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?