The Apathetic Bride Cheats at Cards

MailboxSurprise_GilElvgrenDarlings, I have seen the light. It is rubbery and comes in all the colors of the rainbow.

It’s also sold on Etsy, so get your mind out of the gutter. Last I checked, crafters weren’t hawking organic woodland creature vibrators yet. Though, if they were, I think we can all agree that one would be called “Foxxxy Lady,” because people can’t resist a good pun. What I’m actually here to buzz about today—It was too easy!—is something infinitely more pedestrian: a stamp.

People adore handing out wedding advice to newly engaged couples. Don’t tell them, but most of it is useless. So much about a wedding ends up being individual to the couple—by luck of venue choice, season of the year, or budget—and thus can’t really be prepared for with a handy one-liner from your neighbor’s mother. There is only one piece of advice that I’m planning to actively follow, as it came from my wise and reasonable friend, Girl on the Contrary. “Write thank-you notes as the gifts come, grasshopper” she said to me, over a giant plate of brisket.

That makes so much sense! The last thing I want to do is arrive back from our honeymoon, only to be faced by a mountain of 200 thank you notes waiting to be written. My hand hurts just thinking about it! So, I’m resolved to write them immediately upon receipt of gift.

Only…I’ve also already had to address Save The Dates, which was a giant pain, plus the invitation suites are looming. Is there no way to save myself from bridal carpal tunnel? Won’t someone think of my metacarpals!?

Someone did. Darlings, you can buy a self-inking return address stamp. Do you know how much writing that saves? On the invitation suites alone, you have to write “Professor McGregor & Grace O’Kelly, 100 Curmudgeon Lane, Not Austin, TX  666-66″ at least twice per invite. It’s the most tedious thing ever. So…buy a stamp. Seriously, if you do one thing I tell you to in your lifetime, make it the purchase of return address stamp.il_570xN.415978758_s0we

I bought the above one, from Rubber Stamp Press on Etsy, and I absolutely adore it. If Professor McGregor hadn’t asked me first, I’d probably marry this thing. It leaves a super clean imprint, legitimately looks hand written/fancy, and is so much fun to use. I stamped 10 sheets of paper, when it first arrived, just so I could use it. Even better, if you’re still in a name-changing quandary, this particular one doesn’t use last names. It can be used forever, even if you eventually decide to become Mrs. Ethel Frankenbaum-Woo. There are thousands of these available on Etsy, however, so the choices are endless. You can get one with penguins on it, symbolizing your shared love of arctic fowl, or one that looks elegantly minimalist.

If you want to spend as little time preparing for this wedding hoopla as possible, get a stamp. They are cheap and they are wonderful. I’ve named mine Archibald and swear to love him forever. That’s good practice for the actual wedding, right?

Ask A Spinster: Beware the Affair

Once again, it’s time for Ask A Spinster!, the long beloved post series in which Grace answers all your questions. today’s question is especially interesting, but controversial.Neither bottles nor insults should be slung, whilst we discuss in the comments.

Dear Spinsters,
I have a thing for married men / men in relationships and cannot seem to settle for a real relationship. Can I just do my thing and date these guys or should morality prevail and I should steer clear from them?
Yours truly,
C

mailgirlMy dear Mademoiselle C,

What a brave question! Most people will have an automatic response to your inquiry. You’ve probably encountered this already: rotten tomatoes launched, heads shook in horror, and defenses for the sisterhood of women made. When it comes to affairs, modern ethics are black-and-white.

The short answer, which matches mine, is: steer clear from the attached men. My reasoning, however, is complicated.

I find that society can be all too quick to blame “the other woman” in these situations, rather than the person who actually took a vow of commitment. We cast women as opportunistic harlots preying on the weak wills of poor, tempted menfolk. This is ridiculously unfair. If you’ve made a promise to someone, don’t act like an asshole and give in to sexual longings! Men are not animals. We cannot blame every sin on their penises, then make negative character assumptions about the women involved.

If a married man makes an advance towards you, do I think you’re automatically a harlot for accepting it? Of course, not. This isn’t always a straight-forward situation, from any side, so we need approach the larger questions for you. What worries me is the health, emotionally and physically, of such a relationship. What is your end goal here? Do you want one of these affairs to turn into a real relationship?

If the answer is yes, then I caution you. The covenant of commitment is important. When we enter a monogamous relationship with someone, we expect it to stay monogamous. We’re more vulnerable, both sexually and mentally, because of that implicit exchange of trust. Anyone who can throw away such trust so easily once, can surely do it again. If you want a solid relationship, then starting with a broken promise is a bad way to get there. Even if he turns out completely committed to you, how will you ever know?

Additionally, if a committed relationship comes out of an affair, will your conscience be able to reconcile your happiness with being complicit in the hurt of another person? While there are some marriages in which affairs don’t cause harm, because of emotional or relational circumstances, most spouses expect—rightfully—fidelity from their partners. The realization that a spouse is cheating is, for most people, world shattering. It’s hard to shatter worlds, even when love is involved, and not feel guilt. It’s human nature, thank heavens. Living with such guilt, the kind that stays and festers, is no easy feat.

If you don’t expect these relationships to go anywhere, then my concerns are graver still. There are less emotionally destructive ways to have casual relationships. Affairs, from all sides, are messy. If a spouse or girlfriend discovers the affair, what will she do? Most women are sane, coping through a nice bout of chunking shit out windows and impressive streaks of cussing, but there are the Lifetime movie girls. Having affairs really increases the chance that someone will plot your demise. Meanwhile, a nice friends-with-benefits tryst usually ends in awkward small talk at a grocery store. Grace’s Rule for Life #42:Try to avoid encouraging other people to plot your demise. 

Why risk becoming fodder for Nancy Grace, if you don’t have to? I’ve done the pro/con and it never looks rosy for the side of affairs. They may be more exciting, but you can always go cliff diving instead. Some people find their true love, because of an affair—take Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, for example—but more end in tears or cyanide. Even Tracy and Hepburn had issues—despite over two decades of love, Hepburn didn’t feel right attending his funeral, out of respect for his wife. If even she had heartbreaking complications, surely us mere mortals will? Real relationships may not fare any better, but at least they have a fighting chance.

Good luck, my dear, whatever you choose.

With love and pie,

Grace, Giver of Advice

If you have questions you’d like answered by your friendly local spinster, leave them in the comments or e-mail them to us!

Ask A Spinster: Friends to Lovers (to Zombies)

Once again, it’s time for Ask A Spinster!, the long beloved (since last week) post series in which Grace answers all your questions. Well, almost all. She really thinks you need to direct any burning questions to a doctor, as those might be signs of leprosy! Luckily for us all, today’s question involves the escalation of a romance, not Mycobacterium leprae.

 

So, I have a guy friend who I’ve known for about a year. We’ve become especially close in the last two months as we are both single and have come to rely on one another for advice and support. Before then, it had been discussed that the two of us wouldn’t work so supporting each other in this way wouldn’t create a problem.

This thing is…now I know him much better and he is not who I thought he was. He is much better – the type of person i would date. Needless to say, I have developed feelings for him.

What do I do Miss Grace – giver of advice?

Sincerely,
A

mailgirlMy dear Mademoiselle A, I have so been there. The only thing worse than developing feelings for a friend is developing feelings for a friend you’ve specifically disavowed becoming romantically entangled with. While I firmly believe that many opposite sex friendships can remain platonic on both sides, it’s also true that getting to know someone on a deeper level can change how you see him or her. Sometimes, a guy’s stealth neatness just sneaks up on you, like a sadistic pie-bearing clown.

The question is, of course, what the hell to do now. He’s obviously a great friend to you, so keeping the friendship stable in the long-term is imperative. As such, many people *cough* Cosmo writers *cough* would tell you to keep quiet on the matter and let his actions be your guide. If he touches you accidentally, if he surprises you with giant iced teas, then perhaps he likes you too. Nonverbal cues are all well and good, but that’s horrid advice. In my experience, there is one universal truth of feelings: they, like their dear cousin truth, will always out.

If you like him, tell him. Bottling up your emotions, for the good of the friendship or your own psyche, can result in calamity. Feelings insist on becoming known, whether through the machinations of a loose-lipped friend or from your own 3 a.m. ramblings, after too many margaritas and episodes of Roswell. Neither of those outcomes is ideal. The best way to keep from going down a rabbit hole of awkwardness is to take control. Let emotional honesty rule the day and tell him what’s up.

Chances are, he’s already noticed a disturbance in the Force. Talking about it has one of two possible outcomes: either he also likes likes you, or he doesn’t. Obviously, I’m pulling for the former, but even the latter isn’t the end of the world. Friendships, the good ones like yours, can overcome anything. I’ve known oodles of friend pairs who’ve dealt with one person liking the other. Despite what popular culture likes to tells us about love ruining All The Things, they’ve universally made it out the other side in tact. After some initial awkwardness, things got back to normal. Putting your feelings on the table allows you both to move forward, whether as a couple or just friends.

Also, I’m going to be honest, we don’t have all the time in the world. Crazy things happen everyday. Say he does return your feelings, but you don’t tell him out of fear. He could meet someone else tomorrow! She may not be you, but her laugh is nice and she shares his love of Disney villains, so he asks her on a date…then another one and another one and, before you know it, he’s asking you to help him plan a proposal. That would suck! Of all the Julia Roberts characters to emulate, the one from My Best Friend’s Wedding is the worst. The beauty of taking action is that you’re never left wondering “What if…” Embarrassment is a fleeting emotion, but regret lingers.

If he says no, you can move forward. But if he says yes? You can start all the happy bits now. That seems a worthy risk to take. Besides, if the Zombie apocalypse happens, don’t you want a partner? He sounds like he’d be good with a pick ax.

Good luck, my dear!

With love and pie,

Grace, Giver of Advice

If you have questions you’d like answered by your friendly local spinster, leave them in the comments or e-mail them to us!

Ask A Spinster: On Flowbees and Roller Derby

mailgirlGood afternoon, kittens! For some time now, I have held a dream close to my heart. Surprisingly, I’m not talking about setting up a detective agency or finally learning to make Parisian macarons, but something infinitely more daunting. Advice giving!

I, Grace O’Kelly, have a not-so-secret passion for dispensing wisdom. This is why we’ve always said that, if you have a question, you can e-mail us anytime. It was less about wanting blog header design inquiries and more my wishful daydreams of Sad Suzy from Switzerland. Only, the e-mails never came. For too long, my advice went ungiven to anyone but my dog. (Who, incidentally, still hasn’t asked out that cute corgi next door.) Until now! Because perhaps people haven’t been asking us questions, but they have been asking internet.

Google, that delightful search engine in the sky, has been sending them to us. So, from the depths of our search terms, I give you the first installment of: Ask A Spinster!

“How can I make my spinsterhood exciting?”

Darling, I’m so glad you asked. If you’re finding spinsterhood boring, then obviously you haven’t discovered roller derby yet. Nothing livens up a day like whirling at top speeds around a track, trying to do bodily harm to another person. Oh, the thrill of your first clothesline! Nothing rivals such bloodthirsty joy. Or, so I hear.

I’m not so great at roller skating. Or being in pain. Quite frankly, my spinsterhood was filled with things like eating pie and sewing dresses. My biggest thrill, to date, was watching Firefly in Whedon’s intended chronology, rather than the broadcasted order. Woohoo! But you seem to need more. That’s understandable! Being single can get lonely, even when it’s a conscious choice you’ve made. So, roller derby, my dear! If that’s not your cup of tea, find a passion that is. Learning a hobby or finding a cause can fill up downtime faster than anything. Also, it’s a bit more productive than my Mal ogling.

“If someone calls me love, are they patronizing me?

Excellent question! Here’s my litmus test: Does the person in question sincerely love you? Take for example Professor McGregor. The dear professor calls me “love” all the time, but it works, because I am his love. It’s like calling someone “friend,” when they’re your friend. It’s just a glorious statement of fact!

However, if it’s a random stranger or person you don’t actually love? Definitely patronizing. This is right up there with “sweetheart” and “babe” on the list of inappropriate things men call younger women. Remind them, perhaps with an artfully placed elbow, that you do not love them referring to you so.

“Do spinsters eventually want to get married?”

Welcome, dearest! I can only assume that you’ve recently met a spinster you admire. Congratulations! This is a very exciting development for you. As such I will answer your question with the utmost sincerity: It depends. You see, spinsters are people and people, as you have no doubt noticed, are different from each other.

Despite what society may intimate, not all spinsters harbor dreams of domesticity. Some of them are much happier building their careers as elephant psychiatrists than settling down with a spouse. Meanwhile, some spinsters just never found a person wonderful enough to tempt them out of their independent ways. For a clue to which camp your spinster may be in, I have a radical notion. Ask her.

“I believe I am in need of a haircut.

This is not a question, but I will still accept it. If you think you’re in need of a haircut, you probably are. Contrary to popular belief, this state can not be fixed by a quick Google search. Instead, hie yourself off to the nearest salon, liebling! There, you will find a brilliant person who actually gets paid to trim the fluff around your ears.

If that fails, buy a Flowbee.

This has been the first installment of Ask A Spinster! If you have questions you’d like answered by your friendly local spinster, leave them in the comments or e-mail them to us!

With love and pie,

Grace O’Kelly, Wisdom Dispenser

Real Talk With Grace’s Mom: Marijuana

Most women I know dread becoming their mothers. They’ll say something out of character – whether it be more biting, more conservative, more in line with Wiccan teachings, what have you – and follow it up with, “Oh, God. It’s happening! I’m turning into my Mom!”

This is not a problem for me. My mom is awesome. If, in 30 years, I wake up to find myself identical to her, my life will be a success. She paints, she has a wicked sense of humor, she’s impossible to beat at Trivial Pursuit, and – most of all – she has an amazingly clear-eyed view of human nature. Y’all, my mother knows All The Answers. Sometimes, however, these answers surprise her eldest daughter.

My mom is really great about not prying into my personal life (Unlike my father, whose fears of my impending catladydom have turned him into a deluded matchmaker, convinced my soulmate is the pest control man’s grandson, because “he looks like your type – scruffy, wearing a vest.”), so our relationship conversations are few and far between. Most of the time, they happen because I am in dire need of some advice. Like when I asked “So…would we call a man’s habitual pot smoking a deal-breaker?”

Y’all, I know. I’m a traitor to my generation. Yes, I think marijuana should be legalized and I don’t care if my friends do it, but it’s not something I’m personally into. I hate being drunk, much less high. It’s just not something I can relate to – I prefer all my faculties to be in full, working order. Plus, let’s be honest: I’m paranoid enough. Can you imagine a high version of me? Jesus Christ. That’s a terrifying thought.

So, yeah, I don’t smoke. Quite a few of the men I’ve dated, however, have. It hasn’t bothered me, when it’s only a couple times a month, but when it’s all the time? My brain starts turning. Do I really want to start a relationship with someone who is so fundamentally opposite of me, in this lifestyle choice? What if he chooses smoking over hanging out with me? What if he gets caught? Oh my God, what if I get caught, because I was aware of it and that is also (maybe) a crime? What if he smokes, because if he doesn’t, he turns into the Hulk, thanks to a gamma radiation experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong?

Why, yes, my brain is a terrifying place. Yet, these questions are valid. (Especially the Hulk one – have comic books taught us nothing? Radiation is not to be trifled with, people!) Or, they seemed that way anyway, before I talked with my mother, whose response went a little like this:

Grace, you’re being ridiculous. Some people need pot to relax. Some people need books to relax. Just because you’re the latter doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the former. Be glad he has it in his toolbox and it works. I wish your dad would smoke a bowl sometimes, it would really help him out. Hell, if I get Glaucoma when I’m 80, maybe your friend could hook me up with a reputable dealer. Besides, it’s better for you than cigarettes, unless you’re one of the teenage boys in which it induces psychosis. Does it induce psychosis?  If he’s completely functional, who cares?

Duly noted. So, yeah. My mother is way cooler than I am and, apparently, my dad could use some pot. These are the things a girl learns, when taking advice from Grace’s mom.

– Grace