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Bad Advice: Slaying Facebook Trolls

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Submit your questions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice!


Dear Bad Advice,

Recently I cleared out my Facebook friends list. It was getting out of control and I wasn’t seeing updates from people I cared about, because my newsfeed was so clogged up with people I haven’t seen in years and don’t really care about. The weird thing is, even though Facebook doesn’t notify you when you’ve been deleted by someone (at least, as far as I’m aware) a surprising number of the people I’d removed from my friends list noticed, and sent me angry or surprised messages asking me why I’d removed them! I barely interact with these people on FB or away from it, and I have no idea how they managed to notice so quickly, or why they seem to care so much. Any advice on how to respond to them?

- Tired of Facebook Fiends

This is going to sound like bad advice, but sometimes you just have to give someone the cold shoulder.

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Bad Advice: Stop Trying To Be Friends with People

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Submit your questions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice!


Dear Bad Advice,

I have a coworker that I can tell is not doing well. Her work performance is fine, and I never have anything to complain about there. But I can tell she must be going through a rough patch in her life. She looks haggard and doesn’t seem to put as much care into her hair and dress as she used to. She doesn’t look happy and she’s gone frequently (for scheduled absences). I heard a rumor she might be seriously ill with something chronic. She’s single and lives alone, far away from the rest of her family. I get sad thinking she doesn’t have anyone to take care of her. But I don’t know how to approach her to offer help. I want her to know I’m here to listen, too, but I don’t know how to tell her that. We’ve worked together for years and never been close. What should I do?

- Concerned in the Cubicle

This is going to sound like bad advice, but don’t try too hard to be nice to this person.

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Sex for Girls‘ Sake: Porn, Art, or Both?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Big surprise, I think not: There’s a porn parody of Girls out there. The real question is: What’s the difference between a show that graphically explores all forms of the sex act and a movie that does the same?

Depending on who you’re talking to the distinction requires the presence of one of two things: the demand for critical thought, or the presence of a penis on camera, something that is apparently a “strongly held taboo” in TV land. According to the show’s creator, Lena Dunham,

…a big reason I engage in (simulated) onscreen sex is to counteract a skewed idea of that act created by the proliferation of porn.

This defense is enough for critics and viewers who believe that since Girls isn’t doing sex for sex’s-sake it can be called art. The real question is, in a postmodern environment that produces an academic journal devoted to Porn Studies, can the demand for critical thought truly demarcate the difference between pornography and art? For the consumer, is there really a meaningful difference between HBO and the Playboy Channel? When does art about sex become porn? How should biblical feminists deal with the challenge of pornography that claims it’s art?

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Bad Advice: Stop Having So Many Opinions

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Submit your questions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice!


Dear Bad Advice,

I’m very passionate about politics. I read about it extensively every day, from both sides, and I watch a ton of news and analysis shows. It’s more than an interest — I think it’s important for everyone to be involved and to educate themselves on how our country is being run, and take action. But my friends feel differently. They keep telling me to find something else to talk about. How do I make them understand that they should be interested in politics, because it concerns them too?

- Concerned Politico

This is going to sound like bad advice, but listen to your friends and shut the hell up every once in a while.

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Money: Is That What Girls Goddesses Really Want?

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg


Check out the first two installments of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s series:

June 6: A Biblical Feminist Confronts The Girls Goddesses, Part 1

June 16: Sex Mitzvah’d: Virginity Isn’t Easy for Girls


“You know, I want to have children. I really want to have children.”

“Of course you do. And you will have children at a time when your life is set up for it.”

This simple two-line conversation between pregnant Jessa and supportive Hannah in the hours leading up to Jessa’s “abortion party” illustrates the number one struggle young women face: To birth, or not to birth. It is an ironic struggle given the fact that women have classically been worshiped for their fertility and typified, first and foremost, as mothers. In the case of Girls, the irony is furthered by the fact that Jessa sought out girlfriends over her own mother for counsel and care in the face of an unexpected pregnancy. (“Unplanned” is so gauche; even the most unintentional sex has guaranteed biological consequences.)

Jessa’s mother isn’t the only absentee parent on Girls. Shoshanna turns to her aunt for advice, and Marnie’s mother is a cougar who’d rather “just be friends.” Hannah’s mother takes the cake in bad parenting. Cutting her grown daughter off financially sounds like a smart act of a wise and caring parent until, of course, the conversation devolves into mother referring to her daughter as “a major f*cking player,” and justifying the financial break as a way for her to afford a lake house: “I’ve worked hard, I want to sit by a f*cking lake!”

Which returns us to the heart of Hannah’s response to Jessa’s innate need to have children: It’s all about money, or, rather, the stability that comes from money, which for most modern women translates into having a professional career, the definition of which is devoid of child-rearing. Have we entered a new era of child sacrifice? Has career-worship become an idol inspiring generations of women to sacrifice parenthood? Or is the idea of a “career” a fresh veneer that has been slapped onto an age-old pagan mentality?

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Bad Advice for 5 Game of Thrones Characters

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg


Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!

George R. R. Martin is often accused of nihilism for his brutal treatment of his characters, without any discernible purpose or “moral” to the story. I say: not every author puts a moral in his story, but that doesn’t have to stop a thoughtful reader from finding one anyway. Now that season three of Game of Thrones is over and we have our Sunday nights back, it’ll probably take all summer just to recover from the trauma of this season and prepare for the next. Here’s my half-silly, half-serious attempt to put the “sense” in “senseless graphic violence.”

Sansa Stark: This is going to sound like bad advice, but it’s time to do something stupid.

Sansa is paralyzed by doing what’s right: sitting still and obedient in King’s Landing and playing the good little hostage. But her good behavior isn’t rewarded — in fact, it’s punished. Sometimes, despite all the morality tales we read as kids about how good behavior always leads to peace and happiness, life puts you in a situation where you’ve done all the right things and still find yourself trapped in an unbearable situation. In cases like those, it’s time to think the unthinkable — it’s time to make the seemingly “incorrect” decision. For Sansa, that would be running away. From the outside, show fans are cheering for her to do it — but from her vantage point, it’s the unconventional and wrong thing to do. My impression has always been that she shies away from it not only because it’s dangerous, but because it’s frowned upon. So when you feel like a hostage to your own circumstances, take a step back and ask yourself: what is my complete docket of options? Are there any obvious ones I’m ignoring because they come with some risk or they might provoke someone’s disapproval? Don’t be a Sansa. There are no castle guards holding you back. Take control of your own life.

Gendry: This is actually going to sound like great advice, but don’t accept oral sex from strangers.

Seriously. Leeches.


Often people feel that way after meaningless sex.

Often people feel that way after meaningless sex.

Tyrion Lannister: This is going to sound like bad advice, but it’s time to put your parent(s) in their place.

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4 Rules for Holding Your Marriage Together When Tragedy Strikes

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 - by Rhonda Robinson


My daughter just got back from Moore, Oklahoma. Along with a team from our church, she spent the last few days helping families sift through the rubble that was once their homes. They spent hours searching for the smallest pieces of their lives.

When I asked her what struck her the hardest, she told me,

Watching the families look at the debris, or the crosses in memory of the children that died. The blank look of disbelief on their faces — they’re not in there. Then when you hug them, they just drop into your arms and cry. I remember that feeling. I remembered when that was us.

So do I.

In the midst of tornado sirens five summers ago, we were summoned to a small room in the basement of a hospital. Behind closed doors, two strangers, doing their best to be kind, said to us the most horrific words I ever heard. They told us our youngest son died at the scene.

What I once knew as my home, my family, and my children — even myself  — all changed. There was no going back.

An June 2008 entry from my journal:

It is as though my life has exploded into thousands of little pieces. Daily I strive to carefully pick up another piece. What I am finding is that each piece is part of a puzzle. And I have to ask God where each piece fits.

To my surprise, the picture of my life that the pieces are forming is a much different picture than the one I knew before.

You can’t stop the storms of life from rolling in. You can, however, allow them to deepen your relationships rather than destroy them.

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Advice for Grads: Stop Working So Darn Hard

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg


Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column!

This week, I’d like to offer some Bad Advice to recent college graduates. Here are some pointers, practical and spiritual, on how to cope with adult life. Share them with a grad you know and it might actually get him or her to stop bugging you with questions about how to be a grown-up.

Personal Life: This may sound like bad advice, but pay your friends for rides, and go to a bar by yourself every once in a while.

1) Whenever a friend drives you somewhere (especially if you asked them as a favor), offer them gas money. Okay, this is less of an “adult life” thing, and more something you should have learned since you were old enough for you and your friends to drive, but it becomes more important as your friends move off their parents’ bankrolls and start getting those fun student-loan notifications in the mail.

2) Friendship is a lot harder when class schedules and a multitude of school-run clubs don’t bring you together on a regular basis, and you no longer live in a building full of people your age who freely socialize between rooms or suites. So, put the work in on the friendships you want to keep: schedule lunch meet-ups or happy hours, ask your friends about their days (because you are no longer spending most of it playing Rock Band or going to class together — he might have done something you weren’t there to witness!), and then honor your commitments.

3) If you feel all alone in a new city and there aren’t many people your age at your office to befriend, join a Meetup group, take up a hobby, go to a networking event, and, in the meantime, while you build up your group of friends, don’t be afraid to do stuff alone. Don’t sit in your apartment by yourself every night because you’re still getting to know folks. Some people are so scared of being seen in public without a companion that they’d rather stay inside all the time and get to know no one at all. Don’t be one of those sad people.

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5 Disney Films That Define Key Family Values

Friday, May 24th, 2013 - by Chris Queen
Walt Disney with three of his grandchildren at the opening of Nature's Wonderland at Disneyland in 1960

Walt Disney with three of his grandchildren at the opening of Nature’s Wonderland at Disneyland in 1960

Ask almost anybody to name the most important things in their life, and chances are family will make its way onto the list. Family — or at least the idea of it — lies at the core of most people’s existence. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God designed the family to be the catalyst for spiritual, physical, and emotional growth. The biblical idea of family is built around mutual respect and well-defined roles. You can find plenty of advice in the Bible on how to live life within the family:

“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 5:16

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8

“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.” Proverbs 15:20

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20

“Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Walt Disney lived these values too. He loved his daughters and grandchildren, and his ultimate goal was to provide quality entertainment for families. He designed his theme parks to be fun for parents as well as children, and his films and television series contained elements that the entire family could enjoy.

On the next few pages we’re going to look at the value of family in some of the classics in the Disney canon. The studio released four of these films during Walt’s lifetime, and one came out four decades after his death. Enjoy!

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Take a Whine Appreciation Class

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg
Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!

Dear Bad Advice,

My friend is absolutely driving me up the wall! She complains about everything. I know not a lot of things are going great for her in her life right now, but I wish she had a better attitude. If I tell her to have a better attitude when she’s complaining about things, she gets mad and storms off. How do I handle her? She’s fun and a great friend most of the time, but her complaining is getting on my last nerve.

- Not a whine appreciator

This is going to sound like bad advice, but quit complaining about your complaining friend.

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Stop Expecting Your Friends to Show Common Decency

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Mindy feels you.

Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column!

Hello Bad Advice readers! This week I got a question that I’ve heard many times from friends, mostly millennials, who get the classic “I’m not really standing you up because I texted you five minutes ahead of time” line from their friends. As we emerge from social hibernation this spring, take heed: all your friends are jerks. Get used to it.

Dear Bad Advice,

Have you ever had a friend that seems to always bail on plans? Not only do they bail, but do they wait to the very last possible minute to not-so-gracefully bow out?

A close friend of mine is almost ALWAYS doing this to me and it absolutely drives me nuts!  Now, I hate double-standards, but are they necessary when it comes to teaching people a lesson?

Is it wrong for me to give her a taste of her own medicine a few times by doing the same exact thing she repeatedly does to me? Or, is this too childish?

I should note that I hate confrontation and yes, I admit to being a bit passive aggressive sometimes to avoid it.

- Fed Up with Being Stood Up

This is going to sound like bad advice, but stop expecting your friends to show up for things. If they don’t give a crap about you, don’t give a crap about them.

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Quiz! What’s Your TV Sitcom Family Lifestyle?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Throughout this series I’ve questioned where the line is drawn between reflecting and affecting when it comes to the media’s relationship with real life. Either way, the determining factor is relatability. You aren’t going to imitate something unless you can relate to it, and if you can’t relate to a show, chances are it isn’t anywhere near a reflection of who you are.

So, in the interest of all things entertainment, let’s take a simple quiz to determine your relatability factor when it comes to the portrayal of “traditional family” on television using two popular prime-time family-themed shows: Family Guy and The Middle.

Family Guy: The show is apathetic, even nihilistic at times, mocks the same politically correct values it thrives on, and typifies men and women in terms taught best in Gender Studies 101. The Middle is one of a handful of shows to make it to the air that depicted exactly what its title intimated: a middle -lass, middle-of-the-road family living in the middle of nowhere, America.  As working middle class as the Griffins, the Hecks are a family of five that mirrors the demographics of the Quahog clan: father, mother, two sons with a daughter in the middle.

So, what’s your relatability factor? And how does your relatability compare with the ratings? Take this simple five-question quiz to find out!

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Simone by Sunlight: Can People-Pleasing Save a Romance?

Sunday, April 14th, 2013 - by P. David Hornik

In the summer of 2003, I spent about one morning a week in a stifling Tel Aviv apartment. It’s very hot and humid in Tel Aviv in the summer. As is generally the case, there was an air conditioner in the apartment; but it couldn’t be used. Simone forbade it.

Simone, as I’ve recounted, was a stunning French Israeli I’d met on a blind date in the spring. It seemed to be going well with her. I’d come from Jerusalem once a week, during the week, for an overnight; she came to Jerusalem on most weekends because close relatives lived there, and she’d stop by.

But I not only had to endure the heat those mornings, lying in bed in her stuffy room; I also had to stay there (naturally, not all of this was unpleasant) till early afternoon before returning to Jerusalem. For a freelance writer-translator, this was possible; but it wasn’t preferable. But I complied.

The natural response is: “What do you mean you had to? Why couldn’t you tell her you preferred to leave by, maybe, ten, and get back to your computer and your clients?”

The answer is: I could have, but I feared to cross her in any way. I was in people-pleasing mode with Simone. She didn’t need to get to work (customer relations for a fashion firm, calling clients in North America) till mid-afternoon, and her morning sleep was close to sacred to her. I complied.

As for the heat, I’d ask her—exasperated, incredulous—if she really felt comfortable like this. The question seemed to bounce off her.

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The Case for Finding a Spouse at College

Monday, April 8th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

YouTube Preview Image

YouTube Preview Image

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Simone by Starlight: How to Lose a ‘Date’ But Gain the World

Sunday, April 7th, 2013 - by P. David Hornik

I moved from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv on a day at the end of August, 2006. The move was hot, stressed, and nightmarish; yet I felt, all the time, a strange sense of anticipation.

It made it no easier that I was taking my cat with me. In the morning, after eating part of a tranquilizer I mashed into her food, she turned woozy and cuckoo yet still managed to jump out of her cage — poorly secured by me — while I was standing outside trying to flag a taxi. She ran far up a tree, and there were terrible moments when I thought—with the movers already on the way to Tel Aviv—I’d have to leave her there, then come back and look for her.

Eventually, drugged as she was, her strength gave out and she came down the tree in reverse.

At the Tel Aviv flat we were both in a state of near-collapse, the furniture and boxes strewn around us where the movers had thrown them, the air conditioner only slowly contesting the stifling heat. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are both hot in the summer, but the latter is much more humid. When I finally went out to find something to eat, it was a steam bath. At that moment the city—after so many years on my quiet, shady, serene street in northern Jerusalem—seemed to me alien and teeming, the opposite of what I could ever call home.

And yet, on another level, I had a sense that the magic time was drawing nearer.

At nightfall I went down—it was only a 20-minute walk from the new flat—to the shoreline. The red and orange cone-lights, part of the beach cafés where you can sit outside by the sea, already glowed against the deep dusk—like in those nights three years earlier when I’d sit out there with Simone (not, of course, her real name).

The wonder was that this was where I now lived—so close to this place of legend and mystery.

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Totally Petarded: The Top 5 Masculinity Myths on Family Guy

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Watch out, ladies in the dating world: Family Guy’s prized demographic is totally Petarded.

According to the show’s creator, Family Guy’s target audience is men ages 18-34.  This happens to be one of the most desirable demographics for advertisers and women looking to eventually get married and settle down.

Who hasn’t dreamed of a life with Peter Griffin?

Obviously, not all men between the ages of 18 and 34 are going to find the humor of Family Guy appealing.  Yet a growing majority of them do.  I long ago learned as a woman not to attempt to comment on the male psyche; why these men find Family Guy so appealing is not in my realm of interest.  However, the message Family Guy sends about masculinity is so apparent that I can’t help but laugh at this not-so-subtle irony:  Most women looking for men, the ladies trolling the clubs and hitting Happy Hours at the bars, are the ones who tend to stereotype men exactly the way they are portrayed on the show.

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5 Reasons Men Cheat

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 - by John Hawkins

Cheating always seems like such a black-and-white issue, doesn’t it? Of course, in one sense, it is. You cheated? Then you’re the bad guy (or girl) and your partner has every right to be upset, angry, hurt, and to never forgive you.

All true.

However, if you know a few people who cheat, you start to find out it’s not always so simple. That doesn’t mean the cheater’s justified, but it does mean he may have reasons for what he’s doing that go beyond not being able to keep it in his pants for more than five minutes at a time. The truth that no one likes to hear, especially after a person has been two-timed, is that happy, intellectually stimulated, sexually satisfied people who are deeply in love aren’t the ones who are playing around. Again, that doesn’t mean it’s okay or that the one who was cheated on is at fault, but cheating usually doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

If you know a lot of men (and women), what you’ll find is that there are a lot of common themes that come up.

Mystery will commit!

Mystery will commit!

1) He’s morally okay with cheating on his partner

Not everybody who cheats will cheat again, but on the other hand, the first question you should ask about whether someone will be faithful is, “Has he cheated before?” If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny how many women have an affair with a married man and then are shocked when he later does the same thing to them. It’s not as if you have to give women hints and signs about what they need to look out for because they already know; it’s just that they believe it won’t happen to them, too.

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5 Positive Personality Traits Baby Boomer Women Developed While Waiting By The Phone

Saturday, December 29th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
YouTube Preview Image

“It must be him, it must be him, oh dear God, it must be him or I shall die.”

Aging female baby boomers can relate to these lyrics from a 1967 hit song by Vikki Carr entitled, It Must Be Him.

Before the advent of answering machines, and decades before mobile communications and social media, waiting by the phone for your man to call was an ancient mating tradition that single women of all ages thankfully will never again have to endure.

I was reminded of this dating ritual since we are on the cusp of celebrating what is traditionally known as the greatest date night of all, New Year’s Eve.

While wracking my brain thinking of a suitable baby boomer topic applicable to this holiday, it hit me… New Year’s Eve, 1971, when I was a high school sophomore and my boyfriend was a senior.

All that stands out about that evening was my having to wait by the phone for my boyfriend to call to tell me the time he was coming by to take me to a house party (where someone’s parents were out of town).

As 5 pm turned into 6 pm, turned into 7 pm, turned into 8 pm, I became extremely anxious, especially when my mother said, “Would it be so bad if you stayed home?” (Yea mom, how about the end of the world as I know it.)

When Mr. Considerate finally called at 8 pm the trauma ceased. But thinking back upon that 1971 New Year’s Eve, it was how waiting by the phone helped form five positive personality traits that women like me did not even realize we were developing.  Eventually these five traits served baby boomer women extremely well as we made our way through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s taking advantage of all the new career opportunities that the women’s movement afforded.

Here are the five personality traits aging baby boomer women learned while waiting by the phone.

1. Patience

When you were forced to accept someone else’s timetable you learned it was not just all about you. Waiting by the phone developed patience and was superb training for almost any career and life in general.

2. Rejection

This feeling was experienced when you finally realized that he was not going to call after he said (or you assumed) he would. Learning to cope with rejection without feeling like a complete loser was an important life lesson. The key was to think about all your positive attributes that this man was obviously missing. Then move ahead and don’t look back. This concept was easily applied to the professional world, especially if you were a business owner or involved in sales of any kind. Women of a certain age who experienced sitting by the phone waiting for him to call learned how to be resilient in the face of rejection.

3. Self worth/Self esteem

You waited by the phone and he did call. High five! You were on top of your game. All your flirting skills worked and you were the master of the feminine universe. (But sometimes you discovered that he was not worth waiting for!)

Later in life this same initial exhilaration was experienced when you landed a new job or a new client/contract/project was won. But you never let it go to your head. One learned early on that you must never be cocky because rejection in love or life could be lurking right around the corner.

4. Diplomacy 

He called, (maybe even weeks after he said he would) and you refrained from telling him that he was an insensitive jerk. But since you were really glad to hear from him you said no such thing. Later in the business world this skill came in handy when “the customer was always right” even if he/she was not.

5. Playing the Game

Once while chatting with some guy friends in my high school classes they admitted to me that often they did not call a girl after they said they would because they did not want to appear “pussy whipped.” (Yes, that was the operative term at the time.) So from this conversation I learned that there was a lot of game playing going on when it came to the timing of “the call.”

As a result, my friends and I would discuss when it was time to stop waiting and time to start living. (However, flirting with his friends was always an appropriate response.) The lesson “stop waiting and start living” developed into positive personality traits that were applicable to many future life situations.

But alas, girls/women today don’t have to deal with any of this waiting by the phone. In fact, waiting is a thing of the past since now there is no stigma attached to calling a boy before he calls you. Girls today will call, text, tweet, Facebook, or email and if that does not get his attention they will have their friends call, text, email, Facebook or tweet. From what I have heard about today’s dating habits, “whatever it takes” to catch the attention of the man of the moment seems to be acceptable behavior.

This behavior is a result of both the instant communications revolution and the women’s movement which generally has made the girls/women of today much more aggressive than my friends or I ever were in high school and college.

Perhaps this more aggressive behavior is cultural “payback” for all the countless hours their baby boomer mothers and grandmothers spent waiting by the phone especially in the weeks leading up to important date nights like New Year’s Eve. For around that time whenever the phone rang, teenage girls and young women were conditioned into thinking, “It must be him, it must be him, please be him or I will die.”

Happy New Year’s everyone!


More on generations at PJ Lifestyle:

Dissecting Baby Boomer Liberalism Like a Frog in Science Class

Baby Boomers: The Most Depressed Generation

Young America! Stop Letting Boomers Feed Off You

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Victor Davis Hanson on the Love Lives of History’s Great Generals

Friday, December 21st, 2012 - by PJ Lifestyle History

Alexander the Great

via A Short History of Amorous Generals | Hoover Institution.

“You’re a very bad man.
” So yelled Dorothy at the Wizard of Oz, once the imposing, larger-than-life face on the screen was revealed to be a mere projection of a tiny old man behind a curtain fidgeting with levers and knobs.

“No, my dear.” The embarrassed all-too-human wizard answered back, “I’m a very good man.
 I’m just a very bad wizard.”

Given the lurid allegations about Gen. David Petraeus with Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley—many of them still unproven but perhaps with still more to surface from an FBI investigation—is the wizard Petraeus now revealed as a “very bad man”? Or is he just a “very bad general”—or both, or neither?

All we know for now is that Petraeus has confessed to a single extramarital relationship with his biographer Paula Broadwell. And he insists that the affair developed after he left the Army, during his directorship of the CIA. Under convoluted circumstances, the tryst became known to the FBI and, shortly after, to the Obama administration, leading to Petraeus’s resignation 72 hours after the 2012 presidential election. But what has all this got to do with any assessment of Petraeus as a military commander in the field?

Most Americans remain ambivalent about the personal lives of their politicians—how could they not be given the legacy of Bill Clinton? But even in the past, they seemed to have put up with infidelity and did not consider the affairs of a Warren Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, or John F. Kennedy as referenda on their political effectiveness. But there were important qualifications: The lapses should not involve illegality and be kept largely out of the newspapers—which stand in stark contrast to the public scandals that ruined the reputations of John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliot Spitzer, and others.  It helps also to be effective politicians. They weather personal scandals far better than do mediocrities, whose fall from public life is rarely missed. Schwarzenegger’s sexual failings were well known—and dismissed—when he ran for California governor in a wave of popular goodwill, but came back to haunt him only when as a two-term ineffective governor, his tryst with his housekeeper became the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back of voter forgiveness.

Judging Generals as Generals

Are generals, however, to be judged under different rules? Unlike most politicians, they operate under more stringent codes of personal conduct and are often in harm’s way with responsibilities for the lives of thousands under their commands.

History offers some rough guidelines to the real men who wore masks of command. In a word, many of the best were as pursuant of women as they were of the enemy—and the former did not seem to impair the latter. Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, and Plutarch have as much to say about Alexander the Great’s alcohol-driven sexual liaisons as they do about his brilliance on the battlefield. The court biographer Suetonius related that Julius Caesar—the finest general that Rome produced—was alleged by a critic to be, “Every woman’s man, and every man’s woman.” Cleopatra seduced both Caesar and Marc Antony when they deployed to Egypt.

Read the whole thing.

And check out VDH’s newest at PJ Media:

Modern Wisdom from Ancient Minds


More at PJ Lifestyle on books and history:

The 7 Creepiest Serial Killers in American History

Dissecting Baby Boomer Liberalism Like a Frog in Science Class

Dostoevsky’s 6 Nightmare Prophecies That Came True in the 20th Century, Part One

Race, Revolution, and Robespierre

23 Books for Counterculture Conservatives, Tea Party Occultists, and Capitalist Wizards

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Don’t Miss Silver Linings Playbook This Christmas

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 - by Andrew Klavan

Here’s a lovely picture that may have slipped by you: Silver Linings Playbook. You might have been put off by its subject matter (bipolar disorder) or scared away by its R-rating (for language mostly, I think) or just missed it because it’s on the small side. But it really is delightful — an uplifting Christmas romance of the old school, albeit dressed in modern dysfunction.

That modern-to-old-fashioned storytelling strategy seems to be something director David O. Russell developed for his last fine film, The Fighter. That one opened with half an hour of such realistically depicted familial cruelty that I nearly stopped watching — until a startling scene of grace and redemption about a third of the way through transformed the entire picture into a stand-up-and-cheer fight film of the first water.

Likewise here, Russell starts out depicting the travails of a man with bipolar disorder (played by Bradley Cooper) with searing honesty and humor — but then sets him in a love story with all the charm and style of a movie on TCM. Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (of Hunger Games fame) play a couple of self-destructive misfits, deploying all their modern acting skills to get them right. But as their characters teach each other tolerance and kindness — and learn to take their medication — the actors unleash their inner movie stars and walk into a Christmas finale with all the self-assurance of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

It’s not just good storytelling, it’s smart movie making with a real understanding of how the medium works. Not something you see too often, I know.

Excellent supporting cast too: Robert De Niro’s great; Chris Tucker steals every scene he’s in — he had me in stitches.

If you’re going to grouse about the four-letter words and realism, don’t go. But if you like uplifting entertainment for adults, this is really good stuff. One of the better movies I’ve seen this year.


Cross-posted from Klavan on the Culture – visit for additional comments.

A contrary view at PJ Lifestyle from John Boot:

Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell’s Syrupy Sprint for Oscar

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Should You Worry if Your Man Looks at the Bikini-Clad Women at the Beach?

Monday, November 26th, 2012 - by PJ Lifestyle Romance


Related at PJ Lifestyle: 

5 Differences Between Boys and Real Men

Get It On!: The Adam Carolla-Dennis Prager Story

Why I’m Worried About Raising a Son in Our Upcoming Brave New World of Android Prostitution

The Difference Between Sexy Bikinis and Slutty Thongs — And Why Little Girls Should Wear Neither

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Emily Esfahani Smith’s Plan to Crush Hook-Up Culture and Revive Dating

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 - by PJ Lifestyle Romance

via A Plan to Reboot Dating – Emily Esfahani Smith – The Atlantic.

In the spring of 2008, when I was a junior in college, I was sitting in the student center, waiting to meet up with a friend—let’s call her Nicole—for coffee. Nicole was a freshman girl who had graduated from an elite northeastern high school at the top of her class. She came to school hoping to study economics. In the nine months that had passed since she first stepped foot on campus, she had become a different person. She talked less. She stopped exercising. And she started walking around with her eyes to the ground. The lively girl I had known in the fall, who reminded me of so many freshman girls I had met as editor of a campus publication and vice president of my sorority, had recently been placed on suicide watch by the university health clinic.

What had happened?

Not long after she arrived on campus in September, Nicole had started hooking up with a guy who belonged to one of the more popular fraternities on campus. As she explained to me over coffee that day, one night in the fall, she got drunk and ended up having sex with this guy in his dingy frat room, which was littered with empty cans of Keystone Light and pizza boxes. She woke up the next morning to find a used condom tangled up in the sheets. She couldn’t remember exactly what had happened that night, but she put the pieces together. She smiled, looked at the frat brother, and lay back down. Eventually, she put her clothes on and walked back to her dorm. Mission accomplished: She was no longer a virgin.

This was a routine she repeated for months. Every weekend night, and on some weekday nights, she would drink so heavily that she could remember only patches of what happened the night before and then would have sex with the same fraternity brother. One night, she was talking with someone else at the frat when the brother interrupted her and led her upstairs to have sex. On another occasion, they had sex at the frat, but Nicole was too drunk to find her clothes afterward, so she started walking around the house naked, to the amusement of all of the other brothers. She was too drunk to care. Eventually, everything went dark. Next weekend, she returned to the frat.

On that spring day, as Nicole told me these stories, she didn’t make eye contact with me.

When I asked Nicole if she was still hooking up with the same frat boy, she shook her head. She explained that the entire time she was having sex with him he never once spoke to her or acknowledged her outside of his fraternity’s basement. Not in the library, not in the dining hall, not at the bookstore.

“One time, I waved at him in front of the food court and said hi, but he just ignored me.”

“Was he with anyone?” I asked—as though that would make a difference.

“A bunch of his friends.”

I later told Nicole’s story to a close guy friend. “What a jerk, right?” My friend, also a frat brother, objected: “After the first time, it starts becoming the girl’s fault, too.” Nicole and the frat brother were just hooking up, after all—what didn’t I get?

Continue Reading at The Atlantic for Emily’s moderate, middle-ground solution…


Related at PJ Lifestyle:

How Today’s Young Women Learned To Sing The Truth About Hookup Culture

‘Feminist Progress Right Now Largely Depends on the Existence of the Hookup Culture.’

Lena Dunham, Millennial Sell-Out

Lady Gaga: ‘I Quite Like the Transference of Strength I Feel By Submitting To a Man – Being Under Him.’

Uma Unsimulated?

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7 Lies Women Need to Stop Telling Themselves

Monday, October 15th, 2012 - by Cassy Fiano

For some people, relationships lead to lifelong happiness. For everyone else, they’re depressing vehicles of humiliation and frustration. For women, especially, figuring out how to transition from just dating to being exclusive — and hopefully married — isn’t just a goal. It’s practically a lifestyle. Women blunder through dating making mistake after mistake after mistake — yet they can’t figure out why Prince Charming still hasn’t arrived. And while they cry into their Cheerios about how yet another relationship didn’t work out, they’re lying to themselves about why… why that guy didn’t call back, why he didn’t want to commit, why she got dumped.

Well, ladies, maybe if you stopped lying to yourself about why your 37th fling didn’t pan out, you’d have bagged your happily-ever-after by now. Everyone makes mistakes, in relationships and otherwise. But if you constantly lie to yourself to soothe your pain, then how can you learn anything? Stop telling yourselves these idiotic lies, grow up, and maybe you’ll have more luck in love.

1. All the guys I meet are jerks!

So every single guy you start dating ends up being a jerk, huh? They cheat on you, they cut and run after just a few weeks, or after a few promising months they announce that they’re not ready for a relationship. So you sit there and bemoan your poor, pitiful dating life and wonder why – why? – you can’t meet any good guys.

Well, here’s the thing: you do meet good guys. And then you go on to ignore them in favor of the bad boy who has a reputation, because you just know that the magic of your love will change him. Or you refuse to take a look in the mirror to figure out why every guy you date runs away as fast as his feet can take him. You come on too strong, you’re too clingy, you’re too needy. Heck, maybe it’s all of the above.

If every single guy that you date ends up being someone that you label as a jerk and a heartbreaker, well, the problem isn’t everybody else. You can lie to yourself and say that you just can’t meet any good guys, but they’re out there all right. You just ignore them, put them in the “friend zone,” or scare them away with your psychotic, desperate behavior.

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How Today’s Young Women Learned to Sing the Truth About Hookup Culture

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 - by Leslie Loftis

After Hanna Rosin’s glowing praise for promiscuity in her new book The End of Men, articles about the hookup culture are popping up all over the web. Is it really good for women? Do they actually like it? Is replacing forward men with on-the-prowl women really progress?

Intentional or not, many of this summer’s pop rock music releases offer songs about the truth and consequences of the hookup culture. Three of these artists in particular boldly sing about love; as products of their generations, their songs can teach us about the hookup culture. The early songs of Alanis Morissette, P!nk, and Katy Perry provide a window into how these ideas progressed from Gen X women to Millennial women. The rockers’ latest works (Alanis’ havoc and bright lights, P!nk’s The Truth About Love, and Perry’s “Wide Awake”) are about how they are coping, or not, with marriage and, in the case of Alanis and P!nk, motherhood. What truths about love and happiness do their songs tell us?

The results are counterintuitive for the Rosin types who think that the hookup culture empowers women. Surely the eyes-wide-open, independent Millennial Perry is the one who has it all together? According to her songs, she is not. The truth-teller P!nk, perhaps? She is holding together if only because she hates goodbyes. No, it is angry Alanis who seems to have found peace in spite of all the havoc and bright lights. And her relative lack of experience with the hookup culture can explain why.

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