Monday, January 31, 2011

What A Real Man Looks Like.

What is a real man? What does he look like? What does he do? And where, where the HELL, can you find one?

A real man will be willing to part with money for your time. A real man dates. He knows your time is not free, and he's willing to reasonably spend to take you out to lunch and talk to you, even after you've been doing it for awhile and are sleeping together. A real man knows picking up the tab doesn't stop after your panties drop.

A real man is cognizant of the fact that you're a woman. He knows that there are some things that may be needed from him because of this fact, and will pick you up from in front of the club at the end of the night so you don't have to fight off the sharks or find your way home drunk, even if he wasn't out with you and your girls. A real man will offer you his arm, even when you CAN walk in a straight line by the cops.

A real man always asks to see you. He knows that you have a life, and friends, and a job, and plans that don't necessarily involve him, and so, he never takes the fact that he can see you, or you, for granted. He calls ahead to secure time and plans with you, and is equally comfortable letting you come up with plans as he is making them himself. A real man understands the give-and-take effect of work and play, and time.

A real man knows when to use words to solve a problem, and when to get physical in a confrontation. He knows the different between force, and being forced. A real man is a protector. A real man knows the extent of his own strength.

A real man never shows up empty-handed, even if he appears with nothing in his hands. If he has nothing to give physically, he's 100% invested in being there mentally and emotionally. One man might bring you dinner while another brings jewels while another brings you stimulating news, but all real men will bring something to the table.

A real man has plans and ambitions. He may be living in the penthouse suite with millions in the bank, or he may still be living in his momma's basement, but regardless, he's actively planning and doing things with his life. He's not content with what he is and what he can offer-- he wants to be better and have more to offer. He is constantly on the grind, and is not satisfied with status quo or the bare minimum of effort. He puts in time and pays meticulous attention to detail. He thinks things through and goes by-the-book. He can relax when it's time, but even when he's chilling, he has a constant desire to better himself. A real man is a dedicated hard worker.

A real man is an attentive lover. He knows all women aren't the same, and what worked for the last doesn't necessarily float the boat for you. He's open to trying new things and is comfortable talking about sex openly and frankly. He knows being safe and proactive is smart, and he practices what he preaches. He gives, and yet can still take. He can be dominant when you need to be manhandled, and yet submissive when you want control. He takes the time to learn your body, and what you like and need. He stops when you say "stop," waits when you say "wait," and knows that when you ask for a massage and wink what you REALLY mean. A real man makes you feel comfortable enough to lower your inhibitions and gives you what you really want.

A real man is kind to animals, children, your friends, and his family. He respects women, loves his mother, and always has a kind word or smile for people. While your friend who says "like" every third word may drive him crazy, he'll talk to her for a few minutes when he bumps into her. Though he's allergic, he'll still pet your cat.

A real man is not afraid of commitment or relationships. He knows that one woman is enough for him, if she's the right woman, and knows that even if she's not perfect, he doesn't need to look anywhere else to find what she lacks. A real man doesn't play, because he knows emotions aren't something meant to be a toy.

A real man takes care of himself. He values his health, and is aware of it. While he may not necessarily go to the gym every day, he knows that exercise is valuable, and is no stranger to it. A real man takes pride in his appearance, and has style, whatever that may be. He knows what he looks good in, and he knows how to keep himself looking good in it. His diet is smart, not juvenile. He has a healthy relationship with food, drinking, and drugs. A real man can cook for himself, in a pinch.

A real man isn't ashamed. He's proud to have you at his side. He introduces you to others, and doesn't think twice about bringing you into public with him. (A real lady is someone who a real man wants to bring into public and be seen with, by the way.) He'll kiss you in public, in front of his friends, in front of your family, in front of the world. A real man is not afraid to say what your relationship is, and is as eloquent in expressing it as he is articulate about his feelings and expressing his intentions for you.

A real man opens doors for you, both physically as well as metaphorically. He always remembers the little things to the best of his ability. A real man says "please," and "thank you," and is courteous to the wait staff and tips well. A real man can say "I'm sorry" with sincerity and admit when he's been wrong. He'll call your mother "ma'am," or "Mrs. ______" and your father "sir" or "Mr. _____" until told otherwise. A real many carries the heaviest boxes and kills spiders, or lets them loose again back outside. A real man will protect you and stick up for you, always, even when he's not happy with you at the moment. A real man knows a woman's worth. He will pick you up for your date, and see you safely home. A real man knows his worth. A real man will understand if you tell him you can't see him anymore. A real man will fight for you if he loves you.

A real man doesn't have to be dressed in a three-piece suit. A man in a suit can be an ass, while the homeboy in the do-rag and chain could be the real thing. A real man doesn't need to drive a flashy car to assert himself; he does it instead by the way he fills the space he stands in. A real man doesn't need to be made of money-- if he can't take you on a date, but takes you on a walk around the neighborhood instead, his listens intently and actively to what you talk about. A real man doesn't need to be making a set salary, as long as he's making all the ends meet, and he's in control. A real man has no set age-- he could be 65, or he could be 18. A real man is made, not born. A real man does not have to be perfect, but he does have to be trying. A real man is not a physical manifestation-- he's an attitude, and a way of living.

And every woman needs a real man in her life.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Shape And Size Of Relationships

Relationships come in all different shapes and sizes and styles, like any good department store's merchandise. Some relationships are only made to fit you for a season before you outgrow them, where as others are cut so versatilely to go from brunch with his mother to the football game with his boys. Some are itchy and uncomfortable and don't get worn for long before they're relegated to another home, via consignment shop, while yet others are so luxuriant and sensual that you can't help but wearing them over and over and over again, even when it's not an appropriate occasion. Some relationships are made to only fit one couple, while the tradition of dating seems to suit thousands, even millions, and be coveted by still others. The point is, however much we might think we look good in one particular style, no single relationship is the same as another couple's or looks the same on the people who are in it as it would with any other person in the same equation. They're all individual, all unique, all a wonderful one-of-a-kind piece of couture. No one can declare any sort of "relationship fashion."

Some of us need to see the person we're with everyday. Some people would prefer being single. Some iPhone couples run a constant chat conversation with each other, 24/7, even if they're just in the other room. Some couples only meet once or twice a month, and still see other people. Some husbands and wives sleep in separate beds, even separate bedrooms (though the idea of sleeping in a separate bed, let alone room, sends my insomniac bed-partner-loving self into a state of panic). Some girls prefer not to call their long-term partner their "boyfriend" because it sounds childish, even though some unmarried 40 year old women love calling theirs that for the sense of nostalgia. Some couples move in together quickly, after only a month or two, while others wait until becoming engaged, or married, to share a lease. One of my friend's fathers lived in an apartment in New York City for work during the weekdays, commuting to Connecticut from Friday night to Monday morning to live with his wife and children, whereas my mother, used to having my father around for the past 37 years, hates to spend a single night alone without him, feeling odd when he's not there. And as I previously mentioned, I hate sleeping alone, while I always sleep the best the night AFTER whoever I'm currently sleeping with leaves. Those are just examples of 11 different relationships, and none of them can be considered a "classic."

I'm currently seeing someone who demonstrates this point perfectly. We live in different towns, and have different circles of friends. I go to college; he works long nights. But I knew he was worth a little bit of impatience and the extra effort to see him when he kept making it a priority to see me, at least once a week, and despite of everything else. We now spend one or 2 day chunks of time with each other when we can; other nights, he can only make it into town for a few hours. The point is to maximize the quality of your time together-- if we're going on day 2 in a weekend of co-existion, I don't feel bad taking an hour or two here or there to go to my class on campus or do my homework while sitting side by side with him in bed in the morning. If we've only got a few hours, we keep things focused-- we stay home, eat together, catch up, spend time relaxing and talking, and watch a movie to give us some bonding time. In between visits, we keep in touch electronically, through either text or chatting-- though talking on the phone might be a more intimate ideal, I can't help but preferring the written word mediums; I am such a writer. All in all, we get to spend about a third of every month together-- 10 nights in 30, a few more days here and there. But it works perfectly for our needs-- while I have time to write so I don't miss (many) deadlines, he has time to do the things with his guys that he wants to and time to chill at home. I'm more happy seeing him when it's possible than I ever was seeing someone frequently a few days a week who while only physically 10 minutes away in town, was light years away from me emotionally and in terms of effort and desire. It shows. I look happier. I'm dressing differently.

I'm also learning new things, one of the benchmarks of any good relationship, platonic or otherwise-- the perennially Single Girl who struggles with feelings of independence when letting a guy pick up all of the tab, I'm learning how to wear the perfect balance of gratitude and grace when it's his Amex on the counter and back account digits rolling back; how to adjust to someone else's quirks and sleeping style and snoring and eating habits; and when to gracefully admit defeat and need of assistance and call someone to be waiting outside the front of the club for me because I am too drink, drank, drunk to get to him. I'm even learning when to take someone's arm when offered so I can lean on it, because there is someone I can finally lean on. And to my surprise, it's not even cramping my "single and fabulous" style. In fact, it's evolving to become part of myself, a newer version, this year's It model. And it looks damn good on me.

The point is, it is not the title on the relationship or the label that you give it or each other that counts-- it's the time, effort, and emotion that you put into and get from it that really matters. Never let anyone else dictate your style, either. If you're wearing a casual relationship when nothing but a wedding gown will do for you, you're always going to be uncomfortable, but as soon as you find the right match and become your own designer, I'm sure you'll find something that you can make work and will look beautiful wearing it. As Samantha once said, "...The true test of a relationship is if it makes you feel like this (frowns), or like this (smiles beatifically)." Be with someone who makes you smile, if not all the time, than most of the time, and I promise you that you will always feel like the luckiest and happiest girl in the world.

Other than me, of course.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

What I Wore.

{Hat: Columbia;
Shirt: Truly Madly Deeply from Urban Outfitters;
Leggings: Old Navy;
Knit Stockings: Charlotte Russe;
Boots: Deena & Ozzy Tread Boot from Urban Outfitters.}

It's been cold as blue balls lately here in VT, and paired with the fact that the medication I've been on for my fever and infection (there's the reason I've been MIA-- Ladies, DO NOT ignore a UTI and just HOPE it'll go away; I guess if we play, we've got to pay at some point...) includes the lovely side-effect of making me sweat more than a whore in Sunday service, dressing has been...well, dressing hasn't happened, since I didn't get out of bed for three days, due in part to the fact that I couldn't begin to fathom how to dress for both sweating AND the chills.

But last night, my shipment from Urban Outfitter's massive blow-out sale came in, and there's nothing like clothing and a new pair of shoes to make a girl feel like new again, am I right, or am I right? I apologize now if you won't see me devoid of these boots on my feet for the rest of the winter-- not only are they STUNNING in a bad-ass bitch, combat-boots-with-class sort of way, the Timberland-like tread on the bottom is great for city slush as well as the Vermont snow, and they're supportive, warm, and comfortable. And heels I can wear all winter long! Paired with the knit stockings I grabbed for $4 and wear EVERYWHERE-- over leggings for another warmer layer, with boyshorts around the apartment, during "intimate moments" for a snowbunny school-girl vibe-- and a knit cap, I was warm and comfortable enough all through work, my night class, and dinner with the girls after. Finally-- forward Vermont winter fashion success!


Fun fact: Before I inadvertantly quit smoking in early November, I was virtually never sick. Now, I consider a 2 week stretch of good health a record-breaker. What gives with that irony?!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Say "Thank You."

Coming up on under a month to go until Valentine's Day (ick, ugh, roar,) I've (and I'm sure, the rest of the world has, too,) been spending a lot of time lately trying to come up with ideas for small things to do for the guy I'm seeing on or around that date. While we haven't been together long enough to do anything quite as grand and stunning as the couple's massage/day at the exclusive gym/dinner at the gourmet restaurant that one of my friends is planning for her live-in boyfriend of over a year thanks to a hotel's stellar Valentine's Day discount incentives, seeing as my guy spoils me rotten, I want to do a little something for him, too. The problem is, I've NEVER been with a guy for Valentine's Day, and I'm a little freaked out at the thought that I may be, this year, and I want to blow it out of the water right, the first time. (I'm not a highly-motivated obsessive-compulsive perfectionist or anything.) Pressure, pressure, pressure.

I'm big on spoiling my guys, be it either on Valentine's Day, or any other day of the week that ends in "-day." It can be little things-- picking up his favorite magazine while you're already out grocery shopping and see it while you're standing in line and waiting for the slow check out girl to hurry up with her bagging, already, or giving a $10 gift card to someone's favorite store to go towards their next inevitable purchase-- that show that you're invested in making someone happy. I knew the guy I'm seeing was a winner when he went out to grab food one night for dinner and came back with bad well as something else. "I got a call, and I have to leave, but I brought you back dinner...and breakfast for tomorrow morning," he told me. As we all know, I've been going through a financial roller coaster, and knowing that he wanted to provide for me, even if he couldn't be there, was exceptionally touching. His stock went up.

That's exactly what it is-- it's the little things that tell someone you're a keeper--buying him a drink, giving him a spur-of-the-moment back massage, letting him sleep in. Because if you'll do those things for him on your own accord, it gets him thinking about what you'd do for him if/when you REALLY love him. Not every woman gives her guy her Netflix account password and sets him up with unlimited instant entertainment. But nearly every woman will give a blowjob. The latter is nearly expected. The former is not expected, greatly appreciated, and fucking free, with a great emotional pay-off.

Some other instant brownie point winners to set you apart from the rest of the female crowd:

- If he's light on boxers (or briefs, or those heaven-sent and god-created boxer-briefs,) or socks, pick him up a few cheap but fun pairs. Chances are, his mom, exes, or best girl friend are the ones who usually bought them for him, and the hole his big toe is sticking out of isn't paramount in his mind on the list of Things To Do or Get. Spoil his inner child just a little bit more by getting a few new pairs and taking that item off his plate of things to stress out about when he opens an empty drawer and suddenly remembers what he's been forgetting to buy.

- Food really is one of the best ways into a man's heart. A simple home-cooked meal is a favorite among guys, especially when you're in the comfortable and slightly broke section of dating. If you let him help you prepare it-- chopping the vegetables, stirring the pot, mixing the salad dressing-- he'll feel even better about the meal he helped create, AND may learn some hands-on cooking skills for the next time he's solo in the kitchen. If you feed a man, he'll be satiated for one meal. If you teach him how to cook, he'll be mostly satiated most of the time you're not around to cook with or for him.

- If he's a frequent overnight guest, like my boy is, make sure than you have sufficient amenities for him in the morning. A (new!) extra toothbrush, some manly soap, and a towel he knows is "his" to use will go a long way toward making his mornings (and nights!) more comfortable. Plus, you don't have to kiss morning breath, so really, it's win/win. Also, if he's approaching other roommate status, and it looks like neither of you are going anywhere else fast, carving out a drawer or a shelf in your closet for him to have a change of clothes or at least a place to leave a spare shirt and pair of boxers and socks would be a nice gesture.

- Keep a few of his favorite snacks around. If he's partial to orange juice, keep some in your fridge. If he goes crazy over movie theater-style popcorn, get a few packs so that next time the two of you are staying in to watch a movie, he's got something to munch happily on other than your crunchy, fruity granola.

- And possibly the easiest, more meaningful tip of all: Every time you see him, pay him one compliment to let him know how much he means to you. It can be something like "I think you're such a babe, you know that?" or "You're honestly one of the most interesting people I've ever met," or a simple "Thank you for doing everything it is you do for me; I really appreciate it." This is what will keep him from straying when a random chick at a bar tells him he's hot; this is what he'll remember you love about him next time he's feeling down; this is what will make him want to be all those things you compliment him about, for YOU. A guy who knows how you feel about him is a guy who is content, satisfied, and clear on what he's expected of.

Recently, I did what I preached and took him out to lunch, on me. I know that the standard and traditional scheme looks like the guy paying for everything, but I was amazed how relaxed and right it felt to pick up the tab when it hit the restaurant table. Best yet was when he reached across the table...for my hand, not the check. He picked it up, pressed it between his, kissed it, and looked me straight in the eyes and said "thank you." Everyone, take note--- this is not only a great way to show heartfelt appreciation if you need to cop this move for your own, but it also got my heartstrings strumming a little. It struck me this morning as I curled around the warmth of his back and breathed in that I am so lucky. So, so lucky. Which is exactly why I just spent the last 3 hours researching the perfect men's facial lotion for the boy with the impeccable facial hair and beard who always complains about dryness and itchiness for Valentine's Day. It must be extreme fondness, or another emotion like it.


P.S-- While these are all idea slanted towards your significant other, boyfriend, or the significant man in your life, please note that with a little tweaking, similar things can be used to show appreciation for the important friends in your life, and they'd be just as welcome. I'm sure your roommate would be surprised and touched if you brought her home the latest issue of Cosmopolitan randomly, or your always-there-to-pull-you-back-together work buddy would appreciate if you took them out for Happy Hour drinks after a particularly trying day at the office. Remember, while your romantic relationships may be the ones you focus on because they're getting you laid and potentially setting you up for the rest of your life, you'd be nowhere without your friends and family, who are always the ones who help take care of you when the romances fail or falter. Show love to all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys, And Girls Will Be Like Boys.

I learned a fun fact this evening while I was talking to my roommate Alli about the fact that I'm starting to think that slightly larger than average amounts of testosterone in my biological make up would explain a lot about me, paramount being my sex drive, natural aggressiveness, tendency to dominate, and the fact that a lot of the time, I feel masculine despite my 36C breasts riding on my 5'3" frame and 36 inch hips. It's not anything...I don't know, abnormal, like I'm going to bust out a beard at any's just that despite my love of shoes and the fact that I tear up over ASPCA commercials and reflexively smile hugely like a butter-hearted idiot at cute babies, I still feel like in a crisis, I'd be the one picking up the rifle and trekking into the woods to go kill shit to feed the family.

Maybe it's because I'm a Vermont girl. The most romantic thing I could get for Valentine's Day would be a remote car starter. A remote car starter on a nice bracelet.

Or maybe, it's something else. "Let me see your hand," Alli asked, and then held hers up to explain. "See how my index finger is longer than my ring finger?" I dutifully held mine up. She went "YEAHHHH" quickly in a tone of voice that I'm sure they train out of doctors in pre-med. "Look at how much longer your ring finger is than your index finger." She's not lying. It's probably nearly a quarter of an inch longer. "They've linked longer ring fingers in women to higher doses of testosterone in their chemical make up. So that explains it for you."

Think this is all bullshit like how a man's hand or foot size denotes the size of his dick? Then try this on for size: "Unlike men, most women have ring fingers that are shorter or the same length as their index fingers. Only a few have longer ring fingers. The finding adds to evidence that the ratio between the two fingers - not the length itself but their length relative to each other - is associated with a number of different personality traits, which include sexuality, fertility, intelligence, aggressiveness and musical ability. The difference is believed to be linked to the level of the male hormone testosterone, to which the foetus is exposed in the womb."

Whelp. That not only explains my merit as a sprinter, but also my sex drive quite nicely. "But babe, I know you're tired...don't blame me, blame my finger!" Think it would fly or hold up in a court of law as an argument? However, I can also guarantee that all the women who just read this are looking at their hands right now.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

LikeALittle, or Like A Lot?

I was at a party last night when a local celebrity walked in. No, I’m not talking about any epic Vermont personas—not entertainer Rusty DeWees, not novelist Chris Bohjalian, not even Fred Pabst the Younger, a Vermont ski mogul whose grandfather started that scion of beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon, even though lots of said beer was in attendance—no, I’m talking about a real Champlain College celebrity: Mountain Dew Hat Guy.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you obviously haven’t been following the new LikeALittle Champlain page. The “About” section of LikeALittle calls it a “flirting-facilitator platform,” and says that the site’s purpose is to “allow you to compliment and chat about your crushes around you or otherwise bemoan your missed encounters from the safety of your trusty screen.” Basically, it’s a more campus-centered spin on the iSpys that Seven Days newspaper has been hosting for years, the main premise behind the site being a bastardized love-child of Twitter and your local personals. I’ll admit, I pick up an issue of Seven Days every week, just to read the iSpys. I’m pretty obsessed with being Spyed. But Champlain’s LikeALittle page, which can be found at, has taken all the guesswork out of deciphering if you were that particular cute blonde in a red scarf sighted on Church Street last Sunday night. Starting with locations around campus (residence halls, the library, in the caf, etc.) and including the gender of the person being holla-d at and their hair color as identifiers, they sometimes include articles of clothing, hints at names, or other clues that make it easier to figure out if you’re being flirted at, or if you’re just crazy and wishfully thinking.

Some messages are cute—“At Fireside: Female, Brunette. You helped me make a Cookie Jar while I sat there, struggling with the twine. Even though I'm not your type, I'm glad you cared, enough to take the time.” Some are hilarious—“Girl at the salad bar in the blue… You say ‘tomato,’ I say DAYUM!” And some are downright creepy—“I stare at that booty through [yo]ur second floor window ;).” The innuendoes are astounding. I have to say, as a peer advisor at the Writing Center, I have had to re-align my standpoint on our student body’s use of metaphor, allegory, and simile. What I’ve seen on this flirting site is a lot better and a lot more sophisticated than what I’ve seen in academic papers. Furthermore, a haiku was written, and another student corrected it—“A haiku is 5-7-5, not 7-5-7.” If we could get this sort of dialogue going in classes, we’d nearly make Mini Ivy status. It blows my mind what some people are capable of creating when they want something…or someone. That’s you, Mountain Dew Hat Guy, Bandana/Lip Ring Dude, and Cute Redheaded Girl Who Does NOT Look Like Hayley Williams.

Currently, over 250 people “like” the page, and I’m sure more visit it daily, even if they haven’t publicly endorsed their urge to creep (myself included). But what’s the draw? Is it a new sort of ego-search, like how you used to Google yourself? Is it because this is such a godforsaken small campus that we all feel the need to know the dirt on each other and who thinks who is hot? Or is this the new way that our generation has taken to meeting people and hooking up—a less lame version of, in shorter format and more geared toward getting phone numbers than to meeting someone perfectly compatible with you based on 33 personality characteristics and not your shared love of the salad bar or gym machines?

I couldn’t help but wonder as I walked into the dining hall for lunch—was I going to be looking at a post on LikeALittle later this afternoon: “At Cafeteria. Female, Blonde. Teal sweater and Champlain hat. Yeah, I like the way you eat that sandwich.”

Special to SATCG from the December 2010 issue of the Champlain Current.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sex And The College Girl...A Political Columnist?

I don't know how it happened. I really don't know why. I actually really detest politics, or talking about politics, or debating about politics, the product of growing up with a severely politically-rampant father, even though I have strong opinions about a few items-- namely, environmental issues, women's rights, and higher education. Maybe it just affirms my belief that I'm a whore for a by-line. But however it happened, I was asked to be a columnist/blogger for Vermont Commons newspaper, an online and print publication, and I accepted. Stemming from the idea that Vermont could better govern itself as an independent state than as part of the government, it covers everything from politics, to environmental issues, to the localvore movement in Vermont. And I now write for it.

Part one of my installment just hit the web a few days ago. It's called "SEX-CESSION," (of course, what else?) and here's an excerpt from it:

"Everyone has heard horrible break-up stories: The ones where there was lots of screaming and crying and breaking of things. But for everyone who’s thrown their used-to-be-beloved’s clothing out the window and onto the front lawn as the passers-by stopped and stared, there’s been someone who’s been calm and collected and respectful. I personally have not met or been that person yet, but I hear that they’re out there somewhere. Point being, there are good break-ups, and then there are bad break-ups. When you think about it, secession isn’t so much different...

...Sustaining something, be it a relationship between two people or a union of 50 vastly different states, is no easy task. What one person, or one state, needs is different from what another desires. Vermont sleeps next to New Hampshire every night, and while we’re one of the most politically liberal states New Hampshire is as politically conservative as they come. Unlikely bedfellows, yes; and yet the orders coming from the head marriage counselor (the U.S Government) expect that they’ll be treated not just as equals, but as one cohesive unit.

Follow this link to Vermont Common's website to read the entire column.


Three Short, Hilarious Stories I Couldn't Flesh Out Into Full Entries.

Caught Red-Handed:

For a year, I slept with the same guy. While there were perks-- intimate knowledge of how each other's body worked, relaxed expectations because you knew exactly what you were going to get, the fact that you find a routine that works perfectly every time-- ending that relationship and having a new partner has been a little thrilling. Sometimes, more than just a little.

I had a gynecological exam yesterday morning because I practice what I preach (GET TESTED, PEOPLE!), as well as am very adverse the the idea of having babies, and needed my birth control script refilled. The first sign that this may have been a really potentially awkward experience was when I looked at the nurse and asked, "If I've had sex within the last 24 hours, is it going to affect my Pap results or cell samples?" The second sign would have been the fact that my ass is currently redder than a drunken Irishman sweating under a Caribbean sun with no sun umbrella in sight.

While it's great for health insurance perks and getting appointments ASAP, the problem with having a mother who works in a hospital and knows EVERYONE is that I'm pretty sure that while nothing was said to me, other than a shocked expression quickly covered up by some very pointedly raised eyebrows, someone might be asking my mother shortly if I'm "safe at home" or if I'm being beaten. Having to explain it's consensual...very, very awkward.

However, good news-- they've now replaced the metal duck-lips with plastic ones. Slightly warmer. Less terrifying than having metal inside of you.

Be The Bigger Man:

The guy behind the counter was cute. Very cute. Nice eyes. Very boy-next-door in plaid and shaggy blonde hair. I saw his eyebrows flash up and down in the universal sign for "well, hello there, gorgeous!" as I walked toward him, heels clicking through the thin nubby carpet, and he grinned as he asked, "Hi, how are you?"

"Great, thanks," I said, putting the box of Magnums down on the counter between us. And I shit you not, he looked down at the box, as did I, and stared silently at them for a full 5 seconds in dumb shock, then went on to complete the rest of the transaction in complete silence, except for a half-hearted "have a good night," as I slipped them into my purse.

"Oh, I will," I told him.

Ladies Is Pimps, Too:

I am firmly against parents being allowed on Facebook. Why? Because if your friends accept their friend requests, even if you don't, you still wind up finding things. Like this.

My friend Tessa griped in her status, "How to lose a guy in 10 days? Uhmm a more appropriate question would be how to get a guy in 10 days..."

My mother's response? "Tessa, you should touch base with Carissa."

THANKS, MOM. BECAUSE THAT LOOKS REAL GOOD. Something else to add to my resumee-- columnist, blogger, peer advisor, man finder, pimp. I'm so glad my $40,000 a year multi-faceted liberal arts private college education is paying off.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Can I See Some Classification?

Lately, my most over-used phrase has been "He's not my boyfriend." As the boy himself pointed out the other night, he gets why when he kisses me in public, people assume I'm his girlfriend, and sometimes it's easier to just not correct them, and I hear that and am all over with agreeing with it-- I let it slide too, when it's not really important. But still, if I have to tell my mother one more time that he is not my boyfriend, and that she needs to stop telling people that I have a boyfriend in favor of telling them that I'm casually seeing someone, there's gonna be a matricide charge. So, A.) because my mother reads my blog, and B.) because I feel like a primer isn't a bad thing if you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about when I say I'm "seeing someone", here's a written guide on the classifications of relationships:

If you think someone is the bee's knees and they might not even know you exist, you're crushing on someone. Conversely, they might know they exist. They might like you, too. But other than talking and hanging out, if no one's made the first move, you're still just crushing on someone.

If you're being blatantly obvious that you're crushing on someone, and they're talking about other girls or other guys and are asking you for advice or help with landing the opposite (or same,) sex, or call you "bro, man, homie," or any other generic, genderless term of affection, you're just friends. You are in the friend-zone. Even if they were stupifyingly drunk, you're probably not getting any. Also, you could just be friends if they're someone that you've never had a single sexual thought about, and the same is true for them about you. Caveat: If you're NOT being blatantly obvious that you're crushing on them, now might be a time to start, because if they DO also like you and you say nothing, you will still get stuck in the friend-zone. Not, as I hope you want to be, in at least the next classification, where sex is involved.

If you're having sex and he's never hinted at or tried moving things out of the bedroom or car or motel room (other than to change location for sex), you're hooking up. Also classified as fucking, or being fuck buddies.

If he takes you out more than twice and drops cash on you, no matter how much or how little it is, and keeps making noise about wanting to keep taking you out and/or treating you-- you're dating. And he's a keeper.

If you're spending time together, going out, sleeping together (both sexually and physically in the same bed), in each other's top 5 contacts lists, and have met the important people in each other's lives-- roommates, friends, parents, etc.-- you're seeing each other. Now, there are two classifications to seeing each other: casually, and exclusively. "Casually" implies that there's been no exclusivity talk or commitment; that if you don't see him a certain number of times in a week, it's cool, and that both of you respect each other's social lives without needing to be in it 24/7. "Exclusively" just means that you had that chat where you said that you only want to be with the other, and you now have an excuse to castrate him with the closest dull yet pointy object if you catch him with another woman after that conversation.

Another word that you can use in place of "seeing each other" is that you're together. He knows that you're together. You know that you're together. Both your friends know that you're together. The people that see you out and about know that you're together. But just like the difference between "casually" and "exclusively" seeing each other, that girl who he's chatting up at work when you're not there might not know that you and he are together. So get it confirmed in conversation if it's going to bug you. Or if it's been a few months that you've been "together." Then, it's just time to shit or get off the pot. While relationships aren't about sprinting through the classifications or steps, they generally do need to progress, though it takes time to get to know someone, and if you'd like to go to the next level with them. Exclusivity is always the next step in the relationship at this point-- it just takes some people longer to work around to it than others. And if he won't give you his exclusivity, or if you're unwilling to stop trying to get with other people, then it's time to end it...

...AKA: break up. You can use the term "break up" to describe what happened with anyone at any point after hooking up-- it's just easier and clearer what you mean that way, rather than saying "we're no longer communicating," which means you could still be fucking, just not talking. ( happens.) Even if you were just sleeping together, if you're not anymore, if you had a nasty conversation about why you won't be anymore, you broke up.

NO ONE is anyone's boyfriend or girlfriend until the question is raised and the ok is given to refer to them as such. This would mean that you need to either say, "Hey, would it be ok if I called you my boyfriend?" or he says "I'd like you to be my girlfriend." Even if y'all have been dating and sleeping together for two or more months, if you haven't talked about it outright, he ain't yo boyfran, as my friend Caiti would say. In which case, if he does something above and beyond what he needs to do in your current status, you can tell him he's the best "not-boyfriend" ever. Or if you do something above the call of duty for him or his friends, you're allowed to comment on the fact with your friends that it officially made you the best not-girlfriend ever. The "not" is the most important part of this phrase. It shows that you're aware of the fact you don't have this label, yet are perfectly capable of and willing to do the things that would come with it. Strangely, I prefer the title "not-girlfriend" to that of "girlfriend." I think it's because it means I care about someone enough that I'm willing to do what I don't really have to, just because I want to do it. Caveat: Sometimes it's easier not to fight society's previously conceived conventions and try to explain that someone is not your boyfriend. In these cases, either grin and bear it, as we talked about earlier, or correct them if it really irks you that much, or you feel that you need to our should. If you're stuck for a term to correct them with, "significant other" covers it well as a blanket term. A "significant other" is someone who is the most significant other person in your life that you're in a relationship with-- be it a not-boyfriend or not-girlfriend, or a not-quite-yet-fiancée, or your baby-daddy who isn't thinking about making an honest woman out of you yet, but is in your life and supportive.

If you've moved on to seeing each other exclusively, and have had the labels conversation, you're in a serious, committed relationship. You might now be going on vacations together, be invited to each other's family events, thinking of signing a lease together, or he may have started casually browsing the front window displays of jewelry stores. (Note-- this classification is highly age and maturity regulated.)

If you signed a piece of paper together, exchanged rings, and remember saying "I do," I hate to break it to you, but you're married. That is the only time it is appropriate for anyone to call your girl "the wifey."

And now for the toughest term-- a relationship. A "relationship" can be taken a few different ways. You have a relationship with your parents. You have a relationship with your friends. You have a relationship (and probably, some sort of understanding,) with your landlord. And you certainly have a relationship with the person of the opposite or same sex in your life, regardless of the fact if you're just fuck buddies or if you're in a serious, committed relationship. One of my exes explained it this way, and tricked me into a relationship with him in doing so, which was probably the most clever act a man has ever pulled on me as well as the only way a guy could wrangle me into something: "Technically, we've already had relations (read: sex), so whether you like it or not, we're now in a relationship." It's true-- sex changes things between two people. So does him taking you out, even if you haven't slept with each other yet. And if he's spending nights with you, that's another step up the relationship pyramid right there-- not only are you together, but you also have a different relationship as bed partners. (He steals the sheets, you kick, and you're both learning how to deal with the other one while asleep.) So, if you have a different relationship with him that exceeds your friendship, no matter what it is, from sleeping together to being engaged, you're in a relationship with that person. Again, it can be serious or not serious, but dynamics between the two of you have changed. time someone asks you what's going on with you and that dude that they're always seeing you with, or if your nosy neighbor who fancies herself a new-age matchmaker asks you if you're in a relationship, you can tell them, "Yes. I'm casually seeing someone, and I really like him." Case closed.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Playa Hater

In many aspects, I'm not your typical girl. I don't know many Lady Gaga songs, I'm really not into jeggings, and I'd rather watch a football game than Glee and go to a dive bar than a nail salon. I've never had a manicure (waste of money when you use your hands as much as I do), and I didn't have senior portraits taken, or professional prom photos done. So it really shouldn't be any surprise that there wasn't any photographic evidence of me with any of the guys I've dated or been in relationships with.

I mean, yes-- there is a horrible held-at-arm's-length cell phone quality snapshot of me and a guy I was with freshmen year, and there's a photo of my on-again, off-again guy and I in a group of our friends, but that's it. No official "hello world, we're a couple, and can't you tell?" photos. I was thinking about this fact today while watching SATC reruns and thinking about how anti-girl that fact is. Also, about how slightly sad it is that I'll have no photographic reminders of how I felt together while I was with a guy.

Until now. Low and behold, not 30 minutes later, an image taken of the boy and I on his birthday surfaced on Facebook from his friend's cell phone. I knew that his friend had been taking photos of the shitshow taking place, and was expecting some hilarious Leaning Pile of Drunken Man photos, or possibly, ones of me standing in front of him with his chin in my hand, trying to get him to focus on me long enough to find out if he needed more water. Instead, what popped up was a photo of the two of us casually sitting on the end of the couch closely together, my arm around his neck, hand resting on his collarbone, his arm around my waist and hand on my hip, both our eyes focused down at some point on the floor in front of us as we talked about something. Or he slurred and I listened intently.

It's a great photo. I wasn't expecting it, especially from a friend of his. Totally candid, yet entirely truthful. I am now a believer in those body language experts who say they can tell if two people are sleeping together just by reading their body language as they interact. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than that photo only needed three: "So into him." I wondered, when I saw it, what the shelf life of it would be on the page of someone who is enjoying a Time Without Labels, and says that one of his favorite things about me is the fact that I don't ask about his business, yet has his own toothbrush on my sink and spent 3 of the last 7 nights at my place. As I expected, it lived live for about three hours, and then disappeared.

I'm not surprised because I know the situation. I know how refreshing it is to get out of long relationships and be single again, even if you're currently casually seeing someone that you really like. There's no rush to jump into anything, and the concept of not having to be committed to anything is intoxicating. I know that he's the sort of guy who wants to appear single on his page, even if he's into displays of affection in public, just like I'm the sort of girl whose Facebook relationship status is "In An Open Relationship" because that's how I consider myself-- in an open relationship with THE WORLD. I'm not into relationship statuses, or broadcasting it every time I start crushing on or seeing a new person. And while I'm not looking for any sort of label from him, and while I knew from the instant I saw it that that photo's shelf-life had a short expiration date, I have to admit, it did get me a little down to not see it there anymore. If you can show me off around town and to your friends, why don't you want to show me off in other aspects of your life, too? Because I honestly feel like I'm worth it.

Part of me, a very small part of me, took tiny offense to it, with a grain of salt. From the get-go when I saw it, I knew it would probably be removed because it would hurt his "playa image"-- the thought that he can flirt with whomever he likes online or in the real world because they don't know he's seeing anyone else. For three hours, that image was killed by any other girls who happened to see it, and the photo probably wasn't as well-received by him as it was by me because of that fact. In reality, he knows the difference between flirting with someone and trying to get with someone, and is very straight about it-- I have no worries that he's actively trying to get with anyone else. And hell, I'm a huge fucking flirt, so if he wants to get his harmless flirt on, he can get his harmless flirt on. But it got me thinking and couldn't help but make me wonder: Why do men always feel the need to be lining up the field? It's not just him-- it's the guy my friend is trying to see who has a ton of his "bitties", and what my ex who always had another girl on the side, just in case, did. It's what this guy explains in his "bottom bitch theory" video. This is dating, and as much as it seems like a game of chess or a full-body contact sport like rugby (but with kissing), IT AIN'T. I am not lining up my next starting line while I'm with a guy. As unnerving as it is, I play it play-by-play and day-to-day, and if it ends tomorrow, then it's gonna be awhile before I find another starting player to draft. Girls (sometimes, more than guys,) deal with periods of singledom and sometimes celibacy because of this-- when a girl is really with you, we're WITH you, ride-or-die style. And if a guy's not thinking the same way, than it's like you're dating on top of a trapeze of your feelings with no safety net underneath if he decides to drop you for the next Maria Sharapova or Mia Hamm or Serena Williams.

But it's easy-- in today's world, the internet and our presence online is what dictates how people who don't see us every day or regularly view us. And if he's flirting with other girls online, it just wouldn't do to have a couple-y photo at the top of his page. I get it, though I'm not entirely down with it. I run into the same issue every time one of my close guy friends posts something that could be considered especially intimate or overly interested-- I worry how other people will read into it. Granted, at this point, I'm pretty sure the guy I'm seeing knows they're my friends and he's the only one I'm currently seeing and/or sleeping with, but then again, whenever he leaves me a comment, then I'm always stuck wondering what my ex thinks of it. It's a no-win situation out there in cyber space.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Strange Encounters Of The Friend Kind

Last night, I met the friends. Let's be candid here-- in the past, I haven't been so much the "into dating/ bring me home to your parents/ introduce me to your friends" type. In the past, I've been the "don't you dare pay for my meal/ bring me home to spend the night/ run into your roommates in the morning on the way out after trying to avoid seeing them" girl. But since I'm trying to do things right this time, instead of hiding out in sweats at home on the couch with the Law & Order SVU marathon, I put my big girl panties on and went forth to do the meet-and-greet thing. And let me tell you, not only has it been nice to be doing the "normal" seeing-someone thing, it was really nice to formally meet the friends, too. If it went well for me (which I think it did), it can go well for YOU, too. Because you are probably less socially awkward than I am.

I've met guy's friends before, but it always amazes me the amount of stress it puts on you, and the amount of worrying a girl can do about it. Because I prepared and knew what to expect, for the most part, I was able to roll with it when his friend unexpectedly referred to me as "the wifey" instead of bugging the fuck out, screaming "Oh, HELL NO," and running away. It does really pay off. So, here are the top 5 things I've learned from both this experience, as well as others in the past:

First and foremost, recognize that this is important to him. You know what a big deal it is for you when a guy meets your friends-- you want them to be charmed by him just like your ass was, and you want him to get along with them, because if he doesn't, well...we all know, it's hoes before bros and bitches before hitches. Sure, he may be able to give your multiple Os, but your friends are the ones who know where you hid your emergency chocolate stash in your house and what you really did last summer. And they have photographic evidence. Same goes for him-- introducing a new boo to friends is never easy, so if he's asking to make this happen, get over your damn self. He's making a declaration here-- if he wants you to meet the people who are important to him, it means you're not disposable to him, and in fact, that YOU are also important to him. I was so fucking nervous I had nightmares the night before about having to get in girl friends' faces and tell them to talk to him about why I was there. I woke up at 8 AM to plan my outfit for something that was happening at 8 PM-- I just couldn't sleep I was so nervous. I even prayed in the shower. So if I could put aside those worries and get there to be there for him, so can you. Plus, if you asked him to do something, you'd pitch a fit if he wussed out about it. Consider this the same thing, but in reverse.

Know who you're dressing for. Sure, he may be wanting to show you off a little bit, but he doesn't want to be prying his boys off of your goodies. You're going to want to dress a little bit hot so that he feels good and so that his buddies know you're a catch, but you also don't want to be so obvious that his girl friends KNOW that you're trying too hard. Because they will be on to you, sister. Think about what it's like when you meet your friend's new girlfriends-- what outfit choices have you approved of? When in doubt, it's always best to highlight one asset and keep the rest under wraps-- because I wore my certified man-eater pleather leggings that I know both the boy and the rest of huMANity love and leather boots with small heels, I wore a casual sweater-dress that covered up the girls on top. It covered my leather-clad ass, but hugged it just so-- something that wasn't distracting while we were all sitting and drinking, but was enough to make me feel confident and sexy when standing or walking. And keep the make-up and hair fresh, clean, and neutral-- this is not a time for dark bedroom eyes or to make a statement. Play dress up later. With him. Later, when everyone else is gone.

Go alone. Jesus Christ, GO ALONE. You are a big girl. You don't need reinforcements. If you drag a friend along for yourself, not only are you instantly taken to be a huge pussy, but there are huuuge chances that instead of actually talking to his friends and getting to know each other, you're just going to cling to your security blanket when things start to get awkward. Not attractive. If you're supremely nervous, have an out-- a friend who will call you for a 5 minute reprieve if things start to get sketchy and you send them a blank text so you can duck out for a breather to regroup, or plans to "bump into someone" while you're out, or make a deadline of when you have to leave by. Always remember-- if you are, for some reason, bringing your girl or meeting other people while you're out, always make sure it's ok with the party that you're with, first. No one likes random party crashers, and that's what YOUR friends will be to this group of HIS friends.

Make sure this is an alcohol-included event. We all remember our 21st birthdays. Actually, no, if you were doing it right, you shouldn't remember it all. So birthdays are good. But in fact, any celebration where drinking is involved will do. Because I think we all know by now, people who like alcohol are prone to turning into people who need to be picked up after. And if you really care about this dude, like you SHOULD, you'll be picking up after him and taking care of him. And hopefully, his friends, who also care about him, will see this, and they'll get it-- you like him. This is good. They know you're serious about it; you're not the kind of girl to run screaming when a little beer gets spilled on your dress. Instead, you're the kind of girl who's going to get the paper towels. Draw a fine line between "mother/personal assistant" and "lover" and exist there. Don't whip out your Tide To Go pen and wipe up his shirt for him if he spills-- just find him another one as soon as possible. And if worse comes to worse, make sure there's alcohol because you might end up needing it for yourself.

And last but certainly not least, let him set the tone. Some guys aren't all that open to their friends about what exactly your relationship with them is, especially if it's The Time Before Labels. I've definitely met the friends of guys I was sleeping with and been introduced as "my friend" or just by my name. From there, I knew how I was supposed to act, and dropping the bomb about that thing that he did in bed last night with his tongue was probably not going to fly. Conversely, when I showed up last night, the chair next to the birthday boy was relinquished to me, an arm went around me, everyone already knew who I was from word-of-mouth, and then he kissed me. Obviously, the jig was up. They knew; I knew they knew. From there, it was like any regular meet-and-greet: introductions, how everyone knows each other, polite conversation, what you have in common, blah blah blah. Remember what my friends reminded me of before I went: If they know about you, and haven't met you yet, they're eternally curious about you. So talk to them. Be your charming self. Know your strong points-- casual harmless flirting if you're a guy's girl like me, warm smiles if you've got a great grin, the best joke you know if you're funny, etc.-- and USE THEM. DO NOT admit to Facebook creepin' on them. Do shake hands if you want to make a confident first impression, and if it's not awkward. And keep those PDAs to a minimum, even if you are getting those public kisses initiated by him-- you don't want to nauseate your new friends. Even if they're used to him, they're just getting to know you.