Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

ustv-girls-6James Le Gros, man! James motherfucking Le Gros. No one, and I mean no one, portrays the struggles of Generation X like this guy.

My wife started watching Girls, an HBO series about a group of 20-something hipsters who are vapid, conceited and completely self-absorbed… but not the least bit self-aware. The show is written by and about Lena Dunham, a young woman who’s supposed to be the “next big thing.” In reality, she’s a dead ringer for a freshly-shaven Paul Giamatti in a misguided pixie wig.

Watching the credits one day, I noticed that James Le Gros would be appearing in at least a few episodes and I was more than pleased. I knew that the mere virtue of Le Gros’ presence would elevate this bizarre shit-show into something somewhat redeeming and it did… in ways that I could have never predicted.

Before I go any further, there are some things you need to know about James Le Gros. First of all, his last name is pronounced “leh grow.” Secondly, he’s cooler than cool. In fact, he’s cooler than you and me put together. Lastly, he’s one of the coolest “that-guy actors” of the 1990s… you know, the kind of actor whom you don’t know his name, but always recognize him as “that guy” who was in another movie you saw.

With memorable performances in such films as Singles, Floundering, and Living in Oblivion, Le Gros was our guy – Generation X’s guy – and he helped usher us into the 1990s, which was our decade.

Watching episode after episode of Girls, I became antsy waiting for James to make his appearance. When he finally did, it was as Jeff Lavoyt, a character who was desperately clinging to his former 90s coolness despite being married, a father, and unemployed. With his characteristic acting chops, he evoked both scorn and sympathy for his character as he engaged in pathetic attempts to hook up with the babysitter his wife hired. His failure to do so was no doubt a metaphor for his character’s life.

And so, just like that, the man who introduced us to our decade of cool now ushered us into our decade of un-cool. Evoking both humor and pathos, he shows us how we with our children, mortgages, and dead-end jobs must appear to the generation to whom we’ve passed the proverbial torch. The whole thing served as a cautionary tale to my generation… a generation that failed to live up to its promise and ideals.

Looking back on it all, it seems the sum total of Generation X’s contribution was forcing the intellectually-bankrupt philosophy known as moral relativity (aka “political correctness”) into mainstream thought. Now we’re stuck in world of our own creation. It’s a bizarre nanny state where we’re not even welcome, and we’re reminded daily of our own uselessness.

No wonder we’re lost, no wonder we’re shiftless, no wonder our very poster boy is playing a pathetic character desperately trying to find his long-lost youth inside the pants of a woman half his age.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of the Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two installments – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his novels, check out his website.

If a friend asks you for your advice, do yourself a favor and don’t give it to them… unless you don’t want them as a friend anymore.

Consider these words from a former Facebook friend:

“I appreciate so many people wanting to… fix me? But going to YOUR church isn’t going to fix anything, re-watching/re-reading, movies & books about stuff I watched and read 10+ years ago isn’t going to fix me… And I’m not really into the bizarre self help seminars, webinars, YouTube videos, and so on.”

The more someone seeks advice, the less they really want it. The above quote illustrates this, which is one of life’s greatest contradictions. After reading his/her latest Facebook rant toward his/her well-meaning friends, I was reminded me about a famous line from the HBO series “Deadwood.”

It was was said by the character “Wild” Bill Hickock, who was addressing his good friend, Charlie Utter. You see, Charlie was trying to get Hickock to give up his self-destructive drinking and gambling habits. In an emotionally-charged moment between the two, “Wild” Bill says, “Can’t you let me go to hell the way I want to?” I believe this simple yet profound statement sums up what my friend above was trying to say about advice, solicited or otherwise.

From my experience, those seeming to “seek” advice – as well as those who seem to be in the most need of it – fall into one of four groups:

Group One, aka “the Venters:” Trapped in repetitive, dysfunctional relationships/situations, this group simply wants someone to listen. They bottle up their anger and resentment until they can’t take it any longer; then, they look for a sympathetic person to unburden themselves upon. After unburdening themselves, they’re able to return to their dysfunctional relationship/situation feeling refreshed and renewed. Don’t try giving them advice – like, “Why don’t find someone/something new that will help you be happy” – unless you never want to see them again.

Group Two, aka “the Blue Needies:” Ever feel like you’re a human dumping ground for a friend or family member’s woes? Chances are you have a Blue Needy in your life. Always down and depressed, these folks need someone to listen and tell them all the things they want to hear: “You’re right,” “You’re great,” “You’re awesome,” “He/she doesn’t deserve you,” etc. Try giving this group any advice and you’re likely to create some hurt feelings and maybe even experience some backlash from their wounded egos. (Note: the line between “Venter” and “Blue Needy” can become blurred at times.)

Group Three, the “Lost Souls:” If you like giving advice, you’ll love this group! The problem is, they’re a rare one, at best. After having done the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results, Lost Souls find themselves on the threshold of understanding that they might not have all the answers. This sometimes leaves them open to the possibility of hearing how they can change their approach to find the success they seek.

Group Four, aka the “Hellbound:” This is “Wild” Bill’s group. They’re committed to doing things their way even if it (most likely) means their own destruction. Trying to give these folks advice practically guarantees they’ll do the opposite. The best thing friends/family/lovers can do is stand back and allow the Hellbound to go down in flames… They won’t have it any other way.

So remember, no matter how screwed up some people’s lives are, they don’t want any advice on how to fix it… especially if they ask. And by “ask,” I mean everything from soliciting someone’s advice directly to various cries for help via social media. So the best advice that can ever be given is: don’t give advice. Trust me, you’ll be happier this way.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

Do you want to know why your man cheated on you? I mean, really really want to know why? Then put down the carton of Häagen-Dazs, dry your eyes, and read this article… It might just save your next relationship!

With the exception of my wife, I’ve cheated on nearly every significant relationship I’ve ever been in. It’s a fact I’m not proud of, but there it is. If there’s one good thing that came out of all this, it’s that I have some good insider information on why men do this sort of thing. Secondly, if you want to get anything out of this, just forget about the idea of right/wrong or good/bad. I’m not your priest so I don’t deal with the binary concept of right or wrong. I’m more concerned about the facts of human behavior and you should be too if you don’t want your next boyfriend to cheat on you. Got it? Great!

Now for the third and most important fact about cheating: you helped bring it upon yourself. Harsh? You bet, but it’s every bit the truth. I’m not your girlfriends, your sisters or you mother so I’m not going to say things like, “He didn’t deserve you,” or “You were too good for him, honey.” That kind of talk just encourages you to keep doing the things you’ve been doing that drive men away. At some point you have to want to change your behavior to change your results. So if you’re ready to hear what you need to hear – not what you want to hear – then feel free to read on. C’mon! You know you want to… it’s why you clicked the link, after all.

Reason Men Cheat No. 1: You Neglect Him
If you don’t want to get cheated on, don’t neglect your man. Consider this cautionary tale: The first time I ever cheated was in my very first relationship with a woman named Lilly. We lived about 30 minutes apart, so I looked forward to the weekends when I could see her; but during the last six months of our two-year relationship, she was going out and doing things without me… a lot. Enter the Serbian Seductress, a coworker with shiny black hair, legs for days, and a pair of breasts like two heat-seeking missiles.

One particular weekend when Lilly ditched me yet again, the Serbian Seductress and I, well… you can pretty much figure out where it went from there. I never told Lilly about my fling, not that it mattered; my premonitions about my girlfriend’s copious amount of “alone time” proved true: we eventually broke up. I might’ve mentioned the Serbian Seductress after that.

Reason No. 2: You’re Emotionally Immature
You might be in your 30s or 40s, but some of you have the emotional maturity of a 15 year old. It shows in the relationship games you play. One of my exes – Ms. Piggy – believed the key to a healthy, long-term relationship was for her to constantly be playing games. Whether she was doing it to make me jealous of other men or neglecting to have sex with me often so I would “appreciate her more,” everything with her was a power struggle designed to maintain control.

These kinds of games work when you’re in high school; but when you’re in your 30s and 40s, this shit gets old. Throughout the history of our five-year, on-again/off-again relationship, I had cheated on Ms. Piggy with nearly 30 women including her best friend. Needless to say, she was rather devastated when she finally found out; I guess I had my own way of showing her who was in control.

Reason No. 3: You Sever his Manhood
While pulling the ol’ Lorena Bobbitt trick is a definite dealbreaker, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the metaphoric act of chopping a man’s balls off, which is constantly deriding him about not being “man enough” for whatever it is that you think he should be. Case in point, my ex-girlfriend Nellie Oleson; all she ever did was compare me to my best friend, whom she said was better than me because his job paid more, he had a house, and a lake lot complete with motorboat. It was very demeaning, to say the least.

Ladies, if you’re constantly feel the need to tell your man that he’s less than a man, he’ll go out to prove that he is… with another woman. Consider yourself lucky if it’s just a one-night-stand; but chances are, he could find someone who loves him for who he is and he’ll leave your ass quicker than you can say, “Why don’t you make as much money as Tony?” Take it from me, Nellie Oleson learned this lesson the hard way when she drove over to my friend’s house to see me wrapped in the arms of someone younger, hotter, and more endowed.

Reason No. 4: You Constantly Accuse Him
When I get constantly accused of doing something I didn’t do, it kinda makes me want to go out and do it. Double that for anything illicit, illegal, or immoral. During our first year of wedded bliss (cough!), my ex-wife Peaches constantly accused me of cheating on her. It got to the point that it became a nightly ritual when I came home from work. The first few times I was able to say, “No, honey. That’s not what’s happening. I love you with all my heart.”

After a few months of near-constant harassing and haranguing, I quickly changed my tune to, “Well, if I’m gonna get blamed for it, I might as well do it.” Thirteen years later, my ex-wife still remembers the name of the woman I had an affair with. What’s more, she said that woman’s name with all the bitterness and venom of a clutch of rattlesnakes. And here I thought I was just doing what I was told!

Reason No. 5: Feminism
Yeah, I said it and I’m going to stand by it, too. Look ladies, I know the angry, unreasonable, man-hating feminist routine is a huge hit when you’re in your 20s; but if you want to keep your man at home, you might not want to subscribe to an ideology that demeans, belittles, and outright castigates him and his entire gender. And let’s be honest, either all feminism is radical or only angry, hateful, radical women subscribe to its theories. There wouldn’t be such blatant man-hating otherwise.

When men are looking to settle down, we want a woman who’s soft, caring, and nurturing. Forever and ever, amen is a LONG time, after all… too long to spend with some Valerie Solanas wannabe lecturing us about how leaving the toilet seat up is a form of patriarchal oppression. And have you ever seen the leaders of the feminist movement? They’re like pit bulls in drag, only with less sex appeal. I wish I had a personal story to share here, but even I’m smart enough to avoid the feminazi brigade when I met them.

Reason No. 6: Magical Thinking
“Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Ever hear that one? For the most part, it’s true… but if you think otherwise, you’re engaging in “magical thinking” or the belief that you will somehow be special or different that the proven statistics. Aesop of Aesop’s fables fame new all about magical thinking way back when he wrote the story of The Farmer and the Viper. I suggest you read it, because if you’re dating a cheater, then you’re the farmer and this guy you think you’re going to change is the viper.

If you marry the guy who cheated on his wife to be with you and expect him to be faithful, you’re engaging in magical thinking. You’re also an idiot. Same goes for women ignore the warnings from trusted friends to date men with horrible reputations and baby mamas all over town. These ladies are actually shocked, mortified, and completely devastated when he sleeps with some tower of whore. And women who stay with a guy who admits to having cheated in all his past relationships are just too stupid to try to help so I won’t even try.

While men who cheat might be nasty, evil, disgusting pigs, chances are you played a starring role in his infidelity. Yes, in a perfect world, people would either be the perfect creation you thought your pussy would make them or they would have the balls to just break up with you before they stray. Well I got news for ya… this world is far from perfect.

Until the day comes when we all piss rainbows, shit clouds, and live in peace and harmony with each other, you’re going to have to suck it up and change some of the negative habits and patterns that might be preventing you from having the relationship of your dreams. It’s either that or you start buying kitty litter in bulk. The choice is yours, princess but don’t take too long; time waits for no man… or woman.

J.P. Ribner is the author of three novels – “Legacy of the Bear,” “Prophecy of the Bear” and “World So Dark.”

I can’t even have dinner without dealing with the personality disordered!

So my wife and I went to Ruby Tuesday’s tonight because both of us were looking forward to their delicious salad bar. Unfortunately, when it was my turn to fill my plate, I got stuck behind Pokey McFiddlefuck who took forever to make her salad. As far as I was concerned, she was doing it purposely; it was all in the way she took her sweet-ass time.

Just choosing between the spinach leaves, spring mix, romaine, and iceberg was nearly a five-minute ordeal. Now imagine her consternation with the rest of the bar’s myriad offerings! At each choice, she’d dab a little bit onto her plate that look at me out of the corner of her eye, which was hidden behind a tangled mess of black hair. Then, keeping her feet planted to the floor, she continued to ponder each additional choice as if it were a matter of life or death. I could almost hear her thinking, Do I want the cucumbers? Hmmmmm… And what about the carrots? I can’t remember if I like shredded carrots or not.

She even fucked with me when she got to the dressing station.

As if considering the fate of the free world, Pokey could not decide which dressing to put upon her salad. Again, after what seemed like five minutes, she finally decided on Ranch… for half of the salad. With the skill and precision of an artist working on his masterpiece, she drizzled the creamy white dressing into a pattern that would’ve made Jackson Pollack jealous. Then, after another minute, she finally decided to go with French on the other half. Needless to say, it was applied with equal attention to detail. With one more sideways glance to me, she finally walked back to her table… slowly.

I was certain the bitch was fucking with me because I’ve seen this type of behavior before. My friend, The Dude, has often employed similar passive-aggressive tactics to piss people off in social situations where the other person felt compelled not to say anything. One time on our way back from a hunting trip, we stopped at a small party store somewhere in the sticks. I no sooner got one foot inside the door when the backwoods idiot working behind the counter shouted, “You talking to me?” I said, “No. I’m talking to my friend,” but this wasn’t enough to calm him down. His eyes, with their angry, confrontational, I’ll-kick-your-ass-right-here-and-now glare, never left me the entire time I was in the store.

And The Dude made sure we were in the store a good long while.

Seeing that the Backwoods was being a complete asshole, my friend purposely dawdled about to further annoy the asshole. Unsure of whether he wanted Funyuns or Doritos, he carefully read the ingredients on each package, counting both calories and sodium count. He was likewise as careful when choosing his soda and candy bar. By the time we got to the counter, Backwoods was a deep shade of red just shy of lobster and he was shaking as he tallied up our total. I thought he was going to jump across the counter on us but ironically, we walked out with our goods while his mighty stare of impotent rage followed us every step.

The difference between The Dude and Pokey McFiddlefuck is that he had a legitimate reason to pull that shit. Backwoods was a total asshole to me for no reason whatsoever; I believe Pokey did it just to be a bitch. I almost said something to her but held back because I didn’t want to ruin one of the precious few nights out with my wife. She looked like the type who would’ve talked shit back, ensuring that her husband got involved as well. He would no doubt take exception to me “frontin’” on his woman, which would have ultimately led to me knocking both of them the fuck out. And for what? Fifteen extra minutes at the salad bar? Some things really aren’t worth it.

I got back to the table and told my wife about it and she promptly pointed out that I can’t know with any degree of certainty that Pokey was doing it intentionally. Having two Autistic sons, she said that there is a good chance that woman could be Autistic as well – or have a similar condition – where precise order and patterns are a must. I conceded that she was right; I did not know that woman so there’s no way I could know with 100 percent certainty that there wasn’t an innocent and legitimate reason for her taking so long.

The pep talk from the Mrs. allowed me to put everything behind me and enjoy the rest of our evening. I even forgot about Pokey, completely losing track of where she and her husband were in the restaurant. I didn’t see her again until we were pulling out of the parking lot. She and her husband slowly walking toward their car… slowly. Right at the point of us driving past them, she looked up at me and smiled and it was the nastiest, most mean-spirited and mischievous smile I had ever seen.

I knew it. Fucking bitch!

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder… there are so many fucked up people out there and diagnosing them is typically a matter for the experts. That said, after dealing with one sociopath, a couple narcissists, and former lover with BPD, I’ve noticed certain patterns began to emerge between all of them. They’re what I call the Secondary Traits of the Personality Disordered (or PD for short).

Below you’ll find a list an explanation of what I consider to be the Secondary Traits of the PD. I’ve shared them here in hopes of helping you determine whether that charming yet difficult person in your life is just a garden variety asshole or someone harboring a deeper, much darker secret. If the person you know displays two or more of these traits, chances are you’re dealing with someone with a personality disorder or PD for short. Read on…

Assumption of Authority
PDs by their very nature are authoritarian people and much has already been written on this. What I’ll focus upon is something I call “Assumption of Authority.” Simply put, the personality disordered tend to automatically assume that they are the authority in your friendship/relationship/business arrangement with them. In their minds, the matter has already been decided – if you’re going to have a relationship with them, it’s going to be by their rules because according to them, that’s just the way it is.

Because of the damage done to them in the past, these people are fanatical in their belief that they must remain in control of everyone and everything in their lives; it’s the only way to think they can prevent themselves from being hurt.

Assertion of Authority
Once authority in their relationships is assumed, it must be asserted, hence the second of the PD’s secondary traits. It’s not enough that they believe they’re in control, it’s of primary importance to them that you know and recognize that they are in control. And the way that they assert their authority typically follows a rather insidious pattern that starts out with small statements and gestures – you need to do this, don’t do that – early in the game. Sadly, many people don’t understand these early warning signs.

All too often, the other person in the relationship often laughs off or explains away the PD’s Assertions of Authority. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar: “Oh, he didn’t mean it that way.” Or this: “You don’t know him/her like I do.” If not put in check, the PD becomes emboldened and quickly escalates his/her assertions of authority until they are too egregious to ignore, such as demanding people change their lifestyles, relationships, and beliefs to suit the PD. Having not put the PD in check during the early stages of assertion, the other person often finds it difficult to reason with the PD or escape the relationships once his/her Assertions are at full blast.

Social/Moral Blind Spot
Most of us operate under the assumption that it’s generally good to be polite to people we meet in our day-to-day lives in hopes being treated in a similar fashion. It’s a basic social contract of sorts that’s meant to prevent our world from becoming a chaotic free-for-all of rape, robbery, violence, and murder. Because of their Social/Moral Blind Spot, the personality-disordered have no concept of this unspoken agreement between people in a polite and civilized society. Instead, the PD believes that he/she is owed civil conduct from others while simultaneously not being constrained by the expectations of society themselves.

The Social/Moral Blind Spot is likely an extension of the PD’s Assumption/Assertion of Authority complexes, as the PD will often treat others harshly and with no regard to the consequences of this behavior. Worse yet, all efforts to discuss this behavior with them will fail due to the PD’s stubborn insistence that he/she is entitled and even obligated to behave this way for their own protection and advancement of their interests, etc.

Singularity of Boundaries
To the personality-disordered, their personal boundaries are sacrosanct and they will guard them with a vehemence that’s downright violent. In layman’s terms, you can’t ask about their lives, touch any of their belongings, accidentally brush up against them, or do anything else that they interpret as an intrusion into their personal space. Even a simple question such as, “Did you go to the gas station today?” could be considered an infringement and cause them to fly into a rage.

The biggest problem with this outlook is that it’s highly singular, meaning that the only boundaries that the PD respects and/or recognizes are their own. And as jealously as he/she will guard against those who trespass against them, they will equally trample over the boundaries, rights, and privacy of anyone unfortunate enough to be in their lives. Reading other people’s mail, listening to their phone calls, and searching through – and using – their personal belongings are all fair game to the PD.

Force Majeure
The French term meaning “superior force,” Force Majeure is the best way to describe how the PD goes about irrationally imposing his/her will onto others. If there’s one thing all these secondary traits have in common, it’s the sense of grandiosity that accompanies and fuels them. Doing onto others while simultaneously expecting them to treat you with kid gloves is absolutely unrealistic and perhaps, deep down inside, the PD realizes this. Sooner or later, friends/loved ones/business associates will begin to question the unrealistically selfish nature of the PD’s expectations and to the PD, this comes across as extremely confrontational.

The only possible way for the PD to maintain the irrational inequalities of their expectations is to enforce them with violence or the threat of violence. In personal relationships/friendships, this can often mean physical violence. i.e. Force Majeure or the greater force. The PD’s basic assertion is that because they believe themselves to be physically superior to their victims, this is enough for their victims to comply with the PD’s demands; right or wrong is of no consequence. In the case of business relationships, the PD’s expectations are often enforced via implied or threatened termination of employment/contract/business relationship, which is still considered Force Majeure.

In Conclusion…
As previously stated, there are several types of personality disorders, each with their own unique set of traits and ways in which these traits manifest themselves. To further complicate matters, many of these traits overlap each other, adding more confusion to exactly what might be afflicting your friend/family member/spouse/partner/etc. Further, while I’ve had experience with people I’ve suspected of having personality disorders, I’m by no means a licensed expert. If the secondary traits I’ve listed above describe someone you’re currently involved with, seek professional help and plan a safe and effective exit strategy.

One thing I can tell you – and this will be backed up by professionals in the field – the personality disordered person in your life WILL NOT change and WILL NOT get better. In fact, things will continue to get worse. I urge anyone currently enmeshed with a PD to seek the help they need as soon as possible.

Stay safe, good people.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

I might not be professional life coach but I play one on social media!

I give the best advice on Facebook. Seriously. Whenever a friend is feeling down, I’m the first one to offer scads of advice drawn from the deep and ever-plentiful well of my own misery. My friends are equally as helpful… even if it’s just the same old well-worn phrases such as “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” or “You just gotta hang in there, J.P.” While I appreciate all this online love, it does have me believing we’re all as full of shit as everyone else.

With such a wealth of feel-good philosophers out there (myself included), why the hell are we so miserable? I swear to the gods, if I’m not posting some angry missive on Facebook or my blog, a simple scroll through my newsfeed will show that one of my friends is. You’d think with all the wit and wisdom we share, at least some of us would employ one or two of these great ideas when the shit hits the fan in our own lives. Is it because we know our advice is bullshit? Hmmmm…

Let’s face it, it’s easier to help someone else than it is to fix our own problems. It all has to do with a little something called “objectivity,” which is “a sense of impartiality or fairness.” One must be able to look at a problem objectively in order to solve it, which pretty rules out any idea of us being able to help ourselves. The only upside to this observation is that at least I’m aware of my helplessness. I wonder if any of my fellow social media psychologists are willing to admit their lack of objectivity in their own lives.

Another problem with online advice: few people are truly so altruistic that they’re just willing to offer of themselves for just the sake of helping others. If you believe this about other people, you’re a fool; if you believe it about yourself, you’re a liar. There is a variety of reasons why most people like to “help” others, but the big three are:

1. The “helper” gets off on having a reputation of being a “good person.”

2. It makes the “helper” feel superior to the other person.

3. The “helper” is earning the trust of the other in hopes of manipulating that person at a later date.

Number three is the most insidious of the bunch and subject to a blog post all its own. (It’s an interesting story in manipulation tactics and if you’d like to read it sometime, message me in the comments.) Riddle me this, all ye stalwart crusaders: Deep down, you know I’m right. Admitting it is the first step.

The worst thing about Internet do-gooders is the complete hypocrisy under which so many of us operate. Constantly immersing oneself into other people’s problems really only succeed in one thing: it allows us to willfully ignore our own unresolved issues, personal shortcomings, and character flaws. The more the “helper” tries to help others, the bigger the mess he/she is. Perhaps it’s time these Internet advice columnists (myself included) start looking into a mirror instead of our inboxes. Just saying…

Wow! I really unloaded here, didn’t I? It was all for a good cause though… ’cause I said so. (LOL) There’s a lot of this going around lately, yet everyone who I see giving advice (myself included) will be the same people who are griping about how life isn’t fair a few days later. I guess this only means one thing: unlike my wife, who is a successful advice blogger, I don’t have much of a future in doing the same on here.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

Yesterday, my wife linked the post “How to Date a Fat Girl” by blogger Adipose Activist. In her manifesto, Adipose lists her eight ironclad rules that she believes men must abide when dating – or trying to date – fat women. While I agree with her for the most part – most men don’t know how to talk to women in general – I felt that fat women might also benefit from a few rules for dating fat admirers, aka “FAs.”

It should come as no surprise that I’m a big girl lover from way back; my wife’s blog is The Big Girl’s Guide, for crying out loud! Anyway, in my dating experiences, I’ve noticed a few annoying traits that many of BBWs continue to indulge in … even when they should be long past these immature “stages” mostly associated with our teenage years and early 20s. So, without any further ado, here’s J.P. Ribner’s rules for dating FAs. Take heed, big girls!

Rule No. 1: Lose the attitude. Yeah, I said it. Some of you fat girls have nasty attitudes, the result of defense mechanisms fortified after years and years of ridicule. I get it. The problem is, being so defensive ALL the time practically guarantees you’ll also come off abrasive to the very men who would otherwise be interested in dating you! (Read that again and let it sink in.) As a young man, I had the patience to attempt to weather these storms in hopes for sunny days on the other side. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn’t. If I were single and dating now, the typical BBW bad attitude would be a turn off, and I would simply move on in search of sunnier climes. After all, there are plenty of other fat fish in the sea!

Rule No. 2: Don’t shame him. As previously stated, many BBWs are carrying around the trauma of being ridiculed, used, and looked upon as less-than. Problem is, not EVERY man is like this. Angrily grilling each potential suitor over his intentions is not exactly the best way to win friends and influence people. Niether is shouting “Are you one of those freaks who’s into fat chicks?” across an open bar. These attitudes won’t protect you from being rejected, ladies. In fact, they practically guarantee you’ll turn off someone who was legitimately interested in you. It’s like my wife said, “Being fat is not an easy thing but being a man who loves fat women can’t be much easier. They get teased, shamed and looked down upon for their desires too. When a man on a dating site uses a moniker that indicates he likes BBWs, don’t shit on him for it.”

Rule No. 3: You’re not a magician. Ladies, it’s time to ditch the “disappearing act. Or maybe its teleportation? You big girls know what I’m talking about – insisting on having sex with the lights off, and using blankets to cover up and hide your body as you slide into bed. This might fly on your first couple times together; but if we’ve been together for nearly a year and are sharing “I love yous,” there’s absolutely no reason for the Criss Angel routine. We men are visual and FAs are no exception. We want to see your bodies because looking at them turns us on. So from now on, it’s lights on and covers off! Same goes for how you dress. Just because you’re fat doesn’t mean you have to hide yourself behind billowing dresses and oversized Warner Brothers cartoon character T-shirts. Dress sexy and reveal those curves that drive us FAs wild!

Rule No. 4: Turn off the spotlight. You know, the cognitive bias known as “the Spotlight Effect,” where you think everyone is staring at you all the time. I swear, many of my erstwhile BBW lovers have sounded like paranoid schizophrenics when we were out on a date. One never ordered more than a side salad (no dressing, of course) and Diet Coke, while another didn’t order anything at all! She just stared at me awkwardly as I devoured my burger. They also thought other women – the dreaded “skinny bitches” – were staring at me. My girlfriends would say, “They’re wondering what you’re doing with a fat pig like me!” Newsflash, ladies: you’re not mind-readers, and no one is scrutinizing your every move. Now just relax and enjoy the evening … and don’t be afraid to order dessert!

Rule No. 5: Confidence is sexy. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it really is true. We proud, out-of-the-closet FAs have faced our demons, both inside and out, and have admitted to the world that we prefer bigger women. If you’re not at the same level, self-acceptance-wise, than you’ll be unable to accept our compliments when we genuinely say how beautiful you look to us. BBWs without a sense of true confidence will immediately invalidate the compliment, saying something like, “Don’t be silly, I’m a big fat cow!” There’s no quicker way to make us NOT want to compliment you ever again, which is a shame because we do find you beautiful – we’re dating you, after all – and we want to say it. But when you act like there’s something wrong with you, you’re also saying there’s something wrong with us for being attracted to you. Simply put, it’s a huge turn-off … so don’t be that girl.

Well, That About Sums it Up
As they’re all interrelated, each one feeds into and off the other. (No pun intended.) At the end of the day, it all comes down to truly being comfortable in your own skin, which is the biggest challenge each one of us faces, whether we’re fat or skinny, short or tall, black, white, or brown, etc. Whatever mile marker you’ve just passed, I hope this list helps you on your journey.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.


scary3“You just can’t handle me because I’m honest and tell it like it is!”

How many times have you heard that one from the so-called friend or acquaintance who prides themselves on “telling it like it is?” If they’re not saying it, they’re boasting about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Their penchant for blurting out unsolicited opinions about you and/or your life is usually lacking in truth and tact, but that doesn’t stop them. If you don’t like it, they’ll rudely say that you just “can’t handle the truth.” They might call it “brutal honesty,” but they’re only half right … and honesty ain’t got nothin’ to do with it!

Perhaps the biggest pitfall of the Honesty Fallacy is that those who commit it often mistake being honest for telling the truth. Full of themselves, these people sincerely believe that their honest opinion is equivalent to an incontrovertible fact or truth about a person, place, or situation. An honest opinion is still just that – an opinion – so those who engage in the Honesty Fallacy are doing nothing more than playing the part of the proverbial “armchair quarterback.”

Those who engage in the Honesty Fallacy aren’t honest at all, especially with themselves. Ever wonder why these folks are so eager to share their unedited, unfiltered thoughts about you? Is it that they’re trying to help you by cluing you in to some of your flaws? Hardly! These folks are being brutally honest because they want to hurt you, and they’re usually motivated by jealousy or a deep-seated – and often denied – hatred toward you. This brutal honesty of theirs is nothing more than a passive-aggressive way of lashing out at their frenemies in a thinly-veiled, socially-acceptable manner. It’s a game they play with you and they continually up the ante to see just how much further they can push the meanness envelope.

And may the gods help you if you ever snap on these bastions of honesty!

The Honesty Fallacy doesn’t go both ways. Though it might seem to be the irony of ironies, those who revel in being brutally honest are usually extremely sensitive when it comes to things said about them. “You’re just being mean!” they scream, as they struggle to choke back the torrents of tears and baleful sobbing that are sure to follow. Try it and see! You’ll wound them ever so deeply while simultaneously exposing the fact that their so-called brutal honesty was nothing more than their ego overcompensating for their insecurities.

While I typically don’t advocate capriciously harming others, I’ve always seen those who engage in the Honesty Fallacy as bullies, and bullies deserve the retribution that they inspire in their victims. And for those who think that someone can only be a bully if they’re violent, keep in mind that verbal assault is violence too … that’s why it’s called an “assault.”

*Artwork generously donated by Steven Michael Pace of Flint, MI.

evil.friend  Friendship is a powerful word but it’s one that means different things to different people. I discovered this at the very moment when someone who I thought of as a friend showed me just how differently he and I defined that ten-letter word.

It happened during the lowest time in my life. People who thought they knew me thought they knew what I was going through, but I hardly let on how bad things really were. I received some very bad news one particular night and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I became overloaded with emotions and needed to unload my problems onto somebody, anybody who would just take a minute to tell me that I was a good person and that everything would work out in the end. In my time of need, I reached out to a “friend.”

In doing so, I committed the gravest of social errors.

He was quick to scold me for burdening him with information he didn’t ask for nor wanted. And he was nasty about it, too. Like a jungle snake hiding in the thickets, he sprang, sinking sharpened fangs deeply into my exposed flesh. He released his venom into my veins as cold, reptilian eyes fed upon the pain caused by his vicious words. He was every bit as demeaning as a self-righteous parent imperiously lording over an errant child. Everything inside me was screaming, “Stand up for yourself!” but I froze instead. I accepted my metaphorical whipping with a bowed head and downcast gaze.

I’m sure you would never let someone talk to you like that. I allowed it, however, because I knew he was right… somewhat. Having my verbal diarrhea dumped upon him the moment he walked through the door was the last thing he expected to hear when he came over. But looking back upon it, he also took a gigantic shit upon my head! This was the same “friend” who regularly shared deeply personal things about himself and never once did I seek it. Instead, I listened and gave advice when and where I could. That’s what friends are for, right?

I’m not proud to admit that I remained friends with this person for years after the incident. And he reminded me of the differences in how we defined “friendship,” as well. I let every slight pile atop my silent and long-festering resentment until I finally initiated a parting of the ways. There’s was no cinematic revenge moment, no grandiloquent speech … I simply clicked my mouse and un-friended him, a “breakup” of sorts in the social media age. My consolation is that this experience taught me much, and I’ve since handled similar situations more assertively.

So, if you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, troubled by something that happened with someone you know, try to recall this little cautionary tale. Ask yourself what are the qualities that you look for in a friend. Do you live up to them? Do they?

*Featured artwork by Steven Michael Pace of Flint, MI.