Do you know that book, the Five Love Languages or whatever it’s called? (It’s called The Five Love Languages, I just looked it up.) It’s this book that describes five different types of people and the way they show other people they love them? It was a big deal a little while back? Did you read it? If so, you’re probably going to want to skip this post because I’m going to talk about it having not read even a single word of it, and my inaccuracies and misunderstandings are bound to be annoying as shit.
So, I haven’t read the book. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it over the years. I’m sure we all have. It’s just never struck me as my kind of thing. I’ve heard people in some moms groups and whatnot discuss what they got out of it and how they found it very helpful, and I totally get that and I’m not knocking it at all, but just never read it. Actually, I’ve been waiting on a new, updated edition that might be more likely to contain my specific kind of love language.
Here I should probably note that I don’t actually have a real, whole concept of what a love language even is, but I’ve always assumed I don’t have one.
Except recently, some stuff has been going on, and some people have been really very helpful and supportive, in ways that is super kind and generous and seems to come very naturally to them, because they’re just the kind of people who behave in that kind of way toward people they like. It started me wondering what in the world I do to make my friends know I like them, aside from unreliably responding to texts and not asking them to please leave me alone. And I really couldn’t think of anything at all, which made me feel kind of bad, because you know, on my old blog, we talked a little about hesitating to text or whatever, or things along those lines, when in reality you should always just go ahead and send a message or send along the card you saw that made you think of a specific person or anything along those lines. That there’s two kinds of people, those who have those thoughts and act on them, and those who have those thoughts and don’t. Okay, I suppose there’s a third kind of person who doesn’t have those thoughts and thus can’t act on them, or has horrible thoughts and doesn’t act on them, or does act on them, and okay, fine, there’s a lot of people in this world, but the point is, if you’re having the thoughts and not acting on them, try to act on them. Just do it. If they’re good ones. That started out about texting people every now and then despite worries based in no facts that they might not want to hear from you, but obviously applies to a wider range of behaviors.
And I’ve been trying, really, to send a message to say hi more often, and I think I’ve managed it two or even three whole times since that post (usually to Arwen, because I think about her a lot, especially when I am struggling with my four year old, because I can remind myself that she has two, and it makes me feel better. Sorry, Arwen.) But I feel like saying hi to people is kind of the bare minimum in friendship, not so much an “I like you” as “You exist and I also exist.” So I realized I have no thing like those things that seem to come so naturally to other people.
EXCEPT TODAY. So, for the holiday, Bite Beauty does these double ended lipsticks. They’re really small lipsticks and there’s one color on each end, and they’re really inexpensive – only $14 (link). So it’s a great way to try a couple of colors or try out the line without a big commitment. During the Sephora sale, I bought one and I ended up really liking it, so of course started angsting over whether I should have bought more when they were 20% off, or if, since they’re so inexpensive, I should grab one or two more before they’re gone. I was looking over the colors Bite offers in general, and I saw two (Mulberry and Shiraz) that I thought would look really nice on Miranda, and I reminded myself to text her later to tell her, “Hey, I saw this thing I thought you would like.” (I haven’t done that yet. I will as soon as I finish this. Really.) And I realized I do that ALL the TIME.
Apparently, if I like a person, I will remember their preferences or random things they said down to creepy, obsessive detail and file it away so that later I can suggest something they should buy. One person mentioned issues with a certain brand of skin care, so when I came across one that was similar in effect and quality, I told her about it. A creepy number of months later. Two college friends still go to a lot of sporting events at the school, so when the Finish Line does their super cheap college hoodies sale, I always remind them. Twenty years ago my mother mentioned she couldn’t find a cherry pitter, so I still consistently look for one whenever I’m in a kitchen store.
So, if I like you, I will suggest things for you to buy based on details you probably forgot you ever mentioned by the time I find the perfect thing. I don’t know what love language that falls under, because like I said, I never read the book. I think it’s probably along the same lines of a cat bringing you a dead bird, but instead, I will text you out of nowhere to tell you that one shirt you liked that one time is on clearance on a random website.
Anyway, that’s all. I’m sure if I read the book I could fit myself into one of the categories, but then I’d probably feel obligated somehow to take other actions that would fit into that category to make sure the people I like know I like them, but I’m pretty content with this. If you’ve read the book, did you find you fit into one? Or do you just have a single thing? Can I gather up some minor detail about you only to come back to you with something you can buy six months from now?
Obviously, growing up, we all have ideas of what adulthood will be like, and some of those things end up turning out to not be things at all. Like, oh, shit, when I grow up, I’m going to have to pay bills and it’s going to be terrible. Except that’s not how it is at all. I mean, it’s not like bills are fun and it’s not like there aren’t 800 things I’d rather spend that money on, but the standard moan and groan about the adult responsibility of bills hasn’t so much come true. Sure, it would have sucked a lot to pay all of those bills when I was 14 or 15 or 16 because I had no money. At all. Because I was a child. Just putting gas in my car with my waitressing tips when it was less than $1/gallon seemed like the biggest chore, so obviously adding on shit like, I don’t know, electricity, seemed like the most enormous downer in the world. Ugh. Adults can’t do anything because all they get to do is pay bills. Two things I did not really factor in: one, I have more money now and paying bills, while not enjoyable, is not some life-ruining, adulthood-destroying burden. And two, I was kind of right. I don’t get to do anything now. Except it’s not that I don’t get to do anything. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to lay here quietly, and I’m entirely okay with that. A long time ago Swistle had this post (link) about how when we were kids, it was so puzzling that adults just wanted to sit around and talk to each other and HOLY SHIT COULD ANYTHING AT ALL BE MORE BORING except it turns out that children are actually a sort of idiot who are surprisingly incapable of predicting and understanding what adult versions of themselves will enjoy. Like lying around doing nothing. Children generally have no idea how much they’re going to love that and not really care all that much about paying bills.
Well, except surprise bills, but that’s a whole other thing. Did I mention Brinkley is going to the vet tomorrow? Surprise.
Anyway, there are these things like bills that turned out to just be a kind of normal fact of life that don’t really destroy it in the way I casually predicted. (Yes, I know there are people who can’t pay their bills.) And other things, like oh when I’m an adult, I will eat dessert after every meal, not just meals when my parents FEEL LIKE GIVING ME SOME BASED ON ABSOLUTELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE WHIMS. Except no, no, I don’t actually do that. Not because I hate dessert or because of some guilt-based issues around food or whatever. I just don’t want to. Small me did not anticipate that could even be a possibility. It’s there and you just don’t want to? Yeah, that’s not a thing, except it turned out to be one.
TO MY POINT (I assume you knew it was eventually coming). There are things that I just never in a million years could have anticipated would be a negative issue for adults. Things that as a child, not only would I never have disliked, but never could have even imagined it would become a problem sometime in the future. One of the major ones, the only one I can think of at the moment, actually, because my distaste is just SO STRONG it is blocking out everything else, is balloons. I cannot fucking stand balloons.
If we’re walking up to a store or something and someone is handing out balloons, I will try to find a different way to go in. I will say they’re for sale and I don’t have any money with me. I will say the person is taking them home to tie to his house so he can move somewhere nicer. It’s impossible to control my expression at the end of a birthday party or event when Penelope comes running out with her very own balloon. I will elbow a clown in the gottdanged throat if he so much as glances my way with his fistful of aggravation.
Growing up, I had no idea balloons were such a pain in the ass. There was this restaurant we went to when we were younger that always gave balloons to kids at the end of a meal, and there were three of us, and now that I’m an adult, I have a whole new perspective on those fun car rides home with three kids and three balloons in the back seat of a sedan. Oh, sure, bopping each other and bouncing them around and sucking out the helium was a blast, but now I can imagine it from the other side. “Hold your balloons. Hold your — HOLD YOUR BALLOONS. PULL THE BALLOONS DOWN. I can’t see around — shit! I can’t see around the balloons. GUYS YOU MUST HOLD YOUR BALLOONS DOWN. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE IF YOU DO NOT CONTROL THE GODDAMN BALLOONS AND WE WILL GO TO HELL AND IT WILL SURELY BE FULL OF BALLOONS.”
And that’s if the balloon even makes it from Point A to Point Car. Never do I have such a death grip on Penelope’s fist as I do when she’s insisting on carrying her own balloon to the car. We are a fraction of a second from wailing heartbreak and I am on guard the entire way. I don’t know if you know this about four year olds, but they do not have the attention span required to keep their fists closed. Every step between us and the car is the potential for the whole rest of the day to be IRREPARABLY RUINED because the stupid balloon GOT AWAY and on top of that? Now we’ve littered. Double tragedy.
And if we get it to the car and we get it home without spinning out into a ditch due to obscured vision, then the balloon is IN MY HOUSE. High ceilings. Ceiling fans. DOGS. It’s either not going to last, which leads to drama, or it’s going to become a task for me, constantly requiring retrieval from this location or that location. Is there anyone among us who hasn’t had to form a long, sticky-ended poking device to rescue a balloon from the absolute most inconvenient location in the house? One that additionally requires perching precariously on something? I’m risking my life for $0.005 worth of latex.
And sometimes! You think you can wait for the kid to go to bed and then pounce on the balloon, usually by then half-deflated and hovering around corners to scare you shitless in the dark, because she has taken absolutely zero notice of the balloon for days, so you can get it in the trash without incident. Now, if you don’t make the absolutely ROOKIE IDIOT MISTAKE of leaving it on the top of the trash for the kid to discover the body in the morning (“J’ACCUSE, MOTHER. J’ACCUSE.”), then it’s a guarantee that tomorrow morning, first thing upon waking, she’s going to ask for that balloon for the delightful day of play she’s got planned out for the two of them.
I just had no idea. Growing up there was no way to know or predict that balloons were one of the most dreaded parenting ordeals on the planet. I guess a lot of things become clear as we get older, you know?
Of course life kicks me in the ass right when I start a totally ambitious (not actually bitous at all, except in my own head and determination to be bitious) new blog, because, I don’t know, Murphy or something. It’s pleasant to think that the universe acts in response to my own actions, but have you noticed we only really think that when something goes wrong? Like the universe is just waiting to fuck with you. Like the universe is sitting around looking for people who did some innocuous thing like wash their cars, then sends a flock of birds to shit on it. No one credits the universe in that same kind of way when good things happen. Like oh, I did my hair today and it looks fabulous, but it rained, but I totally remembered my umbrella. THANKS, UNIVERSE. So the whole thing kind of falls apart, I guess, unless you want to believe the universe is a total fuck with you for the hell of it kind of guy. Which I guess most of us kind of do, and you know what, that’s a pretty dim outlook, so let’s just not do that anymore. My life didn’t suddenly get crazy because I started a new blog and the universe thought I was getting uppity. It just got crazy because it did.
Anyway, I was in my car yesterday and I was listening to the radio – satellite radio because we get about two stations on the regular radio where I live, and if you live in the kind of place that is so remote as to only get two stations, you can assume you’re probably spending a long time in the car to really get anywhere, so it’s kind of backwards, because you’re in exactly the kind of place that needs more than one station. That’s how we justify paying for Sirius, anyway, not that you care, but the point is, it’s satellite radio and I don’t know where it comes from, so I don’t know where this commercial is based, so I don’t know if you’ve heard it or not. But maybe you have!
So in this commercial I heard (some stations on Sirius have commercials because they’re just regular stations or whatever from big cities, but others don’t), they said something like “hashtag fbf.” Obviously that would be more accurately written as #fbf, but that’s what I heard. And, you know, I do the whole Internet thing, so I’ve seen that hashtag around. I’ve also seen #tbt, which has been around a really long time, since the dawn of hashtags, maybe, back when people USED HASHTAGS PROPERLY, not the kind of garbage people are doing today, where they put phrases in their hashtag that should just BE PART OF THE TWEET, and I don’t know, abuse of systems that have no actual basis in any kind of authority or necessarily need to be any kind of strict really annoys me because I’m that kind of pedantic person. And #tbt is Throwback Thursday, when you post a picture from a long time ago, like when you were a kid, or when you were in college, or to that day last week when you thought you looked particularly good. And I gathered from the kind of pictures that I’d seen people posting under #fbf that #fbf meant basically the same thing.
And you know what? I thought it was so obnoxious. I mean, I never called anyone out on it because I’m more of an internal pedant, but come on. If you missed posting the picture on Thursday for Throwback Thursday, just wait until next week. Why do you have to make up a whole new thing? I mean, Frowback Friday? It doesn’t even make sense. Just wait. It’s seven days! You can do it!
Then the commercial went on to say something about Flashback Friday.
And listen, I have to tell you, I did not just have my pedantic annoying thoughts in the 4 seconds between when the commercial said “hashtag eff bee eff” and “Flashback Friday.” No, I have thought this forever, or at least since the first time I saw #fbf, and this commercial just revealed the truth to me, and I was suddenly extremely grateful that I usually keep this petty pedantic shit to myself (except for the difference between the required eating methods for string cheese and Kit Kats, something I WILL NOT DISCUSS HERE SO DON’T EVEN TRY BUT YOU’RE PROBABLY WRONG and someday I will surely tell you that at great length), because you think there is nothing worse than a pedant, but there is, and that’s a pedant who is WRONG.
So that got me thinking about times I’ve jumped on someone for some petty thing, something I was actually totally certain I was right about, and turned out to be TOTALLY WRONG. I couldn’t actually think of any, which is not evidence that I HAVEN’T done it, but more likely evidence that my mind has completely blocked it out to save me from reliving the shame over and over, like you do with embarrassing moments, and then have to say something out loud or sing a song or something to try to force your mind to STOP REPLAYING IT.
As usual, when I think of something terrible I’ve done (or have most likely done in this case even though I couldn’t think of an exact example at the moment), I immediately want everyone to tell me of all the times they have done the same or similar.