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The Divorced Dad’s Clarification on Passive-Aggressive Behavior

passiveA dear friend of mine pointed out that my Divorced Dad’s musings, most notably this one, could be construed as passive-aggressive behavior towards my children. Please be assured, kind reader, that my children are unaware of the existence of this blog. To the best of my knowledge.

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The Divorced Dad’s Guide to Your Children Forgetting Your Birthday

Divorced Dad and Adult ChildA person’s birthday is the most important day of the year. It is the day we celebrate that person being among us, reaffirming their existence and value. No other day comes close to it.

And so you raise your two children and remind them of this belief every year on their birthdays. By the time they are adults, they have heard you state this belief enough for their eyes to glaze over. But they know it is an important belief, and one day they will share this belief with you.

But that day has not yet arrived. It is 11:00 p.m. on your birthday and you have not heard from either of them. There are several possible reasons:

  • One or both of them have been hospitalized after car crashes, and your ex-wife has failed to notify you;
  • They have forgotten you exist; or
  • They are exercising the still-new freedom you granted them when they reached their respective majorities, the freedom from having to do everything in their power to please you and earn your approval.

Your feelings are probably hurt, and why shouldn’t they be? The Divorced Dad loves his children and hopes that his love is reflected by them.

And so what does the Divorced Dad do when one or both children eventually call (because they will) and say “I’m sorry about your birthday?”

The first word out of the Divorced Dad’s mouth should be “and?” The reason for this, you have learned, is that your adult children are still not fully raised. They still have knowledge and wisdom to acquire. Which is why they will not understand what you mean when you ask “and?”

Without getting angry, the Divorced Dad will explain the three meanings of “I’m sorry”:

  • I am sorry you feel that way, which is a terrific passive-aggressive play;
  • I don’t know what else to say, because I am pathetic; and
  • Here’s how I am going to make it up to you, which is a genuine, mature, and bridge-building response.

Just remember, your children are still capable of mistakes, and you are now teaching them how to be grown-ups capable of fixing those mistakes.

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Don Draper is Ranked #12 Among “Mad Men” Characters

All your favorite “Mad Men” characters

We are upon the end times. The last episode of “Mad Men” will air this weekend, and then I will have to get a life. “Mad Men” has been my steadfast partner through divorce and courting. What a funny word, “courting.”

And so as I begin the ritual of mourning one’s favorite television entertainment, a headline in one of the Gawker websites caught my eye. “Mad Men Characters, Ranked,” written by one of my favorite man-children, Drew Magary, who takes great pleasure at poking people in the eye (metaphorically).

Drew named Roger Sterling as his Number #1 character, followed by Don Draper. There is no methodology to this ranking, other than creating a list that would piss off “Mad Men” fans.

I got to thinking about how to rank “Mad Men” characters using a methodology and came up with a spreadsheet filled with lots and lots of numbers. Using IMDB’s database, I culled the names of 94 characters. I then assigned each character a 1-5 point score (5=highest; 1=lowest) in these categories:

  • Sex Appeal
  • Personality
  • Charisma
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Demonstrated Personal Growth
  • Eccentricity
  • Self-Loathing
  • Business Savvy
  • Sense/Lack of Entitlement
  • Rage
  • Outsider
  • # of Episodes

The results totally shocked me. Email me if you would like the review the spreadsheet.

Here is the ranking:

  1. Rachel Menken
  2. Bob Benson (tied for #1)
  3. Manolo
  4. Sally Draper
  5. Margaret Hargrove
  6. Roger Sterling
  7. Hobo
  8. Betty Francis
  9. Michael Ginsberg
  10. Jim Hobart
  11. Jimmy Barrett
  12. Don Draper
  13. Megan Draper
  14. Shirley
  15. Kurt
  16. Pima Ryan
  17. Salvatore Romano
  18. Abe Drexler
  19. Midge Daniels
  20. Marie Calvet
  21. Joy
  22. Paul Kinsey
  23. Glen Bishop
  24. Lee Garner Jr.
  25. Peggy Olson
  26. Pete Campbell
  27. Joan Harris
  28. Dawn Chambers
  29. Mona Sterling
  30. Conrad Hilton
  31. Ken Cosgrove
  32. Lane Pryce
  33. Bonnie Whiteside
  34. Lee Cabot
  35. Faye Miller
  36. Beth Dawes
  37. Lee Garner, Sr.
  38. Henry Francis
  39. Miss Blankenship
  40. Helen Bishop
  41. Bertram Cooper
  42. Duck Phillips
  43. Greg Harris
  44. Sylvia Rosen
  45. Arnold Rosen
  46. Anna Draper
  47. Trudy Campbell
  48. Smitty
  49. Dorothy ‘Dot’ Campbell
  50. Fred Rumsen
  51. Rebecca Pryce
  52. Bobbie Barrett
  53. Bobby Draper
  54. Tom Vogel
  55. Jane Sterling
  56. Gene Draper
  57. Stan Rizzo
  58. Ted Chaough
  59. Abigail Whitman
  60. Frank Gleason
  61. Julio
  62. Suzanne Farrell
  63. Allison
  64. Hildy
  65. PFC Dinkins
  66. Lieutenant Donald Draper
  67. Carla
  68. Lou Avery
  69. Adam Whitman
  70. Viola
  71. Jennifer Crane
  72. Harry Crane
  73. Jim Cutler
  74. Gene Hofstadt
  75. Carlton Hanson
  76. Meredith
  77. Lois Sadler
  78. Nan Chaough
  79. Mirabelle Ames
  80. John Mathis
  81. Brooks Hargrove
  82. Cynthia Cosgrove
  83. Francine Hanson
  84. Clara
  85. Burt Peterson
  86. Ferg Donnelly
  87. Ed
  88. Moira
  89. Joey Baird
  90. Caroline
  91. Donna
  92. Gail Holloway
  93. Katherine Olson
  94. Anita Olson Respola
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Shia LaBeouf: Hollywood Superstar and Actual Cannibal

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5 Tips For Regaining Your Confidence After Divorce

Maria Shriver

Another Divorced Person

When Maria Shriver posits an opinion publicly, she understands she has a choir ready to shout “amen” to her preaching. When she writes about the subject of divorce, as she recently did in the Huffington Post, she must know that she is wading into it.

Her five pieces of advice are fine: 1) do some soul searching; 2) set goals; 3) ask for what you want; 4) believe you can; and 5) respect your progress. Seriously, I am sure that Dr. Phil or Ellen would love to get a recorded hour with Maria to discuss this high-minded list. I cannot disagree with this advice, and I am not about to trash talk a fellow Georgetown grad.

However, if you are a rich, famous, connected, and beautiful woman with a strong family supporting you, you might experience divorce differently than the average schlub. The concept of reinvention is obviously appealing to Maria Shriver.

However, I would argue that, for the rest of us, the most important thing is just surviving the shattering consequences of divorce. Because going through divorce can make you feel like you are not going to survive. Short of the death of a loved one, it may be the worst blow imaginable. Your confidence is shot, and before you embark on the journey of reinvention, you have to possess at least an iota of confidence.

So:

Make peace with the reality that it will get worse before it gets better. If you wake up every morning hoping that it will all be over, you will be deluding yourself. Getting through divorce is a long process. So every day, you just put one foot in front of the other. You go to work and focus on your job. You try to eat healthy food. You exercise regularly. Life sucks, but you have to take care of yourself if you have any hope of surviving.

Do not start dating right away. Oh, sweet Jesus, the temptation of the touch and taste and feel and smell of another person in your bed is like a narcotic. However, along with that sweet earthly delight comes complications because we are not talking about a blow-up sex doll. There is another person in bed with you, and there is no way you are ready to deal with the responsibility of another person’s hopes, dreams, and ambitions. You are a mess. You might be horny, but there are other ways to deal with that issue that do not involve hurting an innocent person.

Create a budget. Don’t know Excel? You’d better learn. Seriously, whip out a spreadsheet and figure out all your revenue streams and outlays. You will surprise yourself about what you will learn, not just about your money situation but where your priorities lay.

Spend more time by yourself than you would like. Lots of people confuse being alone with lonely. In your divorce, you are alone. You are probably also lonely. Go ahead and be lonely for a while. Live inside your head for a while. Embrace silence every day. Why? Guess what? You have just learned the hard way that, in life, we are on our own. When you are finally ready to be with other people – or with another person – you will appreciate them so much more.

Create a list of “needs” and “wants.” Get rid of as much stuff as you can. Simplify your life as much as possible. Stop buying shit. And create a list of the things in your life: do you need it or want it? You need soap and toothpaste. Do you need that Ethan Allen four-poster for your bedroom? You need to buy gas so that you can drive to work. Do you need that new BMW? You need an Internet connection. Do you need 500 channels on TV? You need food in your refrigerator. Do you need to eat out five nights a week? You need to keep your new home clean. Do you need another McMansion? You need to do the laundry. Do you need those Christian Louboutin shoes?

You might surprise yourself to learn that you don’t need so much shit to be content.

I’m waiting for that call from Dr. Phil or Ellen.

Posted in Culture, Divorced Parents, Navel Gazing, Punditry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Agony and Ecstasy — Mostly Agony — of Voting

Worth the wait…

Tomorrow, I am going to cast two votes while holding my nose.

My first vote on Tuesday will be against my economic self-interest. You see, I have benefitted financially from the incumbent in office. He is a good person of stout beliefs who has delivered on many of his campaign promises. However, the promises on which he delivered have had a deleterious effect on my humble, flyover state. I may take a financial hit with his defeat, but my fellow citizens and I cannot stomach another term from this otherwise fine person. In these circumstances, you gotta do what you gotta do.

My second vote will be enveloped in something worse than the stench of decay. Though I have met her only once, the challenger is someone whose beliefs, public record, and behavior inspire me to despise her. I suspect she is dishonest and perhaps mentally unstable. Elected to the office to which she aspires would be nothing short of an utter disaster. However, the incumbent fits the dictionary definition of “captured” when it comes to all the special interests and issues I find abhorrent. Though I believe the incumbent will win re-election by an 80-20 margin, I will vote for the person I despise. In these circumstances, you cannot let the powerful bully think he has clear run of the yard.

I pray that your voting experiences will be more pleasant.

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