The best things I’ve read recently 17 May 19

It’s two weeks after Cinco de Mayo and lately I’ve been thinking about:

Game of Crones by Laura Lippman

If you’re a 25-year-old woman, is it normal to spend a lot of daily bandwidth wondering what it would be like to have kids? Asking for a friend.

Said woman is grateful to Laura Lippman for writing this article and reminding me that parenthood wears many faces.

Sometimes motherhood happens after 40, or shit, apparently after 50. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it sucks. Sometimes your partner takes a job when the kid is 3 that means he’s traveling 66% of the year. (Fuck that.)

But almost all of the time, money helps. Lippman might hammer this point home, but only because no one else wants to spend much time lauding the nannies their 6-figure income makes possible.

I also love that Lippman spends little to no time on:

  • Her husband’s experience of parenthood
  • Younger women’s worries how a baby will affect their body and attractiveness
  • If being a mother makes her less fuckable

Why Doesn’t Ancient Fiction Talk About Feelings? by Julie Sedivy

I loved this article for stroking a suspicion I’ve long nursed: reading a lot has made me a better, more articulate, more emotionally in tune person. Humble too.

It has the unfortunate side effect of explaining a personality trait of mine that drives my boyfriend absolutely crazy: I LOVE watching people and making inferences about them. Watching couples and making inferences about their relationship is even more fun, like, the most fun.

He thinks I’m being judgmental and absurd. I think I’m just flexing my mentalizing powers: “In a study led by Raymond Mar, voracious readers of fiction were better than lighter consumers of fiction at making nuanced social judgments based on limited information.” So, neener-neener, boyfriend.

Five kinds of relationship problems by Ozymandias

The five are:

  1. 💩 Dumbshit problems (are you no good at saying nice things unprompted?)
  2. 🤰 Basic incompatibility (kids v no kids)
  3. 👯‍♂️ Problems wearing masks (are you really just stressed at work and bring it home?)
  4. ☣️ “Horrifying soul-sucking messes” (have you let the above problems go on so long you can’t stand the sound of your lover’s voice?)
  5. ☠️ Shitty people (abusers of all flavors)

Five points to the house that can give me an example of a relationship problem that doesn’t fit in one of these.

When I went to find this article again, I came across this one with almost the same title. It’s from an Irish dating site and it is wrong.

For example, the first on their list is ‘lack of trust,’ which could be a dumb shit problem (are you bringing past relationships into the current one?), shitty people (are you dating a serial cheater?) and/or a horrifying soul-sucking mess (has it gone on so long you forgot how to trust your instincts and constantly fight the urge to check your lover’s phone?).

My favorite is number five, ‘trying to change each other.’

*groan-sigh-eye roll*

People sometimes change. People sometimes change when someone else wants them to. People sometimes don’t change. People sometimes don’t change because someone wants them to.

Can you change ‘an aspect of your personality?’ I mean, I used to be quiet, nervous, and nerdy. Now I’m nervous, nerdy and use a lot of profanity so, boom – change. I guess there’s probably a nugget of ‘true self’ in there that you can’t do much about. It was forged when you were a child and your mom didn’t pick you up that one time or something.

But ‘people never change’ is sort of like dudes always wearing ball caps indoors: I assume they’re trying to get away with something, whether that’s a shitty habit or the fact that they’re balding.

The Resulting Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions by Stuart Firestein

Dammit but Nautilus delivers over and over again.

This article inspired me to check out one of Annie Duke’s books from the library and abandon it on my kitchen table. Sweet!

Also, I love the picture of Duke that accompanies it. The caption tells you it’s from 2007, in case you couldn’t figure it out from her many silver rings, stringy shell bracelet, or vintage Diet Pepsi can.

Learning about resulting fallacy was like learning about recency bias for me — I suddenly felt compelled to run around waving my fallacy baton and pointing it at everyone guilty of using it.

The idea is: complex decisions with bad outcomes weren’t necessarily bad decisions, because in the real world there’s always an element of chaos. Or, in poker terms, luck.

I really have to dust that book off some time this weekend — inspired by this article, I signed up for my work’s monthly poker night on Tuesday. You betcha.