Everyone loves to just walk around saying “Ugh, I’m literally so stressed out right now.” Stress is everywhere, embodied in every kvetching student, in every mother of three children, and in every girl who breathes. It is the symbol of our generation that thrives on espresso, that doesn’t really sleep at all, and that has to deal with the most competitive job market and higher education system in the world.
The worst thing about all of this isn’t even how suckish being stressed feels; it’s that everyone is stressed, so no one’s really stressed, and it’s become an acceptable and normal thing to constantly feel like you’re swimming in a kiddie pool with Tilikum (Tilikum, for those of you who are unaware, is the killer whale in the focus of my fav documentary, Blackfish).
Because I’ve been stressed out since I, as a wee newborn, witnessed my mother birth my placenta, I thought I could offer a few tips in dealing with stress.
Do: drink coffee. It’ll keep you going.
Don’t: talk to other people. Because you’re just going to take all of your stress out on them and then you’ll look like a bitch. Of course you probably are a bitch, but it’s best to hide that at all costs and whenever possible.
Also, don’t: talk to your boyfriend. He will inevitably piss you off.
Don’t: be around people who chew and/or breathe loudly. They will also piss you off. And distract you.
Do: yoga. Cliché, yes. But it’s a great way to kind-of work out and kind-of take a nap during shavasana.
Don’t: smoke a cigarette. No matter how cool you think they make you look, they just don’t. They also don’t actually make you less stressed. Post-boge, you still have an overwhelming amount of shit to do so it makes more sense to stop wasting time taking years off your life and instead just like, work!!!
Do, but also don’t: stress eat. Stress is great for binge eaters. If you say you’re stressed while eating a piece of cheesecake at 3pm (ya know, just an afternoon snack!) or while eating an alfredo pasta, pepperoni pizza, and a giant snickerdoodle cookie at 1am (a.k.a. me last Tuesday night #sorrynotsorry), then everyone is like “Oh, ok, you’re off the hook for not trying to mimic Kendall Jenner’s chopstick-like frame at this moment in time.” However, stressing can be a great way to be like “Ahhh my tummy is in such knots! I cannot seem to stomach a thing!” and shed a few pounds.
Do: go to bed early, and do something for yourself before you go to bed. I’m not saying go to sleep at 10pm, but don’t go to sleep at 2am. I usually work until 10:30ish, then whip off my bra immediately (remember, ladies: no bra, no problem), and then get in bed to watch an episode of Girls. Glass of wine, optional.
Though stress is the most chronic illness of ever, it is something that we can combat together. One last tip: cry. Cry a lot. But stay positive! You will get through this! (Ha. Ha. Ha.)
As women, we’re taught to say “no” to things like mean girls, scary men, and carbs. Obviously, some have more difficulty saying it than others. Just as obviously, I’m not one of the girls that does.
My seventh grade year consisted of 400 panic attacks–one daily, and the occasional two-a-day. Food, along with many other things, made me anxious. This is mostly because it is very hard to chew, swallow, and hyperventilate at the same time. I hated this; if there was one thing I wanted, it was to be able to go out to eat and not worry about not eating. My parents tried to ease my stresses by telling me that I never had to eat if I didn’t want to. If I was hungry, I should eat, and if I wasn’t hungry, I shouldn’t eat, and that was that. I would never have to make an excuse to anyone, and I should never feel bad about anything. This is my first recollection of learning how to say “no.”
A more relatable example may be that of the typical haircut. You’re sitting in the chair, and a woman who smells really good but also borderline like the depletion of the ozone layer by hairspray asks you how you want to get trimmed. A little face frame? A little side bangs? Some layers? OK! OK! OK! Suddenly your hair becomes this crazy thing that you have the ability to change however you want to. But you also know that the change isn’t permanent, so a risk wouldn’t hurt. It sounds like the perfect storm–and it usually is.
Suddenly, you look in the mirror and realize how closely you now resemble a poodle with hair that awkwardly falls RIGHT in the middle of your boobs (you all know what I’m talking about). You didn’t want your hair this short and you just asked for a trim, but here you are, looking like Slash. And couldn’t it all have been prevented with a little, “no”? With a little “that’s short enough, thank you and please stop killing the polar bears with your beauty products”?
I’m still kinda bad at directing my hair stylist, but other than that, I’ve gotten good at saying “no.”
It’s a Saturday night, and I’m having a heated conversation with a guy who told me to relax because I wouldn’t dance with him. I didn’t want to dance, I didn’t want to kiss him, and I didn’t want to lead him down either of these undesirable paths. At first, he playfully teased me for having a stick up my ass. But then the tone changed, and I found myself being reverse slut-shamed. I was being prude-shamed.
“Look,” I told him, “I just don’t want to go there. I just don’t want to kiss you.” And it was true–not a bone in my body wanted to. I liked him, but not enough to go there. Not enough to go anywhere, really.
Then, shit hit the fan. He penalized me for saying no, telling me that he read my blog and he knew what I was “all about.” Then, he went on to say that my expectations of men were unrealistic, that I thought I was Taylor Swift, that I needed to relax, that things would never work out in my favor if I continued to believe in love the way I did, and ended the argument with a really solid closer: “If you just peck me you might feel something that you don’t even know exists right now,” essentially dissing every aspect of my being and then trying again, after all of that, to get me to kiss him.
In the most unintentional way possible, he proved all my theories true; I’ve never been happier about saying “no.” He made me realize that when I act with my own opinions and beliefs in mind, I win. So yeah, I’m still going to be a “relationships-girl” and I’m still going to not want to kiss you unless I actually want to and I’m still going to have high expectations. Because I woke up this morning not feeling like a shithead, and isn’t that the goal?
To people like that, we say “sorry-not-sorry.”
As we’ve come to know too well, the times are a-changin’. What once was nice and traditional has now become outdated and prudish. Girls bare more skin at Bar Mitzvahs than I do on the beach. Hell, they don’t even wear dresses to Bar Mitzvahs anymore. Now, it’s all about the crop top and shorts combo. I commend the trend, but when I have a daughter of my own I’ll make sure she relies on other “in” pieces… like oversized turtlenecks, for example.
My grandparents met through a mutual friend. My grandfather called my grandmother, introduced himself, and asked if she would “marry [him] this afternoon.” It was classy. My grandma wore white gloves on their date to the zoo. I’m all about it.
My parents met in standards more era-appropriate–on a college street corner on Halloween. Later that night, my dad serenaded my mom by playing her righty guitar upside down (he was a lefty). Slightly more edgy, but as charming as ever, to say the least.
I thought I’d share some ways for you to tell your children in ten or fifteen years from now about how you really met their mother–likely a story neglect of white gloves, potentially containing a good serenade (but only if one of you was, like, on molly at a rave or something like that).
1. “We liked the same @JewBoyProblems tweet. Then, I stalked her on Twitter and she seemed like the perfect balance of Long Island and sleepaway camp-cool for me.”
2. “As soon as I found out that he was @JewBoyProblems, I knew Bubbe would approve.”
3. “So, son, there used to be this thing called Tinder…”
4. “We were both waiting on line at Juice Generation and she complimented me on my desert boots.”
5. “We didn’t go to the same co-ed camp, but we had socials…”
6. “She made a naked video of herself and somehow every thirteen-year-old in the Tri-State Area got a hold of it. I used it as a conversation starter when we met in college.”
7. “My mom was her SoulCycle instructor.”
8. “I know you wouldn’t think that the Boca West club pool could be a romantic spot, but…”
9. “I was ZBT, she was SDT, and the rest was history.”
10. “We were on the same Westcoast Connection Europe teen tour!” (Funny sidenote: I went to the Westcoast website to find a photo to pair with this, but I recognized too many of the kids in all of the promos and didn’t want to make them feel super awk when they heard their face was plastered across The FYD)
11. “I held her hair back for her at a tailgate. She thought I was the nicest guy in the world.”
12. “We had friends in common and I kept liking all of her #tbt’s.”
13. “I was standing behind her in line at Pinkberry and offered to pay for her fro-yo.” (My husband to my child)
A week ago, I wasn’t sure if my “Valentine” knew about Valentine’s. He kept referring to February 14th as “February 14th” and not as “Valentine’s Day.” It could have been intentional, sure. But it also could have been because he lives under a rock. I assumed it was the latter. I also devised a devious plan.
I figured I wouldn’t bring it up. I’d wait it out and see if the V-word would ever make its way into our vocabulary. If I were to write about Valentine’s Day before I saw him on February 14th, he would have seen it, and my plan to make him figure it out on his own–or else–would have been tragically ruined. I was creating a loophole, expecting–or maybe even hoping–that February 14th would come and I would be able to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Babe.” The “babe” would obviously be in a very rude and sarcastic tone, and he would owe me everything for a lifetime because of it.
Girls are completely evil. In what sick, twisted world would anyone want her Valentine to forget Valentine’s Day? Apparently, this one.
Eventually, I found out that he knows Valentine’s Day is this Friday. I’ll miss my evil plan, but it was time to part ways. I feel terrible for boys who have to deal with girls like me every February 14th–or, for that matter, boys who have to deal with any girls at all. Valentine’s Day is full of glitter, hearts, chocolate, and contradiction.
Girls who say they hate Valentine’s Day really don’t. These are the girls who, though they’d never admit it, actually care about Valentine’s Day more than anyone else. If they really hated it and if they really didn’t care, they’d have no opinion at all. Now, the girls who hate Valentine’s Day are reading this and saying, “But I really actually don’t give a shit.” Honey, please. How can you not?
These are the girls who have the highest expectations for Valentine’s Day, and they assume their expectations will not be met months before February even rolls around. They’re disappointed before they’re given the opportunity to be pleased. Being anti-Valentine’s doesn’t make you independent or rebellious, either. In my fattest and most awkward stages throughout life, I’ve always managed to love Valentine’s Day. Having my mom and my grandma was plenty for me.
The best way to go about Valentine’s Day is understatedly. It’s one of the few holidays where I truly believe less is more. I always thought that receiving jewelry as a gift was incredibly awkward. When a boy gives me jewelry, I always feel like I owe him something in return. I feel guilty taking it. It’s fancy. I’m not. (Then again, that isn’t to say I won’t accept it. I mean, let’s face it, I’m poor and I’ll take whatever I can get.)
The problem with Valentine’s Day for both guys and girls is the ridiculous amount of pressure that people manage to shove onto a calendar date. For some reason, humans feel the need to prove how much they love each other on one day. I love Valentine’s Day–I always have–so I’m not saying I’m against it. I am, however, against the awkward pressure between two people who both can’t help wondering how much the other is satisfied. Satisfy me 365 days a year, and I’ll feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Buy me a low key dinner on February 14th, and I’ll still just as much feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Hey, at least you remembered what February 14th is.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again–girls are evil. Sure, I bet I’m selling myself as the coolest Valentine there is. I don’t need gifts! I don’t need lovin’! But of course, if I were to get nada, I’d be temperamental as feck. We say we hate Valentine’s Day, but that’s really because we love it. We say we love Valentine’s Day, and then make boys feel like they need to buy us Blue Ivy or North West or earrings or something. This is what Valentine’s Day does to us. The insanity is painstaking, but for some reason, it remains one of my favorite days of the year–in my fat, awkward stages, and in my well groomed ones.
Valentine’s is a day about love; not about boys and not about gifts. If you want to give someone the best Valentine’s Day there is, then remember that. Besides, save your whining and disappointment for New Years’. If you want to talk about depressing holidays, I’ll give ya that.
I decided to get creative. Instead of blurring out the photo, I “anonymified” it. As I sit at my computer screen, hysterically laughing at this devious creation (thank you photo editing apps), I can’t help but recall when this photo was taken: four days before I broke up with my boyfriend. We went into the city for a night, and all I kept saying was that I wanted to buy a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ben & Jerry’s and eat out of it with a spoon. Needless to say, we bought the pint at 2 a.m., shared a sparse amount (whatever I was willing to give up) with some friends, and finished the entire thing. Therefore, I can scientifically prove to you that eating stuff out of the jar is a comfort, easing some of the most difficult curveballs life throws our way.
My first instinct was to write about Nutella. But honestly, what am I going to tell you about Nutella that you don’t already know? Nutella and the young woman are inseparable. We rely on Nutella like we rely on tampons. To put it bluntly, they just soak everything up.
If you’re happy, you might celebrate with a thing of Nutella. If you’re
high as hell sad, you’ll head right for the Nutella. But in reality, it isn’t the hazelnut that gives you a sense of satisfaction. It’s eating shit right out of the jar that does.
For being obsessed with being skinny, we seem to let all f**** go when a jar of something yummy comes our way. Ben & Jerry’s just isn’t the same in a cup or a cone or a bowl. It’s only great out of the tub. Bethenny Frankel says that “naturally thin” people never eat stuff out of the jar. You end up eating without thinking, eating too much, and getting fat, and dying alone. Or, god forbid, you might decrease the size of your thigh gap. We all know that a decreased thigh gap is only good for catching crumbs of food as they fall on the way to your mouth. So not worth it.
In honor of the food coma that Christmas instills in all people–if you aren’t eating a ham right now, then you’re definitely going ham on kosher Chinese food–it’s important to come to terms with the fact that we love eating shit out of the jar. I spend most of my weeknights on the floor on my room sticking my fingers in a jar of Justin’s almond butter with my best friend. We love getting dirty with some Nutella, ice cream, almond butter, and obviously peanut butter (the indulgent version of almond butter). Eating out of the jar, for most girls with ridiculous body image issues, is the closest you’ll ever get to going skydiving or something like that. Risky as hell. Living life on the edge. Not counting calories for a slim (or not so slim) second.
On a day like today when I’m having serious trouble coping with my own #fatgirlproblems, I’m going to give you shitty advice: eat out of the jar. But keeping “thin” in mind, maybe only have a few bites. Also, remember that committing to not eating out of the jar is, by association, committing to not taking swigs out of the bottle. Now that is a bond I’m not sure any of us are ready to break.
I have always wanted to be a guru of something. I’ve attempted many times, going through a guru of Polly Pockets phrase, guru of Dalmatians phase (don’t ask), guru of tye dye Soffe shorts phase, guru of anxiety phase, and even a guru of haiku phase. I finally feel like I’m a guru of something, though it’s something I neither imagined I would be a guru of nor one I ever wanted to be. Unfortunately, I am a guru at long distance relationships.
Being a guru of long distance relationships is really tough work. Ideally, I would have an ashram located in a TriBeCa loft space where teenaged girls wearing a strict uniform of bare feet, Lulu Lemon leggings, and vintage Grateful Dead t-shirts would come with the two most essential things in life (tissues and yoga mats). Then, we would sit in prayer circles and I would offer words of wisdom about topics like “She’s Not Just His Best Friend, She Wants His D,” “Obsessive Facebook Stalking Is A Disease,” and “Don’t Let Him Manipulate You, You Got This In The Bag Girlfriend!” Of course, I can’t afford the ashram just yet so for now I have a small group of Instagram followers that had a mild infatuation with my fairytale-esque relationship while it still existed.
I was in a full fledged LDR for seven months. Then, like everything else eventually does, it ended. Because of my obsession with cynical millennial-oriented thought-piece websites, I’ve read tons and tons of posts about LDRs. To my surprise, they seem to be a really popular topic. This is probably because writers like to tell the world about their failures in love. Clearly, it provides good material. I’ve read pro-LDR pieces and anti-ones. To be honest, most of them say that these relationships aren’t worth it. To be even more honest, I have to agree.
There is a strong argument in favor of long distance relationships: if you really “love” one person, and if you see a potential future with that person, then distance shouldn’t change the way you feel about them. But I didn’t stop loving my boyfriend because he was far away. Things changed because we did, and we changed because we are human. He probably claims I changed because I’m a bitch, but whatever.
I’m not anti-long distance, don’t get me wrong. If you can do it, then you should. But there is a serious problem in long distance relationships and it’s that people forget to put themselves first. Call me selfish, sure. But your relationship shouldn’t turn into an extracurricular activity. You need to do you. You can also do each other, but you primarily need to do you.
People keep writing about the crucial parts of a long distance relationship–talking every day, trusting each other. They say that when a long distance relationship fails, it’s because you’re missing one of these ingredients as if your love life can be written down in a cookbook and made by following a recipe. All of these cliché writers are neglecting to highlight happiness. LDRs have a tendency to break someone’s heart in half and then hold one piece hostage a thousand miles away. You deserve to have your whole heart, all of the time. You deserve to have you. My LDR didn’t end because I couldn’t deal with the four hour bus ride or because I wanted to be with other people. It was because I needed to have myself and my whole self to do what I wanted. We deserve to feel OK by ourselves because we’re fucking awesome.
Recently, my ex-boyfriend gave me a digital shout out, so I thought that it would only be fair to return the gesture. There was a lot of talk about my break up. Haters gonna hate, but what it comes down to is that my long distance relationship just didn’t work.
On long distance relationships, in summary: life is going to happen, so maybe we should let it.
“Let’s stay friends.” “You’re my best friend, and I don’t want to lose that.” “I miss having him as my friend.”
There is clearly a reason why someone put the “friend” in “boyfriend.”
In other languages, there is a single word for “male significant other.” In Spanish, it is novio. In Hebrew, it is chaver. But in English, it’s a compound word. Boy-friend. Girl-friend. English often seems to fail with its inability to be phonetic and its reputation as one of the most difficult languages to learn as a non-native speaker. Other languages have simple, direct words for phrases, human habits, and other occurrences that English does not. My favorite example of this is the Norwegian word forelsket, which explains the euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.
Typically, English is more complicated than it needs to be. But then again, so are our relationships. When it comes to the words we use to explain the one we’re with, I think we are spot on. Boy-friend. Girl-friend.
In life, you will date many people. You will love a few. And if you are lucky, one of these relationships will last forever. Most of them will not. The possibilities of the ways that your relationships will end are endless and infinite. I’m not so old myself, yet I’ve already heard what seems to be 1,000 ways to break up. Even though we all have our own stories and secrets of how our once-lived fairytales came to a close, I believe in that in reality, there are only two ways things can end: badly, or well.
If it ends badly, then it’s obviously difficult to stay friends. If things end well–or just not so badly–then you should be able to stay friends. And unless a hellish, unforgiving act was taken by either person in the relationship, friendship (or at least mutualism, a term I learned in AP Biology but often apply to real life) should eventually occur. If you liked each other once, it seems silly that you wouldn’t like each other again. Because, in their lifetimes, humans date so many people, most relationships do not end horrifically, although I totally ruin that statistic. It would make sense that most of us should be able to stay friends. If you like someone as a human, that does not mean you would necessarily like them romantically. But if you like someone romantically, then you really should like them as a human. If not… then I don’t really know what to tell you. Maybe you’re doing it wrong.
So then why the hell is it so effing difficult to stay friends?
I’m just going to come right out and say it–the main difference between your relationship with someone when you are dating and when you are not is all the stuff with the birds and the bees, which I don’t have to delve deeply into because 1) you all know what I mean and 2) my mom reads my blog. So you take the kissin’ and the lovin’ out of your relationship, and suddenly, you stop talking. Not only do you stop talking, but you really don’t like each other. When I put it like that, doesn’t it sound kinda horrible?
If you love someone for who they are and not for what you do behind closed doors, it doesn’t seem like it should be so hard to look past whatever obstacles you faced in your relationship–given, a few weeks of personal space and separation have been taken–and enjoy each other’s presence and company as friends. And if you can’t even speak to someone after years and years of dating and months and months of silence, and the only real difference in who each of you is that you aren’t sleeping together anymore, isn’t there a huge flaw in that?
It’s a shame that recently, we’re taking the “friend” out of boyfriend. That word is in there for a reason. Isn’t it?
There is, most certainly, a recipe for a standard Jewish child:
3 years at synagogue or JCC preschool
7-10 summers spent at overnight camp in the Poconos, the Berkshires, or Maine (number of years is flexible)
1 or more additional siblings
Born and raised in a northeastern suburb
Bar or Bat Mitzvah, obviously
Rarely tall or above-average in stature
There are more stereotypes that I could add to the mix, but I figured I should stop before I offend or exclude anyone. I highly considered writing “dark, curly, thick hair,” but I didn’t want to make the few blondes in the tribe feel any less JAPpy or legitimate than the rest of us.
The truth of the matter is that the Jewish culture, as well as other communities and groups of people sharing a common nationality or religion, comes with a lot of tradition. We lead similar lifestyles, and while some of us lean more towards Jack Rogers and others towards Doc Martens (cough cough, me), we still manage to have a lot in common.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to notice this more and more. When we’re younger, we make friends through the connections that our parents have. Now that we’re fully functioning young adults with control not only over our bladders, but also our studies, our social lives, and our luxury cars, the connections we make are truly our own. It is impossible for me to go anywhere–whether it be a party, lunch in town, a charity event, or even a spin class–without speaking to someone that I know at least one person in common with.
This phenomenon is known as the “Six Degrees of Separation.” According to Wikipedia, the most reliable source that feeds the minds of millennials, “Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of ‘a friend of a friend’ statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.” As a nice Jewish girl, this theory has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. But still, to this day, it blows my mind.
My parents met on Halloween in college when a friend in common introduced them on a street corner. It would come as no surprise to me if you told me that your parents were seated next to each other at a wedding, were set up on a blind date, or had at least one mutual friend.
For a while now, I’ve had a theory of my own. What if, to find our husbands or wives, we used the six degrees of separation to figure out who of the opposite sex (or of the same sex 😉 #DOMA) we statistically knew the most amount of people in common with? Then, what would happen?
Well, you would certainly have a lot to speak about, and that’s the obvious answer. But once you’re done discussing how that girl (who went to Hebrew school with both of you) shouldn’t have gotten into “x” college or how that guy (who also went to your pediatrician) needs to realize that no one cares he was a camp Olympics general, how much more would you have to discuss? Would my theory work? Or would we just have more people to gossip about?
To a certain extent, you are who you surround yourself with. If a boy and a girl know a lot of the same people, it could therefore mean that they are similar people themselves. But it could also mean that their paths crossed multiple times amongst the over-the-top Bar Mitzvah parties, the eight summers at camp, the four years at a rah-rah school, the three years in law school, the summer internship at JP Morgan… shall I dare continue?
Is there a difference between what is bashert and what, statistically, is a balanced recipe for a Jewish couple?
When we are done gossiping about the 2,000 people we know in common (2,000 is not an understatement) and we start to let our guards down about who we really are on the inside, will it be a perfect match?
There are many upsides and many downsides to having more than half of your friends be guys. An example of a downside would be last night, when I had seven of them over for dinner and I spent a solid twenty minutes making a beautiful salad, which only one of them put on his plate. When you don’t have anyone to share the experience of a good salad with, things get rough. An example of an upside is that when they’ve finished eating, they are each willing to take his own plate and bring it into the kitchen without so much as a single complaint. And, to top it off, they have excellent manners.
Another large upside is that boys generally tell it like it is. So when I went out to breakfast with one of my closest guy friends this morning, he not only told it “like it is.” He told it “like it is,” and a whole lot more.
I asked him if he’d rather be really tall and fat, or really tall and really thin. First, we agreed that there are definitely pros and cons to each situation. I couldn’t really decide which I would rather be. But before the conversation extended any further, he said something that caught my attention.
“Well, I’d think you’d rather be tall and thin, right?”
My immediate reaction to his assumption was “What?” The certainty with which he made that statement was with utmost confidence. But when I stopped and thought about it for a second, I realized where he was going. “You’re right,” I came to admittance. “I would, actually, definitely rather be tall and thin.”
His response summed it all up for me: “Of course you would. Because you’re a girl.”
Before I continue to dive deeper into our conversation, I want to address the fact that right now, you’re all probably thinking, “Of course she’d rather be thin. Who doesn’t want to be thin, even if you’re tall enough to be the lovechild of Yao Ming and Khloe Kardashian, the trademark giant, you would still rather be thin than be fat.” Let me defend my thinking—I imagined that being tall and fat would make someone more proportional, and perhaps one would prefer to look proportional than they would to look like a malnourished Kenyan child on stilts.
Getting back to the story: I asked him what he would prefer to look like, and he said to me, “It doesn’t really matter. I don’t think it really matters for guys.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Because guys can get girls either way. Girls look more into guys than guys into girls.” Although it seems obvious when I say it out loud, in the moment, I was shocked. I could not get over how true that statement was. He continued:
“Some girls like guys who are funny, some girls like athletic guys. Appearance doesn’t matter as much for girls.”
Just when you thought that there couldn’t be enough materialistic betches in the tri-state area, my lovely male friend made us seem that more down-to-earth. Who would’ve thought? Girls care about what’s on the outside, but sometimes, we care about what’s on the inside, too. To state it factually, a guy’s “success rate,” as I’ll call it, does not depend as much upon his appearance as a girl does. Hmm… this could mean a lot of things. This could go a lot of places.
Maybe we don’t give ourselves enough credit for being things like “deep” and “caring” and “emotional” and “sympathetic” and “grateful” (yeah effin’ right). Or, maybe we’re just that easy—so easy that we will fling ourselves at any guy. If you spin it that way, it sounds like we lack self-respect for not ensuring that we are with the most attractive of men. Or maybe we have self-respect for caring about what’s inside and not letting ourselves be with very, very, very attractive assholes (even though obviously we are all with very, very, very attractive assholes at least once in our lives… it’s like a frickin’ right of passage).
According to my friend’s dogma of attraction, guys have an easier time getting girls because they don’t consider personality like we do. If you look the part, you have the part. Done and done. That means that it isn’t necessarily difficult for girls to get guys. Instead, it’s difficult for girls to find, and get, the guys they want. That’s why our “success rate” is lower—because we make it that way. Not because we don’t have game, because you know that we do.
If you’re a funny guy, we like you because you’re funny. OK, fine. Maybe it’s because you’re Jewish and you’re funny. If you’re an attractive guy, we probably like you because you’re attractive. Maybe you’re funny too, but that’s rare. It’s more likely that you think you’re funny. And if we decide that we want to be with you, be happy that we did.
Life is full of a million tiny moments, and when one tiny moment transitions into another, change happens. Basically every second we are awake, or even when we are asleep, something is different than what it was before: your heart makes a new beat, your mind drifts into new, uncharted waters, you feel something you’ve never felt before. And when all of these changes occur simultaneously, you become a kid trapped on a roller coaster when you really don’t like roller coasters at all.
One of the funniest things about change is how much, or how little, we control it. Just when you think you have the reigns, you don’t, and a situation catapults out of control. Just when you make something delicate into something perfect, it breaks. Naturally, of course, it has to.
Why has changed evolved into this concept that almost everyone is afraid of? I’ve heard so many people say, “Oh, I don’t do change well.” My mom always tells me that my dad is “afraid of change.” Change can certainly be good, because before something good turns into something bad, something bad must have turned into that something good. But I guess we just hone in on the negativity because as humans, that is what we are programmed to do.
I always thought that I couldn’t cope with change. My first year of middle school, I was an absolute wreck and a 95-pound ball of anxiety. My freshman year of high school, my anxiety creeped back upon me like a skeleton with long, bony fingers (basically Nicole Richie circa 2006). So, as I’m now the bony skeleton creeping upon another new part of my life, I can’t help but wonder just how much change will destroy me over the next year.
So far, it’s been interesting. I’ve learned a lot because I’ve messed up a lot. Then again, my recent mess ups brought me to some of my most balanced moments. I can’t help but wonder–am I just endlessly screwing up to beat change to the punch? When I think about these mistakes I’ve made, I don’t feel regret. I just feel like I’ve made a mistake. Does that make me a horrible person? If each of us could apologize to every person we’ve ever hurt, then I think that we would. But that couldn’t work for a couple of reasons–no matter how much we say or do, we can never really go back and change what happened. Gatsby can say that the past is repeatable as many times as he wants, and perhaps he’s right. We can repeat the past with our tortured emotions and our aching hearts. But, ultimately, we’re just going to end up back in the present. Changes happens, yes. And so does reality.
After all that’s happened in the past two months–some mistakes made by yours truly, some mistakes made by immature boys who think it’s OK to tell a lady to “go f— yourself”–I understand that life isn’t always a box of chocolates. It’s more like a fortune cookie. It’s always pretty sweet on the outside. But often, what’s inside can disappoint you. It can also pleasantly surprise you.
Here is my life at the moment in three fortune cookies:
#1 would be a fortune cookie that you crack open, but find no fortune. This cookie offered me nothing, and instead, chose to disappear. In the end, it will be this fortune’s loss and not mine. Because if you run away, no one gets your message, and you’ve accomplished nothing.
#2 would be a fortune that makes me feel like a total asshole. “Stop shopping too much, there are naked children in Bangladesh,” “You are a selfish whore,” “Go sit in the corner and think about what you did. –Taylor Swift,” etc.
#3 would be a good fortune. It doesn’t even necessarily have to compliment me, but it would make me think about myself. Some of my favorite fortunes I’ve ever gotten that remind me of this one include, “I learn by going where I have to go,” “Your life is like a kaleidoscope,” and “A kiss makes the heart young and wipe out the years.” And that grammatical error could not be more suitable for this fortune–I love it every second anyway.
Today I feel different. Two days ago, I spent a lot of time sleeping. I napped from 12-5pm and then got back in bed at 8pm, only to get up at 10am the next morning. I cried a little, of course. But today, I feel different. So right now, I like change, because it brought me here.
Last week at lunch with a friend, I was discussing the nitty, gritty details of the status of my current love life. When you talk about boys with a friend, the conversation can always be sure to lead in many different directions–what we like about them, what we don’t, who they are, who we wish they would be. This last clause got me thinking about the minor qualities boys have that make them come up a little short (pun somewhat intended).
Each girl has, in her mind, a specific list of what she likes about boys in a particular order. First, the list is catalogued by category. For example, first could be height, second attractiveness, third quality of humor. But then, she will within each category have another ordered list of preference. If the most important quality to her is height, then she will either prefer shorter guys or prefer taller guys. This list will appear in a different order in everyone’s mind. So while two girls may both prefer taller guys, the importance of height in general could be absolutely key to one and totally irrelevant to the other. I really hope you’re hearing me here. I’m aware of how ridiculous I may sound.
The one category out of the many existing (there are hundreds, of course) that my friend and I discussed over seared tuna salads was intelligence. Recently, a close, and very smart, male friend of mine told me that he always imagined me “ending up with someone very intelligent.” Because of the circumstances in which he divulged this intriguing comment (sitting outside of a fairly large party, surrounded by a group of people loudly socializing with red solo cups), I didn’t take it to much heart upon its release from his mind into the real world. A few weeks later, however, I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about that comment. What does it say about me that he thinks I should be with someone of high intellectual ability? What does it say about what he thinks of me? And, most importantly, how crucial should it be that we have smart boyfriends?
I feel like this could go all the way back to the early 1900s in the era of Elizabeth Cady Stantons and Susan B. Anthonys. If we truly believe that, modernly, there is no need to conform to traditional gender roles within male-female relationships, then I wouldn’t even have this question. Technically, it shouldn’t matter if my boyfriend was smarter than or was as smart as me because it would be absolutely fabulous if I, being the female, was the breadwinner while my trophy husband stayed home and compared strollers with the Irish au pair next door. I often consider myself to be a pseudo-feminist that appreciates a relationship of reversed roles. However, when I found myself seriously questioning exactly how smart any boyfriend of mine should be, I realized that the traditional “couple” stereotype still, naturally, exists. At lunch, my friend and I both admitted it–we want smart husbands. Sorry, Elizabeth.
After our discussion of my guy friend’s comment at the party, and our admittance that we are not as feminist as we once thought we were, I put the big question out there… should it bother me if I’m ever smarter than someone I’m with? I automatically backtracked to every boy I had ever liked (whether the feeling was mutual or was not) and thought about just how smart he was. Her response was quick, and, in my opinion, wildly brilliant: “Well, now you’re asking something bigger,” she said. “How do you define ‘smart?’”
Men, as confusing and complex as they are, can be smart in many different ways. Some babes may be impressed when their guy can speak about football for three hours minimum. I’m not this type of girl. I’m much more impressed when I have a male friend over who is able to survive a philosophical, intellectually-stimulating conversation without sounding stupid. It is not hard to keep a conversation going when you’re talking to a lot of Jewish people; it is difficult, however, to sound like you have an interesting/intelligent opinion every time you open your mouth.
I think that I consider someone “smart” to be someone who is not only good at participating in discussions about current events, societal theories, whatever is “in style,” and historical happenings but, in addition, enjoys these conversations. Then again, I also am interested in having a boyfriend that is willing to go shopping with me and will not make me feel fat when he takes me for fro-yo but then doesn’t get any himself. That is rude, obviously. I think smartness can be measured in a multitude of ways. What it comes down to, I believe, is how he handles a relationship. This can possibly gauge more light on his level of intelligence than anything else. Lying is dumb (it never works in your favor, buddy), ignoring me is dumb (if you feel the need to ignore someone, you shouldn’t be dating her), and taking someone else’s side is dumb (you don’t always have to agree in a relationship, but you always have to be a team). I hope I don’t sound too high maintenance. I don’t sound too high maintenance, right?
So, boys, as the female race, this is all we’re looking for. It’s not too much to ask. Really.