Five Girls You Will Bring Home In Your Twenties

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We’re celebrating Autostraddle’s Fifth Birthday all month long by publishing a bunch of Top Fives. This is one of them!


1. The Friend of a Friend of a Friend of an Ex of a Friend

This is the girl you meet at the bar when you’re too tired and too sober to be at the bar. The friend you came with swears on her mother’s dildo that this is the last place tonight, and then she promises she’ll pay for your cab home. The friend you came with is newly single and wants to prove to herself and the world that she’s still got it, that the wounds her ex left are capable of healing over, that she is attractive and loveable and valid and human. These are big long-term goals that you don’t have the heart to tell her can’t be attained in one drunk evening, but you owe her a favor and if you weren’t here, you’d be asleep, a behavior that your therapist says is “antisocial.”

This girl is cute, and you can’t tell if she’s hitting on you when she asks if you’ve met before. You do the first dance of the Queer Mating Ritual, the stumbling waltz down a chain of people you both know, the messy spitwad network of who knows who, who dated who. It only takes a few minutes to realize that you both know the same people, that she’s that friend of a friend of a friend of an ex of a friend that you might have heard about a few months back.

This is the girl you go home with and it’s okay, it feels pretty good, it’s only a little weird. It’s weirder when you wake up and she recognizes the coffee mug your ex left in the kitchen. Her ex had the same mug, with the exact same chip on the handle! You say your ex’s name, and wouldn’t you know, her ex has the same name as your ex! And that’s when you realize that the friend of a friend of a friend of an ex of a friend also dated your ex. She asks if you’re the one who peed the bed that one time, because your ex used to make jokes about it.

“I was really, really sick,” you say, and then run full tilt out of your own house.

You will definitely run into her on multiple occasions in the future, usually in situations where you have to say hi. Each time, you exchange shellshocked looks that silently acknowledge the ominous truth you have both come to know. It’s awkward.


 

2. The Horrible Person

She is a horrible person. On paper, you shouldn’t be able to stay in the same room as her. She hates your favorite movie and your favorite band. Her opinions are prickly and in direct opposition to yours. She reminds you of the mean girls who made fun of you in middle school, except she has an edgier haircut and more piercings.

Your friends don’t like her. Most of the time, you don’t like her. You don’t like talking to her, and you don’t like listening to her. You can’t imagine actually having to socialize with her outside of hooking up.

Her dog is super cool, though. You think you might still be sleeping with her because her dog is so goshdarn awesome. He does tricks and everything! So, because you’re in your twenties and you don’t know any better, you keep doing things with the horrible person so you can hang out with her dog. Everyone is mad at you for this and you’re mad at yourself for this, but also, that dog.


 

3. The Straight Girl

The straight girl is so beautiful. She’s so beautiful that you want to poke your eyeballs out and swallow them whole. Her hair is so shiny that baby angels must weep magic tears into her tresses. When she smiles, you can hear harps playing. She adjusts her nose ring and the heavens sigh. You watch her float in and out of your life, and you are entranced.

Because you are at the point in your life where you are usually foolish and often masochistic, you invite the straight girl into your bed. Worse yet, you invite the straight girl into your heart, where you choose to ignore that she won’t hold your hand at the farmer’s market. You go to the expensive bar in the gentrified yuppie area and you listen to her gush about its faux-dive bar aesthetic. You pay for the overpriced concept drinks while she tells her friends about the cute guy at the yoga studio. She talks about how much she hates being single and you say nothing, smelling her perfume and wondering if it is bottled by mermaids.

You are putty in the straight girl’s hands. You are ready to make all kinds of irresponsible decisions on her behalf. She sees a cute puppy in the store window and you have to physically restrain yourself from buying her that cute puppy. She kisses you in front of everyone and then tells you that she’s just drunk, that it doesn’t mean anything. And because you’re young and stupid and punishing yourself for internalized homophobia or something, you let that straight girl walk all over your gay ass.


 

4. The Actual Grown-Up

This girl isn’t a girl; she’s a woman. She has a 401k and wears pantyhose. You met through a mutual friend who thought that you would balance each other out. She makes you feel like a failure, and you remind her of what happens to people in the “creative field”.

She’s ahead of her scheduled student loan payments. Ahead of them. At first you thought this was sexy and alluring, the sheer foreignness of someone who had their life totally together, but now she gives you a panic attack every time she asks you how your internship is going. You still don’t completely know what she sees in you, besides an escape from corporate culture. You used to meet her and her work friends for happy hour, but wearing a food stained Waxahatchee shirt in a group of people talking about acquisitions and strategies makes you drink too much.

Her plan is to get married by 26 so she can get pregnant by 27. She says she doesn’t want to be one of those “older moms” but she also doesn’t want to fall off her career track. She calls you from a company retreat to make sure you’ve washed your hair in the last week. You lie and say yeah, duh. You’re standing in the kitchen in a pair of swim trunks and the t-shirt you got at your eighth grade graduation. You’re eating an unheated can of Spaghettios. She wants to have phone sex before the team-building exercise at 3.

It doesn’t last because she says you don’t fit into her “big picture.” She’s always referencing this big picture as if it’s something tangible, a widescreen television that broadcasts her inevitable future successes. Her last text to you makes a few pointed comments about your aimlessness and your “challenging” personality. You delete her from your contacts and go back to watching Antiques Roadshow in your underwear.


 

5. The OkCupid Date

She viewed your profile. You don’t think much of it.

Then, it happens. You see her at Trader Joe’s. You immediately recognize her as the girl who viewed your OkCupid profile. She’s stocking the kettle corn you want. You debate not getting the kettle corn, even though you want the kettle corn so badly. She sees you. You make eye contact. Okay, now you have to do something. You reach for a bag of kettle corn. She hands it to you, staring you down. You say thank you and run to the freezer aisle like you’re an Olympic sprinter, never looking back.

That night, you get a notification. She’s viewed your profile again. You realize that you’d seen her picture in your search results and never clicked through to her profile. You feel bad, so you refresh her profile page a few times to make it look like you’ve been viewing it a lot.

You’re only a 30% match. Not a great start. Her profile is very long, with whole paragraphs dedicated to explaining herself and her choices in favorite foods. You typically skip over profiles like these because the idea of someone spending more than five to ten minutes on their OkCupid profile makes you think they’ll hate your inability to wash dishes within 24 hours of using them. Her favorite book is Twilight. You stop yourself from immediately judging her. She’s written a paragraph defending the characterization of Edward Cullen. You tell yourself you are a terrible person for wanting to immediately close your browser. You feel like you owe her a chance or something, just because you made eye contact in Trader Joe’s and she handed you a bag of kettle corn.

She messages you. You message back and forth, because you’re desperate to find a connection of some kind. You settle for the fact that you’ve both seen Parks and Rec, even though she made a comment about how she thinks Amy Poehler is “unfunny.” It turns out that you live in adjacent neighborhoods, and she wants to meet up for a drink. You feel bad that you’re bored and uninterested in the messages, so you agree to the date. You immediately regret this, but you feel bad about regretting it.

The date is not good. She’s not abrasive or mean or even a bad person, but you’re just not feeling it. You feel bad that there’s no connection, so you try extra hard to be an interesting and attractive person. She’s touching your forearm a lot and laughing too hard even when you’re not saying anything funny. You give her the benefit of the doubt every time she brings up her dead cat. When you leave the bar, she goes in for a kiss with a lot of tongue. You sigh and let the wet gross kiss happen because it’s one of those days where this might as well happen. You feel bad that you don’t enjoy the kiss, so you make sure that when you kiss her back, it’s a really good one.

The encounter is not bad but it’s not great, and in the morning you feel really bad that you didn’t like it that much. You make breakfast because you still feel bad, and you put a lot of effort into making fancy pancakes and well-seasoned eggs. She keeps saying how nice you are and how impressive it is that you cook. She goes in for another kiss. You feel bad that you’re not into the idea of kissing her ever again, and because you feel guilty about feeling bad about not being into her, you kiss her really passionately. You end up making out in the kitchen for a while, even though you don’t feel the chemistry and you don’t really find her attractive. Every time you want to pull away and try to end the morning early, the bag of kettle corn is sitting on your counter, staring you down.

She leaves and texts you later and you don’t want to text her back. You feel bad about not wanting to text her back, so you text her back. Thus begins a horrible cycle of feeling bad about how unmotivated you are in pursuing this girl, until you have to avoid Trader Joe’s altogether and change your phone number.

You miss cookie butter, but you learned one of the most important lessons you will ever learn: Don’t do anything you don’t want to do just because you feel bad about not wanting to do it.


Header Image by Rory Midhani

Avatar of Kate

Hard-lovin' butch made of tears, sweat, and spit, in that order. Professional lonesome polecat. Kate is living proof that you can take the hillperson out of the mountains, but she's still probably going to run back to the mountains anyway. Kate prefers the trashy to the classy, and the tender to everything else. Full-time writer, part-time lover. Heart got so big and soggy that she had to cut off all her sleeves.

Kate has written 124 articles for us.

119 Comments

  1. Thumb up 42

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    The idea that someone would go on a date with me, kiss me, make out with me, have sex with me, and even make me breakfast because they feel bad is the most terrifying thing ever. Definitely more terrifying than outright rejection. Is there a way to avoid this, besides never making the first move or taking any initiative ever?

    • Thumb up 3

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      yeah, I agree, that struck me as totally upsetting.

      I think that’s not on you–not your responsibility to figure out how to avoid. that’s totally on the person who would go along with something they weren’t into.

      • Thumb up 2

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        Yes I totally agree. As someone who has been on both sides of this issue, it is not on you if someone does things because they “feel bad” for you or for not doing it. You don’t control the other person’s actions and can’t read their mind. They are responsible for being honest with you and pursuing their own happiness. If they aren’t doing those things, they’re disrespecting both of you. The fact that they believe they have to put a virtual stranger’s supposed comfort before their own happiness is their problem and honestly, it’s actually a really bad move because people can usually tell on some level if the someone is not interested and will feel bad as well.

        But yeah, don’t assume every person is doing things just to make you feel better because 99% of people aren’t and it would suck to be afraid to be open and vulnerable because a few people who are not ready for a relationship made you doubt the entire human species. That would make me very sad. All you can do is take care of yourself and do what feels right to you! Keep trusting people!

  2. Thumb up 22

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    Oh nooooo this is too true and I’m only 20. Things that should be added: your best friend. Your ex. Your best friend’s ex. Someone you employ. Someone who employs you. Someone who you slept with, never talked to again, and now works with you. I mean, not that that ever happened, but there are 9 more terrible-decision-making years ahead of me and it seems fair to say all of these will happen.

  3. Thumb up 1

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    For me it was more that after I hooked up with this one random woman, her friend dated my friend, and I made a new friend who had also dated her, she now works with another friend, and so on. At the time, there were no connections, but now they are legion.

  4. Thumb up 24

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    Secret Option #6: You make it to 25 without dating anyone ever. You will probably make it to 30 & beyond without dating anyone ever. At the very least you can become the Untouchable Liaison between two people avoiding contact, but who both really want TJ’s kettle corn.

    But you better pay me in kettle corn.

      • Thumb up 5

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        I like to say i’ll be “9ever alone”– because i guess i have a thing for most-likely-tired memes– since i have literally never been in an actual relationship. I figure at some point i should give up & realize it’ll never happen, & embrace my status as “That Awkward In-Between Person Who Shields a Far More Attractive & Popular Friend From Awkwardness Whilst Procuring Kettle Corn”, should that need ever arise. Maybe now is that point; 25′s a good, solid number.

        ………..but let’s be real:

        • Thumb up 8

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          Caitlin I don’t know you but you always post interesting and funny things on here, and obviously you are a good friend based on your kettle corn procurement, so I just want to point out that if you don’t want to be single, there are undoubtedly people who will want to date you. People like to date people who are interesting, funny, and good to their friends. And that’s based in absolute minimal info about you, I don’t know all the other amazing stuff that you do and that you are. So I know that doesn’t help your loneliness maybe or anxiety about dating and ages or lack of people in your area or whatever it is that’s feeling so rough right now. But I just wanted to say: Go You! It’s gonna be great! Read Intern Grace’s “rejection 101″ like a thousand times until you believe it, like I did. And then go get yourself some dates. ;)

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          @Claire asdfghjkl i don’t even know how to respond to that other than i think i blushed & laughed awkwardly alone in my room & sdfghjhgfgjhfgjhvjgvjgvhgkhgf ahahahahahahahahhaahhahahahahahahahahahhaahah

  5. Thumb up 24

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    I was the Actual Grown-Up and I’m here to say that it can work. The younger liberal arts major girlfriend eventually became the Medical Doctor fiancee, and now she’s the Actual Grown-Up in the relationship. It’s been a long, strange, and fabulous trip.

  6. Thumb up 8

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    The whole grown up thing makes me feel odd. I feel like I’m 19 with a shit ton of responsibilities still trying to make it out alive, I’m 27.

    Plus I promised myself I would wear pants in the common areas of the apartment and I *still* have a my pants on.

    Lvl up.

    • Thumb up 5

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      I don’t know how I feel about that one. Regardless of how much of an adult I become, I’ll always be silly and a bit strange (my mom calls me that.) I could have my loans paid off and be halfway through my impressive 10 year plan, with a 401k and you’re still liable to find me with a Powerpuff Girl sheet set and wearing weirdest items in the most random parts of my home. Pillow forts in the hallway closet while wearing Spiderman pjs (this happened today)

  7. Thumb up 10

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    Don’t do anything you don’t want to do just because you feel bad about not wanting to do it.

    Spot on. This rule is achingly difficult to follow, but in the end, you will have hurt far less people and taken better care of yourself.

    Hilarious, unfortunate account of the date thing with OKC girl. Question: how do you straight up tell someone you’re on a first date with that you don’t want to take it any further? “I had a great time but I don’t feel like we have a connection, but maybe let’s be friends?” So hard.

  8. Thumb up 3

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    The 5 Girls You Will Bring Home Before You Are 30
    1. The One Who Hid Her Lesbianism Behind “Bisexuality” & Chocolate
    2. The One With A Drinking Problem
    (The One Whose Exes Were Still In Love With Her)
    3. The One Who Led You On
    (The One That Started As An Almost-Hookup)
    4. The One Who Is Now Married…To A Dude

    • Thumb up 18

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      I really don’t appreciate the biphobia in this post. Bisexuality isn’t a way to hide lesbianism; lesbianism is an inherent part of bisexuality. Also, who cares if someone marries a dude? The only part you should be upset about is that they didn’t marry you.

      • Thumb up 1

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        As a bisexual-identified person with a (slight) preference for women I don’t appreciate biphobia either. Apologies for that, although it was never my aim to come across as biphobic. She referred to bisexuality in quotes.

        And I could tell you stories about biphobia that would make your skin crawl.

  9. Thumb up 9

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    Reading this article was, like, a peek into an alternate universe. Very exciting! My article would go like this:

    Five Girls You Will Bring Home In Your Twenties When You’re Ugly And Have Social Anxiety:

    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.

    Ha ha! Just kidding. You won’t bring any girls home. You will get a pity fuck once every 4 years or so because she is drunk at the end of the party and you are still there, by the snacks table where the friend who emotionally blackmailed you into coming abandoned you 5 minutes after you got there. But she’ll leave before you wake up and afterward won’t acknowledge you’ve ever met (when you’re in public, anyway).

  10. Thumb up 3

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    This is great Kate, and unfortunately all too true. If I had to give a précis of my exes, the headlines would include, and this is from my 20′s going through to my 40′s (yes, bad judgements, dubious rapport and less than expected satisfactory “hook-ups” are frequently cojoined siblings that are package deal)

    1) The male stoner/eternal student who lands a trust fund and never works again, becoming a rich stoned bum

    2) The lesbian hen’s night fling, I was her fling. She “realised” that she hadn’t quite gotten over her wife etc etc and went running back to wife no 1 when wife no 1 sang her deranging siren’s song

    3) The delightful mirror image of my own insecurity and aspirations, someone who I loved dearly and loved me but who had a congenital wandering eye and was dipping her pen in all the colours of the rainbow besides mine

    4) The sexy poet 11 years my senior – a hot boi who I am sure would have made me feel like Mrs Mature Adult, had we gone there.

      • Thumb up 2

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        Um she is hot, and I don’t know if I had break up nerves at the dance I met her at, or if I had break up nerves at the dance I met her at and she had major magnetism and I just began to orbit her though I was trying to play hard to get, but that lasted not very long.
        Um short story nothing happened as I was seeing someone who became my wife. So lust was left hanging in that café, over that coffee, in that hotel room after her reading, …
        She’s hot. She is a poet. She is hot, and I guess that I want to remember her at that resolution of formless perfectness, before reality became parked beside us like medication at nightime… (im not a poet)

  11. Thumb up 5

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    Ooh, Ooh. I have one.

    This one happened to me when I was 29, courtesy of OKCupid. Brought home the girl who I thought was single, but turned out to be married (which she failed to mention until AFTER we slept together). Yay.

  12. Thumb up 5

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    kade my darling, shit like this is what made me declare that i had a huge crush on you back in 2012 (RIP “shit people say” video meme) and i’m just popping in to say you’ve still got it. (hi aimee.)

    xoxo,
    crushmonster

  13. Thumb up 2

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    “She kisses you in front of everyone and then tells you that she’s just drunk, that it doesn’t mean anything. And because you’re young and stupid and punishing yourself for internalized homophobia or something, you let that straight girl walk all over your gay ass.”

    That girl. I kissed that girl. Not that anything else happened with her.

    She also tends to really minimise my problems, so I can feel better quick, shut up, and listen to hers.

    Damn she’s cute.

  14. Thumb up 1

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    I spent my twenties pining for unavailable men and wondering why that wasn’t working out for me so well. Hmmmmmm.

    Then in my early thirties I met an amazing woman and we have been together ever since. So maybe there are advantages to not figuring out your ish until you’re already the Actual Grown-Up?

  15. Thumb up 1

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    cw – (emotional) abuse, depression

    Seven reasons you haven’t brought home girls in your twenties, or even held hands, never mind other parts:
    1) existing in a lgbtqi+ UNfriendly place under the shadow of your relatives’ virulent homophobia and thus flat out blocking your attraction to women until 23, pretending it will go away until 26, being generally fretful ever since
    2) SOCIAL ANXIETY (& generally being the awkward panda queen of awkward pandas)
    3) persistent unemployment/poverty keeping you stuck existing in your childhood house/village full of rich old homophobes & empty of lgbtqi+ folk, and subsequently getting extremely upset & depressed that you’re never going to be employed for longer than three weeks or ever get out of your dingy little backwater to a place where you can be happy/yourself
    4) internalising all those times your parents & extended family told you how horrible, nasty, lazy, worthless, ugly, selfish, and awful you are, not forgetting all the “nobody except [us/me] will ever love you”s
    5) being asexual and crying to yourself about it because you’ve internalised a load of crap about how of course nobody will want somebody who isn’t into sex anyway, because of course your relatives must be right and you’re disgusting so if you aren’t even offering up your ugly body you struggle to think of a single reason anyone would take the time to give you love & snuggles
    6) spending most of your twenties in denial that your long distance friendship with one of your best friends is the most intense thing in your life and you’re in a messed up “we’re not dating but other people sometimes think we are” situation even though you’re a neurotic closet case and she’s religious & obsessed with a guy from her work and one day it just hits you and you spend three hours walking around a city in tears because you’ve spent nearly six years being her boyfriend-tofu and you aren’t even sure you care if she just says “I love you more than I love anyone else in the world” one more time (but she doesn’t say it) and then spending a year dealing with that
    7) for all of the above and more reasons, feeling more like a 14 year old than you did when you were actually 14

    I’m very nearly 29 now :(

    • Thumb up 5

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      :(((((((( i want to give you a hug (if you’d even be okay with that) & tuck you in with blankets & squishy pillows & anything else you need far away from shitty unsafe places & people

      and i hope that doesn’t sound condescending or anything, while i’m at it. but people telling you that you’re “horrible, nasty, lazy, worthless, ugly, selfish, and awful” & nobody but them will love you are all toxic fuckers & you don’t deserve that horrific bullshit; nobody does. i know it means nothing for me to say that, as a stranger & because you’ve internalized it all so badly, but seriously.

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        I’m so sorry to reply so late, my computer blew up on my birthday and fdglkjf :(

        but thank you for your comment, it’s helpful to hear things even when it’s difficult to believe them and I appreciate your kindness and I would shyly, awkwardly, but gratefully accept a hug

    • Thumb up 4

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      I’m a stranger on the internet and everything but I really really want/need to tell you how much I relate to everything you’ve written here. You are not alone in this. It often feels like everyone is passing me by while I remain stuck. As Caitlin said, you don’t deserve that toxic shit from people who are supposed to support you and be on your side. And I too would offer hugs and understanding and queer quilts (I’ve never seen a queer quilt but we should all make one together), if that would be okay with you.

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        I’m so sorry to reply so late, my computer blew up on my birthday and fdglkjf :(

        thank you for replying, I really appreciate it and yes everything/one else passing by, I can only offer my comiserations & hopes/good will that you will get to a happy unstuck place

        and again I would gratefully accept hugs

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      I’ve realized through reading this that the people who can’t relate vs. the ones who can seem to live along only one divide – their residence. Living in a city allows people to live metropolitan, melodramatic experiences with lots of other queer folk. Mid-size towns and smaller allow for mostly melodramatic experiences with yourself. I think you got it spot-on, because this was my experience before I moved to a large city, and I hated every minute of it. Hang in there. I want to tell you that you are worthy, and will be cared for by another person when they are special enough for you to overcome your trepidations. Or, when you love yourself enough to put yourself out there. First, you will be someone’s OKCupid, and then someone else will be yours. :)

  16. Thumb up 3

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    Ah Kate, your satire is delightful. I chomped down on this tale with considerable relish. Though I must say, it was fortunate that I have enough iodized salt laid by to protect an entire developing country from goiters. Must you go into such vindictive, embellished detail? It’s clear that TJ’s girl was having a tough go of it far before you got up off your couch, and grabbed a pen with your grubby paw instead of doing laundry or washing your hair.

    Remember, April 15th is coming. And, don’t forget to go down to the exchange to snag that free healthcare those #4′s will be providing you with for the rest of their lives!

    Cheers!

  17. Thumb up 0

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    New gameplan:

    Me: Hey, read this hilarious new essay on AS! How many of these types have you checked off your list?

    Other Gay Friend: None, I think. Well except for maybe the ex of an ex… except I knew it was her ex. Bwahahahaha

    Me: Well done! None here, but I’ve got only 1.5 years to catch em all! Perks of coming out later :p

    Other Gay Friend: That’s not a lot of time. Maybe you could get a few in one combo?

    Me: Perfect! Because horrible straight grown-up doesn’t sound like a nightmare at all… :D

  18. Thumb up 1

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    #5 was such a butch move. I’m ashamed to say I’ve pulled this same move. Don’t worry, girls, not everyone is unable to communicate “no”, but I hope this helps everyone remember how to form the word. :D This makes me feel like I am #2. My dog is pretty boss.

    To add to the list:
    1. Your ex. This is a mistake.

    2. That cute girl you always wanted to hit on when you were in a relationship. It will be disappointing.

    3. Your lesbro. It’s okay, but the best part is high fiving on the way out.

    4. Your high school crush, even though you slept with her brother while you were searching for yourself. No comment.

    5. Yourself. A lot more than any of these other people.

  19. Thumb up 0

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    You must know my ex… #2 – you totally have her pegged. Reading this made me nod vigorously, laugh and again ask myself why?!
    Just started dating girls the past few years – in my late 30′s (late bloomer), but anyway… # effing 2… lol and I have learned my lesson!

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