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Dating When You’re Thirteen vs. Twenty-Three

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Think back to your first boyfriend or girlfriend (or should I say “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”). Chances are you were around thirteen years old and everything was new, everything was sparkly and exciting and surprisingly simple. How have our dating habits changed in a decade? Read on and decide for yourself whether we’ve made progress or not.

You know he likes you when:
Age 13: He lingers in the hallway after school to talk to you before your parents pick you up outside in the parking lot.
Age 23: He sleeps over and makes breakfast the next day (or at least buys brunch).

You know she likes you when:
Age 13: She’s thrilled your name is the only one not crossed out during sleepover games of M*A*S*H (and doesn’t care if she also gets “shack”)
Age 23: She reserves a few hours of her precious Friday or Saturday night with you.

He’s flirting when:
Age 13: He steals your pen/gloves/books and runs down the hall with them.
Age 23: He stops by your cubicle and teases you incessantly about your pictures/plants/coffee mug.

She’s flirting when:
Age 13: She actually chases you down the hall to reclaim her pen/gloves/books.
Age 23: She emails you to help her with a “computer problem” that she totally knows how to fix.

Best bet for a first date:
Age 13: Local carnival. All the lights, all the stomach-dropping, heart-quickening rides, and best of all: every one of your friends is there so you won’t have to talk to each other alone. Shudder.
Age 23: Cocktail bar. Classy but not too serious, you won’t be sober, and when all else fails you can talk snobbily to the bartender about craft bitters.

You know you’re a couple when:
Age 13: He stands by your locker, looks down at the floor, and says “Will you go out with me?”
Age 23: You really never know.

When you describe his good qualities to your friends you say:
Age 13: He’s really cute, he’s two grades above us, and he’s on the basketball team!
Age 23: He’s really smart, lives in a one-bedroom with no roommates, and he has a salary!

Meeting the parents means:
Age 13: You both need a ride home from the mall.
Age 23: Shit’s getting real.

Cheating means:
Age 13: Talking to someone else on the phone at 10:30 pm.
Age 23: Nothing because no one is in actual relationships at 23, only nebulous “Yeah, we’re sort of dating” situations so basically anything goes.

You know the end is near when:
Age 13: You’re both on AIM and he/she hasn’t said anything in five minutes and didn’t put up an away message. He’s obviously talking to that skank Tara/she’s clearly flirting with that JERK on the soccer team.
Age 23: After four days of not talking you get a text saying “Sorry I haven’t replied I’ve just been sooo busy with work. Let’s try to meet up next week?”

Average length of relationship:
Age 13: Two weeks, or until right after next school dance, whichever comes first.
Age 23: 6 months-1 year, or until someone moves to go to grad school after getting sick of their job/friends/current location, whichever comes first.

Worst place to run into your ex:
Age 13: Outside the locker room right after gym class when you’re all sweaty and haven’t had time to reapply your Victoria’s Secret Love Spell perfume/Hollister cologne.
Age 23: Outside the bar at 3:00 am when being told you look like Ke$ha would be a compliment.

Rebounding means:
Age 13: Isn’t that a sports word?
Age 23: Enough tequila to make out with that one platonic friend who’s always been into you.

Next time around you’ll:
Age 13: Make sure you don’t fall for such an asshole.
Age 23: Make sure you don’t fall for such an asshole.

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20 Things Not To Do This Holiday Season

(A quick list)

Gold ornament

1. Invite hipsters to an ugly sweater party

   (They won’t know how to look for their own kind)

2. Drunk giftwrap your family’s Christmas presents

   (They will know)

3. Invest in “adorable” holiday decorations that you see at Target

   (You will never actually put them up)

4. Put that Mariah Carey song on repeat

   (Some people (AHEM your author) actually don’t like it and if they hear it one more time they might soon be driven to a murderous rage)

5. Buy a super-expensive present for someone you’ve been dating for less than a year

   (It’s weird)

6. Break up with someone

   (Come on.)

7. Get guilted into participating in gift exchanges you don’t want to be a part of

   (You will buy something stupid like a candle and everyone will hate you anyway)

8. Stress about getting “the perfect gift”

   (Does not exist)

9. Spend more time Pinning your holiday than having a holiday

   (Your 150 followers won’t miss you)

10. Attempt to explain to your mom why you aren’t dating that boy anymore after having several glasses of wine

   (You will get the story wrong four times and she will end up on his side)

11. Bitch about having to travel long distances to see family

   (At least you have one to see)

12. Be bitter toward your friends in relationships if you’re single

   (It’s not their fault)

13. Be pushy toward your single friends if you’re in a relationship

   (They don’t need your “help”)

14. Date someone in the spirit of charity

   (Actually don’t do this ever)

15. Think you are too old/cool for Charlie Brown Christmas

   (That movie rocks and you know it)

16. Hold onto grudges

   (Tell that boy you’re sorry, tell that girl you still want to be with her)

17. Forget that snow can actually be fun and isn’t just something to complain about

   (Snowball fights, HELLO)

18. Buy every food flavored with gingerbread or eggnog simply because it says “limited time only”

   (Eggnog candy corn exists and it shouldn’t)

19. Accidentally set your Christmas tree on fire

   (This happens, ok? OK?!)

20. Purposely set your Christmas tree on fire

   (Who are you?)

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Things I Am Good At That I Can’t Make A Career Out Of

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1. Leaving the house in exactly the number of minutes it takes me to catch the train

2. Drinking wine

3. Drinking tea

4. Drinking coffee

5. I guess just drinking

6. Avoiding people I don’t like

7. Avoiding people I do like

8. Eating with chopsticks

9. Mornings

10. My birthday

11. The physical part of relationships

12. Being the only non-brown person in an Indian restaurant

13. Walking forever down rural roads

14. Saying F. Scott Fitzgerald is relevant and meaning it

15. Saying “I really like you, too” and not meaning it

16. Thinking I am invincible on my bike

17. Cleaning my kitchen

18. Not answering my phone

19. Cutting my own hair

20. Wanting things

21. Taking things

22. General mischief

23. Change

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