Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend, Micromanagement Edition

Dear Miriam,

I used to think I had decent fashion sense, but then I moved in with Shaun. Whenever I try something new on, he always has a “needs improvement” comment. The other day I was about to buy a sweater, until he looked at it and just said “no.” I (should) appreciate the brutal honesty, but I’ve lost my fashion confidence. He tends to say what he thinks no matter what! How will I ever go shopping or get dressed and feel good about it again?

Are you sure I look okay?
Ellyn

Dear Ellyn,

I’m worried about Bryan. He made a spreadsheet for my birthday present. In one column, there is a list of all the things I want (a cappuccino machine, which apparently comes with a multitude of accessories and options), and in the other column there is a list of all the money I’ve been given for it. He also has spreadsheets documenting his tax deductible receipts and every single movie he owns. When do I stop admiring his organizational skills and start researching the side effects of OCD? And how do I inject some romance back into my friggin’ birthday?

Why is everything in rows and columns?!
Miriam

Dear Miriam,

Before we go any farther, please don’t let him buy you a Krups Espresso Machine. Every time I try to use mine, I cry because I can’t figure it out and it takes hours to heat up. Consumer Report over. Sorry Krups.

Two questions: Aren’t you the girl who created a color-coded, cross-referenced spreadsheet for JFKLAX with me? And does Bryan teach “Organization for Men 101?” I’d like to enroll Shaun.

Bryan might have a little OCD, but I wouldn’t worry until he starts foaming at the mouth in a pile of lists. Count your blessings, because I bet he’ll never miss a bill payment or forget to buy you a birthday gift. I don’t have statistics in front of me, but I’m guessing 90% of men do their holiday and special day shopping at the last possible second. Last year, Shaun went out into a Valentine’s Day blizzard to get me a gift. I appreciate the sentiment and he’s a good gift giver, but we could’ve been doing something else during those hours had he planned ahead a bit. Hopefully Bryan’s mad skillz give him more time for things like romance. He doesn’t have to spend an entire day going through weeks of mail or weeks preparing to do taxes. He’s ahead of the game.

And if he has any game, he’ll know to close out of the spreadsheets and make your birthday the best day ever. It’s all about balance, and you have to complement the rows and columns with a little coloring outside the lines.

That was corny, I know,
Ellyn

Dear Ellyn,

I would apologize to Shaun in advance for this response, but the more I think about it, the less I feel bad about it, so never mind.

I’m really pissed at Shaun. Did he miss that whole “Idiot’s Guide to Girlfriends” lesson about how you never, ever, ever tell your girlfriend — or any girl you want to sleep with, for that matter — that she looks bad? Cause it’s simple, you don’t. It doesn’t matter what you really think, don’t say anything, don’t blink, just say she looks pretty and get on with it. So before you do anything else, tell him to shut up. And if you’re worried that telling him not to comment when he doesn’t like something will mean that every time he doesn’t say something it means he doesn’t like how you look… then tell him to stop commenting full-stop.

Of course the deeper psychological issue is how to stop caring about what he thinks and reclaim your fashion mojo. Which yes, easier said than done, because he’s your boyfriend and you want him to love how you look. But I know you have some serious fashion smarts. What happened to that little girl who wore matching outfits every day, and never wore two in a row? You’ve gotta be in there somewhere. Go back to getting dressed for yourself. When you know you’re going to have a particular rough day, wear clothes that make you feel outstanding and hot and unstoppable. Or just wear those clothes every day. Screw boys.

I love you just the way you are,
Miriam

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4 Responses to Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend, Micromanagement Edition

  1. Erica says:

    I LOVE this! In reading about boyfriend gift-giving, it made me think about something else. Since when is it okay for boyfriends to say “oh yeah, next week is Valentine’s Day… I have no idea when I’m going to get you something?” They might as well just say “I really haven’t thought about you yet, I’m not planning ahead, do I really have to do this, and yes I’m stupid enough to verbalize it.” (P.S. This was done to me before with my Birthday too.)

    DUH.

    However, I’ve been with my current boyfriend for 6 months and this will be our first Valentine’s Day together. Hopefully he won’t do the same, but he did say that he isn’t “big on Valentine’s Day” and asked if he could just take me out for a nice dinner. Would it be bad for me to still anticipate him maybe putting some thought into a nice gift?

    I’m not saying that Pete should go all out, Valentine’s Day is only ONE day out of the year after all. I’m just wishing he would take the time to surprise me with something (not even anything major)romantic.

    We’ll see.

    Erica

    • ellyn says:

      I’m pretty sure the moral of the story is that guys aren’t that smart in general. They need to be told what to do almost all the time. Maybe just tell him in passing, “I hope you have some kind of surprise up your sleeve for V Day.” LOL

      Today I told my guy friend that he should do “whatever he thinks his girlfriend would love” for Valentine’s Day. It has nothing to do with him or what he wants to do. Which is basically true.

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  3. Fredie says:

    since i been with Mel for such a long time my answers are automatic.

    Q. “does this look good on me?”
    A. “yes it does”

    Q. “what do you like about it?”
    A. “not really sure, its kinda hard to explain, but i do like it.”

    Q. “you think i should wear this tonight?”
    A. “yes!, but ask your friend first”

    one of the last things in the world i should be doing is commenting on fashion so i dont, otherwise i end up in the dog house. I know better.

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