Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

High Achievers More Likely to Get Jealous

_62967369_016012985-1A study from Roanoke College in Virginia found that students with the highest grades were were most likely to feel jealous over messages from other people on their partner’s Facebook page. Smarty-pants female students were especially prone to jealousy, while male students are a bit more laid-back (except, I guess, when there are cupcakes involved…). The researchers also tested whether jealousy levels increased when emoticons, like smiley and winking faces, were used after the messages. According to the results, “emoticons were found to have no effect on women’s jealousy levels, while men became more jealous when an emoticon was used.” Researchers explain that men tend to get more jealous of perceived “sexual infidelity, while women are more jealous of emotional infidelity,” and, you know, winking face emoticon = sexy times.

As for why high-achievers are more jealous than lower-achievers, researchers suggest that “high-achievers are perfectionists and when they think their partner is cheating on them, this desire for perfection is disrupted.”

[via Daily Mail]

91 comments… add one
  • katie July 8, 2013, 1:37 pm

    this is very interesting and it makes a lot of sense. also, perfectionists tend to be control freaks, and the one thing you kind of cant control is your SO.

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    • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 1:46 pm

      You can’t?

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      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:44 pm

        not with katie’s attitude. i say be positive, keep believin’, and you can control anyone.

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:46 pm

        Haha! freakin katie, being all bossy telling me what I can and can’t control. Jeez. Lay off katie! I do what I wawnt.

  • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 1:43 pm

    They actually did research on emoticons? Aren’t there better things to be researching?

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    • rachel July 8, 2013, 1:51 pm

      They’re part of our language now, so actually I think a totally relevant thing to be researching.

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      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 1:58 pm

        It just seems low on the totem pole. There are a million other things I would want to see research over emoticons. Like cancer or racism or AIDS or better ways to rehabilitate convicted criminals or hoarding or like a gazillion other things.

      • kerrycontrary July 8, 2013, 2:02 pm

        I mean they are probably social science researchers. So people that research cancer or HIV are in a different type of science. It’s like saying your husband shouldn’t spend his time doing any research on history because he could be researching convicted criminals.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:07 pm

        Well, obviously the same people researching cancer and social movements aren’t the same.

        And he is actually doing his history research with the “goal” of practical implications today regarding police and race relations.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 2:10 pm

        doesnt all research have a “goal” of practical implications?

        and just because thats a goal doesnt mean itll work. cancer research also has the “goal” of a cure- which we dont have yet.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Kerry seemed to be implying there was no value in researching history (which she later clarified). That’s what I was replying too.

      • kerrycontrary July 8, 2013, 2:07 pm

        (not attacking your husband at all. I love history!). just saying that not all research has to be hard science. Why question the reasoning of their study when it’s already finished?

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:10 pm

        Well I specifically mentioned other topics that aren’t “hard science” because I do see value in researching a wide range of things, including human behavior. Emoticons…eh. There is no “point” it was a general reaction.

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:43 pm

        maybe emoticons *are* the cure for cancer. gotta keep an open mind, gg.

        (i dunno, i’m drunk)

    • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:15 pm

      OK, so I hear everyone here and they do make sense. Its funny because I’m sure I’ve said ‘why the hell would “they” (who is they, anyway?) spend time & money researching X?! I guess I’ll say that less now.

      However, if this research were paid with tax dollars, I can totally see saying what GG has said. I’d like research paid for with tax dollars to be done when its A Very Important Issue That Needs Immediate-ish Research v. Not Really Important.

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      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:21 pm

        With some digging it actually looks like it was a study done by students. Which makes me have the “why” question a lot less.

        “A Very Important Issue That Needs Immediate-ish Research v. Not Really Important” Yes. This!! there are a lot of things that, IMO, are immediate NOW research items. Emoticons do not fall into that category for me. But a student study…yes that makes sense to research them.

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:25 pm

        It is interesting though, the points the others make. I’ve been swayed! Haha.
        Plus, what one determines as Very Important, others obviously won’t. But as a reply to kerry, saying that we shouldn’t question why something was done, since its already done, is a bad idea imo.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:26 pm

        Oh yes, I like questioning the why. ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:53 pm

        like the “why do we follow all these wedding rules that make no sense” whys?

        someone engage me, i’m in the mood.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:58 pm

        Yes. I think it’s good to question those too! I think the majority of them make sense though so.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 2:22 pm

        well unfortunately, even if they are researching A Very Important Issue, they will be assholes while they do it. my friend’s sisters both worked at a hard science research center somewhere in colorado and at the end of the year the bosses would be like “oh we have X amount of dollars left, we need to spend it!” and my friends sisters would just buy new shit- printers, computers, science equipment.. and it was all so that their research budget wouldnt be cut for the following year.

        basically all research is kind of messed up, because of the way its funded. but all business is like that- research is just another realm of business, another way of making money. of COURSE people are going to try to get funding for the research of all types of things that we think are stupid, because its a revenue stream. its no different then the people who go on shark tank with a really stupid invention.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 2:35 pm

        I’m gonna get a little ranty here…The thing is lbh, everyone is guilty of asking “why is that important?” and for sure, a study about emoticons is less useful than curing cancer. And all of these things ARE likely funded by tax money, through NSF or NIH or any other institute. But, you know what? I don’t know shit all about social science, so if social scientists think this is useful to add to our knowledge, than I’m happy it should be funded. People keep suggesting scary ideas about how the public should get a say about how research money is spent – having people vote on ideas and weird things like that. And that is the worst idea ever. Seriously. The way that science works is by allowing people the freedom to explore ideas. People won’t discover cool things if the only science they are allowed to do has a very specific “useful” output.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 2:36 pm

        btw, lbh, this isn’t specifically geared toward you necessarily, just the general attitude. People in this country are already so anti-science that it scares me the direction it could go.

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:47 pm

        why can’t you just let a fight ensue where it wants to naturally? why do you have to try to be diplomatic and shit.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 2:49 pm


      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:50 pm


      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:51 pm

        I for one felt attacked, as usual. Thanks for nothing Rachel! We all know it was geared specifically to me and my ignorance!

      • Classic July 8, 2013, 3:04 pm

        I never notice this level of detail. I love Rachel.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 6:28 pm

        You guys are funny. <3

        I'm sorry I'm too nice :p I was trying to give an informative rant more than an angry one.

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:48 pm

        So, do you think that the general attitude is that way because they just think they know better, or that they’ve never heard a good argument for studies? Maybe a mix of both? This was def one of those topics that I had a very loose opinion on because I’ve not really ever thought about it, and my loose opinion was quickly swayed.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 2:52 pm

        i think that people think they understand how science works when they dont. like, i heard something on NPR about a local researcher who was going to be cut from funding because of something, bla bla bla, but she researched like birds or insects or something- something totally Not Important. but, then, on this story, she talked about how what she learned from the birds other people are then able to take and apply to planes and aerospace shit and stuff- so its totally Important because it can give us new/inexpensive/greater/whatever technology. i dont think that people realize that happens.

        and with GG’s husband- i mean history is Not Important. but, if he finds something that erases racism, that is really Important.

        and really, what if the cure for cancer is emoticons? we would never know.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:57 pm

        Insect research is incredibly important. The smallest of organism can completely destroy an entire eco system. Take the “crazy ant” (from Africa I think) that is invading the south right now. It’s pushing other ant species out of their natural habitat, killing entire fields of grass, etc etc. There isn’t any pesticide that works well against them. So they are just throwing off the entire ecosystem. And Stink Bugs in the NE. They are reeking havoc, if research wasn’t done on them it could have an incredibly detrimental affect to farming in the NE.

        And I’m not even going to touch the history comment.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 3:06 pm

        you said it yourself- aids, cancer, criminal rehab, ect are objectively important. history research is objectively not important if we are going by stuff that will give us immediate gratification and fix things- especially the big things that are pushed in our society and advertised and have 5K runs and entire product lines supporting them.

        but, like i said, people dont understand how science works, and that history IS actually important and has good things to contribute to us and our society right now.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 3:09 pm

        “History” is an amazingly broad lump of subjects. It’s honestly unfair to lump some things (Medieval European castles) with others (US Civil rights moment). Anyways. I’m not delving into an augment about this, it’s too close to me.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 3:25 pm

        wait, im confused. do you think im lumping stuff? because im not- im on your side, i think science is important.

        or are you saying that there is useless science?

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 3:31 pm

        I’m just saying history is way to broad to make sweeping comments about the usefulness of it’s research. Honestly, same with science. There is a lot of science research that I don’t think is “important” but others do. So whatever. I wasn’t trying to get in some huge discussion about the validity of research. I just thought emoticons was a weird thing to research. Apparently someone else thought it was important.

      • Lyra July 8, 2013, 6:31 pm

        As someone who falls in the “Medieval European castles” category of history research, I understand that my work isn’t the most utilitarian of directions. However, as a whole, history, no matter what kind, is part of modern understandings of the world. Echoes of the Crusades in interpretations of the Iraq War or continuing ethnic tensions in the Balkans originating in medieval conflicts are just a couple of examples. Knocking one area of history while promoting another does a bit of a disservice to the field as a whole.

      • iseeshiny July 8, 2013, 3:52 pm

        Stink bugs are reeking havoc! <3

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 3:55 pm

        We should add that to the DW Drinking Game. When ever GatorGirls spells a word wrong!

      • iseeshiny July 8, 2013, 4:01 pm

        I don’t comment enough for this to really get anybody drunk, but also one more drink every time iseeshiny makes a pun, or points out one already in existence!

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Yup, your first paragraph. Totally. At first glance, this sounded super dumb to me. I mean, emoticon research?! But hearing these explanations as to how it could be important, yea, it really changes your mind.
        I do think history is very important. Think about how much we’ve learned from it. Anyway, very interesting thread here. Or should I say Very Interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kerrycontrary July 8, 2013, 2:37 pm

        WRS. Even in traditional science and medicine people find really useful things, like cures for diseases, when looking for something else!

      • katie July 8, 2013, 2:38 pm

        i like ranty rachel.

      • bethany July 8, 2013, 2:45 pm

        Me too!

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:48 pm

        i dunno, i think rany rachel could still use a little punch, you know?

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:54 pm

        She started strong, but then toned it down too much with the ‘this isn’t specifically geared toward you.’ She needs practice.

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:59 pm

        a lot of practice. she had so many opportunities to really serve you a good one, and she choked. le sigh.

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 3:05 pm

        Maybe my weak ‘siding with both side’s approach is why she couldn’t go full blown bitchout?

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:41 pm

        Rant away! This is all interesting to me, especially since I’ve had exactly zero experience in research and never really thought much about it. Fwiw, I (now?) agree with you. Really good points.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Just for the record, I’m not anti-science and I do not think the public should choose what is researched by scientists (both social scientists and “regular” scientists- for lack of a better word).

        It was a gut reaction, what I posted. I believe it’s always good to ask why something was done or why there was value in money spent, etc. I actually think there is a lot of value in the “why” question. I still don’t personally see a huge value in researching emoticons. That’s why I wouldn’t choose that topic, if I was a researcher. Other’s are perfectly free to research what ever they want.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 2:58 pm

        I’m not accusing you or any one person specifically of being anti-science, gg. And like I said, I think everyone has those thoughts. I totally do too. As someone who works in the physical sciences, I have a bit of, well, maybe condescension is too harsh of a word, but along those lines, towards some of the social sciences. But then I have to remember, like I said above, I’m not the expert. If the experts think it’s important, or interesting, than it is. And THAT is the problem with the general “why is this important” question. People, the general public, think that they should have some say in things like this, rather than trusting in those who actually know what they’re talking about.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 3:03 pm

        And my mention of “condescension” is really to say, that GG, I totally have had reactions just like that to these sorts of studies. But I check myself. I just want people to try to think to check themselves too.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I guess my point is I want the people DOING the research to be questioning why it’s important. If they can create a riveting argument for WHY, then research it! But if the person researching it can’t answer why it’s important…I think that’s a problem.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 3:15 pm

        that is such a conflict of interest, though, because like i said above, this is how these people make their living. of COURSE they can come up with a riveting argument for why because they need that argument to survive, financially speaking.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 4:10 pm

        The ARE though. That’s how funding agencies work. People write proposals about what research they want to do and why it’s important, and other experts vote on which ones get funded. There is definitely oversight on that, trust me.

      • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 4:13 pm

        I know. I think I’m think about this in terms of who did this research (students at Roanoke University) and other’s are talking about this in terms of the medical community using public funding.

      • HuggaWugga July 8, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Psych researcher, here, though if you pressed me I’d say “I’m in a field that’s ‘more scienc-y’ than other psych fields, so please don’t call it all social science”. The social fields definitely have an image problem with things like this–I do short-term memory research, and we get lumped in with studies like these that I feel (when I’m feeling snooty, to be honest) give my field such a bad reputation. The media misreport the studies or the findings, and this is what the average person ends up taking away about psychology. The social sciences don’t receive funding to the extent that the harder sciences do–and that’s usually fair, since the most expensive equipment I work with is fairly cheap (save for the occasional neuroimaging study). But with the image problem, it makes getting funding that much harder. And one thing I’ve had to struggle with is the urge to say “well, at least my field’s not as bad as social psych/insert other field here”, and to instead realize that, when studies are done systematically and with a larger goal in mind, there is value in that research regardless of the field.

        Also, one single study can’t really tell you too much about what the researchers were hoping to achieve. Sure, the emoticon study sounds funny and wasteful, but it could be part of a larger body of work that is trying to forward a greater theory. That’s usually what grant proposals require you to do–and it makes sense that the average person wouldn’t get that. Just to highlight an instance of this, a group of researchers got an IgNobel Award last year for putting dead salmon in an fMRI scanner. It doesn’t sound like much until you learn that the study was done to examine false activations that can occur and be erroneously reported as meaningful, and that this should be a warning to anyone who does research in an fMRI scanner.

      • rachel July 8, 2013, 6:27 pm

        My fiance (teehee) does computational neuroscience, but his phd is in psych, so he can relate to your snooty moments, haha.

      • Lindsay July 8, 2013, 2:54 pm

        True! I took a developmental psychology class last summer, which is often required or recommended for people pursuing degrees in not just psychology, but also stuff like social work, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other allied health fields. Not to mention that it forms the basis of several classes I’m going to be taking in my student affairs master’s program.

        Anyway, the majority of our textbook and lectures were made up of studies like this. Random studies about how people react to things that happen to them, who is more likely to feel what feelings, etc. I think stuff like this is important. Directly, because I can see where a therapist might want to understand jealously to better understand a patient, and indirectly, because leaving out emoticons and stuff like that would be ignoring how society has changed as technology has changed.

      • Eagle Eye July 8, 2013, 2:56 pm

        As an art historian in a relationship with someone in the ‘hard’ sciences – yes, to all of that, actually the state of funding for any and all research is SUPER scary right now.

    • 6napkinburger July 8, 2013, 5:56 pm

      And don’t forget… penicillin was an accident. So were x-rays (ish). Viagra came out of trying to make a heart medication. Research is like a spiderplant, branching out in all directions, including ones that couldn’t have been anticipated. There is merit to researching interesting phenomena which don’t have obvious practical utility.

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  • mandalee July 8, 2013, 1:53 pm

    As a recovering perfectionist, I can relate to this a bit. I don’t think I ever went to the level when I was younger of getting jealous over messages from females on my boyfriend’s Facebook of all things,but I used to feel the urge for everything to be “perfect” in my life, from grades to boyfriends and that led to a lot of jealousy and unrest.

    The relationship before my husband lasted 4 years, 2 years longer than it should have, because I didn’t want to admit I failed at something. I would freak out over every other girl who flirted with him or girls he would hang out with, dragging on fights forever. After a few therapy sessions after our breakup, I realized it was more about losing control of the “perfection” of our relationship, more so than really caring about the relationship or the other person. After we broke up, I realized I didn’t even really like him that much so I couldn’t figure out why I was so overtly jealous all the time.

    It took a lot of work to get over those habits. Perfectionism is so engodly tiring. I like my imperfect life that I have now more than I ever did when I was striving for the perfect everything.

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    • katie July 8, 2013, 2:01 pm

      “I like my imperfect life that I have now more than I ever did when I was striving for the perfect everything.”

      awww, i love that. it needs to be on a mug or something.

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      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:10 pm

        Yea and I need one of those mugs ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Gigi July 8, 2013, 1:58 pm

      This! Exactly!

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  • Fabelle July 8, 2013, 2:18 pm

    I hate the “men are this”, “women are that” tone of the study (or maybe I’m just sick of researchers saying that women are more jealous of perceived ~emotional~ infidelity, because—speaking for myself—that is SO not true), but yeah, otherwise, it totally makes sense why perfectionists would be more jealous.

    Also, to the emoticons thing—I think men are more likely to get jealous when emoticons are used because they typically don’t use them as often? or only use them when they’re trying to bang? So when they see a guy is texting their girlfriend using a bunch of emoticons, they can reasonably determine that he wants her. In THAT WAY. Because that’s what he (the hypothetical “he”) does when he’s talking to a girl he wants to sleep with.

    … ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (& p.s. haha, ooooh, the irony of me complaining about the study using generalizations when the first thing I did was add my own insight based on fucking generalizations re: male/female behavior…)

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    • katie July 8, 2013, 2:36 pm

      werent they just reporting the results, though? like they found that men reacted differently when emoticons were used, but women did not react differently. if thats the results, that just the results, right?

      and also they said that higher achievers were more prone to jealousy, which is a conclusion that wasnt gendered.

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      • Fabelle July 8, 2013, 2:43 pm

        Well, for that part it says, “evolutionary work has found that [men are this, women are that]” & it just seemed like almost…not even relevant to the study itself? (And you’re right, I didn’t think the actual study was gendered, so I don’t get why they even had to throw that in about emotional vs. physical infidelity)

      • Fabelle July 8, 2013, 2:45 pm

        Oh, & to be clear, I’m not saying the emoticons thing was unfairly gendered—that was definitely just the results, & I thought that was interesting. It was just the line about emotional infidelity that made me roll my eyes a little.

      • katie July 8, 2013, 2:46 pm

        oh ok, i just saw that as tying in other research to their research- so like, men reacted a certain way, and other research tell us this, so that goes along with why men reacted in X way.

  • Classic July 8, 2013, 2:30 pm

    I hate the โ€œmen are thisโ€, โ€œwomen are thatโ€ tone of the study.

    I agree with this. Categorizing and generalizing people does not work, based upon my observation. Each individual person is completely different and unique from all others, as far as I can see.

    Huh, I better log out now– the DW drinking game changed my day ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Classic July 8, 2013, 2:32 pm

      First line credit Fabelle.

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  • bethany July 8, 2013, 2:35 pm

    I think I’d get jealous if a girl started posting on my husband’s FB page. Not super jealous, but I wouldn’t like it. It would only bother me because it would be out of character for him. The last girl to post something on his FB page that wasn’t me, was back in December, and it was just some “Sign my petition” thing.

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    • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:42 pm

      So, are you a perfectionist?

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      • bethany July 8, 2013, 2:46 pm

        In my mind. Not in practice. I’m too lazy for that ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 2:49 pm

        so you admit that i have mastered the standing bow better than you?…

      • bethany July 8, 2013, 3:10 pm

        I have yet to see proof of that! However, I only went to yoga TWICE last month!! I was busy. But I’m going back Wednesday, so we’ll see how badly my bow suffered.

      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 2:55 pm

        I like that!!

    • GatorGirl July 8, 2013, 2:49 pm

      Bethany, I think that’s human nature!

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  • Bunnycsp July 8, 2013, 2:52 pm

    I totally forgot about the cupcake letter. Ha. biggest overreaction ever.

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  • Grilledcheesecalliope July 8, 2013, 3:54 pm

    I’m not a perfectionist but I get super jealous when my bf shows emotional closeness with people other than me, I start comparing the closeness and muttering snarky shit under my breath. It’s a problem.

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  • MackenzieLee July 8, 2013, 4:01 pm

    I couldn’t find a good place to comment in the fireball that was the fight over funding for research. I just wanted to say a few things. First like gg said (I think it was gg). This study was done by students. The students used were likely partaking to cover a psych requirement. When I had a psych class we had to be in at least 2 studies that semester for a participation part of our grade. Thus, the experiment was likely free.

    Beyond that, because there are students involved, the importance of the study is much more likely to be having the student learn how to conduct a study and how to run statistics on the study and then write it up. Good scientists and researchers don’t just grow on trees.

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  • MackenzieLee July 8, 2013, 4:28 pm

    Did we ever get a second update from the cupcake girlfriend?

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  • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 4:35 pm

    Can someone tell me about this cupcake girlfriend? For the first time ever I may have missed it.

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    • Bunnycsp July 8, 2013, 5:05 pm

      That was the one where she posted a pic of a cupcake on facebook and her ex liked the picture. Then her boyfriend freaked, said it was disrespectful, and asked “how does his d*ck taste?” over liking a picture of a cupcake.

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      • lets_be_honest July 8, 2013, 5:07 pm

        And all these months later, we’re left wondering just how the dick tasted.

      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 6:09 pm

        like red velvet maybe!

    • Classic July 8, 2013, 5:05 pm

      It was partly about a woman whose current bf freaked out about her ex Liking a photo of a cupcake.

      Possibly the original:

      Possibly the update:

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      • Addie Pray July 8, 2013, 6:13 pm

        Nice work, Classic. I read the old letter. I commented … but only with threadjacks, go figure. The letter was dated Dec. 2012, back when I still had my boyfriend, and I was talking about him, go figure x 2. And now I’m sad. He was such a disappointment.

        Le sigh.

      • Classic July 8, 2013, 6:23 pm

        Drink! Everyone!
        (That was for the DW drinking game)

        Wow, I get to modify it again, good thing.

        So I think what I said might have seemed cold, but it was just in the spirit of the DW drinking game, OK? I am sorry about the disappointing ex, but it seems to me that they all are disappointing until someday you find the right one, as some people seem to have done. Well, you learn things from having known them, anyway.

      • Classic July 8, 2013, 6:51 pm

        Look you guys, robot jewelry!


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