Passive Aggression: The Musical

photo-1Not gonna lie: I’m a fairly passive aggressive person.  I know, I know, passive aggression is extremely irritating; I can’t stand when people point it in my direction.

Still, I come from a family of stoic, non-confrontational types.  But we’re also opinionated non-confrontational types, so passive aggression is our tool when dealing with conflict.

Of course, passive aggression and a relationship/marriage/living with a roommate/whatever don’t usually mix too well (as you can read about here and here).  I will usually internalize issues I have, thinking they’re individually not worth putting up a fight over, until I’m so overwhelmed with pet peeves that I end up exploding over something like having peas instead of broccoli as a side for dinner.

It’s the turn of the seasons, though, and with that, comes a renewed outlook on my approach to life.  And since I don’t like directly addressing problems or concerns that I have in a normal, healthy manner, I’ve resorted to singing my issues instead.

Take this one, for example, from this past weekend:

Oh Ripley,

Why isn’t Daddy #1

Making the beeeeeed?

I make it all week looooong

And take you on all your walks

He can at least make it

Once and a whiiiiiile….!

(So, not only am I singing–and not making much of an effort at rhyming–but I’m singing to the dog instead of my husband.)

This is me breaking out of my non-confrontational shell.  At least I’m verbalizing my issues now!

…In verse…

…and off-key…


…This might cause more problems than it solves.

The Pizza Code

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There’s something truly gratifying about “cracking” your partner’s secret language, coming to understand their implicit cues and body language.  Especially when you’re pretty dense, like myself.

This isn’t even something I considered until it dawned on me one day that Lance was saying something but meaning something completely different.  It was the same question he’d ask me at least once a week:  “So….what do you want for dinner?”

For months–if not years!–we went back and forth for a half an hour before finally deciding to just order a pizza.  And then there came the day, after experiencing this dozens of times, that I realized Lance only asks that question when he doesn’t want to cook, but is too unmotivated (or broke!) to go out to a restaurant.

“What do you want for dinner” was code (you guessed it!) for pizza.

Now, instead of wasting a half-hour on failing miserably to come to a compromise, I know right away that we’re just going to order pizza and I can spend the next 29 minutes watching old episodes of Louie on Netflix.

Other examples of Lance’s Code include:

  • The “I’m not answering your e-mail so I don’t have to acknowledge whatever you’re proposing” trick (I’m pretty sure Lance swore, “Sonofabitch!” when he found out that I broke this code);
  • The “We need to do X” play, which really means, “You need to do this because I don’t want to, and I’m trying to be diplomatic.” 

Of course, this isn’t to say that I’m without my own “code”–hell, I’m arguably the most passive-aggressive person you’ll ever know. We’re all about codes!–but I’ll leave that to Lance to detail in another post.

Love In The Time of Superheroes


Thanks so much to Estelle over at This Happy Place Blog for inviting me to write about sappy love nonsense.  Well, not really: the prompt was to write about what makes some of the great Disney couples work. And I couldn’t think of a better couple then Helen and Bob Parr (a.k.a. Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible) from Pixar’s The Incredibles.

Writer-director Brad Bird obviously has a knack for capturing true emotion on film, be it the passion for what you love in Ratatouille, or the complex identity of an outcast in The Iron Giant, or the at-times strained but always loving marriage of the Parrs.  They love each other immensely, but that doesn’t mean their marriage is without insecurity.  They squabble, they fight and nag, but they know each other better care about each other more than anybody else.

(I also love Helen Parr because she reminds me a lot of Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights!)

I drew a little comic strip to try and capture the essence of what makes their relationship tick.  Head over to This Happy Place Blog to take a look!

The Second Date

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Hooo, boy.  I’ve totally not kept up my end of the bargain here, folks.

I’d originally promised that I’d catalog the vast history of “Lance and Jeff” waaaay back several months ago, and only got in two measly posts.  (One about how we met, and the other about coming out to my parents.)  I’d tell y’all the story of our first date, but it’s beyond tame–puritanical, even!

So we’ll move on: I pretty much moved in after the second date.

There were some selfish reasons for this.  Since I’d known next to nothing about Philadelphia (including its murder rate–yowza!) before moving here for grad school, I had decided to live in the University of Pennsylvania’s grad dorms, which turned out to be the same construction that the Soviet Union used for its workcamp housing. Go figure!

Anyway, it was not a great place to live.  It was about a 150-square foot space, shared bathroom, no stove, etc. etc.  The convenience of location certainly did not trump its total lack of basic first-world amenities.

Of course, when Lance comes along and has a full-sized kitchen, how could I say no?

We were hanging out almost every night after our first date, initially under the presumption of watching “Heroes” together (back when that was a thing that people enjoyed). This facade quickly fell away not just because this was season 2 of “Heroes,” which was terrible and hard to justify watching (even with Kristen Bell), but because we kinda enjoyed just being in each other’s company.

That’s not to say that there weren’t any totally nonsensical, arbitrary rules.  I had some internal rule where I had to sleep in my grad housing room at least 1-2 times a week to somehow justify the expense (eventually, though, I just stopped sleeping there altogether…yes, I was that annoying significant other who sleeps over all the time but doesn’t pay any of the bills).  I didn’t move any clothes in to Lance’s apartment, either, except a pair of pajamas, so my gulag prison room was more of a walk-in closet than a living space.

I lived this “in-between” status for seven-ish months, and it rarely seemed like a big deal.  To be honest, I never even thought about it all that much, that maybe it was weird that we, basically overnight, fused at the hip and spent nearly every waking, non-work hour together.  There was no gradual build-up to a full-fledged relationship.  We were basically married on the second date.

The only, ONLY time I even considered that we’d moved too fast was actually around what you’d consider that second date.  We’d met not long after my birthday, which I’d spent–SOB STORY–more or less alone since I’d only moved to Philly two weeks before I turned 22.

Lance could not abide such devastation; I’m sure he would’ve traveled back in time if possible.  Instead, after knowing each other for only a few days, Lance presented me with a birthday gift.

“Um, thanks?” I said, secretly panicking in my mind. Oh MAN, this weirdo is totally buying me gifts already? Didn’t we meet, like, on Saturday? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??

I opened the gift: it was a Spider-Man t-shirt from Urban Outfitters. So, not an inexpensive gift.

Maybe I should’ve bailed.  Maybe it was a little intense at first, or at least that’s how I thought I should feel.

But I didn’t.  Such a pure act of big-heartedness could’ve been the warning signs of a total warped psycho, but something made me stay (it must’ve been that hot piece of ass.) I guess I believed in his well-natured intentions.

That, and from the beginning, there were no presumptions, no putting on airs or doing the delicate courtship dance where everything you say is heavily edited and gesture is meticulously choreographed.  I thought I should be nervous about such affection, so fast, but the ease in which we revealed our true selves to each other could not be taken for granted.

I’ve gotta give him credit: Lance’s additional years granted him the clarity I didn’t have quite at first. He knew this was it, he and I…or at least, he was getting desperate enough to hook a man to try just about anything, and I was a big sucker.

I’d like to believe the former.  It was the first–and not the last, by far–time that Lance was right.

Dude, Where’s My Husband?

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Scribbled via the Paper app on iPad. Still getting the hang of it!

None of this would’ve happened if I wasn’t such a gosh-darn thoughtful guy.

See, the week before Thanksgiving was purely no fun for Lance: he worked several long days all in an effort to be able to take off Black Friday without using a vacation day, those being particularly scarce ever since our trip to Japan.

When Lance works a long day, he makes it known. Like, you can’t have a conversation with him that doesn’t begin and end with “OMG ME SLEEPY!!!” or “I worked a 14-hour day, so I shouldn’t be expected to put my dirty ice cream bowls in the dishwasher.”

Usually in these cases, I think to myself, “Oh please, stop being such a baby.” This time, however, I tried to remind myself that part of the reason Lance was doing all this was so that we’d be able to go to my parents’ house in Michigan (which is a not insignificant distance from southeastern Pennsylvania) for Thanksgiving. So, I happily sucked it up and scrubbed all the congealed globs of Snickers ice cream out of the bowls in the kitchen sink. ALL WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE.

On the Friday of said week, we (read: I, with an extra ticket for Lance) planned on going to see the Hush Sound at the TLA in Philadelphia; they hadn’t performed together in years and I loved that band in college. Well, given that the tickets were only $15 a piece and since, you know, my lil’ guy was having such a rough week at work, I decided to just skip this concert and not force Lance into going. He needed the opportunity to wind down and relax, not spend a whole night in the city, right?


The Lance & Jeff Glossary of Terms

This colorful, beautiful Lance Original (TM) is brought to you by our new Bamboo Tablet and Pen.

There comes a day in every relationship when something you say aloud gives you pause. It could be, “Don’t be unlurp!” or perhaps, “I forgot my umbie today and it’s going to rain!”

That’s right: you and your partner have slowly established your own sub-dialect, a sugary-sweet (well, one hopes its that more than venomously vitriolic) concoction of pig latin-esque nonsense which sounds more like names of Pokemon than actual English.

This will only intensify as you bring dumber creatures into your life (i.e., pets or children), and you feel the need to introduce baby talk into an already warped nonstandard language.

For example, here’s a conversation that I might have with Lance on any given day:

Me: “Ripley, has Daddy #1 fed’ed you yet?”

Ripley: “Arf?”

Lance: “Daddy #1 fed’ed Rippy fifteen mims ago.”

[Kitty (also known as Meepy, Janney, Miss Regaltons, and Littlest Boo) enters]

Kitty: “Mrrroooww?”

Lance [to Kitty]: “Kitty, did Daddy #2 forget to clean your poop rocks again?”

Me [ashamed]: “Yes, Daddy #2 will do it right now…”

Lance: “How unlurp!”

Now, Lance and I can follow this pidgin language just fine, but I can only imagine how we come across to others when we accidentally let it slip out in public.  There have been a few times, like when I said at work, “Aww, man, I forgot my umbie!” and, upon realizing my shameful error, quickly added, “…rella!” My co-workers must’ve been thinking, “What the hell is an umbierella?”

Since this blog is where we go to publicly embarrass ourselves anyway, let’s go over just a few of the many terms Lance and I employ on a daily basis:

  • Daddy #1: Lance, ’cause he’s older
  • Daddy #2: Jeff, since I’m younger and generally inferior
  • Rippy/Pippy/Ripley Doodle/Little Pip: Ripley the Magical Pup
  • Kitty/Meepy Meepykins/Littlest Boo/Miss Regaltons/Kitty Boo/Dumb Bitch (that’s Lance’s): Janney the cat
  • PNFF: the acronym for “Partner n’ Friend Forever.”
  • Mims: what Lance sleepily requests every weekday morning when Jeff attempts to wake him up (translation: minutes)
  • Pei Wizzles: Lance and Jeff’s dinner of choice (translation: Pei Wei Asian Diner)
  • -izzles: A suffix to basically any type of food (i.e., pizza would be “pizzles,” )
  • Hungrizzle: Hungry, which leads to our other uses of -izzle
  • SB: Starbucks
  • B-B-Dubs: Bath & Body Works (not to be confused with Cottonelle Moist Wipes, which are called “B-Dubs”…you figure it out)
  • Fringies: Lance’s favorite TV show, “Fringe”
  • Poop rocks: Cat litter
  • Buggy: Shopping cart
  • Unlurp: what Jeff calls Lance when Lance is being grumpy (translation: unloving)
  • That’s lurp!: what Jeff says to Lance when Lance does something nice (translation: loving)
  • Doll babies: Jeff’s collectible figurines (translation: Marvel Mighty Muggs)
  • Umbie: an item used to protect Lance and/or Jeff from the rain (translation: umbrella)
  • Dins: Dinner (related: “What’s for dins?” is the universal signal for “Lance wants pizza for dinner”)
  • Ouce cream: Ice cream (borrowed from Michelle Tanner)
  • Pennum: A nonsense word that Lance once repeated empathically as he was coming out of a heavy sleep. Now used sparingly as meaningless word vomit

The above list is by no means exhaustive; heck, we probably say stupid crap all the time and don’t even realize it.

What’re some examples of your homegrown relationship vocabulary?

What To Do When Your Partner Leaves You Alone With A Neutered Dog

Friends, it’s true: Lance is leaving me.

…for a long-weekend of giggling, falling asleep at early hours, and the Tournament of Kings dinner show in Las Vegas with his BFF of 20 years (OMG so old!), Romina.

Should I feel jealous that he’s travelling without me?  Or worried about suspicious activity? (Like, will Lance pass out from a protein-overdose at the MGM Grand Buffet after eating too many ribs??)

Well, I’m not.  If I know my boy, he’ll be more disgusted by the vast majority of other gays and their sleeveless, too-snug tees to find anybody attractive.  He’ll probably make this face if anybody comes on to him:

Or, he and Romina won’t make it out of the hotel room after ordering room service and turning on a TLC reality show marathon.

But still, that leaves me (and really, isn’t it all about me?) alone with two furry friends, one of whom is about to go through reverse-puberty, for four days.  How could I possibly force myself to get out of bed, separated from my love as I’ll be, and find things to occupy my time for that long??

Here’s a little secret, folks: while I will undoubtedly miss my Boo Berry, there is a certain air of freedom that comes with having the house to yourself for a little while, and I plan to bathe myself in that sweet, glorious freedom.

“How does this manifest itself?” you may ask.

I’m not going to be throwing any parties or procuring any illicit drugs or any such thing.  What I will be doing is enjoying a few of my favorite things without Lance making this face over my shoulder:


See, there are some things I love that Lance just cannot stand, and I, highly sensitive to judgment, would rather leave my beloved hobbies and favorite pieces of entertainment away from his critical stink eye.  That way, not only does he not have to be subjected to my things, but I can enjoy them in peace, without fear of negative comment or quiet distain (or, at least, my perception that these are happening.  Nope, not an important qualifier there at all.)

The last time Lance was away for the weekend, I watched all of The West Wing Season 4 in 36 hours! Go me!

Here are some of the things I may be partaking in this weekend while Lance is away:

  • The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-rays (I’ve owned these for a year and have never watched them! For shame!)
  • Perusing my local Barnes & Noble with no particular plan or intention of buying anything. I love the simply, calming act of just broswing in a bookstore. It’s very cathartic!
  • Making myself a pizza that does not include chicken, bacon, and barbecue sauce. Not that this isn’t great, but Lance’s preferences for pizza toppings is limited.  Maybe I’ll even fry my crust! Additionally, I will not eat chicken fingers for any meal.
  • I’ll be able to listen to a podcast of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour without Lance doing an irritating imitation of Trey Graham’s voice.
  • Watching Back to the Future Parts II and III. Lance inexplicably didn’t care for the first one, so he’s not going back to that well any time soon.
  • Watching my season sets of Rome (I’ve owned these since 2007 and have never watched them!)
  • Watching some of my fave movies, like The Squid and the WhaleKill Bill, and Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
  • Watching…

…hrm.  I guess my list is mostly things that have my sitting around on my butt, in the dark, while I stuff my face with Chex Mix.

…This isn’t pathetic at all. Nope, no way, nosirree.  While, sure, I may be cutting myself off from the world to enjoy these things…and yes,  my skin tone is already the color of a pane of glass…and sure, I may just eat Hot Pockets instead of being ambitious enough to roll out some pizza dough…but, but…

OH GOD, HONEY, DON’T GO!  Who is going to drive me to the grocery store? (I hate driving!) Who’s going to wash the towels? (I hate doing laundry!) Who’s going to light the candles to make our apartment smell nice? (I hate candles but appreciate the ambience they provide!)