Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fariytales

Guys, I had a total un-feminist moment yesterday. It was the moment I started watching video and photos from the Royal Wedding.

Ugh, you’re all thinking. More of this crap. And my only answer, sadly, is yes. I was completely enthralled. She looked so stunning, exquisite really. And he had that military thing happening, and they are young and hopeful and the whole event, all the ceremony and tradition, is a part of this mega long history. It is truly an epic moment in time.

So gorgeous. Her sister came to play too, damn

Now, this is the stuff that fairytales are made of. He is a prince, seriously, all dignified and handsome. She is not royal, but carries herself with this incredible grace. They meet at school, fall in love, and by god she is going to be the Queen of England one day. That is effing crazy. And I was watching and just overcome with the story of it. This moment that they were creating, sharing with the world, and actually making history with. It was like all those little girl moments reading and watching Disney movies, the ones where everyone is beautiful and overcomes evil and lives happily ever after. I was just so taken with her, and with how sincere and gorgeous it all seemed.

it's almost all too much. *sigh*

Of course, as the day went on, I kept wondering how it was possible that I was so drawn in. I don’t even like weddings. I don’t think marriage is a good idea at all. How was it that I was so enthralled with these images? Because the truth of the matter is that behind the images and the narrative are two young people who are officially in it for the long haul. This girl, who was born into a normal family (albiet well off) is marrying into a pretty dysfunctional situation. Royal families are notoriously cracked out, monarchies are a strange strange construct. And these two will have to contend with their public persona, dealing with responsibilities that none of us could ever dream of. And there will be constant scrutiny, any little mistake will be spotlighted and replayed and discussed from every angle. The chances of their being truly happy… I’m not sure. I suppose that life brings different kinds of joy, different goals and different plans. But it is a huge life to take on, and I’m not sure that picking the right dress means that she is prepared.

Well, the truth is, I still can’t believe how perfect she looked and how lovely the whole thing was. I have no idea, underneath the public perception, who these kids really are. And who knows whats going on with the monarchy. They should clearly skip Charles (who married Camilla after Di died which I think is an absolutely heinous move) but then again maybe the Queen will live forever or maybe they will do away with them all. But just remember that there is always a story after the story ends. This day was beautiful, but the ‘Happily Ever After’ part is certainly not a given. No, that will be hard work, done for the rest of their time together and done in the public eye. I hope they make it work, defy the odds, break the mold. But I wonder how far you can stretch ‘young and beautiful’ and hope, when the odds of success in a civilian marriage are so small, and you are trying to actually be married and balance those crowns…

Just for fun:

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Maternal Instincts

I don’t think I’ve ever talked to you guys about this here before, but I am a care-giver. That is to say, a babysitter. My boo bear’s name is Ryan, and she is about 20 months old. I have been watching her since she was teeny tiny, 5 months old, and last spring I was with her every single day for about 4 hours. This year I’m down to 2 days a week because her mom is pregnant with a baby brother, and so she’s only coaching a few days. I have watched Ryan grow an unbelievable amount in this year. She walks, runs, climbs, eats, counts, sings, and dances. She talks up a storm, tells me what she wants and what she is doing. She says my name and ‘I love you’ and sometimes she says them together. She is unbelievably adorable, and ornery, and so so smart. I love her like she is mine, and sometimes I am overwhelmed by the things I want for her. She astounds me, regularly, so often it’s hard to comprehend. She is the highlight of my weeks, my favorite obligation, the light at the end of my tunnels.

Wanting kids is something that women are ‘supposed’ to do. Maternal instinct is supposedly hardwired in us. But of course this is ridiculous. I know men who are naturally great with kids (my father, for starters) and women who feel awkward around babies and little ones, so this skill is clearly just about different personalities. I have always been in awe of parent/child relationships, and lately, I have been feeling the pull.

Here is another quote from Appetites, this time from the epilogue. It articulates very clearly my awe and amazement for women’s bodies and their power and their strength. Author Caroline Knapp describes watching her sister give birth:

“The next split seconds, though, are the ones I want to remember, for a birth really is the most extraordinary feat of nature, and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such profound respect for the female body or such awe in its presence. A body creating a body; a woman’s body, equipped with this exquisite knowledge and stunning capacity to create life, and then to house it and protect it and nurture it thought its own web of cord and fluid, and then to bring it into the world, producing human life itself… this is quite truly the stuff of miracles, and it begins in the body of a woman, and it springs from the body of a woman, and it takes your breath away.”

I am always saying that women’s bodies are amazing because they are built to sustain two lives. This is such an extraordinary capability, one men can’t even touch. And while motherhood has been given saintly status, women’s bodies have been continually demeaned, demoted, other-ed. Our bodies are continually controlled, judged, limited, even hated. Our ability to give birth isn’t seen as amazing, it’s seen as weird. Furthermore, the very strengths we posses, things like flexibility, bodies that have enough strength and fat to create another body, emotionality and desire for connection, all of these things are cast as weaknesses. As wrong.

But they are strengths. Women have a higher pain tolerance than men, emotional and physical. We get tossed around, used and abused, we are playing against a stacked deck. And all the while, we have within us, what our culture values so much, this incredible strength and power. I have been yearning lately, yearning to feel my body accomplish this feat. I want to hold a tiny little person, a replica that I incubated and nurtured, that I gave birth to, I want to rock that little nugget to sleep. Now, I am not delusional, and I am well aware that my life right now cannot be about this. I have no money, no time, no place for this child. My three room apartment in alphabet city is not child proof, no room for a crib, and the crabs would not agree to diaper duty. I have no partner. It is impossible.

And so for now I just wait. I wait for the day when this miracle becomes possible for me, and until then I get to play with Ry, marvel at how she learns and grows. I can watch other women experience their own journey to motherhood, and I can keep saying (loudly) how awesome and strong and mind-blowing women are. Even those who don’t want to have kids have strength within them, the very capacity itself a statement. When the time is right and I get my own boo bear, I can already feel how amped I’ll be to practice yoga pregnant and dance pregnant and feel my body grow to accommodate this developing life  and experience that moment where my body takes over and expels the very potential of the human race, a tiny new person. This capability is an awe inspiring gift, it is not a burden. Our bodies are not rogue or out of control or needing. Our bodies are incredible.

On Being Hungry… Sexually

OoOOoOOOoOoOOOooOoooO….. see what I did there?

So I finished Appetites yesterday, just could not put it down. In case you missed it, I posted yesterday inspired by this book, feel free to review here.

Throughout the book author Caroline Knapp speaks to many issues of appetite, from the hunger for food, things, success, approval, and yes: sex. Sexual appetite, from what I can see, is a super conflicting place to navigate for women. In this age of (supposed) liberation, women are supposed to want to have sex, and we are no longer limited in who we want to have it with. Or aren’t we? There is still this unbelievable stigma when you think outside the box. I think the ‘Madonna-whore’ complex has given way to the ‘g/f-NSA’ complex, that there are still two kinds of girls and rules about how much you are allowed to want/enjoy/engage in sex. There is definitely a ‘too much’ as far as women are concerned, and female sexual appetite is still hushed and veiled in secrecy the way that men’s appetites never need be. Think about sex education. First of all, if you are lucky to get taught anything except abstinence, I doubt you were taught about female pleasure or orgasm or anatomy. It took me another twenty years after my sex ed class to actually read and learn about my anatomy, not that I hadn’t explored, but oh boy did I gain a whole new understanding (that book, for the record, is called ‘The Smart Girls Guide to the G-Spot”. I swear by it.) How are we supposed to figure out what we want if we don’t even know how the mechanics work?

Anyway, here is an incredibly eloquent passage about the language of desire, about why women have a hard time articulating what they need and want from lovers, about how our needs may be different, about how to start using language as a tool to satiety. Again, from Appetites by Caroline Knapp, the Chapter is ‘From Bra Burning to Binge Shopping’:

A psychiatrist tells me about her efforts to get women to think differently about sexuality, which is often a battle fought with words… She talks about sexuality in terms that evoke its internal nature, a man’s native level of desire as “sharp and daily,” a woman’s as more “hidden and complex.” She uses food metaphors to describe differences in need and satisfaction- the sexual ideal for a man might be quick and frequent and focused, the equivalent of grabbing a bite to eat; the ideal for a woman might be more leisurely and indulgent, a gourmet meal in a restaurant instead of a sandwich on the fly, and encounter preceded by a lot of thought, a lot of planning and preening and fantasizing during the day, a lot of warm-up time, no distractions, no work to get done or bills to pay or piles of dishes to wash. Her descriptions are peppered with words you rarely hear applied to female sexuality- “dark” and “glittery” and “mysterious”- and when I listen to her, I’m impressed by the power of even those hints at a reconfiguration, a word like “glittery” so much more apt and evocative than a word like “sexy,” its path so clearly headed inward instead of outward.

I think this is a beautiful idea, that my sexuality is mysterious and glittery. Glittery. Yes. And the other reason I like this is because it doesn’t say a thing about men wanting sex more than women, which is an idea I am consistently denying. It speaks to the idea that there are different kinds of sex and different kinds of desires, and it stands to reason that these can be shaped in part by gender (after all, we do come with different parts, different buttons to push and different ways to experience pleasure and orgasm.) I have been pondering for awhile why sex always seems to me to be hurried, fast and furious, goal oriented. I do fantasize about slowing it all down, lingering, languishing, going back for seconds (thirds, fourths…)

Of course, this isn’t always possible. We live in an oh so productive, on the go, gotta get to work/make that money America. (I do blame capitalism in part for the way we learn to have sex. We just don’t know how to relax and take our time, so focused on the end goal, in the work place and the kitchen and the bedroom.) I have nothing against fitting it in when thats your only option. But if that’s all you ever get, and its not really doing it for you, then you have got to talk to your partner (or find a new partner) and figure out what would satisfy you. If its something slower, or if you need props, or more warm-up throughout the day or right before or WHATEVER. You are allowed to want different things than your partner. In fact, its completely normal. But don’t think about it as difficult or wrong. It’s just different. It’s glittery. And you deserve to be satisfied. Male sexual desire is so obvious, so culturally mandated, so hanging out and obvious (literally, there it is!). As women our sex happens inside, our body needs more attention, it takes a different kind of effort, one that any partner worth their weight should be willing to exert. If not, drop them, learn how to satisfy yourself, and don’t give it up to anyone who isn’t willing to satisfy your needs and not just their own. You are sparkly and fabulous, and your desire is glittery and mysterious and enticing. Words matter, so make your own mantra and don’t settle. You deserve fullness, your appetites deserve consideration, your glittery-ness deserves love and attention.

On Being Hungry

I want to talk about wanting. About how I see women around me wanting, and what they want, and how its complicated and sometimes frustrating.

Last night I was with some friends, and it was a weird night. I won’t speak to the habits of others, but I will tell you that at one point (2nd happy hour) I was eating chips and guacamole. I did not want this snack. I was eating for other strange reasons, among them: anger, anxiety, frustration, habit, and substitution (I really wanted something else that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get.) I know women who engage in this kind of consumption all the time, sometimes every day. What the hell are we all doing?

I am reading a new book, which I will shortly quote from, called Appetites. This is book about desire and wanting, and it articulates the complex world of female wanting in unbelievably smart and sophisticated terms. It is hitting close to home on so many topics, it makes me feel sad and empowered at the same time. Here is just a taste of author Caroline Knapp’s brilliance:

“Like so many women I know, I grew up understanding that self-worth and likeability were inextricably linked, that a sizable portion of my value would come from nourishing others: pleasing, avoiding conflict, concealing my own needs and disappointments. Granted, some of this had to do with what I observed and absorbed about women as a child, the standard messages about gender and female accommodation. Some of it, too, had to do with my own drive to fit in, the creeping uncertainty I felt in adolescence about my own likes and dislikes and desires. But a pivotal piece, I think was rooted in a more visceral feeling of alliance with my mother…” Chapter 2, The Mother Connection

This book touches on so many things that ring true to me. It talks about controlling the female body, hegemony, how ambition is thwarted (Hillary Clinton!), how sexual appetites are demonized, and how women’s desires are continually downplayed or belittled or straight up denied. I certainly had examples of women like Knapp describes, women who seemed to never want, women who were always doing for others and caring for others and never ever thought about themselves.

But thats not exactly what I want to talk about. It’s that first sentence that I’ve been seeing in action lately, that part where being liked is directly linked to your self worth. This is a phenomenon, which I agree starts in that murkiest of murky places: Adolescence. Girls stop being individuals and start moving as packs, and they all start to want the same things including but not limited to: being pretty, being skinny, boys (the same boys) and sometimes success in school or sports (but only to the extent allowed and usually these drives are not the first on the list.) Even now, I see myself and the women around me struggle to like a boy without worrying that if he doesn’t like us back it says something about us, not about him. Why is there that immediate tie, that sticky little thread connecting someone else’s approval to how good you feel about yourself on a given day? For the life of me, I cannot figure out when I started to let this happen. (For the record, I was a sassy, feisty little bitch in high school, and in a lot of ways I was way smarter than I am now. For one, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that boys were silly and fun, but to treat them as more than that was a waste of my time. I also knew that I was silly and fun, and I didn’t need anyone else to qualify that by agreeing with me.)

So where does that confidence go? What happens when we stop being in touch with our own true desires, and start to all want the same thing? It looks to me like we all get distracted with bullshit and are easier to keep skinny and quiet. It also looks to me like we convince ourselves that taking up too much space, with our bodies or our ambitions or our dreams, is un-lady-like and unattractive and unacceptable. And to top it all off, we become these weird desperate versions of ourselves, and having a crush feels like a triathlon we didn’t train for and have no idea how to conquer. But we know how to complete a triatholon! We have all kinds of skills that make us good at relationships. We have all kinds of knowledge that should make deciding who we are and what we want if not easy, then at least manageable (the tyranny of freedom and how overwhelming so many choices can be is another genius topic she covers, for another day.)

I just want my friends to see how beautiful and talented and great they are without needing a significant other as proof. I want, for myself, to be able to have a crush on a boy without immediately assuming that I’m gonna fuck it up or wondering why he’d like me. Why wouldn’t he like me? A lot of people like me. My friends are never confused, just as I am never confused as to why anyone would want to hang out with them. So I’m gonna do some serious soul searching about what I desire in my life, if I want to eat more or move more or have more sex or more love or watch more movies or read more books or get a god damn PhD. And I’m gonna remember that who I am isn’t defined by who likes me or who’s in my bed (or not in my bed.) And I’m going to remind my friends that life isn’t perfect, but they are, and anyone who isn’t on board is a waste of time. We have got to get better at wanting, or more accurately, at articulating what we want unapologetically and then going about getting it in style.

Chemical Components of Cuddling

Well, I’m in cuddle withdrawal. No doubt about it. Not tryin’ to brag, but this phenomenon got me curious so I decided to do some research. It turns out, I’m not the only person who wonders why even though you sleep alone for 99% of your life, one night with another person and suddenly your body craves that other body. Here, briefly and unscientifically, is what I found out. (If you wanna check out the research tools, I just googled “cuddle and sex chemicals”.)

google image results, molecules!

Basically, sex and cuddling release a cocktail of different chemicals in your brain. Some of these we are familiar with, like adrenaline, serotonin and endorphins. So at different times we feel amped up, euphoric, sleepy, invincible. Whew! But there is also this ‘cuddle chemical’ called oxytocin which supposedly makes you bond with the person you are touching. This fascinates me, how smart our bodies are. Because, speaking from a Darwin perspective, if we bond with those we cuddle with then we’ll have more sex and produce more babies.

Darwin Valentine! wu hoo! oxycotin and endorphins

But in my life this is sort of annoying. Because the thing is, I’m busy, and my love life is anything but consistent. So the chemical hangover is really just confusing. How am I supposed to figure out what I want, how I feel, what my limits are, when my brain is pumping all these chemicals through me and all I can really think about is when I get to be near that person again?

Ok and now a side note. When doing research, most of what I found was focused on how men react to chemicals, and even how men are ‘more like women’ sometimes due to these chemicals. I think its fascinating that we want to gender feelings like affection, and that affectionate men can get off the hook using this chemical excuse. I also was frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t find information that was woman-centered, which is somewhat typical in the medical community because the male body is considered the standard and the female body is weird (especially when we do things like menstruate and get pregnant. CRAZY!) I don’t think that you can explain away every reaction and feeling with science, and I think it’s dangerous to try. Cultural learning is huge, and who can say how all the varied factors of modern life (diet, medication, environmental substances) affect each individuals’ brain chemistry? So while I found this information somewhat helpful and interesting, I’m not putting too much stock in it. What makes more sense to me is that from the time we are children we are fed a wide away of fairy tales, women getting rescued, white knights and happily ever after getting pumped into our imagination. And even once we grow up and know better, it’s always and intoxicating idea. Falling in love is the ultimate cultural adventure, and I think its a story we all want to be a part of. So instead of blaming the chemicals (although they do exist and play a role), I’m gonna chalk it up to an overactive imagination and my childhood love of Disney films. And until I can cuddle again, I’m hoping that yoga and laughter will curb my cravings. It’s amazing all of the myriad ways there are to feel good…

The Mani/Pedi Dilemma

The ladies on The View never cease to rile me up. In this clip they are discussing a J Crew add, seen below, that shows the company president painting her son’s toe nails.

You can watch the video clip here (you know Barbara is not letting me embed that ish, sorry!)

Now, seriously, what even is the problem? We are so concerned with gender, people think I exaggerate when I say that we start to learn the rules before we can even speak. But the controversy over this add proves it. Children don’t understand adult concepts. The boy likes pink, he probably thinks its cool that you can make your toe nails a different color. He isn’t trying to express his femininity, although if he was that would probably be ok. But we are all so worried that the categories are going to be blurred, we forget how kids work. I babysit an amazing 20 month old named Ryan, and she is amazing. Smart, quirky, gorgeous, and she is so energetic. She’s a precious monkey, always trying to climb on everything (and with no sense of gravity, eek!) Ryan doesn’t think of herself as a tomboy, she is just a toddler who is talkative and wants to climb. But every adult around her describes her that way. Why are we so quick to place those labels?

I can’t stress it enough, that gender matters because its how we categorize one another. When we are confused about gender, it is seriously unnerving. And of course, gender and sexuality are uniquely and complexly linked, and sexuality is also really important because, like gender, its part of how we shape our interactions. I would argue that gender and sexuality are the number one most important tool we use when choosing how to approach, talk to, connect with, manipulate, and learn about people. And the reason its so important is because along these lines, there are those with the fun rules (straight males, and even gay males though to a lesser extent) and those with much more limiting rules (all women.) So obviously, keeping the delineations clear is important to those who want to maintain the status quo, keep all the fun for themselves, and keep the balance of power uneven. I am all for blurring the lines, living in grey space/queer space. And I totally understand why this would make people itchy. Without black and white categories, rules are there ain’t no rules. It would significantly change the way that we’ve learned to interact with strangers, it would change the rules of dating/courtship, it would change workplace hierarchy and friendships. I think that breaking down gender roles and rules is maybe the most important step we need to take as a culture, if we are ever truly going to accepts the humanity of every single person. But if this ad is all it takes to fire people up, I fear we have an oh so long way to go.

The First State Sparkles into Civil Unions!

Guys, today I am proud to be from the First State, Delaware! Yes, Delaware is a whole entire state. It is also the Diamond State, and home of tax free shopping. And today, a bill was passed to allow Civil Unions for gay couples. You can read about that here.

CHYEA!

Now, I have to mention that not every gay man and woman cares about this. Some think that going the heteronormative path, trying to parallel mainstream rights, is not the way to go. They think that the movement needs to get back to it’s radical roots. And I for one can’t completely disagree. I am not into marriage. It’s a super privileged status, and the only way that you elevate one group is by subordinating another. And not only are people who aren’t married denied rights, but within marriage itself there are those with power and those with less. Remember, marriage used to be a property exchange, and that legacy is not entirely dead. Women around the world still wear white on this day, even though its technically no longer a symbol of virginity. But there are still places in the world where you can be killed for not bleeding on your wedding night, or sent back to your family shamed for life, and marital rape was only recognized (in this country!) by the law in the past 30 years. The white dress encompasses all of that, and I think we need to be more concious of all the baggage that comes with this institution. I think we should dismantle the whole thing and figure something else out. Sometimes I wonder what the heck the homos are thinking, but then again husband and husband or wife and wife isn’t the same thing as husband and wife, so maybe the power dynamic isn’t so severe.

I don’t have a complete solution. This is an issues I think about often, because it is so personally/politically intertwined. I will say, however, that gay marriage is going to happen in my lifetime. The ball is already rolling. And I understand how important it is to some people, people who want to declare their love and have their family recognized. And so it warms my heart. Even though politically I am somewhat torn, personally I think that we should celebrate love in all it’s variations. For now, this is how the community is going after rights, and they do deserve rights. And love is it, you know? It is the very thing. It’s all you need, it’s what the world needs now, it’s my drug… It’s what we should all measure our lives in.

Being Plastic. It’s Fantastic.

Wanna see something really effing creepy?

Seriously, this is wicked twerked. Prepare yourself.

BAM! CREEPY!

Guys, that is what Barbie would look like as a full grown woman, if you use her doll measurements and multiply (is that the correct math verb? I’ve never been great with numbers…) How seriously messed up is that? This was built by a brilliant young woman for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. You can read the full article from Huffington Post here.

This picture is important because images are very powerful. And Barbie isn’t just an image. Barbie is an object that billions of girls touch, play with, insert into their fantasy lives, sleep with, idealize, and love. Think about the kind of power that this doll has. Children are so easy to manipulate. It’s what makes them so vulnerable and endearing. It’s why marketing towards kids is so effective, because they are gullible and impressionable and because since they are so gosh darn cute we want to give them what they ask for.

But giving them this particular toy is dangerous. It’s like giving them something sharp, something hot that will burn them. This doll will create an image of what women are that is extremely distorted. It’s distorted, and gross, and impossible. This is the reason that when women lose 10 lbs the first thought is usually “Great. I wonder if I could lose 10 more…” This is the reason that we get suckered into buying sneakers that claim they’ll make our asses look spectacular. It’s the reason we binge and purge. Its the reason the reflection is never good enough.

But this can change. We can control the images we see (well, to an extent.) We can do things that make us feel good, which will be drastically different person to person. I need to practice yoga, cook myself delicious food, and dance. Riding my bike also makes me feel free and fun, as does laughing with my friends (who are hilarious.) So we need to trash the Barbies, turn away from the magazine covers, and stop buying into the gimicks. Self love equals self healing, and these wounds are ours collectively to heal. Tell your friends they are beautiful every day. We gotta stick together against this blond freak. She’s adapted with the times, gone global, survived into this new century. The fight starts here. It’s on.

Rebounds and Other Ideas That Seem Good at the Time

Let’s get familiar with the term rebound. I think Urban Dictionary (urbandictionary.com) has 2 excellent definitions:

1) hooking up with someone shortly after being dumped (by someone else) so that you still feel wanted.

2) the kind of relationship that’s simply happening in order to get over one that recently ended

Ok so in a rebound situation, one (or both) parties has recently gotten out of a relationship and wants to forget/prove something/get revenge/move on, and the idea is that sex with someone new will accomplish this. Sometimes, this can work spectacularly. There are those elusive magical moments where you accomplish this perfectly, finding someone just cute and charming enough to distract your mind and body and give you the gift of at least one night of enough pleasure to boost you towards what’s next. And that is truly a lovely situation.

But. Oh, the but. The timing, more than anything, of this encounter has got to be right. Because sometimes, we get hurt and its more than just a slap in the face or a bump in the road. Sometimes we get caught off guard, blind sided, or really just chewed up and spit out. And I think that if you are really feeling the sting, and trying to figure out what went wrong and what you want, that this is a solitary process. Adding another person to the equation is like trying to find a miracle cure. It’s confusing, because if you are hurt then what do you want this person to say? Should they apologize for that other asshole, fall for you immediately, make promises, tell you you’re pretty, or just leave before you wake up? When you are trying to get your head right, you need to take deep breaths and think clearly. This is hard to do during sex, and during the after sex shower and during the time after you’ve shut the door behind that person when you are wondering why you did that and if they wanna come back and if they know how confused and silly you are.

There is this quote, another Julie Klausner quote (you can read my previous post about her brilliance here) that has been running in my mind. Because I think girls feel extreme pressure to be able to have uncommitted sex and random encounters even if thats not what we always want. As if being modern means being able to serial date and hook up and remember that you shouldn’t care cause that makes you clingy and lame and provincial. She says it better, from the same brilliant memoir-ish book I Don’t Care About Your Band:

“You don’t stop trying to connect. You don’t close up like a clam, even when it gets hard to tell the difference between who you are and how you are treated. You keep trying, in the nature of optimism; in the nature of believing in humanity, like Carole King told our moms to do. And when you cry about things not working out, you’re crying not only because a guy you slept with now doesn’t seem to care you’ve alive for some reason that’s beyond everything you’ve been told by teachers, parents, friends, and everybody else who knows how awesome you are-who helped make you that way-but also, because you’re ashamed of yourself for crying.” (JK)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you are allowed to want whatever you want, and it’s allowed to change, and you are allowed to take risks or not. But if you are trying to figure it out, or if you took a risk and it didn’t pay off, I think its better to just tap out and deal with the bruises. The rebound can end up adding to the confusion, or digging the hole deeper. No one is going to be able to articulate what you want, so before you start making demands or giving shit away you better damn well know, in your own head, what you are trying to accomplish. Otherwise sex is dangerous  and scary instead of freeing and fun and passionate and optimistic.

The Lovers, The Dreamers… and the Bad Boyfriends?

Alright, so life can be disappointing. Specifically, my love life. But before we delve into that, lets take a moment to enjoy this lovely video.

Wow, the Muppets. Classic. A few summers ago I staged The Muppet Movie as a summer camp musical. It was pretty hilarious. But this video is not just entertainment, it’s a learning tool.

I recently read a pretty hilarious book called I Don’t Care About Your Band. Author and comedy writer Julie Klausner was preachin’ to the choir with her tales of post-millennium guys and how hard it is to date. Especially in New York. The biggest ‘A-Ha!’ moment I had was in the chapter about Kermit the Frog. She has this brilliant metaphor, about how this generation of girls are Ms Piggys, funny and fabulous and over the top, and instead of becoming stars on our own shows we are chasing Kermit: the skinny, guitar playing, oblivious ‘cool guy’ who just wants to chill by the pond and hang with his bros. Sound brilliant? Yea, I about fell off the park bench reading that. In fact, here’s her exact words which are smarter and better than mine:

As I watched Kermit haplessly biking down the street without a care in the world, about to be smushed between two steamrollers, I thought, “Oh my God. I know that guys. I’ve dated him.” Kermit, beloved frog of yore, suddenly, overwhelmingly, reminded my adult self of vintage-eyeglass-frame-wearing guys from Greenpoint or Silver Lake, who pedal alone avenues in between band practice and drinks with friends, sans attachment, oblivious to the impeding hazards of reality and adulthood. Oh my god, I thought. Kermit is one of those hipsters who seem like they’re afraid of me. It all came together. Remember how content Kermit was, just strumming his banjo on a tree trunk in the swamp? That’s the guy I’ve been chasing my whole life, killing myself trying to show his how fabulous I am. Remember how, on The Muppet Show, Kermit used to politely laugh at Miss Piggy’s earnest pleas for some kissy-kissy, or fend off her jealousy after flirting right in front of her with one of his pretty guest stars? Piggy had to canvas relentlessly to get herself a good part on that show, while Kermit was always the star… Kermit never appreciated what he had in Piggy, because she was just one great thing about his awesome life. ~JK

Alright, well, I hope this is making as much sense to you as it does to me. I think, more than anything, you just want someone to look at you and say ‘You are a lot, and I specifically like how much you are.’ In general, I look around and see a lot of my girl friends dumbing themselves down or dimming their shiny-ness, hoping to catch boys that are used to being in the spotlight. But who wants to be a diamond in the rough when you can be precious jewels, 24/7? Why should we want these shy guys with their bromances and instruments? (Cause they are gorgeous usually, and yea, I totally get that.) Julie goes on to say that “…if you want to be the star of a show, you should make your own effing show… Or maybe you’ll find out one day that instead of a popular charmer with a talent for playing the banjo, what you really want is a guy who digs you like crazy.” (JK)

I mean, it’s like this girl has been watching video of all my recent past romantic encounters. And what I’ve learned (and am trying really hard to believe/implement) is that boys aren’t meant to be chased. And neither are girls. You shouldn’t have to convince anyone that you’re a good idea. You’re a great idea, and that should be obvious. If you’re green-skinned crush is charming and strumming but too busy writing songs and hanging with the boys to notice how hilarious and gorgeous and unique you are, then just let it go. This whole pig chasing frog fiasco is really funny when it’s puppets, but on the big bad streets of Manhattan… it’s exhausting and ineffective. And downright outrageous. Kermit needs to put the banjo down and make moves. And Piggy should probably direct/produce her own variety show and find someone who can make her laugh and handle her karate chop.

(All credit to this brilliant hilarious woman, many thanks for the lessons and laughs and inspiration for this post. You can find out more about Julie here.)