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Published: Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:00:55 -0400


Auntie SparkNotes: Do I Have to Support My BFF's Abusive Relationship?

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:00:55 -0400

Auntie Sparknotes, I've had the same best friend for over ten years now; we can call her Emma. She's been there for me through everything from finding out I have clinical depression to discovering my sexuality as a queer woman and coming out. I had a little crush on her for a while but since we went to college I've met a lot of new girls who I click better with romantically anyway. Emma always insisted that she was straight, and even though I knew that probably wasn't true, I never pushed it. She finally came out to me last year and I was excited for her, but then came the real news; she already had a girlfriend, Ashley, who had been pursuing her for months. I thought it was a little fast, but I was excited to meet her, and I did the very next day. We talked a little, but she made me really uncomfortable. You know those people who you feel are psychoanalyzing you every second you spend with them? She was like that. I tried to play it off as nerves. It's not every day your new girlfriend has a queer best friend who is incredibly close to her and has been hanging around for a decade. However, Ashley got weirder and weirder as their relationship progressed. She started sending me text messages asking if I still secretly have feelings for Emma and demanding that I support their relationship. She asked me to call out of my job to get coffee with her and then took things I said out of context to Emma and tried to make me look bad. She's gotten angry because we went on a road trip that we planned before they were even dating. She went to Emma and told her that she needed me to be more supportive of their relationship and got angry with her for not getting angry with me about it. I asked Emma what I was supposed to do to be more supportive, and she told me to text Ashley more often and try to be friends with her. I feel like I already tried to be friends with her and it didn't work out. I think Ashley is being abusive and trying to cut me out of Emma's life, but Emma is angry with me for not texting her like she asked. I told her it made me uncomfortable, and she basically said that if I was a good best friend I'd do it. I feel manipulated and deeply concerned about her relationship with Ashley. If I feel like my friend is being abused, do I have an obligation to stay? Or do I back out while I still have some semblance of mental health? Is it as weird as I think it is that two adult women are asking me to "vocally support" their relationship, or am I really being a lazy best friend because I don't want to text Emma's girlfriend? Well, let's put it this way, Sparkler: If my best friend told me that I needed to start putting on this kind of performance of support for her relationship, in the form of sending regular text messages to her husband? I would sit her down, take her hands, look deeply into her eyes, and gently ask her exactly what kind of drugs she was on. And I like her husband. So when you ask if this is all as weird as you think it is, Auntie SparkNotes would like to personally assure you that it is, indeed, hella weird — albeit also logical in a profoundly twisted, icky way. It's a fair guess that Ashley had decided that if she can't keep you away from Emma, then she's gonna keep you right up close, the better to keep an eye on you (and the threat she apparently thinks you present to her relationship.) The thing is, the screaming peculiarity of this whole scenario is none of my business… and to a certain extent, it's also none of yours. This is your friend's relationship, and if she wants to sign on to Ashley's particular brand of control-freaky codependency, that's her prerogative, no matter how upsetting it is to watch or how objectively unhealthy it might be. The part that's really over the line isn't your friend's decision to involve herself with a possessive, demanding person; it's the part where she's trying to guilt-trip you into drinking the same toxic kool-aid as she is. And no, you are not obligated to stick around under these circumstances — but before you peace out completely,[...]

40 Rejected Hogwarts Classes

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:00:55 -0400

You’ve heard of Potions, Transfiguration, and Charms. However, I have no doubt that some well-meaning Hogwarts professor tried to suggest a few new courses to Dumbledore and received a stern "No. For God’s sake, Stuart, there’s a three-headed dog on the third floor and a mountain troll in the girls' bathroom. This school is dangerous enough as it is without you teaching Sword Swallowing, Fire Breathing, and Juggling for Beginners." Here are some other classes that didn’t quite make the Hogwarts curriculum: 1. Unforgivable Curses 101 2. Poetry with Filch 3. Sex Ed with Snape 4. Home Ec with Hagrid 5. AP Dark Arts 6. Paper, Ballpoint Pens, and Other Emerging Media 7. How to Make Friends and Imperio People 8. Expelliarmus: What CAN’T It Do? 9. Applied Necromancy 10. Introduction to Ritual Sacrifice 11. How to Succeed at Hogwarts Without Really Trying 12. Troll Language and Culture 13. Salazar Slytherin: The Man, the Myth, the Inventor of Modern Plumbing 14. Wizarding Civics & Government 15. Introduction to Electricity 16. Taxes, Health Insurance, and the Housing Market: A Beginner’s Course 17. Chaos Magic 18. The Care and Keeping of Blast-Ended Skrewts 19. Love Potions: An Ethics Seminar 20. Enchanted Calculus 21. Bewitched Geography 22. Regular Algebra 23. Parseltongue 101 24. Street Magic: A Performing Arts Seminar 25. Magical Moving Portraits and Surrealism 26. Introduction to Legilimency 27. The Horrifying Sentience of Portraits, Mandrakes, and the Sorting Hat 28. The Limitations of Owl Magic 29. Wizards and Outer Space 30. Mock Ministry of Magic 31. Astral Projection 101 32. Remedial Levitation 33. Fantasy Quidditch: How to Pick Your Draft 34. Topics in Comparative Media: Zombies and Inferi 35. AP Wandlore 36. History of Veela 37. Transfer Basics: A Seminar for the Student That Wants to Go to University 38. Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration and Economic Scarcity 39. The Meaning of Life 40. Azkaban, Criminal Justice, and the Absolutely Bonkers Wizarding Judicial System

What's Your Fatal Flaw?

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:00:57 -0400

Nobody’s perfect. Take me, for example. I’m impatient, I’m easily suggestible, and I have weak ankles. But all of these flaws are nothing compared to my fatal flaw, which is like the apex of my various character deficiencies and will inevitably lead to my downfall. Want to know yours? Of course you do. Get to quizzing. [viralQuiz id=34]

Open Thread for June 27!

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:00:06 -0400

The 20 Best Harry Potter Posts We've Ever Published

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:46:49 -0400

The 20 Best Quotes in All of Harry Potter

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:10:17 -0400

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which means we have spent the last TWO DECADES reading the books, waiting for our Hogwarts letters, and having unpopular opinions about Snape. So to celebrate twenty years, here are twenty Harry Potter quotes that changed our lives, made us cry, and warmed the icy black space where our hearts should be. 1. “There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone The birth of the Golden Trio. Look, I recognize that I myself will never enter into a friendship triumvirate by beating up a troll in a bathroom (probably), but this quote still speaks to me. 2. “‘You’ll stay with me?’ ‘Until the very end,’ said James. — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows J.K. Rowling couldn’t have hurt me more than she did with this quote. Not even if she came to my house, slapped me in the face, and cursed me with the date of my death. 3. “‘Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?’ ‘Yes,’ said Harry stiffly. ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘There’s no need to call me ‘sir,’ Professor.’” — Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Here is your daily reminder that Harry once said this. He thought these words, in this order, and then said them aloud to Snape. Iconic. 4. “‘I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.’” — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban We owe a lot to this quote. It’s on several of my Harry Potter posters and at least two of my T-shirts. 5. “‘Give her hell from us, Peeves.’” — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix No other congruence of words has ever given me more satisfaction than this line, or ever will. 6. “‘You don't understand!’ whined Pettigrew. ‘He would have killed me, Sirius!’ ‘THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!’ roared Black. ‘DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!’” — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I’m not sobbing into a hand-knitted Gryffindor scarf while thinking about Sirius Black, YOU’RE sobbing into a hand-knitted Gryffindor scarf while thinking about Sirius Black. 7. “Have a biscuit, Potter.” — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Still the best plot twist in the history of plot twists. 8. “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” ― Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Write this on my tombstone. (I’ll know if you don’t.) 9. “‘Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.’” — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Civilization will end, the sun will explode, and still this sick Hermione burn will endure for all time. 10. “It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew—and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents—that there was all the difference in the world.” — Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince This one isn’t pithy enough to have people constantly stitching it onto Etsy throw pillows, but it’s a powerful one all the same. 11. “‘I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed—or worse, expelled.’” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I quoted this one so much in my (arguably misspent) youth that I’m pretty sure it’s what people will be forced to chant when they bring me back to life in some sort of pagan ritual. 12. “‘The thing about growing up with Fred and George,’ said Ginny thoughtfully, ‘is that you[...]

Anatomy of a Harry Potter Fangirl

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:30:30 -0400

Today is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the book that created a proverbial Dumbledore's Army of fangirls. This illo is dedicated to all of you who... Read through the night to find out how the Battle of Hogwarts would resolve Sweat buckets as they took the Sorting test Continue to have particularly strong opinions about Wolfstar Take fan theories very seriously Have called someone out for having the emotional range of a teaspoon We tip our hats to Elliana Esquivel for this bang-up illustration—find her IG account here and follow her on Facebook here! This post was originally published in July 2016 

The 11 Most Awkward Moments in Fiction

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:00:32 -0400

Open Thread for June 26!

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:00:34 -0400