This Is What Happens When Someone Cheats…And It Goes Very, Very Badly

Whether or not you believe that monogamous relationships work, one thing is certain: if you are in a relationship, you need to respect the other person and be honest. Your spouse, partner, or polygamous set of wives deserve that much.

So when someone cheats — and when that someone gets caught — it’s no surprise there is a lot of hurt. And when there’s a lot of hurt, some pretty nasty things can happen…

Although, these people had it coming.

1. Finally, the neighborhood had something to talk about.

2. Mrs. Liar found these condoms left behind and decided to leave a little note.

3. Yeaaaaahhhhhhh, you might want to stay away from relatives.

4. She took passive-aggressive, murderous rage to a whole new level. BRAVO.

5. Is this just mean…or attempted murder?

6. Good luck looking your neighbors in the face, lady.

7. Judging by the state of his car, I’m assuming it wasn’t.

8. This reaction is almost as alarming as the cheating itself.

9. That’s a fair question…

Although her face will be SO red if it’s just his accountant.

10. At least she put his stuff out on the lawn AND left an explanation.

11. Oh…that hurts.

But at least he got Aaron Paul’s attention!

Twitter / Aaron Paul

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12. And now she’s probably dating that dude next to her. BOOM.

13. “My friend got caught cheating recently…”

Why do they always favor black spray paint?

14. He found this under his toilet seat…his girlfriend apparently had a friend over.

15. Don’t cheat on someone who isn’t afraid to blow your belongings to smithereens.

16. This wife was caught sexting another man at a baseball game. A kind witness decided to fill the husband in on the shenanigans.

17. Judging by the screen cracks, her reputation isn’t the only thing he destroyed.

18. Take THAT, shoe lover!

19. Ohhhhhhhhh snap. Shots fired.

20. Billboard revenge = always classic.

21. Once again, don’t cheat on someone with access to that many pickaxes.

22. Aww, what a sweet welcome sign!

23. …Honestly, there’s no proof that Scott cheated. This is just mean.

Fail Blog

24. At least they avoided using spray paint to shame her.

25. Oh snap…if that doesn’t get the house off the market, what will/

26. NOT THE BOAT!

27. Tasteful…yet alarming!

28. If you cheat on your partner, NEVER let them tattoo a part of you that you can’t see. That’s just common sense.

29. She can’t write worth a damn, but you still have to respect this ballsy strategy.

30. Oh, Davey Boy…

31. Wow, what a postscript BURN.

Lesson. Learned.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/cheaters-caught-in-action/

23 Fictional Couples Who Will Restore Your Faith In Marriage

Happily married couples in movies and on TV are hard to come by…but they do exist!

1. Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin from How I Met Your Mother.

CBS

CBS

 

While How I Met Your Mother was technically about Ted’s long (and ridiculously winding) road to finding a wife, most fans of the show would admit that Marshall and Lily were the actual key couple of the series. They showed that “happy couple” doesn’t automatically mean “boring couple” — in fact, quite the opposite.

Ted can wave around the blue French horn all he wants, Marshmallow and Lilypad have true intimacy…with nary an eye roll or nagging comment in sight (so rare when it comes to married couples on TV).

2. Morticia and Gomez Addams from The Addams Family.

Paramount Pictures

They’re creepy, they’re kooky…and they’re perfect for each other.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate couple than Gomez and Morticia Addams. In the words of Gomez, “I would die for her. I would kill for her. Either way, what bliss.”

3. Rob and Laura Petrie from The Dick Van Dyke Show.

 

One of the first married couples on TV who truly seemed to delight in each other’s company, Rob and Laura Petrie just had fun together. They didn’t shriek and bicker constantly (like Lucy and Ricky), nor did they get along eerily well (like the Cleavers); they were quite the dream team.

4. Jane Kerkovich-Williams and Brad Williams from Happy Endings.

ABC

ABC

 

RIP Happy Endings and RIP one of best married couples to appear on a sitcom in recent years: Jane and Brad. Always having fun together (and always all over each other), they were a couple to emulate.

5. Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence-Matthews from Boy Meets World.

Touchstone Television

Touchstone Television

 

Oh, Cory and Topanga: giving kids somewhat unrealistic expectations about their middle school romances since 1993. But some couples do make it! It does happen! Plus, Cory and Topanga’s relationship wasn’t turbulence-free: It had its ups and downs, and when they did end up getting married, that marriage stood the test of time. (Proof = the Disney Channel spin-off, Girl Meets World.)

6. Ellie and Carl Fredricksen from Up.

Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios

Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios

 

Ellie and Carl’s marriage takes up less than 10 minutes of the movie Up, but man oh man are those 10 gut-wrenching, tear-inducing, GIVE ME A KLEENEX PLEASE minutes.

They’re currently winning the “Which Disney Movie Has The Most Romantic Love Story?” poll, and good golly they surely deserve to. Their relationship shows that even if you never make it to Paradise Falls, marriage itself is an amazing adventure.

7. Bob and Phyllis Vance from The Office.

NBC

Pam and Jim weren’t the only happily married couple on The Office — you can’t forget Bob and Phyllis! These two are so attracted to each other that they end up deserting Jim and Pam in the midst of a double date to go get frisky in the bathroom.

His business may be refrigeration, but he definitely keeps it hot with his wife (ba-dum dum).

8. Chandler Bing and Monica Geller-Bing from Friends.

NBC

NBC

 

Could they BE any more awesome? Doubtful. Ross and Rachel, Schmoss and Schmachel: This is the couple to care about. Thank god for the drunken London hookup that brought these two lobsters together.

9. David Fisher and Keith Charles from Six Feet Under.

HBO

HBO

 

If you’ve watched Six Feet Under, you know what happens during the finale; you know that you will have permanent water damage in your apartment from all the tears that will flow from your wee eye sockets — a torrential downpour of grief.

It’s almost impossible to pick which flash-forward scenario inspires the most sobbing… just kidding, it’s Keith and David’s. First you see them finally getting married, and then before you know it — Keith passes away, and then David follows suit (dying after he thinks he sees a young Keith playing football in the distance). Tears. Oh the tears.

10. Glenn Rhee and Maggie Greene from The Walking Dead.

AMC

AMC

 

The couple that fights zombies together, stays together.

Glenn and Maggie may not legally be married, but they’ve been engaged since Season 3 and — let’s be real — wedding planning isn’t at the top of anyone’s priorities during the zombie apocalypse. They’re the best part of the show (a flare of hope amongst the carnage), and when they were separated during Season 5 it was as painful for us as it was for them.

11. Niles and Daphne Crane from Frasier.

NBC

NBC

 

Has there ever been a “will they or won’t they” couple that you’ve more desperately wanted a “will” for? Doubtful. Hearing Daphne call Dr. Crane “Niles” for the first time sends chills down a Frasier-lover’s spine. And when they finally get married? Well, it’s better than tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

12. Ben and George in Love Is Strange.

Sony Pictures Classics

Everyone in Ben and George’s lives know how deeply committed they are to each other; in fact, their nephew actually introduces his girlfriend to them as a sort of preamble to his own marriage proposal: He uses them as an example of what he hopes his own marriage will be.

13. Jin-Soo and Sun-Hwa Kwon from Lost.

ABC

ABC

 

You’ll probably start to sob just thinking of the submarine scene.

14. Stef and Lena Foster from The Fosters.

ABC Family

ABC Family

 

This is a show that doesn’t get nearly enough viewers: People get scared away by the fact that it’s on ABC Family…but they shouldn’t! The show has many virtues, but obviously the one most relevant to this post is Lena and Stef’s relationship. Their lives are full of drama, but — at least so far — all the dramatic occurrences on the show only serve to bring them closer together.

15. Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint from Doctor Who.

BBC One

BBC One

 

An odd pair (Madame Vastra is a Silurian warrior, after all), but a great one.

16. Susan and Gordon Robinson from Sesame Street.

PBS

Susan and Gordon were probably the first happily married couple you ever saw on TV.

17. Zoe and “Wash” Washburne from Firefly.

Fox

Fox

 

Zoe and Wash were great at couple-y banter and equally great at their jobs. The “great at their jobs” part of that sentence is important, because it made them into two incredibly interesting characters: They weren’t just some token “married couple” on the space ship.

18. Overton “Obie” Wakefield Jones and Synclaire James-Jones from Living Single.

Fox

While there was plenty of heat between Max and Kyle, Synclaire and Overton’s relationship (and eventual marriage) was sweet — a happy union between a laid-back guy and his lovably kooky lady. They were the cutest of cute couples.

19. Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man series.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

 

Drinking martinis, solving crimes, and just being a generally amazing duo (with an adorable dog to boot).

20. Dre and Rainbow Johnson from Black-ish.

ABC

One of the great things about Black-ish is the cast’s amazing chemistry — they actually seem like a real family. That goes for how the children interact with the parents, but also how Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross interact with each other; you believe in their marriage (and it’s a good one).

21. Mac and Bren MacGuff from Juno.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Mac and Bren aren’t the main attraction of the movie Juno (obviously), but they’re an exemplary depiction of a married couple that works as a team: as parents, and in their romantic relationship.

Plus, Mac’s advice to Juno in regards to Paulie Bleeker is top-notch: “Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with” — he found that in Bren.

22. Kristina and Adam Braverman from Parenthood.

NBC

NBC

 

Adam and Kristina had to deal with a lot over the course of five seasons, but as the series came to a close they were still going strong. “Small victories” are important, and they knew that you need to celebrate them.

23. Tami and Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights.

NBC / Universal

NBC / Universal

 

And finally, here we have the king and queen of happy TV marriages: Eric and Tami Taylor.

This is the sort of partnership you dream of having — not because it’s some storybook, fairy tale version of married life, but because it’s a realistic and flawed (yet still passionate and strong) portrayal of marriage.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mallorymcinnis/eric-and-tami-taylor-forever

This Girl Is Taking Down Hipster Tinder One Profile At A Time

Behold the wonder of Tinder in Brooklyn.

1. Tinder can be a garbage wasteland to wade through. And nobody knows that better than Lindsay, the creator of the blog Tinder in Brooklyn.

 

Yes, that man is wearing nothing but pizza.

2. Lindsay, a law student, started the blog after noticing some truly troubling/mystifying Tinder profile pictures.

 

For instance, guys making rape jokes, or lighting pineapples on fire in non-fire-retardant clothing.

3. She went on Tinder to earnestly meet someone, but found “it’s kind of impossible to Tinder date in Brooklyn because this is what you get,” she told BuzzFeed Life.

 

Yes, I’d love to meet a guy who’s pointing a gun at me.

4. Lindsay also noticed a proliferation of guys using photos of themselves posing with African natives.

 

“Don’t use poverty tourism pics in your Tinder profile,” Lindsay told BuzzFeed Life. “Using kids to get a blow job? Are you fucking kidding me?”

5. But there were other consistent tropes, too. Like guys cuddling with cute animals.

 

And making pussy jokes about it.

8. And being just too creepy for words.

 

9. Lindsay says that though her blog focuses on the hipster guys of Brooklyn, she’s gotten emails from people around the world who’ve met similar folks in their Tinder searches.

 

“There’s hipster enclaves everywhere,” said Lindsay. “And that is kind of interesting. You’re not alone. It’s a struggle out there.”

BTW, Andrew’s shirt says “My life, my bike, my dick, my death,” which, YES.

10. But please, guys, whatever you do, don’t wear a mask in your Tinder photo. Especially not this one.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/this-girl-is-taking-down-hipster-guys-on-tinder-one-profile

Here Are Insane Stories Of What Some People Have Done In The Name Of Love.

They say love is a many-splendored thing. There are an endless number of songs, poems and movies centered around the idea. Most of us will spend a lot of our time searching for that perfect someone to share our lives with, and there’s really nothing sweeter than when you find it.

And then there’s these stories. These people have a very different and disturbing definition of true love… Wow.

1.) Break Out Of Prison

34-year-old Craig Souza is no stranger to the inside of a prison cell, but in 2012 he decided he didn’t really care to rejoin the Santa Cruz County Jail and simply buzzed himself back into freedom. He explained that he was worried his wife would be upset to know he was going back to jail.

2.) Fake Your Death

As part of a morbidly elaborate proposal plan in 2012, a Russian man named Alexey Bykov arranged to meet with his hopeful-bride-to-be… only to have her discover his bloodied body among a scene of carnage. After she began breaking down in sadness, he popped up and popped the question. For some reason, she said yes.

3.) Light His Fire

In 2010, Sheldon Gonzalez fell asleep next to girlfriend Berlinda Dixon-Newbold like usual. Soon, however, he was woken up by the smell of smoke and the feeling of heat in his crotch-region… Because Berlinda, upset about not receiving enough attention, had set him on fire.

4.) Steal A Moon Rock

When aspiring astronaut Thad Roberts stole $21 million worth of moon rocks from NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, he explained it was all for love. The love of a biology intern at the facility, to be precise, who aided him in stealing and then attempting to sell the lunar artifacts. They were caught and sentenced to jail time. The best-selling novel Sex on the Moon is based on their experience.

5.) Hang Out With Their Corpse

In 1930, radiologist Carl Tanzler was working at the Marine Hospital in Key West, Florida where he met a young woman suffering from tuberculosis, Maria Elena Milagro “Helen” de Hoyos. Despite his best efforts, she succumbed to the disease and passed away in 1931… but Tanzler’s obsession was just beginning. In 1940, her body was discovered in Tanzler’s home. He had taken it in 1933 claiming her spirit had come to him saying he should.

6.) Rob A Waffle House

In 2013, Florida resident Marquis Baldwin just wanted to help his lady out with her financial difficulty (probation bills) so he did what any guy would do: grabbed his BB gun and robbed 3 Waffle House restaurants. He was arrested and charged with armed robbery and six counts of aggravated assault.

7.) Take (Fecal) Matters Into Your Own Hands

Following a spat with his girlfriend in 2011 where she apparently stole his phone, Staten Island aspiring rapper Rasheen “Illuminati” Harrison took his revenge by taking a number 2 in the elevator as he exited her apartment building. He then used that to, uh, decorate the walls which he then set on fire.

8.) Buy A Website

In 2007, Vimeo employee Patrick Moberg found the girl of his dreams while riding the 5 train in Manhattan. The only problem was that he didn’t actually talk to her before they went their separate ways. Instead of relying on the sketchy “missed connections” section of Craigslist, Patrick created his own entire website with one motive: finding the girl. Within 48 hours, the site was a success and he was put in contact with her. (Unfortunately, the relationship only lasted 2 months.)

9.) Special Tattoo Delivery

When London-native Torz Reynolds learned her boyfriend, Stuart “Chopper” May, was leaving her to move in with a new girlfriend with whom he had spent the last 6 months having an affair with, she sent him a very unusual house warming gift: she personally removed her own tattoo of his name, placed it in a jar and sealed it up nicely to send registered mail. Uh, ouch.

(via Mental Floss.)

I have never been more okay with being single. Who needs enemies with love like this?

Read more: http://viralnova.com/strange-love/

Being Winona In A World Made For Gwyneths

Reality bites for the women who are playing a plot device in other people’s stories.

I should have foreseen that things between James and me would end in violent chaos on the night of my 29th birthday when he, my best friend Phoebe, and I were each contemplating who our No. 1 most bangable celebrity is. Phoebe and I had declared our respective loves for Harry Styles and John Malkovich. Then James said, “You know, I’ve always had a soft spot for Gwyneth Paltrow.”

“Gywneth Paltrow?” I repeated back to him in horror.

“Yeah, there’s something about her, I don’t know what it is!” And in that moment, every thought or daydream I ever had about our potential future together filled with broad-smiled children, adopted cats, and phenomenal sex evaporated. Because there is no future with a Gwyneth man when you’re a Winona woman, particularly a Winona in a world made for Gwyneths.

My “Winona in a world made for Gwyneths” complex is a theory that positions these one-time best friends as two distinct categories of white women who are conventionally attractive but whose public images exemplify dramatically different lifestyles and worldviews. One lives a messy but somehow more authentic life that is at once exciting and a little bit sad. The other appears to have a life so sufficiently figured out as to be both enviable and mundane. Gwyneth Paltrow is, of course, the latter. She has always represented a collection of tasteful but safe consumer reflexes more than she’s reflected much of a real personality. I imagine that she writes the GOOP newsletter, her laughably out-of-touch dispatch about vegetables and fashion, wearing overpriced clothes in colors like “camel” and scowling at her staff. That is, when she’s not referring to Billy Joel as “William” and seeking nannies that know ancient Greek and play at least two instruments.

Winona Ryder I imagine very differently.

For girls of my generation who were awkward or a little bit strange, Winona Ryder was both relatable and aspirational. The few recorded interviews she’s done reveal that she is a bottomless well of uncool and discomfort. She stumbles over metaphors and laughs sincerely at bad jokes. She is also a movie star who is unreasonably beautiful, but there was always a sense that she still belonged to the Island of Misfit Toys.

She epitomized the Mall Goth ethic and aesthetic in Beetlejuice long before Hot Topic was mass-producing the look, and in Heathers, she enacted high school revenge fantasies long before Mean Girls was either a movie or PG shorthand for “fucking bitches.” In the ’90s, she did her grungiest best as the Generation X poster child in Reality Bites but never met a corset she didn’t like and came at us with The Age of Innocence and Dracula. I can’t even talk about Little Women because I’ll just start crying about the fact that I’m not currently sitting under a pile of kittens and sisters.

Then there’s her romantic life, which reads like a who’s who of my sexual awakening. Val Kilmer, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Beck, David Duchovny, and a bunch of indie rock stars who are probably still in love with her. Gwyneth had a shorter and more predictable list of conventional handsome dudes like Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck before she married Chris Martin. But Winona’s love stories seem like a series of elaborate fan fictions come to life for the charming and constantly bewildered pixie of a person. And I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that Johnny Depp wore her name on his bicep when he was still starring in daring, quirky films instead of predictable Tim Burton cash cows.

But as interesting as I always found her love life, it was still her personality and talent that drew me in. Rumor has it that Winona had the script for Shakespeare in Love and that Gwyneth saw it at her house and surreptitiously sought out the producers to get the role that landed her the Oscar. It is one of many Hollywood whispers that Gwyneth is not so sweet as she presents. And the long list of “best friends” she seems to have had over the years (Winona, Madonna, Tracy Anderson, Beyoncé) looks more than a little opportunistic.

It would have all been fine for Winona, because she was starring in the adaptation of Girl, Interrupted. Except that turned out to be the movie that would actually work to catapult Angelina Jolie to stardom and earn her an Oscar. And then came her 2001 arrest for shoplifting. The incident revealed a more complicated, less whimsical Winona; she was actually unwell, an inconvenient reality better dealt with through punchlines than public sympathy. And while male performers have gone on violent and destructive benders and bounced back in the time since that incident, Winona’s reputation has never fully recovered.

I loved Winona as a kid but grew even more affectionate for her in my late teens and early adulthood, long after the “Free Winona” T-shirts had cycled out of ironic fashion. She was wide-eyed and wistful but managed to find love from time to time anyway. I felt I could reasonably aspire to that. Before James, I dated a series of insecure addicts or men who treated me as an afterthought before unceremoniously disappearing into the ether without so much as an “I’m just not that into you” text. In a dating scene so normally steeped in nonchalance, messages from James that said, “I miss you. I want to see you” felt like love letters. He had endless words of affection for my peculiarity. For my inscrutability. He told me that I was hard to get a read on, a source of fascination and frustration for someone as socially intuitive as he was. And while James is hardly the first man to use praise for a woman’s particular brand of insecurity to his advantage, he did do an especially thorough job.

He’d ask, “What’s going on in that pretty head of yours?” Over time, I revealed a lifelong struggle with mental illness and self-doubt. He was the first person I told about my part-time work at a strip club, an industry I was in and out of for years when untreated mental health issues left me suddenly jobless and increasingly less employable during daylight. The work fueled his fascination with me and he’d request that he always get the first dance when I bought new outfits for work. But the revelation also sharpened his protective edge, and he’d remark often, “I gotta take better care of you,” when I’d report poor treatment by customers. Having spent a lifetime feeling like a blight in an otherwise beautiful world, I suddenly desired visibility without a subsequent desire to retreat to the shadows in a panic. My bottomless well of discomfort and uncool was finally charming someone.

His long hours and reliance on prescription drugs made it easy to excuse occasional neglect, particularly in light of how brightly the sun shined when I had his attention. Trust seemed to materialize from thin air around him. His imposing but non-threatening height made him an immediate presence as he easily made conversation with deli cashiers and conjured laughter from even the most timid children.

After a year, it became increasingly clear that my broad-smiled children and adopted cats were never going to be shared with James. He was noncommittal but remained protective and fascinated. I had met his siblings but not his parents. These were tell-tale signs that I was playing an interesting chapter in his memoir but would never play his happily ever after. I tried to break up with James the first week of May and I tried again the first week of July. He begged me to come back, making appeals about grilled cheeses in bed and missing my cat. And since I’m a sucker for a breakable promise to do better, I never followed through on ending things. We both had slept with other people but seemed to be still mostly committed to each other.

Then in the last week of July, James told me he had a new girlfriend and would be moving to California to be with her (his job brought him to Los Angeles often). Even though we were not exclusive, one of my very few requests of him was that if he were to commit to someone, that he not make me complicit in his infidelity. He made grand claims about his commitment to sexual fidelity with his new girlfriend a mere hour after sending me pictures of sexual positions he’d like to try with me. He told me how he was going to be different for this girl in the same breaths that he told me “I love you” for the first time. Lying on my bed, he pulled me closer to him as he made the case for sex while simultaneously texting with someone named “Amber.” This must be the woman that had changed everything for him, his present tugging at my belt loop notwithstanding. I kicked him out, refusing him closure or forgiveness.

One thing that stripping has given me is a ferocious commitment to other women, and so while many believe that what came next was an act of revenge against him, I am sincere in saying that I was outraged on Amber’s behalf. I went on Facebook and there was only one Amber among his friends and she lived in California. And there she was. A total. Fucking. Gwyneth. In addition to long blonde hair, she had earnest gratitude posts featuring all the super-boring emoticons. She posted photos of sunsets and filtered her selfies to hell and back with Instagram. On Facebook, she posted photos of a white SUV and nights out at the club. A quick Google search brought up a photo of her cheerfully giving what appears to be a presentation about industrial label makers. In sharp contrast to my online life, a collection of mostly dryly despairing essays for online magazines and unfiltered Twitter jokes, her entire digital footprint accumulated into a collection of safe consumer reflexes more than a personality.

And though I am easily given to fits of envy, I looked at her life and couldn’t find a single thing to covet. I was a haphazardly medicated bipolar 29-year-old stripper and I didn’t want anything she had. I felt the way I imagined Winona felt surveying the foreign landscape of GOOP, laughing incredulously at the appeal of such dull aspirations but also completely and utterly alone.

I sent her a polite message detailing how James had been unfaithful and dishonest for the short duration of their relationship with several attached screenshots of explicit sexts from recent days as proof. Her response was one of profuse thanks for “saving her years of heartbreak” and a swift decision not to speak to James anymore. Within hours of sending the message, James began to call me repeatedly and when I didn’t answer he began sending texts asking where I was, then where the fuck I was. “I hope you choke on your own vomit and die you whore,” he wrote, a dig at my history of disordered eating. It was the first of many messages gruesomely detailing several ways he wanted to see me die in an inundation of text messages and calls where he threatened my life and his own. “If I ever see you again, run,” he wrote. It is a threat I’m still sometimes afraid he’ll make good on.

Finally, he claimed he had taken 30 Klonopin and that his imminent death would be my fault because I took his love away. When he stopped responding to my texts, I begged Amber to talk to him again so he’d go to a hospital, which she did. In hindsight, faking an overdose was a brilliant Trojan Horse to ride back into her life in.

And once he alerted Amber to my job and my mental health status, her gratitude turned to concern about the veracity of my claims. The change in tone made it clear in real time how easy it is to dress down a real woman to the vulgar trope of a delusional whore. Amber noted casually how he put her health at risk by sleeping with me. It is not uncommon to be treated like a vector of disease when your work so easily reduces you to salacious but interesting book chapters in people’s lives, but it still hurts a fully formed human being to be reduced to a public health hazard. She demanded more proof of his infidelity, asking that I put even more of my sex life on trial. I sent her James’ death threats instead.

She ultimately chose to “work through it” and said to me, “I don’t want to always be looking over my shoulder or fearing that you will do anything to sabotage his or my happiness.” That’s a bold thing to say to a woman who has just had her life threatened in very descriptive ways by a man who purported to love her. But the vague threat of a woman with sexual mores you object to is more dangerous than the explicit threat of a man with a violent sense of entitlement. And at the end of the day, I also know very well that a place in his crosshairs feels like a place in sun.

As humiliated as I was to be left for a Gwyneth and as hurt as I was by her words, most of my thoughts about Amber are hopes that she’s safe and happy. Because that thing about Gwyneth Paltrow that James couldn’t articulate is that there’s not really anything about her. Or at least there’s not anything about her public image that is especially unique or controversial. She’s a safe canvas onto which others can project their own desires. I know very well that Amber is not an empty collection of label makers and earnest Facebook posts just as I know that Gwyneth Paltrow is not her terrible newsletter.

Her breakup with Chris Martin was widely mocked in the press for being identified as a “conscious uncoupling,” as though she could not bear to have anything so human and messy as what it was: a divorce. For months after the split, rumors flew that Gwyneth was terrified that details of their marriage would emerge, that the perfect filter she had chosen for the world to see her through would be ripped off for all of the blemished and broken parts to be revealed. Such forms of protected and limited self-projection are calculated and intentional. And that seems like its own kind of solitude.

So while I originally thought that the whole ordeal was my moment where Gwyneth snatched up Shakespeare in Love, I realize now that Amber getting James was less like getting an award-winning movie script and more like getting that scary VHS tape from The Ring that eventually ruins your life. I’ve instead come to see the whole experience as my moment on a surveillance camera in Saks Fifth Avenue. It was the episode in which the Manic Pixie Dream Girl was revealed to be the Depressive Witch Nightmare Woman that she was all along. It brought to life my sadness and desperation outside the vacuum where being mentally ill was a fascinating quirk that had no potential to create real consequences. I was breakable and broken and would not be confined to the narrative James had in mind for me.

I’ll turn 30 in June, the age that Winona was when the shoplifting scandal went down. There is some fear that I’ll be forced to turn the corner from wide-eyed and wistful to just sad and sick. And when you rely heavily on celebrities like Winona Ryder to make sense of your life, it is easy to stare down your early thirties as the period of darkness and uncertainty following a fallout. And that might end up being true. But the truth about the women who are forced to play these interesting chapters is that they are doing so in the memoirs of men who never deserved them. That the really good story, the story worth telling, was hers all along. She just has to survive to tell it.

And that’s what Winona did. In the fall of 2014, she became the face of the Rag & Bone fashion line and was featured in a series of promotional videos for the launch. She doesn’t appear to have aged a day since 1990 and she smiles through red lipstick as she plays arcade games at Coney Island. The arcade is dimly lit and deserted except for her. But she seems perfectly content to make goofy faces and have her own fun, telling herself a bad joke that no one else can hear, and laughing and laughing.




Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/alanamassey/being-winona-in-a-world-made-for-gwyneths

Why I Ended A Perfectly Fine Relationship

My boyfriend and I were going nowhere, so I did what any self-proclaimed gay academic would do: I re-read Roland Barthes.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

I was introduced to Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse by a good friend I was sleeping with. We’d just had brunch and sex when he told me, “Read it.” I found his edition of the book on his bedside table. The yellowing pages were soft against my fingers as his own traced figures on my skin. “It’s right up your alley.”

“Why’s that?” I said.

“You’re like the book.” He planted kisses down my spine with each word. “Intelligent. Gorgeous. Romantic…”

After another orgasm, I got a copy that very afternoon.

We weren’t, nor would we ever be, “boyfriends.” He was in a long-term open relationship (now marriage) and I was living in New York for just a few months. So I didn’t expect much. But his warm brown eyes were engaging. We’d walk around Manhattan and talk about books. We’d go out to dinner and talk about writing. And we’d kiss and turn snowfall into rain.

We weren’t sure what to call ourselves. He was older and established — my mentor, in a sense. So we played with the term “lover.” How French, I thought. I could do French. But for Barthes, an actual gay Frenchman, being a lover was a different ordeal.

Barthes wrote A Lover’s Discourse in 1977 as a collection of notes on amorous language. “Figures,” he calls them, gestures of the lover at work. He says his goal is to present scenes of language wherein the lover might recognize himself. The whole thing reads like a dictionary of a lover’s desire, an exercise in defining every move made, thought shared, word said. Or unsaid.

“Waiting,” for example, Barthes describes as “the tumult of anxiety provoked by waiting for the loved being, subject to trivial delays (rendezvous, letters, telephone calls, returns).” He talks about waiting by the phone for his loved one to call. He dare not attempt to find him or call him lest he miss him. Barthes reports how his feelings ricochet between dread and anger and sadness, all while seated by the telephone. (Imagine if he had iMessage.)

“Am I in love?” he writes. “Yes, since I am waiting. The other never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game: whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely: I am the one who waits.”

Barthes uses words to make a lucid mirror out of Discourse. But it was only two years later, when I looked into it again, that I recognized myself. This happened, predictably, when I found myself a “boyfriend.”

We began using the word when we were having real estate problems in New York. I needed to move out of an apartment I couldn’t afford and his landlord refused to renew his lease. After he texted me with this news, I called him.

“I think we can do it,” he said. I could hear his crooked smile through the phone.

Between breathy laughs, I said, “I know we’ve only just met.”

We’d already gone on four dates within nine days, so the intimate act of telephoning was permissible, among other suggestions. “We could live together.”

The fact I could sit in silence with him, gaze into his steely blue eyes for hours, I willingly mistook for comfort. We’d walk around Brooklyn and stare at the pavement. We’d go out to dinner and chew on our food. But we’d kiss and turn the rain into steam.

He was beautiful and said the same of me. He’d text me good night and good morning. He was my age and single. These things, I decided, were good enough. And thus, I became the lover at work.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Adorable

adorable / adorable
Not managing to name the specialty of his desire for the loved being, the amorous subject falls back on this rather stupid word: adorable!

Via Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

During the Gay Pride parade in New York, I got belligerently drunk. He had to take me home to his place in Williamsburg when it was still light out. I accidentally left my bag at a bar in the West Village. In the bag were a flask once filled with vodka and the Ray-Bans he lent me. I wore them at the parade, but they weren’t in my bag when I woke up in his bedroom that evening, close to midnight. I didn’t mention this loss to him when I found him sleeping on the couch in the living room.

“What’re you doing out here?” My tongue was still catching up to my thoughts.

“You’re still drunk.” He smiled. “I need to give you some space.”

In the amber glow of the streetlights outside, his handsomeness was made princely. I said, “You went back to the bar for my bag?”

“Of course.” He turned away from me on the couch, tightening his hold on a pillow.

But I pulled him into his twin bed and wrapped my sunburnt arms around him. I thought about how lucky I was, to be here with him, in this home leased for only a little while longer, but with him nonetheless. I kissed the nape of his neck and said, “Thank you.”

Whenever anyone asked what made me want to be in a relationship with him, I’d often cite this story. Selfless, I called him. We didn’t talk about much else other than work and the weather, but he was sweet, kind, adorable — capable of loving and being loved. The nights after dinner on his couch watching Netflix with my head on his shoulder outweighed everything else. This was the honeymoon period I’d heard about.

But, of course, as all moons do, it waned.

“Special Days”

fête / festivity
The amorous subject experiences every meeting with the loved being as a festival.

Via Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

We would see each other almost every day, at first. We had drinks two days after our first date. He spent the night at my place three days after that. He’d meet me at the park for lunch and soon invited me to meet his friends. I’ve always had the habit of marking down these special days in my calendar. In the beginning, these days were wonderfully cramped into short weeks, but it wasn’t long until I began to measure my life in the days I didn’t see him.

He grew distant, for whatever reason. We saw each other less. His texts became less frequent, less sprinkled with emojis — which everyone knows is an infallible barometer of intimacy. And we used to call each other on video just to watch movies together. I’d point my phone at Clueless on the television and hear how he’d memorized the lines.

Then it became different. Then came weeks of radio silence. I could only count on seeing him on our monthly dates on the 15th, our month-aversary. But even then I’d have to wait for him, for his texts to tell me when and where to be. And whenever I did see him, the festivity I felt was more of a gratitude than sheer joy. Thank you, I wanted to tell him, thank you for picking me tonight. But after the dinner, after the gazing, after the toe-curling under the sheets, I was made to wait again — the subject subjected.

I decided to re-read A Lover’s Discourse. My copy’s pages were beginning to soften and yellow. In it, I found my notes naive, if not foolish; wide-eyed, if not provincial. And if Barthes’ work was once incandescent, now it was searing. His words were once warnings, cautionary tales to be heeded. But now the book, for better or worse, was our shared diary.

Still, I lied to myself. I gave my boyfriend excuses in the weeks between, blaming his own rendezvous and returns. And he was adorable; no one else could promise such pleasure. These were just growing pains, I reasoned. Our relationship was going through puberty, and every time we met, my voice would crack.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

I Love You

je-t’-aime / I-love-you
The figure refers not to the declaration of love, to the avowal, but to the repeated utterance of the love cry.

Via Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

On our first date, he took me to the carousel at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. He paid for our two tickets and tossed me the penny he got back. I tried to catch the change, but failed. It spun in circles on the cement, then rolled toward his foot. He stepped on it and picked it up. I told him he should have checked first, to see if it was lucky or not.

He put the change in my shirt pocket and pressed a hand to my chest. “Make your own luck.”

Then the lease ran out. I landed an apartment with friends in Harlem and he was moving to Crown Heights. We were on his Williamsburg rooftop for the last time when I thought I felt the breeze pick up. I held his face in my hands and ran a thumb across his manicured stubble. His hands were on my waist and I inflated my chest against his.

“I love you.” I felt him tense. I added the next line I’d practiced: “You don’t have to say it back. I just wanted you to know.”

“I’m not a good boyfriend,” he said. “Just wait. Let me catch up.” This was one of his many promises.

Time and again, he’d promised to communicate more openly, to be more forthright with his emotions, to just treat me like his friend. But I never once felt him work on these vows. I felt us going in circles where nothing was wrong and nothing was right.

In cabs, in bed, outside parties, it was the same conversation: how I felt like an accessory of convenience in his life, to be used only when he needed help moving furniture or having an orgasm. We weren’t us anymore, as much of an us as we ever were. He’d left the job of making our own luck to me. He was not the lover at work.

At last, after months of waiting, he explained that whenever he’s in a relationship, he wants to be single again. And when he’s single, he wants to be in a relationship. I congratulated him on this novel feeling.

“Are you dating someone else?” I said. He paused, tightened my duvet around himself. “You’re not lying to me in my bed.”

“I’m not dating anyone,” he said. The next morning, we woke up with our backs turned to each other.

On the 15th of some month, we broke up at the waterfront of Brooklyn Bridge Park, near the carousel and the horse he rode in on. Some paces away, a couple taking their wedding photos was standing in the water, the Manhattan skyline as their backdrop. I silently wished them luck; I’d just found out fidelity is too much to ask for nowadays.

“I love you,” I said, “but I can’t keep waiting for you.”

From Waiting

A mandarin fell in love with a courtesan. “I shall be yours,” she told him, “when you have spent a hundred nights waiting for me, sitting on a stool, in my garden, beneath my window.” But on the ninety-ninth night, the mandarin stood up, put his stool under his arm, and went away.

Via Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

When I began to feel my relationship crumble, I picked up my copy of A Lover’s Discourse, fiercely notated, aggressively dog-eared, and loved. In both, I saw the lover at work. But it’s the “lover” — singular, alone — at work by himself. The loved one, the other, is oblivious to this. He is passive while the lover becomes active in his waiting. He begins to feel himself waiting. Calling it hoping, calling it pretending.

The title of the book can be misleading. Barthes was not writing about love, at least not in its healthiest sense, but about desire. It’s a romantic work, sure, wildly emotional and recklessly hopeful — very much up my alley. But it makes no pretenses about deconstructing an unrequited ideal. As Barthes discloses on the very first page of the book, to see oneself in these scenes of language is to be reminded of the lover’s extreme state of solitude.

Today, Barthes’ figures now come with sharp pangs of recognition. It’s a comfort in disguise. Barthes, eager and tormented next to his telephone, seems to say, “You are not alone in your aloneness.” It’s as singular and unique a work as it is unrequited and one-sided; that is to say, devastatingly so.

As I flip through the beautiful, bleeding pages now, I’m made to conclude that, by Barthes’ standards, I can’t do French. I don’t want a lover, for the time being at least. I just want a good friend I’m sleeping with.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattortile/the-one-who-waits

This Is What It’s Like To Date In Seven Different Countries

Eight women, from seven different countries, talk about love and relationships.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Gather a group of young and single foreigners who recently moved to New York City and at one moment or another, you’ll hear them talk about how weird the dating scene in the city is. Moving to a new place, anywhere in the world, means adjusting to new dating rules and standards. Different countries approach love and relationships differently, which often makes for bizarre culture shock but also fascinating conversations.

So, we decided to gather eight women who work at BuzzFeed and who live in and come from different countries to discuss cultural differences when it comes to love and relationships. Here they are:

Marie Telling: I’m an associate editor for BuzzFeed France, based in New York. I’m French and I grew up in Bordeaux, in the southwest of the country. I lived in Paris, in Sweden, and in Washington state for a while. I’ve been living in New York City for two and a half years.

Julia Pugachevsky: I’m a staff writer, live in New York, first-generation American from a Ukrainian family (so I was raised with some conflicting ideas as far as dating traditions go). I am single and only slightly ready to mingle.

Rossalyn Warren: My name is Roz, I’m a news reporter at BuzzFeed UK, I live in London, and I’m from Hertfordshire.

Tasneem Nashrulla: I’m a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News. I’m from Mumbai, and I’ve been living in the U.S. for the past two and a half years.

Juliane Leopold: I’m the founding editor of BuzzFeed Germany. I live in Berlin.

Jenna Guillaume: I’m a senior editor for BuzzFeed in Australia. I’ve lived in Sydney with my partner for the past six years, but I grew up in a coastal town near Wollongong, about 90 minutes south of Sydney. I’ve never lived in another country — YET. My other great love is the internet, and I spend too much time obsessing over fictional characters and their relationships.

Conz Preti: I’m the editor for BuzzFeed Español and Brasil, born in Argentina but raised between Colombia and Brazil, moved to New York in my late twenties for grad school and stayed here ever since. I’ve been seeing someone for some months now.

Julie Gerstein: I am BuzzFeed’s style editor. I live in Brooklyn with my boyfriend of three years.

Marie: How do people date? Is it OK to date several people at once? Is there an “exclusivity talk”? I don’t know if it’s an American thing or if this is just specific to New York, but the dating scene here often feels like an actual market where people try goods (several at once) and decide which one is best fitted to their needs and expectations. Then, they have a very reasonable talk to establish that they’re both interested in the other the same way. It’s like relationship shopping. Very pragmatic, very American. It feels way more organic and spontaneous in France, but that could also just be an illusion. What do you guys think? Is it the same where you’re from?

Julia: I feel like, in NYC specifically, you ALWAYS have to have the talk. You can find, theoretically, someone and get in the groove of things and just start dating naturally, but the talk still always happens — nothing is ever assumed.

Juliane: In Germany, it’s similar to France and different from the U.S. You tend to date one person at a time. The talk is done nevertheless but just to know if you should move on or not. But it’s definitely not OK to shop around.

Rossalyn: In the U.K., I think that it’s fine to date several people at once, provided it’s still at the early stages and you’re not taking the piss. I think if you’re dating someone for more than a few weeks, then maybe some clearer “erm, hey, are we making this a thing?” kinda chat is needed. British people are too awkward to have an “exclusivity talk” — I almost never hear my friends say they’ve had to have that talk. Having said that, I think British people do eventually try and figure out whether it’s exclusive or not, they just don’t outright say, “Are we exclusive?” — they just skirt around the issue until enough hints are dropped to be like, “oh, we’re a thing.”

Conz: In Argentina it depends on how long you’ve been “going out.” If it’s been over two months, the assumption from both sides is that there is no one else around and there is no real need for “the talk.” In my experience the sort of “oh, we are a couple now” moment was when either introduced the other to people as my BF/GF. I’ve never had the “so are you seeing someone else, are we exclusive?” chat. Ever.

Julie: I definitely feel like it’s a market-style thing in the U.S.

Jenna: In Australia it definitely seems more organic. I feel like people probably go on dates with different people around the same time, but if they like a particular person they don’t date anyone else. And “the talk” isn’t really something that happens in general, I think it tends to be a mutually understood thing after a certain period of time. This is very generally speaking, of course — some people probably do have the “exclusivity talk.” But Australians on the whole aren’t that blunt about these sort of things.

Rossalyn: When I lived in Brooklyn, the dating did feel like a market, but in a different way to the U.K: It felt more cutthroat and like “nope, not feeling this, next!”

Julie: Especially when it comes to online dating, which has very much mirrored itself after a transactional arrangement. You’re “shopping” for people you find attractive, you go on dates to check out the goods, you date to see if you’d like to make a more permanent arrangement. In a city like NYC, especially, where the male-to-female ratio is so incredibly off, it seems especially like men are alllllways keeping their dating options open.

Marie: I don’t even feel like we “date” in France. We just sleep with someone casually or we’re with someone. If you’re sleeping with someone and you’re hanging out with them socially one-on-one, then you’re a thing.

Jenna: I think dating has become more of a thing in Australia thanks to online dating. Now people go on dates with people they’ve met online, whereas in the past it was more just someone you met in a bar or at work or whatever who you started hanging out with.

Marie: Yes, I think that may be true for France too, Jenna.

Julie: In NYC, you can’t presume that you’re a thing. You’re better off assuming that the person you’re doing that with is doing that with a few people, unless you’ve expressly made it clear you’re not. I think that’s why it’s a safer bet to always date a few people at a time in the early stages.

Jenna: That sounds exhausting.

Conz: Yes. I don’t get it and it feels almost insulting in a way. Like…why spend time and open up and all that if the other side is doing the same with several others.

Rossalyn: It’s such a hassle.

Julia: I feel like I barely have time for ONE guy, let alone a couple.

Julie: Not necessarily sleep with, but at least date. DIVERSIFY YOUR BONDS.

Jenna: But that makes it sound so…clinical.

Marie: It is VERY clinical.

Jenna: Clinical and cynical.

Julie: I think of it as emotional insurance.

Julia: It’s like none of us have time to get our hearts broken so we have backups, which makes me sad.

Rossalyn: I think that is the same in a lot of major cities actually: bigger cities, more people, more dating, more options. In the countryside/suburbs, people are less hassled by dating more than one person at a time.

Tasneem: I think the concept of dating, the way it’s defined in the U.S., has taken root in India only in the last couple of years (that I’ve been away for). I was shocked to hear that friends in Bombay actually use Tinder. I thought that was such an American thing. Earlier, there were two ways to go about it: Either you’re “messing around” with someone, as in having a casual fling where you’re not necessarily exclusive and both know this is a casual, fun thing. Or second, you’re in a relationship. Dating, as in sleeping or making out with different people, is a little alien to me, but apparently common in Bombay now. (I feel old.)

Marie: I was actually wondering about dating apps. How do people use them in your countries? And which ones do they use?

Rossalyn: Tinder. LOL.

Marie: I was actually very surprised to learn that people have started using Tinder in France, too. It felt so pragmatic and un-French to me that I never thought it would take off. Mind you, I don’t actually know anyone who is really using it.

Julie: Tinder and OkCupid here (in New York), as we all know. And Hinge is becoming popular too.

Jenna: Tinder for sure.

Conz: Tinder blew up in Argentina this year.

Juliane: Tinder is still quite new to Germans.

Conz: I feel that the gamification of it compared to other dating apps is what it made it a thing. You are not ~really~ on a dating app, you are swiping photos.

Marie: I wonder if Tinder is used for the same thing everywhere? Do people use it for fun, for dating, or just hooking up?

Rossalyn: It’s mostly used by your friends who are in relationships to swipe through for fun. But for those who use it properly, they do meet people and date. But there is also a laziness to it — who has time to message strangers witty replies all the time?

Tasneem: My friends are not only ON Tinder (like, for the fun of it), they’re actually meeting and hooking up with people through it. I mean it’s not THAT common, but if I personally know someone who’s done that, then I’m sure its getting popular. But I should also note that the friend I’m referring to hooked up with a non-Indian on Tinder.

Julia: In New York, I feel like people find S.O.s on it, but otherwise, it’s mainly hooking up.

Jenna: I know people who have had a lot of dud dates through Tinder, but no one who has actually found a relationship.

Marie: Are there any other popular dating sites/apps?

Jenna: Rsvp.com.au is a pretty popular dating site in Australia.

Rossalyn: OkCupid was kind of big. So was Plenty of Fish, which is the worst name ever for a dating app. Guardian Soul Mates is used by middle-class liberals here.

Marie: LOL.

Julia: Match.com is for people who are very serious because you have to pay for it.

Tasneem: Shaadi.com is for marriages only. And A LOT of Indians use that to find suitable marriage partners.

Rossalyn: If we’re being honest, Match.com says it’s a dating site, but it’s for people who are looking for serious relationships/marriage, they just don’t explicitly say it.

Tasneem: Some NGOs in India conduct mass weddings for niche groups like differently abled people. They don’t even meet their partners before that. They’re just all married in this massive mass wedding.

Marie: How do you flirt? Do women ever make the first step? How is it perceived if they do?

Jenna: It’s more common for guys to make the first move, and it’s quite rare for women to do so.

Julia: Yeah, guys are supposed to make the first move. But me, I like to pounce.

Conz: I’ve openly asked dudes out and they are fine with it… But at a bar, usually men swarm women. It’s OK if I walk up to a dude and start talking, but usually they’ll be straight up talking you up immediately.

Marie: Yeah, in France, men are more forward, although it’s not unusual for women to flirt. When I was living in Sweden, though, men were always expecting women to make the first step. It was very confusing coming from France.

Juliane: In Germany, women are not really expected to make the first move. It can be perceived as slutty. In my last two relationships I have always made the first move and that freaked the guys out.

Tasneem: I don’t think (and things might have changed) that random men flirt with random women at bars in India. You usually flirt within your social circle or when you’re introduced by someone you know.

Julie: I “had a line” when I was single.

Jenna: What was it?

Julie: “Oh, good, you haven’t left yet. I wanted to talk to you.” It always worked.

Marie: I think guys like it when women make the first move in France. They may judge them a bit, but they also appreciate the change.

Julie: Guys, they’re just like us. NERVOUS.

Marie: My friends who were living in Sweden LOVED how forward women were.

Julie: They like it because they are lazy and scared and weird, so it takes the pressure off. And if they are the kind of guy you want to date, they will appreciate a strong, confident woman.

Marie: About “dating” — what is a typical date? And who pays?

Julie: Well, if you live in Philly, where I’m from, a date is getting a drink with a dude and then paying for it, and then he basically moves into your house and you pay his rent. Because there are a lot of hot, beardy dudes with marginal jobs there.

Julia: Typical date in New York: casual drinks, guy pays.

Juliane: Typical date in Germany: dinner or movie, maybe both. Both split the check.

Jenna: The “who pays” thing is such a personal thing, I think. There’s not a set social norm.

Conz: Go to a bar to get a drink, dude pays. But also, I never went out on a date while I lived in Argentina because it was more organic — I met a friend of a friend at a party and then we would see each other again in a social gathering and then maybe go out.

Rossalyn: My friends and I here in the U.K. had a big chat about this the other day. Most of them think that both sides of the date should offer to pay on a first date, but that usually the guy should pay. But they also said it’s not a big thing if the woman pays; it’s just a preferred thing. Then, after the meal, if the guy pays, the woman buys the drinks at the bar.

Julie: In NYC, I’ve found that dudes are cool with paying for dates, or whomever asks. I now have a serious live-in boyfriend and whoever asks is the one who pays.

Tasneem: Dinner and drinks (guy usually pays or you “go Dutch”).

Jenna: Traditionally I guess the guy pays, but I think more and more women prefer to split? Or maybe that’s just me. I much prefer to split the bill.

Rossalyn: Personally, I usually split the bill.

Julia: Yeah, I always offer to pay out of politeness and then the guy usually is like, “NO, I’m paying,” and I meekly pull away my wallet.

Julie: I like doing the one pays for dinner, one pays for drinks thing.

Marie: I always offer to pay, but I like when guys insist on paying for the first date, otherwise I’m always afraid they’re cheap. After that, I’d rather split the check (unless he earns significantly more and suggested an expensive place).

Conz: After the first date and when you are together, it is usually half-and-half. When I lived with my ex, I would do the groceries and he would pay the electricity, or something like that.

Julia: If I’m seeing them past a few dates, I feel more comfortable splitting — actually get annoyed if they don’t let me.

Jenna: Yeah, if a guy, especially beyond the first date, is like, “No, I’M paying,” I’d kind of question their attitudes toward women. Benevolent sexism.

Marie: While we’re on the topic, what about chivalry? Is chivalry still a thing where you come from? How does it express itself?

Jenna: Australian guys are not chivalrous.

Marie: Haha! Really?

Jenna: Well. SOME are.

Rossalyn: Yeah, British guys are not either. It’s all a bit cringe.

Tasneem: Indian guys NEVER LEAVE DOORS OPEN. I think holding doors in India is not even a thing. Like, no one does it. It’s just not in our societal DNA. But I used to get annoyed when boys exited a restaurant first and literally slammed the door on my face. (Not deliberately, of course — they were lovely guys. But they don’t hold doors.) I think that speaks more about just general public etiquette. Americans are excessively polite when it comes to doors and elevators and the like.

Rossalyn: Dream guys are the ones who slam doors in your face.

Jenna: I mean, a lot of chivalry is politeness. Australians on the whole don’t rate politeness as a top attribute. Not that we’re necessarily rude (although, well, sometimes we are), but we just don’t go out of our way to be extra polite.

Julie: I think I’m way more chivalrous than most American dudes.

Julia: See, it’s complicated for me because some guys open doors and some don’t and I don’t think I would care either way, but my parents, who are Ukrainian, are horrified when guys don’t do this.

Juliane: Politeness seems to be rather underrated in Germany. Older dudes will hold the door and stuff. Younger guys won’t.

Jenna: I feel like Americans on the whole are super super polite.

Julie: No way.

Rossalyn: British men are mostly polite, which I suppose falls under this area. They are mostly a nice bunch on dates.

Marie: In France politeness is not our major forte as a society, but guys tend to be pretty old-school, courteous, and do little things like opening the door, insisting on paying for things.

Jenna: I think holding doors, etc., should go both ways.

Marie: Yeah, I agree. It’s more about politeness than chivalry.

Rossalyn: Yeah, agree. “Don’t be a rude dick” = chivalry in 2014.

Conz: Argentines are SUPER old-school. They will open doors, and wait for you to get off the elevator, even open the door of the car for you to get in, etc.

Jenna: I haaaaate the car door thing. When I was younger I tried to force my boyfriend to do it because I was young and dumb and had romantic ideals about chivalry, but now I’m like, actually that’s bullshit.

Marie: On to something different. What’s the general position of PDA? I never noticed how much French people were into PDA until I moved abroad. I also had a Canadian friend who moved to Paris and was SHOCKED by the amount of PDA she witnessed. She couldn’t believe people were making out in supermarkets and in the middle of the street. To be clear, we’re not all climbing each other in public, but we’re mostly cool with kissing in public.

Jenna: I hate PDA. I think that is typical of Australians. Holding hands, quick pecks, that’s it. Oh, and maybe hugs. But anything more than that, most people feel uncomfortable.

Conz: In Argentina, you kiss, you hold hands, you hug, you sit on their lap. Everything is OK.

Julie: I think PDA is generally for the young and for the very old.

Juliane: In Germany, holding hands and kissing is OK, but that’s basically it.

Rossalyn: People in the U.K. are pretty meh about PDA — they don’t tend to do it too much, but they’re not fussed. Don’t ram your tongue down their throat while shopping or something, though.

Julie: I once wrote an open letter on The Frisky to a couple who would PDA at 9 in the morning in the subway station EVERY MORNING. Because I hated them so much.

Conz: I’m that person who kisses in subways at 9 a.m. If I wanna kiss you I will kiss you. No, we are not gonna make out and slob all over our faces in front of people but like…show some love!

Rossalyn: Yes to kissing. No to dog slobbering.

Jenna: I will give a peck in public. But no more than three seconds, and even that is pushing it.

Julia: I think it’s a person-to-person thing. I personally only do it when drunk and I side-eye people who make out in the middle of the street SOBER in the middle of the day.

Jenna: Oh, drunk is another story.

Rossalyn: Yeah, when I’m drunk it is different.

Marie: If I’m drunk I’ll climb you in public. No boundaries.

Jenna: LOL. I think that’s most people.

Julia: I’ve climbed poor boys like trees.

Rossalyn: When you’re drunk it’s like, Now is a perfectly acceptable time to climb on top of you thanks bye.

Tasneem: Kissing in public is unlawful in many parts of India. There was recently a huge “kiss of protest” all over India to demand our rights to kiss in public. (Unlawful not in the legal sense, but we have a lot of moral policing.) But in clubs and in other safe spaces where like-minded people hang out, PDA is pretty common.

Rossalyn: That protest looked amazing.

Tasneem: Yeah, it was awesome.

Jenna: What about holding hands and stuff? My school had a hands-off policy to try to discourage the ~sexual urges~. You weren’t allowed to hold hands or anything.

Julia: We definitely didn’t have that rule.

Tasneem: Well, I was in a girls school, so holding hands was totally OK. We held hands a LOT. A LOT. A LAAAWWT.

Marie: My school had a “please don’t have sex in a bathroom” policy, but that was pretty much it.

Rossalyn: OMG you had to have a policy to not tell students to fuck in a bathroom?!?!

Marie: Hahaha, it was a tacit rule. I don’t remember any actual rules we had.

Jenna: Most Australian schools have the hands-off rule. Usually it’s hands off or the meter rule or the balloon rule, like you couldn’t get so close you’d pop a ballon in between you. I got on after-school detention for hugging my boyfriend. We had to write lines: “I will be mature and keep my hands to myself.” (I am now married to him, lol.)

Julie: We had enough teen pregnancy at my school that obviously there were no proper policies in place.

Julia: We didn’t have any of these, and people openly made out in hallways. Once, a girl in my high school got away with giving a guy a BJ under the stairwell. Like, people SAW THEM and they didn’t get into trouble.

Conz: I had a boyfriend in high school in Brazil and we both almost got suspended because we gave each other a peck in the hallway in the morning.

Marie: Is marriage important where you’re from? Can you live together without being married?

Jenna: People usually live together for years before getting married, if they get married at all. The majority do but, it’s also totally OK not to. I think it’s important for people as in it’s like the most romantic, big thing you can do in a relationship. But in terms of morals or whatever, no one cares.

Conz: In Argentina and Brazil, it depends on religion. I’ve had friends get married at 19 and I have friends that are 40, have three kids, and are not planning on marrying. More and more, it’s getting common to live together before marrying. But it was a huge shock for my parents when I did. Same with my male cousin — our family was super against him moving in with his then-girlfriend. There’s a feeling of “if you move in together you are making things easier for the man” in older generations.

Tasneem: Marriage is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT (for parents), and moving in with your boyfriend is still very rare in India, though it’s getting common in certain niches. But I think neighbors would judge you if they knew you lived with your boyfriend.

Rossalyn: People can live together here without being married, definitely. Marriage is still something many women here would like, but it’s not crucial.

Julie: I think it’s still important here, though maybe becoming less so. People still put a lot of value on marriage, though people are ALSO getting married later and multiple times.

Rossalyn: Yeah, divorce is so commonplace here that it’s like, “Meh, who even wants to get married.”

Marie: I admit I wanted to talk about infidelity to debunk a very old cliché about the French: People think the French are totally cool with infidelity. That’s simply not true. Some couples may have tacit agreements, others may be in open relationships, but the vast majority of the people I know in France would not be OK with their partner cheating on them. I don’t think there is more infidelity in France than anywhere else. And I don’t think we’re more OK with it than other cultures. We’ve just made more movies about it, I guess.

Jenna: Cheating is the worst thing you can do for a lot of people. People do it, but it’s a deal breaker for most people: It’s unforgivable.

Juliane: Yes, cheating is absolutely off-limits in relationships.

Julia: I feel like I hear about cheating all the time and it’s a bad thing to do and people break up over it, but it still happens a lot.

Conz: Argentine men cheat. All. The. Time. Not all of them, but most of them. It’s like a fucking epidemic.

Marie: How do women react?

Conz: It depends — some don’t take it, but so many, because it happens over and over again, are like, What eyes can’t see won’t hurt my heart. Now, if the woman cheats, she is a slut.

Tasneem: I don’t think there are any particular cultural connotations when it comes to cheating. It’s universally frowned upon but many people do it.

Julia: Right, but I feel like there’s more shock/condemnation when it’s a woman.

Jenna: And the “other woman” gets vilified more than the man who did it.

Julia: Oh, absolutely.

Conz: There is so much of blaming the “other woman” and not the man. SO MUCH.

Tasneem: That’s true. I feel like men think they’re often justified but women aren’t.

Marie: OK, let’s talk about gross stuff to conclude. I have some foreign friends who are NOT OK with their partners farting in front of them. I’m totally cool with it, but I’m not sure I’m representative of French people on the topic.

Conz: I AM THAT FOREIGN FRIEND.

Marie: Yes, you are, Conz.

Conz: No farting. I brought up this with my Argentine friends on Sunday because I told them the dude I’m seeing told me to “pull his finger” and then proceeded to fart and they were all sooooo appalled they even questioned me on why I was still with him. Not kidding.

Jenna: OK, the “pull my finger” thing is gross. Otherwise, I think it’s FINE. And I think most people think it’s fine, but it is such an individual thing.

Juliane: Not OK with farting. But I guess it’s pretty personal.

Rossalyn: LOL, I kinda dont care? I think it’s a bit much at the start of a relationship, but who cares after.

Julia: I think it’s perceived as gross but also a weird form of intimacy. Cute intimacy.

Rosalyn: Yeah, in a weird way.

Tasneem: Farting is the gas that holds couples together, in my opinion.

Julia: It’s more romantic than the first kiss, IMHO.

Jenna: Yes. You can really kiss anyone. There are only a select few you can fart with. You only fart in front of people you care about. That’s love.

Marie: If you accept each other’s farts, that’s love.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/marietelling/this-is-what-its-like-to-date-in-seven-different-countries

My Boyfriend Loves Fat Women

As a fat woman myself, I’m still struggling with how I feel about it.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Ironically enough, I met my boyfriend during the thinnest month of my life.

I was at a friend’s birthday party at a bar when I saw my future boyfriend Brian from across the room, talking to the birthday boy. Brian was the type of guy I spent most of high school and college and my entire adult life pining after and never getting: slim, with dark hair and glasses, his jeans torn in all the best places. He had a beautiful mouth that was excitedly saying things I couldn’t hear, but was making everyone around him laugh.

If I had still been at my heaviest weight, I never would have approached Brian. As a fat woman, I have been taught that there is an order of operations for love: First, you get thin; then, you can date who you want. Until you do the first thing, the second thing is impossible. So for many women who struggle with their weight, it becomes a fight not just for their health or well-being, but a struggle to just be worthy of the love so many people take for granted.

Most of my life, my weight has felt like a search light from above that continually hounds me, putting the spotlight on my body even when I just want to hide. My third-grade class unofficially voted me “class pig” — a title I embraced with great gusto, because the alternative meant no friends. When I was 10, my dad ripped a box of Apple Jacks out of my hand while I was pouring myself a second bowl of cereal, and told me that I was “going to turn into a goddamn pumpkin.” The summer I turned 14, I was sweating my life out every day for an hour during swim team practice. Still, when I put on a bikini one day, my mother wouldn’t stop talking about my belly fat until I just wanted to throw the bikini away and never wear one again. I have always hated my body, and in retrospect, I’m not sure I was ever given the chance to love it.

But on the day I met Brian, I had just spent the previous year slowly winnowing off 50 pounds, almost entirely due to unemployment. I wasn’t buying a lot of food, and was spending much of my free time developing a nervous running habit that led me to spend hours every day trotting in circles around my neighborhood, trying to go somewhere even as my career was jogging in place.

So I was feeling brave, the stupid kind of courage that comes from unexpectedly having a body you never thought you’d inhabit, and wondering what kinds of things it might let you get away with. And I walked that crazy all the way over to the other side of the bar, and introduced myself to him.

There was a three-hour period — between the moment Brian first kissed me, and the moment when I learned that Brian was predominantly attracted to bigger women — when I felt like I could do anything. In my mind, I had done the impossible. Seducing a thin and attractive person was like taking bronze, silver, and gold in the Former Fat Girl Olympics.

At some point that night, I remember lying next to him, still feeling unbelievably cocky from my victory, when Brian mentioned that I wasn’t normally his type.

My inner Douchebag Alert went off. Oh god, I thought. Is this the part where he lets me know how nice he is for throwing my chubby ass a bone?

“What’s normally your type?” I asked him, bracing myself for the part where he not-so-subtly intimated that he can usually do better than me.

I did not get the response I expected.

“I like bigger ladies,” Brian replied. “Very big ladies, actually.” He sounded as calm and as normal as if he were telling me the weather. He was not ashamed. I suddenly realized that this was not an attempt to put me down, but rather just a thing (a completely normal thing, to him) that he was disclosing about himself. In other words: It was conversation.

But the little part of me inside that had been cheering for hours suddenly got very quiet. But I am your type, I thought sadly. In that moment, I know that Brian had been saying that he didn’t consider me to be big, but I know as well as anyone that people can’t fundamentally change who they are attracted to. Brian was still attracted to fat girls, and I was one of them.

This, of course, did not take away from how into Brian I was. We started dating almost immediately, and became inseparable. When I described him to people, I would tend to use celebrities who I was currently in love with as a frame of reference:

“He’s exactly like a dark-haired Ben Folds, but younger, and with better skin.”

“He looks just like an American version of John Oliver, but with better teeth, and a more attractive nose.”

“Brian looks like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters,” I said once during a Halloween party, apropos of absolutely nothing. “But, like, even better looking.”

It was during this time that I started slowly putting the weight back on. Not because Brian was doing anything to sabotage me — he was and is supportive of my wanting to eat well and exercise. It was just a result of being in a happy relationship, suddenly having a full-time job, and life getting in the way. Normal things.

Six months into our relationship, I found myself in a very desperate laundry situation. I put on a sundress that I thought might be a little too backless for my current weight.

“I figure if worst comes to worst, I can just find a wall to stand against, or walk backward a lot,” I said to Brian as I put it on, trying to preemptively apologize for an outfit that I was pretty sure was riding the line between flattering and gross.

Brian, however, loved the dress. Maybe even a little too much — I spent a lot of time while wearing it swatting his hands away from the open back. I felt happy wearing it, beautiful. Soon, I was wearing it all the time.

Then, I wore it to a party. Late in the evening, Brian turned to a mutual friend of ours, and eagerly, drunkenly opined: “Doesn’t Kristin look amazing in that dress?”

The silence that followed felt like the moment before someone hits the button on a dunk tank, and you know that you are about to tumble, helpless, into a frosty tub of punishment. I realized, belatedly, obviously, that to Brian, I did look amazing in that dress. Because I looked fat.

When you are a fat person who is losing weight, people will come out of the woodwork to let you know how “amazing” you look — even my psychiatrist called me “the incredible shrinking woman” at nearly every appointment. Well-meaning people felt this constant need to make it plain that I was somehow better once I had lost weight, and it only made it that much more painful when people stop telling you how good you look, and stop saying anything at all.

For the first time since I had started dating Brian, I looked at myself and realized that my body, almost without my realizing it, was reverting to back to its former fat state. This is the real you, I thought. The other you was just a disguise. But you couldn’t fool everyone forever.

And the fewer compliments about my body that I got from other people, the more I would get from Brian. It got to the point where compliments from Brian were actually painful to hear — every time he said “You look beautiful,” all I could hear was “You look fat.”

I started trying on outfits in front of Brian in order to get his opinion. It was a good system. Anything he liked, I wouldn’t wear.

It was during this time that I started being mean to myself — really, truly unkind. I looked at myself for hours in the mirror the way a child might gawk at an ugly person on the street. I would push and pull the rolls of fat on my stomach with my hands as flat as I could, and try to imagine what my lower half would look like, unencumbered by what I had done to it. I’d meet every compliment Brian gave me with something equally cruel about myself. It was like my self-image was in a tennis match, and it was more important for me to be right than for me to feel good.

Brian’s expressions when I would rip myself to shreds eventually moved from sympathy to frustration.

“I love your body,” Brian would say, carefully. “Because Kristin lives in your body.”

Even though I was and am loved, I still didn’t feel that way — because in my mind, I had not earned it. You won, I would try to tell myself. You still earned love while gaining weight.

Then I went to an appointment with my psychiatrist, and for the first time in years, she said nothing about my body. Nothing at all.

No, I didn’t win, I would tell myself instead. I got what I wanted, but I didn’t do the work. That’s cheating. I cheated.

And though Brian is and has always been open and confident with his preferences, they started to embarrass me. Once at a party, he mentioned that Rebel Wilson was hot to a group of people we were talking to. A short silence followed, during which I actually moonwalked away from the conversation, as though trying to physically escape before a comparison between Rebel Wilson and myself could catch up to me.

Which is ridiculous. Rebel Wilson is fabulous. Why would I not want that for myself?

And what would happen if I lost all this weight? I would wonder to myself bitterly. Would Brian still feel the same way? Was I doomed to either be conventionally attractive or someone’s fetish object?

Brian gets tired of my self-hatred. He has limits, he’s human, and more important, he’s a human who loves me and finds me attractive, and is frustrated with having to defend those choices to me, of all people.

Once, we were at a bar, and I saw a very large woman sitting at the edge of the bar. “Do you think she’s cute?” I asked Brian, in a way that clearly indicated she was not. It was a petty, mean question, and one I already knew the answer to. But I found myself wanting to hear him say it, like I could trick Brian into openly admitting that his idea of beautiful — and that his ideas about me — were so obviously, incredibly wrong.

“Yes, I do.” Brian said, not taking the bait. “She’s very pretty. What is your problem? Do you want another beer?”

One of the things I’ve come to understand is that, when you’re single, hating your body is more or less a victimless crime, if you don’t count yourself. When you get into a relationship, however, it becomes a constant referendum on the tastes and judgment of the person who loves you.

The other problem was that, the more that I poke at myself, the more Brian pokes at himself as well. While he is objectively not a very big person, he’s succumed a little bit to the 10 to 15 pounds everyone gains when they are happy and in love. But one morning, I saw him looking at himself in the mirror, grabbing the small pudge from his stomach, and agonizing about how much he felt it made him into a terrible person.

“That’s ridiculous,” I said. Because it so obviously was — he was trying to grab handfuls of his tummy for emphasis, but was struggling to even get one hand full.

“No, it isn’t,” he shot back, in that angry, desperate tone of voice I have so often used. “I am just a fat person, now.”

No, you’re not, I thought, and I wondered how many times Brian had felt like this: frustrated, annoyed, and helpless as he watched me tear down a thing he loved.

The thing that I have struggled the most with understanding is that, just like I am not just a fat girl, Brian is not just someone who likes fat girls. He is someone who has made it through this life, one that is inundated with social mores about what is OK and not OK in terms of physical attraction, and he is unmoved by any of it. How he handles this attraction is actually one of the most attractive things about him. He knows that his is not a popular opinion, and wastes no time caring about that fact.

I wish I could say that I am 100% OK with myself. I still do the thing where, when people compliment pictures of myself that I hate, I will wonder just how bad I look in all the other photos they aren’t complimenting.

But I do little things. When a couple of co-workers and I published this post about “one size fits all” clothing last December, I was terrified at the types of things people would say about my body. But when people were so overwhelmingly positive toward me, it reminded me of how important it is not to be your own biggest censor. I let myself believe the nice things people said.

Two years ago, I didn’t even realize they made bikinis in a size 18 — turns out that they do. Lots of cute ones. And this year, I intend to buy one, and wear it to the beach. And I will enjoy that no one will be able to complain to me about my belly fat (without looking like a crazy person). I will enjoy how excited that makes Brian, to see me happy in my own skin. I will let him enjoy the thing he loves without tearing it down. But more importantly, I will work to earn love from me, who is the person who will always play the hardest to get. I will flirt as hard as I can, and I will win myself back.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinchirico/my-boyfriend-loves-fat-women