Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My BFF is about to marry a rich man, and she's pregnant with their baby. I just got an invite for her baby shower, and it has one of those stupid little poems asking for money instead of gifts. Um, she's always bragging to my friends and I that her soon-to-be husband has tons of money. She always says things like, "You have no idea how nice it is to be with a rich man." She seriously said that out loud. Am I a jerk for thinking I ought to just get her a cute little baby outfit or a prenatal massage instead of writing her a check?
Wait. Hold the phone. There is some sort of stupid little poem asking for money instead of gifts? This is a thing people do? Is it a fucking haiku? Is it written in iambic pentameter? Is it a ghazal? Does it rhyme? Is this some William Carlos Williams imagery shit?
Here is my attempt at approximating what I think the invitation said, in the style of one e.e. cummings:
(of parent) hood
(of tears) and laughter
your fucking money
you stupid fucking
Did I nail it or what?
Anyway, if you feel you must reward this woman for reproducing, give her whatever you want. She sounds like an entitled braggart. Buy her some Swedish Fish and write a poem about it. Print out a photo of V. Stiviano and draw a baby coming out of her crotch. Just don't spend too much money on this chick's fancy ass.
My friend has been unemployed for awhile. I'm empathetic because I've been there myself. But I think she's going about job-hunting all wrong. She constantly posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram about how she's unemployed and how people should hire her. A sample Tweet might be: "Eating ramen for the fifth day in a row. I have a master's degree! #GiveAshleyAJob." A sample Facebook status might be something like: "If you aren't following me on LinkedIn, message me for my resume. I'm great! #GiveAshleyAJob." It's actually embarrassing to watch because she seems so desperate. All the self-promotion is really, really annoying. How do I tell her she's going about this the wrong way? She's really, really sensitive.
Did you say self-promotion? Perhaps you'd like to contribute to my comedy/book tour Kickstarter! Wheeee!
But seriously, lady, I understand where you're coming from. I also understand where your friend is coming from. In my line of work (comedy and writing), you have to hustle and promote yourself in order to get the right eyeballs on your work. But it's important to do it in an appropriate fashion so that you don't end up losing more followers/friends/fans than you gain.
However, based on your letter, I have the feeling your friend is not in entertainment but is in some other field. And that gets a bit tricky. In our society, ambition and hard work are generally prized as good things, but one musn't cross the line into desperation.
I say you take her out for some coffee and tell her kindly, "You know, I don't think #GiveAshleyAJob is the best way to get work. You're basically shooting in all directions and hoping you hit something. I think you need to think of yourself as a targeted job-hunting missile! Let's talk about your skill set and think of places that might benefit from your knowledge and dedication." This way, you haven't presented your case as, "Oh, Ashley, you are totally embarrassing yourself" but as, "I'd be happy if you allowed me the privilege of helping you find work."
I'm a 23-year-old public middle school teacher, and my parents think I'm fat. I have gained some weight since I started teaching in September, but I am pretty healthy. I use my elliptical 3-4 times a week. I will admit that I don't eat very healthful foods, but I think that it can wait until I have less crap to deal with. I visited my parents last weekend and my mom insisted on talking about my "problem." It only made me feel like shit. I know this isn't a family advice column, but my mom is seriously my best friend in the world. It hurts to hear this stuff from any friend, especially her. It kills her to see me "throwing away" the good looks that I could have. I don't know what to tell her. Is she right?
You say your mom is your best friend. Would you treat a best friend the way she's treating you? I don't think so.
You are good-looking and lovely just as you are. I suggest you tell your family so. And tell them you don't need their guilt-tripping. Tell them it makes you feel bad. If they persist, tell them if they're so invested in your health, you'd appreciate a trip to Canyon Ranch or something for your next birthday/holiday present (then if they actually do this, just spend all your time getting massages and feeling beautiful in your body). If they still don't get the message, let them know you won't be visiting or calling so long as they waste your time with this fat-shaming bullshit.
Now, I don't give a crap about your weight but I'm not giving you a free pass on eating whatever the hell you want. You know why? Because I have been a 23-year-old first-year teacher, lady! I know the ways of emotionally eating all of the donuts and all of the fast food and then feeling like garbage. White sugar and white flour are delicious but they will fuck your body up. I don't care about the weight gain but I do care about things like your blood pressure, your heart health, your teeth, your lovely pancreas, and various other bits and things about you or inside you.
You keep it up on that elliptical, but at least try and get some fresh fruits and veggies up in your mouth every day. You know that moment in mid-afternoon when you're teaching and you have zero energy left and you think you might pass out in front of the kids and it's so hot in your classroom and you might punch a wall and the sweat drips down your back and some kid farts and everyone laughs and screams and you want to die? That is a good time to have a nice piece of fruit or a veggie and a protein, like perhaps some sort of carrot situation with a bit of good no-salt-and-sugar-added almond butter. And drink lots of water.
Again, this is not about weight gain. I am speaking to you as a former soldier in the war that is public school teaching. That shit will wear you down and burn you out unless you take care of yourself. Oh, and get your flu shot every year.
Now tell your parents to cut the appearance-related bullshit. Go do something nice for yourself. Get a massage. You deserve it.
Image via Anna-Mari West/Shutterstock.