Design

Have a Lovely Weekend.

thumbprint cookies by Jennifer Switzer

What are you up to this weekend? Ten-year-old Toby, who always loves a good tradition, came up with the idea of creating afternoon “hot chocolate bars,” where we make cups of hot chocolate and top them with whipped cream, marshmallows and crushed candy canes. We’ve all gotten pretty into it, ha! Hope you have a good one, and here are a few links from around the web…

My favorite new evening ritual.

How would your life be different if you could do it all over? (The New Yorker)

Are you baking cookies with children or starring in a gritty crime procedural? Hahaha.

The vampire test for who you should be friends with. “Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energized or less energized. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.”

Running a marathon around the block.

Can we do twice as many vaccinations as we thought?

“On Pointe” looks compelling, fellow ballet lovers. (New York Times)

Is cacio e pepe lasagna the ultimate comfort food?

Seven great ‘This American Life’ episodes. Separated at Birth is bananas. (New York Times)

The prettiest kitchen backsplash, of all things.

Why I’m using Dr. from here on out.”

Plus, two reader comments:

Says Dee on what TV character do you relate to: “I’m Tina from Bob’s Burgers. And I even look like her. I dressed up as her for Halloween one year and people kept coming up to ask me if it was my real hair. Yes! ‘I’m no hero, I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else.'”

Says Margaret Barrett on my dorky new hobby:
“For such a long time did I pine
For community and content online
Then I found this here blog
Soon my heart was agog
For to witness such hearts, lives and minds!”
[Ed. note: I feel the exact same way about CoJ readers! xoxoxoxoxo]

(Peanut butter cookies photo by Jennifer Switzer.)

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  1. Kate says...

    It’s depressing to see yet another ballet story arc that focuses on “who wants it most” rather than addressing issues of the worship of whiteness, structural racism, and the inaccessibility of classical ballet to minority children. The Black Ballerina documentary is so good! (On Amazon Prime)

    https://blackballerinadocumentary.org/

  2. Kayla L Korn says...

    On Pointe is so so good! I watched it in two nights and wished there was more!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh can’t wait!!

  3. Kari T. says...

    This!! I just noticed this same trend at my daughter’s elementary school. The female teachers are all Madame First Name and the male teachers are Monsieur Last Name. It is so odd to me, and I realize it’s likely a personal choice by the teachers what they choose to be known as but there is a very obvious trend. Any teachers care to weigh in?

  4. NM says...

    Reading the comments on the vampire test has been amazing.
    The way that this group always digs deep under the surface is astounding and beautiful.

    After reflecting a bit, I began to wonder:
    It is a very patriarcal world view to want to always “optimize” all of your resources. To be the most efficient, the most successful, etc. To serve the self above all else.

    This is not meant to be about gender stereotypes.
    But I do think that a matriarchal world view places greater value on relationships for their own sake. On love and compassion, for their own sake.

    Abuse is never ok, no one wants to be in a relationship that hurts them. But we often have the opportunity to ask more questions of ourselves and others— more than the simple question: do I gain or lose.

  5. Rue says...

    For our entire relationship, my fiance has insisted on calling me “Dr. First Name” when introducing me to people or referring to me when talking with friends. I’m seeing through this news cycle how amazing it is that he insists people know my title, including that they know I have a “more advanced” degree than he does.

    And I can’t imagine anyone reading my dissertation from outside my field and trying to evaluate whether it’s good or bad. But uh, I’ll gladly send anyone that PDF if they insist!

  6. tina crisas says...

    I find the “Dr. ” topic hilarious and elitist. My ex. fiance has a phd and is a university professor. Absolutely no one in the six years we were together ever called him Dr. nor did he ever demand it at ALL. Not even when he is on TV. discussing financial and economical issues, he is always introduced as Professor so and so from so and so university. (We are also in Europe, and in my country’s language/interpretation it would definitely sound weird being called Dr. )
    I just feel it isn’t necessary.

    • b says...

      I don’t necessarily find it elitist, but my experience with people with a Dr. title (of the non-medical variety) was at a small, liberal arts college in the Sierra Nevada mountains. When there are 150 undergrad students, EVERYONE is on a first name basis – it was basically a giant family. Except our world religions/ethics/philosophy professor, he was Dr. First Name, always – and always in a three piece suit and tie – all carefully balanced by the fact that he owned and regularly rode a motorcycle. If you saw him, you’d question the motorcycle, too.

    • Mary says...

      Yes, I understand where you’re coming from. I think there may be something intrinsically US based about this. I’m from Ireland and the present and last two presidents have been professors at universities, and in fact the previous Prime minister and present finance minister is a medical doctor. No one has ever called them Dr or Prof anything in the media or in person. It would just be odd. I know Jill Biden isn’t in the same camp she is married to the president to be and not the president herself but the role of the spouse holds more status in the US it seems than elsewhere. You never really hear much if anything about spouses or significant others in Ireland. They usually have jobs but maybe that’s because they are sometimes males and even perhaps being gay makes a difference? You just expect them to have other priorities and they did and do – being dentists and doctors etc. Only if they’re older and therefore retired do you really see them more often.

      Also, people generally are referred to by their first name here. In hospital as a patient I called my doctors, including the professor of medicine by their first name. I wouldn’t do it initially mind, I’d wait till it was obvious which it generally was very quickly. About half my close friends have PhDs, again I don’t think any of them would use the doctor title even at work never mind outside of it, although I imagine as a medical doctor you’d be referred to as doctor so and so more often at work by patients if by nobody else. It’s still a grey area for patients so one errs in the side of caution. At university though it’s first name all the way with professors…so again I don’t really have a proper understanding what’s the big hoo haa here apart from the fact the writer was very obviously a prize idiot (the using of the word kiddo was insulting in a very ovbvious way and he was also obviously trying to take her down a notch).

      Still, there are a lot of women it seems saying this happens to females more and again that’s where I don’t have the same impression culturally. Perhaps life is generally more informal in Ireland? You find people in formal settings sometimes referred to formally for sure, newspapers refer to people as Ms, Mr, Dr, Prof surname (if not the actual president or prime minister when that title is used) or sometimes just by their last name. In real life though people are generally first name. If you had the president at your front door you would call them by their first name I imagine, although I don’t have experience of this so I can’t really claim to have!

      I feel your job is enough to mention after your name, why would a title be necessary? It doesn’t bother me if it’s done occasionally but if it’s regarded as something that people should be throwing around Willy nilly surely it just introduces hierarchy when none is required. If there are different rules applied to males and females then obviously I can see why people would be cross but it’s the system ultimately that’s rotten here, not someone’s gender. Nobody is actually more superior to another. Why would anyone want to play that game in the first place and more so why would someone think they were doing so in the name of equality? It’s the opposite of equality. The very opposite.

  7. Alice says...

    That new yorker article made me gift myself a Christmas subscription.

  8. Mina says...

    Higher education in this country is largely obtained by those with privilege. Those who insist that everyone know and address them according to that education is self-important — and it’s obnoxious.

    • Emily says...

      I don’t disagree with the first sentence in your statement, however the author noted that she was the first person in her family to achieve a 4 year degree. Not exactly what I could consider privilege.

      And hell yes if I worked for a decade for a PhD you bet I’d be using it, I don’t care how obnoxious anyone thinks I might be. I don’t understand why anyone who has had the privilege and hard work for an education should have to hide it.

  9. Jo says...

    Binging Home for Christmas season 2 on Netflix. It’s Norwegian so you have to be up for subtitles, but it’s SO worth it!

    • dana says...

      I tried to watch this but my version is dubbed and it’s bad. How do I find it with the subtitles??

    • Jo says...

      Dana, I stumbled upon the dubbed version first and it was painful!! I think I just went to the “language” option on the home screen of the series and chose Norwegian maybe…? Good luck!! It’s so good! I need someone to talk about it with haha

    • Dana says...

      Thank you!! I’m off to search for it now.

    • Kristin says...

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’m loving it!

    • Eléonore says...

      I love Home for Christmas too ! Binged on the second season as well haha
      So so good. I loved the Australian series Wanted in a different genre, very addictive too.

  10. Tracy M. says...

    I used to play Act 2 of “Recordings for Someone” (episode 203 of This American Life) for my high school journalism students and nearly everyone was teary-eyed by the end, every time. Act 4, though, is SUCHHHH a beautiful love story. Seriously This Am Life at its best. I highly recommend!

  11. Eléonore says...

    I’m a INFP and I’ve been doing the “Vampire test” – or the “yawning test” as i call it – for years. If i’m exhausted and can’t stop yawning after time spent with someone, i know this relationship is no good for me.
    The fatigue is not the same when i’m with non toxic people.

    • Melissa says...

      Interesting. I’m an INFJ and wondered how it worked for introverts. I’ll have to start paying attention!

    • HH says...

      Fellow INFP here and this was such helpful advice. Pre-pandemic I jumped any time a “friend” needed me. But now I see that some–well, one–of those people has been using me for a long time. Every time I see her, I walk away feeling crushed. I need to remind myself every time she demands attention: “You would not poison myself so why would you put yourself under her power?”

    • Eléonore says...

      Yes ! The most difficult part is to say “No more” to ourself when we realize a friendship/relationship is toxic. But I realized I have an “intern warning system” I do not listen to. Every time I feel very uncomfortable or anxious with a conversation/situation/person, I visualize a little green light going red and flashing with a siren alarm sound – that’s weird, I know ! ;) – which means “danger”. So now i use it all the time. Three little green lights turning red with someone and i’m out of the relationship/interaction.
      (Sorry for my poor English ;)

  12. Marisa says...

    Just came here to comment that I’m perusing the round up while enjoying one of Jennie’s apple cinnamon spelt muffins on this rainy Sunday morning- definitely a big CupofJo fan!!

  13. Jo says...

    I also feel anxiety about the idea that people should be jettisoned from our lives, unless they serve the function of providing us with energy. I definitely understand that sometimes we need to step away from relationships and people and we should choose who we invite into our lives with care. But it seems so shallow and self-serving and it doesn’t seem to account for the ups and downs of life that we will all face. If I ever go through terrible times I would hope my friends wouldn’t dump me, if I struggle to cope for a while. And surely we should all remember that often we don’t know what is going on in people’s lives, rather than just labelling them vampires?

    • T says...

      This says to me that you have healthy relationships and that’s really amazing. In a healthy relationship even the most devastating of circumstances don’t feel like energy sapping, but rather an opportunity for intimacy. Many of us though really do come from toxic environments. Many of us really do need to assess the pattern of feeling worn down over time. And then we need to draw boundaries to allow us space to be in healthy spaces that feel more fulfilling.

    • Deb says...

      Agreed, and it doesn’t matter who I’m with or how good a time I’m having, I’m always exhausted after. After I read that comment I wondered whether that means that my life is full of awful draining people but I concluded that’s not the case. Maybe we’re just introverts (who need to recharge after social interaction), or, in need of an iron supplement!

      Of course, sucky people do exist, I’m just saying I don’t think this is the test for them!

    • Yvonne says...

      I agree with you! Well said!

    • b says...

      The people I’ve jettisoned from my life are not because they drained my energy – that came with hindsight after the relationship ended.

    • Wendy says...

      I also always wonder when I read these type of “some people are vampires” ideas if anyone ever thinks that maybe they them self are also vampirish to other people sometimes?

    • I read the no-fail “vampire test” bit with a little eye roll. It seems to fit nicely inside of the standards of the white liberal feminist brand of cancel and call-out culture, where we feel entitled to not look inward but to point fingers and blame others. There are literally *so* many factors to control for in my day to day that influence how tired I am after a social interaction. Yes, sometimes certain close friends energize me. But I pretty much always feel tired after interactions, even wholesome phone calls. I think it’s partly to do with depression, with grief, with introversion. One of the people I frequently felt most energized after talking to was also who fit the bill again and again as a “vampire” friend over the course of a 20 year friendship, which finally ended during coronavirus. Yet, whenever I am around one of my tried and true best friends, I feel so much relief and ease as soon as I’m with her, that I just want to fall asleep instantly. Although black and white “tests” like this are tempting, I find that the most beautiful things in life often contain space for multitudes, some of them contradictory and grey.

  14. Sarah says...

    I find it intriguing the Dr conversation doesn’t touch on the usual downplaying of women with titles by softening it from their sur name to their first name. In this case, the example would be calling her Dr Jill instead of Dr Biden. That is something that has always bugged me. Why is my brother in law Chef Root but my sister is Chef Max? They both have culinary degrees and accolades – but she is downgraded to be more approachable? Boo.

    • kiki says...

      even worse, I think people are attuned to assume it’s the male. If one heard Dr. Biden out of context, many would assume they are talking about Joe Biden and may be surprised to find he’s a doctor! But, no, he’s not. It’s his wife. People almost never assume it’s the female half of the heterosexual couple that holds the title. (of course, the Bidens may not be the best example of this being as famous as they are).

  15. Monica says...

    Here for the peanut butter blossoms! That photo made my heart skip a beat. My great aunt and grandmother always made them and they are my favorite! We are a peanut-free house and almond butter just isn’t the same, but my mom always makes PB and gives me a little package for Christmas to eat all by myself.

    • jrg says...

      just made these over the weekend! can i ask how you and/or your mom package them so the kisses don’t get squished? i guess just putting them in one layer in a box or tupperware would do it but i don’t have that many tupperware around, haha. or simply just eating them all before you have to box them up :)

  16. AMK says...

    I have had my MBA for almost 10 years. I barely just started adding MBA after my name in my email signature and LinkedIn profile. I didn’t realize that I was subconsciously making myself small.

    • AMK, MBA says...

      Correction on my name: AMK, MBA.

  17. Tovah says...

    ooOOoo, I love the Vampire test. I’ve been doing this intuitively for years, but will henceforth be using the term!

  18. Meredith says...

    I really appreciate the Vogue piece! There’s not really an easy way to escape being caught up in systems of hierarchy, at least in our current setup — but for women to feel that they shouldn’t use a title because it reflects that hierarchal system seems to distract from the main issue. Until we’re in a society where women are viewed and understood to be as competent, worthy, and fully human as men are, we’ll continue to run circles around the kind of nonsense that Epstein spewed. Let’s not focus on the women and their choices to use the title or not — let’s focus on the patriarchal system that continues to devalue women’s worth, within education and in so many other institutions.

    • Rae says...

      So well said Meredith.

    • Louise, PhD says...

      I totally agree! People weren’t concerned about people using this title until a woman was criticized for it. Now it’s suddenly a problem?? 😒 I promise y’all we have so much more work to do even in academia. Tearing down women who have the audacity to use a title they earned by contributing new research, ideas, and innovations to this world is such a waste of time.

  19. Dana says...

    If anyone clicked on that marathon video link and thought “17 minutes! Who has the time?!” Wait…it’s very much worth a watch! I watched it many months ago and was entertained AND inspired. My husband felt similarly and ended up doing a similar venture, although just over a 12 hour period (2+ miles an hour).

  20. Kristin says...

    I think Act V is my most favorite This American Life ever. The first time I listened I thought, “I have absolutely no interest in this subject.” but I was doing yard work and was too lazy to change my podcast. I ended up absolutely loving it, and just listened again last weekend…doing yard work again.

  21. Laurel says...

    I have some mixed feelings about the “Dr.” thing. The criticism of Dr. Biden for using that title has been absolutely horrifically and transparently sexist, and I also firmly believe she has the right to insist on being called what she wants to be called, and everyone must respect that. Additionally, I think it is perfectly okay for non-medical professionals with PhDs to go by “Dr.” in a professional setting. The whole “drop the title out of respect for the presidency” thing is total B.S. too.

    However, my mixed feelings come up in demanding that title be used in non-professional settings or settings not having anything to do with the field. My grandfather is a medical doctor, and used to insist on being called “Dr.” by everyone. If a hostess announced, “Mr. So-and-so’s table is ready,” he’d correct: “it’s Dr. So-and-so.” I hated it, because it always struck me as so unnecessary and elitist.

    I’m sure one could argue that, because of the role she’s about to take up, Dr. Biden’s entire life is about to become “professional.” But, insisting that the title be used in all settings, even ones having nothing to do with her professional life, reminds me of what my grandfather insisted upon, and I’m not sure where to go with that.

    Clearly I’m conflicted! I’m curious to know what others think.

    • H says...

      This is how I feel about it too.

      It’s basically this idea: because I hold this degree, I deserve an amount of respect, through my title, that others do not because they do not have that degree.

    • Jessi says...

      I think historically Dr. Biden hasn’t made a habit of insisting on being called that. She uses the title in formal and professional settings, as do many others, men and women.

      Rude and boorish behavior is something else entirely.

    • Rebecca says...

      You’ve hit the nail on the head! My father has a PhD and a DVM, but he is the least pompous person you’ve ever met, so sometimes we tease him by calling him “Dr. Dr. [last name].” He has never once objected to people calling him Mr. [last name].
      By contrast, when I was maybe eight or so, the father of one of my classmates made me cry when I addressed him as Mr. and he insisted that I address him as Dr. He might have been a medical doctor, I’m not sure…but why does it matter enough to make a little girl cry?!

    • Heather says...

      This is really interesting and I agree with your thoughts and how you’re conflicted here. I wonder if it’s a scenario where we need to take into account if it’s a man acting this way versus a woman or a BIPOC? White men (and of course to a lesser degree, white women) are typically going to be afforded a certain level of respect by default whereas women and especially BIPOC are often not. And those individuals may have found using the title actual changes interactions and how they are treated – even just out in the regular world.

      I don’t really know Dr. Biden’s preference, but if its for using the title then I could see how it’s useful, specifically considering her role as a politician’s spouse. And if we consider her age, almost 70, and she likely faced more discrimination and bias than those of us in the workplace today which of course might impact her preference.

      On that note – I heard a Live Wire interview with Ijeoma Oluo on her new book ‘Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America’ and it sounds really interesting!

  22. Laura says...

    That vampire test doesn’t work for introverts. Socializing with anyone can be draining – even your best friends and the people you love the most.

    • Camille says...

      I agree. If I used this test, I would be a hermit.

    • M says...

      My thoughts exactly!!

    • Nicole says...

      Was thinking the same thing! Does not work at all

    • El says...

      I was thinking this too! I love my quarantine distanced walk buddy, but especially now when socializing isn’t regular, I always feel sort of spent after our walks– we walk and chat for about 90 minutes. I also love it and it’s a highlight of my week. But regardless, I’m sort of talked out afterward, and usually watch tv with my partner to recharge. :)

    • LB says...

      this.

    • Laura S says...

      Fellow introvert here. I thought the same thing. This would mean even my best friends, family, job, etc…… are toxic. I love them dearly but definitely need to recharge after seeing them.

    • Alice says...

      Indeed, and what if you’ve a friend that is going through a rough time? It speaks to me again of the throwaway attitudes of our culture, sure if someone is and has always been a problem to you, question your friendship, but to disgard a friendship so readily and simply… It makes me uneasy.

    • Emily says...

      100%!!! I was thinking about it, and I feel drained after seeing even my dearest friends who certainly make my life better. It’s really the difference between introverts and extroverts. The former need time alone to recharge and the latter need time with people to recharge!

  23. Leslie-Anne says...

    The essay from Dr. Leslie Camhi is spot on. It made me laugh and it made me think and it made me mad. It’s good to see that our collective outrage at old guys telling us who we should be and how we should behave produces such good writing. Down with the patriarchy.

  24. Sarz says...

    I think Austin Kleon’s website it wonderful, but I’ve gotta say, The Vampire Test bummed me out! I wish there was more material out there for those of us who, well, *have* to linger with the vampires. My mother did a wonderful job of raising me, but while she was busy doing so, she never properly addressed some pretty significant childhood trauma she suffered. After a few decades of simmering on the back burner, she’s now been rendered an entirely different person from anxiety, rage, depression and addiction. She’s absolutely a vampire, but she has no one, and once, she gave me everything. We should absolutely curate the *new* people who come into our lives. We all deserve to strive for as much happiness as we can. I sincerely hope, though, that our strives in mental health, personally and as a society, are constant. Maybe that way there will be fewer vampires to vanquish.

    • Dr. El says...

      Hugs to you, Sarz. I love your worldview.

    • Alice says...

      I’m in complete agreement.

      Also, show me the person that has, through the course of a relationship of any sort, not had vampiric tendencies at any point?

      All of my most valuable friendships have had more difficult times. I may have stepped back but I’ve never cut them off, I can’t personally understand people that can do that so readily.

  25. Lindsey says...

    I feel like the “vampire test” isn’t very compassionate. I definitely have a close friend that drains my energy. We’ve known each other for over 15 years, and I am aware that often hanging out with her is difficult, but she struggles with depression and ptsd, so I’m not just going to abandon her because sometimes is doesn’t make me feel good to hang out.

    • Katherine says...

      Yes! I really agree, Lindsey. While we definitely don’t owe anyone our attention, everyone deserves some companionship–so if we have some energy to spare, why not ‘spend it’ on someone whom this test would define as a ‘vampire’? If we have other energizing and supporting friendships, and we’re not too drained by our present circumstances, I think that spending quality time with people who annoy/exhaust/frustrate us is part of what it means to be in a community.

      This isn’t saying to roll over for people who are hurtful or aggressive towards you, of course! This is just a call to say, “Yes, she’s a drag! And dammit, she’s my friend!”

      If the vampire test is useful for people in sorting out complex relationships, I would like to propose a time corollary: if the tired feeling lasts an hour or two, maybe your friend is in a draggy phase of life–and that’s okay! If it lasts all afternoon and evening and into the next day, then maybe it’s time to scale back. But gosh! I still hate to call people “vampires.”

    • Rebecca says...

      thank you! I struggle with depression and anxiety and I am sure that I am often a vampire. I am so incredibly grateful for the friends who continue to reach out and care for me, even when it might be difficult for them

    • Beth says...

      Lindsey, this is such a good point. This year has provided a unique opportunity for me to hold my friendships up to the light and examine them and I have been struggling with a similar situation. I suspect a longtime friend of mine is dealing with depression (exacerbated by quarantine) and it has been challenging to spend time with him during an already rough year myself. I would love if you could share some ideas on how you support your friend, especially when quality time in person isn’t as much of an option. FWIW, he is not open to therapy/seeking help when I have brought it up in the past :(

  26. Kate says...

    Crime scene or Christmas cookie is classic. “DID YOU WASH YOUR HANDS!?” 😂 #TRUTH

    • Julie says...

      Lovely, thank you!

    • Jenny says...

      I love your cozy playlist, thank you so much for sharing! <3

  27. Mary says...

    This whole use of the honorific Dr is ridiculous in my opinion. Strong words I know but it’s not like I think the writer of the Washington Post article was anything less than a sexist idiot either. So many people these days have postgraduate degrees, so many in fact that the company my husband works for pretty much exclusively only employs newly qualified PhD holders. This doesn’t mean they’re more clever than the older members of the company who just have bachelor degrees, no it just means that competition for jobs in this industry has increased exponentially and now this is what gets you in the door. You still have no real working experience however and experience is what really counts when the rubber hits the road. That’s not to discredit the holders of PhDs (half of my close friends have one, I have a masters myself – didn’t need a PhD thankfully) – of course work was required, of course often that work was tedious and there’s every chance that person is clever but when people use the term Dr and I’m including actual medical personnel here in front of their actual name to refer to themselves (and of course terms like Professor etc) they are suggesting not only are they competent in what they are qualified to do, (no problem with that) they are also taking part in a system of hierarchy that subjugates everyone outside that system. They are suggesting strongly something like :I am the authority here and you are less than. I know more about your body, what’s right for it than you do…and they might indeed sometimes but if you’re sitting opposite them that requires handing your own power over right there or in their case subsuming power from someone they see as less powerful than they themselves. We usually make children in the anglophone world use the term mr or ms when referring to teachers, it’s the same thing – a way of inferring respect. A way of being authoritative. But why are we doing this? Why? Why don’t we turn the tables and wonder how teachers would feel were they to have to do this with pupils and then be referred to by their first names. How would they feel? Would they feel diminished in stature? What does that tell us about honorifics? Perhaps that in seeking to honour one party they diminish another… To my mind a qualification is a qualification. I’m glad you have it. I’m glad i have it. But mostly let’s be honest, it’s just to get us in the door somewhere. We basically all know nothing when we start out somewhere. Using your qualification as part of your name however is something else. It means something else. And to my mind what it means isn’t necessarily empowered or empowering. Help in any shape or form to my mind is only helpful if it’s empowering.

    • liz says...

      I agree with you

    • What? says...

      Wow, to me it sounds like you are being threatened by people who use ”
      Dr”. You yourself say you worked hard so why not earn a title with more work? The whole notion of “I know more about your body or subsuming power” is entirely your perspective. Your comment sounds like you feel less than or looked down upon in the presence of people who use an honorific. Why do you think it means something else. Can it not mean, “Hey I worked hard sacrificing so much over the years to study such and such” and have this background? If you think it is ridiculous, by all means use their first name. No doctorate I know will ever find it offensive. But you don’t have the right to decide what anyone calls themselves or say that no one can use their hard earned title.(7+ years of graduate school is no joke) .

  28. Lauren says...

    Before I read the description, I was 100% certain the vampire test was going to be asking myself if I could stand to spend eternity with someone if we were both vampires and all the mere mortals around us grew old and died. “Intense but clarifying,” I thought.

    • B says...

      “Intense but clarifying” hahaha

    • alice says...

      Your version of the vampire test is far better.

  29. It’s taken a lifetime to appreciate the life I’m living rather than continue to romanticize the life I planned. I’m grateful for the New Yorker piece. I experience so many moments of awareness and bliss in the stillness of 2020. In these moments, I feel gratitude in place of regret, relief instead of rage. Who I am is enough. What I have is enough.

  30. Emily says...

    But what if literally everything drains you right now?!

  31. Nadine says...

    Great point! Love it!!

    • Nadine says...

      This was meant to be an answer to Lora’s ” The best part of Not-A-Dr Epstein’s argument is that he claims only those who delivered a baby can claim Doctor. Sorry, Dude – she’s a mom so she has a baby delivery AND a PhD in her back pocket.”
      i got worked up and entered too fast 😂

  32. Whitney says...

    The Vampire Test made me laugh out loud when I thought of three people I spent most of my time with -MY KIDS. Answer is ALWAYS TIRED. At least they’re cute!

  33. Diljot says...

    Anyone else read about the Vampire Test and think “ugh, this means I can’t be friends with my children!”? (Hehe)

  34. Gill F. says...

    If you have chronic fatigue and, therefore, are always tired, the vampire test can be done as follows:
    1) would I rather hang out with this person than lay in the fetal position in bed
    OR
    2) Despite not being able to move from exhaustion, would I still be up to hang with this person, even if it has to be done in my pajamas in a ball on a couch?

    If you can answer yes to either of those (or both!) that’s a good human right there

    • Emily says...

      This is good!

  35. Gina says...

    Re: that lasagna. Just clicked and was so excited to see it’s at my most favorite restaurant in NYC, i Sodi. If you haven’t been you must go!!! I live in San Diego and wish I could! The chef grew up in Italy and every single thing is divine. The cacio y pepe and the regular lasagna are two of our faves- I can’t even imagine how good the cacio y pepe lasagna is!

  36. Caroline says...

    The use of ‘Dr’ is so interesting and I completely see the wrong-ness of excluding it do diminish womxn’s accomplishments. This issue has also been a long standing debate with friends. I have a PhD and I never use Dr, not even in professional settings except for very rare cases when I actually think it’s relevant (e.g. on a CV). I have seen it perpetuate elitism and hierarchies and create power imbalances. These are all unintended harms from using that title, but the impact is real so I made the decision to keep it on the DL. I also know that 85% of the reason I got a PhD had to do with my privilege. Education is expensive, taking time off to study is unsustainable to most, and it all starts with a ton of advantages in childhood. That’s not everyone’s experience, but it’s mine. I work in health and the majority of talented, passionate, and impactful people never went beyond a college degree, which often serves as a barrier to advancement. It so unfair. However, I see a trend in referring to the importance of ‘lived expertise’ (e.g. of racism, of drug use, etc) and I am such a proponent of it. I encourage everyone to constantly reflect on what we (over) value, esp at work. We have a saying in Arabic- “ask someone with experience, not a philosopher”- that captures it all!!

    • Gwen Higgins says...

      I’m an introvert, everyone drains my energy! But seriously I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with labeling people as toxic (referring to the linked post). Can’t we just say that we don’t like someone? Or that we do like them or even love them but not always their behavior.

    • Annie says...

      Wow this is such a thoughtful response! Thank you for sharing.

    • Kate says...

      Totally agree, especially around the importance of lived experience (particularly in health), and the privilege around my own (public health) PhD experience. An ongoing tension around amplifying womens’ achievements and intersectional issues around access to education and time. Thanks for your comment!

    • Julie says...

      Completely agree!! I have a JD (not as hard as a PhD but you get the idea) but I don’t like to make a whole thing of having one because it is more a reflection of my privileged life experience thus far than my work ethic or intelligence or whatever. I’m happy to have it because it lets me do the job I enjoy, but having it isn’t inherently better than not having it and having it says nothing about who I am as a person (just as not having an “advanced degree” says nothing about what that person knows or can do or has experienced.)

    • Megan says...

      Appreciate this perspective, Caroline.

    • Erin says...

      Caroline, being able to keep your qualifications quiet in professional settings strikes me as unusual. I have a PhD and work in academia, in a staff job. While I don’t insist on being called “Dr.” in conversation (as the professional culture where I work is very oriented toward using first names), I definitely do include my degree in the places it would be seen by people working with me: It’s on my business cards, in my professional email signature, and it is something I bring up when I am explaining my role and background to someone new. And my job requires me to interact with new people a lot.

      My PhD is an important part of how I got to where I am. As a young-ish woman in a setting where the people in power are often old and male, saying “I am qualified, here are my qualifications” is a way to get (old, male) people to take me seriously. So I’m not shy about it. And I don’t think other women should be shy about sharing, using or explaining their credentials, either.

      As for Dr. Biden, I think that, as obnoxious and belittling as the WSJ opinion piece was, it’s extremely refreshing that we are finally talking about a future first lady as a highly trained professional, instead of discussing whether she puts scrunchies in her hair, bakes chocolate chip cookies or wears nylons.

  37. Chelsea says...

    Your limerick post inspired me to write one for my granny’s birthday to read to her over Zoom since we couldn’t celebrate in person!
    There once was a granny quite sassy
    Who is patient, caring and classy
    Loved by her friends and kin
    She might sound without sin
    But playing Bridge she’ll kick your ass-y

  38. Cat says...

    So cool to see Beau Miles featured here! I did the mile/hour challenge as a half marathon back in April- it was fun and also INCREDIBLE how much I got done that day, knowing I only had ~50 minutes! I did two week’s worth of laundry, I painted and sanded both sides of a door (multiple coats!), I swept, I vacuumed the house, I baked bread, I soaked beans & chickpeas, I cut shelves, I hung brackets, I beat rugs, I scrubbed the kitchen & bath, I made black bean burgers and hummus, and I got the summer clothes out.
    I wasn’t dedicated enough to lose sleep over it, but at the end of the day I had such a feeling of satisfaction from getting all the chores done AND having been able to spend the day outside in the sunshine.
    I’ve been in a funk lately and thinking about doing it again. HIGHLY recommend to anyone who might want to try! But please, wear a mask!

  39. Marlot says...

    re Running a marathon. Beau = every mom, every day.

    • shade says...

      That’s exactly what I was thinking.

  40. Eloise says...

    Those are the best cookies ever and always.

  41. Lora says...

    The best part of Not-A-Dr Epstein’s argument is that he claims only those who delivered a baby can claim Doctor. Sorry, Dude – she’s a mom so she has a baby delivery AND a PhD in her back pocket.

  42. Katie says...

    I am drained by every friend encounter. Sometimes , you’re the problem , not them .

    • Susannah says...

      I hear you Katie! I feel this even with one of my best friends. Introvert problems <3

    • b says...

      G-d, I feel seen. Everything exhausts me – work, friends, family, the future.

    • Jane says...

      You’re speaking my language Katie:)

    • Katie! I’ve been searching for the words to describe how I feel about the “vampire test”. You summed it up brilliantly. I’m a highly sensitive person, a Cancer (born in July), and an introvert. No one has to do anything draining in order for me to be drained. I’m irritable around humans. Full stop.

      I am learning how to be social when I have good energy to share vs. being social just because I’m afraid to be perceived as rude or cold.

  43. Agnès says...

    (The vampire test is eye opening). I am a Doctor in Philosophy and I take great pride in my title, it means a lot. I worked hard to get it and it really helped me become more me (if that makes sense). I LOVE being called doctora. I think i should even frame my diploma in 2021!! Have a nice week-end every body! We have a curfew now in Paris, 8pm, it is so weird.

    • laura says...

      frame it!!!

    • b says...

      We have a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew in San Diego, California. I get it, but also, nothing here is open past 10 p.m. anyway, so I’m not entirely certain what this is solving. We currently have 0% ICU capacity across the southern part of the state.

  44. Celeste says...

    Peanut butter blossoms for the photo credit. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!

  45. Anne says...

    Ha, love the photo! I literally just made these cookies with my niece on zoom! One of my favorites!

  46. laura says...

    Isn’t the friendship vampire test also a bit tricky for introverts/extroverts? Even with the most solid of friends, there comes a point when I need time alone to recharge 🥺haha

    • Shelley says...

      Yes that was my immediate thought! As an introvert it really depends on how long the encounter was and many other factors.

    • Kara says...

      I think it’s possible to adapt it knowing how your personal introvert qualities might impact your energy levels. For example, my introverted sister struggles in any group of people but is less drained by one-on-one conversation, so she’d use this test based on those one-on-one conversations, setting her usual time limit and see if she’s drained prior to her normal time limit.

    • Jen says...

      My thought as well! Some of my very favorite people, folks that are deeply kind and thoughtful, drain me because I’m super introverted and they’re lovely but energetic extroverts, not vampires.

    • Becca says...

      I’m an introvert and I have learned to use the vampire test this year! While group interactions are not a good vampire test for the reasons stated above, individual one-on-one conversations can be very telling if they feel particularly draining and not just “I need alone time” draining. I have learned to pay careful attention to why an individual drained me of my energy. Did the person emotionally dump on me in a way that wasn’t respectful of my needs and boundaries? Did the person approach our interaction like they were performing a monologue rather than participating in a dialogue? Did the person ignore my signals that I needed to end the interaction, even after I’ve said “bye” or “let’s talk again soon” for the 5th time? There are definitely people in my life that I’ve realized I cannot be close friends with because I have to take a nap and decompress after having a conversation with them. While I always need to recharge after socializing for too long, with my close friends I don’t feel so depleted and sucked dry.