Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Neek and Misfit's Guide to Dating

Back in November I did a presentation at our annual company meeting about getting started with blog writing and why I write. One of the things I told the group was that you have to have a support group when you write. It can be comprised of your mom and your cat if that’s what you need in your life. For the record, my mom reads my blog regularly and Pumpkin is a cat so she can’t read. However, she’s very supportive when I talk out loud while I write. And by supportive I mean she naps and ignores me.

I’m lucky enough to have found a handful of other writers that I feel get me and my style and provide me with honest feedback even if it’s not what I want to hear. My dear friend Bad Shakespeare has visited the Island in past crossovers and today, you get to meet the wonderful Neek Confessional (or Jessica as I prefer to call her). We’ve discussed doing a joint post for awhile and having finally gotten ourselves together to do it.

Now if we could finally pull together our trip to DragonCon we’d be good to go.

Both Jessica and I like to indulge in the internet wonder that is Buzzfeed. We discovered this post from Buzzfeed Community member Doriean Stevenson back in February. Old timey dating advice is legitimately horrifying so we thought maybe we could add to the discussion. Part one of the post will appear here on the Island and part two will appear over on Neek Confessional. Think of it as a conversation between Jessica and I over drinks although we don’t live in the same state. I did drink wine while writing so that counts. #hemingwaywasadrunk

Note: It's best that you read Doriean's post first. My advice is in black, Jessica's in blue. It'll be the opposite on her post. Because reasons.

There is a part in the classic Judy Blume novel Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret where Margaret and her friends decide to start doing bust enhancing exercises to speed up their development in the race to be the first one to get a bra (how little they really understand about the reality of bras). Their mantra: “We must, we must, we must increase our bust.” This move is about as useless as rubbing your stomach to reduce it’s size. See also every Buddha statue that has ever had its belly rubbed for luck. My suggestion: dress in clothes that flatter you and love what you got even if it includes a belly.

For the record, I never read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. I know I lose a lot of our “same person!” points for that, but I agree with the idea that bust enhancing exercises are about as useless as tummy shrinking rubs. If you really want bigger breasts, get surgery or have a baby (but please, please for the love of god don’t let that be your only reason to have a baby). If you really want a smaller stomach, do crunches and cardio and whatnot. It’s really not a big deal though. Think about wearing things that make you feel good and not stressing over your figure. Let your attitude define you, not your abs.

I would counter with this statement: there are two types of men in this world - those that wear deep Vee neck t-shirts and those who don’t want to appear like Adam Levine d-bag wannabes. Until you get that Vee neck t-shirt problem under control, I’m going to continue wearing these earrings right over here.

Historically, ear piercing is one of the oldest types of body modification. There are references to earrings in ancient texts and art, the Bible, and Shakespeare. Earrings also have religious significance and are considered a rite of passage in many cultures. Furthermore, aren’t earrings one of the most popular gifts for birthdays and Valentine’s Day? 1912, you’re trying to ruin a perfectly good present opportunity.

I would cross counter with two more types of men that define the world - those that have a smidgen of common sense and those that wear tight, hipster pants.

I don’t know about you but getting my ears pierced was a huge deal for me, and also a lovely bonding moment with my father. I wasn’t allowed for quite a few years to get them pierced, because I had to wait until I was older. Then one Christmas my daddy gave me two pairs of beautiful diamond earrings as the sign that I was now old enough. Totally a rite of passage in my mind.

Also, since my ears are pierced this means I can wear lightsaber earrings. Don’t be a ruiner, 1912.

We are the same person! My dad also took me to get my ears pierced much to the horror of my mother. Dad bonding moments rock!

Two movie references that refute this point totally:

  1. Mannequin. Kim Cattrall came to life and fell in love with Andrew McCarthy. She was an Egyptian princess who gets reincarnated (I think) as a mannequin in modern day New York. She uses her awesomeness to help Andrew McCarthy design window displays for a struggling department store, taught us that the only thing to wear under fur is lingerie, and that Hollywood is a wonderful name for a sidekick
  2. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Ryan Gosling movie Lars and the Real Girl. In the movie, Gosling is a very un-Ryan Gosling character; he’s shy, not very good with people (especially women), and a bit odd. Anyway, he gets an entire community to accept a life size sex doll as his girlfriend. Lars develops a more meaningful relationship with the doll than most people are able to develop with the actual people in their lives so maybe we can learn something from him.
Sometimes you have to work things out and real people don’t help you so you do what you have to do. Don’t settle for people who don’t value you. You’re better than that.

I didn’t see Lars and the Real Girl but the idea also reminds me of Her. Did you see that? Was that actually out already or is that later this year? Anyway Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a computer program that has Scarlett Johansson’s voice. I didn’t see it either so I’m not entirely sure how it worked out, but I think the fact that we can list three movie examples between us proves your point. 

I didn't see Her because I have an aversion to Joaquin Phoenix but I'm sure it supports my theory completely. 

My initial reaction to this was, “You just described most women I see out in the evenings in Clarendon.” - dressed to impress someone (not sure who), wearing expertly applied make-up (I wish I could apply eyeliner without stabbing myself in the eye), and traveling solo because no one lives near anyone in the greater DC area. The social lives of most 20 and 30 somethings in any metropolitan area is based on these elements. Frankly, I’m more bothered by a lone male than a lone female; there’s something inherently creepy about some dude at a bar by himself who hasn’t learned the word boundaries. This is probably why I’m still single.

After I thought about this for a bit, I realized that what really bothers me about this statement is that nothing has changed in 150 years. Even if the morals behind the statement have changed, women still have to spend time thinking about their safety when they go out alone (not that men don’t but women have to do this more often). I wanted to be funnier on this one but it just made me mad instead.

One of my friends refuses to let me walk by myself downtown, even if it’s just a situation where I park the car a block or two away then meet them at the bar. This actually makes me really mad. Yes, I think women have to be more aware of their safety than men, which is unfortunate, but I also think you shouldn’t assume I’m helpless. Maybe I have protective equipment in my person. Maybe I’ll whip out some BAMF defensive moves. You don’t know.

An interesting thing I took from this was not so much the makeup (meanwhile eyeliner is like the only thing I can do somewhat successfully) or the clothing, but the expression. Screw the meretricious look in their eyes. What you should really avoid are people of either gender that have that predator look in their eye NO MATTER WHO THEY LOOK AT. Avoid the hunter that’s in it for the thrill of the chase.

Finally someone has explained to me why I’m still single! I haven’t just randomly been sitting on a guy’s lap if I’m interested in him. Clearly all of my social interactions with gentlemen have been wrong. The other thing that I love about this one is that I thought I’d have to wait until I was in my 70s before I could do ridiculous things and just shrug it off as “old lady prerogative”. Now I know that I’ve almost five years behind on this behavior and I could just start doing whatever now. You know, since I’m almost 35 and that is ancient.

I can’t be entirely certain, but I strongly suspect that at some point I *have* randomly sat on a guy’s lap. Apparently this hasn’t worked because I’m still too young. It doesn’t seem fair to have one set of dating behavior for under 30 and other rules for over 30. How am I supposed to keep track of so many rules??

I’m pretty excited though that I only have three years until I catch up to “crazy old lady” status. I see this as also giving permission for day drinking and saying whatever you want to people. This is probably why people write better as they get older (#hemingwaywasadrunk). This is going to be fabulous! 

People are better when they're older and I found proof with the lady walker/jogger/prancerciser that I share the walking trail with on Fridays. I bet she figured out the "sitting on a guy's lap" rules years ago.

I was telling my father and brother about this particular item and both of them brought up lack of pasteurization in the 1880s as a reason that this made sense. I told them that they were not fun and they were no longer allowed to participate in the conversation.

Cheese is one of the perfect foods that exist in the world (potatoes and bread are the other two). Think of all the kinds! I have five types of cheese in the fridge right now. When I worked at the university, we used to get so excited about working an event that included cheese in the appetizer selection. Nothing says impossibly fancy than a cheese tray.

I’ll be bold for a moment: I would rather eat vegan cheese than no cheese at all.

It is one of my greatest regrets that I didn’t really like cheese as a child. There were some exceptions as I freaking loved cheese sticks (the breaded, fried kind. Not the stick of cheese that you eat in strips. Don’t try to pretend I was healthy as a child) but overall I didn’t really care for cheese. But now… amazing. And when you COMBINE cheese, potatoes, and bread, you have basically the best meal ever. Although I would also add onions and bacon to that meal. I am Scottish after all.
I’m going to quote a true authority on manners, Cher Horowitz from Clueless: “So, OK. I don't wanna be a traitor to my generation and all, but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, c'mon, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants, and take their greasy hair—ew!—and cover it up with a backwards cap and, like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so”

I think we can apply the same logic to the fact that tablecloths do not equal napkins. Basic manners are important in life and no one wants to sit across from a person (male or female) at a meal and deal with their poor table manners. Use your napkin, chew with your mouth closed, try to use the right utensils; none of this is difficult.

Did I tell you Cher was my 90s female lead match? I’m so happy you picked her quote! How can I possibly disagree with her wonderful life musings?

What I want to know is what exactly are these people doing at their dinner parties to worry about the expense of napkins! Unless you’re throwing a wedding reception I hardly feel like that’s a big splurge area, and I only mention a wedding since tons of people are invited so sheer numbers alone drives up the cost. Seriously, if you’re stressing over paying for napkins, what are you serving at this dinner party? Ramen noodles and boxed wine? That’s the type of meal that generates sarcasm, never mind whether or not people are already joking around. 

Ready for part two? Head over to Neek Confessional to continue the conversation.

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