Friday, December 2, 2011

The Hard Part of Playing Hard To Get


Visiting the primates at the zoo for an anthropology course was a very humbling experience for many of the students, who stood gazing at their evolutionary counterparts.  I personally became fixated on a monkey playing with his toes.  Suddenly, our eyes met and he cocked his head to the side and moved closer to where I was standing.  Then he stood up, much like I was, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with this esoteric connection; an epiphany that perhaps we really were just one and the same, only a few strands of DNA apart, both driven by our primal evolutionary urges.
And then he peed at me. 

Everyone cracked up as the urine trickled down the window after hitting the glass directly in front of my face.

"I think he likes you!" joked my professor. 
But you know what?  I think he did like me. 

Some people (like my monkey) never really grow out of the "teasing the people you like" phase that we all went through in fourth grade.  I liked a boy named Tommy, so what did I do?  I chased him around the playground and when I caught him, I beat the crap out of him and left.  That's like third base to a fourth grader. 

Now I’m in college, it’s 3 a.m., and the trend continues. He's yelling, "YOU ARE SUCH A [profanity] SKANK!!!"  She's screaming, "WHAT DID I DOOO?!?!"

And that's love.  We get mad because we care. 

The scary thing about liking someone a lot is that they're way more likely to piss you off.  They matter too much.  So many of your emotions are in their hands, so much of your self esteem, and if they don't reciprocate your liking enough, you'll come up with reasons to get mad at them and hate them.  But only because you like them so much.  Funny how that works.  You like them SO much that you focus on all the terrible horrible things about them.

In life we learn through conditioning by rejection that it's not safe to love everyone, that we should be careful and selective with our love.  People grow skeptical of love that comes too easily. 

And a lot of the time it's just because of our own insecurities.  We can't see what's so great about ourselves, so we assume others can’t either. Then when someone does we just assume they're probably just imperceptive.  “It's not that they want to be with me because they like me, it's because they're too dumb to see how much I actually suck.  Well, if they can't see how much I really suck I must suck way less than they do.” And then we decide we are better than them and move on.

That's why people often fall into the trap of always catching the fish they don't actually want, and falling short on the ones they do.  People noticed this phenomenon and they came up with a solution:  If I keep attracting people when I don't actually like them, maybe I should just act like I don't like the people I actually like so that they'll fall for me!

And that's how we got this whole business of playing hard to get.  This puts us in an unfortunate circumstance, because now the people who don't like you are acting like they don't like you AND the people who do like you are acting like they don't like you. You just can't know who to text anymore. 

Apathy is the new rejection.  Rejection is the new acceptance.  Acceptance means you can probably do better.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Parking in The Friend Zone


When you’re in a new place, making new friends, as any girl will tell you:
“It’s just so much easier to make friends with guys!”
And it’s true!  That’s because guys are more willing to randomly approach you, more eager to hang out and exchange numbers.  Sure, maybe initially they want to sleep with you…but whatever, they’ll get over it.
And sometimes this actually works out!  Sometimes you get along great, and decide to be friends, and everything is wonderful.  There’s a mutual understanding that everything is going to stay platonic…Even when alcohol is involved.
But sometimes this doesn’t work out.  Sometimes they just get annoying and fall in love with you.  They send little hints like describing their ideal woman to you, acting like you’re just having a friendly chat about liking other people when in fact they’re just listing out all your qualities.  Then they try to get you drunk in the hopes that you’ll finally admit your true secret feelings for them and the both of you will succumb to the throws of passion.  Then, when that doesn’t happen and you just end up hooking up with that cute guy from your Bio class instead, they ignore you for two weeks and claim to be really busy or sad about something completely unrelated. 
So okay boys, I’ll admit:  We know.  We’re pretty sure you don’t initially just see us and think, “Wow!  She looks like she’d make a great friend!”  But we can’t be positive.  And it’s a little bit deceptive because we act like we legitimately have no idea.  But it’s not like we can do anything about it.  It’s not like we can say, “Hey…so…just on the off-chance that you’re in love with me, don’t be.”  We’re not attempting to lead you on, we genuinely just enjoy your company and don’t see the harm in starting up a friendship.  We’re not considering how much it might hurt you. We don’t feel bad because we’re thinking about how you’ll benefit from a good friendship as well.  We’re just thinking, “Well, it’s not like I’m that good in bed anyway.  He’ll probably just get over it once he hears me burp the alphabet.”
Everyone has been there.  And it sucks to be that guy friend.  But it sucks to be that girl friend too.  Guy friends can be easier to make initially, but they’re a heck of a lot harder to keep around in the long run.  There’s complications when it comes to male/female relationships:
You need some kind of “Oh, you’re like a brother/sister to me!” chat, or a discussion of other people you’re interested in, or maybe a, “Hey, that’s my cousin too!”  ‘The understanding’ is closure on any future sexual activity.  No one’s waiting around for it to happen, no one’s being led on, or wondering ‘what if.’  It’s not a ‘will they/won’t they’ scenario.  It’s an absolutely, positively, understood ‘they won’t.’
Because eventually a Significant Other might arise, and if the friendship is just fueled by romantic interest, that’s a fuel you can be sure will run out once the significant other comes into play.  Tensions rise as they are introduced.  Threat levels are assessed as they judge one another’s attractiveness.  They shake hands and say hello, but the friend already knows its bye-bye friendship. 
Yes, guys always complain about being ‘friend-zoned.’   So okay, there’s no “benefits” in the sexual sense of the word.  There are hugs instead of kisses, phone calls prior to 1 am, and both parties stay fully clothed.  But ya know what’s cool about the guy in the friend-zone?  Sometimes he’s got one heck of a good friend.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why We Can't Be Friends


"I'm sorry, I still really care about you, but I just can't do this anymore.  But I think we should still stay friends."

As anyone who has ever tried to stay friends can tell you, you should never ever try to stay friends.  Sure, maybe today you can still be friends.  Maybe even tomorrow, or till the end of this week.  You were both super mature about the breakup.  You can definitely stay friends, the best of friends.  Right up until you realize that he/she is dating other people and you're not ever getting back together.  That's about the time when you realize that if you are friends, you're friends in a really big fight. 

It sucks to be rejected, especially by someone who has seen you naked.  A lot of people think that the first reaction to getting broken up with is to go crazy and smash the windows in their car but that's just not true, because a lot of people ride bikes.  And bikes are really hard to smash.  Usually the first thing you feel like doing once you have been rejected is to give the person time to think it over, because obviously they're just confused and need ample time to reflect on how much they really love you.  So okay, 'friends.'  Whatever excuse you need to give yourself to keep me in your life while you reflect on how great I am is fine by me. 
So for a while you are friends.  They'll text you and ask you how you are and do friendly things and oh god it's so obvious that they miss you already.  You just have to wait out this silly breakup until they come to their senses.  Then some time passes and you don't hang out for a while.  Well that's weird.  Why aren't they calling me to hang out?  It's a Friday.  You know he’s never busy on Friday.  You see on Facebook that he went out to the bars last night.  Who the f***k is that hoe he has his arm around!?  First came the break up, now comes the break down.  So you decide to talk it out.  Because that's what friends do.  They talk things out. 

"So how come we never hang out anymore?  Friends hang out, ya know.  Friends hang out, and talk, and go out, and don't sleep with other people..."
"Um, friends do sleep with other people."
"SHUT UP THEY DO NOT.  AND I THINK YOU'RE BEING A REALLY CRAPPY FRIEND RIGHT NOW."

And that's when you realize--You definitely are not friends.  Because come to think of it, none of your friends have recently broken up with you.  And if they did, you probably wouldn't want to be friends with them anymore. 

The "lets stay friends" attempt is one of the worst things you can possibly do after a breakup.  If you put emotions on a numerical scale, and 100 is love and 50 is friendship, you can't just go from 100 to 50 in a day.  You have to go cold turkey, block them on Facebook, do whatever you have to do to get back down to zero and then, after lots of time, chocolate, and sex with other people, maybe you’ll feel like working your way up to 50. Leann Rimes sings a song called "The Heart Never Fogets", but Leann Rimes is wrong about a lot of things.  The heart does forget.  Remember that guy you were absolutely in love with in middle school?  Of course not.  Remember that girl you dated 4 years ago?  And now you just think she's a whore!
So next time you break up with someone and want to do them a favor, say, “I think we should just stay enemies.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Heartbreak 101 (How To Get Through A Breakup)




Lately a lot of broken hearts have crossed my path.

My biggest problem is that I always feel so helpless when a friend has a broken heart.  There’s not a solution for this.  And no matter how much you try to make them feel better, people will be sad when broken hearted.  They wont think logically.  There’s nothing you can say to convince them to feel any other way.  They want to be sad after rejection.  They don’t see the big picture, they don’t care what anyone else thinks, suddenly their entire emotional state is dependent on the approval of this one person, regardless of how shitty or inconsequential that person might actually be in reality.  That’s how it starts.  By going over what happened, what could have gone wrong, how on earth this person could possibly not reciprocate their feelings.

But then it gets much bigger than that.  They start to question their self worth entirely, feel loneliness even when surrounded by friends, and without the dumper even being there, or doing anything, their love and passion for them intensifies for no reason whatsoever.  You could be dating someone for a year and see them everyday and not ever feel this strongly for them.  But all the sudden, when they’re not around, and you're busy thinking about how much you suck, at the same time you're thinking about how great and flawless they are, and you have the "epiphany" that they are the perfect person.  Then you raise them up on a pedestal so high above yourself that regardless of how much you actually cared about them, or how much the relationship really meant to you, now that you are denied it, it’s the only thing that can consume your mind. 
Now since the relationship is over you can freely imagine how amazing the relationship would have been, and make up ideas of why you were fated to be together and then torn apart by the silly fact that they didn’t actually want to be together...but secretly hope that maybe eventually they'll "come to their senses."

Ya know what’s great about fantasizing over what could have been?   Reality can't swoop in and muck it all up. 

It’s a terribly painful process to go through.  But I think, secretly, we kinda like it.  I think we like knowing that we are even capable of feeling anything that intensely.  Even if it is self-loathing and depression.  Its healthy, in a way.  Gives you an excuse to sit and home and watch tv and eat ice cream and not think about anything but how much you suck and how great this other person is. 


Right, I know, still doesn’t sound all that appealing.  But the fact of the matter is, you know you'll move on.  It is rare that anyone will be capable of breaking your heart.  It is rare that anyone will be capable of capturing it in the first place.  These people, these heart-catchers, are put in our lives for a reason.  They teach us a lesson.  They fill us in on what exactly it takes for someone to be able to catch your heart, and then they'll teach you to appreciate love.  To be careful with love.  To love only when someone is deserving of it.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why We Are Douchebags To Those We Hook Up With




I woke up and he was gone.

Ah yes, the sneak out.  You always feel really good about yourself the next morning when you wake up and realize you’ve been walked out on.

And let’s be honest, it’s not the greatest thing to have someone in your bed.  They take up room, sometimes they snore, it can get too hot, they could be in your favorite spot, they complain if your room’s not clean, conversation the next morning is always awkward, and when you think about it you really don’t want the person there when you wake up.
But then when they’re actually not there you feel even worse. 
He could at least leave a note.  Something like, “Haha, I used you, you dumb slut.” Or maybe just a ‘hey-your-bed’s-uncomfortable’ note.  I would appreciate that.  I would think, how thoughtful of him to take the time to write such an accurate depiction of our time together.
So you WILL stay in my bed and be uncomfortable as I hog the blankets.  You WILL make painfully awkward conversation with me tomorrow before you find an excuse to leave.  You WILL get no sleep, and you WILL wake up when I do, because I hooked up with you and it’s polite.
…But man I really wish you would leave.
I don’t think I’m one of those crazy/clingy/over sensitive people but I am a person.  And yes, sometimes I’m used as a sex object and I use people as sex objects but that’s no reason to forget that they’re human.  People are people.  It’s common decency to be respectful of people.  Especially people who are nice enough to sleep with you.  
            I don’t know where this whole myth of “You have to be mean to someone you’re using for sex otherwise they’ll get emotionally attached” started, but I think it needs to stop. 
It puts the person you’ve disrespected in an unfortunate situation.  Now, not only are they upset because you’ve blatantly disrespected them, but they can’t even talk to you about it because then you’ll assume they’re just complaining because they’re emotionally attached and want commitment from you. 
It’s like, “Hey…would you mind acknowledging my existance?”
“God, why are you like, so obsessed with me??”
It’s like we want people to expect to be treated like shit when we use them for sex, and when they don’t have those expectations we call them na├»ve or overly emotional and tell them their feelings have no legitimacy. 
If I have a friend over for dinner, and I leave to go to the bathroom and they’re gone when I get back, well, that’s a little weird.  I’m going to be a little upset.  Is that because I’m super needy and have too many expectations for our relationship?  …No.  If you got to go, you got to go, I’m not going to freak out about it.  But dude, you could have said bye. 
            I feel like it’s fairly common for people to be crueler towards people that they’ve hooked up with, as if to prove they’re not attached.  It’s because in a hook up you feel like you’re giving away too much.  You’re doing the exact same kind of stuff you would be doing with someone you actually liked.  Your actions are screaming “I HAVE FEELINGS FOR YOU” and your words aren’t saying a damn thing cause it’s awkward.  So to make up for those affectionate actions, we throw some douche-bag actions in there too, just to balance out the scale. 
We don’t like having “talks.”  We don’t want to define the relationship with words.  We don’t want to say, “Hey, so, about last night.  I was really just using you for sex.  Just so you know.”  No one wants to say that, that makes you sound like a douche-bag.  We’d much rather show it…by acting like a douche-bag.  Now there’s a classy solution.
It’s like saying, “Hey, remember that really intimate moment we shared together last night? K, well, I’m gonna flat out ignore you every time I see you from now on.  …And I’m gonna make fun of your genitals with my friends.  Bye!”
So I came up with a solution.  A way to avoid people becoming emotionally attached without having to treat them like crap.  Instead of going out of your way to be mean to someone, you be overly nice to them.  Profess your love and undying devotion on the first date.  I promise you, you won’t have to worry about any emotional attachment after that. 
It’s like we’re a little scared of love.  Love makes you a wimp.  You don’t want people thinking you’re in love with them, that gives them power.  Sex is awesome.  I know because Weezy raps about it.  We want to separate love out from sex.  We’re all still scarred by that time in kindergarten when all the kids would taunt, ‘You LIIIKE her/him don’t you????”  And you’d say, “Nuh-uh they have cooties!”
It’s like the second we get [drunkenly] intimate with someone we have to turn back and accuse them of having cooties.  But not the sexually transmittable kind.
But the taunting would continue until you did something to PROVE you didn’t like the person, like ignore them or hit them or steal their lunch money.  Having said that, Mike Walters, I’m sorry I beat you up on the playground in first grade.  I was madly in love with you.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Long Distance Relationships


People can be very skeptical of long distance relationships.  Whenever you tell your friends you’re going to try to take things long distance you can expect to get a lot of pessimistic outlooks in return.
“Oh, you’ll get bored.”
“One of you will cheat.”
“You won’t have time for that.”
But the fact of the matter is, no matter how logical it may seem to break up…It’s really hard to break up with someone you actually like.  That seems almost more illogical.  So you pack up your bags, buy a Skype subscription, and see where the relationship goes.
There's this concept in Buddhism called "Mindful Thinking."  I think it's called that at least.  In any case, Buddhists seem to like it and they seem pretty content to me so I tend to take an interest.

It's that feeling where you're really 'in' the moment, absorbed in your surroundings, and enjoying every minute.  It's like that feeling you get when you read the quote, "Carpe diem!  Seize the day!" 

"Yes," you think to yourself, '"I do seize the day."

I'm pretty sure reading quotes online while eating cookies in your underpants counts.  That day seemed pretty seized to me.

I guess I bring this up because sometimes the problem with long distance relationships isn’t always that you fall out of touch and forget about the person.  Sometimes the problem is that you think about the person too much.  So much that you're not really in the moment.  You become too absorbed in something that’s not around and neglect to make your life interesting.  You’re too busy texting, or skyping, or looking up flights online.  You're not seeking moments because you're too busy imagining all the great moments you will be having next time you see the person, and then all the sudden all the other potential moments are on a scale next to that one.

"Yea.  I could get drunk, go to the club tonight, dance to some music, get back late and pass out.  That could be a fun thing to do.  But I'm pretty sleepy.  I could also just go on Skype for 2 hours...Which would be AWESOME."

As it is, a lot of coupled people lose the motivation to go out and party as much.  There's no mystery for them.  They already know they're not gonna meet anyone they're interested in at the club.  They know who they're interested in, and that person might be online right now.  When couples are together, occasionally they'll just skip the hassle of going out and getting each other drunk and go straight to the punch line of ending up in bed together.  Because hey, drinks are expensive, clubs are loud, sometimes you’re just sick of the song “I Gotta Feeling.”  But when you're doing long distance, you don't have that option of being a boring couple and staying in together, and when you turn down social opportunities to wait around on Skype you sabotage yourself.  You have to go out, you have to do things, start your new life, and yet somehow still include this other person who’s really far away.  
Do you have any idea how hard it is to share your life with someone when your life is over here and their life is all the way over there?
Sometimes their life is super boring and you’re really busy all the time.  Sometimes it’s the opposite.  And it’s hard to feel like you’re both on the same wavelength a lot of the time. 
“How come I haven’t talked to you all day?  What have you been up to?”
“I climbed Mt. Everest!  I taught English to orphan children! And then I helped Arab Africans escape genocide in Darfur using only a toothpick and some foil!  What did you do??”
“Finished all my homework.  Killed a bug in the bathroom. Oh, and I changed my Facebook status to ‘Found Nemo.’  12 people liked it so I felt pretty good about that…I told you about the peanut butter sandwich I had, right?”
And it’s hard to feel like with that much going on, and you not being a part of any of it, that you’re still important to someone.  I mean think about it, they had a whole peanut butter sandwich.  Where were you?
Communication is important.  It’s impossible to not get frustrated with the situation at least once and a while.  People can start to feel insecure, or needy, and it’s hard to solve those problems from so far away.  There’s not always a definite solution to the problem, but when you can talk through it with your significant other it gets better.  You’re more vulnerable, but you grow closer in ways you might never have imagined possible from so far away.  And the waiting makes those moments together so much more precious.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Data-ing Game


“I don’t know that she’s right for you, Dan” I said after hearing about his new love interest, Lauren.
“Yeh,” he said, “But she has anal beads.”
Social psychology teaches the Social Exchange Theory, which states that the sustainability of a relationship can be understood through mathematical terms.   The equation takes the benefits of the relationship minus the costs, minus the level of how awesome you expect the relationship to be, minus how likely you think it is that you can find someone better, plus how much investment you’ve already put into the relationship.  So it comes out looking like this:
 (Benefits - Costs – Expectations) – Likelihood for better alternatives + Investments= commitment.
Essentially, what this means is that you only like a relationship if it has more benefits than costs, and if it meets your personal expectations of what a relationship should be.  And you will stay in that relationship so long as there’s no one better around to hook up with, and also if you’ve already invested a lot in the relationship.  …Simple.   So we decided to apply it to Dan’s situation.
Anal Beads:  Benefits = +1
“And she gives good head.”
+1
“But her dog friended me on Facebook.”
-1
“And then wrote ‘I want to lick you all over!’ on my wall…”
“Dude.  Maybe you should date her dog.”
 “She’s actually really cool though.  Like, even though she thought Ayn Rand was a kind of cheese, she likes all the same music I do.”
“So she’s into Britney?”
“Yea.  And we have a lot of fun.”
“Right, you mentioned the anal beads.”
Expectations:  Exceeded. 
“I’m taking her out again on Friday but, I don’t know.  I’m still kinda hoping something will happen with Katie.”
Katie was the girl from his Bio class he’d been chatting with on Facebook.   He was working his way up to asking for a phone number.
So here we had:
(Good head + Sex toys) – (Dog on Facebook) + (Exceeded expectations) – (Katie from Bio) + (Time + Cost of Dinner) = Casual Hook Up
We crunched the numbers and decided that, as enticing as Lauren was, Katie’s occasional Facebook chats meant much too much to him to get involved in anything too serious.  We liked the idea of an equation and tried to see if we could apply mathematics further.  So we came up with a new equation to determine the status of a relationship.  Thus, we had created a new branch of math:  Alge-bro.  Our equation was:
Interest level  + circumstances (substances) + intimacy level + medium of communication – time it takes them to respond = fate of relationship
Here are some sample problems:
Want to date her + Too scared to talk to her + Facebook chat – she doesn’t respond = You are a Facebook creeper
Want a relationship + Met at a bar + alcohol + skirt so short you can see her vagina + made out + in person + immediately = one night stand
Wanna bang her + Booty call(alcohol)+ text message – never responded = Person you awkwardly avoid tomorrow
Want to date her + Text her + While sober + Quick response + Smiley face = Success