Why Is My Horrible Ex Having Better Luck Dating Than Me?

Dear E. Jean:I don’t want to sound mean, but actually, maybe I do: My ex-boyfriend and I run in the same social circles, and he’s an asshole! He’s always between jobs, couch surfing, borrowing money, etc., but somehow he still manages to have tons of smart women after him. I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, but I have a really great job and a lot of other good things going for me, yet no suitors in sight. I’m fine with that, but I’m bothered by the fact that when we run into each other, he always seems to have a romantic interest, while I’m painfully alone.

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Externally, I remain composed, even when I see him making out with girls right in front of me. But internally, I’m screaming. It’s not that I want him back (see above, re him being an asshole), but the situation is frustrating and sometimes embarrassing. I’m reaching my boiling point and afraid I might do something insane like grab a guy by the crotch and have sex on a restaurant table just so my ex (and our social group) sees that I, too, am desirable. Do you have any suggestions for coping with this situation in a more self-respecting way? It would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely… —Miss Swiftly Crumbling Composure

Swiftly, My Snapdragon: Yes, my luv, I have a suggestion. Run and get a pencil, and circle the correct answers to this little true/false quiz, which I call:

ALL THAT YOU KNOW ABOUT BEING “DESIRABLE” IS MISTAKEN

1. T or F: A woman alone is always in the best company.

2. T or F: The chick on the back of a rebel’s motorcycle is more fetching than the chick who is the rebel on the motorcycle.

3. T or F: The most attractive heroines in literature never appear on a page without a boyfriend.

4. T or F: Arriving in public without an escort makes you nervous, Miss Swiftly, because you believe the total crap the witch doctors, abbesses, elders, gurus, grannies, pastors, doctors, and dingbats have been laying on women to control them for the last 17,000 years, right up to 2017 (when a girl doesn’t go to the prom alone; she goes with her squad of girls!).

5. T or F: So maybe you should grab a guy, or at least plant one on his lips.

6. T or F: You’ll see Taylor from Billions wearing a push-up bra and little satin tap pants before anyone cares what your scurvy, money-scrounging chump of an ex thinks.

7. T or F: A woman without a man appears more mysterious than a woman with a man.

8. T or F: A woman alone is a threat to some, but yet also a symbol of strength and choice; you’re waiting till you find the right one.

9. T or F: You should join Bumble, meet some new friends, and enlarge your social circle.

Answers: 1. True; 2. False; 3. Frighteningly close to true, but false; 4. True; 5. You can grab a man whenever you like, Miss Swiftly, but this statement is false if you begin grabbing men to make yourself appear more enticing to your odious ex; 6. True; 7. True; 8. True; 9. Doubly true.

23 Women Show Us the Horrible and Depressing Spaces They Pump In

All week long ELLE.com is looking at the issues surrounding pumping.

Some lucky—but far too few—new, working mothers have employers that go the extra mile when it comes to lactation rooms. These pumping palaces give a whole new meaning to the term “fantasy suite.” But the majority of women (and a few transgender men!) who pump at work do so in far less glamorous conditions. I asked my own Facebook community and working parents on a number of online support groups to share photos of their less-than-perfect lactation rooms. Many of these lactation spaces meet the letter of the law (which varies from state to state)—a private room with a locking door is pretty much all that’s required—but they’re cramped, often dirty, and not very conducive to letdown of milk. Some of these pictures represent actual violations of the law: non-private, non-locking spaces, sometimes in bathrooms. It’s a testament to the will and ingenuity of working parents—and to battery packs, nursing covers, shower curtains, and other hacks—that we make these spaces work.

Here are just a few examples of the rooms working mothers have to pump in—from the spare and unglamorous to downright illegal. We invite you to tweet us your own @ELLEmagazine using the hashtag #fromwhereipump.

Jessica Shortall is an advocate for working parents and the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work. Follow her @jessicashortall.