I am single, and that’s OK.

I am single, and that’s OK.

This is a new sentence that I’m writing to myself, something I try to remember when I feel lonely. It’s new to me because no one has ever told me this before. Since I was born, everyone and everything around me told me that I would really start living when I found “my special someone”, “my soulmate”. Only when I was in love and married would I truly be fulfilled in life. “There’s no good that can come out of singleness. A woman can’t find self-worth unless it comes from the admiration of a man.” These are the messages that I have heard all my life, and they have damaged me.

For a while, I believed them. I waited for guys to start taking notice of me. I waited for my first date, my first kiss, and my first boyfriend in high school. When that didn’t happen, they told me it would definitely for sure happen in college. Well, here I am four years later, still never been kissed, still single, and yeah I’ll say it, somewhat bitter.

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But I’m tired of waiting to be happy and fulfilled through a romantic relationship. I’m tired of feeling like I’m missing out on something. I could either use my single years to grow personally and enjoy my independence, or be miserable and bitter. That doesn’t mean I don’t still get lonely sometimes, it just means I don’t waste time regretting something I don’t have. I wish I could really be as strong as my words make me seem. I wish I didn’t feel pain when I see my sister and her finance kiss for the thousandth time from the corner of my eye. I wish I didn’t wonder if I just met my future husband every time I meet an eligible or attractive guy my age. I wish I could focus on my relationship with Christ, one that really would fulfill me, rather than my absence of a romantic relationship. But this is a learning process, and my feelings are still catching up with my new ideas about singleness.

My mother frequently tells me that she can’t die in peace until she sees me “married and happy”. That’s usually followed by a variation of, “If you lose weight, men will pursue you.” Is it any wonder that I have struggled with low self-esteem and poor body image all my life? It took a long time for me to re-educate myself so I wouldn’t believe in her harmful message; that my body was to blame for my singleness. I don’t resent my mother for saying these things; she truly does believe it and only wants to see me happy. I do wish that she had taught me to love myself and value my body at a younger age. Nowadays, I correct these statements as best I can by telling her that I am happy even though I’m not married, and that I don’t want a husband who desires only my body, but all of me, and I’m willing to wait for that.

Why did I spend the first two decades of my life obsessed with love?

Our culture is obsessed with love, both physical and emotional. We’ve been fed romance and love songs since we were in diapers (Disney, anyone?). We saw sex at an early age, most likely introduced in a negative way, and continued seeing it everywhere; movies, music, ads, clothes, books, news. We saw it so much that we’ve become desensitized to it. It no longer surprises us to see a woman exploiting her body to advertise a product or company; in fact, it makes perfect sense to us. Hardee’s commercials are a great and disgusting example of this. What does fast-food have to do with a beautiful/sexy woman? Absolutely nothing; but by creating a connection between a desirable woman and the desirableness of food, Hardee’s sells more burgers. It’s simple, sex sells.

Hardee’s ads are so good at what they do that they work on a deeper level. That’s what scares me, it’s subliminal. Our waking minds may not notice overt sexuality plastered over the walls of our media, we’ve learned to “ignore” it. But our inner minds and bodies absorb those messages and internalize them.

America’s Real Favorite Pastime

Traditionally, baseball is considered America’s favorite pastime, but I think most people would consider football an even greater American sport. The National Football League certainly makes more than Major League Baseball every year, bringing in about $9 billion dollars annually (Source). Would it surprise you to learn that the pornography industry is a more than $13 billion dollar industry (Source)? If where we spend our money is any indication of how we spend our time, well, you see what I’m getting at here. The pursuit of sexual experiences consumes us; it’s our favorite pastime.

What does this mean? It means that our society and the messages it is sending us about physical and emotional love are finding a home in our minds and bodies (and our browser histories). We’re taught at a young age to lust after things, celebrities, food, and wealth. We’re told we need these things to be happy and fulfilled. We’re told that our self-worth is tied to attaining these things; that we’re lesser-than if we cannot achieve these things. We’re hyper- sexualizing ourselves and then wonder why there’s a growing rape culture and a strong sexual trafficking infrastructure in our neighborhoods.

I’m not saying the sexual act or expressing one’s sexuality is bad, in fact, I believe quite the opposite. What I’m saying is that we need to evaluate how these messages are affecting us on a deeper level. Maybe sex/porn addiction is not just an individual’s lack of willpower or lack of a better hobby; maybe it’s a manifestation of those lustful messages we’re constantly bombarded with from birth. Maybe it’s a symptom of a larger societal problem. I am not suggesting that those with an unhealthy relationship with sex blame society for their problems. Rather, I am suggesting a deeper look at the root of those problems to better understand them with the goal of overcoming them. We all have natural tendencies, but our society is nurturing us to act in a certain way, and just because you may not watch pornography doesn’t mean you’re immune.

You may wonder why I am addressing my acceptance of singleness as a healthy state and larger societal messages about sex and love in one blog post. I believe these two topics are interconnected in complex ways. My previous ideas about singleness as “bad” or abnormal have their origin in the idea that women and their bodies are for men (a patriarchal idea), so by not being in a relationship, I was not living life to its fullest potential. I wasn’t “fulfilled” because I wasn’t doing what society was telling me to do in the majority of its advertisements and media, fall in love have sex with men. I also wasn’t “happy” because a man had never shown me attention or told me that I was beautiful, talented, sexy, or intelligent (all of which I am, by the way). The same societal ideas of love and sex that contributed to my frustration about being single are the same ideas that encourage self-destructive tendencies in women and men (i.e. eating disorders, sexual addiction, rape, even suicide). Since I have declared my selfhood by saying it is OK to be single, I have come to not only appreciate my freedom, but love myself and my body more. I’m not counting down the days until I meet my husband and live happily ever after. My story doesn’t begin with me meeting “a guy” and end in marriage, my story began years ago and my happily ever after is now.

Beck

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8 Rules for Navigating Your Crush

It’s hard to type with your thumb soaking in lemon juice, so I hope you appreciate how painful it is to write this post. I chopped a jalapeno earlier without the presence of mind to use gloves, and my fingers have burst into flames since then. (Don’t ask what happened when I touched my nose!)

I caught up with a best friend of mine last night, and we did what all twenty-something girls do when they get together after a long absence: eat ice cream and drink sangria while talking about their lives. It was so nice to receive some encouragement and be able to give some as well. Most of our conversation was about how frustrated we are being single. None of us have ever had any serious relationship, and it’s really starting to get annoying. I know the only reason we feel this way is because society tells us that we “should” have had a relationship by now, so we assume that because we don’t there must be something wrong with us. Even though I know this isn’t true, that doesn’t help those feelings of inadequacy and loneliness go away. We sort of started an informal “singles support group” so we can remind ourselves how awesome we are and how fun it is to be single. Yeah…I know that’s kind of pathetic and I don’t care.

Hearing some of the horror stories with guys my friend has gone through led us to create a list of eight “rules” to use when interacting with guys we have crushes on. Hopefully, we can stick to these and avoid situations like having a first date at Golden Corral with a guy and his little brother.

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  1. Maintain the illusion. Most guys secretly know that girls do all the disgusting things that they do, but that doesn’t mean they want to witness these events. Squeeze those cheeks, ladies, until you can get to a bathroom. It will also prevent a lot of embarrassment if you do not do things like burp, pick your nose, or snort in front of them – just a suggestion!
  2. Don’t get wasted. It is fine to show guys that you like to have a good time, but you shouldn’t drink so much that you can’t control your behavior in front of them. This is a good way to become “just one of the guys” or even worse, make them a babysitter. Stick to one drink per hour. Also, do not under any circumstances drunk text your crush! Trust me on this one.
  3. Moderation is key. Something has happened to the guy-girl dynamic that has resulted in many guys feeling insecure in front of assertive girls (#me). For some reason, (and I’m completely generalizing here, so don’t get upset), guys don’t like to pursue girls they see as too aggressive or “forward”. If you think your crush is one of these, turning it down a notch or two may not be a bad idea. I realize this sounds like coddling the male ego, and…it kind of is. The superiority guys learn through socialization and gender roles is an illusion, but letting them down easy isn’t the worst thing you can do. (I’m not saying it’s right; I’m saying it’ll most likely work.)
  4. Open up slowly. I hear a lot of stories about girls who overshare information about their lives in order to develop trust with a guy faster. I think this can backfire as guys could think you are self-centered, annoying or boring (this works the other way too). So, try scaling back on how much you share about your life, especially the everyday details. Wait for them to ask questions, and be genuinely interested in them too. People love talking about themselves, but they love a good listener even more.
  5. Give adequate encouragement. Guys are dense and usually can’t figure out if a girl likes them or not (even though you are clearly doing everything you can to show them you’re interested). “Encouraging” your crush to pursue you will look different for every guy. This rule is really about picking up on visual cues and reading between the lines so you can gauge how your crush really feels about you. (This is where girls also come up with misguided ideas that a guy likes her when he doesn’t. If you’re unsure, consult your girlfriends and provide evidence.) If he is “making a move” and you misinterpret it, that’s a lost opportunity to show that you’re interested in return. However you give encouragement, remember not to overdo it; again, moderation is key.
  6. Be consistent. Sending mixed signals is a great way to confuse guys that you like. If you like a guy but don’t necessarily trust him yet, you can do a few things: 1. Create opportunities to get to know each other, so you can develop this trust. 2. Figure out why exactly you like this guy. If your gut is telling you not to trust him, there’s probably a good reason not to. 3. Decide to trust him and go from there. This is a high risk option, but sometimes our own insecurities can prevent us from acting on our feelings and we can miss out on opportunities.
  7. Be upfront. At some point, the flirtation and verbal jousting need to result in something; a date, a relationship, a friendship, etc. If someone doesn’t say something definitive about your relationship status, you risk finding out years later that he used to have a crush on you. If you think your crush likes you too but doesn’t want to have “the conversation”, you owe it to yourself to bring it up. If you don’t, you risk being led on by a guy who doesn’t want a relationship. Asking him out on a date may not be the end of the world; he could say yes, but be prepared for the worst. Use your discernment to figure out the right time for this. It doesn’t have to be awkward, but if you’re like me, it will be.
  8. Move on. Most of your crushes won’t result in a relationship. If you ask a crush out or talk to him about your “status” and he rejects you, move on. Don’t be that girl who pines for a guy that doesn’t want her. No guy is that great if he doesn’t realize how awesome you are. You deserve to be with a guy that knows how cool you are. Moving on from your crush is the only way you’re going to find him.

What do you all think? Are these rules helpful? Did I miss something?

Beck

Sex and Love in That Order?

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There’s something I’ve noticed about loves stories in movies and tv shows that has been bothering me for a while: People fall in love by having sex. Or they don’t realize they are in love with someone until they have amazing mind-blowing sex with them.

Think about it. How many tv shows and movies have you seen that revolve around a couple having sex and suddenly realizing they’re meant to be? Chandler and Monica from Friends, Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally; the friends with benefits story arc is well known and the list of examples could go on forever. Sometimes there’s a PG version of this when couples kiss and things change, but for the most part, I feel people jump right to sex and fall in love.

What bothers me about this is that it’s a completely unrealistic expectation and is a harmful model to follow when beginning a relationship. I know this is a plot device used to escalate the falling-in-love process in film, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s unrealistic to think that just because you have sex with someone you like, or are even in love with, that they will suddenly fall in love with you. People, men and women, don’t “call back” all the time, probably most of the time. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, I’m not saying this doesn’t happen in real life occasionally, but I think the whole “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free” adage applies here. Why be in a relationship if you can have sex and sleep around without any consequences? People are selfish, especially college students, and will seek relationships that will benefit them and not you. If you buy in to this fairy tale that the media sells us and expect “true love” after having sex, you can end up getting hurt physically and emotionally (sexual assault, STDs, unwanted pregnancy to name a few).

Your milkshake may bring all the boys to the yard, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stay there and love you or marry you.

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Sex changes things. Your body releases hormones that make you form attachments to the one you sleep with, which can make you fall in love or at least become infatuated. (That’s why being friends with benefits doesn’t work most of the time.) I’m not saying women can’t or don’t enjoy casual sexual relationships, I just think it’s difficult to do so without getting feelings involved eventually. When enough of these failed experiences occur, it can make you feel insecure, desperate, and unworthy of a healthy relationship, which further perpetuates the potentially harmful behavior. That’s why I think keeping your pants on before marriage is a good idea. I’m a Christian, so this belief originated from my knowledge of the Bible. But even if I wasn’t a Christian, I would still want to wait until marriage, because like I said, sex changes things. I wouldn’t want to form a strong emotional and physical connection with someone who won’t be there when I wake up. It damages you, even if you don’t or can’t realize it now.

I’ve never been in love or had sex, so I don’t speak from experience, but I have witnessed my friends go through horrifying and damaging relationships/non-relationships throughout college. It pains me to see them go through things like that. I’m not saying everyone needs to convert to Christianity (although that would be awesome). I am saying people need to have realistic expectations when they begin a physical relationship with someone. Ask yourself if you are okay with them walking away. Because they probably will. If not, zip up your pants and find someone who wants to stick around. If you are okay with them walking away, that’s a whole other issue, because you deserve to have someone stick around. Everyone deserves to be with someone who loves them, not just someone who wants to get in his or her pants. I’m okay with waiting for that person, because I know I’m not missing out on anything except a lot of heartbreak and bad sexual souvenirs.

Beck

PS: I was going to name this post “Great SEXpectations” but I talked myself out of it. Haha

 

How to Talk to Guys 101

Oh my goodness, I don’t know where to start with this blog post. I was debating with myself about whether or not I should mention my latest adventure…it may be too soon to call it. (You can decide for yourself after reading.)

I sort of met someone.

There is a sentence I didn’t think I would be writing this year let alone this week. I say “sort of” because nothing has come of it yet, but numbers have been exchanged. Omg, I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no reference book for interacting with guys. Just thinking about it makes me nervous. But I’m getting ahead of myself now.

This weekend my best friend from high school came to visit me at school. There was a party at The Bar near campus and we decided to go. After sharing a bottle of wine in my car (parked of course), we decided to go ahead in, even though it was pretty early. On the way in, a guy I met last time I was at The Bar tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I knew you’d come back.” I honestly can’t remember what I said in reply. I think I smiled. Last month when I was leaving The Bar, he introduced himself to me and kept saying, “I really hope I see you again.” By the way, he’s a bouncer at the club.

Later while I was paying for drinks, he came up to me again and starting talking to me. I was trying to be friendly. I promise I wasn’t drunk, but I don’t remember much. I was too nervous. The only question I could think to ask him was “Do you live around here?” which is probably the most generic question that you only hear in movies right before a guy strikes out. I decided to leave the bar before it got too awkward, which I kind of regret now, but my friend was waiting anyway.

After dancing for a few hours, we decided to call it a night. Here’s where I get out of character. He came up to me to say goodbye and came in for an awkward side hug. I can’t believe I did this, but I leaned in and said, “When are you gonna ask me for my number?”
“Right now” he replied and smiled. I can’t believe I said that to him, but really, it’s not like I didn’t know he was interested.

So…I gave out my number for the first time this weekend. I have no idea what I’m doing. I wish there was a class I could take to teach me how to talk to guys. -_-;

Help!
Beck

My Tinder No-No’s

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This is the part when I complain about how hard it is to meet people. I know I’m on a college campus surrounded by people my age, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to make it any easier. My track record with guys is literally nonexistent. That’s when my friend told me about an iPhone app called Tinder that allows you to chat with guys that have “liked” your profile.

Oh boy.

I make a profile and quickly get a few matches. Every time I get a notification, I turn into a middle school boy-crazy version of myself. It’s completely trivial but I’m hooked. After a few days of guys not talking to me, I start sending messages myself, most of which are not answered. Gradually, I lose interest and leave the app for a few weeks. Recently, I started using the app again out of idle curiosity and boredom and I realized something important, I don’t like anybody. I don’t think guys know how to market themselves well. Some of the things they show and tell in their profiles make me wonder if they are really trying to meet girls at all. Tinder is all about snap judgments and I have a few cues that tell me immediately to swipe left. Some of these things are specific to me, but some are just plain bad.

I swipe left if you are:
wearing a fraternity shirt or have Greek letters in your profile (You know, just in case we didn’t know you were a d-bag from your pictures.)
in the military (I love you guys, but I don’t want to be an army wife.)
in a boat (because)
with too many SWB (Skinny White Bitches) (I’m not your type.)
with too many bare-chested guys and I can’t tell who I’m looking at (I hope you’re the cute one?)
holding a beer in every photo (Future AA member)
in too many selfies (Self-centered much?)
holding a baby ( I hope it’s not yours…)
playing extreme sports (I won’t be joining you anytime soon.)
holding a gun (Nope.)
holding a fish/are fishing (I just don’t understand fishing culture.)
wearing or waving an US flag (Not super patriotic on this end)
a tattoo enthusiast (One is fine, more than one is excessive)
wearing earrings (Just no.)
wearing a Bieber haircut (NO)
exposing a severe injury/stitches (Seeing your bloody flesh really gets me going.)
mentioning your junk in your profile (SMH)
growing the longest beard in the world (No one wants to kiss that.)
the owner of a weird name (Some of my favorite examples are “Aymen”, “Bo”, and “Shrimp”)

I’m not left with many options after I rule out everyone on that list, which is why I’m convinced I’ll be a spinster. Not that I’m looking for anything serious on Tinder, but it makes me wonder how this whole “fall in love and get married” thing will work out. Usually, the only thing I have in common with guys on Tinder is that we both like the Panthers or Adele. In real life, my opportunities to meet guys have been very few since I have never really been in the “going out” scene. I got my first booty call message on Tinder a few days ago. (For the record, I don’t like cuddling naked…not with you, weirdo.) I’ll probably delete the app soon…as soon as the profiles stop being ridiculous.

Forever alone
Beck

What are your Tinder no-no’s? Let me know in the comments below!

The Love Story that Never Was

“Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. It is something to think of.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I feel cursed because I always have to be “in-like” with someone. When I disappear into my dream world of romantic possibilities, I have to have someone to imagine living in my cottage in the country with besides my cat. For a long time, this person was that guy from my Astronomy class my freshman year. Let’s call him Ron. This crush was based on a solid foundation of absolutely nothing besides good looks and a friendly countenance. I knew very few things about him and I can count the number of times I’ve spoken to him on one hand. I knew he was smart, funny, interested in other cultures, Christian, and had a weird laugh (apparently, that’s all I needed to know). I also knew how to spot him from across the courtyard and listen for his voice as I walked around campus. Let’s not get into the humiliating details of the cyber/real life stalking, I already sound pathetic. I hardcore crushed on him for three years. Okay, now for the awkward ending to this nonexistent love story.

Do you ever play out a conversation in your head and the other person won’t stay on script? To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing or where I wanted the conversation to go. It was an ill-planned decision. I’m really bad at flirting and talking to guys in general. I thought I would be better at this through text messaging. I’m not. On one of the biggest party nights of the year, I got a little buzzed and decided to “accidentally” text my crush. (How I got his number is irrelevant.) The following messages were sent (slightly modified).

Me: Are you going out tonight?
Ron: Hey who is this? Sorry
Me: Oh sorry. Wrong number. Wait who is this?
Ron: I asked you first.
Me: Is this Ron?
Ron: Yea it’s Ron. Who are you!?! This isn’t fair.
Me: Guess : )
Ron: Dr. D’s mom? Well whoever you are yes I am going out.
Me: Okay I’ll see you at — then. : )
Ron: I’m only going to — if you tell me who you are.
Me: Not Dr. D’s Mom ; ) [I should not have used a winky face, it was going so well.]
Ron: Becky H? [Darn you Facebook! Why do you make our numbers searchable?]
Me: Guilty. : )
Ron: How did you get my number?
Me: Wait. Which Ron is this? [Lame attempt to save face.]
Ron:

Ronald proceeded to delete me as a Facebook friend the next day. In an attempt to apologize for drunk texting him, I messaged him on FB and sent, “Hey, I think I might have texted you last night? My bad, I meant to text another Ron…” to which he replied “All good”. Well reader, the spell is broken and I destroyed my chance that never existed. I really hope I never see him again.
Why does drunk texting always work in the movies and not in real life? Everything I know is a lie! This was one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen to me. So, why am I sharing it with the world? Because it was a powerful learning experience. NEVER text a crush who has not given you their number, especially if you’re drunk. They will find out who you are, and chances are it will not end up “all good”.

You’ve been warned.
Beck

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Warning Signs

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” – Jane Austen

Earlier I said that I sort of made a friend in my class and I wasn’t happy about it. Let me tell you why.

At the end of class the other day, I knocked my water bottle over…again. Luckily, this time it was properly secured. The only people in the room were me, my friend, and a classmate I had never spoken to before (which is everyone really). “I don’t know why I’m so clumsy!” I said picking the bottle back up. He says, “I share that clumsiness with you. My friend calls me Murphy’s Law because everything that can go wrong, does go wrong when I’m involved.” To which I replied, “Me too. It would happen to me when the entire class is watching too.” And then he said, “You pulled it off well though.” By this time, I’m pretty sure he wants me (jk!), but all I say is, “I have learned to play it off and embrace it because it happens so often.” Then I flashed him a dazzling smile before leaving the room with my friend. Just kidding, I probably looked constipated because my brain is incapable of processing interaction with the male species. We briefly bonded, so what? It’s not like we’re best friends now. “So what!?” my brain responds, “He wants to marry you!” SMH brain. SMH. Just because he’s slightly attractive and said a total of two sentences to you, doesn’t mean he wants to marry you. Somehow, that doesn’t stop me from instantly liking him.

Sometimes I wish guys wouldn’t be so nice to me. I tend to overreact when they do something nice or are just plain friendly. One time, a guy smiled at me in my Astronomy class my freshman year and I stalked him for three years around campus (This didn’t end well). People say they don’t know what love is, or they don’t know what it feels like to fall in love, but I fall in love with everyone every day. If guys weren’t nice to me, I wouldn’t want them to like me. It’s all their fault. But really, I think I’m just a little bit crazy. I’ve watched too many romantic comedies and read too much Jane Austen. (Where are you, Mr. Darcy?!) So, I’m not happy about this sort-of-friend I’ve made because it puts me in danger of developing a crush on this dude. I’ve already learned that he is a universal donor and donates blood and plasma to save babies, SAVE BABIES. The warning signs are already there.

Beck