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.
“Douche de Leche” is a segment featuring pieces for girls to gape at and guys to laugh at, written by some of my closest male friends and (almost completely) uncensored. This post was written by someone who chooses to remain anonymous, though he claims the following:
Enjoy Anon’s piece about how men are basically animals.
Underneath the round, chest-height table there are no more barstools. I stand and look around for an open seat. The table to my left is crowded with a group of girls draped in variations of each other’s outfits. Just beyond them, a pack of boys stake their claim around another table. One popped-collar Polo-wearing member shifts his gaze from the table of girls, to the bartender, then the bouncer at the door, and, finally, back to the table. His friends seem hyper-aware of their postures, keen to keep their chests puffed out at least six inches from the tips of their chins at all times. But Polo Shirt didn’t get the memo. Hunched over, he’s occupied himself by scratching a key across the brown glazed tabletop. I test the surface with my fingernail.
Immediately, resin builds up under my nail. I can’t help but wonder how much damage he could cause with his metal utensil. He looks up again and this time I swear his nose scrunches as if there’s a threat to be smelled. While the bloodhound marks his territory, his friends have begun to engage in their own animal behaviors.
A smaller but more confident member of the boys’ group stands up from his casual lean atop the stool. He’s short and not particularly well built. I wonder how much his hair gel contributes to his total body weight. He smoothes a left paw through the bristly fur atop his head but it pops up like astroturf. His shirt, striped and untucked, doesn’t distinguish him much from the two others who stand and follow him. Together, they migrate over the the girls’ group.
“We go to Brown,” states the boy at the back of their triangular formation. He had leaned forward onto his toes as he spoke, and now rocks back with a smirk as if to punctuate the declaration. The girls put on their best looks of feigned admiration before one breaks the synchronized sarcasm.
She says dryly, “So do we.”
It’s even awkward from where I’m standing, ten feet away. The boy at the back turns his shoulders, ready to flee the scene, but catches himself in his moment of pussy-ness when his friends stand their ground. The smaller boy–with his shirt now partially tucked in–has set his sights on a brunette at the near edge of the girls’ table. He makes eye contact, distracting her–perhaps himself, too–from the embarrassment of his friend’s failed icebreaker. the other two boys try to salvage the situation with the larger group. Striped Shirt now seems removed from his friends.
His target–the brunette–leans in the slightest amount. He mirrors her action. She looks down at her boots and giggles, a restrained mimic of the full-throated chucked he lets out with his head cocked back. Only now does he notice that his friends, tending to their wounded pride, have moved back to more familiar territory. Stripe Shirt places his hand on the girl’s hip and whispers something in her ear. She looks back at her friends before standing and following the boy across the room. I see him smooth his hair once more before they disappear around a corner.
I straighten up and realize that I’ve been staring. I feel like a less talented, less interesting version of a Planet Earth photographer; he sits in a camouflaged tent for hours to capture footage of a Bird of Paradise performing its mating dance. It unfurls its feathers and bounces around a potential female partner. If the mate is disinterested, a fact that’s even harder to read on the expressionless faces of birds, the preened and radiantly feathered male will simply move on. The boy with the striped shirt has succeeded tonight. His friends, now members of a slightly smaller group, ruffle their feathers and turn their heads towards a new group of girls sitting closer to the bar.
Congratulations! You survived your hangover. How does it feel? Rewarding, I bet.
2013 is officially over and we are no longer in that awkward limbo state between Christmas and New Year’s known as “the holidays.” During “the holidays,” everyone talks about everything that’s happened over the past year as if the year has already ended. In reality, the next year hasn’t started yet, either. Our society sets aside a week for us to reminisce and resolute and think about the reasons why we hate ourselves and how we can strive to change in the year to come. The holidays are a strange concept–everyone kind of stops doing everything and doesn’t start real life until the next year gets here. It’s a week that, though it sits on the calendar, doesn’t actually exist.
Now that we are in a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to accurately and fully asses the year that’s passed us by–FYD style, of course. 95 (!!!) posts later and I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of what 2013 was about. Here’s the shortlist of what you really shoulda taken out of that wild year. As the Grateful Dead says, “Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”
1. Your Facebook pro pic says a LOT about you. And by a lot, I mean 4,926 post views in twelve hours-a lot.
2. The selfie had a revolution. It was the thing of the year, by far.
3. 2013 brought us Thanksgivukkah–a chubby JAP’s dream come true!
4. Every. One. Got. Mono.
5. Kimye is everything.
6. FYD lesson: the balance between being a bitch/playing hard to get and being a slut is very, very difficult to find.
7. Celebrate the anniversary of your Bat Mitzvah by handing out the leftover kippahs you’ve been storing, because there is always a bald man somewhere in need of a hat!
8. Tobi.com took over young women’s “trendy”/mundane going out clothing.
9. Everyone used read receipts. Then, they didn’t.
10. Miley came in like a wrecking ball.
11. We acted like chopped salad was just born, even though it wasn’t. Overpriced chopped salad was born, transforming the dirty water dog-type lunch into one better suited to the women taking over the workforce.
12. FYD lesson: your relationship with your boyfriend is really a threesome between you, him, and Facebook.
13. Everyone wrote about kale, but I wrote about it first. Trust.
14. Cady Heron would not have survived a plastics’ group text. That is why being a girl nowadays is so frickin’ difficult.
15. We speak emoji.
17. We were labeled the “me me me generation.” But millennials rock. We’re going places, and they can’t stop us and our selfies.
18. I read Fifty Shades of Grey while living in a rural Eurasian town of conservative Muslims. You might not remember that, but it’ll make you laugh.
19. I wrote my first post, “On Not Being a JAP,” for The FYD. But, obviously, there’s a little JAP in all of us.
20. A lot of other stuff happened that I didn’t get to cover. Gay marriage! Legal weed! Love! Loss! Sex! (GASP!) Breaking Bad! But, obviously, we still have 2014 for all of that.
Cheers to another fro-yo filled year of all of the above. May it bring you all overalls, muploads, selfies, shoe sales, peace, and low fat goodness.
It’s believed that many years ago, mothers would chew food for their infant children and pass it to them via mouth-to-mouth contact. This ritual was not just built to establish family; it was not just to say “I am the mother and you are the child.” It was a necessity of life. It was something, while endearing, humans could not live without.
Today, we kiss not because we need it. Or, perhaps, we kiss because we do. But when I linger on the idea of mouth touching mouth, lip biting lip, I find it to be a strange concept regardless of its origin. Kissing is, in part, something we do because we’re told to. From a young age, we were drilled with the idea that all could be fixed with a simple solution of true love’s kiss. Kissing can wake up an unconscious princess, therefore, it must be able to alleviate all of my much more peasantly problems, right? But regardless of fairytale and fiction, why does something as simple as the connection of two orifices give us a euphoric feeling we wouldn’t experience otherwise?
Philematologists (the formal word for a kissing scientist) have come to the conclusion that we keep on kissing because of chemistry. Kissing releases chemicals and hormones in your body that trigger feelings in your brain. It helps us to judge how interested we are in somebody. I know you know what I’m talking about when I say that you can feel the difference between a kiss that means nothing–it just doesn’t do it for you–and a kiss that gives you that feeling. And, after all, kissing is (almost) as intertwined with someone else as you will ever be.
When I was younger, my grandma and I had a joint obsession with The Princess Diaries. We were convinced we were the nonfiction Jewish version of Princess Mia and Queen Clarisse (a.k.a. “Grandma”). Through my freshman year of high school, I would have sleepovers with my grandma once every month or so and we would alternate between watching the first movie and the second while eating frozen Cool Whip out of the container. We knew every word, every scene, every sound. I also had every book in the series–all sixteen of them. To most, Mia is known for her trademarked idea of the “foot-popping kiss.”
“You know, in the old movies whenever a girl would get seriously kissed, her foot would just kind of… pop.” My grandma and I watched each month as Mia figured out her true love via test of the foot pop over and over again. This was my exposure to sex and romance–watching a Disney-produced film with my grandma, who once wore white evening gloves on a day trip to the zoo with my grandpa.
One night, my grandma and I decided to sway from our routine. We rented The Kids Are All Right, now one of my favorite films, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose teenaged children meet their sperm donor father. In a scene, Bening and Moore attempt to spice up their sex life by watching gay porn. Consequentially, this scene was graphically displayed on my grandmother’s oversized plasma screen television.
I had never seen my grandma cringe the way she did. Though we also shared a love of forward thinking girl power, I was primarily her Princess Mia, not her gay porn advocate.
“It’s okay,” I told her. “It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”
Though I was getting older and more “aware,” I was still big on the foot-popping kiss. My friends starting kissing boys in the sixth grade. Though I had my fair share of opportunities–and by opportunities, I mean boys leaning in and me literally running away–I waited so that my first kiss would be perfect. I wanted it to be memorable so that one day, I could look back at the five minutes of my life I was closest to becoming a princess. My first kiss was a foot-popper. And, of course, I told my grandma about it the next time I saw her.
I understand why we touch each other. I understand snuggling, cuddling, sleeping together, even holding hands. Part of me still finds it strange that we have a compulsion to kiss. When you see someone you love, you want to kiss them hello, you want to kiss them goodbye, and you want to kiss them every second in between. I know I want my lips on someone else’s, but I’m not sure why.
To Mia Thermopolis, a good kiss is foot-popping. To Romeo and Juliet, a kiss is a prayer and a sin sweetly purged. And to me, it’s something I’m still trying to figure out (with practice, of course).
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.
Recently, I’ve read a lot of online articles about chivalry. Some argue it’s dead, others argue it isn’t, and many say women are, in fact, the ones who’ve killed it. As someone who believes that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities (and not as someone who doesn’t shave my legs, because I do, or as someone who is an unhygienic man-hater, which I am also not), I consider myself a feminist. But as someone who manipulated her first kiss so that it would be under a streetlight on New Year’s Eve, I also believe in classic romance and knight-in-shining-armor happy endings. Something I’ve struggled with all my life is figuring out where these two important and constant values find their balance.
Is it possible for me to be a feminist that believes in chivalry? Or am I, along with every other girl who was raised on a diet of Disney princess movies, the utmost contradiction?
First, I want to address the claim that chivalry is dead, because it definitely isn’t. It might be hard to find them, but guys who won’t let you open your own car door and pay for all of your meals still exist… they’re just really hard to find. We’re also at the age where girls aren’t looking for someone who is as chivalrous as he is attractive or as he is fun. And if we aren’t demanding it, guys aren’t going to go out of their way to do it. If we give ourselves to them and they don’t need to put in the effort to woo us, then why would they? It makes sense. Perhaps your guy is more chivalrous than you might think… he just hasn’t found his armor yet. He’s been too focused on riding the horse (haha).
When we get older and boys realize that we are god’s gift to planet earth, as we obviously are, maybe things will change. Chances are, actually, they will.
Chivalry is not necessarily degrading to women if it is done right. When it started, it was about the strength of men in comparison to that of women, displaying the qualities they have that we physically do not. I am definitely on the liberal side of most, if not all, social issues. Like, basically 100%. But it bothers me when feminists try to define themselves as feminists by saying that women are just as strong as men, or just as capable of carrying a 50 pound package from the mail room as a man would be. In truth, we are not. It’s simply not how we’re built. Men are made to be stronger, and that is a fact that, upon admittance, does not make me a bad feminist. It makes me someone that doesn’t ignore certain truths that some who refer to themselves as “feminists” often do. He isn’t holding a door open for you because he thinks you can’t do it yourself. He’s holding it open because, historically, and truthfully, it’s probably easier for him to do. Not a big deal.
However, the issue of paying for a woman is something completely different. My ex-boyfriend never let me pay for a single thing, ever. Rarely–and by “rarely” I mean once every couple of months–I was allowed to pay tip at a restaurant, and that was it. Concert tickets were split evenly–the only rule we agreed on. Of course, it’s nice to have someone pay for all of your shit. If one of my girlfriends paid for everything, it would be just as nice. But, in theory, he was making no more money than I was. We were both teenagers using our parents’ credit cards.
Once I started working, my views about this changed. Now, I don’t let guys pay for me. OK, fine, once in a while, I do. But I never let it happen unless I put up a real fight. Sometimes, guys are relentless. I think we have to realize that they aren’t trying to be degrading, and they aren’t trying to prove they are more powerful–fiscally or physically–than we are in any way, shape, or form. They’re just using a centuries-old tradition to show us that they’re worth it. Think of it this way: they feel like they have to prove something to you. They are men, not boys. Maybe we should take it as a compliment. Maybe I’m a shitty feminist. Thoughts?
When two people are interested in each other, they should be together. Right?
No, of course not.
Although that would make perfect sense, human interaction could never be that easy. Why not? Because if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. It wouldn’t be fun, it wouldn’t be exciting, and we would get bored even though we are in the ideal situation of mutual wanting. We’ve convinced ourselves that when we want someone too much, we don’t want them at all. If we wanted them at all, we would make them work.
Hence, the infinite game of “playing hard to get”: of making sure your friends don’t let you respond to that text message until 11:39pm and 46 seconds, of leaving the conversation in a terrifying cliffhanger by not answering the question “Did I tell you that I ran into ‘x’ today?” No you didn’t tell me, and I’m not going to risk my mysterious persona by allowing this conversation to get irrelevant and pointless. The beginning of a relationship is like writing a screenplay–every word has to have a significance. And if it doesn’t, then it isn’t worth saying.
I used to be and still am terrible at playing hard to get. It isn’t that I’m easy, and it isn’t that I’m a slut. In fact, I’m far from both of these things. Instead, I’m a premature yenta that can’t keep her mouth shut. I was born as a small fuzzy caterpillar waiting to turn into a social butterfly. (If you know my mom, you know exactly where I get this quality from). When I entered the fiery hell of high school girl world, I had trouble understanding how it wasn’t considered the rudest thing possible to play hard to get. I was confused about the bitchy aspects of the dating game; i.e., making a guy text you five times before responding, ignoring his physical existence unless he approaches you, and whatever else my American Girl book “All You Need To Know About Boys a.k.a. How To Get Guys With As Little Sluttiness As Possible” told me to do.
My fears were all legitimate. What if he thinks I died? What if I seem so rude that he’s not going to like me at all anymore? What if he thinks I’m not who he thought I was? Eventually, I became so frazzled that my friends would have to deal with my relationships for me. Every text I received was treated amongst my friends like a table read of Girls.
I eventually realized that I’m not the only one with hard-to-get/how-to-text anxieties. Last week I was snuggled up in bed with my teddy bear, blankie, retainers, and sleep mask. Click here if you want a nice image of what that looks like. As I was falling asleep, someone BURSTED through my door (which I obviously forgot to lock) and jumped on my bed. My first thought was that I was being recruited by Agent Cody Banks and the CIA. Momentarily, I came to my senses and realized that it was one of my best friends. She got a text message: “Hey, what’s up?” Then, the conniption fit initiated. Pretty standard.
My mom was keen at enforcing that I should play hard to get since I was in middle school. He should have to come to your house, she would say. Make him work for you. Originally, I thought that she was crazy. But now, I think she changed me for the better. I feel like I value myself (sexually) more than most of the girls I know do… even more than some of my feminist friends do. Impressive, right? I think that although I feel guilty ignoring a text, or making someone who wants me on the bottom of my priority list, it’s all in good reason. If we don’t make someone–anyone–work to get us, then we ultimately give ourselves less value. Sure, anyone’s daddy can buy him a LandRover. But your daddy will never be able to buy you love from a nice Jewish girl like me.
“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?
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.