Things You Can’t Do When You Live Alone

1. Share the cookie (popcorn, ice cream, alcohol or any food item)

2. “Could you zip up my dress?” 

3. Blame others for dishes 

4. Have a dance-off (I always win) 

5. Be embarrassed (have no shame)

6. Know if what you’re wearing was a good idea. (meh)

7. Laugh too loud (neighbors disagree) 

8. “Can you turn the light off?” (sleep with lights on) 

9. Finish a pot of coffee

10. Rely on another person to get out of bed at the right time. 

Non-Compliments: A Homecoming of Regret

The holidays bring around such a wonderful feeling. Pretty lights, chex mix, wine, laughter. Isn’t it so great? 

I love this season. I really do. But every time I go home I have this idea that it’s going to be the most wonderful time of my life, and then I remember the second I step foot into my parent’s house. 


That’s why I don’t live here. 

I’m here to tell you about non-compliments. The epidemic of homecoming. A non-compliment is often packaged in a kind tone or an allegedly well intentioned statement, but they are the worst things people can say to you. 

Hilary, are you going to brush your hair? 

What? No.

Hilary, do you ever brush your hair? 

Why would I do that.

Hilary, that’s an interesting outfit. 


Hilary, you dress very interesting. 

I heard you the first time. 

Hilary, why would you want to go dancing in the Castro? 

I don’t understand this question.

Hilary, you had a lot of fun last night, didn’t you? 

What are you suggesting? 

Hilary, is that how you’re going to grade the cheese? 


And after all that, he ate the cheese I graded. Took it right out from under me. 

Every time. Every time I’m so excited to go home. But every time. Every time I’m reminded that I could never, ever again live there. Now I sound like a terrible person who hates her family. Which simply is not true. I’m obsessed with my family. But if anyone told me I had to move back there I would start selling myself on the streets. I don’t understand how I could have ever handled being so intensely monitored. 

And then the old photos. Mom got out all the old photos. Even a giant collaged poster board of the times when I was so skinny. I couldn’t bare to look at it. Mom asked, “Why? I think it’s great!” Yes it’s great that my hair is parted in the middle, I’m wearing black eye liner, I have a sequined top on and I only weigh 115 lbs. 

I’m trying to anticipate all of the non-compliments I will receive on Christmas, but I just don’t think I can prepare myself. I might prepare an automated response, “Hilary isn’t here right now but if you’d like to leave a message you can call her back when you’re ready to be nice.” And by nice I mean just don’t tell me what you’re thinking. Or do, but don’t act like it’s a compliment. Because it’s not. It’s a non-compliment.