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’ve always known that if I were to ever become a millionaire, it would not be due to a million-dollar idea. It would be more likely that I’d receive a million-dollar book deal, and even more likely that I’d win the lottery (just to put things into perspective for you). Steve Jobs had a million-dollar idea by transforming the world of transportable music. To do something like that, I figured, one would have to be wildly intelligent. My intelligence about technology and other 21st century “things” extends no further than my aptitude for Facebook etiquette. If I were to ever be inventive in any sort, I would have to create something so simple that the world would change forever. I would have to create something like Post-its: the smartest dumb invention of all time.
When you break it down, Post-its are small scraps of brightly colored paper with a centimeter-wide strip of sticky shit on the back. There’s no excuse as to why I can’t invent something like this. After all, the inventor of the Post-it must have been an OCD mother of four (maybe temple sisterhood president?) who makes us question, “Oh, just how does she do it all?!” with the utmost amazement and sheer respect.
I use Post-its more than I used Google translate in high school and more than I used this girl I knew in elementary school just to eat Nutella at her house combined. Here is why we effin’ love Post-its:
The discussions I typically have amongst my friends are usually intelligent. For example, we enjoy talking about theoretical concepts in religion and politics. We also graze upon public policy and amongst public policy, we indulge in the topic of education. As a group of friends that is, for the most part, pretty intellectual, we care about education and are rather opinionated about it. Now that school is back in session, these tiny movie clips of conversation are playing on a reel inside of my head like memories I can’t seem to get my mind off of. I’m wondering if over the next “x” amount of years I spend learning, I’ll figure out the answers to some of the questions about the way stuff works. But for now, I figured that these bits of discussion and information would be good to share. Mean Girls has relevance because we can’t stop quoting it, so my everlasting questions about our system of higher education are important because I can’t stop thinking about them, right? Like is that not the basis of all logic?
The topic we’ve discussed most was more of a thesis than anything else, and it is this: not everyone should go to college.
Today, you constantly see ad campaigns pushing for a college education. Is it true that in today’s society, it seems as though lack of a four-year bachelor’s degree and even some form of post-graduate education is necessary to land a well-paying steady job? Yes, it definitely seems that way. So when I say that not everyone should go to college, I am totally aware of the fact that 9 times out of 10 in the world we live in today, higher education is necessary. But do I think that society should have remodeled itself the way it did to fit that statistic? No, not at all.
You used to not need to go to college to live pretty well-off. If you think about it, that’s why so many millennials are the first in their families to attend college. A university education is incredibly expensive (and perhaps overpriced, a topic I will delve into a little later). If you know that the career path you plan on following is not going to ever require that you know half of the things you are going to learn in college, then why waste your money and time? Economically, it doesn’t make sense.
Because of the influx in the amount of people who want to attend four-year institutions, the application process is increasingly competitive. A college acceptance is starting to become similar to winning Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Or, for those of you who stick to diets of lettuce and coffee, think of it as willing the mega-millions. I happen to not be a huge fan of the lottery example because there’s a larger likelihood that from your college education you’ll spend around $100,000 and graduate unemployed and in debt to your parents, the bank, or if you’re lucky, both!!!! But, hey, I’m just a pessimist.
If you’re aiming for a career that will really require four years (or more) of higher education, then go for it. If anyone is in favor of being as educated as possible, it’s me. I have binders full of worksheets I made while I was in elementary school. Every weekend–hell, every chance I got–I would force my younger brothers to “play school.” My parents bought me a giant whiteboard and a set of Expo markers. If it were up to me, I would be in school forever. But why continue going if a) you aren’t super passionate about learning, like I and the other anomalies out there are, b) it isn’t necessary for the lifestyle you want to lead, and c) the expenses are outrageous?
You could say that the real problem here is the very cost of education; if higher education wasn’t so expensive, then it wouldn’t be so difficult to give another four years of your life to learning, and although your career may not require all of the learning that is non-specific to your trade, the price of the education would make the whole experience worth it regardless.
And, now, on the topic of expense: why is college getting increasingly expensive? I’m not so great at economics, but I know the rule of supply and demand. When supply is low, demand goes up, and price goes up. When supply is high, and demand is low, price goes down. Although college is getting more competitive, there is a larger number of students now than there ever was before. So demand is high, but it also seems that supply is high. And… price is high? Something isn’t right here. I’m no Econ major, but what do you expect from a pointless liberal arts education anyways?!?!
If anything, I feel like the value of a college education is going down. When everyone’s getting a college degree, no one’s getting a college degree. What I mean by this: when everyone’s wearing Doc Martens, they lose their cool. Now do you get what I’m saying? So, we’ve resorted to various graduate degrees. When something is less unique, it’s less valuable. This is not to say that I don’t feel absolutely #blessed for the education experience I’m receiving. I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. But maybe I’m just a victim to the times.
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.
(… na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na)
I have a memory that almost seems like a dream. It was Halloween, and I was in fifth grade. I went trick-or-treating with my parents in the wealthiest neighborhood in the county because they gave out one-pound chocolate bars. As we drove through the entrance of the community, “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani started playing on the radio. It was warm out, and our windows were rolled down. I don’t know why, but I felt like I was in a movie that took place in 1980s Los Angeles. Since then, things have never been the same.
I have a really bad habit of losing things. Actually, I have a really bad habit of losing money. It seems that I most often lose it at the mall, at the nail salon, and on zappos.com. I also, coincidentally, lose a lot of money at Urban Outfitters sales and at this one thrift store in Brooklyn. And at the bagel store where I get my chopped salad…… and at any fro-yo place I have yet to try (because I obviously have to try every fro-yo place in the world, duh).
I think that I have a pretty strong obsession with saving money. But because I “lose” it so much, my mom’s response to this thought is that I’m a blatantly pathological liar who needs a reality check. (Shoutout to the babe who also said I needed a reality check via Facebook status. Like, come on. Everyone knows that shit-talking stays on Twitter. At least have the decency to subtweet like a classy young lady). But, it’s true. I do have an obsession with money, just in a sort of twisted way. I’m never greedy, and I’m always willing to spot a friend. But when I’m not making enough of my own money, I get anxiety. I spend my free-thought time thinking about the money I could be making when I’m studying or hanging out with friends.
So, this year, I got a job. Actually, I got three. I’ve been tutoring and babysitting since I was in eighth grade. For a few months this year, I was tutoring for two hours a day, Monday to Friday. Then I would give up either Saturday or Sunday to babysit. I received a job offer working for a camp and summer program consulting agency that I did not want to pass up on; so, I added that to my plate. Before I knew it, this (see below) was literally my schedule. And I am not exaggerating one bit:
2:30pm – 6pm Work at consulting business
6:15pm – 7:15pm Tutor student #1
7:15pm – 8:15pm Tutor student #2
8:30pm – 9pm Eat dinner
9:30pm Start studying/working
6am the next day… Wake up
I was making a really good amount of money every week, and I stopped having nightmares in which Oscar de la Renta was making me work in a sweat shop in order to let me wear his Strapless Floral-Applique Ball Gown and then PSY would come in and make me listen to Gangnam Style until I was able to sing the Korean part fluently. Let me tell you, it was HORRIBLE. But, working felt worth-it and rewarding. My bad dreams were gone and so was the pit in my stomach that ached for money. Call me crazy because I’m crazy. I know.
They say that dogs are a man’s best friend. Well, let me tell you: credit cards are a woman’s best friend. Imagine having invisible money that grows on trees. What do you get? A credit card. You also get a really bad credit score but I’m still too young to convince myself that it’s time to worry about that. And while I love credit cards, they scare the hell out of me. Even though I have my own checking account and my own card, along with the emergency one supplied by Mommy and Daddy, and even though my checking account is solely funded by me and the income that I make from my wide array of jobs, I am afraid to use the card. It’s not like the account balance is under $7 (at the moment…. what??) and it’s not that I don’t know how to use a credit/debit card–trust me, I very well do–I just don’t like the idea of not being able to see what I’m spending. Then, I start to get nervous.
When I told my mom about this, her response was that I opened up a checking account so that I could use the money. That’s the point of it, she said. Well, I’m still afraid and I don’t really know why.
Maybe it has to do with our economy? When we first hit recession, I was too young and too concerned with my first MySpace profile to really understand what was going on. I can openly admit that even now, I only comprehend the stock market a small percentage of the time. Our planet revolves around money. So when I spend, I feel like I’m going to fall off of Earth. It’s a bittersweet and guilty feeling, really. To put it in Jewish terms, it’s something similar to the first day of your last year of sleepaway camp. You don’t want it to start because you don’t want it to end. I don’t want to start using my debit card because I don’t want to lose all of the money I saved in there, too.
By the time I turn 25, I feel like the lifestyle I want won’t even exist. How will I possibly be able to afford a studio apartment in New York City that is, at most, the size of my current closet? Note: my current closet is very short of a walk-in.
It is fifteen years after the first episode of Sex and the City came out, and just recently did people start to question just how Carrie Bradshaw was able to own just that many pair of Manolos. Imagine how far-fetched her lifestyle will seem by the time I’m old enough to really be living it. Carrie wannabes like myself–we’re all screwed.
Maybe I should close my checking account.
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.