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).
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.
If you are not iPhone savvy, which essentially means kbye…
READ RECEIPT: An indication of whether a sent iMessage has been read by its recipient. If the most recently sent message has been read, the word “Read” along with the time at which it was read will appear underneath the message. If the message has not been read, the word “Delivered” will appear underneath. In order for this to function properly, the sender of the messages must have enabled his or her read receipts to be turned on in “Settings.”
An homage (and a very-needed pro/con list) to our favorite little thing to hate:
1. Apple stole it from Blackberry, which is why “betches loved BBM.” We thought it was the best invention since sliced whole wheat bread that you could see when someone read your text. Oh yeah… remember that??
2. If you’re attractive enough for a boy to stalk you, he’ll know you’re blatantly ignoring him.
3. If you’re passive-aggressive enough to ignore your best friend’s outspoken text, she’ll know you’re ignoring her.
4. The “Mom, I swear I fell asleep and didn’t see your text asking me to come home” excuse goes down the drain… like, sayonara.
5. The only way you can see if someone’s reading your messages if if their read receipts are on. So you can totally get away with having yours off but still being able to tell if they’re ignoring you.
1. If you’re trying to play hard-to-get, you can let the other person know that you immediately read every text they send you the second you receive it yet still do not respond.
2. If you’re a guy, your girlfriend will know if you’re reading/ignoring her texts vs. if you genuinely haven’t looked at them yet. Let me emphasize that these PROS are geared towards the ladies.
3. You create an aura of trust with the people whom you text. They know you’re a hella honest babe if you’re putting yourself out there so much.
4. Most people in serious relationships have theirs on. I don’t know how this is a PRO, but it’s a funny thing to notice.
5. You come off as a total badass if your read receipts are on and you ignore people, hence you clearly not giving a f***.
Most people say that they “don’t believe in read receipts” like how I say “I don’t believe in people who chew so loudly that they literally could start another tsunami.” No matter how much you think you can ignore this cultural movement, it’s still going to exist. You don’t like read receipts because you believe in
being super self-conscious privacy. Don’t worry–my receipts are shut off (post-serious boyfriend, of course). But if we could indulge in them without making people think we care too much, wouldn’t we all?
I was going to write about the potential differences between mistake and regret; when you should feel one over the other, why you feel one over the other, etc. Instead, I figured I should forget all the hypotheticals and just dive right into it: the mistake is how you fuck up. The regret, on the other hand, is the unnecessary feeling we seem to convince ourselves we need afterwards.
We regret things because we have a conscience. If you do something that you know is bad but you don’t regret it, you might feel like a total asshole. So we use regret as a mechanism of self-torture which, paradoxically, makes us feel better about ourselves. Leave it to us to make ourselves feel shitty about not feeling shitty. People say that you shouldn’t regret anything you do because there’s no way to change the past. There’s no point in trying to convince ourselves that we can.
The scariest thing about time is its uncanny ephemerality in that every second we spend we will never get back. Unfortunately, you will not realize the value of its currency until you spend it all in the wrong place, like how you feel after you buy that ridiculously overpriced but cheaply made Urban Outfitters sweater. You just wish it didn’t happen. But it did, so we have to give it to the Salvation Army and watch hard-earned babysitting money go down the drain. I just wasted both time and calories by eating peanut butter straight from the jar with my pointer finger. There is nothing in life more vicious than that.
Although I am neither old nor wise, I would like to say that I have made many more mistakes than I have regrets–a pretty desirable ratio. I know I regret something when I think back to something I’ve done and immediately feel my cheeks burn. I get embarrassed for myself, and my embarrassing moments don’t even resurface themselves anywhere besides the comfort of my own memory. Mistakes we can always create and sometimes, although it doesn’t seem like often, control.
Today, we are obsessed with the way the world views us. Everything is everywhere, privacy is a sacred gift, and we tend to invest ourselves in other people emotionally and vicariously. Your favorite sports team affects you as much as your best friend does. Miley Cyrus has the ability to make you cry of deep concern (or maybe she only has that impact on me). Regardless, when you make a mistake, it’s likely going to have an aftermath that involves other people. Maybe these people were rooting for you, and maybe they simply saw a photo of you on Facebook or heard about it through the grapevine. Others are going to view you, and maybe if they didn’t, we wouldn’t regret things as much as we usually do.
I really think that everything happens for a reason. If you screwed up, then you screwed up because you screwed up. There’s no clear answer as to why you did it, and there never will be. The most important thing is to realize why you feel the way you do after the fact. There definitely is a reason for that. And just because you figure out what it is, the speckled rosiness in your cheeks might not fade and the increase in heart rate at the slightest recollection of your world-crashing mistake might not, either. But instead, you will hopefully learn something.
Once, I really wanted something that I thought I deserved. I am very hard headed, and because of this (not because I was spoiled as a child and not because I have an endless flow of resources, which I absolutely do not) I was used to getting things that I worked for. When, for what felt like the first time, I didn’t get this “thing,” I was crushed. I didn’t get it because I was told I needed to learn a lesson; that I needed a character build. I didn’t get it because I needed to learn what it felt like not to get it. I pretended that I learned something from this experience, and that I changed for the better. I think that in some respects, I definitely did. But in others, I am still sour because I know–or, at least I think–I deserved it. And I always will.
Recently, I made another mistake. I did something I knew I didn’t want to do. My friends all told me that I shouldn’t stress over it, that it isn’t a big deal at all, and that if I didn’t want it to happen again it wouldn’t. I said the same thing to myself after the first time. If it happens for a third, which I’ll make sure it doesn’t, then I’ll regret it. I just know 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?
I have decided that the second most important day in my life will be the day that I decide what to name my children. The first, most important day of my life will be the day I attend a party at Jay Gatsby’s house or smoke with yo gurl Miley. I must admit that I practically have chosen my future children’s names already. I mean, if we’re being real, hasn’t everyone?? But unfortunately, it really doesn’t count because I haven’t yet pretended to care what my husband’s say in the matter is.
Of the the trendiest activities is baby-naming. It’s like going to effing SoulCycle. Nowadays, having a good name is just as important as carrying around an Herve Chapelier tote in the seventh grade. When I was born, my name was the number seven most popular name, according to a random government website. Palindromes were so the thing. In pre-school, there was another girl named “Hannah.” Because I always wanted to start with my trendiest foot forward, I had everybody call me “Hannah Dylan,” incorporating my chic middle name into the mix.
I couldn’t tell you what the most popular baby name is today because the government people haven’t updated their website in literally years, and Snowden hasn’t released anything on the topic onto WikiLeaks yet (ugh, right?) but if I could take a guess it might be Ali, especially after the recent rise of psychos inspired by Pretty Little Liars. Also because I feel like everyone is named Ali and that’s a very wild guess.
I would like to take the time to go through the do’s and don’t’s of recent celeb baby names. Because trust me, whether you’re thirty-something or just a hopeless 13-year-old auditioning for Teen Mom, you’ll thank me.
1. Gwyeneth’s Apple Paltrow
Gwyen—what are you thinking girl? Your daughter’s name reminds me of putting on my Victoria’s Secret lip gloss in the synagogue bathroom during Rosh Hashana. Yet something inside of me loves it.
2. Nicole Richie’s Harlow and Sparrow
Nic—I wish you were my mother. I hope you enjoy breast feeding Harlow and Sparrow in the middle of an ever-growing wheat field.
3. Gwen Stefani’s Zuma Nesta Rock
Are we in the middle of Ethiopia? Didn’t think so. But next time we are, I’ll be sure to name my kid Boulder Stream Ocean Sanctuary Pelican Algae Savannah.
4. Ashlee Simpson’s Bronx MowgliI don’t get it Ash. Nic got away with marrying a punk rocker but didn’t f- up the names. Why, babe? Why?
5. Hilary Duff’s Luca Cruz Comrie
She wins, hands down. However, I still cannot get over the fact that Lizzie McGuire’s uterus is mature enough to develop a human being.
As for me? I must have a Lila. I like Noa for a girl. And Gus. Is that pushing it? Fine. Then I’ll just go with East, even though that’s definitely not Jewish enough.
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.
Are you alternative? Are you cynical? Do you like to write? Do you like to write in list-form to make your topic matter appear more dramatic? Do you enjoy and relate to dark humor? Have you ever had your heart broken? Do you want to write about how your heart was broken, but in list form, analyzing the process of figuring out the “Top 5 Mistakes Men Make In Dating,” the “7 Things To Tell Yourself When You’re Hurting,” or the “7 Things Your Future Self Would Tell You Now?”
Well, then, you should write for Thought Catalog.
ThoughtCatalog.com is like a BuzzFeed for depressed teenagers still in that Panic! At the Disco phase or for lonely twenty-somethings who are inseparable from their slouch-beanies and are really into the internet. It operates from Williamsburg (obv) and refers to itself as an “experimental media group.” Now how trendy is that?!?!
Something magical about Thought Catalog is that I can find a way to relate to every article. When I’m having serious boy issues, I read “How Can You Tell If You Love Him” or “Here’s 20 Ways To Figure Out If You’re Being A Crazy Psycho Bitch” or something like that. Those articles don’t literally exist by name, but it’s probably only a matter of time until they do. I’m sure I could write them.
If you don’t catch my drift about Thought Catalog, below is the cover of a digital book they published containing different essays from the site. Of course, the book had to be digital, because they are just #struggling that much in Williamsburg.
Thought Catalog is great for many things: procrastination, feeling better about your life because your eyes are opened the the heartache of metrosexuals wearing jeggings in their studio apartments, procrastination, and much more. Truthfully, I read their articles a lot. But then again, I’m me.
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.