Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Cold, Hard Truth About Love We’re All Ignoring (Idiots!)

Well, here we are folks, love obsessed Millennials just trying to balance our crazy work lives with finding time for love (#firstworldproblems). Because whether you’re a serial dater, a serial monogamist, a serial one-night-stander or a serial cat-adopter, the concept of love is running your life. Don't lie to yourself, you know "The Notebook" makes you cry.

Indeed, this love obsession permeates through our culture, from movies to books to blogs (oh hey you’re on one) to self-help guides, meet-up groups, bar-hopping, and Pinterest quotes -- we love to love (which encompasses dating, sex, romance and of course jerking off).

But as Millennials, a lot of “experts” (you know those other adults who are older than us) say we’re doing it wrong. Our hook-up culture and propensity to marry later is creating a system where we might have three or four serious relationships before tying the knot, double or triple-digit sex partners and enough OkCupid messages to want to blow our brains out.

And while we’re running around looking for, or trying to hold onto, to this thing called "love" for what could amount to decades … we’re all forgetting the one, cold hard truth no one really talks about:

Once you do find that person you want to be friends with, have sex with and be awesome with all the time (um, that’s like my definition of love) it can only end one way -- you either get married or breakup.

Yeah, that’s it. Go big or go home … alone.

So while imagining what it would be like to have coffee every Sunday morning, or thinking about your destined-to-be awesome Bora Bora honeymoon or growing old and drinking tea on the porch together, chances are this person will break your heart, not say “I do.”

How does this happen? How do we find ourselves so enamored with someone that our hearts feel like they will literally explode (see how I used literally, but it was kind of figuratively) to hating that person more than we hate Justin Bieber? To labeling a box that once read "Our stuff" to “Asshole’s shit” and throwing it out a window?

It probably has something to do with the fact that love is like a drug (seriously drugs hijacked the neural “love pathways” in our brains knowing how awesome they make us feel, so they too could make us feel awesome. Look it up). This euphoric, must-have-you-all-the-time feeling  -- a “high” if you will -- can only last so long. Then we are left with just a person and possibly a broken heart.

So how are we all not just going insane all the time knowing this (maybe we are)? I mean seriously, as humans when we fall in love our hearts are saying “Yes, this is amazing, keep going! He's the one? How could he not be?” And our brains are like, “Whoah, this is great, but let’s keep one eye open huh? P.S. emergency exit to your left.”

Maybe that’s the point. Maybe when love sucks it really sucks. Like gut-wrenching, gauge your eyes out, binge on Netflix sucks. And when it’s great, it’s so great that we all just participate in this crazy charade leading up to it because we want it so badly. Because that's how great it is.

As a cynic who is actually a secret romantic (Shh! don’t tell anyone) all I have to say is that being in love is … well lovely. So fuck logic.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Really Makes Someone Attractive? (Bulls**t Answers Not Welcome)

In an age of never-ending diets, new, absurd workout programs, ways to freeze the fat (what?!), bronzers, plastic surgery, and vajazzling I ask myself constantly “What is attractive?”

I use the word "attractive" because of course I mean to the opposite sex. No one is waxing and scrubbing and weight-lifting for themselves (okay, maybe a little for health purposes, maybe) but the truth is we all want to look good because we all to be loved, or get laid, or in simple terms … be as attractive as we think we can be.

A recent beauty survey revealed that men and women have very different views about what physically makes a woman beautiful. Guys chose blonde hair and full lips, like my girl Scarlett Johannssan. While women chose dark hair and a strong nose, a la Natalie Portman. The point being, it was totally opposite. So here we are trying to fit in our box of beauty to please the opposite sex, when in reality we’re totally missing the mark.

To take this point further I was recently out with several friends, when the topic of breasts came up (how could it not?). Three girls and two guys. Naturally when girls start talking about their boobs there are a million things that can be wrong with them: size, shape, smell (er, maybe?), buoyancy, color, yadda yadda. 

At this point the men in the conversation, looking flabbergasted with their jaws firmly on the floor shouted out, “No! No! No! All your boobs are fine!” Adding vigorously, “They are BOOBS.” A light went off in my head, flaws we see in ourselves are still sexy as hell to other people. So why do we beat ourselves up about them?

To explore further I asked male friends of mine, what they find attractive in women. I would assume answers with body parts would pretty much take up the list, but alas this was not the case. Instead I received the following:

“The way their necks smell”, “The way they snuggle into you”, “When they wear your boxers”, “Confidence”, "A good sense of humor is mega points", “I like when girls get all giddy in the morning and try to wake you up”, “Their skin is always so soft”, “They smell nice”, “Rocking red lips”, "A girl who can cook", "A girl who's genuinely interested in what I'm doing", "A little quirky","Face, boobs, body. But as soon as a conversation starts to go my attractions change."

None of these attributes really had anything to do with just looks, but instead were qualities rooted in behavior, spirit and that intangible quality that gives two people chemistry and another two people coals. 

Here's what I'm saying:

Looks are not everything. Looks get you in the door, but they don’t give you the key. I know this to be true. I know that sometimes qualities I find attractive have nothing to do with biceps and dreamy blue eyes (although, those are nice too). 

I love the look of a guy cooking breakfast in the morning, the way guys smell like guys, the ability to wear a hoodie well, talking to their moms on the phone, the way they drive with their knees (my legs are too short to do this), the way they take charge when a restaurant gets your order wrong, the way they walk into a room, the way they love your friends (even if they don’t). These are qualities that are hot.

The truth is when you’re attracted to someone, all of them becomes attractive. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s like a black hole -- you can’t see it, but no doubt, it will consume you.

So it’s about time we ditch the external stuff and focus on what we do well as ourselves. Ever watch someone in a play and suddenly they’re sexier than before? Or a sporting event? Or giving a stellar speech? Or working a room? Someone in their element is fundamentally attractive (why do you think we love talented famous people so much?).

So if we all focused on what we do best and we try to be the best version of ourselves, rather than changing everything to look like someone created on a computer (ehem, photoshop), then maybe we’d all be a little more beautiful.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Breakup Retrospective: Was It The Parking? (C'mon It's L.A.)

Written by a very special, male, guest blogger who wishes to remain nameless. Don't try to guess, your efforts are fruitless. 

The age old expression "don't sweat the small stuff," while horribly cliched, is something that I've always applied to my life. Day to day existence is always full of minor inconveniences, and seeing the good in people and the world around me has always allowed me to be a happy person. However, after living in LA for roughly 5 years now, the inevitable battle of finding a parking spot and deciphering paragraph long "yes/no/potentially parking if your car is white and has three wheels" signs may have finally gotten to me.

I recently just went through an extremely logical and short breakup discussion with a girl I'd been seeing for about 5 months. We are two career driven, late twenty-year olds, trying to make it in LA. One, myself, an aspiring rocket scientist hoping to pursue a career in the space industry, and her, an aspiring writer, trying to make it in Hollywood. On paper it seems like a dream come true: left and right brain unite for a power couple, yin and yang combine, etc. It was always simple for each of us to brag about the other to our respective work friends.

            Her (to Hollywood friends): "I'm dating a rocket scientist!"

            Me (to fellow engineers): "I'm dating a girl!"

As any scientist knows, what seems like a great idea in theory, never works (at least for the first few times) in reality. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere, and a professional life can easily hamper ones personal life. To add to the general ridiculousness of this situation, I'm a Canadian citizen trying to get a job in an industry that is a) losing funding at an alarming rate and b) thinks that I am a terrorist since I'm from the tundra up north eh. Most couples generally don't have to deal with the fact that if one person doesn't get a job immediately after graduation, they could get deported back to Canada. But hey, deportation is just a free trip home, right?

On her side, trying to make it in Hollywood can mean taking whatever job comes your way, even if it's in Mississippi, or New York. So for the 5 months we were "dating" we didn't get to hang out very much. We tried to make the best of our limited time together; what else was there to do? However, with my upcoming thesis deadline, and her continuing search for a job, neither one of us were really able to give the relationship the time and energy it deserved, and so we decided to end it. A breakup based on logical and logistical reasons. However, one small thing still nags at me. Was it the parking?

Every time I went to her place, parking was nearly impossible to find. Too much time driving in circles, to then end up walking a mile to her apartment complex. While a seemingly minor thing, this would always negatively affect my mood right before seeing her. Being unhappy right before seeing the person you're supposed to be excited to see must take some toll on the mind at a subconscious level. Was this enough to let logic defeat the love conquers all attitude that I've learned from so many movies? I'll never know, but at least I never got a ticket.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Baked Pie From Scratch And No One Died. Also I Learned The Joy Of Giving.

I baked a pie from scratch. 

Okay, did everyone stop laughing yet? Great. It’s true though; I used my Mammaw’s southern style recipe from a million years ago (she was very old, God rest her sweet soul) and crafted a delicious pecan pie. Of course I can’t actually say if it was delicious I gave it away as a present. So who knows?

The point is, I had an awesome time doing it. I’ve never been a chef or anything, I think more for lack of time than any disdain of cooking. But I’ve got to say, Saturday (the day I spent baking cookies and pies) was one of the best days ever. And here's why:

Because I was making the pie for two friends as a “thank you for being so awesome” present I felt a sense of joy the entire time. From the get go this pie meant something. When I was buying the ingredients I bought the more expensive pecans, the better butter, the brand name sugar. Okay, my flour was Kroger, but it’s one teaspoon in the recipe, give me a break. Regardless, shit got real is what I’m saying. Every ingredient that went into the pie needed to be as amazing as my friends who would eat it. I even toasted the pecans before adding them to the pie. The recipe listed it as merely a suggestion you guys, but I did it. I toasted them!

Then, the magical moment came and I baked the pie. Pecan pies are pretty hard to bake because you can’t really tell when they’re done. In fact, after nearly an hour I called my mom every five minutes to update her and desperately ask for guidance. Each phone call went like this:
“Okay mom, the pie is still jiggly.”
“How jiggly.” She’d ask (she’s an expert).
“Pretty jiggly.” I said.
“Well put it in a few more minutes. But it’s supposed to be jiggly. Just not toooo jiggly. Whatever you do don't overcook it.” AHHHH!!!!
“Well how much jiggle is too much jiggle?” I started to panic. What kind of word is jiggle anyway?
“Just, you’ll know.” 

It wasn’t about the jiggle though. It was about not wanting to ruin the present I was making for my friends during this holiday season and then have to make them another pie that said “Sorry about the first pie and your subsequent food poisoning.”

Eventually, I figured it out. And all was right in the world. In fact, I had so much fun with the pie and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside that I continued baking for the rest of the day. I made some bomb peanut butter cookies and gave those away too. Because that’s what the holidays are about – making your friends fat while you secretly work out double.

This is my cookie selfie. Proof I was in the kitchen.
Kidding. It’s about the fact that doing things for other people also brings joy to yourself. So we should all do it a little bit more.

So that's my lesson to all of you. Go bake. Go make something for a loved one. Go write a letter. Or a card. Or anything that comes from the heart. Because it means so much more than another iTunes gift card.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Am A Woman, Not A Toy

I am a woman, not a toy. Please read that sentence carefully and try to grasp its meaning completely. I am a woman not a toy. Period. 

You do not own me. I am not here simply for your amusement. You cannot tie a string around me and drag me along. You cannot put me in a chest until you decide I am worthy to come out and play. You did not purchase me. There is no manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee. You cannot brand me. I am not yours.

You cannot stick me on a shelf and simply ask me to look pretty. You cannot take my batteries out when I annoy you. Or I am talking too much. Or being too smart. I am not an inanimate object devoid of feelings or opinions. And you cannot trade me in for a different model, when I am no longer shiny and new.

Because I am a woman, not a toy – my presence means you earned it. You did not buy me with fancy dinners, new clothes, and expensive wine. You did not guilt me into it. Or threaten me. I came because you earned it. You earned it by being a decent human being and understanding that a toy, is not something you are interested in. And I am NOT a toy.

We, society, America, whatever you want to call it are inundated on a daily basis with female sexuality. And it’s a beautiful thing. I think women are beautiful and sexy and amazing. I love watching Victoria’s Secret commercials because I think they are empowering. Not that every woman needs to be a size 0 – but those women ARE beautiful and they own that beauty, a beauty which should be celebrated. As a female I can appreciate that and aspire to own my own beauty like that.

But I think men, watching those same commercials, seeing those same billboards, reveling in the saturated market of naked women around them at all times forget that women were not put on this planet to simply be seen and not heard. And I think, when women measure their self worth based on how MEN view them, they lose sight of that same fact. 

That said, just because I put on a tight dress and five-inch heels does not mean you can slap my ass. Just because I show it off, does not make it yours. Because again I am not a toy. This is not an Apple store where you get to poke and prod and then never buy.

You have to earn it. Just as I would have to earn you. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

9 Reasons Why If You Don’t Put Your Phone Down, You Will Die

I recently stumbled upon this AT&T commercial which, if you haven’t seen it yet, is basically a disgusting, horrible, vomit inducing ode to smart phones, masked by bright colors and pretty people who would rather look at their mobile devices than catch their morning bus, attend their mandatory work meeting or even, live their lives.

The commercial is playing off of today’s phone-obsessed culture -- where people literally cannot go five minutes sans the device -- but rather than condemning it, the company is celebrating it. This to me, is unacceptable. 

I love that my phone keeps me connected. That a text message is faster than a phone call. That I can check Instagram and Twitter and one-thousand other social sites whenever it suits me. But now, the phone addiction is out of control. People would rather robotically scroll through their virtual friends' photos to get a quick glimpse of the memories those people are making, rather than look up and realize they’re missing the memories right in front of them.

Or vice versa, people are so desperately trying to immortalize every moment they live in -- by taking photos of everything and tweeting things like “Just ate a sandwich” -- that they forget to actually live in the moment. IT HAS TO STOP.

I do not want to hang out with non-people, blank-faced, half-drooling over their cell phone. I do not want to have conversations where I am talking and the other person says, "Uh-huh, yeah, yeah ... wait ... what ... start over." NO YOU START OVER.

So in order to make it stop I created a list of 9 reasons you will die if you do not put your phone down right now. Why nine? Because BuzzFeed killed the Internet.

1. I will personally come kill you.

2. You will lose all your friends and die. Without friends you will become sad and depressed. You will escape into your hovel of a bedroom even more attached to your phone -- now the only form of contact you can enjoy. So enamored by it’s presence you will fear leaving it for even one second, until suddenly you drop dead of starvation.

3. Your fingers will fall off from texting and you will die. Without fingers life becomes very difficult for you. You cannot pick things up. Eating is a challenge. But since your only form of communication was your phone and you can no longer press a single button to make a single phone call or summon Siri, you have no one to help you and eventually waste away and die. 

4. You will get hit by a car and die. Trust me, that Instagram photo someone you don’t know posted of their ass in yoga pants will be there in thirty seconds. No need to look at it while crossing the street and forgetting to look both ways. Splat, you’re dead.

5. You will kill someone and then die. Texting while driving is a horrible idea. And someday, if you don’t stop you will accidentally run someone over (probably someone who walked into the street without looking because they were too busy checking their phone). Still, you will be sent to jail -- where you will die. You were never cut out for jail. 

6. Your girlfriend will light your house on fire and you will die. You followed every porn star, friended every half-naked chick, and got a little cheeky with your Twitter followers. Then came the Snap Chats. A boob here, an ass there. No problem. But you snap chatted so much, your GF checked that little button that lists your “Best Friends” and her Snap Chat name wasn’t on it. Rookie move. She got pissed and lit your house on fire. Then you died.

7. You will get fired and then die. When your phone buzzes every five minutes at work, it’s clear you are not working. Your boss will notice and eventually fire you. You will lose your apartment, become homeless and take up a stall selling bracelets on the Venice Boardwalk. Still attached to your phone you didn’t see the guy behind you high on crack with a blade in his hand. Now you’re dead.

8. You will get robbed and then die. You posted the pics: Vegas weekend, bottle service in Miami, trip to Paris, new Louis Vuitton bag, brand new kicks, you pretty much made a profile that said “look I have money” and every time you post, the GPS satellites tell evil people where you are. #thecriminalsfoundandyoustoleyourstuff #andthenaccidentallyshotyou

9. You will never go on a real date and die (alone). You are so busy juggling conversations on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr,, How About We, Ashely Madison, you name it, that you never actually have time to go out with anyone. Instead your phone keeps buzzing, “new match”, “new message”, “new person you can talk to and never interact with” but you’re so excited anyway because “OMG WHO COULD IT BE” that eventually you go insane, concoct schizophrenia from the multiple personalities you’ve created, get shipped off to an asylum where phones are not allowed and die of cell phone withdrawal. Bummer. 

The end. 

But seriously. Don't be a drone. Stack that phone.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Settling Is a Four-Letter Word (And Rhymes With Duck No)

I am 28 and not married. This does not bother me. My Facebook wall is plastered with engagement photos, baby pictures and a slew of wedding-themed-events, all signifying that my generation is officially in the throes of adulthood. I am not there and that's okay. 

I think marriage is a beautiful thing. The idea of finding a person that truly makes your life better, supports you constantly and is generally considered to be an awesome-good-time is a great idea. But that’s what it is: an idea.

If marriage were truly about “the person” then everyone wouldn’t get married at the same age. We’d get married when we found “the one”. Not “the one that happened to ask me out when I was 27, my career was slightly more stable and I no longer wanted to dance on tables at clubs just to end my night with a pity BJ.”

Which is why I think settling is a horrible, terrible and frightening phenomenon. I say phenomenon because I'm pretty sure about 75% of the people getting married are somehow settling. Where’d I get that number? I made it up using fake math. 

You see, roughly 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce and about 50% of people who ARE still married are unhappy. Or I so I assume from their general, depressed demeanor when talking about their significant others. Theses humans, as I like to call them, are depressed because they chose eternity with someone they don't actually like. And they did it because society (i.e. Facebook) told them to get married in their 20's. Otherwise they'll be forced to hit the big 3-0 as complete failures at life. Which leaves an entire generation in a state of panic. Panicked by the thought of being alone. 

I get it, biology plays a role. More than one person has suggested freezing my eggs. To which I say, “Shut up my eggs are awesome where they are and I don’t have $18,000 to blow on the assumption that I’ll be a spinster.” I understand that marriage in your 20’s or early 30’s makes more sense for family and kids and blah, blah, blah. But why get stuck in a marriage with a partner you’re not exactly keen on? When did it become okay to look the other way because “So what he robbed a liquor store or two?” Wouldn’t you rather be alone than stuck in a marriage that feels lonely?

I would.

Growing up we think about the people we want to spend our time with. People who make us laugh, people who make us feel good, people who support us. This is how we make our friends. We make lovers by adding attraction. Sex. Sex. And more sex.

But by the time we start to hit 30, all those things we wanted begin to fade. It’s no longer about being around someone that gives us butterflies and makes the day a little brighter. It becomes all about “not being alone.” Marriage shouldn’t be a solution to loneliness. Just as a pregnancy shouldn’t be a solution to a loveless marriage. Instead of finding someone to fit the institution, we should think about only using the institution IF we find the person.

I know what I want. I want to be with someone who can tell inappropriate jokes, wants to catch a plane at a moment's notice, reads actual literature, can and will dance in his living room, is just as comfortable in a bar with peanuts on the floor as a lounge with velvet ropes and can make light of any situation, but has my back when I need it most. 

I want someone who is looking for adventure, gets bored and wants to fix it, not wallow in it. Someone who's ambitious, creative, smart-as-hell, sings in the car, debates anything and everything, is loving, kind, caring AND looks great in a tux – but can rock a hoodie just as well. 

I know that if I am not with THAT person who gives me goose bumps … gives me a reason to get up and get out of bed in the morning … and truly wants to be with me because he likes hanging out with me, I will not say “I do”, because frankly, I don’t.