Here on Ehell, we love to appreciate the beauty of a job well done, regardless of whether it is a trained athlete at the peak of his/her training, or an experienced airplane pilot who carefully sets down a crippled plane saving hundreds of lives, or the school janitor who works for decades sweeping floors earning the love of students and staff for his character.

The following video is from the 2014 Sochi Olympics in which Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform their gold medal winning free dance thus becoming the first Americans to win an Olympic gold medal in Ice Dance. Their score was record breaking and their dance choreography and technical skills so complicated that it would make veteran figure skaters like Olympian Scott Hamilton gasp. Even if you don’t like or understand Ice Dancing, watch to appreciate the best of the best.    (The video below appears to be blocked from being embedded on this site so view it directly on Youtube HERE.)

But there is more to this story. Meryl Davis was asked to speak at a TEDx TALK after the Olympics and she reveals that she has struggled with dyslexia since childhood. Meryl describes her type of dyslexia as,”… my brain takes a little longer to decode what my eyes see,” and she gave a picture of the difficulty she had in school, the many hours she and her parents spent at night helping her to process her school work, how the dyslexia affected her ability to read music and how the struggles continued into college. But it wasn’t just academics that she struggled through.

“But even skating had it challenges. One that really stands out is the impact my dyslexia had on my ability to process choreography. I started skating with Charlie when I was 9 and I have been so lucky to have a partner to hold my hand in the good times and the bad. Sometimes when it seemed I wasn’t picking up choreography quickly enough Charlie would actually learn the steps for both of us and then walk me through it step by step, over and over by ourselves later on. And yes, I know I am incredibly lucky that he’s so patient but Charlie, like my parents, knew that with a little more time I’d be fine.”

 

And thus Meryl reveals the secret to their success: hard work and a deep friendship between partners that has expressed itself in respect, patience and self sacrifice to make the other person successful.   Charlie not only learned all his choreography but Meryl’s as well and then spent hours with her teaching the choreography to her.  Meryl and Charlie have never been a “couple” off the ice, Meryl describes Charlie as more like a brother.   It is no mystery why the ice dance team of Davis and White are known for their “old fashioned” respect, graciousness and diplomacy.   So, watch a little more of that complicated choreography now that you know the rest of the story.

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Since a little more than half a year, I have been in a serious relationship with a very sweet guy. We attend the same faculty at the same university, and go to the same students association (sorority? Fraternity? I’m not sure what to call it) . Now, I am a bit of a private person, and firmly believe that getting into a relationship does not entail having to merge every aspect of your lives together, up to and including your circles of friends: he has his friends and I have mine, and I am perfectly fine with that. The thing is that my boyfriend, sweet as he is, really wants me to be friends with his friends. This would be absolutely fine, too, if it weren’t for the fact that about half of this group makes me feel thoroughly unwelcome whenever I join at their table during drinks – one girl in particular takes the cake, however.

This girl, who I will refer to as A, has made me feel thoroughly unwelcome on two separate occasions. The first time was around my boyfriend’s birthday, some months ago. He and his circle of friends were planning on going to a theme park that I really like, so when my boyfriend pleaded with me to come as well, I almost tripped over myself to say ‘yes’. We were all really looking forward to it, until one evening during drinks, when I had joined my boyfriend’s table at the students association again on a night that A wasn’t present (I was not actively avoiding her, she just happened to not be present for whatever reason).  One of his other friends got a text from A, which she then proceeded to show to my boyfriend, who later told me that A had told her friend that she actually didn’t want me to join their trip to the theme park, since I wasn’t ‘part of the group’ and I hadn’t ‘proven myself’ yet. I get that this text was not specifically meant to be read by me, but I felt hurt none the less, and when it turned out that I was scheduled for work that day I was honestly a bit relieved.  My boyfriend ended up having a fabulous time though, so all ended up well in the end.

Now, the second time was rather more in-my-face, and involves a barbecue scheduled in the near future. Again, my boyfriend happily invited me, and again I was glad to say yes, until he admitted that A had approached him about not actually wanting me to be part of their group, again on grounds that I ‘have yet to prove’ myself. I felt rather hurt, but also angry this time, because in my opinion A has not really given me a chance to be part of their group in the first place, and I personally feel that her demand for me to prove myself to her is rather preposterous (but perhaps that’s my pride speaking).

My question to you, therefore, and to my fellow Ehellions, is whether I should approach A about this, or leave it with my boyfriend, since she’s his friend – or should I not do anything at all? Should I go to the barbecue, or not go? I’m looking forward to reading what you think.   0629-16

You write that you are in a serious relationship with the guy.   To my thinking that means there is a good possibility that the relationship would lead to marriage and in my world, spouses have each others’ backs.   Heck, even friends have your back.    Your boyfriend doesn’t have your back and here’s why I think that.

A is playing a bitchy, manipulative game of exclusion with no defined “rules” as to who exactly qualifies to be included, or excluded for that matter.   It’s all subjective based solely on A’s “feelings”.   Your “sweet” boyfriend had no sense of tact or discretion when he chose to reveal to you the contents of A’s text to her about you…mistake #1.    You do not write of your boyfriend’s reaction to reading this text in front of you so I conclude his response was lackluster, to say the least.   A good friend, a potential spouse would have read the text, handed the phone back to A’s friend and ignored it as being the garbage that it was.  He should have flushed it right into the mental trash can as not worthy of being acknowledged in any way.  But nope,  your boyfriend actually told you what it said because the reality is that these friends of his appear to have more influence in his decisions.   I know how my husband would have reacted…he’d have read it quietly, handed the phone back without even looking or saying anything to this “friend” and either ignored the contents of the text as being irrelevant to his plans to invite me to come along or chosen to be with me in a different activity.    In other words, the importance of having my back, of presenting a united front in public and being with me trumps the activity of going to a theme park.   I am the most important person in my husband’s life and there is no way on earth he would ever let someone else define the parameters by which he relates to me.  I know how my best friend would have handled the same situation..she would have read the text, promptly said aloud, “What is this crap?” while flipping the phone back to its owner like it harbored a disease, which would have defined the behavior as being unacceptable to everyone within hearing.

But our boyfriend did none of these things and now the precedent has been set for A to continue with her demands that you somehow must jump through these arbitrary hoops in order to be a guest of your boyfriend.    And once again, “sweet” boyfriend tells you of A’s disapproval of your attending the BBQ.   You resolved his dilemma once before by backing out of the activity and here you are, again, considering not going to a BBQ because your boyfriend lacks the Spauldings to either stand up to A or man up and tell you he would prefer you not go after all.

As you can now surmise, the problem isn’t A.  It’s your boyfriend and how he interacts and responds to the As of this life.    There will always be As in life but we can choose to limit how As influence our lives and relationships.   Your boyfriend gives a lot of power to the A in his life and he is apparently clueless as to how that negatively affects you, the person he allegedly loves more than others.   If you were to deepen the relationship with him and marry him, you can expect a lifetime of living with a man who doesn’t have the inner convictions or strength to have your back in difficult times.  If you can live with that, fine, but do so with your eyes wide open.

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Social Media Begging

by admin on June 28, 2016

I have a “friend” on Facebook who I met through my boyfriend. She is a notorious Facebook gimme pig. Every third post of hers is a shared link for some product and a caption that goes something like “omg get this for meeee” or “I need thisss”. Her posts encompass everything from nail polish to clothing to collectible pins to toys. She is a grown woman begging for people to buy her Disney toys on Facebook. She regularly “likes” my statuses, et cetera, and I know that un-friending her might cause some kind of drama, so for the most part I just snort and keep scrolling whenever I see her begging.

She and her boyfriend recently got engaged. They’ve been together for a long time and are both very immature. Of course, she issued invitations to her wedding through Facebook. Anyone who is friends with her could send her an RSVP and they would be added to the guest list. They are also renting a beach house for people to stay in, splitting the cost between everyone who wants to stay in it, so of course she posted a million, “Hey if you are staying in the beach house you need to let me know and send me your part of the payment… thanks,” ads.

You’d think that it would be pretty apparent what to get her for her wedding considering how much she e-begs, but apparently not. A few days after the engagement announcement, she declared that if anyone wanted to get her a wedding gift, they could buy her something from Website A. A couple months later, she started posting about how if anyone wanted to get her a wedding gift, they could buy her something from Website B, her “FAVORITE” website EVER. All while continuing to share links to random products that she wants people to buy her.

About a week ago, she changed her tune. She started posting links to one of those god-awful “fund my honeymoon” websites. She hadn’t even bothered to take the five seconds to personalize the text fields, it was all the generic stuff that comes pre-loaded with one of those sites. The caption of her posts is alway,s “We didn’t register or ask for anything, if you want to help us PLEASE donate and share this post!!! We want to go to Hawaii!!”

I think it’s time to un-friend. Crowdfunding and e-begging drive me absolutely insane. 0625-16

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Missed Salon Appointments

by admin on June 27, 2016

Asking admin and e-hellions for etiquette advice.

I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for more than 20 years. I usually tip 25%-30% and at my appointment nearest Christmas I double whatever the cost of that day’s service as a gift.

I was scheduled for a cut and color, usually a two-hour service that costs about twice as much as just a cut. A few hours beforehand, having belatedly decided that I would rather wait until closer to the holidays, I called and asked him if I could get just a cut that day.

“Not a problem,” he said.

While he was cutting, I asked if he had been able to fill the sudden gap on his schedule that I had caused. He said that he had and regaled me with the tale of a customer who had been begging for a last-minute fit-in.

So all was well. I’m wondering, though: If he had not been able to fill that space in his schedule, should I have written a check to cover the services I would otherwise have received?

I’m inclined to think so, because he set that time aside for me, and by not making that time available to someone else until the last minute, I “cost” him an hour’s service time. 0903-14

My daughter is a professional stylist and her opinion is that she has clients who are more than just customers who obtain a service for the exchange of money.   She’ll bend over backwards for those clients and if one needed to cancel or change the service on short notice, she would not expect nor charge the client for lost services.   If you have had the same stylist for the past 20 years,  I can bet he views you as one of his valued clients and wouldn’t dream of assuming or expecting you to pay for a change in your appointment as long as you don’t make it a routine habit.

However, I walked into a salon yesterday and I noticed that that they had posted an announcement to their customers noting a mandatory charge if they cancelled their appointment less than 24 hours prior to the scheduled time.  But this salon has problems with keeping stylists and is poorly managed.   I view the notice, taped everywhere in the salon, to be a desperation move to stop the hemorrhage of cash and clients.

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Girls Spa Night With A Pricetag

by admin on June 23, 2016

I adore anything spa related and, since I’m both frugal and picky about what I use, I’ve gotten very good at making my own products and doing my own stuff at home with good results.
A friend of mine knew this and so I was thrilled to be invited via Facebook to a spa night at her place. I asked what I could bring and looked forward to the evening.

The day of the party was pretty rough. It was cold and the rain was pouring. I had had a rough day at work and my crazed alcoholic roommate was finally moving out (that’s another story). By the time the evening rolled around all I wanted to do was take a hot bath and maybe cry a little from sheer exhaustion.  But I rallied. I put on upbeat music, drank a lot of coffee, and walked the block to my friend’s place.

When I got there I was greeted by a stranger who handed me a washcloth and a tube of facial cleanser and told me to go and wash my face. Erm ok? She followed me into the bathroom and instructed me to use product after product. I’ve got extremely sensitive skin that’s prone to as severe as second degree rosacea if I’m not careful and so I declined a few of the harsher looking products to her chagrin.

I finally was able to join everyone in the living room and I realized that the pushy product girl was there to host a skincare home party. We weren’t just going to sit around doing face masks and chattering. We were there to buy things.  The pressure to buy was absurd. I do sales for a living and I would never dream of being so pushy. One girl managed to say no and the product pusher actually encouraged the rest of us to help talk her into buying “at least something”.  I bought a jar of moisturizer because I was assured that it was great for sensitive skin and that I’d notice my rosacea clearing up and because I didn’t have the energy to muster my polite spine. It actually made it worse and I realized later that it actually had a lot of irritants.   Now I’m pretty reserved when it comes to party invites because I’d like to feel like I’m wanted for my company instead of my money. 0902-14

About 15 years I hosted a true “spa party” for my friends which consisted of an evening of us “girls” enjoying some finger foods, drinks, and helping each other with updating our make-up.   It was billed as a low key, “have fun” evening together.  One friend asked if she could invite two of her friends to come with her and being a “more is merrier” kind of person, I said, “Yes”.    It turns out her “friends” were two salespeople with a major home party sales company for cosmetics.   The first hint was they arrived far too nicely dressed for my very casual affair and while I was distracted in the kitchen prepping food, I discovered they had set up shop in my living room.   The tension level among my guests was high because it appeared I had invited them under false pretenses to attend a high pressure sales party for make-up.   I had to inform the sales people that they had been invited to come into my house as guests to *my* party and not to sell their products.   They were welcome to stay and enjoy the hospitality but their products needed to be packed up.    Yes, it was an awkward scene because I have no doubt they were told by our mutual “friend” that this was a product sales party.

 

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I have a story about someone who is, in fact, a good friend, but I would think twice about inviting them over as a guest again.  Not because they are needy or greedy: rather the opposite. It was quite uncomfortable, and I am curious what my e-hell peers have to say about the matter.

See, I am from Europe, and my boyfriend lives abroad – which is a good 300 km away. When he comes over, he sometimes brings a friend because we do share a social circle. This was the case on this occasion. My boyfriend and the friend arrived, and we had a fabulous day in the city.

Naturally, as they came from afar, they were both going to stay the night. Since we are all students, I let house guests sleep on the couch in my own room usually. This friend did not feel comfortable with that, however, and insisted he’d find a bed and breakfast.   I fully respect his wish not to share a room with me and my boyfriend: I can see that someone would want to sleep alone. However, I did not want to push the costs of a bed and breakfast on his narrow student budget when this lad has traveled so far to see me. So I made sure he could stay in the room of a housemate who was away, and, since he did not want to sleep in their bed and threatened me with sleeping on a bench in the park, I put up an air bed in the room for him.  The blankets and pillows we had to put there secretly since he not only refused those,  he told me I was being patronizing for giving him bedding. Naturally, he declined any food from my kitchen.  In the end he did sleep in our house, but made no use of the blankets and slept under his own coat.

I like to think that, with the means I have on hands, I am a respectable hostess. And I am sure he only wanted to be polite; but his declining all my hospitality really gave me a lot more work than a “yes, please” would have. I would have loved to entertain this mutual friend of me and my partner’s but I felt very unable and I think I won’t invite him over again soon. 0817-14

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It’s Officially Summer, The Vacationing Has Begun, Let The Horror Stories Commence

June 21, 2016

I went to Germany and Prague for my Political Science class. There was person on the trip who seemed pleasant until we got to Frankfurt. I had bought Kinder surprise chocolate eggs. They are not available in the states so I had to try them. I had a bunch of them in a shopping bag […]

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Feel Good Friday – Men are Just Different

June 17, 2016

Typical Guy Thing. Doing something stupid and trying to be the “best” at it. Click to share:

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