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.”
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.
My 10th grade history teacher tried to convince my class that football was a modern day version of gladiator fighting. Internally, I somewhat agreed. He was a smart man and made his case well–gladiators fought as a means of entertainment, flooding arenas with fans who wanted to see a man (though it didn’t matter which one) die. Football’s not far off. For some reason, people love seeing bodies hurled at each other. While we don’t watch football players literally fight to the death, we live vicariously through their injuries, wondering if we, too, will make that same, painful expression one day during childbirth.
The Super Bowl is a staple of American culture. Most people genuinely enjoy it, but in the way you enjoy Break-Fast on Yom Kippur. It’s not because you like repenting for your sins, but because the holiday just sends out a festive vibe or whatever. In my book, the Super Bowl isn’t real football. But it’s pretty close, so every girl pretends she really gives a shit about the football part of it when truthfully, she probably doesn’t. Besides, the odds that a team you are actually a fan of year-round playing in the Super Bowl aren’t in your favor. So if you don’t love football and your team isn’t playing, how much do you really care who wins?
There’s a certain stigma attached to the boy’s girl: the girl that likes beer, isn’t afraid of anything, and understands football. She’s attractive, thin–but not too skinny–and dresses simply enough to look good–but not fashionable–and attractive all the same. This girl yells at the television screen on Super Bowl Sunday, gambling away her old babysitting money on bets she swears she’ll win. She probably will win, because that’s just the way the boy’s girl works–not only does she put herself out there, but she gets away with it, too.
Guys say it’s impossible to be “just friends” with a girl. If he’s “friends” with her, he wants to sleep with her. If he’s not, then he has no interest in her at all. This is how I feel about the boy’s girl–it’s impossible for her to actually be a perfect boy’s girl. The relationship between a boy’s girl and herself is too good to be true.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fucking feminist, I’m not a sexist, and I’ve been nurtured via the milk of liberal arts college to believe that gender is a spectrum. The masculine female and the feminine male wholeheartedly exist. I’m not saying a female can’t thoroughly enjoy football, because I’m sure she can. I don’t not enjoy football myself. But the boy’s girl is different than just a girl who likes football, and she’s too good to be true. It isn’t that she falls in love with football, but she falls in love with the idea of falling in love with football. She falls in love with herself; she’s in love with the version of herself she’s capable of becoming with just a little push–if she were to be just slightly more masculine. If she’s pretty enough/chill enough to have the boy’s girl persona become attainable, then she will grab it with both hands and step into it like it’s a Cinderella costume.
Every girl who isn’t a boy’s girl has a soft spot for girls that are. As frustrating or as fake as boy’s girls may seem, everyone wants to be one. I’m not willing to give up colored tights and dresses and my tendency to remain callously uptight in order to evolve into a boy’s girl. I think I’d rather just be me. But it would be nice, dontchya think?
The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, girls want the same things that guys do. A girl wants a boy’s attention in the subtlest and sneakiest way possible. So, she transforms into a boy’s girl. Boys don’t think that they can be friends with girls? Well, girls think that they can be friends with boys. And that’s exactly where things get dangerous. The main difference between boys and girls is that eventually, we (girls) can coerce you (boys) into telling us how pretty you think we are, or how badly you want to “get” with us. But we’ll never give you the satisfaction that you’re willing to give us. Instead, we’ll ask you to pass the guac and the pizza and crack us open a cold one during the big game.
A boy’s girl gets away with being a boy’s girl pretty well. But don’t forget: inside, she’s still a girl.
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).