I hope you're all safely tucked in for the storm, readers, with lots of good food and books on hand.
Don't look at these vintage Valentine's Day cards before you go to bed. They're nightmare-inducing. I mean, the least disturbing is probably this Krampus-themed one, which is like something Dwight Schrute would cherish:
I love how the hearts are spitted through their aortic mouths.
A wonderful article and discussion at Already Pretty about that most dreadful of faux pas: asking a woman if she's pregnant when she is not. I love this comment:
Now I am an obstetricician, and I still NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant or make that assumption based on her appearance. I am a pregnancy expert, and I still don?t do it.
(Yes, I've done it myself. Once. I can still recall the moment with the agonizing slow clarity one associates with the few moments before a car crash.)
On the subject of Things Not to Say to Women, Madeleine Davies has great advice in Jezebel for straight guys who want to know how to approach a woman in public, with romantic intent:
But let's say that you're just a chill dude who still can't quite grasp the best way to approach an unfamiliar woman in a public space. Your confusion is okay. Dating and flirting is, in general, an awkward thing to do and that goes double for when you're going up and introducing yourself to someone out of nowhere. But guess what? It is possible to approach a lady in a respectful and flattering way that probably won't leave her feeling offended or worried that you might be a subway masturbator.
She covers the coffee shop, sidewalk, airplane, and various other situations. Meanwhile, Amanda Marcotte gleefully skewers the notion that harassment and assault are the result of perfectly nice guys who just don't understand social cues, doggone it:
Since they can manage to get through the day without picking their noses, masturbating in public, and being mauled by animals and/or the cops because of their stated inability to read social cues or understand when and where sexual behavior is appropriate, I am forced to conclude they're lying when they claim they can't interact decently when it comes to women.
On a very different topic, Salon has a detailed roundup of three of the major movies addressing aging:
Now, cynical reviewers may continue to object that the happier endings of All Together and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are simply not "real," (a legitimate point since neither is a documentary). Yet both films do accurately reflect the aspirations of many older Americans -- particularly those influenced by the politics and counter-culture of the Sixties. They are wary of traditional long-term care arrangements, at home or in an institutional setting. And they sure don't want their own life to become a sad, impoverished replay of Amour, if that can be avoided.
So, instead, many U.S. Baby Boomers, at all income levels, are engaged today in an urgent quest for alternative forms of old age living. These range from cross-generational co-housing projects to natural occurring retirement communities (or NORCs), where neighbors help each other out, to "life care" facilities located on or near college campuses to new retirement villages organized around shared politics, musical tastes, or sexual identity. And then, of course, there's the Marigold Hotel option in the form of lively, multi-cultural retiree colonies like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and its counterparts in Costa Rica, Belize, and elsewhere.
My mother moved into an assisted-living facility this week, so eldercare and aging issues are on my mind, of late. I have no intention of seeing "Amour," brilliant though I'm sure it is. The better I think it might be, in fact, the less I want to see it.
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Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.