make stable income. Over time he thought about what happened to some of those couples. Some he couldn’t find, others didn’t want to talk about it, but he found several who were willing to partake in his latest documentary.

It’s a great example of how life will throw unexpected things at you. Children, career changes, health problems. I was glad that many of the couples had found struggle but stayed together like the couple whose daughter had cancer or the woman with depression.

The depressed couple made me so sad because I could really understand how she felt. She didn’t see the good moments or how her daughter loves her or their bond. She saw herself as a burden on both of them. She thinks she’s a bad mother, a bad partner, and a bad person. Where she’s at, her options are keep fighting or lay down and die. I hope that when I have a kid and if/when I get back to that place, I will not lay down and die. Not because I deserve better but because my family does.

I see so much of Boyfriend in her husband. You can see from his body language that he loves her and wants her back. He doesn’t want to go through this life with anyone else and is willing to do what he has to do to get her to a better place. I can only hope that when Boyfriend and I get married and if/when I get The Bell Jar dropped on my head, my marriage will look like that.

Life isn’t always pretty so this is a hard reality of marriage. Another couple who I was glad agreed to be interviewed was the divorced couple. She was so happy to marry him then and many years later, he was so happy to be rid of her now. I think a big part of their split was not just leading separate lives but his ego. He lost weight and had professional success and “was growing and growing” while his wife stayed the same.

Maybe she stayed the same because she was raising the kids. Maybe she was changing and he wasn’t as interested in her life anymore. Her revelation about his infidelity was so powerful. I can appreciate things changing but if you’re unhappy in your marriage or relationship and you say nothing, that’s a choice. If you become unfaithful to your partner, that’s a choice. Once you get beyond the age of youthful stupidity, I have no respect for infidelity. Rather than face the problem and deal with it, he chose to take the coward’s way out. I had a lot of respect for her and very little for him.

I absolutely adored the couple that had a commitment ceremony 13 years prior. They seemed like such fun and interesting people back then. Looking at their life now, middle age and a pair of kids, the legalities of marriage make complete sense. Jointly filing taxes, ICU and ER rights should something happen to their partner, POA should something happen to them mentally, transfer of assets in death. In a situation like that, it’s less about tradition and more about protecting your family. I love how they did a tiny living room wedding as well.

My favorite line from the movie was from the rabbi: “A wedding is a day and it’s easiest day to make happy. You’ve just thrown a ton of money at it. And liquor. I mean, come on. A wedding is easy to make happy. A marriage is hard to make happy because when you throw a ton of money and liquor at it, it often makes things worse.”

I like to think that because I’ve had hard life experiences and relationships and friendships go wrong, I’m more prepared for bad things to happen. I’m likely more prepared than someone who has had an easy life but you never know what life will throw at you. This film did a good job of showing you how unexpected life and love can be without depressing you. Definitely worth a watch.

If Rom Coms Got Real

Everyone gets this warped idea of what love and relationships really look like from pop culture and movies. Here’s what I think some famous romances would look like if they happened in the real world.

Pretty Woman
Erring on the side of optimism, these two get married. However, their class backgrounds start to tear them apart. Vivian beings to feel insecure because Edward reads the New York Times and discusses books reviewed in The New Yorker. Edward begins to resent how little Vivian blends into his world. She doesn’t know this composer from that artist and on several occasions, embarrasses him. Eventually, they engage in a bitter divorce that is the talk of the New York social scene and Vivian is featured on Real Housewives of New York.

Theodore winds up dating a socially awkward computer programmer who worked on creating the OS system. It is his attempt to seek out Samantha again. They live together but never marry. Samantha has given Theodore unrealistic expectations for a relationship so the pair split. Amy marries again to an easy-going man and has one child. Neither has a deep relationship with an AI again. Lots of therapy abounds.

Knocked Up
Ben enjoys living a successful adult life with Allison and their daughter. The two have a long engagement but never seem to marry. Ben drifts further and further away from his friends. Allison, still career driven, enjoys many successes. Allison resents Ben for not doing enough around the house and not being more ambitious. Ben resents her for thinking she’s better than him. Eventually they split, realize they’re better for it since they had little in common, and raise a lovely daughter.

With some help from Helen, Annie becomes the assistant pastry chef at a country club. She is well trained and eventually becomes the head pastry chef for that club. Due to Annie’s influence, Helen becomes more honest with her husband and it improves their relationship. Annie and Nathan eventually marry and have a son. Lillian and Doug have three children. Lillian, Annie, and Helen still have biweekly sushi. Megan gets along well with Nathan and is a frequent baby sitter. Rita is the same as she ever was but is fun on the occasional girl’s night out. Becca and her husband open a BDSM club.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Ben and Andie give their relationship a real shot since they have many things in common and she loves his family. They start of with several trust issues since the foundation of their relationship is a complete sham. Because they’re both very career driven, they have several rocky patches but ultimately it works out. They get engaged but never marry. No children.

10 Things I Hate About You
Kat and Patrick date through the rest of the school year and summer but have an amicable break-up when she goes east for school. Kat goes on to found a successful nonprofit and work for NOW. Patrick becomes a semi-famous indie rocker. The two rendezvous in Manhattan to catch up when they’re in their 30s. It’s pleasant. Cameron and Bianca date for the rest of high school. Bianca is less popular but happier for it. They go to separate colleges, have a tear filled break-up, and go on to lead productive lives. Joey’s modeling career flounders and dies while he’s in his early 2os.

The Notebook
Allie and Noah have a lovely summer fling. Allie grows up, moves on, and marries Lon. When she learns that Noah wrote her every day for a year and built her a house, she becomes very creeped out. When Noah visits her begging to call off her wedding, Allie calls the police. Noah becomes very bitter. Allie and Lon go on to have a nice life more about appearances than actual happiness but no one is totally miserable. Except Noah.

The Proposal
Margaret Tate didn’t listen regarding her immigration status so she goes back to Canada to work in a field office and remotely until the issue is resolved. Andrew is finally given an opportunity to be heard during her absence and the book he wants to get published finally is. Andrew meets a compatible woman now that Margaret is not ruling his life and gets engaged and married. Margaret gets a new assistant to terrorize once she obtains dual citizenship. She never fully respects Andrew an an equal but does respect his choices of books.

Never Been Kissed
Josie realizes she’s wasting her talent in journalism at a newspaper and gets a position doing a column and human interest stories at a woman’s magazine. Sam is suspended as a teacher due to his relationship with Josie when she’s a student. Because of PR, no charges are pressed. Josie uses her connections at the magazine to get Sam hired as a teacher at a fancy prep school. The relationship flounders because of Josie’s career success and Sam’s damaged career as a teacher. The two eventually split.

Cher’s dad initially doesn’t approve of the relationship with Josh but begrudgingly accepts it since he figures it won’t last too long. All the couples break up when they go to different schools. Dion and Murray find each other after college and get back together. He’s a sports manager, she’s a fashion buyer. They marry and have 2 children. Cher becomes a designer while Josh becomes an environmental lawyer in Washington state. Cher marries a sculptor and Josh marries an urban homesteader. They send each other Christmas cards. Tai becomes a graphic designer while Travis goes on to work with Tony Hawk’s company.

What Women Want
Nick and Darcy move into Darcy’s house. Darcy keeps her job at the advertising agency. Nick goes on to use his knowledge of women to work for a Chicago based company that sells female oriented products. His daughter grows up well. His relationship with is ex continues to be amicable.

Hitch continues his business but also helps plan romantic proposals and anniversary celebrations. He knows people well and Sarah offers valuable insight. She continues in her gossip column. They attend couple’s therapy for their trust issues. They eventually marry in a planned elopement. No kids but a few seriously cute dogs. They are an excellent aunt and uncle and become godparents to Allegra and Albert’s second child.

Friendship Review: Book & Reality

This was a carry over from December. Given my sort-of break-up with my former BFF, this seemed appropriate.

I’ve gotten many reminders that Magenta and I are no longer close. One of her moving boxes got soaked and ruined some of her books. I heard about it from her boyfriend. What stung was when he said “Of course you know.” The only of course anymore is the nothing she tells me. If we’re not in the same room, there’s nothing to say. It’s sad but reality.

What I can’t forget is that Magenta saw a side of myself I keep from the world and turned her back on it. She couldn’t handle how dark my depression can make my world. Bella, someone who I hadn’t been getting along with at the time, found something that could have been me on reddit. She did research, realized it was me, and opted in for that same darkness. People will never cease to surprise you.


The book was about besties Bev and Amy. Of course they live in NYC but Bev is floundering after dropping out of grad school. Amy is doing OK at a largely pointless job. Then life throws both women a curve ball. Bev is pregnant. Everything is about to change.

There were several similarities between Friendship and Girls on HBO. Immature, self-absorbed 20-somethings, thoughtless sexual behavior, self-destructive actions. While I found Bev and Amy more tolerable than any character on Girls, it was definitely that same Brooklyn world. A lot of their actions and motivations didn’t make sense to me. Why not make the prick pony up for child support? Why not take the ‘demeaning’ job just to pay bills?

It was also another in the grand tradition of having a not-quite ending. We get some resolution as it pertains to Bev and Amy but what becomes of these aimless women is unclear. Are they going to spend the rest of their lives as directionless as they spent this book?

I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5. While a compelling read, not a great deal happened. It was random and odd but not totally predictable.

I’m currently working my way through my library haul starting with Jewel. The last couple of books I read were all about NYC so I need something that is completely the opposite. Alaska and a former cowboy’s wife should do the trick.


After my recent disagreement with my friend over his poor taste in revenge humor, I’ve decided there are phrases we need to stop using. They never work as intended and my instinctive response is to all of them is “Fuck off.” Here’s why these phrases never work.

Lighten up

What it’s supposed to mean: It’s a joke. Find the funny.

What it really means: My (somewhat offensive) joke fell flat. Rather than accept this, I’m going to get defensive about my ability to be funny and completely dismiss you.

How it’s usually taken: The recipient gets more offended and thinks you’re allergic to listening. Finds the joke even less funny than before.

Calm Down

What it’s supposed to mean: You need to mellow out to improve the situation.

What it really means: I don’t like that you’re being this reactive/emotional. I don’t want to deal with this. Please stop.

How it’s usually taken: THAT WAS CALM! (emotions escalate by a factor of 9,000)

Cheer up

What it’s supposed to mean: Don’t be so unhappy. I want to see you be happy.

What it really means: I don’t like you when you’re depressed/sad. I don’t want to be around you when you’re like this so please stop being like this.

How it’s usually taken: You’re uninterested in the reason I’m unhappy. Rather than care and listen, you want me to pretend I don’t have problems so you don’t have to feel guilty for not caring.

No offense

What it’s supposed to mean: I’m going to say something you may not want to hear.

What it really means: I’m going to say something offensive and probably unnecessary. Because I used a disclaimer, you can’t be mad at me.

How it’s usually taken: Braces for offensive statement. Debates the value of calling you on your shit or just smiling, nodding, and thinking you’re an idiot.


What it’s supposed to mean: Be happy!

What it really means: I’d rather look at someone smiling. If you’re not happy, you’re of no value to me.

How it’s usually taken: I’m not here for your viewing pleasure OR Let me turn my emotions on and off since they make you uncomfortable.