Archive | May 2012

How dating is like BINGO … And Other Random Thoughts

So, I should definitely be doing homework right now and NOT writing this blog post, but I did do some homework earlier this evening, so I haven’t been totally irresponsible.

I spent this weekend with my step-grandmother who still lives in my hometown.  She lives in a retirement community, which is in fact the same community where my grandparents had been since 1998, so it’s almost like a second home to me.  I couldn’t even possibly count how many meals and events I have attended there over the years.  But it’s always a new experience, and it has changed a lot particularly over the past 3 years as I lost my grandmother (2009), witnessed the re-marriage of my grandfather (also 2009) and then lost my grandfather (2012).  But some things never change, and BINGO is one of those things.

I don’t particularly love BINGO, but I can amuse myself playing it for an hour.  Despite the fact that I had 6 cards to watch (for the low, low price of $2 for the whole evening), I couldn’t help but let my mind drift to BINGO as a metaphor for dating.  It’s not as well thought out as some of my observations are, but I think there are some interesting parallels.

1. The more cards you have, the better your chances at winning.  In the dating game, if you put all your focus on one person, you have less opportunity to find the right match for you.  Certainly it’s important to focus on one person eventually, but I think people get tied down too quickly.  In our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, casual dating was much more common.  I think there should be a revival!

2. If you don’t play, you can’t win.  The two young kids next to me got bored after a few games and lost focus…and then they had no chance of winning!  This goes without saying, but if you don’t date, you have zero chance of finding a girlfriend or boyfriend.  This is a lesson that particularly applies to me; as a person who would like to find a healthy, committed relationship, I really need to start searching for one by dating.

3. Timing is everything.  You could have dozens of cards in the game, but if you’re not the first person to shout BINGO, you won’t win.  You have to be paying attention and staying on top of the game to win the round.  Furthermore, I always see losers in BINGO lamenting that they “only needed one more to win.”  To those people, I remind them that being “close to winning” doesn’t count for anything.  With dating, I think this just speaks to the random chance involved in meeting a compatible partner.  You could be attending the club on different nights, or be recently out of a bad relationship and not ready to date again when the other is available.

4. You have to be playing the right game to win.  If you don’t play BINGO a lot you wouldn’t know this, but in each round, the caller announces the type of BINGO game.  It can range from simple BINGO (5 in any direction), to picture frame (only the edges), to an X or to blackout (all squares covered).  If you think you’re playing simple BINGO, but that round the object is X, your “win” is invalid.  I think this applies to dating in that if you’re seeing someone with the intention of marriage, and your partner is only interested in a casual relationship, then neither of you has really succeeded.  You’re looking for different things, so what you need to do is find a “round” that fits the “BINGO” on your card.

5. A lot depends on luck.  Let’s face it, there’s no real skill in BINGO, other than having a long attention span (unlike the 5- and 7-year-old kids near me).  I mean, I have a few particular strategies, but they do nothing more than make playing easier for me.  The only real thing you can hope for in BINGO is a lucky card relative to the type of game and the order in which the numbers are called.  Now, there is certainly some skill involved in dating, but there is also a big aspect of luck.  You have to be in the right place at the right time, or know the right people, or come across a certain way to meet a compatible partner.  Once you’ve found each other, it takes work to stay together.  But that initial meeting is really up to luck, timing, and putting yourself out there.

And then we switch gears completely.  I am so fed up with the other heterogeneous members of my gender.  I’ve ranted about makeup before, but I’ve come to a few new conspiracy-type conclusions.  First of all, makeup absolutely plays against having a high self-esteem.  If you really felt good about how you looked, why would you need to cover or modify your appearance with makeup?  And the makeup companies absolutely play a role in all of this.  I was witnessing my grandmother’s consultation with the saleswoman at the makeup counter, and she very subtly implied how much my grandmother NEEDED the makeup to IMPROVE her looks.  For goodness sakes, my grandmother is over eighty years old!  Who is she trying to impress?  What is she trying to hide?  I’m pretty sure that when my grandfather married her, he wasn’t fooled by a little bit of powder and rouge.  She looks like and 80-year-old woman whether she wears makeup or not.  I feel certain he loved her with or without makeup!

Also, I can’t help but wonder if there is a physiological effect of wearing makeup.  As far as I know, the products are not very strictly regulated.  Have there even been long-term studies of the effects of makeup?  What is there to stop the makeup companies from embedding their products with hormones or other chemicals that alter your mood or state of mind?  I’m not trying to say that makeup is a drug or changes who you are, but perhaps the chemicals in makeup subtly influence women to buy more of it?  I’m just trying to come up with a possible biological explanation for the dependence so many women have on makeup.  And this logic is not outside the realm of marketing realities like fast food joints.  They absolutely prey on our visual and olfactory senses to convince us to buy more of their products.  When was the last time you walked past a pretzel shop in the mall and didn’t have the urge to buy a snack?  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I just think makeup companies might be using similar techniques.

I honestly feel free without makeup, in spite of the fact that I am very well aware that my face would look more traditionally beautiful if I wore it.  I know I could cover up my blemishes and hide the shadows under my eyes.  But you know what…that’s not how I really look!  Some people equate makeup to hygiene or part of your outfit, and argue that if I want to go all natural, I should also stop wearing clothes.  But I don’t consider that to be on the same level.  Primarily, clothes offer protection and warmth.  Secondarily, clothes are not clogging my pores or changing my basic physical appearance.  And of course, going without clothes in public is a legal problem…public indecency or exposure.

Finally, as my friend Purcella pointed out, wearing makeup is a nod to gender inequality.  At first glance, this may seem like an overstatement, but bear with me.  Think about all of the heterogeneous couples you know that are married or in serious, long-term relationships.  In how many of them would you classify the woman as being physically more attractive?  In how many of them would you say that both partners are equally attractive?  In how many of them would you classify the man as being more attractive?  In my experience, the vast majority of couples fall into the first two categories; I know very few men who are dating women that are less attractive than themselves.

But how can this be?  Presumably, there are an equal number of attractive vs unattractive members across the sexes.  So how is it that both the attractive and unattractive men are dating only the attractive women?  Is it because the women settle for any man that will have them?  Is it because women do not value physical attractiveness as highly as men?  Is it because men objectify women?  Is it because women feel insecure and hide their real appearance with makeup in order to appeal to men?  I can’t really answer any of these questions, but certainly the cultural expectation is that only the attractive women will get married and be successful.  And in order to ensure their success, women will do almost anything to improve their appearance.

I think makeup is a bad idea for so many reasons.  It wastes time every day for application and removal.  It wastes money.  It is relatively unsanitary (because you’re dipping your hand/brush in a container for weeks or months on end and then rubbing it on your dirty, oily face).  It can dry out your skin, requiring you to buy more products (moisturizer).  And it exposes you to unknown chemicals.  Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it is very capable of absorbing what you put on it.

In case you don’t know me, I’m not some dirty hippie; I was my body and hair daily, and I shave where appropriate.  I just don’t believe in wasting my time, energy, and money on makeup.  And I’m either going to find someone who accepts that about me, or I’ll end up alone.  But I’m not going to change to conform, and I’m not going to pretend I look like something that I’m not.  True beauty is on the inside.

I guess that’s about it for the observations and rants.  Do you think I’m off my rocker, or do you agree with me on the main points?  Let me know!

This is Not My Life

Seriously, I’m having a tough time getting a handle on life right now.  I can hardly believe that my Little graduated less than 10 days ago.  Life has been insanity since then!  I literally had plans every night of last week, from making pizza in with Emily to movie night with Lydia, because I had to get up early Saturday morning for a 5k.  I spent exactly 22 hours visiting my friend Purcella at her grad party, not including driving.  That was after the morning race.  Then Sunday I only had time to go to the dog park before I had to focus on my homework!

Yesterday night I took Lyds to a concert for her birthday.  It was awesome…mosh pit and all!  It was my first time at that venue, which made it quite a memorable experience.  Also, it was one of Lyd’s favorite bands, so I loved getting to experience it with her.  And then tonight, “the gang” and I met up to see a movie.  It’s madness, I tell you, because I’m doing it all while balancing three summer classes.  I’m going to have to slow the pace down pretty soon, or else I will end up compromising either my grades or my sanity!  Too bad I am spending an entire 4-day weekend visiting my grandmother back in my hometown.  I’m going to have to bring the study materials and squeeze in a fair amount of work in order to keep my head above water!

What I think it so funny about all of this is that my summer roommate moved in the weekend of graduation, and so she’s literally only seen me in this complete overdrive mode.  I keep trying to assure her that this is not the normal pace of my life!  It only seems like I’m an overbooked socialite!  I haven’t even been keeping up with my TV shows…THAT’S how busy I’ve been!  And what’s worse is that I have actually had to turn down plans with people recently, which I hate having to do.  I love having plans and spending time with my friends, I just don’t know if I can afford to do it as much as I have been.

Gosh, I really do sound like I’m complaining.  I promise I’m not!  I’m really happy, I just need to take the less-fun parts of life a little more seriously or else it’s really going to catch up with me.

Not Really Sure

Life is uncertain.  I didn’t really need to say that, because it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s living.  Pain is everywhere, it seems.  Happiness is everywhere, too, but it seems like there is not a single person in the world who is perfectly happy and content.

There are only so many hours in the day…so how should we be spending them?  Most would agree that you need to work, because you need to make money, because you need money to live in this world.  You need money for rent, to buy food and clothes, to travel, and to do pretty much everything.  So you trade your time and talents for money, which allows you the “freedom” to live your life.

While there is no such thing as a free ride, and you certainly have to work for any accomplishment worth having, I can’t help but wonder why money is the middle man?  Let’s think about it…  The majority of people in this country have jobs that, should society collapse tomorrow, are completely useless.  Pushing paper, designing things for people to buy, and selling things to people are all jobs that are not REALLY worth the money they are paid to do them.  Ultimately, all we need to live is food, shelter, and clothing.  But to live in society, you “need” so much more.  And there are a lot of positive things that come with living in society.  But I wonder what exactly we are giving up to earn the money we”need” to “live.”‘

Please don’t think I’m insulting any specific person, or any specific job, because I’m not.  They all have value in our society.  It’s society that I’m questioning…  And that brings me to my next complaint.

For a myriad of reasons, individuals in our society are becoming more and more isolated.  Blame it on our unhealthy diets, instant-gratification culture, or low self-esteem, but more and more of us are staying cooped up indoors in front of our computers.  I’ve noticed it in myself more than ever in the past 5 years!  But why are we doing that?  Why are we trading real human connections for things that are posted on the internet or written by TV networks?  I kind of feel like the two people in Wall-E who woke up before the rest.  And even though they had woken up, they were still alone because everyone else was still plugged in!

It’s all connected.  I’m feeling discontented.  I realize that I have an addiction to technology and media, particularly the internet and facebook.  I wonder how I can either wake up and unplug from this.  And I also wonder how, in this digitally driven world, I’m going to make real connections with other people.

The way my slightly older friends describe it, when they were my age, groups of young people used to meet up and do things together other than get drunk at bars!  There were parties and dances and outings where normal people met up with their friends and met other normal people.  That’s how friends were made and relationships formed!  Now, everybody sits at home and yells into the abyss (read: the internet) and hopes their soulmate will magically find them.  But how is this going to happen?  And if it happens online, is it real or artificial?

In summary, I am feeling lonely in this world full of connections.  I am feeling like many things in life, including money, have no real purpose.  I am wondering what I would do if tomorrow all technology ceased to exist.  And I am wondering how I will make new, real connections in this lonely world.

Together we’re apart / It’s tearing up my heart

Those lyrics hail from possibly the greatest song in the history of music: Male Prima Donna by Subtle Sexuality.  If you don’t know it, I suggest you look it up right now.  But more importantly, they represent a shared memory between my dear Little and me.  Four years ago, she came into my life with a bang and things haven’t stopped being interesting since!  She has given me some of my best moments (the surprise lawn birthday party during my senior year) and has been there for me during my worst (the trip home for my mom’s funeral).  I love her with all my heart, and though we are very different, we are perfect for each other.

I just spent several hours with her packing up her stuff to go home.  The last several hours that I will get to spend with her in who knows how long.  It’s always sad to see friends leave, and I’ve gotten somewhat accustomed to the feeling.  But this is different.  My Little is a part of my life and my heart in a way that no one else is.  She’s kind, thoughtful, and funny; she’s beautiful, quirky, and supersmart.  She just got her Master’s and is on the way to being the best teacher ever!  Basically, my Little is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without her!

In past years, I’ve always known just when I would see her again.  And in a way, my coming home early from AmeriCorps gave me a lot of time with her that I didn’t count on having.  So I really shouldn’t complain.  But because we’ve gotten even closer in the past year and a half, it’s that much harder to be without her.  In the words of RENT: “I can’t believe you’re going / I can’t believe this family must die.” 

I know we’ll stay friends, because it’s ridiculously important to me that we do.  But I’m sure going to miss having her right here.  I hope she knows how much I love her and miss her already.

Lucky

I’m lucky that today is graduation at my Alma Mater.  And that it’s the day my lovely summer roommate moves in.

That means it’s not just Mother’s Day.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

The Calm Before The Storm

I feel like there is a very good chance that I have written a blog post previously with this exact same title.  I’m too lazy right now to check, but it would not surprise me at all because I do a lot of thinking when I have down time.  I also get preoccupied in thought when I am superduper busy, but I am less likely to blog about it because I am freaking out.  Okay, that’s not entirely true…I am a procrastinator to the core.  And I’m not sure where I was going with this, but I will say that writing about things before they are about to start is a theme of mine.  I always have expectations, and I enjoy documenting them so that I can see how far I’ve come in an experience.  And because it’s cathartic.

I’m gonna diverge from the topic at hand for a moment.  You have no idea how inclined I am to interject lots of curse words in the dialogue I am currently writing.  This is because I was watching JennaMarbles YouTube videos this morning, and she’s got a mouth like a sailor.  I have a strong tendency to mirror or imitate the language patterns, facial expressions, and gestures of those around me.  I think everyone in the world might do this to a certain extent, but I notice it quite strongly in myself.  Right now as I am writing, I am literally hearing JennaMarbles in my head doing the narration.  And I’m censoring her.  I just think it’s funny how much of a chameleon I can be.  Or maybe sponge is a more apt metaphor?  Either way, back to the topic.

I’m kind of freaking out about the next three years, but I’ll start with just this summer.  I will be taking three classes during the 8-week summer session.  One of these classes is Anatomy I, and it is very important that I do well in Anatomy because it will more likely than not be a huge factor determining my entrance into nursing school later this year.  It is also important that I know about human anatomy because I want to be an informed and capable nurse.  But what’s freaking me out more than any specific class is that my life is starting to kick into high gear, and I’m not certain that I will handle it well.  I know I’ll handle it, but will I do it with poise and efficiency, or will I freak out all over the place?

This time last year, when I was still very much in shock over the loss of my mom, my life ran at an extremely slow pace.  There was a lot of confusion and not a lot of structure.  Then at the end of 2011 I started to get my shit together and made the plans that have guided me so far.  But I took the easy road and only signed up for 2 community college classes.  This was probably a mistake, because I now have to do more work to make up for my lazy semester.  For instance, it would be great if I had taken just one more class in the spring, so that I would need to take only 2 classes this summer.  But I didn’t, and so I have to deal with that.  It’s going to be an intense summer, and then I’ll have about a month off before the fall, which will be equally busy.

But that’s not all.  I’m also pursing a part time job as a hospital aid.  I’m doing this because I’ve realized how valuable it will be for me to already have practical experience when I am trying to get my first real nursing position.  And so on top of the full-time school, I’ll be doing part-time work.  I realize that a lot of people do this, and that many people do MORE than this.  My complaint is not that I’m being over-worked relative to the rest of the world; my complaint is with myself for being lazy for the last year and half and getting out of the habit of hard work.  I promise I’m cutting myself some slack because of all that I’ve been through, and I am confident that I will find the strength to do all of this somehow.  It’s just going to be an adjustment, and I sort of wish I were better prepared.

Once I am actually in the nursing program, provided that all goes according to schedule and I start Spring 2013, I am planning to do a dual-enrollment with another college to get my BSN at the same time as this RN/AA local program.  And I’m freaking out about how that will all go with the part-time job and if I will have any sort of a social life and if I will be seriously unhappy because of how busy I am.  I have gotten in the habit of being not busy.  Sometimes, too many events on my social calendar can get me feeling overwhelmed.  How in the heck am I going to do nursing school, an online BSN program, a part-time job, and have a life?  And let’s not forget about my internet addiction, which has grown to alarming proportions in the past year and a half.

I’m beginning to feel like this is going to be AmeriCorps-type busy.  Plus, I am still trying to get in shape, and I worry I won’t have any time to do that.  Plus, how likely am I to have time to date in all this mess?  So let’s fast-forward to May 2015: I’ll be working as an RN and have my BSN, I’ll be freaking exhausted from the past 3 years, and I will still be out-of-shape and boyfriend-less at 27.  That sounds AWESOME.

But I guess it’s more important to me that I have a plan.  And I can’t plan relationships.  I’m just going to have to work on making time for exercise and friends despite my busy schedule.  And I’m going to bank on meeting a superfine doctor-type once I start working as a nurse.  That’s legit, right?

Alone in a Crowd

I wonder if I am the only person who LOVES the fact that everything I do online is documented?  I don’t mean literally everything (every search, website visited, etc)…but everything that I post on facebook is there forever.  I like that!  I think it represents a partial history of my life.  I can look back on those posts and think fondly about what I was feeling at the time and who was interacting with me.

For instance, it’s tough to believe, but less than a month ago, my life was completely different!  I can look back on those posts right before my personal apocalypse began to commence and see the innocence and ignorance of what was in store for me. 

I just think it’s kind of cool to have that kind of perspective.  Of course, the tradeoff for gaining that perspective is that I am spending WAY too much time online lately.  I kind of need to stop it.  But I enjoy it so!