Open Letter to An Alleged Adult

For the purposes of this short letter, the subject will be addressed as “Mandy”. -Ty


Dear Mandy,

We were never that close, and looking back I can see why we probably never could have been.

It’s not because I discovered you through the internet. I have met several decent people whom I still call friends in that way. Only with them, I’ve actually gotten to meet up with them in person.

And it’s not because I don’t like your writing, (though I didn’t love it either; much of it struck me as “please look at me while I write this edgy vampire story in the back of study hall” kind of feel to it.)

No, I realize now we could have never been particularly good friends because you are crippled by a self-centered nature that isn’t compensated for with any tact.

You’d vanish for weeks at a time, and then conveniently show up again when you had something you wanted my thoughts on. I read your samples willingly, because that’s what writers try to do for one another. That’s what mature writers do, anyway. Mature people in general try to reciprocate. But after a few weeks/months of you being too busy to read over the samples I sent you, it was pretty clear you had no interest in investing the same amount of time in offering thoughts to me as I did to you. And the one thing you did read from me, you replied with mostly negative assessments.

Yet god forbid I should mention that imbalance. Or any other imbalance in our dynamic. God forbid, in fact, that I ever make more than a passing reference to anything you said or did throughout our three-years-long yet casual acquaintance that may have bothered me. I was either being “too sensitive” or “taking things too seriously.” And yet, as with most self-centered (and if you ask me, narcissistic) people, the moment I stepped somewhere with my comments or actions that you deemed inappropriate, you sounded the alarm.

Why exactly did I continue to communicate with you, when it was clearly such a one-sided affair? Truth be told, I’m not sure all of the reasons. Part of it though is probably due to the fact that often months would go by without any contact from you, and I’d really just not think about it. Well, once in a while I would think about it, wonder how you were and send you a message. Of I would think your new hair do would look nice in your profile picture and say so. If you could be bothered, you’d reply, but. mostly you didn’t. And when you did, I got weird shit like, “I’ve been avoiding you because I haven’t been writing as much as I should be lately, and I didn’t want you to judge.”

As though I’m prone to that? As though there are no other topics about which we could converse other than writing? As though I posses the time, energy or inclination to construct an admonishment to you the next time I spoke to you for not having written enough? The very notion that you and your undertakings in writing fiction affected me to such a degree during the months-long periods of hearing nothing from you is almost suffocating in its presumption. You’re pretty, but you’re not magical.

Still, there you were. Sometimes. I do feel the need to connect with writers when I can. I like to have that camaraderie, all be it briefly, with those who have the slightest idea what all this is like. And you hadn’t done anything overtly offensive.

Until the last few days we “spoke”. If you don’t remember when that was, I will refresh your memory-I hadn’t heard from you in weeks (again) and you wrote me, saying you’d decided to try Twitter, and wanted any pointers I could give. In other words, once again, you wanted something. So I helped you out as best I could. Even followed you on Twitter that day.

Eventually something I either tweeted or posted on Facebook (I don’t recall which one now) got under your skin. And it was about the use of a word. A damn word usage was the issue you got steaming about. So much so, it elicited a response from you that offended me. And I mentioned it to you. And your ultimate response to my concerns?

“Calm down, and change your tampon.”

Looking back, it’s about as considerate, intelligent and deep a response as I should have expected from you. Nonetheless, it’s an expression I myself have never used. Some people are lighthearted about those kind of things, and some people take great offense to them, but I avoid them. Obviously, I figured, you used the terms lightly, and that was fine. Pretty ninth-grade for a college graduate to resort to using it, but that’s how it is with you I suppose.

I also realized that how it is with you when the next day I went to tweet something to you, and found you had blocked me on Twitter. No warning. No explanation. And none needed, honestly. It was clear what happened; you had had to spend more than five seconds doing something you found inconvenient. So you confirmed just how shallow I had suspected you were for sometime, and blocked me on Twitter because I had the audacity to put limits on the things you said to me, and demanded a bit more respect from you.

But you forgot Facebook.

So I wrote you that message there, about your sophomoric display:

“Blocking me from Twitter just because we had an argument? Sounds like someone is on the rag today.”

Allow me to say that is the one and only time I have ever gone there with someone, even in a fight. That’s because, it’s foul, misogynistic and irrelevant to 98% of the circumstances under which it is brought up. But you’d gone into that arena as it were, so I did. To put it bluntly, I did it on purpose to see just how open you were to receiving what you sent out. Though not a woman, I was offended by your tampon comments, and I frankly didn’t think you were entitled to make them, if you weren’t willing to take them.

I saw, with no shock or remorse whatsoever, that you had unfriended me on Facebook within the hour.

The best part, however, was about two weeks later when I went to your Twitter page to see out of curiosity, if you had yet posted anything of merit. You hadn’t posted much at all, in fact. But you had tweeted something along the lines of, “When you use comments in an argument pertaining to menstrual cycles, it just confirms you really are the dick I always thought you were.”

So you got pissed and indignant because someone said to you the exact same sort of thing you said to them a few days previous, and tweeted about it. Sort of defines hypocrite, there.

And if you “always” suspected I was a dick, I’d be curious to know why you continued to write to me, albeit infrequently. I suppose so you could get feedback on your writing. But if I am dick, I have to wonder what my opinion mattered to you in the first place. Unless, in general, I was among the few people that was willing to talk to you or invest time in your writing. Given your overall attitude, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that was and remains the case.

But do the next “dick” that has the backbone to call you out and stand up for himself when you use him a favor…stop contacting him right away. It will save you, and certainly him, a great deal of time he could have been spent doing other things. I speak from experience on this one.

Good luck with that magical vampire sex novel, or whatever it is.

-Ty Unglebower

This post is part of the Open Letter Continuum.




  1. So I have to admit that a guilty pleasure of mine is reading these and wondering who they are about and if it’s anyone I know. Heh. That makes me a bad person, I’m sure. But I’m also sure it’s better to air your grudges and then let it go instead of just letting them simmer unaddressed/unexpressed.

  2. Thanks Laura. I actually don’t mind if people enjoy these posts, so it doesn’t make you a bad person. (Or perhaps it makes both of us bad people? )

    I am finding that by writing these, most of the time there is some sense of relief, (or satisfaction in the case of one of the thankful letters.) I’m not obsessed with these subjects, but the still creep up sometimes, and these feel like a nice answer to that. Better, as you say, than just let them float around in my head.

    For your curiosity, in this particular case, I will say, you don’t know her, and thy state is more gracious for ’tis a vice to know her. =)

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