Friday, August 20, 2010

Well said old man!

The Art of Manliness is a website I've only just been introduced to. Makes sense though because I'm not a man nor concerned with my manliness (i.e lack thereof...) so this website has alluded me for a time. But I think the insights, recommendations, and thoughts on this manly site of manliness has some merit for both sexes. FOR EXAMPLE:

(I've taken the liberty to emphasize and/or highlight my favorite little bits...:))

Stop Hanging Out With Women and Start Dating Them

by Brett and Kate McKay

Over the past few years, many social observers have noted that young adults are dating less. Instead, dating is being replaced by “hanging out” with members of the opposite sex. Dating and hanging out are two completely different things.

Hanging out consists of people getting together in groups and doing stuff together. It could be going to a club, a restaurant, or just staying home and playing Wii. The atmosphere is relaxed and relations among opposite sexes never rises above the level of friendship. There is nothing wrong with hanging out, but it is not a replacement for dating.

Dating consists of pairing off with someone in a temporary commitment so you can get to know the person better and perhaps start a long term relationship with them.

Why the decline in dating?

There are probably lots of factors that have contributed to the decline of dating amongst young adults. Here are few possible ones:

1. Young adults don’t like to commit. It seems like people in my generation aren’t big on making commitments to people or to organizations. Generation Y is too busy trying to “find themselves” in order to commit to anybody or anything. Companies have complained about the turn over rate of Generation Y. Companies invest lots of money training new employees only to have them leave after two years so they can find a new job. This reluctance to commit has carried over to the interaction between the sexes. Young adults don’t want to be tied down to someone just in case they get an itch to go on a backpacking trip to Europe.

2. The internet has retarded Generation Y’s social skills. Instead of telling a person directly that they’re interested in them by asking them on a date, Generation Y sends Crush alerts on Facebook. While the internet has made connecting with people easier, it has also made us lazier at establishing meaningful relationships. If you’re over 18 and you’re still using Facebook applications to let someone know you’re interested in them, you need to be punched in the face [emphasis added by ME!].

3. Feminism. Before I receive the wrath of all the feminists telling me it’s a typical man thing to blame women for the decline in dating, I ask that you hear me out. I think feminism is great. It’s great that women can choose to have a career, be a stay-at-home mom, or do both.

But it does make things confusing for men. Navigating relations among the sexes is a bit more tricky today. Men have all these questions go through their head: Who asks? If I ask, will she think I’m too forward? Who pays for the date? Do we split the bill? All these uncertainties cause men to avoid dating altogether and opt for hanging out with women instead.

4. Men today are wussies. Men today aren’t very resilient. They don’t know how to handle rejection or failure, so they avoid rejection or failure by not asking women out on dates.

Why date?

A lot of men today don’t seem to believe it, but getting hitched to the right woman is a very desirable thing [emphasis added by ME!].

So while there is nothing wrong with hanging out, it’s not a replacement for dating [emphasis added by... ME!]. Dating is the pathway to finding your true love and eventually settling down and getting married. Marriage is a one on one relationship, so you need to start getting to know women on a one on one basis [emphasis added by... ME!]. You might be hanging out with her and your friends right now, but if you don’t take her on date, she’ll forever be just your friend. So, start dating and stop hanging out. It really is not that hard to get a date with a woman. Here are some guidelines to remember as you take hanging out up a level to dating.

Resurrect Dating

So, you’re ready to start dating and stop hanging out. It really is not that hard to get a date with a woman. Here are some guidelines to remember as you take hanging out up a level to dating.

1. She wants you to ask. Despite the rhetoric you hear about the liberated woman, women still appreciate it when a guy asks her out on a date. They like when men take the initiative. I’ve heard lots of successful young professional women lament the fact that men don’t ask them out. They’re beautiful, smart, and charming, but don’t have a man. Be a man and ask these women out.

2. Asking is easy. Asking a woman out on a date isn’t rocket science. When you ask, though, do it in person or over the phone. If you’re poking a woman you’re interested in on Facebook, you lose any credibility as a man.

3. Keep dates simple. Dates don’t have to be huge, expensive affairs. Keep it simple. If you want to keep things informal, ask her out for lunch or coffee. If you want a more romantic date, invite her over to your place and make dinner for her. She’ll be impressed that you know how to cook. The whole point of dating is to get some one on one interaction with a person to find out if she is someone you’d like to start a long term relationship with. Simple and frequent dates will assist you in this.

4. Prepare for rejection. Face it. Not every woman you ask out is going to say yes. Prepare for that. It’s no big deal if she says no. Think about it. You’re no worse off getting rejected than you were before you asked. You didn’t have a date with her before, you don’t have a date with her now. Your situation has not changed.

5. Just do it, damn it. So what are you waiting for? Quit reading this post right now and pick up your cell phone. Call a woman and ask her on a date. Stop hanging out and start dating. Stop being scared of commitment. Commitment is liberating, not confining.

The End. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

I was walking around Target the other day.... okay it was WalMart! Listen, I hate WalMart. BUT, my brother and his now wife registered at WalMart for their wedding so what was I to do? Swallow my hippie pride and enter that Death Star of sweat shops, employee abuse, local economy-suck, and destroyer of rural community mom and pop stores to get my best brother a WEDDING gift or... ya know... not. Well I chose to get them a gift. Familial love and obligation outweighed my hippie principles that day and I suspect, it will probably happen a few times more in the future. It's WalMart. It huge. It's convenient. And DAMN they are so CHEAP. Sigh... an internal conflict in the most diabolical sense. But this post is not about WalMart (thus comments alluding to either pros or cons... but mostly pros about that Evil Monopolistic Empire America is ruthlessly injecting into the wider world will likely be ignored. It's my blog! Stamping foot! Lip pout!).

Anyway... where was I.... ah yes...

I was walking around WalMart on my way to the pots and pans section and happened to come upon the "Back to School" displays, kiosks, aisles, and displays. Dear Internet, a bit of childhood excitement leaped into my throat as I felt my pace instinctively slow and a drop of drool begin to creep down the side of my mouth as I glanced over the glittering new plastic binders, the neatly organized pocket folders, Lisa Frank (true!) pencils and pencil boxes (me want), and beautifully virginal 3 ring binders, college-ruled notebooks, glistening ball point pens, highlighters, the smell of  number 2 pencils and backpack vinyl and... siiiiigh. It was a little moment of heaven I tell you. I love, LOVE, love back to school supplies. Though tanned and tow-headed students claim utter despair at the thought of returning to school - it's mostly a ruse. A farse put on for their peers that "only those nerds REALLY like school, right?" Well wide worlds, I'm not ashamed to say that I did and continue in my deepest of hearts - to love school. And I particularly love back to school season. There's an air of excitement and anticipation when the school year starts again. It's magical! I remember buying new pencil boxes and picking out a bran new backpack every Fall in elementary school. I remember buying seven college ruled notebooks and three ring binders, labeling them neatly. for each class in Junior High and High School. I remember packs of pens and highlighters; I remember the smell of new clothes, the feel of new socks, flipping through textbooks, putting .5 led into my mechanical pencils, and school time haircuts. Truly...

1. Back to school season is one of my favorite things.

And that got me to thinking... what are some of my other favorite things? Just simple lovely things that give me such joy and excitement as the feel of a bran new number 2 pencil scratching across a completely blank lined sheet of paper? Here's a few I came up with...

2. Fluffy kittens and their little "mews?" Aw.
3. The smell of chlorinated swimming pools
4. The smell of books - yep - I'm the crazy you spotted sniffing all the books she picked up in Barnesy before even glancing at the back cover.
5. Summer nights in Utah - when the temperature is just so, and the breeze just so, and the sky is pink, and you know it won't be dark for another hour at 8:00pm.
6. Showering after you've been sweating really hard - like after an intense hike or a vicious game of ultimate frisbee. NOT like standing in 106 degrees in St. George (see: like today... ick).
7. Watching a movie and eating Junior Mints alone in my apartment
8. Coming home to a squeaky clean apartment - oh man - one of my FAVORITE things
9.  Fresh Flowers - anytime and all the time
10. Fall - everything. Crispness, school, football, birthday (me!), Halloween, nutmeg, pumpkins, sweaters and jeans, mustard yellow and burnt orange,comfort food, and warm woolen mittens.
11. Glasses - the wear on your face kind
12. Getting packages in the mail
13. Airports - I really like airports.
14. Sincere compliments - Sincerity in general
15. Warm feet - as in my own feet being warm - cause it seems like they're usually cold
16. The word "schmuck."
17. Men's scruffy faces and hair slightly starting to poke over their ears. I love that.
18. Dressing up to go to the symphony, ballet, play, on a date you're actually excited about...
19. Purple
20. Eating out on weekends

Siiiiigh. Right? What great favorite things!

Go on then... what are a few of your favorite things? (and if any of you smarty pants say WalMart... (fist shake)).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wedding Weekend

I've eloped! His name is Zac Efron and... wait, what?

My little brother got married this weekend. No. It's okay! It's different than a little sister (I would imagine) and really, brother and I are a mere 19 months apart (he being 25 and me being 26 respectively), it really didn't seem as much a "little" brother getting married but just plain old, my brother got married. He was only a year behind me in High School thus, we knew/know a lot of the same people and even had a class or two together. So, suffice it to say, I didn't feel like he beat me to anything (you hear that??!?! EH?!?!? No beating!). Now, if brother 2 (21 years old) or heaven help me brother 3 (17 years old) gets married before me - break out the anti-depressants. And it's very likely to happen as I have very dashing younger brothers - as pictured.

Back it up ladies! You're too old for Taylor anyway - though he confided in me he likes the "older gals" - i.e. 25+. But if I catch any of you cougar pervs scamming my little brother, it won't be pretty. Won't be pretty at all (cue threatening fist pounding thugs). Uh huh!

So anyway, Brother Seth got married this weekend...

And got married well.

She's lovely, isn't she?  She also has excellent taste in shoes - which I find very important when choosing a spouse...

What's more, is I caught the bouquet at the wedding! Alright alright, I picked it up off the ground on the rebound when my cousin missed it. I tried to box her out - had my elbow strategically in line with her diaphragm, but in a mass of amazing energy and animal-like prowess, she leaped for that bouquet like it was the last slice of raspberry swirl cheesecake allowed to be consumed by a human being (right?).

and missed...


Though what does it say that I caught (picked up... like leavins) the wedding bouquet on the rebound? Hm, perhaps doesn't bode well, does it? Alas.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Purple Dresses and Airplanes: Anna and Tommy

My good friend Heidikins introduced me to this wonderful piece of American photographic art today and I was deeply inspired. The images posted at the (HERE particularly), depict the effects of the Great Depression on America’s rural population. Small towns hit particularly home for me as I hail from a small town boasting a mere 1600 citizens and 0 stop lights throughout the entire county (see: Huntington, Utah; Emery County). The lives of small town folk is incredibly simple and incredibly beautiful. Though I’ve embraced the ‘big city’ and can’t imagine living anywhere else but a thriving metropolis, when I go home to dear Huntington, there’s something more peaceful, more quiet, and more simple about everything that goes on there. It’s a truly tight knit community of people who are intricately involved in each others lives. Many are born, live, and die in these small towns, building a legacy of humility and beauty that, I believe, completely eludes city-folks caught in their everyday hustle and bustle.

When I saw these photos I was so inspired by the images and the incredible reality of the lives of these Americans of yester-year, that I wanted create stories for all of them. I will never know what the REAL stories of these small town Americans may be, but I expect that we both share something in our hearts for the joys of simplicity and a love of place.

Disclaimer: Thus, the story of the below photo is purely fictional, made up in my head, and any relation to the actual individuals in the photos, or real individuals living or dead, is purely coincidence. I hope that disclaims me enough for not getting in trouble for adding my own inspiration to these already inspired pictures.

Purple Dresses and Airplanes: Anna and Tommy

Anna loved Sunday afternoons. It was the one time out of the entire week she was allowed to wear her favorite purple dress all day and not have to change into her scrubby boyish trousers and hand-me-down tee shirt that her two older brother’s had worn before her. Though her mother felt it was silly and “irrational” Anna thought the tee shirt smelled of “goats” and “sweaty boys”. She was of the mind that hand-me-downs take on the smells and shape of the very first person to wear them – and no matter how many unfortunate younger siblings the hand-me downs made it through – it would always feel and smell like it didn’t quite belong to the current wearer. Anna had hopes that because her brothers were first of all, boys, and second of all, rather rough and tumble with their clothing, she wouldn’t have to wear their goat-smelling baggy hand-me-downs. Turns out, luck was not on Anna's side most of the time. “Girls shouldn’t wear boy clothes!” she’d complain to her mother every time she was presented with yet another pair of worn trousers and a scruffy tee shirt. Her mother would sigh in exasperation and say, “Anna, you should be grateful to have clothes on your back and a roof over your head at all. Some little girls don’t even have that.”

Anna knew she was right. Her mother was always right about these things. There were a lot of kids on her street that ran around with no shirts at all – even some of the younger girls went shirtless. Most of the toddlers, on hot summer days, would be completely naked. These were the poorest families in the neighborhood since their fathers or older brothers had been killed in the war in Europe. When this happened, the widowed wives would be given a folded flag for their husbands or sons service that they could hang in their windows or on poles in their brown lawns as a reminder of their sacrifices for “the cause of freedom.” Anna felt sorry for these families who had lost Papa’s and sons in the great war and thus, could barely afford to feed and cloth their own families; but all the same, she wished she didn’t have to share her brother’s old clothing. It wasn’t dignified. Couldn’t poor folks be dignified in some respect too? Perhaps if the government men who brought those flags to grieving wives and mothers also brought them a new purple dress too; something that made them feel lovely and not so alone. So many women were alone with their children these days,when their men were gone, many never to return. Couldn't they too have some dignity other than a cold handshake and folded flag? Couldn't they feel like they looked like Sunday everyday? Perhaps then, the sadness wouldn't be so overwhelming. Perhaps then, these women could still find hope in everyday things. To Anna, her purple dress had such power over her own heart - it was her key to another existence outside of hand-me-downs and poverty.

That’s why Sunday was so special. Even though Anna didn’t have a particular fondness for the 2 hour sermons her family of 6 attended each week at the run down Presbyterian Church two blocks from her home, she relished the idea of having a weekly bath, her mother brushing her hair until it shined and sometimes adding a dainty barrette or braids, and lastly, putting on her newly pressed, knee length, slightly puffy-sleeved purple dress. It was the one piece of clothing that set her apart as a girl – as a woman of 10 years old – and made her different than her 3 older brothers. She escaped in that dress to somewhere else. She wore it all day long; through sermon, through Sunday brunch at the church with the other poor families from her street, and even at play with her best friend, Tommy. She felt dignified.

Tommy wore patched and faded overalls everyday all day; sometimes with a tee shirt much like Anna’s old ones and sometimes with nothing at all. His father worked at the dairy farm and when Tommy turned 11, he was enlisted as his father’s helper. Even children had to earn their keep during what Anna’s papa called “these hard times” and Tommy brought home an extra $5 dollars a week just for shoveling cow manure and cleaning stables. He had the hands of a callused old man; hardened and black, the dirt caked in the cracks of his fingers and nails looked like it would never wash off. However, like the other children, Tommy was bathed, his hair combed, and his least worn pair of dark overalls were washed and worn over a wrinkly blue colored shirt with the stars and stripes tie the Salvation Army had provided for all the young boys. Tommy hated his tie and disposed of it immediately after sermons. He hated it with a blind rage. He said it was the reason papa’s and brothers were leaving their homes and getting killed. It was the reason his papa limped when he walked because there had been a great war even before this one that had crippled his father forever - making them poor and limited. Tommy thought more than any other 11 year old Anna had ever met. He thought deeper things.

Anna told Tommy he looked like a real gentleman when he wore his tie no matter what he said about wars; and this caused him to stick out his tongue at her and blush a deep burgundy. Tommy was the oldest and only boy of 4 living children. His mother had died giving birth to a baby girl, who also died, when Tommy was 7, leaving Tommy’s father alone to raise 4 young children. Tommy’s father would leave for the dairy farms, a 10 mile walk, at 4:30am, 6 days out of the week, and not return until well after dark. When Tommy turned 11 and joined his father at the dairy farm, his younger sister, Merideth, was 10 and thus entrusted to take care of Margaret, 8 and Susie, 4, while Tommy and his Father worked to take care of them all. Sometimes, Anna’s mamma would be up with her baby sister and see Tommy’s father limping, heavy footed, down the street, carrying a soundly sleeping Tommy in his arms, “That boy is too young to know the tiredness that comes from a man’s work,” she’d tell my father, who was one of the foreman at the dairy farm and denied opportunity to serve in the war because of his asthma and kidney stones, “It’s what’s necessary Adele,” he’d reply softly, following Tommy's father with his quiet eyes, “these are hard times for everyone. There’s a war bein fought and we all have to fight it some way or another… ” Mamma would click her tongue and shake her head, "It isn't right."

But Sunday, oh Sunday, the hard times wouldn’t seem as hard. After sermon and the luncheon provided by the local Charity Sisters of the First Presbyterian Church in Robstown Texas, Tommy and Anna would stuff extra rolls in their pockets and steal away to their special spot behind the Henderson’s old red barn. There were long planks of wood laid out side by side across a wide field behind the barn, as if they had been intended for some sort of foundation meant for an adjoining building, but which had grown faded and overgrown with tall grass over the years. Yet another reminder of things left undone and reams left unrealized as the war continued to take men from their homes. Tommy and Anna would dump the remnants of the treasures they’d collected throughout the week, various sized marbles, small tractor toys with 3 wheels, rusted jacks and sometimes a few bouncing balls or baseball cards they’d found in the street or garbage cans, and they’d barter back and forth for hours or make up games with only these items and their healthy imaginations. Imagination was a luxury back then as folks minds were usually occupied by more serious matters. Children were the only ones left afforded such luxury and even among the young, it was a dieing commodity.

One Sunday, Tommy told Anna he had something really special to show her after Sunday brunch and to come as fast as she could to their special place. Anna was fidgety throughout sermon with anticipation and received several smacks on the back of her head from mamma for her incessant wiggling. After sermon, Anna watched across the long picnic tables for Tommy’s signal that it was time to head for the red barn. Tommy was sitting next to his Papa and it seemed to Anna, eating slower than any person had ever eaten in the history of eating. She knew Tommy savored these times with his father, where they weren't working or too tired to talk, but she was still anxious to see what he had to show her.

When he’d finally licked his plate clean, he leaned over and told his papa he’d be leaving to play with Anna, and his father gave him a  subtle nod. That was the signal. Anna jumped up so quickly she knocked over her little sister’s juice cup and it spilled all down the table. “Anna! For heavens sake what’s gotten into you girl? Clean this up!” her mother exclaimed. Exasperated, Anna mopped up her mess as quickly as possible, stuffed an extra roll in her dress pocket amongst her other treasures of extra thread and tiny green army men, and raced for the barn. When she arrived, she saw Tommy sitting on one of the faded wooden planks, leaning over something on his lap. She approached him quietly and tried to glimpse what he was looking at. “What took you?” he asked, not looking up. “Oh… I spilled May Beth’s juice…” she said nonchalantly. She could tell Tommy smiled by the tilt of the back of his head at her admitted blunder. Tommy always seemed older than he was - smarter somehow; like he belonged to a different generation of wiser, purer people than the ones they interacted with in Robstown. “Well sit down then… I have something I want you to see…” he continued after a pause, still not looking up. Anna carefully sat down beside him, smoother the front of her dress, and eagerly looked over his propped up knee to the pile of wood pieces between his legs.

“It’s a model plane…” Tommy said shyly when Anna didn’t ask what he had, “It’s… it’s not entirely put together. I mean to say… I’m making it. Papa said aero-planes are like mechanical birds. He said that one day – people will travel in aero-planes all over the world… and it won’t just be for bombs and fighting.. but it will be for exploring and visiting. What do ya think of that Anna? Being an explorer in an aero-plane?”

Anna wasn’t sure what to say. The thought of soaring through the air like the birds was both exhilarating and frightening. “Where would explorer’s go Tommy? What would they explore? And... and would explorers never come back... home?”

“Well…” Tommy was in deep thought as he pounded the little nail on the nose of a crudely carved piece of wood meant as the planes body, “Well… anywhere. Anywhere they wanted to go. You could… you could fly to New York City. You could fly to London. You… you could fly to those islands in the middle of oceans they talk about at the Barber shop or see the pyro-mids of Egypt… you could go anywhere… anytime.. and never have to… to think about wars or cows or… anything… but flying.”

He went silent then. Anna had never heard Tommy talk about leaving before – much less to islands or Egypt or even to the next town. Anna felt something catch in her chest and move to her throat as she watched Tommy’s young, callused, dirty hands, create this model of hope, of freedom, this airplane, a symbol of Tommy’s dreams and dignity. She knew he would do it. She knew Tommy had the heart to do anything. And she was scared Tommy would leave and never return like so many other men in the neighborhood.

She continued to watch in silence as he put wings on his piece of wood; how his mouth picked up at one corner in a half grin as he watched the little propeller spin. He suddenly looked at Anna expectantly, looked her strait in the eyes, then at her purple dress, now smudged with food from the brunch and wrinkled from sitting in sermon, and then at the barrette in her hair. Anna glanced down at her sweaty hands and dirty fingernails, feeling her cheeks and forehead become hot. Tommy made her nervous for unexpected reasons. He made her feel embarrassed of her dirty nails and clumsy manners.

“And… and explorers… they need… a partner,” Tommy explained in his very soft way, picking around his words carefully, “they need someone to help clean the wings and, navigate, and… keep them company. So, so I wanted to show you the aero-plane first. See how it sits with you… see if.. if it suits you. See if you like aero-planes.”

Anna nodded her ascent vigorously, her cheeks still burning, not wanting to look at him, “Yeah… yeah well I think it’s a real nice plane, Tommy. It’s beautiful. I like your aero-plane.” Tommy let out a long, low, relieved sigh, "I'm so glad Anna."

They sat in silence for a long time, a small breeze blowing through their hair and across the long grass, a mutual understanding settling between them; an understanding that most adults never experience in their lifetimes. The simple unspoken understanding between two kindred souls.

Anna broke the silence, “Well,” she began very matter-of-fact, “We have a lot of planning to do if we are to see islands and New York and London and pyro-mids. I mean, we’ll need food and blankets and maybe a tent so we can sleep where we please when we need to. That will take money. And... and, Aero-planes are no place for a true lady, so there's that to consider...” she trailed off in thought.

Tommy nodded in agreement, and continued to play with the thin propeller blade on his homemade airplane.

“And… and,” Anna became indignant now, “I think it’s important for partners of explorers to be able to wear what they want. They should get to wear dresses everyday if they want… and… and they shouldn’t have to look like a boy or wear boy clothes neither… and should be able to eat jam on toast everyday instead of only on Sundays and… read her picture books as late as she wants…” she trailed off again, glancing briefly in his direction.

Tommy was looking across the sky, seeing lands that only existed for now in his mind, a future he had perhaps envisioned for years, since the beginning of his young life. He smiled his half smile, “That’d be okay Anna. Yeah. Yeah that’d be real good. I’ll find you more picture books than you’ll ever be able to read in a lifetime… in a million lifetimes... and dresses of every color for everyday...”

Anna looked across the sky with him. Then, reached over and took the airplane from Tommy’s hands, fingering it lovingly, and spinning the propeller blade. She giggled softly as only little girls can giggle, and said, “Okay Tommy. Okay…”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A word or two on the lunacy of boys, girls, and their dating funny business

It’s time for a singles rant! These are the best kinds of rants I feel because I have many a single friend who can likely relate to the rants of a raving single (see: me)… particularly the raving Utah LDS Singles (an entirely different breed of single… believe me) and the very strange dynamics that is the Utah LDS Singles “scene.” I think I missed the role call for that “scene” by the way. Oh yes, checking acting roles… scroll scroll scroll… looks like I’m running the lights again. Alas!

A few things I find funny… and by funny I don’t mean haw haw… I mean strange, weird, irrational, or generally jsut slightly left of center (you picking up what I'm putting down?). Funny business! That's what I mean. There are a few things I find “funny business” about the Utah LDS Singles scene. I’ve been reading a book by one Alisa Goodwin Snell entitled Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man (Official Play Books) (what? It’s really good! You’re single too so maybe you should find yourself a copy instead of scoffing at ME!... it'll do ya some good!) and have gotten some really valuable insights into this world of dating and singledom and the strange “funny business” dynamic being a Utah LDS Single adds to the whole shi-bang. It’s been enlightening. It really has. And the enlightenment resides not in the “here’s what you do to trick someone into loving you” but rather, “here’s how you learn to love yourself, and then others will love you too…” How very existentialist of me. We could all be a little more existentialist, couldn't we? Rainbows.

 On to the rant!

 Some categories I find “funny business” about the Utah LDS Singles Dating Scene (hereafter ULDSSDS… cause phew!) are as follows:

 1. Why girls date jerks and subsequently, why dudes date… er… what’s a good clean non-swear I can use to convey the female version of “jerks” – femme-jerks? Okay, shore. Femme-jerks. Or in other words, why do nice girls and nice guys date jerks and femme-jerks? This is a big conundrum to me… one I’ve been victim of just as much as the next fool.

 I’ve taken it upon myself to try and figure out this rather strange dynamic and though it clearly has universal applicability, I find it’s prevalence in the ULDSSDS (...) happenings rather staggering. Perhaps I’m just friends with really nice people who are subsequently, really huge suckers, and thus see them getting smashed by the meanys more than the average person. Or maybe because all us Mormys (mormy?) are just plain nice people in general and so we’re an easy target for the mean folks. Eh? Clearly there is a myriad of reasoning why nice people date mean people… or attempt to date mean people… or for some reason tend to find the one person who treats them like a big pile of poo to give their affections to. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Why do we do it? I’d like to focus on one of these reasons… my own little theory.

Theory: We date meanys and jerks and femme-jerks because we want what we can’t have. Now, I’m going to go a little “gender-bias” here and say that this is a very large MALE problem here in a state positively BRIMMING (BRIMMING I tell you!) with flouncing LDS single women. Many of my good (emphasis on good meaning awesome and great) male friends tend to date huge femme-jerks. In every Singles’ Ward I’ve been in, women outnumber men (at minimum) 2 to 1. In my current singles ward, we have 3… 3 Relief Societies and no, I don’t attend the BYU 562nd Ward. It’s starting to happen all over this Mormonly populated state, the inordinate amount of single females to males ratio, and I feel this is the reason why some (majority of) Mormon fella’s tend to be more significantly attracted to the ones who, quite basically and realistically, don’t want them and randomly spit in their direction for good measure – the girls who are “just not that into it.” Have some pride, man! She spit at you! Sp-it. Give up.

 Ladies – it’s about reinforcement. Dudes around these parts are being constantly reinforced to date mean girls. What? Yeah, we do play a role in this strange occurrence; a large role I’d say. Many single chaps in the ULDSSDS..S…M…X..P… whatever... are used to being a hot commodity! The bees knees! The cats Meeeee-ow! I mean two girls for every one guy? It’s modern “singleness polygamy” (now there’s a great oxymoron) at its most treacherous! And ladies, we propagate it by throwing ourselves at the feet of any Tom, Dick, or Harry (alright… more like Jared, Alex, or Matt) who gives us one up and down glance. We reinforce minimal effort by giving immediate maximum output. We've made ourselves emotional slu... er flooseys. This ought not to BE! Desperation, even if we ARE desperate, is not attractive in any form and should be avoided at all costs. So why do dudes like mean girls? Cause they’re too used to being treated like a King when they’ve not invested any time, energy, or interest in being treated that way by their Harem of 50 willing mistresses so eager to please. Why buy a Popsicle when you’re giving the ice cream truck for free (cite: Never Been Kissed – GREAT film)? Thus, when one femme-jerk shows a hint of disinterest or no interest what so ever, it’s intriguing. It’s finally a challenge! It’s something to work for! And good (emphasis on good meaning awesome and great) men work for what they want. Not so good men don’t… and not so interested in you men don’t either. They (the good ones) WANT to work for you… but if we as ladies don’t let them… well where’s the investment? Where’s the earning potential? Where’s the challenge? Where’s the sacrifice? It's lieing in a pile of poo created by a femme-jerk.

 It’s the name of the game and ladies particularly, it’s time to cultivate a little (righteous) pride and know that if you think dudes only like mean girls and the Universe has created this conspiracy for your own personal annoyance and frustration just because you’re a nice, sweet, wonderful person and men are all idiots… well… try not being so readily completely and utterly available and maybe…. Just maybe… one guy will suddenly realize “Hey… I don’t need to date a bit…erp… girl who treats me like poo for a challenge, I can go for this very nice girl who still has the self-worth and confidence to know that she’s worth my attention without the well-intentioned freely given attention and affection I’ve not even remotely earned and thus now won’t value.” I’m sure that exact thought goes through his head… sure of it. But the point is – and this goes for ladies dating jerks as well – nice people can still be nice people without being desperate people. How much more will he (or she) value YOU if you are confident in yourself first, and also treat them not like the pile of poo they’re used to being treated like from the mean peoples, but like the great person that they are. Eh? Think about it.

 And for the dudes – girls date jerks because they don’t want to date wusses. It’s true. Ladies? Right? Sometimes if a guy is too nice (i.e. too accommodating, too available, too… affectionate right off the bat) it comes off as being a wuss-puss; which translates into – “would he be able to protect me and stand up for me if he’s too wussy?”; which is derived from the ancient, “can he fight that saber toothed tiger for the Woolly Mammoth meat so essential to our brood’s existence?”) It’s that simple. We’re all products of our Neandrathal ancestors; we just buy our mammoth meat pre-packaged now. We still want a man who can spear the boar! Go ahead and cross stitch that on something "I dig men who spear boars."

 And let it be known – that I do not function in extremes. You don’t have to be an a-hole or a total bag to the person you like (cause that doesn’t make sense either) – just don’t be desperate or wussy. That’s what I’m saying. Let him work for it (while being nice and open)… let her see you’re confident (as there’s a HUGE difference between confidence(good) and arrogance (bad))… and it will work out just fine. Just fine.

 2. The Games. In general. When do the games ever, EVER, ever stop? Well, they don’t. Not really. They… mature (???)… but they don’t stop. I’ve begrudgingly learned that you MUST play the game, be in the game, pick a team and start playing, if singleness is ever to become non-singleness. However, I do think that games can get too ridiculous when:

 a. They’re taken too far. Shore, it makes sense to play it cool… but one can play SO cool that the frosty breeze coming from you turns the person you’re trying to impress by not trying to impress them – off. It’s happened. It will happen again. This has happened to me. I thought a guy was “diggin” it and just playing it cool… but he was SO non-attentive, non-responsive, and trying so hard to make sure I knew he didn’t notice me – I figured he was most definitely not interested. I was surprised he even remembered my name I was so easily forgettable! I found out later that he was interested (or rumored to be anyway... who knows?), but by then, for me, the ship had sailed. Ironic, isn’t it? Left to float in his icy waters of coolness. Congrats. You're the ultimate (alone and cold) cool.

 b. It resembles the dating games of long ago Junior High games. What does this mean? Well, it’s the group hanging out. all. the. time. The strategic inviting and non-inviting and group texts and texts in general and just ridiculous fishing games…. Let ‘em go… then real ‘em in… then let ‘em go… then real ‘em in. Just… do or don’t. For heavens sake. I think this stems back to the confidence issue as well – the narcissistic jerks and femme-jerks; “I don’t’ want you. But no one else can have you either!” Which brings me too…

 c. The Great Harem Games. Insecure men and women create what I call harems. They surround themselves with suckers (usually very nice cool people with also rather low self-esteem) who will hinge on their every word, action, reaction, and minimal efforts because they’ve geniusly integrated them into their Harem of Those Who Love Me and I will never love them – but because I’m insecure – I like people that even I don’t want to want ME always (thunder clap! Sinster hand-wringing, Mwahaahahah!). Villains! That's what these types are. It’s a very self-centered attitude to wrangle individuals emotions just so YOU feel better about your own awesome coolness (or try and convince yourself of awesome coolness). The secret to detecting the harem recruiters and seperating them from those who are genuinely interested is this: if they’re “just friends” with A LOT of opposite gender people who they seem to loosely flirt with (tug on the line) but never really make any moves… with any of them… ever… and thus never actually date... anyone... even once... well… you may have yourself a Harem Recruiter. Watch out for these as they are very sly and apt to sucker almost anyone with their silver-tongued devilry! Run away!! Leave the hareming to the gaggles of gals or guys that make up their weekend entrouge of “awesome peeps.”

 3. Let’s just be friends. Bwahahahaha! Okay… this is a bit of funny business I’ve never been able to wrap my head around in the ULDSSDS. Maybe because by golly, we’re all buddies! Friends! Chums! Even if it’s solely electronic; thus "friends" is not really a special distinction that means anything but "hey, I know your first name... usually..." This is what modern society has turned friendship into - a click of a mouse. Sure. We're friends.... FB tells me so. I even have a list.

 I feel you have to be some sort of emotional masochist to attempt to be friends with someone you have been in love with or dating for awhile… at least… when you attempt this charade immediately following a break-up. I issue a call to all you schmucks who attempt to immediately be friends with someone with whom you’ve harbored rather strong (read L-O-V-E) feelings for who has subsequently DUMPED you thus NOT sharing that emotion and like a FOOL give into their request for “friendship.” I mean have you desired a friendship SO fervently than when you desire a friendship with someone you love and who doesn’t love you?  Be honest now – you’re only doing it to continue to be around them and foster a very self-destructive hope that someday… someday… it will work out. Guess what? Probably won’t. Might! But probably not. I think some people can do it, be friends immediately with an ex-love with no emotional attachment (hope counts) – a very FEW bit of people who probably didn’t REALLY love the person in the first place. But, I find it nigh IMPOSSIBLE myself to continue hanging out with, communicating with, and generally doing things you did while dating but without the physical lovins with this person and immediately switch your love knob to friendship upon request. I would wager one of your stronger personality qualities isn't "emotional depth" if you're so easily able to do that. It’s a pretty thought – but incredibly unrealistic in my scope of emotional switch-a-roos. I’m very hard put to believe someone can make the auto-switch from (genuine) love to friendship quickly and easily. It’s a self-destructive ruse. You’re lying to yourself. Here’s a good test – think of this person you claim you can "so totally be just friends with", dating and marrying someone else. Your heart just fell out your butt didn’t it? I rest my case.

 a. Exception? Once a good amount of time has passed and you’ve done some HONEST self-reflection (perhaps comparing this past wayward love to a current friend with whom you’ve had zero beyond friend feelings for and seeing how they match up… or as mentioned… picturing them loving someone else and your heart DOESN’T fall out your butt) and discover that your hope for their love has disappeared – THEN – THEN – you can consider friends. But let’s be honest – we’re not in the market for more friends, are we? Not really. ;) And FB "friends" at that point is good enough. That's how you know your emotionally capable. Otherwise, it's just a big old butt-heart mess.


Thems be my ULDSSDS rants for the day. You can tell I’ve thought on these things for a couple months; but mostly, much of those insights I got from Ms. Snell’s book as well as taking a step back and doing a little self-evaluation/reflection myself. It's an important exercise I think we'd all benefit from. What I found about my observations and myself, is that we could ALL do with a little more confidence in ourselves and our worth (as in worth good treatment... not pile of poo treatment), a little more kindness towards others (cause no one likes a meany... well not really), and a whole LOT less of the funny business.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The very important news of the day (week... months... on end)

First, Chelsea Clinton finally, FINALLY, finally got (secretively) married. Phew. I'm so glad that I was able to follow that story for nigh on three weeks. I've learned that it's secret, that it's (was) in Rhineback New York, that's it's top secret, that Oprah and Barbra Streisand could be invited (and weren't... along with Mr. Obama), AND, that it's secretly being held in Rhineback New York! And don't you for one minute think the story ends with the wedding (why would we think THAT?!?!) What about the after-party? The honeymoon? WHAT did people WEAR!?!?! What did people EAT! Who was Bill's date? Er... wait...

This is a former President's daughter we're talking about here! A former FIRST daughter! Oh, and her mom's Secretary of State BUT she's a former President's daughter!

Second, but probably more important than the first, Lindsay Lohan is out of jail (good old 90 day sentence... except it was 14 days) and on her way to court mandated rehab (again... and again). And now to Matt Lauer who's been following this story quite closely for two months... okay... three months. Let's see if we can find some psycho-analysts to discover why Linds has turned into a cracked out jail-bird (cue global eye roll... ), because that's how much we care Linds! We REALLY care.

Third, the stuffy old BBC had to go and ruin the ride by reporting on some flood killing thousands in Pakistan. Psh. Get a clue, BBC... floods are sooooo 2005.


Dear Very Bored American Media,

I think it's time for another oil spill... Eh? Right?

Yours truly,